Friday, 30 March 2012

Free Maya Rd Printables

I have to admit to being addicted to Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest and through feeding my addiction I regularly come across freebies.  Today I found this free printable from Maya Road to celebrate them reaching 15,000 Facebook followers.  Its available in three sizes and is sized to fit inside their bottlecaps.  What if you don't own or even want to use the bottlecaps?  So don't worry about them, just print them onto card and punch them out to create fab embellishments in a range of colours and shapes!

You can find the printables here - have fun with them!!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Making a List!

After all the fun of the Creativity Escape this past weekend I have already started getting enquiries about when we will be running the next one and I have a sneaky feeling that we may have more people interested than the venue can hold.  With that in mind I really need to gauge the level of serious interest and then make the decision regarding whether to run one weekend or add a second to the calendar.

I'm looking at the weekend of 28-30th September in the first instance and if that fills up we will run again on the following weekend of 5-7th October.  If you would like to come then please let me know so I can pop you onto the list for when booking opens - no commitment, just a way to work out numbers and for you to get advance warning.

The venue is in Epping Forest, just a few mins away from jn 26 of the M25.  We keep the numbers capped at 14 in order to be able to offer high quality Masterclasses with maximum support.  The smaller size makes for a fun and friendly atmosphere where you can get to meet everyone and mix comfortably in a relaxed environment - perfect for crafting! 

We have tried our hardest to make the weekends great value for money and at just £225 all inclusive of meals, accomodation and 5 fab classes we think we've got it cracked.  You can spread the cost of the retreat by paying in instalments to suit your budget - just £25 secures your place once booking opens.

If you would like to go onto the list to be informed when the booking opens online then simply email

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Claire's Make & Takes

During the weekend of the Creativity Escape, Claire very kindly offered to run two make and take classes demonstrating Stampin' Up products.  They made a nice change of pace and gave everyone a chance to pop out of the main cropping room and create something small.

Claire is a very talented designer and we are very fortunate to have her share her talents with designs for Total Papercrafts.  She offered us two very different projects - a decorated mini milk carton and a super-cute Easter card with a spinning sheep decorating the front! 

The milk carton used one of the largest and one of the smallest stamps available from the catalogue together with a Sizzix die that takes all of the hard work out of creating these fab little cartons complete with folding pouring spout.  I can think of so many ways that this could be used - wedding favours, teacher gifts...the list goes on.  Claire slipped a Creme Egg into each carton as we made them, such a lovely touch and very typically kind of her.

The card was so cute it had everyone cooing over it and who would have guessed that it was made from some very simple punched shapes.  Claire made me look at my punches in a new light with this fun card!

If you would like more details about the projects shown here or would like to order from Stampin' Up then I'd be more than happy to forward any enquiries to Claire.

Just wanted to add that these were the ones Dave made in the session - not Claire's perfect versions!!

Monday, 26 March 2012

The things I learnt from the Creativity Escape!!

I know that this was a weekend where everyone had high hopes for the classes I had designed but I didn't expect that I come away having learned a few things myself. It was a really fun few days where there was so much laughter that a a few points I genuinely had tears streaming down my face (particularly at Sunday lunch while re-telling an experience Dave & I had in Paris years ago!).  The classes all went off without a hitch and we all discovered the joys (or not) of playing with beeswax, sprays and teeny, tiny pieces of watches - thankfully not on the same projects though.

We were blessed with sunshine the entire weekend which always keeps spirits high and being the only group using the venue we really could kick back and relax which was just what the doctor ordered.  We had two absolutely new scrapbookers on the weekend and I know it must have taken such a lot to dive into this sort of event but by the end of play on Sunday they were converted to the dark side and even talking about the next one!! Crazy chicks!!

Ok, so what did I learn........?

From Helena..... I learned that I'm not the only Harry Hill fan out there and that "Everybody loves Amanda Lamb!"

From Sarah......I learned that encouraging more dimensional scrapbooking can go too far - a 6 month baby is NOT an appropriate embellishment!! (Jane T's grandson Teddy popped in for a visit).

From Carolyn.....I learned that wine boxes seem to be bottomless but we gave it a blooming good go!

From Tracey.....I learned that there are other fairies in existence apart from the ones that visit our house - her one cleans all your Sizzix dies and in return she got a visit from the craft fairies who helped out with her Tim Holtz project!

From Wendy.....I learned that a husband's week Florida does NOT equal a weekend in Essex and so the credit card can legitimately be used in an effort to attempt to balance universal harmony!

From Mum.....I learned that 4.30 in the morning is absolutely a reasonable time to start drinking Jack Daniels and eating Cadburys buttons (she MADE me do it!!).

