Monday, 29 December 2014

Docrafts Papermania Strictly Party Pack

Hi everyone.

So that's Christmas done and dusted. Hope you had a great time and you're now not quite so knee-deep in discarded wrapping paper and empty walnut shells as you were a few days ago. And we have a white Christmas! Well, a few days late but there is definitely a smattering of something vaguely resembling snow as I look out of my craft-room window.

Of course, we are now in that weird "twilight zone" period between Christmas and New Year when no one really wants to do very much and if you're one of the very unlucky ones, you have to start back to work, only to have to stop again. But fear not, it is still... party time!

Even if you're not much of a party animal yourself, you may know someone who is and if so, anything made from the gorgeous Docrafts Papermania Strictly Party Pack would be perfect for them. The kit is mainly die-cut, so items are very easy to assemble and include card toppers, embellishments and decoupage, as well as easy-to-assemble gift boxes and tags.

There are also some truly gorgeous backing papers (lovely butterflies!) which could be used with any card or scrapbook project. The whole theme of the kit is very "girly" but with a sophisticated look. Think "ladies who lunch".

I chose a pretty purple colour-scheme for this matching set of card, gift box and tag. The card has a few layers of decoupage which were very easy to put together as all the pieces are numbered for you. This kit seems to lend itself to adding extra bits from your stash so a die-cut swirl, a lacy doily and the usual gems and bow were a must. I then picked out some of the same elements to decorate the box and tag so that hopefully, everything co-ordinates.

If you are living it up this Christmas and New Year, have a fabulous time and party on! See you in 2015.

  

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Hearts Designs Christmas Scrapbook Page

Hi everyone.

As I'm writing this, there is a howling gale blowing around the house so I think it will be more of a windy Christmas then a white one.

I hope you are surviving the madness of the build-up to the Big Day. It always amazes me that even though Christmas Day falls on the 25th December every year without fail, it still seems to take us all by surprise.

As this is my last blog post before Christmas, I was going to do another Christmas card design but somehow I ended up doing a digital scrapbook page instead. Actually it's been really nice doing a bit of scrapbooking after such a long stretch of card making. And this design would probably work as a card front anyway if you removed the journalling.

Poinsettias are one of my favourite plants and look especially lovely in the house at Christmas. One year I even had a poinsettia instead of a Christmas tree although it was quite tricky to put the fairy on top. If  Wikipedia is to be trusted, the poinsettia originates from Mexico and takes its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico who introduced the plant into the US in 1825.

The poinsettia in my photos belonged to a neighbour and the artwork I've used with them comes from the gorgeous Hearts Designs Hearts & Roses Christmas digikit which I also used to make the card featured in a previous post. (http://www.melissalawrencecrafter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/hearts-designs-christmas-card.html )

I used the cut-out studio in Craft Artist Pro2 to remove the poinsettia from its background and then faded it into the background paper with a blend mode. There is only one intelligent frame in the kit but it is the same as the frame embellishment so I used that for the outer frame as well as for the photos. After that it was just a matter of re-colouring a few embellishments and adding a line of journalling.

So now it only remains for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a peaceful one, too. Merry Christmas!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Design House Christmas Cards

Hi everyone.

And so this is Christmas...Well, not quite obviously, there is still a bit of time to go although those of you who are rushing round like Santa Claus on steroids might be feeling there isn't very much time left at all.

Without wanting to sound like Mistress Scrooge, I must confess to not being a big fan of Christmas. However, I do enjoy making Christmas cards. After all, on what other occasion in the year can you decorate your handcrafted cards with enough glitter and "bling" to light up Blackpool Tower?

I always enjoy seeing what my favourite craft companies have put out for their Christmas ranges. It's amazing how they seem to come up with completely original designs on a festive theme, year after year.

One of my favourite companies is Design House (http://www.designhousecrafts.co.uk/) and I recently downloaded some of their gorgeous Christmas papers from the excellent website Crafts 2 Download & Print (http://www.crafts2downloadandprint.co.uk/) As I think I've said before, I love downloading craft papers from the internet (especially when they are as good as the Design House ones) because they are usually great value and you can start crafting with them straight away, at any time of day or night.

The first card I've made is an easel card and uses three cute canines from the Eclectic Christmas Dogs Toppers sheet together with sections from the co-ordinating backing paper which has a traditional festive fireplace design. I matted and layered everything onto gold mirror card, adding red ribbon and a red bow to match the bows on the backing paper. I then hand-finished the card with large gold brads, gems and glitter. Hopefully I've achieved my idea of one dog lying in front of the fire while the other two look on enviously from the door and window!

  

The next card is made from just one sheet of backing paper which is possibly my favourite of all the Design House Christmas papers. It is called Christmas Florals Red Backing Paper and as soon as I saw it, I knew it would lend itself perfectly to a black card base with lots of added gold. I matted and layered about half the sheet onto white Centura Pearl card, then cut the large flower and the tartan border out of the remaining paper for added depth. I die-cut a poinsettia flower shape from a small section of the paper and matted it onto black card, then added a gold mirror card stamen. The gold flourish was also die-cut from mirror board and I found the co-ordinating sentiment in my stash. Finally, I added gold Liquid Pearls and a touch of gold glitter.



