Thursday, 10 March 2016

Crafting with Clarity & Groovi!

Hello Friends,

It seems that I lost my aim/direction for a while.  My life changed, I retired from all my crafting commitments and expected to be able to carry on crafting like before, only with no deadlines or thoughts about what "my ladies" wanted, I thought I'd be able to craft for myself!  I expected to get messy with some Art Journalling, I have all the gear ;) and I'm sure I want to do it!  I also expected that I'd be happy without the stresses that came with teaching and the planning of events and classes.

The truth though, was totally different.  I couldn't craft, I couldn't think about crafting, I didn't want to get messy with Art Journalling, I even felt it hard to make cards for friends and family for occasions that required cards!

I definitely needed a focus, I realised that, when I attended Stitches, the UK crafting Trade show.  I'm not used to crafting for me, I'm a crafter who wants to inspire other crafters and after teaching for more than 14 years, I suppose it wasn't ever going to be easy for me to retire from all of that.

Teaching at the W. I. Denman, (see my last post) was a blessing, totally out of the blue, as I'd never expected to be filling in for a sick tutor, but it turns out it was an absolute blessing.  I had such wonderful feedback from the ladies who attended the course I filled in for, and now Denman has asked me to fill in again in April, I'm really happy that I was "good enough" to be asked again.   Denman have also invited me to run some of my own courses, which will start in the Autumn.  My purpose is back and so is my will to craft.

Preparing for the Parchment course at Denman, really did inspire me again, to go back to Parching!  I'd been watching Barbara from Clarity on the t.v. with her new Groovi system since it was launched, it looked great and I certainly was kicking myself that I hadn't invested in it earlier!

So with the news and offer for filling in again for another Parchment class at Denman, I decided to send for some Groovi stash!  I didn't hold back, I bought all I "needed"!  My thoughts were that if I were going to introduce this system or even mention it, in a Parchment class, I'd need to give it a trial!  I'd need to give it a "semi-professional""okay", if you see what I mean!

Well, I love it!  Like everything though that I love and teach, I know I need to practice, practice, practice!  I need to remember all I learned from all those years ago when I was first taught all the basics and I need to put what I learned then and what Barbara at Clarity is teaching us now, on the t.v., into practice.  I think baby steps is the right way to go with this, I'm not trying to rush a card or rush anything, I'm taking lots of time to learn and practice again properly, I need to do things as best and as properly as I can, I'm such a perfectionist!

Here are a couple of cards I've made using the Groovi system.....

...this first one is a little bit messy!  The colouring isn't perfect, you can see the smudges and the Picot edging has much to be desired...but I don't have the right parchment grid for the right spacing for the Picot edge cutting and my eczema isn't good at the moment - I can hardly hold a pair of scissors!  I also wish I'd used a capital "J" for "Jimmy" on this card!

I'm much happier with this second card, it still wouldn't win any awards, but I'm fairly happy how it turned out!

Check out the white work on these flowers!  Barbara reminded me on Sunday to do white work by gently embossing in short strokes and long strokes!  The mat I have is old, very old and I found it easier to put a layer of dark card on top of my mat and emboss on that, it stopped me from going through the Parchment.  I taught that trick to the ladies that I taught at Denman, it was a trick I never did forget!

On the first card above, I coloured in using my ancient Parchment crayons and used an old technique of dipping a tightly folded piece of kitchen towel into a drop of blending solution to blend the colouring strokes but it turned out messy!  On the second card I used markers, they were so much cleaner!  I never remembered using markers - back in the my day ;)!  Oh times have changed and I'm happy that they have, especially with the new Clarity Groovi system!

Thanks for popping by, I hope you feel inspired to try this system - get into the groove, it's satisfying - yes totally satisfying!

Happy crafting.

Carole x

Friday, 26 February 2016

Parchment craft at the W. I. Denman

Hello friends,

I promised you a little while ago that I'd share with you some pictures of the Parchment craft course I taught at the end of January, as a stand in tutor, at the W. I. Denman college, very close to where I live, in Oxfordshire.

Here are just a few photos that I took, you'll be able to find many more pictures, taken by the college on their Facebook page just scroll down until you get to 2nd Feb :)!

This was my classroom for the 4 days....

The classroom was very high tech, check out all those lights, tv and camera so I could demo and my ladies could watch what I was doing on the tv!

This is Jane, she'd only ever been to one beginner Parchment craft course before, but her work was stunning and looked very professional!

This is Elvina,  her work was fabulous too!

Here is Elvina again with her friend Maureen, they were gorgeous, very supportive of their new 'stand in' tutor!  They were both seasoned Parchers and great at it.  They run a little Parchment Craft group in Jersey.

You can see Jean, Mary, Yvonne and Joan here.  They were all friends who meet together at Denman, they come from all over the country and were huge supporters of the regular Parchment tutor.  They were seasoned Parchment crafters who had all the gear and qualifications, I didn't know existed ;)! 

 On these next two pictures you can see Pat (also from Jersey), Margaret, Valerie & Sylvia, this was definitely my "quiet table".  These ladies were also regulars and huge supporters of the usual tutor too and very professional in their work and fast with it!  It's always the quiet ones that get the most done -I expect that's why I never get much done when I'm crafting in a group!

Here I think, are most of the projects finished by one of the ladies, apologies ladies, I can't remember who did all this gorgeous work, but nearly everyones looked the same ;)!

Here is a close up of the most difficult project we tackled, lots of pricking and embossing on the diagonal grid for this one!

and finally, a table I filled with other projects I'd made, hoping it would put the ladies at ease when they met me, hoping to show that I was a "good enough" teacher to be standing in for their course ;)!

I absolutely loved teaching these ladies at Denman, I am smiling as I type because I've got more dates for more courses I'll be running there, this coming autumn and winter!  It really is the most wonderful place to be!

