Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile. We're not quantified; there's no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. [Steven Tyler]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm So Excited!

Last Friday I received an email which totally blew me away!

I've been sitting on it ever since and walking around with a silly grin on my face akin to that of a Cheshire Cat - and one that got the cream to boot. Why you may ask? Well, I'm going to let you into a little secret...... unbeknown to me (at the time), Glenda submitted a piece of my artwork to the Craft Stamper magazine for a feature they are running in the next issue. When she told me what she had done I was delighted and hoped, at best, that it would be included - even if it was only a small picture of the piece. Guess what????? I GOT THE COVER!!!! Yes, the email was to tell me that my art work has been chosen as the front cover for Craft Stamper, October issue.

Now that said, I really don't know if it will be the main picture or just a little one to support the main feature on the cover. I probably won't know until I see the magazine on the shelves, but anywhere on the cover is just fine by me. I have offered to do personal signings at my local branch of Borders - but so far, they haven't taken me up on my offer! LOL

Now, I'll calm down and get on with this. If the week started last Friday instead of Monday it would have been the start of a brilliant week. The rest of Friday and Saturday was spent prepping demos for the TV shows scheduled for Monday. I don't know where the weekend went but it disappeared in a flash.

Sunday saw Glenda, Adrian and I setting off on that long trek down the A1 to Peterborough to be in situ for an early start the next morning. The drive was pretty uneventful and we arrived safely, off-loaded the car, checked into the hotel, had dinner and crashed for the night.

One very funny moment and one that I didn't have my camera handy for at the time, was the picture of Glenda and I sitting at the table in the restaurant waiting for our dinner to arrive - both sat with our Tim Holtz scissors in hand, cutting out gold embossed Poinsettia's for an unfinished demo. Anyone would think we were addicted to crafting!!! Poor Adrian must live in constant fear of what we might do next. Our waiter did a very good job of ignoring our peculiar behaviour.

The TV shows were both fast and furious - again!

Here's the finished sample of the Frosted Snowman from the 'Snow is Falling' themeplate which was on the morning show.

I don't have a photo of the 'Crown' card from the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Themeplate as it was sent out to the email winner. I will try to make another over the weekend and include it on the blog if I get a minute.

Here's the little Concertina Keepsake that I've been teasing you with in the last two posts. Sorry...... I am naughty! I used to make these many, many years ago and to be honest, I'd forgotten about them. It was only when I was sat planning my demo's and thinking about what I was going to do this time, that I remembered this technique.

It really is a very simple project, I know it may not look it but it's easy to do. There is however, a lot of stamping and it's a great way of using all your Botanical stamps. I also made use of the Butterfly Bliss CD ROM for the printed card on the inside layer. This was made for the afternoon show but unfortunately I didn't get to do the demo as we sold out of all the stamps before I got to it.

Once the last show had finished, we got packed away and hit the road again but going South not North. We were heading for Cambridge where we were staying overnight.

In fact, we had a super evening. Adrian used to be at University in Cambridge so gave us a wonderful tour (on foot) of Cambridge and recounted some funny tales of a not-so-misspent youth. The rain held off, my feet and knees hurt terribly, Glenda had blisters on her feet, we had the most fab dinner (Italian) YUMM! got some lovely photos for the album and laughed - a lot.

The next morning (Tuesday) bright and early, we set off to one of our suppliers located not too far away. Unfortunately, they have recently announced their intention to close the business which is always very sad - but it gave us the ideal opportunity to shop for our up and coming open days at Graphicus in September..... and shop we did!

Adrian left Glenda and I to it and we were like two big kids in a ginormous sweety shop, oh Bliss! We filled box after box, basket after basket and mounded them up in the office ready for them to put our purchases through the till when we'd finished. We kept going back for more, then spotting something else that we'd totally managed to overlook. I don't know how many time we went round the warehouse (I do know now that our feet were throbbing) but you just don't notice it when you're shopping do you? When we finally finished we stood looking at the huge pile of boxes brimming with wonderful goodies and thinking that we were going to have to have them shipped. Then Adrian appeared to see what we were up to (it was mid afternoon by then) and he didn't even flinch when he saw the mountain of stash!

