Sunday, December 31, 2006

Secrets in the Bag

Here are some postcards I have been making for a swap on FAI. The swap is Secrets in the Bag, I know some of you will already be familiar with the premise but basically your swap partner sends you an envelope full of goodies and you have to turn them into a postcard. I ended up with two swap partners for this round as there was an uneven number in the swap.
Here are the goodies that Gillian sent me, something nice and sparkly for the festive season. My first thought was to go abstract and just attach the ribbons and beads randomly across the black fabric. I then decided it would be a more fun challenge to make something representational. Here is my attempt at creating a winter forest in the moonlight. It didn't turn out quite like I had it in my head but I think you get the idea just the same. My second lot of goodies came from NoeLani, what a great selection of fabrics, yarns, beads and sequins.For a while I was in complete panic mode as I just couldn't figure out what to do with such an assortment. It all fell into place though when I finally banished the idea that I had to use it all. I had been trying to figure a way of incorporating everything but just wasn't getting anywhere as I couldn't figure out how to use the sparkling polka dot net and the delicate rose organza all in one card. Instead I picked out a few of the things that I liked the best and here is the end result. I have to admit that I now love this card and don't want to send it away, lol!

I couldn't really get a good picture as it's too lumpy to go in the scanner and it's so overcast here today there is not enough good daylight to get a decent photo. The colours in this look a lot muddier than they are in reality. I used 2 layers of organza to create the background and then wound round some of the lovely red yarn to create flower heads and this poppy field emerged.

I hope Gillian and NoeLani both like the cards when they get them!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I have so much that I want to blog about but am determined to try and spend less time on the computer this weekend so that I can take advantage of the long weekend we have here in the UK and try and get ahead of myself for some upcoming swaps.

I promised myself that I wouldn't do so many swaps in the new year as I want to try and concentrate a bit more on learning some new techniques, finishing up some UFOs and creating some things just for me, but alas there are so many good swaps out there I just can't seem to resist. I just have to face the fact that I AM A SWAP ADDICT!

I am working on several postcard swaps at the moment. I still owe a couple for 2006 which I am busy working on but here is one for 2007 on Artsnthemail that I managed to get finished up today. I have been working on this one as opposed to my older ones as I needed something portable to take away with me while spending christmas at Dad's. I decided to stitch out a cross stitch design for the Pigs swap. They took absolutely ages to make but I'm pleased with the end result!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Here's one I made earlier ....

I just heard from Vi that the meme item I sent has arrived so I can now safely share a picture of what I made without spoiling the surprise.

I love cathedral windows so I decided to make something practical and went with a needlecase. I used a brown fossil fern fabric to create the squares and some gold organza in the windows. To finish it off I added some beads and attached some beautiful wrapped cord that Anna sent me.

I am really pleased with the way it turned out and hope to find some time to make something similar for myself in the not too distant future.

I have one more meme item to make for Ali, if you are out there Ali I haven't forgotten you and will send something soon. It will be totally different to this so I'm not spoiling any surprises!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Mum, I can't believe it's been a year.

We all miss you.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Mark didn't get a change to do any photos for me before he left so they will have to wait for a few days now as I am off to spend a couple of days at my Dad's from tomorrow but in the meantime here is something I can share with you. Three great magazines that I got this week. They all have some great articles which I can add to my 'new things to learn' list for the new year.

Classic stitches - I love the retro handbag with the sequins that is featured on the front cover designed by Sally McCollin so I will try and have a go at that in the new year. There are also some lovely machine embroidered heart greeting cards and a gorgeous beaded necklace that have caught my eye.

Stitch - This magazine is by the embroiderers guild and I've only managed to get hold of a couple of copies but I'm thinking of subscribing as there is always lots of inspiration in the magazine. In this issue I love the wild women brooches by Sarah Lawrence and the fab organza necklace by Kathleen Laurel Sage, but really it's difficult to choose favourites from this one as there are so many great articles.

Cloth Paper Scissors - only arrived this morning so I haven't had a proper look through yet but no doubt there will be some wonderful creations to ohh and ahhh over here too!

This Week

Even though we decided not to make a big thing of christmas this year, it still seems that this week has flown by trying to get all the preparation done. Yet again I don't seem to have had any time to get creating but I do have a creative day planned today.

