Friday, 25 May 2007

I'm on Holiday!

Well, its finally here, the half term holiday. After another mad half term at work I have a week to recharge my batteries and enjoy myself. Which is a good thing too. This morning Ed forgot to set his alarm and we both slept in till 8.30! I'm normally in work at 7.45 so this really threw me out for the rest of the day. We definitely need a break!

I am going away to the Isle of Wight for a week with Ed's family, including his baby niece who is nearly six months. This will be her first holiday so it will be great to get some shots of her and her parents.

Of course, this means I'm going to get severe scrap withdrawal symptoms. I plan to finish a layout tonight and hopefully upload it in the morning but other than that I'm going to be sitting in the beautiful cabin overlooking the harbour and pining over my Scenic Route paper and Autumn Leaves rubber stamps! Well, not quite that bad, but really, scrapping has become such a way of life now that I will miss it. Fortunately for me, the new issue of Scrapbook Inspirations arrived yesterday so I have forced myself not to look at it and will open it when I get to the island. I will hopefully come back buzzing with lots of ideas to try out on my layouts.

My Autumn Leaves Sentiments Circles arrived yesterday. They are really sweet and I'm already trying to think of layouts to use them on. I'm not sure who has them in stock at the moment but I bought mine from ModScraps. Anyone who hasn't tried Autumn Leaves stamps should definitely get a pack - they are such good quality and the designs are great.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007


I am in a bit of a grotty mood tonight. I had started laying out pages for a scrapbook page yesterday (provisional title: And then there were three) but it got quite late after I had finished with my CJ so I planned to sit down tonight and get on with it. But unfortunately for me, we got our coursework request through at work today. This is when the examiners call for some random sets of Year 11 coursework to be sent off to check that we have given them the correct marks. To be sent off tomorrow. Now this isn't a problem in itself, but out of the 20 sets called for out of 6 teachers classes, it just so happened that 9 of them are mine. Obviously the examiners don't know that, they just get a list of kids numbers and pick randomly from those. But its just my luck that I have now got to sit this evening and go through 9 sets, each containing 6 questions, to make sure they are all ok. There goes my plans for the evening!

On a lighter note, I finally tracked down a set of stamps I was after, called Sentiments Circles. So hopefully they will be winging their way to me soon. And when I got home from work, I found the next CJ in the chain already on my doorstep. Its called 'Favourite Treats' but seeing as the owner already did chocolate I have got to come up with something else. My usual vice when I want to treat myself is a Fry's Turkish Delight or some Cadbury's mint chip chocolate, which I have to eat straight out of the fridge! But I don't want to end up just starting a book about chocolate. So I think my favourite treat will have to be slightly different. But I'm not sure what yet...

Monday, 21 May 2007

Don't Panic

As promised yesterday, here is my CJ entry for my Circle Journal on Defining Songs. My defining song is Don't Panic by Coldplay - if you haven't heard it, type it into Youtube, its a great tune. Their album parachutes was out in my first year at Warwick University in 2000 and everyone loved it. However the first song on the album particularly spoke to me at the time with its message that we all have somebody to turn to even when it feels like the world is closing in on you. In your first few months away from home, despite the excitement, it can sometimes feel really overwhelming with just too much happening at once. When I felt like this, I used to sit in my dorm room and put this song on and it kind of reminded me that I wasn't alone - I had all my friends and family on the other end of the phone.

I decided to use Basic Grey Gypsy papers for this one. I had picked up a couple of sheets at a class last week and I especially like the Hippy paper because you can cut out all sorts of stylised flowers from it to decorate your pages. It also has quite a busy feel which was appropriate to my theme.

I wanted to make the entry a bit interactive so I decided to make two wavy flaps to lift up. Underneath is most of the journalling and a collage of all sorts of images that remind me of my first year at university. These include posters I had on my wall, films I saw, music I was listening to and even a few photos of me and my friends. I haven't really done this sort of thing since I was younger and working on my Design Technology GCSE! So it was great that the Circle Journal gave me an opportunity to do something a bit different from a traditional layout. The lettering on the flaps is handcut using Georgia font from another piece of the Gypsy paper.

