I am often intrigued when people buy things from my shop. No more so than the polystyrene cones. What are they doing with them?

One lady who bought some of the cones, Tricia Carter, sent me this picture of her finished cones. She has been making them for 25 years, and buys long stemmed glasses from charity shops and shaves the bottom of the cones to fit in the glasses. She then attaches Quality Street and one tin makes 3 trees. I thought that this was a brillinat idea and so effective as table centre pieces for special occasions.

We went to the auction at Billingshurst yesterday and today as I had seen online some bits and bobs that I wanted for shop window displays. Of course the actual items that I wanted came up second so rather than lose them I also bid on the two items that came up first. And as they say, Murphys Law, I got both lots. The chair I really liked was the red one and the orangier coloured pram. Both the prams had these ugly little dolls, poor things,  in them. The chairs are 49cm high and the prams are 36cm. The prams were £10 and £15 each and I couldn't belive my luck. I also wanted a little rocking horse but they old sold for upwards of £180 and that was just a tad too expensive lol.

As I couldn't get a rocking horse I consoled myself with this gorgeous little steam driven car. It is in remarkable condition and still has the original box. I think it was made around the mid 70's so it is older than some of you lol

I have just signed a lease on a little shop in Polegate near to my home.

 I had hoped that it would all have been sorted before now but it was a Taxi Office and he has moved to larger and grander premises, and the probem was it British Telecom as he needed a new phone system installed in his new premises. It was supposed to have taken 6 weeks but it has dragged on and is more like 3 months.

I hope to get the keys, officially, by the end of the week and then it will be all systems go with the paint brush and screwdrivers. I have order the fittings, arranged a new phone line and insurance, so I have spent the day on the phone and internet.

When I am open I hope that you will come along for a browse and a cup of coffee and biscuit.

I will keep you updated as we go along.

Wish me luck please
No not the snow. That all melted in the rain yesterday thank goodness. :)

This is this weeks special offer. Half price American Crafts Thickers. You can see what we have available here. On some of the designs we only have 1 left so be quick and grab a bargain before it is too late. Here is a picture of just one of the Thickers available.

This weeks special offer is on these gorgeous little Prima embellishments called Sultan and Raja centres. I think that they were originally intended as flower centres but they will stand alone on other projects. In a variety of colours there are 10 to a pack and at only £1.13 they won't break the bank if you give them as stocking fillers or advent presents.

Do you remember The Elephant Parade in London recently? Well these would work beautifully on any elephant layouts.

If anyone has any other ideas as to what they could be used for would love to hear your suggestions
The supplies for these layouts are all available from Cardinal Colours. Pop over to the Scrapology Blog to take part in this month's challenge.

Next challenge due to be published on 6th December.
I thought it was time I started to clear some old stock out of the shop so I am intending to do a Weekly Special offer.

This week it is the Prima e-line Flowers. So if you want to replenish your stock, or have some bargains to put in Christmas Stockings, Advent Calendars or Secret Santas pop along to the shop and p-p-p-pick up a bargain. The offer only lasts till Sunday of each week. Here is the link

I am so pleased that our next Retreat is nearly a sell out. The majority of people who came this year have re-booked - and some are bringing along a friend.

For those who don't know about it we are having our second Retreat again in sunny Eastbourne, on the South Coast . This time it is a different hotel. the York House Hotel but which is right on the seafront as before.

The cost of the weekend which runs from Friday afternoon 16 September 2011 to Sunday afternoon 18 September 2011 is £299 per person.

For this you will get a single room (or twin if you prefer to share with a friend), 2 evening meals, 2 breakfasts, 2 jacket potato lunches and tea and coffee. You will also have a choice of 3 workshops, all kits supplied, (if there are any spaces you will be able to do extra workshops at a£10 each) either scrapbooking or cardmaking. We will also have Make and Takes going on throughout the weekend, or if you prefer to 'do your own thing' then you will have a cropping table where you can work until you are too tired to do any more.

There will also be a raffle on Saturday evening with some fabulous prizes.