He assessed our selection and said confidently that it would fit into his monster truck and yes, they would still have room for ME! And they did! It was only a little space for me but I was surrounded by all our fab goodies so did I care? Nahhhh! not a jot. It gave me the ideal opportunity to sit and hug them all the way home.

I know this may not look like a lot but remember, I was in the back and we had two large rolling craft trolleys, a big box with all the sample artwork from two TV shows, two suitcases, an ink locker, carrying wardrobe, tool carousel, cuddly toy and a kitchen sink as well! (OK! OK! I'm prone to exaggerating, we didn't have a cuddly toy or a kitchen sink) but the car was filled to the rafters.

Once inside the building, you really get a feel for how much 'stash' we managed to transport. Now, let me at those boxes.

Stand aside Glenda..... let me in! You have no idea just how excited we both were. I don't think we've had such fun since hitting the craft stores in Las Vegas last September. Ordering stock on-line and from catalogues is never as much fun as being able to stroke the stash there and then.

What could this be I wonder? It managed to jump out of one of the boxes and landed right in front of my camera just as I opened the shutter. How fortuitous was that? All I can say is, if you are able to join us at one of the Graphicus Open Days (05th and 06th September) then please do, you're in for a treat!

And finally, I teased you yesterday with an obscure view of a little something I've been working on and here's another little taster. If you're a Graphicus Guild member you'll be finding out what all this is about very soon!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coming Soon..... to a Blog Near You!

I'm back from my travels! Oh what a fun week is has been so far, there's so much going on! I have been snapping away with my camera and had intended to sit down and bring my blog bang up to date this evening but it's taken me most of the evening to edit all the photo's and reduce them in size ready to put on the blog.

Then, when I was ready to begin my eye started playing up. It's incredibly sore and staring at this screen is making it much worse. So I'm going to get an early night (yes! anything before midnight is early for me). I'm a bit of a night owl and fortunately for me, I only seem to need about four to five hours sleep - leaves me more time for crafting!

I will aim to bring everything up to date tomorrow evening and will post pictures of the demos from the TV shows last Monday...... including the one I didn't get to do as we sold out of the Blooming Botanicals too quickly.

I also have some really exciting news that I've been dying to share with you. In the mean time, here are some photo's taken at fairly obscure angles for you to ponder over.

Night Night!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Add Talent, Imagination, Creativity and 'A Splash of Colour'

This is just a very quick post this evening as I'm still prepping for the TV shows on Monday as well as getting the packing done in an effort to be ready to set off tomorrow.

I just have to tell you about the most talented lady who, after much encouragement (bullying to you and me) has taken the plunge and launched her new BLOG today! Yey! Helen is an Elusive Images stamp designer and a very valued member of the EI Design Team. She is one of the most stylish, innovative and imaginative stampers out there. I am sure you will recognise her work from many of the projects that she has had published in craft magazines here in the UK. Most recently, Helen designed the 'Snow is Falling' A4 Themeplate launched by EI last month. It is a fabulous set of stamps (see it on Ideal World and Create and Craft Channel at 9 a.m. on Monday) which I truly love working with - thank you Helen!

I am so delighted that she has finally started blogging. Please, do go and visit her blog and if you have a moment, leave a little comment for her. It's called 'A Splash of Colour' click on the link and you'll be transported to Helen's creative world!

I'll leave you with a few photo's of some of the prep from this afternoon. You'll have to watch the show to see the finished project... I'm quite pleased with the results.

Any ideas what it's going to be? The pattern is printed onto Ivory card from the Butterfly Bliss CD ROM and the Botanicals have been embossed with lightly glittered white embossing powder. I'll post the finished item here when I get back!

Monday, August 11, 2008

'Lights, Camera, Action'

What's happened to the Summer? It would seem that we get a couple of nice days and then pay the penalty for the next two weeks - at least! The only good thing about it is that I don't feel quite so guilty about spending time inside in my craft room prepping, which is where I've been this afternoon and most of the evening..... with not a lot to show for it I'm afraid.

