Thursday, 31 December 2009


Another card shown on QVC using the printing plates that come in the starter kit.
By the way, the links I have posted bellow do not necessarily reflect my views on the Letterpress kit.
Also, I have seen proper letterpress experts complaining that this tool is not real letterpress, duh! Of course it is not, as anything in Crafting it is designed and adapted for people who want to get results without spending thousands of pounds and hours of training, of course the results are not going to be the real thing, but in my opinion they come pretty close and for me, as a crafter, they are good enough.
We are crafters, and although I can understand certain reservations about the name of the kit, I don't think no one is going to think that because of this tool they are bona fide Letterpressers, if that word even exists. If we went down that route, we better pack in all our crafting techniques as Picassos we are not, Manga colorists we are not, proper embossers we are not. We are just crafters that enjoy recreating beautiful effects on paper to our best abilities.

Letterpress reviews

Some of my crafting friends have directed me to blogs and websites containing other reviews on the Letterpress tool kit and various other info. So I thought I would better share them here, and if you have found any more reviews and tutorials feel free to add them in the comments, and I will upload them into the main post.


Boxcarpress, Letterpress pros USA based that can make your own designs into printing plates that will work on the Quickutz Letterpress tool.

PaperCrave, review.

CraftCritique, CHA review.

Ukscrappers, Forum thread.


Official video L by Quickutz

Other Youtube videos.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The set

This was the estate of the Letterpress demo space after we went life.


Well, I am planning to enjoy a few days off at home. DIY, tidying and quality time with hubby! But I will try to post photos of cards and projects through out the week, but no promises!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Questions about the Letterpress tool kit

As some of you know QVC is a shopping channel that is live, no pre-recordings. Everything is timed so it's not like a Youtube video or a tutorial when you can edit and explain in detail all aspects of the machine or tool.

At the 7pm show, Dawn saw that I was really nervous so she guided me through, something that I really welcomed as I was literally shaking. We only had a few minutes with that product, it was at 11 when we had more time to actually talk about the letterpress tool. But it is nerve wracking, I am so used to talk and talk at a demo without any time constrains that I found a bit hard to just have a few minutes to actually tell how it all work. I wish I had a full hour just to talk about it as I think the Letterpress tool from Quickutz is an absolutely brilliant tool.

So, I am sorry I didnt get to address certain issues or questions about the machine, I only got them this morning through some forums! If someone had pass them on to me I would have tried to answer them in a more clear way on air. There were so many things I wanted to mention on air but being the first time ever on live on QVC demonstrating, I wasn't sure if I was allowed to mention certain things.

But I can address some of them now:

Inks, if you are doing a short run, Brilliance pads and Black versafine work brilliantly, much easier to clean afterwards, a simple baby wipe works really well. For a long run (ie, loads of prints exactly the same, which incidentally is the main purpose of the tool) the letterpress ink with the roller is better as it's very good value for money and the ink stays wet a very, very long time. One obvious tip, whatever ink you use (brilliance ink pads or versafine) you can dab it directly onto the printing plates, however you will get the best results using a brayer.

Cleaning the letterpress inks, the best way by far that i have found is using Herma Label Off, maybe other sticky stuff remover also work, but I haven't tried myself. It really works. I know that Quickutz, the makers of the Letterpress tool, have develop a wet wipes for the ink, as of now they are very hard to get hold of in the UK. To be honest I haven't tried them myself so I can not comment on how they compare to the Label Off.
EDITED: Un-Du also works really well, so I am kind of sure now that any liquid that removes well sticky stuff will help to clean the Letterpress inks. Thanks to Ani now we know that Crafters Companion Stick Away also works.

Card to use, as long as it is thick and soft will work, something like watercolor paper and 300gsm and above if you want a very deep impression. The one that comes in the kit is extremely thick and soft, so you get amazing results.

You can also use embossing folders to just print the pattern if you open them up and attach with the adhesive film to the top of the letterpress tool, perfect print impression, although they wont emboss at the same time.

About the cracking of the plates, I only got one set of plates and used it over and over, and they have not cracked, so I cant really comment on that.

Another tip is to use a repositionable wet glue -such as the Slice one- in the back of the printing plates, apply with a foam brush or an eye makeup tool, let it dry and you can use them time and time again, much better than the double sided sticky film supplied with the tool, which incidentally works great with the larger printing plates such as the 6" x 6".