Once again Lynn, Linda and Anita will be taking the Make and Takes and will also be doing some workshops. Zoe Pierson will also be holding some card making classes. Everyione seemed to love her classes last time so we thought we could brave it and ask her to come back again.

Angie will be teaching also and we are hoping that Karen Burniston will design another workshop for us. And we are hoping to get sarah-Jane Dowsaett and Laura Buckingham to teach again.

So for a fun filled and informative weekend why not join us at the York House Hotel, in Eastbourne on Friday 16 September 2011

You can find out more about the hotel here
Well if you are a follower of the Scrapology Blog it is. The November challenge is 'E' is for Embellishments

If you follow this link you will find details of the November scraplift, which is using your own made embellishments, and if Cindy Schneider, who produced the original layout, chooses your entry you will win these ProMarker pens.

 ProMarkers are all the rage just now and Lynn on Scrapology has posted about them with a few suggestions for the colours for beginners. I keep meaning to try these but I am not good at colouring in and I don't enjoy stamping, but seeing the beautiful card creations that some of the girls come up with I am rather tempted to try. Maybe I could win the starter set of ProMarkers lol.

It doesn't cost you anything to enter. Just email your entry to Lynn, it tells you how to go about it on the blog, and she will upload it for you. And you never know, you might be the proud owner of some ProMarker pens.

If you don't already know about it you can find the Scrapology blog here. Ideas and inspiration and if you have a problem with either scrapbooking or cardmaking, one of the talented Design Team will be on hand to answer your questions. If you have something that you would like answered in depth then contact Lynn and she will do a post about is, just as she has for the ProMarkers.
Well we must be. We have arranged another Retreat for next year and Anita, Lynn and Linda have  volunteered, well with a bit of gentle persuasion, to help with it.

So it will be at the York House Hotel, a Best Western hotel, in Eastbourne and again on the seafront, from Friday 16 September 2011 to Sunday 18 September 2011. basically the same format as this year but hopefully with some improvements. We have listened and read peoples comments and have tried to implement their requests.

The price is higher this year unfortunately and will be £299 per person. If you are interested you can find more details on our website

Here is a picture of the hotel that I got from the website.

I am not a fan of cupcakes in any shape or form but in May of this year I went to Debden with some friends for the weekend and Lynn gave us each a cupcake pin cushion that she had knitted. She is a very talented lady in more ways than one and her sewing skills are to be envied too.

Anyway in October when I went again to Debden with another group of friends, I am well travelled you know lol, Liz and I called in at Costco and spotted this cupcake stand. She persuaded me to buy it, thanks Liz :) and so I emailed Lynn and asked for a copy of the cupcake pattern. I have been spending every spare minute this week knitting. It has been years since I did any and it took me a while to get back into it but so far I have come up with these. I have had to shelve the last few for a few days as I have worn a hole in my finger and it is quite painful.

Daughter Angie saw them and decided she wanted to do some so we trotted along to the wool shop and kitted her out. When I asked the next day if she had started it seems my 2 granddaughters have taken half of the wool each and are knitting them. You have started a trend Lyn.

Here are my efforts so far.

mmm looking at the photos it seems I ought to put them in the cases a bit better. They seem a bit lopsided. Maybe thats why they need a circle of cardboard in the base of each cupcake case. Back to the drawing board lol
Well it is not so much that it needs you but you need it:)  You can win a prize each month by scraplifting the sketch and entering your layout in the competition. It is open to everyone and there is just a short while left to enter this month. There don't seem to be many entries this month so you could be the lucky winner if Lyn Bierman, who designed the page, picks your layout as the winner.

This months lucky winner will recieve  this About A Girl Collection pack from Fancy Pants

Pop on over to Scrapology and enter your layout. As the blog gets more established there will be articles on different techniques and a little bird tells me that next months is something you may all want to try.
Over on the Scrapology Blog thay are offering some gorgeous Christmas Blog Candy. To be in with a chance to win some all you have to do is become a follower of the blog and put a link to your own blog if you have one.

Here is the Christmas Blog Candy. What are you waiting for. Go on over to the Scrapology Blog NOW (as that irritating little man says on the replacement window advert lol) The winner will be announced on the 22 October, Friday evening.

