Thursday, 26 April 2012

Stamp storage on the cheap

One of my favourite things to do is to browse stationery shops, I love cruising through the aisles of bits and bobs that have an office use but then being inspired to use them in my craft.  I can't pass a stationers without taking a peek - its like a challenge to find weird things and use them in cool ways.  Sometimes its just a simple purchase that can make my life a little easier, thats where this simple ring binder stepped in!
I was in my all-time favourite stationers Paperchase yesterday and came across a shelf full of these small folders.  Unusually for a ring binder never mind a small one, these have three rings in them.  Immediately I thought of my Stamper's Anonymous Tim Holtz stamps, they have three holes in each card!!  At just £2.50 for the clear folder (they also have kraft and black for a little more) I thought it was worth taking a chance on them fitting.  When I got home I did another happy dance when they went in like a dream (lots of happy dancing just lately!!). 
I have 6 sets of stamps in this one and I think thats about it.  The 'official' Tim stamp binder is over 8 times the price of this and only holds around 10 sets of stamps so I really feel like I've hit on something fab here.  I'll be making a beeline back to Paperchase for at least one more - then I'll have the perfect excuse to get some more stamps!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

New Distress Inks!!

Today on the Ranger blog they announced that they are releasing another set of the seasonal Distress Inks!  I am in heaven - just look at these amazing colours, they make me think of daffodils and bluebells.  I am doing a little happy dance because it seemed to be a long gap between the Winter set and now but it was well worth the wait!  But the good news doesn't end there.....check these out.....

They have finally taken on board the feedback from us crafters and have created reinkers for this limited edition set.  And it doesn't stop there.....
....they are producing reinkers for each of the two previous limited edition sets!!  Now I'm doing a huge happy dance!!  Rest assured that as soon as they are available I'll be getting some in for the shop, let me know if you would like to pre-order a set.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Ooh love me some Vintaj!!

Like most crafters I am always keen to see newer products on the market and something that caught my eye was the range of charms and jewellery by Vintaj.  The range is under the Ranger umbrella so you know its going to be good stuff and there are quite a few fab products in the line!

I am very partial to charms for embellishing my scrapbook pages and projects and so of course I was keen to see the gorgeous Vintaj range but I became very excited when I saw they have patinas and a glaze which can be used to colour and alter metals.  I can feel all sorts of fab things whizzing around my head already! 

There is a new video available showing how to use the patinas and glaze so I thought I'd show you what I'm talking about....

While I don't think I would necessarily wear the samples shown as pieces of jewellery or choose some of the colour combinations, I can see all sorts of potential here!  What do you think?

Monday, 23 April 2012

World Book night is tonight!!

As well as today being St Georges day, it is finally the launch of this year's World Book night!!

Why April 23rd?April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is both the birth and death day of Shakespeare, as well as the death day of Cervantes, the great Spanish novelist. It is in their honour that UNESCO appointed it the international day of the book and that was a reason it was chosen it to celebrate World Book Night. April 23rd also marks the city of Barcelona's celebration of St George's Day. St George is the patron saint of Catalonia as well as England and traditionally, to celebrate this day, Spanish gentlemen gave their ladies roses and the ladies returned the favour with a book. Considering the rich literary history of this day, it seemed more than fitting that April 23rd should be chosen as the day of celebrating reading and the giving of books!

What is happening?
There are all sorts of events taking place across the country this evening but the biggest of all is that hundreds of 'givers' will be giving away 24 copies each of one of their favourite titles from a list of 25.  I had 24 copies of 'Room' to give away and have started giving these away to club members in Essex and Kent.  I love this book, its such a compelling read that the first time I read it I did so in 2 days and so I am really excited to give this away and share my love of reading. 
As well as the book giveaway, there are loads of other WBN events taking place today including the 'flagsip' event in London at the Southbank Centre.  Authors and celebrities will be reading from their own or favourite books and much more.  This will be followed by the After Party with comedy, spoken word and music in a cabaret setting and finally 'Readings by Candlelight' where Shakespeare's sonnets will be read to celebrate the birthday of the bard.  If you can't make it to London you can still join in the celebration by watching it live on the WBN website from 7.15pm this evening.  You can find the website here

I really hope you find the time today to grab a book and make a little quiet time for yourself to just read and if you received one of my copies of 'Room' then let me know what you think of it!

Happy World Book Night everyone!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Distress Ink goodies!!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Distress Ink and my kit instructions usually include the details of Distress Ink colours I have used - I can't help myself, I just love this range of colours and the qualities of this ink! 

