Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Happy Anniversary to all of you WOYWW participants!  (Just a quick note that I don't have any ATCs to swap, sorry!)

My desk is ALMOST in use this week!  I am putting the final touches on my last assignment and then I can play!  We go on holibobs to Featherdown Farm very shortly and the children and I are making our own Smash style books to take with us.  Its a good way to use up the papers that come free with certain magazines that you don't particularly want to use yourself :-)

I've got my Bind It All out but I've never actually had chance to use it as yet so we have to change our plans rather!

This little lot here is from the lovely Kirsty for a Sian's "Very Big Swap of Very Small Things".  I am absolutely in love with the big buttons and the teeny red ones too.  Thank you Kirsty!  My parcel is on its way to Deb in the States.

We've been busy with birthdays here too including a bowling party for Louis's best friend.

I hope everyone enjoys their swapping and the crop if they are able to attend that too.  In the meantime, don't forget to link up with Julia to see the rest of the desks.  Happy crafting.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Its a bit of an empty desk this week.  Management and I swap cars when I go to a crop rather than have the kerfuffle over the car seats and all my stiff is STILL in the boot of his car.  I just about got through the crop but I didn't feel right.  I had a headache all day and I was so so tired.  I was in agony with stomach pains by the time I got home and it turns out that I've got another ovarian cyst.  I've pretty much been under a blanket since then but I'm managing without painkillers now so it looks like it is buggering off again thank goodness.

I've also moved my writing stuff out into the study now that it has all been decorated in there and that makes the desk look really bare here!  A few layouts that I'm in the middle of but need to be finished at home, Scrap365 to be read, the pink folder is my Parent Governors information and the Jiffy envelope had those circular frames in which will be the labels for the side of my albums.  I got this idea from a fellow WOYWW-er and I'm so sorry that I can't recall who it was!

That khaki bag in the middle there was just delivered and it is very exciting!  Its a Real Adventure Den Kit for Louis for his birthday, sshhh!  His birthday is while we are away at the farm which is a perfect place to try it out!

And here is the full layout that I gave you a sneak of last week.  This was for an Inspiration post for S J Crafts and I just love the way it turned out.  

What's on your desk this week?  Show us what you are up to and link up with Julia over at Stamping Ground.  Have a great week!

Bye for now

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Good morning to you all, especially all you WOYWW-ers.  I'm twitching this week.  My cup is empty and there is someone else invading my space again.  Miss Bella takes up more and more room each time she comes in here.  However, she has been banned from my studio as of today because she refuses to put any of her stuff away when she has finished with it.  What can I say, she has just turned 4 and, I'm told, is exactly as stubborn as I was at that age, and still am apparently.  Ahem.

Lots of Portobello Road on my side of the desk, making a card for the lovely Deb at Paper Turtle to go in her box of swap goodies that you can just about see to the left there under the stamps.

I'm packing for a crop on Saturday with Artful Angels (if you are around the Winchester / Southampton area and fancy a visit then please do get in touch!)  I'm still working on my Devon album and as I've been using the same selection of things throughout, it means my supplies are pretty much sorted.  I just need to have a tidy up and make sure that all the consumables go back into my little tote bag.

I've become so used to scrapping with Sarah from S J Crafts but she is at another crop this week and I will miss her!  This layout has just gone up at the shop blog where we are talking about the different things that are inspiring us right now.  For me its my Cameo. (This cut file was inspired by this Pin).

Show us yours, now that I've shown you mine, and don't forget to link up with Julia for the bestest desky blog hop there ever was.

Bye for now

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Last few for NSD!

I promise this is it for NSD a few days!  I will go back to being a struggling writer and SAHM for the next few days until I go to a crop on Saturday.  I'm really pleased to have put more layouts in my album over this last week, especially those that were half finished or almost there.  It looks like I have done loads but obviously a fair number of them were completed with thanks to the challenge and not started from scratch - I DO have a life that tends to get in the way of my craft you know ;-)

This page is for the challenge to "scraplift yourself".  Its a design that I use a fair amount because it is quick but can look very different depending on colours and how much above and below the photos etc.  I probably lifted it from Shimelle at some point in the past though.  

This is the right page (yet to start the left) about arriving at Aller Farm and having to use wheelbarrows to carry all our stuff to the tent because we are not allowed to have cars on site.  Any time we had to collect stuff from the shop or take back ice-packs and rubbish etc then we had to use the barrows.  The children loved pushing them almost as much as riding in them!

