Toadstool Curio Blog
The home of an ecclectic range of paper, digital, fabric and yarn crafts, plus a few mixed media projects to spice things up a bit!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Jules' Blog Candy

What is better than Trick or Treat candy? Crafty Blog Candy, that's what!! The lovely and talented Jules is offering blog candy. What a sweetie (sweetie, get it? Ha, ha I'm just so funny - not!!).

Do stop by Jules' blog and have a look at her gorgeous crafty projects. She has some really great ideas that I'm sure you'll love.

Just for fun, I thought I'd add a pic of two of my halloween monsters a couple of years ago. Now, is that a big pumpkin, or did my children shrink?

Oh, and by the way, who forgot to feed the pole dancer?

Don't forget, in my previous post I have a freebie for you to download!

Happy Halloween

Mwa, ha, ha, haaaaaa

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Freebie No. 1

I have a little freebie for you. Some sentiments in the style of tickets. I am still stuck on this trend for using tickets, real or 'faux'. One of the things I compulsively hoard is tickets (plane, boat, theatre... you get the picture), so quite appropriate that I use them a lot on my craft projects.

This file is saved at 150 dpi, so is fine for home printing at upto A4. I've put 24 on a sheet to make it easier to print loads in one go, saving cardstock and effort!They are mostly in black and white, a few coloured. Mostly straightforward birthday, with a 'happy anniversary', 'just for you', 'with love' and 'good friend' thrown in for good measure. I'll make some others for different occasions when I get a chance - it is nearly midnight and I might turn into a (Halloween) pumpkin if I don't think about going to bed soon.

The tickets look cool printed onto biscuit or kraft coloured card stock (even the coloured ones). You can resize them, crop them to print just a few, recolour them etc. Use them as you wish! Oh, if you can't be bothered to curve the corners by hand and don't have a ticket punch, a cropodile will nibble the corners nicely if printed at 100%.

I'd be grateful if you would leave me a comment and become a follower (way down at the bottom of the page). That way, I'll know you've stopped by and you'll know when I make up the next freebie. Please feel feel to post a link to this page on your blog, rather than sharing the JPEG. Thank you.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Paper Bag Recycling

I recently placed another order with one of my favourite companies, Riky and Nina, who sell the most gorgeous little gifts, craft supplies (their paper tapes are sooo pretty), stationery, accessories and so much more! As usual, my order came beautifully wrapped in a paper bag, this time it was a lovely vintage newspaper print paper bag. Last time, it was a bag printed with muted dusky pink and red roses.

As I love paper and hate to throw it straight into the recycling sack, I always try to find another use for it. These paper bags were crying out to be made into something crafty, so I set to work. I had a couple of blog challenges in mind (what a surprise I hear you gasp!). The current challenge at Crafty Ribbons is 'Bingo'. I love this challenge! You choose a line of three items from the bingo board and have to use those three elements in your project. I chose the line featuring flowers, punches/dies and ribbon. I also had the 'To the Letter' challenge at the Craft Den's Anything Goes challenge blog. For my letters (the sentiment doesn't count), I have the newsprint and also the wire tag tie, which says 'Tied Together With Love'.

The card has 5 main papers layered up, with punched borders of Bazzill and some lovely threaded ribbon across the middle. I die cut layers using good old trusty nestabilities, added a sentiment based on SJ's freebie template and finished the tag with a wire bag closing tie. As usual, I did a bit of doodling with a white gel pen, sanded the Bazzill and used Tim Holtz distress ink on the edges of the layers. The whole thing is mounted on some biscuit card stock to make a card measuring up at a rather large 19x24cm.