I have stacks of these fab inkpads piled up one on top of the other.  The only small niggle I have is that the ink colour is listed on the top and bottom of each pad but when they are stacked I can't see either. One quiet evening I did sit and print off some of the ink names using an electronic label maker but of course the dratted thing ran out halfway through and its proving difficult to find a refill.  So I'm left with some of my inkpads labelled and some not and I don't want different labels on some by switching to my Dymo labeller. 

Ok, so this isn't the worst crafting issue in the world but its irritating!  I was browsing around onlie today and popped onto the Ranger website (they of course make Distress Ink) and I found that not only have they now released a colour swatch chart but they also have printable labels!! 

The swatch chart will be so useful as I can see all of the colours in the range easily and quickly find a match but I can also tick off those that I own so I don't end up with duplicates.  It'll be so easy to print this off and keep it in my bag so its always to hand. 

The labels are a fantastic idea, all of the ink colours are there - including the limited edition seasonal colours!! I just need to pop a sheet of sticker paper into my printer, click print and then cut them into strips.  This is so much cheaper than using my label maker and they will all look the same, niggle sorted!! 

If you'd like to download the swatch chart and the labels you can find them here Guess what I'll be doing today?!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Great baby page ideas

This week has been 'Baby Week' over at 'write, click, scrapbook' which is a wonderful blog that I visit regularly.  They provide inspiration for journaling (write), photography (click) and layouts (scrapbook!!) every day.  I thought I'd share this fab site with everyone particularly as we have had a rash of new babies born recently!!

I loved the ideas for baby related layouts that was today's post and the fab idea for mama-razzi style photo shoots which was posted on Wednesday this week.  I know that scrapbooking is probably the last thing on your mind when you have a newborn but grabbing photos is crucial as little ones can very quickly become big ones!!  The fab idea of putting a large sticker showing baby's age in months on a plain white babygro is just genius and is something that you could do each month throughout the first year for wonderful pictures showing development and growth.  I also think that the simple tips for getting good baby shots were also great and very helpful - we sometimes need all the help we can get!

You can find this brilliant blog by clicking here and then grab your camera and snap those babies!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Please support Wendy!!

Anyone who has attended our Essex club or attended our first retreat weekend last year will know Wendy Maslen - to be honest she is so lovely and fun you can't have missed her!  This year Wendy chose the word 'Complete' as her word to live by and among lots of things (including completing all of her club scrapbook kits!) she set her heart on completing the Virgin London Marathon.  This wasn't a selfish wish, she wanted to set herself a real challenge that involved raising money for Havens Hospices including Little Havens - the childrens' hospice. 

All through the cold, dark winter months, Wendy set out training and turned from a non-runner to a marathon athlete!  Her determination to complete her goal has been really incredible and those of us who are fortunate to be friends with her have been in awe of her throughout her training.  Just the thought of running 26 miles freaks me out but I have no doubt that Wendy will complete it this weekend and do herself proud.

I want to ask you something special, can you give some thought to donating to Wendy's fundraining?  She has an official fundraising page so its really easy to do - and its all official so you know that the money is going to go directly to the charity.  Havens Hospice is local to us here in Southend-on-Sea, Essex but they offer respite care and support to anyone who needs their unique care and facilities.  We have a number of club members who have had direct experience with the amazing work done by the staff at Havens and I'm sure that they are better equipped than I am to tell you just how well any donations will be used. 

Please support Wendy in her efforts to run the London Marathon and raise money for this amazing cause.  You can donate directly through her fundraising page here

Thank you so much and COME ON WENDY!!!xxx

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Something else for free!!

Do you do anything to celebrate National Scrapbook day? (Did you even know that there was a National Scrapbook day??!!).  Well, its traditionally the first Saturday in May and is usually marked by lots of crops and online classes held all over the place both in the UK and overseas.  I can't often give up an entire day at the weekend to sit and craft but I see all these fun events going on sometimes wish I had joined in at least some of it!

So just today I came across an online crop being held over at Big Picture Classes that looks like it'll be pretty good.  They have scheduled 12 hours of scrapbooking fun with a new challenge each hour, live chats with designers and some amazing giveaways.  The best bit - all of this is completely FREE!!!  I registered last year and received an email each hour of the crop giving me some great ideas, inspiration and a challenge to complete.  I can't scrapbook to a fast deadline - some of my pages take hours (or even days) for me to feel happy with them so there was no way I could complete some of the challenges but there was lots to get me thinking. 

