Saturday 31 March 2012

Baking Therapy

The last...year has been a tornado of life-changing moments, breathlessness and excitement. But the last few weeks have been stress piled upon less time piled upon exhaustion.

It turned out that our boiler giving up and needing completely replacing, and me needing to take the morning off work to let the men in and whatnot, on top of already having a cupcake order to fulfil, resulted somehow in a weird moment of calm (weird because over the drilling, yelling, scraping and hammering, I managed to just get away from everything for a little bit).

And thus I got some baking therapy.

finally found some cases that don't go see-through from the fat when cooking

I was really sad to let these babies go.

but fly away, my pretties, and make someone happy

Monday 26 March 2012

Metal Breakdown

That mini album I made for Dublin – the one with no photos – gave rise to not one, not two, but three video tutorials for Gauche Alchemy. The first one showed the structure of the mini. I think we missed the second one, about getting messy with paint and textures of backgrounds. (You can see them all here.)

And then there’s the third, about how to achieve a faux metal look from foil paper:

The Gauche Alchemy team is riding high at the moment – there are lots of achievements, great techniques and fabulous little projects going on, so if you’re feeling stuck for inspiration or fancy trying something new, pop over to the GA blog.

That's all for now!

Friday 23 March 2012

A Litte Misty-Eyed

Last week I mentioned Revlie's class and how great it was to be in that freedom-to-create-without-boundaries environment... I also mentioned how I was a long way off finishing either of the projects...

...yep, OK, you guessed what's coming - I finished one of them!

love is... embracing the new
This mini album was made with a focus on Tattered Angels products in mind.
I don't know how many layers
I am so very, very happy with this project and I want to tell you why:
  • During the class, Birgit did some demos for us and then we'd go away and recreate a page with her techniques. It was so useful to actually see first hand how layers can be built up. (What was also very sweet was that some of the ladies were translating into my ear as we crowded around to watch Birgit... who was speaking Dutch, of course, since we were in the Netherlands.)
yep - it's punchinella making another appearance!

  • Having the free run of the whole product selection was a joy - but more importantly, it made me realise the gulf in quality between these mists and the ones I currently own (Cosmic Shimmer Mists). Tattered Angels' mists still clog sometimes, but the fineness of the glitter, the smoothness of the spray and the blendability of the colours is far, far better than anything I've used before. (Interestingly, I've just ordered some Dylusions, so we'll see how they compare. In fact, I am going to go and buy a Tattered Angels pack from the art shop down the road once I get paid, so maybe I can do a product comparison video...)
I really have fallen in love with these products

  • I was so happy during the class just to be creating, with no pressure from anywhere. One attempt that I wasn't happy with even got redone (my attention span is such that I am hardly ever (read: never until now) able to redo creations).
  • It has opened my mind to lots of other products, to techniques, to different canvases and to the option of using colours and motifs that I usually avoid.
pink AND a butterfly, on the same page? Who are you and what have you done with Cheryl?

  • It made me realise that it is actually pretty comfy outside of my comfort zone.
in for a penny...
Basically we did our work on a sheet of paper, and once it had dried, we stuck it onto a sheet of cardboard (cut from a box), and then punched holes and fixed the pages together into a book.

So what did Birgit teach me?
  • I learned how to employ screens with spray, ink and sponge, gesso and credit card, Glimmer Glam and Glimmer Glaze.
the swallow is a screen that was painted with Glimmer Glaze, stamped onto the page and then left to dry before misting over. It acts as a resist and comes in a large range of shades.

  • I learned how to use gesso and Glimmer Mists together.
  • I learned how Chalkboard Mists and I are a match made in heaven.
  • I learned that all of that mist and glaze and ink is pretty hard to clean off hands and nails.
  • I learned how to forget about patterend paper.
  • I learned how to start thinking properly about mixed media art.
  • And, most important of all, I (re-)learned how to have fun. I've been putting too much pressure on myself lately, and now I know I have to sit back and have fun sometimes.

Watch this space for news on the Tattered Angels vs Dylusions face off. If anyone wants to throw in some Mr Hueys too, feel free!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

And it's a WIN!

All of those pretty things you saw in my previous post (and more, oh, many more!) arrived on my doorstep a week or so ago from Crate Paper... I won a comp and they sent me a huge box way more full of stuff than I would ever expect!

I was thrilled because it's very rare that I win anything... and because I love Crate's designs.

I'm still thrilled because 1) I'm seeing now, 3 projects in, just how far this freebie's gonna go and 2) I'm designing projects with a lot more freedom, knowing that there is no guilt from spending and no hoarding feeling hanging over me. That second one is a side effect I wouldn't have guessed at.

Anyone else found any unexpected side effects to winning something?

