Monday, 30 June 2014

January to June Review & a Fun Blog Hop!

Hi everyone!  Last day of the month today!! Say WHAT?!? 
 6 months of the year are over already - just like that!  Whoosh!!  

It's been a fast-paced year for me & believe it or not I'd actually like
 things to move more slowly!   I find it hard keeping up with my own ideas
 but that's always been a problem for me :/

As I said in my last post - I have a new plan up my sleeve - and that is taking up
 some precious time all right, but actually it's a necessity for me to do it - so I 
don't have an option with this one { & of course I never take on anything that's
 not absolutely FUN too}  but I'm feeling tired :(  The concept of balance is one
 that I embrace wholeheartedly in my mind but don't know how to make happen!!

Anyway - I set out with 3 things to achieve this year:- 

1) Make the 7Dots Studio team - check!! {LOVING it & debuting next month -
projects already completed - their collections are AWESOME & I now have
enough of them to literally make you weep if I showed you!}

2)  Make the 3rd Eye team - check!  Sadly I had to step down before even
beginning as it conflicted with another team I was on at the time but I'm
still happy I made it & I love their products & hope to try again
 at a more suitable time where there are no Design Team clashes.

3)  Make the Prima team {haha!} Oooooh that one was intimidating...
BUT I was bowled over to be chosen as a Guest Designer HERE so
all's good :)  So now I am cooking up another 3 goals for the next 6 months!

Haven't got them set in stone yet but one is definitely to create more diverse projects
 & so far I've made 2 canvases this month & an art journal page so I am happy!


Now on with the fun blog hop - playing along with my lovely bloggy pal
Marg over at Margyz Paper Games!!  Marg is a great gal & makes awesome
cards & even more awesome art journal pages so do check out her blog!

So here are my answers to the questions!!

1.  What are you working on right now?

Currently I'm working on a few cards for 2Crafty chipboard. I've decided that I 

need to switch things up a bit and step out of my comfort zone (layouts) so I've 

been making more canvases, cards and Off-the-page projects and will be
debuting my very first art journal page tomorrow!

2.  When and how did you start papercrafting?

I created my first ever scrapbook page in early 2003 - 11 years ago - wow! 
That's quite a long time ago!!   I have a long artistic history & art was always
 one of my favourite subjects at school. It came very naturally to me & I went
on to qualify as a fashion designer & pattern-maker & enjoyed 
working in that field for some exciting years! 

I turned to textile design after my 2nd child was born & founded my own company 
training up local Black Zimbabweans in all aspects of design & garment construction 
& had some good years running my little business & starting a store to go with it. 

After 5 years of juggling motherhood along with my demanding business I decided to call
 it a day & concentrate on being a full-time mum when I fell pregnant with baby no. 3.
 I threw myself into decorating our home & establishing a garden on our new plot. 
Sadly after 7 years of creating a beautiful home we were forced to leave Zimbabwe
 due to the economic & political situation declining drastically.

A couple of years before we emigrated to South Africa I discovered scrapbooking quite
 by chance. My daughter was invited by a friend to a holiday workshop day & came
 home with a scrapbook page.  It was honestly love at first sight. I couldn't stop looking        
at it & went the following week for my first lesson of many. My daughter & I
scrapped once a week for a year and a half before leaving Zimbabwe.

At that time life was too busy &  stressful to scrap any more than that
 & I had no study/office at home so it really was just one single page per week.
 (I had gone back to work mornings only at that point) & my kids filled
 my afternoons with homework, tennis lessons and cooking!

Once settled in South Africa I once again found a scrapbook store (now closed down) 
&  began attending weekly lessons. Again I had no space at home to scrap so it was 
only after 4 years of scrapbooking that I finally got a small studio & was able to 
scrapbook with more flexibility. 

I started my blog in late 2007 & THAT was when the fun REALLY started! 

3.  What do you like to make and how does your creative process work?

I like to make layouts the most as I'm so used to them now, bit canvases are 
really fun to make too because they can be so dimensional. I want to make 
more art journal pages too as I loved creating the first one so much.

My creative process starts with what my Design Team spec is, or the spec 
of the challenge I'm following. I choose a photo to match the supplies I need 
to work with. I get out the papers & mediums I'm using &  spend an average
 of an hour on my background work. 

Once that's done I work on my photo stack, layering papers & textures behind 
my photo from the top down then I adhere that & embellish. Lastly I add a title
 & some hand-journaling. I take about 3 hours to complete a project but always 
allocate 4 so I can clean up afterwards & make lots of tea as I go along! 