Hope you've enjoyed looking at the pictures.

Happy crafting.

Carole x

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Silhouette UK blog - weekly challenge

Hello friends,

As a lover of all things Silhouette, I thought I'd join the new challenge over on their new blog.

The challenge was to use this weeks free design from the Silhouette store, it's a cute little mail box - perfect for Valentines day!

To make this a challenge, as it were, I decided to try and copy the decorative parts.  I've never used the 'draw freehand' feature, apart from showing the feature when ladies come for a one-to-one class here with me.  I normally glide over it quickly saying something like "if you can draw, this might be useful, but I can't so can't ever imagine ever using it"!  Well I tried it today to make the the coloured boxes and you'll notice that I really can't even draw a nice line!

I personalised my letterbox with my husbands initials on the back ;)!

I hope you like mine, here it is....

NOTE:  when I started putting this together I noticed that the card naturally bends on the weakest part, the part where the opening is, to overcome that a little, I made an extra bit to protect it, as you will notice in the picture.  I also thought it was hard to put together and feel there should be a score line under the curved section on the side bits, I think there is one on their sample which you can see above!  So if I were to make this again, I'd definitely add an extra score line and curve the main part with my bone folder to avoid the creasing at the weak point!

Now all I need is to make and post a tiny card to go in it!

I hope you join in with the challenge.

Happy Silhouetting.

Carole x

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Silhouette Lessons - one to one

Hello friends,

I can't tell you how much fun I've been having recently, I've been busy teaching the Silhouette Studio software to some lovely ladies on a one to one basis and I've been teaching Parchment craft, as a stand-in tutor, after many years of not doing Parchment, so had to practice!

I'll share some of the projects we made for the Parchment class over the next few days.

Today I've been working on some Christmas projects.  I know it seems odd but I've been booked to teach a 'Christmas paper crafting projects' workshop early December and needed to do a write-up and they needed a picture of an example of what we might make.

One of my favourite things to do is to adapt my Silhouette files to make them fit my needs.  I adapted an envelope file to make the cutlery holder and the treat box file was adapted to fit my Stampin' Up rubber stamp!  Hope you like them.

Happy Silhouetting to you all.

Carole x

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Silhouette Cameo cards with Minc foiling

Hello Crafty friends,

I had lots of fun making these cards using my Silhouette Cameo and my Minc foiling machine.

To be quite honest, I've had my Minc for almost a year and haven't used it much, it was away in a know how it is!  Most of my cards and projects these days are Silhouette based because I still love Silhouette crafting more than any other type of crafting.  To mix things up a bit and to start as I mean to go on this year (use what the crafty supplies I have!), I took my Minc out of it's hiding place and put it to work.

I made a few of these cards.  It took me a while to come up with a plan and to make the Silhouette file so whilst the Minc was out, it seemed a good idea to make more than two!

Here are a couple of pics of the ones that I posted for January birthdays.....

I was rather pleased with how they turned out!

The next picture shows you the two pieces that I used, which I printed on our laser printer and cut out using my Silhouette Cameo.....

The birds on the branch image is from the Silhouette store and I used fonts on my computer for the words.

Wishing you all lots of Silhouette crafting time, using what you have!

Carole x

Monday, 4 January 2016

Planner stamp - Silhouette Mint

Hello Crafty Friends,

I'm back today to share with you all another stamp that I've made using my Silhouette Mint, for my 2016 planner.

Just like the last stamp I shared with you, I'm hoping to be using this one quite a bit too!

Sometimes I get carried away with crafting, designing and making pretty stuff and forget the other important stuff I have to do!  I thought I'd use this little stamp in my planner at least two or three times a week.  I could have added a border around the words, arrows and the little frog, but I guessed that would restrict the space I could use to write, so I decided to leave it without a border.  You will see from the picture above what I mean about space to write.  The stamp is a 45mm x 45mm one, which is just about the right size for my planner.

I hope this gives you a little inspiration, a different idea for stamp that is great "custom made" by me for me!

Hope you find some time to use your Silhouette machines soon.

Happy crafting.

Carole x

Friday, 1 January 2016

Silhouette Mint & Planning for a "dry" January!

Hello crafty friends,

Happy 2016!

I hope my blog finds you well and rested after the festivities of the season.

I've had an Arc planner for a couple of years now, I use it as my day to day diary and so far haven't used it to set goals etc.  It's a large one, its A4 in size and normally resides somewhere in my kitchen, open at the current week.

This year I will try and use it more wisely and decorate it like those "crafty planning/organised/goal setting kinda ladies" do!  I've always wondered how they have time to make, organise and decorate their beautiful planners and get the jobs done, we'll see if I can work it out!

Not wanting to rush in with lots of time consuming bits and bobs, like stickers and charts and various lists that I could download from the internet, I thought I'd start with a couple of Silhouette Mint stamps, easily made for myself to stamp into my planner.

Here is my first stamp, it's a special one for a little goal that I've set myself.....

.....kinda funny, isn't it!  

Here in the UK the government regularly try and scare us half to death about how many units of alcohol we should and shouldn't consume in a week.  They have a campaign running in January each year where they encourage us to have the whole month alcohol free!

One of my goals for 2016 is to try this out so I made myself a little stamp.  At the end of each day, I can give myself a little stamped reward in my planner - lets see if that works!

It's a little early yet but I couldn't resist stamping it in on todays date...

...afterall, I'm well settled with my glass of soda water with a dash of ginger & lemongrass cordial, it's refreshing, warming and perfect for this time of year.

I've got another great idea for my planner, which I will share with you when I've got a moment!

Until then, I hope you get some time to craft, plan, set some goals and get organised for a fantastic 2016!

Carole x