Wednesday, 27 November 2013



In my defence it is that time of year when random things get dumped in my craft room because anything that doesn't belong to someone gets left there on the assumption that it is therefore mine.

To be fair, most of it is.  Some of it is only mine for a small time.  The things that are definitely mine are... the feet that you can see at the bottom of the picture.  There was so much on my desk that I had to stand on my chair but it meant going around the other side of the desk so to me it all looks upside down.

On the plus side a messy desk is a lot more interesting, even for the person's desk that it is because looking at the photo means that you realise where you left things...

So.. the pizza box is my delivery from Shimelle getting ready for Journal Your Christmas which starts on Sunday - yikes!  Working clockwise you can see a couple of funny shaped boxes that are actually selection boxes for the children.  Next to that is yet more sweets in the form of candy canes but I'll come back to those.  The thing that looks like a cocktail is actually a Hello Kitty electric toothbrush - another present, as are the pouches of Lego Friends.  The grey parcel is a Skylanders towel - yet another present, as is the crochet book further on round (but not for the same person...).  The very old Enid Blyton book Cristina's Kite is something that needed sticking (which I have just done) and the reel of sellotape has been returned after use by one of the children but not to it's proper place... gggrrr..

The white pizza box is a present for me!  Its a set of 60 Porject Life page protectors in 6 various styles so that should keep me going for a while.  I will be using some for my Journal Your Christmas and some for a little something after Christmas too.

The rest of the stuff, including the candy canes, is for some Christmas presents I have been making.  Last week I made soap for the first time and I loved it!  You can't see from this angle (I'm doing another post on it) but it has pink and white stripes and then the top layer has crushed candy canes in it with a little cane on top.  You can see left over blank soaps for the next batch, colouring agents and peppermint oil.  My room smells rather lovely and minty as a result!

Is your desk as messy as mine or full of random things?  Show us do, because sharing is caring!  Link up with the lovely Julia at Stamping Ground and share What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Bye for now

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Great Pumpkin photo

Something wiccan this way comes...

Yes I know that it should be "wicked" and not "wiccan" but I like how it sounds ;-) 

I really love Halloween products but we don't really get into the spirit (did you see what I did there...) like people do in the States.  We are embracing it more and more though, even if its just an excuse to use themed embellishments and papers! 

This photo was one of many many many that I took on this particular Halloween 3 years ago.  I was doing a Digital Photography course with the Open University (which I didn't pay attention to and need to redo) and one of the assignments was photographing dark.  Most people did pumpkins purely because of the time of year and there were some spectacular shots.  I just couldn't get mine right but this was the best of them.

I absolutely adore that orange and black polka dot ribbon and there is a story behind that too.  Last year at around this time, I was "chatting" to another blogger from the States about candy corn.  I kept seeing the motifs for it but had no idea what it was or why it was relevant to Halloween.  The lovely Deb (who many of you know) said she would send us some to try - how wonderful!  I can tell you that we all tried one small piece and it was too sweet for us to any more!  The children were bowled over by the spider rings that came with it and I was overly excited by the ribbon and twine!

The papers and the chipboard letters are from a set by WRMK and the gorgeous orange buttons are Jenni Bowlin.  I really like working with orange and I'm so pleased that we made Halloween really special this year and that we have lots of photos to scrap.

I'm thinking that I'm not alone in taking pictures of things purely for the joy of the associated scrapbooking opportunities.  At least I don't think I am... Have you ever done something deliberately because you wanted to use something specific on a layout?  Maybe dressed people in certain colours or stood people in certain areas?  I've done both of those things and a few more!

Oh, and I almost forgot the give-away!

The winner of the give-away was number 3 which corresponded to Jo!  Jo if you can PM me your address I can get your papers in the post for you this week, just in time for Christmas crafting.

Thank you to all those who commented and left good wishes for my Dad.  He had his operation yesterday and it all went fine but he is now sporting a much larger bandage for a while. Definitely something to scrap there!

Bye for now

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


My desk is messy this week!  And its no wonder because  things have been FRANTIC here.  I've given up with writing my NaNoWriMo for this November so lets just sweep that under the carpet for now.  We've been organising a cake and toy sale to raise money for the Phillipines (thank goodness our WOYWW friends Patsy and Peggy are okay) so that's set for later this afternoon.  Also my Dad had an accident with a bench saw and needs plastic surgery later in the week so we've been taking it in turns to look after him.  And I've also been making Christmas cards for 6 on the 6th at S J Crafts.  And I've been making festive soap for Christmas presents.  So I think I should be forgiven for the state of my workspace :-)
 I've had lots of parcels coming through the post because I've been busy doing Christmas shopping but I always have a little something in mind for myself and so back in the summer I pre-ordered the Christmas in a Box kit from Shimelle.  I am over the moon with it!  There is a set of Project Life stuff which I've never had before and some gorgeous papers so I am a happy girl, if I ever get time to use it!  
At the weekend (so the previous post) I shared details of my Festive Planner with a giveaway of a Christmas collection pack so please do have a look.

