Saturday 14 December 2013

Christmas Tutorials ~ Gift Card Holder

Today I’m bringing you the second in my mini series of festive tutorials, as part of a “Project a Day” that UKS are running on the Homepage this month. There have been a wide variety of lovely items and plenty more to come. Why not check it out, if you haven’t already. All the projects shared so far can be found here.

Have you ever had to pick up a gift card at the supermarket as a last minute gift? Wouldn’t it be nice to pretty it up a bit before giving. Well, here’s how to do just that.


You’ll need cardstock, patterned paper, ribbon, a circle punch and a greeting stamp.


Cut a piece of cardstock measuring 10 3/4” x 4”. Score at 2 3/4”, 4”, 5 1/4” & 8 1/8”.


Fold the 1st, 3rd and 4th score lines in one direction and the 2nd the other way. The photo above shows the inside of your gift card holder.


Flip over (top to bottom *not* left to right) so that the outside is uppermost. Cut a piece of patterned paper 4” x 2 3/4” and adhere to the left hand panel. Put double sided tape just to the right of the 1st score line, as shown. Round the corners of the right hand panel, punch out a circle* and stamp your greeting.


Remove the tape liner and bring the folds together. This will form the section where the gift card will be held.


Flip back to the inside and mark the width of your gift card in pencil.


Centre your punch and punch approx 1/4” from the folded edge. Slide the punch to the right (up to your pencil mark) and punch again. Do the same to the left.


I used a slot punch for mine as it gives nicely rounded corners, but it also works with a square, as shown in the previous picture. Insert your gift card.


Fold the bottom up….


….and the top down. Wrap a piece of ribbon around the card and tie in a bow. I positioned the bow at the top of the circle, to give it the look of a bauble.

Here are some others I made previously, for a couple of birthday girls. Instead of simply rounding the corners on the front flap, I used a scallop punch. Mine is a Fiskars one and punches quite deep, so in this instance I cut the card at 11” long. As you can see, it’s easily adapted to the occasion and supplies you have.

*I used a 1 3/4” circle punch, but other sizes will work. Alternatively you could use a wafer thin die, such as a Spellbinder circle, if you prefer.

PS If you don’t have a suitable punch for cutting the gift card slot, then you might like this previous gift card holder tutorial I wrote.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #236

Christmas card production has been very slow this year. Lack of a permanent work space has severely hampered the process. I have been making them in fits and starts over the last few weeks. Cutting card to size, stamping images, die-cutting and putting everything away, ready to assemble, when I have a minute.


Cherry red cardstock, polka dots and pennies….




….turned into a tumbling gingerbread man, who’s raised a smile everywhere he’s arrived so far.

Pop over to Julia’s place, for more Christmas cheer, on a desk somewhere near you.

PS I’ll be back on Saturday with the next in my set of Christmas tutorials, this time for a simple gift card holder.

Monday 9 December 2013

The Great Big Swap of Little Festive Things

A little while ago Miriam dropped me a line, to see if I would like to take part in her Festive Swap and of course I said, “Yes please!” It was very exciting when a fat envelope landed on my doormat, all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, containing these little vintage style beauties.


As the light has changed throughout today, I have tried again and again to get a good shot of them. From the murk of the morning, to the brilliant sunshine at lunchtime, all to no avail. That pesky shiny metal defeated me, until the dampness set in at about 3.30 this afternoon and I decided this would have to do.


There was also this tiny tree in a thimble, which I couldn’t resist using to stage my gift box tutorial photo on Saturday. Isn’t it sweet? Thank you so much Barbara, I love them all and can’t wait to put them on our tree, when we put it up in a few days.


For my swap partner, I made a hanging snowflake ornament from stamped images, with a little added bling, in the shape of 30 rhinestones and some silver glitter. There is a ‘show & tell’ post on Miriam’s blog, with a linky list leading to lots of the other participants, if you fancy a peek. There is a fine selection to see.


Thank you Miriam, for a very enjoyable swap. Same time, next year?

Saturday 7 December 2013

Christmas Tutorials ~ Gift Box

The first December ‘how to’ is for the gift box I shared on Tuesday.


Start with a piece of cardstock measuring 8” x 5 1/2”.


Score at 1 1/2”, 3 1/4”, 4 3/4” and 6 1/2”.


Turn and score at 1 1/2” and 4”.


Cut along the lines shown in red.


Cut from corner to corner on four panels, as shown. Cut a strip from the tabs on one side. It makes the box go together better and you only need glue on one set of tabs.


Make the handles by punching out ovals and rounding the corners of the middle sections on each side. Use a bone folder to burnish all the score lines.


Flip the card over and add a narrow line of glue along the edge of the left hand tabs.


Bring up the two middle tabs.


Bring the right hand side of the box up towards the middle and fold the tabs inside.


Do the same with the left hand side and pinch the sides so that the tabs (with the glue on) adhere firmly. That’s it. You’re done with the construction. Decorate the box as you like and tie the handles together with ribbon, once you’ve filled it.


I added a stamped panel to mine, to match the card it would be given with. You could stamp a design onto the cardstock before you score and cut it or use heavy weight patterned paper to construct the box. Lots of possibilities for decorating.

PS That cute little tree in the first photo? It came all the way from Nashville and I’ll tell you about it on Monday.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Seasonal Variations

I love Christmas, but like to keep it firmly in December, where it belongs. Since I started teaching classes, I’ve had to begin my Christmas card planning a little bit earlier. I was finding it difficult to come up with designs, when we were looking forward to carving pumpkins and watching fireworks.