All of the papers are from October Afternoon but from various collections.  I love how you can mix and match with then like that.  The turquoise paper is from Ducks In A Row which a collection I would never have bought for myself.  Its a really old collection and the bits I have from it came in a Santa Sack where you get random bits and pieces from over the years at a big reduction.  Its really great to be able to use up some of these papers by putting them together with ones that I love like the stripe and the yellow floral.

Back to something a little more current with the papers but much older with the photos.  I have no idea why Louis was wearing a red nose because I don't think they ever did foam ones for Red Nose Day did they?  Anyway, he seemed to like it!  

The papers here are Echo Park's About A Boy with matching chipboard and this layout was for the challenge to scrap using square photos.  They were originally 4x6 but I cropped them to square to get rid of extraneous details.  

Phew!  Right time to visit a few blogs and then it is back to my assignment before I get into trouble.  Only 2 pieces of writing to do and then I am done till September, woop woop!

Bye for now

Saturday, 11 May 2013

And more NSD

I would love to not have to go to sleep for a few days, just so I can get some stuff done that I WANT to do right now, rather than HAVE to do, know what I mean?!

This page was for Shimelle's challenge to do some fancy cutting.  I cut this polaroid frame on my silhouette but kept the picture almost at the original size so that I could use the grass in the photo to fill the negative space.  

I've been looking forward to using these October Afternoon Campfire Trails papers for literally years!  The vast majority of papers in our Devon album for Featherdown Farm are OA.

I'm also using the same range of punches throughout the album.

This next page is for the challenge to use divided page protectors and will be the only set in the album that don't use OA.  These are Echo Park Birthday Wishes like the other couple of layouts about the pizza night at Aller Farm which was fab!  We actually had two pizza nights and on the second one Management had to do all the cooking because we had done it before so they left us to it!

I lent farmer Nigel my fleece because he was trying to put his bare arm too far in the oven and it ended up getting holes in it from the embers!  He was so embarrassed but I didn't mind at all, its old anyway and now it has another story to add to its memories.

Last one for today.  Another one from the pile of "had photos and some papers but nothing else" and when I saw the challenge for adding a letter, it sounded the perfect way to round up this layout.  The picture is of Louis dashing about with his camera at a castle in Pembrokeshire and it sums him up perfectly.  

The letter inside the scrap-a-lope is written to Louis explaining what he was like at that age and how he loved this castle and everything that was going on there.  He took loads of pictures of random things but all the time with this huge smile on his face, appreciating the scale of the building and the different way they lived there.  He has such a zest for life and one day in the future when he is flicking through this album, I want him to know that I love that so much about him.

Its definitely a technique I will use again and in fact I might just do that very soon and again write about what he is like now because he turns 7 in just 3 weeks time.  My little baby is growing up fast - sob!

Bye for now

Lots more challenges for NSD

Happy Saturday!  Good luck to everyone doing a Race For Life or the Moonwalk tonight!  I hope the weather stays perfect for you.

Its only 3 weeks until we go on holiday and we are going back to Featherdown Farm but this time in Exmoor.  The children are beyond excited and one of their most overriding memories of Aller Farm was keeping our 2 little chickens.

Each morning we would race over to let them out and see if they had laid anything.  We got 2 eggs each day and sometimes they would still be warm from the chicken!  They were delicious!

This layout doesn't have a title because it is part of a linked page that I haven't completed yet.  I wasn't sure how to finish it off until I saw Shimelle's challenge to use fabric on your layout.  I love using denim and its been a while since I've done it so this was the perfect opportunity.

I painted on Mod Podge to make it stiff and used the same stuff to glue on a chipboard piece.  When it was dry I was able to go around with scissors and a craft knife because it dries a bit like card.

The other bits and pieces are from an October Afternoon ephemera pack from their Boarding Pass collection.  I'm using OC throughout the Devon album.

I also made a facing page for my Balls layout to make it into a double for this challenge.   I'm definitely not in love with this one now that I have tinkered with it to make them match but it's another set of photos out of the drawer and into the albums and Bella enjoyed helping to sort the buttons.

There's more to come today and tomorrow so its a busy time for blog with all the challenges and hopping!  Did you join in with the blog hop yesterday?  There's a lot of inspiration around right now huh?!

