Sunday, 16 December 2018

Stocking Fillers For Crafters

Hi everyone.

Crafters are so easy to buy Christmas presents for, aren't they? Even if you think they already have enough craft products to fill the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, they're always delighted to receive some more. As someone who definitely falls into that category and has enough crafty stash to fill the Blackpool Tower Ballroom every night for the next six weeks, I finally decided that 2018 was the year I was going to have to start sharing it with the rest of the world and so 'Share My Stash' was born.

Now, as well as making handmade cards for my small business MJL Creative Cards, I'm also making and selling handmade craft supplies. These are all lovingly created from items in my own crafty stash that I've collected over the years but that have been refreshed and brought up to date in a unique and creative way. As a crafter myself, I'm really excited by the products I'm now bringing to the crafting retail world. I just have to make sure I don't buy any of my own products!

So if you are still looking for those last minute stocking fillers for family members, friends or colleagues who are crafters, or if you have little people in your life who love crafting with mum or gran (or even dad), there is still time to head over to Share My Stash on Folksy to see what crafty goodies are waiting for you there. There is free UK postage on everything in my shop too.

To give you an idea of the sort of things that can be made with my products, I've put together three sample Christmas cards (well, it is the middle of December) using three different products that are all still currently available in my online shop. There are lots of non-Christmassy products there as well which should keep everyone crafting well beyond Boxing Day. Just a word of warning though. Most of the products I make are a "one-off" and when they're gone they're gone, so please don't miss out.

You can be taken directly to each of the products I've used for my sample cards by just clicking on the product images below.

I made the first card using one of these cute felt gingerbread men which are decorated with buttons, sequins, seed pearls and ric-rac braid. Gingerbread men are always a nice alternative at Christmas to robins and Santas and these look good enough to eat. (Please don't though!)

And here is the sample card I made using this product.

For the next card I used three of the pink paper Christmas flowers that are one of my favourite products in the shop. I really like the colour combination of pink and black on Christmas cards as I think it gives them a really stylish and contemporary feel. The flowers were all assembled by hand from some really pretty 6 x 6 papers and are really easy to attach to a card blank with just a dab of 3D glue or some foam tape. They also have a clear faux gem in the centre.

And here is the card I made using just three of the flowers.

My final product choice is the pack of 24 Christmas paper squares and you only need a few of them to make a really stylish and original card. The paper squares are hand-cut from the remains of a Papermania paper kit. There are some really stunning contemporary and more traditional Christmas images in the designs and the paper quality is excellent. Some of the squares are foiled too for extra "bling".

This is the sample card I made and I think it is probably my favourite. I just love the slightly vintage style mixed with the contemporary.

So hopefully I have given you a flavour of what I've being doing for the last few months. And if you are all organised for Christmas (boo!) and don't have any more gifts to buy, then do pop back to Share My Stash in 2019 as there will be lots more products coming in.

Meanwhile, may I wish you and all those close to you a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Melissa x

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Dovecraft Bohemian Paper Pack

Hi everyone.

I hope you’ve had a good summer. Here in the UK we’ve had some record temperatures (the highest since 1976 apparently) and sometimes it was too hot to go into my craft room which didn’t please me at all!

When I finally made it in there, I set myself the challenge of creating three cards from the fabulous Bohemian Paper Pack designed by the very talented Charlotte Duffy and produced by Dovecraft, the flagship brand of Trimcraft. I love both the colours and the artwork in this pack. There are lots of rich, vibrant oranges, pinks and purples which compliment the beautiful imagery of flowers, birds, butterflies and woodland creatures perfectly.

The two packs I used were the 6 x 6” which is perfect for making small square cards and the 8 x 8”. The quality of the papers is excellent with some having a glitter effect and some being pearlescent. You get a really useable cover too, so don’t throw it away!

The challenge with a paper pack is being able to make cards when you have no co-ordinating toppers or embellishments to go with it but I like a crafty challenge, so here we go.

