Ladies Camera Club

28 Feb 2010

Day 1, Lovin London, innit?

Im going to try and write as much as I can about my trip but also bear in mind I have 300 gazillion bajillion mcsquillion things to do before I head to the tv studio on Tuesday afternoon.
You can look for typos and you will find them....enjoy them whilst they are un-spell checked and in-your-face! So here goes, my trip to London, innit............

Mark bought me a lovely birthday gift at the beginning of Feb but we couldn't "spend" it until 26th Feb. I didn't mind waiting, it added to the excitement. Ive been wanting to see Les Mis since I heard Susan Boyle singing I dreamed a dream. Clearly up until that point I was uncultured and unknowing about west end theatre. I knew Les Mis existed as much as I knew Miss Shanghai had finished production. I just didn't care to go up until SuBo belted her heart out on that stage. But who cares, she introduced me to the entire album which I downloaded after her performance at Britains Got Talent last year. Ive been singing that album almost everyday for a year now, not knowing who sung what parts or even how the story unfolded. But on Friday, as we travelled down on the train, my heart was leaping hither and dither anyway.

We booked our train tickets in advance which meant we could afford to travel first class (its cheaper than standard class sometimes - really, check it out!). This meant wider seatage and a table and a cutesy lamp and complimentary scoff. It was a real treat with tea and coffee on tap and loo's that actually smelled of cleaning fluids instead of the obvious. You know the type I mean (you don't have to almost break your neck as you hover. If you are a girl, I know you can identify with that). Its only took just over 2 hours to get there which, from Wigan, is lightening quick. No sooner had we alighted the train did we get ourselves checked into the Cumberland Hotel. Now that was a bargain. Mark had booked a ticket and hotel combo which faired to be a brilliant deal. The room was really nice and clean (most import and again, no hovering).

We didn't want to waste anytime so we head straight out into Landan. Now, I have said this before, but the thing about London is that whenever I visit I always feel important. Its like I am a dutiful citizen visiting our nations capital for some diplomatic business. I dress my best and hope that I shall bump into someone of notoriety and that they may comment how wonderful a lowly northerner has graced the city to pay their respects to their wealth.

As our hotel was literally on top of Marble Arch that meant meandering through Mayfair and Park lane. Oh how the other half live. Seriously, every other parked car was either beamer or Mercedes if not the odd Ferrari and Lotus. I purposely looked into every house I passed. Well, if it didn't have blinds I thought it was an open invite to have a good old nose. Wow, I really was in my element whilst Mark geocached, doing his manly, butch hobby and me being the common northerner with my head pressed up against posh peoples windows and drooling at their fine interiors.

We were making our way to convent garden which felt like 40 miles walking and ambling whereever we felt like taking a turn but I was getting the feeling we were lost so we detoured to the nearest stinky tube to get their for lunch. I fancied playing with my camera as we waited for a stinky tube and I love how these turned out.
We got out at some random tube station and came across this secret looking little outdoor market (picadilly market to be precise). It was in the garden of an old churchyard and the first stall had all the delights I could ever want and need. Bronze stamps in designs only myself and Dyan could slurp over. I was in love and wanted to buy the whole stall.

