Sunday, 22 February 2009

Have you tried stitching?

Have you tried 'stitching' images yet? No, it doesn't mean getting out a needle and thread, its a way of digitally matching up two halves of an image to seamlessly join them together. I know a couple of fellow scrapbookers struggle to capture a good picture of their 12x12 layouts and many resort to taking a photograph. This can present problems, particularly with colours, shine and the 'keystone' effect where the sides of the image appear to slope inwards because the camera isn't exactly square with a square object. You can pop your layout on the floor and stand directly over it or you can scan it in two halves using a standard A4 scanner and then 'stitch' it back together. I use Arcsoft's Panorama Maker which you can download for free from quite a few sites - just pop 'Arcsoft Panorama Maker' into a search engine and you'll find them! It is very easy to use, super fast and gives great results each time I've used it. You can 'fine tune' if it gets confused and you'll get three pointers you can place on each half - its very clever.

Now this is not new and I'm sure there are other packages out there but this is what works for me! Give it a go and see what you think?

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Back home!

Its 11.30pm and we are finally back home after the Kent crop - exhausted but in a good way if you know what I mean. The day seemed to whizz by in a flash with everything going really smoothly. Quite a few classes had desperate people waiting for spare kits and even hoping a few would come over a bit peculiar and suddenly decide to not do the class!!

Claire designed a stunning class for us and we have managed to twist her arm to come and teach again on the 18th April - despite it being Ally Pally. We convinced her that it was only shopping and she could always go on the Sunday and she said yes!!! We had a great turn-out from the Kent club and it was lovely to see the girls from Hastings, I was warned that there are plans for a big posse to join us for the next crop which will be fab - the more the merrier I say!

As always, Pauline ran the shop like clockwork which means that we can concentrate on the classroom side of things knowing that everything is completely under control. I am always so grateful to have Pauline there and I just want to say a huge "thank you" for all the very hard work she does to support us. Mum held the fort in the kitchen and I was very pleased to have regular coffee and cold drinks appear as if by magic! Dave performed the role of 'glamorous assistant' to his usual high standard not counting doing all the driving there and back, loading and unloading the van at each end and setting up the shop. I am so lucky to have his support and couldn't run these days without him. Last but not least, I'd like to thank all of you who chose to spend your Saturday with us, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and that we'll see you in April!!

Friday, 20 February 2009

One last peek....

There were a few of you on the ball yesterday who pointed out that I had missed one of the class peeks off yesterday. I had a small issue with photos which I got sorted today and so here's the missing class....

Rock n Roll

If you are 'lucky' enough to have an angst-ridden teenager then this class will be perfect for you! The 'Guitar Hero' generation will be perfectly at home on this page which features flames, skulls and crossbones and a touch of rhinestones for the compulsory 'bling' factor - no stage diving allowed!! You'll need two photos for this one, a 5"x7"(ish) landscape and a 6"x4" portrait I made mine black and white to match the black, cream and red colourway of the kit. You'll also need 3d foam pads and a black inkpad - don't worry, there'll be no rock music at deafening levels!!

Just in case you need it for your satnav, the postcode for the hall is DA13 0AT and we kick off at 10am - if you are booked in for the first class then you'll need to be there a little earlier. You will have the chance to do some great make and takes throughout the day featuring Stampin' Up products. Its not just gorgeous stamps but punches, scrapbooking products and more - try before you buy!!

We're just waiting for the van and then we'll be packing everything up ready to go - how are you doing, are you ready yet?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Sneak peeks for this weekend's crop classes

Here we go then......

Something Wonderful Happens.....

Grab yourself a handful of 3" x 4" portrait photos, some of which can be cropped for this gorgeous class. The sample design uses six photos but you could accomodate a few more or less either way! You'll need a creamy brown inkpad, wet adhesive or gluestick, 3d foam pads and thin double sided tape (around 1/8th inch).

Spring Fling

The soft pastel shades in this class will work really well with all sorts of themes of photos - just bring along two of them printed to about 3.5" x 4" landscape (squares would work really well too!). You'll also need to pack a teal and a soft orange inkpad (the sample used Distress weathered Wood and ColorBox Amber Clay, some glue dots, 3d foam pads and a corner rounder.

Feeling Blue

Use your holiday snaps or any other pics with blues and/or reds in them on this rich and exotic page. You'll need a 6" x 4" and a 3" x 4" landscape bith printed in landscape. 3d foam pads, a navy inkpad (the sample used Memories Shadow Gray) and a standard brad are all you'll need for this one!

Soft Focus

Pick out a favourite 6" x 4" portrait photo for this soft and gentle page in shades of greens and cream with a touch of orange. Pack a soft green inkpad (sample used ColorBox Olive Pastel), some small brads and some 3d foam pads - if you have a corner rounder with removable guard or a scallop punch you'll save yourself a lot of time in class!!

