Back to Square One

The new blogger templates were getting me really frustrated, I couldn't figure where to put in normal html coding (mind I am ni expert) all those bleeping stupid widgety bits were confusing the hell out of me!

So most of the day wasted, but you live and learn! And, as the saying goes, the grass ISN'T always greener on the other side :D

This is temporary

I'm playing about with templates.
Can't make up my mind for the classic look (love the brown and cream) or whether to go chic and pretty.
Hmmm will be thinking on this for a while!
Also got to find out how to put a banner and stat counter back in.

Gah, Life (well Cars mainly!)

My car costs so much to run, I often think it would be cheaper to get taxis everywhere (just not as convenient) and don't even start me on the lack of public transport through the village.

Before Christmas I bashed my wing mirror, Len has a quote to get it replaced, £275, however hopefully it will be much cheaper as I told him we don't need the electrical component as all the remote moving functions are working on it still. It's £35+VAT just to spray the blooming casing black!

Clutch - on it's way out - doubtless due to the two seasons we ran an enormous 22' caravan - we have a VERY steep drive out onto the A6, so the stress on just getting it on the road was pretty high on the car. Original quote from Seat Garage was £365. Derby Clutch Centre are doing it tomorrow for £260.

Exhaust is blowing horrendously. Still have to take it in somewhere to get a quote. I daren't think.

Insurance is due for renewal in the next couple of months. Last year I paid around £900 (I had two accidents in one week, both my fault completely but it totally zero'ed my no claims discount, I had no claims protection but apparently it only worked if you had one at fault claim in the year and certainly not two in a week!).

And Chiara is off sick again, I'd only just got her back to school last week. I'm quite worried, she's had a bad headache all weekend and nothing seemed to shift it. I've confined her bed today (much easier when there are no other kids around to disturb her) I really hope it helps. It sounded a bit like migraine to me (concentrated over one eye, light and noise hurt) I didn't think kids got migraine so young.

Thanks to everyone for your congrats and kind thoughts on my previous post, you all made me feel like having a big giant squishy hug :)

Speshal Blog Dare Week #38

Like I said earlier, I am so excited! I have been invited onto the DT over at the Speshal Dares blog. I have joined a lot of my fave UK Scrappers over there, such a talented, inspiring AND friendly bunch of girls. Thanks so much, it means a lot (especially after the demise of the mag Creative Scrapbooking).

The theme for this week was the Kitchen.

Now,I’m not very domesticated and I’m not the sort who goes all ga-ga over the latest must-have gadget – cheap and cheerful for me – so long as it does the job! I used to love cooking, pre-kid days, but since all three have learned to say ‘NO!’ to different foods, getting a meal together that all five of us will eat in (almost) totality, is incredibly hard. One of the few is a good traditional roast dinner. I totally fail at roast beef so we mainly stick to lamb or chicken, occasionally with a wonderful ham thrown into the mix. Regardless of what meat we have though, the kids insist on having Yorkshire Puddings to accompany. You know. Simple recipe. Nothing to it. A cinch. Not me!

So I decided to take a light-hearted approach to this week’s theme and created a layout, complete with journaling in the form of a letter to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s column in a newspaper supplement.

The journaling is a central part to this page so I have copied and pasted it below:

Dear Jamie

Help me please! I am a desperate woman! I am 42 and can still not make Yorkshire Puddings.

I have resorted to shop bought ones over the last few years, but, recently, empty shelves and insistent kids, meant I tried to make my own yet again. I have followed the recipe in my Be-Ro book to the letter and yet mine still come out of the oven all flat and sad and undercooked on the inside, even though they are a lovely golden brown on the outside.

Is there any salvation for me after all this time, or should I revert to buying them from Sainsbury’s?

