Monday, 30 March 2009

Making me smile today

are these beautiful daffodils. Warms my heart and brings a smile to my lips.

Celebrating spring and bringing a little sunshine to a dreary Monday!

In the creative department, I have been working through the second assignment for a journaling class in an effort to improve those layouts where the story is more important than the design. Many of these never make it "out" of my room but I like this one and think that it's a nice story that can be shared.

We in my family all miss my grandad. One of the most wonderful, loving men you could hope to meet. I think we have probably all missed him every single day of the last 19 years but we have many wonderful, happy memories of him so I don't want to sound maudlin. I was honoured to spend a day with him on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express on an afternoon's meander through the Kent countryside.

I am trying to improve my writing style and this assignment was about showing the audience details of the day rather than just telling the story. I think I have a way to go but am satisfied with this so far.

This is the journaling:
Do you know what was one of the best birthday presents I ever got? I don’t think you’ll be surprised to know that it was the one I shared with you. You know the one I mean. Our Christmas trip on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Mum bought it for the two of us for my 21st birthday and your 71st.

I remember that we were both pretty excited and I was thrilled to be having this adventure with you. You looked so smart and handsome in your beige suit with your pink silk tie. A really very handsome man, and I was proud to be at your side.

We arrived at the platform and there was a small jazz band playing a welcome tune for us. This was just your type of thing and I knew then that the day would be good. The train was beautiful. Brown and glossy like rich milk chocolate with warm vanilla contrast. You could glimpse through the windows at the charm within – beautifully set tables including fresh flowers. It was like stepping back in time, to a time of glamour and elegance.

We got on board and I caught my breath. This was nothing like any train I had ever been in before! There were plush, comfortable armchairs on each side of the tables that had been set with crisp white linen tablecloths, silver cutlery, and crystal glasses. There were curtains at the windows and the wooden interior was decorated with decorative panels of intricately designed wooden marquetry. There was even a specially designed carpet on the floor. It felt wonderfully decadent and we looked at each other with wonder.

The train travelled through Kent, all the way to the coast and the white cliffs of Dover. We looked out of the window from time to time, watching the December countryside slip by, catching sight of the plumes of steam coming from the locomotive, feeling the jig, jig, jig of the train wheels on the tracks and every now and again, the traditional whistle would remind us that we were on a rather special journey. The gentle rhythm of the movement of the train, the clackerty-clack of the rails, the swaying of the carriage from side to side, the sound of the steam puffing out of the engine at the front, the slowing down as we approached small stations and then speeding up in between. All of this added to the tempo of our day, soothing us with the rhythmic sounds and movements, and time slipped by far too quickly.

The menu was extensive with many delicious courses all served silver service by our carriage’s personal waiter. To be honest, we got a little tipsy and a little bit giggly! We asked the couple on the next table to take our photo and they were thrilled to find out that Grandfather and Granddaughter could have so much fun together. I have just discovered their names on the inside of the menu – Peter and Phyllis Coleman! Do you remember signing their menu? I don’t!

On the normal train going back to Birmingham at the end of the day, I seem to remember being a bit silly together due to the alcohol! We were laughing like children but I think we had moments of clarity when we discussed serious things together. The day was over all too quickly and of course, time has a way of wiping away the fine details of such an occasion.

But this day comes to mind very often as a day of special fun. A day when we connected. A day when we got to know each other a little better as adults, as real people. A day that could never be repeated. A day that has remained in my heart. I may have forgotten some of the details but this one thing I know – I still miss you: every single day

Keep smiling, it will be weekend again before we know it!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Summertime, and the living is easy...

Welcome to European Summertime - when we lose an hour of sleep but win an extra hour of daylight and with it, the promise of balmy summer evenings sitting outside with friends and family.

It felt strange tonight to look outside at 8.30 to realise it was only just dark. But it's nice to think that we have the whole summer ahead of us.

I guess everyone enjoys this time of year, don't they?

Anyway, I haven't done very much at all this weekend except potter around in my little room and managed to finish two layouts. One of which is my March 12 on 12 - again, better late than never!

A whole year has now been documented this way and I am raring to go for the 2nd! I am definitely going to streamline and simplify the process and think I will go for a single page layout with small photos and brief descriptions - these have been taking me FAR too long! LOL.

Once again, thanks Susan for the monthly reminders. I love this project!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Can't sleep

It's late but I can't sleep. I lay there listening to the sound of rain on my window for nearly an hour before deciding to get up.

Nothing really much to report so I thought I would just post another layout that I did last year and have not yet shown. I love this picture.

So what is up with you?

Monday, 23 March 2009

It's Monday...

Which means back to work, although at the moment, I am feeling a bit unmotivated!

The weekends seem to go by so fast and I am sure we have it the wrong way around - we should be working for two days and then have a five day weekend!

However, today is a good day, today is Maddie's birthday - adorable, sweet, lovable Maddie is 5 years old today! Happy birthday sweetie!

