Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Monday

First I'd like to say a big thank you for all the comments on my last post. It really means a lot to me! I'll be going with the crowns as it is a "me" kind of design. I don't mind doing loads the same as long as the same is slightly different! (Using different papers on each one). I can use the other images at the church card club on Saturday.

I had a happy Saturday as well as happy Monday. Sue and I went to Alexandra Palace for the stamp and scrap show. It was more the stamp and stamp show as the range of scrap stuff was a tad disappointing. That doesn't mean I didn't buy things though!
I bought a fair few stamps, a threading water punch and some Scenic Route that I don't have. I'm slowly building up my collection as the old ones haven't dated in my opinion! I bought some Hambly - it is so expensive I am going to have to think about how to use the sheet as I don't know if I want it as a background transparency or at the front in pieces. Fun decision though! We met some of the Just Bex girls but it was the shortest meet ever - there was going to be a longer one at tea time but I got carried away and forgot the time for which I am tres embarrassed.

Monday Phil and i had planned a day in London until 2 kids announced they had a day off school. SO instead three of us went for a long walk with Lucky who wanted to show off her new neckwear. Her tail is much better now but as she bangs it on everything when wagging we are leaving the bandage just a bit longer
Later in the day I did some card making and scrapping (can't show the cards yet as one of the recipients reads the blog). As a family we watched I, Robot which we had recorded on the tv hard drive. Movie Night doesn't work when there are 5 Mondays in the month as we only get two films per month from Tesco film. Phil and I had watched it without the kids before but it was ok to see again - if for nothing more than the line "whoever heard of a 12 year old girl who wants to be a dentist" which Carys (the 12 year old would be dentist) found hysterically funny.

Here are the layouts
I am trying hard to mix up my scrap company products. Here is a mix of Basic Grey Offbeat and Cosmo Cricket Mr Campy papers, Bazzill cardstock, Scenic Route grafton stickers, BG rub ons, American Crafts thickers and rubons and journal tag. My new threading water punch got its first airing and the black bling is stick on bought at Ally Pally too. There is also a see through thick acetate strip that came from an old Self Addressed kit as did the little wooden heart.
This layout I was going to do while I watched the film but it proved a bit challenging!
The Dream Street paper that I chose as a background came with the blue strip that you see down the left hand side. And I could not work out how to get a balance with everything else. So I had to just stare at it for a few hours and after the film it came right. It didn't help that I traced the label shape from a Technique Tuesday tile and managed to make it asymmetrical (took an hour to work that out). I made it smaller and that helped!
Other papers are Heidi Grace, Pink Martini and another part of that SA kit acrylic strip plus some stickers from another old kit. When I started with Self Addressed I just made cards so it is nice discovering all the little bits that go well with Scrapbooking now! I added some buttons and American Crafts letter stickers. I think they look so much better if you outline them - as I have with a brown Sharpie pen!
If you click on the layout you should be able to see how mad I went with Liquid Pearls and stickles at the end!
We have one of these can crushers at home but it doesn't seem to hold the same appeal as this one did on holiday...

Friday, September 26, 2008

A small dilemma

Well here's the thing.
I have had my Christmas cards kind of planned for ages - in that I bought some stamps and stamped out the images. I haven't coloured them in yet because I want to make sure to match the patterned papers I use. (Something I don't always remember to do when stamping!). I've been frustrated because I want some Christmassy papers with blue in and haven't found any yet - though I suppose Mary Mother of Jesus doesn't have to be dressed in blue. But - and here's the thing - I made a card for Jo's dare on DCM today and I really like it. SO even though I have hundreds of images - do I go for the crowns card instead?

