Wednesday, 10 December 2008

More journal pages...

I've not stopped journalling, don't worry! I just haven't had a chance to blog my pages yet. I'm not quite caught up - I have two pages to do this evening - but here are four more pages of my journal for your perusal. I'm really enjoying these, they are really quick to make and so bright and funky.

The fifth page in my journal shows my advent calendar this year - Cadbury's Dairy Milk, bought on a two for one offer in Sainsbury's so both me and Ed got one.

Next up we have my Christmas Memories page - probably my least favourite so far - I like the muted colours but didn't really have any appropriately coloured embellishments for the page. The green stickers aren't quite that bright in real life!

Next we have my To Do list page - still way too much on this one unfortunately, Christmas has snuck up on us a bit this year, so I'm hopelessly disorganised :(

Finally there is my sights of Christmas page - the only sight of Christmas around our house so far are the mince pies which we keep buying on a two for one offer from Somerfield! So I snapped a box for my page for the day...

So not quite caught up, but not too far behind either. Things are about to get even busier over the next few days though so not sure whether I'm ever going to be totally up to date with this project...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Christmas Journal 2008 begins...

Having been extraordinarly unprepared for my Christmas Journal this year, not even deciding to do it till the last minute, I finally got up to date this evening with the prompts. I have to admit to not having read the prompts for day three and four - I used last year's pages as a guide! From my experience of last year, I knew I needed to keep things simpler as all the title stamping and handcutting, while it looked great, took forever and stopped me completing the journal. So I decided to stick to some simple techniques for each page which would unite the pages whilst also allowing a little bit of creativity each day.
I stocked up with various shades of Doodlebug Bazzill (which are my favourite Bazzill colours and in my opinion can be made to go with everything!) and also an 8x8 pack of the Fancy Pants Happy Holidays range. I originally intended to do my album in 8x8 again, but having seen some of my friend Laura's pages, decided to go with the slightly different 6x12 which also allowed me to be more economical on the cardstock front! I returned to my trusty Autumn Leaves Rhonna's Christmas swirls stamps from last year, but used subtle shades of ink rather than the black of last year's album. I decided to use various packs of my mounting collection of AC Thickers, as well as my ever-loved Making Memories Tiny Alpha stickers. I grabbed some Scenic Route photo mattes which came in a kit a while back. Finally, I went for a common theme of punched scalloped circles and ovals to carry through the pages.

The first page is the Christmas manifesto - what you hope to achieve in your Christmas album. I wrote my own manifesto for this. I want to make this years album a little bit more 'personal' to the year - last year's album was a more general reflection on Christmas past.

The second page, about Christmas snow, was quite timely as we had half expected to get a flurry of the white stuff today, but it never quite reached down to our part of the country. I did however include a photo that Ed took on his phone of the freak snowfall we had in October this year! There is some hidden journalling behind the photo.

On the third page, about Christmas cards, I decided to include one of the cards I have bought to send out this year. I don't make cards - its just not my forte - but I really loved these ones I spotted in Marks and Spencers a few months ago. They have a lovely contemporary style, as well as being glittery. Perfect!

Finally, my fourth page is about my perfect Christmas celebrations this year. I'm sure in years to come my idea of the perfect Christmas will change dramatically, so I wanted to write down exactly what I would choose to do right now so I can compare it with (hopefully!) future Christmas journals.

So that is me up to date - I bet you can't believe it after my complete lack of scrapping for the last couple of weeks. Lets hope I can keep up over the next few days...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Life continues to be busy, and dark, and cold...but I did have a fab weekend with my sis and her boyfriend Ross, and then on Monday I actually got around to doing some scrapping! Yes, can you believe it? I attempted another 6x12, a size I'm coming to like though it takes a while to get used to it at the start. The photo was taken in May this year on the Southbank and is of me and my mum. We had such a great day, and on my layout I just wanted to record the fact that sometimes its the little things that give you the most happiness. Its made mainly using scraps from the August Cocoa Daisy kit, of which I still have plenty left believe it or not!

