Sunday, 31 March 2013

Who Am I?

The colours in this week's Case File #65 over at CSI are so fun and summery, they make you feel happy just to look at them - check it out (click on the image to enlarge so you can read it)
CSI stands for "Color, Stories, Inspiration" and telling your story is probably the most important part. This month's Case Files have had me doing some serious soul-searching and scrapping about myself (which is not something I do very often).
Debbi Tehrani (CSI Mastermind) finds a new Scene to investigate each week, and from this image she draws inspiration for the colours, design elements and journaling prompts. To solve the Case, you must use the following Clues

  • all the colours in the Scheme
  • at least two pieces of Evidence
  • at least one item of Testimony

You can also download the CSI Coordinates to help you - these are fabulous printable elements, journaling spots and patterned papers which are designer by the talented Michele Singh - and they're all archived so that CSI members can access them FREE at any time!
So, here's how I solved this Case (click on the image to enlarge if you like)
The Scheme: I used all the colours and added black (you're allowed neutrals and 10% accent colour).
The Evidence: stripes; spiral of bakers twine; mini brads; white space.
The Testimony: 3 sides of me; journal across 3 spots; IW personality, three, interest.
I've documented three distinctly different and often conflicting parts of my character as follows:

  1. "Blue sky thinker ... Creative ... Experimental ... Free" symbolised by the clouds
  2. "Workaholic ... Methodical ... Meticulous ... Responsible" represented by the bee
  3. "Nestmaker ... Practical ... Grounded ... Content" by the little house
If you haven't already look at CSI -  check it out now and prepare to be inspired! 
Thanks for looking :o) xxx

Toot toot! Chalkboard Embellishments

This month Leonora from Crafty Templates has been encouraging us to have a go at home made chalkboard effects - check out her brilliant ideas on UKScrappers and this layout on the Quirky Kits blog.
I was inspired to have a go myself and see what I could come up with and I was so chuffed with the results that I've done a Tiny Tutorial.
It's so easy to make these fab little chalkboard accents ...

If you fancy having a go, you will need the following items ...

  • scrap black card
  • Versamark watermark pen (or other colourless ink or glue pen)
  • white embossing powder (I used Stampin'Up!)
  • small paintbrush
  • heat gun
  • foam tape or dots
  • strip of recycled packaging 
  • pair of scissors (which didn't make it for the photo shoot)
  • chalk inks (optional)
Step One ...

... draw a shape on the black card with your watermark pen - simple images work best and a pen with a broad tip gives a good chalky effect.
Step Two ...

... sprinkle embossing powder generously over the whole thing - you can see I have scrap paper underneath to collect the unused powder and tip it back into the pot.
Step Three ...

... heat until the powder melts and sets - I love this bit!
Step Four ...

... cut the shape out
Step Five ...
... add foam tape on the back and stick to a piece of waste packaging so they're all ready to go - I also had a little play with some bright colour Color Box Chalk Inks to give a touch of chalky pastel colour to some of them, which I quite liked ...
So much fun - give it a go!
TFL :o) x

Crafty Husband

My DH is very tolerant of the many hours I spend in my workroom and he's always very supportive. Usually he just leaves me to it - hoovering around me, making "ooohs" and "aaahs" as appropriate and reassuring me when necessary that everything I make isn't rubbish (you know the kind of thing) - but this week he decided to join in and LOOK what he made!
He used a rawlplug as the body, craft wire for legs and antennae, a scrap of gauze stiffened with Mod Podge for the wings and tiny dots of black enamel for the eyes - genius!
What he doesn't yet know is that this is just the first of many .... :o)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hey You!

Today I have been having lots of fun with Case File #64 over at CSI. Most scrappers are probably the same as me - we don't scrap about ourselves that much - but this one really got me thinking about my relationship with myself. Here's the Case File (click on the image to enlarge so you can read it!)
Wow! Debbi did it again didn't she? CSI stands for Colour, Stories, Inspiration and this definitely has all three covered. The Scene is an inspirational image from which Debbi pulls the Scheme, the Evidence and the Testimony.  There is also a set of CSI Coordinates designed by Michele Singh to help CSI members solve the case - these are printable pp, journaling spots and images and they're brilliant!
To solve the Case, you must use

  • All 5 colours in the Scheme
  • At least 2 items of Evidence
  • At least 1 piece of Testimony

Here's my solution, with a school photo of me at about seven years old.

