Saturday, 23 April 2011

Katie’s Butterflies

You may remember when we got our new car (Katie) my hubby and I had a “battle” over whether or not I could have my butterflies on her.

He eventually agreed (we’ve been married 25 years this May and we all know about compromise ROFL!!!!!) so I went ahead and got the butterflies off Ebay. I got two large decals, one for each side, and also a pack of separate, smaller butterflies, which duly arrived, and then I promptly lost them! (Put it down to M.E. brainfog…) My hubby put the big decals on, and then several weeks later I found the small ones again, but I couldn’t put them on until he’d got round to cleaning the car.

I put them on this morning, and what’s more, the sun was shining brightly so I could get some photos too! (My hubby pulled a face when he saw I’d put some on the doors as well… then he said, “I suppose I’ll get used to it!”)

Here’s Katie in all her glory.

Katie's Butterflies 1 23-04-11

Katie's Butterflies 2 Side 23-04-11

Katie's Butterflies 3 Back 23-04-11

Katie's Butterflies 4 Back Detail 23-04-11

I had a few left after decorating Katie’s outside, so I decided to put them inside where I could see them when we are driving her. Unfortunately it was really hard to get these ones to show up on the photo, despite adjusting the brightness and contrast – it’s a very bright sunny day today, but I think you can see there are three butterflies here.

Katie's Butterflies 5 Internal 1 23-04-11

I then put the last one at the top of the window.

Katie's Butterflies 6 Internal 2 23-04-11

I’m really thrilled with Katie’s Ebay butterflies! My hubby just likes to make a fuss but he’ll soon forget they are even there!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Book-Style Birthday Cards

As you know, I’ve been extremely busy with projects recently, trying to keep up with birthdays and other special occasions for family and friends. I’ve finally completed the book-style card for my home help Wonderwoman’s mum’s 70th birthday.

You may remember a while back my posting the flowers that I made for this card – I then had to start on my mum’s 90th birthday card because the deadline for that was sooner. Here are the pictures of the flowers again:

9 Roses

Single Rose Macro

These roses were made from Penny Duncan’s design – you can find her blog in my blog list.

These flowers were made from spare rose parts that I cut by mistake, which explains why some have holes in the centre and some do not.

Black and Gold Flowers

3 Flowers - Macro

They were decorated with an embossing pen and gold heat embossing. In use on the card, the ones with holes now have brads inserted, and all the centres have been decorated with Stickles in gold and red.

Wonderwoman had asked me to design the card with a black and gold colour scheme with red accents as her mum has a bold, modern-style living room and she thought that if it co-ordinated, she might leave her card up for longer!

Also, unlike my mum’s card, where the “pages” of the book were fixed, she wanted the pages to be moveable, and have some photos of her and her mum on them.

Here is the finished card, in its box, which is also decorated with the flowers.

01 Card in Box

The following photos are details of the flowers on the lid of the box.

02 Box Flower Detail 1

03 Box Flower Detail 2

The frame for the photo on the box was made from gold mirror board using Spellbinders Nestabilities, cut and embossed using my Cuttlebug. I did the same for the frame on the card itself.

04 Box Flower Detail 3

05 Box Flower Detail 4

This is the book-style card on its stand, which is the same as the stand I made for my mum’s 90th birthday card, but this time cut from two layers of black card.

06 Card on Stand

Wonderwoman composed the verse herself for her mum. The rose in the centre is attached to the bookmark ribbon and not to the actual card, because the pages of the book need to lift up without obstruction. The “70” is metal, embossed using my new embossing kit for the Cricut, which I have to say I’m not over-thrilled with – I probably need to tweak a few settings to get it better (thanks to Penny Duncan for her pointers in the right direction when I emailed her for help!) – I had to cut the numbers out by hand and cutting the centre of the “0” was far from easy. Practice makes perfect!! (Hopefully…)

Here are some details of the front of the card.

07 Top Left-Hand Page

08 Verse Detail

All the text on this card was done in Serif DrawPlus, mostly in Edwardian Script font, “text on a path” to create the illusion of the curvature of the pages. If the text was straight, it did not look right.

09 Top Right-Hand Page

For this card, I created a new leaf trail, which is now on my Microsoft OneDrive and can be downloaded free in .svg format for use on cutting machines. Please see the note on the left-hand side of my blog for the link.

The pages lift up to reveal several photos underneath, which Wonderwoman brought me so that I could scan them. I used Serif CraftArtist to create layouts for them to co-ordinate with the card and to add a bit of glamour, while at the same time keeping them flat.

10 Bottom Left-Hand Page

11 Middle Left-Hand Page

12 Bottom Right-Hand Page

13 Middle Right-Hand Page

This final picture is a very precious one to Wonderwoman and her mum, because it shows Wonderwoman as a baby. When she gave me the photo, I wasn’t at all sure the quality was good enough, because this is the state it was in, with quite a bit of damage – creases, spots where the photo had disappeared, and a strip down one side which she told me had been Sellotape, and it was also mis-shapen where it had been cut with scissors at some point…

Debbie 4 Original

However, with my wonderful Serif PhotoPlus, I was able to remedy most of these faults, and I think you’ll agree the result is quite acceptable:

Debbie 4

It’s such a sweet picture, and well worth the effort! Wonderwoman was absolutely thrilled when she saw it. I shall print it out for her as an enlargement, as the original is quite small.

I then decided to have some fun with the back of the card. Since this is a book-style card, I thought it would be good to make it look more like a book cover – when I did my mum’s card it was just flat, with some inking and a place for us to write our message for her. Here is what I’ve done for Wonderwoman:

14 Back of Card

Again, I’ve done the text on a path to give the illusion of a curve. All the background papers in this card were a Serif CraftArtist marbled grey background, and I inked the edges of them all with Black Soot Distress Ink.

