Sunday, December 23, 2012

A heart shaped challenge

So JT pointed me in the direction of this weeks's Mojo Sketch (Mojo 272) as she thought it would be a great use of my Woodware Scalloped heart punch.

She was totally right! So yesterday, despite being full of cold and prepping for a house full of guests today, I made the card that is today's main photo.

I am really happy with it and will use it for one of my January birthday's.

It's a great use of the punch and some rather fussy papers I had kicking around and I got to use the spotty paper tape - always need a reason to use paper tape. I like the addition of the bow (gift from JT) and think it's a good match to the sketch. Here's a close-up..

I also managed to have a little play with some of the new toys I bought (naughty, naughty, but it is gift for you and 2 gifts for me...).

So one of the new toys is a set of Spellbinders dress dies and I used them to make a set of gorgeous cards, using Papermania London Line papers, ribbons and bows - the bows were a gift from JT. I like the ribbon waistband, I might have to try this with paper tape..

The best bit about these cards is the sentiment..I made it using my 'new' Dymo label printer. I mentioned to Hubby that I was planning on buying a Dymo with my Christmas vouchers and he casually mentioned that there was one in the loft already, with a load of!

Joy! free tools that are already in the house, no need to wait for them to arrive.

I am looking forward to using this die in lots of different ways.

Merry Christmas (again)


Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas..

Well, it's the last working day of 2012 for me today! Whoo Hoo!

It's been a pretty epic year for Hubby and I - not all good, but we have rolled with it and all is well.

It is with great joy that I officially anounce to you all that the long awaited move to NYC is finally happening in early Feb 2013. I can't believe it, we have visas and now my Project Manager skills are being tested to the max - getting us and the furchildren to NYC in 7 weeks is no mean feat...

I'm pleased with all that I have achieved with Ham'n'Mule in 2012 - 60 posts (22 up on last year!), new look and feel for the blog, new website and a partner (JT). I've had a great deal of craft fun this year, not least because of my amazing craft buddy JT. She's been a friend, a colleague and a craft inspiration this year - so thanks for that JT.

Our playdates have been hilarious and get especially funny around 9pm after 7 solid hours of crafting!! This is when we start to make really weird crap and one of our husbands has to kick the 'guest crafter' out! Let's hope the Skype playdates I am envisaging will be as much fun.

Thanks to everyone that has read my blog and JT's throughout 2012 and supported Ham'n'Mule.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.


ps. Today's main photo is courtesy of 79 ideas, via Pinterest

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Alternative Christmas?

I have been out waaay too much during the festive season and tonight is my 2nd to last outing. It is totally time to sit down, eat some Turkey and relax for a few days.

Today's main photo is from Country Living, I think this is a great idea and I've noticed this year that there are lots of alternatives to the 'normal' Christmas tree.

The idea of not having a Christmas tree saddens me, but unfortunately that is where we are at due to furchild no.2 being unable to not scale the tree, pee on the tree (real or plastic), chew the Christmas decorations, strangle herself on the tinsel and shock herself by chewing lights...

So once again I have no tree. Seeing all these great ideas have inspired me, so next year I will have a tree of sorts!

Here are some of my favourite alternative Christmas Trees (most of them came from this great blog)

It's wooden, so I'll paint it with silver glitter paint and add a fabric star!

OMG, if only I was allowed to do this...

I'm not convinced this would fare any better than a regular tree..

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WOYWW 19th Dec 2012

I have just found this great blog and Julia who runs it does 'What's on your workdesk Wednesday' Genius idea! So I decided I'd play and took these pics before I left for work today.

I am quite pleased at the minimal amount of Christmas stuff on my desk! As this is my first WOYWW, I am going to take you through the key features of my desk, some that you'll see every time (until we move..).

This week my desk looked very tidy, but to be fair I do try and tidy up a bit after my craft exploits. You can see my little stack of finished Butterfly Thank You cards, that I talked about in my last post. You can also see a new pack of Butterflies...yes I bought more of them. In the background are the Hero Art's Basic Tree digital stamp, I am making Thank You cards with these, I think...I'll write about them soon.

I always have a random stack of small pieces of paper on my desk. I can't bear waste and so I keep the smaller things to hand so I use them up. I chuckled at the 2 pairs of glasses, I have so many pairs of readers (from Poundland or Primark) that I acquire them from all over the house and they often congregate on my desk!

The little stack of really useful boxes are full of buttons, Candi's, Stampin' Up Owl, Bird and bunting pieces and mini fabric bows. I love my corner rounder and that is always on my desk. There is also the great photo of Hubby and I on our wedding day, the frame is really ornate and beautiful and one that I bought for 99p years and years ago. My new favourite heart stamp for use with Candi's is out, as I am making anniversary cards with it.

I laughed at the fact that one of the glitter glues was on it's side...Bos in the night no doubt nosying around on my desk - this photo was taken on a Weds morning, following a Tues night craft session, as I can't craft during the day :(

It's fun to take a photo of your desk, it kind of shows you what's going on!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Butterfly Thank You

I mentioned the other day that I had already made my Christmas Thank You cards.

I am over the moon about these, as they were so easy to make.

When JT and I did the last craft fair in Berkhamsted, we both popped to the craft shop in our 'lunch break' I came across these beautiful butterflies by Grace Taylor and inspiration hit!

The night before the last craft fair, JT and I had made 40 Christmas Cards to fulfil an order, we'd embossed tons of glossy photo paper using our fave Sizzix mini dots folder. I had embossed a few more for my own personal use - I was actually going to use the idea below from Pinterest for my Thank You cards - replacing the hearts with butterflies.

