Silver Anniversary


It's my aunt's and uncle's 25th wedding anniversary today. I had the idea of making an elaborate wreath or frame with a Love theme, but the project was quickly abandoned. I thought of the many (useful and less useful) gifts they would receive. One of their closest friends is also a crafter and I didn't think it was right to steal her limelight with my gift idea. So instead I made a fun card, something unique that would stand out from the rest of the cards.

I didn't like the idea of going all silver and wanted to use up my coloured stock. I had left it to the last minute so I made this slider card in a few hours. I wasn't too keen on cutting out all the little bits to put together the pandas (always a daunting task) but it was worth it. The panda has been featured in many of my designs including magazine work. It's one of my favourite dies and I'll be using it again and again. Some of my favourites include this simple Panda Bunting design, another Slider and a sweet Panda Box.

This is my anniversary card for them, a very colourful one!

You wouldn't tell but I used Christmas papers for the background. I only have one paper pad as I prefer working with coloured card. It's difficult to make a bow from heavy card that can be bent and stays in shape. Instead, I used free papers that were not too thin and coated them with adhesive book covering film on both sides. The stopper was made from Stitched Scallop Edges, one of my most recent purchases and worth every penny. I think it makes an easy but fancy stopper with plenty of space for a sentiment.

Hope you like it!

My Favourite Dies


While most of you are busy with your Christmas projects, I decided to take a creative break just before the festive season. We don't celebrate Christmas so there's nothing to plan and prepare which leaves me with plenty of time for last-minute makes for family and friends. We treat Christmas as a long relaxing weekend. Last year, we invited our neighbours for homemade tapas. This year with Ellie nearing her 2nd birthday, there'll be more time for playing and reading. I'm really looking forward to it!

At the moment, I'm looking for new clean and simple styles for my cards and photo shoots. I wasn't happy with some of my work and pictures. I still enjoy working with coloured card and dies and might stick with it for a while. Here are two cards I made by combining four die sets from my small stash.

Hobbycraft recently had a 50% Sizzix sale on and I couldn't resist Katie Skilton's cute Animal Portraits set. You can turn this design into Christmas cards with festive papers instead of a blue background.

Christmas Wreath


I love contemporary style on cards and other projects. When I was asked to make a modern Christmas wreath for Cards & Craft, I was overjoyed! There is so much I enjoyed about this commission, from the colours to die-cutting (one of favourite techniques) and using other materials, too, for a change. The wreath had to feature die-cuts and Tim Holtz' Tattered Poinsettia was just the right size. I had a hard time picking my favourite poinsettia die as I wanted something a little edgier instead of a classic, detailed design.

My only regret is that I didn't have any wider ribbon in the right colour to make a big bow. This is one of my favourite projects this year and it will inspire you!

Dia de los Muertos


Halloween is fast approaching so it's time to get a little spooky. I'm always happy when autumn arrives and the world seems quieter. The cold weather is always a good excuse to snuggle up in a blanket with a cup of tea and spend more guilt-free time crafting. It always feels like a waste of time in summer when the sun is out and you think you should be doing something outside instead of being cooped up in your creative studio.

Papercraft inspirations! asked me to make cards for Day of the Dead featuring the Dovecraft Sugar Skull stamp and some washi tape. I also received a Mexican themed paper pad which I thought was a little too bright and cheerful for this occasion. Instead, I mostly worked with the washi tape to create leaves for the bunting and a black floral background on one of my cards.

This is one of my top favourite features recently as it's so unusual but still me. I never know what I'll make until I sit down and play around with the products.

I'm working on a lot of new features right now but when it comes to making cards for family and friends, I seem to have a creative block. Too much inspiration and too many new must-have products can make the simple task of creating something special for your loved ones a little overwhelming!

Panda Greetings


Two of my all-time favourite dies are the cute (panda) bear from Marianne Design and Lil'Inkers Of The Heart. I usually don't hold on to dies and stamps for too long after the initial excitment wears out and instead sell them on eBay and make space for new things if needed. That way I always know what's in my drawers and as my stuff doesn't take up much space, I never need to worry about extra storage.