Finally, back to where this post started. The paper bags! I made the flower from a few layers of printed vellum and paper bags, die cut with my spiral blossoms Spellbinder die. I then liberally doused it with glossy accents and tipped glass floristry beads in the centre whilst the glossy accents was wet. It is hard to see in the photo, but the combo of glossy accents and vellum on top of the printed paper bag make the flower look like glass. I love it! I'll certainly be making more - just as soon as I stock up on more glossy accents. I think I emptied it all onto this flower (oops!). Oh, and just as soon as my next order comes from Riky and Nina to restock my pretty paper bag stash of course!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

About Face

Another blog challenge, another excuse to blog about a recently made card. I love doodling and having a go at manga-style drawings. I'm not great at it, but it's fun and keeps me out of trouble! I like to use them on my cards, and this is one of the finished projects.

I would like to enter my card into this week's OCCC 'Fabulous Faces' challenge. I think it fits the bill! The talented team at Our Creative Corner's challenge blog have set the bar to a very high level, so there is sure to be plenty to inspire you on the site.

Anything Goes - part 3

My third and final project for this week's Charisma Cardz 'Anything Goes' blog challenge is an unusual one for me. It is a scrapbook page that I made for an album for some friends celebrating their first anniversary. The page features a little pencil drawing I did of the pair of them in the garden of their wedding venue (cooling Castle Barn near Rochester in Kent). I wasn't at the wedding, so the sketch is from a photograph taken by their niece. I used the actual photo in a layout on the facing page, but kept this page simple so that the drawing was centre stage. I don't know why I did it really, I am not very good at drawing, the whim just took over me and I decided that I would give it a go. I have added a close-up of the sketch, so those of you who are gifted artists can moan to yourselves about the terrible drawing odd perspective.

Anyhow, those of my three diverse projects, from three different crafts to enter into the challenge. I hope you like them! I know I have enjoyed browsing through the fab projects at Charisma Cardz. Pay them a visit. I am sure you will love them too.

Anything Goes - part 2

My second project for this week's Charisma Cardz 'Anything Goes' blog challenge is my most recent bunch of hand sewn hair clips, made from felt scraps left over from the batch of whimsy dolls I made last Christmas. I really love these and have to actually put my little basket of scraps away otherwise I would continue making them until our house is overrun with hair clips! Atleast my daughter and I have long hair, so can make use of them! Sewing them by hand is really theraputic and I enjoy the fact that they are made with such tiny scraps that would otherwise be thrown away.

Anything Goes

As you will know by now, I am hooked on Blog Challenges. I am still relatively new to them, but love them all the same. Some challenges have prizes, others do not. Sometimes entries are judged on skill, artistic/crafty talent etc. and some blogs use random selection to choose winners. I just love the fun of entering whatever the outcome.

This week's challenge over at Charisma Cardz is 'Anything Goes' and they really do mean anything! Not just papercraft projects, but anything crafty! I love lots of different crafts and always have several projects on the go. This week's challenge gives me an excuse to post piccies of 3 of my finished projects, one knitted, one sewn and, for good measure, a scrap layout including a sketch (that is, a pencil drawing as opposed to the meaning of 'sketch' as a diagram for a design layout). In order to enter them all into the challenge, each project must be posted separately, so I will give each it's own little bit of bloggy space.

The knitted project, as you can see, is a sweet little pair of baby shoes knitted in bamboo yarn from Rowan, modelled by my son at 2 days old! I love making them and have made many, many pairs for all of my children and for friends too. I love this pair, because of their simplicity. I have made far fancier pairs, with cabling and so on, but I actually love the garter stitch side out, with the smooth stocking stitch inwards for the baby's comfort.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Best Witches

When surfing through Lifestyle Crafts' website (formerly Quickutz) recently, I saw a really cute Halloween card. Here is my own version, a straight forward, no-excuses 'card lift'. I used a bat background image from Linda Tieu at Back to Paper. I drew the witches legs myself and drew in the text before colouring it with Promarkers and highlighting with white gel pen. I used a few types of green and orange papers and some 'pumpkin' ribbon and orange buttons to finish it off.

Just a bit of fun, but atleast my daughter approves!