In other news, I decided I'm going to try and keep another Christmas journal this year. It will have to be a lot simpler than last year as I just don't have the time to dedicate to it. But I'm kind of missing the excitement that it created last year - it definitley helped to get me into the christmas spirit! I have ordered most of my presents online this year - just my mum's and part of my sister's to get, and then I just have to wait for Ed to finally decide what he wants...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


A few days absence from my blog, due entirely to me trying to catch up with school work and doing very little scrapping. I did manage to fit in a badly needed trip to the hairdressers on Saturday - my hair is gradually getting shorter and funkier - Colin, my hairdresser, styled it brilliantly, I haven't yet been able to replicate it at home, but isn't that always the way?

I'm off to a conference in Birmingham tomorrow for a developing leaders course I am on, but thought I would just drop in here and share my latest layout which is up over at Scrap, Paper, Scissors. With the weather the way it is at the moment, its almost impossible to remember our trip to Portugal in August, but here is a layout to prove that not so long ago I was enjoying blazing sunshine and leisurely days at the beach! I used a Crafter's Workshop template on this and sponge-painted the leaves through it - it all went a bit wrong when I smudged paint all over the bottom of the layout! A sneaky bit of cutting and sticking over the offensive smudge saved the day though - I was fortunate that two different bits of paper in the Fancy Pants Daily Grind range had exactly the same bottom left hand corner!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Tired, tired, tired!

Whoever believes teaching is easy, with (to quote my Dad) 22 weeks holiday a year, start at 10am and finish at 3pm, should really have been a fly on the wall in our department in recent weeks. We seem to be constantly on the go, with pantos and trainees and parents evenings and trips and all kinds of stuff to organise. If I just spent my days teaching my classes I would be happy - that is the easy part of the job!

So I have achieved very little in the way of scrapping in the last week. I did enjoy my weekend in London with my parents though, and discovered a shop in Covent Garden, David and Goliath, which had the most amazing PJs and T-shirts in it. Possible crimbo pressie alert, my dear family???

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Passing it on...

Ok, I will tag the following lovely ladies to share 7 random facts: Micayla, Gem, Helen, Emma, Cleo and Julie xxx

Friday, 14 November 2008


My Grandad's funeral took place today. It went well, very emotional and draining but also lovely to see family I hadn't seen for a long time and also for the opportunity to share memories and stories about my Nan and Grandad that we might have forgotten.

A short post tonight, as I'm exhausted, but I've been tagged by Katherine and have to provide you with 7 random facts about me. So here goes...

1) I'm a massive fan of Agatha Christie's Poirot. Yep, that Sunday night staple is one of my favourite shows. I'm also getting into Agatha Christie's Marple too. Its probably the history teacher in me - I love all the sets and costumes, as well as the fabulous acting.

2) I can read and translate Latin and got an A in my Latin A-level - a very random skill these days, but it comes from attending grammar school where they still teach dead languages, who knows why? I have never really had the opportunity to make use of this skill, apart from a vain attempt to translate the wallpaper at my aunties (which I was unable to do!).

3) I can play the saxophone, the guitar and also the drum kit (very badly!). I rarely pick these instruments up anymore, but could probably still pick out a tune...

4) I wear dodgy J-Lo style chavtastic velour tracksuits around the house. I wouldn't be seen dead leaving the house in these, but they really are the comfiest clothes for lounging around on the sofa. I am wearing one as I type!

5) I am probably the unfussiest eater I know. I will eat practically any food (not those freak foods you get on I'm a Celebrity, but all normal foods). The only food I can't bring myself to try is kippers, because they stink the house out. But if I wore noseplugs I could probably eat those too!

6) I have read the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte more times than I could count. My copy is in bits. I love all classic literature, but this is most definitely my favourite. However, it is not my favourite TV adaptation - that accolade goes to North and South (yummy Richard Armitage...)

7) I am a fan of Neighbours. I'm just not happy if I get home too late to get my fill of preachy moral messages and wholesome storylines.

