Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Latest swaps

I finally got round to finishing of my calendar cards for August based on Sara Coleridges poem "The Garden Year".

August brings the sheaves of corn, then the harvest home is borne.

So far I have received two of the August cards but will wait until I have the full set before posting photos.

I'm not looking forward to next week when its my birthday as I shared it with Keith.  I'm trying to put things in motion so that I am busy all day as I know its going to be hard to get through.  

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Plus Four Day

Today was our monthly get together to play day and I really enjoyed myself.   We had decided last month that today we would do something with mixed media.  I really enjoy mixed media but there were a couple of us that hadn't tried it.

I set off with what I thought was everything but the kitchen sink but Linda won me hands down for taking stuff with her.  I have to admit that I am just a rank armature.

Pat opted out as she had some work that needed to completed so we let her off playing.

Jenny started sewing down some of the bits she had brought with her; melted plastics, melted tyvek and washers etc.  I hope to see this finished when we next meet.  Jenny always has very inventive pieces.

Elspeth is stamping dye pads onto lace to see what happens.  She had great fun and produced some lovely pieces.

Linda is talking to Jenny here about her new grandson but all her mess is out of sight.  She brought her Sizzix intending to make some cards but ended up impressing inked stamps and lace into velvet.

Love this piece of lace

As for me, well I decided to make a start on the Journal I've been intending to do for the past couple of years.

I sprayed, stamped and stencilled to my hearts content.   On this page I used a stencil I had made on my new toy.  I welded a couple of the designs that came with the machine and made positive and negative images.  I was quite pleased with the result, I also ended up with lots of painted paper towels for use later.

I stamped and coloured some images once I got home and added a border but I still need to finish it.   Think I'm going 'quote' shopping on the web.   The girl is a stamp from Jus Gorgouse.  I stamped the images on the page then onto spare paper to raise them off the page.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Bit later than expected

I have playing with my new toy over the past few days and whilst it is very straight forward to use there are one or two little things I needed to get my head round and use correctly.   Blade depth was one of them, naturally I'd watched just about every video made on the Brother Scan N Cut machine and thought I knew it all.  Umph.    My first, absolutely stupid mistake was leaving the backing paper on the adhesive backing when I started to cut out fabric shapes.  What do paper and glue do?    Yep I ruined my fabric carrier sheet because the paper backing on the Heat n Bond stuck to the glue... duh.   A bit of common sense would have told me that but no, I did what I normally do when cutting shapes on die machines, left it on.  I tried to get the paper off the glued side of the carrier sheet but to no avail and it had to go in the bin.  By the time I'd messed around with it it was in no state to lay flat.

That was mistake number one and one I will never, never, never do again.  It cut the fish shapes beautifully, no bits of fibres left clinging to the shape. The material I used was a metallic cotton which can be difficult to cut as it frays easily.

Mistake number two, and I only made two but they turned out to be expensive ones, was to forget to adjust the cutting depth of my blade when I swapped from thick card to craft vilene.  I now have two door shaped holes in my cutting mat.  Luckily you can just pop the pieces back together and tape them up with duct tape.  It works without any problems in the machine.

I love the machine but am disappointed in the sheets, the adhesive surface wears off very quickly and after that I had to resort to taping the papers/fabrics etc down with masking tape.   You get two with the machine, one low tack for papers and one standard sheet for heavier card stock and fabric, plus the aforementioned fabric carrier sheet which is extra sticky.   I understand that the sticky can be invigorated, if that's the proper word by wiping the sheet with non-alcholic baby wipes.  I have baby wipes but it doesn't say whether they are alcohol based or not so daren't use them.  If you use water or alcohol based products to clean them you remove all the stickiness completely.  So on my shopping list today are non-alcohol baby wipes and low tack tape (painter's tape).

Having said all that I love it.  There are lots of designs on the machine, enough to get you started working creatively but if you wish to do your own thing, as I do then you need to download Brother ScanNCut.  Its a free program, fairly basic but there is a lot you can do with it and it allows you to convert jpeg files and other cutting files in SVG format. into the fmc format used by Brother. I think the Silhouette Cameo uses SVG format so if anyone has some of those digital designs they can be converted using this program and used with the Brother machine.

I have managed to get a few cards done using designs from a site called SVGcuts.com here they are.

The four card designs all come from the above company but the one below I created myself using the  ScanNCut Canvas program.

It's a book card for Julie's birthday, which is next Saturday, each letter is a separate page.  I have yet to finish decorating it.  I'm going to add some butterflies (in Pink of course as Julie loves Pink), flowers and the odd swirl and stamped image.  I've just tied them together with a bit of cord to give you an idea of what it will be like.  I've got a similar one to make for my brother whose birthday is the same day as Julie's.

Now for the postcard I made using the designs on the machine itself.