My buys - sigh........
Outside the garden, near Fortnum and Mason (YUM!) I thoroughly recommend going to have a look, beautiful ornaments as well as being able to serve a purpose. Mark left me to ooooh and aaaaaahh whilst he......yes, you guessed it - geocached! Then we made tracks to go to our appointed venue for lunch. You see, walking around London is knackering but you miss gems like this if you go on the tube; traditional pubs in British racing green decor and gold lettering. So classic.
We got to covent garden eventually but my secret point of going was to go to one of Cath Kidston whopping shops. Mark of course had 75 radillion mcsquillion geocaches in his gps, stored for the off chance of building his geocache finds up (yawn). We had lunch at a gorgeous little bistro which was reasonably priced. I don't know why people complain about London being expensive. It is only expensive as the shops you choose to visit. If you go two side streets from the main, you are talking proper grub and modest prices to suit the tightest of northern purses. After lunch, we hung a right out of the bistro and 3 shops down we happened upon Primrose bakery. Oh yes we bloody well did. Its just gorgeous but I wonder how on earth a shop only selling cupcakes manages to survive with rent and rates of an inner London rating. The yellow decor outside the shop was so inviting but the cakes inside called to me in a language only my heart can understand. Mark, the butch and manly hunter gatherer, waited outside. Can you imagine the nerve of a male entering such a shop? So I bought a lemon iced cup cake and devoured its £1.85-ness in 3 seconds flat. And so on to Cath Kidston via the wonders of Covent garden market
I was left "to it" whilst Mark, yes you guessed it, did the manly and butch thing and geocached. That was a stupid thing for him to do as I had his debit card and it was going to be damaged. I bought this ensemble of spottiness for my hearts delight and my personal greed. After all, it was my birthday (8th feb, ages ago....but still) plus I had walked so far to retrieve them. Her shop is such a haven for me but with all of my recent purchases from there recently, there really isn't one more thing I could need (and believe me, I only own 1/150th of what she sells).

Happy and skippy, we walked some more before retiring back to the hotel for me to have a nap prior to the show (I really didn't want to fall asleep during the performance). On the way back up from Marble tube station, I thought Id be a healthy bean and walk up the stairs instead of using the escalators. OMG, bad, bad idea. Whilst 3 mcsquillion steps looks easy, they were not. I was gasping half way up and you could see pitiful looks from thousands of people as they scanned my posture and my beet red cheeks. Some of them tossed me coins thinking I was part of the entertainment. Others giggled behind their smog protection scarves. Hmmmph! I swore to myself that If I lived to tell the tale, I would only eat carrots and go back to the gym this monday. And indeed I got to the top and did a "Rocky" style salute before finally getting into my room, flinging off my boots (and bra, the stupid bloody thing) and diving into bed whilst mark, yes - you guessed - geocached (yawn).

Mark woke me up an hour before we had to leave for Les Mis. I was having the best sleep but soon I was singing all the songs from the musical in the shower - I was so excited. You know that kind of excitement where you think you will just burst and where you have to pinch yourself to even believe it was true. That was me. We dressed in our nicest clothes and head out to Shaftesbury Avenue. My god, London was heaving on Friday night. We passed China town which was still bedecked in the most amazing skyline form their new year celebrations. Lanterns upon lanterns upon lanterns filled the sky - I truly wished that Ellie was with us, she would have loved it. I couldn't get the best picture because it was night time, I only wished I had seen it in the day. But still. WE nipped into a pub next to the queens theatre before the performance and I had a beer. I know! We just don't drink anymore but this was such a thrill to be sitting in the pub next door, only minutes before the show of all shows.Then it was time.

Oh god, I was so nervy from excitement and we entered a really nice lobby met with these lovely chandeliers before going up into the frigging gods to get a fairly good (but not brilliant) seat. It was boiling in there. The rows were so narrow that you had to stand up to let people pass. That annoyed the hell out of me. I really wanted them to levitate past me instead of ruffling me up and getting me more hot. But what surprised me more than anything was the size of the theatre. I honestly thought It was going to be enormous and it just wasn't. It was very small, with a relatively small stage. I honestly thought we had been sold tickets to a different show and that coco the clown was going to come on and do a strip tease.

