Are you a Winner?

14 02 2012

I just announced the winners of my CatDesignz Facebook competition

Congratulations to the 3 lucky winners who are………..

Margaret H, Joan Reid and Connie Ireland Holso.

So ladies, if you could please confirm for me which kit you are craving and I’ll get it send straight off to you.

My next kit givaway competition will be starting on Sunday

In the meantime watch out for a freebie quickpage that I’ll be giving away here later on this week

Happy Scrapping & Happy Valentines

Creme de la Creme – such a versatile Digital Scrapbooking kit

11 02 2012

After all the vivid colours of Celeste and Seraphina my latest kit is a celebration of all things calm and subtle.

I wanted to see just what was possible using only one colour and the result is a tone on tone Mega kit in rich shades of vanilla and cream

Hence the name, Creme de la Creme.

To be honest it started out as a wedding kit but  quickly realised that it was perfect for just about any occasion from new babies to heritage and vintage layouts

The subtle cream shades work with just about any colour picture and that means that the picture is the feature.

There are a whole bunch of wordarts included too – simple 1 word versions to use alone or combine in phrases

I’m feeling particularly smug about how it looks with black and white or sepia pictures as I know this will appeal to all those of you who are tracing and recording your family history.

My creative team have really excelled themselves and their layouts are truly beautiful.  Did I ever tell you it makes my hear sing to see my kit used with real photos and marking special events?  Well if I didn’t I should have…..





And if the budget is a little tight at this time of year here are a couple of options for you.  Firstly my kits are all cheaper if you buy them direct from me in my Facebook Boutique.

Alternatively you can enter my latest Facebook competition and win yourself a copy!

This week there will be 3 lucky winners who can each chose their own prize – to enter just tell me which kit you’d like to win and post it on your own FB page – simples.  There are other bonus entries available too and you can even up your chances by entering each day.

Hope I’ve been able to inspire you to create a page or two this weekend

Happy Scrapping

Win! Win!! Win!!! with CatDesignz

7 02 2012

Those of you who follow my CatDesignz Facebook page will know that I started running a weekly competition to win one of my kits.

The lovely Rosemary and Letha have already won a kit each and this week could be your turn.

This week 3 of my lucky ‘likers’ will each win a kit of their choice.

If you win you can chose any of the kits featured in my MyMemories store – heavy hint, you may wish to scout out your favourite before you enter!!!!

the lucky winners can chose whichever kit they like as their prize

Letha chose Celeste and here are 2 of the lovely layouts she made with it for the MyMemories Speedscrap last night

So what are you waiting for?

Hop over to Facebook, like my CatDesignz page and click on the Win! Winn!! Win!!! link. Then just follow the instructions and enter as many or as few of the categories as you want.

This is what the competition entry form  looks like






The even better news is that you can enter each day if you wish – the more times you enter the better your chance of winning!  Simples!

Good luck and happy scrapping

Unclaimed Prize……I have a new My Memores Winner!!!!

29 01 2012

Ok folks , my New Year New Software givaway prize remains unclaimed after 9 days so I have drawn another winner – no point in having that great software sat unused!

As usual the draw is done with a random number generator so here it is:

Debi Tullier  is the new winner –  Debi, congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a copy of My Memories Suite V3 Digital Scrapbooking software!!!  Please contact me to claim your prize!

And talking of prizes I am now running a weekly competition to win a kit from my boutique.  This week its Celeste

Its really easy to enter

All you need to do is jump over to my Facebook Page and follow the instructions.  You can enter as many or as few of the categories as you wish and you can even enter each day to increase your chances of winning.

I will be offering a different kit as the prize each week.  And if you already own the kit on offer you can chose another instead!

While I think about it, if any of you would like to host this givaway on your own blog please get in touch with me as I’d love to talk to you.

And just when you thought I was done giving things away I will be adding a freebie just as soon as my Facebook Likes top 300 which should be sometime this weekend…… there or miss out!

Happy scrapping

Digital Piracy is Theft

22 01 2012

I have read that phrase hundreds of times – literally every time I have downloaded a digi kit from the internet (yes I buy them as well as selling them!!)

But what does it actually mean?

It basically means that if  you use the kit outside the specified terms of use that come with the kit then you are stealing the intellectual property of the designer – and thats theft.  Its effectively stealing the ideas expressed in digital form. The theft could be by claiming them as your own (be that expressely or by ommission) or by passing them on in a way that is not permitted -that may for instance be by passing on a download link rather than directing another customer to the designers source blog or website.

