Before I start in about this week's Wonder, I have an announcement to make.
All this time I've asked the Wonders to send me their favorite four creations, and they are always fabulous. But often I am disappointed because MY favorites are not amongst the collection. And then it dawned on me this morning... Hey, wait a minute! I'm the one conducting this shindig! I should be able to throw in a few of my favorites, too! What are they going to do? Pelt me with stamps and ink pads?
Hmmmm.... that might be such a bad outcome, actually. Do I get to keep the stuff?
ANYWAAAAAY, from now on I'm going to include some extra pictures of MY favorites.... And anybody who doesn't like it can just pitch some non-blunt crafting supplies my way!
Okay, onto today's Wonder!
Ladies, (and Gentlemen, though I doubt there are any of you in the house) it gives me great pleasure to introduce Cathy Andronicou, a Brit with Grit!
(I nicked this picture from her blog. This is Cathy on the left with Shari Carroll. Read about how Cathy got to meet Shari Carroll, T!m Holtz, and Suze Weinburg!)
I looooove Cathy's creations. Not only is it a pleasure to look at them, but they offer me gratifying vicarious experiences.
I call her a "Brit with Grit" because she's not afraid to try new techniques and supplies. Cathy is constantly trying out new stuff that I'm too much of a weanie to do. So I go look at her stuff and see how well it all worked out for her and then muster the courage to go try it myself. Only problem is... it doesn't always work out as well for me as it does for Cathy!
Being rather grit-less, I often just enjoy her successes and forgo failure altogether.
(I'm tricky that way.)
Cathy is not only courageous, she's also a do-er. Again, she tackles every new challenge or technique that presents itself. This is no stick in the mud gathering moss! (Er... you know what I mean despite my mixed adages, right?) Cathy is very good at taking her stamping off the page and out the door - as in clothing or in the form of gifts. Check out this beauty:
I know a lot of people don't enjoy receiving homemade gifts, but they wouldn't feel that way if Cathy was the giver! This box is so cool I can hardly contain myself - makes me want to throw myself at her feet and beg for honorary membership in her family so she'll have to send me Christmas presents!)
I mean, just look at what you get if you're a Dad over at her house:
Looking for something to wear? Check out this little number from Creations by Cathy:
And she's a Responsible and Giving Community Member! She did a marvelous job of gathering cards and materals for a crafts bizarre she chaired in her town (proceeds to benefit a local children's hospice). If I were putting together any kind of a team, I'd definitely choose Cathy. You just don't find that level of civic duty, committment and creative talent all rolled into one person every day, you know.
(Plus our team would definitely have the coolest t-shirts!)
Cathy's style is hard to pin down. (This is what happens when you're able to master every technique that presents itself - what a burden, eh?) She's known to kick a little butt with Fantasy Film:
And she's got a way with embellishments:
Could you just die or what?!
When I asked Cathy what awards she's won, she responded thus: "Plenty for things like fancy dress. (Oh, you should see the pictures - I look ridiculous!)"
I love a cheeky woman!
Cathy's had three cards published on the reader's pages of Papercraft Essentials and Papercraft Inspirations. She says she doesn't submit to magazines any more, preferring to participate in the online Hero group as "it is more friendly and you get such great feedback." Certainly can't argue with that. (By the way, Cathy has acquitted herself quite well over at the Hero Arts Blog, winning prizes in the Deck the Halls Beyond Paper, Color Challenge, Flowers, Envelope, Birthday Week, and Inchies challenges).
She's not been on a design team, but she was once asked to make some cards for a trade supplier for an exhibition show, where they used her cards as props for the photos used on their product packaging.
I'll bet they sold a lot of product that day.
With no further ado, lift your Diet-Cokes to Cathy Andronicou, one of Britain’s Best!
1. Do you pre-sketch a design or do you just leap out of the gate? How long does it usually take you to make a page? A card?
I don't usually pre-sketch, although when I first started stamping, I kept a book of ideas. Now I just think about a design - usually in bed or in the shower - and then a few days later it begins to evolve into a living card. But they do change from the original idea once the making process begins. (This is my excuse when it doesn't turn out as originally intended!) A card, once started, usually takes an hour or two, scrapbook pages take considerably longer - I think this is because I’m still learning.
2. On average, how many pages per week do you make? Cards?
I tend to make 2-3 cards a week, and about one page every 2 months. (See - I told you they take longer!)
3. How has your process evolved to make you a leaner, meaner crafting machine? (In other words, what are some lessons you've learned or tips you can share that allow you to make better and faster design choices?
(1) I’ve learned to be organized. This is a hard one for me - especially if I’ve had a whole day crafting (the mess is incredible)! It’s so much easier to find things if they are in their proper home.
I agree! I try to do a 60-second tidy every 30 minutes or so.
