Paper Crafty Essentials

So one of my close friends from work recently admitted to being sucked into the craft world, uh-oh, we all know how that feels!

She asked me for a list of crafty essentials to get started and I thought, you know what, you’re probably not the only one wondering this, in fact I remember wondering this myself a couple of years ago.

So here we have it, my top 10 paper crafty essentials:

  1. Cardstock – If you’re going to make cards I recommend getting a good quality card stock for the base. I have 300 gsm white cardstock, but it’s always a good idea to have a good supply of black and kraft card also. Make sure the card is a good gsm (grams per square metre) or your card will be flimsy and may fall over after you have embellished it. Crafters Companion do a great selection here. While your there grab some coloured card stock and some glittered, the Crafters Companion glittered card stock doesn’t shed and to me that is amazing! Note: If you fancy making shaker cards you’ll need acetate, make sure that is a good weight too (some stores call it construction acetate.)                                                                                                                  $_57
  2. Scissors/Guillotine/Tools – Two types of scissors are normally needed for paper crafting, big ones that can cut through all sizes of card and little ‘snips’ which are good for cutting out tiny detail such as decoupage pieces. If you’re like me and you can’t cut for toffee, grab yourself a guillotine to do to measuring for you. I recommend Tonic for any kind blades, Tim Holtz scissors are fabulous and Tonic Guillotines have never let me down. (If you’re 100% useless at any kind of measuring like me, see my dies section later on that will save you so much hassle matting and layering.) Also if you’re thinking of die cutting grab yourself a Spellbinders Tool In One or the Tonic pokey tool, to make sure you get all the little bits out of your die cuts.                                                                                                                           $_35
  3. Glass Mat – If you have a crafty workspace or want to protect your dining room table, I would recommend buying a glass mat, Tonic do a nice one with measurements on. Not only does it protect the surface but it’s great for blending on. A brown non stick craft mat is also a good choice, Ranger make a good one.                                                                                                   250091_SUPER__DET_20120803
  4. Glue – Cosmic Shimmer is sworn by in the craft industry but I also don’t mind Anita’s tacky glue. I also recommend a tape pen or double sided tape for when wet glue isn’t suitable, Crafter’s Companion’s tape pens are fantastic. If you’re in a rush and feeling brave, try a hot glue gun, but they’re a little messy and dangerous for my liking. If you need some dimension, grab yourself some foam pads or some silicone glue, Collall is a good brand to go with for this. If you’d like to make gift boxes or shaker cards, grab some red liner double sided tape. You will need most of the adhesive I have listed so it might be worth investing in a bundle, Crafters Companion do a good adhesive bundle with everything you need.                                                                                                31gPexsJdIL._SY300_
  5. Die Cutting Machine and Dies – If you’re just getting started in die cutting, get yourself a small machine. I recommend the Spellbinders Sapphire or Prizm but if you want to go bigger I recommend the Big Shot Plus or the Gemini, depending on your budget. To start with, get some basic dies that will help you. Sue Wilson does some fantastic double pierced squares and rectangles to get you started in matting and layering or Crafters Companion do some basics too, go for nested so you get all different sizes. Sizzix do some ‘framelits’ dies which are similar, you can get tag shaped ones also which will come in handy. Get yourself an alphabet set for personalisation as well as some numbers for those ‘big age’ birthday cards and then expand into dies of cute designs that would be great for toppers. I personally hate my handwriting and I am not very good at stamping so most of my dies are sentiments, Tim Holtz words dies are gorgeous and Crafters Companion do some great ones too.                                                                                                                             Unknown-1
  6. Paper Pads/Toppers – If you don’t fancy dipping your toe in the die cutting world yet, maybe pick up a paper pad with some co-ordinating pre die cut toppers inside. Crafters Companion do this a lot, especially in their Sara Signature collection. DoCrafts are also good at the co-ordinating pre die cut toppers/paper pad thing too, they also tend to also co-ordinate their ribbon and embellishments which is great because everything matches perfectly giving your cards a professional look.                                                                                                                     crafter-s-companion-sara-signature-collection-birthday-party-12-x-12-scrapbook-paper-pad-25424-p
