Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A bumper crop ;-)

So I promised I would tell you about my crop and how I packed etc.  So grab a cuppa and settle back...

I'm lucky enough to have a craft room (see previous post) and I have a buddy that used to come over and scrap with me so I've never had to move any of my stuff elsewhere.  I went to a retreat back in May last year shortly after I started scrapping, and I literally took a bag of essentials like scissors and DST.  Other people had roller trolleys of stuff and great shopper style bags of kit - it was quite an eye opener!  I was envious of people who gathered together for their craft and shared ideas and equipment with like minded people.  Then a friend of a friend of a friend introduced me to someone who ran crops and scrap booking classes fairly close and so I've had to really think about my scrapping in a different way.

The crops are once a month (ish) and I've now been to two.  In the first one I felt loaded down with stuff but I wasn't a patch on other people! I packed a sectioned 12"x12" crop bag with individual page kits to a degree.  Basically I plopped in my photos and a stack of similar coloured papers and embellishments!  I tend to scrap in limited colours taken firmly from the photos so there wasn't much more planning involved than the gathering stage.

This time however, I had made a few new purchases to help me.  As this crop was for 12 hours, (yes that's right!) I wanted to make sure that I had plenty to keep me going.  I bought project bags so that I could plan plenty of page kits and take a small amount of additional card stock, and I bought a new wheelable tote that matched my carry tote.  It's wonderful as it as loads of pockets but like anything with loads of pockets, I find it hard to remember what I packed where!

I scanned many blogs and the galleries at Two Peas and found lots of inspiration, some a little bit like my style, some not.  However I didn't plan my pages any more than I did before really.  On the day, with my horrid cold interfering with my brain function, things really fell apart.  I had packed a couple of page kits that were very different to my normal style in the choice of colours mixing together but I really wanted to try something like Shimelle or Laura Buckingham (I LOVE Laura's style!).  It was clear that I wouldnt cope with anything new that day though so I left those in the bag.  Then I tried a sketch that I thought would work well with a particular photo and set of papers but was quite graphic and unlike me.  As I started to add my embellishments (love lots of those!), it became clear that it wasn't going to work at all and so I put that away half finished.  Then I started another one that I had a vague idea about but after half an hour of staring at the papers and moving the photos around, I gave up.  I think I managed to almost complete 2 layouts and half start 3 more.  Pretty awful really for a whole day.

However, what is great is that I still have a load of page kits ready for next month or before if I can squeeze something in (although JYC still needs finishing) and this time I intend to really plan the pages a lot better.  Also I think that beginning the day with a quick and easy layout is a great way to start and get the juices flowing, to get a layout under your belt before tackling something more challenging.  I also think that a bulk planning session like this is quite time efficient as it means I am not getting loads of stuff out over and over again.  I lay out a few photos across the floor and then add papers and cardstock etc that I think I might use.  I go to my paper files once for about 15 layouts rather than 15 times!

The crop venue itself is really great and everyone is really friendly.  This layout that I did last time was copied by about 5 people and gave me a real confidence boost.  Its a scraplift from Two Peas gallery and its definitely a technique I'll be using again.  

People wander around at the crop and look at what others are doing and lots of people put their layouts up on the dado rail or take photos of other people's work etc.  There is a little shop which rotates every 3 weeks and there is an assortment of equipment to use including loads of templates and things that I've not seen as the people are connected to Creative Memories.  Its a social club so there is a place to get very nice meals and drinks all day and the afternoon cakes are to die for!

There's loads of space for each person too and you get a chair next to you to put your carry tote on so that the tables are a bit clearer.  Its very well set up and I'm just so happy that I get to do this once a month.  Crafting makes me so happy, even when I don't achieve what I would like to!

So, how do you scrap?  How do you pack if you go on the move?  Are you lucky enough to have like-minded friends?  However it is, I hope it makes you happy :-)

Bye for now xx

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Keeping my head up?

Firstly I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who has commented on my blog.  I am in the process of replying to everyone and trying to catch up on other people's posts but I've lost a few days with a horrid head cold.

A simple cold to most people is just that but there are others for whom it signals bigger things.  For me, I know that I am going to get problems with my sinuses and possibly / probably get labyrinthitus too.  This is like a form of vertigo and so for the last few days I've been unable to do much other than lay down or keep as still as possible as moving quickly is a recipe for falling flat on my backside.  However, with the Smalls around, keeping still is pretty near impossible.  The follow on from all this is the dreaded depression.  Yes colds are miserable, but for someone with a low threshold it can tip me over into the blackness that I have to fight so hard to keep away.

