About Me

My First Weekly Vlog (Video Blog)!

Hello! Here is the start of something new… I’m trying out a vlog (a video blog)!

Jennifer Grace Creates Weekly Vlog #1

I’ve been party inspired by Jennifer Gallacher who posts ‘Diary Of A Memory Keeper’ on YouTube HERE which is like a vlog, and Amy Tangerine’s videos with Jamie Waters, both the Creative Handbook videos (first one HERE) and their new Design On Time series (first one HERE) which aren’t like vlogs at all, but they do show that they aren’t scared to be on camera!

I decided to show myself on camera more so you can all see what I look like. Be kind though, I’m certainly not used to being on camera. It took a few takes for me to stop saying ‘errrm’ a lot! Here it is…

Jennifer Grace Creates Weekly Vlog #1

This can also be viewed on YouTube HERE.

Here’s a couple of links to things I mention in the video:

The CHA-UK Creative Exchanges Event

Sarah Hurley’s Announcement of CE Speakers

The Blogtacular Website

These links can also be found beneath the video in YouTube.

What do you think? Good idea or disaster?!

I don’t think I will post on my blog every time I post a vlog on YouTube, so make sure you Subscribe to my YouTube Channel if you don’t want to miss any. I just thought I should tell you about the first one here because it’s a new thing for me!

Let me know your thoughts. Do you have any crafty people that you like to watch on YouTube? Let me know so I can follow them too!

Have a great day,

Jennifer x

Industry News & Reviews

Amy Tangerine’s Creative Handbook Review – Part 1

In case you’ve not seen Amy Tangerine’s FREE Creative Handbook, I wanted to do a little review to tell you about it! To get your hands on one you just need to head over to Amy’s blog, fill in your email address in a box in the sidebar (in the sidebar of her blog, or at the top of her website homepage), and you’ll receive a link to download the handbook.

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

The handbook is about being inspired and staying motivated with your creative life! The handbook has 5 ‘Practices’, which are sections to work on. Each practice has a bit of information about why Amy included it and how to fill out your own worksheet (each worksheet also has some boxes / prompts to start you off). But the most inspiring thing is the videos that Amy Tangerine, and her friend Jamie Waters, have made to show them using each practice. The videos are all on YouTube, and you can see them here: Practice 1, Practice 2, Practice 3, Practice 4, Practice 5. Those two are cute and funny (watch for the outtakes at the end of the videos) and so inspiring.

I’ve only done the first three practices so far, so I’ll share how I’ve used them today, and then I’ll be back in a week or two to tell you how I got on with the last two.

Practice 1.

This is is a bit of an introduction to yourself and your goals – a sheet to doodle, jot, and get the gears working! I allowed myself a good hour to play with this one and experiment with a few different techniques:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

Something I discovered right away was that I quite liked writing with Promarkers because it made my words seem bold a purposeful. I’d only used them for colouring before. I also enjoyed doodling with watercolours:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I also loved the boxes to fill with patterns. And my favourite bit is where it says ‘more of this…’ and I wrote ‘colour +’ and then added a couple of glittery stripes, just using my Herma dots runner, and some American Crafts Wow fine glitter:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss (age 6) saw me filling this out and she wanted to do one too, so I printed her off a sheet and she got to work with the paints (I’ve blocked out her name with an orange rectangle):

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I like the starburst patten she made with green, blue, and brown!

Practice 2.

This practice is one you could fill out everyday – writing three quick ideas to complete that day. You are supposed to fill it out in the morning, and it can be done in just 5 minutes.

I’ve filled out 3 of these, on different days. Not one of them has been done in the morning! I’ve been doing them just after lunch as I tend to have a free 5 minutes then. I think they’ve taken me slightly longer than 5 minutes, but not too much – I’ve been very casual with these and not worried if my scribbles aren’t perfect or if I colour outside the lines. I just use it to have fun and release my creativity:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I love this little elephant on a path I doodled (drawing in pen straight away, no pencil). And then the doodle gave me an idea for a scrapbooking sketch too:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

Practice 3.

