Tuesday 28 February 2012

Finishing Stuff......

I have a habit of starting projects and then getting side tracked and I end up with a list of things I really should finish off.  I know you know what I am talking about!

Yesterday I took the time to finish one of those projects I started last year.  I ran an all day workshop where we made two canvases using the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die (which I love and have used and used) to make two of my favourite flowers.  I am very partial to blue flowers and had for sometime wanted to make a realistic paper iris.  That was the starting point for this project and I hope you like the end product.

Sorry about my shadow!
I always intended to make two more canvases as I wanted to hang them in my lounge.  The nails have been there for many months and finally they have two canvases to hang on them!  More flowers I made using the tattered florals die as a starting point.

No more empty nails!
Today I am going to tell my friends that I have started this blog so if they are reading this.....Hello.  I am nervous now!  Better make sure all my spelling is up to scratch.   If you come to my classes you will recognise these canvases and will have made some of the flowers yourself.

If you like this blog then please sign up on my followers list and pop back from time to time.

Thank you, Helen

Sunday 26 February 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane....

Its the weekend and the weather is warming up nicely.  I have just spent an hour in the garden tidying up ready for the new spring growth I can see happening as I clear away the debris of the winter months.

It is nice to be out in the fresh air again.

I'm not sure what to write about today so I have opted for a bit more about me!!!!  I have always loved making things.  It is something a lot of crafters have in common.  I have tried many hobbies over the years.   I have tried my hand at tiffany glass as a result of admiring my uncle Roy's grandmother clock all fashioned from glass and an amazing picture panel he made to decorate an existing shower screen.  I still have the equipment sitting in the attic!

I sewed for many years, cushions, curtains and the like and eventually progressed to designing and making my own ball gowns.  I have a habit of jumping in with both feet when it comes to hobbies and I always want to get to the point where I am making my own designs rather than following a pattern.  It does not always work!!

The first dress I made to my design was almost a disaster.  Fate helped me out though!  I was trying on the dress and altering it to fit snuggly when I had a call of nature.  Luckily for me, as I had taken the dress in too far at the knee and I could no longer lift the dress up high enough to go to the ladies room!  As I had already sewn the fish tail skirt into place (it was the fashion at the time!!).  I opted to add an additional fastening into the lace top so that I could slip the dress down instead.  I'm glad that no one could witness the lengths I had gone to in order to cover up my lack of experience in dress making!!

Actually I think that it is a talent that crafters employ on a regular basis.  If things don't quite work out how you planned you need to think on your feet to come up with a Plan B and know one will ever know but you there was ever a Plan A!!  (A favourite quote of many a crafter!!)

How many pictures do I have to prove that I have often been a fashion victim I wonder!!
Remember the 1980's!
I forgot about the mini bus

I scrapbooked this dressmaking clanger for a challenge that took place at my local scrapbooking crop!  The photo was taken in 1986...I still have the dress in the attic.......I wish I still had the figure!

Thanks for stopping by, Helen

Saturday 25 February 2012

Steep Learning Curve

Today I spent time looking at UTube and learnt how to publish videos!  There are some very strange things to watch......and one strange thing seems to lead to an even stranger thing!  It is very addictive.

I also had a quick peek at FaceBook but I think I will let my sons teach me the intricacies and etiquette of that new world.

One common thread that the business seminars that I went to at the trade show came back to time and time again was the power of social media for the small business.  So my next gathering of information will be about Twitter (sounds cute!)

It is funny how life sometimes seems to know exactly what you need and sends you a gift.  I volunteered to help with the publicity of a sponsored virtual round the world cycle ride for Erewash Valley Gymnastics Club recently and as a result have gained invaluable information for the setting up of my business.  I must remember to post a link to the clubs Facebook page when it is ready.

I will be teaching some card classes soon so today I got on with designing some cards in preparation.  We will be having a play with distress inks and blending brushes so I have designed 3 cards that are a variation on a theme.  Hope you like them.

Using Wild Honey, Peeled Paint and Broken China Distress inks to create  a Wild Flower Meadow
A kaleidoscope of butterflies
Spatter water on the inky background for an interesting effect
I am going to sign off now as I need to design 3 more cards.  I think I may try using the stamps to create a watercolour effect and I want to make tags so 3 designs combining both is my plan.......

