Friday, 28 August 2009

Index card & fabric folder.

After an annoying morning where the bank got my appointment time wrong and then a pair of amazingly wonderful high, high heels I'd spotted didn't fit me, I returned home, put the kettle and got down to some crafting.

This is what I made:I simply took a pack of blank index cards [50p for 50 from Wilkinsons] and wrapped fabric around them:

Using one of the cards as a template I marked the positions and punched a hole in my fabric:

I then eyeletted the hole to strengthen it and used a small bookring to attach the cover to the cards:

I then hand stitched a length of ribbon around the cover to act as a wrap closure.

As the note above mentions, the fabric and trimmings used are from the 'Hot Date' Quirky Kit from CraftyTemplates.
So, there you have it, a handy, pretty book to keep in my bag. I could use it to make notes about crafting projects, to keep shopping lists or just record my day. If I'd had it with me this morning the first entry in it would read:
"Bank appt @ 10:00am - not 10:30 like they tried to say! Tried on most perfect, high, grey, ankle strap shoes - didn't fit. V. bad. Even shop assistant said it was a shame!"

Monday, 24 August 2009

New Quirky Kit: Hot Date

I'll keep this nice and simple.

Crafty Templates have just released the latest Quirky Kit - called 'Hot Date' - which can be used to make a 2010 calendar or diary.

I've just received mine ....and it's beautiful . You'll probably want one. I know what you're like.

p.s: it comes packed in a pink box and includes sticky backed woodgrain vinyl. Need I say more?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The one with the chimp.

Us scrappers - we're not hard to please you know. No. Not at all in fact.

The simple combination of a yellow flower /black and red teapots /cerise table mat pretty much made Hannah and I light up with scrapping joy on a recent girlie day out to
The Art Cafe which is exhibiting some of Hannah's work.

Before any food or drink could be consumed we each drew our cameras for a shoot out:

[Note how the flower considerately faced the camera in both shots. Weird eh? It's almost like two mad women obsessively moved the crockery etc around whilst seeking the most perfectly scrapworthy shot .....].

Everything I've used on these pages is from
Gauche Alchemy. The card, trimmings and ephemera are from the 'Ball and Chain' mixed media kit and the pink bits and bobs are from the coloured-themed embellishment kit, all of which is available from their ArtFire shop. [The alphabets: model's own!]. Yes, the colour kit is called 'Pink Parts' .....the Gauche girls are in the process of allowing you, yes you, to choose new names for their kits. If you think you can think of something appropriately unique to name an orange kit then head over to their blog now where, for your trouble, you'll be entered into a prize draw. In fact they're hosting several giveaways at the moment so it's all yours for the taking!
Now, seeing as how you all stuck with me through my brief flirtation with misery in my previous post allow me to offer you some light relief ... at my expense ...
In an attempt to pull myself up by my bootstraps on Wednesday I embarked upon my Banana Frog 'Stamping School' project for September thinking that getting it completed a month early would lift my spirits. Until .... until I crouched to adjust my near-complete project, which I'd laid out on the floor just beneath an open dresser drawer .... and then I stood up.
Long story short: lower backs + the corners of solid oak drawers = pain; watering eyes; slight breathlessness; a pathetic phone call to sympathetic [but unsurprised] James; a lovely bruise and a swelling that gave me the appearance of having 3 buttocks. [Which I haven't].
Fast forward to Thursday night where I'd showered, applied Arnica to the unfortunate area and arranged the waistband of my jogging bottoms in a sort of low slung, extreme hipster style ....and I think you know where this story is going don't you?
I then attempted to unplug my laptop which involves leaning over a mini filing cabinet ... directly in front of a window ..... which has a house directly opposite it. Whilst mid-lean, balancing on one leg and at full stretch with my arms I could feel the waistband slipping and could do nothing to stop it! If it was not for my T-shirt being so long .... well, let's just say my neighbours would have had a front row view of those 3 buttocks.
So, there I am all aching back and joggies around my ankles when I manage to unplug the plug and straighten myself up, luckily with the majority of my dignity still in tact. Until .....
.... until I spot a pencil [from the pot I'd been leaning over] sticking out of the bottom of my T-shirt sleeve. Which is when I realised that, to add insult to injury, a chimpanzee had lodged itself into my armpit:

Dignity? Dignity?

Who needs it?

Personally, I think it's over-rated .....

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Blogging it out.

I'm not strictly in the best of moods. In fact, I could be accused of being 'not myself' today. Evidence for the prosecution includes:

[1] I went grocery shopping and bought a hair dye on the spur of the moment.
[2] I had my car window open with the stereo absolutely blasting, something I never do [OK - so I was blaring out Coldplay - but still ...] and
[3] I attempted to burn off a Subara Impreza WRX at the traffic lights.

