Friday, 30 December 2011

Delicious chicken recipe!

I tried out a new recipe tonight and my guys loved it so I thought I'd share it. I've written out the full recipe and popped it onto the forum under 'Non craft related chat'. Feel free to drop by and grab the recipe then let me know how you get on! You can find the forum by clicking on the link in the right hand column >>>

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Back in designing mode

With life settling down after the craziness of Christmas here I have managed to take some time to start designing with the 1st of our January kits. We have the absolutely fabulous 'Snowfall' range from Bo Bunny and I have to say that it is stunning! All of the paper we chose is glittered but unusually the glitter stays where it is and doesn't fall off everywhere. The papers are also double sided so you will get lots of mileage out of the kit. I'll upload the sample picture tomorrow but wanted to give you a little peek of what is coming!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Exciting announcement from Tim!

The sneak peeks for CHA (the big US craft trade show) are beginning to dribble out and amongst the first news came from Tim Holtz today when he announced that he will be releasing the 2nd volume of his 'Compendium of Curiosities' at the show.  There's something about the way he uses his products together that grabs me - none of it is difficult and the effects can be stunning!  I for one will be very keen to see what he has in store for us in this new book.

It'll be very interesting to see what else is due to be released in the coming year.  The trends seem to be established at these shows, new companies launch and we get to see the newest tools and techniques.  I can't wait to see!!

Free download for New Years Eve

Check out this fantastic free download from Tomkat Studios! It has so many printable items included that I hardly know where to start! They are intended to decorate your New Year's party with straw pennants, treat bag toppers and a large room banner but how cute would they look on a scrapbook page or in a mini album?!

The black & white colour way makes them do easy to incorporate into any style of project so I see these as being used in so many ways by so many people! You can download this freebie by clicking HERE

Monday, 26 December 2011

Free calendar printables

Happy Boxing Day! It's usually the day when everyone takes it easy as they recover from the festivities and we have certainly needed to take it easy after this past weekend. After an emergency appendectomy on Christmas morning, Jack is now home and recovering quietly. It's been a stressful time and not exactly how we planned our Christmas but we made the very best of it.

So, as we start the last week of 2011 feeling thankful and weary, our thoughts are turning to the New Year. It's usual to start the year with a calendar and so I thought I'd share a great site with not one but three printable calendars to download!

As you may know, we stock the brand new UK scrapbooking magazine 'Scrap365'. Hand in hand with the mag is a great website with tons of extras. Each month they add something new and the January 2012 issue has 3 fab calendar .pdfs to download in the 'Freebies' section. You can find the website HERE
We hope you had a wonderful weekend however and whatever you may have celebrated - here's to a good end to the week (and the year!).

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

It's is Christmas Eve and things have not gone quite to plan in our home as we have spent the day at the hospital with a case of suspected appendicitis. As we have spent many hours waiting at the hospital I have come to realise that while we had plans to prepare veg and set the table there are many people for whom today is a normal work day. Tomorrow will be the same, lots of people will be leaving their family and providing services for us that hopefully we won't need.

I am so grateful to everyone who is working over Christmas - thank you so much x

The carol singers have just arrived on the ward and despite everything it does feel Christmassy!

Merry Christmas to all of our customers, club members and blog readers - we hope your day is filled with love and peace. Take care xxx

Friday, 23 December 2011

Free printable gift tags

How is your gift wrapping going? It has got to be my least favourite part of this time of year but I managed to get it all done before 3am on Christmas Day!! One of the usual issues in our house is the sudden realisation that we don't have enough gift tags but for once we seem to be ok!

Just in case this is a problem your end I thought I'd share the link for these super cute free printable tags from Hey Look. They come in two colour ways - mint & coral and green & pink. These aren't your traditional tags but if you love modern retro then they will be right up your street!!

You can find the tags HERE

Thursday, 22 December 2011

More free downloads

I've had a ton of positive feedback about the blog content this month, it seems yoou guys are loving the ideas, tutorials and downloads I have found for you!  It sounds like a good idea to carry on if its working!!

I found these oh-so-pretty library cards created by Shimelle for you today - it makes a nice change from the onslaught of Christmas to see these ice cream colours.  She used them with one of her classes originally but I think they would work so well with so many different projects as journaling cards. 

You can download the cards here

December Daily - days 20 & 21

Things are ramping up a gear now as the big day approaches and its getting hard to find the time to  sit down to put my entries together but I am squeeeeeeezing it in!! Here we go with days 20 and 21...

