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!

Wednesday 23 July 2014

An afternoon tea at the V&A with Kirstie Allsopp, Poppy Chancellor and Pinterest

If you are into crafts and/or Kirstie Allsopp maybe  you will have heard that there is a big craft fair coming up in September in London called Handmade Fair, one of the main sponsors being Craft Asylum, one of the companies I work with.

Please excuse the terrible photos, I only had my mobile and its passed its best!

Through Pinterest, I got invited to one of the launch events at the V&A, the world's greatest museum of art and design.

Hosted by Kirstie herself, it was a lovely afternoon with fellow crafters, bloggers and pinners

One of the highlights was the express workshop that Poppy Chancellor taught us. Poppy is a paper crafting extraordinaire and a lovely girl too.

She provided templates designed by her for us to hand cut. Well, you know me I prefer die cutting to a scalpel. But it was lovely to do something that I don't do in my day to day with lovely people. I sat on Pinterest table which was quite special. Meeting my fellow pinners was another highlight of the event.

We also had some tea and cupcakes courtesy of Hummingbird Bakery. As a recently finished dieting person that I am, I really enjoyed mine. Mind you, I took off the frosting as I have never enjoyed it!

Finally, we all were invited to attend the Wedding dress exhibition at the V&A, beautiful historical wedding dresses which, as a wedding nutcase as I am, I thoroughly enjoyed. 

(PS: if you are onto celebrities, you will enjoy it too as it has Kate Moss, Camilla, Gwen Stefani, Dita Von Teese and other's wedding dress. As a side note, I first identified that it was Kate Moss by her husband groom's suit which is just beside it, which made me realise how un-iconic her dress is!) 

Both Poppy and Kirstie are really lovely and very inspiring. Kirstie talked about her aim with Handmade Fair: 
Handmade Fair will be an event where people can relax and connect, being bound by doing things together with their hands. 
This is why it is very different from other craft fairs where you either buy the craft ware ready made or you buy the materials to make them. Handmade Fair will be unique in that will have both and, more importantly, places where crafting will happen there and then, a chance to try different things that you may or may not had a chance to do before.

That is what crafting is all about. I always have thought that crafting is very positive for society, from a community point of view as well as an individual, and we (those who work on the crafting industry) need to help explain and support the positive aspects of it. 

I am really looking forward to Handmade Fair, 19th - 21st September Hampton Court!

Saturday 12 July 2014

My first Scrap Workshop tour of Spain - part 3 of 3

I left Zaragoza mid morning and drove through the small roads to Barcelona, which meant that i arrived after about 3 1/2 hours to Barcelona. 

I was teaching a full day of workshops at 100x100 Manulidades, a great shop in Barcelona. Diana and Lurdes are such a great hosts, everything was thought of. And even they have my clear stamps for Personal Impressions on sale!

For dinner, I went out with these two fabulous designers: Elena Roche and Quim Diaz. I have met them before and we have so much fun together. And it looks like someone photobombed the selfie!

We had dinner at Ciutat Comtal. Tapas! I never ever get tired of them.

Next morning, workshop! I taught a mini album using Teresa collins papers a few die cutting techniques. Lovely group!

Lunch break, as usual food was glorious. 

And my last workshop of the day and trip, an afternoon mini album. What a fantastic group. I can honestly say that I have been so fortunate to have such great 5 groups (2 Salamanca, 1 Zaragoza, 2 Barcelona). They were all fabulous and they created such a great atmosphere that made teaching so easy and rewarding. Thank you!

After that I made my way to the airport to take a plane back home at 10pm, with a big smile in my heart and on my face!

Friday 11 July 2014

My first Scrap Workshop tour of Spain - part 2 of 3

The first thing I did the next day after arriving to Zaragoza was to accompany my uncle and godfather to buy groceries. I love the food markets that are in every single town around Spain. The Boqueria market in Barcelona is arguably the most famous one, but by no means the best or prettiest. It has plenty of competition, though this one above is not one of the pretty ones. The quality of the food though was great and the prices very reasonable.

