crafts, crEAting

crEAting…nothing goes to waste

I am sure everyone is left with a huge pile of Christmas cards after Christmas is over and the decorations are down.  I have plans for all mine.
For any that I particularly like or think are useful I turn them into gift tags for next year.  If they are very large cards I will cut them into suitable sizes depending on the design.


Then I cut across the corners like a luggage label and punch a hole.

For smaller tags I might only use part of a card in this case the upper part…

and shape the corners and punch a hole the same.

You can experiment with any part of a card – it doesn’t have to be the whole of the picture.

This particular card would not be useful again because of the date 2017 – but I had other ideas.

I will use this part as a tag on my tray of homemade chocolates that I make at Christmas…

and the numbers will be useful for the future and can be stuck onto a 2nd or 7th birthday card.

Sometimes the design and proportions of a card do not make good tags as they are a little too large but I crop them down to a suitable place…

and paste it onto an envelope and use these as money envelopes when I am giving cash or a cheque instead of a gift.  In our family when we give cards for birthdays we never stick the envelope closed so that we can then re-use it so I always have a good  stock of colours and sizes and pasting the card onto the envelope covers up the previous name on the front.

This card had a beautiful laser cut pattern on the front so I carefully detached this for future use.

Then cropped down the rest of the card to make another money envelope.
One or two cards I will keep for inspiration when I am making my own cards from lino cuts.

And then there are always one or two that I hang on to – if someone has sent me a handmade card I like to keep them (not all of them but a few).  I also like to keep one or two that I absolutely love and often they are the very small but simple cards that I pick out for my mantel piece display which I tend to colour co-ordinate to be more effective.   This way some of my favourite cards are re-used – it may sound a bit of an odd habit – but it works for me.   I mark these with a red sticker on the back so I know they are older ones and keep them stored in a box for next year should I want to reuse them. 


So of the cards I received this year I have made some money cards,

  a selection of gift tags…
and I will find something to make with this for next year…

Of the remaining I will be selecting some to use for an advent calendar next year and the rest of them I will just cut the front part off and these will go to a local charity who will repurpose them as new cards for next Christmas and the insides will go to the recycle bin in Sainsbury’s. ( Or like Sue over at the Cottage at the End of the Lane she uses hers for her shopping lists).

This way none of the cards end up in my waste bin and most of the usable parts of a card are reused in some way.


crafts, crEAting

Christmas Robin…comes bob bob bobbing…

I made it at last.  Everytime I have had the intention of sitting down to write I had an interruption from one person or another and I include myself here.

What have I been doing you might well ask.  I have been quite a busy little bee – or multi tasking as some would say.  After making those birthday cards a couple of weeks ago I made up my mind to do more crafting and on Saturday morning I settled down in my craft room and began to think about creating some Christmas cards for my daughters shop (as I had promised).

It is a long time since I attempted any lino prints and I felt eager to have another go as I like the quality of the prints and the fact that once you have carved the original design you can print an unlimited amount of cards.  It is also appealing because unlike rubber stamps the design belongs to you and it is exclusive.

I had no particular idea in mind for the card design other than it should be slightly vintage in feel and perhaps a Christmas Robin would be appropriate for a shop called Birdhouse Interiors.  So I flicked through my sketch book and settled on a drawing I had done some time ago of a Robin.  Not the best drawing in the world but the shape isn’t too bad and it seemed quite promising.

Robin Sketch

I converted this into a more simplistic black and white shape transferred it onto the lino then set about carving out a picture remembering that the bits I remove would come out as white.

Robin Lino Cut

I did a few test sheets before printing on the actual cards.

Robin Tests

Then the production line began…first with the black ink…

Robin in production

then I applied the red ink for the breast and berries by hand.  Finally the Christmas greeting was done with a rubber stamp.

And voila here is my line of Christmas Robins.

Robin Xmas Card

I can’t say it turned out just as I had in mind I think that will take much more practise but at least I have made a start and my daughter is delighted.

All packaged up and ready to go.  I can’t believe that only this morning these cards were just an idea in my mind and didn’t exist.

Now I just need some inspiration for my next one.

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Christmas Card 2011
Christmas Card 2011
crafts, crEAting, sEAsons

Crisis at Christmas…

Christmas Cards

Every November the church in our village holds a charity Coffee Morning to raise money for Crisis at Christmas; a charity supporting the homeless at Christmas providing them with a warm room to have a cooked Christmas Dinner and a change of clean warm clothes.  I used to organise the event for many years and I still provide them with a few handmade items for the craft stall which I began to attract more people to the event and has continued ever since.