Day 20
 The page for today is a pocket made from a standard envelope and decorated with a Sizzix Tim Holtz texture fade embossed card.  I inked and glimmer misted the heck out of the card and love the twinkly, textural result!
 We put the tree up today and I snapped a pic right as I finished hanging the last bauble (and before I collapsed on the sofa!) so I HAD to include this in my album. The tree was up later than usual this year and its wonderful how it makes the house feels so Christmassy!
 The pocket in this page holds cards for the photos from the day including the hilarious Christmas tree pizza we had for dinner!  I also made masses of the folded stars from the tutorial I posted on here the other day and strung them on clear string around the walls.  After all that folding we had really sore fingers and so this was another thing that needed to be documented!

Day 21
 This simple diagonal pocket page was perfect for holding the tags documenting our girls' night out.  With two of our group heavily pregnant it was never going to be a rock 'n' roll right but we had the best meal and masses of laughs.  I am so lucky to have such wonderfully lovely friends and our nights out are so much fun - thanks girls!

 We ate at a terrific 50's style diner where the staff live in this style all the time.  Their passion comes through in all that they do and they are so friendly - despite our group being so lively!  They have an antique juke box in the restaurant and we just had to have our photo taken in front of it.  Thanks for sending the photos out to all of us Lindsey - you're such a love xx
Whichever way round the tags go back into the pocket there are photos and/or journaling to see - that way I can ring the changes if I want to!

Great 'green' gift bows!

In keeping with the green crafts theme that has evolved here over the past few weeks, I came across a great tutorial for making handmade gift bows from magazine pages while browsing online the other day. This is perfect timing as its gift wrapping time here right now (oh how I hate this part of Christmas!!) and these bows can cost a fortune!

There's often an expectation that my gifts will be wrapped in some wonderfully creative way with a fabulous concoction to decorate the top but like many people, I just don't have the time or the money to do this at Christmas. I like the simple, honest gift bow with a tag and recycling makes these a budget-friendly option! How fab would these look made out of old film strip?!

You can find the step-by-step tutorial to make the bows here

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Mmmmmm.....gingerbread cupcakes!

Last week we were spoiled when Lynda brought homemade gingerbread cupcakes to the Kent club. I have to say they were absolutely delicious and really Christmassy!

Yesterday Lynda posted the recipe for the cupcakes onto the Total Papercrafts forum. I will certainly be making some of these as the guys in our family are very partial to anything with ginger. I bet they'll make the house smell amazing too!

You can find the recipe on our forum in the recipe swap section. While you can see some of the forum as a guest, you'll need to log in to gain full access. These cupcakes keep really well after you've made them, that's if you can stop everyone from eating them straight away! Lol!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

New Tim Holtz project!

Tim posted these super cute trees on his blog today made using the Sizzix rosette dies.  He has included a tutorial on how to make them and they are so easy its amazing no-one thought to do this before! 
He has included a few tips on how to create the cute ribbon bow at the top and the string wrapped trunk (using a pencil!!).  You can find his blog here

Paper stars

I came across these gorgeous paper stars on a blog today and was blown away by just how simple they are to make! I love that they can be made from newspaper and so are a totally green idea, just like the magazine trees - plus they are free if you get a local paper delivered! There is a really clear youTube video I tried making these using 12x12 paper and needed two strips of 1" x 12" for each star. We made dozens this evening and they look fab!

Monday, 19 December 2011

December Daily - days 13 to 19

Here we go with a few more pages from my December Daily project....

Each year I like to get a new pair of PJs, not just any old ones - I'm very exacting about the sort of thing I'm looking for!  Comfort is a high priority but I also want them to look Christmassy, not always an easy find!  The left hand page is a transparency so I matched the photo on top of the previous one and added journaling on a circle tag.  I included the clothing tag and price label from my PJs on the right hand page, in years to come it'll be fab to have evidence of the prices!

 Our Kent club night was held at the Gravesend Salvation Army hall and I wanted to remember how grateful I am that we have this facility and to thank Pauline for her efforts in booking this venue for us.  You are such a star Pauline and I am so thankful to have you as a friend xxx
These were pretty simple pages with hand written journaling on strips of patterned paper and photos opposite.

Jack's 6th form college year organised a charity fundraising sponsored walk along Southend Pier (for those of you who don't know, we have the world's longest pier in our town!).  They dressed up in crazy costumes and had so much fun, it was a great way to raise money for the Advent Charity Week.
The left page is simple with the title and photo (a huge year group shot where Jack is a tiny speck marked by an arrow!).  The right hand side is a skinny pocket page with more photos attached to journaling cards for more details.

