Bright and sunny day!

Hooray! Been waiting all week for some lovely weather so I can get my class projects photographed - the class projects I had the delight of teaching at the Luxurious Angels retreat last weekend at Crewe.

It was hosted by my lovely (and very energetic and organised) friend Roz. The hotel was a De Vere hotel and it was a fabulous venue. Very light and spacious, really nice bedrooms and a very, very comfortable bed and pillow. Apparently the food was fabulous too. Unfortunately I didn't get to sample any :( I have been suffering with a bad tum now for so long it has become normal, but since the beginning of summer things have got worse and worse and only seems to ease when there is nothing in there. Big thanks to Roz for being so caring on Friday night, to Kirsty for swapping around her class from Saturday to Friday and to everyone else for their concern for my health over the weekend. Being in such great company and having the additional comfort of shopping at Sarah's shop also helped ;) (note I have since been to the doctor who has given me new anti nausea tablets, taken some bloods and I have also taken it upon myself to cut gluten out of my diet - OMG I feel a different person - hope this lasts!)

The girls who attended the retreat were all so lovely and really up for having a great time. There were lots of jokes and laughter all weekend which helped perk me up too!

Anyhow, back to my classes ... I needed to take photos as I want to add them into the instructions I am sending out to all the delegates. This is so that anyone who didn't complete the class on the day or who wants a reminder of the various techniques involved, can have all the information at their fingertips. So they will be emailed out either today or over the weekend for anyone who is impatiently waiting for them.

My first two projects were sponsored for the most part by 7Gypsies, using two packs of 8x8 papers (Classic and Outback) I thought they worked really well together so bits of both appear on both projects. Both are a departure for me as I am usually a 12x12 girl through and through.

I have to admit I found the acrylic base rather daunting to start with, but once I had it finished I love it! The whole page is based around this beautiful quote I found on the internet and I found it in a week that I have been advised by school to apply for a Statement of Special Needs for my youngest daughter, so this became quite a heartfelt project for me. The envelope has been left open to allow for a personal letter to be added. (I'm not such a big believer in hidden journaling but sometimes it is totally the right approach.) Credit to Sharia Braxton for her ‘Stay on the Path – Swirls’ product available at Natural Designs in Scrapbooking which was used to create the quote in the swirl shape. And look at that gorgeous butterly. I had been umming and aahing over buying the Cuttlebug cut/emboss die for ages and I am so glad that I did!

The second project also uses a quote and features a paper weaving technique (which is rather easy but really effective) and lots of stitching (sorry, girls!). The little tag on the front opens out to allow for a little journaling or more photos.

Making Memories sponsored a further two classes by providing project packs featuring the Funky Vintage range. I love this range but it can be quite overwhelming with the bold colours and busy patterns. The kit came with LOTS of stickers too so I made a point of trying to use them in various ways on my pages.

Sorry that these pages are looking a little on the tatty side. They were created on a paper background as opposed to card and obviously they were handled a lot as they were passed amongst the delegates.

My make and take projects were sponsored by Pebbles Inc. I don't know why, but we don't see much of their products over here, which is such a shame as the quality of the papers, stickers and ribbons is absolutely fantastic! For those who attended, the word document for the calendar will be included with the instructions so they can print out and make more. They are such a cute little size and would make great gifts for work colleagues and so on.

The little take out box features a little butterfly I punched out of plasma and heat embossed. I have a thing for butterflies at the moment (which is probably evident from my projects this weekend!)

Phew! I will be back tomorrow with more news and perhaps some more pretty things to look at if I can be bothered to photo some more of the huge pile of pages sat on my desk waiting to go into albums.

Oh and a little by the way, the Color Combos challenge for this week is missing because Janet has had some family issues to take care of which have taken her away from home and the computer, but keep an eye out as there should be a new combo up next week as usual.

Happy, happy, happy!

That was how I felt when I saw the colours we had to work with this week for the Color Combos Galore blog. They are such lovely, fun, colours. And I am always amazed by the different ways in which each of us on the team work the colours we are given. Janet really does come up trumps with this blog. Each week there is a guest designer, and this week another three new inspiring scrapbookers have been added onto the regular team - Nikala O'Brien, Belinda Venables and Delphine Paslin. They all do such wonderful work (I have added their names with hotlinks to their personal blogs in the sidebar under the Color Combos blinkie and slide show).

