Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Holiday Crafts

Now that school has finished for the year, we have been having a few crafty days with friends.  We had a day of stamping and card making this week, which my girls particularly enjoy doing with their friends and the mums enjoy it too, so it is a win-win situation for everyone!

Another crafty morning we enjoyed last week with friends was painting ceramics.  We went to a store which was filled with lots of lovely pieces to choose from.  The idea is to choose the piece you want, in the price range you want and then decorate it with paint.  Some pieces on display were of pieces which had been beautifully painted, others were hand-drawn designs on plates, mugs, etc.  Some really great Christmas gift ideas to make for someone special.
Most of the girls decided on Christmas Decorations but one of my girls is a real cat lover at heart, so she couldn't look beyond the cat figures to paint - she just had difficulty choosing which one.

The colours look quite muted as they are painted on and required several layers of painting.

We left the pieces at the store for a week so that they could be kiln fired. 

We had some excited girls when they saw their finished pieces!

If you check the picture above of the cat being painted and then compare it with this picture of the finished product, you can see it was actually quite difficult to picture how they would look when done from the colour paints the girls were using.  They are both very proud of their efforts!

My own craftiness this week seems to be revolving about Christmas gifts.  Here is an idea to share with you - simple to make and the end result is so cute!

Marshmallows and Hot Chocolate mix presented as a snowman in cute little jars.  I actually filled some with Milo too as I know lots of people like this as a hot or cold drink too.  Some of my jars had Christmas coloured candies in them too. 
The jars are glued together and decorated with gem stones.  The snowman's hat it made from felt and some spotted ribbon for a scarf.  I forgot to take a photo of all my completed snowmen together, they looked so cute in a group, so I just have to make do with this single photo instead.  These are quite a cost effective gift, especially if you buy the supplies in bulk packs.  All our friends, neighbours, etc will receive one of these this year.  I just have to hope none of them read my blog first!!
I hope you are all enjoying your own Christmas preparations!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Playgroup Christmas Nativity and Party

It's hard to believe Christmas is almost upon us - it seems to have come around so quickly this year!  I still have so much to do and the last few weeks have been filled with lots of Christmas activities and parties.  Today I thought I would share with you a little of our end of year Playgroup Christmas party.
We always end our final day for the year with a big party and gifts for everyone.  It is a much anticipated event and nobody stays away on that day!   

We had all the children dress up in costumes and they did a mini version of acting out the Christmas nativity play and sang some Christmas carols.  The children performed this for their parents and grandparents and also an older people's group which meets elsewhere in the church's buildings.  The whole thing only takes all of 10 minutes, if that, so perfect for the attention span of the little ones involved.

We gave out these delicious Christmas Tree cookie stacks as gifts to all those who came along to watch.  The older children had fun distributing these gifts which were very kindly made by one of our playgroup mums.

Each year I make up scrapbooks for each of the children which is full of their art & craft work and photos taken of the children at play and doing various activities throughout the year.  It is a lovely keepsake which everyone looks forward to having.
For gifts this year we used Gift Bags.  This is the most effective way of packaging up gifts we have done so far.  Each year we improve on the process slightly.  The bags were all hand-stamped and contained the children's scrapbooks plus their Christmas gifts.  It made the whole process of distributing gifts so much quicker and easier.  This photos doesn't show all the children, we have quite a large group and short attention spans, so we need a process that works quickly.  I think we will do this again.

This year all the mothers, grandmothers and carers who come along each week all received a lovely Nutri-Metics gift.  We always do something fun for the ladies, not usually this extravagant, sometimes smaller gifts or even a secret Santa which we all contribute to.  This year someone very kindly donated a whole lot of Nutri-Metics products for me to use as gifts for both of our Playgroups, which is over 50 ladies - so it was a lovely treat for everyone!

We ended our busy morning with a lovely morning tea - so much food that we had plenty of leftovers!  It was a great ending to a very fun year, shared with a fantastic group of people.  We have the best playgroup ever - of course I am completely biased - but the sense of community, support and friendship within this group is like nothing I have ever experienced elsewhere, and I have certainly been to my fair share of playgroups over the years with my own 4 children during their younger years. 

