My All about Me page

Make sure you go to the MM Idol site to check out what everyone has done. Really, you will kick yourself if you don't!

(voting instructions are in my previous posts).

I have been checking some of the other blogs and it seems it is fine to put photos of our entries online, so here is mine.

Totally inspired by this quote on the back page of March Memory Makers magazine:

Hope works in these ways:
It looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst;
It discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot;
It regards problems, large or small, as opportunities;
It pushes ahead when it woud be easy to quit;
It “lights” the candle instead of “cursing the darkness”

and this is the rest of my journaling:

When I read this quote in a scrapbooking magazine this week, it made me cry. It made me cry because I have felt there is no hope in my life.

I have been suffering from depression for several years. Good days are days I can smile. Good days are the days I send up my thanks for all that I have and for being able to make it through the day. The bad days are the days when I wish that I didn’t have to face another.

Reading this quote made me realise that I need to be stronger. I need to find the positive in who I am, in what I have achieved and what my future holds.

It made me realise that it is most natural to me to see the good in people, that I am a trusting person and a loyal friend. It made me realise that I have achieved things I can be proud of, both in the past and now through my scrapbooking. It made me realise that I push ahead when it would be easy to quit, that my love for my children is so much more important to me than anything else.

But most of all, it has given me a way to focus on the good in my life and to trust I can find that light at the end of the tunnel sooner than I ever thought possible.

Biggest thanks to Kirsty for managing to get such a flattering photograph of me on the Creative Photo course and for emailing it to me in time!

Finally .... MM Idol voting goes live

Well, after some technical issues (glad to know it's not just me the pc acts up for!) MM Idol finally went live for voting.

And oh my that gallery is absolutely stunning. Definitely a toughie getting through this lot.

I didn't realise but the link I gave yesterday for signing up for voting notifications doesn't actually get you registered.

So, system, sign up for voting notifications, when you get the email to say vote now, click on the link, will take you to the page. There is a place to input user name and password, put anything in if you are not already registered (and registered is a different thing than the emails), it won't recognise you but will take you to a form to complete, so then it WILL recognise you and you should now be able to vote by clicking on the blue button next to the relevant layout.

(Oh and check your spam mail for your welcome email when you do sign up, Orange put mine straight into junk mail I had to go on the webmail to retrieve it and approve further emails from them.)

Some really very inspiring work on there, I'm not into arty myself (I just can't get that messy) but I still love looking at that type of stuff.

MM Idol

Phew that was hard work, not the layout as much as actually getting a half decent photo. I must have spent a good three hours but the lighting in our house is so poor and my camera hasn't got the range of settings I think I needed to get a good shot with the tripod.

In the end I just sat at my desk, kept trying different angles with my daylight lamp and used the flash, so there is some glare but at least this way the colours were more true to life and the result a lot less grainy. It was 4.00 am before I got to bed, frozen to the core, I was still shivering when I got up!

Anyway that is it, it is uploaded, together with a close up and the journalling is shown separately too - once you get me started you can't stop me - and the writing was too small for it to show up on screen. A very emotional page for me, not sure whether the subject will be a bit dark for American tastes but I'm hoping (ha that is a good one, the page is called Hope works in these ways, totally inspired by a quote in the March issue of Memory Makers) that I have given it a positive focus - that was the intention anyhow. I adore the colours I have used, my faves, green, brown and coral pink/red. The green is representative of a new start in life.

It's all down to public voting now. You get one vote per registration over at the MM Idol blog. It's a huge cull I seem to remember reading too, from 50 down to either 20 or 30. They are 7 hours behind UK time so I expect the gallery and voting to be open early afternoon.

There is just Caz and myself flying the flag for British scrappers so if anyone has the time to pop over and have a look it would be really appreciated :)

The Design Collective

I am SO EXCITED - well beyond excited. Along with the other girls on the Speshals Blog, I am part of a fabulous new venture! This is the publicity blurb which explains what I am on about!

Introducing a new and exciting concept in scrapbook design inspiration.

