Wednesday, 30 April 2008

I've been naughty...

...and treated myself to one of these little guys! Its not the Expression, neither is it new (I found it second hand on UKScrappers marketplace). However, I'm really excited about getting it. It was posted to me this morning so should be arriving any time in the next day or so. I plan on downloading Sure Cuts a Lot software and seeing what I can do with that - I'd rather not spend a fortune on lots of cartridges if I can avoid it!

So how am I justifying this expenditure? Well, I've got payment for a couple of magazine assignments due, and I also plan on selling a few items to make up the rest of the money. I've got a brand new Sizzix Big Shot, as well as some kits which I'll never get round to using, so I will see what I can get for those.

I've just finished a page for SI magazine - it was a very quick assignment - I was told about it on Monday and had to have it in the post by Friday this week. However, I managed to finish it yesterday evening and I'm really pleased with it! No sneak peeks though, I don't think they are allowed :(

Monday, 28 April 2008

Another sneak peek...

I've been doing a bit more creating for Rebecca's Scrapbooking Stash and thought I'd share a couple of sneak peeks since I'm not sure when the layouts will be up over at Rebecca's site. This layout is about a day out we had in Burford recently and I went to town with paint and eyelets, all inspired by Ashley Calder's book...

I'm quite proud of these little handmade flower embellishments and as you can probably tell, I'm a tad obsessed with my new Cuttlebug alpha - its very versatile!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Birthday Boy!

It was my boyf's birthday today and we have had all his family around this afternoon for tea and cake to celebrate - it meant a mad afternoon of house cleaning for me but it hasn't been this tidy for ages so I'm actually feeling quite pleased with myself!

Ed got a new lawnmower and a little gas barbecue from his parents and sisters so hopefully this means that this Summer we will be able to really enjoy the garden properly. We went out this morning and spent a fortune in the garden centre and Ed spent several hours putting all our plants in - it was all looking great until about half an hour later it started hailing madly! We couldn't believe it as it had been warm sunshine up till that point! Still, at least they all got watered in nicely :D

Last night we went out for some drinks with friends and had a really good evening - I had bought a new top to wear out and was really pleased with it. Here are some piccies from the night:
Ed with his friend Andy - as always Ed has to pull a funny face for the camera!

My friends Emma and Gurpreet from work

Me and my friends Suzanne and Mags

Over on UKS the cybercrop has just come to an end and I have been spending some time leaving comments on everyone who took part in my class (my hands are now going numb from all the typing!). I was so pleased with all the gorgeous layouts that were produced and I found it really hard to pick a winner in the end, so just had to go with the one that stood out to me the most and had made good use of the class technique. Its been such a great thing to do and so many lovely people have PMed me with thankyou comments - I'm glad everyone enjoyed it so much. I had been worried that I might not have 'pitched' the class very well as so many different people with different levels of ability take part in the crop, but I guess there was enough there for everyone to enjoy it. A big thankyou to everyone who took part - you have made my weekend!

Friday, 25 April 2008


My UKScrappers Oscars Cybercrop class has finally gone live and I've been over on the forum checking out all the layouts that have already been uploaded. I'm always astounded at how quickly people seem to get their layouts done - it always takes me ages to put a layout together, I'd be useless at taking part in a Cybercrop I'm sure. For those of you who don't frequent UKScrappers, here is my class page:

The technique for my class was sewing, so I incorporated lots of swirly sewn bits. I cut the fabric from the straps of a top which I had cut off - its good to recycle stuff on a layout like that!

A busy weekend looms - its Ed's birthday on Sunday so we are going out for the evening tomorrow with friends and are having his family around on Sunday afternoon. Think a bit of house cleaning may be in order tomorrow morning...

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Sharing some sneak peeks...

Thought I would share some little peeks at some of my latest layouts which should be up on respective shop websites soon.

As you can probably tell, I've been experimenting with my sewing and painting techniques, after being inspired by some of the idea in Ashley Calder's Scraptastic book. While I don't always love the pages that Ashley makes (they can look a bit 'muddy' and over worked to me if you know what I mean), her techniques are totally inspirational and have really sent my creative mojo into overdrive - there are so many things I want to try. Now I just need to save up for some of the different mediums she uses.

