Sunday 28 February 2010

The Comfort zone

When I struggle to come up with a striking design for a card, I always go back to my comfort zone arranging the elements of the card or layout. And that design is a horizontal line across the card with a decorative element and/or the greeting on top.
A few years back I decided that it was ok to go back and repeat it as long as I introduce something new every time, or if I really struggle for whatever the reasons, time usually. So, I tell myself now, it is not laziness on my behalf is time efficiency.

Friday 26 February 2010

Max & Whiskers Card

Still feeling exhausted after Craft Day and Stitches, but I thought I would share this card using Basic Grey latest release, Max & Whiskers.

Thursday 25 February 2010

Sugar Rush

As much as i love everything that Basic Grey comes up, I have to say that at first Sugar Rush did not inspire me. However, it is a double sided collection, which means that you get two patterns in each sheet of paper and usually there is alway a side that I like. And I am a polka dots lover, so this combination of pink dots on red paper and red on pink dotty paper really appeals to me.

Here, in the close up, you can see the rosettes or flowers that I made using my trusted Cuttlebug and Nellie Snellen nesting dies. They are as good quality as the Nestabilities but with a much lower price tag, granted that you get less number of dies in each set.

The centre of the flowers are made with paper and a plain epoxy sticker or a thickj layer of glossy accents over it. The main flowers are made out of CoreDinations cardstock.

All the materials are available from The Craft Barn.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Thank you to everyone who bought my stamp set, not only you will get a
fenomenal bargain but you also made the newbie stamp designer very
I think I didn't get to mention that my prefered inkpads for this sets
are Versafine, versamagic and brilliance in order or preference. And
also that they combine with several punch sizes but I will explain
that in more detail in another post.


After stitches and craft day over at Qvc I am beyond eshausted. But I
am so happy how both have turned up. My stamp set sold out in a couple
of minutes, didn't really have a chance to talk about them in detail
or demonstrate them. I am planing some more posts in here so I can
feature several of their uses. By the way, the stamps will hit the
shops at the end of march, so if you missed out on them you may be
able to see them in a shop near you.
Going back to stitches, you know the craft trade show, it was so much
fun. I really enjoy working there at the kars stand, and this was the
fifth time that I was there. My friends Cindy Rapson (making memories)
and Vanessa Noonan (cricut) were once again demonstrating at the same
booth, as well as new friends Suzie (jewelry) and Ruth (gypsy).
I love the trade show, as well as seeing all the new products and
techniques, you meet so many friends and you make some new ones. It is
hard work, but it is great!

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Craft Day, Exciting!

So today, if everything goes according to plan I will be on air with my own stamps (19:00h), how cool is that? And they have my name on the product! Check it out!

Monday 22 February 2010

Stitches: More Boxes

I decorated this boxes, actually cubes using Basic Grey's Capella Collection.
Tomorrow, Craft Day at QVC! So excited! I will be on air at 12:30 or so, and then again at 13:00 and at 19:00.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Stitches: Box

This little box features Basic Grey's Green at Heart collection.

Saturday 20 February 2010

Stitches: Card

Since I am demonstrating tomorrow at Stitches the Cuttlebug products and Basic Grey new collections, I am posting this card today. I must say, I like this card for a man!

Wednesday 17 February 2010

The time of the year

This month, February, is a but crazy for us pro crafters. There are many things to do, many places to go, many people to see.

Stitches, the trade show, is happening this weekend (Sun, Mon, Tues). As usual I will be demonstrating at the Kars booth. I will be using the Cuttlebug, which as you know is one of my all time favorite tools. I will be there on Sunday and Monday.

Tuesday is Craft Day at QVC, and I am on air at 12:30 and at 19:00. As I will be helping behind the scenes as well, I will get home probably after 1 am. So, all in all, a few exhausting days ahead, and behind me too.

Talking about QVC. I was there working behind the scenes for Dawn on Tuesday, when I saw a girl that look familiar. While the Morning Show was on I saw that they were featuring some make up sets. I realized that the girl look familiar because she was Lauren Luke. I know she is not like a massive big star, but I have been watching her make up tutorials over at YouTube for quite a while, so I was a bit star struck. As I am a shy person -yes, really I am!- I did not say anything. When I was leaving the studio, I bumped into her and said something to her. She was so lovely, just like on her videos.

Isn't it nice when you meet people in real life and they do not disappoint?

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Be loved, part 4!

So, this is the front of the card.

The inside of the card is what is really elaborate.

The last page.

A close up of the inside detail.

Monday 15 February 2010

Be loved in acetate. part 3

This is another card I taught last Thursday at The Glitter Pot.

As before, I used Be loved papers and Martha Stewart punches.

