Saturday, 7 December 2013

Pinterest LIES!

   I love Pinterest but do you ever look at those amazing photo's and attempt to recreate something? Does it inspire you to try your hand at something new? My niece showed me an amazing Avengers cake the night before her 14th birthday and asked if I could do something similar- yes seriously, the night before!. Luckily, I adore Ironman and co.......oh my niece is kinda lovely too!.

My family and friends tell me I make an awesome sponge cake (hopefully, not more delusional behaviour on my part). Have you tried icing a cake? Icing a cake is a pain in the butt! When I have the time and ingredients I HAVE, been known, to decorate it AND make it look attractive (cake high five to me) but I don't find it easy. I will post a couple of photo's of the Dora the Explorer cake I made when Eve turned 3 (she's now 8, boo hoo) just to prove that it is possible, with alot effort, for me to produce an attractive cake. I find I achieve the best results if I make butter cream and then use a piping bag to decorate the cake with it.

This time however, when I checked the cupboard, my available icing colours were: orange, yellow, green, purple, black and white (left over from a high school project of my eldest, Olivia, who did an amazing cake of a character from Gumball). So, did I really want to purchase more icing or leave the house since I was all snuggley and cozy? I am much more of a "make do" type, especially if things are expensive and unlikely to be used again. The coloured icing in my fridge had already been there longer than I care to admit! So it was time to improvise and rid my house of dubiously coloured icing products.

Can I just say at this point, that my niece LOVED her cake and it tasted delicious; but oh dear a Pinterest look-a-like it was not! Also I recommend NOT sandwiching the layers with marshmallow whip, whilst it tastes divine your layers WILL slide as mine did! LOL!

OK, let me explain the cake.
Just by looking at it you may not be able to figure it out! hahaha.
Top layer features the face of Hulk along with his iconic ripped pants and also Thor's hammer.
The orange layer is Ironman and is supposed to be red but I didn't have any!
Bottom layer is Captain America's shield.

OK, stop laughing! I can't be the only one, who Pinterest convinced they could do something, that they clearly could not. Maybe I need to do a Pinterest page for all of our projects, that have not been quite so successful. We could find sympathy, support and a good dose of humour, so we don't feel so bad when our cakes look like mine.

Pinterest, I love you but you do make me jealous, still I'm off to browse their pictures for my latest online crafting fix.

Good luck, whatever you decide to make and remember to ALWAYS enjoy yourself otherwise what is the point! 

Louise x x

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A guillotine, not just for the French Revolution!

   Hello all who stumble by, it’s time to “lock and load”, so grab your crafting tools, a brew and join me. 

   First of all please excuse my poor photography I am trying to improve, honest. 
   Whichever craft you indulge in, it should be something you enjoy and bring you pleasure. I started out trying cross stitch,
0ne and only completed project

which I enjoyed for a short while but I think, that maybe, I’m too impatient to be any good at it. It requires soooooooo much time, prior to obtaining ANY results!
 see, massive amounts of patience required
Keeping Winnie the Pooh company!

In fact, I got soooooooo fed up that I didn’t even finish the last one I started. Poor Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore have taken up residence in a box under my bed- whilst I don’t think Eeyore minds, Winnie the Pooh is going stir crazy, with only my good intention's and promises to finish the pesky cross stitch, for company!

This is how far I got
This is how it should have looked!

    So, as you may be able to guess, I moved on from cross stitch with much relief. I tried and failed at embroidery. I found I am not much good at free hand drawing and hated scratch art (nails on a blackboard sound better!). Model making? Not my cup of tea at all but the kids like it! Then I stumbled across paper crafts such as card making, scrap booking and art and a whole world of fun opened up.  

      When I first started making cards I would often pick over every little detail, being very critical of whether something was slightly off centre or that the proportions of a square, that I had hand cut, weren’t exact, repositioning items.

                           Both of these have lots of faults and crooked lines! Not a happy crafter!

I have learnt over the years that no-one else knows how my cards are “supposed” to look, so I have stopped being so critical of my own designs (well mostly, nobody’s perfect!). After all, crafting is  supposed to be enjoyable not rocket science!  