So in celebration of this wonderful little girl, here is a layout I did about her in October last year - I think it has not yet been shown on the blog. Isn't she just adorable? Well, we think so!

And here is one I did yesterday, finishing off today (and slicing into my finger - ouch - in the process) about our littlest brother. He is most certainly not this little any more and I am trying to get some of the funny stories about the kids down while they are still relatively fresh in my mind. Ted has always been a funny little soul and there are really many many stories about him, about things he did or said, that I think I might be busy with that!

On a style note, I have noticed that when I am writing real journalling, explaining a situation or such like, the style of my layouts become much more simple and straight! Seems like I do not have just one style after all!

Have a great Monday and I will try to post again soon.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Welcome back spring!

It's official! Spring is now more than 24 hours old and I know that we are ALL happy to see it!

We have had the most glorious spring weather over the last couple of days - driving open top for the first time in the year, coffee outside on the market square and even an ice-cream in the sunshine.

Don't get me wrong, I was not willing spring to come or cursing the weather every 5 minutes! I knew it would come in its own time and that when it did, it would be lovely. The more rain we have just before it warms up, the greener everywhere will be. But I was getting a bit fed up over the last few weeks of other people moaning and complaining about the bad weather! It started to get me down. I love weather (I'm British after all!) and most of the time, have no problem with bad weather but honestly, the whingeing was really getting to me! So at least, everyone is feeling a bit happier!

The trees are covered in buds and the flowers are coming out all across the city - it's a lovely time of year. My camera has been doing double time - will have to share some soon.

I have had a bit of a lull in productivity over the last 10 days after my incredible output featured in my last posts (!) but completed this layout this evening as part of a journaling class I am doing at the moment. Journaling first, writing directly to the audience.

I have a complete album all about our incredible holiday in Ingonish but have not featured the story of how we ended up booking it - I was planning a "real" beach holiday in the sun but we ended up in NS! Typical of us really!

The photo is not so good so apologies for that but I took the photo here on my desk this evening.

I know that I have some layouts I created way back last year that have not been featured here so I might try to fish out some photos to post those while I am on a bit of a lull in the current work. (Libby - watch out for those, you will love a couple of them!)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Unbelievable productivity!

Yes, I AM the bionic scrapper today! Yet another one (and this will be my last for the moment!!) from the Bambi project kit. I feel so fulfilled to have produced so much with this embellishment kit - it's a great deal for any of you that have these papers. Each layout called for it's own combination of little extras and I felt that this baby photo needed soft - so felt flowers it was.

So sweet - I've so enjoyed this kit. I feel as though I have really stretched myself and achieved some very special layouts.

Bambi Love

Creative business abounds in my little room and I am having a ball going back in time with Libby's Bambi, Shillings and Pence project kit.

Like I said in my last post, I received the basic embellishment set as I already had the papers, letters and stickers and I tell you, they just seem to go on forever! I have tried to use as many of the little embellishments as possible and I still have more!

This kit and the intended papers were crying out for some vintage pictures and this was so much fun. Have not done this before. Libby and I shared a virtual emotional moment last night looking at the photo in Grandma's Boys. This is my grandad as a small boy with his three brothers. It's amazing and also sad at the same time to think that this photo is more than 80 years old and these little boys with their whole life ahead of them are no longer with us. And looking into my grandad's face (2nd from left) I can see traces of my brothers and even little Cam. Tearing up now so need to move on.

Anyway, I found that my current favourite cardstock (kraft) is totally perfect for these projects because it does not over power the layout and offers a neutral background to these fabulous papers. Cut out the motives found in the design, cut strips, tear blocks, use it in chunks or just a tiny amount - these papers are so much more versatile than you think at first glance. Not my usual style but I have really enjoyed creating these.

I have one or two other photos to use with these papers and much as it pains me, then I think I might have to move onto something else!

I brought back so much stash from the UK and not a single sheet of it has been taken out (apart from the March Bellaboo kit and this one here) so it's about time I think.

Tomorrow is the 12th (AGAIN!) so it's time to check my camera is ready to go and the card is empty. This month makes a full year of 12s which is great. Interested? Click on the blinkie in the sidebar.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Bambi, Shillings & Pence

I have been alone this afternoon and decided to take the opportunity to work on the fantastic Bellaboo Bambi, Shillings & Pence canvas project kit. I was given the embellishment kit to work with as I had the papers already. A great idea of Libby's to offer the two sizes of kits.

I had this small frame from Ikea that has been hanging around just waiting for the right project and decided that this was the time. I had had the idea of creating a shadow box for such a long time and this was a great, small size to try it out for the first time. And I love it!

With the vintage elements, it seemed suitable to get out some very old photos (or rather scans of old photos) of our great grandmother and her boys (our grandad and great uncles) and got to business cutting, sticking and layering. I love the way I could get some real dimension off the back board of the frame, then another layer under the glass and then yet another on the outside of the frame itself.

