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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Easter Treats - Tuesday 31st March 2015

Hello Friends,

 A scheduled post today as it's back to work, but that's okay, lots going on there at the moment and a long weekend is coming up for all of us!

I'd like to offer a big welcome to my latest follower Kathy Schweinfurth - many thanks for choosing to join with my crafty journey Kathy...Kathy has her own blog with some gorgeous designs if you'd like to check her out:

Today I would like to share a few more Easter treat bags and boxes I have made for gifts....

For the first one, I simply used a cello bag. I cut some thin strips of yellow paper for filling inside and used a die cut from Spellbinders Labels 17, folded in half lengthways.

I made the flower from Carnation Creations and stamped the greeting on some card left over from the stencilled layers on the gift bags we made at the last craft class. The House Mouse was stamped and coloured  and fussy cut. I made the grass myself before getting a die for my birthday!

Next is a chocolate of my favourite things to make: To make these I use a template from one of those boxes you can get chocolate bars in now and cut it out using this polka dot card from stash.

I stamped the House House and coloured with Promarkers, then wrapped with lilac web/net and tied with ribbon. To finish I added little roses made using Spellbinders Bitty Blossoms.

Finally I made this box using a carton template by Stamps Away. I cut it our and also cut and aperture  in one side using a Spellbinders deckle edge oval die and then backed it with acetate.

I stamped Monica the mouse and die cut a label, using Labels 17. I made the flower on top, again using Carnation Creations cut in tissue paper.

That's it for today, thank you for stopping by...see you tomorrow!

Love and Hugs
Carole X

Monday, 30 March 2015

TBT Challenge #7, Easter - Monday 30th March 2015

Hello Friends,

The current Throwback Thursday Challenge from Bibiana is to share a previously blogged Easter themed project. I looked back to last year, where I made lots of craft items - sewn and wooden hanging decorations, but very few cards...I chose this one to revisit for the challenge, made using a cute Mo Manning digital image.

This is the original post:

I do like the image, especially the very obliging dog!

I hope you all had good weekends? We could have done with a better start to summer in the UK, couldn't we?

Last week I had annual leave to use up before the end of March, so I was home. Tom was here a bit of the time, but mostly it was me and the hens, except Friday when I did go down to the office to check in with my volunteers and give them their Easter eggs!

Luckily it was a pretty pleasant week for weather and I even ventured into the craft barn one day. I had intended to do lots of little 'jobs' in the house, but it turned into a bit of a craft 'retreat', which I really enjoyed. It was nice to be able to spend more time on crafts I wanted to make, such as the watering can project, instead of being rushed, which I admit not liking..there's enough of deadlines at work!

One great part of the week, was spending more time with the hens, especially young Tilda, who has been very timid. I knew it was because we were 'forced' to get her in the dead of winter, soon after losing Bella, so I hadn't had much time to handle her and thus bond with her. Now she is finally following me and taking food from my hand and she joined in 'helping' Tom with some digging last week too. I took too long getting their evening corn treat ready one afternoon last week, that she actually flew up on to my back in protest!

Cara, after 4 years of not really much being bothered with contact (a very independent hen), has become my 'shadow'. Ok I know it's because she knows I will give in and let her have her favourite snack, a blueberry, but it is nice.

Enough of my waffle, this week I will be doing something I don't usually do and that is post most days, as I have quite a few Easter projects left to show you. Even with having a week devoted to craft last week and getting quite a bit done, I still have no idea how some of you post daily... I guess I am a very slow crafter!

I am entering this card in 

Love and Hugs 
Carole X

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Easter Chicks - Sunday 29th March 2015

Good Morning Friends,

Thank you for visiting, whether regular or a visitor, it's great to have you here! 

Thank you also for your comments on my bookmark, there was a bit of a fad to make these corner bookmarks a few years ago and I made a few back then, but when I received the die it, was the first thing I thought of making and it was a fun revisit, now I want to make some more...I did some sketches for a felt one in front of the TV last night!

We've had horrible squally weather this weekend, but I'm hoping it's just to get it all out of the way for a nice, sunny Easter, who knows!? At the moment it is so windy I had to put Cara and Tilda back in their run, they would far rather be scratching about in the garden, but it's for their own safety..hmmm...try telling that to a couple of hens!

Today's card, I want to enter in the current NBUS challenge and also this week's Allsorts Challenge where the theme is 'Feature a Creature'.

Have you see Kittie Caracciolo's cards? (

I have long been an admirer of the lovely scenes she creates with dies, so I thought I would make a few Easter cards using this design idea. 

