Friday, 30 November 2007

Creative Team Work

So these are the pages are made for Rebecca's Scrapbooking Stash recently - they've been up on the website a little while but I always like to share the background to my pages on my blog too.

Rebecca gave me this totally different paper to work with called Bella Donna and to be honest it took me straight out of my comfort zone - it wouldn't have been my first choice if browsing a shop but its amazing what you can do if you are forced to use paper you wouldn't go for yourself. The first page I made was a really long process - I just knew I would have to do something special with a sheet of paper with a huge design making up the bulk of the paper - it couldn't be cut up easily so it would have to become a feature. I decided that it looked vaguely mystical and decided to do a layout about my beliefs - I backed the design with black and white cardstock and removed the centre of the design, replacing it with a transparency printed with a close up of me. I then journalled round the edge of the page and hand wrote my title on one side - some pearl brads finished it off. Its such a totally different page for me but I think it works ok.

The other page was less hard work for me - a simple 8.5x11 for my cat album - my cat Elmo is such a little 'girl' and I wanted to record her daintiness with a pretty pink layout. The blooms are of course Rebecca's speciality and the layout is really quite simple, being finished off with a few hand drawn lines. Again, a different sort of style for me but I guess thats what this Creative Team lark is all about!

Thursday, 29 November 2007

My Title Page

I knew I would have to get started on my journal before the 1st December or I would never stick to it so tonight I sat down and completed the title page. I decided to go with 8x8 as if I didn't make a decision soon I would be umming and ahhing forever! I followed a similar style to my September journal, as I knew I found it fairly easy to keep up with that, adding a chipboard element and a bit of stamping for interest. I'm not a big fan of simple and clean pages though so I decided to make it a bit inky and grungy to take the 'edge' off it. I might go back and sew through the buttons, but for tonight I am happy with it. The colours haven't come out brilliantly in the scan but you get the idea!

Its been an incredibly tiring few days at work and I feel like I haven't slept in a week - its amazing how stressed you can get for no particular reason other than being too busy - I'm glad I sat down and scrapped tonight as its an amazing stress relief!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Sneaky peeks!

I thought I would share some sneaky peeks of the work I have done for the Papermaze blog, Scrap, Paper, Scissors in December. I absolutely love both of these pages - the papers sent to me were gorgeous so putting some projects together was a pleasure!So keep an eye on the blog in the next month to see the full picture!

I have a fair bit of work to do this evening but I'm hoping to sit down and start to do a few sketches for my Christmas journal - Shimelle gave us some ideas but I need to work out how to incorporate the stash that I have bought for the project. I'm still trying to decide whether to go for a straight 8x8 journal or attempt to do a mix of pages - I'm just not sure how it will all fit together though, especially if I do a chronological journal with dates and so on. Decisions, decisions!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Some Creative Team work...

Some of my most recent creative team work for Rebecca's Scrapbooking Stash is on the shop website here - I will be uploading it to my blog in the next week but if you fancy seeing it sooner then visit the shop - and be sure to check out some of the yummy goodies there while you're at it - I'm still drooling over the Kaiser Scrapbooking papers.

Also, over on Scrap, Paper, Scissors there is a review and some scraplifts from the Autumn Leaves book Designing with Paper - I don't acutally own this one but I do have quite a lot of the other Autumn Leaves Designing With series and I LOVE them. They are full of totally inspirational pages which give me ideas for my own layouts every time I look at them. The other day I bought Ali Edwards A Designer's Eye For Scrapbooking and I don't think the pages in there are a patch on Autumn Leaves designs (though admittedly, I haven't seen Ali's latest book).

So what have I been up to? Well, getting some design team work out of the way so I can pay plenty of attention to my Christmas journal. I've been doing a page for the blog in December on this little missus - her name was Alfie (yes, she was a girl!) and she had a bit of a tragic life - diagnosed with cat leukaemia meaning she was often sick and then being run over and killed shortly after the diagnosis. However, she was a beautiful little cat with a gorgeous temperament and I wanted to record some of the special moments.