(2) I keep all my papers in separate colour drawers; this enables me to find the right colour quickly (I even do this for my scraps!).
So do I! I have a huge Cropper Hopper hanging file box on the floor immediately to my left just for scraps – every color has it’s own 12” x 12” file folder!
(3) I have a book that contains a stamped image of every stamp I own and where to find it (Yes, I own that many stamps - I have to have an indexing system). The book also helps if I’m lacking inspiration: a quick flick and, hey, PRESTO! - I can make a card.
So do I! Although mine is woefully out of date at present (subtext: somebody has been acquiring stamps faster that she can log them).
4. What's your stand-by, FAST dinner solution for those times when you really want to get to your scrap space ASAP (or stay ALAP)?
Easy. “Darling,” (otherwise known as Husband) “Can you do dinner?” He never refuses and cooks most nights. (Maybe this is for self-preservation - I am a lousy cook. If we have friends round for dinner it's usually Chinese takeaway - I once served up a slug in some broccoli to a friend that came to dinner… yum!)
Was this a free-range slug? Or did you bag this slug on your own? Store-bought? Exactly how GOOD a friend was this person?
5. If you were stranded on an island that had a billion supplies but NO tools, what ten TOOLS would you HAVE to have? (All the stamps in the world are available, so you don't need to list them as one of your tools. EX: we've got all the embroidery floss in the world, but you're going to have to bring your own needle if you want to use any of it!)
I am assuming ink & embossing powder come in the supplies category so...
(1) My curved squizzors (little scissors that are like tweezers but so easy to use)
(2) Cuttlebug and all my Nesties
(3) Embossing tool
(4) Score board & bone folder (I tend to make all my own card blanks) Me, too!
(5) Heat gun
(6) Rotary trimmer
(7) Paint brush and palette
(8) Tim Holtz inking tool and foams
(9) Acrylic blocks (can't stamp without these little babies)
6. If you were still on that island, what kind of noise would you want (if any) in the background? List as many as five different favorite musical artists.
Oh, silence would be perfect (when you have teenagers’ music blaring from the bedroom, that is all you seek). But if I needed some music, I would pick the following (a very strange mix, I might add):
(1) Soundtrack to Mama Mia the movie (I love to sing along and I can't help but laugh every time I hear Pierse Brosnan sing!);
(2) A compilation of the collected works of Queen, Phil Collins and Elton John (is this cheating?);
(3) The Bee Gees entire collection;
(4) Shane Ward (he is hunky to look at, too, so a video version would be good);
(5) Mika (I went to see this guy in concert and he puts on an incredible show).
Perhaps you should bring Shane Ward as your cabana boy? I think Johnny and George and Hugh could use some company.
7. If you could have anything you wanted, (concerning scrapping or stamping) what would it be?
The biggest dedicated craft room with custom built storage (and space for new additions).... Every girl’s dream, eh?
Yes, it would seem so. Although I have a dedicated space, it’s an attic room without AC, so for the next three or four months I’ll be homeless, schlepping tools and supplies up and down the stairs…. Oh, how I dread that.
Hey, check out these shots of Cathy's craft space:
8. What about your style/artistry are you least satisfied with?
I can't do yellow! Not strictly a style, but this colour really creates a block for me (I think I was traumatized as a child, when I was made to wear a lemon flowery bonnet - it looked more like a swimming hat - at the age of 7 when I was a bridesmaid).
ROTFLMBO! This sounds like a great children's story: Cathy and the Bad Bonnet...!
9. What cameras have you tried, which one is your favorite, and why? (You can shorten this to just the one you're using now if you like.)
I used to have an Olympus MJU, it was bought so that we could use it diving (it had a special housing) but I found it very limiting and the quality was not great. I am now the proud owner of a Cannon 450D (I think your Rebel Xsi is the equivalent - I asked for advice on the Hero Arts blog and several people recommended this camera to me) and I love it. I have yet to master the manual controls so I use it with its automatic settings at the moment.
10. What's the word or phrase that comes to your lips when you mess up while creating? ("Unprintable" is definitely an option!)
Depends on who is around. If company is present, it’s "Oh, sugar!" (very tame); but if I’m alone, "Darn" or "Oh, Spit”* may be used.
*We submitted some substitutions above, obviously. (Hee-hee!) Never underestimate the power of catharsis via spoken expletive – that’s my motto! I have, on occasion, gone into the bathroom, turned on the shower for smut camouflage, and cussed a blue streak (not about a card, mind you – this is for when I Have Had It). And I always feel ever so much better!
Here is my favorite of Cathy's latest creations:
(See what I mean? If you look over just the work provided here, you'd have trouble describing it, too! Cathy's creations can't be easily placed in a specific category. You just have to see them for yourself!)