Hi hi!

Here’s another layout from “that” September 11th, but this time the focus is on me being a wally. One nice traditional posed shot in a castle doorway, and one of me jousting. Ahem. Yes, you read that right, jousting.

Because of the Foot & Mouth epidemic, we had White Castle all to ourselves so we could mess about to our hearts content. There’s definitely a photo missing from this set (pre-digital) because I know Accounts too a photo from the very top of the keep, of me I laying flat out in the starfish position on the grass below. Happy times indeed and so the title was perfect.

This page was for another Go Go Cyber Retreat challenge and the prompt was paper tearing. I’d missed using the sketch the week before in the monthly crop and really liked it so I used that too, I just replaced the central block with torn strips, some of which are very narrow indeed but I didn’t want to waste a single inch of these papers from the Cocoa Vanilla Legendary collection.

The sketch featured a few stars which made this collection perfect as there were nested stars in the die cuts. I backed them with a leafy vellum and popped them up to create some texture and dimension and I distressed all the edges across the whole layout too.

To pull out the greens in the collection and in the photos, I backed the layout onto a small border of olive green cardstock. I’m gradually getting through my pile of plain coloured card, which probably means that it will suddenly come back into fashion. I don’t really follow trends as such but what looks right to the eye definitely changes with what you see around!

The sketch had a block on either side of the photos but I kept mine to one side, creating a diy tag using old hole reinforcers to add a layer under my mountain die cut. For my “sprinkles”, I added some Shimelle puffy stars and a heart and finally some dark blue enamel dots. I have hundreds of enamel dots in all colours but the darker shades of blue are really hard to come by! Let me know if you’ve found any – sharing is caring 😉

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

Do you ever start making a page for a challenge and then get involved in the creating and end up forgetting an important element or straying so far from the brief that it wouldn’t count? I’ve done that twice in the last couple of weeks and this project was one of them but I only realised when I came to write the blog…

The challenge for this layout was a 5-elements mood-board prompt for the Go Go retreat. There was a list of elements you could include, some inspirational photos, a sketch and a colour palette. The available elements I chose from the mood-board were the sketch, the colour palette, a 3 word title, leaves, and stitching. Can you spot where I went wrong?

No, it’s not the stitching, but honestly? The stitching nearly finished me off. I had 3 sewing machines serviced about 4-6 week ago and hadn’t used any of them since then so I decided that the busiest crop day of the retreat would be the exact right time to try it… It started beautifully for the first 5-6 lines but then had a panic attack and several things went wrong. It took half an hour to sort it out including sending videos to the lady who services them, who probably thinks that stitching on paper is a ridiculous thing to do anyway!

I stuck fairly closely to the sketch as I always do, and the colours perfectly matched the Paige Evans Bloom Street, which of course has leaves in it too. I chose this collection for the colours in the photo – the aqua notes in Luigi’s te-shirt, the darker purple in Miss B’s funky jeans (check out her hair though!), and the lilac in her cardigan, which is what the layout was all about. My cousin Marie wasn’t creative at all but when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, she took up crochet. She made this gorgeous cardigan and a random huge pair of bootees for Miss B and we just about managed to get a photo of her wearing it and sent it off to Marie just before she passed away. It was indeed a “Very Special Cardigan”, which was going to be my 3 word title.

Ah. Yes. I came across this LOVE piece in the cut apart sheet and thought it would make the perfect title card for a layout that needed a pop of the darker purple. It definitely would have… on any other layout… but not one where I was meant to use 3 words! If I had realised at the time I could have changed it to LOVE this cardigan or something like that, but the moment has passed and thankfully that’s not the challenge I won the layout for!

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

This week I’ve been busy writing my final article for The Artistry Blog (you can read all my article so far here). I’ve enjoyed writing the longer pieces and this final commission was for interactive pages, which led me back to a story about the event I was recording. Of course the article wasn’t about my story at all, but instead how I created the interactive elements to hide extra journalling / photos etc. I also used an example I’d made previously but I’d had to grab the photos from my old blog where I used to take part in something called “Story Telling Sunday. This was the idea of Sian Fair but like many people, sadly she’s not blogging and creating in the same way anymore. I loved the idea of telling stories again though and so, I bring you, maybe once a month, Story Telling Saturday!

Let’s start with the layout and then if you want the story that goes with it, you can maybe grab a cuppa, curl up & continue reading.