Each month there is a scraplift challenge, also with a chance to win a prize. This month it is  a Fancy Pants Collection called 'About A Girl'. Last date for uploading your layout is 29 October so you have a couple of weeks to come up with a stunning layout and a chance to win the papers. Just go to the Scrapolgy Blog and scroll down for details.

Good Luck
This is the last of the things that I did at Debden. Three Christmas tress made from 2 sizes of  polystyrene cones. The bottom of the cones were cut off and painted and a few microbeads sprinkled over them. Some wooden dowel for the trunks and the rest of the cone covered in circles of patterned paper and various Christmas embellishments and stickles.

Another thing that I did at the weekend was decorate this Advent Calendar. They are plain white cardboard but of a sturdy construction, and I painted the outside pink and added some stickles to give a bit of glitter. I used some old Making memories paints that I have had for years but you could use any of the acrylic paint tester pots found in DIY stores. The inside consists of 24 little boxes with no 24 being larger. I painted these, and then put some patterned paper on the front and added some embellishments. Everything from the box, to the paper to the embellishements are available in the shop.

I went away at the weekend with some of the Sunday croppers to Debden. A nice break where I could wind down from the Retreat and just do my own thing with no interruptions. I have been somewhat involved with things and had no time to organise myself so I decided I would make things instead of the usual cardmaking and scrapbooking. Here is one of the things that I made. A wooden birdhouse which I painted, stamped and finished with a Prima Songbird Vine

If you feel the need to make one everything can be found in the shop
The lovely, serene Lynn, another of my friends, demonstrated the Cricut at the Retreat and did some Make and takes using the' Sweet Treats' Cartridge

Here are a few examples that she made.

The Cherry Cake card

Boxes of Cakes

The Cup Cake Card

Lynn teaching the Cricut Make and Take

At the Retreat Linda demonstrated the Cuttlebug Machine. She used the Cuttlebug  Butterfly Cutting and Embossing die and each person made a card using the machine. Linda made some examples to show what could be done and here are some ofthe pretty cards that she made.  

Those of you who didn't attend our retreat will have missed out on one of Anita's Make and Takes. I think everyone was absolutely enthralled with them and the smiles that I saw when they were being made were testimony to Anita's skill in putting colours together. Or maybe you didn't get chance to take part because of class committments.

This was the Bag Charm Make and Take. I have a few examples for you to see below and if you did miss out, or even if you didn't and would like some more, Anita sells them, and extremely reasonably priced in my opinion. They make wonderful stocking fillers, tree presents, or maybe a different gift for the teacher at the end of term. You can hang them on your bag, phone, purse, or anywhere that has a suitable attachment. You can contact Anita through her blog if you would like to know what charms she has to offer :) (oooh that sounds cheeky doesn't it) The larger one was a gift from Anita that I have hanging on my handbag.


Goodness how quickly the time flew. Everyone was so nice and I have had some lovely comments. At the bottom of this I will post an email I received today from Debbie.The photos are not in any particular order as I still haven't come to terms with this new computer.

Now for the Oscars:

I would just like to thank my helpers Anita, Lynn and Linda who were invaluable throughout the weekend and put such a lot of effort into making the event  run as smoothly as possible. Also the teachers who made the workshops fun, Sarah-Jane, Laura, mad Zoe, daughter Angie who cut her teaching teeth on the Karen Burniston Pop Up Purse Mini Album, and Jane. Also thanks to a visitor from the US, Marj Marion, who volunteered to demonstrate the Dream weaver Stencils.

But most of all thank you to all of you lovely ladies who put your faith in me and paid your hard earned cash to a new and untried Retreat

This was taken with the Bandstand in the background

This was in one of the workshop rooms

The evening meal

The old fashioned lift together with old fashioned couple

Linda was the very worthy winner of the Cricut raffle

Everyone has put up a picture of the pier and this one is mine

Richard desperately tried to control everyone and in the end just took some pictures. As you can see this is with the pier in the background

This is the email from Debbie:

Hi Jill

I just wanted to write to say a big thank you for the weekend retreat.  Firstly, I owe you an apology as I got your name wrong a couple of times over the weekend but I will just put that down to excitement and the fact that I was trying to remember lots of names!  Sorry.

