Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Still crafting…..

Even though I’m not posting much lately, I really AM still crafting. We have had just the WORST weather in December, plus I’ve been suffering an arthritis flare-up in my knee, so have been kind of lying low. Not being able to get out to shop and crop is now killing me!

My first project was to be an advent calendar. In November, I bought a sheet or panel to  use, with instructions:


I think they call this the Makower Advent Calendar. I have seen a couple made up and they’re beautiful. I bought a solid blue cotton with gold stars to use as the back of the panel:


Yeah, well…. it “could have been” beautiful, but it’s still all folded up for “someday” in 2014! Just no time. And frankly, with my knee I have not had the motivation. Pain, especially the constant, excruciating kind like mine, is distracting, depressing, and just plain diabolical. It’s been well over a month with no relief and I can’t even sleep at night because of it.

Nevertheless, it was my turn to host our little craft group and I was eager to show off my new cabin, so in December I had my craft mates over for our Christmas craft party.


I pushed two tables together to give us nearly 12 feet of crafting room. I only have four chairs, but added a computer chair and one of our six members couldn’t make it at the last minute, so it worked out fine. This (above) is the way it looked before we started and the picture below is in full swing:


As you can see, we used ALL the space. The table in the left that barely shows is full of cake, cookies (or biscuits, as they’re called here), an electric kettle for making tea and coffee, and a few other things. We really had a good time and I think (and hope) everyone was very comfortable. When I don’t have crafters in, one of the tables folds up out of the way. I’m considering leaving one table (about 6 x 3 feet) in the middle of the room with four chairs permanently as it’s such a nice space to work. I’ll use the small table (here on the left) as a desk for my laptop, etc.

Now that my craft cabin is organized, I’m trying to get myself organized as well. I’ve got a list of craft project to do (birthday cards, etc.) and some almost-finished scrapbook layouts ready to work on. It’s a great feeling to sit out there in the garden with a cup of coffee and just create, read, or putter around generally. My little sanctuary!  I even have an easy chair for just chilling out:


And almost all the mod cons: phone, kettle for making coffee, radio/CD player, laptop, printer, and lots of books. What else could a girl ask for? Well, maybe a toilet would be nice, but then I’d never come into the house!

Monday, 28 October 2013

All Done Now -- sort of

Well, I've finally settled into my new craft studio. I absolutely love it! I'm happy to just sit and look down the garden, doing nothing really. I still have a few odds and ends to stow away, of course, but I have pronounced it basically d-o-n-e!

Here are a few final photos I've promised. First, in the left corner of the room, the oak shelves and the little plastic drawers (you can just see in the edge of the photo) is my sewing area. I don't have much fabric yet so the shelves look a bit bare. I'll probably add a few things here and there, but I'm determined to not go wild with stacking up a bunch of fabric I won't use. I also have my sewing, quilting, patchwork books and magazines here.

The other three photos show the three Ikea Expedit shelves (two 4x4 and one 2x4), which hold my papercraft supplies, and another oak bookshelf, which is mostly for books and magazines. I hate throwing out magazines, especially my Stampington ones like Take Ten, Art Journaling, Stampers' Sampler, etc. They really never go out of date.

There are a couple of things to show close up. First is this wooden sign I found in Whitstable at a little shop:

How cute is that! I just love a good miracle and sometimes when I craft, that's what I pray for.........

And above the other Expedit shelves are all my handmade albums: travel, art journals, and circle journals. Because they're so colourful, I wanted to show them off. Actually, I love making these even more than scrapbooks and cards, so I'll be adding to them from time to time.

Fortunately, the storm we had last night didn't do any damage to the studio. I was worried, as it was the first real test for weather-proofing, but the little cabin held up very well and remained watertight! Lots of trees felled, though none around here, and some power outages down closer to the south coast. We had our candles and flashlights (they call them "torches" here in the UK) ready, but hey-ho!!!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Still plugging along

I honestly wonder where all this stuff came from! I’m just amazed at how I had it all (and a bit more…. I’ve done a lot of clearing out) jammed into a smaller room and only a part of that room. I suppose it’s no surprise that I’d really lost a lot of enthusiasm for crafting because I could never find anything! Now I’ve discovered all kinds of fun things that I’d forgot about. It’s almost like Christmas…. the only downside is that my poor long-suffering husband keeps insisting — and I agree, for now — that I shouldn’t buy any new supplies or magazines or books for a long, long time.

