Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

As the last few hours of 2012 tick away I'd just like to time some time to wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year. 2012 has been an eventful year for Total Papercrafts, we met some fabulous new friends at shows and classes and had a lot of fun. We have travelled a fair few miles to share our passion for Scrapbooking and it has always been a great time.

As we start a new year I'd like to thank everyone for their support and custom over the past 12 months. We have had such a great year and look forward to growing and developing throughout 2013 with everyone.

Wherever you are as the click strikes midnight I hope you are surrounded by love. Have a great New Years Eve and we'll see you in 2013!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Out of touch for a while

We are taking a must needed few days away and leaving the young adult in charge of things at Total Papercrafts Towers. We are so out in the wilds that we don't have wifi connectivity and therefore we are out of contact for most things. I'm sure there won't be a paper-based emergency while we take a break but I'll try to check emails at least once while I'm away. Enjoy these few days before the new year begins!!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!

The big day is finally here and everything is pretty calm and under control so far. All of the gifts were wrapped well before lunch today, the veg is prepped, we've been to Midnight Mass and even managed to toast each other with a wee tipple on our return!!

With all that lot done I have the time to relax and wish everyone here on my blog a peaceful and happy time over Christmas. I'd like to thank you all for you support in reading my blog posts, following us on Twitter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Facebook and posting on here. Thank you for being such great customers both inline and in person and for all of the laughs we have during our classes, on the phone and via email. I am so lucky to have your support and extremely grateful that I can follow my passion for teaching and design as my job.

I hope you are all on Santa's 'nice' list and that your day brings you everything you'd wish for yourself. Enjoy this special day and I'll catch up with you when we are all wearing joggers because we ate too much!! Lol.

Merry Christmas from Karen, Dave, Jack and of course Miss Molly & Miss Lily - the cats who secretly run Total Papercrafrs when no-one is looking!!).

Monday, 24 December 2012

Final bonus layout

Ok I've had to call it a day with designing with the December kit despite having loads of leftovers!! Here's a peek at the third single page layout I have created. The page is full of little things to discover as you look at it such as scraps of lace, paper doilies, keys, a lock, paper flowers and more.
I love this photo of my sister and brother-in-law at Winter Wonderland as it evokes loads of happy memories. This attraction in Hyde Park has become another of our traditions, it really makes you feel festive!

I haven't yet added the picture and instructions to the password protected page but I'll get to it as soon as I can. Hope you are enjoying all of the designs we have created with this amazing kit. I think I have a little project that I might also put together which will be perfect for those who are following Claire's design instructions as she has quite a bit left in her kit. I'll sort that out after Christmas and may even do a little video to go with it too!!

Friday, 21 December 2012

There's more......!!

Even with all of the madness of Christmas we are still cranking out bonus designs using our December kit!!  This one just keeps going on and on, there's so much in it!

To tease you I've added just a peek here of the latest one to be added to our bonus design page.  This time I opted to record a relatively new tradition in our family, grabbing a Starbucks coffee when the Christmas flavours are released in the red cups!  We do it every year now and I didn't realise how much the red cups changed, its a fun and silly aspect of the build up to Christmas but still worth recording and remembering.

If you look closely you can see stitching on this layout, it takes a while but is so worth the effort.  You can find the instructions for this and more of our bonus designs by clicking on the link at the top of this blog and entering your password which you will find in your kit.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Another bonus design using the December kit

I've added a little peek here of another of the bonus designs we have for everyone who has our December kit.  This time its a Winter page rather than Christmas which demonstrates just how adaptable this fabulous kit is.  We didn't get an awful lot of snow this year but it didn't stop the kids wanting to go out with sledges and so I just had to scrapbook the photos!

I have a cute little technique to go along with this page and I think I'll make a YouTube video demonstrating just how easy this is.  The results are great and it's sure to be something I use again.

If you want to see the full page and the step-by-step instructions for this layout then simply click on the December bonus designs page at the top of the blog and enter the password you will find in with your kit.  I have even more in my kit and am working on more layouts so be sure to keep dropping in!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas canvas

At the beginning of this month I had a Masterclass with my lovely local girlies.  It was something that I had designed earlier in the year with a garden theme but when the girls were round for the class in October they had seen the sample and asked for the more seasonal version.  I ran with the idea and went a bit mad with the new Teresa Collins 'Christmas Cottage' collection!

Its hard to see everything but this is an 18" x 12" canvas with a Tim Holtz binder clip, lots of pocket pages, a bunting across the top and 'configurations-style' boxes across the bottom.  I used a selection of Tim Holtz Sizzix dies in creating this along with Tim's gorgeous stamps.

