Hello and welcome to All things card and paper at Evelyn Mae. A place where I get to wax lyrical about all things to do with card making. From stitching to glitter, to history to whims of fashion ...

Thank you for visiting

Shelly X

Monday, 21 November 2011

Handbags ...

Handbags ....

Hello all. I am just stopping by to share this card with you that was a custom card made at the end of October. My brief was handbags, purple, and stylish. So I came up with this ...

I used an existing pre-cut shaped card as a template, and made this one much larger. I am happy with how this worked out- I would recommend you giving it a go, especially when it is covered in patterned papers, you cannot tell that it is not die cut.

I used 12x12 patterned papers, a  vintage button that my Auntie Sharon had found for me, some tags made with the PTI mat stack 4, and some gems.

Inside I kept to the same level of detail ...

I made a simple pocket so that the personal messages could be placed inside, and finished it off with a pin.

All in all, I think a good attempt at a card that is somewhat out of my comfort zone!  If anyone has any tips to help me out with sort of card, do let me know!

Thanks for stopping by,

Shelly X

(p.s. can I say sorry for the picture quality here- I was using my new phone and hadn't quite got to grips with it!!)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Belle Beau

Hi all,

Sorry it has been a while since I have popped by. Firstly, I have been poorly, and only managing to do the bare minimum around the house and work, and secondly, I am pretty busy with orders for the next few weeks.  Needless to say, my blogging has slipped somewhat!

I wanted to share with your a couple of things today .... A very good friend of mine has a new company 'Belle Beau', and also I wanted to share a little about the web platform she is using for it compared with my own.

The website is belle beau and is owned by Kelly Harmer.  Kelly and I went to school together, and she was always brilliant at art and being creative.  She has recently had a little girl, so how she has managed to set up her business along with having a baby I don't know ... ( I suspect she has a little super girl in there somewhere!!)  but she has finally found an outlet for all her creativity.  Sound familiar? .... There are so many for whom their job does just not fulfil that inner need to make a mess with glue and glitter!

Kelly makes picture frames filled with paper art.  For any occasion, and so easy for her to change with the tides of fashion.  I love the butterfly designs that she has done.  As you all know, I have been using a lot of butterflies over the last few months!

If you have a spare moment, please take a look.  Her designs are CAS and really inspirational ... I know for me, I have had a million ideas on different cards I could make!  She also is on facebook, so if you feel like following the goings on of Belle beau, here is the link.

Belle beau's website is hosted by a company called moonfruit, and I must say, I am really impressed with it.  As some of you may know, I have not been happy with my website for a while.  I find that it is not sleek enough, and I haven't found a way to link in my blog and facebook site easily. Not so long ago half my day was spent online updating the site, blog, facebook and folksy.  And well, it was too much, with little return.  What I like about moonfruit is that is enables, as far as I can see, to allow you to blog and have a website in the same place.  BRILLIANT!! It allows you to publish your shop with paypal easily, and it also does all the hard work in making it readable from all sorts of places whether its chrome or mozilla.  This for me has been one of the hardest parts of using my website, is that it just doesn't look right in all forms of medium.

So for me, I will definitely be looking more closely at websites and blogs that I like, and seeing who they are using ........  Change is a coming!  In the meantime, over the Christmas break I will be working on my website- I have been meaning too for the last few months, and trying to tie things in a little.  

How have you all got on with your blogging platforms and with your website builders? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Well, I'd better dash, I have four cards to make today, and time is a ticking!!

Thanks for stopping by ....

See you soon

Shelly X

Saturday, 5 November 2011

cake blogs? ....

Today I am thinking about baking. A lot.  

So I thought that some of you might be able to help me with a little mission I have undertaken ....

I am wondering if anyone can suggest some great cake baking/ cupcake blogs that I could read ..... Any suggestions of baking blogs you all follow would be lovely!!

Thanks all XX

Saturday, 22 October 2011

cupcakes galore!

It seems to me that there is nothing better than a cup of tea with a cupcake.  I do not need any excuse to have either, and I love to bake them.  There is something about having an individual cake wrapped just for me - I am a sucker for them!!! 

After some positive feedback about my baking from the card party guests, and the customers of the coffee shop I am working in, I have been full steam ahead this week with practising  my baking skills. 

I have beenmaking little lemon cakes ... I have basically been adapting a Victoria sponge mixture- I find that they not too dry, and with a little pinch of baking powder they rise well too.  These three were my first testers making a lemon cake, so I used 2oz of ingredients, and one lemon.  If I made this on a larger scale you could decrease the amount of lemons.  I also use vanilla in all my cakes, I find that this really helps the overall flavour.

I have taken a while to get used to the oven! It certainly isn't like ours at home, and takes a good 15-20 minutes longer of cooking time.  I found this out when the first batch of vanilla cakes sank!!  I tried to disguise it with icing, but I am sure the more practised bakers would have been able to tell!!! It really is surprising how you get on so differently with a different set of utensils and equipment, does anyone else find this? ...

I also had a go at some mini rich chocolate cupcakes. I used petit four cases, and winged it with the cooking time, but I was happy with them. They remained moist which can be so tricky with little cakes.

Instead  of butter icing, I used chocolate ganache this time. It requires equal measures of cream of chocolate, and once heated and combined, gently whisked if you need a stiffer topping.

