Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tips and Tricks Tuesday - Top 6 Ways to Find Inspiration!

Sometimes mojo just ups and leaves without permission. Hands up if it has happened to you. Well it has certainly happened to me on many occasions, usually just as I have a deadline of some sort looming on the horizon. So what can you do to get it back?! I have given you my 6 top ways to get the creative juices flowing again, hopefully one of them will work for you.

In no particular order:
  1. Take a walk: Sometimes the simplest things can make you stop and think. I like to visit gardens, but even a walk to the newsagent can be inspiring! Take a look at the front covers of glossy magazines (Vogue, Glamour and Good Housekeeping are good examples) at the shapes, colours and styles used. Maybe there is a shop window display that has some features you can use. Here are a couple of pictures I took on a visit to Borde Hill Gardens that inspire me:
    This photo immediately suggests a colour scheme to me, of bright blues, greens and two different neutrals. The other idea being a layout for a card (the strong vertical element to the right).
    This photo of the 'Italian Garden' provides me with inspiration of mirroring elements on a design (the reflections in the water), also of using strong linear / geometric designs, and finally of perhaps creating a frame for a design (as suggested by the dark overhanging leaves around the edge of the photo)
    1. Pinterest: Well when things get tough, and you can't go out, and you have run out of ideas, and even chocolate leaves you dead in the water, this is where I turn. If you want to see what inspires me to create take a look at some of my boards HERE.
    2. Restrict your materials: I love having access to different designs of papers and stamps and colours and ribbons and buttons and... the list goes on. But sometimes it can just be too overwhelming! In these circumstances I like to take a piece of Designer Series paper, and limit myself to ONLY using colours that appear on there. Alternatively, limit yourself to only using those offcuts of ribbon and card that you have been hoarding (yes, you have been squirrelling them away - admit it!).
    3. Enter a Challenge: There are literally hundreds of craft challenge blogs with different themes, days, materials etc... Take a look and find one that suits you - you may even win a prize!
    4. Catalogue Browsing: Have you checked out the Stampin' Up! catalogues? If you haven't then you need to as they are full of samples and ideas to inspire. All the projects are beautifully photographed, and full material lists are also available.
    5. Sketches: Nope, not the pencil with exquisite shading kind! Sketches are basically layouts for cards or scrapbook pages, and act like a map or a recipe for you to follow. These are what I use when I know what I want to put together, but I am just not sure how it is all going to lay out. Try searching 'free sketch' followed by 'card' or 'scrapbook page' online and take a look.
    I hope you have found this useful, and that the creative juices are now flowing! 

    Happy Crafting,

    Tuesday, 23 April 2013

    Puppy Takeover! Part 2

    Well you all had a chance to meet Sally in Part 1 of the puppy takeover... well she is now 6 months old, growing fast and I thought it was high time you all had an update! 

    Here she is looking all grown up and practising her 'settle' command. This was taken in the beautiful weather last week, whilst at Borde Hill Gardens in West Sussex. The 'settle' command is a lovely one, basically telling the dog; get comfortable and relax, we are staying put for a while! She had been lying down but sat up to see what I was doing with the weird clicky machine! You can really see very clearly just how pale in colour she is, with gingery freckles on the edges of her ears.

    Some of you may know, Sally is a sponsored dog through the 'Name a Puppy - Change a Life' scheme. This means that we got to go and meet her sponsor which was a very exciting time. We met by the beach, which Sally thought was full of all sorts of wonderful sniffs!

    Sally's sponsor brought along her lovely fully qualified guide dog, who helped Sally to soon forget about the slightly worrying big wet salty thing, and enjoy having some time off to have a fast-paced play on the sand together! You can see how much Sally has grown quite easily by comparing the size of the two dogs playing... Sally weighs about 18kg now!

    I hope you have enjoyed this little update - I will be back with some more at some point I am sure.
    If you have any questions about Sally or what it is like to puppy walk her, please leave me a comment - I will do my best to answer them.

    Best Wishes, Becky.

    Tuesday, 16 April 2013

    Tips and Tricks Tuesday - Classy Cleaning

    Cleaning. It has to be said cleaning is not my favourite chore or subject, and it tends to go hand in hand with every sort of activity that I enjoy:
    Fancy a bit of gardening? Bring on the mud. 
    Cooking? I will even have flour in my hair! 
    The list goes on...

    BUT I love the finished result, be it a beautiful planted container, a delicious meal, or a hand crafted, hand stamped, inked up to the eyeballs craft project. Cleanliness is an important part of our day to day lives and can't be neglected, and when it comes to my crafting, I can be a bit of a stickler!
    Keeping clean as you work, and keeping your tools and products clean helps you to end up with a more polished and professional result. In addition your tools should last longer, protecting your investment in them. There are several ways of cleaning your stamps, and I am going to show you the easiest way by far to get your stamps pristine!

