Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Day Three Below the Line

Hi Everyone,

Flagging a little bit today - my third day of Live Below the Line. I've been at home, which I thought would be easier, but in fact I found it quite hard to settle to anything.

This morning I went off to the post office with a parcel and as I walked in to the shop, the smell of chocolate and sweeties hit me - I'd never noticed that before ... I consoled myself by spending twice my week's food budget on two magazines, which kind of goes against the whole idea.

It did make me think though. I'm choosing to do this and it's only for five days - what must it feel like when you have no choice and no hope for the future?

I'm not going to bore you with another picture of what I had for dinner tonight - it was the same as Monday's dinner and Tuesday's lunch (click on the Live Below the Line tab at the top of the page for previous posts). Instead,  I thought I would show you a picture of my remaining rations ...

This is what I have left for two days, which should be ok - I portioned it all out at the beginning so I would know how much there was for each day. It's quite boring, but nutritious and just about filling enough if I drink plenty of tap water!

If you would like to know more about Live Below the Line and help to bring an end to extreme poverty by donating to my chosen charity Action Aid, please click on the link for details.

Thanks so much to everyone who has donated - my total is already £215! - and for all the encouraging comments on here and on FB, it really does make a huge difference to know people are rooting for you!

Two days to go - wish me luck and watch this space! :o)

Annie xxx


Hi everyone,

Goodness me, is it really #256 already?! Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is the day when we share our workdesks with the world - check it out over at Julia's Stamping Ground, where you can join in the fun, have a snout around, link up and show us what's on your workdesk today!

So here's mine as it was first thing this morning, covered with half-used kits, collections and miscellaneous goodies all jumbled up together, a total mess ...

I had kept all these things together because they all came from SJ Crafts during the three months I've been on the DT, but it was all in such a muddle that when I came to pull out some bits to make a sample for the May challenge, I didn't know where to start!

So, I went through it all, sorted everything back into collections, put all the stickers and offcuts and loose bits into bags - in fact, I popped all the chipboard bits and diecuts out of their sheets and bagged them too (you know how annoying it is when they keep falling out and yet when you want them to come out they go all coy) - and then I took another picture ...

Ok, so it still looks a mess - but now it's an organised mess! For now anyway .....

One thing that is notably missing from my workdesk is my coffee mug - that's because this week I'm Living Below the Line, which means I'm eating and drinking only what I can buy for £1 a day. The budget didn't allow for coffee (or chocolate, wine, meat, gin and other necessities of life). Luckily, I like lentils and I'm allowed unlimited tap water, so it won't do me any harm, but I'm very glad it's only five days! If you would like to know any more about it, please click on the Live Below the Line tab at the top of the page.

Well, that's more than enough waffle from me - see you at Julia's :o)

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

More Lentils ...

Hi Everyone,

Ok so I know this is starting to look like a blog about lentils, but it's only for five days - thank goodness!!!

Day Two of Live Below the Line - I arrived home this evening feeling somewhat grumpy from lack of coffee and calories and this was waiting for me in the post ...

This little girl is called Margaret. She is only ten years old and spends her free time scavenging on this dump to find plastic which her Mother can sell to buy food. Action Aid are helping people like this to find a way out of the cycle of poverty.

So when I saw this article, of course I gave myself a slap upside the head for moaning about lack of coffee and thanked my lucky stars that to get my £1 a day I just had to find my handbag and open my purse, not scavenge for it on a stinking rubbish dump.

There's no point in feeling guilty about living in a more privileged part of the world - but this experience is teaching me to appreciate what I usually take for granted and I'm so glad to be able to do a little something to help make a difference.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Day One Living Below the Line

Hi everyone,

Well, I made it through my first day of Living Below the Line - which means eating and drinking only as much as I can buy for £1 a day - if you're wondering why on earth I would do such a crazy thing, please click on the link to find out what it's all about.

Today the hardest thing for me was missing my Costa coffee which I usually buy on the way in to the office every morning - I had to do a detour so I wouldn't smell it! My budget didn't allow for any kind of drinks, but we are allowed unlimited tap water (which is of course a luxury which many of the 1.2 billion people currently living below the line do not enjoy).