Glenda and I have another two live TV shows scheduled for Monday the 18th August on Ideal World and Create and Craft (all being well and subject to the usual last minute changes). We will travel down to Peterborough on Sunday as we have an early start on Monday and have to be in the studio to set up at 7 a.m. to be on air at 9 a.m. We then have a couple of hours down time before the second show at 2 p.m.

The nine o'clock show is going to be another Christmas show with Snow is Falling, Hearth and Home, the Three Kings themeplates, a 'premier' product and Season's Greetings CD ROM. After the Christmas Workshop last Friday I feel 'all Christmas'd out' and need to do something radical to get me back in the festive groove..... and NO! I'm not going to put up the Christmas Tree. I don't think I need to do anything quite that radical. But it may have to be a nice Christmassy movie when I get in from work tomorrow evening to help move things along while I'm prepping.

The two o'clock show will feature brand new stamps (yey!), another 'premier' item???? and Artylicious CD ROM's. We won't have the 'premier' items to work with until tomorrow, so I think once everything is pulled together it will be a lot easier to decide on what I'm going to do for demo's. My problem is narrowing it down, the stamps are all so beautiful there's soooo much I want to do with them but I just know that we won't get the time.

The last two shows in July were so fast and furious, I don't think I've ever seen products sell out quite so quickly. I hardly got into the demos before the stamps I was using became limited stock. So if you were watching and didn't get to see the whole demo, here are the finished cards I made from the show.
'Snow is Falling' Stamped with VersaMark ink and coloured with Pearlescent Shimmering chalks. The whole surface was then dabbed with VersaMark and embossed with clear embossing powder.

' Following Yonder Star'

Stamped on acetate with black StazOn and guilded from the reverse side with multi-coloured gold leaf.

'Hearth and Home'

'Christmas Fusion'

When we went down for the last two shows both Glenda and I took our cameras with us and we snapped away pretty much the whole time (except for when we were on air of course). I have several scrap books just waiting to be filled and I thought it might be fun to record our visits to Ideal World and Create and Craft.

This is 'Orton Hall Hotel'. A 17th century manor house set in 20 acres of parkland where we stayed the night before the show.

Here's Adrian relaxing in the Green Room. This is where the guest presenters hang out and get ready before shows.......

......and Glenda in the Green Room snapping away at something very interesting on the floor?
This is our dressing room. There are two attached to the green room plus a small kitchen. It all looks very exciting doesn't it, but if you could see us when we arrive with all our craft trolleys, samples, carrying wardrobes, bags and NO MAKE-UP! at seven o'clock in the morning, you wouldn't think so. The poor security men on the gate get to see us 'warts and all'. A frightening concept (speaking for myself of course).

Once we've put on our faces and coiffed the hair, the floor manager comes to collect us and we go through to the studio to set everything up. This is usually about an hour and a half before the show starts.

Glenda is getting all the samples and her demo equipment set up while Adrian is checking that the computer is loaded with the right Artylicious CD ROM and that the PC WORKS! You can see the bank of camera's and cue screens in front of the set.

Adrian is putting the PC through it's paces to make sure that it's not going to let us down once we're on air. This is a live show and we can't stop and start again if something goes wrong. Oh how I like 'living on the edge'!

Hey Glenda, you're on the wrong side of the camera. But doesn't Adrian look the part? He looks so at home and comfortable behind that camera all he needs now is the head phones.

Ok, we're all set up and ready to go. Just waiting to be 'mic'ed up' for sound. Then we have a final meeting with the producer and floor manager to decide the running order for the show, meet with our Ideal World presenter who for this show was Stephanie and then it's 'Lights, Camera, Action' and you know the rest.

Before we know it the floor manager is counting us out and the show is over. I've never got used to just how quickly it goes. We have a quick tidy and set up again with new demo's for the next show which is in just one hour.