Unfortunately, I have had to finally admit defeat and give up on using my mum's old 70s Singer sewing machine. The pedal kept smelling of burning and had started operating the machine on its own which can't be good! Ed has forbidden me from using it for fear of me getting electrocuted. So now I am without a machine and quite upset. Anyone know where I can get cheap sewing machines???

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Away in Oxfordshire

Oh wow, what a long time without blogging (for me, anyway, I know its only been just over a week but I used to update every other day!). I've just been so busy its been difficult to find time to scrap, let alone blog! I have been catching up though, and I've just completed a big double page layout for Rebecca's Scrapbooking Stash which was inspired by the first layout prompt on Shimelle's There's No Place Like Home class. I'm really pleased with it, so I'll be sending it on to Rebecca tomorrow and then hopefully share it here soon after.

Last weekend we were away for Ed's brother in law's birthday - Ed's sister had hired a big converted barn for all the family down near Woodstock which isn't far from Oxford. Me and Ed decided to venture out a couple of times, though the weather was horribly cold! We found the remains of a Roman villa down a track which was totally deserted apart from us. We also went for cream teas in Burford, which is a lovely little town made up of quaint cottages, pubs and the sort of shops that wouldn't survive five minutes in a normal high street.

We both thought that the countryside was really pretty and the villages were so sweet, but we definitely agreed we couldn't live there - we are both city dwellers used to having services on tap twenty four seven, and some of these villages are so remote with just a shop and a church in some cases. Still, its nice to see how other people live and its great to visit.

Here are some snapshots of our outings:
The remains of a mosaic floor at the Roman villa - Ed cleverly took this shot through the window because the building was closed.
Me at the ruins looking decidedly cold - will I ever learn and pack appropriately for weekends in the countryside by remembering a scarf and woolly jumpers? Probably not!

A beautiful English country garden outside a house in Burford - I love this sort of informal, cottagey style of planting best.

Ed in a little side street of Burford's main high street. It reminds me of Stratford Upon Avon a bit, although the buildings in Stratford are a fair bit older.

Anyways, I'm off for this evening, I will endeavour to post soon with an update and stop being such a bad blogger!

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Custard Incident...

Ok, so the last week has probably been one of the busiest I can remember at work - PSHE Project Day was a success but almost caused me to have a mini breakdown as virtually every piece of equipment went wrong as I tried to get Year 10 to make 'TV News Broadcasts' about the Iraq war. But it all turned out ok in the end and I'm feeling a lot calmer now.

However, poor Elmo has been in the wars! As (naughty) cat owners may know, when you leave anything in the sink with remnants of food on it, cats have a tendency to go and investigate. So normal procedure is to rinse any pans/plates before going to eat. Unfortunately, at the weekend this procedure may have been forgotton with a pan of hot custard...

All day yesterday we couldn't understand what was wrong with Elmo - she wouldn't eat, kept wincing in pain and was dribbling all over the place. We were so worried that I had to go into work late this morning so I could take her to the vets. And when the vet had a look in her mouth, she found that Elmo's tongue was all raw and ulcerated. We couldn't work out why and the vet said she wanted to sedate her and check she didn't have anything stuck in her throat as well as checking her for cat leukaemia and various other illnesses. So I left Elmo at the vets looking very sorry for herself, and went back to work feeling worried.

Later I called Ed to tell him what had happened, and it dawned on me that when my friend was staying at the weekend we had made a pudding and when I went back to the kitchen I realised that we had forgotton to rinse all the pans. And Elmo is obsessed with cream and ice-cream - you can imagine where this is heading. So Ed suggested to the vet that Elmo might have eaten boiling hot custard and they agreed that this might have been what caused the ulcers! So £150 for tests, checkups and sedations for what is basically a very naught cat getting her 'just desserts' (excuse the terrible pun). Still, you can't be mad at Elmo, she is such a cutie and has been getting so much fuss and attention all evening because of it.
And the moral to this story is, custard can hide hidden costs!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Tell Me Why...

...I don't like Mondays! No particular reason either, just that horrible feeling that its the start of the week and there is always so much to do before the next lie-in. Now I know you people with small children will at this point be saying, lie-ins, what are those? But I'm afraid I'm still a childless and therefore selfish person who enjoys her weekends for being the time to catch up on sleep and just about everything else that has taken a back seat during the week. Today I've felt especially stressed, and therefore have happily taken it out on Ed bless him - who'd have me?