Here's what I had for lunch ...

Nutritious and delicious!
  • Home-made savoury rice with grated carrot, chopped onion and an egg, sprinkled with garden herbs
  • Sprouted lentil sprinkles
  • Crunchy carrot crudites
  • Strawberry yoghurt
  • Banana
  • Veggie stock cube to make a hot drink
Here's what I made for dinner ...

Also delish, but could have eaten it twice - the sauce was made with a carton of chopped tomatoes with olive oil and garlic already in them, a carrot, an onion, some of the whole green lentils I cooked yesterday, half a stock cube and more herbs from the garden.

The other half has gone into a tub for my packed lunch tomorrow ...

... along with my daily egg (boiled this time), the remaining lentil sprouts, carrot sticks, banana, peach yoghurt and the other half of the stock cube to make a hot drink.

So, it's really not too bad at all - very healthy, pretty satisfying and not too monotonous so far - but right now I would pay the whole week's budget for a large Americano!

Thanks for popping in today and for any encouraging words you care to leave, I really appreciate it :o)

To find out more about Live Below the Line please click on the link. If you would like to follow my progress, I will be posting every day this week - just click on the Live Below the Line tab at the top of this page to see all the posts.

Cheerio for now,
Annie :o)xxx

Lentils Three Ways

Hi everyone,

Well, tomorrow's the Big Day - Live Below the Line begins! For the next five days, I will be eating and drinking only as much as I can buy for £1 a day.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please click on the Live Below the Line tab above, where you can find out why I'm doing this, see how I spent my £5 budget and follow my progress.

Tonight I'm feeling a bit apprehensive, but also excited to see how it goes. This afternoon I spent some time cooking ahead for the week and packing up a lunch for tomorrow. My rations for the week included lentils, because they're a cheap and filling source of protein. I got two kinds for variety and plan to use them in different ways through the week.

A few days ago, I took a handful of the whole green ones, washed and soaked them and put them in a jar to see if they would sprout - and they have wooHOO!

 This might not look too exciting at first glance, but these sprouted lentils will give me a bit of something fresh and crunchy as well as some extra nutrition.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Wedding Day Essentials - check!

Hi everyone,

Case File #120 over at CSI this week is full of fun - pretty colours which remind me of sorbets, icecream and blue skies and all kinds of quirky ideas to get your mojo going. Here it is ...

In order to crack the case, you need to use all these clues to create a scrapbook page -
  • All five colours in the Scheme
  • At least two items from Evidence
  • At least one from Testimony
Here's how I solved this case ...

This page is all about the essentials I needed with me at all times on my wedding day in 2011 - including two of my best friends, Sally and Trina, who you can see in this photo.
But did I follow all the clues???

Friday, 25 April 2014

Stickers a go-go!

Hi everyone,

I'm quite chuffed that I've managed all three challenges over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog this month, but I still had some of my April kit "Daydream Believer" to use up - including those blinkin Prima sticker sheets.

These stickers are totally gorgeous but for some reason no matter how many times I get them out to use on a page, they just keep going back on the shelf again).

So I liberated them all from the sheet, stuck them to some of the cardstock leftovers from my kit and cut around them. This way, I would be able to move them about on the page and pop them up on foam dots for extra depth.

Taking the advice of Louise over at the SJ Crafts blog to try using the stickers as a starting point, I thought it would be fun to build my design around a line of stickers randomly layered together and running down the length of the page. To create the background, I mixed paints in the same colours as the stickers and allowed them to dribble down the page ...

Some of the stickers were adhered with foam dots to add dimension and I allowed them to overlap each other in a higgledy-piggledy fashion, leaving a few spaces to add journaling ...