There is so much in this kit that it was such fun to try and use as many of the individual pieces as possible in this one project. There is a length of lace and one of the braids not used but I was interested to see just how many individual items I really could incorporate. The papers, one of the stickers, buttons, pins, white lace, sage lace, felt, embroidery thread, vintage braid and vintage price tickets! And all in a space only 5.5" square. This was really quite a challenge for me but that is what I love to do with the work I do for Bellaboo. To really push myself and to try out some techniques that I would not normally do - due to complexity or maybe the time it takes for example.

I am trying to decide what else to do with the leftovers (so much I am sure I could do several projects). Maybe a little mini-book, or a layout or two. I also have the idea of a banner - you know how I love a banner! Any other ideas?

12 on 12 - better late than never!

Yes, once again, I'm here posting my February 12 on 12 just before I'm due to start the March one!

But I did it which is the main thing.

Another thing is that I came up with yet another design and even that did not work out quite like I thought! Guess I am just not good at these clean, graphic line styles a la CZ. But it is quite pretty, uses up some tiny scraps I had leftover from the Bellaboo February kit and is really pink which is always a good thing.

Once again, credit to my fellow 12 on 12'ers who are always ready with their layouts within a day or two. I admire you all but somehow I just can't manage it.

I am trying to get Amber (babiest sister) to join in and she tried last month but forgot to take any pictures in the afternoon! I told her to do it anyway just using the pictures she has. So Amber, get it going and don't forget your camera this Thursday.

March will be a complete year for me and I love looking back over my album to see the year whizz by. Maybe from April I will simplify it all a bit and make a simpler template and only a single layout. Will have a think.

Spring is coming - looking forward to more blue skies. Happy Sunday everyone.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


As I posted my last entry, I realised that I had not posted this month's layouts from the Bellaboo March kit - Over The Rainbow. It was a great kit to use - as ever - and these bright colours and embellishments really brought out those spring feelings. Even though I really don't mind the winter weather, it made me think, "Roll on spring!"

Libby challenged me to get inspired by fashion and you can see the original inspiration for three of the layouts in the online newsletter - here - along with Libby's fantastic paper pieced fairy! It's really gorgeous and made me want to copy it immediately!

These kits don't hang around for long so I suggest you get yourself one sooner rather than later - this is one to brighten up your day and want some uninterrupted bright scrapping time to get inspired. I have loads left which I intend to continue with shortly - you can really make so much with these kits. when I have more to share, I will post those up too.

I have been wanting to include one of Cam's great drawings for a long time so this was a perfect opportunity to capture this time in his artistic development - look at the detail in this drawing. Isn't it wonderful? And I bet you can tell which characters it features can't you. The attention to detail is incredible - what a great little boy he is.

You can check out the gallery here to see Libby and Cleo's adorable layouts. Makes me realise I have a long way to go and that I need to practice my layering to better effect.

Unproductive but so much fun!

As you may or may not know, I spent a week in the UK just over a week ago. I wanted to use the time to catch up with friends and family, some of which I have not seen for some time. Of course, I also wanted to find some time to shop, hang out with my mum, spend some time with the little ones and hopefully also to achieve some serious scrapping!

Libby and I had organised a mini-crop (just the two of us) for the Wednesday evening and then there was an all day crop for the Saturday. And plenty of time to shop for scrap stash and time to stroke our new treasure.

Not that this was a tall list or anything!

On our "mini-crop" night we started off by finishing off the March Bellaboo kit - "Over The Rainbow" (seen it? It's fab of course - check it out here) and then also working out a few final details for the fabulous "Bambi, Shillings and Pence" canvas project kit (here). And you may be thinking that the name is a little suspect (!) but we felt it was better than my original idea of "Your Number's Up, Bambi"! A great kit full of vintage items and the gorgeous Sassafras Fawned of You, Too papers (hence the Bambi reference.) Then we moved on to stroke our purchases from that day's shopping trip to PaperArts in Stroud - shout out to them and their great BasicGrey selection. Only then did we look at the clock and realise that it was already gone 10 and we had not even eaten yet. No scrapping that night then...

But it would be better on Saturday when we would have the WHOLE day scrapping at the crop. Mmmm. That was the plan anyway!

I had an absolutely fantastic time but all I managed to achieve was this below:

One single layout! Thanks to Deb for the challenge - without that, I wouldn't even have managed this! I had such a great time chatting, laughing, looking at what the others were doing, catching up with the girls, talking to a "long lost" school friend who came along with her sister (Hi Sarah!) and generally having a silly, fun time! We laughed so much, it was no wonder that I didn't manage to get anything done. It was just lovely for me to be with other like-minded ladies, ladies who share this passion for glue and paper that I have and to generally just relax and enjoy the day. To everyone of you who were there on that day and who might be reading this - thanks for a wonderfully fun day. I can't wait to see you all again and I so wish sometimes that I lived in the UK so that I could tag along to all the crops. You know who you are and you made my day just great!

I came home and R asked how much I had achieved and I pulled out this single, solitary layout and the look on his face was precious. But I do not regret a minute!

Here's to the next time I break out of solitary scrapping confinement to join in with others!


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