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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Too hot, lacking sleep but...

...a Bugaboo "Christmas in July" winner.


Despite the heat making it very difficult to think of Christmas makes, I really enjoyed last week's challenge event over at the Catch the Bug Challenge Blog.

I won some digi images that I will play with when things cool down a bit.

I so do not want to moan about the lovely warm weather but it has brought with it a lot of thunder storms and a few flash floods which haven't been great. I also don't find this heavy, humid atmosphere very motivating craft-wise.

The lack of sleep is certainly catching up with me which isn't helping with things at work. We have just had an IT refresh and I now have a two-monitor set-up on my desk that I have got to try and get my head around...groan.

So if you are wondering where my crafty makes are - I'm still trying to pull the ideas from my over heated, very tired brain.

I have done some colouring and have a couple of Nicecrane images completed and a super cute sprite from Aurora Wings ready and waiting to be made into something. Perhaps when I've caught up on some 'shut-eye'..................................................................................

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Fourth Annual Catch the Bug...

...Christmas in July has arrived.

 If you want to join in you can find everything that you need to know here and here.

As this is a week long challenge I have created just the one post and will add in what I make for each of the challenges as they go live on the challenge site.

Saturday 12 July - The event kicked off with a super blog-hop and there was plenty of inspiration to get everyone on the mood for creating Christmas makes. To help even further...
...the challenge for day 1 is to "Show Us Your Santa".
Here is my Santa...
...he is one of the "Tropical Santas". The card blank is Papermania Kraft in 5x7. The PP is from the current Papermania "Letter to Santa" range. The image is coloured using Spectrum Noir pens and there is a touch of glitter using the "Golden" Cosmic Shimmer Sparkle Pearl PVA.
Sunday 13 July - A Sketch challenge...
...which I followed pretty much other than using a circle topper instead of an oval.
JJ has to be my favourite Bugaboo character...
 ...there are so many super examples of her to choose from. This one is a little bit saucy...
...and would make a perfect card for a guy or just a fun card. My card is an 8x8 white card blank with tartan & check PPs from Craft Creations, a blue die-cut matt from Papermania, some pearls, sentiment from Papermania "Letter to Santa" and ribbon from my local craft shop. JJ is coloured with Spectrum Noir pens and the bling is stickles.
Monday 14 July - Colour challenge...
 ...not exactly your traditional colours.
I thought I'd go with this little Miss...
...using the colours to do a bit of matt & layering...
...lime green hair and plenty of bling on her pink wings. All the CS is from a Papermania Christmas stack, the PP is from an old DCWV stack of 6x6 pink & grey Christmas designs and the image is coloured with a mix of Spectrum Noir & Copics. Crystal Ice stickles was used on the wings.
Tuesday 15 July - Recipe challenge...
 ...using the same image but a more limited colour selection...
 ...a felt snowflake from "The Works" and bling in the form of stickles & cosmic shimmer...
...the kraft card blank was dry embossed using my new Crafters Companion "BeBunny" embossing folder - 'Snowflakes'. I think I've ticked all the boxes for day fours requirements...the recipe is Kraft, Embossing (wet or dry) and Snowflake(s).
Wednesday 16 July - BINGO challenge...
 ...and make it funny. I went with the diagonal line "Bugaboo image, Players choice (snowfall acetate), Bow.
"Stella" is a woman with 'atitude' so who better to use as the chosen image...
...and I wanted to use the snowfall acetate to create the card...
 ...but I had forgotten how difficult it can be to photograph...
...sorry about the shadows & glare. Anyhoo, you can see that I have used my 3 chosen elements from the Bingo card.
Thursday 17 July - Photo challenge...
...using an "Oldie But Goodie".
I think the "Tropical Santas" first put in an appearance for the 2nd Christmas in July event...
...and I have loved them ever since. A fairly simple card this time (thinking of postage costs) but a real holiday feel - Santa showing off his beach wear and surfing prowess. In keeping with the photo for this challenge, I've used bright Summery colours.
Friday 18 July - Freebie Friday challenge (Starts with "C is for...")...
 ...Christmas?, Cheer? - I went with Candy Cane. I've already told you that I love the "JJ" character, so how wonderful was it that this week's Friday Freebie was an image of JJ...
 ...there is a little bit of sparkle in her hair, on her dress and of course her earrings but I don't think it notices in the photo...
...what you can't miss is the candy cane PP. This is another of the papers from the "Letter to Santa" range and I thought it was perfect for this image. I have kept to a red & white scheme with just a touch of green.

