Friday, 21 December 2012

Organised Scatterbrain

This evening saw me finishing my Christmas crafting for this year! It feels slightly strange that I don't have to make any more Christmas cards for at least 9 months. I tried to keep the cards that I had made for craft fairs in their plastic wrappers and made extra cards for me to send personally.  

I came home from university last Saturday with my crafty stuff in tow. I had left packing really last minute and as a result, have left various bits and pieces in my room. Including my glue stick. And my cutting mat. And my metal ruler. I am therefore reduced to using the back of a sketchbook and my scale ruler (I bought my self a new PritStick this afternoon - you can never have too many!) so it's just as well I didn't have much more to do!

Well, now that I am - nearly - all ready for Christmas, I doubt I will have another entry before C-Day so . . . .

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope to see you all in 2013 (assuming the world hasn't ended! Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Paper Pieced Pictures: Past, Present, Future

In this post, I wanted to write about my paper pictures. I realise that I have mentioned them several times before but wanted to give them a proper entry seeing as I am making quite a few of them these days.

So, first up was of course, the best Doctor ever to travel through time and space. I think I was actually watching the most recent Weeping Angels episode when I was putting this one together! I really do love this one and the black pen makes it look as if he's just stepped out of the glossy pages of a comic book. I now have several jealous friends but I feel it is my duty to keep the first - and tester - one. I tried to layer everything in this one so each part of the suit is on a different layer to really make it stand out from the frame.

My second was a birthday present for my room mate who would probably be Mrs Jack Skellington, if only he was real! I took ages drawing him out in my sketchbook - not because it was laborious, just because I didn't know when to stop shading! I remember I messed up slightly with his tie - I think I got the layers mixed up a bit - and I could have done more to stick it down firmly but I am happy with him. White pencil on black card will always be something that I enjoy doing and the look is so effective. I probably should have done him a little bit smaller so I didn't have to squash Zero into the top corner.

Iron Man was on my list nearly from the beginning. This one was based on the comic book character although the original inspiration came from the films (Who wouldn't be inspired by RDJ!). Honestly, I'm not overly happy with it. I just couldn't get his shape right but, again, love the black pen detail. I remember this one being quite fiddly to do because of the yellow parts fitting in to the red but the starry paper background really finishes it off. This frame was one of the four that were made for the Victoria Baths craft fair and one of the two that were sold. I may have to make this one again and, now that I have seen The Avengers and Iron Man 3 and The Avengers 2 coming out in the new year, I will have to have a go at some of the other characters . . . . 

Alice in Wonderland has been a running theme throughout my crafts this year, possibly because it being Jubilee year and Alice and Tea Parties being quintessentially British or because of the amount of artistic licence, either way, it is probably one of my favourite themes. These two frames, like Iron Man, were made for the Victoria Baths craft fair. I was inspired by the original illustrations from the book but I didn't want to just copy them. A few years back, I got some Kate Knight papers which were absolutely perfect for this project. The bright and almost garish colours and patterns were definitely Wonderland-esque while I was able to use some more toned down colours for Alice herself. Again, my black pen makes an appearance to add the final details.

I used a bit of recycling in the Cheshire Cat picture; the tree was made out of the paper that filled the frame when I first bought it - fun fact #1!
Fun fact #2: For the Caterpillar's shisha pipe, I used thread, wrapping it all around the picture. It was a bit of a pain to do but the best way to do it and it gives a nice finishing touch I think.
My sister, who funnily enough is also named Alice (all the jokes have already been done!), was eyeing up the Cheshire Cat picture before it was sold at the fair. Sorry, Alice!

I couldn't very well leave my guitar silhouettes out of the picture - no pun intended - so I picked myself up a smaller frame and had a go. Using silver with the black and white works so well and maybe once I manage to sell this one, I'll make another!

My Jane Austen designs are my most recent and I hope to make some more of these. The first one I made featured a quote, which just happens to be one of my favourites, from Pride and Prejudice. These were a bit different from my original frames as they aren't layers as such, just decorated. I felt that I couldn't really do any novel for my second one other than Emma and I admit I did have to look up the quote on-line - but only because I don't have my books with me! (excuses, excuses, I hear you say) My next step with these is to work on my font, maybe even get out the ol' calligraphy set, and get a list of suitable quotes written down.