Let me backtrack.
Today is DCM day and Jo chose the dare.
King (or Queen) for the day
I would like you to incorporate a Crown (or Tiara) somewhere upon your card!Have fun and I can't wait to see what you create :)
I had all sorts of ideas but this suddenly popped into my little brain
I printed the sentiment first and then made three crowns to fit using some lovely Daisy Bucket papers. A bit of outlining, some foam pads and three stick on diamenties (can't think how to spell it) and 'twas done.
So do I make this my card design?
I can use all kinds of papers. It will be very quick - which as I make about 80 cards sounds good to me. It just needs a bit of hand cutting unless I can work out how to do the crowns on the robo. Hmmm, looks like my dilemma is solved....
Anyone want some nativity images to colour in?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pray Continually

Ruth chose the Salt theme this week and she chose the theme
Pray Continually.
She reflects on this...

Prayer is the life line of a Christian, the powerhouse of the church, essential to growing in faith and relationship with the Lord. As a busy mum it is easy to get through the day and have not bended my knee in prayer to the Lord. Throwing up prayers whilst washing up or walking to school sometimes has to be my lifeline and one aspect of praying continually.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

However I think this verse implies more, that we are not to give up praying. It's not a one off act, it should be part of every day of the rest of our lives.

I have to confess that I don't always find sitting down and praying easy. Its a hard thing for a Minister to say - everyone expects us to be super prayers. But I am a terrible mind wanderer! What I try to do is keep circled in prayer. It is a Celtic way of prayer that keeps you sort of cloaked in prayer all day. I don't always even manage that but I do try to keep fixed on God. It is always worth it.

SO I used a circle prayer on my layout this week
Carys was my hand model and I added the letters in Photoshop (first time for that!). I traced the circles with my Technique Tuesday tiles. The papers are American Crafts and Cosmo Cricket. The green paper had holes added using a template to keep the holes even and an ordinary office punch. I added green distress ink to make the holes show better. I then wrote the prayer round the outside - adding three extra words to make it fit. To be honest I wish that I had made the words go round the same circle but there you are! "Continually" is written on an American Crafts journal sticker. The stickers were a must have buy a few months ago. That is the first I have used....

Time to prepare another faith scrapping page ready for Bible Study tonight. SOmetimes my job is fun!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Now I know why I love Stephenie Meyer so much

not just because I love vampire books
not just because they are actually moral vampire books
but because she is as big a Muse bore as I am (yes I read the acknowledgements of books as there are always interesting things in there.)
I've discovered she offers playlists to listen to as you read the books - and there is a lot of Muse!

Sadly have just finished the last and best of the quartet - Breaking Dawn - but I expect I shall read them again so I will have to try the suggested music while I read. It was one of those books that I couldn't decide whether I wanted to know the end or not because that would be the end. It is a bit like reading Harry Potter in that they are really books for tweenagers - but I am old enough not to care!

{Lythan steps on soapbox} At least the book ended on the last but two page (glossary and acknowledgements followed). I am SICK of reading books and thinking I have ages to go only to find that whoops the book ends and there follows the first chapter of the next book. I DON'T WANT TO READ IT as
1: I am in a bad mood as I try and work out how many plot twists there are by the amount of book left and I have been cheated
2: If I do read it, when I pick up the book I have not read in the library and skim through the first few pages I will think I have read the whole thing and I haven't.
It is not big and not clever so just stop it. Thank you.
{Lythan steps down from soap box}

When not reading I did mean to do some cleaning but crafted instead. Sorry family. I managed quite a lot actually.
I have done a Little Extra challenge on Daring Cardmakers - go and see!
I was lucky enough to be sponsored by my local craft shop - Imagine That
although this is a great challenge for using up papers. I was given three sheets of double sided paper and 2 lots of embellishments (rub ons and stick on pearls - which are my new best friend as they are so lovely!) and challenged to see how many cards I could make. I made 10 and probably have enough bits left for one more. My faves are these two . (The centre block is mounted on foam pads. I inked round the edge of it, added a teeny strip of paper. The flowers are made using heads from one of the papers (one foam pad mounted) and rub on stems. How lovely are my teeny tiny NBF pearls!)
(Again the middle panel is on pads. The petals are nestability ovals. The stem is a rub on. I went over the Purple Onion sentiment stamp with pen)

As the papers had loads of flowers on I did end up with flower heavy cards but I love flowers so I don't care...

