Saturday, 28 December 2013

Vintage Valentine Digikit

Hi everyone.

Well, that's Christmas done and dusted. I hope you had an enjoyable time and are not feeling too full. I didn't "do" Christmas this year which was a bit strange and I'm glad its over. Just New Year to get through now and then I shall be very pleased indeed to see the back of 2013.

I've not felt much like doing any family history scrapping for a while but over Christmas I started again. I had a couple of sepia photos of my late mother which were taken in 1925 when she was three years old and decided that the lovely Vintage Valentine digikit from Kreative Designs by Karen would work really well with them.

I cropped the shuttered window embellishment to make it work as a frame so that I could put the two photos side by side. Then I changed the colour of the tag embellishment and used that for my journalling. I layered various background papers and materials and gave them a digital torn edge, then copied and pasted the heart shaped doily embellishments to make the fan shape at the back. After that it was just a case of adding the gorgeous flowers, some digital lace, a couple of butterflies and the cute teddy!

I love working with Karen's digikits and Vintage Valentine is definitely one of my new favourites.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013


Stop Press: This page was the Featured Project on http://www.daisytrail.com/ on 30 December 2013. This was a great honour and by far the best thing that's happened to me for ages!




Thursday, 19 December 2013

Debbi Moore Free Papers

Hi everyone.

Well, not long to go now to the Big Day. Actually, I'm not "doing" Christmas this year for the first time ever. It's been a bit weird not writing cards or crossing presents off my list, but definitely less stressful.

I have, of course, still been making Christmas cards, mainly to sell in the online shop on my website www.melissalawrencedesigns.com I've also made an easel card (yes, another one!) using some of the fabulous Free Papers that are available on the Debbi Moore website www.debbimoore.co.uk/tips.asp There are absolutely loads of freebies from Debbi's CDs etc on there. Well worth checking out.

For this card, I used Winter Moments Sheet 2 for the toppers and embellishments, then Winter Moments Paper 2 for the background papers. I matted the toppers onto black card and the embellishments onto gold mirror card. I made the gold star using a Woodware small star punch, then added faux pearls, gems and a mini bow from my stash. Finally I used Reeves Diamond Glitter Glue on the toppers because you can't make a Debbi Moore card without using glitter!

So all that remains for me now is to show you a photo of the card and to wish everyone a peaceful, happy Christmas and a bright New Year.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Monday, 9 December 2013

Making Cards Magazine

Hi everyone.

I hope you are feeling a lot more festive than I am! The trouble with starting Christmas in June is that by the time you get to December, you are pretty much all "Christmassed" out and don't really want to see another Christmas card or hear another Christmas song until about the middle of March.

It was a relief then the other day to come across an old issue of Making Cards Magazine (http://www.makingcardsmagazine.com/) This is one of my favourite crafting mags, mainly because it always has such gorgeous free papers which are really good quality, unlike the free papers you get in many other mags. It was the January 2013 issue so no mention of Christmas, thank goodness!

I decided to make a card with the lovely pink and black "Luminous Lace" papers. I seem to be having a thing about easel cards at the moment as I think they show off the toppers so well. I took the wonderful Mel Heaton's advice and just cut various sections from different papers at random, then played around with them until I found a layout I was happy with.

I matted two sections from the same sheet of background paper onto pink silk-art card and added some small raised designs matted onto black card. They were then glittered and some micro gems and pink pearls were added. I mounted the toppers onto a strip of black card and added two horizontal borders from the same sheet of paper used to cover the base of the card. I added a border to the base from the same paper as the topper background paper and made some co-ordinating flowers using one of my Tonic Petal Punches. Finally I added the black ribbon and bow.

I put the card on the magazine's Facebook page and received a nice comment back plus a few "Likes". Now it's time to get back to those Christmas cards!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Serif Age Of Steam Digikit

Hi everyone.

You know those projects where everything falls into place and they go so smoothly, it's almost as if they made themselves? Well, this wasn't one of them! Maybe it's because I'm still not firing on all cylinders (although I'm much better than I was) or maybe it was the programme but I had at least ten "crashes" in Craft Artist Professional2 while I was trying to design the toppers and a further four when I was trying to lay out the sections for the whole card.

Of course, it didn't help that I'd already spent a ridiculous amount of time wondering what design to do. The theme needed to be "Steam Punk" and although I'd already pretty much decided on an easel card, I couldn't make up my mind what art work to use. I seem to have quite a plethora of Steam Punk which is odd, considering I'd never even heard of it a couple of years ago!

