Sunday, 31 January 2010

Old Skool Stash Scrap

Liberty Cottage has been buzzing this weekend as this is the second blog hop that has been started over there by the wonderful Kate.
The idea behind the Old Skool Stash Scrap is using up stash that you have had from way back when. I have only been papercrafting for about 2 years so I don't actually have any truly ancient stash. But I have plenty of stuff lying around gathering dust unused and unloved!
Most of this stash is from when I first started crafting and I ordered mystery parcels! These were said to be 'ideal for the beginner', 'containing a variety of items' and of course 'great value for money'. Sadly there were several damaged, used and old items plus there were even more things not to my taste. I have since learnt my lesson after making this expensive mistake but it left me with an interesting collection of eclectic craft paraphenalia!
These papers have been on the shelf for 2 years

I decided not to try and complete another layout so I went for the card option

I created an alien landscape with these hippy tie dye natural handmade papers and the stickers are another £land find. I think they will be fun for note cards or for some belated boys birthday cards I still owe!
To continue the blog hop please pop over to see what is happening over here on Rusty's blog. I can't wait to travel to everyone's blogs and see what precious papers, dusty decoupage, random ribbons or eons old embellishments have been brought out to play!

Book Club

Over 3 years ago, a group of mothers (including me) from my daughters class set up 'the Book Club'. It has been a great opportunity to read a variety of books, some I have loved, several I liked and a few I loathed. I read books for a multitude of reasons, in the book club because they are chosen for me I often read things I would not normally try. This is how I discovered 'the Time Travellers Wife' by Audrey Nefenegger and it is now one of my all time favourite ever books. Being part of the group means I have to find time to read the book (sounds obvious!). I don't feel able to attempt to discuss a novel if I haven't got a good grasp of the whole storyline (unlike one particularly amusing member of the group).
2010 so far has been a pretty poor year for reading and I have only read one book so far! I read most of this one book today because I have book club tomorrow night! I had already covered my back by watching the film a couple of weeks ago but feel much better now I have completed the novel.

There are piles of books waiting to be read on my book shelves so I am not going to buy any more until I work my way through a few more! What books have you read and loved or loathed? What are you reading at the moment? Any recommendations? Or are you a non book reader?

A drum roll please........

Yes I have finally finished, photographed and now I am about to not only blog about my first ever scrap page, but add it to my first ever blog hop!

I know I am probably the first to post my Lay Out but I was too excited to wait until tomorrow morning to share and seeing as it is now January 31st officially I am just going to do it!!
The blog hop starts over with Kate at Liberty Cottage and there are a list of all the participants there (I can't seem to copy and paste into here so sorry I cannot put the full list, if anyone has any ideas why please let me know as it's a pain!). If you are following the blog hop in order you will have come here after looking at Ali's blog mycraftydesk and after leaving me you need to head over to Jo's blog curlyscrapbooker.
I will be working my way through the list tomorrow (or later on today!!) as I am keen to see what everyone has done with the sketch that Kate gave us for this first layout in BY 2010

I am not going to talk or explain much about creating my first layout as yet, as I have been asked to talk about this experience as a guest blogger over at Liberty Cottage, so I will be dishing the dirt then!!!

So without further ado this is what I did with the sketch and what it turned into....

A page about our Christmas Tree and because I had several images and could not decide which to use, i created a second page

so I actually have a double layout

I have comments and questions which I will discuss with you at some point but overall I am pretty happy with my first scrapping experience and definitely planning on doing more!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

I completed my first ever LO!!!!

Now don't get too excited as I can't actually share a picture as it is going to feature in a blog hop tomorrow starting over at Liberty Cottage but I have been sooo excited as it has taken me ages to actually start!

I did end up taking a photograph last night but it was a real quickie but it so captures Els in his own little world, interupted whilst playing a fantasy type game on the Laptop!! 29/365
Today I finally finsihed the elusive layout then the whole family went for a walk.
It was quite cold but the sky was blue and the sun was shining, I am so glad we got into the fresh air and had some excersise together. Elliot met up with a friend and his younger brother and they managed to find a den in the woods already built and perfect to play in.

Molly managed to slip over and fall in the mud but not before she had posed for a photo shoot!! She is gorgeous though! 30/365
There were still some signs of the light snowfall we had last night in the more shaded areas. Although I miss the beautiful photographic opportunities the snow provided, and all the fun we had, I do not miss walking to work, slippery roads and hassles!!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Missing in Action!

Gosh I am surprised to see that I haven't blogged since Sunday! Not sure where all the time has gone and sadly I don't have any crafty creations to share but I have a few more of my project 365 photos.

