Wishlist Wednesday: And a Crafty New Year

Adobe Spark (9)
Full disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. When you make a purchase on Amazon after using the links in this post, Roxy and I get a little kickback, helping us keep the website running.
So, Christmas has been and gone for another year. I hope you got lucky and found everything under your tree that you asked for! Maybe you got a little money for Christmas but you’re not sure what to spend it on? Don’t worry, I’ve got some ideas for the crafters out there to lighten your purse – whether you’re looking for a big budget item or just a little treat! Just read on below.

1. Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine (Affiliate)

I’ve talked about my desire for a Cricut before, and that desire hasn’t waned. If anything, when I spotted the new colours it’s available in, my need for it has grown. I have a huge thing for mint green, so I really had to restrain myself when this beauty popped up in my Black Friday deals.
Beyond appearance, this equipment is a workhorse. Gone are the days when your cutting is restricted to how well you can hand cut or which die-cuts you own. With a Cricut Explore Air 2, your imagination is very much your limit. It’s not just for cutting either – attachments mean you can also get it to draw or write for you. Just think about it – calligraphy style writing without the hand cramp? That’s the dream! The only thing that’s holding me back is that price tag – I feel like I’d need to be doing a lot more papercraft than I currently do, but fingers crossed for the future!

2. Big Shot Plus Starter Kit (Affiliate)

A Big Shot Plus was my first die-cutter, and honestly, I would still be using if it wasn’t so big! When I moved into my tiny studio, the Big Shot went to my sister and I took my Cut’n’Boss. But the Big Shot, in my view, was a much more reliable piece of kit. At most, I would put things through twice to get a clean cut. The system is simple, with pictures on the plates to help if you forget the order. The larger size (compared to the original) means you can cut bigger dies (duh!), but it also copes well with smaller more intricate dies.
The only drawback is that it is hand operated (an electronic version is available), so this needs to be considered for those with bad wrists like me! However, I only found it to be a big problem with high GSM Card. All in all, it’s perfect for a die cutting starter, especially if you go for the starter kit. When I first bought it, I used the starter kit contents to make a series of Easter boxes for my family, which out having to use anything else from my stash.

3.KnitPro Symdonie Rose Interchangeable Needle Set (Affiliate)

This set of circular needles was top of my Christmas list a couple of years ago, and since receiving it I haven’t used anything else (even for non-circular projects!) The needles themselves are a gorgeous mahogany colour, with rose gold-coloured metal for the attachments.  The kit comes with a needle gauge (for when the numbers inevitably rub off) and a range of needles and connecting cables. They are the perfect size to sit in your hands, and I’ve found using circular needles like these for all my knitting helps support the weight on my wrists better, leading to less pain. Like other wooden needles, I’ve found them easy to knit with, not too slippy and not too sticky for most yarns. The ends are sharp and stay sharp.
 There are a couple of things to be aware of before purchasing. The connections may gradually unscrew as you are knitting, but as long as you keep an eye on them and screw them back up as you go, you shouldn’t have many problems. I have also had one needle break at the part where the wood connects to the metal. However, I had no problem purchasing needles to replace it, and it was one that I had used a lot! Overall, I would absolutely recommend these to any knitters out there!
When I first saw gold plated needles recommended for cross stitch, I brushed it off as just silly. How much difference could a bit of gold plating really make?
The answer is a lot. I picked some up on a whim a year ago and haven’t looked back since. It glides through the material, making even the little movement of making a stitch feel seamless. They also feel a lot easier to thread than the standard needles you get.
They also look really fancy.
pony-gold-plated-knitting-tapestry-needles-sewing-size-18-26
Experience it for yourself and pick up a pack today. You honestly won’t regret it.
And that’s it for the last Wishlist Wednesday of 2017! Be sure to check back in 2018 for more recommendations and to find out what else is on my wishlist – this is just the start! And in the meantime, comment below with what’s on your list!
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Video Friday: Lawn Fawn Scallop Box Card by Lesley Oman

I have never made my love of Lawn Fawn products a secret on this blog. They regularly feature on my wishlist. So, it was with great excitement that I awaited news of their new products for this Spring. When I came across this video by Lesley Oman from Creativation, my excitement tripled.

