Updated the list of links to manufacturers websites, down there on the right hand side in my side bar. There are almost 80 links there and I know for sure that they won't all be there.

I want to thank Jo for giving me some more links to add on, I also used the shop by manufacturer list at A Million Little Things as a prompt.

Anyhow, if you have any fave manufacturers (Scrapbooking based, stamp manufacturers okay if they are generally used within scrapbooking too, but me I am a paper lover through and through!), just let me know who they are and also a web page link if possible as some of those links too an age to find!

Glittery stuff

Just finishing off my layout project for January edition of Creative Scrapbooking. And just wondering if there is such a thing as too much bling on one page? I'm covered in glitter (as is half of my craft room) but I have had so much fun just playing!

I have Joshua off sick again today, I think he has a similar bug to that which I had last week, though I wasn't physically sick and he has been. He does seem a little brighter today and we have sat and giggled through Chicken Little together.

I am also waiting for the man at the garage to ring for me to walk on and collect the car once he has repaired it and then take it to the MOT garage for it to be re-tested. Typical timing eh? No car the last couple of days has meant I have had to leave Josh alone in bed poorly whilst I have walked the girls to and from school. Luckily my FIL is here pottering around in the garden today so Josh won't be alone whilst I sort the car out.

Remembering and being Grateful

I don't go to Church. Somehow I don't feel comfortable there. But that isn't a true reflection of my beliefs, I just don't do the communal thing too well.

But this morning I accompanied Chiara for the Rembrance Sunday service (she had been asked to go as part of the Brownie congtingent, though it was a very poor showing from the pack).

I always cry during Church services, weddings, christenings and funerals alike. And I always cry at Rembrance services on the television, so you can guess what I was like in Church for the service (and I forgot tissues).

I found it a very emotional and moving experience. The service and sermons were beautiful, the hymns too (though I had only previously heard of a couple). Then a gentleman played The Last Post and another old soldier read out the Roll Call of Honour. It was heartbreaking how long the list was for such a small village, especially when so many names from the same family were called one after each other. There were younger names in there too, a reminder that wars continue down the generations. A reminder of the ultimate sacrifice paid by so many people over the years. A sacrifice I am grateful for every day.

I know it's simplistic to wonder why we can't have peace in the world. But I am a simple girl.

My Feet!

Were killing me yesterday but I had the greatest day!

Lots of thanks to Claire and Orlando for letting me play (I mean work) on their Card Fairy stand yesterday at the NEC. It was great fun meeting them again, together with MG Claire and Theresa.

Lots of yummy things on their stand and I got to see Claire in action with stampboard (which I am now the proud owner of, plus more stamps and the new matte and crackle glossy accents, they give a fab effect and I can't wait to try them out on some ATC's I have to do). I know Claire doesn't shout about it, but she is Senior Educator for Hampton Art Stamps and gets to do workshops on their behalf in the US - they are always sold out and I know why! Creative, fun and zany is Claire so I can but imagine what a fabby time everyone has in her workshops.

I saw some UKS girlies, my mate Kathryn came by just a few times to show me her latest scrummy purchases, and I also saw Trish, Jo, Sarah, Tracy and a bunch of the ladies from the Hobby Horse crop. Thanks for stopping by to say hello :)

My plan to have fun and chat to people without spending much money seemed to work, I took £50 cash and came back with £10. Although I was given time off for shopping, I kept getting lost within the maze of stands. I bought a few things from Art from the Heart, Craftwork Cards and Oyster Stamps. More papers and then a few other bits too. Got yet another white gel pen from Dyan's stand in the hope I can get this one to work better than the other dozen or so in my drawer!

Get Ready .....

Well I should be getting ready for the NEC tomorrow but I've been piffling about again!

I decided at lunchtime to go into Derby and get my hair cut. Not really an excellent idea because I didn't know what I wanted and you can tell. Now it DID look nice when the girl did it, but I am unconvinced it will look anything other than a mess when I attempt to do something in the morning. I bought a colour and highlighter kit to do tonight but things conspired against my time and it will have to wait until another day.

Did buy some new clothes though (a rarity for me) but did think I ought to try and look more presentable whilst I was representing Claire and Orlando on their stand tomorrow.

Josh went to his first High School disco tonight. He hadn't mentioned it to me, but when I went to pick Chiara up from her friends, the brother was sat all ready and waiting to go at which point Josh decided he might go after all! He came back not overly impressed other than the fact they they spent a small fortune on snacks and drinks and pigged out all night, though he did confess they did a little bit of dancing (rather, as Josh said, they tried to dance!)

Anyhow, I've done the wages, filled my hot water bottles, given Len instructions to wake me up when he goes out in the morning, so I am going for an early night .... well that was the plan but I notice it really isn't too much earlier than normal!

And thanks to everyone for your encouraging and kind words on my post about Mia, it made me feel a lot less lost.

Looking Forward

After recovering from a brief but nasty virus which had me knocked off my feet (so bad in fact that there was no way I could get the girls to school yesterday) I feel a bit better which is GOOD because I'm really looking forward to Friday.

I'm off to the NEC as I have managed, somehow, to sweet-talk my way into helping out at the Card Fairy stand. I bought yet more of the lush Danelle Johnson/Art Warehouse/Limited Edition stamps which are so new I can't even find them on the Limited Edition site to give you a preview. Anyhow, they are fabby unmounted clear stamps, circles and diamonds. Cos I can't find a piccie of them anywhere, and can't be bothered to take one myself today, you will just have to come along to the stand yourself (if you are lucky enough to be having a day out) to see what is so special about them!

I had a little weep this morning. I took the car for the MOT and it failed on some rear coil thingymejig, so have got to get that fixed next week and re-tested. But it wasn't that; I got back home to the report from the Speech Therapist assessment Mia undertook last week.

