Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Online Class, the Kit and the Ironing board.

No, not a new title in the Chronicles of Narnia series, but rather a description of the situation I find myself in in my craft room. It's quite a small room which could certainly do with a secret door through which I could stray and find extra storage space for my scrapping stash in the world on the other side!

At the moment, alongside the usual covered desk space and hidden portions of the floor ... my crafting projects have now spilled over onto the ironing board! On Saturday I received my DT Quirky Kit from Crafty Templates and it's demanding that I make room for it and that I start working with it right away!
I've planned to make a mini-book with some of it and the rest I'm trying to use in a spur of the moment scrapping challenge I set for myself this week.

I'm currently taking Doris Sander's 'Product Pizazz 102' online class over on Get It Scrapped and have I decided that I ought to be a well behaved pupil and rise to the challenges Doris includes at the end of each class, setting myself an additional goal of completing all 5 by the end of this week [when I'll have the next installment of the class.] I blame those years of Learning Mentor training and it's obsession with S.M.A.R.T targets!.

So, if my maths is correct, I have approximately 55 hours left to make 5 layouts and to get myself organised I've bedecked the ironing board with 5 piles of individually themed stash and photos, one for each of the challenges. I'm great at organising and planning ... now I just need to sit still long enough to get them all completed.

One of the layouts I have planned is about my bike. The bike I fell off.

This incident led to several weeks of one-armed-scrapping which I've been discussing this week with Anne who's found herself in a similar sling-bound situation. I promised her a photo of the conundrum I found myself in last year where my injury and my couture didn't quite work together. So, here it is Anne - I hope you're on the mend very soon:

Apart from the odd twinge every so often my arm is pretty much fully healed. Just as well really, seeing as how I've got a Quirky Kit mini-book and 5 layouts to complete by Friday ... I'm going to need the use of at least 2 hands!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Monday, Monday.

We spent Bank Holiday Monday by the coast. That ^^^^^ very coast in fact.

In a rare combination this far from the equator, both the sunshine and the seabreeze were incredibly warm ... even if the North Sea wasn't!!! Not that we all owed that to stop us paddling in it!

Post-paddling we had lunch on the deck of one of our favourite restaurants which overlooks the beautiful beach followed by icecream cornets which we had to eat swiftly, before they melted. We even managed to squeeze in a browse of the fabulous vintage / retro shop we recently discovered at the top of the hill.

Days like this make us so happy to live only 20 minutes from the coast. Days like this are not my usual Mondays.

On an average Monday I tend to do one or more of the following: if it's a working-day, then I groan slightly and wish it was still Sunday; if I'm off work, then I tend to fly through the laundry and housework like a manic Mary Poppins in order that I can spend the rest of the week focussing on more interesting tasks; either way, I often get confused and think that it's Tuesday already and I always check Emily Falconbridge's blog to see if she's posted the next question in the '52Q A Year of Mini Art Journaling' series.

Each week Emily poses a different question for her blog readers to respond to by creating their own tags or similar. My responses take the form of tiny collages made mainly from magazine clippings, rub-ons and coloured pens. You can see all 20 of my collages to date, along with the accompanying journaling / ramblings, they're all here in my 52Q Flickr set, but I thought I'd share a selection of them with you right here:

Weeks 1 & 2

52Q Weeks 1 & 2

Weeks 7 & 8

52Q Weeks 7 & 8

Weeks 13 & 14

Weeks 13 & 14
Weeks 19 & 20

Weeks 19 & 20

If you'd like to see other people's take on this project here's Emily Falconbridge's 52Q Flickr group , into which anyone playing along with can upload their work.

As it was a Bank Holiday Monday yesterday, I'm all to pot with which day's which, [today's Tuesday ....right?] and I've just remembered to check for the latest 52Q question which is:

Q21 - if you had a free day with NO restrictions...what would you choose to do? My response? Easy! Just scroll back up to the top of this post ..... what could be better?

Hope the sun's shining on you today - at least in spirit if not in actual rays!

Julie :)

p.s: if you get a chance, check out the latest challenge here on my other blog. Thank yooooo.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The one with the puppy.

