Snail Mail by Michelle Mackintosh (Hardie Grant, £14.99) Photography: Chris Middleton
Last week I was sent this book to read (cue lots of excitement - I do love a good book and I knew I'd love this one!)
Focusing on beautiful letter writing, this book is illustrated with photos of gorgeous letters, recipes, craft projects, packages, washi tape and stationery - it's REALLY inspiring to see such effort and gorgeous creations throughout, here are a couple of peeks at some of my favourite bits...
This has given me lots of inspiration for future craft projects, I'll be sharing soon! Whether you're looking for step by step projects or just a coffee table inspiration book, if you love crafts, stationery and / or letter writing, this is the book for you!
If you've picked up the latest issue of Papercraft Inspirations magazine then you may have seen my pet cards featured! Today I wanted to show you the step by step of the origami cat face featured on this one...
I used DCWV paper from the Blue Citrus Stack - this is really good for origami as there is pattern one side and plain white the other!
To start, I cut a square to 4" x 4" and folded it corner to corner across the diagonal. I then folded the edges together and just pinched a small crease in the middle to mark the centre. Open the square back out and fold the tip of the bottom triangle up to meet the centre, then fold the bottom half up as shown in picture 2.
Fold each side from the middle up to the tip of the triangle. Fold each triangle back on itself (this creates the cat ears!)
Fold the tip of the triangle down and turn the whole thing over, then fold the bottom piece up to the middle to create the white face (you can also fold the very tip of this down to create the nose if you want to!) then embellish the face with googly eyes and whiskers!
I hope you have fun creating lots of origami cats and I'd love to know what you thought of the whole set of cards when you pick up your issue!
Just a quick reminder today that you only have until midnight tonight to get your entries in for the CHA UK Creative Exchanges Scholarship competition, winning you a free place at the upcoming Creative Exchanges event and a big swag of goodies!
Today I'm sharing a little peek at an upcoming blog project, this time, some Art Journaling...
I haven't felt inspired to journal for a while, but last week I had something going around and around in my head, the best way of getting it out was to grab some paints and inks and get it into my journal!
I used Ranger Ink Distress paints, Ink Sprays and Derwent Liner Pens along with my Doodle Doll stamps. I'll show the full project in a few days.
Today I'm super excited to be able to share some news with you about the upcoming CHA UK Creative Exchanges event (18th - 20th April). We've secured two FANTASTIC keynote speakers who I know you're going to be super excited about too!
On Sunday, Leonie Pujol, Create & Craft TV presenter and household name in the craft industry will be joining us to share her inspirational career journey. On Monday, Pinterest Ambassador Zoe Arch, founder of Craft Candy will be speaking about how to use Pinterest for your business. They are joining the rest of our fabulous line up including Immediate Media, Helz Cuppleditch, Maeri Howard of the Make Do Studio, Jenniffer Taylor from the Sewing Bee, Sara Naumann, Katie Skilton and Meeeeeeeeeee! the rest of our fabulous speakers will be announced shortly.
Our seminar line up includes getting published, how to demo, introduction to copyright, blogging, photography and SO much more. We are already around 80% sold out so if you're not booked yet, it's time to book now!! All the details are here on the CHA UK website.
Today, I'm super excited to announce another business launch, this time, not mine, but B's. He came up with a concept at the end of last year that I thought would be FAB!
I stock only my own brand products but often use other things in my projects - I get so many messages asking where you can get a certain stamp or paper, often I've found them abroad and it's hard for you to get hold of the same things. B decided that he would solve all of your problems!
He has today launched his online shop, BeeBee's Boutique, stocking a range of gorgeous crafty things, pretty things (like stationery, stickers and gifts) and yummy things (like the delicious American candy we enjoy here at Hurley HQ!) For us, crafting is an experience, we use our crafty favourites but we also mix in pretty stationery and it doesn't hurt to have something delicious to snack on while we create either! BeeBee's Boutique brings you all of those things in one handy place.
