Saturday, 29 November 2014

Big Thanks Becky Blog hop!

Becky James is one of life’s good people. Not only is she a wonderful, caring person who always has time for you, but she is also a fabulous craft designer who has inspired me massively over the past few years.
So, the docrafts Design Team and a few other lovely crafty ladies, decided that we should create a Blog Hop in honour of the lovely Becky - this is the first stop (next stop at the bottom of the post!), so please grab a cuppa and join us!

I have had to pleasure to work with Becky at docrafts HQ where she has produced some really unique, gorgeously layered projects not only for but also for the docrafts Creativity Magazine and the online ‘In the Studio’ craft videos.
You can see her full docrafts gallery here which is full of stunning designs like these....

And here is her latest ‘In the Studio’ project, made with cupcake cases no less!

She is now spreading her wings to try out pastures new and explore her inner artist so, although I will miss her massively, I want to wish her all the best for her new venture and i hope it brings her everything she desires.


Love Jill x
Please stay with us and hop onto Louise Collins' blog post...

Thursday, 18 September 2014

'Like' the docrafts Facebook page and grab your free printable papers!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Frozen Olaf Birthday Cake

My house is ringing with the repeated "Let it Snow" song from the Frozen movie - my youngest daughter simply loves it, so I guess it was no surprise her brief for this year's birthday cake was for an Olaf theme! For me, this was a challenge as I have never seen the film, so, after a little online research and a lots of invested time  I came up with this...

I used Little Venice Cake Company 6" and 4" round tins to make the two sponges first, filled and covered them with sugarpaste then stacked them onto a deep covered board.
In the evenings in the lead up to this, I made a series of assorted light blue and white triangles from modelling paste and left them to dry out.
I also cut some large and small snowflakes, some of which I inserted white florist wire into to make the topper. I then used non-toxic PVA glue to secure some assorted Cousin crystal and pearl beads onto the wires and left them to dry.
Olaf was more challenging! Using modelling paste, I firstly made two balls, one for the body and one for the upper body and secured them together with a cocktail stick and sugar glue. The head was formed from a cone shape, the mouth modelled with Little Venice Cake Company Modelling Tools and in-filled with black modelling paste.
I made two indents for the eyes using the small end of the bone tool and stuck a small ball of black paste into each which I then pressed down with the bone tool. Add a ball of white onto each eye and finish with a small flattened ball of black.

I stuck the arms and detail on once the body and head had dried out (3 days).
Assembly was the best bit! The triangles are fab as they cover up any imperfections in the icing! The dark, watery effect top which Olaf is standing on was made by partially rolling together two tones of blue sugarpaste then rolling it out - it creates a lovely marble/watery effect. Always use a florist flower pick to stick your wired topped into to prevent the wire from touching the cake.
I can't wait for her to see it now! Thank you for looking!
Jill x

Dimensional Floral Birthday Card

I created this card for my Mum for her birthday using an assortment of docrafts products, focusing especially on the Xcut dies 'Flowers' (XCU 503195) and the 'Rectangular Parenthesis 2' (XCU 503045) designs. The papers used for the design are a  mix of two of the April Creativity Club printables 'Daisies' which I designed for docrafts.
You could create this card for any occasion, simply change the sentiment and lettering.
I love making dimensional, layered projects so the Xcut flower and leaf dies were perfect. I only had a Little Venice Cake Company modelling mat and ball tool to hand so I used these to curl the petals and create vein effects on the leaves.
I also adore making quilled paper roses - you can find a great tutorial for these here on
Nikki Smith's blog 'What Nikki Did Next'.
Thank you for looking!
Jill x

Sunday, 15 June 2014

#docraftsmonday - Thank you to two special Dads

It's been a long couple of stressful weeks. My Dad has been in hospital twice, the most recent time was very serious; luckily, he is now through the worst. It puts everything in life into perspective and had made me re-focus on what is important; we should cherish every moment of every day.
I didn't have much time to pull together cards for Father's Day but I found a window yesterday and cobbled these together - it doesn't feel right buying cards for those special to me anymore!
My husband and I are each lucky enough to have great Dad's, so here are the designs I came up with using some docrafts Club printables from my stash...

The stamps were one of the free gifts from May's docrafts Creativity magazine. I used chocolate brown and dark blue ink to stamp and add a vintage effect around the edges of the Xcut die-cut shapes.