The last one I want to talk about can't really be talked about so shhhh! This one is my first commissioned piece so it's all very exciting but I can't really say more than that. Here's a picture though to get you thinking, but if you know what it is, don't say anything!

I still have plenty of ideas to be put down into paper and I think I will be having a go at some of these in the new year but because I'm such an awesome person, I am going to give you some ideas of what you'll be seeing soon.

More period costumes. Computer game heroes. Pie makers. Paranoid Androids. Steam-punk  Nerdy roommates.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Coordinating Christmas

No, this entry isn't about getting organised and sorted for C-day - trust me, I am a long way off!

I want to share some of my Christmas card idea. In particular, those I have made using patterned papers. One of my biggest problems when walking into a craft shop is the inability to leave without finding a new pack of paper that I just have to have. I now have 3 big packs of Christmas themed paper: traditional (the usual suspects), modern (blues and purples and whites - probably my favourite of the three) and cartoony (so really bright colours and bold patterns).

 My first card is one I made with the third set of paper. This paper was covered with penguins and I decided to make them the feature of the card. I used a strip of the paper but cut around the penguin and instead of just gluing him down with the rest of the paper, i used sticky pads to make it look as if he was sledding out of the card. I then finished it off with a tree from the paper and a seasonal greeting.

This one is a design I did a couple of years back and will do it again. I used the modern papers for this as well as some dark blue paper I had lying around. I cut a strip away from the front of the blank, adding paper to the  inside and over lapping the star and the handwritten message. 

This last one was just made using patterned paper as it was. Again, from the modern paper, I cut it to shape, letting some of the pink card blank show through before finishing it with glitter glue snowflakes.

Hope I have managed to inspire some quick and easy cards!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Craft Fairs . . . . A Learning Curve

Yesterday was my third craft fair but unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. Like the one in Prestwich, it was fairly quiet and the venue wasn't as conspicuous as Victoria Baths which is a shame but The Jellyfish Rooms is an up-and-coming project so hopefully, the next one will be even more successful.

This one was a bit different as well. At the other two fairs I attended, the tables were provided - which made my life easier. They weren't today but disaster was averted when dad bought up an old camping table and a Christmassy table cloth for me to use. 

So with my table over my shoulder and carrying my wheelie suitcase behind me, I set off on a surprisingly not frosty December morning. I got to the venue and found my spot.
The great (and annoying) thing about doing craft fairs for the first time is that it is a learning curve. It doesn't matter how many blogs etc, that you read about craft fairs, there is always more to be learnt at the next one that comes along.
Yesterday I learnt that having your table right by the door, despite me thinking that was a good thing, isn't that great. People who stopped to look were then blocking the entrance (the fair was in a couple of small rooms). I also noticed that the first thing most people did when they entered the room was look behind the door. I guess this could be to do with the fact my stall could be seen from down the corridor whereas you couldn't see the other stall until you actually came into the room. I think the phrase my primary school would use is 'letting the cat out of the bag'. 
Sitting by the door also made me the information point about there being more tables upstairs and normally by people who had just walked straight past my table without so much as a glance. I'm not bitter. Much. Seriously though, it would have been nice to sell more but I guess I'll do better next time. I would love to hear about other people's craft fair learning experiences!


I do have a few commissions to be keeping me busy though. I won't go into too much detail but I have had my first paper pieced commission recently. I will also be working on a couple of new ideas in the next couple of weeks. Now that I don't have any more craft fairs coming up, I can concentrate on crafting MY Christmas cards and, like every year, its December and I still haven't started. Some things never change!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Made by Emma . . . . .Woodhouse?

Just a quick entry before I go down and help decorate the St Gabriel's Hall Christmas tree.