The Scheme: used all 5 colours (although the photo doesn't show the true colours)
The Evidence: bird; rub ons; words as embellishments; jewels; circles; leaves; pen work.
The Testimony: from the scene "love who you are"; what you love about you ; IW "you".

Over the years I have given a lot of thought to what I would like to be able to go back and tell my seven-year old self if only I could. There was a lot going on in this little head already and there is so much I would like to tell her, but if I had to fit it onto a small tag, this is what it would say:

"You're allowed to say 'No'
You deserved to be loved
You will be happy
Believe it x."

This little girl didn't love anything about herself - this is me finally giving her a hug.
Annie :o) x

My Hands @ 52

Case File #63 over at CSI was full of beautiful colours and vintage style. Debbi Tehrani came up with an inspirational image yet again, along with some brilliant creative prompts to get us all going - I really don't know how she does it every week! Here's the Case File (click on image to enlarge)

There is also another genius set of CSI Coordinates from Michele Singh - these are printable elements and pp which you can download and use to help solve the case and there is a whole library of them which CSI members can access - check them out for yourself, you'll be impressed I promise!
Although I love these soft vintage colours and the designer pages in the gallery were amazing, I always struggle to work with them for some reason. I was so NOT happy with my page that I nearly didn't upload it at all, but I'm glad I did because I've made the Watch List - very surprised and well chuffed as you can imagine! Here it is
I've used some more of the beautiful flowers and papers from 13Arts which I was lucky enough to win from designer Aida Domisciewicz - such lovely quality paper to work with, I've ordered some more in fact ...
Anyway, back to the Case File - this is how I solved it
The Scheme: I used all of the colours and added some white (neutrals are allowed)
The Evidence: flowers; tape measure; sewing; vintage elements (some applied images, lace and buttons)
The Testimony: journalling on a tag; about my hobbies; IW inspire and woman.
My story was all about how when I look at my 52 year old hands I can see those of my Mum and Gran, who both taught me to enjoy being creative - sadly they are both gone now, but they are still with me whenever I pick up a rolling pin, a paintbrush or a knitting needle.
One of the best things about CSI is how it encourages you to contemplate and tell your story.

TFL :o) x

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame!

wooHOO!!! How chuffed am I?! If you have your copy of Scrapbook Magazine handy, open it to page 16 and you will see what I'm so excited about - I've been bursting with it since before Christmas, when Lindsey Hopkins, the Editor, emailed me to ask if I would be interested in being featured in the magazine - well as you can imagine, I took about two seconds flat to think about it!

I had to come up with four pages for the article and the hardest thing was deciding on which photos to scrap - of course they had to include my boys, my Mum, my Dad and my DH.

Once I got started I had SO much fun! I mostly used the goodies I won for runner-up SBM Scrapbooker of the Year (see previous post for details). Here are the results ...

Sweet Dreams - my little angels!

Sunshine of your Smile - my Mum and Auntie Maureen
and their tiny 18" waists!

Snap Happy - me and my Dad at my wedding summer 2011
my DH - last but definitely not least!

I am SO thrilled to be featured in a magazine which has been a source of inspiration since I first discovered scrapbooking WOW! I can't get over it. To put the icing on the cake, there is a little snippet of my boys on the front page AND they've made a sketch out of the Sweet Dreams page - the possibility that other scrappers might be flicking through the magazine just as I do and choose to be inspired by MY layouts is the best feeling ...
Annie :o) xxx
ps here is John proudly holding up a copy of the mag -
he was almost as excited as I was!
- I love that face! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 18 March 2013

King's Head Crafters

Last Saturday was the second gathering of the King's Head Crafters - another perfect day! Seven like-minded people coming together to trash the meeting room of a lovely local pub ... we scrapped a bit, chatted, scrapped some more, drank coffee, scrapped again, had lunch, scrapped, drank wine, scrapped, tidied up, drank some more wine ... bliss!
Here are some pics of everyone (except me of course)
Rosie and Trina
Julie and Karen
Kate and Amanda
It didn't stay this tidy for very long!
I nearly made two layouts, which is good going for me - I had to finish them off at home
This one's for the March challenge over at Scrapology

This one's for the March Simple Recipe challenge at UKScrappers

Here's to the next time! :o)

