Friday 29 June 2012

Organisation Celebration Blog Hop!

A little while ago, the lovely Jennifer, a fellow DT member at S J Crafts, asked if I would like to join in with her Organisation Celebration Blog Hop.  

She said 
"Some of you may have seen my ‘word for the year’ – ORGANISE, which I blogged about in January hereAs it will soon be half way through the year, I thought I’d spend some time telling you about the things that are working for me so far.   So on Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July I’ll be having an ‘Organisation Celebration’ here at Jennifer's Jumbles. There will be posts every hour from 4pm-10pm Friday, and 10am-10pm Saturday and Sunday (BST), including a blog hop, tips, tutorials, challenges, crafts, and lots of GIVEAWAYS!"

It sounded like fun so of course I signed up, after all I am a very organised kind of person.  And it was ages away...

Of course, time cracked on and suddenly it was this week and I thought, what on earth can I say?!  I was about to start packing for a crop and I was getting sidetracked by someone on Facebook asking what they should take when they went on their retreat.  Kapow!  So my own post in the hop is all about how I personally prepare to scrap away from home.  Each person in the hop is sharing something different and each lovely blog has a letter for you to collect (mine is near the end of the post).

I am honoured to be sharing a hop with some of these uber talented ladies and you are sure to find a new blog to follow if you don't already have them in your list.  Once you've got all the letters (12 on the different blogs and 2 on Jennifer's own blog), you can email Jennifer the phrase you've collected. All entries must be received by Monday the 2nd of July at 11.59pm BST, and all the correct answers will be put into a draw to win a gorgeous prize package of October Afternoon 9 to 5 and Studio Calico Take Note items, worth over £25!  How utterly fabulous is that?!  Thanks Jennifer!

Your next stop along the hop is actually back to the start with Jennifer 

Here's a list of all the blogs in the hop, in the correct order, in case you get lost.

 So, how do I organise myself for scrapping away from home?  Firstly, I live out of my tote bag at home.  I keep all my essentials in there and it means I can just zip it up and go without fearing that I will forget anything vital.  In the back sections you can see various widths and strengths of DST, glue dots and foam tapes.  I also pack a spare ATG roll in case my yellow monster runs out.  In the middle I keep my large scissors, my Tim Holtz ruler, an acrylic block and my pencil case.  I also keep a pack of baby wipes in here and I make sure I keep a few dry ones ready in there too.  In the front internal sections are my Distress Ink pads with coloured dots on the side and a piece of foam attached to the underside.  I keep the applicators and some make-up sponges in here too.  My small scissors, pokey tool, glue stick, craft knife, pencil and thin journalling pen are all kept in the very front pockets, along with my sweeteners.  Essentials have to be close at hand ;-)

 With the essentials taken care of, I set about planning my pages.  Unless I am working with a specific set of papers for a DT submission, I tend to start with the photos using whatever I fancy.  Usually there is some subliminal reason for choosing the ones I do, perhaps I have seen a particular idea I want to try or a particular collection or embellishment to use or a certain story to tell.  I lay them on my desk and then select a few papers to use with them.  Then I choose a couple of possible colours of cardstock.  I also add a few spares of cardstock in kraft, white, vanilla and a couple of "dodgy" pieces.  These are strange coloured or marked pieces that I use to adhere a page onto if I am constructing it out of pieces pattered paper, or to make templates etc.  You can see the piles progressing at the bottom of this picture.

On my trimmer you can see that I've printed off some inspiration and ideas.  These are from my Pinterest board and I often use these to help me plan my pages.  I keep these individually on the pile with my photos and papers.  Then I add sticker sheets and letters, die cuts and chip boards.  Next I go through my embellishment box to see if anything will fit with what I have chosen.  Lastly I add texture to the piles with ribbons, buttons, brads and gems etc.

When I've got everything I might need in a pile, I place the individual page kits in a poly bag and add it to my craft bag.  I usually have a few in there already from the previous crop as I never complete the volume I attempt!  I've also got an idea but this stage if there is anything else I need to take like dies and punches and larger tools.  I always take my little trimmer in my bag and a guillotine in the blue bag.

Its not fool proof obviously and I do tend to get wherever I am going and think "ooh if I had brought that particular ribbon, or that label or that punch etc" but in the main I can get to a point where I only have to finish an odd touch here and there back at home.  

This is one of the layouts I completed at last Saturdays crop and I managed to finish it entirely, including journalling, away from home.  It features Bella and her Daddy in sunny Wales and uses almost entirely scraps.

