Oh my word!

It has just hit me.


Is THE day.

The day that The Design Collective are sending out the first class mailings.

We've had a fabby response and everyone is so excited - especially me - I would never have had the confidence to be a part of this if it weren't for the wonderful support from my friends I am working alongside in this venture.

I've been working on my first class today, not for the first mailing I have to say. You will just have to keep your eye out on the DC blog in case someone naughty lets out any more sneek peaks!

Wall of Words reminder

I think this may have got lost down the page somewhere.

My blog entry here refers.

Please take just a minute to help with this fantastically worthwhile cause. And it doesn't cost a penny (unless you want it to :)).

I have added two myself, thank you and mummy. I love them both :)

Woo hoo! Top Ten!

This was my dream and 'you' have made it come true. 'You' being every single person who is supporting me and encouraging little old me through these challenges.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

MM Idol Round 4 challenge now up for voting

I know, you are probably fed up to the back teeth of me harping on about this, but I am still hanging in there, holding the Union Jack up high and proud for British scrapbooking (and myself, obviously :D) and it IS your votes keeping me in there.

For this weeks' challenge, we had to come up with a party theme and then create three items for the party on that theme. Had me well and truly flummoxed cos the one thing I really struggle with is themes, they always seem, well, twee or at the very least forced (for me anyhow). Spent all day Saturday working on stuff which ended up in the bin and started again fresh on Sunday morning. Worked all through apart from around 6 hours for a dance show and meals and a breather to watch a bit of Peter Kay (great fun!).
Mia's birthday is 11th April and generally falls around the Easter weekend. I usually buy Easter eggs for favours, prizes and instead of goodie bags, so I just really expanded on that. She has always loved bunnies and likes to dress up in bunny ears (she went to the Easter Fair on Saturday with ears, tail, oversized carrot and ballet dancing costume as Lettice the dancing rabbit - one of her fave books).

The three items I made were a gift bag for her, a decorated planter to hold the treats that get handed out to the little ones as they are knocked out of the game and then a table centrepiece in the form of a paper/card cake, to display fairy cakes and an iced Easter egg on top.

As ever, there are some really fantastic entries, some very fun and original themes too. To check out what everyone has done and to make your own vote, visit the blog here

Add to the Wall of Words


Thanks to Kelly who posted about this site over on UK Scrappers. And if you have just one minute to spare, please take time yourself to add to the word wall target.

"I CAN is the only UK-wide charity dedicated to supporting all children's communication. Our special focus is children who find speaking and understanding hard, sometimes impossible. We help children directly through our network of specialist nurseries, schools and centres; we inform parents and support families; we train teachers in nurseries and schools across the UK. I CAN provides effective, practical solutions that change children's lives. In the past 12 months we have helped over 15,000 children; trained over 1,600 education professionals; and provided over 210,000 parents and professionals with vital information about children's communication through our online information resource www.talkingpoint.org.uk."

Mia has always had some developmental delay since birth but the one that we are having to work hardest with is her speech. I had no help from the local co-ordinator whilst she was at playschool, the health visitor didn't even try to speak to her when I went there. It was only after she started school that they managed to organise for Mia to be properly assessed and have help from a qualified speech therapist. She has come on leaps and bounds in the last 18 months. Unfortunately she no longer has a speech therapist because the LEA doesn't have the resources to give individual children more than two blocks of sessions each. The teachers and teaching assistants have been given guidance from the therapist so that they can continue to help her with different techniques that make language more meaningful for her. With familiar situations she is much better but with new words and ideas, such as in school, she still finds processing information so hard. Mia is at the mild end of the scale but I know how worrying I have found it all.

I really should be working ....

But I got sidetracked ogling at the gorgeous dolly beads created by the fantastically talented Jacquie Swain on her site A String of Beads.

I don't even collect the troll type beads but I just love to drool over the lushness that Jaq creates on a weekly basis. If you are a fan then you really have to be on the ball to snap up one of her creations cos they are generally gone as soon as they are uploaded to the site.

I then decided to unzip some digital stuff I bought earlier in the day from Shabby Shoppe and, on looking at the beautiful things in those kits, felt like using them on something. My digital work is really simple, but it is a chance to play and not worry about clearing the desk, cutting into a prized piece of paper, or having to clear away a mess afterwards.

This is tonight's page (and yes there should be a space in between Mia and the date but I spotted it after flattening the image, typically, I blame the unearthly hour myself!)

The contents of .....

Speshal Dare #46 is now up and running.

There are some wonderfully inventive interpretations of the theme this week, I have been inspired myself already to do more on the theme.

Me? I took an easy option. Not quite my handbag (no way was I going to share the chaos that is in there!). This is my make up bag. As you can see, not a lot of make up! It is a mini first aid kit that goes simply everywhere with me!