[Materials: Mellissa Frances paper; printable journaling spots from Blueberry Freckles; journaling tickets from Indigo Mill; 'sprinkles' stamp from 'That Takes The Cake' by Banana Frog.]

Alfie is my niece and nephew's new Shih-Tzu puppy who, despite being a dog, I'm not afraid of. Yet.

Although, having said that, I don't really ever anticipate being afraid of him due to the fact that:
(a) my phobia has been gradually reducing over the last few years, and
(b) well, I mean, come on, look at him! He's not exactly one of the hounds from Hell is he?

Having said that, I do remember the first time I walked into the open-plan office at work where, upon my arrival, I was greeted enthusiastically by Buddy. Buddy the guide-dog. Even though guide-dogs may just be the animal equivalent of guardian angels [only with more legs and fewer feathers] I still took a sharp intake of breath and subsequently froze. Meanwhile he pushed his face [which is certainly larger than my own] toward my hand. Surrounded by staff who I didn't yet know and standing right next to my new supervisor, the fear of excrutiating public humiliation won out over my fear and I managed to complete my conversation without my legs turning all Scooby-Do-like on me and hurtling me out of the room!

I've mentioned before how I worship Cesar Milan 'The Dog Whisperer' on TV. His programme has definitely helped me understand more about the creatures I've been avoiding all my life and now, rather than 100% all-out fear every time I encounter one, I take them on a case by case basis.

Now if I see a dog, or even hear one [over the years my ears have become ridiculousluy attuned to the sound of their collars jingling and, like Radar from M.A.S.H, I can hear an 'incoming' canine from miles away!!!] then my mind immediately begins drawing a kind of dog-based Venn diagram to work out where on the scale of terror I need to be. It calculates parameters such as; how far away is it?; what breed is it?; how old does it look?; how fast is it moving?; is it on a lead; is it with it's owner?; if 'yes', does the owner look like the kind of person who will gladly keep it away from my jugular vein; And so on. Then, based upon the result of these observations, I decide whether to continue along my way like a rational adult ... or whether to give in to my body's 'fight or flight' reflex and run into the road screaming how no one understands nor cares if I get eaten alive. Something like that anyway.

So, erm, I made the above layout to prove that, as un-dog-like as Alfie was when this photo was taken, I touched a dog, and what's more, [to paraphrase a Katy Perry song] I liked it!!!!

Monday, 18 May 2009

On this day 17 years ago ....

... James and I had our first proper 'date'. Until then our relationship had consisted mainly of him flicking ice-cubes at me in a pub.

On May 18th 1992, at approx 19:00, when he came to collect me in his Mum's car, to take me to the cinema, two things struck me:
1. rather than the black, metal band T-shirts I was used to seeing him dressed in, he was wearing a plain white T-shirt and blue jeans, and ...
2. he smelled nice.

God loves a trier...and so do I. So I kept him.

Before you start panicking, this is not going to be a minute by minute account of our relationship and I do have a legitimate craft-based reason for mentioning our anniversary.

After being together through 16 Christmases, 34 birthdays, numerous anniversaries and the occasional 'just because' .... you begin to run out of original gift ideas - we're both extremely fortunate to have everything we need , so the only port of call is finding something that we like. Which is where shopping online for arty gifts comes in.

I bought him this print from because like me, he is a tea addict.

Despite me not having bought him a frame to put it in [oops!] he did like it and expressed his approval by stating: "You can't go too far wrong with a print of a custard cream." There's nothing I can add to that.

His gift to me was this handmade doll from Cathy Cullis's 'novembermoon' etsty shop:

[Image from Cathy Cullis]

He's aptly named Pointy Hat Chap, and it was love at first sight [between Pointy Hat Chap and I, not me and James!] after I saw him in this line-up of Cathy's dolls on her Flickr gallery:

The line-up took me back to all of the class photos taken at school where mine was always the smallest, hardest to find figure. Identifying my whereabouts in a group-shot is the equivalent of searching through the pages of a Where's Wally? book! I just couldn't resist having this tiny kindred spirit come to live with me.

