Wedding cards with lots of embossing

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

What did I do before the Big Shot came along?! I'm not sure how I managed to cope without quick and easy die cutting and yummy embossing options!

Back to the wedding theme (is everyone getting hitched at the moment?!), here are two cards for newlyweds. Hayley asked me to make one for her sister, who tied the knot at the weekend, so I made another one to go in my craft fair box to sell.

The navy one is for Hayley's sister - that was their colour scheme. I think these Mr and Mrs hearts are so cute. For the pink one I used some of the Springtime Vintage DSP. Both have some ruffled Seam Binding Ribbon and Pearls.

Here you can see some of the embossing a bit better. It would still be cute without it, but the Big Shot and embossing folders just add that extra something - a bit of texture can work wonders, especially when you don't want to go overboard with colours.

On the Mrs I used the Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder to give her dress a pattern. The Mr's jacket and the background were run through the Big Shot in the Square Lattice Embossing Folder.

Thank heavens for the Big Shot!


A day of stitching

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Yesterday was dedicated to stitching, and very good it was too.

In the morning I got a bit more of my goldwork done from Denman College. It's very nearly finished! Hoping to get the last bits done while I watch the F1 today.

The main event was a trip to the Embroiderers Guild meeting in Headingley. Hayley came with me and we spent a lovely couple of hours chatting to the ladies and making a raggy brooch.

These are quite simple to do, but it does take a little more thought than Hayley and I put in. As a result, ours ended up rather more flat then they should have been. Still, they looked good anyway.

They're just made from strips of fabric, folded up and stitched on to a circle of felt. I added some little rose buds from wrapped strips to the middle of mine, which then made it flatter, but prettier!

In the evening I practiced some canvaswork stitches.

I love the texture this simple technique creates. I used Madeira Lana wool on some evenweave. It's not actually that color - white thread on camel fabric in real life!

To finish off the evening I ordered some hardanger supplies, so expect pics of yet another type of embroidery soon!


Surprise blog candy reveal

Friday, 27 May 2011

Time for my Birthday Surprise Blog Candy reveal! I know the lucky winner Veronica has received the goodies now, so I can safely share some pics!

First up is a pouch made with a mobile phone or MP3 player in mind. Fortunately, it fits Veronica's new phone just right! I made this at our Buns & Roses meeting last week using some new fabric that we got from Leeds Kirkgate Market. I just love it!

The back is plain felt and I added the little bit from the edge of the fabric where they check the printing lines up and the colours are right (there is a technical name for it but I forgot!)

Next up a Suffolk puff brooch. Veronica told me she likes autumn colours and this fabric with the leaves was just right!

I used a Stampin' Up! button and ribbon here too. These are so quick and easy to make. Well, unless you keep snapping your thread!

The third item was a cross stitch bookmark. Veronica likes to read crime novels, so I though this would save her hunting around for clues on where she's up to!

The charts were from a magazine and I just put them together on an aida band and added the wording. I made the tassle from gold thread and finished the back off with a piece of felt (handmade by Hayley).

Here's Sherlock Holmes peeking through the keyhole!

Finally, a meander book using the Springtime Vintage DSP.

I went with the lovely blue flower piece and decorated the front using Striped Grosgrain Ribbon and some other random bits in a similar green, and the Fun Flowers and Timesless Type Alphabet dies on my Big Shot.

The little pockets inside each have a tag in for a few words of wisdom.

I loved making all these and I'm glad Veronica enjoyed receiving them! I might even do another blog candy in the future!


Wednesday fun

Thursday, 26 May 2011

I had a very busy day Wednesday with lots of WI things - my favourite kind of things.

I spent most of it at the West Yorkshire Federation office sorting out things for my role as Denman College rep and also learning about running our monthly newsletter. I'll be getting involved in that too; I'm a woman of many talents. And not enough hours!

It's always fun being at the office with some of the other members and having a good gossip!

Here's me and Hayley being daft!

The evening was spent with Hayley and Helen as usual.

Here's Helen knitting me a hat!

I spent my time doing some tiny blackwork pieces as practice pieces towards my NFWI Embroidery Certificate.

I'm testing out different fabris and threads and getting used to how the patterns work - it makes my eyes go funny after a while!

Finally I helped Hayley set up her blog to showcase her artwork. It's still new but do head over and become a follower and you'll get to see some of her wonderful artwork in the coming weeks. Hayley's blog.


Tales from The WI

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Today I'm catching up on all the WI happenings from the last week or so, and there have been a lot!