So thats it, 7 random facts about me. Now I'm off to bed - I will tag some folks in my next post!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Fairy Mary

Thought I would share with you the latest page I did for Scrapbook Inspirations Magazine. Its for their December issue and therefore had to be made with a Christmas theme - not the easiest when the commission comes in at the end of September! There was a really quick turnaround for this page, and to be honest its not my favourite - I normally like to make something a little more elaborate. However, time was against me and once I'd got hold of a suitable photo from my mum (I didn't have any christmas photos in the pink and silver colour scheme the magazine wanted) I only had a couple of days before I would need to post it off! Talk about last minute. Still, I'm happy with the design - its clean and simple, and I do like my mosaic tree which used up some scraps which would otherwise have been consigned to the rubbish bin.

I've been off on a course today - was ok, apart from realising I have to write an assignment for it by January! Not so fun. Still, I used to be good at writing essays. I just haven't written one for around 4 years. Could be interesting!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

I hate the winter!

Well, not exactly hate, thats a strong word for a season that brings Christmas, cosy jumpers and a good four months of not having to epilate your legs every week. What I do hate though is getting back from work in the dark. Which means that photographing my layout made for a challenge on our lushalicious thread is more or less impossible. I've done my best with a mini easel and the room with the most artificial light in the house - and here is the result. Expect a better photo after the weekend. Its also made with the October Cocoa Daisy kit which I used to make yesterday's socks layout, and is the first page I've done about the retreat - we all had to scrap the same photo and see what we came up with.

Also in the news, my new stamps arrived today from ebay! Just look at the gorgeousness. Along with an Inkadinkadoo alphabet stamp set that arrived the other day, I'm in stampy heaven. Did I mention I love stamps...?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Half Size

What a horrible few hours I had over last night and this morning - I got a terrible upset stomach (not sure from what!), ventured into work but felt so queasy I came home before the day began. Feeling a lot better now and hoping to brave a bit of food which doesn't come in the form of dry toast later.

In the meantime, alongside getting on with some school work (within reach of the bathroom!) I put together a quick layout - my first ever 6x12 in fact. Apologies for slightly awful scan - there is no light to take pictures in my house though!

I can't believe how quick it was to make - there just isn't enough room to put too much on the page, so I had to be quite careful about what I chose to include and what I left out. It does mean that you can get away with only using a couple of embellishments, so you can choose quite nice ones (like the fuzzy ric rac on this layout which I adore!). The bits and pieces are mainly from the last Cocoa Daisy kit, and this is the first outing for my new Dymo labeller too. If anybody knows a good place to buy the tape from, please let on, I can't seem to find much anywhere.

I may have a go at another layout later, but probably back in the usual 12x12 format. I like these 6x12, they are perfect for small or slightly dodgy photos, but nothing quite beats the space you get to play with a normal sized page.

Friday, 7 November 2008

The Night of the Weakest Link Machine...

I love the memories associated with this layout. Its one of the latest I created for the Papermaze blog, using the swoonworthy Basic Grey Offbeat range (which I have since gone out and purchased - naughty me!). The picture is of me and my friends in our uni days, when we went out to drown our sorrows one night in Leamington Spa and I ended up rather battered and started a rather violent competition with a Weakest Link machine. That night, my housemate Sarah got together with my workmate Luke. I like to think of myself as a rather drunken Cupid, as the two of them are still together now some 7 years later.

I decided I wanted to create a layout with lots of little details - not something immediately striking but one which draws you in to look at the elements. I ended up having to be thrifty with an American Crafts alpha I wanted to use too - if you look closely the second 'e' is made out of a spare 'c'!

In other news, I have managed nearly a full week back at work - I returned on Tuesday, and it was probably the best thing for me. The kids have been great, and I've been so busy its kept my mind off things. I've felt a little down this evening, as its the first time I've had a chance to stop, but Ed took me out to Pizza Express for a nice meal so I've cheered up a little now. Its amazing how the credit crunch has affected the town - it was nearly dead on a Friday night, which is so different to a year or so ago. Several bars had closed down. It will get back to normal eventually I guess - these things always do. But its still a shame that people have to suffer so badly in the mean time.

Monday, 3 November 2008


My Grandad passed away in the early hours of the morning. While I was expecting the call at any time, I was still devastated, and can't quite believe I will never see him again. Apparently, just like his life and character, his death was calm and peaceful. This is the way I want to remember him now - as the happy, down to earth and loving person he was. Thankyou to everybody who has left kind messages over the last few days.