I gathered together the dies...all except the fence and borders are new and never before used: I either had them for my birthday (chickens and tulips} or bought them recently, just to gather a collection of 'useful' dies....

First of all I die cut all the pieces, everything except the fence was cut using white card. I used kraft card for the fence as it is quite delicate to completely colour: I simply inked it randomly with Vintage Photo.

Next I coloured all the die cuts: I used Promarkers for everything except the chicken and rooster, which I coloured with distress inks (except the combs and wattles, I did use pens on those). It's funny, remember I was sent those lovely Chameleon pens by my cousin in the US last year? I really really like them, but promarkers are still my go to pens..though to be honest, Chameleons are better suited to larger projects with lots of shading and colour variants.

I used a 6x6 card blank, the die cuts are small so would be lost on a larger card. I then created the aperture using Spellbinders Classic Squares and burgundy and very pale pink adorable-scorable card. Because there is a lot of colour, I wanted to balance this out by leaving the outer frame and background free of ink, I don't like to over do it with the inking on cards if I can help it. I used a pale blue card (adorable-scorable) for the background and left the die-cut sentiment (also new) white as well. I did try it in different colours but kept coming back to white.

These are the dies I used:

Spellbinders Classic Squares
Spellbinders Shapeabilities Sprigs...this is a 'pre-loved' die but new to me!
Spellbinders Wrought Iron Fence (I didn't have  a small enough picket fence so I improvised!)
Impression Obsession dies - Farmyard chickens: new
Spellbinders Die-Lites - I used the birds for the 'delightful tree' set, had it a while, first time used
Impression Obsession  -grass: new
Impression Obsession -Tulips:new
Impression Obsession - Easter Joy:new

Thank you so much for stopping by, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sundays,

Challenges to enter with this card:

NBUS Challenge #4 Anything Goes 

Allsorts Challenge week 304: Feature a Creature

Love and Hugs
Carole X

Friday, 27 March 2015

Butterfly Corner Bookmark - Friday 27th March 2015

Hello Friends,

Thank you for your comments  on my watering can Easter project, what a super die, I am sure you will be seeing it again very soon!

The current challenge over at  Butterfly Spot Challenge is C for Corner and I decided to make a bookmark, which would also give me a chance to use a gorgeous corner die I won recently from Bibiana's Throwback Thursday Challenge.

These bookmarks are easy to make: I made a template as shown below:

 I started with a piece of card measuring 13cms x 13cms and divided into 4 squares, each  measuring 6.5cms. I snipped away one of the squares and cut half of two others away as per the photo. All you do is fold the two triangles together along the dotted lines and glue them one over the other to create a pocket.

I used a piece of card where I had created a background  by smooshing the card around in moistened Shabby Shutters and Mowed Lawn distress inks. I then cut the shape from my template.

Using the same card, I die cut the corner and adhered it to the bookmark. The die I used is from Marianne dies and is shown in the photo below:

Now for the butterfly: I used a stamp from the Eclectica range by PaperArtsy, which I got last year at Ally Pally. It's a lovely stamp, the butterfly is quite 'arty' and is good for colouring. In this instance I used Promarkers and I

I stamped the butterfly in black ink and then heat embossed with clear powder, then I coloured it and added some wonk of stella pen in both clear and gold for some added shimmer.

The cut out butterfly was adhered to the bookmark with a foam pad and to finish I added a small bow and sewed on a button.

Challenge: Butterfly Spot Challenge #27 - C for Corner

Thank you so much for stopping by,

Love and Hugs
Carole X

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Easter Garden Posy - Wednesday 25th March 2015

Hello Friends,

Hoping all are well?!

Today's creation was made for this month's Art with Heart challenge, from Eileen Hull. The challenge this month ' go green' - is to use green in our projects. I am also making this for this week's Sunday Stampers Challenge, set by Hels Sheridan, which is to use flowers whatever we make.

I have listed the dies and stamps used at the end of the post, but my watering can posy holder, is made  using Eileen Hull's Watering Can die from Sizzix:

 I die cut the watering can using thick card saved from packaging and I gave it a coat of gesso, followed by a coat of brushed pewter distress stain and finally a coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint in ''original'. I then lightly sanded all over to show some of the metallic through and used a mixture of wild honey and mowed lawn distress paint along all the edges. I wanted it to have a shabby, 'used' finished look.

I stamped the leaves and hen (on both sides of the watering can and on the sides) and coloured them with promarkers. Finally I added some additional mowed lawn along the base.