In the end I settled on designing my own toppers using the Age Of Steam digikit which is one of the kits in the latest Serif Punches & Stamps Collection. I coloured the black outline images using the "fill" tool (my latest favourite!) and then used the "picker" tool to get all the background sections the same colour. I found the quote "Steam Punk, the greatest era that never was" on the internet and added it to the small topper with the "text path" tool which was when most of the crashes occurred.

Making up the card was a lot easier than designing it, I'm pleased to say. I matted the toppers onto black card and added a back panel of silver mirror card to make them really stand out. I die-cut two tags for the stopper, then added a black ribbon and bow. I found the little gold "cogs" in my stash and added the buttons, pearls and gems. Finally the little white bow seemed to be just the right finishing touch, so I did get there in the end!

     
Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

I'd like to enter this project for the following blog challenge:

http://feelingcraftychallenge.blogspot.co.uk/  - Steam Punk

Monday, 4 November 2013

Isabel Digikit

Hi everyone.

This is just a very quick interim post as I should have been in bed about four hours ago.

One of the bunch of scrapbook pages I did last week was this one using yet another of my "rose" photos and the lovely Isabel digikit by the very talented Angie Hinksman. I'm also grateful to the always incredibly inspiring and wonderful Michelle Jackson-Mogford (http://www.mjm-thearttart.com/) for the layout idea. I managed to leave a lot more "white space" than I usually do and I think it works quite well but I have to sit on my hands when I'm doing it!



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Autumn Scrapbook Page

Hi everyone.

Well, I'm certainly not out of the woods yet but I do feel I've turned a bit of a corner in the last few days and things are hopefully improving. The best thing is that I've finally felt able to do some designing (three scrapbook pages and a backing paper last week) and a little bit of crafting, even though I'm still officially off work.

One of the scrapbook pages I did was for a blog challenge on the theme of Autumn. I was inspired by the theme as Autumn used to be my favourite season, until the country went firework-mad and I think the colours lend themselves to crafting and designing more than any of the other seasons.

The idea for a layout with the photos in interlocking circles came from a page I saw on the always inspirational Daisytrail website (http://www.daisytrail.com/). I put some of the photos I took in my garden last Autumn into CraftArtist2 and punched them with a digital circle punch, then decoupaged them to get the raised effect.

I had already thought of using the poem Ode To Autumn by Keats so I just added the text to a parchment style embellishment and changed the font so it looked like the poet had just written it. Then I decoupaged the poem and added the decoupaged flowers and butterflies from Butterfly Kisses which is one of my favourite digikits. The flat leaves in the top left corner were from various kits and I re-coloured them and added various blends in CAP2 as well as some journalling. I then decoupaged some smaller versions as raised embellishments.

The hardest part of the whole design was finding the right background paper. In the end I settled for the wood grain from the Magical Moment digikit which I think has worked pretty well, even though it is actually a Christmas digikit! To complete the page, I matted it onto orange and then black card and added some gems and a tiny organza mini bow. You can see the completed hybrid page below the original digital image which is a bit of a departure for this blog as you normally only get to see the digital design. There is a considerable difference in the background colour but that's my printer for you!



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013




Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013


I'd like to enter this project for the following challenge:


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Ruth Digikit

Hi everyone.

Here is another project I managed to complete before I hit the wall. This one uses the fabulous Ruth digikit from Kreative Designs By Karen. If you've read my blog before, you'll know that Karen Gover is one of my favourite digikit designers and Ruth could well become one of my all time favourite kits. It was a great digikit to work with as everything blended together so well.

I originally used a standard photo from another kit but then I came across this black and white photo of my mother holding me and that seemed to fit the page really well. I only added the digital decoupaging at the last minute but I think it has really lifted the whole design. I hope you agree.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Debbi Moore Designs Paris Bookazine

Hi everyone.

Life has not been going too well for me recently and unfortunately my crafting and designing, not to mention my health, has suffered considerably as a result. However, I wanted to put one or two projects on my blog that I completed before I went AWOL and hopefully, some new stuff will be coming along soon.

I love the Debbi Moore Designs Bookazines. They are such good value for money as they are literally packed with background papers, toppers and embellishments, as well as really inspirational project ideas. You also get a free CD which means that when you've used up all the materials in the Bookazine, you can print them out again as many times as you wish.

TOP TIP: I find it a lot easier to get at the toppers and embellishments that I want by opening the staples in the centre of the Bookazine, removing all the double sheets and then cutting them down the middle.