This one is about how we collect inspiration and how to put it into action. I think I enjoyed this practice most of all and I’ve stuck it up on my wall to keep me inspired. I can imagine me completing this again and again to keep my mind turning!

At the top you can make a kind of mood board, with images cut from magazines or printed from pinterest, blogs, etc. The bottom is for a quote / quotes:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I went through My Pinterest Boards to find a few ideas that I wanted to try. I love having these actually printed out so I can glance at the when I’m next delving through my stash:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

And I went through my ‘Quotes and Phrases’ Board to find a quote that appealed to me:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I think I was drawn to this one because spring is finally on it’s way here!

Conclusion So Far:

I found it really easy to download and print off the handbook, and I have really enjoyed filling out these first pages. I may not have used them exactly as intended but I don’t think that’s a bad thing – I’m sure Amy won’t mind! It has confirmed what I already suspected – that Amy Tan ROCKS! She is lovely to have done all this for free. What are you waiting for, go sign up at Amy Tangerine’s Website HERE. You can also see what other people have been creating with the handbook by checking out the hashtag #amytangerinehandbook on Instagram!

I’ll be back with the other two practices in a week or 2. In the meantime, have a creative day!

Jennifer x

Industry News & Reviews

The CHA UK Creative Exchanges Scholarship Competition

Hey all. I just heard about a competition for UK crafters that I thought I’d to share with you, as it sounds exciting and is a bit different!

You may remember me mentioning in my Blogging Goals for 2015 blog post that I’m now a CHA UK member, and I will be going to the CHA UK Creative Exchanges event for designers / demonstrators / educators in the creative industry. It sounds like it’s going to be interesting and fun, and I can’t wait to go! If you thought you’d love to go too but you couldn’t afford it then read on, as one lucky person is going to win a place there…

CHA UK Creative Exchanges Scholarship Competition

CHA UK are currently holding a Creative Exchanges Scholarship Competition. All the details can be found HERE at the CHA UK Website, but here’s the important information:

One lucky winner will be awarded a fantastic career boosting bundle of prizes including a free place at the Creative Exchanges event as well as a range of craft supplies, work placements and mentoring. Two runners-up will also receive a prize of craft supplies as well as mentoring to help them boost their business for the year ahead.

The Creative Exchanges Scholarship competition is open to applicants from all creative fields including papercraft, soft crafts and cake decorating. To enter, simply send a brief overview of you, your business and your aspirations for the year ahead combined with your creative resume with a link to your blog or website and 2-3 examples of your work to creative-exchanges@cha-uk.co.uk

The closing date is the 31st of March 2015.

Because the main prize is a place at Creative Exchanges you should only enter the competition if you are available that weekend (18th – 20th April 2015) and able to travel to the venue near Coventry. If you’ve already paid for a place at the event and you win then you will be refunded. I will be entering too as I may as well give it a try! The winner will be publicly announced at Creative Exchanges, though they will have been told before that they have won so they know they need to come to the event.

If you’d like to further your crafting career and you are free that weekend then why not give it a try?!

If you are on Facebook there is a closed group where there are regular Q&A sessions, the next one is on Monday 2nd March between 12 and 1pm, and the theme is ‘the Creative Exchanges and the Scholarship Competition’. If you want to join in you can request to join the group HERE. The FB group is going to be for CHA UK members only eventually, but at the moment they are letting others join in for the Q&A’s. If you have any problems joining the group let me know.

That’s all, bye for now,

Jennifer x

About Me

Blogging Goals for 2015

I’ve got so many ideas bubbling through my head all the time, and in an effort to be more ‘focused’ (see my word-of-the-year post HERE) I thought I’d list some of my blogging goals here. That way I will have something to refer back to when I start to get distracted, and knowing that you all know my plans will help me to stay on track!

