Guest Post Friday – The Wonderful Becky James!

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Today I am so pleased to share with you a guest post from the wonderful Becky James.  I met Becky briefly a few months ago and since then have had numerous chats about various things mostly craft related!  Becky is an amazing crafter and her beautiful projects can be found in Creativity magazine and on the Do Crafts website.

Over the past few months I have got to know Becky well and not only does she have a wealth of craft knowledge she is one of the nicest people you are likely to meet.  I feel very lucky that she has become a great friend and look forward to seeing a lot more of her this year. 

Emma Collins & Becky JamesI would like to say a big thank you to Becky for taking the time to do this post.  Now grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy this rather fabulous read!!

Describe your job

Ooooo now then where do I start?  There are two aspects to my job really…

Two days a week I work at Docrafts head office designing projects for Creativity! Magazine, the website, flyers, shows… wherever a project is needed I could end up involved.  I work with a fabulous team there and it really is great fun… After all how much more exciting can it get than when someone hands you a pile of yet to be launched products and asks you to create designs that will show our lovely crafters exactly what they can achieve with them????  It really doesn’t get much better…

Then most weekends I can be found around the Southampton area and sometimes a little further afield demonstrating our products to wonderful crafters.  I love this aspect of my job – getting out, meeting people who love what I love and most importantly inspiring them with new ways to use the fabulous papers, stamps and other goodies Docrafts make… And I get to chat as well…. Very important that! It saves Mr J’s ear drums from bursting!

What is your earliest crafting memory?

I crafted all my childhood really with my mom and my nan. But the earliest thing I can remember is learning to embroider with my nan on a really lovely linen oxford pillowcase… my nan had had them many years and they were wrapped up in tissue paper. We went to choose an iron on transfer pattern to stitch and we both loved daisies so we chose some of those for the corners of each pillowcase…

I remember nan showing me all the stitches to decorate them… only simple things a little child could manage as I was about five or six.

I still have the pillowcases wrapped in the same tissue and I found nan’s old Anchor embroidery stitch booklet not long ago… it cost “1d” and is so old fashioned but brought lovely memories flooding back…I also have her needlecase and all her needles. I didn’t have my nan for very long so those are treasured possessions now.

Becky James Photo #1What do you like more than cake?

Uuuuhhhhhmmmmm… MORE CAKE?????

But seriously, my hubby, my mom and dad, my fabulous friends, my gorgeous godchildren and my amazing colleagues…

And I make cake for them all just to show them how much I love them!

Do you have a favourite project you have made?

It changes all the time. I can never quite pin it down to one thing… every time I demonstrate or get creating at work I see something new and come up with a different design.

Anything with Gorjuss full stop – Gorjuss is always up there!

But until yesterday my latest favourite was a Chronology butterfly I designed at last weekend’s demonstration…

This week though I’ve been designing with some lovely new ranges for later in the year and I tried out something new and I wasn’t sure it would work…. It did and that is probably a favourite now but I can’t share details yet… sorry!!!!

Becky James Photo #2Name three craft items you couldn’t be without

I hate this kind of question… Have you seen my craft room???? Oh no, no-one has it’s such a mess I’m ashamed to let anyone near it… it is filled to the rafters with crafting must haves…

Ok, focus, three…

That would be then

1. Paper and card (self confessed paper stroker)
2. Craft Knife
3. Steel ruler

I guess I’ve chosen these because with all three of these I can craft something in paper…. But there are so many other must haves… die cutting system and dies, glues, guillotine, stamps, inks, inking foam, gems and sparkly things… oh the list goes on and on

Becky James Photo #3What is your favourite website?

I really do love the Docrafts website – there is always so much going on on there and even more if you are a member of the Docrafts Creativity Club.

But I love all sorts of websites… I just like to hop from place to place… in fact I tend to keep up to date by following different pages on facebook…. Graphic 45 is a definite favourite, Romantically vintage, Unity Stamp, My little Shoebox and of course I really really love The Stampin Shack!


Favourite Food?

Smoked Salmon…

Did I just answer a question in two words?

Best piece of advice ever given to you?

If you can think of it – try it.  It’s a crafty piece of advice really and I think it’s why I have such an eclectic style with my designs… I’m not frightened to mix things together that you think really shouldn’t go… I learn so much by taking that approach. Its full of happy accidents and serendipity… I love that word!!! So happy and joyful…

Perfect way to relax?

I don’t do relaxing very often and almost never at home so it really has to be on one of the little short holidays Mr J and I take from time to time. Mr J says he has to get me away from the house to get me to do relaxing.

Sitting with a coffee, a good book or magazine and just sitting with Mr J just in each other’s company after a day exploring wherever we are visiting. That’s fabulous!

Favourite Book?

Anything by Trisha Ashley at the mo. They really are just chick lit but they are so engaging – all the books are intertwined in a little way – you may recognise a character from one here or there and they do have a chronological order though I haven’t read them that way.