I can't wait to get started on my christmas journal now, though some of the other participants in the class put me to shame, having already got covers/pages done - I haven't even decided exactly what album I'm going to use yet! I will have to make the decision this week and then get myself prepared or else I'll never stick to it - I know from the September journal how difficult it can be to make a page a day!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

The last pages

So, we've finally reached the last two pages of my September journal. The first celebrates the fun we had at my friend's house playing with the Playstation Singstar microphones - my friend Corey was very competitive and we all had a giggle watching his eye brows go up and down like a Thunderbird puppet with all the concentration, bless him! I stole the lesson for this page from one of the inspire stickers - Sing, even if you don't know the words!
The final page is about my friendship with my old uni mates - we don't get together that often, but when we do we are all so comfortable in each other's company, its like we haven't been apart for 4 or 5 years! There is something about living with people that lets you really get to know them, and I'm really glad I got to know these guys so well. I promise to make more of an effort to keep in touch with them in the future.

I didn't realise how much I would enjoy putting together this journal - it was so simple to make the pages after I had made a few key design decisions. More importantly however, I didn't realise how much I would enjoy looking back over this album, even now just two months down the line. Without it, I would have forgotton a lot of important events such as finishing decorating the first room in our house, going back to work and the way it made me feel, getting on the Papermaze DT, winning Best of British and two fab weekends spent with friends and family. I'm glad I chose to record it all now - and it will be great to look back on in a year's time.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Battlefields and Seasides...

An odd title for a post but the next two pages of my Circle Journal are about days spent away from home or work. The first documents a trip with Year 8 to Bosworth Battlefield which I will never forget! Year 8 are an 'interesting' year group to say the least but when we got all the kids lined up in reception there were only 3 girls to around 30 boys! How did we let this happen you might ask? Who knows, but that has got to be one of the most tiring days in my school career.

The boys were so hyperactive we had to ban them from going to the shop to buy more goodies. One boy bought a multipack of sweets along for his lunch - no sandwiches, no apples, just sweets - and he has got ADHD! (little wonder if that is his usual diet). Fortunately, Bosworth Battlefield is a big place and the walk down the hill to the place where Richard III was slain was useful in helping to wear them all out. They learned a lot though - I've just marked their assessments and was pleasantly surprised by how much they had taken in during the day. But the title of my page just had to be: School Trips can leave you Shell-Shocked! Because thats certainly how I felt by the end of the day...

The second page of the day has got to be one of my favourites from the whole album. That Friday evening me and my friend Corey drove down to one of our uni friends to stay at her flat. She lives in Brighton and it always fills me with such envy as its got to be one of my favourite places to be and I would love to live there too (though I've got to admit, I don't envy the house prices and the inability to get on the property ladder). This picture was taken on another day but it sums up my feelings about the place well and makes for a lovely page.
I plan on having a productive weekend - I have a few projects in the pipeline and want to get them done before I get swept up in Shimelle's Christmas journal project in December. I'm really looking forward to it now but have started to realise I'm going to need a different album - I just don't think the one I've got is going to expand enough for all my bulky pages! So the search begins...

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Today I have the next two pages of my September journal for you. The first is about my deep-rooted fear of the Coventry ring road system. A road where cars go on and off down the same slip road just seems designed for trouble. And I had always resolutely avoided it. But that day I had to go to hospital on the other side of the city. And I had to do the drive myself. And it actually wasn't as terrible as I had envisaged. And now I drive around the ring road fairly regularly. So I guess I just needed to be forced out of my comfort zone!
Next is a pretty amazing entry for me, it was the day I found out I had won Best of British New Talent. It was so completely unexpected and late in the day I was just convinced I hadn't won so I was really in shock when I took the phonecall from Rosie Waddicor to inform me of the good news. But once it sunk in I just couldn't wait to tell my family and celebrate - it means a lot to have your work valued, especially as I had never previously even submitted my work to the reader's gallery. It gave me a whole lot of confidence so I wanted to celebrate that in this page: Dreams really can come true.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Knitting for dummies...