I could eat this stuff on its own, but with the mini cakes it was lovely.  This was batch number two, and they worked well, so I am really happy with this.  

Along with some scones, the cupcakes looked lovely, and the feedback was positive.  I wish I could get more domes though .... the presentation is so much better in a glass cover rather than cling film!!

If anybody lives near Margate, it would be really really lovely to see you.  The coffee shop is in Holy Trinity Church, and is currently open 9-2 Monday to Friday.  You can find all the details about the location, and all the Church and Centre have to offer here.  

Also this week I have been making a little gift box.  My friend has just had a little baby boy, and I wanted to give her a baby grow for him, so I made something to present it.

Inside was the little baby grow tied with ribbon ....

The photo doesn't really show it to its best, but I think that you should be able to see how it is constructed, and how the ribbon ties in with the box itself.  I like the little flowers!

It has been somewhat of a crazy week, and I am looking forward to a more ordered one next week. Perhaps I will have some time in the evenings next week to get out for an evening walk wrapped up snug in hats and scarves.  We shall see!!!

Thanks for stopping by

Shelly X

Saturday, 15 October 2011

card party and beyond ...

Firstly, can I say sorry .... I only managed to take one picture from last nights card party, and I didn't remember to ask the ladies permission to publish it, so I am sharing the event without pictures of the evening I am afraid.

So, a Tupperware party with greetings cards ... turned out to be a really lovely evening.  I had a hallway full of cards which was a daunting sight. I know I had been preparing for this for a while, but I didn't realise quite how much stuff I had to take!!

I had been prepared and in hopes of making some sales gone to the bank to get some change, but what I hadn't properly prepared for was suitable boxes to display the cards in.  Sadly it ended up being a whole mixture of boxes, and in future, I will be purchasing some decent uniformed display boxes! To be honest, just to have the same boxes for each set of cards would have been a whole lot better, so lesson one learned!

Once I arrived at my hosts house, she prepared light snacks and drinks, and I set up the table. I was surprised how much space I needed.  Guests started to arrive, and some people took their goodie bags, and some didn't, and we all stood around the table, chatting and having a peek at the boxes.  In future, I think I might suggest that people use another room to chat in as well, I think the added space would have been good- and although my hostess had made the space, I should have directed everyone into it myself.  Equally, I should have been more proactive in giving out the goodie bags, not everyone took one, which made the give-away harder.

 Overall, it was lovely to hear some positive comments, and also some constructive criticism.  One interesting comment that caused much discussion was one guest did not like the term 'with sympathy' on a card, and she will always try and find a different sentiment which she found difficult.  I hadn't considered using anything other than that or a bible verse, so that's given me a lot to think about.  Also the guests commented on my mini coffee cupcakes that I made to take for my host, and they suggested that I sell them.  Funnily enough this was something I considered last year when I moved to Margate, but chickened out because there are two local companies that already do such a wonderful job at cupcakes.  But it is something I may go back to considering, especially now I am baking for the coffee shop too!

The prize went down well, especially the box of cupcakes generously given by Lindsey of Lexilou's cupcakes.  If you live in the Thanet area you should really check these lovely lovely cupcakes out!  She is often out and about at craft fayres and events, so if you see her, please stop by to say hello, and check out the amazing things she makes!

Lastly, the guests all seemed to like the bottle tag that I made for the give-away (see the previous blog here) so I think for my next card party that I will make some, and definitely will be making more for Christmas. They really do make a bottle of wine that little bit more.

I have had a few orders come in from the event, so I will be sharing these with you after the birthdays and anniversaries have passed, and in the meantime, I will be cupcake making and also making a baby boy and baby girl card, so I will catch you sometime during the week to let you know the progress I have made!

Thanks for stopping by

Shelly X 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

wine and cards

I am just stopping by the share with you a little project that I worked on last night.  After another busy day in work, and after a mountain of paperwork, I found myself looking at the bottle of wine that I am giving away this weekend..... I didn't drink it though! I decorated it!!!

I wanted to make it a little special, and after seeing this little wine bottle tag here on Nichole Heady's blog, I wanted to make one too!!  I simplified it somewhat, and it was done in less than five minutes.  It used scraps of paper, the negative image form the bottle neck hole, and a 'thanks' stamp from PTI.  That it!! (Sorry for the poor image here, the colour doesn't quite pop on the photograph as it does in real life!)

I think if I made one again, I would make it slightly narrower, but I am really happy that it was so quick to make.

More good news to report from work today ... after selling my three Victoria sponges at the beginning of the week, I sold all six that I made today!! I was so happy!!  I was so pleased with them - it is a little odd to be using equipment that I am not familiar with, and the fact that i didn't burn them, or take them out too early is a really big deal!!

My next baking work adventure will be next week where I will be making scones as requested by a customer today, and coffee cupcakes!  HHhmmmm. Cupcakes!!

I'll be back over the weekend to share the party news, the giveaway cakes arrive tomorrow, so it has come around quickly, but I am hopeful for a fun evening.

Happy weekend all X

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mini Victoria sponge ....

I just thought I'd nip by with a picture of the mini Victoria sponges I made yesterday.

They are somewhat of an experiment, as I am not sure how long the cream stays fresh on the cakes for ... yes, packaging always says three days, but the taste may alter, so I am eating a half a cake a day, in the hopes that I can tell how long they last for!!