I almost forgot to take a picture on Monday as I had been at work and was crashed out watching a silly film 'Major Movie Star'.....
not the best picture ever!
I tried a little bit harder on Tuesday after Molly became very animated about the 'red sky at night' and I think I ended up with an ok picture taken from the front door!
Onto Wednesday and I had been playing with buttons (after suffering for hours with an evil migraine!!). It looks like I am going to have my own little crafting corner in this mad house. Mainly so I keep all the crafty products under control in one place and the door can be shut on it all! So I had to reorganise all my buttons (many are quite old from a huge tin found in a second hand shop and costing about a £1!).
This was the end result I LOVE this pic! It appeals to be just like the buttons themselves do, it warms my insides up and makes me smile!
Yesterday was a major day in my personal calendar for reasons about me me me!! It was the first 'Fat Club' meet of 2010. This is a self-help group started by 5 mothers to try and support and motivate each other through losing weight. Also, importantly it is very money saving as we pay into a pot then take the money out the pot months later to use for a treat! (Ok we went out for a curry but it was a fantastic treat!!) Last night we reconvened and all braved the scales. This was the first time I had weighed for over 2 months and I had put on 8 lbs!! We had all put on between 6 and 12 lbs so all motivated to get going now!!

My weight was ** stone and 6 lbs! I will be brave and share how my healthy eating affects my mass, who knows I may even take some excersise!! 28/365 and I need to take a picture for today!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

craft show and crushing defeat

That title sums up my weekend.....
Yesterday, Mols and I went to Sandown Park in Esher, for the Stitch and Creative Craft Show. I got a ticket for Christmas and under 16's go free and it's only about a 20 minute drive away with free parking! We arrived early and stayed almost to the end. It got quite crowded at one stage though it is quite small compared to the NEC
We did a Shaker Card making class with Amanda Bateman.
You may recognise her from TV shows like Create and Craft, but I have known her many years as a friend, so it was great to catch up with her and be creative (will show the card step by step tomorrow). I did buy a few bits as there were some good bargain buckets (for example I found one with items 50p each or 3 for a £ and I found one originally priced at £3.99!) Sadly there was very little for scrapbooking, Amanda recommended the show at Ally Pally as apparently all the 'big' names go like Rusty Pickle (how tempting is that!!!)

Today, Els played in the 'Plate Tournament' with his fabby footie team. It was a really exciting game, with each goal scored being equalised by the opposition so it went to extra time. Then extra time went to penalties and we lost out on the very last one! There were tears from a few of the boys, which in turn meant there were a few tears from some of us mums. Els was fantastic both on the field and in goal and I was very proud as per usual.

lots of Muddy kit to wash as per usual.

Friday, 22 January 2010

work days

I work my longest day on a Thursday so DS goes to 'After School Club' and DD goes to the free art club at secondary school. I never seem to have enough time on a Thursday and yet again I didn't manage a blog entry. I actually have 2 photos from yesterday....
the before
the after
As Hubby could no longer bear to look at our kettle that was furred up, the lid didn't open and worst of all it had warped (as you can see) so it was easy to get burned (or is it burnt?). So he went to Sainsburys and bought our shiny new one for a bargain £20!
Today DD had a poorly tummy so stayed home from school. She looked so pale when I returned from work and had made herself a bed with duvet and blankets in the lounge which had attracted the cat. DD and the cat are great friends and I managed to catch this fabby picture of the 2 of them snuggled together.

Usually Friday nights is Scouts night but we had an evening off as DD has been poorly (tho seems much better now) and for me it is the start of the weekend. I am getting so lazy! I have sat here all evening chatting, sharing a bottle of wine and chilling with the TV and no crafting yet again!! Must get organised!!!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Boots (snow), scrap decisions and the office

Not sure what the title makes you think of but these are subjests of my 365 photos that I have been amiss at blogging for the last few days!

On Monday the kids and I were back in a routine with school runs and work. In the evening I went to a nearby ladies house who I had met through an advert she placed in the local community magazine. I had gone to her house twice prior to Christmas as she was doing 'card classes' and I was the only pupil! I really enjoyed meeting a crafty person in 'real life' and had fun working with 2 of her card designs for Christmas. However it was a bit costly and generally we have different styles in card making so I decided not to continue with cards but she decided to do a cheaper class called 'chattin and scrappin'!