Is your desk tidy or messy?  Share pictures and link up with Julia for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Is there anything festive afoot in your part of the blogosphere?  I'm really getting in the spirit and loving it!

Bye for now

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Festive Planner - Instructions and giveaway

Back last weekend was the wonderful Frosty Festivities event at the lovely Jennifer's blog.  She had challenges and inspirations galore and there was a blog hop too where I shared my Festive Planner.  I promised to come back this weekend with instructions and a giveaway so here we are.

The giveaway is this Papermania Noel paper pack containing 20 12x12 sheets of 10 designs including 8 glittered.  The packaging also has 30 toppers on the back for an added extra.

I also promised to share the files for the inside pages of the planner and the silhouette files for the titles... and I certainly will but with a twist. (twist makes it seem planned and exciting rather than the arrgghh moment that I am in right now.

Last weekend seems an awfully long time ago because this has been a long week.  My 78 year old Dad had an accident on the farm where he works while using a bench saw.  Thankfully he hasn't severed anything but he came close.  He has to have plastic surgery on his hand this week to reattach the tendons in his right hand so he is having to learn to live one handed.  He has Parkinsons and diabetes and he is 50% deaf and a stubborn old goat so things have been a little.. ahem... stressful.  It meant that I didn't have the time I wanted to work out how to attach files within a blog post.  So, if you would like the word files for the inside pages or the Silhouette files for the titles, please leave a comment where I can get back to you and I will e-mail them to you.  Alternatively you can Google anything like "Festive Planner pages" and scroll through the images to find a range of things that might suit.

And breathe...

I started my planner by deciding on the size.  I wanted something that would fit in my large handbag but that would be easy to print things for.  In the end I went for inside pages that were half A4 so that I could get 2 from a standard A4 sheet.  Then I added an inch to 2 sides to get the dimensions for the cover.

I cut 3 pieces of sturdy A4 card in half to make the dividers (that's the green pieces) and then the slightly bigger versions in very strong card for the covers (the cream card).  The I chose coordinating papers for the front and back knowing I would have to use 2 pieces of A4.
I layered Mod Podge all over one side of the cream card and layed it on the paper.  I cut around leaving a half inch margin and cutting off the corners to give a neat finish.  The I used my ATG to run adhesive down the sides for the flaps.
I cut coordinating paper just inside the dimensions of the cover and inked the edges before adhering them with an ATG.  Any good strong double sided will do. Leaving the little border like this looks pretty but also means that the edges of the red paper are safeguarded a bit by not being right on the edge of the book.

For the inside of the front cover I attached a cut off rectangle on the bottom and edges to make a pocket for receipts.  I also added a little border at the top.  On the back cover I used a strip of sturdy card covered with green paper and attached with eyelets to make a hanging area for a small notebook.
The eyelets show through on the back (you can just about see them on the pattered paper because it has red berries on) so you could attach it to the red paper before you adhered it if you wanted to keep the back plain.  Then I went over the fronts with Mod Podge for strength.  Mod Podge does have a habit of showing up any areas that haven't been totally stuck down so its a good idea to use a brayer at each stage of the glueing.
I didn't like my eyelets showing so I did a bit of flat embellishment on the back cover.
My next job was to cover the divider cards.  This was strong card that I picked up from The Paper Mill when they had shops (sniff) and it was green on one side and white on the other.  I decided to only cover the blank side and leave the green side as the reverse because less layers means less corners to lift up and get caught in things.
I then cut a large parenthesis type label for the front of the divider in a more solid colour to take the title and decorated them with offcuts and washi tape and I kept to the same border punch throughout.  I still adore these papers from My Minds' Eye "I Believe" collection from 2011 - just the right amount of sparkle but not too much tweeness.  There is also a small amount of shine in the Mod Podge that I use but I mostly use it for reinforcement and strength so I went over each of the dividers too because they will be utilised every year.
I decided what I needed in my planner ahead of time and then I cut out the right amount of tabs for the sides of the dividers.  You just stick these together on the top leaving the bottom edge open to stick both flaps onto the document or embellishment or whatever.  Using my Silhouette Cameo I typed in the names for the dividers and then merged the letters together to create a continuous font.  I cut it once for the brown labels on the fronts and then cut it again but just half the size to go onto the dividers.
The last job was making the inserts and I wasn't too fussed about the papers for this because I knew most of it would be covered up.  Because these will be replaced each year I didn't want to use my favourite papers.  These are simply A4 pieces folded in half and adhered together to make a slightly stronger page.
I adhered the printed planners onto the inserts once I had decided what I needed on them.  I embellished the front and Mod Podged everything to within an inch of its life so that it would stand up to being handled and carried in my busy bag.
I then hole punched everything using the first page as a guide and decided on where I wanted things to go.  I went for the diary pages first because that tends to be the bit I refer to most!  Everyone will be different in their needs and the beauty of using book rings is that you can change it and add to it to suit you and how things change for you over the years.  You can see that I also added a little pocket at the front for stamps which is just a rectangle attached on 3 sides with a half circle punched out of the middle along the top edge.
 Here you can see my little notebook in place opposite one of the pages for planning food.  This page is for specific recipes and then the other side has 3 columns for "Fresh", "Frozen" and "Other".  It seems to be working so far... for now...

