About Me

Hi!  My name is Helen Tilbury &  I live in Durban, South Africa.  
My family moved here in early 2006 due to the problems in Zimbabwe.  
I work in the textile industry & live with my husband, 2 teenagers & 4 cats. 
 We have another 2 older kids in their 20's who live with us on & off :)

My blog focuses on my vocation & life as a mixed media papercrafts artist.

I began this blog as a novice back in 2007, when I had been scrapbooking
for 3 years.  Since then I have had quite a journey & worked for dozens of
different international Design Teams online  as well as Guest Designing
for many others, had my work printed in magazines in the US, UK
& Australia & worked for an English magazine preparing articles 
tutorials.  Last but not least I've made many, many 
 awesome friends & contacts along the way too!

 Currently {2015} I own & run my own scrapbooking challenge site
that hosts monthly scrapbooking competitions {Scrap Around The World}
as well as working for 7 Dots Studio, an amazing Polish company, 
2Crafty Chipboard, an Australian Chipboard Manufacturer & Studio 75,
another really great little Polish manufacturer or all things beautiful.  

My style is "layered collage with light mixed media".

I love creating layouts that tell simple stories about myself & my family,
as well as canvases that I keep to decorate my home or make specifically
as gifts for loved ones.  I also love to create smaller items like cards & tags
& also enjoy art journaling as a means of recording the way I feel as an
artistic expression.  Often I make mini-albums of family events & holidays.


How I got here

I stumbled across scrapbooking by pure chance 12 years ago 
& it immediately peaked my interest.  I started attending basic 
lessons for a few years until my local scrapbook store closed
 down & I was left with nowhere to go. 

Restrospectively that's when I grew my crafting wings, 
began my blog & discovered the online scrapbooking/
blogging community that is now an integral part of my life.

In 2007 I entered a huge local scrapbooking competition
& was placed 2nd & 3rd {with 2 different layouts}.
That gave me the confidence to start blogging, with no clue
as to how to go about it!  I began online knowing no-one at all.

I shared my daily creative pursuits & discovered & started
entering online scrapbooking challenges.  I met a lot of 
people along the way, which began my journey into the 
vibrant & supportive world of online world of papercrafters.

After a couple of years of building my confidence I began 
applying for Design Team positions & initially was turned
down everywhere I tried!  After a year of failed applications
I was accepted onto one team, then another, & another,
& since then it has been one roller coaster adventure of
a ride, working for dozens & dozens of Design Teams,
kit clubs, challenge blogs, manufacturers (&  even a
  magazine!) all around the world!  Moral of the story?!?
DON'T GIVE UP!  You never know when you are 
going to turn that corner!!

I jumped on the "mixed media bandwagon" when it first
began several years ago & that's when I really came alive.

I loved getting my hands dirty & the unexpected results
that came from playing with wet media.  Since then I
have found my style & love to experiment with artist
supplies & mediums in my work.  For me scrapbooking
has gone way beyond the photo for me now.  
It is all about the art!!


My 2015 Style

Collage Art is the best way of describing my scrapbooking style today.
I love texture, colour & working with beautiful products.  I love using
 polaroid photos & strip photos from my Instagram account.

Most of my layouts are based on single photographs or a few small
photos that tell simple stories about my life, my holidays, my kids, 
pets & what is important to me.  I love light mixed media & a free,
spontaneous look that says "Hey, I had fun making this!". 

 With 2 sons & 2 daughters I am used to creating both funky masculine 
pages as well as feminine, floral "modern shabby"ones.  Layering is my 
favourite technique &  I love using various art mediums to build up my 
page from the base up, as well as threads, wire, mesh & paper layers.  




Why I scrapbook {click to find out!}
Facts about me {click to read!}
My 2012 Style Statement {click in to see!}
I was Featured Scrapbooker here on July 18, 2011 - 
with the article below, which encompasses my creative journey until that date.

Creative Journeys - Meet our Next Guest!
           On to today's guest--meet the talented, fabulous Helen Tilbury-
-all the way from Africa!

I started scrapbooking in 2003 in Harare, Zimbabwe, after my daughter attended a holiday workshop & brought home a simple layout that 
captured my heart!

 For a couple of years I attended weekly lessons at a really basic studio using simple products &  none of “the latest stuff” as it simply wasn’t available.

 For the first 2 years of my journey all I learned were the basics as I had
 no time to scrapbook at home & had no idea that there was a whole new 
world waiting for me online.

In 2005 we emigrated to South Africa & I took a short break from scrapbooking
 for a year while I was adapting to my new environment. 6 months later I started attending weekly scrapbooking lessons at my new local scrapbook shop.

 Now that all my kids were at school I began scrapbooking there every morning as our rented home was limited on space & there was nowhere
 for a studio there.   I discovered Creating Keepsakes & it was
 the first scrapbooking magazine I’d ever seen! 

I became an instant fan of Ali Edwards & finally the cogs started turning 
& my mind-set regarding my hobby began to shift to a more serious
 mode 4 years down the line.  With that my excitement for 
scrapbooking started to grow exponentially as I shifted
 to a whole new mindset.

In September 2007 I entered the then only (now non-existent) national scrapbooking competition &came 2nd out of thousands of entries.
I was so excited but it lead to nothing, there were no sponsored prizes
 for 2nd place (as most scrapbooking products sold in South Africa
 are imported) & no design teams to get onto as there are virtually
 no local manufacturers. No recognition followed.

The scrapbooking manufacturing industry in South Africa is almost non-existent
 & the market in relation to the population is very small, especially in the
 province in which I live as it's not one of the main towns.  The local 
scrap store is owner run & she teaches the classes so opportunities
 for me to get to know more scrapbookers & become involved locally 
were not available to me. There had to be a way I could indulge
 my passion &succeed despite my location!

