Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Blue Butterfly Card

Hi there, hope you are having a great day.

This card is all the crafting I have managed for the last couple of days as I have been suffering from a form of Vertigo. It means I can't move without the whole world spinning round which makes me feel very nauseous. It's very tiring as it takes so much effort to stay upright :)

Anyway, here's a card for today. I stamped the image on watercolour paper and used watercolour artists paints to colour. I then cut out one half of the image, leaving background sky on the other half.

The image is added to a pearlescent blue A6 card and simply finished with a floral 3D border, blue chiffon ribbon and blue sticky gems.

Hope you like it and happy crafting :)

I would like to enter this in the following challenges

Lacy Sunshine  Favourite colour combo ( blue, purple and green )
Love to Create  All Tied up.
Crafty Bloggers  Anything goes
613 Avenue Create Anything goes
Through the Craftroom Door  Anything goes
Fab n Funky Challenges  Pastel Colours
Creative Inspirations Buttons and Bows

Monday, 25 February 2013

Oddballs MCC Winter Rally

Well, we survived the Oddballs MCC winter rally and despite the inclement weather had a great time :). This is our bike and tent on the Saturday morning! We had decided to take 2 double sleeping bags and put one inside the other. It worked really well except that we didn't want to get out ...
I wore about 5 layers all the time including thermals a fleece jacket and a coat. I may have looked like the Michelin man but I had no intention of feeling cold.

The 2 bands were Devoted to Rock and BC/DC and both put on a great show. Mustn't forget Tonto's rock disco if that is not an oxymoron :)
The whole rally is run by volunteers (all the bike club members chip in), and we raise money for a couple of charities.

The village of Wem is a couple of miles from the site, and we are welcomed by them as the event provides a source of income for the town. The Old Post Office pub generously provided free curry and a free taxi service to and from the site.

This is me with my OH before we did our bit running the Control tent where visitors check in and go to warm up with tea, coffee and soup provided. Our session was from midnight till 4 am and was surprisingly busy. We were glad to see Simon at just before 4, who was doing the next 4 hours.

The next Rally we organise is in September and is always much busier - and a whole lot warmer - I hope :)

Friday, 22 February 2013

Mother's Day card

A Mother's day card for my OH's Mum. Not the best photo so may have to change that.
I love this combination of colours, purple, green and blue or in this case, Jade, Turquoise and Hyacinth.

The Bluebell is the Spanish variety and is decoupaged, which doesn't show very well. It's mounted on torn vellum and then on an A6 card with the front edge punched with a multiway punch (also doesn't show very well :( )
The peel off butterfly is stuck on acetate and cut out. It looks like it is stuck down at one tip but isn't - def need a better pic :)
The turquoise card fades, from right to left, to almost white.

Now hopefully this should appear on my blog while I'm away camping in the middle of Shropshire at a Motorbike Rally from Thursday to Sunday. Spare a thought for us as the temperature forecast is for -6 Celsius. I must be crazy - along with the other 200 or so other souls who will be there. ( It didn't publish as scheduled so am back home, typical )

Hope you like this in spite of the bad picture :)

Happy Crafting :) x

I would like to enter this card in the following challenges

Creative Inspirations  Anything goes.
Ruby's Rainbow  In the Garden
Totally Papercrafts  Hope for Spring
The Paper Shelter  Celebrations (Mother's Day)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Purple Butterfly Card

This is a new experience for me. An 8 x 8 inch card.
I usually stick to something like 5 x 7 or 6 x 6. But I noticed lots of these larger cards around so decided to have a go. How liberating - I found the extra space so easy to work with allowing extra elements and a whole load more fun. Can see me finding a renewed love of card making :)

Everything I have used is from Papermania but really old stash except for the sparkly ribbon.
The question is now, what do I do with the oodles of A4 ready made cards and envelopes I have :)

Hope you like this one and have time to leave a comment.

Happy Crafting :)

I would like to enter this in the following challenges

Love to create challenge   All that Glitters.
Crafty Bloggers Network    Anything goes
613 Avenue  Colour
One stitch at a time  Make it girly
Raise the bar challenge  Anything goes
Lacy Sunshine  Favourite colour combo (purple, blue, green)
The Pretty Little Ribbon  Anything goes
Allsorts  Things with wings
Cutie Pies  Pastels
Fab n Funky  Flowers

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Wire Wrapped Tile pendant

Hello and welcome to another Tutorial Tuesday :)

This is a little bit more advanced than the tutorials I have posted to date. Nothing is difficult, but it helps to have worked with wire before.

I am demonstrating here with silver plated copper, but to start with I recommend using plain copper as it is nice and pliable without marking to easily. You will see why this is important a bit later :)

You will need

1" tile or cabachon
3 x 10" pieces of 0.8mm wire, square is best but I have use round here
20" 0.5mm wire, half round is best, but again I have used round here.

