Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

So out goes one year and in comes another.
2011 has been an amazing year for Polkadoodles and I've loved (mostly) ever minute of it, but New Year is always a time for reflection and to decide on whether you need to make changes in your life isn't it?
Hard work and determination go a long way in this life and Mr Doodles and I certainly know the former very well indeed. My parents always had a really strong work ethic so it's been drummed into me from a very young age. They had a milk round and another business whilst I was growing up and I was expected to help out as and when needed like most kids who grow up in a family business. I used to deliver milk as soon as I could carry a basket and whilst all my schoolfriends were lazing about on a Saturday morning watching cartoons and Tiswas or Swapshop I was collecting milk money from the age of 5-6 with my mum. She started off sending me to people who gave the right money each week, then to the people who always gave me the same money so she could give me pre-counted change but then very quickly I had my own cashbag and was giving out change at age 6! I have to say I got loads of gifts and tips from our customers at Christmas, they were all very generous, when I consider the age I was now I bet they couldnt' believe their eyes! On top of this my parents decided to build their own house for us having never laid a brick in their lives before so I also got to wheelbarrow bricks and breezeblocks around and help mix concrete and all the other stuff involved most days when I left school too. (Am making my parents sound like Dickensian slavedrivers, I did get to play too!) I just had chores to do - a lot of chores! I never did see an episode of Tiswas although I got an odd snippet whilst I was stood at someone's door waiting for someone to get their purse sometimes.

I detested those mornings and long days kicking my heels on a building plot with a vengeance, for making me miss out on a lot of fun but now I'm quite glad I had to do it (and boy, did I have to do it), it taught me very early on that money doesnt grow on trees and you have to work hard in life instead of waiting for someone else to come along and hand it to you on a plate. I wish more people had that same value for sure, it seems that more and more people are just standing there waiting to take take take all the time these days - a generational thing maybe? It seems a lot of people the generation below me are lacking a lot of core values these days but I suppose it was the generation that were kids in the 80's when everything was plentiful and loadsamoney was on the telly. No wonder really is there? They missed the 70's when everything was plastic, made in Hong Kong and you were posh if you had a colour telly and your mum could afford to buy an Arctic Roll once a month for dessert. MacDonalds was probably a type of Tartan and the most exciting part of Christmas was deciding which Annual you were going to ask for and whether you'd get a Sindy or a Barbie (remember the days when Barbie was just a slut with her ginormous EE cup and her ugly boyfriend, Sindy was the good girl next door and poor Pippa was the poor relation who lived down the road?) 


My reflections for 2011? It's been a strange one really. I try not to have regrets. We all make mistakes and I just try and learn from mine quickly and move on. I think I'm quite a poor judge of character sometimes, I take people at face value and that often bites me on the arse quite frankly! So maybe my resolution for 2012 is to be a little more guarded and a little less trusting in future until someone has properly earned it. And I need to be a bit more tolerant, this is not one of my greatest features I have to admit. I try not to be judgemental but lets face it, we all slip on that one, who are we kidding, but tolerance I must try harder with.

So I would just like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and a big heartfelt thankyou for your support in 2011, Kris and I are very aware that without our customers we are very little indeed (something many other businesses would do well to remember) - we have another exciting  year ahead so come on, bring it on!!

Happy New Year everyone! x

Friday, 30 December 2011

Diddydoodles Day One

Well today is the launch of day of Diddydoodles - our brand new Challenge Blog for 16 and Unders! Woohooo! Power to the kids!
I meet quite a lot of kids on my travels who are into crafting and I had the pleasure of meeting Caitlin earlier this year, who just overwhelms me with her selfless attitude when she has so much to deal with herself. She does lots of charity fundraising in her area and has just won some awards - she could teach us all a lot for sure...she's a huge Polkadoodles fan so I just had to have her on this team, together with Darci who I met at NEC in November. She took over my table with her colouring and for a 7 year old she also has some talent, so I promised myself and Darci we would start Diddydoodles when I got back. And here we are!  So please please spread the word about this great challenge - we made it once a month so it doesn't interfere with schoolwork and there is plenty of time to join in. There's a little prize for our favourite 3 and they will be asked to Guest Design the following month so make sure you all blog and link it up please - we want to get as many kids involved as we can and the whole idea is that it is THEIR challenge, my involvement is merely in making sure it's published and adding a supporting idea each month.  It would be fab if you could leave a comment to encourage my teamies and we know people are reading it, it can be really slow to get blogs off the ground sometimes until enough people know about it and link up.