I finally finished the card I had WANTED to do for Friday's dare too...
This is an A5 card - I hardly ever do this size but it just kind of grew! The little boy has a PINK shirt. He is a Spiral Whisper stamp stamped on watercolour paper and coloured with distress inks. The papers are from my lovely new MME pad (also available here from Imagine That)

And finally on Sunday night I actually did a Just Bex challenge. I so rarely have time to do anything but DCM and Salt so I am always v. happy when I can. The challenge was set by the uber talented Lis aka Funky Fairy and was to use red, green and something touchy feely on your layout. I actually made this quite quickly. I had most of it cut out, inked and ready to go and stuck it together in the sitting room while watching Poirot and pausing for nit combing. Yes, my life is that great.
Another one for the 2007 holiday album - just a few pages to go! Celebrates my family's love for Pooh Sticks. I have so many photos of them leaning over a bridge like this in so many different places!

Card stock and papers are all Scenic Route Laurel. I distressed the edge to death! The circles were cut using Technique Tuesday circle tiles. The leaves were handcut from another SR sheet. American Crafts felt thickers provided some touchy feelyiness but the best bit comes from a felt tree made by using a circle nestie die and tracing round a Maya Road chipboard trunk (it was a bit small to be covered so I elongated the trunk). I added a Cosmo Cricket Mr Campy journal note and Bob's your layout.

Now will I get that housework done today?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Posh copied me

You may have seen Posh's new hairstyle. I think I was the inspiration.
See, I had that hairstyle in 1968.
Only having less curves (being 3) (and not surgically enhanced) (not saying she is mind) (just in case her lawyers read this blog) (yeah, right)
everyone thought I was a boy. Even Carys when she saw these pics

Yes, this is a second layout based on the last Salt theme. At church we began a 4 week Bible study/scrap class and I piggy backed on Salt (as it were). I wanted something simpler than my peeled photo layout to show them. My idea was that I would take people through step by step to create something that looked similar - only with their choice of paper.
But the United Reformed Church is not called Nonconformist for nothing...
"No, I want to do an A4 layout." "I'm going to add hearts to mine" "Ooh good idea - have you brought a heart punch"
All good fun actually but next week I am not going to take all day preparing a how to. We will go for basic technique and free for all....
BTW the photos are originally 4 on a strip. These two were the best preserved so I blew them up a bit. I used some MME paper from a stack that I was given as a present. White card, Bazzill (love that green) a few Auntie Sarah's bloomers (now out of those fab green ones. Can you tell the sort of green I like? Wait til you see the next layout) cheapo bling and some doodles.

I also finished this layout this week which may feature said green

Also features Scenic Route papers, Bazzil card stock, SR stamps, Banan Frog stamps, acetate, hobbycraft bling, a rub on roller thing from an old Self Addressed kit and a Nestability frame. I'm trying to learn the layered look that Christine Middlecamp does so well.
She makes it look easy. I have a lot to learn.

Last but not least is what i hope is card 1 for this weeks DCM dare. I say that as I have another card half done that will fit the brief so much better. Not sure I will have a chance to play until Monday though so this will have to tide me over.
The dare was set by Tracie
This week's theme is All Mixed Up.
How come the majority of girls' cards are pink and flowery and the boys are blue and have absolutely no flowers at all?
What about cars for girls??? hmmm?
This week Tracie wants you to mix up those genders and create cards with a little bit of something not normally found for that sex.
I went for a masculine flower card. I have these rather wonderful black and white flower stickers that I really must crack on with using. They make rather dramatic and simple cards I think.
The card is really bright white but I can't get that colour right on the 'puter. I mounted the white card on black and raised it on foam pads, stuck it on a preprinted square card blank and added 3 black blings as even men need bling.