Lawn Fawn Scalloped BOX Card Die aka. My Saviour

I love making box cards, but I very rarely make them. Why? Because they’re such a pain! All the measuring and hand cutting the box and then trying to fit it all together? I just don’t have the patience for it.  So when I discovered Lawn Fawn were releasing a die to solve all my problems, my heart soared.

This video from Lesley perfectly demonstrates what can be done with the new die, as shown by the range of designs on display in the video. It looks super easy to use, which is great for a crafter with a busy life! Unsuprisingly, I’m also quite taken with the Meow You Doin’ Stamp and Die Sets – check out the inspiration from Lawn Fawn below!

A box card created for Lawn Fawn with blue and green banner at the back and three siamese cats in front of it

How amazingly cute is this beautiful card by Lizzy Criman!? Check out more of her work here

Long story short, I cannot wait for Lawn Fawn’s new offerings. I am always uneasy about ordering from outside the UK (mainly due to shipping costs), but with a big enough shopping list, I think I’m going to bite the bullet and go ahead with an order!

How about you guys? Has anything from Lawn Fawn’s new range taken your fancy?

Christmas Card Challenge Day Five: Box Card

I feel like I’m slowly, slowly, pushing the edges of where I feel comfortable crafting, taking creative risks and trying new stuff out. This is one of those cards that’s pushed me a little bit further. It still feels really simple, but I’m happy with how it’s come out and I’m keen to try this out again in the future!

Christmas Card Challenge Day Four: Non-Traditional

I don’t really know what I was going for with this prompt, other than I didn’t want it to be your stereotypical ‘Winter Scene on a Card.’ It took a little bit of fiddly, but I’m really happy with the overall look of this card.

Of course, I went and ruined it with the sentiment on the bottom. A few months back I bought a Memory Keepers Heatwave Foil Pen, and after the first play put it in a box and haven’t looked at it since. So I thought I’d have a play with it today. Rather than actually try it out on scrap first though, I got over excited and just went straight for writing on the bottom of my finished card.

Long story short, it was a waste of money that I just can’t get to work, and I hastily stuck a stamp over the top and called it done. I just wish I’d read the reviews before I spent my money. Still, I think I’ll be revisiting and refining this card later – and I’m glad to have finally found a use for my pile of coloured acetate.

Christmas Card Challenge Day One: Snowflake Card

I am so pleased with how this came out! I have a huge selection of snowflake dies, which is originally what I planned to use when I came up with this prompt. Then, when I was going through my paper collection for inspiration, I came across this from a selection I picked up in the post Christmas sales earlier this year. I instantly wanted to use it, and came up with this simple but contemporary card. To top it off, I used ‘Snowflake Tinsel’ embossing powder on the sentiment, to really give it a feel appropriate for the time of year.

I definitely think I’m going to be making a couple more of these to send out to family members! And I’m sure I’ll find a use for the snowflake dies later on in my challenge.

30 Cards in 30 Days Challenge: Flip Card

I’ve really fallen in love with card making recently, but I’ve found myself with a couple of problems:

  1. All my cards are looking the same.
  2. I have so much in my stash, completely unused.

Searching the internet for some inspiration, I found this video from Gabrielle Pollacco, demonstrating a type of card I haven’t attempted yet.

Inspired by the video, I set about making my own, including these adorable stamps from Lawn Fawn – one off my ‘not used’ list.

Hedgehugs

But then I got thinking about the rest of my stash, and decided to set myself a little challenge – thirty cards, thirty days. My adventures into my craft stash will be posted daily over on my Instagram, or you can look out for the weekly round ups each Sunday.

If you fancy a peek at what’s to come, check out the list of prompts I’ve created for myself below!