Well, it’s all beginning to shape up, as day by day I make a bit more progress. Here are some photos taken a couple of days ago. I’ve made good progress today but didn’t take any photos. I will… and I really do appreciate all the encouraging and kind comments.

These are the Ikea Expedit shelves, which since this photo are now totally filled. I bought two of the 4 by 4 shelves, one of the 4 by 2 shelves (this one on casters so can be easily moved around.

In this photo it’s easier to see the red box inserts. I got  five of them. At first I thought it might have been a mistake as they’re really deep and things are going to be jumbled inside, but they are really brilliant for odd-shaped and odd-sized items. I seem to have a lot of these kinds of items for some reason. I bought four of the straw baskets at a shop in Herne Bay. They’re lined with the nicest red and white fabric. Are you beginning to see a plan here (i.e. red and white)?

As I mentioned, I’ve since moved a lot of things around and added more so will take more photos tomorrow. I’ve brought two tall bookcases from the old craft room to hold books and magazines. Yes, I’m a hoarder, but honestly I’ve thrown out so many old magazines. It made me sad but I just can’t keep everything. I spent quite a bit of time going through them  one by one today and having a real struggle with nostalgia. Some of those magazines were from 2003! My goodness how scrapbook styles have changed, and some of the magazines aren’t even in existence anymore. I’ve even culled my books!

At least now things are better organized/organised: art journaling and mixed media, scrapbooking, cardmaking, and (at the other side of the room) sewing, including patchwork. Now I’ll be able to find things when I’m looking. And the bonus is that I know what I’ve got!!!

The only thing I’m not sure about is the trolley. I thought I ordered this one (Ikea Raskog):

IKEA Raskog trolley

but instead I got this one (Ikea Bygel – half the price of the Raskog):

It’s not bad… just different. It holds a lot and has a little drawer at the top but only two wheels. Ah well…. for the price (£25), I can live with it. One thing I thought I’d be able to get rid of are all the plastic drawers I’ve been using, but it looks like I’ll be keeping those for awhile yet. I’m just so ready to get it all sorted to the point I can do some craftwork in here.

One thing I’ve come to realize/realise (US/UK spelling) is that I don’t really NEED all those magazines. Since I got a Pinterest account, if I want inspiration I only need to look through the boards I follow or my own. Pinterest is just amazing and I can’t stop “collecting” the pictures. All I can say is that there are some incredibly talented people out there, from literally all over the world. Isn’t it amazing how it seems to be a universal human instinct to want to better our little corner of the world? Our homes, our families, ourselves? Whether it’s recipes, home decor, crafts, even pets. I just love it.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Parkinson’s Law revised

Parkinson’s law says “work expands to fit the time available” but I’d like to revise that to say “stash expands to fit the space available”! Honestly, I don’t know where all my craft supplies have been hiding, but I’ve never seen so much “stuff” in all my life. No wonder I lost my mojo… everything was crammed so tight that I didn’t even know what I had, much less where it was! Moving to the new studio has been an eye-opening (and eye-watering) experience. I feel really excited again, BUT friends, please listen: DO NOT let me buy another sheet of paper, another stamp, another pot of paint, or anything else from a craft shop for at least five years. Seriously, I have more supplies that I can probably use in my lifetime.

Well, here we go with some photos of the new studio (I’m calling it “studio” instead of “cabin” now). First is my sweet husband assembling the new Ikea Expedit shelves, with the help of his faithful companion.

So I now have two Expedit 4x4 shelves, one Expedit 4x2 shelf, an Ikea trolley, and two (old) worktables, not to mention all the plastic drawers I already had. For the Ikea Expedit shelves I bought five drawers and five slide in boxes. This is the way the studio looked as I just dumped things in.


And there’s still LOTS more in the house left to bring out. Never mind…. I did at least have enough to play with, since I was really chomping at the bit to get started. I had a chipboard chest that I knew I could use, so I covered it with some patterned  paper. I used Simple Stories “Summertime” and a sheet from “Portobello” (can’t remember who makes that). I think it turned out pretty cute.

So poor hubby is now building steps up to the decking for the cabin. It’s supposed to rain this afternoon, so he’ll build some shelves maybe, when he has to go inside. Really, he’s been wonderful about doing all the hard labour. I just can’t wait to get things DONE! I’ve found some red gingham curtains and red lampshades for my little studio, too.


Woo hoo…. I’m having fun now!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Finally ready for moving day….

Yes, it’s finally here. Now if we can just find the TIME to cart everything from the old (indoor) craft room to the new one… and do I call it a “craft cabin”, “craft cottage”, “craft studio”, or (on impulse) the “crafthaus”? We painted it early this week and thank goodness the weather has cooperated. It’s been dry and sunny, with just slightly warmer weather.