I do take a very low dose of  medication for the depression after I hit such a bad low in September, but we are still trying to find something that works without giving me horrid side effects.  The exercise works to some extent but obviously I cant exercise at the moment because of the dizziness - cue downward spiral.  I'm also doing the iTalk programme which is sort of like cognitive behavioural therapy over the phone.  Its a bit odd but the techniques are useful.

My crafting does help too in many ways, more of that tomorrow hopefully, but again scissors and sitting up are not a good combo with the swirly head!  I then start to get frustrated because I want to craft and can't.  Time is limited for everyone and I'm sure many people get frustrated at the lack of time to do their thing, whatever their thing might be, especially when your energy is zapped by bugs and then you have to catch up on other stuff first.

I did get to my crop on Saturday as it was only the beginning of the stuffy head phase and I thought I was on the mend.  I spent the whole day sniffing and sneezing, staring at my supplies without a clue where to start.  My poor nose was so red and sore and  at one point I was working one handed while I kept a tissue to my nose - how delightful!  I checked out early, full of frustration that it HAD to be this weekend that I got ill.  Of course, this weekend is my daughter's 2nd birthday and I have cakes to make and cleaning to do and presents to wrap so no time is a good time really.

I did learn a lot from the crop though and I'm going to post on that tomorrow.  I might also share some links to some delicious looking cupcakes that my friend suggested I make for the weekend's tea party.  It will be good to do some baking again, I simply HAVE to lick the bowl so its no good for my diet but this weekend I have an excuse!  For now, I will leave you with a pic of my crop bag with my wonderful butterfly bag-charm which I made from my fave Dear Lizzy paper.

Bye for now! xx

Friday, 25 March 2011

Meaning from the Mundane

This post is brought to you by the letters A.N.N.O.Y.E and D. (and with a prompt from BFS).

I was all set to show a little pic of my Smalls (note the capital letter for my children, not a small letter for my knickers) helping me to cook the dinner and tell you what it means to me etc, I was even getting a little whistful about it.  However, far more important events have overtaken and so, doing the prompts out of order, I have to tell you about my parcel, just because I have to tell SOMEone and get it off my chest.

I'll set the scene.  We have several craft shops within 10 miles of here so we are quite lucky.  However they all stock the same thing so there may as well be only one!  I took the plunge and ordered a ahem.. large package from Two Peas in a Bucket in America.  The P&P is astronomical but when you factor it into the price of each item, it still works out that things are generally cheaper.   I have since discovered an on-line store in this country which pretty much sells similar stuff but not all of the wonderful goodies that I crave.  Anyhoo, I sat back and waited for my parcel in great excitement, especially as other than a couple of kits from Shimelle, I haven't done much on-line craft shopping (I know, what HAVE I been doing?!)  You can track your parcel with 2 Peas so every now and then I would check in and see how it was doing.  Okay, every day.  Alright, every hour, you got me!  I got more excited as the status changed, especially when it finally said it had entered customs in Great Britain.

I started stalking the postman, opening the door as I saw him walk up the drive, scanning the local area on the school run in case I missed him.  Yesterday he knocked at the door because he had a parcel!!  Yay!  Except it was just my printer ink.  Boo.  He looked so sad as my face fell at the sight of the small brown parcel and not an overstuffed pizza box.

Then yesterday afternoon the status changed to "Attempted Delivery".  WHAT???  How had I missed them? I had waiting in, not even going into the back garden in this glorious weather in case he happened to sneak up.  It said the time was 6.37am and we are up at that time so I realised it didn't mean here, it meant the holding depot before delivery, maybe, and that it was definitely on its way.

This morning, I did an impression of Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter, sleeping on the doormat to apprehend the postman.  Nothing.  We rush back from the school run.  Nothing.  And then I get this...

It is a bag containing an item of post which has been damaged or has stuff missing in some way, with an apology from Royal Mail. The blue slip of paper inside was just the label with some information about an international parcel from America. Gasp!  Oh no!  I could read no more.  I was hyperventilating.  My precious Cosmo Cricket papers!  My stroke-able Dear Lizzy ribbon ruffles!

I calmed down and looked at the label more closely.  It was actually the customs bill for my package which was sitting in a depot a few stops down the motorway.  Phew!  I waited till B woke up and we put our sunglasses on and whipped down there.  Then we got lost.  Was I ever going to get my package?  I had to call Management to find the way in as I could see the building but I just couldn't get to it.  Eventually I got my hands on my box, I was so desperate to open it but I had to wait just a little bit longer - darn the school run.  We made it home in time for me to have a quick look before dashing back out to get L but its not the same when you are in a rush and have a little helper with you!

