Exciting times…..

Exciting times…..

I know we’ve been quiet lately; but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy!

Kim and I have been somewhat surprised by the interest shown in the (numerous) albums we have had on display at the studio. We’ve been making various types, sizes in all different types of themed patterned papers for a number of years (quite a large number of years, if truth be told!). During this time Kim has also been designing digital papers and elements which she has then incorporated into physical projects as well as digital ones.

So, a plan was hatched; lots of calculations undertaken (by me; Kim ‘doesn’t do numbers’ – her words, not mine), prototypes developed; technological hiccups overcome; notes written up and lots and lots of designing…. And we’re almost ready to reveal the final product!

Kim is beavering away doing lots of digital designing and I’m busy cutting and sticking as you can see from the photo of my desk! I’m sure you will all have guessed what we’re up to…… but we’re not revealing all – just yet!

Just as an aside, we’ve both recently invested in a large bone folder by We R Memory Keepers (included in the photo) and it takes a lot of stress of our hands and fingers! We love them!

A busy week…….

Well, what a week! We delivered four workshops in three days and it feels like how things were before COVID…..

We’re aware that we haven’t been able to offer children’s workshops where we had different events on the mornings and then on the afternoons as we provided last summer. The need to completely strip the studio and disinfect throughout meant that it just wasn’t achievable; especially as we would’ve needed to drastically reduce numbers we could accommodate. We will be offering some children’s workshops during the October break so if you’re interested please book early to avoid disappointment.

So this week we have guided individuals to create unique mixed media canvasses, provided some desirable residences in the form of repurposed teapots for fairy’s and also decorated journals! As the last workshop finished rather late last night I popped into the studio this morning to do a thorough tidy up and clean, as it was so warm, had the window open; and, would you believe it, there was a huge gust of wind (and I mean HUGE) that was strong enough to blow an empty wine bottle and 5 glasses off the window sill and blow over two albums sat on a unit some distance from the window! It was really bizarre! The strange thing was the only items to break were the glasses that were underneath the wine bottle… The Powertex remained intact but the glass shattered; the wine bottle was also intact! So, more sweeping and then hoovering to ensure all shards of glass were removed.

Anyway, we now have a lovely clean, disinfected studio all ready for next week! Just my apron and various towels now to be put through the washing machine…

I then visited a friend to drop off a present and card for her birthday and left my windows open as the car was rather warm…… needless to say the heavens opened and I the car seats got soaked. I originally thought there were only light splodges on the drivers’ side but by the time I reached home two minutes later my nether regions were somewhat damp….

I wonder if there will be a third mishap today, I really shouldn’t tempt fate!

Well, here’s the thing…….

Well, here’s the thing…….

……we’re guessing that you enjoyed Kim’s FB live earlier today!

The first ever time we’ve showcased transparent Powertex (other than on the gorgeous statue Kim did last year) and we’ve only gone and sold the last of our stock of transparent Powertex! Don’t worry we will be ordering more and will let you know once we have it back on our shelves.

Don’t forget, that if any of your creations use transparent Powertex be sure to add a coat of Powertex Easy Varnish if they are destined to live outside!

Kim will post a photo of the finished plant pot holder once it’s dry. I only hope I can keep the plant alive……

The dreaded ‘C’ word……..

I don’t want anyone to get a shock so this post starts with a health warning…… BEWARE contents refers to Christmas (the dreaded ‘C’ word!)!!!

I tend to buy presents throughout the year when I see things that would be perfect for certain individuals and I love making Christmas cards (though I still haven’t found the missing 20 from last year….) as I do like to be prepared – especially as I don’t like shopping. Now, although I love the festive season but I don’t like it when the decorations are put up far too soon. I mean decorating your house in November just feels wrong to me! Anyway, each to their own, and I’m digressing as usual!

The reason I’m even mentioning Christmas (there’s only 150 days to go by the way) is that when we had some fellow Powertex Tutors for some creative play last week we started off the day with some papercrafting as Kim had an appointment before going on to create some fabulous canvases (which you’ve already seen). I decided to use some leftover scrapbooking papers by Maya Designs which had a distinctly vintage, festive flavour! I’ve just finished this little project and had a chuckle when I realised that the papers are from 2012! I bet I have some that are even older…… I just cannot bear to get rid of paper.

These mini albums are only 4” X 4” and have accordion pages but they can easily hold a dozen or so photos which is ideal to record a special celebration or an outing. I hope the others managed to finish their albums and would love to see the finished projects!

