Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Well, as usual it’s late in the day as I start to write this. With best intentions, I took my pictures yesterday although in failing light. I thought I’d be all prepared and even start writing this post early. As if.

My brother turned up last night with a model fashioned out of a shoe box… my niece who’s 5, got some homework to make a Tudor House.  Who did little brother turn to?  Yep, me.  Me with all the paper, sticky stuff, tools – and of course talent (well, perhaps not the latter then)!  Doing all that really ate into my evening.  He turned up at 7pm and went at well turned 1.30am.  By the time I’d tidied up it was 2am.  I went to bed, took the laptop and camera with the intention of at least taking the pictures off and getting them ready for this post – alas, it wasn’t to be.  I felt to sleep with the laptop open and on my knee…

I came downstairs this morning and took pics again while the light was really good.  With distractions from the cat, who wants me to hand feed her the biscuits in her bowl or stroke her while she eats, then the dog trying to shove his nose where it shouldn’t be (this morning in the cat litter igloo) so my day so far has gone it’s usual way.

So, here is the desk looking tidied up quite frankly!  I had used my cutter when my brother came round but I thought I would actually share that visit as another blog post altogether!

First though, I want to show you my little visitor that I found on my desk when I was sat to the laptop.  

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ooh this feels good, i'll just scratch my chin...
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i'll just move on to my ear because this is heaven.. this white thing is great for scratching on!
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oops! caught out!
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I'll just roll on my back and look cute, then My Mummy won't tell me off!
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All that scratching has worn me out! ....Laters!!!!

She finally settled down after a good 10 minutes playing, then eating a feather butterfly that the dog had already destroyed, then had a go at my camera wrist strap….

When she woke up and got back in her box, I had a quick tidy before my brother turned up.. Then it had everything all over it because I had to move things to accommodate him.  When he went at approx. 1.30am I had another quick tidy up.

Here is what it looked like before I sat down to the desk today.

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Pretty tidy for me.  And very boring, so I do apologise.  If there is anything you want to ask about - please feel free!  The scales were out so that I could weigh some stuff to see how much it is going to cost to post (sorry Di – not done it yet)!!!… other than that, I've just swung my Cameo round to the side so that I could spread out a bit more.  Having pens and tools on the desk takes most of the room up – I might have to do something to remedy that because I don’t have a big desk in the first place and now I have a grand calibur, I want somewhere to put it so it’s also on hand, just as the Cameo is where I've put it on the desk.

Not much else to say about it so I may as well let you go back to Julia’s so that you can visit the next desk.

Thank you for visiting – please leave a comment.  I looked at my stats and noticed how many people come to visit without leaving a message.  It makes me feel sad that people didn’t stop to say hello Sad smile

If you want to go to Julia’s over at the Stamping Ground – the link is HERE.

ENJOY and happy crafting
Paula x x x

Monday, 24 September 2012

Just Banter…

When I did my post about making the Baptism Invitations the other day, I forgot to mention that my Mum has bought me a Grand Calibur from Create and Craft.
Grand Calibur
At the time of writing this post, C&C have a ‘Blockbuster’ price of £62.99 for members (£69.99 for non-members).  She’s bought it for me as a ‘thank you’ for looking after her when she was poorly - although I didn't do it to get anything in return – as you don’t!  However, she was adamant that she wanted to get this for me because I’m not currently in a position to buy any more crafting stash so I am so grateful she’s done this.  It actually arrived on Saturday, but I was finishing off the invitations following working on them late on Friday.  This had sooo done me in, so finishing them off was really slow going and just putting the cross through the Cuttlebug was so painful.  I know that the Grand Calibur will be brilliant at helping out with the bigger crafting commissions such as wedding stationery – obviously if it involves dies and embossing. 

Baptism cardI calculated that it would have saved 80% of my time if I’d have used the GC because I did 20 cards. Each card had 5 die cuts on them, which I did one at a time (although I did manage to cut some of the smallest crosses at the same time as doing the bigger ones).  Imagine I didn’t.  Lets say that I actually did them one at a time.  That’s 20 of each die cut making 100 die cuts in total for the order.  Had I have used the GC – I could have worked out the sizes of my pieces of paper for each die cut beforehand – and seeing as I did this each and every time anyway, I wouldn’t have been spending more time on this but may have saved time in doing it all in one go.  I could then have put all 5 dies on the A4 plate at the same time so saving 80% (plus) because for each pass, I was only loading and uploading the plate once too and that is the most time consuming part.  However, if I could have done 20 passes rather than 100, I probably wouldn’t have felt so rough afterwards… Then again, I could have used the Cameo!!!