Mia is my angel, my baby, she is beautiful, funny, charming, caring and adorable. And she has *developmental delay*. Something I spotted from a very early age. Well straight away. When she was born she wouldn't stay awake at all, certainly not long enough for a proper feed, meaning she lost loads of weight when she was only a wee one to start with. Then at a few weeks I realised her basic reflexes just didn't work. She didn't flinch at loud noises nor blink if you quickly moved your hand in front of her eyes. The standard stuff. She went through tests and they couldn't find anything wrong, but over the years, she has been *behind* the others at the major points of development. Sitting up, crawling, teething, walking, potty training (not achieved until she was almost four) and talking.

No-one took me seriously until she had been at school for a term but thankfully, since then, she has had one to one sessions with a speech therapist. This has really helped but her latest assessment still puts her between one and two years behind her peers in terms of language use (which is coming on) but more worryingly, her ability to process information continues to be very poor. Simple understanding such as first, next, last, has her flummoxed. Ability to remember things stays poor (we can go through her word list of and, said, go, the, time after time and she will still not get them right for several weeks). This impacts all areas of her life, from understanding conversations at home, to following instructions at school.

We have a special needs assessment lined up for the end of the month, I really want the assessor to recommend that she needs to continue having extra one to one help in the classroom and am really worried about how she will progress (or not) as the current help is due to end at Christmas. She is an adorable little thing, everyone tells me they love her and that (more importantly) the other kids all love her too. But for how long? I can remember how cruel children can be as soon as they realise that someone is a bit different. I know in the scheme of things, Mia's problems are miniscule, but to me they are the world.

And it's done!

Well my purely selfish, have fun playing layout is done.

Inspired by the Shine canvas on Maxine Hazebroek's blog. (the shimmery blue background). I dug out some papers I have had for ages (the shimmery blue I bought when I first discovered scrapbooking in 2004) and the other pp has been in my stash pile for at least 18m I think too!

Cardstock Bazzill
Shimmery Papers (plain and patterned), Paper Adventures
Dragonfly accents and bird rub on, K&Co (also very old stash)
Chipboard, Heidi Swapp and Fancy Pants
Flowers, Dunelm and Prima
Brads, Making Memories, Heidi Swapp
Crystals, Heidi Swapp
Alphabet Stamps, Making Memories
Lots of painting, inking, sanding, tearing and machine stitching

Picture of Chiara and DH taken in the Summer. Everyone says she looks like Josh (who I think is the image of my Dad) but I think she looks so much like Len. And she certainly has lots of his personality traits too!

Anyhow, my tummy is rumbling which means it is dinner time, then I have got to get down to serious work of DT stuff for the mag. I enjoyed playing though, I think I needed to do it to rekindle my mojo. I hope this will rub off on the assignments I have to do :D

Sitting here drumming fingers

Cos I am working on this layout and need to add some machine sewing to it before I can put it all together. And DH is sat at the other computer blocking my access to the machine. Grrr! Will dive into his place the moment he moves! I know, a very feeble blog entry but I just wanted to get it off my chest :D

On the Up

Thanks for everyone's best wishes. I woke up feeling a lot better today, managed to drag myself out of bed at gone 10.30 am so I think the extra sleep helped in my revival.

Had a pretty lazy day, some household chores followed by a couple of hours just tidying up in the office/craft room. Even so, things aren't looking too straight as I simply have too much stuff for the storage I have in here. And even worse, I've made a huge mess again as I've started work on a new page.

I've been inspired to play after visiting Maxine Hazebroeke's blog. Oh WOW isn't her work just divine! (rhetorical question, I fail to see how anyone can contradict me on that one!)

I first discovered Maxine's work in one of the first scrapping books I bought "Celebrate" with the For Keeps 2004 Elite Team. I just love her textural, lumpy bumpy, chic style. There is such an incredible amount of work involved in her pages. I could never emulate because I am simply way too lazy in my scrapbooking!

Anyhow I was totally inspired to get my stuff out and have a play. I particularly loved the shimmery background of the Shine canvas and went rooting my old stash to find a piece of shimmery blue paper that must have been one of the first things I ever bought (in fact I have had to rescue it from the *the kids can have this stuff* pile) and also uncovered another beautiful piece of paper from the same place. As usual I've got the photo and papers in place now just figuring out what else to do. But I can say that I love these old papers I've dug out.

So go on, go back through your stash and create a page with at least one piece of paper that you have had since your first foray into scrapbooking. I'll be back to upload my own creation when I have finished it. I'd love to see what you do too.

Woe is Me!

Said tongue in cheek.

Spent last night with whatever it is that makes me feel awful. Something to do with colonic spasms. Was trying hard to stave off panic attack (which normally follows these episodes) as when they get really bad I can barely breathe and hyperventilate (have been hospitalised twice in the past because I need the oxygen and stuff to breathe and the safety of being in hospital to calm me down) Not that anyone actually looks at me, I just get dumped in a bed without pillow or blankets, obviously don't want to make it a good experience. Last time was worse as the couple in the cubicle next door were obviously not very ill either (if you get my drift! - yuk!)

Thankfully things didn't get that bad but I feel totally bruised and worn out, like I've been in a boxing ring with someone big and nasty. Have spent the day in bed, got up to get tea for everyone and am now back off to bed.

Elsies 52 Challenges and DW Colour came in the post today and I haven't even had the energy to look at them yet!

I was really looking forward to going to the Stoke crop tomorrow too, but I don't think I will feel up to the drive as it's a fair way and very country roadish route too.

On the plus side I get out of taking Josh to his swimming club tonight (8-9) as Len will take him instead.

Orange Wednesday

I usually take the kids to the cinema during the holidays on Wednesdays because of the Orange Wednesday 2 for 1 offer (if you have an Orange mobile phone text film to 241, they send a message back containing a voucher number which you show at the cinema counter).

We were just setting out today when Len came home from work early so we managed to take two phones with us so only paying for the 2 out of 4 of us. Quite pleased really. We saw Open Season which was, well, okay, quite a few laughs, but nothing special and I really wouldn't have liked to have paid full price for us all. I was hoping to see Hoodwinked as the previews for that look much better - unfortunately it wasn't showing in Derby today.

