Monday, 15 September 2014

Nuts About Sketches week 335 - Whirlwind D.C.

Here is my layout based on this week's sketch over at Nuts About Sketches. A two pager, that was just perfect for a recap layout about our first weekend in the US.

We really had a whirlwind visit to the capital. We were jetlagged, and really wanted to see as much as we could out and about in Washington DC. We got in all the major sights, a couple of museums at the Smithsonian, riding the Metro all over - from Arlington to the Zoo LOL.

I loved adding a bit of handstitching to this layout - those arrows on the top border were so much fun to do :)

And that margarita? Yes, it was as amazing as it looked!

Don't forget to head over to the Nuts About Sketches blog to see what the other Design Team members have done with the sketch :)


Sarah x

Monday, 8 September 2014

Nuts About Sketches week 334 - Sgt Harris

This is my layout for this week's sketch over at Nuts About Sketches

Another clean and simple layout, heavy on the journalling ;) I adapted the sketch to a 8.5 x 11 page, mainly because I wanted to use a 4x6 photo instead of the 5x7 on the sketch.

This is my Papa. He was a Sgt in the Royal Army Medical Corp during World War Two. This photo, I think was taken in Burma (now known as Myanmar) where he was stationed from 1941. He was blind in one eye from childhood polio, but this didn't stop him being drafted into the Army - he was assigned to a clerical/admin job instead of being a front line soldier. His own father was a gunner during World War 1, and was proud to follow his footsteps into the Army.

He loved telling Mark stories about his service days, although he always stuck to the same humorous stories - having his drinks spiked and waking up to find half his moustache had been shaved off, letting his pet monkey loose to collect up all the shaving brushes and lick them, his monkey getting loose and ripping all the cigarettes in the stores apart and my Papa had to re roll every single one. He never told us about the horrors he saw - he was in Coventry during the Blitz in 1940, and was sent as part of a search and rescue team to a maternity hospital that had suffered a direct hit.

I hope to get a copy of his service record one day, to find out exactly where he was and what he did. But I'm glad there are a few photos that I can tell his stories with - both the humorous and the not so humorous.

Pop on over to the Nuts About Sketches blog to see what the rest of the Design Team have done with this weeks sketch :)


Sarah x

Monday, 1 September 2014

Nuts About Sketches week 333 - Jags vs Bears

My first layout as DT for Nuts About Sketches. I'm so happy to be back on the team. Shawn's sketches are such fun to work with, and I feel so comfortable working with them - they are like a pair of comfy slippers LOL. 

This layout is pretty much my MO - clean and simple, with a ton of journalling. One of my personal goals for myself this year is to write more - I have a diary I write in every night, I also have a gratitude journal, and I also have a journal that I use as a brain dump. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, a way to deal with emotions caught up in my head. This layout, although not emotional at first glance, was actually bitter sweet for me to do.

In October 2012, my parents visited us in Florida for the first time. My Dad had just retired, and was about to have his 65th birthday. He has been a long time football fan - American Football to the Brits out there - and has watched the Superbowl in the wee hours of the morning for the past 25 years or so. As he was visiting during football season, I bought 2 tickets to see a Jacksonville Jaguars NFL game for his birthday. We were the very last row of the stadium - the only thing behind us was the stadium wall. But Dad loved it. He stood the whole game, scanning the whole field of play, checking the big screens. The whole circus that comes with an NFL game annoyed him a little - no fast forwarding the adverts available in real life ;) - but it was an experience he'll never forget.

And now the bitter part. Dad was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (ALS) in June 2014. My parents visited in March this year, and I saw what my Mum had been describing to me all too clear - there was something wrong. His left arm had no strength, he couldn't lift a cup of coffee to his mouth without holding the cup with 2 hands. Even a forkful of food was too much. I told him he needed to see his doctor when he got home. He did, They sent him to a neurology ward for testing, and the diagnosis was made. I don't know how long my Dad has before he loses control of all his muscles. I do know that he probably won't make it back to Florida to visit. Or get another chance to watch a live NFL game in a football stadium. 

Getting to do this layout was cathartic for me. I'm so glad I have an outlet to write these stories about my Dad. 

Head on over to the Nuts About Sketches blog to see what the rest of the team have done with the sketch :)


Sarah x

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Uncle Fred

I'm excited to announce that I have been picked for the Nuts About Sketches Design Team for the Sept 14 - Feb 15 term!!! I absolutely adore working with Shawn's sketches, and I am a second time returning alumni (that sounds so fancy, doesn't it?) so this term marks my third stint with the Design Team. 

This is the layout I submitted as my application for the team.

It is based on the sketch from week 324. I adapted it into a 8.5 x 11 page layout. I love mixing up the sizes of my pages.

Uncle Fred was my Gran's brother. Fred was the closest sibling in age to my Gran - exactly 7 years between them. Yes, my Gran was born on Uncle Fred's birthday. I think Gran was the surprise baby - the last of 13 children. The story goes that Uncle Fred was most disappointed, as he was hoping for a football for his birthday, but ended up with a baby sister LOL.
Gran loved visiting Fred in his home in Bournemouth. A life long bachelor, he was a butcher by trade, owning his own shop. My Gran always loved to spoil him, baking him cakes and pies that she took with her when she visited. He loved his garden, and was very proud of his flower displays. Gran shared his love of gardening.

