Grab a bargain in my eBay shop

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My eBay shop is open for a week and it's mostly cutting dies this time. If you fancy MFT, SugarPea Designs, Paper Smooches, Impression Obsession, Tattered Lace and Creative Expressions, you'll find a small selection of used dies starting at £0.99 here.


I'll share some fun cards with you next time. You'll find some new designs from me published in Die-Cutting Essentials Special Edition, Making Cards and Papercraft Inspirations this week.

Destash & sell on eBay (and save on fees)

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Today, instead of a card I want to share some valuable advice about selling on eBay. I hope that it will inspire some of you to destash and make a bit of money while saving on fees.

My husband and I were quickly hooked on eBay and we have been selling anything from photography gear to craft items. People need all kinds of stuff and some of them are willing to pay a lot for it. This year, some of items that we sold included a bed frame and a used double-bed mattress. Not to mention that somebody also picked up our king size mattress (eight years old). It saved us time and money on hiring a van and driving to the recycling centre. Handy!

The first step you need to take might be the hardest: Parting from your stuff. Everytime I put my stash back into the boxes, I sort out paper scraps, embellishments, inks and even cutting dies and stamps. If you haven't used it for months, chances are you won't use it again. Dies and stamps always sell well on eBay.

eBay and PayPal fees might put you off at first. I heard about selling groups popping up on facebook to avoid these fees. The advantage of eBay is that you won't find a bigger audience anywhere else and you are protected as a seller and buyer. Personally, I much more prefer this option.

Standard fees: If you are a private seller, you can list up to 25 items per month "for free" (no insertion fee). eBay then charges 10% of the price that you sell the item for. It is important to note that the 10% also applies to postage (sadly). Paypal charges 3.4% + 20p for each item sold on top of your eBay fees. You can only save on PayPal charges if you sell more than £1,500.

How to save on eBay fees: This requires you to log into your eBay account 2 - 3 times each week. eBay won't advertise promotions that will save you £££ and they won't notify you by e-mail. You'll find these promotions if you log into your account, click on "my eBay" (upper right corner) and "Selling". Scroll to the bottom of the screen for promotional offers in the orange box. Every few weeks, there are offers such as 25% off the final value fee and we've been lucky before to sell for only £1 final value fee! Some promotions need to be activated by clicking the "Get Offer" button next to it. Note that any promotion is only valid for a short period of time in which you need to list your items if you want to cut the fees.

Auction/Fixed Price/Buy Now/Best Offer: If you put up a used item for auction, eBay will recommend starting at £0.99. Depending on how popular the item/brand is and how hard it is to come by (e.g. Stampin Up!), you might want to increase the price. There will often be a bidding war the last few minutes before the auction ends, but don't count on that. I've seen prices shooting up after six days of no bidding, but I've also sold items for £0.99. You can also add a Buy Now price at an auction.

Fixed Price is the opposite of an auction and you can add the option Best Offer. It's one of the boxes you can click and it allows potential buyers to submit an offer. Either you accept or submit a counter-offer in the hope of it being accepted. Bear in mind that items with fixed prices look more attractive if postage is for free

Taking pictures of your items: While you don't need an expensive camera to take good quality pictures, it's useful to know how to use yours. Would you buy an item that you can barely make out on a picture, that is blurred or poorly lit? Probably not. A neutral background such as a white piece of card helps. Taking the picture straight from the top often looks much better than from an angle. If you have photo editing software, it's a plus. eBay's picture formatting options are limited to cropping, rotating and adjusting the brightness. Here is how I usually sell my items:



Item description: Be honest and let your buyers know if the item has any minor faults or damages. Whether your used stamps are discoloured, the packaging damaged or not available etc., include it in your item description to avoid any surprises for the buyer.

Packaging & Postage: When I started selling on eBay, I forgot to include the price of the packaging in the P&P price. It's important to know your P&P and you'll quickly become an expert. If you have a post office nearby, perfect! You can go there with your items to weigh them. Once you know the weight, work out the postage yourself by using Royal Mail's Get a Price

You can also ask at the counter how much the services cost that you'd like to offer to your buyers. If you do this, it helps to put the item in the envelope as the price differs depending on the size and thickness. Mind you, I wouldn't keep staff busy with it if there was a massive queue behind me! Depending on the value you think your item might sell for, it's worth considering 1st/2nd class signed for. This is £1.10 dearer than standard 1st/2nd class but it will allow you to track the item.