Products and Techniques:

Cardstock, Paper Adventures Two Toned (blue) and Bazzill (brown and cream)
Patterned Cardstock, SEI, Winnie’s Walls collection
Patterned Paper, Making Memories, ledger collection
Phrase Stickers, Making Memories
Letter Stickers, American Crafts, Boxer Industries, Doodlebug
Chipboard Letter, Heidi Swapp
Ribbon, All My Memories
Stamp, Rhonna Farrer for Autumn Leaves
Ink, Stazon and Colorbox
Paint, Making Memories
Buttons, brads and flower, various

I used my circle cutter to make an off-centred circle frame, decorative scalloped edge scissors to shape around and finally my faithful hammer and hole punch to create all those holes. The over-sized bracket was handcut from chipboard, painted, sanded slightly then raised on foam pads. Just a couple of flowers were handcut from patterned paper and the edges defined with a journaling pen. And of course, no layout of mine at the moment is complete without the odd button scattered around!

The tag behind the photo gives the Yorkshire Pudding recipe on one side and, on the other, a bit of information on Jamie Oliver.

I had such fun with this theme; it's definitely not something I would have thought about commemorating without the challenge - so roll up your sleeves, put on your pinny (crafting one, of course) and cook up something yourself (groan at the pun, sorry, but it was just begging to be made :D)

Tonight's the Night ....

I'm so excited ..... check back later!

Decided it's time to share ....

Chriss Coleman's place on the web. It's called sheepspace (she has a love for sheep, surprisingly enough!).

If you are at all interested in scrapbooking, altered art, textiles and/or photography, you need to add this site to your favourites. I don't believe there is anything Chriss can't do, do wonderfully and she is such a perfectionist too. Click on the tabs at the top of the site to go and view her amazing work in all of these artistic fields.

I was introduced to Chriss's work when I joined the US Forum Scrap That Moment (Chriss is an American living in the UK). BTW they have a great gallery over there AND are Lynette and her team have been working hard on launching Scrappy Chick stuff at CHA. I can't wait to see what they have produced (and more importantly, if someone is going to be bringing it over here for us!)

A couple more ...

digi pages.

I quite like the Christmas tree one, but not as happy with the other one. I think what I wanted to achieve I couldn't because of my lack of skill.

The one thing I'm not too good at is remember what supplies are from where! With paper supplies I can just look at the page and know what manufacturer made what item. With these I have got to go trawling through my hard drive at the digital kits to find out!

Credits 'Oh Christmas Tree': everything from Shabby Princess Holiday Magic kit, except the frosted overlay and the metal rimmed tag, from Kirsty Wiseman Jack Frost kit.

HOWEVER, I've been wanting to scrap this rare photo of me as a baby with my parents for a while and not known where to start .... well this is now my starting point! I got bits and pieces from a few places, will see if I can try and remember then all!

Papers, tag, twill, staple, pin, eyelet, notepaper - Andrea Designs
Childood overlay and photo/paper edge overlays (manipulated colours) - Tina Chambers
Torn edge corner - Rebecca Myers
swirly corner and flowers - Digital Scrapbook Place team
I really can't remember where the brads are from!

I played lots with this on opacity, layers, rotating, shadows, manipulating colours and erasing unwanted portions of elements (the swirl corner was originally a swirl frame but I only wanted a corner and the only way I could figure to only get the corner was to use the eraser to get rid of the rest).

Just realised I've missed another couple of my digi creations off! This one was done for a weekly challenge on UK Scrappers (include title of an Elvis song, circles, erm can't remember what else!) Piccies of Josh's Beyblade phase a couple of years ago. How young does he look? And I have to laugh - we used the wok as a standby stadium before a stadium was bought for him! Credits to Digital Design Essentials (Lucky Star kit). I created a transparency effect by putting an inked overlay down and adding a shadow to the overlay and text and putting a couple of staples to 'attach'.

And this one is a quickie cos I fancied having a play late one night. Our house looking a bit prettier thanks to some snow. Not often that any snow we get stays, so it's worthwhile recording! Everything from the Frozen Slush kit from Peppermint Creative.
And finally, let's have an 'Ooooooh'! I've just downloaded a wonderful new free kit to play with, courtesy of the very talented and generous Kirsty and Katie! These are just perfect for some piccies I have from a couple of years ago - from Mia's 'snail phase'! And just check out those funky cool arrows and matching elements from Katie! must download these now too! Thanks girls for sharing your creativity!