It was also haircut day today. We go to a No Appointment place in the Derby Eagle Centre (hence usually combining the trip into town with a visit to the cinema whilst we are passing). Josh has his hair done by this fab chap called Ali. He is wonderful, very friendly and charming (oh and good looking too) He greets you personally when you walk into the salon, shaking Josh's hand and making proper small talk with him whilst he cuts his hair. This is a man of many talents as he is also a dab hand with the cut throat razor and does that eyebrow plucking thing using the threads. It's fascinating to watch him in action.

Both the girls also had a trim. I had to gasp when Mia was returned to me, the girl had using straighteners to get rid of the curls to make it easier to cut. *sob* she looked so grown up. Mia was ecstatic though as it made her hair look longer and more like Chiara's. I should have taken a photo, I know - will have to see how things look in the morning.

I went to my friend Donna's for our usual Wednesday night scrapping session. Well, we talk, drink tea and each chocolate, but we do have a layout out in front of us in between all this. I love escaping one night each week and Donna is a beautiful and caring person. Another friend I would never have known if it wasn't for scrapbooking.

Oh I love going to crop!

It seems ages since the last crop I went to and I do so love going, even if the girls are never very happy at my piffling attempts at a social life for myself.

This weekend I went to Hobby Horse near Derby (this is my most local crop) unfortunately there was no Donna, Jackie or Kathryn (poor Kathryn's car broke down on the way) so my best scrapping buddies were missing. Still got to chat with lots of others though, including some new faces (Kim and Sarah, hiya!) as well as other faves like Lisa, Dani and Claire. I managed to get three pages completed (not bad given I didn't open my crop bag until gone noon).

Isn't this fun?! I love this photo but the coach seat background was very distracting so I cut it out. I'd just received a 3 Bugs paper pack from Scrapkits and however tempting it was to use the pink flowered papers, I felt that the photo stood out better against the green. Added in the MM rub ons, Doodlebug asterisk stickers and a few Papermania crystals. A very different page for me but I really enjoyed myself with it!

The second page was for the challenge, I decided to give it a whirl with 40 minutes to go and just scraped in the time limit! The challenge was to use the diamonds paper and murky orange cardstock (sorry didn't really find either too inspiring). Once I had added in the Autumn Leaves paper, HS chipboard and stamping using the lush stamps from Rhonna Farrer and Danelle Johnson I was pretty pleased with the result. I'd had this photo of Mia printed out onto canvas for a long while and the colours were just perfect.
And finally a quick one using another set of 3 Bugs papers from Scrapkits. I printed out these four photos of my girlies together to save having to try and get them cut and aligned perfectly. Just added a few of the die cuts, buttons and crystals and again my latest stamp finds.
I've uploaded this one onto the gallery at Modern Scrapbooking, they have just rejigged their website and message boards and are running a layout competition to use 3-5 photos at the moment.


I know, I know, been mega naughty not updating my blog. But well there has been yet more crap (ooh am I allowed to say that on my own site?!) in my life, including the broadband company going bust and the replacement dial up connection being totally pants.

However, have got a new broadband connection now. I am with Eclipse internet and I have to say that the speed and ease with which it has all gone has been second to none. Being a total utter technophobe I needed to call tech support to help set up the email but they were very helpful and sorted me out in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately our line can only take 1mb speed max, even that is a huge improvement for us though. I didn't want any bundled packages (we hardly ever use the phone) and can't get a lot of the services (ie sky, cable, talk talk) out here either, so the choices were limited. I was talking to another parent whilst watching Josh at swimming club and he was with Eclipse (at home and work) so given his recommendation I went right along and signed up. All done and dusted within the week too. Oh and they do have a referral programme so if you are thinking of moving I get £30 if you use my referral code of SETORR (like I did for the other parent).


Yes the local school has had three inset days already, so soon after the summer break. Quite nice actually because the weather has been good enough to enjoy being out and about. So we took advantage and went to Conkers on Monday, took a picnic and set off with the sun smiling down on us. It's so different when we go out without Joshua (him and Chiara just fight all the time, it is so wearing all that bickering). I couldn't believe though that we went all that way and the first person we saw was a boy from Chiara's class. Doubly amazing because Conkers isn't that near (50 minutes away by car) and it isn't such a big school either so we are hardly likely to bump into people from a numbers point of view.

We found a little nook on our visit this time we hadn't spotted last year. It was a water feature and Chiara was fascinated with pumping the old fashioned pump to make the water mill go round and move the water through the little set up. Mia took the easier option of sitting on the metal chicken and simply pressing a button to make the water spurt out. They were both enthralled with this and must have spent close onto an hour just playing in this section.

And I've just put the finishing touches to a layout started an age ago at crop. I love this photo of Chiara, it was just a snap taken in the car whilst we were having our picnic on a day trip to Whitepost Farm in the Spring. Junkitz flowerful papers with lots of patterns and letters cut out and some crystals added for extra girly princess sparkle.

More decorating being done at home, we have painted the small spare room and moved Josh in there whilst we decorate his. Have stripped most of the wallpaper today and will go to buy wallpaper and paint tomorrow (two different DIY stores because the paint is on offer in one but that one typically doesn't have the wallpaper). Also spotted in B&Q that they have got their bedroom furniture at 25% off so may buy Josh new wardrobe and stuff. What he has at the moment is really old fashioned white stuff bought when we got married (oh yeah, forgot to mention, like DH forgot, it's our 20th anniversary today, well yesterday). And Josh in years gone by has written on it in permanent marker. We were going to paint it but to be honest it's not worth the hassle with the price the furniture is in the sale for. Plus we can get him a desk to match as his tv/x-box is currently on a manky little old desk bought second hand from the local playgroup for a fiver.


Well I have a fair few I've started over the past month or so, but, as ever, mojo deserted me halfway through them all. Scrapbooking is rather like cross stitching for me - I love the colours and designs and starting out with a blank canvas, then tend to lose interest half way through. So I simply put my pages to one side and mull about them in my mind for a while before coming back with the finishing touches. You see I can get the cardstock, patterned paper and photo down pretty nifty now. But the titling, journalling and embellishing is what takes much more thinking about.