(All being well, you will see this post fill up with creations as the week progresses - Done.

So if you haven't already made a start on your cards for Chrimbo - this is the perfect opportunity..............................................................)

Well folks - it is 8.30pm on Friday 18 July and I have completed the last of this week's challenges. There was a moment or two when I thought I wasn't going to be able to complete this year's Christmas in July but I have done it...Yipeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Lots of fun challenges and lots of super creations to see from the Bugaboo DT and all the folk who are playing along. It has been another fab event.

Thank you to everyone at Bugaboo for organising another great...Christmas in July....................................................

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Tour de...

...France Stratford.

On Monday London was a hive of excitement as the 'Stage 3' part of the event was ending in London. Even more exciting was the fact that the race was passing right by our office so we had the perfect vantage point (especially as the weather turned a bit grim).

The day had started out so lovely - lots of sunshine and everyone was in a really good mood...
 ...and there were 'high-viz' jackets everywhere getting ready for the crowds.
The Broadway and the main road were closed off from 10am although buses were still allowed to run on the bus-lane, albeit in the wrong direction...
 ...hence this gap in the gathering crowds which gave a clear view across.
However, all the sponsor vehicles and 'floats' started whizzing through nearly 3 hours before the cyclists were due...
 ...and boy were they going at a speed...
...it was really hard to focus on vehicles before they disappeared out of shot...
 ...I ended up with an awful lot of pictures of the Chinese restaurant across the road and not a lot else...
 ...this was one of the few vehicles that actually stopped for a moment to 'pelt' the crowds with merchandise. Most of the freebies had been thrown earlier by vehicles zooming through at a rate of knots - packs of Yorkshire tea bags and Haribo sweets can certainly pack a punch as some of my colleagues can attest to.
The weather started to turn rather nasty and news was that the riders were still quite some way from London. It didn't seem to deter the Nando's Chicken...
 ...it followed folk around and stopped for photo opportunities...
...even when the rain was coming down pretty hard. A lot of the crowd headed off to find places to shelter...
 ...and as you can see, the road surface became pretty wet.
Someone from the other side of our building announced that they could see the riders near the Orbit...
 ...and suddenly the front runners were zooming through followed by a motorcycle escort...
 ...and then a fairly long...NOTHING!!!
Then the cheers went up and the main body of riders were whizzing by...
 ...gosh they were going fast...
 ...way too fast to really focus in on them...
...they were just zipping by...
...and then they were gone. In just a few seconds they had been there in front of me and then gone.
 This happy chap caused laughter and applause as he brought up the rear...
...he was obviously just happy to tag along behind after all the support vehicles had made their way through.

I was rather disappointed by the way the floats had whizzed though earlier as there was certainly no chance of them holding up the riders - if you blinked you missed them. However, it was fun to be this close to such a widely covered event.

Tuesday morning saw lots of photos of the crowds from along the route and when I spoke to my boss she told me she had been at Finchingfield in Essex to watch the event. She had been standing on a post to get a better view - I'm still trying to find her on the photo that appeared in the Metro newspaper LOL...............................................................

Monday, 7 July 2014

Grab your Sunbonnets...

...Summer is here.

Well it was...then it rained...typical British Summertime weather.

However, what I was really referring to was the latest digi stamps from Nicecrane...
The Sunbonnet Babies DSL - Click Image to Close
...this is just one of the new design sheets that Ignacio has over on the Nicecrane Design site and you can grab this one here.

Ignacio sent me these images and asked me to colour them and this is what I have so far...

This image was coloured with a mixture of Derwent Coloursoft & Pastel pencils...
...when used on Kraft card this gives an almost 'chalky' feel to the image...
...and also enables you to keep things very soft looking. This is very much in keeping with the way the images first appeared when they were published as the illustrations for the 'Primer' but I wanted to see what they would look like coloured a little more boldly.

