What’s Your Crafting Journey …

Hi everyone, well this is a long with minimal photo blogpost today, I have tried to condense it the best I could, so I do hope you stay with me till the end!

We were recently contacted by a scrapbooker who was nervous about coming to one of our retreats on her own, and it got me thinking about my scrapbooking journey so far, and how it all started.

In 2006, I dipped my toe into card-making, attending a weekly workshop locally and loved my 2 hours a week crafting session. It’s at the same workshop that I met Julie, my best crafting buddy and my loveliest friend.  After attending a ‘memory keeping’ class run by the lady who ran the card classes, I decided that I needed to find out more about this ‘thing’ called ‘scrapbooking’.

Sorry photograph not very good, but an early example of my card making!

So after purchasing several copies of Scrapbook Inspiration magazine and reading from cover to cover, I noticed a advert for a Retreat … a what ??? a Retreat … you mean people actually go away for a whole weekend and do pages of ‘memory keeping’ … WOW, now wouldn’t that be something …

Several chats to my hubby, and several times me saying ‘oh it’s not for me – but I really want to go’ etc., I eventually made the phone call to the organisers and booked it.

At this point, I hadn’t even done one page with any photographs on, let alone met anyone who had.  So again back to the magazines to see if I could find a ‘crop’ … really ‘a crop’? I wondered what that would be like! Having found one locally to me, I went with my one packed bag, that contained everything I needed.

I went on my own not knowing what to expect, and said to myself if I don’t like it, I will stay an hour or so and come home… Honestly I could have stayed there all day and night, I loved it, and couldn’t wait till the following month to go again.

Then it was time to go to the ‘Retreat’… I was so nervous, but I knew I needed to find out what it was all about, and talk to people who had been doing ‘scrapbooking’ for a long time.

And the best of all, I would meet a designer who appeared in the Scrapbook Magazine that I was now subscribing to …  I met Shimelle … what a lovely sweet person she is.

The ladies who ran this retreat were great in making me feel so welcome and then I worked out that there was a few other ladies who where there on their own as well, so we made a bee-line for each other and before long we were where chatting and laughing like we were old friends. One of these ladies was Sam, and we have been friends, crafting buddies and now business partners since that day in May 2008!

After the retreat, I decided that I needed to visit as many different crops/workshop as I could, just to see what was on offer, what others were doing, anything really, I just needed to get a ‘crafting fix’ every month. At one such crop/workshop I met Sheena. I was talking to someone about going to an upcoming retreat and Sheena said she was going to the same one. So another friendship was borne out of this crazy hobby called ‘scrapbooking’.

Photo taken in 2011 at a weekend friends retreat I’d organised in Shropshire.

Jump forward 9 years and now I’m on several design teams, I organise crafting weekend for a group of friends twice a year, and I’m a partner in a business that orgainses ‘Retreats’ … yes people actually stay in a hotel and craft all weekend … bliss.

I’ve made some amazing life long friends, some on-line friends, who I might not ever even meet as they are all around the UK and even abroad, but we all share this great love of scrapbooking.

One of my recent layouts

Its not all been plain sailing, and I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in getting this far, but I’ve kept going and I’m so glad I did.

This journey is one I’m so glad I took and looking forward to seeing where it will take me in the future.

Whats your journey?

Jackie xxxx




Do you have these in your stash?

What is your most and least used tools?

When I first started out in scrapbooking I just armed myself with a pencil, scissors and glue and bought my 12 x 12″ paper from our local garden centre, the less said about that the better!!

But over the years I’ve amassed an array of fancy tools and gadgets designed for this hobby of ours and I have to be honest & say lots of them are now gathering dust.

Why has this happened?

Have the newer tools consigned the older ones to the scrap heap or is it more a case of out of sight, out of mind or new & shiny is the best…

If I had to list my top 5 used tools then my Silhouette Cameo would be one, two & three!! I do love the versitility of this machine and tend it use it to cut something for most of my scrapbook pages.

Also on my list would be my trusty old Big Shot. It seems to me that thin metal dies have made a come back even with so many electronic cutters on the market. I do like the crisp edges a metal die gives particularly to an intricate shape.

Also on my list would be my Guillotine for cutting 12 x 12″ paper as I like straight lines & after trying lots of trimmers, I prefer this sort of cutter.

So what do I own that I no longer use?

My fancy edged scissors have become an ornament, standing all bright & colourful in a pot! I could never get them to cut well, maybe its because I’m a left hander?

I have a gadget for binding mini books somewhere which I’m not totally sure why I bought it as I rarely make any sort of book!

When did I last set an eyelet? goodness knows & I’m not sure where I’d lay my hand on the setter tools either!

What tools do you use all the time or discarded along the way?

We’d love to hear from you x

Sheena x

This post is not sponsored by any product or manufacturer and all comments are the personal opinion of the author.


Bring back the good old magazine…

What or who inspires you?

Where is your ‘go to’ source when the mojo is lacking? Is it the likes of Pinterest or do you still prefer a good old magazine?

