Monday, 30 April 2012

Review: Lets Make Cards Issue 50

Sooooo, this may actually get posted a little bit too late, as the new issue will be out on 4th May, but you can back order issues.
Lets Make Cards (LMC) is published by Aceville Publications.  It is published monthly, and costs £7.99 per issue.  It does claim that the kit you get with it is worth £14.99 each issue.  I could dispute this, but the kit is definitely worth more than £7.99, so its not a great issue to me, and I think it worth buying every month, just for the freebies.
For example, this issue’s kit included:
·         Card blanks and envelopes
·         Backing papers
·         A paper pricking template
·         Die cuts
·         Chipboards
·         Ribbons
·         Brads
·         Embellishments
·         Buttons
·         Sentiments      and
·         A glittery blue pen.
I struggle to remember what comes in each kit, as I’m a lot of a geek and have a bit of organisational OCD and love nothing more than sorting my kit so that it is absorbed into my craft stash.  In fact, I have no idea where I got most of my craft stash from.
For issue 50, the magazine has got a new look, and it would seem that the regular features will be (but don’t quote me on this): a feature on current trends and a letters page (naturally), which includes results from a monthly survey (via the magazine’s online forum), tweets and pictures from the magazine’s twitter followers and a ‘Top Blog’, which this month is daringcardmakers.blogspot.co.uk, but you never know, one day this blog might feature on it (fingers crossed).  The mag also has a feature on how to use your kit.  In this issue, it has 18 ideas, my favourite of which is, although small, ‘Must Be Love’. 
Other regular features are also an ‘Ask The Expert’s’ section, a feature by Corrine Bradd, a ’10 Minute Masterclass’ section and a variety of competitions, with prizes including a 132 piece craft stash, ribbons from www.berisfords-ribbons.co.uk, a Sarah Hurley Steampunk CD-Rom, some pretty craft knives and a Hot Fix tool.
In this issue, I’m liking The Crafter’s Guide to Felt, which has tips on not only how to use felt in your card designs, but how to make felt wool by hand.  I love the strawberry card in this feature and am tempted to have a go at making it myself.  I already have the red felt from making Lilly the Ladybird (please see previous post), I just need to go buy the green felt.
This issue of LMC also has a feature on vintage styling, showing you techniques such as iris folding, paper pricking and decoupage.  It then goes into a bigger feature of paper pricking, showing you how to use the paper pricking template that came with the kit.  My favourite card in this feature is ‘Dotty Leaves’.  I’ve yet to make any cards in this feature though, as I keep forgetting to get a mat, which can be just an old mouse mat, but as luck would (not) have it, I don’t have any of these lying around.  
There is also a feature encouraging you to doodle on your cards, always a hit with me, because I can’t actually draw, but I do love to doodle; my signature doodles being a box and a dog drawn using my thumb as a template.  Not the most original of doodles I know.  Anyway, I think my favourite card in this feature has to be ‘Patriotic Party, if only because it uses lace in its design – a favourite material of mine at the moment.
I love, and have tried out some of the techniques, in the ‘Paper Styling’ feature.  This shows you how to make pretty embellishments for you cards, simply from strips of paper.  I have tried the rose bouquets, but they were a bit of a disaster, and I need to practice.  My fringed flowers, however, were more of a success, and the results are below:


I’ve yet to try to make the origami butterflies and the rosettes from this feature.
The issue also has some ideas on how to use the blue glittery pen in the kit to create pretty cards, my favourite of which is ‘Bird Motif’, and a small feature on how to make boxes.
Each design feature tells you at the beginning what you will need to make the cards in that feature, and nearly every single one will use some bits and bobs from your kit.  It also tells you exactly where to get the items from that are not included in your kit, which saves shopping around and getting frustrated when you can’t fine them.  Altogether in this issue, I have counted 57 projects with full instructions, and there are further inspiration ideas.
Issue 50 also has a feature on the Best of British, which features some of our best British craft business: Josy Rose (www.josyrose.com); Words Like Honey (www.wordslikehoney.com); Crafter’s Companion (www.crafterscompanion.co.uk); The Manor House Hotel (www.activityhotelbreaks.co.uk); papermilldirect.co.uk; and The Craft Barn (www.thecraftbarn.com).
The magazine also has little How Tos, showing you how to cut an aperture, make pretty envelopes, get the best glittery cards, cut a circle (harder than you’d think), tie the perfect bow (which I’ve been trying to perfect, although there is a machine you can get to do this for you now) make origami wings and use a die cutting machine (I still need one of those).
This issue also launches the ‘Cardmaker of the Year’ competition, whereby you have to make a card using just the kit.  The winner will receive £1000 of craft goodies.  I’ve decided not to enter this year as I’m just not that confident yet, but I do intend to enter next year.  Looking at the 2011 winner though I may change my mind on this – it is scarily amazing.
The magazine also has little hints and tips dotted throughout, which can be quite useful and things you probably wouldn’t have thought of yourself.  My favourite this month is how to keep your craft scissors sharp and sticky-free, and its so simple – simply cut your scissors through some course sandpaper every now and again.  Something I had not and probably would not have considered myself, but now seems so obvious.
Unusually for me, I haven’t made any cards from this issue.  I’ve tried a couple of techniques from it.  I also don’t think I’ve used any of the kit.  I think this is due to being too busy rather than lack of inspiration from the magazine, as there are many cards I would like to attempt.  Maybe once I have a bit more time on my hands.  I definitely intend to make some origami butterflies and try out paper pricking.  I also love some of the backing papers that came with the kit, so will be using them in future projects.  I will, as always, keep you updated as to what I make and how.  In the meantime . . . .
Happy Crafting!
Holly xx

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Magazine Inspiration

Soooo, I get a lot of the inspiration from my projects from the crafting magazines I buy each month.  The main three are: Crafts Beautiful, Lets Make Cards and Cardmaking & Papercraft (C&P).  I have subscriptions to Crafts Beautiful and C&P, and I intend to subscribe to Lets Make Cards when they have a really good subscription offer!


 I buy the magazines both for inspiration and for the freebies that come with them.  They are all released on a monthly basis.


Lets Make Cards has a full card making kit with each issue, including card blanks, backing papers, motifs, die cuts, embellishments, ribbons etc.  Sometimes you also get stamps.


Crafts Beautiful and C&P have different freebies each month.  In the past I have had embellishments, backing papers, stamps and card blanks.


Many of the products I have made have been inspired by projects in my magazines, usually changing them slightly to make them my own.  They've included:
  • pin cushions
  • patchwork cushions
  • cards
  • baby blankets.

All the pictures on this post have been inspired by projects in the magazines.  I'm sure more will follow . . .

Happy Crafting!

Holly xx


Saturday, 28 April 2012

How To: Turn Padded Patches Into a Cot/Pram Blanket

Soooooooo, you will have noticed from my previous posts that I turned the patches fromy my last How To into a cot quilt for my friend.  In fact, I made two because she is having twins.



Here's how to turn your patches into a blanket.


The easy way:


You will need:


35 patches
coordinating cotton
sewing machine


1.  Lay your patches out in a pattern measuring 5 patches by 7 patches, deciding on your pattern.


2.  Using a zig zag or other decorative stitch on your sewing machine, sew the patches into rows of five.   This will give you seven rows.


3.  Using the same stitch, sew your rows together to make your blanket.

4.  Voila!  You now have your blanket.

 

If you don't have a sewing machine, or like mine it is broken.


The not so easy way:


You will need:


35 patches
coordinating cotton
needle
pins

1.  Lay your patches out in a pattern measuring 5 patches by 7 patches, deciding on your pattern.


2.  Start by sewing your rows of 5 together.  To do this, put two patches face to face and whipstitch along one edge.




3.  Take another patch and put that face to face with one of the patches you have just sewn together, to make a row one patch wide.  Repeat until you have five patches in a row.