I cut out the fish and several of the wave borders to create the sea.  It's Jan's birthday card and she wanted an Under the Sea theme.  The colours are a bit more lively than appear here.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Bought a new toy

Woke up on Sunday feeling a bit down, said my usual good morning to Keith and went downstairs for breakfast.  Put on the telly on and what was showing on QVC but the new Brother Cut N Scan machine.  I've wanted one of these for since Maggie Grey blogged about hers.  She has just brought out a new book which includes pieces made using this machine, naturally I've bought that to but it hasn't arrived yet.   It's called Cut, Shape, Stitch.  Keith kept telling me just to go and buy one but the price is a bit heavy so I never got round to it.  I went back upstairs and heard a bang, Keith's photo had jumped off the drawers and onto the floor, how that happened I don't know as all the windows were closed.  I think he was trying to tell me something so I went straight back downstairs and ordered one.  It arrived today.  Here's an overview of my new Brother Scan N Cut.   As it arrived just before dinner tonight I haven't had a lot of time to play.  I made some cupcake papers for Julie, which she has taken home and I didn't take a photo, but hopefully, if I have enough card left, I'm going to make a start on my Xmas cards.

It can also be used with fabric, in fact loads of materials but the main thing I want to do is draw my own designs and use these to make masks and templates to use with my Gelli plates.  This is going to be short blog as I'm now off to play.  Show you tomorrow what I've made, that's if the optician (eye check up) doesn't say I'm going blind with watching all those Brother Scan n Cut videos on YouTube.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Postcard catch up

I've been hanging on to these until I had a full set but then I tidied my sewing room and lost them amongst the tidiness.  So I've decided I'd better show them now unless I lose them again.

 Continuing the year long swap based on Sara Coleridge's poem "The Garden Year" we've reached July, which brings cooling showers, Apricots and Gillyflowers.  The two gillyflowers above are from (top) Inge in Berlin and bottom from Alice in Glasgow
 Helen's depicting the cooling showers (above) as is Pauline's goose below.

I put my cards in the post before I took a scan so you will just have to imagine them.  I created a background of rain using metallic thread and then sewed down flowers I'd burned from sheer fabrics (several layers together) using a different metallic thread.  In the corner I created a sun.  Background was a sky/cloud patterned fabric.

The next card set is "Travel" and again I forgot to take a scan but mine was space travel.

I liked the fact that all of the swappers had used maps as part of their backgrounds but none had duplicated the mode of travel.  From top to bottom, Miriam, Helen and Jan.  I love Jan's chair its the only form of travel I've been doing lately.

I'm finding the house very quiet, even though Keith and I were not a noisy couple.  It's the little things you miss, I often turn to say something to him and he's not there.  But I still talk to him and I'm sure he continues to listen to my pieces of useless information.  

At the moment my hands are full trying to help my sister cope.  She has been signed off work ill for almost a year, diagnosed initially with depression.  Now though the doctors think its a physical problem rather than a psychological one.  Her gait is very strange (she walks like a baby with a full nappy), she has some facial palsy, cognitive problems and her memory is very unreliable, plus she has lost a lot of weight.  The gut feeling of her consultants is that she has muscular sclerosis but they cannot be certain.  Although she has many of the symptoms of MS the numerous blood tests, xrays, MRI/CT scans show very mixed results.  She has now been referred to a neurologist to see whether she has some rare variant of MS but cannot be seen until September.  I just hope they hurry up and find out what is wrong with her.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Finished at last

I finally got my finger out and finished Flynn's Quiet Book, hurray...... So here it is:

Tractor shapes

 The photos have been embedded in a different order than that I selected them in but you still get the idea.

You've seen a few of these before but I've added the any way.  Washing/Dryer and sock matching game.  

Build your own sandcastle

Zipper pocket on back cover to hold loose pieces

What's behind the barn door?

We are....

Family tree, plus their new puppy Pixel and another airplane.

It's me with Mum and Dad (and Pixel)

I've made a small fishing rod (not shown) with a piece of stick and some cord with a magnet on the end. This is one of Flynn's favourite games.  All the fish have magnets in their heads.

Once the fish are caught you can put them in the fish tank.

Flynn likes the song Five Little Monkeys so I had to make him a page with finger puppets.  

Farm yard animals

Not particularly well placed photos but its another of Flynn's favourite rhymes.  Incy Wincy Spider climbs up the water spout.

Hmm you can make a sandcastle upside down if you want to...
Ah caught a fish
What's under here, hmm

Now I'm going to put them in the bucket

Friday, 27 June 2014

Black and White sensory toy

My god daughter's new baby was very premature and has a few health problems.  His eyes are giving concern at the moment and she asked me if I could make him something to hang on his cot.  High contrast designs had been recommended by his paediatrician.  I did a bit of googling and came up with these.

They aren't perfect but I think they will do for now.  I made ribbon tags so they could be hung separately and so that she can alter the sequence.  The other side of the blocks have high contrast black and white fabrics, all different.  

In addition to these I've finally finished my June swap card "June brings Tulips, Lilies, Roses"  My little angle (lily) is bringing tulips and roses.

I created this one in Paintshop Pro using some scrapbook papers and elements I had previously bought.  I did a bit of stitching on the card, this is the background so the sewing hasn't been done on this one.

I also finished Marian's birthday card, she wanted a green one but I stupidly sent it to the wrong address so now I have to remake the card.

I even put the wrong name on it, duh obviously I was having a bad day.  Still got a couple more cards to do for this month which I hope to get done over the weekend.  I think Buster is missing Keith as he doesn't like me out of his sight.  He cries and whines if I'm not in his view after 30 minutes.   He doesn't like being in my sewing room, not enough floor space for him to sprawl out without me falling over him.  We've been for a long walk this morning over the fields and he was a very happy boy chasing butterflies.