Blogging Goals for 2015

2015 Blog Goals at Jennifer Grace Creates

So here we go, these are the things I’d like to achieve here on the blog in 2015…

Goal One: Plan ahead more.

Mama Miss Blog Planner 2015

I’m usually pretty good about planning ahead for my blog events, but I’m terrible about planning my blogging for the rest of the year! Posts go live sporadically and on random topics that I feel like creating and blogging about at the time. This has got to change!

I downloaded the above planner HERE at Mama Miss. I bought the all-inclusive package for $10. There are free blog planners out there if you search for them, but after some debate I decided this one was worth the $10 because I loved the design (and therefore wouldn’t get bored of looking at it by the end of the year) and there was so many different kinds of useful pages. One section I was interested in was the holidays/occasions for each month – they are VERY American as that’s where Mama Miss lives, but I think I can just cross-out and add in where neccessary. I find it useful to know when the USA are celebrating anyway as I have some fabulous readers from all around the world (Hi there!).

As you can see my planner isn’t bound together yet, nor have I written in it at all. But I’ve printed it off, so that’s a start, right? I need to put it together and start filling it out this week.

Goal Two: Blog 5 times a week.

Archive Blog Posts at Jennifer Grace Creates

The above shows a screenshot of my archive of blog posts (which you can find in the sidebar). I didn’t expand the November archive as that’s a gigantic list thanks to Frosty Festivities! You can see that my posts are a bit random. Only two posts for August, only three in December. A few more in September and October.

I don’t like it looking like this! I want to try and post 5 times a week, probably Monday – Friday. I almost wrote ‘post more regularly’ as the goal, but I realised that wasn’t specific enough. I usually aim in my head to post 2-3 times a week, and as we can see that means I only blog once or twice a week, if that. So maybe if I aim for 5 times a week I’ll end up with at least 3 posts a week on average!

I will continue to mix up various crafts, but as the year goes on I hope to make it so that certain days will be certain things eg, Mondays – Scrapbooking, Tuesdays – Cards, Wednesdays – Industry/Blog News, Thursday – Home Decor, Friday – Kids Craft. Or something like that. We’ll see how it goes. For now, more posts with great content is the main goal!

Goal Three: Earn money from blogging / designing / Etsy shop.

Earning Money at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’m going to be perfectly honest here. My son starts school in Sepetember. If I’m not earning at least a little bit of money from blogging / designing / my Happy Scatter Etsy Shop by then, I will have to get a job instead. This isn’t the end of the world or anything, I know plenty of people work hard and still manage to create amazing blogs. But I know it will seriously decrease my enthusiasm for blogging. I certainly won’t have time for my bi-annual blog events, even if I had more guest designers the amount of time it would take to organise and co-ordinate that would be beyond me. I don’t do all my blogging during the school day at the moment or anything, but I do get a little done here and there – more imporantly I get the housework done during the day. If I’m at work while the kids are at school, so I need to do the housework in the evening, that means I loose my evening blogging time.

Anyway, I’m not trying to get any sympathy or handouts or anything like that! I’m just putting this here as it is a goal of mine, and I want to explain why you might start seeing more adverts / affiliate links, etc on here. I’m not going to let them take-over, and nothing will happen that I don’t feel is in-keeping with my blog theme and design. Mostly you’ll be able to ignore them if you choose. Perhaps if you enjoy a blog post here you’ll click through an advert or buy from an affiliate link as a way of saying thanks, but that’s totally up to you, no pressure.

Regarding Happy Scatter I also don’t want that to take over this blog. I’ve set up a Happy Scatter Facebook Page so I can share more stuff on there, and in a few months I might set up a Happy Scatter blog. In the meantime there will only be one or two Happy Scatter posts a month here, as I don’t want you to feel like I’m overselling the shop. I seriously don’t want to offend / upset any of my regular readers – you can always contact me at jennifergrace@hotmail.co.uk if you want to discuss any changes on my blog!

Goal Four: Network and learn more in the industry.

