Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Hi everyone,

I am still here honest!  Have had an extremely busy October and November creating lovely items to sell in the Solihull Handmade Boutique and then an equally lovely December slowing down and catching up with friends and relatives and, finally, a bit of sewing!

This fabulous wall hanging is from a kit I bought from www.QuiltersTradingPost.com at the Malvern Quilt show and is based on a pattern from the Ho Ho Ho Let It Snow book from Art to Heart.  I have also done the quilt top using the same fabrics but not had chance to back or bind it yet.

Here is a picture of our haphazard tree this year:

decorate by the children and containing mostly handmade or holiday bought ornaments.  Note the addition of this years new favourite - pompoms!

I watched Kirstys Christmas programme and when doing my last workshop of the year last Thursday in Hobbycraft I managed to pick up a couple of pom pom makers - I haven't had such fun in ages:

this little haul probably took less than an hour to make! I timed one and it took me 2mins 47 seconds!  As someone who could never make pom poms I was happy with as a child I haven't really ever made any so now I feel like I have returned to my childhood and have pom poms everywhere!  Looking forward to day in with the children today eating chocolate, playing the xbox and, of course, making more pom poms!

Wishing each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - my life will be back to normal after Christmas as the Handmade Boutique shuts its doors today :( still it has been a wonderful adventure and I have learnt lots so I am now looking forward to taking my crafting skills even further next year.

Thanks for looking - ready for Christmas from Solihull

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Why me?

No-one pointed out that the commissioned plaque I showcased yesterday had no flowers on it!  Woke up at 6am this morning with that thought in my head - put me in a right panic and I had to dash back into the shop this morning armed with a big bag of flowers and trusty glue gun!

Still all sorted now and ready for collection and at least I got to pop into Fat Face for the first day of the sale too :)

Then nipped to Hobbycraft and got in a right flap as they had no white A6 cards left!  had to have two lots of 5x5 and a set of 5x7 in the end as I couldn't leave with nothing - right??

Thanks for looking - lacking in sleep from Solihull

Monday, 11 November 2013

Another shop day!

I am spending another day today in the wonderful Handmade Boutique.  Here are some of my latest items (please excuse the really poor photos - there isn't much my camera can do at 6.30am even with daylight bulbs bright enough to land aeroplanes!):

My first door plaque commission:

I have also finally found the time and mojo to produce some more pictures:



and a Christmas one (not long now you know!):

I have also made some lovely vintage boxes which contain some notecards and envelopes:

and of course I will be taking in loads more of my tags, gift bags and place settings!

Phew - am worn out already!

If you are in Solihull today please pop in and say hello - we are situated on Drury Lane between Fat Face and Regis.

Thanks for looking - sore fingers from Solihull

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wicked Blog Hop

Its my day! Yay.

I joined in this blog hop a few weeks ago thinking it would spur me on to make something fabulous with some lovely Halloween fabric I have been coveting for a few months now but nothing happened!  I pondered and thought and surfed the net for inspiration for three weeks to come up with some ideas but I couldn't get any inspiration from anywhere.  So in a last minute panic last week (we have been on holiday these past four days) I decided to just use my lovely ghastlie fabrics and make some more simple placemats/coasters. 

I had never used mug rugs or coasters before joining in these hops but now have a lovely little collection dotted all around my house and they are so useful so here are my latest ones:

I hadn't got the heart to cut this one up any further and needed a large mat to cover a counter space in my new kitchen so this one is about A3 size.

The back is made up of some skull material:

and to quilt it I just did a random cobweb.

This got my mojo going a bit so did another four of various sizes:

all with the same backing and quilted cobweb.

Sorry they are not overly inspiring but I love them and they are already in use in my kitchen!

A big thanks to Mdm Samm and Wendy for hosting this hop - I have enjoyed it even though I didn't use the fabrics I intended too!

Please visit all the other wicked hoppers that are displaying their spooky creations today too:

Quilt To The Edge
Stitchduchess Crazy & Sane Quilting World
Pampered Pettit
Feltfree på Åsly
Quilt Matters
Life, Quilts and a Cat Too
Sunshine Girl  you are here
Secretly Stitching
Seams Like a Dream
AnnieOak Designs

Thanks so much for looking and joining in the spooky fun - Busy Creating from Solihull

Monday, 14 October 2013

Back to work

I am back in the Handmade Boutique again today - whoo hoo.

Had such a busy week - feet haven't touched the ground and I still don't seem to have a lot of stock!

