Thursday, 10 November 2011

Happy 9th Birthday Alex!

Today is my gorgeous son's 9th Birthday - I don't make him cards, I make him mini-posters, and this years is at the top of this post, pre-printing.  As you may deduce, he's been reading Harry Potter recently :)

Its been a lovely couple of days, as Alex has been sooooo excited about his birthday - we went out for dinner yesterday and it was wonderfully stress free (which is a major achievement for us!).  Today, my DH & I took the day off to spend time together: shopping, wrapping presents & searching high & low for a cake decoration I'd especially ordered for Alex & then put in a 'safe place'.  Ho-hum.

I can show off one more thing today which I made for Alex - for his bedroom door actually (though someone suggested it would be perfect for the bathroom too!).

Its a A5 sized fun poster made using another of Kate Hadfield's new digital stamps.  This time its been coloured using the bucket tool in Photoshop.  The original monster didn't have hairy feet, but I wanted them, so with the magic of cut 'n paste he now has them!  This is why I love digital stamps - lots of control & customisation possibilities.
PS My birthday poster was made with A Wizarding World by Jady Day Studio, the font is HarryP, and there is also just a little added sparkle from Platform 93/4 by Valorie Wibbens & Emily Merrit too!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

New ventures & lovely digital stamps

You probably know I occasionally make hybrid printable goodies for Kate Hadfield - well, she has recently started producing her own line of digital stamps, and I decided to be cheeky & ask if I could be part of her team for this venture, and I am delighted to say she said yes!!

The card above is my first using her Sally & Sidney Scarecrow stamps.  I used some of her other doodles to help set the scene & then coloured the digital stamps with chalks.

I have another project ready to photo using her fun monster stamp, but the lighting over the past few days has simply been too awful for photographing.  Too many grey days for my liking!

Did you enjoy Digital Scrapbooking Day yesterday?  I spent a scary amount of money - I was definitely naughty, so it good job I'm working extra hours at school at the moment!   Remember the sales are still on today - so why not treat yourself?

I had another lovely surprise recently.  I've been featured on the Me So Scrappy blog here - how nice it that!? 

A number of the projects highlighted were for CatScrap - a fab digital store based in Scandinavia.  I've had a great deal of pleasure in undertaking a 3 month guest CT spot there, having the opportunity to work with a wonderful team of designers, which includes the lovely Ju Kneipp!  I've tried to use kits that I guess would often be outside my normal comfort zone - including this one by Fiddlette that I used to make this (& one of my new favourite) card:

I'm off now - its our son's birthday this week so we're kicking of the celebrations by going to the cinema later to see TinTin ;)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

...and she's back!

Its been months since my last posting - I've been a little overwhelmed by work, school holidays, life & more work and its definitely taking its toll.  Especially on this poor neglected blog!

I've a few links to how-to's, freebies & generally 'look at this' things to share with you today.

Also - you may have noticed 'cos of a missing blinkie - that I'm no longer on the CT for the Sweet Shoppe.  I decided to step down for many reasons, including work volume & general 'comfort' in my position there.  Its a store full of talent & gorgeous goodies, but I just didn't feel like a good fit anymore so it was definitely the right time to go.

I'm delighted to say I'm still having the honour & pleasure to work with SuzyQ Scraps, Heather Roselli, Ju Kneipp & the team at DigiScrap Addicts, plus every now & again I have the joy to play with Kate Hadfield's lovely doodles - in fact I would recommend that you check out her store at The LilyPad on Friday as you'll find some spookaliciously hybrid goodies (if I do say so myself!) :) 

What finally prompted me to post today was that I've found a fab new font source, and wanted to make sure you knew about it too!  A very talented designer called Kimberly Geswein shares all the fonts she makes on her blog.  Her fonts are for personal use, though CU can be purchased.

Here are a few I simply had to have!

You can never have too many fonts...

If you've never made your own cupcake wraps, then if you pop over to Heather Roselli's blog here you can grab the wrappers & toppers you can see in the photo above for free!  They were made using Heather's DIY Printable templates & Sugar High Night kit.
How about something to decorate your room for Halloween?  Then to grab this fun freebie printable you should check out SuzyQ Scrap's blog here.  I used her collab kit 'In the Graveyard' to make this 'lil number.

