Author Archive | Anam Stubbington

Edible Embossing

Reported by Anam Stubbington

All to often, craft supplies get relegated to the particular craft they are labelled for in the shop, but there are so many cross-over opportunities, not just in the paper craft work. We have yarn and paper crafts mixing with crocheted flowers on scrapbook layouts; oil pastels and watercolors for making your own paper backgrounds for cards; and fabrics used for texture in clay work.

Today I decided to use my ProvoCraft Cuttlebug Embossing folders for something new. I use and abuse my folders because they are just so versatile and easily cleaned – a big bonus in my book.

We have all done the inking trick with the embossing folders, used them on velvet to extend their usability and used them on fimo and clay to make jewelry pieces. I had made the traditional clay ornaments with them – perfect for the Christmas season – I gave them as party favours using handmade air drying clay to match the invites I made also using the embossing folders.

(don’t know why the purple one looks dirty but in real life its got a gold and silver sheen)

In making these, I thought that I would try and see if I could continue the theme onto the cupcakes using icing and chocolate. I have the basic standard embossing folders so all I added was a rolling pin.

Turns out the embossing folders are awesome for making edible decorations – and I cleaned mine by sticking them in the dishwasher afterwards.
I started with Ready-to-roll icing because I will admit that I suck at baking. It was super easy – decide what folder you want and if you want the image in relief or embossed into the icing – remember with text plates, the relief version is in reverse when you place it down on the icing.

If you have a steady hand, you could even color the embossed images with food coloring. Food coloring though does not stick to the folders so you cannot coat the folder and then emboss like you would with an inkpad (which admittedly was a disappointment for me).

Then cut out your shapes either by hand or use cookie cutters to make awesome cake toppers.

Imagine the fun you could have with the whole image embossing plates for the tops of cakes or as frame bases for cake flowers.

I then tried chocolate to see how much fun I could have with the folders. I tried a few ways to do it and found these two worked best.

  • Firstly melt your chocolate to a runny dough consistency – I would suggest you buy proper cake chocolate so the chocolate stays harder longer once it is solid as my very yummy milk chocolate melted in my regular kitchen temperatures.
  • Add a little oil or cake release to your folders – I used olive oil and no-one mentioned any taste issues.
  • Put the folders on a flat tray with some greaseproof paper underneath them.

Option 1 is to pour the melted chocolate on top of your folder and allow to harder. once hard you turn the folder over and peel the plate off the chocolate – it should come over very easily. You can then use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes you want – I found it worked better with a metal cutter that was heated in some hot water first.

Option 2 is good when you only want a specific part of an embossing folder. Place your cookie cutter (slightly oiled) on the area you want as your image. Pour the chocolate into the cookie cutter and allow to harden. Once hard, you can remove the plate and then pop the chocolate shape out – this way seemed to give me thicker shapes.

I left them in the fridge for a few hours and then added them to the cupcakes just before I served them. That said, some of my guests decided they would have happily eaten the chocolate toppers on their own so maybe make them with dark chocolate and serve with coffee for adults?

Remember to leave the cut shapes for a little while to dry out if you want them to be used flat or standing. Making cupcake toppers with the folders was so easy and would be a great addition to anyone’s DIY arsenal of tricks for wedding or party cakes.


  • Easy to use
  • Lots of designs available
  • Easy to clean afterwards


  • Not all designs work well
  • Have to work in small batches due to size of folder
  • Lots of chocolate left that needs to be eaten

I hope you also find uses for those crafting supplies in the kitchen!


Celebrating Movember

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on thousands of mens faces around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for mens health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

You can sponsor the growing of said facial hair of friends and family and be part of a fun event to make a difference as 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In honor of this being the month of Movember, I thought it would be a good time to introduce our readers to some of my favourite Male Crafters.

Fabrizio Martellucci

1. What do you enjoy about being creative?
I enjoy the distraction of it, I can lose myself for hours paper crafting and when I look at the clock I realise that I spent a whole afternoon crafting. It’s healing for me as I would just sulk otherwise because I’m indoors all the time due to agoraphobia and other issues.

