Thursday, 31 May 2012

New Challenge!

I love everything that Tim Holtz does - WHAT an inspiration!!! This morning I've been looking at his shiny new blog and I've decided to have a go at the "12 Tags of 2012" challenge. They're already on May, so I have some catching up to do (in fact I have just over 22 hours left to submit my entry for May EEK!)
Unfortunately I don't have the right stamps or dies for this particular one, but I'm sure I can cobble something together with what I do have!
There is a blinkie on the right hand side - check it out, such FABulous ideas....
Oh dear, Postie Nick just brought me a teeny parcel; better just unwrap that and then I really will get started. WATCH THIS SPACE!!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Happy Birthday Helen!

Helen is celebrating her 50th Birthday with a Candy Giveaway! Yay!!! Hop over to her blog for details

Silly Hats

Just uploaded this one to the ANFSCD challenge by Shimelle at UKScrappers this month. It was a really fun challenge and I only used leftovers and freebie papers for this page so that's a bonus!
We had to use a photo strip, which I hadn't done before but certainly will use again, and the challenge also involved using spray mist, twine and a doyley. As usual Shimelle's tutorial was a real inspiration.
These pictures were some of my favourites of our wedding day, because they were so unexpected and so much fun. Some friends brought along a collection of weird and wonderful hats, tashes and other accessories and got all the guests to write a message, dress up and have their photo taken - it was a complete surprise and really helped to make our day!
We had a lot of Love Heart doyleys left over from the wedding picnic and they have been cropping up on scrapbook pages all over the place!

My First Quirky Kit!

WooHOO!!! It's arrived!!! My first ever Quirky Kits delivery - I've been so excited waiting for this that it might have been an anti climax - but I wasn't disappointed - it's FAB :)
When it first arrived, I left it sitting in its pizza box for a while - just to torment myself a bit longer .... but eventually I got myself a nice cup of coffee and settled down to properly enjoy the Big Reveal! Inside the box were two giant sweetie bags - how appropriate, since I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

There were two because I've subscribed to the main kit AND the lite kit (well it would've been rude not to).
First, have a look at the main kit "Observations", which is all blues and yellows with a botanical theme ...
There's so much stuff in here - and I love that it's a mixture of different paper collections as well as lots of unusual bits and pieces - you can see all the details on the website (see link above). The papers are all double sided - here are their backsides!
Now have a look at the Lite kit "Footnote" - golden yellows mixed with blues, browns and gold ...
I love the suede leaf trim and the Kesi'Art letters - well I love it all!!! You can see the proper details of the kits on the website (link above).
Of course I'm itching to get in and have a go with it now, but I'm trying to hang on until my mate Trina comes over for a snout first - I want her to see the kits before I trash them! I may just have to take everything out and stroke it again....or maybe I'll go on over and see if they have posted any ideas on the website yet...

WOYWW 156

It's the 3rd ANNIVERSARY of What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday and they're celebrating with an ATC swap - hop over to Julia's blog Stamping Ground to see what's going on.
I've been meaning to join in with this for ages - so far all I've done is snout at other people's workdesks! - so today seems like a good day to start...
My desk is looking like reasonably organised chaos today - it won't be looking like this in a couple of hours, but I like to clear the decks a bit between projects! You can see some of my favourite tools - my new Corner Chomper is FAB, several hundred different sizes of pokey tool are ESSENTIAL of course, the stencil brushes are for distress inking so they're always out, as are the little MM distressing tool and the tiny squares of sandpaper. You can also see a seriously manky bit of rag - it's taken me months to get it to the perfect manky rag stage - and some Ranger cut-n-dry nibs I haven't worked out what to do with yet! Also waiting in the wings is an old alarm clock - this will be broken up to release all its tiny treasures - it's just BEGGING for it!!!So that's it - time to go and mess it up a bit now! OOOps nearly forgot to add the image.....tsk....what's that sound? could it be the faint tinkling of my marbles rolling away under the desk.....?

