How to use Cutting Dies for Christmas

This entry is part 4 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

Blogging Challenge

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. Once again, a big hello to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi Guys!

I have chosen not to go with the prompt once again, but rather to follow on with another post about card-making with a cuttlebug.  Previous posts on this theme are #1 – Pattern,  #3 – Word Card-making Day, and #5 – Embossing Folders.

Last week, we took a look at embossing folders, and we saw how they turn a piece of plain card-stock into a beautiful background. This week, we’re going one step further, and look at Cutting Dies.

How do Cutting Dies work?

When you put card-stock into embossing folders and roll it through the Cuttlebug, it comes out with a design embossed on the surface. (See here if you didn’t read last week’s post.) But there is another use for the Cuttlebug, and that is cutting out shapes.

You buy cutting dies, which I mostly get through eBay as they are way cheaper than the local shops, and use them to cut out designs you can use on your cards. Each die has outlines of sharp blades, which cuts out the shape, and often has additional raised bits of metal that emboss the shape as well. Take a look at the lady on the left.

The blade has cut out the shape of this carol singer, while other raised pieces have “drawn” in lines to complete the image.

Take a look at this video where I show you how the cutting dies work.

Once the dies are cut out and the card-stock embossed, it’s a matter of assembling them, adding a greeting and a few finishing touches. Here are a few small cards made using embossing folders and cutting dies.

Which do you prefer? The longer (normal) sized card, or the small square ones?

Next week

Next week we’ll take a look at some varieties you can get using the dies and embossing folders.

Let’s look at embossing folders

This entry is part 3 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

embossingBlogging Challenge

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. Once again, a big hello to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi Guys!

I have chosen not to go with the prompt once again, but rather to follow on with another post about card-making with a cuttlebug.  Previous posts on this theme are #1 – Pattern,  #3 – Word Card-making Day.

Last week one of my readers suggested I should do a video of my card-making. When I sat down to do this post, I couldn’t think of what to say, so I thought I would just show you around my supply of embossing folders, to show you the vast variety you can get. Believe me when I say, I have very few compared to many others, but I’m now happy I have a good selection, and can make cards for almost any occasion.

Just as a reminder, the embossing folder is a rectangular piece of plastic which is hinged in the middle. One side has a design embossed in a positive way, that is to say it stands out from the surface. The other side of the plastic has the identical design but it is the negative image. The design is impressed into the surface.

Build a sandwich

And no, I don’t mean it’s snack time!

When you put a piece of card-stock inside the folder and close it, you build a sandwich of plastic ‘B’ sheets. (‘B’, your embossing folder, and the second ‘B’.) You place the thick ‘A’ plate onto the Cuttlebug (or whatever make of machine you have) and then place your sandwich onto the ‘A’ plate. Turn the roller until the plates slide through to the other side. When you open the folder, you will find your design beautifully embossed onto your card-stock.

See some examples of embossing folders for the Cuttlebug or other machines. Click To Tweet

I have done a video of my embossing folders. There are hundreds, probably thousands of designs. I have only been collecting them for just over a year. They are pricey, but I have been fortunate to pick most of mine up well below the shop-price. I’ve found some on sale, and I was offered an amazing deal of ten for a very good price.

Video of Embossing Folders

I did this video with my smart phone, and it has cut off the first word or two of each section, but I’m sure you’ll be able to follow it – once you’ve got over the shock of my South African accent!

Aren’t they beautiful? Sorry, on at least two occasions I say, “I’ll show you more just now” and I’m not going to.  🙂 Not yet. Come back for the next two Mondays and you’ll get the illustrations!

Embossed card

Now here are a few samples of card-stock I have embossed using this technique. Each of them is done with one of the folders in the video. See if you can recognize them.


Aren’t they just gorgeous? Next week, I’ll do the same only with cutting dies. And then on the final Monday of the month, we’ll put a few of them together and you’ll be able to see some of the finished results.

I hope this has inspired you, card-makers. And if you’re not a card-maker, maybe you should think of trying. By the way, I read somewhere that you can do this embossing with a ROLLING PIN instead of a Cuttlebug! I haven’t tried it myself, but it would certainly be cheaper if you’re just wanting to experiment. You will still need the embossing folders of course.

Before you run away, tell me which of the six samples above you like most.