There is still a lot of work to do. I want some hanging baskets, container plants on the decking, landscaping around it, curtains inside, etc. The window and door trim was supposed to be a sort of russet/cedar/reddish colour but it looks brown with a little red. At this stage, however, I’m not too bothered. I just want to get IN it! The furniture from Ikea is coming next week, but in the meantime I want to get everything in it and sorted, ready to put away when the new stuff arrives. Overall, I’m a happy bunny!

Our kitchen also is almost done. We still have to get the walls tiled and painted, but overall we’re very happy with it. The only glitch was that our clothes dryer wouldn’t fit in the space provided, due to the tiling and the anti-cracking mat under the tiles. It’s not ideal, but we’re going to put the dryer in the garage for now and we’ve ordered another cabinet to put in the space. I’m not sure why two people should need so much storage space but we certainly do. It’s very sad, isn’t it???


This is one of my favourite additions… a slide-out pantry. Then next to it we have a traditional one. I’m not sure if it’s properly called a “larder” in the UK, but we would say “pantry” in the  U.S.

IMG_0179 and fridge/freezer IMG_0181

It’s just so nice to be able to cook in the kitchen again! I never thought I’d ever get tired of eating out, but eventually (after nearly three weeks of it!) we did. On the few occasions we tried to cook at home in the microwave, we had to wash dishes in the bathtub! Not ideal!

So next week, we’re getting all the windows and doors replaced, and I hope also the kitchen tiled and painted. Then my stress level should return to normal. I’ve come to believe that if a couple can get through a remodelling without killing each other or getting a divorce, they can get through about anything. My poor husband must be a saint for putting up with me.

So then, perhaps soon I actually get back to blogging about crafting. I sure hope so as the creative urge is driving me up the wall.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Oh, the wait is killing me!!

Yes, I haven’t been able to start on the inside of the craft cabin yet. Our kitchen is nearly finished, to the point we have been putting our kitchen goods and food away all weekend. We don’t have as much extra storage as we thought we would, but it still looks good. The tiler has finished and now we are expecting the kitchen company to return tomorrow to put in the plinths and the stove, the builder to put in the skirting boards, and then we have to decide on wall tiles. The tile man suggests we wait until the window company replaces the large kitchen window before we do the wall tiles, so the kitchen won’t be COMPLETELY finished for awhile.

Now the cabin, which I shall refer to from hereon as “the studio”, is going to be painted tomorrow…. barring any unforeseen disasters like rain. I’m sooooooo ready to start moving my stash in and “nesting”. I’ve ordered two Expedit shelves from Ikea, along with a few more goodies, like the Ikea trolley below for all my tools:

IKEA Raskog trolley

(this one belongs to designer Heidi Swapp) so when that arrives (next week), work will begin in earnest. Saturday my two friends, Andrea and Diane, got to see it in its naked glory. Just wait, friends, and it will be truly a thing of beauty. Probably not until the end of October, however. I still have a lot to do, like curtains for one thing. I’ve been saving photos of other craft rooms on the Internet for inspiration, mostly from Pinterest and Houzz. Here’s my current favourite:

long table

Unfortunately, I have no idea where this picture originated so if it’s yours, Dear Reader, please let me know.

Saturday I drove from here in the Kent hinterlands into London for the “Big Stamp and Scrapbooking Show” at Alexandra Palace, with my friends Andrea and Diane (mentioned previously). We met up with another friend, Margaret, who had come on the train. We also had a quick word with our friend, Barbara, who was demonstrating for a craft company, and I got to see a good friend, Glen (AKA “Art Angel” on UK Scrappers), who is always so nice and friendly. I hadn’t been in a couple years so I really enjoyed it, despite all the complaints I heard. I spent plenty (three figures!) and got a couple of bargains. Mostly it was standard prices, but I love seeing everything first hand. It beats ordering online!

So, it’s all happening now…… watch this space, please. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It’s Here….

My new craft cabin is finally here. I still have to paint it with a preservative paint, build some steps for the decking, bury the electric cable, and build a path through the garden, but it’s up and it’s fab!!!

It was not without pain, however (see the story below). The cabin arrived on Wednesday, delivered by two young men who set about erecting it.