Clearly it's a case of identity theft. And my victim is some flash boy racer. I plead guilty as charged. But before you pass sentence please take the following into account:

[1] I've got lots of stuff, things, projects and plans on my mind.
[2] I'm not sleeping too well [although last night I did dream about kissing The Mentalist life's not treating me that cruelly!]
and, more significantly,
[3] My friend HannahBanana is moving away which means, for a while, there'll be no more of our fabulous crafty / gossipy days in which we make very little art, drink very much tea, share all there possibly is to share and cry laughing at everything ....even the difficult stuff ... especially at the difficult stuff.

So go easy on me.

Something which should lift me a little from this malaise is that I managed to complete three of those UFOs I was telling you about here last week. Two of them need some more journaling in them to be entirely 'done' - but I don't want to rush that just for the sake of it.

I finally gave my book of motivational quotes a title. It's a quotation from the Roman poet Virgil:
"They can who think they can"

I'm finding it particularly apt at the moment and am currently working on the 'think I can' bit.

The following are another few quotes which should help me achieve what it is I'd like to achieve ....without feeling overwhelmed:

Anyway ... I'll brighten up soon, I always do. Plus, I've got good things to look forward to.

In a month's time: I get to see both Hannah and Dave Gorman again.
In a week's time: I'll be playing with the Crop-a-dile Big Bite I've ordered, and
In five minute's time: I'll be drinking my third cuppa of the day.

Life's not too shabby really. Not at all.

Not at all.



Sunday, 16 August 2009

Measuring creativity.


Sometimes my body and my mind have differing agendas.

Sometimes my body wants, more than anything, to sleep ...while my mind prefers to strike-up into full blown idea-sprouting and planning mode.

Sometimes this comes in useful.

When I was younger the solutions to homework problems which had hitherto eluded me, quite often dropped into my drowsy 'Inbox', just as I was drifting off to sleep. I soon learned that, to prevent me either [a] forgetting the ideas or [b] having to get up out of bed to scrabble around in the dark, or worse still, have to turn the light on, to write it all down ... I needed to start keeping a notebook by my bed. Which I still do.

I've even been known to write in it in the dark [James has often pondered on how I manage to do this while maintaining not merely legible but relatively neat handwriting ...I don't know ...I guess it's literally, one of my hidden talents!].

This week, the little team of creatives who hang out in my sleepy brain took advantage of an odd bird-call which has started waking me at dawn each day .... and they started shouting ideas at me. There's been all sorts going on in there; from ideas for future design team projects and blog topics to thoughts of belts.

Yes, belts.

So, I've paid several visits to my buckle tin in the last few days which, as the name tends to suggest, is a tin ... of buckles. I've picked them up from various antique fairs, junk shops and crafty places mainly with the intention to use them on papercraft projects.

But when my belt-related-inspiration struck ... I was happy to have a selection of belt-related accessories on hand.

Before going out yesterday morning I managed to see one of my sleep-defeating ideas through to fruition with the aid of an old measuring tape, a brushed metal buckle, two eyelets and a Silent Setter: I love it, even though I'm aware that it's a tiny bit eccentric and am I'm almost certain it drew a few looks from people when I wore it yesterday.

James however, says that the looks I received might have been because I was - and I quote -: "the hottest thing there yesterday".
But ... considering that 'there' was actually an exhibition of scale models, railways and Meccano ... and was thus filled with scale model, railway and Meccano enthusiasts ... in all honesty, and without a single hint of false-modesty, I can't really say that I was faced with a lot of competition in the 'hot' stakes!

It's the thought that counts though isn't it?


Monday, 10 August 2009

Parkinson's Law ... for crafters.

The generally accepted definition of Parkinson's Law reads as follows:

1. Parkinson's Law:
noun: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Alternatively, Pakinson's Law as it can be applied to crafty folk could read something like this....

2. Parkinson's Law [for crafters]:
Projects [ie: minibooks, albums, LOs] expand so as to fill the time available for their completion. Therefore, unless you have a set date by which they must be completed [ie: birthday, anniversary, magazine deadline] then, quite frankly, you'll fritter away your time, add something to it every once in a while, talk about how you really ought to make a go of completing it... but, basically, you'll be lucky to actually finish it within this lifetime.

....or words to that effect. Sound familiar?

