Monday, 19 October 2020

There's still time, so dont miss out.

 Good Afternoon everyone, I'd like to thankyou all for your support and for those who have left reviews on the Craftascope Etsy store. Just to let you know that there's just under a week left for you to get a good deal, there's still goodies left with upto 50% off. If you missed my Facebook post, there's still time to like, add your comment and tag a crafty friend, thats all you need to do and you could be the lucky person to get 50 pounds to spend on Craftascope goodies. There's also a separate chance and maybe the one who gets 250 pounds to spend there, for that all you need todo is leave a review for a purchase made at the Craftascope Store, this will be drawn on November 6th. Good luck for both draws. Today I thought I would share some inspiration, A few projects that you could make with just a few items.

This uses just one stamp from the A5 Dolphin Stamp set, along with a meaningful word and a selection of Brusho.

How about stamping your own embroidery design, they look wonderful stitched. Then they can be either framed or incorporated into a special cushion or other project. I have done tutorials on this previously or you could visit my Youtube Channel. This design is made using stamps from the 'Bloom & Grow' and 'Positive Journey' sets, but many of Craftascope stamps are perfect for this.

Here's a large rose, made with the original Rose Petal die set along with the Rose Extension set.

I love this 'Dancing Dolphin' die with a caught in Crystal background. Many of the dies from Craftascope are designed to give you versatility, either leaving the design in your card or using the decorative edge die to remove.

Here are another couple of examples of cards made using the 'Men's face' stencils. There are many ways of using these stencils, so please take a look at the Youtube Channel for more inspiration.(link at the top of the page).

A couple of other cards, made by Katrina & Jane. The first from Jane using the stamp sets 'Positive Journey and 'Bloom & Grow'. Katrina has used the 'ATC Antics', Such a card and dies from the ATC card holder and envelope.

Thank you for joining me today, I've really missed being in touch so much, but things are getting easier, so I am hoping that it won't be much longer until I am with you a lot more regularly. Thanks again for all of your reviews, comments and reviews. It's been a very difficult year and it has affected many people and businesses, so please do take care.

Please dont miss out on the offers on the Etsy store, hopefully it will help with your crafting and it will definitely make a huge difference to me and the future of Craftascope. Keep your reviews coming, it's wonderful to know how happy you are with them and the quality. Good luck with the 250 Pounds Draw. Take care and Happy Crafting xxx

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Fancy Bagging Yourself £250 To spend on Craft Goodies - Lots of Excitement.

Morning Everyone, I hope you all enjoyed the shows with Lou last weekend, I have already seen that some of you have been inspired by the demos she shared. As you know I normally have a giveaway on the Hochanda Facebook Page, sadly I was too late this time but I thought I would have a giveaway for my Etsy Customers. So how do you Fancy Bagging Yourself £250 to spend as you like at the Craftascope Etsy Store?

It's very simple, all you have to do is: 
Leave an Honest review for any purchase you make on the Craftascope Etsy Store upto Midnight on 5th November 2020. Reviews Left in September will also be included. The lucky person will be drawn on November 6th. The more reviews you leave, the more chances you will have. 

There are some back in stock items, I have tried my hardest to get more Chrysanthemum Dies and I'm pleased to say there is a little more stock available. I've added some new offers to the store, saving up to 30% on some very popular items. Some of the items can't be replaced, so please don't miss out. The Lady Marjorie Swag Die, Retro Leaves & Trees & the build a Man have all been very popular, and now have a discount. Most items include free postage.

Here are some of the wonderful samples made by the Design Team. They work so hard and really help to bring the designs to life. They share such a lot of Inspiration as I am sure you saw on the recent shows. If you missed them, I will be sharing them on the Youtube channel either today or Tomorrow.

The Floral Companions Stamp and Die set is such a versatile set. Great for making cards for all occasions and seasons birthdays, Christmas etc, they look amazing in Autumn colours too. Here are some samples made using the set.

Do take a look through the store at what's on offer, I have tried to include something for everyone. All of the items are popular and not just selected to get rid of. If you have a voucher or discount code, this can still be used. Items are all sent within 2 days. Due to Covid19 there are still delays in delivery.

I did have some damage to a few of the 'Slice of Heaven' products. If you are not concerned about buying without packaging then I have listed them with a substantial saving. The product is not damaged in any way and is of the same high standard, they're just sold without the packaging.

