Saturday, 27 November 2010

Mad week! Mammoth post!

I'm very happy that since my return to Blogger from the dull world of Wordpress I am much more inspired to blog and actually REMEMBER to do it now - who would've thought a nice blog background would make such a  difference! When I have some spare time it's on my list of things to master just to make my own from scratch but that will have to wait in fairytale land for now I'm afraid.

Don't forget you still have until tomorrow lunchtime to do the blog hop!! We've had loads of entries but we have loads of candy to give away so make sure you get on it!

Well, what a week!
We had a Create & Craft show on Friday morning - up at 5.30am to make sure I was actually alive by 8am kickoff. Luckily I was with Leonie Pujol who is such an angel, I feel like I've known her for years she's such a sweetheart. We met for tea the night before and we didnt stop yakking for 4 hours! Kris was with us and he had a headache in the end lol.
So I've spent the week prepping demo's and making some extra samples for the show. I tell you, peeps, I really go through the mill for these shows. Kris tells me my TV demo's are way too complicated and that I should show simpler stuff like the other guests do, but the answer to that is - I don't want to, and I don't see why I should compromise what I do for the sake of TV and lack of time. So it takes me DAYS to prep for a show. On average I would say I spend 3 days each time. We always have to have extra demo's up our sleeve just in case but generally I know I should get 3 or 4 done on the show. The other thing for me is that because we have CD's to show you round I have much much less demo time. If we have a stamp set to sell we can show you that in 1 minute - but a CD can have up to 4000 images - so we usually have to allocate about 10 mins to viewing the CD from that hour. Hence why we always run out of time.
I know this is a real bone of centention for a lot of viewers but the answer is there, pure and simple and there's not much we can do about it, it's not because of the presenter, or the producer, it's all to do with sales at the end of the day. I love to show you as much as I can and how to use the products but if you don't buy them then it's all a big waste of time - Create & Craft can't operate on a charity basis and heaven knows how much it costs to air an hour of TV so although we all try and be as educational as we can be, we all have to remember it's a shopping channel and the UK craft industry would be a much tinier place without Create & Craft and the other side. This is an argument that always gets me a bit because I see it from both sides. I used to have a bricks and mortar shop and we would get people coming in wanting us to show them how to use stuff they'd bought from TV. Well, you wouldnt go into B&Q for a new lawnmower then go into Sainsburys Homebase and ask them to show you how to use it would you? I mean, you just wouldn't! And it's the same thing! But sadly, some crafters think they have the god-given right to do so! So the independent craft shops get hacked off - usually it has to be said, you won't know they're annoyed because generally most of us are nice and shopkeepers always want to keep their customers happy. As did I, particularly when I spent an hour demonstrating a cricut machine for that person to come back a few days later telling me they'd bought it online for £10 less. Grrrr. Gerroutta my shop I think whilst smiling ear to ear with a Bet Lynch grimace!! (so please think on if you find yourself doing something similar next time you go in your local shop!). We need the small independent craft shops and here at PD I bend over backwards to support them as much as I can - I always tell people to buy locally if they can, it's in your own interest to do so! So if your local shop doesnt stock PD products then ask them to!  Personally, as far as I'm concerned, we all need each other. I need you to buy my products so I can make more to (hopefully) inspire you to make more things. You need me to bring you new stuff so you can buy it and make nice things. I need Create & Craft because it gives me the platform to reach a vast majority of you at once. Create & Craft need me to bring the product and need you to buy it. And so the big cycle goes on - we ALL need each other. And that's how things grow and develop and get better. If we all look back at the UK craft industry 15 years ago it was a very very different place. Tiny, fragmented, old fashioned and hard to find. And then came along QVC and Dawn Bibby.  I feel sorry for Dawn Bibby sometimes, I think you either love or hate her work. But for me, the fact remains that she was fundamental in developing our industry over the past 15 years and we should all give her credit for that. I, for one, would not be sat here typing this if she hadn't inspired me all that time ago, at the time she was a real inspiration to me.
OMG this has turned into a rant and it wasn't meant to be LOL!
Anyway, I suppose all I'm trying to say is be nice. We don't all like the same things and wouldnt it be boring if we did. I always try to think about things from the other person's point of view when I can. You should especially do it when it comes to craft. A few petty things have happened over the past week which have cheesed me off and I sometimes wish I could shake my fist at people haha - so this was my opportunity! Next post I may well be ranting about piracy and copyright so beware!

Anyway, what I really came here to do was to show you some of the sample cards I made for the show and tell you about the new stamps!  We have 3 brand new sets of unmounted rubber - Be neighbourly, Garden Neighbours and Sensational Sentiments. I launched these on Friday morning and we sold out in 25 minutes so I presume you all love them as much as I do! I couldn't stop creating gorgeous little scenes all week and I think I only took 3 days to prep because really I was just immersed in a good old playtime!