2. What is the most frustrating thing about being creative?
Not being able to create what you have brewing in your head. I might have an idea that sits there for weeks then when I’m finally ready to create, it doesn’t come to fruition; I usually get totally disheartened but sometimes out of that original idea something completely different might come up and that surprises me.
3. Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m an avid blog hopper for my own linking website as I’m always on the lookout for that ‘wow’ handmade greeting card, I also like to read paper crafting magazines: especially the card making ones. Funnily enough my best ‘lightbulb’ moments came using sketches/pagemaps I really dig how you can apply any sort of papers, embellishments and ribbons, using various layouts, which seems to have taken the guessing work, out of the equation. Sketches are real time savers. 

4. What do you love about your favourite pieces of artwork?
It’s something I like to share with other crafters like myself, in a way it’s a bit of a legacy on my best work (I’m really a hit and miss so I’m not proud of all my stuff lol); I always hope that someone who’s sitting on the fence about paper crafting might decide to start crafting because they see my creations and that would be really cool to think that I’ve inspired someone else.

5. Do you find any differences being male in your creative field?
I think male crafters are still standing out like sore thumbs because there aren’t that many of us. Mind you, I can see more men cardmakers popping up everywhere now than it used to be only a few years ago. I do like the attention I get being male as with my foreign name, it makes me stand out from the rest.

6. What would be your favourite words of creative wisdom to others?
Don’t buy everything you see as we only use 20% we own to produce 80% of our output (using the Pareto principle here), I believe that some of us have hoarding tendencies and that can be a problem if space is at a premium in your own dwelling. My best tip is also to give your creations only to people who will appreciate them, don’t spend time trying to convert the ‘only shop bought’ cards brigade: you’re only wasting your time. 🙂

You can see more of Fab’s work at his site:

Aaron Morris
1. What do you enjoy about being creative?
I enjoy being able to channel the creativity that I have inside me into things that make me and the ones I love happy.

2. What is the most frustrating thing about being creative?
I always find it frustrating when I lose my mojo. I hate having the desire to be creative, but having trouble creating something that I am happy with. Sometimes, I get frustrated when I have too much inspiration, knowing that I will likely not get to everything I want to do.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me. In a store, in nature, looking at other layouts (both paper and digi). I mostly get inspired to create things by my family and the memories we create – when I have memories to scrap or great photos I get inspired to create.

4. What do you love about your favourite pieces of artwork?
As I’ve spent time scrapbooking, my style has changed. I am most happy with my style as it is now. I love layering and clustering elements, and I love adding surprising elements to my pages. I also love having layouts that I can share with my family.

5. Do you find any differences being male in your creative field?
Not usually. Some people are surprised when they “find out” about me, but people are usually great about it and love having a man that shares their hobby.

6. What would be your favourite words of creative wisdom to others?
I think I would love to remind people that there is no “wrong answer” in creativity. Often we get caught up in what is trendy and what others will like and forget that creativity is supposed to be something that is original to each individual. My best work comes from the times that I forget what I think is the “right thing” to do, and do what I feel works the best.

You can see more of Aaron’s work at his site:

Andy Skinner
1. What do you enjoy about being creative?
Finding out new techniques, experimenting with new mediums and loosing myself for a few hours!

2. What is the most frustrating thing about being creative?
Never being totally happy with the artwork I create. Unfortunately we are all our own worst critics.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?
In absolutely everything including my dreams! I take a camera with me wherever I go and take pictures constantly for reference.

4. What do you love about your favourite pieces of artwork?
This is different for so many pieces as I dabble in many techniques, styles and media. I think, however,  for my Steampunk and assemblage items, it is the ability to produce realistic faux metal, rust and aged effects to fool the viewer. It’s so funny that my father spent most of his spare time restoring old items to make them look new, I on the other hand do the complete opposite, it’s much more fun that way!
5. Do you find any differences being male in your creative field?
Not really, I do sometimes feel a little out numbered as men are definitely the minority in this field it has to be said, but I have always got on far better with women having grown up in a female- dominated house and having all daughters.

6. What would be your favourite words of creative wisdom to others?
This one is simple for me, its from Albert Einstein “Imagination is more important than knowledge”

You can see more of Andy’s work at his site:

I hope you have enjoyed this little introduction to some awesome crafters and that you will support Movember’s quest!


