Thursday, 27 January 2011

Thrifty Thursday

I promised I would tell you about my encyclopedias.
I have three Arthur Mee Children's Encyclopedias from the 1920s that I have had since I was a child. Whoever had them before me had cut bits out of them, but I loved them just the same.They are full of fascinating snippets of information, and things to make and do. They hark back to a more innocent age of childhood. I always used to wish I had more of them. Then one day at the auction I saw a complete set and managed to secure them for just £1!!! I was smiling from ear to ear that day I can tell you! They now reside in this lovely glass fronted cupboard which also cost me only £1. 

Because I now have a full set, and the fact the previous ones I owned were already chopped, it gave me a license to chop some more, and so I have been using these, plus another set of outdated encyclopedias for some collage and decoupage work.

I am also going to scan some of the images to use as clipart in my cardmaking. I also own a couple of 1895 Oracle encyclopedias with some lovely images, so I will share some of them with you from time to time. 

I almost had another bargain today while out at a Charity shop with my dear friend Cheryl. I saw the most perfect coffee table. It was large rectangular dark wood with a glass top and a drawer. It would have looked fabulous painted off white. I took a moment to think about whether or not I wanted to spend £15 on it, but by the time I had walked around the shop and decided to go for it, someone else had bought it! Well, I guess it wasn't meant to be mine. Sigh!

Very soon, I'll be showing you how you can make a pretty little bunch of vintage paper flowers just like these ones. 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

50 things never to do !!!

{Click to enlarge.}

I'm a bit obsessed with my old encyclopedias right now. They are from the 1920s. I will tell you more about that on Thrifty Thursday, but for the moment, here's a page that always makes me smile for some reason - even though it all makes jolly good sense! You can use it as a backdrop in a collage if you like.

My particular favourites are...

Never pick your teeth with a pin

Never attempt to frighten a child, especially in the dark.

Never put crochet hooks or knitting needles in the pocket . (Whoops, think I might have done that)

Never stand still in an archway, or in any draughty place, when wet through. It is dangerous. Keep moving about.

....So...don't say I didn't warn you, OK?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Thrifty cardmaking

Here is the anniversary card I made for my parents. I like to use what I have around the house, so I used one of my old encyclopedia pages as a background. I stamped it with a rubber stamp and gold ink, (the stamping doesn't show up that well in the photo.)

For the lovely little brass butterfly charms, I used a tomato paste tube and a paper punch. Yes, I did say tomato paste tube! If you want more details how I did this you can find out in this tutorial. The vintage couple dancing is from the graphics fairy.

For the flowers, I used my lovely new petal pairs punches from Tonic Studios. But I decided to be awkward and not just use them in pairs like your supposed to. For two of the flowers I punched two with one punch and one with another and fitted all three layers together. For the third flower, I used three different punches and punched out four flowers and although it was fiddly, I managed to fit four layers together and I really like the effect. You could make a whole lot of pretty flower embellishments with a few scraps of paper and these clever little punches. Quite economical really. I used a heart shape punch for the leaves and drew the veins with a pencil. The butterfly wings were cut from my butterfly punch.

..and because it's nice to is one of my encyclopedia pages I scanned for you to use in collage or cardmaking. Such a fun image! I think I might use this on a card very soon.

Thrifty Thursday

Here is my hall table. I bought it at my local auction a few years ago for about £10. It was brown and drab and had an ugly plastic handle. I gave it a good sand down, primed it and gave it a few coats of Dulux Black Satinwood and gave it a lovely new handle - a £1 bargain from B&Q, and now I love it. I wish I'd thought to take a before shot!!!

The lamp was also from auction - a Laura Ashley lamp. Two for £10. I'll give it a paint job one of these days. Haven't decided if I want to go white or black, but I think it might involve a number and possible a map shade.
The clock was on sale for a couple of pounds at Tesco a year or so ago, and I bought the bird from either Poundstretcher or Au Naturale - I can't remember, but it only cost me about £1.

The bowl was another auction purchase. I paid £6 for it, but again it is Laura Ashley, and I really liked it.

So that is my thrifty hall table decor. Now I need some pictures for the hall. Something that doesn't cost much. Hmm...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A Quick Card Idea

Here's a quick suggestion if you are making a card for someone, and you want to enclose a little something extra in the envelope. I like to make a coordinating bookmark at the same time as the card, and pop it inside as a little keepsake.
I used my petal pairs punches on old tatty encyclopedia page for the flowers.
Graphics from the Graphics Fairy.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

It's card making time...