The show was a sell out (including the stock we had for the eleven o'clock show) so we have to get back to the green room for a meeting with Adrian to make sure that we do have stock for the next show. Never fear, Adrian has already been on the phone to the office and the Production Department are in action as we speak getting more stock manufactured and ready to ship down to Ideal World..... like NOW!

No time for a cuppa, it's straight back into the studio to get mic'ed-up and do it all again. You may ask, why bother taking the microphones off when we're only off set for such a short time? Well, they are radio mic's and you can never quite be sure if they're turned off and sometimes you may just have to pay a visit to another 'little' room in the green room..... get the idea? It could be quite embarrassing to say the least.

After the second show has finished (another sell out - yey!) we quickly get packed away in the studio and return to the green room for yet another meeting, this time with our buyer. More shows are programmed in for the coming months and then we can hit the road back 'up north'. Here is Adrian packing the last of our equipment into his car before we leave. It's a good job his car is so roomy - you should see just how much stuff has to fit in there, especially when our trip is an overnight one.

Well, that's it for now. We do it all again starting with the prep and pack the car up for the journey south on Sunday! I know it can be quite frustrating at times, especially when everything is prepped and ready and a show gets moved or cancelled at the last minute but on the whole, it is great fun. We're crafting after all..... can it get any better?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Little Forward Planning

On Friday, Glenda and I taught a Christmas Workshop at Graphicus. They are always fun and a bit bizarre especially when it's hot and sunny and the Christmas music is playing in the background.... this is what Christmas in Australia must be like... mmmmm!

Two of the ladies on the workshop travelled all the way from Stoke to attend and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I taught the morning session and Glenda the afternoon session.

My class was all about getting a head start on the Christmas preparations and we made this Christmas Organiser File Book with the Bind-It-All. The pages were all cut with the DreamKuts machine which saved me such a lot of time when prepping up the workshop. I have spent most of today putting mine together and adding the finishing touches. The one we made in the workshop had sections for Christmas Shopping Lists, a 'To Do' section, Christmas Card List and File Pocket Pages with tabs that you can keep things like receipts, postage stamps and gift tokens in.
It also has pages of Christmas Verses printed on vellum and plain sheets of card for stamping on. The Journalling themeplate has been used together with Snow is Falling, Hearth and Home and the Wise Men themeplates to decorate pages throughout the organiser.

I have added extra sections to mine today for note taking, menus and the endless lists I make to get myself organised for the festive season. I didn't get chance to join in the stamping on Friday so I took the time to add the stamped pages to my book.

The papers are all from My Minds Eye and Bazzill and I have decorated the cover with chip board letters inked with Adirondack pigment ink and edged with a Krylon gold leafing pen. I then covered the letters with Rangers Glossy Accents to seal in the colour and added a beautiful Prima bloom and lots of organza ribbons tied to the 'O' rings that bind the book.

Now I'm all ready to start the festive planning!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Just a Quickie!

Card Featuring a Grungeboard Flower

I'm going to keep this brief tonight - I've been teaching a Christmas Workshop today, we had a fab time but I'm now about ready to fall into bed. So I'll post a full update tomorrow.

But for now, I've had some enquiries about the Grungeboard, the techniques I use to make the flowers and how to go about joining the Grahicus Guild. As I don't have individual links back to the people wanting to know more, I will try to answer your queries here. The August GG Newsletter will contain a step-by-step tutorial featuring the Grungeboard flowers and will go out to all GG members the week after next (all being well).
The Graphicus Guild details are available here! (click on the link).

The Graphicus Guild is all about education. Learning new skills and trying new techniques. The monthly newsletter is written for crafters at all levels and features all sorts of useful information including product reviews, money saving offers, step-by-step tutorials, inspiration, a monthly ATC swap, find out what's happening at Graphicus and when, and get priority booking on our workshops. These are just a sellection of the things you'll find in the newsletter on a regular basis together with a whole lot more.

I do hope this answers some of your questions if not all of them. The Guild membership is growing daily, it's a wonderful way of increasing your crafting knowledge and of course.... there's the opportunity to get your Guild Members Limited Edition stamps every month at very special prices! They are beautiful and well worth having in your collection.

