Thursday, 24 April 2014

People, People who need people............................

People who need people,
Are the luckiest people in the world
We're children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children
Lovers are very special people
They're the luckiest people in the world
With one person one very special person

A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half now you're whole
No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person who needs people
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world
With one person one very special person

No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person who needs people
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world

Above are the lyrics from a song sung by my favourite singer, Barbra Streisand who just happens to be celebrating her 72nd birthday today!

So when did the fascination/obsession start? Well I thought it started in 1989 when I attended the funeral of a family friend who was sadly killed in the Marchioness disaster on the river Thames - I was 17 - the funeral took place in a small chapel in a cemetery in South London. The chapel was packed and myself and my Dad together with lots of other mourners were outside listening on the speakers broadcasting the service outside. At the end of the service a song started to play, the voice blew me away. As my Dad drove me back home (my parents were divorced) I asked him if he knew what the song was and who was singing it - I still remember it as if it was yesterday, he turned to me, smiled and said the song was called People, the singer was Barbra Streisand and was a film called Funny Girl and to ask my Mum!

Anyway, after my Dad had dropped me off I asked my Mum about this singer called Barbra Streisand and the song called People.................... My Mum was a fan, apparently when she was pregnant with me the film, Funny Girl was on at the local cinema (it was originally released in the UK in 1969, but for some reason was showing again in 1972) and she saw in the cinema quite a few times (I think she went every night for a week!!!!) So I really became a fan before I was born!!!! 

I asked my Mum if she had any other music by this singer, so she went through her small record collection (vinyls and cassette tapes) and pulled out a few albums. I asked her if I could play them - I was totally hooked!!! Anyway, back then the normal record stores (Our Price and Woolworths) didn't really carry Barbra Streisand albums, but there was this little old record shop just off Rye Lane in Peckham (where we lived) called Reeves who was able to order in USA imports and non-standard artists - so I saved my months pocket money and I purchased the Soundtrack to Funny Girl - The Original Cast Recording from Broadway (the film soundtrack was really hard to get hold of back then). That is when my collection started, I can now say that I am the proud owner of every single Streisand album on CD and a few on vinyl.

In 1993 she decided to do a world tour, the first time she had performed a concert to the public since 1967 (the concert she did in 1967 was called "A Happening in Central Park" and was a free!) she received death threats prior to her performance which gave her stage fright and made her forget some of the words to her songs and so she gave up doing concerts. At the time I was working in Dulwich and I overheard one of the top guys talking about a Streisand concert and that he was hoping to get tickets - I asked if he would be able to get me 2 tickets. He said that he would do his best, but thought that each person booking tickets would only be able to purchase 2 and he was taking his wife. Anyway, I can't describe my feelings when he told me a few weeks later that he had managed to get me 2 tickets - the tickets were £105 each! (His tickets were £250 each!) So, on the day of the concert, I took the afternoon off work, borrowed a friends car (my car would not have made it to Wembley Arena) and set off early to make sure we arrived in plenty of time! Wembley Arena was buzzing, our seats were amazing, we were 2 rows away from where the seats were £250 - we took out seats and watched all the famous stars arriving. The lights dimmed, the overture started, the stage was set (stunning set!) and then a spotlight appeared on the balcony of the set, the curtain parted and there she was, The Barbra Streisand - she opened with As if We Never Said Goodbye, from Sunset Boulevard. She sang the song and then received a 15 minute standing ovation.

Anyway, in July 2007 she came back - this time I spent a large sum of money for 2 more tickets to see her in Dublin - we were 8 rows from the front. I then saw her twice more at the O2 in London. She then came back again in 2013 and I saw her once more at the O2 in London.

My collection is vast, from music, to books, mugs and other memorabilia, from fun to quirky!

When my Mum passed away suddenly in 2012, I knew exactly what song was going to be played at the funeral, "People"...................................................... when I listen to this song now, I have so many mixed emotions, just writing this blog has been hard as I knew where it was going to end.....................................

But I want to end it on a happier note, another reason for todays blog, was to introduce you to a very, very, very talented artist who I came across on Facebook via the lovely and super talented Katy Mills, the artist is Sarah Mauchline, this young lady has so much talent, I have been blown away by her work. Anyway, I contacted her and asked her if she would do some pieces for me - I sent her some images and she gave me a quote. I gave her the go ahead just before Easter and this evening she contacted me on Facebook and asked if she could share what she had done so far with 2 of the 3 images - I will let you decide for yourself 

She has told me that the 3rd one is almost finished and she will be posting all 3 out to me next week, which I will then get framed. 

