When you've got no inspiration...

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I recently found this beautiful quote about children: "Children fill a gap in your life which you didn't even know existed." It's hard to put into words how my life has made a 180 degree turn since our daughter was born. Ellie is now almost 16 months old. Having a child changed our lives, and then again it didn't. We might have different priorities now and our daily routine changed but we still do what we did before Ellie was born.

There's definitely less time for crafting now as Ellie keeps me busy all day and in the evening I like to unwind with a book. I know that I won't get anything done if I sit at my craft desk in the evening. The only exception are commissions from magazines. I can only accept a few every month and I don't know how on earth other designers manage their workload and deadlines. I work through the night on Saturdays and Sundays but during the week I can't due to my early shift in the shop. So you see, there isn't much time anymore to make cards for our family and friends.

My hubby asked me to make a special card for his mum. Whenever I don't have much time or inspiration, I go back to iris folding. I made similar designs like this one before. I still like to think it's special as not everyone has seen iris folding before. I'd love to hear or read from other crafters who also specialise in iris folding but most of you seem to be into stamping!

Here's my birthday card for my mother-in-law featuring free papers from Making Cards June edition:











Here's another one I also made with free papers from Making Cards magazine. I really wanted the colourful floral papers to pop and put them against a black and beige background. Beige is not a colour I'd usually pick but I have lots of coloured cardstock at the moment.


















All you need to make these cards are some basic square dies, oval dies and a pretty die to use as a stopper. I've recently bought this cute heart border for a commission and thought it was perfect for my easel cards. You can find the products used in "Labels" on top of this post.

A long way

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Back in 2011 when I discovered cardmaking, my first batch of Christmas cards featured Tatty Teddy d├ęcoupage designs. They were simple cards but I remember how proud I was when they were finished. I printed pictures of my first designs and put them into small photo albums which I took with me whenever we visited our family abroad. My mum, aunts, mother-in-law and colleagues started ordering handmade cards from me. Eventually I'd approach a little tea room which we always visited with a box of cards for sale. They only picked a few which was a big disappointment but weeks later I saw one of their customers look at the handmade cards on offer and she picked one of mine. I was so thrilled!

Over the years, I've met some very talented designers who make a living out of crafting. One lady in Romania is busy all year around making wedding stationary. Another one is selling simple but beautiful handmade jewellery at markets. Amazingly, she supports her family with it. Others teach crafting or run an etsy shop. The sad truth is that you'll never be paid for the time that goes into creating something unique. But if you ask me, turning your artistic hobby into a profession beats working 9 - 5 in an office!

Back to d├ęcoupage and these two sweet flower designs I made for Papercraft inspirations. They feature Santoro's dreamy Kori Kumi collection which I loved working with.

























While I don't have any new cards to share with you, I'm busy working on commissions. Some of my upcoming features this month will be in Cardmaking & Papercraft (die-cut Father's Day cards), Simply Cards & Papercraft (new card fold technique) and Papercraft inspirations (Occasion Cards).

Easy side stepper

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I like nice and easy which is why Crafter's Companion Square Side Step Card Blanks has become one of my favourite craft products. They really come in handy when you don't have the time (or patience) to measure and cut it yourself.

Here is a card I made with the cute badgers from MFT and my favourite square dies. I recently invested in plain rectangle dies, too, which makes life so much easier! No more wonky lines. There are a few things you can do with square dies and I hope to share more ideas with you soon. I found a blue die-cut frame in my stash which I mounted on foam pads. The "Smile" sentiment cut from the same papers as the background is something I've seen in Making Cards and I like the effect. I like using black in my designs to make the colours or images stand out more but it's still a cheerful and colourful card:



















Both panels on the right were also cut using the square dies although you need to run in through your machine twice to make rectangles.

We'll be away for a week on Saturday and there's still lots to do before we leave. I'm very much a last-minute person which means that Friday will be chaotic!

Panda Paradise

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A long, long time ago when I first spotted Marianne Design's Box Card die, I knew that I had to have it. One day. What always keeps me from spending my money on dies is that they are so expensive. Turns out I didn't have to wait that long for this one as Jenn from Papercraft Essentials asked me for a Masterclass on box cards. There are certainly cheaper ways to create them instead of investing in this die set, but I wanted something nice and easy. Another die set from Tattered Lace allows you to build panorama cards, too. The cheapest and easiest option is to stick to Fancy Card Blanks from Crafter's Companion. They have a range of fancy card styles which are great if you don't want to do the measuring and scoring yourself while saving time.

