Monthly Archives: November 2011

Christmas, Digi stuff, Graphics

A little something for you for Christmas

A pretty set of elegant alpha Photoshop / PSE brushes for you to personalise gifts or make place settings for the Christmas table with. Each letter is set in a scalloped decorative circle to make cutting out easy. All high res – designed in Illustrator then imported to PS to be converted to PS brushes.


Download here to register and download your free set:

Free set of Photoshop / PSE brushes

Bye for now


Hel x


Good News!


There’s still twenty-seven days to Christmas! And we didn’t have snow!

Bad news –  there are only twenty-seven days to Christmas! And we didn’t have snow! Ha ha.

Are you ready?! I’m not – and I’d been congratulating myself on being so organised this year … well, I got my cakes baked back in August which was a brilliant bit of time management … trouble was, it was just that one bit..  amazing how you think you have it all in hand because you got one thing done…

But I’m painting a bleaker picture than necessary… I have got lots of bits and bobs done. And, I got MOST of my shopping done on Friday. That was a major achievement considering that by the time I’d found Paper Chase in Arnotts I’d lost my bearings and couldn’t find my way out! Of course I did eventually – a bunch of priests hiding in the lingerie department helped my orienteering there.

Had to stand all the way home on the train – forty minutes – as it was so packed (caught one of the rush hour trains). And walk from the station home (I knew the  car park would be full so left the car at the house). Great feeling to get in, kick off my shoes and have a lovely cup of tea. My feet were hot and throb-throb-throbbing.

Recognise it? Yes, it’s the same image as the one above. Basically, it’s a bunch of graphic elements that I’ve created in Illustrator for one reason or another. Most are welded together as I had intended to cut them with the Pro for scrapping but until ‘m ready to do that, thought they’d make a nice graphic. I took the graphic into Photoshop and played with the Layer Props and filters. This one is bevelled and embossed with a gold gradient.

And again, bevelled and embossed with nothing more than a large white inner glow. It has its own charm.


The sugar snow cottages are coming along very nicely. The roofy is scalloped now.  I was in a certain craft shop on Friday and saw that they charge €4.00 MORE than the place I get my sugary glitter from in Blanchardstown.

Here’s my latest one made up in funky colours  (I think ‘funky’ in the US means ugly – we use it to mean … hmmmm… pretty in a groovy (haaaar) sort of way. A chunky scalloped roof and gingerbread house windows (shutters with a heart cut out each side).  Notice the big fat chimney? I like to finish them off with some curly wurly smoke – just a bit of curling with some pliers and fine gauge wire.

And – having bought a pack of Christmassy papers as well on Friday, a very merry Christmas cottage:

The base is made from robin and holly paper and the roof is green with a white dotty pattern. There’s a little snowman in the porch (a wine glass tag) and a metal Santa coming round the corner. He’s not 3D so on a hunt for small figures for the village. A Santa for the roof would be a brilliant find so my fingers are crossed.

I want to redesign my church and get a couple of them built and have one more house design to complete. I will be selling the templates on here soon – I just need to convert them from ai’s to other file formats and …groan… write the instructions…

But will probably be posting some digi stamps before then – my eye has been taken with the wonderful packaging around decorated with Scandanavian folk art and it has inspired me to have a go at creating such loveliness myself…

Now to get some tea ready. I intended to marzipan the cakes tonight but realised I’d picked up orange marmalade and not apricot jam instead. Yuk. No hurry, there’s still twenty-seven days to Christmas. I’ll do it tomorrow night instead.

Thanks for visiting and hope you’re looking forward to Christmas.

Hel x



Glowing bauble in Photoshop

A quick posting today.

I was inspired to have a go at creating a glowing bauble I saw on Deviant Art by Mary and John (I think – if you know, please tell me so I can credit the artist). There wasn’t a tutorial to go with it but I thought it was so pretty I’d have a go at making my own. It’s turned out quite well and I’m pleased with myself in a non-gloaty head kind of way. What do you think?

This morning I got a strange spam. I don’t get many because I use the letter ID system now but before I installed the filter widget there were ways the spam could get through. It’s now  a simple job to see where it got in and close the loophole (there can only be a couple left). Still, one did get through today and I am intrigued by the weird grammatical rules it approximates to create ‘language’)!

It reads :

Hi to all, for the reason that I am keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It carries fastidious material.

It’s like something devised by Noam Chomsky:
Colourless green ideas sleep furiously

We’re either witnessing the evolution of machines acquiring language skills or it’s completely bonkers mate (joking!). It’s engagingly odd though.