The dimensions are 5 metres by 4 metres, a pretty good size! The two men worked (loosely) all day until about 5pm. When they left, they said “See you tomorrow.”  Well, tomorrow came and no one showed up. After a few desperate phone calls to the cabin company, a couple of new guys showed up about mid-day. The story was that the original two had both called in sick. Hmmm. Unlikely, I thought, but by the end of the day we had SIX guys working on it. They left about 6pm and said they’d be back early the next day. This was supposed to be a two-day job, but I thought they’d surely finish it by the next morning. That was Thursday.

Friday morning came and again, no one appeared. Finally the electrician showed up and said he didn’t know where everyone was but that he’d carry on as he had experience building the cabins as well as the electrics. Loads of excuses and apologies from the company, but it didn’t help us and it didn’t help poor Andy! The poor guy worked from about 9:30am to 7:30pm, totally alone and in the rain. Bless him…. he finished most of it and left it at least watertight for the weekend.

Andy in rain

Andy, the electrician, on the roof!

Then Monday, same story, same song. Only Andy until about 4pm when one other person came, soon followed by another. Finally, about 7pm, it was done. Here’s the final cabin (still to be painted, etc. of course):


Of course we have to wait for three days of no rain to let it dry out before we can paint ………. not sure when THAT will happen, however. This IS England in the Autumn, after all!

Now I have to move all my craft room out there, order some new shelves, make curtains, and then I can play! I’ll take some photos of the interior when I get all that done.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Coming my way.....

Exciting news.... although our plan for the extension has evaporated, thanks to a builder who left us in the lurch, we still have a plan to gain more room. Most especially to move my craft supplies out of the spare bedroom into its own little "home" --- ta da.....

This is what my new craft cabin will look like when it's delivered in about six weeks. It's 4m x 5m in size, with insulated roof and floor, laminated floor, double-glazing, combo air conditioner-heater, fully electric, and a 1m veranda the width of the building. Now this may look a bit plain, but I have plans for painting and landscaping. I've been combing the Internet to find some inspiration and have come up with LOTS. Just take a look at these:

To say I'm excited is an understatement. Maybe "obsessed" is even a fair statement: I've been looking at furniture (cabinets, shelves, islands, desks, etc.) for days, playing around with a name for my new playhouse, thinking up ideas for decorating, and more.

As for actual crafting.... well, lately I've not done a lot. I have lots of photos from a recent US holiday to see grandchildren, a holiday here in the UK, and lots more. I need to scrapbook as it's been ages since I've done any. Cards are so much easier and quicker to do, but I've got a new empty scrapbook album and some empty pages in other nearly-full albums. I'd also like to find some ideas for making some nice wall art for my new cabin. I've got several blank canvases, mostly smallish sizes.

All I can say right now is "watch this space"!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

She's baaaaack. . . .

Yessiree, she is indeed back. I’m feeling my mojo returning. I just hope it’s back to stay. Just when I think I’m ready to call it quits on crafting and sell up, the urge hits again. 

First of all, it’s Wednesday. That means the What’s On Your Work Desk Wednesday, or WOYWW. I used to use Google Reader to keep up with all the WOYWW posts but that little gadget is no longer available. If anyone reading this has some advice about what to use instead, PLEASE let me know!!! Anyway, here’s my Wednesday Workdesk:

As you can see, I’ve actually been working!!!!! I made a birthday card for a friend:

The card isn’t wonky, but the photo is! Anyway, this is a “card lift” from the July issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine. The stamp was free with the magazine and the card I used was originally designed by Caroline Knott. Hers must be an 8x8” as I couldn’t get everything to fit – she had two patterned papers and . She had some beautiful designs in this issue and I highly recommend them! For the large scallops and circles I used Spellbinders Nestabilities dies. For the sentiment, I used my Stampin’ Up punches. The patterned paper is an older one (can’t remember the name) and the solid cardstock is Stampin’ Up. To color the image I used my ProMarkers. The Promarker colors actually are identical to those in the paper, but don’t look like it in the photo.

Now a word about cards. I recently purchased a huge supply of card blanks with envelopes. The manufacturer is Craft UK Limited.I bought white and cream, 6x6” and 8x8”. Well, WARNING… the sizes are very much OFF the sizes as sold. The 6x6” are just 5.75” if that! Now that little quarter-inch may not seem like much until you are trying to measure and cut your paper for layers before adhering it to the card. As you can imagine, there was a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth when I realized (using American spelling here, folks, as I’m in a hurry to get this done) I’d have to re-cut everything!