The final card was quite a challenge to both make and photograph and was one I probably shouldn't have left until the early hours of the morning! I used the extremely pretty Snowflake Kittens Twisted Pyramid sheet and the co-ordinating Snowflake Kitten Backing Paper. The backing paper is a stunning design of gorgeous cat fur and I just had to have it. The reason I struggled was because I was determined to make another 3D card and only realised after I'd chosen to do a single gatefold card that the beautifully deep decoupage made that style of card too top-heavy. Also, whichever angle I tried for the photo, I couldn't stop the cats looking cross-eyed but I can assure you they have perfectly normal eyes on the actual card! Fortunately, the addition of silver peel-offs, silver die-cut fancy-shaped matts, some little flowers die-cut from leftover bits from the topper sheet and lots of tiny clear gems saved the day.


I hope you enjoy looking at my creations as I certainly enjoyed making them.

See you soon and then it really will be Christmas.


All Card Designs Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Hearts Designs Christmas Card

Hi everyone.

It's a bit chilly, isn't it? Mind you, I'm writing this post at 1.30am (Don't ask!) so it's hardly surprising. One of my delivery drivers was wearing shorts when he brought my parcel earlier today. Obviously a hardier soul than me.

Now that we are officially into December, I can't put off posting (no pun intended) Christmas cards any longer. This latest one is a digital design that I created using artwork from one of the beautiful Hearts Designs Digikits.

Hearts Designs is a family run business based in Bexhill and they are known throughout the world for their fantastic handmade cards based on all things vintage and retro. All their designs are completely unique and original. You can see a selection of their work on the gallery page of their website.

I used the Hearts & Roses Christmas Digikit for this 8x8 tent-fold card. To create the main design, I used just one digital topper, one sentiment and a frame embellishment. The small cluster of roses was digitally cut from the main topper and I re-coloured the backing paper to perfectly match the other elements. I then made the card up, using dark pink silk-art board and a few embellishments (not to mention glitter!) from my stash.

I hope it makes you feel really "Christmassy"!


  

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Paddington Bear Christmas Card Design

Hi everyone.

Well, here we are in December (just) and as the song says, "It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas". It's a bit early for the Christmas telly to kick in but the cinemas have already launched some of their big guns and the new Paddington Bear movie opened in the UK on 28 November.

I've always been a PB fan and even had his image on my bedsit walls at university in the late 1970s when everyone else had posters of the Boomtown Rats or Fairport Convention. However, Paddington for me is how he looked in the original Michael Bond books and the delightful TV adaptation, so when I saw the trailer for the new film, I was pretty dismayed. Paddington Bear looks decidedly unhealthy to me, as if he's caught some deadly disease back in Peru. And scary too! Not at all soft and cuddly like the much-loved PB toy I remember.

So that's one film I won't be going to see this Christmas! But in case it has sparked your interest in our furry friend, here are five facts you might not know about Paddington Bear.

1. Jeremy Clarkson (yes, the Jeremy Clarkson) was the first person to have a Paddington Bear toy.

2. Paddington Bear is based on the spectacled bear, native to Peru.

3. Paddington's Peruvian name is Pastuso.

4. Michael Bond, the original creator of Paddington was a BBC camera man.

5. There is a Paddington shop on Paddington Station in London.

If you'd like to find out more about PB, why not check out the official Paddington Bear website? http://www.paddington.com/gb/home/ 

Anyway, to get over my shock at the film's depiction of Paddington, here is a personalised Christmas card design I did in Serif Craft Artist Professional recently which shows what he should really look like.

See you next time.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Pollyanna Pickering Snow & Ice Card

Hi everyone.

It's certainly a cold one this morning. Definitely one of those days when I'm glad I work from home and there is no car windscreen to defrost!

The card I've just finished making for this post is surprisingly appropriate as it features an image from the fabulous Pollyanna Pickering 'Snow & Ice' collection which was recently brought out by Creative Crafting World one of my favourite craft companies.

Pollyanna Pickering is one of the world's leading wildlife artists, also well-known for her conservation work. Pollyanna is incredibly generous in letting us crafters loose on her artwork which means we can make some incredible cards. The Snow & Ice range, especially the DVD-Rom, is literally packed with fantastic images of animals from cold climes including penguins, polar bears, tigers, wolves and pandas. What makes the images even more special is that Pollyanna travels all over the world to view these animals in their natural habitat and then paints them from her field sketches when she returns home.

She has some amazing stories to tell, including about the time she had to sit in a cage with a hungry polar bear prowling around outside so she could sketch it in relative safety! If you'd like to find out more about Pollyanna and see some of her fantastic paintings online, go to her website at http://www.pollyannapickering.co.uk

I decided that such special artwork deserved a special card design so I went for something a bit more 3D than usual. It's actually just a middle-stepper card turned on its side but the effect is very pleasing, especially if you put it near a table-lamp so that the light shines through the apertures. The image of the tiger cub being carried by its mother is actually an insert but it was too beautiful to hide away inside the card so I used it on the front instead. All the other bits of paper came from the same sheet and then I just added some die-cut embellishments from gold mirror card and a few gems. As the lovely Lynda Chapman from CCW is always saying, with artwork this good, you don't really need much else.

