Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Top Ten!



Do you have something you look forward to each month? As far as scrapbooking goes, top of my list would be the delivery of magazines for the shop. I especially love my copy of Creating Keepsakes, it takes me almost a month to really read it from cover to cover - I look at everything from the features to the adverts because you never know what will smack you on the side of the head as a fabulous idea!! Our mag delivery came today and I'm desperately trying to focus on my work rather than succomb to the temptations of flicking through the copy of CK next to me right now! This is the Top Ten issue, an annual special edition that offers up the usual high quality features but wrapped around a 'top ten' theme.

That got me thinking - what would be my top ten of scrapbooking?? So, here goes.....

1. Photos - there's not much point in scrapbooking without these, ok I can do a few layouts without pics but after a while that would lose its shine for me.

2. Alphabets - rub-ons, stickers, die-cuts all of them really!

3. Cardstock - its a basic essential and the foundation of everything I do - sometimes you won't even know its there but I need it!

4. Journaling - its taken me a while but I am now comfortable to have my journaling out on display for all to see (I have years of designs with hidden journaling!!) but the story is as important as the pictures to me now.

5. Patterned paper - like putting on a great top over a simple pair of jeans, patterned paper adds that 'certain something'.

6. Ribbon - its the girly girl side of me I suppose, I just love ribbon!

7. Flowers - the current long-running fashion for flowers is right up my street, I'd have them over every scrapbook page if I could but I dont think the boys would love it much!

8. Brads - but they have to be mini ones!

9. Stamps - swirly ones and alphabet ones are the ones I tend to pick as I can get loads of use out of them without them looking like I've used the same thing over and over again.

10. Herma - where on earth would I be without my repo Herma?? I must get through yards of the stuff on each page I design!!

So what would be in your top ten then? Share your ideas, I'm sure you have some better ones than I had! And if you are stuck then you can find the CK Top Ten at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

The love affair continues!



No, don't go getting the wrong idea - I'm not doing anything that I shouldn't (unless coveting thy neighbours Ellison fonts counts!!), I'm just bonkers about alphabets! If I had to choose one thing only to use on a scrapbook page, it would be lettering - after all its the words that give meaning to the photographs. (Ooh, I'm getting all profound now! LOL!). When all else fails, I'll happily get out my craft knife and spend a happy hour or so carefully hand cuting a really script-y font for a title although I'm nowhere near as patient as Carolyn who would hand-cut rather than anything else!! Give me a die-cutting machine and a selection of great fonts and I'm in my element.

This page is one I designed for a Craft Robo class at a Scrapaholic retreat - if you were there it was the class where the Craft Robo threw a fit and wouldn't work!! It was more than a challenge to teach the class with no machine to demonstrate with :o) I think the lettering for this page took me around 10 minutes to cut with this fab machine and the best thing is, there aren't any dies to buy for it - you use everything you have on your home computer in whatever size you like! I can order the Craft Robo for anyone who is interested in having one and I can give a little demonstration if you want to see how it works and what it can do - you just need to be able to get to me!

If this is all a bit too technical then take a look at the great deals we still have on Ellison Big Shot and Tag a Long machines (and the fab 'blog only' offer for free P&P!!). I can order any dies in for you that you may like - just give me a shout.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Die cuts to die for!



I have a thing about alphabets and so die cutting systems have always had a place on my wish list and I have been lucky enough to have had a number of different systems given to me by a few manufacturers over the years. One of my all-time favs is the Big Shot and its little brother, the Tag A Long. Both of these systems are extremely easy to use and the dies from other systems can be used in these as well.

Its because I really like both the Big Shot and Tag A Long that I stock them - and I have just reduced the price of both to make them even better value for money. as a special blog offer, if you put the code 'Blog28' in the comments box when you order, you will get free P&P - and these weigh quite heavy so you'll be saving more than £5 in postage costs!

I used loads of die-cuts on this page - another one I designed for a Scrapaholic Retreat! Even simple shapes can look really stunning on a page so don't discount the simple circle and square dies and simple alphabets can look completely different when cut from different colours of card making them more adaptable often than the fancy ones!

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

The sound of silence



Apologies for being a bit quiet of late, the reason is I've been laid low by a horrendous ear infection which has left me deaf in one ear and rapidly followed by a throat infection which gave me laryngitis and I lost my voice! Things have been pretty quiet around here in more ways than one! LOL!!

My voice is coming back now (I'm at the quite sexy, husky stage at the moment - good news for Dave!!) and so I'm able to get on with some work. I didn't realise just how much of my day was spent on the phone until my voice went! I spent some of my quiet time getting on with designing with the Scrapaholic kit for next month and this page is the result. This kit uses masking fluid to create a stamped image which is then inked over with the chalk ink pad in the kit. The masking fluid is rubbed away when it is dry to reveal an image in the base card colour - great fun and very simple to do!

