Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Giveaway Number 3 Winner

Congratulations to Janet who commented at 11:56am this morning. Email me with your details and we will get your goodies out to you :o)

Thanks to everyone who has visited and commented during our three day blog giveaway, be sure to come back often as we will be uploading classes, challenges, product spotlights and of course giveaways on a regular basis.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Giveaway 2 - Winner

Apologies ofr the late posting of this. A work meal for a colleague who was leaving that started in an Italian restaurant and ended in a Salsa club (impromptu change of plan which those of you who know me may find a touch amusing as I was driving and unable to rely on that great dance enhancer of a large drink!)

Anyway, the winner is comment number 19 - Poinz. Email me your details and we will get some Bella Blvd sent out to you. :)

3 Day Giveaway - Day 3

For the final day's giveaway, we have selected Prima. They brought out some lovely new paper lines this time and of course lots of blossoms and bling too. It sold amazingly quickly and we struggled to keep up with re-stocks, so leave a comment to say which of the Prima products appealed to you most. The papers are here, blossoms here and pearls and crystals are here.
You have until 6pm tomorrow for a chance to win some gorgeous Prima goodies

We haven't forgotten the Bella Blvd giveaway winner but Mel has gone out, so that will be later tonight.

Monday, 29 March 2010

3 Day Giveaway - Day 2....

So today we gave away some gorgeous Fancy Pants goodies and next up is some of the new Bella Blvd products. We have stocked Bella Blvd since it was launched and it has been a consistent favourite among many of our customers.

Take a look at their three new collections HERE (currently on New Products pages 1 to 3) on our site and leave a comment letting us know which you like the best and why and we will pick a winner at random (in the usual way) to win some Bella Blvd goodies!

Deadline for this one is 6pm tomorrow evening.

Good Luck!

Giveaway Number 1 - Winner

The winner of Giveaway Number 1 is LORNA - congratulations, drop me an email with your address and we will get your Fancy Pants goodies out to you.

Check out the next post (later on this evening) for the next giveaway which will end at 6pm tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

It's A Three Day Blog Giveaway...

For the next three days we will be doing a daily blog giveaway, to enter each day you need to leave a comment on the relevant post. At 6pm the following day we will use our trusty friend Random dot org to choose a winner.

The first giveaway is a selection of the yummy new Fancy Pants release which we received and uploaded last week. To enter just leave a comment on this post BEFORE 6pm tomorrow evening telling us which your favourite new Fancy Pants product is - to check out the new release click HERE (Fancy Pants starts on page 3 of new products and goes through to page 8) and have a look at what goodies we ordered. If Random dot org picks you you could find the product you listed in the box winging it's way to you.


While I am posting I ought to say thanks to Jane and Ann who are helping out even more than usual with the blog posts at the moment while we are very busy preparing for the retreat, they are both stars!

Latest Products in store

Just a brief update on this lovely sunny Sunday morning to let you all know we have lots of new products on the website for you to peruse including the latest releases from Bella Blvd. Man of the House is particularly fab if you are looking for more masculine papers and the journaling sticker sheet containing 15 different journaling spots is great value at £3.50. There are six papers and and two sets of stickers in this range which is double sided too giving plenty of layout variety!

Fancy Pants CHA Winter 2010 releases are also in stock now and are sure to be very popular. Again double sided papers with coordinating rub-ons and glittercuts there is sure to be collection that will grab your eye.
Rusted Sun features warm summery colour tones, Roadshow has a more muted pallet and I am sure Mel will be loving About a girl (especially as one of the papers shares her youngest's name!) but my favourite has to be the My Family range! I can't wait to get my hands on some of these and play!

Also new in are various yummy products from Websters Pages, a growing favourite scrapbook manufacturer of mine. Now available are the stickers, die cut papers and 6x6 pads coordinate with the papers stocked last month. Life's Portrait is particularly nice and mixes well with Prima Flights of Fancy papers, blossoms and vines.

Plenty of eye candy there I am sure you'll agree, which of these are your favourite?

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Crop Day!

Well I was going to blog about the crop I go to (as it was our crop day today) and I thought I might share a few photos including what people were busy working on... but muppet that I am - I took my camera without the memory card inside it!