4.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the rest of the patches to may seven rows of five patches. 

5.  Take two rows and place them face to face.  Again, use whipstitch to sew the rows together along the long edge.

6.  Add the remaining rows in the same way as step 3.

7.  Voila!  You now have your blanket.

To make larger blankets, just add more rows and make your rows longer. 

Happy Crafting.

Holly xx

Friday, 27 April 2012

Freeneedle Fantastic

Soooooo,  I just wanted to tell you all about a great site I have stumbled across - www.freeneedle.com.


It has free patterns and 'How To's for all sorts - from simple homeware to complicated fashion.  Most of these are links to other crafty blogs.


Admittedly, its not the easiest place to navigate, but it should certainly be one of your first ports of call if you are looking to find out how to do something or for a pattern you can't find elsewhere, or can't find without costing you anyway.


Take a look when you have some spare time . . .


Happy Crafting.


Holly  xx

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Review: Professional With Promarkers?

Sooooo, I thought I would try out my Promarkers today.  I got them free when I subscribed to Cardmaking and Papercraft (CP), but haven't had much opportunity to use them, as I've spent the last few weeks sewing.

Promarkers are supposed to be some of the best marker pens on the market and all the craft magazines recommend using them over their main competitors.  They are a Letraset product (http://www.letraset.com)/ and are alcohol based, permanent ink.  They are also blendable to get good shading effects. 



They are twin-tipped, with a broad chisel tip at one end and and a find bullet tip at the other end.  The only problem is they are not cheap - usually about £2.50 per pen.  According to the back of my packs, there are 148 different colours available, so it would certainly not be cheap to get the whole set.  Luckily for me CP have started me off quite nicely with 25 Promarkers, which arrived in 5 sets of 5 pens. 
 
The sets I have are Skin Tones, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.  It is a good starter set for those that haven't used them before, as each set of 5 contains coordinating colours that will look good together, and in the whole set of 25 are various shades of each colour to practice shading.  As a starter set, the only thing really missing is the blender pen, which really does make the shading look better, but I will probably go buy this myself. 

 My first attempt at using these was to colour in an embossed horse for my horse-mad auntie's 50th birthday next month.  I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out the shading idea. 

I coloured the horse using 'tan' from the Autumn set, and then shaded using 'cinnamon' from the skin tones set.  Shading was done on the middle of the horse's ears and on the backs of the legs.  I think that a blender pen would have helped with the shading on the legs, because at the moment, it does just look like a line of darker colouring, whereas a blender pen would have merged the two colours a bit.



The horse was embossed on card, and I think that this is the best medium to use these pens on, as having used them on thinner paper, I have found that the ink does run a little.  The thicker the paper/card though, the less the ink runs.  Also, embossing helps as this provides a physical border to stop the ink running any further.

Being more careful and getting used to how the ink runs does help when you need to colour on paper though.  This picture of a wedding couple was printed on normal printer paper, and then I coloured in with Promarkers, shading the hair on each character.  I also used a pinker skin tone pen to create a little blush on the bride's cheeks, and the ability of the ink to run a little gives a better effect than just two pinks spots would.



Overall, I like the Promarkers, and I want some more colours and a blender pen now. I like the fact that they can be blended and that they leave a smooth, even colour, without the lines you get with other marker pens.  I even like the packs that they come in as they stack together neatly so make them easy to store  Although the cost had initially put me off, trying them out has made me realise that they are worth the extra cost.

Now I just need to keep practicing my shading and decide what else to do with the horse for my auntie's birthday card . . .