In scrap-related news, I will hopefully be able to share some pics of a birthday mini-book I've made soon - just as soon as the birthday in question is out of the way. And some of you may have noticed that my supply list for my UKScrappers Cybercrop class has gone up over on the forum. I got asked by ScrappyBunny last month to design a class and agreed without really thinking about it much. Now its got much nearer to the crop date. Cue lots of worrying about whether my class will be acceptable to the people that take part (I haven't really done a cybercrop before) - I have never actually designed a scrapbooking class before and its incredibly difficult! You would think that being a teacher I would have a good understanding of how to differentiate for different levels/abilities etc but I think thats something you learn through experience and in the world of scrapbooking I have no experience of pitching a class at a very wide range of people with very different levels of scrapbooking skill. Still, I like the layout so I guess thats the main thing!

I'm hoping to get a bit more DT work out of the way this week, some interesting papers to work with this time. Not perhaps what I would normally pick, but I'm going to try to do my best with them and see what I can come up with...

Friday, 4 April 2008

A few things to share...

...Oh my God, work is tiring! I haven't been able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, as I've still been in holiday mode, but that has made getting out of bed in the morning even harder. However, its not been too bad teaching again, and at least two days then a weekend is a good way to ease into it.

I've got a few pages to share, all of which were created for the Papermaze blog. First up, we have my contribution to the current competition over on the blog, to using a felt circle picture as inspiration for your own creation. Here was my interpretation, a kind of 'garden picture', and yes, there is no big title - I'm not sure if I like it or not, but its good to make a change. The stitching took me forever though! I used a poem I found on the internet to form the journalling, felt for the circles and BG Mellow paper as well as scanned in book paper which I used to create the clouds.

Next up, we have two pages created using the new Scenic Route Providence range. For more inspiration using the other new Scenic Route range, you should check out Scrap Paper Scissors - Wendy and Angie have made some awesome layouts using the Grafton range.
These two layouts were created in a bit of a hurry, but I actually really like them - sometimes simple can be beautiful, and in particular I love the Family Portrait layout because of the photo, which I didn't want to obscure behind a whole load of embellishments. Its a rare photo of all of my mum's side of the family (except my uncle, who actually took the picture) back in 1985. I'm so glad I scrapped this now so that I can remember us all together.

This layout has such fab photos of my sister pulling a very cheeky face - it makes me laugh whenever I look at it!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Last Day of Freedom!

Yep, its the last day of freedom before a very long half term, and its the first day when I haven't been curled up on the sofa feeling rotten for half of it. Typical, time to go back and my immune system starts to kick in. Beats being ill at work though.

My birthday was really nice, despite being poorly. I woke up to this:

Ed had got up extra early and set it all up before going to work, bless him! He says that he popped one of the balloons, it failed to wake me up but the cats jumped up off the sofa like they'd been shot and ran outside apparently. Its their first experience of balloons, I wish I'd seen it.

Ed took a half day off work and came home to take me out for a late lunch too - I couldn't eat that much due to my cold and the fact that my diet seems to have made my stomach shrink, but I did really enjoy the salad cart at the Harvester! Then in the evening, Ed's folks came round for a bit of birthday cake - I had two, a Homer Simpson one (I love the Simpsons!) and a Thorntons toffee one which was really rich. I tried a little bit of both.

I got some great gifts, lots of IKEA vouchers for spending on my scrap space in the spare room, some cool New Look T-shirts from my sis (including my personal fave, an Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street shirt which I'm currently wearing), some new shoes and jewellery from my mum and Ed got me some lovely perfume, Davidoff Echo Woman which smells great (fab choice babe!). Mum also took me out at the weekend to get some bathroom accessories so that room is looking far more finished now. From my lovely teamies over on UKS, I got a box of stash which will all be very useful, including the Scenic Route Lynden line which I'm looking forward to playing with. I also had a very fancy set of bathroom scales which not only weigh you, oh no! They tell you your fat percentage, muscle mass, water percentage and BMI. My boyfriend just can't resist a gadget :) I was pleased to discover this morning though that I'm down to 10 stone 3 pounds - if you want to lose weight, just get the lurgy for a week is what I say!

This morning I finished off a layout for the Papermaze blog which should be up any time soon, so as soon as it is I'll share it on here. Its a bit of a departure for me, because its my first ever layout without a title! Or at least a big bold one. I'm still getting used to it :)

Off to mark A level exams for the evening now, I'll be back to share the trials and tribulations of a new term tomorrow...