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Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Another birthday card to inspire you, and a handmade nature journal too!

Hi everyone

Today we'd like to share with you an 8x8 birthday card and a nature journal, both made using Craft Consortium's Riverbank collection. The papers in the collection are gorgeous, and the toppers allow you to create realistic river scenes.

For this card, you need an 8x8 card blank. Take one of the papers - we chose the one which looks like water - and use it as the base layer. Then cut out lots of the lovely toppers from the inside cover of the paper pad, using a craft knife and scissors with a small curved blade, and build up a pretty water scene complete with reeds, bullrushes, dragonfly and damselfly, an otter looking for a meal, a frog resting on a lily pad and a kingfisher watching over everyone, or any other combination you choose. Just lay out your scene, play around with it until you're happy, and then glue all the pieces in place. We love how this scene comes together so easily but with such impact.

Stamp the sentiment using any stamp of your choice - we chose a Ranger Letter It stamp set because the words are a lovely size - and stamp it with black archival ink onto white card. Cut the sentiment card to a pennant shape and apply Pumice Stone Distress Ink to tone it down.

Inside ....

.... Use a paper of your choice to cover both sides - you can see we chose one covered in fish! Then cut the centre sentiment shapes (we used Tim Holtz's die set Stacked Baroque). The word "celebrate" is again from a Ranger Letter It stamp set. Cut more toppers from the inside cover of the paper pad and add these to the centres. And finally add some decorative corners to finish.


And here's the front again - isn't it effective, and so dimensional?

Next is a handmade nature journal. You can make journal covers using dies - there are quite a few on the market, or you can go old school, like we did, and make one without using a die at all.

Take a piece of 2mm thick chipboard double the size of the journal you want to make and score it from top to bottom twice to create a 1-inch "spine" in the centre. Paint it with white acrylic paint on the inside and around the edges.

Cut a strip of paper to cover the outside of the spine and glue it in place, making sure it's long enough to continue up into the inside of the spine a little way. Tear strips of paper from a couple of sheets and ink the edges with Pumice Stone Distress Ink to age them. Glue them randomly onto the front and back covers using clear drying glue and trim all the edges as necessary. Apply a thin coat of sealer on top to help protect the cover from wear and tear.

Cut a wider strip of another paper and turn this into a band for around the centre of the journal to hold it together when not in use, or you could use ribbon or an elastic band if you prefer. Make sure the band isn't too tight around the journal, or you won't be able to slide it on and off. Use strong double-sided tape to fix the two ends of the band together.

Decorate the front cover however you choose - we used more toppers from the Riverbank paper pad.

Punch a hole at each end of the spine.

Now for the inside.

Decorate the inside front and back covers with paper of your choice, we used the same paper as for the band.

Cut out lots more of the toppers from the inside cover of the paper pad.

Create slots and pockets (we used Tim Holtz's Stitched Slots and Gift Card Bag dies for these) using more papers, to hold all the toppers, and glue these to the front and back inside covers. Fill with your toppers. The idea behind this is that you can use a quickie glue pen to glue them to your journal pages when you spot any of these creatures or plants when out on your nature walks and then write notes alongside, such as where you were, date, etc., when you spotted them.

Finally, take some Baker's Twine or other strong thread and thread it through the holes. We added a Dragonfly charm from the Riverbank Collection to decorate the thread on the outside of the journal. Take sheets of your favourite art paper (be it watercolour, cartridge or something else) and cut them to the right size for your journal. Feed them through behind the Baker's Twine, and you're good to go!

We hope this inspires you to make something unique and special.

Bye for now!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Birthday Card inspiration

Hello everyone

So, today I have an 8x8 birthday card to share with you which uses a number of products currently available in our shop.