Round nosed and flat nosed pliers.

1. Lay out your three pieces of 0.8 mm wire side by side. Tape them together at the ends with masking tape.

2.Make a small hook on the 0.5 mm wire, hook over the three wires and start to wrap the wire close to the centre of the bundle. Take care to keep the wires flat next to each other. Cut the wire once the wrap is about 1/4 inch long and press down with your flat nosed pliers.

3. Bend the wrap to shape round the bottom half of your tile.

4. Make a wrap half way up each side of the tile on the wire bundle. Bend around the rest of the tile.

5. Bend the ends up ready to form the bail and closing wrap.

6. Make a bail loop with two of the wires, leaving the ends pointing down over the tile. Use a third wire to wrap round all wires to close the square.

7. Put your tile in place and bend all the corners of one wire in over the surface of the tile to hold it in place on front and back of your tile. This is the back. Use one of the wire ends curled round into a loop as a little decoration. You will have 3 ends left to decorate the front.

8. Make a scroll at the end of each of the last three wires and arrange them over the front of the piece.

At this point I would normally have finished except for polishing off my fingerprints. However, I was rather heavy handed bending the wires over the front of the tile and lost some of the silver plating in the bottom left. I thought I would leave it and show you how it can be rescued. In this case, I cut through the wire, trimmed the ends and rolled a couple of loops.

Because of the design on the tile, this works quite well as you now see more of the white "branches" stretching to the edge of the tile. A case of a Happy Accident this time.

We all get projects where we make a mistake. I used to start again as I could always see where the project hadn't gone to plan. Now I just go with the flow and see if I can turn the bad to good.

How about you, what are your favourite rescue solutions :)

Hope you enjoyed this project, Happy Crafting :)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Love in a Mist

Hi All,

Hope you've had a great weekend :)

My OH summed ours up - it was rather busy and as we were settling for the night yesterday, he said he felt more tired than if he had worked. He's off to work today for the rest then!
I was pleased with the weekend as I managed to sell a few pieces of jewellery despite Valentine's day having passed. I'm looking forward to things starting to pick up now as the impact of Christmas diminishes.

At the beginning of next month I have an Art exhibition to take part in at Market Drayton. I'll be showing a couple of works with the Art Club. This one may yet be one of them if there is any extra hanging space.

I love this flower, Love in a Mist, it's so easy to grow. Lots of different colours and a light fluffy foliage that contrasts with heavier plants. I sprinkle a few seeds each year and then ignore them. They usually pop up where I haven't sown them too from previous years.

I think I may also use this picture printed up as the basis for a card, maybe some decoupage. What do you think? Maybe turn to portrait and add a sentiment? It will give me something to think about while I visit my parents today :)

Thank you to everyone who has left me comments on previous posts and if you leave one now - they are so much appreciated.

Have a great day and Happy Crafting :) x

I would like to enter this in

All Crafts Challenge - anything but a card

Friday, 15 February 2013

Beaded wrap bracelet.

These bracelets are very popular and quite easy to make. They can be dressed up or down depending on the beads and materials you use. Here I've made a unisex one with dark purple cotton and spider's web agate gemstones. You could completely change the look by using faceted crystals and white leather or even make a child's one with scoubies and acrylic beads.

I have tried other published methods of making these but find that the beads drift apart after wearing for a while. I have developed this method so that the beads stay together :)

I have used a slightly paler nymo thread than I would usually use so that you can see the way the bracelet is made more clearly.

You will need

24 inches 2mm cord or leather lace.
Nymo beading thread to match your cord 20ft
30 6mm beads. Recommend faceted beads for a first attempt at this.
2 x 8mm or larger beads for the fasten.

2 x beading needles, clip board or large safety pin or bulldog clip.

1. Take piece of nymo 6ft long and thread a beading needle onto each end. Thread on a bead and move it to the centre of the thread. Take a second bead and thread one needle through from one side of the bead  ....

......and the other needle through from the other.

Move the bead down by pulling gently in the threads till it sits right next to the last one. These are shown loose so you can see where the threads are going.

2, Thread on beads until the column measures 1.5 inches less than the length of bracelet you want. Bring the two threads together and tie off in a reef knot. Thread the ends back through the last bead and trim.

3. Fold the 2mm cord in half and tie an overhand knot half an inch from the end. This makes a loop. Make sure your larger bead can just push through. Ease the position until the fit is snug, then pull tight. Thread the rest of the nymo onto a beading needle, move the needle to the middle and tie a knot in both ends together, so the thread is double. Sew the thread through the knot coming out between the two cords. Wrap the nymo a couple of times round the top of each thread to secure. You are now ready to wrap in your bead column.

