Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's back...

Just when you thought it was safe to carry on with your crafting... you turn the page on the calender and realise... it's back... time to begin the countdown to my Christmas Craft Challenge.
Today is the 1st of October. That means here in New Zealand we are one month into Spring, it's 30 days until Halloween (not that we really celebrate it here), I've been back in the country two weeks and it's two months until the 1st of December which is officially the start of my Christmas Craft Challenge.
The 1st of October is the day I post my official reminder for the kick off of the Christmas Craft Challenge in exactly two months.
By now I have usually forgotten all about last year's stress and the self-imposed pressure I put myself through so I once again blindly commit myself to doing it all again. 
This year will be the 6th year in a row that I have been doing this. When I first started there were very few crafters doing this sort of thing... well at least few who were blogging about it. Last year they were everywhere. There were so many people blogging, photographing and posting their Christmas creations that it close to being overwhelming.
So why do I put myself through this? We all participate in crafting challenges, especially at Christmas, for many reasons... some more practical than others - boost sales, get your name our there to build demand for your crafting or design services or for design team exposure. Some may be hidden behind a guilt about having committed to doing "X" amount of crafting during the year and then discovering in October/November that you've fallen short on meeting your targets. For those in the Northern Hemisphere it may be related to heading into the cold, miserable Winter months, when indoor pursuits are all you can do unless you don't mind standing around freezing, knee deep in snow waiting for the next chair lift. And if like me you don't fit into any of the above... then just because.
Back to this year's Christmas Craft Challenge...
Well last year's went horribly wrong, I don't mind admitting it. I was working full-time from the start of November having been unemployed for some time, and I was sick as well (no time off when you are contracting)... so my Christmas Craft Challenge turned into a New Year's Craft Challenge for the most part.
I'd like to think I learnt something from last year, so this year I'm not going to commit myself to one craft project a day as Christmas is busy and stressful enough at times without adding pressure to myself for no particular reason. Instead I am happy to commit myself to a minimum of one blog post a week for the four week period. Anything over and above that is a bonus. Each blog post will cover a minimum of two craft projects.
This is doable, without killing me, killing Christmas for me or for me ending up wanting to kill my family for adding to my stress.
Play along at home as well or just pop by to look at what I have created. If you are playing a long at home and will be sharing your own projects on the net somewhere, be sure to leave me a comment to let me know where so I can check you out (well your crafting) and give you a plug on my blog.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

USA Update 1

Can I just start out by saying OMG... I can't believe I am actually here... here as in, actually IN the UNITED STATES of AMERICA.
There was a time when I thought that not even in my wildest of dreams would I ever get to step foot in this country. Then plans were set in motion and even though I had my passport and my plane ticket I still thought something would pop up to prevent me from actually making it here but it didn't and I spent hours and weeks and months stressing and worrying about nothing. Yes I am a worrier... but moving on.
I (I should say we, as my darling hubbie is with me)... We are here in the US of A and have been here a few days.
So what's happened so far...

  • 12 hour flight from Auckland, New Zealand to Los Angeles... in cramped, uncomfortable seats, including getting severe leg and foot cramp in my left leg... I wasn't a happy flier.
  • One night only in LA... in a really hard bed so that I didn't catch up on any of the sleep I didn't get on the plane.
  • Driving a big beast of a car, on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road when I'm used to driving a sports car about 1/3 the height of what the rental car gave me.
  • Three nights in Las Vegas... and yet another hard bed. Three fabulous shows... "Absinthe", "KA" by Cirque du Soleil and "Jubilee". Driving up and down the strip, seeing so many people in one spot all at once and so much neon!
  • Shopping at Walmart (a big deal as we don't have them in New Zealand lol) and picking up some great crafty bargains.
  • Finally getting to look around the many, many, many shelves of Viva Las Vegas Stamps at their 19,000 odd stamps and trying not to spend ALL my money there. 
  • Buying stamps for myself as well as for my store.
  • Meeting the absolutely lovely DeeDee at VLVS where she works as well as designs for them and her own label UmWowStudios. 
  • Picking up not one but two boxes of UmWowStudios products from DeeDee... and biggest frustration... not actually be able to do any crafting with it!!
  • Meeting Aaron Blazevich of Imperfect Impulses who I have followed on YouTube for a long time now as well as being a friend on FB etc etc. 
  • And getting spoilt by Aaron when he gifted me some of his stash of printed Deli Paper (also something we don't have in New Zealand). I so wasn't expecting this. I made a cheeky comment on one of his videos on YouTube about wanting some and I was so flattered that he remembered!
That's pretty much it so far. Not too bad for 840 odd miles, 4 States and 6 days. There are pictures... they will follow... just this hotel wifi is not the greatest and keeps crashing on me.