About the challenge

Those participating in the challenge are members of the Write Tribe Blogging group on FaceBook. We are committed to post at least twice a week for the month of October on Mondays and Fridays. There is no specific theme, but we have an optional prompt for each post. I plan to write about card-making with the Cuttlebug each Monday for the month, and I will continue my series on blogging on Fridays (instead of Thursdays).


Write Tribe ProBlogger Challenge #3 ~ October 2017

This entry is part 1 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. I have chosen not to go with the prompt for today, but rather I will follow on from my previous post in the challenge (#1 – Pattern.)

Disclosure: This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.
Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

In my first post for this challenge, I spoke of the patterns we can create using the Cuttlebug craft machine. I had so many comments and queries that I decided to do a short series on this, posting on the topic each Monday for the month.

For those who didn’t read the post (available here) this is what the machine looks like.


Click on the image to see this on

There are, of course, a number of different models, including bigger ones, electronic machines, and even one that works via the computer. But mine is just the lowly cuttlebug and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

Saturday 07 October was World Card-making Day! Can you believe it? Is there anything that is not celebrated by an annual day?

Saturday 07 October was World Card-making Day! Did you know? #writebravely #writetribeproblogger Click To Tweet


Cards have played a key role in society for hundreds of years. There was the calling card used in Victorian days by gentlemen wanting to arrange a date with a lady and the dance card, where the ladies filled out the names of the men who wanted to dance with her.  Today we make great use of business cards, giving our details to anyone we want to give them to; invitation cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, get-well cards, mother’s day cards and Father’s Day cards . . . and so the list goes on.

In 2006, Paper Craft magazine made the decision that every first Saturday in October should be celebrated as the World Card-making Day, and card-makers across the world are encouraged to make cards on that day and publicize them on social media.

As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, I belong to a great group of ladies who get together about once a month and learn new card-making techniques. It is great fun creating when you are surrounded by others with the same interest. Unfortunately, due to all sorts of other commitments, we weren’t able to get together on The Day this year, but a number of us planned to make cards anyway.

My Card-making Day

This year, I was involved with a morning’s meeting that took the whole morning, then I had a certain blogging challenge to catch up with (guess which one!) So I only got down to cards at about 4 pm. I couldn’t wait. I had a number of new embossing folders and cutting dies to try out on my cuttlebug.

First, I cut the basic card out of firm white card stock. I decided to start with small square cards, as I have a small order for 6. I then cut background layers in contrasting colors, and dry embossed them.


To dry emboss, I first created a sandwich of processing plates which came with the machine. The A plate is the thickest and is always used as the bottom of the sandwich. I then put my card inside the embossing folder of my choice, and then used two B plates, one on either side of the folder.

Looking at some of my new Christmas cuttlebug folders and dies. #writebravely #writetribeproblogger Click To Tweet

Here is an embossing folder which makes a very pretty background (Christmas trees).

I put red card inside the folder, then I turned the handle and fed the sandwich through between the rollers (just like Granny’s old mangle!) Out came the result.


Once I had sufficient backgrounds, I turned to my new Cuttlebug dies. This time the sandwich comprised a B plate and a C plate, which is thicker. The die went face down onto the card stock. Once again, I fed it through the rollers, and out came my images. This is obviously a very simple description and there are many tricks of the trade I have learned, and continue to learn, to use when dies don’t cut easily the first time.

A start on Christmas

Here is the result of my few hours work. (See the Christmas tree background on the red card, behind the silver bells.) In the background, the television showed me Bangladesh battling to defend themselves against South Africa on the cricket pitch.

About the challenge

Those participating in the challenge are members of the Write Tribe Blogging group on FaceBook. We are committed to post at least twice a week for the month of October on Mondays and Fridays. There is no specific theme, but we have an optional prompt for each post. I plan to write about card-making with the Cuttlebug each Monday for the month, and I will continue my series on blogging on Fridays (instead of Thursdays).

Pattern – Write Tribe ProBlogger Challenge ~ October 2017

This entry is part 2 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

Today the prompt is” pattern”.

We don’t have to use the prompts, and I probably won’t always. However, I like the idea of writing about pattern.

Disclosure: This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.
Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Those of you who know me (in reality, through social media or reading my website) know I am an avid card maker. For years, I made cards using mainly stamping techniques, then I took a sabbatical. A long long sabbatical.

Just over a year ago, I discovered the Cuttlebug and I linked up with a group of equally avid card makers in my city of Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

Click on image to see this on Amazon.