I used to love nothing better that sitting on the sofa, having a mooch at some magazines, especially the home interest titles like Ideal Home, House Beautiful and Living etc. dreaming up ideas for the next room that I wanted to re-decorate in our home. I’d buy them off the shelf from time-to-time, often meandering to the magazine aisle when food shopping!

I was also an avid subscriber of those scrapbooking and paper crafting titles – who can remember the likes of Scrapbook Inspirations and Scrapbook Trends, and more recently, the inspirational title Scrap 365?

It was like subscribing to a kit, the anticipation of the postman delivering that monthly title through your letterbox, getting home from work hoping that it had been delivered, so you could grab a cuppa and chill! The disappointment when it hadn’t arrived, yet knowing that it would be here any day soon!

With so much free digital inspiration available, it’s no surprise that these scrapbooking titles simply didn’t survive in a niche market! The paper crafting titles still remain strong, Papercraft Essentials is on issue no. 150, Die-cutting Essentials has been going for about 2 1/2 years and Simply Cards & Papercraft has been going over 13 years!

My ‘go to’ source for inspiration has to be Pinterest, along with scrapbooking blog idols! However, being all digital, I do wonder whether that has had a detrimental effect on mojo. I often hear ladies saying that they have lost their mojo… This can’t be for lack of inspiration as we have more visual sources than ever before! Saying that, I’m starting to wonder if going paperless has had a detrimental effect on creativity?

If you enjoy Pinterest, then you’re bound to spend much of your time pinning image after image! But how many of us actually go back and study what we have pinned? All too often, I find that familiar notification telling me that I have already pinned that pin, which just goes to show how long I look at these images!

If like me, your mojo wains from time to time, why not dig out those scrapbook magazines from a few years ago and see if that helps?

In fact, why not join me in a campaign to ‘Bring back the good old magazine!’








Girls just wanna have fun…

If I had to describe myself as a song title, one of the most apt would be ‘Girls just wanna have fun!’ by the iconic 80’s singer, Cyndi Lauper…

In fact, I’m sure that many of you could have this as your song title too?

I look back on my late teenage years and early twenties, when I was living it up in bars and clubs, having studied textile design at Nottingham Trent University. Apart from not managing to cope with the late nights like I used to and indeed the alcohol consumption, I want to have as much fun now as I did then!

I found this phrase on Pinterest recently and it certainly resonates with me! If you’re feeling happy, you glow…

Having recently discovered snapchat, I seem to be a bit addicted to it! Each morning, as well as checking in on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, I now have to check to see what’s new on snapchat…

Now I thought snapchat was just a means of sending free photos of yourself to others, little did I know that it was so, so much more!

From horsey faces to girls with pigtails, if you haven’t yet discovered it, you seriously need to!

Doesn’t every girl want big round eyes?

Or cartoon bow and ears!

Taking snapchat photos has become my guilty pleasure!

And it doesn’t have to be single selfies – many snapchat filters are for two people, perfect for friends or an agreeable husband!

We failed miserably at trying to get our doggy tongues to appear together… this was the best we could do, but oh did we laugh!

Serious bunnies?

A sleepy teddy?

These candid photos are brilliant for scrapbooking, especially if you struggle to use ‘random’ ephemera!

Equally fun photos can be impulsive rather than candid – what could be better than taking in the great British wet weather?

Or sitting on a plane with your besties, waiting to fly to Paris… What do you do? Sit there board, or take silly photos?

At the end of the day, we all ‘just wanna have fun!’

So if ‘Girls just wanna have fun!’ isn’t the song title which best describes you, what would be your song title?



Dream It : Plan It : Book It :

Well… we had the idea, set the wheels in motion, and after several emails Amy Tangerine is coming to teach two fantastic workshops for us, here in the UK.

Ahhh !!!! Can you hear us scream !!!! and doing a happy dance, we have booked our next workshop, with Amy Tangerine – can you believe it?

Birds of a Feather have got this fabulous international designer, the one and only Amy Tan to teach a workshop for the first time in the UK!!!

We are over the moon… all the planning has come together and we can welcome Amy to Birmingham in October 2017 along with all the delegates who are eager to not only meet her in person, but to attend a workshop by her. And there is a lot of you!

For those of you who do not know Amy Tan, she started her design career making handcrafted T-shirts under a line called Amy Tangerine, selling her feature designer T-shirts in 100’s of retail outlets. In 2007, she decided to branch out into the scrapbooking industry and has gone from strength to strength and hit every corner of the scrapbooking world with her amazing stylish collections.

For several years now, she as had her own scrapbooking paper range under the American Crafts name.  Her current collection, launched this Summer, is called ‘Hustle & Hearts’ which is the collection that she will be using at our Birds of a Feather workshop.

You can find more details about Amy on her blog here

We do still have places available, so check here for all the relevant information for the workshop, or if you require further information please contact info@birdsofafeather.uk.com and we will be happy to help.

Jackie xxx

And the Winner is …..

To celebrate our first year in business we offered an early bird booking opportunity, to win a £50 Hey Little Magpie voucher if you booked and paid for the Amy Tangerine Workshop before 4th August 2017.