Spring Flowers

There are signs of spring at last in my garden this week - the snowdrops are giving way to cheerful little narcissi and the pigeons are getting amorous! The days are drawing out and at last it's starting to feel like winter won't last forever ... I really wanted to have a go at the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals Challenge, and I wanted to go for a fresh, pretty vintage look to celebrate the spring. 
So I've made a basket of flowers to share with my Scrapmates at the King's Head Crafters
There are enough for everyone to have one or two each to use on a scrap page or whatever - and a butterfly for Karen, who has an aversion to flowers!
Each flower has three layers - grungepaper layers were covered with pp and self-adhesive fabric from Papermania (so easy when you can cut through several layers at a time). These were inked with Distress Inks in Squeezed Lemonade, Picked Raspberries, Mowed Lawn and Salty Ocean (how summery are those names?!). Final touch was a Papermania vintage button tied with bakers' twine and a sticky foam square on the back, so my friends can easily add a pretty flower to any project they choose (except Karen who would not want to add a flower to anything!)
I had a lot of fun doing these, but if you want to see some really inspirational ideas for these dies, check out the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals challenge
Annie :o) x


Here's a page inspired by the March challenge over at Scrapology - which is all about peeking elements. this is the beautiful sketch ...
... and here is my effort
It's nothing to do with cat food - I is for Ivan (my brother) on the left, A is for Annie (me of course) in the middle and M is for Mandy (my sister) on the right. I love this picture of the three of us at my wedding in the summer of 2011 - they had come a long way to be with me on my big day and I was so glad they were there.
For this page I mostly used the gorgeous kit which came in my fab prize from Aida at 13Arts - my parcel from Poland contained two whole paper collections designed by Aida herself, as well as gorgeous flowers, trinkets and trims - perfect for this challenge.
Here are some peek-a-boo close-ups
All I had to do was distress and ink the edges of the papers - the cracked paint effect is all in the paper - I tore a little vent in the side and tucked in a bit of paper doiley and some of the flowers.
Same again here - these papers are so amazing to work with - and finally ...
An accent cut from one of the papers was attached with a foam square and then I finished off by tying some organza ribbon around the page and adding my strange title.
annie :o) x


When I saw this week's Case File #62 over at CSI, it made me think of all the times I've danced the night away with friends (or the cat, or even all by myself if the mood takes me and no one's looking) - you know how sometimes you just dance for the sheer joy of it? The inspiration image just captures that feeling perfectly. Here's the Case File (click on the image to enlarge)
We have a whole lot of pictures of the dancing at our wedding picnic, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to scrap some of those. It being the second week of the month, the Case File includes a fabulous sketch from Emma Stafrace and this one uses NINE small photos - IDEAL!

In case you haven't discovered CSI yet - the idea is that each week the wonderful Debbi Tehrani gives us a new Case File, based on an inspirational image called The Scene. The Colours, Stories and Inspiration are all taken from this image. In order to solve the case, you must use the following Clues:
  • All 5 colours in the Scheme
  • At least 2 items of Evidence
  • At least 1 piece of Testimony
To help you solve the Case, there is a new set of CSI Coordinates each week, designed by the talented Michele Singh - these are free printables which you can download to your pc and they are BRILLIANT!

So, here is my solution to Case File #62

 The Sketch: This was a fun way to show multiple pictures - may have to do a couple more from this one for the album
The Scheme: Used all the colours plus black and white
The Evidence: Wood and fabric effects on the pp printed from the Coordinates; circles in the form of buttons, home made vinyl single and Mr Huey mask in the background
The Testimony: Inspired by the words "dance" and "friend" 

Some close-ups

I enjoyed doodling around the ink splats and masked areas. The photos are mounted on the pale greenish yellow colour and cut with a very narrow margin, just to "lift and separate" a bit! I cut out the separate "planks" from the Coordinations , distressed and inked the edges and adhered them in a slightly wonky way to give a more lively, quirky feel to the page.

The mini "record" is made from a circle of black card, with a circle punched form the pale yellow pp 
and the centre hole punched with the crop-o-dile. Lots of washi tape agin on theis page as you can see!

Well that's it for today, it's well gone midnight and I have to get up for work in six hours - where does the time go?! 
thanks for popping in! :o)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

New Obsession!

You will probably have heard of Zentangle®, an art form and method created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas which enables you to create beautiful patterns one stroke at a time - it's not just doodling!
Read all about it at and you'll see what I mean. Rick and Maria also have a YouTube channel - their videos are fascinating to watch and explain the method really well.

 [NB just found out that if you hold down 'Alt' and then key 0174 on the number pad you get ® ! Isn't that amazing?]