I had no sooner received my very own cuttlebug, and I discovered I needed to buy embossing folders in order to dry emboss cardstock. What fun! (And what a potential expense!) The Lord was good, and I was offered a pack of 10 embossing folders at R10 a piece. (I have just spotted a pack of 10 on special for R490 – and that’s cheap!)

In order to transfer the pattern to the card, you put a piece of card inside the folder and close it. You then roll it through the cuttlebug, and viola! You have a wonderful patterned layer to use in your greeting card.

Here are a few of the patterns I can now make:

embossing pattern of flowers

Flowers for a lady

Christmas pattern

Christmas folder 

birthday pattern

Happy 1st Birthday

butterfly pattern

Butterflies always popular 

 Here are two cards, using the pattern for butterflies and the one for a 1st birthday:

Sample card made with 1st birthday pattern Sample card made with butterfly pattern
Creating patterns with Cuttlebug. #writebravely #writetribeproblogger Please RT. Thanks. Click To Tweet

About the challenge

Those participating in the challenge are members of the Write Tribe Blogging group on FaceBook. We are committed to post at least twice a week for the month of October on Mondays and Fridays. There is no specific theme, but I may well post around the theme of card-making on the Mondays, and continue my series on blogging on Fridays (instead of Thursdays).


Cover Background Survey Results

Inspirational photo taken on my son’s property in Africa

Thank you to all who contributed to this survey.

As those of you who responded know, I am

working on an inspirational book based on stories and images of Africa. At the same time, I discovered I had credits with a photo stock company that I had to use within two days. My Scots blood would not allow these to go to waste, so I had to jump ahead and buy something I would use in the future.Opinion Stage

I tried several software programs to run a survey. None of them suited my requirements until I came to  Opinion Stage. This turned out to be ideal, and it had excellent support.

I created five polls, then joined them into a set and asked you to vote on each poll.

Each poll consisted of a choice of three photographs which could have been used as a cover background for my upcoming book. However, I wasn’t committed to using one of the 15 photos. I wanted to find out, with your help, what TYPE of picture would tempt people to take the book off the shelves and read the back cover.



Each photo focused on one of three categories:

  • Scenic view
  • Animal scene
  • Sunset 

This was an extremely useful exercise, and I will definitely use the idea again. It showed my idea of what you would like and your idea of what you would like were polls apart. (Pun intended!)

Now, I do know there were not that many people participating (77) and hopefully next time I will be able to run one for a longer time. Nevertheless, the results were enough to show a clear trend, which is what I wanted.

Here is a reminder for you of the 5 polls you voted on:

Out of a total of 333 votes, the statistics read as follows:

  • Scenic view, which I anticipated being highest: 17.74% preferred this type of image.
  • Animal scene, which I expected to be a close runner-up, scored 21.12%
  • Sunset came in with a high 61.8%

Out of the entire option of 15 photographs, one came out as a clear leader. The ellie with the sun shining through the trees. What a magnificent photo!

So what inspirational photo did I choose?

As I live in South Africa and have taken a lot of sunset and animal photos myself, and I also have a couple of family members who take wonderful photos, I decided not to spend my credits on this picture, beautiful though it is. I’m sure, with the help of Photoshop, I can create a photo similar to the ellie photo if that’s what I decide to go with. And I can always go back and purchase it if I wish.

So I spent my credits on a photo that I can change in various ways and use, if not for this book, for another. I probably won’t use it exactly as it stands, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a lovely photograph—and it is certainly one I wouldn’t be able to create.

Thanks to 123rf for this photo. Hover over the image to get the attribution.

So thank you to all those of you participated. I was amused by the number of people who commented on the photo at the top, taken on my son’s property in Hoekwil, South Africa.

Over to you:

Whether or not you participated in the survey, won’t you tell me which, out of all the photos on this page, you would like to see on the cover of a devotional book? That includes the one on my son’s property, and the one I finally downloaded. Just describe which one you like best.

Of course, if you like C best, you will add something about the picture so I can identify it, right? Yes, I knew you would.  😆

The Best of Everything. #Share Your World

This entry is part 13 of the series Share Your World

SC: I’ve been out of action with this challenge for a few week. This week, Cee Neuer asks some deep but fun questions in her Share Your World Challenge. Here are my answers.

SYW: wants to know: What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

SC: A day relaxing at a resort with my entire family including my brother and his family. 

SYW: Complete this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world…..

