Saturday, 10 December 2016

Christmas Windows with Chalk Markers

Simple designs drawn on the window in fantastic chalk markers that just wipe away in the new year.
Christmas Window doodles with Chalk markers
I was lucky enough to receive some Chalk Marker pens from ChalkOla in exchange for a review. 
Scroll down to the bottom for a 20% off discount code.
ChalkOla Marker pens
I have loved trying these Chalk Markers out. They are so simple to use, smooth to write or doodle with and the colours are way more vibrant that I was expecting. They contain a high density chalk ink and it takes a couple of minutes to get them going when they are brand new. You pump the nib down a few times (like you would for any paint marker) and the nib gradually fills with colour - then you are ready to go. After that the ink flows pretty constantly even vertically like I was using them. If the ink flow slowed a little I just gave them a shake, depressed the nib again then it flowed freely again.

I've tried a few idea out with them so far, the first is a Christmassy wreath and greeting on the doors to our back garden.
That IS glass, it's just evening. Here it gets dark pretty early (about 4pm) this time of year so most crafting has to happen in the dark!
Start by drawing round a side plate with a white chalk pen.
Then add a very simple sets of leaves and then twiggy lines to make a wreath design.
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
Add a few dots with a red Chalk Marker pen for just a little touch of colour. You could do your wreath in green if you prefer, the sets from ChalkOla have loads of colours to choose from.

This next bit I did a bit earlier the next day so daylight - yay! This is what I had so far.
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
Next print your chosen greeting onto regular printer paper. I used a font called Bromello which I downloaded from DaFont. You might need a little trial and error before it is the right size for your wreath, I got lucky with mine. Or you could be super organised a measure everything properly first.
Blue Tack the greeting to the glass outside lining it up centrally.
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
Doodling Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
Now you just need to trace over the words with your Chalk Marker pen. I found I needed one eye shut to do this, I'm not sure why, it just made it easier!
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
It looks like I was a bit off with the tracing, but remember the camera is off the the side so it's a bit of a weird angle.
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
Next just thicken up the down strokes next to give them a little more of a modern calligraphy look.
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
The white pen shows best where there are no curtains or binds as once it's dark the design really shows beautifully. I'm going to try the other brighter colours on our front windows, where we have shutters, if I get time before Christmas.

In the daytime, with gorgeous dull grey UK skies the effect is more subtle but still pretty festive.
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
Chalkola are offering you a 20% discount on all their products, just use the code 20OFFSTR
These are the UK links to the products I tested:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chalk-Pens-Whiteboard-Chalkboard-Blackboard/dp/B01E17WAQO

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chalk-Pens-markers-Whiteboard-Chalkboard/dp/B00VVOWCSC

Christmas Windows with Chalk markers
I've had SO much fun playing with these pens already and have more ideas to share with you using them. Photographing anything on glass is a challenge though! Hopefully you get a good idea of the fun and vibrant effect you can get with these pens. And as long as you use them on a non porous surface they just wipe away easily when you've had enough of them.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Turn Old Cards into New Cards

Save the Christmas cards you are sent and turn them into next year's cards to send.
Turn old cards into new cards

I've always loved cutting and sticking. When I was little I would sit for ages cutting up junk mail apparently! I also hate waste and like to recycle or reuse whenever I can.
Lots of people are now in two minds about Christmas cards these days. They are not very eco friendly but they are a lovely way to stay in touch with people. I love receiving cards, especially from people far away who I don't see often. I figure if I love to receive them maybe others do too, and if we don't send them no one will be receiving them. Do you see what I mean?
Every year we get some beautiful cards and once it's January I have a 'cutting them up' session. Some are turned into gift tags...
 ... the rest I take off all the cute bits I think I can reuse and the rest goes in the recycling. Then in November I have a box full of resources to make this years cards.
recycling old Christmas cards

This is not a precise tutorial kind of thing, what you can make will depend on what you have but here are a handful of my ideas, just in case you find they spark your imagination.
My master plan is to use new card blanks made from recycled card with all the embellishments coming from previous cards we've received. Occasional I supplement my reclaimed embellishment stash with craft papers but I try not to! 

