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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Fancy a Challenge?

The design team over at the shop blog have started a weekly challenge. The first challenge is up now & a new one will be posted every Saturday night. You'll find all the chat about it over on the forum here. Do pop over and have a go - we can't wait to see what your take on it.

That Dress!

This is the layout I designed for my Wednesday Night Scrapbooking Class. I used Making Memories Double Dipped C/S (perfect pink) for the base & yummy English Paper Company papers. The papers were inspired by a fabric collection & I wanted to give this layout a fabricy (is that even a word?) theme, so I used decorative scissors in a couple of different width scallops & lots of faux stitching (I use a Sakura Pigma Micron 0.5mm black fineliner) & just a touch of ribbon. The picture is ghosted with vellum & the title is adhered directly to the photograph with faux stitching applied to the vellum layer. I'm getting much braver at using my own handwriting for both journaling and sometimes titles. When I journal on paper strips, I write the whole thing, with sensible sized gaps between the words. I then cut them to size as I stick them into place. A crop-a-dile is the perfect tool for adding the eyelet detail that attaches the vellum to the photo mat, especially here where the vellum is cut close, leaving little room for errors. Simply hold the vellum in place over the other layers, punch the holes & then set the first eyelet, making sure all the layers are still straight. Once the first eyelet is secure, the rest of the layers will stay in place while you finish off.

Just one last piccie: here's fish when he got home from the pirate party!! How cute is he???

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Pickled Pirates

Fish is going to a birthday party tomorrow & it's his first one outside of the family. Brennan lives next door to my mother & he will be 4. Fish spent the afternoon there today, playing pirate games & tomorrow is the pirate party - so it seemed a fair bet that Brennan is into pirates. I managed to find an excellent piratey present - a treasure chest full of craft stuff (plus the obligatory eye patch, hat & parrot!) with a skull & cross bones on the top!
It was a bit short notice to make a present really but with the aid of some Rusty Pickle supplies, I did put this card together.

I had boring paperwork to do at the shop today, so this is my only craft endeavour this time (although I do have a layout at the shop that I've not shown you yet - more of those yummy English Paper Company Papers).

Shop 'Til You Drop!

Yay!! I've got a new webshop! Along with Gandalf, I've been working on this for some time & we've finally found just the right software (having tried a few options). It's brand new so it'll be a while before it's fully stocked but you know me - I don't do patience. So it's online now, go see for yourselves!
And check out this post on the shop blog - there's more free stuff to win!!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

I Told A Secret!!

Check out the post here to find out about all the new top secret info from HOTP!!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

The Mystery Of The Missing Pics!

Actually, there's a perfectly sensible explanation, so panic not!! I have a couple of things entered elsewhere & the rules say we have to remove them from all blogs and galleries in the meantime - so that's what I'm doing! The images will be restored later in the year - but I'll be adding lots of new ones before that (pretty soon you'll forget what's missing!!)

Design Team News

Within the last 24 hours I have invited a guest designer to join us over on the Crop 'Til You Drop Design Team and put out a call for new DT members. Read all about it here

Thursday, 19 July 2007

A Musing Myself

OK, I know I Promised no more A Muse puns in my titles but I couldn't help myself. This is a pic of a small section of a layout I did with A Muse stamps for one of the A-Muse-A-Palooza scrapbooking classes. You can see the full layout (with a rough guide to how its done) here.

Look At All The Blog Candy!

As promised, here are the pics of all the blog candy won on this and the store blog over the last month or so. From the top left: 1) A Muse Notecards & Stamp, Colorbox Ink on the way to Anso. 2) A Muse Notecards & Strano Designs Ribbons for Looby & SJC (if she sends postal details to me). 3) A big selection of A Muse Notecards for Nina.
New blog candy coming very soon ...

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Backlogged Blog Candy

I have been sooo tardy at dishing out the blog candy - but it wasn't all a big con, I really am going to send it!
Here's the winners from all the free stuff posts (both from this blog & also from 'Blog 'Til You Drop'):

Guess how many A Muse stamps I own (posted Tuesday June 5th; Crafty Moments): ANSO picked at random using this random number generator. (I actually had 70 but it's a few more now LOL).

