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On the move …

It is fair to say it has been a long 2-3 years. I became a grandmother and our daughter and grandson came to live with us for the first year, I moved from my studio at The Custard factory to take care of both of them and last year, sadly, I lost my dear Dad. It has been a roller coaster of a journey.

As the dust started to settle back down and my creative thoughts returned, I began to think about the direction I was going in and whether it was, indeed, the right way. After much soul searching I came to the conclusion that I loved what I did far too much to consider doing anything else.

Sauntering home one afternoon, after the school run, I noticed a local shop on the High St in Langley had become vacant. Langley is a traditional Victorian village about a mile from Oldbury town centre in the West Midlands. A pretty row of traditional shop fronts, a beautiful park, local theatre and a wealth of history – it is a hidden gem in our area.

After a few enquiries, we viewed the property and the seed was sewn for our new venture. I say our, as my nephew Tyla will be joining me on this new adventure. We will be showcasing renovated and repurposed furniture, linens and retro fabrics, vintage pieces, gifts and all my design services. A unique blend, I’m sure you’ll agree but one I am confident will work and the local people of Langley and Oldbury will love.

It doesn’t look much now but, as you can see from the graphics, we are hoping to transform the building into something a little more becoming.

 shop front  before renovation

shop front before renovation

Mooch shop signage after renovation

If all goes to plan, we’ll be in by 7th September. If you’re in the area, come check us out~:

mooch
1 Langley High St
Langley
Oldbury
B69 4NS

 

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Storing stash – paper packs

It is a well known fact that crafters are hoarders. We just can’t help ourselves. When presented with brand new goodies, we have to have it, and, knowing the industry, sometimes this is wise. How many times have I gone to buy a paper pack again only to find it discontinued?!

And so, our collecting begin. It starts with a box of bits and pieces and soon evolves into drawers, then cabinets, then rooms FULL of the stuff. I am no exception here, and as I scrap for a living, I have a lot of themes I may have to cover and that means LOTS of paper packs.

So, how to store them so that they are viewed and accessed easily? I have tried many methods but as my stash has grown, my organisation has undertaken some changes.

The easiest and simplest way that I have found is stacking them on shelves, in alphabetical order, with the pack name simply written on lengths of masking tape or labels. I’m not too neat about it, as you can see – there are better things to do with my time than lining the names up in a row and using the same pen and colour. (I was seriously OCD in a former life!)

Storing paper at The Scrapbooker

This makes it super fast for me to review and pull out papers when I need them. It also makes it very easy to accommodate more paper packs as my stash expands (which it has and will.)

Storing paper at The Scrapbooker 3

Some of the thinner packs (Carina Gardiner, Kaisercraft and such like) don’t have very thick edges for the tape so I repack them in plastic print wallets and stick the label on the edge of that.

Now – what to do with off cuts? I mean, we don’t always use an entire sheet.

Enter the super large, heavy duty ring binder albums from Pioneer. Gotta love ‘em!

Storing paper at The Scrapbooker 2

I use these albums and cheap album refills to stash my off cuts. use the same alphabetical system and it works like a dream, as long as I can remember to check my off cuts before I cut into full sheets.

Pioneer albums at The Scrapbooker

The albums have large rings to hold loads of inserts and are heavy duty (much needed!)

Pioneer albums at The Scrapbooker 2

It’s so easy to slot the off cuts into an album insert, slap a label on the front and file it away in the album – you simply buy more albums and inserts as your stash grows. It’s relatively cheap too if you compare it to buying drawers, cabinets or heavy duty boxes.

Quick, efficient and economical – just what you need when you are a busy crafter!

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Oh-so modern hybrid scrapbooking

If you use your computer to add elements to your scrapbook pages, this is known as Hybrid Scrapbooking. It allows far more flexibility for text, titles and photos and is oh-so thoroughly modern. 

This ‘3 Queens’ layout  for a lovely client in Switzerland, is a classic example of a vintage style layout with a modern hybrid twist.

Hybrid scrapbooking @ The Scrapbooker

As the letter was very long and too big for the page, I retyped it and tucked the folded original into a pocket on the front. It keeps it safe for the recipient to read whenever they chose.

SCRAPBOOKING TIP: If I have a lot of text to get on a page and no room for paragraphs, I use decorative motifs (like the stars here) in a complimentary colour to indicate the paragraph breaks in the letter. 

I also always use a decorative script font in a complimentary colour for the introduction and the signature; it isn’t the contributors hand writing but it helps to give that impression.

Hybrid scrapbooking @ The Scrapbooker

Converted BW photo sits behind a die cut & embossed frame.

Hybrid scrapbooking @ The Scrapbooker

Decorative script font contrasts against the plain (50’s style) text body font

Hybrid scrapbooking @ The Scrapbooker

The original letter tucked inside a hand made pocket. The pocket also offers space and opportunity for a design element too – here a number 3 (part of the title) is placed on top of a vintage lace circle.