So what have I been up to in the last few days. Well, we decided to have a bit of a marathon film watching session on Sunday and Monday night, as we still hadn't seen Spiderman 3 or (shock, horror!) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. So while we were sat watching these blockbusters, I decided to get out the hat that I started knitting MONTHS ago (those who have been reading this blog for a while may remember the photo of the half finished hat!). And now I have a gorgeous little mohair pink hat which I have adorned with an old brooch and which I really love - and lets face it, noone will have the same hat as me! Here are some pictures of the finished masterpiece, its got a few little flaws but who's counting? I may even start another item now, although the thing I liked about the hat was that it had no increase stitches which in my opinion can only be a good thing! My increases always look a bit shabby. But practice makes perfect and all that...

Apologies for the poor quality, the photos were taken last night, and not only was I not looking my best, but I had to take the shots myself - not a bad effort really!

So onto more of my journal pages tomorrow, now I think I will have to go comfort Ed as the football score is looking decidedly scarey...

Sunday, 18 November 2007


This layout was completed ages ago now and is the companion to my layout Stylish Girls - it includes more photos of the same evening out with the girls! I made it for the Papermaze blog to show how we can use Visual Triangles to improve the look of a page and the post went up today - make sure you check it out as the other girls work is great too!

The papers used on this layout are by American Crafts and this is the first time I have used scalloped cardstock which I haven't actually cut myself as well. Apologies for the poor photo - there is never any decent light to take a picture now that its winter.

I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself today as my ears are all blocked up and I'm worried that I'm about to get the virus that practically everyone at work has had already - I could really do without being ill but at least that would get it out the way before Christmas!

Looking in the latest copy of Scrapbook Inspirations it says that my winning layouts will be in the next issue so I'm really looking forward to that - it will be the first time that I will see my own layouts in print so I can't wait!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

A day to myself

Ed has been off on a band job all day taking part in an event marking the start of Christmas shopping in Gloucester so I've had a bit of a lazy day to myself today. I've been working on a bit of my DT work and then spent the last few hours watching A Hard Day's Night which is one of my favourite films - I managed to pick up the DVD for just a fiver over at the other evening so I was dead pleased with that!

Anyway, here are the next two pages from my Learn Something New journal. September 23rd reminds me to 'take pleasure in the simple things' - we didn't do a lot when my parents came to stay that weekend, but a film and a glass of wine in their company was enough to make me happy.

On September 24th I had to do a presentation in front of senior managment to persuade them to let us set up a Politics A-level at school. Now, I'm not really the nervous type in these situations, but I did get a few butterflies before going in. However, I realised that I have the happy ability to think on my feet and was able to answer the questions posed and present our case - now we just need to persuade the kids to choose it as an option, which is arguably the more difficult task in our politically apathetic community!

This evening should be fun as we are off to visit some friends of ours who have just had a baby - it will be lovely to meet little Jack for the first time.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

More lessons learned...

So onto the next two pages from my September journal. First up we have the gorgeous Ed and Elmo starring on September 21st - I took this picture of them that night and it occurred to me how lucky I am to have so many people who care for me (soppy, I know!).
And September 22nd is also a little bit sentimental - my mum and dad had come to visit that weekend and every time I see them it always reminds me how much I value time spent with them - when you don't see your folks every day you certainly realise how much they mean to you.
Apologies for the slightly blurred scans - I'm not used to scanning layouts but the dark afternoons are forcing it on me as photos just don't come out very well.
I enjoyed my crop this evening - didn't get an awful lot done but had a read through some magazines and a good chat too which is part of what its all about really. I really ought to be going off to do some marking now but I just don't think I will be bothered - very naughty!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Training Day

I've been out of school and doing some training today - a very interesting course about teaching kids the key skills they need for learning rather than focusing so much on content. The curriculum is changing over the next few years so it feels good to be prepared for what is ahead and be able to plan for it. But anyway, enough of school!

Two more pages from my Learn Something New album today - September 19th I decided to commemorate how much my hobby has meant to me as a form of stress relief. Wednesday nights are crop nights and I look forward to them as a chance to get out and chat and have some time to be creative (and also have a table to scrap at!).