Stay warm!  


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Monday, 17 November 2014

Inspirational Easel Plaque

Hi everyone.

As usual, I seem to have left this week's blog post until the very end of a long hard working week so apologies if it's not exactly full of wit and wisdom.

It's been a very busy week on both the writing and crafting front but I've also not exactly been firing on all cylinders. I blame November. Although I like winter, November seems such a dreary month and a bit of a drudge to get through. I've certainly been sleeping for England this week or perhaps I'm turning into a doormouse!

Sometimes, when your "get up and go" has gone out for lunch, even the simplest craft projects can take twice as long as normal. Maybe launching a new product this week wasn't the best idea I've ever had as there were definitely a few teething troubles! I got there in the end though and here is the first in a new range of craft makes that I'm calling "inspirational easel plaques". I think they would make ideal Christmas presents, providing inspiration on your desk or mantlepiece all year round.

This one is the large version and has one of my favourite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson printed on it. "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared with what lies within us."

The background comes from Natural Landscapes which is one of my favourite Daisytrail digikits and although you probably can't see it on the photo, the added diamond glitter really makes those trees sparkle.

Maybe I should put this one up on my own desk to help get me through the rest of November!

Happy crafting.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Remembrance Sunday 2014 Scrapbook Page

Hi everyone.

I hope you've enjoyed your fireworks this week, assuming you had some and that any nervous pets are now recovering. I must admit I'm very glad that they are (hopefully) over for the time being. As I think I've mentioned before, fireworks are not exactly on my list of favourite things.

Today is a very important day being Remembrance Sunday. It is of course particularly significant this year as 2014 marks both the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. I have been researching my paternal grandfather's WWI war record recently as I knew very little about what he did between 1915 when he joined up and 1918 when he was demobbed. I found out a huge amount from the internet and now have a much clearer idea of when and where he served.

Both my grandfathers survived both world wars but as we know, many thousands and thousands didn't. I knew I would be asleep during the two minute's silence this morning so instead, I made a digital scrapbook page earlier this week as my tribute, particularly to those who died in WWI.

The photo came from my family history archive but unfortunately I'm not sure who it is, although the date on the back is 1918. I used a digital punch to add the black poppies with the spiked fronds as I thought it looked a bit like barbed wire. The white punched flower represents peace and the "blood-red" sky is actually an enlarged poppy embellishment. The text I've chosen comes from the famous poem For The The Fallen by Laurence Binyon which was published in 1914.

Lest we forget...


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Monday, 3 November 2014

Jayne Netley Mayhew Autumn Card

Hi everyone.

So it's officially autumn now. Where has this year gone? Autumn used to be my favourite season but since the nation became obsessed with fireworks and I went off Christmas, it's now spring. Bring it on!

Having said that though, autumn is probably the best season to craft in as you can't beat those gorgeous autumn colours. I love looking out on my garden at this time of year because although it is a carpet of leaves, the trees are so many different shades of red, brown and orange. I also love watching the squirrels getting ready for winter, even though I know many people dislike them intensely. I must admit to being a bit of a squirrel nut (sorry!) and it gives me a lot of pleasure watching their daily activities. I used to try and protect them from next door's cat but I've come to the conclusion that they quite enjoy the chase.

For this autumn birthday card, I've chosen a squirrel as the main image although it's a red one and sadly I don't have any of those in my garden. The design is from the lovely Jayne Netley Mayhew - The Digistamp CD which is available from Joanna Sheen and has some superb animal designs on it.

I used kraft card as the base because it contrasts so well with autumn colours. I designed my own backing paper in Serif's CAP2 using a digital leaf punch which I created from the squirrel's fur and added a blend mode. I matted the paper onto black card and used black die cut mats for the topper and sentiment, then added brown paper flowers from my stash and some dark green die-cut leaves. Finally, a tiny white bow and some gold faux pearls completed the design.

Enjoy autumn!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Monday, 27 October 2014

Handcrafted Fridge Magnets

Hi everyone.

I hope you remembered to put your clocks back at the weekend. I'm a bit rebellious where that's concerned and don't usually alter my clocks until it suits me. Mind you, it can get very confusing after a couple of days when you are on a different time from everyone else!

It was certainly quite a shock tonight to get up at 5pm after a "night-shift" and see that it was dark. It seems to be the time that a middle-aged woman's thoughts turn to Christmas (there I've said it) as I don't do Halloween or Bonfire Night for reasons best known to myself.

This last week or two I've been making handcrafted fridge magnets which make great stocking fillers. After all, who do you know who doesn't have a fridge? I've enjoyed selecting the artwork and designing the background, then finding a suitable quote to match. Adding glitter is fun too but if you ever decide to have a go at making them yourself, a top tip is to make sure you are 100 per cent happy with the design etc before you push the back panel in as they are a nightmare to get off again!

Here are a couple of my favourites. They are available to buy now from the gift section of Melissa Lawrence Designs online shop along with some other designs that may catch your eye.



