Tuesday, 4 May 2021

My New Gemini Mini

 Well, here I am AGAIN...not a year later! I've been wanting a little die cutter that I can take to Craft Day or take along anywhere really. After researching for three days and many hours (!) I decided to try the Gemini Mini. It arrived today and I of course had to try it immediately. 

This is the Gemini as I received it, with the accessories. It only came with one folder but I purchased an extra set of 3. It's a good thing as the folders do get quite marked up from the cutting.

I used a very small and intricate die. It's the Tim Holtz/Sizzix Framelits #662270. But I actually got quite a few on the first cut.

 I can tell I'm going to love this little thing. I've got it right on my desktop and it hardly takes  up any room. It only weighs about the same as my phone and fits right into my palm!

I am really cramped for space now. In our previous house I had a whole cabin in the back garden that was twice the size of my current room (a spare bedroom). It's really put a damper on my output. 

This was my beloved craft house! And this is my current craft room.

I'm not really complaining as I know some crafters have less space than this, but can't help missing my old one. Our new house is much better though, so I'll have to somehow make this work. I need to get rid of a lot of my stash as the problem is that there is so much it's hard to get working by the time I go through everything to find what I want, then find room to do it. 

My work table is a portable fold-up I got from Amazon. It's really very handy and I thought I'd fold it up when I wasn't using it, but I've found that it's actually easier to leave it up and just move it around if I need something behind it.

Oh well. Off to play with my new mini! Now if the government will just lift our COVID restrictions so we can go to crops and craft days again!

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Still here....

 Hello. I'm still here and we're still under COVID restrictions more than a year later! We have no restaurants, no meeting friends in coffee shops, no going out with face masks, no visiting anyone's home (which includes getting together for craft days!), no meeting up outside with more than six people, no non-essential shops open, and no libraries, zoos, parks, etc. open, so life is pretty slow now. I had my second COVID vaccination yesterday, however, so I'm feeling a little more hopeful now. A few restrictions, like non-essential shops can open now, and more of the restrictions are due to be lifted in mid-May, but I doubt that life will ever be back to "normal" again.

You'd think I'd have enjoyed all this time at home to do lots of crafting, but I feel like I've been in a dark tunnel for the past year. At least we're now having longer daylight hours, which also helps the mood. Our Spring here in southeast England has been unusually cold despite a few sunny days. 

When I do play with my craft supplies, it's always cards. Scrapbooking isn't even on my radar right now since I can't feel very inspired about scrapbooking about staying in the house for a year! On the bright side, I haven't had to make any sympathy cards for awhile! Now it's all birthday cards, which is much better.

This last card has a blue line across it because I used the wrong camera setting, so had to try to save it as a .jpg. I really am all thumbs when it comes to editing graphics. I use Photoshop Elements 2018 and all I can do is adjust colours, resize images, etc. The basic stuff. I've got to get better at this, both editing AND card-making, or give it up!

Hope things are improving for crafters. Best wishes to everyone.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Covid and me

 Okay, be honest now, who is as fed up with this Covid virus as I am? So far husband and I have managed to stay healthy, so I'm grateful for that, but just generally bored, sick and tired of staying at home, and hating to wear a mask every time I need to go shopping. We're fortunate that grocery delivery slots have opened up now and thank goodness for Amazon! They deserve a prize for keeping us sane. I really hate it when people criticise them, as they were delivering from the beginning and it always comes on time (at least here). I made some face masks (not as easy as it looks) and bought a couple more, but none of them are comfortable to wear for more than an hour.

Those of us who do crafts are really fortunate, however. I do know a couple of women who live alone, have no hobbies, don't read, don't garden, don't drive..... and now they're depressed. Well, if that were me, I'd be downright suicidal! On the other hand, crafting gets a little old after a while, too. Yet I carry on, sort of.

Unfortunately, I've had to make a few of these sympathy cards lately. I ordered the die (above) and some stamps, but sympathy cards are not my favourite thing to make. It usually means someone has died (in every case for us, thankfully, not from the virus). It's also difficult trying to decide what colours (nothing too bright), stamps, paper, etc. to use.

