Monday, 31 January 2011

Ten Little Mice

Well, fifteen years of hard work have paid off. My daughter is finally interesting enough to have her own blog. Catriona's been making softies (those are cool stuffed toys, with the emphasis on COOL), and had decided to showcase them. Her blog's called "Ten Little Mice", and you should go there and admire her quirky things. Her sewing is improving by leaps and bounds, which you will be sure to notice if you stick around.

This is one of my favourites of hers - Mr Pursival. I took her out shopping for the fleecy fabric, and I think the fur fabric was a handy reclaimed find. We got to shop for a zip too (first time in years I've about bought a zip).

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Confetti Flinger Card tutorial part 2

Now, where did we start? Oh, yes, at part 1 of the confetti flinging card tutorial. Here's the second and final part.

I've used the small tag punch from Stampin' Up, with some lightweight tracing paper. Lighter than this would be good too. As you'll see, you could use a simple square in place of the punch, but I enjoyed the shape
this made.

Punch out a nifty little tag from the tracing paper. Oops, the close up photo reveals that the punch didn't do a great job on this paper. Try punching a bit of regular paper at the same time - that should solve it. Crease it like so.

Now, you'll want some
shirring elastic. Some what? That's elastic that is very light, almost as light as
thread. It gets used to make those strapless sundresses with the stretchy bodices that
we all wore in the 70s. Well, maybe not you.

This stuff came from an op shop, but I guess they still make it... Hat elastic is out there, but it would be too thick.

Now cut a length of shirring elastic, about yay big. I'm showing you with my hands. Let's say 20cm, or eight inches. Or the length of the alphabet bit on y
our computer keyboard. Be a little
generous, you'll be trimming it off later.

Tie a knot in it to make one big loop. Loop it over your fingers three times to make a little triple loop. Loop it over the four notches you made.

Now, squish the box down, and let go. Does it spring up to the upright position? If yes, you are in luck. If it's a bit lazy, pull on the knot in the elastic, and move the knot. Well, untie it and tie it again tighter. Repeat until you have a box that springs happily to attention. Trim off any excess elastic, and wiggle it into the least visible spot.

Attach the little tracing paper tag to the box, like so. I've used double sided tape here. The unfolded end is towards you.

Make or get or recycle some confetti, and place it on the little tray.

Now, go and put on a dress. You may skip that step if you are a guy, or work in an industry where dresses are inappropriate. A cloth over your lap would work fine.

Arm the card. You may want to develop some kind of arming protocol. You know "All crew, arm card and crosscheck - OVER". To arm the card, squish it into the upright position, and close the card over the whole mechanism.

Now test the card. Pretend you are someone else who doesn't know this is a confetti flinger, and open the card with a happy smile. If you get confetti all over your lap
, things are going well. You may want to tighten the elastic a bit now that you see what you are up against.

Final step - decorate the front of the card. Make it HEAVY. Lots of layers, or some heavy layers. This will encourage the recipient to open it the right way. Don't forget it needs to be a horizontal design.

And after taking these photos, I tried out an alternative to the "notch". Here's a photo - I think it's an improvement. The elastic is threaded through, so it's a bit more work, but the result is prettier.

So there you go. I hope you like it! If you want to buy any of the Stampin' Up goodies mentioned, try my friend Chris. Or your local Stampin' Up person.

Confetti Flinger Card tutorial part 1

I promised it last week (that link has a photo of the finished card), and today at Stamp Club I worked on the method, and took photos. Here's a full lesson on how to create a Confetti Flinging Card, using punches to make the measuring easier.

We'll be using this uber-punch from
Stampin' Up, the "Petal Punch". This makes a pretty shape that would fold up
into tiny (1 inch or so) petal card. It scores too (make sure you lean on it a bit when you punch, to make sure those score lines come up.

Punch out three petal shapes. Lightweight card is fine.
The kind you use to make greeting cards normally.

Glue them together like this. Oops, this should be two steps. First, glue the three shapes together in a line, making them very straight. Then fold the three outer tabs on each side in, and glue them down.

Nip some notches into the strip of card. I've used the pointy bit of a small heart punch here, but scissors will do fine. There's two notches at the second fold down, and two at the fourth fold down.

Get a bit of folded card ready - standard greeting card size, already folded. The fold needs to be horizontal.

Fold your piece on all four folds, making a "box" with those folded flaps on the inside. Put glue on the two end tabs, and glue the box into your folded card. It should be on the lower half, towards the bottom edge. Put the two lower notches towards you. You'll be able to stand it up, and also fold it so it lies flat. Squish it flat and see if it is nice and straight. Make sure it doesn't crowd up against the fold of the big card!