    Because I don’t have any fancy gizmo’s (does a guillotine count, nah!) I hand cut all my shapes with scissors (yes, ok and a guillotine) and whilst I dream of Father Christmas bringing me fancy gadgets and equipment, it’s not really necessary. Beautiful cards CAN be created without die-cutting machines or expensive equipment. The items I have forked out, small amounts for, are a guillotine- otherwise my straight lines resemble the Pennines, which is not a good look on a card; a heat gun (not really an actual gun, thank god, because this is England and that's just false advertising!) and a self sealing cutting mat which is exactly what it says on the tin and a selection of scissors (not just for cutting hair or killing florists Hot Fuzz style). If you are wondering, which tools to purchase to get you stated, I would recommend starting with these as they are inexpensive, easy to take in and out of a cupboard (high priority in my house ) and you will always be able to use them (rather than just admire them).
My trusty guillotine
Scissors galore 
   The types of card I choose to make on any given day varies greatly depending on my mood, who is going to receive it and what the occasion is. Family and friends are the easy ones, the ones where I know what I want the card to look like, before I begin. When you know someone well, you know what they like, which makes it simpler to pick a theme.

My 13 year old Olivia likes pretty, girlie things with an eye for design and a love of One Direction but it would be impossible to squash Harry Styles into a card! So her cards often include tatty teddy, butterflies and I keep her sweet, fun nature in mind when I design a card for her. Eve however, has a kick ass side and loves princesses, super heroes, werewolves and vampires. In fact if I didn’t know how well adjusted and wonderful she was, I might be very concerned about her and her vivid imagination. She has an eye for drawing and in the past has drawn beautiful human-eating pyramids (not man-eating as they are equal opportunity killers!) and vampire and werewolf filled castles with the princesses locked up in the tower for dinner!  Anyway, as such, the things I make for her differ in colour and theme from Olivia’s. Try and bear in mind, your family and friends loves and it should be easy to find your starting point.  Are they floral and butterfly lovers like me or haters of soft colours like my friend, who would probably vomit if I gave her such a card. Here is the actual card I made her:

                                      The non vomit inducing card!
   At the minute the cards I love to make aren’t really cards in the traditional sense. They are more of a keepsake, a very large (measuring 30cm x 30cm when closed and an awful lot more when open) but beautiful keepsake! I recently made these for 2 of my close friends and work colleagues, when they changed jobs (although heaven only knows where they put them!). This is the first one:

2nd one

  See, I warned you about the photography! Again no fancy gizmo’s or gadget’s were used, just card, paper, scissors and my trusty guillotine, proving that lovely card's can be created without spending a fortune. Beware of blog’s and websites telling you different, there is usually an alternative motive. With the plethora of ideas available on the internet, you don’t even need your own imagination, you can develop one! I often find, people incorrectly believe, they are unable to make a card or craft, don’t let that prevent you from having a go, you may find you enjoy it.

   Craft, Have Fun and Enjoy.  Louise x

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Put it off until tomorrow and CRAFT, CRAFT, CRAFT!

As you may be able to guess from the title of this post, I like to craft more than anything else! Why change the bedding/ clean the bathroom/ hoover the stairs, in the few quiet hours, the children are at school and I am not slaving away at work! I've discovered that I can do those routine/ mundane things tomorrow or the day after or the day after that, and the house doesn't fall apart, the world doesn't end Shaun of the Dead style, from my dust bunnies!  

I would like more me time to craft away to my hearts content, but who wouldn't. The NHS won' t pay me to stay at home (in real life I am a nurse), mores the pity! My favourite part of crafting is bringing a smile to the faces of my children, husband, parents, siblings and friends.  It's an extra,  an added bonus at the end of something I have enjoyed creating. It makes all the time I have taken to create an individual card, softie or canvas, worthwhile. Does that make me ultimately selfish? Oh well, at least I'm a generous, selfish person, so not all bad!

I've read other peoples crafty blog's and am always jealous of those crafter's who seem to be nice and organised. With their lovely, amazing craft rooms and ability to make several of the same card at once; blasted internet and Pinterest if it wasn't for them I would be pleasantly oblivious. 

I call my style more.... organised chaos. My little house is bursting at the seems with 2 children, husband and a dog. There is no where for a beautiful craft room or even a messy, not-so-beautiful craft room, so I have an end of the sofa, a small drawer/ filling system, down the side of it which doubles up as a side table to put my many, many cups of coffee on, and the bottom half of a cupboard which is very TARDIS like (Thank you IKEA!).

It begins well (famous last words).  I start off all organised, I have everything in a set place, all my drawers and boxes are labelled and then... Oh dear, organised chaos overtakes! I spread further and further out, as I make something and become engrossed. Bits of paper, embellishments,  ribbons, different card stock piled up on the floor, double sided sticky tape stuck to the dogs paw, scissors under a sofa cushion (not something I recommend unless you enjoy hospitals). I know where everything is (except those pesky scissors!). I am sure there must be other crafter's out there that can relate, I hope. Unless, Oh No... I wonder if I am just delusional!