Friday, 24 July 2015

Scrapbooking - My Creative Space

Ooops, guess who got distracted by a crochet blanket, yep, that would be me, I've been adopting the little and often method of crochet (which doesn't hurt my hands) and have made lots of progress with it so I'll share a photo of that soon.

I'm blogging my way through a huge pile of scrapbook layouts that I've accumulated and today I thought I'd share this one featuring an Instagram photo of my creative space/office here at Crafty Alchemy HQ.

I used pink paint, splodges of black spray ink and a scattering of sequins to make the background look a bit messy, just like my desk does most if the time, this photo was taken on a tidy day, before the chaos began.

I used left over scraps of patterned paper from my scraps box and a few star, flower and frame embellishments which can be found in my Crafty Alchemy Elements & Embellishments kits (these are currently on sale in my Etsy shop, as I'm clearing room for some new kits coming very soon, there aren't many of the kits left now and once these ones are gone, they're gone)

I made felt heart mini bunting by die cutting some small hearts and gluing 2 of each colour together with Bakers Twine in between them, then attached them to the page with glue.

Finally I added a couple of stickers "this is my happy place" and "let's do something amazing today".

My desk was actually designed by me and handmade by myself and my dad a couple of years ago, I still need to make a couple of little curtains to hide the mess, I mean, the assortment of crafty products on the shelves.

I'm still trying to reignite my passion for blogging here and am toying with the idea of having a bit of a makeover, which then got me thinking about the Crafty Alchemy logo too, I'm wondering if I need a bit of a makeover there too, what do you think? I'd love to hear your opinion or any hints and tips yo may have to share.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on crafting.

Claire xx

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Quite a lot of yarn...

Hello there, how are you?

In my last post I mentioned I'd ordered quite a lot of yarn (40 x 100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK to be exact) for 2 crochet blankets, well it's arrived. Yay!

It got here very quickly, I only ordered it from Wool Warehouse on Sunday and it arrived here Tuesday, super impressed, I'll definitely be ordering from them again, I've got my eye on one or two of the Attic24 packs they have in there - they have an Attic24 area of the shop selling Lucy's colour combination packs and they are very lovely, I can't decide between Cosy and Cottage so I may have to get both.

I love choosing colour palettes for my blankets, this first one was a bit of an impulse one, I was looking through Pinterest for something totally unrelated and got sidetracked somehow - funny how that happens on Pinterest isn't it? - and ended up choosing these for a blanket.

From bottom left we have Grape, Clematis, Pale Rose, then next row right to left is Camel and Parchment, then finally Parma Violet and Cream. The blanket will be a granny stripe with a large cream scalloped border. I realised once the yarn arrived that I made a very similar blanket to this 5 or 6 years ago for my Nan, the only differences are that one had Mocha yarn instead of Parma Violet, it didnt't have a border and it was a ripple blanket rather than a granny stripe (I'd only learn't how to ripple back then as I was still quite new to crochet, I think it was the second blanket I'd made)

Now the colours for this next blanket have been swimming around in my head for a while now but I needed to order a shade card just to make sure they all went together (Wool Warehouse and their awesome fast delivery once again, I ordered my shade card Friday and it arrived Saturday).

This one is going to be a big ripple blanket with a border, on the bottom row l-r we have Pomegranate, Sherbet and Storm Blue, the next row l-r is Candyfloss, Pale Rose and Cloud Blue, next row up we have Silver and Stone then finally Cream. 

I plan to do a row of DC in Cream between every coloured Ripple Stripe (they'll be in Trebles) then a Cream border too. I haven't decided on the final running order yet though.

I really like to name my blankets so this one is going to be the Daydream. H is already trying to pinch it so I've said she can have the pink granny square one when I've finished it. I'm not sure what to call the other blanket, I'm thinking of Bliss? What do you think?

Those of you that crochet, how do you choose your colours and running order?

See you soon.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Introducing the "I am Project"

Hello there, how are you?

Today I thought I'd share the project I mentioned last week.

I had the idea for this after spending a day in a treehouse with Rachael from Excel Coaching and some other lovely ladies. I've always tried to focus on the positive in every situation, I feel it really helps me cope with life's twists and turns and I'm always grateful for what I have, but, the day in the treehouse showed me that I don't always recognise the good things about myself, so I came up with the idea for the "I Am Project" as a way to record and celebrate all these little things, and seeing as "I Am...." is one of the most powerful statements you can make, you can bet that there will be a lot of positivity and gratefulness in this little album. I bought a small 6x8 Simple Stories album (from Hey Little Magpie) and am mostly using papers from Crafty Templates Quirky Kits and lots of stuff from my own stash. 

Then one day whilst I was scrolling through my Instagram feed I spotted Studio Calico were also doing an "I Am Project" with exactly the same thinking behind it as me, a case of great minds thinking alike, and they had brought out a range of products too, then I really chuckled when my Quirky Kit arrived and it had lots of Studio Calico I Am papers and Simple Stories papers inside it not only that, they were all perfect for the colour scheme I had chosen, so I'm taking it as a sign that I was meant to do this project.