Back to my box card which I teamed with other Marianne Design dies. Just give me coloured card and I'm the happiest crafter! These cards were so easy to make, they practically made themselves. The only downside is that it takes forever to cut out all the pieces as I wanted to create detailed scenes.

Here are four of the five cards I made for this Masterclass. Starting with my favourite and I really wish I was in the forest myself with these cute pandas:


After making the pandas, I worked on this bambi card with my favourite Lawn Cuts Grassy Border and Farm Fence Die-namics die. I couldn't imagine crafting without them anymore and they're popping up in a lot of my designs. They come in handy if you like to build scenes.




















Here's another cute card featuring one of my all-time favourites, Marianne's little fox. I had just bought the Skyline Border die from MFT which came in handy as a backdrop for this scene.




















Last but not least a box card with more cute critters from Marianne Design. These are smaller than they look, in fact they're so small that I decided to part from the die set which includes four animals and a crib. They're more suitable for baby cards and you can buy them here.





















I spent the last week working on a new feature and trying something I've never done before. Watch out for my cards in this month's Simply Cards & Papercraft and the Joanna Sheen Design Collection.

Smile, it's your birthday!

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While most of you might not be happy about the prospect of going back to work tomorrow, I couldn't be any happier. Monday to Friday means early shifts in the shop and being home when most people start their work. The weekends are long but at least I still have my afternoons and evenings. It's a small sacrifice for staying home with our daughter. My hubby works from home when he's not away for photo shoots and we often go for walks and lunches during the day. I wouldn't want to change it for anything in the world.

It's my hubby's godmother's birthday tomorrow and I needed a quick card so I made this one:



















The papers are from Marianne Design, aren't they just gorgeous? Although the sentiment doesn't give much away, it is a birthday card and inside it says "It's Your Birthday!" I used whatever leftovers I could find which includes combining two shaker mixes, paper flowers and papers which I would have given away. I'd kept a flower die collection from Tattered Lace from my CMOTY prize package and it came in handy for this card as I never have any leave dies.

One of the reasons you don't see any 3D flowers on my cards is that you can't post them in an envelope. I still need to make the lid of a box which I started working on.

Hope you like it!

Hugs Shaker

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Continuing with the spring theme, here are some georgeous spring papers which I kept in my drawer. I love the colour combo of blue, yellow, grey and black! Most of the shaker mixes I use for my cards are from Lucy's Shop where you can shop by colour. Lucy sells sequins, jewels and confetti. You can also try my other favourite shop Seven Hills Crafts for a selection of sequins.


















I was planning to craft until midnight again but feel knackered today. Time to crawl under the blanket and read the latest Prima.

Papercraft Essentials 145 went on sale today and you'll find five box card designs from me in this month's Masterclass. The cards feature some really cute critters from Marianne Design. This month, I love Keren Baker's pretty stitched card and I also spotted one very sweet design in the Readers' Letters made with the Spring Garden die and stamp set from the previous issue.

How this one didn't turn into a shaker

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I'm keeping things simple this week with my favourite stitched dies and square cards. Not that I have much to work with at the moment after a recent destash. It's fair to say that I'm addicted to eBay selling! On my wish list of must have craft items are a couple of stitched dies. I can't imagine crafting without them anymore but they're so expensive that I always tell myself: "Next time!"

I was looking for something spring-themed in my stash when I discovered a floral paper pad from Making Cards. This design features Telescopic Apertures and Paper Pleating and both focus on the papers (and coloured card). I had wanted to turn this into a shaker but it has already got six layers of card. The inner circles are two layers each. I really should have used one layer instead, then do the half pleated circle and stick it onto acetate. I had the perfect shaker mix to go with the colours, but maybe another time...



















This is another idea of how to make use of your free magazine papers. I'm sure that many of you collect them, too, and wonder what to do with them. If you're working with the thin bonus papers from inside the magazine, use them in combination with adhesive sheets. I found that glue and double-sided tape only show underneath.

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