In the past I have been able to spot pirated work and actually inform the designer in a couple of instances. Never ever gave any thought to being affected by it myself though.  That is until I got a FB message from an Artscow customer who is familiar with my work.  She had spotted several of my fleece blanket designs (of which I am rather proud) being passed off as the work of another Facebook user.

When challenged the thief protested her innocence – like a small child who whines ‘I didn’t do it’ when caught redhanded.  The truly disappointing thing for me, aside from her plastering my images and those of my family all over her facebook page was the barefaced lies she still persists in telling. An admission and an apology would actually have been sufficient at one point.  In the face of her obstinate and arrogant lies I am now considering taking legal action along with the other designers whose work she stole.

Unsurprisingly she has blocked me from commenting on her FB page and I won’t demean myself by mentioning her name here or that of her ‘store’ but if you were to imagine a ‘kicking & screaming‘ naughty child with a vulgar exaggerated hairbow bought on FB perched on her silly  head you wouldn’t be far from the mark……I guess her customers would be distinctly unimpressed with her thieving ways and lack of integrity.

This thief has actually done me a favour though as I harnessed all my anger and outrage that weekend and opened a store of my own on FB which is now doing very nicely thankyou. A big shout out to Celeste Lombas of Touched By A Butterfly who did all the work loading it onto my  CatDesignz Facebook Page

Of course I also had to really focus on my own Terms of Use which are now detailed within all of my kits rather than relying solely on the blanket TOU issued by My Memories.

I’ve added a page here on my blog too so that they are easy to find – no excuses!

My parting thought for today?

This blog and its content are protected by international copyright

All rights reserved


happy scrapping

And the winner is……….

20 01 2012

Congratulations Tammy Evans, you are the lucky winner of a full version copy of MyMemories V3 digital scrapbooking software

Random number generator

Please contact me so that I can let you know how to claim your prize

You are so going to love playing with this software

Thanks to everyone who entered – I wish I had a copy to give to each of you.

If you hop over to my CatDesignz Facebook page and like it I will post there if I here of any other peeps doing a givaway.

In the meantime I will be posting a freebie there as soon as I reach 300 likes which should be this weekend sometime – use it to add to or even to start your digi scrapping stash

Have a great weekend




stop press, just found out my friend and creative team member Ann is giving away a copy of the software on her own blog so if you are wanting another chance hop over to Scrapbooking with  Ann and get entering!


A Grammar School Boy…….

20 01 2012

Should you pay a tutor to get your child through that crucial scholarship or entrance exam? Before you commit your hard earned cash read how we got our son through his exam without spending a penny on a tutor.

We are terribly lucky here in Calderdale to have access to 2 fantastic FREE Grammar schools which are among the best in the country.  Most education authorities they were abolished a generation ago.

The first is the Crossley Heath Grammar School and the second is the North Halifax Grammar School.  Apart from the locations there is little to chose between them as both are excellent.

We live less than 1 mile from one of these rare treasures, Crossley Heath Grammar School and not being flush enough to even consider paid places at an independant school we set out on a mission to make sure our son was able to earn a place through academic ability.

Competition for places is stiff – over 900 10 & 11 year olds compete for 310 places each year and it’s not only local children. With fees for private schools nudging £10,000 pa, free Grammar schools are increasingly attractive and parents are prepared to have their children travel up to 50 miles each way to get a free place. Crossleys gets applicants and pupils from as far afield as Manchester, Burnley & Skipton.  Entrance is based on academic ability alone with the brightest candidates at the annual entrance exam being offered places for the following September’s year 7 intake.

It was frightening to find out a year before the admissions entrance exam that many parents had been employing out of school tutors for several years. Our son had been plodding along quite happily at school with a little homework help from me and his Dad but nothing to really write home about.

Heck he was going to have to run to simply catch up!

Web searches of local tutors left us shocked at the cost. £25 on hour seemed to be the average cost with 2 hours per week being recommended. No way did we have a spare £50 a week even as an investment in our sons future. Also, it didn’t seem to us that 2 hours per week would actually make that much difference.

So, we joined an 11+ website  ElevenPlus Exams and started to research which practice papers were the best to use prepare Nathan for the biggest hurdle he has faced in his young life.  We then duly sent off for what were to become the first of many practice papers

His early attempts were pretty average and it was clear he was going to need lots of practice to get up to the high standard needed.

The real encouraging factor for us though was that he WANTED to study and to do well and pass the exam because he desperately wanted to go to one of the Grammar schools.

So, heartened by his enthusiasm and willingness to work we set out on the road of tutoring him ourselves. I say we but actually hubby did 99% of everything. He researched the questions, sat with Nathan while he did the practice papers then painstakingly went through every question te reinforce the learning experience.