This week I took the blues for the focus for my page. The photo is of my dear father in law with my two daughters. He is such a wonderful person.

The background paper is Little Yellow Bicycle. I have used a Hambly transparency to create a pocket, a Fancy Pants die cut label and a teeny tiny scrap of Pink Paislee patterned paper there at the top too.

I'm so pleased that I managed to find a way to use some stamps on this page. I have quite a little collection of stamps and really don't use them enough (actually I used quite a few at crop on Saturday, so perhaps this is a new phase for me!). I embossed the heart using blue ink and layered it over the plain black stamped image just for extra interest and dimension. I also chalked the edges of the journal blocks to make them less stark.

This die cut journal block is by Pink Paislee, the stamp is by Inkadinkado and the clear sticker quote (which is very, very old) is by Cloud 9. I invested in quite a few of those sticker sheets (thankfully). I love the sayings and sentiments on them and have used lots over the years.

The bead trim was an absolute nightmare to stick. Glossy Accents holds it down in a few areas and the stitches do the rest of the work. The sequins and crystal flowers were bought at crop on Saturday and finished with lots of little stick on pearls (thankfully bought on BOGOF!)

The wonders of being watchless ... and organised!

Just a quick post. Managed to drag myself out of bed at a decent hour this morning (only used the snooze button once) and we got to school before it opened. Pretty amazing as we are usually dropping off at nine on the dot. I put it down to the fact that I took my watch off (which I only usually do for a bath or shower) and can't remember where I put it. So I was working on the premise that it was later than it actually was. Plus I was actually fairly organised and did the PE bags, checked name labels, put the school bags out and polished shoes last night.

Have had a lazy day. Well actually I was faffing around finishing off my page for the Color Combo blog this week (which I started last night). And now I have got a really messy desk I need to clear off (that really is THE worst part of scrapbooking, the tidying up after creating).

I've used some more older photos, these are from a holiday to Tenerife in 2002. Crikey I can't remember Chiara ever being so small! There was a small arcade near where we stayed and we tried the girls on this little ride. Oh sure, they were happy enough to sit on it, but once we put the money in and the thing started moving, they really weren't so keen. Needless to say we only ever put money in the machine once!

I like the look of the chipboard scrolls placed that way (I cut apart a larger piece) as it is sort of reminiscent of horse reigns and also gives the feeling of movement. I covered them with Bazzill but thought they looked a bit flat. So I used the Autumn Leaves flourish stamps with Versamark ink and then embossed them with some yellow Blonde Moments embossing powder. Just gives them a bit of interest. The two smaller pieces of chipboard (Woodware Paisley) are backed with some pink Bazzill to tie in with the pink on the Bam Pop frame and then blinged up with some Stickles. I outlined around the chipboard with my brown journaling pen just to add a little definition to the edges.

Products used - patterned paper background by K&Co, brown scalloped rectangle (cut on the Craft Robo) is Scenic Route, frame (cut apart) by Bam Pop, chipboard by Fancy Pants and Woodware, letter stickers by American Crafts and Doodlebug and letter rubons by Scrapworks. Some ribbons, blingy bits, flowers and Stickles provide the finishing touches.

A Splash of Colour

Is just what is needed to brighten up another grey, dreary and rain filled day.

So we have had Summer. Apparently. A couple of dozen good days and many more grey ones. At least it is only rain. Compared to the hurricanes being experienced in other parts of the world, for that I am grateful.

Monday sees the start of the new school year (for us, a bit late compared to a lot of areas I know), Josh doesn't start until Tuesday due to an extra INSET day at the High School. Josh is just about to start Year 9, I really hope he starts to focus better on his work this year, especially given that it is the year he needs to figure out which options he wants to take for the next few years. Not that they get much choice nowadays. They have so many core subjects it is unreal. Including French. Gah! this is a major sticking point for Josh as he detests this subject with intensity.

Chiara starts the top class at Primary school. At our local village school there are only three classes because it is a small school. Chiara will be Year 5 but is really looking forward to moving up and getting closer to some of her older friends. Plus she has had her hair cut. Cut as in properly cut, rather than just a trim and shaping which she has only ever had before. It had taken 9 years to get it down her back and then this last week. Chop. She decided in an instant and it is now a shoulder length bob. I was fairly choking back the tears in the hairdressers.