Calpol (for the kids)
Painkillers (paracetamol and ibruprofen for headaches and period pain)
Deodorant (need I say more?)
Dressing pads and tape (Chiara is allergic to plasters)
IBS tablets and peppermint oil (stress and period pain gives me dreadful colic)
Sanitary protection (I've never been a regular type of girl! oops TMI!)
Bach Rescue Remedy and a paper bag (too much stress and I get panic attacks, these help stave them off when the symptoms first appear)
and finally, lip gloss because, if all else fails, put on some lippy!

I think the fact that I always carry this around with me is a real reflection of one of my essential characteristics. I am a born worrier, I find that planning for the worst case scenario really helps me get through life.


Patterned cardstock/paper, Basic Grey, My Minds Eye, KI Memories
Die cut stickers, Creative Imaginations
Letter stickers, American Crafts, Doodlebug, K&Co
Ink, Colorbox
Blossoms, brads, ribbon, staples
Font CBX-DonnaLoo (coloured with watercolour pencil)
Photo overlay freebie by Kirsty Wiseman ('tis very gorgeous, thanks Kirsty!)
Paperbag, crumpled and inked (see above for relevance of this!)

Manufacturers' Listing

I've added some more names and links onto the (now very long) list of manufacturers in my side bar .... you have to scroll down a bit now to get to this.

I love checking out the manufacturer sites and drooling over their products and projects.

More thanks, this time to the people who have given me the web address links to add into this.

If you know of more (and I am sure there are more new companies who made their debut at CHA) just let me have the web address link and I will get it added on.

Wow - Again!

I made it past this huge cut of ten in the MM Idol. Fifteen people left. Things are getting so hard now, there are such talented people who haven't got through, I hurt for them :(

I am pretty much in shock to have got this far. Little old me tucked away in a little village in the middle of England.

To everyone who is supporting me and encouraging me, thanks, really, I know I say this every time, but it is your backing me that is getting me through.

I'm feeling very emotional right now so will shut up before I start to sound too gushy :D

MM Idol Round 3



You have got to check out the entries for this round here. Voting ends around 10pm tonight (Tuesday). Hopefully after more hiccups yesterday, things will have sorted themselves out again today. I really, truly, honestly appreciate the time people are taking to visit the MM Idol blog and vote (even more so those who are voting for me :D) But in any case, even if you can't make up your mind which project to vote for, you must at least make sure you go and be inspired by all the different things people have done.

This week we were challenged to get back to the basics. We were allowed to only fundamentals only such as cardstock, paper, ribbon, brads, stickers and photos, of course, to create a project that wows. We were asked to create something relating to home décor, photo décor, page layouts, mini books, or anything we could think of, using these fundamental products in a new and creative way.

So, no inking, painting, sanding, sewing, stamping, chipboard, pre-made flowers or embellishments. And it was just as hard as it sounds!

As ever, inspiration didn't hit me until Saturday night - well driving home after crop on Saturday actually.

I created a large woven bag (12"x4"x8.5") made purely from paper and cardstock. And if I had known how much work was involved I might have not started it!

Each 12x12 paper was cut down to 7cm strips, creased and folded three times to make a four layered strip. I lost count of how many strips I needed - it was around 100 I think. At least it made quite a dent in the pile of papers I have built up over the years. Actually I managed to use up LOTS of older papers, mainly because I needed to use thinner papers (rather than the double sided patterned cardstock I favour now) and had to find enough papers in the right colour range. There's KI Memories, Making Memories, Sweetwater, Provocraft, HOTP, Cherry Arte, Chatterbox and DCWV all thrown into the mix. I really like the bright, cheery Spring colours too.

The handle is two different wide gingham ribbons stuck to a cardstock core to make it strong. In fact the whole bag is very rigid, each side has, in effect, 8 layers of paper, plus it is lined inside with a contrasting (green) cardstock.

The top trim is just cardstock edged with decorative scissors then holes punched in and ribbon laced through, the corners are finished with bows. There are rub ons to each of the sides (cherish, dream, wish and believe in yourself) which are a mix of Autumn Leaves and Making Memories.

As the effect of the woven bag is very busy, the front was decorated quite simply with handcut flowers and circles, embellished with brads and doodles, the edges of the card was inked by carefully going around with the broad nib of my two ended zig pen. Each flower has a centre photo featuring my three children.

Three affirmation tags are tied together and attached to one side. These are a mix of patterned paper scraps, rub-ons, brads, stickers and buttons. The cute birdie paper piecing is using a stencil template I found on the web one day last week (which I know I have saved to favourites but typically now can't find!).

