Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Brush Your Teeth!

An odd title for a layout, but I spotted this photo in amongst the piles at my mum and dad's house and just knew I had to record it. When we were children, mum and dad were really careful about us brushing a teeth (a fact we can thank them for as we all still have no fillings!), and we used to wander round the house with our toothbrushes until mum and dad checked we had done our teeth properly. So it wasn't unusual for us to be sitting on the living room sofa with toothbrushes in hand!

I had printed this photo out a while ago but because it had become a bit discoloured and green I didn't really know how to go about scrapping it. Then, whilst flicking through my racks of paper I found the Basic Grey Phoebe paper called Angel Island. Whilst most of the layouts I have seen using this paper have been quite girlie, I didn't think this mattered - I could still see it working on my layout.

I picked out the white in the paper with white Bazzill cardstock and a large Heidi Swapp white bloom. I also added some American Crafts ribbon and some little badges I had picked up in the high street shop Accessorize ages ago. The journalling is written on scraps of Basic Grey Blush paper stamped with two Banana Frog journalling tags. I have to say, while I like the design of Banana Frog stamps, I find them a bit more difficult to work with. They are very sticky and don't seem to clean off properly, but maybe I just need more practice with them! The title, as ever, is handcut, in a font called Poornut which I really like for fun layouts like this.

On Sunday I joined up for Shimelle Laine's latest class so really looking forward to getting started on another project - I loved making my children's story last time and of course, being inspired to start my growing up album which most of my recent work is for. It was taking part in the last class which prompted me to set up this blog in the first place. So all good, and I wonder what she will have us doing this time...

Monday, 30 July 2007

Beautiful Tuscany

So, I've just got back from my holiday to what must be one of the most beautiful regions in the world. My second visit to Tuscany only confirmed to me how much I love Italy, its countryside, history and culture. They were experiencing a heatwave while we were there (rather ironic as Britain suffers the heaviest rainfall since 1766 or something like that!) but the countryside still looked green and lush, unlike some other areas of the Med which always seem a bit desert like and scrubby to me.

Of course, I have hundreds of photos to add to my enormous pile of snaps from our holiday to Italy last year and have decided that the only thing to do is to start an Italy album - I have far too many to add to my generic holiday album! I also saw an idea in Scrapbook Inspirations for creating holiday minibooks which may have to be the way to go for some of my shots as I can't possibly include all of them in a 12 by 12 album.

We stayed in Montecatini Terme, a gorgeous spa town with beautiful parks and architecture. Whilst there we visited Montecatini Alto, an amazing hilltop town with stunning views, reached by the oldest funicular railway in the world. We managed to get back into Florence too and travelled up into the hills of Fiesole which allowed us to take in the ariel view of Florence with its imposing Duomo (as well as enjoy an iced coffee at a cafe in the square). We went on an excursion into Liguria to see the amazing Cinqueterre by boat. These are pretty pastel-coloured, cliffside towns which look so precarious its hard to believe they don't fall into the sea at the slightest gust of wind! And finally we visited Pisa and its famous leaning tower, a very surreal experience.

Since getting back, I have managed to sort out some little address tags for a swap with my teammates, as well as completing another layout. I will photograph and upload both of these in the next few days - unfortunately now its back to normality and a date with Sainsbury's!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Proud Dad

So here is my latest layout, completed last night. The papers are Scenic Route and Basic Grey, stamping is Autumn Leaves and some Heidi Swapp chipboard letters. I took my colour inspiration from the baby blanket I am wrapped in. I wanted to include both masculine and feminine colours and hope I achieved a good enough balance in the end.

The journalling reads:

Its amazing to see us there together on that fine day in early April 1982, me just a few days old, you only four years older than I am now. I wonder what you were thinking as you stood there, smiling for the camera and holding me so carefully. Did you wonder what the future held for the baby in your arms? Did you imagine all the happy times we would spend, the laughter and the tears? Did you consider where we might be in 25 years? Whatever you imagined, I hope I made you... proud dad.

I'm fairly pleased with the layout overall though the bottom left corner is bugging me a bit! Just don't know if I got the balance right. However, sometimes you know when its time to stop and just let it be.

Just a quick post...