I gave the “book” a “title” and a “first edition” notice with my name as publisher! The date is her mum’s actual birthday.

To make the spine, I curved the mid-section of the card around some dowel, and when I glued it onto the inside part, I filled it with Pinflair glue to make sure it wouldn’t get squashed flat. I hand-embossed it and painted it with gold Perfect Pearls. The outer edge, and that of the inside of the cover, were decorated in the same way. On the top left panel, I have left some space for Wonderwoman to sign her name. Here are some more detailed photos:

15 Back of Card - Top Left Text

16 Back of Card - Bottom Left Text

17 Back of Card - Spine Detail

18 Back of Card - Right-Hand Side Detail

Finally, to compare, here is the other book-style card I made, for my mum’s 90th birthday.

19 Completed Card

A very different style!

So far I’ve managed to meet all my deadlines. Next job: birthday card for my hubby – I’m hoping to make him a mechanical card with a pop-up inside – as long as I can get it to work! Then a card for him for our Silver Wedding, and a present. After that I must think about a card for my dad’s birthday in mid-June, and then a card and present for our nephew’s wedding in August. After that, I shall hardly have time to draw breath before thinking about Christmas!!! (And I really wanted to have time this year to do some stuff just for me – some experimental stuff, decorating some storage boxes for my ARTHaven, decorating my new wheelchair, and also doing some more video-ing, as well as playing with my new melting pot which I haven’t even used yet. Ah well. Such is life.)

Monday, 11 April 2011

A Lovely Meet-Up

On Friday, a friend from the Brainfog forum visited us with her parents and godmother – she is on holiday from the north of England for the weekend, and we agreed we simply must try and meet up while she was here. They arrived in time for lunch so we all went out together to our local pub and had a great lunch together, and then we took them all to Dartington Hall (my favourite place in the world, I think!).

The weather was perfect all weekend, which I was so pleased about, so that they could see Sunny Devon at its best! All the blossoms are out, and although not all the wild flowers are out yet, it was all looking gorgeous.

Here are some of the photos we took (a mixture of mine and my hubby’s).

On our way to Dartington, we were told at the little steam railway station that a train would be arriving shortly, so we waited for it, as Tab’s dad was really keen to see it. Not only that, but while we were waiting, a classic car drove up and he was able to enjoy that too! Here are the piccies my hubby took:

01 Sunbeam Rapier at Staverton Bridge

04 Sunbeam Rapier at Staverton

02 Steam Train at Staverton

03 Steam Train at Staverton

After this we went on to Dartington Hall and had a good wander round. We took them into the hall itself, and then went round the gardens which are so beautiful at this time of year.

01 Blossoms Through the Gate

02 Iron Gate

Here we are all together (my hubby behind the camera):

07 With Tab and Family at Dartington

and me with Tab with her mum and godmother:

06 With Tab and Family at Dartington

and one of me on my own.

05 S at Dartington

Here are some more pictures of the gardens. These yew trees are known as the Twelve Apostles, and they overlook the mediaeval tilt yard.

20 The Twelve Apostles

08 The Twelve Apostles

Now some pictures of the sculpture known as Jacob’s Pillow, with the tilt yard beyond.

Jacob's Pillow

09 Jacob's Pillow

11 Jacob's Pillow

08 Jacob's Pillow Detail

Around the base of Jacob’s Pillow is some beautiful pavement made of small squares of stone set into the ground, which makes a gorgeous pattern.

07 Stone Paving

06 Stone Paving

I might make a texture overlay from this sometime.

There’s a very attractive curving path leading away from Jacob’s Pillow, below which is an equally attractive stone retaining wall.

14 Curving Path

12 Stone Wall

More interesting textures to have fun with!

The blossom trees are looking beautiful, as are the flowers which are starting to appear everywhere.

03 Blossom

10 Blossom

09 Primroses

10 Coniferous Branch

17 Helibore

18 Helibore Detail

19 Wild Flowers

15 Unfurling Fern

16 Unfurling Fern

13 Unfurling Fern

At the further end of the tilt yard there is a flight of stone steps leading to the upper garden, at the top of which is a stone fountain in the shape of two swans. In the summer this is a blaze of colour, being the azalea garden.

21 Steps Up to the Swans Fountain

Along the side of the tilt yard is a series of grass banks, which are covered with primroses at this time of year. There are now officious little signs telling people not to roll down these grass banks (health and safety or something!) but in the days when we were children, we were free to roll down them as much as we wanted and we never came to any harm, and neither was there any noticeable damage to the gardens! I must say every time I go, I still get the urge…

22 Primroses on the Tilt Yard Banks

Tab and her family really enjoyed their outing to this lovely place. I am hoping that they will send their photos when they’ve got home and we’ve exchanged email addresses. One day I’ll post some of the other photos I’ve taken here over the years, including the inside of the magnificent restored mediaeval banqueting hall which is now a concert hall and function room, and some of the other gorgeous places on the site. There is a complex of craft and gift shops nearby and I’ve taken some photos there as well. We did not have the time or the energy to go there as well on Friday!

23 Ancient Tree

All in all, a really lovely day. It was just great to meet Tab for the first time after several years of sharing posts with the others on Brainfog. Down here in Devon I don’t get to meet up with many members – we are scattered all over the country (with a couple of members the other side of the world – one in California and the other in Australia!) so it’s always a great joy when I do get the opportunity. Thank you, Tab and family, for making it such a special day!

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