If you are in Solihull today please pop in and say hello we are situated on Drury Lane, Solihull (between Fat Face and Cex).

Hope to see you!

Thanks for looking - Happy peddling my wares from Solihull

Monday, 7 October 2013

Working Girl

Hi everyone, its my first day working in the Solihull http://www.handmade-boutique.co.uk today - if you are in town please pop by and say hello :)

Thanks for looking - busy selling from Solihull

Thursday, 3 October 2013

A new venture

I have been offered a fantastic opportunity to sell some of my artwork on the high street!

The Handmade Boutique is a pop up shop that is open on Drury Lane, Solihull (between Fat Face and Cex) from now until 24th December.  I am currently scheduled to work in the shop the next two Mondays (7th and 14th October) if you are in the local vicinity please pop in and say hello!

Here is my little boy showcasing my little empire!

Thanks for looking - busy making lots of creations to expand my empire from Solihull

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Christmas Workshops

Here are my next set of workshops at Hobbycraft:

Embossing powders on Tuesday 15th October
Time:  10.00-12.00    Cost £10

A workshop based around embossing powders – this fun technique will show you how to overstamp to create the illusion of snow.  Stamps and diecuts will finish this technique off perfectly.


Alcohol Ink card using a reflections stamp on Wednesday 23rd October
Time:  5.30-7.30pm    Cost £10

This card uses alcohol inks with T!ms reflections stamps.  Diecuts, embossing powder, crackle glaze along with lots of inking will finish this card off beautifully.

Set of four Christmas cards with gorgeous metal embellishments on Tuesday 5th November Time:  10.00-1.00pm    Cost £20

Here the workshop will be focussing on creating stunning backgrounds using embossing folders, stamps from Tims Christmas set, stains and inks.  There are a set of four cards – two cards will be made during the workshop with all pieces made for the two remaining cards for you to finish off at home.  Each card is complimented by a banner greeting, seasonal diecuts and a metal embellishment.  Tims metal embellishments give a stunning finish to any project and you will be amazed at the results.
Please note that there are various times and prices for this set of workshops – each one will be run on the date and time shown in the Hobbycraft store on the Solihull Retail Park, Marshall Lake Road, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LD.
If you are interested please contact me as soon as possible as places are already limited.
Thanks for looking - Enjoying Christmas already from Solihull

Monday, 16 September 2013

Pin It Cushion blog hop

It's my day for the fabulous pin cushion blog hop - yay!

I actually made all of these about a month ago (as soon as the hexie blog hop finished basically) so therefore have no excuse for the poor photos which I have left until the last minute to photograph and a. the weather has turned rainy and dreary and b. I have had a new kitchen so the whole house is a tip still while we are slowly putting stuff back in right place!

Anyway first off I did a bird:

(still yet to have a felt beak added!) - aerial view:

from a pattern I had bought about three years ago and using just some old Michael Miller fabrics I had left over.

Next came this cute mouse:

from a kit I bought in the States in June 2012!

Then I got around to making up a Christmas kit I got last November which was a Christmas Pudding doorstop, after I had made it I thought I would resize it and make a smaller one for a pin cushion:

however it's still about 5" high! and also without thinking I backed the material with stiffener the same as for my doorstop so the pins are really difficult to get in and are going to blunt in no time - oh well.  Also I have no idea why this is the pin cushion I am currently using as its a. not Christmas and b. takes muscle to stick the pins in!

Then finally look at this cutie patootie that I picked up at my local craft shop in a sale:

isn't it fabulous!  the kit came with all materials supplied, the felt was all precut and even was presented in a lovely pink suitcase to boot!

Hope you have enjoyed your visit to see my creations - I have only ever had one pin cushion in the past (a lovely cup cake one I made about five years ago) but I think I have caught the bug now and may just need to make some more! 

I would just like to say a big thank you to Mdm Samm and Kristen for organising and running this wonderful blog hop.  I share my day with these other sewers:

September 16
Sunshine Reflections   you are here!

So please pop along and see their wonderful creations too.

Thanks for looking - loving my new kitchen from Solihull

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Today I have


Just off out to choose some tiles and get a new microwave as our old one doesn't work with our new electrics and obviously don't look at the floor and lightshades (both 25 years old!) as they need to be replaced too!

Look at my little drawers under the hob - aren't they cute! completely impractical as they are so tiny you can't get much in them but hey I love them!  Can't wait to stamp out some lovely little labels for those handles.