I've recently been trying out some new craft tools courtesy of Tonic Studios. I know I've not had a huge number of posts on my cardmaking, but it is something that does go on in the background here. Sometimes I sell my cards, but most times, I use them myself. Every so often I will fill up my box with cards so I'm prepared for all occasions. You're going to see a lot more cardmaking posts this year as I try out my new tools.

Here are the Tonic Tools I'm using for these cards...

A young friend of mine has just got engaged and so it was time to make some engagement cards - one for my friend, and a couple to keep in my box as stock. I'm not sure which one I will send her yet!

I mostly use my computer printer to print out greetings. Sometimes I print directly onto the card blanks, and sometimes I will print a page full of greetings on nice paper and then just cut them out as I need them.

For some of these cards, I used a simple layout with a wave of colour at the bottom of the card. I used the shape mate tool and wavy ruler for the wavy line.
For the flowers, I have been trying out Tonic Studio's petal pairs punches which I must say are great fun to use - especially for someone who loves playing with paper like me.

For the card below, I punched a small circle punch through the petal pairs finished flowers so that the colour of the paper underneath would show through as a feature. I also used the crossing hearts and crossing ring punches. The ring punch is one of their new simplicity geared punches and it was a dream to use. Hardly any effort required! I can imagine if you were doing several hundred wedding invitations it would make light work of them! I backed the heart and ring punches with holographic card, it doesn't show up well in the scan, but in person it looks very effective.
For this next card, I wanted a softer more vintage feel to it, and so I chose a pretty floral to punch one half of the petal pairs. A small jewel in the centre of each flower adds a delicate touch.

I was able to use some of my thrift shop lace in the next card. This card uses one of my sheet of pre printed greetings. I used the crossing hearts punch to make a matching envelope too. I backed the hearts with the same metallic grey paper used in the card. I think this is my favourite card. I love the duck egg and silver together. It would work nice as a wedding invitation or wedding card too.

This one has a more masculine feel about it, even though it is floral, the choice of colours means it isn't too girly, and I think the royal fleur border looks great on masculine cards.

Because I enjoyed playing with the wavy layout, I rustled up a couple of birthday cards while I was at it.

I used my favourite tiny mother of pearl buttons to make centres for these flowers and on the wave, I used a small heart sider punch (with Tonic Studios border system) and then I backed the striped paper with a different pattern. Simple but effective I think.

In the card below I used a small circle punch to make a hole in the top flower of the petal pairs so that the bottom flower colour showed through. I used up the punched out hearts from the card above. (Don't you love punches where you can use both the punched shape and the cutout? No waste!)

Next cardmaking session I'll be creating some anniversary cards. My parents anniversary is at the beginning of February so I better get a move on hadn't I !

Oh, and here's a page you can use that is ready laid out with greetings for you to print and use in your cardmaking. Just click to enlarge, save to your hard drive and insert into your favourite DTP software and print onto some nice quality paper. It fits an A4 piece of paper. Chop up and use. Have fun!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Every week, on Thursday I hope to show you something I have either made or bought for a snip. I love my local Thrift Stores/ Charity shops and Auction House. It makes sense to me to buy second hand where possible. My house is furnished mostly from pre-loved items, and I am always on the lookout for a bargain.

Here are some lovely laces and trims that I bought last week in a tiny little charity shop in the next village. The larger bundles were only 50 pence and I paid less for some of the others. I'll be able to use them for cardmaking, sewing and crafts. They can be so expensive to buy new, so I was really delighted with these.

And here is some marmalade I just made. This was my first attempt at marmalade, and I'm pleased to say it turned out delicious. I bought 2 ruby grapefruit for 25 pence each, three lemons that were going for a snip and a couple of oranges that my husband said weren't particularly juicy for eating. With one bag of sugar, I made 8 jars of chunky marmalade. (The jars are recycled of course - wouldn't have it any other way!) I thought that the flavours would all just kind of meld together, but as you are eating it, you get citrus explosions on your tongue of the three different fruits - I have to say it's tangilicious!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


{photo credit Washington Post }

Today, I am thinking of Australia and the terrible situation with the flooding. My prayers go out to you all over there. So many have lost their homes, and some their lives, some are still missing. Puts everything in perspective doesn't it?
Spare a thought for them today.