Ingredients (all available in our shop):
Ranger Letter It stamp set Birthday
Sara Signature Parisian Collection paper pad
Sizzix Thinlits My Life Handmade Garden Florals (662514)
Sizzix Thinlits Butterflies by Sophie Guilar (662516)
Sizzix Thinlits Pretty Wreath by Pete Hughes (662575 - looks like we only have 1 of these left in stock - best grab it quick!)
Sizzix Thinlits Blossom Frame (662856)
Sizzix Bigz Opulent Vine (662505)
Sizzix Bigz Rustic Bouquet (662501)
Sweet Dixie Nesting Ovals (SDD164)
Couture Creations Le Petit Jardin collection die Mini Jardin Corners (CO725938)
Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pads Shaded Lilac, Worn Lipstick and Pumice Stone
Ranger Jet Black Archival Ink Pad
Acrylic block
Foam pads
Double-sided adhesive tape

  1. Cover the front of your card blank (I used an 8x8 size - tent fold (crease at the top, so it looks like a tent when it is standing up) with your chosen paper using double-sided adhesive tape, leaving a narrow border all round.
  2. Cut a rectangle of white card and, using a co-ordinating paper, cover that, again leaving a narrow border all round. Fix this at an angle on the card front.
  3. Fussy cut the leaves from the green sheet (which features a large image of a lady in a hat and dress) and glue this on the left to form a kind of border. Apply a little pumice stone ink around the edges for definition.
  4. Die-cut the pretty wreath out of black card and glue that in place.
  5. Die-cut the Opulent Vine twice from green paper from the paper pad. Apply a little pumice stone ink around the edges for definition.
  6. Die-cut the Rustic Bouquet flowers out of another co-ordinating sheet from the paper pad, ensuring you have enough petals to make two generous layered blooms.
  7. Using the distress inks, colour the backs of the flowers (these papers are single-sided so plain white on the reverse). Then layer up your blooms using half from the patterned side of the paper and half from the plain, inked side of the paper, to provide contrast and glue the layers together. Use a curling tool or anything with a round handle (I used the handle of my pokey tool) to curl the petals in a little to add shape.
  8. For the centres of the flowers, use the stamen die from the Thinlits Garden Florals set and die-cut twice from black card. Glue one into the centre of each flower and gently tease up the stamens to add shape.
  9. Glue the opulent vine leaves to the back of the flowers and then fix these in place on your card.
  10. Die-cut the butterfly from the Thinlits Garden Florals set once, and a smaller butterfly from the Thinlits Butterflies set, again using co-ordinating paper. Fix these in place and add a clear rhinestone (or two) to the bodies.
  11. Stamp the Happy Birthday sentiment from the Letter It set using black archival ink onto white card and cut the card into a pennant shape. Ink around the edges a little and add three clear rhinestones. Fix this to the card front using foam pads.

Now for the inside of the card!

  1. Select a matching paper and fix to the inside, again leaving a narrow border.
  2. Die-cut the floral frame from one of the green papers using the Thinlits Blossom Frame die. Apply pumice stone ink around the edges for definition. Fix this to your card.
  3. Die-cut an oval from white card using the Sweet Dixie Nesting Ovals die set. It needs to be large enough to cover the central oval space in the blossom frame and to accommodate your chosen sentiment. Ink it around the edges with the Worn Lipstick distress ink.
  4. Stamp your sentiment using the jet black archival ink. I used a sentiment from the Ranger Letter It Birthday stamp set.
  5. Add two decorative corners using the Couture Creations Le Petit Jardin collection Mini Jardin Corners die and fix these in place at opposite corners as shown.
Now for the third panel. This is a bit more of a reflection of the design on the front of the card.

  1. Cover with the same paper as the other panels.
  2. Create a rectangle using white card covered with the same co-ordinating paper as used on the rectangle on the front of the card and fix this at an angle to the card base.
  3. Create a smaller version of the flower you used on the front, using the same steps as previously described.
  4. Cut a further two opulent vines. Ink them around the edges as before. Fix the flower and foliage to the bottom right corner of the rectangle.
  5. Add two decorative corners at opposite corners, as for panel 2.
So, that completes your two inside panels!

And that's it! Your card is complete!

Here are a few close-ups of some of the detail:


I hope you will have a go at this card, or something similar. I love how so many different products can be used together in one project, and that's what it's all about for me. It was a joy to work on and the finished card, well, let's just say I'm rather pleased with it!