Now I have to post my journal to the next recipient, Coventry Ann. Its going to be quite hard to let it go after all the work I have put in but I am already looking forward to getting it back with all the entries in in 10 months time. And in the next few days I should be receiving someone else's book to work on too, so plenty to keep me occupied.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Bad Blogging!

Well, its been a bit of a mad weekend what with getting my hair done (thanks Colin, a lovely job again!), going round a friends house for a karaoke night (my rendition of Puppet on a String was a triumph), and today working madly to finish my double page for my Circle Journal which is due to be posted tomorrow. My defining song is 'Don't Panic' by Coldplay which is a song that was out in my first year of uni and got me through the highs and lows of living away from home for the first time.

It isn't quite finished due to having to sit and type all of Ed's tax receipts into a spreadsheet this afternoon (VERY boring!) so I plan to upload it tomorrow. So check back tomorrow afternoon if you fancy a peek.

Today I discovered a site to help with planning layouts, particularly helpful when the scrappers block takes over. Thanks to Lianna on UKScrappers for directing me to this one. Its called Page Maps - the address is and is bascially loads of sketches and layout designs which you can use to help make sure your pages are balanced etc. Check it out if you are sitting in front of that blank page of 12 x 12 and just don't know what to do with it.

Anyway, off to visit Ed's niece now so I'll update again tomorrow.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Can we hold the baby?

I sat down last night to try and break my scrappers block and this was the layout I came up with. I finished it off tonight and have had to take the picture in poor light so I may take a better one tomorrow and update it then.

The layout is called 'Can We Hold the Baby?' and is about our first visit to the hospital to see our new baby brother Steven in August 1988. While pink and green might seem a strange choice for a layout about the birth of a baby boy, the sentiment of the layout is more about me and my sister's excitement at finally being able to hold the baby after everyone else had had a go!

I used my Scenic Route papers which I handcut lots of hearts from (I used the same templates I had made for the hearts in my Circle Journal). I stitched a strip of cardstock to the page and then stitched some wavy line borders to the top and bottom of the page. The title is handcut too using Script MT Bold and Georgia fonts (my regulars - I always use these). There are no other embellishments on the page which makes it quite a flat one for me - I am still considering sewing on my favourite old staple, buttons, but have run out of pink ones!

I am hoping I will now be able to scrap the photo of my mum and brother at the hospital but still struggling with this one I admit. I want to do it blue but for some reason I find this a really difficult colour to scrap in - heaven forbid I should have a family of boys later as it will cause me scrapbook despair!

Thursday, 17 May 2007


This is my latest layout. Called Artist, it is a snapshot of one of my earliest creations - a lady created on the kitchen floor of my nan and grandad's house using beaded necklaces! It was through doing Shimelle Laine's Growing Up workshop that I realised again how creative I had been as a child and I would always be drawing or writing stories. The story element certainly helps in my job as a teacher but its only recently with discovering scrapbooking that I have found an outlet for all that creativity again. In many ways I wish I had chosen a more artistic path, not that I regret studying History as I absolutely love that too.

The photo was actually really poor quality and had become discoloured during storage so when I scanned it in I changed it to grayscale which hides a lot of the faults. I used my Scenic Route Charlotte papers, as well as some grid background to handcut the title and make the journalling block. Several of the paper pieces are machine stitched onto the backing card using dark pink thread in a zig zag stitch. The embellishments are quite simple - stamping with my Autumn Leaves Hearts and Flourishes stamps and then some buttons and a few beads to tie in with the necklaces in the photo.

The journalling is quite sparse on this layout - I wanted it to be a little humorous. It reads:

I have always been a creative person - this 'Lady in Beaded Necklaces' was one of my early works!

I'm not unhappy with the layout though I do think it needs something else - I am not sure if the top right hand corner is totally balanced but having tried placing a few things there I decided to leave it as it is. So unless inspiration suddenly strikes, this is the finished layout.