I love the fact that this is so interactive, you can flick through the pages, pull tags from the pockets and even add more pages if you want to.  Its not as much pressure as the December Daily I have done for the past 2 years, I can add whatever I want whenever I want to without there being an obvious missing entry.  This looks really super up on the wall and I've started to add our photos to it from all the wonderful Christmas things we have been up to this month.  I have a feeling that this will be a regular feature in our home as each year I can make some new pages and pop them in - easy peasy!!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Free art journaling class

If you are interested in art journaling but don't know where to start or would like to take a class that guides you through a structured process then you might be interested in a free online class offered by Willowing.  I came across the Willowing website through a blog I pop into from time to time and clicked a link and then another and before I knew it I was on this wonderful website!

I believe that things come to you when you are ready for them and right now I feel that I would really benefit from an art journaling class.  This is a four week class but its self-guided so you can go as fast or as slow as you want to.  This time of year can be a bit nuts and might not be the best time to start a project such as this but its certainly worth registering on the site and book marking the class page to go back to later.

If you fancy something a bit longer term then there is a fabulous year-long art journaling class called 'Life Book 2013'.  This one isn't free but its amazing value - there are 22 contributing designers and there'll be 2-3 classes each month with videos, PDFs and more, all for £60.  There is also a payment plan if you prefer not to pay it all in one go.

I think I'll use my Crimbo money towards this class and it would be fantastic if there were a few people I knew joining in!

In the meantime I'll be joining the Art, Heart & Healing class to get my mojo going, if you do the same let me know how you get on xx

Bonus design & instructions uploaded

This is a little peek at a fab bonus design that Claire has created using our December kit.  The full design and step-by-step instructions are now available on the page at the top of this blog.  You'll need the password to access the page, the password is on a slip of paper in the December kit or you can email me if you've lost it!

We have more bonus designs in the pipeline so be sure to keep popping by the page.  Remember that you'll be able to create all of the layouts designed by Claire with just one kit or you can choose to create my pages from one kit.  If you would like to do all of the designs you'll need two kits - now there's an idea for a stocking filler!! Point hubby in the direction of our website if you'd like another December kit xx

As an aside, you don't need to subscribe to get your hands on this kit, for the first time ever we are making the kit available to anyone who would like it and at the same great price as subscribers pay!  Simply go to to find the December kit - all of the fab contents are listed in full so you'll be able to see what great value this is!!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Another free Prima download

Once again Prima are offering a stunning free printable, this time it is a set of Christmas themed printable postcards.  These are gorgeously vintage and you get six - yes six!!!!

If you have already like the Prima Marketing Facebook page then all you'll need to do is go to their Facebook page, click on the 'Free Postcards' link at the top of the page and then download.  How easy is that?  How cut would these look as gift labels for those special presents?  You could add a bit of crinkle ribbon, some layers of stamped images.........ooops, I'm off again!!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Prima printables

If you love Prima then you won't want to miss out on their latest free printable download! This time it is a mini book cover and envelope using designs from the Romance Novel line.  As usual, you will need to visit the Prima Marketing Facebook page, 'like' their page if you haven't already and then click on the link at the top of the page to get to the download.  They often change their printables on a Friday so I wouldn't hang around if I were you!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Heidi Swapp freebies

At this time of year there are usually more than the usual number of free downloads available on blogs and websites but the problem is finding the time to look for them!  I have loved Heidi Swapp's designs since waaaaay back when she worked for Making Memories - I think EVERYONE had her handwriting rub-ons back then!  Heidi has a cute blog that I stop by now and then and this month she is celebrating the days leading up to Christmas with 12 free printables.

The designs on the printables are her signature fun and fresh style with lots of layered images and text.  They come as a whole sheet with lots of different sizes and sometimes a few different designs on the one sheet.  As an added bonus she is also sharing ideas from her design team using the freebies to give you inspiration.  So go start downloading the gorgeousness!  You can find her blog here and be sure to keep popping back to get the rest of her fab freeness!!

More December designs coming soon

So far the instructions for all of the designs created with our December kit is running to nine pages! I have three more layouts on my table in various stages of completion and Claire has at least one more coming which makes an insane amount of instructions!!  I have decided that the instructions for the layouts released on here so far will be available in printed format with the kits for everyone who subscribes but the additional designs will be a bonus only available through a password protected page here on the blog.

Confused? There's absolutely no need to be - all of the instructions that you have seen posted so far will have printed instructions in the kit when you get it.  There will also be some bonus designs available in a few days and you will be able to access the instructions for those by clicking on the page link at the top of this blog.  This page has a password to protect it so its only available to those who have purchased the kit - the password will be in with your kit so as soon as you receive it you will be able to log on here to see the bonus pages.  

I think having bonus pages that are only for those who have the kit is a nice 'thank you' for your loyalty.  We have the nicest customers in the world and so why not give you something extra?  After all, you deserve it! I hope that you are excited by the prospect of 'secret' bonus pages and that you love what we have created for you so far, this is an amazing kit crammed full of fabulous stuff, its like an early Christmas present!

Friday, 7 December 2012

A 3rd single page layout

I am surprised by just how much I have out into the December kit and the layouts just keep coming! Here we have another single page design that features the Aged Mahogany ink pad included. I used a Crafters Workshop template and the ink to create the hexagonal chicken wire background which picks up the hexagon sticker shapes. If you would like to order one of the templates just let me know and I'll arrange it some time next week.