The blog posts containing the freebies contain how-to's too :)

Finally - please tell me you've discovered Pintrest???  This is the site you can use as your online notice board for all those recipes, ideas, colour schemes, photos & so much more that you hope to one day try out... without cluttering up your own hard drive or wasting ink by printing!  Its such an amazing Aladdin's Cave of ideas - you MUST investigate it if you haven't so far.  But I warn you is rather addictive!  My boards are here if that helps you get started & the general idea :)

Before I go, I must give you the details about the hybrid craft above - which was made using the Featured Product in The Enabler (DSA's magazine) this October: it was made using Journey of the Heart by Elise’s Pieces & KimB Designs.  It was a sincere pleasure using this kit - totally gorgeous!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Artful templates

As you may know, I'm lucky enough to be on the team at Sweet Shoppe Designs, so I get the amazing opportunity to play with lots of goodies that I probably wouldn't do otherwise.  That includes templates designed for LO's - I don't often purchase this sort of template, predominantly using freebies if I use them at all. 

Between you & me, I have issues with photographs: the minute I introduce them into something I'm creating my mojo leaves the building.  Plus I take so few photos - I just forget to take my camera with me or I get very self-conscious using it.  Very silly, really.

Back to those templates... Janet Phillips is a template designer at the Sweet Shoppe - and I love the simplicity and clean lines of her designs.  Last week she introduced a new range of templates to her collection called Artful Expressions.  They're based on subway art, that is soooo popular today.  Anyway (I'll get to my point now!), I've been playing & am in l-o-v-e with the results.

The one at the top of this post is the first of her collection (here).  I reduced the canvass size & rotated it, then added the photos: one of a very happy Alex & one of the cup of coffee I found via Google.  After decorating with papers by Shawna Clingerman & Heather Roselli, I printed it onto photographic paper & framed it - the frame definitely needs replacing as soon as possible, but I was impatient to show it off!

The next of Janet's templates I used was her new Artful Expressions #3.  This time I reduced it to card size:
I printed the hearts out separately so I could layer them by their centre lines, so they'd look less flat.  The card looks so pretty & was a snap to make, I would definitely recommend having a go. I used pretty papers from Kiss Me Kate by Susan Bartolini to decorate.

Finally, I just wanted to show a very sweet gift bag I made recently using a template by WendyBird Designs.  I am in love with her templates - they're just that little bit different & all CU-friendly too :)  I'd recommend checking out her blog, as she is very generous with freebies if you're considering starting to give hybrid templates a go.

I guess it was maybe a little more fiddly to put together than other heart bag templates I've used, but the finished result really is rather special and the paper bow finishing touch is perfect.  I used Life is Beautiful by Ju Kneipp to decorate (couldn't resist the tartan paper!), layering the flower image from her kit with sticky foam pads, & topping it with a real button to complement the colour scheme.

That's all for now folks! I'm off to listen to Alex read - he's very proud to be a 'free reader' now, which means he can choose any book he wants to read, rather than the selected ones at school.  His first choice?  Horrible Histories: The Groovy Greeks.  That's my boy :)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Easy-peasy idea for Fathers Day

I just had to share this straight forward suggestion for Fathers Day (or your DH's birthday) - though I totally lifted the idea from Martha Stewart, here.

Grab a bucket & fill with the man-of-the-hour's favourite treats, new DVD's, gadgets, things for his hobby or, as in my husband's case, things for his second love: his motorbike.  Add a simple tag, fun banners, ribbons or even get your children to put painty hand prints all over it & voila!

I used Susan Bartolini's Mission To Mars kit to decorate mine, plus lots of ribbon, mini star buttons, even a little hessian-style ribbon (all of which will mysteriously disappear back into my craft stash when DH has 'opened' his gift of motorbike cleaning goodies (trust me, he'll be putty in my hands after he sees this lot - he's a little OCD about cleaning the bike!)