Anyway it was a great crop - I even got a sneak peek at a future ATDML ingredients challenge that Vicki was working on - it certainly looked fab in real life!

I did get lots of autograph books made ready for the children to buy at the charity sale at school on 8th May - though I think I will add some wording to the front e.g. 'my friends' or 'autographs' or maybe just a flower and gem. Anyway with the sweet little co-ordinating sharpies attached to them they should sell well.

So back home now and exciting to think that the next outing for my tote will be to the ATDML retreat. Can't wait - hope to see you there!


Friday, 26 March 2010

Alcohol inks

I love anything that gets me messy and one of my favourite things to play with is alcohol ink. I think alcohol inks are an 'alterer's' best friend because all of those things with shiny finishes like metal, glass etc that won't take paint well and all those things that are an odd shape (and therefore difficult to cover with paper) can be coloured and altered using alcohol inks.

This little trinket box is one example. It started life as one of those very shiny white necklace gift boxes (knowing me I probably threw away the necklace and kept the box!).

I put a few drops of a variety of different shades of brown alcohol ink onto the Ranger felt applicator and then literally just dabbed it all over the box. I kept going until the entire box was covered. I love the way it made the box look almost like tortoiseshell.

To finish the box I made a buttondoll (made from craft wire, buttons, a bottle cap, some old german scrap wings and a vintage photo) - I glued her on top of the box and lined the inside of the box with felt.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Spring is in the air

A little less rain, a little more sunshine, lighter evenings and plenty of birds chirping away in the mornings. Yes spring is definitely in the air. The latest issue of The Scrapbook Magazine has a designer section of Spring inspired layouts including “Rescued Bird” by yours truly.

The layout is easy to recreate using supplies available in the shop and features a nice Prima flower cluster and three different styles of stitching. The Thickers used are from American Crafts latest releases and are gorgeous!!

To create a similar layout you will need:
Background cardstock – I used Bazzill Silver bling 12x12
Bazzill Lizzard Green 8 ½ x 11 Cardstock
MME Little Miss Muffet - Celebrate - Party Dots Paper
MME Little Miss Muffet - Hello Beautiful - Beautiful Butterflies Paper
Pearl Chipboard Thickers - Marquise - Pewter
Prima Flowers
Thread, Buttons, leaf punch or rubons (or you could draw by hand)

Instructions to create the page:
Cut along the line of the seventh dot on your party dots paper and adhere, at an angle, to your 8 ½ x 11 cardstock. Then add your 6x4 photograph, also at an angle. Next pierce where your pink stitches will go to join the two papers, around the edge of the cardstock for your green stitches, then along the bottom and slightly up on the right of your photograph for your blue/grey stitches. Then sew your paper which is easier to do at this stage before adhering to your 12x12 background cardstock.

Add your title using journalling stickers and Thickers, decorated with butterflies cut from the Beautiful Butterflies paper. Then add a Prima flower/leaf cluster at the bottom left corner of your photograph, adding buttons and more butterflies on foam pads for dimension.

I hope you have fun scrapbooking your Spring inspired pages. Don't forget to share them with us here on the blog with a link to your page in your comment!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

March Challenge

It's all about learning at the moment!
As you may have seen from the post below my school are having Ofsted this week so I have been working hard with colleagues to prepare although due to the timing of the inspection I am not actually in school! So my time has been spent focusing on helping to make sure that the inspection team see evidence of the learning that has been taking place and that they witness it first hamd during their visit.

Than, when I get home I have been focusing on the upcoming retreat and the classes i am teaching... more learning and teaching. The majority of my class supplies finally arrived today so I am underway making my class samples. Fortunately this time I had a very clear idea of how I wanted to use the products and so it hasn't been too stressful waiting for the product to arrive but I am pleased it is mostly now here!

Finally, my "big girl" Isabelle who is 4 will be going to school full time after the Easter holidays and we are getting ready for Monday when she goes for her full day induction. I can't believe that I will have a child in full time education, the time seems to have flown by and taken forever all at the same time!

So there we are, learning is a big part of what is going on around me at the moment so it is no surprise that this months challenge is a themed challenge.

