Monday, 31 January 2011

CHA Day 2

Gosh, this is exhausting work - the halls at CHA are huge, I haven't even scratched the surface yet. It is surprisingly quiet and calm to wander around, you are not jammed up with a crowd of people. The booths of the big companies are huge, and so beautifully laid out - more of that tomorrow. I came across this delightful husband and wife team, her name is Kelly Panacci and I loved her story. She used to design for Sandylion, who of course have ceased to trade. Without a lot of hope or expectations, they submitted some of her designs to K & Company, and she was accepted. Her new Valentine stack is her first one for them. They were clearly so delighted to be designing for one of the biggest crafting companies, it was quite heartwarming, and they were just lovely. Her stack is in the stores now, here are a few of the samples to inspire you - I have the range, and love it. Not just for Valentines...

Here's a shot of all the Tim Holtz Alterations dies, there are a couple of new ones on there for CHA, but I am not sure which ones they are

Then we headed over to the Provocraft stand to look at the brand new Cricut Expression 2, which they are calling the Anniversary edition. According to the chap I was talking to, it will be released in very limited numbers in April, and when those are gone, he was not sure when they would be in production again........why? I haven't a clue. Could be a clever marketing strategy to whip up a buyers frenzy.
Basically, as you can see, you will no longer need overlays, it is all touch screen operation. It will take the Imagine cartridges, as well as all the existing regular cartridges. The retail price point is $399.
I thought it was a neat machine, I did think that the moulded touch screen was a design flaw, it would look so much more streamlined if that flipped down when not in use. In the photo, it looks as if they have reverted to the more sturdy metal blade housing, but when we raised this specific point, he said that it was in fact plastic, the metal one was in just for the show. You can see in the photo, a regular cartridge slotted in on the left, and an imagine cartridge on the right. It has WiFi capability, so we assumed that this meant that if you were designing on your computer with the new Craft Room software (more about that tomorrow), you could cut with the Expression2 without hooking up to the computer. This was just an assumption, I will try and find out tomorrow. There is a light by the blade, which really helped to see exactly where on the mat you were cutting - useful with centre point I would have thought

Every day, they have events on the stand. You are given a ticket, which has to be stamped by a member of staff when you have completed certain demos and make-and-takes. They then hold a draw every afternoon, where all the completed, signed tickets are thrown into a revolving drum and names pulled out. These people are then invited to spin the wheel (behind Jinger), and if they are really really lucky, they get to win the prize against the pointer when the wheel stops spinning. One lucky person won an Imagine, there were lots of magazine subscriptions, and if you were really unlucky, you just got a high five from the large green acrylic animal to the left of the photo.

Talking of large green acrylic animals, here I am with my new bedtime buddy, which was in the goody bag from the gala - a lot of you wanted to know what was in the bags - well here he is, and a tee shirt, and cartridge - I think this will become my avatar photo, me and Cricky having a good time

Sunday, 30 January 2011

CHA Day 1

Hi everyone - waving at you all from Hollywood! Here we are the Scrappy Go Lucky team with some blonde who has attached herself to the team. I don't think her talents are necessarily craft related though, so I don't think we'll keep her for long.......... from left to right, Diane (Capadia), Jane (Scossie Jane), some dumb blonde, think her name is Marilyn, Mandy (owner of Scrappy-go-Lucky), and moi

This was one of my classes yesterday, the Hero Arts Stamp Boot camp. They revisited a lot of techniques like resist embossing, but managed to put a new twist to it. I will blog the cards we made later.....
and here I am with Shari Carroll - this is for Kath, one of my best crafty buddies, Shari is one of her idols.... she was totally charming and fun to talk to

and just to make Kath seriously jealous and putting a very good friendship to the test, look who else I met......... yes, Lord Timothy himself

and flying the flag for the UK, here they are, the Craftwork Cards team, their booth looked great as it always does, and they had to bring all that stuff over in suitcases!

In the evening we went to the Provocraft gala, celebrating the 5th birthday of the Cricut expression. They had a team of hip hop dancers, and to everyone's surprise/amazement/shock, Jim Thornton the CEO of Provocraft joined in and did quite a nifty little hip hop number, even spinning round on the floor at one time. He was quite a good little mover actually, and that guy ceratinly doesn't fit the usual pinstriped image of a CEO

and here's Jinger, the spokesperson for Provocraft who does all their TV stuff, getting in on the act as well

and finally, three rather tired and happy peeps, clutching their goody bags from the gala....