I have a very old Cuttlebug, about three and a half years old, and I have made most of my samples shown on my Cuttlebug, even though I also have a Big Shot that it is right beside it.the letterpress tool is about 2mm to wide where the hinges are for the cuttlebug, so I feed the letterpress tool open side first forwards to the end just before where the hinges are, and then I roll it backwards. I am not sure why, but even though I had the Big Shot right beside me, I kept using the Cuttlebug for the letterpress. Obviously, the Epic Six works very well with it too, I just don't have one in my house, but I used one of them all day long at QVC and liked it a lot.

One of the listed beauties of the Letterpress effect is on the back side of the printed card there is no visible mark of the debossing effect. That is very different from the effect that you get when you emboss something with an embossing folder, as both sides -inside and outside- are clearly embossed/debossed. Bruising is what sometimes happens on the back of the front of the letterpress card. Basically, due to the thickness of the card plus the pressure of the plate, some gentle impression is visible. I have got some professionally made letterpress stationery that also has got that showing off on the back. In the printing world they call it bruising, and it is acceptable.

Also, there were some questions about what you got as extras on the QVC deal. The QVC item number for the Quickutz Letterpress with printing Plates, Inks, Cards and envelopes is 588749. The QVC deal includes the Lovely Everyday set 2 of 10 printing plates, 10 A6 envelopes, 10 square cards and 10 coordinating envelopes, 4 adhesive sheets, and the Gold and silver ink, all of which do not come with the standard off the shelf Letterpress Starter Kit.

Overall, after playing with it for long hours and demonstrating on live tv, I can honestly say that if you like using die cutting machines, this is a great addition to the craft world. I specially love the size of the 6 x6" printing plates -wider that any embossing folder- and the fact that you can emboss them without any ink. I also love the designs of the plates, they have that elegant, simple look that Quickutz are renowned for.

If you do have questions please ask them and I will try to answer them the best way I can.


I know, this card is not appropriate for a 5th birthday card, but shows the possibilities that numbers can do.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

More Letterpress

One of the cards I did for today's show, and bellow a close up so you can see in detail the letterpress effect ink + embossing, although in crafting terms is debossing or impressing.

I don't mean to take such a bad photos of the cards, but I am limited because light issues.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Blind embossing

Using the Letterpress kit from Quickutz without inking the printing plates. It is just gorgeous, isn't it? By the way, blind embossing is the name that printers give to this effect that us crafters call deboss or engraved.
Tonight in the launch of Craft Day, Dawn will be showing it on QVC.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The finished card...

...From yesterday post. As with anything related to die cutting, I would really recomend to play a bit with this set, not to worry making cards at first but experiment with it. Make as many bits as possible and then later assemble the cards.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Have you ever fallen in love?...

Head over heels with a craft product? Well I have a few times in the past, but this time I think surpases all of them.

Let me introduce you to the Letterpress system from Quickutz, it is fabulous.

You can use it for cardmaking or fine stationery -I printed the address with the computer and then letterpress the flourish.

I have always loved the effect of one of the oldest -if not the oldest- method of printing. It just looks so posh! But it is not only that is a lovely finish, the thing is that is very easy to use, and although it is designed to work with the Epic Six, it also works with the Big Shot and Cuttlebug.

Forgive once again the poor quality of the photos, I had to take them at 11 pm!

And the reason of me getting one? I will be on QVC demonstrating it on this coming Craft Day 27th of December at 19:00 and 23:00, I am so excited!!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

For someone really special

I made this card, which is a Christmas version of this one. It takes me about an hour an half to make just the one card, so you will understand that I didn't do this one for everyone on my list.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Tree card

Featured a few issues back in Cardmaking and Papercraft!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Chocolate Wrappers

Sometimes Christmas Cards are not enough and a little extra is needed.

And this is what is inside.
I used 12 x 12" Die cut cardstock from Craftwork Cards and Eskimo Kisses patterned papers.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Trimmers, trimmers: a Fiskars one

When it comes down to craft tools, I have to try them all. Yes, all of them may be a little exaggeration, but I try to get my hands on them just so I know if they are what I have been looking for all my life, and that is the perfect tool. To be honest, I know that the perfect tool does not exist, so I look for the next best thing.

So, when it comes down to the basic craft tool I think a paper trimmer will right up there in the first positions. A few weeks back I got my hands on the new Fiskars Premium Trimmer.

You can see that the length of the paper that you can put through is about 32 cm and considering that 12" are 30.5cm that gives plenty of extra room for the annoying strips containing the name, manufacturer and bar code of patterned papers. Also it has rubberized feet, convenient but not essential.

