Black Friday – what have you bought?

So you would have had to be walking around with your eyes shut, not to notice that today is Black Friday!

Its origins started in America and always fell on the Friday following Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

Turkey is the dish of the day, followed by Pumpkin Pie I believe?

And if you didn’t remember that our friends across the pond were celebrating, you’ve got Google to remind you!

I must admit, I’ve often thought why would you spend a day with your family ‘giving thanks’ only to go on a massive spending spree the next day!

But actually it’s no different to us on Boxing Day… so many people choose to give gifts on Christmas Day, only to raid the shops on Boxing Day and grab that bargain!

I can honestly say that I’m not a Boxing Day shopper, nor will I ever be. I think we should all boycott the shops on Boxing Day to give everyone who works in retail the chance to have two consecutive days off. After all, if we as consumers didn’t partake, then there would be no point in the shops opening!

Ok, like that’s ever going to happen!

And this Black Friday I have to be honest, admit that I too have sucummed and confess as to what I have purchased!

You can probably guess that most of it is scrapbooking related!

Temptation started last week, when Jackie mentioned that Curry’s had the Kitchen Aid at half price – an early Black Friday deal… She was having one and hoped that it would arrive in time for last weekend so she could christen it and mix her Christmas cake in it!

Guess who therefore also needed one?

Then our fabulous friends Sarah and Lianne at Hey Little Magpie launched their Black Friday sale yesterday afternoon…. So of course I indulged!

They were very fair and said that each item was limited to one per customer… a great idea. They didn’t want a repeat of some of the scenes from Asda a few years ago, where people were physically fighting over TV’s!

And then today, I happened to receive a Hobbycraft email promoting Black Friday! Since my birthday in May I have had an unspent gift voucher, so today have joined the Big Shot club!

Then lastly, I just happened upon the Black Friday sale on Sizzix site, as a Big Shot isn’t much good without some dies!

So, have you been as easily swayed as I have this Black Friday?

Leave a comment and let us know what you have bought… One lucky person will be randomly selected and a little Black Friday gift from Birds of a Feather will be sent via carrier pigeon to you!





The mad cow with the stats is back!

Hard to believe, but it is a fortnight since we greeted Amy Tan at Birmingham New Street station!

In our opinion, the weekend was a massive success, with umpteen positive comments and messages, along with so many happy faces… even just typing this, my mind is flooded with so many happy thoughts!

As always, we really value your feedback. All comments, ideas and thoughts are taken on board to better the experience for everyone on our next retreat, which by the way is only in a weeks’ time! Yikes!!!

Anyway, back to our Amy Tan workshop…

We ask everyone to rate a set number of criteria, 5 being excellent and 1 being unsatisfactory….

We were delighted that 82% of you gave the Chateau Impney 5 stars as a location, ideally situated just off junction 5 of the M5.

92% of you lovely ladies scored the food 4 stars or above. The ‘breakfast butties’ went down exceptionally well, a great energy boost to a very busy day, which even included a Travellers Notebook!

100% of you scored the crop room space as 4 stars or above, with over 90% of you giving the room a big thumbs up no. 5. We were delighted to be located in The Elizabethan suite – blimey that room was so big you could crop, party and have a disco all at the same time LOL!

Comfort of the crop room also scored top marks, with 100% of you scoring it at 4 stars or above…

The teaching space and the classes both equally scored 5 stars by 94% of you – the classes were totally down to Amy, so massive thanks there Miss Tan xoxo!

WOW is the word that best describes the Hustle & Heart kits… 98% of you scored it as 5 stars, with some of you adding a + sign! Rammed with lusciousness and products galore, I’d like to see the first lady that uses her kit up completely!

And I can tell you that it won’t be me, Jackie or Sheena as we all succumbed and raided the Hey Little Magpie on-site shop and purchased the 16 papers that weren’t included in Amy’s kit. Hard to believe I know, but the hustle & Heart collection has a massive 24 different 12 x 12″ papers!

