Sabrina Friel - cook22
Wow! I am so amazed and honoured and totally thrilled to be here. As a site volunteer it's not totally unusual to see an email from Lydia in my inbox, and when I saw one in late July I assumed it was relating to Hope You Can Cling To - that being the next big event on the SCS calendar after Dare To Get Dirty. I certainly never dreamt that it meant I wouldn't just be daring, I would be actually getting dirty! There are so many talented stampers here that I don't know how Lydia ever manages to choose just two people each month, and I certainly never expected to be one of them. I still can't quite believe it's true!!

Personally Speaking:
I'm Sabrina, I've been married for 27 years to a very supportive husband. He considers that being creative is important, and that being creative and making a mess go hand-in-hand, so once there's food on the table, and clean clothes in the ironing basket, he's pretty happy.

My first love was cooking - I think I started almost as soon as I could walk. By the time I was 10 I was cooking for the whole family (household of seven people) for a week at a time during the summer holidays. I got my first sewing machine when I was about 7 and promptly stitched most of the way through my finger but it didn't put me off. I started in making little skirts and vests, and by 9 had graduated to a pinafore dress - including a carefully embroidered motif to cover a little stain on the fabric, which a neighbour had given me. When I started secondary (high) school I was bored out of my mind in Domestic Science class and gave it up as soon as I could.
My first jobs were all in the cooking area, mostly for private families. Before I was married I took live-in jobs in the UK, and got to see a whole 'nother side of life - a wonderful experience. For me, it wasn't a job that combined well with home life, so when my husband's boss offered me a job in his company I took it happily. That was import and distribution of fine art supplies and a hobby range, and I still have a great legacy of bits and pieces I acquired during my time there. If I'd been able to look into the future, I'd have bought a lot more Arches paper while I was there! Currently I work as a beer taster in a big brewing company. By its nature that is obviously a part-time job and leaves me some (but never enough) time to stamp. My other interests - reading, knitting, embroidery, music (piano and flute) and photography: I rarely leave the house without a camera.

Getting Crafty:
I was actually quite a tomboy and spent a lot of time out in the garden building treehouses with my brother (and we did a good line in excavating underground huts too). But in the wet weather (and let's face it, there's a lot of that in Ireland) there was always plenty to do. We didn't have television, but there were always books. And in the downstairs hall there was a big chest-of-drawers, the bottom drawer of which was called "the construction drawer". Into that went anything likely to be useful in making and doing...old cotton reels, small boxes, lollipop sticks, cork, felt... To go with that was a whole array of books with various crafty projects. An early cine-film of a summer holiday show my sister and myself industriously sewing away at various projects.
On the card front, I more or less started out with digital cards - back in the day when even our relatively high-end laptop didn't have a CD drive, making it rather complicated to install anything more than the basic CorelDraw program. These days I don't think I can remember the first thing about welding and colour gradients...because I discovered stamping.
While in the fine-art business, my husband and I were making a delivery to a customer who had taken a stand at a show, and while we were there, we looking around the different stands. Like so many others - it was the magic of heat embossing that snared me. I came home with a couple of stamps, a couple of inks and some embossing powder, and went to the local hardware store for a heat-gun. But I can't say I progressed much and there weren't a lot of resources around, so most of the cards I made at that stage were not stamped. Then I came across SCS while trying to find a tutorial for a Waterfall card, since I was having trouble trying to figure out the instructions in a magazine article. And I've been here ever since...
I don't think I have a personal style, but I love trying out different techniques and colouring with my distress inks.

To be where I am today, on the Dirt Pile, is in very large measure due to the wonderful resources, inspiration, encouragement and helpful advice that I have found here, and for which I am so grateful.

Photo credits - my loving husband. I meant to say earlier that while he says he's my biggest fan, he's never slow to say when he doesn't like a card, which is great - an honest critic is a good thing to have on hand. But when he really loves one, he says "If I made that, I'd tell the world." I love him!