Trends | Burlap

Burlap is what used to be called sackcloth; it was used for storage for everything as it was easy to make, breathable and moisture resistant. Even since it was used by the Haute Couture fashion houses a few years ago, burlap has been gaining strength. This seems to be the year where burlap comes into its own as a fully-functioning decorative fabric, being used in everything from wedding decorations to wall paper to the red carpet.

4. Bottega Veneta 2011 dress and Emma Watson wearing the dress to the Harry Potter Premier this summer.

It has a big place in the Eco-friendly world as it is bio-degradable, reusable, and durable. It can be dressed up or broken down, and yet still retains that rustic uniqueness all of its own. It can be used instead of canvas and paper to beautiful effect.

Burlap comes in ribbon rolls, in yards and in sheets and can be sewn, rolled, frayed, gathered, bunched, and looped, as well as used straight off the roll, or made into flowers.

You can sew it, color it with dye and paint, stamp and print on it, make it into furniture and clothes, toys and rugs. but most of all it is a fun and inexpensive way of being contemporary.

Burlap looks so pretty mixed with other fabrics such as silk, linen, and lace – a touch of elegance – the rough with the smooth.

And it’s perfect for those seasonal Christmas decorations.

6. Star

And the perfect gift maybe?

Burlap is so versatile, making it a perfect foil for both adults and kids alike, especially when it is used with this year’s perfect frame – the embroidery hoop!

And for those crafters and scrapbookers, there is a wide range of products that fit the burlap theme.

1. Tim Holtz Embossing folder

2. Nikki Sivils Buttons

3. My Minds Eye Trim

4. Weeds & Wildflowers Digital Elements

5. Ranger Tim Holtz distress inkpad

6. Canvas Corp Banner

7. Jillibean soup alpha stickers

8. Prima Marketing flowers

Also Hot off the Press do a burlap textured paper 🙂

I totally expect Burlap to stay as strong as it has for the last year, with more and more uses coming as it is a really interesting product.

I hope you enjoyed and are inspired by this little post on the wonders of burlap.


Vendor Spotlight: Letraset Safmat

Reported by Anam Stubbington

When I was asked to try the SafMat inkjet printable film from Letraset, I was intrigued, as I am well used to printing on stickers and transparencies. I wanted to see how it fared in relation to those.

According to the Letraset website, SafMat is…

“Ideal for use on paper and card – just print, cut out and stick Safmat is a highly transparent, self-adhesive film for use with your printer. It enables you to create your own unique text and graphics for applying onto almost any smooth surface.
Ideal for scrapbook pages, homemade greetings cards, wedding invites, technical drawings, packaging mockups… Safmat is the perfect solution for applying printed designs onto materials that wouldn’t normally go through a desktop printer. eg heavyweight card, acetate, large 3D objects…
Commercial designers and students use Safmat for creating realistic product and packaging mockups. It’s also popular in many crafts and creative leisure pastimes. No other product gives the same result – it’s like creating a unique, fully personalised transfer.
Safmat is acid free for archival longevity. It’s an excellent versatile solution for Scrap Booking, Card Making and many other craft activities. Anywhere it’s useful to apply personalised printed phrases and images.”

My biggest complaint about other films is that they often looked washed out, don’t dry quick enough and with transparencies nearly impossible to adhere but by the end of my packet of the SafMat film, I was hooked by its versatility and the brightness of the printed colors.

I used Adobe Photoshop to create pages of images that I wanted to print, but any programme that allows you to place images or text will be perfect.

As you can see, with good placement you can get a lot out of a single sheet, which makes it a really useable product.

I went about trying to use it on a variety of different items from paper to glass. With glass products like mirrors and windows, you will see the edges as it’s not 100% transparent, but it did not distract for me. With the paper products, the edges were hardly noticeable.

I made this layout to hang in our new home. The SafMat worked really well on the doily; it is really hard to see the cut edges. Given that there is no way I could print on the doily directly (and even if I could, it would bleed), so the SafMat made it all possible as you can still see the texture of the doily under the poem.