I haven’t unpacked my GC yet.  I didn’t feel up to spending too much time in the craft room today.  I was there long enough to mostly write my previous blog post, but the temperature got the better of me because I decided it was too cold eventually so I up sticks and went into the lounge – while it was quiet and free of teenagers.

I would love to be able to do a craft stall at a fayre of some kind.  My friend has told me about one she is involved in helping out with.  She asked me if I would be interested, of course I said yes.  I just need to sum up the energy to make stuff to sell… My mum has made the most gorgeous jewellery.  She only uses precious or semi precious gem stones and as far as possible, 925 sterling silver – although she does use stuff like the stainless steel tiger tail wire of course.  She has done quite a few commissions and makes to order too.  Do you have a favourite gem stone?  Would you like to commission a piece of jewellery?  My favourite stone is actually my birth stone which is aquamarine. My mum has some of it – in fact I don’t think there is any gem stone she doesn’t have – and many things she has in different sizes or cuts.  

Here is a small selection of some pieces she made for a neighbours wedding.  There were bridesmaids comprising 3 adults, a child and a toddler, then the bride.  My mum made all the jewellery using rose quartz, crackle quartz, genuine pearls in several colours silver charms, silver chain and silver findings (note it wasn’t silver coloured – it was all 925 sterling silver apart from the tiger tail which was used for actually threading the beads).  

Top row: various pics of the bridesmaid sets
Middle row l-r : the bigger feature bead and sterling silver ‘spacers’ on the toddlers bracelet; the sterling silver signature charm at the back of same bracelet; the brides set rose quartz and cream potato pearls
Bottom row, l-r: the brides bracelet, sterling silver butterfly signature charm on the bridesmaid necklaces – dangles down centre of the neck; the brides necklace gets a double drop signature charm of 2 flowers.  The toddler bridesmaid is actually the brides daughter, so the gems and charms match up.
 The other bridesmaids all got butterflies.

Each of the bridesmaids got a pair of pearl and sterling silver stud earrings, a bracelet and matching necklace.  She did the brides jewellery slightly different and gave it to her free of charge and said it was a gift.  My mum charged £150 for all the bridesmaids sets which comprised genuine precious and semi-precious gemstones, all hand made and carefully matched to the wedding colours while ensuring each set matched the other (well, for the 3 adult bridesmaids anyway). You can easily go into several high street retail stores and buy a necklace, earrings and bracelet separately for £30 – even less, but it wouldn’t be 925 sterling silver.  It wouldn’t consist of genuine pearls, rose quartz and crackle quartz.  Then you wouldn’t get a set of matching brides jewellery for absolutely nothing comprising the same genuine stones.  Do you know what they said to my mum?  “We weren’t expecting it to be that much”.  I was horrified.  

A lesson learned too for my mum – who usually gives stuff away and is one of the most generous people I have ever known.  She would give anyone her last penny if their need was greater than hers, and if she could make do with what she had.  I pointed out that in future, she needs to ask people what their budget or expectations are and work around that.  She said she doesn’t want to make a profit – as long as she’s not out of pocket she’s not bothered because she just enjoys doing it. Well I think they got a bargain, because they’ll have that jewellery far longer than any high street plastic stuff. They did pay it though.  Well, the dad did!

My mum loves her jewellery making and living on her own, it gives her something to do, and something to take her mind off her illnesses.  She can’t do it all the time though as she has Osteo Arthritis, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia (and other stuff).  She’s been suffering from the odd bout of gout too, which until recently, we didn’t know was a form of arthritis.  We always thought it was to do with the diabetes… that’s as much as the doctors tell you.  I found out by looking on the internet for something completely different then came across this.

