Wednesday, 31 October 2012

My Month in Numbers 2012: October


Well ... I promised I would be back blogging with my monthly round-up in numbers ... and here I am although, for a moment, I thought I wouldn't get the chance.

[That moment was the one on Monday evening during which I was travelling with someone in an ambulance. Long story. Everything's OK now. But still ...]

Anyway what counts is that I'm here now with my vital statistics for October. [Ha! What counts. Get it? Numbers? Counting? Ahem  ... moving swiftly on ...] 

As always, you can read the hows, whys and wherefores here if you'd like to join in too.

3 = the number of books I've [almost] read:
When I took this photo I had reckoned I'd have finished them all by now but I've been a lax reader!  
I can highly recommend Bears of England - a lovely mix of folklore and fact all wrapped up in Edward Gorey-esque storytelling and illustration.
7 = the number of us who packed up our stretchiest-waisted clothes and craftiest supplies for a weekend of eating and making in the countryside.
8 = the number of us who expected to go. Sidney GlitterPants ... your presence was missed!  
8 = the number of these fleecy beauties [spotted in an otherwise decent clothes shop] we'd need to have bought to form an official 'crafty weekend' regulation uniform:
We even discussed embroidering our cottage trip 'tour' dates on the back.

[We go twice a year and can never remember how many times our various group members have been to date. I have mooted the idea of us all getting a tally chart tattoo to save on arguments ... but so far no one's up for it.]

Anyway ...

While we were debating the merits of these breath-taking outfits ... we remembered that the focal point of the cottage is An. Open. Log. Fire.

And suddenly the idea of wrapping ourselves in 4 square metres of flammable neon fleece seemed less appealing ...

8 = the number birds we roasted over the weekend:
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that these don't look especially edible. [Nothing gets past you does it?]

Rest assured they were not on the lunch menu, they were our paperclay bird project, [mine's at the front, second left] and we weren't actually baking them, just gently warming them, with the oven door open.

However ...

... over the course of the afternoon, as they dried out, the majority of the birds ended up headless as every few minutes a resounding 'thunk' rang out as clay head hit metal baking tray. And, one by one we'd have to poke our own heads around the kitchen door to peer in to identify and claim the remains.

But fear not, if you pop back here next Tuesday I'll show you the finished product - complete with head!

25 = the age we are when our bones stop growing according to a lecture I attended at work last week.

Why am I telling you this? Because if you joined in with, or simply remember, my 'Height of Summer' series you may recall:
  • several of the contributors discussing having continued to grow well beyond teenage years, meanwhile...
  • there were several others who hoped there was still time to gain a few centimetres!  
Well, now you know! If you're under 25 don't give up hope! If, like me, you're over 25 ... well, you'll be used to life disappointing you by now ... [joking!].

And, while I'm on the subject of work:
  • 3 = the number of new students I'm assisting this term. Which currently involves ...
  • 9 different lectures/classes covering 2 subjects;
  • in 5 different buildings where ...
  • 10 is the highest floor I [all be it slowly] walk up to each week to attend a lecture [it's the highest floor there is on campus so I can't really go any further!] here's one of the views from up there:

 and ...
  • 1 = the number of pens which have so far run out of ink while I've been note-taking. Hazard of the job!

If you're joining in again this month I can't wait to pick out the common threads which are so often woven across all our posts!

If you're new to the idea:
  •  there's a tutorial and some more info here.
  • I pin all posts which contain at least one photo + which link back to me to the Month in Numbers Pinterest board which makes it quick and easy for others to see who's joined in and to visit a post to say hi. You do not need to have a Pinterest account to view the board or for me to pin your post.
And for old and new alike, a quick reminder ...

Here's the Month in Numbers 'etiquette':If you write a post and want to leave a link for myself and others to visit and/or pin please bear in mind that this part has a shared aspect to it.
  • When you swing by my blog to drop off a link to your Month in Numbers post - please leave a comment for me while you're there. Not because I'm needy ... but because it feels fair. Reciprocal.
  • Please link to my blog in your post. As much as I'd like to think that everyone who reads your blog already knows what 'My Month in Numbers' means... the truth is, they don't. So unless you explain where the idea comes from and how your readers can join you in doing the same next month, they are none the wiser.
  • Please take time at some point in the month to visit and comment on a few of the other posts too.
Right then ... I'll step aside now so you can gently throw your numbers at me.

Happy counting!

Julie :-)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Art Journaling: Where's my head at?

Hello, hello.

The Making Spot, the umbrella site to a whole host of crafty magazines eg. Papercraft Inspirations, Mollie Makes and home to loads of crafty downloads, tutorials and more, are having a pre-Halloween Spooky Weekend ... and I've contributed my own small portion of spooky to it.