But, in our defense, it's not just the paper addicts amongst us who find themselves surrounded by UFOs: Un-Finished Objects. [Thanks to 'TinkerTaylor', one of the ladies I crop with, for reminding me of that perfect phrase!].

No, I'm guessing that every hobbyist at some point has more ideas than there are hours in the day - which leads to more 'started' projects then there ever seem to be 'finished' ones. Or so I believe based upon my experiences of sharing my home with one man and a squadron of his non-battle-ready model aeroplanes!

On Sunday afternoon, with our respective projects spread far and wide across the dining room table, one or the other of us expressed some regret / frustration at the backlog of UFOs preying upon our conscience. So I decided to set us both a deadline by which we must finish some of our lingering projects!

Work set = 3 completed projects. Time available = 7 days. Consequence if challenge not successfully met = ....erm, well, I didn't really get that far ....

I did however get as far as completing two out of my three projects by Monday afternoon!! [I think that puts me in the lead!]. I managed to finally complete scrapping each of the items on the '25 Things About Me' list which I began and blogged about here way back in March! Here's proof that I made it to No.25:

[You can see several more of the 25 in this Flickr set].

It's been so long since I wrote my '25 Things' list[8 months n fact] that some of the sentiments involved feel quite distant now particularly the one above. It seems that my shell has grown a bit tougher in the intervening months.

So, if my maths is correct that made UFOs = 2, FOs = 1 .... that is until I forced myself to stay seated at my desk until I finished decorating a mini-book from a love-themed kit which my sister put together for me .... last Christmas!

My sister made the blank book and some of the embellishments.

The rest of the materials came from my stash or were swaps / gifts from my friends Anna , 'FavouriteWorkofArt' and Amanda.

I used the Banana Frog 'Backgrounds' stamps to add a touch of polka-dot detail:

The black and white journalling blocks are from Shabby Chic Crafts.

All that's left to do is for me to handwrite my journaling and you'll just have to take my word for it that it'll get finished. The book is about love and ... well, you read fact No.25 above didn't you? I'm prone to divulging too much as it is .... I think I'll attempt to keep a few personal things to myself!!!

So now the ratio of complete to incomplete is 2:1 and I have 5 full days left. The odds are in my favour! The final project I'd like to complete by Sunday is this mini-book of motivational quotes which I first blogged about here, last November.

Task No.1 will be to give it a title and finish decorating the cover and then I'll move on to completing the insides and ... and there's no time like the present to make a start.

So, I'll be off now .... to shoot down another UFO.


Friday, 7 August 2009

John Hughes

One of my favourite film-makers, John Hughes, died yesterday and for lots of reasons [most of which involve teenage angst and a difficult time at school] his death has really moved me.

If you want a general idea of why his films meant / mean a lot to me then you could read this article from The Guardian.

Last year I made these two pages featuring two of my favourite Hughes films and I just thought today would be a good time to share them with you.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
- Ferris Bueller [Ferris Bueller's Day Off].

John Hughes 1950 -2009

Sunday, 2 August 2009

If you want me ...I'll be in the kitchen.

If you've just dropped by from [a.k.a 'where the party's at'] then greetings party people - it's good to see you. If you didn't get here via Shimelle's blog party - then greetings to you too. All are welcome. Even gatecrashers!

If I'm honest, I'm not the biggest party girl that ever lived. Being expected to be scintilating company in a room full of strangers / family whilst being forced to listen to someone else's [misguided] idea of good music, isn't particularly my idea of a high old time. But don't get me wrong, there are a few things I do like about paties and they are:
[1] party shoes
[2] finger food
[3] party shoes
[4] wine
[5] cake and ...
[6] party shoes. You get the idea.....

But, when I was asked by Shimelle to bring something to her party, I was more than happy to do so. In fact if more parties involved pretty printables, scrapping and blogging ....then maybe I'd be converted!

OK, enough about me and my anti-social mad-crafter ways ..... here's my finished project:

I was working with the 'friendship' sheet of printables [available exclusively from 'Go To Press' the first part of Shimelle's upcoming Stress Free Scrapbooking online class [which you can sign up for over on the Two Peas site here]. So it made perfect sense to use them on these pages from my mini-book which records the exploits I've had with my friend Hannah [who will be joining in with the party herself later on today].

To create the embellishment below, I cut around one of Shimelle's designs, added a sandy texture using Ranger's Distress Embossing Powder in 'Old Paper' and then, using masking tape, I covered up the original quotation to customise it wiht my own thoughts!
Let's face it - how many people do you stumble across who actually, 100%, no questions asked, no odd looks given, truly 'get' what scrapbooking is? Exactly!!! So, when you find one you should grab them and hold onto them with both hands [But first, remember to put down your craft knife. New friendships are delicate enough without puncture wounds complicating matters!].
I cut the, very cute, hands and heart image from Shimelle's design sheet and ran it around my envelope which contains a key part of my journalling. I hid the heart element of the design beneath the envelope flap, which when closed, is secured with a large brad, decorated with a rub-on and a gem heart.

