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Monday, 26 March 2007

Let's Get Technical!

I can't believe how far I've come in the last few months since I started blogging! It all started back in November last year & I was impressed with myself simply for starting a blog in the first place - a short profile & a few words. Over time I got braver & added a few links, hyper links in the text, photos & even a virtual pet.

This week's technological breakthrough is a gallery of my own. I've become a bit of a forum junkie of late & there seems to be a lot of talk of photobucket - so I popped on over & in just a couple of days I have not only a gallery, but sub galleries, plural. Finding the photos has been a task in itself...

Not being the tidiest of people (bet you couldn't have guessed that LOL) I'm afraid that my photographs are in files on the computer labelled only with the date they were uploaded. This, it seems, is a completely unhelpful way of storing info & I have spent countless hours over the last couple of days going through EVERY file of pics stored since December 2005. Some have been deleted, others moved into new sub-folders in my brand new photobucket folder and others are still there with the upload date labels - ready for the next frantic search when I need a particular photo LOL.

Predictably, as I do very little without a specific purpose, there was a very good reason for the sudden urge to start a gallery ... There is an American design team to which I want to apply (and I'm not saying which one as I don't expect I'll get it) who ask for links to online galleries as part of the submission process. I've planned on having one for a while but there are sooooo many things on my 'to do' list that I never get past the ones that need to be acted upon post haste.

So there you have it - a sense of urgency is always just the thing to make me spring into action & I like nothing better then a deadline LOL. Obviously, the gallery is in its infancy & I have so much more to upload - but if you'd like to take a peek, you'll find it here

Update on Design Team: So far, I've had a brilliant response to the DT call. I've had 3 submissions to date & lots of other enquiries. If you've not yet had a chance to find out more, there's plenty of time yet as the deadline is not until April 20. Please don't e-mail me for the details as they are posted here but do feel free to e-mail me for the address to send them too when you are ready to submit.

I can hear my bed calling - must be time to hit the hay then ;o)

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Call for a design team

I'm sure I've said it before but I've accepted (for today, at least) that I am not superwoman & can't do it all by myself! The 'it' that I can't do, is supply all the layouts, class projects, member's only club projects, shop samples and gallery images to keep all our visitors entertained. And much as I'd love to keep all the yummy samples for myself (let's face it, who wouldn't) it's time to admit defeat & ask for some help.

So this is it: Crop 'Til You Drop is going to join the ever expanding number of shops that has a design team! Since we announced it first on the forum yesterday, there has been a flurry of activity, e-mails, personal messages & other related contact. It has caused more excitement than I had expected and instead of looking at it as defeat, I have to say, I'm getting quite excited too LOL.

There has been talk of bribes and thinly veiled attempts to get some inside info - all to no avail. I haven't yet decided how many team members there will be - or what exactly I'm looking for - but I want our visitors to have as wide a variety of inspiration that can be found both in store and on both galleries. So I'll be looking at all the submissions to see who will do that for me. I'm not necessarily looking for seasoned crafters, so I hope beginners will submit too & I'm not interested in age, gender, education, formal training or whether or not our team members have been published. So this call really is open to anyone.

All the details are here and I look forward to seeing all the submissions. I hope that the chosen design team members will make themselves visible - post on the forum, submit to our galleries and generally become part of the CTYD experience.

One of the things a design team will do for me, is take the pressure off. There are a couple of international design teams that I'd like to submit for but I know at the moment I just don't have the time. I've also been thinking about going back to writing for the craft press again - and I know I don't have the time. I'm also registered to do some online classes (to be taught, not to teach them) & I know I won't have the time LOL.

On thursday, for the first time in weeks, I designed a layout from scratch. I hadn't adapted one of my favourite designers' layouts, nor had the use of a sketch, but actually designed a layout from scratch ... It's soooo different to anything I have designed before & that is what I liked about designing in the first place. The opportunity to reinvent one's style each and every time - or to find a style and stick with it for a while until one is bored - the complete freedom to be whatever I want to be!

