Thursday 30 December 2010

A time to reflect

As the year comes to a close, all thoughts tend to be on the year that has just passed - the good, the bad and the ugly.

This year has been a strange one for us.
It began with me being offered a permanent contract after working as a Christmas Temp at Marks and Spencer. It ended with the uncertainty that surrounds Mark's role in the RAF, and whether he will be made redundant or not.

The kids have continued to progress through the coloured belts of their Martial Art - Tang Soo Do - with them both achieving their Brown tag belt, and Jemma got 2 3rd places in the Scottish Championships held in June.

Mark's Dad retired in June, and my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in October. My Nana is finally being cared for in a Residential Care Home, her Dementia finally making it impossible for her to look after herself at home any longer. Although, her future is in doubt, with her home being closed sometime in the New Year. Worrying times for my Mum, who is desperately trying to find her a place somewhere else.

We spent a week in October touring the country. Visiting friends and family. Riding the London Eye, and visiting Madame Tussaud's. Fulfilling Tom's dream of spending a day at Legoland. Meeting the newest member of the family, baby Evie.

Crafting wise, I have been extremely fortunate to have an article and layout published in an online scrapbooking magazine, and had a layout showcased on Allison Davis's blog. I have created 55 layouts so far this year, although I would have liked to have made a few more cards. I'm sure that 2011 will be a good year for me, craft wise, but then you'll have to pop back and see!!

So to end the year in style, I will share my 55th layout with you! It is based on the December 21st sketch from Sassy Lil Sketches.

These photos are of Jemma and her 2 best pals. Definitely a terrible trio when they get together! They are stood on rocks just round the coast from our village, on a windy day when the waves were crashing high against the shore. Mark tried to capture the waves splashing up behind the girls. The noise they made when the waves hit!!

Papers - BasicGrey, My Minds Eye

Cardstock - Bazzill Basics

Ribbon, alpha stickers - American Crafts

Flowers - Auntie Sarah's Bloomers

Swirl overlay - My Minds Eye

Stickles - Ranger

All that's left is for me to wish you all a happy and healthy 2011. See you all next year...



Tuesday 14 December 2010

The art of being organised...

...when it comes to Teacher's gifts at Christmas. Especially when you work in retail. Last year, I was super organised, and made mini Christmas cakes (very boozy Christmas cakes, hic!)
This year, not quite to organised, but enough to make sure I got them done this week, as next week I am out of action due to working nights....

On the lookout for something easy and different to do, I found a recipe here for Hot Chocolate on a stick. So this week I gave it a go. I found my ice cube tray only yeilded 1/2 oz cubes, so I packaged the sticks in pairs, so that you get enough for a good mug of hot choc (using about 1/2 pint/ 1 cup of hot milk) I used dark chocolate for the main flavour, and dipped them in some white chocolate for a festive touch!

I put two lots of Hot choc sticks and a package of my ever faithful Snowman Soup into a pretty mug I found in Tesco's. I also stuck a couple of Time Out chocolate bars in there for good measure.

The labels I made up a few years ago, using images from PC Crafter, and just adding text to the centres. I resized these labels for the Hot Choc Sticks this year. I sellophaned the whole lot up and added some ribbon, and they are now ready to go!

I'm quite pleased with how they have turned out, and will certainly do them again, maybe even experiment with flavours and moulds too. I did make sure I have some spares, so I can get to taste test them. Oops, best do that before the kids take them to school really...!!!



Sunday 12 December 2010


The snow has all gone - thank goodness! It's nice to see the world in colour again, instead of monochrome!! I'm sure it's not the last of it, there could be more on the way this week, but it's good to have a rest from battling the elements just to go to work!

Always on the look out for new sketch sites, I found a lovely one called Sassy Lil' Sketches. I used their November 28th sketch to do this page.

This page, for me, is not just about what you see in these photos. The story I tell on this page is only a tiny part of it.

When we went on our jaunt around the country, we headed out to Coalville, not far from Mark's parents, to visit the Snibston Discovery Museum. It is housed on the site of what was one of the largest coal mines in the Leicestershire Coalfield, right in the centre of Coalville. It was an emotional journey for me, as Coalville is where my Mum's family come from. I am sure there are miners in my past, although my great grandmother was adamant that her son (my Grandad) was never going down the pit. He ended working at Palitoy, Coalville's other main employer, a huge toy factory that made Action Man and Sindy dolls! The Museum had lots of exhibits depicting life in the town, and a mock up of a fish and chip shop that was in Whitwick, the village where my Grandad lived - I am sure that he must have visited it!

We took a guided tour of the disused pit buildings, with Chris, a former miner. He was brilliant. He gave real insight as to what life working down the pit would have been like. He showed us the main offices, the pit head, the wheel house, the control room, the infirmary, and even took us into the explosives store. He got the kids to try on his Grandfather's pit helmet. These are the photos that are on the page. Chris is the man dressed in orange at the back. The man's passion and pride in being a miner was obvious. As a history nut, I loved all aspects of the tour and the museum, and the fact that some of it related to my own family made it even more relevant somehow.

So when I see this page, I don't just see the kids wearing a old hat. I also see the collection of toys, the fish and chip shop, the old vehicles. I see my family heritage.

Cardstock - Bazzill basics
Patterned paper - American Crafts, Scenic Route, October Afternoon
Punch - Martha Stewart
Alphabet stickers - American Crafts
Thread - DMC



Tuesday 7 December 2010

A right pair of posers...

...just look at these silly boys LOL.

