Freebie Friday! Easter Word Tag Die Cuts

This weeks Freebie Friday is a set of Easter Word Tags Digi Die Cuts! 
This set contains an SVG file containing three word tags to die cut using your Silhouette or other die cutting machines. You can download this weeks freebie over on my flashy new website (whoop!) right here or on here.

*** I'm going to be a bit cheeky again this week and ask, if you wouldn't mind terribly, in return can I just ask for the teeniest favour??? I've entered the 'Women in Making' competition this year and would love you to vote for me (it's just one click - or two if you have Facebook and Twitter - no form to fill out, nothing to register for and I'd be eternally grateful!) I know some of you may have voted last week but the voting system broke last weekend and all votes were lost (boo!) Please just click here to register your vote - thank you, thank you, thank you!! ***

I'd love to see what you make with your die cuts - leave me your blog links in the comments if you'd like to share :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

p.s. Don't forget my Create & Craft shows this weekend (see my previous post for more info!) 

Create & Craft Easter Shows

I'm super excited to tell you that I've been asked to present some shows for Create & Craft's big easter giveaway this weekend (whoop!) I hope you'll be able to tune in:

Saturday 19th April

1pm & 3pm

Sunday 20th April


I shared this sneak peek of what I'll be demoing earlier on my Facebook page...
and I shouldn't really! but here is another little one...
I hope you'll be able to tune in, don't forget to send in your emails, I'll be giving away some cards if I can :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Make Your Own PomPom Easter Chick!

Today I'm going to show you how to make a cute PomPom Easter Chick. I used to make these when I was a little girl and I still they are super fun to do!

You will need:

2 Sets of PomPom Makers in 2 sizes, one slightly larger than the other
1 Ball of Yellow Wool
Tapestry Needle
Piece of Card & a Pen (or the Chick Features download in this post)
Glue (I used Beacon 3 in 1 - it worked the best! available from my website)

These take around 10 minutes to make and are super easy for children as well as fun for adults! If you are doing this activity with children, they may need some help with the cutting and sewing stages as they can be a bit tricky.

To Start, open up one set of your pompom makers and line up, start wrapping the wool around them evenly, one side at a time, each side should be evenly covered and the hold in the middle should be filled (this makes them extra fluffy!)
Once both sides are done, close the PomPom Makers and secure with the little latch. Put your scissor tips into one of the little gaps and slowly cut around the edge, repeat the other side.
Take a length of wool (at least 20-30cms long) poke it into the gap, wrap around the ball and tie in a secure knot.
Take the PomPom Maker off of the ball and fluff out - don't trim the excess wool yet, you'll need this!
Repeat this process with the other size PomPom Maker so you have two PomPoms. Take the excess wool of the larger ball and thread it through a tapestry needle, Poke this through the centre of the smaller ball and stitch the two balls together to secure in place (go through 2-3 times to ensure it's properly secured)

Trim off the excess wool and you have your little chick! All you need to do now is to draw or cut out the feet and features and glue them on.

You could even use lots of different sized PomPoms to make a whole family of them!

You can download the feet and features card here, just click on the picture below and right click and save (or ctrl click and save on a mac)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Landing Your Dream Job - My Tips!

I often talk about things to do with building and running a business (as thats something I know a thing or two about!) but what if you don't want your own business? the headaches, the worries, the responsibility? then you'll probably want to find yourself your dream job, the thing that doesn't feel like work, where you don't get that 'oh no, it's Monday' feeling and where you can be a real part of something and help to build something fantastic. These jobs DO exist and here is my advice for finding (and landing!) yours...

Firstly, you need to decide what it is you want to do, sounds easy, right? well, if you haven't decided yet, start with a big piece of paper and a marker. On the left side of the paper write down everything you love to do, these can be things from jobs you've had previously, hobbies or just general things like organising or taking pictures. On the right side of the paper write everything you really don't like to do, for example you may not like talking on the phone or accounts. Use this list to get a clearer idea of what your dream job would entail and in which industry. Once you've done this you can do some research on the companies within that industry and where you think you would fit.

Once you know the company or companies you would like to work for, take a good look at them, look at their Facebook page, their blog and twitter, establish their tone and get a real feel for the company - can you honestly see yourself fitting in there - maybe they are very corporate and you aren't - really take the time to narrow down exactly where you'd like to be so you can target them better and tailor your email or application (if they have a vacancy available) to them specifically. As an employer nothing disheartens me more than a 'dear sir / madam, I'm good at admin please hire me' type email - firstly, if you are emailing me directly, use my name so I know it's me you want to talk to (not the other 20 people you've cc'ed - another pet hate! this tells me you don't really care where you work) secondly tell me more about why you want to work for me and why your skills fit my company.

