Sunday, November 06, 2011

...times, they are a changing!

Do you think blogging is like riding a bike?  I thought it would be easy to get back into the saddle...but crunch time comes and I am still a little wobbly!

I have had an interesting few years...

If you have been following the journey of docrafts - new brands, new products, new techniques, new direction...then you pretty much have an inkling of how my working days have been spent!

I am incredibly proud of the AWESOME product that my team has delivered.  When I first stepped into my role at docrafts, I had my work cut out for me.  It was a company with a lot of heart and soul, but very little product expertise or direction.  Our most recent launch of  Little Venice Cake Company cake decorating equipment in September really was the icing on the cake.  You could call it a personal labour of love (and indulgence..)  

I have some pretty exciting developments in the pipeline for our Xcut brand... and 2012 is already shaping up to be another exciting year for my team.

BUT - it has not all be fun (you may think I am a good time girl... but there is a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears ;)  My dad was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia just before the summer.  It floored me.  This invincible hero of mine suddenly aged over night, and I had to face the reality that he could die.  

My big bro and I developed a crazy concept (when we were holed up in the hospital on a particularly hot Sunday) of taking photos in random places in our KAPOW pose!  It instantly became our trademark stance for photos, and we have introduced all of our family and friends to it.  We like to think it is worthy of a charitable cause... KAPOW CANCER!   (It has a ring?!)  

Anywho - I am signing off with our team KAPOW in Shanghai.  

Back soon!
Becks x


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

...Ooo la la

...Just returned from sunny depths of southern France (supplier meeting) and have to say that I fell in love with the scenery! I am a cheese fanatic and love all things smelly and mouldy. N.B. I do however need to quantify that statement, as it certainly DOES NOT apply to my son's feet (or my husband's for that matter ;) Basically - give me some French stinky cheese and some Carrs Cheese Melts, and I am in heaven. Even chocolate comes second *gasp* if I catch a whiff of blue veined cheese...

It was a short trip - but well worth it from a product perspective. I am looking forward to the relaunch in 2010 of an "old favourite" with the help of our new partner... as well as the chance to nip back over next year ;)

I head to Asia at the weekend (...and you wonder why I did not blog for months!) so definitely no rest for the wii-impaired. I think my passport is worn out from the frantic sourcing schedule that comes with the territory - but I just hold out for the trips to SUPERDRY at the airport (it keeps me going ;)
More to follow...
Becks xx

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Dorset Life"

Having finally adjusted the wonky picture above the fireplace, and already knee deep in my abundant crop of pine cones from my leaf-blanketed garden, I am finally feeling more settled into Dorset Life.

I moved due to work demands - but having spent a few weeks breathing the fresh air and rambling through random farm fields and forests, I would quite happily subscribe to this locality through choice.

I had a birthday recently and Rachel Allen Cookbooks (***see pic... no it is NOT me!) were heavily featured. I have her BAKE book (a firm cupboard fav) and the new Rachel's Favourite Food at Home has already got me reaching for the online shop button, ordering chicken to boil up for a homemade pie. I am already feeling virtuous from having reduced my garden-grown cooking apples into sauce for Christmas! The threat of rearing chicken is next...
Becks xxx

Monday, May 11, 2009

On the move...

I have finally taken the big leap, and have sold my home in Essex... heading from the bright lights of Bournemouth, the New Forest and DO HQ!

As you can imagine, moving 4 children (schools!!) is no mean feat. House hunting is eating into my relaxing weekends... and I am crossing all fingers and toes that we will find the ideal new location to rehouse all those really useful boxes (!)

Mingled in with the move is obviously the ever expanding product agenda which I manage... and we have new licenses launching, as well as Papermania Signature (a little something *special*) and all our Christmas lines (don't choke - Christmas is pretty much done in my book ;)

As a result I will be taking time out from blogging just so I can catch my breath... and keep sane! A woman's work is never done, and I sure as heck could use a wife round about now... ;)

Becks xxx

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bloomin' Hard Work!

Anyone who says that presenting is easy ain't telling the truth! It is bloomin' hard work (...granted not as bad as labour or gallstones; but back to back it is gruelling! I do not know how DB keeps up - and manages to look un-phased by the process ;)

Anyways, it was one heck of a weekend - and I got to meet the Bobbi Brown team, Maxx NY owner and drool up close on those killer handbags, Liz Earle presenter... and Julia Roberts (*highlight*) I am one of those people who DOES get a little star struck - so I had to pull myself together and try not to dribble and speak incoherently...

