Sunday, 26 April 2015

Just because it's handmade, doesn't mean it's cheap

This is going to be a bit of a different post.  I have no creations to share, no crafty altered project, new flowers or new sewing items to share.  This post is in support of all creative people out there and a little "heads up"so to speak to all non-crafter's that request we make something for them.

Now don't get me wrong, there was no incident that lead me to write this post.  I haven't been given an unreasonable request or asked to make anything for someone.  It is just something I have been thinking about lately, particularly since I've become really interested in sewing lately and was glued to my laptop watching The Great British Sewing Bee.  For example, I always assumed sewing was a cheaper alternative to buying your own clothes.  Boy was I wrong.  With shops popping up like Primark, H&M and Forever 21, it is almost impossible to personally make yourself an outfit cheaper than what these companies charge for their clothing.  In fact it will most definitely cost 3-4 times more for materials alone than what you could buy pre-made in the aforementioned shops and that's before factoring in your time and effort for making the item.  But then, with homemade items you are putting a great deal of time and effort into your unique pieces of art so you know that the quality of the item is not only impeccably well made but is also a unique one off creation.  So although it may cost more to sew your own items, the quality does shine in comparison to "off the rack" clothes.  And this is not just relevant to sewing, it covers all crafts.  And let's face it, I dabble in a bit of everything.  What am I?  A Bookbinder? An altered artist? A flower maker?  A Sewer?  Mixed Media Artist?  What?  Just what am I??  I like to think that I am a Jack of All Trades (and Master of none, teehee).

But I digress.  I think the reason I wanted to write this post was to make all the Non-Crafty people out there realise and appreciate that just because something is handmade, does not mean it is automatically cheaper for you to buy.  I know for sure that there are crafter's out there that sell their handmade cards and in most circumstances are happy enough to just cover the cost of materials (just about) and don't think of giving themselves anything for the time they've spent designing and creating those cards.  As Crafter's and artistic people, we are extremely generous and in most cases are just happy to make an item for friends or family.  If my sister ever found out just how much it cost to make her that quilt for Christmas, she would kick my arse, lol.  And I won't even go near the subject of my Brother's Wedding stationery because he too would be kicking me and my butt does not need multiple kickings from my younger siblings.......so I'll never tellllllllll, heehee.  Simply because anything I have ever made for anyone close to me has been about making them happy, regardless of what it costs me.

I don't have a shop or craft to make a living.  If someone wants me to make them something that's fair enough, I will gladly do it.   But there is a difference between making gifts for friends and family and making items to sell whether it is to help fund your crafting endeavours or actually help earn you some living money.  Making things to sell is a completely different ball game from making items as gifts.  I think a lot of creative people, crafter's and artists are almost afraid to insult a customer by charging the appropriate amount of money for their work and therefore end up undercharging.  I think of it this way......if a customer wanted to buy off the shelf, generic items that everyone can have then, they would have done so.  If a customer comes to you asking to have an item handmade, its because they want something unique and of a certain standard of quality.  Therefore, they are willing to pay for exactly that.  If you are embarrassed or shy about charging for your work and do not charge the appropriate amount to include your time spent, designing and creating the item for that person then you are setting a precedent for yourself and that is when people will take advantage of you.  Because you have underestimated yourself and your work, they will inevitably expect you to do the job for cheap because that is how you've priced your work.  And lets face it, we all love a bargain so no customer is going to tell you that you've undercut yourself.  It's not the purchaser's fault persay simply because they don't know what it costs to make the item.  You haven't told them or charged them appropriately to not only include your inventory costs but also your time spent.  You are entitled to a wage too you know, lol.  So what does that say about us as Crafter's and Creative People?  By not pricing your items and work accordingly to include your own precious time, you are basically belittling the work you do and not giving yourself the respect you have wholeheartedly worked for and deserve.  You need to be confident in your work and be able to say "I am an artist and if you want my unique piece of hand made art, it is going to cost you".  And I'm not saying to charge £20 for a card or extort money from customers.  I am merely saying, give yourself the respect you deserve for the time and effort you have put into your work and don't just charge for materials alone.

