Monday 27 October 2014

Nuts About Sketches week 341 - Bang bang

Another new sketch today up at Nuts About Sketches. Here is my layout for this week.

These photos were taken at a shooting range by my husband. They went with a friend and his daughter on Father's Day 2012. It was the first time the kids had ever fired a real firearm - our gun control laws in the UK are much more restrictive than those here in the US.

They had a blast. Firing pistols, rifles, and anything else that they got a chance to. It was certainly an experience that they could only really get here in the US.

Head over to the blog to see what the rest of the DT have done with this sketch!

Sarah x

Monday 20 October 2014

Nuts Aboout Sketches week 340 - Superheroes

Today I'm sharing my layout for this weeks sketch over at Nuts About Sketches. Its a two page sketch this week, but I just used the left hand side of the sketch to do a one page layout.

We are a family of geeks. I mainly keep my inner geek under wraps - as it's not cool to have a geeky Mum when you are a teenager apparently ;) - but we got tickets to see the new live action superhero show Marvel Universe Live! on it's opening weekend down in Tampa. This show is touring the US and Canada over the next couple of years, but seeing as we are not sure when we are leaving the US, we decided to get tickets right at the start of its run.

We all wore Marvel comic t-shirts, and had a great time watching the show. It was a bit like a circus, bit like one of the stunt shows you see in the theme parks, but with superheroes. The costumes were amazing, the stunts and fight scenes were very well done, and there were some great special effects. We had a blast :)

Head over to the sketch blog to see what the rest of the design team have done with the sketch this week :)

Sarah x

Monday 13 October 2014

Blog tour

I was recently tagged by TinaGale to participate in a blog tour. Now I've never done one of these before, so if you are new to this place then welcome! I was very honoured to be tagged, TinaGale and I belong to the same Design Team, for Nuts About Sketches :)

I have a list of questions to answer, so here goes....

1. What am I working on right now?

I always have a layout on the go - usually it is a Design team assignment - but I also have a bunch of page kits on hand for when I have a really creative spurt. I don't just play with paper, but with fabric and yarn too. I am currently making a baby quilt for a friend who's shower is in 2 weeks. I don't usually leave it this late! I have finished piecing the top, so all I need is the batting and backing and I can go ahead to quilt it.

2. How long does it take me to create a project?

Well, that depends on the project!! A layout usually will take me a couple of hours, unless I decide to do some hand stitching on it, and then it can take longer. Obviously things like quilts take me longer, but I can get one done in a couple of weeks. I am one of those people that can get things finished pretty quickly once I put my mind to it ;)

3. What are my favourite things to create with at the moment?

When I scrapbook, I tend to not use a lot of embellishments, but I have always had a soft spot for buttons. I love to stitch on my layouts - either by hand or machine. I do like to make my own flowers too.

4. How does my creating process work?

First of all I find a sketch, or a pattern. I never scrapbook without a sketch. I may change the sketch to work for me, but I have to have an idea to start off with. Same goes for any of my creative work, I find it very hard to make things up as I go along.
Once I have a sketch, I pick the photos and then the papers. I then put it together, and then I think of the title and journalling.

5. How do I become inspired and stay inspired?

Sketches!!!! And my photos. I have a lot of heritage photographs, which fascinate me, and I love telling the stories behind it. If I am in a slump, I look through my heritage photos to find one that I want to tell the story about.
Staying inspired is something I find difficult. I try to have more than one project on the go, so I can flit back and forth. I find a change often gives me the creative jump start I need. And I do like a good challenge - whether its a new quilt block, or a new technique to try.

6. What is my signature style?

Clean and simple with a ton of journalling ;)
And I love using white as a background - on both my pages and my quilts.

Now to tag 3 people.....


Tag, you're it ;)

Nuts About Sketches week 339 - Smile

Monday again, and that means another new sketch from Shawn over at the Nuts About Sketches blog. This is my layout based on the sketch :)

Our first trip out on a boat in Florida :) We are very lucky in that we have a couple of friends who own or rent boats out, and they are kind enough to invite us to join them from time to time. The kids had a great time, and it wasn't hard to get them to smile for the camera!

I used a Christmas line of papers on this layout - honestly!!! This is the Snow Day collection from Crate paper - they are so colourful, that it was easy to use them on a summer page. I had a lot of fun doing this page ;)

Head over to the blog to see what the rest of the team did with this sketch!

Sarah x

Friday 10 October 2014

Better late than never - Nuts About Sketches week 338 - Tubing

Yeah. I'm a little bit late in posting my layout for this weeks sketch over at Nuts About Sketches. I am just back from visiting my family in the UK, and although I did the layout and sent it off to Shawn well in advance, I forgot to schedule a post for it! But, like I said, better late than never.

This layout uses the left hand side of the 2 page sketch posted this week.

I really enjoyed using this sketch, and actually liked the circle photos - usually I am reticent to cut photos into shapes LOL. This is us on the Ichetucknee River in Florida. We have visited here every summer that we have lived here, we don't tire of floating down the river in a rubber ring ;) These photos were from our first visit there. We took a waterproof camera with us, and we got some really fun shots. Neither of us dared to take our phones or a normal camera on to the river!

Monday 29 September 2014

Nuts About Sketches week 337 - School Days

This is my latest layout for the Design team over at Nuts About Sketches

These photos are of my Mum, as a school girl. I don't know why the photos were taken, whether it was for a school newspaper or magazine, or as a project, or for a local newspaper. But I love them. I love seeing my Mum as a girl, and seeing her at her school is just priceless. The school she went to - Henry Cavendish School - no longer exists, either in name or as a building. 

My Nana kept these photos - as she did with many others, and a tons of other things useful or not - and we found them when we were going through her house after she had died. I don't even think Mum can remember why they were taken, or who that other girl is with her. But to have a snapshot of her school day is more than I have of my own school days. 

Check out what the rest of the Design Team has done with the sketch at the Nuts About Sketches blog.


Sarah x

Monday 22 September 2014

Nuts About Sketches week 336 - Baby's Day Out

It's Monday again, so time to share my latest layout using this week's sketch over at Nuts About Sketches. This week is a two page sketch, but I chose to do the left hand side of the sketch as a single layout.

These pictures are of my grandparents and the baby is my Mum :) I'm not too sure about who the other two women are, but I think they are my Nana's "half nieces" - the daughters of a couple of my Nana's half sisters. I'm not sure where the photos are taken either, it could be Leicestershire, or Derbyshire or anywhere really. Just looks like an afternoon out with the baby to get some fresh air LOL.

Take a look over on the Nuts About Sketches blog to see what the rest of the Design Team have been up to with this sketch!


Sarah x

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