A quick word about craftrooms. I’ve been working on getting a new craftroom for some time. We even had an architect and got planning permission and a bank loan for a large extension on our house and a couple of other projects, then as we were about to start, the builder suddenly decided he couldn’t do it until next year. To say we were gutted is an understatement. We got a couple more quotes but they were much, much higher so we’re now down to a garden studio for about 1/4 the price, even completely kitted out with electricity, floors, insulation, heating and airconditioner, etc. I found a couple of ideas on the Internet. I dream big:

Actually the one I think I want is much larger than this (about 16 x 10 ft) and has bigger windows, but this is the general idea. And…. drum roll…. it won’t need planning permission, either. What do you think?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

How the time flies….

Yes, how the time flies when we’re having fun! Except I can’t say I’ve been having much fun. Most days I stay so busy I feel like a puppy chasing its tail…. do you know the feeling?

Crafting has definitely taken a back seat lately. Between all my duties with the local Women’s Institute, keeping up with the housework, and just every now and then reading a craft magazine or playing around with some cardmaking (usually project that ends up in the trash), I can’t seem to find time to sit down and do any REAL crafting. We’ve had the planning approved on an extension, so I’m just a bit closer to remodeling my craft room, but the wheels of progress (and the architect we’re using) seem mired in molasses!

Here are a couple of scrapbook pages I’ve done … sort of recently:

Cameron IMG_1453

This is my soon-to-be-one year old grandson, Cameron. He literally fell asleep eating! What a face, though!!! The next one is of all four grandchildren. My son’s two (the older ones in the back) and my daughter’s two (the little ones in the front). Have to admit I’m a very proud grandma. They’re all just lovely, live in Texas, and I’ll be seeing them in two weeks. Can’t wait!!!


For this one (above) I used the Simple Stories collection kit titled “Summer Fresh”. I love the bright colors.

The card below is a little one I tried as an experiment. It’s a Papermania stamp I bought on a whim just because I loved it. I used ProMarkers to color them. The card is 6x6, my new favorite size.

Card IMG_1455

Arrrgghh, my spell checker is driving me crazy. It can’t decide if I should use UK or US spelling, so for this post, I’m using US spelling. Next one I’ll use UK spelling, maybe. I always was the best speller in my school but it’s been all ruined now as I have to flip back and forth between the two systems and I’m constantly having to stop and choose (or wonder) which is which! So sorry!

Anyway, I know it’s been much too long since I posted anything, but hope to keep it more up-to-date in the future. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Crafting with the Little Ones

Today I had so much fun! I took my little granddaughter, Daisy, to a sewing workshop with Miss Stitch. It was a half-term workshop for children ages 6 and above. The organiser supplied all the materials and she and a helper gave the most patient and caring instruction to each and every child. And I was pleasantly surprised to see how well each child did. Obviously, some were slightly more skillful than others, but they all really enjoyed themselves.

In Daisy’s workshop there were seven children, ages 6 to 8. The organisers had the felt pieces cut before hand, with some examples made up, and then the children chose which of the felt animals they wanted to make: rabbit, owl, bird, or monster (okay, so that one wasn’t an animal!), and also chose the colours of felt, thread, etc.


The children just tucked right in and got to work. It was amazing! Here’s Daisy with her finished bunny, which she proudly named “Floppy”. The nose turned out a bit crooked, but Daisy didn’t mind and said it was just a “twitchy” bunny nose! She did all the stitches herself, which was no small feat for a seven year old.


One little boy in the class made an owl and he (the boy) just whizzed through it, with beautiful stitches, and was one of the first to finish.

Boy with owl

I’ve blurred his face as I forgot to ask for permission from his parent, who told me that the boy was very artistic and did lots of drawing and painting as well. I think he was about eight years old.

If anyone is interested in workshops like this, I can highly recommend Miss Stitch. She also does birthday parties. This workshop was very well-organised, the children had a lovely time, and Daisy was so proud of her bunny. And I was so proud of her!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Grumpy Old Woman!

I've been fooling around with two "social media" sites, Pinterest and Facebook. For some reason, I just can't get my head around how they're working -- or NOT working, as the case may be. I've been scouring the Internet for guides on how to use them both and found several. They make it sound so easy, until I actually try to follow their instructions. As a former technical writer of computer manuals, I think I know my way around instructions pretty well. These, however, are either outdated (my screens don't look like the ones they show in the instructions) or are missing some vital steps. One of the cardinal rules of technical writers is to find someone with no previous experience with the program, then task them with working exactly to the instructions . . . no intuiting, no assumptions, just follow the black-and-white. That's the only way to know if you have left out anything. For example, if you (to simplify it) write how to change a tire(US)/tyre(UK), and say insert the jack handle, someone is bound to ask "What's a jack and where do I insert it?".