So cool.

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Learning to love low light

A visit to the Rezzed convention last year presented me with the most dreaded of photography environments – low light (or in this case, NO light!)

Panic aside, knowing your camera and what it’s capable of can produce some pretty awesome atmospheric shots that capture the mood of the scene. And no, you can’t use the flash, it will bleach any colour and atmosphere clean out of your shot and leave really heavy shadows.

Flash is a NO-NO!

Bump up the ISO, keep your shutter speed around 1/160 (as with all photography – test shots and practice will indicate the best setting for the environment), drop the F stop to as low as you can taking into account you will have a lot of depth of field and therefore need much more control over the focal point, cradle the camera and lens and shoot away.

Low light photography at Rezzed by The Scrapbooker

Video gamers deep in concentration and play mode, captured.

Canon EOS 40D | Canon 1.6 50mm Prime lens | ISO 1600 | F1.6 | 1/160

Job done!

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Adventure album for the trip of a lifetime

A wonderful bespoke travel company, Brown & Hudson, commissioned me to design and craft albums for a client travelling to Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands for a trip of a lifetime.

The brief was very detailed – 3 albums with similar artwork but personalised to each individual, were to contain pages for a diary and events on a daily basis in phases of the trip, pages to record the different species seen, pages for photos and notes and species reference pages so the children could identify each species they saw on their trip.

It was a complex brief but I was happy to oblige.

The front artwork took the form of one of my canvas covered albums, the interior was lined with hard wearing black book cloth. The design reflected the trip and included elements personal to each family member.

Canvas travel album 1 at The Scrapbooker

 

The rear artwork continued the theme from the front, shown here with Brown and Hudson’s logo…

 

Canvas travel album 8 at The Scrapbooker

The internal pages were pre-printed with details of each phase of the trip.

Canvas travel album 4 at The Scrapbooker

 

There was lots of  space to keep a diary and notes about the highlights of each day.

Canvas travel album 5 at The Scrapbooker

 

Printed species sheets for each of the 4 phases are laminated to protect the printed pages from being affected by the humidity – a small but serious detail to consider.

 

Canvas travel album 6 at The Scrapbooker

 

An index at the back to aid easy reference when reviewing the album.

 

Canvas travel album 7 at The Scrapbooker

 

… and somewhere to store the photos.

Canvas travel album 11 at The Scrapbooker

 

These really were amazing albums to work on and brought together many elements from different aspects of my work – a real self indulgence you could say!

Brown and Hudson were delighted with the albums too, which was a huge bonus!

Brown & Hudson testimonial at The Scrapbooker

If these albums are just what you have been looking for, Email Me to discuss your requirements, I’d love to hear from you!

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Explore, Dream, Discover – glittery handmade cards

It’s of no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a huge collection of scrapbooking paper and paper packs. The scrapbook pages I craft sometimes have very specific themes and I, naturally, have to cater for these eventualities; this also means that I am left with stock of some rather unusual papers that I wouldn’t ordinarily use.

One such pack is the TC Travel paper pack from K&Company

Travel by Tim Coffey at K&CompanyIt has some beautiful papers in it that are seascape themed – seaweed, shells, lighthouses and so on. It’s not a pack I would ordinarily buy but, it is lovely and after I had used it for a client’s album I was left with a few sheets.

Travel by Tim Coffey at K&Company

The one that caught my eye was the front sheet – a collage of sea themed icons set into postage stamps. I really wanted to create something with this unusual paper.

I took out the pieces and started to cut into the postage stamps, the original idea being I would use them as stamps but as I cut them into manageable pieces from which to cut smaller, I noticed how lovely the panels of grouped stamps looked.

I took pre-folded Kraft greetings cards and began to craft some very simple cards.

Handcrafted cards at The Scrapbooker

I’m not one for over complicating things unnecessarily so a touch of glitter in the right places was all that was needed to finish them off.

Handcrafted cards at The Scrapbooker

The idea was to allow the cards to be have the same format so they could be sold as cards for framing as collections not just gifting.

Handcrafted cards by The Scrapbooker

They were a huge success – I crafted almost 40 cards from this paper pack and had to purchase more as demand increased  – a very economic way of using up paper packs!

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Felt like trying felt … crafting albums with wool

I’m always on the look out for new materials to cover my albums with. Some just don’t work for a variety of reasons – some are way too thick, some are way too expensive and others are just way too out there. I also have to make sure that I can glue them to the board and feel confident that they will stay on the board – never an easy task!

However, I do have this love affair with felt – it has a beautiful texture and can be used in all manner of crafts; I have a felt pin board on Pinterest which I frequently visit for inspiration and well, just to pass a few creative minutes.