Bye for now.
Julie x

Friday, 26 April 2019

Champagne Edger Die inspiration

Hi everyone

I just wanted to share a couple of cards I made using the Paper Cuts Champagne Edger die. For those who haven't heard of them, the Paper Cuts Edger dies cut intricate decorative edges into your cards, gift tags and gift boxes; they could also be used for home decor projects. There are some stunning designs and I love them! So far I've only had time to play with the Champagne Edger die and below I have provided brief step-by-steps for both cards.

In the first one I also used papers from the Sara Signature Parisian Collection paper pad. These are pretty papers in a variety of colours and designs. Some are quite obviously Paris-themed, but many are more generic and so can be used for a wide variety of projects.

So, quick step-by-steps:

  1. Decide how much of the front of your card you want to "lose". For example you could line this die up to cut as close to the right side of the card as you can, but I chose to take about a third of the front of my card out, so I lined up the die further over on the card. Remember to open your card out so that you only cut the design out of the front of the card.
  2. Pass this through your die-cutting machine - any machine with a 6-inch cutting platform should do the trick.
  3. Unless you've chosen a card the exact length of the die, you will then need to continue the cut at the top and bottom with a pair of scissors to give you a completely cut-out edge design.
  4. I wanted paper behind the design so that the card could have a central sentiment on the inside and also be written on without the writing showing through the cut-out design. So I chose a paper from the Parisian paper pad and glued it in place. These papers are single-sided, so white on the back. Then came the fiddly part - cutting out all those nooks and crannies around the paper cut edge. It took a while and a fair bit of patience and was quite tricky and I used both small bladed scissors and my craft knife for this job. Then I went around the areas where I'd still got little paper tags where I didn't want them with an emery board, and this smoothed them off quite nicely.
  5. I finished the front with a strip of matching paper on the left side and edged it with some pretty lace from my stash. Then I just added a few clear rhinestones to put the sparkle into the champagne!
  6. Inside, where I'd cut around all those fiddly shapes, I used Distress Ink Pad Worn Lipstick (this colour tied in nicely with the colours in the paper I'd chosen) to disguise any slightly rough bits, and it also made a nice feature of the design on the inside. You can just see it in the image below.
  7. I also added a further strip of the same paper on the inside left half, and added one of the stars which came from die-cutting the edger design.
  8. On the right side I used more of the same paper and added some decorative corners using the Couture Creations Le Petit Jardin Collection die set called Mini Jardin Corners.

The second card was slightly more time consuming because I wanted to use patterned paper all around the die-cut design and leave the card white on the inside.

  1. Take a square 6x6 card blank. Cover the front with your chosen paper - make sure you glue everywhere to stick it in place, otherwise when you cut out the design, half of the paper won't be stuck to the card! A spray adhesive would work well here but if using this, make sure you're in a well ventilated room and avoid inhaling it! I chose papers from the First Edition Black Out paper pad.
  2. Position the die so that it die-cuts right up to the right edge of the card front. Remember - when you run it through the die-cutting machine, open the card out so you only cut the front!
  3. You then need to die-cut the paper cuts design again, using plain white card.
  4. Now, this is where it gets fiddly! You now need to cut all around the champagne glasses and ribbon bow in the design, so that you are only left with that part of the design. it is time-consuming and you have to be careful where you cut so that you don't lose bits of the design in the process, but it is worth it! Once you have your cut-out champagne glasses and ribbon bow, glue them in place, lining them up carefully.
  5. To complete the front, I added a strip of white embossed card and some black organza ribbon and a stamped sentiment (Ranger Letter It stamps) which I cut into a pennant. Finish with some clear rhinestones for added sparkle!
  6. Inside I simply covered the right side of the card with the same white embossed card I'd used for the strip on the front. It's from a pack called Elegantly Embossed, which was produced by Craftwork Cards quite some time ago, but we do still have some in stock.

Well, that's all from me for now. I hope these two cards will inspire you to have a play with the Paper Cuts Edger dies and see how many different looks you can achieve.

