Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Show Preparation!

Boy, do I not have time to be writing blog entries but it is my break time, I have just enjoyed a latte and some Marmite (of the English variety - there is no other...lol).

I have been sooo busy getting ready for the fair, it is set up day tomorrow which is when we find out exactly what we don;t have and haven't got time to get - arghhhh!

As my trip to the UK did not really allow me to spend any time preparing (but did allow me to stock up on Marmite!) I am very low on stock to sell so at Claire's suggestion I have been busy making One Sheet Wonders! I have to say one of my most favourite part of stamping is stamping on to a 12 x 12 sheet and making a beautiful paper out of it. You look at them and think how much that would cost if you were to buy it. It is hard not to make a sheet look lovely.

Of course the most upsetting thing about a OSW is you have to cut it up - it is sooo hard to do that. I created one this morning using the Perfect Princess stamp set, some silver embossing and the Water Colour Wonder crayons. I coloured it very roughly as that is the look I wanted, but I love it! I so wish I had a girl to scrap for....lol

I have just put my camera battery on charge so I can take a pic of it before I slaughter (that may be a tad over the top!) it with my guillotine!

Here it is! OK, so the picture doesn't do it justice, it is a bit dark as I had to turn the flash off because it was bouncing off the image. I added a little dazzling diamonds to it to give it some extra "Princess Sparkle'. Those of you that have used it before will know I am therefore totally sparkling myself! I hope you like it!

Claire and I are going to be doing some ad-lib demonstrating at the stall on the day as it really is the best way to show the products, I may well show something like this although it does take some time so I may just do 6 x6 pages.

Happy Stamping all and I hope to see lots of you at the fair - I could defnintely do with the support - nerves are kicking in!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Extra Extra Hostess Promotion!

Extra! Extra!

Stampin' Up! hostesses get extra hostess awards 1 June-15 July, in addition to the already fantastic hostess benefits!
From 1 June to 15 July, Stampin' Up! hostesses can earn an EXTRA $50 to use toward Stampin' Up! products of their choice when they host a workshop totaling $700 or more!

This extra benefit is included along with the standard hostess benefits they receive when they host a workshop. The standard hostess benefits include

  • A free Idea Book & Catalogue 2008-2009 worth $12.95.
  • Free stamp sets only available to hostesses (with qualifying orders; select from the products on pages 17-24 of the catalogue).
  • Free Stampin' Up! products of your choice.

Workshop

Total
(before

tax & shipping)

Extra,

Extra hostess

award

$700 - $799

$50 (total now $130)

$800 - $899

$50 (total now $140)

$900 - $999

$50 (total now $150)

$1000 - $1099

$50 (total now $170)


This
extra
hostess benefit is only being offered for a limited time, so contact me ASAP to book your work shop!

Remember, even if you are not in Tasmania you can still host a Catalogue Workshop!

My clever 10 year old!

I had one afternoon whilst I was in the UK to dedicate to crafting. My mum took me and my eldest son to a local craft club. It is where I made the little cards with the paper clip bookmarks in the previous post.

Initially my son was bored and was moaning he wanted to go but I sat with him and showed him some things he could do with water colour crayons using some of my mum's SU! sets. He used the Au Naturelle set and painted 3 pears and was so pleased with them he used them to make a card for his dad's birthday.

(picture to follow)!

He got such a positive response from us and the other crafters he was on a role so he made one from Unfrogettable set for his uncles birthday (I don't have a picture of that one) along the same line. It was a great card and with some googilie eyes it really made it!

He then made this one.


He had a a great time in the end and was justly proud of how well he did and I got a relatively peaceful afternoon!

Churning out the cards....

Often when you card make you have to make the same card a number of times, especially for invites etc. One of the easiest cards to make in my view is what I call a 'Strip Card'. Now don't get excited, it is nothing racy! I simply mean a card where a strip of stamped card stock, usually in a pale neutral colour, is back with coordinating card and placed on a card base. The strip can be thick or thin or you can have two thickness's on the same card, you can layer it as much or as little as you want and the same is true for embellishments.

The beauty of a strip card is you can make many of them in no time at all and the boredom factor doesn't have a chance to be an issue (as is often the case when you are making more than one of a card).

With this card I used Petal Prints to stamp an A4 sheet of Whisper White and then I simply cut a strip off of it, layered it and adhered it to a base card, hey presto a very quick and simple card to make and I ahve enough patterened card to make quite a lot more!

If you are making a lot of one type of card you may find a production line sustem works. To work one card from start to finsh and then repeat is a labourious task. I personally find it is more efficient to work on one aspect of the card at a time and then build them all.