What's your favourite Strano ribbon? (posted Thursday June 21st; Crafty Moments): LOOBY & SJC. Both of you picked a favourite so I thought I'd send you both a little blog candy!! SJC, please e-mail me with your postal address! (Use the e-mail link in my profile on this site, Thanx)

Spot the Guv'nor (posted Tuesday June 19th; Blog 'Til You Drop): NINA goodies are waiting for you too!

I'll take piccies of the goodies before I post them off tomorrow. Thanx everyone for your patience, new blog candy coming soon - so watch this space!!

A Crafty Moment

Much as owning a craft shop might seem like some sort of seventh heaven, it does have a huge downside - you don't get to craft much. Well, that's not strictly true - you do get to make stuff for demos & classes but you don't get to create in the same way.
For example, most of the layouts I create are for classes - which means I can only use it if I have enough of the product for everybody and if it's cost effective. And when it comes to the actual techniques & design, I can only do it if it is achievable in a couple of hours, suitable for a wide range of abilities and sufficiently generic that it will suit photographs of a wide variety of topics and for a wide age group. That is a whole bunch of limitations.
It's a similar situation with cards and when you add the time constraints of having to run the shop, work on the new webshop, produce newsletters, post on the blogs & the forum, create XX number of projects for classes, in store display and various clubs, creativity has to make way for speed. When I look at what I was producing two years ago (when I used to write for craft magazines) and compare it with my recent work, it's easy to see how far the quality has declined.
The upshot is that I rarely create anything for me and anything I do create has loads of limitations and has to be made for a specific purpose. The answer is equally clear - set aside a period of time to spend in 'designer' mindset rather than 'craft shop' mindset. This is the time that I can make stuff just because - and I can use whatever products, styles and techniques that I choose. More than that, I can spend those few hours on just one project if I choose.

I had my first practice run last night. It was hard. I spent three hours making just one card (I did keep thinking maybe I should hurry up & get another couple done LOL). I added all the touches that I have been missing out to save time: inked every little torn edge; layered more than two papers; used overlays(on the tag in the pocket), eyelets & brads even though I wouldn't have sufficient for 8 people; Decorated the little file card (in the pocket) and lined the inside of the pocket (which you can't see other than when the tag is removed). You don't necessarily notice the little extras - it's more a case of noticing when they are not there - it's kind of what makes the difference between an OK card & a good card (trying to be modest here - I think it's fabulous LOL).
And OK, I'm sure I've made better but not bad for a first attempt. And although it was made for no particular purpose, I think I have just the perfect swap to use it for. Drop me a comment, let me know what you think!!

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Looby's Not A Mused

Ooooh! Look at Looby in DIVA mode LOL. She says I'm not to take any more piccies of her! So I snapped this one as she was leaving the store after this morning's A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA events. If you want to read more about what Looby has been up to - check out her blog, which she tells me she is going to post on every day for the next fortnight at least - pop on over to see how she's doing with that! And while you're over in blogland, pop on to the store blog to catch up on all our latest events.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Jackie's A Mused

I've finally lured Jackie over to the dark side LOL. A few days ago, she had not so much as made a card - By the end of today (Friday 13th - is that relevant?) she had made several cards, a few ATCs and tried her hand at scrapbooking. And yes, she is well and truly addicted LOL

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A Bit Less A Musement, I Think!

The results are in & the first ever A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA Ambassador is Amy Rysavy, who was guest designer for A Muse in May - you can see loads of her yummy creations both on her blog & on the A Muse News (May Posts). Many congrats to her & also Taylor & Geeta (2nd & 3rd place, respectively).
I think it might be time to retire the A Muse titles now LOL - I've made some 50-odd posts over the last 9 weeks; made around 200 cards, ATCs & Tags; & hosted 7 swaps! It has been soooo much fun LOL. So what's next?
Check out the posts over on the store blog, where I'm posting daily pics of all our A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA events & if you have won a prize on either blogs, you can expect to receive that very soon - I've been a bit slack about getting stuff out lately!
I'm gonna be concentrating on the shop stuff for the next couple of weeks - sorting out our next round of promotions (so more freebies in the pipeline), applying for a couple of DT posts, building the new webshop & making lots of new stuff for classes, member's club etc ... & I still want to doodle my crocs!! AND lots more blog candy - so please come back often to see what's new!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Much More Than A Musing