Time to get busy glueing and cutting with the children now.  They keep taking the micky out of me for leaving the top off my glue stick and ruining it because its something I am always reminding me about - cheeky poppets!  Its hard when you are on a roll... ;-)

Bye for now

Friday, 10 May 2013

Onwards and Upwards Blog Hop

It's the weekend!  A special welcome if you are hopping as part of Jennifer's Onwards and Upwards blog event. Details of the hop and the giveaway etc can be found at the bottom of this post.

Up until a week ago I had no idea what my post was going to be about for this event.  I had lots of bits of ideas and I definitely wanted it to be about sharing positive messages but I had nothing concrete.  Until Thursday morning.  It was a crazy day going from place to place but I felt the need to pop home mid morning and I'm so glad I did.  There was an e-mail from Shimelle about being a guest artist on her blog event for National Scrapooking Day on Saturday.  I leaped off of my chair and squealed.  Then I panicked.  Then I scrapped.  Then I changed my mind.  Then I scrapped again.  Then I went back to my computer and double checked and triple checked the message in case it was a fake.  Then I sent my husband a text telling him my exciting news.  But he doesn't understand creativity.  Then I picked up my 6 year old son from school and he jumped up and down and "Wow, Shimelle's blog?  Really?  Wow!" which was more the sort of reaction that I was feeling myself.  I felt really positive about my scrapping and I would love for other people to feel that too.  We just need to tell them :-)

Very few people can say that scrapbooking is their job but Shimelle can and I admire her for that.  I also admire her style and her passion for the story.  I have followed her since I met her when I started scrapbooking at Scrap-a-Mia exactly 3 years ago.  Good grief what a baptism of fire that was!  Since then I have had ups and downs with technique, style and general ability and had days where I liked my layouts and days when I wondered why I bothered to even try.  

About 18 months ago I applied for a Design Team place with S J Crafts in a moment of "why not?" and I was over the moon to be chosen.  Seizing that mad moment of thinking I might be good enough to be on a DT was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Being selected restored my confidence in my ability as a scrapbooker.  Someone else liked what I did.  About a year ago someone asked me to make an album for a colleague as a commission, completely out of the blue.  A few weeks ago I won a competition with Echo Park papers.  This week I've been featured on a website that I would have never thought possible.  I am never going to make a living from crafting but in the words of a very wise 6 year old "Its not about the money Mummy".  So what is it about?  Its about feeling positive about something you've made.  

We need more layout love in this cold hard world that we live in.  We need to tell people when we like what they do.  Hearing from other people about things we have made makes it all worthwhile, whether it is a cup of tea, a bowl of soup, a card, a layout, a tutorial or a wedding dress.  If you've been enthused to create something, tell the person that inspired you.    If you've entered one of the many many challenges from last weekend, tell them why.   Make someone's heart swell and face beam like mine did this week.  Share the love people :-)

So... my challenge (all open until Sunday night) was to create a double layout.  In a hurry.  I scraplifted myself by choosing the first double I came to in a random album I picked up with no deliberations over "what about this one or that one".  It was this layout that was originally a quadrant design for a 6x6 paper pad and I mirrored the placement and then tweaked the embellishments to suit the larger structure.   Choosing the layout gave me a strict plan for the photos and I did the same thing again - choosing the first batch that fit the orientation, style and number.  Same with the papers.  Studio Calico Snippets was to hand (being obtained recently) and it was ideal so I didn't try and find anything possibly more ideal.  I spend far too much time trying to find something even better when actually it just makes me go around in circles!

The photos are from Ta Prohm in Angkor, Cambodia, about 10 years ago on our Round The World Trip.  We often wonder how much more damage has been done by the invasive roots but they can't stop them because they are all that is holding it up!  Such a tough battle of man versus nature but it does make a wonderfully atmospheric temple.

It makes me laugh when I look back and think of us shooting a whole reel of black and white film there and then a whole reel of colour, with no idea how any of them would turn out.  The children can't get their heads around the idea of waiting for film to be exposed and not seeing the photo instantly on the screen.  How things have changed since then.  Onwards and upwards eh?!

If you comment on all the blogs in the hop, finishing at Jennifer's to let her know you've been all the way around, then you'll be in with a chance to win a prize pack of cheerful Glitz Designs Color Me Happy and Simple Stories 24/7, worth over £25! 

All entries must be received by Monday the 13th of May at 10.59pm BST. 

Your next stop along the hop is Julie. Have fun!

Bye for now

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Adding some sparkle - NSD challenge

It was lovely to be a guest for Shimelle on Saturday and especially lovely to share that experience with a fellow designer for S J Crafts, one Jennifer Grace.  I knew exactly which assignment she would choose when I saw the list - to add some sparkle!  I was right!  Her wonderful layout with it's added sparkle, inspired me to finish off this layout with a smattering of gems.

