Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Arabella Forms - the things you could do!

This weekend I ran a fantasy workshop in Warwick, and it struck me as I was using the Arabella forms, just how popular this reusable plastic mould has become in the industry. I am  delighted when I randomly see people on Facebook using  the Arabella's to create their master pieces, or mention them in a comment.

This month (October 2014) on the Be Creative website, we have a great offer running - you can receive 25% off your set of Arabella's...nice savings we thought, and I wanted to high light some great steps for you which we have done using the forms. Just in case you missed them.

The reason the forms where created was to help produce fantasy art work, but it soon came apparent that these forms, with their in built C curve, could create some time saving stickers and embellishments too.

SWANS in gel

Using Gel paints we created both these designs, the swan and the rose, simply top with a gel polish top coat and peel off. 

ROSE in gel

HOLLY in acrylic

Christmas is  around the corner - and to help you start prepping!  Here is a great acrylic embellishment step by step I created...I make these before my clients come, and they have them as a gift from me each year on their ring finger. 

The Holly step by step link can be found on this blog - CLICK HERE

There are so many other looks, designs and inspiration out there, and I know I don't catch them all, please please share with me HERE on the Arabella form Facebook page what you have created using our Forms.

To buy your pack - visit our website www.sambiddle.co.uk - for October only receive 25% off.

Check out the website for a short film on how to create the rose, swan and an additional Blue butterfly, using one stroke. CLICK HERE

Monday, 15 September 2014

Mind over Matter

We have all heard that saying, right? Generally when we are on those last 10 squats or have another hill to climb, your repeating those words 'mind over matter'....but it means so much more than that.

As we get older we should in theory become wiser....hello...a bit silly as surely we need the wisdom when we are forming our career and deciding our life path? But it is the mistakes we make that forms our wisdom. The one thing I have learnt over the last couple of years is you can have all the wisdom in the world, you can talk the talk and even set things in motion. But there is something inside of you that stops the process, that prevents you from achieving those goals, dreams and targets, regardless of the knowledge and understanding you might process.

Why? Because you have yet to win the war of your mind, to control those thoughts which hold you back. 

Right now I am working on 3 new exciting developments for my business, I have been developing these ideas for a few years now, but I feel now is the time to set the ball in motion. That said I am still trying to rationalise the reasons why I should do it, my mind is coming up with obstacles and restrictions. To counter act this, my wisdom is telling me i have all the tools and information and can achieve this, that it makes sense to move my business in the right direction. So what is going on here?

My brain is clouded with tiny pulses of doubt, and these are created because of fear! Remember fear is not a valid emotion, fear is a figment of your imagination. If I allowed those pulses of doubt to run a mock through my brain I would still be here in another 3 years building business plans and researching delivery methods. 

Setting your mind to it means you're conquering something  fear says you can't do. But fear is not real, it is just your imagination, and its express purpose is to feed your self doubt and negative self talk. 
Your mind is what you need to control, you have all the wisdom and knowledge in the world, but unless you can control how your thoughts affect how you feel, you will always be stuck in the same cycle; worrying about the same things and not able to achieve the possible. 

Today for just a couple of minutes imagine if you could achieve anything, what would it be; Loosing five stone or maybe entering and winning a competition? Starting your own business and learning a new skill or craft. Have you always wanted to write a book or go back to university and get a Phd?

What ever you want in this life is yours for the taking, I promise  you can have it all, but unless you conquer your mind, all the knowledge and wisdom will get you no where. 

Once you have established what you want to achieve then it is time to think strategically.  Having structure gives you an element of control and understanding and stops those doubts taking hold.  
This is what I do when I have an idea or project I am thinking of, even if it is planning a holiday destination or investing in a new home. If there is an element of doubt, then my mind will work hard to sabotage my dream. 

Creating a SWOT analysis is not a HOW will this happen, this is a study you can take to identify the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats should you go ahead.  This is one of the most meaningful exercises you can do within business. 

Strengths are those parts of the business or idea which sets you apart from the competition. You must be honest and establish what is it that you do well. What advantages do you have over your competitors and what makes you different?
Weaknesses are areas in need of improvement. Can you do anything better or is there anything you do badly? What should be avoided and what causes problems or complaints?
Opportunities which can improve your business.
Threats can be external or internal, and are anything which can adversely affect your business, research what your competitors are doing, are there any changes in products, services or technology which could threaten your business? Do you have any financial problems such as bad debt or cash-flow difficulties? Internal threats could also be personnel, time management skills and other factors which may distract you. 
Having done your analysis you then need to create an action plan, it is essential you think about the following points in order to move forward and eliminate the self doubt. This action plan will be the first step towards achieving your goals. 

Your achievements are 100% mental; your business won't go where your mind doesn't push it. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

I received this email!