Monday, 28 May 2012

Garden Accessories by Mad Max




It's 4am and nearing the end of another long, sleepless night (chest infection triggered my asthma, and now to add insult to injury - antibiotics triggered certain gastrointestinal effects which I won't go into here!). 
The birds are singing their little socks off....maybe that's why you never see birds with socks on. 
Anyway, hopefully they are singing in another beautiful day, even if I have to spend some of it catching up on my sleep! 
There is just a gentle breeze stirring the wind chimes we have hanging from the tree in our garden.
They were made for us by our friend Peter, who scavenges odd bits of unwanted metal, wood and anything else he thinks he might find a use for and "upcycles" them into wondrous new things. His garden is full of fabulous sculptures and he has an amazing fire pit made out of scrap metal, complete with a really ingenious cooking rack. It's been the focal point of many happy gatherings and we had expressed serious fire pit envy...then one day, Peter turned up with this
Our very own upcycled chiminea - a chiminea like Mad Max would make and we love it! It works really well and came with its own little cooking rack which fits inside (so we can pretend we're not just lighting a fire for fun), a custom made poker (because poking the fire is half the fun) and even a stack of wood to start us off. It was such a lovely present - thanks Pete!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Home Brew

This is some of the sloe gin which I started last winter - isn't it BEAUTIFUL?! I'm like a proud mother or something. As you can see, it wouldn't all fit into the bottle, so I just had to sample the leftovers...mmmmm!!!

We had some very fruitful walks during September/October/November last year and judging by the blossom so far, 2012 will another good year for foraging.
There are loads of recipes online for sloe gin, but this is a really interesting site full of all sorts of "make your own" ideas http://www.makingyourown.co.uk
I was really surprised at how easy it is to make your own liqueurs. This year I also want to try sloe whisky and maybe a Rumtopf - but that's another story...
Last year we made a version of the Italian Limoncello - we called it John & Annie Claxton's Lethal Lemon Liqueur and gave away tiny bottles of it as favours for the male guests at our wedding picnic.

I was so chuffed to find these little bottles from http://www.miniatureglassbottles.co.uk/ - they were so helpful and even the little tags were included.


LETHAL LEMON LIQUEUR

For each litre of vodka you will need:
5 large unwaxed lemons
750g sugar.

Pare the zest from the lemons and put into a large clean jar with a lid
Pour over the vodka.
Make a sugar syrup with the sugar and 700ml water
Cool and add to the vodka and lemon peel
Shake the jar each day for 2 weeks
Strain through muslin and bottle

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Here is my take on the May Simple Recipe at UK Scrappers (see link on the right) - thank you to www.3jollyscrappers.co.uk for this one.
The colour palette was red, turquoise and marigold yellow with neutrals and the challenge was to

  • Use two or three different alphabets
  • Use stamps on your project and try using them in a new way
  • Use inkpads and try out inking edges or masking with them
Apart from the Kraft background, this page used only leftovers and recycled bits, so I can't tell you what the patterned papers were. Mini ink stamps were used direct to page, with a magic mesh mask, on the assorted alphas, around all bare edges and all over my hands! I had fun remembering how to make a windmill and borrowed a Stampin' Up! stamp to make the shells ... thanks Trina! Oh and Trina made the blue flower as well - but I did the rest myself honest!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Well, here are two attempts at this month's Scrap365 Sketch Challenge - thanks to Morag Cutts for the sketch, which you can see in my previous post or there is a link to Scrap365 on the right.
 This first one is all about making the decision to sign up to eHarmony and trying to take a photo for my profile - it's much harder than you would think! I ended up with one or two pictures I could use and a whole load of me falling about laughing!
For this page, I've used Basic Grey Porcelain patterned papers and the bracket shape was a piece of Kaiser Craft Duchess Collection. The smaller bracket shapes were hand cut from Core'dinations cardstock and Stampin' Up! patterned paper and there's a small strip of paper lace from Paper Cellar www.papercellar.com . Embellishments include a Cosmo Cricket Spinner Card bought from Paper Maze ages ago www.papermaze.co.uk, a Vintage Tag from Stampin' Up! and a couple of Filmstrips cut with the Tim Holtz Alterations die on my Cuttlebug. Recycled items - some buttons, a piece of the necklace I'm wearing in the photo and a couple of Scrabble tiles.
I still have to do some journalling - I've left a space to the right of the pictures.