However I can't part from the panda (or fox & deer) and the stitched heart dies yet. I'd wanted to make a simple birthday card for the couple who runs the shop where I work. They went on holidays in Asia with their sons and daughters-in-law where they celebrated three birthdays within a week! I thought that flowers and a handmade card would cheer them up when they return so here's what I made...

Did you notice the cute little bow? I don't have any bow dies in my stash and made one using the nose from Marianne Designs' Fox and two stitched hearts! The paper came free with Making Cards magazine. It's not a colour I'd usually pick but it goes perfectly together with the rest of the card!

100 years!


This year seems to be a very special year. Within only a few months, my aunt & uncle celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary while my great-aunt turned 70. Last week, my former neighbour Ella celebrated her 100th birthday!

While many crafters struggle with masculine cards, I never know how to make age appropriate cards. This special occasion seemed to call for lace and flowers. I don't have much to work with at the moment as I don't buy new material and depend on free magazine gifts and leftovers from commissions. Luckily, I had paper leftovers in my stash from a commission which I combined with two free gifts. Can you spot them?

I loved working with this collection and the colours and images are simply stunning. Every scap of paper was used for this design including the stopper (fishtail banner) which I'd cut out for my original designs but never used it and a strip of paper transformed into a rosette. I even used the last bit of lace which was just enough to cover the front and sides!

Because this card doesn't fit into an envelope, I bought a special gift wrap in similar colours which I'll simply wrap it in. I always waste a lot of card when making my own boxes and chose the lazy option this time! WHSmith have beautiful gift wraps that come with 2 sheets and 2 tags which you can also use in your cardmaking.

If you were looking for the free gifts, they are the Delicate Adornment die (Die-Cutting Essentials) and numbers die (Papercraft Essentials).

Surprise Bouquet


Interactive cards are a fun way to turn any simple design into something more special. I wanted to move away from iris folding for a while so here I am with another interactive design. My great-aunt turned 70 which would have been the perfect occasion to make something more elaborate. It's not that easy if your style is clean and simple. She loves flowers which she grows on her balcony and in the garden. Gardening is one of her passions and something I admire because I can't even keep sturdy plants alive!

Last month's free papers from Making Cards featured modern flower designs. I liked the soft colours and since they were the only flowers in my stash, I used the papers and one of the toppers. There's just enough space behind the watering can to hide a few small hearts and a butterfly:

All you need to make this card are square and rectangular dies (they are really worth the investment), a birthday sentiment and coloured card. The arrow is part of a die-cutting set from Neat & Tangled which includes some small stitched hearts.



It was my in-laws wedding anniversary recently. I seem to be forever behind with birthdays and special occasions this year and hadn't even thought about it. My hubby asked me if I could make a quick card. This card took me a while to make and we sent it later, but at least it's something I'm proud enough of to put it up on my blog.

This one was a little tricky as the happy couple have been married for 43 years. There was nothing in my stash that suited their age or taste. Because I'm hooked to interactive cards, I just made another one sticking to the love theme this time. The panda and balloons are one of my favourite dies at the moment and they're used over and over again in my designs. I had to be inventive with the papers as I only have four pads in my drawer. You'd never guess that these are from a Christmas collection.

A lot of layers make this design bulky and heavy. An easel is the perfect solution if you worry about putting too much weight onto a card front. For the recipient it's also a beautiful way to display the card!

Fox Slider


I like to call myself a "budget crafter". I truly believe that less is more and that if you keep your stash small, you'll use what you own more creatively. I'm on a tight budget when it comes to crafting so I don't easily spend money on new material unless it's needed for a commission. Once in a while, I like to treat myself to a new stamp or die set, but that's the exception.