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Playing with Patterned Papers

Hi everyone,

Like most scrappers, I am totally in love with patterned papers, in fact they're probably what first got me addicted to scrapping - many happy hours have been whiled away in my craft room, just looking at all my gorgeous paper, stroking it, shuffling it about, and then putting it away again to save for something special. Often I will buy two sheets of a 12"x12" paper, so that I don't have to face that awful decision about which side to use .... come on you guys, I know I'm not alone here :o)

More recently, I've become a huge fan of the 6"x6" paper pad - these are SO reasonably priced and so versatile, you get several sheets of each design in the pad and they go such a long way. One of my current favourites is this one from the Crate Paper Flea Market Collection by Maggie Holmes - I love this whole collection, but the 6"x6" pad is a really cost-effective way to try it out and I think Sarah has it in the shop for just £5 at the moment in the Spring Sale.

My post over at the SJ Crafts blog today is all about playing with patterned paper - taking it one step further by cutting, sticking, punching, doodling, embossing, flocking and eyeleting! I spent a couple of very happy hours experimenting with this gorgeous little MME Lost & Found record it! 6"x6" paper pad which I had already used to make some cards ...

Then I used my embellished papers and some Bazzill cardstock to create a couple of very different pages, just to show how versatile these little paper pads are ...

Counterfeit Kit Challenge Members' Blog Hop

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my leg of the CKC Members' Blog Hop, I'm very excited to be joining in again this month and can't wait to show you what I've been up to! Hopefully you've made your way here via Lesley's blog , if not, you should pop back to the CKC blog and start at the beginning so you don't miss anything!

Here's a little peek at what I want to share with you today ...

It's all been a bit different this month to celebrate April Fools Day - firstly, instead of a kit, we had CSI Case File #112 to inspire us, then there was a fun contest where we found out all kinds of unexpected things about the CKC Design Team. Instead of the usual masterclasses in forgery on the 8th, there was some Sketchy Business going on ... lots of ideas and inspiration as always. Then came the challenges ...
  • Challenge #1 was all about taking inspiration from the DT members' blog designs - fabulous idea! 
  • Challenge #2 was to use a pocket page card on your page, either bought or cut from patterned paper.
  • Challenge #3 was to use BIG TITLES - brilliant, love big titles!
Well, I've done really well with my Daydream Believer kit - I've already completed Challenge #1 and Challenge #3, but I found Challenge #2 a little more ... well .... challenging, but that's the idea, right? :o)

First of all, I hadn't put any 3x4 or 4x6 cards in my kit, so I set about creating home-made ones from the patterned papers and other oddments I had left, including the branding strips trimmed from the edges ...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WOYWW #255

Hi everyone,

Happy WOYWW #255 !!!

Another beautiful spring day here, the air is filled with birdsong and fragrant with blossom and freshly-cut grass .... aaaah the change of seasons always finds me waxing lyrical!

Of course, later today the air will be scented with manure from nearby fields and the smell of Kettle Chips cooking at the local factory ... and the sweetly singing little birds are really saying "bog off, this is my patch, these are my ladies, this is my bird table, not for you, come and fight me if you think yer 'ard enough!"

Anyway, I digress - it's Wednesday, so it's time to show you What's On My Workdesk this week. Not a lot actually - it's a desk full of procrastination ...

.... that gorgeous sunshine is falling across a Job that Needs Doing - or at least Starting. It's the first batch of wedding stationery I've promised to make for a friend - the Save the Date cards. I now have just about everything I need ready to go and they want to post these off in May.

So what am I doing sitting here, wandering about in Blogland, when I should be Getting On With It? Right, that's it, I'm going up there Right Now .... maybe I'll just check out a few Wednesday Workdesks first ....

If you would like to join in, just pop over to Julia's Stamping Ground, see what everyone else has been up to and link up to show us your own creative space - it's great fun and an excellent reason to put off making someone's wedding stationery!

Thanks for popping in, see you again soon :o)

My Last 20p!

Hi everyone,

This week I'm limbering up to Live Below the Line for 5 days starting next Monday - that means I will be spending no more than £1 a day on food and drink. Click on the link above to find out why.

In a previous post I showed you my rations for the 5 days - check it out here. They added up to £4.80, leaving me a total of 20p to spend .... hmmmmm .... how best to spend those last few pence? I have the basic nutritional requirements covered, so I decided to use the 20p to spice things up a bit ...