See you soon

Thursday 23 February 2012

Trying Again to Blog Regularly!....

I have been busy but I really do need to make time to Blog.  I am going to set myself a reminder on my calendar to see if that will help.  So what have I been up to?

We had a half term break so we went away for a couple of days.  Check out the beautiful sunset we watched from our hotel room.  In fact the view from our room was so amazing it was difficult to believe we hadn't even travelled abroad!

At the end of the day
Look how calm the sea was
I have also been to my very first Trade Show.  It was exciting to see all the new products that we can expect to be playing with in the coming months.  It was very strange bumping into people I felt I knew!!  The power of television.  I had a lovely chat with Leonie Pujol as she demonstrated for Crafty Notions.  It was great to see her infectious enthusiasm and I am really looking forward to getting my own hands on some of the lovely products she was using.......and getting equally as messy!

I also attended a couple of very interesting seminars focussing on starting a new craft based business.  It gave me food for thought and a renewed impetus to get things done.

Note to Self:  Must find out if there is any protocol about adding links to my blog.  Do I need permission I wonder?

Off to start designing for my next set of card classes.  I will be getting inky this month I think!  Bye for now........

Tuesday 7 February 2012

A Lesson Learnt

I was reading one of the Blogs I follow and I noticed a link to a free background.  I clicked the link and found it directed me to a wealth of information for the novice Blogger.

Over my next couple of Blogs I will try to put some of what I have learnt to practical use.  I have already learnt how to publish a post but I have yet to insert an image on my Blog and I would also like to know how to create a link to somewhere........ to somewhere interesting I hope!

Links First.......

The Blog I was reading was The Paper Trail  written by Laura, an extremely accomplished paper engineer.  She does some amazing work if you haven't visited her Blog yet I hope my link will take you there!!!

....And taking the advice of Sharon who writes the Plumrose Lane Blog I will add a second link and reinforce my learning.  Very important as I get older I find.  Thank you to Sharon for sharing her knowledge it was just what I needed at just the right time.

Now for the Photo.......

It is not the uploading of a photo that is going to be the problem, I think it is choosing the photo that may take some time.  Should it be a photo of me?  Should it be a photo of my work?  Or should I play it safe and upload a photo of the newest member of our family?.......  I opted to go for the Cute Factor........

Comet's first day with us...What a cutie!
Exploring my new Garden


I know that these images should be resized but that is another lesson for another day..........

Thank you Sharon at Plumrose Lane.....

Friday 3 February 2012

Developing the Blogging Habit

Today I have spent a couple of hours exploring lots of Blogs written by the many talented crafters out there in the big wide world and here is what I have learnt today:

1.   I will make time to Blog regularly.
2.   I must try to write interesting Blog entries that other people want to read.
3.   I would like my Blog to reflect who I am and reflect my love of crafting.
4.   I will try to learn how to make my Blog look pretty.
5.   A picture paints a thousand words so I really must learn how to upload photos and videos to my Blog.

I will work on Points 1 and 2 every couple of days and with Point 3 in mind I will continue this Blog entry by writing down a little more about ME!

I have always loved to share my passion for crafting with others (in my experience I think most crafters do).  Just over a year ago the opportunity came up for me to teach card making classes.  I started off with the aspiration to expand my classes to the point I could teach for a living.  But things change and I soon realised as I designed the cards for my monthly lessons that I really really enjoyed the designing part of preparing my lessons and that I wanted to explore all the many crafting techniques and trends with the ladies in my classes.  I wanted to inspire and I really hope that I have been doing that.  As you will see when I launch my business this realisation gave me the inspiration and the impetus to take steps towards fulfilling my ambition to craft for a living..... How lucky will I be if I succeed?

My first Poster to advertise my classes
At the moment I am waiting to sign off on the design stage of my website.  I am really excited each time I get to click on a link and up pops something on the web that is growing into my new business.  My website designer passed on some very wise words:

'Don't think that you are designing the Porsche today.  The important thing is to get the car on the road and the Porsche will develop as you drive it along'

I might not have quoted Peter word for word but the concept has stayed with me and it has helped me make decisions without tying myself in knots trying to think of all eventualities.  Nothing is set in stone and if something doesn't work I can change it.  I will soon be driving along the road!  I hope this Blog makes you want to come along to see where I end up........
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