Saturday sees my third craft fair (they're like buses, you know) so over the weekend, I was busy replenishing my stock of Christmas cards - because if they were ever going to sell at a craft fair it would be this one! I now have over 70 although I haven't even started making personal ones yet (note to self: GET A MOVE ON!)
I also picked up a few more frames to paper-piece. I have been commissioned to make one as a Christmas present for a friend so I shall be posting that one after C-Day but I still had two to do for Saturday. This had me stumped and for the best part of yesterday evening, I sat in front of my laptop thinking up a new idea - I felt it was too soon to be repeating designs.

I can't remember what exactly sparked this idea but it is one I had already considered. Kind of. I  have a list of ideas for my paper pieced pictures, one of which was dresses. But that is such a wide theme. And then it hit me:

Regency ------ Miss Jane Austen

I love the three books I have read (three because I haven't got round to read the others yet) and decided to base my next creations on the work of Jane Austen. I felt it was pretty obvious which one I should do first: Pride and Prejudice. I sketched out a regency outfit - finding an amazing dress-up game on Deviant Art in the process - and found some 17th century style paper to make the dress out of. I added some detail using coloured pencils before sticking it down to the background. To finish it, I hand wrote those famous opening lines from the novel and attached that with sticky pads. I thought about added a bonnet to the outfit but maybe next time. I have to come up with my quote first. I feel it should be from Emma, but I have left my little book of Jane Austen quotes at home so I will have to really on the internet.

I also want to share another of my latest creations. One of my course mates is a massive Suits fan (for those who don't know what that's about, its a legal drama based in New York) and she recently celebrated her birthday. So naturally, it had to be a Suits card. 
As I do with all my cards, especially ones with a pop culture theme, I shared it too my Tumblr blog and had a rather large response. My friend had also shown it to her Suits fan friends who said 'That was YOUR card????' The word is spreading! Today: Manchester, tomorrow: the World!

I did receive possible the best thanks I have ever had from a card from Jen though:


That made me laugh.
She actually asked me today for some Suits themed Christmas cards to send to friends. Suddenly, World domination doesn't seem that far away any more!

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Advantages Of Being A Student

I have just come back from a talk about self-employment for graduates and it made me realise how much easier it is to set up a business while still studying. The first thing of course was the workshop itself. I am e-mailed about various workshops and lectures etc going on in the university and normally pay them little attention but this one caught my eye for obvious reasons: Working for yourself: how to get started. I made up my mind then and there that I was going to go along and it occurred to me this morning, as I was heading down, that if I wasn't a student, I wouldn't get this opportunity. I also wouldn't have access to all the advice and facilities that the university has to offer.

Being a student has so many advantages when trying to start a business. If you have been following my blog you may remember how it all started: there was a fundraiser in my halls of residence. If I hadn't had that opportunity, I doubt I would have a Facebook page or blog or twitter, hell, Made by Emma wouldn't exist! There is also that safety net when you are a student. Yes, you are a young adult, yes, you are independent and yes, you have no money, but it is the safest time to make mistakes. Students generally only have to look out for number one, there is no worrying about bringing up a family or serious financing and mortgages and such like. All we have to worry about is our studies and whether our loan will reach till the end of the fortnight. We have everything going for us and don't even get me started on us being the digital generation!

This is turning into a bit of a rant/pep talk to student entrepreneurs (there, I said it!) and I didn't mean for that to happen but this talk psyched me up to do lots of business-y things.

The talk did highlight some things that I really need to consider. Things like a timeline for when I want things to happen by, an actually business plan and, possibly most importantly, that one thing that I keep hearing everywhere: NETWORKING. 
These are things I am going to try working on in the near future but for the time being I have to focus on another point: balancing things and organising my time effectively *cough cough architecture *cough cough.

So a blog entry to keep you occupied while I get on with course work and you wait for my new cards to come up on Facebook later including Christmas cards. They, and craft fairs and fundraisers will be the topic of my next entry - no more ravings for the time being!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

There's Good Days and Bad Days . . .

Reflecting on the last couple of weeks bought to mind this Kaiser Chiefs song. I have had not one but two craft fairs in the last fortnight and as you can probably guess, one good and one not so good.

