Sunday, 30 November 2008

Christmas Starts Here!

Well Christmas is well and truly under way for our household.

It is hard to think about Christmas until Ben has had his birthday and we have celebrated that this week. Then on Saturday we were able to go as a family to the lighting up event.

Ben was Bertie Beaver last year and he was hoping someone else would do the job this year. Someone was found but they were not well at the last minute and Ben agreed to step in at late notice. At least this year he knew what to expect.

He was as popular as ever with the younger children, however we did get stood next to a couple of youngsters who were not keen on such large furry things but by the end of Once in Royal David's City they were playing with his tail and had to be persuaded to be more gentle.

The other "Star" this year was a girl from the same school who has been in a film recently she was very good and spoke well when it was her turn to speak. Ben of course didn't have to speak just wave a lot and nod his head

Once he was changed and back to normal we walked back through the town to have some tea. We decided to go for fish and chips at a local shop which is always a treat. I am so proud of him when he does this job, everyone seems very pleased with him and always asks if he will do it again next year. It makes me such a proud Mum. It was great that Martin could come along to watch as before he has been left looking after the shop when I have been involved in the sorting out the Children's competition.

After our meal we went back into the town to look at the lights, I haven't been as involved this year and somehow they looked really special.

Christmas can really get started now and this week I hope to get the decorations up around the house and I am having a couple of crafting sessions one with Hazel and one with Denese. I really want to get some new drawings finished and organise some new stamps ready for the new catalogue in February.

By the way I have just about got the new website sorted if not finished pop along and watch what I have been doing, another job this week is double the number of pages on there, hmm I'm going to be busy then.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

I am back

Well we are back from the NEC I can't rest yet though. I am busy trying to get work completed for a couple of magazine submissions PLUS and the real hard bit for me GET THE NEW WEBSITE SORTED.

Why is this hard? because as always I am doing this myself (something about needing to be in control of everything and thinking no one else understands what I am trying to achieve).

The problem arises because I do something and it doesn't always work straight away (you get notes like this COULD take up to 72 hours), which anyone who knows me will realise I don't do now wait for up to 72 hours, when computer doesn't respond immediately I click again and again...I KNOW!! it doesn't help but I can't stop myself.

I have tried getting my IT co-ordinator to do more but he turns 16 next week so he is very busy resting up. To be fair he was at the NEC with us and even did a bit of painting for me at the demo table, if anyone saw him I hope you know how proud I am off him what it took for him to do that. I have been trying unsucessfully to upload photos for the last two days but then if was too easy it wouldn't be a challenge would it.

You can check out my work at

this is a new address and EVENTUALLY this site should be available from either address ( but it could be up to 72 hours!!!!!)

It has been made on a template and you will spot some content (mainly images) that have nothing to do with Oak House Studio and when I have finally sorted out uploading images I will substitute more photos that mean something.....

in the mean time here is a card to keep you going.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Sorry and big Thank Yous

Sorry I haven't been blogging recently, things have been more hectic than usual. Just to make sure I eventually slowed down I managed to have a fall and do some damage to my foot and knee, mainly my left leg but my right leg is pretty sore too. This has meant a lot of my commitments have been left undone SORRY!

It has also meant I have had to rely on others even more this last few weeks. So I have some huge Thank You to send round
Firstly to Karen who took me to the hospital and stayed with me whilst everything was sorted. To Jane who took over the sewing part of my job list. To Elisa and Elaine who took over some sample making. To Martin and Ben who have driven, cooked, washed and generally nursed me.

It has left me desperately trying to sort out the internet situation and could be changing anyday now. If there is nothing coming up at this our usual address check out

As soon as I have thing settled with the website I will send out emails to everyone to let them know and will probably add on some great offers too.

If you are coming to the NEC I should be there on stand L09 I will be the one with a left foot that is a very interesting colour propped up under the demo table!! Pleas ecome and see me as I am not likely to be doing much trotting around the show myself.


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

sweet sixteen

This is a very moody and grainy photo of Elaine and I aged 16. She included it in a BIA book she made for my birthday. I was going to write about how life seemed very straight forward for me at that age. My brother had got married the year before following leaving college to become a teacher. Here I was just about to start my A level and go on to be a teacher ( training at the same college). I expected I would leave college and get married, I expected to live the sort of life my parents and the rest of my family lead. I didn't expect it to happen the next day but I just presumed it would all happen.
However much I could at that point, imagine Elaine and I still being friends and creating a design business that included us both, I don't think I could imagine being as old as I am now, and probably as old as my parents are in the picture ( I have edited them out).
Just as I logged on to blogger to add this post, my son came upstairs and popped into my office to see what I was up to, it came as shock to realise he is just months away from being the age I was here. Having teenage children didn't come into my imagined life either, I guess I always wanted children but who sets out in life to have teenagers?
Having said that I have a son I am very proud of and if anything he is the grown up in our relationship. I do have trouble accepting how responsible he is, but if I think how I was in this picture, on this holiday I guess he is grown up now.

I guess in the long term we are best not knowing what the future has in store for us but if only we knew some of it.

Like many people since I took up scrapbooking I want to re run my life and get some photos for the scrapbooks, but perhaps it is just as well!! Oh and Elaine not many more photos to go now, Did I tell you I have bought a slide scanner so I may have a new stock soon!

Monday, 6 October 2008

old passions

Those who have known me any length of time will know one of my early passions was volleyball. I see this sport as the ulitmate sport for all, we play indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer, all ages and sexes can play on the same court if the competition isn't too serious.

I began playing on caravan rallies in the early 70's and went on to play at college and after when I first started teaching. I qualified as a referre in 1976 and subsequently reffed matched up to divison one, and lined or scored at over 40 international matches.