Since the card is made out of acetate, I needed to cover up any elements
that were glued on the front.

And the inside.

Sunday 14 February 2010

More of Be Loved

Well, since the brief of the class was Martha Stewart Punches, I used some of my favourite ones, which include that amazingly beautiful butterfly.

Of course, the Be Loved papers dictated the color combo.

All the materials are available from The Glitter Pot: Sizzix Die, Papers, Stamps, and Martha Stewart punches, Monarch Large Butterfly, Classic Butterfly, Around the page Eyelet Lace and scallop punch.

Saturday 13 February 2010

My new favourite card?

Well, it does not featured Basic Grey papers, nor mini albums, but as a card, this has to be one of my favorites.

Why? because it features one of my favorite shapes, that fancy scroll edge but also I love this color combo, courtesy from Be loved by My Minds Eye.

I decorated the inside with stamped sentiments from my Wording Stamps set.

You can see here the spine of the card.
I forgot to take a photo of the card flat, because the beauty of the card is that when flat the three pages are spaced in between so you can see all the edges in the different colors.

All the materials are available from The Glitter Pot: Sizzix Die, Papers, Stamps, and scallop punch.

Friday 12 February 2010

My love for Mini albums - Part 3 of 3

Some of the pages have more elements than others. Like the one above has a bit of everything that has been incorporated on the mini album.

By the way, I love this photos that I took of the daughter of a friends of ours.

The last page on the other side has one more up photo. I just love IT!

As you can see the back of the gap page is completely covered with matching flowers. There is two reasons for that. Number one, it is much stronger with two layers of thick paper, Number two, it is as pretty on the front as is on the back.

The detail of the foiling, done with Sakura Quickie Glue Pen.

The ribbon is completely loose on the back, it is only attached on the front underneath the flower.

And that is the end of this little mini album. All the materials were available from Dawn Bibby's Design Studio.

Thursday 11 February 2010

My love for Mini albums - Part 2 of 3

The bit gilded in on the heart on the left hand side of the photo. Also I wanted to show how to use full 4 x 6" photos on little albums. this way needs a landscape photo, but there are other ways for portraits.

I used, of course, some edge punches to add decorative elements. The photo on the right is a pop up one.

You can see here how I did it. Since discovering this method, I have not look back. Could not do it the proper way!

This is the back of the album.

Tomorrow, part 3.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

My love for Mini albums - Part 1 of 3

It is no secret that i love both Mini Albums and Basic Grey, actually, if I had to choose between all the paper companies out there, Basic Grey would be my top option. Likewise, if I had to choose between Cards, Big Layouts or Mini Albums I would most certainly choose the latter one. So, when I get to combine both loves, I am a happy designer.

This one of my favorite albums to date. I used the gorgeous Indian Summer collection -BG, of course. I designed this one for a workshop at Dawn Bibby's shop last November. Because I have a serious policy of never repeating my classes unless requested by the attendees, I always look for new elements that I can teach in my classes. So for this one, I incorporated the gap card technique on the first page, elements of gilding and pop up photos.

Because is a 4 x 4" album you need strips of 4 x 12" card, scored at every 4". When assembled together you get pages double layer of card so I decided to use the most of them by converting them into little pockets

This is how it looks closed.

Tomorrow Part 2.

Monday 8 February 2010

Photogenic? My theory

If you have been reading this blog for a little while, you will know that I love taking portraits. A lot. There is something almost magical about capturing a human face in a split second of his or her life.

By the way the photos in this post have no necessary relation to photogenic debate. I just thought that a very long post without any photos would be boring!

What I don't like so much is that people this side of the Atlantic always say: "I am not photogenic" to begin with, regardless of whether is true or not. It is so much of an occurrence, that when someone admits that they are photogenic the impression is that the person is quite vain. But trust me, nothing further from the truth. I have been called photogenic more times than I can recall. When we are calling someone photogenic we are implying that the photo image of that person is equal or better looking than the real version of that same person. I have assumed that it is my case, I look better in photos than in real life, which unless you are a printed media model -obviously not my case- is not something necessarily good. People get disappointed when they meet you in real life!

Because of all that I have developed my own theory about it, to me there are two types of photo-genie, the natural and the trained one - people who are just simply used to how they look under different light and make the most out of their features.

Until a few months ago I truly believed that naturally unphotogenic people did not really exist. I was proved wrong watching an episode of America's Next Top Model. I was watching it as someone recommended the series as it shows how real pros take photos -lighting, giving directions models and so on, and yes, I learnt quite a lot. One of those things that I learnt was that really beautiful women not necessarily translate that well in an still photo, whether some less traditional good looking ones translated really well in a photo. And, as I kept shooting portraits of people I encountered a couple of those naturally unphotogenic, so I realized that they do actually exist. And the same goes with the naturally photogenic which usually means that no matter what light, angle they look always really good on a photo.