From Claire.....I learned that you need to get your priorities right - you fill the car to the brim with your craft stuff and cram your clothes etc for the weekend into a 10"x6" bag!!

From Marie.....I learned that Norfolk must have its own tropical micro climate because its apparently MUCH warmer there than in Essex!!

From Margaret.....I learned that South Shields is NOT Newcastle-upon-Tyne (I'll never make that mistake again despite the accent sounding exactly the same!!).

From Jane T.....I learned that "I love the way you moo" is now on my list of adverts you can't stop singing in your head!

From Jane L.....I learned exactly what teachers get up to when they are on strike!

From Sharon.....I learned not to be terrified of the prospect of having grandchildren at some distant point in time as her excitement over the arrival due in September was infectious!

From Cathy.....I leanred exactly how many bandages to apply to Helena's cut finger in order to make it stop spraying blood all over her work!

The staff at the venue learned that scrapbookers can also create amazing cards (thank you Claire for making that stunning card for the member of staff who was leaving) and thanks also to Sarah, Helena and Cathy for my gorgeous dimensional dress form card.

Everyone else learned from me that 1/2 a bottle of Evian and a few baby wipes are not sufficient to clean off chocolate sauce!! They also learned that I'm not really an early riser (I barely made breakfast both mornings!), that I can switch from chilled out and laid back to strict school mistress when I mix painkillers and wine and also that your projects sometimes have to go through a scary phase where they look really awful but they will come out the other side and look fab - honestly!!

If you weren't there this all must sound like madness but trust me it was so much fun that I didn't notice just how quickly it all flew by and before I knew it we were packing up.  The venue, food and accommodation were all great as usual and I was really happy with all of the five classes I had designed for the weekend. 

I'll just finish this post by saying thank you to a few people who worked behind the scenes to make this such a great event; Amber packed the kits and did such a great job we didn't have a single error with them; Dave put up with a house full of boxes of kits and shop stock in the past week and a crazy, stressed out wife who he didn't see too much of; Jack prepped some of the kit items for us and helped out with the boring domestic stuff which freed me up to concentrate on the retreat and finally our fabulous suppliers who stepped in to sort out problems with our orders so that we had them in time and also donated lovely things as gifts for everyone (they know who they are).

The Creativity Escape was so much fun I'm already thinking about doing it all over again ........ September anyone??

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Time to get excited!!

....until the Creativity Escape!!!

Everyone attending the weekend should have received an email today with lots of information.  If you haven't received it then please let me know and I can send it again or use an alternate email address (remember to check your spam folder!).  There was a lot of excitement last night at Essex club amongst the girls who are attending and I have to admit to feeling quite excited too.  While the planning and preparation for something like this can be a little stressful at times its a great feeling when it all comes together. 
So I'll be making the most of this one last sleep as I have a feeling I'll be having too much fun to get much sleeping done over the weekend! 

The final class peek for the Creativity Escape!!

 I can hardly believe it but here we are with our final class peek for the retreat this weekend.  Its been quite a journey getting to this point what with delayed shipments and then last minute substitutions but I have to say this is a gorgeous selection of classes in my opinion.  The final class fills the one obviously glaring hole in the classes so far - something feminine!  We are using the Sweet Nothings range from Kaisercraft and it came as no surprise when our suppliers told us that this range has been incredibly popular it had to be reprinted by the manufacturers!! 

The colour palette is soft peach, cream and green, so very pretty without being sickly sweet.  The class sample uses two 6" x 4" portrait photos and you'll need feminine photos or florals would work well.  This has been a popular ranage for weddings and I also think it would be lovely for baby pictures too - so quite a range of themes to choose from.

The kit includes; cardstock, 3 sheets of double sided patterned paper, a pack of rub-ons, an acrylic stamp, large paper roses, a pack of fabric leaves, fine pearl strand and a piece of acetate.

You will need to bring; soft pink and light beige inkpads (the sample used Distress Inks in Victorian Velvet and Tea Dye), a strong wet adhesive, a black permanent inkpad (but we have a cheat for that if you don't have one!!), a lolly stick or tool to apply rub-ons, decorative edge punches.

Available in the class to use will be a selection of punch around the page decorative punches.

In case you can't wait, here is a little taste of what we will be up to in the class......

