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Saturday, 28 April 2007

And Sometimes Nice Things Happen ...

So I've been having an awful time of late & wondering how to/why I should/ Is there any reason to carry on & then there is a break and some nice things happen. First, there are all the messages of support that I've had on this blog, through the forum & in personal e-mails. It means so much when everything is going wrong to know that you have the support of sooo many people, even some that I have never met - or even heard of before! Yep, when things are bad even complete strangers will offer a kind word - & that restores your faith in human nature. For the couple of genuinely bad people that I have had the misfortune to cross paths with of late, there are scores of decent and kind people who hope that their support will do something to make it better - and it does!!

Next, I received an e-mail from the US wholesaler of decopatch over in New York, who had seen my projects on this blog & would like to use them in the decopatch blog they are building on their website! Apparently they think my stuff is (and I quote) 'terriffic' & if I have more they would like to see that too - Oh let me think ... OK then! LOLOL. So it's not quite a place on a DT but it's alot closer than I have been since the demise of the many magazines that I used to write for! For a reminder of what I've done, here's the decopatch handbag I filled with butterly craft goodies for my mum this mother's day, you can see more of my decopatch projects here!

Finally, today one of my customers (who I would now consider to be a friend) arrived at the shop with a bouquet of yellow roses. 'for friendship' she told me - there was chocolate too, but that NEVER needs a reason LOL. I've not seen her for a couple of weeks while she has been settling in to her new job, but she has been following the blog & wanted to do something to cheer me up - and it did!!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Had A Crafty Moment!

The shop was quiet today and after recent events I must say I was relieved! I'm still a bit wobbly from the whole theft thing and had to give my statement to the police today. So I closed up for half an hour this morning and popped down to see my old neighbours in Ripley's Market, where I first opened the shop just over two years ago. On my return I was just in the mood for a bit of cutting and sticking, so it was a great time to finish off a few projects that have looming deadlines. The first was to photograph the 8x8 album I finished yesterday. There's a little taster here and the rest of the pages are over in my gallery. I actually found it more difficult to create these pages than when I start with the photographs. I'm told it looks great but I have to admit I wasn't overly keen!

Next I finished the class layout for Wednesday - you can find it on the brand new shop blog along with some other stuff including a sneak peek of the next Friday/Saturday class. It was a bit of a mistake to make a start on that last layout - much as I love where it's going (I never plan ahead - I just start with a few papers and photos and see where it goes) I probably should have been working on some stuff for next saturday's demo day - again, the info is on the shop blog or working on my own submissions for a DT entry that I'm making soon. I don't really want to share just yet - I'm still half trying to talk myself out of applying as I doubt I'll get it and I REALLY REALLY want it!! So if I don't get in I expect I'll be completely dissappointed and I've had plenty of knock backs of late LOL. But I'll do all the projects & I guess I'll submit it and then worry all over again about how I'll feel if I don't get in. It's a big deal & I expect the competition will be really tough!

Tomorrow I'm expecting to be really busy at work - we have a huge delivery due in and a serious amount of mail order to do, so I don't suppose I'll get to play much. Such is life!!

Monday, 23 April 2007

How much more can I take?

Finally managed to finish the 8x8 album I've been working on for DS1's neice (she'll be one at the weekend) - pictures to follow (hopefully tomorrow) and spent the rest of the morning pottering on a layout for my class on wednesday night (yummy it is too!) before I was the victim of a random act of criminality!! This is how it goes:

A foreign couple come in to the shop & purchase (with a £50) a pack of rub-ons. I carefully consider whether I'm going to take this note - but I need every sale I can get so I take it & hand over £46 something in change. They then realise that these are not temporary tatoos & want a refund (the whole time talking away in a foriegn language & making sure I don't understand.) They even ask if I speak french, I reply (in french) that I do a little. The man then says something else (not in french, possibly italian - but I don't think so) So we swap the notes back except the change is now only £26 & I am £20 short. They don't even leave straight away - but browse some other papers (still speaking impossibly fast, this time I catch a couple of spanish words - but I don't think they were speaking spanish either!) They ask if we sell wallpaper - I do my best to get them out of the shop as fast as I can so that I can call the police. So maybe they think they are terribly clever & I don't know that they've robbed me - or maybe they are relying on the fact that I won't tackle them because I'm on my own - either way they win!!