  7. Stamps, Blocks and Inks – There are three types of stamps in the crafting world, wood mount stamps, clear mount stamps and photo polymer stamps. Wood mount and clear mount are some what a dying breed, most of the stamps you find on the market these days photo polymer as they are cheap to make and easy to stamp with. When working with photo polymer and clear mount stamps you will need your own blocks to put them on. I recommend the Slims from Inkylicious or Rock-A-Blocks from Crafter’s Companion. Don’t forget to buy a range of sizes to ensure you have a block for every stamp you may invest in, most blocks come in a set of different sizes. Of course, when using stamps you will need ink! There are two types of ink on the market and you will need both. A pigment ink is a waterproof ink so this is great if you’d like to stamp an image and then colour it in with watercolours. There is also dye based ink which is not waterproof but is great for detail and can be more vibrant in colour. I recommend getting a Memento (dye based) in Black, a Staz On (pigment based) in black, a clear sticky Versamark ink for embossing (more about that later) and Tim Holtz distress inks for all the colours you need. Tim Holtz makes mini distress inks which are great if you want to build quite a collection of colours and he sells a cute handy tin to keep them all in. My good friend John Lockwood recommended Wendy Vecci’s ink ‘Watering Can’ as it’s less sharp than a black ink if you can stamping out sentiments. It is very popular and a bit of a devil to get hold of but I managed to grab one from the BIC Warehouse on eBay. As for stamps, make sure you buy a variety of sentiments as well as designs you like. I would tick to clear polymer stamps if you are a beginner so you can see where you are stamping but make sure it is a thick etch, try to avoid cheap unknown brands when buying stamps because if you don’t get a good impression it could be down to the cheap quality of the polymer used to make the stamp and not your stamping skill! I am a big fan of the Stampin Up stamps and the ones from Creative Expressions. Another great product to use when stamping is the Pebeo drawing gum/masking fluid, which allows you to mask off different parts of an image so you can colour or stamp over to create depth. Sheena from Crafters Companion does some great techniques with this. Before you stamp anything make sure you rub the surface you’re going to stamp on with an anti static bag, Woodware sell these on the Crafter’s Companion website.Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 18.28.48
  8. Alcohol Markers – Now I’m quite new to the alcohol marker scene but I have found a great beginner set to be the Graphmasters. They come in all kinds of lovely colours and blend really well. I also have the Colorista range from Crafters Companion which are lovely bright colours but they don’t blend too well unless they are colouring the glittered colouring pads that came out with them when they launched. Copic are a brand with a great reputation and Spectrum Noir also have a good reputation in the craft industry but I have heard they can dry out quickly. I would recommend alcohol markers over your cheap markers, just purely because of the blending capabilities, you can’t see any colouring streaks and there’s some great techniques to be done with them. Crafters Companion recently did a video tutorial course on alcohol markers and Creative Expressions are also rolling one out so check out their websites for those. Unknown-2
  9. Embossing – So there’s two types of embossing in the crafting world, one kind is where you put card in a folder and imprint an image onto card and the other kind is when you stamp an image in clear embossing ink, put embossing powder over the top, tap off the excess and heat the powder to melt it to the pattern of the ink. With heat embossing of course you will need a heat gun, DoCrafts do a fantastic pink one and there’s a great folding one on the Crafters Companion website by Woodware. When shopping for embossing powder, try and get a ‘detail’ embossing powder because if you go for the cheaper brands you won’t get a nice detailed image, it might come out kinda blocky and if it’s a sentiment it may become unreadable. I really recommend Cosmic Shimmer embossing powder or Stampendoussupplies
  10. Embossing Folders – As previously mentioned, embossing folders are a bit of a dark horse of the craft market but they can be great for backgrounds and lots of techniques can be done with the emboss/deboss detail on them especially when mixed with gilding wax or gilding polish. You will need a die cutting machine to use them though. Crafters Companion do some lovely designs and so do Sizzix and Sue Wilson for Creative Expressions. If you’re going for gilding wax I highly recommend Pebeo or if you want to try more of a mousse style polish, try the Cosmic Shimmer gilding polish.                                                                                                             2e31b0d7f81e9aa042edc4ef967da0d5

