Wednesday 30 September 2009

My Favourite Price

My favourite price is quite likely the same as yours....yep, 'free'. There's nothing quite like getting something for nothing is there? So I was more than happy to take home one of these sturdy, 12x12 fitting, canvas bags left over from some promotion and which my manager was giving away at work last week.

Come to think of it though, when I say it was 'something for nothing' .... I was obliged to sit through two induction days at the time. So maybe I paid for it in vital minutes of my life which I'll never get back and brain cells which died off somewhere amid the myriad Power-Point presentations we were forced asked to sit through. ;)


When I mentioned to Barbara [my friend / a colleague / wonderful person all round who probably won't be reading this but, on the off chance she's feeling especially brave with the internet today, I'll say 'Hello Barbara'!!] ....when I mentioned to her that I was going to customise my bag she asked if I'd do the same for her. [She even offered to pay - which I was never going to allow!!]

So here's what I've made for her:

The main floral fabric comes from the 'Gams and Garters' kit from Gauche Alchemy . Rather than simply stitch it directly to the canvas bag I decided to make it into a handy front pocket. I then decorated it with ribbons and fabric [which I received in my stash swap with Kirsty Neale, which I blogged here].

All of the buttons, beads and bits sewn across the top of the pocket came from the lovely Green mixed media colour kit from Gauche Alchemy's Artfire shop. Then I added this little Matroyshka doll button which is part of a new range of Quirky Embellishments from the Crafty Templates shop, because she matched my other colours and patterns.
I added a few final touches, such as a tab to attach a keyring etc from on the back and the ribbon on the handle:
I can't wait to give it to Barbara to see what she thinks of it. I'm secretly hoping that, as she moves around the campus, she gets stopped by hoards of bag-admirers asking where she got it from. Do you think it'd be pushing the bounds of our friendship too far if I made up some business cards for her to hand out ....just in case???;)

I'm now wondering what to do with my bag, I'm thinking 'paint' and 'text' but obviously you'll be the first to see it when I've decided.


Julie :)

Sunday 27 September 2009

Ever the contrarian.

How's that for a declaration from someone who, in her previous blog post, revealed her new role as a design team member for a scrapbooking magazine?

Yet, fear ye not, I have not been brainwashed into joining some manic layout-burning, 12x12 denying cult. No, 'Anti-scrapbook' is actually the online class I'm currently taking, which is delivered by Alisa Burke, a class she defines as being: "for anyone out there that is ready to do something outside the box with their photos and memories". As someone who spends a large proportion of my life working with photos and memories, I felt I ought to try something new, add to my skills / styles, be open to new methods and [most importantly] start experimenting with some of my latest purchases:
Somewhat subconsciously I've been collecting a little haul of painting supplies recently. I didn't really have this class in mind when I decided to invest in a few basics, but now I have them, this class seems like a perfect opportunity for me to get to play with them.

Week 1 of the class has been geared around drawing togther the photos and memorabilia I want to scrap [or I guess that should be 'anti-scrap'] over the following weeks. While doing this I've been trying to think of an over-all theme to focus on and the best I can come up with is 'things I've never scrapped before' ... and even that's going to be tricky.

Over the last few years I've scrapped steadily [and sometimes manically] and I always like to think of new topics to cover so, really, there's very few areas of my life I haven't touched upon at some point in my scrapbooking. Equally, some of the events, photos, memories that remain un-scrapped, remain un-scrapped for good reasons. I know I share a lot .... but there's still a few things I keep to myself.

So, I've been thinking that maybe that could be my theme 'Some of the Things People Might Not Know About Me'. Notice how that's subtley different from: 'All of the Things People Might Not Know About Me'!

Then again, I may not stick to any theme at all. I might approach the whole thing with a random, willy nilly, gung-ho approach.... does that sound like a suitably 'Anti-scrapbook' attitude to have?

Whatever happens I can assure you of one thing - I will, without a shadow of a doubt, at some point over the next four weeks manage to get paint on at least one inappropriate, unintended surface / item of clothing.

But then, you knew that about me already, didn't you?

Monday 14 September 2009

So, erm ....maybe I forgot to say ...

I've been wanting to tell you this for a while now ... but I couldn't. Now that I can, I will. Then I'll be hiding no more secrets from you and we'll all live happily ever after. OK? OK then here goes .....

There's a new Scrapbook Inspirations Design Team in town and don't you think that Mrs first left, third row down looks quite a lot like me?:

That's because it is me and I'm all very delighted and happy and kind of shy about it all really!!

[My other job title is reduced to a set of initials and now I can add SI DT to that!]

Now, before you start thinking that it's only you who I hide things from - I can assure you that I can be equally as taciturn with my family.

Case in point: That's the latest issue of the magazine [Issue 58 - October which will be in stores from the 18th of September]. Inside there's a layout and some embellishments I created for the 'Just the Thing' feature.

Here's a tiny sneak peek of it:

Now, that cuuuute little face in the black and white photograph just happens to belong to my Mam and I might just have kept the fact that I've scrapped a photo of her as child, [and had it published in a magazine] as little sort of surprise for her. [Surprise sounds so much nicer than secret - don't you think?]

I'm going to her house in a minute to show her her face in print and, now that you've all learned about that before her - in the revealing of secrets stakes - I think that makes us all even now.

I've got my copy already as I have a subscription - and sometimes these are delivered earlier. You can subscribe here - if you are that way inclined :)

So, now that I've fessed up, come clean, spilled the beans, let the cat out of the bag and declared my intentions ....I'lll be back to my regular exposing of myself in no time!