We still haven't put everything away so I still have kitchen utensils in my ensuite, utility, porch and corner of the lounge but, thankfully, still non in my craft room!

Also a big Happy Birthday to my Mom - see you later :)

Thanks for looking - soon to be MasterChef from Solihull

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Its all go....

Yesterday I had this:

today I have this:

can' wait to see what I have tomorrow! whoo hooo.

Amongst all the chaos I have managed to sort out my class at the crop next Sunday - we will be making two Christmas tags:

if you want to join in the fun please let me know asap so that I can prepare the bits and pieces - cost will be £6.

Also starting today is a fabulous blog hop all about pin cushions - if you want to join in the fun and see some wonderful creations published daily from now until the 17th (apart from the weekend) then pop over to Mdm Samms and click on the links there.

Thanks for looking - in need of a cuppa from Solihull

Friday, 30 August 2013

Tims August Tag

Had a fabulous time at T!ms UK event yesterday and I guess spending a few hours surrounded by lots of crafty folk has reinvigorated my papercrafting mojo as I have managed to grab an hour today to do T!ms August tag:

Have kept it fairly simple as I am also entertaining the children at the same time!  I did the background with Frayed Burlap and Iced Spruce stains, the stamps are from Artful Flight -CMS069.  The bird was stamped with Stazon and cut out from a masking sheet, then I stamped the image on the tag with Jet Black Archival and placed the mask over the top.  The nest was then stamped with Coffee archival and the cage from Crimson archival.  I then, with the mask still in place, inked the edges of the tag with Vintage Photo and over and around the tag with Mustard Seed.  When I removed the mask the image does indeed pop! 

I usually use post-it notes for my masks as I never like the area that never stamps properly around the edges of the layered image where it meets the mask, and the post-its, being slimmer, alleviate this problem, but now I have discovered the technique of leaving the mask in place and inking over and around it with blending tools (I find it very strange that I have never tried this before! I think I have always removed my masks straight after stamping)  I am much happier and will probably use these types of masks again - yes I think my mojo may be returning!  We shall see when the children go back to school next week as I am hoping not only to have a bit more time to myself but also a lot more energy!

Thanks for looking - Still on high from yesterdays class from Solihull

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Hexie Blog Hop

Hi everyone,

It's my showcase day for the hexie blog hop and here is my project:

It's made up of 578 1/2" hexagons and measures 25.5" x 16".  I got the idea from the fabulous Hexa Go Go book by Tacha Bruecher who had a union flag in the back of the book but I didn't like that design as I am a true Brit and like my flag to have the bottom left hand side having a wider white part at the top of the red diagonal.  So I downloaded some blank hexagonal grid paper from www.incomptech.com/graphpaper/hexagonal and got busy designing - three evenings later I had finally ended up with a Union flag that looked correct so I purchased a set of Sizzix hexagonal dies cut out hundreds of .5" hexes from freezer paper - ironed them onto spare red, white and blue fabrics and got stitching.  Imagine my horror when I had it completed and compared it next to a picture of the Union flag to realise I had got it wrong!  (lesson learn't there to check out the item I am replicating first!)  So, being the fussy person I am, I unpicked the top left and bottom right hand sections and redid them (only took a couple of extra hours - no biggie really!) - it means the red diagonals don't got right into the corners as the true flag would but at least the blue sections are correct - who knew that the four middle blue sections are the same size? Not me anyway!

I was a bit worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew taking on this project as I only had four weeks in which to complete it but I managed to get the whole thing done in just two weeks! I was rather pleased with myself even if the house was a bit of a tip for a while!

For my second project I have done the table runner from the above book:

The white doesn't look so good on the picture but it does stand out in real life - here is a closeup:

 - and just to add my own twist (the above is basically straight out of the book) here is my own design on the back:

here is another closeup:

I used some wonderful Westminster Christmas fabrics that I won in the Ho Ho Ho hop last year.  I can't wait to use it as it will make a fantastic addition to my Christmas table this year!

Hope you have enjoyed my entries - here are the other sewers who are sharing my hop day:

Sunshine Girl Nicola you are here!
    Fish Kopp   

So pop along and check out all of their creations too :)  Also I want to say a big thank you to Debby and Mdm Samm for organising this wonderful hop.

Just edited this to add that if you were in the Dresden plate hop earlier this year you may remember my cog quilt - well its being published this month (September issue) in the British magazine Sewing World - very exciting!