It's been an incredibly difficult year for everyone and hearing about more restrictions is a worry. I hope that 2021 will be a much better year for every one. Take care and Stay Safe. xxx

T's & C's

1) The lucky person will be contacted via The Craftascope Etsy Store and mentioned on  Facebook and this Blog. If no contact is made within 3 days then another name will be drawn.

2) All reviews left from the 1st September and before Midnight on November 5th will be included.

3) This is not transferable and no alternative will be offered. Any amount over and above the £250 will have to be paid at the time of purchase. Not to be used in conjunction with any other voucher or discount code.

Friday, 18 September 2020

A Slice of Heaven - Launch of the New Craftascope Collection

 Morning Friends and Crafters. This is a really exciting and very special day for me. After such a long wait,my New 'Slice of Heaven' Collection from Craftascope is being launched today by the wonderful Lou Withers. It would have been amazing if I could have been there myself, but I am so very lucky to have such a marvelous Crafter launching it on Hochanda today. I'm sharing one of the cards I've made using a selection of Stamps and Dies, along with a beautiful stamp from Clarity Stamp.

I believe that the 'Slice of Heaven' Collection is one of the most versatile ones I have brought to you so far. As always they are perfect for all of your Paper & Cardcraft projects, however they are designed be used perfectly with Fabric as well. You can easily create your own bespoke fabrics. With many of the stamps, there's also the option to use them for Quilting.With a little patience you could even try micro-quilting.

I am decorating at the moment, the stamp I have used in the card comes in 3 sizes across the collection.I am using the largest of these to create a feature wall and I will share the photos as soon as it's finished. To give you an idea, I have stamped a sheet of A3 paper, obviously for the wall I will be spacing the stamps further apart. 

The same stamps can also be used to make the most gorgeous flowers,either using one size stamp or a mix of the sizes together. If you have the thicker type Chinese rice paper they make stunning poppies. If you would to use them with foamiran, be careful to choose the correct ink and a light colour to stamp with.

Having the versatility in a collection is the key and having so many other options is always a good thing. The stamps are sized perfectly to work across any project from ATC's to Scrapbook pages as well as larger Home Decor projects. They work wonderfully with the Craftascope Heat Transfer Paints,also available on the website.

I had quite a few requests for Spanish Phrases, so in this collection I have included a couple which are great to use in greeting cards and scrapbook pages. There are so many options with the whole collection and I really hope to see some of your creations.

There's far too much to share in a blog post, so I will be sharing other ideas over time as well as youtube videos. For now I do hope you will tune into the shows with Lou tonight and Saturday Morning.It's really good to be back with you.If you have shopped on my Etsy, you should have received a thank you voucher, if you didn't and would like to shop the code is FEEDBACK15 and will give you 15%off anything in store. Take care and Happy Crafting.xx

Thursday, 28 May 2020

A quick update on my Petition to the Government

Hi everyone, I hope you are all still keeping well and staying safe. Looks like there lot of beautiful weather around. I had a wonderful letter yesterday from 'The House of Commons' with more support for my Petition for the Inclusion of Cause 2 into the Agriculture Bill. It was exciting to get it, not have anything like it since I turned 16, when I along with every other 16 year old was invited to 'The Palace of Westminster. 

Anyway, As I was still waiting for the Petition to be checked and made live, I wrote today for an update. I will share the Petition as soon as it's live, we still have the opportunity to make a difference, protect the Farmers and Crofters all over the UK, to improve Animal Welfare,Stop Sub standard imports into the UK, such as Battery Chicken and Eggs, Chlorinated Chicken etc, To name but a few.

Here is the reply:

HOC Petitions Committee <>
Thu 28/05/2020 12:28
  •  You;
  •  HOC Petitions Committee
Dear Nicholas,

Thank you very much for your message.

I’ve had a look on the UK Parliament petitions system for you, and I can see that your petition is in our moderators’ queue for checking. At the moment, we’re receiving an exceptionally large number of petitions. Currently, we’re receiving five times the number of petitions which we usually receive, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that our moderators are taking several weeks to reach a particular petition in the queue for checking, then to check it as thoroughly as ever. We’re sorry that this is making the checking process take longer than usual. As soon as our moderators have decided whether they can accept your petition, they’ll get in touch with you by e-mail.