Thanks for sharing our Playgroup Christmas with me.  I will be back to share more of my recent activities soon.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Close To My Heart - Christmas Cards

This last month has been busy with a number of card making workshops.  I am loving being part of the Close To My Heart company so much.  I feel like I could never call this work, it is too much fun!
This month the focus has been on Christmas Cards.  I will share a few of the cards we have worked on with you.

This Noel card was made using the Sparkle & Shine Paper Pack and the Remarkable Wreath stamp set.  The stamps in this set are great - you start with stamping a twig wreath and build up your layers however you want them.  Mine just has Christmas berries, but other ladies added leaves and even flowers to theirs.  They all looked different and so amazing!

This Nativity card is made using the Glory To God stamp set.  The stamped image has been highlighted with Liquid Glass and this gives it a raised, glossy finish.  Difficult to see in the photo, but so, so nice!

This Christmas Card was done using the Holiday Cheer stamps and once again the Christmas Ornaments have been coated with Liquid Glass to give a raised, glossy finish. 

The last one I am going to share with you is one of my favourites - it is a Christmas version of a tri-fold card.  Very effective! 
I think by general consensus at our last workshop, all the ladies agreed that Card Making was not only fun it also felt quite therapeutic to spend some time away from the stress of our busy lives and just enjoy being creative for a few hours.
If you liked any of the stamps we have used, they are all available for purchase online, just click on the links I have provided.

Until next time,

Monday, 11 November 2013

Handmade Craft Market

My first time running a stall at our local Handmade Craft Market has come and gone and was quite a fun, successful day!  The markets were the weekend following my daughter's birthday, so after all the party preparations, I was only left with a week to get things ready for the markets, but thankfully it all came together well.  I shared the stall with a friend, which helped to give us both the confidence to give this a try.
The markets are specifically called a Handmade Market, stocking products that are all handmade.  Some crafty things, some edible.  The lady who manages the markets also asked me if I would set up a demonstration of some type, so I had a free stamping make & take table which was very popular with the customers.

I managed to get a photo of the stall only part way through set-up.  After that things got too busy and I never had a chance to get one of the completed set-up.  Next time!

These were some gift bags filled with candy which I made using some of my Close To My Heart Stamps,  My new wreath stamps were so much fun to experiment with and create so many different looks. 

These are some giant clip magnets - perfect to clip up and hold paperwork you need to keep handy.

These are cute little notebooks with post-it notes inside.  All have been made using my stamps.  I love how they turned out!  I plan to make more of these.  They would make perfect little Christmas gifts.

These were some of my handmade magnets - before I had them all nicely packaged up.  Even though I do enjoy a wide variety of crafts - I kept my focus on paper crafts for the markets.

This was just a small selection of the cards I had for sale.  I enjoy making them, I find it so relaxing - but the quantity of cards can add up quite quickly, so much more than I could possible use myself, so it was a great opportunity to sell some.  They were quite popular.

The market is only new to our area in the last few months.  It runs every month.  I loved it so much that I do plan to do it again next month - so that means some more busy days ahead for me, creating more to sell!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sweet 16 + Hand Stamped Cards CTMH

Wow! What a busy weekend for our family.  My daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party was a huge success.  She celebrated with a great group of friends and they all seemed to have a fun evening together.  She didn't want the night to end, so I take that as a sign of success!

Usually I always make the birthday cakes for my children, but this year I was really struggling with time so I asked a friend if she would consider making one for my daughter.  She agreed and made the most amazing cake!!  She had never made a topsy-turvy cake before, which was the birthday girl's request, but she was up for the challenge and the end result was a stunning cake which received a lot of praise on the night.
Our back garden was lit up like a fairy light wonderland, it made for the perfect party backdrop.  We loved seeing our daughter so happy and enjoying her celebrations with her friends. 
Well I promised to share some of my latest creations with you, which are all stamping related, so here they are:

A Christmas Card made using the Hostess Washi Tape Stamp Set available from Close To My Heart (CTMH).  I love this stamp set - it is so versatile and you can use it to make so many different things.

