SA Scrapbook Convention – What an experience!

It’s been just over a week since I arrived home from a most amazing experience for both myself and for Hazel & Ruby.

Earlier this year, Hazel & Ruby was invited to come present our brand and teach classes at the SA Scrapbook Convention in SOUTH AFRICA!  I feel so fortunate, as this was my second time attending the event. The first time was in 2009 when I worked for Making Memories. I never in my lifetime thought I would be able to have the experience again and I am so grateful to Glenda & Gary, owners of the event for inviting Hazel & Ruby!

The event is top-notch with every detail carefully planned out and thought through.  The event always features the best brands and teachers. The South African creative community certainly has something to be proud of and are so fortunate for Glenda’s creative vision.  I could spend days on this post with all of my thoughts and pictures, but I will try to summarize the best I can!IMG_5732

After a long 15 hour flight, we arrived first in Johannesburg, then flew directly on to Cape Town.  Cape Town is most definitely one of my most favorite cities in the world. It is breathtakingly gorgeous and the people are wonderful and so kind!  The event was held at the Mount Nelson Hotel which was like a perfect picture book of beauty and elegance. Pure Inspiration!

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Hazel & Ruby was the first class at the event in Cape Town on Saturday morning.  We created a two-page layout designed by the talented Stephanie Bryan featuring the stencil-mask alphas.  The ladies LOVED the product and had a wonderful time creating with the masks, pic pockets, our washi tapes and of course the amazing product donated by My Minds Eye (paper & embellishments), Core’dinations (cardstock) and Tim Holtz (distress paints).

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All of these women were just so fun and so so kind! Many of them dressed alike in their friendship groups and some of them dressed to fit the nautical theme of the event. So much fun energy and they were all so grateful. The group really enjoyed learning the new techniques and I enjoyed getting to meet and chat with some of them.

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I was fortunate to also be able to travel with my international travel buddy, Layle Koncar from Simple Stories.  We spent 24/7 together for 10 days and had a great time! We went exploring on Sunday and were able to ride the gondola to the top of Table Mountain.  It was breathtaking!  I still have to pinch myself for being able to experience these moments!

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Following a successful 2-day event in Cape Town, the group of us traveling together teaching at the event were so fortunate to be able to experience and African Safari at the most most incredible place on earth, Kichaka.  I could go on these game drives everyday for the rest of my life and be perfectly content and happy.  I cherish this time spent with Glenda, Layle, Jeff and Charee from Graphic 45, Jeri and Vicki from Bo Bunny and Debby Schuh who taught for Ruby Rock-It.  I adore these people and am so thankful for the new friendships made!

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Following Kichaka, we headed for Joburg!  We were fortunate to also take a bit of time to explore the city and surrounding areas, including Soweto, were we visited the home of Nelson Mandela.  Something I will never soon forget.

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The Johannesburg event was held at the Emperors Palace – a cool venue that reminded me of a smaller scale Caesar’s Palace In Vegas! The group of women attending this event was much larger and we taught even more classes. I just love teaching – it is a joy to share our products, but mostly to be in a a room with hundreds of women who share my creative passion. These are my peeps!  We also did a TON of giveaways. Lots of paper rolls, stencil-masks, sequins, pic pockets and washi tape were given loving homes :)  IMG_6030 IMG_6042

What I love about teaching a project – especially a scrapbook layout, is seeing how different they all turn out as the creativity of each individual shines through!  There were so many gorgeous layouts by the end of class, but I was able to snap a pic of this one created by the lovely Estel Manekom.  It was so fun because during the class, the ladies would run out to the shop and buy more Stencil-masks! They were so excited about the new product and could see all of the creative possibilities. We actually sold out of the masks at the event!

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This is a pic of the group of us together with Glenda and minus Charee who is taking the pic.  I love this picture in Emperors Palace.

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I will never forget this experience and my time in South Africa. I have truly fallen in love with the people and the country.  The times spent with these amazing people was perfect and will go down in my history books as one of the most special of my lifetime. I was also inspired by my friend Layle to start a travel book while I was actually traveling. I loved doing this and it turned out awesome. I basically hole punch ephemera from the trip along with postcards and other bits and journaled as we went along. Now all I need to do is add some pictures. I think I will share on the blog once I have it all completed!

