Wednesday, 18 April 2012

WOYWW 150

Hi bloggers.

First of all, I'd like to give a warm welcome to my latest followers - I hope you enjoy the experience! I have to apologise for not always remembering to acknowledge new followers, so a big smack across the hand for me - and hope my recent followers aren't too upset with me!

Righto, on to business.

WOW - I can't believe that we are at week 150; I first joined in WOYWW back in January 2010 when there were just a handful of people.  Not even major surgery kept me from posting back then - the very special Anne (A stitch in Time) helped me out back then and gave regular progress dates of my time in hospital (I was having a tumour removed from my chest cavity - next to my lung, so had major open chest surgery - where they cut me open between two of my ribs and clamped me open while they deflated my lung in order to get the tumour out)... Annie was truly a star - she will always have a piece of my heart for the love and support she showed me back then - and we hadn't 'known' each other long... Anyway, last year was a major hiccup for me so I missed quite a few months of joining in, because I found myself only being able to do one task at a time - and that seemed to be one or two things per week.

More recently, I've tried to join in when I can a get round to commenting as much as I can - but the week before - I just didn't get round to many people - so my massive apologies for that. 

I missed joining in last week because we had a family re-union of sorts which involved meeting up with our niece for the first time since she was a baby and her mum and my brother parted... long story but my niece has 'seen the light' and now realises all the bull she was fed as a child and growing up about how things happened and why.  My niece got back in touch with my brother recently - we did have faith that she would do one day.  She also wanted to meet us all as she couldn't remember us - and lo and behold, she came with her 17 month old son, partner and another on the way.  We had a good time - and it was all arranged to take place at my house seeing as I have the largest house of us all (which has its drawbacks because I always end up with the cleaning up then) - however, due to the circumstances, that didn't matter one tiny bit.  Wow - this makes me a great aunt, my younger brother (who was only 40 on Saturday) a grandad (ouch!) and my mum a great-grandma... it was just so brilliant - so i'm afraid WOYWW lost out!

Here is the first view:


Pretty similar to last time - the view of the left hand side of my desk... the same until I turned out the contents of the cotton bud container at the back:


These are some roses I've made for a project.  They are those coiled roses that you twist round until you end up with a coil.  I inked these with Tim Holtz Worn Lipstick DI, and some were slightly touched with Old Mahogany to make them deeper on the tips.

I got the file for the coiled roses in a download to members of the My Craft Studio Platinum Club.  It was a click and print document - but I wanted to see if I could open it in my Silhouette Studio - and low and behold, I could.  I traced around the edges to make a cut file, then saved.  It also had the smaller leaves in the file too - (the smaller rounder ones in the pic).  The fern-like ones are from another file I bought from the Silhouette store some time ago.  It comes in a set of 4 but I ungrouped them and deleted the other 3 as I didn't need them for this project.  All the colour comes from my DI's.  The darker lines, which are meant to look like veins and were made by folding them and inking the fold... you can make the veins look any way you want by doing this.  These will be going on a special keepsake card for my Sisters 40th Birthday which was at the weekend just gone.  I did her a 'quick' card that I designed in Craft Artist, but I wanted to make her something more befitting the occasion.




This is the view to the right of my desk - it's the side of my Expedit unit... they're all of my boys at different times when they've had passport pics taken - either for passports or for when they sign up for another season at football.  You have to provide a pic of your child, so I've collected all the spare ones laying about and stuck them there.  The bottom right is of my hubby and the kids when they were a bit younger.  We are in the Bernabeu cafe under the stadium (which was a-mazing) when this was taken, in Madrid.  We were there for our Birthday's Mine and DS1 - with DS2's Birthday being a week later.  The funny looking white contraption is my front door bell and is there because I spend all day in the conservatory so would not hear a knock on the door otherwise.  Our regular door bell gave up some time ago.  This is a mobile unit so if we were in the garden, we could take it with us - although we've got a second unit - and have been known to put it under our eldest sons bed on the odd occasion lol.



Here is the very uninspiring right hand side of the desk.  My phone, remote and cameo and the green CD case has my mums CD's in - I wanted to borrow something she has so she just sent the whole case...