If you are looking for some amazing artwork, of your family, pets, favourite actor/actress, singer or whoever else, then you can contact Sarah via her website HERE

This blog post could have gone on for pages and pages and pages, but time is ticking away and I have to be up for work at 4am tomorrow, so I bid you all goodnight.

Paul xxx

Monday, 21 April 2014

A day of samples.....................

Yesterday I was showing you what I had made using Martha Stewart Clay & the various Katy Sue Designs Cake Decorating moulds ready for my demo/workshop at Pantiles Papertole, Books, Crafts & Games in Tunbridge Wells. Today I turned them into some toppers using a few Spellbinders dies, it is amazing how they frame the small pieces of artwork and make them look so elegant:

The other day I was given a bag of Cloud Clay, once I managed to get it out of the packaging, I found it to be be very wet, sticky and stretchy, the complete opposite of the Martha Stewart Clay. I tried it in the moulds and was not impressed, as I tried removing it from the moulds it lost all it's shape, so I put it back into an airtight box and put it to one side. Anyway, this morning I contacted the lovely Kathryn Sturrock who appears on Create & Craft and works her magic with both the Martha Stewart Clay and the Cloud Clay via Facebook and asked if she had any suggestions on how to use the Cloud Clay in the moulds. Her suggestion was simple and effective - basically all I had to do was to take out the amount of Cloud Clay I wanted to use and leave it out of the box for about half an hour, therefore drying it out slightly - it worked perfectly! Here is a pic of some of the embellishments using the Cloud Clay:

So, once I finished playing with the clay, it was time to finish off the samples using the Fabulous Fellas range of products.

Here are some samples I have made, I am pleased to say that they were all cut out using my new toy, the Cut N Scan which meant that I could make more than normal!

I love the fact that you can personalise your cards like I have on this one

If you are local to Tunbridge Wells on Saturday 26th, why not pop in and say hello! The demo is from 9.30am until midday and is free and the workshop is 1pm until 3.30pm and costs £20 - for more information, you can contact the shop on 01892 618191

If you can't make it to Tunbridge Wells, then you can get all of the products as follows:

Katy Sue Designs Cake Decorating Moulds from the website HERE
Fabulous Fellas from the Flower Soft website HERE
Martha Stewart Clay & Cloud Clay from Oyster Stamps HERE

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Clay Day!!!

So today I have been busy prepping for my demo/workshop at my local craft shop Pantiles Papertole, Books & Games in Tunbridge Wells on Saturday 26th April 2014.

The shop is a real mix of items, an Aladdins Cave of goodies - crafts, books, prints, games, coffee supplies, old fashioned sweets - a perfect combination for most crafters!

I will be using products from the Katy Sue Designs including the Fabulous Fellas CD Rom and stamps as well as the massive range of silicone moulds which can be used for both card making and cake making. Now I love to make cakes when I get the time, but I don't decorate them, as I end up eating them before they have cooled! Here is a batch I made a few weeks back

Anyway, today I have been playing with Martha Stewart Clay and the Katy Sue Designs moulds
 Domed Alphabet
 Domed Alphabet
 Bunting Alphabet
 Elegant Hearts
 Lace Heart & Elegant Hearts
 Oval Cameo & Frame 1 and Oval Cameo & Frame 2
 Oval Cameo & Frame 1
 Oval Cameo & Frame 2
 Afternoon Tea

When using the Martha Stewart Clay, I have found that once you have put it into the mould, leave it to one side for about 5 minutes before removing it, then place it on some folded kitchen roll - this allows some of the moisture to be absorbed. I then tend to leave them on a radiator overnight. If you are in a rush, you can use a heat gun on a low speed - however, because the clay is so light, be prepared to chase it around your workspace!!!!!!

Next I moved onto the flower moulds

This uses the Little Flowers mould, the flowers on the left is how they come out of the mould, but I used the PME Tools to flatten and mould the petals and as you can see it makes them bigger and changes them (I saw the lovely Noreen McKie do this on the TV!)

Here they are in a bit more detail

I used the PME rolling pin to roll out some green Martha Stewart Clay and then used the Rose Leaf Cutter to cut out the leaf shapes and then used some of the tools to create the veins on them

Imagine how amazing these would be made out of sugar paste and used to embellish your cakes - for more inspiration on how to use the moulds in cake decorating, check out the following:
  • Katy Sue Designs Cake Decorating Website HERE
  • Katy Sue Designs Cake Decorating on Facebook HERE
Or why not purchase the DVD with some great tutorials HERE

All of the products used/talked about here are available from the Katy Sue Designs Cake Decorating website HERE with the exception of the Martha Stewart Clay

Once I have finished making all my samples I will do another Blog post! But before I go, here are some samples I have made previously

Happy Crafting!