This one is an old photo from when Josh was a lot younger, at the stage in his life where his Dad was his World. It's another one that meets two challenges, the Ali E Challenge #9 on Annie's blog (to use clear buttons) and also the colour challenge for September on Scrap That Moment (I just love those challenges and I am really going to go for getting them all done this month, need to get a move on mind!)

I finally got around to using these KI Memories papers I have had for an age, love all the quotes which I cut out from one of the sheets, Li'l Davis chipboard letters and 7 Gypsies clear buttons (I stamped a heart under the button and on the button for extra depth and sewed on with black thread to match). The wonderful circular text stamps are one of my latest purchases and are designed by Danelle Johnson for Limited Edition. I spied them at the Card Fairy on my last visit and my will power was, well, nil!


For me! Not often I get chance to toot but I want to say the BIGGEST THANK YOU to Mandy Anderson for giving me a great opportunity and inviting me onto the Design Team at Creative Scrapbooking! There is such a great pool of talent publishing in that mag and it is such a massive honour for me.

I am eagerly awaiting the latest edition to hit the shops to I can go out and get myself a copy. Chiara will be mega thrilled too as my project layout in this edition features the princess herself!

I hope that everyone will give the new magazine a go, from what I've seen of the sneak peeks of the projects in the first few issues there are some fab projects to get your creative juices flowing.

And just an apology to people, after the broadband debacle, my dial up connection is now playing silly beggars. Throwing me offline every few moments and giving me such fantastic connection speeds as 9kbps (I kid you not!) so I am not participating in blogs, galleries and forums or so on so much - also I can't seem to comment on any bloggers that have moved over to beta which is a pain in the bum too. So I'm not ignoring everyone deliberately. Honest!

Not firing on all cylinders

Been quiet lately, not doing much browsing, forums, blogs or galleries. The broadband user we had only signed up with last month (and prepaid two years, yes Len's idea, I really should be more strong willed and go with my gut instincts) has gone out of business. So we are £250 out of pocket and broadband-less too. So thankful I was too lazy to cancel our dial up connection. We have to wait until the marker has been taken off our phone line before even ordering from another broadband supplier. Tiscali has the best deal at the moment (or should I avoid them like the plague too?).

Anyhow, we have had to revert to one computer attached to the dial up modem (can't be bothered to shift all the tables and everything again to set up the others) and the speed is a total nightmare since I got used to faster (and we only had a 1mb download before at that) so I'm well cheesed off with all things internet related.

Plus don't know what it is, post summer blues, blues from all the kids being back at school and being stuck at home on my own or what it is, but I'm down in the dumps. Can't put my finger on it, just hope that I get out of it pretty pronto as I'm achieving nothing and not enjoying life at all at the moment.

On a good note, Josh is really settling into High School very well indeed, he is up and dressed before his alarm goes off at 7.30 (before me in fact) and sets off for the bus 10 minutes before he needs to, too! Let's hope this new found enthusiasm for school (which is never had for Primary) continues! I had a few tears as we waved him off at the top of the drive the first morning. And bless my little angel, Mia gave me a hug and said "don't worry Mummy, I'll look after you" (cue more tears!).

Fresh from the Garden

Been having a read of Annie's blog and all her talk of garden produce made me feel guilty. We have a huge garden here and really don't do anything with it much at all. Len drives his little sit on tractor mower over the lawn, we have a bean row and a courgette plant and tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse. And a plum tree and apple trees. But that's it. In the spring we have daffodils and just the few flowers and plants that have resisted all our neglect over the years. Oh and LOTS of trees and (at this time of the year) funghi!

When we first moved here twenty years ago I was full of vim and vigour and we planted so many vegetables. Lots of salad stuff, potatoes, peas, beetroot, onion, carrot (which always failed miserably due to carrot fly regardless of where we planted them) and even some years chilli, pepper and sweetcorn. I also tried to grow artichokes one year. They fruit in the third year and after the second my very helpful father in law hacked the plants up thinking they were huge thistles!

Anyhow, this is the sum of what we grow in our garden now (plus cucumber). Not the greatest pic as I had inadvertently locked the camera on manual focus (not a good idea with my shaky hands).


Two layouts in one set of 24 hours, pretty much getting on for a record for me! Am trying to take on board that not every page has to be a masterpiece and that I don't have to deliberate on the placement of every element for hours on end. So they aren't the best I have ever done, but I like them and I enjoyed doing them.

The first is another combined challenge effort. Off centre placement for the Ali E challenge on Annie's blog (yes - I know - I'm behind) and the second for using a non-scrapbooking product on Scrap That Moment.

This is Mia just learning to feed herself, mashed bananas just going everywhere (except probably in her mouth!) The larger flowers are from a teeny cute notebook I bought in Sainsbury's the other day. The title I printed in outline on the computer and coloured in with some watercolour pencils (bargain £2.99 from WHS sale!)

The second was a quickie (probably one of my quickest ever) for a journalling challenge on Scrap That Moment; to create a to do list.

Mine is a to do list of what I have got to organise ready for Josh starting High School next week. Note there are a fair few boxes still not ticked - eek! I even took the photograph as Josh was sat next to me on the computer and printed it out straight away. I used alcohol inks on both the chipboard letters and acrylic hearts. The journalling is about how excited he is and my hopes that he makes the most of the opportunities to learn and grow whilst at High School.

Out and About

I know I've been very remiss, I've done lots of things and not written about them.

Went away for a couple of days to Yorkshire. Stopped off first at Lightwater Valley. Felt so good to walk past the mile long queue and walk straight into the Birds of Prey centre (yep we are all cowardly custards so fair rides and theme parks are just not our style at all). We were about the only ones looking at the Birds. We had our picnic there, an ice-cream, watched the display (which was really good and the baby vultures were so funny) and then paid extra for the kids to have their photos taken holding the birds. Josh held Wingnut the Eagle Owl and Chiara and Mia both held Poppet the Kestrel.