These products are available to buy now from www.melissalawrencedesigns.com

Monday, 20 October 2014

Christmas Cards With Dogs On

Hi everyone.

Well, it's getting scarily nearer, isn't it? (And we're not talking about Halloween!) It always amazes us that even though Christmas has been coming around on exactly the same date every year since goodness knows when, it still seems to take us all by surprise.

To help you get a little bit more organised this year, we've done a bit of research and come up with some great places where you can find Christmas Cards With Dogs. It seems that dogs on Christmas cards are only slightly behind reindeer, robins and red squirrels in the animal Christmas Card stakes so if you have dog lovers among your friends and family, you won't go wrong with a cute Christmas canine. Here are some places you might want to consider buying from.

Gifts From Guide Dogs 
A lovely selection of cards and you'll be helping a great cause. The "Gold, Frankincense and Fur" card is our favourite design as we can't resist a black labrador puppy!

Sally Mitchell Fine Arts Ltd
If you like a more "arty" style of card, there are some beautiful designs here and not just of dogs but horses, donkeys, foxes etc. Our favourite doggy design is the lovely border collies in front of the roaring fire.

The Dogs Trust
Another excellent cause and some super cute cards. Check out "First Steps In The Snow" for a real "ahhhh" factor.

The Little Dog Laughed
If you're looking for humorous dog cards then you should find something you like here. Really original designs, very quirky and amazing prices for such lovely designs.

Melissa Lawrence Designs
Of course, as dog lovers ourselves we have to include some four-legged friends in our own range of unique "OOAK"  handcrafted Christmas cards. The image below is one of our personal favourites and is available to buy online right now.



We hope you can find something you like and don't forget, a dog card is for life, not just for Christmas!


Monday, 13 October 2014

HOTP Botanical Etchings Scrapbook Page

Hi everyone.

I've just looked in my notebook and it's over three months since I managed to complete a scrapbook page, so this new one is well overdue. What's more, it's a "real" page as opposed to a digital one! Actually it's been quite a good day for scrapbooking as the weather has been so wet and windy, it was definitely a "stay indoors and craft while listening to 70s pop music" kind of day.

When I'm feeling a bit low on confidence, scrapbooking-wise, I tend to use a kit. Hot Off The Press produce some fabulous paper kits and the one I've used here is called Botanical Etchings. The good thing about using kits, especially if you're new to scrapbooking, is that everything co-ordinates so you don't have to worry about matching colours. You often get sentiment tags as well which can be good for scrapbooking titles such as this one "Know that you are Loved".

If you can't find a kit to match your photo (or vice versa) you can always use a black & white photo and "matt" it onto co-ordinating coloured card. Then just add some journalling, a few embellishments, a touch of glitter and you're good to go.

Why not give scrapbooking a go if you've never tried it before? You don't have to wait until it's pouring with rain!



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Saturday, 4 October 2014

National Grandparents' Day

Hi everyone.

It certainly feels a bit autumnal tonight. I'm holding off turning the central heating on for a few more minutes. Brrrr.

October is quite a month for celebrations. Halloween, Diwali and one that may have passed you by... National Grandparents' Day on Sunday 5th October. I know it seems like we have a special day for just about anything now but although my own grandparents are long gone, I do think that grandparents can play an incredibly important role in family life and should be appreciated.

National Grandparents' Day originated in the U.S.A. and was introduced into the UK by Age UK (or Age Concern as it was then known) in 1990. In America, there is even an official National Grandparents' Day song and also an official flower, the forget-me-not.

If you have children and their grandparents do play an important role in their lives, the following suggestions might provide an opportunity for them to show how grateful they are, whether it's National Grandparents' Day or not.

1. Get the kids to make a collage or write a poem outlining all the things they appreciate about their grandparents and present it to them.

2. Invite the grandparents round for an afternoon of board games organised by the kids!

3. Help the kids to put on a play or musical performance just for their grandparents.

4. Ask the kids to take pictures of gran and grandad doing activities with them and then frame the best ones as lovely gifts.

5. Make a "promise" jar for the grandparents containing promises from every child about how they''ll help their grandparents in the coming year.

Happy National Grandparents' Day!


A handmade thank-you card is always appreciated.

This card is available to buy now from Melissa Lawrence Designs

Monday, 29 September 2014

Paddington Bear Bake Off Card

Hi everyone.

It's another TV-related post this week and another programme I must confess to never watching. I know it's incredibly popular but I haven't really got into The Great British Bake Off. I blame all those dreadful "housecraft" lessons we had at school. Starching tray cloths, cleaning ovens and making soggy scrambled egg with never a Tunis Cake or a Charlotte Royale in sight put me off baking for life.

But I know someone who would probably love Bake Off and that's the star of another iconic TV programme, one that I did watch and definitely loved although Michael Bond's books were wonderful too. So if you know someone who is a fan of Bake Off and also has a soft spot for Paddington Bear, then this might be the card for them.

It's made from some of the decoupage components of a paper kit I think I bought (so much stash, so little time!) from Create and Craft a while ago. There are lots of lovely Paddington toppers and card blanks including the TV one that I cut in half to use as the background. I customised the sentiment in Serif's Craft Artist Professional 2 and added glitter, gems and four corner dies cut from gold mirror card.