 I then added some buttons and string to finish off the designs.
Thank you for looking!
Jill x

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Thrilling Quilling Sugarpaste Style

When the editor of docrafts Creativity asked me to create a cake with quilling on, I thought she was joking! Well, she certainly wasn't, so off I went to spent several evenings experimenting with different techniques to recreate a quilled design using sugarpaste - here’s the result…


I have to say that I LOVED the process of making this quilled hummingbird and I am now an official sugar quilling addict! Our Creative Director Katy Godbeer and Senior Photographer Jon Mackenzie made a fabulous job of taking the perfect snap of this cake – hats off to you both!

If you would like to find out how to make this cake step by step then pop down to your nearest stockists of the docrafts Creativity Magazine Issue 47 which is available now (June 2014 whilst stocks last). 
Find your nearest stockist and more info at

Thank you for looking!
Jill x

Friday, 30 May 2014

The first docrafts Design Team Blog Hop!

Hi, the DT and I are so excited to welcome to the first ever docrafts Creativity Design Team blog hop! I have made a card to say thank you to the very talented Paula Whittaker who has left us to move onto pastures new (check out her docrafts gallery here plus her fabulous blog) So, why not pull up a chair, grab a cuppa (or a glass of the red stuff!) and join in our hop – we would love for you to leave a little love and we will pop back to visit you and check out your creations!

 Here’s what I have made using the docrafts Creativity Club Spring Green printables….(please excuse the photography, I thought I had taken the shots but realised at the last minute I hadn't and it was dark outside!).


Here is the list of designers who are taking part in the hop – it would be great if you could take the time to check out their blogs as there are some really fabulous ideas and inspiration on there!

Thank you for looking!
Jill x

Monday, 21 April 2014

#docraftsmonday Dimensional Butterfly Birthday Card

It's time for #docraftsmonday once again! My lovely Grandma is an amazing 94 this coming Thursday and over the weekend, we held a kind a crazy Easter/Birthday family party to celebrate. I have been so manic recently, I haven't had time to craft but this occasion definitely needed a handmade offering...

 I wasn't too sure where I wanted to go with the layout for this card, so I got all the elements
out I wanted to use and went from there.
This week's docrafts Creativity Club printables is a fab collection of brick and decking textures (photographed by Carly Barrett) in a monochrome colourway, so I started with that. The theory is a garden wall which has rambling flowers and butterflies climbing up it!

As usual, I went slightly mad on the dimensional side of things - my cards are not suitable for
posting unless you want to box them up! I used a mix of Xcut dies and punches as follows;
 Xcut Butterflies A5 Die Set - XCU 503196
Xcut Large Dies Leafy Flourishes - XCU 503189
Xcut Dimension Butterfly Punch Stamp - XCU 2701000
Xcut Daisy Palm Punch
Xcut Tags and Bookplate Dies - XCU 503066
Xcut Petal Posy Dies - XCU 503065
I have to say, the Leafy Flourishes look so much nicer once they have been die-cut. This is the first time I have used them and will definitely do so again!
Add in a touch of antiquing with dye ink and a few Papermania adhesive gems and there you have it!
Thank you for looking. If you would like to take part in #docraftsmonday, visit the docrafts facebook page and join in the fun every week!
Thank you for looking!
Jill x

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Gluten Free Naked Cake!

I am being converted to loving the new trend of Naked Cakes which is getting more and more popular in the cake world. They skip the iced covering and show off the actual cake and filling in all their glory! You need to consider your cake and filling colour, flavour and consistency in a different way to when you cover cakes with icing - you can have no runny fillings or burnt edges - there is no room to hide!
Here is my first Naked Cake which I made for my Mum on Mother's Day. With three coeliacs at the tea party, gluten free vanilla sponges were the order of the day! I am a massive fan of Orgran Gluten Free Self Raising Flour - it is an ideal swop for normal SR flour- there is no difference in the taste or consistency and is so easy to use (I'll give you the recipe further down the post)...

 The beauty of Naked Cakes is that you can use simple decorations - I know I have combined flowers and fruit on this version, but assorted fruits and any other relevant edible offerings work perfectly. I sprinkled mine with a little icing sugar just before serving to get a lovely finish.

The flowers were made with gumpaste (sugarpaste mixed with Tyo powder in this instance) and shaped using the Little Venice Cake Company Modelling Tools and Mat. They were possibly the quickest flowers I have ever made as time was short (10pm the night before!) but I was happy with the overall effect. The flowers were wired and inserted into mini flower picks which were pushed
into the sponge at staggered heights.