I got piccies from there (you had to pay £3.85 each for the privilege of holding the bird and you got a piccie in with it) I took more piccies myself obviously but the ones from the centre are actually quite good (will have to scan them in another time).

Then it was onto Harrogate where we had tea then met up with Clare, Pete and Tom, they had been exploring earlier and took us to the fabulous valley gardens. The light was quite poor by then so no photos.

Next day we went to Art from the Heart (yum yum yum) and I spent too much money. But seeing all that lush stuff it is so hard to resist. Then into Ripon for Fish and Chips, onto Brymor Ice Cream Farm and finally Forbidden Corner. I took quite a few piccies but no-one really stood still long enough so most came out too blurred :( Josh enjoyed it more than I expected, Chiara got soaked by an unexpected water spray (drama queen moment) and Mia was spooked silly by the underground section so we had to miss some bits of the exploration out. We said goodbye much too soon to Clare et al. Mia was mightily taken with Tom btw!

We drove onto Brighouse were we spent the night then on to Eureka science museum for kids in Halifax the next day. This is a great place to spend the day. However Josh (11) was really a bit old for the displays and the adult - child ratio really could have done with upping a bit as I kept losing one or the other as they dashed around in between all the interactive displays. I would say this is a great place to go for younger children, Mia and Chiara thought it was fab (5 and 7).

Whilst there I picked up some discount vouchers for 2 for 1 entries to some of Yorkshire's main attractions. Magna in Rotherham looks fantastic and we will definitely be going there. The others included in the offer are The Deep, XScape, Jorvik, National Museum of Photography, Thackray Museum, Royal Armouries, Herriott centre, Harewood House and Magna. I have some of these vouchers spare. If you want a couple posting out just let me know! (details of these places can be found on

Ba Humbug - the layout that didn't want to be done!

Been having real trouble getting onto blogger and uploading pics, then just posting what I had got ready was a job that got pushed to the bottom of the pile. So really this is all about last Saturday!

Had another great time at the Stoke crop, nice to meet up again with Kathryn, Fran and Bevsie and the others (Happy Birthday wishes to Chris – thanks for the muffins!). And thanks to Julie for giving me a lush piece of BG cardstock to go with a layout I started there.

I re-did the layout for the BG sketch challenge. Very peeved because the Making Memories velvet stickers just would not budge and obviously I had used all the appropriate words on the layout I was ditching. I started using the BG letter stickers to match the paper but then the didn’t show up well against the pattern so I splodged paint over them and removed the stickers to show the negative space underneath and outlined in pen for definition. And this layout really was destined to trouble me. Started my journaling on the photo and the pen packed up part way through and had no other pen which matched the writing. Thanks to Kathryn’s suggestion, I sandpapered the old writing off and started again. Unfortunately the second pen had a more bold tip and I couldn’t fit all the journaling on. Luckily adding in another sticker word IF joined the top part and the bottom part together just fine. The stamp at the top right hand corner is a Heidi Swapp one stamped in paint, then gold versamark and finally chalked over. And I raided my button box again. I’m chuffed to have rediscovered a love for adding buttons to my layouts. I have hundreds so this is no bad thing. The letter stickers on the photo are by Creative Imaginations and were part of my fabby pizza box bargain at Scrapaganza in May.

I’m attributing this layout to several challenges (is this cheating too much, surely I’m not the only one to do this?) UKS August Week 2 challenge (minus the numberplate title and mini book), Scrap That Moment bi weekly challenge (to use label holders), and the BG August sketch.
I did have lots more to say at the time, but the news is old hat now so will just start afresh tomorrow!

Not so productive few days

Okay finally got this place to accept the photo of my altered canvas board I did last weekend again (see my post further down). I really had fun doing this so thanks to Clare for the great instructions on how to achieve the effects. Sorry for the big circle instead of the face, but needs must!

Been very lazy this week. I have done a layout but made a hash of things by adding in some penwork (should have known better!) I used the free Blitzen papers from The Scrapbook Magazine and they are just perfect for the page. Unfortunately I have decided I can't live with it how it is so am going to re-do it at crop tomorrow. I don't have these papers left so am going to give it a whirl using BG Skate Shoppe instead; a pity because the little bits of red in the Blitzen really worked well with the photo. I've based the page on the sketch from the BG newsletter for August and also the latest weekly challenge on UK Scrappers. Have managed to get some label holders in there too, to meet a challenge on Scrap That Moment. So three challenges in one layout. Hopefully I will be uploading it tomorrow after crop!

I've taken the kids to the cinema twice this week. First time it was Josh and his friend to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Great special effects but I wasn't as wowed as I expected to be (though the boys were) and as I get seasick I had to cover my eyes a few times just to stop motion sickness from setting in (really!).

Second time I took all three, plus Josh's friend again (who was on sleepover) to watch Monster House (Orange Wednesday again). Poor Mia was really scared so she was on my knee all the time. I think this was more scary than POTC2. I hadn't realised that PG meant an age suitability rating of 8 as a guideline! I was worried my girlies would have nightmares, but thankfully not.

And today we have trawled around Derby searching for curtains for Chiara's new bedroom. An absolute nightmare. Just where do you go to buy curtains nowadays? I think we may have to resort to some from Next though, typically, they have to be put on special order. Same with the bedroom furniture from Homebase. Oh but I did manage to buy the bathroom fitments for the bathroom in the new extension, in the Debenhams sale, plus a lovely new towel for Josh's swimming lessons (original price £14, sale £4.20!).

Off to crop at Stoke tomorrow, looking forward to meeting my lovely friend Kathryn and the others there again.

Tagged by Soojay

Tagged by Soojay (sorry I forgot!)

1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be?
In our garden. bleeping fed up of being turned down for planning and it really would help us no end financially (plus we would be in catchment for the local school!)