And all this came about because of the initial theme that popped into my head of "Flowers from the same garden"!

Speshal Dare .... An interview with ....

Theme for the Speshal dares tonight is An interview with …. and has been wonderfully translated into pages about interviews, conversations and the funny things kids say, by the rest of the team. Check all the pages out on the blog.

I’d got a few ideas going around in my head but, as ever, had left starting my page until the last minute. Chiara went to Brownies Wednesday night and made me a wonderful card and decorated a box containing two little chocolate eggs. And the Brownies also completed a little quiz to find out just how much they actually know about Mum!

Perfect timing! And I was pretty impressed at how many of the questions Chiara got right. Even more impressed that she has already perfected the art of deducting years from my age without any prompting whatsoever! (I am 42, Chiara put 41 so close enough). The other answers were all spot on (apart from the flower which is actually Lily, but out of the options given Rose is a pretty good choice).

Then yesterday morning I received a box of gorgeous stuff from Jo at Box Room Booty. Look at those colours in the Hambly print – aren’t they just so delicious?! As Chiara rightly pointed out, my favourite colour is green so I just had to use this paper on a page about myself.


Cardstock, Bazzill
Patterned paper, Hambly, Basic Grey
Chipboard, Everlasting Keepsakes, Li’l Davis, Heidi Swapp, Making Memories
Rub-ons, Gin-X
Flowers, Prima
Crystals, Making Memories, Heidi Swapp
Bar brad, Karen Foster
Ribbons and lace trim
Font, Prissy Fat Boy

oops forgot to mention special thanks to Mia for taking the photograph of Chiara and myself yesterday morning before school :)

I live to fight another round!

Many thanks to everyone who is voting, supporting and encouraging me in the MM Idol competition. It is appreciated much, much more than I can find words to express.

I got through to the next round, there are 25 of us left. All the work was stunning. We now have another project brief to work on ready for uploading Sunday night.

I have lots of other commitments to work through first though so must crack on and get some of them done!

Jittery old me!

MM Idol voting on round 2 closes at 10pm tonight. I am all jittery and nervous. I had been trying not to let the stress of the voting system get to me, but it is so hard not to. I find it really hard to blow my own trumpet and am very embarrassed to *pimp* the competition and my entry to the outside world. I am not holding a gun to anyone's head though, am I? And there are some truly inspirational projects to choose from.

But, saying that, I adore what I have created for this round. My photo isn't great, again, but the detail shots show the colours in a much better fashion. It's also a huge canvas that doesn't look half so impressive on the screen as when you stand next to it. (24"x36")

A big thank you to everyone who is supporting me and encouraging me through this competition.


Well what an eventful week and weekend it has been!

Lots of behind the scene stuff getting The Design Collective ready for tomorrow (well today) - going live for registrations, there is so much exciting stuff that the team have got planned, it's giving me butterflies just being part of it all!

Josh had his sleepover. Swimming went great (apparently, I was at home with the girls baking the birthday cake), fish and chip supper was delicious, the boys were hyper - to be expected! I managed to get them to stop yakking around 2.30 am, I stayed up for another hour as I had actually got my act together and started the project ready for the next round of Making Memories Idol. Did I ever mention I work best to deadlines? Sometimes it is the only thing that gets me actually DOING as opposed to THINKING!

Back to the sleepover, there was a little fisticuffs (over a misunderstanding, between Josh and his best friend, all made up within thirty minutes), a deflated airbed (had to call a parent out as they had not left the pump to blow it up with!) and then got up this morning to find the nut allergy boy had been sick in the night in his sleeping bag. Josh had been up and got him a quilt and put the bag into the bath (ready for me to wash out!) but no-one came and woke me up. I felt so bad. Also panicky in case anything had got past my radar (unlikely seeing as I locked the room holding all the goodies and hidden the key to stop temptation!) Anyhow, when we got back from the inlaws this afternoon, his parents had called around and left me a bunch of flowers and a thank you note for looking after their son. Like I would have done anything else! Even so it was a lovely gesture. Great to know he was feeling better and it was all put down to excitement and heat.

Well I have finished my project. A really big project. And way out of my comfort zone. The thing I thought I would struggle with most did cause me most grief too. At least it didn't take 4 hours this time to get a half decent photo. Could still be better, but definitely acceptable. I was getting really stressed about what I was doing, but the girls absolutely love it! The version I have done for the contest features Chiara, I have got a special request from my other little fairy princess, Mia, to make one for her room too.

Speshal Dare, Texture

Given how busy things have got all of a sudden this week (how on earth do birthdays come around so quickly from one year to the next?) I asked to be excused from this weeks' dare. But as I was tidying up my craft room I came across the fabric placemat from IKEA - it was made for scrapping really I think!