When I had to stay with her last month (or was it the month before – they all roll into the same thing sometimes), I couldn't do much because of how my condition affects me day to day, but she has a few adaptations around which I benefited from too.  Just being with her made the world of difference.  She recently had to have a cortisone injection in her shoulder which she had an X-ray on recently.  The doctor said that it is severely affected with Osteo Arthritis so the injection was the only option at the moment.  She had this a week after she had one in her arthritic knee.  She has been told by the surgeon and doctors that she needs to lose a lot of weight before they'd even consider operating.  Thing is, how can someone with severe arthritis in the left side possibly exercise.  She eats pretty sensibly - although she's been told off about her salt intake and has another appointment with the doctor tomorrow to discuss her high blood pressure.  Best sign off because I’ve got to get up early to take her.

If you like anything in this post, or can identify with any of the content – whatever that might be, please leave me a comment – and if you want me to, just ask me to get back to you.  I’m always happy to do that – unless I frighten you off and bore you to death with my waffle.

Happy crafting.
Paula x x x

Sunday, 23 September 2012

(Com)mission Accomplished

Hi folks

Just a quickie today.

Recently, I had a commission for some Baptism cards from a friend who couldn't find any but knew a person who could do some (ahem...).

My friend is actually the one that I did wedding stationery for last year - I'm not sure I showed you what I did, so I'll bring those pics out then too.

The wedding stationery was very simple but exactly what she had commissioned, as all my commissions are completely bespoke i.e. exactly what the 'client' requests (unless I definitely know it can't work physically - colourschemes are personal so it's never for me to say that yellow won't go with skybluepink!).  She chose the colour scheme and I came up with a sample - hit the nail on the head first time because it was just the look she was after - nothing too taxing for the average crafter either.  The cardstock was cream linen and the colour of the ribbon was a Berresfords double satin in 'Libery'.  I like to think that I have an eye for detail because everything has to be lined up perfectly. I tend to do this 'by eye' but of something complex I will make a little template to line things up - or I might have a 'landmark' like the edge of a pattern or the beginning of a letter - whatever it takes.  When it comes to wedding stationery and commissions, I'm not a 'that will do' person but I'm sure that everyone is the same when it comes to something as important as this...I QC everything then keep anything I reject back as samples or keepsakes for the 'client'.

Here are some pics of the wedding stationery first of all:

Paula Gale Designs (C)

My friend wanted the tail on the bow quite long on the wedding invitations, but when it came to the evening invite, which was only A6, the long tail wasn't going to work, so that was shortened and made to look in porportion with the overall size of the card.  The order of ceremony had a know rather than a bow because when tying the ribbon around the card, the bow would have looked 'inwards' rather than downwards.  Don't be afraid to mix and match the style of bows for your Wedding Stationery.  When all said and done - the same people don't revceive both kinds of invites anyway.

This is a picture showing the side and front of the post box.  My friend asked for butterflies on the box, so here I used the Marianne Creatables butterflies - 2 of the 3 designs I had at the time.  I now have the third design butterfly, but this shows them fluttering up the box towards the lid.
 Paula Gale Designs
Here is a picture of the front of the box.  Note the layout of the details on the front.  I echoed this in the table name cards.  The couple named each table after someone they admired - moreso in the music industry as they are massive music lovers and frequent festival goers.

Paula Gale Designs

Note the names in the background of musicians - some of the greats!  The one on the top was the most important to the bride.  It's her dad.  He suffers from Parkinsons but was previously a History of Art teacher. He won first prize in a national Parkinsons Association competition for a short film he produced.  He also wrote a song about a dancer which was performed at the wedding by a professional singer.  The wedding was outside and the bride walked down the isle to 'Clair de lune' by Debussy.  Beautiful.

Anyway, as I originally set out, here are the invitations for the Baptism - the Catholic version of the Christening.  This is due to take place in October at a small family Church where a few years ago, I was bridesmaid for another friend who attends the same Church.  I've kinda lost touch with her which is such a shame because we worked very closely together on a housing scheme which was very stressful, highly immotive for the tenants involved and often extremely sensitive information was discussed and managed.  In order to keep ourselves going, we had a good laugh in the office, where 5 of us worked in a 3 bedroomed house!  The very best years of my whole working life!

Anyway - back to the invites.  Funnily enough and if you believe in funny co-incidences, I had only just purchased a set of Spellbinders Crosses 2 for such events as Easter, Sympathy, Christening, Baptism, Holy Communion and even Church Weddings and Christmas.  So, she gave me free reign to come up with a design - which I did and she went with it straight away. 

