Keep Calm

The things I do…..

I was determined that I wanted a doll with the WWII KEEP CALM poster as the body but it needed to say KEEP CALM AND COUNT TO TEN and fit in the body of the doll. Humm. So this is what I went thru to make that happen.

First I went looking for the info on the poster. All well and good, there is a lot of info on it out there, both historical info and parodies/versions galore. There are many many hits of people asking for the font, and the general consensus is that it was hand-drawn but there are a number of suggestions for close matches, most of which, to my eye, are way off. The one that I think looks closest is AVENIR (not free) in 85 Heavy weight (there is a heavier weight but it looks too thick and chunky)

although when I played with it,  it looked a bit thin.  One of the nice things about the Mac, and the ancient program I use is you can force a BOLD effect on a font even when you don’t have a BOLD weight installed.  That seemed to bring it closer in line with the poster.

To get THAT, I found a poster here in SVG or PNG format, which I grabbed.

OK, so then I opened the poster in Appleworks Paint and filled the CARRY ON letters with the red.  I could have done this in Photoshop, bit I wanted to slightly increase the letter weight and can only do THAT in Appleworks. So I added the text I wanted and saved it.

I opened THAT up in Photoshop  then opened the PDF of the doll bits and copied the body only using the TOOLS.  I opened a new Photoshop file, transparent, RGB, and pasted the body.  I filled the body with black then removed the surrounding white bit, resized the poster and dragged it over the black image.  I Grouped with Previous (old, old Photoshop) and that filled the body with the poster.  Because of the curved middle I had to make the poster smaller than it should have been so I just then filled the rest of the black body with the red paint.


Still with me?

I printed THAT on to white cardstock, with a matte paper setting and photo quality and that will work for me!

No comments from smug digital experts who can tell me 10 different easier ways to do this LOL!  I may take the scenic route, but I get there in the end!

The font is not perfect, and on further reflection I may have simply deleted ALL but the crown and filled it with my font choice, but frankly (as my first doll testifies) I am NOT a perfectionist (Carmen, your daughter and I should meet – I think we are a lot alike LOL!) and it’s good enough as it is.

At this point I am at four completed dolls with two more on the go, and looking at my window that may be all that can fit, especially if I interspersed the dolls with words (still thinking NOTES TO SELF) and they are turning out to be a real eclectic mix of scrapping, stamping, fabric, digi work, and more.  I can’t tell you when I have had more creative fun.  Hope I am not boring you with these little cautionary ladies – I have so many ideas for other versions on them that I am in danger of getting obsessive!

I’ll share the others when they are done.


Paper doll banner

My banner is coming along. Here are two more, templates from the same link from yesterday. These are a blast to make, I must say, and I can’t wait to get them all strung up!

First, one that reminds me that “life is too short to wear uncomfortable shoes” – I am all about comfort over style, I’m afraid. Right now I am wearing sweat pants (what do they call them here? joggers? track suit bottoms? something like that!) and a flannel shirt that was last in “fashion” (and I use that term VERY loosely) when the Seattle grunge scene and Nirvana hit. Soooooo comfy. The doll has clock faces stamped on her body (time, get it?) and the shoes are a pair of Yves Saint Laurent “cage shoes” that I grabbed off the net, reduces, then flipped one and printed on patterned paper. It’s hard to tell but the arms are stamped with a two-step dance diagram and there is a shimmer of glimmer mist over it. Hair is obviously a flower, folded in half.

The next one is a reminder to always, always Make Time For Art!  The face is a vintage image of Louise Brooks, reduced and printed on cardstock (printer setting for MATTE PAPER really helps) and she has tiny little Scrabble letters (another ancient bit of stash) around the clock face (time again!) behind her head.  The body is a collage sheet from some old issue of Somerset Studios (possible 4 or 5 years old!) and the legs are covered with little snips from a Starbucks flyer.  Shimelle used them to great effect once, many years ago, and I grabbed some the next time I was in Starbucks – they have sat in my collage drawer ever since.  What better way to get wired for creativity than lots and lots of coffee?

You can just about see the wings (from a monarch butterfly colouring page) and the shimmer on it.

I have a third on the go, a reminder to just say NO to hats, even when going to a wedding since hats in no way suit me, and another planned which I will likely use the wartime Keep Calm poster for the body, and which will remind me to keep my temper.  I imagine my window would fit at least 6 but maybe as many as 10.  We’ll see if I run out of ideas or interest after these.