I glittered the chipboard using the gorgeous pewter coloured glitter (one of the 3 colours in the kit) and then added another coat of adhesive over the top. This tones down the 'bling' of the glitter and also holds it firmly in place - no puddles of glitter in the bottom if your page protector!! I added some white roses and rose buds and two 6" x 4" landscape photos and you're good to go. I may add a tag behind the left edge of the photos as I've created a journaling pocket using 3d pads. I can't do it now as I'm away for a few days and don't have my tag die with me - doh!!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

And another single page

There is so much in our December kit I am rattling through the pages and don't seem to be making much of a dent in it!  I designed another single page layout for two 6" x 4" photos as sometimes we don't have loads of pictures of the same event at Christmas, I know that in our house it can be hard to remember to pick up the camera sometimes as we are just enjoying ourselves! My sister sent me these cracking pics of my brother-in-law dressed to impress on Saturday 1st December at a local charity event.  He is such an amazing man, he contributes so much to the local community and volunteers so much of his time, he deserves a special page to remember this fun day.

There are some stunning designs on the papers in the kit and it is really hard to cut some of them up which is really weird for me because I'm the queen of 'its only paper'!! You could almost drop your photos onto a single sheet of paper and be good to go.  Of course being me, I couldn't leave it at that and had to titivate.  There are lots of layers of paper and stickers plus the fab retro printed ribbon from the kit.  I added some more deep red roses and it was done!

Remember that if you have subscribed to the kits you will receive the instructions for every one of the sample designs that we are showing on the blog - thats a LOT of layouts!!

Another double page layout

We are really flying now with more layouts being completed all the time!  This is a second option for a double page layout, this time using five 6" x 4" photos.  These wreaths were on display outside a very posh florist in Prague and they just stopped me in my tracks - snail shells? wine corks? really?? I decided to reflect the shape of the wreaths on the page using the evergreen sprays, holly leaves and branch included with the kit.  There is lots of textural variety going on with glossy holly, matte evergreen and rough branch created with Distress Stickles.  A large red bow made from one of the gorgeous ribbons in the kit completed the wreath effect.

I added strips of washi tape from my stash for a bit of fun and interest and some of the darling little rose buds for tiny pops of colour.  I love the pine cones made using the Tim Holtz Tattered Pine Cone Sizzix die - they are very easy to create and Tim has made a very easy to follow YouTube video if you are not sure what to do.  Just search for 'Tattered Pine Cone' on YouTube and you'll soon be bale to create the pine cones from my page and also the roses from Claire's!!

Double page layout by Claire

Claire is on a roll now and has created this gorgeous double page layout with our bumper December kit.  I love that the papers have a traditional look but aren't in the usual traditional red/green/gold colours, it gives the pages a light and fresh look that makes a really nice change!

Claire has broken out a few of her personal dies for this page with the Tim Holtz rosette snowflake and gorgeously delicate swirls.  You can create a similar look by punching the edge of a strip of paper and concertina folding it and you could print off a swirl design to use as a template if you've spent all your pennies on gifts.

I love how Claire includes fab details - did you notice the stamping on the base card around the edge of the design?  She has used the Distress ink pad that comes with this kit to stamp a delicate pattern that adds just a little touch without swamping the whole thing.  With such a lovely rich colour it can be easy to go crazy but she's such a talented designer that she knows when to go mad and when to hold back.

Remember that instructions for all of the layouts that you see posted on here will come with this kit, you will just need to choose whether you are going to create Claire's designs or mine.  You could possibly switch between the two sets of instructions but may need to swap papers around a little, we can't make any promises about that! LOL xx

2nd Layout using the December kit

The designs using our December kit will come thick and fast now as we put the finishing touches to our layouts, photograph them and get them uploaded.  This single page is out of my comfort zone with lots of white space but it still has plenty going on.  There is a gorgeous banner cut from one of the papers, a doily cut from another and lots of punched flowers.

This design uses three 3" x 4" photos - perfect for those 'less than perfect' photos which don't hold up to being printed in a larger format or if you want to get more on the page.  I have to confess to having a wee bit of a passion for those tiny rose buds which arrived a few days ago.  At just £1.99 for a bunch they go a long way for not very many pennies!  I also added a few red roses from my stash - who says you HAVE to use poinsettias on Christmas pages? Not me!!

I've just realised that both Claire and I chose the exact same patterned paper to start with, how freaky is that?!!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

First kit design for December

Our December kit is always a monster and this year is no exception!  To go along with the larger size of kit we also offer lots more designs and here is the first layout created by Claire.  You can almost feel the cold emanating from her page and of course I'm rather partial to a bit of glitter!  