This card and the next one are similar, just done using different ink colours and sayings. The background is done using the CTMH Honeycomb stamps.

This next one is made using two of my favourite CTMH products - the Chantilly Paper Pack and the Pinwheel stamp set which was the September Stamp of the Month set.  I love the colours in this card!

And this one is my other favourite stamp sets Paisley Perfect.  In fact, it is probably my most used stamp set of all.

A lot of these cards and others that I have been working on samples of some of the card making workshops and also you can see they are all packaged in plastic - the reason for that I will save to share in another post.  Another first time venture for me which makes me feel both excited and a little scared at the same time.

Hope you are enjoying a great week so far!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

So much Crafty Goodness!

If you are a reader of my blog, you will have noticed the underlying fact of my life is that I am too busy.  I love all that I do, but I am guilty of cramming too much into each 24 hour period and leaving myself feeling constantly on the brink of exhaustion.  What do I do for relaxation, other than craft?  I read Amish novels and I love them, I love escaping into the tranquillity of their world.  The two extremes of lifestyle could not be any more different. 
The reason you haven't heard much from me, is simply a lack of time to get to my computer and update my blog.  I have been busy crafting whenever possible - mostly making cards.  It's been too warm to crochet lately, summer has come early it seems.  I haven't been in the mood for quilting.  Maybe once my craft room is finally sorted out and I have someplace to leave my machine set up  it might look more tempting to sew.

Here is a card I made for my oldest daughter's birthday.  It's quite a large card and I was so happy with how it turned out.  This weekend we are having a Sweet 16 Party for her.  She is very excited and looking forward to it!  
I enjoyed going along to the Stitches and Craft Fair last week with my oldest daughter.  It is the biggest craft fair we have here each year and always has an amazing display of quilts on show, plus lots of classes to do and a large variety of stalls for shopping for just about any craft imagineable.

One of my purchases was this giant sized paper punch - these flowers measure 2  1/2" or 6  1/2cm, so they are huge!  It was one of those bargain prices I just couldn't resist.  I could imagine so many craft possibilities with our scrapbooking, card making and also my playgroup crafts.  The best part is this punch is really easy to use too, not like some other punches I have which really hurt your fingers/hands to use.
Recently I found out that one of my favourite stores, A Shabby Streak is closing down.  So very sad, especially when it is one of those specialty stores where you can find all types of gifts, home d├ęcor, pretty laces, little girl treasures, etc.  It is just a beautiful store and will be missed by so many.  So I did go pay them a quick visit when I was in the area yesterday and came away with some lovely china mugs and a pretty cake plate and these gorgeous pieces of lace and flat pearls for making something with.

I have some beautiful hair scrunchies and a hair clip which also have come from A Shabby Streak.

Today a nice big parcel was delivered for me!  I always get excited when parcels arrive, especially if it is craft items and I get to look inside at all the wonderful treasures - even if they aren't all for me!  Here are some of my new Close To My Heart supplies which I can't wait to try out!  I think I will need to wait until after the party on the weekend though, too much to get done between now and then.

Here is the exclusive Stamp of the Month set for October.  I've seen some beautiful card ideas made from using these stamps.  If you like it be sure and order before the end of the month so you don't miss out.  Stamp of the Month sets are never repeated again.

 I will be back to share more of my latest creations soon!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies & CTMH Craft

It is school holidays here and so that means lots of children around, all of whom seem to be constantly hungry!  Here is one of our favourite cookie recipes which we find is loved by anyone who tries them.  They may not look overly attractive, but don't be deceived - once you try one of these cookies, it is hard to resist taking another!

