Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Daring Cardmakers - Trim The Tree Craft Challenge - Cross Stitch Card

Hi Everyone,

It's the start of another week, and I'm fresh from seeing some of my favourite musical friends, for the first time in a long while, at our Christmas light switch on. I have some video, but I have never edited video clips in my life, so while I figure out what I'm doing, time to catch up on some other blog posts.

I have joined in and submitted craft projects to the Daring Cardmakers Challenge before, and it's been great fun. So I just want to thank everyone who has commented on my previous posts, and add to this weeks challenge 'Trim The Tree'.



I am working my way through a few small cross stitch kits from magazine free gifts, and this tree design really stuck out from my stash. It was easy and fun to stitch, and I even tweaked it a bit to add some gold glitter for the star at the top. Instead of hanging it in the supplied aperture card though, I found a plant pot topper with 25 on, and mounted it on a card just above that. The finished card was a pretty potted Christmas tree with some pretty backing papers and a few cut out foam mounted details for dimension. I finished with some Nuvo Drops as bunting (my new favourite thing, I'd love some more colours), and all was done.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out, and stitching on plastic canvas for the first time was fun, it's also really easy to cut out in a shape and doesn't fray (beyond a bit of fluff you can trim off).

I hope you enjoy this blog and it gives you some different ideas for mounting cross stitch. Be sure to check out what everyone else has submitted for the challenge as well, there's always some different ideas coming through. Thanks for reading everyone.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Gift Tag Project Using Mama Makes Stamps

Hi all,

This week has gone by so quick, I hope you have been enjoying gift tag week, if you've missed any makes be sure to head over to my channels (links below) and check out the pics. I hope they will give you some inspiration. So now it's time for the last one, and I thought I'd put a little tutorial on the blog, as it's one of my favourite designs.

What I Used:
  • White card.
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon
  • Black ink pad.
  • Cosmic Shimmer Colour Cloud Blending Ink in Clear Day.
  • Pearl accents tube.
  • Coppoloppolaro Christmas stamps from Mama Makes.
  • LotixChrly – Sending Hugs stamps from Mama Makes.
  • Sleigh stamp from issue 114 of Papercrafter Magazine.
How It's Made:


  • Cut a circle around 10.5cm wide to make the base of your gift tag.
  • Punch or cut a small circle around 2.5 cm wide and fix gently with some blue tac in the top right hand corner of the tag.
  • Using a blending sponge cover the rest of the tag with blending ink and leave to dry. You can remove the small circle when the ink is dry and will be left with a white space.
  • Stamp the sleigh stamp across the tag, with the end slightly overlapping your white circle, so it looks as though Santa is flying  across the night sky.
  • Stamp the 'Thinking Of You' sentiment from the Sending Hugs collection above Santa's sleigh.
  • Finish off by stamping and colouring a robin and tree stamp from the Christmas collection.
  • Cut out the tree and robin images and fix at the bottom of the gift tag.
  • To finish add some pearl accent drops around your white circle.
Hope you all enjoyed my gift tag series, and if you have a go at any of the ideas yourself do let me know. The great thing about all these ideas, is you can adapt them to suit what you have in your stash. You could use pencils or watercolour ink, instead of Colour Cloud, use a different stamp or sentiment, and you could make a whole series and hang them as bunting. Check out my other ideas at:
Thanks for reading, and I'll be back soon with some new blogs - freelance life and Disney related, so stay tuned.

*Mama Makes stamps were gifted to me to craft with as a design team member. All other items were from my own stash.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

3 Ways With Mama Makes Bohemian Border Stamps

Hi Everyone,

There's a little bit of a crafty overload here and on social media at the moment, but there are other posts planned and in draft form, so please look out for those, they just take a little bit of time to put together. Meantime I wanted to share the Mama Makes Bohemian Border stamps. I am a member of the design team, but bought these as I really liked the range of different designs - there are 10 in total, and had quite a few ideas of what I could do with them.

I thought I'd post the stamps below, and 3 very different makes I came up with using them.

1) A Christmas Card - The Bohemian Border here I used as a Christmas garland, and absolutely love how it looks all coloured and glittered (had to get a little sparkle in there). The other thing I like about this set, is some of the designs are more of a bunting/garland shape, and not just a straight line, so there are handy gaps you can decorate with stick on gems or small embellishments for a finishing touch.



2) Christmas Wreath - This was a mix match of items from my stash, including glitter tree stickers, a santa hat button, washi tape, and twine (one of my new favourite things). Here I used one of the borders again as a garland, but tried something different as well. My hedgehog is all dressed up for Christmas and sitting on a bed of flowers and leaves, so cute.



