Thursday, 23 March 2017

Embellishment clusters...

Hello there!
In-between doing my demos for DoCrafts, I like to spend my crafty time trying out new techniques and generally having a crafty potter around my stash, and recently it occurred to me that my clustering skills were definitely lacking. Not being one to let that go, I decided I should maybe try and master this. It's something I've admired amongst my crafty colleagues work for a long time and I've often wondered what kind of witchcraft they use when putting these beautiful eye-catching elements together and thankfully when grilled about how it all happens, they were really helpful and forthcoming with lots of tips. Naturally, everyone does it differently and has various ways of putting these together but the best tip I picked up was a visual one from a Youtube video - I am a visual learner after all. I watched lots of vids and what I got from that was that a lot of paper shuffling goes on and the ones I like look a bit well, messy! So taking the bull by the horns I started easy with an old kit from years ago that I still had tons of (do these kits ever end?). I felt it would make life simpler as all the elements are designed to compliment and coordinate with each other. I really had fun doing this and it all just seemed to click once I stopped overanalysing everything. I did print off a few extra bits and pieces to help out - a couple of graph paper backgrounds and I also did a bit of diecutting so I could use different shapes of patterned papers too. Here are some of my results...

These were made from an ages old Colorbok kit from QVC and although I wouldn't use them for scrapbooking now as my kids are a bit old for this kind of design now I still love the bright happy colours. The clusters all finished up a really decent size too so next post is about the cards I made with them!

Stay tuned for some bright and bold cards
Thanks for looking,
Jak xxx

Friday, 17 March 2017

Cards from March at The Range...

Hello all. Here are some pics of some of the cards I made last week at The Range in Dundee. If you managed to make it along, thankyou, I hope I managed to inspire you try out some new goodies. Ok here we go...

All of the above are cards made with some of the new Xcut dies. I'll not deny, they are very intricate but if you use my tip from my previous post, you'll be cutting them out completely hassle free - even more so if you remember to give them a wipe over first with a tumble drier sheet, that way all the waste just falls out with a few taps!

Next up are 3 cards from the Paws For Thought range. These are cute beyond belief and really appeal to me because they are so colourful. They're a great start for a newbie crafter as they can be made quickly and without too much embellishing. However, if you should so wish to go completely over the top and go all out kitsch (who, me? - never!!!!) you can really go for it as you can see in the pop up box card below!

Never one to overdo anything...

See what I mean - beautifully bonkers! 
And so on to Wood Elements Capsule range. I used the A4 paper and die cuts pack which is stuffed full of alphas, vellums, bows etc...

These two cards are BIG 8x8s - a size I don't normally indulge in but big cards do give you a bit more scope for embellishing. This colours in this pack are very muted so I added some pale pink and blue to the Best Wishes card to liven things up a bit.

Here's a new card format - for me anyway - which I tried out for the first time too. It's a slider card which when you pull the tag out, reveals the message inside. Kind of simple but effective.

Ok, so that's us done for today. I hope you like something in this selection of samples.
Thanks for popping by.
Have a crafty weekend everyone,
Jak xxx

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Die cutting hack!!! – A tip that works and is cheap as chips!!!!

Hey everyone, happy Sunday morning to you!
I've been busy beavering away, making samples for my next demo which involved using some really intricate dies. To tell the truth, my die cutting machine was really struggling and although it did eventually manage to cut them it was only after lots of rotating of the die and positioning on different parts of the base plate. The whole process was beginning to be a real chore. That was until I tried this amazingly simple tip. Now, I can't take credit for this because it was actually shared by a demonstrating colleague, Lyn Marlow, who made the suggestion in the first place but it does work a treat and means that tricky ornate dies will cut a whole lot easier with only one or two passes. So drum roll please....
   Ok, the secret weapon I have been using is – poly pockets or punch pockets as some call them! Wow! Yep, that's it! Simply, place your die and card stock inside the poly pocket (I always tape intricate dies down on to the card stock to prevent them from sliding about), sandwich between your cutting plates and roll that baby through your machine. You can check without taking the die and card stock out of the pocket whether one pass through has done the job  – I have needed two passes at the most! If you don't have poly pockets in your home somewhere, Lyn suggested using freezer bags in the same way. I'm sticking with the poly pockets though as I have tons of those - the kids are always using them to display pieces of school work etc but they are so cheap anyway - you can buy 100 for a couple of quid and you will get multiple uses from each one. Don't think that because they look all cut up they won't work as they do!

A poly pocket waiting to be utilised for die cutting...
Poly pocket results!

I have taken the die cut out of the bag to show it's all done but if you give the whole thing a shake while still in the bag you'll find most of the bits fall out of the die and into the bag which is great for keeping things clean and tidy and is a bonus of using this method. Boom! Double whammy!!! Lol!

If environmental issues with these are on your conscience, which obviously they should be, dispose of thoughtfully and in an environmentally friendly manner. I'm lucky to have various different recycling methods that we adhere to when it comes to refuse collection and my used plastics all go in a separate crate for collection by our local council who take it away for recycling. Please use them responsibly is all!
So there's your top crafty tip for a Sunday morning. Enjoy!!!!
Stay tuned for cards using the latest products from DoCrafts and the results of those die cuts...
Thanks for popping by!!!!
Love Jak x