  • Fresh ginger 5p
  • Tsp each cumin, coriander and chilli powder 12p
  • Tbsp sea salt 3p 

Along with the free herbs which have seeded themselves around the garden, these should help to relieve the monotony of my £1-a-day diet.

1.2 billion people (2/3 of them women and children) currently live in extreme poverty every day. According to the World Bank, this equates to the amount you can buy for £1 in the UK or $1.25 in the US.

I will only be doing this for 5 days and I haven't even started yet, but already this challenge has opened my eyes - I can only imagine what it must be like to face a lifetime below the poverty line. It's really got me thinking ... I usually spend more than £1 on a cup of coffee on my way in to work in the morning ...

So, what would you spend your last 20p on? Let me know in the comments below :o)

If you would like to know more, make a donation or offer support, please go to my page on the Live Below the Line website - and please pop back here next week to cheer me on!

Thanks for coming over, see you again soon

Annie :o)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

And the winner is ....

Hello Everyone!

To celebrate joining the SJ Crafts DT, I offered a little prize for the March challenge on the SJ Crafts Blog and it's time to announce the winner! The challenge this month was to use this photo collage in any way you like to inspire a scrapbook page or card ...

This image inspired some wonderful pages and I really enjoyed looking through all the different interpretations. Today I'm very excited to announce the winner of my prize, selected by a random number generator ...

True Random Number GeneratorMin: Max: Result:8Powered by

So the winner is ...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Limbering Up for Live Below the Line

Hi everyone,

On the 28th April I will be starting my 5 days of Living Below the Line - that's only a week tomorrow, so I've been limbering up!

1.2 billion people are currently living in extreme poverty. This is defined by the World Bank as living on less than £1 a day ($1.25 US Dollars). By joining the Live Below the Line campaign, I will be doing my little bit to raise awareness of this issue and hopefully raise some funds for my chosen participating charity, Action Aid.

Next week for 5 days, 25,000 of us will be eating and drinking only what we can buy for £1per day. We are not allowed any donated food - that would be cheating! - but we are allowed unlimited tap water (which is of course a luxury which many people living in extreme poverty do not have).

I really wanted to try and do this as healthily as possible - try and keep up my five a day and not fall too far off the diet wagon and so on. So, here are my provisions for the whole five days ...

It will be a little monotonous, but it looks pretty healthy and nutritious. Here's how it added up ...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Flip Top Head

Hi everyone,

Case File #119 over at CSI this week is QI (Quite Interesting) - a subtle colour scheme combined with unusual ideas for design elements and some fun journaling prompts. Here it is ...

In order to crack the case, all you need to do is to create a scrapbook page using these clues ...

  • All 5 colours in the Scheme
  • At least 2 items from Evidence
  • At least 1 item from Testimony

I thought this Case File would be perfect for a photo of my little step-grandson Bailey, showing off his great big "flip-top" smile!

So, did I follow all the clues???
  • Scheme: all the colours are there, plus neutrals
  • Evidence: wood; frames; metal; something transparent.
  • Testimony: I was inspired by the word "laugh" and my journaling is handwritten as a border around the blue shaped paper. It reads, "there's something about the sound of a baby laughing that really melts your heart and lifts your spirits and Bailey's flip top smile is just the same <3 <3 <3"
Thanks so much for coming over to see my page - why not have a go at cracking this case yourself? You'll find loads of inspiration in the CSI Gallery.

See you again soon :o)

Friday, 18 April 2014

Big Smiles!

Hi everyone,

I'm doing really well with my April Counterfeit Kit "Daydream Believer" - I've nearly used it all up, except for a few scraps and those pesky but gorgeous Prima labels which I still didn't use (I may need to have another look at this post by Louise over at the SJ Crafts blog for some ideas for using up stickers).

Challenge #1 was to use blog designs to inspire you, Challenge #2 was to use pocket page supplies and Challenge #3 was to use BIG TITLES ...

These pictures were taken on the wedding day of my gorgeous niece Georgia. It was a very happy and fun day and there were great big smiles all over the place! A page about Georgia's wedding wouldn't be complete without a butterfly and plenty of bling ...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

WOYWW #254

Hi Everyone,

It's another lovely sunshiney Wednesday so it's time to show you What's On My Workdesk today - if you would like to show us What's On Yours, or just check out what lots of other crafty peeps have on their workdesks today, pop over to Julia's Stamping Ground to join in and link up.