 I create an average of 3 projects a week on Tuesday & Thursday evenings &
 Saturdays. I love working to a routine.  I work on scrappy stuff almost every
evening but plenty of it takes place on the computer too as you all know :)

4.  How do I stay inspired?

I have been inspired my whole life. Never have I not been inspired. 
Honestly, that's the truth. I am so inspired I find it difficult to sleep
 at night & my problem has always been too many ideas & not enough time. 

I also suffer from terrible indecisiveness caused by too many ideas
 & the need for focus & simplification!  I find it basically impossible to
switch off & even dream about ideas & plans.  It's pretty tiring :/

5.  Where do you work on your projects?

For the last 4 years I've worked in my own studio, which I converted from an 
entrance hall by blocking off the French doors with a dry-wall & fitting out the
 space with narrow drawers &a few large cupboards.

It's frustratingly small but works surprisingly well. 
I stand to scrap so my counter is standing height which I love. 
My laptop lives on a desk on the opposite side of the room
 (less than a metre away!) & the lounge is right next door so I don't 
feel isolated.  I adore my little hidey hole & spend hours in it with my
 ipod blasting!!  Yup ours is a noisy household but a very happy one :)

Now onto the rules of the hop!

I need to tag 3 people & next week they'll play along by doing a similar
post to mine & tagging another 3 people.  I actually failed to find 3 people
as so many of you have played along with this hop already & I honestly
didn't have any more time to keep asking people LOL so
TAG YOURSELF if you want to play along & let me know :)

1.  Who will play? :)  Let me know if it is YOU!!

Me & Ags go back a loooong way!  You know when you just CLICK
with someone?!?  That's the way it was for us & our friendship has
just grown & grown, weathered a few storms & still come out strong.

She is one FUN girl & makes me LAUGH!  She has a great sense 
of humour & is also very down-to-earth, sensible & practical & I
can honestly say I love her!!  She is a busy scrappy bee.  

Polish by origin but living currently in Canada.  She works for
 Inkido, Canvas Corp, 13arts, Bo Bunny, Scrap Around The World, 
7 Gypsies, Tattered Angels, Magenta & Wycinanka Chipboard!
Yup she's busier than me LOL!!  Visit Ags - she's a mover & a shaker!!

3.  Tusia Lech!

Tusia is one all round awesome person!  Also Polish!!  Yes it is a
well-known fact that I love anything Polish!  Who would have
guessed?!?  My husband is a real joker & when we first moved
to South Africa & people asked where we were from (our accents
are not typical to here) he always said Poland!!  Little did he or
I know at the time that I would come to LOVE Poland & the
Polish people & add it to my bucket list to visit one day!!

Tusia owns & designs for 7Dots Studio, Mixed Media Place,
Art Workshop, Scrap Around The World, Berry71Bleu,
UmWowStudio, The Color Room, Scrapki Wyzwaniowa,
Scrapiniec & Paper Dvizhnik.  Yup my friends are on so
many Design Teams they put me to shame LOL!

Tusia's work is awesome & she's a beautiful, positive person
too with an amazing blog!!

And that my friends is the end of one very long post!
If you made it to the end you deserve a cup of tea!!
I should have suggested you grab one before you started :)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

3 Good Reasons for being AWOL
{and LOOK at what is coming my way SOON!}

Being absent from my blog for too long always makes me feel antsy!  
I kinda feel like I have an obligation to share, but in a good way that is.  

Well I have nothing new to share this week nor have I created anything! 
 But for very good reason!!  No.  1 :-

My babies are home for the holidays!
  They are on vacation from university & I haven't seen them since my 
daughter's graduation (yes she is a post-grad student now can you believe it?!) 
so I am relishing every moment with these "little ones"!  
Aged 21 & 19....ahem...

Reason 2 :-

I am sorting out my scraproom!!  NIGHTMARE!!!
But the good news is that I have already sold off enough stash to buy the complete
set of these beauties!!  You can read all about them HERE & see more lovely
images of them too!  I cannot WAIT for them to arrive!! 

So I have been hard at work every evening this week packing up orders 
& sending out goodies to homes where they will be well used & well loved. 

Reason 3:-

I have a top secret new venture underway!!
I know, I know, it's mean of me to give you a tidbit & not share the whole
story but you know how these things are...It's just not possible, but I 
really suck at keeping secrets.  All I can say is that I am excited about it
& it's a new venture/undertaking that will be a bit like this...

I always think that it is worth saying something or doing something if you think 
that things could be better.  Not as a way of criticizing but as a genuine way 
of helping to implement CHANGE.  Because really, that is how change happens. 

