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Friday, 31 October 2008

Christmas Cards ... & More

Here's my last two cards (sort of) for October's Challenges at CCAYR ... yup! I'm well aware that I've only just made it in time! LOL. The first is a fab pocket card with removeable bookmark - clever stuff & totally not my idea - the instructions were republished on the CCAYR Blog earlier in the week.

We made some of these in my card making group today & the ladies had some fab alternatives ... like replacing the bookmark with a shopping list & adding a magnet to the back to keep it on the fridge, or making a perpetual birthday list by adding 12 index cards to the pocket (I'm totally stealing that idea!!) This fits the CCAYR 'Christmas Is ...' challenge: Holly ... that's my thing! Sure, I might like to think of snow (or not ... the UK gets grey slushy stuff, not the fluffy stuff that holiday cards show you!), angels, trees etc etc ... but Holly (& Poinsettias) are the thing that most make me think about Christmas!
Luuuurve this bookmark & it was so easy to make with a freebie pack of paper from one of last Christmas's mags - artwork & alphas included! A big shout out to Wendy - she had the most ideas for alternatives - look forward to seeing them IRL! LOL

Technically this one isn't a card at all but a Christmas planner. Deanne had a link to it on her blog in a previous 'Blurfing Friday' post ... you seriously need to check those out - she finds the most fabulous links! Anyway, the Inspirational Tips & Techniques blog has instructions for making a planner from file folders & I have adapted that to make mine from A4 cardstock. The site also has a link for the free downloads for all the lists n stuff - I'm hoping Deanne is gonna let me get away with using it for my final CCAYR entry ... under the non-traditional colours category, even tho' it's technically not a card. Blue & green isn't my idea of traditional & isn't particularly a combo I'd have thought of - it's that same pack of freebie papers but I have to say I do like them together. I downloaded several shopping list pages & made them into a li'l removable pad (there's a staple hidden under the ribbon holding it all together). The other lists (gift lists, gift ideas, stocking stuffers & cards) are matted onto cardstock to give them strength but could be made into more removeable pads if you need additional pages. The last page just has a li'l pocket (there's actually another on the reverse) for receipts n stuff & the whole thing ties up with ribbon.
Hoping to get the 2 sketches for you challenges made & blogged by tomorrow's deadline - love doing them but I've been away this week so haven't papercrafted at all!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Di's Oct #5 Sketch

Back with another scheduled post while I'm enjoying a half-term break! We don't really do Halloween but this fun sketch (October #5) from Di Hickman was just crying out to be a Halloween card ... & all the paper scraps were still on my desk from a recent layout! DS1 is going to a Halloween party at his best buds this weekend, so I made this with him in mind.
The supplies list is on Di's blog if you want to have a lookie - & while you are there, check out the rest of the DT cards & maybe have a go yourself! And ... did you know Di offers her sketch templates as free digi files? You have to hurry tho' as they are only available for a limited time!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Fab FREE Class From Jessica Sprague!!

& here's the blurb from her blog to explain:


Yeah. I thought so. ;)

So here’s the backstory.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting down looking through my albums. They’re disorganized. They’re out of order. There are photography tags and shipping labels on the page protectors. Not user friendly at all. As I was flipping through the pages, I realized that I have spent a lot of time on the pages that are there. And I’m proud of them, don’t get me wrong. But there are so many other stories I have to tell, and want to tell. So many stories for which I didn’t have a picture, or the picture wasn’t good enough, or I ran out of time and went on to something else, or whatever other reason kept me from telling it.

I actually asked myself as I looked through my albums, “If I disappear tomorrow, and this is all there is, is that enough?” And I’ve been haunted by the answer to that question.

This experience was part of a process I’ve been going through this summer, while I’ve been working on other projects, traveling and teaching (photo editing, digital scrapbooking, etc). I’ve been realizing that for me, there needs to be a way to capture little stories that can either be made into scrapbook pages, or not. There needs to be a way to fill in those gaps for which there might not be a full-blown 2-page spread that took me 4 hours. But that is a story worth telling nonetheless.