Take note of the "International Postage" options when adding your postage options on eBay. It will automatically default to International Shipping through (eBay) UK Shipping Centres which is not what you might want. My husband uses it to ship photography gear to buyers abroad. Ask yourself if it makes sense to offer this service. The cost of P&P might be higher than the value of the item, certainly if you talk about craft items. Instead, you can select "No International Postage". Alternatively, enter your own international postage option.

I hope my handy hints will come in useful if you decide to destash, make space and earn some money. Have fun selling!

A Handmade Christmas

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Time to leave Christmas behind to get a head start on birthdays and other celebrations next year! January and March are packed with birthdays and right now I'm now working on some fun cards for those still young at heart.

If you're a subscriber, you might have already received the latest edition of Making Cards and Papercraft Inspirations. Both go on sale this week and feature a mix of papers with a floral/winter/Valentines theme. I have recently bought Sea Blue pearlescent card but didn't have any papers to go with it. It's the perfect match for the floral papers from Making Cards' January edition.

Here is a set of cards that was part of the Christmas present for my friend Diane. I also added die-cut foxes, ribbons, buttons and patterned papers.






















... And here is a picture that sums up today's afternoon:



















Hope you enjoyed the celebrations!

A budget-friendly Christmas

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Anyone not in the spirit of Christmas? Those of you who aren't, rest assured... You're not alone!

This year, I decided to do things a little differently. First of all, no gifts for the grown-ups in my husband's family. Next the kids. It's always tricky to find something for our nieces and nephew as they have too many toys. Usually, I'd contribute €20 per child which is a lot of money, so instead they're getting a handmade craft kit this year. I love browsing charity shops and if you take your time to look around, you'll find some brand new, unused items such as toys and books. At the RSPCA shop in Princes Risborough I got new sticker books, pencils and a cardmaking kit at half the original price. Tucked between the toys was craft kit to make funny bobble heads. At the local sewing shop, I got some googly eyes for free.

Back at home, I put together a stack of patterned paper, stamped cute images and die-cut foxes, grassy borders, clouds, fences, cars, planes with goggly eyes and stars (great way to use up paper scraps). I filled a bag with colourful buttons (which the kids love!). Everything went into separate clear bags and was wrapped with the items from the charity shop. I still had the gingerbread house which I'd made for Papercraft Inspirations so I filled it with sweets and wrapped it, too.

Let's hope the kids appreciate my effort! Luckily, I don't need to worry about my family as we don't exchange presents. The only exception are my aunt, uncle and cousin who receive a parcel full of sweets every year.

Time to share my latest designs! These were made with the gorgeous free papers from Making Cards magazine.






































We posted the last Christmas card today. I know that some of you are still busy with their Christmas crafting, so why not try this easy design to make in big batches? It would also look lovely in a frame as a gift! Click here to get your free iris folding template.

Happy crafting!

Perfect Layering

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Whenever it's quiet on my blog, there's lots going on inside and outside my craft bubble. Over the last few days, we had the carpenter and painter in. The painter spent a whole week here. The house was a mess, there was barely any room that wasn't untouched and my hubby had taken over the living-room to instal his photo studio and office. No space for crafting then.

Now I'm catching up with my Christmas makes. We're sending out 14 cards to family and friends this year. I'm still finishing the last batch as I'm writing this and Making Cards' free papers came to the rescue. I didn't want anything fancy and went for these simple iris folding designs. You can find the lovely papers in their December issue.



















While I was looking for something bling and shiny in my stash, I found Hunkydory's Glitter Glaze Card Deco Collection in one of the CMOTY boxes. It was part of the prize from last year's competition. Just to warn you, the card has a pretty strong smell. I can't figure out why. Maybe it's been sitting in the packaging for too long. Funny smell aside, it looks striking on the two Joy cards and the snowman card in blue. I used red mirri card for the card in front.

Here's a tip that will make things easier for you: Invest in a set of square dies for layering. I always thought they're expensive but Tonic Studios are reasonably priced.

Iris Folding with Bonus Papers

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This month's Cardmaking & Papercraft comes with beautiful Christmas bonus papers. I love the cool colours and patterns. It's perfect for an iris folding card and I like how this one turned out.



















I didn't have much choice of coloured cardstock and almost went for black but the dark grey works much better with silver mirri card. If you would like to try iris folding, you can follow my Beginner's Guide in Papercraft Essentials 140.