So, after 17 years together we're all cups of tea and hand-made dolls. Not sure if our heavy-metal-T-shirt-wearing -younger selves would have predicted that!


Monday, 11 May 2009

Another day, another crafty project

I've just posted my first Stamping School project on the Banana Frog blog - it's about stamping on T-shirts and is called Banana Frog Pour Homme. You'll see why if you have a peek here.

In response to a desperate ink-based plea from
Sarah who left a comment on my project ... I used Versamark/Fabric inks and I bought them from the
Blade Rubber Stamps online shop . At the last count they sold 21 different colours! 21 coloured fabric inks and a mound of blank Ts to experiment with. Sounds like you've got a fun week ahead of you Sarah!

I'll be back to bother everyone on the Banana Frog blog again this week as my Project of the Day will be up there on Thursday 14th and it too has a somewhat masculine feel to it.

OK, that's me for now, I'm off for a good old think. Lots to think about today including: self-promotion; Alice in Wonderland; recycling and how to obtain a credit card. Not all together. But not far off.


Julie :)

p.s: When you hear the term 'Stamping School' do you think of a reality TV show, like The Apprentice, based around a group of mad crafters [like us] who are striving to be crowned the stamping champion? Because I do.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

New news

It's not that you're the last to know and even if you were, you know what they say about leaving the best 'til last and all that ...

The headlines ............. Kirsty Neale and I launched a new prompt blog last night called
Copy and Paste and we'd be thrilled, delighted and perfectly ecstatic if you took a look at it and let us know what you think.

I'd like to say that I had to blog about it this afternoon as I didn't have time last night due to some fabulously creative distraction .... like I was teaching at an all-night crop or jetting off to a trade show ... but I wasn't. Nor was Kirsty. No, Kirsty was taking a micro-second of time out from packing up to move house to hastily throw make-up at her face on the way to buying a new fridge and washing machine. Then I somehow managed to set the new blog into the world sometime in between the aroma of sulphur being released into my house when we attempted to unblock the drain on our bath and reheating a frozen curry for tea. Oh the glamour!

So neither of us really had a lot of spare time to invite you into our new place last night although you're more than welcome today though [I promise that the new blog hasn't been tainted with the scent of sulphur]. Here's a glimpse of the first project I created for it:

We are going to be posting projects which have been inspired by something we've seen or heard and, of course, you're welcome to either play along or stand on the sidelines and shout encouragement and thrust water bottles at us ... anytime :)

We just thought we'd create a little place to have some arty fun; no pressure; no work deadlines; nothing official. Kind of the blogging equivalent of enjoying some nice colouring-in after your homework was finished when you were young!

We'll be alternating ideas for prompts between the two of us and throwing in some links, images and general goodness between our main projects. We'll also be inviting over some of our favourite people to share their talent with us; either by their suggestions of something for us to copy or have them pasting along with us. If you get a chance then drop by Copy and Paste and say hello. :)

Other news ...... As well as a new blog, I now have a Twitter account: Yes Anna, it is just 'witter' with a 'T' at the front - but if these fancy-web folk keep creating places for me to witter on [first I joined UKScrappers then; Myspace; Flickr; Blogger; Facebook and now Twitter] well, it would be rude not to take part! Come and say hello if you Tweet too.

More news ......Banana Frog are giving away more stamps, a set of 'It's All About Flourishes' to be precise. Shimelle simply wants you to leave a comment on the post on the frog blog here - telling her where you would like to be able to buy Banana Frog stamps from. Simple as that. Good luck.

[A few people have mentioned that they find it hard to source BF stamps so I thought I'd mention here the Sugar Paperie online shop which stocks the majority of the sets]

And finally .....When I made this:

I hadn't yet met this:

I'll be scrapping the photos of my first ever hands-on encounter with a puppy when I go to my local crop this Saturday, but couldn't resist showing you now the proof that I held a dog!!

OK then, I'll be off now ... I've got some paper to push around and some ironing to avoid. Do pop by Copy & Paste to see Kirsty and me, have a good Wednesday, I'll see you soon.