Sunday, 18 May 2014

Scrap365 - June sketch Challenge - Home is where thou art

Good evening bloggers!

I am whizzing by with this blog post and my latest creation for the June sketch challenge over at Scrap365 magazine and blog.

Phew, this last week has flown by! I have had a very busy week. I had my "Cakes by Helen" hat on during the week and did lots of gluten free baking for island businesses. I also found time to indulge in my latest crafty craze of upcycling food cans and candle making!  I have been upcycling food cans by decorating them and making them into candles and plant pots and pen holders, etc. This particular pastime is still very much in the experimental stage!!! Why not take a look at my new Facebook page "Tin Can Alley".  I also created some cards for June birthdays (I always try and keep one step ahead)!

We hit the mainland yesterday for the 50th birthday party of a very special friend and now we are back on the island enjoying the lovely sunshine for the rest of the day.

Our current favourite pastime is watching the birds in our garden. We have a Swallows nest (turns out, they aren't House Martins after all!), a Blue Tits nest and a Coal Tits nest. They really are fascinating. The swallows still seem to be nest building, the blue tits seem to have laid their brood and the coal tits have hatched.

This layout is about the nest in the eaves of our house. Originally, we thought they were Blue Tits, but on closer inspection, they are Coal Tits. I am very good at getting it wrong when it comes to bird identification! Thanks heavens for our RSPB membership and RSPB garden bird book to put me straight!!

The 12x12 background sheet is Dear Lizzy by American Crafts. I have been getting an awful lot of use out of this set since starting to follow sketch challenges. The music sheet reminds me of birdsong and the pastel colour is divine! The square scalloped notelets, blue tits nest box papers and alphabet stickers are all Papermania Home to Nest. A stunning collection.

The grand adhesion stickers are Bird Sanctuary by K&Co. I have used WRMK photo corners. The patterned strips of paper were all from my stash and mostly came free with magazines.

I have inked edges in green, the journalling was created using a green star Gelly Roll pen.  The metal charm came from a craft fair. I have used Rangers black enamel on the black entrance hole of the birds nest grand adhesion. I have, of course, used by trusty date stamp. The star and heart gems came from my stash and the stripe ribbon is Papermania Little Cake Shoppe. The twine is recycled. All the elements of this layout were created using items already in my stash!

I hope everyone has a good week. I shall, no doubt, be baking again ahead of the bank holiday weekend. I shall, of course, be papercrafting, too. A rock n roll dance is scheduled for next weekend as well as an outdoor antique fair, the obligatory bank holiday BBQ, and some lovely walks with the pooches!

Ooh, a pesky Woodpecker has his eye on our blue tits nest and a Jay is drinking from the water bowl! The red squirrels are scurrying about (no greys on the Isle of Wight) and the bats will be out soon! Time for me to fly!!

Helen xxx

Sunday, 11 May 2014

CSI Challenge 122 - House Martins

Good afternoon,

I have been busy this week with my cake business,  but I found time to do some crafting, of course!

When I saw that the latest CSI challenge involved two shades of green and orange, I knew it would have to be a nature theme. I straightaway thought of our orange/white classic car in the garage, as it currently shares the space with the visiting House Martins!! Black and white are always good colours to work with, too!

We always get House Martins in May and they always show interest in rebuilding their nest in our garage.  We are not sure whether they raise a brood but they always spend alot of time swooping in and out of the garage at this time of year!!

The 12x12 background card is DCWV The Mod Retro Stack. I have also used white card and free papers and embellishments from my stash. I used orange raffia, orange Card Candy, eyelets, ribbon, Bubble Shapes, Studio Calico wood veneer shape, WRMK metal brads and some sticker tags. I used my trusty date stamp and the classic car stamp is from

I also used a pencil for the car smoke and a black fine liner for the journalling.

I always find the CSI challenge quite challenging as it is hard to work with a set colour palette. It's even harder to have to follow a sketch, too! However, I am really starting to enjoy doing them and am sometimes even quite brave in my choices! I don't always have time to do them but when I do, I enjoy the challenge very much.

The Scheme - I have used all the colours, black, white, orange and two shades of green.

Evidence - flowers, metal, ribbon, something transparent, cursive font, circles, tags, leaves.

Testimony - handwrite story in cursive.

I found the cursive font to be very interesting. I had to research this on the Internet and hadn't realised how little cursive writing I actually do in this modern age! I do still write letters so am no stranger to handwriting but it's actually quite hard to achieve fully joined up writing consistently and it took me several practice attempts to get it right!! It was all the more challenging as this was the only part of the Testimony that I could use on my layout!

A new challenge make for a very interesting life!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, folks!

Helen xxx

Monday, 5 May 2014

CSI - Case File 121 - There's a place called Home

Good afternoon bloggers,

Well, I am making the most of the bank holiday today by crafting! My morning was taken up by creating a layout based on the latest challenge over at

I love the colours on this challenge and, as red is my most favourite colour, it has been a real pleasure to work with.  At first, I thought I may do a layout based on my home and the red colour scheme of my lounge and kitchen, not forgetting the red front door!

However, as I started to put things together for the layout, I changed my mind and decided to create a festive layout themed around the song A place called Home from my favourite Christmas movie "A Christmas Carol the musical". It's actually the first layout I have created for Christmas 2013 so it's been a kick start for me!

The Scheme - I have used all the colours exclusively. The colour scheme definitely lends itself to a Christmas layout, although it's hard not to add green!

Evidence - architectural, transparent, metal, twine, banner, wood, lamp

Testimony - document something about your home, May prompt (giving a gift and receiving a gift), Inspo words: home, comfort

The 12x12 background card is Core'dinations Nostalgia. The festive 6x4 paper pad mounts are Dovecraft. The journalling cards are recycled business cards. The festive wood postcard is from Marks & Spencer (UK). I am particularly pleased that this item matched the colour scheme as I bought it in the January sales with a view to using it for my Xmas crafting! The black card mount is from my stash and I have used acetate over this. The song lyrics are printed from the Internet.

I have used red magic mesh, red eyelets, red & white bakers twine and white Card Candy. The stars are from my stash. The wood reindeer and Xmas tree are from Crafting for Christmas. The Merry Christmas hanger is also from the M&S sale and I have added red Decorative Sealing Wax with the Xmas tree seal and white children's paint. The metal light is from Prima. I have decorated the wood postcard with Rangers white enamel.

I have used  a black fine liner for the journalling and have sprayed over it with Crafter's Companion spray and shine. The edges have been inked with Rangers black Archival ink. I have also used a champagne coloured ink on the journalling cards and Brilliance white archival ink for the stamping. I double inked the edges of the layout in black and white and the same with the banner stamp.


The Cottage stamp is a bespoke custom made stamp from Claritystamps
The Christmas words stamp is Penny Black
The banner stamp is Papermania
The mini alphabet stamp set is Hero Arts
Amy Tangerine rotary phrase stamp

I have used double side tape, extra strong double side tape, pva glue, silicone glue and Unibond extreme power glue in addition to the above. I used a WRMK Crop-a-Dile to attach the eyelets.

I am very pleased with the final result of this layout. The CSI challenges are quite a challenge for me but I love it when I think I have solved the case successfully!

I hope you like my layout.

Happy crafting,

Helen xxx