Here's the gluten free recipe for 3 lots of 8" vanilla sponges (base tier) 
(swop the vanilla extract for other flavours if you wish)
12oz Soft Margarine (at room temperature)
12oz Golden Caster Sugar
6 Large Eggs (at room temperature)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (spend more on a quality one such as Nielsen Massey -
it is worth the expense as it makes such a difference to the flavour)
Heat the oven to 180 0C then grease and line your cake tins (I used the Little Venice Cake Company Professional Grade Anodised Cake Tins as I love the quality). Cream the margarine and sugar together until fluffy then gradually add in the beaten eggs and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and use a metal spoon to fold it onto the mixture. Divide the mixture equally between three tins and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until light golden brown and springy to the touch in the middle.
If you do not have three tins the same size, make each layer one at a time using freshly prepared mixture. It is worth the effort as the baking agents in the mixture can start to work whilst it sits in the bowl and can spoil the sponge.
For the top tier, use 6" tins and alter the quantities to 9oz of margarine, sugar and flour and 4.5 eggs
(add one egg to a cup, beat it then measure out half) - use the same amount of vanilla extract and bake for 15 - 20 minutes.
The cake was filled with beaten double cream and strawberry jam and went down a storm! Apparently, it even freezes well too (just as well as there was rather a lot to eat!). As you can see, I used Little Venice Cake Company Dowelling Rods to support the top tier and prevent it
squashing the base.
Thank you for looking - I would love your thoughts or ideas on naked cakes or gluten free baking!
Jill x

Monday, 31 March 2014

#docraftsmonday Quilled Rose Vase Card

Well, it's Monday and I have had a little time to breath after a completely manic week and weekend, so here goes, my #docraftsmonday offering for today!
I adore dimensional makes, whether it's card or cake, and so I decided to go for it with this Mother's Day card using lots of layers made from Xcut die-cuts and quilled roses...

You can find a fab tutorial for making quilled roses on Nikki Smith's
'What Nikki Did Next blog here! I used 4cm and 6cm circle dies to make mine.
The vase was made using 3 of the Xcut  Leaves Nesting Dies (XCU 503401) with the base trimmed off. The background squares were the second and third largest Square Parethesis Nesting Dies (XCU 503401), the swirls were a selection of the Floral Flourishes dies (XCU 503188).

 The roses were made with a mix of Papermania Cardstock and docrafts Creativity Club printables and finally, the daisies were made using the Xcut Palm Punch! Add lots of antiquing with dark brown dies in and you are pretty much there!
Thank you for looking!
Jill x

What is #docraftsmonday?

#docraftsmonday is like a weekly crafty 'show and tell'.

To get involved on Facebook:
On Monday, post a photo on of your recent craft project and add the hashtag #docraftsmonday.
You can see all #docraftsmonday projects by visiting the page and viewing the 'Posts by Others' section, clicking on the #docraftsmonday hashtag, or searching '#docraftsmonday' in the Facebook search box. When you see a #docraftsmonday project you like, make sure you comment or give it a Like!

Monday, 3 March 2014

World Book Day Inspired Book Marks for #docraftsmonday

This Thursday sees the worldwide celebration of everything related to books – authors, illustrators, stories and most importantly, a celebration of reading. My youngest will be going into school dressed as a character from a book (a rabbit onesie to represent the Hare in the Tortoise and the Hare!) and schools everywhere will be marking the occasion by organising a wide range of activities inspired by all things book. Find out more

Plus, it’s also #docraftsmonday again! A time to share your makes with other crafters everywhere in the weekly craft show and tell (scroll down to find out more).

This weekend, the girls and I got creative making bookmarks (click here to see the kid’s makes including a frogie template!). Our household is in a hedgehog themed grip at the moment so here are the ones I made using an assortment of docrafts goodies, including my favorite Bakers Twine…

I designed them so that they are very simple for kids to make. Simply cut a basic hedgehog shape from brown Craft Planet Funky Foam  then use Anita’s Tacky Glue to stick on short lengths of natural Baker’s Twine. Add a black button for a nose and Papermania Gunmetal Adhesive Pearls for eyes. Leave to dry then attach onto a loop of Baker’s Twine and secure onto the bookmark base. You could use the same technique to make pencil toppers and to decorate pencil holders and work books!

Share your World Book Day ideas and add them to #docraftsmonday!

Thank you for looking

Jill x

What is #docraftsmonday?