 Victoria Baths was my first fair and it was amazing. No, more than amazing. Words cannot describe how  awesome it was. 
I arrived at about 10:45am which gave me more than enough time to set up and meant I didn't have to hang around longer than I needed to in the cold cold baths (6 feet of cold air underneath you + glass roof + old victorian building - heating = absolutely freezing my tights off!) The fair officially started at 12pm and it got busy very quickly. My parents came all the way from home to visit the fair and they had to queue to get in. At 12:30!!!!
They found me as I was making a sale and I never really stopped making sales. My brother, who had been on a Young Enterprise team at school helped me to re-arrange my stall and to help draw customers in. He seemed to be taking over a bit although he denied everything but it did help so much as I had never really done this kind of thing before.
So, Jamie's top tips for running a stall:
1. Scatter business cards on the table, not just in a box - people are more likely to pick them up.
2. (For card makers) Don't leave all your cards in the box, spread a few out on the table. Apparently boxes scare people!
3. (Again for card makers) Put you best designs at the front of the box - this draws people in if they see something they like and would encourage them to delve deeper.
4. ENGAGE!!!! Jamie couldn't stress this one enough and if I didn't get in there quick and say hello to everyone that came within 5 ft of my stall, he would! Not only was I instructed to greet everyone, when every someone looked at my card-lympics, either me or him explained the story behind them.
5. Don't display all your stock at once. I had a lot of repeats so they went back in my bag for the time being. This reduced the number of cards on my stall and made it a bit less daunting to those having a browse.

Baring all these things in mind - and repeating myself quite a lot - I had a very successful day. I even sold a couple of my paper pieced pictures - Iron Man went to one of my fellow stall holders and Alice and the Cheshire Cat was sold so quickly! A man just came up and asked how much it was and bought it just like that. Then he bought half a dozen cards as well! Probably my best customer of the day.

So that was the good, and here is the bad.

If you have been on my Facebook page recently, you may have seen that I have been supporting a project called Tube Cubed. This is my university project at the moment and it's a pavilion that we are building for Dunham Massey's winter garden. We have been working on this for the last couple of weeks (hence why I haven't had much time to post). I offered my services as a card maker to try and raise some funds. This leads us onto my next craft fair. I was told about it on Monday and was umming and ahhing over it until it was suggested that we could sell the off-cuts if we sanded them down to a good finish and decorated them with sketches, illustrations and, courtesy of one of our group members, names written in Chinese. After a very stressful week of cutting, sanding and varnishing tubes (Check out our blog if you want to find out more) it was nice to sit down and doodle. 
It was an early start on Saturday to get the the fair in Prestwich but we managed it in plenty of time and got our stall set up. I would share the photos but for some reason, my laptop isn't reading my card at the moment so they may have to wait. 
It was looking good apart from our part of the table being a little bit in the corner. And then it opened.

And nothing happened.

Nobody came.

Well that's not strictly true but there weren't very many people there at all. We sold a few cards and a few more wooden decorations. It was a bit of a flop of a day really. Later, we found out that the conservative club up the road was holding their Christmas fair that day, which probably explains the poor turn out. It was worth a try though, better luck next time I guess.

I already have my next craft fair lined up. It's in Chorlton on 1st December. So watch this space!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Craft Fair

This post is unbelievably over due and for that I apologise. Everything had been so chaotic that sleep has had to be put on hold. I hope that this isn't a pattern for the future - I'm not sure I'll be able to cope!
This week, university-wise has been chaotic! I have had to work full hours during the day and sometimes into the evening which means I have very limited time to get on with my craft fair preparation. And the fair is this Sunday! I have been able to get on with most of the thins that need doing but still have so so much to get ready.

I spent the Halloween packing my cards into bags and wrapping shoe boxes in wrapping paper while watching scary movies with my room-mates. It was only then that I realised I had ran out of A6 sized bags with still over 50 cards to pack! So tomorrow morning I am off into town to get more along with the float for my stall. 

It doesn't sound like I have much left: two paper pictures, about 20 cards to make and the rest to pack. But it's the time remaining that's the problem. I have tonight and tomorrow morning to get everything done as I am, surprise surprise, busy again Saturday evening although I can see myself getting very little sleep as I make last minute arrangements. Despite all of this, I am so really really excited about the fair. My first fair, in an architecturally stunning building to raise money to restore it back to its former glory.