...while I get on with some schemes of work for next year. I managed to finish a new layout last night, decided to try some of the latest crazes for scalloped edging and I'm quite pleased with the final result. I will upload it later this afternoon so check back then for a look.

Saturday, 14 July 2007


Another layout finished, this one is far simpler in style for me which made a nice change as I was able to finish it in about 2 hours. Usually they take me at least double that! I drew a sketch first so I knew where everything was going to be placed.

I used Basic Grey Phoebe papers and my Autumn Leaves flower stamps to create the embellishments. I considered add a bit more detail with brads but decided against it (though I will probably go back and do so - I ended up adding stitching to my At the Farm layout after I had uploaded it on here!).

The journalling reads:

While a trip to the seaside was probably our favourite choice for a day out, we all enjoyed a picnic, especially in this beautiful spot by the riverbank at Runnymede. Many happy hours were spent playing there.

Unfortunately due to the fading light the photo hasn't really done the colours justice - the green is much more vibrant in real life.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

A Moment Captured

So here is the layout as promised yesterday, one of my favourites for a while. Its called 'A moment Captured' and is about the day my mum and dad brought me home from the hospital for the first time.
As I said yesterday, I used Basic Grey Stella Ruby papers (which are absolutely gorgeous by the way) and my trusty Autumn Leaves stamps - Hearts and Stars, Flourishes and For the Record. There is a bit of machine stitching and some hand sewing around the heart frame (this was hand drawn and cut). The title is made using pieces of inkject acetate, one painted with acrylic paint, the other layered over the top and printed with my title in a mixture of Times New Roman and a free font, Will and Grace. This was secured to the layout using pearl brads, which also form part of the decoration. The photo has been given a distressed look at the edges using acrylic paint.

The journalling reads:

A moment in time, my mum, so young, with tears in her eyes, brings me home for the first time. Love you mum x

April 1982

I am really pleased with this layout because it just came together so easily after I had done some initial sketching. Thanks to the many different people who have previously used these heart-style frames on their layouts before - I know its hardly orginial and I'd hate to have to pin down the one I'd seen use it first, but suffice to say it worked brilliantly on my layout!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Its back...

You know how sometimes a layout just falls together? Its like the pieces are all meant to be in a certain place and you just have to lay them out like a jigsaw. Well thats what happened to me again tonight. Its been a while. I've been struggling to find my inspiration. But thanks to a lovely photo of my mum and some gorgeous Stella Ruby papers all is well with the world again. Its too dark to take a decent photo tonight so I will upload it tomorrow. It may not be to everyone's taste. But I love it!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

At the Farm

Here is another layout I have completed, called At the Farm. I have used Scenic Route Charlotte papers. I wanted to make the layout quite masculine and avoid the use of flowers etc. This isn't my usual style but I'm not unhappy with the result.
As always there is a fair bit of stamping but also doodling to outline everything and handcut arrows/title etc. Other embellishments are pegs, ribbon and some buttons (some of which I had to colour with a permanent marker!).

Feeling poorly today so this is going to be a short post. I've got a sore throat/ears etc (difficult for a teacher as you have to raise your voice so much) so taking it easy and hoping it won't get any worse.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

A Flower Show

Another busy weekend for me which has unfortunately involved me being away from my stash the whole time so no new layouts (will make up for that this week I hope!).

What I have been doing:

  • Going to the Year 11 prom - the kids all looked great in their posh clothes and it was a real nice send off for them. End of school dances are getting more popular now -this is only the third at our school but they have been really successful so far.

  • Dancing the night away to a band called Airbag in Escape bar in Coventry on Friday night - its always good to hear a bit of live music and they did some excellent covers.

  • Driving down to my mum and dad's and getting stuck in a load of traffic on the way.

  • Seeing my Grandad for the first time in ages (he is 91 and the best Grandad ever - see him in the picture of my last layout)

  • Visiting the Hampton Court Flower Show with Ed and my mum. The displays were fab and so many gorgeous plants. We went to see the garden that Ed had been involved in building. I nearly had a fit when we got there and I realised I had forgotton my camera - so many missed photo opportunities!

But here is a little piccie from the website of what the garden looked like. It was built for a coffee company with steam coming out of the middle and fake coffee beans etc and the swirl is meant to be the top of the coffee. It is based on the Fibonacci sequence and was apparently a nightmare to build - working out the measurements can't have been fun!