4. Secure the loop on a safety pin or clip board so your hands can be free to wrap

5. Take the nymo thread under the right hand cord. Bring it over the top of the cord, through the first bead and under the left hand cord .......

....bring it back over the left hand cord, through the same bead and under the right hand cord. Continue this weaving pattern until all the beads have been included.

6. Bring the cords together, wrapping the nymo around each strand in turn twice, then both together twice. Separate the nymo strands, bringing one thruogh the gap in the cords and tie off with a reef knot. Thread the ends back through the wrapping and trim.

7. Add one large bead to each cord end and tie an overhand knot to secure. You can tie these knots at different lengths to make the bracelet adjustable.

There are lots of design possibilities here with different sizes, colours and shapes of bead, as well as different threads and wrapping patterns.
If you give this one a try, I would love to see what you do. Happy Crafting :)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Card with Digi Stamp

I am having a lovely day today.
OH gave me a fab pressie this morning. I am the proud owner of a new mobile set up specially for those times when I can't get signal on my normal network - like when I am at my Mum's house. He apologised in advance that it wasn't romantic, but there is nothing better than a gift that is just what you want. Besides I hate that the cost of flowers in the few days before Valentine's is so ridiculous - £45 for a bunch of less than great red roses - no thanks :)

Well, this is my card for him. It's the first time I've used a digi stamp so it took a while before I found the right paper, size etc and the design went through about 20 changes before I had finished. One or two ideas I may have to run with :)

I coloured this in with Watercolour pencils this time, but think maybe pens will give a richer colour next time. I cut out the image with a kind of cloud shape and added to blue card with foam pads. The larger hearts came with a magazine aeons ago, and I added the white hearts to the middle. They have a silver doodled heart and white glitter on them but it is hard to see from the pic. Note to self... next time do some close ups, lol. The heart with Love in the middle is a Papermania one, as are the hearts in the sky and the gems. The lace trim was a freebie.

Hope you like it, and thanks for taking the time to look, bye for now and Happy Crafting.

I would like to enter this in the following challenges

Lacy Sunshine Challenge  Anything goes
Tsunami Rose Challenge
Crafty Calendar Challenge Love and Marriage
Cutie Pie Challenge Valentine Cards
Totally Gorjuss Love
Allsorts Valentine's
Sincerely Yours Creations Valentine's/ Love
Visible Image Love
Digital Tuesday Challenge Up, up and away
Charisma Cards Anything goes

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

How to make a Daisy pendant

I'm back with another tiger tail make today. It's very straight forward butt a little fiddly in places. It introduces another technique, the wire wrapped loop. On this piece the loop isn't visible so it is a good make to practise on.

You will need

9 x 22mm dagger beads
2 x 6mm cushion beads
20 seed beads, green
2 x crimp beads
1 x head pin
15" tiger tail

Round nosed pliers, flat nosed pliers.

1. Thread all nine of your dagger beads onto the middle of the tiger tail. If they are coated on one side, make sure they are all the same way up.

2. Bring one end round and thread through all the beads again, forming a circle.

3. Thread through all the beads again. This is a little fiddly, but if you press the tip of the bead either side of the one you want to thread down a little and raise the tip of the one you are working on up, you get a little more room to see what you are doing. If the end of the wire gets frayed, snip it off and carry on. Pull the whole thing as tight as you can.

4. Cut the tails off level at about 3" long. Thread on the seed beads and the 2 crimp beads. Close the crimps and trim the the tiger tail as close to the crimps as you can.

5.Thread a cushion bead onto a head pin. Thread the pin through the centre of the flower, followed by the second cushion bead.

6. From the back, bend the head pin at right angles over your round nosed pliers.

7. Make a loop right around your pliers, bringing the tail of the head pin back to where it started.

8. Hold the loop in flat nosed pliers.
Wrap the tail of the head pin round the stem of the loop about 3 times.

My third wrap here is around an inner wrap to give extra push behind the bead.

9. Cut the remaining head pin as short as you can and press in to the wrap with flat nosed pliers. Bend the whole loop up towards the top of the daisy so it is parallel with the petals. Add a drop of glue or nail varnish to the end of the tiger tail wires on the daisy stem.

To make in to a pendant, add a 7mm jump ring to the loop and thread on a chain.

It would also make a great brooch or button hole.

Hope you like this and if you do have a go, I'd love to see what you make.

Thank you for stopping by and Happy Crafting :)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Price it Right

One of the hardest things to do is put a price on your own work. As a crafter it has hard to get your business head on and be ruthless about the true costs of making an item.

Many a time I have gone to a craft fair or market stall selling hand made items and thought there is no way that can be cost effective.