Here's a quick glimpse:
If you want to know how that sentence finishes ... and what it's got to do with both Halloween and the 'Where's my head at?' title of this blog post ... then visit my guest blog post here where I've got lots of suggestions on where to turn to create something similar in your own journal.

Plus, if you were interested in the style of my recent recipe card journal then I think you might like to see this slightly macabre adaptation!

As for where my own head's at ... well ... it's in a somewhat better place following a successful operation on a [very much] loved one this week. Who knows I may even feel like blogging again soon ... or even tackling the ironing ... no, wait ... that might be taking things a bit too far ... maybe not the ironing ...

But whatever the state of my creased clothing ... I'm aiming to definitely return next Wednesday with My Month in Numbers. See you there maybe?

Now, before it goes out of your head, go and hop to my Making Spot post here.

Julie :-)


p.s: The Making Spot is somewhere you can find [and download] a selection of individual tutorials and articles, rather than buying the whole magazine and, if you're interested, all of mine which are currently available are here.  [fyi: I do not receive commission from these, so that's not why I'm pointing you there!]

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cardmaking with Plundered Pages: Fliptail the Otter

Hi, hi, hi. First things first, in relation to my previous post, I just thought you should know ...

My sister saw the post and my instructions for her not to read on any further as it contained photos of her birthday gift and ... she obeyed! I told you she didn't like spoiling surprises!

And now here I am today with my Mam's birthday card ... but it's OK, because at least this birthday has already happened!
As you've probably guessed it's another Plundered Pages card:
This time it's an image taken from a Fliptail the Otter story-strip in an old Playhour annual:
And I chose him for several reasons - she likes rainstorms and robins - but also because I thought it was a beautiful, Autumnal-coloured image just perfectly suited to an Autumnal birthday.

The 'of good things' half of the sentiment was cut from a 1970s comic book page:
 And the rest was stamped with my newest toy, an alphabet roller stamp:
 It's just like a rotating date stamp .. but with letters, how fabulous is that? It's tempting to stampeverything I own with it .. so don't be surprised if you see it cropping up on projects again and again:
Thanks for dropping by today. Just don't sit there too long ... I may just stamp you ...
Julie :-)
Supplies used: 
  • American Crafts 'Ready Set Go'
  • Studio Calico 'Take Note'
  • Jillibean Soup 'Macho Nacho Soup'
  • [I'll have to check later about the cloud design!]
Edger Punch: EK Success - Round Binding Edge
Stamp: English Alphabet/Number Rolling Decoration Stamp Vol.2 - I bought mine from here - on Ebay but please note I'm just sharing one place where they're available, it's not a sponsored link and I am not promoting the seller or their products. I'm just sharing stash-love!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

3D project: Nostalgic Countdown to Christmas


Warning: today's post may contain traces of Christmas ... and my sister's as yet undelivered birthday present.
  1. you're someone who's still kidding themselves that Christmas is aaaages away [in fact you lost that excuse when we passed the '100 days to go' point] .. and ...
  2. you're my sister.  [You know who you are.]
Granted there may be more of you in the former category than the latter ... but still ...

I wouldn't normally blog a gift before I'd given it but the whole of the 3DJean Design Team blog are sharing their similar projects this month, and so I'm fitting in with that.

Don't worry about it spoiling the surprise for my sister ...  when we were growing up [and probably to this day] of the two of us she was the one who didn't feel the need to turn the house upside down searching for Christmas presents ... because it would spoil the surprise. And I don't even think she opened up Easter eggs early, carefully peeled the foil off, pilfered the sweets from inside and then wrapped it all back up again.

That would have been me.

So, now we've got that clear ... let's move on to the project in question [see bottom of post for full supplies list]:
It's based on an idea from Design Team members Effie and Jean - so I can't take the credit for transforming what is listed as a 'wooden keyholder' into a clever Christmas Countdown:
But, once I'd seen theirs I adapted it in my own way, to fit in with some supplies I wanted to use and to create a nostalgic vintage feel:
 As usual, all of the DT began with the same blank canvas and came up with very different results.

[You can keep an eye on the 3DJean blog for the further examples coming soon, and there's a non-festive take from Effie already there.]

For further details and tips on how to achieve a similar look visit my 3DJean Design Team post  here.

And I'll see you back here soon.

Julie :-)

Supplies used:

Available from 3DJean:
  • Twine, velvet ric rac, jute mesh; buttons: all from The Ribbon Girl
  • Elasticated gingham trimming - used beneath the eaves: from a local haberdashery
  • Tim Holtz Idea-ology Fasteners 'Trinket Pins'
  • Glittery deer: from Boyes
  • Kaisercraft 'Tiny Alpha Stickers: from Merly Impressions

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cardmaking with Plundered Pages: Tips for personalising projects using vintage images

Hello, hello.