So would you recommend us again? Indeed you would… In fact 98% of you lovely ladies rated the overall workshop as 4 stars or more!

Thank you to all who completed our questionnaire and we look forward to seeing you real soon – some of you in seven days!!!




Crafting Weekend Fun …

Hi everyone, well I’ve just returned from a crafting weekend away in the country with my crafting buddies.

I managed to do 8 layouts, and part of a quilt … yes I’ve decided earlier this year that I need to make a quilt for my son, well it got cut out, then ended up back in the back, this weekend I managed to pin and sew a few of the squares together … don’t hold your breathe for it being finished any time soon … it will definitely be a work in progress – lol.

Back to my weekend, did I say we had fun, loads to eat, loads of laughter and of course the usual silly photos.

Every time I get set to go away, I say I will not take as much stash as last time, but really I just end up throwing it all in, and hoping I hadn’t forgotten anything, always forgetting that I’m going with 6 other crafters who will no doubt have that one thing I really, really need to finish my layout – lol x

So this is the morning after our first night of scrapping, I think we had it all covered for stash – don’t you ???

We made a lovely afternoon tea

Washed down with some alcoholic beverage …

and also had to have a coffee fix …

A mini demo was provided by Julie on using distress oxide inks

And a beautiful sunrise on one of the mornings …

on Sunday, Julie made us all a yummy Roast Beef dinner …

Saturday evening was spent watching Strictly and X-Factor as well as being silly with face mask – lovingly supplied by Sam.

The following day we tried to have couple of serious group shots … as you do … but it never goes to plan at first …

Until we get our ‘stop being silly’ head on and get a couple


Cant leave us being too serious now can I, so a snapshot of me, Sam & Julie will sum up our weekend away.


Thanks Julie, Sam, Sue, Barbara, Kay, Sheena for another weekend of memories, heres to the next one.

Happy scrapping


Jackie x


The mad cow loves stats!

What can I say? This Birds of a Feather mad cow loves stats!

It’s three weeks since we embarked on our first retreat and we are still buzzing from the truly wonderful weekend you guys made it xxx

Thank you to all that completed the feedback form – it really goes a long way into shaping the way forward with our future events… And some of the feedback will be actioned as early as this November.

We’re not a threesome that shies away from the truth, so in the order that the questions were asked, here is the feedback:

Comfort of the bedrooms scored a massive 91.4%.

Now I for one didn’t get to spend much time in mine, but I have to agree that those mattresses are fairly super. And I do love a decent shower in the morning – only wish our pressure was as good at theirs!

Food scored 66.1% – everyone loves the accessibility of the hub, but felt that a sit-down evening meal simply took valuable scrapping time away. We are looking into this for November. Equally, the Sunday carvery scored top marks – guess we all like a bit of tradition!

You scored the crop space as 87.6%, with over 66% of you giving it 5 out of 5 – sadly no matter how hard we try we can’t make those tables grow!

The comfort of the crop room scored a great 88.5%, with over 62% of you giving it 5 out of 5. Personally, I see this as one of our best achievements –  do you remember how hot it was that weekend?

The classroom space achieved a score of 86.6%, although a large number of you felt moving to the classroom unnecessary – again something that we can act on for November.

So how did our class kits do?

100% OF COURSE – a truly fabulous result. We are thrilled with this feedback and it seems to make all the stresses of trying to locate 30 Maggie Homes Chasing Dreams 12 x 12″ chipboards a minor blip – after all whats the world wide web for if it isn’t for locating 12 x 12″ chipboard!

And equally our kits didn’t fair too bad either scoring an overwhelming 99% in the feedback results!

And so the burning question… how did we do overall?

We were given a truly magnificent score of 95.7% and better still 100% of you would recommend us!

Perhaps that’s why we’ve now filled all retreat spaces for November and March 2018.