It was brought home to me when a friend of mine needed help with his tax return. He was meticulous at keeping a record of his income but less good at keeping receipts. He had no idea of the hours he worked but I knew they were well in excess of 40. He was a superb cabinet maker and restorer, who had a great love and pride for his work.

To cut a long story short, the bottom line showed he was earning just £1 per hour. And that wasn't counting a proper rent for the double garage space he was using or the free help from a partner. It was a shocking revelation when at the time minimum wage was over £5. Within 3 months he got a job as a cabinet maker for a small company and was paid well. The home workshop then became used for hobby projects.

If you are crafting as a hobby and just want to get money back to buy more stash or equipment, then what you charge is probably not a grave consideration. If, however, you intend to make a living from your art, then you must take everything into account.

I work out my costs by working out an hourly rate for the workshop part then adding in an hourly rate for my salary. You will then need to add the cost for the materials of your item. I ignore any marketing and selling time at this stage - this is purely for the making.

To work out how much  it costs you to have your workshop you will need to include the following -
           * Electricity
           * Heating
           * Rent
           * Phone
           * Computing
           * National Insurance
           * Miscellaneous inc postage and transport.
Work this out for a year and divide out for an hourly rate.

Now add your salary rate for a total cost of each hour you work. Don't forget you will have to add in tax on these earnings which you will have to pay.
To price an item, add the cost of the materials to the cost of the time to make it. This gives you the cost you should sell the item to a retailer.  The price you should charge if you sell yourself should be twice that, giving you the money to cover unproductive time and the cost of selling.

Taking an example, let's suppose your hourly workshop cost is £1.50 per hour and you would like to earn £7.50 per hour. That's a total hourly rate of £9.00. Now if your item takes 20 minutes to make the cost of the time is £3.00.
Now add in the cost of the materials, say £3.00 and your wholesale cost is £6. If you have an outlet to sell for you, this is the minimum price you should charge them. If you sell yourself you will need to double this to match the retail price. This is very important as you will need to cover costs of selling time, stalls, online shop fees and/or advertising. There is a reason the outlets you might sell to, double the cost they buy in for.

If you think that you cannot charge that amount, you need to be making something else. It is as brutal as that.
I find this particularly so with card making. I know I could not make a living solely from making cards. I did, however, when teaching and demonstrating so that could be an avenue to consider if you find it doesn't pay to make what you want to make.

One tip to improve the viability of your products is to make that item have a higher value. For instance use sterling silver instead of base metal. It reduces the percentage of the cost of your product that is taken up with overheads and increases the value by much more than the extra materials cost. If you make a knitted item from cheap acrylic yarn, you have made a cheap jumper, make it from Mohair and you have a luxury item  that commands many times the price. The increase in your total costs is very much smaller. Your time is too precious to waste making cheap goods, and you will never compete on price. Overseas work from certain countries will win hands down, even if it is hand made.

Many years ago, when I first started selling at Craft Fairs, the organiser of the fair I was at told me my prices were too low and that I should put them up - a lot. As I was struggling to sell, I didn't understand but took the advice given. Suddenly the people who came to look started buying. Now my prices matched their perceived value, and they would buy. I took nearly £1000 that show (3 days), which met my target for the month!

Good luck with your enterprise :)

Do you have another way of working out your pricing? Have you found you can charge more for some things than you expect? Do you make your craft pay by demonstrating or teaching?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Angel Pendant Tutorial.

The basic design behind this pendant is using a head pin with beads to make a pendant. Choose the right beads and you have an angel :)

You will need :-

1 head pin
1 x 6mm rose quartz bead
1 x heart shaped silver lined glass bead
1 x wings spacer bead
2 x daisy spacer bead 4mm
1 x 5mm jump ring
1 x ready made chain.

1. Thread on a daisy spacer bead, your heart bead (upside down), wing spacer followed by rose quartz bead.

2. Bend the head pin to form a right angle using round nosed pliers. Trim the end to 1cm from the bend and thread on the other daisy spacer for the halo.

3. Hold the very end of the pin with your pliers and roll over to form a loop. Open a 5mm jump ring and thread on to loop. Close the loop remembering to work harden by opening and closing slightly a couple of times. If you are unsure about turning loops and using jump rings see beaded and simple earring tutorials.

All you need now is to hang it on a chain :)

Sometimes you may find that the end of your glass bead doesn't sit under the wings very well. In that case, add a seed bead between the two
In the other angels pictured I have changed heart beads for teardrops and some faces for swarovski round faceted crystals. When designing your own, check the balance of sizes of all the parts.

I like to use the small crystal angels as decorations for the tree at Christmas, or hang them in the window to catch the light.

Of course you don't have to make angels, so here is another idea :)

This one uses 6mm Fern green Swarovski Xillion bicones with a pale pink silver lined heart.

Hope you enjoy trying this one, Happy Crafting :)