Here's an example.
This card blank is a silvery grey. The old card I saved has cute modern Christmas trees which are very cut-outable. The used green envelope goes nicely with the trees, I thought the silver snowflake, saved from some Christmas crackers might go well too.
The envelope didn't have quite big enough bits with no writing or franking so I joined two bits and covered the join with a tree.
I used a tiny foam pad to raise one of the trees and the greeting just cut from the card. Turns out the snowflake was a bit too big in the end so I found this more delicate one in my stash.
Turn old cards into new cards
And I've still got enough trees to make another 2 of these.

Here's a more traditional looking card idea:
Here I had a tall think white card blank, a used red envelope, some shiny gold card from a lovely layered card, a wreath and a greeting.
Layer up a rectangle of the gold onto a slightly larger rectangle of red envelope and glue it onto the card blank. Add the wreath & message and it's done. If the wreath was plain I might have added a bow or jewels but this one was already blinged up so it was even easier.

These 3 are made with gift tags we received last year, no one is ever going to pull them off and see the writing on the back - I hope! 
Turn old cards into new cards
They just had a strip of patterned paper behind them, a bow of bakers twine and a sequin, gem or additional element added, all rescued from old cards. I stamped the greeting on these.  

Sometimes a card element is so lovely all you have to do is attach it to a new blank.
All I did here was attach the laser cut to the blank with foam pads and add the bow.

For these mini cards I just attached an embellishment pulled straight of an old card. The bauble just had a little bit of old sheet music underneath first.

If you are peeling off embellishments that are attached with foam pads, a word of warning. Do this carefully as if the card element you are keeping creases it will spoil.
Pull the card from the embellishment not the embellishment from the card.
Cut round it roughly first then lay it face down on your table. Peel the backing away carefully pressing the bit you are keeping down on the table.
I've ruined a few lovely bits that I had wonderful plans for by pulling them from the card :-(

About a million years ago, I had some of my card designs published in a couple of UK craft magazines now and again. I had made some with this same "new cards from old cards" theme then, one even made it to the front cover of a Christmas card supplement in 2007.
I'm quoted encouraging everyone to "Go green"! It doesn't really make clear though that all the elements on this card were recovered for old cards.
I actually still really like this wreath made from punched stars, it means you can use even the tiniest of scraps.

Would you consider making new cards from old ones or do you have any other great ideas for the cards you receive? I know here in the UK there are Charity collection points where they are recycled, I assume for craft project but I don't actually know. Anything to stop them just becoming landfill seems like a good idea to me.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Handmade Monday #3

Hello, welcome to Handmade Monday, the place to share your adventures in crafting!
It's December ekk, what happened to November? Did no one tell it it's supposed to be 30 days long - I'm sure some were missing this year!
When do you do your Christmas decorating? We have an 'it has to be December' rule in our house, but I have to get some bits out of the loft early for blog photo purposes then it's hard to put them all away again and wait! We've made a start this weekend, with the tree. We have an 'if it's not broken it still goes on' methodology to tree decorating so it's an eclectic mix, with some homemade bits we calculate to be about 20+ years old now.
Let's get on with the features, the most clicked links at last week's linky were:

These fun Yo-Yo Christmas Tree Earrings from Jill at Creating my Way to Success, perfect for the works Christmas Party I think!

This beautiful trasformation from Vicky at Vicky Myers Creations. Believe it or not this pretty gift box started life as a plastic Celebrations tub. UK people will all know exactly what that is, others might have to click through to see what I'm talking about.


Congrats both of you, here is a "Yay! I was featured" button for your blog if you want to show off just a tiny bit. (You know you deserve it!)



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If you are new to Handmade Monday and are joining us for the first time we are really happy that you are here. Link up your crafty projects and then see what everyone else has been up to this week.
Every entry gets pinned onto our Handmade Monday pinterest board too.