I promise that tomorrow I will post some inspirations for you, there are wonderful samples and ideas here, and I am snapping away like crazy, just haven't time to edit and post everything yet.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Airport Adventures - Part 1

Well I was all ready to go to the airport yesterday morning, and before packing up the laptop had a quick look at my emails. 'Your flight to Newark NJ has been cancelled' gulp. So I called Continental, and they managed to re-route me via Frankfurt/Houston Texas/LA. Nothing in my life is ever straightforward. The plane to Frankfurt arrived on time, and I have a prestigious award to give to Frankfurt airport. 'The most horrible airport in the world award'. It's one of those where they park the plane, and you get on a bendy bus, and go careering off, honestly it was miles to the terminal. Then when you get there, you have to walk miles back, up and down stairs, lugging your hand luggage, to roughly where you picked up the bus.

I seemed to be wearing something that sent all the buzzy warning things crazy, so I was patted up and down very thoroughly about five times. I am all for security, but it does seem ridiculous to have two women standing side by side, one of them asked all sorts of questions, along the usual lines of 'did you pack this bag yourself' etc. She then put a little sticker on my boarding card, and directed me to the next person, who patted me down again and asked me exactly the same questions - they were standing right next to each other. By this time I was tired and cross, so was quite grumpy with them, well very grumpy actually, I don't think they liked me much

Then the Frankfurt plane was late, and we had to get on another bendy bus for miles, but the plane they were taking us to wasn't there either - they had to divert to Ireland for a sick passenger. So we all sat on the bendy bus for an hour, before it drove off and went careering around looking for a plane we could get on to........................... so of course, when we got to Houston after another long 11 hour flight, all the connnecting flights had long gone, so here I am, tired out, writing this from a hotel room. My next flight takes off at 7 in the morning, I do hope there are no unscheduled dramas with this one..... I'll be dumping my stuff in the apartment and going straight to CHA
Talk to you tomorrow

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Hugs and Kisses for Penny Black Challenge

I haven't had time to do a challenge for yonks, so when I saw that the challenge over on the
Penny Black site this week was using something new, well, how could I resist - out came the Letraset airbrush again!
I love this little stamped image, it is perfect for quick cards as you hardly need to do any colouring. Papers are by Heidi Grace, the border punch is Recollections from Michaels and the spotty buttons are by Papermania. The sentiment stamp is Stampin Up - I popped a little punched heart (waste from the Martha Stewart heart border punch) to dot the letter i
I stamped the image, cut the circle out with a nestability die, then left the die in place whilst I airbrushed around the masked image, my fingernails, and a completed card I had foolishly left nearby. I will get the hang of it, but the results are worth a bit of uncontrolled ink where it shouldn't be :)

Packing was a bit of a marathon. I gaily chucked stuff into the case, then realised I was packing stuff in such a haphazard way that I would once again find myself without the right pair of shoes/trousers/top. So out it all came, I organised into little neat piles, discarded a few things.....there, that's better. Until I check the weather for LA, hmm, much warmer than I thought it would be. So out it all came, and I dug out some lightweight stuff. Then Diane (who you probably know as Capadia) emailed me. The convention centre is rather chilly apparently, they have the air up very high. So, off I go again, trying to match layers and discovering that half the stuff I spent ages looking for is hanging neatly in a closet in Florida................honestly, this went
on ALL day! I am only there for five days and the case weighs a ton, nothing new there then
Apparently there are huge storms going up the east coast - I am flying to New York (8 hours), a three hour stopover, then another 6 hours to LA. So I am quite expecting delays somewhere along the way
I'll pop here and post as soon as I can.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

My new toy

Here it is, my new Letraset airbrush system to use with ProMarkers, and I love it. I am still on a learning curve and just playing around, but when I get back from CHA I will do a video tutorial on using it - when I know enough to tell you about it that is! It works with my aqua markers as well. I am really looking forward to having a proper play with this the first lesson learned - don't put your fingers in the way of the airbrush. Ditto avoid your jeans if you can. Cover your worksurface with paper unless you want an interesting modern art effect on your desk........

