Friday, 27 March 2015

Love & Friendship - CSI Case File #159

Hi Everyone,

Today I would like to share with you my last page as a Special Investigator for March over at CSI: Color Stories Inspiration. Here's the final inspiring Case File for this month ...

Not the kind of colour scheme I would usually work with, but packed full of fun ideas for design elements and journalling prompts. I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to scrap a photo of me and two of my favourite people in the whole world ...

This picture was taken during a trip back to Cornwall in April 2011. It was the first time we had all been together in ages and I couldn't wait for Chel and Em to meet John, my fiance. We were to be married that summer, and Emma had made the most beautiful and unique tiara for me to wear - we had to sneak off to the ladies' to try it on without John getting a peek!

So, how did I crack Case #159? You have to use all five colours in the Scheme, at least two pieces of Evidence and at least one item from the list of Testimony ...

Scheme: all five colours are there, plus some neutrals
Evidence: flowers, rub-ons, jewels, mixed media, scallops border, heart, title spread across the photo
Testimony: this is tucked into the cluster to the left of the photo with an arrow pointing to it. I couldn't contemplate the idea of trying to document things I love about myself, but I did think about the things I love about my friends and was inspired by the words "love, beauty, soul". These two have shared some of my darkest times and some of my most joyful days as well. I thought about how important their love and friendship is to me and how they are beautiful because they shine from the inside. On the tag I wrote, "true friendship is when you are still close even though you may be separated by hundreds of miles; and when you get together after a long absence it's as if you have never been apart"

Here are some close-ups for you to scrutinise for clues ...

Kraft envelope painted with gesso and stamped, flowers altered with Distress Crackle Paint and gesso to match the page, jewels.

Diecut picture wheel aged with Distress Inks, crushed bottle cap painted with Distress Paints and finished with rub-ons, resin flower painted with gesso, punched scallop border, gesso and ink spattering in the background.

More gesso and spatters, die cut vellum ink splat, rub-ons, title across the photo, distressed and inked edges and punched butterflies.

It's been so much fun cracking some CSI Case Files again, it's really woken up my scrapping mojo after a long sleep! Why not have a go yourself? There are some fab prizes to be won and loads of inspiration in the gallery over at CSI

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

You Can Sing A Rainbow

Hi everyone,

Today I thought I would have a go at this month's challenge over at Lessology - Ribbon Fantasy! The idea is to make a crafty project featuring ribbons and using at least one recycled item.

I pinched another idea from the talented Helen Allen - check out this video, where she shows you how to create a card using tiny scraps of ribbon.

Here's my version ...

This was so easy and fun to do, and very satisfying to use up some of those really tiny scraps of ribbon that you just can't bring yourself to throw away. My recycled items are some of the ribbons - you know those ones which are stitched inside the shoulders of garments and are supposed to help keep them on hangers, but really they're just a pain and they keep popping out and you end up cutting them off? Friends and relations save them for me - I often find some left on my desk at work and I have quite a collection now. They have all kinds of uses, but this one was the best so far! A couple of the ribbons were rescued form packaging - that purple one on the right has something printed all over one side but I tied it so that it wouldn't show on the card.

Thanks for visiting my blog today - check out Lessology, I love their challenges, there is loads of inspiration from their design team and there is a lovely prize to won as well :o)

See you again soon.

Annie xxx

Hold Fast to Dreams ...

Hi everyone,

The theme over at Tag Tuesday this week is "Dreams", which had me flummoxed for a while - until I came across this wonderful quote by Langston Hughes, the American writer and social activist.

Here's my tag ...

I wanted the words to be the main focus of the tag, so I just created a simple background using a home-made cardstock stencil and Distress Inks ...

... and then wrote out the poem with a Micron pen and added a coordinating eyelet to finish it off.

I'm looking forward to seeing how all the other Taggers have interpreted this theme. Next week the challenge is "Easter Bonnet" - my head is spinning with ideas for that one!

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

Annie xxx

Monday, 23 March 2015

Spring is in the Air!

Hi everyone,

The theme over at Tag Tuesday this week is "Spring is in the air" - my tag was inspired by this You Tube video where Helen Allen demonstrates a clever layered stamping technique. It was great fun to do and I will definitely be using this method again. Here's my tag ...