Paul x

Saturday, 19 April 2014

My new toy!

Okay, so on my Blog post the other night I teased you about a new toy that I was getting. Well I popped over to Oyster Stamps in Rochester and collected it!

Say hello to my new toy

I have been watching and reading about this machine for some time now, the biggest selling point for me was to be able to scan and then cut, just like it says on the box!! 

What did I get in the box?
  • The machine
  • Low tack adhesive mat 12" x 12"
  • Standard mat 12" x 12"
  • Standard cut blade holder & blade
  • Deep cut blade holder & blade
  • Iron-on fabric applique contact sheet
  • High tack adhesive fabric support sheet
  • Pen holder
  • 6 different colour pens
  • 2 different erasable pens
  • Spatula
  • Stylus
  • Accessory Bag
Anyway, when I collected my machine, I had a quick play - I didn't read any of the instructions (I am a man afterall!!!) got it to draw out a name and then cut it out - the result, rubbish! This was mainly because I was using a brand new mat and I worked to close to the edge! First lesson learnt!!!!

Anyway, when I got home I printed off some sheets from the Fabulous Fellas CD Rom, scanned it in and asked it to cut, here are some pics:

The first design I chose, was fairly simple, so I wanted to test it a bit more

As you can see it did a really good job - am I happy? Oh yes! This is going to save me so much time when making samples and prepping for demos/workshops. Don't get me wrong, I love cutting out the old fashioned way with scissors or a knife, but when you are up against the clock, this is going to be so handy!

Here is a video of it doing the cutting out:

How quick was that!

I know that the machine can do so much more, I just need to find the time to play, but in the mean time, it does exactly what I need it to do!

Happy Crafting

Paul x

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Easter Bank Holiday Weekend!

So, the nice long Bank Holiday Weekend is fast approaching and I am hoping that this lovely weather we have been having down south continues. I have 2 big plans for the weekend and the weather will be the deciding factor!

Friday morning, I am popping over to Rochester to to see my lovely friend Martine from Oyster Stamps to collect my new "toy", have a coffee and a bit of a crafty catchup! Friday afternoon will probably involve an afternoon nap and then a good playing session with the new "toy" - I am not going to reveal what it is until I have had a play and I can show you something I have made with it!

Saturday morning I will be popping over to see another lovely friend, well 2 lovely friends Barbara & Dave to have a coffee, collect some stencils and maybe do some planning for the Clarity Retreat Treat to France! The Clarity Design Team are all off to France for a weeks break at the start of May - a group of around 20 very talented crafters and me and Dave! I am sure it is going to be great fun! I am hoping that we have some good weather too as it will be nice to go out and explore - I have a very expensive and lovely camera that I purchased about 5 years ago and have never really used it so I am hoping to put it through its paces and bore you all with some fab pics!

If the weather stays dry, the the big plan is to empty out the craft studio - the craft studio sounds posh doesn't it, but basically it was a garage at the end of the garden that was converted into a craft studio as a place to work and store my crafty stash - well lets just say that the stash has taken over and I can barely get into it as it has also become a bit of a dumping room as well. So in order to tidy/reorganise it, I need to weather to be dry so that I can put everything in the garden, sort it out and then put some of it back! If the weather is true to form for a Bank Holiday and it is wet, then the other big plan is to do some stripping -take your minds out of the gutter, I mean of the wallpaper kind of stripping!

So that is the big plan for the weekend - check back next week to find out if it was plan A or plan B or plan C which is do nothing!

I can't post a Blog without any pics, so here is a pic of my 2 furry friends chilling out!

Happy crafting!

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Another week has flown by, I have no idea where time is going at the moment!

I just want to say a big thank you for all your lovely comments on here and Facebook about one of my Clarity samples that was shown on TV last weekend

I did say that I was going to Blog a step-by-step on how I made the card, but Barbara asked if she could do it instead, so if you want to see how to recreate my "Happy Accident", then check out Barbara's Blog HERE

I have a confession to make, I have not crafted for over a week! It seems very strange, but as I have no samples to make, or any prep for TV, demo or workshops until the end of the month I have taken the time to chill out! The downside of this is that I have felt very tired and a couple of evenings was sound asleep by 9pm! So this week, I think I will do some crafting!

