Archive for the ‘life and stuff’ Category

Angela Ackerman, Larger than Life characters Pt 1

August 22nd, 2015

Building a hero / heroine from the ground up 

– What makes a reader fall in love with a character?

– How can we create these types of characters ourselves?

– How to create deep compelling characters that stick with a reader.



Reader fascination:

  • Offer a view into the characters and his world that is both compelling and addictive
  • Provide experiences that are new, yet rooted in real human experience


  • A powerful bond that forms when the character’s experiences triggers the reader’s own emotional memories


4 elements to reinforce empathy and fascination

  • Realism
  • Recognition
  • Worthiness
  • Emotional connection


Through the Looking Glass

December 26th, 2014

Recently two of my friends had a joint birthday party, fancy dress theme.  (ok the theme was Game of thrones but I wasn’t feeling it).  I had these gorgeous papers by Kaiser Craft from their ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ paper set.  They are very floral and vibrant, but there are also the classic illustrations by Tenniel throughout the designs.  The first card was for a female, the second for a male.

In addition to layering papers, I also have the matching collage pack so there were plenty of elements to stack on (like the flowers).  I also used washi tape to tie the layers together, along with the yellow butterfly that is on both cards.

looking glass - B

Alice – flamingo croquet


Flower fairy card

December 17th, 2014

Another birthday card for someone at work.  This time I tried a layout I saw in a magazine, it is simple but effective I think.

Flower fairy birthday card

Fold craft cardstock, ink the edges.  Trim a piece of ‘La Spa’ paper from Prima Marketing’s Fairy Belle collection, and then distress and ink the edges in a lighter (contrasting) colour.  Attach to the base card.

Place a strip of gold paper across the card, near the bottom with edges inked in the darker colour.  Add a die-cut shape (Spellbinder’s Labels 17 set) on top of the gold paper, with the edges inked in the lighter colour.  Attach a folded piece of ribbon and add a ribbon on top.  Place a pink pearl in the centre of the flower.


Wedding triptych – mixed media art

November 11th, 2014

I have not posted for a while, as I was extremely busy with work right up to the day I went to Europe (yay) for nearly a  month.  There was sightseeing involved of course, but the main purpose was to attend my brother’s wedding.  He has lived in London for the past 10 years, and got married to his lovely French partner there in October.

Although they wanted money for their ‘dream honeymoon’ experiences, I decided I wanted to do something a little more personal than that.  So, using the paperblocking technique that I had previously used on Curiosities, I decided to make a triptych using the gorgeous ‘Curtain Call’ papers from Graphic 45.  Techniques:  paper blocking, stencils, stamping, embossing, sponging ink, gold leaf.

So without further ado…


Panel 1 - Let's dance

Panel 1 – Let’s dance

Panel 2:  Curtain Call

Panel 2: Curtain Call

Panel 3:  Cinéma

Panel 3: Cinéma

(note:  for reasons I don’t understand, these pictures are very small.  I will investigate and see if there are larger ones)

Mixed media – Paper Blocking

August 28th, 2014

I created this for the August 2014 Craft stamper ‘Take it, make it‘, it is the first time I have entered anything like this and I enjoyed the opportunity to play around and challenge myself.  NOTE:  sadly I missed out uploading this by the cut off (I blame the International Date Line), but I still had a lot of fun making it.




I have created Curiosities based on the following articles:

  • the Paper Bocking style as shown in the ‘Pretty in Pink’ article by Jean Hardy, August 2014, p10; and
  • making my own embellishments from silicon moulds, as shown in ‘Hearts and Flowers’ article by Trish Latimer, January 2014, p30.

I really loved the concept of paper blocking, and it meant I dared to use those papers I love so much I keep ‘saving’ them for something special.  Now I have used them but still get to keep them.  However instead of using a pencil to outline the papers, I used my sponging block to swipe aged mahogony ink around each piece to give definition.  It seemed to really pick up the creams and burgundies in the papers.  The Gold leave Rub n Buff is also randomly on the canvas, and also on the embelishments I made using paperclay.  I added a little more texture around the edges with my Ageing Block from Lucy’s Stamps (sadly no longer in business)


Curiosities - close up

Curiosities – close up

Note:  First time commenters need to have the comment approved.  Free posting after that.

Floral farewell

July 26th, 2014

The final farewell was this week, another of our contractors left as we have finally filled the position permanently.