Top Tip: The tiny leftover bits from the die-cutting made great embellishments for the top of the mixing bowl.

Here's hoping that Paddington at least makes it to the final of Bake Off and may the best bear win!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014   

Monday, 22 September 2014

One Hundred Years A Hero

Hi everyone.

I've been looking at my previous posts for reasons I won't bore you with and was amazed to see that I haven't posted a scrapbook page since the end of January! It was certainly my intention to post more photos of my cards and less scrapbook pages but I didn't mean to stop altogether.

I've still been making scrapbook pages although probably not as many as I would have liked. Although I can do a digital layout quite quickly, I still seem to put scrapbooking off quite a bit, even though I recently invested in a fantastic new scanner which has made the whole process of choosing photos to scrap with so much easier.

This is a digital page I created earlier this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. Both my grandfathers served in the war but I know more about the war record of my maternal grandfather Stanley Ewart Merrall who was taken prisoner but survived, only to then contract Spanish Flu. He was one of the "lucky" ones in that he did make it home but suffered with ill-health until his death five days before I was born in 1959.

Like all of us who had relatives who served in the war, I am immensely proud of them both and scrapbooking this photo of Stanley is just a very small way of acknowledging his sacrifice and that of the many thousands like him.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Monday, 15 September 2014

National Cupcake Week Card

Hi everyone.

Did you know that today is the first day of National Cupcake Week? Well, neither did I until I read about it in one of my craft magazines recently. Apparently it runs this year from 15th - 21st September and seems like a good excuse to partake of something sweet and sugary unless like me, you are diabetic or hypoglycaemic in which case it's probably not advisable!

I've done a bit of research on the subject of cupcakes and have come up with the following fun facts.

Five Things You Probably Never Knew About Cupcakes
1.The first reference to cupcake in a cookery book was in 1828.

2. One of the very earliest cupcake bakeries was started in America by two investment bankers. (So at least they got something right!)

3. A probable derivation of the term "cupcake" comes from the fact that the cakes were originally baked in very small containers including tea cups.

4. There are now cookbooks, blogs and magazines exclusively dedicated to cupcakes.

5. In 2011, The Food Network's show about cupcakes called Cupcake Wars had over 1.6 million viewers.

So now you know! Anyway, as I am unfortunately unable to celebrate NCCW by eating cupcakes, I've made a cupcake card instead. I used a topper and some backing card from the Hunkydory For Her card kit and added some cream lace, paper flowers, a die-cut flourish, gold glitter and lots of bling. The sentiment says "Hope Your Day is Yum..." and here's hoping this week is too.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Monday, 8 September 2014

Card For A Strictly Come Dancing Fan

Hi everyone.

It seems to be that that time of year already when the "big hitters" like X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing get rolled out again on TV. I usually try to avoid the former but have been known to watch the occasional series of Strictly although I'm not a huge fan of "reality" TV apart from Dragons' Den which doesn't really count!

If you have a friend or family member who likes any of the popular shows though, buying them a card that reflects their interest can be a good idea if you're looking for something a bit different. I believe there are official merchandised cards available for Strictly but why not get something bespoke made instead?

At Melissa Lawrence Designs we're always happy to make customised cards and as long as we can source the artwork, we can pretty much make them on any theme you like. Just click on the Customised Cards tab on the website for further details.

This is a card I've just made to "celebrate" the launch of the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. I used a topper and some backing card from the collection For Her by Hunkydory and made my own sentiment to reflect the show. It was also a good excuse to use lots of "bling" and yes, there are sequins!

Until next time, as Brucie would say...keeep dancing!



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


   

Monday, 1 September 2014

On Trend Digikit 2015 Calendar

Hi everyone.

How hard is it to believe that it's September already? This year seems to have flown by but you know what they say about time and getting older!

Actually, I've been quite conscious of time passing today as it is exactly twelve months ago since I lost my closest friend and confidante to cancer. I held a little "memorial" service in the back garden this afternoon to help with the grieving process and also to keep her memory alive. I read a poem about friendship, played some Cliff Richard songs (and Angels by Robbie Williams, of course) and scattered some rose petals. I'm really glad I did it and it definitely helped.

Now that we're into September, it doesn't feel quite so bad making calendars for 2015. This design is my first calendar print, intended for an A4 frame and is hopefully going on sale in the soon to be set up Melissa Lawrence Designs shop on the online selling site Folksy. I used a digikit called "On Trend" to design it with a little help from a 2014 Calendar digikit. The day after I'd worked out (eventually!) how to adapt a 2014 calendar to make it work for 2015, the new calendar kits came out on Daisytrail, but there you go! The finished product will have a touch of glitter and some tiny gems added.

Have a happy September.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


Monday, 25 August 2014

Wedding Card

Hi everyone

I don't know who it was I heard on the radio recently saying that this August was going to be the hottest on record but they got that wrong. It's actually been more like the coldest!

Despite the inclement weather, August is the month when a middle-aged woman's thoughts turn to weddings or at least to making wedding cards. I was playing around recently with some bits and pieces from my crafty "stash" and this card is what I came up with. It's intended for a wedding but you could use it for any special occasion.