But for now, I am going to share some of my goodies:

First up are my Christmas cards. This are obviously a major item for this fair as it it less that two months until C-Day. I made a similar card to these a couple of years ago and decided to re-introduce them at the fair. I created cards following the same theme. These I have also made before, I found the template in one of my magazines but this time I added a message and some hand drawn stars to finish them.

Item(s) number 2:
My card-lympics cards. My heart is screaming NOOOOOO at this but all they are doing is sitting in my big card box looking pretty. So they are going to be sold - but I will be making it known what they are! I have the photos for them but it will be sad to see them go :(

My last items are my paper-pieced pictures. This still need to be done, well, two of them anyway - this is what I shall be spending my Friday evening doing! I have currently done Iron Man and one of my favourite designs - my silhouette guitar. The other two that I am planning on doing are Alice in Wonderland themed. Yesterday, I made sketches of the original illustrations and I am going to paper-piece the scenes of Alice and the Cheshire Cat and Alice and the Caterpillar. These are going to be slightly different to the originals and I wanted to avoid Disney. 

I must go now but I hope this has convinced you that I haven't fallen of the face of the Earth! I shall write after my craft fair to let you know how it goes! Wish me luck

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Card Maker's Birthday

Yes, that's right. Today I enter my third decade (feel old not being a teen any more) . But, I have now booked my craft fair so all that is left to do is to make sure I have plenty of stock ready but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. I did a recent count and I have about 150 cards just lying around although, I haven't done much crafting since I last posted. With this one exception . . . 

Yesterday saw my room mate's birthday and as I am still experimenting with my paper-pieced pictures, I decided to make one for her. 
If you can't tell by the photo, she is a BIG fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, with Jack Skellington being her Halloween costume this year as well. I used the same sized frame as my Doctor Who one but was able to get it in black (which looks so much better!). I got a bit carried away with my rough sketch and ended up shading it properly but it gave me a template to work with.
To make his pinstriped suit, I used black card and drew the stripes on with a sharp white pencil. I sketched on his mouth and skeletal hand details with black pen but to add a bit of depth, I cut the eyes and nose out and glued some black card behind them. I did a similar thing with his bat bowtie although next time I make him, I don't think I will make it stand out so much as it did get a little bit damaged in transit.
I couldn't give her a present without a card so I made one to match. Originally, I was going to do a similar design on an orange card blank but I couldn't resist the black and purple combo. I am really pleased with the card and as a finishing touch, I had to add a Tim Burton-esque flourish on the envelope.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Craft Fairs and Other Excursions

Well, it is about time I wrote, seeing as it has been over a week since my last post! And speaking of my last post, I mentioned that I had a craft fair lined up. My FIRST craft fair. 

After searching all summer for one near me, I came across one not only near me, but literally down the road. I couldn't justify not doing it so I sent an e-mail . . . 

To cut a long story shorter, I am now sharing a table with another crafter, one of blankets and jewellery. This means that we only have to pay half the price for the table and I can't see myself filling a whole table anyway.

Once we have booked our place, I just have to make sure that I have plenty of cards (I already have a sizeable stock of Christmas cards - be very impressed!).

And then of course there is that small matter of designing my stall. You would think, being an architecture student I would have no problems with that! Quite the opposite. I have no ideas what-so-ever as to what to do. I really want to make it stand out but I also have that annoying niggle at the back of my mind called a budget. Damn. 

And so the quest continues but with many distractions, more commonly known as university and social life (kinda). 

On a slightly different note, I came up with a plan the other day. A fund raising plan (unfortunately , I have realised that my back pocket is not a charity) which will give me a great excuse to spend time making cards. I am going to do a sponsored card make. I am going to ask people to sponsor me to spend 24 hours making cards. Straight. Not only the sponsor money, but the money raised by selling the cards will go to a charity of my choice. I am still working out the logistics as to when and possibly where (may not do it in my room but somewhere in my halls so I can get some company!) but I have already decided the who. Kanzi Kibera is the charity for whom I sold cards for at my last fair. They are a charity supporting schools in Nairobi and I have family friends who do a lot to support them as well as getting involved myself. Hopefully it will be a success and I will be able to raise a fair bit of money for them. And, if all goes well, I would love to do it again (although I might not be saying that after 24 straight hours of crafting!).

