Saturday, 30 July 2011

Memory Sparking

One of the prompts this week in Shimelle's Explore class was about Memory Sparking.  I didn't consciously do this one but it somehow happened today by accident. Normally my mind is on overdrive so no time to just let it be and see where it goes. This morning though, I was putting washing on ready for our holiday and I picked up a pair of cropped trousers belonging to DH. They were really thin and I wondered if they were the ones he'd had made when we were travelling in Hoi Anne in Vietnam. We fell in love with geckos while we were away and I had a pair made with little geckos on. When we went to get them made, every place we went in had the shopkeeper asleep on a rush mat bed. Its all normal there. We had 4 pairs of cropped trousers made in 24 hours by these sleeping ladies. We don't have photos of that and I wish we did but the camera we took with us was a film camera, can you imagine?! Each picture we took was carefully planned and decided upon, we took one each time. Now we would take photos of everything and anything, good or bad, lots of versions, without a care about cost or mistakes.

That then reminded me of some graffiti I had seen the other day. It was something like "Listen to this and then f------ die!" and there was a Youtube website reference underneath. It made me think about how much technology has changed our world, even in sometimes really bizarre ways, and how it has changed even the minutiae of our daily lives. On and on my mind went...

And all this from scooping up clothes for the wash. Maybe I should let my mind wander a bit more!

As we're away for a few days, I thought I would share the rest of the layouts from the crop the other week and this first one is actually a photo from our RTW travels that I had already had copied. 

Gosh we look so young and so brown!  That one photo could have me chatting for weeks but the main things about that night was that the photo was taken on New Year's Eve in Ballina in Australia at a Thai restaurant.  We then went to see some live music in the next bay right on the beach.  It was amazing but our friend had her shoes stolen, I got VERY drunk and threw up everywhere, our friend's had a huge row and he walked the 12k home and we waited hours for a taxi!

I journalled directly on the cardstock when I had finished the layout which is something I almost never do but am trying to do more often.  It makes me hyperventilate but I like it when it is done!

This next layout celebrates L saying his first word "car" in the motor museum at Beaulieu.  He was wearing a very cute Formula 1 racing jumpsuit which fitted him for this day and for this day only.

I thought I would try something different with this one so I did some paper weaving to make a bit of a grungy masculine background.  I'm kind of happy with how it turned out.

You can tell I am getting through some layouts as I am using photos from WAY back!  Here is L again, about 9 months old I think.  

Something different for me again here, a very clean and simple layout for me, but the papers are so perfect and I really love how it turned out.

Just realised that this next one isn't very clear but you get the drift.  Kraft card and lime green - yumm!  Also just realised there is no journalling on this one.  It was just a couple of pics of the kids at the park, just any other day really.  But one thing I have learn't from Shimelle just in the last couple of weeks, is to look beyond the photo.  What other stories spring to mind from a simple object?  One thought here was that this park was an added bonus of moving to the house we chose in the end.  Its just at the bottom of the hill, 2-3 minutes walk away and we were so pleased to find somewhere so close to a great play space.

I used a sketch by Shimelle here.  They are just so versatile and I will continue to head to them for ideas over and over again.

Hope you all stay safe and happy, see you in a couple of weeks.

Bye for now xx

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Where am I going?

A layout based on an idea from Shimelle's Explore class.  We made grids of circle embellishments and used some of the themes from the week for something creative.  Many of us chose to do 12x12 layouts but some people did a canvas or added a page to their play-books.  It has come at a good time for me while I think of what I want to do next and what will ultimately give me the peace and fulfilment that I need.  I feel like I'm waiting for something but I don't know what (other than a parcel from 2peas!)  Actually I feel like I am waiting for something to past but I don't know what it supposed to happen after.  Our holiday to Wales will hopefully give me some thinking time and some space to clear my head and decide what I am going to do.  It may be that going back to work is an option but we shall see.

I've been waiting to use the big stack of chipboard letters I bought last year and they were perfect to use here because I wanted a really bold title and I wanted to use denim.  I wear my jeans a lot and I've been through many pairs recently as I slim down and I love to use the spare denim on my layouts.

I also wanted to use some map paper as I felt it fitted with the theme and also was one of the ideas we worked on during the week.

Those little Maya Road letters there are a wee bit small for covering really.  Next time I will just paint them but I had seen a few layouts with map covered letters and I wanted to do it but not have them too large.  I may have used a few bits of bling on the butterflies etc - kind of a nod to my desire to make things more pretty and sparkly than they are right now :-)

I'm currently packing art stuff for our holiday as there is a spare room I can use.  I want to take some stuff for L to use too as he is making a scrapbook to show his new teacher but there is only SO much room in the car.  No craft shops where we are going so I have to pack very carefully.  Wish me luck!