See you soon!

Julie x

Thursday, 18 April 2019


Hi everyone

In case you're looking for a few bargains (and let's face it, who isn't?!), we have a big sale on in our shop right now! You can save up to 40% on some of your favourite products and brands, so head over and fill your baskets - guaranteed calorie free!!!

We are closed for the Easter break but all orders will be shipped from 23rd April (next Tuesday!).

Happy Easter!

Julie & the rest of the Beebaab team

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Bubbalux Plaque/Home Decor Project

Hello everyone

Well, our lovely sunny weather continues, but it is set to change next week, with cooler temperatures returning and even some rain - goodness knows the gardens need it! And I can't quite believe it is already August - this year is flying by so fast!

So, on this glorious summer Sunday, I would like to share with you a sign/hanging plaque I just finished earlier today and I hope you like it. I forgot to take step-by-step photos - sorry - but I will talk you through the process.

Bubbalux Ultimate Craft Board - red, blue and yellow
Foam sheet - blue
Sizzix Textured Impressions Embossing Folder Plus - Botanical Swirls by Rachael Bright
Sizzix Bigz Alphabet Die - J
Tim Holtz 3-D Texture Fades Embossing Folder - Botanical
Tim Holtz 3-D Texture Fades Embossing Folder - Lumber
Sizzix Thinlits Die Large Delicate Butterfly by David Tutera
Sizzix Bigz Die Asian Flower by Debi Potter
Heat Tool
DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic White Paint
DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic - Prussian Blue Hue
Distress Ink - Pumice Stone
Craft knife
Flat/Wash brush
Strong acrylic glue
Red craft wire
Emery board

(1) Using a craft knife, cut a sheet of the red Bubbalux in half, giving you two A5 sized pieces.

(2) Emboss one of the A5 pieces using the Sizzix Textured Impressions Embossing Folder Plus - Botanical Swirls. You will have to play around with your machine and platforms/shims and cutting pads until you find the right combination to push this through the machine - you have to bear in mind that the Bubbalux sheet is 2mm thick and quite a hard substrate so you will need to make allowances for this.

(3) Using a dry brush, roughly paint the embossed Bubbalux with white acrylic paint. It doesn't need to be neat and it doesn't need to be an even coat as we're going for a slightly shabby look here.

(4) Once the paint has dried, sand some of it back using an emery board to reveal the red base layer.

(5) Apply pumice stone distress ink to accentuate the emboss design even more.

(6) Cut the large butterfly wings out of foam sheet using the David Tutera Large Delicate Butterfly die. This is a really big butterfly, so it was ideal for this project. Fix them in place on your base using strong acrylic glue.

(7) Next, cut a piece of yellow Bubbalux and emboss it using the Tim Holtz 3-D Texture Fades Embossing Folder - Lumber. Again, you'll have to play around with your thickness of platform/shims etc to get this right as the texture fades embossing folders are in themselves quite thick and less pliable than standard embossing folders, and then you've got the 2mm thickness of the Bubbalux.

(8) Die-cut the letter 'J' from the embossed Bubbalux using the Bigz alphabet die.

(9) Give this a dry brush coating of white acrylic - again, no need to be neat! Once dry, sand back again with the emery board and apply distress ink to help highlight the texture.

(10) Glue the letter into the centre of the butterfly to create the body.

(11) Die cut your flowers and foliage from blue, red and yellow bubbalux using the Sizzix Bigz Asian Flower die. Sometimes the bubbalux gets stuck in the die and if this happens you'll need to carefully prise it out using a pokey tool or similar - something with a small sharp point to get underneath the Bubbalux and separate it from the die! Don't try this using just your fingers as you are likely to break your nails and possibly cut yourself quite badly on the sharp steel rule edges.

(12) Run these shapes through your machine using your platform and just your cutting plates to provide texture - assuming your plates are well-used and full of etchings of course, as are mine! If not then you can always use an embossing folder to add detail.

(13) Apply a thin coat of white acrylic to one side of the shapes. Once dry, sand back a little and use the pumice stone ink to lift some of the texture detail on the surface.