They often have a food kind of theme going on with their characters – lots of chocolate and cake… and a little bit of gardening, one of my other fave things.

And now my best friend is addicted to them too…

Good reads if you want something that won’t tax you at all!

Becky James Photo #4

Your top crafty tip

I take this one everywhere with me. Run a little STICK IT glue stick over your double sided tape and until the glue stick dries you will be able to move your paper round a bit. Great if like me you don’t line things up perfectly!

It needs to be STICK IT though because that has a high water content. Other glue sticks are too dry (that’s not me talking that is my customers!)

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Guest Post Friday with Scrapbookerry!

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Hi everybody!  Todays guest post is by Kerry Goodman, owner of Scrapbookerry.  To find out more please visit Scrapbookerry.

I am 32, live near the coast with my other half Mr L, soon to be hubby, our 4 year old and two dogs, rabbit, hamster and African Snail. I started Scrapbooking 8 years ago regularly and after years of being asked to make THAT ALBUM YOU MAKE by friends and family I set up Scrapbookerry in 2011. I love being able to make peoples memories and special moments alive again in photo safe albums, mini albums, and keepsakes that are made at Scrapbookerry. I make everything as if it were my first item and put as much love and attention into the items as if they were all made just for me.


Scrapbooking and Me

I never went looking for Scrapbooking, Scrapbooking found me I would say.

When I was younger I got an exercise book from a friend for one of my birthdays. Inside the book, there were quotes, little funny postcards and lyrics to all of our favourite songs. It seemed the perfect thing to add our letters to each other and to put in lots of pictures of all our friends together while at parties in our teenage years. Some photos were just put straight in and some were cut to fit in the tiny space left from quotes or lyrics already on the page.

Without realising I had, with a little help from one of my best friends, made my very first scrapbook.

I loved this idea and really wanted to do another book like this. I did search and search but at the time the only thing I could find was in America, being still at school it got put to the side to be honest and I didn’t really think about it again.

Christmas in a DayOne thing that did happen was I got into photography. I had numerous cameras, ranging from a Polaroid up to being one of the first of us to get a digital camera. I never had them for long, maybe a year at the most as I was always looking for the next great camera. I was always the one that took my camera out and would be taking picture after picture after picture. There was something about recording our days out, evenings out and just general day to day life that I loved. I loved being able to look at these pictures and remember these moments whenever I wanted to, and started to grow a serious collection of pictures.

Scrapbookerry Photo #3

Then 8 years ago I got invited to a party, it was a scrapbooking party and a friend was selling scrapbooking supplies. As soon as I walked into the party I realised this is what I was looking for all those many moons ago.

I made one page at this party and signed up to be a consultant a week later, and have not looked back since then.

I get so much enjoyment from Scrapbooking, I find it relaxing and I love to sit and record the special moments, the special days out and the normal silly moments that happen in our day to day life.

Scrapbookerry Photo #2

I don’t want our family pictures to deteriorate; I don’t want people not to know who people are in our family. There are numerous pictures in my mum’s pile of photos, where she thinks they are us, or they could be one of our cousins. 40 and 30 years down the line she really can’t remember.

There are lots of people holding us and we are not 100% sure who everyone is, and after our Nan died we got a big batch of pictures that no one knows who anyone is in the pictures. It is really sad, as they were obviously important to our Nan she kept them for many years, but because there is no name on them, no place on them and no year we now have them and they mean nothing. But no one has the heart to throw them away as they meant something to Nan but mean nothing to us.

Scrapbookerry Photo #1

I don’t want that to happen!

I want our memories to be passed down and our grandchildren to know who are in the pictures, which is what I really love about Scrapbooking.

It isn’t about making the pictures lovely and editing them to their last legs, it isn’t even about making the pictures pretty for me, (although that is a massive bonus) Scrapbooking for me is making sure that our children never have a picture that they don’t know who is holding them. That they don’t have a pile of photos and have no clue why they were so important to us.

Making a Basic Scrapbook Page

Photos can tell you a lot about someone, and it isn’t always just about the pictures, it’s the map of the walk you have taken. The tickets to the show you have been to, and the journaling about your feelings, the laughs, the sayings and the silly quotes that someone who has been out with you has made.

Scrapbooking allows you to have the whole story in front of you and that is what I love.

I just want to thank Kerry for her fantastic post!

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It’s Friday… Guest Post!

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For todays guest post I would like to introduce you to Linda, she is the design team lead and Operations Manager for Kraftyhands.  She also introduced me to blogging!  To find out more visit Linda’s Blog here.

Hi!  My name is Linda Simpson I live in Warrington in the UK. I have 2 sons and a stepson, I became a grandmother for the first time in 2011 to a beautiful little girl called Alice and then last year my youngest son presented me with another granddaughter called Florence. I have a very supportive husband called Rick and we are owned by our lovely tortoise shell cat called Tiggy.

I started crafting when I was a young girl. My Dad taught me how to knit and I can still remember sitting beside my Nan whilst she taught me how to make all of my dolls clothes from vest and knickers through to coats and hats.