 It's not one big thing, it's a series of little things, and I am committed to it in all
 aspects of my life, irrespective of whether I am rewarded financially for it or not.

So that is it folks!  I am still very much alive & kicking away wildly over here!!
I will be back as soon as I have something else worth sharing :)  Keep well xo

Friday, 20 June 2014

7Dots Studio Challenge, A Giveaway, 3 Sneaks & MORE!!

Hi everyone!  HAPPY Friday!!  I have had such a good week this week!
It has been so stress-free yet productive - EXACTLY the way I love!!
I have created THREE projects this week & can't share any of them
here yet - boohoo!!  But I do love making up these little sneak images,
as I am really terrible at keeping surprises!  You'll need to wait a month
though!!  I know, I am getting super-organised with my deadlines!!!

Last month threw some really curved balls my way then this month I had my Event page
to prepare, which took up every spare minute, so finally I am free again!  Creating with
7Dots Studio Papers & Products is quite simply put - PURE JOY & as a member of
their design team {I only officially start in July} I received a gob-smackingly ginormous
box of their products so can create away to my hearts content & go crazeeey!!

There is another great monthly challenge that started today on the 7Dots Studio blog HERE.
The theme this month is STAMPING {so really there is no theme, just the requirement to use
any 7Dots Studio stamp or stamps on whatever project you like.  They do have some very 
beautiful stamps & the quality is really fantastic.  The stamped images are very crisp! 
 You have until the 20th July to play along so I hope you will join us!!  The selected winner
gets a $50 grab bag of 7Dots Studio goodies sent out to them - what a generous prize!!

As you can see I had a real PLAY here with this one!  It really cheered me up!!
My first attempt at art-journalling!!!  WOW.  ADDICTIVE...oh dear...
We have a HUGE giveaway going on on the SATW Facebook page HERE so
if YOU want the chance to win over $100 worth of dies now is the time to
sign up as an official follower on the Scrap Around The World blog & let
us know you are a follower on our Facebook Giveaway post.  SHARES
would be much appreciated to up your chances!!  

And this little girl turned FOURTEEN today!  So I have been busy baking cakes, wrapping
 presents & organising parties!  She has had a fabulous day & the best news of all is that her 
sister & other brother will be home in a couple days time from university.  YAY.  Home
only really feels like home to me when all 4 chicks are back in the nest :)

I always take a couple of photos ON THE DAY when it is birthday time.  
Recording likes, etc at the time is also fun to look back on in years to come. 
 I do this using the Text tab in Picasa so it really couldn't be any easier. 
 I hope you all have a wonderful creative weekend.  I know I will!  Bye for now!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

"Memories are Timeless Treasures of the Heart" Real-Life Workshop Page

Hello all!  Here is the full reveal of the Real-Life Class page I prepared recently.  
Actually it took about 3 months to prepare as it involved sourcing the bulk of 
the materials myself to prepare 60 KITS, counting, measuring & cutting!  

I used up every bag I'd saved in the last 4 years on the packing too!!

 Everything except the gold doily was locally sourced. 
I bought the gold doilies from a regular overseas source of mine because 
I thought it would be fun for the ladies to have a little imported treat to
 work with too {I have never seen them here}.

Each teacher was given a very tight budget of only R100 per kit {$9.32 & with the
 buying power of less as often we pay more here for products as they are either
 imported, the raw materials for it are, or locally made products work out not
 very competitive because they are not mass produced}, so it took time &
ingenuity to fit everything into the budget but I succeeded with room
to spare thanks to various local donations from KCraft, Fabscraps,
Enmarc, RSE, Sylko & Colorful Creations.  

Despite none of us getting paid anything for our extensive time & efforts & this
 little "venture" taking up every spare minute of my weekends & evenings for
 months, it was still exciting to plan & put together a page designed to be
 taught to scrapbookers of all levels, from beginners to advanced. 

 Until I did it myself I had no idea how hard that actually is!

Here is a little bit of my thinking behind preparing a workshop & what I learned
 about the design process {this being my 4th page as the other 3 were just 
becoming too complicated to be able to explain to others}.  

Here in South Africa people apparently want to learn techniques {are VERY technique 
orientated} so I started off with a patchwork border full of different textures, also
 some spraying techniques, some masking, how to recolour your embellishments &
 I also showed how to deconstruct cheap  store bought flowers & put them back
 together customised as well as how to create a photo stack from top to bottom, 
how to make a really sturdy page & how to cluster elements & layer textures.