As you can see from the main photo today, I modified it slightly, I think it works better, as the butterflies are quite big and it's also a great way to use Candi's - I also varied the embossing folder just because I wanted to see how they came out. All in all I think they are quite pretty.

Large rose folder and giant Butterflies - this is my fave!
Large spots and a small butterfly, this one gives me a wedding vibe.
The most overused mini dots folder and medium butterfly.
One schoolgirl error of the cards opens the wrong way..I seem to be doing this a lot lately :)

Yep, JT you are getting the card with the error....


Monday, December 17, 2012

All wrapped up

I have been a very efficient bunny!

I have bought all of the Christmas presents and wrapped them all. They all look very beautiful thanks to Panduro Hobby.

I saw an idea on their site (shown below) and thought with a bit of modifying it would be really nice and easy for Christmas. I liked it because you could mix and match your papers and ribbons and even though I like a bit of uniformity in my wrapping I get bored every year when I choose a theme and then have to stick with it.

The main photo today is of a little stack of presents for various people, I think they look gorgeous and I have started distributing some of the gifts already and everyone has said how much they love the wrapping. Which is nice and makes the effort worth while.

So what did I use...

Plain brown paper - available everywhere
Block colour and patterned bright wrapping paper - from Hema in Amsterdam
Various patterned ribbons - from Ikea
Gift tags - handmade by me, using x3 Woodware punches - super dupa circle, scalloped circle and snowflake.

I tackled the extensive wrapping task in x3 phases..
Phase 1 - wrap everything in brown paper, write the recipients name in pencil on the paper (in a spot where it will be covered)
Phase 2 - add the brightly coloured paper and 1st stage of ribbon
Phase 3 - make gift-tags to co-ordinate with the coloured paper and add to gift, finish the ribbon tying

Sounds like a lot of work, but honestly it was easy peasy. Here are a few more photos.

Close-up on Ma's tag...present it a bit Carrot shaped!

I tried a different technique with the ribbon here

Close-up of the tags and you can see all the beautiful ribbon in detail
Now that JT and I are post HamnMule Christmas and craft fairs, I have been enjoying all these little projects and I've taken loads of photos of what I have been up to so should have a few more posts before Christmas. One of my favourite projects was making my Christmas Thank You's - as you know I love a Thank You set and I think this years ones are the best yet!


Friday, December 14, 2012


As you know JT and I are slightly obsessed by Candies! So imagine my delight when this month's edition of cardmaking and papercraft had free Candies and stamps for using with Candies.

I wanted to use them immediately and came up with a really good use for them. Lots of people on my Christmas gift list wanted vouchers and I like to liven up the gift card with a nice card. Today's main photo is of the gift card I made for my Ma.

I used one of the free stamps and stamped it in silver onto the pretty purple paper, added Candies and added a glittery sentiment. I decided to use glitter glue on the stamp outline to lift it a bit and I am very pleased with the results.

Below is a detail shot of the stamp and the candies.

I've now made x5 of these cards in various colours and I think this stamp is going to become a staple!

I bought JT the magazine too, as I didn't want her pinching my stamps!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let there be light

Since the flat got a makeover, I have been looking for the perfect lampshades for the bedroom and the hallway.

Everything I liked was too expensive - £45 upwards - eek! So I decided that I'd make my own. After trawling the internet I came up with a couple of options of how to do this, my favourite one came from BHG.

I made my parents take me to Ikea to buy inexpensive plain lampshades and I got the fabric there too, I like Ikea fabric, as it's a bit funky and not too expensive.

2 lampshades and 2 metres of fabric cost me £31, which I think is pretty good.

To make both lampshades it took about an hour and I only made 2 mistakes!!

Essentially, all you are doing is recovering a lampshade, so you could buy a second hand lampshade or recover an existing one. Just make sure that the lampshade doesn't have a strong pattern that will show through.

Birdie Lampshade for the Hallway
My 2 mistakes were actually really dumb ones to make, but you live and learn right? Mistake number one - I didn't check how the lampshades would hang from the light fitting I just assumed, so the birdie lampshade for the hallway has the pattern upside down! Hubby assures me that only I will notice this. Not convinced, but it's a sweet thing to say. Mistake number two - I didn't place my pattern to the edge of the fabric when I was cutting the grey flowered one (today's main photo) for the bedroom, so had to use ribbon to hide the joins. I actually think that this mistake has enhanced the lampshade.

I decided not to put a trim round the edges of the lampshades and if you decide to do it this way, you have to trim the edges really neatly, fortunately I have the most lethal dressmaking scissors, which help keep things neat.

I want to make lots of them now, as it was a super easy and fun project. My Dad thinks I am mad and must have better things to do with my time. Ha ha, that's crafters for you.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Feeling Christmassy

As you know JT and I did a craft fair yesterday in Berkhamsted, it was a much better experience and we didn't fare too badly!

Today's main photo is of our wonderful stall - thank you to JT for her layout skills. The best things about the fair were hanging out with JT, encountering some odd characters and drinking 3 white wine spritzers at the end of the day!

Now that the last fair is out of the way, it's time to focus on 'our' Christmas, so today was spent writing Christmas cards and making gifts. Finally I feel like it's nearly Christmas!

Today I was sent this lovely photo of my Nephew Otis and the advent calendar I made him last year, it was the first thing I blogged about this year. I am pleased at how lovely it looks and at how happy he looks!

He's so cute! I love seeing the things I've made for people in use. Very satisfying.