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Total Papercrafts kit 2 for March

Our second kit for March has caused us loads of headaches as it seems we chose one of this year's most popular releases from My Mind's Eye - the Rhonna Farrer 'Be Unique' range.  We had originally preordered an embellishment from the range to go with the papers we had chosen only to be sold that it had been discontinued.  Time was pressing on so we quickly chose another embellishment from the range - you guessed it, that and EVERY other co-ordinating embellishment has now been discontinued.  Now, you might find a little bit of this in stores we needed HUNDREDS of these items so it ws back to the drawing board and quick!!

I have had a love affair with Washi tape for quite some time, not the DIY version but the proper Japanese tape that has a unique feel and translucency to it.  Its very difficult to get the real stuff in bulk without having to buy thousands of rolls and while I love it, I don't think I love it that much!  I approached an amazing online store who agreed to source it on our behalf and they really pulled out all the stops.  So we have a full roll of 'proper' washi tape in the kit for you this month.  I also sourced some fabulous vintage wooden school rulers, something I'd had in the back of my mind for quite some time.  So out of neccessity we have ended up with a really cool and very on trend kit for this month.

So I am sorry that the kit sample is very late being posted this time but the kit contents arrived on Tuesday afternoon which left me less than 24 hours to get it designed.  Those attending Essex club will have the instructions printed off and waiting at club - just let us know that you are attending as per usual.

The kit is in soft shades of kraft, white, soft blue, grey and yellow - very fresh and spring-like in feel and so very easy to match to a single 6" x 4" portrait photo.  There is no theme, the only text in the kit is on one of the papers which says 'unique' but every person, photo and event is unique so you have a pretty wide scope.  The title on the sample was added uing the alphabet from one of last month's kits but you can very easily cut one from the card and/or patterned paper remaining in the kit.

The kit contains; cardstock, 3 sheets of double sided patterned paper, a roll of washi tape, a wooden ruler, a length of grey satin ribbon, a sheet of bespoke stickers, cocktail sticks and natural hemp twine.  The kit also contains a unique discount code to use at www,  for all Total Papercrafts kit subscribers - check out the gorgeous range of colours and designs they have in stock and you too may find yourself falling in love with it!!

You will need to bring along a black inkpad, strong wet adhesive, a decorative border punch and a medium butterfly punch if you have one. The punches used to create the sample will be available to use at club.  The sample also used Distress Inks in Scattered Straw and Mustard seed to create the coloured butterflies but any co-ordinating tones of ink would work just as well.

We hope that the dramas to finally bring you this kit were worth it and we were really pleased to receive kit 1 for April today as well so hopefully we can get cracking right away!!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

4th Creativity Escape class peek!

Our 4th class peek for the retraet this weekend is for those who enjoy getting really inky, spritzy and messy fingers!!  This is an artsy layout to the max!  We will start with some gorgeously soft and subtle patterned paper and then using gesso, masks, inks, sprays and water we will change it into a gorgeous grungy background - but don't panic, you are in control so you can keep it gently distressed or go all out!  Throw in some chipboard gears, metal cogs and real vintage watchparts and you have the makings of a couple of hours of full-on fun.  The sample design uses a single 6" x 4" portrait photo which was changed to black and white with a high contrast (strong images will work best for this class).  The theme is very loose but the clock parts and gears lead more towards a 'time' based title for your photo which could be pretty much anything you want to scrapbook.

The kit contains; cardstock, 2 sheets of double sided patterned paper, a mask, a pack of chipboard gears, a piece of muslin fabric, metal gears, vintage clock pieces, cotton tape, a whole pack of green flowers and some white flowers.

You will need to bring; a short bristled brush to use for stencilling with paint, a water spritz bottle, a heat gun, a black ink pad.  If you have inks and/or shimmer sprays in greens/yellows/blues you might want to bring them so you don't have to wait to share the class equipment.

Available to use in class will be; Sizzix cogs dies (to save tedious cutting of paper to cover the chipboard cogs in the kit!), metallic rub-on creams, gesso, shimmer sprays, Distress Stain.  We will also have an alphabet die available so you can cut your own bespoke title for your page.

Here is a smattering of what we have in store.......

Monday, 19 March 2012

3rd Creativity Escape peek!

Our third class for the retreat this coming weekend features the brand new Simple Stories 'Documented' line released at CHA a few months ago but literally hot off the presses!  The rich cream and classic black designs are super easy to match to any type of photo both for colour and theme.  The text on the papers focusses on memories, love, living in the moment etc... so very simple to find the two 6" x 4" portrait photos needed for this class.

We will be playing with the fabulous kraft glassine paper from Tim Holtz which you can stamp on, ink, glimmer spray and emboss before die cutting it to make flowers!  Tons of fun to be had by all!  We'll be making more fab embellishments for the class page as well, worth getting out the flags for! We are talking layers and layers of fun and swirls......