I came across the photos for this layout just randomly in my box and they seemed like a good size for the sketch challenge at the recent Go Go Cyber retreat. They were taken 20 years ago so printed in the old smaller format, which I have to say, is about perfect – 6×4 feels too big these days but 3×4 can seem a bit lost. Anyhoo, the sketch required a lot of small layers which was great for using up some scraps of Cocoa Vanilla Legendary. I’ve really been trying to bust my CVS boy collections so that if / when they bring out the next one I don’t have the guilt of adding to an existing pile!

I thought for ages about the title but then I hit on the word History and it was perfect for the bigger story and the castle photos too. I used some gold Shimmerz paint to pick up on the gold in the Pink Fresh lettering and along with the enamel dots and some bits from my tiny pieces box it was done. It’s a great sketch and an easy one to use although I did faff a lot with the layers to get sufficient contrast. Never underestimate my ability to make an easy thing difficult…

So what was the big day in history? If you’ve spotted the sub-title at the top you can guess that it doesn’t have anything to do with the historic monument where the pictures were taken, although Mr P did point out the twin tower connection.

20 years ago I was working for the police as an analyst on major crime, sex offences, gun violence and drug crimes. The work was challenging and my boss was a bully. I was also studying for my psychology degree with the Open University. Most of the country had been badly affected by the Foot and Mouth virus and this had impacted my work too. We desperately needed a break. We decided to head to the family cottage in Wales via the Brecon Beacons as we’d never been.

The area was like a ghost town because there were still a lot of restrictions in place surrounding farmland etc, and the children had just gone back to school after the summer break. We had White Castle all to ourselves and we went a bit mad, jousting, saving each other from dragons, generally being daft and carefree. We got in the car to drive back to the hotel and the cassette tape had run out so I turned it over (how very old school…). In those few seconds we caught the news that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. And then another. We never pressed play, just continued to listen in shock and horror at what was unfolding.

We’d intended to spend the rest of the afternoon reading and drinking tea but instead we couldn’t stop watching the news about the terror attacks on the TV at the end of our four poster bed. From then on it obviously dominated every conversation, every item in the paper, every story on TV (remember there were only 4 channels back then too). We left for the cottage the next day trying hard to avoid the news.

The following day we grabbed some french bread and soft cheese and “ran away” to the beach. We remember actually hiding in among the rocks at a really small beach with our backs against a tree trunk. I documented this story on this layout here but as a memory when we went back to the beach years later as I hadn’t taken photos at the time. It’s nice to see that I had used a border when I made this layout several years ago using Crate Paper’s The Pier collection!

A few weeks earlier we had been trying to decide where to go next on our holidays and we were tying ourselves in knots with so many places we wanted to go. What we really needed was a long multi-centre holiday! As we sat on that beach, hiding from the horrors of the terror attack and the horrors I saw daily at work, we decided that a long multi-centre holiday was exactly what we were going to do. A year long, multi country holiday to be exact.

Exactly one year and 1 week after the attacks on the twin towers, we landed in New York for the first stop on our Round The World Trip. I took a career break, Mr P left his job and we found someone to rent our house to cover the mortgage. Of course, we had an incredible year. It’s really strange to think that on this day, 18 years ago, we were wandering around Bangkok and SARS was about to become a significant issue!

Remembering that event and the ensuing decision and subsequent trip has made me very nostalgic, and it has reminded me that I have hardly scrapped any of the trip at all. I hope that you’ll come back for more stories, some might be about our travels as I create the layouts for that album. Stories are important, it’s why I scrapbook. I’d love you to drop me a comment about why you scrapbook (if you do) and what your “what I was doing on 9/11” story looks like.

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

I’m pinching Julia’s first line from last week – “I’ve taken the photograph from a different angle this week, and in bright broad daylight on Tuesday afternoon.” I couldn’t portray the mess without widening the shot to be honest, and this only gives you a glimpse of the floor and the right hand desk with my tea on it (it’s not as precariously balanced as it looks, honestly). 

This is a case of “too many things at once-itis”.

I did a little count up and I have 12 different collections on my desk and on the floor behind the pink stool. Some are well used bags, some are layout kits containing a couple of sheets of paper and a set of stickers, some are papers only, but some are paper pads in 2 sizes plus stickers and die cuts. It’s making my left eye twitch.