(14) Turn your shapes over and heat on the reverse, one at a time, to make them pliable. Then quickly shape them to your liking. As it cools, the Bubbalux hardens again so you do have to be quite quick, but if you're not happy with the shape you've achieved, you can simply reheat it and start again - magic!

(15) Once you're happy with your flowers and foliage, assemble the flower layers using the strong glue - it takes a little while to dry and you may have to hold the pieces in place for a while to help them adhere to one another.

(16) Assemble your flowers and foliage on your base and glue in place. Again, this may take a while to set.

(17) Using the DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic Prussian Blue Hue, apply tiny amounts to the embossed base using a piece of kitchen towelling. You only need small amounts to provide some additional depth and ground the whole thing and to tie it all together - the paint is almost the identical colour to the blue Bubbalux! 

(18) Punch holes at the top and use the craft wire to create your hanging loop.

This is what it looks like on the reverse!

And here's the finished piece again.

I really enjoyed making this piece and hope it inspires you to have a go with Bubbalux and see what awesome creations you can come up with!

All the links to the products are at the top in the ingredients list - just hover over each item and click to go straight to that page at our webshop. The only things we don't stock are the craft wire and the emery boards!

See you again soon!

Julie x

Friday, 3 August 2018

Sizzix Star Gift Bag die set

Hello peeps!

Just a quick post from me today. I decided to give the Sizzix Star Gift Bag die set a whirl because I was intrigued by the shape of the finished product. I was fascinated by origami when I was younger but I could never master all of those folds - kept forgetting which step I'd just done, so I never even managed to make a paper crane! One day I will master this art, but in the meantime, these dies gave me a little of that joy of folding things a certain way to achieve a particular outcome!

Anyway, here's the set I'm talking about in this post:

The first thing to say about this set is that even though it says you need a Big Shot Pro or Big Shot Plus machine, the dies do actually fit onto the cutting platform/pads for the standard Big Shot machine - just! I have a Big Shot Plus but when my Big Shot gave up the ghost a while back I decided to keep the platform and cutting pads and I quite often use those rather than the bigger platform for the Plus machine simply because I tend to use a lot of smaller dies and embossing folders and don't feel the need for the larger platform.

So, if you only have a Big Shot - you can still use this die set!

The second thing I would say is that I just love the three little dies which come with the set which are for cutting hearts, stars or circles out of your project. These can be used in all kinds of projects and you could even use the little die-cut shapes to decorate other projects or as confetti! Or, make stencils with them for use in mixed media projects! So, another thumbs up for this set.

I made three gift bags using the set, one with four sides and two with five, so there is also the added versatility with this set that you can make two different sized bags with it - bonus!

So, for the first one, I went for five sides, which gave me the five pointed star effect at the top. To make this one I used the double panel twice and the single panel once. I used the little stars die to punch out lots of stars around the base section - very pretty. Yes, I used two different colours of card, because that's just the way I roll haha! And no, I can't tie bows, something else I never mastered! Note to self: learn the method using the tines of a fork!

I felt the base wouldn't be particularly strong with anything inside the bag because you just fold the flaps in on themselves (as you can hopefully see from the picture above), and it was quite flimsy, so I cut a piece of card to cover the bottom and that acted as enough reinforcement to make it strong enough to use as a gift bag. You could of course just use strong tape or glue to stick the flaps down but I'm still not sure it would provide a robust enough base.

For the second bag, I went for four sides - so I used the double panel twice and glued them together. For this one I used the little hearts die for the cut-out detail. I also glued the base flaps of this one and it is strong enough to hold something.

And finally, another five-sided one, this time with five different designs, just because I thought it would be fun! I used the single panel to create five individual panels, each in a different patterned cardstock from the First Edition Botanical Beauty paper pad, and glued them together. I think this one is my favourite!

This last photo shows what the underneath looks like if you just fold the flaps in.

This die set is one I will definitely use loads as a special way of presenting small gifts to family and friends. It makes a very pretty little gift bag/box. I suppose you could also use it as a battery tealight holder, if you use the little dies to cut out stars or hearts, or even the circles, which I didn't use here, so the light shines through.