This year I made Christmas cards – a selection of six with envelopes packaged in a hand printed tissue paper wrapping.  the cards are 3″ and 4″ square and printed with various rubber stamps and inks.  Some are then embossed and little touches of hand colouring added.  Inside I added card inserts that read Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I had so little time this year I had to make most of them whilst packing to go to Scotland and had a little production line going!  Below are the individual cards, the photos are not very sharp as they were taken in the evening when the light is not too good but the best I could do.

Dove of Peace

Gold embossed Dove of Peace



Christmas Pudding

Gold embossed Christmas Pudding

Christmas Tree

Red Christmas Tree


Silver framed Holly with Berries

Snow Tree

White embossed Snowflake Tree

Tomorrow I am finishing the little advent calendars I am making for my two daughters so if the light is better I will take some pictures.  Have a good weekend everyone.

You might also like to read

Christmas Card 2011
Christmas Card 2011
being thrifty, crafts, crEAting, fEAsible, getting things done, managEAble, taking stock, trEAsury

Are we really half way through January?

I cannot believe that already January is slipping away fast and there is still so much to do to turn my house from mess to order.  I seem to have begun to re-order so many areas and completed none as yet. So what have I done so far?

I had a pile (and I mean a pile) of old magazines to go through to tear out the articles and pictures that I wanted to keep.  Every month I buy Country Living and Country Homes my two favourite magazines.  I love the articles and pictures and even though I have tried to be ruthless and throw out as much as possible I find this process hard for three reasons firstly,  magazines are now so expensive and as I said before I hate waste so I feel in a dilemma that I need to hold on to something to justify the cost otherwise I feel like I am putting £4 in the bin!  Secondly, I spend so much wasted time organising the mountain of clippings.  Thirdly,  I find many of the articles and ideas quite useful if only I could remember they are there!

Unfortunately,  I do have a bit of a weakness when it comes to magazines and this is the first aisle that I see as I go through the door of my local supermarket and temptation is too much.  So on top of my two regulars I may pick up an additional craft or health magazine each week, whatever looks promising on the cover.  This all adds to my future clippings pile and my further frustration of organising them.  I am quite worried about myself when I find that I have a collection of clippings of every kind of Detox plan going only then to read that a lot of well-known TV doctors do not believe them necessary!

My new challenge to myself is to bypass this aisle (sorry Sainsbury’s – and I hope your profits do not take a dive!) unless I am specifically buying my two ‘allowed’ magazines each month.  Even better I have thought about having a cut price subscription which would save me money over the year.  But – am I strong enough not to be tempted back to browsing the magazine aisle?

My shopping at home plan is going very well and the stock in my cupboards should keep me going for a while until I have used up all those gifts and freebies of hand creams etc and multiple buys of cleaners and detergents.  All I found necessary to buy this past week apart from a small supermarket shop was some tissues – 2 for £2 at Boots and two display folders of 100 pages each from Rymans enough to contain my recipe and craft clippings, expensive I know at £9.99 but hopefully useful.  Oh and we bought a new bed!  Well it is not the kind of thing that I keep a stock of in my cupboard!  I can’t wait for it to come for a good nights sleep.   I only wish we could have decorated the room first but then we would have missed the special offer at John Lewis.  Decorating plans are in the pipeline once the house is decluttered.

The Christmas decorations are now returned to the loft and I have updated my card list and addresses for next year.  One of the messiest areas in my home was the office come craft room and taking one drawer or shelf at a time I have had a thorough clear out and re-ordered most of it.  There is still plenty to do in here and I will require a trip to one of my favourite stores – Muji  for some additional storage trays.

As I have bought quite a lot of blank cards in the past my second challenge to myself this week is to make time to produce some cards that will be suitable for birthdays.  This will not only help to reduce the space I need for storing all the blank cards and special papers that I have collected but will also save money on buying birthday cards from the shops.  I find that most of my friends and family like to receive the homemade ones so I need to get creative and think of some new ideas.  For some reason I find Christmas cards easier to do.  Below is the 2011 Christmas card I made using a ‘Snowflake’ stamp kit form Muji that I received as a gift last year and some white embossing enamel and glitter.  (Apologies again for the quality of the picture – I am sure it is me not my camera!)

Snowflake Card

For the rest of the day I have to look at some paperwork – balancing statements and shredding old receipts to make way for this years.  When I see the mountain of receipts that I have from the whole of last year I know we have to reduce our spending – I can’t believe how much time I must have spent on purchasing things – even just the necessities!  Living simply in a tent somewhere and becoming more self-sufficient suddenly becomes appealing as I would not have to deal with all this ‘stuff’.