Floral farewell

Floral farewell

Metallic white square card, edged with Aged Mahogany ink.  Floral paper trimmed to fit, edged with Antique Linen.  Nestabilities Label 17 die used to make floral label and white card label (yay!  first time I have done this myself).  Penny Black floral stamp inked with Crushed Olive and Aged Mahogany distress ink, spritzed with water and stamped onto the floral tag shape, edged with Antique Linen then layered onto the white label which was edged in Aged Mahogony and Antique Linen.  Three white pearls added to bottom right corner.


So long, farewell …

July 22nd, 2014

We have had a few staff leave at work lately, and a few new arrivals to go with that.  So farewell cards have been in demand lately.

First of the departures at work was a casual who has been working with us for a few years, first as a student then recently as a grad.  She has moved back to Sri Lanka with her husband.

I had already done an engagement card, a ‘congratulations’ card for graduating, and a wedding card for her, so I needed to come up with something different – went for a different palette also.


Butterfly farewell

Butterfly farewell

This is quite a simple design, similar to one I have done before.  Butterfly stamped in Eggplant Adirondak ink onto purple patterned paper which has been edged in Eggplant Ink.  Layerd onto handmade white silk paper edged with copper.  Kraft cardstock folded to a square, edged in Eggplant.  Copper Brilliance used to stamp flourish randomly in the corners. Strip of striped purple paper laid across the craft card.  Butterfly layers added at an angle.  Two small flowers added to lower corner.  Purple gems added to centre of flowers and butterfly body.


A January Birthday

March 31st, 2014

I’m a little behind with some of my updates.  I’ll try to get them up over the next week or so.

First up is a birthday card for one of  my work colleagues.

Summer floral birthday

Summer floral birthday

I liked the background paper and wanted to make it a feature.  So I found a stamp that had a similar style flower and used that on the front of the card in black, no other colouring.  the stamped image was edged in black, as was the gold paper.

I wanted to lift the colour palette a little, and so added the purple washi tape in the two corners.  Although all the layers of paper are taped down separately, the washi tape was positioned so look like it was holding it all together.

RWA Breakout session 4: Getting your feet wet – Blogging 101

August 19th, 2013

Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) – Getting your feet wet:  Blogging 101
Discussing ways to connect with readers
Looking at different avenues to connect with one another and connect with readers
– note: facebook keeps changing, no-one is an expert on it

Social media exposure
Why is digital marketing and promotion important:
– the reader is your customer
– the reader connects with authors and publishers directly
– the reader is curious about what they want to read next
– connection to readers helps to build your brand
– brand is the promise that you are going to deliver X to your readers
– social media gives you lots of opportunities to connect to readers and become familiar to them
– it also gives lots of opportunities to mess up , but that is ok – everyone does that

Three rules to social media:
Rule 1 – the hard sell does not work
social media is a conversation is not a broadcast.  don’t only talk about the book you are selling.  trying to promote someone else’s book does work

Rule 2 – be a person!
comment on other peoples blogs, be an online presence, not a ‘thing’

Rule 3 – have a social media policy for yourself:
– check out some corporate social media policies as a guideline, they give examples of what people can and can’t say online
– eg don’t talk about work and family (use code-names etc if you mention)
– work out what you are going to talk about, what are you not going to talk about – work out away from the computer, set the rules
– your policy is up to you, just make sure you figure out what is on and off limits
– be aware of cultural differences (eg Australian humour vs American humour)

Cocktail function #1 – Penguin Destiny Romance 1st birthday

August 16th, 2013

I went to the launch of the Destiny imprint last year on the Gold Coast.  This year Penguin held a party to celebrate the first birthday.

There were some speeches (I arrived late and missed most of these), canapes, lots of gorgeous cupcakes, purple balloons some of which are now bobbing around in my room.  And everyone was given an awesome tote-bag printed to look like a Penguin book.  There was also a pirate giving out roses but I didn’t get one so no need to mention him :p

I have only read a few Destiny books so far, but there are a few different genres, including some paranormal ones by my friend Peta Crake.  There are also some historical titles, what look to be intrigue / thriller titles, some rural / small town titles, and some contemporary over various ‘heat’ levels.  They release in ebook first, and then some are later in paperback format.  Our tote bags had paperback versions of some of the books in them.

Penguin tote bag from the Desiny birthday party

Penguin tote bag from the Destiny birthday party

After the cocktail party I was wandering around looking for an ATM, and ended up joining a group for dinner.  I had met a few of them before at conferences past, so it was good to catch up again.

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