I kept playing in various forms until we opened our first shop, At that point I was 42 and playing against people half my age, that said more about the team I played in than me, my husband still plays this glorious game and last night I turned out to watch their first game of the season. As chairman of this newly formed club, I thought I should turn out in case I was needed to score etc.

I did my usual diplomacy bit greeting the away team and liasing with the refs, until the game started when I found myself on the bench shouting out advice!! hopefully I didn't upset our young stars too much. It was an untidy game but our team won and we went to the pub to "bond". more matches to come this season and I am not sure what my role will be but it has awaken my old feeling for this marvellous game which gave me a social life for years and found me my husband....another long story

Here is a picture of me from them old days taken in 1975. Elaine and I are on the front row far right. We were playing for Nottinghamshire in a final against North Lancs. The guy immediately behind us is called Paul. He lives in Essex but Elaine and I bump into him most spring bank holidays at the same event. We came second by the way, which I think was the way of things for many years.

Friday, 3 October 2008


Papercraft Essentials hit the news stand yesterday, with a free stamping supplement....and there I am on page 16!

the story behind this whole page is quite a long one, so here are a few edited highlights. I after struggling to decide if to do Christmas or something more general, I went with floral frames as they are very versatile, only to discover very late the booklet had a Christmas theme and had re submit on a very short time frame. I had to send the advertising copy three times not change to the words just a bit more on the image side,

I got two proofs back weeks later with only a day or so to return and I looked at the new layouts and thought great.

Imagine how sick I felt when I proudly showed Martin the project in print for him to tell the advert has the wrong website address!!!

So if you know anyone trying to find us at apollo-studio.....PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD the items can be bought at

For those of you interested in the technical details I created the co ordinating papers using glimmer mists, in olive green and hollyberry red. You could use two paper from a Christmas collection or you could paint your parcels.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Who am I?

I ask this question in the vain hope of starting some sort of debate.
In the world of craft how easy is it to draw a line between the crafters and the suppliers, Especially those people in the front line of craft.
On Holiday I will visit craft shops everywhere and always find some thing I want to buy, because I when not at work I craft...among other things. At shows I always seem to buy, and judging by the people who come to our stand so do other exhibitors. Many Crafters also sell a few cards or spilt supplies with friends.

Since I finished working a shop I have spent more time looking at and joining in on the forums. They are now my main contact with the crafters out there. I enjoy being able to pass on the help and advice we gave freely in the shop to people on line. In doing so am I advertising? well probably just a bit, but it is not noticeable in how much money we take. I probably spend far too much of my time surfing the forums and posting replies, which would give a better return concentrating on the huge list of jobs I have, but I like the contact, to know what people are thinking about which are the best shows to attend and what the food is like when we get there.

At shows I have a number of friends who have helped get through the day, helped unload the van and set up, done a bit of demoing whilst I go the loo or have a drink. Not for money just to support a friend and be involved in a hobby we all love. Are they to be considered part of a shop??

should I only post cards I have made with other peoples stamps?
When you have made a card with a new stamp or new technique to do you want to show others what you have done? I certainly do, and when I have had the idea for the stamp, drawn it, electronically "cleaned" that image, finally got Andy to make it the right size to emboss and not loose definition, do I want to shout and show people, do I feel some sense of pride? you bet I do!
So should I be embarassed to say this what I do on a forum, or just asking forum friends to look what I made?
On this blog I tell you about what we products we have coming out, can you imagine how much work goes in get new stamps or other products to the market, how long it takes from idea to saying here it is because we are selling it is it wrong to shout about what we have achieved? I was talking to someone who sells products on one of the TV channels last month and they said it took 12 months to get a recent product ready to take to TV so it not just me.
This week I have had to spend my evenings designing (making) boxes and other packaging.
So am I a Crafter?? or just a shop? am I shop at all? is the blog a shop?

Your comments PLEASE!!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Craft Shows this weekend

We are going to be at Artstamps Wales this Saturday at Wrexham. we have also decided at late notice to support the Show in Hull at KC stadium. If you need details of the hull show they are here

The show is open from 10am till 4pm
Free parking ,disabled friendly
And refreshments available£4 adults £3 conn
Many stands from all over the country
Make and takes plus Workshops
And a free prize draw for a goodie bag worth over £50

Hope to see and speak to as many people there as possible


Tuesday, 2 September 2008

My Holiday

A few of you will know I was planning to get away with the family and some friends over the Bank Holiday, I had a couple of days out the week before and I got home on the Tuesday afternoon all peaceful and relaxed ready to start packing in ernest to be greeted by Martin saying the holiday was cancelled and could I get hold our friends who were already camping in teh Lake District to let them know.
A quick chat with Martin and we realised that we should invite our friend sto come to our house instead. We duely rang Elaine and her family and told them the news and made the offer and gave them time to think about it.
So there I was Wednesday morning instead of having two days to sort out and pack teh caravan, I had two days to sort out the house and clear a space in the graden for their caravan. Now I keep telling people how bad the house is at the moment and they all smile but I am not sure they realise how much it has been at the bottom of my list
So here I was no excuses it had to be done and it had to be done now! everyone pitched in and we got there or at least we got done what we needed to do.
We had a great few days together and I got a good start to catching up with the house. But now I have to get back down to some work!
Ben is back to school tomorrow and I have promised myself a day in the office sat in my chair crossing jobs off. Then we have to get packed to go to Wrexham on Saturday to the Artstamps show
If you are going to be there please say hello

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


I have been back to thinking about Christmas, someone asked me on Monday how I could think about Christmas designs at this time, I made the usual jokes about about putting carols on and breaking out the mince pies. I didn't even try to explain that actually I felt like I had done Christmas and busy trying to get my head round Mothers Day. I think I am just going to have to tell myself there are two events that share the same name, Christmas for designing and making samples and a Christmas to enjoy with the family. This is when we get our main break from work.
Like most women I am going through the usual guilt of school holidays, do I get on on with works so much to do, despite clearing the decks, a few unexpected opportunities have come my way. Do I catch up with Housework, (highly unlikely). Do I spend quality time with my son (15) or do I just rest?? I usually mange to all these things in some part but not enough to feel I have done some thing useful. I guess this year is worse than ever because my timetable is so flexible. So now I have to decide what to do and when.

