Wednesday, 22 November 2017

All That Glitters...

...Would be better if it was actually gold, rather than glitter.  Gold after all is a natural product that comes out of the ground, whereas glitter is made of plastic.  Anybody who has been reading the news and watching BBC's seminal Blue Planet II series will be aware that there is too much plastic in the world today, and that plastic glitter is particularly nasty stuff.  Why?  Because most plastic items have to actually fall to pieces first before they turn into those pernicious "nurdles" or mermaid's tears that are finding their way into the food chain, whereas glitter is there already.  I'm not against plastic as such, just our abuse of this useful material and we don't need glitter really, do we?

As crafters we mostly love the stuff, and children love it as well.  Some nurseries have already banned it but if you are looking at that matte Christmas card and thinking it looks bare help is at hand in the shape of BIODEGRADABLE GLITTER!

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it with this substance as it is not plastic and does not harm the environment.  If you live in the UK you can buy it here and it is not just for cards.  Release your inner fairy (or unicorn) and adorn yourself with it, great for Christmas parties and festivals.  It is also the sort if think you can use if you make melt-and-pour soap like I do.  These people really care about our planet and are supporting Plastic Oceans website which you can check out with this link.  They even got a letter from David Attenborough thanking them for their support! 

Now we can sparkle with a clean, plastic free conscience.

If you want some ideas as to where to put this glitter I have just made available some new Christmas card designs.  These all fold pancake flat for cheaper mailing and are mostly letter rate (the fan is larger).  Journey To Bethlehem with O Little Town:

Or travel with We Three Kings:

Feeling hot?  How about a Poinsettia Fan Card:

There are plenty more, and think of all the opportunities for a spot of eco-friendly glittering!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Christmas Rose Iris Folded Card

Earlier this year I posted a review of a wonderful book about making paper mosaics.  This is certainly one way of using up old cards and papers, but another one is surely iris folding.  I have just posted up another pattern entitled Christmas Rose Iris Folded Card and you can buy it here and this is a picture of what it can look like:

The pattern comes with a leaf, bud and a couple of petals for arranging on your card or memory album page however you want, this is one possible arrangement on a 5" x 7" card.  The tiny dots are whatever type of sprinkles you favor for the centre. 

This is a very detailed pattern which is best made with single strips of card or paper without a fold or it will never lie flat.  First cut out the outline and attach your pattern, then arrange your strips in rows going from teh outside to the center.  I think this is best attempted by those already au fait with less fiddly iris folding, but it is ideal for using up old cards, wrapping paper, leaflets, catalogs etc.  Or leftover bits of acid free paper if you want to put it on an album page.  When glue is dry trim around the outside and start arranging with the leaves and petals.  You can use this as a Christmas rose or for any time of the year in the colors of your choice.

I am trying to find lots of ways of using up those old cards now they cannot be recycled.  I plan to post some ideas here so watch this space!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Boxing Clever

Last week a wit posted an observation in an email that at midnight on August Bank Holiday Monday the staff of supermarkets grab all the summer stuff and dump it in the nearest skip.  Then they rush back in, put up the decorations and blow the dust off Now That's What I Call Christmas and gleefully put it on.  I went into my local Lloyds Chemists on 1 September and there was a cardboard stand packed with Christmas giftware.  Admittedly most of it was from last year (and some I think from the year before) but at least half I had not seen before so this does prove that it gets earlier every year.

With this in mind and knowing too how many people have a lot of people to send to here is a popup Christmas card, the first in a new series of baskets.  They will not all be Christmas themed but some will and here is Christmas Poinsettias Basket Card:

Festive, isn't it?  All packed onto one sheet and easy to assemble.  Just cut it out, fold the base into a box shape and put some paper glue on the tab.  Then slot the handle part in the back tab and the other insert in the front tab and you have a card.  Also included is a label with Made By:... to stick on the plain back, a gift tag and an envelope seal with Merry Christmas to dress up a plain envelope.  No, there sadly it not an envelope with this as it would be more than one sheet and not cost a mere 70p.  You can buy it here

Here is another one called White Christmas Basket Card:

Find this here

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Boxing Clever

I am not a fan of getting ready for Christmas too early.  Summer is all too short here in the UK and I prefer to enjoy it without looking at images of snow and ice.  I do realize that some people have a huge amount of stuff to make and some of this has to be sent overseas so I have made a start designing.  Here is the first entry in my new series of boxes shaped like buildings:

You can buy this here  It is simple to make up; cut out and score along all the dotted lines then fold them inwards and apply glue on the tabs.  This means both side of the roof if it is going to be a card, and only the side where the tabbed side does not rest for a box.  If it is a card you can also lose the foldover tab and the tabs along the bottom.  But wait, there is something missing!