I also have some wonderful things to share with you from various secret santa swaps and a wonderful couple of purchases that I have made. However my digital camera is still at my sister's (hopefully I will get it back tomorrow, yipee). I am hoping to persuade Mark to take a couple of pics for me before he does out but I have to wait for him to get his butt out of bed first!

One thing I can share though is a link to a new challenge I'm planning to take part in called Take a Stitch Tuesday. All the details are here. My resolution for next year is to try and learn more techniques, experiment a bit more and try to break my addiction to swapping! Of course I will continue to get involved in swaps but I'm determined not to let them take over my life as they have done this year. Anyway I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the new challenge.

Hopefully I'll be back later with some pictures to share.

This is also my 200th post, wow it doesn't seem possible

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Today I have been working on another set of postcards for an arts swap called Rainbow. Basically each member of the swap has to use a single colour to make their card and everyone should have a rainbow at the end of the swap. A pretty cool idea I think even if I do say so myself, lol! This swap isn't actually due until January so really I shouldn't have been working on it as I have two older swaps still to complete before I'm caught up, but I needed something to do infornt of the Tv while watching Strictly last night (I can't believe that Emma went and Matt made it through to the final what a farce...but I digress).

I had decided to make a simpler version of the card I made for the mosaic swap for this one so cutting all the little pieces seems to be the perfect thing to do sat in front of the TV last night. I made the pieces larger so they are one inch rather than the half inchers I used in the mosaic swap, but for some reason it seemed more difficult to sew the satin stitch lines with this size (?).

Of course I decided to choose orange and have a great array of orange fabrics to choose from now as a result of the lovely secret santa pressies I've had. Although I used the same range of fabrics for each card they have all turned out slightly different due to the patterns on the fabric. I also decided to vary the thread I used for the 'grout' lines. This card is my favourite of the bunch, the varegated thread had some white in it which I think adds to the light effect that you might think of with a rainbow. I hope the receipents of these cards like them!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I have also been working on a set of postcards for the advanced group today. The last in our Four elements series. I have had such fun with this series I will be sorry to see it come to an end. This time it's water. I had a few ideas for the design for this but decided to somehow try and capture the movement of the water as it flows in a river.

I'm not entirely sure if I managed to capture the feel that I wanted but I'm pleased with the way they turned out none the less. I cut lots of strips of different fabrics, ribbons and fibres in various shades of blue, each about a quarter of an inch wide. Then laid them out in a random fashion across a layer of background fabric. Over the top of this went a layer of blue net and I stitched randomly over the top of this to seal all of the layers together.

Faces Challenge

I had great plans to get crafting every evening this week but before I knew it the weekend had crept up on me and I hadn't managed to accomplish anything. I decided to make up for my lack of crafting today though with yes, you guessed it more postcards, lol!

We're having a challenge over on Arts to make a postcard any style or technique you like as long as the card features a face. Some wonderful cards have been made. I decided to make mine along the same lines as the 'Cherish' cards that I made recently. I used the same fabrics and stamp and decorated the background with lots of hearts created using one of the fancy stitches on my machine. The text is spelt out in alphabet beads. I have been looking for some of these beads for a while but most of the ones I came across in the local stores were square and I wanted these round ones. I found these in a local supermarket of all places, it never ceases to amaze me where you can pick up unexpected craft supplies these days!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rainy Days

I have been crafting all weekend, yipee, but doesn't time fly when you are having fun. I can't believe that it's almost midnight Sunday and it'll be back to work tomorrow.

I've been busy making secret santa gifts, postcards and some paper ATCs. Too much to show in one post but I think definately my favourite thing that I made this weekend is a set of postcards for a BQLPC swap called Rainy Days. I decided to go abstract for some reason my scanner seems to be playing up and the image has lines over that aren't really there is real life, but this is the best I can do for now (my sister still has my digital camera).I was also prompted to change over to Beta blogger, this is my first post using the new format so I guess we'll see how we get on!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Postcard Frenzy

I have been desperately trying to catch up with my postcard swaps over the last week or so and I'm almost there thanks to a frenzy over the last couple of days. I've made 4 sets of postcards burning the midnight oil!

Here is a picture of one of the cards I made for a fun challenge on Artsnthemail. I borrowed this swap idea from Julie's advanced group with her permission of course. You had to construct a card using 5 beads, 4 fabrics, 3 different threads, 2 sequins and 1 button. It took me ages to try and come up with something but in the end I went for this quirky landscape.