They started in the summer – even studying while we were on holiday in Spain! Gradually Nathan built up to doing practice papers every evening after finishing his homework – he drove the pace himself but it was still 6 months of intense concentrated effort and not every 10 year old is capable of that kind of dedication. We are proud that Nathan was prepared and able to back his strong desire to succeed with the hard work that was needed.

The 2 schools run a pretest or practice exam just 8 weeks before the formal entrance exam and this was a good benchmark. Nathan has never sat an exam before so after lots of pep talks on technique and staying calm and in the zone I left him at the exam room door and collected him 3 hours later. As predicted kids had been crying and even being sick with the stress so I was relieved that he came through it relatively calm. Didn’t finish the questions though which is a cardinal sin and better learned the hard way in the pretest than the exam itself!

Despite not finishing he got a good mark and finished in the top 25% which gave us a strong indicator that he could succeed in the actual exam. It also gave him and us the impetus to get on with the final push with only 8 weeks to go. With the exception of Friday evenings when he goes to Scouts he studied every single day – sometimes for 2 hours at a time.

The week of the exam we knew he was ready with marks in excess of 95% in both the verbal reasoning and the maths practice papers every time. Of course, it can all go terribly wrong on the day but he was as ready as he could possibly be. We had given plenty of positive reinforcement and I had also done some visualisation techniques with him – had him picturing himself on the first day of the new term walking into Crossleys dressed in his new uniform and taking his place at his desk – the place he had earned for himself!  We went through all the useful exam techniques and even down to the detail about getting some fresh air and a toilet break in between papers!  All those little things make a difference

Again, it was my job to deliver him calm and as relaxed as possible to the exam room. Calm we succeeded in, relaxed, well that was the impossible dream as he was nervous, but then who wouldn’t be faced with such competition.

It was obviously a tough exam as everyone was subdued on leaving. To our horror Nathan had lost track of the time and not finished the verbal reasoning though he had made quick guesses at the answers which is always worthwhile with multiple choice questions! Had he blown it?

310 places, 1000 kids competing? Thats tough odds but not out of the ballpark.  Whatever happened we were proud that he had done his level best and thrown all his energy into the whole effort.

So we waited from December 10th until late January for the results, hoping and praying that his best had been good enough! Christmas brought us his best ever school report with 12 exceptional results out of 20 so all the work had obviously paid off in his classroom work.

We expected the results to be landing on our doormat Saturday 21st January – that is tomorrow. However, I got a phone call from hubby a whole week ahead of the expected day while I was at work last Saturday. I sat at my desk with my head in my hands weeping at the result – out of pure joy!!!! Nathan had come 174th out of all the candidates and earned his place at the grammar school.

I am guessing there were a lot of tears shed that day – happy ones from those who had succeeded and devastated ones from those who hadn’t.

I am utterly convinced that home tuition for our son for the exam was absolutely the best way for us to go. If we’d taken him to a tutor twice a week you can bet he would have been too tired or not motivated enough to get the best from it. Instead he studied whenever he was ready each evening – and every evening!

I know that many parents are glad that they used a tutor but I am glad that we didn’t. We learned more about our son through teaching him ourselves than we could ever have done through a tutor’s feedback. He is hardworking and remarkably driven for one so young – oh and of course clever!  But then we knew that already!

Way back in the summer hubby promised Nathan an xBox 360 Kinnect if he got a place at one of the Grammar schools……we jumped the gun a little by buying it in October after we had his pretest results though it was hidden away.

Our confidence was not misplaced – he was in the top 19% of candidates in the actual exam dispite not finishing the paper in verbal reasoning – that effectively means those questions he did answer must all have been correct.  He improved his position by 6percentage points in between the pretest and the entrance exam which is extraordinary when every child will have raised their game in the last 8 weeks.

So although I missed out on seeing his face when his Dad told him the results I did get to witness his reaction when he got the xbox!  And the biggest hug too!!  The rest of his reward?  The best education available – paying or not, and the lifetime of benefits that it will deliver to him.

We won’t know until 1st March which school he will go to – each has 155 places and these are allocated in strict rank order – Nathan was 174th.  His first choice is Crossleys as it is so close which woud be brilliant for out of school activities and a shorter day with little travel time.  However, at least 20 of the kids above him will have North Halifax as their first preference on the selection form that we all have to fill in so we are confident that he will be realising that visualisation in September 2012 and walking into Crossleys.  I’ll let you know when his place is confirmed!

I can’t finish this post without thanking all my friends for their prayers, positive vibes and good wishes for Nathan, my hubby who undoubtedly got him through with his tuition and Nathan himself for all his hard work.  We are so so proud of you Son!   All our love Mum & Dad xxx


Our Grammar School Boy

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