Happy Crafting

Holly
xx

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Too Many Babies

Soooo, at the last count, I know of seven babies being born this year.  Is it a baby boom year or something?  Either way, I know I will be busy making new baby products for myself, let alone anyone else.  So, I thought I would share a few of the products I have already made:

This first one is the first new baby card I made:


The bear is a fabric die-cut bear I had in my craft stash.  I can't remember where I got it from, which is really annoying me, as between me and my nieces, I have used all the bears I had.  I wish I had a die-cutter of my own so I could make some more.  As it is, I will have to attempt to cut some out of some fabric.  The bear was just stuck onto a piece of white card, which in turn was matted to some blue paper.

The 'Its A Boy' ribbon I bought from Craftwise in Leeds.  It is sticky-backed ribbon, so was easy to stick onto the card without getting glue everywhere. 

The 'Congratulations' was a stamp that I embossed with blue embossing powder, and the balloons were balloon confetti, with the string drawn on with a blue glittery pen.

The next card was made with a pink version of the bear I used in the above card:


I glued the bear to a piece of white card, which I then matted to some pink card.  I then stuck lace around the edge of the pink card, attaching it to the back, and then attached the whole thing to a blank white card, adding a 'congratulations' under the bear.

To finish off, I attached some pink footprint ribbon to the bottom of the card.  This was again sticky-back from Craftwise.

Inspired by this card, I then made the following card for a friend:


As I'd run out of fabric bears, I had to use a card bear on this one and chose a silver one so that it would stand out against the pink glittery backing card I had chosen, and match the silver balloons I had chosen also.

Along the bottom I stuck some 'It's A Girl' sticky-backed ribbon.

My friend wanted this personalising with the baby's name, birth date, time and weight.  I bordered this with some pale pink ribbon and made a bow to finish off the card.

All of the cards above could be made in blue or pink, or even neutral.

The final card I have done so far is an idea I adapted from Cardmaking and Papercraft, and I intend to do a 'How To' on this card:



I really like this card.  I like the design and it is easy to reproduce in any colour scheme and with whatever papers you have to hand.  I did this one in neutral colours.

Finally, as I've already posted, I've made some cot/pram quilts for the twins when they arrive.  I've made these in neutral colours, but could make them in any colour scheme.




I'm now trying to think of designs for a card for my friend when she has the twins, as the cards I have done so far are just for one baby.  I've got a few ideas and will keep you posted . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly xx


Monday, 23 April 2012

Twin Trouble Finished (For Now)

Sooooo, after finally making 70 padded patches (please see my recent ‘How To’ post), I was ready to sew them together to make to cot/pram quilts for the twins, who are due in a couple of months.  I thought I had a bit more time and that I wouldn’t have to have them ready until the babies were actually due, but my friend has decided to have her baby shower next week, so I thought I had better get on with it.
Sewing he quilts together was actually easier and quicker than making the patches.  35 patches were needed for each quilt in a 5 x 7 patch design.  All I needed to do was decide on the pattern and then sew them together.
 

I sewed 7 rows of 5 patches, using whipstitch, with the patches face to face, so the stitching wouldn’t show on the front. It still looks quite neat on the back.  Then I sewed the 7 rows together in the same way.  I had hoped to sew them together using my sewing machine, but unfortunately it is broken, so I had to sew them by hand.  It has taken me two days on and off to finish the quilts, but that’s nothing compared to the three weeks it took me to make all the patches.  I blame the ironing involved with the patches.  Up until having to do these, my iron was just an ornament.  I’m sure it would have only taken me half an hour if my sewing machine had worked.  Still, at least that is them done, as is the trouble with a friend having twins over, until they learn to walk, talk and answer back that is.  Me and my sisters together are bad enough, I can't imagine how bad twins would be. 