So, if someone comes to you and wants you to make something handmade should it be a dress or a box of birthday invitations, you have to be willing to tell that person that not only will you be charging for your costs but your time also.  If they want a uniquely handmade item then they are going to have to be willing to pay for it.  And in most cases, the fact that that person has come to you in the first place means they are genuinely wanting something unique and handmade.  So in most situations they will completely respect that you have a right to earn and not do things for cost alone and they'll happily pay your fee.  But there will always be those people who will want a lot of product for virtually no money.  And these are the people you need to weed out of your life.  If those buyers are not willing to pay then they are not respecting you and the work you do.  You should never be willing to lower your prices and your worth to meet their tight purse strings.  Non-Crafter's need to realise that handmade does not equate to inexpensively made.  In fact handmade means more time, thought, and work has gone into that item than any item you could ever buy off a shelf.

Therefore......my advice to all Crafter's and Artists who sell their wares - be fair to yourselves.  Allow yourself to earn money as you've been the one who has spent the time on your customer's project.  A plumber wouldn't fix your sink and only charge for the parts.  He or she would charge for their time.  So you have just as much right to charge for your time too.

And Non-Crafter's and Customers - please don't expect something for nothing.  You are asking to have something made for you because you obviously want something uniquely designed to your specifications.  Therefore please respect the Artist and understand that handmade does not mean it will cost nothing.  Afford the Artist the respect they deserve.  They have as much right to earn a living as anyone else.

I hope this didn't end up being a preachy post folks, that was not my intention.  It was just some thoughts in my head spilling out onto my blog, lol.  I hope if anything this post will make Artists and Customers alike respect and appreciate the industry of Arts and Crafts and give those Artists and Crafters the recognition and respect they work so hard for.  But likewise, maybe help Artists and Crafters realise that if they don't educate Customers and show them just how much work actually goes into a hand crafted item, that the customer can't be blamed if they aren't aware of what items cost and tend to expect a lot for very little in return.

That's it from me for now folks.  I'll have something that is maybe a little lighter on the reading front next time, teehee.  I hope I haven't bored you, lol.  Have fun all my Crafty friends.

Until next time....Toodles Noodles.......Loops  (aka, Lee xx)




Saturday, 27 December 2014

My First Patchwork Quilt

Don't look at it too closely!  It's my first attempt at anything like this and only my 2nd ever sewing project...so be gentle with me.  It's a bit wibbly wobbly and not the straightest looking of quilts.....but its handmade with love which excuses me from all flaws and mistakes made....teehee
Do you remember a few months ago I showed you my first ever sewing project?  It was a Halloween costume for my sister that I made a couple of years ago, a Dorothy Gale dress with a pair of sparkly ruby slipper.  Well, that was my first attempt at sewing anything.  And I honestly mean that.  I didn't even know how to turn on a sewing machine or thread it....but I still managed to make my sisters dress by learning as I went.....thank goodness for YouTube!  So since I was able to do that, I thought to myself, "Why not try something that experienced, well established sewers do, something that has taken them many hours of sewing and years to master as my second project" and that was, make a patchwork quilt!

What was I thinking, lol??  Who did I think I was....Martha Stewart?  So my sister seeing that I took to sewing and could sorta, kinda do it (even though up until that point of making her Halloween costume I'd never so much as sewn a tea towel before) made a request that I make her a patchwork quilt for her 21st Birthday!!!  And what did numpty here say (obviously full of great confidence in her non-existent sewing abilities!), "Yes of course wee sister, I can do that no problem".  So I bought the fabric, watched loads of tutorials on YouTube from incredibly experienced sewers like The Missouri Star Quilt Company, Whitney Sews and Gourmet Quilter to name but a few.  And after watching these wonderfully talented ladies do tutorials on how to make quilts, I was confident that I could make T a quilt for her 21st Birthday.

But then life took over, T's 21st birthday came and went, Family life was hectic, my Brother got married and I did all his stationery and wedding "Stuff", we did up my craft room which took me over a year to do (and its still not completely done).....yadda yadda yadda.  And my little sewing machine sat un-touched.........for 2 and a half years!!!!  YES......you read that correctly!  T is now 23 years & 8 months old and is only now getting her quilt, teehee.  Don't worry, I did get her other Christmas presents.....as this is not the most amazing looking quilt ever made, teehee.