3) Bookmark - Although this one didn't turn out quite the way I planned in my head, I do really like it now. I think mixing up stamps and fonts gives an almost urban feel to the lettering, which works well with the purple, and although I'd like to refine it a little, the book, with some dimensional pages at the end (which don't get squished when you use the bookmark) is something a bit different. Here I embossed and cut out a flower with my Ultimate Pro (Crafter's Companion), and criss-crossed the stamps across there.



I hope this post has given you a few different ideas on how to use border stamps, and if you've come up with any yourself, I'd love to hear them. Bohemian Borders is available to buy here.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Sugru Mouldable Glue - Make & Review

Hi Everyone,

I am in full-on craft mode at the moment, in the middle of testing some face scrubs, and all the normal work, jobs, and dodging the rain. I thought today was a good time to (finally - sorry am a bit behind) bring you my review of Sugru Mouldable Glue.

What Is Sugru? Well it looks like a cross between air dry clay and Fimo, comes in different colours depending on the set you get, and is quite soft and easy to work with when you take it from the packet. Described as mouldable glue, it will harden and set, and stick to whatever it is applied too, offering project ideas for craft and around the home. As well as being flexible, it grips, is heat and water proof, and shock resistant too, which to me is a good selling point from a DIY point of view, and helps with crafting techniques as well.



How Is It Sold? There are currently 2 main options to tell you about. I got the Create and Craft Set to try, which came in a little box, with instruction/ideas leaflet, a little brush and a thimble. I also got four sachets of Sugru in pitch black, snow white, classic red and silver grey. I found this on Amazon for £9.99 recently. There's also a new, colourful, kid safe formula, sold via stockists and Sugru.com, and aimed at little makers aged 8 years and over.

First Impressions - For a craft kit, I was a little disappointed in the colour choices. The red is lovely, and it's nice to have something neutral to go along with it, but grey, black and white, was a bit too much and a little limiting, I would've liked another bright colour. I was also a bit disappointed in the ideas leaflet that came with it. The first pages were good, showing different basic ways to use and shape the glue (bend, twist, roll, smudge etc.), but there was a lot of content not really craft related at all - someone fixed a toy, or used the product to stick new door knobs on to, or stuck a shelf on a wall. To me that is interior design, not craft.

Experience Using The Product - The product was described as single use, and I wasn't sure if that meant you have limited time to use it, or once you've made something with it, it can't be remoulded (unlike Playdoh). Turns out it was a bit of both, and what I missed, and only found one mention of in the whole pack afterwards, was that you only had 30 minutes to work with the product. I had an idea using several colours, wrapped them up tightly as I would Fimo, only to come back to them another time to find them hardened like rubber, and unusable. I think this is something that should be advertised more prominently on the packet.



I think it would help if you already have experience using similar products to this, or have a solid idea in mind before you start using your Sugru sachets to get the most from the set, but I did enjoy using it, along with my Baker Ross ceramic birds and porcelain paints to create this little decoration. The Sugru set and stuck to my bird as expected, and successfully went through a trip to the oven to heat set the porcelain paint at 160 degrees (put in cold).

I would use this again, but only if there were more project ideas and guidance included in the pack, and more sachets, as I think I'm more likely to use multiple colours in a project, and would want to get more use out of the set. It would also help if there were more instructions, as I didn't have a clue what to do with the thimble or brush. There is potential, but now it's out in the market, I think it needs more work to tap into the craft market.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Sharon White Stationery Review

Although I have missed the boat with World Letter Writing Day (1st September), I think letter writing should be celebrated all year round, and I very much hope it's not dying out. Who doesn't love getting happy mail land on the doormat.

I was recently given the chance to receive and review a selection of stationery from mixed media artist Sharon White. Sharon has exhibited at the London Fashion and Textile Museum and Dubai International Art Festivals, and has worked the Strictly pro dancers and craft fan Kirstie Allsopp.

The online store on her website features some wall-art, cushions, and her recent stationery release, and to give you an idea of style, this artist likes bling, pearls, crystals, fabric and floral accents. Sharon has chosen to magnify elements of some of her paintings to create the cushions and stationery.

I received samples of her correspondence cards, which all have foil greetings at the top on one side, with wording such as hey, hello lovely and guess what. They were also nicely presented with the top of the envelope folded down so you could see the artwork that was printed/inserted within.

Pro's - the magnified artwork looks stunning, and the printing has really captured the detail of the materials used. I don't know how she has done it, but the glitter, pearls, gems etc. really stand out. I'd definitely notice this on a shop shelf, as I find most writing sets out there at the moment quite muted, old fashioned, and a bit boring. The greetings at the top of each card are also a lot of fun, and although I've never used them before, I like the idea of correspondence cards, a bit of old school tradition mixed with modern mixed media prints, and they've all been printed on good quality materials.



How I Would Use - Because of the artwork and foiling, size of cards and price, I'd say this set is more for gifting or special messages to keep rather than everyday use. I wouldn't write normal penpal post on something this nice.