So here is my card for today, I wanted to do something quick and simple...

And you can find out how I made it over here at Diddydoodles!....feel free to grab and share our blinkie!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Best of 2011

Morning everyone! I popped onto my good friend Kath's blog the other day and she'd done a post which was her best of 2011 which I just loved so I know she won't mind me blatantly copying her idea!
So here are my faves from this year too...enjoy!...(I have used some artistic licence regarding the months as I was a bit of a naughty blogger midyear lol).

January...

February

March

April

May

June (at this point I was a naughty blogger for a while so I've cheated with the months LOL!!!)

July

August

September

October

November

December

So there you go, my Top 12 for 2011. I love this, must try and do it again next year! Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Excited.com

*jumps up and down a million times*


I am SO SO excited!!  I can now announce the launch of our brand new stamping club - the Pen & Paper circle - woooohooooo!!...
Following the success of our collaboration with Practical Publishing in producing the Christmas magazine kit this year we were absolutely overwhelmed by YOU requesting us to bring you a regular Project Magazine - so here we are! I have worked in publishing on and off since I was 18 all those many many moons ago so producing my own magazine is something I've always had on my wishlist. Knowing the ropes and how to make it happen has always meant I was just arm's length from doing this and now at last I have managed to get the whole kit and caboodle together to bring it to you at last!
And I am totally excited about it. BIGTIME.

We were going to make this a subscription club with a bi-yearly signup but quite honestly in these current hard times I didn't think it was fair to do that to our lovely customers. After all, why should we take all your cash up front when it's easy enough for us to take pre-orders each month instead?  So this is what we shall do, to make it easier on your pockets.  Quite simply, you will need to order by a set time which will be published when you purchase and then the kit will be despatched to you within the following few weeks.  This will not be a monthly kit, but we are intending it will be each 7-8 weeks.
And best of all, I get to share my wonderfully talented Design Team with you all!! They are absolutely brilliant and they never get enough credit for the marvellous projects they make, so this is my chance to help them showcase their work and give you a little inspiration along the way. Each issue of the Chronicle will include at least 12 full step by step tutorial projects with loads of hints and tips and special club discounts and offers along the way too,

SO that's the jist of it - and I have been virtually BURSTING to tell you all this news which has been in the planning stages for some time now! So I truly hope we can tempt you to signup - we might not be the cheapest club but I honestly believe it will be the most inspiring club you can join, and we are trying our hardest to give you the maximum value we can.  Until someone comes along and copies us, that is ; )
Go fill your crafty boots! 

Friday, 23 December 2011



Have a Wonderful Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!
lots of love from Nikky & Kris x

Kuretake Advent Calendar - Door 23




White Card

Draw a circle onto card with a pencil (a CD is an ideal size).
Roughly sketch out your Merry Christmas text in pencil to ensure you get the layout right around the circle.
Then taking a gold and silver metallic Calligraphy pen and using the 3.5mm tip, add gold colour to the tip of the silver by gently pressing the gold halfway onto the tip.
Holding the silver pen at a 45 degree angle now trace over your text. Break down each letter into sections. Use the fantastic printable guides and tutorials on the Kuretake website to help you and refer to the A-Zig Calligraphy book.
 Don't worry too much if your spacing isn't correct as we can resolve this later. Now add some little swirls onto the ends of your letters to make it look fancy.
 Practice this "S" shape on some scrap paper. Once you can get the shape, draw a centre dot and starting from the centre point turn your paper each time to make a flower.
 Now add lots of flowers around the edge of the circle on your card. Once you're confident, change the tip size to make some smaller flowers and change colours. Try to make the positioning quite random.
 Keep going and build up the design, each time turning the paper as you create your petals. Finally, add some swirls to the circle to finish. You can add little berries to the flower centres. Add some sparkle with a Wink of Stella pen!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Door 22 over at Kuretake - Magical Kurecolors

In December Kuretake are doing an advent calendar of tutorials, if you haven't seen them all you should check them out here. So today, Door 22 is ME!
I seem unable to escape from the adorable Neighbours stamp range a year on from when we launched them, no-one gets sick of seeing them which is amazing! I must admit even I still adore them each time I create a new scene, I really do think they are my fave stamps of all time ever. So below is a quickish tutorial on using Zig Kurecolors which are a totally awesome alcohol based marker. If you're wondering WTH is Nikky doing, has she given up Pro and Flexmarkers - the answer is no! but we all have to get a bit of variety and different markers have different properties and can give you different results. I love the Kurecolors because of their rich juicy pigments so when I want to produce something really vibrant I pick up these babies. The blender is awesome and guess what - it really does blend rather than bleach! You can use them with your other products anyway and as you know I'm a big believer in mixing your media and materials whenever you can.
I also tried out a new technique on this tutorial which turned out even better than I thought it would!
Enjoy, peepsicles...