September 20th was the day I was asked to be a part of the Papermaze Design Team - hence my lesson for the day: Be proud of your achievements. It felt so good to be asked on another team based on the strength of my UKS Gallery, and Papermaze is a really good British online shop which offers an excellent range of scrapbooking products so I love representing them and contributing to their blog. Which, by the way, you should check if you are interested in improving your 'night' photography as Debs has just written an informative post on that very subject...find the link to Scrap, Paper, Scissors on the right of this page.

Monday, 12 November 2007

A busy weekend...

So I thought it was about time I shared what I got up to at the weekend - it was a really busy one but I enjoyed it all.

My mum came to visit so that we could go to the Hobbycrafts show at the NEC on Saturday - I had never been before so I wanted to go and check out some of the bits and pieces I want in real life before I buy them over the internet if you know what I mean! This is my mum and me:

Unfortunately, I found the show a bit disappointing - there was very little for the scrapbooker, with most stalls tending to be geared towards the cardmaker and a lot of stalls sold the same things like the Papermania totes. I had been hoping to see some really cool paper designs as its not always easy to tell if you like them on the internet but there was very little scrapbooking paper at all! Oh well, I managed to pick up a little album and some packs of buttons which I was pleased with. We did enjoy the Crafts for Christmas show though - a totally eclectic mix of handmade items which really appealed to both me and my mum (and we might have picked up some sweeties from the handmade liquorice stall as well!).

Then on Sunday we went to see Ed play the last post and reveille at the memorial service in Coventry - he played beautifully, even though the wind was strong and kept whipping the banner on his trumpet around!

I've now managed to put together this little lot for my christmas journal for Shimelle's online class - it'll be the first time I've done this and I'm really looking forward to it. Some of the stash is the bits I managed to pick up at the NEC, but the massive pile of papers was part of my prize from the BOB competition which included LOADS of Basic Grey papers.

And finally, here are two more of my Learn Something New Everyday entries. First of all, we have September 17th. Now, I'm not known for my love of exercise as anybody who has tried to walk up a certain mountain in Wales with me will know. So when I agreed to play badminton with a couple of our mates I wasn't exactly expecting to enjoy it. But we had a wicked laugh and it turned out to be quite good fun. Although the only part of me that felt like it had had any exercise afterwards was my right arm which ached for a day!

September 18th was the day when I sat down after work to design a couple of worksheets for lessons the following day, only for the school network to crash as I was trying to upload them, meaning I had to do them all again. So the lesson for that day: Never trust that a computer will save your work!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

September remembered...

Its been a really busy day and I'm totally shattered! Spent most of it with my Mum at the Crafts show at the NEC - more on that tomorrow, but for now, here are another two pages from my Learn Something New Every Day album.
The first entry was done on Saturday the 15th September, when I had spent a happy afternoon alone crafting while Ed was at the football. Sometimes you just need your own space and I am certainly a person who enjoys their own company every once in a while (not that I don't also enjoy the company of family and friends too!). So my lesson that day was: Sometimes your own company is the best.
This entry was for 16th September, and commemorates the last barbecue we managed this year (lets face it, the weather didn't allow for many at all!). It just made me laugh that while I was consigned to the kitchen, boiling new potatoes and chopping salad, all the men congregated around the barbecue, even though there is hardly enough space for one person to stand in front of it and turn the sausages! Hence my lesson learned on that day - Where there is a barbecue, men will congregate!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Now I can share!

So I made these two pages a couple of weeks ago but they have only just gone up on the Papermaze blog so its only now that I could share them on here. They are made using SEI Kitty's Place papers and various other embellies sent to me by Papermaze - I absolutely love the large booklate used on the garden layout and may have to get hold of a few more of these!
The first layout features Ernie, having fun in a box which had housed one of my kits from America - he just loves investigating - a real 'curious' cat! Its not my usual style but I thought I'd try out some of the scalloped doodling thats so hot in scrapbooking at the moment and combined it with wavy edges and a bit of stamping. I'm not really used to scrapping in this size so I'm not sure if I totally like the page - I think its a bit 'oversized' if you know what I mean. However, I do love the pictures of Ernie.