I only used 3 of the crosses from the set of 5.  Oh my word... I was knackered after cutting all of those on my manual die cutter (Cuttlebug).  They are alright to use on a one off card or just a handful - but I did 20, so that was 20 of each cross.  I could barely move yesterday but the outcome was worth the effort just to see the look on my friends face when she saw them.  I had sent her a pic via email, but she said they were much better in real life.  The very smallest cross which is the pink one on top, was glittered with clear glitter.

I delivered them yesterday after meeting her in The Range.  My mum wanted a teapot but when I got there, they didn't do the 2ltr size she wanted.  Afterwards I went to my friends for coffee.  When I was leaving, her gorgous 2 year old daughter gave me a bunch of flowers which were beautiful.  I supplied top quality envelopes with the invitations - it's important to make the right impression don't you think.  You wouldn't take all this trouble with the invites then put them in a cheap, thin envelope.  The ones I supplied were virging on card stock!!!  Her husband was very impressed!

So, this is just the latest in the little commissions for event stationery i've done.  I enjoy the process, the designing and then the look on the face on the face of the 'client'.  That's priceless to me - to impress someone with the hard work i've done makes it worth the aches and pains it causes.

Hope you like them - if so, please leave me a comment.  I hope that anything I produce inspires you - I don't claim to have come up with this idea - although it's so simple but effective, that someone, somewhere must have done something similar.  These designs are what I came up with myself though. 

Thank you for reading this post - as usual, it's turned out to be bigger than first anticipated - but I tend to do that when commenting too - no wonder they put me in the top class at school for English!  I was really good at creative writing (hated English Lit at the time so dropped it).  I don't think I was old enough to appreciate it.  oooops - there I go again.

Happy Crafting....

Paula x x x

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Hello all you bloggers out there...

Well, it's feeling decidedly autumnal this morning  so I'm not sure whether I'm too hot or too cold at the moment, but that may because I'm also extremely tired.

Oh, the tiredness is really getting to me now.  3 weeks without a proper sleep.  What I used to consider a good sleep was 10 hours - I've always needed sleep... but now, I'm not even getting 4 hours in.  One of the reasons is that I daren't allow myself to, because if I do, I wake up and can't move because I simply seize up.  Which means I cannot sit up in bed - I have to get someone to help me sit up in bed so that I can swing my legs round to the floor and ease myself up to stand up and go to the bathroom.  It then affects my whole day.

But, you've not really come to read about that have you  - oh no, you've come to read about what's on my workdesk - so without futher ado, here is all about.... my workdesk.

Yesterday I was working on a couple of cards, but went the whole hog and did 3!  One is winging its way to its recipient as I write, and the other will be saved for my lovely neighbour a few doors away - who is also my former camping partner's mum.  Camping; just the two mums each with her own two kids. 

Right - here are views, as usual from the left to the right of the desk:

ooh - there's my caddy full of tools; pens, knives, pokey tools, bone folders, brushes, scissors - oh yes baby - it's where it's at!  Everything a girl needs to use to craft with...  You can just see my inky handle things...  a godsend when I can't grip the bits of foam...
Here you can see a better pic of the left of the desk - where the printer is... the 'beam' behind the printer is actually where the door to the conservatory used to hang.  We actually have it all open plan which means that I'm actually in effect encroaching on the kitchen here.  Just to the left of the printer is a 'poang' IKEA chair where Dylan takes up his residence!  To the other side of the gap where the other door used to hang, is the beginning of the kitchen units - and the best bit.... the kettle! 

I took this picture after I had taken the others - then deleted the ones I had taken when panning around.  Reason being because I wanted to show the colour sampler I had printed off for the new colours from Pink Petticoat.  I've been sorting my folders out where I keep all the digital downloads from PP because Liz has retired some colours, introduced some fresh new ones then given the remaining ones fabulous names - that soooo suit the colour. 
It was just meant to be.

Anyway, I printed the sampler off (as seen above) and cut up all the squares with my brilliant Fiskars Tru-cut trimmer (miles cheaper at The Range than Create and Craft btw) and make myself a little swatch of all the new and renamed colours (now referred to the 'current' colours in the Pink Petticoat range.  I punched a whole in the corner of each square with my Crop-o-dile, then threaded them on a bookring - all good-to-go!

