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Are You Ready To Take The Challenge??

Join Elliemook's November challenge for your chance to win shopping vouchers for our store! All the deets are here

Join our followers & be entered into a random prize drawing on December 1st. Check it out!!!

Monday, 30 July 2007

Flowers and Beads

That's what was in my design kit this month, I don't normally do flowers but this pink sheet was just calling me to use it. I spent ages worrying that this card is too simple and in some ways it is - a piece of the HOTP Vintage 12x12 Sarapapers, a tag, a ribbon from the HOTP Icy Rainbow collection and some beads from Craftime - was all it took to produce (oh and a peel off greeting from my stash and some ink round the edges of the pink paper). So I am now thinking that I need to add more to my next project, the ideas are already flowing so will have some more inspiration for you soon.........


... That's buy one, get one free to the unititiated & it starts in store today. We've run out of space for all the new goodies we've got coming in, so it's time for a big clearance. The Big BOGOF bonanza starts today, so if you are in the area pop in & bag a bargain. The new webshop has not been updated with these offers as yet - but if you do order anything that is on a BOGOF deal, we will do it automatically for you. And if it's not in the webshop yet, e-mail for more details.

Just for starters - BOGOF deals on: ALL American Crafts cardstock; ALL Peel Offs (including Christmas Designs); ALL MIC Toppers (including Christmas Designs); ALL English Paper Company 6x6, 12x12 & Border Strips pads AND ALL loose papers from the Siesta & Vanessa Arbuthnott Collections; ALL 3D Christmas Stickers.
That lot all goes on offer today (just as soon as I get in to work LOL) & then we will be adding another deal every day for as long as it takes!

There's still plenty of time to enter our first ever Design Team Challenge (we'll be playing along too!) & to submit for a place on our Design Team - imagine a bag of yummy stash to stroke every month - for free!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Challenge #1

Welcome to the first of our weekly challenges!

These will go live every Saturday evening, and the idea is that they will provide you with inspiration, challenge you to try something different (or perhaps re-visit something you haven't tried for a while) and perhaps take you out of your comfort zone a little! We'd also like to see what you come up with, so leave a comment on the challenge posts with a link to your creation on your blog/online gallery.

This weeks challenge is to create a Layout using just patterned paper and ribbon - and nothing else. No cardstock, brads, eyelets, buttons, chipboard shapes or any other type of embellishment. You can use tools such as punches and diecutting machines.

This Layout is a little idea to get you started. I used the HOTP vintage sarapapers and Cardmaker's Pretty ribbons. The title was cut with Ellison "twang" alphabet and the "&" was cut using the new HOTP Thinga-Ma-Jig template.

So, get out your papers and ribbons and get creative, and make sure you leave a comment on this post with a link to your creation.

Can't wait to see what you come up with - have fun!
Edited by The Guv 18:42 pm:
Just to say, you can still join in if you don't have a blog or gallery - just send your entry by e-mail & we'll add it to our new challenge gallery! What are you waiting for - go play!

Personal Shopper Kit Class

Tonight (Friday) we held the first of a brand new class. This is the Personal Shopper Kit Class & unsurprisingly, is only open to those who purchase the monthly scrapbooking kit. In this class, we tackle a double layout. As we usually have trouble finishing a single page in the two hours, there was always a fair chance that the double one would go home half done. But, it's not too much of a problem as the images are freely available on my gallery, and this blog too!
These kits are bursting with soooo many goodies that we are able to tackle something a bit more in depth than you'd get from a 'normal' class. We go through instructions for all the little elements (in this case, the envelope & journaling tags; photo pocket, chipboard embellishment etc) so that all the tricky bits are covered. Of course class members are always welcome to pop in or e-mail if they get stuck on anything when they get home. I really enjoyed doing this layout, which uses the July kit. It was very refreshing doing something for a class where I had soooo much stash to choose from LOL. Can't wait to do the next one!

Oh! And if you'd like a kit, you'll need to hurry - I have just three left (& at least three people that have made noises about having one!) - it's strictly first come first served!! E-mail for details, pop in to the shop or telephone us!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

It's Pink & It's Mine!