Here are two cards I made using SafMat as I used the SafMat for printing off my own sentiments and just having them to hand when I need them is an added bonus without having to resort to stamps and ink.

For scrapbooking and cardmaking, the possibilites are endless, and the self-adhesive properties make it far more usable than transparencies. The lovely Satin finish makes the finished product non-reflective which is good for photographing.

When printing, it needed no special settings and dried quickly. Try not to touch it with wet hands as it will smudge a little. It cut easily and if you cut close the printed image, the result is as if it was a rub-on. It adhered nicely – bubbles were easily rubbed out, and if it went down in the wrong place, with care it was easy to remove and replace .

I punched out some images (it is super easy to punch) and used them as stickers on some candy for my kids – a extra sweet touch to personalize any event – perfect for parties, weddings or even just for school lunches! I used some of the punches images as letter seals for that extra touch.

I loved how easily it went on walls, and can see myself putting my own favourite quotes on the walls in our new home. If you wanted sayings larger than what would fit on an A4 sheet, you could easily split it up over several sheets and it would still cost less than buying a custom decal.

My all time favourite fun thing was to make my own window decals. I printed them in reverse (see top picture) so they could be stuck on the inside of a window – like inside a car – and seen from the outside yet protected from the elements. And becuase they are easy to remove you could have different ones every week or for the seasons. (hint: Star Trek Spock Hand Print)

I loved working with the Safmat and can see it being part of my toolbox when it comes to projects. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to personalize their projects, especially if there are no stamps in a language you want such as Italian, Greek or Japanese.


  • Fast drying time
  • Crisp, bright printed colors
  • Inkjet printable
  • Acid-free


  • Not waterproof (although that can be said of all inkjet printable products)
  • It was not as transparent as I would have liked, but made up for that with being non-reflective
  • $10 for a pack of 10 but to be honest to get so much to a page that that works out as good value

Have you used the Letraset SafMat product yet? What do you like about the product? What would you use it on? Leave a comment and let us know!


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Letraset ProMarkers

Reported by Anam Stubbington

I was delighted when I was asked to review Letraset products, as they are a company who have been in the graphic design world for over 50 years; I used their type rub-ons way back in university as part of my printing apprenticeship.
I was sent the Stamping ProMarker Set 2 to test with the Letraset Cartridge Paper Pad. I’ve used a variety of other markers including the Letraset AquaMarkers over the last few years, so thought I would be able to give a fair review about the Letraset Markers.
From their website, these are the Benefits of the Letraset ProMarkers:

ProMarkers produce vivid, bright colors right through to the subtlest pastel shades – the translucent inks can also be overlaid and blended, even further extending the range of shades and hues on offer. ProMarker’s quality nibs and inks provide flawless color lay down with consistent coverage and no unsightly streaking.

• Alcohol based, non-toxic, permanent ink
• Multi surface application: use on paper, card, vellum, acetate, glass, wood, metal and plastic
• Outstanding tone and vibrancy
• Colours are transparent and can be overlaid to create a variety of tone and shading effects
• Ideal for illustrators, students and hobbyists
• Twin tipped allowing for a variety of strokes within one marker
• 148 colours available

So I set out to see if I could agree with those words. I printed a selection of digital images out on both the Letraset Cartridge paper and some watercolour paper. I also stamped some of my favourite images in both a dye and stazon ink on the same papers.

What I did find is that the markers need the right papers to ensure the best end result. I found that the Cartridge paper worked well with the Letraset ProMarkers, while the watercolor paper worked best with the Letraset AquaMarkers. I found that Stazon ink worked best with all the pens, and I had no issues with any of my inkjet printed images with the pens.

I also colored Clear Sticky Jewels and White Organza Ribbon with the ProMarkers so they match the coloured image perfectly. I found that use so convenient as it stopped me searching for extra items constantly.

I also tested out the ProMarkers on peel-offs. They colored them beautifully making adding detail simple and again easy to coordinate colors.

Personally I loved the vividness of the ProMarker colors on the Cartridge paper and the delicateness of the AquaMarkers on the watercolour paper. I got great use out of the Markers with the blender pens and found myself quite enjoying coloring for once!

Here are the finished cards I made as part of my review.