One of the main new features of this trimmer is its wire guide that runs where the blade is going to cut which allows you to cut with some more precision than before. Thankfully, it is mobile enough so that if you want to score card with the trimmer using a bone folder you still can do it. That may not be essential for many of you, but for me it is absolutely essential as it is the main reason why I love this type of paper cutter.

Another of the innovations in this trimmer is the rail lock prevents rail from popping open while transporting your trimmer. To be honest, it is not an essential addition, but as a demonstrator or crafter on the go it is handy.

I already liked the introduction of the new blades on the previous model which are much more durable than the triple track originals. I personally find that they last me twice as long as the original, but they still are far from the durability that gives you the guillotine.

One of the features that I liked from this trimmer over the previous is that new one has larger base - now 6 1/4 " which makes a huge difference when you want to cut or score cards at 6", as the previous versions versions had a smaller base which means that most times I need to open the arms, which is not the case with the Premium trimmer.

I ought to mention that the trimmer I got is actually from France which has measurements in inches and centimeters. I am not sure if there is going to be a UK version, but there is another one from USA in which all measurements are in inches.

Also it has the standard European measurements, perfect for cutting or scoring in half - in which case you would have to use a guide of one size smaller.

You can see the size of the new version of the trimmer, the older version is on top, and the premium underneath.

And compared to the much older version, and one of my all time favorite trimmers, the personal 12" trimmer, also from Fiskars.

The swing-out paper guide gives you 15 " or 38 cm of level measuring surface for larger projects, something that is definitely not essential, and rarely helpful, but some may find it useful, although not me. The downside of having an extra long arm is that you will need the 15"

Overall though, I would say that this trimmer is a great improvement over the last trimmer of this kind. For me the great features at are the wire guide, the 32 cm cutting capacity and the larger base. I still use my Making Memories rotary trimmer, Xcut Guillotine as much as before but this one is certainly up there with them in usage.

You can get it at Dawn Bibby's Design Studio is one of the few shops that carries this trimmer in this country. I don't think they have it yet on the website but give them a call to see if they have it in stock.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Eskimo kisses bubble

I usually buy the Basic Grey Collection Packs, you know the packs that contain one sheet of each plus the patterned stickers and the alphabet ones. Most of times I don't use the letter stickers, so when I can use any of the ones I have I am more than happy to go overboard and create backgrounds like this one that contains different Christmas words.

Did you watch The X Factor final? I didn't, to be honest I hardly see any of those programs live. Usually, I will watch a couple of performances after one of my friends mentions how good or bad someone was. However, I had watched a couple of shows while I was Up North with Dawn and JJ, and thought that Joe was going to win although I kind of preferred Olly as he made me smile. I do think that Joe is much better singer, but Olly is much more of a charismatic performer.

I also watch Strictly on the iPlayer while I work on the computer because I just love dancing. I would love to learn how to dance properly, specially the tango -specially the Argentinian which is for me the proper one- and of course the Paso Doble. Last year my favorite was from the very beginning Tom Chambers, with Austin as a close second favorite, because Tom seem to me the most natural dancer the one who seem to enjoy dancing the most, although maybe not as technically good as Rachel, but good enough. Rachel instead was very good at the coreography but she seem a tad robotic, without any real happiness in dancing. This year is Ricky Whittle for me, technically very good but also very natural, I can see that he is enjoying dancing maybe more than the show aspect of it. I know he is not likely to win, but a second place is for me this year top spot, just because Rafa finished second at the ATP world tour rankings. Last year I was very lucky, all my favorites ended up at number one, so for this year ending at number 2 is not bad either after such an amazing year.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Simple Jack Frost

Finally I got my email and blog account sorted, so I can resume regular postings.
So, I thought I would share a quick and easy card I did for a workshop at The Glitter Pot a few weeks back.

Monday, 7 December 2009

i am fine

My account of email has been hijacked so it's not spam what you have gotten, I can not access the account and reply any concerned emails.
As I am on holiday I can't solve the situation. I am trying to post this through another method, maybe will even work. As Omar was saying, if you want to sent me money, by all means do, money is always greatly appreciated, but I haven't been mugged or anything like that, so there is no need. And Certainly do NOT send anything to the address or bank that is mentioned in the email.
As soon as I get back home will try to sort it all out!

Square Patchwork

Today I went to the post office and the lady before me was sending off some Christmas Cards to Canada. She had chosen a medium sized card but it was over the 20 grams for just a letter post, so she had to pay an extra 30p. Ok, not much, but if you have to send more than the odd one abroad it adds up. And I rather spend that in lovely card, that this make mean?