This is actually my first ever "stepper" card and all the materials come from the Shabby Chic Paris Bookazine. It is my own take on a stepper card as for some reason, I prefer not to have the side pieces sticking up. I used a Tonic Petal Pairs Punch for the flowers and managed to do the whole card from just half a topper sheet and one sheet of background paper, so I have plenty left for another card in the same design.


   

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013



And here is the other card! I set myself the challenge of only using the rest of the sheet (plus some card stock and some bling from my stash) and succeeded with just a small strip of backing paper and a blank sentiment left over. I'm particularly pleased with the difference that just a touch of glitter on the mirror has made and the way the printed red rose and the faux silk red rose have added balance to the card. It is amazing to think that both these cards have come from just one topper sheet and one backing paper sheet. Definitely great value for money.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013



And just for good measure, here are both cards together.




Copyright Melissa Lawrence2013

Friday, 27 September 2013

Rose Scrapbook Page

Hi everyone.

I wasn't going to put this scrapbook page on my blog but then I thought, why not? I hope it is a fitting tribute to my friend Rosemary Bond whom I'd known for over 40 years and who sadly passed away on September 1st 2013.

Various digikits have been used and the photo is of a rose from my garden that was originally pink before I put lots of blends on it. You can't really tell on the screen but it does look quite 3D from certain angles.

RIP Rose xxx


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Vintaj Forest Lore Digikit

Hi everyone.

Well, I'm back after a very difficult month where I lost my best friend to cancer, completely ran out of money and had an infected cyst on my head. I certainly won't be sorry to see the back of September!

Before things went so pear-shaped, I was inspired by a TV programme about prog rock album covers in the 1970s to have a go at designing one of my own. Unfortunately, since the advent of CDs and downloads, the album cover has become something of a lost art but I thought I'd give it a go, anyway.

I chose the Vintaj Forest Lore digikit because I felt the imagery and the colours really lent themselves to that slightly weird, mystical and ethereal type of music which I actually hated at the time!

I put various blends from Craft Artist Pro2 onto the goddess's "body" to give it a strange glow and also to make the colours like a stained glass window to fit in with the spiritual theme. I decided there was a lot of life, growth and nature stuff going on but I deliberately included the dead trees and the upside down frog to symbolise the end of life, too.

The title for the "album" came to me after I'd completed the design which is clearly not the right way round but then who cares? It was just an experiment really and although it's not quite (!) in The Dark Side of the Moon category, I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt at album cover design. Now all I need to do is wait for the 12 inch vinyl record to make a massive comeback!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Saturday, 31 August 2013

A Mother's Love Digikit

Hi everyone.

Wow. Two blog posts in one week. That is definitely a record. I think it's because I've spent the last two days, or nights in my case, trawling through lots of other crafter's blogs (a great displacement activity along with repeatedly changing the colour scheme on my website and replying to comments on Facebook!) and getting depressed and inspired in equal measures by the incredible talent that is out there in crafting blog-land.

I've blogged before about my tendency to go off at a tangent and start creating something that I wasn't "supposed" to be creating at that moment and isn't that what creativity is all about? This project is a good example. Believe it or not, it was supposed to be a Christmas card as I'm still way behind with designing and making them and am clearly not going to finish them before the end of August as I'm actually writing this post in the early hours of September.

I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow I went from intending to make a Christmas card to coming up with this scrapbook page which is about as "Christmassy" as I am. However, I'm quite pleased with it, mainly because it has taken me out of my comfort zone and away from the more traditional digital scrapbook layouts that I usually do. It's thanks to the wonderful work by the Daisytrail community (www.daisytrail.com) that I was inspired to do so.

The embellishments are mainly from A Mother's Love digikit by my favourite designer Kreative Designs by Karen. The background is a blend of a backing paper from the MCS Vintage Charm CD and one of my own photos and the focal image is a digital stamp from The Botanist digikit. As soon as the design began to come together, I thought of the quote which is from Keats' Ode On A Grecian Urn, although I have condensed it a bit.

This is certainly the most "arty" page I've done so far and I think it might make a nice piece of home decor, once I've sourced some inexpensive 8 x 8 frames. And as for the Christmas card? Well, there are still 115 days to go!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

British Street Party Digikit

Hi everyone.

I'm back after a couple of days off. Needed a bit of a break but not sure how much good it's done! Now all I need to do is get my crafting mojo back again!

Before I took my break, I re-worked this digital scrapbook page to make it 8 x 8 and ended up adding quite a few new embellishments including the full lace border, which I think looks better than it did before. The design was originally in A4 format but I wanted to put it on Daisytrail (www.daisytrail.com) and I tend to go for square layouts for that.