When I placed the advert for my assistant last year I had a specific list of things I was looking for including liking dogs and making tea! One of the things that stood out on Lisa's email to me was that she addressed every point on my list with how she would fit that requirement or would be willing to learn it and ended by saying she loved dogs and made a great cup of tea (no-one else had made any reference to either point!!) just from that email I guessed she would be a good fit and she got my sense of humour, she was straight on the short list!

If you are sending an email to introduce yourself or if you've been lucky enough to land an interview - do your research! Look at the company, how could you help them? improve them? help them grow? don't be afraid to share your ideas with them, this could well land you the job! I know people are scared of having their ideas stolen, and I won't lie, it happens! I pitched a magazine around 2 years ago with a series of columns, they loved the idea and asked me to prepare a years outline, I did so and then never heard from them again - yup, they run all of my ideas for the whole year using an in house writer. Of course I was furious and upset but the columns were not written how I would have written them and I have a ton more ideas - I could spare those 12! There are always more ideas but you may not get a second chance.

When I interviewed Lisa (very informally over coffee in Starbucks for about 2 hours!!) the thing that impressed me most was that she had really looked at my business, my blog, my twitter and Facebook, all of the products, she came armed with a ton of suggestions of what I could do to take the company to the next level, to grow into other areas (i.e. the YouTube channel and video tutorials) and how she would take charge of them. Of course I could have made notes and left that interview and done them all myself but it made far more sense to me (and I'm sure to every other business person) to take on someone who was that motivated and dedicated, companies will value the fact that you took that time and recognise that if you came up with those ideas (even if they aren't all suitable) that once you are in the company you'll probably come up with loads more!

Employers, especially small companies like mine, are looking for someone who will love our 'baby' and take care of it as we would - show them that you are that person! Even if you don't get the job this time around, you may well make an impression that will last. I recently got offered a job from a company I worked with a few years ago, back then they had offered me what I thought was my dream job, trained me up and then promptly ditched me a few weeks later when someone they thought was better came along. 3 years on they offered me the job for real this time. I had made an impression and they remembered me even after all this time, while I was flattered, thats no longer my dream and it's for the best that happened at the time (although I was devastated back then!) as I was offered another,  opportunity straight after that I was much more suited to and I'm very happy where I am now.
People will judge you on what you DO not what you SAY you can do, so send off those stamp designs, email that company, make the best samples you can to show to the magazine (I've heard more than one person say they are saving their best ideas or designs for when they land the job - but if you don't do your best ones and prove yourself, you may never get that job!)

Finally, once you have landed the job, don't become complacent, it's like any relationship, that thing you found cute at the beginning becomes annoying, you take it for granted, you stop putting in any effort, but remember, if you don't, someone else will be right behind you ready to make it their dream job - don't work that hard just to lose it! Work hard, be kind, be nice, be helpful, make yourself invaluable, be a real part of the team and you could well have a job for life and a part in something amazing.

Good Luck!! and don't forget, whatever they are...
Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

*New* Superhero Dad & Doll Greeting Cards

Today I shared a little peek on my Facebook / Instagram of a greeting card I'd designed recently...
There is also this version...
 The big surprise is when you open the card, you find this...!!
A full dress up outfit to make your card into a dress up paper doll, so you can dress up your Dad / Husband / Friend / Brother as a Superhero. The cards are available in 3 colours (teal, blue and grey) and fully customisable, so you can choose the skin and hair colours and the name on the front of the card (as well as whether you have the pants or dressed versions - I thought most people would want their dad fully clothed as opposed to in his pants!!)

If you'd like to buy this card, you can do so here in my shop (they will be available here on my website from tomorrow)

I'd love to know what you think!

Thank you for dropping by today
Sarah x

Freebie Friday! Easter Girls Digi Stamp Set

This weeks Freebie Friday is a whole set of Digi Stamps! (I got a bit carried away colouring in, lol)

This set contains 4 digitally coloured PNG digi stamps - I've called them Grace, Faith, Hope & Joy (good easter names don't you think!) and 2 Black and White digi stamps for you to colour in, one JPEG and one PNG. You can download this weeks freebie over on my flashy new website (whoop!) right here or on here.