Lets move around the photo left to right –

Pink ’emergency overflow stool’ with my foam sheets on it, duck egg blue trollies in the background as normal, pink drawer (removed from drawer unit… twitch) containing colour sorted enamel dots, that’s balanced on a pile of bags of assorted collections, actually I think my small trimmer might be under there too. The pile next to it, with the half complete butterfly layout on top is the ‘to be completed’ pile of layouts from the classes this weekend. The rest of the kit is in the white stadium box at the back of the desk with more parts of layouts. The page on the stand is the one I blogged yesterday and there are 4 more behind that ready to go. Front and right is my current project, an interactive page for my final article for The Artistry blog. I’m trying really hard to use Magical Forest and Fresh Bouquet from Crate Paper (that look VERY similar) but honestly, I’m struggling. I was still in my “buy all the things” phase (which ended shortly after that), and I thought the rainbows would be great for Covid scrapping but of course since then, every collection has a rainbow element and this one didn’t have much at all! And I’m not keen on the rest of it! ARGH!

This was my desk last Thursday before I started ‘all the things’.

I definitely work better with my desk like this. If I let go of the reigns a bit I end up trying to do 8 challenges and 8 classes plus 8 additional inspiration examples plus writing an article! It’s an ADHD thing. My husband is always saying to me – do one thing. He’s right, of course, especially for us neurodivergent types, but let’s not tell him.

Finally, last week’s Throwback Thursday and another in the “not like” pile. Again with the stamping… I was also trying to use some Project Life cards that had the same colours as my 6×6 pad and I’m just not used to seeing rounded corners everywhere. I haven’t mounted my photo on anything, because we didn’t then, and so that seems odd to my eye too. It’s funny how I look back on my older layouts and some seem to have aged better than others in terms of how styles have changed.

So that’s me, unusually messy and I will be clearing it up before I do my rounds today. If you want to join in with the weekly snoop you’ll be very welcome, whatever your craft. Link up with Julia at the Stamping Ground and we’ll pop over to see you.

In the meantime, stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

What a busy but lovely few days I’ve had at the virtual Go Go retreat. With all the challenges in the week leading up to this weekend and obviously all of the classes themselves, I’ve got a lot of creating done and still got a lot of lovely layouts to finish (and start in some cases!) I wasn’t feeling the best at the weekend so I carried on with some challenges mostly. This one was for the ‘wet mixed media’ prompt.

I was planning to use a dry brush with acrylic paint or a smooshed background of Distress Oxides but I rushing to get things completed so tried something new. I’ve had some of my spray inks for years and years and some of them don’t work as sprays anymore and some are just too sparkly so I need to find new things to do with them. This gorgeous yellow was a Mya Mist that hasn’t been opened in 10 years. I painted with it straight from the bottle, onto Marshmallow Bazzil cardstock.

I’m trying to use up some collections, especially ones where I only have scraps left and Cocoa Vanilla’s You Rock collection is one of those. Most of what I have left is just strips and a few little bits from a cut apart sheet. I couldn’t really cut the photos down so I went looking in the Scrap Squad group for some inspiration that incorporated the strips and 2 decent sized photos.

I didn’t have much of the darker blue left in the collection but I wanted to pull out that colour from the photos and from the star paper. You know I like me a border and to give me more of the darker blue I distressed the edges of the cardstock taking just a very tiny amount off to reveal the blue cardstock underneath. I seem to be distressing the edges of everything at the moment but I added a couple of staples to highlight the edges even more.

After adding in some of the die cut pieces, I still wanted to add more stuff so I searched my ‘tiny bits’ box for some puffy stickers and enamel shapes. All in all it’s a real stash buster using some old photos and old supplies. The newest item is the blue cardstock which is about 18 months old. This makes me happy. The planet needs us to use up what we have. I could still scrap every photo from the last 10 years without purchasing anything else (except maybe some mixed media cardstock) but, ya know, baby steps 🙂

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

Today I’m taking part in what should have been a lovely weekend away at a retreat with the Go Go team but of course, now has to be single file in the comfort of your own home. We’ve all got “tables” which have been converted into rooms on Messenger (like Zoom), and our kits & instructions were sent out well in advance and the lovely teachers are on hand throughout the weekend if we need them. Still very lovely and much needed, even if things are a bit different. One thing that is the same though is the plethora of inspiration in the form of pre-retreat challenges.

There was a really pretty moodboard inspiration which is what I started with – don’t ask me how I ended up here! There was a garden gate and some rain clouds and lots of blues and greens in it too, honestly! With the normal monthly cyber crop last week, we could double up the challenges and this one was actually a scrap lift set by Bramble Fox. I made a bit of a cock up and totally forgot to post it in time for the Bramble Fox draw!