This second page shows me a few months later with John - we had only just met when this picture was taken, but we already knew ... and a year after this we were married. Blimey!!!
For this layout, I've used patterned papers from My Mind's Eye and Stampin' Up! and the leftover piece of Kaiser Craft paper from where I'd cut out the bracket shape on the first layout. The small bracket shape is an Artisan Elements Frame from Pink Paislee www.pinkpaislee.com (I got some of these in a kit and can't wait to play with the rest now!) I used a lot of distress ink on the frame, the flowers, alphas and papers to pull everything together.Recycled items - the beer mat brought back from a holiday, unwanted embroidery silk donated by a friend, and of course me and John, courtesy of eHarmony!

All I need to do now is work out how to link this post to the Scrap365 Sketch Blog...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Scrap365 Sketch Challenge for May

I've only recently started having a go at various online challenges and I'm so glad I did, because they really get your mojo going and encourage you to look at all that stash with new eyes.
Here is this month's sketch challenge by Morag Cutts for Scrap365

I love this sketch so much that I have already made two pages and there are a couple more in the pipeline...I'
ll be using several of those gorgeous patterned papers which I've been saving for something special ( you know what I'm talking about - the ones you take out every so often, just to stroke them and put them away again...oh yes you do!)

Monday, 7 May 2012

When I was visiting my Dad recently, he gave me these beautiful military insignia and buttons which had belonged to his father. For the last five years or so I've been researching our family tree, and I've been given several treasured items like this, as well as important documents and old photographs. It is such a privilege to have these fascinating pieces of our history, but how best to enjoy them and keep them safe at the same time? 
When I was browsing in our local charity shop, I found two of these dark wood box frames - they're actually much deeper than this picture shows (about an inch and a half deep) - for only £2.50 each. So I snapped them up, but wasn't QUITE sure what I would do with them...but now I think they would be perfect for showing off family memorabilia, possibly with a photo in the background.
I also have a "Death Penny" which was given to my Great Grandmother when her husband was killed in WW1 - I could do a similar thing with that, maybe arranged with a photo and a poppy or something....


Hmmmm....

Flower Power

Here is my Show 'n' Tell from Alison's workshop on Saturday - we made a scrapbook page and a little book and spent the whole day playing with Stampin' Up! punches, dies and stamps. I carried on playing at home and got a bit carried away with all the lovely floral patterned papers (Karen will love it ...NOT!). 
Alison showed us how to use the tiniest of scraps by punching little jewellery tags and flowers and wrapping the chipboard alphabet in leftover pp - absolutely nothing was wasted!
The separate tabs on the layout can be lifted to reveal extra pages - brilliant way of incorporating multiple photos. The bunting was made from some of the leftover bits and "fussy cut" flowers were inked and dotted with stickles for a bit of twinkle - then I added some pictures of the flowers we did for our wedding (nearly a year ago - about time I got around to it!).
I started off sticking to the orange and blue papers for my little book, but ended up throwing all my leftovers at it! I also added some empty seed packets and made little tags to go in them. I grunged up the papers a bit (because I like grunginess) with Distress Inks and my lovely new DreamWeaver stencil brushes. A few bits of ribbon and lace from my stash and some garden twine were tied around the book rings to finish it off. 
As you can see, I still have some of the kit left in vanilla/black - but I have an idea ....
Thanks again to Alison  http://craftingalison.blogspot.co.uk/  - looking forward to next time and can't wait to see everyone's finished projects!

Long Weekend....

What a FABulous weekend I've had! Saturday was National Scrapbooking Day of course, and GUESS what I was doing?! Yes I spent the entire day cutting and sticking, whilst my heroic husband was at home doing all the chores...did I feel guilty, well yes just a bit...
We had a lovely day with Alison from Stampin' Up! (see my blog list) - what could be better than to spend the day scrapping with friends and cake?
Then on Sunday I went for a walk in the woods around Thetford with the above-mentioned husband - we did about 7 miles and only got lost twice (John insists that we weren't lost; we were "having an adventure"). The trees were beautiful with the light shining through all that young green colour that you only see at this time of year, and SO much blossom - which bodes well for fruitful foraging later in the year...
Today I had a couple of hours pottering around the garden in the sunshine, before going up to "play in my room" - I went up there at about 2pm and I'm sure it was only a few minutes later that John came up to use the loo and casually mentioned that it was 7 pm....how did that happen?! I think there's some kind of time warp going on in my workroom...