This card was made using the Garden Neighbours stamp set, but also uses some of the flora & fauna from Be Neighbours too. I just adore these little houses. Sentiment is from the new Sensational Sentiments set.

This week the lovely people at Kuretake sent me some of their Zig Art & Graphic Twin pens and although I knew these existed I'd never used this particular Zig set before - I am in LOVE with them! These are watercolour pens which are double-ended and have a brush tip and a really fine tip for detail - much finer than on Aquamarkers so it's a bit easier to fill in that detail, especially when working with small stamps which the fauna ones on these new sets are. The pigment in them is completely lush and these will be my watercolour pen of choice from now on I think. The only other pens I can compare these to is Tombow which I have also tried but never actually bought because they are pretty expensive but I am sorely tempted by the Zig A&G and I will definitely have to get more!

I also use Aquamarkers and also love them but the brush end on the Zig meant I could just swamp my stamps with the colour - all the little trees etc were done this way. Now, in the past when I've used this technique of colouring direct to the stamp it hasn't worked very well and the quality of the pens is testament to this. I also took white Prima flowers and also coloured them with a wash of the same colours to totally co-ordinate the embellies. The button is one I made myself from granite Fimo and I found a couple of pins in my stash, sorry I can't remember who these are from but they were in a pack with little crochet flowers and are adorable.
I really love this card, it's one of my favourites I've done with watercolours, it's not my favourite medium because in the past I've always struggled to get a result I was truly happy with.

Now here is another sample I made - very simple and quick this one. This was coloured with Promarkers and uses the Garden Neighbours stamps here. The scallop decoration at the top is using the Sensational Sentiments stamps. I like the simplicity of this one, I have a feeling I may be about to go into a "clean, contemporary period"!! These stamps are some of my all-time faves I think - they're so forgiving and you
can make up the scenes in minutes, I really am blown away by how well they turned out.
Now, here is another one I totally love.  On this scene I actually made the sentiment the focal point and then
added all the other elements afterwards...
Again this is coloured with Promarkers (nothing will part me from them, although I do have a small selection of copics but find the brush is too big for me to work with)...to really make the sentiment "pop" I added an IG3 shadow around the edge to make it look 3D...

Now, if you know me well you will know I am a huge lover of grunge and distress but I just never get chance to do it any more because Polka Doodles is pretty cutesy! So I decided to make a distressy card but I'm really not happy with it - it's amazing how you get rusty on techniques when you don't do them for ages! Good job for me that I'm going on a fantastic Tim Holtz workshop in February and I shall immerse myself in filth for the whole day I can tell you!! Hopefully it might help me create something better than this old tut,but I think I may have just rescued it with the embellies hopefully!!...

I started to paint with some mica but changed my mind hence the weird blue roof, but I wanted to share it so you can see that even us so-called "experts" have bad days lolol!!...I'm not proud, me...
This is another watercoloured version, this time using Aquamarkers, really soft washes on this one...

Now, I really love this card. Have you checked out all our East of India ribbons on the website yet - omg they really are to die for! East of India is hard to get hold of because they are very fussy who they supply so I'm pretty honoured that they're allowing us to stock their lush products - and boy, are you all liking them or what! Restocks galore, the ribbon is the biggest selling ribbon I've ever had in the shop and I know that when you get it home you will just be stroking it to death. But PLEASE use it, it really does make your projects extra special...

here I doubled up the sentiment, so the card actually says "sending lots of smiles your way just because you cant have too many hugs or laugh too many times". 3 sentiments actually, not 2. I adore this new sentiment sheet, soo versatile and I think it'll be a firm fave for some time...
This time I coloured the images with Bruynzeel watercolour pencils which I've had for ages, thanks to the lovely Amanda Bateman who did me a swapsie for a CD last year! They are in my "speshies" place and they just gave a lovely soft glow to the images. Beaut. Like I say, I love this one, I used kraft card for the sentiments and put it through my Martha Stewart Iron Gate punch then stamped on top to tie the 2 circles together.

OK, so you know how sometimes you just get really inspired by something?
Well last week on Twitter Peppery Apple asked me how she would colour in an image in black because you couldnt see all the lines when you did it.
So I decided to show you and this was my main demo of Friday's show - I loved it so much when I made it I had to share and I knew you all would love it too - and you have, so here you go...

...awesome, huh? even if I do say so myself...

The lovely people at Letraset loved this image so much they are donating me some goodies to giveaway with a tutorial I'm going to do for this very card. If you saw Friday's show you will know how to do it already but if you didn't there will be no repeat because it was a sellout show so check me out here next week as I'll be posting a step by step video for you and giving you details of how to get your hands on some lovely candy. Right, that's me done for my mammoth post, time for Chicken Tikka Rogan Josh and some X Factor!! Enjoy your weekend! xx