Don't judge me!  I know, I'm a terrible sister!  But you know how it is, life takes over.....you've only ever made one other sewing project in your life etc,.......and a quilt was a bit daunting.  I'll say it again.....WHAT WAS I THINKING??  But, finally I made it!  YIPPEE!!!!  It took me forever, but I made it.  I'm not quite sure it was really worth the extremely long wait mind you, lol.  I should have started with a simplier design and tried a rag quilt first, but oh no, I had to make a patchwork quilt.  My craft space is tiny, my sewing machine is very small, my walking foot wouldn't walk (I think I bought the wrong foot for my machine!), I didn't pin enough, iron at all, use adhesive spray and despite all that, I managed to make a double bed sized quilt (its a bit smaller than a double) with absolutely no sewing experience at all.  Obviously with said skill levels being, well zero, the quilt inevitably has flaws.  In fact it probably has more flaws than redeeming features.  Therefore, it was destined to look like ....... well ................. this.........  Please be gentle with me.......This is only my 2nd ever sewing project.

I didn't take any photo's of the back, sorry.  But its just plain old red fabric.   I even quilted the thing too.....boy was that a hilarious experience that had me in tears of frustration!!  Just a "stitch in the ditch" quilting technique which was harder than I thought.....how many times can I reiterate that this was only my 2nd ever sewing project??  I sewed all the squares together, then sewed them into rows until it was one big piece, did white with red polka dot boarder, then the wadding and backing.  Quilted the whole sandwich of materials together and then lastly did the red binding around the edges.
And here is my wee sister, T on Christmas morning all wrapped up in her Christmas present, making a silly face as always.....well she is my sister after all.  And she even said that the quilt was her favourite Christmas present, after apologising to everyone else and saying she still loved their presents of course, lol.  Mind you I did have to warn her that if she saw any straggler bits of thread, not the pull them but cut them off as one good tug on a stray thread and the whole thing might end up in little squares again.
OK, so it's not the most offensive looking quilt ever.  I like to call it the "Monet Quilt"........looks nice from afar but go and look at it up close and personal and its just a jumbled mess of colour, teehee.  It's a bit lumpy and misshaped, the binding is atrocious and the back of it....well don't even ask me about the sewing on the back.  Notice there is no photographic evidence of the back of it?  Yeah, there's a reason for that....it looks awful, lol.  But you know what, its handmade with more sisterly love than you could ever imagine.  It's certainly unique that's for sure.  And it was made for my wee sister from the heart.  And considering it was my 2nd ever sewing project (ahem, did I mention that already?), I am pretty damn pleased with myself.  Mind you, I think I need to master the simple sewing projects now like table runners and placemats, before tackling another one of these bad boys, teehee.  Mind you, knowing me I will most likely take on some other ridiculously complicated project all because I've seen a YouTube video and I think to myself "I can do that".

That's it from me for now folks.  I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas.  We had a smaller than usual Christmas this year......only 18 for dinner!!  Yes ONLY 18!!  And a 27lb Turkey.....nommy noms.  That is a small year for us, lol.  I have a very big family needless to say.

Toodles Noodles........Loops xx

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hey folks.  I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy, healthy and fun 2015.  I know I haven't been about much this year but I will do my very best to be a better blogger next year, I promise.  And as a Thank You for all your support and sticking with me, in the New Year I am planning on doing a Giveaway.....or two.   You know me, I never like to give away crafty goodness to just one person.  So there will be a few goodies up for grabs after Christmas.

Anywho, I hope you all have a safe and fabulous Christmas.  See you in 2015!!

And just like I shared last year........here's a photo of the perfect furry Christmas Present, teehee.  So cute!  And just before you freak out......I did not receive my cat, wrapped in a box, lol.  This was an order that arrived to my home and no sooner had I the box opened, Nimbus was in there like swimwear, jumping into the box before I could even get the order out of the box.  Such a wee weirdo!


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Clean and Simple Birthday Card


Don't judge me!  Cards are nowhere near my forte but alas.......here is one anyway.  I am going to put my hands up, wave them frantically around in the air and admit that this design is not mine.  I do not make cards therefore have no imagination or any semblance of creative design that magically pops into my noggin when making them.  So I rely on the creativity of others to inspire my cards, lol.  In fact, I make it my crafty mission to avoid card making at all cost.  But an unfortunate few do get through the "No card making" barrier every so often and some poor sod ends up receiving one of my disastrous card creations (Maddy..... you know all about that... remember my button Xmas tree card??).  More often than not, it's usually Scrubby Loops or my poor wee Daddy who ends up getting one of them for some reason.  And oh how I laugh when I watch them try to make a surprised "Oh wow that's so good" expression on their faces.