Amber & I had a girlie day together in town doing the last of my gift shopping and while we were in the shopping centre we came across Santa in his grotto.  The place was deserted and  I couldn't resist asking if I could have my photo taken!  Who says you can only use photos of kids with the big guy?!
The left side is the reverse of the pocket page holding the journaling about today.  The right is a simple photo and title.

 Every year Dave takes me on a drive around the local towns to see the Christmas lights at night.  I wasn't really feeling it this time but he gently coaxed me into the car and I'm so glad he did!  I took loads of photos of the lights and we had such a great time.
The lefthand side is a pocket page for journaling and more small photos.  The right side is another corset page holding a concertina mini book stuffed full of photos and more journaling (it actually opens out to three times this size but you get the idea).

 The food shopping was ticked off our list as we ventured to the supermarket to pick up the bulk of our Christmas dinner goodies.  The local Rotary club were collecting for charity alongside a fab sleigh which was belting out Christmas Carols, the reindeer were great!
A simple left page was paired with a pocket on the right where I popped the receipt and journaling - the prices of food might come as a bit of a surprise in years to come (it was a surprise at the checkout I can tell you!!).

A Christmas coffee is compulsory!!  I eagerly await the launch of the flavours each year and then look forward to chilling out with a large mug of whatever takes my fancy!
The left page is simple with the addition of this year's seasonal cup sleeve which makes a free embellishment.  The right sode is a mini coin envelope page with more small sized photos and a journaling card.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Webster's Pages free downloads!

I am totally in love with Webster's pages products - there, I said it!! I don't think there is anything they have produced that I haven't liked right from the very early days.  We have used Webster's products in class kits and subscription kits for a long time and we'll have more from them in 2012 I promise.
They are very kindly offering three free digital downloads including gift tags, digital frames and the picture posies shown above.  These would make great additions to Christmas layouts and mini albums if printed off to make hybrid embellishments - and the great thing about digital products is that they can be used over and over again at no additional cost!
You can download these great freebies by clicking here and adding each one to your cart.  Have fun!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Paper wreaths

It seems that everywhere you look online at the moment there are gorgeous projects being shared, I found these fab paper wreaths on Pinterest and thought they would make a wonderful addition to any Christmas decor.  The first two examples are a great way to use old book pages or sheet music - I found a book of Christmas Carol sheet music in a charity shop at the beginning of the month for just £1.99 (such a bargain!) which would be ideal. 
The other two are a fab way to use up scraps of paper by making flowers or strips. There are ideas for all styles of decor out there, you just need to take a look - I know it can be difficult to find the time right now but how much better to make something when times are tough?! They are simple and really stunning, I might have to find a wire wreath base and get crafting!!

Friday, 16 December 2011

BasicGrey advent projects

At this time of year it seems the blogosphere is full to bursting with amazing ideas and today I thought I'd share a link to the fab advent projects posted by BasicGrey.  Each day this month they have been posting different ideas including videos, recipes, free digital downloads and more. 

I really liked the simplicity of this bauble project - a polystyrene ball forms the base and its decorated with punched circles and pins.  Easy to create and really effective - what more could you ask for?
I've downloaded a couple of the digital kits they are offering and there is a gorgeous set of snowy digital brushes I had to have! 

You can check out the BasicGrey advent projects by clicking here

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Check this out....

I am not known for being a fan of clean and simple design but I couldn't help but fall in love a little with the idea of creating your own flashcard-type gift tags as seen here by the 2gypsy girls.  The trick is using the right style of font and the 2gypsy girls were kind enough to share the one they used - simply click here to download it.  Just type festive words and print off onto cardstock, round the corners and you're done!  I think these would look great as titles on layouts or as journaling cards - how cute would they look in a December Daily?!
Have fun and let me know if you create any!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

December Daily - days 9 to 12

I have been keeping up with my December Daily through photos but gave myself permission to take a break from assembling the pages over the weekend (particularly as we had food poisoning for part of it!). Having the pages assembled in advance meant I knew how much space I needed to fill which made things a little simpler, its a psychological thing I suppose but its really helping.