You can see what the page is about. Rain and floods. It looks like there is a burst pipe but when we get lots of intense rain that’s just what happens to that particular drain that happens to be outside our house. Yay… Eventually the water gets so high that it goes over the bump in the pavement and cascades down our drive (we live on a slope) and floods our garage. Yay… Always fun when the kids are trying to get to school – it had gone down a lot at this point!

The original layout was a grid of 8 (I think) small square photos with the larger one off to the side so I took the opportunity to cut down some larger photos instead. This could actually work well when you have landscape and portrait images that you want to use on the same page.

And yes, the title is supposed to be higgledy piggledy – I hope it’s obvious and that it doesn’t just look like I’ve been at the cooking sherry…

I’m still loving the Cocoa Vanilla Boys Rule collection and I finally managed to use one of the frames that I struggle with (is it just me?). I popped it up onto foam and this gave me a good spot to sneak the notepad style Perspextive. I’ve actually kept the top white film layer on this piece to keep it slightly matt in finish which I think works better in a slightly grungy layout with the more distressed look to the papers. Is that controversial?

Stay safe and keep smiling x

A flying visit for What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday from me this week, all for good crafty reasons. You can see the fall out from part of this in my desk photo this week.

Hmmm… messy but oh so pretty! I’m creating a mini book about the work we did on our ‘victory garden’ last year. I bought Paige Evans Bloom Street when it came out last year specifically for this project. I got 10 papers I think, plus the ephemera, the flowers, the cardstock stickers and the sticker book. When I break, I break hard! You can see the 2 sets of flowers in my bon bon dish as well as the Bramble Fox embellishments that went so perfectly with it. There are flowers, butterflies, wellies, watering cans and umbrellas. It makes me smile just to look through them! I happy to be watching a Paige Evans video too but there’s not connection, just serendipity!

In amongst this I’m also getting ready for a cyber retreat with Go Go Getaway this week – squeeee!!!

Obviously I’d prefer to be there on site but I’m still excited about it. I opened my box to take out the paperwork but aside from snapping this pic I haven’t looked any further. Obviously I’ve seen the classes so I know the kit is beautiful and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in but I need to finish the book first and I’m hoping I might have time for some pre-retreat challenges too. Then I’ll clear the decks and indulge in some paper stroking and sniffing. Or is that just me? I have snacks, alcohol free wine, the rest of the family are cooking and keeping house and I shall scrap, chat and scrap some more. Huzzah!

Last week’s Throwback Thursday. This is one of only 2 layouts from my YMCA weekend several years ago. I was trying a new style with adding some stamping to my layouts. I’m not going to continue with it!

For those “at” Shaz’s funeral Friday, wasn’t the music amazing? I thought Doug and the family did a great job and the setting was lovely. The thing that stuck with me was the sentence “I hope you have as much joy in the next life as you brought to others in this” (I hope I’ve got that right!) A perfect send off. Blessings to you Shaz x

So that’s me for this week. If you’d like to join in with our weekly desk hop, everyone is welcome whatever your craft, you can find all the details at Julia’s blog, The Stamping Ground.

As always, stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

You know I love a challenge and you also know how much I’ve enjoyed joining in with the monthly Go Go cyber crops on Facebook. This week has been bookended by Go Go events with a total of, I think, 15 challenges altogether!

Last Saturday there was the normal monthly cyber crop with an extra challenge from Bramble Fox, and this coming weekend is a cyber retreat! Of course it would be awesome to be there in person and it’s the second one I’ve personally missed out on thanks to Covid but we’ve been sent out lovely kits and instructions and they’ve set some awesome challenges so it’s all good. This is the first of the challenges I’ve managed to do and it was a colour palette with quite pastel-ish Spring colours.

I had my bag of Pebbles Girl Squad out already and the two pieces with the faces on were left over from another similar layout so it came together quite quickly. The colours went really well with my photos of Miss B at her last sport’s day (although we didn’t know it would be the last one at the time!) I hadn’t really had the opportunity to use the paper with the faces on as it’s a bit niche for me but I it made me think of cheering crods at sports day. Hmmm…. crowds… remember those?!

To bring out the colours in the challenge more, I backed the photos onto yellow and popped them up on foam before added them both to a multi coloured stripe. The collection is full of fun phrases that perfectly fitted the theme here so I took the opportunity to use some appropriate die-cuts, stickers and cut aparts.

I needed some more “stuff” so I raided my tiny pieces box and pulled out some more flowers and a few small puffy stickers to finish it off. Every time I dip into this box it feels good! All that colour sorting was worth it. Just don’t mentioned the time I dropped it, fully sorted, onto a hardwood floor…

Stay safe and keep smiling x