Produce a layout, minibook or other project with a learning theme. It could be a reflective layout looking at things you have learned, it could be a celebratory first day at school type layout, or layout about things you or others want to learn, study or develop... The choice is yours so long as it's overall theme is related to learning.

As always you have until the 22nd of next month to email me your layout to be included in the challenge. The winner will receive something different this month; a box with a selection of class kits (with instructions!) from our retreat so you can enjoy taking some classes and doing some learning as well!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Here's a First...........

Let's hope I can get this right, I have never blogged before in my life but Mel has gone into work today and won't be here until late tonight. As you may know, she is a primary school teacher and yesterday they had 'The Call', they have been expecting a visit from Ofsted for months now and tomorrow is the day so it is all hands on deck.
I haven't the slightest idea how to import pictures into a blog post, it took me months to get the hang of linking on UKS so today's post will have to be the boring 'just text' type. It is looking like a busy week with Fancy Pants arriving tomorrow and two shipments from the USA later in the week with an array of goodies packed inside.
We are also trying to get classes organised for our retreat in just over two weeks time - hadn't really dawned on me how close it was until I typed that. Hopefully Mel will be at home tomorrow to post on here, if not I will have to take a crash course in IT.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Winners For March...

The winner of the poll for our ingredients challenge this month was Julia Short. Congratulations Julia, you win a shopping voucher for £10 to spend at ATDML. Thanks again to all the ladies who took part, they were all lovely entries.

The February Challenge was to "Mix It Up" and we asked you to send us layouts where you had used 3 or more different paper manufacturers together on one page

As always we loved some of the entries we were sent. The winner was hard to choose but in the end we loved the soft colours in Sue Jones' layout "Yummy" and the combination between the clean simple lines with the more intricate embellishments she has constructed, you also have to admire the patience that went into hand cutting around the lacey edge of the patterned paper.

Congratulations to Sue who wins a £25 shopping voucher. Thanks as always to those who sent in their entries for the challenge, there were lots of lovely entries and you can expect to see a few more of them appearing on the blog in the next few days.

The March challenge will be posted tomorrow so come back then to see what we are looking for this month.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

A Card Made With Cosmic Shimmer Misters

It has been a busy weekend here. As well as sorting out the retreat class lists (nealry finished now) we have been to visit our new niece today which was lovely. She was born nearly four weeks ago but as we have been struggling to shake off a virus we have waited to go and see them until we were less germy!

So tonight i wanted to show you a card i made a couple of days ago. I love the Cosmic Shimmer mists we recently got into stock so I needed little persuasion to have a play. The other item I was making can't be shown here yet as i was doing a dry run for a class but here is my card.

To begin I chose three co-ordinating shades of cosmic shimmer mists. I used Golden Sunlight, Mango Blaze and Lava Red. I spritzed the front of a card blank and an off cut of white cardstock and then left them to dry.

In the meantime I stamped my image onto another scrap of white cardstock. Then I coloured it in using normal good quality colouring pencils. They are not watercolour pencils, just normal colouring pencils. I used a blue and green combination to get a good contrast with the copper tones I got when combining my shimmers.
I then used a stump (it is made of paper and can be bought relatively inexpensively in art supply stores) dipped in Sansodor to blend the colours together. I saw a tutorial ages ago on an American stamping site talking about using Odorless Mineral Spirits to blend colouring using normal pencils. Here in the UK it is sold under the name Sansodor. This has the effect of intensifying the colours. The science bit is that the spirits break down the substance that holds the pigment together in the pencils (they are not pure pigment but pigment bulked out with binding agents) this allows the colours to blend and take on a paint like quality.
Once the scrap cardstock which I had shimmered was dry I also stamped the image again to get the two flowers on the coppery shimmered background.
I cut these out, inked the edges with brown ink and using foam pads adhered them over my stamped and coloured images adding a tiny gem to each as a flower centre. I then too the stamped and layered image and stuck that to the front of my shimmered card blank. I then trimmed the edges to make a smaller card just a little larger than my stamped image.
I would love to see any projects any of you have completed using the lovely cosmic shimmers - why not email them over to me at and we may do a reader showcase of shimmered items.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Scruffy Ruffle Border Tutorial By Scrapdolly

Scruffy Ruffle Border - Post By Scrapdolly

I thought it would be fun to share how you can get really distressed and have great fun. Usually the two don’t go hand in hand. This time being distressed is definitely fun!