Anyhoo, things to do – if  you would like to know how to make the bauble (PS with a little bit of Illustrator) , drop me a line and I’ll write up the tutorial. If not, the sentiment still applies and I hope you are looking forward to a Merry Christmas.

Hels x

3D, Christmas

Sugar snow village

Our local weather forecast has said we ‘may’ get snow. Oh that would be just beautiful (clap hands!). I know the reality of snow is that it’s cold and wet and gets dirty and freezes slippy but that first look out of the window to see everything blanketed in pure, white glistening snow enraptures me. So I DO hope they’ve got it right.

Meanwhile, back at paper central here I’ve been making little paper tealight houses like they’re going out of fashion.

The picture below was my first good prototype. I wanted it to look like a little house from a storybook – remember the story about the little girl made out of snowflakes by the old couple with no children? They would live here. There were a few mods to do and little things I wanted changing like the positioning of the tabs and details like making windows bigger/smaller etc. Another use of that Velveteen Rabbit text you’ll see…

I worked on it the day before yesterday and went to bed not quite happy with it but resigned to sleeping on it. … Like the tree? Bottle brush on a cotton reel with a wooden star hot-glued on top. Sprayed and glittered …  don’t give a honk how much glitter I fritter at Christmas!

Up with the birdies, a nice pot of coffee with sultana toast and I was ready to get tweaking! Much better. And am so pleased with the set of charming little houses. They are about 3″ square  and the whole thing cuts out of a single sheet of 12″ x 12″ paper. I used double-sided paper and cut two houses to make contrasting window frames, doorframes, etc from them.  They are simply just outrageously pretty!


Now, my big mission is to find the garden centre my friend told me about – where,  apparently, they stock coloured…. and… SPARKLY  battery tealights! Sparkly – WHAT? Ooh!  This is, in terms of communication theory, perfect! That whole signal to noise ratio –  no degradation!  Perfect!  I hear ya! I must find some nice cake decorations as well, a santa, deer,  robins, etc, a postman or person in the porch would be a delight… I so would like them to come and live in the village. Oh my, do I have a big village now. And a tealight train…. Maybe I should forget the tealights and go straight to the national grid…

I popped into the nearest garden centre Sunday morning but it was the wrong one. They had NO tealights. Not a wasted journey though, I bought a very cute metal watering can with a flower on the side (wanted something to keep writing pens and pencils on my desk in). I didn’t bother having it wrapped and carried it out to the car when I noticed the stowaway  – a spider  on the bottom of the can with his legs spread out like a star. I like spiders (remember I live in a temperate zone so we have no poisonous ones) so brought him home with me. I left the watering can in the conservatory on its side (dunno why – spiders can climb and abseil any which way they like) and he’d vacated the can premises by the next morning. So, the can got filled with my desk junk and spider man is off doing what spiders do. Live long and prosper little boy and gobble up those horrid flies.

Christmas shopping day is Friday.  I am excited but dreading it. Dublin will be heaving with bags and trolleys and people…. It’ll be fun but oh …  the trudging, the burgeoning bags, the throbbing feet…. Gah!  but like Gloria Gaynor, I will survive.

Anyways, I will write the instructions for the house assembly and will be putting the new tea light house up for sale shortly.

Be good and have fun!

Hels x x




Jollydays are coming! And I’ve got a few days to do anything I fancy so have been making all sorts of things. The tree in the picture is from a template on the Martha Stewart site – search for Paper Evergreens if you fancy giving it a go. It’s very easy – though I did draw my own in Illustrator and cut it with the Pro – that way I could perforate the fold lines lightly and make sure they were scored ‘true’. I have a thing about big perforations – make me shudder. For some people, it’s fingernails on a chalkboard. For me, it’s big perforations.  I like them to be just visible and use them as guides for bone creasing afterwards.

The tree is mounted in a  ribbon spool,  (on a wooden skewer with a big bead at the bottom to glue to the hole in the spool). A cotton reel would work just as well. A quick dob of hot glue on the top to fix a bead on top and it was good  to go – almost! I stuck some gold coloured wooden beads onto the base and then gave it a good sugary glittering. Sparkle snarkle!

In the background you can see the front of my latest tea light house. I designed it so that the door at the front is big enough to get a battery operated tealight in  and out easily. It has a rounded bottom and is called Birdbottom Cottage. I have a few tweaks to attend to but it’s nearly there. I want to take pictures of it when it’s lit up so will post when it’s ready.



Today I’m giving away a few snowyjollyday brushes that you might find useful or have fun with. They’re PS/PSE, 300 dpi and includes the Be Merry, North Pole Expeditions and a few snowflakes.

Download the free brushes here:

Free PS / PSE snowflake brushes

Hugs and thanks for looking

H x

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