This image was coloured using Spectrum Noir alcohol pens on smooth white CS...
 ...and as you can see, the colours used are more vivid but not too "in your face"...
 ...the stronger colours also give the ability for more shading when colouring and this helps to give the image a bit more depth. However, if you fancy something with a more vintage feel - how about this...
 ...I coloured the same image again using a limited selection of pencil colours on Kraft CS...
 ...in places there is just a hint of colour and by applying colour more strongly in some places you can still achieve a shaded effect. The softer colours also make the image seem like part of the CS...
...as none of the colours are overly bright. A very different finished look to the alcohol pens.

This new range of images are really sweet and there is plenty of possibility for mixing and matching techniques - how about paper-piecing the bonnets in your favourite PPs or printing onto a more textured CS to give the look of canvas - there really is no limit as to what you can do.

If you would like to see some of the things the rest of the DT have come up with, do hop over to the Nicecrane blog.....................................................................




Sunday, 6 July 2014

It's nearly here...

...4th Annual Christmas in July Event! 
Help us spread the word!
 
 
(Sorry Suzie...I've used the "C" word LOL)
 
For those of you who are not squeamish about using the "C" word, do hop over to the Catch the Bug Challenge blog to find out more about this fun event.........................................................................

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Kids are going loopy...

...for this current craze.

LOOM BANDS

The High Streets are swamped with them...looms in a variety of formats and mini elastic bands in just about every colour you can imagine. Oh, and it doesn't end there. There are solid colours clear colours, glittery ones, florescent, glow in the dark and pearly ones to name but a few. Add to this the charms & beads that can also be incorporated and you have a massive retail success.

The problem is, it's not just the kids who are getting hooked.

When my friend Suzie (Weasel) mentioned over on UKScrappers that she had been tempted and gave in to buying a loom and some bands, I thought perhaps I should own up too.

I had seen what folk had been making and when I saw a huge selection of bands in Poundland, I just had to give it a go. I started with a few packs of bands...
 ...and was getting along quite well with the single link "chains" when a colleague mentioned about the videos on YouTube. The next thing you know...
...I've added a basic loom and some more bands - all from Poundland.
After watching a few YouTube videos...
...I soon had this collection of bracelets. However, some of the videos showed a different type of loom being used...
 ...and yesterday I picked one up from the market near work for the massive sum of £2.50 (I saw the same one in Clare's Accessories for about £8).
I had a couple of storage boxes in my craft room that I thought would be suitable...
 ...but as you can see...
...both boxes are overflowing.
I've had a go at basic chains, Infinity bracelets, ladders and triple row cuffs but...
...the Fishtails seem to be what I'm having most success with at the moment and this photo shows my favourite colour combos so far.

The thread that Suzie started over on UKScrappers has suggested some crafting uses for these bands.

Made long enough the bands can be used to hold Smash books and Art journals closed. You can make them any colour you like which has to be better than the pretty limited choice of rubber bands that Smash produce. I thought it would be quite fun to make some bracelets to attach to kids cards so that they have a gift as well as the card.

It may well be a craze amongst the kids but I can assure you that it has hit other age groups as well. Whilst I was looking at the selection that Clare's Accessories have, an elderly lady came in and selected a couple of packs. She explained that her granddaughter had shown her how to "do it" and she had decided to make a couple of lanyards for her keys in pretty bright colours so that she didn't lose them.

Like most crafts/hobbies, 'Loom bands' can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. Packs of bands can be obtained for as little as 50p (approx. 300 bands) although the most common price is around £1. A basic loom can be picked up for just a couple of quid. You do have to be a bit careful because prices can vary a lot - it seems a lot of retailers are jumping on the band wagon and know that kids will pay what ever is asked just so they can keep up with the craze.

With the Summer holidays almost upon us, this is something that can keep the kids occupied and can be a bit of fun that Mum/Auntie/Gran even Granddad/Dad/Uncles can join in with. It is an easily portable hobby so great for keeping the little dears busy in the car so that you don't continuously get the "are we there yet?" chorus from the back seat.

If loom bands haven't yet invaded your home...go on...give it a go...................................................