Our team of designers are renowned for their diverse and creative approaches to scrapbooking and altered art projects. Their wealth of creative experience in designing new and innovative pages and projects is already being tapped into by leading magazines, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers in the scrapbooking industry. They now come together to bring you a whole range of fresh, fabulous and inspiring ideas for your scrapbooks and other memory art projects.

The team comprises: Fiona Beckman, Clare Brown, Jane Dean, Amber Harrop-Johnston, Debbie Jewell, Karen Leahy, Elaine Loughlin, Jennie Leon, Ali McGovern, Karen Miller, Debbie Nicholas, Katie Shanahan-Jones, Suzanne Torr and Kirsty Wiseman.

Classes will be issued four times during each calendar month on the 3rd, 11th, 19th and 26th. By subscribing to The Design Collective, on each of these dates you will receive:

 one major class project;

 two additional inspiring projects (taking a variety of formats such as challenges, new ways to use something, themed pages and so on);

 a range of tips and ideas from the design team.

A newsletter will be sent direct to your email box with the relevant classes in the form of attached pdf files. Classes will focus on different design elements and techniques and will cover a whole range of projects from layouts to mini books to gifts and altered items. You can choose to print out the classes or save to disk; whichever format you choose, over a period of time you will be creating your very own Design Collection to use over and over again to create beautiful and meaningful pages and projects.

In addition to issuing project pdf files, we will be hosting a Blog to keep up to date with all the latest news and a community forum for subscriber chat, help from the design team and a gallery so that you can share your work with us. And we will also host two cyber crops over the course of the year for even more fun, challenges and inspiration!

For just £10 a month (and NO! that is not a typing mistake!) you will be getting four major project classes, eight further classes and a wealth of knowledge and tips from the design team. That works out at under 85p per class! Plus, there will be no having to buy expensive class kits as we will be positively encouraging you to use up that stash mountain in the corner of your room! You choose what supplies you want to use, to match your own photos and themes, you get to stay in your pj’s and scrap in the comfort of your own home, whilst having the class designers to call upon for help and other subscribers to talk to in the community forum. And think of the money saved on petrol!

We will also be incorporating a Loyalty Scheme which will reward subscribers with additional benefits on the completion of a six and twelve month continued subscription with us. Subscriptions will be taken on a monthly basis, paypal is preferred but we will also accept bank transfer. This way you don’t need to pay out a lump sum up front, just the monthly subscription charge of £10.*

We will be taking registration bookings from Monday, 12th March. To make sure you don’t miss out on any important updates and registration details, please register your interest** by emailing to and keep checking for more information on the team blog.

Notes: * Subscriptions will be due on the 2nd of each calendar month to ensure you continue to receive the classes without interruption.

** Registering your interest at this stage is not a final commitment.

Overhaul your Stash!

This week over on the Speshals is an Overhaul your Stash challenge. A chance to go back and find out all that stuff that has been sitting in your stash pile for eons, since you first discovered scrapbooking. I bet lots of you have all done the same as me – in a fit of beginners enthusiasm gone and bought anything and everything only to get it home and not know what on earth to do with it. So it got put into a box, then that box got put in the cupboard and a lot even into the kids collage box!

I decided to really go for it and choose some of the oldest stuff I had and to avoid using anything new. Now I have a tonne of old stuff, very naff old stuff. I found these Two Busy Moms printed die cut flowers (which I am sure I didn’t even buy but which got rak’d to me). There are quite a few sheets of these in different colours, but after checking through my photos I thought the teal and blue would go well with these fun shots of the kids playing in the pool in the garden several summers ago (2003 actually – so even the photos are old!). Whilst rooting through the boxes I also found some more printed die cuts from Paper Loft (how on earth I got so many I can’t understand as it’s something I’ve never really used – hmmm, so perhaps that IS why I have got so many!)

In fact looking at what else is on the page, I think the newest item would be the Scenic Route chipboard letters and the Prima flower and they were bought last Summer, everything else is at least a year if not two – or three – old (except the white cardstock). Not that I can swear to that because, to be honest, I can’t remember buying half of it :D

Once I got over the shock, I had a really fun time doing this page and have already ear-marked several old supplies to get back out and start playing with again. I hope you enjoy taking part this week too, remember to check out what the others have done over on the blog and link back to your page on there too.


