Thursday, 22 December 2011

Learning to Knit

Tonight I have been trying to learn to knit, I think my grandma tried to teach me when I was little but I never got the hang of it. Im hoping now that I am a lot older I will be able to master it.

I have been looking around in Hobbycraft for a starter kit for knitting aimed at beginners but haven't been able to find anything suitable. I was in Tesco earlier and spotted the Knit and Crochet magazine which comes with a starter set of needles for knitting and a crochet hook as well as six yarns of wool. I decided to give it a go. There are lots of little projects included in the magazine which look really fun, but first I need to master the basics (casting on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch and casting off)

Thats the task for the next few hours so I plan to blog again later on and let everyone know how I have got on. Fingers crossed or should that be needles crossed!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Decoupage for Beginners

Today I have made two cards using a combination of coloured digi stamps and some decoupage techniques.

I had two identical images and coloured them both in, I then decided on the elements of the image that I wanted to have raised. For the single robin I decided this would be the hat and the holly branch. I then cut one image out as a whole and cut around the edges, I think a better effect could be achieved if the image was a uniform shape for example an oval but to achieve this I would need some sort of die cut machine which as of yet I don't own. On the identical image I cut out the hat and holly branch I used the scissors to cut out the basic shape and then the craft knife to do the more intricate bits, it was a bit of a faff but I got there in the end. I then affixed them to the matching image using foam pads, I used two foam pads on top of each other to make sure I got a really good 3D effect. I then stuck the whole thing onto a A5 card.

The second image I did was from a digi stamp of some love birds, I decided to try and make it more christmasy by changing the love birds into robins and adding some snow effects. It's not as Christmasy as I would like but I think the 3D decoupage effect on this card is really good.

3D Robin (camera doesn't show 3D hat or holly very well) 
As you can see I only made one or two elements 3D in these cards and stuck with quite simple images, I really enjoyed the technique and the effect it gave so may give it a go with some more complex designs in future.

Lovebirds changed to Robins (camera doesn't show the 3D effect well) 

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Pro Markers Part 2

So after my attempt at colouring in the hamster digi stamps with pro markers earlier, I decided to give it another go, and this time make the stamp into a Christmas card for some friends.

I was much more careful with the merging and blending of colours this time and took a separate piece of card to use as a sort of palette. This enabled me to try different colour combinations and blending techniques out before using them on the final image.

I was much happier with the outcome of this image then I was with the two previous, the shadows aren't perfect but they give the impression I was looking for. I teamed the image up with a tartan paper with shades that matched the colours I had used on the mouse's clothes. I added some faux stitching round the edge of the paper to add to the handmade impression. The mouse image was adjoined to the card using foam pads it gives the card a 3D effect (not too obvious in the photo) I then used some Christmas stamps to create a pattern along the top, the stamps were a cheap assorted pack from Ebay so I think that combined with too much ink meant they didn't come out perfectly but I kind of like the more handmade effect the extra ink around the edges gives. I added the personal touch by stamping my friends names along the bottom. Overall pretty pleased with this card. 

I have decided to enter this card in the Celebrations Mega Challenge at Passion for Promarkers. It's the first time I have entered a competition and my first attempt at using pro markers on a card so I don't hold out much hope, but you cant win if you don't enter.

First Attempt at using Pro Markers

This morning I have been using my new pro markers with some digi stamps. I had researched pro markers on a number of blogs and thought they would be a great choice to colour in stamped images. I have seen some really amazing colouring online and wanted to try it out for myself.

Im going to be honest, its not as easy as many of the online video tutorials make it look, but its great fun experimenting to try and get the shading right. I have coloured in two of the same hamster images and even here I can see an improvement between my first and second attempt. Hopefully you can too.

My first attempt is the one on the right hand side and the second attempt is the one on the left. I prefer my second attempt I think that the shadows and shading look better on it. I tried to add a fur texture to my first attempt by layering a lighter sand coloured promarker over the honeycomb one. I am not totally happy with the effect which is why on the second image I just added shadows by using a combination of spice and honeycomb coloured markers.

Overall I am happy with how the image turned out for a first attempt but I can definitely improve, I want the image to be less streaky and marked. I currently only have 20 pro markers I have Rubber Stamp set one and two which are priced at £15 each. In order to improve I decided to order more colours so am waiting for a delivery of another 30 pens as well as a blender pen.

I really enjoyed using the pro markers and can see it becoming very addictive!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Xmas Markets

Earlier this month, I went on a Rhine Cruise to check out the German Markets...well it was supposed to be a Rhine Cruise but this year the Rhine is suffering, Germany hasn't had much rain so the Rhine is too shallow for the river cruise boats to sail in. As well as this the low water level has led to the discovery of some unexploded WW2 bombs which we didn't want to sail over for obvious reasons. This meant our itinerary slightly changed so we cruised on the Moselle River and visited towns and villages both along the Moselle and Rhine Valley.
Moselle Valley 

We sailed through the most amazing scenery, it was so beautiful lots of quaint little towns and villages and beautiful festive xmas lights. I loved the markets too, I am a shopping savage and there was lots of variety in the different markets we visited. I found lots of unusual decorations and ended up buying some hand carved wooden trees and baubles.

Cologne Xmas Market 

My favorite market had to be Cologne, although it didn't have the quaint atmosphere of Bernkastel or Ruddesheim there was such a vast array of handmade wonders on show and it really inspired me with a few craft ideas that hopefully I will be blogging about soon when they are finished. In the mean time check out some of the photos I took...truly stunning.

Giant Nutcracker 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


I am literally in love with Ebay, I think I may have an addiction the amount I have spent on craft materials on Ebay in recent weeks is a little bit scary.

There is such a wealth of craft materials available on Ebay for really reasonable prices, it's perfect for starting out as you are able to buy the materials for a wide range of different crafts without spending too much money. In the last few weeks I have bought all sorts of stuff including:  

  • Rubber Stamps 
  • Embroidery Hoops
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Pro Markers 
  • Buttons 
  • Beads 
  • Paper 
  • Sewing Machine Accessories 
Everything has been really bargainous and all the sellers have made sure that my items got to me really quickly. Ebay really is a great place to buy craft materials and I would advise anyone who hasn't used it to give it a go. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

First foray into card making

As I said in my about me section I am new to this whole craft thing. I decided to get started by trying to make my own Christmas cards. It is something I have always considered doing because I think people can really appreciate the effort that goes into making a card rather then buying one.

I decided to make my first card by cross stitching one of the small christmas kits that are available from Hobby craft for about £1.50. The cross stitching was fairly simple, I did a GCSE in textiles and it all seemed to come back to me. The cross stitching took me about a week on and off between work and was an excellent diversion on the train to work, although I think my fellow passengers thought I was a bit odd - but oh well.

Once I had finished the cross stitching I wasn't really sure about how to make it into a card so decided to go with something simple and cut an aperture out of some colored card, glued the cross stitch in and added a sticker sentiment to the front. It looked a bit plain after this so I decided to add a pipe cleaner round the edge of the aperture. Not entirely happy with the design think it looks a bit too handmade but for a first attempt I suppose it's not bad.