my Crafty Corner

Cards and other handicrafts made by Jean Straw

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Creative Blog Hop

 Hi, I am here early on a Monday morning because I have been tagged in The Creative Blog Hop which happens every Monday by my sister Kate. TCBH is the idea of a Blogger, whose identity has disappeared along the way, and it includes all kinds of artists using paint, mixed media and card, as well as writers, photographers, needle-workers etc. The aim is for us Bloggers to get to know each other better. Similar to a game of tag.When we have told a bit about ourselves and answered four questions, we then tag three more Bloggers and so it continues.
So today it is my turn to tell you a bit about me and what I do, I’ll try not to make it too long , but you might like to get yourself a cup of your favourite brew just in case.
My name is Jean and I live in the south of England with my husband. I have two grown up married children, a daughter and a son, and a granddaughter and two grandsons and two great grand
daughters. My husband is a keen bowler and spends a lot of time playing both outdoors in summer and indoors in winter, which gives me a lot time to spend at my crafts. I have always enjoyed making things and have turned my hand to many different handicrafts over the years. My Mum taught me to knit when I was very young and I have an early memory of sitting in an armchair talking my way through each stitch out loud  so Mum could tell if I was doing it right while she did the ironing. Later I progressed to making simple clothes for my dolls. I  also learned some basic embroidery stitches while quite young.  At school I learnt how to make my own clothes which I continued to do, but not for a long while now. When I left school  I worked in a curtain workroom where I learned how to make hand lined curtains and pelmets. I was able to use these skills in later years to earn some money by working at home. I worked mainly as an outworker for local shops but I also had a few private customers. I sewed and knitted and crocheted clothes for my children and had a spell of making soft toys, as well. I began to get interested in cross-stitch embroidery when I bought a kit to make up as a gift for someone. I enjoyed doing it, and then I saw a chart for a lovely   wedding sampler and decided I had to make it for my daughter when she married. That got me really hooked and I spent the next few years stitching loads of projects including more samplers for the birth of her two babies. I stitched many of the little designs that appeared in the stitching magazines and started to use them to make into cards mostly for my Mum at first and then with the free Disney kits that often came with the magazines for my grandchildren. While on holiday we went into a teashop that had a little gift shop area and I bought a couple of rubber stamps and two ink pads and my love of card making really started there. Soon after I found a few more stamps and a tiny little paper back booklet describing how to build pictures with stamps and also basic heat embossing.  This was all nearly twenty years ago and now of course we now have so many lovely products to help us on our creative journeys. I have had a wonderful time gaining inspiration and technique knowhow from magazines
and other crafters.
On Wednesday mornings three of my friends from my church come to my house to spend a couple of hours of creative fun together. At first they were mostly fairly new to card making and they came to try out some products and techniques, but  now they bring some of their own supplies and make their own cards. I don’t usually get much craft done myself I make the coffee and see that every thing they need is out. It is just nice to meet together to enjoy a mutual interest. I have a photo taken last week but one of the ladies is missing as she was suffering with flu.
I long to have a dedicated craft space but it really isn't practical where we are living, so I have commandeered one end of our sunroom / conservatory. I use the room for everything as I love the natural light, but we do use it as a dinning room too, which means I some times have to tidy everything away. That doesn't happen very often though, and as there is only the two of us most of the time we manage to eat at half a table. This first photo is when it is reasonably tidy, this how I mostly leave it now, when I'm not working, with the things I  use most close at
  hand, and the other side clear enough to eat our dinner at. Of course it doesn't help much to have a round table either, but I have sort of got used to that.