Anyway, I like the finished products, as does everyone I have shown them to, including my mother, who is always my harshest critic (after myself of course).  I also enjoyed making them, and am waiting for the next baby (hopefully only one this time please) who might need one.  A warning to my sisters though, the two nieces I have are plenty enough thank you – only babies outside of the family from now on!
Happy crafting!
Holly

Dressy Designs

Sooooo, I spent today at my Grandma Witch’s learning how to make a dress.
First off, my Grandma isn’t really a witch, well not a bad one anyway.  It’s merely a rumour started when we were little (by my dad I think) and it has stuck.  She does play up to it though – she has a broomstick and a cauldron, and seems to get a spot on her nose every Halloween, that she tells the kids is her Halloween wart.
Anyway, in her previous life, before she was my Grandma, and before she was a nurse (which was her true calling – she’s certainly evil enough, in a good way), she was a seamstress.  This means that if we need anything making or altering, we take it to her.  She’s been looking for someone to take over from her, as I think after so many years doing all our alterations for us, she’s getting a bit fed up, although as she admitted today, she never thought her heir would be me!  She thought it would be one of my sisters as one is really domesticated and the other applied (and got in) to fashion college, before she decided to work for a bank and then go in the Army.
Soooooo, when I decided to get a bit crafty and that I was fed up of never being able to find clothes to fit me due to my total disproportionateness (yes I know its not a real word), I decided to go bug my Grandma to teach me how to make dresses. 
We spent a couple of hours a few weekends ago digging out all her old patterns, and found a few that I like.  Admittedly, there were some delightful patterns in there, but also some dresses that I really liked.  Then off I toddled to the market to get some pretty fabric to make my dress.  It is a dark ivory fabric with little green hearts on facing both up and down.


Today, I had a rare day off and decided I would spend it at my Grandma’s.  As my darling fiancé had taken the car to work, I jumped on the bus with my little sewing box and fabric under my arm, and took myself off to my Grandmas. 
After having the obligatory cup of coffee and being fed (I swear, we are like the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding – whenever anything happens, we feed everyone.  Not even a quick visit to any family member can pass without being fed at least once) we proceeded to choose the easiest pattern Grandma had in her little stash.  This was a simple 70s style dress, with a square neck and empire line bodice.  As Grandma pointed out, it would only need a few pieces of fabric cutting out, and therefore only a few sewing together.
She taught me how to line up the pattern on the fabric, with folds in the fabric in the right place.  She measured me to make sure it would be big enough and then we cut out the fabric.  We panicked a little, thinking we wouldn’t have enough fabric, despite the fact that I (mistakenly) thought that I had bought way too much.  Anyway, on measuring the length of the skirt in the pattern and then the length it would have to be on me, we found that we could shorten it by a good 5 inches, and that was the panic over.  We cut out the fabric, and then decided to have lunch.
After lunch, we pinned and tacked the dress together and I tried it on.  Alterations were needed to the arm holes and style of the sleeves.  Darts were also needed in the bust area.  Grandma quickly showed me how to make these alterations, and then showed me how to make interfaces.  Up until today, I didn’t have a clue what interfaces were, so I feel that I have learnt many knew things today.
We’ve left it at that for today, as it was getting a bit late, my Grandma was getting tired and my mother was coming to collect me to take me shopping for dresses for my sister’s passing out parade this week.  So, we have made a date for a week on Sunday to finish it off.  I’ll let you know how it goes . . . . .
Happy crafting!
Holly

Sunday, 22 April 2012

My First How To

Soooo, having my laptop working again, I've finally posted my first How To , which is a How To make padded patches for quilting.  I enjoyed writing this How To and taking pictures of the process.  I hope it is easy for you all to follow and make your own.

Hopefully, photos of my finished product from these patches will be available soon - I just have to finish sewing them all together, and with a broken sewing machine, doing them by hand is taking it's time. 

Suggestions for my next How To are always appreciated.  Check out my Facebook page, Fairy Elephants Craft Creations, to see my range of products.

In the meantime,

Happy Crafting.