Making a scruffy, beaten up ruffled paper border and flower couldn’t be easier.

Cut yourself some strips of patterned paper roughly 1 ½ “ wide. You will need several of these and will need to join them together to make a long strip approximately 24”. I find it easier to join the strips before I start folding.

Fold the strip of paper in and out, forward and backwards so you are creating a sort of pleated effect. Crease each fold down really firmly so it holds. You are not looking for even folds. If this is a bit haphazard it will work better with the scruffy beaten up effect you are creating.

Once you are happy with the effect run the strip through a sewing machine to hold the pleats and folds in place with a line or two of stitching down the centre. Again, you are not looking for a perfectly straight line of stitching.

Once it is stitched it is time to beat it up a little. Crumple the whole strip up into a ball to soften the paper then unroll it again. Using your finger bend edges forward and backwards, creasing them in different directions. If you use a white cored paper such as the pink on the card it will look even more distressed and the white shows through.

Once you are happy with the look adhere it to the card or layout.

The flower is made of several different sized circles of paper, each crumpled, smoothed back out and either inked or sanded and then fixed with a brad through the centre.

Voila – distressed but happy!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Sketch Inspiration Number 6

This month the Design Team worked with the lovely Avignon and Venice collections from 7 Gypsies. I used one of my layouts; "Tiny Mermaid" to create the second of the sketches for March.

As always, leave a link in the comments box to a blog or online gallery with a layout you have made using the sketch. In early April we will pick a winner from those who have entered either of the sketches for the month and they will win an ATDML shopping voucher.

Here is the sketch and my layout:

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Did you manage to Unscramble?

Hello Blog readers!

Just a quick post from me today wondering how you all got on with the word scramble I left you with on March 5th? Anyone have a go? Anyone want to know the answers? Here they are:


Hope you had fun!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Then & Now....

I was attempting to tidy my craft area yesterday and today and as so often happens I got distracted looking at old layouts in Isabelles album. I realised that I have been scrapping for just over 5 years now and it made me want to look back at those earlier layouts.

The first four I have uploaded here are all from 2005 and the last one is from 2006. Looking back I can see how in some ways my scrapping style has changed and in other ways it has stayed the same. Looking at the Contemplating Bedtime layout and the Little Beautiful Girl layout I can see that even back then I had a fondness for inked edges. My love of circles clearly isn't a recent thing either!

I look back and although I would undoubtedly scrap these pictures differently now if I had just taken them I have no desire to go back and "re-scrap" them. I like that they reflect what I liked then and where I was on my scrapping journey. The bath time layout makes me smile everytime I look at it. I know I would be highly unlikely to go out and buy wooden ducks to adhere my letters to for a title now but I wouldn't change the layout for anything! Oh and that duck vellum was a present from Anam AKA Kihaku who kindly sent me some when it was unavailable here and I was coveting it on UKScrappers.

So, if you will forgive the terrible pun, why not take a trip down memory lane and browse through your early layouts, what has stayed the same, what has changed and how do you feel about those first layouts?
I often read on forums about people redo-ing layouts. It always makes me a bit sad actually. I have no problem with people scrapping the same photo many times but I think when people look at galleries it should be for inspiration for their future creative efforts, not to feel that their earlier ones are somehow not up to scratch. By all means make another layout with the same photo but please cherish those early pages - maybe you feel it is no great shakes when you hold it up against a Grungy Tim Holtz work of art or a clean and simple Cathy Zielske but you can bet your bottom dollar that someone who looks at it with fresh eyes will see plenty of good in it that is worth the space in a page protector!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Button Giveaway Results...

Thanks to all who commented, look out for more new goodies arriving on the site soon - we have more items on their way to us.
Once again the trusty randon dot org has picked us a winner for the button giveaway. It chose comment number 18 and so a little box of buttons is heading out to....