Bye for now

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

4x6 photo love for June

I am totally loving this free class from Shimelle at 2Peas.  Each month I am using a sketch of more and more photos and it is so versatile.  I can't wait to see what the next months bring.

This layout came together really quickly until it came to the embellishments and I just couldn't get it to look right.  I did the best I could in the end and even used a little bit of misting and droplet.. er.. ing to liven it up a bit.  I would never have used this set of pictures without this sketch and would have been hard pressed to choose which ones to go with so it was great to be able to use so many.

Only a few more days until the next sketch featuring 7 photos!

Bye for now

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What is perfect?

Well perfect certainly isn't how I am feeling today!  I've suddenly got a cold out of nowhere and being already run down, it is making me feel awful.  I am also really struggling generally at the moment with my mood so everything is feeling a bit pants to say the least.

So, I need to focus on something positive.  It ties in nicely with Shimelle's subject of Perfection in Explore last week.  We thought about what perfect means and if we are bothered about it or not.  I am a perfectionist but I fall so far short and this contributes directly to my mood.  I wish I could let it go.  In the spirit of celebrating things that ARE pretty perfect, and to cheer me up, let me share a couple more layouts that I did the other week at the crop.

These 2 kids are just awesome.  Oh yes they drive me crackers at times but I'm so proud of them the things that do make me screech are actually things that come from their amazingness.  Like L, he chats for England, he asks questions ALL THE TIME, it is tiresome at times and can be awkward and very exhausting.  But he wants to know, he loves to learn, he communicates well.  He will go far in life.  B is stubborn and strong willed, she knows her own mind.  This means that she can be uncooperative, awkward and very exhausting.  But she knows what she wants and won't be easily swayed.  She will persevere with something.  She will go far in life.

The photo was taken last year in Wales after a walk.  L grabbed B's leg to help her take her shoes off and she turned to give him such a look of admiration.  I love he helps her and that she adores him, I love that they enjoy each others company and that they want to spend time together.

The layout didn't come out quite as I had hoped as I misjudged the separation.  It is meant to be VERY off centre and instead it is just slightly lop sided!

This one though, is one of my all time favourites.

This picture was taken by the school photographers who offer a later service after school for families.  It worked our really well for us and was just in time for Christmas.  This is the perfect photo - all four of us together, all smiling, all facing the right way, all with our eyes open etc.  Paired with a sketch from Shimelle and some My Minds Eye paper and its pretty perfect all around.

If I hadn't already shared the layout about my perfect husband, I would be sharing that again too.  I really am a very lucky girl.

Bye for now

Sunday, 24 July 2011

So I started again!

While I was looking for something the other day, I came across a scrapbook kit that my husband had bought me.  I had wanted this Panorama kit by Making Memories but I wasn't specific enough and got something else travel related instead.  The kit was to document one of the biggest adventures of our lives, our round the world trip.   I have to say that much of the stuff is not to my taste at all but there were quite a few bits that I thought would be perfect for the Explore class.  However, when I tried to work them in to my pink and pretty play book, it was all kinds of wrong.  So I started again!
The new colour scheme...

 The new front page (kept the bike and the baker's twine elements)...

Close up of the world map button from the kit.  You can also just see the little epoxy brads from the kit there (one with Go! on it and the other at the top, just out of view, has a compass on it)

You can see why I changed it right?

Other than that, I haven't done a whole load of stuff for Explore this weekend, due as usual to things not quite going according to plan.  Firstly, I got headbutted on the nose by B when she jumped up as I bent down to her on a bouncy castle.  My nose isn't broken but that is sheer luck.  I couldn't wear my specs yesterday and I felt groggy and sick for the rest of the day.  It probably wasn't a good idea then to try camping for the first time with the children.  We only slept in the tent in the garden but I can safely say we won't be going any further for some time yet.  I won't bore you with the story, suffice to say that not a lot of sleep was had by Mummy (Daddy was in the house, in bed because of his dodgy back...) and we are still catching up with the washing of the quilts and pillows.....

So, instead of updating Explore, I shall leave you with one of the layouts I did last week at the crop.

I THINK I followed a sketch by Shimelle but I can't recall which one right now.  Its just a random photo taken while we were at a theme park last year but its a fun picture of the two of us which is pretty unusual!

The title is actually part of the paper which is why I fell in love with it but it made completely a layout with it quite restrictive and tricky.  In order to bring it out a bit, I used Glossy Accents to give it a bit of dimension and shine but I don't think it really comes across in the pictures.