#docraftsmonday is like a weekly crafty 'show and tell'.

To get involved on Facebook:
On Monday, post a photo on of your recent craft project and add the hashtag #docraftsmonday.
You can see all #docraftsmonday projects by visiting the page and viewing the 'Posts by Others' section, clicking on the #docraftsmonday hashtag, or searching '#docraftsmonday' in the Facebook search box. When you see a #docraftsmonday project you like, make sure you comment or give it a Like!

What is World Book Day? (extract from

“World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

This is the 17th year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 6th March 2014 children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading. Very loudly and very happily. The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. That’s why we will be sending schools (including those nurseries and secondary schools that have specially registered to participate), packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs (age-ranged into Nursery/Pre-School, Primary and Secondary) full of ideas and activities, display material and more information about how to get involved in World Book Day.”

Visit worldbookday.com to find out more!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Male themed Birthday card using docrafts Creativity Club printables

Well, it's #docraftsmonday (thank you Emma!) and I thought it was about time I got my craft stash out - you forget how good it can make you feel, simply being focused on one thing instead of ten for a change. Here's the result - a birthday card for my Father-in-Law (don't show him this yet Barb!), using the printables I designed for this week's Creativity Club download. There are flowers included in the collection, but I missed those out and converted the patterns into a more masculine card...
I love layers and dimension so I used lots of 3D foam squares and layers of paper
mounted onto card to created a sense of depth...

...I wrapped craft string around the card base randomly...
...and used lots of dark brown dye ink to get a vintage effect.

The inside of the card echoed the same design as the front...

...and I used red buttons to add that finishing touch!
Thank you for looking and don't forget to join in #docraftsmonday!
Jill x
#docraftsmonday is like a weekly crafty 'show and tell'.
To get involved on Facebook:
On Monday, post a photo on of your recent craft project
and add the hashtag #docraftsmonday.

You can see all #docraftsmonday projects by visiting the page and viewing the 'Posts by Others' section, clicking on the #docraftsmonday hashtag, or searching '#docraftsmonday'
in the Facebook search box. When you see a #docraftsmonday project you like,
make sure you comment or give it a Like!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Cath Kidston Inspired Birthday Cake

My favourite mug at home was a gift from my lovely girls and features a beautiful Cath Kidston rose design on blue. I've always planned on making a cake using it as inspiration, so when my Mother-in-law's birthday came around, it was the perfect opportunity! The cake is completely gluten free (so my daughter, Nan and I could tuck in too!), vanilla sponge on the base with lemon on top.

It was actually a very quick cake to make and probably one I have enjoyed the most. I love that each time I design a cake, I learn something new to take onto the next one - I hope that never changes!

 I found that by being relaxed about the decorating process, making more impulsive decisions rather than mapping everything out, made the creative process much more fun. I am looking forward to my next docrafts Creativity Magazine commission now!

Thanks for looking!

Jill x

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Birthday Card - You are never too old to dream a new dream...

I made this card for my brother's birthday - he has just started sea swimming and has set himself some personal goals for this year!

I used a combination of the docrafts Creativity Club Sentiments Collections (1 & 2), Xcut Build-a-Scene dies XCU 503156 (for the waves), Xcut Dies Rectangle Parenthesis XCU 503045 (for the text panel), plus a mix of Papermania Capsule products and a blue wallaper which I got as a sample from a DIY store!

Thank you for looking!

Jill x

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Festive Wedding Cake

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you have all managed to escape the flooding and power cuts the recent weather conditions have resulted in - we have been blessed in our part of Dorset, so, so lucky.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to catch up on my blog posts - I have a backlog of craft/cake projects to put is the first!
I was recently asked to make a wedding cake for my Boss's sister - the brief was to make it festive with a cranberry/silver and white colour palette with a touch of holly, making a sugarpaste ribbon the feature on the top tier...
To create the ribbon loops, I mixed some Gum Tragacanth (a plant derived powder which is used to stiffen sugarpaste, making it set harder and hold it's shape), into the cranberry paste, wrapped it in clingfilm and left it overnight. I then created the loops from lengths of paste and secured a cocktail stick into the end of each loop using a little cool, boiled water, shaped them and left them to dry out.
I opted to use the cocktail sticks as the cake had to be transported across country
and they prevented the loops from slipping!
What I love about cake decorating, is that each cake teaches me something different and
new and inspires me to try out more techniques!
Thank you for looking
Have a great 2014!
Jill x

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