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!