I will get the details of my first 'craft-a-thon' up here as soon as I know them myself!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Paper-pieced Pictures

What a day! Finally stopped working long enough to write this entry. Currently waiting for tomorrow's presentation sheets to publish to PDF. They certainly throw you right back into it in second year!

Anyway. Last night, I finally got to try something I had been meaning to try for a while now. Back in the summer, I made a paper pieced card following the theme of The Joker from Batman. This was - at the time - probably the most complex paper-pieced/decoupages I had ever done and I felt it was wasted on a greetings card. Plus there was that danger of being to fat to fit in the envelope!

So I thought, what if I created decoupaged images to frame. Never actually got around to it until this weekend when I actually went out and bought a wooden picture frame from Wilkinson. That was Saturday. Apart from group project work to be done, I was out Saturday night. Slept in Sunday morning. Was rowing Sunday afternoon. Went to church Sunday evening. Watched Downton Abbey Sunday evening. FINALLY, I got the chance to make my prototype. . . .

I am a big fan of Doctor Who, especially David Tennant's Doctor. I decided to make this the theme of my picture. I had already jotted down a design so I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I just had to sketch it out properly. It was easiest to start with the smallest piece, the shirt and tie and from there I worked up to the suit jacket, bottom part of the suit, trousers, bottom part of the coat, coat sleeves (and lapels) and finishing with his Converse - kinda like dressing an actually person . . . . . concentrate Emma! I added pen details such as pockets, buttons and shadows as I went along. After I had finished, it was not-so-simply a case of choosing the right backing paper and then assembling it all in the frame. I am so happy with the results but have decided that it is not good enough to be sold, it being my first one and so, I have been resigned to having to put up with it sat on my bookshelf. Such a hardship and I suffer greatly because of it!

The finished and framed picture
I hope to make more of these and already have plenty of other designs lined up to try. I may even have a go at making some to sell at my soon-to-be first craft fair (that's a story for next time!).
Would love to hear what you all think about it/them!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Today, I decided I was going to make my first tutorial. But with a bit of a difference. Instead of hanging my camera above me and filming looking down, I decided to create it stop start animation. This is a technique that I use a lot in university when making videos and can look really good.
I chose to start with something relatively easy: my kimono embellishments. I wrote a post about these back in April/May and as I use them a lot, I decided it would be a good start. I would love to know what you think!

I did mess up slightly (ooops!) and I wonder if you can see the deliberate mistake.*

*and for those who are really eagle eyed, there is a second one, but I will be impressed if you can find that one!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Autumnal Owls

I realise that this is my second post today but this will be my entry for this week's CAS-ual Fridays challenge.

It is, of course, the autumn equinox and starting to get colder and darker. But autumn is probably my favourite time of year, and not just because that's when my birthday falls! I love the colours and bonfire night: wrapping up warm and going out to watch all the fireworks.

My first owl card
This week's challenge, to be inspired by autumn clicked immediately with me. I have recently been going through an 'owl phase'. I love absolutely anything to do with owls at the moment: cushions, accessories, t-shirts and jumpers, I've even spotted a purse I want to get! So, I decided to make some owl inspired cards. 

I began this by creating my own style of owl and made several sketches in my design book. After that, I made myself a template and had a go at making my first owl card.

I made six of these owl cards in total, all of them different, with different colour combinations but all sticking with the autumnal reds, browns and oranges that I looking to see in the next few weeks. Using the same template was useful and made it so easy to get them fairly uniform, although cutting out 12 eyes, wings and feet got old very quickly!
I added the branches straight to the card blank, having cut them from the same paper I had used for the owls. Foam pads were used to perch the owls on the branches, to make them stand out. 
I don't normally make cards with as plain a background as these are but I think it really works well this time and if needed, there is enough room to add a sentiment without ruining it.