I spray painted 360 of those tiny roses gold as I could only get them over 3 colour 
ways!  They were sponsored for my workshop by my lovely friend Svetlana Austin 
who has a beautiful blog HERE & a lovely little boutique online store HERE.

That gorgeous burlap bloom was also sponsored by FABSCRAPS, our only
{as far as I know} local scrapbooking company that exports it's products.

Simple things like faux-stitching & adding gauze under your flowers are things I 
included to show that there is a lot you can do to zhoosh up your pages for next to nothing 

{as the concept of scrapbooking here being exhorbitantly expensive irritates me & 
in my opinion comes from the way that people approach it with pomp & ceremony 
at get togethers instead of simple artistic gatherings where people get together to 
really learn & feed their creativity}.

Well I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my page!

Anyone who missed the event where it was taught can contact me if they would
 like me to put together a kit for them as I have a few bits & pieces left over & have comprehensive notes & a very detailed step-by-step photo tutorial to accompany them.

I do hope you are enjoying a bit of creative time amidst this week!

Ooooh and Happy Hump Day!!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Mad World {A Truly Artistic Way to Create your Mixed Media Backgrounds} by Umenorskan

This week I had a very shocking & truly unexpected experience & it has left me shattered.

My blog is a drama-free zone, a happy place that I escape to when I have something to
share with a community that supports & appreciates what I do & blog hopping is one
of my most enjoyable pastimes.  

Unfortunately I don't have time to do it enough but I came across this recently & not only
 is it an outstanding tutorial from a highly talented artist who I am honoured to call a 
personal friend, but the song choice is also so beautifully melancholic & suited my 
mood entirely at the time I watched it.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Over-the-Moon Exciting NEWS!!!!

I have already shared on Facebook so I know that a lot of you already know the news
 but OF COURSE I must document it here too!  I am sure it is not news to you
 if you are a regular blog follower here, that I am head-0ver-heels in love with

If so you probably also know that making the Prima Team is NO MEAN FEAT
 & there are many, many factors involved.  It is an open secret
 {not hard to figure out when you see what product I use the most of apart
 from the other manufacturers I already design for!} that it would be a
 dream come true for me to be appointed onto their team.

Sadly it didn't happen for me this year 
but the very next day I got some great news!!
I made the Guest Design Team which means that I have a spot on their blog
 coming up later in the year!!!  You can see the other Guest Designers HERE 
& I am so stinkin' excited for so many of my friends who are alongside me
 on the GDT list & those too who are on the team for a 2nd term 
or who have been appointed to the team at last this year.

It is a great honour & something that so many of us strive for 
as Prima is really a phenomenal manufacturer & the Prima Blog
 is THE place to be showcased, so there, I did it! 

 Of course one day I hope to make their Design Team {as do we all!}
 but for now I am grateful beyond belief & content as a pig in mud 
with my Guest Spot!  Thank you to PRIMA for the wonderful 
acknowledgement.  It's made my scrappy year!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Something OLD! "Sunshine Today" Layout

So here is something OLD for you!  Well not THAT old - a year ago! 
 And not yet blogged!!  I made it for a Scrap 365 Magazine Gallery
 & it ended up not fitting the criteria so it never got sent.  

I kept it back, meaning to offer it up to Scrapbooking Memories for possible
publication but this year has been so busy for me that here we are in June
 & that hasn't happened yet!  So for now it is blog fodder :)

Just a fun & quick mixed media layout about a trip to our local waterpark,
which is one of the attractions here in Durban, & lots of fun in Summer!

I can't see me ever journaling on a sticker again but there you go,
times change!  I still love those resin confetti dots & don't have
many of them left...

Lots of the product came from the Dear Lizzy Collections for American Crafts.
These days Prima are the only US manufacturer I buy from because apart from
my Design Team work I have seen that I don't have time to use any more product.

The painting is of course using bubble-wrap & is always a fun way
 of adding some texture, or at least the look of some.

I think using credit card sized photos is definitely a good way to get
 "events" photos scrapped without having to go down the double-page 
route or end up with no white space or other elements.

Right now our weather is the complete opposite of the photos!

It is very cold & seriously windy.  Our house could definitely
do with some better insulation but for most of the year we
are trying our best to get the heat OUT!!

Monday, 9 June 2014

My First Ever Real-Life Class is Coming Up!

That's right, I am super excited at the prospect
 of finally ticking off another thing on my bucket list!

Next weekend I will be away in Cape Town teaching
 at an event with 60 delegates & 5 other teachers.

Haven't got there yet & am already exhausted just on the organisation
of everything for my page x 60!  But I do hope that the ladies there
will enjoy my class.  I have packed in many different techniques,
tips & tricks so there is bound to be something new for everyone!