Be sure to check back for more updates and photos (eventually). You can also see updates on my Facebook account. Look me up if you're not already a friend there.

Catch up with you again soon... not sure where from!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

In eight weeks time...

Yes I know I have been absent, missing, neglectful even... I'm a terrible blogger, inconsistent, irregular... but hey life goes on and I'm not going to stress about it. (Once upon a time I would have been very distraught but now I'm more mellow... just ask my family).
I have been busy... not as busy as I would like actually doing crafting... a lot of spending on craft things but not a lot of actually using. I'm still working full-time and will hopefully soon full-time permanent which will mean no respite or additional time for crafting but it will mean more money for buying crafting type bits and pieces, and food and keeping a roof over our heads!!
I have also been very busy planning and actioning one of both my husband and my bucket lists items. Eight weeks tonight we will be finally winging our way to the US from little old New Zealand. It will be a combination holiday and business trip as I hope to visit some crafting shops as well as attend some classes... still working on finding what's available, when and where we are going to be.
We will be catching up with some online friends including some crafting friends of mine who I can't wait to meet. The first part of our trip is quite planned as we are driving from Los Angeles to Oklahoma and have to be there in time for a 50th birthday. After that we will be reverting to what we New Zealanders refer to as "Tiki Touring" our way to Newark where we will finally start our journey home. Just seeing where the road takes us, stopping where we feel like stopping and just enjoying a hopefully relaxing holiday (or vacation lol)... yes and squeezing in as much crafty goodness as I can get away with while trying to make sure my husband is not totally bored to tears.
Watch this space for updates before... during (hopefully)... and after our fabulous trip.
And if anyone has any suggestions for MUST VISIT places along the way (especially crafting or vintage type places) please let me know.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Doodling Un-Challenge - The Finale

It's now the first of February so my Doodling Un-Challenge for January has finished. Below are the last group of doodles for the month.
 Day 24 - Cobblestone
 Day 25 - String Theory
 Day 26 - Checkered Flag
 Day 27 - Pot Scrub
Day 28 - Retro 
 Day 29 - Palm Fronds
 Day 30 - Chicken Scratch
Day 31 - Layered Doileys

Yes I managed to get all 31 doodles drawn... one for each day of the month. Did I do them on exactly the right day... no. I started late so had some catching up to do and then I got sick towards the end of the month, so had to catch up a couple. (Luckily I had managed to get a couple ahead, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been).
Would I do it again? Probably yes, though not straight away. I am not now, nor have I ever really been a doodler, at least not much more than the odd cube when I'm talking on the telephone. Some days were really easy, some days were not and towards the end I did feel like I was struggling a little to come up with new ideas that still fit within my chosen constraints. Did I stick with the constraints - YES and I am really pleased with myself for that.
I really like some of my doodles and there are also a few that I really dislike... a couple so did not turn out as I envisaged in my head, but that is the nature of being creative. And that is why I've shared the good, the bad and the ugly. Even though I did maintain some relatively tight constraints I still found the process quite liberating and it was great to feel "creative" again especially as I'd been feeling like I'd lost my MOJO after being sick in December and my Epic Fail Christmas Craft Challenge, and then having a relapse towards the end of January.
My thanks go out to PoetSpice for the inspiration and Debbie who led me there in the first place. But now that my Doodling Un-Challenge has finished... how am I going to fill my lunch breaks?

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Doodling Un-Challenge... Just when you thought it was safe....

I've been busy during my lunch breaks... and after work for those pages I didn't get finished in my measly 30 minute lunch break... time to catch up the next bunch, so you don't think I'm a total slacker lol
Day 16 - Sixteen Candles 
Day 17 - Graphic Lines 
 Day 18 - The Hidden Message... (Yes there is a hidden message on this page lol)
Day 19 - My Little Doodle (that sounds wrong, but it's supposed to be a play on "My Little Pony") 
 Day 20 - The Heart of the Matter
 Day 21 - Key of the Door
Day 22 - Doodles on Acid
Day 23 - Ode to Dyan Reaveley

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Doodling Un-Challenge - The continuing saga...

