Monday 1 September 2014

The Creative Blog Hop

I thought this post would be short, but as you will discover, it's the longest post I've ever made.  I hope you are still awake at the end - if you make it that far!

The Creative Blog Hop
It’s Monday and  my turn to join in with The Creative Blog Hop (TCBH). In case this is the first time you’ve come across the TCBH, it is the brain child of a blogger, whose identity seems to have disappeared along the way as the hop progressed. The hop includes all kinds of artists: watercolour, paint, mixed media, and card, as well as writers, photographers, and all sorts of needlework artists.

The idea is for us, as Bloggers, to get to know each other better - some describe is as a game of 'Tag, You're It'. Each Blogger answers four questions about themselves and afterwards they "tag" three more Bloggers and so on and so on it goes. 

The Creative Blog Hop is always held on a Monday.

Meet my tagger:
I was delighted to be tagged by the talented Veerle.  I only met Veerle online a month ago on the Pixie’s Crafty Workshop blog, when we both took part in the challenge for the first time in the same week.  The lovely Di introduced us both on her blog the following week and since then we’ve been following each others blogs, as well as emailing each other. Veerle makes beautiful cards, with very detailed instructions of how they are made on her blog.  She also translates everything into English, which is very helpful for me! Have a look at her blog to see all her gorgeous creations.

My Interview:
My apologies if you read some of this last week on Veerle’s blog when she introduced me last week.  Just skip past the next few paragraphs!  I thought I’d include it again in case you’ve just found my blog by accident.  If you have…. welcome to my blog!

I live in West Country in England with my husband, Alan. On September 14th 2014 we will be celebrating our Ruby Wedding Anniversary – 40 years!! …..where do the years go?? 

At the ripe old age of 37, after running a local playgroup for several years, I decided to train to be a primary school teacher – something I’d always wanted to do.  So off I went to University, where I studied for four years, managing to organise family life with two teenage children at the same time.  After qualifying, I was lucky enough to get a teaching job in a local Infant school, where I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, until I retired in 2011.  Teaching young children between four and seven years old gave me lots of opportunities to be creative with them, which was always great fun.  I used to make every child in my class a personalised birthday card and enjoyed watching them trying to guess what picture I had put on the front, before they opened the envelope. My collection of dinosaur, footballer, pirate, train, aeroplane, fairy, ballet dancer and mermaid stamps grew during the years I was teaching! I still run an after school scrapbooking club for 6 and 7 year olds with a very good friend who was my teaching assistant, which we started about eight or nine years ago. Each child completes a 6 x 6 chipboard album, complete with photos.  This year we also ran an after school cardmaking club for 5 and 6 year olds. It’s really satisfying to see the children being so proud of what they have produced. They especially enjoyed using the Big Shot to emboss! Hopefully it has started some of them off on a creative journey which will last a lifetime. Here are a few of the cards that the children made.

When I retired I decided to cross another thing off my ‘bucket list’ and start my own blog.  Initially it was just a personal record of some of the things I was making.  I thought I’d be able to look back and see how my cardmaking styles have changed over the years.  I didn’t really think anyone would be interested in anything on my blog. However, three years on and I’ve discovered there’s a whole big blogging world out there, with lots of lovely people who write positive comments on my blog.  I enjoy following other blogs too, as it’s great to look at all the other styles of cardmaking and pick up some great ideas along the way.  In July this year, I finally worked out how to get a ‘Followers’ gadget and several bloggers have been kind enough to follow me.  I’m currently up to eighteen!  It would be great if you would follow my blog too.

My Mum was very creative and I guess she passed on to me her love of trying new creative hobbies.  In the past I’ve enjoyed hobbies such as sewing, cross stitch, patchwork, knitting, crochet, cake decorating and even making corn dollies.  These days cardmaking, scrapbooking and other paper crafts are the crafty hobbies I enjoy most.  Although I’m happy trying to be creative on my own,  it’s always lovely to craft with friends. I’m lucky enough to have several crafty friends who live locally and I try and get to the monthly ‘crop and craft’ days when I can, which are great for sharing ideas and learning new techniques.   I must say that these days are not always terribly productive, but there is always lots of chatting, laughter and chocolate!   I ran a cardmaking workshop recently for a group of friends who had never made a card before.  It was so much fun and despite adhesive pearls pinging around the room as they slipped out of the tweezers, they were really pleased with their finished cards. Weeks later and I’m still finding tiny pearls stuck to my dining room floor!