Mia, bless her, is starting Year 3 and should really be moving up to class 2, but she and another girl are being held back until the January term. I hope that things continue to 'click' for her and that the extra support the school are so great in giving really continues to pay dividends (Mia has some developmental delay relating specifically to language and speech, though to hear her rattle on you wouldn't really know it!).

Anyhow, I haven't really done much scrapbooking over the Summer. Which is why I am so glad to be on the Color Combos DT because it gives me the kick up the bum I need each week to get something done. One of the things that attracted me to scrapbooking initially was the array of colours and patterns available in the products (which was one of the things that attracted me to cross stitch too when I took that up). And which is why I love the concept of this challenge blog so much. Especially as it is so easy to get into the habit of gravitating towards the same colours all the time. Working with the colour swatches that Janet provides can really get me out of those ruts. The other thing is that it has prompted me to play with mixing up the product I work with on a page rather than sticking to everything from one range.

These are my pages from the last three weeks.

This first one uses photos from ten years ago, when Josh was three. Quite a different page for me, but I just had this flash that I wanted to use the sunshine, grass and windmill imagery from the children's tv show Teletubbies to match the theme of the photos.

This page features some snaps taken of Mia with Ben (my friend Roz's son). I used the sweeping wave to echo the action of the swing.

And this third one. Well, it's a photo I have been wanting to scrap for ages. It's a picture of Mia with one of DH's uncles. I love the look on both their faces and the beautiful colours in the photo too. I used these gorgeously bold patterned papers from Tinkering Ink, which were just perfect for the photo and the colour combo too. I added a bit of extra interest by distressing the paper and machine stitching a border.

Off now as I am being nagged to get tea ready!

End of Term

Today was the first day of school holidays for us here. Eventually had a lie in, though it was interrupted by Josh's alarm blaring out some sort of cacophony at 7am! Had a lazy morning before deciding to get my act together. I spent the afternoon and evening doing accounts *yawn* and wages *yawn* interspersed with the ironing *more yawns*!!

Tomorrow hopefully we will be buying new kids shoes (fingers crossed we can find some that are liked and that fit) and possibly having haircuts, will see how the time goes.

Saturday, if tomorrow goes to plan, I will be going to the crop at Hobby Horse. I really must get some photos and paper packs organised to give me a chance of achieving something useful whilst I am there. Though eating biscuits and chatting is good enough in itself :D

Now don't ask me why because I haven't a clue, but the end of term teachers gift thing almost passed me by this year. Huge panic at 10.30 Tuesday night when I realised I had forgot. Thank goodness for a 24 hour Tesco, though it's undergoing a bit of a refit so there wasn't the range of things in homewares or stationery I had hoped for. So I opted instead for little bottles of wine. A red and white for each of the teachers/assistants plus the very important (and very helpful) secretary. So I spent the next several hours decorating gift bags and making matching cards. Not the most fussy or creative things in the world, but given the timescale I had I was lucky to get them finished! And they (well at least the contents!) were very well received.

Patterned papers on the first four are Three Bugs in a Rug, on the fifth and sixth, SEI. The black/white spotty paper is Chatterbox. Stamps by Sandylion. Lots of Papermania stick on crystals to add some extra 'oomph'.

Color Combo #81

Just a quick post to say the new colours are up on the Color Combo blog. Really got me thinking these did! As ever, I left the page until the weekend to do, which wasn't the best plan as it happens as I have developed 'positional vertigo' - that horrid feeling of everything spinning just like when you have had too much to drink (which is why I don't drink much cos I don't like that feeling). Spent yesterday lying down, been to the doctor today for some anti nauseau tablets and just got to hope that my ear sorts itself out. It's blimmin' annoying me no end as there is a non-stop whooshing sound in my right ear and I feel sick and dizzy.

Hence putting together a page rather quickly for the challenge this week (sorry Janet!)

"I can't explain why - I just know that I think rhino's are beautiful."

Papers - My Minds Eye and KI Memories.
Due cuts - My Mind Eye
Chipboard letters - American Crafts
Journal frame stamp - Autumn Leaves
Misc flowers and crystal brads
Plus I used my corner rounder for the first time since ... I can't remember!

