Sunday, 12 October 2014

Artist Spotlight

Patchwork Owl Birthday Card
Patchwork Owl Birthday Card by PhotographyByPixie
Check out other Birthday Cards at

Over my last couple post I have talked about and given you links to some great sites on the internet where you could find inspiration for your own card making and scrap booking projects but looking back this might not have been as useful as it could have been for some of you. Because so many of the sites are quite large and all are stuffed full of great images, tips and free stuff I might have overwhelmed some of you, I am sorry.

Instead of giving you post that try to cover every great website that I find on the internet, I am going to be narrowing the focus a little my posts on just one artist or holiday or occasion at a time. Let me know what you thing or which you prefer by leaving a comment.

My first artist in the spotlight is Pixie.

Pixie is a very talented artist as can be seen by the images in this post, which are just a tiny selection of her huge range of colourful photography and psychedelic fractal art that she creates. Fractal art is not my thing but I am always drawn in to look every time she publishes one of her psychedelic images, I always come away inspired by the way Pixie has used patterns and colours.

Pixie started her Cambridge based business in 2007 called Pix and Mix, they specialise in website design, graphics, photography, video making and editing as well as business management and education consultancy. They can be found a I know that my words are not good enough to give Pixie the credit she deserves so why not have a look at her art by following the links below.


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

More Links for Inspiration

I will start with my favourite sites, if you are looking for inspiration, free stuff, supplies, tips and more then you might not get past the first few sites. The other sites are well worth a look even if you do not like my first few as I have tried to mix things up a bit. In my life before crafting I have trained thousands of people and even trained people to train other people, so I know that people learn in different ways, so that what may work for one person may not work for another.

If you like the style of this blog then great, why not leave a comment and let me know what you like and what you want more of. If you do not like this style then that is ok as well but before you go why not have a look at some of the sites that I have listed, they may be better suited to your needs, after all I am only trying to pass on information to help others.

Crafts U Print  if you only look at one site then look at this one. It has supplies and kits for sale, tips, tutorials, forum, free stuff, competitions and much more.

My Grafico A selling site where you can get supplies and kits, tips, tutorials, free stuff and more.

Digi Design Resort A site where you can buy supplies and kits to make greeting cards, they also have a forum, tips, tutorials and free stuff.

Other sites worth looking at.

Noths selling site for every thing crafty and gifts.
Biscuiteers selling site for biscuits.
Craft Seller craft magazine website.
Clive Photographer website of Clive Sawyer Freelance photographer.
Dottie 4 Crafts selling website for supplies.
Craft Creations selling website that has a blog and forum as well as free projects.
ihubbub an all in one site for you to sell you crafts and help on how to do it.
Pond Skipper Crafts selling supplies and offering free stuff and links to other great sites.
Boriana Giormova social media profile of a crafter on Google+.

Sites that have regular competitions to win stuff.

Some more sits that offer freebies.

I know that this has been a short post but I hope that you find it useful. If you have please let your friends know about or even leave a comment to let me know what you liked and what you would like more of. Next time I will be looking at forums where you can find like minded people that are willing to offer help and tips as well as links to other great sites. All links were live at time of publishing.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Making your own greeting cards

Sending greeting cards to loved ones and friends on special occasions like Birthdays, holidays and anniversaries can give you great satisfaction and the receiver gets the great feeling that not only did you remember but you also took the time to send them a greeting card.

What could be better that that, well how about making that greeting card your self? Now before you start to put up all kinds of reasons why you could not make a greeting card stop. There are many ways to make greeting cards that are unique from you too the receiver, from embellishing bought greeting cards to making them from scratch.

