Thyme Machines Weekend Retreat 2012

November 28th, 2012 by Louise
Rogues Galley

The Rogues Gallery

I have just about recovered from the weekend retreat in Derby so thought I would just make a quick post about the event..

For those who do not know what on earth I am talking about it is a crafting/ digital cutting weekend organised by Dawn of Thyme Graphics and a fairly intensive 3 days of classes covering a wide range of techniques and projects to make using a Cougar or Silver bullet cutter.

The event was held at The Lawns Hotel in Derby and attended by.. let me count.. twenty of the crazy people who frequent the lovely chaotic mess that we call the Thyme Machines Forum

I have to admit that ‘crafting’ is not really high up on my list of favourite pastimes, mostly because I am completely rubbish at it, but I wanted to attend to finally meet up with the legendary Dawn & Tony and some of the wonderful friends I have made on the forum. My ‘expertise’ is the technical aspects of the cutters and software and I get a great deal of enjoyment from helping others with problems so my intention was never to take part in the classes but help out my friends when they got stuck.

The Lawns Hotel

The Lawns Hotel

The venue was a nice hotel, due to the numbers involved I had a room in a separate building which was, shall we say, ‘below average’  – but then again that still makes it a significant improvement on my flat LOL

The main hotel was pleasant enough, although the lighting could have been a bit better, and the food was sufficiently good to result in me gaining 5lbs in 3 days – so much for the diet!

The classes started on the Friday evening then all day Saturday and ending about 7pm Sunday evening. There was a number of projects covered including a rather nice greetings card using pens in the cutter, an acrylic clock with vinyl decoration, an engraved and inked acrylic cover notebook, an embossed and dyed leather keyfob/ coaster thingy, a tee shirt with heat transfer vinyl and rhinestone decoration, a set of three picture frames with embossed and distressed metal decoration and a demonstration of foiling without the use of a laser printer by the infamous Gaz (AKA Dragonlord) – Unfortunately I somehow completely missed this first venture into teaching a class by my co-conspirator on the forum but by all accounts everyone else was suitably impressed.

The classroom

The classroom

Dawn, Gaz, Pandora and myself spent a lot of time helping people out on a one to one basis where needed as we had a number of people who were just starting out with the cutter and especially Inkscape which was used quite extensively so I think (hope) that everyone who attended took some useful knowledge away with them irrespective of their level of expertise.

It was a pretty intensive workload to get through as there was a lot of different techniques covered but all in all I think the balance was just about right, pushing the newcomers quite hard but still providing enough of a challenge to those who have more skill with the machine.

Oh, yes while I have Inkscape in mind.. The Silver Bullet cutters all come with a free copy of Sure Cuts A Lot software which is I think about the best choice as it combines a fairly basic editor with the cutting interface. However, many of the techniques covered during the event need a more powerful editor and so we used Inkscape quite a lot for the design process and sent it to SCAL simply to cut. Many of the forum members and indeed many of those who attended the retreat are/ were reluctant to dive into Inkscape because it is quite a daunting program but I think quite a few people at the event realised it is not quite so scary with the one to one tuition. The retreat is a great time and place to get help moving on to Inkscape and opening up a whole new world of design possibilities so for anyone struggling to get to grips with Inkscape the retreats are a great place to get you started 😉

Some (not all) of the projects we made

Some (not all) of the projects we made

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, we had a lot of laughs, learned a lot, and finally got to meet up with some of the people we speak to daily (or in my case nightly) on the forum. Anyone out there who has a cougar/ silver bullet cutter and wants to expand their repertoire would be well advised to keep an eye out for next years retreat – it would be cheap at twice the price 😉

I should mention that everything you need to complete the projects covered is of course included in the cost of the retreat, all the media, inks, foils, and even the use of a cutter and all the blades/ holders etc if you are unable to bring your own – all you HAVE to bring is your laptop with the software installed. Of course if you are able to bring your own machine that is better all round as each machine is slightly different and you get used to your own and how it cuts.

If you wish to see the other photos I took at the event you can see them in this short slideshow :)

Finally, a huge thank you to Dawn and Tony for organising the amazing event, Gaz and Pandora for all the help they gave so freely and of course to everyone else who attended for making it a weekend to remember. Come hell or high water (which incidentally there was a lot of with all the flooding across the UK) I will be at the next event, I may even teach a class if you are unlucky 😉

5 Responses to “Thyme Machines Weekend Retreat 2012”

  1. Pandora says:

    Hi Louise
    Thanks for all your help and input – and technical knowhow and beautiful photography of some of the finished items – very clear and professional

    Very much enjoyed meeting, gossiping and exchanging ideas with everyone – better lighting – a definate must for me ……but with some many nice people and such fun to be had – count me in on the next one


  2. Chris Ashworth says:

    Brilliant summary of a great weekend Louise! It was a lot to take in and I was shattered for a couple of days but it really was worth it! Thank you so much for the hints and tips and help with Inkscape – I did actually learn some things about it and may venture into it more often??! I have even done a single line font letter since getting home and used ‘auto smooth’ LOL

    Looking forward to the next one


  3. Chris Ashworth says:

    PS Yes great photos too Thanks


  4. Renate says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your review about the retreat, wish I could have been there.
    It is awesome to look at the pictures and see the people that mean so much to me.

    Now, I’m off to watch the slideshow too !
    Hope that i can attend one day.



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