Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Is there no stopping me?

I'm enjoying this so much. This rush of inspiration. This feel good feeling about using up the stash. The thrill I get from looking at my growing pile of finished layouts that are sitting there on my desk.

Better than Cadbury's chocolate?

Now let's not get carried away...

But better than an ice-cream sundae maybe.

Using up the Bellaboo June kit that seems to go on forever (looking forward to seeing the October kit!) and is still lovely and fresh, as well as many other papers.

I still have not managed to break into my BasicGrey papers but that's OK. I'm working through the scrap box and all the other papers in my storage, some of which are REALLY old. I think some of them are among the first I bought, way back when.

You know what I find hardest (after the precious BG) to break into and use up? Alphabets! I find it so hard to open up a new pack and then to actually USE vowels that I will probably need on another layout! And I'm rubbish at coming up with titles that use the letters I have. I was never any good at Countdown and now this is coming back to bite me!

I've been stalking Libby's blog too, as she has had a fabulous burst of creativity over the last few days. And that kit she's been using - the Scrapagogo August kit. It looks totally adorable and even though I have so much here, I am positively green with envy. Look at those layouts ( here and here) - aren't they gorgeous? And to think she is getting the new kit soon too. I am in a bit of a dilemma. Should I subscribe? Or should I continue on my challenge?

Difficult. I have no self-control whatsoever. Must. Not. Click. Subscribe...

I think that maybe I will start my new Challenge 50 soon, but not just yet. I can feel a bit of an online shopping trip coming on.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


You know how goal focused I am. A bit of an overachiever. These two traits came into their own with this challenge. I did it. All 50 items. No cheating. I wondered for a while if the three minibooks I did for Libby's birthday could count as more than 3 items but decided I'd only be cheating myself!

The grand total of 50 is made up of 25 cards, 1 giftbox, 4 minibooks and 20 layouts. It was a brilliant way of breaking into all that stash. It made me less "precious" about the kits I had lying around (they are not to be kept like a museum exhibit - I paid good money for them. They should be used up!) I'm certainly going to keep going on this for another number (probably 50) before I allow myself to go shopping. I say "myself" because Libby was at The Big Stamp and Scrapbooking Show (Alexandra Palace) today and she's done a "bit" of shopping for me. Can't wait to see what she's got for me but it sounds like she has had a brilliant time and her arms are aching from the heavy bag(s?) full of gorgeousness. I'm pretty jealous!

But another challenge should keep my spending need under control and I 've such a long list of layouts I want to produce that another 50 items should be achievable again.

Thanks to Gretchen for a great challenge and for giving me the inspiration to follow through.

#'s 48 to 50!!!!

So chuffed with myself! Full of inspiration. This was such a boost to my mojo.

It's such a great idea. I recommend it to everyone. Join in and see what you come up with.

Friday, 25 September 2009

On the home stretch

I know I have said this before, but this exercise has surprised me with the treasures in my stash it has unearthed!

Piles and piles of unused papers that were often bought and then put in a corner never to be looked at again. Such scrumptious gorgeousness should not be hidden away and it has been lovely to set them free and then be able to see them out there - in all their glory.

OK, OK, so that might be a bit dramatic, but it really has been great to see what I have and how my taste has changed over the time I have been hoarding stash. Some of it I love more than others and some of it has even been cleared out and (shock horror) thrown away.

But on the whole, I love what I have and rediscovering all those kits was such a laugh. Even such recent kits as the Bellaboo June kit (sooo totally adorable and girlie and pink) was practically untouched and that is just too much of a shame so I have it out for inspiration and have felt good about using it.

And then there is the paper that I have multiple sheets of. Don't really know how that happens if it isn't BasicGrey (yes, I have "sometimes" been known to stock up on BG because it breaks my heart to "USE" it!). I have anything up to 4 sheets of one of some pretty normal ordinary designs so maybe that should be my next challenge - I mean, how many sheets of brown with pink and cream spots can one person use? Personally, I blame the "Kaufrausch" I get when I enter a scrapbooking shop. Mmmm, how can I explain what Kaufrausch is? My dictionary says "shopping frenzy" but somehow the German expression just seems to sum it up better.

Anyway, I printed out a few big pictures - 5 x 7 - which is a size I love to use as a single photo on a layout and got to work.

This idea is a year old now and I had even saved the original chocolate wrapper and had written down what we said at the time. Feels good to find a use for the ephemera and to throw away the scrap of paper I had recorded our thoughts on. (And yes, you can find excessive use of two sheets of paper I have multiples of here.)

