Monday, October 31, 2011

Quilted Inspiration

I was really inspired with the prompt from Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party about taking inspiration from quilting and blown away by the Texan Star quilt that one of her clever contributors had exhibited.  That is absolutely on my list of 'to do' layouts, but will take much more time than I have right now, so I was looking for a quicker fix.

Having done a hexagon 'quilt' layout which I posted a few days ago, pre prompt I can add - oh I do like being on trend! - my thoughts turned to argyle - which is not quilting but we're meant to go with our flow yes?  Besides, the measuring involved in cutting four identical diamonds was enough for me today!

I used my lovely Crate Paper Farmhouse kit from Gottacraft and for once in my life stuck to what I had in the kit with the exception of some Thickers and a journalling pen.  The photo is ancient, from a trip to Boston in 1988 when I had never seen so many pumpkins - Halloween not really being celebrated here like it is now - hate it! - and really loved the Quincy Market.  I am trying to scrap the photos from this trip so this is another for the collection and I'm pleased with how the argyle has come out.  Next time I might try stitching it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Try Something New Every Week #9

As we were up North this week, we decided to go to Salford Quays - not somewhere I have ever been before.  I wanted to see the paintings of L.S. Lowry and I wasn't disappointed - they are amazing.  You really got a sense that he was a highly skilled life artist before turning to his signature style. The Lowry is now a multi arts centre and as far from the 'satanic mills' of Lowry's painting as can be imagined - painted purple and orange inside!

The kids were all very interested too, and also in the painting of Lowry's mentor Adolphe Vallette - who also was being exhibited there.  Nice to see a painting of Church Stretton (where my grandparents used to live) among the exhibits too.

After lunch we wandered around the revamped Docklands - very smart but decidedly empty and without atmosphere.  The Imperial War Museum North is an interesting building too and there are a couple of nice bridges - definitely improved with blue sky and a bit of sunshine - and the much hyped Media City - the BBC building is a block - nothing more and we went over to see this sound sculpture thing which was supposed to be amazing - well it looked good but apparently the wind was in the wrong direction for the sound installation! Shame, but we had a nice day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Joy of Black and White photos

I'm not very good at going back to my photos and converting them to black and white, so I tend to scrap in colour.  However on our trip to North Wales this week, we took DH's Lumix camera with us which you can set to black and white and I had fun taking some black and white photos.

I'm tempted to use these more as they are so versatile with patterned paper and I must get less lazy about changing my photos but in the meantime...

... Talacre Beach on the Dee Estuary - such a treat to have a nice walk on the beach in October halfterm.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Twisted Sketch #125 - Trounced!

My darling husband is a fairly good golfer, and I once beat him on a putting green but when it comes to Crazy Golf - a tradition in our family - I just can't win.  I decided that I should really record this frustrating fact for posterity as I hardly ever scrap photos of me, and Twisted Sketch #125 with its circular features was perfect for the task. The twist this week is 'Black'. This is my version:

In accordance with my self imposed need to use up my scraps, and on a whim to use my sewing machine, I started off, with a whole sheet of black paper in line with this week's twist.  I made a frame, and sewed a couple of circles.  I am a big fan of Davinie Fiero and her layout 'A weekend on the Beach' (scroll down a bit) inspired the sewed circles.  Being a far better stitcher than I could ever dream to be, mine are wonky, hers are perfect, but anyway...  I then cut away the inside of the circles, but could get any further.

A few days later I decided to cut around the outside of the circles and make them into a frame.  I cut up some scraps of paper - Crate, Basic Grey, Daisy D's and something reddish to pick up the colours of my dress and slid them under the frame.  I then dithered for ages about the edge, which was finally solved by adding a green frame to the kraft and some faux stitching.

The title also eluded me for ages, as I wanted it to be short and sweet and I already have a 'Crazy Golf' titled LO from another epic family battle.  Besides, the photo shows my desperation to win, and DH's benevolent (but smug) look that says that he knows however hard I try, he will still win!) Finally I came up with 'Trounced!), and matched some of my odd letters to the papers (I love mixed titles) to make up the title.

An American Crafts 'blackboard sticker' matted onto a scalloped circle and journalled with my frustration and an October afternoon date sticker finished the look.  I dithered about further embellishment but decided that there was enough on the page for my satisfaction.  So - a long process but I'm happy with the result.

