Friday, 22 December 2017

Classic Christmas From Docrafts

Hi everyone.

So this is Christmas (again) as someone once said. Hopefully you are able to take a few minutes out from The Madness to do a bit of crafting, or at least think about what you can craft when The Madness is over for another year.

As it is the season for reflecting, I have been reflecting on the fact that even if I live to be 150 and craft every day, all day, I shall never use up all my crafty "stash". To that end, I have just done an inventory of all my paper kits, digikits and crafting CDs in an attempt, not only to get on top of what I own, but also to get rid of some of it. And how much did I get rid of? Precisely nothing.

One good thing that did come out of this exercise though was that I re-discovered some amazing paper kits that I've not looked at, let alone crafted with, for years. One of these was Classic Christmas, a beautiful kit from Docrafts, which may well have been one of the first paper kits I ever bought. It has some fab festive papers, really useful chipboard embellishments and great toppers. I love the colour scheme too. It is black, red and green which is perfect for Christmas.

One of the advantages of crafting with a kit like this one, especially at this hectic time of year, is that you can make a whole range of items from just one kit without having to search high and low through the aforementioned crafty stash. And to prove my point, here are four quite different festive items, all made from just this one kit, Classic Christmas.

The first two are Christmas decorations which were made using wooden MDF plaques decorated with papers and chipboard embellishments from the kit. I used the traditional method of "decoupage" on the first one, which is where you tear up pieces of paper and glue them at random, overlapping as you go, over the entire surface of the item, before "varnishing" it with PVA glue to seal the papers in.

I then made a DL card using a card blank from my stash and one of the papers from the kit, as well as some small toppers. I matted the toppers onto gold mirror card first and also used a star punch to create the three central stars that match the background.

Finally, I made a piece of free-standing home decor, using a cheap frame from the local charity shop, more papers and toppers from the kit and a die-cut flourish in gold mirror card. I think that this black, red and gold combination always works well for festive themed items, don't you?

Anyway, that's my Christmas crafting done for another year. I hope you have a good time over the holiday period and I look forward to catching up with you again in 2018, when one of my New Year resolutions will be to blog here more often.

Happy Christmas and Happy Crafting!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Quilling Shredded Bank Statements

Hi everyone.

It's been a while!!

During the time I have been sadly neglecting this blog, the craft of quilling seems to have undergone something of a revival. If you're not familiar with quilling, it is basically the art of rolling up thin strips of paper, usually with the help of a small tool, gluing them together and then creating different shapes with the rolled up pieces. From these shapes, you can create some incredible designs such as this beautiful basket of flowers below. 

By © Inna Dorman /

I was into quilling in a big way many years ago. At one time, I was even a member of the prestigious Quilling Guild. Then I began to find it a bit of a strain on my eyesight and even though I tried using larger strips of paper, I began to lose interest in it and went on to other things.

My thoughts have been turning to quilling again after seeing it being demonstrated quite a lot on the Create and Craft Channel recently but I hadn't got round to actually doing any. Then one day, I was shredding some old bank statements and realised that the strips were the perfect size and shape for quilling.

I decided to start quilling with the strips and see where it led me. I didn't follow a pattern but simply"freestyled", creating shapes and laying them down in a design that was pleasing to the eye. I must admit, I had to look back at an old quilling book (The internet hadn't been invented when I was into quilling the first time round!) to remind myself of some of the basic shapes that it's possible to make.

This is the finished result.

I put each section of the design straight onto a sheet of black card but you can quill the design, stick it all together and then glue it to your chosen surface if you prefer. It's a good idea to quill on to a piece of acetate first if you are using this method.

I'd also forgotten that you need a white glue that dries clear, as however careful you are, it is almost impossible not to get glue on the backing sheet as you are having to put glue on such a thin surface. Using a cocktail stick helps.

Here are some close-ups of parts of the design so that you can see the individual shapes better. You will notice I have also added some gold sequins to some of the shapes as a finishing touch.

Just a word of caution. Although it is highly unlikely that anyone could steal your bank details from shredded statements, especially once they are part of a quilled design, it's probably wise to be careful where you display your finished project, just to be on the safe side.