This was my first retreat but what a retreat to cut my teeth on.  It can only be described as superb.  I had the best time and there was nothing I could fault on the content of the crafting.  The only problem was that, once I saw what was being made in classes, I wanted to do them all!  The make and takes were as good as the lessons and the things we made on them were amazing.  Anita was a fantastic teacher as were SJ, Angela, Laura and the lady who made the flowers for the cards.  I will never look at faux roses in the same way now I have learnt how to make them.  I am amazed when I look at the card we made with the roses and can't believe I made them myself.

The little touches were appreciated and having things like plenty of rubbish bags, sweeties in the rooms (what a gorgeous touch) and having everything we needed in our bags just made things perfect. 

The hotel was a little tatty but was mostly clean and tidy and served the purpose.  It was handy having the rooms for different classes and having the scrapping room where the make and takes took place.

Would you please pass on my thanks to everyone who taught on this retreat as they did a sterling job.  They were all lovely and I felt that nothing was too much trouble for them.  I was never made to feel as though I was slow or silly whatever I asked or at whatever pace I went.  Whatever was requested was there within minutes and I can only imagine what feat of organisation it took as the whole weekend went smoothly without any hitches (unless it was rather like a swan where you see it fly off gracefully but their little legs are working like a piston engine under the water!!).

Please take this as my written intent to attend next year (just thought I had better get that in quickly after looking on the UKS thread) and I am thoroughly looking forward to it. 

Please apologise to poor Anita as I badgered her so much over the weekend to run another jewellery class so I could make my brad earrings - I promise not to do so next time (mind you - it depends on what she is making next time!!!!).

A massive THANK YOU Jill for all your efforts and work towards making it the best weekend I have had for some time.

Tomorrow is the day of the Retreat. This has been in the planning stages since February but now the time is upon us I am just so nervous.

The hotel rang yesterday with a few problems which I have to sort out tomorrow at 9 am. Cutting it a bit fine isn't it.

Still hopefully the weather will hold and we will have a happy weekend.

I have seen a couple of the workshop projects and I am sure that you will love them when you see them too.

So to everyone who is coming along  let's get loaded and on our way

Here's to a good weekend.
                                               *LOOK*  *LOOK*  *LOOK*

The brilliant new inspirational blog, Scrapology - Adventures in Scrapbooking,   is offering a prize each month for the layout voted the best scraplift. And this month it is this Craft Mates  Embellishment Caddy.

The August scraplift is entitled 'A is for Aperture', and when you see the layout all will become obvious. It is based on a layout by Design Team member, Anita Macdonald,  and she will have the unenvious job of choosing the winnner this month.

So take a look at the blog and get your thinking caps on and submit your layout to be in with a chance to win.

At the crop last weekend there was talk of Jane Gill's flower class and the delicious Chocolate Fridge Cake that she bought along. There was some speculation about how it was made and how to get the recipe and then I remembered my late sister-in-law, Rita's, Tiffin. I contacted Rachel, who has the recipe, and went to Tesco this morning and got the ingredients and made some Tiffin.

Here is the recipe if you would like to try it girls.

Melt 4 oz butter or marg, together with 2 oz drinking chocolate, 2 tbsp golden syrup and 2 tbsp condensed milk. Stir well until combined. Crush, but not too finely, 8 oz Rich Tea biscuits in a large bowl and pour the chocolate mix over and stir well till the biscuits are coated. Press into a square tin. Melt 8oz milk chocolate and then swirl over the biscuit base. Put in a fridge till set, cut into sqaures and then indulge yourself, but be warned - it is seriously sweet.
Well that is Scrapology- adventures in scrapbooking. This is a new inspirational blog set up by lovely Lynn Cooper and Linda Fitzsimmons and will be launched on Monday. She has a real a coup in recruiting some amazing designers for her Design Team. Each month she will provide a sketch from a scraplift and bloggers will be invited to submit their uplift from  the sketch. This month, August, it is from a layout by Anita Macdonald and here is my take on her layout. (I hope this is OK to show this beforehand, Lynn) The picture is quite small as I am still trying to get to grips with this new computer. *groan*

Oh and I mustn't forget here is the way to the Scrapology blog


I have spent most of the day putting on the site the ProMarkers that came in today - all 148 of them.

