Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Braving the Brownies!

So today I did my first ever craft event for a brownie group - and boy was I nervous. You might be surprised that I was nervous when I tell you that week in week out for the last 3 years I have helped my very good friend Sally to run a girl guides unit. But trust me, brownies are a different kettle of fish altogether.

With our guides (over 40 of them!) they are aged between 10 and 14 years of age, and they are at that point where they can pretty much be trusted not to burn the building down or take someone's eye out if I turn my back for a second. Not so with brownies, aged 7 to 10 years old, as in my head they are scary! So trying to design cards for them to make I was having nightmares of reams of health and safety forms, risk analysis and more. 

Questions were spinning round my head: Is it ok to let them use scissors? Has the glue I intend to use had a COSHH report? What the heck is a COSHH report!!!!? Are they ALL obsessed with pink? Will the cleaners kill me if I give them glitter?

With my guides, they are pretty independent and most can be relied upon to have a modicum of common sense. Generally thinking of a idea, pitching it to the girls and ensuring they have all the materials is all that is needed to kick-start a creative session - and I love that I don't have to think through every little detail. Again, I was thinking the worst of the brownies.

So eventually I came up with a Christmas card and a thank you card design that I was reasonably happy with, (and a great deal of thanks goes out here to Sarah - your primary school teacher 'they don't bite' advice was invaluable) and rocked up at the school where they meet. In trooped 11 girls, 3 leaders and 2 young helpers. We sized each other up... some of the girls contemplating how difficult they were going to be... myself mentally maintaining the leverage of bright pink glittery paper and multicoloured buttons. Prepared for the worst.

Curve ball. I was doing well until they all said 'hello' in cute voices, and all said please and thank you every time I gave them another piece of material or kit. My resistance crumbled. 

Brownies = 1
Craft Leader = 0

Till we meet again...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

WOW! How? - Christmas Cracker Tutorial

As promised earlier, here is a tutorial on how to make a Christmas Cracker from one sheet of A4 card. It is a little late, but I have been really busy planing all the lovely classes I have for you in the new year!

You will need per cracker:

1 x Whisper White A4
1 x 12" length Night of Navy grosgrain ribbon (1/4" wide)
Stamps or embellishments to decorate (my list of materials/tools for this is at the bottom of the post)

Tools and Supplies needed:

Border Punch
Classic Stamp Pad (I used Pool Party and Night of Navy)
Stampin' Around Wheel (+ handle)
Stamp Set (I used Everything Eleanor)
Simply Scored Scoring Tool

1) Take your A4 sheet of Whisper White and score at 2", 3" and 4" from the end. Rotate and repeat from the other side.

2) Now turn the page and score lengthways, from ONE side at:
1 1/4", 2 1/2", 3 3/4", 5", 6 1/4" and 7 1/2". You should end up with six sections all sized 1 1/4", and one end strip that measures 3/4".

3) Use a border punch along both short edges of the A4 card.

4) You should now have two sets of three score lines at each end (from step 1). Fold down the middle score line on one side only.

5) Use paper snips to cut V's along the fold line. Each point of the triangles you cut needs to finish at the 'cross' created by your score lines. Also it is IMPORTANT that you do not connect the triangles you cut - there must be a small gap, about a centimetre, between each.

6) When opened out, it should look something like the picture below. Note that the bottom strip is a bit different. All I have done is create tabs on the THIN end strip from step 2 by cutting away the excess. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 for the other side.

7) Open out any folds and roller you choice of design along the sides. 

8) Stamp your choice of design onto the third 'strip' in from the edge. I have used the worn label image from the Everything Eleanor stamp set.

9) Turn your template over, and apply adhesive to the tabs (apply the adhesive to the side I have indicated with the scribbled pencil lines). Stick to the opposite edge to create a hexagonal tube.

10) Cut your length of ribbon in half, and use it to tie the ends in. If you wish to add a gift or snap then add this before tying the second ribbon. Decorate as desired! 

If you would like to create this cracker yourself, but don't have the necessary materials, then I have kits available to purchase. Please email for more details.

I hope you have liked this tutorial! If you use it, or find it helpful, please do leave me a comment as encouragement to do more. Also if you have any constructive feedback as to how I might improve future tutorials then suggestions are welcome!

Happy Crafting,

Recipe for decoration as seen in the first photo:
Snow Flurry Die and Big Shot
2 x Whisper White card scraps (approx 2" x 2")
Apothecary Accent dies
1 x Pool Party card scrap (approx 2" x 3")
Basic Rhinestones (as desired)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Christmas Cheer!

Wow, the new Be of Good Cheer Designer Series Papers are stunning! I am totally in love with them and can see me using the pack for all my Christmas cards and wrapping this year. Anyway, without further ado, here is my layout:

I really love all the space around the edge of the page and feel it draws the eye in. Using Crumb Cake for the base colour gives a lovely rustic warmth to the page, and grounds the layout - white or ivory would be just too bright.

Here I have shown you the detail of the baubles, simply 1/2" circles of the DSP punched out, then a beautiful pearl added to the centre. I have yet to find any pearls I like more than SU, they have a real lustre to them and seem almost real!

Finally a close up of the faux stitching done using the uni-ball Signo Gel Pen, and the Christmas word stamped with the set Beautiful Season.

I hope you like it? I would love to see your Christmas pages so why not leave me a comment and a link to your photos?

Happy Crafting

Stamp Sets: Beautiful Season
Card Stock: Crumb Cake, Whisper White, Cherry Cobbler
Inks: Basic Black, uni-ball Signo Gel Pen (white)
Ribbon: Gumball Green
Punches: 1/2" Circle
Other: Be of Good Cheer Designer Series Paper (DSP), Basic Pearls