If you'd like to find out more about quilling and have a go at it yourself, there is lots of information on the internet. Here is a link to get you started:

In the meantime, I really will try not to neglect this blog any more.

Happy crafting!

Melissa x  

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

MJM Design Studios Lilies & Light Digikit

Hi everyone.

And I'm back. According to this blog, it appears I haven't done any crafting since the end of August but of course that isn't true. Having said that, I did lose all of October to the dreaded lurgy and exhaustion but since then I've been knee-deep in crafting Christmas products to sell under the umbrella of my handmade cards and stationery business Melissa Lawrence Designs. Now is about the time I always wish that like far more sensible crafters than me, I'd started crafting for Christmas much, much earlier than this.

If you follow my design blog My Kind Of Designing Blog you will know that a couple of months ago, I was very pleased indeed to be asked by the artist, designer and crafter Michelle Jackson-Mogford to create some samples to help promote her new range of digikits which launched on the digital scrapbooking site DaisyTrail at the end of September. The kits were fantastic to work with and really inspirational for both design and craft projects. If you'd like to see the design projects I've created so far, then please hop over to my designing blog. The post links are Michelle Jackson-Mogford Kits on DaisyTrail and MJM Design Studios La Senora Mexicana Digikit.

After I'd done six design projects with two of the digikits, I decided I wanted to do some crafting projects with the next one and I thought I'd share them with you here. The digikit I've used is called Lilies and Light and like all of Michelle's kits, it's inspired by one of her artistic heroes/heroines. In this case it is Claude Monet who also happens to be one of my favourite artists too.

Lilies and Light is clearly influenced by nature and has some beautiful hand-painted floral imagery in it as well as lots of gardening embellishments. As soon as I saw the plant pot embellishment in the kit, I knew I wanted to make a plant-pot shaped card that would be suitable for someone's retirement. I enlarged the plant pot in my graphics programme CraftArtist2 Professional to fit an A5 page, then copied and pasted another one next to it for the back of the card before also creating a single page insert in the same shape. The plant pot was decorated with images from the digikit before printing out and a black bow and some tiny gems were added to the finished card from my crafty stash.

For my next project, I picked out nine of the lovely flower embellishments from the digikit and added some foliage from the kit before printing them out. I copied and pasted each of the flowers so that I could decoupage them for extra dimension. I chose a gorgeous sunshine yellow background paper from the kit and adhered it to gold mirror card and then some black card. Finally I added a tiny clear gem to the centre of every decoupaged flower.

When it came to the third project, I wanted to do something a bit more spectacular to really show off the elements in the digikit. I had the idea of (sort of!) recreating the famous 'Bridge Over a Pond Of Water Lilies' painting by Monet in craft form and ended up creating an easel card. 

One of the photo-real background papers in the kit was perfect for the "water" on the base of the card and then I printed out and backed some of the pretty water-lily embellishments from the kit onto card and added little cardboard hinges so that they were more 3D. The green bridge was one of the embellishments in the digikit and after printing it out, I added some green gems, then made it stand up with another hinge. I used a vintage postcard embellishment from the kit for the topper and added some other elements to the design before printing it out. The butterflies and dragonfly were adhered to the "easel" part of the card with foam pads so that they stood out more. Finally I created the "Beautiful" tag  from the kit and added some gems for extra bling.

I'm hoping to complete three more crafting projects using the fourth of Michelle's kits as soon as I can and I'll bring them to you here. It might have to wait until Santa's been though. In the meantime... Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Retro Baking Free Printables From Papercraft Inspirations Magazine

Hi everyone.

And I'm back! I can't believe it's been a year, give or take five days, since I last posted on My Kind Of Crafting Blog. "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" and all that, to quote the late and much lamented Sandy Denny.

I've just had a quick look back at that last post  to see what I was doing this time last year and also to remind myself why I stopped posting. I'll leave you to check it out if you're interested or even if you're not.

Suffice to say that being a designer and nothing else didn't quite work out as career move for various reasons but I'm really glad I gave it a go. I'm still passionate about designing as you will see if you follow the link below to my designing blog and it is my Number One choice of career but I'm delighted that after quite a difficult time with my health, my finances and my emotional life, I seem to have found my crafty mojo again at last.