Gran always seemed to have her camera on her, and when she died I inherited all of her photos. She took so many photos of everyday life, and her visits to Fred were no exception. One of the photos is of Fred and his neighbour, who ran errands and got shopping in for Fred. Not exactly the type of photo that you would expect to be taken, but Gran took loads like that. And this was before the digital age of photography, She captured life with her 110 film or her 35 mm film camera. Sometimes all she had was a disposable camera. She just loved taking photos. And I am eternally grateful for that. I may not know who is captured in her photos, but I love that it was important enough to her to capture those moments. And I am lucky enough to get to scrapbook them :)

So, starting tomorrow, you can see my layouts for the design team :) Hope to see you popping by :)


Sarah x

Thursday, 15 May 2014

May CREATE online magazine

My love of sketches over the years has led me to find inspiration in all kinds of places - sketch blogs and magazines (both paper and online) being my favourite mediums :)

Allison Davis was one of those inspirations, and now the business she runs with her sister, Mum and aunt -  Scrapbook Generation - now produce an online magazine everyone month called CREATE. And it's FREE! And packed with a ton of inspiration :)

You can find it here.

And as an aside, you'll find a layout from a certain person on page 242. Just sayin'.....

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Along the garden path

So, I decided that I needed to get organised and rediscover my scrapping mojo ;) I looked through some sketches, picked out some photos, and then went to find some 12x12 bags to put my kits into.... Ah, I appear to have left them in storage....
But, whilst hunting for the bags, I came across a couple of boxes of UFOs - Unfinished Objects - mini books, layouts, all in 12x12 baggies. So, I decided if I wanted to make up new kits, I needed to finish off some projects.

This layout is using Sketch 183 from Nuts About Sketches. It's one I didn't do in time when I was on the Design Team ;)
The cute little toddler is me :) I used all scraps on the page, and the butterflies are from a Martha Stewart 3 butterfly punch. 

It feels good to be back on the scrapping wagon again, and finding these UFOs is a great challenge. It's like looking at something with fresh eyes, and realising that it wasn't that hard to do in the first place :) Plus I am emptying the baggies I need to make new kits - win win!

Sarah xxx

Friday, 3 January 2014

One Little Word 2014 - REDISCOVER

I chose a word a few years ago, that has seemed to follow me into every year since, and that word is BALANCE. I have decided that for 2014, I want to have an additional word - I still think about balance a lot, and I continue to try and achieve balance in my life, but I wanted another word to focus on other parts of my life. That word is REDISCOVER. Over the years, I think I have "lost" aspects of myself - things that I used to enjoy, but found that life/family/work just overtook everything else, and I dropped things. This year I plan to REDISCOVER these things.

Relationships - it has been a stressful year for Mark and I. He has had lots of challenges with work, learning new protocols and procedures, and having to adapt to a new culture and work ethic that is the US Navy ;) Sometimes he comes home and he is like "bah humbug!!!" and he just wants to shut himself away or go to the gym. I have found being a SAHM here hard to adapt to. My house is much larger than I am used to, so the housework has tripled. I sometimes feel isolated, being in a country far from home. Sometimes the cultural differences are hard to comprehend. Our kids are getting older, so there comes challenges with that too. We need to rediscover ourselves as a couple, and it is proving harder that we thought. So I really need to concentrate on this in 2014.

Music - I love music - playing, singing, just listening to it. I have a guitar that I rarely pick up anymore, I bought myself a flute with the aim of learning, but never got round to it. I see my 9th grade daughter enjoying being part of her High School Chorus, and I long to be a part of a choir again.

Scrapbooking - I really dropped the ball with this in 2013. I burned myself out a bit from being on a Design Team, and although I loved the work I produced, I didn't  always like the deadlines. I took a break, which turned out to be almost a year. I started Project Life, and did 2 weeks. I am planning on doing Project Life again this year, doing a one page spread a week. And I am going to start making up page kits for regular scrapping too. I have so many photos and stories from the 18 months that we have lived in the US so far, but I think I only have scrapped photos from our first weekend!

Friendships - being far from home has advantages and disadvantages. We don't get the family dramas, but we also miss our friends. I am in a situation in that there are 10 other British guys doing the same thing as DH. And 9 other wives. Some of us get on. Some of us most definitely DON'T. The ones I get on with are all younger than me. They are like my younger sisters. They are all either starting families or have young families, and sometimes in this past year things have happened that make me realise that while they are all starting this phase, it is ending for me. Which makes me sad. So I distance myself. And they notice. And that makes me sad too. I am excited for all these new babies, I truly am, but when you realise that your ability to have babies yourself is coming to an end, it hits hard. I need to rediscover how to approach these friendships. I also need to rediscover friends I have made since being here, that I have lost touch with. I need to rediscover my old friends back home too, and catch up with their news. I am really bad at this. I need to start putting in the effort.

Myself - I just need to rediscover what makes me ME! I had it for a while, but it has gotten lost again. I need to let go of things, reclaim things, make decisions based on what is right for me and not just what will please everyone else. I miss not working - visa issues mean that it is illegal for me to get a job without first going through the Embassy to get a work permit. I quite enjoyed being known for myself, and not just as Tom or Jemma's Mum, or as Mark's wife.  I was just Sarah - it said so on my name badge lol.  After 18 months of not working, the novelty is wearing off. And once again I am just Tom's Mom, Jemma's Mom, or Mark's wife (or someone else's wife, but that is a whole 'nother story  ;) ) 

Another thing I am hoping to rediscover this year is blogging! Hmm, I think I say that every year hahahaha..... But, this year I am aiming for success!!

Anyway, Happy New Year, hoping 2014 brings health and happiness, and that all your wishes come true!

Sarah xxx