Saturday, 30 April 2011

My Month in Numbers 2011: April

Hi, hi, hi.

Recovered from the wedding yet? Still extracting Union Jack bunting from your shrubbery?

Well, I might not have racked up a figure as impressive as an audience of 2 billion wedding watchers this month but, for what it's worth, here's my April 2011 ... in numbers.

I'm going to start with the annoying ones and work my way to happy. OK? OK.

2 [or '7 years bad luck' if you're superstitious - which I'm not] = 2 is the number of times this mirror has somehow leapt from our wall in recent years, the 2nd time finally marking the end of its useful life as a decorative item. I mean ... this would be stretching even the 'shabby chic' look to its limits:  
It's been hanging on two heavy duty rings and nothing has ever worked loose ... it just seems to decide to leave the wall on a whim. A very loud whim, striking a radiator several times on the way down!

2 = the number of times I was asked for ID when buying wine.
18 = the age you legally have to be to buy wine.
25 = the age you now have to look to be sold alcohol without ID in both places I was asked.
As I don't [yet] carry my driver's licence around the first time this happened this month, the cashier refused to sell me the wine - my debit card, work pass AND FACE clearly weren't enough to convince her I was a grown adult.

Instead after she and another staff member had both gawped at my face - while  I was at the head of a long queue - scrutinising me to see if they believed I was 25 or not, I abandoned all my shopping and walked out.

Except you don't have to BE 25 to buy wine!!!! You have to be 18!!! And I know I have good genes ... but I certainly don't look half * my age.

[For more confusion about how old I am, please see March's Month in Numbers post, where it was me getting it wrong!].

Right before I walked out one of The Age Scrutinisers suggested [and you may indeed be thinking this too] that I should be flattered. 

Except in this situation I was not flattered. I was tired and frustrated and humiliated.

And if you want to know exactly how annoyed I was and just how much I had to leave the shop before I started arguing my case, making it worse for myself ... then let me tell you ...

... there was cheesecake in that carrier bag I left behind on that counter.

Yes. I. Was. THAT. Upset!
As I don't have a photo of me in my fury [off of which you could have run electrical equipment] please accept this photo of a narky kitten ... it's wearing much the same expression:
Moving on ....
3 = the number of - in my opinion 'girly' - crafting items I've unexpectedly taken to this month.

First I voluntarily bought a Martha Stewart butterfly punch ... then I used the words 'so cute' in relation to a scalloped heart die ... then I made bunting:

After those 3 ominous turns of events I feel it's only fair to forewarn you that if I suddenly blog about making a mini-book of cake recipes ... you might want to be on the alert for an impending apocalypse. 

I'm just saying ...
40 = the number of patchwork squares we were called upon to help a friend mix and match at our monthly crafty get-together:

With phrases such as: 'Red polka dots with blue flowers on the right' and 'Pink stripey to green bottom corner' being shouted across the room it was if we'd discovered a new - fabric version - of Twister!

23.6 square metres =  the amount of stripey carpet we now have gracing our hallway and stairs:

I like stripes. I wear alot of them. And now so does my floor.
One day I'll lay down on it and see if James can spot me ...

0 = the number of pages read in the book I've been going on about for the last 2 months. Because ...

275 = the number of pages I rattled through in a week to read all of this:

Tina Fey's autobiography is the funniest thing I've read since the last David Sedaris book.

I had to be careful while reading it in the garden so the neighbours didn't think I'd gone insane or was having trouble breathing. It's a cliche to say but, honestly, it's laugh-out-loud funny.  I can't recommend it highly enough.

Well, those are my April statistics, how about yours?

There's no need for a full-blown post like mine if you just want to share the odd significant number [and they can be as odd or significant as you like!].

As usual I'll edit this post to add in a link to yours if you let me know you've written one, or posted a photo ... or however you choose to document your month.  So far:
  • Claireliz has joined in, scrapbooking a page of April statistics, on her blog 'The Crafty Alchemist' here.

So, fare thee well April ... with your fairytale weddings and your supermarket-booze horror stories ...
And bring it on May.
Me and my driving licence are ready for you.

Julie x 

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Layout: Diamonds On the Soles of My Shoes

Hello you.

And hello to you too if you've landed on me from SJ's Little Musings blog where I've been doing a spot of designing with her latest digital stamp collection today.

When I saw the image of the pair of high-tops in the set ['Acceptable in the Eighties'] I knew I had the perfect photos to match with it for a layout.

This layout:

Yes, that is indeed a close-up of a hole in the bottom of my shoe and as such ... I think I ought to explain myself:
But, alas ... while there was indeed something twinkling out from the hole in the rubber ... it was not quite a real diamond:
Or, to give it its exact title, it's a silver Anita's 'Glitteration' Dot which had clearly made a bid for escape via in the nearest passing sole!