Of course, it helps to fire up the crafty cylinders when there are such great free craft printables available to download and make into lovely things. And you don't even need to feel guilty that you're spending money on yet more crafty stash!

Although I have to confess to not being a fan of The Great British Bake Off, I'm aware that the new series has just started and this coincided with me discovering some gorgeous Retro Baking free craft printables on the Papercraft Inspirations Magazine website. I can't remember how I found them now but I'm really glad I did as I had a great time playing with the dinky little rolling pins, oven gloves, fish slices and whisks etc, not to mention the pretty background papers. It reminded me of playing "baking" when I was a child.

I decorated an ordinary brown paper gift bag to start with and I think the style of the designs work really well with the plain brown look. I actually used the oven gift box backing template (which you can also download and print out) as a tag for the bag and added some pink twine, paper flowers and pearls from my stash.

Top Tip: If you glue your printed sheets of downloaded embellishments onto card before you start them cutting out, it makes life a lot easier as some of the items are very tiny at normal size. Better still, print onto thin card if your printer will take it.

For the apron card, I used the template provided and drew round it onto a folded card blank. I cut out some of the pretty floral background paper and the pink scalloped border for the base, then added a die-cut pink foam scalloped circle as the centre mount for the cooking implements. The sentiment "Whisking you a Happy Birthday" was on one of the sheets, as were the dinky little oven gloves. I added the ribbon and some pink pearls from my stash.

Finally I made the square card using the blue and white "hooped" background paper from the free printables, a small white doily from my stash and a die-cut scalloped oval cut from white paper. I created the sentiment myself using the text tool in CraftArtist 2 Professional and also added a silver mirror board die-cut flourish. This time I didn't stick the embellishments onto card which I think has created a "softer" look.

Top-Tip: If you want to die-cut a sentiment that you've created, scan the die in first (but don't save it or you are breaching copyright regulations) and import it onto your workspace in CAP2 so that you can get the sentiment the right size and in the right position before you do the actual die-cutting.

If you want to download the free printables for yourself and have a go at your own "makes and bakes", you can find them here along with the templates and lots of inspirational project ideas:

I printed the embellishment sheets onto Super Smooth 120gsm paper and the background papers onto 100gsm copier paper. 

Anyway, even if it has been far longer than I intended, it's good to be back and to be sharing my crafty projects with you. I'll definitely make every effort to blog here a lot more regularly. Happy Baking and Happy Crafting!

All projects Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2016

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Expect The Unexpected

Hi everyone.

I hope you had a good Bank Holiday weekend and didn't get too wet!

It might not have escaped your notice if you've been reading my last few posts that there hasn't been an awful lot of crafting going on recently. In fact I've just looked back at the post list and it is over three months since I last posted a craft project. As this is supposed to be My Kind Of Crafting Blog, I could be in trouble with the Trade Descriptions Act.

To cut a long story short, as my late father was fond of saying, I have been feeling less and less enthusiastic about crafting and more and more passionate about designing, so much so that I have now decided to make a major career change and become an independent creative designer.

To say that this is unexpected is an understatement. As someone who can't draw for toffee (or even chocolate) and who had absolutely no idea know what a graphics programme was, let alone how to use one, until about three years ago, I certainly didn't see this coming. But I feel sure I have made the right decision and although I'm having the occasional wobble, I'm absolutely convinced I have to give it a go.

So...the bad news is that I won't be blogging here regularly any more, only when/if I have a craft project to share. The good news is that I have set up a brand new blog for designing and I'll be posting there on a regular basis and sharing my design work, as well as tips and techniques, which I hope will inspire and interest you. It would be great if you could join me over there.

My Kind Of Designing Blog is at:

Meanwhile, thank you so much for taking the time to read my craft blog posts and for any comments you may have made. It was really, really appreciated.

Au revoir!

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

DaisyTrail CraftScape Country Garden

Hi everyone.

I promise I won't mention the weather! British summers are something of an enigma, aren't they?

I'm still on my run of things going wrong in the house. A couple of days ago I was woken at 5am by a loud and regular beeping noise which was impossible to sleep through. At first I thought it was the battery in the smoke alarm but it turned out to be the carbon monoxide detector telling me it had reached the end of its life. (At least it wasn't telling me I'd reached the end of mine.)