Now you may have to learn new skills or adapt old ones, the thing is to play to your strengths and to slowly move out of your comfort zone and not jump right out of it. You can embellish existing greeting cards by following my earlier post at Hand made Greeting cards The next step up from this is to buy a greeting card kit. You can buy greeting card kits from many good craft stores or on line from the likes of Crafts U Print. The kits that you get from craft stores of shows might have a better finish with thicker card stock, gloss finish and metallic inks but if you make a mistake you might have to buy another kit. On the other hand the kits that you download from sites likeCrafts U Print  you can print out over and over again which makes them cost effective when making greeting cards for holidays like Christmas. You can also experiment printing the greeting card kit onto different paper, card or even photo paper for that gloss effect.

Warning; from here on out it can get very addictive! You will soon find that you are mixing and matching from different greeting card kits and from here it is only a small step before you are making your greeting cards from scratch.

You can take the elements and colour them and combine them on your computer making a greeting card ready to be printed straight onto a card blank or just plain card that you then cut to size. Or you could print out all the elements and colour and construct them by hand on your kitchen table or a combination of both. Each way has its own merits and difficulties, please keep in mind that methods that other people use to get results that they like mean nothing unless you can repeat the method and it gives you the result you want, by all means try new methods and if it works for you then great, if not let it go.

forgotten bench post cards
forgotten bench post cards by martinspaperstore
Shop for White Postcards online at

You can spend a small fortune on card making equipment and supplies if you are not careful which can make you think twice about the claims that many websites say that they can save you money by creating your own greeting cards! In pure money terms you are probably better off buying your greeting cards in a job lot from a discount where house for the next ten years and do not forget to post the cards off early so that you only pay second class postage.

trees and snow postcard
trees and snow postcard by martinspaperstore
Browse Trees Postcards online at

Making your own greeting cards is so much more that saving a dollar or two, it is about unleashing your creativity and putting love into the greeting cards that you send. Your loved ones and friends will know that you have put in time and effort to make their greeting card or will think that you have spent a lot of money on a unique hand crafted greeting card.

Many of the tools and supplies that you will need you may already have, epically if you have children, which by the way card making is a great activity you can do with them. Even if you do not have children shopping in the children’s section of a supermarket will get you six big tubes of different colour glitter glue for less than the cost of one small tube at a craft store. Sure the quality is less but till you have to have used both you will not know that. When you are just starting out keep the cost low till you know that this is what you like, after all most of the tools only make one particular job easy, it could sit in your tool box for years.

Below are links to sites where you can get the tools and elements you need to make greeting cards, they range from free to hundreds of dollars, I do not recommend one over another, after all what works for me might not work for you.

Computer programs to help you make greeting cars on your computer;

Sites where you can get information on making greeting cards and greeting card kits and tools, some of which may ask you for your email so that you can get the free stuff.

Here are some sites where you can get free elements to use in making greeting cards for your personal use.

And here is a site where you can enter a free draw at to get loads of goodies.

Now you may think that this is all too much trouble and you would rather just pick a greeting card and order it, well that is fine and if you are looking for a greeting card that you may not find on the high street then have a look at;

And if they do not have what you want you can always ask the artist at Hreeting Card Universe greeting card universe to make the card you want.

Sometimes making greeting cards for your loved ones and friends is all the gratification you need but sometimes your output is greater than the needs of your close ones. It would be nice if you could reduce the cost of your past time, better still if you could make a profit! Over the next couple of blog posts I will talk you through making money from your greeting card making, both hand made and digital.

Disclaimer, some of the links but not all in this blog I make money from if you click on them or purchase from the website, after all I need to feed my family. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Grandparents Day

8th of September is grandparents day, a day to remind us to let us show our grandparents how much we appreciate them for all that they have done for us. It is hard to put into words all what grandparents do for us and it is different for each of us even between siblings.

Their houses are adventure playgrounds filled with the coolest stuff; they seam to have a never ending supply of chocolate and candy. When you are hungry they make food that is way more tasty than what you get at home and of course there is always desert.

Grandparents know the best stories and games and will let you play all day long. They do not have silly rules like bed time, you go to bed when you are ready to sleep and if you can stay awake you can stay up. The few rules that they do have are actually fun to follow.

