31 Jan 2012

Love London

I just love London. Its so vast and exciting. When I lived here during the nineties, however, I also found it very lonely. I think that was namely down to never seeing the same person twice (unless it was a local shop keeper or colleagues). It wasn't as cosy and personal as living in a small town. But still, I stomached it for three months before I gave in to my northern roots and family.

I came down on Sunday night ahead of my QVC slot on Monday. I stay in some of the most fabulous places and by fabulous I do not mean by staying in hotels of distinction (hello, Im not made of money). I use my trusty AirBandB portal and this time I stayed with Adam again. HE IS THE COOLEST. Despite living on the fourth floor he comes down to meet me and take my exponentially heavy suitcase all the way up and then makes me a lovely cuppa. He is such a fascinating guy and I will never ever tire of him. Ive stayed with him before but on this occasion he had another AirBandB'er staying with him. Eduardo of San Paulo, Brazil. Well, he was just fantastic and has come all the way here to learn English. I mean, with the USA being inches nearer to Brazil than the UK, I found this astounding. I fell in love with his broken english and pronunciation. My stay with Adam has and always be the best part of the trip.

On Monday I tripped over to QVC for a meeting. I thought it might be fun to share a QVC pre-show secret. Below is a picture of my everyday make up - lippy and liner *eye liner, that is* but............

This is the amount of slap I have to wear on TV so that I dont look uneven/ill/hobo. Takes ages to apply all of that; its why I dont bother with it daily!

At QVC, I met my friends Jaki and Judy too. The plan was to stay for the show and go night time photographising at night. I was lucky that QVC allowed them backstage and Im grateful that they helped me set the show up - they were naturals. What was a great bonus to the day was when one of the Strictly team came into QVC to do the Zumba show prior to mine....we were star struck a little. Then after my show we did some night shots on the Chelsea Bridge using the lights of the traffic to create to trickery. I didn't lug my camera with me preferring to teach them instead. Later, we went for a meal at Pizza Express where I had my favvo pizza (the Pendana) and vino. To be fair, it was minus 42893747442657615 centigrade so the night time shoot was somewhat short lived! It was such a lovely evening. I treasure the time I spend with friends; all with the same woes/happiness/baggage/stories/battles/love as I.

I stayed another night at Adams in readiness for a client meeting today. I got up late. did some admin and dragged my suitcase (weighing 4183462742672346751 tons) across London to the Charlotte Street Hotel. Wow, its lovely, a love their frontage - is that even a word? Its here I met my two clients of whom we discussed some really exciting work ventures for the future. Its a slight tangent from my everyday but nevertheless, sort of the same? Everything I seem to do at the moment is by luck or chance - so you gotta grab life by the balls and go with it, right? I stayed for afternoon tea and stuck my huge gob into this lot.

Isn't it a work of art? Disgustingly over priced for what was essentially a crumb of a few sandwiches but on another footing, it was oh-so-decadent. I think I could get a weeks shop on this treat but what the hell; I could get run over by a bus tomorrow. I'd need a full belly for that journey, wouldn't I?

My train leaves in two hours so Im signing off to finish my assignment details for the start of my Online Photography Tutorial tomorrow night. I shall leave London with a tad of sadness but then my heart will swell as we pull into Wigan and be with my little treasures again.

Love
Kirsty x
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28 Jan 2012

iPhone 4s is here!

Ive waited so patiently for my 3gs contract to run out so that I could embrace the 4s. I could have cried when I got that baby in my hands on Friday. As you may know, I like to take photographs and the camera on this 4s is phenom. I wont have to lug my monster Canon's around to take happy pics so much, now. Here are a few snaps of my weekend so far:

My shellac nails in prep for QVC, Monday. My nails were originally going to be kelly green but Ellie thinks they made me look witchy (cheers, babes!)

I bought an amazing App to convert pictures to a true black and white. I LOVE IT!

Ellie and I were trapped in the car during a torrential downpour - the camera in this shot was the facetime camera which is not as good as the main camera on the 4g


Very frilly and fluffy petticoats for some pre-prom shoots in May. I got them for a stonking £22.80 (reduced from £38) so I got Hot pink, Black and Red. They are way cheaper then the Hell Bunny petti's, which put me off buying them. I've got some black and white stripey socks to go with them and the girls who booked the session are more excited about this shoot than the prom - Tee hee


My Doggy woggy - sat on his favourite step. This is his vantage point. It's a place where he can keep an eye on us when we are up stairs but also has a "lock-on" visual to any potential door knockers. Dogs are NOT stupid, let me tell you that!


