Looking Back - 2011

I can't believe New Year is here already, and what a crazy year this one has been, as I look back over everything thats happened it's hard to believe it all happened in just one year! it just goes to show how quickly things can change. So here is my year in review...

* For the first time I had my illustration work shown at the Bologna, London and Frankfurt book fairs - a huge development and one that was just the start of so many exciting things!
* My designs and projects were featured regularly in Making Cards magazine as well as popping up in a few others from time to time ;o)
* I released 3 CD's - Oz, Wonderland and Tinseltown
* I was lucky enough to start working with some fabulous companies, Provocraft, Fuji and Basically Bare (adding to my existing clients Derwent, Letraset and Kuretake - pinch me!)
* I was asked to design a range of greeting cards - more about that next year!
* I designed some craft products for another company - more about that next year too!
* I guest designed for Punky Scraps
* My blog and website had a makeover
* I still have 2 secrets I still can't share yet - gahhhhhhhhh! lol

Of course, I can't not mention, I signed my licensing and distribution deal with Craftime - a HUGE thing for me that gave me the freedom to bring you so many more great products, you can read more about that here and here - still so excited when I think about this!! and almost ready for my launch which is now only weeks away!!!

Of course all of this has left no time for me to do any TV shows for a while now but rest assured, things are happening! details soon ;o) 
My Favourite Craft Projects of the year
 My Favourite Illustration Projects of the year

As for my personal life, me and B have started to plan our wedding *squeal* and working on getting our home how we want it (it was previously his bachelor pad so not really to my taste, lol) I loved spending so much time working from home with Fuzzybutt by my side and B coming home for lunch. I was also lucky enough to be able to spend time with great friends and family this year, I've definitely learned some lessons in that area (but we all make mistakes!) - overall, I have to say, I'm a lucky girl!

On a sad note, many of you read the story on my blog or twitter of the murder of my Uncle Bert, myself and my family are so grateful for your support and messages of kindness during such a difficult time. I'm pleased to say that a man was arrested and that after some delays, the trial begins in January, we can only hope now that justice is done.

I'd also like to say a MASSIVE 'thank you' to all of you for reading my blog, following me on twitter and facebook and for all of  your comments and emails  and of course for the products of mine that you bought and for sharing the projects you made with them, all of that is what makes my job worthwhile!

And a final 'Thank You' to the best group of girls I could ever wish to work with, I'm lucky enough to have become friends with and work with, these fantastic ladies this year - to my Design Team! The most talented, hard working and supportive people - I look forward to working with them all again in the New Year - thank you to every one of you and the unique contribution you bring!

And on that note, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Sarah x

A Very Merry Christmas!

It's Home Sweet Home for me and back to work today! We made the trek north to my parents house for Christmas (not nearly as bad this year without the snow - yay!) I also managed to wrangle the very heavy Fuzzybutt into a baby sling so I didn't have to carry her the whole way - it was a huge help despite the 'crazy lady' looks I received on public transport (yes, I do realise that this hairy lump isn't a baby! lol) I did have a small crisis the night before, as we were preparing to leave, I fell down the stairs - isn't that typical! I think I was just *too* prepared, lol. no serious injuries luckily just a sprained wrist (another thing the baby / dog sling was a blessing for!) and ankle which healed after a few days of rest and tlc - I can now draw again - yay!

Now I am spending the next 24 hours getting myself ready for the year ahead, plans to be made, resolutions to be journaled and planned for and my one little word for next year to be decided upon... I've already cleared my office area, I still have my studio to do and my Christmas crafty things to pack away for another year, the Christmas songs have come off my iPod and the cards are down *sigh* and bright springy craft projects are being planned and started - exciting times ahead!

I hope you all had a magical Christmas and are looking forward to the exciting year ahead - I know it's going to be a GREAT one! :o)

Sarah x

My Favourite Tinseltown Projects

This year my favourite product release (that I can show so far anyway!) has been the Tinseltown CD and judging by the feedback received I think it's been yours too! I love that its so versatile and I can still use it throughout the year and the colours are some of my favourites!

So today I'm rounding up my favourite Tinseltown projects from my Design Team (what a talented bunch they are!)

This tag is just so cute - I love it!

