Paper Pleating

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We all know how time-consuming (and addictive) cardmaking can be. My crafting had been limited to weekends until I went on maternity leave last year. Suddenly, I had more free time than ever before. Last month, I decided to give up my insurance job to to stay home with our little girl and make more time for family, friends and hobbies. I'll also be working a few hours each week in a shop. It's a big change but you know what, I've enjoyed every single minute of motherhood so far. It fills me with happiness and there are so many precious moments I wouldn't want to miss.

There are many exciting things waiting to happen this year. Soon, I will move my craft space into what used to be the guest bedroom. We freed up the space last year and now it's a big empty room apart from Kurt's small office. I've been using the dining table for years!

I've been taking a 3-weeks break from crafting. Yes, three weeks! Could you do that long without? I've been doing lots of reading and catching up on my favourite show on youtube. I'm also looking for new inspiration, new products to use but as always there's little time to do everything I'd love to try.

A while ago, I was asked by Papercraft Essentials to write about Paper Pleating. There's not much inspiration on the internet so in the end I combined the technique with some basic dies.



















You will find my second Paper Pleating feature in the current issue of Papercraft Essentials 142.

A Birthday Story

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It was my husband's birthday birthday last week. I always make his card last minute. After all, birthday cards for men are easy and this was supposed to be a quick make. In the evening, I sat at my craft table pretending to be busy with something else, but Kurt was constantly hovering around. Eventually, he went to bed and that's when I finally started. Until the card was finished, three hours had passed.

The next morning, I made us pancakes for breakfast. When he saw the card, he was really happy. Phew! We went for lunch to our favourite cafĂ© in Tring, The Espresso Lounge, which was a nice break away from the work I had to complete for a magazine. In the evening, we ordered Indian takeaway for a cosy dinner at home. Shortly after Kurt left to pick up the food, he called to say that they hadn't received our order. He returned not long after that, telling me that he had stopped at the wrong restaurant on the way to the one we had ordered from. He'd made a big scene there about the food not being ready and... here comes the best part.. received a £10 voucher!

Here is my birthday card for him and as you can tell, he turned 38.



















Did I not say that men's cards are easy-peasy?

Miss Piggy

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Quick one today as I've got a new book lying beside me which I'm dying to read! It's our niece's birthday in May and she's turning eight. I made this card for her combining the cute stamp with my favourite dies and free number die from Papercraft Essentials. I knew the balloons would come in handy when I bought them. It's a great set from Lawn Fawn, a little dear but so useful for many occasions.



















Time to put up my feet and immerse myself into the dark world of DI Helen Grace.

Piggy good times

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There are two things which can be highly addictive for crafters: Papercraft magazines and Pinterest. I love them both and can't get enough of it. I rarely use my Pinterest boards for inspiration but it's a great way to discover new products. Same goes for the magazines. 

The stamp set which I'm introducing today first caught my attention in Making Cards' September issue. I knew immediately that I had to have it! Designer and Copics Instructor Faye Wynn-Jones used the same stamps in the October issue for a different set of cards.

I wish I had more time for colouring but my "me-time" is limited to the evenings and so I craft until the wee hours to get birthday cards and commissions out in time. I'm already behind with all the birthdays this month. Oh dear.

There'll be a small batch of cards up next featuring these cute pigs from My Favourite Things. I sticked to Faye's colouring guide as she lists all the Copics used in the magazine. Here is my first card. I combined the image with Papercraft Essentials' number die which is this month's free gift.



















Jo Kill shares some really cool ideas in the magazine on how to use the die. I like how you can personalise the card with the age by using the negative die-cut.

Another thing... If you're thinking of getting a subscription but don't want to fork out too much, there's a January sale going on at moremags.com.

Old & New

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Does anyone still make New Year's Resolutions? I don't have any and yet I do. In fact, I've been working on it for the last months and it's an ongoing project: De-cluttering and minimizing my belongings. Yes, even my craft stash! There are two simple reasons for it:

1. If you work with less materials, you need to be more creative with what you've got.
2. I like to keep my list of materials short so that others can copy my designs without having to buy lots of different things to make it.

However, I sometimes do buy new dies and stamps for commissions. Most of them are sold on eBay after a short while. We also donate a lot of clothes, toys and baby things to charity.

One of our drawers was brimming with sentimental items including two scrapbooking albums. I remember how much I enjoyed scrapping each page and then proudly showing it to my mum. But they were forgotten for many years and there was no space to put them on display. In the end, I decided to remove the photos from the pages and chuck everything into the bin. A few embellishments were saved and put into clear bags, then donated to charity. I haven't decided yet what I'll do with the photos now, probably scan them or keep them in a box which doesn't take up that much space.

Talking about new and old things, here's a new die which I used for a commission. I decided to keep for now. It's a cute frog but so tiny it gets lost on the card on its own. I have a friend who is waiting for Prince Charming to come along one day and whisk her away so I made this birthday card for her:


















Sometimes, I'd like to add some embellishments but then I look at my stash and realise I've got none... So this time it was a single gemstone on the crown which made it complete.