So that's how I made my book!  I hope you liked it and that it has given you some ideas for your own notebook. Any questions please feel free to ask. It doesn't use anything fancy because the Mod Podge can be replaced with PVA or just left out.  You can use recycled card from packaging and replace the book rings with a ribbon.  Really all you need is some pretty festive paper and a glue stick.  How about I provide the paper?

Just leave me a comment that will cheer me up after my stressful week, maybe something that you like about my blog, and I will pick a worldwide winner at 10pm next Saturday British time.

Time to make some more Christmas cards I think!

Bye for now

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


I think I've just about recovered from Jennifer's Frosty Festivities blog hop at the weekend.  It was very busy!  The challenges are still open if you fancy joining in.  I haven't been able to do any crafting at all with NaNoWriMo (drastically under my word count :-(()  and the blog hop and normal life etc but I am going to a new (for me) crop at the weekend in Wilton so I am sorting out my bag a bit for that.  That's what you can see going on on the desk today.

I started packing a few bits to make my Christmas presents with - a couple of layouts for 8x8 frames, desk calendars etc, but then realised that I don't have the photos yet and I've left my owl punch for the calendars at the Artful Angels crop!  I went for plan B which is my Devon Featherdown Farm album to continue where I left off last week with the denim letters layout, but then remembered that I am due for a DT post about Christmas cards in a couple of weeks!  I've since abandoned plans for the Devon album and I'm taking my Christmas stuff instead!  Its always good to have a plan c!

I'm already feeling festive but I know that I am in the minority.  You can also see my festive planner on the side there that featured in the previous post for the blog hop.  I'm trying to do an instructional post for it for the weekend with a giveaway so do pop back if you can.

Time for a quick trip around a few other desks courtesy of Julia and What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Bye for now

Friday, 8 November 2013

Frosty Festivities 2 - Festive Planner

Welcome to my little part in Jennifer's Frosty Festivities weekend!  If you arrived as part of the blog hop then you should have reached me via Katherine.  You can find the next stop at the end of this post.
                                          Frosty Festivities Event at Jennifer Grace Creates
I always enjoy Jennifer's events and get lots of inspiration from the challenges she sets and from the other participants too.  I particularly love the Frosty Festivities event because it helps to get me in the mood for the season - which I love!!

Have you started planning for the festive season yet?  I started mine back in September because... well I'm a bit of a control freak if I'm honest, but also because I like to keep December as free as possible to really enjoy the fun stuff and not be worried about shopping and trying to fit things in.  Also this year as some of you know, Novrember is a busy month becaue I am taking part in NaNoWriMo which is where you write a novel / 50,000 words all in one month - yikes!  Just don't ask me how that is going...

So, back in September I made myself a little planner for the season.
I took lots of photos during the making process and I will be back in another post (with a prize) next weekend for anyone interested in making their own.
 I used some of my favourite Christmas papers and tried to make it quite sturdy so that I can just refill the inside next year.  It is all coated with Mod Podge which gives it a lovely sheen and helps to protect it a bit in my handbag...
 On the inside cover I have made 2 cute pockets - the larger one holds receipts for gifts and the smaller one is for stamps (note to self: buy stamps!!)  Then through the book there are dviders like this diary page.  The Silhouette files that I made for the wording will be available on the "How To" post.  I used one size for the main page and then made it slightly smaller to go on the tabs at the side of the page.
The inside pages then have normal printer paper pages mounted on sturdy pretty paper.  This diary page folds out for December and then on the reverse is November which is just as busy and we haven't really got going yet!  I love it!
The inside of the back cover has a strong strip attached for the little notebook to sit over.  No matter how well I might think I've planned my pages, I will always want more note paper!

I have printed sections for baking, meals, crafts, cards, presents and the diary pages.  I've included spaces for deadlines, notes on where to find instructions or recipes, a check box if crafts or baking items are gifts, 2 different sections in the cards for those that need to be posted as opposed to hand delivered, and a section in the presents to record when on-line purchases have been received etc.
I couldn't resist giving the back cover some prettiness too.
Don't forget to check back next week if you would like instructions, the files, or the chance of winning a Christmas pack of papers.  