Firstly, up at the West Yorkshire Federation of Women's Institutes I'm on the Home Economics and Handicrafts Committee. We sort all the crafty goodness out. The latest news is that I'll be running a card and gift bag workshop there next year and also that we're doing the WI stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate again. I'll be manning the stand at some point and hopefully teaching a workshop too. Exciting!

The next piece of gossip is that I'm now the Denman Rep for West Yorkshire! You know I loved my week there doing Elizabethan goldwork, so it just seemed like a good plan! I'll be helping spread the word about Denman to WIs around the county and will hopefully be able to get back down there very soon.

And finally, and most excitingly, I have been asked by the National Federation of Women's Institutes to attend the AGM in Liverpool next month! They needed a few members to act as reps for members of the press to speak to about what the WI is really like and what we get up to. I'm mega looking forward to it - 5,000 people attend and we have speakers, including Sir Steve Redgrave, and sing Jerusalem of course! Because I'll be with the press office it should be a good way to get a bit of a behind the scenes look at the WI as well!

There are other bits of WI-based fun, but they won't mean much to most people so let's just say that being a member is keeping me very busy and creative!

Finally, a pic of myself and the Buns & Roses committee at our meeting this week.


Getting back on board with blogging

Thursday, 19 May 2011

I've been a bit of a naughty blogger reently and not managed to update as often as I would like. In a way it's a good thing as it means I'm so busy, but it also means that my busy-ness hasn't been through cardmaking, which I am sad about. I hope to have a good session this weekend though and build up my cards for upcoming craft fairs, so I should be able to build up a stock of photos to share in future!

It's my dad's birthday today. I sent his pressie and card in the post so I hope they arrived safely and on time! I got him a Lewis Hamilton McLaren baseball cap, which I know he will appreciate and use. He likes to wear a cap when he flies his model airplanes. I bought him one from the MotoGP at Donington Park many years ago, but it is a bit knackered now, to say the least! So the new Hamilton one should keep him the sun out of his eyes this summer.

I also sent him a card using the Motorcycle stamp from Stampin' Up!, but I have already shared that with you (it was the swap I made for the Jems when the Mini Catalogue came out).

So instead, here is a card I made for Helen's dad, who had his birthday a few weeks ago.

This is the Sail Away stamp, another of the single ones in the new Mini Catalogue. I knew the page from the Newsprint DSP with the maps on would be perfect, but unfortunately I only had two tiny scraps of that one left, so I just scrumpled and inked them up and had them poking out from behind the image.

I used the Top Note Die and Square Lattice Embossing Folder in my Big Shot to make a nice background. Then I used the Jewellery Tag punch to make the label and attached it to a button with Linen Thread.

Daddy Helen was pleased with it, I am told!

I have lots of exciting WI news to share with you, but I think I will leave that until tomorrow as we have our Buns & Roses meeting tonight and there'll be more gossip from that too!


Clearly For You and more business

Monday, 16 May 2011

It's still busy, busy, busy in the life of Gemma!

I was a very good girl yesterday and got a lot of work done (while also managing to watch the MotoGP, The Spy Who Loved Me and have a soak in a bubbly bath with my book for Buns & Roses WI Book Club). Productive or what?!

I needed to do this as today it was the Home Economics & Handicrafts Committee meeting at the West Yorkshire Federation of WIs. As always, we nattered and drank tea and got a lot planned. We have lots of great things to organise, including my own card making workshop next year and our slot at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate this November.

So I still could do with a few more hours in each day!

Unfortunately I've not had a lot of time to do much papercrafting recently. But I must get back on track as I have craft fairs and a market stall to prepare for!

PLEASE can I have more time?!

I do have a few photos stored up still though, so here's a card using the Clearly For You set.

This was one of my very first must-haves from the 2011 Stampin' Up! Mini Catalogue as I love vintage things and the way you can mix up the different stamps within the set.

For this one, I cut out the squares and rolled half with the Sanded Wheel in Basic Grey ink to give texture and the other half I used the rectangle pattern image from Clearly For You.

I used the decorative elements in Melon Mambo and Old Olive on some of the squares, then scrunched them all up and distressed them by randomly inking in Basic Grey. Simply rubbing the ink pad gently over the card stock does the job.

This one has already come and gone as one of my fellow WI members bought it for a wedding card! I hope the happy couple liked it!

Time for another early night now so I have enough energy for all the things I have planned for tomorrow! The to do list includes work, stitching, card making ...


Learning to draw with The WI

Friday, 13 May 2011

Last night was our monthly workshop at Buns & Roses and we were learning how to draw.