The embellishments are a right old mish mash!  The overlay is something I've been wanting to use for ages but couldn't ever place it right.  That and the lovely bling are all Jenni Bowlin and came in a Christmas kit from Shimelle (what would I do without her?)  (Indeed what did I do before her...?)

The red velvet hearts came in a bag someone gave me when they gave up card making.  All sorts of crazy stuff in there, much of it not really me but every now and then I find something just right.

Hope everyone had a great weekend, lets pretend its not really Monday tomorrow shall we?!

Bye for now 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

My Playbook

Well didn't you just know that if I said I would be back then something would happen to prevent me actually keeping my word!  We had a shocker of an afternoon with the children and it seems we are not alone but the end result was one of my most precious photo frames being knocked over in a paddy and the glass is now broken :-(

I also received a lovely letter from someone I once considered a friend but sometimes things are too much like hardwork and so you move on.  It stirred up a load of stuff though and so just as I thought I was making progress, the last couple of weeks have taken their toll and I am at rock bottom again.

However, I will continue to fight and hope that this is just a blip.  Crafting definitely helps and with that in mind, I have pictures of my playbook for the Explore class to share with you.

It came together really quickly and I'm rather pleased with it.  Its not supposed to be anything grand because its just for playing and keeping, not like a normal album for preserving treasured memories, if that makes sense.

It's based on 4x6 photos with book rings so really nothing fancy at all.  I've used a set of papers etc from American Crafts called Dear Lizzy.  I fell in the love with the pink music paper and bought the rest of the set to go with it, but actually a lot of the papers and embeliishments are really hard to use on scrapbook pages.  I'm guessing there are a lot of papers like that around and so this is a great way of using them up.  I also bet I'm not the only one who buys papers because I love them and then can't work out how to actually use them for their intended purpose!

The inside of the book is mostly plain card but there are also 8 photos backed with patterened paper.  I chose some photos from our round the world adventure that have sat unloved in a box for years.  We made albums of the best photos and the rest of them have not seen the light of day since.  I chose ones with scenery, windows and things that I felt were relevant to the class.

The prompt for day 2 was about adventure and what it means to you.  We had to write about one adventure on the back of a post card and send it to ourselves.  I got Management to bring some post cards home from work and he chose well.  He totally gets me!  The cloisters are one of my favourite places in Beaulieu.

While I was taking these photos I kept seeing these little bugs landing on the lillies.

So the postcard and the adventure?  Well that was interesting.  I had to look up what adventure meant.  I kept coming across words like unpredictable, risk, uncertain, things like that.  Well having the children has been an adventure for sure but we didn't realise that it would be.  We didn't embark on it believing it would be unpredictable.  Our world trip however, yes indeed, we knew that was going to be an adventure.  From not having a place to stay each night and travelling unknown countries, to the big adventures of sky diving and white water rafting.  They were things I never thought I would do but I did.  Parenting was always something I thought I would do, and do it well.  However it has been so much harder than anything else in my life and ultimately a much bigger adventure.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


See I'm looking at that number up there and thinking it should be auspicious in some way, 111, seems important somehow.  Maybe I am just feeling the vibe!

Anyway, my desk is one huge pile of mess that desperately needs a sort out and I keep thinking "I'll just do this little project and then I'll have a good clear up" but with so much going on right now I am thinking it may be like this for a while!

Let's see... starting over at the left is the post crop sediment including leftovers and 7 and a half layouts, yes indeed!  The Asda notebooks STILL awaiting being given the pretty treatment for the teachers, one of the lovely tins that my friend gave me as a thank you for the pirates (it now comes to my crops with a small selection of ribbons in...).  Most of the other bits, including the pile of prettiness at the centre front is my "under construction" playbook for Shimelle's Explore class.  I will be sharing the finished thing and hopefully at least yesterdays prompt too later on today, I do hope you'll join me again.

For those who were deliberating with me about the furniture, I know it is gorgeous and this is what makes it so hard.  The problem is that the cabinets are large and heavy but not very deep and there is no flexibility in the shelves, it is made as it is.  We're thinking of moving them definitely rather than getting rid of them and I'd love something a bit more white and shabby and feminine, definitely more practical though!  Thanks for all your comments last week.  We will continue to think...

For now though, its time to peruse a whole other load of crafty spaces.  Ideas, inspiration, even laughing at someone else's mess, or those who think they have mess and just don't know the darn meaning of the word!  You can find the list on Julia's Blog as usual.  Now, time for a cuppa... :-)

Bye for now xx

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A new class!