The layout also records for posterity one of my favourite jackets (turquoise lining!) and shoes - alas now defunct, but I'm glad to remember them through this photo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Try something new every week! - Parts 1-8

I haven't managed to start blogging this yet, but having stopped Home Schooling and with all the kids in high school, I theoretically have a bit more time to myself, and I decided to seize the time to do some of the things I haven't done yet that I'd like to do.  I'm keeping a minibook to record my experiences.

Given that the budget is small and a lot of the things I'd really like to do are expensive and/or far away, I'm keeping it small - mainly local and even as small as trying a new recipe.  I started at the beginning of September and so far I've done the following:

1) Watched a debate in the House of Commons
2) Tried and learned to make Apple and Rosemary Curd
3) Toured the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace
4) Watched a match at The Emirates Stadium
5) Went to the Renegade Craft Fair at Brick Lane, and learned how to felt with a needle and foam block.
6) Visited Windsor Castle
7) Celebrated National Curry Week

This week, I went on the Treetop Walk at Kew Gardens with one of my very good friends. - it couldn't have been a more beautiful day, and I was kicking myself that I forgot my camera as it was a perfect light for photography.  Still, I probably benefited from experiencing it first hand instead of via the lens and I did take a few pictures of the Waterlily House with my (very poor quality) phone camera.

The Treetop Walk is stunning and good fun, except for the fundamental fact that it is made of mesh, a big problem for me.  I'm not scared of heights but I am scared of being able to see down through my feet - eek!  Luckily I was up there before I realised so I had to grit my teeth and do it anyway - and it was fab - as long as I looked at the horizon!

More next week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bound and beautiful!

This is my 150th post.  After a slow start, I have really got into this blogging thing.

Finally, my Learn Something New Every Day book is bound and complete. I feel very proud to have actually finished something and it was fun!

Now I've signed up for the new class 'Pretty Paper Party' over at  so hopefully will have more inspiration to use up more stash - it is dwindling but it's slow going!  So here's to much prettiness in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Confession - I am a Scrap Sorter!

 It's official - Shimelle has classified us and I am definitely categorised this way!

To go back a step - yesterday I started Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party class. I really enjoyed LSNED and anything that promises delving into piles of existing stash and particularly paper is a definite yes for me!

My scrap habit is not a secret - my fellow croppers have expressed their amazement/horror/disbelief at the size of paper scrap I am prepared to hoard, but in fairness, I do use them and I feel more secure knowing that I have an assortment of scraps of all sizes and colours to access whenever I need something small.  I cannot bring myself to cut into a whole sheet just for an accent!  These are some of my scraps - colour coordinated! I also have larger ones and smaller ones - also colour coordinated :)  I just love all the memories that come with each bit of paper - am I sad?

I also have to confess to being a bit of a Paper Collector - although I am getting cured of this infliction.  I don't buy nearly as much as I used to and am more discerning into my likely usage.

I am absolutely not a Pattern Contender - I can cut up a sheet with no problem at all, and I don't need a spare (just in case).  I rarely buy two sheets of anything, unless I absolutely love it and therefore will use it - see the Lilybee collection below - one of my current favourites which I bought 2 sheets of some of the collection - or because I am doing a double LO.

I am also not a Collection Packer - my signature style is definitely mix and match - I have only bought a complete set of paper and embellishments once, and now I rarely buy a collection pack at all.

But on to the task - such joy to be given the freedom to dive into my scraps for strips of paper.  My method was simple.  When I was getting out my scrap box, a journalling accent card from Fancy Pants fell out - so I decided to use it's colour palate for my strips - picked out a few - cut 1" strips, matted my photo, then realised I actually have no neutral cardstock to go behind it - so it's a work in progress until I can get to the LSS! I also made a card, but forgot to photograph it - doh!

It's going well so far - I think I'm going to like this course!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Take One Challenge

S-J - over at Little Musings blog has started a new challenge where you look at your old los, and take something from them to inspire a new layout.  Boy did I need something to inspire me, having wandered around all last week with no ideas at all.

This is the layout I chose for inspiration and the one thing was the column of patterned paper circles - all from different ranges - I love mixing ranges. With the current 'thing' for hexagons, I decided to create a column of hexagons instead - from my Counterfeit Challenge Kit for October, and came up with this...