We had a lovely illustrator called Steve Beaumont come to teach us and he was very good.

By starting off with shapes we all managed to draw a pretty realistic lady!

Here's my effort! Have to admit I'm not that keen on it. I liked it better before I did the face and hair!

Anyway, it was fun and I will definitely be a bit more confident giving drawing a go in future.

We have just started a Buns & Roses blog so please come and see us there for more pics and stories!

I also went to see the Asda WI yesterday - they are called the Trolly Dollies! And also had a quick visit to Leeds Kirkgate Market to organise selling some of my goodies there!

So it was a very busy and exciting day.


A little something for my SU daughter

Thursday, 12 May 2011

On Tuesday evening my lovely downline and friend Alex came round so I could help get her started as an Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator.

There was no time for crafting unfortunately, as we focused on business things, but we had a good time nonetheless.

I had made her a little something to say welcome to the Gem's Gems team and here it is ...

A little gift bag using the Scallop Envelope Die on my Big Shot.

These are really fun and easy to make - simply cut out four envelopes and stick them together so that the flap becomes the bottom of the box and the scallop bit is turned down over the top edge. Then decorate as you wish.

I used the Springtime Vintage DSP and added flowers made with the Fun Flowers Die and a bow from Seam Binding Ribbon.

I then filled it full of goodies - loads of bits of ribbon and a pot of buttons and brads.

The little pot is an empty SU one, which I just covered with another flower made using the Fun Flowers Die. I have also added texture by running the shapes through the Big Shot with an Embossing Folder - Square Lattice and Perfect Polka Dots.

Being an Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator is great fun and a fantastic way of making some money from being crafty. The Starter Kit costs just £119 for £230 of goodies and has everything to get you started.

If you'd like to find out more about joining the Gem's Gems just ring me or send me an email and we'll have a chat.


Vintage scrapbooking

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Whenever I go to antique fairs I always hunt out old photos. I just love the colours, the outfits and, best of all, some of the poses and situations.

It kills me that such precious memories can be thrown away so easily, so by buying a few I hope to save these people, whoever they are, and help them live on a bit longer.

But until I started scrapbooking I never really knew what to do with them. I've only done two pages so far (one was about a year ago now and the one I'm sharing today was finished a couple of weeks ago!) but at least I have a plan and so these people won't be stuck in a shoebox forever!

This photo appealed to me because the lady is so pretty, and also the because of the story. The writing on the photo tells us that she was Tina, and died in Rochester on the 6th of July 1923.

I used the Springtime Vintage DSP to make my 8x8ins page look like a wall. The border is Taffeta Ribbon and Seam Binding Ribbon. I distressed the edges a little to give it that worn look.

I made a frame for Tina's picture using the Decorative Label Punch. I had to position the shapes all around, then I sponged on some Champagne Shimmer Paint and then to neaten the line between photo and frame, I stuck down some Sticky Strip and covered it in Champagne Glass Glitter.

I also used the Decorative Label Punch to make a plain picture frame for some journaling, if I can ever think of anything to say about Tina.

I feel much better now that she has a proper place. Now to do some more vintage photo scrapbooking!

Busy week this one. Last night I went to see the ladies at Wilsden WI to help give a talk about Denman College. It was good fun and we sang Jerusalem!

I also have two other WI meetings this week - Buns & Roses and a new group at Asda - my SU daughter Alex is coming round for chat tonight, tomorrow I have a networking event to go to ... It's all happening!


Charity shop goodies

Monday, 9 May 2011

I've been trawling the charity shops in search of some bargains recently and have found some lovely things, so today I'm going to share my new treasures.

On Saturday Hayley and I went up to Otley as I'd been hearing all about the many charity shops and an awesome antique place. Took ages on the bus but it was a lovely day out, despite the rain. We stopped for cake and tea as well. Nom.

Anyway, here are my purchases.

We found this little wooden table and letter rack to use as displays for our craft fairs. Just £3 each!

No idea why I bought these two, but they amused me. The wording on the leather pouch reads: "My lady's friend for use at either end". Ooer missus! This caused me much amusement. I am guessing it is intended to hold a nail file. The soap bar doesn't really smell that great, but the packaging is cute. Just 50p each for these!

This is my favourite purchase - a miniature Oriental screen. It seems to be painted on to silk. One side has these lovely landscapes ...

And the other has birds and flowers. Simply beautiful. No idea where it will live but being a big fan of Japanese style I had to have it for just £6.50.

The book on the left I actually picked up at a charity shop in Frodsham last week. The other was one of today's purchases. Both should help me with the WI Embroidery Certificate I am about to start studying for. £1.99 and 99p respectively.