As you can see, I haven't unpacked my crop bag from the weekend yet, nor has my desk seen much activity since last Wednesday. But I did get those needle-top bottles from Amazon (as inspired by Mary Anne!) so I had a little five-minute play with them ...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Ray of Sunshine

Hi everyone,

Today I would like to show you my page for April challenge #1 over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog. This month the inspiration for our counterfeit kit was CSI Case File 112 - a soft, dreamy and romantic combination of colours, design elements and journaling prompts. The kit I pulled together from my stash is called Daydream Believer - here's a peek ...

 They're mixing it up for April Fools at CKC - there's a fun contest to enter as you hop around the DT blogs (check it out here, you have until the 16th to enter!), and instead of the usual masterclass in forgery on the 8th of the month, there was some Sketchy Business going on ... I wonder what else they have up their sleeves :o) Anyway, let's have a look at the first challenge ...

It's a Parade!!!

Hi everyone,

There's another fun and funky Case File for April Fools month over at CSI this week. Here it is ...

As always, Debbi has found us an intriguing scene to investigate. From this image, she takes five colours, inspiration for design elements and ideas for journaling prompts. In order to solve the case, you need to follow all of these clues to make a scrapbook page -

  • All five colours in the Scheme
  • At least two items from Evidence
  • At least one piece of Testimony

As it's the second Tuesday in the month, we also have a fabulous sketch from Emma Stafrace at Page Drafts

So, here how I cracked the case (spot the not-so-deliberate mistake!) ...

... yup, I totally forgot about the sketch!!! What a dimmock ... and I always LOVE using Em's sketches, they really work so well for me. I'm an April Fool I guess :o)

Thinking I didn't have a sketch to work with, I sort-of scrap-lifted a brilliant page by Jess Mackenzie for the CSI feature in the current issue of Scrap365 - Jess's pages are always an inspiration, so it was great fun to use one of them as a starting point - thanks Jess! :o)

Anyway, did I at least manage to follow all the other clues?

  • Scheme: colours are all there, plus neutrals
  • Evidence: white background; arrows; doodling/pen work; fabric; fibres; pockets
  • Testimony: this is written on the yellow tag which I've tucked into a pocket behind the photo.

"You may not need to hold my hand when you cross the road any more Tom, but I will always be there for you when you need me. Mum x"

Here's a couple of close-up shots so we can conduct a thorough investigation ...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Daydream Believer - April Counterfeit Kit

Hi everyone,

Well, I'm a few days late getting started again this month, but there's still plenty of time to catch up! Over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog they are celebrating April with some extra fun and games - check it out here and see for yourself :o)

The April kit inspiration is CSI Case File #112 - this is really different from the usual CKChallenge, because it's not a kit as such, but it's full of soft, dreamy, romantic colours, elements and journaling prompts to inspire us. Here it is ...

Now, as a CSI Detective, I'm a huge fan of the whole concept. Debbi comes up with a new Case File every single week and they're such an inspiration - but I did struggle with this one first time around, although I love it. It was one of those times when the page looks great in your head, but in reality it comes out a bit, well, meh ... so, I'm delighted to have another go at this - maybe I will have more success as a Counterfeiter than I did as a Detective! :o)

So, I started with some patterned papers and a few sheets of coordinating cardstock ...

... picking up the colour combination of soft greens and blues, fresh white and sunshine yellow plus some neutrals, then added some vellum and a few paint chip cards for a bit of fun ...

Next, I came across this transparency I've had for ages and hope to put to good use ...

... along with a woodgrain patterned mini bag, some Dovecraft doilies and an assortment of diecuts in coordinating colours. Time to throw in a collection of frames ...

Monday, 7 April 2014

Fly Away!

Hi Everyone,

Case File #117 over at CSI this week combines soft chalky colours with wonderful a touch of quirkiness ...