Stylish and Addictive

Thanks to Wendy who pointed the way to Wordle. If you like words and like procrastinating and tweaking things (!) go and have a look. I can see many happy hours playing on this. I'm sure my girls will love it too ... and I can tweak in some educational value on their part which is even better!

This is the one I created and put on the gallery, a commemmoration of Scrapbooking - Suzanne Style!

Anyhow, off to take my tablets (just the two, I have a way to go before I rattle like my Grandma did, I can remember she had a huge metal tray next to her chair on which were piled what seemed like dozens of bottles of pills for various ailments). And then off to bed. Got to get up an hour earlier in the morning to get the girls ready for a school trip to Bridington. Heck ... actually better pack up their lunch bags now because I am not a morning person and I am bound to forget things else!

Color Combo #80

Harrumphhh! Or however you spell it. Computers. Well email. Well actually sending email to be exact. Have been receiving emails fine all day but, for some reason, the sending part of the deal isn't being co-operative. But I didn't notice until gone 5pm when I was wondering why my page on the Color Combo blog wasn't showing. Well, it wasn't showing because my email with the attachment to Janet was still sat in my outbox folder! Like I said, harrumphhh!

So here is my page this week anyhow. I usually work with brighter colours than this but, once I started playing, I really loved the combination. The more muted colours work well with the mish mash of colours in the photos. I don't know about you, but, more often than not, I prefer to work with colour photos because I love to be reminded of the colour of decor or, in this case, particular clothes (Josh is wearing a Sweater Shop jumper, that's how old these photos are!).

Josh really wasn't overly fond of Playschool, it was much too regimented compared to the freedom at Mother and Toddlers (yep so imagine how he found school!) but he did enjoy some of the activities such as outdoor play, sand, trampoline, dinosaurs and train set.

I used Autumn Leaves papers, American Crafts felt Thickers, GinX rub-ons (yep working the old stash well this week!), 7Gypsies stamp and stickers, Making Memories printed mini tags, some printed twill and a few buttons. Font is 2Peas Ditzy.

Updating Slide Show Galleries

I have started to update my galleries for the slide shows in my sidebar on here. So far I have collated the Color Combos pages, layouts and cards (faves in the past year) which are in slide shows in the sidebar. The cards that I did for the 2 Peas World Stamping Week challenges are items 1-18 in the cards section.

My favourites though are here too:

This is a little box that contained a watch my daughter had for her 9th birthday. I retrieved it out of the recycling bag for the 'earth friendly' challenge. The papers are Scrapworks. The scallopy bit was cut on the Craft Robo and then the centre embossed with one of the new Cuttlebug embossing borders. I also treated myself to a new sentiments stamp set from Hero Arts; the Sending Sunshine sentiment is from that. The tags are made from the backing of a paper pad, dry brushed with white paint then wiped over with chalks (yes, chalks!), the reverse side of the Scrapworks patterned paper and stamped with stamps from Autumn Leaves (the flower), Hot off the Press (monograms) and the Hero Arts sentiment stamp again. Simply finished with American Crafts ribbon and some twine.

This card was made for a 'techniques' challenge combined with a 'sea' themed challenge. The background was created by blending Stazon onto a piece of transparency, swiping green Stazon upwards from the bottom, stamping (to represent seaweed and pebbles) and some Scenic Route fishy patterned paper. The air bubbles are brads finished with Stickles.

I am going to be putting together other galleries on slideshows which will be viewable by clicking on the links. At the moment only my Making Memories Idol projects have been put into this format. I will be adding in some of my favourite 'golden oldies' projects, my pages/projects for the (now ceased) Speshals (aka Collectively Yours) challenge blog and published stuff in other slideshows ... some time.

I also need to add the finishing touches to quite a few layouts which are sat in a pile on my desk and photograph them. I'm not so hot on the photographing pages malarky and it's one job I keep putting off. But I do like to have a record of them on the computer, flicking through them on here is a quicker way of refreshing my memory of the photos I have already scrapped than getting the albums out and flicking through them. Especially because so far I have put pages in albums in the order I scrapped them (which is so very not chronological) and also because I have about *ahem* 100 layouts just piled up on another desk in the corner actually waiting to be put into albums.