Linda Simpson Guest Post - Photo #1
This is from Kraftyhands Steampunk Emporium

I have dabbled into all sorts of crafting from crochet, embroidery and cross stitch. My house is full of my cross stitch pictures and quite a few of my friends and relatives have pictures too. I got into card making about 13 years ago and I love it. I started off working in the conservatory but as my crafting stash grew so did my need for more space. About 5 years ago now we converted one of our bedrooms into a craft room and you will find me working here everyday.

Linda Simpson Guest Post - Photo #2
These are the doors to my cupboard using Sheena Douglas’ stamps and Pebeo paints (Paint Fusion)

About 5 years ago I got my first design team position working as part of Stephanie Weightman’s My Craft Studio designers and some of my work was shown on Create and Craft. Some of you might have seen me working at some of the craft shows up and down the country as I worked with Kay Rutter who designed the Hougie Board. Kay was responsible for giving me the confidence to show my work as I wasn’t very confident and for this I can’t thank Kay enough for believing in me.

Linda Simpson Guest Post - Photo #3
This card was featured in an online magazine for Scrapbook Stamp Society an American Company.

Two years ago I started my blog. WOW it has been the best thing I have ever done. I have not only met a lot of crafting friends (some of whom I have had the privilege to meet) but have got so much inspiration and feedback on my work. I even joined a few blog design teams too and through this have made friends with crafters from all over the world.

Last year I was privileged to be asked to be on the design team for Kraftyhands and was made our Blog Challenge coordinator. In October Mike and Ian asked me to work for them and I am their Operations Manager and travel to Leeds every week to work in their new studio. We have a lot of fun but at the same time work really hard. The boys are great designers and have some great ideas and their CD’s are just awesome. There are lots more great new products being released this year too so keep your eyes peeled.

Linda Simpson Guest Post - Photo #4
This card is made using Acetate which I have stamped trees onto and then attached with brads to watercolour card which I have distressed.

People often ask me what my style of crafting is and the only way I can describe it is that it is eclectic. I do love to mix different technique, CD crafting with stamping and distressing, parchment craft with stamping. I do love CD crafting but I must admit that I love stamping too. I love to do altered art but I haven’t had much time to do this but I am hoping to get into this more this year.

I hope you have time to visit my blog and let me know what you think of my work. I would also like to thank Katie for asking me to be a guest on her blog too.

Thanks Linda!

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Guest Post Friday!

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Today is a guest post from the lovely Sarah, who is an independent Stampin Up!  Demonstrator. As I’m sure many of you know Stampin Up! sells an amazing range of Crafting Products. To find out more visit Sarah’s Blog here.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am pleased to be here on Katie’s blog as a guest. A little bit about me and what goes on.  I live in Norfolk, not far from Holt (home of the rather splendid Byfords cakes) having moved to this part of the world from Berkshire in 2007 although I was born and bred in Kent.  Home life includes working at a local solicitors, my husband is a pilot officer in the RAF (Air Cadets), we have three children who are at school  (y2, y6 and y7) I have a grown up daughter who is now at university.

During my free time I am a Guide Guider, I am studying with the Open University and my other love is being part of Stampin’ Up! as an independent demonstrator.  My love for crafts stemmed from an early age, using my Nan’s ‘old’ Singer sewing machine (which I have today) when I was in single digits, playing with paper and all sorts of other crafts.  My main enjoyment though is crafting with paper, stamping, card making, scrapbooking, all of these involve me being surrounded by papers and embellishment – although I am trying to whittle down my craft supplies it’s a slow process!

My word for 2013 is “light” and so I am trying to de-stash!  The trouble is, there are some rather nice things that you just want to ‘stroke’ and some sheets of paper are not meant to be cut up, right?  I have run a craft shop with my husband in the early 2000s and when Stampin’ Up! came to the UK five years ago, I joined up.  I had to take a break for a while as one of the children needs a bit more attention than the others and he was having a period of time when school wasn’t working for him.  However,  when things calmed down slightly and the chance came to join again I jumped back in and so here I am once again part of the Stampin’ Up! family and enjoying every minute.

There have been some changes since I first joined as a demo – we now have fabric – and work with outside companies to bring super new products i.e. Sizzix – the product range has widened increasing the ability to create.  I love the way that you can either just be what is known as a ‘hobby’ demo, where you basically buy products for yourself and get the discount, or where, in my case, I have had the pleasure of having friends join me and are now part of my team, The Rosettes. Although I hold the occasional workshop, I now have several virtual hostess clubs running, so even though I may not have met a member in person, we get chatting on the phone or via email as if we have been friends for years.  The product range is of high quality, I tend to get the clear stamps (easier to store for me), probably have way too many ribbons but they are so lush and paper, well, we won’t go there.  It’s great also to spread and share the crafting bug!  You can find out more about what goes on over at my blog.  I hope to see you there!


Thanks Sarah!

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