Day 9

The 9th was all about work - mine and Dave's.  I had the crossover between working from home and being at home to deal with.  The daily grind of running a home can only be put off for so long and when there's a run on my work these things tend to get put to one side. This was one of those days where it really couldn't be put off for any longer or I'd have drowned under the pile of ironing! 
Thankfully we had a work 'do' to go to in the evening so I could stop being a domestic goddess and have a bit of fun.  On both pages I tucked the journaling under the photos and made it part of the title - even the smallest space can accomodate a journaling tag tucked under a layer or two.  The sticker border and ruffle rose trims were used as pockets that photos could tuck into - easy and useful!
Day 10

I am invited to the Eastwood crop each month and it was lovely to see everyone and have some time to craft for myself (or rather for a gift for someone special).  In the evening an amazing meal ended up making us both very ill so we didn't have a particularly festive night!!  The right hand page for today was created with a small coin envelope which the photo and journaling could tuck into, particularly as this wasn't the best of stories for content (no-one wants to read too much about food poisoning).  These little pocket pages would be great for receipts or more private journaling too.

Day 11

The X Factor has become an addiction and a tradition in our house.  I think the final being in December helps with this and its fun to look back through my albums and wonder where the heck some of these acts are now!!  I was cheering for Little Mix through the final so was really chuffed when they won, lets hope they stick around!  What looks like a complex page is actually quite simple as its a small page attached onto a larger page just down the left hinge edge.  This created an interactive flap section that held the journaling inside.  I loved the look of the red ruffled trim for its girlie feel on this page about the girl band and the treble clef charm was a no-brainer!

Day 11

I don't usually make much for myself as I'm too busy but I couldn't resist making one of these magazine trees and then decorating it. Jack saw it as soon as he came in last night (as a typical teenager he doesn't usually notice anything but food!!) and he loved it! Keep an eye out on our forum at for a tutorial soon. 
The left hand page had an interactive flap for the journaling and the right page was a transparency.  I like to include see-through pages in my album as you get a glimpse of what is underneath whichever way you turn it.  The evergreen fronds are courtesy of Claire's Tattered Pine Cone die which she kindly loaned me.  The pine cones are a little bulky for the album but the fronds are perfect and look fabulous with a touch of Stickles! Thank you so much Claire xxx

January 2012 issue of Scrap365 just arrived!!

The delivery guy has just dropped of a big box and I couldn't wait to open it and get my hands on the contents because I knew it would be the new issue of Scrap365 magazine!  I happen to be partial to scrapbooking magazines - I would rather have a magazine than patterned paper (shock, horror!!) and so its no surprise that this one would be eagerly awaited and it hasn't disappointed!  There's a good mix of styles and projects and I particularly love that they feature lots techniques rather than just page after page of layouts with a certain 'theme'.  I also like the fact that there isn't a readers gallery but that they encourage readers to submit their work to be featured in detailed articles - much better than just using it as 'filler' in my humble opinion.
There is also lots of bonus content on the magazine website at including printable freebies which this month features 2012 calendars!
You can find the January issue of Scrap365 on our website at but you might need to be quick - we completely sold out last month!!

Monday, 12 December 2011

A very green tree!

While I was at the Eastwood crop over the weekend, one of the ladies was making a Christmas decoration using a technique I remembered from a long while back.  It is such a great way to recycle and create something to decorate your home that I decided to play today and create this tree.  Can you guess what its made from - it started life as a magazine!!
With just a few simple foldsI turned a regular magazine into a dimensional tree decoration.  It looked pretty good just as it was but the pages had a lot of pink and purple on them and I'm more a modern traditional kind of girl when it comes to Christmas decorations so I had to alter it!  I painted a rough coat of gesso to act as a 'tooth' for my colour layers and then added Distress Stain and Glimmer mist to create an ombre effect where the colour faded from dark at the base to light.  A few strings of pearls and some Adage tickets threaded with jump rings and word charms added just the right touch.  It was tons of fun and I will be adding a step-by-step photo tutorial to the forum in the next day or so. 
I have the perfect place for this and I think it might have a few baby brothers and sisters very soon.  A tree doesn't get much greener than this one which was saved from the recycling bin and given a new lease of life!

Today was also the last day of Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas :( 

This was the last of his creations for this year......
I have to admit to finding the broken doll a bit freaky but I love the base layers of stamped text under music tissue paper.  He used his new punch to make a hole in the metal snowflake charm at the top and I have to admit to being a bit in love with that tool now I've seen it in action.  I have loads of metal embellishments that are hard to use as they don't have holes and this gadget solves that.  I will be keeping an eye out for it and also a few rolls of the tissue paper which comes on a roll just like kitchen foil!  It feels kind of sad that the 12 Tags are now over but that means that the madness of Christmas is stepping up a gear!!
We are offering a chance to step out of that madness with a 'Finish your Pages' open crop day next Saturday 17th December in Essex.  We have details on the shop website at where you can also book - escape the shopping crowds and take some time for yourself!