I think I MAY try to string letters in there too, saying maybe NOTE TO SELF or something like that.  We shall see…..


WOYWW with a story

I just love my sister.  We don’t agree on much – she’s a Republican, I’m a Democrat, she’s a bit religious, I am SO NOT,  she is a confirmed digital scrapper and I am firmly in the paper and glue world – but it doesn’t matter at all.  We talk almost every week, thanks to a US phone number that rings here in the UK, and she is at once good and bad for my ego.  She reads my blog and tells me I am a “scrapping goddess” which is nice to hear but sometimes leaves me in danger of believing her, making my head swell to unreasonable proportions.  Combining that with a comment on one of my YouTube slide shows this week, which is possibly the nicest thing I have ever had posted as a comment, my feet had left the ground, a bit.  Now SI has stopped, I don’t even have the regular smacks downs telling me how old hat and rubbish I am to ground me LOL!

So yesterday I was starting a project that was mostly an experiment based on a few templates I found online.  Printable paper dolls and mermaids to cut and decorate here and a load of differently sized and shaped angels wings here really sparked my creativity.  Although I am totally in love with mini-books nowadays, I consider myself primarily a scrapbooker – I often say I am no stamper, but I can manage a decent effort if I concentrate.

So I was playing, not really intending to have something keep-able, just playing with techniques and my new Distress Ink bundle and made something I rather liked.  I realized I had mis-spelled GOD(D)ESS but as I didn’t intend it as anything other than a creative exercise  (it was on plain printer paper for a start) I didn’t let it bother me.

The more I thought about it the more I really didn’t want to start the whole thing over again, as I was liking how it was progressing.  This morning I finished it and decided where the whole thing was heading – I will be making more of these, and string them as a little banner at the top of my window. Each one will be something I need to remind myself.

This one is clearly a reminder that I have to take what my sister says with a grain of salt!  She loves me so her opinion of my work is coloured by that.  And I know I am no angel and definitely no crafty goddess, as nice as it is to occasionally hear.  And the reminder will, hopefully, make me strive to be better – or at the very least less careless, more attentive, and to “check my work”


Crochet edge video

Just a quick one. This assumes you know basic crochet but if not there is a link in the info section on YouTube for a basic crochet video you can watch!

I think YouTube is taking a while to catch up to the fact this is a PUBLIC and not PRIVATE video. If it hasn’t sorted itself out shortly I’ll try again!

It does seem to play if you click once then click again over the bit that tells you it’s private, FYI!



Today, more a specific project than a site. How cool is this and how bad do you want one?

Yes, it’s a door curtain made out of old slides!


And check out the table lamp in the same post as well.

It does take me back to my university days when I seemed to know a large number of people who made their own chain mail, using a roll of wire, a drill to twist it into a coil, hours and hours with first a wire snip to separate the rings from the coil then hours and hours more with a pair of pliers, attaching them together to create a whole cloth. I’m guessing you can get strong jump rings to do the same thing if you don’t have chain mail links hanging around the house!

Happy Mother’s day! (in the UK – US moms will have to wait a bit longer. Lucky me, I can usually wrangle both)


Crochet edgings

This one is a bit wacky. I enjoyed playing with my crochet hooks last week so took them out again to make the base of a mini-book with crochet edgings on each page.

I’ll add more specifics later, as I still have to front cover to do (There are loads of edging patterns available for free on the internet so I am looking for the perfect one for the cover) but I didn’t want another day to go by with no posts!

I did a layout a year or more ago that also had a crochet edge, and since then have been planning to do something along the same lines again. As ever the idea was there but the execution took way longer than it should have!

The layout was backed with a pale plue piece of cardstock in the final version but this is the photo I had handy so it will have to do!


cooking, not scrapping!

So I am working on a quite OTT mini-book, but it is def. taking longer than anticipated, so I thought I would deviate and blog DH’s birthday feast.

Basically it’s slow cooked chicken (I do it in the crock-pot, with a jar of salsa) shredded with fried onions an peppers, wrapped in a softened corn tortilla with sauce and cheese, lined up in a lightly oiled baking tin, smothered in enchilada sauce and cheese, baked for about 45 mins or until hot and bubbling – served with sour cream and guacamole and the hot sauce of your choice.