Simply Delightful

The muted greens, blues and creams in this class will co-ordinate with a range of photos and you will need to find three of them. Pack a 6" x 4" portrait photo as the main focal point and two smaller pictures which are hidden away to be discovered later (these can be any orientation and could be cropped to fit). A soft green inkpad (sample used ColorBox Olive Pastel_, some 3d foam pads and a 1.25" circle punch are all you need for this one.

Beautiful Forever
This class in tones of creams and blues with a kick of red has an elegant and sophisticated feel about it, so match it with a 7" x 5" portrait photo - I chose to use black and white. As well as more 3d foam pads, you'll need a mustard coloured inkpad (sample used Distress Scattered Straw), a 1.5" circle punch, a single hole punch and a stapler.

I hope that you like what you see so far, we have been inundated with requests for these kits and we just can't keep up! Although we've sold out of every classroom place available, we do have kits for a couple of classes which you can pick up on the day. If you change your mind about a class, please let Pauline in the shop know as she has waiting lists for practically everything!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The class schedule for Saturday's crop

My feet and back are still complaining after spending the whole day wandering around Stitches at the NEC on Monday. We managed to find some lovely stuff for the kits for the next few months so one mission was accomplished. I fell madly in love with a gorgeous class from Tattered Angels and hope to have for our next Kent crop but there wasn't an awful lot to get excited about if I'm honest. The show was about 3/4 of the size of last year and about half of it was for other crafts such as cross stitch and knitting so we whizzed past those. I did meet up with a load of old friends from years ago and was able to have a lovely long natter and catch up! We also bumped into Claire from our Kent club which was a lovely surprise!! We were finished a lot earlier than we expected and got back home early enough for me to treat Dave to a meal out by way of thanking him for doing all the driving (and putting up with a day full of girlie gossip!!).

I thought it might be a good idea to put the schedule for Saturday up here so that those of you who are joining us for the crop can see when your classes are and plan your day. As usual I will have the schedule posted outside the classroom as a reminder.

10am 'Something Wonderful Happens'

11.15am 'Spring Fling'


1pm 'Rock n Roll'

2.15pm 'Feeling Blue'

3.30pm 'Soft Focus'


5pm 'Simply Delightful'

6.15pm 'Beautiful Forever'

I'll be posting the sneak peeks of the classes together with a list of tools/materials needed for each class before the big day!

(Amended after Debbie pointed out I had missed off a class!! Thanks hun!)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

2nd club kit for February

Our second kit for February is fresh and fun in shades of sage, warm red and clean white - perfect for a wide variety of different photos. The kit includes 3 sheets of cardstock, 3 patterned papers, a whole pack of cardstock alphabet stickers and a fabulous plastic template with swirls and journaling boxes on it. There was masses left over from this sample page, easily enough to make at least one more page which is great news in these tight economic times!! For those of you who are joining us at one of our clubs this month, you will need a red inkpad (the sample used a ColorBox chalk inkpad in Warm Red), some 3d foam pads and some fine sandpaper. I used two 6" x 4" photos, one portrait and one landscape but you could opt for one large photo. You don't have to follow the sample, I have seen some gorgeous pages created with this kit - one simply turned the sample design on its side for a completely different look!!

Off to the NEC tomorrow

This looks like it will be a very busy week for us as we are off to the Craft, Hobby & Stitch trade show up at the NEC for the day tomorrow and then its back to the usual pre-crop madness leading up to Saturday! I look forward to this trade show because despite the lack of showbiz pizzazz of the shows in America, this one feels homely and friendly. We can normally do the show in a day and come away with arms full of catalogues and samples, brimming full with ideas for kits and classes. I have learnt a few lessons along the way....

1. take a small wheeled backpack for all the 'bumpf' you collect through the day

2. pack a few bottles of water because these venues usually charge an arm and a leg

3. wear really comfy footwear, in America I'd wear my Birkenstocks but Feb is a bit too frigid for exposed toes!!

4. wear layers becuase its either way too hot or way too cold in the show venue

5. take your beloved along because then he can drive back!!

I'll let you know what we get up to and what exciting things are at the show, I can't say I'm looking forward to getting up at 5am though!!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Well I hope that you are feeling the love today, I have already been well and truly spoiled by Dave which is saying something as he nearly always brings me breakfast in bed each morning anyway!! We have an amazing day together planned culminating in a fab meal tonight that we have to get dressed up for! I know that this is a manufactured day but to be honest, we don't need much of an excuse to show just how much we appreciate each other. I suppose it has taken coming out of less-than-perfect relationships in the past to show us just how lucky we are!