It was half finished in my pile and I just didn't know where to go with it to finish it off.  It began as one of my stash diving layouts and I really should not have left them to one side because I lost the flow.  Thanks to the challenge this is another one ready for the album and not sat tottering on my pile of half finished ones!

 I don't tend to use much in the way of sparkle on my layouts but this was an ideal time to use it with its pink and girly loveliness. Bella helped me stick the gems on and so they are not entirely my choice of placement or colour!

Jennifer has had a busy few days between our NSD assignments and her upcoming blog hop.  It starts tomorrow, 10th May, and there are prizes and challenges and tutorials and inspiration and all the things you would expect from one of Jennifer's blog events.  

I'm taking part in the blog hop tomorrow myself and I have more challenges to submit so be sure to come back again soon.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

WOYWW 205 - NSD challenge

This is what happens when you try and do too many things at one time...  What a mess?!  That little gap to the right of the pink mat is only there because I just literally picked up the camera from that spot.

Last Wednesday I mentioned that I was working on an assignment for my writing course.  I'm still doing that because something exciting came up on Thursday morning to throw my plans out a bit.  You may have seen this post where I had the amazing opportunity to be a guest artist on Shimelle's blog for her National Scrapbooking Day celebrations.  We were talking about techniques for scrapping at pace and I have certainly been harnessing those techniques to get some of the challenges completed!

My course books and computer are piled in among half finished layouts and paper crafting products and this is not a good mix because things are getting lost and creased.  I'm still working on making the single from last week into a double but I DID find the off cuts from the original and there is plenty enough to make another page - huzzah!   I've got several more challenge layouts in the pipeline but there are classes to go to, family to feed, washing to do, this penultimate assignment to get completed and another blog hop with Jennifer to prepare for in amongst it all too.

One of the layouts I have completed this week actually fits 2 challenges.  This one at Shimelle's blog is to highlight your favourite papers and this one at S J Crafts which was to use just one manufacturer.  I don't think it will surprise anyone that I chose Echo Park!

I adore these papers from About A Boy and they were on my desk when I grabbed the photo and just went with it.  I flicked through my pile of Pinterest print outs and literally chose the first one that I came to that had the right number and orientation of photos, otherwise I could spend all day deliberating over this one or that one...  You can find the original from Debbie Hodges via my pin.

Those big rocks in the Northern Territory in Australia are so darn crazy right?  Just like that crazy rainbow chevron paper that I want to use on every single layout right now.

I'll be catching up with everyone's blogs in the next couple of days so make sure you put the kettle on :-)  And if you want to join in the desk sharing fun for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday then head on over to Julia's blog to find out more.

Bye for now

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Attitude - NSD Challenge

What a fantastic weekend it was, full of inspiration for us scrapbookers?  The National Scrapbooking Day celebrations saw challenges and tutorials and discounts in abundance and it was hard to choose where to start!

I had half begun this page already but it fit one of the challenges on Shimelle's blog so perfectly that I was really inspired to finish it.  This one was by SJ Dowsett and involved using unexpected supplies on your page.  The frilly bit at the bottom was actually pulled off of a rather lovely gift bag that Bella was given when she was a baby.  I kept the bag because it was so pretty and quite sturdy and then later we used it as her ballet bag.  The ruffle wound around the bag making it look like a tutu so it was perfect for the job.  Over time though the ruffle had started to come away as it was only held on with DST.  That gave me the idea to keep it for a layout and when I took this photo it seemed ideal.

The journalling is all about what she was like at 3 years old and how this photo really sums her up because she is a wonderful blend of girly girl and rough tough tom boy too.

The papers and brads are all My Mind's Eye - Good Day Sunshine, which seems so perfect for today although sadly I think this is the last of the warm dry weather for a while.  Never mind, rainy weather = scrapping weather right? :-)

How many challenges can you fit in this week?  I'm hoping for a few more yet!

Bye for now

Monday, 6 May 2013

Pick your precious - Trainers

This post is brought to you by Story Telling Sunday with Sian from High in the Sky.