With love on your birthday

What you will need:

·       6 x 6 paper pack
·       6 x 6 white card blank
·       gold pearlescent paper
·       white cardstock
·       coloured gems
·       sentiment stamp
·       acrylic block
·       gold ink pad
·       foam pads
·       PVA glue
·       small flower punch

How to make it:

1.    Cut a sheet from the pack into three different sized rectangles that cover the card blank but leave a small border around each one.
2.    Use a flower punch to punch out three flowers from the middle-sized rectangle at regular intervals. Attach a strip of gold pearlescent paper to the back of the middle-sized rectangle and stick all three rectangles to the front of the card blank.
3.    Glue the three flowers slightly “off-centre” over the flower-shaped apertures on the middle-sized rectangle and attach a gem to the centre of each one.
4.    Stamp a sentiment on to white cardstock in gold ink, cut the card to size and ink the edges. Attach to a slightly larger piece of gold pearlescent paper and attach to the card blank with foam pads.
5.    Punch out two more flowers and attach to the sentiment. Add gems to the centre of each flower.

Top Tip: Why not try making the same card with the 8 x 8 pack for a really special occasion?

With Love

What you will need:

·       6 x 6 paper pack
·       6 x 6 white card blank
·       white cardstock
·       gold gems
·       pink mini-bow
·       3D glue gel
·       sentiment stamp
·       acrylic block
·       pink ink pad
·       oval nesting die
·       leaf die
·       die-cutting machine
·       glitter gel pens

How to make it:

1.    Use an oval nesting die to cut an aperture from the centre of one of the “frame” design sheets from the paper pack.
2.    Turn the card blank round to a landscape format and attach the remaining sheet to the front of the card blank.
3.    Die-cut another oval shape from white cardstock and glue it to the back of the paper oval die-cut left over from Step 1.
4.    Stamp a sentiment on to the die-cut oval with pink ink and attach it over the aperture with 3D glue gel.
5.    Die-cut three leaves from white cardstock and attach to the edges of the raised oval. Add gems and a mini-bow.
6.    Use gel pens to add glitter highlights to the sentiment and the leaves.

Top Tip: If you are having problems releasing die-cut items, try placing a piece of wax paper between the die and the cardstock before running it through your machine.

Today is all about you

What you will need:

·       8 x 8 paper pack
·       A5 white card blank
·       white cardstock
·       orange craft paper
·       tag template
·       butterfly template
·       self-adhesive red pearls
·       self-adhesive gold seed pearls
·       sentiment stamp
·       acrylic block
·       gold ink pad
·       foam pads
·       PVA glue

How to make it:

1.    Cut a piece of paper from the pack to cover the front of the card blank leaving a small border all the way round and attach to the card blank in a landscape format.
2.    Use the tag template to create three tags from a contrasting sheet of paper from the pack. Glue each tag to white cardstock and trim the cardstock to size. Attach a red pearl to each tag.
3.    Use the butterfly template to create three butterflies from the same paper as the tags. Place each butterfly on to a piece of orange craft paper and roughly cut around each one so that the orange paper can be seen around the edges of the butterfly. Stick the butterflies together at the centre only and lift the wings. Add two tiny gold seed pearls to each butterfly.
4.    Glue one butterfly to each tag at the centre only so that the butterfly wings remain lifted. Use foam pads to attach each tag to the card blank.
5.    Stamp a sentiment on to white cardstock in gold ink and trim to size. Stick the stamped sentiment on to a slightly larger piece of the same paper used to cover the card blank and glue it on to a piece of white cardstock. Attach to the centre tag with foam pads.

Top Tip: If you don’t have a tag template, you can draw round a Christmas or birthday gift tag instead.

Until next time, happy crafting!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Joanna Sheen Cardmaking Collection

Hi everyone.

So spring finally seems to have arrived since I last blogged and in fact here in the UK, we have just come to the end of our second mini heat wave of the year. It lasted all of three days so let’s see what happens with the next one!

It seems like the perfect time to review a fantastic crafting resource that I came across recently. If you are not familiar with Joanna Sheen, she is one of the leading experts in the crafting industry and brings us some fantastic products at great prices through her website

In conjunction with Practical Publishing International Ltd, who publish a number of very popular craft magazines, Joanna recently brought out another of her fabulous Cardmaking Collections and this one was on the theme of florals, particularly spring florals.

