Sunday, 19 November 2017

Messy crafting - and why I struggle with it; especially gilding flakes

Read my blog post from yesterday to see the Christmas card that I finished.  There was some messy crafting involved with that - heat embossing, glue, very sticky double-sided tape ...  However, I can just about cope with that.  I can also generally cope with other mixed media projects that involve paint, pencils, pens etc.

HOWEVER, I do have a real issue with more messy stuff.  Think of spray inks (which I always regret using - they look fantastic on other people's projects, but when I attempt to use them, I always regret it as it goes everywhere), glitter (I will try to get sparkle into my projects by using metallic paints, glitter pens etc) and my worst enemy - gilding flakes!

(Just sitting there looking very beautiful and innocent.)

Why am I attempting to decorate a bauble with gilding flakes then, you may ask?  I am asking myself that very same question right now, as the bauble sits in a plastic box with gilding flakes seeming to adhere themselves to every surface apart from the sticky bauble.  I have the specialist glue (from Cosmic Shimmer), I left it to dry for AGES, but still the flakes seem to be combining with the glue and then going into clumps.  I left it to dry for a lot longer, but when trying to carefully remove excess flakes with a sponge, there are still areas of wet glue.  I even had a mad moment and thought that using my heat tool would help to dry it!!!  Obviously I managed to rein myself in before actually turning the tool on and decorating my whole craft room with flakes!

Currently the bauble is sitting in the plastic box with areas of still-wet glue (been nearly 45 minutes now), and I will tackle it again later.

I need to watch some YouTube videos and see where I am going wrong.  I have seen using double-sided tape being mentioned - and that would make a lovely striped background.  I have also seen using stamps being mentioned - but that you need to very thoroughly wash your stamps afterwards.  I think that may be something I should avoid?!

Digital crafting is looking very attractive to me right now, so I will design some more digital scrapbooking pages for a photo book that I am putting together for family this Christmas - and then I will return to the messy crafting for one last attempt to make a reasonably attractive bauble (by the way - I put some of the lights that I bought in Lidl inside it, and of course I cannot get them back out again, so that is why they are also getting covered in flakes).

Wish me luck!

Ali x

ps  If anyone can offer any tips, please comment below.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

A Christmas Card - and a renewed love for peel-off stickers

Yes,  I have made a Christmas card!  I wasn't sure if I was going to make any this year (I have really slowed down on cardmaking in general for the past 2 years), but started to make one (with a decorated bauble too - which I will get finished and blog about separately) at a craft workshop yesterday.  It is a beautiful design, so I sat down this afternoon (after getting distracted by Spanish videos on YouTube) and got it finished off in my own way.

Here it is.

A square of background paper was stuck onto a card base.  The wording was diecut from silver card and stuck on.  The snowflakes in the centre were made by using Iridescent Shimmering Watercolour Paints from Creative Expressions on watercolour paper.  We then used a die to cut out the snowflakes and then they were heat embossed to make them shiny.  An acetate sleeve was added to the card blank and the snowflakes/pearl stuck to the outside.  You could make lots of cards using these methods - perhaps a Christmas tree in the centre, stamp/heat emboss on the acetate with a plain background card?

 I used some peel-off stickers for the inside message and decoration, and also a snowflake on the back of the card.  A new larger Lidl store opened in our local town this week, Haverfordwest, and I was excited to find a good range of crafty stash.  Here are the peel-off stickers that I bought - there were different packs available - and also some of the other items that fell into my trolley!

(The lights are going to go in the bauble, if they fit.)

I will actually attempt to enter some challenges (which is why I started this blog, but haven't done any challenges for years).

CHNC Challenge #360 - Anything Goes Christmas (optional theme of Blue - which I didn't use this time).

CHN Patterned Paper Challenge November - Anything Goes Patterned Paper.

Crafting With Friends #55 - Anything Goes

Thanks for reading this.

I will blog again once I have finished the decorated bauble - I need to attempt to use gilding flakes on it (wish me luck!).

Ali x

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

WOYWW 441 - Crafty Workshops

Happy Wednesday to you all.  If you would like to join in with the global tour around crafty workspaces, go to Julia's Stamping Ground.

I have been busy again going to craft workshops.  The craft/stationery shop in Haverfordwest (SET Crafts) holds regular workshops - lots of different lovely tutors.  I have particularly enjoyed the recent mixed media ones.  Last week we made a dragonfly-theme tag.  I need to do some more work to it (the seed beads clumped together and need to be 'thinned out' and there is  more colour/ribbon to add).  Here it is - with the butterfly tag that we made with the same tutor a couple of months ago.

A lot of the wonderful shine came from using these paints, so I was forced to buy a set!  Look at those colours.  There were several sets to choose from - and it was difficult to choose just one.

Then, yesterday I went along to a fortnightly workshop (they do something different each time) that is hosted by a charity (they have 3 years of funding to introduce crafts to this county) called the Cheerful Project.  I went to one of their summer workshops where we did sketching outdoors at a National Trust property (here is the blog post).  Unfortunately I have missed the others since (either my health or travelling), so was excited to go along yesterday afternoon (and have signed up for the next one, which is marbelling).  We made Mexican Shrines from tomato puree tubes.  Here is mine.

(We made a box from card and taped it to the back and then cut out the window, and I put doors on mine on.  I lined my box with glitter.  Going to stick in a photo of one/all of my most recently 'passed' pets when the glitter is properly dry.  The decoration on the metal was made with a metal skewer and embossing with a pencil.  The colour was added with Sharpies.)

