Sunday, September 30, 2012

A new challenge

I'm a big fan of Ronda Palazzari and I found this challenge on her blog  - an Autumn Challenge which describes itself thus:

The autumn equinox marks the arrival of fall, traditionally seen as a season of changes leading to the dark of winter.  The trees are shedding their leaves, flowers are dying back, and animals are preparing for hibernation.  Fall is a time to reflect on shedding and releasing aspects of our lives that don't serve us, and embracing positive and uplifting perspectives as we end one year and begin the next.  Between October 1 and December 31, we will use various prompts to reflect upon the past, and ready us to enter 2013 as our best possible selves.

I really like the idea of using art to reflect, so I'm signing up for an art cleanse at the Artists in Blogland site. Each bi-weekly challenge will contain 3 parts -- one of these headlines, a color prompt, and a relevant quote - simples!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A fabulous weekend in Berlin

Next week we celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary, so last weekend we took time out to spend the weekend in Berlin - DH's choice, not mine, but I'm glad he chose it as we had such a great time and learned so much about recent history through our meanderings around the city.

First though, a huge shout for German efficiency and laid back-ness.  Their public transport is a joy to use - which I never say about London!  Also the lack of barriers and general reluctance to criminalise people.  You go into the station, no ticket barrier, you stamp your ticket before travel and on each train there is a notice saying if you get caught without a ticket you are fined 40 Euros - end of.  No threats of prosecution, and so much easier to get in and out of stations etc - love it!

here are some of my favourite photos:

 The tv tower - unpronounceable in German!

Someone bungee jumping in the Alexanderplatz - really made me jump"

 The interior of the Marienkirche - the most peaceful place and amazing organ playing.

An exhibition celebrating 775 years of diversity in Berlin.

One of the many bears all around the city.

Checkpoint Charlie.

Ampelmann - the iconic East German road crossing man - he even has his own shops and restaurants!

The top of the Brandenburg Gate.

The last remaining bit of the real wall as it was until 1990 with a watchtower and searchlights.

The Nazi architecture of the Olympic Stadium, restored for the World Cup Final in 2006

The Holocaust Memorial

A Trabant van

Curry Wurst - a local delicacy!

The Berlin equivalent of Harrods

Wall Art on the East Side Gallery

Anyway, a taste of the city - so much to do and see, we only scraped the surface, but that just gives us an excuse to go back one day - maybe?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thank goodness for scraps and Tim Holtz dies

I have had a lot of cards to make in recent days, and not a lot of time, so my Tattered Florals die has been a real bonus in creating pretty layered cards for birthdays, anniversaries and the like, stress free.

This time I raided my pink scraps, cut a selection of flowers, stacked them using Pinflair gel - thanks Rachel Elliott for your tip in Scrap 365, it makes 3D so easy and less fiddly than multiple foam pads.

Some inked edges, a few pearls, buttons and stamps from a magazine set I acquired recently - wasn't that keen on the mag, but the stamps are perfect for all sorts of projects - a gorgeous happy birthday ticket as used above, a star with music on it, scrabble letter 'Congratulations' and a host of others - I was a happy bunny when I found them!

I will get back to scrapping some time soon, honest!  But at the moment, life is just too busy to do more than play with scraps at speed to concoct the cards I need in a hurry!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Using a Day Book - my review

I bought an Amy Tangerine Daybook for my holidays this year - the first time I have taken a travel pack to scrapbook on holiday.

As we had a tight baggage allowance, my package had to be extremely limited - one A4 clear folder.  In it I had:
The Day Book
Some coordinating diecuts and mini envelopes
An A5 envelope with all the travel journalling pages, stickers and rubons I could find - not many!
Some flair badges
1 vellum envelope
A tiny wooden alphabet
3 mini inkpads
2 journalling pens
DST and scissors.

I still haven't got my photos printed, (too busy!) but this is where I got to:

One of the fun things about waiting in an airport is trying out duty free scents and after shaves - my collection of tester cards is scenting my journal beautifully!

Memorabilia includes my ice cream wrapper, a coaster, some of my lunchtime table mat, tickets and a guide leaflet.

So what did I like?
I would probably have had trouble using it all up in one day, but it was a good size for holiday.
I liked the kraft cover and the printed acetate over the top (although it makes it hard to photograph.
I liked a variety of different papers and textures and shapes.

What didn't I like?
The sticker that attached the acetate to the packaging - it leaves horrid gluey stuff behind that I haven't managed to get off yet.
Some of the pages are very small - I may lack imagination but I found them irritating in places! This means that sometimes the pages don't really set each other off - see the last photo - I don't see much that brings that choice of pages together.
There were square and shape stickers on the first and last pages - I wasn't sure whether you should rip out these pages or what - I left them - but have to cover up the gaps with something else.
I would have liked more than one very thin pocket - for me a travel journal needs places for memorabilia.
I also would have liked to see inside the product before I bought it.

So will I use another one? Possibly - if I saw inside it beforehand, but really I think I like things a little bit more regular in terms of pages, and will probably have a go at making it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Finally back to crafting

A number of celebratory events coming up meant that I needed to get back to my craft supplies and make some cards  - these are the first two.

I very happily dived into my new Basic Grey Paper Cottage Collection, I especially loved the banners which just summed up what I wanted to say to my parents on their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

With predictable frugality I couldn't walk away from the cover paper which made two cards, combined with a border strip, alpha stickers and a stamp to make the birthday card.  I love that you can use packaging, and there are still some flowers to cut out and use - a wonderful bonus in my book!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back after a really long break - and 12 on the 10th (belatedly)

I can't actually believe it's nearly two months since I last blogged. The summer holidays have been and gone, and my work has been seriously intense - I have literally worked my socks off!

However there was time for some fun too, with the Olympics and some holiday, and lately I've been madly glossing some new shelves so we can put our books on them, and clear out all the crates they are currently stored in, not to mention some new storage for my scrapbook albums - hooray!

So just to ease myself back in, here are some highlights from our summer!  This can count as my ten on the tenth - plus two!

 Toasting marshmallows
 S'mores for July 4th
 Go Karting for DS2s birthday
 Camping in Somerset - on the sunniest week of the summer - so lucky
 Watching the Olympics
 Enjoying watermelon
 A  bit of local pride
 Galicia - my slice of heaven
 Iced tea
 Paralympic Swimming
 Paralympic Athletics
A very smart wedding

Pretty good summer - lived at 100 miles an hour!