So Monday night was the first session and again it was just the 2 of us, she has not got much scrapbooking experience, so although I had a great evening I didn't actually get any guidance/inspiration with my first LO. Again we are poles apart in styles/tastes/set up etc etc. But we had plenty of the 'chattin' and I got to use some of her dies in her bigshot to help embellish my layout. I think I may continue to pay to go but go with more ideas of what I want to do so I can then make the most of her equipment, dies and stamps to accessorice my scrapping!
I had taken along almost every paper and embellishment that I felt might be in keeping with what I wanted to achieve and I was completely lacking in inpiration and the lighting wasn't great so a colour I thought worked really didn',t so I have more work to do. This is the pile of stuff I thought I might use...


Yesterday I worked from 9am until 7pm and came home very tired, hungry and with aching feet. I did very little in the evening but had remembered to take my camera to work and snapped a quickie picture of my corner of.....

THE OFFICE! I share this with 2 other people and everything has been arranged and set up by them so there is nothing personal to me. Not very glam, but we are talking about the NHS remember!! What ideas can I think of to change that I wonder??

Today was much more relaxing after an exciting start.... after the school run I headed into town for the start of the Boots 75% sale! I was in and out of the store in 30 mins and was very pleased with my purchases.

This afternoon the sky turned dark grey and it started snowing again! The temperatures are much higher today so it has mostly melted away though it did settle for a couple of hours so I nipped out to take yet another picture SNOW! I loved the way the bright red berries stood out from the green leaves and white snow.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


Today is Sunday and I went to Church! This is not a weekly event or part of my weekend routine, but I like to dabble and I do quite enjoy attending St Peters on a semi regular basis. I am familiar with several members of the congregation and have some friends that are members there. Anyway the theme of todays sermon was 'belonging'. It really got me thinking, thinking about how I perceive belonging and why it is important to me.

I belong in a family and I am really blessed in that I was raised as part of an amazing family and now have the most special family of my own, this is where I feel most at home. Sometimes I feel I am searching to belong with others, wanting to fit in with people, do we all want to fit in with our friends? I think this may be human nature. I have found friends in many places some of whom will be reading this! I have people I count as friends that I only know virtually, people whose blogs I follow, people I have chatted to on forums, yet I feel like I belong with them at times!!
I have friends, real ones I have known for years that I belong with too. Times change and I don't always see them as much as I would like to. When I lived in London I had 'friends' but do you know I haven't seen many of these 'friends' for years. Some just seemed to forget about me after I moved away. I don't believe in best friends anymore, I haven't had a really close friend for years as the last one 'broke my heart', so I prefer to have a few close friends instead.
Friendships to me are like characters in a novel, some you meet at the beginning in chapter 1 and they feature heavily throughout. Others only appear in one chapter though they may have had a significant role in the story. Some drift in and out of different plots but don't really contribute a lot. Some characters you think are out of the story line and then they pop up later in the book as a surprise! I am still waiting to see who will be there in the closing pages but I am enjoying it midway through!
I am sad when characters have left my book with no obvious reason or explanation, I thought I had found some ongoing friendships but sadly people do not always feel the same way and do not want to continue as part of my storyline. I need to let people go and move on with the story as there is so much more to come and I am still supported by some amazing characters! I was fortunate enough last year to become reaquainted with a character who featured heavily over 10 years ago, this was partly due to crafting. I hope this renewed relationship continues to grow and who knows where the next chapter might take me or anyone else for that matter!
So for my current chapter I am counting the blessings that my friends bring me, especially my family who have no choice in the matter and are stuck with me. These are the main characters that 'belong' in my story, others will come and go and minor characters may contribute to minor events but overall I belong with those true friends who accept me as I am and I don't need to try with them to belong.
Thank you to those who make me feel I truly belong xxx

Saturday, 16 January 2010

I made another card!

This is a thank you card that I created with a new stamp for K as she is totally batty about bats!
I then made a really simple topper for this bag of candy teeth, and I have written 'Fangs a lot'!! I have used really simple toppers like this on bags of candy or reindeer food for the last couple of years, I can do simple!
So far I have not been very creative in 2010 on the papercrafting front. I have been reading lots of blogs, being inspired, getting ideas and considering challenges but not actually done much!
I think this is due to 2 main reasons, firstly, my state of mind dictates I sit down and become a coach potatoe at every given chance (preferaby with a pile of chocolate to eat!) I have beentrying to stay in the Christmas chillax zone! Secondly, I have a huge amount of craft stuff in boxes and bags as it has been moved into different rooms over Christmas and now as we are rearranging some of our living space. So it is difficult to find everything.
I am planning to sort out every single piece of crafty stash that I have and rearrange it all, hopefully in my own crafty corner in the house (very exciting). I know already there are things I will probably never use as they have been given to me or bought when I wasn't so sure of my style/taste. I need to clear some things out so I can be better organised so I can make and create more readily. I think I need to try and use some of these items as I need to watch the pennies at the moment (hubby has an interview next week so fingers crossed he will be back in employment soon). So trying to think of ways to use it up! I might make some more coaster calendars as got several calendars left and they will be pretty worthless soon, I can cover the coasters with my least favourite papers I guess?? Any ideas for me for these unloved items? Wish I had some nearby crafty friends but sadly they are all far away and unable to join me for a days papercrafting or even better in a crafty swop shop (do you remember Noel Edmonds on a Saturday morning??!!)