It would probably have taken less time if I hadn't spent someof the time trying to get pictures downloaded. In the end I just had to settle for the colour chart lol. And now I have a numb situpon lol

If you need to add to your colour colelction please do take a browse around the site. The ProMarkers are in colour collections and you can see them here

Well everything bad is blamed on Mercury being in Retrograde amongst a group of my friends - but this doesn't happen till 20 August so it seems, so I am dreading that day coming round.

My computer hard drive has been playing up for a good few months and last Friday it locked up so I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new one. I hated Vista and couldn''t get on with it so it was passed to Richard but now Windows 7 is here, all singing and dancing. Trouble is I am well and truly fixed in the dark ages where computers are concerned so I had no idea how to transfer the data from the old XP to the Windows 7.

I contacted someone I know and he said it would take a couple of hours so on Monday morning he arrived at 9am as arranged. Eventually he left at 6pm and I was beginning to think I ought to make a bed up for him. He couldn't get the router to work so we went and bought a new one. Then he said my old printer wan't compatible with Windows 7 so I couldn't print orders etc. I told him I needed to keep all of the stuff in my email folders as they were suppliers log ins and also messages I needed to keep for the teachers requirements for the Retreat. Well they are lost and gone. And all of my photos are gone. And Richards computer won't pick up the signal to get on to the Internet etc etc. At 6pm my man left with the hard drive on the floor, empty boxes strewn about and cables going everywhere.

So on Monday evening we went to PC World and bought a new printer, which I mamnaged to install, all by myself, lol, on Tuesday morning. I also managed to reconnect all of the cables to the right places and put the hard drive on my desk in its proper place. Well I did put the phone internet cable back in the wrong connection but after half an hour and a bit of ripe language I sussed out what I had done wrong. I have faffed around but I can't find any of the stuff I needed to be kept.

Today Rachel told me that a man had come to her work place and fixed their computer so I contacted him and explained the situation and he will be along at 11 am on Monday, hopefully to retreive all of the data and get me back on course again.

I am now verging on  Can anything else go wrong?

I hate computers.
Just as we were about to leave for a London trip yesterday we noticed 3 woodpeckers digging along the lawn at the side of the path. I rushed to get the camera out and of course had the wrong lens on but managed to get this picture before they flew away. Its not a very good picture but the only one I have she says sadly. I think they must be parents with a youngster. Anyone any other ideas?

On Saturday Jane Gill came here to teach a class on making the Punch Art Flowers.

I would like to thanks everyone for supporting the class, Anthea, Carol, Sy, Karen, Lynne, Carol, Sarah, Willy, Pat and Lynn and Linda and not forgetting Liz who turned up late as usual lol.

I didn't get to make any flowers as I was tea lady for the day but I sat and watched everyone at work, and as I had taken Jane's class before it reminded me of how much I enjoyed it. As someone said it would have been nice to have made a card using some of the flowers but I think this was a workshop to get you used to the technique of flower making and to make you see what can be done with the everyday punches that you may have in your collection.

Jane has said that if we are interested she will do another workshop, making more flowers or making some and making a card if we would like, so if you are interested in doing it all again let me know.

She will also be teaching 3 classes  at our Seaside Retreat in September and I have also asked if she could do a Make and Take or two as well.

As I said I didn't make any flowers but Linda has made some beautiful examples and you can see them on her blog  I have also just seen Lynn's blog and she has also posted her selection of flowers together with some of the cards that Jane brought along as examples. Have a look at Lynn's blog too. Both she and Linda do some inspirational work.