I honestly didn't expect to use up that yellow paper, until I found the photo while sorting through a pile of others - it must have got misplaced, but what serendipity as it is such a cute photo of my youngest son and made me want to scrap it straight away.

Having the opportunity to scrap as it was crop week - and a lovely day we had too, despite missing a couple of friends who had sadly suffered bereavements and another who is celebrating her birthday way out West, and a few with more mundane reasons.  I did manage three LOs - which is feeble but better than nothing.  One of the others is here (the third has photos of someone else's children, so I'm not loading it):

Again, some serendipity involved as I found these scraps when I opened my plastic box to take my kit to crop, not only did they match my kit, but they fell like that which gave me the idea for the LO.  A discarded set of stickers from a crop friend further inspired me to add them to the LO which is of my great great uncle, about whom I know nothing beyond the photo and dates of birth and death.  It is strange to have these photos but not any of the background of what anyone was like - another reason why I scrapbook maybe?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Something Old - in the absence of anything new

I was having a sort out this week and came across a bag of minibooks and other projects that I did several years ago.  Apart from a good old reminisce over the photos, and over the papers that were available at that time, I came across one of the first altered projects I ever did, and decided I still love it today and shouldn't really keep it in a bag.

I'd forgotten how much fun I used to have playing with gold leaf, transfers and so on, and have realised that maybe that is where I will re-find my mojo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Missing.... one mojo

I have no inspiration this week.  Made a couple of cards, fiddled with some photos, faffed with some stash and a crop coming up on Saturday.

I have my lovely Counterfeit Kit, a Twisted Sketch challenge to complete and loads to do, but nothing is gelling in my mind atm.

I'm going to make some yoyos - can't go too wrong there and at least I'll have some embellishments to go with my kit.  Just hope I can find some photos which will go out of the hundreds I have printed, and that some inspiration comes back before 10am on Saturday.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Twisted Sketch #123

My children are growing up fast - too fast for my liking really, and a recent (ish) thread on UKS was calling for advice to give to a 14 year old girl.  There were so many gems in there I wrote them down, and predictably put them to one side.

Twisted Sketch #123, with a twist of  'Envelope' was the perfect reminder that I wanted to do a LO with these words of advice for my lovely daughter, who is now 14 and a half!  I decided to use the black and white photo of her taken at Center Parcs this summer, and it had to be pink really, as I hardly ever use it.

Lovely pink Bazzill, an offcut reverse side of a Sassafras Sunshine Broadcast pp, a ki memories pp from long ago, the required envelope, a little circular meander on my sewing machine, a bit of stamping, bling, chipboard and washi tap, coupled with the delicious Studio Calico alphabet and my LO was complete.  Many months in the mulling, but fairly quick to come together, thanks to the sketch and the twist.

And the advice?  Well, that's for her from me - and I hope she takes some of it on board.  I know I could have done with it at her age.

Monday, October 10, 2011

10 things

Well, I haven't played before but hey, why not.

On Saturday I went to Renegade - a craft fair near Brick Lane.  There was some really cool stuff there, I did a bit of present shopping and indulged in a vintage brooch that has been turned into a necklace.  My 10 things come from there.

1) Gyotaku - well, I learnt what this is today - the Japanese art of fish printing - by inking a fish and printing it onto paper, with assorted leaves or anything else you fancy - different!

2) Foxes are in! - well not for me, but there were loads of fox printed things at Renegade - be interesting to see if they penetrate the world of scrapbooking.  Can't see me using them though!

3) Felting is fun!  - I've heard of boiling wool to make felt, but this is a different thing - you have a scrunched up ball of wool fibres and you poke a brass ribbed needle through them into a foam square - rapidly and many time - turning the fibres occasionally - and it felts!  People were sculpting amazing woodland animals - mine was a tiny, not very sculpted, frog.  I'd like to do this again.

4) Serious handcutting - there was a girl there who was handcutting amazing street maps of Manhattan and Brooklyn - I mean, I handcut, but these were huge and awesome - seriously nice art.

5) Take more cash to craft fairs!  - I did and managed to limit my spending accordingly, but then found a beautiful print that I really wanted - but couldn't find a cashpoint outside - grr!

