Hi hi!

Happy Inter-National Scrapbooking Day! Are you attempting bundles of challenges? Or picking out one or two that speak to you? I hope you have fun whatever challenges you are engaging in and perhaps you can also include this one in your plans!

A few weeks ago I was delighted to be chosen as favourite layout by the Scrap The Boys challenge team and to then be their guest designer for May. The theme for this challenge is Winter is Coming, which seems funny for us in the Northern Hemisphere, where Winter is just going! And then coming back, and then going again… About a week after I got the e-mail, my tendonitis kicked in big time and I had to stop crafting / moving my arm completely and I was really worried I wouldn’t get the layout started, let alone finished. In the end it took me about 5 days!

We don’t get much snow here on the south coast of the UK so I deliberately avoid snowy / wintery themed collections normally but of course, this year, we did have some and so I had to go shopping… I’ve not bought anything since November, but with the aid of some strong painkillers, I managed to end up with 3 packages coming through the post with only a small amount of it being the Carta Bella Winter Market that I needed… I’m back on my spending freeze now…

Freeze… see what I did there…

I saw a layout involving a circle of ink with a cut file over the top and I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw it. I’ve searched all my normal groups, my saved posts on IG, etc, nothing. Anyway, thank you to that lovely crafter, it inspired me to create a circular layout – perfect for a snowball fight! For my first layer I used clear embossing ink (sheesh, that needs replacing – it had started to suck itself back into the plastic!) with some very old snowflake stamps and white embossing powder and TRIED to get them into a rough circle.

The next layer was the Distress Oxide on a blending tool. Once I was happy with the blue, I used a clean cloth to rub over the snowflakes to polish up the white. Doing the inking after the stamping & embossing gives a crisper whiter finish to the snowflakes, especially as my inks and powders are a bit old now! I then used the same Oxide (Stormy Sky) as a watercolour to add some splatters and then some white acrylic paint splatters on top of that. I punched a load of snowflakes from white cardstock and arranged them around the circle with a tiny amount of glue before stitching in place with messy circles. I used my old Singer hand crank because I didn’t know how my electric machine would cope with the metallic thread, but of course I needed two hands to slowly rotate the layout. Mr Pretty ended up having to crank the handle for me!

I mounted my photos onto 2 different designs of patterned paper because I wanted to highlight the blue circle and green border to echo the blues and greens in the photos. I ignored Luigi’s red te-shirt of course… Honestly, teenage boys… a snowball fight in a te-shirt, I ask you!

Obviously I added some enamel dots from the same Carta Bella collection and then I took the opportunity to go wild with Bramble Fox winter perspextives – how gorgeous is that snow globe?!

The Scrap The Boys challenge is open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to get your wintery layouts done featuring the chaps in your life. If you’ve been inspired this weekend, I’d love to see what you’ve created.

Have fun! x

Hi hi

Good morning, good yawning! I’m finally in the jab club so feeling a little fragile but not half as bad as I expected (I tend to overreact to everything…). That is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it, as to why this week’s desk is devoid of craft. I’m getting some photos and then potential kits ready for the weekend, which is (Inter) National Scrapbooking Day (and also Naked Gardening Day but we’re still experiencing morning frosts here so I might forego that event, thanks. You’re welcome…)

There will be hundreds of challenges over the weekend and of course you never know what they will be so if you’re looking to support certain groups or businesses, or playing for entry to prize draws, you can’t really decide what to get ready in advance! Prepping a few “kits” that cover various themes, colours, moods etc isn’t fail safe of course but it might stop some of the faff and indecisiveness – “can I do this challenge with the kits I have prepped?” No? Then move on to the next.

Talking of kits, last week’s desk showed a work in progress from a class kit from Go Go and you can see the finished layout here. Nobody could guess what I was making but it was actually a bunny bow – yes, a bow that formed a bunny face for a Spring layout!