To reflect this on my high-tops stamp I glittered the soles with Stickles:
My approach to scrapbooking has always been to trawl my 'everyday' experience and document the ordinary treasures that reveals.

And what could embody this philosophy more perfectly than a page dedicated to the discovery of a shimmering fragment in the bottom of a worn out shoe?

Here's wishing you too find a hidden treasure in the unlikeliest of places.
Thanks for reading me today.

Julie x

The stamps I've been working with:

I also made 4 cards using on the other images from the set over here on the Little Musings blog.

And here's where I took my title  from ... if ever a layout and song were meant to be together ...:

Monday, 25 April 2011

Configuration tray: Going for a splodge!

Hi, hi, hi. Happy Bank Holiday Monday.

Is that a valid greeting? Does anyone say that? ... OK, seemingly I  just did, so let's move on ... ].

How are you spending your day? 
Living quite near the coast we might ordinarily have ventured out on to sand with bare feet on a sunny bank holiday.

But not today, because:
  • [a] It is still only April ... and it is still the North Sea we're talking about here... so not an entirely warm prospect yet [if ever].
  • And [b] I'm having some stripes installed [It's a carpet which I'll bore you with at a later date.]
But, once the staircase is safely carpeted [not that the words 'stairs' and 'safe' ever really go together in my experience] I can go and splodge vicariously by looking at the seasisde configuration tray I have hanging on the landing:
Actually, if I opened the bathroom door and filled the bath with warm water I could splodge while looking directly at it! But, then again, I probably shouldn't risk getting the new carpet wet ...
The box was made - from scratch - a few weeks ago at the monthly 'Efemera Ink' crafty day run by Effie She designed the construction of the box for us all to copy then, as usual, we all decorated them in our own style, using our own seaside paraphenalia.

Mine was covered in pages from an astronomical chart book from 1969 [which was one of the bargain book finds I mentioned in March's Month in Numbers post]: 
Amongst other things it's now home to the precious little head I dug up in the back garden when we first moved in and shells and stones from various beachcombing trips: 

And I clad the outside of my tray with an old wallpaper swatch from my time on the Gauche Alchemy design team I'd been saving for a suitable project. The faux knots are some ancient, ancient K+Co rub ons. 
Then Effie provided the drift wood for all our the handles ... because that's the kind of thing Effie always has handy!
You can see Effie's original design here, and Janet has alsoblogged her take on it here.

Right then, I'm off ... to dream of warm shores, salt-water between my toes ... and boots as amazingly pointy as these:

Happy splodging! *


[Just hoping that 'splodging' isn't one of those phrases that means something completely different - ie: rude - in other countries ... but I'm sure you'll let me know if it does ... ]

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Photobooth fun ... with a zebra.

Hello you.

Whether you're a regular visitor or if you're visiting from It's a Creative World blog [where I'm guesting with this post today courtesy of Alexa] you're equally welcome ... I'm sure we can all squeeze inthe  if we shuffle up a bit.

When I blogged about this photobooth-strip layout last month:
Layout: So very young!
 ... I suggested I might write-up a step-by-step to show how you can use your own stamps to achieve the same result ... and now I have!
If you stop by my post on It's a Creative World there's a full photo-tutorial complete with examples of cards I made featuring character stamps cosying up to each other in photobooth style snapshots.

Meanwhile, right here there's a layout featuring the same technique:
The page stars me and my old friend the zebra complete with a matching, stamped, photostrip:
If you're wondering why I'd have a zebra for a friend you might want to read a post I wrote about how he came to live with me .
That post also goes some way toward explaining why, as my journaling suggests, I feel gratitude toward a cheap plastic zoo animal!
So apart from sharing this page and the story of my friendship with you ... I hope you might take on the technique I've shared and be inspired to give the photobooth idea a go using your own stamps, to tell your own tale:
Thanks so much for stopping by to see me and the zebra today[we're both wearing stripes in honour of your visit] and don't forget to drop in on It's A Creative World on your way out.

Please do give me shout if you try out the stamped photobooth strip technique in your papercrafting ...

... and please yell it from the rooftops if you too keep a small safari in your handbag!
Julie x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cards: Meet Miss Fly & The Queen of the Wheel

Hi, hi, hi.