The draw was done on 7th August 2017 by random generator and the winner was No. 34, who is Kay Hall.

Congratulations Kay, we will be in touch with your prize.

We still have availability on the workshop, full details can be found under the workshop tab above.

Jackie xxx


The Early Bird catches the worm…

They say that the early bird catches the worm…. well in our case one of our early bird delegates, who books onto the Amy Tan workshop will randomly win £50.00 of Hey Little Magpie vouchers!

Yes, you heard it right, £50.00 worth of Hey Little Magpie vouchers!

You might ask why?

It’s as a special 1st birthday gift for one individual from Birds of a Feather.

Today we are 1 years young!

Today is the first anniversary of Birds of a Feather taking flight, when 3 friends decided to take a much talked about idea and become organisers of scrapbooking retreats and workshops that we would want to attend ourselves!

We thought we’d like to treat one of our supporters as a thank you to everyone who has helped and attended our events over the last year.

What better way to celebrate our 1st birthday than to offer Hey Little Magpie vouchers to the lucky winner as we all need more stash 🙂

As you may have seen, we are running an early bird offer on our Amy Tan workshop?

The early bird offer finishes tonight, August 4th at 12.00pm midnight!

So don’t hang around, don’t dilly dally, and secure your place today!

It’s the only way you can be eligible to get your name into the draw for the £50.00 of Hey Little Magpie vouchers.

As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it x

Looking forward to seeing you there

Sheena, Sam & Jackie xxx

Amy Tan is coming to the UK!

OMG, goodness knows how we’ve done it, Amy Tan is coming to the UK to exclusively teach for Birds of a Feather…

Can you ‘Adam ‘n’ Eve’ it? (Amy, for your benefit, that’s cockney rhyming slang for ‘believe it’)

We can’t wait to see what Amy designs for all you lucky ladies… We certainly drool over her beautiful, hand painted phrases!

We simply can’t believe it’s happening!

Amy has a captivating style and such an engaging way! Having looked at some of her recent IG posts, it seemed apt to include this post – hope you don’t mind Amy?

As well as being able to bring the lovely Amy to the UK, we’ve managed to secure the most impressive of locations, ideally positioned just a short distance from junction 5 off the the M5… the Chateau Impney

Tempted to book?

All you need to know is on our workshops page…

In the meantime, check out the advert for more details.

But don’t delay – snooze you lose… and spaces are limited!

Looking forward to seeing you there…

Jackie, Sam and Sheena xxx

Make mine a Mini …

Hi all, well I cant say hope you are enjoying the sunny weather, as I type this blogpost its cold and raining and hard to think we are in the middle of July, but I’m hoping the weather will pick up again shortly and we can be out and about making memories.

For my post, I revisited my love of mini albums. In the past I would do them regularly, then scrapbook layouts took over, so I don’t do them as often as I used to.

But after our last retreat, a delegate, Mell Cooper who attended the event, did a lovely 4×4 mini album of her experience at our event, you can see the album here, and it got me thinking … why not compile a mini album of each of our events.

I just loved the idea of working on the 4×4 format, and as I had a few these sized albums in my stash, I dusted them off and have started on the process of compiling our past events.

Our first event, which was back in November 2016, and seems such along time ago as such much as happened since then. But getting all the photograph printed off brought wonderful memories of a fantastic weekend flooding back.

Anyway, here are a few photographs of the albums. Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, but trying to take photos of the pages without glare was proving difficultly.

I used Paige’s ‘Take Me Away’ paper collection that she used for the workshop. Helping to keep with the theme of the weekend.


the room all set up ready for the delegates.

Sam made some lovely little sewing kits for each delegate.

Paige’s teaching one of her amazing classes.


Her classes …


The Saturday delegates


We were on hand the whole time to lend a hand


Then we had a mini photoshoot …

I used some the cut-a-part sheets and wood veneer to embellish some of the pages.



Group shot of the Saturday delegates.

None of our Sunday delegates are featured as we did not get consent from them to publish any photographs with them in. They are in the actual album which will be available to see at our future events.

Happy scrapping


Jackie xxx

See 1, Do 1, Teach 1…

In my nursing profession, ‘see one, do one, teach one’ was a well known phrase for how knowledge was passed on and new skills learnt. Over the years I have gained lots of new skills this way and passed them on to my fellow colleagues.

I believe this is where my love of teaching has sprung from. I love nothing more than sharing my scrapbooking pages for Birds of a Feather, with other like minded people and maybe teaching them new skills and techniques along the way.

At our recent Birds of a Feather retreat I got the chance to teach on both Saturday and Sunday to a lovely group of ladies and we had a laugh whilst they relaxed and created my classes.

One of my favourite layouts was using the Crate Paper, Heart Day range and a technique for making glue frames.

Another class I taught using American Crafts, Dear Lizzy – Lovely Day involved hand wrapped frames which certainly tested a few but gave us chance to chat and craft.

I’m looking forward to teaching again this November and the planning is well underway for the classes I’m designing.

Sheena xxx