Still feeling a bit of scrappers block with the photo I was trying to work on last night, so I'm thinking of leaving it and trying another photo - sometimes this gives you a bit of space and you suddenly come up with an idea when you are working on a different layout.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Crop Night

Just a quick post tonight, I'm always busy on a Wednesday as its crop night. I have finished another layout, called Artist, which I will photograph and post tomorrow. I'm not sure I'm totally happy with it but I'm not going to fiddle with it anymore - sometimes you can overdo something! I've got a few more photos printed out to scrap so hopefully I can get on with those in the next few days. I'm being very productive at the moment, but I have to admit that scrappers block began to kick in tonight and I hardly did anything except chat! I hope that inspiration strikes during the day tomorrow.
I had a really nice day at work today. This is always my favourite term as the workload lightens considerably and by this time I know my classes really well so it can be quite fun. There is only one class this year that I really don't like teaching - I have to teach one lesson a week of Science and being a History teacher, I'm sure I don't exactly inspire the kids. I didn't much like Science when I was at school and the Year Sevens definitely pick up on this. Still, there are only 9 more lessons left and hopefully I won't ever have to teach it again!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007


Well, its been a wet and horrible Tuesday so what better than to remind everybody that beautiful Summer days can happen in England! This photo was taken in the summer of 1988. It shows me and my sister enjoying the weather in the back garden - we always used to get the travel rug out to sit on (and occasionally do gymnastics on too if we were feeling particularly energetic).

I used my new Scenic Route Charlotte papers - they are double sided so you get a lot of patterns for your money. I handcut the title and embellished using buttons and butterfly images stamped onto the patterned papers and cut out.

The journalling isn't too clear - it is written on the bottom section of the patterned paper and is a series of recollections about the Summer. It reads:

Remember: Long hot days, No school or playgroup, Playing with My Little Ponies, Daddy doing our hair so gently, Waiting for the baby, Missing our Mummy.

It was on the 21st August that Summer that our little brother was born and our mum had to go into hospital some time before hand. To little girls of 6 and 4 it seemed like forever and we missed her loads. I'm quite pleased with the page - the colours are perfect for the subject and I love my stamped butterflies (Autumn Leaves and See D's stamps this time).

Monday, 14 May 2007

Fun with the Coventry Corps of Drums!

As promised in yesterday's post, I wanted to share some pictures of Saturday's celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Coventry Corps of Drums. This is a traditional marching band which my partner Ed has been involved in for many years and a lot of our lives tend to revolve around it and the various jobs and tours that they take on.

The band is really professional but has suffered lately from dwindling membership and lack of funds (as have many similar bands) so the 60th was a nice excuse to celebrate for a change, as well as trying to recruit new members!
Several bands performed on the day, including the Corps and the Old Boys who have formed their own band (and which Ed's dad is a member of!). These pictures are mainly of their performances.

Of course, I've watched them march many times but this was one of the first times I had seem them perform a display, which involves marching and moving in formation whilst playing. More difficult than it sounds!

It was a really long day (no scrapbooking all Saturday!) but the lads really enjoyed it and it was a real success. I'm not sure how long this sort of band is going to survive for, its all a bit like the script to Brassed Off but the older lads are really committed to keeping it going and still go off marching round places like Stratford upon Avon even though some of them are pushing thirty! Lets hope their hard work pays off for a few more years anyway.
On a scrapping note, I started a layout yesterday which I'm hoping to finish tonight so I will upload it tomorrow. Its called 'Summer' and is nice and bright and fresh. I have used my new Scenic Route Charlotte papers which are very gorgeous and, as always, some Autumn Leaves stamps. Check back tomorrow for a look.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

My Circle Journal

Well its been a few day since I have blogged, and this is mainly because I wanted to finish my Circle Journal so I could post all the pages at once. I have yet to finish my own double page but the rest of the book is done and here it is.

The theme of the journal is 'Defining Songs'. Each participant will have to complete a double page on a song that takes them back to a significant time or event in their lives.

I chose to use Basic Grey Blush papers for the journal as I love the colours of these and also had some scraps left over from my '2 peas in a pod' layout. The actual book is a 7 Gypsies mini book (from which I painted with acrylic paints. The book rings are decorated with a selection of ribbons I bought at a crop last week. Other than the papers, I also used Basic Grey letter stickers and chipboard mini monograms, and Autumn Leaves Gypsy and Flourishes stamps. I am in love with these at the moment - the designs are gorgeous and they produce beautiful prints without smudging.