Anywho, I was browsing around Pinterest (my favourite place on web earth) and came across this gorgeous card.  So kudos to Alberta and her beautiful design because without her, Scrubby Loops wouldn't have received a birthday card.....although he might have preferred that, lol.

So, here is mine!  Heyyyyyy don't give me a hard time, I've admitted that cards aren't my thing.  And I did change one of the strip colours to blue....and, and, and...oh, and my stamp is different too!  Let's face it, even with following Alberta's card almost to the "t", it still isn't great, lol.  But its a "Lee card" as they have become affectionately known in my family.  And with that title comes strict instructions to leave all expectations of grandeur and creative wow factor at the door.  It's a "Lee card".....enough said!

Here's a nice little side view for you.....trying to be arty farty, lol.  There really isn't much to say about this card really.  All products are listed below for you. 
Oh and here we are face on but this time.....with a white background as opposed to the black background in the top photo.  Jeez, I can't stretch this out much longer, there's not much to explain really. Any more clean and simple and Scrubby Loops would have received a folded piece of card. 
And that is it from me folks.....for now anyway.  Now that my craft room is sitting all loverly jubberly and I can actually open the door and enter the room without tripping and falling head first into a pile of craft products (which is always an added bonus in my mind) I will hopefully be a bit more frequent in Blogland.

Until next time.....(sing it with me....) Toodles Noodles .........Loops xx

"Stuff" used to make this magnificent piece of modern art (Mwahhhh)

Kraft cardstock from Payper Box Ltd (its fab card to work with) - Click HERE
Coloured Cardstocks, Black, Red & Blue all from Papermill Direct - Click HERE
The matting and card strips were all stuck down using ScorTape (I LOVE ScorTape)  Every time they have it on sale, I get mine from Blitsy HERE
Happy Birthday stamp was just a generic wooden block stamp that had 4 different fonts of Happy Birthday on each side.  Sorry I don't have a brand name as it was bought as a package "thing" with a storage box and loads of other stamps and bits and bobs in it.  I have a strong feeling it was a Papermania storage doodaa..  However, if the stamp is not from Papermania it may be from Anita's or Whispers Stamp!  If that is any use to you, lol.


Monday, 3 November 2014

How to make a soft cover wrap around book

Doth my eyes deceive me?  Is that a Crafty Loops blog post I see?  Yes, yes I can hear you all from here, lol.  But finally, my gas heating is now installed.  Yippeeeeee!  Which means my house was turned upside down and there was dust and dirt that would make the Sahara Desert blush!  Our attic had to be emptied because we needed new loft insulation, which meant the majority of my house sat in the back garden whilst the work was carried out.  Who knew we had so much crap up there!  Out of sight, out of mind definitely applies to my attic.

As if having our house turned upside down and sitting in my back garden wasn't enough, there of course needed to be a little drama added to the mix - this is the Loops Household after all.   When the guys were installing the new gas pipes in the attic, one of them slipped and his leg came thundering through the roof!  Scrubby Loops said all he could see was a leg dangling from the hall ceiling.  Then another guy nearly went through the front door after an "electrical mishap".  I tell ya, it was just as well that I spent the day with my parents, because Scrubby Loops said I would have been chasing them around the house telling them off every two minutes, teehee.  They weren't even in the back door that morning and I was warning one guy about smoking, teehee.  It was ok though, he gave off to himself too and chastised himself for smoking......so really, I was only agreeing with him....mwahhh!

Anywho, it is finally done and the house is back to some semblance of order, much to fur baby's delight.....Nimbus does not like having strangers in her house, particularly 15 burly big builders.  So once they were finally finished and gone, she spent the next few days jumping at the new gas boiler noise and scenting each and every corner she could rub her face in.  She's such a wee weirdo!  Well they do say pets take after their owners.   My craft room is now finished....STAND UP AND SING "WOOWHOO" WITH ME.  Well, its almost done, it's sitting in the layout I want and everything is organised in its allocated spot.  But we want to put wooden floors down in there and maybe a new paint job on the walls.....if I can push my luck, lol.  So the room is temporarily put back together until the coffers replenish, lol.