  • More ink in each pen (70% more than their competitors)
  • Cheaper than their competitors. Letraset ProMarkers sell for about $2 each and each pack comes with at least 1 blender pen.
  • Thicker pens are easier to hold for anyone with joint issues
  • The nibs are multifunctional with the round and the wedge and the color range and blending options make it feasible to have all the colors you want..


  • No color stickers on the end of the markers which makes finding the right color a pain but as colors can depends on what you are coloring on. so i colored in some Letraset manga paper and stick them on the end as I want to use this storage system although this one also looks good for my studio.
  • Not refillable but the pens are cheaper to buy and contain more ink to start with
  • Current Availability – most fine art shops carry Letraset but Craft & hobby stores are slowing catching up.

Even with those cons, I would recommend them, as I ended up liking the ProMarkers so much that I bought more – specifically their skin tone range and their spring colours.

As you can see, I am now a huge fan of Letraset Products and as Letraset do a huge range of product for the creative world and are adding more each year, I trust their range and future development for products.

Do you use Letraset products? what do you like about Letraset products? What would you like Letraset to bring out next?


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National Scrapbooking Day

Reported by Anam Stubbington

There are many sides to crafting – felt, yarn, wood, bead and paper. And then paper is split into many different areas – cards, altered and scrapbooking. Most of the time they overlap with regards to supplies and tools, so it’s is easy to move between them. Personally, I started with Scrapbooking, and while I do play in other areas, it will always be my first love. Scrapbooking for me is the merging of pretty papers and my memories, telling the story in a way that makes me happy.

Some people feel they cannot start scrapbooking because they feel they need to be an expert with their own studio before they can start. I want to tell you that nothing is further from the truth. As with anything, either crafting or driving your car, it is all about practice – the more you do something, the easier it is. You can start really small – a small tote of tools and supplies to produce beautiful pages to grace your albums.

Craft Critique has always had amazing reviews for scrapbooking products, so in celebration of National Scrapbook Day, I am pulling together a “Starter” Kit and my Favorites …

My Starter Kit:

  1. Personally these are the items I believe you should have to make scrapbooking easy and therefore more enjoyable:
  2. 12″ Trimmer – start with a push one, work up to a rotary one. 
  3. A variety of adhesives: Foam Squares, Glue Dots, Doubles Sided Tape or Tape Runners and a liquid glue. Sharp pointed Scissors.
  4. a small Black ink Pad for edging
  5. a Black Pen for journalling 

and that’s it for basics…I would then add the following:

  1. Nail File (to distress edges of paper)
  2. Brown Ink & Pen,
  3. a Hole maker stick, 
  4. a Corner Rounder
  5. a Circle punch.

After that I would add a WRMK crop-a-dile and a bunch of edge punches, metallic pens and more inks. From here, you can add so many awesome tools that you would need a whole house to display them, but the main thing is to enjoy how you scrapbook.

I have been scrapbooking for over 7 years now and have worked with some of the biggest names out there with regards to both scrapbookers and manufacturers, but I still have days where I look at a website or a blog and find something new that makes me sit up and pay attention. Those are the days I love being a scrapbooker, just wanting to try out another persons style or technique to help tell my story.

The biggest time consumer is picking out product to go with your photographs and most people have a busy life going on so here are my time saving tips:

  1. Get several large ziplock bags – you can get them at your grocery store (you want the ones that are 33cms wide) or from your local craft store.
  2. In each bag, put the related photos and a piece of paper with some relevant details.
  3. Each day give yourself 15 to 30 minutes to add supplies to each ziplock bag. Continue to do this until you have more than enough to make an layout.
  4. When you have more than 30 minutes, sit down and glue it all together.
  5. Keep the scraps in the bag and make some cards with the left overs.

Normally I have 20 of these bags on the go – adding to them here and there – until I can get a good afternoon to sit and glue without interruption. They’re perfect for crops too!

I know most people use digitial cameras now, please please back up your photographs every week – there are lots of free options out there so you do not lose those images. Personally, when I download my photos from my camera, I immediately copy my favorites into a “to be printed” folder which I then print out when a special offer is offered – normally one every month. I then add them to a regular photo album – one of those 6″x 4″ ones. I also add a 6″x 4″ index card to each set page with the details of the “who, where, when and why” so that at least my photos are chronologically up-to-date, which allows me more freedom with my scrapbooking.