I have got a WINNER for the Wednesday PMA Paper Kit!
Congratulations... STEPHANIE (the gemini!!) Send me your address and I will get these off to you! (P.S. these were the papers went to QVC and back... so they are well travelled ;)

ALSO have a winner for the RUB TSV free kit!
Congratulations... SARAH Send me your address and I will get you all those lush boxes to get organising...

Becks xxx

N.B... hi becks - just a quick note to say thank you again, the boxes have just arrived and they are excellent. i am ready to get organised!!!
thanks again and happy crafting
sarah

Thursday, April 16, 2009

QVC


...just a note to say I am heading to QVC tonight for a TSV! Tune in to find one of my fav product ranges premiering on QVC at middnight... Cluuuurrr is on tomorrow too at 4pm - so no time to blog :(
xxx

Friday, April 10, 2009

*Gasp*

I have EVERY die cut machine there is on the market... and I have to say that when this little wonder landed on my desk (and got promptly snaffled by Katy Godbeer ;) I wasn't *that* bothered - that is UNTIL she started to hyperventilate and I had to poke my head out of my office to see whether the air vent man was back again...

Apparently sliced bread is *so last year* when you have the new Silhouette SD (from QuicKutz)  It basically unlocks your computer and every font and image (scanned in or downloaded from the Internet or from their extensive library - which is an eye-watering wealth of shapes.)  NO MORE purchasing expensive cartridges, and being locked into a few size options.  This is flippin awesome!  MAC compatible, and easy (has to be for me) intuitive software; this is one machine I HAVE TO HAVE (except Katy and our designers have now *baggsy'ed* it...!!)

The library of images and nesting shapes, and dies from QuicKutz (which you get to download for FREE with your subscription card included - has a value of over $2000!!!)  Flippin' eck that is a whole load of content to get you going...

FYI:  Design Objectives now works exclusively with QuicKutz in the UK - and they launched the SQUEEZE TOOLS in a killer £19.99 deal, and are following up with the new UNIVERSAL EMBOSSING FOLDERS (if you have a Cuttlebug, Revolution, Big Shot... or impress *cough* then these babies are made for you!!)  £4.50 for the 4 2x2 versions - which are teeny enough for the Squeeze, or $4.50 for the A2 Embossing Folders... 

 

Lucky for me, the initial stock of the new SILHOUETTE SD arrived yesterday at DO (Clare Curd already bagged one to play with - lucky gal :) so looking forward to getting one of my very own to play with and keep from blogging...


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wishing you a Wonderful Wednesday!

Thank you for all the kind comments :)

Wish Wednesdays are back... (I am in the mood... suffering from *man flu* so in a weakened state of mind ;) I have got some LUSH new Papermania Signature paper packs to give away.
In my role as Head of Product at DO, my team have been working on some stella designs that are a steal for any cash strapped scrapper who wants a little luxury for less ;) These are a touch of floral... to complement the brand new boutique release from JESSE EDWARDS!! Watch out for PMA this year, as we have more signature lines up our sleeve ;)
Leave a comment - and a follower will get a bundle of Blueberry Hill and Regency paper packs.
Becks xxxx


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chocolate Fudge Cake...

Life never stands still!

BUSY does not even come close to describing the product agenda I have been managing at Design Objectives. We have so much launching this year that I barely get time to nibble at a rivita (could be because they taste like core'dinations cardstock) or lick some chocolate fudge cake. Plus there was a whole lot of doom and gloom which I didn't want to get pulled into. Craft is rocking... card making, scrapbooking, jewellery making, knitting, sewing... FYI it is so en vogue to DIY ;)

So issue 3 of Creativity Life is out - and still I get emails from loads of readers who want it more regularly, and better distribution... so next issue we have sorted something out ;) I am loving the look and feel of it - seems to have evolved into quite a neat little bundle. (...and you wonder why I don't get to blog ;)

I have a favour though! I *need* your comments and feedback on the REALLY USEFUL BOX range of products. If anyone out there has ever bought some, please leave comments on WHAT you use them for, and WHY they are good/great/pants!