I read a thread on a forum today asking why people do not post comments on work they see & like. I know from conversations that I have, that this blog is read with interest, although I don't think I have ever had a comment posted. Perhaps if you like the layout (and even if you don't), you'd do me the honour of posting a comment - I'd like to see the feedback - but if you'd rather not, that's OK too.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Scrappy's Birthday Bash & Other Important Events

Following Fish's birthday on St Patrick's Day, was Scrappy's Birthday Bash on Mother's Day - I love it when a plan comes together (or, in fact, when all my special dates come rolling in on top of each other). Obviously, I made fish a birthday card & that was a great excuse to use one of the new decoupage sheets that have come in - I had him in mind when I first ordered them - I kept it quite simple (as he's likely to pull it apart within a fortnight) and just matted the completed picture on Gingham cardstock, adding a large 3 (guess how old he is LOL) in the same cardstock and a few alpastickers (which have all gone now & I really, really wanted the last pack!! We got him lots of crafty bits for his birthday - mostly he just likes sticking stuff on other stuff so tons of stickers was an easy choice. He particularly goes for the foam 3D ones and used a whole sheet in 5 minutes.

I received my first official mother's day card from Fish this year - & by
that I mean the one he made at nursery & not the one that daddy buys from him LOL. He is very precise with his sticking, taking care to keep the glue where it ought to be, rather than just slapping it all on. He noticed a little trickle of glue that had run down from the centre and in his attempt to remove it, he has torn a strip up that looks kinda like a curly stem. I guess there's a lesson in there ... sometimes it's better to accept a mistake rather than trying to remedy it & maybe making it worse. Perhaps we should accept more of our crafting mishaps as a quirk of the page/layout or whatever and celebrate it as the thing that makes it handmade.

I made my mother a quick card, having found my BG Undressed Monograms, and then a fabulous bag using the new stuff from decopatch this stuff is just flying out of the shop & we've had to re-order already! I filled it with various butterflies as she has a bit of a passion for them. I have to say that she was most impressed with the butterfly images that I'd cut out from vellum - she hates all the intricate cutting that we do - give her a big shot & a pile of dies though and she'll be happy for hours LOL
Scrappy's birthday was a busy event & it was lovely to see so many of his friends, old & new, who turned up to celebrate with us. The little fella couldn't be there in person but I know he was very pleased to hear how many people had come along to wish him well ;o) Scrappy's birthday coincides with the opening of Crop 'Til You Drop which was also two years old! The time has flown by and has not been without its frustrations but on the whole, we have enjoyed the journey. I thank all of you that have come along for the ride and supported me through thick and thin.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Things To Do With An Engineering Degree & A Kebab Skewer!

So the newly refurbished toilet lasted one day before I broke it! It wasn't manhandled, I didn't do anything unreasonable - merely flushed & that was it - broken again. OK so there were no classes - just me, a couple of ladies who had taken pity on me and given up their Sunday to help get the shop in order - and a newly broken toilet!

My step brother (he who is good at all things handy) was nowhere to be found and I don't DO practical. Number one son called to find out what days he is working next week & I told him my dilemma. 'Phone richard,' he said. I was dubious but he explained that richard (being a blokey bloke) will be good at that kind of thing. 'And anyway,' he continued, 'plumbing is only basic engineering & he's an engineer - so it will be a piece of cake!' I don't like to argue with him when he has faith in his conviction, so I did as instructed. Richard asked if I had a metal coathanger or similar to hand & (a bit confused) I said I had lots of paper! Within 10 minutes, he arrived with a beaming smile & a metal kebab skewer. Within another 10 the problem was fixed (although it will rust in a year or so and we'll need another skewer LOL) - another missed scrapbooking opportunity methinks!

Happily I did manage, with my willing helpers, get most of the remaining stock out and displayed. To date we haven't quite got the rest out, but all the back orders have been dispatched and we are winiing (I think!)

I still haven't got to the serious business of making up some of those new samples that I'm itching to get on to as it's been a busy couple of weeks since the shop opened - full of parcels to open & new stock to stroke LOL. Running a craft shop might seem like a dream job but it can be the most frustrating thing in the world.