The new webshop, that is. Gandalf and I have been working on this since January & finally have found just the right software to create the webshop we want! It's not finished (can a website or webshop ever be truly finished??) but it's pink & it's mine - so it's ready to go online now! Check it out here! Over the next few days, weeks and months, I'll be adding new products and getting to grips with all the other features.
You can all get involved too! Simply create a log in profile (it's only your contact details - no financial information) & maybe write a review or two on any of the products that you have tried and liked! At the end of August, I'll pick a review at random to win a prize. So the more products you review, the more chances you will have to win! There is absolutely no obligation to purchase but if you have a look around, there are some brilliant bargains to be had (Deco Art Acrylic Paints at just £1.50 for starters!).
You can also sign up here to join our mailing list & get all the latest offers right in to your inbox!!
See you there!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

I Love Hot Off The Press!

Oh my! There are some exciting things going on at Hot Off The Press!

Fortunately, Paulette says I'm allowed to tell you all, which is just as well cuz I'm not much good with secrets LOL. The first is all about the Personal Shopper Scrapbooking monthly kits:
From September these will include a fabby DVD (plays on PC or DVD player) containing around 90 minutes with Paulette & Sara (who are my favourite ladies on the entire planet!!). The DVD takes you step by step through all the projects with tons of extra hints & tips. There'll be a new DVD every other month. And if that wasn't enough, the September issue also features the brand new 'Use 'Em ForAnything' Pastel Papers with 259 pastel Monograms, 200 pastel brads, 25 pastel flowers and some overlays and ribbons too.

It is only fair to warn you though, the current kit (July) has practically sold out since we took delivery 6 days ago (at the time of writing we have four spare kits). The only way to make sure we have a kit for you is to take out a subscription(to do so, e-mail me), the rest go on a first come first served basis.

You may have heard that we are exhibiting at Sandown Park in September 2007. The most exciting thing about that is that we will be launching a brand new kit from Hot Off The Press. The Stamps Only Club, does what it says on the tin! Every other month, our subscribers will receive a yummy set of Clear Acrylic Stamps & a fabby newsletter full of tempting projects to get the creative juices flowing. This is sooo hot off the press (geddit?) that the projects are not yet back from the photographers! And as it is all totally top secret (oops! I spilled the beans!) I don't have all the details to share yet. If you'd like to be kept informed, e-mail me & I'll tell all as soon as I know!

Oh! OK then! 1 little clue: the first set are Thinga-Ma-Jigs. Not the same as the Thinga-Ma-Jigs Template in this month's Personal Shopper Kit but another big bunch of cool ampersands, brackets, asterisks and other punctuation marks! Images range in size from 1/2" to 3 1/2". Total of 33 stamps.

Ooooh! I've said too much! Better go before I give away any other big secrets LOL

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Some Of Our Pics Are Missing!

Panic not!! both Looby & I have a couple of things entered elsewhere & the rules say we have to remove them from all blogs and galleries in the meantime - so that's what we're doing! The images will be restored later in the year - but we'll be adding lots of new ones before that (pretty soon you'll forget what's missing!!)

A welcome from me

This is the first time I have ever done this so hope it goes ok.............

I live in Dartford (just a short walk away from Crop 'Til You Drop) with my boyfriend of 10 years and 2 lovely children (Josh, age 3 and Megan, 1). I have been crafting now since September 2005 when I decided to make that years Christmas cards while on Maternity leave, since then I have dabbled in scrapbooking, ATCs, sarabinders and Decoupage. I am also one of Beverley's Saturday girls, which means lots of goody stroking to help me through those occasions when finances are short.

Are You Up For It?

As promised, here is all the information you need to apply for a place on the Crop ‘Til You Drop design team. Age & experience are less important than your passion for craft. I'd need a commitment for 3 months, although you could be invited to stay for longer. There is no pay as such but you would receive a kit of goodies each month & the chance to showcase your work.
Each DT member will be required to produce a minimum of:
1 layout, 2 cards, something else (binder, mini book, altered project, ATCs etc) & another project of your choice (can be another card, LO etc). These will need to be posted to this blog regularly throughout the month. I could be flexible about this, so if you don’t scrapbook or only make mini books you could still fill a place if it would make for a balanced and interesting team.
You will also be expected to take part in setting challenges for visitors to the blog & to post on this forum every couple of days.
This is quite a commitment, so please do think carefully about whether you have the time to take part before you apply. So, are you up for it?