Then the lights dimmed and my little heart fluttered like crazy and soon all the smallness was forgotten when voices and music just enveloped the whole auditorium. Songs so familiar to me were now being told in a story with people and names I could relate to. The stage became massive and the acoustics were fantastic. The stage rotated to make the whole performance even more spectacular than first anticipated. I was just stunned. Tears welled in my eyes through each event and come the intermission, I was desperate for a break from the tension. Up and down I got from my seat to let the non levitaters by. I was sat next to a fairly young couple (must have been early twenties) and we shared small talk. I could hear him throughout the performance as he made gasps and emotional sighs as events unfolded. He was just as into it as I was. But Mark was really niggled by the lack of leg room and displayed the heart of a swinging brick as he didn't get why people were "feeling" the performance. I mean, I don't think people do it for kicks and giggles, do they? You either have a heart or you don't. And like I say, Mark has a swinging brick tied to a grumpy old mans bit of rope! By the way, he knows what I am talking about. Oh we do laugh about it.

So after the intermission and an expensive ice cream the rest of the story unfolded and songs were belted out by the most polished voices until the end. OMG, I have never snotted and cried so much in my life over a stage performance. You could hear literally scores of people crying and sniffing (the guy next to me was bawling and a woman two rows in front was inconsolable). Mark dug into his pocket to hand me his clean handkerchief which I promptly snotted my entire nasal passages onto and my mascara soaked eye juice. The one thing I can rely on in an emotional situation is that my husband has always got a neatly pressed handkerchief in his pocket everywhere we go. Always and everywhere. And that is a reliable comfort for me and my snot ridden nose, salty tears and mucky marks on clothing now and again.

And here I am, outside after the performance with a hooter like Rudolph and eyes that look like they have gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson.And that was day one. Well done if you stayed awake. Tomorrow I ply you with more photies through my crazy boggle eyes and super duper rudolph nose to boot!

By the way, the winner of the russian dolly stamps is:

Hannah - congrats chick a lick a loo x

Thanks to everyone that entered, I wish I could give you all a stamp.

Cried out and blisters

I have not one tear left in my body or spare patch of unblistered skin on my feet. Why? Well, this weekend we went to see Les Mis (cry, cry, break my frikking heart and cry some more) and both Mark and I walked practically every bloody street in London as well. And to make things worse, I thought that at Marble Arch tube station, I'd walk up every step instead of using the escalator. Big mistake. Huge.

Saying that, we have had the best time but missed Belle and the dog really bad. Those guys are our life.

I wanted to make this post quick so my fam can read we are back safe and sound if not completely and utterly knackered.

Pics coming tomorrow so if you are having troub sleeping, tune in for a fast effective cure to your insomnia ;)

26 Feb 2010

Lost for words

I am sat here thinking that I ought to have a poignant blog entry for you all or gorgeous words of wisdom. But I don't have a thing I could share with you - no project, no links to anywhere spectacular or even a picture of my dog.

I do, however, want to say that I find it so lovely that I have regular visitors to my blog every single day. So thank you for coming but I'm sorry I don't have anything mesmerising for you today.

Have a stupendous weekend :)

25 Feb 2010

Its gettin closer

Oh my, my CD airs on Wednesday next week (create and craft, noon 3rd March) and Im running around chasing my tail but having to fit extra bits n pieces in too. Its one of those things where you hate it but love it at the same time. I actually thrive on deadlines, I do but would give my kidneys to have a normal 9-5 sometimes. Well, not very often, just perhaps today :)

Ive had a nightmare trying to integrate a sophisticated cart on my website that will allow digital downloads to be delivered upon receipt of purchase. Im 95% done on it but the script writing on it would even boggle Steve Jobs. For now, if anyone wishes to buy the few digi stamps I have on my website, I will have to mail them manually - so sorry about this small hiccup. As a result, I have made two freebies on my website which you can collect by clicking on the links below. They are vector based and come in outline and coloured jpegs and png's.
You can get them on my website (click shop at the top of the page) and search the freebies section.