When I get back I'll show you my page & all the close-ups & explain
why I thought it would work well to teach & how it all worked out :)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

"Make Good Art" Off-the-Page project for 2Crafty Chipboard {Prima BAP for Inspiration!}

Hi there!  How's your weekend been so far?!
Here it is freezing & I am drinking hot chocolate with my laptop by the heater.
Middle of Winter for us here & really starting to CHILL...

So for my 2nd project of the month for 2Crafty Chipboard I decided to use the
 Prima BAP for inspiration & thought it was high time I created something Off-the-Page.

I love this quote by Neil Gaiman & had it already printed out onto some photo paper so
popped it into an acrylic Ferrero Rocher box I had saved & made an 8" square shadow box.

To protect the edges of the box from cracking, I covered them all with cheesecloth
 & sprayed some areas with mist, rubbed others over with white acrylic paint
 & inked the edges with a Prima {Ingvild Bolme} inkpad.

I cut some Prima Cartographer paper to size {2 in fact - one for the front & one for the back}
& prepped the front one with mists & inking, then glued it in & began creating my design.

I used several 2Crafty swirls as well as part of the Ornate Fence border.
You can see my actual post up at 2Crafty HERE.  It states each piece I
used by name & you can contact 2Crafty for a supplier near you, even if
you are overseas as they have some overseas retailers AND stock some
 online stores that deliver internationally...

I had SO much fun creating this piece & as well as all the
awesome 2Crafty chipboard I used Prima paper, wire, brads, flowers
 & embellishments & or course my favourite Prima Finnabair stamp!

{yup just about everything else!!}


Friday, 6 June 2014

"Precious Love" Layout for 2Crafty Chipboard
using June's Prima Product Pick!

Hello Friday!!  Above is my latest layout for 2Crafty Chipboard, up on their blog right now!
I used this month's Prima Product Pick for my inspiration.  LOVE the pale colours.

I used some patterned paper from the Princess collection - Mia, even though the mood
 board is showcasing the "Something Blue" Collection & I have quite a few of the papers. 
 I wanted my layout really soft so thought this grey damask print would be perfect for it.

I started with a new Prima 12" Bamboo mask & some texture paste, followed by some mists
 in colours matching the mood board, then layered up some papers from "Something Blue"& 
"Cartographer" together with some "Free Spirit" Packaging :)  Of course there is lots & lots 
of 2Crafty chipboard on this page too! The "Precious" word title & the "Love Swirl" Photo
adornment as well as the leaves {tiny leaf stems} & the Edgar swirl on the right of the photo.

I also used some Prima Say-it-in-Crystals swirls as well as some of their new loose bling
from the "Something Blue"Collection, a wooden clock embellishment from a few seasons
ago, one of their bark hearts, plus their latest crochet lace doilies & a "Free Spirit" paperclip.  

For the chippie treatment I spread on some the leaves randomly with some texture paste,
followed by a pink gelato, which I rubbed in with a baby-wipe.  I wanted a very light look.

For the Word titles I dabbed on some texture paste again with a palette knife
 then wrote over with a Photo Marker, cross-hatch shading on the hearts,
 & lastly I rubbed in some Gold gelato.

My last addition to this layout was using the 2 Prima wooden birdies under the photo
 {& they are still making me smile!} I also have a new Prima tassle in the mix & an 
older Prima flower.  Playing along with these challenges consistently for years now
 is a really brilliant way of working through your Prima stash.

I will definitely be doodling on my chippies again soon - love the look of the scratchy lines!

I am just so in love with texture - it is hard to believe that for the first half of my
 scrappy life I barely used it!  I was definitely missing out on half of the fun!!

I was happy with my idea of cutting the one black & white photo into a heart.  
To get it symmetrical I first drew the heart in rough on a notepad then
 folded it in half to make sure both sides were identical, cut around it then
 used it as a template.  It was super quick & easy! 

I tucked in a little Prima tile under my photo at the top there to balance out the
 dimension,as well as the "Edgar Swirl" chipboard from 2Crafty, treated with the 
same texture paste/photo marker pen/gold gelato technique.

Remember to check out the 2Crafty blog HERE for bucketloads of inspiration!
I have recently started SELLING 2CRAFTY CHIPBOARD in South Africa only
so if you are interested in purchasing any & are local to me please send a request
on Facebook to join my group SA SWAP SHOP to view my monthly specials.

You can see from their site what they have on offer & their selection is updated
 continuously so there is something new on a very regular basis.