Friday, 30 December 2011

No Winter Wonderland

Hello everyone. It is Ifa with you today.

How are you all ? Did you enjoy Christmas ? Is that turkey nearly finish by now ?

We went to see a musical in London yesterday. Ghost was amazing! A theatre trip is turning into a family tradition in our household. Last year, we saw the Nutcracker at the Coliseum just before Christmas. Do you still remember the weather in 2010 ? We drove down to London in the heaviest snowfall. It was slow going in most places on the M11 but we were fortunate, we got there and back home safely. I have a few photos from our drive, taken from inside the car. It was definitely No Winter Wonderland.

I started the layout by misting the background cardstock with a Pink Paislee mask.

Next I cut out a couple of reindeer/moose/things with antlers from patterned paper. A few fir trees make a nice addition to the scenery.

Next I make a pile of twine as the base for my journalling spot.

Followed by a journalling spot and a label.

The photos come next.

I also added a small Christmas stamp.

Some sparkly Thickers are just perfect for the title.

Followed by a few sparkly sequins.

Here is the finished layout,

Is it about time to get ready for that New Year's party ? Here's to the most amazing and prosperous year to you all.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

* * Happy Christmas Eve * *

* Happy Christmas Eve *

Only one more sleep till Santa! I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas so far.  It's Laura here with a couple of Christmas layouts for you.  I used the gorgeous Bella Blvd Christmas collection for these pages.  For me Christmas is all about the bright colours and festive whimsey, so this collection was just perfect for me! - All the products that I have used are linked at the bottom of this blog post.  Just click on the product for a link straight back to the shop!

It is bright, colourful and is made for layering.  Let me show you what I made with these pages using some alternative photo options.

Firstly I scrapped an instax photo.  Since the sad departure of polaroid I have made myself content with instax as a replacement.  I have an instax wide (and a mini but more on that in a future post) and it produces gorgeous sized instant prints.  I bought a second hand camera on ebay so keep an eye out for a bargain if you are interested in adding an instant camera to your collection.

Scrapping instant photos is instant gratification! This is a recent photo of me, the hubby and our little one (who is almost  three months old already!).  The Bella Blvd 'Cute Cuts' paper has some journalling blocks on the paper which makes it so quick and simple to add journalling and a title to your page with very little effort.

This page documents my wishes for our family over the festive period.

This collection from Bella Blvd is made for layering, several of the sheets have small scale details on them which makes them perfect for cutting into small pieces and scattering across your page.  I added dimension by raising some of these elements up with 3d foam pads. I even used the name of the collection in this page! It was printed on the bar code strip at the bottom of the patterned paper and as it fitted in well with my page, I added that in! Another way to add embellishments to your page!

I scattered some pearls across the layout to add some details, these are so easy to add to pages and such a bargain at only 75p for a whole sheet!

If you like the look of instant prints but don't have an instax then its so easy to fake it! I have an iphone that tends to be my "go to camera" most of the time.  There are several apps that allow you to add vintage and instant effects to your photos and one of my favourites right now is the Instaplus app which allows you to save a polaroid style border to your photo.  Once created on my phone I printed the pic and then I was ready to scrap!
Another baby pic.. this one of her staring up at the Christmas tree lights.  Layering is featured heavily in this layout too.  The 'borders' paper from this collection proved to be a fab score of elements for this page, cut out Christmas trees and borders that I layered up with some punched out stars to create an embellishment cluster with stickers from the minatures sheet added in. 

And finally I created a block of photos and scrapped these in the same way that I would scrap a singular photo of the same size.  The Jenni Bowlin white buttons match this collection perfectly and provide some added cute! In this layout I mirrored the embellishment clusters above and below the photo grid to create balance across the layout.

I doubt that many of us will have time to scrap over the next few days but January is the perfect time to look back over these next few days and get it documented. 

If you like this Christmas collection then don't delay in buying as stocks are running low in the shop and you will not want to miss out! (is it too late to ask Santa to bring some down the chimney?)

