My Crafting Story and Other Jolly Robins, Abridged

All crafters have a crafting story to tell, and this is mine. Abridged.

I grew up in a family of crafters: my dad worked with wood and would build anything for the home that my mother asked. Sometimes more. ūüėČ My mother, nana and various aunts were all dressmakers, with a little knitting and crochet on the side. I learned to sew at around seven, by thirteen I was making clothes both for myself and my four year old¬†sister.

Later in my teens I stopped crafting for a while, as the topic of relationships grew altogether¬†more satisfying. It was during one such relationship that I was told I would ‚Äúnever get anywhere in life ‚Ķ‚ÄĚ because I had a “head full of jolly robins‚ÄĚ. This didn‚Äôt sound good and I came to the conclusion that the only place I wanted to be was somewhere else. I took custody of my Jolly Robins and moved out. I mention this only because that was as much a beginning for me as an ending¬†and the Jolly Robins have become an integral part of my philosophy on life.

Life should be joyful; it should be loving and giving and it really should include doing things that make you happy. So I chose the name Jolly Robins for my blog because I could and because it made me happy to do so.

My crafting passions have led me down many paths. My bulging craft cupboard and its overflow, the garage, will bear testament to my many experiments into pyrography, encaustic art, pastel painting and other such happy diversions. But my main loves are papercrafting and dressmaking, with a little bag making on the side.

I love to work with wood, turning basic wooden blanks into little treasures¬†that give me delight to create and the recipients an individual gift¬†made just for them. Last year I decorated an Advent House for the very first time, and now I’m decorating¬†a second one.

I always come back to cardmaking as my go to craft. There’s little I enjoy more than being ankle deep in paper and glue and a folder full of cutting dies to choose from. Such a happy dilemma! The joy of giving that specially made little act of creation to a loved one is pretty special.

In January, I promised myself (and my generous critic and long-suffering husband, who gets to witness first hand my crafting projects in all their glory Рthe Good, the Bad and the Ugly) that I would not buy a single card this year.  I am on track and although a spate of birthdays throughout April put the Christmas cards on hold, I am back on the case.

So, patient reader, I decided to recreate my blog. I‚Äôve been blogging for a few years, and although¬†Jolly Robins is still in its infancy, I have a couple of other¬†blogs out there. I will post the links for those who haven‚Äôt drifted off to sleep or left the webosphere, if you care to check them out. ūüėÄ

And that brings to me the here and now. Reading through my posts, I have realised that they are woefully short on substance and about as useful to a crafter in a rut as a chocolate fireguard. So I decided to remedy that and try to make my happy place a more helpful  resource to other demented crafters in need of a little inspiration or simply a friendly crafting hug at the end of a long day.

Oh, by the way. Here are two pictures of me, drawn by my granddaughters. I think you’ll find they are an excellent likeness, although in the spirit of full disclosure, I am a little older now. ūüėČ

So that’s it folks, thanks for staying with me.

Big crafty hugs – Sandie xx


Ready, Steady, it’s the Easter Egg Hunt!

Enter a caption

I made these cute bags for my grandies for their Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday. We love having them here for their annual chocolate chase, the faeries are sure to have hidden them lots of little surprises Рbut what should they collect them in?


Nana to the rescue! In my craft stash I happen to have a stock of Kraft Lunch Bags Рthey make great personal gift bags and can be put together in a matter of minutes.

I got to work and using my Tonic Studios Harrop dies I cut out a large scalloped rectangle to decorate the front of each. I cut two large ovals for each from my new Mixed Edge Oval die set, also from Tonic. There are 13 dies in the set, with alternating scalloped and plain edges, so they will get used over and over, but the shape made them perfect for this project.

I finished each mock-choc egg with a ribbon. Some cut bunnies using a gift die from Papercrafter Magazine, and the name, cut using a Sizzix Thinlits alphabet set, finished each bag.

Cute huh? So easy peasy and they take no time at all. So cute I decided to enter them in the Anything Goes Challenge over at Win & Tonic.

Big crafty hugs – Sandie

Hoppy Spring!

Hoppy Spring

I made this happy Hoppy Spring greeting card for the Anything Goes Challenge over at Win & Tonic.

Isn’t this fun? I always¬†celebrate the coming of spring, and I really wanted to make my grandchildren a fun, happy spring card.

I saw¬†this cute bunny die on the front of Papercrafter Magazine, so of course I bought it and then I couldn’t wait to try it out.

For my card, I cut a scalloped square from bright orange and blue card stock, using one of my favourite Tonic die sets, the Harrop Layering Blanks. I cut a pretty floral border and stuck it across the bottom.

I used some panels from¬†Tonic Studios’ Die-Crystal Carousel Box to create the little die, then drew in the tail using a metallic marker pen. I

I created a little greeting on my pc, using word art, and layered it over a Tonic banner die cut.

I love the way the bunnies are literally hopping with joy as the kite flies overhead!  I think my grandies will love it! What do you think?

Hoppy Spring dear Crafty friends

Big hugs – Sandie x


Why is it so hard to make cards for guys?

Male Card March 24Anyone else have this trouble?

I’m a girly girl. I love hearts and flowers. I buy shoes, more than I need. French perfume? Yes please. Shopping? Till I drop! Another handbag? Bring it on! Ask me to make a card for a guy? Whaaa? I have no clue.

