Monday, 25 May 2015

Kate Knight Craft Papers Card

Hi everyone.

How has your Bank Holiday weekend been? I spent mine how I like to spend Bank Holiday weekends...indoors crafting and writing while listening to sport. Fortunately, there was plenty of crafting and writing to do and plenty of sport to listen to so I was a happy bunny.

Actually, this week has felt like a bit of a holiday anyway as I finally finished the proposal and sample copy for my non-fiction book with the strong link to Downton Abbey. I sent it to the first (and only) literary agent on my list as soon as I'd finished it. (Not to be recommended but do as I say, not as I do!) Once I'd done that, I decided I needed to take a break from the endless typing, research and proofreading and devote some time to other writing projects as well as free up lots more time than usual for crafting.

As a result, I've spent more hours in my craft room than I have for a while which was great. One of the projects I made was another "Stash Buster Challenge". This is a little challenge I set myself a while back to try and use things that have been in my crafty "stash" much longer than I care to remember.

This week I re-visited some lovely papers by the exceptionally talented designer Kate Knight who is well known in the art and design industry for her bold floral patterns which I really like. It's quite a while ago now but I just had to buy the four beautiful sets of background papers and sentiment toppers that Kate designed for a craft magazine collection. Although I've made one or two cards with them, I haven't used them as much as I'd like, probably because they are too pretty to cut up!

This week I decided to make another card with them and here is the result. As usual, when I really want to show off the materials, I go for a 3D card and more often than not an easel card. I only had to cut up two sheets of paper and one sentiment topper to make the card so it wasn't too painful. I even had enough paper left over to make up some paper flowers using some Marianne Creatables Dies. Kate's designs are so striking that I didn't feel I needed to do much else to the card apart from adding some black ribbon, a few pearls and some silver liquid pearls to the centre of the flowers.

If you want to try the magazine papers for yourself, I have just checked on the internet and it looks as if they are still available from Immediate Media Origin. Enjoy!

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Serif Parchment Digikits Projects

Hi everyone.

Where has the summer gone? I don't know what it's like where you are but we've had everything today. Rain, hail, strong winds, sunshine and the central heating on all day. Mind you, I shall be the first one complaining when it's too hot.

This week I've been experimenting with the Serif Parchment Digikits. If like me, you love the look of parchment craft but would never have the time or the inclination to do it, these digikits are a brilliant substitute. There are eight kits altogether and they provide a huge collection of digitally parched elements including butterflies, flowers, toppers, lace, frames and flourishes. Some of the elements are already coloured (although of course with the Craft Artist Professional Software you can make them any colour you wish) and some are left plain for you to colour in yourself either digitally or by hand. I started off with just three kits but quickly added more as once I'd got the hang of the techniques, I couldn't stop making things!

Although I struggled a little bit at first to get the look I wanted, I suddenly "got it", mainly when I realised that you needed to do a few specific things. So here are my Top Tips for working with these digikits.

1. Use a digital punch to punch out a plain section from a topper or frame. This gives you a piece of digital "parchment" and the parched images look much more realistic if placed over this.

2. Put a coloured "matt" using a quick shape or a piece of material under the toppers as they will show up much better.

3. Don't "shadow" your parchment images as it makes them look rather dull and grey.

And here are my projects.

On this 8 x 8 card I decoupaged the butterflies and although it may not show up that well in the photograph, they do look incredibly like someone (not me!) has spent ages parching them. The silver mirror board really seems to "pop" the design which is finished with some small pearls from my crafty stash.

The next project is a piece of home decor, something that the kits really lend themselves to. I "borrowed" a digistamp from another kit (sorry, can't remember which one) and turned it into a white silhouette. I decorated the dress and bonnet with elements from the floral parchment kit and then put the lady in one of the frame embellishments which I decorated with the same flowers. More pearls were added. Again, from a distance it looks pretty realistic.

