Tuesday, 25 September 2012

October's (Spooky) "Cards ...and More!" Classes

Hello! I can't believe, as I sit here typing this in the glorious sunshine that has followed the heaviest downpour I've experienced in ages, that Hallowe'en is just over a month away! But Autumn is well and truly here, as the bluster of the wind round my garden confirms, and so pretty soon we'll be looking forward to bobbing apples and hiding from the trick-or-treaters in our living rooms with the lights switched out (or is that just me?)!

I'm not normally much of a Hallowe'en-y tpe of person, but when I opened our new Autumn / Winter catalogue I fell head over heels in love with these little characters:

Who could resist them? And so, at my October "Cards ...and More!" classes, we'll be making some spookilicious gifts for the little monsters in your life - or maybe you won't be able to resist keeping them for yourselves! I'll even throw in some sweet treats, to make things even more yummy...

Still deciding? Here are some sneak peeks to whet your appetite. More on their way soon.

Full details, including details of this month's exclusive discounted Class Bundles, can be found by clicking here, and then you can book your place quickly and securely by clicking on the PayPal links in the sidebar. (You don't need a PayPal account in order to pay this way!)

I hope you can make it - and don't forget, you can book at any time up to the day before the class, but if you want one of the Class Bundles, you will get free shipping if you book and order before 30th September (after that, shipping will cost you £2.50 and I can't be sure it will arrive in time for the class).

Back soon. Thanks for dropping in!

Monday, 24 September 2012

A HUGE Thank You, from my Big Shot and Me!!!

Hello! Oh wow - I can't begin to tell you how exciting the last few days have been!

Several  months ago, I set myself a goal of securing an invitation to a special Reception that will be taking place at the beginning of this year's Stampin' Up! Convention in Mainz. In order to go to this reception, you have to be at a certain level in your Stampin' Up! business, in terms of sales and also the number of people in your team of demonstrators. At the time I decided to go for it, I was WAY off, and it really seemed like a pipe dream but hey, I don't like being left out of anything so I REALLY wanted to go. So, I set about splitting up the things I needed to do into baby steps, in the hope that it would feel more doable that way.

Guess what! On Friday evening, and with two weeks to spare until the time deadline, I achieved my goal!!! I promoted to Silver 2 with Stampin' Up! and am now elegible to go to the Reception I'd set my heart on all those months ago.

I didn't do it on my own - oh most certainly not! I have the most incredible, loyal customers, and without their help and support, the mentoring and support of Bekka, my upline, and the hard work of my amazing team of demonstrators, I would not be where I am now. So I wanted to take this opportunity to say an enormous thank you to everyone involved with my Stampin' Up! business - I am so proud and privileged to know each and every one of you! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

And the picture at the top of this post? Well, it's of the Stampin' Up! Big Shot "Doctor's Bag", and my upline Bekka presented me with it on Saturday as a reward for my promotion. I was almost in tears.... tears of pride and gratitude for being part of this amazing team of people, as well as more than a little overwhelm at the enormity of it all.

So, I get to party at Mainz, and my Big Shot now has a lovely new home too. Here it is, all sunggled up:

This Stampin' Up! life just gets better and better!!!!

Back soon...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Create Your Own Christmas - September Projects

Hello! Yesterday I shared some sneak peeks of the projects from my Create Your Own Christmas class. Now that the class has happened, I can show you the projects themselves - we had such fun making them. I'd designed three cards for this one, in three different styles, but all of them lent themselves to "production line" creativity - just what you need when you have a large number of cards to put together. Here are the projects, all grouped together:

And here they are individually. If you want a closer look, you should be able to zoom in by clicking on the pictures.

I'm sad to say that we will be saying goodbye at the end of this month, to some of the stamp sets we were using in this class. Days are numbered for: Winter Post (the skaters are in this set) and Season of Joy (this one has the "Merry Christmas" sentiment and the sketchy snowflake used in the bottom of the three cards). It's always sad to see much-loved sets retire, but don't you just LOVE the new "Scentsational Season" stamp set, with the cheery gingerbread man, candy cane, tree and star?! The ladies didn't even have to cut the gingerbread man out - this whole set co-ordinates with a fabulous set of Framelits dies, so you just need to stamp the image then run it through the Big Shot - so clever!

