Thursday, 24 September 2015

Craft Conversations with the Pros: Marion Emberson

Today is turn to ask the Craft questions to another of my dear friends: Marion Emberson.

 When and how did you start in the craft industry? 
I officially started 12 years ago with the opening of my shop Sugar and Spice Crafts, although I'd been making for many years.
Was it full time? Part time? 
I went straight into full time in to running the shop.
What type of job did you have at first? Did you started as a creative straight away?
As soon as the shop was up and running, I started teaching classes.
How do you describe your job nowadays?
Just recently - June 2015- I closed the shop to concentrate on other opportunities. I consult and design for a couple of craft companies.

Clear stamps designs by Marion for Personal Impressions.

What would you do differently?  
I wouldn't change a thing as the experience I gained from running the shop has led me to hold these current positions.

Be true to yourself and don't try to do anything that isn't you.
Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face?
The hardest thing is keeping on top of all the products and trends, as they are forever changing, although if you hang in there, they come round again :) 
Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite?
I absolutely love teaching, I love sharing and learning from the students, we all have so many different ideas from the same product.

 Your proudest moment and achievement?
A was a guest presenter on QVC UK for two years, and although a little bit stressful, I loved it.
 What is your favourite project type (mini albums, cards, layouts, home decor...) and colour? 
Well colour has to be …..Teal….and anyone who knows me reading this would expect no less ! 
I really do love Pocket Scrapbooking, Card Making, Mini Albums, Home Decor, Scrapbooking - I've probably listed them all, it depends on the product as to the project, if that makes sense.

Where you go for inspiration?
Pinterest although I've kept all of my US PaperCraft and Creating Keepsakes mags and like to have a flick through and once a seed is sown…well…
What is next for you?
I've been teaching here and in the US to both consumers and retailers but this year I'm actually teaching at 4 stores in the US, I'm really looking forward to that. Hopefully I'll be able to do more of that, if they'll have me back !

 And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions?
You're asking a 51 year old menopausal woman, I can't remember yesterday, but I do know it feels like I've known you for many years, in fact, yes, I have known you for many years, but I have no idea where we met, probably a trade show. You're an inspiration to me and I bow down to you. I think I got my clean and simple style from you….So thank you for that :) 

You can find Marion here:

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Big Shot Starter kit | Back on | Available now

Good news, the standard Big Shot Starter Kit is back!
All the dies and the embossing folder are the same designs, but the two Sizzlits including the intricate butterfly have been transformed in to Thinlits and Framelits so it will be easier to use.

This is one of the cards that I made originally for the kit.
I cant wait to play again with the Big Shot Starter Kit.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Craft Conversations with the Pros | Elina Strömberg

Today we go North to ask Elina Stromberg the Craft Questions. I met Elina last year and is another of those crafters that are really passionate about what they do. I really enjoy her work and her company!
Elina, when and how did you start in the industry?
I've been making different kinds of crafts as long as I can remember: Paper crafting, card making, drawing, knitting, crocheting, sewing, weaving, and many things more. I got to know scrapbooking in 2009, which got me more involved in paper crafts: I opened my blog, attended paper crafting and mixed media classes, and learned to use a larger variety of tools and techniques. Workshops and crops also introduced me to a growing group of paper craft in hobbyists, industry influencers, teachers and designers both locally and internationally.
I've been a member in several design teams since 2010: some of those teams have been inspiration/challenge blogs, some of them promoted a retail business, and in some teams I have supported an industry manufacturer. To some design teams I have applied myself, and some have contacted me directly with a cooperation proposal.

Was it full time? Part time?
Crafting and designing has never been a full-time work for me. My academic background is in business and IT, and work full time as IT manager.

What type of job at first? Did you started as a creative straight away?
How do you describe your job nowadays?
I still consider designing and creating my hobby, even if the related tasks do require a lot of time to be allocated. My day job ensures me financial stability, and even if I don't have as much time for crafting as I would like to have, I'm glad that there's no true financial pressure related to my creative work.

Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name
your major challenges you face?
There are thousands and thousands of talented people in the industry, and there's a lot of competition. In addition, a successful creator/designer needs to be a true multi-talent: Not just a designer of projects that really stand out, but also a photographer, photo editor, writer, web designer, marketer, social media master, ... Despite of the value the design team is bringing only a few companies are paying for the services of their design teams. This is a generally accepted thing in the industry which makes it even more difficult for a part time crafter to become a full time professional creator.

Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite?
Together with my colleague I have already twice organised an international crafting / mixed media event in Finland. Our weekend long 'Creative Journey' event was sold out on both times, and the feedback from the event participants has been heartwarming positive.