You can also see Jane's work on her blog
After the sad demise of the blackbirds in the garage ( I don't know what happened to them but they disappeared overnight) a Swallow has built a nest right at the top of the garage out of reach. I first noticed it a couple of weeks ago and only then because of the mess down the side of the car lol. I watched the parents flying in and out and last Wednesday there was a little bird on the floor. Quite cold and dead. Then on Thursday after Anita's evening class and I was saying goodbye to her I noticed another one in exactly the same spot. Again the poor little thing was dead. Then on Friday morning there was a third one, but this time it was alive. I thought about trying to get it back in the nest but Richard said there was no way we could get up to the nest so I picked it up and found a little box for it which I lined and popped it on top of the car. The parents must have been feeding it because it survived the night. On Saturday morning it was in the middle of the car park and as we had Jane Gill's cclass I was concerned that it would get squashed by a car reversing in. So again I picked it up and put it in the box. As the sun shone on it I could see what beautful colours were developing in its wings. It is always difficult to know what to do for the best. Maybe I should have left it to take its chance but it was obviously not ready to fly. Again the parents were feeding it but sadly when I looked on Sunday morning it was dead. Life is so cruel at times.

After the layout of Anita Dobson I finally found a bit of enthusiasm to do the Brian May layout. I find it so difficult to do things for other people and put things off till the last minute. And Helen was getting a bit impatient. lol

Again its the DCWV Rock Star papers, a bit of bling, some snaps and photo anchors and some Prima flowers. I don't find it easy to do masculine layouts having a family of girls. I got Richard to paint and crackle the frame as I thought he ought to suffer too. And he did. lol  here is the final result.

Following on from the Brian May post I have completed the layout of Anita Dobson. Basically red and black with some bling it is a simple layout.  The pattern paper was from a DCWV stack and the swirls were Prima crystals. Red and black layered flowers with brad centres. I bought a box frame which was a natural wood colour and I wasn't that keen on it so I painted it white, put a layer of crackle glaze on the white, let it dry and then put a coat of black paint on top to produce the crackle effect. I finished off with a coat of varnish I found in a tin in the shed lol. Here is the result. Its not a good photo as I kept getting glare from the glass so I had to take it at an odd angle - but you get the idea.

I just hope that Helen likes it.

Well these two Basic Grey collections have arrived - 2 weeks before the expected date. That has to be a first lol.

I don't know how they keep churning out these collections but I have to say some of the papers are reminicent of older collections. But again these are double sided papers which does give an option.

Oliver is mostly dark reds, blues and greens witha couple of the papers with trains on it and others with monkeys and other cartoony animals and plaids, stripes and dots.

Olivia is pinks and greens and blues. Quite flowery but again with stripes and dots.

 I only now stock the collection packs as lack of room limits what I can stock But if you are interested in them and you haven't already got yours you can find them on the site. Just look in Whats new for speed lol
Several years ago, after a holiday in Madeira, I bought a Strelitzia plant (Bird of Paradise) as I was so taken with them on the island as they were everywhere. I put it in the conservatory but to my disappointment  it never did much until last year when it produced a flower. This year it has produced 3 flowers and I am over the moon. Sadly the flowers don't last that long and they seem to be secreting a sticky substance as if they are crying - but they are still beautiful

Richard had to go and look at a job in Kent during the week so we thought we would carry on and go to Howletts Park. I like Port Lympne much better, but it was very quiet as we got there in the early afternoon and we could have been the only people there as we saw very few pweople.
There wasn't a lot to photograph but I did get these pictures of a little baby elephant. She was so cute.
We went to our local restaurant last Wednesday and Anita Dobson came in. She was appearing at the Devonshire Theatre. Helen, the owner, was beside herself and said to Richard 'Look, It's Angie' 'Angie who?' Angie from Eastenders' Richard said he would be nmore impressed if it was Brian May. lol Anyway she is really tiny, not as big as she appears on TV.

The next night we were fast asleep when the phone rang at 11pm. It was Helen saying that Brian May was in the restaurant with Anita Dobson and would we like to come for coffee with them. We declined politely but the next morning she said that she had Brian May's autograph for Richard.

He found an old photo frame and I downloaded a picture of Brian May and gave him some cardstock and he chose a paper from the DCWV Rockstar pack and with a little bit of guidance came up with this. I think he was quite pleased with his achievement. Perhaps a scrapping convert after all of these years?

The downside is that we took it to show Helen and she wants me to do some for her as she has signed photographs.