I can't remember now which of my many My Craft Studio CDs the floral digi-stamp and the muted lilac background paper came from but they combine well together and caught my eye as I was looking through my huge folder of digital craft papers. The ribbon across the corner seems to give the card that luxurious "chocolate box" feel and although I was a bit dubious about the pink bows with the purple ribbon, I think it's worked. The sentiment "Wishing you the best day ever" is a Hunkydory one and I added the die-cut silver butterflies as an afterthought.

If you like this card, it's available to buy now from the Melissa Lawrence Designs online shop. Just click the link and it should take you straight to it.

Enjoy what's left of the bank holiday and don't get too cold/wet!



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014

Monday, 18 August 2014

Debbi Moore Free Papers

Hi everyone

My late summer resolution is to post something on my crafting blog every week. So far, so good! Talking of the summer, it's speeding by now, isn't it? Test match cricket is over for another year (sob, sob) and the football season is underway again already. It also feels a bit more autumnal now that the temperature has gone down from the late twenties to the late teens!

Thank goodness we always have lots of lovely crafting "freebies" to download from the internet to keep us cheerful. Not only do they cost a big fat "nothing", apart from the ink and paper of course but you have them to craft with straight away and at any time of the day or night.

Debbi Moore at Debbi Moore Designs is incredibly generous with her downloads as she allows you to download for free a whole range of papers, design sheets, templates etc from many of her CDs. It's a great idea if, like me, you have several of her CDs and want to try out some samples before buying another one or if you just want a new design without buying the whole CD. You can print off as many as you like by clicking Free Papers, Ideas and Templates on her website.

I made this card from the Botanical Sheet and the Botanical Paper 2. In tribute to Debbi, it had to be a 3D card and this one is a "twisted easel and a half" card. I deliberately didn't use all the backing paper as I wanted the black base card to show through and set off the red and gold design. Some die-cut gold mirror board butterflies, swirls and a lot of faux gold pearls were really all I needed as there were so many bits and pieces to use on the design sheet.

Until next week (hopefully!). Keep calm and keep crafting.


    
Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014
   

Monday, 11 August 2014

Craftseller Magazine Free Papers

Hi everyone.

Here's hoping we've seen the last of Hurricane Bertha! We've certainly had a mixed bag of weather recently, haven't we?

It's hard to believe that we're well into August already. I know I should really be starting to make some "C" cards but I just can't think about that yet.

I recently bought the August issue of Craftseller Magazine which was incredibly useful and inspiring and also contained some lovely free papers. Inspired by their theme of celebration, I made this easel card with some of the papers and embellishments. As I think I've said before, easel cards are my favourite 3D style card to make. I love adding "pop-up" bits, like the little rockets, to the base of the card.

I decided to send a letter to the magazine along with a photo of the finished card and was really pleased to get an email back saying they loved it and hope to publish both letter and photo in a forthcoming issue of the magazine.

In the meantime, the card is now on sale in my online shop at Melissa Lawrence Designs and you can buy it straight away by just clicking on the link below. It's in the Male Birthday section but is suitable for any gender or age so why not treat someone special?

http://www.melissalawrencedesigns.com/ourshop/prod_3442766-MALMIS009-Youre-A-Star-Handmade-Card.html



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


      

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Debbi Moore Designs Flower Boutique CD

Hi everyone.

I hope you're enjoying the summer. I must admit it's not my favourite time of year as I'm not a huge fan of warm weather although I do love watching and listening to summer sport.

I'm not sure why but my crafty mojo hasn't been exactly firing on all cylinders for a while (and apparently my blogging mojo, too!) so I recently returned to an "old favourite" crafting CD that I love, in an effort to get the creative juices flowing again.

Flower Boutique CD by Debbi Moore Designs has been around for a while now but I find it a really inspirational CD. My copy came with two durable plastic stencils which you can use in conjunction with the elements on the CD to produce stunning, embossed flower designs which can really lift a project. Alternatively, you can emboss the flowers and cut them out to make your own embellishments which is what I've done here with this easel card.

After embossing, I cut and layered up the flowers and small sections of backing papers onto some embossed die-cut mats made from white Centura Pearl card. I then added a die-cut swirl and a silver mirror board die-cut butterfly. Two small white bows, three silver brads and my new favourite crafty item, Ranger Liquid Pearls, were then added for extra "bling".

 At last. A finished card. Hope you like it. Stay cool!




Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


Saturday, 3 May 2014

Free Craft Papers From Melissa Lawrence Designs (2)

Hi everyone.

I hope you are enjoying yet another Bank Holiday Weekend. They seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment.

As promised, here are six more sample cards made with some of the topper sheets and co-ordinating background papers that you can now download for FREE from Melissa Lawrence Designs. Just click on this link Free Craft Papers and you can download the cardmaking papers and scrapbook papers as many times as you like to use in your own projects. As mentioned before, they are all based on my own artwork and are completely exclusive to Melissa Lawrence Designs. So don't be afraid to fill your crafty boots!