It's worth checking out as well - lots of inspiration and support on there. You can sign up free for email updates when new patterns are posted and if you make a donation to the upkeep of the site (it worked out under a tenner in English money and PayPal does it all for you safely) you can get the 2013 Tangle Patterns Guide. This is a pdf which lists all the tangle patterns in alphabetical order and has links back  to the relevent posts so you can see the instructions and examples. I've saved it to my desktop and whenever I get a few minutes I can have a go at another one until I've done them all and then maybe I will start inventing my own!
Here are some of my first attempts

One of the best things about Zentangle for me is that all you only need -

Small squares of paper (called 'tiles')
Fine pen

- and you can tangle anywhere! And the other best thing is that it is totally relaxing, because you're concentrating on one stroke at a time.

Cool! :o)

Big Fat Diary!

Hi All,

Ok, so this is not a fun post AT ALL - I have just weighed myself this morning and faced the Terrible Truth ... 11.5 st!
That means that I have put on TWO STONES since John and I were married two years ago when I was 50 - BLIMEY!!! - it's got to STOP! If I continue at this rate, when I am 60 I will weigh 19.5 st for our 10th wedding anniversary.
The profile picture you see on the left is me on our wedding day in August 2011, but this is a picutre taken just last week in Cornwall (10 minutes before another big lunch). I'm the short fat one in the front - as you can see, my husband could completely hide behind me if he wasn't six feet tall! On the right is my sister Mandy, who is still very slim and always looks good.

There's no mystery to it - I love to cook, we have an indulgent life style, my work and hobbies are mostly sedentary and I enjoy my food and a glass of wine or three ... well not to beat about the bush; I'm a lazy greedy pig!
John is very supportive - he says he will love me whatever shape I am - but I don't love me and it's making me miserable.
So I've made a promise to myself to do something about it before our 3rd anniversary which is coming up this August, and I thought it might help to blog my intentions and my progress.
The plan is to aim to lose that two stone by August - a pound or two a week would be fine - and try to get into a healthier lifestyle so I can maintain it. My weight has 'yoyoed' a lot over the years and I know it affects my health - it makes my high blood pressure worse and my doctor says I must lower my cholesterol too.
First I'm going to try a general low-fat, low-carb, less alcohol approach and see how that goes, rather than faffing around counting calories and measuring stuff. If that doesn't do the trick then I may have to try a more structured diet, but we'll see...
I have also bought some of the fabled Green Coffee capsules and Colon Cleansing capsules which have been in the news a lot recently. As seen on TV with Dr Oz! Can't do any harm and you never know ...
Here they are on my kitchen table ready to go this morning, along with my green and white tea bags

Wish me luck and watch this space!
A :o) xxx

Mothers' Day.

I hope all you Mums had a lovely day on Sunday :o)

Here's a scrapbook page I made of my Mum, who sadly passed away in January 2009 - I still think of her every day.

And here's my lovely Gran in her kitchen - this picture evokes so many happy memories from my childhood

These days I have a wonderful Mum-in-law. Viv and I get on really well and she welcomed me into her family right from the start. Here's a picture of the card I made for her this year ...

Inside is a photo of Viv with John on our wedding day in 2011 ...

I just love this picture of them both looking so happy :o)

Love to Mums everywhere xxx

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Vintage Goodies!

Hi everyone, I've been incommunicado for a couple of weeks - that's because I've been away visiting family in Cornwall. Here's a picture of Great Aunt Annie reading a story with her favourite Littles ...
... looks like Peppa Pig was doing something really scary!

It was a very hectic few days but lovely to get to know these new little members of my family - so sweet and bright as buttons they are. Of course I did manage to squeeze in some scrappy retail therapy at Scrap Angels (new to me - when I left Cornwall in 2006 I had never heard of Scrapbooking!) - it was well worth a visit - lovely lady, gorgeous goodies - and it was very fortunate that John had some room in his suitcase :o)

Also managed to find time for a browse in the old Coinage Hall in Truro, where there is a wonderful antiques and book shop - I love a proper book shop and I could have spent all day in there.
Here are my latest treasures ...

A fabulous old postcard album which I think will make a perfect home for some vintage family photos.
A book of sketches of Norwich would you believe, which just jumped into my hand!
Some fold-out picture postcards with fascinating letters written in them.
And last but not least, a beautiful suede covered album dated 1912 which is destined for greatness ...

... there are beautifully handwritten quotes and pieces of poetry randomly throughout the book, dated from 1912 - 1937 and there are lots of the pretty pastel pages left blank, which I intend to put to good use ...
Watch this space :o)

It was a lovely week and I miss my family like mad, but it's good to be back and I have SO many things to catch up on I don't know where to begin ...

Cheerio for now
Annie xxx