Claire C
This paper cone wreath is just gorgeous!
Claire done a great job of showing that the CD could still be used by Scrapbookers even though the papers aren't 12x12" - this is just one of her fantastic layouts :o)
I love the frosty look that Elaine has created on this igloo - beautiful card!
Emma added some spellbinders die cuts to create this amazing card!
The queen of mixed media! Jaine created these gorgeous houses from the CD
Jess's peekaboo scene card - just beautiful!
Lisa mixed a few of the CD elements together digitally to create these gorgeous cards!
Melly created these fabulous paper baubles from the papers on the CD - I will be doing these for my tree next year!
Nikki's poinsettia card is just so elegant - beautiful work!
And finally, my own favourite project has to be my Calendar - a whole year of Tinseltown cuteness!
Thanks so much for looking, don't forget you can see all of the Tinseltown projects we made over on my Facebook page or in our brand new Inspiration Gallery!

Sarah x

My Christmas Playlist

It's nearly here! I'm such a child at Christmas, I'm still the first one up waking everyone up to see if Santa has been - I've been a good girl this year so I'm fairly confident ;o)

To get in the Christmas Spirit I am sharing my Christmas playlist - these have been on my iPod every day!

I hope you enjoy my Christmas playlist and have a fantastic day getting all the final bits and pieces ready for tomorrow - don't forget to leave something out for Rudolph as well as Santa!

Sarah x

Flying Robin Christmas Card

In case you missed it, yesterday was my turn over on the Basically Bare blog and we featured my Flying Robin Christmas card...
The little chipboard robin bobs around in the apeture when the card is standing up so he looks like he's flying around - cute!

To see the full step by step on how to make this please pop over to their blog and take a look!

Sarah x

A Cricut Nativity!

One of my favourite projects this Christmas season has been my Nativity scene frame that now sits in pride of place on my mantlepiece - I know this will be a feature of my Christmas decorations for years to come!
Supply List - Cricut Expression 'Winter Frolic' Cartridge - Provocraft, Tinseltown CD - Sarah Hurley, Frame (from any homeware store), White Acrylic Paint, Promarkers - Letraset, Precision Pen - American Crafts, Distress Stickles (Broken China), Stickles - Stardust - Ranger, Coated Card - Rymans, Sticky Dots

This was really simple to make, all the pieces you can die cut from your Cricut Expression (on to white and colour in like I did or using up your scraps!)

Firstly I sanded the frame and painted with two coats of acrylic paint - I made the paint quite watery as I didn't want a completely even finish, I like the Shabby Chic look!

I then set that aside to dry and covered the back part of the frame in snowfall paper from the Tinseltown CD, I cut the hills from a scrap of brown card and added those in front. I then die cut all the pieces from the cartridge (I cut most of these around 2.8 but depending on the size of your frame you may want to change this - the squares on the mat will help you see what size you should be cutting, it makes it so simple!) I cut everything from white card then coloured with my Promarkers.

Once the shapes were all dry I layered them together using Sticky Dots (they are great for sticking down the fiddly little parts of die cuts!) and added features using an American Crafts precision pen in brown.

I then arranged them onto the backing to get the look I wanted. Once I was happy I glued them all into place and tucked the back back inside the frame. I then added the Christmas Trees and the Angel to the frame. I used Stickles to make the Angels cloud and wings sparkly and to add baubles to the Christmas Tree. I then printed the banner and added to the top - done! Such a fun project :o)

I hope your Christmas preparations are coming along nicely, not long to go - eeeeeeek!

Sarah x

Steampunk Bird Tag

This week Basically Bare featured my Steampunk Bird Tag on their blog, and I wanted to share it here too for anyone that may have missed it...

I made the base of the tag look like rusty metal using a copper paint dabber and the fab Letraset Alcohol Inks and used Basically Bare elements and Kuretake Pens to create my mechanical bird, there are also some Tim Holtz elements in there too - how I could I make a grungy project without them!

You can see the full details on how I made this here on the Basically Bare blog.

Thanks for looking!
Sarah x

Kuretake Tree Angel Decoration & Planning Ahead!

If you pop over to the Kuretake blog today you can open door number 19 on their Advent Calendar which is a  step by step tutorial by me on how to make this Angel tree decoration, including a download of the face I designed so that you can make your own! :o)
Today I have been working on a super exciting project due to launch in the first week of January - my Design Team are involved on this one too and they all loved it so I'm sure you will too!