My favourite bits are the Cosmo Cricket Salt Air collection which I got with a view to doing holiday stuff (more on that another time as I need some advice!)  However the colours are just so bright and yummy that I want to use it for a layout about B and her painting which I had already sorted ready for tomorrow.  I've packed all my stuff for the crop (10am till 10pm!  Management has the children to himself all day!) but I may just need to add a few more bits from this parcel...  It was such a long time coming (it felt like it but was only 17 days!) but it was worth it. :-)

So I have a question for you fellow scrappers - how do you pack for a crop?  I'll let you know about my packing shenanigans in another post but for now I need to go and stroke some ribbon ;-)

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Blogging for Scrapbookers

Woo hoo!  Another class by Shimelle Laine!  This one, Blogging for Scrapbookers is as it says really, but you don't have to be a scrapbooker to appreciate some guidance on telling your story.

I'm fairly new to blogging, as you can tell from my oh so desperate decor!  One of the things I want to achieve during this on-line class, is to get a layout I am happy with that says something more about me.  Initially I only started blogging to enter on-line challenges with my scrapbook layouts, but I also wanted to be able to reach other people suffering with depression.  Scrapbooking is a huge part of my recovery and so everything really does go hand in hand for me.  I also wanted to have a place to record my journey and also my journey through my weight loss and fitness campaign which is, of course, also linked to my recovery.  It is also a way to record my creative writing journey although there is a huge lack of progress here!

So another thing I hope to achieve during this class, is to sort out my voice / audience etc.  Is putting everything in one place the right thing?  It suits me but does it suit my readers?  I want to reach like-minded people so that we can hold hands through the various journeys we are on.  There are some wonderful people taking Shimelle's class as always, and I hope to make some more on-line friends through doing it.  Hello to anyone passing through from the class!  I hope you'll pull up a chair and join me in a virtual cuppa while we peruse the big world that has been brought right to our laps!

I wanted to leave you with a photo as I dont much like posting without one.  I didnt want to show a pic of me sitting on the sofa in my pyjamas, which is where I blog and surf, so you've got a pic of me that I tried to take myself recently....

And as this is about my craft as much as my blog, and I feel I ought to show my work space for something at least, here is part of my craft room.  I took the pics a couple of weeks ago when I bought a new tablecloth so that I could show my scrapping buddy and see if she approved!

Well I'm off for another cuppa, a little more blog hopping, and then to bed.  My gorgeous small children have been keeping me up through the night and VERY early in the morning for a few days and now I have their lurgy too.  Aren't kids wonderful for sharing their germs and their bad dreams and their love of the dawn?!

Bye for now xx

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Addicted to denim...

oo hoo!  Today, thanks a little bit to Amy Lynn, I finally finished my Learn Something New Everyday album.  I made the front cover before class started in September and then completed the final few pages in December.  In the last couple of days I finally posted up all my entries onto the forum but I couldn't do my completed album entry with bare chipboard could I?  Seeing Amy's post about her denim album reminded me of just how much I loved the effect I got on the front cover so I finished the rest of the covers this week.  I chose a back pocket to go on the back and put a shipping tag in which reads "See you next September!"  During my chopping, I ended up with a scrap of the waist band and decided to jazz up the spine with it so I could put ribbons through the belt loop.  Its held on with DST from my ATG but the gorgeous suede brad at the top helps too.  I painted the inside covers in denim blue as I didn't want the hassle of matching up the material again when it wouldn't be seen so much.  I am so pleased with it.  I genuinely don't feel great about a lot of my creations, either in their entirety or a small part of them, but this album cover really makes me happy :-))

I have since used denim on a layout and it looked great (see post before last) and Amy made a gorgeous ribbon ruffle with a thin strip of denim too.  I remember as part of my writing course, we had to use the prompt "blue".  Most people talked about the sky, the sea, eyes, or perhaps mood.  I went off on a tangent about jeans!  I really wanted to post that exercise up here but I cant seem to find it, ho hum....

Back to sorting photos ready for planning for the crop next week, 10am till 10pm!  Let's hope I dont have to come home to sort any blocked drains this time :-)

Bye for now xx

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

This week's news

Well I never did!  I lost another 1.5lb at Slimming World last night despite falling off the wagon big time this week.  Its odd that a couple of weeks back when I tried really hard and stuck to it 99%, I still only lost 1.5lb.  I dont know why this is.  Is it because I did some running this week?  Is it a delayed loss from last week?  Who knows, but I am trying to stick to it this week because I keep spending money and not giving it 100%.  I think that having lost 2 stone and being able to see such a difference, I'm happy with what I've done so far and so I'm not SO desperate as I was.  I need to get that desperation back!  Not sure its going to happen in the next couple weeks though with so many social engagements on (unlike us I know!)  I had another 7 minute run at the gym this morning but then this afternoon my old pregnancy issues of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) started playing up.  I hope it doesnt mean the end of running, just as I about to start liking it!

