Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Photo Inspiration this week.....OG 222

 This lovely calming photo is the inspiration for two cards I made this week. I had thought to go off into a dreamy haze of greys and blacks, maybe with a hint of bling, but instead I went to the golden end of the spectrum for both.

This one uses up a piece of Stampin Up paper that I have always loved for its shadowy images and muted colours.  A little bit of black matte sequins in a spray complete the picture, and its a rusty coloured card for a change.
 The second card goes right down the autumn spectrum and uses an oriental paper as its background.  The tag and flowers are from my box of "come in handy" things.  As always, I am seduced by the paper and want to show it off.
The biggest flowers are another Stamin Up product, from right back when I first made cards.  One day I embossed lots and lots and tried out all my embossing powders just to see what they did.....these are some of the last.

Wonder what other people created this week?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love is all you need.....

....and a little bit of money doesn't hurt!

Got just a little bit carried away with the heart-shaped punches, but, its all in a good cause if it makes a pretty picture.

My favourite colours just ARE black and white, no matter how many times I use anything else,  so to make something from the heart, I went back to my first love.  The card background is black so, inside I put a square of paler DP to save looking for a silver pen that works (why do they always run out when you need them?).....and on the front is a roughly torn piece of soft fluffy handmade paper.  I added a random collection of red and white hearts, and a sentiment I wrote myself.  The only bling is a tiny red sparkler on one of the hearts.

I like it, and Peter would have too, since it uses his favourite colours too....RED, white and black.

This card answers the Challenge at Opus Gluei to show us if love is all YOU need; is it?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Favourites.....OG #220

Loving the opportunity to use my very favourite colour combination has made me go a little overboard.  Its no surprise that my favourite background colour is black because it makes everything else seem so much clearer and brighter, but its also no surprise that, given my head, black and white are my "go to" combination for every event.

So......planning to make one card, I made four, each using black and white.  My favourite uses a piece of recycled paper made into an accordion pleated flower.  Once it was tied in the centre with a couple of pieces of coloured string, the rest was easy.  I'm obsessed with packs of vinyl flourishes at the moment, but they'll be finished soon.  There are silver and black pieces here, as well as the last of a piece of spotted ribbon and a scrap of old Stampin' Up DP.

Now on a roll, and with a pack of black cards in hand, the next card came together from scraps on the desk.  Its busy, but I think it works.

In the hunt through the boxes of bits, I came across the last few tri-fold window cards which I find hard to use....but they are black, so that's at least one point in their favour. The third card came together by accident (yes, well maybe it looks like that too) and has a few more of those vinyl flourishes and dots.

The last card uses another of the tri-fold cards and some kaiser-craft cut-outs, along with a star I stamped rather imperfectly, but I think that's okay today when shabby is still chic!  The white embossed paper in the window is almost the last of a piece of wrapping paper I have been hoarding and using sparingly for too long (thank you Beth).

I have far too many boxes of bits and pieces, and pieces of DP, and I love them all, so rather than buy more, my resolution for the year is to USE THEM.  I know they'll work because when I look through them, I never say "Where did THAT come from?".  Maybe this year my crafting hobby will cost less??

If you too have a favourite colour combination, make something wonderful,and show us at Opus Gluei this week.  We'd  love to see your work.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Happy Birthday Mum

This year my Mum turns 85,but you'd never know it from anything about her.  She loves to dress up and go out for lunch, so this year we headed into the National Gallery to Persimmon, their beautiful restaurant, to do just that.

I made her a card that makes a feature of her favourite muted silver, and added some pearls as well.

Over at Opus Gluei, we're celebrating the New Year with a sparkly shimmery Challenge, so why not make something like this for someone special in your life, and share it with us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Made from books

First I have to say that I'm a reader, and a hoarder, and I hoard books before almost anything else.  Finding a new bookshop, the small quirky local ones, makes a day super special.  I always like to buy something from the small bookshops, but it takes a while to figure out what sort of things are their specialty, and does this sit well with the things I like too?  If not, then I have to find something for someone else, and I know there WILL be something if I keep looking.

So having said all that, and owning up to having many many linear metres of book shelves, and a few piles in odd places (beside my favourite chair, on a side table, under a side table, on the seat in the hallway)...........I also know there are lots of books which are a waste of paper.  Sorry to those authors, but its true.  Combine this with me hating to waste anything that just might come in handy (see hoarder note above), and you'll understand why this post is about re-purposing pages......

The quickest things to make are flowers, and they can be as neat or as random as you like.  There are 3x in the photograph, and all are made by drawing a spiral on a page torn from a paperback.  All you have to do is cut along the line you drew, right into the centre which you leave as a vaguely round shape.  Starting from the outside edge of the spiral, curl it in on  itself, as if you were quilling.  It might help to roll it around a toothpick to begin, but then you'll be able to finish it fwithout.  It wont be neat.  Using a hot glue gun, put a blob of glue on the centre of the spiral while you hold the rest that you've rolled up.  Carefully letting go of the roll will uncurl it a little and if you quickly push the cut edges down into the glue, it will become a flower like the ones above.  There are kaisercraft dies which will cut the spiral for you if you like things very tidy.  Cutting a spiral freehand (no lines to follow) will give you an even more random finish to your flower.  And some will turn out better than others.

Try using pages with illustrations or chapter headings to give your curls some extra interest.