This card (above) was for a friend's birthday. I used the Tim Holtz/Sizzix dies to make the flowers and coloured them with Distress Ink and gel pens. As with all my cards, I spend much longer on the planning than on the actual making of the card. I end up looking at Pinterest, CraftWorld, Split Coast Stampers and other websites for inspiration, but then whatever I make never looks like the original anyway. Maybe it's not meant to?

For example, I saw this card (above) on the Internet and just loved it! So of course I had to order the die (Tim Holtz/Sizzlets again for both the flowers and the lattice dies) and try to copy the general idea. I did make one myself but mine was not this beautiful however! It never is!!! 

When I see them side-by-side I can see what I missed: the original has a grass border and the flowers are smaller (or maybe the card is larger?). Ah well, my recipient liked it anyway. I never seem to have the RIGHT colour ink, paper, or the right die, despite having a fairly large stash (though it's constantly growing).

My Stampin' Up stamps are all about 10 years old and still in their original boxes. These are just a few of them. 

And my other stamps are in mostly plastic bins (about six of them this size (below). I have one box for just sentiments, the other three are mostly not sentiments.

And of course, two boxes of punches (remember those??) and on and on. Yet, as I said, I never have just the right one! Sigh....oh well, I suppose I'm doing my best to keep the craft industry alive. How about you? I'd love for you to leave some comments so I can see what you've been up to or some suggestions for organising, perhaps.

I'm also really still struggling with my Gemini Jr. but that's a story for another day. 

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Still truckin' along....slowly

Well, I'm still here, still trucking along with crafting. I've managed to accumulate a few new stamps and some other things. Mostly I'm just loving the experimenting with techniques from YouTube. It's really amazing all the wonderful ideas you can pick up there. For example, I am in love with the water colour effects ("Easy Watercolor Stamping Techniques" for cardmaking) as demonstrated by Jennifer McGuire. If you haven't checked her out, please treat yourself. She's amazing!

Another person I love to watch is GinaK. She has her own line of stamps and more, but she has some wonderful techniques. For something really fun and different, look at her "Outside the Box" video. Her cards tend to have a clean, simple look and you don't need to invest heavily in lots of things you don't have.

My youngest grand-daughter in the US, is turning 10 years old in a couple of weeks. She's at that hard-to-please age: too old for a lot of children's cards, but not yet quite old enough for the teen themes. I ended up doing this one;

I can't honestly say I love this one, but I think it sort of fits. I first thought it was boring and plain, so I added some gems in a few places, then the die cut out of the same paper as the frame, so that made it a little better.  I used my (very old) Cosmic Shimmer (I think Cosmic Shimmer may now have a different name) paints to colour the fairies' wings:

She'll have to move it around in the light to see the gold shine but it did make the card a bit more jazzy. 

In the last  post I wrote about my new Tim Holtz glass media mat and the Stamping Platform. I've used both of them now and can report I am over the moon with both. The stamping platform is larger than my old one, so much more useful. And I've watched the YouTube video where he shows how to use it and the differences in how inks work on the glass versus the craft mat. Who'd have thought!!!

And here's one more I did for someone. This was an ultra simple, plain card but the recipient liked it, so that's all that counts. I played with my Gemini Jr. to do this, but frankly I prefer my old hand-cranked Big Shot for most die cutting. The Gemini seems to not cut so evenly, but I may not have my sandwich just right yet.

That's all for now. Please feel free to leave comments. It would be nice to just know that someone is looking at this blog....

Saturday, 9 May 2020

DANGER ahead...

Yes, this "Stay at Home" routine is getting dangerously expensive. So far, I've bought about a dozen dies and stamps, the Tim Holtz craft mat, and the Tim Holtz stamp platform. Of course I had to have the protective sleeve for the stamp platform, too!

I wasn't too sure about this media mat. I'd seen him demo it but didn't know if I'd really like it. However, I've fallen in love with it now. It's so easy for blending and for watercolour, and easy to clean.

This was just delivered yesterday. I had another one but I stupidly did some heat embossing on the card while it was still on the platform and the rubber mat is now all wavy and I can't get a good stamp image. I "researched" several other brands for replacing it, then settled on this one. I haven't used it yet but will within the next few days, I'm sure. Of course there have been a few other things too. Amazon and a few other delivery services have now become frequent visitors! After all, we have to do our bit to support the economy, don't we? 