I treated myself to the collection with a voucher I had for Joanna’s website but even without the voucher, it would have been incredible value for money. As well as a glossy full-colour magazine packed with inspirational craft project ideas, many of which came from Joanna herself, the following items were also included:

·       daffodil die with four different sections
·       jug of flowers embossing folder
·       5-in-1 stencil with centre and corner panels
·       set of 12 acrylic stamps
·       paper pack including background papers, sentiments, toppers and images.

Everything came in a beautiful box as well. What more could any crafter want?

I usually aim to do three projects (my magic number) for a blog post such as this but I could have done many more if time and space had allowed. If you are looking for something to boost your crafty mojo and if you can still get hold of this collection, I can highly recommend it. Everything was very easy to use and very inspirational.

Here is what I came up with using all the main items from the collection in one way or another.

Picked especially for you

What you will need:

  • daffodil die, stamp set & paper pack
  • mdf circular plaque
  • black, yellow and white cardstock
  • gemstone
  • black inkpad
  • PVA glue
  • foam tape
  • die-cutting machine

How to make it:
1.       Cover the mdf plaque with green background paper and ink the edges with black ink.
2.        Die-cut three daffodil heads from white cardstock, three centres from yellow cardstock, three sets of stems from black cardstock and six “trumpets” and leaves from white cardstock. Use foam pads to attach the daffodil heads and centres to the plaque, then stick the leaves and the rest of the die-cut pieces in a spray formation. Attach the gemstone to the base of the spray.
3.        Stamp the sentiment onto white card, cut into individual sections and attach to the plaque with foam pads.

Top Tip: When attaching the daffodil stems to the plaque, leave the tips of the stems unglued and curl them up slightly for a more realistic effect. 

Happy Birthday

What you will need:
·      jug of flowers embossing folder & paper pack
·      white 5x7 ins card blank
·      yellow linen cardstock
·      kraft cardstock
·      happy birthday sentiment
·      seed pearls
·      gold, bronze, brown and red inkpads
·      gilding wax
·      sanding block
·      PVA glue
·      foam pads
·      die-cutting machine

How to make it:
1.   Cover the front of the card blank with kraft cardstock.
2.   Emboss an A6 piece of yellow linen cardstock with the embossing folder and trim it to size. Sand the embossed cardstock down, then add gilding wax and different coloured inks to the raised sections of the embossing. Ink the edges of the embossed cardstock with bronze ink.
3.   Cut out a slightly larger piece of script-patterned paper, ink the edges and adhere to the card blank. Attach the embossed cardstock on top.
4.   Cut out three sections of the flower image leaving a white border all the way round. Arrange the flowers on top of the embossed cardstock as if they are in the jug. Attach with foam pads.
5.   Ink the edges of the sentiment with bronze ink and stick it onto the card blank with foam pads. Attach three seed pearls on either side.

Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to get messy and use your fingers for applying gilding wax and inks to the embossed cardstock. You get a much more “vintage” look that way.

Best Wishes

What you will need:

  • stencil and paper pack
  • white 7x7ins card blank
  • gold pearlescent cardstock
  • best wishes sentiment
  • self-adhesive pearls
  • gold and bronze inkpads
  • blending sponge
  • PVA glue
  • foam pads

How to make it:
  1.  Cover the front of the card blank with a piece of patterned paper from the paper pack.
  2.  Cut a slightly smaller piece of script-patterned paper from the paper pack and place the stencil on top of it. Using the blending sponge, apply gold ink through the corner panels on the stencil and bronze ink through the centre panel. Remove the stencil, then add more ink to the script-patterned paper.
  3.  Trim a piece of gold pearlescent cardstock so that it is slightly larger than the script-patterned paper. Attach the pearlescent cardstock to the centre of the card blank with foam pads, then stick the script-patterned paper into the centre of the pearlescent card.
  4.  Cut out the rose image from the paper pack leaving a white border and attach to the centre of the card blank with foam pads.
  5.  Ink the sentiment with bronze ink and secure to the corner of the card blank with foam pads. Attach three pearls to finish.
Top Tip: If you don’t have any pearls that match the colour of your card, you can re-colour them by placing each pearl face-down onto an inkpad. Attach the pearl to your card, then seal the ink with a tiny amount of Glossy Accents.  

Until next time, happy crafting!

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