I scrap-lifted this from one of my Pinterest layouts from and I love the way it turned out even I was twitching by the time I had cut, inked and randomised all those scalloped circles!

I'm admitting to using scraps of plastic from toy packaging here and it looks odd as a close up but I'm happy with how it looks on the layout overall.

So now you need a letter to send you on your way back to Jennifer, am I right?  Well the letter you need is "Y".  Now go, hop around, and tell Jen I sent ya!

Bye for now

Monday 25 June 2012

Well Hello Sun!

So yesterday morning we were strawberry picking in the rain (a VERY poor harvest this year) but by the afternoon we were feeling a tad warm.  Today the sun is properly out and I hear rumours of this lasting 4 days.  We shall see.

In celebration of the brief sunny interlude, I have a rather bright layout to share!  I used Shimelle's Starting Point and may actually get this uploaded in the same week it was offered which is a rarity at the moment.  Yet another Pembrokeshire layout featuring Louis, this time telling how he is so desperate to get in the water that he ends up going in with his clothes on for a "paddle" and before we know it he is wet through from head to toe.  How can you resist though when he clearly makes him so happy.

The papers and chipboard are Cosmo Cricket Salt Air, the ribbon is American Crafts and the Playtime rubber charm is October Afternoon Sidewalks.  The gems are Papermania and Louis has asked me to inform you that the ones used as bubbles on the fish was his idea.  Taught him well I have, as Yoda would say.

This is one of nearly 5 layouts I completed at the Artful Angels crop on Saturday so you can expect a flurry of posts in the next couple of weeks.  It was wonderful to be back scrapping, I feel I have been lacking time and motivation recently but a mad Pinning session had me eager to get back to my scissors and glue - huzzah!

Bye for now

Friday 22 June 2012

Red, white and blue challenge

Its time for another challenge over at S J Crafts and this is a very topical one, perfect for scrapping all those Jubilee photos.  All you have to do is create something that includes red, white and blue - easy peasy!  

My layout for this challenge is something different for me.  I usually squidge everything up with lots of layers but because there is a lot going in the photos and that Union Flag paper, I felt I needed a bit of space between the elements.  

This challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to scrap some recent pictures from one of our more recent trips to Beaulieu.  They have a new exhibition there this year called "50 Years of Bond" celebrating 50 years of the films by displaying 50 iconic vehicles including a cello case and a crocodile shaped submarine!  The crocodile is a favourite of the children, as is all the fantastic footage of amazing car chases.  

My own favourites are the Austin Martin Vanquish and the Aston Martin DBS that you can see under the title there.  Its the car from Casino Royale that flipped 7 3/4 times making it a world record breaker.  I've never been a Bond fan really but after seeing these awesome vehicles I just might have to become one!

So do you think you can come up with a papercraft project involving red, white and blue?  If you can, please do upload it to the S J Crafts website and you could be in with a shot at the prize.  The closing date is 18th July at 1pm.  Have fun!

Bye for now!

Saturday 16 June 2012

Yellow Ribbons

Just a quick post from me this evening.  I feel like I want to curl up in my bed and not come out until the sun shines properly and there is some good news.  

This is just some of the horrid stuff:  Yesterday I had a minor car accident and narrowly avoided a serious one where a car had turned over.  A friend of a friend was found at Beachy Head last week.  Timmy Macoll, a local Naval chap, is still missing in Dubai and it is now 3 weeks since he was last seen.  With Father's Day tomorrow, I am hurting on behalf of his 2 children (same age as ours) and his pregnant wife.  We have friends in common, one of whom is a serving police officer who must be beside himself with how helpless it feels not to be able to go searching for him.  As a show of support, thousands of us have tied yellow ribbons to trees and lamp posts near our houses.  We just wish we could do more.

As it happens, I still haven't shared all of the layouts I completed at the retreat and this one is about all about love and includes a yellow ribbon - my friends, Pete and Nina on their wedding day 5 years ago.  I used a sketch from a friend so I apologise that I can't remember who it originated from.

I used My Mind's Eye in a variety of collections because they all seem to mix and match well together and this is why I love them!  I'm pleased with this layout - it has lots of texture and I love the colours and the layers.  I'd forgotten how much I like to use ribbon roses too.