Your proudest moment and achievement?
There have been times when I've been teaching scrapbooking or mixed media to people who had no prior experience in the subject. However, receiving enthusiastic feedback from those people after the class is always very encouraging; if someone has got a kick off to a new hobby from my class, that's something I consider an important achievement.
Being part of the core editor's team for a Finnish paper crafting magazine was really great, too. There were many people that thought our idea of a paper crafting print magazine was too ambitious. But that pushed us to really give our best, and seeing our first magazine in the local news stand was a memorable moment!

What is your favourite project type (mini albums, cards, layouts, home
decor...) and colour?
Scrapbooking and cards. I cannot pick just one favourite colour, as I like many bright colours a lot: Yellow, orange, gold, green, chocolate brown, ...

Where you go for inspiration?
Inspiration can be found everywhere i.e. in home decór magazines, blogs, DIY books etc. However, I think that the easiest way to find lot of inspiration is Pinterest.

What is next for you: (both what you are doing next and what you Would
like to do next)
I will continue my work in my current design teams, and hopefully many crafters will be inspired by my projects. I do have dreams and plans that hopefully someday will get real: Designing my own series of stamps and/or patterned papers would be a dream come true!

And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad
I had been following your work pretty closely for some time, and I was so very happy when I finally got the opportunity to meet you face-to-face at Sizzix blogger's meeting a year ago. You are such a wonderful, warm hearted, lively, inspiring, and energetic person!
Paula's version: 
I remember seeing Elina's projects on the Sizzix blog for the first time and thinking wow, she is clever! And then i got to meet her in person and immidiately really liked her. Elina is a very friendly and grounded person, one that I could spend hours and hours cahtting and photographing!

You can find Elina Strömberg online here:

To read previous Craft Conversations, click here.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Taller | Lady Mua (Palma, Mallorca) 26 de Setiembre

Vuelvo a dar un taller en Lady Mua Palma (Mallorca) 26 de Setiembre a las 10:00!

Haremos uno de estos calendario de cumpleaños. 

Crearemos un calendario de cumpleaños, se trata de un PhotoDisplay en que cada miembro de la familia y amigo tiene una página distinta. Estas páginas están colocadas por orden de cumpleaños (los de enero primero en orden, luego los de febrero...).
Así cumple funciones de marco de fotos pero también te recuerda quién es el siguiente que va a cumplir años. Además, si se saca del marco es un mini álbum.
Un proyecto que está a mitad camino entre un mini album y HomeDecor cargado de técnicas de troquelar. Ademas será una oportunidad para usar la nueva Big Shot Plus y algunos de su troqueles de gran formato. 

En cada página del calendario se utiliza una técnica distinta y se añadirán las fotos que tu traigas.

recomiendo traer las fotos, 8 x 5 cm  (unas 10-15 mas o menos). Cada una retrato de una persona, horizontales y verticales (o paisaje y retrato). Las mías son en blanco y negro.

Para agilizar el curso del taller se recomienda que las alumnas traigan las siguientes herramientas:
  • Tijeras
  • Cutter
  • Base de Corte
  • Regla
  • Lápiz
  • Goma
  • Adesivos preferidos (liquido y celo de doble cara siempre van bien)

Para más información o para inscribirse escribe un e-mail a o pasa por la tienda.

Que ganas tengo!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

At the Craft Channel Launch

Last Thursday I attended the Craft Channel launch event for magazine editors, bloggers and designers.

Invited by the lovely Dawn Bibby who is going to be one of the main presenters and craft expert.  Very much the masterminds behind the channel, Julian Ballantyne and Debbie Greenwood did speak very eloquently at the launch about the exciting new possibilities for the channel.

It was so nice to see Dawn. We have been very much in contact the last few years but seen each other rarely as we live quite far apart.
I have to say that Dawn looked very excited and happy!

Goodie bags were given out with lovely things inside.

And Paul Wayne Gregory was there demonstrating how easy it is to hand finish truffles with his homemade kits soon available from The Craft Channel. They are as delicious as they look!

One of the things that has made me very excited about this channel previous to the event was this video showing Becky make a amazing quilled version of the Craft Channel logo. Well, it is as beautiful in real life!

The detail is incredible!

And there she is Becky Seddon at the studio ready to film a show full of gorgeous woodlands creatures designed by her.