Color Combo Challenge #79

Oh heck, how long since I last blogged?! Seems like blogging is akin to dieting in that respect, the more I think I should do it, the less I do!

I have been scrapping, not so much, but I have been keeping up with the wonderful colour combos put together by Janet over on the Color Combos blog. This week was, unsurprisingly, based on the patriotic colours of red, white and blue. I tried to keep in with the patriotic theme too, but was totally limited to this one photo of a local memorial tower. Celebrating our nationality isn't something us Brits do at all well (if at all) other than on Remembrance Sunday which falls in November.

I did a digital page this week, constrained by lack of photos, me being ill and Chiara being ill. Even so, finding a digital poppy wasn't the easiest of tasks!

Erm, credits, will try my best but I am really not up to speed on keeping track of these things ...

Background paper and Paisley paper (recoloured) by Laura Sandford for Little Dreamer Designs (April colour challenge freebie)
Grungy overlays by Lauren Bavin for Digital Scrapbook Place
Poppy by Sue Wood, Poppyfields minikit
Ribbon by Kasia Designs, Birdsong kit

Very simple this one. I tried to add more stuff onto it, but it just didn't seem to suit the mood of the page at all. So after a couple of hours of faffing I went back to basics and let the picture and journaling do all the work.


The bright light from Crich Stand is etched in my memory from way back when. As I was growing up I would lie in my bed looking through the window at this light. Somehow I found it comforting. And yet, until recently, I knew nothing about it. I always thought it was a lighthouse to stop light aircraft crashing into the rocks it stood on! But now I do know what it is and what it represents.

The tower was dedicated in 1923 and is the regimental monument of the Sherwood Foresters regiment. And it is a Lanterne des Mortes memorial tower. Set in the top of the tower is a light which shines unfailingly each and every night in memory of all those men of the Regiment who gave their lives.

I think it is a beautiful and inspiring tribute and it makes that comforting light of my memories even more meaningful.

I will be back to upload more stuff. I took part in several of the World Stamping Week challenges on 2 Peas a couple of weeks ago. Aaagh! I knew it would be fatal! Rubber stamping is a whole new addiction :D

Product Review

Ooops, just remembered that I hadn't done my write up for a product test. I was one of a number of people selected by Design Objectives to receive a 3L Scrapbook Adhesive EZ Runner worth £4.99. We were given a short questionnaire and these are my answers .... note this is my personal opinion only.

1. How often do you use adhesive?

Pretty well daily.

2. What is the main type of adhesive you use?

Double sided tape (Poundland), Power Pritt, glue dots, Glossy Accents.

3. What do you look for in an adhesive?

Stickability and value for money.

4. How easy is the product to remove from its packaging?

Easy peasy!

5. Does the product appeal to you – i.e. does it look good?

It's okay, nothing to shout about but it's only glue, right, doesn't need to look like a piece of art.

6. How easy is the product to use?

Very easy. The one thing I would say is that ergonomically I was consistently trying to use it upside down as it seemed to fit my hand better that way. So maybe some more of an indicator of which is the right way up.

7. How well does the product perform?

Works great. Didn't get gunged up at all in the runner like some do, didn't jam at all, went on smoothly and great to use on curves. Excellent to use when in a hurry.

8. Do you like this product?

As far as this type of product goes, I thought it worked well but the 'upside down ness' (see above) irked me. Plus I hated that you can't refill it. With all the green issues about reusing and recycling this is very much a negative from my point of view.

9. Do you consider it good value for money?

For buying an adhesive in the roller it is on par pretty well with other product on the market. However having to buy a new roller at £4.99 every time one runs out makes it much more expensive than being able to refill a runner with a £2 refill.

10. Would you consider buying this product in the future?

For attending crops and classes and having on standby for doing things in a rush, then maybe I would, as it was easy and quick to use with no fuss, perfect when time is of the essence. For every day scrapping, then no.

11. What would make you more likely to buy this product in the future?

Make the runner refillable and have the refills available to buy at a price point in line with other products on the market (£2-£2.50).

12. What would make you less likely to buy this product in the future?

The current cost and waste factor (not being able to refill) are two things which really don't do this product any favours, which is a shame because it works brilliantly.