The Big Thaw

Where has all the snow gone?? Where has all the time gone?? Can't believe I haven't popped on for a chat since the snow starting melting away (my bloggy inspirations obviously melted away at the same time!)

Well the temperatures are up, couldn't believe it was 6 degrees yesterday at midnight. It has rained all day here and most of the snow has just 'washed away'. Despite the lack of snow day some people still seem to manage Jammy Days ...... clue......
Thursday I managed to drive into work and the most slipping I did was in the car park good ol' NHS! I had a full on day at work but enjoyed a winding down drink in the evening....
a caramel Baileys (and Hubbys beer).
Yesterday was the first time I managed to see any grass in my garden for ages so this was my photo for the day.....
Plans for the weekend are continuing to swop some rooms/space around (I think there is a craft area coming for me.... watch this space!). Also need to sort out and print some photographs for my first ever scrap layout as I am crafting tomorrow night!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Yet more snow!

Yesterday was a fairly quiet day starting with a walk through the dirty slush to a meeting for work. After returning home, having lunch and a chat with hubby, we popped into town. I got a few goodies in the sale (if you have girls the Claires 5 items for £5 is fabulous!) and a some bits from the amazing Lakeland (I rarely buy things full pricebut always have a good look through the bargain section). The kids came home from school and the 3 of us had hot chocolate, marshmallows and squirty cream/ squirty chocolate! This is picture 12/365....Today was snow madness!! We woke up to at least 3-4 inches of fresh snow and it was still falling. I spent ages trying to find out if the childrens schools were open, E was off but M went in (but returned home within an hour!). I was dressed in 6 layers of clothes to brave the elements as driving on the roads was treacherous. Hubby and E walked with me part of the way to work and we went via a local park.

It was so beautiful! It was even better than the winter wonderland of Narnia. I took so many photographs and some were actually ok!

The snow was really quite deep in places so i took a picture of my feet in the snow!It took well over an hour to reach the clinic and people actually came in!! I walked part of the way home and the snow was melting fast, my magical winter wonderland is disappearing!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Getting back to normal

The children returned to school and I went off to work, a typical Monday morning except for having a house husband! Yep Hubby is at home at the moment and how great is that? Well he took DS to school (plus his friend!), took the car to the garage for a service/MOT, did some shopping and cooked dinner. Beef bourguignon!

I did the mash potatoes and the veg plus veggie option for DD! I really should have taken a picture of what was on our plates rather than the half empty casserole dish!

I even managed a belated birthday card for my neice, again a fairly simple one using up some more of that ol' stash paper! Just need to start a scrapbook layout and I will really be achieving things!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Quick crafting

I still need to send some more Christmas Thank You cards, when do you think it is too late to send them out? I suspect any time in January is probably good enough to show your gratitude. I do think thank you letters/cards are few and far between. My S.I.L has always encouraged her children to send them and we have had 4 beautifully written cards from them already (they are all teenagers too!). No-one else has sent one and that seems to be pretty much the norm unfortunately. Is that the same for you in your household? Do you get many? Do you send any? We have made and sent around 20 so far and still have a few more to organise.
This is a quickie pink version of the ones I made earlier this week.

and this is one of Molly's fantastic cards, she too tried stamping and embossing. The coaster calendar was made especially for her grandparents as an extra thank you!

Last lazy day

The snowy weather has definitely made me want to curl up in front of the fire, snuggle under a blanket, often joined by the cat, watching films with the family and eating chocolate! Needless to say this is exactly what I have been doing. So todays photograph 10/365 is to remind me...

I know it is a really dark photograph and to most people it will look like a mistake or poor shot, but we tend to sit with the light off or turned down low and this is how the fireplace appears. It isn't a real fire just a gas one but I we love it anyway!

I just couldn't resist this picture of Tinker looking over the top of the sofa as he keeps us company, laid across the top of a sofa cushion! Not far from the fire of course!