I die cut the flowers on white card and coloured each layer with a  sunflower promarker, then I inked the petals and edges with a mixture of distress inks: mustard seed, wild honey, rusty hinge. I coloured the centre of the flowers with  a shale pro marker. 

To finish the flowers and allow them to stand freely, I made stems using double folded rusty wire bound with  green washi tape and then I used a glue gun to fix them to the back of the flower.

I also die cut some leaves  on script paper and inked them with a mixture of mowed lawn and shabby shutters green distress inks, wit a touch of rusty hinge along the edges.

Having die cut the sign, I stamped 'Happy Easter' and added  green gingham ribbon, a button and twine. I was pleased with the finished project, which is very sturdy as the cardboard was quite thick, there is room inside for some sweets or Easter treats.

 The watering can die was a birthday present and I am really pleased with always Eileen's dies are brilliant.

Dies used:  Sizzix Watering Can by Eileen Hull*
                   Sizzix  Marguerite flower by Susan Tierney-Cockburn
                   Sizzix Leaf die
                   Sizzix Plant Markers by Eileen Hull*

*These were both birthday presents so first time in use!

Stamps: Hen and Happy Easter from Easter set by Inky Doodles
              Script flowers and leaves from 'Gratitude' set by Wow!

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, I read and appreciate them all!

Challenges entered with this project:

Art with Heart: Go Green

Sunday Stampers weekly challenge: Flowers

Love and Hugs,
Carole X

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Farm Photos - Saturday 21st March 2015

Hello Friends,

A bit of a photo heavy post, as promised photos of our fabulous day at Cotswold Farm Park yesterday. For those who don't know and are in the UK and watch Countryfile on BBC, this rare breeds farm belongs to Adam Henson, their resident farmer and is part of his actual farm. We are lucky that it is only about an hours drive from our house. I remember going there as a child with my own parents, when his dad first opened it and it was very small with just a few examples of rare breeds. I've always been happiest around animals, so this is the ideal birthday for me! 

Today the farm is an amazing place for whole families, especially now when there are so many new born animals...the little kiddies from a local school were having a wonderful time handling the newly hatched chicks and bottle feeding some orphaned lambs, as well as cuddling bunnies and guinea pigs. The lambing shed is the main activity this time of year, but in several years, we've never been there when one has actually been born. This was the first year we haven't seen Adam Henson either in the petting shed or lambing shed, but we did see him from a distance with a film crew, probably something for Countryfile.

Yesterday the weather was beautiful, most years it has been quite cold and even wet, so we've never before done the wildlife walk. There are two, an easy one and a 2 hour one over more hilly terrain. We decided to do that one. It takes you across the acres of farmland and for those few hours it was just us, some rabbits, hares, birds and still and peaceful.

How we rescued a sheep!

Down in a valley, we came across a very distressed sheep: she had climbed up an incline to try and see what was in the water trough in the next field and got her head stuck in a wire fence. Of course animals, especially sheep, will simply panic and it was making it worse for her, so she had got very stressed and was in danger of choking. In reality there was plenty of room but she was  fighting against it. We were an hour each way from anyone and we couldn't leave her. So we let ourselves into the next field to be at the front of her and I stroked her forehead whilst lifting the wire so she could back out and off she ran to the rest of her flock...what a lovely sight.

I know they go around checking them, but we couldn't have walked off and left her, no way. 

So, here are some photos from our day....

It's official, all Oringtons are super friendly, these were in a pen, three hens and a cockerel..I poked my hand through and stroked this one's breast for ages and even the cockerel came for some love! Gosh I missed our Penny!

Also not to leave our girls out and because at 4 years old and a 'year off', Cara started laying again last week, must say I was surprised. She is so beautiful right now...a really large bird with plummage of black, brown and green. Tilda is pictured on the outdoor garden perches Tom made for them  a few years ago..

They seem to be on alert since my birthday and there have been fewer wild birds about, so it could be the Sparrowhawk is still hanging  about. If you missed my 19th March birthday post and the photo I got of it, do have a look here

Finally, I should have shown this on my birthday, but here are the beautiful flowers Tom sent me..

That's all for today, I'll be back soon with craft, thank you for your comments yesterday and for my humming bird photo, I was really pleased with you know they don't tend to stand still!

Love and Hugs and thanks for your visits,
Carole X

Friday, 20 March 2015

Happy Humming! -Friday 20th March 2015

Hello Friends,

Thank you for your birthday wishes yesterday, we had a lovely meal last night, at The Gumstool Inn, which is part of a Manor hotel near Tetbury and we have just got back from a fabulous day at Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park...tomorrow I will fill you in on the day, plus the 2 hour walk we did across country during which we saved the life of a sheep..yes we did!