For example, I’ve never told the story of how my beautiful bridesmaid and her fiance and my wedding photographer all gathered together at my wedding reception, produced guitars and a bongo drum, literally out of nowhere, and played us a set of love songs. A story worth telling? You better believe it. And this might otherwise go unscrapped, because of course I have no photos of it.

We all have stories like that. Everyone. And I’m here to tell you that what you have to say matters, whether it makes it onto a scrapbook page or not. Whether you took a picture of it or not.

So I began devising a system. For capturing the stuff that lives in between the Big Events that we tend to scrap more often. For recording the little things that make life rich and fulfilling and unique. I am really excited about it. I hope that this new system will give me a lot of freedom to spend time on the projects I want to spend time on, without stressing that stories are going untold otherwise. AND, most importantly, that it will gives me Stories in Hand when I am ready to pick a new project to work on.

So are you ready to gather some stories, so you can have them in hand?

In class, we will learn:

  • Techniques for capturing memories from our own lives and from others
  • Dozens of prompts for stories you might have forgotten
  • A cool system for capturing the stories happening in your life right now, AND for listing the stories you have yet to tell
  • Printable goodies that will make your “capture” system work, AND keep it cute! (you know we gotta keep it cute - there’s nothing in life that’s not better with a great design)
  • “Next steps” video tutorials for turning your stories into pages
  • Technologies you can use to help you gather your stories together with photos, video, your blog, or any other media you have that gives a peek into your life
And we will make a REALLY CUTE project! (You’ll find out the supply list when you register). You are not required to have Photoshop to complete the project.

Oh yeah, by the way, this class is COMPLETELY FREE.

All you need to do to register is follow the links that will appear on Jessica's blog, on the home page at, and in the email I’ll send to everyone on my newsletter list on October 20, and type in the code we’ll give you. You’ll be added to the class group and have FREE unlimited access to the class materials. Everyone who is interested will be IN. There is no class limit.

So, why? Why THIS class? And WHY FREE?

Partly it’s because I feel strongly about the concept here. I think starting from stories is a unique approach that is independent of the actual means we use to capture them (for example, I have a good friend who is WAY into video - you’ll be meeting him in a few months - and he has captured all his stories on film and DVD. Amazing.). I think that’s a powerful way to connect with other people and begin capturing, collecting, and sharing stories.

“There was this one time when I …” Doesn’t that sound awesome? I can’t wait! I LOVE stories. And I am anxious to work right alongside everyone in class to list and catalog some of my own stories that would otherwise have gone untold.

And the other part is this. I want you to see what the learning experience is like. There’s never been a better opportunity to check out what the videos are like, to participate in a private class message board, and to have access to top-of-the-line class materials than the Stories in Hand class.

So consider this my invitation to you.

Come on in, and tell some stories. Make a cute project. Change your life.

I've registered ... will you be there too? Go on, you know you want to! LOL. & to make it super-easy for you, here is the link to take you to all the registration info!!

CCAYR October Challenge

I have been saying since the beginning of the month that I will definitely join in with Christmas Cards All Year Round's monthly challenges ... so rather than waiting until I have all 5 cards (which was the original plan) I am going to blog them as I go. The first card is from the first challenge: to use Deanne's sketch. Lots of scraps of HOTP papers & embellies with a tiny scrap of felt fusion. Technically, I guess it also qualifies for the bling challenge (more on that one later)

The next card is for the colour challenge: to use non-traditional colours & that was super-easy with the scraps I have left (yes, still!) from the Fancy Pants Holly Jolly range. I've added a scrap of lace & some of those yummy Artful Collage primas (did I mention I love them??) along with a couple more HOTP embellies & a snowflake brad.
The third & final card for this post is for the bling challenge: to use bling & winter papers. Yet more HOTP paper scraps & artwork plus a couple of snowflakes (no idea where they came from) The bling is provided by the glittery ribbon & some spica pen highlights (which don't show up well on the piccie) on the tag text & the torn paper edge near the bottom ... I guess you'll have to trust me on it!
Hoping to get the last two cards for this challenge blogged tomorrow before I go away ... so much still to do!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