Hope your weekend is fun whether it is full of play or full of work (like mine :( )

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good and not so good

I had a busy work weekend but managed to fit in a card for our Auntie Jones (which is how Carys used to think Joan's name was spelt)
The papers are all Scenic Route Sonoma, lots of handcutting as well as using Sizzix dies and Nesties and there are oodles of stickles all over it. I had to photograph it in bad light with a little camera so the photo doesn't really do justice to the card - which I am pleased with.

I've had a good crafting day with Sue H today.
I was determined to use up some leftover papers so picked out these from Scenic Route (yes, again). This time the Linden line. Some of the cards are based on Page Maps September card sketches. Others just evolved
Other things used were Banana Frog stamps and Cuttlebug folders.
I also made two cute monkey cards. Here is one of them
Starving Artist and Stamping Up stamps, SR (Linden) and Basic Grey (Mellow) papers, Nestie dies, coloured with Distress Inks.
Sadly the rest of the week is mostly taken up with work (as it should be!) but on Thursday we have the first Church faith scrapping Bible study which I am looking forward to preparing for and leading.

Oh and the not so good bit of today? When Carys took Lucky out today there was a yelp as the front door shut. Yes, you've guessed it - her tail got caught in the door. She is ok but we didn't notice for ages and as she came in bleeding and wagging her tail, there is a lot of wiping up of dried blood to do. She has a hand crafted bandage involving cotton wool and heavy tape as nothing else would stay on. She is enjoying the attention that being poorly brings...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Say it ain't so

Phil and I began catching up with Lost in Austen last night. What a fab programme.
EXCEPT that Mrs Bennet was played by Alex Kingston. I screamed in protest.
Not because of Alex' acting - she is fab. But because she is only a year older than me.
I can't be old enough to play Mrs Bennet can I?
Oh I suppose I just about can.
I know about Alex Kingston's age because for three years we went to the same school - Rosebery - until I moved to Wales. We did drama productions together - not chums as she was in the year above me - but knew each other. And so I followed her career - from a photo strip in My Guy (ooh remember those?) to being a bully in Grange Hill, marrying Dr Greene in ER and hinting at a relationship with Dr Who in the last series (almost went off her then!). But old enough to play the mother of the heroines of P and P? Say it isn't so!

I consoled myself with making my card for this week's dare on DCM
Kathy chose a dare that we really had to think about
Same but different
see what happens when our starting point is the same quotation:
Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
Henry Van Dyke

I found it hard to start with until I decided that it out to be a card of encouragement based on the words of the quote and plumped for putting the quote on the inside. After that it was straightforward really.

I delved into my Maya Road box of trees and branches chipboard and found some birdies too! So birds and tree were covered with Basic Grey Mellow papers. The branch was too until it went horribly wrong so that was peeled off and the grey chipboard was covered in distress ink instead...
I added some of the same features as yesterday's layout (as they were still on my desk...) - ricrac, a Bazzill edge and self adhesive pearls. It is a really layered card...

The inside of the card uses more Mellow papers and the sentiment hand written
I also drew round another bird and cut it out. Its so cute I shall have to keep one and do that again!

Hywel has managed to get back safely the last two days although I am always really, really, glad to see him arrive home. He has a lot of free time today as well as a long bus jounrey so has taken two large books to read just in case!

My weekend is mostly work but I am hoping to fit some exercise in too. Did well yesterday - none today as yet! And I'm looking forward to seeing my DCM teamie Sue on Monday for some chat and even a little crafting. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the worst of times, the best of times

Had one of the worst times of my life on Tuesday...

Hywel started sixth form college. He is going to one in the neighbouring educational authority - about 20-25 minutes drive from here. It is more like a school sixth form, which we liked. There is a special bus to take him and drop him off. He got the bus no problem. But didn't arrive home at 5 as expected. Phil had a phone call at 5:30 to say there was a problem with the bus and would he pick Hywel up from reception.