The snowy weather means that our cub this evening has been cancelled by the school as the caretaker is out of action and there is more snow forecast for tonight. I was really looking forward to my fix of news and gossip with all the regular scrapbookers who come along - plus we were expecting some new members to join us tonight, maybe next time eh?

Wrap up warm and go careful out there - I'm going to see what else I can stick in the sale for you all!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Birthday preparations



Apologies for being a little quiet over the past few days, I've had a shocking ear infection which has knocked me for six and although the pain has eased, I'm still deaf in one ear! I suppose it's that time of year when this kind of thing is going around so its no surprise really.

Being a crafter can sometimes have it's down sides - everyone expects that the invites for my Jack's forthcoming birthday will be something wow-eee and so I spent a couple of hours today designing, printing and sticking! Apart from the expectation that the invitations will be handmade, there was also the issue of them looking 'cool' because he will be 12! So just what do you create for a day of paintballing for 12 year olds? I'm just keeping focussed on the fab photo opportunities the day will offer as well as the chance to get shots like the one in this layout from a couple of years ago.

I ended up using the square card blanks that we have in the sale at the moment - they were a great base and fab value for money. We have four different card styles in our sale which is still going strong, check out the 'Sale!' section at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk

Monday, 15 January 2007

Sale news!



I'm still busily adding more items to the sale each day - today I've really reduced the price of these gorgeous milk churns (they are now only £1.99 each from £5.99!!). They make beautiful gifts and are simple to alter with a few scraps of patterned paper and ribbon. Sarah made this decorated milk churn for a class at a Scrapaholic Retreat and Donna has a stunning Christmas themed one in our latest book 'The Encyclopaedia of Scrapbooking Techniques'. They are really unusual and just so cute!

We also have some small tins in the sale which can be decorated as they are or can have small tags or mini albums inside. Sue (a friend of ours) made a gorgeous mini baby album using a circle punch and a length of ribbon and popped it into one of these tins which was decorated to co-ordinate. It drew gasps when she brought it along to club a few months back - it was just gorgeous. I've reduced the tins to just 99p - how's that for a bargain?!

We are starting to sell out of some sale items now so if you want it - grab it now! You can find all this and lots of other goodies at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk

Take care!

Thursday, 11 January 2007



The new K&Co Dollhouse and Brookfield scrap pads to go arrived this morning and they are just gorgeous. I have to admit that I fell in love with the Brookfield papers at Memory Trends and took loads of pics (this is one of many!). Now I have had the time to look closely at the Dollhouse pad, I am slowly falling for that one too!! I'll upload them tonight because I know a few people have been waiting for these. Also in the box were the long-awaited Hannah pads (but no Addison :o( it seems I am fated as far as these go!)

The delivery also had some of the Bare Elements products that I really love. In preparation for Valentines day - (not long now!!) we have 'Love' words. These are wooden pressboard letters die-cut into a 1/2" thick rectangular frame, measuring 16" x 6" x 1/2" overall, so nice and large - perfect for altering! I fell in love with the Danelle book boxes - a paper board box with a magnetic closure containing 12 Melodee mini chipboard books, Box: 6" x 7 3/4" x 3 1/4", Books: 3" x 3" x 5/8" and just sooooo cute!! I couldn't resist the Jack lunch boxes - a fab size traditional metal lunch box with a black handle and metal closure, measuring 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 3".

Right at the botom of the box was our re-stock of Glossy Accents and the new Crackle Accents which creates a gorgeous crackled effect in one easy step. All these are waiting to be uploaded so I'd better get a wriggle on! Stop by www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk to check out all these new bits and to see the fab offers we still have in our sale!

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Ribbon frenzy!



I spent today sorting out the ribbons and twills I am putting into the sale - blimey we have tons of the stuff!! I've said it before but I am a bit of a ribbon freak and would trade most of my embellishments for rolls of truly gorgeous ribbon, I don't know why and to be honest, I don't really care! LOL!

I ran out of time today to get the ribbons into the sale but they are all here, ready and waiting to go - so by reading this you have a heads up on what will be next in the fabbo sale we're having right now! I promise to upload them tomorrow morning, we just had so many orders today that here I am still working at almost midnight. Remind me of this the next time someone tells me how fab it must be to run your own shop and I start to agree - its not all glamour by any stretch of the imagination!

I designed this page for a papercraft partwork that has been running for over a year now. They wanted a simple page with ribbons and it really was very simple to do. I punched regularly spaced holes around the photo mount and threaded ribon through like stitching - thats it! The cutie in the photo is me aged 2 - what the heck has time done to me! :o)

Monday, 8 January 2007

Roll with the punches!



The sale at Total Papercrafts continues apace and I have added a load of new bits to the site over the weekend. If you are a fan of punches - or just like to do something a bit different then check out the 'Punch & Stitch' punches in the sale. These punches have a reach of approximately 5" and create perforations in decorative patterns that can be used as they are or be stitched through. These were £8.99 and I have reduced them to £1.99!! The fab idea book comes complete with punching templates to help you create stunning repeat designs - all this for a mere 99p!!!