2. What's your favourite article of clothing?
Erm .... anything that fits?

3. Favourite physical feature of the opposite sex?
Strong shoulders.

4. What's the last CD that you bought?
Oh heck, I'm stuck in a timewarp musicwise. A compilation rock album *More than a Feeling* bought because I couldn't find another one with one of my fave tracks on - (Don't Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. (now wondering what that says about me!)

5. Where's your favourite place to be?
Right here at home, in peace and quiet with the kids tucked up safely in bed (says she with them still running riot upstairs, but you get my meaning!)

6. Where's your least favourite place to be?
Anywhere too hot with mosquitoes.

7. What's your favourite place to be massaged?
My head. I just love getting shampoo'ed at the hairdressers. And my girlies are always brushing and playing with my hair - heaven!

8. Strong in mind or strong in body?
Either is negligible lol but I guess mind wins the toss.

9. What time do you wake up in the morning?
As late as possible to get the kids to school before having to sign the *late comers* register.

10. What is your favourite Kitchen appliance?
Freezer - for all the Hagen Daaz and Ben & Jerry's :D

11. What makes you really angry?
People who can't accept responsibility for their wrong doings - and never say sorry.
And the cats climbing all over my stash (okay so I should put it away, but still ...)

12. If you could play an instrument what would it be?
Anything that doesn't need me to read music.

13. Favourite colour?
Green..every shade (ditto Sue)

14. Sports car or SUV?
SUV i need space for the shopping (ditto Sue)

15. Do you believe in an afterlife?
I try to.

16. Favourite children's book?
Hairy McLarey series

17. What's your favourite season?
Spring. New growth, new lives, daffodils in the garden.

18. What is your least favourite household chore?
Cleaning the toilets.

19. If you could have one super-power, what would it be?
To eradicate debt.

20. If you have a tattoo what is it?
Nooooooo ... having my ears pierced was as much pain as I can take!

21. Can you juggle?
Nope - I fail miserably.

22. The one person from your past that you wish you could go back and talk to?
My Nana, to say sorry.

23. What's your favourite day?
Saturday - when it's a crop day.

24. What's in the boot of your car?
A map (I hope otherwise I've lost it).

25. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?
Hamburger (if needs must)

I shall tag :
(in alphabetical order!)

Post Cyber Crop Exhaustion!

Phew! I'm all scrapped out! Had a fab time cyber cropping this weekend, many thanks to the hostesses and the girls who created the class projects too. Not done them all YET but have had a crack at most of them. I spent far too long on my altered frame project but I was enjoying myself so much!
And talking about this fits in nicely with Kara's blog challenge to talk about a new product. Well this was created using decopatch papers (which I bought from The Card Fairy but they aren't on their website). This is a 15x9" frame from the charity shop, originally painted silver. I sanded, applied the torn up decopatch papers with modge podge then painted over with gold paint to tone down the original cerise colour of the tissue. Lots of stamping with Stazon (I really didn't think I had so many stamps to choose from!), then embellished with Chipboard letters (Rusty Pickle and Heidi Swapp) which had been painted burgundy then gold (letters left gold, the C and scroll were swiped with red stazon for contrast), a bit of organza ribbon and some flowers. The inside of the frame is some Junkitz patterned paper with swirls stamped in Versamark and chalked over. And there is me and Len on our wedding day - twenty years ago come next month!

The Decopatch papers are so incredibly pretty and really easy to work with. They are a surprisingly strong tissue paper and come in so many different patterns. You can get special glues but my Modge Podge seemed to work just fine. I am definitely going shopping for more of these and perhaps some more mdf blanks to tart up too!

Oh and I won a prize at the cybercrop for this frame, which I'm pretty chuffed about, some lovely artists trading card products, courtesey of the Crafteire event organisers (many many thanks!)

Whilst I had all the messy stuff out I also had a go at Clare's altered canvas class. I loved the painting and stamping and created a photo canvas board (from Poundland) in girly colours. I have blanked out the face of Chiara's friend as she is in long term foster care - the courts have passed her for adoption so she will be moving away some time. Chiara will find this really hard as her last close friend emigrated to New Zealand. This board is to give to the friend and I shall make another one with more purples in it to match the colours in Chiara's new bedroom. (sigh, can't get any more images loaded on blogger so will try another time).

Cyber Crop Classes

More cyber cropping today. Should really be getting more done that I am, but I'm on a real go slow and there isn't any pressure anyhow. Some gorgeous classes to copy and fun challenges to take part in. My two pages today are classes by Debbie and Lousette.

I'm challenging myself to try and get some of my older photos scrapped. You know the ones - the not so good ones in the time BDS (before discovered scrapbooking). The first is Mia dreaming away at Nana's. I used BG Blitzen (free from The Scrapbook Magazine) and the background is from the Oh Boy range. 'Gift' is HS chipboard letters painted and gold rub-ons applied.

The second is making light at my frustration at having very few photos of Josh. He really doesn't like having his photo taken and those I do get he is usually trying to hide or pull a face. This photo is another one from our day out at Bakewell. Lots of thank yous for this page, Peppery Katie, Anam and Lins, for all my lovely presents :)

I've been very messy as well; I'm covered in ink, paint and modge podge. It's been ages since I just played with stuff like this and I've had such fun with it. Am hoping to finish my altered project tomorrow, we shall see!

Woo Hoo I love Cyber Crops!

Cyber cropping this weekend. I should really be able to do layouts quicker if I am only copying, right? Hmm, well not always. Especially late at night when my brain is halfway to dreamland.
Anyhow I started off with an absolutely gorgeous class by Karen (will come back with blog link!) it was done the 8.5x11 size so it was tweaked a wee bit (but not by much). My photo was even the same theme and matched the same range of papers! Just changed a few details but it is still obviously Karen's fab design, thanks Karen :) The photo of Mia was taken the other day on our trip to Bakewell.