    Items you will need:
    NEW Stampin' Scrub
    Stampin' Mist
    This is the Stampin' Scrub, and it is the number one item you need to clean your stamps. It has rubber feet on the outside so it won't slip around, and the black furry panels inside are like a really deep pile velvet. Little symbols in the corner (water droplets and a sunshine) show you which is the 'wash' and 'dry' side.

    Stampin' Mist is a fabulous product that is great for keeping your stamps in tip top shape. Spray the mist two or three times onto the 'Wash' side of your Stampin' Scrub and away you go! Simply rub the dirty rubber part of your stamp onto the moist 'Wash' side, then remove any excess by rubbing the stamp on the 'Dry' side.

    The spray is refillable, but really goes a long way - I didn't need to refill mine for a whole YEAR!
    The Stampin' Scrub 'pads' inside are black, so they won't look grotty over time, however it is worth giving your pads a clean every so often - I do mine about once a month. This helps to prevent the ink that has been cleaned off from accumulating.

    How to clean your Stampin' Scrub:
    1. Remove the panels from the Stampin' Scrub - try levering them up slightly at the corner, and then sliding them out. If you cannot get them out then don't worry, you can still give them a good clean, just not quite as thorough.
    2. Run warm water out of your taps and soak the pads in the water for a few minutes.
    3. Give your pads a good rub all over with your hands (This always leaves my hands beautifully ex-foliated and soft!) - you may see the dirt being lifted off and washed away.
    4. If you Stampin' Scrub pads are REALLY dirty, then add a drop of dish soap and massage that in - make sure to rinse it all off though.
    5. Leave your pads upright to dry - if you managed to get the pads out of the casing then popping them on their sides in a dish rack is perfect, or for those still in the case, stand the case upright and a little open like a tent to allow water to drain away.
    I hope this helps you all, and have fun with your latest projects.
    Happy Crafting

    Tuesday, 9 April 2013

    NEW workshop timetable out NOW!

    I have just released my new class timetable up until the end of June - I hope you will be able to come along to one of my events as we have great fun and create all sorts of items.

    The new timetable can be found by clicking on the link HERE!

    We all need some creativity in our lives, and here is what some of my lovely customers have said about my classes recently:

    Jan: "I was made to feel very welcome, and I found it all very friendly and relaxed"

    Elisabeth: "All very good. Lots of lovely glittery bits to play with!"

    Jennifer: "I always enjoy Becky's workshops - Becky is a great teacher/ craft coach and very patient"

    Anne-Marie: "Had a really lovely relaxing day. Thank you!"

    I look forward to hearing from you soon! Contact me directly by emailing:
    to book your place.

    Wednesday, 3 April 2013

    Tips and Tricks Tuesday - Tagtastic (A Little Bit Late!)

    Well I have to confess, this post is rather late! Easter simply got the better of me (well, the chocolate did anyway!) and I totally forgot. As it is Easter, I'm going to show you a seasonal make, using the same set from last week - and 2 ways to get perfectly shaped tags every time!

    Here it is, a really cute treat tube filled with chocolate mini eggs (they didn't last too long!). The tube is  actually a cellophane bag and is the perfect size (2.5 x 20 cm) for chocolates, bath salts, plant seeds, liquorice sticks and so on. They make perfect mini gifts as they are quick to fill, and are excellent value at £2.25 for 50. Simply fold down the adhesive tab at the top and decorate as desired.

    My favourite way to decorate them is to tie the tops with ribbon and add a tag of some sort... which leads me on nicely to telling you about different ways to get perfect tags.

    1) Two Tags Bigz Die - by far the quickest and most accurate way to getting multiples of exactly the same tag (perfect if you are making your own wedding favours etc!) is to use this EXCLUSIVE die - you do need a die cutting machine but I will show you what all that is about another day.
    You get both tags on the one die, and as you can see I have used the one on the right. This particular tag has a perforated line as a beautiful detail all around the edge - this is the guide I cut around to create the matted and layers effect on the Easter tag above. Find out more about matting and layering HERE.

    2) Snip and Flip - this is the best way to achieve individual tags of a custom size or when creating tags by hand:

    The first step is to cut your card to a rectangle the finished size of your tag. Next, take a pair of sharp paper snips and cut of one corner at an angle. Now here is the clever bit - flip over your cut off corner (imaging it reflected in a mirror - DO NOT ROTATE IT) and place it over the opposite corner. You want the cut piece to stick out a TINY amount - see the top right image above (the grey line is the card underneath), then use the slanted edge either to draw a line, or if you are feeling confident, cut the matching corner! VoilĂ ! Simple punch a hole to tie through some ribbon and decorate as much as desired.

    That's all from me today, we have rather exciting shenanigans going on in the garden, so I will show you all some photos once the makeover is complete!

    Happy Crafting,