Wishful Thinking ....

It's coming up to *that* time again this year - Scrapaganza should be opening up for registrations in the next few weeks. I went last year as there were quite a few Scottish girls going that I really wanted to meet (Dawn, Irene, Elfin, Frances) plus a jaunt over to Holland sounded a great idea!

I was really apprehensive about flying out on my own - well actually getting to the airport on time in the morning - and being in the hugeness that is Schipol Airport on my own was quite overwhelming. That's where the fabulous Irene came in! She meeted and greeted me at the airport and took me under her wing. And coming back I had just as nice a person looking after me - another Suzanne (there were quite a few of us from different countries attending SAGA, I'd never known so many!). Suzanne is an American in the UK and has her own supplies shop. She was utterly fabulous and made the time in Schipol on the return journey absolutely fly by! Plus another HUGE thanks to - yet another - Suzanne. Suzanne had gone across with her DH and DD on the ferry and, generous spirit that she is, bought back all my shopping and classes stuff to save me going overweight on the (measly) baggage allowance. Not only that, but then she came out of her way to bring it all back up home to me. Suzanne you are a wonderful person and I truly can't wait to meet up with you again at half term. Josh is also mega excited to be meeting Ben!

I had a wonderful time, the classes and quality of kits were, for the most part, excellent (or at least excellent value for money). There were a couple of disappointments but overall, it's definitely somewhere I want to go back to. The classes and teachers were great, it was a lovely hotel, fabulous value for money and it was wonderful meeting up with scrappers from other countries too. Just this year isn't the year; we didn't have a family holiday last year and I spent so long wracked with guilt that I had a jaunt away on my own.

If you want to know more, the lovely Dawn has set up a little bloggeroony space which gives information on last years' event (the information for this year isn't available yet) together with some peeks into the kits and classes that were available.

Dawn I hope you have a fabulous time again (as doubtless you will) and I really must start saving ready for 2008!

Lucky Escape!

Our house is surrounded by trees, some of them very tall, all very established.

The last tree planted (apart from fruit) was an eucalyptus we put in when we moved here in 1988. It was at least 50' high now.

Josh has just come home from school and pointed out that it's been trashed.

Very, very thankfully, it has blown down the garden. Had it not, then our house would have been in the way!

Sorry for blurry pic, but I was shaking and it has gone quite dark so had to go onto night mode. Will try to get better pic tomorrow when it is light.

Some of the glass has also been blown out of the greenhouse so that is a job for tomorrow too, picking up all the pieces.

Oh .......... Blogger is doing it's usual and not uploading piccies, so will try later.

Frustrated of Derbyshire


The saga continues.

We now cannot get internet connection unless the phone is plugged in but off the hook. Plus we are on the slowest internet speed possible for broadband because we are the end of the line (and a long way from the exchange).

And for the past few days it was worse than when we were on dial up (and we only got 45kbps then) AND it would not let me upload anything anywhere.

After ages with the Eclipse tech support (who are stumped and their system wouldn't let them test our line for some reason) we were told to try it without the phone or fax plugged in at all and also to buy new filters and try them (luckily already had two new filters in packets). Did think last night we had cracked it as the internet stayed on with the new filters whilst the fax and phone were plugged in and the handset on the receiver.

Get up this morning to find telephone line and internet connection no longer recognised (by router). Have had to take phone off hook in order to get the internet back on. So no-one can phone or fax whilst we are online.

Like I say, what's the point of paying for Broadband?

Back to ring Eclipse and see what they say.

Oh yes got BT to test the line again last night (like we did before Christmas) and they are determined there isn't a fault with our line. They are however willing to send an engineer our for £120 plus VAT call out feel plus whatever (£60 plus per hour engineer time).

Hmmm, enticing?