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Project Monday: Hobbit Doors

When I was very young, I was gifted with a copy of The Hobbit by my grandmother. I read it immediately, and then again, and fell in love with Middle Earth and it’s lore. Even though an amount of it went over my head at the tender age of ten, I still sat entranced watching the original trilogy of movies. As times gone on, my passion has only grown.

But I digress. This is not a post about my love affair with Middle Earth, but rather an introduction to a product I’ve loved creating.

My sister’s university housemate (and close friend) is getting married this summer. Shortly after I bought my Big Shot Plus, I got a request to make something for the wedding. “We’re not sure what yet, but something.” Time passed, and they came back with a request.

New address cards, that would suit the ‘Hobbitness’ of their new address.

Well, how could I refuse a request like that?

So, for the past month my mind has been buzzing with ideas for these new address cards. When given a theme you love and almost free reign it’s amazing what you can come up with. I experimented with embossing, combining different dies, using new card shapes.

Hobbit Door C
Here’s just a select sample of my early designs. I don’t want to show all of them as it may spoil the surprise! I made the cards with a mix of white and coloured card, mainly so I could show colour ideas without spending too much money on card stock just for samples. The samples and my notes went off to the Bride-to-Be, and I’m off to Cardiff this week to settle the final design to start making.

I imagine not all bespoke requests are this fun, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts!

Video Friday: Floating Inlaid Embossed Die Cuts with Catherine Pooler

Since I bought my Big Shot earlier this year, I’ve become completely obsessed with card making and my crafty stash has exploded. I’ve expanded out into stamping and embossing, as well as getting more imaginative with card shapes and designs. However, I very quickly needed some inspiration and found it amongst the hundreds of Video Tutorials on Youtube.

This one by catherinestamps gave me the idea of creating my own design, shown below.

Embossed Inlaid Die Cut
Dies used are both Sixxix Framelits
Using Catherine’s idea of ‘Floating Inlaid Embossed Die Cuts,’ I cut out my butterfly shapes and stuck them on to the acetate, creating the cut out effect. At the time I didn’t have any sentiment stamps, so added some spots of ‘Nuvo Glitter Drops‘ to add a bit of embellishment to the right hand side of the card. Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I’m calling my ‘first draft’ of this card, and can’t wait to try it out again!

 

Project Monday: Adventures with Big Shot Plus

I’ve been aware of die cutting for a while now – it would be difficult to make so many trips to Hobbycraft and not see the rows of dies on display. But I never really understood the appeal. Apart from my on and off again relationship with ‘Project Life’ and the occasional greetings care, my crafting interests lay far away from paper craft.

Fast forward to 2016. It’s not been the best year so far, with a lot of time spent off work. Lazing in bed for hours on end lead me to the discovery of my latest addiction – Create and Craft TV. Despite my joint loves of spending money and crafting gear, I’ve yet to fall into the teleshopping trap. But, anyone who has seen the channel will know it’s full of die cutting. The more I watched, the more I wanted one of those machines. And so, in a moment of weakness and stood in Hobbycraft, I picked up the Sizzix Big Shot Plus Starter Kit.

Thanks to work, I hadn’t had a chance to experiment with my latest purchase before my next trip to Hobbycraft (Cardiff.) I got chatting to a lovely member of staff there called Alison, who knew everything you need to know about die cutting, and pointed me in the right direction. Armed with a bagful of goodies, I headed home and unpacked my kit.

After many hours watching Create and Craft, I was pretty confident with what I was doing, but if it wasn’t it still would have been easy to get started thanks to the instructions printed on each of the platforms. I started with a couple of little shapes, but then got on with I’d been planning since I bought the kit. The kit comes with a number of dies, including a box die. And since unpacking the box, my house has steadily been taken over by decorated gift boxes.

 


I’m sure I’ll talk about the Big Shot Plus more in the future, but right now I’m just excited to keep experimenting! There may also be more dies on the way after payday.