To purchase this die set, here's the link:

And if you'd like to buy the Botanical Beauty Paper Pad, here's the link:

Well, that's all for this post, so I'll hop off now.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you're doing.

Julie x

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Julie tries out the brand new Sizzix Hot Glue Gun and accessories

Hi everyone

Phew, what a scorcher - and we're not just talking about the fabulous 2-0 defeat by England against Sweden today! With temperatures still hitting 30+ celsius (centigrade) here, it's definitely a case of stay inside, close the blinds, switch on the air con and indulge in some cool, therapeutic crafting!

So, speaking of hot, we recently took stock of the brand new Sizzix Hot Glue Gun and accessories, and Julie decided to try them out. Here, she reveals her thoughts on this new range.

Hello fellow crafters! Julie here. I hope you're enjoying our glorious summer, a bit hot for me I have to say.

So, firstly, I'd like to admit that I haven't really used a glue gun much before, and have tended to use strong acrylic glue in a bottle and double-sided tape to stick things together, so the glue gun was new territory for me. That said, I had one from a well-known supermarket chain which I had been using, so it was a great opportunity to do a direct comparison between that and the new Sizzix one.

What I liked straight away was that it's quite a compact glue gun, and very lightweight, and the "trigger" was very easy to squeeze, meaning lots of control of glue flow, which is good for me as I have small hands and a bit of arthritis in my fingers and also hate getting large blobs of hot glue on everything! I'm sure you can relate. The other thing I like is the fact that you switch it on and off at the handle, rather than having to switch it off at the plug socket or unplug it when you want to switch it off, and it has a light on the back, near where the glue sticks go in, so you know for sure if it's on or off! It has a good long cable, about 1.5 metres, so plenty to play with. It has a fitted metal stand, which you can just about see in the picture. There is a continental adaptor included in the pack for when you go abroad anywhere in Europe and need to take your glue gun with you. Of course, once it's out of the packaging, you've got to store it somewhere and try not to lose it, but I think it's still a nice little extra thought from Sizzix.

Along with the glue gun, there is a matching stand, which is sold separately, and which I really like although obviously it takes up space on your work surface, but it looks great and does the job it's supposed to do, plus a bit more besides, because there is also space behind the upright stand section to store a few essential bits. You can see there are several different slots for the "propping up bit", and a small grey silicone mat at the front to catch glue drips - great idea! You can also keep the finger protectors and glue spreader on the stand, so everything is together in one place.

The finger protectors and glue spreader come with a mat to protect your work surface. Having had the very unpleasant experience of getting a tiny spot of hot glue on my finger and pulling it off along with several layers of skin (ouch!), I think these finger protectors are essential!

So, the next thing is comparing the nozzle with that of the glue gun I was already using. As you can see, there's really no difference in the size of the hole, but the metal nozzle itself is quite long and tapers off, so it's easier to use in small areas than my existing one.

The glue sticks come in packs of 12 and one stick lasts ages!

As I used the glue gun I was struck by just how much I could control the glue flow and it was much easier applying small amounts to my project than with the other one because of that easy to use lever/trigger. I found the finger protectors really handy because I no longer had that fear of getting hot glue on my fingers, and using them meant I could actually touch the hot glue and spread it a little and pull away those little strands of glue that are left behind, and apply pressure to stick my fabric layers together, all without burning my fingers! The glue cools and sets quite quickly so you have to work fast.

So, this isn't marketed as a fabric glue, but the hot glue worked perfectly fine sticking my fabric layers together.

Although I wasn't doing anything particularly fiddly on this occasion, I am confident that this glue gun is definitely fit for purpose and that it, along with the other accessories, are very good value for money.

Julie x

Thanks Julie!

So, these have been selling really well, but if you've not yet invested in one of these glue guns and accessories (all available separately or as a bundle offer) then hopefully this will reassure you that it is a great investment. Head over to the shop and pick yours up today. Here's the link:

See you soon!
Team Beebaab