Its been a frantic but wonderful bank holiday weekend here.  I've just realised that it is Monday and not Sunday so I am a day late with this post, THAT'S how lovely this weekend has been.  The sun was shining which always makes me happy and we had our first BBQ of the year.  We put our sun shade up for the season and even purchased some new garden furniture that we have been discussing for about 4 years now. There was a little bit of time for crafting, a day out at a country fair, a brief visit to Beaulieu to see Management at work, and I still managed to find time to put my trainers on.  These are my "precious" for this Sunday (Monday!)

Now many of you might think, well I know she is mad, but trainers?  Really?  Has she totally lost the plot?  Well yes, I am crackers and I make no apologies for that and I shall be honest and say that the last 2 weeks have been some of the lowest ever in my life but thanks to my trainers, I am pulling myself out of it again.

I am mid assignment for my writing course and my story is all about things that happen at the gym.  It was while working on that that I realised just how much my trainers have come to mean to me.  I bought them in September 2011 when I first considered needing some proper running shoes but they still look fantastic because I train on a treadmill.  Ordinarily I hate spending more than about £15-20 on shoes but these were £95!!!  I went to a specialist running shop for gait analysis and I was videoed running in different trainers to find the best support possible.  Knowing how much they cost means I don't wear them to walk to school or to go to the shops etc.  When I put these on, I mean business.  I know that when I wear these, I am doing something really good for myself.  As a bare minimum, we should all be doing 3x30mins per week for general health but yet it still feels a bit frivolous to spend that time on myself but it's becoming much more of a habit for me now.  Aside from the weight loss (I've lost a stone so far this year), the benefits to my mental health are better than any pill or therapy I have ever tried.  When I put my trainers on it's like taking a happy pill because I know that the endorphins are just there waiting for me to let them out.

I have a couple of set routines during the week and then I fit in other things around those.  On Wednesdays I do Combat training which is a mixed martial arts inspired cardio work out.  It feels like I am literally kicking and punching my demons away.  I'm working on my technique to get more out of the class but oh boy do I get sweaty or do I get sweaty?!  On Sunday afternoons I go to the gym to use the treadmill.  I do a combination of running and walking and I am working up to doing more and more of my time as running but it is hard on my shins.  I've got dodgy knees which is why I run on the treadmill rather than outside on hard pavements.  We live in an area with lots of slopes and I'm fine on the uphill but my knees just can't take the down.  I hope to rectify this as I get fitter and my legs get stronger but for now I am content with brisk walking in the local area.

Any time I am walking or running I use an app on my phone called Zombies, Run!  It's basically a story that plays clips in between your chosen running songs, all about the zombie apocalypse.  You are a runner helping to rescue people, retrieve medical supplies and technological equipment, find information about a vaccine etc to help build a base and rebuild a healthy population.  It uses GPS / pedometer to track your progress and rewards you with materials and unlocking extra missions.  If you are really crazy then you can enable the zombies to chase you and you have to speed up by 10% for one minute or risk being caught and you can hear them coughing and groaning and getting closer by the second.  Seriously, I've never been into zombies or anything but I can't wait to get my trainers on and find out what the next part of the story is - it has totally transformed my training.  They have just released Season 2 and have included missions written by a fan who had written some fan fiction about the characters in the story.  If ever there was a reason to praise fan fiction, this is it!  Can you imagine getting that call from the game you love asking for you to write some stuff for them?!

I'm really enjoying getting fit and even loving the ache in my muscles the next day (or two or three!) because I know it is because I am doing something really good for myself.  I have to continue to make time for this because the hard work reaps so many benefits.  I am looking forward to putting my trainers on again very soon.  And of course, at the end of the day, I am worth it :-)

Bye for now

Saturday, 4 May 2013

A Guest Post for NSD with Shimelle!

May the fourth be with you!

Happy Star Wars Day and happy National Scrapbooking Day - what better way to celebrate than to be a guest artist for Shimelle?  I still can't quite believe it and I keep going back to the e-mail because it makes me smile every time I read it.  I was so happy to be asked to participate especially as the message came through a fair while after I had assumed everyone would have had their challenges.  It gave me a much needed boost!

The focus was very much on crafting with limited time and my own challenge was to create a double page spread.  Here's a little sneak peak of my layout which you can see in full on Shimelle's blog.

I really enjoy doing double pages and I even made the S J Crafts sketch in the previous post into a double by using a divided page protector as the facing page.

Here are a few more of my favourite doubles.


I hope you can join in with one or more of the challenges around the various blogs this weekend as many of them are open for a while.  It has all certainly got my creative juices flowing I can tell you!  If you create something this weekend then put a link in the comments box and I will come and take a look.

Happy crafting, bye for now