Well there’s my top 10 crafty essentials, sorry for such a lengthy blog post! I hope it all makes sense and you guys get some top tips out of my recommendations. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments below.

Happy Crafting!


Sarah Hurley LIVE!

Oh hey!

So it’s been a busy week at Mama Makes, on Thursday I ventured out to London to visit Sarah Hurley in Loughton.


Sarah was hosting an event called ‘Sarah Hurley LIVE!’ where she gave seminars with herself, Craig from CHA and Natalie from Stamping up, we had lots of lovely advice sessions and make and takes with prosecco and cake! To top it all of there was a shopping area so it was a truly awesome day.


I met lots of lovely people and made some new crafty friends, including people who I vaguely knew from the Sarah Hurley community, it was nice to finally put a face to a name. Sarah had posters and leaflets made of her community and it was really weird seeing my face everywhere and being recognised from a leaflet!


The make and takes were fab! We made a gift tag using the Dolly Sketches stamps from Sarah Hurley’s range which were so lovely and I must buy them all on payday… we also made a paper poinsettia with Shabneez, it was lovely to learn how to shape flowers.


As for shopping I had to refrain a lot! I got some Heidi Swapp goodies, Stampendous embossing powder and some Lawn Fawn stamps, in fact I wanted all of the Lawn Fawn stamps and I have decided they are definitely on my christmas list this year! New favourite stamp brand for sure!


I had a fab day at Sarah Hurley Live and I think, without saying too much, that after my mentoring session with her there are some crafty adventures on the horizon.

Hope you have had a fab crafty week!


Winner of the Blog Hop!


Just a quick one to announce the winner of the Crafter’s Companion birthday blog hop competition!

I had such fun making this cushion and now it’s going to the lucky home of…

Olwyn Fowler!


Congratulations! Don’t forget to get in touch with [email protected] with your postal addresses to claim your prize!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered for all your kind comments. 🙂

Happy crafting!


Flower Making with Debbie Shore


So the latest product I have been excited about from the sewing world is Debbie Shore’s brand new fabric flower dies. These dies come in a variety of flowers including Rose, Daisy, Chrysanthemum, Blossom and Peony. There is also a leaf die which includes 3 different lovely types of leaves. As part of Debbie Shore’s design team, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some early and make some of the samples you may see dotted around on the set at Hochanda.


First of all, let me express how truly easy it is to make up these 3D fabric  flowers. It’s not at all fiddly just simply roll them up and this beautiful flower forms, it’s all in the fantastic clever design of the die cut.


The dies themselves cut easily, just make sure you have the right sandwich combination of pressure and they will be a breeze to cut in all different kinds of materials as they are special ‘deep dish mixed media’ dies that we expect from Debbie Shore’s range.


Also the felt I used on these particular projects is the Threaders Felt. This comes in the beautiful pastels, brights, naturals and ‘forest’ which is all shades of green, perfect for the leaves die. As for glue I used the ‘Collall textile plus’ fabric glue to gain a strong hold, however this does make the felt quite rigid so I would recommend a hot glue gun if you have one to hand.


As you can see you can decorate almost anything with these beautiful 3D flowers, whether it be home decor, card making or embellishing clothes and furnishings!


You can purchase Debbie’s flower dies on Hochanda at a One Day Special price from 20:00 on 22nd October until 19:59 on 23rd October. All the adhesive and felt I used is also on Hochanda. You can watch Debbie demoing the dies at 8pm on 22nd, and 12pm, 4pm and 7pm on the 23rd October.

Have fun fabulous people! Let me know in the comments what you would decorate with these beautiful flower dies.

Ciao for now!


Happy 11th Birthday Crafters Companion!

Hi gang!

The Crafter’s Companion team are celebrating their 11th birthday this week!

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They have so much in store for everyone this week and loads of brand new products including this gorgeous new fat quarter bundle!


I couldn’t wait to get making so I made a very special patchwork cushion, that you could win!


I used the Sizzix Big Shot and a Bigz die to make the triangles, although I cut WAY too many! Always more for another project I guess!


With patchwork it’s really important to stick with blocks. Make a block of 2, then 4 then add it to another block of 4 so it’s 8 and so on. You could carry on and make a huge quilt! One day, I will!


So, how can I win this fab cushion you ask? Well… Crafter’s Companion will be playing pass the parcel with selected blogs and on the Crafters Companion Facebook page they will post something like ‘The Music has stopped on Loti’s Blog – she now has the parcel and will have it for the next 2 hours between 2pm and 4pm! Go and comment to WIN!’ 

…And that’s what you have to do! Comment on this post between the allocated time and make sure you leave your email address so when I choose a winner I can get in touch. The cushion will make it’s way to you within two weeks after the event. The Hop starts at 12pm on 20/10/16 and ends at 9pm on 30/10/16 so keep your eyes peeled here!

