Friday, 31 May 2013

Ice Cream Sunday

Ooops I forgot to post this page last week - but better late than never!

CSI Case File #73 over at CSI was a really fun one to solve - unusual colour combo and lots of ideas for design elements and journaling. Here's the Case File (click on the imange to enlarge it)

Yet again, Debbi Tehrani, CSI Mastermind, has come up with an intriguing Scene for us to investigate. From this image she has taken Colors, Stories, Inspiration and come up with lots of clues for us to follow in order 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

You can also download the CSI Coordinates to help you - the talented Michele Singh designs a new set for each case and there's a whole library of them available to CSI Members - they are images, quotes, journaling spots and patterned papers which you can either print out to use on your pages, or use them for digital designs if you're clever enough (which I'm not but never say never!)

Anyway, here's my solution to the case

This is my little nephew Logan, REALLY ENJOYING his icecream whilst on a day out with his Granny and Daddy. I've been waiting for a reason to use that robot postcard for ages!

  • The Scheme: All the colours are there
  • The Evidence: Circles, pompom trim, something upside down
  • The Testimony: I documented a day out.
I used some fun bits and bobs -

  • Drips created by spraying very close to the page with Mister Huey Opaque White. 
  • Patterened Papers by Heidi Swapp
  • Robot postcard from a museaum gift shop
  • Wooden bicycle stamp from Camden Lock Market
Hope you like it - thanks for looking!

Annie :o) xxx

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

My Beautiful New Workroom!

Hi everyone,

Well, after a very very busy bank holiday weekend I have finally Tidied My Room - with a lot of help from my lovely hubby John.

We got started clearing the room on Saturday morning and finished on Monday evening, by which time we were limping around like a couple of old crocks hurting in places you wouldn't even think of!

Here is a reminder of how the room looked before we started - check out the original post

It's amazing how the contents of that one small room managed to fill the entire bedroom and the bathroom and somehow it took a lot longer to put it all back!

And now I can shut the door and everything ...

Would you like a peek inside?

This unit has sloping paper shelves,
plus 1", 2" and 3.5" drawers.
On top you can see box albums
and a head full of hats

The storage units came from Storage4Crafts - see details on previous post - to my huge relief they fitted exactly where I had planned and we are delighted with the quality, so it was worth the wait. The instructions were not the best, but once you've done one unit it gets easier and we worked together very harmoniously - in fact we actually enjoyed it (couple of oddballs that we are).

There were also a couple of inexpensive shelf units from Sainsburys - these went together in less than half an hour and we were very impressed with the quality, the instructions and a clever little plastic widget that came with the fittings and is designed to help you place tacks accurately without hammering your thumb - excellent!

Here's a photo tour of the rest of the room

More drawers (which you can arrange as you like), plus my ancient storage boxes - I had SO MUCH STUFF in these! - and a stack of albums. The shelves on the right mostly hold photos, memorabilia, projects-in-waiting and alterable items.

This unit is called a "tuckaway" and is designed to tuck under the desk - which will be handy when my sons come to stay as there will now be enough roomfor a camp bed in here. In the RH corner is an old CD shelf unit which now houses mini books.
Desk with Hutch and everything close to hand
Finally, here is the gorgeous view out of my window (which I can now open!)

My IPod and an old Ghetto Blaster sit on the window ledge, so I can listen to music or Radio 4 whilst I'm working ( I love Woman's Hour, Desert Island Discs, Gardeners' Question Time ... oh dear, I really AM an old crock).

How lucky am I to have such an amazing creative space?! Very very lucky indeed :o)

This is a big event in my life and I have come up with a couple of fun ways to celebrate it with my scrappy mates both near and far away - it will take a couple of days to sort out, but it will be worth waiting for, so WATCH THIS SPACE! :o) xxx

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Good things come to those who wait!

OMG!!! My long-awaited workroom storage units were delivered this morning - in TWENTY FOUR BOXES - they took up half the FEDEX lorry! Ever so slightly worried that all my measurements were in the wrong scale or something as my workroom really is very small. But anyway, here they are all stashed in the garage ...

... all we need to do now is clear my workroom (see previous post to get some idea of what a Big Job that's going to be); carry this lot into the cottage and up the teeny winding staircase; assemble the units; put them in place according to my Master Plan; and put everything away (the fun part).

That's my husband's exercise bike in the back of the garage - he can't get to it, but I don't think that's going to be a problem as he won't have any time or energy left for any of that this bank holiday weekend! It will be an interesting test of our nearly two years marriage to see whether we can get through it without falling out, especially as we're both a bit OCD and have our own ways we like to do things ...

