Saturday, 15 October 2016

Have a Green Christmas Eve

I read on Facebook this time last year about a dangerous new addition to a Christmas tradition.  People have been putting something out for Santa to eat and drink on Christmas Eve for a long time, but recently feeding the reindeer has become part of it.  After all, why not?  You could say that they are doing all the hard work racing through the sky, dealing with the parking problems while Santa just does the deliveries and consumes vast amounts of mince pies and sherry.  You could leave a carrot for Rudolf, but what about the other eight?  So stores have been selling wee bags of "reindeer food" which are actually sweets.  Children sprinkle these outside but instead of the team eating them the local wildlife has been snacking, and apparently dying because of it.

You could opt not to feed the reindeer but a better idea is to put something else out instead that will actually help the environment.  I am a little late perhaps but maybe not, as a lot of plants are still flowering or have gone over leaving seeds.  Collect these up (or buy seeds) and have a little fun with them.

This is the actual size and will print out on one A4 sheet of good quality stiff white card.  It is a good size to hold a fair few seeds but if you want a smaller version you could resize it.  Cut it out (a knife and ruler for best results) and score lightly along the dotted lines.  Fold and glue the side tab and base; to hold the top down you could use a small round sticker or you can glue this as well for extra security particularly if this is going to be mailed.  Please be aware that there are laws preventing the sending of some seeds into some countries; you will need to look this up if you want to mail this out of the country.  Gluing down the top also makes it look more professional.

Inside go the seeds and these can be sprinkled on the ground wherever you want.  The bed will first need to be raked and weeded and these do need to be the type of seeds that you can sow directly into the ground at this time of year, not the type you have to sow into seed trays first.  This is what it says on the back:
A bit small here but you get the gist.  All the fun of feeding the reindeer plus knowing no animal will be harmed and then the joy of the flowers next year.  Of course they will need to be the type that pollinators like; a list of these can be viewed here for butterflies and here for more general pollinators including bees.  You can also buy seed mixes and seeds especially aimed at pollinators from many seed merchants. 

Do reindeer eat seeds?  Well, they certainly don't eat sweets! 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Seal of Approval

I hope this cross stitch design gets your "seal of approval".  I based it on a painting I did of a seal pup looking through a hole in the ice and thus it is ideal for an aperture card with a round aperture. 
This is what it looks like made up with a trifold card featuring a suitable background.  The card blank will also soon be available to buy, but for the meantime you can obtain the chart and get stitching.  Buy it here

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Trick Or Treat?!

Trick or Treat?!  As a lifetime lover of all things spooky I do like this time of year.  I am also a lifetime lover of all things colorful so enjoy the colors associated with October too and this latest kit brings all these things together.  For best results print on sturdy card, and score along the dotted lines before folding.  Some people use a bone folder but I find the best results are obtained by scoring very lightly with a craft knife.  You will also need some glue to stick it all together, and a hole punch for the tag.
This is what it looks like from the front when made up.  On the back it says HAPPY HALLOWEEN in large spooky-looking letters and there is a "made by......." space for your name.  Line it with a doily and you can also use it to hold snacks at a party.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Apple Blossom Time

No, I know it is not apple blossom time but people do not always want greetings cards appropriate to the time of year.  Having a birthday in April that is often around Easter time I have always tended to get Easter-y cards but if your birthday is in the depths of January would you want lots of cards with dead trees, snow, lowering skies etc?  Probably not.  So if you have had your fill of woodland scenes showing autumn leaves, squirrels with nuts, toadstools etc this card might be welcome.

It comes with full instructions that show another card but everything is the same.  It just saves me having to take a different set of photos each time and might even tempt you to buy the card it depicts, who knows?

Coming soon the "seedy" ideas I mentioned last time plus my latest range of Christmas cards.

This card is available at

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Off With Their Heads!

It is the time of year to do a spot of beheading - removing dead heads and collecting seeds.  Here is a part of my sun lounge complete with drying seeds of allium, love-in-a-mist, marigold and poppies:
So that is a whole lot of bowls, saucers and plastic boxes out of commission - these seeds need to be removed and put into paper bags.  But where do I get a lot of paper bags and even if I label them, having to sort through a lot of anonymous-looking wee bags to find the right seeds next year will not be easy.  So why not make some seed packets like the ones you buy?  These will have all the information on the reverse, a cheerful colored image on the front and...well, let's make a couple first.

Open a graphics program, it doesn't matter much for a simple project like this which one you use but I tend to like PSP.  Here is a seed packet blank:
It is yours for your own use.  This makes a nice big packet and fits onto A4 so for a smaller packet just resize.  If you have taken a photo of your flower now is the time to use it, or have a look for public domain photos or images of the flower online.  Here it is after being cropped and having a posterizing treatment added to it on PSP, then cut and pasted onto the packet blank:
Note the caption which tells you what it is!  I have had these pink poppies for ages now and collect the seed every year but they have also become naturalized.  These double flowers are pretty but not much good for bees as they cannot get inside so not the sort of thing to go wild with and sow all over the place.  I just add a few for their looks.  Now let's open a table, fill it with useful information and you have done all the work you need
This tells you what you need to know. Print out, cut out, apply some paper glue on the tabs and stick together.  Put the seeds in and you have a pretty and practical packet!

Of course maybe you don't need yet more seeds of a particular variety or you have enough to fill a football pitch with them.  So why not give the packets to people as gifts?  You could put their names on the front and who they are from.  Lovely stocking fillers, Secret Santa or any other occasion.

Some more seedy ideas next time.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Scrap Your Garden

When your garden is looking its best under summer skies it is time to take plenty of photos.  For a simple page with a fun floral look here is an idea that won't take long to do but which showcases those floral closeups.

You will need:

Natural looking background paper in earth tones (this one is Basic Grey)
Dark green card
Scallop edged scissors

I)  Choose your central image - here family members in my aunt and uncle's garden.  Draw a circle 4 1/2" and cut out with the scallop scissors.  If you don't want to cut the photo make a copy and cut out a circle with the important parts in it 4" in diameter and mount.  Put aside.

II) Now select your favorite floral closeups.  As these vary in size and I didn't want to chop up large flower images there are two sizes of petals here.  Here is the wide one:
This is 4 1/2" high and 4 inches wide.  Here is the thinner one:

Choose any even numbered combination of these shapes that suit your photos and get snipping.  You will need eight and all require being cut out with the scallop scissors.  Mount the photos on top.  Here are the photo patterns, half an inch smaller all around:

III) To arrange on the page line up four petals top, bottom and sides with the edge of the page and stick down.  Now attach the other four in between.  Finally put the circle on top and your flower is done!  There ought to be some journalling but I tend towards double page spreads and this was on the other page leaving this for photos alone.  There is room top and bottom for captions.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Photo Fun

I know, I know I am not the world's best blogger but rest assured, I have been out and about communing with nature.  Today my pack arrived (hooray) to spur me on and give me some much needed ideas.  I see I have already done some of them and have been doing so for years and one of my favorites has to be taking photographs and making my memory album!  Another favorite is using the photos for something else - something even better than the memory album which is wearable art.  Also arriving in the mail was the latest issue of Bead Magazine:
Inside is an article all about how I got into working with beads and also one of my projects.  This uses photographs to make pendants.  The pictures are shrunk in a graphics program and embedded in resin.  Here is the necklace:
And here are the photos I used to make the wee pictures:
I took all of these in my own garden using the plants I grow.   I will have to find out what is loved by ferns but I know how much bees rely on those early crocuses when the queens are starting new colonies.  I am clearing more space right now to plant more of them so those are my acts of wildness for the moment.