The third project is another 8 x 8 card but with this one I used one of my own photos in the centre. I think the scalloped topper looks very much like a piece of parchment and the little organza bows from my stash really compliment the design. I used the gold mirror board leftover bits from a die-cut instead of gems. Waste not, want not!

All images copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

If you would like to try digital parchment crafting yourself, the kits are all available on Daisytrail. There is also a very useful video tutorial showing how to use them on YouTube.

Have fun!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Victoria Nelson Delights Scrapbook Page

Hi everyone.

You'll have to bear with me if this week's post is a bit shorter than usual. I've written somewhere in the region of 10,000 words this last two or three days. Normally that would take me about two or three months. As a result, I've already been up for over 22 hours and my eyes are on stalks.

The reason for such a burst of creativity (and yes, I am awake enough to remember that this is my crafting blog, not my writing blog) is that I've almost come to the end of writing the proposal for the book I'm working on which has a very strong link to Downton Abbey. As usual, it's taken far longer to complete than I'd bargained for, hence the need to put a on a bit of a spurt this week.

In case you don't already know, the proposed book is based on a collection of letters I inherited from my maternal grandmother. They were written to her by a close friend called Ethel North who, during the 1920s and early 1930s, was lady's maid to Lady Winifred Burghclere, the elder sister of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Those of you who watch Downton are probably aware that the inspiration for the fictional Crawley family came from the Carnarvon family and much of the series was filmed at Highclere Castle, the ancestral seat of the Carnarvons.

While working on the book I've been thinking quite a lot about my grandmother, Elsie Merrall. She died when I was six so I don't remember her very well but I recently came across a lovely photo of her that was taken in 1912 when she would have been about twenty. I've been wanting to do a scrapbook page of the photo for ages but was waiting for the right digikit to come along. This week it finally did in the form of the delightful Delights kit by the talented artist Victoria Nelson. You can find this digikit and others in her collections on the Daisytrail website.

The kit is really easy to work with and the project more or less created itself. I tried hard not to overload the page as I often tend to do and I'm particularly pleased with the digitally painted "gesso" behind the photo which blends in nicely with the background paper. Thanks to the always inspirational Michelle Jackson Mogford for that tip! 

Anyway, I hope you like the page. I'm off now to get some much needed sleep!

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Match-It Flowers & Butterflies Card

Hi everyone.

I hope you had a good Bank Holiday weekend, despite the weather being something of a mixed bag. The good thing about May is that if one Bank Holiday doesn't work out, there will always be another one along in a minute.

I'm still not exactly firing on all cylinders healthwise and still watching lots of snooker, so nothing changeth here. Actually the snooker is officially over now but as I've only just finished watching the second semi-final, I'm about two days behind everyone else. Now I have to go into "lock down" with TV, radio and social media so that I don't hear the result!

As it was the last week of the month, I thought I'd better do another Stash Buster Challenge and try to use up some more of my ever increasing pile of crafty stash. I decided to use one of the very first craft products I ever ordered from Create & Craft which was a set of two booklets called Match-It. They were produced by a Dutch company and consisted of pages of beautifully coloured artwork (I chose the  flowers, birds and butterflies book as well as the Oriental one) on high quality glossy paper.

With each booklet I also received a large collection of outline gold and silver peel-off stickers which matched exactly with every design in the book. The idea is that you put the outline sticker over it's corresponding image (as in "Match-It") and then cut round the peel-off, thereby creating stunning embellishments to use for craft projects, such as the ones suggested in the booklets.

I'd forgotten how therapeutic it is cutting out peel-offs as the raised edge of the sticker makes it a lot less fiddling and much more relaxing. Within a very short space of time I had assembled enough flowers, borders and butterflies to make this 8 x 8 card. The designs were so vibrant that I didn't really need to add much else apart from some blue backing paper, gold mirror board, black card, a black doilly, four die-cut corners and a few coloured gems.

I've not been able to find the books I bought anywhere online but you can still buy outline stickers with matching printed papers in booklet form, as well as separately, from a company called Doodey.

Why not give Match-It stickers a go and let me know how you get on?

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015