Oh - the other sentiments, by the way, are from one of the new sets in our fabulous Autumn / Winter Seasonal Catalogue, called "Greetings of the Season". I can see me using this one A LOT...

Love this gingerbread man!

I spent this afternoon with one of the newest members of my team, chatting and stamping away, going through some stamping basics. Becky joined my team because she saw the amazing potential in the Stampin' Up! business model. She recognised that even though she wasn't (yet) a crafter, she could learn everything she needed to know about that side of things, and that so long as the business premise was solid, the time spent learning was time well invested. I was so excited to meet someone with this kind of viewpoint - after all, everything we do in life, we have to learn at some point or other.

One of the things I love most about doing what I do is introducing the fun of stamping to someone new. It is so satisfying, seeing that smile on people's faces and knowing that a spark has just been ignited, that this is the start of something that is going to bring them so much pleasure. I saw that smile again with Becky this afternoon, and I know that her Stampin' Up! business is going to be a really fulfilling and rewarding adventure for her. Great to have you on board Becky - welcome to the team!

I've just realised that I didn't take pictures of the welcome pack of goodies I'd put together for Becky - doh! If you click here, though, you'll be able to see the kind of thing I give to new members of my team, to give them a good start to their Stampin' Up! journey. It is such a privilege to be able to work with these lovely ladies (all ladies so far.... need some gents to join my team!), and I love being able to make them feel welcome by giving them a little handmade gift.

If you'd like to find out more about what's involved in being a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, like me, then click here to be taken to a page with lots more information. Or, why not email me or call me for a chat or to arrange a get-together? I'd be happy to answer any of your questions, and it'd be great to talk to you.

Hope you like the projects! Back soon...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Christmas Sneak Peeks.... And a Filofax Update!

Hello! One of my lovely customers (hello Jane!) told me yesterday that she'd been looking out for the sneak peeks of the projects we're going to be making at this evening's "Create Your Own Christmas" class, but hadn't been able to find them. There's a very good reason for that - I hadn't put them up yet (Oops!). So, I thought, better late than never - I hope -  so here they are:

We'll be making twelve cards this evening, four each of three designs, and each design is very different from the other two, so you end up with a variety of styles of card. Next month, we'll be moving on to making some gift items, so you can make a head start on those handmade gifts you always mean to make but never get round to. I promise I'll pop some sneak peeks of those projects on here somewhat earlier (I'm in the process of putting together a blog planner in my new Filofax, hee hee...) so you can have a peep at what we're going to be doing.

Talking of my Filofax, I've had a few comments about my post the other day, so I thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on with it. It's still early days in terms of getting it all set up, but so far I do seem to be getting more organised and efficient. I actually wrote down a list this morning, when I stopped for my first rest of the day (I have to have several, in order not to crash and burn...), of what I'd done today up to that point. I was so pleased with myself I rang Alan to tell him! By ten o'clock this morning, I'd showered, got dressed, had breakfast, put on make-up and some perfume (the make-up and perfume every day thing is a bit of an experiment. It seems to make me more productive for some reason - maybe because I feel a bit more like I'm going "out to work"), fed Rosie, cleaned her litter tray, given her her medication (with Alan's help!), cleaned the downstairs loo and basin, sorted out and done a load of washing, vacuumed the top floor, the middle floor landing, the downstairs hall and cloakroom, and the living room, emptied and re-loaded the dishwasher, cleaned the cooker hood and kitchen tiles and even made the batch of yogurt I've been trying to get round to doing for weeks!

Now, I wrote down absolutely everything, because I have a tendency to be hard on myself and not give myself credit for things that aren't specified on my "to do" list, and some of these things took next to no time. The thing is, though, normally, I potter around aimlessly for a lot more of the day than I dare admit, and the reason I got so much done today (and I did a similar amount yesterday morning too, though the idea of writing down a "done" list didn't occur to me until today) is because I had written down in my lovely new Filofax a break-down of my day, timetabling in my rests, and blocking out "lumps" of time to do certain things. Before nine o'clock is my getting me ready and looking after Rosie time, and then from nine to ten is housework, and I decide the night before what my priorities are going to be in that time. I found that jobs I dread, and which seem in my head to be enormous, actually don't take that long, if I focus on doing them, rather than on worrying about getting them done.