I've also been making lots of plans, I love to plan and set goals it makes me happy and excited for the year ahead! so I've spent the day surrounded by journals, diaries, planners, file cards and folders of things making sure I'm all set. Another great reason I love to make plans is, sometimes it can be a bit of a downer once Christmas is over, but if you've planned a year of exciting things to look forward to, plans to set in motion and goals you can't wait to achieve then you don't feel that way.

B is home for Christmas now too so he has been working with me and helping as well as catching up on lots of little DIY bits and pieces around the house, it feels good to get everything ready for a fresh start in the New Year - exciting times ahead! Of course Fuzzybutt is super excited to have her daddy home, her tail hasn't stopped wagging all day :o)

I'll be sharing another project tomorrow so I hope you will pop back!

Sarah x

Christmas Cards

Just a quick reminder that today is the last chance to get hold of Christmas Cards featuring my illustrations! I will be taking them out of  my Etsy shop at midnight tonight, as Tuesday is the last posting day! I also have free postage (use code XMAS11 at the checkout) My Etsy shop can be found here or click the link above (there are only single cards left, no multipacks as some designs have sold out)

Please also pop over to the Basically Bare blog today where you can see my Steampunk Bird tag :o)

Sarah x

A New Challenge

Today is a brand new challenge over on the Challenge Blog and the last one of this year!! Here is my contribution using the sponsors digi stamp and papers from my Tinseltown CD...
Please pop over and see the rest of the DT's gorgeous creations and submit your own creations to win a fab prize :o)

Sarah x

Busy Busy!

Wow, what a busy few days it has been! I've been spending my days from around 7am at my desk, making plans for the year ahead, finishing off projects and illustrations and all my usual bits and pieces, and my evenings from around 9pm in my studio finishing off projects, prepping new things, getting organised and starting work on the samples I'm doing for CHA, its a fun but crazy manic time!

Yesterday I done some alcohol ink experiments with the new Letraset Alcohol Inks, here is a sneeky peek, I can't show the whole thing as its for my next DT project for Basically Bare (it will be on the blog on Sunday)

I completely ruined my manicure but it was totally worth it! the colours are gorgeous, they are the same ink as in your Promarkers so everything matches perfectly. The bottles take some getting used to though as the ink flow is quite quick (compared to others I've used) my advice is to use a big craft mat and expect to get messy initially! once I got used to them it was fine and I'm really pleased with the results!

Tonight I will be finishing off my Christmas Cards (B done his usual 'I need 20 cards by tomorrow, can you whip something up' thing - grrrr... it's lucky he's pretty! lol) and a couple of last minute Christmas projects I'll be sharing here on the blog over the next few days.

Thank you again to everyone who took time to leave comments on my last post and take the time to join mine and Fuji's facebook pages - I can't wait to start sharing :o)

Sarah x

Sharing Exciting News!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook will have seen on Friday I got some exciting news I was bouncing up and down in my chair about! I also dropped a little hint (the above pic) on Twitter / Instagram today

For once, I can share pretty quickly, sooooo..... my news is, I will now be working with Fuji to show you how their fab range of instant cameras can be used perfectly in your scrapbooking and crafts!! 

Everything was confirmed Friday and I received a lovely package from Fuji on Saturday - how's that for quick work! I'm so excited to be working on this project, and you will be seeing regular updates from January here on my Blog, on my Facebook page and the Fuji Instax Facebook page so please pop over and join up :o)

A big 'Thank You' to those that congratulated me without even knowing what it was, you made my day and my smile even bigger if that was possible!

Sarah x

A Tinseltown Christmas Birdhouse

I had one tiny birdhouse left and I've been waiting for ages for a suitable project for it. With all my little leftover pieces from recent Tinseltown projects, a little idea came to me and I jumped out of bed at 1am the other night to get it done before I forgot!
Supply List - Tinseltown CD, MDF Mini Birdhouse, Range Paintdabber - Snow Cap, Stickles - Icicle, Glossy Accents, Promarkers, Prima Brick Stamp, Adirondack Inkpad - Raisin, Cocktail Stick, Strong Double Sided Tape

I first coloured the house using Promarkers (I didn't want to wait for paints to dry!) I then cut a scrap of the green scalloped paper ribbon from the CD and glued it around the bottom using glossy accents. I then cut out a tiny reindeer and tree and found one of the flag greetings I hadn't used.