That's plenty for step 1. Stand by for step 2.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

My Confetti Flinging card

One of the guys at work came back from a fun holiday with his girlfriend, and shared some news with us. They had got married while they were away!

So of course, I thought this was an occasion for a card! I dimly remembered a card that flings confetti at you as you open it - now that's a good idea. I looked it
up, and found some good info here. A fun afternoon of flinging confetti around my craft room ensued - once I had the method down, I worked on a pretty front. Which was not too hard, once I decided it needed to have two owls (naturally).

The girl owl has a bridal veil. Awww. And some sparklies too. Awww.

Here's Craig opening the card. Sadly he's a nice young man, and didn't shriek at all.

I modified the method, and used some nifty tools I have. Here's a photo of the flinging mechanism, which was pretty effective. Confusingly, I've photographed it in the "already flung" position, but loaded with confetti. By now it would have been all over you. Ah well, it was late, and I was giving the card the next day.

If all goes well, I'll be trying this card again at Stamp Club this week, and taking a few photos of *my* slightly varied method, so I can share.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Twin Cities

We have two cats - there's Domino, who has long black fur, and gets lots of tangles and bits of stuff from the garden in it; and Mr Burns, who has short grey fur, and doesn't get messy.

Here they are both sitting on me...

Jeff said the other day, that we should change Mr Burns' name to Wodonga.


Because Domino is All Burry!

A nutty gift

Last year our good friend John (who actually introduced me to Jeff) had a birthday, and as usual, we looked around for something a bit spesh. It was evening, and we were at the shopping center, and we didn't have a lot of energy left. I dragged Jeff into the nearest shop, saying "Of course we won't buy here, this is just to help us get ideas". It was kitchen shop. We had no intention of giving a kitchen gift, but it was a good place to wander and chat.

And then we saw a splendid, almost awesome, mortar and pestle, made of shiny stainless steel.

And this ended up being the gift - all the ingredients, and the recipe, for Indian Spiced Nuts. You can find the recipe here. And which I made myself here. The bag toppers are stamped with some favourite retired Stampin' Up stamps of mine (cos that makes it more fun).

Catriona made a cake!

I love it when the kids get good at baking. Mmm, cake.

So I was particularly pleased when Catriona presented Jeff with a perfect little cake as a birthday present.

But then it turned out she had been sewing, not baking! Bah! Oh well, now we have a talented needlewoman in the house. Also, we need more stuffing.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Jeff and the kids go sailing

Here they are sailing on Pop's boat!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The amazing Max

This is Max, a nice, normal looking cat. He's good company, doesn't scratch, eats his dinner, and looks pretty.

But he is also an amazing traveller! He disappeared from his home about six years ago, and Jeff's parents thought he was gone for good. He was replaced eventually by Millie. But as more and more grandchildren started frequenting the house, Millie had had enough, and decamped to the neighbours' house.

And they were catless for a while, until the phone rang one day. It was a vet, who'd been asked to look at a cat who was living in a stable many miles away. Yes, a stable! He was microchipped, and the chip registered him to here. Did they want him back? Well, of course!

So Max got brought home after all those years. He looked around, noted the changes, chose a new favorite seat, and settled right in. At meal time he still waits at the cupboard where his food used to be stored (even though the food comes from elsewhere now).

So there you are, Max the wonder cat!

Fremantle nights 3

Thomas, Jonathan and Mitchell look a lot like triplets. Mitchell is younger, but not by much. Apart from the fighting to the death, these three got on really well.

Fremantle nights 2

Jeff orders fish and chips at Cicerello's. This photo is, of course, taken through the fish tank (totally the best bit at Cicerello's). And I do believe that the fish display was prepared, at least in part, by Nick, my favorite ichthyologist, and husband of Gail.

Fremantle nights

In which I take the cliched "children frolicking on the beach at sunset" photo. They were all actually frolicking, simultaneously!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The usual holiday craft project

As usual, I decided that taking a lot of craft stuff was not necessary on this holiday. As usual, it seems to have come to me anyway. I started with a sketchbook, some pencils, and a Pitt pen. Now I have stamps, paint, stamp pads and a really cool old book!

I decorated these beer caps (there's a lot of them around!)

Here's my cool collage material book - a Doctor Nurse Romance!

And here's how it looks now...

This cute stamp is from Kikki K, the fancy stationery shop. Comes with a stamp pad, in a little drawstring bag, and check the trick with the bird stamp!

And here's my take on it - coloured pencil and pen added.

Catriona conjures a rainbow...

To say Happy New Year! We went to the local family fireworks by the river, and they were fabulous!