And we were off to McArthur Glen again. The other day, eagle eyed Chiara spotted a poster advertising Paddington Bear as the special guest today. So we tootled along just to go and say hello to Master Bear! The girls had their faces painted, Chiara as a Fairy Princess and Mia as a butterfly. Mia had a strop about something or nothing (still none the wiser) and went and washed her face before I could take a picture. Here is Chiara though, not the best of shots (needed flash and it's a bit glaring) - she looks so weird and definitely much too grown up! She loved it though - especially the vampish lippy!

Okay just a quickie to add in some piccies from the last few days.

Going to start with the handmade pressies I received. The book from Kathryn is larger than a cheque book and each page covers one of the letters for my name (haha at the Z!) with lots of positive affirmations in it (ideal for when I am down, I know I will treasure it for years to come as I have another friendship book from Clare from a couple of years ago and I still love looking at that one too).

Then look what I got in the post this morning from Clare Wow! I know that she took the time and trouble to make it to my favourite colours. And the slide mailer has the most wonderful inked and stamps glass plates inside. Clare thank you so very much. (and also the flowers and ribbon, you know me too well!)

Plus I forgot to mention about my bargain yesterday from the Next outlet store at McArthur Glen shopping outlet on the M1 J28 (about 20 minutes from home). All the kids sale stuff was £2 per item and all accessories only 50p each! Sod's law though that most stuff wasn't in the sizes we needed (so no clothes for Mia or Josh, pity).

Quick list, fluffy collar cardigan, denim skirt with belt, velvet crinkle skirt with divine beaded waist trim, two winter hats, sequinned belt, diamonte buckle belt, two pairs party tights, one heart necklace, three swim/pe bags - full retail value over £90, MINE FOR £11 Oh I do so love a bargain :D

And I only need two of the pe bags. They are waterproof and feature mini mouse and sequins and are really cute. Anyone want one? First to say I DO gets a pressie for their little girlie!

I've got a couple from Bakewell too but Blogger is being silly with uploading the photos again. Does anyone else have this problem. I upload them, it says done, then ......... nothing ........ nowhere!
Well here I am - on broadband. I was yelling hooray earlier only for the connection to keep losing which I'm not happy about and will be onto the isp tomorrow. I have now, however, figured how to reconnect. Oh and there is a file missing from the second computer so I can't get the wireless adapter to work. I have to download some file and copy it over. A job for tomorrow I think (yes I AM a dreadful procrastinator).

Anyhow, BIG thanks to everyone for their warm wishes for my birthday yesterday (and lush presents to boot). I had a really lovely friendship book from Kathryn which I am certainly going to treasure, it made me feel so special (thanks Kathryn) plus some fab stamps and other stuff from Frances, yummy punctuation stamps and Maya Road chipboard from Donna, Chatterbox and HS embellies from Peppery Katie (my birthday swappee) and not forgotting my extra extra early and yummy pressie from Dawn (a Karen Foster tote no less). I love the good friends I have found through scrapbooking.

We (myself, Josh and Mia, seeing as Chiara was on a sleepover) braved the bus for a trip out to Bakewell yesterday (the car was in the garage). Suffice to say I now know why I won't relinquish my car. It was 15 minutes late going plus standing room only for most of the way and coming back it was 40 minutes late! We had a lovely day though, feeding the fish and ducks, at the park and eating ice-cream. Finished the day (the three of us again, Len wouldn't miss his football/pub night for me now would he?) watching Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD, cuddling, eating choccie cheesecake and downing a few port a lemons. Idyllic really :D

Been out today and spent the money from my parents/inlaws on a lovely pair of earrings and then took the kids to watch Over the Hedge. It was better than I was expecting, but Josh was a bit disgruntled as he wanted to see Pirates 2 - the showing times were way out though for us to accommodate both. Will try to encourage inlaws to invite the girls over for a couple of days next week so that I can take Josh to see Pirates just the two of us (Mia is such a scaredy cat, she just about managed Pirates 1 at home but the cinema would be a totally different matter).

Oh and big note to me to remember Orange Wednesday more often! Four of us for a few pennies over a tenner!
Well am trying again. I could NO WAY yesterday get this place to upload more than one photo and I wanted to get two on. So going to give it another go.

Had a real lazy day yesterday. Finished off a layout from the crop on Saturday and made a birthday card for a party Mia has been to plus another for my MIL whose birthday was yesterday. We went out for a meal to give her a rest from the usual gorgeous Sunday dinners she usually makes for us all each week. It's a double celebratory meal cos it's my birthday Tuesday. Not that I will be doing anything tomorrow as Len very inconveniently booked the car into the garage so we have to get up early and get the car in then walk back. Chiara is staying at a friends too and having her very first non family sleepover out. To say she is excited is somewhat of an understatement!

Anyway, back to Saturday. Had such a lovely time at crop - I'm really glad I made the effort. And thanks Jackie for providing the lift to the supermarket to get lunch, even if we did have to twist each others' arms to get the profiteroles :D

I did the Ali Edwards pp challenge from Annie's blog - actually started AND finished it in the day. Not quite random as I stupidly forgot the random papers and left them at home so I had to work with papers I had in my crop bag.

Those little stamps around the border are some stem stamps from My Sentiments Exactly. Aren't they gorgeous? They've got little phrases, the ones I used on here say 'you make each day sweeter', 'you are quite special to me' and 'follow your dreams and passions'.

There are another couple of sayings too, plus some flowers and leaves to match. I guess they are meant for card makers really, but I couldn't resist them.

I'm so in love with them I used them on the Easter Egg Hunt layout too! That features some more lush papers, this time from Heidi Grace. The darker pink is embossed and catches the light with beautiful, soft, shimmery kaleidescopic colours. Just perfect for a girly girl page.
Oh well, insert as many bleeping ***************'s as you figure suitable regarding Broadband. Suffice to say I'm still on dial-up!

Spent a couple of hours changing all the cables and stuff over (no mean feat as just getting to the back of the computers in here is a major job in itself) for the connection not to be recognised. Went and picked up a second hand monitor for the kids pc only to find out that one of Mia's friends' Dad is a computer geek so he came over to check it out. Three hours and two modems later we are back to dial up. Tried the technical helpline at 6.30 to find out it closes 5.30 - the guy thinks there is a problem with either username or password. So I am not best pleased, least of all because I have to start all over again next week.