But seriously, I am using these things. I've made more cards in the last few weeks than in the last few years, I think. I've also been experimenting with a few new techniques. I've discovered a couple of favourite YouTube video demonstrators, like Jennifer McGuire and GinaK. They both do amazing things. I'm learning (not quite there yet) to do blending with Distress inks and Distress Oxide inks. Also to do the watercolour techniques (a Jennifer McGuire revelation). It's fun and a good way to pass the time since we're supposed to be in isolation.

This one (above) was pretty bog-standard but I did have fun making the butterflies. The patterned paper matched the blue in the stamped image, but it doesn't show up well in the photo. The recipient said she loved it, so that was good! I used my stamping platform to get the two colours on the flowers. I don't know why these stamping platforms weren't invented long ago.....they're a godsend for stampers.

This one (above) was just a play-around with blending colours. I'd seen some similar cards on Pinterest and was trying to do the same. The main stamp was a bit crooked and I wasn't satisfied with the blended background so it's gone into my "just a prototype" file for now!

This one I loved. Simple but pretty. I coloured the flowers using Cosmic Shimmers paints. If you're not familiar with them, they come in little round tubs and you just wet your brush, then dip into the tub to get the paint. The colours have a sort of shimmer or metallic quality that's really lovely. I sent this one to a friend who lives alone in an assisted living accommodation and she called to say she loved it. I think sometimes just sending a card for no reason is really uplifting. People usually love to get cards because it lets them know that someone is thinking of them.

So, that's one of the things I've been doing to keep sane in this crazy time. Plus a few books, lots of time spent looking at Pinterest, and watching mindless television. How about you?

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Every Cloud.....

Yes, this COVID-19/Corona virus is a very dark and dense cloud, but even it has a slight silver lining for some of us. Crafters and writers are finding a little extra time to ply their craft. Here in England, the government has asked that anyone with a sniffle, or anyone over 70, or anyone with underlying health issues, does "self-isolation" for up to 12 weeks! Yikes! I doubt that many of us can last that long without going bonkers, but a few weeks will give us a little time to play. Our churches are closed, along with cinemas, pubs, some restaurants, sports clubs, and more.

As for me, I plan to rediscover some of my supplies and put them to use making cards, perhaps a scrapbook page or two, and also just getting some reading done. I've finally got my craft room sorted enough to do a little work:

Obviously I still have a long way to go, but considering I went from a large cabin to a smallish bedroom, I feel pretty satisfied.

Unfortunately, I had to give up my work table as there is no possible way to squeeze it in. However, I found a sort-of-solution: a folding table:

It's not as large as my work table was, but it's really big enough. When it's not in use, it folds flat and stacks against the wall. It's very sturdy and just the right height. I'll just use it in the middle of the room, which will give me enough room (barely) to get around it to get my supplies out. Hey ho...we make do with what we've got, don't we? I got this from Amazon...as we do!

Now, to get to work!


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

New Craft Digs!

I really must  change that photo in the header...we've just moved and (sob!) I don't have my lovely craft cabin anymore. I've squeezed everything into a bedroom in our new house. It's not all bad, however. I found with the cabin (and British weather) I just went into the cabin less and less. Now that I'm in the house and my computer is here in the craftroom also, I'm spending more time in here. It's been a couple of weeks getting organized (that's "organised" with an "s" for my UK readers) but I'm nearly there. I'll take some photos soon but it's still a work-in-progress at the moment!

One of the benefits of the move is that in packing and unpacking, I've discovered supplies I'd forgot I had, and some that I still have to scratch my head and wonder what it is and what I have to do with it! Of course, this is about 16-17 years of collecting, so it's no small matter. When I started in card-making, all my supplies fit into a large shoe box. Then I met some wonderful crafting friends (we still meet up monthly after more than 12 years) and we started attending craft shows, sharing tips, feeding each other's craft envy, trying new techniques... and craft supplies just seemed to multiply exponentially. If you're a crafter, you know how that happens.

So here's a taste of what I've been doing for the move:

I'm getting there, slowly but surely. It won't be as neat as my old craft cabin but maybe it's as good or better as far as getting me to actually work in it! Please watch this space if you're interested.