For example, in the little note cards above there is actually quite a lot of steps involved. I was making 20 of them so decided to break it down in stages. In fact my mum was around so I delegated stages to her. Quite often I use my two older boys, especially when Christmas comes round!

These were the stages I used. I stack up the different stages and then build from them.

  1. Decorate some whisper white c/s with your stamps and inks in Colours 1 & 2
  2. Stamp the circle of friendship in Colour 1 on whisper white c/s 20 times
  3. Punch these out with a circle punch. (make a pile!)
  4. Punch out the next circle layer (colour 1) with the next sized up circle punch 20 times (make a pile!)
  5. Punch out the next circle layer (colour 2) with teh bext sized up circle punch 20 times (make a pile!)
  6. Punch 40 scallops in Colour 1 (make a pile!)
  7. Assemble all these pieces with a giant paper clip 20 times
  8. Using 5 sheets of A4 c/s in Colour 2, make 20 little note cards (A7 sized) (make a pile!)
  9. Cut 20 pieces of c/s in colour 1 to teh dimensions of 6.9cm x 10cm (make a pile!)
  10. Cut 20 pieces of c/s in colour 2 to 6.4cm x 9.5cm (make a pile!)
  11. sing your decorated card stock, 20 5.9cm x 9cm pieces (make a pile!)
  12. Fully adhere the white c/s to the Colour 2 card stock and punch out a section on the top third with the word widow punch.
  13. Adhere this assembly to the Colour 1 c/s but only round the edges.
  14. Fully adhere this assembly to the note card base in Colour 2.
  15. Finally slip your paper clip book mark in to the window you punched out.
Now I can positively guarantee that it is not the most enjoyable thing to do which is why you rarely see hand made card makers making the same card over and over but it is the best way to make cards in bulk. You can work on as many stages that time permits and then leave it for another time and pick up easily where you left it. The other plus is you need equipment for that stage on your desk at one time, It may be you just need card and a punch, or just a paper trimmer,. It helps keep your working area clear and you are less likely to drop an ink pad on something you have just made!

Simple yet effective!

Well although 97% of my time there was spent being totally uncreative, i did manage to find some time to churn out a couple of things. I think I was most productive on the first two days as I was jet lagged and awake very early and hadn't appreciated that I was going to be fitting the kitchen myself at that stage.

As my equipment was limited to what I took over and what my mum lent me I could only achieve simple cards.

I wanted a very simple card from Bud Basics that I could use to demo at the craft fair, this is one I came up with.


it is very simple to make, simply using Whisper White card Stock, Basic brown ink and 3 colours from the Soft Subtles range. It is the kind of card you could make in less than five minutes for that card you need urgently or you could sit and make a few so you can stock pile.

Sample cost:

Bud Basics $33.95
Neutral Classic Stampin' Pad $9.95
3 Classic Stampin' Pads (colours of your choice) $29.85
Whisper white A6 cards + envelopes (20) $11.50
____
Merchandise Total $85.25
Shipping & handling (5%) $4.26
____
Order Total $89.51


I really cannot say how easy this stamp set is to use. You could always add a coordinating jumbo wheel, basics Outline and a a jumbo handle plus some matching ribbon to bring your Merchandise Total to $119 or more to receive my personal offer of FREE POSTAGE

Another very simple card to make is this one using the Pick-a-Petal stamp set. This card is not balanced as well as I would have liked but the principle is there. Again it is using just the white card stock and coloured inks, you could repeat this card with a whole range of different colours and the end result is fab and very eye catching! This would be great to get with a set of ink spots!



Sample cost:
Pick-a-Petal $52.95
Ink Spots $41.95
Whisper white A6 cards + envelopes (20) $11.50
____
Merchandise Total $106.40
Shipping & handling (5%) $5.32
____
Order Total $111.72

Of course that would give you all that you need to make 20 basic cards but once the cards have run out you will have lots of ink (in 12 colours) and your stamps to keep on using on any card stock you already have or purchase in the future. If you can add something else to the merchandise total to make it $119 or above I will waver the shipping and handling costs.

Just think you could add a reel of ribbon, a set of word stamps, brads, punches etc and there would be NO extra 5% to pay, the price you see in the catalogue is the price you pay!!!

Back In Aus and the new kitchen!

Well finally I am back in Aus - 'bout time too I heart some of you say! I arrived back to my Aussie home with mixed feelings. Of course I am pleased to be back here to see my friends, get the kids back to school, resume my sailing and of course Stampin' Up! etc. but I am sad at laving the UK. Everything there is so green and lush whereas here everything is yellow and dry, we need rain so badly. I really noticed how bad it has got being away for those few weeks. Of course I am incredibly sad to leave my family and friends over there too and my house. I didn't really get to have a good time as I ended up fitting this dastardly kitchen.