For those of you who are not yet members:
We hope to be able to welcome you to the Guild very soon and to introduce you to the wonders of Grungeboard if you haven't already tried it.

Happy Crafting to all!

PS: Hi Lisa - if you'd like to leave a comment on my blog with your email address I will contact you directly, the comment including your email address 'won't' be posted to the blog to protect your contact details.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'm a WYLDE Woman - and that's Official!

Thank you so much to Glenda for thinking of me when passing on this award. It is indeed an honour coming from someone who is so acclaimed, both in the blogging world and the world of Art and Crafts.

I am officially......

A [Wild] WYLDE Woman!

Purpose of the Award: To send love and acknowledgement to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy.

Is this me? I'm not sure but I will certainly try hard to live up to it.

There are only two rules:
1. You can give it to one or one hundred or any number in between - it’s up to you. Make sure you link to their site in your post.
2. Link back to this blog site ( so I can go visit all these wonderful women.
Of course, I just had to go visit Tammy's site to find out how this all started. If you have a minute (you'll need longer than that mind you) do stop by and take a look, there are some fabulous links which will take you in all sorts of different directions. She has some wonderful work on her blog site which is sure to inspire.

Receiving this award has caused me some serious consternation... just who am I going to pass it on to? Glenda, quite rightly, richly deserved it. She is constantly inspiring people, generous in sharing techniques and ideas and packs so much into a twenty four hour period that it frequently makes my head spin. It has made me think very seriously about the purpose of the award and who, in my opinion fulfills the criteria.

There are several people who do fit the bill but some don't have blogs, others have already received this award or have blogs which are by invitation only. So I am going to give it to someone who hasn't been blogging for very long but has been crafting for an eternity. Whenever I talk to her or see her demonstrating products, I learn something new. Nothing is ever too much trouble for her, she is infectiously happy, a constant source of inspiration, forever coming up with new ideas and really knows her stuff. Want to know who it is? I'm going to do 'a Glenda' and say take a look here!

So what have I been up to today?

Well for a start, this little lot has been playing in the studio..... loudly,
while I have been road testing Ranger's Inkssentials Opaque White Pen. They have just arrived in stock at Graphicus but I have a feeling that they are not going to last very long. They are absolutely fabulous!

I have several 'white' pens from different manufacturers. Some work reasonably well, others are very hit and miss. I usually use Sakura's white Souffle pen which I have had some good results from. The only draw back is that you have to wait for it to dry to finally see the results. It appears 'watery' or 'milky' when it first goes on but dries quite opaque.

Now this little beauty is everything I had hoped it would be. Trust 'Ranger' not to disappoint. It glides on very evenly with no striping. At first I was a little concerned about the thickness of the nib, I needn't have been as it is quite deceptive and I was able to achieve some very fine detail with it. The ink is a bright opaque white and doesn't take long to dry. It's very addictive and I found myself doodling away on anything and everything. Here are some of the results:

Dots and Dashes.... great for faux stitching effects.

And this is how well I was able to pick out very fine detail in a stamped image.
Depending on how you angle and pull the ink you can even taper your strokes.... nice effect!

I could have spent all day just doodling. I feel a 'Black and White' phase coming on.

This stamped image has been embossed with white embossing powder before attacking it with the Inkssentials pen so you don't get the contrast that you do when just stamping with a white ink pad.

This is 'Art Word' from the Elusive Elements range, stamped in white ink with a free hand doodle frame applied with the pen.
Finally, my old friend Grungeboard. This is my latest offering using an Elusive Images Script stamp from the Age of Chivalry themeplate in the background and over stamped with Impression Obsessions wood mounted Victorian Rose stamp which has also been used to create the Grungeboard flower and leaves.

I have used Stickles glue to accent the leaves and around the very edges of the petals on the rose. A small gem in the centre of the flower finished it off.

The inks used are Tim's Distress Inks and VersaFine Onyx Black for stamping the flowers on the tag background and the Grungeboard.That's all for now folks! But there's plenty more to come - I have a lot of catching up to do.