The butterflies (Stampin' Up!) were stamped first, using Archival Ink. Then the background was created by using masks cut from sticky notes and a gorgeous text stamp from BoBunny. Helen showed how to use Distress Ink like a watercolour paint to add colour to the images, and I used Distress Ink with a sponge applicator as well, to add colour to the background. The flower was stamped four times, then cut out, coloured and layered up. The stalks were made with scraps coloured with Distress Ink and some scraps of ribbon added the finishing touch.

Pop over to Tag Tuesday to see how everyone else has interepreted this seasonal theme. Tomorrow the theme changes .... to "Dreams" .... hmmmmmm ....

Thanks for visiting me today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Dear Old Ham ... Still Beautiful To Me - CSI #158

Hi Everyone,

Case File #158 has just been opened for investigation over at CSI Color Stories Inspiration and today I'd like to share with you my second page as a CSI Special Investigator for March.

Here's the Case File ...

In order to crack the case, you need to make a scrapbook page using all five colours in the Scheme, at least two pieces of Evidence and one from the Testimony list. I decided to solve this case by telling the story of Ham - not the kind you might have in a sandwich, no! Ham is also the name of a special childhood friend of mine ...

First things first - did I follow all the clues?? 

The Scheme: all the colours are there, plus some neutrals and a couple of tiny splashes of accent colours.
The Evidence: twine tied in a bow, three fancy fasteners, wood veneer bunny, stamped stitching (from my Georgie stamp set), vellum die cut splats (from my Quirky Kit), mixed fonts, long title, fabric print paper and fabric brad.
The Testimony: I had planned to handwrite my journaling directly on to the page, but after giving it some thought, I realised that I needed more space to document Ham's story, so I am going to print it out and stick it to the back of this page:

"Ham is about 50 years old. She has a wonky eye and wooden legs and her once glossy brown curls are now a little unkempt. Some people say she looks a bit scary, but she is still beautiful to me. 
I first met Ham when I was about four or five years old. A few weeks before Christmas, I found her hiding in a box under my Mum's bed. She was almost as tall as me, with chestnut curls and brown eyes which opened and closed. It was love at first sight, and I knew we were meant for each other. I didn't know if she was intended for me or for one of my sisters, so I deviously set about dropping what I considered to be subtle hints to my Mum, telling her how all I wanted for Christmas was a doll as big as me with brown curly hair ... years later Mum told me how hilariously UNsubtle my four-year-old attempts at hints were. 
Still, my wish came true, and on Christmas morning I became the proud owner of the beautiful curly-haired, brown-eyed doll. There was just a tiny pang of regret, just for an instant, when my younger sister opened her present and it was another doll as big as me, but this one could talk - first lesson in being careful what you wish for perhaps ...
We moved around a lot when I was a child and had to get used to leaving people, places and things behind, but somehow Ham always managed to stay with us throug thick and thin. 
Why does she have wooden legs? Well, that's because when she was about ten or eleven, there was a terrible incident where our Red Setter used her as a chew toy. I was distraught and would not allow her to be thrown away. Luckily, a kind old gentleman in the village who we called Grandpa Charles was an expert wood turner and he made a beautiful new pair of pins. 
Why is she called Ham? That's a bit of a mystery actually - until she was about 20 years old, she didn't have a name, because for some reason I could never decide what her name should be. Then my eldest son Richard decided that she was called Ham ... and that was that.
Ham lives in Cornwall now, with my niece Georgia. I don't think she gets to play with Georgie's little girl Leila, because she is a bit cranky-looking these days, but Georgie keeps her in the shed because she couldn't bear to get rid of her. Maybe I should bring her home and see if I can restore her to her full glory - apparently there are "Dolls' Hospitals" ... " 

You can see why there wasn't room to write this story onto my page! 

Thanks for visiting my blog - pop over to CSI to see how everyone else has cracked this case and why not have a go yourself, there are some lovely prizes to be won :o)

See you again soon

Annie xxx

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

WOYWW #301

Hi everyone,

I'm a bit late to the party, but hey, at least it's the right day! :o)

It's that time of the week when a whole bunch of us gather over at Julia's Stamping Ground to show everyone What's On Our Workdesks this Wednesday and then have a good snoop around to see what all the others have been up to!