Over the course of the last week or so I seem to inadvertently brought you a series of blog posts which ran like an ingredients lists for a good meal. So far I've served up:
After all of which I feel you and I should both get some exercise, starting right now, with the assistance of the oh-so-aptly named Miss Fly:
I guess 'Miss Fly' was actually the name of the bike in the vintage advert ... but still ... I'd feel pret-ty fly if I rode my bike wearing pointy boots, a bright red skirt .. and a hat like that!
Miss Fly [and the image below] were both printed from the Vintage Labels image CD [from a range of at 3DJean], and if I thought riding my bike wearing a skirt was daring enough ... then check out the Queen of the Wheel

I used Distress Ink to age the image, then mounted it on to a card covered in many layers and 'bits'.

The foil hinges I've had for ever were also aged, this time using black and brown Stazon:
The papers are Onirie 'Sweetness of Living' and the new Noir et Creme by Collections Elements - all from
As you might have gathered, these cards are part of my Design Team work for 3DJean and, if you still feel like burning off some of last week's blogging calories, you can hop on over to this post on the shop blog where you can meet the gentlemen cyclists who form the other half of my card set.

As a fairweather [i.e: lazy and cold-hating] cyclist I have yet to dust mine off this year. Needless to say that when I finally do get back on two-wheels ...

... I'll be wearing my best frilly bodice and heeled boots!

Thanks for reading me today.



Thursday, 14 April 2011

The potato that looked like a Marc Johns drawing

Hi,hi, hi.

You know how it is ... you find a vegetable, with a face, that looks like it's been drawn by an artist you admire ... right? Right?

Well, I know how it is. It's just like this ...
We'd been grocery shopping and James was removing the older, eye-sprouting, potatoes from the basket and replacing them with the the ones we'd just bought.
Him: "Ha! This one's got a face".

And so it did:

Me: "Awww ... look at it. It looks like a Marc Johns drawing!!".

And so it does:
When Henry blew bubbles they became more than that
Above - When Henry Blew Bubbles they Became More Than That.

Below - If You Sit on Me

if you sit on me
Would You Like Some Eyes? [appropriate question for a potato ... wouldn't you say?]
would you like some eyes?
You can find out more about Marc Johns' work on his website and his Flickr gallery.  

And you can find out more about my potatoes by looking in my pull-out grocery cupboard.

Follow up: I posted a photo of my Marc Johns potato on Marc Johns' Facebook wall thinking he might like it ... but at the time of writing - he hasn't yet responded. 

As for the potato ...
... he ended his days in a rather smashing celery and garlic soup!

[Edited to add: OK,  Marc Johns has now left me a very lovely comment below ... I'm now in a mix of emotions ranging from delight to guilt at eating the potato AND I feel bad for implying he hadn't responded to a random photo of a potato a strange woman sent to him ... Mostly delight though!]

Thanks for reading today.
Julie :-)

p.s: If you like things liked this [whatever this is!] you might like Faces in Places - a Flickr group I've been looking at for years which has photos of ... errrrm ... faces .. in places.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Scrapbooking the story: The 6-Cheese Lunch

Hello again.

Here's the follow up post + page I promised in my earlier post about the wine shop and the wall of labels.
It might not make much sense if you haven't already read the previous post ... not that I can promise it will make total sense even if you have ...
So, let me now explain about the 6-Cheese Lunch ... :
We were so looking forward to lunch when we landed in the wine-shop-which-we-thought-was-a-coffee-shop, we were a little disappointed to see that, while the menu had plenty of teas, coffees and [naturally enough for a wine shop...] wines on there, there was no food!

We were so hungry that even the homemade cakes on the counter didn't quite seem like enough. Which is when the owner uttered the infamous words:

"I can make you up a selection of cheeses ... with crackers ... and homemade chutney ...":
[The 'We'll give you some bread for your cheese' slogan came from a magazine advert in an ephemera paper pack I bought years ago. I just knew that, if I held on to it long enough, one day I'd find an ideal project for it!]

Mr Wine+Cheese then asked if we'd like to choose from his selection, but we were happy to let let him decide for us while we all dashed off to .... to ... the toilet to look at his label wall.
And what he put together was soooooo good.

6 cheeses, some from local producers and chutney made on a nearby farm. It was glorious. How often do you make an entire meal from cheese?!! Although ... there was fruit and veg in the chutney ... so it was a balanced meal really ... if you think about it ...

Imagine setting down a whole tub of ice-cream in front of 4 hungry kids and telling them to eat as much as they liked ... yeah ... it was like that ...
And what we couldn't eat [which wasn't much!] ... we took away to eat later!

I know I joked about it in my previous post, but my friends and I really have discussed going out of our way to return to the emporium of cheese the next time we go off on our crafting retreat. Hopefully next time around more of us will be able to get there for lunch ... so if 4 peaople = a 6-cheese lunch ... how many cheeses will he provide if all 8 of us turn up ...

However many it turns out to be ... you know I'll be taking photos in between mouthfuls!