Do you remember me telling you that my momma had bought me a Suzi Blu Les Petit Dolls class for my birthday at the beginning of the month?. Well in my (very little) free time I have been preparing her, colouring her, painting her and going to town on the canvas that she will sit on. Today I finalised the whole canvas by adding soft string into the mixed media design even though it is all stylised in a pearly white finish. I loved faffing with the texture paint and book print paper too. I think I am meant to make the background all grungy and messy but with this being my first canvas from the class, I wanted the focus to be on my doll when she is complete. I have given her the temporary name of Tallulah Pinkerton-Sedgwick but of course I am bound to change my mind; in true Kirsty fashion.

Ive been blog hopping today and landed on the Queen of creative genius. This incredibly delicate piece of art is the brain child of Leanndra French. Its a UTEE glazed birdcage that she made in the most trickiest way but of course Im guessing she found it pretty simples.Well I had to ring her up, I was literally blasted from my seat when I saw it. Of course I was also ringing her up for advice on molds and silicone moldings and even that turned into an hour on the phone. She happens to be the most underrated mixed media artist in the UK - I think she and Dyan Reavely ought to have their own techniques slot on telly. I have to say that every time I see Leanndra demonstrating I am transfixed and get so inspired that I cant wait to get home and get a crack on with something crafty. I sincerely hopes she brings out a technique video soon and pretty much pronto, I love instructional videos and books - they are keepers. Anyway, Im jabbering on a bit so go HERE to see how this all came together **am v v envious**

And finally how decadent are these little morsels? Primula cheese on ritz crackers. I sure am the queen of canapes - so creative, no?

PS: Check two posts down to add your name to win some russion dolly stamps. Ill draw a winner on Friday.

24 Feb 2010

Russiona Dollies for Mothers day

Im still obsessed with the smell of acrylic stamps so I thought that, better than sniffing them, I might best use them and get to sniff Stazon at the same time. Heeeeeeeeeee!The Russian Dolly stamps, from Banana Frog are a giveaway for yesterdays post, if you fancy your luck in winning a pack. They are adorable even my daughter raised her eyebrows to them and she does not really show that much interest in crafting.

Maybe if you win you can share in the sniffing addiction with me. Just dont go sniffing Krylon pens - the warnings on those pens say they cause liver damage from excessive sniffing. Yurks!

23 Feb 2010

The thing about stamps.....**with giveaway**

is that I love them very very much.
Although, perhaps 3 years ago, I would have never have said that.
Nuh uh. I used to think stamps were for nerds, geeks and nerdy-geeksters.
I am reborn.
Clear stamps store so neatly and smell absolutely delicious. Ive been snorting Banana Frog stamps for a few days now and Im on a lily pad of loveliness. Here is my first of what Im sure will be many projects using their lush stamps.
And because Bev accidentally packed a duplicate set of stamps in my DT box, she gave me per-mish to give this set of Matryoshka Dolls away for one lucky commenter - worth £10.99!

The winner of my mini canvas from last week was picked at random by the dog. I made him wait in front of the screen and bark when he liked the look of one you hot mommas (I think he wanted to chew you up, more likely). No really, I used a generator to pick a number and the number was: 6, who happens to be Anne. Well done, chick a lick a loo.

What else?.......hmmm, our boiler has started to misbehave and is not heating the water properly. We have all had to take freezing cold showers/washes for 2 stinky days and its not fun on Ellie, who is a little slip of a thing - she shivers at the sight of a 1 degree drop in temperature on a hot day, let alone a cold day. Now with Mark being out of work this was bound to happen (ie expensive and at a time when the cash flow is pretty weak.) That was until we learned that finally his enhanced CRB was finalised today (its only taken since 17th December) which means he can start work in his job that was promised to him on the 15th December and thankfully they kept the post open just for him! So now we can actually afford to call out the Gas bandits and have hot water again. I honestly will make a conscious effort to be grateful for the luxury of hot water again instead of taking it for granted. The amount of times I forget to be grateful for food, shelter, love and happiness is amounting to be pretty bad, so tonight I am raising my arms to the heavens to say a great big thank you to whoever is running the whole god damn show on this often crummy planet.