Reedited again to add the Dresden link http://sunshinegirlnicola.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/i-dared-to-dresden.html - never thought of that - thanks KaHolly!

Thanks for looking - addicted to hexies from Solihull

Friday, 16 August 2013


Gosh its an age since I have blogged - over a month in fact!  Nothing wrong just having some pc downtime at the moment and getting on with lots of home/craft projects rather than spending hours on pinterest!

Anyway a short post from me (need to get back in the swing of it I guess - hee hee) but I just wanted to shout out to the rooftops that I have been published this month in the British magazine Sewing World - I have been published numerous times in papercrafting magazines over the years but this is my first venture into sewing articles - let me know if you read it.

Am currently snowed under with sewing projects - I am in a blog hop for hexagons next Wednesday and in a pin cushion hop in September (have made four in the last two weeks) so its all go!

Thanks for looking - Enjoying the holidays in Solihull

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Hobbycraft Workshops

I have been busy working away in my studio on my next few workshops which are:

Perfect Pearls on Tuesday 23rd July:

Here the workshop will be focussing on applying perfect pearls onto a tag inked with distress stains (the bird tag) and a tag painted with distress paints (the lamppost tag).  Perfect pearls give a stunning finish to any project and you will be amazed at the results.

Embossed card using a reflections stamp on Tuesday 3rd September:

This card uses embossing folders with T!ms reflections stamps and lots of inking. An eye catching card suitable for any occasion.

A promarker card class on Wednesday 11th September:

Here a stamped image will be coloured with promarkers using their fabulous blending properties and finished with My Minds Eye papers. 

Painting with Perfect Pearls on Tuesday 17th September:

Another workshop based around Perfect Pearls this time using them as paints, embossing folders, stamps and diecuts will finish this technique off perfectly.

All workshops cost £10 each and will run from 10.00am – 12.00pm on the date shown in the Hobbycraft store on the Solihull Retail Park, Marshall Lake Road, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LD.

If you would like to attend any please contact me as soon as possible as spaces are limited.

Thanks for looking - enjoying the sunshine from Solihull

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Tims June Tag

Just a quick post - and only my second one this month - lots of pc downtime for me!

Here is my take on T!ms June tag which is very pink for me:

Have used Tim's Sewing stamp inked with Coffee Archival; Spun Sugar, Antique Linen, Tattered Rose, Tumbled Glass and Mustard Seed markers; Tea Dye and Broken China inks; Brushed Pewter Paint and a Picked Raspberry Stain.  I couldn't leave it unadorned without bits so I have added a mini mannequin and cotton reels covered with lace, tissue tape and muslin dyed with matching ink/stain/paint.  Finished with a muslin piece of ribbon at the top dyed with all the colours, two pins and a lovely sewing machine metal embellishment.

Thanks for looking - Missing the Sunshine from Solihull

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I'm still here!

Sorry for being so quiet in Blogland for a while - about two months ago I decided to have three days a week not putting my PC on (I know!) which actually worked quite well and then three weeks ago I decided to drastly reduce my surfing time even more by only putting the PC on on one day and then seriously restricting the time I spent on there - this decision has allowed me to get lots of extra jobs done around the house that I wouldn't normally find the time to do (let's face it once we have started reading blogs and looking at pinterest it's easy to lose two or three hours a day isn't it!) - I have also been able to do lots of catch ups with friends I haven't spent much time with for a while and also get a whole host of crafting goodies completed!  I have been busy sewing lots and trying to teach myself free motion quilting - it's a lot harder than I first thought especially if you are perfectionist like me!

I have also arranged quite a few more workshops at Hobbycraft - I haven't yet taken photos of my latest lot though but I do have these to show you which are done using the new Distress Paints:

My  Tuesday workshop is fully booked but I do still have two spaces on Thursday 11th July at 10.00am - 12.00pm - classes are held at the Hobbycraft Solihull store and cost £10 - if you are interested please get in touch.

Drastically reducing my surfing time has been very rewarding but I do also miss looking at all the inspiration out in the big wide world and keeping in touch with all my online buddies - it's not too bad though as I can access all emails via my phone so I am still in regular contact with most!

Hopefully catch up with you all soon.

Thanks for looking - Finally Getting Things Done in Solihull

Monday, 20 May 2013

Tims May tag

Have had this done a while but it's been a bit hectic here - unfortunately I lost a friend I have known for 27 years a couple of weeks ago so that has been very sad but also I have got some more workshops in the planning and have had a visit to the Malvern Quilt Show so it's not been all bad! - anyway because of this and just life in general I have been busy so I haven't had chance to blog it:

done mainly with T!m products (of course!) and some old rubons I had lying around in a box from my scrapbooking days.  Am loving the effect of the stains over the rubons so I will definitely be using this technique again - not least to use some of my rubon mountain!