The actual size of the card is 4 x 5 inches counting the excess over top edge, you know I like small cards. I just use the Woodware -Marvy Uchida for those in America- 2" Scallop Square punch. If you are into punches you will know that this particular one, *5

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Childs Play Card

Sometimes, my cards look like a child has made them, with crooked house and all!

Friday, 4 December 2009

More Eskimo Kisses

Every year when December arrives, I start to panic. You see, I do think the Holidays Season is more about the preparation than the actual holidays. As a culture we have lost the meaning of Christmas, everything is now about shopping, food, parties and decorations, nothing wrong with that but it puts a lot of pressure on having a good time, getting the right present - for others as well for ourselves - it all means that disappointment is a sure thing.

But, if there is something about the Holidays that I like -apart from the true meaning- is the cards. I love making Christmas Cards in batches, although I do start making them a bit late, I usually manage to make them all and send in time.

This year, I am loving Eskimo Kisses, so if you are on my Christmas Cards list, you will probably get some.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Recycling ideas

I believe strongly that one should repeat card designs that we like, specially if we scraplift our own work. I do that constantly because when I like a design, I really really like it, I can't stop reproducing.
So I took a card I did this summer using a floral range and converted into a little Christmas Card. If you ever been to one of my workshops, specially a Christmas one, you will know how much I suggest to make smaller cards. Yes, large cards have got more of a Wow factor, but small things can be delicate and cute and they are much easily fit in living rooms full of Christmas cards.
The pink scallops are from Craftwork Cards and the patterned paper is from the Eskimo Kisses collection (Basic Grey). All the materials are available from Dawn Bibby's shop.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Sometimes i misread things, and sometimes when it involves an article commission misreading a brief is a bad thing. This card is a product of a misread.
I read the brief as in card using a metal embossing stencil, when it actually stated that the it had to be a metal embossed card.
I decided to have I did emboss the pattern on vellum and then I turned it over and colour it from the de-bossed or engraved side using watersoluble pencils and transparent glitter.
The end result it's quite masculine, but for even a more masculine look, I would not put glitter nor pearls.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Craftwork Cards 10th Birthday

To celebrate their 10th Birthday, Craftwork Cards asked their design team to make a Birthday card for them. So this is what I did.
In their brand new website, there is a page of Inspiration where you can see the rest of the entries, as well as a better picture of my own card. Since it only captures the front I thought it would be nice to share some pictures of the inside, which I did decorate quite profusely.

As a base for the card I chose a basic color scheme, black, white and lime green. As pattern goes I chose to use the single flowers from the Floral Christmas stamp set.

As you open the card this is what you see on the left side of the card.

I made the main card from bits of card, using a shaped card - from a 8 x 8 album - trimmed top, bottom and left and then I made a M spine with black card, so the heart is actually attached to the V inside of the spine.

I inked the 1 which was chipboard to begin with. Use card candy for each of the big flower centers and on three of them I then put crystals.

For the flower I use Pinflair glue gel to add dimension.

To add even more pizazz I made a card bow with some left over card that I cut off.
I used two edge border punches, both of them from Eksucess.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Finally, a card

Yes, finally I am home, so i can start posting photos again! I will leave you with this diorama card that I taught at Dawn's Residential last week. I used Eskimo kisses papers - Basic Grey - and Nestabilities for the apertures and snowflakes.
All products available from Dawn Bibby's Design Studio.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Still up north

I have been so busy this week that all my extracurricular activities -
ie visiting friends- had to be pushed aside. I kind of imagined that
would be the case, so I didn't make any plans and though if I had time
left I would arrange the visits while here.
Anyway, I had my workshops today. All the ladies finished more or less
their projects and seem happy with them. It was a bit chaotic as not
eveyone was doing the same thing at the same time, but as a teacher I
do prefer it this way as it allows everyone to go at their pace and
not feel rushed or bored.
Tomorrow demo, love demonstrating and I will be using some of the
latest products from craftwork cards. By the way, have you seen their
new website? It's lush! (as I am posting from my phone I don't know
how to do proper links so just go to

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Demo at Dawn Bibby's design studio

I am still up north, not just lounging but actually doing design work
that I need to get ready.

I love the north, but it's been almost two weeks since I last saw
omar so I look forward going back south.