 I  first heard the word “blog” mentioned by Stacey Julien, when I attended
 a scrapbooking event at vast expense in one of our big towns
 {because I had to fly there & stay in a nearby hotel} 
& had no idea what it meant but I just KNEW I HAD TO GET ONE!!

I gathered it was some type of personal online interactive website & began
making enquiries...despite never having been online!  Yup September
2008 & I had never surfed the web!!  Wow did I have a treat instore for me!!!

 I began fighting with my kids’ old 'box' computer whilst they were at school
 & in October the same year, through pain & suffering like my children,
 my blog was finally born!  I spent hours online, learning the ropes, 
started commenting a lot – figuring someone was bound to notice me 
eventually if I just kept at it & after a year I had a small readership of 23 :)

I discovered just how excellent so many scrapbookers were online
 & I remember feeling like I could never “get there”, but the more
 I saw the more desperate I was to learn & to eventually succeed
 at creating layouts just as good! 

I lost my way a bit as I fell in love with blogging & ended up blog-hopping more than I was scrapbooking.  I certainly made up for all my years offline as I was
 so excited to broaden my horizons & learn so much about the world beyond Africa.  I had lost sight of my dream of becoming a well-known scrapbooker whose work spoke for itself.  I had become side-tracked...

I have always been a competitive person & it just came naturally to want to go
 all the way with something I was so passionate about. I was determined 
I didn’t need a national competition to succeed – I was aiming higher
 than that – I wanted to take on the world! 

. After my first couple of years online, getting to know people, watching how things worked & soaking up all the different scrapbooking styles in the
 world, towards the end of 2009 I started my online education in earnest.

 Less blogging &  more studying. I poured over layouts by talented designers from all over the world & tried to emulate them. I gave myself an 18 month intensive online course in scrapbooking by studying successful scrapbookers from all over the world, whose work I admired & used as my inspiration.

 I was struggling to find my own style & not sure of what I liked & disliked.
 I was trying too hard & doing too much – I was all over the place!

Towards the end of 2010 (2 years since I started my blog) it dawned on me that I was never going to “get anywhere” if I didn’t release myself from the confines of my blog and “get out there”. I began taking part in challenges, joining forums, adding my work to galleries & I had various successes along the way. 

Definitely more failures than successes but finally I felt like something was happening. In 2010 I started to apply to various design teams & faced rejection upon rejection. By Christmas 2010 I realized that I couldn’t go on & needed to reassess what exactly I was doing! Or at least trying to do!!

I prayed to God to please give me a change of heart, so that I was able to apply for design teams then forget all about it (as opposed to keep checking my inbox for the e mail that never came…only to see the DT advertised on their blog!).
 I cried my heart out then went away on holiday! 

This was the turning point for me. The next DT I applied for when I returned accepted me! And the one after that, & that, & that, & that, & that!

6 design teams in six months & definitely more successes than rejections.
The tide is finally turning. I feel I have worked for everything I have but at the same time I want to give all glory to my maker for giving me the stamina & attitude needed for this harsh game. Scrapbooking is sweet & lovely &
nurturing & healing, but competitive scrapbooking? Welcome to the 
School of Hard Knocks! 

Want to give it a go?!  I hope my story has encouraged you & that, if it’s what 
you really, really want (as the Spice Girls would say) that you’ll go 
confidently in the direction of your dreams.

 I love finally having a real audience, feeling like my work has a greater purpose
& getting a “wow” once in a while. I am striving to be the best I can be & looking forward to the rest of this wonderful journey. I still have a long way to go 
(I have my first CK publication this month but it’s actually a photograph – 
check out page 99 of your latest issue) & I’m still not on the DT of any
 “major” scrapbooking manufacturers, but I am in it for the long haul
 & I’ve always believed I’ll make it eventually.

I do think that it is definitely harder for an “international” (especially an African)
 to make it in an American dominated industry – mainly because it takes a
 month to receive any product & I have to make almost all my scrapbooking
 purchases online from the States – but I don’t think it is impossible –
 you just have to be fantastic – and that’s what I’m aiming for! 

My advice – count the cost. There is a lot involved, & that’s the honest truth. You need to up your game on all levels if you want success. 
You need to work long & hard.You need to meet deadlines. 
You need to be 100% reliable. 

You can’t blog about the bad day you’ve been having if your DT has it’s reveal that day – you’ve got to put your happy hat on & encourage everyone to play along.  You need to comment on all the entries & in some cases judge the winners, & that is really hard!

 But along the way you will have a wonderful, exhausting time!

You’ll be rewarded with the most wonderful affirmation of your work 
(& you’ll make some enemies along the way who despise you just
 because they’re jealous so you’ll get the occasional nasty comment too!) Toughen up & let it slide off you like water off a duck’s back. 

Just keep your eye on the prize! 
If you’re prepared to work for it it can be yours – 
you can live the life you've imagined!!

Helen lives in Durban, South Africa, with her husband & 4 kids – Chelsea (18), Jack (16), Reilly (13) and Cami (11). She is a keen photographer & when she’s not taking photos, scrapbooking or blogging you can usually find her in the car, rushing up & down the freeway with kids off to dancing lessons, soccer
 matches or sleepovers!  Currently Helen is designing for 
Scrapbook ChallengesInspired BlueprintsOnce Upon a Sketch
Bird is the WordPretty Paper Petals&Scrap-it-Lah
You can find her blog @ http://helentilbury.blogspot.com.