I know I could have done all of this before, but somehow, having a dedicated "book" aimed at organising my life, which is pretty and lovely to hold, and makes me smile, means that I have motivation to make the lists which before got written on scraps of paper and left around the house. All well and good, but untidy and a little depressing. I'm not the tidiest person in the world (ask my husband!), but I do LIKE tidiness. It is sort of my holy grail, and having this beautiful book has taken me a step closer to achieving it.  Does that make sense?

Right. I hope you liked the sneak peeks - I'm looking forward to this evening's class. Must write down that I need to go and pick up some more yummy snacky things to take with me....

Back soon!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Woohoo - Look What I've Got!!!!

Hello! Okay, advance warning that this is a totally non-crafty post, but I make no apology for that - I'm so excited and wanted to share with you! Proving yet again that I have the BEST husband in the world, Alan bought me THIS on Saturday:

Isn't it beautiful!!? I am now the proud owner of a luscious, raspberry-coloured A5 Finsbury Filofax, and I'm so excited to be able to take this step towards getting myself much better organised. Here is an inside view:

Not much to see yet, 'cause I've not been able to spend a lot of time "moving in" so far, but hopefully you can get a really good impression of just how much space this gem has to offer. And the colour is just WOW!

Now, I've had Filofaxes - on and off - for about twenty years, and in that time I've got used to eliciting one of two reactions. People seem either to be REALLY enthusiastic, or REALLY sceptical (I had one comment yesterday of, "ohh, how very EIGHTIES of you!"). So....why do I continue to use such an "outdated" paper system?

Let me explain. I have an amazing smartphone, and I will continue to use that, but for some things you really can't beat good, old-fashioned Writing Things Down. You can't flip through a smartphone easily, if you need to check back and forth between different pieces of information. You can with a paper system - they positively encourage you to flip through their pages. Also, efficient though my smartphone may be for some things (note: I said "some"), it isn't very.... erm.... inspiring. Whereas, my Filofax makes me smile just to look at it. My Filofax never demands updates to its firmware, and it is accessible whether or not there is a decent phone or wi-fi signal available. And it never crashes, duplicates information randomly or needs its battery recharging. I can work with it late into the evening without it ruining my chances of getting off to sleep and, when I need to think about what I'm going to write next, I don't have to swipe my finger across its screen so that I can see what I wrote a few minutes before.

I'm looking forward to tweaking the system until I have something in place that works perfectly for me. I'll be adding customised dividers (lots of pretty Designer Series Paper called for there, methinks!) to make it feel less "office-y", so I shall smile to look at the inside as well as the outside. I shall add not only useful pieces of information (though of course they'll go in too), but things that make me feel good: quotations that inspire me or raise my spirits, pictures that I associate happy times with, suggestions for music I want to listen to, or books I want to read. I shall use it for planning my classes, taking notes, jotting ideas down, reminding me of those things I never remember unless they're written down... the possibilities are endless!

And my smartphone? Well, I shall continue to use this as my contact database, my instant "find anything out when I'm out and about" connection to the internet, and I shall have my master diary on it too, synced with Outlook and Google Calendar. It has its uses, and it is seriously good (most of the time!) at the things I need it for, but I've decided that I'm giving up the attempt to be mostly paperless. For me, I'll always be a pen and paper kind of a girl...

Back with more crafty-ness tomorrow. Thanks for dropping in!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Have You Tried Pennikkity Pots?

Hello! Wow - what a day I had yesterday, running my "Cards ...and More!" class. Huge thank yous to all the lovely ladies who came along, I had such a wonderful afternoon!!

I was going to post photos of the projects today, but because I had to postpone last Saturday's class there are still some people who haven't made theirs yet so I don't want to spoil the surprise for them. So I'm taking the opportunity to slot in an extra post - and I'm delighted to be able to do so.