I went back to my trusty PageMaps for this page. It's been a while since I have looked at my PageMap folder. I almost felt as if I had been "cheating on" Becky with Allison. How silly am I?

I used a sketch from November 2009. The photo is one I have wanted to scrap for ages. The face of the boy is priceless, that is his Thinking Face. Mark was doing his "Man at C&A" pose, his general male-model-looking-thoughtful-and-off-into-the-distance-pose. When I looked at this photo I thought "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree", and then remembered I had a set of Hambly Studio rub ons of trees. Perfect. I handcut the leaves from different paper textures, and found a couple of chipboard apples to complete the theme. I inked raw chipboard alphas for the title, and then added a coat of Glossy accents to finish.

The journalling reads: Mark's "Man @ C&A" pose. Tom's "Thinking Face". Once again, evidence that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... 10/2007

Cardstock - Bazzill Basics
Rub on - Hambly Studios
Patterned paper - 7 Gypsies, Crate Paper
Journalling page - Making Memories
Chipboard - Basic Grey, PaperMania, apples unknown
Stamps - Studio G

I am just about over a nasty cold that has plagued me all weekend - add to the mix a full weekend at work, complete with a compliment of hoards of Christmas shoppers, and you can't imagine the relief I am feeling about having 2 days off work LOL. And it's only going to get worse...

I made a list of jobs to do this morning, and am quite pleased to say I have accomplished about 80% of it. I even made soup. Stewpack and Guinea Pig greens soup. Not as weird as it sounds I promise!

I am also up to date with my December album. Long may it continue LOL. I may share it, although to be honest, it is a little rough and ready in places. But I am documenting December in a stress free way, so unpolished it will stay!



Thursday 2 December 2010

As promised....

... my second post of the day!

This is my December album. After doing Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class a few years now, I have really exhausted the prompts. So this December I am going more towards the Ali Edward's December Daily route... More of a month in the life type of thing. Sort of. Ish. Fingers crossed...

Anyway, I decorated my album at the crop-that-wasn't-a-crop on Sunday, using a Fancy Pants acrylic tabbed album and that wonderful gorgeousness that is Crate Paper "Snow Day". I really do love this paper collection!
I used a Spellbinder Nestabilities die for the scalloped squares, and then cut plain squares to mat on top. I then positioned them back to back on the acrylic dividers so you couldn't see the adhesive. I then divided 30 5" x 3" record cards between the dividers. These will be my pages. I have decided that one side will have a photo or emphemera on it, and the reverse side will have some journalling. That is the plan. The 2nd of December, and I am keeping to the plan LOL.

Next I have some layouts to share. Last month, Allison Davis and the rest of the Scrapbook Generation Publishing Team put a call out for a Creative Team. As a lover of sketches, I thought that I would have a stab at this. So I made 2 layouts and a card following the sketches she provided.
I didn't get on the team, but I thought I would share them anyway. The new Creative Team is full of really talented girls, and I can't wait to see what sketchy goodness they share with us in January!
First off, a single layout sketch.
Some photos of Jemma and her Uncle Dave, at a family wedding. These two do not see each other very often, and Uncle Dave is always good for a spot of fun, so Jemma clings to him like a limpet. I busted out some inks for this one, and did a bit of sponging round the edges of the paper. The stitching is done by hand.
Next up, a card. I used up a few of my scraps for this one. And of course one of my favourite Sugar Nellie stamps - A Little Birdie Told Me Gorjuss Girl. The image is coloured in with ProMarkers. The sentiment is from a Personal Impressions set.

And finally, I did a 2 pager. More photos of my family hanging about in trees. My Library of Memories section for this is filling up fast LOL. And there are plenty more to scrap yet...

I just love, love, LOVE this sketch, I love that I can get loads of photos on it and still have plenty of room for a good chunk of journalling, and there is still white space.
I'm away to the warmth of my craft room now, the sunroom where the computer lives is a bit on the cool side - but what do you expect when it is already -11 outside??? If the icicles get any bigger on the front porch, we will need a hard hat to get out the front door tomorrow... Mind you, they certainly made a door-to-door double glazing salesman's visit a quick one this afternoon - I told him I had a button to release the icicles on unsuspecting door salesmen... He gave me a leaflet and scarpered quick...LOL.
Hope you are all staying warm and safe out there....

Toot toot!!

Happy December! The Big Freeze continues, although the kids are now back at school after having an extra long weekend! I managed to get into work on Tuesday, but it nearly ended in disaster - when I got to the car, the locks were frozen up! I must have looked a right sight, as at one point I was crouched down trying to defrost the lock by blowing into it.... Good job it wasn't that cold that my lips got stuck to the car door, now that would have been embarrassing...

Anyhoo, I am just popping by to blow my trumpet!

A bit of background - October was a grim month, what with the government announcements on defence cuts, and all the uncertainty that came with it regarding Mark's job and our future. I came back from our trip around the country in 8 days feeling tired, dejected and a little bit low. I couldn't even face going in to my craft room, let alone be creative. But, being the message board junkie that I am, I still checked out UKS and 2 Peas to catch up with online friends, and see what was going on. Imagine my surprise when I got a message in my inbox at 2 Peas. I NEVER get PeaMail LOL. I was even more surprised to see that I was being asked if I'd like to submit a layout of mine for publishing at Magazine! The shock! I could not believe it. But I said yes, and wrote a short article to go with the layout.
And yesterday I got an email from Jami, saying that my project was online.

You can find it here.

So that's something struck off my bucket list - to be published LOL.

I'll be back later to share some layouts, and my December album...