Yesterday, while trying to keep my mind off the inevitable, I sat down to finish the layout that I had been working on but not finished on the last day of the retreat (which seems like so much longer than a week ago now!). Here is the finished page - the pictures are of my Dad earlier this year when he took part in a bit of street theatre with a squeaky man in a box on London's South Bank. When we walked past, all we could hear was a squeaking noise, like Sooty's friend Sweep, so curiousity got the better of us and we put money in his collecting plate. This was the result of that encounter!

I love those American Crafts puffy thickers!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Still here

My Grandad is a fighter and is still with us. I spent most of the day yesterday by his hospital bed. He was less confused, and able to recognise all of us and even have a joke. The doctors let us bring him some beer which he kept asking for, and we put it on a sponge so he could taste it. We could only find Carling in the local Tesco Express, which he said was 'ok to clean your teeth with!' The funny thing is, Grandad was never a drinker - he obviously just had a fancy for it! Although I know the inevitable is very near, it amazes me how strong my Grandad is. And it was lovely to see him with so many members of his family around him. It just shows what a wonderful person he is - there is no one nicer in the world.

To cheer myself up, I decided to treat myself to these while browsing the net last night - a set of Sassafras clear stamps called Snail Mail. Aren't they cute? While I love the new Christmas line that Sassafras have brought out and everyone is going nuts over, I just don't make that many Christmas pages. So I stuck with these little fellas, which will make sweet embellishments, just like the owls I have already.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Thats the only word to sum it all up for me at the moment. After a really great weekend, I got some really bad news. My Grandad had a bad stroke at the weekend. Grandad is 92 and obviously I have half expected a phone call like that for the last few years. But it still isn't nice when it comes. I went to visit him today in Chichester. And it was very emotional. He did seem to know who we were. But he is kind of in different times of his life all at the same time and was very confused. Grandad has been a stable feature throughout my life and it almost feels like a turning point. Now its just a waiting game, and we carry on with a vague feeling of uselessness. But that is life, I suppose.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Lushalicious scrapping

Over the weekend, me and some girls from the Lushalicious thread over on UKS went away on a scrap retreat which we organised ourselves. There aren't many young scrappers out there, and a bunch of us had met through UKS and decided it was time to meet in person. We stayed in a YHA cabin in the woods outside London, which was very pretty although also very dark, especially if like me you are a city girl used to the eternal glow of street lamps. Finding the toilet block in the dark at 3am was certainly an experience!

We had an absolutely fantabulous time - lots of scrapping, lots of sweet and chocolate munching, lots of Guess Who playing and even Bazzill Bingo! We didn't do any classes, just scrapped our own thing, but the level of ability in that room was high and whenever we got stuck, there were 7 or 8 talented girls there with plenty of advice and inspiration. I got so many ideas just watching the others scrap - Cleo was the texture and fabric master, SJ was the doodle queen, Leanne has an amazing funky freestyle method of her own which was a joy to watch and Laura is definitely the one to go to for fabulous colour inspiration. I was probably the slowest scrapper in the room, but even I managed six layouts - five of which I can share on here today. Most of them were made with various Cocoa Daisy kits, though the first one was just random papers from my stash...

Believe it or not, this lady was printed on one of those disposal bags you get in ladies loos! I decided to take up the challenge of including her in my layout. I think she fits in nicely!

I have definitely decided that I need to be a bit more decisive when I'm scrapping my layouts - they can be put together more quickly and I don't need to mess about with papers in every possible combination before I stick everything down. After all, it is just paper and you can always layer up and change your mind about things afterwards. We are already planning our next Lushalicious retreat - I can't wait!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A bit of bling...

I created this page for the Papermaze blog a couple of weeks ago, before the whole subject review and Ofsted thing began and I actually had some time to myself in the evening! Now I have my time back and I don't know what to do with myself - I feel I should be working/marking/planning every available second. The department got an overall good with outstanding features which was excellent - our school got a satisfactory in its last whole school Ofsted inspection so we are a leading department and it felt good to have our efforts recognised.