Mine's a bit different this week - I've been sofa crafting whilst recovering from my op on Friday ...

You can see some of my portable projects laid out on the coffee table by my side. Just out of sight is a glass of water, a heap of drugs and the TV remote (back-to-back Madmen at the moment!).

Fab Tim Holtz Giveaway!!

Hi Everyone,

Vicky Papaioannou is one of my favourite You Tubers and I'm also nuts about Tim Holtz, so I nearly wet myself with excitement when I saw this super cool giveaway on Vicky's blog ...


This week, Vicky is featuring lots of stuff from the latest release of TH products, so as well as checking out her wonderful YouTube toots, you can enter this giveaway to be in with a chance of winning some of those goodies. You have to be in it to win it, innit??

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

Annie xxx

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Silly Selfie - CSI Case File #157

Hi Everyone,

Back in January, I made this layout for Case File #151 over at CSI: Color Stories Inspiration - it was the first page I had made in absolutely ages, so I was thrilled to bits when it was chosen as a favourite and I was invited to be a CSI Special Investigator for March.

I have really missed CSI and I thoroughly enjoyed working on all the March Case Files. Here's the first one, Case File #157, which is crammed full of fun colours, interesting evidence and inspiring testimony, and includes a fab sketch from The Nifty Pixel ...

In order to solve the Case File, you need to make a scrapbook page using te sketch, all the colours in the Scheme, at least two items from the list of Evidence and at least one piece of Testimony.

Here's how I cracked the case ...

So far, I haven't managed to master the art of taking a "selfie" without making myself look like a proper charlie, as in this delightful example - but still I love this picture because it reminds me of how much fun I was having on this sunny day back in April 2011 on my niece Georgie's wedding day. I was messing about with the camera, trying to encourage Alice, another niece who had only just met me and was very shy at the time, to let me take her picture.

It was great fun making this page, but did I follow all the clues???

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Anything But Paper ...

Hi Everyone,

Well, all did not go quite as planned with my surgery yesterday - that is, it didn't actually happen. After being on tenterhooks* all day, my operation had to be cancelled because there was an emergency and they ran out of theatre time. As you may imagine, I was a bit disappointed at the time, but hey ho these things happen and it can't be helped. At least I have been rescheduled for tomorrow and this time I am first on the list, so no anxious waiting around.

Today I have been mostly sitting about in my onesie watching TV and trying to follow a complicated cross stitch chart. I have also demolished an entire box of Maltesers and I feel much better now :o)

I did manage to stop eating Maltesers for five minutes and make a quick tag for Tag Tuesday - this week's theme is "Anything But Paper ..." which was an interesting challenge because paper is usually my starting point. This must be the quickest tag I have ever made - in fact, it took me longer to take this photo ...

It started with a piece of patterned acetate cut into a tag shape, I added two 3D butterfly stickers and some sticky gems and finished with a piece of ribbon tied through the top. That's it!

Thanks for popping in today - see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

*Tenterhooks: here is an interesting fact told to me by my boss when I worked in a fabric shop many years ago - this word originated with the hooks which were used to keep fabric stretched taut across a frame to dry during the process of making woollen cloth. The etymology of words always fascinates me, especially when it involves some interesting social history like this. 

When is a bone folder not a bone folder ...??!?!

Hi Everyone,

Today I would like to show you the most beautiful bone folder EVER - in fact that is a misnomer, because it's made of wood, but if I say "bone folder" most crafters will know what I mean. This one is special because my son Tom made it for me ...

... and because it's made from a piece of wood which he has sanded and smoothed into a shape which fits perfectly in my hand and just feels wonderful to use. Thanks Tom :o)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

In The Style Of ...

Hi Everyone,

The theme over at Tag Tuesday this week was "In The Style Of ..." This gave me so much scope that I couldn't even decide what to do until this afternoon! In the end, I chose to make my tag in the style of one of my favourite You Tubers, Vicky Papaioannou. I've spent many happy hours watching this clever lady create beautiful cards and inspiring art journal pages and I thought it would be fun to try and emulate her distinctive style.

Here's my tag ...

There are several elements to my tag which I think are typical of Vicky's style -