Another place I went to is the former Expo area, which is now being repurposed as the court houses and other institutions. It is by the river Ebro and the views are rather nice.

As are some of the more modern buildings, like the covered bridge on the right.

No visit to Zaragoza is complete without a visit to El Pilar. I went with my cousin Angela.

And on the way I indulge myself with one Palmera de Chocolate (My favourite pastry in the world) from la Bombonera de Oro, a traditional patisserie that my mum loves. After months of dieting, this tasted heavenly. I loved this English academy. The decor was lovely and very Bristishlite.

On wednesday the 18th I taught a mini album workshop at La Factoria Limonera Zaragoza. My cousin Angela came as a student. It was the first time that she did any papercrafting at all, and not only did she complete her project she was the first one to finish it. I guess it runs in the family!

It was a bit emotional for me. It was the first workshop I had ever taught in the city where I was born. It was fab group and had a fab time, I can not wait to go back.
Next stop, Barcelona.

Thursday 10 July 2014

My first Scrap Workshop tour of Spain - part 1 of 3

A couple of weeks ago I spent over a week teaching and traveling in Spain. I enjoyed it so much! it was a bit of an adventure!

I arrived on the 13th to Salamanca, ahead of my first workshop at Scrap by Diana the next day. We went for dinner in the centre. Although there was a great atmosphere it was dampened by the disastrous Spanish football team performance.

But the next day, we were ready for a full day of scrap. In the morning we made a mini album.

There we all are. I think everyone finished their project.

For lunch we had some tapas. Palomas on the left and croquetas on the right. Amazing and cheap. Food in Spain is really great.

On the afternoon we did more messy stuff but always with a twist of cleanliness as its my style. On the right the layout that one of the ladies made using different colours.

And here we are!

The next day I left Salamanca at eleven to make my way to Zaragoza via Burgos through small roads that would offer me the possibility to visit pretty villages (albeit without stepping out of the car) like Simancas (the one above) and Tordesillas.

Soon enough I arrived to Burgos. A provincial Castillian city that is gorgeous. Its rich with history and architecture, its food is famous and the landscape surrounding it is truly beautiful. Besides, Atapuerca is nearby which is where the oldest remains of hominids have been found in Western Europe.

Burgos is famed as being one of the coldest places in Spain. But it was a lovely warm (but not too hot) sunny day when I arrived. I had lunch looking at the beautiful cathedral.

After lunch, I made my way to the inside. The late gothic cathedral is well known in Spain. It is ver unique in my opinion due to this amazing windows:

There are windows on top on the ceiling. There are three, two smaller in two chapels and the one above, over the transept. A beautiful bridge between heaven and Earth. It literally took my breath away.

Just under it there is a simple tombstone. It is where EL Cid and his wife Jimena are buried. I had no idea that he was buried there so it was an great surpise. You see, El Cid is one of the most heroic figures in both Spanish history and literature. The photo on the right is of one of the most famous chapels, a very impressive work. Those were proper craft mans and not what I am!

The visit to cathedral ends with the two cloisters, one on top of each other, both beautiful both with interesting sculptures.

Burgos is not just the cathedral. It has gorgeous buildings and other interesting churches that make it a good touristic place. And as usual in Spain, highly underrated which means that not that many international tourists are there so prices are low.

I had never been to La Rioja before. Of course, everyone knows the name La Rioja because of the wine but I didn't realised that it is so beautiful! I am always amazed how every area in Spain is so beautiful and so different from the next.

After La Rioja, I drove a bit through Navarra, another Comunidad Autonoma

And just after I crossed into Aragon I saw a sign post that I couldnt ignore. Mallen. That is the small village that my father was born in. My grandparents were there not for long and did not have any family there, so there was never any reason to go there. And that is the church where my father was baptised, but I didn't know at the time. 
Next stop Zaragoza, the city where I was born!
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