 The next one is what it looks like when I'm working, a bit of a mess, but it can get worse!!. The next picture is of my stash storage, simply a number of plastic drawer stacks. They are in the corner beside where I sit at the table, with all the stuff  I use most ink pads, sticky tapes and glues and every day tools ect. nearest to me. On the top the the small drawers next to me have pens, pencils and embossing powders in and the other one has white and ivory stamping card  and coloured card in the bottom.  The ring binders in the centre hold my most used stamps and there should be a folder in there as well that holds my dies. It all needs a real good tidy up  but the trouble is I don't know where to tidy it to. The large box you can see on the floor was supposed to take seldom used but necessary stuff  that didn't fit anywhere else, but as you can see it has well and truly overflowed and
has spilled out onto the settee where
I sit to read or do a crossword puzzle sometimes. Of course the other end of the room I have got another bookshelf where there are more binders full of stamps and a set of drawers holding some wood mounted stamps and other bits and pieces.
Besides making cards I also regularly  take part in ATC swaps and a monthly tag swap. I first made ATCs in 2006 when the Craft Stamper magazine had started a swap. I had heard about them before that, but when the magazine organised the swap and began publishing some of them I decided it might be fun to have a go. At first I wasn't sure if I could manage the small scale 2.5" x 3.5" but on the whole I like small things so I gave it a try. I was absolutely amazed when one of the very first ones I made was published in the magazine and it gave me a real buzz .I have probably got around 1,000 little pieces of art in my collection now, some of them from from far flung places around the world, although they mostly come from nearer to home these days. Most swaps
are themed but I swap monthly with  a lady on a one to one basis and we just do what we feel like maybe showing a new stamp or technique. here are two examples, the two on the right are for my one to one swap, the left ones  for a fathers day themed swap. Below is a photo of  last month's tags that I made for the
Chocolate Baroquetag swap.
I have also dabbled in a bit altered art and would like to do more . I'll
add just a couple more photos, I'm not good at this multiple pics thing
which is why I usually only put one one my blog posts. I only hope this will look ok when I publish it.                                                                
Now there are four questions I am to answer.
1) What am I working on now?
Well I am in the middle of making a card for my granddaughter in laws' birthday, you might be able to glimpse it in the photo of my work space. I also do some knitting sort of for Kates' Knitting for Africa   project, those of you who read her blog Manualidades  will know about that. Of course it would be totally impractical for me to send my knitting
to her in  Spain so when I have a parcel full I just send it direct to the charity. I have knitted baby coats, teddies and blankets, and have recently stated another blanket in tunisian crochet which discovered last year. I like it because it grows quickly and it makes a nice firm blanket and the african mothers use them to carry their babies on their backs.I have loads of project ideas swimming around, I would love to do some more scrapbooking which I have done in the past, and I would also like to try more altered art and maybe some mixed media which interests me.
2) How does my work differ from others in my genre?  I am not really sure what my genre really is, if it is card making in general, there are quite a few different styles and I take inspiration from many of them. I  like to try various techniques and sometimes they work and sometimes not.
3 ) Why do I do what I do?  The answer to that is easy, I just enjoy it. I enjoy the fact that I am actually creating something and that in doing so I can give pleasure to the people who will receive them.
 4 ) How does my creative process work?   Not in a very ordered way  I afraid, I usually have some idea in my head  of what I want to achieve but it rarely makes it intact to the paper. I nearly always start with the stamped element of my design and I probably have a colour palette in mind and then it's a case of looking for papers and other elements until I'm happy with the result.
Now is when I should be introducing three new taggees, but I  am  sorry to say that due to many folk being away from home right now that I have just one.
I am delighted to introduce you to Jenny of CARDSARUS    Jenny     makes beautiful detailed cards which are always decorated as prettily inside as they are out. I hope you will  will visit her blog next Monday and get to know her better.                                                            