There are all these yummy new goodies and I just don't have time to play. I treated myself to a copy of the first Tim Holtz DVD (yes I know it's been out forever) as I finally got around to ordering a small selection of the distress inks and powders at the trade show last week - and now I need alcohol inks (the domino diary is to die for), memory glass, spritzer bottles and LOADS more - and that's before I even start on the other DVDs and books I collected for other new product ranges LOL

We've had our first classes in the new premises & Iwas a little bit nervous - there was some confusion as to where the samples were stored so I wasn't able to prepare materials - so it was another mad rush on the first morning. Sadly, due to time constraints I've not had much time for designing and had to resort to adapting some of my favourite designers' magazine projects instead. But the classes were as jolly as usual and most of all, we had fun.

A local artist approached me offering to do our signage - well it would be rude not to LOL. Check it out!! None of that mass produced sticky plastic - just a freehand painted version of our logo - just yummy. Turns out the guy is a friend of a friend of number 3 son and favours do still exist. I am so grateful to have got it done without any fuss and those that have seen it are impressed (mainly that we have signage at all - never happened in the last place - but let's not go there!)

Made a yummy card for my mum (for mother's day). It so isn't what I expected it to be and the combination of papers are a bit out there. I can post it here without ruining the surprise as mum doesn't have internet access - so long as you all promise not to tell her about it ;o) This photo has done the rounds a bit - it's posted on our NEW gallery, uploaded today but has already had it's first submissions - which really pleased us LOL.
And I've also posted it on the Design Collective's new challenge/classes site that promises to be my scrapper's block saviour ;o)

It is baby fish's 3rd birthday tomorrow - so I'm off to wrap presents now - then it's off to bed. Scrappy's Birthday Bash on Sunday - so it's parties and cake all weekend! Have a great St Patrick's Day - and Mother's day too ;o)

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Open At Last!

We finally have made it! An open shop with lots of yummy new treats, champagne (the real stuff, mind) flowing, make n takes, demonstrations, hourly prize draw, free chocolates, balloons and a completely exhausted & frazzled me!! We opened at 10am and it was absolutely manic for the first couple of hours. The sensible me had suggested that the opening should be postponed but the stubborn me, who always gets the final say, wasn't having any of it.

There were some very good reasons why we weren't as organised as I'd have liked. As usual, nothing had gone to plan... Until March 1st we had no water and until March 2nd no flushing toilet (it's still a bit temperamental so I'll have to be nice to my step brother, who did most of the decorating, and ask him to fit a new cystern). Without water, not only could I not drink the copious amounts of tea that are part of my daily routine but cleaning was somewhat difficult. And with no toilet facilities we lost half an hour every time we needed to use the ones at the local shopping centre. A couple of deliveries were late as the drivers spotted the boarded up building (we didn't have windows until Tuesday) and drove off without trying to deliver. Shame that, as if they'd got a bit closer they'd have seen the notice on the door telling them that we were there for deliveries between 10-4!!

So we worked all hours to get everything ready and were almost there in time for the opening - and would you believe it - I didn't take a single photograph! So having learned how to put images in a post - I've none to share with you. The signage hasn't gone up yet and the outside of the building needs a bit more painting.

The day itself wasn't without its challenges - much of the stock was not displayed but piled in the stock room until there's time to sort it out (that's tomorrow's job allocated then), prices were missing & price lists tucked into inaccessible cupboards, the demo tables wouldn't all fit into the designated spaces so we had to drop one (just as well we hadn't advertised the actual content LOL), there were no class timetables and I couldn't remember when any of them were (drew a complete blank on that one!).

But open we did & everyone seemed to have a good time. In between wishing I'd retired when I had the chance and turning down offers of valium, it all became very clear why I do this & how much I've missed it. The make n takes & demonstrations, although late, went off without a hitch & the feedback was entirely positive. So overall, the only thing I can say is I'm soooo glad we are back ;o)

Still Loving Cosmo Cricket!