July 9th was the official start of A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA & to kick it off, Crop 'Til You Drop in the UK hosted a VIP night. We just had sooo much fun. Due to a bunch of unforeseen circumstances, the new products only arrived a few short hours before so the whole event when live, unrehearsed! The make 'n' takes were as new to me as they were the ladies attending but we battled through & made them both with relative ease. A cheer went up as everyone finished up & there were cries of 'can we shop now?' as they raced toward the displays of new stamps, cards, twinkles & more. I guess it's a bit different in the UK as A Muse is so difficult to find - we just want to get at the goodies! We had a couple of prize draws & obviously everyone filled in the grand prize forms to win a year's worth of A Muse (how cool would that be???). But the highlight was definitely the shopping! Here's a few of the ladies busy working on their make 'n' takes ...

The A Musement Keeps Coming!

OK, I know the Ambassador's competition has ended now, so I could stop the 'A Muse' puns - but I guess I'm just having too much fun with it LOL. The A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA Ambassador for 2007 will be announced tomorrow - so wish me luck. In the meantime, there is still tons going on over at the AP blog - lots more chances to win free stuff, so why not drop in & join the fun - go play! And if you are anywhere near Dartford, Kent, UK anytime this week - pop in to Crop 'Til You Drop. This is the sole UK host for A-Muse-A-Palooza & we have fun stuff happening every day! Look here for the events schedule. I just wanted to share this pic with you - Fish, our youngest A Muse fan - 3 years old! (the stickers can be peeled off the lollipops & worn as a badge - top tip for mums LOL) pictured here with Sean (DS1 & Crop 'Til You Drop staff member).

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Another A Musing Swap

This is the last of the A Muse swaps before the big week, which starts tomorrow. Thank you soooo much to everybody who has taken part in one (or more) of these card & ATC swaps - I hope you've had as much fun with them as I have. So, here's the piccie for the final one:

Count The Minutes To Be A Mused

Had to pop off and upload the latest pics of my 'not a card' makes for challenge #10 - there's still time to enter this one, it closes tonight & if you make an ATC, you'll definitely have time to get one submitted before the deadline!
Anyway, over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog, they are counting the minutes to the big event, which is just one day away!! If you are in the UK like me - there's only 13 hours to go (yay!) before Crop 'Til You Drop opens its doors! So, today's fun game is genius - just post a comment, timed so that there is a '1' logged in the minutes of the time that you posted! I actually waited 37 minutes to 20:13pm in case my clock was a couple of minutes out LOL! Read the comments too - some are really funny!
I've no idea what the prize is - but they have all been fabulous so far. Good luck!

More A Musement

the winner of yesterday's fun game has been announced - it wasn't me soooo .... look here to see if it was you!! There's another featured store over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog too - Stampstruck in Medford, Oregon. I think that was Sara's (Naumann, from HOTP) LSS before she moved out to Amsterdam - but don't quote me on it, I could be wrong LOL. There are sooooo many places in the US that I want to visit - maybe next year hey! If you've not already registered for A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA, there's still time - lots of yummy prizes still up for grabs! And don't forget to mention me, Beverley Todd, as the referrer - I so want to win the Ambassador's competition & every registration gets me more points!
Stay tuned for details of another fun game ...

Will You Be A Mused In San Diego?

If you were planning to pop over to Stamp Diego during A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA, you might want to pop on over to Michelle's blog & check out her make n take times for Monday. Make sure you keep a close eye on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog too! there's lots more chances to win fabulous prizes, fun games & there will be daily sneak peeks during the big week!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

This Is Twice As A Musing!

The winner of the 'three' game is ... Broni, who won the 'flower drinks' stamp ('cos that was her pick!) - big congrats to her (I luuurve that stamp - it was one of my first!). You gotta check out the comments tho' - Linda, posted lots of little clues about the new stamps!
Today's game is over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog right now (& this time it's pairs!) but you have to be quick - a winner will be announced tomorrow (& another game!). To play, you must be registered (mention me as the referrer please). Good luck!

