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

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……..be there or miss out!

Happy scrapping

Digital Piracy is Theft

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

DIGITAL PIRACY IS THEFT

happy scrapping

And the winner is……….

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…….

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 choose 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 independent 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 despite 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 would 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

 

Meet Seraphina…..

In keeping with the heavenly theme for my new kits I’d like to introduce you to Seraphina

The kit is named after my cousin Eleanors youngest daughter Seraphina.

Isn’t she beautiful!

Ok well, if I can’t be a teeny bit proud who else will shout her praises?!

She is packed full of purples and aquas – my two favourite colours – can’t believe I never got around to combining them in a kit before…..

Its a bit of an unlikely mix but I think you’ll agree they go together really well.

The kit will be available from My Memories store shortly but for now its exclusively available from my own Facebook Boutique on my CatDesignz page.

The name is that of a type of Angel BTW –

‘Feminine form of the Late Latin name Seraphinus, derived from the biblical word seraphim which was Hebrew in origin and meant “fiery ones”. The seraphim were an order of angels, described by Isaiah in the Bible as having six wings each. This was the name of a 13th-century Italian saint who made clothes for the poor. As an English name, it has never been common.’
 
thanks to Behind the Name
 
 
 
 
And as ever here are the gorgeous layouts that my CatDesignz Creative Team team have put together with Seraphina.  As you’ll see it’s really versatile with everything from the boys boys to Disney Princess featured.
 
 
 
 
 
 
How stunning do these black and white photos of Linda’s look?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lovely Lailynn with her Christmas gifts
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fun in the snow!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disney Princess!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
and last but not least my own beautiful boy Nathan
 
 
 
 
 
I hope you enjoy using it as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
coming soon,  the tale of a Grammar school boy……….

Happy Birthday Celeste

Well, hadn’t planned on launching another large kit so early in the new year but sometimes you just have to go with the flow

So please meet Celeste……

Named after Celeste Lombas who gave me the initial inspiration for the kit.  And it just sort of came together over a couple of days right in time for her birthday this week.

Celeste loves butterflies and the colour pink so its packed full of flowers and butterflies. I used goodies that I’ve designed some time ago but saved up for that special kit, not really knowing what I wanted to use them for so putting it together was really quick (well for me anyway!)

The colours are modern and bright with black and grey as a foil for the pink and green but I think the lace and gentle butterflies give it a kind of vintage feel.

The Celeste kit is available now at My Memories and is also my debut kit on my Facebook Product page at CatDesignz
.

In the future my kits will be available on my Facebook page even before they hit the My Memories store!! Over the next few weeks I’ll be unloading my whole product catalogue there including some excusives that you won’t be able to get anywhere else.

Take a look at some of the layouts by my CT, Linda, Celeste, Ann & Rachel they are simply stunning

I only managed to make a single layout with it myself so far  as I got a little sidetracked into making add on wordarts and frames and didn’t really get chance to draw breath yet!  Also I got caught up in a digital piracy issue when a friend informed me that my images were being shamelesly used as their own by a business on facebook ( but more of that in another post on another day, my gorgeous kits are my priority now rather than some unrepentant thief whose only defense is ‘I don’t know what you mean’ when patently she knew exactly what she was doing!)

the gazebo is available as a standalone mini kit and it makes a perfect whimsical frame don’t you think? This is Nathan waiting for bride Helen to arrive at her wedding to my Brother-in-Law Andy. Cute or what!?!

The Separate floral frames were a little sidetrack too!

 

5 Generations By Rosemary Kanspendos

 

Talking of getting sidetracked here are the Celeste wordarts. You can get them as a money saving bundled pack or each one standalone

Now I happened to know that Celeste was planning a blog hop over on Touched by a Butterfly for her birthday so I made her a little matching wordart and she updated her whole blog to match

Before

After

I love both versions – the first was made with Purple Heart and Pinkadink Simply Papers Kits and the second with Celeste of course!!

I hope you have as much fun using these kits as I had designing them.

Thanks to Rachel, Ann, Celeste & Linda for their gorgeous samples – you rock girls.

And of course, Happy Birthday Celeste – thanks for the inspiration and have a wonderful day on your birthday!

While you are here don’t forget to enter my competition to win a copy of My memories Software V3 – all the lovely layouts on this page were made using the software – it really is simple and intuitive to use.

Happy Scrapping

Stop Press!!!!

just Discovered that Linda updated her blog Mommies Place of Play with my new kit too – I am so honoured, thankyou Linda x

Win Celebration Wordart

a quick mini post for you….

hop over to my CatDesignz facebook page

I am running a quick and dirty 48 hour competition to win a copy of celebration wordart.

To be in with a chance of winning just post on my facebook thread and share the page on your profile – simples!

Winner will be announced on Facebook after midnight Friday UK time.

Good luck and happy scrapping

New Year, New Software Givaway

Whats your favourite new thing that you want to do this year?

For me, its going to be the year that I achieve my weight loss goal (yes, I know, you are going to hear a lot about this in the next few months!)

 

This lovely page was made by Ann with my New Year New Me Kit

 

But if this is the year that you want to finally do something with all your precious photographs then you are in the right place…….

BEACAUSE  I am GIVING AWAY a copy of  MY MEMORIES SUITE V3  software on 16TH JANUARY.

 

The software is the world’s favourite digital scrapbooking software and its so user friendly and easy to learn that you will be producing masterpieces within days.  It’s really intuitive – no steep learning curve like Photoshop – just download it, open it up and you’re off.

 

Why digiscrap you might ask – and you wouldn’t be the first

  • well, all the cool kids are doing it!
  • theres no mess to clear up
  • you get to use all your supplies time and time again
  • the digiscrap world is full of gorgeous inspiration, oh, and freebies!!!

if you really needed any more reason check out Digiscrappin with Jen for a whole list of reasons!

 

How to Enter:

To be in with a chance of winning you simply have to leave a comment on this blog post.  To double your chances follow my blog and to tripple them like my CatDesignz Facebook Page and post a comment on there about this givaway and you’ll have 3 entries.

Good luck and please tell all your friends who are interested in digi scrapping

 

And talking of givaways here is a freebie to get you started off with your digital supplies.

 Download the freebie here

 

It’s a png file so its suitable to use within any graphics programme not just My memories Suite v3.   And yes, it’s a new format – I mostly scrap in 12 by 12 so this is a diversion for me.  It’s so easy to just drop your photo in though  especially within My Memories Suite.  Have a look at the finished version which took me less than 30 seconds just to add the date and place details

 

 

You will find other freebies here from time to time so its really worth following if you want to start or add to your digital stash.

So, don’t forget to add a comment to this blog post then follow this blog and finally hop over to CatDesignz FB page, like it and add a comment there.  The lucky winner will be announced here on the blog after entries close on 16th January.

By the way, all the pages featured in this post were made with my kits and/or using My Memories Suite v3 software

If you are wanting to add a header to your FB timeline its perfect for doing that…..

or maybe you want to build your own blog header – Celeste from my Creative team did that using one of my kits Purple Heart (though rumour has it she’s about to update it with a little birthday gift I made for her!)  You can see it at Celestes blog Touched by a Butterfly where you can catch up on all her wonderful paper crafting – have a look at her forthcoming blog hop while you are there.

 

 

I just spent the last few days making new kits and wordarts which will all be in store at My Memories soon so I’ll let you know about them as they become available.  In the meantime heres a perfect one for capturing all those new year images, its my Celebration Wordart

 

 

Thats all for today folks, happy scrapping and good luck with the competition