Okay, so saga is probably a bit dramatic... but it sounds more interesting than continuing story... I know you have been hanging out to see what came next in the series so no more waiting...
Day 8 - Spider Web 
Day 9 - Snakes and Ladders 
 Day 10 - Patchwork
 Day 11 - Legs Eleven
 Day 12 - Muffin Time
 Day 13 - Another Brick in the Wall
 Day 14 - In Ancient Times
Day 15 - Concrete Jungle

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Christmas Craft Challenge - Last one until Christmas 2014

At long last (I hear you breathe a sigh of relief)... the last of my Christmas Craft Challenge. 
These are the totally awesome crafting books that I received from my darling hubbie and son for Christmas... that I totally bought online for them to give me.
I'm a little disappointed in this book as it's not really what I thought it would be. There are still some things for me to learn from it, but it's more project based than technique based and at this point in my crafting I want to learn techniques and new uses for products and media. I have none-the-less seen some things I think are quite cool and I look forward to trying.
These two books (above and below) were more what I was looking for. More techniques and uses for both products and tools as well as explanations about the process of art journaling. The bottom book includes spaces for you to try the techniques actually in the book so you end up creating your own reference book of techniques. As much as I love the idea, I'm not sure I can bring myself to do this... I was brought up to respect the sanctity of the written word. A book was never to be destroyed like this by writing in it let alone painting, so this will take a mind set change for me to use as it is intended.

These last two books are definitely what I was looking for. I am definitely a technique girl. I love altering things and adding colour and texture and interest. I love that I will be able to learn new techniques and apply them to art journals, mixed media projects, cards and layouts. I think these two books will most definitely be getting a good work out for a long time to come.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Christmas Craft Challenge - Second to last....

Just before Christmas Bltzy had their sale and I did a little spending... kind of a Christmas present for me or the studio. I really love my Tim Holtz Distress Inks from Ranger and have been waiting for some good prices to extend my range. I've also been needing (not wanting) to get some Distress Ink Refills. Some of my favourites were starting to look a little dry, so I've been looking around for a while, so when I saw them on Blitzy I jumped at the change to stock up on the ones I needed as well as some for as many of my Distress Inks as possible... including the new ones I was buying.
New Distress Ink colours...

Awesome Distress Ink refills - YAY!!! 
Updated my Distress Ink swatches so I can see what all the colours look like. The original post when I set up my swatches is HERE. If you don't have something like this, then I suggest you take the time to create it. It's a huge time saver, not to mention saves you buying colours that you already have!!!

And then I found some stamps...
I've always wanted some Tim Holtz stamps but they are just so expensive here in New Zealand and really hard to get. I found these Wendy Vecchi stamp sets for Stampers Anonymous and had already ordered these and then a week later Blitzy had their big sale and they had some Tim Holtz stamps from Stampers Anonymous so I bought some of these as well.
These first four sets are from Wendy Vecchi for Stampers Anonymous.

And these next ones are from the Tim Holtz range from Stampers Anonymous. Some of the stamps in the Classics series are from other designers.

I can't wait to use all my new purchases. Definitely some projects in the mix for some up-coming major events in the planning for this year! Will let you know what I think of them after I've done some testing.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Christmas Craft Challenge 10 of ?

Here are the tags I included in Tai's Secret Santa Mini album... but first I wanted to show you the relative sizes of the tags.
The largest tags are just slightly smaller than the size of the album. The smallest tags are the standard size 8 tag. Here are all the tags included in Tai's mini album.

Manila tag (home made). Tissue paper misted with Lindy's Stamp Gang Flat Fabio "Danny Zuko's Denim" mist, dried, then adhered onto tag. Edges of tissue torn. Tag edge colour with Faber Castell Gelatos blended with finger tip. Lindy's Stamp Gang Mist and liquid acrylic ink dripped down front of tag.
Manila tag (home made). Tissue paper misted with Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst "Freaky Franken Lime" mist, dried, then adhered onto tag. Edges of tissue torn. Tag edge colour with Faber Castell Gelatos blended with finger tip. Lindy's Stamp Gang Mist and liquid acrylic ink  in white and chartreuse dripped down front of tag.
Coloured using Inktense Blocks by Derwent then blended with water before heat setting.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, dripped Liquid Acrylic Inks, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, dripped Liquid Acrylic Inks, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Faber Castell Gelatos blended with a finger tip, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, dripped Liquid Acrylic Inks, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, dripped Liquid Acrylic Inks, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Faber Castell Gelatos blended with a finger tip, liquid acrylic inks dripped from top of tag.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, Archival Ink to stamp image.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, dripped Liquid Acrylic Inks, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks to colour tag, dripped Indian Ink, Archival Ink to stamp sentiment.
Faber Castell Gelatos blended with a finger tip, Lindy's Stamp Gang Moon Shadow Mist "Golden Doubloons" splattered over tag.