I tried everything to make it stop or to loosen it from the wall but to no avail. In the end I had to go down to the garage in my nightwear, fetch a large hammer and give it a few good thumps. I've not heard a peep out of it since but of course, now I need to get a new one.

Thank goodness for the sanity of crafting although once again that has been on the back burner and it's been another week of designing. I couldn't resist buying another of the wonderful CraftScape digikits in the DaisyTrail summer sale the other week and this time it was the lovely Country Garden digikit. Like all the CraftScape kits, the artwork is fantastic and makes you feel like a watercolour artist even when you are anything but.

I have three projects to share with you, all of which demonstrate the versatility of the kit and how you can do both simple and complicated designs. The first is a square card using one of my favourite embellishments, the gorgeous poppy. I didn't put a background on this card but left it white to add to the watercolour painting effect.

The second project was considerably more complicated. I used a Public Domain photo of some beautiful cherry blossom trees in a park and resized it to fit an A5 landscape page. I then copied the photo and put one on top of the other. Next I placed three blossom tree embellishments from the digikit on top of the photos and added a different blend mode from my Craft Artist Professional software to each tree.

The kit contains a number of flower bed embellishments and I used those for my foreground, rotating and then blending them in to look like grass. More blend modes were added and a digital frame put round the whole picture. I found an appropriate quote by googling "quotes about blossom".

Here is the original photo and underneath it is my project which I think would make an attractive piece of home decor.

Finally, another much more simple project. In fact this card front only took about ten minutes to design as I used one of the ready-made toppers from the kit as well as some of the word art which meant I only had to add the background, a piece of digital material, the stitching and the extra embellishments and it was done. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most effective.

I really enjoy working with the Craftscape kits and cannot recommend them highly enough whether you are new to digital crafting or a seasoned pro.

Have a great couple of  weeks and I'll see you soon.

Monday, 10 August 2015

DaisyTrail Regency Love Scrapbook Page

Hi everyone.

Have you ever been on a run where all your equipment seems to go wrong at once? Well I seem to be on one of those runs now. First of all it was the computer which threw a wobbly to the tune of a hundred pounds. Then the shower packed up, fortunately not while I was standing under it with shampoo all over my hair. Next, when I switched on the lights in the sitting room... a big, fat nothing. I was sure that must be my three things but no. The colour on the television has now gone faulty and is making everything look yellow so I'm having to watch Create and Craft in black and white.

I'm not sure if all this is what has given me a bad case of "crafter's block" this week but for the first time for as long as I can remember, I haven't done any actual crafting. My craft room remains a desert of inactivity as last week's projects sit silently on my desk waiting to be attended to.

Fortunately, I haven't had designer's or scrapbooker's block (I never have designer's block, it's the only thing that keeps me sane) so I do have something to show you, at least.

One of my few remaining relations (a second cousin on my mother's side) sent me a lovely photo recently, depicting her grandfather and grandmother on their wedding day which probably took place sometime during the mid 1920s. Her grandfather was my grandmother's brother so he was my Great Uncle. We were able to exchange what little information we had about him, including that he was temporarily blinded by a gas attack during World War One but survived the atrocities and later became a very highly respected teacher.

The photo also means quite a lot to me because on closer inspection, I realised that the gentleman standing just to the back of the bride is my grandfather and the little bridesmaid is almost certainly my mother.

To try and do justice to the photo, I used a beautiful digikit called Regency Love from DaisyTrail which is part of a collection of three digikits, all on the theme of love. I really like the delicate, hand-painted style of this kit which seems to lend itself really well to scrapping a vintage wedding photograph.

Overlaying a black and white or sepia photo with coloured sections is very "on trend" at the moment and although the way I did it was quite fiddly to achieve, I think the result is surprisingly effective. Take a closer look at the bride's pearl necklace as well because that is taken from the embellishment in the top right-hand corner of the design using the eraser tool from CraftArtist2 and overlaying onto the original necklace in the photo.

The final finishing touch was to add an overlay mask (coloured to match the photo) to the background paper to give it a bit of texture and make the background a little less bland.

I intend to email the finished design to my second cousin when I get a moment and hopefully she will be pleased with what I've done with her and my family history photograph.

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015