The page showcases a few snaps taken back in April, for Ed's 28th birthday night out. Seems ages ago now, but we had a really good time and I remember the night really well. I never work with much bling ordinarily so it was a bit of a challenge, but these swirls were just gorgeous, you could hardly go wrong with them!

Just one day left till half term (and boy do I feel like I deserve it!). And then I'm leaving Ed at home with the cats and going off on a scrapbook retreat with some girls I met on UKScrappers - I'm really excited to get to spend a whole weekend doing exactly what I love, especially as I haven't really had a chance to scrap for the last couple of weeks. So there ought to be a lot of layouts to share when I return...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Ofsted have left the building...

What a horrible week - my department have just been Ofsteded and the inspector is feeding back to the head of department as we speak. I got watched twice - and in the first one the kids decided to play up, constantly asking to go to the toilet and one broke a pen and got it all over his trousers. That class will feel my wrath later on in the week, as it hardly made for the best observation. But this morning I was observed again and it went really well, so some good and some satisfactory overall for me, which I was not happy about! But the department in general should have done pretty good which is the main thing I guess. And now, its the first night in about two weeks when I am not going to sit and do 5 hours work at the computer till eleven at night and go to bed thinking of lesson plans. I almost don't know what to do with myself! I am definitely one for keeping a work/life balance - I don't see how you could stay in this job if you didn't - and this has shown me how important that is. Work may be a part of life, but it should not take over. Or at least, not until the next Ofsted...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Just when you think you have got over your subject review reasonably well and you are ready to ease into half term with some simple lessons along comes a piece of news that well and truly scuppers all that and leaves you working harder than ever before! Today, the head came to see my department to inform us that he had received a letter telling him that Ofsted are coming in next week to assess the History department. After all the work that went into the review, it couldn't be worse timing. And in the last week before half term, when the kids are hardly working at their hardest! Still, these things are sent to try us and all that. So no scrapping for me tonight unfortunately - bookmarking and frantic lesson planning instead.

I can however share the latest layout to appear in Scrapbook Inspirations with you - the Earrings layout was a bit of a rush commission and was part of a challenge to create a page with no lettering products. Which is actually more difficult than you might realise! I decided to make my title using wire bent into shape with pliers, and it turned out better than I thought it would. Here is the finished layout for your viewing pleasure (love that green and pink combination - I was inspired by the My Freedom pages I was creating at the time):

Anyway, this will have to be short post as I'm off to lesson plan - wish me luck!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Duvet Days!

I bet you didn't know that cats could get bullied? Well unfortunately they can, and one of mine is currently suffering from this problem. Ernie keeps getting beaten up by the ginger tom from next door (who is both smaller and younger than Ernie but this doesn't seem to help) and this has led Ern to have a couple of little 'accidents' in the house. As horrible as this is, I decided to create a page about Ernie just to remind myself how gorgeous he is. Even though he has ruined a chair...

So here is my page. Recently Ernie was playing with me while I was changing the covers on the bed and I wrapped him right up in the duvet like a sausage roll. He looked so funny I had to take a photo of him before fishing him out, and this is the finished page:

I really enjoyed creating this one - I did a sketch of it about a week ago because it was so clear in my mind how I wanted it to look. Loving those Heidi Swapp letter masks and Making Memories teeny alpha stickers (again! but this time in colour). The embellishment are a random collection from the drawer which all needed using up - so I was even being thrifty!

I got my copy of Scrapbook Inspirations through today and realised one of my layouts was in there, as well as some by my online scrapping friends Laura, Katherine and Leanne - they rocked the readers gallery and two of the challenges too! I will share mine here tomorrow...

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Ssshhh, don't tell...

I've been naughty. Having finally had enough of my rubbishy old paper trimmer I bought from Hobbycraft nearly two years ago, I decided to treat myself to a new trimmer. I'm now awaiting the arrival of my new Purple Cow 2 in 1 trimmer. I fancied having a guillotine and rotary cutter in one, and so decided to splash out. And of course, I couldn't resist a trimmer which goes by the name of Purple Cow.