Colour Combo challenges and Cyber Crop news

I love working to challenges. With the mountain of photos coupled with the mountain of stash I often find it overwhelming choosing where to start. I find it really helpful to have some sort of pointer to focus my mind in one direction. I like best the challenges that give quite a lot of freedom still such as journaling prompts. And the colour swatches. There are some really lovely and inspiring colour combinations. I've loved working with them all since I joined the talented team on the blog. Some have been more challenging than others, but then - working with something you wouldn't normally consider is what a challenge is all about!

The new swatches over at Color Combos Galore go live every Monday. As well as a new challenge each week, all the previous colour swatches are archived over there too.

These are all my pages to date:

I'm hoping to get back into some semblence of order now that the kids are back at school and we have come back from our jaunt up to Scotland. Huge thanks to Roz for - yet again - being a fabulous hostess and welcoming myself and my child tribe into her home for the week. Apologies to Ben for the verbal onslaught on his delicate ears by the megaphone that is Josh - and to Trevor and Charlie for the overpowering attention they get from Mia as soon as she walks through the door!

We had a lovely week together, a few days out and about coupled with some great pyjama days too. Hmm bad scrapper that I am I left the photographing to Roz (she is better at it than me) and forgot to copy the photos to bring back with me. Oh well - seems like a great excuse for another visit, eh Roz?!

My baby had her seventh birthday the week before, unfortunately the weather didn't hold out so the party ended up being in the playroom (for the games) and conservatory (for the food). This time was marginally less stressful as top of Mia's wishlist for her birthday was birthday food from McDonalds. I very carefully and very clearly wrote the list of what we needed so Len just had to hand it over and the staff just had to follow it to the letter. Unfortunately we seem to have got the staff who didn't understand that ***NO RELISH AND NO SALAD*** on the Big Mac actually meant that we didn't want relish or salad on the Big Mac, so poor Josh went rather hungry. A couple of drinks missing too, but at least that was easier to put right.

Okay well am going to move myself to get some more laundry out on the washing line now the sun has peeped through the clouds (incidentally my line broke yesterday with two loads of washing on it which ended up in the garden), it's been mended now so I hope it stands up to the strain again.

Oh and a quick heads up for anyone who visits my blog that doesn't know, there is a Cyber Crop over on UK Scrappers this weekend (from Friday evening to late Sunday afternoon). Lots of classes planned (includes layouts, mini books, cards and altered projects so there really should be something for everyone!). I was lucky enough (she says nervously) to be asked to do a layout class which on the Saturday night at the 8pm slot.

If you're not already registered over there it is well worth the effort of doing so. Not only will you get access to the new classes this weekend, but also the library of classes from all the previous cybercrops for the past couple of years. My previous classes are filed in there too, a layout class and a starbook class.

Mmmmmmmm irrisistible!

Rouge de Garance. I love, love, LOVE the papers and die cuts by this company. They have a beautiful website and lots of inspiration from the DT on their blog too.

I am a total patterned paper fanatic, I use lots of my pages and I had drooled over the papers for a long while but, you know, they are quite bold and I was really unsure of how I would be able to work with them. Well I was lucky enough to win a set of products in one of their blog challenges last year and that gave me the push I needed to work with something much more different than I usually did.

And oh my word! I so loved working with the pack that I was sent by RDG that I just had to go out and buy some more. They are a pretty hard to find range, but luckily Angel Crafts stocks it (note - it's all on 25% discount until the end of March which is erm, tonight!)

These are some of the pages I have created with the papers:

Using paper Fleur de Tiare No1 and die cut sheet Feuille Etiquettes de Mai No2. These papers are so wonderfully summery:

I love the Urbaine range especially, I think it is just fab for teen boy pages, like these three layouts

I love mixing it with Hambly products, like on this page. The Rouge De Garance on this page is a 6x12 sheet, Daphnis et Chloe No10

And the Aile ou Fleur range is utterly beautiful too. I love that this works with such a huge range of themes, girls, boys, nature and even, ahem, monkeys! By the way - Firkin' is used around here to mean scratching (see this site for more Derbyshire slang!).

This page uses Aile ou Fleur, coupled with papers from Autumn Leaves (heart frame) and Jenni Bowlin (red ledger):

As you can see, I am starting to work my way through photographing my pile of projects!