Usually, our moderators try their best to check petitions strictly in the order in which we receive them. Our moderators are checking to make sure that every petition follows the standards for petitions. If you’d like to take a look at the standards for petitions, you’re very welcome to find them here:

Thank you for taking a look at the update, Hopefully it will all be up and running very soon. In the meantime, enjoy your crafting, gardening or whatever is keeping you going through this. Take care and Stay Safe.xx

Thursday, 21 May 2020

A glimpse of Life in Bulgaria, A request for your support

Hi Everyone, I hope you are all doing okay, keeping safe and well. I know it's been a difficult time for so many, especially for those in flats or no outside area. We all miss seeing friends and family,won't it be wonderful to finally see them again. Im fairly used to not going out too much, so for me it's not been a huge difference and I am so lucky to have a large outside space. A lot of you will know I love roses and this year they have put on an amazing display. Especially this one, It's called Zephrine Drouin and has a wonderful scent.

I have to say it is a very different story when you are told to stay in,when the choice isn't your own you can immediately feel trapped. One of the things I really miss, has been coming over to the UK and my visits to Hochanda. My visits there have always been so uplifting, I am always made to feel so welcome. 

I ventured into the village square yesterday so I could share some of it with you. It's deserted, apart from the weeds slowing making an appearance between the paving. I am sure they will be cleared away soon and the villagers will soon come back, bringing life to the center again.

After my last post about the lockdown a couple of people said they were disappointed that I hadn't shared what it was like here, I didn't think anyone would be interested but here is a little about how it's been. There's been a huge difference in the way the lockdown has been implemented here and the way people have reacted to it over the weeks. Back in January, even before there was anything official, people were acting on their own initiative, the supermarkets were sanitizing trolleys and giving hand gel to each customer before they entered the shop,other than that life was still very normal.

By the beginning of Feb they were limiting the number of customers in the store, only 50 at a time and then it was one in and one out. Up to the end of Feb it had been changes made by the supermarkets and distancing that kept the numbers low, these little changes were still before anything official. I heard that by the 25th Feb the Bulgarian Government had installed thermal cameras in all of the Airports, Land and Sea Ports.

In the village, there is a little shop/bar, I can only describe it as being similar to a small corner shop in the UK with a bar attached. I took a photo to give you an idea. This had to shut when the bars restaurants had to shut.

There's also a square in the center, a lovely peaceful place and even swings and a slide for the Children. The large building is a community restaurant/bar where we can all get together for meals. It's especially great at Christmas and New Year when there's dancing, singing, quizzes and lots of prizes. It's always a lovely atmosphere when everyone gets together.

At the beginning of March Wizz Air stopped all flights to and from Italy & Israel. Herein Bulgaria they started disinfecting all trains and buses etc. At the same time cinemas,theaters, schools & shops closed.I was still hoping to come back to the UK, then on March 16th Boris Johnson gave the advice to Stay at Home and social distance, but at this time is was voluntary so I was so pleased that I could still travel. I actually thought it would have been the safest time,with many people staying in.

Looking at the news & pictures being shared on thee news and online, I was surprised at how many people weren't taking and notice of the advice given, the supermarket photos were shocking,from an outsider looking in and knowing what it was like here, many people just couldn't believe what they were seeing. It wasn't surprising  that the stricter measures were put in place the following week. Obviously it was a very small percentage,but sadly it spoilt it for the wider population. I have no idea why people act so differently here, but the public were great with the social distancing even before measures were put in place. I forgot to add earlier in this post, they have been adding some new seating in the  Village square, around the edge. They will be lovely to sit in and enjoy drinks and friendship.

This is where I would like to ask for some support for something I feel really strongly about. Last Wednesday part of the Agriculture Bill was voted down. This was the part that was to safeguard and protect Farmers,Crofters and Food Producers across the whole of thee United Kingdom. I have prepared a petition for the Government and they are looking at it as I type. The petition is to ask for assurance that all imported produce meets at least the same standards in the UK. It's the very least we should expect. Why should we import food and choose to eat food that falls way below the UK standard.

It seemed very strange to me that there was no mention of the Bill in any of the news, considering it's a huge change. UK farmers should not be put at a disadvantage by allowing sub standard imports. I need 21 Signatures at this stage for it to be reviewed before I can share it more widely. Over the next few days, I am going to provide further information,for now I would really appreciate the support for this very important issue. There's no point having World Leading Standards in the UK, If we don't expect Trade Partners to have at least the same standards in Animal Welfare, Food Safety, Quality and Environmental Issues. The petition will stop accepting names at 21, to be reviewed. We still have time to make a difference and support the UK, Details of my Petition are below, these are not showing until it's been reviewed Click this link to sign the petition:

My petition:
Assure us the UK Agriculture Bill will protect the UK’s Food & Farming Sector.
We need assurances that The Agriculture Bill will not be made law without legislation to ensure Agri-food imports are produced to at least the equivalent of those required by Farmers & Food Producers across the UK.They must not be put at a disadvantage,by allowing sub standard imports.