The children's schools are reopening tomorrow and they are both going in wearing Mufti. We will finally be getting back into a routine and I will be working, which might mean I don't eat as many chocolates!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

More snow and farewell tree!

I actually made it into work yesterday, although I wasn't brave enough to try and get the car out of the close so I walked! It took about an hour and was fairly pleasant although it was very slippery in places. I contemplated catching a bus part way but despite the fact there were people at every bus stop en route, sadly not one bus passed me on my journey. Because I am attemptin a partial project 365 ie I am blogging rather than scrapping I took my camera with me! I only took one photograph and that was of a large dead tree very close to home.
I decided it would be intersting to photograph it at different times throughout the year in varying conditions ie light,weather, seasons etc etc.

Today I decided the children really needed to get out the house as they had been in all day yesterday whilst I was working and were in their PJ's all day. Molly was not amused at the plan as she didn't have time to 'do her hair' and we were sooo embarrassing as we decided to carry the Christmas tree with us. We always take the tree to the local park for recycling but always in the car, this year we thought it would be fun to carry it there, then continue on to the local supermarket and stock up on a few provisions.

Molly stomped off and was always at least 10 feet away from the tree carriers.
Elliot and Hubby did the transporting initially but Elliot's hands got cold and wet so he wasn't very happy.

It was dragged the rest of the way by hubby, well I had to take the photographs.....

officially Christmas has gone for another year.....

Friday, 8 January 2010

TQ cards and old stash

Over on the wonderful card making forum on, Rainmac posted a sketch from here as our first challenge of 2010. I really enjoy sketches as challenges, I don't have to go out and buy new things and it helps me to use up what i have! Which fits in well with a challenge that Kate from Liberty Cottage came up with. Initially aimed at scrapbookers, her 'old school stash scrap' was broadened to include the cardmakers too

I decided on the basic idea really quickly as a layout for my thank you cards, tho' initially I was going to use a scallop circle I changed my mind and used my new Nellie Snellen die. I have previously only stamped/embossed twice so I am not really that good yet but used a cat image (a freebie from cardmaking and papercraft magazine this month). Coloured with promarkers (I also need more practice with these and need to study some u-tube tutorials me thinks!) these were all the newer crafty bits. 'Old skool' was the dark reddish brown card (from one of those mystery parcels again!) and the circle shaped paper (from one of those huge 12x12 stacks by Papermania that seemed a good idea at the time!) I have a wee collection of buttons too so I sorted some out

then made my own embellishments by tieing some gold ribbon (recycled from Christmas Crackers!) to them with some creamish crochet type thread. These are very simple as I have several thank you cards to make so I actually went into a bit of a conveyor belt and made all these. Once I had the idea they were fairly easy to mass produce, although I still have a lot more to make!
Kate I guess I have to come up with another idea for the Feb 1st 'old skool stash' blog hop so will try and use up some other old/unloved stash for then.
I would also like to enter this into
one stop craft challenge 'something beginning with B' and I am using B for Button!
cute card Thursday 'all new' challenge as I have used my new die, my new stamp and I am new to embossing and stamping!

Christmas is finally over

Well, all the decorations are down and waiting for a final sort through, I have stopped watching Christmas films and have recycled all the good bits of the cards for crafting. I love Christmas sooo much and I look forward to it all year. I try and learn from each Christmas I have now, so I hope to remember what worked or what was missing and adapt for the next time.

One thing I want to do for 2010 is start homemade cards and crafts a little bit sooner. I will cut out some things completely, make present buying easier (I have a plan but just in case any of my family are watching will share it nearer Christmas!) and I will not buy as many crisps/snacks and cakes!! I say this every year but still seem to find myself feasting on Chocolate and other naughtiness way beyond New Year so it takes me ages to kick start the ol' healthy eating regime (no point starting until you eat every single morsel of badness up is there??)

I wanted to share the selection of homemade cards I got for Christmas

made by family and friends, young and old, digital and 'real' and every one brightened my day. Thank you all.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow day 2

Both the childrens schools were closed again today and after speaking with work colleagues I also stayed at home. I was really busy initially and on the telephone for 4 hours talking to all the patients I had booked into see me today, resceduling their appointments.
Here is the 'finished' igloo, now known as the Fort.

and out.
Elliot really didn't like the snow today, he said it was 'different' (there had been no snowfall since last night and it was very icy underfoot, temp this morning was about -8 brrr!) and not as much fun to play in. So he has had a great day playing with new board games and putting together meccano type vehicles. Molly was happy to go off to play with some friends so it was a quiet house.