...Jackie Pocock.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Ingredients Challenge - March

This month these three ladies stepped up to take the Ingredients challenge, here's a little introduction to this months scrappers:

KATY FOX: I live in the Midlands with a very patient other half and a derranged puppy dog; the latter you can see in my challenge layout. My pooch is the most common subject of my scrapbook pages, although I also love recording my holiday memories and am quite partial to a minibook too. I've been crafting for as long as I can remember and scrapbooking for about five years now. I work full time so scrapping is my way to relax and have some "me" time. My favourite technique is stamping so I was delighted when stamps were on the allowed list for this challenge. I loved the kit we were sent to work with and had fun with it.

ELAINE LOUGHLIN: I am a 38 year old hotel manager. I have been crafting for as long as I can remember; card making etc.. I discovered scrapbooking in 2005 and have never looked back since. I adore scrapbooking and card making as well as any other creative activity I can get my inky fingers upon. the advantage of scrapbooking is it combines my love of photography with paper. I am fortunate enough to have taught scrapbooking and card making to beginners in both the UK and Spain and nothing brings a smile more to my face than seeing another absorbed in their creativity.

JULIA SHORT: Hi I'm Julia, I'm 66 years old and live in West Wales with hubby Andy and our little Jack Russell dog Basil. I have a son and a daughter and four wonderful grandchildren. I have been crafting for as long as I can remember and have tackled most things along the way; dressmaking, knitting, cross stitch and jewellery making to name but a few. I started scrapbooking in 2005 after many years of card making and vowing never to get into scrapping, it wasn't for me... so much for that! Most of my spare time is taken up with scrapbooking, that's when I am not out walking with my dog. Thanks for letting me take part in this challenge.
So now we have met our scrappers let's take a look at their layouts:
Who can resist that gorgeous puppy face peeping through the photo on Katys layout. She made great use of her beloved stamps to add extra interest and elements to the page. Although the kit didn't include any alphabets Katys use of stamped images on white means she has given the illusion of using more product than she has.

Elaines photo worked perfectly with the colours of this kit and we loved how she also selected a photo that worked so well with the jotters included in the kit. We also liked the combination of the bold white vertical stripes and the smaller horizontal green stripes.

Julia has really pulled off the white space on this layout, we loved the cluster of embellishments in the bottom corner and that tiny triangle of orange in the top right hand corner just defining the corner of the layout.


Identical kits but three very different layouts. Which one will win the shopping voucher? Vote in the poll to the right hand side of the page to have your say! Poll closes in one week.

Thanks again for taking part ladies!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

That Recipe Box!

Hi, Jane here again!

I’m taking a bit of time off working on my retreat class in order to blog today and the arrival of our choice of classes last night reminded me that Mel asked me to do some pictures and instructions for how to make the recipe box that I made as one of the challenges at the last retreat...

Unfortunately I can’t show you step by step because I didn’t take photos at the time and I don’t have another box to cover, but it’s a simple process which I’ve outlined below.

You will need a plastic box to cover – (we got these from Mel and Jill so I’m not sure what make they are)

Brown alcohol ink (I used ‘rust’)

Graphic 45 ‘Domestic Goddess’ range,

I used a sheet each of…

Quilting Bee

Farmers Market

Domestic Goddess

Simple as Pie

7 Gypsies vintage hardware (from which I used the clock and spoon)

7 Gypsies crystal book knob

7 Gypsies typewriter words (from which I used ‘best’)


Thickers – I used ‘Jewelry box’ in black - but any lettering would do

plus I used wire and beads from my stash

I started by colouring all the bits of the box that would still show at the end with the brown alcohol ink. Not having my proper applicator with me I resorted to just squirting it straight from the bottle onto the box then dabbing and blending it with a bit of tissue.

I also used a black sharpie pen to colour the front of the press-stud (it was white before).

I then covered the box with the different papers – inking the edges with brown ink before I stuck them down…

I used pieces of the ‘Quilting Bee’ paper to cover the sides of the box and front flap – cutting a hole for the press-stud. To get the pieces the right size I just measured the part I wanted to cover then took off a few millimeters so that there would be a border. The rounded flap was a bit trickier and I used some scrap paper first to get the curve right by drawing round the flap then cutting out my paper a few millimetres inside the pencil line.

I tied a piece of twill onto the plastic hanger on the back of the box then I used the large panel picture of a lady holding a pie from the Domestic Goddess sheet and stuck this onto the back.