6) There are crafting charities helping both crafters and Breast Cancer Sufferers.  Made in Clerkenwell is an event that I will probably go to, run by Craft Central - at whose stall I had great fun making a rosette for my bag - and showcases artists who are part of the project which helps crafters run their own businesses.  The Pink Pompom Project supports Breast Cancer sufferers through craft therapy and also runs events.  Nice people.

7) There is a world of amazing textiles out there that I know nothing about.  There were some absolutely beautiful (and expensive) works of art in gorgeous subtle colours, involving many hours of work that I could just stand a look at for ages.  I think I would like to see more.

8) I know it's difficult to combine coffee and craft, but it was a pain to have to leave the fair to look for a drink.

9)  I loved the owl poster that advertised the craft fair.

10) Brick Lane was much less busy than I expected on a Saturday - where was everyone else?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Learn Something New Every Day - the final pages

I've got to the end of my book - I just need to print out my photos and bind the book now - so here are the last few pages, and I'll blog the final result when I get round to it all being finished.

It's been a fun project, and I've enjoyed looking a bit harder at my everyday life, taking things away from it to learn, change or appreciate.  I will definitely do it again next year, as I've loved seeing the comparison pages from the prompts, although I think next year will be a smaller project in craft terms.

It's been fun on the forum too, seeing snippets of everyone else's life - thanks everyone for sharing your findings.

Friday, October 07, 2011

My October Counterfeit Kit

I'm really not a halloween person - just not my thing, nor my colours, not to mention the fact that I HATE SPIDERS!  So the options for this month were down to one.  I'm not really a pink and green girl either, but there were some gorgeous things in the kit that definitely need counterfeiting, and I've drawn a lot of inspiration from the Master Forgers' kits - in particular the colour combinations.

As ever my kit is way larger than I intended, and I've left the embellishments out as I want to try to make them based on the kit - then I'll pick out a few other things - ribbon and gems, .  The Anna Griffin butterfly paper looks perfect to try to make some of the tags in the Little Red Scrapbook kit.

It's a real diverse collection:  SEI, Anna Griffin, some ancient Scenic Route, Collage Press, Echo Park, MME, Basic Grey, Jillibean Soup, K&Co, DCWV, American Crafts, Daisy Bucket - all of which I love but had kind of got lost with these papers so hopefully as a bona fide kit, I will use them.  I especially went for small patterned stuff, and actually found a hounds tooth paper which I didn't remember I had - must have been the back!

Now I've actually got my kit together, I'm looking forward to some serious 'counterfeiting' - and I have to learn how to make yoyo flowers - it's been on my to do list for ever.

Now to find photos and get started .......

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Art of Knowing when to Finish!

I've been playing around with this LO for weeks!  It started with a pile of scraps on my desk which I liked together and which fitted with the photo, which has also been on my to do pile for ages.  I played around with a Shimelle sketch but couldn't get it to come together, I had another go at the crop with similar results, then finally had another go and came up with this.

I finally stuck it down and added title and embellishment but I can't help feeling that there is still something missing. It feels 'bare' in some way. I am therefore going to leave it in my work in progress pile and see if inspiration strikes!  If it's still there in a few weeks it can go in the album.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Vintage Vogue for Gottacraft

My lovely friend Sandra, of Gottacraft - she who tempts me with all kinds of delicious stash at every crop - has been kind enough to put one of my LOs on her shop blog.  I got to play with the gorgeous new Vintage Vogue papers from Pink Paislee.  I'm not a big user of pink or purple but I just loved the telephone directory paper and the pale pink patterns and as soon as I saw the chipboard it made me think of my Mum, who grew up in the 50s.  There are a lot more patterned papers as well, but I wanted to limit the colours to the chipboard.

I've been wanting to scrap the photo and show off the wedding dress she made for herself for ages so this was the perfect opportunity - especially with the 'cotton reel' wooden buttons which were perfect for a sewing story.

I haven't stitched on it, as I'm certainly not the needlewoman my Mum is (sadly!), but I did indulge in some punches, one of which has stitch-like tracery on it.

With thanks to my lovely crop friends who lent me punches and the Cricut to cut my title - I'm so pleased about having done this LO and can't wait to show my mum!  I've got a few more photos from her wedding to play with, so watch this space....

Thanks to Sandra too for the vote of confidence.