More Digi

Okay I'll never be an expert and it isn't changing my scrapping style (I just seem to be doing the same as I would with paper but on the computer, I still can't do the clean and graphic or doodley and funky stuff, still patterns and layering all the way!) but it is fun and with each page I learn a little bit new.

This page is a copy of a paper page I did at crop last week but since which the cat has ruined by walking over with wet and muddy paws!
It's using the second kit from Kirsty, I love how the pinks toned so nicely with the purples (purple is Mia's fave colour so I tend to use it quite a lot for pages which feature her).
On this one I discovered how to use and fill basic shapes and to create a textured canvas look for the 'cardstock'.
The next one I actually used a paid for kit - Cuddlebug from Shabby Princess. I just loved the slightly distressed feel and the lovely boy colours.
I learned how to crop the papers rather than just stretching or reducing once they were on the canvas (this distorts the patterns), also how to crop the stitched felt label and then layer and group a number of them to make longer labels (again just resizing using the handles distorted the stitching).
Also I created the rectangle frame (though I have to say I can't quite remember how I got the middle bit to disappear and the elements from behind to show through, so will have to play with that again!). Oh yes, I figured how to create a pattern from the papers to use to block fill shapes with a pattern rather than a solid colour and how to vary the opacity (the large circle and the buttons were done that way) and also how to recolour elements using block fill (the photo corner and doodley bit at the bottom were originally brown). Also played with using the different layer styles on the text to give it a more shabby look (the times part of the title).
I still have my paper page started Wednesday night still 90% complete, I just need to finish off the title and add a few more buttons and flowers. I really must get it done and put into an album before it's another that gets wrecked by muddy paws!

Going Digi!

Long time no post, I know I have been very neglectful of my blog. But such is life and sometimes life comes first!

But anyhow, I have surprised myself. At the Stoke crop before Christmas, Fran very kindly brought along her laptop and gave whoever wanted a quick tutorial on digi scrapping. I opted for Photoshop Elements because I have an old version of that here at home that came with a (long gone) digital camera. Well I seemed to get on okay, but then you do when you are with someone who knows what they are doing, don't you?
Fast forward .... and the lovely Kirsty has been learning the ropes too and *whoosh* has only gone and made her first kit. I've been missing a bit of creative mojo recently (not helped by feeling very lazy and not wanting to clear up the horrendous mess I make after every crop session) so I gave Kirsty's kit a whirl. Now my first attempt is on Kirsty's blog and it isn't very good, not helped by the fact that the journalling doesn't make sense but I didn't realise until I had flattened the page and saved it. But I have now done three more digital pages, yes three more, and all within a day (well day and very late night) but I did go around to Donna's and have almost completed a paper page too within that time! It's very freeing to not be cutting into precious paid for sheets of paper and I like that freedom. Plus, like I said, I'm very lazy, so am more than taken with the idea that there is no mess to clear up afterwards! I can see that I may well be scraplifting my digi pages to create them IRL, albeit using the paper stash I have rather than printing out the digi patterns. Another addiction to add to my list. I've spent hours trawling for digital kits and downloading them on my painfully slow connection (yes I know I have broadband now, but it still runs at the slowest speed possible).

My first attempt at digi using Kirsty's Jack Frost kit (please ignore the journalling, I now NOT to flatten the image before making sure everything is right, although I still have trouble remembering said fact!):

My second attempt at digi using the same kit:

My third digi page using a free kit called Candy Fairway from Peppermint Creative. Another mistake on the journalling. Must be more careful to check what I write!

And finally a fourth I have finished today for the weekly challenge on UK Scrappers. Been meaning to do something with these photos of Josh's Beyblade phase and the Lucky Star kit from Digital Design Essentials was just perfect!
Finally, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has supported the (now defunct) Creative Scrapbooking Design Team. I think it is fair to say that most of us were devastated by the news of the closure of the magazine and the comments and support from fellow UK Scrappers were really appreciated. A big thanks to Mandy Anderson who is continuing to help us in co-ordinating the return of our layouts from the Publisher. Mandy, you are a genuine star!