I have decided to sign up once again and who knows, I may even find some time to sit down and join in some of the fun this year!  The time difference between here and the US means that everything happens a bit later in the day for us here which suits me just fine!  If you fancy joining in the fun or just receiving the email prompts and ideas then why not sign up by clicking here and then click on the 'purchase' button at the bottom of the page - don't worry, it really is free!!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Free books!

I am so excited! I have just received a delivery of 24 copies of an amazing book to give away completely free!
I applied a few months ago to be a 'giver' for 'World Book Night' which is a nationwide event on 23rd April each year dedicated to spreading the word about amazing books and to encourage people to read more.  If you have children at school you will probably already have experienced World Book Day which is aimed at encouraging children to read more.  World Book Night has developed from this and is specifically aimed at adult reading.  I was so pleased and surprised to be selected as one of only 800 givers across the country to give away one of my favourite titles from their list and my title is 'Room' by Emma Donoghue.
As part of my application I had to give a detailed plan of how I intended to give my copies of the book away.  My idea was to link this with the Total Papercrafts scrapbook club nights and give the books away to crafters.  I have had fun and interesting chats at my clubs about books we have recently read and there have been a few conversations about starting a book club - so why not?  I thought it would be a great way to kick things off and share a great book title at the same time.  Obviously WBN thought so too because they selected me.
So, I will be giving away free copies of 'Room' to club members who attend the Essex club night tomorrow night.  I can only give copies to those who are actually attending and can't 'save' or post copies out to anyone.  After this event I will also be giving away copies at the next Kent club night.  I really hope you can make it to club tomorrow night, not only a great night of scrapbooking but a free book too!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Total Papercrafts kit 2 for April

Our second kit for April is crammed full of colour, perfect for these lighter, brighter days with more sunshine!  We have offset the colour with a solid black which really makes everything pop.  The technique this time is creating gorgeous dimensional flowers and leaves using 'Clearly for Art' plastic which can be combined with patterned paper to create stunning shapes that are rigid and have a high gloss.

The sample uses a single 6" x 4" portrait photo but could easily be adapted to accommodate a landscape photo.  While colourful, the patterned papers in the kit are muted slightly so they will work well with so many dfferent types of photographs and themes.  The sticker set included features words such as ' wonderful', 'friend', 'joy', laughter', dreams' and 'time together' so you can see its a really adaptable kit for just about any photo.

The kit includes: cardstock, 4 sheets of patterned papers (including embossed, foiled and glittered), a pack of embossed stickers, a piece of 'Clearly for Art' film, crystals and a paper template.

You will also need, a black inkpad, a border punch set, flower and leaf dies (these can be hand cut if you don't have suitable dies), a heat gun, 11" circle template or a large dinner plate, decorative scissors. I would also recommend that you have some tweezers to hand as the plastic can get a bit warm when moulding it.

I have fallen in love with Clearly for Art and can lots of uses for it both in my scrapbooking and maybe even in jewellery!  This medium is so simple to use and the effects are really quick to achieve.  As a bonus, if you don't like how you have shaped something, you simply reheat it and it will return to its original flat shape - that certainly takes the stress out of using something new!!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Check out Tim's new website!!

Have you seen Tim Holtz has a new website??!! It combines everything he posts online in one place which makes them super easy to find.  He has links to his blog, his youTube videos, his online store and way more.  I spent a happy few hours today browsing through his stuff and watching vids that I hadn't found before.

If you want to go and check it out then simply click here and enjoy!!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

New Masterclass details.....

As you may know, we run regular Masterclasses all over the SouthEast of England and are now starting to spread further afield.  The details of the 5th class in our current series have just gone onto our dedicated page together with photo sizes, a list of additional tools required and the kit contents.  To find out more about this class simply click on the 'iScrap Masterclasses' link above ^

We are coming to the end of the current cycle so now is a great time to think about getting together a group of friends and booking in for the next series!  All you need is a group of 6 or more, a table to work around and a commitment to take all 6 classes - we will come to you and bring the kits, tools and everything else we used to create the sample design.  It really is that simple to get classes in your own home at a time that suits you!

If you are interested then get in touch by emailing and we can talk about fitting you into our schedule. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

October retreat sold out!

We had a bit of a funny feeling that this might happen - the October retreat weekend has sold out! The good news is that we still have spaces on the September retreat so me need to panic if you are still trying to sort things out before booking. The September delegates will get to see the 5 Masterclasses first - bonus!! You can reserve your place at

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Creativity Escape dates confirmed!