We have booked some shows for the Autumn so that is going to be hectic. Wrexham and Alexandra Palace to kick off September.

Well off now to play at doing housework and then of to the warehouse to look in boxes for some things I can no longer locate. Maybe I can make some cards later.


Saturday, 2 August 2008

Summer Days

It has been a weird week. Not as manic as last week with all the packing, but still lots of things buzzing in my head about the future.
Just so you know I am still crafting here is a card I made during the demos at Newbury Artstamps
Our next show is Artstamps Wales in Wrexham in early September
just to give you an insight into this card
6" x12" piece of white linen card folded in half to make card base.
Background was created using three shades of glimmer mist on to glossy card stock.
The centre piece is a 2" square stampbord, the background was created with three shades of blue ink from the versacolour range, then some ink lifted by stamping with a clean hessian stamp.
once this is really dry I inked up a clematis tower stamp with veramark and laid the stampbord on to the stamp., then added midnight sparkle embossing powder.
Those who have seen a few of my cards will recognise that is a set of shapes I like to use.
especially the 2" stampbord on a 6" square card. then using square mats. I do get more adventurous but this does work over again, and I was being watched so maybe not the time to try something new.
Unfortunately the glimmer of the background and the shimmer of the glitter card mat do not show up on the photo let alone the midnight sparkle, best seen in the flesh so to speak, Hopefully you will see at a show in the autumn.
In view of a few health worries we are not doing as many shows as we first planned so that means we have dates available for demos and visits to clubs. If you have a craft club, event or shop you think would appreciate a visit from Oak House Studio then email me to see if we can fit a visit in.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

busy busy busy

I am a desperately trying to get samples together and pack to go to Newbury Racecourse for the Artstamps show there.

Andy is having a problem or two getting the stamp order ready, so haven't been able to start packaging that. I have to get the dog to some different kennels to the ones we usually use although we have been there before and I need to get some embossing powders packed

I am off out tonight to the opening of a new shop The Beverley Hat Shop so I have actually finished a card

very simple but I have used the lined stamp and
acrylic paints to make the band
and the poinsettia stamp to make the flowers

what do you think?

first card I have got finished off in week and I am giving it away tonight! I am making another one, I have got as far glueing the beads to flower centres they should be dry by the time I get make from the unit and packing and my trip to the kennels.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Christmas starts here

We are a little behind were I would like to be with the Christmas stamps but I thought I would share with you one set I am excited about. They are coming into production slowly and you might think I would be used to this slow pace by now but when the ideas have been buzzing round your head for weeks well months really and some of them are ones I didn't get done last year!! I know, but where does the time go.

Anyway this is a set I have been calling "build you own poinsettia" I am not sure what we will call it when it eventually hits the catalogue. It should be in production next week and goes on sale from 1st August but we hope to have them ready for the charity Craft Day on 19th July at Woodmansey Village Hall...more details

The set consist of three different sized leaves or bracts. I have just stamped up a side of inexpensive red A4 and embossed in gold a selection of the shapes. I cut them out and then grouped them together using a piece of scrap card for a base and some powder pritt for adhesive.

I am sure I could use all sorts of subtle colouring using shades of red and green but here is a first go using basic red card.

I have used all three sizes on the large one and just the smaller two for the little one.

I think they will be great on cards, presents gift bags, crackers, table decorations etc......guess what theme we will be having this year...we also have wait for it ....... ...... three other poisettia stamps NEW this year plus the ones from previous years....
oh yes, break out the green and red. I know what I am doing this Christmas....

Friday, 4 July 2008

now I am inspired

I spent a couple of days this week with Glenda, Lynn and the rest of the team from Elusive Images. it was actually just two days. I set off Monday morning and was back early evening on Tuesday but it felt like a week. Lots of other people there I knew, Like Lynn and Nicki from Flutterby Crafts and Gillian from Stamp to your Arts Content.
Gillian is from a company that makes stamps in a place very near where I was born and it is always nice to see her. She is always full of tips and always willing to share, a true crafter.
Lynn and Nicki are girls I have met at Stitches over the years. I am really looking forward to going down to the Artstamps Show at Newbury so we can get together again (watch out Newbury) As I had gone along on my own this time Lynn and Nicki looked after me ( a lot!!) well done girls
Another face I was very pleased to see was Craole Ingram. Carole works for another well know stamper Paddy!, but we met when she came along to demonstrate Elusive Images at the Craft Place in Beverley a couple of year ago. We met again recently when she visited our stand at Post Sunlight Stamp Show. Carole is another real Crafter, and I was lucky enough to have her in the same group as Gillian and myself. So lots of inspiration there.
but that is only 4 out of 40 people on the "retreat". Everyone attending had lots to offer and I made more new friends.
Then we had The Elusive Images team headed up by Glenda and Lynn. Add into this mix 4 big tables groaning with Elusive Images products, super food including homemade biscuits in the breaks, and the most fantastic setting.