We very much hope you'll enjoy shopping with us and like all of the gorgeous new things we have for you, check it out here now!
Thank you so much for dropping by today and sharing our excitement, it's B's Birthday today so we're going to be celebrating that and his new venture tonight!
Today I wanted to tell you all about the first big event I've been working on for CHA UK - Creative Exchanges!
This event is specially put together for Designers, Teachers and Bloggers in the craft / creative industry who are looking to advance their career or grow their business, it's basically all the stuff I wish, and lots of my colleagues in the craft and creative industries wish, we had known when we started out! There are seminars on Blogging, Social Media, Filming Videos, How to Demo, Photography, Starting a Business, Protecting your Designs... - it basically would have saved me years of little mistakes, buying the wrong equipment, trying stuff that didn't work and all that other really frustrating (and expensive!!) stuff - if this sounds like you, you HAVE to be there!
It's being held in Coventry at the Holiday Inn from 18th - 20th April and the ticket price includes food, drink, a goodie bag, the onesie for the onesie party (can't wait for that!!!) access to all the seminars, the chance to book a private mentoring session and SO much more, you can read more details and book here on the CHA UK website.
The other thing that super exciting is we are holding a scholarship competition, the main prize being a place at Creative Exchanges!! You have until the end of March to enter (of course make sure you're available for the dates of Creative Exchanges) all of the details are here on the CHA UK website - GOOD LUCK!! (p.s. if you're already booked and enter and win, then your ticket payment will be refunded)
I could literally go on and on and on and I haven't even told you some of the most exciting stuff yet! but I won't... I will however be sharing some more info and answering any questions you might have (please leave them in the comments) AND telling you even more exciting stuff (including our new Designer Accreditation programme, ooopsie! ;) ) in the next couple of days - watch this space! and if you're coming then please join our Facebook group or event and grab the blog badge from above or the right of my blog or the Facebook group.
Today I get to share some exciting news, I shared some sneak peeks at Stitches of something I was working on, a brand new business (running alongside my existing businesses!) with a good friend of mine Diane Rooney - I'm very pleased to tell you about the launch of Spark Creative!
Spark Creative was the merging of our ideas, Di and I had a lunch last year and we got to talking about business and our plans for the year ahead. Di asked me if I would write some content for a new business idea she was working on and I asked her for some help with one of mine, as we started talking, we realised we were basically starting the same business but with different approaches. As we discussed it more, we realised that the strengths in our differences could make a joint venture much more exciting than the two separate ventures we had planned, we merged our ideas, plans and visions together to create Spark Creative!
Spark Creative is an online resource for those of you who have, or are starting, a creative business. We'll be giving you inspiration, business tips, resources and all the things we wished we had known when we started out, including all of the mistakes so we can hopefully help you avoid the same ones and take the first steps to igniting your dream life!
We will be bringing you more information over the coming weeks and you'll start to see information on all of the exciting things we have in store, keep an eye on our new website, blog and Facebook page, or sign up for our email newsletter, for all the news as it happens as well as some great business inspiration and resources.
Thank you for dropping by and sharing in our excitement!
Today I looked again at the list of eleventy billion blog posts I need to do (they are coming, honest pinky promise!!!) and thought, you know what, I'm just going to do a quick video and tell everyone what I'm up to, so.... here it is!
p.s. I know what you're thinking... great thumbnail right? *sigh* lol
Over the weekend I got a little free time so I thought I'd finally open my ShinHan markers and one of my new stamps from Prima and see if I could remember how to colour in!
The image is stamped with a Memento Ink Pad which works perfectly with alcohol markers so there's no messy bleed at the edges.
I started with the skin and hair, as I wanted to experiment to find the colour combinations I like, I think I've found a good one! I'll be sharing it in a video and post soon - I'm experimenting with some other skintones now so I can show you a few.