Keeping A Mused With Swaps

Just thought I'd share a couple more swaps with you that completed today. These are the latest two card swaps that I've been running alongside A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA. There's another ATC swap going to complete tomorrow, so I'll post that then! In the meantime, here are the cards from the latest ones. Enjoy!!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Be A Mused By The Power Of Three

There's just three days to go until A-Muse-A-Palooza & over on the blog there's a brand new game. All you have to do is post a comment naming an A Muse stamp that has three of something on it. It's that easy!
Challenge #10 doesn't end until Sunday, so there's still time to have a go & maybe pick up a fabulous prize for that too! For both, you need to be registered (& put me down as your referrer please - I have until Sunday to pick up points for the Ambassador's competition!)
There's a promise of more fun tomorrow, so keep watching!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Yet More Swaps For Your A Musement

Another ATC swap and two more card swaps completed today & I reckon we can squeeze another one in yet! It's not too late to take part if you are in the town tomorrow and fancy having a go - just pop in & join the others in the playroom LOL. You'll have to be quick as tomorrow is our last playdate! Here are the pics from today's swaps. Enjoy!!

And The A Musement Continues ...

Yep! It's official. The A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog will continue to run challenges, winners and daily sneak peeks all of next week! So it's still not too late to register and maybe pick up a fabulous prize (don't forget to to them I sent you!) - just take a look at all the goodies that have been won so far. And you will need to pop into one of the stores running an event if you want to enter the draw to win a whole year's worth of A Muse goodies - that's one of every new product release for a whole year! Find your nearest one here.
And they will also be announcing the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA 2007 Ambassador (wish me luck!!)

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

More Winners To Amuse You

Congrats to Erin Bassett & Rachel Benjamin, who both won prizes in this week's random draw over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog. Take a look at what they won!!

A Featured Store To A Muse You

The featured store this time over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog is ... Mine! How exciting is that? Check out the write up (and the very cool picture, doctored by our very own Gandalf the Crafty) here. You can find all our events here & all the other stores here.
This is your last chance to join in the challenges before the big week, so if you are not already registered do it now (& put me down as the referrer please)! You could still win some great prizes. Design Challenge #10 has just opened - go on, have a go. Good luck!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

How Much A Musement Can You Stand?

OOooooh! There's lots happening over at the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog today! MJ picked up a cool prize as this week's winner from the Ambassador registrations - check out what she won here; Michelle White's instructor schedule has been posted & you can see more of her yummy projects over on her blog; and Design Challenge #10 has been announced!
This time it's anything but cards, so it's time to go mad on altered art, ATCs, bookmarks & anything else that doesn't constitute a card (just when my card mojo was in full swing!!). There's loads of inspirational ideas from the A Muse designers & make sure you take a peek at Linda's wine tags - they aren't big in the UK as yet but I think they could be the next big thing LOL I think I might need to make some of those myself!

Monday, 2 July 2007

A Muse Me Again With Your Swaps!

The second A Muse ATC swap has now ended & the third is already underway. It's not too late to join in - find out how here (scroll down to the post from June 25th). I'll be posting the images from the first card swap very soon, and again, I have another going. The swaps will continue to run right up to July 6th, with as many swaps as I have people wanting to join in (there must be a minimum of 6 people in each group!). Here are the entries in the second ATC swap - enjoy!

I'm More Astounded Than A Mused!

There were a massive 195 entries to Design Challenge #9, which was won this week by Heather P. Big congrats to her for winning a bunch of golf themed stamps - you can see the prize here. There is just one more challenge (& that means just one more week!) until the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA Stamp extravaganza, so make sure you register (& put me down as the referrer pleeeease) if you haven't done so already. I guess the fun will carry on over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog right the way through AP week, so we'll all have to keep checking in!
Can't wait to see what challenge #10 will be!

Be A Mused In Minnesota

They have announced another A Muse Instructor's Schedule over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA blog. Lindsay Neumann will be teaching over at Memory Mania over the course of the Big Week for all those lucky stampers in the Woodbury area. If you live this side of the pond, there won't be any A Muse celebs to rub shoulders with (well, not this year anyway!) so you'll have to make do with li'l ol' me LOL. You can find our events here and all the other store events through the link (rather fond of hyperlinks am I, LOL).
Keep an eye on the blog today - they are sure to announce the Design Challenge #9 winner (yay!) soon.

Still Loving Cosmo Cricket!