Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Craft Artist, Digi Scrapping and my 'Claim to Fame'.

Hi there

Over the coming weeks I want to start to share my love of Digi Scrapping with you.  I also want to post about being the owner of a Silhouette Cameo too. 

For a while now, I have been at a loss with what to do with my blog.  I've lost the drive and dedication to posting regularly.  I know this has something to do with my condition and where I am right now with my health - or should I say - where I have been with my health.

During my career, I was very driven, focused, organised, dedicated, punctual, reliable - did I mention driven???  I had a great position in the company - a very privileged position and earned a good salary too.  However, as most of my followers know, this all came to an abrupt end only days after starting my blog.  I am now, two years later, trying to pick up the pieces while acknowledging that things will never be the same.  This has been my main struggle - to acknowledge that whatever I do from hereonin, will always take that bit more effort, and require me to be more organised than I have been in the last 24 months or so.  At the moment we are three steps forward and one step back... I've just had a step back this last few days after a glorious few steps forward.

I now have to be  extremely careful what I purchase craft-wise - nowadays it tends to be only the essentials that I get - but fortunately, I built up enough craft stash that I've hardly had to buy anything at all - good job I bought what I did when I could.

As I mainly print my design paper and my own inserts and because I do print my own stuff, I bought one of those Continuous Ink Supply Systems (CISS) for my printer - and have never looked back.  The ink I buy is the real deal - I just buy it in bottles for a fraction of the price.  I buy good quality card and paper stock for printing, and make sure that I always have different weights of paper at my disposal.  I have never looked back after buying the ink system and know that it has saved me £££'s in ink cartridges over the last 2 years I've had it. 

If you are interested in an ink system for your printer - look here to see if one is available for your make and model:


Because I have to look after the pennies more, and more so because I like 'the chase', I am always on the lookout for good digi kits or digi papers - even digi stamps that are FREE.  I love to see that four-letter word on craft websites.  FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE - it has a certain ring to it doesn't it.  A nice ring.  Anyway, it is my intention to share with you the places I stumble upon over time but first I want to tell you how I use my digi files. I use SERIF CRAFT ARTIST which I bought from Create and Craft when they first launched it last  year.  Well actually, I first started with the Digital Scrapbook 2 by Serif, then they brought out Craft Artist which upgraded everything that DS2 did - but more.  I fell in love with this software hook, line and sinker.


As the owner of both My Craft Studio and Photoshop Elements, I feel able to provide my opinion on software specifically bought by me for the purpose of crafting.  While I was initially happy with MCS (and have lost could of all the disks I own), I have to say that I don't think that I will ever understand the complexities of PSE.  I would class myself as very computer savvy - after all, I've used Windows all my career and always some other software packages used by my employers along the way.  I've always mastered them in a 'self-taught' way and tended to be the one to come to if my colleagues were struggling with anything.  In my position, I was actually one of only 4 people to go on a course and 'own' Microsoft Project when I worked for the Local Authority - imagine, out of hundreds of people - I was one of the first (chosen/authorised) to have it on my work PC and then one of only a handful of people to have Adobe writer (can't remember the name) installed - no courses, no instructions - just got on with it and found out how to use it.  I was also responsible for uploading reports and information on a private 'portal' for board members... again - no courses, just a 5 minute instruction from my line manager on how to get on the portal - I then had to give people different 'rights' on the site etc...

My point here is that, having used all sorts of software packages - I just don't 'get' or like or can use PSE - and continually end up closing it down each and every time I open it up.  Yet lots of popular digital designers and illustrators  (either of digi kits or digi stamps) successfully use and favour Photo Shop or Adobe Illustrator- but both are very expensive and quite complex in their use.  Which reminds me, I need to uninstall PSE in order to make me some room on my hard drive!!!

When I first had CA - it was like a dream come true for someone who loved crafting, but really loved digitally designing - it could easily do what the other packages could - however, much more than the first one, and a lot less complex than the second one I mentioned above.  I plan to use it to its fuller potential by playing on it with my Graphics Tablet which I bought specifically for using with CA (I've had it months now so need to pull my finger out and play).  Truth is, I can't draw for toffee - but I'm not going to let that stop me!!! Have you seen some of the not so 'cream of the crop' digi stamps out there... lol.  I plan to bring future posts to my blog and hopefully maybe the odd tutorial - or more so, links to tutorials that already exist...(no point in re-inventing the wheel eh?)!  I'll also share some of my digi stuff on this blog when I get round to it - and plan to upload stuff to Daisy Trail too of course.
 