A playdate with friends!

A playdate with friends!

Don’t know about you but I don’t think there’s anything nicer than spending a miserable, damp day with fellow crafters creating some unique projects whilst nattering about everything under the sun!

Kim and I often have ‘development days’ where we look at creating pieces of art that are able to be delivered in a workshop (otherwise called ‘playing’) and we also have similar get-togethers with other Powertex Tutors. Today was just that…….

Kim had an appointment this morning so for a change I provided materials and equipment for us to make a little 4” X 4” accordion album. I’m keen to get people to actually get some of the many photos they have stored on various electronic devices printed and then put into albums. These memory albums can be shared and looked through with family and friends and actual verbal conversations entered into rather than individuals just silently sharing and liking these images in the ether!

Right, off my soapbox now!

We hadn’t been concentrating for long before the giggles set in and that just set the tone for the rest of the day! It’s lovely to share a creative space with like-minded people who don’t mind that you talk to yourself, you (very) occasionally get your words mixed up and can share embarrassing stories with.

When Kim was back from her appointment and fortified with coffee we started on our next project which was to be a canvas similar to my Asha canvas I created back in March just before lockdown. I love to see people put their own spin on an idea and then adapting a technique to create a unique piece of art.

The only times we were quiet were when we were either eating lunch (followed by some fab cakes brought in by Kim later in the afternoon) or concentrating! I swear you could actually hear the cogs turning……..

The photo shows three versions based on my original (middle, top) and I think they’re all FABULOUS – enunciated à la John Barrowman! The textures and colours really bring the canvases to life!

Thank you ladies for a brilliant day, wonderful company, some right laughs and all done whilst remaining socially distant!

So, what have we been up to?

So, what have we been up to?

I hope you’re all well and are still washing your hands regularly and have your face coverings ready for next week!

If you’re a regular reader you will realise that sometimes I (that’s me, Jane, rather than Kim) write rather long-winded posts…… and a customer recently told me that they really like the way I write as it’s like having me there with them and just having a conversation! I know I do go on, but if you get sick of reading you can always skip it! So, if you want to know what we’ve been up to, grab a cuppa and a biscuit….

You will have seen that we’ve been busy hosting family ‘bubble’ workshops which have been brilliant! It’s sooooo good to start getting back to a new normal. We’ve also been very busy, and I do mean ‘very’ busy, preparing to launch on-line workshops.

Since Kim and I started our little business I was happy to take on the financial responsibility – I do like detail – and it’s a lot easier than managing an annual budget that ran into millions like I did when I worked in the NHS! Kim’s expertise lies with the technology side of things so when we came to thoroughly investigate how to provide quality video tutorials and ensure we could supply various kits to enable customers to have all of the required materials to complete a project it became apparent that we needed not only a new website but some refreshing of existing skills and learning some new ones. Our backgrounds helped in understanding the different ways in which individuals ‘learn’ and we have carried out research into tutorials, on-line courses and Facebook lives to try to develop an approach that suits the majority of our customers and will be consistent across the numerous projects we want to offer you.

We’ve invested in a new website which Kim is building from the ground up ensuring it is secure and able to provide us with the functionality we need and is easy to navigate for our customers.

Amazingly we were given a grant from the Arts Council and BloominArt to cover some of the digital costs and to provide Kim’s training to up her skill-set in relation to our digital expansion. Doesn’t that sound posh? Anyway, the reason I’m explaining all of this is that at the beginning of lockdown when we originally were asked about providing on-line workshops we honestly didn’t think it would take so long to get off the ground nor did we envisage some of the frustrations we would come across!

Take the virtual workshops for example; trying to ensure the video tutorials are in the right orientation; not back to front; remain in focus and our actions stay in the frame are just some of the simple things to get right! My biggest challenge is keeping various body parts out of the shot! As our studio is in a shared building there are often unexpected loud noises which prevented us from using audio (unless we were happy to do numerous re-takes which isn’t ideal with Powertex) so Kim’s been doing voice-overs from home; but then you get ‘inconsiderate’ neighbours using very loud strimmers and lawnmowers at the most inconvenient times! Still, we like a challenge.

We know we’ll get better with experience but the practising is giving us loads of giggles; we’ll never be ‘film stars’ – we don’t want to be – we just want to do the best we can.

So, that’s what we’re up to; I’m sure you’ll agree we’ve not been sitting twiddling our thumbs but working hard to add a new element to our partnership.

We’ll keep you posted as to our progress.

Stay safe.