Blog Hop

Don’t forget Crafter’s Companion are releasing lots of brand new products all week including a Pretty Pillows CD Rom by Debbie Shore and the gorgeous fat quarters I used in this project! Maybe comment below what you hope to get your hands on, I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to the most. Check out all the wonderful things Crafter’s Companion have in store for you this week right here!


So if you’d love to win my lovely cushion, just comment below! If you’d like to see more of my projects give us a like over on Facebook.

See you around!



TOP TIP: Sign up to any service at Utility Warehouse to be eligible for 6% cash back at Crafters Companion as well as many other retailers. Look out for the GOLD packages for best value. – Esteban Fuster – Utility Warehouse Authorised Distributor.

Stress Free Creativity with Colorista


So do you remember a few months ago I was going on and on about the Spectrum Noir Sparkle pens? Well Spectrum Noir have done it again…

With some birthday money from my friend Sophie I invested in the Colorista range, new from Spectrum Noir. They have brought out a fantastic range of alcohol markers and colouring pads especially for alcohol markers, which is perfect for someone new to the alcohol marker scene, as it can be a little daunting!


With the pens, Sara Davies recorded a fantastic 8 week video tutorial class all about adult colouring which is great and so easy to follow! You can enrol here, and why not, it’s free!

First of all, the pens. They are double ended like normal Spectrum Noir pens, however this time one end is a normal nib and the other end is a thinner, finer nib to get into all that detail on the colouring books. They are a dream to work with and blend so well! No lines to show where you’ve been, the alcohol just soaks in and it’s a seamless finish.


The colouring pads, oh my goodness where do I start! You’ll want to flick through them over and over just staring at them, especially the glitter ones! 2 of the colouring books have encapsulated glitter (that doesn’t come off all over your hands!) and it’s fantastic to blend on. And if you want more sparkle, why not put your Spectrum Sparkle Pen over the top?! Bling bling!

The colouring pads are made of a fantastic quality card stock which holds the alcohol great. There is also a blank page to put under the page you’re working on so you don’t ruin the next page, they really have thought of everything! They come in 2 sizes, an a4 and a smaller travel sized one, which I take to work.. oops!


I can’t recommend this range enough. Great for kids and adults alike, it’s a great way to relax and enjoy some stress free creativity.

The Colorista range is available on the Crafter’s Companion website.

Happy colouring!



TOP TIP: Sign up to any service at Utility Warehouse to be eligible for 6% cash back at Crafters Companion as well as many other retailers. Look out for the GOLD packages for best value. – Esteban Fuster – Utility Warehouse Authorised Distributor.

Crafting at Ally Pally!

Hi gang!
Just a quick one to tell you how amazing ‘Crafting at Ally Pally’ was this weekend!

I was working at the Hochanda stand giving out leaflets and freebees and meeting all of our lovely customers. You might have seen me with light up shoes!

Crafting at Ally Pally is one of the biggest paper crafting shows in the UK and is based at Alexandra Palace in the Great Hall which is such a fantastic venue for it.

There was tons going on, not only were their live demonstrations on all the stands and lots of goodies to purchase but Hochanda were there too broadcasting live on TV and you could sit in the audience and watch! It was lovely to see all the customers meet their favourite presenters and guests.

I spent too much! Take lots of money because there are bargains to be had for sure.

Hope to see you there in April! Keep your eyes peeled around February for tickets available on the Hochanda website, and if you’re a freedom member your tickets are half price!
Happy crafting!


English Paper Piecing

Hi all, yes yes, I’m sewing again..

English Paper Piecing is not something I had heard of until recently, when Debbie Shore said she was bringing out English Paper Piecing kits.

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English paper piecing is a little bit like quilting and patchwork where shapes make up a big quilt or length of fabric, however with paper piecing we wrap the fabric is paper, which is the shape of what we would like the fabric blocks to be. ‘EPP’ as it’s known as in the industry, is centuries old and is usually done as a hand sewing project.

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I was given the challenge of making a table runner with the Kaleidoscope block I was given as part of the design team. Here’s what I ended up making!

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It’s a really lovely, simple, relaxing telecraft that I can throughly recommend! You can either do a tacking stitch or glue the fabric to the paper pieces with a Prym glue pen, which I highly recommend for ease!

You can buy Debbie’s English Paper Piecing kits right here on Hochanda.

Happy stitching!



TOP TIP: Sign up to any service at Utility Warehouse to be eligible for 6% cash back at Crafters Companion as well as many other retailers. Look out for the GOLD packages for best value. – Esteban Fuster – Utility Warehouse Authorised Distributor.