You can just make out the website in this picture - - check it out if you want to treat yourself to some purpose-made flexible storage for your creative space. The UK supplier I used was Storage4Crafts.These boxes must be the ones with the plastic shelves and drawers as they were light enough for me to carry - I couldn't budge the others. I thought I would help the driver by unloading these myself, and everything was going well until I realised I had been trotting back and forth with only one button on my shirt done up so everything was hanging out (and I do mean hanging these days) - oh dear.

It was a very busy morning - first the Sainsburys order arrived promptly at 9am, followed closely by FEDEX with my craftroom, then Parcel Force with my new external hard drive (haven't worked out what to do with it yet) and a case of Naked Wines (ironically I kept my shirt done up for that one), then good old Nick the Postie with our LoveFilm DVDs and my Graze Box. My order from EveryCraftsAPound has been dispatched and should arrive on Friday.

Isn't it great how you can get the whole world delivered to your door? :o)

Watch this space - hopefully by this time next week I will be able to post a picture of my Beautiful Shiny New Workroom. And if any of my scrappy mates are reading this - there may even be a Grand Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (with cake, of course!)

Thanks for popping in

Annie x

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Love Birds

Case File #72 at CSI was right up my street - a gorgeously soft but bright colour palette  - here it is (click on the image to enlarge)
CSI stands for "Color, Stories, Inspiration"  and as always, the amazing Debbi Tehrani has found a brilliant Scene for us to investigate - from this inspiration image she has taken the 5 colours, as well as ideas for design elements and journaling prompts. 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, there is a new set of CSI Coordinates for each Case File - these are fabulous printable downloads which are designed by the talented Michele Singh and they're free to CSI members. The Coordinates for Case File #72 weren't yet available when I made my page ready for the reveal, but they are all archived so I can use them another time.

Here's how I solved the case. These wonderful photos show my grandparents during their courtship and I've included lots of symbolic trinkets - birds and bees, crochet, pearls, buttons, the broken cage, the roses, these all had significance in their later lives.  I love how Gran looks so young and innocent and Grandpa looks every inch the handsome charmer. Less than a year after this they were married with the first of six children on the way!

  • The Scheme: - I used all the colours.
  • The Evidence: doilies, labels, layered stamping, birds, book pages, bird cage, kraft background, metal.
  • The Testimony: I handwrote my journaling onto a stack of labels. It reads "Granny age 20, so young, sweet and innocent, being swept off her feet by Grandpa, her Prince Charming - handsome and debonair. About a year before they were married. 1934. Surrey.

Here are some close-ups -

 Home made spiral rose made of kraft glassine paper, gilded cherub from 13Arts, the crocheted flowers were from a Papermania Christmas set and the metal clock charm was a holiday souvenir from a bead shop in Suffolk.

The bee, butterfly and roses are Cosmo Cricket Evangeline chipboard stickers
 You can see my "Scrap Roulette" doiley here, and a page from a dictionary about love and courtship
 The Tando Creative bird cage was roughed up and coloured with Distress Inks in Black Soot and Rusty Hinge
The background was created with collage tissue and gesso and more Distress Ink.

This week I thought I would be crafty and combine four challenges into one layout! As well as solving CSI Case File #72, I used the sketch by Gabrielle Pollacco for the Scrap365 May sketch challenge. However, it turns out that I can't enter it for that one because the end date is 16th and the CSI reveal date is the 17th and I wouldn't want to let the cat out of the bag too soon! Still, it was a lovely sketch to use all the same and I've tried to emulate Gabrielle's beautiful romantic style as well - quite a departure from my usual style I think, but I really enjoyed he adventure!
So that's two challenges - the third one is for the final challenge of last weekend's brilliant blog event at Jennifer Grace Creates - this was to create a project inspired by the theme "Free as a Bird" and there is a fantastic prize on offer for the winner.
And last but not least - I haven't forgotten about the Scrap Roulette challenge for King's Head Crafters -    each of us puts a mystery item into the bag and the challenge is to use that item on a project before we next meet. My mystery items were some little doiley shaped journaling spots and I've used two of them here... so that's FOUR CHALLENGES IN ONE  and I think they all dovetailed together very well (hehehe "dovetailed" - did you see what I did there?!)

You still have over a week to have a go yourself - check out the gallery at CSI for some amazing inspiration!

TFL Annie :o) xxx

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Changes Afoot!