I stamped both sides of the roof using a Prima brick stamp and an adirondack inkpad in raisin (it bleeds slightly but I loved the effect!

I then used the snowcap paint dabber and squeezed it quite firmly onto my craft sheet to get lots of paint coming out and dabbed it on the top and edges of the roof for snow. I the scraped it around the edge of the base to get a big build up of paint to look like piles of fallen snow - I set this aside to dry overnight.
In the morning when this was dry I added the tree and reindeer using glossy accents. I then used some strong double sided tape (the red one) to attach the flag to the cocktail stick. Then to attach the flag to the house (you can't do this with the house standing up I found out!) I marked on the cocktail stick where I wanted the roof to go then laid the cocktail stick on some scrap paper, adding a dot of glossy accents where the mark is, I then laid the house on top and stood the glossy accents bottle on top to hold it down while it dried.

Once everything was dry I added some stickles to the snow to make it sparkle!

I'm going to use it as a tree decoration (when B finally digs the Christmas Tree out of the loft!) Now I'm thinking of other things I can make for my tree :o)

Sarah x

p.s. Thank you for all the great feedback on the Inspiration Gallery - I'm so glad you're all loving it!!

Something New & Exciting! - Sharing Inspiration...

One of the reasons I love my job so much is I love to share inspiration. Thanks to all of the fabulous retailers out there we can all get access to crafty products fairly easily, however in those moments where our mojo runs off with the circus (at least once a week and usually when I'm on a deadline!) it can be much harder to find inspiration! well no longer will that be a problem, if you log onto my blog or the Challenge blog you will now see this option at the top...
A DT inspiration Gallery! If you click through you will get to a flickr photostream of past and present DT work, I have gone through all of the DT work over the last few weeks, old and new, and brought to you a wide range of projects for each of my different products, you can browse through the whole gallery or click on one of the sets at the side to go through to the projects for a specific product range.
When I've done demo's on TV or at shows I get a ton of emails over the next few days asking if I can post the samples on my blog or website for you to see so you can get the same results at home when you get your products from me. I'm also lucky enough to have a wonderful design team bringing you great inspiration on the Challenge blog every fortnight however this work can get lost scrolling back over the weeks, this aims to collate it all in one place and we will be keeping this up to date as new products are released and there will be some great new features coming soon also!

(I hate to have to write this part but.... please take note that the work shown is the original work of myself and my Design Team, I am happy for you to use my projects for your inspiration but please do not copy them for publication, contests or resale - thank you!)

Now I must get back to work on some more things to bring to you soon, as well as trying to keep warm snuggling under a blanket. I've bribed Fuzzybutt to lay on my icy feet in exchange for sharing it - keeps us both warm and happy! :o)

Thanks for dropping by today
Sarah x

November Round-Up

November absolutely flew past! Time really does fly when you're having fun, or when you're unspeakably busy (in my case both!) and never leave your desk! lol. So here is a little round up...

I spent most of the month working on finalising my new craft ranges for the launch early next year (that sounds ages away when you say it like that but its just a few weeks now so keep an eye out for those sneak peeks!) I worked flat out and got everything done by my deadline - phew!

It got really really REALLY cold (yay! I love winter) and I used my lack of 'getting ready' time in the mornings to accessorise with cute, and more importantly, warm! knitted hairbands. My sister surprised me completely by sending me a gift in the post, this FAB-u-lous barbie style ring, I haven't put it away yet, its amazing!
Any free time I got was spent snuggling with Fuzzybutt under a duvet trying to keep warm and catching up on my trashy TV - it helps my brain switch off (thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it! lol) Most of the time I was sketching as well - sometimes stepping away from the computer helps your brain slow down and gives you time to think of the really great ideas!
I treated myself to one day out and met Emma at Selfridges for Christmas shopping and our much needed Starbucks! I also treated myself to a Red Velvet cupcake from Lola's in Selfridges to celebrate some good news (which I will share soon!)
I sent out these postcards to my illustration clients letting them know of my updated website and some new work in my portfolio and got a great response,  I have some great projects in the pipeline and I'm really excited to get back into illustration as well as desigining for craft things - I think I love both equally! (if you didn't receive one and would like one please contact me here and let me know - I have a few left!)
The most popular blog posts of the month were my Felt Owls, the Tinseltown Christmas Village, Sharing my Illustration Process, Tips for Selling your Handmade Cards & the Tinseltown Calendar.