How much more can one girl take? well it not over yet, we had a lovely good bag for attending full of Eluisve Images stamps. Spot prizes through the two days, a trip to the warehouse to bag some bargins and a shopping list of excellent new products. I just can't wait for mine to arrive. I have bought lots of glimmer mists so if you are going to see us at the scrappers Charity day ( check out ) or at Artstamps Newbury then you might just be able to get some glimmer mists or tinkabella inks for yourself!! You may interested to know I donated several of the stamp sets from My goody Bag to the Charity Craft Day, so go look at Beverley Scrappers Blog to find out how you could win them for yourself!!!
Sorry I don't have any pictures from the retreat but I had other things to do!! check out Glendas pictures on her blog

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Radio Star

It has been a difficult few days, with nothing seeming to go OK however I did get through a Radio Interview that lasted for about 20 minutes live late last night.

I was invited by Steve Redgrave on Radio Humberside to take part in their "every picture tells a story"

so thought I would share my picture with you here too.

this picture show me a fellow designer Elaine Kettle with some very early craft work, here we are presenting a comptetition entry for a garden on a saucer!! looks as those dresses. The sad thing is I have a pair of white boots on with that dress. I can't remember who won, but have started to think about if taking part in these sort of competitions, are part of what has made me want to trying something different, to stand out from the crowd in some small way.

I hope to have some more news about the new designs soon But Andy is still poorly, so get well soon Andy, it is not the same without him.
here is the link to the radio interview and the story they wrote, which is now on their site.

I am going to try and have a quiet night, get some sleep, get to the doctors as early as possible tomorrow and hope tomorrow is a better day!!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Card Competition and ATC swap

Beverley Scrappers have released the details of the card competition and the ATC swap to run along side their Charity Craft Day. Surprise surprise!! the theme for both is make it PINK!
If you can't make it on the day a great way to support the group and the charity is to send you competition entries by post.
Check out the details

Friday, 13 June 2008

When you need inspiration, where does it come from?

For some reason I have been struggling to process information today perhaps I am tired because it has been a busy week. I had a late night last night again (well anything after 8pm outside the house is late for me these days). I was invited to to hear Ruth Badger give a motivational speech and she was excellent. Her talk did seem more relevant to those in big business as opposed to someone in the design type business I work in and although I found it interesting, entertaining, informative, it didn't provide inspiration to me. So where do I look for inspiration? where do you find yours?

Whilst I am pondering that thought over the weekend here is a card I made in January. I made it during another difficult time, when I need to remind myself that I believe in what I am trying to do, even if others don't. It has been buried on my desk since I moved in here in February and some how fell out of a file today. So I thought I would post it here to remind us all to believe in a brilliant future.

It was created with one of the large daisy images from the double daisy stamp set. This now come now in two sizes and can be found at

I painted the stamp with black watercolour paint and a thick scrubby brush to get the markings.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

ticket news

Some news from Beverley Scrappers. Tickets for their Charity Craft Day on 19th July at Woodmansey Village Hall, go on sale on Monday to find out more check out their site

As one the teachers / exhibitors I should have some to sell soon.
Sorry I haven't posted any stamping recently but the business is keeping me busy, sorting shows and events to attend. If you have any ideas for shows worth going to, shops who would like to host a demonstration of our stamps or craft clubs and classes who would like to us to visit then email me at
What do you think makes a good show?

Sunday, 8 June 2008

A Grand Day Out

no this is not the story of what we have done today!! but a note about what is planned for the future.

Beverely Scrappers which is a scrapbooking club I help with, are organising a Charity Craft Day. It's on Saturday 19th July 2008 at Woodmansey Village Hall 10-30am to 3pm

the plans at the moment include workshops, and make and takes, with a bit of retail therapy thrown in.

I will be there with our stamps and embossing powders (new colours to be out very soon)!! hey your are the first people to hear that, I haven't told anyone else yet.

if you want to keep up to date with plans for this event checkout their blog at

we also have some details on the news page at

Saturday, 7 June 2008

another feel the fear moment

I have had a wonderful day spreading the word. I have done a workshop in Hutton Cranswick with some very reluctant stampers (to be fair, there were a couple of people who LOVE IT!)
we concentrated on the basics and got them confidently stamping and embossing. We were delayed getting in the room, so couldn't get set up before hand. 24 ladies in one room all running heat guns on a warm June day was asking to be roasted BUT I really enjoyed the day and I think they have too.
They all put their feelings on one side and had a go, a few real converts and a couple of people who are still not bothered but who I hope had a great time and feel more confident about stamping. A good day all round.

Monday, 2 June 2008

let us all eat cake

I had a lovely night out with some of the girls in the design team as a post script to my birthday.

We met up for cocktails and then went to a new resturant to try out an exciting menu. Elisa was the last to arrive, as those who know her would have guessed. To be fair to Elisa she was the only one who had been "out to work" that day, those of us who work from home get a head start on getting ready. And to be fair, she is the only one with daughters who wanted to help her get ready and make suggestions (to be honest I am not sure what I would have to wear to get my boys to notice any thing different!!). We saw her drive past long before she arrived but she had a parking problem (the rest of us had been delivered by our DHs).

By the time she actually got to the tapas bar, I was well into the singapor slings again, so very relaxed. So I was very calm when she handed me a large cake box, well it was my birthday "do". Inside was a really great cake, the lady who had made it had been on all the websites including this blog, so there I was sat on this cake surrounded by cards, ink pads and stamps. The cards even had images reflecting the new designs especially the floral frames and the sunflower. next to me was my tap shoes. I am well known for taking my shoes off but seeing tap shoes with the little taps underneath was very special. Oh yes! forgot to say, there I was sat with shoes and my head off. Getting to the Tapas bar the head had fallen of the figure on the cake, we stuck it back on several times, and was a bit disconcerting having ones head rolling round in a box, and of course I couldn't bring myself to eat the head no matter how sweet my tooth is.

