Blog > March 2015
As a papercrafter, it can sometimes be a challenge to think of good card layouts or how to use toppers or images that you really like, and this is where card sketch ideas come in handy.
One brand of craft supplies I really like is Hunkydory Crafts Limited. Every couple of months Hunkydory publish their Crafting with Hunkydory magazine, its a great magazine full of craft ideas and no adverts which is refreshing!
Each issue of the magazine includes a card sketch challenge and I thought for the first time I would have a go, not only to see if I win a prize but also to have a go with new layouts.
This card is made using the Mr Fox card set and adorable scorable card stock, I really love the bright colours in this card.
To see more card sketch ideas take a look at my Card Sketch Pinterest Board
Like many papercrafters, I love my Tim Holtz Distress Inks and use them a lot in my craft projects, they are great to use for stamping and also colouring in by using a water brush. I have collected the entire range and have a drawer full in my craft room with the various distress ink pad colours.
The only problem however is I fee you do not get a true representation of the ink colour from the label on the distress ink pad lid. To rectify this I decided it would be useful to make a colour swatch chart with all of the colours to keep with my ink pads so I can match them up to other elements of projects I’m working on, or just to gauge the correct colour – or just to look at as they are so pretty all together!
If you want to make a Distress Ink Colour Swatch you will need:
- Distress Inks
- Distress Inks Blending Tool
- Blending Mat
- White card
- Small Rubber Stamp
- Shaped punch or dies and cutting machine
- Hole Punch
And this is how you do it:
- Punch or die cut the white stamping card into the desired shape you need and have enough for all of the ink pads you have,
- Using the blending tool and blending mat ink the card shapes making it darker around the edges and lighter towards the centre showing the range of shade from one distress ink pad,
- Using the small rubber stamp, stamp the image in the centre of the colour swatch so you would see what the ink looks like stamped,
- Write the name of each ink pad on the edge of the swatch,
- Repeat stages 2-4 for every ink pad,
- Hole punch one corner of the swatches and stack up in the order you want them to be in and tie together with a ribbon – I use ribbon as its pretty but also easy to undo if you need to add more swatches
Some days you just need a quick fix of cake and last weekend was one of those days for us at Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium, we had Paul’s parents coming to visit and so I turned my hand to making up a batch of delicious Mixed Berry Muffins. They seemed to go down really well, especially as we ate the first few only a couple of hours after coming out of the oven. If you’d like to have a go at making the mixed berry muffins, here is the recipe.
One great thing about this berry muffin recipe is that you don’t have to use fresh berries, frozen work just as well – and can often be cheaper – and you don’t need to defrost them first. I adjust the recipe based on what berries I have to hand.
You will need:
- 300g Self Raising Flour
- 1tsp Baking Powder
- 150g Caster Sugar
- 350g mixed berries – Blackberries, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Blackcurrants, Blueberries all work well.
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 125g butter, melted
- 3tbsp milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 175ml buttermilk – if you don’t have buttermilk use 175ml semi-skimmed milk and add 1tsp lemon juice and leave to stand for an hour first
- 2tsp icing sugar (optional)
And this is what you have to do:
- If you need to make the buttermilk do this first.
- Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas6 and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases,
- In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and caster sugar together, scatter over two thirds of the berries and gently mix in,
- In a separate bowl or jug mix the egg, melted butter, buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract. Once mixed together add to the dry ingredients. Mix together with a spoon gently until just combined. Over mixing will make the muffins heavy. I think they are mixed when you cant see the flour,
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and then top with the remaining berries pressing them in gently,
- Bake in the middle of your oven for 20-25 mins, if you test the mixture and its not quite cooked place some tinfoil on top to stop the tops burning whilst the middles still cook,
- Leave in the tin to cool and then turn out onto a wire rack, sift over the icing sugar if you like.
If you give these a try I would love to know what you think of them! I found the recipe really easy to make I just have to remember to do the buttermilk bit first but I always have a bag of frozen berries to hand. A top tip is if you buy fresh berries and don’t think you will eat them all, freeze so you have them to hand for baking!
Wishing all the mums out there a very Happy Mothers Day!
With Mother’s Day fast approaching, why not make a gift of DIY Lavender Bath Salts which I am sure would be appreciated so your Mum can relax at the end of a hard day. These bath salts only have a few ingredients and so they are super easy and quick to make!
First of all you need to find a suitable jar – it needs to be airtight once sealed, I love the Kilner style jars from Ikea – and sterilise it (I do this in the dish washer)
Judging from the size jar you have you need to add roughly 1/3 oatmeal plain porridge will be perfect), 1/3 Epsom salts and 1/3 dead sea salts to a food processor bowl and give it a good whizz until it is the consistency you desire. I have mine fairly powdery but so that you can still make out the grains of salts and oatmeal.
Once it is blended, transfer to a different bowl and add in your fragrance. I have used lavender but you could add what ever you choose, and just keep adding a few drops at a time until you have the scent you would like – take it steady here, you can always add more to make it stronger but you cannot take it away! I transfer it to a different bowl so my blender jug doesn’t smell of lavender!
To make these lavender bath salts even more “lavendery” I added some dried lavender flowers which I grow in my garden, when added to the bath the dried flowers float and enhance the scent.
Once all mixed, cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film and leave to sit for a few hours, then spoon into the jar and seal.
I think these bath salts would make a great gift for Mother’s Day or for a guy to give his girl at Valentine’s Day along with a big box of chocolates to enjoy in the bath!