And finally, something completely different - a bright and funky top. Just 49p for a new look! It has a racer style back and is a baggy fit.

I am well and truly hooked on chairty shops at the moment. Will give the ones in Armley a visit this week!


Christening items

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a lady called Sharon, who had been given my details by my step-mum Jackie.

She was in need of some Christening items - customising two blankets and four personalised cards for the Godparents.

Of course I was happy to put my skills to good use and here is what I came up with.

These are the four cards - the babies are twins called Amy and Tom and they each have two sets of Godparents.

Here's a close-up of one. The embossing was done with my Big Shot using a folder I had found at a craft shop in Whitby. I printed out the wording on to Stampin' Up! cardstock, which worked brilliantly! I kept it quite simple, adding just a little flat bow in Pretty In Pink or Marina Mist Taffeta Ribbon.

And here is the blanket! I stitched the cross and name and date on to a piece of white evenweave, as well as a few decorative bits in metallic gold thread and some sequins. The patch was then edged with gold ribbon and sewn on to the blanket (which was a bit tricky with the tassles I must admit!).

I hope Amy and Tom and all the family have a lovely day today! It's strange to think that I may have created some family heirlooms!

I'm always delighted to help with embroidery or papercraft commissions so please do give me a shout if you need anything!


Beautiful Wings Embosslit card for my grandma

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Before I went home I needed to make a card for my grandma's 80th birthday. She likes pretty things with roses and butterflies and is always in her garden (her strawberries are to die for!) so I went with lots of pink and made the most of the Big Shot and accessories.

Here is what I came up with. I made a blue one to go in my craft fair box as well.

I made the most of the beautiful Springtime Vintage DSP, using a bit for the background and then another cut with the Top Note die on my Big Shot. I trimmed this one down along the perforations and cut another in plain cardstock for the frame.

The butterflies were cut with the Beautiful Wings Embosslit, which I simply adore. I also added some decoration using the Swirls Scribbles die. A few Pearls finished off the butterfly.

The sentiment is from Sincere Salutations, which works just perfectly.

My grandma loved it! I also gave her some yummy smellies made by my friend Sam over at Corsets, Crafts and Cupcakes.

Tomorrow I'll have some Christening pieces to share, with stitching as well as card making, so please come back!


Birthday surprise blog candy winner

Friday, 6 May 2011

Big thank you to everyone who left a comment for my birthday surprise blog candy draw. Indeed, thank you to everyone who has ever left me a comment. I read and appreciate every single one!

**Drumroll please**

And the winner is ...

Number 9 - Veronica.

She said:
happy blog birthday Gemma - finally found my way back to you! Hopefully Blogger and BT willing will manage to leave a comment and add your blog to my list .....

Congrats to Veronica!

Please email me at, telling me a bit about yourself and your postal address so I can make up some goodies for you!

Thanks again for reading. Back to normal service now that I'm back in Leeds and have rejoined the 21st century, so look our for some projects over the weekend.


J'ai retourne!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Yes blogland, I am back in the land of working interwebs (unless I've just jinxed it!).

I've had a lovely time with the family, so bear with me while I recall all the tales and finally manage to share some pics for the first time in a few days!

Saturday I went out with mum for a mooch round Chester. We didn't buy anything except coffee and lunch, but it was still fun. Then we went back to the farm to see Bodd.

Here he is!

Bodd isn't fazed by the cows at all - here he goes to get a wash from one of them!

Of course I got a good cuddle and a kiss!

We discovered that some kittens had just been born - literally within the last day! I want the grey one!

Mum then went to send the cows in for milking.

Bodd and I watched and this nosey heffer came right up to say hello!

Sunday I had lunch with nanna and grandad, and I also got to see my aunty Lynne and Uncle Ian and also went to watch my niece Ziva swimming. My sister-in-law Yael went in with her and me and niece Tabitha sat and watched. Well, Tabitha slept!

Dad and I managed a trip to the cinema to see TT3D - a 3D film about last year's Isle of Man TT, which was amazing. Guy Martin featured heavily and we ate loads of popcorn and sweets!

Then last night it was my grandma's 80th birthday, so we surprised her by getting all her kids and grandkids together for a meal! Was lovely to see them all again, although grandma embarassed us all by asking for great grandkids. She'll have to wait a few more years yet!

So that was my week back home.

Finally, a reminder that you have until midday tomorrow (Friday, 6th) to enter my birthday surprise blog candy draw here. I'll be back tomorrow afternoon with the winner.


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