Sunday, February 28, 2010

The saddest day of my life

Hi everyone,
I'm sorry for being so absent from my blog lately. I've been busy with work and so on as usual, but also my family have been having a very difficult time.

Today my beloved father passed away. Just over a week ago, he had what we thought was a stroke, but after tests and a number of days' stay in hospital, we were told that he had a lesion in his brain. The news was devastating to all of us. My father changed overnight from a man who was always in control, on top of things, the head of our family, to one who could not read and remember the names of his grandchildren.

Sadly, he didn't survive until his scheduled appointment to see a neurosurgeon on Tuesday. Yesterday he suddenly had an excruciating headache, lost consciousness in the ambulance and at the hospital the CT scan showed a massive bleed from the lesion. He had no chance of survival. My mother and I stayed with him through the night until mid-morning, when we knew for sure that he has gone to heaven to be with the Lord.

My siblings are on their way from the USA to be with us here for the difficult days ahead. Dad was always the one to organise family funerals, we didn't expect to be arranging his so soon, as he was only 67. He was always the one to guide and advise us. There is a huge void in our lives now.

If you have placed orders with me recently, please bear with me, I have most of them here and will try to be in touch soon to get them to you somehow. I do plan to continue with my upcoming events; my Mum said that Dad would want me to be strong and carry on. He had a strong sense of responsibility and committment to others, so in his honour I will do so.

Thank you to the many of you who have already sent messages of love and support, it is very much appreciated.

Rest in peace Dad, I love you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hi everyone,

Sorry for not blogging for so long. I have been rather busy preparing for the Hamilton Extravaganza which was a fabulous day, I think in the end we had over 70 of you there to stamp and create with us! If you took part in the event, thank you so much for your support, your enthusiasm for our events makes it all so worthwhile! And yes, we're already discussing when the next one will be, so keep in touch with your Demonstrator on that front!

Congratulations to all the door prize winners yesterday, I hope you are enjoying your prizes! I'll post pics of the prize I made, later in the week. I won't post up pics of the project I designed for the event just yet, as it's also going to be taught at the Auckland Extravaganza. So you'll have to wait until after then, or come to it on March 13th, to see what I've been busy working on!

I was told off nicely by a couple of lovely ladies yesterday who told me that they visit my blog regularly and want me to hurry up and post some more creative projects for them to enjoy. It's nice to know I have regular visitors here, do post a comment occasionally if you have a moment - I love to hear what you think of my work!

I left home at the crack of dawn yesterday (OK, it was just before 7am, but for a night owl like me, that's not easy!) and didn't get much sleep, so I was already tired by the time I arrived at the event. So you'd think that when I got home again, I'd crawl into bed early, wouldn't you? Nope, no such luck! When I got home I was informed by my DH that our daughter had insisted on choosing a Valentine's Day card for me from the two of them, along with a chocolate rose (which I haven't eaten yet). I can't possibly receive a Valentine's Day card without giving one in return, and I hadn't had time to make any for them before the Extravaganza. So I sat down to make a "quick couple of cards", but I am not that good at "quick" and so this is what I ended up with!

First, I made a card for Emma. Little girls love excessive stuff on cards, well my one does anyway! So I put loads of hearts on the front. More than I would like, myself!

This is an easel card - I've been meaning to make one of these for ages. They're very easy to make, but it's cool how it stands up like this. You don't find cards like this in the shops now do you! There was a bit of hand cutting with this card, but the bit I'm most pleased with is the inside. I have my Pun Fun stamps mounted with the words separate, so I can use the images without stamping the words every time. So I stamped the ewe by itself, and then used the greeting (which actually says "Thank ewe!") along with a stamp from I {Heart} Hearts to make the phrase "We love ewe!". I used my marker to ink up the "we" from the word "ewe", so I didn't put ink on the first letter, and then used the stamp-a-ma-jig to stamp it in the right place. OK, my stamping is slightly crooked, but I didn't think Emma would care, and of course she didn't! I used a blender pen and ink pads to colour in the ewe.

Recipe:
Stamps: I {Heart} Heart (Summer Mini), Pun Fun, Hello Again (Summer Mini), A Happy Heart
Cardstock: Real Red, Whisper White, Chocolate Chip
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Cameo Coral, Blush Blossom, Going Grey
Other: Pink Flamingo DSP, Heart to Heart punch, Circle Fire Rhinestone Brad, Chocolate Chip Stampin' Write marker, Stampin' Dimensionals

The second card of course was for hubby, so I didn't want it to look too girly. I think he was OK with it when he opened it this morning. I was originally thinking it'd just be Kraft and chocolate chip, but that seemed a little washed out and as soon as I spied the new Real Red polka dot grosgrain ribbon from the Summer Mini in my cupboard, I knew I had to use that! It's so vibrant, can you believe I have just been hoarding this ribbon until now? It really gives the card a lift, I think! I got working with my marker again on the inside of the card too. Again the "we" is not an existing stamp, so I took the "wishing you a happy heart" greeting from A Happy Heart stamp set, inked up the "w" and stamped that, cleaned off the stamp and inked up the "e" and attempted to line it up using the stamp a ma jig. It's not entirely perfect but at 11pm after a long day, I wasn't about to give it a second shot! The word "you" is also from that greeting.

Recipe:
Stamps: I {Heart} Hearts, A Happy Heart
Cardstock: Kraft, Whisper White, Chocolate Chip
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Real Red
Other: Heart to Heart punch, Real Red Polka Dot grosgrain, Hemp twine, Corner Rounder punch, Round Tab punch, Chocolate Chip Stampin' Write marker, Stampin' Dimensionals

Anyway, I know these are too late to inspire you for your Valentine's Day cards this year, but hopefully it shows that you really can get a lot out of your stamps if you have the stampin' write markers to ink up just the bits you want to use.