CHA UK Creative Exchanges

One of the best things I did last year was going to the Cricut Explore Launch which I was invited to in London. Not only was I given an Explore machine and lots of materials since (which I’m still loving using) but I also met some other bloggers from the UK and the US, and some industry professionals like Ashish Arora (the CEO of Cricut). Getting out of my little home down in deepest Dorset and meeting other people who are as passionate about the crafting industry as I am was inspiring.

I’m lucky that I do have a crafty friend (Sarah) who lives near enough for me to pop and scrap with occasionally. She’s also set up a Facebook group for UK scrapbookers to chat on: For The Love Of Pretty Paper (UK Based Scrapbooking Group). And I did get to go on a lovely scrappy retreat in November too. While these are fabulous and relaxing and therapeutic, in 2015 I’d love to meet even more bloggers and industry professionals, to keep my drive going and to teach me more about where I can take my blog and my crafting.

So I’ve signed up to become a member of CHA UK, and I am going to their Creative Exchanges Weekend on the 18th – 20th April! I am super excited about this. I was excited anyway, because the list of education topics sounds so interesting, and then during a chat with Sarah Hurley (who is involved with CHA UK) she mentioned there would be a onesie party and film night too, which sounds like fun, and when I said I wanted to learn more about using Pinterest to drive blog traffic she mentioned that actual Pinterest would be coming to talk about Pinterest. I can’t wait now!

I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back!

Goal Five: Making tweaks.

New Blog Header 2015 Jennifer Grace Creates

Because I think 5 goals is quite enough to be going on with, I’m squeezing a few small goals into this one, as ‘making tweaks’, mainly to the blog layout / design.

Eagle-eyed readers might have already noticed the updated blog header and new profile photo. I’m going to leave the background the same this year, as I happen to quite like it! Other tweaks I want to make are:

1. To update the pages accessed from the menu bar – ‘blog events’ needs updating already, and the ‘about me’ page could do with a freshen up!

2. Optimising the blog to be viewed on mobiles / tablets. How did I only just realise that it’s hard to read my blog on a mobile phone? I read blogs on my phone all the time, but apparently not my own blog, as I hadn’t noticed. Time to sort that out!

3. Create a press/media pack page. Yeah, I don’t know much about these other than I should have one if I want to make money blogging. Something else to learn!

One final important goal: to have fun!

Jennifer Grace Profile Pic

I don’t want this blog to feel like a chore, so I will still be blogging only the things that excite me or which I enjoy doing!

Stephanie at Skyline Paperie recently published a blog post about starting a blog (you can see the post HERE). She asked a few others for hints and tips and my tip was to blog what YOU want to blog. So I’m going to stay true to my own advice and if I find I’m not enjoying any of these goals I will re-think them and let you know the new plan!

Thank you so much for reading, and for continuing to support Jennifer Grace Creates with your visits! Do you have a blog? If yes, do you have any blogging goals for this year? What do you want from your blog?

I hope you have a great day,

Jennifer x

Scrapbook Layouts

Focus – My Word for 2015!

Here’s my first layout for 2015!

Each year I pick a word to try and think about during the coming months. Previous years have included Progress and Cleanse. This year I’ve decided to FOCUS:

2015 Focus layout by Jennifer Grace

This was mainly brought about because I get sooooo easily distracted. When I’m supposed to be designing or blogging I’ll often wander off into Facebook or Pinterest and not get my work done. Or when I’m playing with the kids I might be thinking about what I’m going to cook for tea. When I’m watching telly I’m also partly thinking about what scrappy stuff I want to buy!

I’d like to try and ficus my mind a bit. I know I won’t be able to change this part of my personality completely, but I should be able to alter it a bit, right?! My first plans are:

1. To make sure that when I turn the computer on to blog or design then I don’t check FB for at least an hour. And then I’ll set a time limit of 20 mins for how long I’m allowed to be distracted for.

2. When I’m planning to play with the kids I’ll write a little note-to-self first about what my next chore is, and then leave that note, and my phone, in a separate room to where we are playing.