The photo is the first family history one that I've scrapped. I found a whole stack of old photos in a portmanteau style chest when I was sorting out my late parents' possessions. (A marathon task!) I like this one because of the amazing hats which remind me of enormous fruit-salad meringues! Since working on my family history (another marathon task!) I've discovered that Harry and Ada Warden were one of my many great aunts and uncles on my mother's side. They were married in Leicester in 1908.

I've used various digikits for this layout but mainly British Street Party from Daisytrail as well as Cupid. The original photo was sepia but I think it looks better in black and white. Keep a look out for many more family history scrapbook pages in the future!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013






Monday, 19 August 2013

Inspired By Merly Impressions

Hi everyone.

I promise I'm not going to mention the weather! Or the fact that I keep changing from nights to days and back again so it is a bit of a "matchstick job" at the moment which is why this will (hopefully!) be just a short post.

As usual, I am scrapbooking photos in "hindsight". Actually, I'm not sure this was the first rose of summer but I think it was near enough! I've taken a great many photos of roses this year as they are one of my favourite flowers, ideal for use in crafting and even though the garden has suffered this year through lack of funds, the roses have still been magnificent.

The inspiration for this page came from a layout on the wonderful Merly Impressions blog (www.merlyimpressions.co.uk/blog) which is well worth a visit if you get the chance. So far my page is all digital and I have used elements from too many different digikits to mention but I do know that the gorgeous parchment style butterflies come from the fabulous Lace Market digikit.

This is part of the new Stamps & Punches Collection from Serif and it is amazing! I have already done several designs based on digital colouring so watch this space. The lace elements in the kits are incredible, especially when you colour them white and put a drop shadow behind them. That (somehow!) creates the parchment look which I think has really added to the overall design.

I hope you agree.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013

Friday, 2 August 2013

Butterfly Kisses Digikit

Hi everyone.

I always seem to start my posts with a weather update and today is no exception. About twelve hours ago I was so hot, I could barely breathe and I was sticking to my craft desk chair like a snail. Now I've just had to close the windows and put my jumper on as it is cold and wet! Oh well. Never a dull moment where the British weather is concerned.

On a slightly weather-related topic, one of the things I've noticed about the careers I pick is that I always seem to be doing things out of step with everybody else. (That's true in my "non-working" life as well but that's another story!) For instance, both crafting and writing are "seasonal", but not in the actual season you're in. For instance, with writing you have to submit your Christmas short stories or articles in the summer to allow for the publication's lead-time. With crafting, you need to start making your Christmas cards and gifts in the summer so that you have enough stock ready to sell or give away by the time the festive season kicks off, usually on about the third of August.

OK, so nothing really unusual there but one of my (many!) problems seems to be that I'm not very good at doing what I'm supposed to be doing, when I'm supposed to be doing it. Right now for example, I'm supposed to be editing my current young adult novel but what am I doing instead? Putting a post on my crafting blog. Even if I'd decided that it was OK to have a "crafting day" today and not a "writing day" (I have to keep them separate or my poor brain can't cope) this is supposed to be my designing, not my admin time.

All this brings me to why my latest scrapbook page has an autumnal theme when we've just experienced (worst luck!) the longest and most intense heatwave we've had in years. Christmas in the summer is one thing but autumn? What's that all about? Well, in the end, I think it's about seizing the moment, inspiration and creativity. 

One hot July night, I felt "led" to look at one of the (far too many!) new digikits I've purchased recently. Without any plan in mind, I chose Butterfly Kisses by the truly talented Karen. I was only planning to look at the kit but before I knew it, I was layering materials and backgrounds to come up with the design below. Because the colour palette is very autumnal, I added some of my autumn photos. Suddenly, without any plan or specific schedule, (plus a few of the lovely embellishments from the kit!) I'd produced one of the best scrapbook pages I think I've done in ages.

So maybe it's finally time to stop worrying about what I'm supposed to be doing and let the creative muse (whatever that may be) lead me to wherever it wants to go. Hopefully it will soon lead me to get on with editing that novel!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2013


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Door Hanger Using Craft Artist Pro2

Hi everyone.

Well, it's certainly a bit on the warm side, to say the least! Very different from when I last posted anything but I guess that's the British weather for you. One extreme to another!