I love the I {Heart} Hearts set, can you tell? Particularly the woodgrain one. And I keep forgetting to mention on here, when you order that stamp set between now and February 28th, Stampin' Up! will donate $2 from your purchase towards relief efforts in Haiti. I know it doesn't sound like much, but worldwide so far, over 7,500 sets have been purchased during the Haiti Disaster Relief offer, so that's over $15,000 in donations to the Red Cross relief effort in Haiti. On top of that, Stampin' Up! purchased supplies and put together 5,000 hygiene kits to send to Haiti, too. How awesome is that? I'm so pleased to be working with a company that is so willing to help people in need. So if you'd like to order the I {Heart} Heart set and help out too, please let me know.

I have just a couple of places left available for my stamp club and also the first Techniques class, so if you're interested in either of those, e-mail me (click here) to let me know. You can read more about those in my previous post, click here to see that.

Until next time, happy stamping!

Monday, February 1, 2010

You've waited long enough - here it is!

Hi everyone,

OK, this post is a couple of days later than I had wanted, but it took me a while to finalise the project I wanted to show you. When I'm in "design mode", I try out lots of things, and that takes time! But anyway, I'm finally done and I hope that what I have to tell and show you all will be worth the wait.

We have a WINNER!! Thank you ladies for your January Sale-A-Bration orders. I had my hubby draw a name out of the hat this morning and the winner of a Level 1 Hostess set of her choice is... Laurie!! I'll be in touch soon Laurie, to see which set you'd like.

I've had lots of requests about the things you'd like me to offer you this year, and I'm glad to say I've been listening! We moved house last year and that threw me somewhat with problems cropping up, as moving house can, and there were the usual upheavals at work, and life just generally happened all around me. But this year, I am getting myself all organised earlier and that means great things in store for you! I'm sure there will be something below that fits well with your crafting needs, if you live in NZ that is!

1. Stamp clubs - get FREE Stamps and goodies!
I am running stamp clubs this year, each club will have 8 members and run for 8 months. Each member will place a monthly order with me of a minimum $45 plus 5% shipping, so that the total orders each month come to a minimum of $350 plus shipping. That means that the club order will reach hostess benefits level 1 and so you'll take it in turns to be the "virtual hostess" and choose a hostess stamp set and free products of your choice, a minimum $35 spend. The month you get to be the virtual hostess depends on the order that club members register - so the first member to sign will be the first hostess, and so on.
Once we have 8 members signed up, the club will start. Orders will need to be given to me by the third Saturday of each month, and I will place them before the end of the month so the club can take advantage of any monthly specials offered by Stampin' Up!. Aside from the hostess benefits from being part of a club, stamp club members will receive a $5 discount on my Techniques Classes (see below) and I also will have exclusive offers for my stamp club members each month!

2. Techniques Classes!
Yes, I'm finally ready to offer these classes too. The first class is a bit special - we'll be decorating one of the On Board journals (the 5x5" journal, $16.25 in the catalogue), this will be where you will file the instructions and samples from my techniques classes. At the first class in addition to covering and decorating your journal and learning how to emboss chipboard in the colour of your choice (my sample uses Baja Breeze), we'll do at least one additional technique (two if there is time) and make a card using each technique. Regular Techniques Classes will include two techniques with samples for your book and cards/projects using the techniques. I'll have printouts of the instructions for each technique for you to paste into your books so you will be able to re-read them later.

Here's my Techniques Sample book all ready to go - it has my initial on it because I'm going to make my book as you make yours! I want this book to be a special resource for you so we're going to personalise it - when you book into this class we can talk about which papers and images are your favourites, so everyone will have a book that is to their personal taste! My sample uses the Urban Garden DSP, Baja Breeze striped ribbon, a fabulous filigree brad, and the Curly Label punch with one of the coordinating images from the Vintage Labels Sale-A-Bration set.

This first class will cost $30 per person, then future Techniques classes will be $15. I have lots of techniques I'm planning to share with you, but if there's something you really want to learn, let me know!

Remember if you're a stamp club member you will get a $5 discount off the Techniques class fee. Techniques Classes will normally be on the third Saturday of each month, starting at 2pm, at my home in Botany Downs. The exception is the first class, which will be on Sunday 21st Feb starting at 1:30pm and finishing around 4pm.

Can't get to my classes when I've scheduled them? Just e-mail me, if there's enough interest I will schedule repeat sessions. From time to time I will have other classes as well, so keep an eye out for those.

To sign up for a stamp club or my first Techniques Class, or simply to ask for more information, click here to contact me.

4. Extravaganzas!
But wait, there's more! I'm doing the Extravaganza events with my team again this year, I'm taking bookings now for the Hamilton Extravaganza on Feb 13, and the Auckland Extravaganza on March 13. We've decided on the projects now and you're going to love them! $40 entry fee secures your place for a fun crafting session with spot prizes galore! For more details or to book, please e-mail me ASAP. Places are filling fast!

5. Workshops & my Host/ess Appreciation Party!
I'm also accepting bookings for in-home workshops, I love to do workshops! Host a workshop with me this year and you'll receive a special invitation to my Hosts & Hostesses Appreciation Party at the end of the year, exclusive to those who host my workshops. There'll be free make n takes, prizes, food, drink and fun!! I've already penciled this into my diary for December... you won't want to miss it!

Let's Sale-A-Brate 2010! If that wasn't enough, don't forget that all qualifying orders earn free Sale-A-Bration stamp sets until the end of March. You can place these as part of a stamp club, and if you're the virtual hostess in February or March, you could even earn extra SAB sets! Click on the picture of the SAB brochure in my sidebar to view the sets you can choose from.
Hope you've managed to absorb all of that... have a great week!