Last year, I saw that Lavinia Stamps were starting up a new Challenge Blog.  As I love Lavinia stamps, I thought I'd enter one of my cards into the challenge - the first time I'd entered a cardmaking challenge.  It was only when I looked at the other cards entries and saw other cardmakers were entering various challenges,  that I realised that there were hundreds of cardmaking challenges online.  How I wish I known about these before!  

My son and daughter have long flown the nest, so I am lucky enough to have my own craft room where I can shut myself away and try to be creative.  I’d love to be able to say it’s always tidy…. but that would be a lie!  I usually tidy it when I can’t see the table anymore.

Welcome to my craft room.

Here are a few photos taken when I first organised my craft room. It's not quite so tidy now!   In fact it's nowhere near as tidy now!  LOL!

This is a photo of my craft table today - before I had a chance to make it messy!!  

1. What Am I Working On Now?
I’m thinking about a design for a card for Alan for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary, although I’ll have to post a photo later in case he happens to look at my blog before the big day! Friends of ours married on exactly the same day as us, although we didn’t know them then, so I’ll be working on a card for them too. There are also cards to make for a few family members’ birthdays, a friend’s baby who is due any day and a wedding.  I’ve booked to have a stall at a two charity fund-raising craft fairs over the next couple of months, so I’m in the middle of making cards, gift boxes, corner bookmarks, altered notebooks and a few other bits and pieces for those.  

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I guess my favourite style of card to make is CAS and I also love to experiment with different card folds.  I’m getting better at inking on my cards, but I still can’t seem to use torn paper.  It looks great on other people’s cards but on mine, it looks like I just couldn’t be bothered to cut it in straight line! 

3. Why do I create what I do?
Relaxation and enjoyment!  When I was teaching full time, I loved to switch off from all the paperwork and have some ‘me time’.  Shutting myself away with lots of crafty things around me was my idea of heaven!  Alan’s as pleased as I am that I’ve got my own craft room as he can watch the football on TV in peace!  

Now that I only teach occasionally as a supply teacher, I have lots more time for crafting.   I love to make cards for other people because I can make them individual for each person. I could never seem to find the perfect shop-bought card, but making them myself I can personalise each one.  I still get a bit of a buzz when someone says something complimentary about a card I’ve made especially for them. Entering cards for online challenges sometimes takes me out of my comfort zone, which I think is a good thing for any cardmaker.

Also, like many other cardmakers, I find it’s a great way to raise money for charity. About twelve years ago my daughter worked as a volunteer in a Romanian orphanage for a few months.  She wanted to raise fund for the orphanage and I guess that’s when I first realised that people would actually buy my cards and I could make money out of my hobby to support the charity. 

4. How does my creative process work?
Although I have an initial idea in my head,  what I’m making tends to evolve as I go along.  I’ll have an idea of a stamp or die cut I want to use and usually a colour scheme. Sometimes the finished result is nothing like my initial idea! If I see a new card fold on a blog or in a magazine, I usually try and make it soon after, so I don’t forget about it.  I always make the fold out of paper first to keep as a template for future cards.  

What happens next:
I am delighted to introduce the three talented bloggers I’ve tagged (in no particular order).  These creative friends will continue the blog hop on Monday 8th September, so please make a note to visit their blogs next week.

Firstly I would like to introduce my ‘messy friend’ Lynne.  (I know she’ll take that as a compliment!) I first met Lynne about 8 or 9 years ago through a mutual crafty friend. Lynne is never happier than when she’s covered in ink and glitter.  In fact there can’t be a colour of glitter she doesn’t own!  She is also mad about beads…… but I’m sure she’ll tell you all about that in the post on her blog next week.

