Dare #51 already!

Crikey almost a year since the UK Speshal Dares went live! I haven't been on the team all that time, but I was lucky enough to Guest on the blog a couple of times. I have followed and admired the projects the rest of the team have come up with over the (almost) year and found the themes and the artwork inspirational each and every week.

This week our theme is Comparisons. I did a wall hanger featuring a photo of myself aged 4 and Mia aged 5, to show how alike we look.

I used the BG Blush range which, I eventually realised, matches totally my newly decorated bedroom. I will have to do a couple more featuring Chiara and Josh and make a little display of them together.

This is the sneak peek. To view all the projects in full, visit the Speshals blog.

For the love of all creatures furry and feathery

And pets with other skin types too!

Just a quick note before I forget to let you know of a great new blog which is going to be featuring pet layouts.

A true friend ... A priceless treasure

The blog features, amongst others, the renowned Fiki and his sister Kira (the lovely Scrapdolly's cats, affectionately known as the CFH!) and also the very handsome Simba who belongs to the wonderful Rena.

Just love this concept. I have two beautiful cats that don't feature in my pages anywhere near as often as they should. One reason being that I really struggle to get half decent photos of them. But they are such an important part of the family I must try harder.

The two cats who currently grace us with their presence are Molly and Polo. They were bought as I left my last job for maternity leave when I was having Chiara, which makes them around eight years old now. In fact it must be their birthday sometime soon, I may already have missed it even, I must check their birth certificates! Yes they are pedigree, a final extravagence before my wages stopped rolling in. They are British Blue (except you will notice that one is blue and white). They are brother and sister from the same litter. Molly is the top picture and Polo the bottom one. If you are EVER considering buying pedigree and want cats to fit in with family life with small children, these are DEFINITELY the breed to go for. They are the gentlest, softest and most loving creatures.

Some Bunny to Love

Check out these gorgeous bunnies by Andrea on her blog.

They are just the most beautiful bunnies around and such very pretty names too!

Andrea you are just 'sew' talented (groan, sorry folks!) my sewing machine doesn't even know what fabric looks like :D

Thanks :)


It was the Hobby Horse crop yesterday and, having told everyone I was going to be there, it ended up that Len was working :( He told me he would be back by dinner or earlier, so when Kathryn rang to find out where I was I said I would be there soon. Well soon ended up being gone 2.30 and the reason I was insistent on going is because I had Kathryn's (very belated) birthday present to hand over and really felt too embarrassed to keep hold of it any longer.

So I trotted off and walked in to find that Kathryn had not only bought me some lovely shiny balloons, but also chocolate cake and biscuits as 'congratulations' for my placing in the MM Idol competition. And everyone was so nice, I could have cried. Instead I pigged out on cake and biscuits - oh and spent more money in the shop!

I spent the next three and a half hours talking and putting two photos and five letters on a sheet of cardstock. So no, not very productive, but I am so pleased I made the effort to get out there even for those couple of hours.

There is a great group of girls go to this crop, if you are ever in the area (Derby), or live close by but haven't plucked up the courage to go to the crop there, you really must! Great hall, spacious, good lighting and parking, shop within a couple of minutes walk (with crop discount), yummy refreshments and wonderful people. Really, you can't ask for anything more!

These are the dates for the rest of the year by the way:

12th May
16th June
21st July
11th August
1st September
20th October
17th November
15th December

So disappointed

I had spent the last two days telling myself I hadn't won Making Memories Idol, to prepare myself for the call, but to still hear it is so very disappointing.

I want to thank everyone who has done so much to encourage and support me and vote for me too. You have all kept me going. I truly wish I could have won for UK scrapping.

I have created some projects that I would never have done without the competition (the door on the wall!) and probably never will again (the paper weave bag aaagh!) and I have really enjoyed the focus that working on the challenges gave me.

Many congrats to the winner Joey and commiserations to the other runner up Mou. In fact to all the other contestants throughout, there have been many, many stunning and inspiring projects.

My project this final round was the magnet board. I had focussed on the 'innovative use of Making Memories product' that we were asked to do in the brief. I used empty stamp storage tins to create mini brag books to record different aspects of baby's life - a welcome to the word (birth story), our wishes for you (letters from the parents) and firsts (including favourites - this is the word I ummed and aaghed over but in the end decided to keep my nationality a secret - such an English attitude!).

All the elements on the board, the name, the books and the pictures in the frame, are attached using magnets. This would allow for the tins to be taken out and about as brag books, or replaced with newer information and facts and pictures to allow the board to reflect the growth of the child over however many years.

This is it - the MMI Final voting is now up!

Today has taken forever and I dare say tomorrow will seem to take even longer :D

The final round of voting for Making Memories Idol is now up.

Our brief was to create a baby gift to be displayed in a nursery and (quote)

... a project needs to be inspiring to people so they feel like they can create it themselves (that's why it would be in the book). We don't it to be so unique that nobody could ever recreate it. Don't use your kitchen sink for example, to make it so different that people would be scared to try out your idea on their own. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to use our product in projects, which is how something could be a fresh and new idea. Also, keep in mind that this will go in a nursery. Keep your style, but also keep the look fresh, clean, unique, and innovative.

Voting is on the MMI blog.

I had a real dilemma when I realised I had used an overtly English spelling - in the end I decided to take it out because I didn't want to be accused of deliberately giving away my identity. I ummed and aaghed over that one for ages, Len told me to go for it, but my conscience just wouldn't let me.

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement over the last few months. And special thanks to the girls at Artbase who rushed my order through for this round.

What I am grateful for

In response to Wilna's question, this is a layout I did a couple of years ago for a competition. It was the week of the last Live Aid concert and had to be in the style of a previously uploaded page from a publication.