DH is something of a Hot Sauce fan!  The scary one is Dave’s ULTIMATE Insanity Sauce, as that is not really meant to be eaten as sauce.  It’s what you use when you make your own hot sauce to add the heat, a drop at a time with the warning “for use as an additive, not for direct consumption.” and has been reported as having a Scoville rating of 250,000

And here is a tip for you – no one in my family can stand the guacamole they sell in the supermarket – any brand, any store, it all sucks.  I make my own from avocado, lime juice, chopped cilantro (coriander leaves), finely diced red onions, the fleshy bit from nice tomatoes (no juice, no seeds, no slimy bits) and (non-traditionally) a dollop of sour cream and leave the boys to add what heat they prefer.  If you have ever made guacamole you know that it goes black quickly, so you tend to have to make it very last minute and consume all in one go.  What I do is mix it up then put it in a glass bowl, as nearly matching the volume as I can.  Squeeze a bit of extra lime juice over the top, then lay a piece of cling film directly on the surface.  Press it down, get any air bubbles out, and make sure the film is right up to the edge of the glass on the surface.  You can then store the guac in the fridge and no blackening – I made it on Saturday and last night we at the last of it and if anything it had improved with age!

We will return to crafting with WOYWW tomorrow.

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Quickie minibook

I got a small blank oval-scalloped chipboard mini in a GoGo kit at some point – once they stopped including the brochures I never really know what I have, to be honest. It could be Kaiser or Maya Road, I don’t know. I do know it’s been a while since I got it, I think, and unfortunately I didn’t realize it was flawed until I started working with it – one of the scallops is cut off. It doesn’t bother me hugely, as I don’t make much for publication, where I think it WOULD matter, so it certainly didn’t stop me from using it!

I had bought a Nonsense pad from someplace, probably QVC, and used quite a lot of the bits in a word book, but had quite a lot of chopped up patterned paper left. I didn’t want something vintage-y or bulky for this one, so the pages are dead simple, with just a few bits cut from the scraps to decorate. I am pleased to say that I didn’t cut into a single sheet of full paper, only used scraps, but I think it looks cute anyway. I may add the odd bloom or some more bling, but then again I may not. The mats take small 2×2 photos and there is room for a but of handwritten journaling right on the pages, but I wouldn’t do much, if I’m honest.

What I did like about it is the B-I-G blooms I found at Hobby Craft for about 99p, which when separated left me with a HUGE number of flowers. They fit perfectly behind the ovals. I always loved the mini I did built on flower petals but didn’t want to just make another like that. I was also pleased to see that my old CM oval cutter fit perfectly as well. Ovals, unlike circles, tend to be widely varying shapes, some more pointy, some more rounded, some fat, some thin. That the shape of the oval mini was just the same shape and proportion of the chipboard mini was a real boon. It made the whole cutting and covering easy peasy.

I used Distress ink to ink the scallops, uncovered by the patterned paper ovals, but painted them with Gesso first. Ungesso-ed the ink is quite dull on the chipboard. The last page I left gessoed in the middle as it has journaling lines embossed in the center and I thought I would just write on that page.

The flowers are sandwiched between the cover and the first page, and behind the last page, with a plain cardboard cut “page” at the back.

I HAD planned on attacking a layout or two but just couldn’t find the photos I wanted. Maybe today…..



Let’s see – there is so much to share! This one is in no way craft related but as I have been recovering from a day of cooking the ultimate mexican feast for my lovely DH on his birthday, I thought I would share one of my favourite sites – American Soda.

DH misses, more than just about anything other than decent Mexican food, Borden’s Egg Nog.  Usually you don’t see it in the stores except at Christmas and we don’t usually go back to the US for Christmas so miss it every year.

As he is not a cake fan, this year for his birthday instead-of-cake pudding he got a eggnog and vanilla ice cream milkshake.  Yum Yum

So if you are craving neon orange Kraft Mac&Cheese, Pumpkin pie filling, cinnamon Teddy Grahams or grits, this is the place for you. They also have a few non-food items, like the small snack-size ZipLock bags.  It’s worth a click just for an insight into the bizarre feeding habits of Americans.  Fluffernutter (peanut butter and marshmallow fluff) sandwiches, anyone? (and for the record, I think they are GROSS but I knew kids who would walk over hot coals to get to one!)