Our friend's daughter Natalie, who I made the horse card for, told me this morning that she was thrilled with pleased!

Now for today's craft:

I love all birds, but if I was really pressed for a favourite it would be the humming bird, these beautiful tiny creatures have held a special place for me, since being mesmerised by them in my auntie's garden in San Francisco when I was a young girl.

This week's Sunday Stamper challenge  from Hels Sheridan, is to include a bird in our project. I created this card for one of my friends, whose birthday is also this month  and thought I would share it for these week's challenge, as I haven't had the time to make anything for ages and I have missed it.

I used a base of black card and mat and layered with purple,around which I wrapped lilac web net and dark purple ribbon.

I then die cut two rectangles with black card and mat and layered one with paper from G45 French Country and again wrapped with net and also green twine.

 I die cut stamped the main House Mouse image on to a white die cut rectangle and coloured using distress inks as watercolours. I did paint in clear Wink of Stella pen and also added glitter to the bird's wings, but it doesn't show in the photo.

I then inked the edges with antique linen distress ink and using some left over watered down Dusty Concord ink, I took it up with an old toothbrush (one of those travel ones you get on a plane) and spritzed some spots of ink over the card using my finger against the brush.

To finish I added some gems.

 I've become very interested in envelope art recently and have found some amazing creations on Pinterest, but I thought I'd start small by using another House Mouse stamp in the corner.

Finally, here is a humming bird I managed to snap when we were in California in 2013, after all these years I finally managed to get one that wasn't blurred!

Thank you so much  for stopping by, I'm having my own proper birthday celebrations today, a day late as we are both off work and heading off to Adam's Farm/Cotswold Farm Park. One of my favourite places to spend my birthday amongst all the animals!

Love and Hugs
Carole X

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Horsey Birthday! - Thursday 19th March 2015

Hello Friends,

Thank you for you visits and comments,  I love reading them! 

Thank you so much to those of you who sent me a birthday card, that was so kind of you and of course they are gorgeous! I've had a quiet day, but Tom and I are going out for a meal in a country Inn near Tetbury tonight and he has tomorrow off work, so we are going to the Cotswold Farm park, one of my favourite places, especially around lambing.

I had lots of lovely craft presents..dies and stamps so lots of new 'toys' to play with!

Today I am sharing a card I made for our God-daughter's 21st Birthday, which is tomorrow...goodness I still remember her Baptism as if it were yesterday! She is the daughter of two of our best friends, her dad has been Tom's closest friend since they were babies.

Natalie loves horses and riding and with a lot of saving and a little help from her parents, she finally got her own horse last November. It was after  a lot of searching and a few hopefuls that didn't pass the vet's examination, that she found Tara. Sadly, since the beginning of the year, Tara developed a few health problems and Natalie is unable to ride her at the moment. Fortunately, she does still ride friends' horses, but I do hope she is able to get back on Tara soon.

I made her a horse themed card:

I do have some lovely horse stamps, but this is an 8x8 card and they weren't quite large enough...I did use them on the envelope and forgot to photograph it. I used a purple base layer, die-cut using Spellbinders Grand Squares, and using the heart card, I cut the next layer with the next size die.

The main image is a digital stamp by Dragonslairdesigns, which I coloured using distress inks as watercolours. The image comes with a wreath surrounding it, but I decided instead to cut out the head and use the Catalina Wreath die by Memory Box.

The rosette is a Sizzix Alterations die and the '21' from a numbers set of dies by Tonic. I typed the greeting and cut it out into a banner shape. To finish I added ribbon and gems.

 I also decided to decorate the inside, using the same digital stamps, plus another horse from Starglow Studio

I followed through with the design from the outside and also made a pocket to hold her gift of money, so she can buy something for herself, or as I suspect, put it towards something to help with the horse. 

 That's all for today, thank you for stopping by, always much appreciated!

We had  visit from a juvenile Sparrowhawk in our garden this morning...I was on the phone to a friend so snapped this with one's too small to be any threat to our large hens but it was very interesting because it sat on the fence for almost 10 minutes, with it's back to them, but during all that time they just froze, standing in one place like statues, no movement whatsoever and as soon as it flew off they just went about their foraging.

Love and Hugs
Carole X

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Happy Mothering Sunday - Sunday 15th March 2015

Hello Friends,

Another scheduled post as we are out with family today. A very happy Mothering Sunday to all of you who are Mum's, I hope you are spoilt today!