Holly xx


How To: Make Padded Patches For Quilting

After having made 70 of these in the last couple of weeks or so, of course they seem easy to me.  I posted a picture of one on Facebook a few days ago and a friend commented that it look ed quite complicated.  However, I really do think that they are quite simple, but look good.  The idea is adapted from issue 237 of Crafts Beautiful (www.crafts-beautiful.com), and here's how to make them:

You will need:
2 different patterned/coloured fabrics (Gingham, spots or stripes always look good with a more detailed fabric.  My patches are for a baby cot/pram quilt, hence the patterns on the fabrics)
2oz/3oz wadding
Paper or card
Iron
Pins
Needle
Cotton (co-ordinating with fabric)
Fabric Scissors

1.  Cut a 15cm square from one of your fabrics and an 8cm square from the other.


2.  Cut a 9cm square template from a piece of card or paper.

3.  Place the paper template in the centre of the wrong side of the 15cm square piece of fabric.  Secure with a pin.


4.  Take one corner of the 15cm fabric and fold towards the centre.  The fold should touch the corner of the template.  Iron along the fold to create a crease.  You can use a normal iron, but I use a travel iron as I'm less likely to burn my fingers.  If you have a craft mini-iron, this would be perfect.



5.  Repeat for the other corners.



6.  Leave folded and take one of the original straight edges and fold towards the centre.  Again, the fold should be touching the paper template.  Iron the fold.



7.  Repeat for the other edges.



8.  The 9cm template should now be wrapped in the 15 cm fabric.

9.  Take the 8cm fabric square and fold in each edge 1/2 cm.  Iron the fold to create crisp creases/edge.



10.  Cut a 9cm square from the wadding.

11.  Remove the paper template from the 15cm fabric and replace it with the wadding square, wrapping the wadding in the same way the paper template had been wrapped.  Pin in place if you wish.

12.  Lay the square of 8cm fabric on the 15cm fabric so that it is central and covering the wadding that has been left showing.  Pin in place if you wish.



NOTE:  I was teaching my niece to make these and we found that it helped her to pin the edges of the 15cm fabric to the wadding also, before doing the next step.  This way everything remained pretty straight.

13.  Sew the small square to the large square.



NOTE:  I did this by hand using a running stitch, starting and finishing  between the two pieces of fabric to keep the ends of the cotton hidden.  You could use pretty much any stitch you wish, or even use a machine.

14.  Voila! You have now made your first padded patch.



Well done.

Make as many of these patches as you like and stitch them together to make quilts etc.

Happy Crafting.

Holly xx


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Review: Stampin' Up - The Actual Stamps

Sooooo, following on from my weekend rant, you might want to know how the stamps once I had got them fared . . .

The stamps were almost £20 for a set of 5, which consisted of the girls with the basket, a decorative easter egg, a blossom branch and two easter sentiments.  I'd ordered the ones that would need to be mounted on an acrylic block to use them (rather than pre-mounted on a wooden block), as they are a little bit cheaper.  These are known as 'clear mount' stamps.  All the previous clear mount stamps I had bought  were, for a start, clear, as the name would suggest, with a raised image, usually coloured black so you can tell which is which.  They are also usually very clingy, so they can stick easily to the acrylic block.  The Stampin' Up stamps were neither of these.

They arrived in, what is effectively, a DVD case.  They were part of a sheet of red rubber, from which the stamps had to be pushed out and then stickers attached to the back so you could tell which was which easier.  I hadn't expected so much self-assembly.  It took me about half an hour to sort out the stamps, as it was quite fiddly to get the stickers lined up on the stamps well.  They were smaller than I though, but this didn't bother be too much, as I'd been a bit concerned that they would be too big and not fit on my cards properly.



Once they were all assembled, I decided I would make a card using the girl stamp.  I'd also just got some embossing powders so thought I would give them a try with my design.

I selected a small shaped and patterned card and a sentiment stamp.  I attached the girl stamp to my acrylic block.  I found that it did not stick to the acrylic block as my other clear mount stamps do.  I think that this is because of the stickers on the back of the stamp, which other clear mount stamps don't have.  So, this problem could probably be resolved by not using the stickers on the stamps. 