Bye for now!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Book clubs & other things


I recently joined a book club - my first ever.  Its an on-line club run via the Sweet Shoppe's community forum, and we're just into the second month of books, so its all new, fresh & welcoming new readers all the time.

This month so far I've read 'The Girl Who Cased the Moon' by Sara Addison Allen - and just loved it.  Its a really light, charming & simply happy book to read.  I've already ordered another of hers.  I'm finding myself progressively reading more & more light-hearted books, rather than the more 'educational'ones. I find I more & more appreciate a little escapism in my choice of books - too many harsh things going on in the world without reading about them in a novel too.

Truthfully I rarely read books - I listen to them instead! ...which is precisely what I'm doing with a second of the book club book choices for May: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

I felt like I'd given into popular demand & downloaded a heavy, deep book, but about 4 hours into the audio unabridged version, I am a total convert.  Its a beautifully written story - the audio version is told by 2 actors, an older Jacob & a younger version, and it works splendidly.  If you've never tried listening to a story - give it a go with this book, its worth joining a club like Audible for this one alone.

I hope you like the 'lil Love Bot box above (the little robot makes me smile) - the papers worked perfectly to make this more masculine themed gift box, don't you think?  Its complimented by this card - perfect for your man on any special occasion :)  The designs are all by Ju Kneipp, though the box template is by Heather Roselli.

Have I mentioned Heather has a new-look blog??  She's also beginning to sell her templates for commercial use too!!  I've been pestering her for this for ages!  Her range of Stick Learnings are also worth a peek if you've small children - made in happy collaboration with Rebecca from the CT team.  I've a couple of how-to's on the blog if you're interested too :)

Finally, in response to a art journal themed challenge this month, I had a go at making a journal cover in this new-to-me style.  This was the result:

I didn't have a journal to actually cover so I made one with recycled card & key rings.  I will definitely try this style again - including the 'she would...' quote idea.  It was fun & nice to try something a little different :)  Its made with lots of SuzyQ Scrap's goodies!

I'm off to dry my hair after swimming (30 lengths this morning!), and get more washing on the line :)

Wishing you a sunny day too,

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Happy iNSD!

Happy {inter}National Scrapbooking Day - when we all have a lovely excuse to shop the extraordinary sales, play games & hopefully have time to scrap, create & have fun using all the lovely goodies in our stash or on our hard-drives!

Everyone is having a sale today, and have created new goodies to pop into their shops too.  Here are some of my personal fave goodies:

Heather Roselli has just launched her gorgeous, new-look site, plus a new range of fun and very colourful teaching aids called Sticky Learnings - well worth a peek if you're home schooling or simply want another play resource for your little ones - you can see one of the previews above.

I have a little something in stores today too!!!  I have had the sincere pleasure of playing with Kate Hadfield's wonderful doodle designs again to create these two mini sets - available only at The LilyPad:

These mini ready-to-print and assemble sets are perfect for Mother's & Father's Day, but are also suitable for birthdays, or any time you simply want to give a little something special.  Lots of how-to's are included if you're new to 'hybrid' :)

I'll leave it there for now, and let you go shopping!  ...oh, but I should tell you that there is a fun blog train departing from DigiScrap Addicts, with fun & lots of freebies along the way!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Crafty Project: Dry Erase Board


Celeste is a lovely lady I know at the Sweet Shoppe.  She is full of amazing ideas & inspirational sources that she readily shares.  Recently she showed off an idea for a DIY dry-erase board - the type you write on with a special pen then rub off when you're done with the message, again & again.  Very environmentally friendly :)

... and I can honestly say I don't think I've tried a simpler, cheaper or easy to personalise project!  Here's what I did:

I went all digi for my first attempt: a small memo board for Alex to use.
First I bought a very, very cheap clip photoframe - seriously it cost me less than £1 from ASDA.  Next I created a file in Photoshop the same size as the frame aperture, then the best bit: I had fun with the papers, banners & elephants from Alphabet Soup for Boys & School Days, both by Zoe Pearn.

After printing, I put the finished page into my frame, and let Alex loose with a dry-erase pen.  This is a perfect way to encourage him to keep track of all the things he has to do or take to school! ...and when he gets fed-up with this image I can simply create a new one from my ever-growing digi-stash!

