Iris Folding

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We had a fun day at Mead Open Farm yesterday with our friends and their children. Our daughter recently turned two years old and it's still such an innocent and playful age. You start to see the world through children's eyes again. She's all about animals and planes right now. Our plan had been to take her to Heathrow for plane spotting on her birthday, but parking can be a nightmare and it was too cold to spend time outside close to the runway.

Instead, we took a stroll through Amersham browsing the shops and meeting a friend for coffee. Back home, we made waffles and our neighbour came around. The celebrations continued yesterday with a visit to the farm. There are so many animals but the best part is the indoor play area. I went down the giant drop slides a dozen times. It's a 25 ft almost vertical drop and that's only for the smaller slide. I literally threw myself down the bigger slide, too, and couldn't stop anymore.

Here are two iris folding designs I made with bonus papers from the magazines.

This is such a simple but effective design and something I like to make when I don't have any inspiration. I love working with the free magazine papers as they always come in colourful prints and complement each other. Just add a sentiment and you're done!

Valentines

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Every year, I tell myself to send out more handmade cards to family and friends just because... Well, this year I managed to send two Valentines greetings, husband not included. Instead, I surprised my friends and one of them will receive her card together with a small gift.

I'm taking a break from crafting at the moment to do other things that I love doing. I spend my evenings on the couch with books and magazines. Ebay keeps me busy, too. Yesterday I started the mammoth task of sorting out and taking pictures of hundreds of Kinder Egg toys. I collected them in the 90's and every time mum, my brother and I went to the supermarket, we'd pick one egg each. Our daughter was oohing and ahhing as I opened each bag with toys. She picked them up and played with them, admiring every little toy as if it was a treasure.

Some evenings, I return to my craft desk to make cards for upcoming birthdays. March and May are always busy months. I found a lot of bonus papers in the magazines which I'm using for iris folding designs now. Whenever I don't have much inspiration, I always return to iris folding.

Here are two Valentines designs I made using free papers from Papercraft inspirations.

Most of my dies and stamps were recently up for sale on eBay. I'd like to build a collection of stitched dies but for now I rely on magazines freebies. I'm always happy when such beautiful papers like these come along!

Sympathy Card

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Last month, we received the news that our friend's mother had passed away. She's a sweet and gentle person who deserved a special card to show how much we care. I decided on a floral theme in purple shades as I didn't have much to work with. Luckily, The Hobby House had just sent me two gorgeous collections.

While flowers are usually not my cup of tea, I love the patterns and pre-cut toppers in both collections. Included are also lots of embellishments and sheets of pearlescent card in different colours which I used to make a presentation box. I had ordered a beautiful verse stamp a while ago and although it is no longer available, you'll find other thoughtful sentiments on stampingallday.co.uk.




















A good idea is to invest in Square Layering dies. I use them for all of my square card designs as paper trimmers just don't deliver the same results. I also couldn't do without my stitched scallop dies anymore, they really make a difference in your designs.

Surprise Slider

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It was my husband's birthday earier this month. Every year, I make his birthday card the evening before so I'm always looking for quick ideas. I'd just finished working on a feature about sliders and thought that a surprise slider would be perfect for him.

Two years ago, he turned his hobby into a career when he became a professional photographer. I still had a polaroid and camera die in my stash which I wanted to part from. It's way too fiddly to cut out and fill in all the small bits, but when you see the end result, it's actually a really cool and handy die to have for men's birthdays!


The "Smile" sentiment was put together with MFT's Well Connected Alphabet, one of my top purchases last year and worth every penny. You don't need a MISTI tool to position the letter stamps correctly, just a bit of practise will do!

Wishlist

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It's been a few eventful weeks since last month and I'm glad to settle into a routine again. We've been very unfortunate to catch whatever illness is doing the rounds. We were fighting colds and the stomach flu before Christmas. Our latest holiday, a family trip to Belgium and Germany, ended in disaster. My husband spent four days in hospital with a virus he caught from me. Our daughter came down with a cold and fever as did my dad, aunt and uncle. I feel terribly bad as they all got it from me!

I recently invested in a scoring board and Fiskars trimmer which had been on my wishlist for long. My budget for crafting is limited and I always wait for months before I decide to buy myself something I can't do without. I couldn't be happier with my latest purchases and immediately put them to the test. Here's a stepper card I made with New Year's Wishes.



















The papers were a gift from Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine and they're from a Kaisercraft Christmas collection.

I love the cute Sizzix teddy and it also featured on my Christmas cards together with the snowman from Paper Smooches:




















I'm hooked to suprise sliders now and will be sharing one with you soon.

Happy crafting!

Silver Anniversary

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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

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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.

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