So I let them (and my money) walk out of the shop. I am not rich & I cannot afford to lose £20. That is a whole month's electricity bill! It is not a victimless crime - my insurance won't cough up for £20 (the excess payment is £300!) and this is twice in as many weeks. I work seven days per week and most evenings, I take no wage AT ALL, every penny goes toward paying my suppliers, covering the shortfall for the six months we spent in a shopping precinct, covering the four months in which we had no premises. I have had just one day off this year & I expect my next one to be Christmas day.

I work hard to stay afloat & for what? For random criminals to come and help themselves? There are all sorts of attributive theories that I could apply: it's because I work in Dartford - well probably not, I suspect it's the same everywhere; it's down to the Eastern Europeans - well they might well have been Eastern European but I have other visitors from that area & they don't feel the need to rip me off! I could go on but there has to be a limit to how long I can vent my anger for (it has been, on & off, three hours so far) so maybe it's time to stop now.

So the burning question now is: how much more can I (or should I) take before packing the whole thing in & walking away?

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

It's Picklelicious!

Oh dear! I suppose I should have made a post about the brilliant Rusty pickle workshop on the day itself but I was just soooo fired up about it that I only managed to post a bit on the forum - as did several of the other participants. It was such a good day LOL. The mini album we made was neither of the ranges I was expecting (or had been promoting!) but I think it is absolutely beautiful. Here's a photo of the front cover! I've not yet put the photos in (or the all-important journaling!) but maybe I'll treat you to a few extra piccies later.

I realised two things in the 24 hours running up to the main event - first, we were a bin short for the tables and second (and a bit more of a problem) the lads had not measured up right and the room was too small (way too small!) for the people we had coming. Well the first was fairly easy to fix - I suppose a carrier bag taped to the end of the table would have done but as I've got a bit obsessed by decopatch recently ... and there were the new & totally yummy Rusty Pickle 1847 chipboard letters begging to be used (a pack split when I got it out of the box - so obviously I had to have it LOL) ... And there was that plastic tub sitting in the stock room ... So check it out!!

There was little I could do about the lack of space! One of our guests called in sick and I moved a small table into the hall for myself but it was definitely cozy in there! But we had a great time & Lance was a scream ... soooo many jokes! There were freebies galore and a fantastic project - what more could we ask for (except to do it again ... and we will, but in a much bigger venue!) I picked up a couple of extra class kits (complete with step by step photos) so if you missed the workshop and want the kit, contact me here & I'll e-mail you the details!! Space for one more photo I think! Here I am with the great man himself, Lance Anderson!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Let's Break A Record!

I was just over on Sara's Blog looking for info about National Scrapbooking Day & I came across a call for help from a little boy in Canada.

Shane is seven years old and has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The Well Wishes Foundation asked him what his special wish would be and he said he wants to get into the Guiness Book of Records for getting the most Birthday Cards. This is a big ask as he will need more than 1 million to break the record!!

I have already pledged my support and hope that I can count on you all to help this little lad's wish come true. Shane's birthday is on May 30th so we need to get as many cards to him as possible. I'll also be calling on all the ladies in store, on the forum, in my e-mail list and everybody they know too! I hope you'll feel able to do the same! The cards don't need to be hand made so we can call on all our non-crafty friends too!

You can send your cards direct to:
CTV Television
Cards for Shane Bernier
1500 Merivale Rd
Ottawa, Ontario
K2E 6Z5

Or drop them into the store (Crop 'Til You Drop) where we will be posting en masse. If you do send direct, please come back and post a comment as we'd love to know how many we have helped to generate for Shane. This is an illness very close to my own family, so we'd really like to give this little boy his wish.

Thanks for reading
Beverley x

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Do You Decopatch?

And now the moment you've all been waiting for . That paint spattered old chair that I found abandoned when we moved into the new premises is now a thing of beauty and takes pride of place in my window display (you can sit on it too LOL). It took SIX hours to decopatch the chair - not because it was difficult but simply because of the huge surface area. Each of those slats on the chair back had to be covered and thats a lot of little corners to get into!

I used just two different patterns - the pastel stripe showing to the left of the picture and a lilac paper with a tiny floral print. It's not necessary to sand the wood first (which is great because I'm basically lazy - that's the bit that puts me off altering with paint) and I didn't remove the paint spatters either (although there were two 1" areas that I covered with a second layer of paper).

I have recently got into decopatch in a big way & it's like scrapbooking in that you start to look at things in a completely different way. With scrapbooking, clothes for my little boy that I'll buy because they have cute buttons or an embroidered image, take on a new light when I'm thinking '& when he grows out of it those buttons/pockets/patches will make a great embellishment'. I have been known to photocopy a t-shirt if I can't wait for him to grow LOL. With decopatch I'm looking at a scruffy door, chipped vase, unusual shaped bottle or whatever & thinking 'I could decopatch that!' It's also like scrapbooking in that I'll go to the £1 store and see all these hideous things that would look great altered as well as all the tinned travel games (pieces for embellishments, tins for mini albums) so now I have to be even more ruthless about what I buy - sure, it's only £1 - but when you buy 10, 20 or more items it can add up to bankruptcy before you blink.