And as for this little sweetie. Let's just say that Isabella is finding it hard to bond with me. I rarely get her to look me directly in the eye and have to make do with these coy, "I know you're there but if I don't look at you, it doesn't count" looks. This photo sums it all up for me! She is totally adorable and I have high hopes for us in the years to come!!

These two are #'s 46 and 47 in my Challenge 50 which means that I only have 3 more to go. Libby is going to Ally Pally tomorrow and I want her to pick me up some goodies so that means I need to create three more things before she gets back from her adventure for me to justify that as not breaking the challenge! I will have to get moving.

So far, I have completed 4 mini books, a small gift box, 25 cards (is that cheating?) and 17 layouts. Not bad eh? now let's see if I can't get these other photos I printed out used up and finished...

Monday, 21 September 2009

The end is in sight ... or is it?

I proudly present to you #'s 44 & 45 on my romp to the end of Challenge 50!

I had a total toddler tantrum last week (I put it down to hormones but this excuse is most definitely getting thin) when I dropped a dirty knife on the floor. I totally flipped out and shouted about how I hated the whole housework thing and was sick and tired of constantly doing the same things over and over and over again. It was totally childish and unreasonable but it made its way to the first of these layouts.

I remember reading someone's blog where they said that they love scrapbooking because it's the one thing in their life that "stays done". This struck such a chord! So much of what we do is undone the moment we complete it. Dirty clothes, ironing, washing up, even cooking. And I drop things - a lot. I mean, much more than normal. And I get so tired of bending down to pick things up off the floor, only to drop it as I stand up and then bending down again to try to pick it up yet again (you get the never ending cycle idea here!). Sometimes it's like watching a Laurel and Hardy film.

I dream of being the perfect housewife à la Martha Stewart (which is an unreal expectation I know - she has staff!) or Bree from Desperate Housewives (and she's NOT real!) but come up quite short on that. Most of the time, it's really not so bad for me. I like to see the end result even if I know that it will be *undone* within minutes. But you know how it is some days. Please tell me that you have flip out days too!

Anyway, another everyday real moment recorded for posterity.

This challenge thing is being so good for me. Like previously posted, I have discovered and rediscovered a (n embarrassing) wealth of papers, cardstock, embellies, kits and so much more, It has been fun to find these and to actually USE them!

I have done a lot of sorting over the last days, throwing some papers out, reorganising some of my stash, seeing *new* papers and ranges to use. I have been enjoying looking at my finished results and feeling proud of how quickly these (nearly) 50 items have been completed. I really think I will extend this.

Anyone out there also doing this?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Tiny format = high speed

Don't you just love it when something gets completed before you hardly began it? This tiny format mini-book was just so cute and I think I only spent about an hour to get it finished. I love it! Tiny, cute, dinky, sweet - use any word you like but you get a great feeling of satisfaction to get something finished so quickly.

I know that mum doesn't read this so it's safe for me to post it here. I just wanted to send her a little something filled with a few pretty pictures and a couple of inspirational quotes to help her get "back on her feet" (literally!) soon.

The Bazzill book was from another unearthed kit from yonder year and it feels good to see it put to good use. # 43 on my Challenge 50 list.

Popped it in an envelope with one of my cards from the other week and hey presto, a little care package on its way. I adore having that pile of cards at the ready. So handy.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

No, it can't really be. Can it?

Can it really be the middle of September already? Actually, yes it can because when I got up this morning, the calendar told me it was . And I believe it. Calendars are generally incapable of lying. Of course, I might have slipped (once again) into a parallel universe where time is twice as fast as that on earth but the chances of this are slim.

How scary is it that we are heading to the end of September? I mean I opened my eyes yesterday and it was 1st Jan. Where did those last months go? Did you know that it's only 98 days till Christmas? Yep, thought that would freak you out. Christmas things are creeping into the shops already and I bet you in the Philippines they are already wishing each other "Merry Christmas" (it was a competition who would be the first to say it in September. You get a full 3 1/2 months of build up over there...)

But I did manage to slow down time a tinsy winsy little bit on Saturday to remember that it was the 12th and another month is recorded in my 12 on 12 album. What amused me though is that I am really confused with the dates right now - tied up with this faster than reality passing of time - and I actually had the title as Aug 09. Then I looked at it and thought that it was a bit autumnal for August and realised that the reason it had an autumnal feel was because it really IS autumn! And that I was a month out in my calculations! So oranges and browns and pumpkins and spiders' webs are all featured. (#42 in my Challenge 50)

We are still enjoying life in Balconia and are planning to keep the outdoor season going as long as possible because it is such a novelty for us.