When people attend my workshops I am always nervous about what they are thinking and feelings, no one is ever truly honest to your face, and their expectations after investing in a workshops can either be raised or dashed, with the content or even the attitude of the educator. I received this honest and frank email from one of the ladies who attended the 2 day 'pushing the limits'  workshop in Sydney,Australia.  

This is an unedited email, I wanted to share with you,  I am very thankful of her comments and thoughts on the workshops. 

Melanie wrote; 
Melanie Crowe - Center

1. I was always going to attend with the name Sam Biddle in the heading. I chose this class mainly because I have attended previous workshops with Sam & I have always felt at ease with her. Her teaching style & down to earth approach with everyone in the class is exceptional. I love how she never intimidates & always makes people feel comfortable no matter what level of expertise they have. I always drag the chain but she allows me to potter along at my own pace.

2. I am the first one to admit that I am no painter when I saw some of the designs I must admit to feeling a little disheartened because I actually thought it was an acrylic fantasy workshop but with some practise I feel as though I can achieve the same look especially the feather design & believe it or not I have been inspired to sign up for a painting class, which I am doing this coming Friday. Yeah go me !!!!! I feel the parrot was out of my league but again with practise it is simple enough to be achieved. Sams delivery of her classes is awesome she can laugh & have a joke & not be stuck up but she can also be serious & willing to help whomever gets stuck. Thats what I love most about her there is no airs or graces what you see is what you get a happy friendly person whom is willing to help. She is always engaging looks people straight in the face & tells it how it is. Her advice & friendliness is outstanding.

3. Attending this workshop I was hoping to improve on my fantasy. I didnt enter fantasy this year because in previous years I have built everything out of acrylic. It is heavy & hard going on my model. I felt that I could never get past the kiddie looking stage of my pieces. This year I have learnt how to build things from foil how awesome is that !!! It has definately given me hope & inspiration to enter fantasy next year which is what I really love to do. I really loved the second day of the workshop & thought I would never implement any of the designs or techniques from the first day but guess what today I used the brights & party pigments for the first time in salon. I was quite thrilled & chuffed with myself & said to my client this is something that I learnt to do with Sam Biddle. It wasnt much but none the less I was still happy to boost about & say look at what I learnt. I took away alot from those 2 days, made many friends & even surprised myself by retaining that information. I would most certainly do another workshop with Sam & I am hoping that with lots of practise that I could even surprise her with what I might achieve. That is my goal.Cheers to Sam Biddle you rock !!!!!Much love from down under, Melanie Crowe xo

Friday, 5 September 2014

Step by Step

Leah Light
I have been asked to teach and recreate this look time and time again, these optical illusion nails seem to capture the imagination of so many, so I thought I would re post the steps I created  a while ago incase you missed them.  These nails I created on celebrity manicurist and nail artist from New Zealand Leah Light....we simply updated her tired gel polish with a combination of Party Pigments; I used 'did you know' and 'gossip'. Combining white, gold and black is a favourite look for Leah and I have to agree, it certainly looks chic. 
Party Pigments from Be Creative

Creating various colour fades using the glitter pigment pressed into the inhibition (sticky) layer, I then used a base coat to seal it. I wanted to use the nail art pen over the glitter without disturbing it, and by dry wiping the inhibition layer from the base coat, I was able to achieve the pattern with little problem. 

Using your nail art pen and the be creative black paint, add dots down the length of the nail, make sure these dots are in line with each other. 

Join each of the dots together starting at the top and sweeping the nail art pen down in a 'S" formation. 
Now add another 'S' shape horizontally joining the dots to make the small tiles. 
These steps are created on a white back ground to make it easier for you to see the shapes made with the nail art pen, if your having issues using the pen, check out my blog post HERE. 
Find out more about the Nail Art Pen HERE

I have created this look on various back grounds, but non as simple and effective as pigments, by adding a colour fade in a clever way you can make your optical illusion nails even more powerful. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Diary of an International Nail Artist - Pt 2 Australia 2014

Sat here at my desk in good old Blighty, it is time for me to recount the highs and lows of the second part of my trip....it is a far cry from Sydney and the land 'down under' and already I've been home a week! The trees are green and the promise of sunshine reminds me it is still summer here....I can never get my head around the seasonal difference and, of course, the time change.  Just a little over a week ago I was saying goodbye to the nail family I had played, laughed and even tutted with.

Each year I take a trip to Australia and each year I think this will be my last, but it seems I am pulled back by the passion and enthusiasm of the nail technicians over there. This last trip was divided into two parts, with the 3 day break in between, (much needed and very appreciated) it was all too soon before Tracey and I where packing up our suitcases and heading into the city. I say suitcases, because Tracey took me shopping on our break, which meant I had to purchase another bag in order to carry home the new wardrobe!

