Monday, 25 August 2014

Craft Asylum blog post: layout and card


This weeks blog post for Craft Asylum, a layout and a card using their latest collection Into the Woods is live now! Click here for the direct link.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

A trip to Rayher HQ


Late May I went to Rayher HQ (Lauphein, Germany) to demonstrate Sizzix, and just now I get a chance to blog about it. I had never been there before and it is always so exciting to go to new places and work with different companies that bring Sizzix to crafters all over Europe.


The day started early. Very early. Incredible early. At least for my standards. 5:15am pick up by the taxi. So I had to have Starbucks breakfast at the airport. On the plane I met Kay Halliwell-Sutton from IndigoBlu. We have known each other for years, but never quite had a proper conversation. As then I found out, germans don't speak as much English as I thought so it was nice to actually be with someone who speaks english.


As soon as we got to Rayher we were greeted by beautiful displays. I was in awe of the attention to detail in them. Beautiful displays for beautiful products and projects.


Some of those projects incorporated Quilling, but in a more modern and fresher way.


I quickly set up the table with the beautiful samples from Pete Hughes and Debi Potter. Plus some of mine too.


During the days I was there demonstrating I made some projects like the ones above or bellow.


And tried and tested different things. I loved showing european Sizzix retailers a few of my techniques like the paper patchwork.


Food was served in a tent, very nicely decorated with quite a few options for food.



This group? One of the highlights of the trip. They are from Croatia and with the Slovenians that came on the next day, they soon became some of my favourite people! 


And on the way back to the airport, we did some tourism. Not really, just that it was lovely to enjoy the landscape and buildings.


I really loved the landscape and I hope to really do some tourism in that area one day!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A visit to Sizzix HQ

 

As part of the Sizzix European Blogger team, I got invited among other bloggers to go to Ellison - Sizzix HQ  as I call it - in Wrexham. The bloggers were: Bente Fagerberg from Sweden (originally Norway), Elena Roche from Spain, myself (representing the UK!), Karola Witczak from Poland and Elina Stromberg from Finland.


We were hosted by the marketing team, Alison, Fiona and Kayleigh. Of course, I have known them for years as Fiona used to be my boss while I worked full time at Sizzix. It was lovely to see them again and spent some time with all of them.


The place is lovely. It has change a bit since I saw it last. I loved the cantine with big Sizzix banners and decorations.


No matter how many times, I always get goosebumps when I see my work published or, in this case, big print outs. (My projects are the 2nd and 4th from the left).


We had a fun time going into the craft room, a place where Pete creates all his projects. Talent!


Of course, we did a lot of this! all taking photos of the same thing.


Wales is beautiful. I just love the scenery.


We had dinner in a countryside pub. The food was nice, the company perfect!


And a visit to Sizzix HQ would not be complete with a photo with my Christmas Twin, Pete Hughes. He is even nicer person than he is talented, and he has got talent to fill a few football stadiums.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A faux Letterpress tutorial using Bigz dies and a Big Shot

Today I am sharing a DIY project inspired by the workshops I took on proper Letterpress. I wanted to create my own type so i experimented...


I used the lids of a take away food container to create the shape. I removed all the edges and calculated the thickness that would have to have to work, the thickness of a embossing folder closed. Make sure that if in doubt, you start with a thinner layer than too thick. You can always use thin acetate to create a bit of a shim underneath.


I die cut four ampersand using Tim Holtz WordPlay alphabet die Sizzix. I glue them all together with a strong adhesive. Then I sanded the top (with is the mirror side) to create a better printing surface than shiny plastic. To ink it up I used Brilliance pads which are beautiful pearlescent ink that dry quickly on paper but stay wet on plastic.


I secured the ampersand with low tack tape, and proceed to print it as if it were an embossing folder through the Big Shot. On the right you can see the effect. Lovely debossed effect.


On the back, its pretty flat but with some bruising which is normal for deep impressed Lettepress. 
To create a card I decided to stamp the message from my Large Family Birthday set.


This step I recommend do it before the letterpress one, but as I do things on the go without much planning, I did it after which meant that the letterpress impress effect was lost a but by die cutting the label.
Once I had it die cut I stamp the other two messages (Sister / Friend).


And here it is, finished! i hope you enjoyed it and give it a try. Remember, always try with thinner plastics, as you always add more but it is difficult to remove any layers!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Memory keeping - a few of my ways to keep memories safe - ish!

Here is my dilema which by the looks of it, it is the same with many paper crafters. I love creating with paper and I love memory keeping. But I don't have time or energy (mostly the latter one) to both at a good standard and keep up with everything.

I have talked before about this struggle, though it may sound insignificant - and it is really insignificant in the grand scheme of things - but it becomes a burden. And we as women like to feel guilty about not doing everything up to scratch.

I have accepted that scrapbooking is more about paper and creativity than it is memories and memory keeping. And there is no shame in that. I love to take photos, specially portraits and some of them don't necessarily bring extraordinary memories that I want to keep, but I feel bound to scrap them just because I happen to be inspired by the beauty of the people I photograph. And that, to me, is enough.



But I want to keep a record of what I do, the places I visit. I am very fortunate that between my job, family and friends I travel often. I get to visit places where beauty and moments need to be preserved for a later date. As I am a Facebook very active user, I use LikeBooks to keep a printed version of my timeline, an easy way to keep it all in one place. ( I have talked about LikeBook here and here.)


I also use this blog as a diary of trips. I dont post all the photos on Facebook, or I post different ones (more personal there, less so here).  Some of you may follow this blog because of my crafting, but some of you I know are family and friends that live far away and like to read and see photos of my travels. For me its another way of keep those memories fresh and share a bit of what I do. Then I also print this blog out using Blurb Blog Book feature. So all gets safeish!

Finally I use pocket scrapbooking to keep all the mementos form different trips safe. I also use it for some photos but mostly is to keep the memorabilia.

So far, this is working for me. But we will see. Changes are

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Heart Frame Tutorial


I usually take this frame that I made last year to my workshops and demos and always gets a lots of questions on how did I do it. The funny thing is that i took step by step photos while I was making it, but then I forgot where they were until today. So here it goes, the full tutorial. Enjoy!


I started with one of the cheapest Ikea frames. I die cut twelve hearts using the Bigz die from the Starter kit using white mountboard. I prefer mount board to chipboard because it has white edges and the top tecture is smoother so more things you can do to the top. Then I painted them all using Paperarsty's Fresco paints in an assortment of colour using foam pads to dab the colour in.


Once that paint was dry, I proceed to cover each one with a different medium to get different textures in. I used Crackle glaze, Glue & Seal...


Kroma crackle, Cosmic Shimmer glue... they will all give a different effect. If it was now, I would definitely try some of the new DecoArt mediums, like the Texture crackle.


Once those coats were dry, I coated them with a thin acrylic coat using Paperartsy's Nougat.


This are some of the effects I got. the one on the left is Kroma Crackle but not completely dry. The one on the right is the glue one.


Little by little the hearts were taking texture.


Once I was happy with the texture, I proceed to add embellishments and more die cuts. i used Teresa collins embellishments and the Big Shot Starter kit dies.


I painted and crackled the frame to make it all coordinating. Finally, I attached them to the plastic that comes with the frame. I like to suspend things on to the outside of the plastic so that it has more texture.


A few close ups. the papers on the back are also Terese Colllins.


And, again, the finished frame. 


Messy stuff doesn't have to look messy and complicated, if you don't want to. You can make it as you like!
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