SC:My favourite place in the whole world is the secluded beach on the outskirts of Gordon’s Bay in the Cape. It has trees overhanging the sand, a long beach walk, magnificent mountain scenery, and a fish and chip shop just up the road if you forgot to pack the sandwiches. We have been there with all three babies, so it holds special memories.

SYW: Who was your best friend in elementary school (prior to age 12)?

SC: Jackie Ford. We met when we lived in the same block of flats in Gwelo, Rhodesia (now called Gweru, Zimbabwe) when we were about due to start school. As only children, six months apart, we bonded instantly. We spent our free time from school (prior to 12) like sisters. We shared our mischief and our fun and rarely fought, which is more than can be said for our two dogs. Jackie’s cross foxy, Patches, and my Heinz 57, Brownie, hated each other with a vicious passion, despite the hours they were forced to spend together.

Both of our mothers went out to work, and we were supervised (sort of!) by our grandmothers. Poor old ladies. When I think what we put them through!

When we reached high school age (going on 13), our parents moved to opposite sides of town and we were forced to go to different high schools. So although we are still in touch today, mainly through Facebook, we ended up making new friends. Sadly, I don’t have one photo with us both in it. Jackie, if you’re reading this, do you have any?

SYW: What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

SC: Okay, you know what’s coming right? I returned from our 50th wedding celebration to 5 cutting dies from China, and a further 5 arrived during the week. One of them was a beautiful lacy umbrella. I had no idea why I’d ordered it and couldn’t find ideas for cards. It was too big to use it with other dies that I had. So I needed serious inspiration. Here’s a few of what transpired:

How about you?

1. What inspired you this week?

2. Would you like to join the Share Your World challenge? Cee posts a few questions each week, and all participants need do is answer them. It’s a cool way to get to know one another. The idea is to answer the questions without overthinking them and just have fun. If you are interested in joining this blogging challenge—just copy/paste the above questions into a new post and answer them. Then put the link for your post here: Cee’s Challenge.


Where did these Strange Expressions come from?

This entry is part 4 of the series Common Sayings

Back to Common Phrases!

After a gap, I’m returning to posting each Monday about a strange expression or common saying. We’ll look at what they mean and how they came about. Sometimes there will be only one saying, while other times there may be more. I won’t in any way cover all the possibilities as I’d like to complete the series in this lifetime. But it should be fun. Join me?

I intend working through the alphabet, so sign up at the end of the post so you don’t forget to visit me each Monday and perhaps participate by adding suggestions.

Today we look at G. And we have two common sayings.

Get out of bed on the wrong side is a strange expression!

We have all heard this strange expression. We’ve probably said it.

And oh dear! We may well have been accused of this! I know I have, and with good reason. (I don’t DO early mornings if I can help it!)

When someone is grumpy or bad tempered during the day, we often say he “got out of the wrong side of bed.”

out of bed on the wrong side

Olden Days

This is based on superstition from the olden days. Many people believed that evil spirits lurked on one side of the bed during the night.

If you were unfortunate enough to clamber out of bed on their side, those evil spirits and their influence would inhabit your body for the entire day.

The only solution to this problem was to make sure the next dawn you got out of the correct side! (I don’t think I would have ever gone back to sleep!)

The Romans were well known for their superstition that a left-sided anything was evil, so that may well be from where that expression evolved. (That must have been tough on left-handed soldiers!)

Getting the sack is another strange expression!

Today, this means the person has lost his job, been fired, been dismissed without honor.

This common phrase may well go back to the 17th century, where workers carried the tools of their trade in a large sack. When an employer took them on to do a certain task, he would then hold the worker’s sack which contained the unneeded tools, for safe keeping.

When the man completed his job and was no longer needed, the employer would return the sack to him. There was therefor no disgrace. To be given the sack in those days meant they could carry their sack of tools to their next place of work.

Are there any other strange expressions you can think of that start with G? I can think of a few. How about you? Share them below in a comment.


Share My World

This entry is part 12 of the series Share Your World

Last post I shared the plans we had for celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. As with all plans, some worked out as expected, others changed mid-stream. But all round it was a great time.

I’ve missed a couple of weeks of blogging, so I’m pulling myself up by my bootstraps (to use a well-worn but appropriate cliche!) and trying to get back into routine. This week, instead of doing Cee’s Share Your World challenge, I thought I would Share My World, and tell you more about our celebration holiday (a.k.a. vacation). So if you’re interested, read on.

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