I can think of worse experiments!!.....

I used a traditional Victoria sponge recipe as my base and tweaked it a little, so I baked with ....

2oz margarine
2oz caster sugar
2oz plain flour
dash of baking powder
dash of baking soda
drop of vanilla essence
1 egg
some strawberry jam

and for the cream ...

dash of vanilla
dash of caster sugar
half a tub of Elmlea double cream

All in all, the taste was lovely, the sponge came out surprisingly good. I baked the sponge in silicone cupcake moulds so that I could easily remove them to make the layered sponge which also worked well.  However, I was not so keen on the cream- my Mum suggested clotted cream, and I think this would be a good move as the cakes will maintain a much better shape .....

Any thoughts?. .....

See you in the week with more experiments, and a little story about a newborn baby called Evelyn Mae!!

Take care all X

Saturday, 8 October 2011

I've missed you ...

I have really missed being so involved in blogland recently.  I was beginning to feel like part of the community and was becoming familiar with other people and their work, and its as good as stopped this last week. At present I have 192 blog posts to catch up on in my google reader, and I know that I will not be able to read them all. I may have to go through and streamline my reading list, which I'd rather not do, but I would like to be able to give the blogs my full attention, rather than skimming and not fully engaging with any.

What do you all do?  For those who work another job other than their crafting?  How do you manage to follow blogs?

Shelly X

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

My oh my ...

Hello and welcome back to All things card and paper ... Although, this is more for myself than you lovely readers I dare say!  My, what a week.  As you know, I left you last preparing for the imminent card party.  

Well, needless to say, things did not go according to plan.  A had a call the day before to say that the host and her family were feeling really unwell, and we have had to reschedule the party.  This was a good move I think, as a poorly host would do nothing for the mood of the evening, however, I had prepared so much for the event.  Most of the cards and sale items can all be boxed ready for the next one, and it does mean that now I have some added time to spend on making some Christmas gifts!

The one downside was that I had a box of six fabulous cupcakes made and donated by Lexilou  in Ramsgate, Kent, which I then subsequently had to eat as I couldn't take them.  They were gorgeous!  So I will be buying a box ready for the next event for the lovely guests!!

I have been very busy this week also, because I have taken on some temporary work in a coffee shop; this is a career I left a few years ago and really enjoyed, and it has been brilliant to get back to doing it.  Although, my legs are aching and my head is filled with scones and cakes ... but I am enjoying it none the less!

Lastly, the final reason for my business has been a visit from my Nan and her sister this weekend!  We had a lovely time chatting over tea and baguettes, and a lovely meal out on Saturday evening.  We took the bus into Canterbury (they are freedom pass holders!) and took a boat trip on the river Stour.

This weekend also saw the kite festival return to Margate; last year my Nan visited on the same weekend, so we went down to the beach to see the kites.  It has been such a fast year- we have seen our first anniversary, a new business, two new jobs, and out first year in our first home together.  It really has been a brilliant, if a fast, first year in Margate!  It was a clean and bright Autumn day, still with some heat in from summer.  We were able to sit and watch the kites on the sand and watch the world pass us by!

Thanks for stopping by today, 

Shelly X

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Just a note ...

Hello all,

I just wanted to pop in and let you know why I have been lying low in blog land recently!  I am in the last week of preparations for a card party coming up .... I am putting together goodie bags for the guests, and making gifts and cards ready to show the ladies.

I have a Papertrey order arriving tomorrow .... I am so excited, but it was somewhat tainted this morning when I had a bill to pay for import tax before they would release it for delivery! But once the package arrives it will be like Christmas, and I will be trying out all my news toys!

So I will be back over the next week to bring you all up to speed, and the perhaps try my hand at a challenge or two, and the share with you all my new Papertrey goodies, and all the things I create with them!

Have a lovely weekend all, and I will catch you soon

Shelly X

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Blog hop of sorts ...

Whilst walking along Botany bay over the past few weeks during all the lovely summer weather, I came upon an idea.  Or more to the point, it came to me.  A blog hop of sorts that I could do in my own time that had no prescribed list to follow .... 

I have been doing this over the last few weeks, and it has been brilliant!  If you'd like to join me, the method is simple ....

* Pick a blog you already follow or are familiar with  
* Leave a comment on one of the posts you like
* Pick another person who has left a comment who you don't know yet
* Go to their blog, see lots of new things and inspiration, and repeat

Its amazing the amount of blogs I have visited that I wouldn't normally have come across; different crafts, styles and techniques, variety of countries and people, all with something different and unique to offer.

To be honest, If I read all the blogs that I'd like on a regular basis, well, it would be impossible to get any crafting done myself!  But simply hopping around like this lets me visit lots of blogs for an hour or two, whenever I have the time, means I get variety without filling up my google reader!! 

I'd love for you to join me in this style of hopping, so feel free to post a link so that others can see the instructions, although not necessary ... if you just want to pass a few hours ... go on ahead!  Also feel free to link your blogs in the comments below, I'll be hopping around and would like to visit, (more than likely with a nice cup of tea in hand!)

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Shelly X

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Crafting confessions ...