2 Sketches 4 You - Bonus Sketch.

Totally loving Lisette's Bonus sketch & card on the 2 Sketches 4 You challenge blog. I had thought that I had some of the Noteworthy journal pages but I guess I haven't so I had to rethink it. Much as I'm fairly sure I have sufficient Christmas cards, I want to gift some to DH's relatives while we are there next week & I'll also be donating some to DS4's school fayre in early December ~ & anyway, I like making Christmas cards! LOL.
This card is all scraps again ... Along with a couple new embellies *smiles* ~ I just love the Prima Artful Collage flowers & leaves - think I have them in every flavour ... well a girl can't have too many flowers, right? Papers are Daisy D's & when I went to get my prima leaves, I spied that loopy ribbon trim in my lace jar ... I have no idea where (or when) I get it but it was just perfect.
Everything on this card is inked, save for the gingham cotton fabric & the lace trims: Flowers, papers & the sentiment ribbon (it was too bright & modern looking). I have a whole jar full of these printed ribbons from various Personal Shopper kits & a couple of other sources - I very rarely use them, so I thought maybe it was time I did. It's not really the sort of thing I use on layouts (although maybe I will) but they are great for cards & altered stuff ... be prepared to see them cropping up over the next month or so - I'm on a mission the clear 'em out & use 'em up!!

I'm not sure I can share the cards I made for the 2 Sketches DT Call, so I'm scheduling a post for after the announcement ... You'll be able to see them on Tuesday 4th November cuz I guess that will be OK whether I make the team or not!

2 Sketches 4 You - Laura's Sketch 11

Red & Black is one of those colour combos that I keep coming back to time & time again. I made this ladybird (from the maya road bugs chipboard) a while ago when I was playing with my flock & glitter ~ it's been sitting on my desk for weeks & this sketch from 2 Sketches 4 You was just perfect for it. The papers were also on my desk from this layout, so it seemed like a good time to clear the scraps again! The flowers are from the Petaloo Palette Of Petals Daisy Layers (Yummy Cupcake & Halloween mixes) & check out my stitching on the printed ribbons ... now didn't I say I'd got better? LOL
Actually, Laura had published some thoughts about stress on the current sketch post, particularly as we face the holiday season (happens every year, so how does it always manage to creep up & surprise us???) & that is particularly poignant for me right now. You might have noticed that I have slowed down, that I am blogging less projects ... but that those projects are maybe more complex & technique rich than before? Yup! I got sick of churning out tons of projects months ago & switched to the new do-less-&-enjoy-it here ... since then I find I'm actually crafting more - go figure! LOL.
So in November, you can expect to see a whole bunch of crafty makes & more cards ... all part of my Christmas preparations. And that's on top of the usual DT projects posted regularly. Yup! November is gonna be an exciting month!
Right now, I have a couple blog posts to do & some to schedule so you don't miss me too much while I'm away! LOL. Oh! & then there's the 2 Sketches 4 You DT to apply for - loving this blog soooo much that I'm totally up for that one! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Di's Oct #4 Sketch

Another fabulously easy-to-use sketch from Di this week! This is another of those could-be-for-Christmas-but-doesn't-have-to-be cards using Fancy Pants Holly Jolly range. As it's another scheduled post, hopefully by the time you get to this one (in a li'l over a week) I will have finally finished these scraps! LOL.
I had a bit of a problem with my sewing machine (it's one of those li'l hobby ones) - the tension spring flew out & I couldn't get it right again - then the thread snapped & wuddenly, after partially re-threading, it's fine again - so I've been going a bit OTT with the sewing since. Happily, my stitching has started getting straighter too - so I don't have to claim it's for deliberate 'quirkiness' any more! LOL.
Pop over to Di's blog for the rest of the DT cards ... & for the sketch!