I'M SORRY BUT THE FREE PAPERS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

The first samples in this post were made from the Pink Rose topper sheet and matching paper. The toppers and sentiments should work well with any dies you may have and the rosebud design on the backing paper can also be used as a topper as has been done in the square card. Die-cut butterflies are a must with these cards too!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014



With flowers still in mind, the next two cards were made using the Purple Flower topper sheet and the Purple Flower paper which is one of my favourite papers. The design is very feminine and delicate so there is no excuse for not adding lots of "frippery" for someone special in your life.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


Last but not least we have two cards made from the Garden Seat toppers and the Garden Seat paper. These images seem to work well with the ever popular Kraft card and also gold mirrorboard or gold peel-offs. Definitely a relaxing scene suitable for a retirement card!


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


Don't forget there are also six exclusive 8x8 scrapbook papers also available as free downloads. I look forward to seeing what you have made. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Free Craft Papers From Melissa Lawrence Designs

Hi everyone.

I hope you are enjoying the remarkably mild spring weather we are having at the moment. I can't say I'm seeing too much of it, what with being a night-worker and a snooker fanatic!

As I hinted in my last blog post, I've been working very hard on something exciting to bring to you from Melissa Lawrence Designs. I'm pleased to announce that there are now FREE (yes, free!) craft papers available for you to download as many times as you like on the Melissa Lawrence Designs website. Just click on the link at the bottom of this post and you will be taken straight to them. There are six sets of card topper sheets, each with a co-ordinating backing paper and six 8 x 8 scrapbook papers.

All the artwork is my own and entirely exclusive to Melissa Lawrence Designs so you won't find them on any of the usual download sites. The terms of use are as reasonable as I can make them so hopefully you'll be able to make lots of lovely things from your FREE papers.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are three sets of sample cards made with some of the topper sheets and backing papers. I'll be bringing you some more samples in a second post shortly.


The first two cards are made with the Frosty Leaf set. I love the purple, blue and pink tones which look particularly effective on black card. A touch of glitter will really bring out the highlights in the design.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014



The next two cards are from the Cindy Dog set. These are some of my favourites, possibly because Cindy was a much loved family pet. Her fur colour made a lovely co-ordinating backing paper which works well with some added cream lace.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014



The last two cards (for now) are made from the Faded Foliage set. The colours are quite muted and the design not too fussy so I think they would work quite well for male cards. You can "pretty them up" too, as I have done with the twisted easel card.

  
Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


Well, I hope these samples have inspired you. Now all you need to do is click on Free Craft Papers and start creating. Enjoy!

I'M SORRY BUT THE FREE PAPERS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Crafts2downloadandprint Papers

Hi everyone.

Well, I'm back and I certainly didn't think it would be over two months since my last post before I blogged again but, as often seems to happen with me, things haven't quite gone according to plan. I was very busy working on an exciting new project for Melissa Lawrence Designs (watch this space!) but then I got ill and it's been a bit of a struggle to get back on track ever since.

Although I felt too ill to do much actual crafting or designing, I didn't feel too ill to shop online! One of my new favourite things that I discovered while I was laid aside is how many great sites there are out there for downloading craft papers. This is great for someone like me who likes instant gratification as normally once you've opened an account, chosen your papers and clicked a few buttons, the papers are on your PC ready to print out and make lots of lovely things with.

One of the "new kids on the block" is www.crafts2downloadandprint.co.uk which is a small but beautiful site with some lovely papers to download at very competitive prices. I particularly fell in love with the gorgeous Design House topper sheets (lots of very cute animals!) and was extremely impressed with the quality of the artwork when I printed them out.

Once I felt a bit better, I was able to make a few cards from some of the sheets (and still have plenty of images left) so I thought I'd bring them to you.

The first card (8x8) was my first attempt at using the very "on-trend" Kraft card as a base card. It worked OK but I wouldn't use it again as a base card unless it was a heavier weight. The lovely dog topper was matted onto embossed gold mirror card and co-ordinating silk art card, then it was just a case of adding some embellishments using my E-Bosser and my stash. When the artwork is this good, you don't really need to do much else.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


The second card used the lovely kingfisher topper sheet, again by Design House. I die-cut the central images from the sheet using scalloped circle dies and then embossed them with a "brick" pattern to reflect the background. I made a side-stepper card from a black card blank and added a strip of blue organza ribbon and bow. I then matted the toppers onto orange pearlescent card and finished the card off with a few square gems, a paper flower and a sentiment from the sheet.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


When it came to the third card I was tempted to use some background paper from my stash but knew that I wouldn't be able to get a perfect match. Also, I wanted to see if I could meet the challenge of making three cards from just the toppers! I used some of the lovely pastel pearlescent card from Create and Craft and embossed it with a small flower design. I matted the adorable Westies (you get loads on one sheet and they are so cute!) onto sugar pink and pale blue silk-art card, then made an easel card base. The embellishments just had to be buttons to reflect the design and I added the paper flowers and bows for good measure.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


If you have a spare moment, why not check out www.crafts2downloadandprint.co.uk for yourself. I'll be very surprised if you can't find something you like. Happy crafting! 




Monday, 17 February 2014

Making Cards Magazine (2)

Hi everyone.