Today Ed and his Dad finished replacing our grotty old guttering which was unlikely to live through another Winter of torrential downpours, and while they were at it I did a bit of scrapping (which I will share tomorrow) and also took these gorgeous shots of one of the furballs in the garden:

So, tomorrow sees the start of another week, and all I can hope is that it is less stressful than the last one. We shall see...

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Secret Garden by the Sea...

So on Wednesday, I was checking what time the crop was and realised I'd got the wrong date! It's next Wednesday instead. Typical me, but at least I checked before I drove there. In a bid to be productive anyway, I sat down in the spare bedroom and scrapped away for a few hours on my own, and ended up creating this layout with the August Cocoa Daisy kit. I have really enjoyed working with this kit - the greens, blues and browns tone so nicely together and suit so many of my photos.

I took the photo this June when we were holidaying in the Isle of Wight. We had been out for Sunday lunch in a pub in Bembridge, and me, Ed and Ed's mum went out for a walk down a little path outside. We spotted all these beautiful private gardens right by the sea, many of them with little secluded beach houses. Oh, how the other half live! Unfortunately, its something I can only dream of - we spent some time discussing which one we'd have if we won the lottery. But its the kind of memory I might have forgotton and so deserved its own little page.

After the manic week from hell, where everything was more difficult than it needed to be and I stressed myself out completely, I've spent today tidying the house up from top to bottom, which has made me feel a little bit better as it was a total tip! I think an hour watching Merlin this evening followed by some scrapping time is just what I need...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Girlie fun and a little bit of bling...

I thought I'd better share a layout that has been up on the Papermaze blog for a while - Girls was really fun to put together using the Creative Imaginations Narratives line, and the colour scheme was perfect for a girlie photo of me and some friends on a night out a few months ago. I went with the idea of creating a paint 'frame' for my layout and while it was a bit scary to do I think it worked out well in the end - I like the grungy effect.

Work has carried on being busier than I've ever known it - I can't remember working so hard since being an NQT! This week our subject has been under review so books have all had to be marked up to date (fortunately most of mine aren't too bad) and on Monday I got observed (which went well I'm happy to say after all the planning I did for it last Sunday!). I have to have an interview next week to review my responsibility and I sat down last night and spent hours making sure everything is in place. I just hate it if I've forgotton something and feel unprofessional, so better to be prepared.

I have been doing some scrapping too - more work for the Papermaze blog but here is a sneak peek...

Tonight though I'm off to a crop so I actually get the chance to take a few hours out a scrap for myself - bliss!

Monday, 29 September 2008

August Memories...

Some of my latest DT work has gone up over at Scrap Paper Scissors so I thought I'd better share it here with you too - if you want more detailed instructions about how I created the pages, then check out my article over there. They were all created using Making Memories Noteworthy products which I think are really lovely and quite diverse - both these pages turned out really different, despite the fact that they were created using the same range. Big Grins records the photos from our meal in August to celebrate my mum and brother's birthdays. Portugal Paradise showcases a picture of the pool on our holiday last month (it seems like so much longer ago!) and the fact that we all burnt to a crisp playing in it on the first day! Typical Brits abroad - mad dogs and Englishmen and all that! I got really into my doodling with these two pages, especially since I had just received a selection of Sakura pens from Singapore (via ebay) not long before creating them...

I managed to pop into Hobbycraft yesterday and picked up a bunch of Making Memories Tiny Alphas there. Finally, the biggest crafting store in the country is starting to acknowledge us scrapbookers and stock a range of Making Memories and American Crafts products. Not exactly an extensive range, but its better than the poor excuse for a scrapbook section they used to have. I also managed to pick up some uniball fineliners of varying thicknesses for journalling and doodling on a 3 for 2 offer - so if you need to stock up on pens, it might be worth a visit.

I still feel utterly exhausted at the moment - not sure if its because we are heading into Winter and all I want to do is hibernate. However, despite the fact I want to crawl into bed right now, I'm determined I'm going to scrap at least for half an hour this evening. I'm actually starting to feel really inspired again - you always know you haven't scrapped enough when you fall asleep thinking of layout designs!