I arrived home at 5:45 and seeing no Phil's car and no Hywel, wondered if there had been a problem. Didn't really worry until later when Phil phoned to ask if I had heard from Hywel as he wasn't at Reception. This is the Hywel with no phone and no money who didn't really know anyone at the new place. Some very, very, scary time passed with Phil phoning back to say he had searched the campus and thought it best to just come home. About 6:55 the phone rang again - Hywel asking why no-one had come for him, he was at Reception.

Now there are TWO colleges that take sixth formers in Grays. H was at the Reception of the other one and for some reason that message hadn't got to Phil. So H finally got home at 7:35. I had passed poor Phil almost home and out of his mind with worry but he didn't recognise my car!
H IS 16 and sensible, but we all felt so vulnerable on Tuesday night. H now has a mobile phone...
My heart goes out to all the families whose children are missing - it is an awful, awful thing to deal with. Thank God ours was just an admin mix up with buses and messages!

Phil and I then had a better night as we had tickets for the theatre. We weren't sure whether to go but as we had paid for them - we went! We saw September in the Rain by John Godber. It was a 2 hander - the actors were good but to be honest they were outdone by the fabulous staging. I was tempted to walk off with one of the seaside postcard figures but Phil wouldn't let me! Our local theatre has a sign up for three plays deal which we have never done before but it is a good way of having a night out together as it is in the diary all ready. Next one is Noel Coward. I love a bit of Noel I do.

Since Tuesday there have been some best of times to make up for the scare!
1: Em's Sats results finally arrived and he did v. well
2: Emma at Imagine That liked the samples I made even though I thought I had messed up :)
I am going to do more doodling classes - this time with a layout rather than cards. there will be several different classes over the next year so that people can get to grips with doodling!
I got to play with the most fab Daisy Bucket designs from the Perfect Harmony range - see them all here
It is a shame that you can't feel them as they have a great texture!
and there was enough left over for a card with more doodles
3: DoCrafts Creativity 11 is out and there is some stuff I have made in there. I am apparently an "experienced" crafter. Does that mean old or talented?
4: It is Salt day today. I missed the last one due to hols and it was my turn to chose the theme again. So I went for...
He knows us inside and out - Psalm 139
This Psalm is quite challenging in parts but there is plenty to reflect on as well. Sometimes it is so comforting, sometimes a bit scary to think that God knows us so well. What does the idea that He knows us inside and out mean to you?
I have a book called Focal Point and I remembered this effective way of doing photos. I used three layers - a brightened transparency, black and white and colour photos and ripped and stuck them together. I used some wonderful new Basic Grey papers from Imagine That coupled with sticky pearls and an orange Bazzill edger - it was so much easier than hand cutting scallops! I did hand cut the butterflies - I think they are my favouite part of the layoutI also added some prima flowers and the Psalm printed on acetate.
As ever I am blown away by the work of the rest of the team - do go and have a look.

I hope your life is filled with more best of times than worst of times. But if you would like to know someone is praying for you when times are hard then let me know and I will add you to my list.

Friday, September 05, 2008

'Tis the gift to be simple

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
and when we find ourselves in the place just right,

'twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained

to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,

to turn, turn, will be our delight
till by turning, turning we come round right.

If you want to sing along then the tune is "Lord of the dance" - not the Michael Flately version. Although you can dance to it. But use your arms as well as your feet.

SO why have I started my post with a song? Apart from, obviously, to annoy my children who hate me singing. (Incidentally this comes way before Lord of the Dance, it was a Shaker song. You can find out about them - and see them doing one of their dances here)

Well I think it rather sums up why I love camping. Sure, we as a family don't do it the most basic way - we went for a fixed tent, electricity and a trailer full of stuff that we dragged to the Netherlands. But no tv, no computer and only the most basic of electronic games makes for a life with little clutter, lots of family time and fun together. Mostly. (I don't have pj's that say "grumpy cow" on them for nothing you know)

We stayed at the most fabbest site called
Duinrell, home of the adorable (not) Rik de Kikker (if you follow the link you will see what I mean). The site was clean and tidy, the shop open long hours and not toooooo expensive (in the UK I often won't go into the shop at all because they are just icky and v. costly). Best of all you had two hours a day free in the water park and free entry into the Amusement park. Which wasn't Alton Towers but then we are not a thrill seeking family. Well I didn't think we were until we discovered that Carys loves death defying rides. Sadly she is still too small for most of them. But she did go on a loop the loop and fling you around thing - along with her elder bro who didn't want to lose face.