Also, if you comment on all the blogs in the hop, finishing at to let Jennifer know you've been all the way around, then you'll be in with a chance to win a jolly seasonal prize of Simple Stories December Documented and Elle’s Studio Noel items, worth over £28! 
                                           View Frosty Festivities Blog Hop Giveaway!.jpg in slide show
All entries must be received by Monday the 11th of November at 10.59pm GMT. Your next stop along the hop is... Meghann

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

Bye for now

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Ssshhh!  Pretend you haven't seen me here for WOYWW 'kay?  I'm supposed to be doing my 'novel in a month' for NaNoWriMo but it isn't going terribly well so I decided to take a little bit of time out and join in with the Wednesday fun.  

Of course I missed the ideal window of opportunity with which to take my photo so you've got a nice shade of yellow to the picture today.  

You can see the scrapbook page I finished off in the middle there for the album towards the top of the pic.  You can also see the 2013 diary page which has fallen out of my Festive Planner which you will be able to see if you pop back on Friday for the Frosty Festivities blog hop.

Here's the finished page.  Although the lettering took a while I'm really pleased with it.  Upcycling + memory recorded + page I love = what its all about.  I actually experimented with using some Mod Podge and some ordinary PVA to stiffen the fabric prior to cutting.  I found that there wasn't THAT much of a difference so if you fancy giving it a go without forking out for Mod Podge then that's another option for you.

The hexagons are an idea that I Pinned from JimJams - thank you!  Another memory of Aller Farm scrapped and I am still really loving all of this album and the way it is flowing.  Crafting makes me happy :-)

What's on your desk this week?  Don't be afraid to link up, whatever the state of your desk or your mind ;-)

Bye for now

Monday, 4 November 2013

Story Telling Sunday 3 (on a Monday) - The One About The Penguin

Today is one of those horrible days when I just have to do something that I really want to do and everything has to wait for the clouds to clear.  What did I want to do today?  I wanted to share something positive and Story Telling Sunday seemed like a good place to do that.

My story this month is not about a precious object really, well not one that we can keep anyway, but we do have photos.  Can you spot him here?

Nestled between Louis and Bella is a rather large stuffed penguin who is the mascot for Louis's class this year.  His name is Picatoo and as class mascots go he was one of the more unwieldy ones, standing as he does at nearly 2ft.  Louis was able to take him for the half term week because when he started at Junior school he had a little behaviour blip in the first week.  Since then he has worked really hard to turn things around and try his very hardest both in terms of his behaviour and his actual work.  My boy is full of ideas and great sayings but he falls down a bit when it comes to committing those things to paper IYKWIM.

I cannot express the horror on my face when he appeared on the Friday before they broke up.  Our car was already rammed for the journey to Wales without a 2ft penguin and his rucksack.

Anyway, the need for Picatoo to have wondrous activities with which to fill his diary mean't that we took a lot of photos we wouldn't normally have bothered with (especially with me in my wobbly phase) and it gave the children a focus for their activities too.  We celebrate Samhain / Halloween with gusto (but no Trick or Treating) and we made bunting, cut out bats and ghosts to stick up, we played spooky bingo and pin the nose on the Jack-o-Lantern and did lots of seasonal colouring.  We made biscuits in spooky shapes and made cupcakes with very chocolatey topping and little witches hats from an idea from Deb.

Of course we had balloons and pumpkins and lots and lots of sweeties too.

When we go to Wales we try to visit Folly Farm as it has so much to do and there are plenty of things inside as well (which is great when you are being threatened with being blown across the sea to Ireland!)  Just this year they have developed a new area so that they could have penguins so of course that was a great place to take our guest to!

The staff there were good sports and during the feeding session they took Picatoo into the enclosure so he could be with his friends.  He got a very wet bottom on that rock I can tell you!  And yes he is wearing a sou'wester, courtesy of Grandma...

The resident penguins were very interested in him too, despite him being a different species than them and also a LOT bigger!  It was really fun to see the public reaction to this enormous stuffed penguin sitting there and he got his picture taken by lots of people that day!

It took me back to when we had the first class mascot in Reception, a thankfully much smaller squirrel.  We only had him for the weekend but we had absolutely nothing planned other than trips to Tesco and B&Q!  We ended up going for a bracing walk in a country park with the bikes and Louis suddenly learned to ride without stabilisers!

The moral of my story is this - although we may dread that soft toy coming home, especially when he is sometimes so big, they usually end up encouraging us to have more of a fun time than we would have had without them.  I'll definitely be scrapping about this enlightenment.

That's quite an achievement for an object really isn't it?!

Bye for now