So, thanks go to Crate! Who's next? Tiffany's? :-D

Sunday 18 March 2012

Happy Mums Day

In the UK it's Mothers Day today. (Hi Mum!*waving* I made something for you!)

Even though she's just very recently had a super special day, here's another one for her - because of course she deserves it. I hear she has a bright new craft room and I hope she gets to spend some time in there today.

Here's the layout I made in close up:

a pretty page for a pretty lady

finally got access to the sewing machine

Happy Mums Day, Mum!

(p.s. I'm sorry but the soundtrack is the closest track to Metal that the iMovie generic music list has to offer)

Friday 16 March 2012

Dublin in Mini

...nope, not in a mini, just in mini. In a mini album, in a mini weekend, in a minimally tourist and maximally family visiting kind of way.

I fancied folding some pieces of card to make a mini album of all the fantastic photos I was gonna take when we went to visit Dublin... but then I got ill, spent the whole of the Thursday in bed in the hotel, and then most Friday and Saturday with family. Plus my SD card decided that no, the nice photos I took on my solitary stroll around on Friday morning were not good enough, and converted them into randomly gigantic encrypted messes. It was easier to try to recreate the stroll and the photos than to work out how to save them from my evil SD card.

So the result is a mini album so far empty of photos but eagerly waiting. I happened to film the process for Gauche Alchemy, and you can also find the video on the 'my videos' page on this here blog of mine.

There are two more videos to go along with this one. They show specific techniques used in the making of this mini - but you'll have to wait! They'll be out later this month. For now, a little taster of the mini album:

I spy Gauche Alchemy products!
See that ouchless cardboard? The coaster? The foil paper? All GA, baby! Go have a look at the GA blog and shop, and at my video too. And do let me know if you've had any annoying or even heart-wrenching experiences with digital images, cameras and SD cards. In my experience sharing is cathartic (plus it'll make me feel a little better to know I'm not the only sufferer).

Thursday 15 March 2012


Just a quick roundup of a few things today...

Cards for Boys
...are not soooo difficult, I have found lately:

that's a special birthday, that is

To get the pennants - which are stickers from Echo Park - to stand up, I first stuck them onto some paper, just up to the point where I wanted to curl them away from the card, and then adhered them by the remaining sticky part.

just like they're fluttering in the breeze
And I employed the old paper-weaving technique again for a friend's birthday card. A friend who plays the bass in a band. A hippy living, reggae loving friend.

that's another quite special birthday

Paper Piecing
Just a quick share of something I worked on for a certain wedding anniversary last year:


Stuff Going On
Don't forget the Gauche Alchemy DT Call, running till the end of the month. And don't forget the March Madness at Scrapbook Challenges - we're taking bets now, and the competition starts tomorrow! You gotta be in it to win it!

Intelligent Product Packaging
I really appreciate it when a manufacturer thinks about their packaging. Check out this freebie I got from Revlie's class:

ooh, canvas flowers!
And then you look closely, and see that they've also given you a nice thick acetate sheet with beautiful white doily patterns on:

I like acetate with patterns on. A lot.
Has anyone else come across really intelligent packaging of scrapbooking products? I want to hear about them! And why do you like them? Because they're green? Because you can reuse them? Do share!

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Scrapbook Challenges: March Madness

...and it really is. Madness. They're pitting us DT against each other in a knockout competition where forum members can win big if they predict the right winners. It's dog eat dog, each woman for herself... and other fighting terminology that's suitably kick-ass for the level of this contest.

Get on over to the forum to find out what exactly it's all about, and how you can win big!

Monday 12 March 2012

The (Mini) REVolution Event

On Saturday I spent a fantastic day with Revlie Schuit, who had organised a day full of craft classes up in The Netherlands.

There was a great, cute mini album made from fabric and felt, and a Tattered Angels workshop by Birgit which was just amazing.
my workspace before things got messy

I am so glad I went - what an inspiring, creative day! I brought home so much from it - ideas, knowledge, a warm heart, a smile, new friends, some random Dutch vocab... not to mention two projects that are so far from being finished yet that I can't even show you!

Thanks, Revlie - I'll see you next time for sure!

Friday 9 March 2012

Do YOU Want to Go Gauche?

I recently made another card solely from my Gauche Alchemy stash, and this time* I managed to save the photo before my temperamental SD card deleted it:

a his n hers kinda card
After I’d made it, I staged it, and stepped back, camera at the ready… and stopped for a moment to admire it. Yep, I actually admired one of my own cards. Over the last year, my fingers have worked hard at scrapbooking, but neglected card making to the extent that I have now lost confidence in the art. But this Gauche card, to congratulate a Gauche kind of couple on their engagement, was a doddle. And I realised that it was the nature of the products that made it so easy: I hadn’t worried about composition, balance or the message; I’d just done. The process was so enjoyable because I hadn’t had all of this worry hanging over me and my fingers were free to do as they felt. It came together in less than 20 minutes, and is perfect for the recipients.