Friday, 17 October 2008

A Very Vintage Christmas

I've been having a bit of a play this last couple days - revisiting old techniques & experimenting a bit. This card is the result of one such experiment. The poinsettia started as a bright red fabric flower & I painted it with Ranger crackle paint - took forever to dry! LOL. The paint holds relatively well but will fall off in bits - so after I had inked it up, I just painted a coat of PVA over the surface to seal it ... v. happy with the result.
I also dug out my old distressing comb - haven't used it for at least a year. Just wanted to shabby up the edges of these papers a li'l bit more - everything is machine sewn & I kinda think that the papers look a bit like fabric with their frayed edges.
I found this challenge site over on the APAAT forum 2 sketches for you - there's some great cards over there & this is my take on Kazan's Sketch #11. They also have a DT call right now ... so I might just apply for it ... what d'ya think???

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Di's Oct #3 Sketch

As I missed the deadline for this one, I have no idea whether it was included with the other DT samples (& it's a scheduled post - so I can't check first) this week - but I loved the sketch & had a go anyway!
More of those fancy pants Holly Jolly papers (I did a bunch of LOs earlier in the year & came across a ton of scraps while clearing out) - they'll be popping up again for a while until they are all gone!! The flowers are from the HOTP citrus flower pack - hadn't realised before how well they would work together! & much as they are Christmas papers, I think this card would be good for any 'party' kinda event - birthday maybe?
Pop on over to Di's blog & have a go - it's a great sketch!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Deanne's Mid-Month Sketch

Loved Deanne's latest sketch! You might have noticed that I haven't been crafting much for some time & when I have, maybe it's just a quick & simple something. I get absolutely no satisfaction from that! LOL.
Since I stopped taking part in so many challenges & have just stuck to my DT projects, I have been having more fun with it. Sure, it might well take 3 hours to make a card (yes, really) & I spent waaaaay more than that on this page ... but I'm finding that I really like what I'm doing that way. So now I'm gonna focus on quality, not quantity.
This layout (like most of them) doesn't look particularly complex ... it's the li'l details that take the time. Each piece of paper has been carefully sanded (including the handcut lettering) & the machine sewn elements are a bit of a challenge on a mini sewing machine (that would be why I don't often sew on layouts, only cards! LOL) & I am currently crafting with a broken thumb - but then I like a challenge! LOL
The papers are Bo Bunny Teen Chic, die cut elements are Making Memories 5th Avenue (who knew those 2 ranges would work so well together?), MR chipboard & odd buttons, blooms & fabric from my stash.
Be sure to get over to Deanne's blog, check out the DT layouts & grab the sketch!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

APAAT Card Recipe Challenge #1

Sarah set the first Recipe Challenge last Wednesday & here's my card for it. Easing us in gently, the first recipe was:
~Patterned Paper
~ANY embellishments you like but must be 5 or more
~Include a heart somewhere on your page/card. {this is included in the 5 embellies}

You might have noticed that I'm a bit of an embellishment junkie, so this was a breeze! Yup! a total of 16 embellies!! I used Fancy Pants Holly Jolly papers & die cuts - the printed paper flowers are Prima Artfull Collage ... I luuuurve them!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Strangely Disturbing ... But I Love It

Jorunn had to do a layout with this image for a challenge someplace & shared the result over on the APAAT Forum. It seems that I was the only one that liked the pic (or the only one to say so, at least), so she challenged me to do something with it! LOL.
I have to say that I really do like it!
The 'journaling' is part of the lyrics from 'Every Me, Every You' by Placebo ... again, slightly disturbing but I love that song. & yes, I did set light to the notepaper - easiest way to get a burnt effect is to burn it! LOL. It did raise an eyebrow or two as I stood in the kitchen setting light to things - they think I have finally flipped.
Feeling lazy again today, so if you want to know about supplies n stuff - you'll find it in the APAAT Gallery.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Auryn's Castle

This li'l castle is for Fish to store his 'treasures'. Really simple to make from some friendly felt, hemp string, a few brads & an odd embellishment ... altered with an orange CD pen. I made the holes with the BIA & just sewed it together with the hemp twine. The shaping at the top was also done with the BIA to make holes - & then I cut from the edge to the hole to form the butresses IYGWIM?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Made stuff again!