However, most -and by most I mean 75% of the people I have taken photos of- are neither naturally photogenic nor unphotogenic.

Most just say upfront that they are unphotogenic because they are not comfortable on how they look in photos. Seeing yourself in pictures is actually similar to hearing our own voice on a recorded tape. How many of us have gone: "Is that how I sound? It is a horrible voice! I don't sound like that!" Well, as we know we actually sound very differently from what we think. Up to certain extent, the same happens with our facial features.

My theory is that most of us are told since we are little that we should not look on the mirror for too long, only vain people do that. And while I agree that vain people do, not looking ourselves enough on a mirror it means that we do not get to know our faces well with their good and bad features, so we fill the knowledge voids with our imagination, creating an image of our faces that is not the real one, the one everyone else sees including the camera.

Long time ago, before I was seriously into photography, one very pretty friend of mine used to complain repeatedly that she was not photogenic. I took some photos of her and the photos turn up OK, but she still complained about not being photogenic. So another friend told her:
"Frankly, if you think that you look better than you look in this photo, you are wrong! You look exactly like you do in this photo, if anything you look worse in real life!"
Of course, my friend was deeply embarrassed, and from that point on never complained again about her lack of photogenic features, at least to us.

We need to consider that we tend to look ourselves only in one or two mirrors that are around our houses, and we only look in them because we just need to check that our hair and face look decent enough to face the world. The thing is that we get to know how our face looks on that one mirror and how the light reflects on it, so we kind of domesticate the mirror. Weird, eh? Well, not so much. We trained unconsciously to look ourselves in that mirror, adopting an expression and an angle that is the most flattering with the light available, that way, we are not scarred for the rest of the day on how bad we look. Remember, most of us do that unconsciously, we are not aware that we do that.

Another example to illustrate this point. Have you ever look yourselves during the day in the car's mirror out of necessity and have you been hugely disappointed on how you look? The reason is simple. In a car the light comes from all directions, there is not really much you can do to hide any features that we do not like, unlike in the house mirror where we can do it.

Sometimes, you will get photos taken by a true pro and he or she will look for the better way to capture you by changing light, angle and giving you the right directions. However, most of times you are going to be captured in family snapshots or in enthusiastic amateur photographs like myself that do not know or are afraid of giving you directions.

There is little one can do about how natural photogenic one is - unless one considers cosmetic surgery but that is a another issue! However we ca do something about the one, the trained one.

What I propose to do is to get a mobile mirror - a handheld one that you can easily move from room to room, as different room means different light. And use that mirror to learn the features in your face and how they look in different lights as you never know the light that you are going to be photographed in.

Practice smiling: natural smile, try to smile the mouth but without moving any eyes muscles, and smizing -smiling only with the eyes like the models do, they never smile as it creates wrinkles, real or temporary. See which one you like better and remember which muscles you are moving in order to achieve that look.

Discover which features of your face you would like to enhance and which ones to hide. For instance, in my case, one of them is the gap between my front teeth, hence my smile with the mouth close. That you don't like your nose, frontal portrait, you think you have a too rounded face, profile or semi profile portrait.

All this long post is so that next time that someone takes a photo of you, you look exactly how you thought you would look. And avoid the embarrassment that my friend had to endure after complaining repeatedly that she was not photogenic.

NOTE: this photogenic issue has little to do with actual beauty. Being pretty does not equal to being photogenic and vice-versa. It is just how light reflect on our features.

Sunday 7 February 2010

Digital Paper

I have been in love with the Copics or Promarkers for quite a while, and although I had some card and paper that work well with it, it was not perfect. Then, on Monday I saw Julie who gave some sheets of the new digital paper/card from Craftwork Cards.
I expected to like it, but not be wowed by it as it is plain thick white paper. Wrong. It is just so smooth, it's ultra smooth so the stamp detail shows so beautifully, and not too thick, perfect to make stamped and colored panels to add to cards.

To be honest, when I got home I quickly stamped this image (Magenta stamps) and colored in. Cutting took a while and as soon as I started I wished I hadn't as I am not the most patient of crafters.

Friday 5 February 2010

Details, Details, Details

Of the ATC box.

So you can see here that the front is very raised. How did I do it?

Underneath that black cardstock there is block of white Styrofoam. Then I use a band of card around it.

You can see here that the black card is larger than the standard ATC size. The clip is not attached in any way so it is rather easy to change the ATC's.

And here, on the opposite side, the little pockets can hold up to ten ATC in each one.

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