Cons - The price. Although there are 12 beautifully made cards in the set, and as a crafter I appreciate the work that has gone into them, I think £19.99 is too steep for a pack of 12 cards. I'd look to pay more for an artists product, but not that much, and would look for extras such as writing paper and pens/pencils for that price. I think the price of the cushions is more inline with what I'd expect. I also think its a neat idea to package the cards in a bag that can be kept and reused for other things, I was disappointed that the decoration was just a name. It's not something I'd keep, and I don't think adds value and would put me off the price point again.



Sharon has the right idea by magnifying some of her artwork for more affordable stationery pieces, but I think the packaging should match the prettiness of what's inside, and as an avid letter writer, I couldn't justify the price for the amount of product received. That said, I am currently wondering whether one of her cushions would go in my bedroom.

Please do check out Sharon's artwork collections, and the images she has chosen for her stationery range, although I wouldn't buy, I loved the ideas and it's great to see more stationery products out there.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Action Themed Handmade Card - Daring Cardmakers Challenge

Hi Everyone,

Hope you're all having a good week!

Just want to say thanks to all of you that have been reading and commenting on my blog posts, especially the recent craft ones, joining in with the Daring Cardmakers challenges. I don't always have time to blog along, but this week the theme was 'action', and it was the perfect excuse to make a card with a topper kit I have had laying around for ages.

The card I made is perfect for sports fans of all ages, and as a big diving fan, I'm sure this one will be a lot of fun for all. My main image and some of the extra bits are from a Hunkydory kit, I just love the image of the guy diving and his reflection shown in the water.


Copyright 2017 - These City Days
I found some aperture cards in my stash and I'm enjoying decorating round the edges and adding some dimension to the designs. This time I went for a few sentiments, stars punched from holographic card, and some jute twine from Baker Ross. I am slightly addicted to finding new ways to use twine on cards at the moment, and love how this looks with the colours of the card.

I hope you've enjoyed this blog, and do let me know what you think, or if you've joined in with any blog challenges recently.

I will be back soon with another blog, in the meantime, check out what all the other crafters have made joining in with this weeks Daring Cardmakers Challenge.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Bond Street Bites Event - Bond Street, Chelmsford - 11/08/2017

Chelmsford City Centre can seem like a quiet place at times. Gone are the days when there were promotions teams giving out free samples, street theatre entertainment, radio roadshows and more. Especially in the summer months it can see a bit too quiet.

But Bond Street create a buzz when it arrived in Chelmsford, with it's range of new to us, and in some cases, quite exciting retailers. They also added to our ever growing restaurant quota, and while I would be one of the first to say that I'd like more leisure activities and things do, we do now have choice, and that's something Bond Street chose to showcase.

Bond Street Bites was a two day event run from a custom food stage/demo area which featured several of the restaurants and retailers in Bond Street, and a decent amount of free food!!! I went down on the Friday, in the sunshine, and checked out most of what was on offer, and it was worth a visit.

A friendly and personable presenter asked each chef questions and talked more about their restaurants and the food on offer, and some other useful info which you might not find out if you were just dining there.

John Lewis offered free samples of several different cakes, all available in their Place To Eat Café, and spoke about their menu items, then a chef from Prezzo demonstrated dishes including Bruschetta and Ravioli. They were also joined by staff from Las Iguanas who put together a number of finger food dishes, also handing out samples and giving an insight into their varied latin menu.

One of the dishes they demonstrated was:

XinXim - Chicken & crayfish in a creamy lime & peanut sauce with spring onion rice, fine green beans, sweet plantain & sprinkled with coconut farofa.

Although I missed the talk I also picked up a leaflet on the Grape and Grain trail, a promotion

Free samples I tasted:

Rosewater Victoria Sponge, John Lewis - The first sample I tried, and filling even for a small piece. It was sweet, but not overly so and had a very nice taste.

Salted Caramel Puddle, Hotel Chocolat - Basically a chocolate button, but a high end one. I would never have picked up anything salted caramel in the shops, and I'm not a big chocolate eater, but this was unexpected. It had a tang from the salt that I liked.

Chicken nuggets and BBQ sauce, Byron - Byron presented their samples in cute little takeaway boxes, with little cups inside full of food, along with a menu and voucher. These were my favourite items, the sauce had a lot of flavour, and the chicken nuggets were really nice as well, definitely a step-up as a takeaway and one I would order.

Mac 'n' Cheese, Byron - I'm not really a fan of cheesy sauces so wouldn't order this, but it was a very cheesy sauce and flavourful, and well cooked.

This was lunch and a little bit more, and I was a bit full up when teatime came around! It was something new to add interest to the summer, and finally made use of what had been quiet public space.

I hope they have more events planned through the rest of the year, as I enjoyed this food break to my day.

Find out more about Bond Street and it's events @ :

Facebook
Twitter
#BondStreetBites