A quick post to share the card I made for Tom's Mum, sadly my Mum passed away 8 years ago, so these special days are tinged with a little sadness for me. 

This is an 8x8 card, my first one of that size for a while as I much prefer smaller cards. I embossed the pink card on adorable scorable card using Sue Wilson't heart lattice folder and then I sanded over the top to expose the embossed areas as white.

I then used a heart design M-Bossability folder on white card and inked over the embossing with Spun Sugar distress ink.I used the same folder on dark pink card.

For the centre I used a Sizzix doily die and the smaller doily die layered over that, is one that I received in a recent die cut swap with my blog friend Carole.

I cut a banner to break up the card at the centre and layered behind the inner squares.

To finish I die cut layers from Carnation Creations (Spellbinders) using pink tissue paper and added a bow and button. I used a deckle edge oval die for the centre and stamped the greeting, heat embossing with clear powder.

I also decorated a pale pink bag for a gift (it looks white in the photo, but it's pink!). I matched to the card with a border embossed with the lattice heart folder and used the same doily and carnation dies, but this time I added some leaves cut from a Sizzix die.

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a lovely day! I probably won't be back for a few days as I have a couple of long days at work to get as clear a desk as possible before taking some leave to use up holiday..I'll be back soon!

Love and Hugs,
Carole X

One more thing,I posted a card to a friend in Ireland last week, it wasn't large but it was 'bulky' so it was a few ££'s..the counter staff told me they'd had so many complaints that  they are addressing the charges for size and depth at the end of the month...yay!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Beatrix Potter & Tussie-Mussies! - Saturday 14th March 2015

Hello Friends,

Well it was good to visit all your blogs yesterday after being missing for yet another week - nothing seems to be going as planned this year so far. I needed to get a lot done at work and one of the days I was in was meetings all day, which means you lose a lot of office time when you're just part time anyway. The good news is that we have another three years funding, it's a bit less than before, but that was to be expected, so I'm quite happy about that. The bad news is that my throat/cough is still rather a nuisance!

Anyway, I came back to blog land yesterday to discover that my butterfly Venetian Mask has been chosen as the winning entry in the Artful Times Challenge for last month...great news!

Nicecrane Beatrix Potter image sheets

Today I am posting another Design Team creation for Nicecrane Designs. This time I have been working with some pre-coloured Beatrix Potter images....

Firstly I made boy and girl nursery wall hangers. I die cut the frame using Spellbinders polka dot frame die on heavy card and then die cut again with checked card and covered, inking the edges with Worn Lipstick distress ink.

I printed the Jemima Puddleduck image and cut out. The image was adhered to pink card and then given a coat of clear Mod Podge to speak. I punched two holes at the top to thread the gingham ribbon through and tied two bows. To finish I added a die cut flower, lace and buttons.

For the second hanger, I used the image of Peter Rabbit and made the frame in the same way as above.

My final project with these images is a Tussie-Mussie or nose-gay. These posies actually date back to the 1400's and nose gays were carried for their scent..a way to make life smell better! In Elizabethan times judges carried them into court to ward off 'gaol fever' and apparently Old Bailey judges still carry out this tradition 6 times a year.

The popularity of Tussie-Mussies really swelled during Victorian times, when they were given to suitors at the beginning of courtship and that is when the art of Floriography really took off...that is to send messages in flowers, with each flower and herb having its own meaning -  floral dictionaries were written, a few of the meanings are rosemary for remembrance, ivy for fidelity and basil for best wishes. Today these lovely posies are used at weddings, celebrations and for general well wishes.

I printed some of the Beatrix Potter images from the clipart collection and cut them out. I drew a cone shape on some plain card and cut out, then folded it into a cone. I then adhered the images to the cone using Mod Podge to stick and seal.

I decorated around the top of the cone with lace, which I hand-sewed in place and I die cut various Spellbinder flower dies with wool felt in pink and deep purple. To add some streamers, I cut narrow strips of pale pink paper and and curled them, just by running them through my finger nails.  To finish I added some ribbon to hang it.

These lovely Beatrix Potter images come on a sheet as show below and are available from Nicecrane by clicking on the  image or on this link:

They are also available as Vintage Postcards, bookmarks and picture packs

I have scheduled this post as we have a busy day, but I will catch up with you all later and will be back tomorrow to show you the Mothers Day card I made for Tom's Mum.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend,
Love and Hugs,
Carole X