Some of the guests recorded a little VT. Of course I volunteer without thinking! Somehow I don't think they will use my piece!
After the launch event, I stayed a bit longer in the company of Dawn, Wendy Rhodes and Becky and made a couple of cards with the new products from Dawn (left) and Becky (right).

The studios look so nice! Amazing quality.

And looked who I found filming! The uber talent that is Andy Skinner. Can't wait to watch him!

If you are wondering how to watch The Craft Channel, well here you have some options. I will be tuning in online (as I watch all my telly) at this Monday 14th of September at 8am!

Dawn, Julian and the whole team, I wish you all the very best!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Conversations with the Craft Pros! Patricia Villas-Boas

Today's turn is Patricia Villas-Boas, the multi talented superwoman! And another of my very close friends, Patricia does it all.

When and how did you start in the industry?
At a profesional level, let’s say, I took the first baby steps in 2006, when I bought a brick and mortar Arts and Crafts store in Porto - 512 Ideias. Until then I taught some classes and did a lot of crafting but for myself mostly.

Was it full time? Part time?
In the beginning part time, since I was still working on the other business of the company (hands on activities for children), it was only part time. It evolved to full time prettily fast!

What type of job at first? Did you started as a creative straight away?
I have always done creative things, but again at the beginning I was more general manager/do it all kind of person. The shop we bought was already in business for some years but had become pretty obsolete so we really had to start over and discard lot’s of things that no longer made sense in our business model. To help that transition I started creating projects and such things to bring new clients into the business.

How do you describe your job nowadays?
I would say that is 60% creative/40% management these days but in a working day that has to have 16 hours at least. I have by own business with two different fronts (store and wholesale business) so I have to foresee what happens in both. Then I develop projects for classes and the different blogs the company and myself have….and then I edit, write and develop projects for a magazine….

Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face?
It is really, tremendously hard. In my country there was a moment where craft in general really exploded but now it seems there is a general disinterest in it. It is not that people can’t afford to do it (which is part of the problem as well) but they seem to have lost the why they want to do it, hence diminishing the sales. For us again, since we import 90% of what we sell the exchange rates between the euro and the pound and the dollar are just very difficult to manage. Also the big mergers that are happening in the US in terms of craft companies are making the smaller businesses have a harder time surviving, hence making the market less competitive and in my opinion, less creative.

Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite?
I love to design projects. That moment when you look at a piece of paper and know exactly how it is going to look as a cover of a book or on the back of a frame. I love the process of creating and seeing things transform in my hand.

Your proudest moment and achievement?
I would have to say the Love Crafts magazine. Being invited to do it, really do it all, was a recognition of the quality of my work. To see the first number at a newsstand was just simply amazing!

What is your favourite project type (mini albums, cards, layouts, home decor...) and colour? 
Mini albums definitely and with colour I would have to see red/blue in a 50/50 split! I just can’t decide which one I love best! Say pattern and red with white polka dots is the one after my own heart.

Where you go for inspiration?
Whenever I travel I really take in a lot of what surrounds me. Sometimes I wish I could draw (since I am completely a zero at it) so I could put into paper what ideas pop into my head. I go to Pinterest as well and follow some blogs. But funny enough, my big moments of inspiration happen when I have little sleep! My students say that I have nightmares and then something tremendous comes out of it!

What is next for you: (both what you are doing next and what you Would like to do next)
Honestly, just to have a successful business. Times are hard here and having to battle for every euro to be won is very frustrating. I wish I could focus more on designing projects and even products then having to manage a company in it’s whole.

And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions?
Yes, I remember clearly! It was at Stitches in Birmingham and you were coming over to Portugal a month later and Pete introduced us! Very good impression! How could it not be when you have so much talent and such a broad smile!
Paula's version: I remember thinking, wow, on top of running two businesses, this woman has four children and she is one of the most elegant, thin and beautiful in the industry that I have ever met! How does she do it?

You can find more of Patricia Villa-Boas here:
Blog | Pinterest | Facebook

Thank you so much Patricia for sharing!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Craft Conversations with the Pros: Beth Kingston

Today is the turn to jump over the Atlantic ocean once again and ask the questions to Beth Kingston.
Beth is a crafter extraordinaire and a craft expert on the Home Shopping Network where you can watch her often with her gorgeous smile and attitude.

When and how did you start in the craft industry? 
Was it full time? Part time? 
I am a social worker by education/experience, but I have a minor in Public Relations. We had just moved (my husband is in the Army) and I hadn’t found a new job and a friend of a friend was starting a new scrapbooking company.  She asked me if I would trade my PR expertise for product – and I said yes! The company grew and she hired me on – first part time, then full time. 
Xyron bought the company and kept me on as an employee – and then one day they said they needed someone to go on air at HSN and asked me if I was interested.  The rest is history! 