Thank you again and again to Glenda, Gary, Debbie, Lynn and all of the helpers and organizers to make this event such a success for everyone involved.  You are all loved by Hazel & Ruby. I know that all of us from the States are truly jumping for joy remembering our time with you.

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DIY Porch Pumpkins >>> Easy Peasy with Stencil-Masks and Washi Tape

I’m so excited fall is upon us! I wanted to show you guys how to make an incredibly easy and cute porch decoration for this time of the year. All you’ll need is

three different lengths of 4″x4″ wood
three 2″ wood blocks
cute fall paint colors
sponge brushes
raffia
fall colored berry sprigs
leaf/acorn wood accessories (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
Hazel & Ruby Scallop Away Decorative Tape
Hazel & Ruby Chevron Patterns Stencil Mask (available at Michael’s)
Confetti Pattern Stencil Mask (available at Michael’s)
fall colored ribbon and jute
Minwax stain (I prefer the gel stain, it’s much easier to use)

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Make sure to sand the wood really, really good! You want it to be at smooth as possible when you’re painting it. After sanding it I painted one coat of ivory paint on the four long sides, the top and bottom don’t need a bottom coat so I left those natural. After the paint is dry apply the stencil masks and the Scallop Away Tape wrapping the entire piece of wood in these embellishments.

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Paint away! I used Delta’s Dark Goldenrod on all three of my pumpkins, but you can certainly mix it up by painting with three coordinating oranges or whatnot. I applied two coats to all pieces of my wood and this time I did paint the top and bottoms of the 4″x4″‘s. While you wait for those to completely dry paint the small accessories. Finally, peel the stencil masks and tape away from the wood to allow the white paint to show where it was covered.

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I like the more rustic, shabby decorative pieces so I took a small piece of sandpaper and roughed up the edges and faces of the pumpkins, then I used Minwax Gel Stain in Colonial Walnut and sparingly brushed on small dollops. Accentuate the edges where sanded with the stain to get a very pretty dark color on the natural wood. Finish by spraying a protective coat of sealer on all of the wood pieces. I tied the jute near the top of my pumpkins then added thick ribbon underneath, I twisted the stems of the sprigs and attached the accessories together with rusty wire I found at Michael’s and tied then both to the ribbon before I finished the bow. If you choose to add raffia as a dimension under the bow, add it now. And to ensure the accessories wouldn’t move I used glue to keep the ribbon to the wood and the wires to the ribbon.

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Finish by tying bows in the ribbon and adjusting the accessories. Something fun that can be left out on your porch for fall and Halloween or set them next to your fireplace to add more decor to your mantle. Either way, they’re cute and fun and everyone will be asking about them!

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natalie-wagstaff

How to use our NEW Cut Your Own Stencil sheets

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I am a big fan of die cutting and have a nice collection of dies. I was so excited to get the new Hazel & Ruby Cut Your Own Stencils pack. I knew it would be perfect to work with my dies. The package shows that it is great for electronic cutting, but if you are like me and have traditional dies, you are going to love working with the new blank stencil material too!

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Begin by cutting pieces of the material to fit your die design.

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Peel away the clear backing and set aside.

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Place the material on the die sticky side up so that id covers the design on the die. Place a cutting pad on top of and below the die. Take care to not move the material when placing the cutting pad on top of the die. (I used a Sizzix Bigz die. If you use a different brand, check the manufacturer’s suggested cutting stack.)

The important thing to remember is that most dies are designed with with the design backwards so your material always goes face down on the die. With many images, it doesn’t make much of a difference if you forget and your material face up. For letters and numbers forgetting to go face down will result in backwards die cuts. As you can imagine, with masking film having letters and numbers the correct direction is very important.

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After passing through your die cutting machine, the mask material will most likely be stuck to your cutting plate.

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Carefully peel away the excess material. Discard the scrap.

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Carefully feel up the die cut mask and place it on the clear film to save and reuse again and again!

Die cutting with the new Make Your Own Stencils material is so easy! I love that it gives me yet another use for my dies!

Be inspired.

Live Handmade.

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