So with all that waffle out of the way, I do have a very quick video tutorial for you today.  This video was recorded over 18 months ago now (hangs her head in shame!).  I know, I'm terrible.  I have been asked tonnes of time about binding on leather, fabric, soft covers etc., so I did in fact do a video on it at the time I was asked.....and then forgot all about it!  It wasn't until a month or so ago that I found it on my laptop and I had a bit of a "Slap on the forehead" moment.  I quickly edited it and did a dodgy voice over on it, so without further ado, here it is.....



For links to the tutorials mentioned in this video, click on these links:

3 hole pamphlet stitch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3Ru6bkfsqM&list=UUy1ecE39OsmJw3Q7S-etK3A

Signatures - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtSxGuNB2gs&list=UUy1ecE39OsmJw3Q7S-etK3A

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Altered Extendible Cutlery Tray - Made into a Storage Unit



BEFORE I GET STARTED:  You may have noticed that when you come over to my blog that the address may redirect to www.craftyloops.com.....that's because I bought the domain name.....Yippee.  However, nothing has changed.  If you put in my blogspot address, you will still find me.  It just redirects the name to my dot com address.  But I'm still a blogger girl.  Everything I do is still run by Blogger.  And in case you want to know where I was able to buy my dot com domain name from (for just £2 a year), I got it from godaddy.  I have not been sponsored to advertise for them....this is simply where my 13 year old brother told me to go and buy my domain name......and if he tells me where to go and buy it from, then I listen.  He's a child prodigy, lol.

I haven't been crafting as I'm sure you are aware by my distinct lack of attendance in Blogland.  I have been doing out my craft room.....new furniture going in, tonnes of re-organising, destashing, rehashing etc., etc.  And after all that......the whole lot needs to be pulled out again because we have decided to get gas installed in our house.  But numpty here thought it was an easy peasy lemon squeezy job to do and I wouldn't have to rearrange or move anything in our home.  Boy was I wrong.  Because our house is a golden oldie, all the piping and radiators are as old as the hills, so all the radiators are coming off and being replaced.  But instead of the new radiators going back where the old ones where, the new ones are being placed on different walls in all of the rooms.  So not only do the guys need to get at the old radiator in my craft room, they need to get at the replacement radiators new home .........which means I need to move a lot of the furniture out of the room.....AGAIN.  Well, when I say me....I mean poor Scrubby Loops, teehee.  However, all this work won't start until some time next month or possibly September as the actual Gas line hasn't been hooked up to our house yet......so we kinda have to wait for that to be done first.

Anywhoodles I was fishing around my photos and came across my very first Altered Art Project.....MY VERY FIRST ONE.  I don't know how I managed not to show this to you, as its on my craft room wall so I see it all the bloomin' time.  But anyway, here it is.....my first ever altered project from 2010.  Go easy on me folks.....it was my first altered project attempt, lol, so its by no means perfect.

This isn't the actual one, but its pretty much the same.  I bought mine from Argos I think.  It's made from bamboo and it opens up surprisingly wide.

Taa-daa....this is how it turned out.  I painted it a light blue colour then used my distress ink to grunge it up a bit and used a script stamp to add some messy text over it.  The paper is actually from a Wallpaper sample I had from B&Q.

And here it is with some goodies in it.  The long sides are used to store junk jewellery.  I simply hammered in some tiny tacking nails at different heights and the jewellery hangs from those.
So there you have it.  I am thinking of re-altering it again though now that my room has been redesigned.....and will most likely be redesigned again after the builders leave my home, lol.  I think I want to add little shelves into the long panels which will make better use of the space and I can actually store items in that space.  What do you think?  If I re-alter it, you will be the first to know, I promise.

That's it from me folks.

Toodles Noodles.......Loops xx

Friday, 2 May 2014

Photographer in the Making.......Sorry I've been MIA

DO NOT ADJUST YOUR PC, LAPTOP, SMARTPHONE OR TABLET SCREENS (Phew!!).....This is indeed a Blog Post from Crafty Loops!