The weather wasn't brilliant until Hywel's birthday when it was scorchio. So know it is back to work and into catch up time. I still have 2 sprogs at home - Hywel because college doesn't start til Tuesday (tho we had to rearrange our hols so he could have an interview last Wednesday) and Emrys because he has an ingrowing toenail. Hmmmm. H did well in his GSCE's. Which is good but also annoying as we have differing accounts of how much work he did and yet he has hit the targets I set for him. Still at college they will be expecting him to be working to A/A* level and will be checking up on him if he slips. So not all bad then.

I shall save holiday photos for when they appear in scrap form - so expect to see them in '09 sometime... but shall share photos of my Daring Cards for this week and the one from two weeks ago. That one was featuring arrows and I have to be honest and say it is one of my all time favourite cards wot I have made. It was for Hywel's birthday and he has a lot of hair. OK so that is one of the holiday pics. Of him seriously opening his presents. I used one of my Starving Artist stamps, Prismacolour Pencils and the new Surprise range of papers from Scenic Route. Which I may just have to get more of as it is soooooooo me!

This week on DCM we got to play with some of the Funky Hand downloadable papers. Shabby Saturday is the collection and it is in lovely shades of soft pink and brown. Although I have downloaded papers in the past I haven't always liked the quality. These are brilliant. I have some photo paper I bought by mistake and that is really good for printing on - it does fray a little at the edges so needed inking - but I like inking! I also found that I can print two patterns on one sheet of A4 which saved paper and the pattern stayed true. Anice you are a genius!

We had a template to use which I think I must have looked at and then thrown away as the two cards that were meant to use it look nothing like it really. The first card I made was this one
using a shape template by Kristina Werner for the swirly bit and I also used Adorn it letters. The smaller flower is punched with a retro flower punch. Until I taught a class at Imagine That recently I had never thought about folding the petals downwards like this until someone did it. I love the effect now!

As lots of the teams cards were v. flowery I thought I would go more subtle with this one - only one flower and another Starving Artist stamp
The monkey was coloured with distress inks. I remember now that watercolour paper is supposed to be best. Yes, the pad I bought speciallyand have forgotten about. Bother. But the ink painting is not too bad on linen card either! The tiny flower is paper pieced. Yes it was fiddly. I used nestability rectangles and a tiny poundland gem, everything else is from the kit.

I then wanted to try out a more masculine card as although pink features in this kit there are a lot of earthy colour tones and anyway men seem more comfy with pink now!
I had the bonzer idea of cutting down the card to the American size - their cards are slightly smaller than ours at 4x51/2" (because Letter size paper is slightly different to A4) this meant that I could use the cuttlebug strip over the whole card! I then covered the gap between the strips with the circles so you can't really see it. And yes, I did over swipe with the Distress ink on some of the dots. But it is not quite as noticeable in real life.

Now I must get back to less fun things - like putting washing away and making sure I am ready for Sunday services! But before I go look at this!

I've been made featured blogger of the week on A Faith Perspective.
I'm well chuffed (for the non UK readers that means I am excited and pleased)

Its a good reason to try and find time to FINALLY sort my blog out.
I quite like the plain heading bits but all my links are sadly out of date
and people very kindly give me awards which never show up on my blog!

But it will be next week before it happens.
I would love to have time to join in more of the Faith Perspective prompts but alas,
time is not on my side. Still I may save them up and use them when I do have time
- there are some great ideas there if you are into faith booking.

Have a great weekend!