This important bill will be the foundation of the UK’s Food & Farming policy. Food standards must must be protected in any and all Trade Deals. We need a Cast Iron promise from the Government that all of these future imports are produced to at least the equivalent environmental, animal welfare & food safety standards as those required across the United Kingdom. To do otherwise will put the sector at a huge disadvantage. We're building ourselves a better future.Why should we accept anything less.

I know I am really looking forward to the day we are all safe and free to see Friends & Family, Children, Grandchildren and Parents. Until that day comes, we will have to keep each other positive. Like I always say, Im here and feel free to get in touch, I always love to hear your stories. Take care and Stay

Monday, 27 April 2020

Questions for the Government? Now there's a chance.

Hi, After my last to Blog Posts, I decided to write to Kier Starmer, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. It's always worth it when you feel you have something to say, well better than just posting on a blog anyway and more change of it being seen. From today anyone has the chance of asking the Government a question at the Number 10 Coronavirus Evening Briefing.

So many have been put off watching the briefing because of the questions put forward by the press. There are so many repeated by each of the groups. So now there's a chance to find out more. There will be one question put forward to the Government each day. The Government wont see the question prior to the Briefing and the daily question will be selected by an independent polling organisation.

You have to be over 18 to submit your question, they will be chosen around midday each day, if chosen the person will be contacted and given the choice of recording a video of your question to be played during the briefing. If you would rather not record you question, it will be read out on your behalf. It will be interesting to see what the public want to know and if it's any different to those asked by the media. The link to add your questions is: ASK YOUR QUESTION.

Here is the letter I wrote to Keir Starmer last week, If I ever get a response I will post on here. It was great to hear Boris Johnson earlier, saying that he would invite the opposition leader and others to be involved. This will be a great step forward and hopefully reduce the Backbiting and criticism we have seen, and in turn less time wasted. 

Finally my letter to Rishi Sunik, you never know, I might also get a reply to this and again, if I do I will add it here for you to see.

For now take care and Keep safe. xx

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Lots and lots to share, Captain Tom and his New Single, Covid19 & More

It really is a wonderful thing, I am sure there are many times we have all wished we had the luxury of hindsight. Unfortunately no one can see the future. It's easy for us all to look back and wonder how an unfolding situation might have turned out if we had taken a alternative path. No one can possibly say different choices would have made the outcome any better or worse. The journey might change, but who can honestly say if the end result would have been a better one. All we can really do is look back and learn from every decision made.

Every person has their own opinion on a variety of subjects and different topics. It's the coming together of minds and action that makes a vital difference.I am no exception, we all like to make our own decisions when it affects our lives and the lives of our Family and Friends. I'm not political, the important point now is to save lives, the best way to do that is work together and support each other.

It's doubtful that there are many who are enjoying the restrictions, but we know it's the right thing to do, keeping everyone safe. Whatever Government had been in power there would be many difficult decisions that would have to be made. They have followed health and scientific advice and taken into account information and data from many different experts. Despite all the criticism, they have chosen a path that they believe is best for the country at the time.

It was wishful thinking on my part, when I had hoped that the whole of parliament would join forces to fight this pandemic. It could have been an agreement between all parties or even a more formal route, creating a national or coalition Government for the duration, like I said in my last post. There has been so much condemnation and criticism, even more over the last 2 weeks. People are falling ill and lives are being lost, this really isn't time to be wasting valuable time, when it could be used for the good of the nation. 

It's always welcome to hear the views from experts, but there is a limit. Surely the media must have exhausted their list of possible guests. The variety of opinions, advice and condemnation is mind blowing and serves no useful purpose, when so many of them contradict others. It's really not surprising that the mental Health of some has been affected. Watching and reading the news can be terrifying. If reporters, editors and those responsible for the nations news had acted this way during the last War, the outcome could have been very different.

I've talked to and heard from a fair few people and their morale has certainly suffered, by far the biggest reasons are the way the numbers are continually reported, time and time again. The inaccuracies on the Television news. The media regularly sensationalising along with misleading headlines.

It's been a mammoth task for the Government to create a variety of packages designed to support approximately 95% of the population and in turn the economy.It will offer some welcome relief to many that do need the assistance and ensure that many businesses, employers and employees do have some security in this desperate time.