It goes without saying that all of this isn’t possible without your support and friendship!

After all, Birds of a Feather (and the odd mad cow!) flock together!

How time flies…

Where does time go? In terms of ‘birdy’ talk it flies… And literally.

I cannot believe that two weeks ago today we were starting the first of two amazing workshops with Paige Taylor Evans!

Now we are in the throes of both planning our first retreat in May 2017 at the Bromsgrove Hotel & Spa and a possible workshop in early March, again with Paige

I think this photo sums up why we do what we do!


All the hard work pays of when we think back to that magical day!

One other guy who I mustn’t forget to mention is James, our honorary Bird of a Feather! His help to make both days a success was invaluable – thank you James xxx


And equally, without Paige, the whole event wouldn’t have been possible – so thank you Paige too xxx


Making memories is what these events are all about, not just crafting or scrapping!

Check out some of the wonderful comments that we received after the weekend.

One that really stood out for me was from Madie Ager-Warner…     “Almost home! I echo the same sentiments as everyone else, a lovely day spent with fabulous people! To quote Sam ‘to friendship’. Really looking forward to the event in May. Much love, have a good week everyone. x

I’m not at the stage yet where I know ‘how many sleeps’ it is, but you can bet it won’t be long before I do!

So on that note, I’m off to craft… Enjoy your weekend xxx


This time last week….

Time flies when you’re having fun and we certainly had a lot of that this time last weekend…

We can’t believe that it’s seven days ago that Birds of a Feather were in the throws of their second workshop over at Ansty Hall, with four stunning classes taught by the international designer Paige Taylor Evans.

Using her latest collection ‘Take me Away’ for Pink Paislee, Paige didn’t disappoint with her fabulous layouts, featuring her signature style!

Her first layout was ‘Too cute’


Using an adorable floral cut file, I think most of us had a ‘eureka’ moment when a simple technique was used to back the patterned papers to the cut file! If you’re not in the know, then you’ll have to wait until next time to discover what it is!

‘Awesome’ – need I say more was simply that!


Now I’m certainly one for having used many a patterned manufacturers strip, but seriously… this stunning ampersand is literally decorated with 20 different selvages!

Who would have thought of that?

Paige has the most beautiful handwriting – when we mentioned this, she replied that her husband Chris has said that her handwriting has changed three times since he’s been married to her! You can’t deny – she’s a scrapbooker through and through!

I ‘LOVE THIS’ too!


Big titles are so in at the moment, and those that are symmetrical in the number of their letters seem to aesthetically work so much better!

Cute huh? It’s so effective…

All too soon, it was time for Paige to teach the final layout of the weekend…

‘Sweet Life’ is the epitome of fancy cutting!


This class involved some serious cutting! Not for the faint hearted, it involved three fussy cut flowers and blooms from three separate papers! I’d have been having minor palpitations – not because of the detailed fussy cutting, but because of the fact that you had to cut into three entirely different papers!

Another stunning layout to finish off the most memorable of weekends!

To say we had a great time simply doesn’t do the weekend justice! IT WAS AMAZING and judging by the comments, it’s a sentiment that you all share too…

So on behalf of Birds of a Feather…


It’s the little things…

It’s the little things that make the effort seem absolutely worthwhile!

From the bottom of our hearts, Sheena, Jackie and I would like to thank each and everyone of of you who supported us at our first ever Birds of a Feather event…

We had a blast and from the comments we’ve seen it appears that you all did too!

One little thing that really did sets our ‘hearts a flutter’ was a postcard that we each received…


How cute is that sentiment on the front?


And even sweeter is the message on the reverse!

So all those late nights plotting and planning, not to mention sewing 86 needlework cases, it has been a delight and our pleasure to organise this event with many more to follow…

And on that note, I’m off to make my fellow birdies – Jackie and Sheena their own Birds of a Feather sewing kits, after all I think they deserve one, don’t you?