The kit contains; cardstock, 4 sheets of double sided patterned papers, a pack of crystal swirls, 4 sheets of Tim Holtz kraft glassine paper, black lace, punched kraft card and a paper swirl template.

You will need to bring along; black, red and green inkpads (sample used Distress Inks in Black Soot, Barn Door and Peeled Paint), a heat gun, 3d foam pads/tape, a strong wet adhesive, water spray bottle.  If you have any of the metallic rub-on creams (the kind that look like a strip of round eyeshadows) then pop these in your bag too!

Available to use in the class; Sizzix embossing folders, Sizzix Tattered Florals and swirl dies, shimmer spray and metallic rub-on creams

Here is a sneaky peek of the finished design.....

Friday, 16 March 2012

Creativity Escape class 2!!

Our second class for the Creativity Escape is full of vintage style and perfect for some of the hardest photos to scrapbook - school portraits!! I don't know just how they do it but school photos always seem to look a bit awkward.  For that reason they aren't among the most popular photos to use but we all have them and need to do something meaningful with them.  So grab a 6" x 4" print from the pile and show it some love in this class.

The kit contains; 3 double sided Graphic 45 papers pack of co-ordinating Graphic 45 chipboard tags, Graphic 45 brass door knob and backplate, die-cut journaling boxes, ribbon, brads and eyelets (the grey paw in the top right corner isn't included I'm afraid - thats just Lily being nosey!!).

You will need to bring; a black ink pad, a small piece of medium sandpaper,  3d foam tape, eyelet punch & setting tools (cropodile or hammer, large punch and setting mat).

Here is a peek at the finished project.....

If you don't have a school photo that you want to use then any 'childhood' photo, pic of reading with/to children, playtime photo etc would work really well.  Please don't fret if you're not sure if you have the right picture, the layout can be assembled in class and a photo added later.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A cracking discovery!

On our way to Kent club last night we stopped off at Bluewater for something to eat and while I was there I popped into Boots as I needed some white nail polish just for touching up my tips (as you do!!).  I grabbed what was the cheapest as it was only to be a stop gap and I have to admit that I didnt really pay much attention to what I had picked up apart from the fact that it was white.  When we got home I sat down to unwind and relax and decided to try out my purchase - something really weird started to happen!! The colour almost instantly began cracking on my nails and dried quickly with a thick, matte finish.  It looked AWFUL on my nails, suddenly my bargain buy didn't look that great a deal any more!

Obviously, being a crafter the creative cogs instantly began to spin - if it did that on my nails, how would it look on something like chipboard?  Despite it being really late I just HAD to try it out.  My first attempt on plain chipboard did not crack but gave a lovely opaque white painted finish.  Not to be out-foxed by a nail polish I had one more go but this time I smeared a really thin coat of adhesive over the chipboard pieces first.  Success! The crack was almost instant, it was super thick and there were no issues with worrying about painting over areas with the colour on previously.  Check this out......

 Doesn't it create a great effect? I have only had the chance to do these samples and haven't experimented further as I'm really snowed under with stuff right now and having to be very careful after my back went again last week.  I'm sure I'll be playing round with this again soon though - I'm thinking about adding shimmer spray over the top or a little rub 'n' buff perhaps??

So if you are as impressed as I was with this then here is the product to look for, it doesn't say anywhere on it that its a crackle nail polish although the design on the cap might have been a clue (I just thought it was a really arty design!).  I seem to recall it came in other colours as well and all for the princely sum of £3!!

Monday, 12 March 2012

A brand new member of our Essex club!

I am bouncing up and down with excitement right now as I am so pleased to let you all know that Lindsey from our Total Papercrafts club in Essex gave birth to her miracle baby boy this evening at 7.28pm. Samuel John weighs in at 5lb 8oz and is absolutely gorgeous!!

I am so very pleased for Lindsey and her family as its been quite a journey for her to get to this point and those of us who are closer to her have witnessed her go through quite a bit of heartbreak along the way. This pregnancy hasn't been without its trial but Lindsey has remained so positive and has relished every moment that took her nearer to meeting her little miracle.

Since receiving the text telling us her waters broke at 2am this morning, there's been a group of her girlfriends buying their nails waiting for updates! It feels like we've been in labour with her (ok, not that bad but it's been stressful!) so it was with huge relief we finally heard that her little man had arrived safe and well.

Lindsey has shared a few pics but I need to check with her if it's ok to add one here. Rest assured, he is beautiful and has stunning dark eyes - a heart throb in the making!! (Edited to say I got the ok to post this!!).