Hi all,

Today I am very excited to be bringing you a guest blog, from a very talented lady, Amy Wanford.  Many of you will know her work, and know her by the name Aimes, and I suspect, many of you have been following her for some time.  Not me.  I have only recently discovered her fab blog, and have had a fair amount of catching up to do of blog posts and photographs! And what a brilliant stash of projects I had to catch up on!

Whilst buying my first Papertrey Ink stamp set from a seller in the United states, the kind seller told me about a UK run site called A passion for papertrey so I popped on over.  Amy, along with Caryn and Kate (you can find these girls at the blog)  run a site that is brilliant for the PTI fans that are UK based.   There is something about my style that just suits the PTI range, and so I began to play along with the challenges.  They showcase cards and give inspiration, all three with a variety of approach, but in a way which makes you feel like you can achieve something great too! As a gal who is far too self-depreciating, this in no mean feat!!

From here I began to follow Amy's blog. It is informative, but not to packed full of text (I am a pictures kind of blogger!)  and the photos of her work always make me aspire to do better, and as making cards is my full time occupation, it is so important for me to do better quality work, and continually try to do something new and different.

Now the thing about Amy is that this is NOT her full time occupation - although I am sure she packs in more hours to crafting than most! (Personally, I think she may actually have more hours in the day than normal people!)  But this got me thinking, so I invited her to do a guest blog which touched on how she manages to accomplish what she does ..... 

"So here I am gatecrashing yet another blog - I'm getting a reputation for this! LOL! For those of you who don't know me, my name is Amy Wanford (aka Aimes) and I'm a gal that lives in Sheffield that makes cards and wishes that there were more hours in the day to make more :) I've always been a papercrafting junkie but got into the card making side of things in 2009 and took the plunge to start showing my work on a blog. I could never have dreamed of the opportunities and fabulous friends I've made from simply sharing my creations and being a part of an amazing, supportive community here in Blogland!

I wish I could be making cards all day and making it my job, but then that would mean I'd have to leave my full time job in education which I love as well! My job means that I do get a lot of holidays so these past summer holidays have been one mass inky session. When I'm back at work I tend to squeeze in any inky time during the weekends as I'm usually busy after work with other commitments (playing football or playing the bass guitar) or just too tired! Working full time means I have to be super organised when it comes to my Design Team responsibilities (for CASE study) and submitting work for publications. I print a list of what I need to do and have it on my desk always and I'm never too far from my phone to note down ideas (I always have my best ideas as I'm drifting off to sleep so the phone sleeps next to me :D) The other day I was shopping and had to stop in a department store to take a pic of the display - I found it totally inspiring - my guy thought I was nuts! LOL!

I've been lucky enough to have had some real highlights of my inky adventure so far. Having made it to the Top 5 of Gallery Idol was unbelievable and seeing my creations grace the pages of glossy magazines such as Paper Crafts and CARDS is something that still gives me goosebumps even now! My two star tips for submitting for publication are firstly to check out what kinda cards that magazine accepts (they may not suit your style) and secondly, submit, submit, SUBMIT! Some of my favourite cards are ones that have been rejected; don't take it personally, it could be something as simple as the colour of your card not fitting in with their layout design! So you just submit some more! You never know if you don't try, right?! ;D

Trends are definitely something to keep your eye on when it comes to creating cards and especially if you're wanting to be published. I can't say that I follow them religiously but I always watch and see that fashion tends to dictate quite a few trends in papercrafting and if they fit my style, then I'll happily jump on the bandwagon. Trends I've got my eyes on right now are animal prints, geometric patterns and purple; I can easily have fun with these elements so you'll probably see some cards using them sometime soon!

Well I think that's enough rambling from me! If you fancy checking out any of my work you can visit me on my blog, Crafting Confessions where you'll be made most welcome!

Thanks to Shelly for inviting me over here!

x  "

I don't know about you, but I love getting an insight into how other people work, and how they spend their days ... and you never know, maybe, just maybe, it will inspire me to be productive with the hours I do have to work.  (Although, not today ... I am off to the Tesco for the big shop, so maybe tomorrow!!!)

A huge thanks to Amy for writing this for the Everything card and paper blog; if you have time, please take a look at her blog, and also the Passion for papertrey blog ... You never know what inspiration you might find for today!

[17/10/2012 - My apologies for the lack of pictures in this post ... I somehow managed to delete all oll the blogs pictures recently. :(   Please have a look at Amy's page, as her designs are amazing and do need to be seen! ]

Thanks for calling by,

Shelly X

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Margate ...

I am very lucky in that I live in a lovely place called Margate in the UK.  It is a seaside town, built around the tourist season and all things buckets and spades!  I live a twenty minute walk from the main town and tourist beach, and a ten minute walk to the cliff top and sandy beaches that are a little further away from the commercial beach.

Every day me and my husband find some time together to go for a walk down to the cliff tops, and walk along the beaches, recently in the sunny weather, and over Christmas in the snow.  I am very lucky in that it gives us so much thinking time.

We live close to places like Broadstairs and Whitstable, so quite often we are able to get away for an afternoon, and feel like we are on our holidays!  These little trips out really help with my card making.  Sometimes when I am sat in the workshop, starring at blank paper not quite knowing what to do with it, as soon as I leave the house and arrive by the sea I know exactly what I am going to do with it when I get home!

Happy days indeed!

Thanks for stopping by. See you soon.