Using clear ink, I stamped the image onto my card and then stamped the sentiment image in the same way.  I then sprinkled embossing powder over the images.  I discovered that the problem with using clear ink is that you can't tell until the embossing powder is applied if any mistakes or extra marks have been made, by which point it is too late.  But then again, it's difficult to remove coloured ink if mistakes have been made.  I found that as these stamps are quite spongy, and thereby squishy, the acrylic block had also touched the ink and card, leaving a couple of marks.  However, there was nothing I could do about this now.  I was still quite happy with the finished result, which was simply a matter of melting the embossing powder and then allowing it to cool.



Overall, I think thatStampin' Up stamps are quite expensive and not the best I have used.  I have been slightly put off by the aggressive selling techniques of the rep I bought the stamps off, and maybe this has clouded my judgement of the stamps also.  However, Stampin' Up do have some nice designs, so I think I will give them another try when I have a few more pennies, but definitely with a different, hopefully, nicer and more helpful rep.  I might even reconsider the workshop thing . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly xx

Monday, 16 April 2012

Review: The Hard Sell - How Not To Buy Stampin' Up Products (Part 2 - Booking a Workshop)

Soooo . . . . following on from my earlier rant, this is the concluding part of my Stampin' Up experience . . .

Sooo, I finally got my stamps a fortnight after I had actually ordered them.  In the meantime, I had worked at the pub (The Fox & Hounds in Cookridge) with my lovely manager, Bex.  I'd mentioned the workshops to Bex, who thought they could be a good idea, although we both knew we would have to have a further think about formats, costs etc.  I said I would ask the rep if she would be interested in helping us out. 

When the rep dropped off my stamps, I mentioned the workshops idea to her, explaining that we had no idea of format etc. yet as it was still a fairly new idea.  She seemed reluctant to give me an answer there and then, which I thought a bit weird as surely it is at workshops that the demonstrators make their money?  Anyway, she said she would get back to me.

A few days later, I received an email from her saying she would need some more information - how many people there would be, how long it would take and exactly what we wanted to make.  I replied, explaining (again!) that the idea was still very much in the early stages and we were hoping for some guidance from her (her being the professional in this area).  Anyway, I finally got a reply a few days later, saying that she would need to charge £5 per person and need numbers beforehand. 

Needless, to say, I thought that was quite expensive, especially as the plan had been to donate our proceeds to charity, which I had explained to her in the beginning, and I think I would struggle to charge £5, let alone more in order to make some money for our charity (yet to be decided).  So, we've now decided to go it alone and I will be running the workshop myself, and its back to the drawing board for some ideas . . . It may not end up being quite as professional as it could be, as I've not run a workshop before, but I will learn as I go along, and hopefully we will make more money for which ever charity we choose to support,

Soooo, I'm unsure about my Stampin' Up experience.  I still have a catalogue and do like the look of some of their products.  They have some snowflake stamps that would be AMAZING for my wedding invitations.  I think I'll reserve judgement for the time being and maybe try a different rope, hoping they aren't as pushy as the one I've met so far.

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Review: The Hard Sell - How Not To Buy Stampin' Up Products - Part 1

Apologies in advance that this has the potential to turn into a rant . . . .

Sooooooo, a few weeks ago I saw a project in Crafts Beautiful (http://www.crafts-beautiful.com/) that I really liked and though I would have a go at.  It used a really lovely stamp of a silhouette of a girl carrying a basket of eggs.  The stamp was sold by Stampin' Up, so I thought I would have a look on their website and see if I could order one.  I'd also seen a few adverts for Stampin' Up parties, which I thought I could be interested in.

So, when that rare event of having an evening with nothing to do came along, I googled 'Stampin' Up' and up popped their website. I was a bit disappointed to find that you couldn't order through the website, or browse the products, but had to go through a Stampin' Up rep.  So, I filled in my details to get a call/email back from a representative, but I had to choose which one!  The site gave me a list of all the reps near me and I had to select, which one I would like to call me back.  I'd never come across something like this before, so I found it a little strange.  Anyway, I selected the nearest one and waited for my call or email.