Time to have another swatch sample from my new CD which, for some reason, sold like wildfire today - thank you! This collection has everything to make the perfect tea party including bunting, cake flags, invites etc. This is a small sample of one collection and there are three collections like it in other colours too including plum with lime and raspberry with lime. Do look at the last two blog posts for other sample swatches!

Don't forget to add your pretty lil name in my comments box below to be in with a chance of winning a pack of cute Russian dolly stamps.

22 Feb 2010

She is home :) - BIIIIIIG POST!

She is home alright!
And within 10 minutes she had settled back into our homey routine after copious amounts of loves and cuddles. She was not in a particularly photography mood but rest assured, she is residing back in our cosy home where she belongs.

Mark went to collect her from a drop off point between my mums and our house on Saturday (we do this to save 2.5 hours to get there and back and my mum is so sweet to do this for us - thanks mum!) so I had a little lie in and woke up feeling peckish. The bread was only good enough for toast and remembered that we had a tin of creamed mushrooms in the cupboard. A requainted love, me thinks. Absolutely scrum - why do we forget little gems like this?

Saturday afternoon, I finally packed and used my green bag. Here it full of all my essentials including my bad boy camera. See - it all fits with room for more crap!

Late Friday night I burned my fingers and lost the will to live making this necklace. Having blogged in Sep 2009 about beautiful raggy fabric necklaces and then watching a few videos on Rhonna Farrers blog, I was inspired to have a go myself. I do love it but let me tell you, glue guns are little sods and are far too dangerous for my little digits!

Its a no sew, no iron, no time for cutting out perfectly type job so you needn't get finickity or anal about dimensions etc. And the brads give it a rather blingy touch. Ok, I did sew the jump rings for the necklacey part but the rolls were a no sew go area which I find rather enterprising in a "Must get the dog to learn how to use the glue gun" type of thinking. Raggy necklaces made by dogs has a great unique selling point, I find!

I have some more fabric to make a vintage style on using these delish fabrics that I have had for 3 years. You see, its worth hanging on to all that stuff that we commit to keeping by saying "I'll use that one day". True to form, I am using that day this week.
I wore my necklace to the NEC today, I was kind of proud of it but initially I wasn't going to go as we woke up to lots of snow! I checked with the highways agency and the AA and the Met Office to check the roads and they all seemed fine but I still couldnt make my mind up. So, like a dork, I googled "decision maker" and really used it to make my mind up. I thoroughly recommned it, it turned out to be a great idea.....heeeeeee! I had a fruitful meeting with Crafts Beautiful with some exciting things in store for future work. Kate Hemmings, the deputy editor, bought me a super hot cup of tea and I had to be polite not to scream when I burned my lip! Aftwerwards I went for a wander round this massive exhibition. I can't tell you how many people stopped me to enquire about my necklace and surprised to learn it only took 30 minutes to make. Dyan Reavely ran up to me out of nowhere, hugged me and demanded a replica for her birthday and I said "yes dear, in return for one of those delicious Tim Holtz Compendium of Curiosity books". Fair's fair, huh? Go look, she is selling them for a song on her website at Art from the Heart.

I had so much pleasure in spying beautiful fabrics and sewing items more than I did papercraft supplies. Even Personal Impressions are stocking fabrics and they are also stocking my 3rd collection of rubber stamp designs for the cardmaking side of town. LOOK ->
I was at Personal Impressions for ages and bumped into Nina and Marion. Ive met Marion before at CHA but Id never met Nina although we do converse on twitter. I am so glad I got to meet them and have dinner with them. I love nice people. Like, reeeeeeeeeeeally love nice people like these two fun loving chicks.
Finally, on my way out I popped by to see one of the most darling crafters I know. Paula Pascual is an absolute peach and so, so pretty. She does make me smile and I find her generous personality so infectious. I tell everyone about her, I think everyone should have a piece of Paula in their lives.I was purposely making her laugh when she was supposed to be demoing

and yes, she did get a burst of the giggles over her pink cuttlebug!
Go and check out her work over HERE

OK what else can I bore you with?
Aha - my CD has sold surprisingly well to say I haven't done a press release as yet. I think showing sneak peaks has helped and further to the two I showed on Friday's blog post, here are two more samples and they are just small samples from the collections. You can buy it HERE if you like, before it airs on Create and Craft on 3rd March :) I have to say that the girls who have made some cards for me using my CD are absolutely beautiful but I cant share them yet as they are being saved for the telly!