The journaling is the important part of this page, please click for the larger image to be able to read it.


Remember to leave a comment on the previous post to take part in Wilna's treasure hunt :) Thanks to everyone who has take the time to do just that so far. It has been very uplifting.

Cinema with the kids

I was feeling a little guilty because we haven't filled the holidays back to back with stuff for the kids to do, so we went to the cinema today. Trying to get a film to please a little girly 6 year old, a bit older girly 7 year old and a very trying to be cool pre teen 12 year old boy is a pretty tall order.

So we went to see Mr Bean's Holiday.



But lots of laughs.

Then again I love kids films. We are all excited by the trailers up and running for films to come too the must sees for my kids (and me!) are Shrek 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Can't wait for either of them.

So what film is on your must see list in the foreseeable future? Post your answer in the comments section of this post to be in with a chance to win a RAK from the very inspirational and most generous Wilna. You need to answer this question, then, to be eligible for the RAK, you need to visit some other blogs and leave comments there too. Here is her blog: Wilna, so you can see what else you need to do!

Also check out the fabby competition Kirsty has got running for all lovers of BOM's. Scrap your hands. There are stacks of cool prizes lined up already. Digi, paper or hybrid pages are all welcome as I am sure are international entries (best check that out on Kirsty's blog mind). You ought to bookmark Kirsty's site, she does some great digi freebies and very gorgeous photos too.

My entry is actually a page I did around this time last year, it was a challenge run on another board to create your own stamps. As you can see, I took the easy way out!

Happy Birthday to my Baby!

Mia is 6 today!

How come?

Where did 6 years go?

She was such a good girl and waited until I got up to open her pressies and loves everything. Especially her new party dress. Which is pink and girly and twirly. Exactly as it should be!

Here is a little piccie of her earlier today. I always forget my camera is useless inside, the light was pretty good and they still came out grainy. Anyhow a little bit of cropping and a filter applied and her beauty simply shines!

Happy Birthday my angel xxxxxx's

*Shriek* YES!!!!

Len is out, the kids are in bed, but I just got the email to say I am through to the final three and last round of the MM Idol contest.

WOW! Incredible. I can't think of what else to say. This is huge for me, really, really, enormously huge!

And to know that I got through despite a truly anonymous round is even more thrilling. I have really appreciated the support from my fellow UK buddies, but to still get through when people didn't know which was mine is very important to me.
Oops come back to add that mine was project number 5 - True beauty comes from the heart.

MM Idol voting time is here again!

Oh and extra twist this week, to make it even more anonymous, we were all given the same set of photographs to scrap. My I found that hard! I had to keep imagining Chiara's face in place of this other girl (well they are both blonde so it did help a little!).

I think mine screams me, but then I would, wouldn't I?

If you want to look at the projects this week, check out the MM Idol blog. BTW the theme this week was chipboard :) Every vote counts, so please take a minute to check it out.

Thanks :)


Yes, that is the time! But I was determined to get the next MMI challenge project out of the way. Need to get up bright and early (eek) in the morning to get photographs done and uploaded.

We have a very packed Easter weekend planned so needed to get it done before the activity started.

Off to bed now
nite nite all xxx's

The door

So this is my bargain door from IKEA, £2 from that clearance section at the end of the store. 5' long it is. Thought it was a good idea in the shop, got it home and then thought .... well I don't really want to swear in public but you probably get the idea :D Actually, a project of this size was something I had been contemplating for the end wall of the new playroom, but I really hadn't got much further than thinking that 'something' (not knowing what) would be nice!

I bought sample tins of paint from the DIY store and masked off an area to paint this beautiful green border. Green is my favourite colour, plus I wanted a colour scheme that wasn't too girly girly. Given that green is also Josh's favourite colour it seemed a good choice. Plus it matched the colours in these gorgeous Scenic Route Lauren papers.

The brackets were a bit of a faff. I printed one off the computer then resized it in several sections, pieced those together, cut them out and traced and cut out from some big sheets of mountboard from Hobbycraft. They were painted and then the edges doodled with marker pen for definition.

The Play and Work words are Making Memories which I covered with the patterned papers. Then decided that they weren't bold enough. So started the very time consuming task of adhering them to black cardstock and handcutting a margin around.

I used PSE2 and made a sketch of the project before I started to get an idea of photo placement so I knew what size photos to print out. I really don't usually work to plan, but on a project of this size and in the time scale I had to work to, I think it really helped.

The next round of MMI is especially challenging for many reasons, not least of which that I haven't started yet (though haven't stopped thinking about it) and we are away for the weekend which means I have to upload by tomorrow night. Time to clear the desk and get started I think!

Totally, utterly, stunned!

I am crying.

Top ten was a dream.

Top five is unbelievable.

I am stunned and overwhelmed with the good wishes and support.

Can't think of what else to say but THANK YOU and YESSSSSSSSSSSS!

Will upload piccies of challenge 5 project tomorrow, but it was the door on the wall, Play is the Work of children. I think lots guessed right :)

MM Idol Challenge 5

No piccies this week as everything has been uploaded to the voting area anonymously!

Five out of the ten will be leaving again this week. It's so sad because if you look at the creations this week there isn't one person there who deserves not to go through!

The voting is here. There are some wonderful and really inventive projects this week. Totally inspiring.

I can honestly say without the challenge of the competition I would never have done this, but I really enjoyed doing it and love the result. The kids love it. Even DH is impressed with it and that is about a first! A result well worth the blood (new craft knife blade!), sweat and tears this week.

And special thanks to the ladies at both Papermaze and Paperarts who rushed my orders through so I got them in time to use!