In order to crack the case, you need to follow all these clues to create a scrapbook page -
  • All five colours in the Scheme 
  • At least two items of Evidence 
  • At least one item fromTestimony
As luck would have it, the March Kit from SJ Crafts features the gorgeous "Illumination" collection from 7 Dots Studio, and I thought it would work perfectly with this Case File.

Here's my layout - I've used a brilliant sketch from Page Drafts Release #29 ...

I love this sweet picture of my eldest son at six months old, peeping out from his cot as he woke up one morning. This page is all about how when your children are young they are the centre of your world and totally dependent upon you, but one day they will walk away to make their own lives without you and they won't need you any more. Which of course is exactly as it should be, and I'm proud of how independent my sons are, but it's still hard to get my head around sometimes ... and this picture was taken nearly 33 years ago!
So anyway, enough rambling - did I follow all the clues?
  • Scheme: colours are all there, plus some neutrals
  • Evidence: cogs/gears; circles; metal; butterflies; arrows; numbers.
  • Testimony: stamped lines with a plastic card to create my journaling spots
Here are some close-ups under the magnifying glass so you can check out the evidence ...

I layered a couple of sheets of the Illumination patterned papers together for the background, added some drips and splodges, distressed the edges, mounted the whole thing on a sheet of Bazzill cardstock and stapled them together. The paper at the back and the cardstock were "gutted" to make them go further (of course!).
You can also see here a tag, an arrow and some circular stickers from the collection - these were all mounted on the same cardstock to add a bit of contrast and pop them off the page. The Simple Stories burlap arrow came from the kit. I've also added a little bird paperclip to the tag, a birch bark star and a large chipboard number. 

More arrows here - another diecut one from the collection, mounted on cardstock again, and a wood veneer from Studio Calico. The coloured doilies are from Dovecraft.

The speech bubble, the tag and the quote card were all from the collection. The cogs/gears and the chicken wire were die cut with my Cuttlebug and tucked in between the layers here and there. You can also see an arrow paperclip, a cork butterfly,  woodgrain enamel dots for another circular element and some Simple Stories burlap stickers from the kit.

The triangles for the bunting were cut from one of the patterned papers and outlined with black pen. I added a sprinkle of wood veneer stars and Prima Canvas Alphas for the title.

Lovely Case File, lovely sketch, lovely papers and embellishments - what more could a scrapper want?!

Well, that's me done - I'm going to link this page up to the March challenge on the 7 Dots blog as well as uploading to the CSI gallery, then I'll nip onto the SJ Crafts FB Page and show the girls what I made with my kit and I might even pop over to the Page Drafts FB page as well! Get me, with all my magical pootery stuff!

Check them out yourself for loads of ideas and inspiration - see you there :o)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

2 Cute!

Hi everyone,

The April challenge over at SJ Crafts is this gorgeous mood board full of spring sunshine ...

You can use the mood board any way you like to inspire your project - it may be the colours; design elements such as flowers, cork or stars; the composition; the quote - or anything else that grabs you!

Here's what I came up with - a fun, happy page all about my little step-granddaughter and how quickly she is growing up ...

WOYWW #252

Hi Everyone,

Well it's an overcast What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - maybe it's all that air pollution that was on the news - so my desk looks a bit dingy this week ...

I've plonked a drawer full of card blanks there, as I have Big Plans to use them up, along with 3 drawers full of paper scraps and 2 drawers full of assorted toppers and embellishments which I've somehow acquired but will never use on a scrapbook page - so the idea is to turn all this into cards which I can actually use, or even sell for "cheradee" or something ... I will need to get a bit faster though if I'm to get through this lot some time this century!

These just arrived in the post too, so I may be temporarily distracted from my Big Plan ...

Mary Anne had this brilliant idea - to fill these cool little needle-tipped bottles with various media such as acrylic paint and ink and use them to write with - genius! So I just had to have a go as well and I'm really looking forward to experimenting with different paints, inks and glues to see how they work.

If you would like to show us what's happening on your workdesk, or just check out what everyone else is up to, pop over to Julia's Stamping Ground to join in the fun. See you there!

Thanks for popping in today :o)