Here is an in progress pic, showing some colour from the flowers and how I used the blender pen and greys to add light and shade - these pens are so beautiful to work with and the colours are so rich and vibrant!
and finally, the completed image - I've got a little bleed in one or two areas - my fault as I'm not used to working with brush markers so much (ShinHan also have some twin pens with fine nibs that i'll be experimenting with next!) and was a little heavy handed in some of the smaller areas - I know how to get that right next time though, its all about experimenting!
I'm working on some colouring tutorials with these fabulous new markers now, let me know if you'd like me to use this image in one of them or if there are any specific stamps you'd like to see me work on or colour along with me on and I'll do my very best to accommodate!
Following on from yesterday! After my first tour of the show, it was time to head off to a party! Create & Craft were launching Create & Craft USA with a cocktail night and I popped along to hear all about it and catch up with some friends!
As I had to be up early the following morning for the Designer Section Meeting I sneaked out a little bit early and head back to my room with a big bottle of Gatorade (all the aircon and talking means you pretty soon lose your voice!) I had to take a picture of the label of my bottle of Gatorade fruit punch - notice NO actual fruit juice in that giant bottle of Fruit Punch - I LOVE America!
The following morning I headed off to the Designer Section meeting with Craig from CHA UK to see what the Designers from CHA do in America, I met some great people and it was so interesting to see how it works in the US - we're only just starting to implement our Designer section here in the UK - exciting times!!
*exciting news alert* I then had a meeting with one of my favourite companies in the scrapbooking industry, this has been planned for a while and I was super nervous and excited - I can't say anything just yet as it's very early days but what I will tell you is that the people I met with said that they thought I was 'extremely talented' and have asked me to put together some sample ranges for them!!! It's super early days but I'm so excited to have this opportunity - watch this space!! I was then a tiny bit naughty and before my next meeting of the day I decided to celebrate this good news, I headed back to my hotel room, put my PJ's on, turned the aircon up full blast (did I mention I like VERY cold rooms?) and ordered myself a proper American burger, fries and a shake from room service...
I then spent the next hour in bed watching a basketball game and devouring it - and YES, it was AMAZE!!! I'd fly back just for that burger...
Anywhoo... after making myself look human again, I head back to the show and my next meeting of the day with DCWV, we spent some time going through the new products before I was gifted a lovely box of goodies (so lucky!) My absolute fave was these mirror icons, expect to see them on my blog very soon!!
I then managed a quick trip to get some cheesy souvenirs before afternoon tea at the CHA International pavilion - it's very difficult to get a good cup of Earl Grey in the US so I made sure I was at that pavilion every afternoon at 3pm sharp for my two cups of earl grey! and some networking of course...
After the excitement of the day I took a minute, as it was my last night in L.A., to spend some time sitting in the warm evening breeze watching the waterfall outside the convention centre...
That was where my friend, mentor and fellow CHA UK Board Director, Carolyn, found me half an hour later, she invited me to dinner with some fabulous girls and we hit a wonderful restaurant just up the road from our hotels that had the most wonderful pie! (and spicy shrimp and avocado salad - yum!) I almost finished this one - it's so hard to finish a meal there!
Then came probably the BEST bit of my whole trip (and I'm only half joking) the girls, all Americans, couldn't believe I'd never been to Target, so they took me across the parking lot to this huge Target store, it was AMAZE! I did go a bit 'supermarket sweep' in there, put it this way, the giant suitcase I bought especially for the trip was overweight on the way home and I only JUST had room for everything I brought back - it was love!
The following morning I had just enough time to go and do my seminar on Creative Blogging, it was so fun to get to speak to an amazing group of ladies and I got SO much fabulous feedback on my talk that I was over the moon, one lady even said it was the best seminar she had been too - and it was only my second time! eeek! so fun! Then I had just enough time to go and say a quick goodbye to everyone before hopping on a shuttle back to the airport and another 11 hour flight back to London.
I so LOVED my trip, I can't wait to go back and until then, I brought back this little piece of America...