 
It wasn't until the next week that I finally received an email from the rep.  To be honest, all I really wanted to do was order the stamp and find out a bit more about the Stampin' Up parties, which I explained in my reply email.  I'd expected a reply along the lines of 'I'll get that ordered for you and here's some info on the parties'.  Nope!

The rep requesting to meet up with me one lunchtime, which again I thought strange, but went along with it anyway as I thought maybe she would have the stamp with her and I could get it there and then.  Nope!

I feel that the rep basically wanted to meet me so she could implement the 'hard sell' easier.  She had clearly facebooked me and knew that I was engaged (MUST check my privacy settings there) as she's brought along some wedding stamps with her as 'she knew I was getting married soon' and thought I might me interested in them for my invitations.  At least I managed to fob her off on that one that my invitations were sorted (they're not, but she didn't need to know that).  What she had not brought with her was the stamp that I wanted.  I explained again which I wanted and she gave me a catalogue to look through so I could email her my order later.  It turned out I could only get the stamp as part of a set, which was £20 and the rep told me that it had to be ordered as soon as possible as it was being discontinued.  I said I would think about it and let her know as I wasn't particularly bothered about the other stamps in the set and £20 is a bit steep for one stamp really.


I was then going to leave it at that, but thought I would quickly ask about holding a workshop, as I have a few crafty friends who might be interested in something like that and my manager at the pub (my Saturday job) and I had already discussed the idea of holding a craft workshop.  Needless to say, I didn't get the information I wanted, but instead the rep once again went into the hardsell.  This time, trying to get me to become a demonstrator.  My reluctance clearly didn't show enough, despite me telling her that I simply do not have the time (already working two jobs and trying to plan a wedding), that I had dome something similar previously, and didn't particularly enjoy it and knew how hard it was to make decent money from it, and also that I just did not have the capital required (£200) to pay for the starter kit, as all my spare money was going towards the wedding.  In the end, I took the info on it, just so I could get back to work on time, still none the wiser about holding the workshop.

Anyway, I left with a product catalogue (which I had originally been hoping to find on the website) and info on becoming a demonstrator.  On looking through the catalogue, there are some really nice stamp designs, but they are certainly not cheap.  I decided that I still wanted the one I had originally seen, as I'd not seen anything else like it, and I would be able to find a use for the other stamps.  So, I emailed the rep requesting to order these.  This was on the Monday, and I hoped that I would have the stamp by the weekend so I could get crafting on my Sunday off.  The rep acknowledged my order and said she would get it ordered.  I got another email on the Thursday to say that she had ordered it but it would take a few days to arrive as they came from Germany.  I was a little disappointed at this, but figured that there wasn't much I could do about it.  I finally got the stamps the following Friday - two weeks after I'd ordered them, and about a month since I went on the Stampin' Up website to order them.

To be continued . . . .

Happy Crafting!

Holly
xx




I'm Back . . .

Sooo . . .  my dance show is over, and I didn't fall off the stage, break anything or make too much of a fool of myself, so I'm considering that a result.  Pictures will not be available.  Ever!

Congratulations to all at Starlight (http://www.starlightacademy.co.uk/) for putting on a great show, and thank you to Miss Mel, Miss Christine, and my teacher, Miss Sandy, for all your hardwork.  Preparations start for the next show now, which I'm looking forward to.  As nervous as we all get about the shows, we are always disappointed when it ends and just want to carry on. 

Anyway, whilst I was waiting backstage for my turn, I wrote a few posts, which I will put up on here over the next couple of days, so please keep checking back.

I also got on with making my patches for the quilted cot blankets I am making for the twins.  I'm now half way though, so I will be posting on that soon.  I've also written a 'How To' to make the patches, which I will also post soon (I need to type this one up first).

The first post will be up later today, so check back please.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx
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