On Saturday I popped along to the Big Stamp & Scrapbooking Show at Ally Pally - I still find it strange walking around the retail shows and not working, but it is nice to be able to stand and watch other talented crafters demo! I spent a lovely hour or so watching the very talented Leandra Franich the owner of PaperArtsy and also talented Linda Brown. I have known Linda, Mark and Linda for many years from attending various retail shows, but never had a chance to watch them create there magic! As a result I ended up purchasing a few items!

Check out the website HERE

Whilst watching my selling instincts cut in and ended handing out a few baskets to some of the customers who were struggling the carry all there purchases!

I spent a few hours walking the show, chatting and having a general catchup with lots of lovely crafters who are also friends! Obviously I had to stop by the Clarity stand - to say it was busy was an understatement! Barbara was working her magic at one end of the stand and the lovely Jo Rice was working her magic at the other end, with Dave & Jayne manning the tills and Chloe doing her best to restock the dwindling products!!! I popped off to get them such much needed refreshments, and then dived in to give them a hand - I didn't do any demoing, but I helped on the tills for a while to give Dave & Jayne a 5 minute much needed break and also helped some of the crafters with there purchases!

Last week I told you about a workshop I attended as a pupil run by my lovely friend, Martine Smith who works for Oyster Stamps. Martine is also a Design Team Member for Heartfelt Creations and I just had to share one of her samples that she has made for the latest release of Heartfelt products

You can check out more of Martine's stunning samples on her Blog HERE

Well that's enough for today, time is running away again!

Happy Crafting

Paul x

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The past few week since my last blog post has been just a bit busy! 

The weekend after my trip to the NEC I was at Dragons Paper Crafts in Rugby run by the lovely Hazel & Paul helping them celebrate there 2nd birthday. I had such a great day playing with Gentle Blends, Buff It & Glitter Paste from Pinflair. Here are some pics from the day:
 L to R : Me, Hazel & Paul

This was at the end of a very long and enjoyable day!

The following week was strange, back in November I was havingtrouble sleeping and was waking at 3am/4am so I was getting up and going to work - the first train out of Tunbridge Wells is at 5.20am which meant that I was getting in the office between 6.30am and 7.00am. This carried on through to January by which time my body clock had adapted so it has carried on - last week I think it finally caught up with me and I felt totally drained! On Thursday evening I was in bed by 7.30pm - did it make a difference? Nope, I felt just as drained on Friday morning when the alarm went off at 4am!

Anyway, last week was also time to make samples for the Clarity TV Show - sometimes I pick up a stamp or print off some stuff from a CD and look at it and think "what the hell am I going to do with that!" last week was one of those weeks! I picked up the stamps, I put them down, I picked them up again and put them down again! So out came the A4 copy paper, black ink pad and I stamped them out randomly to see if anything jumped out! Well lets just say that the Dolphins jumped off the page and straight in the bin!!! I think there was more paper in the bin than there was on my work space!

For some reason, April is a quiet month in relation to demos/workshops for me - maybe because of Easter being in the middle of the month. Anyway, I had a free Saturday, so thought I would pop over to Oyster Stamps in Rochester to see my lovely friend Martine. I emailed her to check that she was going to be around and was delighted to hear that she was running a workshop, so I booked myself in! It is strange being a pupil and not a tutor, but with crafting, you are always learning whether you are the teacher or the pupil as people can be given the same products, but come up with something completely different! This style of crafting is not normally what I would do, but sometimes, change is good as a rest - so they say!

This was my effort, all made from 1 sheet of 12x12 Heartfelt Creations paper, 1 sheet of A4 vellum for the flowers and 1 sheet of A4 white card

This is what some of the ladies on the workshop came up with:

This is what I came up with for the Clarity samples - I was not exactly happy with the result, especially when I see what the rest of the design team come up with!

This one is very basic, but incorporated my love of pattern building 

This was my favourite - I love the fact that you can bend the words from the word chain sets

This design was popular with lots of the design team and I obviously had to use the new Tangle stencil!

Plain and simple, quick and easy

This card was a happy accident - it was not what I had planned! I loved the technique that Barbara had used on her blog with masking tape to create texture - the original plan was that the technique was going to be used on the tag to create ocean waves and for the dolphin to come splashing out! As you can see, not a dolphin in sight! Once I had added the colour, it looked more like hills that an ocean so I had a look at the other stamps and this was the result!

I really liked the outcome, so I think I will do a step by step on my blog later in the week!

Happy Crafting

Paul x