Spooky Goings On

This week, my children (well, two of them, my 7 year old son and 5 year old daughter) have been in a frenzy of Halloween excitement. I've never really paid it much attention myself, but their excitement is quite infectious. My daughter asks me about 5 times a day how many days left until 31st! I am not keen on them 'Trick or Treating' though as I know that many people do not 'support' Halloween for a variety of reasons and would feel uncomfortable opening their door to hoards of unfamiliar children on the trail of chocolate and sweets.

I am happy for them to carve a pumpkin - in a happy face though as we also have a 2 year old son and I am trying to keep the event as 'unscary' as possible. Our pumpkin is usually more about the autumn harvest than celebrating anything spooky. We'll let them dress up too, but in fairly benign costumes (most likely as a princess and Batman, rather than gore or horror - they are only little!), but instead of Trick or Treating, I have suggested that they visit the neighbours we know to deliver an edible gift. I'll warn the neighbours to expect them though. Our son has Asperger's syndrome and I know that he will not cope very well if every door he knocks goes unanswered!

My parents usually host a small gathering for all of their grandchildren at Halloween, complete with apple bobbing and eating doughnuts off of a string. This year, they are unable to host it as my Gran is very ill and they are visiting the hospital every day. Instead, I think my Mum is buying up half the confectionery aisle at the supermarket for the Grandchildren to share. I think my children will have enough sweets from them that they certainly won't need to Trick or Treat!

As we'll will be delivering little treats to our neighbours, my daughter told me firmly that I needed to make cards as well. I've made a few as I would never hear the end of it otherwise! I have to say that I have enjoyed it though, even if I am a bit of a Halloween humbug! In my defense, it comes from being at a birthday party on Halloween when I was 6 years old and the outside of the house was pelted with eggs and flour bombs as we left the party to go home. I know now that it was just mindless yobs who attacked a party of little children, but I was terrified at the time.

Anyway, on to the important bit of my rambling post - the card! It is made using the cute L'il Spook digi stamp from Pollycraft. Instead of my usual Promarkers, coloured this one with Aquamarkers and Stampin' Up! watercolour pens. I added doodling with a Letraset fineliner in black and a white gel pen. I layered the image on to textured yellow card cut using my lovely new Grand Nestabilities (I know I keep saying it, but I love large cards and large dies!). Again, I doodled stitching around the edge of the die cut. I made an A5 base card from purple card and covered the front in strips of patterned papers. I punched a star border along one edge of each strip and overlaid each one on the layer below so that the 'holes' revealed the colour below. I ruffled the edges of each strip a little bit to add texture too. The card was finished of with a double cross-over wrap of yellow elastic, a little green tag and a trio of yellow buttons.

Unusually for me, I would like to enter my card into a few challenges this week. Pollycraft's 'Spooky Goings On', Crafty Boots 'Autumn or Halloween', Daisy Doodles 'Halloween', Crafty Cardmakers 'Cute with a dark twist', Paper Creations Ink 'Halloween' and Top Tip Tuesday 'Trick or treat'. I only usually enter one at a time, but thought I would go mad today!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Girls, Girls, Girls! That's the title of this week's challenge on the wonderful Pollycraft challenge blog. Cazza has set this week's fun challenge and has inspired me with her fab creation (as ever!!). The prize is sponsored by Sew Sweet who have a really great online shop for those of us who love to sew as well as play with paper.

As I had to make a card for a friend's birthday this week (hi Melissa - happy 21st!!), I thought I would also use it as my entry into the challenge. I am almost twice Melissa's age, so I guess our tastes are quite different. I hope she likes it.

I have used one of Paula's amazing digi stamps from Pollycraft- Cherry Kisses Li'l Miss Attitude. Not because Melissa has attitude, but because the gorgeous Cherry Kisses girl has beautiful curls just like Melissa. I envy those natural curls!