I will be this Sunday demonstrating at Dawn Bibby's shop making cards
using Craftwork Cards products and using my beloved Cuttlebug.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Sometimes I feel exhausted yet I feel good about it. Weird? Well not
really. I get tired easily so I often feel exhausted but the worst
feeling is that I know i should not feel that way. But today I am
exhausted becuase we had a weekend pack with activities at Dawns
residential. From the moment I woke up on Friday till Sunday night
every minute had to be filled with something, no time for relax, no
time for laying around in bed (which I love). So, yes I am still tired
even though it is already Tuesday.
Yesterday dawn and I went into the shop to do some prep work for
today's show. To be honest I was so tired that the some of the samples
were not very good!
I shall be watching dawn on qvc from her lounge, surreal isn't it?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Christmas acetate

Will I make my Christmas cards out of acetate this year? Well, not a hundred percent sure, probably I will do some like this one which I love using Craftwork Cards stuff/ I used so many different items that I wont list them, too tired for that.

If I mentioned that I am tired is not for sympathy. It is that tomorrow I have a workshop at the Glitter pot. Last week I was sent by post a parcel containing the items for me to design and make the cards. As the postal strike was in full swing, the parcel has not arrived yet. Thank goodness for plan B. But plan B has been a bit challenging, maybe a bit of a stress made me uncreative.

Also yesterday I had my hair cut and... it didn't go that well.
Haircuts. I have had a few, most of them pretty standard ones. It is not that I have been over the moon with many of them, more like I have been satisfied with the results. To be honest, I can only recall two haircust made me feel really good. The first time, eight years ago when I went back to professional hairdressers after a few years of home hair cutting, and the second time was last year in LA, in a proper Hollywood saloon.
Why hair makes us so miserable? I mean when its good its great, we feel on top of the world, but when it's bad it's really bad.
Yesterday I had my hair cut short, I just wanted a jaw sort of length. The problem this time is that I had it cut so short that there is nothing I can do, the back is super short -she actually shaved the neck- and the very front and some top layers are very short too.
I liked the salon -a lot actually- and it is a good hair cut but it is so short!

Well, you live and learn. One haircut at the time.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

More Sequins

Yes, I know this is not Strictly Come Dancing, but sequins are not just for dancing costumes you know!
To be honest I hadn't used many sequins in my cards until recently, but I find myself using more and more of them lately. The stamps are from Penny Black.
By the way, Craftwork Cards is offering Blog Candy in their blog. Their products are one of my top favourites as you may know by now. Click here for more info.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Some times the simplest cards have got the most wow factor. I like to think that this is one of those cards. If you are thinking how that card is going to fit an envelope, well let me tell you, you use one of 8 x 8" -from Craftwork Cards.
I know this card is not for everyone, this one is over three edges not just the one!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Square Essentials + punches

As I have already posted the other stamps and their possible combinations with punches. So now it is the turn of the Square Essentials. If you click on the photo you will see a larger picture which will show details.
The ink I used is Versafine, Deep Lagoon.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Simple Joy

Simple cardmaking is what I find easier to do, but simple doesn't mean necesarly easy, although there may be people who think that. The key of cardmaking for me as a crafter is design rather than technique because I always think that is easier to learn technique than to learn design, as to learn a technique is to learn a process, whether design it is either based on an instinct or on pure theory. Anyway, either way, crafting is a hobby, so whatever you prefer is fine by me as long as you enjoy it!
This simple card I made for a demo. I had some paper left overs on my Christmas papers folder and decided to use it to highlight the beauty of this set of alphabet dies. I first covered with other bits of paper I had the mount board -yes, thick Sizzix dies will cut mount board even if it is covered with thick patterned paper- and then I put it through the Big Shot. Because of the thickness of the mount board it was a bit harder to roll it through but I was not difficult.
I used one of the Martha Stewart edge punches to add some interest to the card as well as some silver pearls to highlight the pattern of the paper. By the way, the papers are from Basic Grey, although not a hundred per cent sure from which collection as they were bits of paper, I think it is Figgy Pudding.

Friday, 13 November 2009

More Gap parts

A quick post just to share yet another gap card. This is a very small one as I used the smaller mats from the Scallop squares from Craftwork Cards. I would like to point out I used two In Circles as I was demonstrating when I made this card and I did not have the right one. What I did was to use a purple one that said Happy Birthday and then I punches out the Best wishes white and silver one and punched it out using a 1" circle punch.
Also, the spots on the left bottom part of the photo show that I can not be bothered to actually clean up photos. Well, I do a bit of white balance on iPhoto and resizing but not much else. I do admire those who spent time and effort making sure that the photos they post in their blogs are picture perfect. Me? I can't.
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