When it came, I grabbed an already coloured stamped image and sprayed around the edges with sky blue. It was only when I did a bit of research that I found out I should have cut a mask to shield the image, but quite honestly I liked the effect it gave and it didn't seem to affect the coloured image at all

as you can see.......................... Isn't that a lovely soft sky effect?

I used metal tiny alphabet brads for the sentiment. The stitching is faux - I find threading my teensy Janome machine in the UK such a faff, I just run the cardstock through it with no thread, then join up the lines with pen, in this case Signo white rollerball

Then I die cut my gorgeous butterfly, it comes in two layers, and I just messed around with colours really, using Promarker pens to start, then airbrushed around the edges in a darker colour. The bottom layer was totally airbrushed. I then sprayed the whole thing with Crafters Companion sparkle glitter glue. I am sure I can refine this a lot as I get used to the technique of airbrushing, but this butterfly hasn't been put into the reject bin, and will make it onto a card eventually, it looks really pretty

I got a bargain as well. I ran up to Hobbycraft to get some new blades for my fiskars trimmer (I totally forgot that I have to take a basic craft kit with me to CHA). I found a big roll of masking film in the clearance bin. (This is stuff that you stamp on, cut out the mask, peel away the backing paper and it is slightly tacky to stick to your stamped image, the masks can be used over and over)
So there was no price or wrapping on the roll, which looked undamaged. 'How much is this?' I asked a chap who was busy filling shelves. 'I dunno, what would you pay for it?' he asked
'well it looks worth about 50p to me' I joked. 'Okay' said the guy, who turned out to be the manager. I then went upstairs and found the same stuff with the wrapping on, selling for £23. RESULT! I also got an 8 x 8 K & Co scrapbook album reduced from £22 to £1.99. There was a huge assortment of American Crafts brads as well for £1.49 a pack. So if any of you are near Hobbycraft, run over quickly, they have some great stuff at bargain prices. For those of you not in the UK, Hobbycraft is the only big-box craft store in the UK, they never have coupons, so we deserve a sale!
I will schedule a post for tomorrow, think of me as you read it, sitting for 14 hours in an aluminium tube at 35,000 feet. I will be bringing you snippets of news with lots of photos from CHA, so watch this space

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

You bring the ice cream........

This is what I feel like doing after the whirlwind of the blog party - slumping in a chair with a tub of Ben and Jerry's. The stamp is by My Favourite Things, coloured with ProMarkers. Papers are by Papermania. I paper-pieced the 'wallpaper' in the spotty pattern. The white flowers were coloured with ProMarkers

ProMarkers used:
Amethyst, lilac, lavender, cool aqua, duck egg, agean, blush and cool grey 1

After staggering down to the Post Office today with what seemed like a mountain of parcels, I tried to start getting ready for CHA, I fly out on Thursday. Of course, I was diverted by the arrival of a wonderful new toy that Letraset sent me to try....... more of that tomorrow. I hauled a huge suitcase down from the attic - well, who knows what temptation awaits me over there. I don't know how to travel light, so will probably be hurling 'just in case' stuff in there right up to the moment I leave for the airport.
See you tomorrow

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Blog Party Results

Hi everyone. First of all, a huge thank you for all those who took part in all the competitions last week, I hope you all enjoyed them, and even if you didn't win this time, take heart, I have a monthly ProMarker prize courtesy of Leraset, and a monthly Polkadoodles prize as well.

Card competition: UK winner Evelyn C
USA winner Jo Schlanker
Promarkers: not one of you got this totally right, but there were a few of you with just one colour wrong, I did a random draw amongst those. The colours were blush soft peach (skin) primrose and buttercup (hair) sandstone and caramel (sweater) pear green and marsh green (trousers)

The winners are
Barbara Ferris - set 1
Diane (My time to Craft) - set 2
Ashu 93 - set 1
Rae Ann - set 2
Polkadoodles day - I counted 27, and 3, after deleting the wrong answers to the question. The second prize was to go to the 58th correct answer which we didn't get to, so I did a random draw for that one
1. for the gorgeous button box and goodies - Nana Jo
2. (by random draw) Sallys Bitz
3. Brigitte (Bricolage do Brigette)