Also easy to make are birds to hang, and they use the simplest method of two shapes (body and wings) which are threaded together by aligning a scissor cut in each shape.  You can see the pieces above, and the finished bird is in the foreground of the first photograph.  These birds are very flimsy and if you REALLY want to make them from book pages, glue two together first to give you a material with more strength.  Card stock is perfect, and being double-sided, you get two birds for the price of one.

My favourite recycled book product is a piece of fruit cut from the pages and using the original spine of the book to form the core.  Each piece takes about an hour of cutting, using a template and a utility knife.  If the paper is cheap and soft, it can be hard to get a crisp edge, so that's where your scalpel and lots of patience comes in handy.  That's a pear coming to life in this photograph.....

Once the shape is good, you need to bend the spine back on itself, like those old-fashioned paper decorations, and glue it.  Strengthen the spine by gluing a drinking straw wrapped in paper into the centre before gluing the first and last pages together, and holding them fast with clothes pegs until the glue dries.  I like to add a twig and sometimes a paper leaf.

Last of all are Christmas baubles...........all you need are large paper punches of symmetrical shapes (circle, square etc).  Cut out 6x whatever shape you choose, for each bauble.  Fold each in half (that's why the shape must be symmetrical).  Glue each half shape to the one before it, enclosing a loop of thread so you  can hang the bauble when its dry.  I used my biggest circle punch (3 inch) for the round ones, and then tried a square (2 inch) folded on the diagonal for the other.

....and now I have two less books, and lots of vintage paper crafts around the house this Christmas.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Coffee time..........

Sharing a coffee with friends is my favourite past-time, apart from sharing a pot of tea of course.  In my life there's instant coffee, brewed Turkish coffee, and the delights of whatever cafe I happen to be in, and the skills of the barista.  Coffee, whatever your favourite, is the theme of the latest challenge from Opus Gluei and I have added to my ATC collection to provide inspiration........

Each one uses a handy little stamp from Kaiser called "Friends", with a variety of papers and bits and pieces from the busy room drawers.

Click here to see what Deena has created at OG, and then see what our followers create too.......

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween is approaching.............

I always thought the best thing to do with a pumpkin was to roast it and eat it, and I thought witches were good at luring children into the woods then tossing them into the oven, and I thought they came in threes, lived with a black cat, and rode broomsticks............ and then there's Halloween, which is growing in acceptance in Australia, but mostly in the $2 shops which are over-run with plastic pumpkins and spiders, and witches hats.  

However, I do have an affinity for things witchy...having been once given a fabulous broomstick by a dear friend with a suitably wicked sense of humour.  The gift has blossomed into a small collection of witches who live in my house, along with my favourite real life black cats.  

Challenged to contribute to the Halloween theme at Opus Gluei, this is my small contribution..........a tag to hang off a broomstick.  I love the paper, and I keep it for special things just like this.

And here is a glimpse of my favourite Hocus Pocus witches.......
Don't forget to look at the OG page where you'll see Deena's very spooky candles, as well as the work of other clever people who REALLY understand Halloween!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Opus Gluei 212..... red & white

Over at Opus Gluei, the latest theme celebrates Thanksgiving Day in Canada, because some of our Poobahs hail from there.....but over here in Australia, we're up to our eyebrows in football Grand Finals (pick a code, any code), and I personally am giving thanks that it will soon be all over, but only because my team didn't make it that far.

So, Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.It will be Monday 12th next week, so in honour of my Canadian friends. I've gone red and white for my cards and ATCs this week, and now I see them in 2D, its clear I've gone minimalist.

...and finally, two new ATCs using some papers from my decoupage stash which is not getting any smaller.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Happy Birthday to you

I think I make more birthday cards than anything else, and to open the newest OG era, we're beginning with birthdays.  It just happens to be the birthday of one of the Grand Poobahs on the day this post goes live, so what better way to say Happy Birthday?

I made a couple of cards for forthcoming events, trying to use different colours for each.  I found the black cards, a version of a gatefold, at my local big craft supply warehouse, and turned one on its side for a change.  The colours are not so bright AND, there's not a flower in sight.

Then because I found the garland on my work table, I made this one too....  The hologram centres in the flowers seem to have taken on the colours of the papers.  How did THAT happen?

There'll be more birthday goodness over at the Opus Gluei workshop.  Drop in and see what them all.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Its been a while........... fact its been 4 months since my last post.  Since its been winter in Australia, you could be forgiven for thinking I've been in hibernation, but I have not been sleeping.

The precious lemon tree that we planted and nurtured has had a bumper crop, and the possums didn't discover it like last year when they chewed the skins off a dozen or so.  I was pleased not to have to juggle the netting and poles this year, but instead of possums there were gall wasps.  One fine cold morning, I took all the lemons off the tree, pruned it back to a stick, and burnt all the infected branches in the fire pit.  What to do with many kilos of lemons?  Preserve them.........

The recipe is Emmy's and involves coarse salt, lots of muscle-power, and some big jars.  This is the result of the first batch.
I've added some to the onions steaming under a slow-cooked lamb shoulder, and rubbed the meat with them too.  My friend Emmy, a culinary mastermind with a Turkish heritage, advises turning each jar upside down a few times through the first month they're stored, and topping up with extra lemon juice if the level settles too much.  

The next challenge was to turn the last of the quinces into something useful...........and I didn't have the heart to try jelly (all that straining was off-putting), so hunted out a recipe for quince paste.
I should have taken a photograph of the finished product because once we tasted it, everyone took a piece home, and its all gone!  Definitely worth repeating.

The Opus Gluei Poobahs have also returned this month, and we'd love to see what YOU've been up to over the winter (or summer).  Share your holidays exploits with us all.