Stamped images are great ... but kind of predictable. You buy the stamp because you like the image. You use the stamp because you like the image. It looks how you expected and while it may be lovely ... there was never an element of surprise, of delight, of uniqueness. And the same goes for images you choose in die-cuts, decoupage, chipboard and stickers etc  etc.

Which is one of the reasons I so often turn to my vintage books, my plundered pages, when I want to find a special focal point for a card, or any project. Like I did here:
And often, as was the case here, I don't actually turn to the collection of books or pages and sift through for an appropriate image right then and there, right when I need to make a card because .... more often than not images leap out at me at other times, times when I'm just browsing or when I've just got a new/old book to get to know.

All of a sudden I'll turn a page and suddenly cry "Oh look! It's Effie and Alice!":
Granted .. it's not always an image which looks exactly like my friend her cat! But you get the general idea.

I turn a page and, without me having to search for it, I instantly recognise someone or something and it feels like such a treat: a bespoke, one-of-a-kind, beautifully drawn and coloured, perfect-for-a-personalised-card treat!

And you can guess what comes next can't you?


I snip out the serendipitous find when I see it ... regardless of when the recipient's birthday is [or whatever the occasion .. if there's an occasion at all!] and I keep them safe ... for future reference. And gradually I end up with a file of perfect images which look tailor-made for friends and family.
I get asked if I sit for hours looking for just the right word or image to use on my scrapbook pages, art journals etc and the answer is no, not really.

I occasionally seek out something specific but, as I hope this post shows, there's more fun, more pleasure, more surprises to be had when you just let the old books show you what they can offer! And go with what's there, make it work, interpret it your way.

Make it yours. Or your friend and her cat's!
But, if this all sounds too free and easy for you here's some more 'graspable' advice:
Tips for collecting vintage pages:
  • try out the idea of keeping a file filled with suitable images for future reference
  • snip out and save pages, sentences, titles etc which chime with you, which remind you of something or someone ... whenever you spot them
  • treat vintage pages in the same way as you would any other stash: build up a supply over time.
  • you'd never turn to the first sheet of patterned paper you could find and expect it to suit every project you had planned: be patient and collect pages together from various sources at various times
And you could even:
  • visit the Vintage Paper Packs section of my shop and browse through the specific themed packs to see if there's anything to suit a project or a person you've got in mind. [Recent additions include Christmas packs, horses and anatomy!] But if there isn't anything which fits you perfectly off-the-peg then ...
  • you can commission your own bespoke Plundered Pages pack filled with as many themes, styles, ideas as [a] you can think of and [b] I can find amid my collection!
  • you could test the waters of vintage papers with a Serendipity Pack: a 50g envelope filled with mystery pages which , once you start looking, are bound to feature something which strikes a chord. [These are now even better value at £3.50]
  • or try a pack of general text pages. At £4.00 these are great starter / stash-booster packs which currently come in 3 variations:
  •  Foreign Language text,
  • Numbers + Diagrams and
  • General mixed text.
If you're a vintage-novice then I hope some of the ideas here get you interested in introducing some lovely, old, surprisingly suitable, pages into your work. And if you're a collector of them already ... I hope this helps you use some of that hoard!

If you have any questions, comments or collections to share ... please do. Us book-cutters ought to stick together ...

Julie :-)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Storytelling Sunday: The Shocked Policeman's Mother-in-law?


As it's the first Sunday of a new month Sian - of From High in the Sky - is once again hosting her 'Storytelling Sunday'. Drop in on her here to find out more.

Now let me begin ...

My ears are always open for snippets of fabulous, funny and found conversations.

And if you're a regular here you'll know that after I've had my ears open for these snippets of fabulous, funny and found conversations ... I tend to scribble them down in my notebook ... and then blog about them here.

And my friends know this too.

Friends in whose company some of these conversations can occur from time to time ... and which they don't always want recording and broadcasting!

But, believe it or not,  there's one thing they yell at me more often than: "Julie, don't you dare write that down!" and that's ...

"Julie, you have to write that down?" Not that they make it easy for me ... as you'll see if you read on ...

The shocked policeman's mother-in-law

Location: my local monthly crop ie. a community centre room full of women
Time: mid London 2012 Olympics
Topic of conversation: propriety prevents me from repeating it so ... I'm going to have to improvise ...

Let's just say that someone [no, not me] had a photograph on her phone, which a friend of hers had taken of an athlete while on TV. A male athlete. A close-up of a male athlete.In tight clothing [please try to keep up, don't make me spell it out!].

I didn't see the photo but those who did got into a hilarious argument about the merits of the subject matter ... and its decency! And this 'argument' resulted in someone who was in favour using a ... how shall I put it? Shall we say she used a 'vivid' turn of phrase about the matter.