You will need: (all products used are available from the website here)
Selection of Zig Kurecolors & blending pen, Clear Mushroom stamps from Polkadoodles, Wink of Stella Gold penWhite Zig Chalkwriter pen, Memento inkpad, Zig Alcohol inks - clear blending solution

Using the memento inkpad, stamp your images and create a little scene by adding lots of trees and bushes.
Kurecolor alcohol markers change colour as they dry so it's really useful to make and keep a colour swatch chart every time you buy new colours. The handy storage wallets are already in pre-selections of bright and muted tones. I store mine in colour families within the wallets in numerical order but if you struggle with putting colours together you will find the pre-selected colours really helpful as it makes selecting colours that work together really easy peasy.

 There is no right or wrong way on how to colour but with I tend to work light to dark depending on the image I'm colouring. For this image I will use a lot of the skintone colours to give me a nice soft look to my project but I try to restrict my colour palette to less than 10 colours as I find when too many are involved you can end up with a garish result with too many colours clashing. As you can layer Kurecolors you can achieve as many colours as you wish by simply mixing colours together and this means all the colours in the palette you use will work together well. The Kurecolor markers have a really precise point which is far more accurate than many other markers and means you can get right into fine details.
 The Kurecolor blender is an awesome tool for achieving soft blending techniques. If you find the colour you have is a shade too dark, add some of the colour onto the tip of the blending pen and then sweep across the image in small circles to spread and blend a more muted form of the colour.
 You can also use this technique to mix colours together - simply add 2 colours onto the blender to make a third variation and get a lovely smooth blend when you colour. The colour will simply flood out of the blender as you use it so you will never spoil the blending pen, you simply reload the colour again if you need more.
 Kurecolors have brilliantly strong pigments and give super-rich coverage but not all your projects have to be vibrant and strong. I want a more muted, softer look to my project so I decided to try out an idea I've had for a while...scribble some blue onto a piece of acetate or acrylic block (as a palette) and then add some clear blending solution, mixing with a paintbrush.
 You need to work quite quickly as alcohol ink does dry very fast, but take a paintbrush and swirl the colour across the sky to give a really soft look which looks a bit like watercolour! Great technique, it worked so well! If you run out of colour or it's a little patchy just add more blender and blend it around until you're happy. I ended up with a really soft wash which looked broken up by clouds. If I'd done this any other way it would have taken me ages and lots of blending!
Now start to add some more colour and foliage colour - don't forget you can mix your colours together which  I find handy when I'm trying to get the right tones for foliage.
 Once I'd built the colour up I decided to make my lanterns light up. Use yellow 106 in the centre of the lantern and then using the blender pen swirl round and round the head of the lantern in a circular motion to spread the light.  Then take the same colour and add touches of it where the glow would be picked up on the house and on the mice etc.
 Remember to add the casting shadows and glows too for added effect. Again I used the paintbrush to get the wash across the grass in the front of the picture.  Take a white chalkwriter pen and highlight along the lanterns and anywhere you feel you need to get a little contrast. Finally, take a yellow or gold Wink of Stella pen and add to the lanterns and windows and some of the flowers for a little sparkle.
 Finally make up into a project for any occasion.




Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A cute little sketcheroo...

Well, this is a little unusual for me, but this is a card I made for the Elisabeth Bells challenge for December. I don't do anywhere near enough crafting just for me and I am making a concerted effort to do so...didn't you know that crafting is good for the soul...
This is a fab digi available from Elisabeth who I have had the pleasure to meet across the email highway and she is so lovely...this month's challenge is to use a sketch and I am a sucker for a sketch you all know that, right...(I must apologise for poor pic quality on these, must go check settings as the res on these is pretty poor and washed out for some reason)...
The papers are all from my Pretty Sweet collection with the chunky gingham from Magical Winter - two of my favest paper collections ever! Spotty ribbon is East of India, the little pom poms are from my stash. Blingy leaves are also from the website and the little flowers I made with the use of Martha Stewart snowflake punches - those snowflakes make awesome flowers if you layer them up, the photo doesnt really do them justice here. 
 The image is coloured with Prisma pencils and I made the sentiment by cutting a couple of tabs and then just writing a little message by hand.
I just realised it's my sister's birthday next week so she may just receive this card I think, been ages since I got to give my family handmade ones, I really must make more effort! shocking!
I am also entering this card into the Digibells challenge too for the December blog hop - if  you haven't checked it out yet you must, both blogs have amazing inspiration and the DT's are wonderfully talented! Go soak up the creative talent over there now!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Oh my Word!