So driving back to Coventry this evening, only two more weeks of work then off to Tuscany for a week...

Thursday, 5 July 2007

A Grandparents Love

I finally broke my scrapper's block! I managed to piece together a layout last night which I finally finished this evening. I have never been so happy to complete a layout - its not my best work but it represents me working through the problems and coming up with a design that I am pleased with.
The layout is called (There is nothing greater than) A Grandparents Love and showcases a beautiful shot of my Nan and Grandad with my sister Katie. The photo would have been taken around 1984 and on the same day as the photo used on my layout Daddy. I just loved the way my Dad had caught such an intimate family portrait and wanted to do it justice, despite the slightly poor quality of the deteriorating photo.

I decided to make use of last month's Little Silver Hat Ribbon Kit Gyspy Rose, as I had just received the new one Heatwave and don't want to end up collecting ribbons which I then don't use. They happen to go really well with the papers, both Basic Grey, one Blush and the others Motifica. Other than this there was a fair bit of handcutting for the title and some stamping for the little birds (which I used because one of my Nan's favourite pastimes was sitting in the garden with the birds and this is how I like to remember her). I finished off with a few pearl brads for interest.

I decided to let the ribbons overhang the sides of the card but this isn't too clear as for the first time I decided to scan my layout. This does produce a more detailed image but overall I think I prefer photographing them as the colours come out better - the colours in the scan aren't exactly the same as on my layout for some reason.

There are only two weeks to go till the end of term tomorrow (11 teaching days!) and I can't wait. Six weeks for my own projects (and a relaxing holiday in Tuscany). Let the countdown begin...

Tuesday, 3 July 2007


Been a bad blogger for the last few days I know, but its been pretty chaotic round here. We are decorating the living room (the first room in our house to be tackled since we bought it last August) and the place looks like a landfill! There are flakes of paint and bits of wallpapers and pots and trays and brushes and rollers everywhere. Fortunately I am not someone who is fazed by mess (one look at my scrapping bedroom would tell you that) but it does mean that in order to help the process along I have been mucking in with the roller and hence not spending too much time scrapping or even reading the forums on UKScrappers.

The trouble is that when I sat down to scrap earlier, I realised that I seem to be completely without inspiration. Now I like everyone have had times when a layout has been difficult to come together and takes longer than usual to fall into place. But at least I've always had a vision for how I want it to turn out. But right now I don't even have that! Still, I have scrapbook class tomorrow night and hopefully I will be able to formulate some page ideas there.

Meanwhile, for those who suffer the same lack of inspiration as me, here are some blogs I like to take a look at to push me back into action. Firstly, PageMaps is fab. It is full to the brim with sketches for layouts, cards and various other bits and bobs which even a complete beginner could use to put a layout together. So far I haven't exactly followed a sketch but I may well try it to kickstart my scrapping mojo again!

Secondly, for those bored of conventional layouts and looking for a slightly different project, Craft TV Weekly has a great archive of instructions for mini-books, journals and altered art. They also give ideas for ways to jazz up normal 12 by 12s. The best thing about this site is that you can watch the video as well as download the instructions which is always helpful, particularly if like me you struggle with measuring and accuracy!

And finally, for those who want to break away from the old one big photo style of scrapbooking as I have been doing recently, I discovered this blog, Multi Photo Scrapbook Layout Gallery, which showcases some of the best in, yeah you've guessed it, multi photo scrapbook layouts!

Anyway, lets hope my scrapping mojo returns soon, and if you have any tips for me to break the block then please leave me a comment, any advice is much appreciated!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

A Wedding

We spent most of Saturday at a friend's wedding, unfortunately the weather was terrible but that didn't stop us all having a really good time at the reception! Me and my friend Mags had rather a lot of rose wine and strutted our stuff on the dance floor (minus those uncomfortable high heel shoes!). But here is a picture of me and Ed before everything got a bit messy!
I wore a fabby dress from New Look which would surely make a truly delicious scrapbook paper! However, looking back over the pictures I am struck again by the poor quality of a lot of the shots. I'm really going to have to read up on my digital photography techniques.