SFelt pinbaord on Pinterest by The Scrapbooker

It can be a tricky material, thick, stretchy, fibrous – I should walk away from it but I just love it far too much. I decided to test it out. I glued it to one of my standard album boards to see how it would adhere and whether it would stay on it, especially after being in the sun for a while. I need not have feared, it was a dream to work with.

I set about designing an album using a gorgeous deep rose pink sample. I covered the spine in the felt and the rest of the album in a beautiful French perfumerie paper; decoration was gorgeous vintage lace trims, a paper flower, diamond brad, miniature shoe and an oversized Eiffel Tower trinket.

Felt Paris album by The Scrapbooker

I was really delighted with how it turned out and popped it into the shop at Cherry Tree Interiors in Harborne as a sample album. A week later I had my first commission based on the design.

Paris album

The client who ordered the album was over the moon with the finished product and sent me a quick email to let me know.

Testimonial at The Scrapbooker

Seems like me and felt have a lot of work to do…..

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“Marry Me?” Of course she said ‘YES!”

I have had the pleasure over the years to be privy to some pretty wonderful moments in my clients lives. A few of my male clients have been incredibly romantic and proposed to their girlfriends in the sweetest way  – with an album of their lives so far.

Of course, I am more than happy to craft these albums  – simply and elegantly designed to highlight their journey ….

This is a story

their meeting

then they met

and subsequent lives thereafter

Lives together

the proposal

Marry Me album 4 @ The Scrapbooker

 

The wedding day venue (added in later)

Wedding date set

Wedding date set

and space for a photo from the day (also added in later)

Marry Me package by The Scrapbooker

and many, many pages in between!

The albums always go down a storm and my clients are really cool and always let me know how it all unfolded …

Testimonial fo Marry Me package by The Scrapbooker

If you are looking for an original way to propose to your partner, this album is the most romantic, perfect way to do it. Check out the Marry Me package in my shop, or contact me directly to have a discreet chat about how you can build a wonderful album to propose to your loved one.

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**NEW** printed canvas covered albums hit the store!

After months of thinking about it, and endless weeks of sourcing, working out the technicalities and producing pieces for a few brave people who agreed (for a discounted price) to be guinea pigs – my bespoke canvas covered album are now available to order.

As with most of my products, they came about from an enquiry from a client for a scrapbook album cover that would have a Word Art on the front. I had seen canvas printed photographic albums but nothing for scrapbookers, and I had played around with the idea of a photograph with a few personalisations but hadn’t considered a full blown Word Art.

The Word Art, it turned out, was the easy bit – relatively speaking; the difficulty would be in getting a print that could withstand being glued to hard board, maintain its colour and shape and endure everyday wear and tear. Then there was the adhesive … hmmm, wasn’t that a fun (and expensive trial!)

But I ploughed through the tantrums and strops and finally got it to work.

Here is my first album, a vintage style cover in greens and blues was the remit, along with a photo and a Word Art – so very pleased with how it turned out ….

Front view showing banana paper lining the inside

Personalised canvas album by The Scrapbooker

I love how the shadows make the Word Art panel look like it’s stuck on top of the album

Personalised canvas album by The Scrapbooker 3

View of the spine which can be printed to match the front (and back) covers.

Personalised canvas album by The Scrapbooker 2

The artwork prior to printing…

Bespoke canvas covered album cover by The Scrapbooker

and the testimonial received from my client – such a huge relief!

Testimonial for bespoke printed canvas covered scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker

If you are interested in having a unique printed canvas covered album, they are now available to buy in my shop. Alternatively, drop me a line to discuss your requirements.

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Cool pregnancy photoshoot … oh and becoming a Grandma!

It has been a long time since my last post (I now sound like I should be in the confession box!) but it has been a very busy summer.

You see, I became a Grandmother; and whilst my daughter is living with us, we are all experiencing the sounds and smells of a newborn baby. It is wonderful, I have to say – exhausting but wonderful.

During the summer period I had the opportunity to dust off my camera, fire the old girl up and flex my photographic skills again. My daughter was a very willing subject, bump and all, and we got to take some fantastic shots of her with just 3 weeks to go.

You have to bear in mind looking at these, that she was very much game for a laugh and was absolutely glowing at the time.

Lucky girl.

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - booties 2

My favourite photo …

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - Yoga

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - resting

 

My youngest daughter gets to grips with her sister’s ever increasing belly …

 

 

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - belly

 

Hamming it up …

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - ccensored

 

So cute …

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - sweet child

 

Perfect opportunity for a sibling photo

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - sisters

 

Not my favourite but love her mad sense of humour…

Cool pregnancy photos by The Scrapbooker - attitude

If you’d like to view the full collection, they can be found on my Flickr page, enjoy!

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