The two day Be Inspired workshop kicks off with a packed class, another new lesson plan to work from and for me wondering if I have either made it too easy or way to hard. When you come up with a lesson plan for any workshop, it is not a case of pulling ideas and designs from the cloud of inspiration, but each nail covers a range of applications and techniques, and they take you on a journey through the day to the final ultimate look. It does take me a little time to develop and come up with something different and totally awesome to wow those who have invested on the workshop, and with that effort comes the nerves; Have I chosen right?

But as normal those concerns where unfounded....naughty I know, but I love the fact that you get the stunned looked on faces around the class, and the gasps of 'oh no what have I got to do now'  when they realise  they  have to  do the nail you just demoed...and then as they develop  they achieve the most wonderful things. From feathers to hand painted parrots, we finished the day with some 3D fantasy tropical flowers ready for the ultimate nail day tomorrow.

Of course finding new friends on these trips is a bonus but hooking up with hold ones is a delight. Leah Light from New Zealand ended up crashing at our Sydney apartment...mix up with rooms and so forth meant we had a very lucky upgrade and view of the Sydney harbour bridge.  Leah turns out to have a matching wicked side to my own, and I felt like a kid again, with mummy Tracey wagging her finger at us, because we were late or just down right rude! I do miss you Leah.

Day two of the workshop and today we aim to complete the rabbit everyone is so keen to do....this is not an easy job and my time management skills were on over drive; Each part of the day was planned to military precision.
Oh my goodness what a joy the day was! and yes for those who know me, I did get the giggles looking at some of these fellows being born. Cute and weird and for some totally Alien like.  Is it wrong to say I have the best job ever?

Thrill of the day though wasn't seeing these cute and cuddly bunnies,  but for Alex Fox editor of Scratch Magazine to turned up, totally nerve racking.
I was on my best behaviour, although I didn't need to be and the facade totally wore off after our 3rd glass of wine, and right now I am proud to have found another 'fresh friend' and like minded guru of life.  This woman totally rocked my world and I had my own 'light bulb moments' in the wee hours.

The last of the workshops come to an end and I removed my educators hat and donned on the head judge hat... tomorrow it's Show time!

This is where I am in a whole knew world,  my job is to facilitate and make sure the judging is fair, every one sticks to the rules and each nail is scrutinised for ultimate perfection....in other words that translates to Tracey holds me captive in the judges box with a ball and chain around my ankle and I am hidden from view. Did I say already I love my job...?

This is the third year I have worked with Tracey as head judge for the Australian nail awards, this year was super exciting as they had partnered up with Alex Fox and her team from the Nailympics. Each year I have seen this competition and the competitors grow, the quality of the entries and the standards have increased. It is so rewarding to see. I never do this job alone, and without others from the industry giving back and investing in the future we couldn't hold competitions like this. This year my team consisted of MaeLing Parrish from USA, Leah Light from new Zealand, Alisha Rimando from USA, Mindy Hamilton from Australia, Jai Harvey Lei from Australia. There are so many other names who also helped with the floor judging and nail judging, counting and marshaling, Rebecca Manz, Coleen Hindmarsh and Desiree Dowling. Thank you ladies for your support and dedication. Finally we must not forget Tracey Boyle who actually brings us the whole competition, with her persistence and devotion to running this event, she is instrumental in giving us an great competition.

I did get a chance to leave my judging cave and did a small seminar on the main stage showing of three simple and quick salon viable gel polish designs. I got a chance to try out some eye brow extensions...yes I didn't type that wrong: EYEBROW extensions.....totally awesome.

Tell me 5 years ago I would be presenting awards and hosting on a main stage and I would have laughed in your face (a nervous laugh at that), but there I find myself presenting to a sea of hopeful faces, congratulating winners as I call them onto the stage and dashing those who expected so much more. It is a bitter sweet job, and for everyone who entered having won or not you are all to be congratulated, the nerves and expectations alone is enough to put you off, but I hope to see everyone back for another go next year... and thank you everyone for laughing at my lame jokes.

Monday is the day I have been waiting for, it is time to head home to my family....I have a whole 24 hours before I get to hug them all...but it is a start.  Now some of you might have seen on my way over to Australia there was an unfortunate situation on the aeroplane and someone died mid flight, with delays and mechanical issues during this whole trip I thought to myself what else could possible go wrong. Yet again on the flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi....just a few seats from me a rather elderly lady collapsed, this time I am very thankful she survived and with a little sweet tea and her diabetic meds she was sat back in her seat enjoying 'saving mr banks' within a couple of hours. But boy oh boy it is enough to put you off flying for a while.

Well.. until October at least.