It is a base.  Sorry folks but if this is all going on one sheet with a lower price tag there is no room.  But don’t worry, all you have to do to construct one is rule a rectangle 6cm x 7.2cm and attach it to the bottom.  Actually you don’t even have to do that as here is one:

Or a whole sheet of six of them:

This is for those of you who want more than one to use as favor boxes.  They look great beside a plate and can contain a small gift or some sweets.  If you want a whole village of buildings when the other boxes appear (there is a sweet shop coming up next) you could use them for this.  They would look good standing under the Christmas tree (full of goodies of course).

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Cut & Create Cards

I know, I know I am a truly terrible blogger.  I ought to be here every day thumping out ideas on recycling and being green but I'm not.  Yet here I am now with a book (well sort of book) review and what I think is a good idea, or at least one possible solution to a new(ish) problem. 

You can buy a copy of this wonderful and innovative item right here if you live in the UK.  If you don't it is available elsewhere such as in the US here and is well worth looking for.

Why?  This is not so much a book as a kit comprising a booklet and everything you need apart from scissors or knife, hole punch and glue to make nine beautiful paper mosaic pictures.  I have done a lot of papercrafts but I have never tried this one and was keen to have a go.  It comes as an A4 sized folder with a booklet on the left and a wallet on the right filled with the papers and bases.  The instructions are simple to follow and include diagrams showing how to make up each picture.  These are arranged into beginner, intermediate and advanced with three pictures of each and all depict scenes from nature inspired by the author’s Japanese background.  These include a night time jungle at night, a fox in a forest, birds flying home, an egret posing in the water and my own favorite showing cherry blossoms. The materials are all good quality and I would give this set five stars for originality, beauty and user friendliness.  Suitable for a variety of ages as it is not very large and you only need a few additional items you could even take it on vacation.  

So how is this green and what fairly new problem would it solve?  I don't know about your council but last Christmas mine said that they could no longer accept greetings cards for recycling.  Whether you buy or make them they do tend to bristle with glitter, bows, gems and even if not often have a plastic coating to make them shiny.  These things block up the recycling machines and break them so you have to think of other things to do with them or they go into landfill.

Surely making paper mosaics with them is one such idea.  I've made tags with them, cut out bits of them for cards, used them as postcards with the backs cut off and one Christmas even used the shinier and more water repellent ones as coasters, cut into squares.  Trouble is I have have tags coming out of my ears, people think I am cheap making cards with them, I bought some lovely Fair Trade coasters and no longer send postcards.  I am due a new idea and this is possibly it.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Fun With Office Paper

You are probably thinking that office paper is not a lot of fun but that depends on what you are going to do with it.  Office work is not that amusing usually but all those sheets of rather pretty pastel paper invariably make me think of spring and Easter.  My grandmother used to make them into paper flowers when her sister in law gave her some sheets from the office where she worked and I have made some iris folded cards by cutting them into 2cm strips.

You can buy this card pattern and make your own by visiting

Of course you can also use patterned paper and spring colored wrapping paper, seed catalogs or anything else including scraps of fabric or ribbon.  There are two other patterns in the Easter Iris Folding series and these are shown made up patterned.  Check out the bunny at

and the egg at

Note the cheeky chick peeping out through the hole!

Blooms For Bees

A while ago I signed up for the Blooms For Bees project.  I did not expect to be lucky enough to be chosen so imagine my surprise and delight when I opened a mysterious brown envelope last Saturday and found that I was on board!  You can read all about the project here but in a nutshell it is about discovering whether a new bedding plant (a compact habit dahlia) is attractive to bumble bees, and which color flowers they prefer.

This is something near to my heart that I am always going on about.  As it says in the accompanying leaflet there is a discrepancy between the flowers bees and other pollinators will visit for nectar and pollen and the flowers people grow in their gardens these days.  Garden centers and catalogs are going for flowers that are ever showier, brighter and more artificial looking that appeal to humans (although not usually to this human) but not to anything else in nature.  Thankfully the RHS has put helpful "Perfect For Pollinators" symbols on some plants but not everything has been tested and there are new cultivars out all the time, hence this project.

I planted my seeds out in seed trays last Sunday according to the instructions and now have to wait and see what comes up.  The dahlias are going to be white, purple and red so it will be interesting to see which colors the bees like best and what bees visit my garden.  I imagine honey bees will like them too and who knows what else?  I will keep you all posted.

Until then here is what they look like now!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Keeping Mum

It is now officially spring here in the UK and time for making some cards.  There are so many occasions for them in the first four months of the year: Valentine's Day, St Patrick's Day, Mothers Day (if you are in some countries) and Easter.  I made this card kit for Valentine's Day that can be bought here

This has banners that say Be Mine, Happy Anniversary, I Love You and Happy Birthday as well as "blank for your own special message" as they say on shop cards.  I was daft - why did I not include one that says Happy Mothers Day?

I am going to remedy this right now and here it is for download into the graphics program of your choice:

This is the same size as the others.  Just right click to collect, then save and use.  So now the card looks like this:

 Now, why did I not think of that before?!