They are small steps but I hope they will start to make a difference in my life. Otherwise I feel like I’m never tryuly enjoying the moment because my mind isn’t focused!

2015 Focus layout by Jennifer Grace

As a side-note to the word ‘focus’ I do also want to learn more about taking photos and playing with camera focus too!

2015 Focus layout by Jennifer Grace

Mostly I’m just trying to be happy, and bright, and me! I love this quote card from the Pink Paislee Hello Sunshine collection. The yellow background paper is from the same collection (the sheet is called ‘Rain Boots’) I cut it into four smaller squares, and then placed them on the background in the right configuration but with a little bit of gap between them so the yellow wan’t so overpowering. I’m not sure I like the black pen doodling I did at the end to finish the page off, but at least it’s something a bit different for me!

Well I feel pleased to have finished my first page for 2015, here’s to many more! Have you been scrapping / crafting much yet? Do you have a ‘word for the year’?

I’m also excited because this weekend is the big CHA show in Annaheim USA. I wish I could go to it, but that’s a far-off-dream, so instead I’ve been watching as lots of manufacturers show off new products on their blogs. I love seeing all the new things come out! Scrapbook Update has links to most of them HERE if you want to check them out. I’ll have a CHA product picks post up sometime next week to share my favourite things!

That’s all for now, have a great weekend,

Jennifer x

About Me

The What I’m Working On Blog Hop!

Hello everyone!

Something slightly different for today. A couple of weeks ago the lovely Louise at Boys, Bugs and Beautiful Buttons took part in the ‘what I’m working on’ blog hop (HERE is her post), and she nominated me to take part. I was supposed to post last Monday but I was busy checking out all the entries and drawing winners from the Refresh Your Craft & Soul challenge entries, so I didn’t have time to get this finished!

I’m going to answer the four questions about what I’m working on / my creative style, then at the end I’ll nominate 3 more people to hopefully join in and post their answers next Monday!

Q1: What am I working on now?

Right now, this very morning, my table looks like this…

What I'm Working On Blog Hop

… because I spent yesterday afternoon making some birthday cards for a few friends birthdays that are coming up. I’ll show you them later this week when the recipients have opened them! I’ll spend some time today tidying away all this mess so I can work on another project… probably my layout for the August Scrap 365 Sketch – my July layout and process video went live HERE on Saturday, so now I need to work on the next one!

I’ve also been working on some more stencil designs for my Happy Scatter Etsy Shop. When I’m planning out the designs I don’t begin in a very organised way… here’s a glimpse of my initial ideas sketched out on an envelope:

What I'm Working On Blog Hop

They will look a bit more professional in the finished design!

Q2: How does my work differ from other’s of it’s kind?

Everyone has their own style that’s unique to them. I’d say you can spot my projects by something that’s colourful, playful, and sparkly – there’s always got to be some gems, sequins, or other sparkly thing scattered around my card or layout!

What I'm Working On Blog Hop

Q3: Why do I create what I do?

I’ve always wanted to keep a diary. I’ve tried several times in my life. I am useless at it! I write in in for a week or so then forget all about it. The only time I manage to keep it up is on a short holiday… but not when we went travelling for 6 months, I gave up then too. But scrapbooking works! That’s why I always have journaling on my pages, even just a couple of lines, because I want to be able to look back one day and remember how I felt or what was going on at that time in our lives. I hope as they get older my kids will like to look back on it too.

I also love it because of the creativity, which is probably why I’m able to keep up with it. I’ve been an artist / craftsperson of one kind or another all my life – my mum is a fine artist (as well as a clown!), so she taught me to experiment and make things. I call it my therapy, because crafting soothes my soul. If I haven’t crafted for a while you can tell because I get grumpy!

Here’s an acrylic painting I did years ago, before scrapbooking became my main creative outlet:

a breeze that brings promise

Q4: How does my creative process work?