Since returning from our last Creativity Escape a few weeks ago we have been inundated with enquiries regarding our future dates.  I proposed a couple of dates - one in September and a second in October and the idea has been really positively received.  So much so in fact that we have decided to run weekend retreats on in BOTH months rather than pick one over the other!

The original dates we were interested in are no longer suitable or available due to subsequent bookings and so we have finalised the dates as follows:

Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd September 2012


Friday 19th - Sunday 21st October 2012

Owing to the popularity of our events we expect places on these weekends to sell very quickly, particularly in light of the fact that we deliberately keep our numbers limited to a maximum of 16.  The smaller group size allows us to offer Masterclasses which are often technique based, lower numbers mean we can readily offer support where it may be needed.  Small groups integrate quickly and makes it very easy for everyone to get to know each other and make friends - our retreats are well known for being extremely friendly!

Both weekends will feature identical classes - 5 brand new Masterclasses with kits stuffed full of products which we will show you how to combine to create 4 scrapbook layouts  and 1 project.  Previous projects have included unique spool albums and altered Configurations boxes - fabulous items that can be used to showcase photos and memorabilia.

Our retreats are all-inclusive - you pay one price and it includes a shared room (single rooms attract an additional £20 subsidy), all meals from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon tea, 5 Masterclasses, unlimited use of a dedicated cropping room and an on-site shop.  There's no mad scrabble to get places in classes or hidden extras - all for just £225!

The September and October retreats will be held at Debden House, Loughton, Essex - just a few mins from junction 26 of the M25.  This venue is a local authority education centre with a great cropping room that is well lit both day and night.  The rooms are simple and clean and the food is home-style and cooked on site with vegetarian options offered at all meals - specific dietary requirements can be accommodated with notice. 

We are taking bookings now via our shop website by clicking here and we look forward to seeing you there!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Dabble with Digi for free!

There are those of us who love the tangible aspect of scrapbooking - the inks, paints and adhesive, the crinkle of paper and the ability to alter and distress things to suit our taste and style.  There is another group who love the flexibility and freedom offered by digital scrapbooking. Digi scrapping offers the ability to alter colours, sizes and orientation of papers. In the middle are the hybrid scrappers who take a little bit of both and blend them together. 
If you haven't tried digital or hybrid scrapbooking then now miight be the time, particularly when the digital side of things can be downloaded for free!  Jessica Sprague offers fabulous digital classes and downloads and from time to time she offers them for free - right now she has a complete digital kit to download free of charge.  The kit includes templates for 3 box templates as well as printable tags, a word overlay and loads of patterned papers.
You can download the entire kit completely free of charge by clicking here
Have fun and let us know what you create with the kit!!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Total Papercrafts kit 1 for April

Kit 1 for April uses the brand spanking new 'Magpie' range from Jenni Bowlin which includes paper with the hottest trend in papercrafting - chevrons! Graphic designs aren't our usual style so it was a nice challenge to try to incorporate these designs into our designs and we love the end result.  The papers and stickers in the kit include lots of small images which cried out to be used on a 'bits & pieces' themed layout.  The sticker sheet includes flash cards, cardstock buttons, index tabs and oodles of alphabet stickers.  If you're not keen on the chevron pattern then just flip the paper over to reveal a pretty soft green paper with small red flower print, its such a versatile kit in that respect.

We used two 6" x 4" landscape photos which featured colours from the papers - you have red, soft blue and green on a cream base so lots to choose from. 

The kit includes; cardstock, 3 double sided patterned papers, a sheet of Magpie stickers, a pack of roses, gold ribbon, paper templates, decorative jouranling blocks and a large paper doily.

You will need; beige and red inkpads (sample used Distress Ink in Antique Linen and Festive Berries), large decorative border punch, shape punches (butterfly and flowers).

Grab a couple of photos and lets have fun creating some 'bits & pieces'!!

Another new member of our Essex club!!

I am a few days late in making this announcement but I wanted to wait for the photos - Melissa gave birth to her beautiful daughter Amelia on 28th March shortly before lunchtime.  She weighed in at 3.61kgs and as well as being the spitting image of her mum, she has the most gorgeous head of hair! 

Its been a long journey for Melissa and Glen to finally get to hold their precious daughter and little sister for Ben and I'm sure you'll join us all in sending them loads of love and congratulations.  I can't wait to have a cuddle and get all broody again!

So it looks like all the babies due to club members have now safely arrived, we just need to wait a few years until they can safely hold a pair of scissors and they'll be crafting along with the rest of us.  Congratulations once again and welcome to club Amelia!!