Thursday, 31 August 2017

Introducing our new Snowflake Duets

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Paul and I are having a lovely day, prepping for the Sunday TV Show on HOCHANDA. At 6pm, I shall be launching a brand new and very clever kinda Groovi....

The Snowflake Duets.


.... and Large

Tina Cox designed a snowflake grid, then we wrapped a Groovi plate around it. And Hey Presto! Our Duets were born!

Wait till you see what you can do with these - it’s ridiculous.
The number of possible duet combinations will astound you.

In fact, don’t take my word for it. I asked Maggie Byford, one of our traditional Design Team members, to write a review. Why did I ask Maggie in particular? Well, she used to make all the Pergamano multi-grid samples for Pergamano Netherlands, so I thought I would get her opinion, since these Duets are our answer to the Multi-Grids.

Here is her review, verbatim:

"The Duet Set - two embossing plates and two piercing grids - are a stroke of genius, and I’m sure will be very well received by all parchers and crafters alike. You’ve given us no less than 34 super
designs to work with – some simply to be embossed and/or perforated in situ on the parchment to
sit amongst other designs, and others to be embossed then perforated around and cut out to make
the most beautiful 3D elements.
For my samples I especially liked using the two piercing grids to make the 3D snowflakes, but did 
introduce another grid – the basic diagonal piercing grid - for the outer perforating. For this I used
the holes on a Duet embossing grid to emboss a design of dots on the parchment, then attached it
face up directly onto the basic diagonal piercing grid, where my embossed dots settled nicely over
the grid holes, which then allowed me to perforate around the design with a 1-needle tool before
cutting out between the perforations to make a 3D snowflake………... A very intricate process indeed
but you’ve taken out the hassle of working out even one snowflake never mind more, which can
sometimes involve endless counting of dots and always lots of concentration! So a big WOW from
All in all, a fantastic new concept, giving us endless snowflake designs and hours of parching

pleasure! Roll on Christmas!"

Here’s just ONE of the Snowflakes:
In deference to Maggie, and to celebrate her parching skills, 
we have included her beautiful artwork below in a FREE digital download, which you can receive by signing up to our email newsletter.

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Maggie Byford
Maggie will be demonstrating both these new Duets AND other Pergamano Multigrids at the Harrogate Show 
Saturday 21st October.
Got your tickets yet?
We will there with a huge stand packed with both Groovi and Pergamano. Linda Williams, Paul Church, Rosie Cottrell, Tina Cox,  and Maggie Byford will be demonstrating  - and I will be running a FREE Groovi Make & Take.

For more information, click this link to go to the website

Must press on.
Got snowflakes to make!

Love & Hugs,

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

I went to my creative space today, but the cupboard was bare.
Or should I say full?

I can honestly say that my head is so full, 
that there isn’t the space for anything new just now.
Art yes. Business no.

It’s been a gradual process, this filling up. 
Many years of gathering ideas, information, knowledge, crap, 
unresolved dilemmas, political debate, business deals, numbers - 
an endless daily mental pummeling.
There’s so much to think about, to consider and to deal with, 
that I am waking up tired just now. Even after 8 hours of solid sleep. There’s nothing wrong with me physically. 
Just need to clear the cupboard out, get rid of some old outdated stuff which is still cluttering up my mind.

I’ve got a really brilliant idea.
A real game changer concept. I’ve been thinking about it for not months, but years. Was about to launch into it when Groovi landed, so it got put on the back burner.

I KNOW what needs to be done to get it fired up, 
put the idea into action, make it a reality.
But I just have to do some serious spring-cleaning in my head before I can get my ducks in a row properly, sharpen my thinking,
map it out. 

Do you know what I mean? Surely I can’t be the only one whose head is full to capacity ?! 

Yoga? Meditation? No cheese? Perhaps.
But work which requires no great thought is mine for now. 
And that’s fine too. 
Time to coast for a while, stop pedalling so hard.
Then, when there’s a shelf clear in my head, 
I can formulate a new plan.
And fill it again.

Viva Activa.

Love & Hugs,

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

How time flies when you’re having fun! A GELPRESS Step by step

Hi there.
Thanks for taking the time to pop in.
I’m glad you did though, because I want to show off the brand new stencil which was on offer today during Maria’s live hours on HOCHANDA. Didn’t she do well ?!?!

I have been so preoccupied with the business side of the business today, I really had a hankering to get some paints out when I got home. And this new stencil. 
Pocket Watch stencil
Well, the whole theme of today’s TV shows was Time, 
how it flies and so on.
ALL the Groovi plates and stamps were new 
and very very special....

Clocks and Cogs

(No, not cocks and clogs. 
We’re saving them for one of the Dutch shows!)

BIG BEN Clock and cogs Stampset

Anyway, I wanted to try out the new pocket watch stencil.

Now I don’t know whether you’ve tried the Golden Open Acrylic paints. They are deluxe, superb, the best.
They are quite a price, but worth every penny.
I have had mine for a long time - you only need very little.