I realise that when you see my name coming up in your blog roll, that it may cause some form of whiplash as you spin around to take a second glance at your blog post viewing apparatus and actually check if what you saw was indeed a blog post from me.  All I can do is sincerely apologise for any harm you may have come to whilst reading this post.  Teehee.

Yes, I will hold my hands up, arms up......ears up and even my pig tails up (yes I have multiple pig tails.....my hair goes down to my waist, I have to do something with it) and admit it......I have been a TERRIBLE blogger, not only this year but half of last year too.  But I was busy with my brother's wedding last year.  Still......that's no excuse for this year now is it??  Did I promise to show you the stationery I made for my brother's wedding that was in July 2013?  Yes, indeed I did.  Have I blogged about said stationery?  No, of course not.  And WHY? I hear you ask.......because I am Mrs Disaster Pants.  I'm totally comfortable in the knowledge that this may be my only title in life.  No, Lady Loops or Duchess Loops for me.  Oh No.  I will be forever known as Mrs Disaster Pants.

And my excuse for this year??  Well, for one we have gutted out my craft room and I mean GUTTED!  We didn't get the floors down which MUST be done at a later date, so for now I am stuck with the most awful deep, pinky, yucky colour of carpet which catches every bit of paper, headpin and staple possible.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were a couple of lost children bundled up in the fibres of that carpet.  It does my bloody nut in.  But not to worry, it won't be getting comfortable and "bedding" in for a lifetime in that room!  I WILL get my wooden floor down, but just not right now.  Is that a good enough excuse for my absence?  Probably not, but because my room has been packed up for the last 5 months....I kid you not, I haven't anything to show you.  So between that and life generally keeping me away, that is why I haven't been blogging.  So my absenteeism (yes that is a word) wasn't down to anything exciting,  tragic or even remotely interesting, I'm afraid.  Sorry.

So to make up for being MIA, I thought I would do the next best thing.....I'm going to show you part of the beautiful Country in which I live.......Northern Ireland.  BUT.....I am going to be completely cheeky (and honest) about it and admit that these photos were not taken by me.  They were taken by my 13 year old brother........on his tablet.  OMG.......I am amazed at how fantastic they are, considering they were taken on a tablet, never mind by a 13 year old child (he will not appreciate the "child" reference).  And again I am holding my pigtails up and admitting that one photo (the last one) was taken by Scrubby Loops (my Husband) on his mobile phone.  So really, I'm being a complete cheater by pinching their photos and stickin'em on my blog, teehee.  I do have their permission of course.......I'm not that awful......not totally......ok, maybe just a bit.

Anywho, enough of my ramblings (I know how you've missed them.....**Cough**).  Here are some photos of where I am extremely lucky to live very close to.  The photos are of the Mourne Mountains which are maybe half an hour from my house.  I know how lucky I am to live in such a magical, mystical and historical place.  Essentially....this is my back garden!  (All of these photos, except for the last one were taken by my 13 year old brother).

***I suggest to get the best view of these photos, click on them to make them bigger.  They look much better.***

This is up in Rosley, Scenic Loop.  I'm afraid it wasn't the sunniest day when these were taken, but still, its a breathtaking scene.  Oooo, hello Mr Sheep!
Rosley
Rosley
Rosley
This is Silent Valley, Scenic Loop.  I am telling you, it is difficult to drive this route simply because as the driver, its hard to keep your eyes on the road and off the picturesque surrounding landscape.  Isn't it STUNNING?  And look....Sunshine.  This was taken Summer last year (2013) when Northern Ireland had its hottest Summer in 30 years.  It was amazing.  Constant sunshine and extreme heat (well, for us anyway) for almost 6 weeks straight.  Our Summer's average around 17 degrees C (if we're lucky) and are usually pretty soggy and grey.  But last year we were hitting very high 20's, low 30's degrees C and THAT is an anomaly, believe me. It was an incredible Summer which we probably won't see a repeat of for another 30 years, lol.
Silent Valley Scenic Loop
Silent Valley Scenic Loop
Silent Valley Scenic Loop
I put these last 2 photos together as its the same spot.  My wee bro took this one.  This is Spelga Dam up in Silent Valley and this my friends.....is where our drinking water comes from.  Now this was a more over cast day, but I LOVE this photo.  It hasn't been altered or enhanced at all.  This is it straight from the tablet and I simply added my copyright to the corner, but that was all.  Look at the reflection of the mountain in the water!  That is how crystal clear and pure our water is.  If only it had have been a bit sunnier.....ohhhh look.....
My Scrubby took this one on a Sunny Day in July 2013. This is a view again of Spelga Dam, you'll see its much sunnier and takes in both sides of the dam.  Although it was a little windier this day so you can't see the mountains reflecting off the water because of the ripples. Isn't this beautiful though?  And this is off a camera phone, could you imagine how stunning it is in real life?  So if any of you are ever around my neck of the woods (or should that be Mountains?!), I wholeheartedly recommend you get yourself up the Mourne Mountains.  Take a drive, a pit stop and a picnic and soak up the scenery.  Its a beautiful place to see.
And there you have it folks.  This is where I live, or close to where I live.  I tell you what though, I am not one for camping but if someone told me that I could pitch a tent at the edge of that Dam and live out the rest of my days there......I'd seriously consider getting me a sleeping bag.