Here are my Distress Inks that i've recently re-labelled.  They were hand written before, but I downloaded Tim's list from the Ranger website and printed it on an A4 printer label - all I had to do then was trim it up.  I have a thing about things being labelled properly and uniformly.  I've yet to put them back in their colour groups and its bugging me to death.  Do you think I might have a touch of OCD????

Right - that's your lot, i'm keeping this one short and sweet this week (well, as short as Moi could manage anyway!).

You have just read (hopefully without nodding off) my WOYWW post which I'm linking up to Julia over at the Stamping Ground where she hosts a weekly hop of our work spaces - where ever they are.  We usually show what we are up to (or not) and show everyone how tidy we are (or aren't).

To take part yourself, please go and visit Julia's blog - HERE, leave her a comment and link your own workspace up - it's not compulsory to join in - but you might want to visit some inspirational desks around the globe while you are there though!

Until next time - 

happy crafting, 

Hugs, Paula x x x

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

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

WOYWW 148

Hi folks

This is a very pictorial post this week - so enjoy...


A pic of the left hand side of the desk again.  The yellow and lilac coloured papers are from a free download - links were provided by SPYDER (Lyn) last week.  HERE is a link to her blog post with the links on, which are to craft magazines on-line websites where they have free paper files to download - usually the same papers that have appeared in their magazines (whether you've bought it or subscribe to it or not).  The yellow coloured one has little Chic's on, while the lilac one has little dots on.   Also you can see some little images which have been die-cut.  These are digi stamps I've had for a while which were free from Bugaboo Stamps.  They are for male cards so I thought I would make a few although it's been slow going because there is always something else to do - like the dishes, cleaning up after the dog, getting the kids lunch, the laundry.  Yes folks, I cannot ignore these jobs even though I really should.
 

Another perspective of the desk.  Here you see that I have a couple of the scrap paper folders out.  I wanted to see what I already had printed that would match the lilac and the yellow chic paper.  It's amazing what you can find that you already have printed out (I don't buy designer paper - I print all my own papers).


For those who have not visited my blog or desk before, here is a view of the wall above the desk.  The lovely stylish clock was kindly sent to me by our hostess, Julia, as a lovely gift year before last.  That is where it has lived since then.  My TH Distress inks underneath are not in the right order - I keep them in the same order as they appear on the Tim Holtz/Ranger chart, but yesterday, I printed the labels off from the website.  I had handwritten some and my Mum had done the others, but in my search for uniformity, I printed the labels off so they all looked the same.  My Son's Friend stuck the labels on, then I coloured the label using the ink from the pad.  Also my collection of Martha Stewart punches, my Woodware punches ( my EK Success punches are in a box on the floor),  All the DVD cases hold my Spellbinder dies, then in front of that is my Silhouette Cameo.


On the top of the printer is a cereal box.  I have collected loads and loads of these - but I believe that the Cameo can cut this so I aim to cut it to make a couple of mini albums - well, the covers anyway.  The other document is a letter from my car insurance company wanting my no-claims bonus details from my previous insurer... some insurers, when you leave them, automatically forward these details to you.  That's a job for me later.



Here is the view of the top of my Expedit  units where I keep my jars of ribbon.  As everything, the colours are in the order of the rainbow song (yes, a bit OCD eh?)!!!  There are several other jars behind with all the neutral colours in, plus silver and a gold.  Just in the picture is my gorgeous poppy picture bought from the lovely Crafty Sisters, made by the wonderful Annie (Wipso from 'A stitch in time' blog).  I bought this because when I saw it in their shop (and from Annies blog) it reminded me of my Dad.  We had a joint love of poppies and used to talk about sowing seeds on the bare and baron sides of dual carriage ways.  Of course we never did, but we both had them in our gardens (not my current garden) which originated from the same seed stock.  They would grow with heads as big as saucers.  Absolutely beautiful.  The trees above were stamps with free stamps from 'Simply Homemade' magazine.

The large Flowers is one of the first things I cut with my Cricut (and didn't cut much more than that since).


Unfortunately, this is the mess I've made at the kitchen table last night when I was die cutting some stuff as I had been getting several cards ready (I was cutting mats for the digistamps seem previously).

 

A closer look at the digi stamps again (aren't they fun?).

And finally, a pic of the front of my drive this morning...


I hope its a bit warmer and dryer where you are this morning.  You would never believe that this time last week, I was  sat outside on the patio visiting desk for week 147.