A big hello and thank you to my newest followers - thanks for joining me on my journey.

Thanks for looking - Busy stroking new stash from the Malvern Quilt Show from Solihull

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Wow 204!  I haven't joined in for a while so I hope you all remember me!  Been doing lots of sewing and stuff with school recently but this week my papercrafting muse has taken back over and this is the state of my dining room table this morning (yes I am an early crafter!):

Making a travel book there for a workshop and the sizzix is out as I am designing a couple of sizzix classes for my local hobbycrafts - all very exciting.

Thanks for visiting me - am off for coffee and cake this morning as its the Wednesday thing to do in Solihull - well me and my friends part of Solihull anyway! - and will be back to peek at some desks later.  If you want to join in the fun of visiting workspaces all over the world then pop over to Julias.

Thanks for looking - Enjoying my sizzix from Solihull

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Shop opening

Oooh look who I just happened to bump into yesterday:

my gilet doesn't do my any favours does it! I honestly don't really look like a Michelin tyre man!

I popped into the new sewing shop opening in Moseley by Lauren of Sewing Bee fame yesterday with Julie and Aimee - we had a lovely time.

The shop is located in the Moseley Village in Birmingham - more details here.  Its a lovely place to visit with some lovely fabrics, a little coffee shop area, some fabulous Rowan wools and a wonderful light space for workshops on the second floor.

Thanks for looking - Got the sewing bug from Solihull

Friday, 26 April 2013

April Tag

Here is my take on T!ms April tag:

Oooh I have had such fun playing with these paints - they are lush! I am not sure whether it's because I have been busy sewing lately and not doing much papercrafting which is why I have fallen in love with tag making again or whether I just love it, love it, love it anyway and the love has never gone but just been on hold for a while!

Anyway some lovely new distress paints turned up last Monday but rather than just getting them straight out of the box and having a play I waited until I finished my quilt (on previous post) - so glad I did as it's now it's basically finished and not back on the UFO pile again!

So I opened Broken China and Mustard Seed and got swishing.  My stockist didn't have the metallic paints in so I mixed mine with the Antiqued Bronze stain which also gave really pleasing results.  I then coloured over the tag with Salty Ocean, Barn Door, and Wild Honey inks.  I love the background to this tag - will definitely be organising a workshop to teach this technique soon!

Then I had a fabulous play with the new butterfly die I bought last week (it was half price whilst I was teaching at Hobbycraft - so were a few other dies and it was funny how myself and the five wonderful students at my workshop cleared the shelf!).  Anyway I cut the butterfly out in white cardstock and then warmed up my melt pot.  Melt pots are fabulous tools - I have to admit that quite often I have a play and then its tidied away into the cupboard for a while but I still so love it and the effect it gives.  I heated up some Interference Blue UTEE and then added some red, blue and yellow To Dye For inks - I was aiming for the marbled look but slipped and ended up mixing all the inks together to give this lovely peachy/orangey colour so I dipped in the wings - love the tip from Hels last week on Create and Craft to use the heat gun to tidy up the edges - I never knew this so now my melt art can take on whole new look! whoo hoo.  Then I got out the Clearly For Art - this stuff is so fabulous - but as I had used a die I cut out the wings and then covered them with Red Pepper, Butterscotch and Stonewashed alcohol inks and then using the script reflections stamp, stamped the image with Archival Ink and wiped it away - such a cool technique and hence my beautiful butterfly was created!

I quite liked the idea of making up another little butterfly using cogs so these were my metal elements that I covered with Broken China and Mustard Seed paints and then completed using a metal spinner and a Prima Engraver Brad.  I didn't mix the colours up too much as it I wanted to it to look like patterns on butterfly wings.

I tattered and inked the edges of the tag with Vintage Photo, added a couple of stamps from T!ms Nature's Discovery set, cut and stamped out a ticket and stuck all my elements down.  The butterfly body is just coloured with black soot stain and glossy accents.

Love the technique for the ribbon although I used muslin - with Broken China, Mustard Seed and Antique Linen paints finished with Worn Lipstick stain.

All in all a lovely few hours play :)

Thanks for looking - having a playday Friday from Solihull