The kit contains; 8 sheets of cardstock, 9 sheets of My Minds Eye 'All Is Bright' double sided papers, 12x12 sheet of My Minds Eye 'All Is Bright' cardstock stickers, 3 packs of glitter, pack of crystal gems, Distress Inkpad, pack of My Minds Eye ribbons, length of cotton lace, length of printed ribbon, chipboard lamp post, chipboard branch, chipboard, holly leaves, chipboard Noel, chipboard '25', die cut tattered pine cones, die cut pine branches.

Claire used a Stampin Up snowflake die and an alphabet die on her page but you could get back in touch with your inner child by folding paper and cutting your own snowflake!  Her photo sizes on the sample are 4" x 5" and 3 x 4.5.

More designs will be posted here over the next few days so keep dropping by.......

Christmas masterclass

First of all a huge thank you to the fabby ladies at Moxley for inviting me up to teach for their Christmas Extravaganza - it was a blast!  We had such a crazy busy day and by the time that 6 o'clock came around we had more than a few projects that were well on the way to being finished.  I can't wait to see how they all turn out as there were some gorgeous personal keepsakes being added.

After the Christmas crop day it was straight into more Christmas projects.  First up is this Masterclass canvas with an album.  For the past two years I have done a December Daily album but it takes a lot of planning and organising never mind the time!  This year I wanted something that would be a bit more relaxed and that could be used over and over so I was drawn to incorporating a Tim Holtz binder clip.  This way we can add more pages if we do more, there aren't masses of pages crying out to be filled and we can use this again next year.  Its a win/win as far as I can see!

I chose the new Christmas Cottage line from Teresa Collins and added lots of seasonal stuff like baubles, bead chain and Timmy's tattered pine cones.  The kit contains an 18" x 12" canvas, 10 sheets of cardstock, 12 sheets of patterned paper, a sheet of printed acetate, flash cards, border strips, adhesive gems, ribbon, Tim Holtz binder clip, chip board, die cut word, die cut pine cones & leaves, baubles, jingle bell, bead chain, pegs, washi tape - plenty to play with!!

I'm so happy with the finished sample and have already got it up on the wall, its the first decoration that we have up!  I'm really looking forward to teaching this tonight x

Friday, 30 November 2012

Getting a little bit more Christmassy!

This weekend we have been invited up to the midlands once again to teach at the Moxley crop. As it will actually be December (can you believe that??), they asked that one of the classes be themed. With a bit of tweaking I was able to adapt a class I taught at one of our retreats and make it super seasonal - and I LOVE it!!

I can't show the whole project just yet as I haven't taught the class but I wanted to share a little bit. One of the things I really wanted to include was a sleigh, not some nasty cheap looking thing but something unique and in keeping with my style. Through Facebook I found a really talented lady who creates gorgeous things with Fimo clay and she offered to try to make something bespoke for the class. The result was this fabulous sleigh that almost looks good enough to eat!! I threw my budget to the wind and ordered one for each kit!

It's been stressy waiting for these babies to arrive and we were right to the wire as far as design time goes but I have finally installed my sleigh into his reserved space in my project and he looks very happy. I'll be able to show you just how good he looks after the weekend - watch this space!!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Getting in the Christmas spirit

The pace is picking up with classes right now and I even managed to completely lose the plot and double booked myself for last night!  Thankfully one of the groups consisted of my girlfriends and they know just how much I'm juggling so they were super sweet about rescheduling.  This is a sneak peek for those fab ladies of the class that they nearly had last night!

They asked for a Christmas project and so I adapted our Summer canvas album project.  I couldn't resist the new Christmas line from Teresa Collins and so I think I have included a little of everything in this kit.  There are 12 sheets of 6x6 papers, 12x12 transparency, 12x12 paper, cardstock, a 12x18 canvas, a Tim Holtz binder clip, adhesive gems, sticker sheet, flash cards, decorative borders, lengths of Teresa Collins washi tape - masses of goodies to create an album on a canvas.  This kit has already drawn a lot of attention and we have a waiting list for any spare kits!  I'll update with more peeks of the finished article......

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Total Papercrafts kit 2 for November

The delivery for this kit went on an adventure and only made it to us yesterday - over a week late!! It was worth the wait though as there is a Ranger paint dabber included which is so versatile and fun to use. We were also blown away by the fab quality of the My Minds Eye kraft papers, they are super thick and double sided. Add a genuine LP record into the mix and you've got too much fun going on here!!

The kit contains; cardstock, 3 double sided patterned papers, Ranger paint dabber, 12" vinyl record, crystal gems

The sample design uses a single 6" x 4" portrait photo but you could easily rotate the design to include a landscape print.

To complete the sample design you will also need a water spray bottle, perfect pearls powder (optional), a length of bakers twine or ribbon, white paint or gesso (for paint splatters - optional).

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Heidi Swapp freebie!