Thanks to all those who visited me, and sorry for all those who I didn't manage to reach.  In several circumstances, blogger was telling me that I couldn't leave a message, or I didn't have permission to leave a message or I'd reach a page that said something like 'Service Error 504' (or whatever the number was)!!!

Wishing you all well this week, so a happy WOYWW 148.  Take a look at Julia's blog HERE, to read about WOYWW - the link party of desks across the globe.  Visit, leave some love, then hop around work spaces and leave some more.

Until next time

happy and productive crafting.
Paula.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Scrap Paper Organisation

Hello lovely readers

In (several) previous posts I've mentioned that I re-organised my scraps of paper so they are more accessible making them easier to file, find and use.

I initially held them in two lever arch files, but the contents tended to distort the shape of the poly pockets they were in by weighing them down and pulling on the punched holes, plus the file were kind of out of the way on a shelf - a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Fortunately, I already had plenty of the plastic envelope folders they are now contained in so I didn't have to spend any more money to re-organise, apart from the box (below) I now hold them in.  

Each of the folders hold a different colour and like most other coloured things, I've filed in order of the rainbow song (not the colours of an actual rainbow, which is a different order)!!!  All of the folders are in a fabric covered cube like box from IKEA (called Drona) and is on the floor in front of my cupboard (which the TV is on), where all my project stuff is kept (such as boxes to alter, key rings, fridge magnets, gifts, candles etc).

Drona box/cube from IKEA

After the colours, come the neutrals, then the metallics and then behind those I've filed things such as Funky Hand papers, My Craft Studio papers, printed out digi stamps, - all labelled so that I can easily locate what and when I need.

My scraps are filed in order of the 'rainbow' song!!!

Folders contained in the 'Drona' box
This is how the wallets sit in the box - some are more full than others which makes them twist a bit.  I am going to change all the tabs to printed ones rather than have my handwritten ones, just so they look more uniform (that's the perfectionist coming out in me).


Here is just a glance at the folders I took out and spread on the sofa (oops - didn't realise the remote was in the way)!

folders containing different collections/scraps
Here is an example of how I arrange things within the folders that contain collections i.e. Forever Friends Black and Gold which has papers, images, sentiments, mats I've cut for matting and layering, plus I've put a selection of ribbons that will match the collection so that when I want to make a card from that collection - everything is together.  I have other wallets that are arranged the same, such as Funky Hand which contains the papers then if they've got them, digi images I've printed out.

the sentiments
the toppers

Can you tell I just love this collection?...  I bought the Forever Friends Black and Gold CD ROM from Create and Craft when Docrafts first released it on the older (rubbish) version of their software - it just would not upload on my laptop so I took all the artwork off instead and filed it on my own hard drive and printed papers and such out using Microsoft Publisher or MCS.  Some of the content I couldn't access because of the file type but the main images, papers, embellishments were accessible so that was good enough at the time.  However, when I bought the DVD ROM - Woodland Folk etc which included Tulip and Hot Digity Dog amongst others, they included a free version of Black and Gold which had been updated to load on the new version of the Digital Designer software so I can access everything, plus can now manipulate it and do more stuff with it - 'winner'!

Right, that's my storage solution for my scraps of paper and collections I've already printed out.  Hope it helps someone out there who has been struggling with what to do with theirs.  It certainly takes up less room than having them in those cardboard magazine folders (see image) that go on shelves - imagine how much room I'd need if I had one colour in each of those - especially to say that some of them have very little in.  In the box they are able to squish together to contain the overall space they take up rather than the width of a lever arch file or one of these magazine holder things.  

these are the files I'm referring to - files from IKEA
I've done the comparison of the one box V's a white cardboard magazine file for each of the colour collections and the main 'branded' scraps I have e.g. Funky Hand, My Craft Studio, Forever Friends & Me To You, Forever Friends Black and Gold...

Box = 38cm depth (with all the folders in)

Mag files =  9cm wide x 16 (main) categories (there are actually more I didn't mention, but were thin anyway) = 144cm

Just sayin'!

I appreciate you reading my post and would love it if you left a message to say you've popped by or if you have any feedback.  

Let me know if you have a specific storage solution to sort out your scraps, or if this suggestion gives you inspiration to do something similar.

Crafty hugs

Paula x x x

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