Right. Ready? Here goes.
Lay the stencil back to front on the Gelpress, like so, and deposit a small amount of the beautiful Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold

See how translucent it is?
Spread it over the plate with a Soft Speedball brayer

and lay a sheet of copy paper over it to blot a load of it.

Add a tiny amount of Quinacridone Magenta in the centre,
(I’m a poet and I don’t know it!)

and randomly spread it over the clock.

Lift the stencil carefully off the plate and place it paint downwards on a sheet of our large white clarity Stencil card.

Leaving this pictured below on the Gelplate...
No rush. The paint will stay open - aka wet - for ages.

Run the painty stencil on the white card through a mangle 
- aka Die cutting machine.
(I love my E-Bosser)
Plate sequence from underneath: 
copy paper
copy paper

Exactly what I wanted.

Now to pull the second print off the Gel Press plate itself.
Flip the Gel Press on the Mega Mount over and position on another sheet of the white Clarity Stencil card.

Flip back, rub the back.
Pull your print.

All I used was this:

I will add that the right tools and ingredients are key.
The right Gel Press. 
I use this particular one with good reason.
The right brayer.
I use this particular one with good reason
The right paint.
If you use other regular acrylic paints, 
they will dry before you can get to pull the print.

Two for one.
A positive and a negative. 
One crisp, one grungy.

Time to kick back and eat strawberries. 

Love & Hugs,

Monday, 28 August 2017


Hello there.
Thanks for taking some time out of your Bank Holiday Monday to pop in. 
One of the TV demos on Saturday was stamping on the New Northern Lights parchment with the new Flutterby Carpe Diem Girl and my all time fave, the Fly Away Boy....

And today, I have to say, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate piece of artwork to express what I am feeling.

Gratitude in spadefuls.

Let me take you to Rye, where we went yesterday evening, 
to see the brilliant Eric Bibb in the church.
His soul music is beautiful; I have left you a little taster below - 
to enrich your day.

Back to the artwork....

We were in the queue, waiting to go into the church/concert, 
and we started talking to the couple behind us.
It was evident immediately that the guy - who looked about our age - had had throat cancer, and every time he spoke, he had to put pressure on his throat.
But you never met a more upbeat and positive bloke.
His wife too. Lovely kind smile.
He and Dave hit it off immediately, comparing music notes,
who they’d seen live, who they liked. Even the most obscure musicians were on both their playlists. 
We sat together in the church, and the evening of wonderful music was made all the richer for meeting these strangers. 
I asked him whether it hurt to speak, no he said, and they talked openly about the surgery, about how it came about just 18 months ago. 

But CARPE DIEM was all I heard through his words.
Every day is a gift from God as far as this guy was concerned, 
and he isn’t wasting many of them - if any!
You should have heard the trips they’ve been on, 
and what they have been up to! 
“Always something on the calendar,” she laughed. 
I suppose when you have a tussle with Death like that, 
it makes you re-evaluate things. 

When we left the Church, all warm and happy, we popped into the little cinema to use the loo. There was a young girl on the floor in the tiny area between the mens and womens toilets, clearly having a fit. 
While Dave ran for help, I dropped to the floor, got her on her side and cradled her head in my hands to stop her hitting her head on the doorframe whilst she was convulsing violently. I just intuitively knew to protect her head, and went with her movements as best I could. She slammed my hand into the wooden corner several times, and I just kept thinking “hold her head, don’t let go, hold her head”.

Slowly, gradually, her body slowed down, that insane strength left, and she relaxed out of the seizure. She was soaking with sweat and absolutely wiped out when she came round. One of her friends took over, told us it happens a lot and that we didn’t need an ambulance. 
I had to trust him, and we moved on.

But my God, I thought. 
I don’t know I’m born.
The man with the throat cancer who is living life to the full, 
the girl with the seizures.
give me a nudge, will you?

My hand is stiff and swollen from the exercise last night, 
but I am so so so glad I walked in when I did, 
and was able to be of assistance. 
I got to walk away. That young kid gets to do that again today.   

Love & Hugs,

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Roast Lamb? Dream on!

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Beautiful day here darn sarf.

Early morning walk, 
then breakfast on the veranda.
Read the paper and drink coffee.
Roast a leg of lamb slowly in the Aga.
Spot of weeding in the garden, deadhead the flowers and water the hanging baskets.

Reality check.

Get up at 7, see Dave off to work,
 and clear a space in the kitchen to erect the ironing board.
Listen to Stephen Fry read me Sherlock Holmes on the Alexa for 3 hours while I plough through the ironing mountain. 
Kitchen now looks like a Chinese Launderette!

You know it’s time to do some ironing when there are NO clean tea towels in the drawer, and Dave has gone to work dressed like this:

He will be so happy when he gets in from making the freebie stencils we ran out of yesterday, and sees all his checked shirts nicely pressed. He hasn’t seen his favourites for months!!!

I’ve got us a HUGE Pork Pie from Melton Mowbray for lunch too!
Should still be edible...

Pathetic isn’t it? Comical really.
But actually, it’s fine. We had an immensely successful day yesterday, all the hard work paid off, and how good it feels to be appreciated. 