The rules are not overly complicated:
  • Did you make it? Is it craft related? Yes - hooray, we'd love to see what you've been up to. This is not the place for shops, link parties or posts with just other people's work. Giveaways are fine as long as they are craft related.
  • Add the link to your blog post, not your main site URL.
  • Link up to 3 posts each week, but try to make sure it's something you've not linked up here before.
  • Have fun! Mingle - visit some of the other links - that's the whole point! Leave them a comment, maybe share on pinterest, twitter or your other favourite social media. Let's support one another and grow our craft community.
  • If you'd like to follow me in some way (buttons to find me are on the side at the top) then that would be just lovely. If you'd like to tell others about Handmade Monday then that would be just lovely too.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A little tribute to Pearl part 4

30th November was my Nan Pearl's birthday so today I am remembering her by sharing another lovely thing she made, that I am lucky enough to still have.
This patchwork bedspread was made using the English paper piecing method and was hand stitched by my Nan for me back in the 70's. I have no idea how long it took her, must have been months and months.
I have mixed feeling about this, I wasn't allowed to put it on my bed when I was first given it. I was about 7 or 8 and my mum was worried I would damage it somehow. She was probably right, I often ended up with felt tip pens or crayon on my bedlinen and I even cut a hole in something once (by mistake of course) By the time I was old enough to be trusted not to wreck it I only used it for a short time before fashion changed and we all started to have duvets or quilts instead of sheets and blankets. You must remember at this point I am a UK child of the 1970's!

The good news is it is not wrecked, the bad news is it has not been used and therefore enjoyed much.
The patchwork is a walk down memory lane for me, so many bits of fabric that are from clothes I remember. I can see lots of bits from clothes I had, a few of my grandad's shirts, fabric that my dolls had dresses made from etc.
It's bright, there is no getting away from that, it was the 70's after all!
I also love how my nan didn't worry about having 2 hexagons of the same fabric next to each other, she was not one to spend lots of time on fancy things like design and colour balance.
It is backed with a big piece of seriously retro print, and has a ruffled valance to hide all the stuff that was under my bed at the time.
I am wondering if I should do something with this bedspread. We don't have any single beds in our house now, hence the photos of it draped on the sofa and laid out on the floor!
At the moment it is in a bag in the wardrobe. That seems a waste, but I'm not sure if I could bring myself to chop into it to make it into something we can actually use today. That said, I can almost hear my nan telling me not to be so silly. She never had any problem refashioning and recycling pretty much anything.

Any brilliant ideas would be welcome.

For now I am happy it has had a airing, is being shared here today and helping me to remember my nan, Pearl.

You can read the other stories I've shared about things made by the women who inspired Sum of their Stories here.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Handmade Monday #2

Welcome to another Handmade Monday, the place to share your latest crafty makes.
I was so pleased that so many were able to join me last week as I hosted Handmade Monday for the first time. I was a bit nervous, it's like when you host a party in real life, what if no one turns up? Thankfully you did not let me down and we had quite a gathering! Thank you, thank you thank you.

I did promise features, for now I'm just finding it too hard to choose a favourite (It's like trying to pick a favourite child!) so I'm featuring the most viewed links. 
Pam from Threading my Way shared these fabric gift tags. What a great way to make something a bit special from scraps of fabric and a paper bag!


And from Ginx Craft, these Flat Rat knitted bookmarks which I think are both super cute and a tiny bit grisly at the same time! There's a link to the free pattern too.

Congrats both of you, here is a "Yay! I was featured" button for your blog if you want to show off just a tiny bit. (I think you should!)



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

Talking of buttons, here's a button for you to add to your blogs link party page if you have one, so we can spread the word about Handmade Monday.



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

If you are new to Handmade Monday then welcome, we are really glad you are here. Here are the rules:
  • Did you make it? Is it craft related? Yes - hooray, we'd love to see what you've been up to. This is not the place for shops, link parties or posts with just other people's work. Giveaways are fine as long as they are craft related.
  • Add the link to your blog post, not your main site URL.
  • Link up to 3 posts each week, but try to make sure it's something you've not linked up here before.
  • Have fun! Mingle - visit some of the other links - that's the whole point! Leave them a comment, maybe share on pinterest, twitter or your other favourite social media. Let's support one another and grow our craft community.
  • If you'd like to follow me in some way (buttons to find me are on the side at the top) then that would be just lovely. If you'd like to tell others about Handmade Monday then that would be just lovely too.
One last thing, we have a Handmade Monday group Pinterest board that Vicky from Lucy Blossom Crafts set up ages ago which could be working much harder for us all. I've started pinning all your links to this board but if you want to join me and pin your own stuff directly just follow the board and leave the email you use for pinterest below and I'll invite you. (You can email or pinterest message me your pinterest email address if you'd rather not leave it here)