Shelly X

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A passion for Papertrey: for the boys

This week I have been working on a customer order, its been so fun because there were a variety of requests in there ... 10 female birthday cards, get well soon, my favourite sympathy cards, and lastly, 5 cards suitable for men.  I tend to make blokes birthday cards which end up being particularly uni-sex. And this week has been no different.

A passion for Papertrey this week have been running their challenge,  a birthday card for the boys.  So I have this to share with you today ...

... You know me and my batches ... I ended up making four of these little cards.

They are bright with detail, yet still simple.  And uni-sex!!  Not every girl likes fluffy things and flowers!  Each card has just three colours, a simple sentiment, and a lovely big star.

Did you spot the Papertrey stamp ....  ?? .....

I used it along the bottom to balance out the star ......

Its the little star stamp from the fly away  set that I won from the A passion for Papertrey blog this month, thanks lovely ladies ... I love my new set!

Stamps Papertrey Ink Fly away
Ink: Versa magic chalk ink Midnight blue
Cardstock: recycled paper, pearlescent card base
Other: Navy grosgrain ribbon, sizzix star die

Friday, 5 August 2011

how exciting!

I am just bringing you a short post today to share with you a little happy news. .... I had an e-mail today from a very friendly lady called Angela, who wrote to let me know that she had blogged about some of my work on her blog Woolly Duck.

She showcased a selection of items from Folksy, with the theme of Coffee :)

To see the blog of all manner of other great things, please spend a moment to pop over here.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Love Shelly X

Monday, 1 August 2011

A passion for papertrey 'Sky's the limit' challenge

A passion for papertrey is fast becoming my favourite blog.  I love the variety of interpretations that the girls offer when sharing their designs, I also love that they are such nice people.  Having sent a fair few e-mails back and forward to them this week, they have been so helpful and friendly!  

I haven't really done much in the way of challenges up until last week, but this week a creativity slump has overtaken me, and participating in the challenges is proving to be really useful.

This week the challenge is to use things associated with the sky.  This could have been air balloons, clouds, colours or stars and so on.  I chose to use a discreet image of a bird.  

What I really like about this stamp is that at first glance it is just a tree, but when you start to look at the branches it is covered in tiny little birds!

Firstly, I stamped the tree three times with versa magic chalk inks ... I chose blue and yellowy orange. The yellow is like the sun, and the blue is the sky, and the tree has birds.  Three ways to fulfil the challenge brief!!  I used a more orange colour, and re-stamped over the birdie on the floor, I liked this because it made him stand out just a little more.

The PTI sentiment is from the 'Botanical silhouettes' set, and I stamped it with the chalk ink in 'ocean depth' blue, and then heat embossed it with gossamer blue pearlite powder.  I love what this product does to a section of text, it is just so beautiful- brilliant for Christmas cards too!

Once all that had dried, I distressed the edges a little using some Aspen Mist blue, which is like a grey blue colour, just to tie the two other colours together.  

All in all, they are really simple cards with a simple technique, but I have enjoyed getting an old stamp out (although I cannot remember the brand of it the share with you) and also doing a card that only features stamping.  Often I will add ribbon or paper- lots of paper!! But it has been refreshing to just consider stamping for a while.

I am off now to have a sneak peek at all the other entries .... It really is a great way to read more blogs!

Thanks for calling by

Shelly X

Lawnscaping challenge

This week I have been taking some time out of crafting to visit other blogs. If you read my previous blog post you will know that I have had a slight creative blip over the last week or so, and my work has been all over the place.

On this meander through blog land, I came upon this little site called {Lawn} scaping challenge and I really liked how different it is to the usual style of blog that I follow, and how far out of my comfort zone the crafting examples are!  A challenge indeed.

It is based on the products of the company called Lawn Fawn, who are based in California, and who see their stamps as 'fun and lively': I think their design has a cartoon element to them, and not at all what I usually what I work with, but it has been really refreshing to see a whole new set of design styles and become familiar with another group of crafter's from around the world.  This is an example of the stamps they offer and the bright and colourful style that you can get from using Lawn Fawn stamps .... This card is by one of the Lawn Fawn designers Lynette. (you can view her blog here.)

So I decided to enter the challenge today .... I don't own any of the company stamps, but as the challenge calls for projects that use distressing, I thought I would share two cards I made this week.

  I love them because I used the Papertrey Ink poppies on from the reward set Botanical Silhouettes. Its the only PTI set that I own, and therefore gets a lot of use.  I used my favourite inks for the project .... Versamagic chalk inks.  They are really great because they are so multi-functional. I use them for embossing, distressing, as I did here, or general stamping.  I used the PTI 'with sympathy' sentiment on one the card, and 'with love' from another set on the other, however this set was one of the first that I bought, and the packaging with the brand on is long since gone.

Both the cards were distressed around the edges with ink in 'Sahara Sand' (GD-72), both had black gems as the centres of the poppies, and the sympathy card had some bright red polka dot grosgrain ribbon on.  I like to experiment with sympathy cards, something that I will be blogging about in the near future, and colour is a great way to try something different.  I also like this card because it uses red and green- classic Christmas colours, and sympathy cards around Christmas time can, if done in a subtle way, acknowledge the pain and hardship that will come with the festive holidays.