Great excitement - my long-awaited delivery from Storage 4 Crafts should arrive next Wednesday wooHOO! This is my shamefully messy desk as it is today
There is just about a two foot square left in the middle of the room for me to sit at the desk and it's becoming very difficult to find anything, even though it started off quite organised and I do tidy between projects and have a blitz from time to time. Here's another embarrassing picture
This workbench is just to the right of the desk and there is stuffed piled up underneath it and stuffed into the gap between desk and workbench. A little further to the right are these shelves, as well as tubs of stuff and a pile of "useful" cardboard

Continuing to follow the room around you can see some more shelves, some over-stuffed drawers and some cardboard storage boxes collapsing under the weight of too much patterned paper
This comes full circle back to the left of my desk. These pictures don't really show the full extent of the chaos that my workroom has become, because you can't see the floor - but take my word for it, its really really bad...
So anyway, I decided to splurge on some proper storage. I measured up carefully, drew up a plan on squared paper and worked out where everything could go. I bought a couple of cheap extra-deep shelving units from Sainsburys Online which were delivered in less than a week - those will do to house the tubs and some other bulky items. But the best bit is the purpose-built craft storage units from Storage 4 Crafts - it was very hard to choose which combos to go for, but I settled on a mixture of 1", 2" and 3.5" shallow drawers, 12" sloping paper shelves, a desk and a couple of other items which I hope will allow me to make an organised creative space. After a bit of a hiccup due to some parts not arriving from Canada, they finally phoned yesterday to arrange a delivery time and I'm SO excited!!!
Now the really hard work starts - clearing the space and putting the units together. The fun part will be putting it all back - can't wait! Watch this space :o)

Early Morning Baking

I gave up trying to sleep and got up at 4.15 this morning - and by 5.30 I had this spelt loaf made from scratch and out of the oven to cool!

It smells deLISHus - today is definitely NOT a fasting day. My Dad gave me the recipe last week and this is the second one I've made. I can't tell you how well it keeps because we ate all the first one within two days! It's densely-textured, nutty-tasting, crisply-crusted and SO easy to make. Here's the recipe if you fancy having a go yourself

500g Spelt flour
pinch salt
10g fast action dried yeast
couple of generous handfuls nuts/seeds
500ml warm water

Stir all the dry ingredients together with one hand, throw in all the water at once, keep stirring to combine everything. Plop the resulting mud pie into a greased loaf tin and bake for one hour at 200c, then take out of the tin and place directly on the oven shelf for another five minutes to finish.

That's it!

Enjoy :o)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Flash Bang Wallop!

Wot a Picture! Wot a picture, wot a photograph! I've had Tommy Steele singing in my head for days, thanks  to Case File #71 over at CSI this week. Here it is (click on the image to enlarge it)
Every week, CSI mastermind Debbi Tehrani finds a new Scene for us to investigate - from this image she draws inspiration for colours, design elements and journaling prompts. In order to solve the case, you have to use the following clues

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

As this is the second week of the month, we also have a fab sketch from Emma Stafrace to follow.
Lucky lucky CSI Members can download the CSI Coordinates to help them solve the Case - a new set of Coordinates is designed for each case by the talented Michele Singh - they are FABulous! :o)

So here is my solution to this Case
Just this once, I'm using my CSI Detective Frame - partly because the page just looks better in it and partly because I am still so excited to be a CSI Detective that I can't resist showing it off! :o)

Scheme: All the colours are there, plus black and a small amount of a deeper yellow as I didn't have quite the right shade in my stash, but we're allowed neutrals and10% of an accent colour so I think I'm ok!
Evidence: circles, birds, musical notes, ink splats, doodling
Testimony: nothing too complicated this week - but I used a song lyric as my starting point and my handwritten journaling reads, "Bailey doing one of his best flip-top smiles for Nanny Annie's camera!"

Here are a couple of close-ups and details

  • I used three pp from the Coordinates on a plain white cardstock, inking and doodling all edges.
  • Splats of Chalkboard Glimmer Mist were outlined with fine black pen for emphasis.
  • "Flash" shapes were hand drawn and cut from Stampin'Up! card, then doodled around with fine pen.
  • Filmstrip was cut with Tim Holtz Alterations Filmstrip die through my Cuttlebug.
  • Little bird from the Coordinations.
  • Both types of alpha are American Crafts Thickers.
  • Heat embossing with Stampin'Up! white embossing powder on black card created the chalkboard effect arrow.

 Quotes from the Coordinates at opposite corners, accented with a heart brad.
These two washi tapes were from the Range - two for £3!

That's all folks! Thanks for coming - see you again soon :o)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Go For It!

This is a very Exciting Week for me - my CSI Detective Debut! - and I was away for my first big reveal, so of course one of the first things I wanted to do when we got home was to fire up my PC.
The line-up looks amazing and I am so proud to be part of it :o)
Here's this week's Case File No. 70 (click on the image to make it bigger)
CSI Mastermind Debbi Tehrani comes up with a new Scene for us to investigate every week. From this image she draws inspiration for colour combinations, design elements and storytelling and these become our design brief - the clues we need to follow in order to solve the case.