 Oops!  A bit messy!  The DVD cases at the back are my Spellbinder dies.  Under the pile of 'work' is my Cameo.  Actually, under the top layer of the 'work' are 3 packs of cream card blanks I got from Crafting Limited on one of the open days a couple of weeks back.  They were 3 packs for £10 - which is a bargain actually - you know the kind that UK Crafting manufacter/distribute...  usually £5-7 per pack at some places.
 When I was taking the pics sitting at the desk, I had my laptop resting on a stool from the kitchen - actually it makes a good makeshift table/additional worksurface.  My sister had visited so had been sitting on it.  To put it in perspective, I've actually got my back to the opening to the kitchen and while looking in this direction, my desk is to my left.  The craft room has become a bit untidy because I have so much going on...

So,  that's my desk and area this week.  Since I took the pics last night, the desk is now tidy(er) ready for the next thing.

Coming up on my blog I have a couple of tutorials that I've been writing plus a heck of a lot of cards i've not previously shown.

Right - linking up to Julia over at The Stamping Ground while it actually still is Wednesday seeing as this little show and tell is called 'What's on your workdesk Wednesday" hence the accronym WOYWW - and it's been going 171 weeks just in case you wondered what the number was for.  I can't claim to have joined in 171 times - but I did join in when I was in the hospital - twice (thanks to my dear friend Annie from Stitch In Time - who incidentally has done nearly mosy of the 171)!!!

Happy hopping, snooping and crafting one and all


Paula x  x  x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Putting my Cameo to work

Well, I've had my Cameo almost a year now, purchasing it on the day it was released for sale in the UK.  I bought it from Graphtec where Hayley West of Create and Craft fame had been demo-ing it.

I'd already purchased a Cricut expression a few months earlier because I wanted an electronic cutting machine that was a bit more of a workhorse than my lil' ol' original Quickutz Silhouette machine.  Had I known that the Cameo was due to be released, I might never have even bothered with a Cricut because I've only used it once.

Not the case with the Cameo - I've been able to be inventive and creative with my designs but know I have a long way to go before I consider myself an expert.  However, I would say that I'm more than a beginner with the software, because I am extremely computer competent and if there is anything I am unsure of, I will play about and try and sort it myself before running to the Internet for video tutorials etc.

To this end, I have been able to develop a couple of my own files which I have been able to put to good use on several projects are the first two, which I've managed to post already: here and here and still have a 3rd card which I made with the same design papers - which completes my April 'trilogy' of cards - I'll post the 3rd at a later date.

However, the one I am posting today and entering into the 2nd ever Cameo Spotlight challenge where they are asking us to use 'numbers' in our projects, is a more recent card which I made for my Auntie to give to her only son (my cousin) for his 50th.  If you are interested, please see their inspirational blog for further information on the challenge and the rules.

The brief from my Aunty was "he likes canal boats" (aparently he has one).

So, I sourced some artwork - the traditional paintings that they have on the sides of the cabins etc is similar to the kind known as 'one stroke painting'.  On canal boats/barges, they tend to keep the colours minimal and bold - preferring red, green, orange, black, white - and this is why my card was based on these colours.  The cameo cut out the book pages, the lacey ovals, the rolled roses - which I chose to depict the one stroke roses in the artwork.

Anyway - the composition of the card is as follows:

A4 card blank covered with sheets of A4 red paper.  2 layered book pages - bottom one with traditional canal boat artwork on, the bookpage has a text overlay on. Stuck on the top (one on each page) are 2 lacey ovals in red cardstock, the left hand side has a painting of a canal boat approaching (or coming away from) a bridge, and the right hand side has a sentiment on - with a watermark of the traditional canal boat painting of flowers. 

Inside the card (which actually functions as tent fold card) is a vellum insert watermarked with the canal boat painting, and overlaid with a 'Happy Birthday' sentiment.  On the front again, there is a layered '50th' and a layered 'son' greeting with rolled roses in primary colours to add a bit of detail.

My mum received a phone call from my Auntie who paid compliment to the card (again) after she had given it to my cousin at a birthday dinner.  Apparently he was really pleased with it - and said that it 'ticked all the boxes'.

I was pleased with it - and it was certainly something different and at first, a difficult brief - but all turned out well in the end.

Again, I will be entering this into 'The Cameo Spotlight Challenge #2' - Numbers.

Thanks for your visit - and hopefully a comment.

bye for now

Paula x x x 


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