The second page is Elmo in the garden during the Summer, and these photos really do bring back lovely memories of sunny days which seem forever ago now. Its really bright and colourful which I love - at this time of year I need cheering up!

I'm off to the NEC tomorrow so I will have to see if I can get around there without bankrupting myself. Funds are tight so I will only get something if it really grabs me. I'm taking mum too so it should be a nice day out for us both - I'm determined to get her crafting too!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Cropping...or not!

I went to my weekly Wednesday crop tonight and guess what? Other than the usual class page I achieved absolutely nothing! Jacqui, our crop organiser had a bunch of Creating Keepsakes magazines however, so I read through those to grab some inspiration from the States. I'm not so much of a fan of the the style of scrapping in this magazine as I am of our British style (which tends to be more eclectic and messy, suiting me down to the ground!). But it is interesting to read a magazine which is really well put together.
I've decided to join up to the Shimelle Journal Your Christmas class. I really enjoyed the September 'Learn Something New Every Day' class (which I've just realised I didn't finish sharing with you all, so thats something I'll be doing over the next few days!) and thought it would be lovely to have a Christmas mini album which is similar. I'm initially planning on doing an 8x8 size album, although I am a little concerned that it may prove a bit daunting if I'm expected to do a prompt a day. Still, I usually use the weekends to catch up a bit, and it might be ok. Have a fair bit of Basic Grey christmas stash which I received as part of my Best of British prize, however I might find that I need to add a few pages...
Off to the NEC at the weekend hopefully, mum is coming to visit so I will be dragging her around the exhibits and introducing her to the world of crafting. I'm sure she'll love it, I mean, who doesn't enjoy stash shopping???

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Dark and Gloomy

I hate this time of year, after the clocks have gone back and its already getting dark when I get home from work. Its near on impossible to take a decent picture of a scrapbook page! So anyway, I got tired of waiting for the opportunity to take a picture in natural light and decided to take photos of my latest CJ entry anyway. Its on the theme of Inspiration and Advice.

My advice was given to me by my mum many years ago when I was upset about school and fitting in (we've all been there!). She told me that in a few years time, I would never see those people again, so there was no point letting them upset me now. Of course, like all other teenagers, I didn't really believe it, and it seemed a long way off. But if only I had known then how right those words were! I do still have friends from school who I get on with, but haven't seen most of the rest of my fellow pupils for years. I don't even live in the same part of the country! Its a message I try to get across to my pupils now when they are messing around or acting the fool in order to impress others. And of course, they don't believe me either. But its worth a try!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

I hate marking!

What a week its been, I can honestly say I don't think I've ever marked so many books, projects and assessments in such a short space of time before! Unfortunately, this is what happens when you let everything build up and don't do any work over half term. Its not been a bad return to work though, and at least the countdown to Christmas can officially begin.

As far as scrapping goes, the only thing I have to share with you all is this CJ entry which I completed during the week. Its on the theme of shoes. Now, I have a bit of a strange attitude to shoes. I have really bad feet - just the tiniest bit of leather or lining out of place in a shoe and I will at best have a blister, at worst a cut foot and a bloody shoe (no exaggeration!). And don't even get me started on heels! So I tend to always go for flat shoes for work, in the ballet pump style, usually bought from New Look, which is like my ultimate saviour for nicely fitting (and affordable) shoes. I do however have lots of very sparkly shoes, which I guess is my way of making up for never being able to buy all the gorgeous heels you see in magazines and on the feet of girls who clearly have either skin like leather on their feet or a higher pain threshold than me! So my CJ entry is about those sparkly shoes.

In other scrapping news, I have received lots of new DT stuff to be getting on with, including some lovely Basic Grey christmas stuff from Papermaze and more beautiful Dream Street papers from Rebecca. Now just to find some Christmas pictures, think I may have to raid my mum and dad's photos again as I've not taken many in recent years...