That depends entirely on my mood! Sometimes I start with a sketch, sometimes with photos, sometimes with colour, sometimes with a deadline and a certain project in mind. I don’t usually plan it out to much before pulling out products, but I do tend to push things around quite a lot before sticking anything down.

I make a lot of mess for each project but always tidy it away before starting the next one – partly because it drives me crazy if I can’t find something I need to use as it’s under a big pile of stash, but also because I craft on our family dining table so I need to clear away for meals quite often. We do eat on our laps on the sofa when I’ve got a blog event approaching!

You can see some of my start-to-finish layout process videos on My You Tube Channel.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you’ve found it interesting reading my answers!

Now it’s time for me to nominate 3 bloggers who I’d like to see answer these questions…

1. Sarah at Time To… ~ she’s the owner of SJ Crafts and also a good friend who understand my paper obsession!

2. Jacky at Scrappy Jacky ~ I’ve been reading Jacky’s blog for years, I love her layered cards and seeing photos from her life!

3. Annie at Arty Farty Annie ~ Annie’s creative flair has always inspired me to play with my supplies more!

I don’t think any of them have participated in this expanding blog hop before. We’ll see if they are able to answer the questions too!

Bye for now, have a great week!

Jennifer x

Scrapbook Layouts, Your Craft & Soul Events

Choose Happy Layout – Crafting Without Fuss!

(This post is part of my Refresh Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

Hello! This hour I’m back with another layout. For this page I decided to refresh my crafting by letting go of my ‘fuss’ when scrapbooking. I normally worry a lot about whether items are perfectly straight, and I spend ages pushing items around, it can take hours before I actually stick anything sometimes! For this layout I just went with the flow. I did still want the page to look good, and if I made a mistake I fixed it, but I was a lot less careful putting it all together!

Choose Happy: 

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

I used a photo of me on the beach one evening last summer to write about how I should spend more evenings like this – not worrying about whether the kids are in bed on time (you can just see my daughter in the background of the photo), chilling out with friends and a beer!

I started the page by grabbing some sheets of paper (from Heidi Swapp Dreamy and Studio Calico Atlantic). I stuck with the first ones I pulled out that matched the colours – I didn’t bother rooting around through my stash to make sure I had the ‘perfect’ piece:

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

I doodled some fish onto the background using my Seaside Smiles stencil, then stacked the papers on top. I wanted to round the corners of my papers, but I couldn’t find my corner rounding punch, so I snipped off a couple of corners as triangles instead. Then I stuck the papers onto the page flat (and I didn’t use my ruler to make sure they were on straight), but I stuck the triangles on with 3D foam pop dots:

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

When I wanted to write my journaling I just grabbed my favourite pen and started writing. But I realised I didn’t like it – the black was contrasting too sharply on the yellow and I hadn’t written neatly enough:

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

So I covered it up with the first tag I found that fitted over it, and piled a few more bits on top too:

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

The page was almost ready – all the paper bits and a few embellishments were on there – but I realised I wanted some mist drops to liven it up a bit:

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

Normally if I decide this at a late stage I would carefully mask all the top layer items and journaling etc, so they didn’t get spoiled. This time I just dripped it everywhere, though I did avoid the photo:

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

I love how free it looks!

Here’s where my journaling ended up… instead of trying to find a lighter journaling pen I instead found a darker journal spot so it didn’t contrast as much:

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

I really enjoyed making this page, just throwing stuff at it and sticking things down quick without too much thought!

I think it really will remind me to ‘choose happy’!

Choose Happy layout by Jennifer Grace

Do you have things that you fuss over when you are crafting?

Be Inspired:

Make something spontaneous without fussing over it

Drip mist (or paint / ink) over an almost finished project

Cut the corners off some paper

Ooh, I’d love to head down to the beach with a beer right now! What moment from last year would you choose as your happy time?

Remember that commenting on this post, and any other over this weekend, will count as another entry into the Grand Giveaway, but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that prize right HERE!  {NOW CLOSED}

I’ll see you again at 10pm for the last post of the day!

Jennifer x