Have got a crop to escape to tomorrow (yeah!) at Hobby Horse in Elvaston. Was considering not going until I realised the kids' social life was so more exciting than mine, so am going to make the effort after all. And perhaps I may even organise a project this time (but please don't bet on it).

I'm wondering if my deflated ego where computers are concerned can stand another battering - I think I need to figure how to start adding to the links on here and actually get some piccies up!
I am filled with trepidation (well scared stupid actually). I am a real technophobe, I can do the basics with my computer and nothing more. Well time has come now to try and get the broadband set up AND the computers networked together.

I have the Belkin modem/wireless router and the two adapter bits for the pcs plus the email from Euronet.

Just trying to pluck up courage to figure out what to do now.

I must just do it. Not having Broadband is a real pain as there are three of us fighting over the internet connection.

Also I will then be able to upload my photos to photobucket much easier and create one of those super duper slide shows of my layouts.

Wish me luck .........
A bit of a mixed bag today.

We made jelly and playdough today. I'm such a cheapskate, but homemade playdough is so easy to make, I will post the recipe tomorrow. The one thing I miss though is the smell of the real stuff. I always mean to add some vanilla or almond flavouring into the mix, but it's always too late by the time I remember. The jelly went down well at lunchtime, served with trifle sponge, ice-cream, spray cream, grapes, strawberry and chocolate sauce. Yum :)

I love the village school but it causes real headaches in the summer holidays - the children have few friends because of the small class sizes (for example there are just three girls and two boys in Chiara's year) and hooking up with them during the break is a logistical nightmare. Some have working parents so are not around anyhow (being at grandparents, holiday clubs and so on) plus mix in that their own holidays and, well, the kids have done well with each others' company for the first week but now they are craving to see their friends again.

We managed to have two of Josh's friends around today, he is off to the cinema tomorrow with another friend and Mia is also visiting a friend tomorrow. But Chiara is having a real crisis. Not helped by the fact that she doesn't want people to come here, she wants to go visiting other people. I tried explaining that it wasn't good manners to ring up and invite yourself over, but she just couldn't get it. Thankfully Len was home early from work today so I made good my escape, a mini trip to Derby. I bought three t-shirts, a copy of Scrapbook Answers, then spent an hour with a coffee reading the same in peace and quiet. Bliss!
Well I had a lovely day at the Stoke crop again today - many thanks Kathryn, for being you and for bringing chocolate cake, scrummy! I set myself the task of completing a couple of unfinished layouts before starting on a new page (which I also completed). I've not cleared my desk to make space to take photos of them yet - will do that tomorrow - and then learn how to add images to my posts. Apparently it's easy peasy (according to Kathryn and if she can do it anyone can :) ).

We received the modem in the post today ready to set up broadband. I bought a wireless thingymebob in PC World the other day too, together with the adaptor bits for each of the computers. The chap in there said it may be best to set up the broadband initially with the moden the ISP supplied then changeover afterwards. Does this sound like good advice to you? I'm full of trepidation as the cables behind our pc's scare me - there are so many - but I have learned my lesson over the years and got most of the things labelled up as to what bit of what machine each cable belongs to (same with the tv sky video set up). No chance of DH helping out as he is even more of a technophobe than I am! We have signed up with Euronet (on recommendation from a friend) so just waiting for the switch to be flicked and then I have got to start figuring it all out at our end. We have only chosen the £10/month 1Mb speed option, but it is unlimited useage. I figure that since we are so used to the diabolical slowness of ... wait for it ..... 45kbps, even 1mb will seem incredible. Also that if push came to shove we should be able to upgrade at a later date.

I've been musing over what links to add in to my blog too so my next task is to figure out the sidebar bit on here and gather all the link information to post up. I'm intending to head to bed before 2am today so that is something I'm going to sort out another time.

I'm glad to report that the rain has eventually got to us and the air has cooled somewhat, so I'm hoping that means I will sleep better tonight.
Oops forgot about the blog already and it's only two days after I created my first post! Not really helped by the fact that I had a lovely long lie in (oh the joys of school holidays) and then couldn't prise Josh off his online game.

Ended up doing a bit of crafting with Chiara and Mia, who enjoyed a blissful session of cutting and sticking as they each covered a little notebook. Chiara has decided to use hers to create a Summer Holiday diary. Hmm, will have to think of some interesting things to do in the absence of a holiday away this year. Highlights of the week so far apparently are choosing a carpet for her new bedroom and the discovery of a caterpillar in the garden.

Spent some time doing boring housewifely stuff. But at least Len noticed when he came home from work. Hardly surprising since you can now SEE the carpet in the office/craft room (everything off the floor is now piled on the table), including being able to see the colour of the carpet as I managed to get the hoover around the room without a stray brad or other embellishment causing the power to cut out.

2.00 am again. I really need to start getting to bed earlier. Well off to carry out my normal Thursday night (okay well Friday morning) routine of doing the wages, putting the washer on and feeding the cats.

Oh meant to say, thanks to Clare for providing a great tutorial on getting a new header onto the blog. I chose a photo of a bowl of cherries (heavily cropped) as a nod to the scrapbooking online user id I use of Fruitysuet. This was one of the photos for my entry into the Worldwin photo competition over on Scrap That Moment (next job - learn how to do links!). I was chuffed to bits to win the comp and the lovely Lynnette is sorting me out my prize courtesey of Worldwin.
Well I've taken the plunge. A blog. Not sure I will know what to write or how often I will keep it updated.

And firstly I have to learn how to set it up. No mean feat for someone so technologically challenged as myself.

2.16 am isn't really the best time to be doing this though, so I will get myself off to bed and come back refreshed to see if I can do something more interesting to this page. Failing that I will have to yell for help from some more knowledgeable friendly bloggers!