We had a great night, with half the resturant wanting to look inside my box, but we ate too much and couldn't face dessert. So we ajourned for the night and met up the next day at Hazels. This did mean we had to share with the kids, but they enjoyed a an afternoon getting wet and we ate cake and had a go with Eliza's new brayer.

I really like this techneque but Eliza was not taking to it as well as she normally does, after lots of playing we decided it was the card stock and we left it to try with something more shiney!!
Heres my cake and you should be able to see the brayer and ink that what I call a birthday.
If you want to see the stamps ( sunflower and floral frames go to )

and here are the kids getting wet!They had a lovely time, and I really enjoyed "looking after" them. Not sure they needed looking after BUT!!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

back from my travels

We have returned safely from our trip to Norfolk. We went to the Caravan Club National Rally at Holkham Hall. This is something we try and do most years. I have been going since I was about 6 years old.

Martin's parents were there and we were joined by Elaine and her family. Elaine is one the other designers at Oak House Studio. We did lots of talking but very little crafting, surprising little actually.

Martin was playing in the volleyball tournament, but the highlight of the weekend for Martin, Ben and most of the volleyball team was a trip to Wembly to see Hull City make it into the premier league. This trip took some organising. Firstly everyone had to get a ticket which wasn't as easy as it sounds as everyone in Hull wanted to go I think!! Then they had to organise a train from Kings Lynn. Then there was panic that the gates would be locked by the time they got back so more phone calls to arrange late entry, then they had to arrange with the Volleyball organiser to play their games first thing Saturday morning. That agreed time was still tight to get to Kings Lynn so they convinced West Yorkshire to play them at 8:30 am and Leicester to get up early to ref the game. What great sports these guys were to do that. With not too much trouble they won their pool and went through to the next round on Sunday and changed East Yorkshire shirts for City shirts and dashed off.

I stayed behind to look after our dog and another one. I had a great day, lots of walks and fresh air, then found myself nodding off whilst listening to the game on the radio. Records show that Hull City won the game and the from the stories they tell everyone had a great time.

I think the adrenalin they had all been pumping all week carried them through because not only did they win the pool on Sunday beating Cheshire, they got up early on Monday to play the semi finals and won through in the final...Amazing. Martin would like me to tell you he won at cribbage too. The others will tell you it was tie between him and myself but Martin insisted on playing on until we had a winner so as usual we let him win so we could go to bed!!

Monday, 12 May 2008

recovery period

Those of you who know me well will be aware that I have been exhibiting at Port Sunlight Stamping Festival this weekend and very ounce of me (of which there are plenty) has been focused on getting myself and my stamps there!!
I have to report that we made it, there and back and all the boxes and stands are now safely back in the warehouse waiting for the rush of people who will now want the new designs from the website. You can find them all here!!

I did not manage to create as many samples as I would like and I think that is down to my inability to focus on one job and trying to do far to many things at once and end doing nothing that is finished but exhausted in the process, My latest resolution is to slow down and finish more, if that make sense (it probably makes sense if you know me).

where was I? oh yes Port Sunlight, plenty of friendly enthusiasts, all wanting to look at what we had and more importantly what it did, some very knowledgeable questions including the chemical make up of the polymer on the stamps from the advice on what not to clean it with!! I was impressed, I wasn't expecting many people to understand what a polymer was let alone that degree of chemistry.

Anyway we sold lots of Clematis stamps, it was everyone's favorite and that comes from the card I design to go in the stamping supplement that is free with this months Papercraft Essentials. I have to thank all the team that did make samples (unlike myself) Elisa, Sharon Hazel and Elaine.

and will we go again? people keep asking me oh yes if they ask me I would go again no problem.
It was the nicest show we have done so far, the people there were stampers and they knew what they wanted and they obviously saw the quality of what we had for sale.
Thank you Happy Stampers North West for organising a great day for the stampers!!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

today's treasures

Today I have played with my new texture hammer (thanks Elaine). I started with some white mount board and added colour using Pentel Metallic colour brushes, I did a bit of splodging about with the brush and used two or three colour on three small pieces of mount board, One I hammer first, all three I hammered after...hint put a stamping mat under your texture mat to save the table and nasty looks from the neighbours.

Then I stamped each one with the new scrolls I used two inks brilliance lightening black and ancient page black. These show how they looked as broads which I rather liked, then I put them through the Sizzix to make buckles and frames. I rather like the boards un cut so will have to think of a way of using them in that state too.....oooh front covers for bind it all books....

I can't wait to have another go now!I hope you like what I have done, need to get some ribbon tomorrow to put these on cards.

More images from the new designs soon I promise, in the mean time you can pre order these stamps at

look at new releases listed under Oak House Studio for a full list of all the new designs this month.

Monday, 28 April 2008

mans best friend

Today has been miserable weather wise, rain lashing against the windows and very dark, haven't picked up a stamp, but have been on the computer finding images for scrapbooks with the new stamps. Whilst I was looking I came across this pohoto of Bob who is back to being my constant companion. At the moment because Martin is in his office, having got back from deliveries and seeing customers, Bob is currently stationed between the two rooms. But he does pop in and put his head on my lap every now and then and in about an hour he will start to tell me it is time for his tea.

Bob always came to work with me until I went to the Craft Place full time, he carried on going to work with Martin at Write Now until that closed two years ago. Since then he has been here with Martin and now with both of us. One thing he is not keen on is me going into Martins Office or him coming into mine.