It is almost like grandparents are kids in grown up bodies, they are kids with power. When mum and dad say NO, grandparents will usually say YES or they will give you something better. Grandparents are the best friends you can have.

So keep them on your side and let them know that you love them on Grandparents day after all they are the only people you know that can tell mum and dad that it is their bed time.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Greeting Card Universe for Inspiration


Many artists now use print on demand sites (POD) as a great way to get their art out in front of the public. This brings many advantages to both the artist and you the buyer of art, not lest of which is the cost and access to people from around the world.



For the artist is the saving of not having to pay up front to have a selection of their art printed in different sizes and on different products so that their stall at the local craft fair will look appealing to the public. Not to mention the cost of renting the stall at the craft fair and cost, hassle of getting their work too and from the craft fair and setting up the stall. For some artists the though of selling their art or worse still being face to face with the public and having to talk about their art gives them such anxiety that they give up before they even start.



POD sites take a lot of this away for the artist, for a relatively small up front fee and or a percentage the artist can upload all of their work onto a POD site and even have their art available on products the artist had not even though of. In addition to the above the artist also has no worries about taking payment, packing & shipping, printing or returns as the POD site takes care of all of this and more.



So what about you the buyer, what do you get out of the POD site? First and foremost is a huge selection of art and artists, on a range of products, far bigger than you would get at any craft fair. You get to see and buy the art of up and coming artists from around the world that can not be found any where else. You also get to see styles and subjects of art that you like and not what is dictated by some manager whose main concern is how well the greeting card will sell!



So who are these POD sites? Well they come in all sizes and styles but two of the biggest have to be Zazzle and Cafepress they both offer art on a huge range of products as well as greeting cards. Then you get sites like Redbubble and Fine Art America that started off more focused on the artists needs but over time have grown to look after the buyer as well.



If you are looking for greeting cards then one POD site stands out from the rest, Greeting Card Universe as they only sell greeting cards, their motto is “Any greeting card imaginable” this is followed up with “if you do not see what you are looking for just ask”. If you can not find a greeting card for the occasion or with the subject or in the style you want, then you can leave a message on the site telling them what you want, this is then passed on to all the artists on the site, you will then be sent a link to where the new cards that the artists have produced. Secondly, if you find a greeting card that is almost perfect but just needs a few changes then you can contact the artist directly and ask them to make the changes, all this at no extra cost to you.



Sunday, 20 July 2014

Greeting Card Inspiration on Twitter

Cute Dazzled Bug Birthday Cards
Cute Dazzled Bug Birthday Cards by borianag
Shop for a card with
Following on from my last post this time I will be looking at finding inspiration on the social network site Twitter. At first look social network sites can be a bit overwhelming, from how you set up your account with followers or groups, circles of friends, family or others. Then there is how you interact on the site and what type of language is acceptable, even if upper case letters are classed as shouting. Once you have got past all the tech stuff they all break down the same way and that is the people using them.
The first type of people that use social network sites only want to interact with their friends, family and colleagues. Most of these people believe that the internet is for their own privet use and get quite upset even hostile when they find out that strangers can “listen in on their privet conversation posted on the internet!”. Avoid these people like the plague.
Happy 34th Birthday Flower Pansy Greeting Cards
Happy 34th Birthday Flower Pansy Greeting Cards by martinspaperstore
Check out more Happy 34th birthday Cards at Zazzle
The next group of people take the social network sites on face value, they accumulate friends or followers and they like to share what they have found on the internet. These people can be a great resource of inspiration but are erratic in the subject matter that they deliver, be careful some of their friends or followers will fit into the category above.
The next group are companies that are hoping to grow their brand and interaction with customers. Some companies are a source of inspiration in of them self’s, while others share inspiration of others. Companies tend to have quite a narrow area of inspiration but a very rich one as they have lots of money and people to invest in it.
The last group of people are artists; some of them only share their own art which in its self can be a great source of inspiration but many of them not only share their own art but the art of others as well. This can be a great source of inspiration on a wide number of subjects and styles. Best of all, many of the artists below are willing to share your art with their followers if only you interact with them, once you have got your inspiration back that is.
On twitter if people want others that are not following them to find their tweets (posts) they use an hash tag # like #Birthday, #art, #photo or #Christmas. If you want to find tweets on a subject then just type in what you are looking for. On twitter you only have 140 characters per tweet so the search results are targeted unlike some sites where you can add a thesaurus of tags that have nothing to do with the post.
Below are some links to people on twitter. Their art work is awesome, they are grate to interact with and they are very generous in sharing other peoples work to their followers. 
WARNING! If you follow all of the above people you could lose months of your life viewing links to great art work.
Very Red Rose White Outline "Love" Cards
Very Red Rose White Outline "Love" Cards by FloralbyFred
Look at Flower closeup Cards online at
Seriously if you want to know what Twitter can do for you then following the above people will give you a great insight as to what Twitter can do and the inspiration it can bring. Do not be mislead by how many followers the above accounts have, because of the power of Re-Tweets most of the above people have their tweets seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day and some of them number in the millions.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Ideas and Resources for Greeting Card Makes

