Father's Day

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I hope you enjoyed your Father's Day celebrations. Although we are blessed with hours of sunshine, things are getting a little too hot and our poor little girl is suffering in this heat. We cooled down yesterday evening with a picnic on Coombe Hill. We enjoyed the beautiful views over the Chiltern Hills and tucked into our homemade empanadas.

I don't know about you, but the heat is giving me a headache. Our creative studio is upstairs and in this weather it's the hottest room in the house. It makes you tired. I hope you're better off and that you enjoy crafting in a nice and cool space! I should be getting into the Christmas spirit this week as I'm working on my first commission for the festive season, but it feels odd to be listening to M. Bublé's Christmas playlists in this weather!

A while ago, I made three cards for Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine using a DoCrafts die-cutting set. I'm always surprised how great the products I receive turn out to be! Let's say I wouldn't have bought it myself, but once I started using it, I was sold. I set myself the challenge to combine it with coloured card only and here's what I came up with:











































I really enjoy crafting with coloured card at the moment and I think this is how it all began. I can't stick bows, buttons and flowers on my cards these days (unless the magazines ask for it). You can create simple, eye-catching and colourful designs with coloured card and who knows, maybe I'll specialise in it!

While you're still here, why not think about entering this year's cardmaking competitions? It's a fun challenge to come up with inventive designs while showing what you're really good at.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Splash of colour

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This week, I treated myself to two new die sets which have been on my wishlist for long. It felt like Christmas when they arrived! I don't spend much on new material these days unless it's needed for commissions. There was a time when I spent more on new craft items to work on a feature than what the magazine paid for it. Fastforward one year and I have less money (but more happiness) and I realised that most items in my stash were bought on impulse.

I'm a big fan of American brands and MFT remains one of my all-time favourites. I rarely use patterned papers now as I much more enjoy working with coloured card. However, the heart papers from MFT's Lucky Prints make super cute backgrounds for these cards. The cards feature my favourite dies from Marianne Design which I've used over and over again for my own projects and magazine work. I love these cute animals and won't part from them anytime soon!

The panda card is a baby card, believe it or not! I didn't have any baby sentiment stamps and figured that the lucky recipient will receive plenty of pink cards announcing "It's a Girl!" Booooring... Why not turn it into a "Hip Hip Hooray" instead?





















Here's a quick tip I'd like to share with you. I was running out of black card for my last card (panda) but was determined to finish it. I inked the edges of a white square with my black ink pad. Nobody will ever see the difference!

Bear Necessities

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My craft stash is slowly diminshing after another recent clearout. I'm always surprised how much I end up selling on eBay or giving away. There's a big shopping bag beside my craft desk which is called the "eBay bag". It fills up pretty quickly every month!

No, I'm not giving up crafting, just "slimming down". I much more enjoy crafting with less and for a while now I've stuck to my favourite dies and coloured card. The most useful die set I've invested in recently are Tonic Studios' Square Layering Dies. I still have to hold my breath every time I do matting and layering despite my perfectly cut squares!

I wanted to create something different than my usual square cards and decided to use up some of the coloured card in my stash. It's the one thing I can never have too much of. These two cards will hopefully cheer up my former team mates when they arrive (along with a box of chocolate) on Monday. I remember that Monday Morning Blues and how the week never seemed to end...



Both cards feature the beautiful papers from this collection which the lovely Papercraft inspirations! team sent to me:


Time to get out your dies, card and paper to create something amazing!

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 découpage 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 découpage 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.

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