If anyone was meant to be a mummy it is Lindsey and I'm sure you'll join me in sending her loads of love and every best wish possible as she embarks on one of the most amazing love affairs she will ever have. I can't wait for the cuddles so my fingers are crossed that we can meet him at club next week!!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

I have had so much fun playing with the project class kit for our Creativity Escape, I've spent the entire weekend getting inky and waxy! I absolutely LOVE the finished project and after searching extensively on the web I'm pretty sure that what I've created is unique. I have popped a peek of the result of my labours onto the Total Papercrafts Facebook page if you'd like to take a look it's deliberately not showing the entire piece or what I have done to create my project but you will get a flavour. For those who are coming to the Creativity Escape, details for the class are in the previous post. I would reccommend an apron as wax can be difficult to remove from clothing. A pack of wet wipes are always useful for weekends like this and I'd also suggest a heat resustant craft mat and a kitchen roll. These things willbe useful not just for this class but for a couple of others as well. If you don't already follow us on Facebook our page is at

Friday, 9 March 2012

Sneaky Peek at the Creativity Escape project!!

The first class for the Creativity Escape weekend will be a project (as usual) and we will be playing with all sorts of different products in this kit full of goodies! We will be creating a Tim Holtz configurations box but as usual with any of or classes we will not be using it as it is - we will be making something else!!  We usually start the weekend with the bigger project as it is something that you can go back to between classes and work on.

Using the box, Tim Holtz paper, vintage book paper, beeswax, tape and oodles of charms and hardware we will put together a decorative piece that can be 'arty' or simple - you can choose to take this any way you like.  You might want to use this as a memory of a special trip, event or person and can add small photos, memorabilia and trinkets from your own stash although you will have plenty in the kit to make something stunning without the need for any additions.

The kit contains; configurations box, Tim Holtz paper, vintage book paper, glass bottles, lightbulb, muse token, enalled number plate, clock hands/spinners, mini wire hangers, tape, beeswax, pegs, chipboard and a few more bits and bobs!

You will need a natural bristle brush (not a synthetic as we will be working with hot wax, these are available very cheaply in budget stores), metal mini brads, heat gun, distress ink pads in a selection of browns and a permanent black ink pad. 

If you don't have any of these items then just let me know and I can get them in and reserve them in the shop in your name.  Are you getting excited yet??!!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Technique video for our March kit 1

One of the techniques in the first kit for this month uses part of the zipper trim we have included to create ribbon 'flowers'.  This is something that we have done before but it must have been around 2 years ago and we have had lots of new subscribers and club members since then.  I thought it would be helpful to repost the video I made showing how to create the flowers - just substitute the fabric zipper trim for the ribbon and you will quickly have a fab embellishment!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Total Papercrafts March kit 1

Its been a struggle but I finally managed to get the sample design finished for our March kit 1!  There are loads of layers and textures going on here together with quite a few fun techniques to play with. 

I used two 6" x 4" portrait photos but you could use a combination of sizes and/or numbers of pics to work with this design.  The theme is pretty generic but I decided to include a die-cut Tim Holtz Sizzix clock to highlight the clock elements on the papers. 

The kit includes; cardstock, corrugated card, 16 sheets of patterned paper, a whole box of co-ordinating flowers, length of white zipper, chipboard clock.

You will also need; a beige inkpad (the sample used Distress Ink in Antique Linen), paint brush, metallic rub-ons or gold pen, pearls/brads for flower centres, decorative border punches

If you attending any of our clubs we will be providing gesso to paint your chipboard and die-cuts and the punches used for the sample will be available to use.

Hope you like what we have designed for you this month, hopefully I'm on the mend and the next kit will be a little more timely!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

March kit 1 contents

I've had a very impatient wait for the products for our 1st kit for March and they were certainly worth the wait!! The kit contains 16 sheets of 6x6 patterned paper and a whole box of flowers from the droolworthy Prima Almanac line. 

The delivery was delayed and only arrived yesterday which coincided with me being completely incapacitated after my back went on Sunday night.  I have seen the doctor and have new medication which is working albeit slowly so I will set to on the sample design for the kit as soon as physically possible.  Rest assured it will be done in time for Essex club tomorrow!

In the meantime, feel free to swoon over this gorgeous kit!!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Oooooh - limited stock available now!!

I had a surprise delivery today and when I opened the box I found it contained the brand new Tim Holtz 'Compendium of Curiosities' Volume 2!!  We have a very limited number of copies available and they are on the website right now. 

You can be one of the very first to grab a copy of this fab new book at