Scrappy-go-Lucky day

SCAL2 goes to DeMillio
20 Cri-Kit pens and holder to Loopylou
20 Cri-Kit pens and holder to Sandy Bayles
Funniest Story - the ones that amused Anne the most are:

1. Chloe and her clip on koalas for her hilarious 'scanning for intelligence'
2 . Pinky for her fish and chips story (we loved the reaction of the guy in the car)
3. Jennifer for the glow in the dark shamrock panties story
Blog hop
The winner of a years subscription to Papercraft Inspirations Magazine is
Bethany R
Dewdrops - the correct number in the tube was 136. The only person to be spot on was
Debbie Johns (debscraftytime)
If you can all email me please at
Please give me your name, address and telephone number and tell me the prize you won - your email address/name probably has no relation to your sign in/blog address. Letraset, Papercraft Inspirations and Scrappy-go-Lucky prizes will be sent to you direct from the company, all the other prizes will be mailed by me as soon as I get your details. If any prizes remain unclaimed at the end of one week, a random draw will be held for a new winner of that prize
Huge congratulations to you all and thanks again to everyone for taking part

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Another Polkadoodle card today - I am guest designer on the Allsorts challenge blog this week - one of my favourite challenge blogs, thank you Allsorts for asking me, and was asked to make a man/boy card.

Like everyone else, I start scratching my head when it comes to men/boys, but decided these robots from the Not for Girls CD fitted the bill pretty well.

The gears were cut from the Robotz cartridge on my Cricut, the punch is by EK Success - this is a useful one for men cards, adds a pop of interest without being frilly

The yellow and blue robot looks as if he's been sniffing the WD40 to me!
Your votes are coming in nicely for the card challenge, if you haven't voted yet, please scroll down and cast your vote. It would mean a lot to everyone who went to such a lot of trouble to make a card, photograph it, and post it on here for everyone's inspiration

Tomorrow will see me knee deep in lists and probably getting furious with as I try to work out the winners of all the prizes. Bear with me, it may be late in the day before I can do the post. See you then

Friday, 21 January 2011

New Home card for Polkadoodles

Friday is new challenge day over on Polkadoodles this week we were asked to make a New Home card - pop over there and see all the lovely samples from the design team
I used these owls from the Sugar Birdies CD, and made them into an easel card. The stamp is by Hero Arts, and I gave the birdies a bit of bling...

Whilst tidying the house today, I found two forlorn Christmas decorations that I had totally overlooked, and five cards sitting festively on a shelf I had passed dozens of times and not noticed.
I am quite glad that here in the UK, we only really decorate the house for Christmas, although when I am in the US, I love seeing all the decorations coming out for the different holidays. If I decorated like this, the house would be a total mish-mash of seasons - you would be bumping your head on Valentines hearts in August, falling over pumpkins in February, and rescuing the Easter bunny from the garden in June.
At risk of repeating myself endlessly, you have until noon GMT (7am EST) on Saturday to get your names down for the various prizes
I need help - voting will start on the cards that were entered on day one of the party today. PLEASE vote for your favourites. I am not sure how many votes you can make, but all the people who took the time and effort to show us their creations would really appreciate a vote from you - scroll down to the post to leave your vote

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sweet Baby Girl card

I had a lovely handmade Christmas card from Colleen, who is a faithful visitor to my blog, and she had put all sorts of lovely little crafty goodies in the envelope, including some stamped images, which always makes my eyes light up.
One of them was this sweetly old fashioned looking little bear, and I thought it would make a slightly different card to welcome a new baby girl.
All the papers are by DCWV Linen Closet ( I love this stack), hearts border punch by Martha Stewart, I don't know who made the rubber stamp of course, and the sentiment is also an anonymous one I've had for years