I hope you all can forgive me for my absenteeism.  My room is ALMOST, nearly there.  Just a bit more organising to do and then I will be back in that room to......well....... make a mess of it again after 6 long months of cleaning it up and clearing it out.  Scrubby is gonna love me....Mwahhhh!

Toodles Noodles........Loops xx

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Ever wondered where I like to crafty shop.....?

Ok.....a bit of a strange blog post, admittedly.  But I know that I always love to see what new crafty bits and bobs people buy, where they buy them, where the best deals are, best customer service, what crafts items are up and coming etc., etc.  So, for exactly that reason, I have set up a "Places I Love to Shop" page here on my blog.  You may have seen it, sitting up there at the top of my page, you may not have seen it.  But, now that I have added a few of my favourite places, I thought I should give you a heads up about them.

Now, before anyone starts thinking that these shops have paid me in craft supplies or that I am on a Design Team or something.........I'm not.  And in any case........no matter what, I would NEVER recommend a shop for either of those reasons.  If a shop goes up on that page........its because I have received excellent customer service, great prices and I think those shops or sellers warrant having their businesses getting a great big 'ole shout out from me.  However, should there ever be a time that I end up recommending a shop that I happen to be on a Design Team for or have reviewed a product on their behalf, I will always be up front and tell you.  But as I said.....I don't care if someone pays me in Prima Papers from now to the end of days......if their shop is not one that I think should go on my blog......it ain't going up on my page.  If I recommend a shop, its because I wholeheartedly feel confident in them so much so, that I will gladly promote them on my blog to all my Crafty Friends and Followers.

So, click on the link on the left top of my blog, titled "Places I Love to Shop" or click HERE to go straight to my favourite shops page and have a wee read.  And, if there is a shop that you would recommend or think I should try out.....let me know.  This page will constantly be up-dated and added to, so let me know your recommendations and please do pop over every so often to check out who I've added.  And if you do place an order with any of the shops that I recommend, don't forget to tell them Crafty Loops sent ya!

Have a beautiful weekend and be safe.....whatever the weather is doing in your neck of the woods.  Northern Ireland has snow!  Oh the joys!!

Toodles Noodles.....Loops xx

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

How to make an inset window in a Wedding Photo Album

Hi everyone.  A very Happy New Year to you all.  We have just had a lovely quiet day today at home.  Its blowing a gale and pelting it down outside.  It looks like the sun didn't even bother to come out today at all.  Looks like it popped its head up, saw the wind and the rain and decided to hide back under the covers!

Anywho, I promised that I would come back with the tutorial showing you how I did the window in the wedding photo albums I made for my brother and sister-in-law.  It is really very easy to do and really quick.  But I stuck the camera on whilst I was making it, so I thought I'd share it with you too.  Of course, like everything I make, I had never done anything like this before.  So these 2 albums for my brother were my guinea pigs, lol.  But they ended up looking really nice.  And both sets of parents loved them once Karen had them full to the brim with gorgeous wedding photos.

Without further ado, here is the quick wee video showing you how this was made....Happy New Year.  I hope 2014 is kind to you all.





