Tuesday 16 August 2022

The stranger returns......


Hello everyone, if there's anyone still out there listening.

It's been a crazy challenging time these last few years hasn't it ? I am now trying to tie all my little threads of "social media" together at the moment. So you'll get a random selction of photos to accompany my waffling.......

                                              "My first foray into the world of Book Nooks"

So, firstly I have my website up and live at neelzexpressionz.com and from the home page there are the links to my blog and Etsy store. I also have a newsletter sign up option on the website if you want to keep up to date. ( seeing as I have only sent out about three newsletters I can assure you I won't be spamming you!)

                                                    I make the occasional set of stamps....

So, here is a brief update summary of what's going on in my life and business. Susan and I are still happily ensconsed here in Eden, the house is still not finished, the lockdown obviously had an impact for us but we survived. I was on Hochanda for a while but had to make a decision, do I want to focus on making kits etc or do I want to actually make more books myself?  So I left Hochanda and my focus is definitely on making and selling my finished books while still designing and selling some kits, stamps and stencils along the way.

We have a regular spot in Keswick most weeks and also do a couple of local markets alongside stocking some local shops and galleries. So, while there's still lots we want to do, we are blessed with what we have got going so far.

Workshops are my next focus, I had a recent one which was successful so I am looking forward to building on that.

So that's what's what at the moment. I'd love it if you popped over to the website for a look, and also if you join in the newsletter too that would be super cool.

God bless


Wednesday 10 February 2021

New stamps and shapes.

 Good afternoon folks.

Thought I would pop on quickly to share a bit about one of the new things I have been doing. I recently have made some sea themed stamps and popped them onto my Etsy store.  As they come with some matching shapes I thought I would pop a little post on here just to show how I have designed them to work.

First up is the seahorse which I can tell, is going to be the favourite lol. You get the rubber stamp and 9 of the design cut in greyboard. (3 each of large, medium and small)

As you can see, the large shape corrosponds with the stamp. Personally, I think it is easier to take the shape to the stamp for this.

Ink up the stamp, press the shape and there you have it, one dimensional sea horse....

Now when it comes to the other shapes, to get them to look like "proper" sea horses the trick is to line the shape up so the eye is in the right place like this for the medium. (Note that if the tail has blank bits then it's easy enough to stamp it onto one of the other areas to pick up the pattern)

and the small.
There they are, all stamped... I think they are cool

All coloured up and then a coat of clear heat embossing over.

You can stamp with versamark and heat emboss fine black like this before colouring.
And, bacause I have cut them out of rubber, you can stamp into heat embossing to create this kind of effect (this is two layers of bronze extra thick powder heated and stamped into while still hot, then gilding was added to bring out the texture)
The same principle applies to the fish..... so I won't go into detail again word wise, but here are the pics for the large.


and small

Obviously the jellyfish have no eyes so it is easy enough to stamp but one thing worth saying is that don't try to line up the strands, because they are thin you will find that by the time you  have gessoed or painted the base before stamping, they will have moved. so I just line up the top and let the legs do what they like....

I think they are fun, and who doesn't like under the sea themes.
If you are interested, the links for them are below.

You can find the seahorse HERE
You can find the fish HERE
You can find the jellyfish HERE

Wednesday 18 November 2020

It's all behind the scenes at the moment

 Good evening folks.

I have been having to chain myself to the production lines at the moment which is always a difficult thing in one sense. When your days are filled to the brim with the business and preparation side of things it can get a tad frenetic.

So in amongst the busyness I took the opportunity to cut up one of my designs to experiment.....

It was fun and it actually didn't turn out too bad in the end though.

I also have finally managed to make proper progress on my new range of "engravability" journals. I have been working on the designs for a while now and I will be showcasing them properly for the first time on Saturday... 

Where ? I hear you ask..... here I reply lol because 

So, if you want to see them and a bunch of other new work do take a look on Saturday when it all goes live and perhaps you will find that perfect Christmas gift too. 

And finally, next week I'll be back on screen on Thursday 26th 2pm on Honchanda..... New kits and stencils too. Along with (hopefully) some fun demos......
Until then, I had better get back to listing, describing and "setting up my stall" for Saturday
Take care everyone

Monday 2 November 2020

Back we go

 Hi there

Well, as most will no doubt be aware, the UK is heading back into full lockdown this week.  So lets just leave it at that shall we? Can't change the situation so we will just have to carry on carrying on....

In the meantime, there are palettes to fill with paint and books that need to be finished and filled..... Creative therapy will see us through. I will look at this phase at my "starving artist in a garret" stage. Better that than lamenting this months lost plans and opportunities

I made these palettes for fun really, they are just perfectly sized for my hand and these ones are beginning to look like proper palettes. I was thinking off adding them to Etsy as they do okay at markets.... what do you think?
Then, this is one of the newer additions to my A6 books. I've called it Growth and though the photos aren't brilliant, the book has a pleasing feel to it in my opinion. 