As usual, I have made a large card - this one is 8x8. I have coloured the image with a mix of pencils and promarkers and mounted it on a panel cut using one of my new Grand Spellbinders super-large dies (thank you, wonderful husband!). The lovely bright butterfly paper is from Echo Park and the russet-red flower burst behind is from one of my favourite paper stacks - the Green Stack from DCWV. The muted green cotton lace is from American Crafts and the flowers are Primas with some glass floristry beads glued in the centre. The sentiment is based on a blank top-note shape from SJ at
Little Musings, which I added my own words, texture and colour to.

These colours are far from my comfort zone, but I wanted something really bright and cheery, not pink and fluffy. Melissa has had a tough year. She is a super hard-working single mum at just 21 years old, juggling caring for her toddler, working full-time and running her houshold. She is my carer and nothing is too much trouble for her. I look forward to her daily visits, which is why I decided on a bright zingy colour palette to bring a bit of cheer and colour to her day.

I hope she likes the card and has a fab birthday.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Craft Supplies Sale!!

I have had an Etsy shop for a little while now, but have never sold any craft supplies, only handmades. It's about time I cleared out some of my stash to make way for all of the beautiful crafty items I have been given for my birthday (which isn't actually until Monday 24th!).

Ebay fees are pretty high these days for 'amateur' sellers, so I thought I would list some of my crafty stash on Etsy instead (far cheaper fees!) in the hope that I can rehome it and make a little money along the way...

If you would like to pop over to my Etsy store to see what I have on offer, I'd love to see you there!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In Stitches

Sometimes it is good to send people a card as a way of letting them know that they are in your thoughts. More personal than the usual text or email. Certainly nicer through your letterbox than a credit card bill or road tax reminder!

I came across some old photos recently and I thought I would send a copy to a friend to remind her of old times and to let her know she is in my thoughts. Rather than just emailing them or posting them on their own, I have made a card which will help them to stay uncreased in the post.

This week's Charisma Cardz challenge has the theme of 'In Stitches', which can be real or faux and I am a fan of both. My card has real zig zag stitching across the paper to highlight the 'remember' sentiment, but I chose to make it quite random-looking to fit the style of the distressed paper. I also sewed the purple button onto the ribbon bow rather than just glueing it. I scrunched some damp felt and left it to dry overnight to wrinkle it before hand-cutting rough circles to make a couple of pink flowers. I stitched a pearly button on to the centre to hold the layers together as felt is a bit tricky to glue.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Shapely Card

My daughter is 5 years old. She has a boyfriend. It must be serious, they have been going steady for about 6 months now! She says she loves him because he is so handsome and sweet (which indeed he is!). Ahh, cute!! They are in the same class at infants school, so they see each other most weekdays, but rarely at weekends or in the hols.

Imagine my surprise then when she came home from school last week soooo excited saying 'Now I can see my boyfriend every single day'. 'How is that?', I asked her. Well, it's because his family have moved into the house across the street! Sounds like one of those cutesie teenage movies where the girl falls for the boy next door!

So, I needed to make a 'new home' card for his family. I never need much of an excuse to make a card and it is good to have a reason to make something other than birthday or Christmas cards.

And here it is...

I am really pleased with the mixture of curvy and angular shapes in the scallops and the houses, plus the roadway that I made in photoshop. I used offcuts from the punched scallops to make cloud-like shapes and made up a top-note shaped sentiment. With all of these shapes in mind, I would like to enter this card into the Papertake Weekly Challenge which is themed 'Get in Shape'.

I made a co-ordinating envelope as it is a very large card and I didn't have any ready-mades that fitted the bill. I added co-ordinating paper inside the card with an overprinted sentiment and more scallops just to tie it all together. I just love this ditsy daisy style paper from the very elegant Pink Petticoat. Even better is the fact that it is a digi paper, which means I can print as much as I need in a huge range of colours. I confess to sneaking it into as many projects as possible, along with their gorgeous apple and pear papers and the fab 'Grannies Wallpaper', all available in the same co-ordinating shades.