*** I'm going to be a bit cheeky again this week and ask, if you wouldn't mind terribly, in return can I just ask for the teeniest favour??? I've entered the 'Women in Making' competition this year and would love you to vote for me (it's just one click - or two if you have Facebook and Twitter - no form to fill out, nothing to register for and I'd be eternally grateful!) I know some of you may have voted last week but the voting system broke last weekend and all votes were lost (boo!) Please just click here to register your vote - thank you, thank you, thank you!! ***

I'd love to see what you make with your digi stamps - leave me your blog links in the comments if you'd like to share :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

New Website Launch!

So excited to now share that the new website is LIVE! you can check it out here now, I'd love to know what you think!

Thank you for dropping by today
Sarah x

Website Update!

We told you we had lots of new things coming, and one project that we've been working very hard on for a while now is a brand new website!! I'm super pleased to say we got it finished enough to launch today (Lisa even very kindly left her sickbed to come and help me finalise everything today - she's a keeper!) so the website is down for a few hours right now as all the techie stuff switches over and then I'll be showing you around our brand new home - I can't wait!!

We still have a few tweaks to make and lots more products to be added (we started with bestsellers which are all on, we just have the last few bits and all the digi stuff to load on - that continues tonight!) Some products have been discontinued to make room for new ones coming soon, there isn't really enough to create a sale so we'll be creating more of our super popular bargainous grab bags with them - look out for more news of that soon!

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Working From Home - My Tips!

One of my favourite parts of my job, is that I get to work from home! I have literally done everything possible to continue doing so, even when most (sane!) people would probably have hired an office about a year ago when things went crazy here. I have moved from a tiny corner of my living room, to the smallest bedroom, to the corner of my living room AND my smallest bedroom (and a bit of storage in my hallway) to the biggest room in the house (after a bit of persuasion - i.e. nagging B continually until he gave in, haha!) and some more storage in the hallway areas where I can. We occasionally spill over into the living room too when we have big orders to pack (like right now - we have about 40 boxes in there waiting to go!) We even have a plan for the next two stages of growth that we know are going to come next. Today I'm going to share with you how we've coped, how I stay motivated and how we changed things when I took on staff and other people had to come here to work too.
Make Space! One of the most important things is to create a designated work area - I'm lucky to have the room I do but even in a small space you can have a small workstation with your laptop, papers and anything else you need, even if you need to pack it up at the end of each day (if it's a kitchen or dining room table maybe) trust me this is totally worth it - working in bed on a laptop or having constant interruptions is not going to work! Getting to your 'office' each day will put you in the right frame of mind for work.
Get Organised - I'm a notebook and stationery obsessive! but out of all of the pretty notebooks I hoard, my essentials are my one notebook (it's actually the 4th one, I have 3 previous ones I've filled up all to hand) where I keep lists of all my goals, long term and short term, it contains everything I want to achieve in the next week / month / year / 5 years, it's regularly updated and things change along the way but it's like a road map of where I'm going and I'd be lost without it! I also have my diary full of what needs to be done each day and overall in the week, it often gets overrun with notes, addresses, things to remember, calls to make, events and meetings, stock to reorder and anything else! I transfer things out of this onto my assistant Lisa's schedule where I can, we have a whiteboard in the office where we write the weekly goals and things to organise and I make a list for B each day too. I create schedules for my team and we all do our bit to keep to them / change them and communicate. All papers are filed as quickly as possible into magazine files and folders. Setting goals and staying on top of things are essential to motivation - quite often when I find myself sitting staring into the distance wondering what on earth I need to do next it's because in the midst of the craziness this system has slipped. A quick tidy up and update of everything normally gets us all back on track!
Dress for the job you want - of course I have days when I'm rushed off my feet, I'm tired and I'm very aware that I don't need to leave the house, so do I work in my Pyjamas? sometimes... However! I have separate work PJ's that I only wear for work. This still gives me the feeling of getting up and dressing for work, it gets me out of the "home" frame of mind and into "work"
Make a routine - having a set morning routine will help you stay on track - whatever your morning routine is whether its walking the dog, making coffee, checking your email etc etc... get in the habit of doing it every day, then you know, once the dog has been walked, the coffee is made and the computer is on it's work time, stay in the zone, don't call a friend, don't put the washing on, don't quickly hoover up, don't put the TV on - you're at work, it's time to get to business!
Stay inspired - set aside at least an hour or two a week to gather inspiration from Pinterest or trade  magazines, brainstorm with your team or go over your goals and plans - it will keep you excited about what's to come, motivated and on track to achieve your goals!
Take a Break - it's easy to get caught up and just keep going, I know, I do it all the time! but take 10 or 15 minutes in the middle of your day to have a cup of tea, some lunch or a walk round the block - a break will do you the power of good! If you struggle with this ask someone to remind you by bringing you a cup of tea or sett a reminder on your phone for a certain time.
Get out! it's so important when you work from home not to cut yourself off, network, socialise with colleagues and attend trade shows and events - it's important to keep up to date whatever your industry is. Meeting people face to face every now and then will keep you up to date with things and keep you from becoming a paranoid hermit!
Growing your Team - taking on someone to work in your business is scary enough, also inviting them into your home and family is even more nail biting! But remember, it's the same for them, not only is it their first day in a new job, they are spending it in a strangers home. Be professional, make space for them, ensure facilities are easily accessible (so they can make tea and go to the bathroom without having to ask etc...) and set an example - sitting on the sofa watching breakfast TV and eating your cornflakes behind them will not inspire them to work hard for you! Show that you mean business and are taking your work seriously and they will too. (I'll be talking more about growing your team in a separate post soon!) When we took on Lisa, we changed the office to be entirely in the big room with storage outside, this gave us a designated space so that we could all work together comfortably rather than being spread out in different rooms. I think this has been absolutely essential as Lisa has, from day one, seen how the whole company works, everything that I do and how its done and has been able to pick up everything easily.
Last but not least - break all the rules!! only once in a while though! - this is very important, if you've been working very hard and can't remember what a weekend looks like, it might be time to break the rules a little, this past Saturday I was working through a pile of spreadsheets, not the most fun thing in the world! so I watched Sabrina in the background :o) This is an exception rather than a rule, but every once in a while, it's fun to break the rules!