What type of job did you have at first? Did you started as a creative straight away? 
I was more on the marketing side than the creative side, but I have always been crafty and am thrilled that I get to use my creativity more often these days! 

How do you describe your job nowadays? 
I am an on-air personality/craft expert on the Home Shopping Network. 

Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite? 
I actually have TWO favorite things. Getting to travel internationally and meet other crafters is SUCH a gift – I cannot believe how fortunate I am. I also REALLY enjoy teaching brand new crafters – those people who say “I wish I was creative”. Watching the light go on when they create something with their own two hands just thrills me to no end. 

Your proudest moment and achievement in this industry? 
This may sound weird – but I don’t really “track” my achievements.  It is more of a sense of “how incredibly lucky am I?” 
When someone I admire in the industry asks me for advice or invites me to teach at an event, or a company I love is interested in working with me – that is what makes me proud. So I guess building a good, solid reputation in this industry is my greatest accomplishment – and I still have to pinch myself that is has all really happened.  I am SO LUCKY!  

Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face working in this industry? 
I don’t want to bore everyone with the same answer for every question!  Ha! I am SO LUCKY to have this job – so even when an individual project might be difficult or I’m having a rough day – I always come at it with a sense of gratitude because I KNOW how fortunate I am.   
The biggest challenge for me has been getting a thicker skin. Unfortunately when you are in the public eye sometimes people feel like they can take potshots at you – the way you look, the quality of your projects and ideas, how you act – and while 99% of people are just so amazing and supportive there are a few who have been really, really hateful.  It took me a while to be able to brush those people off – but now that I have I see even that as a gift. It is pretty freeing to not take things personally when people try to put you down! 

What do you think is more important to succeed in this industry: creative talent, hard work or luck? 
Hard work. I have been INCREDIBLY lucky in my career – but once you get those opportunities you have to be willing to work VERY hard or those opportunities will stop coming. 

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently career wise? 
Generally I wouldn’t change anything – because if I hadn’t been through those events I wouldn’t be where I am today, but I do wish I would have been more fluent/active in social media earlier in my career. 

Also, what would you like to do differently style, technique, project wise? 
I wish I was more of a “messy” crafter.  I tend to make very clean, functional projects, and I WANT to expand my horizons but I really struggle with stepping outside of my comfort zone.  A girlfriend and I went to a mixed media retreat and I almost had a nervous breakdown just working on the first project! Clearly I have issues.  
For the full tutorial click on the photo.

What is your favourite project type to make? 
I LOVE home décor. We just moved in to a new home and I have been making wall art, serving pieces for our patio, stuff for our kitchen, etc. 

What is your favourite colour in general? And to make projects with? (Not always the same!) 
In my clothes and my home décor I tend to go for neutrals – grey, gold, white, etc.  In my projects I am CRAZY for color! I used a lot of teal and coral in my projects this summer, and now that I have started thinking about the holidays I’ve found myself working with deep reds. 

Where you go for inspiration? 
I may be one of the few people who still gets print magazines.  Fashion, food, craft – I love them all! I have an actual notebook that I have been keeping for probably ten years that has images or color schemes or project ideas I’ve pulled from those magazines and I turn to that notebook any time I have a creative block. It is like old school Pinterest! 

What is next for you? Any art or craft dreams? 
I am trying to get brave enough to undertake a HUGE art/DIY project on our porch. It would be the biggest home décor project I’ve ever done! 
At Chocolate Quente 14, with Teresa Collins, Patricia Villas-Boas and Jeff  Filimoehala.

And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions? 
Of course!  It was at the Chocolate Quente event in Portugal in the Spring of 2014.  Paula and I were both teachers and we got to spend some time together sightseeing and eating – we BOTH love eating!! It was one of the first events where I had some “down time” to relax and enjoy the company of my fellow teachers and Paula and I just hit it off right away. We’ve got so many things in common and have similar personalities - I’ve told my husband several times that the next time we go to Europe we need to make sure we see her! 

Paula's version:
Beth is one of those rare persons that literally illuminates the room when she walks in. When you meet her, you immediately feel happy! I remember meeting her in Portugal and I wasn't feeling too good, but after spending a few minutes with her, everything in the world was fine again. That is the power of the Beth Kingston!
You can find Beth online here:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Dawn Bibby | Pete Hughes | Kath Stewart | Karen Burniston | Jane Gill | Alberto Juarez | Beth Kingston

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