Here is the Recipe in case you may want to give them a try.  Yes, it is a lot of butter, which is why you don't make them often!!
Chocky Rocks
250g Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
½ tsp Vanilla
2 cups Self Raising Flour
100g Chocolate Bits
½ cup Sultanas (optional)
2 cups Cornflakes

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla, beating well between each addition.  Fold in flour, choc bits, sultanas and cornflakes and mix thoroughly.  Place teaspoonfuls of mixture onto greased/lined baking tray and bake in oven for 12-15 minutes at 180*C (160*C for fan forced).
We have been spending days with lots of play dates for the children with their friends.  We have also done quite a lot of papercraft activities when it has just been our family having a quiet morning or afternoon at home.  Certainly never a dull moment here!
I've had so much fun making up cards using my new Close To My Heart products.  One of my favourite stamp sets has been the Washi Stamps set - this is a special hostess reward set only.  If you want to know more, just contact me.

I hosted a CTMH gathering last week and enjoyed an evening of card making with a lovely group of ladies.  These are the cards we worked on.

This simple design was to give the ladies practice with general stamping techniques, especially for those new to stamping. 

This card was a lot of fun to make.  The Pinwheels stamps are from the September Stamp of the Month Promotion.  I've fallen in love with these pinwheels and used them for a number of different card and scrapbook projects, even a simple table centrepiece.  I can picture using them for birthday parties too - so much fun to stamp and put together.  It's fun experimenting with colour combinations too, colour makes them all look a little different.
Hope you are enjoying a little bit of craft time in your part of the world!


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Handmade Cards - Close To My Heart CTMH

Last night I hosted my first home gathering and enjoyed an evening of card making with a great group of ladies.  It was so much fun!
I am loving the opportunity to create projects from all these wonderful new products.  Here are the cards we made last night.

Both this card and the next one were made using the Chantilly Paper Pack.  The colours and designs in the pack are just gorgeous with so many creative possibilities.

The stamp sets used here are Beautiful Friendship - this was used for the wording in both cards as well as the pale yellow stamped background on the second card, which is a little hard to see in the picture.  The other set used for the flowers was my favourite Hooray Bouquet.  The flowers were cut out and mounting tape has been used to add dimension to the card.
The ladies really enjoyed making both cards and loved the designs and the new products they were able to try out.

Today I have made up one more quick card and I'm pleased with how it turned out!

This card would be great for a beginner.  The main stamped part of the card was made using the Honeycomb stamp set. The inks are bright, sunny colours - they make you feel happy!
I hope you are having a great day!!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Birthdays, Kids Crafts and Cards!

Do you ever have weeks where you feel like you have just lived a month within the space of one week?  Well we have just had one of those.

The week always starts with Playgroup preparations - here are our latest Playgroup crafts for those of you who like craft ideas for little people.

I found tubs of cute stickers which we used to make these.  Foam sticker tubs are great value.  I made up 50 separate crafts and used just over one tub, so I have plenty of leftovers to put away for another year. 

We had had a birthday  and a birthday cake!  Very simply decorated with marshmallow flowers dipped in pink sugar.  The inside of the cake was a little impressive though, chocolate cake filled with coloured cake balls - it gave a nice rainbow effect.  Of course, silly me, I forgot to take a photo of the cake once it was cut.

We usually do home birthday parties, but this year the Birthday Girl wanted to go bowling with some of her little friends.  They had such a fun time and I discovered that we have one very serious little bowler in the family!

And the special occasion included the Birthday Girl getting her ears pierced!

It has been exam week at school, getting end of term assignments finished and handed in and just lots of extra running around in general.  But amidst all the craziness that has been our week, one of my girls and I have had a chance to have some fun together and try out some of our new Close To My Heart stamps and make some cards. 

These stars are fantastic!  I still need to work on my techniques for applying the Liquid Glass to give a glossy, 3D effect.  I've used it on other cards with no problems, but this time I applied it right after inking - so I have learned that you need to let the ink dry first so that it doesn't bleed.  I am loving the colours in this card though!!!

This card was made by one of my younger girls.  She did a great job!  It was done using the stamps from a set called Hooray Bouquet.  This has been one of my favourite stamp sets so far and I have used it myself for so many card projects.

This one is made from a set of stamps called Beautiful Friendship.  My daughter has done it in her favourite colour.  Her stamping techniques are getting better the more she does.

I have a few more cards I am working on at the moment, but will wait and share those with you another time. 

Hope your week is a productive one with a little crafting included somewhere!