Cardstock, Bazzill
Vellum (unknown)
Chipboard Alpha, Scenic Route
Die cut flowers, Two Busy Moms
Die cut phrases, Paperloft
Buttons, Stickopotamus
Acrylic label holder, KI Memories
Phrase stickers, Making Memories
Acrylic buckle (Junkitz?)
Ribbons, KI Memories (spots) and Making Memories (phrase)
Rub-on alphabet (quite), KI Memories
Flower, prima
Pen, stitching, brads, gem, sandpaper,
Journalling font, Cookie


Try as I might, I couldn’t get any patterned paper on here from my old stash, with the bright and busy photos and the very in your face die cuts, adding any more pattern on there was just not working – and I was not going to go into my good paper stash pile, I was determined to use stuff from that box of mistakes!

The die cuts were really bright so I attacked them with sandpaper to tone them down, raised some on foam pads and added a variety of embellishments to the centres.

The ‘quite’ in the title is created from KI Memories outline rub-ons coloured in with pen. ‘A beautiful day’ is a printed die cut tag, that originally had holes at either end to string ribbon through. I cut down the holes and rounded the corners, sanded the edges and attached with foam pads.

I even dug out some pale aqua vellum (can’t even remember the last time I used vellum!) to print the journaling onto (printer setting transparency, ink quality normal, leave well alone to dry, or if you are too impatient, like me, give a quick blast with the heat gun, being careful not to overheat or else the vellum will curl).

I added stitching to the two corners to pull the page together.

OMG I am still shaking

but check out here

I made the Making Memories Idol top 50 along with fellow UK Scrapper Caroline Bozas (aka Wickedcaz on UKS) - congrats Caz, are you shaking as much as I am.

Next stage has to be in by Sunday, a page all about me.

I do not scrap about me

Tough one have lots of personal issues to get over big time!

A cat called Mia?

Just need to blog this before I forget and I know I will want to create a layout at some point about this!

Coming back from the usual jaunt to the inlaws today for Sunday dinner, Mia is looking at the sheep in the fields as we drive home.

Mia - are we going to the Santa farm again on Tuesday?
(Whitepost farm, local activity farm where we go a couple of times a year and this year we went to see Santa there)
Me - no, not until the lambs are born
Mia - the one where the lady pulled it (the lamb) from the mummy sheep (we watched lambs being born, the second was stuck and had to be pulled out).
Mia - and where we saw cows ...... and chickens .... and a donkey ..... and the squirrels running round in the air (they have a wire run suspended from the ceiling for the chipmunks to chase around) .... and a camel
Me - it wasn't camels it was llamas
Mia - and I stroked it
Me - yes
Mia - and we brushed the goats
Me - yes you got to brush the goats again
Mia - and the cat called Mia
(silence in the car)
Len - was there?
(lot of brain whirring going on here)
Chiara - oh you mean the Meerkats, Mia!
Mia - yes the cats called Mia

ROFL classic!

Dare 41 - A week in pictures

This weeks theme certainly was a challenge; it well and truly got me working outside my comfort zone (and I think the others too!); remember to pop on over to the Speshals blog to see the stunning ways in which the rest of the team have interpreted the challenge this week.

Having been away for some of it and having other things planned that I wanted to use photos for, I had to leave it last minute (okay well that is the excuse this week!). And how hard was it to include so many photos on one page? I had a great idea then got a sneak peek at what Katie had done and aaaaaaaaggghhhh! Yep! You guessed it! I was going to do a column style with arrows and ledger paper. Katie’s is fun and fab and funky and mine would have looked quite different, even so it would have looked a bit awkward them both sitting together there on the blog.
I used photos taken from this week. A very untypical half term week. I took advantage of the Travelodge offer to take the kids away. We went on Sunday down to Staines (meal, pictures, late night), Monday to visit Suzanne (Frankie and Benny’s for lunch), Tuesday to Woburn Abby (fab, fab, fab day! I had to stop the car so the lioness could stroll across in front of us!), Wednesday was the cinema again with the girls for one of their friends’ birthday treats, followed by MacD’s and yesterday my friend Josephine came around with her two kids (forgot to take photos so had to trawl the hard drive for some to use instead!) and in the evening I took the girls to watch the local panto (see earlier post). So lots of photos and experiences to cram in there.