I started by covering the album, I loved the black and white stripes with the flash of pink as they are the main Crafty Alchemy colours and the gold and glitter adds the prefect amount of sparkle, I may add some embellishments to the album as the project progresses and develops.

Whenever I do a project like this I do like some sort of consistency so I tend to stick to a certain colour scheme (there will be lots of pinks and blues in here) and the same cardstock for the pages, I'm using American Crafts Kraft for this one. I'm also an intro page girl, if an album has a set theme like this one, I like to do a bit of an explanation so the reader has some idea what it's all about.

I kept this page pretty simple as I wanted the focus to be on the writing, I've used Simple Stories grid paper, some washi tape and gems and one of my favourite frame stamps, I've had these 2 frame stamps for about 8 years, they were made by a company called Bam Pop! and they are right up there on my most used list.

To make the frame, I stamped it onto pale pink cardstock, cut it out and inked the edges with Pumice Stone Distress Ink, then I attached it to a square of white cardstock with 3d foam pads, then I used Thickers and tiny alphabet stickers for the title.

I'll be back soon with more of the I Am Project. 

For those of you wanting an update on the crochet blanket in my earlier post, I haven't done anymore to it yet, but I've just ordered the yarn for the border and yarn for 2 more blankets and a new wooden crochet hook, I know I said in my last post that crochet hurts my hands a bit, but I do love it and have so many pretty projects lined up. I'll share all the pictures of the yarn when it arrives - once I've sorted it into blankets that is.

See you soon and keep creating.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Crochet Granny Square Blanket

Hello there, how are you doing?

I've been working on this crochet blanket for months now, and I'm finding it difficult, but I really want to finish it so I can start my next blanket project which involves more granny squares and using up the huge bag of left over yarn scraps I've accumulated over the years.

It's not the pattern I'm finding difficult as I'm using Attic 24's Granny Square pattern, which is really easy to follow (just like all of her patterns) and using the join as you go method to join my squares. My issue is that normally I'm quite quick at crochet, I've been known to make full size ripple blankets in 3 weeks just doing a few hours every night after work, I really enjoy it, it's quite relaxing but when I started this blanket I discovered I'd damaged my hands (not through extreme crochet activities I might add), at first it was diagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, now it turns out that I've trapped or damaged nerves in my spine, so I can only crochet for a very short period of time before my hands get too sore and sometimes they're just too sore and swollen to pick up the crochet in the first place, but I'm not going to give up, I just need to re-adjust my attitude and accept that it's going to take a bit longer than I'm used to, which is why I'm posting about it here, because if I tell you guys, then you know, then I have to do it, otherwise you'll know I haven't.

So here is the blanket, I'm using Stylecraft DK, it's my favourite blanket yarn as it washes really well (on a handwash cycle and in a small duvet cover to stop it snagging on the machine) I'm using 6 colours which are Pomegranate, Candyfloss, Raspberry, Clematis, Fondant and Pale Rose (left to right along the top row) I also plan on putting a pale grey scalloped border around the edge. I'm just over halfway through and have about 56 squares to go. It's folded over so I could hang it over ... our new garden fence! I've been waiting (read as nagging Hubs) 2 years for this and I am so happy it's finally built, unlike the furry boy below... 

...who is the entire reason that the hedge had huge Bailey Dog shaped holes in it. He liked to chew big holes in the hedge then dive through it into next doors garden, not good! Especially as I had to dive through the hedge after him, then carry the huge mutt back through the hedge. His Houdini days are over! Yay! I no longer have to patrol the garden when I let him out. I don't think he's speaking to me though.

Claire xx

Monday, 15 June 2015

It's been a while...

Hello there, how are you? Nice to see you again *waves*

I have to say that that's the longest I've ever left my blog untouched for, it was really starting to become a chore which isn't right is it? Everything just seemed to be the same over and over again, even my scrapbook layouts were all looking a bit similar, so I took some time away, had a think about what I really wanted my blog to be about, made some notes, did some reading and came up with a plan which I'm now putting in action *big smiley face* I'll still be sharing my scrapbook projects and I'll be mixing in other crafts like knitting, crochet, DIY (much to Hubs' dismay), sewing and maybe the odd cake related post too. I'm looking forward to getting back my love of blogging and would love for you to join me. So grab a cup of tea and some cake, put your feet up for 5 minutes and make yourself at home.

Yesterday the latest Quirky Kit from Crafty Templates arrived on my doorstep, I love these kits, I've been getting them bi-monthly for at least 3 years and I've never had one I wasn't keen on. I'm keeping hold of most of the last 2 kits for another project I'm working on - which I'll share later on this week - as the colours and themes are perfect for the whole project, but this kit was so lovely that I couldn't put it away for later, I wanted to cut straight into it, I also knew I had a big stack of  new Instagram prints which that I haven't had the chance to play with yet. This particular photo is one of my favourites a simple black and white selfie of me & H.