I am a regular viewer of My Craft Channel and love to check out the weekly shows from a broad spectrum of crafters.  Today there was a new show from Heidi Swapp showcasing her Memory Display Stand which is a cross between a ring binder and a clip board.  One of the projects was a cute calendar that was embellished 'Heidi-style'.  She didn't say anything on the show but a quick visit to Heidi's blog revealed that the calendar is available as a printable download!!
If anyone is looking for a fun and easy gift idea then this might be the way to go.  Just click here to link to the download page, save and then print off as many pages as you need.  You could even create your own display stand using a Tim Holtz binder clip and some scrapbook supplies.  Its such a cute idea!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Club cancelled tonight

I've sent out an email but just in case anyone is checking here, we have had to cancel club tonight after the kit delivery failed to arrive. We checked a week ago that we would have the kits in time and were promised they would be here. After checking today it appears they are yet to be despatched. I am gutted to have been let down so badly but for things like this I can be as organised as possible and still find things out of my control.
As soon as the delivery arrives I will get designing and pop the sample layout up here. If you missed club and would like the kit just let me know.

Over 300 Facebook Fans!!

Over recent weeks we have been really active on Facebook and Pinterest and its suddenly reaping benefits. It took a while to break through the 200 'likes' threshold but we've had a lot of interest recently and very quickly zipped up to over 300 'likes' in just a few days!!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to 'like' our Facebook page and even comment and share our posts.  We love that you are sharing the love!!  We have different items on the Pinterest site so if you fancy having a browse then click on the Pinterest button above.  If you like what you see then feel free to repin our images to your own boards - lets see how quickly we can get the followers on Pinterest to match those on Facebook!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Total Papercrafts kit 2 contents

Our second kit for November is a fab combination of neutrals - think Kraft, black and white. These tones are so easy to match with your photos that you'll be spoilt for choice!
The double sided papers give loads of options and combinations so you can really make this kit uniquely yours. We have included a Ranger paint dabber in classic black for you to play with in this kit. There's tons of fun to be had with this paint as we dab, flick and spray the colour onto the page!

Monday, 19 November 2012

New Masterclass for Kent groups

Things are getting busy on the Masterclass front once again, the Tunbridge Wells group are starting up once again with the first class in their new series starting tonight. They will be doing the same kit we have scheduled for the North Kent group for next week, a masculine layout using Prima Craftsman.
The kit includes; cardstock, 8 sheets of patterned paper, a set of stamps, Prima crystal swirls, calico fabric, adhesive canvas and full step by step instructions.
The sample design uses two 6" x 4" portrait photos in sepia but you could also use two landscape or a single large 6" x 8" landscape. It's not essential that your photo is sepia, the colours in the kit are blue, burgundy, rust and cream so you may have a colour photo that would work.
You will also need; a scallop border punch, a notebook edge punch and a brown inkpad (the sample used Distress Ink in Vintage Photo).
I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again tonight, it's been too long!!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Free Prima magazine to download

Earlier this year Prima launched a magazine that was available free through stockists.  I have tried very hard to get the magazine but haven't had any luck.  I was among the many people who requested that this be available online. The great news is that they listened to us and have responded!!  We can now download the copy of issue 4 of My Prima Place!!

If you love Prima products and want to see the work of their design team then click here and be inspired!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Prima's Friday Freebie

Its Friday which means that Prima has added another free printable to their Facebook page!  These gorgeous Notecards match the Fairy Belle and Nature Garden paper lines but of course you can use them on their own on your projects.  How stunning would these look added to a card or as journaling cards on a scrapbook layout?
To download these and future Friday Freebies you will need to 'like' the Prima Marketing Facebook page and then click on the Free notecards tab at the top of the page.  Have fun with these and share what you create!

Messing about on Pinterest

If you want to lose yourself for a few hours online then I can highly recommend Pinterest as a starting point and if you haven't taken a look around the site yet you are in for a real treat!  If you are unfamiliar with Pinterest I'd describe it as a computer version of a noticeboard or the side of the fridge - somewhere you stuff all the interesting/important/useful things you come across during the day.  The only real difference is that the 'stuff' is digital.  You can 'pin' your own things to your own boards and can also pin anything else you may find online.  Other people might like the things that you have found and can re-pin them to their own boards, its a very interactive site.  Virtually anything you might want to look for on the internet can be found on Pinterest - we have discovered great home decor ideas, learnt how to turn a spoon into a bracelet and if you're after a recipe then look no further!!
Of course as a crafter you won't be disappointed as Pinterest is crammed with fab tutorials, scrapbook pages, sketches and loads more.  I blogged a while back that Total Papercrafts has a Pinterest page and we've given it a bit of an overhaul recently, some boards have been removed and new ones have been created including TotalPapercrafts TV!! You can check it out by clicking here
Those of you who are very observant may have noticed the new button under the header here on the blog.  Simply click the button to follow us on Pinterest and check out what we are uploading, its all very exciting!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Fractured doll angel

I have to admit, I've never really warmed to the Tim Holtz fractured dolls, in fact I've found them a little bit scary looking! However I decided to challenge myself to do something creative with these odd looking porcelain people and this angel was the result.
I decided that one of my main issues was that she was naked and so I set to making some dolly clothes for her. I found a small scrap of cotton lace and sewed a simple running stitch along the straight edge. A simple gather and a few stitches to secure the ends together around her middle and she had a skirt. I found a small piece of nylon lace which gave a nice contrast and repeated the stitching and gathering around her neck. She was now decently attired if not exactly ready to go clubbing!
I created a set of wings by cutting the shape freehand from some grungeboard. I covered the wings with pewter Distress crackle paint and left them overnight to dry and crack. The dry wings were inked with vintage photo Distress Ink and then secured to her back with Fabri Tac (hot glue would also work).
I really like this little angel and she is transformed from her scary former self into a sweet Christmas embellishment - perfect to add to my Configurations box!

