Valentines for Men


Men's cards are so easy... Either you keep it simple or you don't need to make any at all! I never understood the fuss about men's cards. All you need is some fun stamps, dies and papers. Done! As you're cutting out on embellishments, you could focus on a special technique such as Paper Patchwork or Iris Folding. There are so many amazing things you can do with papers.

For my Valentines' feature in Cardmaking & Papercraft (issue 165), I combined some cute stamps and sentiments. I worked on these in October last year before I went to Copics Classes with Faye and I like to think that my colouring wasn't too bad to start with!

Hope you found some inspiration!

Paper Pleating continued


A while ago, I wrote the Beginner's Guide to Paper Pleating for Papercraft Essentials. It's a technique I hadn't tried before and not knowing where to start, I went on pinterest to look for inspiration. Only... there wasn't much inspiration to begin with! You can find my cards from the Beginner's Guide here.

A month later, I worked on a second feature showing the same technique but turning them into toppers this time. There are two ways to fold the paper, flat or concertina style, but again there were few ideas to be found online. For the Masterclass to Paper Pleated Toppers, I wanted to keep things simple and focus on the papers. I used some basic dies to add shapes and my favourite stitched dies, too, which is a quick and easy way to add detail. I didn't have much in my stash which always makes things challenging but it also makes you think how to put what little you have got to use.

One of the cards is a vase with flowers which was my favourite out of the bunch. On the cover and in the feature, it is turned on its side. It still makes an interesting design although I wonder what the readers thought!

Some dies used for these projects include Spellbinders Ovals (to fold the vase), a scalloped border die (for the fan) and a heart die (for the dress).

I've got some more magazine designs to share with you. I started working in my new "creative studio" (it's really just a table, but a beautiful one) but still need to organise my stash and then you'll get some pictures, too!

Weight issues


Inlaid die-cuts is one of my favourite techniques right now. I first discovered it in Cardmaking & Papercraft and this was my first attempt. You will find lots of ideas in magazines and on pinterest featuring delicate die-cuts but I wanted to create something different. Instead of building up layers, I cut them all into one.

Most of our friends and family live abroad and we always pay a lot for postage as the cards are heavier than 20g. It adds up when you send Christmas cards! I took these cards to the post office and they weigh exactly 20g.

My craft desk arrived yesterday and I still need to install my new space. It's a beautiful solid pine desk. Some pictures will follow soon!

Some cute designs


Papercraft Inspirations always have some fun challenges for me. For last month's issue (PIN 161) I was asked to design two sets of Occasion cards. One of them had a Valentines theme with hearts and the other were Hello greetings with circles.

Here is one of the Hello cards, a cute design with balloons and a great way to use your smaller circle dies or punches.

The Puffy Cloud Frames from Lawn Cuts is one of my favourites. I use them whenever I build scenes with die cuts. It's a handy die-cutting set to have in your stash.

The next card is something less traditional for Valentines. I had some inked and die-cut hearts in my stash which I used for this design. I thought why not use a big heart, too, and make it look like a sunset?

I usually don't work with inks as my hands always look a mess afterwards and I can't get the ink off. Instead, I like to keep things neat and tidy which is probably why I enjoy paper folding so much!

Talking about inks... My friend Diane visited us last Sunday and she made me these amazing cards which you can view here:

Lately, I've been making cards using the in-laid die-cutting technique. I've got a few to share next.

Paper Pleating


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


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


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.

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