Once the envelope is opened, using the journalling blocks from the 'friendship' sheet,
one of the stories of our day by the sea is revealed ...

"What with the dark clouds overhead, the rain and the fact that Hannah had tights on ...we decided against paddling ...this time!"

As two educated women, we did deduct that she could have got away with going into the sea wearing her tights as the water wouldn't really have harmed them. We even debated the possible restorative qualities that salt-water-impregnated hosiery could have on tired feet!

But then we got stuck as to how she'd get off the beach. The options were: [a] to put her feet directly from the sea into new white leather boots [and she was never going to go for that!] OR [b] to walk the wet, tights-clad feet back across the beach thereby running the risk that, by the time we reached the promanade she would have accumulated so much sand that she'd never get her feet back in her boots anyway!

Next time we go to the coast ...I'm taking scissors ....just in case! "Knowing that we weren't going to have any paddling photos ...Hannah thought up something equally scrapworthy!"

I don't think that there's any shame in staging your own 'photos-to-scrap-with' scenarios. Even ones as blatant as this!! There you go Hannah - you threw down the gauntlet ....and I photographed that gauntlet, printed it out and scrapped it! It's your turn now!!

Along with Shimelle's printables I've used Basic Grey 'June Bug' paper [Admiral], a few 'June Bug' rub-ons and some Heidi Swapp ghost heart shapes [from the Gauche Alchemy 'Ball & Chain' kit].

Well, that's all from me for now ....but the party continues all day over at Shimelle's place . So, while you're all distracted by the pretty projects ... I think I'll go and help myself to the joys of the buffet table!

Party on.


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Consider this an aperitif.

As I type, Shimelle's blog party is going on over at

I'm in the delightful postition of having the project I've created for it being wedged between the projects of two of my best girls: Kirsty and Hannah.

Kirsty, my Copy + Paste blog-wife [that's the first and possibly last time I'm going to be allowed to refer to her as that!!! ;)] has already posted her project here. And, if you want a stylish and creative way to store all your unboxed CDs etc you MUST go and have a look at it!

My own project will be up on here tomorrow morning and then, tomorrow evening Hannah's will magically appear on her new blog This is Hannah:

After mentioning to her that I'd never used Alcohol Inks she kindly invited me round to her house to have a play with some.
Teaching a hard to amuse, fidgety student was a bit of a busman's holiday for Hannah ...but she tolerated me and my drifting-off-task quite well. She only shouted at me demanding I get back to work that one time ....

Under her tuition I managed to produce this little lot:

In a day of 'firsts' I was even initiated into the delights of embossing foil and cutting acrylic using the Big Shot machine. Never let it be said I only made friends with her in order to gain access to her well stocked craft room ...

Speaking of craft rooms ....this was what mine has looked like for the past few weeks:

The stash overhaul began as one of those moments where you think: 'I really must tidy out that box' ...which leads to 'now that one needs sorting' ....'oh and I'll have to get that out of that cupboard' ...and 'that one'. And then you get what I had here last week:

A 25cm square amount of clear space in which to sit and sort out your entire collection of crafting supplies!

And even if the location of this tiny oasis means that once you've seated yourself [in an essentially yogic position] you end up hunched beneath your own desk .... then tough luck ....beggars can't be choosers ...that room needs tidying!

It did get tidied. Eventually. It was sorted and sifted, some wound up in the recycling, some in a charity bag and some I swapped with Hannah and Kirsty.

But then, over the next few days like some kind of monster that can't allow itself to lose weight, it managed to fill itself back up!!!! The very next day Hannah's Mum [], who knows how my eyes light up at the thought of looking through someone else's 'junk' pile, gave me a huge bag of paper scraps. The day after that my Gauche Alchemy kit was delivered and Kirsty's swap parcel is winging it's way to me and will land on my doorstep on Monday!

Let's face it, I'm never going to have one of those pristine workrooms. I don't even think I'd want one. Just give me something in between 'obsessive-compulsively, creativity stifling tidiness' and 'complete and utter debilitating chaos' ... and if I can mainly be seated on a chair at a desk, as opposed to folding myself up beneath one ... then I'll be a happy scrapper.

I'll see you tomorrow with my Shimelle blog party project in tow.