Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Boxing Clever

Last week a wit posted an observation in an email that at midnight on August Bank Holiday Monday the staff of supermarkets grab all the summer stuff and dump it in the nearest skip.  Then they rush back in, put up the decorations and blow the dust off Now That's What I Call Christmas and gleefully put it on.  I went into my local Lloyds Chemists on 1 September and there was a cardboard stand packed with Christmas giftware.  Admittedly most of it was from last year (and some I think from the year before) but at least half I had not seen before so this does prove that it gets earlier every year.

With this in mind and knowing too how many people have a lot of people to send to here is a popup Christmas card, the first in a new series of baskets.  They will not all be Christmas themed but some will and here is Christmas Poinsettias Basket Card:

Festive, isn't it?  All packed onto one sheet and easy to assemble.  Just cut it out, fold the base into a box shape and put some paper glue on the tab.  Then slot the handle part in the back tab and the other insert in the front tab and you have a card.  Also included is a label with Made By:... to stick on the plain back, a gift tag and an envelope seal with Merry Christmas to dress up a plain envelope.  No, there sadly it not an envelope with this as it would be more than one sheet and not cost a mere 70p.  You can buy it here

Here is another one called White Christmas Basket Card:

I have posted this too early as there is no link as yet.  Back shortly with this, and some more.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Boxing Clever

I am not a fan of getting ready for Christmas too early.  Summer is all too short here in the UK and I prefer to enjoy it without looking at images of snow and ice.  I do realize that some people have a huge amount of stuff to make and some of this has to be sent overseas so I have made a start designing.  Here is the first entry in my new series of boxes shaped like buildings:

You can buy this here  It is simple to make up; cut out and score along all the dotted lines then fold them inwards and apply glue on the tabs.  This means both side of the roof if it is going to be a card, and only the side where the tabbed side does not rest for a box.  If it is a card you can also lose the foldover tab and the tabs along the bottom.  But wait, there is something missing!

It is a base.  Sorry folks but if this is all going on one sheet with a lower price tag there is no room.  But don’t worry, all you have to do to construct one is rule a rectangle 6cm x 7.2cm and attach it to the bottom.  Actually you don’t even have to do that as here is one:

Or a whole sheet of six of them:

This is for those of you who want more than one to use as favor boxes.  They look great beside a plate and can contain a small gift or some sweets.  If you want a whole village of buildings when the other boxes appear (there is a sweet shop coming up next) you could use them for this.  They would look good standing under the Christmas tree (full of goodies of course).

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Cut & Create Cards

I know, I know I am a truly terrible blogger.  I ought to be here every day thumping out ideas on recycling and being green but I'm not.  Yet here I am now with a book (well sort of book) review and what I think is a good idea, or at least one possible solution to a new(ish) problem. 

You can buy a copy of this wonderful and innovative item right here if you live in the UK.  If you don't it is available elsewhere such as in the US here and is well worth looking for.

Why?  This is not so much a book as a kit comprising a booklet and everything you need apart from scissors or knife, hole punch and glue to make nine beautiful paper mosaic pictures.  I have done a lot of papercrafts but I have never tried this one and was keen to have a go.  It comes as an A4 sized folder with a booklet on the left and a wallet on the right filled with the papers and bases.  The instructions are simple to follow and include diagrams showing how to make up each picture.  These are arranged into beginner, intermediate and advanced with three pictures of each and all depict scenes from nature inspired by the author’s Japanese background.  These include a night time jungle at night, a fox in a forest, birds flying home, an egret posing in the water and my own favorite showing cherry blossoms. The materials are all good quality and I would give this set five stars for originality, beauty and user friendliness.  Suitable for a variety of ages as it is not very large and you only need a few additional items you could even take it on vacation.  

So how is this green and what fairly new problem would it solve?  I don't know about your council but last Christmas mine said that they could no longer accept greetings cards for recycling.  Whether you buy or make them they do tend to bristle with glitter, bows, gems and even if not often have a plastic coating to make them shiny.  These things block up the recycling machines and break them so you have to think of other things to do with them or they go into landfill.

Surely making paper mosaics with them is one such idea.  I've made tags with them, cut out bits of them for cards, used them as postcards with the backs cut off and one Christmas even used the shinier and more water repellent ones as coasters, cut into squares.  Trouble is I have have tags coming out of my ears, people think I am cheap making cards with them, I bought some lovely Fair Trade coasters and no longer send postcards.  I am due a new idea and this is possibly it.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Fun With Office Paper

You are probably thinking that office paper is not a lot of fun but that depends on what you are going to do with it.  Office work is not that amusing usually but all those sheets of rather pretty pastel paper invariably make me think of spring and Easter.  My grandmother used to make them into paper flowers when her sister in law gave her some sheets from the office where she worked and I have made some iris folded cards by cutting them into 2cm strips.