National Cupcake Week

If anyone has visited my Facebook page or Tumblr blog, you will see that I have been celebrating National Cupcake Week. I have been watching and have become addicted to The Great British Bake-off. This gave me lots of inspiration for making some baking themed cards. 
I began making some simple paper pieced cards. I found some corrugated cards which worked perfectly for the cupcake case. I finished these cards off with ribbon and patterned tape and topped the paper cupcakes with paper icing and floral embellishments. 
An evening of baking without even turning the oven on!

For my third card, I found some cupcake embellishments from my German craft stash that were just what I needed. I sketched out a cake stand and outlined it with black pen. After adding the cupcakes, I finished the card with some pink dotty paper and topped the cake stand with a paper heart. Despite papercraft being my thing, I am also having a go at the baking and had the excuse to bake (with help from a roommate) a birthday cake for a friend. So proud of it! (Not sure what Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood would make of it though!)

On a different note, I have some very exciting news to share. I have signed up to start an on-line shop. 4 days and counting. As of Tuesday, I will be selling my cards (hopefully). Of course, I have this dream that I will have hundreds and hundreds of orders although I doubt that is going to happen. I'd like to get a few though, to keep me busy. Once I am up and running, I will add a link to my Facebook page and on here. So excited!!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Welcome back to Manchester!

I am now unpacked and back in my digs in Manchester. This summer has flown by! Whilst packing, I desperately tried to reduce the amount of craft stash to bring but it just couldn't be done. I still ended up with my caddy, several boxes and folders of stuff. *Sighs. 

However, on arrival, when I went to collect my keys, I was greeted with a parcel. Something that had been sent to me over the summer. Completely confused as to what it was, I left it until I had everything in my room before opening it. An unusual surprise turned into a very pleasant one when I opened the large envelope and found more craft stash!

It was only when I opened it that I realise it was from a prize draw I had entered in my magazine.  The goodies included GB themed papers, stickers, banners, chipboard pieces and some sequiny, really glitzy stickers all from Vintedge. Just imagine if I had won something bigger!
And the moral of that story is, you gotta be in it to win it. And it would be a better idea to send things to your home address, not university digs!

Before I left home, I had time to make a couple more cards, one as a commission and the other for a friend who was leaving for his first year at uni.
The first card had quite a specific requirement, albeit an unusual one (but I expected no less from my friend and next door neighbour). The card was for her sister's 21st birthday. She likes sheep.

I chose to make it a shaped card, and based my design on clip-art images of sheep. I loved the round body, creating a very cartoon sheep, and also making it easy to cut out but I felt it needed something a bit more than just white card. This was a sheep for goodness sake! And then it hit me . . . .


No pun intended! I'm talking about the fluffy powder version of glitter. Simply cover the surface in something sticky and sprinkle. 
Like all the cards I make for landmark birthdays, I hand-wrote '21' onto the pink balloon and attached this to the sheep using white thread - it was already attached to the card at the fold. It's face and paws were simply black card with paper pieced detail. 

As well as creating it to my friend's specifications, I also added one of my own in order to fit into this weeks CAS-ual Friday challenge - Black and white plus one.

I learnt a bit from doing this card. I guess they were things that I should have known about before but never really thought about.
The first one is shaped cards: make sure it is a single shape, otherwise the card won't open fully. I should have made sure that the balloon was connected to the sheep in more ways than just the thread.
The second one is about flocking. Sticky pads DO NOT stick to flocking. Or rather, the flocking sticks to the pads alright but the the flocking comes of the card. I found this out the hard way and so had to scrape off some of the flocking from the sheep and get new pads to stick his face down. I was more careful with the feet and made sure it was attached to the paper, not the flocking. 

My second card, as I said was for a friend leaving for university. This card needs little explanation. Students. Drink. Simple. So I covered the front of my blue card blank with grey circles decorated to look like cans. I didn't want any sort of order to them and to add to this effect, I raised some on sticky pads. I finished it off with an acetate label finished with a hand written sentiment and blue ribbon. I'm really please with the sketchy look of the cans and may do this one again for a birthday.