When I tell people I have a dog I am not sure what they expect, especially when I say he is a minature poodle, if fact he has an excellent pedigree and his father and sister have both been to Crufts. But here is Bob, in his favorite spot watching the world go by and patroling case any blackbirds dare come in the garden.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

time to play

The lastest designs for Oak House Studio have at last landed in my craft room. Now please remember that I still haven't got to grips with finding new homes for all the craft goodies I brought with me from the craft place, so my present attempts at using them are rather limited, but space is always going to be an issue for work from here so I better get used to it.

So far I have managed to emboss using basic metallic powder (colour chemistry of course) I did the scrolls on to black linen card which is one of my favs at the moments ( just in case you hadn't noticed)

And I have stamped the floral frames using versafine ( vintage sepia) on the cream card and coloured using Faber Castell Watercolur pencils. I have embossed the heart version on gold and coloured that but you will have to wait to see that..looks good though, anyway not excellent work but you can see the designs which I am very pleased with.

The floral heart is so versatile it has been renamed Floral Frames. These have been made with just 3 out of the 6 stamps in the set, so there is even more you can do with them.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

where does the time go

over a week since my last post, I am still recovering from the show.
This week I have been dashing around with my best clothes meeting various business people in nice hotels. It has probably been a welcome break but it amazing how all these things all come at once.
Yesterday involved me getting to the hotel 30 minutes ahead of the meeting to do a live braodcast on Radio Humberside. It was a lot of fun and I was pleased to get my piece out of the way before the full days activities started but it did make for a long day.
I did seem to spend an awful amount of time explaining what I do now! Even one of the ladies who sell scrapbooking items needed me to explain how unmounted stamps work and why they so much more versatile than wood mounted rubber.
It was nice to listen to other people stories how they had ended up doing what they were doing, for most people it was about a life changing experience.
We also had a very nice lunch in super surroundings, and I have more of this to come this week,
Lets hope that it all helps to move the business forward.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

THE weekend

We had a great weekend. The focus being a new papercaft show in Hull. We have played at these things things, but this was our first serious show. The main feature of our stand was of course Oak House Studio stamps. We did manage to get 10 colours of embossing powder packaged and labeled too. This involved pleading with our jar supplier to express the right size out to us, lengthy negotiations over labels, when the one we originally chose months ago was discontinued.
The whole week was busy preparing for the show and still we weren't quite ready.
My family were a great help not only doing jobs at short notice but also putting up with me very anxious about it all.
I can't thank my friends enough for all their help which entailed supplying chocolate when my hormones decided to kick in two days before the show, filling jars with embossing powder, bagging and labeling acrylic blocks with Martin for company (that is a friend), making great samples of cards and boxes and bows. Turning up on the day, and talking to customers and keeping me calm (well at least trying).
One of the best moments for me on Sunday came when I took a moment to look back at the stand after talking to a designer I knew from another company. Everyone on the stand was talking to someone, and the enthusiasm in their voices was amazing. For me to talk about the stamps and how you can use them is one thing, but my friends had all bought these stamps before they knew they were mine and here they were telling other people how great they are with such passion, it was a great feeling.
So for every minute of their time they gave me to help with Sunday, the moment that gave me most joy was that one.
We had a super day and sold out of the clematis tower stamp quite early, so we sent the customers down to Paper Roses as we knew they had new stock, but they sold out too. In the end we were both taking orders and came home to find more orders waiting for us.
So what am I doing now, well that is obvious, think about the next show after all we only have 31 days to Port Sunlight Stamping Show.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

the far east comes to Beverley

I have had a great evening out with my friends from the Beverley Circle of Women Merchants better known as the Beverley Sisters. We all met up after work in the local Tapas bar with the idea of moving on somewhere to eat. I arrived with Susan to discover three more of the girls all about to start on some very pink Singapore Slings. I took a quick look at the drinks and a quick sip of Alison's cocktail and decided to go mad and have one myself. I rarely drink but tonight was special and so I decided to indulge. Just the one !! oh yes we have all heard that before. Alison ordered a few nibbles, some garlic bread and olives and a few vegetables, then some more nibbles and another drink.
Now this event started at 5pm so by 8pm we are all very relaxed and laid back literally in the leather sofas. So another good night. The girls presented me with a lovely pair of Pilgrim Earrings from Figaro in Wednesday Market, excellent choice girls. I LOVE THEM, and the earrings.
Serious note here. The Beverley Sisters always have a good time when they go out or get together, the emphasis is definitely on having a good time, but the friendship and support the groups offers each other has been invaluable to me a woman alone in my shop everyday. These girls know what the problems are and they have been very encouraging through out. THANK YOU

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

what a picture

Well having described my Easter as sitting on the sofa with the dog eating chocolate I saw the prefect picture of just such a scene today. If I hadn't been saving all my pennies to get started on our range of embossing powders I would have been very tempted. It was a long picture with a lady of a certain age reading a book entitled how to change your life in 21 days, and beside her was a tin of chocolates, a pile of other books and a bottle of bubbly. Then at her feet, on the sofa two dogs. It looked like heaven!!
My life is slowly getting to where I want it to be but I am still surrounded by boxes and trying to make space to work. Unfortunately I do have to keep doing a few minor other jobs like feeding the family. OK I can hear you saying they both bright enough to feed you, but possibly I am feeling guilty about how much they have looked after me in the last few weeks. Is it just women who feel guilty about such things.
On Easter Sunday I decided I needed to make Yorkshire puddings. My Son loves these things and can be persuaded to eat a whole variety of other foods if Yorkshire puddings are part of the meal, so I general keep a few cheat ones in the freezer then I can add one or two to his meal at the drop of a hat, but the freezer was bare. SO I decided to make some, I have a few interesting attempts at this delicacy of the years but mostly edible and often fine. Well this Sunday they were awful I have no idea why they were just so bad but they were. But they insisted they were fine and asked for second helpings. I had to smile, I am sure they just being nice and where hoping that if they asked for them again even I couldn't possibly make them so bad twice!! in the past I would have got mad that they lied so much, but actually this time it seemed nice that they cared enough to lie! Now I know I going silly again.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