I want to tell you about Pennikkity Pots. This is the fabulous Ceramics Cafe in the centre of Ipswich, where I hold my classes once a month. It's run by the lovely Penny and Nikki, who have always made me, and the ladies who come to my classes, very welcome, so I thought it was about time I wrote a little about them on here - my way of giving something back, as it were...

Pennikkity Pots was my favourite haunt long before I started running my classes there, as the atmosphere is really lovely, much more relaxed than some other coffee shops I could name. And the cakes are just amazing!!!!! I love, too, the fact that everyone who works there is so friendly (big "Hello!" to Ally at this point...), willing to chat if you want to chat, but happy to let you sit quietly if that's what you want. There's something so wonderful about a little oasis in the middle of a busy day, and that's what Pennikkity Pots has been for me on so many occasions.

As a Ceramics Cafe, obviously you can go and paint, and there is a huge range of beautiful objects that you can customise. Children love it, but it's also perfect if you want that unique wedding gift, or something for that special birthday. They cater for parties and, if you can't get in to them, Pennikkity Pots will come out to you! You can find their website by clicking here, and I really would urge you to pop in and say hello, and try out for yourself all they have to offer.

I'm off to a wedding with Alan today (congratulations to Emma and Brian!) so I'll be back tomorrow with more for you. See you soon!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

They're Selling Out Fast!

Hello! Most people, when they're told that something is limited stock, rush out to make sure they get theirs before everyone else beats them to it. Stampin' Up! afficionados are obviously no different - the items on the Retiring Lists are going fast!

Click here to see a list of all the stamp sets that are retiring at the end of September, and click here to see a list of all the accessories that will be going then. If there's an "X" in the "Availability" column, that means that item has sold out already (sorry!!). Don't let that happen to the things you want - once they're gone, they're gone, and there is no guarantee that we have enough stock to last until the end of September.

If there are items on the Retiring Lists that you want, click here to email your order to me. There is a link to a .pdf version of the Order Form in the sidebar that you can download, fill in and email to me if you'd like to - that makes things a little easier (and therefore quicker) for me, but a simple email is fine. Do make sure you include your payment details as well as your name and address, plus a contact number where I can get hold of you, in case I need to check anything with you or need any more information.

Don't keep putting it off... I'd hate you to be disappointed!


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sneak Peeks - Cards ...and More!

Hello! At long last I'm able to put up sneak peek photos of the projects we're making at this month's "Cards ...and More!" classes. Those of you booked onto last Saturday's class know I had to postpone it 'cause I wasn't well, but there is still a bit of time to book onto this Thursday's class, which will be going ahead at the normal time.

So, better late than never, and here are those sneak peeks I promised you:

I don't have many places left, so if you want to book, you'll need to be quick! See you on Thursday...

Thanks for dropping in.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Crafting For The Non-Crafter - Showcase Those Family Photos!

Hello! Soooo sorry to go quiet on you - turns out that what I thought was a migraine last Monday was actually some kind of virus, and I spent most of last week either in bed or sitting on the sofa like a limp lettuce leaf. I'm sure Alan must have been fed up with me - I was certainly getting fed up with myself! Don't like being that kind of ill where you don't feel toooo bad until you start to do things, then it washes over you like waves. Yucky.

Anyway. Let's try again with my focus on the fabby new Autumn Winter Catalogue. I said I'd show you something that will even get the non-crafters among you (or your friends) going down the handmade route this year. Just have a look at this:

Love it!!! Can you imagine anything better for all those family newsletter-type Christmas cards, where you send an up-to-date photo of all your family together? I get several of these each year, from friends who, sadly, live too far away to see regularly, and I think these cards would make a brilliant way to showcase those photos, don't you?

You can just see that the envelopes are prettily scalloped, and you even get the ribbon, and the paper to line the envelopes with - beautiful!

If you fancy doing a little more than just popping a photo into the card, there is a co-ordinating stamp available (you can see it here)

or you can you can of course stamp or otherwise embellish it in any other way that takes your fancy.