ProMarkers used
Fur - sandstone, caramel and tan, soft peach to cheeks and ears
soles - dusky pink and pastel pink
clothes - powder blue and pastel blue, white pinafore shadowed with ice grey 1 on the folds
sunflower - buttercup, leaf green and tan
image shadowed in pastel blue
highlights done with white Signo rollerball pen
I inked the white circle with Distress ink - antique linen
Sentiment stamped with Memento Rich Cocoa ink
You may remember that some time ago I did a poll to see how you all felt about advertisments on blogs? You didn't seem to mind, so I have finally got around to it in case you were wondering where they came from. I have no idea how it works I will look at it all again in three months. In the meantime, I was amused to see that Google obviously send out some sort of trawl thing to look at the content of the blog so that the advertisments are relevant. Well the trawler thingy picked up on the blog party, and the first advertisments were all inviting you to WIN...something or another. The only exception to this, was an ad for a party firm which promises to provide all your theme party needs, what a pity, if I'd known earlier I could have decked us all out in diva outfits. I suppose as time goes on and the trawly thing and me make friends, that crafting stuff will appear
Talking of the you-know-what, you still have time to enter all the competitions, so get cracking so that you don't miss the boat
See you tomorrow

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Last competition

One last competition for you today. I don't know about you, but I have never partied so hard and for so long..... I have one heck of a hangover!
Before we get onto that, I got a new Cricut cartridge in the mail yesterday - Wrap it Up, it was my prize for being featured in the Chirp, so of course I couldn't wait to try it out.
The font for the phrases on this cartridge is very pretty, but very fine, one of those that are quite difficult to stick onto your card. I used one of the fine tip glue pens, and it worked okay. The little pink pearls on the box are pink Liquid Pearls
Mother's day is a lot earlier here in the UK than in the USA - usually the beginning of March, so I really wanted to try this very pretty shaped card and a little matching box. The card was cut at 6", and the box at 9" (I used fit to page). It makes an elegant little set doesn't it? I am giving it to a friend to give to her mum on Mother's Day

Now on to the last competition of the week. You have until saturday to enter - all the winners will be worked out on Sunday 23rd.
So what do you have to do?
Take a wild guess would be my advice.....
I want you to tell me how many Doodle Dewdrops you think there are in this little tube.
For those of you who approach these things in a scientific way, I have shown the tube against a ruler so you can see the size..........
and the diameter.........

The winner will be the person who is closest (or spot on!) if there are lots of you, I will do a random draw from those who get it right

What do you win?
A Collectors Edition of the Sugar Birdies CD by Polkadoodles, some Fru Fru ribbon, and the tube of Doodle Dewdrops (which was opened by me and the dewdrops carefully counted... I need to get a life..)
PLUS some other goodies that aren't in the photo - it will be a surprise package full of yumminess
Leave your guesses in the comments under this post

Don't forget that you can still take part in any of the contests that have been running for a week, they are all still open

I have a task for you as well, in a few days YOU will be voting for the cards you like best from the first day of the party, so if you have a bit of spare time, pull up a chair, make yourself a coffee, and click on the names below the thumbnail photos to take a close up look at the cards, and make a note of your favourite for when the voting starts

Monday, 17 January 2011

Welcome to the Party Blog HOP

As you all know, I do stuff for Papercraft Inspirations magazine, published here in the UK, but sold in the USA, Canada and Australia. Probably other places as well for all I know. Lots of you are sweet enough to hunt it down in Barnes and Noble, or Jo-Anns if I mention that I have something in an issue
So today's prize is just a fantastic one, donated by the magazine.......

The winner will get a free year's subscription to the magazine, and they will mail it ANYWHERE
I am so thrilled to give you the chance of winning this
So we are having a blog hop. You will follow the links, pick up a letter at each blog, then come back here and reshuffle the letters into a single 10 letter word.
The only rule is that you must click to follow all the blogs you visit (you may well follow some of them already, that's okay...)
In the case of Papercraft Inspirations website, you must sign up for the newsletter on the sidebar
This in itself is a gift to you, I am sending you to some of the most inspirational blogs around - Papercraft Inspirations have freebie paper downloads every month, and loads of insider info about the very latest trends, and giveaways, Letraset keep you up to date on all the ProMarker giveaways going on, there is inspiration, fun and information on all these blogs and I am sure they will become firm favourites of yours - you may pick up some more goodies on your way around as well
The first letter for you is
Now you hop over to
who will give you the next letter, and the next link
Leave the word in a comment here. The comments will be kept hidden until Sunday 23rd when the winner will be drawn using
Edited to say the comments are hidden, and will stay that way. The comments published are just general ones - just enter your comment as usual, it won't show up on the blog until Sunday
You still have plenty of time to enter all the other fun giveaways, starting last week. All of them are running until the 22nd January