I wanted to keep my layout simple and let the photo do its thing, so I just used small amounts of patterned paper, I splashed a bit of aqua spray ink across the background and got doodle happy with my favourite style of border. I love the glossy finish on the black puffy stickers. There isn't really much journaling on this layout so I kept it small using little labels and a phrase sticker which I cut into smaller pieces and stuck to the photo with foam pads. I had to add some journaling it would feel weird to not hand write something onto one of my scrapbook pages.

I quite often create layouts with a lot of white space on them and sometimes it can be hard to tell if everything looks properly balanced or not, when this happens I hold the layout up to a mirror and if my eye is drawn to the white space then it usually needs something there just to break it up a bit, someone told me this little trick years ago (I really wish I could remember who it was) and I have to say I've found it  to be really useful.

The layout needed something down the side by the photo, so I die cut some hearts, inked the edges and attached them with 3d foam pads to make them stand out a bit more. Finally I cut a small arrow/banner and attached that onto the photo and page and added a glossy black puffy heart.

Kraft and pink is one of my favourite colour schemes but I'm also liking the added lemon and mint too, and I've barely touched the contents of the kit as I've only used small bits of paper, so I've still got lots left to play with.

Supplies used (all from a Quirky Kit.)
Patterned papers: American Crafts, Amy Tangerine, Rise & Shine, Kirsten. Fancy Pants, Office Suite, Creative Agenda. Websters Pages, Megan Hoeppner, Daily Essentials Grid.
Other supplies: Pumice Stone Distress Ink, Sizzix Big Shot Machine, cArt-us Heart Die, We R Memory Keepers Banner Die, Jen Hadfield Home+Made Puffy Phrase Stickers, Bella BLVD Gulf Little Bits Stickers, Elle's Studio Lets Eat Tags & Lil Snippets Blank Labels, Kesi-Art Aqua Ink Spray, 3d Foam pads.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Month in Numbers - March

Hello there, how are you? A very Happy Easter to you.

March is over and April has begun, which means it's time for Month in Numbers .

I'm still doing my little 4x4 album, I'm really liking the size as it's really quick to create a page. I'm also sticking to a format to make it really easy and keep continuity throughout the album, I'm using Kraft cardstock, a die cut background (either a scalloped square or a scrolly thing used on the page below) and the same set of banner and month stamps.

So here are my numbers for this month:

9: The age Hermione turned this month, she really is growing up so fast.

6st, 7lbs, 15ozs: This number may cause alarm, this is the weight of my dog, Bailey, he is huge and his favourite thing to do is sit on you and lick you, he's a Fox Red Labrador Retriever....

15: The number of cakes eaten this month, 2 of which were Hermiones' Birthday cakes, she had one at home and one at her Nana's house. The chocolate hedgehog cake was delish! Not baked by me I might add.

2kg: This was the amount of Lego Hermione received for her birthday, which we are now sorting into colours, interesting bits and doors and windows *HELP ME*

44: The number of Terry Pratchett books in my collection. I was very saddened to hear of the death of Terry Pratchett, he is one of my all time favourite authors and he is responsible for re-igniting my love of reading when I was 18. I own all but 2 of the Discworld books, I did have them all but the dog (pictured above looking all innocent) took 2 of them from the bookshelf and ate them. Men at Arms and Mort, just in case you were wondering which ones he ate.

107: Things to do on my to do list. Since I made this page, this figure has doubled, but that's what happens when you get late night flashes of inspiration, however it's all good.

Well those are my numbers for March, be sure to swing by and say Hi to the founder of Month in Numbers, she's called Julie and her blog is Notes on Paper.

See you soon.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Scrapbooking - CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration 158

Well hello there. 

I've been playing along at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration again, I can't help myself, I love the challenges and the fact that I can see my huge pile of crafty stash reducing, I get a tingly feeling whenever I throw an empty packet of embellishments away or use up the last few stickers on a sheet or the last scrap of a piece of patterned paper.

I really liked the colours in the palette for this challenge and one of the evidence prompts reminded me that I really enjoy hand stitching onto my scrapbook layouts.

The colours for this challenge were pale blue with a hint of green, light peach, olive or khaki green, cool dark brown and white. And when I saw this journaling prompt, "Document a favourite childhood toy or belonging" I knew there was only one photo I could use....

The photo is me aged 3, we were moving house that day, hence the boxes, I was wearing my dad's flat cap and my pink jungle pyjamas, and I was carrying an umbrella with a tea towel tied around the end to turn it into a bag and most importantly I was carrying Snowy the Bear, or should I say Snowy THE Bear, because he was and still is THE bear, no other bear has ever or will ever come close to this bear and I now consider him a treasured possession, he's been my bear all my life.

For the evidence part of the challenge I used stitching, fabric, stripes and polka dots from the list.

The journaling reads: "Snowy, the little white bear with the blue feet. Snowy was my constant companion when I was a little girl, I'm a lot older now, but he still has a special place in my heart and on my bed."

This case file runs until 26th March (it closes around 10pm uk time) you can get the full details of the challenge here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Claire xx