Prepping for Moxley

A few months ago we were invited to teach at a crop in the midlands to help them celebrate their birthday. We had such a great time that we were really excited to have the chance to pop up again to see everyone and so we were booked in for a Christmas crop on 1st December!
Things seem to have gone a bit nuts in the interim and I now hear that the crop is completely sold out!! I am so pleased for Lisa and Deb that things have taken off so well and we are so happy to be a small part in helping towards the success of this fabulous crop. If you are anywhere near the Midlands area and want to join this really lovely group of ladies just drop me an email and I'll put you in touch.
So what sort of things do we teach when we travel to crop groups? It can vary wildly but this time we are doing one project and one layout - last time it was three layouts. The project is based on a Masterclass I taught at one of our weekends. It uses a Configurations box and it is altered to become a faux book. The original was very generic but as the Moxley crop is in December, this one is Christmas themed. I was very excited to play with the Tim Holtz woodland trees and happily sprayed and dabbed away to create shimmery green and gold branches, a huge difference from the off-white bottled brush they were out of the pack. So it's not finished but well on the way and I'm pleased with how it's coming along. I don't usually share photos of work that's in progress but I just couldn't resist teasing the Moxley ladies - how excited are you all getting?!
If you are interested in having us teach at your crop or club please feel free to get in touch. We can tailor something to suit your needs and can bring along the shop as well. You can email us at

Friday, 9 November 2012

Total Papercrafts kit 1 for November

Here we go with the first kit for November using gorgeous Graphic 45 papers.  The soft colour palette is very easy to use and easy on the eye with tones of peach, cream and a touch of black.  There are loads of layers going on here cut from the stunning designs on each of the papers and I won't make excuses, there's a lot of fussy cutting going on here!!

The sample design uses three 6" x 4" photos, two portrait and one landscape but as is usual with our kits, you can use different configurations and sizes of photos.  The papers have images of vintage ladies, flowers, clocks and old letters which will work with feminine, heritage, floral and a number of different themed photos. You can add your own theme/title using the chipboard letters in the kit.

I used a brown and a black inkpad (Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and Black Soot), a decorative border punch and a small flower punch.  I also used liquid pearls in black but you can add tiny adhesive gems or even a black pen to create flower centres. A scrap of ribbon and a couple of brads were used to create a closure for a pocket with hidden journaling which was stamped with a script stamp.

The kit contains; cardstock, 4 sheets of double sided patterned paper, a pack of chipboard alphabet, length of lace trim, small envelope.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Papers for November's kit 1

I'm not very patiently waiting for the deliveries to arrive for the November kits so while my stress levels steadily increase I thought I could at least show you the gorgeous papers! I have a bit of a thing for Graphic 45 and they release at least one line each season that I fall madly in love with. The ones I've picked for this kit were another of those papers I have a love affair with. The soft colours are easy on the eye and very easy to work with, I can see this being a very popular kit!!
I've paired these four double sided papers with a great chipboard alphabet that will give you loads of scope to add a title/quote/journaling.
While I'm waiting for these to actually get here I'd better start planning what to do with them as I won't have long to get the sample design done. Good job I thrive on tight deadlines!!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Our pumpkin recipes

Ok so you went for it yesterday and got a pumpkin, cleared out the seeds and some of the flesh. Your pumpkin looked great outside but now you have at least one bowl full of stuff left and no idea what to do with them. Let me help....

The first thing to do is to pull all the seeds out of the stringy stuff and put them into a colander. Rinse them well under cold water to remove any remaining bits of flesh and tip onto a clean tea towel. Lightly pat the seeds so they aren't dripping wet but just damp. Tip them onto a baking sheet and then sprinkle over a teaspoon of salt. Shake them to mix the salt around and evenly distribute the seeds over the sheet. Pop into the oven at 250C for about 45 mins until very lightly golden brown and crisp. You can eat these warm from the oven or allow to cool completely and store in an air tight container. These are delicious with a cold beer!!

Now to the pumpkin flesh, cut it into small chunks and place into a microwave for 5 mins on high. Remove and stir to distribute the heat evenly and repeat cooking for another 5 mins. Check the pumpkin and if it is still firm repeat cooking and stirring until it is very soft and easily mashed with a girl. Set aside to cool.