happy easter

We have had the sort of weather that makes you want to curl up on the sofa with the dog and a good supply of chocolate to watch a long film on the television.
I had expected to get out a little over Easter put we made two rather poor attempts at getting outdoors and both times to shop, not we bought very much either!!
My son being 15, has enjoyed the long sessions in front of the TV and it has been fun to spend that time with him, I have been outside with the dog, but he too has enjoyed the long cuddles this holiday weekend.
Today I have desperately been trying to find the motivation to get things sorted ready for a show we are exhibiting at next weekend at the KC stadium in Hull. I did stop once to play, I mean try out a new embossing powder sample but my excuse is simple I need to know if we want to order this new colour for the show in Hull. The answer is quite simply yes and now all I have to do is decide which of the many colours on my shopping list are essential for the Hull Show and which can wait until we launch new stamp designs in May.
I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend, however you spent it. Why don't you let me know.
email me at I would love to hear from you.

I hope to have news of a way you can keep in touch with the Oak House Studio and how you can find out about new products as they arrive. When this is all sorted I will let you know here and on the website. If you haven't checked out my stamp website yet have a look now

Friday, 21 March 2008

woman can not live by bread alone

Last night I met up with two girls from my design team, I guess Rachel Shillito would call them part of my cheering squad.
Elisa decided that the best place we could meet and talk ( something we do very well) was at her friends cafe bar in Hull. The Hop and Vine. We have usually met up to do crafting ( with a small chat thrown in) at my shop.
This was my first visit to the Hop and Vine and it was ideal for the night we had planned, This place has a great list of real ales AND an equally spectacular lists of breads. So despite my attempts to avoid all things wheat based I succumbed to a poachers platter!! All the food was very good and they had the sort of menu that makes you want to go back to try something else next time.
I took along a couple of projects I wanted some feed back on. And feed back I got!! As ever both were very supportive and encouraging. We talked very fast to try and fit it all in.
We all had so much to say.
So girls if you want to talk about things you haven't quite decided on, if you want to think out loud, and make your own decisions in the end. Then I recommend and good night with two or three good mates.
A good friend will let you talk, ask the odd question and then help you understand why the decision, you have made was the right, but most importantly it was your decision they were just there to listen to your thinking process!!
So thanks girls once again for your support.
Oh yes those craft projects. well when they are finally finished I will post them on the website. they are both mono chromatic though!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

feel the fear and do it anyway

Last night I drove out of town across the hills to hear a lady called Rachel tell us all about the Susan Jefferson's outlook on how to not let fear stop you achieving your dreams.
Rachel admits that as many of us where already in business or working towards getting new businesses off the ground, we had made it through the bad weather on a bleak night to a venue in the middle of nowhere, we were possibly all facing the fear and doing it anyway!!

It was my first visit to this group so I was perhaps more quiet than normal otherwise maybe I would have spoken up and shared these following thoughts with the other ladies there.

Rachel went on to tell us about what we should have in our "Tool Kits" to help us survive. My ears pricked was Rachel just about to justify my need for a CraftRobo or justify the Bind it all machine I bought in February. Sorry NO she wasn't talking about the tools we crafters find more and more essential. She was talking about simpler things than that, Firstly she advocated Journaling, just scribbling down thoughts and ideas she said....what a waste when you can craft a really great journal and have all that therapy doing it I thought, but at least I could think I am doing that one with knobs on (as they say)
and then she said everyone should get a cheering squad, now this one really made me smile, remember in my last blog I said how I was working hard to get everything together for a demo in another person's shop. Well that day was last Saturday and when the day came, there sat in the audience were faces from my own classes and groups, ladies I knew trusted me and believed in what I was doing, with such fantastic support how could I fail, what was there to fear. These ladies knew the products and where there to find more. Their faces smiling at me, their comments and support carried me through what could have been a very hard day.
So a HUGE thank you to Sharon, Barbara, Pauline and Shirley. Thanks you girls for being there for me and helping me know that what I had been struggling with all week was worthwhile.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

nearly there

I am struggling to see where my time is going again, I had so much to do over the last two weeks.

I am doing a demonstration with my stamp range Oak House Studio on Saturday at Paper Roses on Holderness Road in Hull. Before then I would have liked to see all the new packaging I have been slaving over onto my updated stock. I was hoping the new T shirts would have arrived too.
Well it looks like we should manage to get the new stocks in on time and it might even be in the new packaging, but that means everything has to fall into place tomorrow.

I was hoping to have some new textured black card ready in the samples, well we should have it for Saturday so will be able to show people how great it is, but I won't have chance to play with it much before hand. We should just make it by the skin of our teeth, but so many factors are out of my control and I don't like that!