Meeting Faye

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If you are a reader of Making Cards magazine, you'll have noticed Faye Wynn-Jones' beautifully coloured designs. She's one of my favourite designers and a wizard with Copics. I was giddy with excitement to finally meet her three weeks ago! Faye is a Copic Instructor and a good one, too, because I finally overcame my fear of colouring. Believe it or not!

Stamping and colouring has been a no-go area for me so far. I much more prefer working with papers and folding techniques. It's fair to say that colouring is way out of my comfort zone. At Faye's home, I spent the whole day colouring and getting the basics right. She's really sweet and patient. Time flew and before I knew, I was on my train back home. Time to put the theory into practise! Here's a card I made using this month's Cardmaking & Papercraft's free gift. The stamp comes with embossing folders but I'm not a fan of embossing so I kept it simple.


















Here's a great tip if you want to use a coloured image but don't have the matching papers. Use some washed out (grey) papers instead. I had coloured the image to practise but decided it would be a shame not to use it so I teamed it with Wild Rose Studio papers.

Border Punch Art - Papercraft Essentials 139

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Border punches... Not something I'd usually use in cardmaking. Then Becky from Papercraft Essentials came along asking for a Beginner's Guide to Border Punch Art and I thought why not? The first challenge was to find some affordable punches. Martha Stewart has got some lovely punches but it wasn't worth putting my money into it since I didn't know if I'd be using them again. I settled on some inexpensive punches from XCut which I used for my designs. While they're small and compact, they don't punch out so easily unless you throw your whole body weight onto them.

Once I sat down and had a little play with them, I realised there's lots you can do with border punches. Let's start with the first card I made. Can you spot where I used it?


The smaller butterfly was made with a punched border on white card. This is a really easy card to make, whether you fancy a border punch in your design or not. Here is one of the two flower cards I made...


There are also two easel cards. Often, what looks simple in the magazine takes hours to make.



If you are intrigued then check out Fiskarettes UK facebook page and the stunning creations made by their design team.

Get out your bonus papers!

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I was recently flicking through my magazines and some cute snowman toppers caught my attention. You can find them in Papercraft Inspirations 158 and they come with turquoise-red bonus papers which make some pretty cool Christmas designs.

My advice is to stay away from liquid glue when working with these thin papers. A glue stick should do the job but I found a better solution: Adhesive sheets! Cover a piece of card with an adhesive sheet, stick the image from the bonus papers on top and cut out. This will give you an even surface and there's no messing around with glue.

The bonus papers were used for iris folding on this card and I found some matching papers in my stash to fill the space around the frame.


















All materials are listed in "Labels" on top of this post. If you are looking for snowman papers in the same colours, I found this one for you.

Traditional Christmas

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I usually don't go for traditional Christmas colours but wanted to use the pretty poinsettias from Cardmaking & Papercraft's free Hunkydory gift. This year's Christmas cards are cheap and cheerful as I'm combining free gifts with my existing stash. You'd think I'm getting tired of die-cutting the same border over and over again, but there are so many ways to fill the frame.


















The hanging stars are from a die-cutting set which you can get with Designer Cardmaking's Ultimate Crafts Christmas edition. It's a small die that comes in handy when you need to fill the space on your card. The sentiment is heat embossed.

Thanks for stopping by and visit my blog again soon for more ideas with free gifts!

Small Print

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We spent a cosy weekend with friends in the Cotswolds. Bourton-on-the-Water is so picturesque and we all fell in love with it. There are so many gift shops to browse and tea houses to visit. Sadly, our time together was cut short yesterday when it was raining cats and dogs and we had a very tired baby and toddler in the back of the car.

Here is a card using the free background stamps from Cardmaking & Papercraft. I used the inlaid die-cutting technique to make the poinsettias and if you look carefully, you'll notice the same pattern as on my Baby Christmas cards. There's also some small print on the stitched square which was stamped and heat embossed with the sentiment background stamp from the same set.


















Another quick make if you're looking for Christmas cards to make in batches.

Baby's first Christmas

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They call me The Grinch at work. I earned myself the reputation two years ago when every desk on our floor was decorated with tinsel, tiny Christmas trees and fairy lights except mine. I don't do Christmas jumpers or Secret Santas. I skip Christmas lunches and parties. Last year, when I was heavily pregnant, I asked the organiser of the fancy dress Christmas party (out of curiosity) what she'd think I should wear. She suggested to dress up as a Christmas pudding. Needless to say, I didn't go.