Loving Alex's board, I had to make one for myself to pop next to my craft space, using a slightly more expensive frame - this one cost just shy of £3!  Again, I started by opening a file in Photoshop sized to match the frame's aperture, but this time I wanted a more grown up look, and chose to play with the gorgeous Everyday Moments from Lauren Grier & Jenn Barrette.

After printing, I added a little ribbon, glitter glue, a Doodlebug Designs flower plus button - and then popped it into my ever-so-expensive frame, & ta-da!

Andrea, of The Ribbon Girl on-line store, and HybridBabe extraordinaire, has just added this article to her blog, showing you how to make the most gorgeous dry-erase board I've seen. Her blog is always worth a peek for card inspiration, but this post is a definite must-see!


Friday, 15 April 2011

I made a LO!

...I know its only a very simple one, but hey its still a LO - there's a photograph and everything! I made it using Ju Kneipp's new collaboration kit Everyday Love with Valerie Wibbens, over at The LilyPad where Ju is guesting for the month. I have to admit a bit of an addiction to Val's designs so I was delighted that Ju got to collab with her!

Just one more thing to mention before finishing this post. Many of you are aware that Lauren Grier has been very ill recently. La is an amazingly talented lady, who creates some of the most original, fun & funky doodle-icious kits, alphas & element packs out there. A huge group of her friends within the digital scrapbook community have got together to create a not-to-be-missed kit which will be sold to help La & her beautiful boy, Ce.

The contributors, led by Shawna Clingerman include everyone at the Sweet Shoppe plus too many others to mention (except I will mention Kate Hadfield 'cos I love her). Its going to be sold at the Sweet Shoppe for sure, but I have a feeling it will be available elsewhere too including DigiScrap Addicts. The kit is called 'With A Little Help from My Friends'.

I promise you, its too beautiful a kit to miss, and you'll be helping out a lovely lady & her son too.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Hybridy blog post to share

Hi there! Quick post to say I've a blog post up here, on the Sweet Shoppe Design's blog that I think you'll enjoy - especially the bookmark idea! No more hints, just go & read all about it :)

Sara x

PS If your mojo is in need of a kick start you should have a peek at the Sweet Shoppe's monthly portfolio challenges, which a packed with a variety of prompts, & ideas for you to spark off. Well worth making a coffee & taking 5 minutes to relax & wander through!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Hot off the Press

Look what I made! I have never made an 'explosion' box before - the number of photos have always intimidated me 'cos I am lousy at taking them - but Heather has a huge release scheduled for tomorrow morning, and needed her team to make up examples. I got to make the hexagonal & pentagonal boxes as you can see, and I loved it. Heather's templates are (as always) a breeze to use, and these boxes only required the minimal equipment to assemble: a printer, a knife & ruler for straight edges, my Scoreboard for neat creasing & some adhesive. As Heather wanted printables that were already good to look at, I didn't add any 'real' embellishments - but the possibilities are endless! My mum will love them as a gift for sure. ...well worth looking at when they hit the Sweet Shoppe store! Sara x

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Starting the year over...

Hi! Its been months & months since I last posted - all for sad, heart-breaking family reasons I'm afraid. I'm not going to go into details - this is not that kind of blog, but I'm doing this quick post simply to say that I'm starting 2011 over from today, the very first day of April... I know its All Fool's Day, but I figured that its as good a day as any to take a deep breath and begin blogging again!!! :)

I've been crafting throughout the time I've been absent here, and there's lots to share, which I think I'll do in a little side bar slide show, but let me quickly show you something NEW, and that I'm beginning to post around the digi-community today:

The card above & this cute alternative party treat presentation idea were made with a kit by Ju Kneipp & Dunia Designs, called A Boy's Diary - and the easy-peasy hybrid template is by WendyBird Designs. She's a CU hybrid template designer I've just found, and I've already bought several of her designs to play with!

The digital stamp is from DigiStamp Boutique, and is coloured with my preferred medium of chalks. A few layered flags & ta-da!

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