So, I had to make a card for a man, because I resolved not to buy any cards this year! Clearly didn’t think that one through.

But it turns out, I’m pretty pleased with what I made. In fact, I was so pleased, I entered it into the Win & Tonic Challenge. If you’ve never been over, check it out guys. Its a lot of fun and the prizes donated by Tonic Studios are simply fabulous!

Kraft card seemed a good start. Then I chose some paper from a gorjus paper pack that looked masculine to my eye – not a trace of pink in the pack. ¬†My Tonic Harrop Card Blanks dies came out again and I cut a base layer out of some brown stripe. Then I used one of the dies from Tonic’s Delicate Drape to cut a panel to layer on top.

I cut some tags to layer in the centre, and the top repeated the base layer, with the stripe in the other direction. I embossed this with  Just For You.

Male Card Cropped
Tonic Emboss Die from Delicate Drape Set

Finally I used some brads I had for scrapbooking. I thought they looked great incorporated into my card, so I’ll be using more of my scrapping stash from now on.

Inside I’m going to put another panel and pop a gift voucher inside.

Way to go me – I managed a boy’s card! Now, where’s my pink paper stash? ūüėČ

Big crafy hugs – Sandie

Die Cutting Anarchy

Bird CardOK, not so much anarchy, just a bit of thinking outside the box. Literally.

I decided I just didn’t want all of my die cut image on my small greeting card. So I cut it off. I like the half off the page look when I’m scrapbooking, so why not when I’m card making?

So I took my die cut off the top of the page and cut it carefully with my paper trimmer. I smudged the edge with a well worn ink pad, to give it a bit of finish.

Then I did the same with two of my bird die cuts, and placed them off the vertical line to add interest. The other bird I left intact, but edged the top off the page, after carefully making certain it would still fit in the envelope!

I made the extra long banner by cutting the die off the edge of the cutting sandwich. Its a technique I saw someone else doing. I am not so good at it yet, but I’ll improve, I’m sure!

I used some three dimensional fabric paint to trim the filigree fence. It will take hours to dry, but its pretty. Note to self: get some Tonic Nuvo Drops, they make a nice drop shape. 

The dies I used are all by Tonic Studios: Tangled Terrace, Garland Terrace and Beautiful Banner. I entered this card into the challenge over at Win & Tonic. Check it out!

Have fun today

Big crafty hugs – Sandie x


Anything Goes at Win & Tonic!


Anything Goes at Win & Tonic

Hi crafty friends. This month’s challenge over at Win & Tonic is Anything Goes. As long as you use something by the fabulous Tonic Studios you can enter it in the challenge. As you know, I love all things Tonic so it wasn’t difficult to get going. Here’s three cards I made for the challenge.

I started off ¬†using my favourite Kraft Card bases. These are 5″ square cards, and the Kraft has a very pleasing¬†diagonal stripe that gives them a textured appearance.

In each I have used my favourite Tonic Studios dies to produce a card suitable for any occasion.¬†These cards are for my box, so I’ve left the greeting open, to be added and personalised at a later date.


In this card, I used the Harrop Layering Card Blanks die set to cut the base layer. Its one of those die sets that every die cutting aficionado should have as its so versatile that you will use it time and again.

The filigree bird is from an X-cut set – its very pretty isn’t it? I’ve also cut some banners and used some stamps from the Tonic Studios Design Collection.


I kept the second card really simple, because I wanted to showcase my First Edition Storyteller Paper pack. Isn’t it gorgeous? Its so sparkly and has a lovely vibe that reminds me of the beautiful Indian saris. Very pretty, I’m going to be using this one a lot.

I decorated my card with panels cut using Garland Terrace by Tonic, another favourite die set. I edged the card with using a well worn ink pad of faded pink, to finish it off.


For my final card, I created a card that would be suitable for a child.

The First Edition paper features cute giraffes and elephants, dinosaurs and strange little birds, so it has a real sense of fun and mischief. But I would use it for an adult too – why should kids have all the fun?

The Flip Flop cut out is Tonic’s¬†Balstrade in Bloom. Its such a pretty die set, I just couldn’t resist buying it.

These 3 cards were incredibly easy to make. I hope they inspire you.

Big crafty hugs – Sandie x

It’s your baby shower!

It’s your baby shower!

I loved making this card! I used a First Edition paper stack, Animal Antics, because the colours are so vibrant. I bought it for scrapbooking ages ago, but its too much fun to keep for just one purpose. Filled with giraffes and elephants and cute little birds, the palette of  bright yellow and turquoise is good for both little boys and little girls.

I cut my card using the Sizzix Fancy Frame Flip Its die set by Stephanie Barnard, one of my favourite designers. I pasted two cards together to form a double flip flop, a trick I learned from one of Stephanie Barnard’s youtube vides.¬†It gives extra strength to the card base and twice the fun.

I cut the bunnies from a Sizzix Easter die set, they are so cute aren’t they?

I used some Tonic dies from my Garland Terrace Mini Indulgence die set, to layer up the flip flop panels.

I cut out tiny squares to make the little building bricks that spell out shower and inked them up at the edges to emphasise the 3 dimensional aspect of them.

I really liked this card when it was done, so I hope the recipient enjoys it as much as I did making it!

Crafty Hugs – Sandie x


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