Lastly, there is a really special TSV airing next Friday (17th April) - might get a giveaway set for one lucky blog follower...

Becks xxxx

Friday, February 13, 2009

Daisy D's is closing...

Sad news that DAISY D'S is closing by June 2009 - and currently liquidating all stock! Another fatality of the credit crunch... and the vast choice for crafters buying paper!! I love their vintage style... although their last few collections I have been able to live without - but it is still a shame to see these kinds of brands fall under the wheels.

I am sure there is happy news out there! LIKE it being the UK's trade show *Stitches* this weekend. Scaled down from previous years, with some exhibitors electing not to take a booth... still worth a gander if you are a retailer.

Have a good weekend xxx

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wish Wednesday Winner...

I have not been able to get a meaty shot of the complete wish wednesday CHA goody bag (due to the contents being *between locations*)... but it will be sent out next week... and the one lucky blog follower to be showered with some lush new stash is...
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MAX, from Scotland.

Paperworld, Franfurt 2009




Spotted: Trends that seem to dominate state-side are a pish in the ocean when it comes to the mother of all papercraft trade events... Paperworld. It was a massive show that encompassed a variety of stationery, home decor, paper and seasonal decorative crafts. It was a visual banquet...
Trends I spotted included texture. STILL big news - glitter, flock, and velvet effects (huge in home wares and Christmas decor!!) Also there was a really strong representation of natural fibres and colours. Europeans are more proactive in using recycled materials; and there was a real lush hint of raw wood, creative uses of wood pulp and bark. CHA may have dipped its toe in the water of eco-wise... but paperworld was awash with it. Lastly, I noticed that crocodile texture print was adorning everything from notebooks, bags, shoes to your very own handmade paper! Not my *thang* but no doubt we are sure to see it making a big impression in the months to come...

...I was working hard, promise! xxx

CHA Winter 09 AWARDS...


  1. 2009 INNOVATIONS SHOWCASE WINNERS
    The Innovations Showcase brought together the newest ideas and most innovative products from exhibiting companies. Retailers, CHA members, CHA consultants and members of the press attending the show voted and selected the best products of the Show, as well as the "Overall Best Innovation." Winners were:

    ART MATERIALS & FRAMING – Golden Artist Color, Inc - Fluid Color Travel Interference Acrylics
    FABRIC/QUILTING/NEEDLECRAFT – AccuQuilt - GO!™ Fabric Cutter
    GENERAL CRAFTS – Duncan Enterprises - the Tulip Create-A-Color Custom Dye Kit
    SCRAPBOOKING & PAPER CRAFTS – Crafter's Companion - Ultimate Crafter's Companion Master (GB's own!!)
    NEW EXHIBITORS – Spiral Eye Needles - Spiral Eye Side Threading Needles
    OVERALL BEST INNOVATION – Duncan Enterprises - Tulip Create-A-Color Custom Dye Kit
  2. EXHIBITING WITH EXCELLENCE
    The CHA Exhibiting with Excellence Awards were presented to companies whose dynamic displays, merchandising techniques and inviting staff enhance the overall atmosphere of the show floor. Voted on by members of the press, consultants, and CHA staff, the judging criteria included use of floor space, visual appeal of exhibitor booths, and overall presence and friendliness of staff. One winner was chosen in each of the following Show sections:

    ART MATERIALS & FRAMING – Dennis Daniels
    FABRIC/QUILTING/NEEDLECRAFT – AccuQuilt
    GENERAL CRAFTS – Alumilite
    SCRAPBOOKING & PAPER CRAFTS – Glitz Design

  3. PRESS KIT AWARD COMPETITION WINNERS
    Several exhibiting manufacturers vied for top place in the Golden Press Kit competition, which awards the design/content, creativity and thoroughness of each company's press kit. CHA Designer members also had a chance to display their press kit innovations as part of the Designer Press Kit competition. Members of the press selected the following winners:

    GOLDEN PRESS KIT – Ellison (*the most generous and included in my giveaway!)
    SILVER PRESS KIT – Chatterbox
    BRONZE PRESS KIT – When Creativity Knocks
    DESIGNER PRESS KIT AWARD WINNER –Sarah-n-Dipitous Designs LLC
  4. CHA GREEN PRODUCT OF THE YEAR AWARDS
    GREEN PRODUCT OF THE YEAR – ClearBags
    FIRST RUNNER UP – Caron Simply Soft Eco Yarn
    HONORABLE MENTION – Strathmore Charcoal Papers

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Look what is coming in March...