However there have been many businesses & individuals receiving Taxpayers money that are in a position to help themselves or easily have plenty to see them through. To many to mention here, one in particular that has been in the news is Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic. Virgin is largely owned by Delta Airlines in the USA (49%) & KLM in France (31%) leaving only a 20% stake owned by Richard Branson.

You might already know that Richard Branson has been a 'Self Confessed Tax Exile, paying no Tax in the UK. My personal view is that the Government should, under no circumstances use Taxpayers money to help any business that can help themselves. Certainly not when there are businesses who can't secure the help they need to remain in business. Honestly I can't believe he has the Gaul to ask when he has more than enough funds. Even worse asking after he sued the NHS for 2 Million, money they could well do without losing.

Then there are the businesses that for one reason or another are not eligible, despite being profitable before this pandemic. Many of these would have not been in such a predicament, but through no fault of their own, they have been put in this impossible situation. It's understandable that the Government has to be cautious with Taxpayers money and certain checks have to be put in place to avoid any fraudulent claims. But to see any of these profitable businesses destroyed would be an avoidable tragedy.

Supermarkets have had their rates scrapped, saving billions of pounds between them. Understandable if they were suffering financially, but this is simply not the case. The supermarkets are one of the biggest winners in our current climate. For example Tesco's Business rates scrap is set to save them 700 million (about 50% of their annual profits), interestingly they are also proposing paying 637 Million to their shareholders, so in effect the Taxpayer will be covering their dividend. The savings to Sainsbury is going to be upwards of 500 Million, twice their annual profit. It's a huge amount to be lost across all of the Supermarkets, when this could be used to benefit those really in need of help.

It's simply not acceptable, when some are unable to purchase the essential food they need to survive. Some 'In Demand' items have now risen by about 4.4% according to the ONS, most of them being the everyday essentials. What about the homeless, Disabled, those on Benefits and Pensioners, it's a disgrace that there is no help at all for those with so little. Those people in society with the very least don't qualify for any of the assistance on offer. On the other hand, it's unbelievable that help is available for some of those who just don't need the assistance but are more than happy to take it.

Choice in the supermarkets has been reduced, which is understandable, however a lot of those products available are the higher priced branded goods. The everyday, Basic or Economy choices have all but disappeared from the shelves, so the savings that people have come to rely on are gone. Those people now have a very difficult choice to make, Which essentials items do they have to go without?

It should be a priority to consider ways of helping those people, perhaps a temporary addition to their pension or benefit or even a short term increment. The Government should have ensured every person affected by the current climate and needed help, got the assistance with all essential costs such as food, rent, mortgage, gas, electric etc. But they have left the bottom 20% who are most desperate with absolutely nothing, relying on Foodbanks and public generosity. Some are not even eligible to access a Foodbank for help, leaving them in a dire situation. However there are also those that can access the various Foodbanks, only to find they are also struggling.

As I have said, whichever Government had been in power, there would have been the same problems and disagreements. I am more concerned about Friends and Family, making sure they are as safe as they can possibly be. My hope really was that the Party Politics would have been set aside for the duration of this Pandemic. It is something that happened during the last War and should be the norm in times of emergency, where action and time are of the essence.

Captain Tom Moore, What an absolute Hero, He is such an inspiration to us all. His fundraising efforts have raised nearly 3 Million Pounds for the NHS and it's still rising. What an amazing accomplishment! It is going to benefit the NHS and through them it will have a positive effect on so many. The single he has made with Michael Ball and The Voice of Care Choir, 'You'll Never Walk alone' is doing very well, but every download will help this reach and stay at Number 1. If you have not downloaded it yet, there is still time.

There have been so many positives that have come out of this dreadful Pandemic, it's very easy to overlook them when the TV and Media is filled with Covid19 news. Let us hope that over the coming weeks the good news and accomplishments outweigh the terrible stories we are all so used to hearing.

Lastly I want to share, Last Friday the Government published news of some additional new test sites, with more to come very soon. In this there is also a revised list of those entitled to a test and included the families of those people, where that is appropriate, the list is now quite comprehensive. It also has information of how to arrange a test. I have been sharing the link to as many as possible as the media have not been sharing it, which could explain why the uptake of tests remains low compared with the 40,000 capacity. I also had an email to say that Amazon and the Royal Mail are also sending out tests, which is great news for those on the list, who can't drive or get to the testing sites. Here is the link, so feel free to share, it could help: GETTING TESTED ADVICE 

I'd love to hear your comments, views, experience and stories. It would be great to hear from you again or feel free to leave your comments below. I do hope that you are all keeping well. Take care and stay safe.