Lynne said:
I've been crafting in different ways all my life. I started with card stencils my Gran bought me when I was 5. I've dabbled in many crafts (knitting, quilting, torchon lace to name a few), but these days concentrate on paper craft and beading. There's nothing like sitting down and creating to help you forget all your worries. 

My second tagee is Rebecca, Lynne’s daughter.  Lynne has passed on her creative streak to Rebecca, who has recently started up her own blog.   She’s just added a Followers gadget and would be thrilled to get more followers. Rebecca loves to cook as well as experiment with other crafts, so her blog combines the two.  Although Rebecca’s blog is new, she has already made lots of posts showing a variety of beautiful crafty projects she has made.  

Rebecca said:
I’m Rebecca and I am 24, I have been crafting for approximately 23 of those years! You could say crafting is hard wired into my DNA, my paternal grandma was very creative as is my mum. My favourite crafts include card making and scrap booking, though I have also been dabbling into mixed media lately. I like to learn new crafts, 9 times out of 10 it is my mum who introduces me to them, and I often return from a visit to my parents armed with lots of new ideas and a bag full of materials so I can play to my hearts content. When I’m not at my craft desk (or doing boring every day things like the washing!!) you can probably find me in the kitchen, as cooking is my other main hobby. Recently I decided to combine both of these passions into a blog (I have only been blogging for a little under a month) in order to meet some like minded people.

Finally, I would like to introduce Maarit.  I first met Maarit online when I found her lovely blog through Pixie’s Crafty Workshop and she was kind enough to agree to become one of my followers.  I love visiting Maarit’s lovely blog as it has lots of inspiration with her many different styles of cards. Every time I visit her blog there is always something different to see.

Maarit said:
First of all, I'm delighted and honoured that the talented Liz asked me to be her tagee and join the Creative Blog Hop. I love her creative projects, they are very inspiring, at the moment I'm thinking of how to make lovely book marks.

I've always been crafting as I find it relaxing and it gives a lot of pleasure. It's perfect after a busy day at work or when health issues take their toll. When I craft I forget about outside world and there's nothing more amazing than to give away something that you've made and see the receivers delighted look. The bin gets the disaster creations!

Please visit my tagees' lovely blogs on Monday 8th September, when they will be making their post for TCBH.

And finally, remember........


  1. A lovely post Liz, it's so nice to get to know you a bit better. I love your photos of the childrens amazing cards, you must be an excellent teacher. You have a lovely craft room to work in. I long to have a proper room, but it is not possible where we live now.
    Jean x

  2. Oh Liz, I so enjoyed reading your post. I am very glad that you are one of my blog friends. Lovely cards the kids made, so nice. And auwch I am jealous of your beautiful craft room. My blog is called Veerle's little card corner and that has a reason because my craft spot is sooooooooo tiny. Ah well maybe one day sigh. LOL . So nice you joined into the TCBH. Biiiiig hug from Veerle xxxxx

  3. Oh this was fascinating Liz! And your craft room look huge to me - I guess we always expand to fill the available space though in the end :)

    Hugs, Di xx

  4. Hi Liz, I certainly enjoyed reading your TCBH post & learning lots more about you. Your craft room looks extremely well organized & love all the colorful bins you have for storage too. I can see why you enjoy your classes with the youngsters, and you have some wonderful cards showing that you've made. It must be a wonderful feeling knowing you're inspiring the next generation to develop their creative genes. I'm already your follower, and Maarit's as well, but I shall visit your next 2 taggees to learn to know a little about them. I hope you'll visit me when you have time, and perhaps become a follower at my blog too. TFS with us and big congratulations on your upcoming Ruby anniversary. That is a huge milestone. Hugs

  5. Your craft room is lovely! The bins look great in those wooden stands. I liked the pop of colours!

    You have loads of those fun little boxes that stack. They look great on your desk. I have just seen them at Michaels in the past year or so. They stack so neatly!

    Loved to see the cards the kiddies had made. My grandaughter is turning 8 in October and makes lovely cards too...they are so creative at that age!


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