Lastly... Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope you are all looking forward to 2012 as much as I am.  x

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Deck the halls!!!!!!

Hi everyone! It's Nat here wishing you a happy December and lead up to Christmas! Continuing our theme of using non-Christmas stash to create festive items, I thought I'd share with you something a little different from our usual projects that you might like to try out as quick and easy pre-Christmas craft, using some stamps and acrylic paint.

With a new home together, I had been excited about festive decorations since Mr T and I moved in during the spring, and began fervently "pinning" ideas on my Christmas Pinterest board since around July (see my board here). A theme soon became apparent, with white, silver and natural materials featuring heavily.  I planned to make a lot of the decorations myself to fit in with the cosy, home-spun feel we've been trying to create, and was particularly inspired to have a go at recreating some white clay decorative disks I'd seen over and over again on the site. After making mine, I've since seen something similar in a large retain chain that is full of magic and sparkle. Their designers crept into my house one night in October and copied me obviously!

The decorations are made from salt dough - the ingredients of which I'm sure will be found in most kitchen cupboards. You'll also need some stamps, and cookie cutters to make your basic bauble. Check out my Inklinkz Collection at the end of my post for some recommendations from the shop that I think would be perfect for this project.
To make my salt dough, I used one cup of plain flour, one cup of salt and half a cup of warm water. This made about 15 decorations that are just over a centimeter thick. Simply mix the ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a dough.

I chose to break off a small bit of dough each time to work with, rather than rolling it all out at once to make it easier to work with.
I rolled the lumps of dough onto a piece of hessian, which gave it a nice waffled texture which you can make out in the photo below. You could alternatively use some background stamps to make a nice textured base for your decorations (check out the Inlinkz collection for suggestions). I dusted the hessian with flour so that the dough was easy to peel off. I also used some rolling guides to ensure all my baubles would be the same thickness.
Working on the textured side, I used a pretty doily stamp to add some decorative detail to my dough, pressing hard enough to get a good imprint, but not so hard that it would flatten the waffle texture from the hessian.
Using a round cookie cutter, I cut my bauble out. I wanted an off-centre design.....
...and found that as a result I was able to cut two baubles from each stamped image.
I laid them onto a baking sheet covered with some greaseproof paper, and created a hole in the top of each with a skewer.
You can choose leave them harden in the air over a few days, or bake them in the oven. Should you choose to bake them, low and slow is the key. As you can see, I slightly burned my first batch, but as they were being painted it didn't matter too much (phew!!).
For my second batch, I used the tree stamps from American Crafts Campy Trails range, and a heart shaped cutter. The little pine trees all in a row were not only very cute but very seasonal!
Once all baked, I decorated my baubles by painting them with acrylic paint, and whilst this was still wet, gently sprinkled them with some ultra-fine glitter. I chose to paint mine white and thread them with garden twine to fit in with our chosen colour scheme, but you could use any colour acrylic paint at all, even combine colours, and thread them with Bakers Twine or ribbon to fit your own decor/scheme. The sponge tops on the Adirondack paint dabbers make painting your decorations quick and easy. Two coats gave my decorations a perfect finish.  And why stop there? Bling and buttons could be a welcome addition too.

Here they are a-dangling on our tree:
They can be personalised with alpha stamps, and as well as baubles, they'd make great alternatives to gift labels and place cards.There is still time to try this craft out before the big day, and could be fun way to fill those long afternoons during the holidays with children.

Below are links to some of the products I used, and some suggestions of some great stamps that you could try. In particular the new Studio Calico stamps would be perfect for this project - I love the idea of combining the wood grain pattern with the bird from the My Happy set. The You Are The BEst set not only contains some yummy round patterns that could be used as backgrounds, the sentiments stamped on top would make a great handmade gift for someone special, and the fun silhouette heads in the Silhouette pack are super trendy right now :
Which leaves me just to add that I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and look forward to seeing you all back here in the New Year!!