I made this card for the Sunday Sketch Challenge at A Page At A Time - it's a new Canadian site & possibly the forum there will be my new home! LOL. Why not join us there & say hi!!
The papers & stickers are Manhattan by Autumn leaves; A Muse sentiment stamp & gems; twine from the local 99p store.
There could just be some more tomorrow!!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Check Out This Blog!!

I have been a designer for C&T Publishing for almost a year now (I think!) & I'm very excited to tell you that they now have a blog of their very own. This is gonna be a fab place full of projects, info ... all the things you'd expect from a great blog!
Anyway, that got me to thinking, maybe I should be sharing some of the C&T projects I have made ... & for the ones that I still have nearby - maybe take new photos with that fabby new camera that I haven't mentioned for a while! LOL.
The photograph is of the first 'assigned' project I did for C&T - back in March 08 ... sadly nobody got to see it before I had to send it off to the US & the camera I had then was a bit useless for good, clear, close ups. The scallop board book was new to the range then - & it was all a bit secret squirrel for months! With one thing & another, I'm not sure that I did share it with y'all so maybe it is time now! I feel a li'l blog tutorial coming on! LOL.
Pop over to the new blog & if you leave a comment, don't forget to tell them I sent you!!

Di's October #2 Sketch

I'm not entirely sure that I like this card - love the colours but maybe it shoulda been an anniversary card - or a sympathy card even. Anyway, this is Di Hickman's October #2 sketch. The papers, lace cardstock & alpha stickers are all Autumn Leaves, Manhattan; the button & card blank are from my stash. Oh! and I made the sentiment tag by drawing around my ink pad! LOL.
So let me know what you think, OK?

Sick of Being Sick!

So finally, I went to the Doctor! & I mean finally (I said I'd go 'when I get time' last summer!) LOL. Anyway, he didn't pat me on the head & tell me to pull myself together but arranged a bunch of blood tests for today & another appointment for next week to sort out meds. I actually feel a li'l bit worse now - because I have 'permission' to feel rough, I s'pose. But I'm also grateful that it's nothing life threatening & there is no real reason to think that I won't get better.
The reason I tell you this, is because I haven't been around so much lately ... & I might not be for a while to come. Today, DH & I took the decision to close the webstore temporarily (until November) ... the deal is to minimise the things I have to do, give me time to recouperate a li'l bit & maybe even have time to start doing the things I want to do - if/when my mojo returns.
I don't want to turn this blog into a major whingefest & it's a big effort being 'chipper' right now ... & I realise that, even among my li'l scrapping community, there are others with real, dangerous & incurable health issues ... I have no right to complain about my minor ailments ... so instead I'll come & go as the mood takes me! LOL

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

I Made Something!