Hi my name is Jenny Lawrence.
I have been making cards for a12 years.
I started my blog just over 2 years ago, and since then I have made some lovely blog friends, all over the world.
I very much appreciate being included in The Creative Blog Hop.
So thank you very much Jean for inviting me to get involved.
I have crafted since I was a child, either sewing,knitting, or crocheting.
Got the craft skills from my mother and grandmother on my father's side, and my 2 sisters are also excellent crafty people too.
When I started card making it was to help me, as at that time I couldn't sleep well, so I used to make my cards overnight mostly, especially if I was in pain,as I soon forgot about the pain while in the process of creating.

So now I need to say thank you to my tagger Kate, as she said in her introduction last week we are very different which we are, but our love of all things crafty has certainly made us good friends. I really miss our trips to the NEC craft shows that we enjoyed so much when she still lived over here, but of course I now  enjoy my holidays in Spain when I go to visit.  It was Kate who persuaded me to start my blog a few years ago and I did so primarily to participate in on line challenges but I feel I have met many lovely people along the way. 
I think I have done now and I hope I haven't bored you to death, but thank you ever so if you managed to stick with me to the end. I have just looked at the preview of this post and Mr Blogger in his wisdom has jiggled things about so it doesn't look as good as I intended, so I apologise for that. Perhaps it's my poor computer skills at fault and not Mr Blogger anyway.


  1. Nice to learn a bit more about you :-) and somewhere in my collection of ATCs I do believe I have one of yours!


  2. Hi Jean,

    really enjoyed reading your post today, now this gives me an insight into you, and your crafting skills.
    Especially as I have only been your blog friend for a little while, since you joined my blog,
    and that was through the lovely snippets challenge, so I am really chuffed you like my work enough to tag me.

    Do you know I have never made an ATC, but now it's on my crafty to do list.

    I am in a bit of a panic now after reading your lovely post, and I do hope I can make mine as interesting as yours.

    Lots of crafty love. Jenny L.

  3. well done Jean, you've done far more than me! I had trouble getting 3 people, the last victim yesterday afternoon, hope she remembers!

  4. Hi Jean, loved reading about you and getting to know you a bit better. Your suster Kate was one of my 3 taggees ;-)
    I smiled at your picture of the table mine is even more messy when I am at full speed crafting also the floor is filled with stuff then LOL LOL
    Your atc's a really stunning, so beautiful. Don't think I could manage making one. They are just so lovely. Thank you for sharing all this, big hug, love Veerle xxx

  5. Thank you for sharing your crafting story with us, Jean. It must be so nice to get together with your crafty friends on Wednesdays. I also really enjoyed seeing you with Kate. I only recently learned that you are Kate's sister and now it all makes sense!

  6. Hello Jean

    Thank you for telling us a little about yourself. Can I please take a peek at your crochet work.

    Just love, love your ATC's they are beautiful.


  7. What a wonderful post Jean! It's so nice to know a little more about your crafty background, and to see some of your amazing work! Congrats on being published right out of the gate too! I hope you and your crafty friends continue enjoying your time together creating!

  8. Hi Jean

    A great blog post.

    How lovely to meet up with crafty friends each week.

    Loved seeing all the projects you shared too. You are definitely multi-talented!

    Hope you are having a good week.

    Love Jules xx

  9. Hi Jean. What a lovely, informative post, and I certainly enjoyed hearing about your crafty background. You've excelled in so many crafts that require a lot of skill, and I was particularly fascinated to read that you had used your crosstitching with your cards early on. Oh I'll bet those were lovely, and that your sweet Mom really appreciated those. Your craft storage looks like my own, and I expect most of us use those same kinds of storage boxes. I laughed at reading about using half the table to eat from & leaving your craft supplies on the other end. We seldom eat at our table anyway! You & your friends are fortunate to have each other to share your craft loves, and your post pictures were arranged just fine I thought. You did a marvelous post, I thoroughly enjoyed reading more about you. Will be so interesting to find out more about Miss Jenny L, (as we are getting to know each other bit by bit via some emails!). This TCBH was such a super idea, I think. TFS

  10. It is so interesting to learn more about you Jean and I am sorry I was not able to be a tagee. x

  11. I thought before I went to see Jenny, I should double-check that I read your interview first and sure enough, where is my comment? I swear sometimes I must get up in the night and read blogs and "think" I left comments or answered emails!! I thoroughly enjoyed your TCBH post, Jean! You shared some of the most amazing works of art you've done, and I do mean amazing compared to my very simple CAS creations! My jaw now appears to be permanently locked open! I especially love that you have a little Wednesday crafting group. That must be so fun! And would you look at that lineup of cards - very productive, too!! Thank you for sharing! Now I'm off to Jenny's! Hugs, Darnell