 There's a few more that need to be finalised. I should hopefully get on top of things this month....
What are you all up to. I hope that your plans have not been too badly affected.

Take care

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Random things....

Good afternoon all.  Thought I would just pop in to catch up a little. 
 It's been a time for me to quickly try and catch my breath slightly. Pause a moment if you like and just try to gain a little focus agan. I think it is important sometimes to deliberately stand and take a look at what you hope to do and how you could do that without getting lost in the busyness.

Though I sometimes feel like I could stand and howl at the moon like this little wolf, I press on.

I confess to have enjoyed making these a little while ago, just for the pleasure of creating something a little different

 The wolf got a little lonely so he made friends with a fox....

I make these, then don't get time to really enjoy creating with them but fox cub managed to wander off into the woods lol

And I at least had a moment to put mama fox together too. Now I just need to  steal a few more minutes to work on the others. I popped some into my Etsy and they've been doing okay so that's nice.

Over the last couple of days I have been working on some new ideas, and also beginning the process of getting ready for next months "Craft Market Kendal" online virtual market.  Though I am going to miss being able to physically set up shop I am grateful that they have organised a very well managed online event. 
I guess I had better get back to the workshop.... take care everyone. 

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Hochanda debut...

 Well good morning

As ususal, it's been a crazy period. Last week I was frantically prepping for my "big moment" on the telly lol! Like every new adventure I didn't know what to expect as you can watch as many episodes as you like but it is not the same as actually being on the other side of the camera....

I am so grateful for the opportunity though. Hochanda have been brilliant and I believe I wasn't too embarrassing on the day so we're all good

I couldn't resist a few sneaky shots. It is such a cool space and setting up was pretty amazing too.

The cameras are staring at you all the time and it is a tad disconcerting but  I guess over time you get used to them.

It was brill seeing everything laid out though.

My daughter nabbed a screen shot lol......

All too soon it was over. Then I had a moment to relax as begin to take it in. After a pack up and a chat it was back to the hotel for breakfast with Susan before making the long trip home.

I do want to say a massive thank you to EVERYONE who contacted me both before, during and after the show with such lovely messages of support and encouragement. It meant a lot and of course for everyone who has placd an order I am beyond grateful. I have been picking sorting and packing away like a little Christmas elf....... the postman just looked at me when I walked in yesterday, so who knows what he will say today lol

Excitingly, they have offered me the opportunity to return which is fab news. Not sure if it will be this year or next but you'll be the first to know.......

Moving forward I thought that over the few weeks I would begin to show some of the samples in more detail as I know that there was a lot to see. 

I'll see you then, then. Enjoy your day, I'm off to the post office.....


Saturday 10 October 2020

Finding opportunities

 Good afternoon everyone.

Time to pop round again and begin to fill you in a bit more about our creative life......

As I said in the last post, this pandemic and the response to it managed to put a bit of a spanner in the works regarding our planned way forward. 

Back in March we had just lined up a couple of places that were going to stock our products, investigations were going ahead to source suitable workshop venues and we had literally just had our first stall in the popular Orton Farmers Market; then everything was shut down. It was a bit of a body blow, but we are grateful that we managed to muddle our way through that intitial period.  Unfortunately, a large number of our planned larger events/markets have also fallen by the wayside which is a pity. 

It's not all doom and gloom though. Slowly the galleries and markets are re opening and we are all getting familiar with a different way.

So, at the moment, if you are in Orton on the second Saturday of the month, You will find us there.

Third Saturday sees us in Brough at the morning Market which is also a lovely time.

Further afield. If you are near Appleby the Hub (The Appleby Hub, Chapel St, Appleby-in-Westmorland CA16 6QR)

The Chapel Gallery in Hawes is another beautiful space that carries our products. Well worth popping in if you are in the area and they are also onlinehttps://chapelgalleryhawes.com/)

By far though, one of the new and exciting opportunities centres around my Bookmaking Kits and Stencil range. A little whileago I was contacted by Hochanda who were interested in chatting about the possibility of working with them .... long story short is that I will be making my craft telly debut at 7am next Friday morning! It's all very exciting and nervewracking at the same time!

So, never a dull moment round here at the moment.....

And, last but by no means least.... I am really excited to be able to have my first worksop planned with the guys at Lakes and Fells. All the details are on their site if you are interested.


I'll leave you with a random pic of one of my little palettes, fun little project and very handy lol

Enjoy the weekend, I'm off to make samples and plan demoes..........