I know, I know, I haven't even started the MIMM class yet but I am just totally addicted to on-line classes.  This one will suit me down to the ground right about now as I start to Explore my life a bit deeper as I make my way out of the blackness of depression.  Of course, this class is with the lovely Shimelle.

For the first prompt we have to give an indication of where we are now really, starting with a self portrait...

This turned out to be trickier than I thought as I have never taken a picture of me with my camera intentionally in the photo before.  I made various mistakes such as leaving the flash on giving just glare, squinting into the camera because it was in front of my face, holding the camera in front of my face, and then a few where I looked shocked and surprised because my specs kept cutting across my eyes making them look wide open.

Anyway, with that done, there was a bit of journalling to do:

Note to Self
My Creativity - I've done more crafting in the past couple of months than ever before and I am loving it.  I don't consider myself naturally creative, most of what I do is based on an idea from someone else, but nothing makes me happier than cutting, sticking and getting messy with paints and inks.  I'd love to have more ideas of my own, and I'd love to love the end product but often I can only find fault.  Like any crafter, I wish I had more time to indulge my passions but it makes it very precious when I do get time. 

My window - There is so much potential outside my window, in my garden, in my town, in my world.  I wish I could grasp it fully but it seems to slip past like a greasy fish.  The garden is so symbolic of my life right now - aspects of it are great but there are toys everywhere and the rain prevents us taking full advantage.

My Exploration - This journey for me is about taking stock.  What are the great parts that I can develop more and what are the more negative parts that I can try and change.  I hope that by the end, I will be a little step closer to moving forwards instead of chasing around, knowing that some things need to change but not being sure of what or how.  

This is just the start of a much longer journey to calmness, confidence and ultimately self-fulfilment.  Want to come for a ride?

Bye for now

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sharing some cake (well virtually anyway...)

I've been meaning to share some pics of a cake I made for about 6 weeks now!  It was for this little guy's 5th birthday and we celebrated by heading over to the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth and having lunch at a Yo Sushi! (On his request!)

The boat ride and lunch was far more exciting than the tower in the end but it was a clear day and we could see for miles.  Please excuse B's hair - she refused to keep her scarf on and couldn't see where she was going!

Then he had a party at a play centre and I made this cake for him.  Its meant to be a kind of tumbledown castle and you can just about see the cannon and cannon balls on the top but I was rushing to take the photos!

You can also just about see the gargoyles above the drawbridge door there too.  They take soooo blooming long to do that even if they were good enough to sell, I would never make any money!  And I get very stressed by any art work I do for anyone else.

The pirates I did recently were actually very well received.  I only asked for the cost of the canvasses but this morning the mum gave the money and a lovely card, a beautiful notebook and pen, and some gorgeous shabby chic tins to keep some of my crafting stuff in.  I was really pleased as I have been having a really bad couple of days and this got through that wall of doubt and sense of failure that I carry at those times.

I've been really enjoying my running on the Couch to 5k programme but as suspected, I will have to take it much slower and repeat some weeks.  I walked a fair bit this week and the steep inclines where we live have aggravated my SPD.  I did however go for a gait analysis this week and got some new trainers that suit my running style and should hopefully prevent some of the problems getting worse.  It was made a lot more enjoyable by the lovely fit young man who served me, so much so that when my husband asked how much my new runners were, I didn't have a clue!

Well I had better finish packing my bag for tomorrow's 12 hour crop.  I've made 8 page kits plus I have 3 in there already from last time, which is obviously a tad ambitious but I don't want to run out of things to do and it allows me to decide which ones I want to do at the time.  Expect some new layouts in the coming days :-)

In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Bye for now xx

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Well I had a bit of a tidy up after last week but it is still a work in progress.  I'm in the process of making a decision on replacing the furniture in my craft room but I'm reluctant to let go of the furniture I have as it was very special and expensive when we bought it! (you can see one of the dressers there, they were handmade in Indonesia before all the Cargo Homestores and Argos types starting doing it much cheaper!)  Anyway, I'm preparing for a 12 hour crop on Saturday (YAY) so I have all my card and patterned paper out ready to make up some kits.

A couple of my layouts may just involve this lovely load of lushiousness which I fell in love with.

I'm in the process of ordering a LOAD of photos, which will hopefully be here in time for the crop.  The glittery pink overload may just be appearing on a layout involving this little lady here...

Butter wouldn't melt huh...

She gets totally absorbed in her ballet class and a calm aura comes over her.

It's only half an hour but she is exhausted by the concentration at the end.

B works alone, the other girls have their mum's there, in September she will be moved up to the next class.

My little Diva...

Mid strop.  She doesn't like taking her ballet shoes off.