Sneak preview of a brand new range from Core'dinations {exclusively available in 8x8, along with 12x12 and 6x6 assorted packs from March 1st!} It is decadently shimmery 240 gsm cardstock. Very 2009 ;)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Heading to Frankfurt, Paperworld Show

I am back in the hot seat as I head to the Paperworld trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. It is a 4 day show, and is *even bigger* than CHA (mainly because it is not so paper-centric!) So I have my walking boots, camera, plasters (for those annoying blisters) and some trend spotting antennae...

This is my first encounter of Paperworld; having in the past opted for SMAC & STITCHES as my foray into international trade fairs. I am looking forward to the imperfect booths, cluttered with gazillions of non-coordinated products... all looking for a home. I am brushing up my rusty Deutsche (I went to a German school whilst living in Turkey... so it won't all be Bratwurst and Bahnhof ;)
I will add *little* nick-knacks which I pick up along my way...so that heaving WISH WEDNESDAY WONDER-STASH prize will be awarded on Wednesday week... (as this allows me time to read properly through comments and get over the cumulative jet lag ;) Some lucky follower is going to be like a pig in poo... lucky you!!
Ok... Tschüss for now!

Friday, January 30, 2009

CHA Winter 09 - The Finale



Slap my hands... I forgot to mention *ZING* from American Crafts! These are really fine embossing powders that really are scrummy...




So TIM HOLTZ (The Grand Duke of Grunge) has widened his range with Advantus (remember he also has stamps with Stampers Anon, and inky-dinky-do with Ranger... busy bee!) Some interesting nick-knacks... all aged, distressed, grunge type. The mini-stapler tool is a gadget which I have seen Making Memories toy with, and is a revision on the original EKSuccess fastenator. I have heard whisperings of an improved upgraded option out later in the year (but not from any of the brands just named...)




What is some aging embellishments without a centre-piece of grunging cases (which was attracting ALL the attention... ;)





Lastly spotted the man himself showing some retailers around the booth. He finally unshackled himself from that demo spot for some vital pimping. Love his stuff...





Headed over to QuicKutz booth which in 2008 had been a little bit of a disappointment... but they have turned a corner, and suddenly feel back in the design saddle - releasing some fab consumable staples. As DO stockists will be flogging the squeeze and alphas for just £19.99 (you heard it right folks!) in March, the new 2x2 embossing folders will be a real MUST HAVE addition to maximise that bargain buy. With 4 for £4.99 (or thereabouts) I can feel a marriage with some core'dinations coming on...





Also of note were the stunning nesting (aka concentric) stencils, as well as the coordinating dimensional stencils which build a 3D effect. This is a KEY TREND for 2009! I spotted a few companies giving this dimensional effect some limelight through punches (which X-Cut has done in March too) and through this die-cutting. Have to say I was smitten with the floral version.




The new silhouette is sleeker, friendlier and more playful than the previous version. We got a demo, before I left my camera on their stand for half a day - and in a blind panic and hot sweat ran back to see if it was still there... phew, for honest folk!


Lastly... just because it is like butter on a hot potato... the lush Aussie accent from Kaiser Crafts! Worth wading through the whole post for!

video

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CHA Winter 09 - Drama on the dancefloor (outside!)

video

Just to let you know that this was our brief brush with fresh air before we were whisked back into the dark and frantic world of CHA (...only seconds after being evacuated.) Oh the drama! Paris Hilton didn't even cause this much hoo-haa... ;)

Last pictures of the show will be posted tomorrow... otherwise I will be spoiling you too much! xx

CHA Winter 09 - Day Two...

Clearsnap:
So new colours for their signature queues, petalpoint et al... but the most exciting thing on their stand was their adorable new SMOOCH shimmer inks. They look like nail polish, but are this glorious bling ink that works with a fine brush to nestle into crevices and crannies to create dreamy sheens to pebbles to clay, cards and fabric. VERY VERY yummy...