Look what the postie brought me today!

Absolutely beautiful!...
You can't really see on the pics but they're all glittered and gorgeous! Way way too nice to eat!
Big thankyou to all the lovely peeps at Kuretake, they have impeccable taste and clearly know the way to a girl's heart! However, the OCD in me has dictated I start small and work my way up. They DO taste as good as they look LOL!
x

Monday, 19 December 2011

Vader strikes again

So who is ready for Crimbo? You? How about You? ...no me neither!
I decided we're staying home alone for Crimbo day this year instead of having to drive the 80 mile round trip to my family (don't do OH's family for crimbo, don't even go there with that one). We havent had a tree or any decs up for the past few years as we've been too busy/too tired/too grumpy and the house has been a tip but over the past couple of weeks I think we both decided we need to reclaim the living room! I went to see my lovely friend for lunch on Saturday, opened the door when I got home and nearly fell over in shock - he had emptied all the old shop stuff out and was actually sorting stuff out! OMG! If you could see our back bedroom which is his "den" you would realise why this is shocking as it looks like Mr Trebus lives in there, tidying is not my OH's strong point. Give him his due, he did sort out a load of stuff the other week which was actually loads of my old stamps which my classes used and then we found more old stock too so I parceled it up and sent it off to 5 different charitable crafty causes. To be honest I could've sent it to about 20 people there was that much stuff but I had to think about the postage! So anyway he's earned serious brownie points for shelf moving and clearing out at last and going to the tip, after all I've only been waiting 2.5 years. So this meant it was time for a good clean and I do like a spring clean before crimbo. I was savage I tell you, SAVAGE! There was enough ginger ninja fluff under the sofa to knit an Axminster and I have to admit I was thoroughly ashamed at the state of the place. 5 hours later and it was done though (not the whole house, that would take another week!), and the downstairs is now looking almost the best it can. So long as you ignore the wildlife that is living between the cooker and tumble dryer.
Anyhoo, thought I would share this little gem with you...
Here is my Darth Vader impresh. I look well happy don't I! I apparently have sleep apnoea, something I suspected but it seems it is much worse than I thought and is partly responsible for why I wake my OH every night chuntering and shouting in my sleep and bashing him in the ribs all the time. So I got summoned for an appointment and had no idea this was going to happen...hopefully it won't be too long but I really feel sorry for people who do have to wear this every night for life. It's not as bad as it looks because it's very relaxing, sounds like waves lapping on a beach so it makes you nod off very quick but I do keep waking up in the middle of the night and I don't have it on. It's all very bizarre, I obviously rip it off at some point, put it away neat and tidy and go back to sleep LOL! Clearly I am as bad as the nurse said I was haha!
Definitely a pash killer though so if you value your marriage I suggest your partner puts up with being punched in the ribs as there'll be nothing else happening once this enters your life I can tell you! x




Friday, 16 December 2011

Polkadoodles Challenge - Through the Window

Well, it's the last Polkadoodles challenge of the year so I had to try and join in - 10 minutes before we publish! I came across this project yesterday which I thought I'd forgotten to photograph and it fits perfectly.
 A frame can be the same as a window to me, right?! I made this a while back for Craft Stamper magazine and it was actually a class project of mine which we did as well...I love this, it's just a bit different to the norm.
 Take 12 pieces of paper all the same size and roll them up and glue them to make a frame. It's a bit fiddly and takes a little time but well worth it I think. Once they're all glued down they become very stable and if you use 120gsm like I did then it's actually quite heavy and strong. I used a mixture of papers here, kraft and from the Double Sprinkles of Kraft collection.
 I then stamped some houses from our Be Neighbours range of stamps and used masking techniques to create the perspective and overlay the circle for the sentiment - yes, that's part of the stamping too. Then I cut a circle sentiment from the CD and added it to the circle. Look at the depth and dimension you get to this side on...obviously it needs a box but it's well worth the effort for someone special.
I reckon if you were selling these at fairs you'd easily be able to charge about £7-8 each with the embellies etc too.
Right, that's it for today, I will be back in the next few days! x