So, first is Facebook. I've tried to "share" a photo or two. It appeared in my "Activity Log" but never on either my homepage or my timeline page. And why do we have TWO pages (the "newsfeed" when you click the word Facebook, and the "timeline" page when you click your name)? I probably was a member for a couple months before I even noticed I had a timeline page!

Second is Pinterest. One one hand, I've become quite enchanted with this little gem, but on the other I'm ripping my hair out! Like the Facebook problem above, I wanted to share something and have it appear on my timeline page. No such luck.... One FB friend told me it appeared on her page. Fine, but it NEVER appeared on MINE, so how was I supposed to know???? I might have (but didn't) tried several times to share it, ending up with a half dozen of the same image on my friends' pages. . . and maybe they'd be so fed up they'd de-friend me!

And while we're at it, how about Instagram. Same thing... wanted to share it on Facebook. I took a photo and Instagram said it had done it, but I can find no evidence except that, according to the Instagram app, another friend "liked" it. That would imply that it did go to friends, then, right?

And just to add to my misery, this new blogger editor won't let me resize photos without choosing the size in a list. I want to size it myself (i.e. smaller than small, or perhaps in between two listed sizes).

Oh well, my grumpy old woman rant is over for today.  To take my mind off of Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, I've been making cards. I made this one yesterday:

And here's the inside:

The stamped sentiment is not crooked on the card, it's just a wonky photo, honest! It's a "just because" card for a friend who's been a bit down lately. I based it on a beautiful card I saw on the Internet (Pinterest, in fact). I wasn't sure who the original cardmaker was until I noticed the watermarked copyright: Jennifer Shults. I think hers is much prettier than mine, but I didn't have the same sentiment stamp and embellishments, but wanted to make mine just a little different anyway. I know imitation is a form of flattery but felt I shouldn't replicate it exactly, even if I would have been able to.

Her card (above) is just gorgeous and I love the simplicity and "cleanness" of it.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

New Blog - New Focus

Well, here we are. . . a new blog. This one replaces my OTHER two blogs, however. My oldest one, the Happy Papercrafter, was mostly concerned with paper crafts: cardmaking, scrapbooking, and a (very) little bit of art journaling. The second one, Cut the Scraps!, was mostly for sewing, including dressmaking, patchwork, etc. However, I find myself more and more overlapping these crafts, and I never liked the name "Happy Papercrafter" anyway, so here we are.

Last night I attended the "Arty Dolls Workshop" at Artistic Stamper, although it was organised (note the UK spelling) by the Selling Women's Institute. I'm glad I went although at first I wasn't too excited about it. Unfortunately a few people pulled out at the last minute, so I really felt sorry for the workshop leader who had obviously planned for more people. Anyway, this was my first attempt at making the clothespin dolls (or "peg dolls" as they're called here in the UK). The leader brought in some very elaborate bride dolls and others, but also some really, really simple ones. This might be something crafters could do with their children to get them started in crafting.

I can see that children might enjoy making these to illustrate and play out a fairy tale. For example, make a dowdy Cinderella, a Cinderella at the ball, a Prince Charming, three ugly stepsisters, and a fairy godmother. They could make a stage from a shoebox and fabric scraps, and even a coach with a smaller box. I saw at least two Rapunzels last night. And there are many examples, patterns, tutorials, etc. on the Internet. I did this one in about 45 minutes with no pattern. I drew the face on with a black marker pen. If I'd been better prepared, I would have taken more care with the detail, but just shows how easy it would be for children to do.

Today I received my order of Marianne dies and was so disappointed. I've decided to never buy dies again unless I can SEE them first. Two of the three I ordered are so small! I ordered them based on some card samples I saw, but the cards must have been miniscule. First is the Marianne LR0192. Here is the die on a 5" x 7" card for scale:

And here is the card I first saw it on:

At least I thought it was the same die. Now I'm not so sure! If it is, the card must be about a 4"x4" or smaller. And the second card:

These cards are both from a Polish blog here. If you want to see some absolutely gorgeous cards, you should have a look -- and chase some of her links to other Polish cardmakers. They're stunning!

And the second die:

Again, the 5"x7" card, which is my favourite standard size. I expected the die to basically be just smaller than this card. I'd hardly be able to fit a small sentiment inside it. Oh, well. . . the Make-It Show in Farnborough is coming up in two weeks, so I'll be able to see the dies there before I buy. Maybe.