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.

Christmas Wreath

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

Anniversary

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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!

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