I design and create greeting cards which I put on POD (print on demand) sites like Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle. When I have an image or a design that I like I frequently turn it into a group of greeting cards for specific people, so if it is a Birthday greeting card I will remake it for different ages and for different family members like 50th 60th Mom, Dad or Sister. I also enjoy photograph so it is no surprise that most of my greeting card a photo based or have photo elements within them, even the handmade cards that I make for friends and family usually have some photo elements in them.
When I get an idea or an image that I like I become like a dog with a bone, playing around with it till I have got a greeting card that I think will work but then there are times when nothing comes to mind and it is at times like this that I look for inspiration. The two main points you need to keep in mind is that first you have to be open to inspiration no matter where it may come from, the second is that you are looking to kick start your work and NOT COPY OTHER PEOPLES WORK. You might find that everywhere you look you see lots of images of lilies and even though you like foxgloves you should try lilies as your subject and see if it works for you. Maybe you could go monochrome to focus on form and texture instead of colour, getting out of your comfort zone and trying different subjects or styles is a great way to improve your skills and reignite your inspiration.
I have put together a list of websites and blogs to help you get your inspiration going again. The list is in no particular order and is just copied from my own list that I add to when I find a new site. Some of the sites will require your email for you to get at the good stuff.

My Grafico has lots of great templates and clip art for sale plus free graphics and tutorials.

I love

Digi Design Resort has lots of greeting card kits for sale but also has designer classes section, it has a gallery section with photos of completed kits from members and buyers and has a forum if you have any questions.

Crafts U Print a huge site with all your crafting needs. You can buy everything you need for crafting and scrapbooking, from tools to kits and accessories. There is lots of free stuff to from tutorials and videos and graphics. Also they have free games where you can win real prizes and if you buy a kit you can upload an image of your completed greeting card and if they use it you will get paid every time some buys that kit from then on.

Craftsuprint - The Worlds
Largest Legal Craft Download Site!

Messtaken Identity has lots of kits for sale a gallery and tutorials.

Scrapbook Wonderlanda blog style site with lots of info and links to cool stuff.

Scrap Inspired a blog style site with videos, online classes and free updates.

Polka Doodles lots of great stuff for crafting from glue to stencils and digital stamps and tools. They hold regular challenges where you can show off your greeting card makes and have a chance to win some great prizes.

Daisy Trail  a print on demand (POD) site with arties from all over the world. They have free greeting card kits as well as kits to buy, regular challenges a gallery and a forum where you can get lots of information and ask questions.

Fancy Pants Designs is a nice site that has free downloads and an ideas gallery.

Peppermint Creative as well as having lots of great buys they have free downloads and a community page and a gallery where you can see what people have made with the products.
I hope that these sites give you some inspiration and next time I will be looking at some of the social network sites to find inspiration.

Some of the links are affiliate links.