Again, using a paper template first I cut a piece from the checkerboard side of the Farmers Market paper – (though check which panels from the other side you are planning to use first!) I cut a hole for the press-stud and stuck this paper onto the front of the box.

To embellish I used panels from the Farmers Market and Domestic Goddess papers which I cut, inked and stuck on. I attached the crystal knob to the top of the box and put the typewriter key sticker and thickers on the front to make my title ‘Best recipes’.

Finally I used some wire, jump rings and beads from my stash along with the clock and spoon to make the dangling decorations. I poked holes in the bottom of the box and then poked the wires through, securing them with some double sided tape – I then covered this with a strip of paper to hide the wires even though it was down inside the box.

I used the left over papers and some of the Simple as Pie paper along with some kraft card to make recipe cards and dividers for inside the box. I punched tabs using the Stampin Up! tab punch.

Ok... now back to working on that class. I'm very excited about teaching at the retreat and am loving the 7 Gypsies papers I'm working with!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Sketch Inspiration Number 5

If you are stopping by for the ingredients challenge never fear, it will be appearing on the blog over the weekend!

Today we have the first of our sketch challenges for March. I drew up this sketch this evening and as yet it is currently exampleless, however I am hoping to have a playw ith some paper over the weekend and if i get something created i will add it to this post - of course hopefully there will be a few links to your own versions coming in soon. As always, interpret the sketch as you wish, it is deliberately simple so that you don't feel tied down to lots of specific embellishment placement although feel free to add extra parts to the sketch as you wish!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

What Is Your Most Used Embellishment? Mini Giveaway

So when you are working on a layout or a card and it needs "a little something just here" what is the embellishment you go to most of the time?

For me I have phases depending on what I love at the time - I have had a bling phase, a button phase, stamped image phases and many more besides - well I am moving back towards buttons i think.

That might be influenced by the vast quantity of PRETTY buttons covering our dining table at the moment. It is a big dining table - seats 10 - and most of it has little packs of buttons on it.

We have ordered large bulk bags and are splitting them into 2 oz bags, some a single colour with different shades, some are a co-ordinating mix. Tomorrows job is to photograph and upload them to the website. We feel that with smaller bags it makes it easier for customers to get a wider range of colours rather than buy a larger pack of one colour or mix.

So what item do you love to have on hand for regular everyday use? Post a comment here and someone will win some beautiful buttons for taking the time to comment!

We will pick a winner with random dot org on Tuesday 16th March, last time to get a comment in is 6pm that day.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Another Big Shipmemt & Retreat Prep

We are busy busy busy here, another big shipment arrived with more new goodies for the shop and some supplies for the retreat including class kit supplies for this time and some things we got for future classes as well as Goody Bag items too.

We have mostly checked it off and new stock is appearing as we speak on the website. The New My Little Shoebox is going up at the moment. Those fabulous little alphabet stickers that so many people love now come in even more colours, plus there are 6 new paper collections. What I love about the MLS collections is that they are small and compact - three double sided papers and a die cut paper per collection - there are go with its, including those little alphabets, but you can have the whole paper collection for very little cost. These new collections have gone to the Design Team this month so keep an eye on the galleries for ideas on how to use them.

I am working on my classes for the retreat at the moment, I am excited about the lovely products i am working with - two classes using CHA winter 2010 releases and one using a range from Summer 09. I have two layouts and a mini book all of which I really love, one of the kits is sitting right beside me now as I am waiting for a photo to arrive from photo box so I can make my sample and I just keep wanting to stroke the pretty bits and pieces in the kit. *big smiles*

Only four weeks to go until the retreat and this is the time it gets really hectic. The timing of the spring retreat always makes it slightly harder to keep on track with new supplies shipping out later than would be ideal. We are so lucky that the teachers are all very good about the tight timescales. I am sure I get a few grey hairs each time though when checking shipping dates and tracking numbers multiple times a day!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

New Class By Jane Hewitt

We have just uploaded another class to our site. This time it is an exploding tag book by Jane Hewitt. Below is a picture of it closed but if you download the instructions you will see how it is cleverly folded to pop up when opened.

Click HERE to download the free PDF.