Products used

Cardstock - Bazzill (green and black), kraft unknown (unfortunately as it’s gorgeous and now all gone!)
Patterned Cardstock – Basic Grey Gypsy
Stamps – Making Memories (magnetic and foam)
Stickers – Doodlebug
Printed Twill (unknown)
Ink - Colorbox and Stazon
Buttons and stitching

I used one of the print page templates in my HP printer software to print out the photos on strips, leaving a photo space at intervals to stamp the date into; this saved having to cut all the photos down individually and then trying to line them up again! I also resorted to stamping on this weeks’ page. Just to remind myself why I usually avoid it like the plague. I get ink in all sorts of places, generally those where there isn’t meant to be any. Saying that, I’ve hardly used this MM foam alphabet (can’t remember the name) and I love the funky look, so maybe I will be using it more often.

Oh yes she is!!!!!

Mia (very embarrassingly) stole the show tonight at the first performance of Snow White and the PORGS (people of restricted growth) - the local amdram panto in the church hall.

I'd never been to one of the performances before (I always meant to then left it too late to buy tickets and they sell out really quickly) but it was a Brownie trip tonight and I bought extra tickets to take along myself and Mia too.

It was fabulous (well more fabulous than I was expecting). Mia was on the front row and, to be honest, did the job of the entire audience all on her own. From clapping, stamping feet, cheering, shouting *loser* to the bad queen, and bravo to all the good characters, with lots more appropriately (and inappropriately) placed whoopees. She was such fun, but it was, I have to admit, a little embarrassing for the star of the show to be in the audience and not on the stage!

The girls were totally hyped up, we walked home and didn't get back until 9.45 and getting them down to earth and upstairs to bed was a right performance in itself.
The photo was actually taken last night at McD's (it was one of Chiara's friends' birthdays last week but the celebration was a trip to the cinema last night to watch Arthur and the Invisibles, with a visit to fill up with food afterwards) but it just shows Mia at her best fun loving, carefree self!

I'm so chuffed .....

I have been chosen, along with five other fantastic scrappy ladies, to be part of the Angel Crafts Design Team.

I have wimped out so many times before from entering DT contests and this is the first one I have ever submitted for - my low self-esteem doesn't handle rejection at all well! And I got in! I'm so excited (however VERY overawed having seen the work of the other girls on the DT!) So hugest thanks to Angela for giving me this opportunity (and I'm really looking forward to playing with whatever is sent to me :D).

The two items I submitted were a new 12x12 layout using BG Lily Kate papers, felt, buttons, flowers and sequins. The butterfly embellishment was actually a stamped image heat embossed onto a piece of organza fabric - looks much more effective in real life!

plus an altered floppy disk case which I actually did last year for Josh's 11th birthday card, using mainly Sweetwater papers and embellies

Had a wonderful time in my few days away with the kids, many, many thanks to Suzanne and her family for being such great company and allowing us to chill out in their house whilst the rain came down on the Monday! Have had a busy few days, plus friends are coming around tomorrow and I still have the Speshal dare to do so will update with photos and stuff another time.

Speshal Dare Week #40

And the theme is Simple Pleasures.

I thought long and hard about this weeks’ challenge theme. I love lots of things; chocolate, a luxurious bath, Starbucks coffee …. But when it came down to it, the most wonderful thing to me is getting hugs from my children. And those cuddles when they are first born really are priceless.

Now I try to avoid scrapping photos of myself like the plague, I hate any photo taken of me, and typical of me to choose the most unflattering ones I could find for one of the very few pages that does include me! However they were all taken within hours or a day or so at most after having the babies and, as they were all delivered by C Section I was pretty well drugged up for as long as possible too!

Journalling reads: “Nothing, but nothing, can ever compare to the utter joy and total fulfilment I felt when cuddling each of my newborn babes.”

The tag shape for the journaling block is created from a Chatterbox font, CBX tags, I have it on a compilation font cd but you can view and purchase the Chatterbox fonts singly from the Chatterbox website for just $1.95 each. Given how much clear stamps are, it’s a bargain, plus with fonts you can resize!