Bon apetit! 

Julie x


The structure of the page was inspired by the Kraft It Up blog challenge for April. 

Cardstock + paper: Papermania kraft basics; Papermania 'Sunshine'
Fabric ribbon: Papermania
Alphas: Papermania, Jenni Bowlin
Spritz ink: Shimmerz
Stickers: Lily Bee

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Scrapbooking the story: The Wall of Labels

Hello you.

Last month, on our way to stay in a country cottage for a crafting weekend, my friends and I made a slight detour to a small village to visit a patchwork shop [the one we folornly sat outside until they opened up which I mentioned in March's Month in Numbers post].

We'd been travelling in the car all morning so, rather than go directly to ogle and paw the fabrics, we first needed to address a few vital issues: [1] eating lunch [2] drinking tea and [3] finding toilets!

After harrassing several locals in the street we were finally directed to a place which we were assured sold food and drink so we made our way along until we found it:
All four of us peered in through the window at once ...

It was a wine shop.

Floor to ceiling wine on all sides, a beautiful sight indeed ... but not quite what we'd had in mind. But, before we could walk away we were beckoned in by the man behind the counter.

It turned out that the only food he sold was cheese and cake ... and next week I'll share the layout I've made about the 6-cheese lunch we ended up with... but until then ...

... once we'd agreed on food someone [and I'll spare their blushes] pretty much demanded he tell her where his toilet was ... and we set about making ourselves at home in this unlikeliest of lunch-spots.
As if being surrounded by wine, cheese and cake wasn't exciting enough ... while we formed an orderly queue outside the 'facilities' we incureable paper-lovers were thoroughly enthralled by the walls which were totally covered in wine labels:
Effie: 'Have you got your camera on you?' And what do you think? Me: 'Yes. I've got my camera on me.'
And that my friends is how I came to photograph a wall, outside a toilet, in the back room of a wine shop in a strange town ... while a man made up a banquet of cheese for four women who blew-in on the wind like a pack of giddy, papercrafting, Mary Poppinses.
And if we hadn't exploited his hospitality far enough ... he even ended up giving us directions to the patchwork shop we'd come looking for in the first place!

I still wonder what his emotions were when, as we were leaving, amidst our thanks we announced that we'd definitely be dropping in on him again ... the next time we're passing ... !

Julie ;-)


The layout is my take on Shimelle Laine's Sketch of the Week [06. April. 11].
The small alphas; vintage cider label; Shimmerz spray; label stamp and 6x6 paper are all from 3DJean.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Art Journal Challenge: Weeks 13 & 14

Hi, hi.

There's ink under my nails, on my desk and on the wall [but that's been there a month now, so the statute of limitaions on that offence has passed by now ... surely?] and there's even some ink on paper ... which can only mean I've been journaling.

Week 13 over on the UKStampers Art Journal Challenge was all about superstitions and rituals:
Initially I didn't think I was superstitious but then I thought of how I do believe in a form of karma:
It's a kind of get-what-you-give, do-unto-others philosophy ...

Which is all well and good [literally in fact] as it does help me consciously live a good life. Yet it has its downside ... like when I do something not so good ... which makes me wonder when it's going to come back and bite me!

This voodoo-esque creatures [along with the flying pig] came from something I rescued from being thrown away when Effie sorted out her scrap box ages ago! I'd been hanging on to it until the right moment and this week's theme seemed a fitting time for me to finally glue them down.
The stamped keys represents the rituals side of the challenge but isn't related to a superstition ... just a bit of everyday paranoia:
And rather coincidentally my car-driving habits cropped up again in my response to Week 14.

Here we were prompted to journal about music but rather than follow the exact prompt this time [1st song you bought + all time Top 5] I decided to make a note of some of the CDs I currently flit between in my car:
The 'Broken Chords' title [along with the instruction at the bottom of the pages] came from old sheet music and were cut from the rest of the sheet by a friend who thought it sounded like something I could use in my journal.

And she was correct [thanks Jan!]:

Miss Boombox Head is part magazine clipping, part tag from the Cosmo Cricket:
While I don't exactly listen to my music too loudly in the car ... and while my choices may not be wild and crazy ... I have been known to attempt to burn-off boy racers at the lights while listening to Coldplay.

You're shocked .. I know ... You expected better from me. Was it the road rage or the Coldplay element which let you down more?

Anyhoo .... finally I wrote out some Vampire Weekend lyrics across the page:
It's actually a few lines of these lyrics to be precise:
Don't say I don't provide you with a multi-sensory blogging experience while you're here.

You could be right there next to me in my passenger seat ... in fact there's some travel sweets in the glove-box if you fancy one?

See you soon.