In terms of the challenge, I kept the distressing to a minimum, and I think that this keeps the simple feel to these two cards, whilst still being interesting and respectful to their purpose.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you did with distressing challenge, or what projects you have made recently that showcase this technique.  Please feel free to leave your comments or links to your blogs below ... I look forward to seeing them all.

Have a good day everyone, and I'll be back shortly with another challenge that I am starting today!

Shelly X

Thursday, 28 July 2011


I am just checking in with you all to share a little good news that I got this week:

Over at the A passion for papertrey blog, they run frequent challenges, and I had entered for the Summertime challenge.  It was a really fun one, trying to put my nostalgia and fun of childhood summers into a card.  As usual, I made a set of cards on the theme, which I blogged about recently here.  I can't seem to just make one card, a little bit like pringles, once I start... I really just can't stop!

My set of summer infused card creations was picked by the team as one of their top three!  I was literally bouncing off the walls when I saw it, it really is a great feeling when you get recognised for something that you have created.  To see the other winners and the feedback on the cards you can pop on over here to check it all out.

Thank you wonderful people of A passion for papertrey!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

And so it begins ...

And so it begins .... Christmas has arrived in the workshop this week.  I have begun to start thinking of the festive season, and as the weather here in Margate has taken somewhat of a nosedive, it has not been too difficult to imagine!

So I thought for today I would show you my creativity from yesterday ....

The paper is Very Merry from October Afternoon and I just can't get enough!  I love that the quality of the paper is almost like a thin card, and the designs available are just so beautiful!  This whole pile of cards used just one 12x12 sheet; that's sixteen cards from one sheet.

For embellishments I used Very Merry stickers from the range, which I made into little tags and banners.  For the few that didn't have text on, I stamped Happy Christmas from a Dovecraft mini stamp set using bright red chalk ink.

All in all, a limited amount of materials has yielded a fair amount of cards, and cards that I am really happy with.  Reasonably priced for sale, yet with a really high quality finish.

All in a days work, as they say!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A passion for papertrey challenge

This week over at the Passion for papertrey blog they are thinking about summer.  Cards and projects that have a summer element in them.

For me, summer was all about camping trips with my family when I was growing up, visiting the seaside and beaches of Cornwall.  Now, it is still about the seaside, only on a different coast!

So, if summer were made of card of paper .....

I used some really bright papers, matted on green and navy blue card, and kept them simple with a little ribbon and a stamp from the Botanical Silhouettes from Papertrey.  What I like most about these cards, and that they are fairly unisex, so they have a lot more usage options than gender specific cards.

I also won a new Papertrey stamp set, so sometime soon I will be sharing the set and some new creations, that will most likely be for the younger boys.  

Watch this space!

Bye for now X

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Are we alone?

I am sat in Starbuck’s in Canterbury, tea and cake in hand, with a whole host of tourists and busy locals outside.  A slab of peace and quiet would be brilliant right about now!  Alas, the 21st century coffee shop has become the Macdonald’s of the late 1990s and so, I sit, in the darkest corner of the shop, desperate for some space.  Which is totally bizarre; I work from home in my workshop six days a week and I don’t see people every day- so why, oh why, did I require peace and quiet to write my blog about crafting!

Crafting has always been, and remains to be, a social activity.  Growing from Mother’s teaching their corseted daughters, to the home economic courses of the late 1960s, to the stitch ‘n’ bitches we se today.  Yet, for me, crafting is not social time, its head space time.  Sometimes I will listen to podcasts or the news channel, sometimes a movie (most likely one of the Harry Potters!) and sometimes, sometimes, hours of silence.

In my case, craft lets me tap into something other, something intangible, but very centring and peaceful.  Listening to some of the back episodes of Sister Diane’s podcast, The Craftypod, her Mum, being interviewed, tells us how she and Diane craft in silence and how not many people understand!

It would seem that there are two fairly distinct crafters then.  The sociable stitch ‘n’ bitchers, the ones who primarily feed off the hubbub of crafting with others.  The others, tend to thrive on the silence and the peace that comes from crafting alone.  As with everything, there are shades of gray, and I am sure we all fit into both of these camps at different times, but I think, it is important, to find which encourages our creativity, which, for want of a better phrase, feeds our soul.  Once you find this, you can build your crafting into something helpful and supportive in your life, something that, in the end, you won’t be able to do without.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Recycling in my spare time ...

Because card making is my full time job, quite often, on days off, I make sure that I take time out from crafting too.  My husband certainly doesn't want to be dragged round the craft shop on our day off!!

But this week, I decided to do a crafty project in my spare time that wasn't card making .....

I made a door stop out of lots of recycled materials I found around the house!

I used:

* A4 paper.  I made the fabric template out of half a sheet of A4 paper for the large panels, and quarter size of A4 for the smaller panels.

* a table cloth from our wedding; Its a lovely cream/toffee colour, and I had a lot of it so if I made mistakes I could easily use more!

* The gingham are some left over off cuts from a job I did recently when I made jam lids .... There was not a lot left over, so I had to make the hearts different sizes.  As it happens, I really like that!

* The buttons are from my Nan's stash- who let me raid it last time I went to visit.

* I used cotton left over from the adjustments made to my wedding dress last year.

* The inside was stuffing from an old pillow my Auntie gave me, and some old chipping stones from the garden that were left over from the previous tenant!!

And best of all, it works. I can now be cooking in the kitchen and have the door propped open!! Hurray!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

challenge or exchange??