I got over it by adapting a previous design into a more seasonal version. This was a Thank you card I made some time ago. I took a different flower from the set and switched the soft vintage colours for a more traditional red, gold and green.


The final touch was the ‘merry’ stamped tag, hanging from the candy striped twine. I made a little gift box/treat holder to match. It’s very easy to make from half a sheet of A4 cardstock and I’ll share the instructions on Saturday. The first of three Christmas themed tutorials for December. I hope you’ll find them useful.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Storytelling Sunday 3 ~ Passport

Three years of Storytelling with Sian draws to a close today. Not being much of a writer, it was a good few months before I plucked up the courage to join in for the first time, with the story behind a dress. I’m glad I did.

So, for the last time, with Sian’s encouragement, I’m picking a precious…..


Around this time, in 1985, I was in my first term of A Levels and preparing to set off to India, with a fine group of friends, for five weeks.

Here we are in 2013 and my son is just beginning his A Level studies. On Thursday I waved him off on his own little adventure, to Barcelona for a five day Geography trip.

Neither of us would have got very far without our passports.

Thank you Sian for giving us this platform to share our stories and thank you to everyone who did just that. I enjoyed reading them, long before I shared any of my own. I’ve been a sporadic participant over the three years, but many thanks to all of you that have taken the time to read and comment here. It’s been fun.

Of all the stories I’ve told, the shortest is still my favourite. How about you?

Sunday 10 November 2013

In 20 words…. #2

I’m having another go at Abi’s clever idea.


The last time* I had short hair. Mistaken for a boy twice in one day. It’s been long ever since.

*Meeting the wonderful Una Stubbs, as Aunt Sally, in the summer of ‘81. Loving that the photo has rounded corners.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Storytelling Sunday 3 ~ Sketches

Here we are again, on the first Sunday of the month. Which means it must be time to join Sian From High in the Sky with a little something we treasure.



I pulled out this pencil sketch a couple of months ago, to show my daughter, who was drawing portraits for her Art homework. I was reminded of it again when I stayed with my best friend from Uni last weekend. We drank red wine and reminisced and the years just melted away. Friends like that are the most precious kind.

The paper is wrinkled and a little discoloured now, but the lines remain strong. It was drawn around this time of year, when we had not long moved into a house together, along with three other girls. We had all lived in halls prior to that and it was fun settling into our first proper house and making it home.


Five was the perfect number and we each took a week night to cook for everyone. Three of us were vegetarians and The Cranks Recipe Book became my new best friend. I learnt a lot about cooking on a budget in those first months and it was lovely to sit together around the table, after a day of lectures, sharing a meal.

On Saturdays, when it was my turn, I would cycle down Withycombe Village Road and come back with a basket full of paper wrapped chips. There’d be thick slices of white bread, generously buttered and plenty of tomato ketchup, waiting to be made into big fat chip butties. Happy days.

Three of us are still in touch, twenty five years after we first met and I couldn’t have wished for better friends to share those first years away from home.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wedne{Tue}sday

It would seem I am ahead of the game. Not something you’ll hear very often from me.


I taught a class in Mere this morning and after lunch I settled down to make some boxes. All the supplies were together so it made sense to use them before putting away again.


You can’t see from the angle I chose to photograph, but it’s a two part box. The inner ‘drawer’ is made from kraft cardstock and it’s sized to hold three tea lights.

I’m going rogue this week and posting early. It’s OK, Julia said I could.

Hoping I have broken my bloggers block now and aiming to be back real soon.

Monday 7 October 2013

A Friendship Quilt ~ The Nine Patch Block

I found that there were a lot of tutorials out there for making nine patch blocks using a rotary cutter and ruler, but not much in the way of alternatives. Here’s my attempt at putting one together for anyone who doesn’t have those tools on hand.


Pick your fabrics and iron them. Make yourself a 2.5” square template. I made mine from a cereal packet. Draw around it onto the back of your fabric. I used a Frixion pen, because when you iron it the marks disappear. Pretty cool huh? Cut along the lines as accurately as you can. You’ll need nine squares, but you knew that. Right?


Lay the squares out in your chosen design.


Take the 3 squares in the left hand column and lay them right side down on top of the squares in the middle column.


Sew each pair together with a scant 1/4” seam.


Open out and press, being careful not to stretch the fabric out of shape. I pressed the seam towards the darker half of the block, you can press it open if you prefer.


Now take a square from the remaining right hand column and place right side down on the middle square.


Sew together with the same scant 1/4” seam. I’ve marked a line on the bed of my sewing machine, with masking tape, so that it stays the same throughout.


You should now have 3 rows of 3 joined squares. Press the seams.


At this point I’m hoping that the seams line up pretty well, which they do. Phew!


Now take the top row and place it right side down on the middle row.


Match the raw edges along the top and line up seams. Sew together.


Take the final row of joined squares and place face down on the middle row. Matching the bottom edge and lining up the seams. Sew together.


Open out and press. There you have a nine patch block. It’s not perfect, but I’m OK with that. It’s also not quite as crooked as it looks at the bottom right corner! You can see that the left hand edge is not level all the way down, but it’s more important to me to have the seams lined up in the middle of the block.

Any questions ask away and I’ll do my best to help. I have a Sizzix die that cuts 2.5” squares. If anyone taking part in the Friendship Quilt project, would like some cardboard templates, I’d be happy to send you some. The die also cuts nice neat squares from fabric, if you have a Big Shot. Just sayin’.

If you are planning to make a simpler Four Patch Block, then you would need to cut the fabric into 3.5” squares and join two pairs together using the scant 1/4” seam.

That’s it from me for now. I’m so looking forward to seeing what arrives with Abi over the course of this month.