Lasting Impressions:
I worked with Lasting Impressions before, and just *love* their stencil designs. We do have some in store promos on select demo boards - but here we have some new ones!! As well as all things brass, they have perfected the Memory Mixer to a version 3 reign supremo digital solution. The boys playing with it were hooked... which says it is user friendly ;) Even Holly was all over it - and planning her Wedding Photobook (which this sucker can make in minutes!) Looking forward to seeing more...





Purple Cows:
The recent TSV tool was outshone by the lush icube storage solution on the booth. I instantly fell in love, but only because I can see a whole craft room/kid room/shed organised with this gear! Forget the colouring for a moment, as you wait till you see how light weight it is (urm that is aka cheap shipping for yous and me!!) It is modular, and massively MUST HAVE.

Can't leave CHA without having your picture with a purple cow?!! They were filming the Craft Diva (that TV show) in the background... all good ;)

CHA Winter 09 - Drama on the dancefloor

video

There was a moment of madness when the alarm went off at CHA and we all have to evacuate. Not able to take anything too seriously (although fire and all that paper product would NOT have been the ideal mix) we did some impromptu videoing...

Please accept my profound apologies for the Michael-taking of the American accent. It was not perfectly executed due to the elevated emotions of the moment ;)

***BTW Holly is "The Lovely Holly" Roche; Brand Manager & Designer extraordinaire from Design Objectives.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crafty Trends... continued

Other key trends spotted include...
  • VINYL HOME DECOR

    Remember I scoped Uppercase Living last year? Well the scrapbook world is now awash with home decor vinyl applique. Originally Lisa & Becky (Advantus) tried to get us to decorate our walls with hanging things and stickers... then the Cricut (Provocraft) and the Silhouette (QuicKutz) sold vinyl sheets that you could die cut then use to decorate frames, albums, walls et al... and there was at the same time WALLIES (which is a blackboard type vinyl which encourages your kids to "feel free" *which on a sad note my 3 year old daughter DID in my absence on my brand new carpet... joy!!)

    Anyways, we now have virtually all the big boys selling finished die-cut phrases and icons to be used to decorate those all-so-bare walls we Brits have a plenty. They LOOK oh so good in the brochure, but not so sure if they will translate onto our teeny walls in our teeny houses...
  • SPARKLE

    If you thought that rhinestones were the epitome of all things glam, then think again. The trend for glitter speciality finishes on patterned paper has flooded scrapbook manufacturers. It is pretty pricey compared to adding your own glitter at home to a sheet of 50p paper - but the effects are less *homemade* and definitely more bam bling. You won't be able to escape this trend, or the cash it will take out of your pocket to feed the habit!
  • COST CUTTING

    Saving the planet was firm on the agenda, but only after saving the pounds in your pocket first. Thus the advent of 99p-esk stamps popping up all over the show (We R Memory Keepers have some cute ones to match that Tiffany line... which is a wowzer one irl!) BUT pack sizes are also reducing, so retailers can buy more breadth, and less depth. With GCD Studios also getting really cost sensitive when it comes to their deliciously designer papers and accessories. The credit crunch is hitting... big time!

I did nip into the TWO PEAS IN A BUCKET cupcake party (Kirsty, Shimelle, Marion and Bev were there also from the UK) and we had a hoot with tsome american lasses on our table. Whilst they were 2 pea buffs, Holly & I were struggling to answer the simplest of quiz questions... although weirdly on my turn I ended up winning a new fiskars trimmer due to my acute knowledge of album manufacturers (aka guess work!?!)

My ill gotten gain will be added to the WISH WEDNESDAY STASH PILE... which is mounting up nicely! There are wallies, t-shirts, a cute Doodlebug shoulder tote and more... for that one lucky follower. xxxx

Monday, January 26, 2009

CHA Winter 09 - Day One...(in pictures)

Anna Griffin:



Making Memories:




Graphic 45:



We R Memory Keepers: ***new tool!

Doodlebug:






Unibind: *my story aka Provocraft


Plaid:


Autumn Leaves:


EKSuccess:









JustRite Stamps:





Pebbles: *fresh new look!




Chatterbox:








American Crafts:


Kaiser Craft:













Imaginisce:


ScrapOniser:


Jewellery from EKSuccess...

Technique Tuesday:

More from Chatterbox...



...the wordy round up to follow!