You can buy this card pattern and make your own by visiting https://www.craftsuprint.com/card-making/iris-folding-patterns/easter/easter-chick-iris-folding-card.cfm

Of course you can also use patterned paper and spring colored wrapping paper, seed catalogs or anything else including scraps of fabric or ribbon.  There are two other patterns in the Easter Iris Folding series and these are shown made up patterned.  Check out the bunny at https://www.craftsuprint.com/card-making/iris-folding-patterns/easter/easter-bunny-iris-folding-card.cfm

and the egg at https://www.craftsuprint.com/card-making/iris-folding-patterns/easter/easter-egg-iris-folding-card.cfm

Note the cheeky chick peeping out through the hole!

Blooms For Bees

A while ago I signed up for the Blooms For Bees project.  I did not expect to be lucky enough to be chosen so imagine my surprise and delight when I opened a mysterious brown envelope last Saturday and found that I was on board!  You can read all about the project here but in a nutshell it is about discovering whether a new bedding plant (a compact habit dahlia) is attractive to bumble bees, and which color flowers they prefer.

This is something near to my heart that I am always going on about.  As it says in the accompanying leaflet there is a discrepancy between the flowers bees and other pollinators will visit for nectar and pollen and the flowers people grow in their gardens these days.  Garden centers and catalogs are going for flowers that are ever showier, brighter and more artificial looking that appeal to humans (although not usually to this human) but not to anything else in nature.  Thankfully the RHS has put helpful "Perfect For Pollinators" symbols on some plants but not everything has been tested and there are new cultivars out all the time, hence this project.

I planted my seeds out in seed trays last Sunday according to the instructions and now have to wait and see what comes up.  The dahlias are going to be white, purple and red so it will be interesting to see which colors the bees like best and what bees visit my garden.  I imagine honey bees will like them too and who knows what else?  I will keep you all posted.

Until then here is what they look like now!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Keeping Mum

It is now officially spring here in the UK and time for making some cards.  There are so many occasions for them in the first four months of the year: Valentine's Day, St Patrick's Day, Mothers Day (if you are in some countries) and Easter.  I made this card kit for Valentine's Day that can be bought here

This has banners that say Be Mine, Happy Anniversary, I Love You and Happy Birthday as well as "blank for your own special message" as they say on shop cards.  I was daft - why did I not include one that says Happy Mothers Day?

I am going to remedy this right now and here it is for download into the graphics program of your choice:

This is the same size as the others.  Just right click to collect, then save and use.  So now the card looks like this:

 Now, why did I not think of that before?!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Have a Green Christmas Eve

I read on Facebook this time last year about a dangerous new addition to a Christmas tradition.  People have been putting something out for Santa to eat and drink on Christmas Eve for a long time, but recently feeding the reindeer has become part of it.  After all, why not?  You could say that they are doing all the hard work racing through the sky, dealing with the parking problems while Santa just does the deliveries and consumes vast amounts of mince pies and sherry.  You could leave a carrot for Rudolf, but what about the other eight?  So stores have been selling wee bags of "reindeer food" which are actually sweets.  Children sprinkle these outside but instead of the team eating them the local wildlife has been snacking, and apparently dying because of it.

You could opt not to feed the reindeer but a better idea is to put something else out instead that will actually help the environment.  I am a little late perhaps but maybe not, as a lot of plants are still flowering or have gone over leaving seeds.  Collect these up (or buy seeds) and have a little fun with them.

This is the actual size and will print out on one A4 sheet of good quality stiff white card.  It is a good size to hold a fair few seeds but if you want a smaller version you could resize it.  Cut it out (a knife and ruler for best results) and score lightly along the dotted lines.  Fold and glue the side tab and base; to hold the top down you could use a small round sticker or you can glue this as well for extra security particularly if this is going to be mailed.  Please be aware that there are laws preventing the sending of some seeds into some countries; you will need to look this up if you want to mail this out of the country.  Gluing down the top also makes it look more professional.

Inside go the seeds and these can be sprinkled on the ground wherever you want.  The bed will first need to be raked and weeded and these do need to be the type of seeds that you can sow directly into the ground at this time of year, not the type you have to sow into seed trays first.  This is what it says on the back:
A bit small here but you get the gist.  All the fun of feeding the reindeer plus knowing no animal will be harmed and then the joy of the flowers next year.  Of course they will need to be the type that pollinators like; a list of these can be viewed here for butterflies and here for more general pollinators including bees.  You can also buy seed mixes and seeds especially aimed at pollinators from many seed merchants. 

Do reindeer eat seeds?  Well, they certainly don't eat sweets!