I'd love to know your working form home tips / routines - please leave me your links or stories in the comments.

Thank you for dropping by today
Sarah x

PaperCraft Inspirations Daffodil Cards

Today I'm sharing a set of cards and a  cute little basket that you may have seen recently in Papercraft Inspirations. My brief was to create something cheery and springlike with a focus on large 3D daffodils (eek!) Luckily Sizzix came to my rescue with their fabulous Daffodil die (you can find it here on the Sizzix UK website) here's what I came up with...
I used Distress Inks to create a cloud effect background, which I used on to the background and behind the windows (another Sizzix die) the grassy borders are cut by hand and the butterflies are from a Martha Stewart punch.
The white flowers are a Sizzix die I have used a lot, I'm not a fan of big flowers but these tiny ones they quite recently started to bring out are just fabulous! I use Pinflair glue to assemble and add a touch of Stickles to the centres to hide any glue squidge (technical term!) and add a touch of sparkle.
I used an embossing tool to add texture to the petals before assembling and I actually cut down the centres by about half as they were a little bit *too* 3D for me and I wanted them to look more like the daffodils that grow in the forest near my home, they have smaller centres and bigger petals that the ones shown on the Sizzix packaging - the centres I feathered slightly with scissors to soften the look. The sentiments stamps used throughout are my own set available on my website)
The the bricks on this card were created from the discarded window panels from this die (I cut the arched top off of this one to create a square window)
I also used the embossing tool to add texture to the window frame...
I created a fancy easel card from two square card blanks for this card and added a flap to the top for the window - the sky background paper is also matted inside the window with the daffodils around the outside and on the stand up front panel. You can find step by step instructions for creating this card base here on the Papercraft Inspirations blog!
I needed a 3D project to finish this set off and immediately thought of this easter basket (the template can be found inside the magazine - it's still available as a back issue or to download on your iPad)
This could be used in an easter egg hunt, filled with mini eggs or treats as a gift or even as a table centrepiece!

I had lots of fun putting this set together, I hope you like it!

Thank you for dropping by today
Sarah x

Freebie Friday! Calendar Journaling Cards

Welcome to my very first Freebie Friday post!

This weeks freebie is this fab set of 3" x 4" calendar journaling cards, fab for Project Life or Documented365 or even just to use on your scrapbook pages and in your craft projects.
You can download your own printable set right here or click on the picture below.
*** If you wouldn't mind terribly, this week, in return can I just ask for the teeniest favour??? I've entered the 'Women in Making' competition this year and would love you to vote for me (it's just one click (or two if you have Facebook and Twitter), no form to fill out, nothing to register for and I'd be eternally grateful!) Please just click here to register your vote - thank you!! ***

I'd love to see what you make with your cards - leave me your blog links in the comments if you'd like to share :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x