So I grabbed my scissors, found out some felt pieces I had die cut for another project and never got around to doing and whipped up a super quick page. Done and dusted in under an hour and a half, including searching my hard drive for some photos, giving them a bit of a touch up and printing them out! That is really quick for me. And you know, not spending countless hours coming back and wondering what to put where (my usual method of scrapping) was really fun and liberating!


Cardstock, Bazzill
Felt from local craft shop, die cut using Sizzix dies
Chipboard letters, Heidi Swapp, Making Memories, Scenic Route
Chipboard flower, Chip Chatter
Ribbon, American Crafts, KI Memories, SEI
Textured fabric placement, IKEA
Buttons, threads, glossy accents, Anita's 3d dimensional paint, pens

The pages everyone has done this week are all amazing, there are some great, fun and easy ideas for getting more texture on the page. I hope you find this week's dare as inspiring as I did and don't forget to add a link in the blog comments so we can come and have a nosey at what you have done yourself!

Last Weeks Dare - Unconditional Love

Oops, I forgot to put the page up from last week, Unconditional Love, well I did it late at night and I could no way get a half decent photo. A perfect theme for me as I have been wanting to find an angle to scrap some photos taken of Mia during her snail obsession phase which actually ran for two whole years!


Cardstock, Paper Adventures, Bazzill
Patterned paper, die cut stickers, SEI
Chipboard, letters Making Memories, Heidi Swapp, Polar Bear Press, hearts Basic Grey
Letter stickers, Making Memories
Stamps, Fancy Pants
Ink, Colorbox, Stazon
flower and brad
There were some beautiful pages last week (but a special mention and huge congrats to Elaine on her wonderful news as a direct result of the page she created!)
Well it's a busy week and even busier weekend! It's Len's birthday on Saturday, unfortunately it usually gets passed by because Josh's birthday is the day after and the arrangements always are focussed on him. Twelve this year is my baby boy. Twelve! Since when?
He is having friends around on the Saturday, Len is taking them swimming then coming back for fish and chip supper and sleepover. Six 12 year old boys. I am officially mad! I am doing night duty to make sure they get some sleep. Len is doing morning duty to make sure they get up in time. And obviously not everyone can do the whole thing, two can't make the swim but can make supper and sleepover, three have to be ready for an early set off on the Sunday morning due to football commitments and one has a serious peanut allergy and I have had to get a list of approved foods and fish and chip supplier from his parents. But not to worry, in the words of his mum, cos 'Oh is Billy going? that's good, he knows how to give Luke his injection if he goes into shock.' Gulp. No really it will be alright on the night!

OMG More shaking, more panicking and more thanks!

Thank you BIG TIME to everyone who took time to vote not once, but twice (when the original voting was closed and you had to go and do it all over again) for the Making Memories Idol competition.

I am shaking with disbelief because I got through to the next round (30 people left in the competition) but also shaking with nerves cos I have to upload by Sunday midnight. No problem.

Erm, problem, am out all day tomorrow with Mum shopping for birthday pressies for DH and DS whose birthdays are Saturday and Sunday respectively. No birthday cake made. No birthday cards made. No pressies bought. Saturday and Sunday are totally taken over by DS having a party and sleepover from Saturday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime and Sunday afternoon/evening taken over by family party at inlaws.

Many calming vibes needed. Plus gotta go and find that Rescue Remedy pretty quick too!

It's so exciting but conversely so sad for the ones that got knocked out this time. Based on the projects uploaded for the last round I think everyone deserved a go at the next project, everything on that gallery was just so wonderful.

Giving Birth in the words of an 11 yo boy!

Just wanted to send positive thoughts to my friend Amber, well more specifically her sister Jennie, who is in hospital right now in labour with her first baby. I hope everything goes well for Jennie and the baby and Auntie Amber has such a lovely sound to it.

But it reminded me of some schoolwork of Joshua's I read last week. Bless him, he was so excited because he got the highest score of his class in the science test. He bought his test paper home to me to prove it so I had a good look through. General science questions covering forces, data analysis and reproduction. Go through the questions, he seems to have got a good grasp of what all the bits and pieces are about! Get to this question .....

When a woman gives birth to a baby, what happens to the uterus?

Joshua's answer ......

It bursts!

Oh my OUCH big time eh? I was truly PMSL! Sorry Josh, but it WAS funny :D

Oh and the MM Idol voting is being set back to zero and being put up again fresh on Monday afternoon due to technical problems, so thanks for everyone that took the time to register and vote ..... but all existing votes are being cleared off the system, so if you want your vote to count you have to do it all again on Monday/Tuesday (though I guess your registration will have been kept it is just the votes that have been cleared down).