If you'd like to be considered, please send:
  • 3 photos of your work - this can be cards, layouts or whatever but do send the pieces you consider to best represent what you do.
  • A set of simple instructions for one of the above
  • Full name, address, e-mail address, craft bio (fave techniques, craft info etc).
  • Please also include details of any previously published work, current DT commitments, links to your own public gallery or website if you have one & details of anything else you consider relevant e.g. if you don't scrapbook or only make mini books. Decisions are not made based on this info, it will just help me to pick a balanced team.
  • Please also give me a brief line or two about why you’d like a place on this Design Team (& do be honest – if you’re in it for the freebies (& who wouldn’t be), just say so LOL)
  • This must be sent by e-mail with DT Entry in the subject line as soon as possible and certainly no later than August 20th.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Our New Addition!

Sadly Louise Stevenson had to resign from the design team back in June. The new DT packs will be ready tomorrow & we have a guest designer joining us for the next month. A big welcome to ... Nina Brown!

And the really exciting news is: our next Design team competition starts very soon (like tomorrow) so watch this space for details!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Scrap Happens!

Here are a couple of the recent layouts I've been working on, both of which have been taught in classes. The first uses just one colour of cardstock (double sided, 2 sheets required) & A Muse stamps. The second, Papers by the English Paper Company & the new HOTP Thinga-Ma-Jigs template (which is included in the July HOTP personal shopper kit). I've included a list of materials to each if you'd like to create something similar.

1) Happy Summer 2006. I never get bored with scrapping photos of Fish (particularly before he had his gorgeous curls lopped off). For this layout, I masked off 3 standard size photo blocks & then stamped the background to provide a faux mat effect. The photos were added to the faux mats, corners, titles stems stamped next. For the date block, The background was stamped onto cardstock, numbers added & then the 'seaweed' border. Once the block was stuck in position, the grassy stems were stamped,overlapping the background & the edge of the date block. The seaweed is actually one of the stitch borders supplied in with the number set! The stamped corners were deliberately stamped a bit squiffy to add a less formal, childlike element to the layout. Materials: Stamps - lots of dots & lots of circles blocks, Happy Summer, photo corner, grassy stems, stems, stitched numbers clear stamp set (all by A Muse Artstamps); Inks - Olive Pastel, Lime Pastel, Dark Brown, Prussian Blue (All colorbox fluid chalk by Clearsnap); Cardstock - Double Dipped Ocean by Making Memories.

2) Make & Take: This layout uses lots of colour blocking layers of patterned paper, die cut title, Punctuation both cut from paper and drawn directly on to the layout from a template. The drawn elements are coloured in with Tombow brush pens, which allows the pattern to show through. Materials: Papers from the English Paper Company, Siesta Collection; Lilac textured cardstock (for base); Thinga-Ma-Jigs template (HOTP); Brush pens in black, light green & purple (Tombow); Black Fineliner (Pigma Micron, 0.5 mm); Sizzix Alpha & Green eyelets

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Backlogged Blog Candy

I have been sooo tardy at dishing out the blog candy - but it wasn't all a big con, I really am going to send it!

Here's the winners from all the free stuff posts (both from this blog & also from 'Crafty Moments'):

Guess how many A Muse stamps I own (posted Tuesday June 5th; Crafty Moments): ANSO picked at random using this random number generator. (I actually had 70 but it's a few more now LOL).

What's your favourite Strano ribbon? (posted Thursday June 21st; Crafty Moments): LOOBY & SJC. Both of you picked a favourite so I thought I'd send you both a little blog candy!! SJC, please e-mail me with your postal address! (Use the e-mail link in my profile on this site, Thanx)

Spot the Guv'nor (posted Tuesday June 19th; Blog 'Til You Drop): NINA goodies are waiting for you too!