This year, some of our friends celebrate their first Christmas with their little ones. I wanted to use the cute little deer from Marianne Design which I think is perfect for this occasion. I cut it from wrapping paper and then looked for a matching background. Only, I didn't find any in my papers! Instead, I stamped and heat embossed a stitched square with the free Festive Flourishes stamps from Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine. It's very subtle as these are Baby's 1st Christmas cards, but you can change the colour of cardstock and embossing powder to add more contrast.

















The stitched square backgrounds are mounted onto white and silver mirri card and the sentiment is heat embossed. These are lightweight cards that can easily be made in batches, so why not try it yourself?

Happy Christmas crafting!

Papercraft Inspirations Designs

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Buttons and sports... Not the usual themes you would spot on this blog. However, when the commission from Papercraft Inspirations came along, I had fun designing four Occasion cards of which I'm sharing two with you today. They were published in issue 158.

First up is a very simple design which should be fun, too, if you craft with kids.


Up next a cute pinguin from a golf-themed stamp set from Sugar Pea Designs. You can remove the golf club and ball by putting tape on it when stamping or fussy cutting the image without. This sentiment was printed on the computer.


How is everyone doing with their Christmas cards? I should be halfway through, but every year my hubby comes with some last-minute requests and the list of people to send them to is getting longer and longer...

Ready for takeoff

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This adorable Santa came with Making Cards' free Christmas papers. His red outfit perfectly matched some cardstock leftovers that I had so build a small snowy scene in the frame. Something was still missing and I tried different dies to fill in the space until I decided on the star-shaped balloon. Why not?



















The bit of green sticking out is a die that's part of a craft kit from the latest Designer Cardmaking. It was supposed to go on sale 27th October but I was informed by the editor that there were delays so it will hit the shelves this Friday. It's a great kit with everything you need for your Christmas makes: Beautiful papers, embossing folder, stamps and detailed cutting dies.

More free gift makes coming up so make sure to visit my blog for inspiration!

Festive Folding

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If you're looking for something different this Christmas, get your hands on Making Cards Christmas Edition while it's still on sale. It comes with gorgeous papers featuring floral patterns but also cute Santas and more traditional Christmas colours.

Here is the first card I made with the papers and a basic iris folding template. These are busy patterns so you don't want to add anything else to the card but a sentiment and a gemstone for a bit of bling.

















The iris folding is done on a 10.5cm square with a die-cut aperture using the largest of the Die-namics Stitched Squares. This leaves you with a 0.5cm border to attach the paper strips to. Some skill is required! I also added another frame on top of it and then attached the four die-cut borders. The sentiment is heat embossed. I fell in love with the elegant Christmas sentiment stamp set from Mama Elephant the moment I saw it!

Make sure to visit my blog again soon for some more free gift makes.

Happy Halloween and enjoy the celebrations!

Eye-Catching

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This week, I bought what turned out very expensive wrapping paper. I hadn't checked the price until the cashier told me and my jaw almost dropped! Well, I desperately needed it so I paid and left the shop. Guess what I spotted today? The same wrapping paper at half price.

Although it's Christmas wrapping paper, I used it for a baby gift and made an iris folding card with the same paper to go with it. I still had some bits left from cutting off too much. This design seemed like a pretty good idea when I made it this morning at 1am although it was hard to tell what the colours would look like in daylight.


















Definitely something different, don't you think?

The Party Balloons dies from Lawn Cuts are my new favourite. I decided to leave some empty space on this card to draw the attention to the few die-cut elements and papers.

I also made some Christmas designs using free gifts from magazines which I'll share with you next time.

Die-Cutting Continued...

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Have you seen this month's free gift from Cardmaking & Papercraft (November issue)? It's Hunkydory toppers and papers and I love the images and colours. I had some mirri card left which goes perfectly with the kit.

When it comes to Christmas, I don't fancy traditional colours. Instead, I prefer to work with soft colours like these. The pink paper for the first card was just enough to create eight frames and four squares with a stitched frame.



This time, I chose a sentiment, but it looked lost on the card until I added poinsettias using the inlaid die-cutting technique. The outlines are cut from rose gold deco foil to add contrast.

Happy Christmas crafting everyone!

Die-Cutting Magic

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Yes, I know the title sounds very promising but wait...

I recently ordered this cute deer from Marianne Design for Christmas and baby cards. My idea was to make an inlaid die-cutting scene but then I decided not to fuss around with so many details on the deer. If you're not familiar with inlaid die-cutting, here is an example of what it looks like.

Instead, I made what turned out to be a Christmas card for my little girl. Her first Christmas card! The border die was a free gift from Die-Cutting Essentials and you can order it here.