Hope you like it!

Grab a bargain in my eBay shop

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My eBay shop is open for a week and it's mostly cutting dies this time. If you fancy MFT, SugarPea Designs, Paper Smooches, Impression Obsession, Tattered Lace and Creative Expressions, you'll find a small selection of used dies starting at £0.99 here.


I'll share some fun cards with you next time. You'll find some new designs from me published in Die-Cutting Essentials Special Edition, Making Cards and Papercraft Inspirations this week.

Destash & sell on eBay (and save on fees)

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Today, instead of a card I want to share some valuable advice about selling on eBay. I hope that it will inspire some of you to destash and make a bit of money while saving on fees.

My husband and I were quickly hooked on eBay and we have been selling anything from photography gear to craft items. People need all kinds of stuff and some of them are willing to pay a lot for it. This year, some of items that we sold included a bed frame and a used double-bed mattress. Not to mention that somebody also picked up our king size mattress (eight years old). It saved us time and money on hiring a van and driving to the recycling centre. Handy!

The first step you need to take might be the hardest: Parting from your stuff. Everytime I put my stash back into the boxes, I sort out paper scraps, embellishments, inks and even cutting dies and stamps. If you haven't used it for months, chances are you won't use it again. Dies and stamps always sell well on eBay.

eBay and PayPal fees might put you off at first. I heard about selling groups popping up on facebook to avoid these fees. The advantage of eBay is that you won't find a bigger audience anywhere else and you are protected as a seller and buyer. Personally, I much more prefer this option.

Standard fees: If you are a private seller, you can list up to 25 items per month "for free" (no insertion fee). eBay then charges 10% of the price that you sell the item for. It is important to note that the 10% also applies to postage (sadly). Paypal charges 3.4% + 20p for each item sold on top of your eBay fees. You can only save on PayPal charges if you sell more than £1,500.

How to save on eBay fees: This requires you to log into your eBay account 2 - 3 times each week. eBay won't advertise promotions that will save you £££ and they won't notify you by e-mail. You'll find these promotions if you log into your account, click on "my eBay" (upper right corner) and "Selling". Scroll to the bottom of the screen for promotional offers in the orange box. Every few weeks, there are offers such as 25% off the final value fee and we've been lucky before to sell for only £1 final value fee! Some promotions need to be activated by clicking the "Get Offer" button next to it. Note that any promotion is only valid for a short period of time in which you need to list your items if you want to cut the fees.

Auction/Fixed Price/Buy Now/Best Offer: If you put up a used item for auction, eBay will recommend starting at £0.99. Depending on how popular the item/brand is and how hard it is to come by (e.g. Stampin Up!), you might want to increase the price. There will often be a bidding war the last few minutes before the auction ends, but don't count on that. I've seen prices shooting up after six days of no bidding, but I've also sold items for £0.99. You can also add a Buy Now price at an auction.

Fixed Price is the opposite of an auction and you can add the option Best Offer. It's one of the boxes you can click and it allows potential buyers to submit an offer. Either you accept or submit a counter-offer in the hope of it being accepted. Bear in mind that items with fixed prices look more attractive if postage is for free

Taking pictures of your items: While you don't need an expensive camera to take good quality pictures, it's useful to know how to use yours. Would you buy an item that you can barely make out on a picture, that is blurred or poorly lit? Probably not. A neutral background such as a white piece of card helps. Taking the picture straight from the top often looks much better than from an angle. If you have photo editing software, it's a plus. eBay's picture formatting options are limited to cropping, rotating and adjusting the brightness. Here is how I usually sell my items:



Item description: Be honest and let your buyers know if the item has any minor faults or damages. Whether your used stamps are discoloured, the packaging damaged or not available etc., include it in your item description to avoid any surprises for the buyer.

Packaging & Postage: When I started selling on eBay, I forgot to include the price of the packaging in the P&P price. It's important to know your P&P and you'll quickly become an expert. If you have a post office nearby, perfect! You can go there with your items to weigh them. Once you know the weight, work out the postage yourself by using Royal Mail's Get a Price

You can also ask at the counter how much the services cost that you'd like to offer to your buyers. If you do this, it helps to put the item in the envelope as the price differs depending on the size and thickness. Mind you, I wouldn't keep staff busy with it if there was a massive queue behind me! Depending on the value you think your item might sell for, it's worth considering 1st/2nd class signed for. This is £1.10 dearer than standard 1st/2nd class but it will allow you to track the item.

Take note of the "International Postage" options when adding your postage options on eBay. It will automatically default to International Shipping through (eBay) UK Shipping Centres which is not what you might want. My husband uses it to ship photography gear to buyers abroad. Ask yourself if it makes sense to offer this service. The cost of P&P might be higher than the value of the item, certainly if you talk about craft items. Instead, you can select "No International Postage". Alternatively, enter your own international postage option.

I hope my handy hints will come in useful if you decide to destash, make space and earn some money. Have fun selling!

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