If you prefer more traditional types of punches then take a look at the 'Clippunches' in the sale. Each pack contains 2 punches, one is a standard shape punch and the other creates a 'clip' that allows the shape to be attached to the edge of a card, photo mount and loads more. These are also reduced to a crazy £1.99!! There are also idea books for these punches at a bargain price of 99p!

If you are stuck for ideas of how you could use these punches, I used the 'fleur de lis' and 'diamond' shape punches to embellish this scrapbook page. Punches are a great way to decorate projects without the need to buy a whole new load of bits and pieces - simply punch a shape from the paper or cardstock you are using on the page and you have an instant co-ordinating embellishment. Use the same shape with different colours and it can look completely different!

You can find these punches and a lot more in the sale section at
www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Digi Freebies!



If you haven't had the chance to look through the latest copy of Creating Keepsakes magazine, you may not have come across their fab digital free download as yet. You can download a number of gorgeous 'swirlie' journaling boxes, photo mats and tags from their site this month - perfect for your Valentine or other romantic pages (I know, we haven't yet recovered from Christmas and here we are talking about Valentines!!). You can find them at www.creatingkeepsakes.com/mag/article and I have to admit to having already downloaded them all!

I'm drawn to digital scrapbooking as a way to create pages in ways that you just can't with paper and scissors but I'll always be a 'cut and stick' scrapbooker at heart! Digital is a cheap way to scrapbook for sure and there are some amazing kits available regardless of your level of computer experience. I love the kits by Shabby Princess and she is kind enough to offer free kits each month which are stunningly beautiful and include patterned paper, cardstock and embellishments - all co-ordinated and themed to the month in question. Take a look at her fab stuff at www.shabbyprincess.com/downloads for some of the best free digi stuff around (IMHO!).

If you're starting out with digi then check out the tutorials on the ScrapGirls website at www.scrapgirls.com/beginning_to_scrapbook_digitally_with_Easy_Pages these come with simple steps shown in film clips so you can actually see what you need to do. I got started with these tutorials and was quickly off and running, in fact I created this digi layout the same day I started digital scrapbooking! If you prefer learning from the printed word then check out the current issues of Creating Keepsakes and Simple Scrapbooks which have great digi articles in each issue. You can find these at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

A stitch in time



I was really lucky this Christmas and got a new sewing machine as one of my main presents - my old one had given up the ghost after 23 years! I love to stitch on my scrapbook pages, it adds texture and visual interest in a way that no other medium can. Ok, I know you can now get stamps and rub-ons that do a great job of imitating stitching and we have some fab ones in the shop but I love the process of sewing the page together as well. It takes me back to my dressmaking and embroidery roots I suppose but I really do love getting out my machine and whizzing round a page! I even love to patiently prick holes and stitch by hand when the mood is upon me - its a kind of therapy and helps to calm and soothe me.

I designed this handstitched page for Bonanza a couple of years ago, everyone seemed to love sitting calmly and sewing through their page. The mood in the room was really peaceful despite the challenges of textured fibres!

If you haven't stitched on a scrapbook page before then why not give it a go? Its a new year, the time to try new things and make fresh starts so why not do something different with your layouts? To help in a small way, today I significantly reduced the price of our 'Punch & Stitch' punches. These great punches create pricked designs that can be stitched through in a number of ways to produce fabulous designs. We have 6 different designs in the sale - they were £8.99 and I have reduced them to only £1.99!! I have also reduced the idea book for these punches - it is full of projects and ideas and comes complete with templates to help you to punch repeated patterns perfectly (now thats a great idea!). You can find them at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk along with the gorgeous stitching stamps I mentioned earlier!

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

New Year, new calender



The New Year means that I can finally start using my new calender as it has been on the side and waiting for a couple of months now. I designed this for the Bedford Scrapaholic retreat and it was a hugely popular class, in fact it sold out! Its really easy to do - it uses a Melissa Frances boxed concertina album as the base. I cut the concertina pages apart to make 6 pages that could be decorated on both sides (its as if they knew I wanted to make a calender with it!!). I punched pairs of holes at the top of each page and used book rings to connect the pages together. I themed the pages with titles that all started "I am....." and then chose words that matched the photos such as 'excited', 'inspired', 'joyful' etc.......

You can find these boxed albums in a few designs in the shop at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk and they are at a great price! I used 4 sheets of patterned paper and some co-ordinating cardstock together with ribbon, charms and a printed 2007 calender sheet so its not that expensive either considering what you can pay for a Robbie Williams calender these days - LOL!

We had a really quiet New Years Eve with no children and so we had a fabulous meal, danced and had a bottle of bubbly to celebrate. After seeing the pictures of the fireworks in London we wished we had braved the torrential rain to see them - it looked like an amazing display. Oh well, maybe next year? I hope everyone had a fab start to the year and that everything went well.

The best thing about a new year is that the sales seem to be on wherever you go so I've put all of the cardmaking products into the sale at half price plus card blanks at amazing prices! Here's to a great 2007!!