Later on this afternoon, we’ll take a drive down to Rye to the Jazz Festival, and go for a good long walk along the beach. 
We’ve got tickets for an Eric Bibb concert in the church, too.

Our Sundays may not be conventional, but in the main, 
we choose the life we lead, and life is good.  

 Here is a quick step by step from one of yesterday’s shows, using Linda William’s exquisite Dream Plate. 

I have to say, a Lightwave is pretty handy when using coloured parchment. Emboss the whole plate using the No. 1 Pergamano tool, 

or the stylus end (No. 1 too) in the Starter Kit. 

Move the Dream Catcher over towards the word.

Using an eraser pencil, rub out the colour in the letters and stars.
This is all done on the back.
It will make any white work or colouring in much easier.
When adding colour to the letters, use the Perga Liners pencils or Perga Colour pens. Both work a treat. 

Emboss a frame around the word with any plate which gives you a straight line.
The A5 Calligraphy Plate mate has a great double line around the outside, and you needed it to hold the Dream plate anyway.
See the lines?

The use the straight grid to add white embossed dots around the inside edges. Lightwave helps, believe you me. 

Now for a little whitework in the feathers and stars.
Build up gradually from behind, allowing to rest in between.

Check your progress from the front...

Move the work to the white foam mat on the lightwave and working from the front, perforate inside all the open areas on the Dream Catcher using a 2-needle tool. Bold or Fine

I went with fine because the picot is more delicate, and I liked the look for the dream catcher, but the bold needle tool is best when starting out. 

Cut out all the spaces in between. 
Take your time; it’s not a race. I just accept that if I want to do this kind of artwork it will take longer.
The satisfaction when done is wonderful.

Trim the edges with a Pergamano ruler with a strip of Groovi Grip on the back, to prevent slipping. 

As I mentioned on the TV, attach one of the 2 sheets of the Groovi Grip to your lightwave; it will hold your Groovi plates in place.

Emboss the outer edge of the Dream Catcher on matching coloured paper,

cut out and attach behind the dream catcher. 
This will really make it pop.

See the tiny white brads?
Yep, they have finally landed. And they are excellent.
Very good quality. Lovely colours and metallics. 
Rosie will be launching them, together with a couple of very clever brad corner ideas o HOCHANDA on September 9th.

Anyway, I’d better get the pork pie out of the fridge before his nibs gets home! 
We do like a Pork Pie! 
Actually, on that subject, tune in tomorrow, and we’ll have a Caption Competition.
I’ve had an idea.....

Love & hugs,

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Carpe Diem! A simple, EARLY step by step

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Just got home about an hour ago, had a little catch up with Dave, and then thought I’d come upstairs to chat to you.
Tell you what, I was thinking about you on the drive home.
How amazing that so many of you were watching at 7 am!
I asked you to join me, so I wasn’t flying solo, 
but I honestly didn’t expect so many of you to actually show up!
And then to storm buy too! Nobody could believe it!
Michelle, my friend and buyer at HOCHANDA was even up at 7 watching. Just as well really, because she was hopping around within 10 minutes, on the phone to Dave (also up and cheering), 
to increase stock levels quickly and across the board!

But you cannot imagine how chuffed I was. The sales were very very impressive. But even more gratifying was that they, to me, were a reflection of your loyal support. 

So thank you. 
We knew you would like the new papers and parchment, 

We knew you would love Linda Williams’ exquisite 
Dream and Wedding plates

We knew you would love 
the Carpe Diem Girl and Butterflies stampset.

and the little Boy of course, although I actually thought you ALL had him! Not so, unless you bought a second one!

But what we hadn’t banked on was how EARLY you would turn up to the birthday party!! I know we all like a freebie, and the papers with stencil were a good offer, but would they have got me out of bed on a Saturday at 7? Poor old Dave has to go to work tomorrow, to make a start on the stencils we added to the shows, to keep the giveaways going through all the live hours! 

Happy Days.

The first demo was a very simple one, looking for landscapes in the papers (and the parchment of course).
So often I get asked how do I see these things in paper?
Well, I don’t. I put them there... 

Here’s one of the new papers, cut in half.

Here’s the little girl stamp in black, a moon mask brushed over with blue ink, and a hill brushed into the background using torn paper.

Foliage stamped into the top corner - black Sharpie pen along the two longest edges. Done.

Let’s go landscape instead of portrait.
Again, stamp the silhouette stamp in black - this time my favourite stamp ever - the boy in flight, who has FINALLY got a girlfriend!

Use the straight edge of a sheet of paper and ink sponge to create a water level. See?

Add a HUGE full moon.

Sponge in a hill to the left.

Sharpie pen two longest sides, and mount.


Tomorrow I shall blog the Dreamy parchy one. 

It is always a pleasure working with Rosie and Yiannis, too.
They are upbeat and uplifting. Switched on and hard working.
And kind.
Both very kind.

But now it’s time to kick back and eat a pork pie!

Love & hugs,