There are lots of places to go and hang out with like minded people – your local Scrapbook store is an awesome place to start, then maybe look online for local clubs or one of the good online forums such as or and there are plenty of magazines for you to check out such as Scrapbook Trends, Creative Keepsakes, etc. There are also a ton of challenge blogs that will give you starting ideas to help you scrapbook – you can see listings here – some of my favorites are: Pencil Lines, HMITM, Scrapping The Music, as well as my own Twisted Sketches.

My Recommended books: Stacey Julian’s “Big Picture” and Cathy Zielske “Clean and Simple” – or the online books through Ella’s publishing. Or you can try online classes though Big Picture Classes or Shimelle and if you like Videos, search on YouTube for some useful instructions.

Today being “National Scrapbooking Day” there are tons of events going on around the world – from all weekend crops at your local stores to contests and challenges on your favorite websites. Nearly all the manufacturers run some sort of blog hop with their design team to get everyone involved in a fantastic day to share our love of paper and memories. So go out this weekend and explore, find something to inspire you and scrapbook a memory!

Are you new to scrapboooking? If you’re a seasoned pro, what do you wish you had known about at the beginning? Do you have some awesome scrapbooking tips to share ?

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Earth Day Crafters and Crafts

Reported by Anam Stubbington

With everything going on in the world these days combined with the financial considerations that people are having to make, more and more people are turning to eco-crafting to reduce their impact and their spending.

Most of us know the basics, but also want something funky and fun to go with the functional and plain – so I thought I’d share what is in my bookmarks with you 🙂

The following are individual people who continuously make me want to create!

Camilla Fabbri:  this girl’s ideas just stun me every time – I am so taken with her tiny vases right now – awesome ideas!

April Denise:  April is a whizz when it comes to re-purposing furniture or creating the mega dollar fittings from Thrift store items with the use of a little imagination. The Goodwill lamp just blew me away.
Michelle Pacey:  Michelle is amazing crafter who produces beautiful things from a lot of half circles – love her flowers, necklace and especially her milk tote!

Lisa Kercher: Lisa has a post every Friday with something DIY to make for yourself or for your craft. I am in love with her Tie Headbands!

Tali Butcher:
Tali has some awesome ideas for kids and home decor on her blog – I fell in love with her toilet roll wall artwork and stayed for the food.

Melissa Esplin:  Melissa shows off so many easy to do ideas that I have her as a daily read. Her leather bow cuff and her loop garland are some of my favs!

Michelle Reader:  Michelle is a UK artists who only uses recycled products – I love her work – especially her daffodil!

Mini-Eco:  this is one of my favourite sites to use in relation to my kids. Tons of crafts and beautiful tutorials. I love her guitar and her scenery.

There are a vast number of websites out there that are full of interesting ideas to try. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Recyclart is an amazing resource for ideas – I love the tire toy box! It’s like a flickr for Art from repurposed materials.

Another Gallery of Inspiration is the collection – just so many ideas.
– the beaded chandelier is still one of my all time favorites right next to the duct tape rolled bead bracelets! Kelli & Kristi bring so many new crafty people and ideas to my attention. They are link heaven! And their own tutorials are just as awesome – i love their felt necklace and their state Love one is so precious!– one of the biggest places to be inspired. Katy brings so many good people to my attention. Natalie brings so many good ideas to the front. Magda Knight runs this amazing source of cool funky craft ideas. I love her Egg carton NoticeBoard! this is a good resource for finding out ideas on how to reuse product. Kathreen makes beautiful quilts and shares some awesome eco-crafting ideas that make me smile. Her links are wonderful to find crafters who do more eco-crafting. ways to reuse or change Ikea furniture to make it even more awesome.
while this is a store selling products, it has a huge resource of tutorials and ideas to do with eco-crafting, especially for children.
this is a website with gorgeous photography and great ideas. I adore their hanging lightbulb vases.

There is a wealth of ideas, inspiration and resources out there for you to take advantage of and start your own eco-crafting revolution in your own home.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!