Now for my (tiny) claim to fame I have to share with you.... 'twas me who was the caller on the recent launch of the free CA CD on Create and Craft TV.  When I say caller, the truth is; they called me so I really was the 'callee' (does that word even exist lol). I must add that it made me sound like I talk really slow and needed winding up!!!  But I don't talk slow at all... sometimes I need to catch my breath!  Anyway....  I also sent in an e-mail which they read out - then was told by another blogger (on a forum) the other day that they'd heard it and it could potentially be contentious!  I'm pretty sure that it wasn't my intention to upset anyone by providing my opinion of why I liked CA - it's only crafting when all said and done - it's a hobby not a lifestyle (it took the shine off to be honest - but I quickly shook it off).

In the morning of the day they launched the recent Craft Artist giveaway, I received a call from Create and Craft, from the producers of that particular show (which I had been looking forward too for a while), asking me if I would like to speak on the show about CA as they'd read my review on their website.  They asked me all sorts of stuff about why I liked CA etc then explained how they would call me half way through the show, do a sound test on the line.

As discussed, they called me - much to the merriment of my family!  The boys went in the lounge (I was in the conservatory but had to move away from the TV, so went in the kitchen (which is between the lounge and conservatory where both TV's had the show on).  There is a delay between hearing them on the telephone and hearing the same question on the TV and it can get quite confusing - so I muted the TV in the conservatory.  Little did I know that they would repeat our chat on nearly every show... they didn't tell me that bit.  They did say they would send me a little something for helping them out - which they honoured - and lo and behold, I'd already got it - being a big fan of CA, I own nearly everything C&C have brought... I must say though that the American Craft Bumper kits are awesome - full of content and very modern - some are particularly great for boys stuff too.  I might see if they will swap it for something else, if not - it might end up as a give-away on here.

My sister is also a massive fan of CA and also uses it everyday... she actually is a bit more advanced that me because she watches the tutorials - she will then show me what she learns, which is sweet.  I do need to see what the tools do, and the options etc etc - the potential with this software is mind blowing.  My sister has even said that she wishes she could get rid of everything in her craftroom/stash and would just stick to doing everything on CA - and also her Cameo.  We need to explore the potentials of using it with out cutting machines more.  We've both dabbled individually, but Michelle who is the guest presenter on the CA shows (and does a great job), eluded to the fact that someone had put a tutorial on Daisy Trail about how to use it with your cutter, so while I've already done something - I don't know whether I did it the best, most efficient and effective way.  So I'm going to check it out and hopefully either provide a link, or provide you with my interpretation after checking it out manually myself.

For anyone who is interested in Digi-Scrapping then, and appreciates the virtues of printing out your own paper to craft with - here is my first of (hopefully) many places you can enjoy getting free stuff from and this site is awesome.  Its called Computerscrapbook.com and EVERY single digi kit on this site is FREE!!!  But don't wait about - they could always change their minds!

Enjoy this link...


Let me know what you think and if there is anything you would like to see on here (tutorials/ links/my stuff/my cards)... 

Paula  xxx

5 comments:

  1. I am with you, Paula, on digi-crafting. I do not buy backing papers/toppers etc now, just plain/metallic cards (and of course lots of white cardstock to print on). I use the free papers with magazines a lot. My CD-Rom (and DVDs now) and software collection is growing. I have MCS, Digital Designer and just got CA (the freebie from C&C). Haven't got round to loading that yet, but will comment further another time. It would be great to have a paper-free craft room!! Heard you on C&C and thought you sounded great - you didn't sound nervous at all, and so enthusiastic about CA. I bet you really helped sales! Ali x

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  2. Wow I love your post and find it really interesting. I've been using MCS for ages & thought there wasn't anything to beat it until I got the free CA from C&C. Wow! What a huge difference it terms of ability to do and achieve. I'm quite techy and computer savvy so have found my way around quite quickly. But there is so much to see so I will be looking out for tutorials. I'm now on Daisytrail and am blown away by the whole digital scrap-booking idea, not been a scrapper before! Thanks too for the link, I love freebies! My own health means I'm taking each day as it comes and the whole digital crafting means I have things at my finger tips without having to go out. Take care Zo xx

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  3. I'm smiling honey - I have owned the CA Platinum since it came out too - and couldn't recommend it more if I tried.. brilliant software..
    Thanks for the free link also honey.

    You were great on the show/telephone.. smiles.

    Great blog post.xx

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  4. Blimey that was a good review, I didn't know you are famous now mate! I need to come visit so you can show me all of this stuff but until then I will have a browse through those sights. Take care my lovely! Tracey x

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  5. Hi mate, good to see you posting and especially about CA which I have just purchased after over a year of dithering! Think I'm hooked once again! Just posted my first Scrap page in the Cupboard - not perfect and it took some time, but I was pleased with the result. Will have a peek at your link and stay in touch. Hope you are okay - you seem to have found fame of C&C - I probably hear you and should have recognised your style!
    ikki x

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Thank you for your super scrummy spangly comment and for spending your valuable time letting me know what you think...

Crafty hugs, Paula x x x

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