So love was all around, in the air etc last week with Valentine's Day. Mind you, judging by the look on my postman's face when he delivered some craft supplies on Friday morning in the pouring rain and driving wind, he wasn't exactly feeling it!

My contribution to one of the most important card-giving days of the year (so they tell me) was to make my first ever 8 x 8 card. I don't know why I've held off for so long. I think it was the extra expense involved in buying the larger sized card blanks. (How mean am I?) Anyway, I managed to find some from a supplier I haven't used before (http://www.stitchcraftcreate.co.uk/) at a very reasonable price, so off I went.

I used some of the free papers from the January issue of Making Cards Magazine which is one of my favourite craft mags, even though I'm allergic to the ink they use and have to work with an olbas-oil soaked hanky over my nose! One of the papers was patchwork hexagons which I cut out and matted onto black card with the heart embellishments to make the topper. I embossed some silver mirror card with the lovely Crafts-Too Blossom folder and used that as the base. Then I matted a co-ordinating backing paper onto silver mirror card and added more hearts, also on mirror board. Some paper heart doilies, lots of gems and a ribbon strip from an address book (nothing goes to waste!) added the finishing touches.

I decided to send the card to the magazine for Valentine's Day via their Facebook Page and it was very well-received. I'm definitely planning on making some more 8 x 8s very soon!



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014
  

  

Monday, 27 January 2014

Craftwork Cards Time Flies Collection

Hi everyone

Well, three posts in one week is something of a record! It seems to be all or nothing with me at the moment.

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago (another reason why I like January!) and I treated myself to the Craftwork Cards Time Flies Collection. If I'm absolutely honest, I was a tiny bit disappointed with this kit in terms of value for money. It is lovely and there is no denying the quality of the foiling and the die-cutting but I'm glad I bought it at a reduced price (from Create & Craft) because I definitely would have felt a bit short-changed at the full price, compared with many other kits I've purchased.

Having said that, I'm very pleased with the first card I made although it was a bit of a marathon effort. I seem to only be able to make easel cards when I want to show-off (!) but I'm glad I did. It meant the card turned into a cross between a "scene card" and an easel card when I realised that the butterflies looked good standing up with little mirror card hinges at the back.

The kit was really easy to work with and it was mainly just a case of matting the background paper and toppers onto silver mirror card. I used a digi-stamp from the Serif Age of Steam digikit and punched the tiny butterflies from some scraps of background paper. I cut the title "Time Flies" off the front of the pack, mainly because I was too tired by then to make my own!

I'm looking forward to making some more cards later this year from this kit although January does seem a good month to remind us that time certainly does fly!



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


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


Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Mother's Love Digikit

Hi everyone

Just a quick one as I've been working all night and I'm writing this post while listening to the cricket so my levels of concentration are firing on even less cylinders than usual.

This is another project I'd intended to post before my computer monitor went AWOL. I was going through another of my huge backlog of "new" digikits and it happened to be A Mother's Love from Kreative Designs by Karen. I'd already used a few items from this kit because it is the first one that comes up in my digikit browser. The colours are so lovely. Lots of gorgeous dark purples and rich pinks. I love the embellishments too, especially the wooden clock and the pretty pink teapot.

As with the scrapbook page I did recently using Karen's Vintage Valentine digikit (http://www.melissalawrencecrafter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/vintage-valentine-digikit.html) it was one of the intelligent frames that sparked off this project. I put another of the 1925 photos of my late mother into the pink aperture floral frame and added some flowers for her to hold. That led to me deciding to decorate the frame with lots of extra floral embellishments and adding the swirls and splashes at the side. I changed the photo to sepia as I felt it suited the design better and added the lace with a digibrush. The title "Flower Girl" just came to me at the end.

It was only after I'd finished the page that I realised A Mother's Love was a really appropriate kit to have used.



Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014
      

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Anita's Flutterdies Toppers

Hi everyone.

A very belated Happy New Year. I had intended to blog much sooner than this but my computer monitor decided to start the new year with a bang (literally!) so I have been having to work without a PC for a few days.

I was very glad to see the back of 2013 for all sorts of reasons but I have felt much better and more positive since the start of 2014. Unlike most people I suspect, January is my favourite month and I always enjoy the "clean slate" aspect of this time of year. I think it's a great time for setting goals and one of my crafting goals for 2014 is to use some of my IFIBT kits. This stands for "I'd Forgotten I'd Bought That" and applies to a great many items in my craft room!

I often come across my IFIBT kits when I'm looking for something else and the sheets of Anita's Flutterdies toppers were no exception. They are so beautiful, all die-cut and look amazing on a card. I can't believe I haven't used them before.

To make this project, I made an easel base card and covered the back panel with a larger piece of black card. I found three silver tags left over from Christmas and matted them on to pink pearl card. I then cut a strip of pink pearl card for the base which I also covered with black card and edged the pearl card with silver peel-offs and co-ordinating silver ribbon. I used seven butterflies from the sheet and attached them with foam pads, then matted a Hunkydory sentiment on to pink pearl card and finished things off with some faux pearls.

I hope 2014 brings you everything you hope for.





Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2014


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

http://feelingcraftychallenge.blogspot.co.uk/    - Butterflies