I'm slowly going back to blonde. After a disastrous hair year, I'm going back to the colour Mark prefers. Even my mum thinks I look scary with dark hair (and that's my natural colour!). So here we are, honey tones in prep for the bleaching before summer.


And finally here is my new phone's temporary case until a proper one arrives. Hand stitched (crookedly - I don't profess to be a fab sewer!). The letter K is a reminder to Kick ass, just in case you were wondering ;) xx

And that's my life through the 4s. I LOVES IT!

Love
Kirsty x
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Happy Clappy

It's nice to know that my digi art goes to good use. With that, look what Tina Haythornthwaite made in the space of a few hours (since I put the download on offer - see yesterdays blog post for the link to the freebie download).

I love that she printed the first layer and then coloured and decoupaged another layer of flowers on top. I really do marvel over the many individual interpretations of varying products; in craft land.

Isn't it beauts?
Its like I want to take Tina under my wing but secretly steal all the ideas from her head at the same time. I love finding fresh talent projects to dribble over.

Thanks Tine, your card cheered me up today :)

Love
Kirsty x
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27 Jan 2012

Spring is nearly sprung plus FREEBIE!

I'm still celebrating the onset of Spring and Letraset's limited edition Spring colour ProMarkers. They make me very happy during these dark wintry days. I want to share the love by offering you a free printable image and greeting to make this card below (you get three images and three greetings to cut out on one A4 sheet).

You just need to colour it in yourself; using your bestest and most fav-est ProMarker colours.

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You can download the cheeky little freebie HERE

**Machu Picchu update**
I want to add a MASSIVE thank you to those people who have upped my sponsorship total HERE. I have some AMAZING prizes on their way to make this into a raffle/sponsor collab. I WILL REACH MY TARGET. I WILL. I am determined to raise the money even if I have to sell the clothes on my back. My walking boots from Karrimor have arrived and will need "breaking in" so I am planning a few trips to the Lake District in the next few weeks. Plus Ive walking gear from Craghoppers on their way (check it - I got 70% off my walking goodies!). Its all becoming real. I could cry with emotion.
If you are a manufacturer/shop owner and would like to donate a prize - PLEASE email me HERE.

**Thank You**

Love
Kirsty x
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26 Jan 2012

Sneak a peek a poo

On Monday 30th Jan, at 5pm, I will be showcasing some gorgeous "New Today's" on QVC. When I received the top item of the show, yesterday, I admit I did a little jig in the style of a merry little weeble on a mission to not fall down.

So without further ado, here is a taste of just a few of the items/tools on offer:

You see this? Not only does it make a lush border buuuuuuuut........

You can chop the "petals" off to make this aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand


You can use the waste goes on to make this. But thats not all, the best is yet to come.

It most majestically makes this (the best thing about this tool!). Im so happy that I cannot stop clapping.

There is also some sparkly stuff going on


And delicious little accents

And fab borders and inks

Why not join me to see what else you might fancy. Im paired with Debbie Greenwood (I love her but not like - you know, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE her!). She totally puts me at ease.

Love
Kirsty x
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24 Jan 2012

Meet Ingalilly and FAB new ProMarkers

First of all - limited edition colours from Letraset ProMarker range!! All in delicious sorbets; perfect for spring. But get this, the 6 pack is not only a BEAUTIFUL addition to your existing collection of markers BUT its also a ready-to-go pack with a skin tone, hair tone and 4 other yummy colours to really play around with. So if you have been thinking of buying ProMarkers for a while now, why not start with this set?

This is what I came up with using my new digi stamp. Isn't she a puuuurty little thing?
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She is called Ingalilly and she will become a family of Swedish inspired folkart. I love her, I've become attached to her since she grew from my pencil.
You can buy her HERE, in a kit for £1.25 where she comes, zipped, in various sizes - both coloured and uncoloured. All you have to do is buy, download, unzip, select and print.
WHAM! Colour in! Done!

Love
Kirsty x
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22 Jan 2012

Daubing for Charity

I haven't made anything craft-wise for a few days because Ive been ploughing away at my tax return. Suffice to say its done and ready for inspection before I dig deep and cough up to the tax man. For a break, Belles and I went to the cinema together whilst Mark sat on his own in another part of the cinema; watching shoot-em-ups with blood and guts and brains flying around the screen. And tonight I vowed that after "Dancing on Ice", I'd slide into my craft room to erase all traces of tax and number crunching hell.