I have a very dear and wonderful friend called Sally.  We have pots of tea and slabs of cake as often as we possibly can; she cooks me crumpets when I get peckish, and is an ear to bend when I wax lyrical and try to put the world to rights.   She took up knitting a few years ago, and seems to be doing a good job with it.  She is incredibly creative as she is a choreographer, dancer and performer.  She is one of Evelyn Mae’s biggest supporters, and her face lights up like a Christmas tree when we peruse Covent Garden market for crafty goods.  However, she is a self confessed un-domestic goddess.

Not so long ago she asked me to set her monthly challenges to help turn her into a domestic queen; incidentally, I have only managed two challenges thus far, and have totally let the side down!

But how can this be, this fabulously creative lady claiming to not be domestic?  Challenge #1 of making rocky road went down so well that she will be making it again for her boyfriend’s birthday at his request!  She is totally able of being domestic and creative, so why does she feel lacking?

What interests me about it, is our perception of being domestically capable.  Nigella Lawson published her How to be a domestic goddess book and a resurgence in home baking occurred since its arrival in 2000.  But what happened if our baked goodies didn’t match up to the perfect pictures? Nigella says that essentially, that doesn’t matter- what does matter is the act home cooking itself, but still, with our lives being fully media integrated, I am sure some of us feel inadequate with our  flat souffl├ęs and ever so slightly overcooked fairy cakes.   The same can be seen in card making – It is a craft for everyone. You only need a few materials to get started, and it really is the effort that you put in for your recipient that is important.  With such a variety of high quality blogs and websites around, it is all too easy to listen to the media aware part of our modern psyche, and claim that we are not good enough, or can’t do it.

Whilst still living in Bristol, I had a friend, Jenny, who bought Christmas cards from me for a number of years. I could make them very dimensional, which Jenny loved because she is visually impaired.  One year, she asked if instead of buying them from me, I could help her make them.  So for a few years, every Christmas, we would sit together, craft and drink hot chocolate.   I’d describe the embellishments and she would choose from my descriptions.  But it was Jenny that would make them.  This Christmas just gone, she told me that she was making her own cards, and getting a sighted friend to help her with a few things.  And now she will be helping at an event run by the RNIB helping others with visual impairments to make cards.  

This is what being a domestic goddess is about; it is about using what skills you have to create, learning new skills from friends, books and blogs, and embracing the inner domestic, creative king or queen that resides within. A creativity that sometimes might be temporarily dormant, or just below the surface, but that is there, should we just choose to engage with it.

Perhaps instead of setting Sally challenges, I should have told her all the wonderfully creative and domestic things she has accomplished so far, and traded some skills instead?  Maybe I should have told her that by serving me some crumpets covered in lashings of butter and letting me wear my pyjamas in her house during the day, was her being an exemplary host? Maybe then, this month, I won’t challenge her, but I will challenge her to an exchange.

I will keep you posted on how that exchange goes!

Monday, 4 July 2011

imake giveaway ....

The imake give away is now up and running ... So to be in with a chance to win a selection of Evelyn Mae cards, check out the blog and leave your comment....


Good luck everyone!

A passion for papertrey challenge ....

I was very excited today, as my parcel that I had been waiting for from the States arrived!  It contained a very special delivery of the Botanical Silhouettes special edition stamp set.  Its a stamp set only available to those who purchase certain amounts from Papertrey ink and it happens to be one of my favourite releases of theirs.  So I was so happy when I won a set on ebay ....

Once it arrived I got straight to making a little thank you notelet to send to a lady called Mary who was kind enough to send it to me, and who also die cut me some shapes to stamp on.   I decided to tie it into a blog challenge that I came across recently, after another friendly American pointed me in the right blog direction!

Over at the A passion for papertrey blog, they have set the challenge of using borders, and this is my take....

I used some recycled navy blue card from a promotional booklet - the card is great quality and has a linen effect, and so is brilliant for matting and layering.  I then used one of the gifted die cuts from mary in cream cardstock, with the 'Thank You' sentiment from the Papertrey Botanical Silhouettes stamp set, which I stamped in midnight blue versamagic chalk ink.  I then embossed it with clear embossing powder, and set the border off with cream satin ribbon, and two copper eyelets.

I love the simplicity of the card, and I like that it could be easy to make as a gents card by just removing the ribbon.

A simple card, for a simple message of thanks!

Creating for gents ...

Good morning everyone!  This is just a short post to share with you my creative exploits from the past few days.  I have been working on some gents cards- one for a 12th birthday, and for a 70th!

The 70th card was so much fun, and really rewarding in the I managed to be really creative for a customer, and that it was viable from a business perspective.  All too often the business requirements don't allow for intricate work when you are doing crafting professionally.  However, this did work, and I was so pleased.

I printed a '70' in a large front from the PC, and traced the shape onto the card, so that I could use my scalpel  to cut out the shape.  The larger the wording, the better as you have easier lines to cut, but this seemed to work well.  It was on a beautiful pearlescent clue card, so after affixing the 7 diamante gems, I didn't think it needed any more.

Inside was a small pocket ready for the personal message of the customer, and another silver '70'.  I love the colours in the card, and I love how the simple design really worked.

Also this week, was a 12th birthday card ....