Those flowers in rings are designed to but cut out with a 2.5 inch cookie cutter punch, by the way :) can get one HERE
The same goes for the butterfly circles - the cookie cutter punches look lovely used on this sheet. I'll cut one out this week to show you.

And lastly and most bestly I was picked to be on the Banana Frog DT today. I am overjoyed! But I don't have a card sample to share with you as its midnight here. So Ill be back tomorrow with the winner of the mini canvas too.

If you are still awake - well done!

19 Feb 2010

They came - finally

I could cry with the nightmare of these CD's finally arriving.
Trust me to pick cowboys, again, when it comes to do with something that I need **now**. The CD looks like every other CD and is processed like every other CD but the cowboys stalled me on a "technicality" which I smelled a rat right from the start. Nevertheless they are here and they are being wrapped for postage for when they air on 3rd March. So if you are after bright and bold colours with a host of images ranging from dress forms to shoes to cosy armchairs for your cardmaking, you can buy it online from my webshop only, for now and then after that, Create and Craft.

Here is a sample of some of the 1300 elements you can print from the CD. This is just a small taster and not the entire collection. Sugar candy and Autumn walk include papers and matching greetings and cut outs to build that perfect card

Other exciting news.
I scrapped a page for me and not as part of a project for something else. OK, the projects I make are ultimately mine but this one is straight off the desk and into a folder. usually they are straight off the desk and into a gallery online for DT work OR are mailed away and never to be seen for another 6 months. I made it purely as I was sorting my Studio Calico leftovers out this afternoon and everything on there is from old kits. I have enough left overs to make at least 80 more layouts. I think Kits are perfect for that.

I also made this tag using my one of my fave inspirational quotes. Live, Laugh, Love. I want Ellie to know that these three life emotions are the most important ones she could ever experience (well, the ones beginning with "L" anyway!)

Tonight we took the dog for a walk. It was a fairly pleasant start with me taking the camera trying to prove to myself that even though its ugly out there in this stark winter, there can be interesting things to take pictures of. I love this rusty barb wire and rickety old fence post.

We laughed as we discovered two stick men, created it would seem by Chloe and Emma. Great job, girls - whoever you are

And I couldn't resist this shot through the stick mans body before the heavens opened and we were drenched with sleet (that came out of nowhere and without warning - I was frozen when we got back and the dog was filthy).

I came home to bath the dog and enjoy a cuppa whilst watching the downhill skiing finals. I also tucked into these childhood treats from yesteryear and couldn't resist sticking them on my fingers, only that when I was a kid, those Hula Hoops went right down to the knuckle!
But lurking within the pack was the greatest find of all. Remember the Turin shroud? Well I have found Jesus's sandal in there. I was quite taken aback but there it is, in all its glory.
Finally - Eastenders? It was absolutely thrilling to watch it live and no, I didn't guess it was Stacey. Max Brannings's acting was absolutely fabulous and his reaction to Bradley's death was so lifelike. Mark and I kept looking out for live errors and even though they were few, I couldn't also help but sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation. My money was on Peggy "go on, get art, get art ma pab!" Mitchell but alas, Stacey admitted to killing that pesky villain, Archie.

Loved it!

Now don't forget to put your name down for the giveaway in yests post - Ill draw it on Sunday night when I get back from the Stitches show at the NEC.