I rarely go for pink cardstock so this was a brilliant way to use it up! No sentiment this time as I didn't know where to place it!

Papercraft Essentials: Paper Weaving Masterclass

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Some time ago, Becky from Papercraft Essentials asked me to write a Masterclass on paper weaving, or paper patchwork to be more precise. I first discovered this technique in Papercraft Inspirations and Quick Cards also covered it recently.

You can start with basic die-cutting shapes and straight lines (see first card) if you want to give this a try. Patchwork also makes a great background that you can use behind a die-cut aperture (see second card). The Masterclass feature can be found in Papercraft Essentials issue 137 and there's a step-by-step guide with pictures, too. If you didn't get a copy, you can order your back issue here.

These are my favourites from the set of cards I made:



















I worked on my first set of Christmas cards this weekend. Up next is a very special Christmas card and some makes using free gifts from magazines. I hope you all enjoyed a crafty weekend!

Papercraft Inspirations - Issue 157

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Time to share my designs from last month's Papercraft Inspirations. The themes were "Lace & Anniversary" and "Flowers & Birthday". I'm not the flower and butterfly kind of crafter so this is what I call a challenge.

A great inspiration for the second lace card is Karen and you can check out her blog here. Her cards are absolutely stunning and her blog is beautifully written. I often get myself lost in it.





Papercraft Inspirations 128 is now on sale including some new Occasion Card designs from me.

Enjoy your crafty weekend!

Put a ring on it

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One craft item I couldn't do without is double-sided tape. I've been using it generously since my early days of cardmaking. It can be difficult to find the right glue so I'm mostly sticking to tape. There are no bad surprises with double-sided tape. It doesn't make your paper wavy and (if you buy the right type) it sticks like hell.

No wonder then that I go through these rolls in no time. When my last roll of tape was finished, I kept the white plastic ring thinking I should do something with it. I don't keep and upcycle things but I wanted to make something different than a card. Our girl's nursery needs a few more loving touches so I made this...

Before



After


This is a cute little project and I will continue with it using other cutting dies, then link two or three circles with bakers twine to hang them up. You could also attach them to a wreath or make a garland with a few decorated circles.

Hope you found some inspiration on my blog!


Thinking of You

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Last week, I received sad news from Germany. A family member is losing his battle against cancer. He has been in treatment for two years but now doctors are giving up on him. Still dealing with the sudden loss of my mum, I know people want say something comforting but words don't always have a meaning. I'm really lost for words now but when they come, I'll put them down and send this card to my family to give them courage and strength for what lies ahead.



I used LOTV's Mr & Mrs papers which was one of my favourites from the CMOTY prize package. There are still many papers left in the pack and I'm thinking they might even work for a fancy Christmas card! I'm not a fan of the traditional red and green and I always like something different, so let's see where my imagination takes me.

I recently bought Sugar Pea Design's Feeling Sentimental sentiment stamp set which comes in handy for many occasions and you can also have a play with words. You can find it on sevenhillscrafts.



















Try this one

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Iris folding remains my favourite technique in cardmaking ever since I made my first card four years ago (the result can be seen here). It's a shame that it's rarely featured in papercraft magazines, but I'm hoping to tempt you into it!

I'm always searching the web for new iris folding templates but there are a number of problems: Most of the templates are shapes that I'd never put on my cards. While Pinterest is a great source for templates, it's overwhelming and you need to be careful about the source and copyright. Most iris folding cards that I find online have too much going on with peel-offs and what I call "floating elements".

If you are a fan of iris folding, I'd like to share this brilliant blog with you. You will find many different categories for any occasion, including iris folding frames for pictures and photo iris folding. I also stumbled across handcraftedgreetings and thought I should do something with the Pineapple Blossom template. When I downloaded it, I resized it to fit the largest square of my MFT Stitched Square STAX dies. Next, I colour-coded the template in three different colours (one for each patterned paper used) before cutting the paper strips and folding them. The challenge with this one is that you need to measure and score precisely the four strips woven in the centre.

Here's my first attempt, it's a birthday card for my dad who will turn 57 soon.


















What I like about iris folding is that you can use up your paper scraps and also use Christmas papers like these ones when it's not the season yet! Did you notice the snowflake print on them?

The woven cross in the centre made me think this would make a great card for any religious occasion or sending condolences. As the papers make the design very chunky, both white frames are mounted on foam pads.

I've got one more design ready while I'm working on more, so visit my blog again to check it out.

Post Signature

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