I'm certainly finding it quite a challenge to craft during the extreme heat. I like to work at night and as soon as I open the windows, it seems like the entire insect population descends on my craft room. Not only that but the fan, currently on warp speed, blows all my bits of paper everywhere. Oh well. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Just before the (now official) heatwave struck, I was busy making some paper projects in response to Phill Martin's request (phillmartin.blogspot.com) for three people to join his Serif Craft Artist Pro2 Design Team. I've never tried out for a DT before but because it was Craft Artist (and Phill!) I decided to give it a go. He specifically wanted people who could do gift type projects which was quite a challenge for me as I mainly do cards and scrapbook pages.

Sadly, I didn't make the final cut (now I know how the rejected candidates on The Apprentice feel!) but I did discover I could craft under pressure and produce some quite professional looking gifts, apart from the party mask which went horribly wrong.

Here is a door hanger I made using one of the templates from Craft Artist Pro2. I designed the backing paper from one of my own photos, using it to "colour in" the stencilled butterflies. I then distressed the paper with a glitter digi-brush. After adding the text (and no, I don't know who Anna is, either!) I made the decoupaged butterflies and flowers by filling another stencil with grouped embellishments from the Butterfly Paradise digikit. After that it was just a case of cutting out the template, mounting it on card and adding the ribbon and gems.

It's certainly a project I'd be happy to do again. All I need now is a few doors!






Sunday, 23 June 2013

Hot Off The Press Design Tool Kit #1

Hi everyone.

This week I had a bit of a "play" with one of my favourite new toys, the Hot Off The Press Design Tool Kit #1. If you've never used this before, it's a set of durable plastic tags on a chain in some of the most common die cutting shapes. Instead of having to find the right dies and get your Cuttlebug or Grand Calibur out, you just draw round the shapes and cut them out for some instant matting and layering. You even get small shapes such as butterflies and flowers within the main designs. There are project ideas printed on the shapes and you can also use them for scrapbooking. If you don't have a die cutting machine or can't afford dies, they are a great alternative.

Top Tip: The shapes are linked together by a small metal chain but I found it easier to draw round the shapes when they were all separated.


For this card, I used the large shaped card outline from Design Tool Kit #1 to make the scalloped edged base card, then Label A and Label B for the matting and layering. The larger matt is cut from white Centura Pearl card and the smaller matt from some paper I had in my scraps box which I embossed and sanded to give it a "distressed " look. The butterflies, which are also in the set and the backing paper were cut from a sheet of paper from the My Craft Studio Flourishing Florets CD-Rom. To make the flowers, I used my Tonic petal punches on some scraps and then did an actual die-cut to create the matt for the stamped sentiment. I finished the card with two tiny bows and some pearls and gems.

Top Tip: If you have any problems with cutting out such as pain in your wrists etc, use a pre-cut scalloped edged base card rather than trying to cut the shape out from a straight edged card. 

I hope you enjoy using the Design Tool Kits if you haven't already given them a go.



Sunday, 9 June 2013

Getting To Grips With Craft Artist Cut Out Studio

Hi everyone.

I hope you are enjoying some sunshine wherever you are. It is still a bit iffy for spring, isn't it? Talking of spring, I'm taking lots of photos in my garden which is close to being listed as a "protected area" due to all the wild flowers that have appeared while my gardener has gone AWOL! However, some flowers are actually supposed to be there and that includes my gorgeous peonies. I love their deep red colour and the leaves make me think of velvet. Unfortunately, they soon go over, especially if we have bad weather and then I'm left with a carpet of petals to sweep up!

Here is a digital scrapbook page I designed last week with some of my peonie photos. For this project, I used a lot of embellishments from the Daisytrail Butterfly Garden digikit which is one of my favourite kits, plus some bits and pieces from Swirling Memories digikit and a background from Lifestyle digikit. I finally got to grips with the Cut Out Studio in Craft Artist Professional to cut out the pink hawthorne sprigs and the single peonies from some of my other photos. To enhance the photo, I layered some of my cut-out peonies on top of the photo. I don't think you can tell! If  I "hybrid" my page, I'll add actual lace, ribbon and gems.

I hope you like the finished result!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Hello Sunshine Digikit

Hi everyone.

Welcome to my crafting blog. I have been blogging for a while as a writer (www.melissalawrencewriter.blogspot.com) but this is my first post as a crafter! I hope you will find something of interest to you once I get going with my posts. For now, I'll leave you with a scrapbook page I designed over the weekend. I'm hoping to "hybrid" craft it as soon as I've sorted out the current problems I'm having with my printer.All the elements in this design are taken from the Hello Sunshine digikit by American Crafts.