Something else that might help me keep my hands out of the fridge though, is yet another class by Shimelle.  Blogging for Scrapbookers is having another live run and as I didnt get around to it before, this should give me the shove I need.  Hopefully then I can sort out the rather basic design of this blog :-)  Class starts on 21st so look forward to some changes after that.

Bye for now xx

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A general round up...

Other than creating lots of scrapbook layouts, this is what else has been going on...

Emotionally I've had a few ups and downs and despite the medication and the counselling, it is possible that a large part of it is hormonal.  It might be time to take the coil out and see what happens but we definitely can't have any more babies so its a big consideration.  My iTalk scores went up a bit this week as a result of the recent dip but generally I feel a lot stronger than I did even a couple of months ago.  This recent dip is really starting to annoy me though and I'm taking it out on my family, again.  I HATE THIS!!!

I still haven't found a hole to start writing again.  Its not writer's block, just a time and a guilt thing!

As for the weight loss / fitness campaign, that's sort of going okay.  I manage to generally maintain or improve what I have done the previous session unless I'm really tired from a sleepless night or being under the weather etc.  I started having a bit of a run for a few minutes and managed to get up to nearly 9 minutes in one go but every box has to be ticked for me to get that far.  I have to be feeling okay, have to have the right music on the iPod, have to get the rhythm right and have to lower the gradient as I go along.  My shape is definitely changing and I've lost 2 stone so far but I still have a fair way to go.  I'm just finding it hard at the moment to keep within my syns in anyway!

On the plus side, I signed up to that awful thing Fly Lady where you get e-mails about which part of your house to clean.  Sounds horrific yes?!  It has given me a push to get on with things though and there are lots of organisational tips which have helped.  I've been working really hard and it seems to have paid off as DH bought me some flowers to say that he is proud of me trying to get fit and lose weight, and he appreciates all the work I've been doing to keep the house in order.  Yay me!

Bye for now xx

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Getting my scrap on!

Wow, I've been busy with my scrapping over the last few weeks.

So, scrapping!  It is definitely keeping my sane and I am enjoying it so much.  I still need to complete a fair few pages of Journal Your Christmas but I've taken a break from it for a few weeks.  I've found a local crop that runs once a month on a Saturday where you take your own stuff and the same lady runs monthly classes. They are not always my cup of tea and I don't know how many of these I will be able to get to with my other commitments but its fun to be around like minded people.  The first 2 layouts are ones from the classes and most of the others are from the crop.

This was a session about the Shabby Chic style.  Most of the supplies here are from Jenni Bowlin.

I got chance to make a paper pin wheel from Shimelle's blog that I'd been meaning to try for ages - I love the way it turned out.

The little heart tucked in the side there is one of the techniques we tried.  Its a patchwork heart with baker's twine tied around it and I love it.  

This one was the March session and concentrated on hidden journalling (see below).  We also worked on cutting out elements of papers which is something I had avoided up until now.  I love the way this turned out and its a technique I'll be using again for sure.

The journalling goes under the photo :-)

What can I say?  I love my girl and I love purple!

And I love these little chipboard butterflies from Hobbycraft too.  

Thought I would try something different with this one.  I always like the look of the layouts with negative space and I'm fairly pleased with this.  I also used a technique from one of the classes in Scrap-A-Mia with the little frames.  I like this style for a few little photos.

Hhhmmm.  Not sure about this one.  Its not quite as I expected and I think its the rounded corners of the bottom photo that is not sitting quite right for me.

This is one of my favourite-est every layouts that I've done.  Its a scraplift from something I saw in TwoPeas and uses the similar technique to the patchwork heart in the first layout.  I'm quite in love with Baker's Twine as you can tell and this is my first ever bunting layout.  I'm so behind the times!!!

And my first ever double pager!  I've been really experimenting lately!  I'm really pleased with this one as well, partly because it was all my own work, it was using up scraps and I think I might be getting the hang of mixing up fonts for titling :-)

Cool stickers and badges from American Crafts.

Not sure about this one either.  Its predominantly Dear Lizzy stuff which I love but actually working with it is another matter!  I like the raffia and the layout of the elements but again something is just not sitting right for me.  Any ideas what?

Thanks for looking!  Bye for now xx