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Lazy Sunday - Party ON

Right, it's Sunday morning, make yourselves a coffee, curl up in your PJ's, the party is still on.....
I am always telling you about the trials and tribulations of my life - my Dunkin Donuts experiences in particular. Today, it's your turn. All you have to do is tell us all some really funny experience in your life - it can be something a child or grandchild said, or even a Dunkin experience (I can't be the only one who meets the crazy people!), you all have a funny tale of some sort to tell I am sure
The judge here will be my best mate Anne, who has a very similar sense of humour to mine - we both have a keen sense of the ridiculous. So whoever makes her laugh loudest and longest will win today's prizes.
For obvious reasons, try to keep it as short as possible without losing the plot!
I could ramble on and tell you a story about making this card - messy stuff and me never mix very well , but I am leaving the funny stuff to you today.........
Here's how I did it. I taped the Dreamweaver stencil to some white cardstock.....
dug out a pot of Dreamweavers embossing paste.......

and started spreading it on..... very gunky, very messy,

before removing the stencil, I dabbed a bit of Rangers metallic acrylic paint here and there, then I sprinkled the whole thing with glitter, and, very carefully removed the stencil

So what's up for grabs today?
The first prize is a Cricut Lite cartridge - Four legged friends (although why they have a fish and a snake on there is a bit of a mystery, unless there are some four legged fishes and snakes out there?)
If you don't have a Cricut, well, these things hold their value, so you can always EBay it and get something you want!

Second prize - for the next story that raises a chuckle or two
Martha Stewart Punch Around The Page

The third prize is three Cuttlebug Cut and Emboss dies
Love Language
Welcome Baby

There you go, Anne and I are sitting here with our feet up, wearing our comfy slippers, waiting for you to make us laugh. Come back later to read the stories for yourself

This will run like the rest of the competitions this week until the 22nd January, so you have plenty of time to remember those funny moments in your life

See you tomorrow for a blog hop with a fabulous and quite unique prize for one of you

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Party Day 4 - Scrappy-go-Lucky Day

Welcome back to the party. Today, it's Scrappy-go-Lucky that are offering you some truly fabulous prizes. Scrappy-go-Lucky are an Australian online store, specialising in all things Cricut. They have a store in the USA and the UK as well, and the blog is full of inspiration.

What is really fun about being on this team, is that we are all getting together at CHA in Los Angeles on the 27th January. So we will have travelled from the UK (me), the USA (Diane aka Capadia) and Mandy, Jane and Tracey who are travelling all the way from Australia. What a cosmopolitan bunch of jet-setters we are. Watch this space for a first-hand account of our adventures

Up for grabs today are these fabulous prizes

First Prize:

A copy of Sure Cuts A Lot, software that works with your Cricut and makes it possible for you to cut fonts and images straight from your computer onto your machine

Second and third prizes:

and TWO lucky peeps will get 20 Cri-Kit pens of their choice with a holder, making it possible to draw with your Cricut
Here are two cards made with the Boys will be Boys cartridge, available from Scrappy-go-Lucky

this shoe is so realistic, I just love it

and another card from the same cartridge, using the game controller cut

The papers are from DCWV Generation Tech stack, the metal dots are from Jo-Ann

So what do you have to do to be in with a chance of winning SCAL or the Cri-Kit pens?

Hop on over to the Scrappy-go-Lucky blog have a little look around and click to follow, then come back here and tell me the name of Mandy's little girl and her friend
hint: look at the post made on January 6th

The follow button on SGL is brand new, I know a lot of you go over there regularly, but be sure to be one of our first followers
You can win a Cri-kits embossing tool as well by leaving a comment on the blog
I will keep the comments hidden until the contest is over on the 22nd January,
the winners will be drawn by from all the correct entries
Don't forget, you still have plenty of time to make a card for Wednesdays challenge, get your thinking cap on to win some ProMarkers from Tuesday's party game, and win all sorts of doodly goodies from yesterday's game......