A turn of phrase you might not say in front of a child. Or a vicar. Or a ... hang on, I'm getting to that because ...

After a second or two ... a head poked through the kitchen hatch in the corner through into the room we were all in and amid our gales of laughter an authoritarian male voice suddenly declared, in mock-shock:

"Well, I never thought I'd hear that word coming from a craft group."

And the man in question ... was a police man!

Well then. That was unexpected! For him, for us in general, and in particular for the person who'd just said that word . Although really ... we think he can't have hung around many craft groups if that shocked him!

However ... he then came through into our room and continued to question the suspect ... while drinking the cuppa.

And after his rather startling entrance he turned out to be a really friendly - dare I say 'old fashioned' beat bobby. So friendly in fact that he told us he'd been thinking about telling his mother-in-law about our group as he felt she might benefit from the crafting and the company.

Perhaps that was until he'd heard what it was he'd heard though ...

Before he left we told him the date of our next crop and the organisers did give him their contact details but ... as of yet ... perhaps unsurprisingly...

... we've not yet heard from the shocked policeman's mother-in-law!


Thanks for dropping by to read my story today. I hope you weren't too shocked ...

Julie ;-)

p.s: don't forget to visit Sian to browse through other people's stories too [I'm still away, but will catch up when I'm home].

p.p.s: I found the rather appropriate image to illustrate my story in a 1978 Playhour Annual.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Places to find me this month other than here. Because you're already there.

Hi, hi.

I dno;t know what it is but while I'm pretty good at linking you up to things I've done online eg. guest blog posts ... I'm really not great at keeping you up-to-date with when my work's published in the 'real' world. So I thought I'd put that right this month with a quick run down of where you can find the fruits of my crafty labours - in print.

The latest issue of Papercraft Inspirations the first Christmassy themed issue of the season and it features my festive flavoured 'Pockets' Masterclass and a few [non-festive] fun patchworky themed cards too. You can find out more about the magazine here.

Then there's an interview I did with a young photographer for Featuring Magazine who've now published their 2nd issue and you can find out more about that here.

Just to let you know, I decided to step down from my role as Contributing Editor to Featuring way back in May but thought I'd wait for an appropriate time to share that update here. And now you know!

And ...
This is the second time I've been featured in Somerset Memories and it was such a treat to to get to write about how I incorporated found phrases into six of my layouts. You can find out more about the Autumn 2012 issue here.

And finally ... from tomorrow afternoon, for several days, you can find me eating, crafting and generally pretending the outside world doesn't exist in a cottage, in the middle of North Yorkshire. Well ... if you're one of the 7 other people I'll be with you can. If you just turn up at the door be warned ... we have at our disposal: sharp crafting implements; several ATG guns ... and a woodshed ...

Don't say you weren't warned.

See you soon.

Julie :-)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Art Journaling: recipe-card journal. Week 4 LSNED

Hi, hi, hi.

Happy new month to you!

As September is now nothing but a fond[ish] memory, a ship that's sailed, a tea-coloured ring mark on the worktop of the year ... this is my final post documenting my  Learn Something New Everyday [during September]journal.

So here are all the remaining pages:

September 22nd:
That blurry word is not a secret that I've blurred out! It's the word 'books' but the ink has bled into the gesso [I thought gesso was meant to stop just that? Shows how much I know!]

September 23rd:
James didn't watch the programme in question and only came in towards the end when he asked: "Have you been crying through this one too?"

Seems like I've got myself a whale wailing reputation.

September 24th:
September 25th:

September 26th:

September 27th:
Believe it or not ... I know I tell you about all kinds of all kinds of things here ... but in the outside world I can tend to play my cards pretty close to my chest ... I need to remind myself to share some things sometimes.

September 28th:

September 29th:

September 30th:
Thanks Dad!

Shimelle [who hosts Learn Something New Every Day] suggested we try to summarise out learning experience during the past 30 days by creating a closing page and, fortunately I already had 31 cards ready because ...

... when I decorated and dated all of my recipe cards at the start of the month, so they'd be all there for me to just add my lesson plus some themed extras, I merrily created and dated one for September the 31st. Quite clearly my mind was in other places during September!

 Closing page ... or'September 31st' as I like to call it:

Thanks for all your kind comments during this project. They, as always, were a treat to find waiting for me in my inbox.
If you'd like to catch up with any of the previous lessons, plus the folder in which I'm storing the finished journal you can find everything here:
  • Week 1;
  • Week 2;
  • Week 3; and
  • the folder is here.
  • -----------------------------------------------

    Now ... I must go and decide what to do with myself after completing this month-long project ... I'm sure I'll think of something ...


    Julie :-)