The great news is that throughout March, in honour of National Craft Month, Gauche Alchemy is offering 10% off everything** in their store – so drop by, browse and splash out!

What news could possibly beat that? Actually, this might: if you already love Gauche Alchemy and want it to be a bigger part of your life, check out their Design Team call. It runs until the end of March so make sure you get your application in by then! The Gauche Alchemy mamas are a feisty but caring & sharing group of driven yet fun-loving ladies, and the DT are a superbly creative and active bunch. You will feel welcome from day one, will be challenged and stimulated daily, and will without doubt feel proud to be part of this growing company.

I’ve got lots of Gauche stuff planned this month so while you’re browsing, buying or applying I’ll be working at reducing my GA stash. Enjoy National Craft Month, everyone!

* I have created a few other great GA cards in the past, using various Color Kits, and the Nearly Nekkid and Acme kits, but I’d put them in the post box before my SD card did the evil deed, and the recipients haven’t managed to take photos for me yet.
** Acme subscription kits are not included in this offer.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

A Very Special Day

Today I’d like to tell you a little story.

It was the height of the summer holidays, and a blazing hot, thirst-making kind of day. I was perhaps eight years old, and playing in the street with my friends, at the outskirts of the small town on the edge of farmland where my family spent a few years living the country life.

At some point that day, I came inside for a cold glass of refreshing lemonade, or maybe it was an ice-pop, and found my mum in the living room, listening to Kool & the Gang, knelt over a spread of fabric. There were chalk lines and scissors, pin cushions and thread, and panels ready to make up a dress for a little girl.  
I can’t remember if she asked me to stop in for a while so that she could measure me; but I do remember the fabric: it was white, with large neon orange polka dots, and it was pretty much the same shape as the dress I’m wearing today:

Cheryl's cherry dress #2
And why am I wearing such a dress today?
Today is a very special day, because a very special lady is having a very special birthday.

Last night she was surprised by an unexpected visit from us, and today she is showing us her new craft room and opening cards and presents. She also doesn’t know that this afternoon we’re going to take her out for tea.

I made her a card, naturally:

Happy Birthday, Mum!
But I also made her a little something to hang on the wall of her new craft room:

that's right. Ain't no one else's craft room.
She loves Webster’s Pages, and things in the style of Cath Kidston and East of India, so I hope this little wall decoration will meet her tastes and match her craft room. The image you can see inside is from Crafty Secrets, and I chose it because, more than scrapbooking, cardmaking, flower arranging and baking, the strongest memory I have of my mum is of her at her sewing machine.

Cute, huh? All those little sewing elements are actually buttons. I just set to work on them with my glue gun and suddenly there was a miniature sewing basket fit for a doll’s house.

Having taken direction from All Things Thrifty, I spray painted this box instead of using acrylic paint and a brush:

the finish is much smoother. Now I feel confident to move on to big pieces of furniture!

a better view of the inside
Wishing you a very happy birthday, mum!

Monday 5 March 2012

The Handmade Wedding

You've all seen by now all the handmade things the wedding brought along - now it's time to scrap about it all!

The sketch this week at Scrapbook Challenges made me so happy about sketches and scrapbooking. It was one of those moments when you've been waiting to scrap a certain idea or certain photos for a long time, and one day the answer just pops up.

The sketch looks like this:

And after I put my page together it looked like this:

Scrapbook Challenges sketch #285
What I used for this page: Doodlebug Love Potion patterned paper, Echo Park Style Essentials Upscale Black Quatrefoil and Grey Dots & Stripes patterned paper, Echo Park Happy Days patterned papers & alpha stickers, Rayher wooden hearts and bobbins, Toga chipboard alphas.

Quite to my surprise, I'm building up our wedding album pretty quickly. And it's looking pretty sweet.

Get over to Scrapbook Challenges for this sketch, and all of the March Madness going on this month. As ever, you could win something for your participation!

Friday 2 March 2012


In the middle of a storm of user rights, copyrights, intellectual property rights, and generally a whole lotta difficulty, rumour, uncertainty and confusion, True XOXO has challenged its DT to be inspired by Pinterest this month.

And what did we do? Pushed on regardless. Inspiration and interpretation are ours this month.

Pinterest, for me, at least before this storm came a-brewin', firstly an explosion of visual stimulation, and secondly, a place where I dream about the house that we are currently looking for. From that angle I have scrapped a photo of our little family and how we are putting down roots in this here city, as well as incorporating aspects that I think are visually stimulating, like bright colours contrasted with dark ones, patterned paper shapes, and a little airplain effect that I'm already very fond of!

 Go check out the new XOXO blog and join in with the challenge - you could win a guest DT spot!