Month: November 2011

Six projects before Christmas

It’s hard to believe that this photograph was taken on 6th December last year. I mean that could happen again in a few weeks. (This scene by the way is of the ‘little lake’ in Roundhay Park – Leeds.)

But I don’t want to talk just about Leeds weather today although looking at the snow makes me feel in the mood for Christmas creativity.

I want to make six things before Christmas.

The idea here is to get me being creative once a week, a kick start to the festive season if you will. There are some amazing ideas out there on that old web and I’d like to try and make a few of things ones I’ve seen around  and about. I hope some will be gifts and others just home decor.

On my hit list so far a simpler version of this 

and this cup cover:   


Which I saw on Pintrest from here. So beautiful and sweet and a real necessitiy for those red cups…..

And also this. What a fantastic way to reuse and recycle all at once.

Hope to have one of those made by Monday to kick off the festive season. What wonders have you seen that you want to try?

December Daily 2011 – Prep and foundation pages

Hoorah. It’s here again already.

The planning and prep for the December mini album. Just like last year I pulled out the old albums to see which pages I really loved so I could think about making some pages similar this time around or picking up on elements I liked. See most of last years album here.

The cover is always my biggest decision and I have once again pondered this over and over. I even considered the same look as Ali, who this year, has teamed up with a scrapbook company and produced a custom made December Daily kit. I can’t order the actual kit as they are US based and it would cost a fortune in shipping etc, but I did think about buying a ‘naked’ album and using page protectors but I decided that part of the love I have for this type of album is the different size of the book and the random jumbled up look of each page.

So I cut down a chipboard cover I had hanging around (in fact I bought these two covers in the US in September 2010).

Then I stamped my favorite Hero Arts background swirls onto the cover and embossed in white.

I added a couple of tags, ribbon, torn up music pages inked with Ranger Distress ink Fired Brick. I love this cover. Especially the little piece of sheet music with our initials over the notes. So cute – even if I say so myself.

For the inside pages I began by cutting up a Making Memories transparency I’d saved for this album. I also stamped with white stazon onto some acetate sheets.

I have four main number styles this time and four main sheets of cardstock. I usually use up old supplies but you know working in a craft shop you see all the new stuff and I couldn’t resist!

The papers are My Minds Eye Kraft funday, Echo Park For the record ‘table cloth’ and Girls Paperie tinsel and twig. 

It was totally my intention to go white, silver and red but I ended up more red, kraft and white. Love it though. I especially love that you can at the moment see the layers behind the page you are looking at. I know that will change as the album gets full but love how it’s started off.

Another note before we see the pages is that I like these albums small. Mainly because it’s just Gav, Bud and me so there isn’t a whole lot going on every day so a 4 x 6 canvas works well for me. Hope that I can get some full page photos in there and maybe an open out page or two.     

For the first page I cut up a jewelled swirl and applied it to a piece of acetate. The journal sheet on the inside cover is basic grey – basics. The number 1 is from American Crafts thickers – playroom. I have red and brown numbers throughout the album.

Here is another of the styles of numbers. I cut this tag from kraft cardstock stamped the number and a little joy stamp I’ve had for ages and stitched it onto the page. That’s red twine at the top of the tag threaded through an eyelet. This is the Echo Park table cloth spotty paper. I love a spot.

Stamped that Hero Arts swirl again onto red card.

I cut a star out of red felt and hand stitched it onto the transparency. I then added a number 4 from an old Making Memories ‘Noel’ sticker sheet.

Some old red glittery wrapping paper cut with a scalloped circle punch.

Day 7 is a cut down divided page protector. Adore these.

An envelope cut with a Fiskars edge punch.

This is one of the acetates I stamped with another Hero Arts stamp and white stazon.

Another envelope and a Tim Holtz fragments with the word remember and patterned paper adhered underneath.

Love these little trees. I added extra glitter in the form of Icicle Stickles. Also adore the star cardstock from My Minds Eye.

I wanted this page lower in the album so I could see those lovely layers under so I sandwiched the page with acetate so it would sit at the bottom half of the book.

More Hero Arts swirls this time embossed with glittery red embossing powder.


So there it is. Just a couple of pages not completed but more or less done. And it’s so exciting to see the foundation for the album.

Here comes December.

Project flowers – what I’m going to grow

Like I said in my first post about this idea, I’m not totally new to this growing flowers to use for the house thing. I have done it before and the inspiration for that was from a wonderful woman called Sarah Raven. I have taken a few of her classes on flower arranging at the amazingl school she runs called Perch Hill, in Sussex. They were great fun, informative and taught in the a truly inspirational setting.

So when I started to think about what flowers I was going to grow for this project I went to her books first and then I looked through my photos of our garden plus any photos I had of arrangements I had done in the past.

I’m sure there are loads of methods for arranging flowers but the one Sarah teaches is that you need primary, secondary and tertiary foliage.

Primary gives you structure, strength and a slim stem but bushy domed shape. Secondary gives a contrast in colour from the primary and fills the gaps. And tertiary gives a three dimensional outline for the arrangement.

The flowers. You have a bride, the showstopping flower and attention grabber, the bridesmaid a pretty but less show stopping flower a support act if you will to the bride. And finally a gatecrasher. This makes the arrangement zing with a contrast colour. 

I love her simple approach to thinking about flower and foliage groups. It makes sense that using these elements will give you amazing arrangements. That said though I’m probably not following this method exactly. Mainly because although we have a big garden I want this to be manageable in this first year to see how or indeed if I can be successful.  

Before I placed an order for seeds I considered what plants I already have out there in the garden.

There is an abundance of Alchemilla Mollis which will serve as primary and possibly tertiary foliage and also Euphorbia Oblongata which is absolutely perfect for primary foliage. This euphorbia continues to self seed all over the place which is free plants constantly. We bought three teeny pots of Verbena Bonariensis a month or so ago and have taken cuttings so hope that this will get through the winter. It’s a short lived perennial and a beautiful ethereal tertiary foliage plant.

I also have grown on Cerinthie seedlings that might get through the winter and also have calendula seeds from the plants this year.

And a couple of biennials I had growing already. Wallflowers, Erysimum ‘Blood red’ and foxgloves Digitalis ‘Alba’.  

I then picked the rest of the plants I wanted to fit in with the plan and ordered the seeds from Sarah Raven’s site. And they arrived today.

I am going mainly for annuals. They can give great quantities of flowers and you can ring the changes year on year.  So excited. I can get the sweet peas going but everything else will have to wait.

So here they are. The first two rows are the seeds I have bought and the last row plants I have already. 

All images from Sarah Raven’s web site

Aquilegia vulgaris            Sweet peas pale and dark mix            Knautia macedonica 

 bride                                             bridesmaids                                    bridesmaid


   Nicotiana alta ‘lime green’    Helianthus annus ‘valentine’                      Cerinthie

   gatecrasher/secondary                                           Bride                           secondary

Ammi Majus          Sweet Pea bicolour     Salvia horminum     Cleome spinosa     

primary foliage              bridesmaid     secondary/gatecrasher         Bride              


Erysium Blood red   Euphorbia oblongata   Digitalis                  Calendula                 

bridesnaid                               primary                       Bride             gatecrasher              

Just a couple of my selection are not pictured – the verbena and the alchemilla. Love all the pictures together it’s easy to see what will mix with what.

So there we have it. A plan and the seeds and plants ready to grow.

I’ll be back next year with the first sowing updates. Fingers crossed it all works and I can impress that husband of mine.