This afternoon I have managed to get a little play with the new stamps and some watercolour paints. I used ready mixed watercolour in tubes by Pentel and squeezed some paint straight from the tube onto the stamp. Then I used the scrubbiest brush I could find to pull the paint out over the stamp leaving brush makes as I went. I stamped this image onto white linen card. The results where like very naive country painting will look good with gingham style embellishments.
I have left them out to dry. I will post the pictures when I have made them into cards.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

a time for reflection

Last night I was invited to speak to a group of people in Driffield which about 15 miles away from home. I only a had a vague idea about who I was going to meet, I have only done a few of these talks before and usually to an audience of 20 -30 ladies of a certain vintage. I arrived last night to discover young people in my group and a few men. But I had nothing that thoroughly prepared and hopefully I wasn't too boring for everyone.
I was invited to introduce myself to the group. This was actually very cathartic. Telling a group of people I had only just meet, all eyes on me, about some of the challenges I have faced, helped me appreciate just what I have managed to achieve recently. I must say that anything I have achieved has come because plenty of support and friendship that has been offered me since I moved to Beverley. The sense of community I have felt since living here has been tremendous. I have met some wonderful people many of whom never stop helping those around them. I hope I am able to offer support in return, I certainly try.
Well I enjoyed last night and hopefully more people will understand what stamping is really all about. One person has emailed me to say they enjoyed themselves and looking forward to seeing me demonstrate again at the Craft Show in Hull ( April 6th). For those who can't wait until then I will be in Paper Roses on Holderness Road on Saturday 15th March.
Full details of both events are on the website.
email me if you want more details.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

the morning after the night before

This morning I am recovering from a very physical session at my Tap Dancing class last night. My teacher is going to be out of action for a few weeks so no more classes until after Easter. She managed to keep us all moving right up to the end with a fast routine to a Scissors Sisters number with lots of extra hops and springs. Steps that I normally find challenging like maxi fords, were a rest on the midst of the other new step combinations she had managed to create. I have to admit although I have no real skill at Tap, I really enjoy these classes as I time when I can stop thinking about everything else in my life. I have to, if I am going to at least keep moving in the right direction.
So by way of a rest, I have spent a little time working on my website,
check out the changes at

Monday, 3 March 2008

a quiet day

It has been a quiet day for me, I do have all those boxes to tackle but that will have to wait. I have spent most of the day researching my new stamping business and some of the ways forward. Actually today has been a day of hitting dead ends but sometimes that can be useful. Crossing off some possibilities should help me focus on where I really want to go and what I really want to do. Today has more been a case of crossing of what I don't want to do!! but I am not to down hearted I think it is good to cleared these distractions so I can concentrate more on what is going to work.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

more wind

We had a very windy night, I guess they qualify to be gales. We woke up this morning to discover the loft hatch had been dislodged. That is a first for us.

Another first, a Saturday off work. Since we opened Write Now in 2001 we have had very few "Saturdays Off". If we have had the day off, it has been to do something important and that usual means working somewhere else. This morning was very strange and I am not sure I was ready for just how good it felt, to be able to chose what to do, at what time.
In the end Martin and I had a grown up trip into Driffield. We bumped into lots of people we haven't seen for a while, and did a little shopping and had that speciality of shopping, a toasted teacake and a cup of tea. These may seem like simple pleasures, but they were made special by the fact we had time to really enjoy them and do as we pleased.
Now I am excited about next Saturday.

Friday, 29 February 2008

as open door closes another opens

I handed over the keys to my shop at lunch time today. Good I hear you say no more talk about boxes. But you are not clear of talk about boxes yet, the house and the warehouse are both full of boxes now waiting for me to unpack. Oh the joys of rediscovering old friends in those boxes.

If I sound elated it is probably because I got some good news later in the day. I got home to find a message from someone who organises a show for stampers over at Port Sunlight. I had asked if I could attend the show, to discover it is invitation only and booked from show to show. After considering our designs, the committee have asked us to fill a small stand at the May show.

This is an amazing break for me as this show features some of the top stamping companies and it will be my chance to show the stamp community what we can do.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

earthquake in Beverley

around 1am this morning our world shook! it was pretty impressive the house and everything in it trembled for what seemed like ages but the news reports this morning say 10 seconds.
It was the largest earthquake the country has seen in 25 years, but it is the worst tremor I have ever felt. Coming as it did in the time when I was just falling into a deep sleep is was quite surreal and I did wake up this morning wondering if it was a dream. Like many others, hearing the news reports on the radio and TV felt " oh it wasn't just me then"

Did you feel the earthquake?

Monday, 25 February 2008

helping hands

My friend Barbara called today and offered to keep me focused, this was just what I needed, I was just about ready to pack up and go home, but with Barbara there to lsiten to me whitter on and tear up some things I was having trouble dealing with, the afternoon soon passed.
As Barbara left, Martin phoned for me to collect him from the garage where he had dropped off our van. I got there to find Pat had not only served up a cup of coffee but had also found the hobnobs!! I think we both enjoyed the moment to stop and talk to Pat before getting back in the the whirl that has become everyday life.
Tonight I am trying to decide which stamp(s) to use for a special card to be featured in a magazine, so many nice ones I just can't pick one.
If you have any thought about which Oak House Studio stamp to feature email me. If you haven't seen Oak House Stamps checkout the website

Saturday, 23 February 2008

getting there

I had help today so managed to actually move a lot of the boxes I have been filling and take down some shelves too.

Spent some time organising the fountain pens ( I always enjoy that)
and found some long lost treasures, does that always happen when you move furniture?

Whilst I was packing more boxes I found myself dreaming about all the craft projects I am going to do when this is all over. Lets hope it is more than a dream!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

boxes and more boxes

I am still trying to organise a big shop into lots of boxes. Going to take time out tonight to meet up with some scrapbooking friends and talk about all the new products and ideas I picked up at "Stitches". I want to get their opinion about a card I am designing for a magazine.

Once I have the shop sorted I am can be getting all the new products on the website.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A New Start

This has been my first day in a new life, I have given up running my craft shop to concentrate on getting Oak House Studio running as a professional craft supplies business. However I spent most the day trying to fit was is left of my craft shop into boxes ready to move to our warehouse.
It has still been liberating to work at my own pace and to do jobs in a more logical order, a few more days of hard work and I should be able to reward myself with a good dose of crafting.