The journal isn't decorated in a musical theme. This is partly because I didn't have any musical embellishments but also because I didn't want to push people into sticking to entirely 'musical' pages. This journal isn't like the traditional 'What is your favourite song' CJ theme. I want the participant to offer me a snapshot of a time in their lives which they look back on fondly or with sadness. The songs are meant to be used to evoke those memories and to show how powerful an effect music can have on our recollections. This is outlined on the introductory page.

Its been a busy weekend. Yesterday was the 60th Anniversary of the Coventry Corps of Drums. My partner Ed is Trumpet Major in the band and they celebrated with a family fun day involving displays by different bands. The Corps were great as always - their display was really effective (despite the dwindling numbers of the Corps) and they sounded fantastic. As always, I was really proud of Ed and his talent as a trumpeter. I have lots of photos which I hope to share later on in the week.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Been to a crop

Just got in from the scrapbooking class I go to on Wednesdays, we make a page as a group and then work on our own stuff. Usually we have plenty of time to finish our own layouts but today there was lots of fiddly cutting and sticking to do which meant that I got very little done on my circle journal. I did manage to get some ribbons to tie on the book rings though and my address page is nearly done. Its the front cover that I'm struggling with at the moment - not sure what I'm going to put on there yet. I want to cut the title of the CJ from BG Blush papers but I think it needs a bit more than that. I'll have a play at the new Coventry crop which I'm going to tomorrow night - its only its second meeting so it will be interesting to see who turns up. I hope we still get a decent turnout though.
I am definitely feeling the need for a CraftRobo more and more - I cut so many titles using computer fonts and while I don't mind handcutting, it takes up half the time I spend on each page! I think I may ask for money this Christmas and see if I can save up for one. I have seen the Cricut in action but I think the CraftRobo is the one for me - its a bit more versatile and you don't have to keep buying new cartridges for it (though it is a bit more expensive outright). Still, its a bit of a pipe dream at the moment - I keep buying papers and embellies (and rubber stamps!) instead of saving up.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Just a quickie!

Just a quick post tonight, back to work after the bank holiday weekend so as always, I have plenty to do. I have been working on my CJ tonight, I am decorating a 6 x 6 7 Gypsies album. I have so far painted the covers and planned the introductory page - I'm using scraps of Basic Grey Blush so its got quite a pink and chocolate feel to it at the moment. The theme of my CJ is 'Defining Songs' - this could lead to all sorts of pages such as theme tunes for life, wedding songs, favourite party tunes etc. I have ideas for two double pages so as there are plenty of extra pages in the album I might do both rather than decide between. I will post some pics as soon as I've finished something!

Monday, 7 May 2007

My Daddy

While Ed has been away on a stag do all weekend I've had the opportunity to do some serious scrapping. I completed the Thursday's Child layout and then began this one, 'Daddy', also for my growing up album. Its a bit like a tribute to my dad, who I don't have so many photos of due to the fact that he was always behind the camera taking great photos of us (a fact which he keeps reminding me now I have come to scrap them!). The shot was taken in my nan and grandad's back garden, and due to the less than glamorous backdrop of my grandad's outhouse and some washing on the line, I decided to make a really decorative frame of embellishments to focus the attention on to me and my Dad.

The paper is from the Basic Grey Lily Kate range, I think its called Mia - I cut as many images as I could from the one sheet. Its mounted on Papermania card which I inked up quite heavily using a Whispers ink pad. The buttons and brads are also Papermania (I am totally in love with their pearl brads at the moment, they are completely gorgeous!). I also used quite a lot of paper piercing to mimic the design of the paper. The title is handcut in a simple Script Mt Bold font, and I drew round the inner edges in gel pen.

The journalling is in three blocks (I originally intended one but needed the other two to balance the page and also because I didn't have enough room to say everything I wanted in the bottom section). It reads:

Me and my dad in Nanny and Grandad's back garden circa 1984

I don't have as many photos of you as I'd like Dad - you tended to be the one behind the camera! But I do remember how you chased us round the big tree at the Oaks park. How you used to tell us 'Billy Green' stories. How you used to 'magic' us chocolate at Christmas. Thanks for being such a great Dad.

Daddy, I am so lucky to be your daughter. Loved you then, Love you now, Love you always.

