Monday, 22 February 2010

Happy Birthday, Germaine & Beckie!

Two of my favorite stampers in crime, Germaine and Beckie, share a birthday -- February 23. They are both members of our Stampers of England Yahoogroup.

In making these birthday cards, I wanted to try out two new products that I purchased -- Nellie's frames and a tulip embossing stencil, all of which can be used in your favorite die cutting machine. The Nellie's frames are quite special because the nesting dies are decorative.

The darker background cardstock was run through my die cutting machine with the tulip embossing stencil. Then, I took a fine sanding block and rubbed it in a circular motion over the raised image to distress the background and make the tulips more apparent.

I've used the Stampin' Up Birthday Best set, and quickly colored the cupcake with alcohol markers. So easy! It was adhered to some designer cardstock, which had been trimmed with a decorative scallop punch.

The 'happy birthday' sentiment stamp came from the Happy Moments stamp set, which was a special stamp set available through Stampin' Up's Sale-A-Bration.

Wishing both Germaine and Beckie a very happy birthday, with lots of pampering and crafty gifts, of course!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A craft space reborn!

I have been very busy in my craft space over the last week . . . but not creating as much as I've been organizing.

I know you all have been at this place where you simply must re-organize your craft space. Perhaps you no longer can see the table for the amount of stuff strewn over the top. Or, maybe you've lost your mojo because you can't find anything any more.

In my case, I felt the feng shui of the space was just wrong! Nothing was close at hand. I spent so much time up and down, looking for bits and pieces, grabbing necessary tools, that I wasn't able to smoothly craft.

We've been living in our England home for 1 1/2 years. It is much smaller than the large two-story, four-bedroom apartment we had in Abu Dhabi. And it is a lot smaller than the home we had for nearly five years in Spring, Texas. As a result, our furniture is sort of exploding from the rooms, and my computer and craft space take up half of the living room. It's not ideal, but my husband is very patient and puts up with the creeping crawling overflow of craft stuff!

Trying to figure out how to best utilize this space has been a challenge, but I think I'm relatively happy with the results, which are pictured.

The above photo shows my craft space front on . . . lots of paper crates are underneath the table, by the way. Speaking of the table, I love mine! It's actually our breakfast table, and it is a circa 1950s oak dining table from England. No, we didn't buy it here in England! We purchased it in Houston around 1996. As our current home has a built-in large granite table in the kitchen, we didn't have room for our beloved antique table. We certainly didn't want to put it outside in storage. I was really happy to have found a way to incorporate it into my craft space.

The baskets on the table have cardstock and also paper remnants. Whenever I cut up a piece of cardstock, I always save the extra bits.

On the other side of the table, I have my stamp library. Many of my stamps are off their wood mounts, so that I am able to get a lot more of them into a smaller space. Even with unmounted stamps, I have overflowed the shelves.

I also have clear stamps in this basket, which is a great way to store them. In fact, I like baskets for lots of my storage solutions! Believe it or not, this basket contains nearly 100 clear stamp sets.

I know you're probably wondering why have a huge carved wooden cabinet, matching mirror, and a hanging silk rug in my craft space.

Well, in a perfect world, this would be part of the living room or a sitting room, and you'd be able to enjoy the beauty of this hand-carved console, which we purchased in Abu Dhabi. I do still enjoy it, and I find it incredibly handy to store away lots of my crafty things. When we move to a larger home, I promise this cabinet will have the majesty it deserves.

You probably have noticed my paper racks. Many of my stamping/crafting friends have been very envious of them. LOL! I bought them while living in the US, and nothing like this is available here in the UK . . . at least I haven't been able to find them. If you have a source for paper racks in the UK, please let me know! Anyway, if you live in the US, you can order paper racks from Media Shelving.

Near to my workspace, I have a massive bookshelf, which used to be one of my hubby's prized possessions. However, this was the only space in the house to put it. As you can tell, we badly need another reception room/family room/living room in this house. However, I've made very good use of this furniture, indeed! Lots of baskets!

I also acquired a number of leather ribbon keepers that I love. One of my most recent additions was a ribbon purse that I bought (along with a lot of other crafty goodies) using a very generous birthday gift coupon from some of my friends here in England. Thank you my wonderful stamping buddies for my wonderful birthday gift!

At my left hand, I have access to critical tools -- from punches to my Stampin' Up ink pads to Copic markers. One of my best purchases of recent were these reasonably priced wooden cubicles made by QuicKutz. They are perfect for my punches (or standard size ink pads). You will also see that I have used wooden orange crates (available from Hobby Lobby, etc.) to create shelving.

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour of my newly organized craft space. Now, I hope that it motivates and encourages me to be more creative and productive.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Welcome New Baby!

Friends of the family, David and Paula, have just welcomed into the world their first-born child, Benjamin, born on Wednesday, February 3. Very exciting times for them!

I made them a card, like the one here in blue, using two of Elzybell's stamps and colored the image with copic markers.

As I was in the mood to color these precious baby images, I made a couple of extra cards to keep at hand.