I have decided to put some photos up so you can see what I have been banging on about! This is the kitchen as it was, not too bad visually but it was falling apart. It was held together with tape in many places and battens were only just keeping the wall units up. We needed a new kitchen so we can rent the property.

The first thing to do was rip out the existing one, this wasn't too bad and to be honest it is a huge room with an office next to it which I converted in to a temporary kitchen so the disruption was minimal. I appreciated having all the space so much!

I got the kitchen from Ikea as the prices are so reasonable but it meant I had to make all the units up myself. It wasn't hard, just tedious! The worst job by far was putting the units in place and levelling them up and connecting them to each other and the wall. Every time we adjusted one thing the rest would go out of line. Fortunately my my brother was here to help me fit the kitchen and between us we managed to get all the base units in and level. Here is a lovely pic of his bottom and my youngest helper!


As soon as these were in we got someone to fit the worktops which was beyond either of our skill levels (and so it appeared to be with the man that came and did it, he had to redo them, at my insistence, as they were sooo bad!). This meant the sink could be refitted which meant I didn't have to do the washing up in the bath any more! Even better it meant I could fit the integral dishwasher so I didn't have to wash up at all!!!

As things progressed I put the doors on the units, installed the oven and got someone in to install the gas hob. The my brother and I tackled the cooker hood and wall units, this was our most difficult bit I think, the walls are so out of line and when we got a place to put the wall units up our little meter told us there was a cable exactly where we needed to drill holes - we were very frustrated! But finally they too were up!


And I put handles on the doors, deciding to go with symmetry I steamed ahead only to find I made a bit of an error, can you spot it?!

Ooops!!

So another trip to Ikea to buy some replacement door fronts so I could reposition the handles was made! (this was my 3rd or 4th trip - Ikea is 1 hours drive from us!)

My in-laws thankfully offered their services and came over and fitted the plinths and cover panels for me which was fantastic as at the same time as fitting the kitchen I was looking after 3 kids on my own, decorating other parts of the house, preparing all meals for all people, emptying sheds and lofts, organising shipping, sorting and packing as well as arranging for an agent to take the house on and having new windows and doors fitted in the kitchen, selling and tipping unwanted stuff - I didn't sleep much and any help was gratefully received!

I had no time to tile the kitchen or source and alternative splash back so I simply put quadrant around the work top at the backs to neaten where the walls were out. Once that was all done I turned myself to the utility room where new units were put in, new worktop and decorating, my mum helped with that one!

So these next pictures are off the finished product (very empty though as the shipping men had removed all my stuff before I got a chance to use the kitchen) also the windows are bare as I did not have time to put the blinds back up.



So ironic that I had waited 8 years to get a new kitchen and now I have one I won't get the chance to use it. I purposely did not design it exactly as I was going to have it as I knew that I was not doing it for me. I would have had a double sized oven, a proper breakfast bar and some other bits put in so I console myself with the fact it isn't exactly what I wanted anyway!

I am really proud of what has been achieved, By trade I am a scientist who has given that up to become a mum and a crafter, I am not a kitchen fitter and did not plan on doing this but needs must!

I could not have done it with out the help of family, my dad for helping me dismantle the old one, my step-mum for childcare, my brother for helping me fit, my sil for letting me have my brother for a few days, my in-laws for child care and fitting and my mum and step-dad for child care, decorating, tip runs and general support! Thanks guys!!!!

Well having done that I shall now go back to the card making!!!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Still here.....

and with no internet access I have been unable to update you all as much as I would have liked. Things here have been as stressful as they can be. The idea was to come here, sort stuff out for shipping, get the house ready for rental and order a new kitchen and have it fitter- that is where it went wrong.

It was so easy to oder the kitchen, but then they changed the delivery date to a week later which was too late to have it fitted so I, with the help of my dad, step-mum, brother and sil we went and collected it ourself, only to have the fitters not turn up! SO in summary I had to dismantle the old kitchen and fit the new, thankfully my brother was able to help me but it is certainly not part of our job description. Having said that we have done a great job, we didn't even argue and the swearing was minimal too! I will post pics when I get back to Aus.

What it has all meant is all the other important jobs I had to do have been left and now I am in a total panic and am not sleeping as I have so much to do, I have only a week left before I fly out. My mum and I and my eldest son did put a few hours aside this afternoon and managed some crafty creations.

Anyway I have to dash as the kids need feeding!

I arrive back in a little over a week so things will start to move again!