Mix together
1 container of double cream or Elmlea
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
and add half the cream container of milk. Mix thoroughly together. Mash the cooled pumpkin and add to the spiced milk mixture. Mix with a hand blender to create a smooth batter. Pour into a pre-baked shortcrust pastry case (this will fill 2-3 cases) and cook at 200C for around 50mins or until the centre of the batter is set. Serve warm or cold with ice cream, cream or custard - delicious!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween!!

After posting a few ideas for pumpkins over the past few days I thought I'd share our one with you today. We go the traditional route and carve ours each year (when we are home to celebrate!) and I usually find a template online. This year we chose Jack Skellington from The Nightmare before Christmas.
The carving is usually something I do but it was a collaboration this year - Dave cut the top off and scraped out the guts, I cut out the eyes and nose and Jack finished off by cutting out the very fiddly mouth. A couple of tea lights popped inside and it was set outside our front door. We've been inundated with Trick or Treaters who have all been really impressed with the orange guy!!
I hope that however you spend today that you have fun and enjoy it x

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

More Pumpkin ideas

With just one day to go before Halloween I thought it might be useful to share a few more pumpkin ideas.  This is a super quick but really effective one that uses power tools!!
You prep your pumpkin as if you are going to carve it, remove the top and then scrape out the seeds and guts.  Then its time for the power tools.  You'll need a couple of drill bits of different sizes and then just get drilling.  Create designs, random holes or whatever you like - its so quick and easy and the finished effect when lit is fabulous.  Are you doing a pumpkin for tomorrow?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pumpkin ideas

With two days to go until Halloween the pressure starts building to create something fabulous with a pumpkin. This year they seem to be super-cheap and pretty decent sizes. I found them for 2 for £2 in our local supermarket.
You can of course opt for the traditional carved pumpkin and we usually choose a pretty ornate design each year. We have a tradition if roasting the seeds and having them as a snack fresh from the oven and I make pumpkin pies with the flesh. But what if you're not keen on all the mess and fuss of carving? Here are a few ideas for no-carve pumpkins!
1. Glue buttons or flat backed gems onto your pumpkin. Clear or coloured gems will add a fab sparkle!
2. Paint a design onto a pumpkin using simple black and white paint. The ghostly contrast of colours can be used to create a funky modern decoration.
3. Add ribbon, trim or washi tape using pins or hot glue. You can create eclectic mixes of pattern and colour or simple stripes.
4. Use spray paint and a stencil to add colour and design. You could take this up a notch by switching the paint for spray adhesive and then add sparkle with glitter!!
Have fun with pumpkins this year and share your creations in the gallery in the Total Papercrafts forum!!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Exciting Prima project!!

Earlier this week Prima Marketing, the amazing company that creates stunning flowers and papercrafting products, announced a new project open to everyone. Called 'Life Journal', they were giving away six albums to six selected people to create the first pages in a journal that they would then pass on to creative friends. The fact that these would be physically passed would mean no postage cost or risk of them getting lost in the mail system. The response was incredible and do they decided to give away twelve journals. The idea is that these are eventually returned to Prima to form a part of their library.
Well guess what? I have been selected to start one of the journals!!! I was stunned to see my name listed as I never win or get picked for this sort of thing! I had to send in my details and am now waiting to receive the journal but my brain is already buzzing with ideas. From what I can gather, I will need to get a group of creative friends together who would all like to take part. It's a big commitment because there will be deadlines and criteria to meet. So my question is, are you interested?
I'd love to give some of my blog readers the chance to take part in this journal so if you're genuinely keen to join in please post a comment on this entry. If you have a blog or gallery online please share the address and let me know a bit about your creative
style, what products you like to use in your work etc. I'd really like this journal to show Prima just how much talent we have here in the UK!! If you feel the same way post here and let me know!!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Total Papercrafts Masterclass in North Kent

We are running a Masterclass in North Kent again this evening and the ladies asked specifically for a baby kit.  I don't really like to do specifically themed kits or classes as they have the tendency to instantly alienate those who don't directly see a link to their own lives.  If you don't have babies in the family then it can be tricky to find a photo that you want to scrapbook.  I tend to design a kit that is more flexible and can be used for lots of different themed photos so this 'baby' kit has nothing that says baby on it anywhere.
The soft yellow and pale green colours of the papers with little pops of blue and pink work really well with baby pics but would also look stunning with wedding, feminine, garden, floral or vintage photos.  Of course I had to use a photo of the newest member of our family - baby Nancy!  I chose a 6" x 4" landscape photo but a single portrait would also work, just rotate the whole design through 90 degrees and you're good! I opted for a black & white print as the colour version was purple and turquoise and was absolutely not a match for these gorgeous papers but if you have colour photos the main tones of the kit are buttery yellow and pale spring green.  If you don't have a photo ready, just cut a piece of white card to 6" x 4" and bring that along to use as a blank and help you to work out where to place things.
You'll need to bring along a yellow and a green inkpad - pale shades would be ideal.  The sample used Distress Inks in Scattered Straw and Shabby Shutters.  If you have any Martha Stewart Punch-around-the-page sets then you might want to bring them along, I'll be showing you a few ways to use these punches as after all, they are expensive and need to earn their keep!! I will be bringing a few different sets along to use if you don't own any so don't worry.
As usual you'll need loads of 3d foam, your trimmer, adhesives and scissors but if you have a heat gun I have a cool product in the kit that you can have fun with if you heat it up.  Again, I'll have mine with me so don't panic buy one just for the class.
The kit contains; cardstock, 3 sheets of double sided patterned paper, a pack of matching rub-ons, a pack of matching metal embellishments, ribbon, mouldable plastic, 3 brads

If you are coming along to the Masterclass tonight I'll see you there, its getting to be a very popular class!!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Thank you!!