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

WOYWW

Well, first What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday for me - ever!
Not been creating much in terms of cards this week unless 36 Crimbo Cards counts - yes, I did finally get round to making them thanks to all the people on Twitter and Facebook making me go in a blind panic about not doing them yet! It wasn't until I got them all done I realised there's still another 12 days till Crimbo eve yet FGS! Some people do panic about stuff don't they! I have never seen such a drama over decorating the Christmas tree unfold ever - it seems this is a really big thing to the whole world except me, people seem to take days to put the thing up and then finish decorating it, twitter is rife with tree trauma I tell you, rife!  I'm bish bosh bash up and done in an hour, finito. Takes the cats 2 mins to dismantle it though! We haven't had one for the last few years, mainly because of the ninjapaws launching themselves at it like a cannonball and not enough room in our titchy house but I'm squeezing one into our living room this year for sure!


Right so onto WOYWW, pretty boring really and my desk (believe it or not) is actually quite tidy at the mo...


 I call this mission control on account of having 3 screens in a row plus 2 printers and the sky box stacked at the right hand side! The Christmas card is from the lovely Kay Carley and the huge tag is a promo thing sent to me - these have been installed there since last year LOL! I just forgot to take them down! I do have some little battery fairy lights that hang along the bunting but you can't tell they're on in the picture. Note the big pile of cards waiting to go out and the 3 boxes of Fortnum and Mason's chocolates and fudge waiting to go off to someone important...not me unfortunately!
The Purple and white thing is my brand new mini sewing machine which I bought off Ideal World last week - I ADORE it! For the price of it it's a great little machine and so light and portable I can actually put it on my desk, I've been wanting one like this for YEARS! The pink and blue thing next to it is my lush sewing box which I bought off QVC a couple of years back and I love it, I store allsorts in there. Hehe I had to just go back and edit this post as when I clicked on the image and it was larger I did notice something peeking under all the chaos - my bra!! I thought I'd lost it, must have been a bramagic kinda moment if I left it there!!!

But as you can see, it's a pretty tidy desk really as I'm in a bit of a designing week. I have to split my time up - I either design a lot or I create a lot, I can't mix them both up as I need to have my desk clear for my graphics tablet. The one you see there is a new emergency one because I brock my big momma who is now on her way to Deutschland for fixing. Me no likey new imposter, feels very difficult to use in comparison so can't wait to get Ida back.

Here's the other corner of my desk...Clip It Up installed nicely and about 1/3rd full. I tend to use it to hang up my WIP cards and stuff I can't tidy away yet. Notice the diary snooked behind the PC - all that tiny writing is THE LIST!....
...THE LIST of things to do which seems to never get any smaller and is always full of juicy secrets I can't share yet.  And my Tesco vouchers I always forget to use. That £10 one will be paying for my Turkey Crown this week!Sneaking behind my water is a nice pile of felt flowers I made on Sunday whilst watching X Factor.
And then I had to share this little monkey of a picture...caught in the act at the same time, emptying my rubbish bin so he can remove the DST and nosh on the bloody glue...he IS addicted...all that mess on the floor is HIS mess!
"Who, me?? I didn't do that!"
Yes Ninja, we know, it was a ghost ninja from Christmas past wasn't it you little....

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Blog Candy winners

I'm a little late I know, I know, I forgot, sorry!
Had my head up where the sun doesn't shine over the past week doing nasty paperwork and accounts which simply had to be done - Mr Taxman waiteth for no woman! Can't believe this time last week we were in the Dales at our lovely hideaway battling with Phil the Pheasant (if u have no idea what I'm on about see the post at the top of the page!)

Because I've been paperwork mental (have just shredded the HUGEST pile of paper ever, so satisfying!) I have no makes to share today but I will be back with some in the next few days, I promise.

Ok, madly I agreed to give away 6 lots of blog candy during my blogathon, what was I thinking! Anyway, here are the winners, well done folks, can you all please email me with your addresses and deets asap please:

Post 20th November - Jan (your comment on stealing the poinsettia heads made me snort!)
You will be winning a £7 voucher to spend online at Polkadoodles

Post 21st Nov, Kitch fail - Victoria - You have won the exclusive Amelia stamp woohoo! Only 9 exist in the whole world!

Post 23rd Nov - Ang - You have also won a £7 voucher to spend online at Polkadoodles

Post 30th Nov - the final. Chosen by a Random Number Generator to each win a £25 goody bag:
Lindsaycraftymonster
RibenaRuby
Craftymissymo

So well done to you all and thanks for all your lovely comments over the blogathon, I really appreciate it and I WILL be blogging more from now on!