I wish everyone a very happy Valentine's Day!!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Last crop class on sale tomorrow morning

I have been tearing my hair out this week trying to get one item needed for the last class at the crop - I ordered this in November last year and had almost lost hope! Thankfully another supplier of mine got them in stock yesterday and we had the delivery this morning, talk about cutting it fine!!

Anyway, the last class to be released is actually the first class of the day at 10am and uses the gorgeous Amy Butler Lotus line. Claire has designed a stunning page with this kit and you will have oodles of goodies left over to play with afterwards! Take a look at what we have for you......

Something Wonderful Happens......
This kit contains 3 cardstock (1 of which is Bazzill Bling), 3 patterned papers, a whole box of ABL ephemera, a whole pack of crystal bling and Bazzill Bobble trim. In this class you will create a page with space for loads of photos together with memorabilia - Claire used 6 photos but you might be able to get even more on here!!

The class goes on sale tomorrow morning at 10am and once the classroom places have sold out we will be releasing the kit on its own for those at the crop who prefer to do things in their own time.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Meet the new members of our family!

This past weekend saw the arrival of two new members of our family - 6 month old kittens named Molly and Felix! We originally saw them at a Cats Protection League homing day last weekend but they had been reserved by someone else. We got into conversation with their 'foster mum' who very kindly offered to take our phone number just in case things didn't work out and then out of the blue on Tuesday last week we got a call asking us if we were still interested. We were finally able to pick them up on Friday evening and bring them home and things have been a lot more exciting around here since then!!

They had been with their foster mum since they were 6 weeks old and she had named them so we have decided to minimise confusion by keeping their names. Felix is the image of the 'Felix' cat from the adverts, a handsome black and white with huge feet - looks like he'll be a huge cat when he's fully grown! He loves his food (and everyone else's!) and is very choosy about who he gives his affection to, I seen to be top of his list at the moment because he loves playing with my hair!

Molly is a very pretty tortoiseshell and very petite. She is really affectionate and loves to curl up on anyone who'll sit still long enough. She is also great fun, racing around the place and attacking her brother whenever she can - he doesn't get any peace!

Because they are both so active it has been a nightmare to get any photos of them but I caught them just as they woke from their nap this evening and these were the best of the bunch. I feel a scrapbook page or two coming on......!!

Friday, 6 February 2009

3 more crop classes available tomorrow morning

Apologies for the lack of posting of late but things have been crazy busy of late - add in a couple of hospital visits for scans on my back and there was hardly time to sleep!! Anyway, we are releasing three more crop classes tomorrow morning at 10am so I thought it might be nice to pop some sneak peeks of the kit contents on here so that those of you who are joining us on the 21st February can make your choices. All three of these classes will have extra kits available once the classroom places have sold out so whether you want to take the class or just have the kit on the day you should get what you want :o)

Soft Focus
Life is so much gentler when it is in soft focus, its easy on the eye and chilled out. So that is what we are offering you in this scrapbook page class in shades of cream, green and peach. The kit contains cardstock, 6 sheets of double sided patterned card, a 12x12 sheet of diecuts, a 6" x 12" sheet of cardstock alphabet stickers and a whole pack of cream flowers.

Simply Delightful
If you find delight in the little things like swirls, alphabets and strokable trims then you'll be sure to find this class 'Simply Delightful'!! The kit contains cardstock, 4 sheets of patterned cardstock, a whole sheet of cardstock alphabet stickers, a whole sheet of cardstock embellishment stickers, a whole pack of cream flowers and a pack of the most gorgeous trims including cotton lace and velvet!!

Beautiful Forever
A thing of beauty is a joy forever and these things are very beautiful!! In shades of cream and soft blue with gorgeous accents of red, this kit is a 'must-have'! The kit contains cardstock, 4 patterned cardstock, a 12x12 sheet of diecuts, ribbon and oodles of buttons.

Make a date with your computer for 10am tomorrow!!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

1st club kit for February

I've been watching the voting on the poll about the monthly kits and as soon as it became apparent that the overriding majority wanted both one single and one double page kit I got ordering extra for this month so we could start right away! This is the first kit for February and as you can see we have a double page LO. The kits always have plenty in them for a second page, it was just a case of making sure we had two sheets of cardstock for the page bases and we were good to go straight way!

This kit is stuffed full of goodies - as well as four sheets of cardstock (2 of which are Bazzill Bling!), you'll find 4 sheets of DCWV Luxury patterned cardstock, a whole pack of American Craft Thickers alphabet stickers and a whole pack of adhesive pearls. Add to that full step-by-step instructions and paper templates for the design elements and you have everything you need to complete the sample design or to get creative and design your own page.