One of the fab things about the Retreat weekends is the wonderful people who come together to form an amazing group crafting together. It's never the same group, it's a great mix of experience, age and background from widely different parts of the country. It never ceases to amaze me just how well these groups come together and how quickly new friendships are forged. I just want to say thank you to everyone who came to the Total Papercrafts retreat and made it so much fun.
It has become a bit of a regular feature for us to have Stampin Up demonstrators attending and offer free make & take sessions at the retreat. This was something started by Pauline and Sue and has become a hugely popular aspect of the weekends. This past weekend Pauline & Sue outdid themselves!! They put together 2 amazing classes that went above and beyond, a Christmas card and the Christmas bauble from the front of the SU catalogue. There was such a lot if work put into prepping each of the kits and I know that Sue spent hours stamping and die cutting baubles!! They had a fabulous display of products and tools plus gorgeous samples showing numerous ways that products could be used to create very different effects. It was inspirational and such fun. I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Pauline and to Sue for taking the time out of their weekend away to run these classes. I know I'm not alone in feeling very grateful to have had the chance to learn how to create these projects. You girls rock!!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A fabulous weekend!!

We've just got back home after running the Total Papercrafts retreat and had an absolutely fabulous weekend. Despite all the stress of changing venue at the last minute and a really horrendous 6 hours in the car before we even started, once we were up and running it was simply great!
We had a lovely large cropping room with plenty of space to spread out (some more than others eh Claire??!! Lol). Immediately outside we had a huge lounge area with unlimited hot and cold drinks and free use of an Internet cafe. It made a lovely space to move into if anyone needed a change of seat or scenery. The seats in the cropping room were fully adjustable so even I found it comfy to sit down for the classes without struggling!
One of the highlights of the weekend has to have been the food!! We had a great selection of dishes to choose from on the menu with starters, main and desserts. The portion sizes were ridiculously huge and we almost had to be rolled down the corridor to the cropping room after each meal!! There was something for everyone, it was hot and tasty and we certainly didn't go hungry - quite the opposite in fact. I'm afraid we've been we'll and truly spoiled for anywhere else now. It looks like we'll have to go again....
For probably the first time ever we had lots of finished class layouts, even the project was finished by quite a few. I obviously got something right (or need to up the degree of complexity?!). It really was great to see finished pages with a range of gorgeous photos on and ready to go into an album.
My only gripe was that there wasn't enough table space to set out all of the shop stock. We needed a few more tables but I'll make sure that we have them next time. I missed having a natter with my roomie at the end of each day as we all had rooms on our own but I know that suited most people. The shower in the room was so powerful it virtually had me pinned against the wall, it was heaven! I didn't get the chance to even pop in to the sauna or hot tub to take a look but as I didn't take my bathers there was no chance of me having a dip anyway. It's nice to have something to look forward to next time though! Perhaps I'll see you in March 2013 for the next one?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Inky fingers and full tummies!!

After the first full 24 hours of the Total Papercrafts retreat chimes we have lots of inky fingers in the cropping room! Very unusually classes are getting finished, going into albums and looking lovely.
The venue is fabulous, a good sized cropping room with a huge coffee lounge and Internet cafe just outside. The rooms are really comfy with everything you could ask for included -ironing board & iron, hair dryer etc!!
The huge talking point is the food! The portions are enormous and theres great choice. Check out this burger!!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Last retreat class peek

Here we go with the last peek in the run up to our retreat starting tomorrow!  This class uses the Cosmo Cricket 'Evangeline' line with its slightly retro feel of florals and colours.  The peach and soft teal colours of the kit screamed 1960s/70s photos to me.  I flipped through some old prints and immediately found a few that matched the papers right away, there's something about how those photos were processed seems to be a perfect pairing for this kit.

The sample uses a single 6" x 4" landscape photo (we didn't take many way back then!) but you could adapt the design for a portrait photo if that's all you have.

You'll need a brown inkpad for this class (sample used Distress Ink in Vintage Photo).  We have so many goodies in this kit, you'll have masses left over - honestly I mean masses!!

The kit includes; cardstock, 3 sheets of double sided paper, a half sheet of patterned paper, a pack of Evangeline chipboard, Evangeline cardstock stickers, pad of Evangeline journaling tags, length of ribbon, large doily, paper roses