Patterned cardstock, chipboard heart and monogram alphabet, Basic Grey
Flowers, Prima
Crystals, Heidi Swapp
Corner, cut down from a (very old) Paper Bliss foam shaker box embellishment
Epoxy word, K&Co
Word Stickers, Making Memories
Inks, Tsukneko and Colorbox
Ribbons, brads, journaling pen
Fonts CBX Amy Jane and CBX Tags

We've all chosen such different themes this week, so pop on over to the blog and see what the others have done. Plus we have a new member on our team, the incredibly talented Jane Dean - I just love Jane's use of pattern and colour on her pages so am really looking forward to her take on the dares each week.

Remember that every time you link your interpretation of the challenge to our blog you get an entry into the prize draw.

It came and it went

The snow that is.

We spent yesterday first thing listening intently to the radio hoping to hear that our school was closed, lots were but ours, nope. Cue major hysteria from Chiara who was determined she didn't want to go to school. I was almost at relenting stage until she had one hissy too many at me and then it became a battle of wills .... I know but I never give in to her tantrums (wish she would learn that) so yesterday wasn't the time to start, no matter that I couldn't get the car out of the driveway and that we would have the horrid walk to school on the A6 with the noisy lorries throwing slush at us along the way. She refused to get dressed. I'm not sure which threat was the one that finally worked, but, most likely, it was the one that her new tv/dvd combi would be bequeathed to Mia if she didn't shape up and shape up NOW! We eventually got to school just before 10 o'clock.

Then by the time it was the end of the school day, most of the snow from around the house had disappeared. They all had a little session of snowballing when we got back after Mia's swim lesson and I half wished that it would snow more overnight so they could have today off to play in it. But it didn't happen, which is a good thing really as we need the snow all cleared out of the way ready for our little jaunt down to Staines on Sunday to see Suzanne. I love driving but NOT driving in the snow/ice/fog.

The car has gone to the local garage - yes, again - to get the broken wing mirror fixed. I smashed it before Christmas. Luckily the electronic movement gadgety thing still works. Even so, it has cost £100 (well with enough change for an ice cream) just to get the glass and casing including paint job on the casing. Plus Seat had a mooch around the car and there is other stuff that needs doing. Nothing that is going to cause the car to blow up if we don't get it done now, but stuff that needs doing before too long.

Anyway, I am procrastinating here. Got to try and get a good photo of my page for the speshals dare tonight. Took a lot of thinking about, but it bought back such wonderful memories for me. A soft and delicate look at things for me this week ..... remember to check back later :)

Quick card using scraps

... and some yummy Art Warehouse stamps I've had for ages and, embarrassingly, hadn't yet used!

I have a messy desk from some previous projects and thought I would create some cards whilst I had got lots of stuff out. This was inspired by the currently weekly card challenge on UK Scrappers - tag style card.

Cardstock Paper Adventures Two Toned (Brownie)
Chatterbox Rosey Paisley
Art Warehouse stamps
Stazon ink (timber brown)

oops ... need to mention this challenge was taken from a tag map from Pagemaps - gonna spend my cup of tea time browsing around at the inspiration over there now.

Just remembered needed to do a card for one of Josh's friends. Hate doing boy cards and this one is now twelve so it's getting harder! Based this one on the card sketch over at Scrap That Moment (I know, two sketches in one day, very lazy, but oh so convenient!)

Sweetwater papers, Urban Lily rub on, lots of inking!

Ad Challenge quickie

Done a digital for an ad challenge over at Scrap That Moment. Really, believe me, this was inspired by the ad challenge for this month. But I can't do the clean and graphic look so this was the result for me (curves, multi photo, title and journalling placement all inspired by the page).

Credits - pp, alpha and photo corners, Shabby Princess Silly Boy Cuddlebug kit, doodled arrows by Katie Hadfield and white edge overlay Digital Design Essentials Lucky Star kit.
Josh a couple of years ago now, I remember just how hard he was trying to get this thing to spin around by himself. And look at the joy on his face when he managed it!

Fun with Friends

I don't have many close friends local to me, I've always been on the shy and quiet side and always been content with having a few very good friends rather than having to be popular with anyone and everyone.