Sunday, 22 December 2013

Wedding Photo Albums

Hey my little Loopy Loo's.  No......it is not an illusion.  Yes....I really am here to show you something.  A project....a real live project, Yippeeeee!  I have said in recent posts (not that bloody recent Loops....Jeez) that my brother, Jay got married to the beautiful Karen at the end of July this year. Well, my gift to them both was to make, well......... everything that could possibly be hand made, lol.  Everything I made was mine and Scrubby Loops's present to them.  Mind you........I don't exactly remember Scrubby Loops adding double sided tape to hundreds of metres of ribbon or embossing 100 favour boxes....not once, but twice.  He got out of that one easy, didn't he? lol.

But.....yet again...me being me........I forgot to take photos of everything I made.  So that is why I have yet to put up a blog post about their Wedding makes that was away back in July.  I am a little numpty and a ridiculous blogger.  Honestly, what sort of blogger/Crafter forgets to take photos of their creations?  Crafty Loops........that's who.

Anyway, I'm gathering what photos I can find and doing my best to come up with some sort of blog post for everything I 've made.  But in the meantime, I can show you the photo albums I've made.  These 2 albums are gifts for my parents and Karen's parents, from Jay and Karen for Christmas (my wee Mammy better not look at my blog!!).  Karen wants to add wedding photos to a photo album for each set of parents, so she asked if I'd make the albums.  I made both albums the same, so Karen didn't have the uncomfortable task of choosing who gets which one, lol.  I just hope she likes the one I did make, lol.  Here they are......

I made a recess in the album cover and inserted a black and white photo of both Karen and Jay and protected it with acetate. The photo was taken by Melissa Johnson who was their photographer.  She was amazing on their big day.  Click Here for her site.  I simply edited the photo on my laptop to make it black and white. I felt the black and white looked much better against the white of the album cover. Again, I used Black card stock from the Paper Mill Direct.  Jay and Karen's Wedding Day was extremely sunny and warm so I thought the black card would really show off the beautiful bright photos.
I love the gorgeous Skivertex that I used to cover the album with.  It has a leather grained type texture to it, its stunning. And it is a very sturdy material so it should last for years and years.  It comes in 130cm long by 42 cm wide lengths so you get a tonne for your money.  It's a perfect material to use in bookbinding and mini albums because the back takes wet glue really well and I have had no problems with the glue seeping through to the front.  The material is a lovely thickness and very easy to cut too.  I have loved using it. If you want to get your hands on some, click here. Its from an Ebay shop called "the velvet paper shop".  You can also find Elaine's online shop here too.  I'm not associated with any of the links or shops I've mentioned.  I just like to buy from them, lol.

The die cuts were from the Spellbinders Labels 28 die which I purchased on Ebay.  I used black cardstock from The Paper Mill.  The Purple Card stock is from PDA cards and Crafts.  The gold lettering believe it or not, is a gorgeous set of rub on's I bought from The Works.  Sadly they don't appear to have them in stock on their online store right now, but they may be in your local store.  The purple ribbon was bought on Ebay and the gold ribbon was in my stash (in fact I think Maddy may have given it to me...Thanks Madster, lol!).  The flat back pearls are from Meiflower.
I was conscious of the fact that these albums would most likely be stored on a book shelf or something similar so I didn't want to heavily embellish the cover because being taken in and out of a shelf would mean embellishments might have a tendency to fall off or get tatty looking.  Plus, Karen likes clean, modern and simple so I tied them in with everything else that I made for the wedding.  I promise....the Wedding creations post will be coming soon...most likely in the New Year.  Sorry about the glare on the photo but its impossible to take a photo when there is acetate involved, lol.
All wrapped up...I wrapped the albums in beautiful thick crepe paper and then twisted the purple and gold ribbon around each other and tied it in a bow around the albums.  Voila.  Merry Christmas to both sets of Parents!
Yippee!  And that is it. My job is done here, lol.  One Wedding......Done.  I have a video tutorial coming up shortly just to show how I made the cover and inserted a recess window in it.  It's very simple but I know that I will get some questions about how it was made.  So as soon as I get that edited, it will be up on here and my YouTube channel too.

Have a very Merry Christmas or whatever holiday it is you like to celebrate and I will see you all in the New Year......here's hoping anyway, because this year I was abysmal at creating and blogging...please forgive me...blub blub...

Toodles Noodles......Loops xx