Here are all the wonderful creations - so different.  I am going to make some more - different sizes and shapes - and perhaps a Christmas-theme one.

I have signed up for another papercrafting workshop at our local shop on Friday (Christmas bauble and matching card), a sewing workshop at another new local workshop venue on Monday (Christmas bunting) and then another papercraft one later in the month.  I have seen many more advertised, but finances/time/energy do not allow me to try them all.  After years of no workshops locally, now there are too many for me to attend!

I had better get back to revising for the test in my Spanish evening class later.

Ali x

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

WOYWW 440 - art journaling

Happy Wednesday to everyone.  If you would like to join in with this weekly tour around craft workspaces, go to Julia's Stamping Ground.

 My life has been taken over by learning Spanish lately (very addictive), so I haven't been doing a lot of crafting.  However, I have been working through some art journaling lessons provided by Marieke Blokland.  Click HERE to get the free e-course.

Here are a couple of pages that I am adding layers to.

Otherwise, life has been busy with travelling to visit family last weekend, starting to look for a property to buy in Spain and generally making sure that I get the rest/quiet time that I need. 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

WOYWW 438 - Santoro Willow heaven

Yes, I am back in the blogging world!  What with going away to Spain earlier in the month and then just being busy with 'other stuff' and not doing any crafting in my craft room, I made the decision that missing a few weeks would be ok.

I do have quite a few blog posts that I 'should' write - but I don't do 'should' all the time now (at the grand old age of 46 I have finally learnt that I cannot do everything).

If you do want to see regular photos of where I am/what I am doing, then go over to my Instagram account - iamaliwade

On my crafty table today I have my wonderful complete set of Santoro Willow goodies from Docrafts.  I saw them on one of the craft tv channels back in September - and treated myself to the whole set.  Such a fantastic parcel to receive.  I have started adding colour to some of the 6x6 papers, which will then be cut up to make ATCs.

You can also see Craft Stamper magazine, which I do buy occasionally.  The free cover stamp, Joy, shouted at me.

I have jumped on the 'Essential Oils' bandwagon and started to try them out.  I have a mixture that includes Lavender and Lime in my lovely new diffuser.  My craft room smells glorious now.

It has a light in it - and definitely creates a spa-like atmosphere.

I have a lot of catching up to do with reading blog posts - particularly about the recent WOYWW crop, which I was sad to miss.  (WOYWW stands for What is On Your Workdesk Wednesday - join in at

The only piece of news about Spain that I will share now is that we are going to be buying a property there.  We go back in December and will be viewing properties then.  The plan is to go as often as the farm/animals allow, and then within a few years to live there most of the year.   We fell in love with the Moraira area (Northern Costa Blanca) - fantastic for hubby's cycling, amazing scenery, a mix of nationalities, fantastic food and, of course, the sunshine!

Ali x

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

WOYWW 434 - new Bible and napkins

Happy Wednesday to everyone.  It is raining and blowing a gale here, so I am mostly staying indoors (thankfully Buzz the dog doesn't 'do' bad weather either, so he is happy to keep me company in my craft room).  I haven't managed to do any actual crafting yet, but I have done another Spanish lesson and had a good tidy up.

If you would like to join in with this global tour of crafty workspaces mid-week, then go to Julia's Stamping Ground.

My photo today shows my new Journaling Bible (which is interleaved, so I get a full empty page every page, which will be great for mixed media and digital journaling), some bargain stamps from Creative Bea (she offered some stamps in damaged packaging at a reduced price on Instagram.  I missed out on those, but she still let me have a set of each at that price - I love a bargain!) and some fab napkins that I bought from an Etsy shop.

I have two Bibles now.  I always love the Bibles shown online that are full of tip-ins, tags, charms, ribbons etc etc, and this will leave my other one to be used for Bible study (which is smaller and lighter).

We are off to Spain next week, so I had better go and sort out my suitcase/beach wear - a job that I have been meaning to do for ages (we haven't been abroad for nearly 3 years).

Ali x

ps  Have a fabulous time at the Crop this weekend.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

WOYWW 433 - colouring and Spanish

Perhaps I should be learning the colours in Spanish?  My crafty table this week is showing what is really important to me right now, ie getting some ATCs coloured and in the post, and continuing with my quest to finally learn Spanish properly.

Happy WOYWW to you all - What is On Your Workdesk Wednesday for those who have not encountered these initials before.  If you would like to join in, then go to Julia's Stamping Ground.

My cheap pencils from WH Smith do a satisfactory job so haven't invested in any of the more expensive brands.  The stamps used to create the ATCs are from PaperArtsy.  You can see one of the ATC 'backs' that I designed for myself - easy to print out and stick on the reverse side.

I have signed up for a Spanish evening class - starting next week, if there are enough people signed up to run the class (it seems that Spanish Year One is not particularly popular in our part of West Wales.  The classes a bit further east are fully booked, so hoping that at least two more people decide that this is the year to learn Spanish!).  When I went to pay (you have to pay for the whole year in advance), the lady mentioned that they followed the BBC course and to look on Amazon for used bargains.  I found this one for 7p, plus postage!  Looks almost unread.

My health has worsened in the past week, so today I am attempting to take it a bit easier (after a day yesterday of gardening, cleaning out the woodburner and driving to and fro from our 'hopefully sold' bungalow trying to meet up with people collecting furniture - and that is another long/depressing story!).  Some crafting, my next Spanish lesson online (I will blog about that, as it has been fantastic although difficult) and lots of tv watching!

Hope everyone is safe with all of this horrible global weather/natural disasters.

Ali x