PS. Have I told you that I LOVE autumn? You *may* not have noticed that the majority of my layouts are probably about this season ;-) but it is!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Capturing those thoughts

Why do you scrapbook? To play with pretty paper? To have somewhere for all those photos? To capture memories? To look beyond what is on the photo? To express your creativity? Or a bit of all of those?

I scrapbook for all these reasons and also more. I scrap for me, for the me time it gives me. I scrap because I have always been keen to look back and reminisce. And I love it. It is really the hobby I was waiting for all my life - or at least, many years!

Coming back from our short holiday in Switzerland, I knew that I had a few pages in mind and with the motivation from Challenge 50 I got straight down to it. I don't profess to be any kind of artist. My layouts are not going to win any prizes but they tell my story and that is what is so important. I often have typos, handwriting errors and even wrong grammar but that is usually because I am so keen to get the story down.

Take the layout below - 10 Years (#35 in Challenge 50) - I was so busy writing my thoughts down without preparation, that there are some major grammar errors - but you know what? It's SO not important. 99% of all my layouts are just for me and even if I put them on this blog, I know that there is a limited viewing audience.

This second layout has very minimal journalling (just noticed that I even have the date wrong here - should be 29th August!), but I know that this is just one of several layouts I will do about this special weekend and I will probably do one with the full story.

And this one? # 37 in Challenge 50 is just a place to highlight one of my favourite "me" photographs. Can it possibly be 20 years ago? Was this one of the first photos of me laughing? Did I honestly create that beautiful dress? Was I really ever that slim? Probably questions for another layout!

And all three layouts broke open yet another old, unloved, neglected kit. So glad to see it being used up. You really don't want to know how many more of these I have!

*shameful downward glances*

I have actually also created Challenge 50 items #'s 38 to 41 but I can't share those ;-)

Only 9 more to go to hit 50. I think I will probably extend it to 100!

How are you doing?

Friday, 4 September 2009

But wait, there's more...

Yes, I sound like some sort of TV shopping channel. And yes, there is a reason for this.

Are you ready for my dirty little secret?

I have recently become addicted to watching anything up to 30 minutes a day of Jewelo which is a German TV jewellery shopping channel. Now I don't want to offend anyone, but they really sell a pile of rubbish and I have NEVER been tempted to ring in. But somehow, it is fascinating to sit there and watch these hideous pieces of low quality jewellery selling like hotcakes! You just can't seem to switch away from the channel. And the presenters are kind of special too. It makes me giggle and let's face it, the entertainment factor is most definitely worth it.

But back to my crafting. Here are projects 11 through 34. I made a batch of cards by rifling through my enormous scraps boxes for pieces of cardstock large enough and pretty papers to pretty them up. I have cards for every eventuality now. I wouldn't say that I am any good at making cards. I lack ideas for the small surface, but I think it's great to have a batch ready to go whenever I need them. I also made a cute little gift box and three layouts. (Two featured here).

I'm surprising myself with the speed of the output but like I said before, guilt is a good motivator. I found another 4 untouched pre-Bellaboo kits today - and one of them I don't even like very much.

Now, that is a waste of money. But using them up in bits and pieces is appeasing this guilty conscience I have developed recently.

Is anyone out there also doing the challenge?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Oh my!

Where has it all come from? This burst of creativity that has pushed me to produce so much more than usual? Personally, I put it down to guilt.

Or shame.

Or it could be boredom (nah!)

Or just plain old inspiration.

But I think that guilt is the far more likely culprit.

Guilt at having so much adorable stash that was still in the delivery boxes they came in 2 years ago (yes, real earth years...). Kits were piled to the ceiling in the old flat and when I packed to move, I opened all the boxes and just stuffed them together in packing boxes. I was ashamed at what I saw. Beautiful papers, blossoms, alphas, buttons and all untouched, unused, unloved all this time. To give you an idea of how unloved these kits had been, one set of AC thickers don't stick anymore! I had to glue them all down individually. They had been sitting forlornly on the shelf so long, they had given up the ghost. Tut, tut, tut.

And so they have now all been set free. I have used and sorted the leftovers of three kits over the last days and have produced and produced and produced.

Numbers 3 to 10 are below and I am sat here grinning smugly.

Of course, I have enough neglected stash to make 500 layouts (really probably) without buying more than glue but it is a start. What other gems with be unearthed amongst all the chaos?

I'm looking forward to finding out.


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