I was going to whip up a few cards for upcoming birthdays but instead I was lured by the call of my Jo Sonja's paints. It's not fully dry yet so it's not the best picture of it so far. Ive decided to call this artwork Sun through Crystal (imagine that the white hot of the sun is not a fried egg!). I'll probably auction it off to raise money for this HERE - I'm also going to sell a lot of my cards that I have made for various projects too to help bump up the funds or perhaps sell tickets and one winner can have the lot
**unsure; what do you think?**

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I'm paying for myself to go to Macchu Piccu (of course) and, as I'm going alone, Ive got to admit that I'm concerned that some tour guide is going to eat me on the jungle on my way to this amazing place. I believe they eat guinea pig out there so anything goes, right? Ive already decided that I will have no skin exposed in order that any potential bug crawlage will not be felt plus I'll have a hat on where no ticks/leaches/rats can make a nest out of my barnet.

Then I have to factor the 20 hours flight from London Heathrow to Madrid to Lima to Cusco (pukesvilles - plus you can guarantee I'll be sat next to random smelly man the entire trip). I also have this nagging feeling that when I get there, it will be cloudy and my photos will look like cack.

Ive done some amazing fund-raisers in my time but this one is not shifting. I've only raised £640 so far, see HERE (a heartfelt thank you to those who have helped so far!). To get some extra motion with it, I'll have to get a grand prize to lure you all in! Its for a great cause, a cause which we support in light of the problems that Ellie has - namely neuromuscular based issues, scoliosis, photophobia, a pervasive development disorder of sorts (we think a strain of aspergers/autism), muscle weakness, is failing to thrive plus she twitches involuntarily. Not a type of tourettes, more of a nerve thing - her limbs and torso jerk constantly. The specialists just can't pin down her condition to one general diagnosis which is so FRUSTRATING.

I digress! The charity we support is the National Gulf Veterans Family Association. It's an independent charity which gets absolutely NO support from the government or Help for Heroes (which I think is very very sad, considering they operate a 24 helpline and countless other services for veterans and their families of all wars since 1991).


Im not sure if you have read my beliefs before but I think Ellies problems stem from the NAPS tablets that Mark was subjected to when he was in the Gulf war (the first one - the high theatre one where he served front line with the Desert Rats). Most of his colleagues did not ingest their tablets when they were ordered to, choosing to put them in their mouths in front of their commander only to spit them out when they had left the "line-up"; in fear of what it would do to them (it turned out to be an investigative drug a number of years after they were forced to take them). Mark chose not to spit them out as he wasn't taking any chances should there have been a nerve agent attack - a double edged sword as he now recalls. God, its a right mess trying to explain it.

**For the record, I don't hold Mark accountable**

The government have not funded a project into researching this because, well, you know the government. And the NHS can't research it because the NHS are part of the same funding system as the MOD. You see what Im saying, don't you? This NAPS theory is not discounting the depleted uranium he was subjected, the course of 11 inoculations that were administered and subsequently "not recorded on his med records" and the toxins in the chemical warfare gasses he may have encountered during operations. Its quite a minefield to you readers, but to us its just us clinging onto a potential diagnosis for Ellie. In sum, the charity we are supporting are helping to build a case towards uncovering the gory details of our veterans mistreatment during gulf war 1.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Im going to start painting to raise money for charity! He heeeeeeee

Love
Kirsty x
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Looking forward to CHA 2012 releases

Im not going to CHA this year but it doesn't stop me drooling over the new releases. Ive not seen any Melissa Frances sneaks (boooo!) but Ive spied these babies from JUST Maya Road. Ive always loved the bare basics from Maya Road and these are going to be MINE!

Burlap - yummy!


which will make this thing of beauty:


Mini wooden rules

And these delightful spool end stamps

To fit these - swoon!

I wanted to add My Minds Eye new releases (especially the ones designed by Rhonna Farrer) but they wont let me use their images - so go and have a look HERE.

Im dribbling already, someone get me a cloth!


Love
Kirsty x
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20 Jan 2012

My inspiration

If I need to go somewhere other than the overloaded, scrambled heap of Pinterest - I go to these places below

(Click on the links and be transported to ultra divine inspiration)

For Journally/Doodly things

For true, organic photography


For cardmaking prettiness


For beautiful digital illustration

For colour inspiration

Ive shared my secrets, now you share yours

Love
Kirsty x
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18 Jan 2012

Bright and Beautiful

This brighter weather has left me a little chirrupy. Actually, a LOT chirrupy. Not sure if that's a word but I like the sound of it. Today, above all else, I was going to chirrup regardless of what may come.