I'm loving that Stampin' Up! are broadening their appeal to those who wouldn't necessarily think of themselves as "crafters". After all, as anyone who knows me will know, I passionately believe that there is creativity in all of us - you don't have to be super-talented to craft in one way or another. I certainly don't lay claim to be the biggest crafting talent out there, but I do LOVE what I do!

If you fancy sending out your Christmas family photos in these gorgeous cards, then get in touch with me. You can find out how to order by clicking here (you'll even find an order form there that you can download, fill in and send to me), or email me and I can send you more details.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sweet Pressed... And An Announcement for My International Readers!

Hello! This is such an exciting time to be involved with Stampin' Up! - I can hardly keep up with everything that's going on! Read on to find out what's been announced today.....

First of all, I want to share another instalment in my tour of the things that I love about the new Autumn / Winter catalogue. Today I want to show you that, even if you aren't a papercrafter, we have things on offer that will really excite you.

How about this, for the bakers among you - or those of you who have children who love to help you bake? These are our Sweet Pressed Cookie Stamps, a fantastic way of producing beautifully decorated cakes and biscuits in an instant. Just press the stamp into the dough, or into the top of the cake after cooking, and hey presto! you'll have a gorgeously patterned biscuit or cake.

Come back tomorrow to see something from our new Autumn Winter Catalogue that I think is perfect for the non-crafters among you, or for your non-crafty friends. I wanted to show you today, but I think it's time now to let you in on the amazing news that was released today....

New Stampin' Up! Markets Opening!
This morning, we've been informed that Stampin' Up! will be opening for business in Austria and The Netherlands on 8th October 2012 - amazing news for all the super-talented crafters over there, who've been waiting so patiently to be able to get their hands on our wonderful products.

It seems to me that, every day when I switch on the news, there is doom and gloom about the economic situation. How wonderful, then, to be involved with a company that is defying all the odds, and growing and expanding even in these difficult times! I know I bang on about how incredible Stampin' Up! is, but doesn't this just underline what an amazing company I work with?

There is even more good news. Not only is Stampin' Up! opening up in new countries on the 8th October,  but on the same date, the barriers are coming down between the five countries in Europe that Stampin' Up! will then operate in. In practical terms, this means that customers in France, Germany, Austria and The Netherlands - as well as the UK - will be able to buy Stampin' Up! products from me direct - and they'll be able to join Team Sunshine, my team of Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrators, as well. I'm so excited about this, as I have lived in France and have friends over there, and I know there are people in all five of those markets who visit this blog. If you are in any of these countries (or if you have friends in any of them) then please get in touch with me or pass on this amazing news to anyone who might be interested in it.

If you'd be interested in joining my team, click here for more information. Remember, if you're in France, Germany, Austria or The Netherlands, you have a few more weeks to wait before you can come on board, but it's not too early to start finding out more. Email me to let me know you're interested - I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Clearing Some Space....

Hello! Apologies for the lack of post yesterday; I spent most of the day in bed with a migraine, and was really in no fit state to be out in public! Normal (?) service is resumed today though, apart from a slightly delicate stomach, so I've been playing catch-up all morning.

On Saturday, I introduced you to the brand new Autumn Winter catalogue, and I already know from the feedback I've had, how excited you all are to see what's inside it. At the start of October, we'll be welcoming in yet another new catalogue: the 2012 - 2013 Annual Catalogue. I got my preview copy on Saturday at Stampin' Up! Leadership Training Seminar and - oh my goodness - I am almost bursting with excitement about what we have in store for you! More about that in a while, though. I'm going to let spend some time with the Autumn Winter catalogue first before I bring in even more new stuff for you to think about.

The flip side to all these new and exciting products is: we have to find somewhere to put them! So Stampin' Up! has announced this year's Retiring Products Lists, to clear the shelves at our warehouse. Many items are reduced, some of them by as much as 40%, so there are some real bargains to be had, but you need to be quick...

There are two Retiring Lists; the names tell you the type of things you'll find on them. Here are the links:

Everything on these two lists is available only until 30th September, or until stocks last, whichever is the earlier. This means that if there is something you want, don't wait around thinking you have time to order it - because there is always the possibility that it may run out and disappear before the end of the month. If you want it, you need to order it NOW!