Now (after some catching up) I'm working on some great things which I'll be bringing to you very soon - the first one later this week! We will also have some more Tinseltown inspiration for you tomorrow - don't miss it!

Sarah x

End of the Week...

I made it! the deadline was made, I worked over 18 hours on that last day but it all got done (yay!) so exciting! To give you an idea I've worked on something close to 1000 images, designs and patterns since the end of August - how crazy is that! All of the ranges were planned then all of the images and patterns had to be sketched, colour matched, scanned, redrawn, recoloured, printed, checked and put into their final formats and print files, it was definitely the most hectic and the most fun workload I've ever taken on! I did celebrate by taking yesterday off, no computer, no blackberry, no phone, no emails, no twitter, facebook or anything, I just slept, mooched about and snuggled Fuzzybutt, it was fab!

Of course I'm back to work today and now I'm working on the packaging for all of the products and another range of products (still craft but something slightly different) I also have a bit more time to dedicate to a couple of big projects that I'm working on with my Design Team - you're going to love whats coming and it won't be much longer now!! I'm also catching up on a ton of illustration work, lots of DT projects and I may even get round to replying to some of the 600 and something emails I still have to send replies to - eeeeek! (I reply to urgent ones straight away but general things have been left while I've been in this manic phase!)

This fortnight we also have a great Christmassy challenge up on the Challenge Blog with one of my favourite companies, Letraset, as the sponsor - pop over and win yourself some lovely spring promarkers ready for the new year!

Have a great weekend!
Sarah x

Tinseltown Calendar & Free 2012 Calendar Download!

I'm now on the last few days of my deadline and I'm at the 'hair tearing out' stage, it's all coming together nicely though and I'm so excited to share these with you all. It's a scary leap from craft CD's and stamps into paper and all the bits that go with it but I'm really pleased with how it's looking and I hope you will all love it too. I will be starting sneak peeks just as soon as I'm allowed! :o)

Today I'm sharing a calendar I made with my Tinseltown CD...
 Supply List - Tinseltown CD, Twine - The Twinery, Gems, Double Sided Tape

Everything used is on the CD, I just added some gems and twine. If you have other papers you'd like to use to make one you can download a free black and white calendar sheet here or get  a digi kit of them in all their pretty colours here.

I printed everything onto Rymans coated cardstock (its the same one I use for promarker colouring and is like a thin cardstock so perfect weight for this kind of project - too thick and you will get horrible creases, too thin and it won't hold the weight of the calendar pad and buckle in) I folded the A4 sheet into 3 with a little lip at the bottom (this will be very easy of you have a scoring board or if like me you don't, then measure 3 equal pieces with an extra 1 - 1.5cms at the bottom and trim to size scoring with an embossing tool or bone folder) and folded into a triangle shape - you can see from this side view how its fixed together with double sided tape.
I coloured the digi stamp with Promarkers and added some stickles in icicle to the furry parts of his outfit. I used the pre-coloured version of the sleigh digi stamp, but the black and white one is on the CD also. I then cut out the scalloped ribbon and added to the top fold with double sided tape. The bow is from the cd, I used a glue dot to attach it by the centre rather than stick the whole thing flat. I then attached the digis using 2 thicknesses of 3D foam so the little boy is slightly in front of the sleigh.
I cut out the calendar cards and punched holes in the top corners - I then punched two holes in the calendar and threaded twine through and tied in a bow to hold them securely (the pages can be easily torn off at the end of each month as there is no glue holding them down) as a finishing touch I added some gems to the top corner.
This is such a quick project but makes a great gift or project for your desk or craft table (which is where mine will be going for the new year!)

If you would like to make this you can download a free Black and White Calendar by clicking here or on the picture below (and right click to save) or you can buy a digi kit of calendars in all their pretty colours here (of course if you have the Tinseltown CD already you already have everything you need to make this!)

Thank you for dropping by, I'll be back in a day or so when my deadline has passed and I'm less crazed (I'm only panicking slightly! lol)

Sarah x