Having said that - check out this lizard. There are two settled at the base of the chair in the window. This one was decorated with a great African inspired collage paper and the other with red roses, which when collaged in small pieces takes on an excellent gothic red/black. I used small faceted black beads for the eyes, which were glued in place with Artsy Collage Ultimate Glue (by HOTP)
It's hard to believe that they started out as the most hideous metallised plastic wall decorations LOL. If you'd like to see more of my recent decopatch creations have a look here!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The Good Life!

OK - so it's taken me three days not the one I was going for to upload the photo of my latest layout - but I have been being creative (and spending far too much time on my forum!) But here it is. I've spent a bit of time on UKS lately and in an attempt to actually get some scrapping done I have taken part in a couple of the challenges. This one was to be about the good life & came about in a completely accidental way. I was working on a layout for a class and as it took shape I realised that it was my idea of the good life ... A whole day scrapping in the company of my favourite crafter (Sara Naumann from HOTP) although one of the photos was from a make n take with Christy from Rusty Pickle at the trade show over that same weekend.

I've also been checking out a couple of the online sites where you can generate all sorts of goodies for your pages: concert tickets; captioned postcards & journalled record cards - & I've put the links in the 'check this out' section to the right - am I good to you or what??? The layout features a Chuck Norris postcard - all guns blazing with the caption 'nobody specified glue gun!' My husband, eldest son & I had great fun thinking of captions before we came up with this one!

I've also put a bit of journaling onto a generated record card & slipped a faux ticket for the training day with sara into the mix - along with one of my other fave forms of text: dictionary pages. This one was my eldest son's school dictionary that I rescued about a year ago on one of those rare occasions that he was tidying his room! I love to ink the edges and highlight the relevant definitions with chalk - although this dictionary is already aged (it's around 10 years old!) and the pages have that comforting yellow to them (not lignin free then!)

So now I have a bit of a puzzle for you: try to imagine what the rather haggard object on the right (the white spots are paint spatters) might look like when I've finished with it! Clue: since we started stocking Decopatch in the shop I've become a little bit obsessed (my family are a bit wary of staying still for too long in case I try to make them over LOL)! Will post the finished result in the next few days (it's finished but I've not photographed it yet!) along with a few other goodies I've been working on.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

All The Fun Of The Fair!

The last week or so has NOT been a barrel of laughs! The fair was in town at the end of March & it may be a coincidence that on the Saturday (March 31) we had a break in at the shop. Nothing much was taken (craft stash is of no real value to the average thief anyway!) but the damage and aggravation cannot be measured in £££s alone. And anyway, with the huge excess limit on my insurance policy it's not like I'm going to claim - so it all comes out of my own pocket. Victimless crime? I think not!!

They came in through the kitchen window and as there was a vase on the sill, that left a mass of glass and water over the surfaces and floor - cheers guys!! There were 60 cigarettes also on the sill - gone obviously. And if I was thinking of chucking the towel in, I can't - because they took that too! Ironically, I spent April fools day doing exactly the same as I did on April 1st 2005 - clearing up glass and giving a statement to the police. Oh! didn't I mention that on March 31st 2005 my very first shop was broken into? Same day, same road - freaky heh?

I won't bore you with the details of the rest of my naff week but instead move onto something more reader-friendly. I have scrapped! Not a lot, but scrapping nonetheless. The first was a challenge on a forum I'm registered on. This layout, 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier', is so not what I'd usually do but I'm really pleased with the results. The second, 'Holtz, Who Goes There', I designed for our member's only monthly project - and the feedback has been really positive. Both were made with HOTP Masculine Sarapapers & Embellish-abilities

I've also just finished a decopatch hat - it started life as a grocery box and I have to say I'm soooo impressed with the results!
And if you've not seen enough of my stuff here, check out the link here to my brand new photobucket gallery (see - I've been being all technical againLOL)

Today, I've made one more new layout & I'll try to remember to photograph it & post it tomorrow ;o) There will also be a couple of exciting new links, where you can generate all sorts of personalised tickets, seals, postcards etc to add to your webpages & layouts! Until then, thanks for visiting & do come back soon!

Still Loving Cosmo Cricket!