I always get emotional at weddings because it reminds me of my own wedding day and how I would love to do it all over again.  I am so lucky to have married my soul mate and to still be excited to see him when he comes home from work, even after almost 19 years!!  With so much bad stuff going on recently, I am counting my blessings and holding onto them with both hands.  To have my best friend and husband right by my side, my crazy kids sleeping soundly in their beds, all of us happy and healthy - that's an awful lot to be grateful for.

Bye for now

Saturday 9 June 2012

You Are So Sweet.

Do you ever have those times when your craft area is such a mess that you can't even bear to go in there?  I'm having one of those times right now.  The craziness of the last couple of weeks has led to things being piled up in my room, both craft and otherwise, and I don't actually know where to start!  I know that I won't get a chance for any real crafting time until Wednesday at least but when I can grab a moment I am doing a few minutes of sorting at a time.  The last few months have been pretty chaotic generally with holidays, operations, birthdays and illness etc, and it will be nice to get back to some sort of normality.  Having said that, normality doesn't seem to be something my family can do very well.  My dear old Dad, after months of us plaguing him, has finally been to the doctors.  As we suspected, he has been diagnosed with Parkinsons which is awful of course but hasn't come as a shock.  His answer to everything is that he is getting old anyway, which makes me laugh as not many 77 year olds still work full time on a farm!  He is at least talking about slowing down and retiring now though... one day.

Of course the other thing adding to the recent craziness was the retreat I attended with Paula (who has just set up a blog, go see her, tell her I sent you).  I still have a few layouts from that weekend that I haven't shared so I've chosen a sunny one to cheer us up after the recent rains.  It features Miss Bella on the beach at Newport, Pembrokeshire, doing what both of my children love best.

Please excuse the funny angle, I think I mush have been slightly inebriated when I took this (I wish!) but I can promise you that the waves on bottom edge are actually straight...  I used This and That Graceful by Echo Park and the gorgeous blue doilies were a perfect match for the small amounts of blue in the collection (thank you Paula!)

I made a rosette flower using some washi tape which really adds interest to these wonderful embellishments. I also used some old flowers and gems for dimension.

More dimension in the shape of chipboard stickers and these groovy buttons which I've been saving for yonks.  Sometimes when you save stuff, you finally find the perfect place for it and this was one of those times.

I could actually lick these papers, they are so wonderful.

Time to catch up on some blog hopping I think!

Bye for now

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Down on the Farm

Don't worry, we were not eaten by cows on holiday, it has just taken us a while to get back into the swing of normal life.  Louis turned 6 on the day after we got home and then there were various Jubilee activities and social occasions to attend and host - all good stuff!

We had a totally superb holiday down in Devon.  We were about 6 miles from Axminster in the Blackdown Hills staying at Aller Farm with Featherdown Farm Days.  We were glamping for the first time and we all agreed it was one of the best holidays ever.  Obviously I have lots of photos but many of them don't do justice to our experience.  Here are a handful of treasured memories from that week.

Ice-cream at West Bay

Inside our "home".

Bringing the luggage down the track.

The first egg from our own little hen coop.

Deer at Powderham Castle.

Bella helping Farmer Nigel at milking time.

Fantastic pizza in the bread oven.

Bella busy with her bucket at Lyme Regis.

My babies at the end of a cross country walk.

The village scarecrow competition.

Delicious stew cooked by hanging over an open fire.


One of the tent views.
As you can see, the children were in their element.  They were free to come and go around the fields with the other children and we often had either no children or 7 children in our tent!  They had a den building kit which they set up across the stream tucked away in the woods and they loved getting up every morning to check on the chickens.  Louis was able to run to the farm honesty shop for provisions and he loved the freedom and importance of his tasks.  Nigel and Emma were fantastic hosts and I put on WAY too much weight with Emma's fantastic baking.  We bottle fed a calf, cuddled a 5 week old puppy and narrowly missed a calf actually being born.  We were so blessed with the weather and we were able to go down to the various beaches and go rock pooling, dig in the sand or hunt for fossils.  We may have had a cream tea or two.  Or three...

It was wonderful to be without electricity and I was surprised how little I missed my instant cups of tea as it took about 45 minutes to make one from scratch on the wood burning stove!  Just sitting with a book, looking out onto the fields of cows, hearing only the sounds of them chewing and the birds singing, was glorious indeed.  We were all wonderfully relaxed and more than one of us cried when it was time to come home (can you guess who?  Yes okay, you got me, of course one of those people was me!)

We came back slightly pinker (me) or browner (the others), clear skinned, rosy cheeked, inspired, happy, relaxed, chubby and absolutely desperate to go back again some day.

Bye for now