If you want to check out the other SI design team members - then here they are:
Sam Ball
Kathy Bridgwater
Laura Buckingham
Jo-Anne Cavanagh
Karen Cole
Morag Cutts
Jane Dean
Andrea Gourley
Chloe Harp
Mary Anne Walters to whether they all expose themselves regularly too ....well, you'll just have to have a look for yourself!

Thank you to those who've already wished me well. It's very much appreciated.

I'll be around again soon,

Julie xx

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Book binding and double entendre abound.

I've been spending lots of time lately making mini-books and, as with anything I do for too long, I start to get bored. So, I've been looking into different ways to bind them and to add interest to the ones I've already made using the straightforward book-ring method. Such as this:

My friend 'Hannah Banana' happens to love flamingos. Really love them. Really really love them. In fact - have a look here - for documentary evidence of this fact! See what I mean? So I was delighted when upon opening my Gauche Alchemy 'Pink Parts' Mixed Media Colour Kit I discovered the perfect item to add to my album cover .....a pink flamingo cocktail stirrer:

I attached it to my cover by stitching its legs to a 7Gypsies pouch which, in turn, I adhered with a strong double sided tape. [The postal mark stamp was from Studio Calico ].

I want this album to reflect both Hannah's and my love for colours and patterns so I used green book-rings rather than the usual silver. Despite this I still wanted to add interest to that slightly empty look of plain bookrings. I've often tied ribbon around them in the past, but thought I'd try something a bit different on this.

So [now, if i get through this next sentence without making some indelicate double entrendre well, I'll deserve a medal goes...] I again turned to my 'Pink Parts' to bring an element of fun to the project. [Stop it!]

All of the plastic beads and charms came from the kit and simply slid onto the rings. I love little plasticy things like these - that little pink safety pin fair makes me swoon in its wonderfulness. I find it all so reminiscent of an 80s childhood. In fact, I remember using lots of similar bits and bobs on a layout last year, beneath which someone left the comment: 'I wish I'd saved all the little bits of plastic crap I had as a kid'. I believe that's what one would call a 'backhanded compliment' no?

I punched the holes using my Big Bite [no, I'm not bragging, despite my party trick some years ago of being able to fit my fist in my mouth...don't ask ...please!!!] the Crop-a-dile Big Bite is a strong hole-punching tool which pucnched easily through my double layered chipbard cover.

To decorate around my punched holes I first stamped, with a Fancy Pants doodled flower design, over the hole then heat embossed using a neon embossing powder in 'Hot Pink'. And if you know Hannah know that no other colour could be more appropriate! Lastly I added some eyelets to give a more 'finished' finish ...if you see what I mean?

I didn't have enough of the papers I chose for my front cover to do the back as weel, so I chose ones whose colour ways matched while the patterns clashed:

The overall effect reminds me of a patchwork quilt and that can never ever be a bad thing.

If you'd like to see some of the pages inside my album then have a look here, here and here.

If you have any other examples of interesting ways to bind mini-books, please do share.

And ....if you have any backhanded compliments about my work then feel free to leave me a comment below. I have a broad mind and, luckily, I have the shoulders to match!

Soon enough,

Julie :)

Tuesday 1 September 2009

There's something in the air.

It's September. Which means that all things autumnal and 'back to school' are in the air and I'm ambivalent about that.

For a start, there's the fact that I much prefer warmth and sunshine to ....well, to just about anything else. That crispness which has crept into the air in the last few weeks - while it has it's own fresh charm - brings with it flashbacks [or maybe flashforwards!] to dark evenings where I never feel like sitting and creating as much as I do while it's still light outside.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of things I do like about the Autumn such as: settling down in front of Sunday night comfort-TV-dramas and having an almost legitimate reason to buy new boots! Until those events are well and truly upon us [OK, OK, so I admit that I've already begun trying on boots's never too early to equip oneself sartorially appropriately for an impending meteorological shift! Never.] Until those events are upon us, I'm going to just hang on to every last possible 't-shirt-but-no-cardigan' moment that I can.

And as those colder days advance ....I'll be turning to photographs like these to bring a summery cheer to my days:

Eating an icecream, in Whitby, in July is the epitome of a traditional English summertime activity and therefore deserves to be scrapped!

It's another layout for my mini-album recording the giddy adventures embarked upon by Hannah and I. I used a vintage magazine article [from my Gauche Alchemy 'Ball & Chain' kit] as the backdrop - mainly because the colours matched those in the photos. My journalling block was from the same kit.

Lots of the embellishments [the pearls, gems, pins, play money] came from my Gauche Alchemy pink mixed-media colour kit.

Sometimes, in scrapping / art / choosing an outfit / cooking, you need to know when to stop adding ingredients before you spoil what it is you've just spent precious energy putting together Equally, there are times when you need to ignore your inner minimalist and just keep adding more and more until the thing finally comes to life. At least that's how I felt while making this page as I sat adding another element, another patterned paper, another rub-on etc etc. I'm really pleased that I ended up liking it rather than wishing I'd stopped several embellishments back.

However, I had started the day by proclaiming 'I think I've forgotten how to scrap' .... so there was nowhere for my artistic self-esteem to go but 'up' after that or else I'd have been hanging up my craft knife and seeking out another less-scrapbooking-shaped hobby!!!

I hope that today is the start of a month of new beginnings, new opportunities, new projects, new attitudes or new whatever-it-is-you're-all-wishing-fors. If not ..... there's always new boots to look forward to.