  • Use all five colours in the Scheme
  • Use at least two items of Evidence
  • Use at least one piece of Testimony

CSI members can also download a new set of CSI Coordinates for each case - these are printable images, journaling spots and pp designed by the lovely Michele Singh - they're so cool!

Here's my solution to Case File #70
It shows an unusual photo of my little great-niece Leila - unusual because I have never seen another picture of her not smiling :o)
The Scheme: all there
The Evidence: flowers; metal; fence; something woven; paint; distressing; circles; vertical strips.
The Testimony: this is handwritten onto the button card tucke in behind the photo and reads;
"An unusual picture of Leila, because she is usually laughing - such a happy, sunny little girl, full of joy and surrounded by love all the time. When I'm with her, I catch glimpses of past generations - will she have her Mum's beautiful voice, her Granny's creativity; her Great Granny's imagination? Only time will tell, but I do know that her Mum and Dad will love and support her, whatever she wants to be - she just has to go for it, and I think that this picture shows that she has the determination to do just that! For Leila, with love, from Grat Aunt Annie xxx

Here are some close-ups

Thanks for having a gander! See you again soon

Annie :o) xxx

Treasure Hunting in London

Hi everyone,

John and I just got home from a long weekend in London and we must be very righteous indeed, because the sun shone on us all weekend!

On Monday, we enjoyed a wonderful hop-on, hop-off tour of the city on an open-top London bus - not that cheap at £28 each, but I would totally recommend it as the best way to get a great view of the sights in comfort, without getting sore feet or having to worry about pickpockets!
The ticket lasts for 24 hours and during that time you can hop off to find some lunch, visit a museum or whatever, then hop back on again. You can choose a bus with or without a guide who points out all the sights and gives you titbits of history and background information.
The price also includes a river cruise (which we didn't do because of my slightly reluctant relationship with water - I think John would have loved to go but he hid it well!).
If you ever get the chance to do one of these tours on a sunny day - go for it!

Another highlight of our trip was a forage around Camden Lock Market with my son Tom - it was worth it just for the food! Wow! There were so many stalls selling street food from all over the world, it was really hard to choose. But somehow we managed! The boys had Jamaican Jerk Chicken and I had Mexican Corn Bread filled with chicken, guacamole, fried plantain and cheese ... obviously it was NOT a fasting day! YUM!
Of course, there were plenty of other goodies to be found, apart from the food - my DH and my DS2 are much too good at finding little goodies which they know I will really really NEED! Here's my haul
Just off the market, there was a fabulous shop full of exotic goodies called Araucaria where I found the gorgeous little carved wooden stamping blocks - here's a close-up
I couldn't believe these were only £10 for THREE! The only problem was trying to decide which to choose. There were some lovely borders as well. The Shopkeeper seemed very friendly and approachable, so I was telling him about my plans to use them for scrapping and art journaling, whereupon he went off and rummaged in a corner and came back with these beautiful 12" square handmade papers - and gave them to me!

Can you believe it?! It was such a sweet thing to do and I will definitely be making good use of them - thank you Mr. Shopkeeper :o)
BTW in the first picture you can also see a copy of "Oh Comely" magazine - I've only recently discovered this whilst looking for something to read in the newsagents at the station, but I love it because it's really different and quirky, even the readers' letters page is not like any other readers' letters page I've ever seen before. Worth the £4 price tag because it's readable from cover to cover and has really cool photos too.
Anyway, back to my haul - did you spot the cute fairy people? John got them for me at one of the indoor stalls. Here's a close-up -
They're gorgeous aren't they? They're also fully flexible and just begging for some alteration and elaboration ... they may even end up as unusual residents for one of my Derelict Dollshouses. It was very hard to choose which one to liberate - I think I would have gone for Curly, but as the man offered two for a tenner, John felt it would be rude not to buy her some company, so we rescued Flower as well.
The  delicate daisy chain running across the picture is hand-crocheted and designed to hang your specs on, but as my varifocals are pretty much glued to my face all day, I will probably turn it into a necklace. Here's a better picture -
This was only a tenner too and I could have got a longer necklace version for £20. Now, I love to crochet, so I know how much work there is in this - the thread is so fine, and there's all the bead work as well

You may also have spotted some rescued goodies in the picture which will soon be given a new and greater purpose!

  • Two broken watches from my Dad and his wife (always worth letting your friends and family know that their trash may be your treasure)
  • A brand new roll of triple-gessoed canvas (£1.95 from a charity shop)
  • Several meters of "Punchinello" (75p from the same charity shop)
  • Two unloved "Charmed Frames" by Memory Makers (75p as above)

All in all, I think you'll agree that's quite an impressive haul. Oh, and I forgot to include in the photograph a jar of delicious Whisky Marmalade and a bottle of Chilli Oil, both home made by my Dad - good job John was carrying just about everything else!

See you soon
Annie :o) xxx