Free gifts from magazines come in handy as it means that I can add something new to my designs. Die-Cutting Essentials 26 came with a free hibiscus die which I decided to team with one of my favourite dies from Marianne Design. I wanted a card as colourful as the gift I had already wrapped and dressed up with handmade rosettes. Recently, I've been hooked to interactive cards and some will be featured in upcoming issues of Papercraft inspirations and Papercraft Essentials. So instead of keeping this design plain, I added a small slider so the fox's head moves up and down. It always feels like construction work when I put a card like this together. Everything needs to fit neatly for the slider to move.

Sometimes, there isn't enough space for a sentiment on the front, so why not stamp it on the inside of the card? This design features inlaid die-cuts (fox and circle with striped paper) and a telescopic aperture with three squares of different sizes stacked up to add depth.

Last but not least the gift which is a book that I found in the charity shop. The wrapping paper comes from WHSmith.

Get out your coloured card and create something amazing today!

Metallic Wedding


Recently, I decided not to post my published designs anymore unless they fit in with what I share on this blog. While every commission is special, most of the cards I design are not what I'd typically make. Some magazines prefer traditional and fussy designs which presents the biggest challenge for me. I'm not a flower and butterfly kind of crafter which I know are hugely popular. One of the reasons I don't like to stick flowers on my cards is that it makes the design bulky and you can't put them into regular envelopes.

Some magazines send you materials to work with. It always feels like Christmas when I receive a big envelope full of new craft items! Lately, I've been stamping and colouring a lot and I'm very excited about some upcoming features! Papercraft inspirations! sent me Aryia's Garden collection from BoBunny to create four wedding projects using metallic accents.

My favourite designs include this side stepper for which I used a fancy card blank. It's an easy way to make an impressive card without the need to measure and cut it yourself!

This design features inlaid die-cuts which is one of my favourite techniques at the moment. The roses were cut from red deco foil and I wanted to demonstrate that you don't need a foiling machine for it. Stick it on an adhesive sheet, run it through the die-cutting machine et voilà!

You'll find new designs from me in Papercraft inspirations 168, Papercraft Essentials 149 and Cardmaking & Papercraft 173.

A word about inks


We're enjoying lightening and thunder tonight. It's my kind of weather and if it wasn't raining heavily, I'd go out there and dance in the rain.

Papercraft inspirations 168 is out today featuring two sets of my Occasion Cards. Two of my favourite designers are published in the magazine every month, Kat Waskett and Vicky Bailey. Kat's sweet and colourful designs are just up my street. Vicky's Masterclass features cute cards with partial die cuts and I love anything with cute characters on!

I'd been eargerly awating this month's free gift, a layered stamp set with peonies and orchids. I was looking for the right stamps to come along to make a card for my great aunt who loves flowers, not only in her garden but also on her balcony, which is full of them. I always envy her for the colourful displays. Gardening must be such a rewarding hobby but I'm not made for it. I'm glad that it's raining tonight as I forgot to water the plants this week. Anyway, she feels a little down from time to time as she lost her other half only months ago. I hope this card will cheer her up!

I liked Becky James' "Pops of Pink" card made with the peony stamp. The black ink didn't work for me so I decided to heat emboss the outline in white to make it look softer. The leaves and buds were coloured in with Copics as I didn't have green inks.

I'm not a stamper and probably never will be. I have no patience and I'm already cutting out or colouring the image while the ink is still drying. Working with inks means your hands will get dirty and no matter how hard you scrub them with soap, the colour will only start to fade the next day. I'm no fan of embossing powder either as the tiny granules get everywhere. No surprise then that these are the only ink cubes left in my stash:

Seriously, why make a mess of your desk and hands when you can keep them both clean?

Defying gravity


I love browsing charity shops, you just never know what treasures you'll find. All you need is time and it helps if you don't have a screaming toddler with you in tow! Whenever I don't craft, I spend my time reading. Our little girl loves books, too ("book" is one of her new words) so we pop into the second-hand book shop in Princes Risborough every week.