Ahem. That was short lived. All I will say is that Belles had an appointment at Alderhey and it was as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike. Say no more, I haven't got the energy to regale you of the horrors of wasted hospital journeys. Poor kid.

Mark and I went for a run tonight (as we did last night, actch). To say it was like running at the North Pole is not short of a lie. I wrapped up minimally as I hate overheating during a run but I will say this - low profile ear warmers are a thing of beauty. I'm only doing my C25K again, from week 1 and between last night and tonight, we shaved 1min, 32secs off our run pace. I was elated. Obvs feel that fit that I could run a marathon tomorrow; providing I was a giant whose leg span was a mile wide stride, of course ;)

Tea consisted of rolled belly pork with stuffing. A guilt free reward for hammering all the pavements of Wigan in -17 centigrade. YUMS. I felt somewhat uncomfortable once The Biggest Loser started to which I sat with a diet coke to balance off the lard.

Finally I crafted two cards to end my eventful day. Ive 3 scrapbook pages on the go but no pictures to scrap with so Im praying my Snapfish order of 300 pics arrives soon. **sigh**

I dug out some sizzix shapes of new and old for this number



And the cuttlebug tags and sizzix handbag got an airing, circa 2008!


My weird but wonderful days always end on a crafting high or is that the excessive inhalation of PVA?

Love
Kirsty x
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17 Jan 2012

Love Birds

oooooh, swit swooooooo! A layout of mark and I....such rarity! BUT when you are given access-all-areas on Rhonna Farrers website, you can't but help pull the lovely-dovey pics from your photo stash and do justice to the BEAUTIFUL Kiss Me collection.... mwah mwah.

Now, there are approx 838267496048362538506845 people in the world who refuse to digi scrap. And I used to be one of those bajillions. BUT!!! Why I love it the most is because I can do it on my laptop whilst I'm sat with the family on a night and I can get it printed for DIRT cheap and pop it in my album without anyone thinking it was even digi anyway - SNEAKY!



You simply have to splurge on this kit. And if you can't/won't digi, try the printables which are equally as lush.

Go on, get mushy xx

PS: ONE PLACE LEFT ON MY ONLINE PHOTO COURSE -
WILL YOU BE THE LAST ?
(see posts below)

Love
Kirsty x
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15 Jan 2012

3 Spaces left! And some creative makes

YEEEP! I am so excited that those who booked on the course are actually on the course. Tee hee, that sounds a bit flipping stupid but I know lots of these people (maybe minus 3 - they are from the USA!) ....... crafting circles create grand ripples. Hope you are one of the lucky 3 kids to bag the last 3 spots on my Online DSLR Photog course (see details, 2 posts below!).

I have had two more ex-students emailing me with feed back on top of yesterdays volunteers:

Kathy Rogers: - One of Kathy's masterpieces
"I have owned an SLR for over 15 years and am embarrassed to say it never came out of automatic. That was until I spent a wonderful day with Kirsty, why did I wait so long?
Kirsty explained in simple terms how to improve the framing of my pictures and how to take my
camera out of automatic. The results speak for themselves, I 'throw away' less pictures and receive many complements from people that see them."


Ruth Hornby: - One of Ruths's masterpieces
"I can't recommend Kirsty's course highly enough. I went along with a little knowledge of my DSLR having previously picked up bits of information about aperture, shutter speed etc, but lacked the knowledge of how everything bolts together properly. After a very fun filled day with Kirsty I was linking all the elements together and more importantly understanding how to apply them in different situations. Most importantly it gave me the confidence to shoot fully manual all the time!

I drive a manual car, and now I can say I drive a manual camera!"


So today? Well, my parents are over which was an unscheduled event for this weekend. But I was so happy when my Dad called on Thursday to say they were coming. Such a treat. My Dad and Mark went Geocaching today (wasn't it a beautiful day?). And us girls went on a little shopping trip. I took Mum to our nearest (but not really local) craft shop. Its got all sorts of odd's and end's which I like to rifle through. We got chatting with the ladies in the shop (it's called Cardio, in Orrell) and both mum and I spied a card with a topiary tree made from split polystyrene-type balls. We loved it! Mum and I created our own versions of it it tonight in a little craft-a-thon whilst the boys watched the footy (yawn). Mum hasn't quite finished hers but here is mine, in all its pin pricking glory - those pins wrecked my fingers! Each pigging little blossom had to be curved with an embossing tool, then pin pricked and then jammed into the ball. Put it this way, if anyone asked me to make more than 3 in one go, I'd kill myself.