My longest and dearest friend is someone I met at High School. She wasn't in the same tutor group as me, nor did we share lessons. She was in the same tutor group as someone I had been at middle school with and that is how we became friends. We met up at break time and lunch time and spent the weekends at each others' house. That was somewhere around 1977 I guess (so not far off our 30th anniversary :D). There have been times (stretching to years) when we haven't been in touch with each other. But every time we catch up there is no uncomfortable silence (Jo is a good talker!) and it seems like only last week we spoke.

She has two children each just older than my two eldest and all the kids love getting together. Well this Christmas we decided to make a commitment to get together every month. Tonight was January (a bit late I know) and February will be at the beginning of March (we've already set the date!) but never mind a few days between friends :D

We went around to their house tonight. I didn't drink as I have pmt and was well dosed up with tablets. But that's no problem as I don't get on too well with alcohol anyway. We had a wonderful curry cooked up by her DH Nigel (he likes to be in charge in the kitchen for special meals) and then had the biggest laugh playing family games together. I wish I had taken my camera, as my two girls and Evie, their DD, were playing that Donutters game and they looked hilarious with the headbands on!

So, as ever, I have come back home with a lovely warm and fuzzy feeling. And very relieved too - they have been toying with the idea of moving to Cornwall/Devon for quite a few years and had actually decided to turn down a move with Nigel's job down there because of the settled life they and the kids have up here. I really can't explain how pleased I am to hear this. Selfish, probably, well, definitely. But still relieved.
This is one of only a couple of photos I have from our younger days together. I am on the left and that is Jo on the right. This was at Butlins and we were 15. This was the holiday when I had my ears pierced. And we were only holding the beer for the photo - honest - they belonged to some boys we had met ..... ;)
This weeks Speshal Dares challenge has been in conjuction with the Daring Cardmakers weekly challenge and the theme was to create a scrapbook page that was a card (or a card that was a scrapbook page, depending on your point of view!) on the theme of Love. This week the entries are especially lush and you really should check out both the blogs to see what everyone else came up with!

As we don’t ‘do’ Valentine’s Day in our house, this really had me stumped, until I decided to create something for the girls to give to Daddy on his birthday in March. I decided to use this empty packaging I had found in a recent stash tidying session (it originally contained scented drawer liners) . I love the colour and texture of the corrugated card and the fact that it has a pocket on the inside.

Products used:

Left over corrugated card packaging
Hambly Studios transparency
Urban Lily Urban Girl collection patterned papers
Chatterbox Powder Room collection patterned paper (rosey paisley)
Paper Adventures cardstock, (colour Weathered Barn)
Scraps of cream and kraft coloured cardstock
7 Gypsies File tab, card word ‘always’
Chip Chatter chipboard word ‘love’
Making Memories printed tags, alphabet stamps, paint
Doodlebug alphabet stickers
Heidi Swapp chipboard alphabet, chipboard heart,crystal flowers
Limited Edition/Art Warehouse clear stamps
Old children’s flash cards from the toy room!
Stazon and Colorbox inks
Flowers, brads, ribbons


Firstly, I used red and gold paint swiped around all the edges to provide some definition.

The packaging had a small cut out square in the front which I backed with the paisley patterned paper to create a feature on the left hand of the inside section. I cut out a square from the cardstock slightly larger than the cut out to create a frame. All the papers and cardstock were either torn, sanded or inked. I had a bit of a magpie moment and found these very old flash cards. I cut down the words ‘we’ and ‘you’ and shaped and inked to create little tags. For the larger tags I just cut and shaped some cream smooth card, adding in my own reinforcements at the top by using a small circle punch and then a hole punch. When it came to the ‘Daddy’ chipboard word I had to improvise as I only had one ‘D’ so I used a couple of ‘p’s’ upside down instead. The bottom section has been left blank ready for the girls to write their own message in for Daddy.

The front is just lots of layering, sanding and inking. The transparency is stuck down using the brads that attach some of the other elements and a couple of staples at the top and bottom.

The raffie ties were originally purple and cream so I swiped the purple ones with black Stazon to tone in with the rest of the project.