I recently picked up a craft book for my friend. It needed a card and the card needed a box, preferably matching the colourful wrapping paper (Isn't it pretty? You can find it at Waterstones). While gift wrapping and decorating is an art I'd still like to master, I had to make do with the few embellishments from my stash: Bakers Twine and a mini peg which I decorated with a die-cut heart.

The card is made up of six layers (foam pads and cardstock) to make sure it's even in all places. When it was finished, I noticed that the balloons were to heavy for the single strip of acetate which they are attached to. I fixed it by attaching a second strip behind and bending it a little to pull back the balloons. Sorted!

Isn't it funny how in cardmaking so many elements are out of proportion? The thought crossed my mind when I attached the panda to three balloons. Talk about defying gravity. Here's another Flying Panda fun project that I made two years ago.

Inlaid die-cut shaker


Only five months to go until Christmas... I can't believe I'm already seeing the first Christmas products featured in the magazines! As every year, I'll be making cards for the season last minute. It always works out fine although everytime I think I'm done my hubby keeps adding names to the list of people we send Christmas greetings to. I think I might go for inlaid die-cut designs this year to make the designs lightweight. Most of them will be sent abroad which means the weight limits are different than for the UK.

Here's an example of how to turn inlaid die-cuts into an interactive card. It works beautifully as the inside of the shaker is one flat layer and no sequins get stuck anywhere. Putting it against a black background really makes the colours pop. I like working with black and can never have enough black card in my stash! The shaker is filled with clear jewels and I stuck some onto the acetate, too.

Time to relax with a cuppa and my favourite craft magazines!

Over the rainbow


Last year brought a lot of changes for me and my hubby. The biggest adjustment we made to our life was to become minimalists. It was the result of us becoming parents and discovering what's important in life, but it came with a financial benefit, too. I learnt to spend my money differently. There was a time when I splashed a lot on new craft material every month. Some of it never got used until I gave it away.

Crafting can quickly turn into an expensive hobby. Personally, I always felt a little guilty whenever my hubby dropped me off at the craft centre. I'd return with bags full of stuff, sometimes justifying the big amount I had just spent, other times not being totally honest about how much of my hard-earned money I had parted from.

Like everyone else, I have a never-ending wish list of things I'd love to buy. But spending money on crafting means I'd have to miss out on the everyday experiences with my daughter which don't cost the world but they do add up. So for now I've decided to keep a balance. I only buy stuff when it's needed for commissions and once in a while, I treat myself to a stamp or die set.

This card took me a few days to complete. I couldn't decide on a sentiment and what to add to the scene as I didn't have much to play with. The sentiment was heat-embossed in gold which goes perfectly with the Kraft card. The idea of making a rainbow came when I looked for different ways of using my stitched circle dies.

This card would be perfect for a baby announcement (use blue and turquoise for boys) or Valentines Day.

A new delivery of coloured card will arrive this week and guess how excited I am about that...! 

Comfort Zone


While I love browsing pinterest and reading papercraft magazines, I often feel there's too much inspiration, it's simply overwhelming. That's why I like to stick to simplicity. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves what we're good at and what makes our designs unique. Ever since I discovered inlaid die-cuts, I've been hooked. It's a technique you don't often see in magazines and I like to think it's special as not everyone masters it.

Right now I'm looking for new ways to fill the circle aperture that I've been using on my cards recently. One of the die sets I've recently invested in is Waffle Flower's Greenery. You'll get six leaves and one of them can even be used as a feather. 

This card didn't look like much until I added the heat embossed sentiment strip and clear jewels. There's is also a layer of acetate on top of the aperture. It keeps the leaves in place which I attached with double-sided tape in some places. I like to avoid glue as it's too messy.

Crafting is about having fun and making something unique. Every card is a challenge in itself and probably the hardest part is deciding on a layout. Well, you can stick to the same layout and yet create something different everytime. I'll certainly make more of these as I have a growing pile of coloured card!

Hope I inspired you today!

Father's Day


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


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


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...


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


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).

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