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I bought the cute blacky punchy thing in the middle of this poppy. Its not a poppy head per-se but when I saw the punch, I knew I had to have it JUST to make poppies. I mean, it would make a fab snowflake or starburst for a space scene but I much prefer it as a poppy head. I hand cut and rolled the petals and Im as pleased as punch with the results. Maybe its the blue background that just adds the appeal? **shrugs shoulders, as she trues to snigger at the puns of "punch" and (poppy) "appeal"**
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And finally, this card here. I bought the pear punch too. I just have this thing about pears, ever since Basic Grey brought out a pear paper from about 3 years ago (maybe more - 2008?) Its great for anniversary cards that are not rammed with flowers and hearts. Simple and clean; I don't normally do simple and clean either!
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And thats it, me old muckers.
Toodle pip for now x

Love
Kirsty x
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13 Jan 2012

Just a few spaces left!

Wow, what a surprise to wake up to so many spaces booked on my online DSLR photography course (see yesterdays blog post). If you haven't already and are toying with the notion, grab one of the last few spots before they all go, go, go!

Here are a few feedback quotes/Pics from some of my past students:

Lynn Anderson: - One of Lynn's works of art
"I had had my camera for over a year and it had never been off automatic. ONE day with Kirsty and I was shooting in manual and understood all those jargon words that had befuddled me before.
Kirsty's course is totally understandable, easy to follow and gets the results that you want. You will learn not only how to use your camera but about composition and lots of amazing hints and tips that only a professional knows.
My camera has never been in automatic since - highly recommended."


S Johnson: - One of Sarah's works of art
"Kirsty's no nonsense, plain English, non tech speak was exactly what I needed to to teach me how to transform my DSLR from a very expensive point and shoot camera into a tool to enable me to take the type of photographs I'd only ever dreamed of taking. Everything was explained to me in a way that I could understand and more importantly in a way that I could remember and put into practice when I got home afterwards! Excuse the pun but depth of field was such a blur to me beforehand but after Kirsty's straight forward explanation and demonstrations all become clear and very easy to understand. Thanks to Kirsty I now have the confidence to use my camera in the way it was intended to be used and achieve results I never imagined possible!"


Stephanie Openshaw:
"Well after shooting in Auto since getting my DSLR i thought it about time i really found out how to shoot in manual and what it all meant.i learnt more in that one day with you than i had at a few night classes with so much technical jargon it was baffling. I learnt about aperture and how it affects whats in focus, the best aperture for shooting people ( obviously not SHOOTING them).i learnt about shutter speed and freeze frame.How white balance works and what ISO means higher the number for darker situations etc. Learning before i take a picture to consider Aperture, white balance and ISO.I learnt about design principles and what makes for a pleasing picture.mostly though it was taught in my language and i had so much fun learning. And it didn't end there as help was on hand if i got stuck at all. Thank you again for a most enjoyable day you did make me laugh too"

Paul Browning:
"After a day with Kirsty, my camera is now permanently on it's manual setting. Never on automatic. For the first couple of hours of the one on one class, i struggled to take everything in and kept forgetting the stages of manual photography. But suddenly, with Kirsty's patience, something just clicked. It sunk in. And now, like driving, or riding a bike, it's in my subconscious. I point my camera, take a reading, apply the settings I want and click away. I hardly have to think about it. Since that day, photography has become more of a joy, as I love seeing the results of the improved quality of photographs I now take. ."


Lesley Sharpe: - One of Lesleys works of art
Kirsty's photography course turns you from an enthusiastic amateur to a semi professional in a few fun filled hours.


C Gardener: - One of Tina's works of art
What a wonderful day out.
I went along to Kirsty's photo course in the Gloucester area last year. I learnt more than i expected as it always looked so complicated. Kirsty made it sound so straight forward and it was very practical. I now know what aperture is all about, how to get depth of field, how and when to change the shutter speed and best of all the most effective picture composition. I very rarely use automatic now(only inside at night, haven't mastered that yet) and enjoy sharing my photos with others. I cant thank Kirsty enough for giving me some inspiration to use the camera properly. I would recommend anyone to give it a go.


For full details on how to book, do nip over to the blog post below before the spaces run out!

Love
Kirsty x
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