Image: Emily Quinton
I love flowers and thought it would be a nice thing just to share some super pretty images from a photographer I really admire, Emily Quinton! Emily is fantastic at capturing perfect photos of flowers either in full bloom or taking them apart for a more detailed photo such as the buds on the spoon shown here.
Every Friday Emily runs #FloralFridayCompetition on her Instagram where you share your flower photos and tag her and use the #FloralFridayCompetition hashtag.
What I love about seeing Emily’s photos is the beautiful sunny and colourful flowers but also more dark and moody shots which she captures so well too. Maybe I need to have flowers in my house every week to practice my photography skills with!
If you like these pictures, why not take a look at my Flowers Flowers Flowers board over on Pinterest
Image: Emily Quinton
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Image courtesy of Stacie Swift
On Sunday I had the pleasure of joining a group of other women for a Creative Business Seminar run by the lovely Stacie Swift and Emma Block and I thought it would be nice to share my review of the afternoon.
Both Stacie and Emma are illustrators running well established businesses and so they know a thing or two about setting up a creative business and how much information there is out there to wade through. Its a very savvy idea of theirs to run seminars such as these to share their knowledge and allow people chance to ask questions in a non threatening environment which some seminars can be, especially for those of us like me who get rather intimidated.
So at for just over two hours on Sunday we were gathered in the Shop at Forty in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, listening to very informative information covering topics such as social media, branding, pricing, selling online, selling in person, wholesaling, finances and funding and other snippets of information thrown in for good measure. After over two hours and time for questions we stopped for drinks and cake and then were sent on our merry way.
I was quite nervous attending the seminar because I am still making the mental adjustment that Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium is a business now, but I left the seminar with my head brimming with information and buzzing with ideas and one key point sticking in the front of my mind that Stacie said – to make your business a success you have to treat it like a business.
I checked with Stacie after the seminar and she kindly agreed that I could share with you my top pieces of information that I picked up. So here are my top 5:
- Show your personality when you write your About Page, it doesn’t need to be long but let customers see the person behind the screen and the business.
- Be cohesive and consistent in your branding including packaging, product photos and paperwork.
- It’s far better to have fewer products at a high quality than a huge quantity of products at poor quality.
- Customer service is key – respond to emails promptly and don’t shy away from problems if they crop up.
- Value your work when it comes to pricing your products, don’t under charge just to try and get a quick sale as your customers will come to expect your products at a cheaper price – you are running a business after all.
If you are either in the early stages of a creative business or are thinking of setting one up, I would highly recommend attending one of Stacie and Emma’s seminars. They were both extremely friendly, genuine and approachable and no question was too silly. With out sounding too gushy, for me it was actually inspiring to see two “normal” people running businesses doing what they love to do and making it a success, there’s hope for me yet!
On our recent honeymoon in Australia I discovered Kikki K – stationery shop heaven. Its a bit like Paperchase in the UK but much nicer in my opinion, more coherent in organisation and incredibly desirable with products.
According to their website, Kikki K “embrace the Swedish design principles of form and function to bring you seasonal collections of delicious stationery, gorgeous gifts and organisation solutions”. Kikki K not only sell amazing stationery and gift ideas but they also run in store events and workshops on topics such as organisation, mindfulness, goals and planning. Whilst we were in Brisbane I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop on planning and organisation for Christmas which was a great session helping to brain storm gift ideas for those awkward family members and also great tips and tricks for beautiful gift wrap.
Whilst at the workshop I had to indulge and treat myself to some stationery – well it would be wrong not to! I also joined the Kikki K members club which then gave me a voucher to spend even more, result!
Here is my amazing Kikki K haul.
Alphabet Stamps / Inspirational Quotes and stand
A selection of pens, To Do List and Sticky Notes
The wooden stamps are great for making personalised gift tags and for packaging orders. The quote cards are in my craft room and are rotated each week. I love the selection of pens and I keep the sticky notes in my Filofax to make my list of top three things to do each week.
Sentence a Day Diary / Inspirational Quote Sticker Book
I bought my husband and I the Sentence a Day diary and its not like a usual diary, you are asked a question – some quite random – each day and the diary is for three years so you can see if you answer would change year on year. Questions so far have included “Who was the last person to pay you a compliment?”, “Who would you like to thank?” – its just a fun book to make you think a little.
Other items in my haul shown here include three travel bags for shoes and underwear, a pencil case or make up bag, a notebook and pen elastic, paperclips and little bull dog clips. A lot of these items I purchased as a Christmas gift set so I also have the box they came in which I have started to use to keep the family birthday cards organised in for the year.
I certainly did enjoy shopping at Kikki K, they mail order to the UK but I would be apprehensive due to customs charges but if ever I was in Australia again I would be shopping, but for now I just have to wait for a branch to open in the UK!
Have you discovered Kikki K yet? What other stationery shops do you enjoy? Do keep an eye out on my blog in a few weeks as I also purchased some Kikki K items to be included in a stationery giveaway!
Just to state the opinions here are all mine, Kikki K have not endorsed me to write this blog!
March already! The year seems to be flying past already and February is the shortest month but it has been a busy one and Spring is definitely showing signs of being on the way in our garden.
Instagram is a great place to share snippets of life at BCHQ – here is a round up of February – a month that saw snow and sunshine, new products being created for stock and our kitchen ALMOST finished!
Snow in the garden / Bird Feeders in the Apple Tree / Snow covered Car
Creating new soap bars / Making new birthday cards
Playing with Card Candi / Creating a new product prototype
Painting the wine rack / Emptying all the things for organising / Sunshine on the new crockery