Our nephew was 12 this week, and I was hoping to make a card that just unleashed my creativity, and didn't think at all about budget!  I saw this card over at the a passion for papertrey blog and I loved the design - so i based my nephews card on it.  It uses recycled navy card stock, hessian, recycled plastic backing from an old booklet, and an old pair of jeans.  I liked that I used so many reused items on the card, and that it worked well for a young gentleman- enough rustic materials, and not a ribbon in sight!!

It took some time to do, as I stitched the number 12 by hand, using the worn bit of jeans, and hessian is so fibrous that it took some time making this tidy.  But I think that the card came together, and in the end looked very different than the card I used for inspiration!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

imake blog giveaway ....

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the blog over at imake would be running a giveaway with some Evelyn Mae goodies. So, I thought I would share with you the prize itself before the giveaway goes live this week ....

It is a set of four masculine birthday cards, measuring 5x5 inches, made on white card stock.

I'll let you know when the competition begins....

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

guest blog at Imake ...

As I mentioned towards the beginning of the week, I have been working hard writing towards the great blog over at Imake; I can now announce that the post went live last night, and you can view the post here. 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”…

At the age of 7, a friend and I would sit with our array of felt tip markers, and in our lunch breaks draw greetings cards.  We called ourselves ‘Rainbow cards’ and we gave them to anyone who would take them! I was always using sequins and scrap paper, glue and string, and as many egg boxes that my mum could provide me with.  My parents’ loft is covered in glittered angels and cotton wool snowmen, and I still have teddy bears with holey little knitted jumpers that I made them.  I loved to perform; I was a tap dancer, and I took singing and acting classes.  At 7 I got my first role in a play as a caterpillar, and that was it, I was going to be a professional actress.  And indeed I was, for a number of years.  I continued performing with a passion right up until a few years ago.
So you could say that I was creative.  I had lots of other interests too, many completely unrelated to the creative arts, but the artistic interests predominated.   I went on to study at art school, followed by musical theatre, a Degree in music and finally a Masters in Theatre.  During these years I undertook a post as a lecturer at a college, I loved sharing my passion by teaching performance skills.  And from there, I went on to carve out my career as a professional actress. 
I say all this to highlight that I had another career all mapped out, creative, yes, but a totally different career none the less.  I was determined to succeed, and sometimes I did.  I had a variety of engagements, within a variety of genres, and I loved it.  However, the down side of a career in performing is that a great deal of the time, you are out of work.  The phrase ‘resting’ is completely misleading; although you are not acting, you are job hunting and doing admin.  And it’s tough; the actual time being creative is so slim, and no amount of additional dance classes or vocal sessions make you feel more creative, as they only highlight the fact you are not working!!
During the later years, I became increasingly aware that I was waiting for my life to start, instead of living the one I had.  I was heading for 30. I was also very sad that because of the nature of the job I couldn’t commit to big events like weddings and holidays as I might just get the job.  On top of that, I had made some sacrifices; I was still living at home, and not at all in a position to support myself financially.  So, returning to one of my first loves, I went back to making cards, in the hopes that I could fill my day with creativity while I was hunting for that dream acting job.
In fact, what actually happened was that it was like lighting a candle in the early evening-you don’t even know it has got dark until you light it… I found the passion that I had long since lost, each day had a product at the end of it, each day had a purpose and I could see what I was achieving. I could talk for hours about crafting. (My husband could testify to that!)  I found myself wanting to stay in making cards, rather than going out! At 28!!  This certainly gave me a whole lot to think about.
A year later having kept up acting, diving headfirst into card making and continuing a job working in a kitchen, I met a chap who was to become my husband. He had a job lined up in Margate, and once we were married we would be moving.  So I had a new home, husband and a new city.  A time of natural reassessment I suppose, and I decided, after a few years of thinking and deliberating with friends over tea and cheesecake, and not a lot of doing, I would have a break from performing. 
And so Evelyn Mae was born. I was lucky in that we had space for me to have a workshop in our house, and a husband who has been completely supportive in me becoming a designer as a profession.  It has not been straight forward, although it has been exciting and totally fulfilling.  Dealing with tax returns is something I had experience in with performing, but Company’s house, customer accounts, online selling and Paypal buttons were all alien! 
I love to learn, but there is a tendency that when new stuff goes in, old stuff goes out! And sometimes, old stuff goes out and the new stuff still will not go in!  So it has not been without its challenges, but having said that, it has been very rewarding.  My craft business is not a job; it’s a vocation- I’m sure many of you will relate to this!  It pervades day to day life, inspiration for projects doesn’t just happen within ‘work hours’, and nor does the creative spark to make something! Sometimes I end up in bed with a note pad so as not to forget a design, or getting up at 6.30am to work on the computer putting together an invoice or a blog post!
I write all this to share with you my passions and my journey; to share with you my choice- one which I am happy with, every single day.  I still cannot watch x-factor without shouting at the feedback, but my decision to pursue crafting has been the best one I have made.  I think the trick is to find a way to make every day a creative day.  Whatever job you may do, however crafting fits into your life, if you can make everyday have a little productivity and fun, creativity and friendship, tea and cheesecake, then I think you are on the right path.

Martine at Imake will be doing a give-away towards the end of the week- you will be able to leave a comment  on her blog and be in with a chance to win a prize of four handmade greetings cards, so watch this space for news.

Shelly X