This li'l project started life as a submission for my BIA DT entry (which I eventually decided against applying for ... maybe next year - but I'm not good enough yet!) Unfortunately, it was one of those that got more complex as I went on ... until it was too fat to fit the binding wires!!!
A few more tweaks & it's now more or less completed - with big old binding rings instead!!
Anyway, this is how it all works: The covers are BIA Canvas Covers (10x10), sprayed with raspberry & metallic gold inks. Chipboard scrolls were laid in place while I positioned & stamped the birds n butterflies with dark brown fluid chalk ink (Clearsnap). The scrolls were inked dark brown & then painted with Antique Linen Crackle Paint (Ranger). The title was stamped onto a Journaling Card ... would you believe that the papers used throughout were Cosmo Cricket??? LOL - & in case you wanted details ... it's one of the older ranges 'Gretel' ... just the right amount of distressed & outdoorsy but pretty colours all at the same time - perfect I thought!
Moving on: The first page is for planning my planting etc. It is a plain piece of cardstock, covered with graph paper with a plain piece of acetate stitched to the top (it's actually a piece of OHP paper, left over from my teaching days!!) I'll use a wipe board marker to write on it, make a permanent copy when I'm happy with it & then wipe clean ready for next time - Am I a genius or what?? LOL
The reverse is decorated with Gretel papers & a gentle reminder spelled out with Just Your Type Vintage Cardstock Stickers (Cosmo Cricket) The divider pages are all ready to scrapbook with photos that I'll take throughout the year. The li'l tabs are offcuts from the 'planting cards' in the next photo. The abbreviated month names are stamped & I've handwritten the month on the edge of each tab so I can find stuff at a glance too. Obviously, I'll be using more Gretel papers for the scrapping elements - so maybe I'll use these pages to try out some design ideas too!
The 'to plant' pages started life as large index file cards. I laid Chipboard scrolls over the edge of each card before spraying with the raspberry ink (this works better with the less ornate 'chunky' ones. The title panels are computer generated, inked & stapled into place & a stamped image (inkadoo, I think) added to the corner.
The 'to do' list, showing from behind, was computer generated, inked & adhered to a C5 envelope (which is open at the top). I have reinforced the envelopes where the binding holes are as I'll be storing seeds in these - they could get quite full ... & maybe a li'l too heavy! It's easy to reinforce them: just cut a thin strip of scrap card (I used a ceral box), put double sided tape on both sides & stick into position inside the envelope before punching the binding holes.
In the last photograph, you can just see the A5 file pocket that sits behind the seed envelope - this will hold all my additional notes n stuff. The back cover has a simple pocket at the bottom (made from torn Gretel papers & a Strip Tease quote that reads: If Nothing Ever Changed, There Would Be No Butterflies) to hold this li'l notebook:
The back cover is made from the file card packaging & then covered with more Gretel papers ... the pages are cut from the offcuts of all the computer generated bits! Each one is hand stamped - what can I say? I like pretty stuff!
So much of this project is recycled or scrap. The cream papers are from my dissertation (published in 2000) - I found half a ream lurking at the back of a cupboard; the file cardswere 'inherited' from my dad when he moved abroad (about 3 years ago); the OHP sheet for the wipe clean planner I found in a pack of printer supplies kicking around for about 4 years; & the kraft envelopes are old office supplies from when I had the B&M store (closed almost a year ago) ... so go me for using up stash! LOL
The last couple pics are close ups ... just to show some of the detail that you might not see in the finished project.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Di's October #1 Sketch

Wow! October already!! I guess the more organised among us is thinking Christmas about now but I had rather more Christmas cards than I was planning last month - so here's a good old fashioned card for a loved one. Rather predictably, I'm still wading thru scraps on my desk (these were from a layout recently) using the fab Blue Awning from K&Co. Check out Di's Sketch here!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Deanne's October 1st Sketch

Deanne's 'Am I A Scrap Addict' sketch just went live ... & here's my take on it. I have had these lush Autumn Leaves papers in my stash for quite some time now & have been looking for the perfect opportunity to use them - d'ya think this is it? I have also used the matching alpha & journal stickers & a small piece of a lace cardstock panel - they are such great value - you get 6 pieces (4"x12") in each pack - that's 2 designs in each of the 3 colours & they are great for card making too (check out my DT card for Di Hickman next week for an example).
The buttons, flower & thread are all from my stash, so I'm still working my way through it! LOL.
Don't forget to check out Deanne's Christmas Cards All Year 'Round blog too - the first challenge is up! Woo-hoo!!

Still Loving Cosmo Cricket!