I'm looking into putting a link to a pdf version of the order form in the sidebar so you can fill that out then email it to me. If there isn't a link yet, bear with me. If there is, try it and let me know how you get on. Or, of course, you can just email your orders to me, but please let me have your full name, address, home telephone number and credit or debit card details. More information about how to order can be found by clicking here.

The Retiring List is so exciting, I thought you'd forgive me for making you wait another day for my next special feature on the new Autumn Winter catalogue. I haven't forgotten, but I don't want to exhaust you..

Hope it's as sunny where you are as it is here, I'm loving this unexpected bit of late summer!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Tour, Part One: Bundles of Fun!

Hello! Well, are you as excited as I am about the new Autumn / Winter Catalogue? If you clicked on the link in my post yesterday I'm betting you've been dancing round the room in crafting heaven ever since. Isn't it amazing?

I'm dancing about too, I had THE MOST AMAZING DAY at Leadership Training yesterday. I'll tell you more about it soon, but for now let me just show you the swaps I took... I did have a photo of them all together, but it was AWFUL, so here's a far better one of just a single swap:

This stamp set is soooo much fun to use, and I have fallen head over heels in love with the Woodgrain Embossing Folder - expect to see that A LOT over the next few months.

I said I'd give you a tour of some of the things I love most about the new Seasonal Catalogue, and today I want to tell you about a brand new concept that Stampin' Up! have introduced in it: Product Bundles! Now those of you who have been to any of my "Cards ...and More!" classes know all about my Class Bundles, where you order a specially selected group of products and get a price discount.  Well, now Stampin' Up! have brought in an amazing series of product bundles - co-ordinated products that you get at a brilliant discount when you order them together.

There are seven Bundles in the catalogue and, so you can find them easily, they're all listed insde the front cover. There is everything from stamp-and-die-cutting bundles, to quick-and-easy-card sets, even including a brilliant Christmas present choice in the new Everyday Happenings Calendar Bundle. My current favourite is the "Ghoulish Googlies" Bundle (one of the stamps might be familiar from my swaps..):

If you buy the Stamp Set and the Designer Kit together, you will save a whopping 15% on the individual prices  - now that's GOT to be a good thing, right? You can't see terribly clearly from the picture, but the kit contains a whole sheet of googly eyes - they look incredible used with the specially designed stamps. Perfect for Hallowe'en!!

Back tomorrow for another close-up look at one of the things I love in this gorgeous new catalogue. What are your favourite things in it?

Thanks for dropping in...

Saturday, 1 September 2012

And Say Hello To........

Hello! It's here!!!! Stampin' Up!'s first ever Autumn / Winter Seasonal Catalogue!!!!! And look - isn't it BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

As I'm pre-scheduling this post, and depending on how late I manage to stay up this evening, there may or may not be a link yet to the online catalogue in the sidebar. Don't worry - you can still have a proper look through it - just click on the link below and you'll be able to browse to your heart's content.

I don't know where to begin with telling you about the things that excite me in this new Catalogue, there are so many... Over the next few days I'll be taking you on a whistle-stop tour of the things I love about it, so do pop back to make sure you don't miss out on anything.

So how to start this litte guided tour? Hmm...let me kick off by saying that the first thing you'll notice when you get your hands on this beauty is its size - it's no longer a "mini" catalogue. The format is the same as our current Idea Book and Catalogue, so they'll sit beautifully together on your coffee table. And, of course, this means that there is even more room to cram loads of amazing new products into its pages, which can only mean one thing: lots and lots and lots more crafting potential!

Pop back tomorrow and I'll begin guiding you through the new Autumn Winter Catalogue, and I'm going to start with a completely new concept that Stampin' Up! have introduced, which will give you even more crafting enjoyment for your money. I can't wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, grab a coffee, click on the link, and lose yourself in this amazing new catalogue. You'll probably still be reading by the time I'm back tomorrow - I know I couldn't put my preview copy down for days!