Another fun swap on arts has been the 'cookie bake' swap. Basically the idea was to write or print a receipe onto fabric and then embellish around it. All the other cards I received in this swap were neatly printed onto fabric, but my printer is on the blink at the minute so I had to go with handwritten. I embellished with lots of chocolate and cherry french knots. Perhaps not the most artistic of cards but this was meant to be a fun and simple swap rather than an artistic interpretation and I enjoyed making them and have some scrummy recipes to try now too!

These are the last set that I have worked on. The swap was on canceledart. Unfortunately the group is closed at the moment and I'm ashamed to say that my cards for this swap are a couple of months rather than a couple of weeks late. Still no matter how late I always follow through! The theme for the swap was 'Line'. I have been really struggling with what to do which is why I put them off for so long. I must have had some idea when I signed up as I never sign up unless I have something in mind, but by the time it came to trying to make them I couldn't for the life of me think of how to do them.

I was dyeing some fabric for the back of my 'Cherish' cards when it struck me that I could use this same hand dyed fabric and use simple lines to change the feel and look of the fabric. I tried to place the lines on each piece in such a way as to hide larger areas with little colour or to emphasise the patterns that were created in the dyeing process. Again these probably aren't the best cards I'll ever make but it was a fun exercise. I wish I had taken a picture of the whole batch rather than just one as they all came out so differently.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I finally started to feel a bit better yesterday afternoon so I got cracking on some postcards. It seems like ages since I made any, in reality it's only been a few days but these have become so much a part of my life this past year that it seems odd if I go a day without working on some, lol.

I'm still several swaps behind but in reality as long as I get some time it shouldn't take too long to catch up as I have the designs sorted and most of the fabrics cut I just have to get to putting them altogether.

This set was made for another artsnthemail swap. The swap was word play and each player chose a word from the database. I found some cute tile buttons at a papercraft shop so chose to take the word 'Cherish'. More rubber stamping, my favorite technique of the moment, I have already used this lady on some of my cards before but I really think it's a beautiful image so I'm sure this won't be the last time you see her!

I also managed to finish Vi's craft meme item (I just have to get Mark to take some pictures and then it will be on it's way).

Knitting update - The jacket is coming together quicker than I dared hope, so far I've managed to knit the back, one front piece and one sleeve, so who knows maybe it will actually be done by christmas!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Feeling icky

I have been feeling icky the last couple of days so I don't really have much to share as I've spent a lot of time asleep and/or generally feeling sorry for myself.

I have though decided to make a gift for my good friend, Charlotte, for christmas. She doesn't know about my blog so I'm safe to share! I'm not celebrating christmas this year, but Charlotte has been a really good friend this last year so I thought I'd make an exception.

I'm going to have a go at knitting her a jacket. I saw this pattern in a magazine a while back and thought at the time it was Charlotte's style so made a note of it and at the weekend I managed to find the pattern at a local knitting store. I know I've left it pretty late but I figure even if I spend just an hour every evening between now and christmas I have a good chance of finishing it (providing the pattern doesn't prove too complicated for my meagre knitting skills). I'll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My Weekend

I had had such a busy weekend it seems to have disappeared in a flash. Yesterday my Dad, sister and nephew came up to visit for the day. It was great to see them all. We didn't do anything too exciting a quick trip to town and that was about it but it was nice to spend a few hours in their company.

Today, well this morning Mark and I ventured out. We were planning on a walk in the woods but we hadn't reckoned on the torrential downpour we had last night. We got only about quarter of a mile into the walk and it was just too muddy so we turned round and came back. Instead we did a quick visit to West Kennet Long Barrow it was bitterly cold though so we didn't hang around too long.

This afternoon I have been working on my meme item to send to Violet it's nearly done but of course even when it's done I won't be able to share any pictures until she receives it. Actually I am really pleased with the way it us turning out, I think by the time it's done I'll not want to give it away so I may have to make another for me!

I don't have any pictures to share from my weekend adventures (and I've lent my compact digital camera to my sister so I'll be relying on Mark to provide the pics for my blogging over the next couple of weeks). I do hate to leave a post pictureless though so just for fun I'm sharing a picture of the doll I bought myself while we were holidaying in Corfu. She has a porcelain face and long lovely flowing cheesecloth robes. My Mum was the doll collector, it's not particularly my thing but I just fell in love with this one.