I have now GOT to make the covers and first pages for my CJ, I seem to lack inspiration at the moment. I have always been better at large scale layouts, even when I was doing my Art A level I always found big Acrylic paintings for easier than delicate watercolours. But hey, its good to get out of my comfort zone and try something a bit different.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Thursday's Child

Well I've been feeling a bit down over the last few days - I have been a bit ill and lacked any energy. But after a sleep this afternoon I must have found some inspiration because I sat down and made this layout. Its for my growing up album and is called Thursday's Child (the day my mum always said I was born on). Rather than recounting memories of past times I decided to write some reflective journalling on this page. It reads:
When I see myself at this age, it always amazes me how much life lays ahead, how many hopes, dreams and ambitions to be fulfilled. The little girl in the photo is me, but she is also not me. What if she had chosen a different path, made a different decision, taken a different turn? One things for certain though, Thursday's Child, you have far to go.

For the layout I used Basic Grey Phoebe papers, some Prima daisies and Papermania buttons. The title is handcut. My quest to take the perfect photo of a layout unfortunately still remains unfulfilled, so apologies for the wonky picture!

Friday, 4 May 2007

At the Grove

Well I finally finished the layout I have been working on all week. Its a lovely photo taken by my dad of my mum, my sister and me feeding the ducks at the park. The park in question is beautiful and holds loads of happy memories for me - it has two man made ponds and a stream as well as wooded areas where squirrels nest and will come right up to you and eat out of your hand. We spent a lot of time there as children and it always makes me happy to go back. My mum is lucky enough to work in an office in the grounds there now.

For the layout, I used my Scenic Route Laurel papers, Autumn Leaves stamps (Gypsy and Flourishes) and some Papermania buttons (they do new sets of buttons in tubes, check out The journalling is all on a tag hidden behind the main photo. I really loved the little birds on the papers and they were ideal embellishments for this layout. The title is handcut. I used a bit of string that tied up a 7 Gypsies mini album for the tag - I tried to use coloured fibres but couldn't get them to sit right!
I'm hoping to get a layout or two done tomorrow as it is National Scrapbooking Day. Though I'm sure that Ed would say every day is scrapbooking day in our house!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

A Project a Day in May...

Anyone who regularly checks Shimelle's blog will know that throughout May she is posting a project a day. These are not all scrapbook related - today's project was to stitch little hearts using scraps of felt and buttons. These looked so cute and I love stitching so I decided to have a go.
I had to go out to buy Ed's sister a birthday present this evening so I popped into Hobbycraft and bought a few pieces of felt. Then when I got home I put this little felt heart together in less than an hour. I don't know what I'll pin it to yet but sometimes its just nice to have pretty things around you to look at. And the best think about it is that its inspired me to use felt on a layout so I may go about creating some kind of felt embellishments too. Sorry about the poor quality photo - artificial light never produces a great shot!

Other news today, I discovered at the doctors that my blood pressure is sky high. This is NOT good in someone as young as me so I've got to do something about it. I'm not overweight and have never smoked so I'm guessing a bit more exercise is probably the way forward. At least I've got my scrapbooking to chill me out at the end of the day!

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Busy, busy, busy!

Just a quick post today as unfortunately I have to go off to the supermarket in a bit. However, I hope to get on with a layout I am working on later on this evening so check back and I will hopefully post it tomorrow. Its looking good so far - I am making use of my Scenic Route Laurel papers.
Pay day has come around again so I decided to subscribe to the Little Silver Hat monthly kit - totally gorgeous ribbons and the June kit looks really pretty so I'm looking forward to receiving that in a month. This is what it looks like :

I have also discovered the new Papermania button collections. These will be really handy for boosting my collection which began with a Papermania box set but now contains lots of Doodlebug buttons too (I love the spotty and sparkly ones!). I totally love their Pearl Brad range too, I'm trying to get a pack in every colour eventually!

One final thing, it was good to discover that one of my fave websites, Happy Scrapper is no longer closing down. So to celebrate, I have ordered some Autumn Leaves Gypsy style stamps and some 7 Gypsies stickers. I have been making a lot of use of my swirl stamps recently and really liked the design of these. They have now sold out at Happy Scrapper but I think you can get them at Artbase.