Thanks for looking at my work for the week and please do have a browse of other work spaces and see what other crafters and workers are up to.  Julia's blog is the place to visit for the list to have a good old snoop.

I'm off to have my running style looked at so I can make sure I have the right trainers and then I will be back for a peruse a little later on.  Wish me luck!

Bye for now xx

Monday, 11 July 2011


I guess crazy runs in families because both my kids are totally crackers.  I used a sketch by Kirsty Wiseman from her on-line crop sessions that she holds some Wednesdays (keep an eye on her blog) for this layout about my crazy baby girl.  She must have been about 10 months or so and she used to pull this face a LOT then.  It was sort of a kissy / snorty face and she knew it made people laugh so would do it even more.  

She has stopped pulling that face but she is still completely loopy.

And talking of crazy, I started the Couch to 5k challenge Tuesday and I managed to complete the 3 sessions required for the first week.  Hurrah!  I also managed to stick pretty rigidly to my Slimming World diet too so I was expecting a fantastic loss for my weigh in this evening.  Although I am very pleased that I finally got my 2 and half stone award (that's how much I've lost... not what I weigh...) but I didn't drop enough to see a new number on the scales and only just made my award, a measly 1.5 pound off.  Ho hum, better luck this week and I am trying to be very very good again with the hope that it will combine with the efforts of this week and mean a really good loss that was worth the effort.  A chap lost 6.5lbs this week and he had a few beers.  SO unfair!

Bye for now

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

WOYWW 109 - Two spaces to share today

Good morning Wednesday!  I have 2 spaces to share with you this week

 I finally finished my pirates but I'm not totally happy with them.  I picked up the wrong pen when I was doing the outline and its too thick.  I think I've decided that doing art for other people is too stressful and I'm glad its done and I will be relieved when the little boy has them in his grasp.  If they go on the wall, fine, if not, that's fine too.  Now I can get on with my art journal from Kirsty Wiseman's MIMM class!

And as for my other space.... well let's just say that's a work in progress.  I'm hoping to do an on-line crop with Kirsty this evening so I need to have a bit of a tidy up as I don't have any space at all!

I've got lots of stuff to put away including the layout that B got hold of and ahem.. altered, here. That new stash needs to be put away too which includes my new little brayer - its so cute and it has little feet so you don't put paint on your work surface.

In other news, I started the C25k running program yesterday and I am officially being ultra good with my syns on Slimming World as I'm wasting money and time by doing it half heartedly.  I'm also trying to update my iPod with some tracks that are the right rhythm for me to run to - watch this space to see if I ever make it to the 5k mark!  Today I am feeling sore and stiff from the new release of Body Balance though so I am glad of a day off, aside from the dreaded housework!

But before I start that, I think I'll have a little peruse around some other crafty spaces listed on Julia's blog.

Have fun, bye for now!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

I have a big smile!

Last week I shared this layout with you.  And I am over the moon to see it featured on Shimelle's blog this week :-)  She chooses about 12 (ish) layouts each week from the sketch from the week before so its not some great achievement like being published in a magazine or even on her workbooks for her repeat classes, but it's a big thing for me.

Especially when I still sometimes often make layouts I don't like much, like this one.  I really liked the idea I had in my head but it just didn't come out right.  I had to carry out a partial scrapectomy (I pinched that word) as the arrow patterned paper was too far down but it's still not the striking design I had in my mind.  I like all the texture and grunginess, which is what I was after to complement the photos of L larking about on the beach.  Obviously I have managed to scratch the face on one of the photos so I need to do a reprint.

And then there is this one, which I am a bit unsure of.  I like it but I really don't love it.  The photo is L when he was about 4-5 months old.  We were down at the beach and he was grumpy as a grumpy thing and wouldn't sleep and didn't even like the swing which he normally loved.  I remember the day very well although I remember very little about him at all at this time. Scrapping photos from around this time is really important to me as it helps me remember that it wasn't all floods of tears and misery on my part, and not normally on his either as he was normally such a happy baby!

And lastly I thought I would leave you with some creativity from my daughter, aged 2.  Apparently she had been watching me rather too closely and I very very stupidly left my guillotine out so had a little go.  

Thankfully this particular guillotine is a small one so she couldn't get a whole layout in, just the corner.  How she managed to do this damage (and cut up a water statement into a neat pile of scraps...) without losing a finger I will never know but I am very grateful for that.  I was torn between anger and huge guilt for leaving it out.  It normally lives in my scrap room where they don't go but I was trying to do something in front of the TV and I forgot to put it away.  Lesson firmly learn't there I think!

Have a great weekend all, bye for now.