Thanx everyone for your patience, new blog candy coming soon - so watch this space!!

A Whole Bunch Of A Mused Winners

Today's the day that we announced all the winners from the draws and competitions that have taken place over the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA week. On the one hand I am soooo glad that it's all over (I could do with a little rest LOL) but on the other it's sad that the excitement is all over - well, until next time, anyway! There have been spot prizes throughout the week as well as all the lucky ladies below - so... a big congratulations to
  • Donna Civelek from Crayford (Tuesday Draw Winner)
  • Jane Watson from Plumstead (Wednesday Draw Winner)
  • Mrs North from Darenth (Thursday Draw Winner)
  • Lydia Pantelli from Bexley (Friday Draw Winner)
  • Kalina Phillips from Dartford (Saturday Draw Winner)

You all win an A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA goody bag worth around £18.

More prizes too for ...

  • Sarah Taylor from Sutton At Hone who's number was picked by this random number generator as the winner of the A Muse card making competition. You win a bag full of Yummy Ribbons, kindly donated by Strano Designs.

We also put together all the free draw entries from the week and picked one last winner. Congratulations to...

  • Barbara Gorrod from Swanley. You win a set of 3 Marvy Matchables ink pads, kindly donated by Marvy Uchida.

I'd like to thank all the sponsors of A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA for providing so many excellent products & prizes to make our events a success. We all had soooo much fun that we can't wait to do it again next year!

And if you missed out, we still have some of the new A*Muse stamps & notecards in store. We also offer a telephone mail order service and if we don't have what you are looking for in stock, we will happily order in any of their designs for you. Why not check out the A*Muse website for images of all the current ranges (but you'll have to wait until the end of July for the newly launched products!!)

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Look Who's A Mused Now!

It is ... Sharon Collins, who travelled all the way from Southampton to join in the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA festivities (and stock up on A Muse goodies, of course!). How cool is that?? We were soooo impressed that it had to be worth an A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA goody bag, so it's just as well we kept a couple reserved for just such an occurrence! These goody bags are worth around £18 and packed full of A Muse & Clearsnap goodies - so you're really gonna kick yourself if you didn't visit & have a go at winning one!
Thanks for coming Sharon (and devoted husband, who's name we didn't ask - how rude of us LOL) it was lovely to meet you and hopefully you'll come to see us again one day.

Saturday's A Musement

It's been another long day at Crop 'Til You Drop. Today's festivities included another bunch of free make n takes and our 'ten tags' mini workshops. Check out what we made! And here's a piccie of Kirsty & Jackie as Nina helps them out with the 'Ten Tags' - they just can't get enough of A Muse!!
Watch this space for more
pics coming very soon!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Don't Hold Back on the A Musement!

Our regular Friday Classes took on an A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA twist today. First up, our usual card class became a 'five for a fiver' stamping extravaganza. Generally, we are lucky to get a couple of cards made in the two hours (but we do have a good laugh tho') so I was impressed that the ladies managed to complete all five with time to spare! Here's the photographic evidence!
The second class of the day was our Scrapbooking class - another regular fortnightly slot. Again we used A Muse stamps - the photo corner from the new collection, clear numerals that were new to us & a couple of the old favourite backgrounds. Our layouts are usually more scrappy than stampy - so it was a refreshing change to do something so stamp based. I think we might incorporate stamping a bit more often LOL. Here are the ladies hard at work!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Pokemon For Grown Ups!

Today's A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA event was an ATC workshop & swap. We had a short demonstration to show the newbies what it's all about & then spent a couple of fun hours making our own - with a selection of the new A Muse stamps of course!
I like to introduce the concept by saying that they are like Pokemon cards for grown ups - except you get to make them yourself. I alwaysget a buzz from teaching & it is really lovely when smiley, happy people say how much fun they've had as they leave!

As promised, there was cake, chocolate biscuits & A Muse lollipops. So here are today's pics: from the top 1) Jane does a swap for some of the ATCs I made as part of Design Challenge #10 over on the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA Blog before making today's batch 2) Jackie works on her first ever ATC and quickly becomes a paper craft addict 3) Kirsty & Rosemarie complete their Grand prize draw forms in the hopes of winning a whole year's worth of A Muse goodies!

Stay tuned for more pics tomorrow!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Something Else To A Muse You

July 9th was the official start of A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA & to kick it off, we hosted a VIP night. We just had sooo much fun. Due to a bunch of unforeseen circumstances, the new products only arrived a few short hours before so the whole event when live, unrehearsed! The make 'n' takes were as new to me as they were the ladies attending but we battled through & made them both with relative ease. As soon as everyone finished, the big question was 'Can we shop now?' Two lucky ladies won A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA goody bags (worth around £18 each) in our free draw & obviously everyone filled in the grand prize forms to win a year's worth of A Muse (how cool would that be???). Here's a little pic of a looby-pop (that's Looby with a lollipop).
There will be more free draws (& lollipops) all week long, so make sure you don't miss out! There are loads more chances to try out the new products in classes & in the free make n takes (Thursday & Saturday) AND don't forget that the only place in the whole of the UK that you can get a grand prize draw form - is right here, in person, at the shop! come along, we'd love to meet you!

Friday, 6 July 2007

I'm amused too!

OK, so I'm jumping on Beverley's bandwagon with the A Muse related titles LOL, but I have completely fallen in love with A Muse stamps!

I've been playing this week and have come up with these cards and ATCs.
The little vampire ATC (just HOW cute is he?!) was made using the HOTP masculine papers. The other ATC was made with the HOTP Personal Shopper (March 2007) and 2 A Muse stamps - "car load" and "ribbon" (which is so versatile).
The Happy Birthday card was made with the Present block stamp and a previous issue of Let's Make Cards! stuff. The other 3 cards all use the English Paper Company papers.
The "You've passed!" card involved a little bit of improvisation - I didn't have anything to mask off the presents, so had to strategically place the ink and didn't do it too well and ended up with a line - so I got my black pen out and turned it into a roof rack!

Hope to see lots of you at the various A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA events in store next week - I'll be the one with the big grin on my face, randomly grabbing at yummy stamps!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Secret Stash For My A Musement

See this box? It contains Top Secret Very Important Stash! I had to rescue it from Parcelforce, who were determined to send it back to the US (should be a law against that sort of behaviour LOL).
I can't tell you what's in it, you'll just have to book for the A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA VIP night on Monday (9th June, 7.30-10pm) to find out! Here's a clue though: Mmmmmmmmm!
Tickets are £10 & are worth a £12 credit to spend at the event. This needs to be booked in advance - telephone or pop in to the store for details.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

This Is A Musing

Have you seen this? It A Mused me LOL

Monday, 2 July 2007

HOTP A Muses Me Too!

You might have heard that I am currently taking part in a competition to win the title of A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA Ambassador 2007 (the first ever AP Ambassador, no less!) & that has given me the opportunity (or excuse) to make loys of fabby card using A Muse Artstamps range of stamps, cards & twinkles. Even better, I've been able to incorporate them with some of my fave products from lots of other ranges, freebies from magazines etc.
So, I thought I'd share a couple of images with you. Materials from the June 2007 Cardmaker's Personal Shopper kit & A Muse Artstamps:
Every Cardmaker's kit now contains a Christmas design to help us all prepare for the big event (it's the same day every year - why does it always come as such a big surprise to us LOL) & this month's fabby cool blues are just my sort of thing. I've added a die cut snowman (in pink sticky vellum) & die cut buckle. The sentiment is by A Muse & everything else (including the brads) were in the kit. The second card, again features a die cut buckle & A Muse sentiment - the ribbon is from stock but just check out the little butterfly brad - how sweet is that (there are several in the kit!) The ice cream card is again from the kit & has instructions to make a shaped card. Instead, I've used the sandy paper designed for the inside to make a bit of a beachy look. Again, the sentiment is by A Muse. The ribbon is from the citrus ribbons; circle clip by HOTP; brads from the Retro Embellish-abilities plus a couple of primary ones!