At the end of last week my final article for The Artistry Blog went live (although they want me to do some more). You can read all the articles by clicking here. This final one was all about interactive pages and although it is a single page layout it has lots of flaps and pockets so that you can fit a lot of info in.

“Our Story” in this case is about 9/11 and our subsequent decision to go travelling for a year. Somebody did ask me if that’s what I really meant a few weeks ago and it is indeed. We rented out our house, sold our two cars, the cats went to stay with a friend, I took a career break from the police and my husband left his job. We got an open jaw ticket that allowed us to travel one way around the world with 5 flights included, arriving back where we started exactly a year later. Happy days! And yes, definitely before children, which reminds me of a few more stories that need telling about that time…

And finally we have last week’s Throwback Thursday which was created about 4-5 years ago using Simple Stories So Rad.

I can definitely recognise this as one of mine as it’s not too dissimilar to how I scrap now with the clusters and layers and groups of 3 enamel dots. I do tend to mount my photos onto a narrow white border now though. Talking of photos, I’d better get back to my weekend planning. I’d love to know if you’ve got a strategy for challenge events and if you’ll be joining in with NSD at all. In the meantime, stick the kettle on and I’ll come over and see you via our lovely WOYWW host, Julia.

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

Back again with another Go Go class from the March cyber retreat. So far, so good with the jab yesterday so fingers crossed it continues!

This layout ‘should’ have been fairly straightforward but I made a total meal of it…

Oh my heart… these two. It was such a big day. Miss B heading out for her first day at senior school without anyone she knew in her class, and Luigi back at school for the first time in 6 months after the lockdown. Every time we have a significant milestone with our children, it feels like life is on warp speed so Kirei’s title of Time Flies in the Garden Grove Thickers was perfect.

We used Paige Evans Go The Scenic Route collection but this is all from one piece of paper. Using strips to backfill the apertures instead of a single piece of patterned paper really adds a lot of interest and dimension, especially when you distress the edges. I’ve seen this technique a couple of times since I did the class and I’ve loved all of them so I’m definitely going to try it with another cut file.

Using tissue paper for some of the apertures stops the layout from looking too busy and concertina-ing the thin tissue gives the colour more depth and echoes the strips on the other butterflies. The pink tissue is picked up by some of the smaller butterfly negatives that we painted with Shimmerz Pink Lemonade.

The white cardstock is lifted up on foam and this is where I started to collapse. I could NOT for the life of me match up the carefully arranged strips on the base sheet with the apertures. Every time I got it in the right place and then added some foam, I noticed another gap. Because it wasn’t then straight, I couldn’t stick the border strips onto the background and I’ve had to carefully attach them under the top layer. *sigh. I got there eventually and with a few Lucy Abrams sequins I could stand back and admire another lovely class.

I see you there, rescuing your branding strips from the bin…

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

Big day at Pretty Towers – I’m finally getting my first jab this afternoon! I’m very prone to reacting to any sort of medication or treatment so I won’t be surprised if I feel like poo on a shoe tomorrow. Luckily Mr Pretty will be on hand to look after me, as he does so often when any of my conditions make life tricky. I’m so lucky to have him in my life and despite the passing years, 29 years in July, we’re still totally besotted with each other.

Such romantic pictures, huh? We don’t normally “do” romance and as a result, I very rarely purchase any Valentine / love themed stash so this class by Nicki Rowland at the March Go Go cyber retreat was a nice break from the norm. We used a paper from Simple Stories Sweet Talk that was made up purely of tags – blank on one side with a patterned top and then the other side has icons, sayings and patterns on. I’ve subsequently purchased every one of these types of papers that I could find.

The mixed media background was quite a wet start and even with the Bazzil Marshmallow cardstock it still warped a lot by the time it dried. I sprayed the back of the layout and sandwiched it between two Silhouette mats and then weighted it down to dry and this really helped to flatten it a bit before I carried on.

I really love how this turned out with just small pieces of 2 patterned papers and lots of stickers. Like with the blooms on the bunny layout the other day, ordinarily I would feel almost guilty for using so many stickers but when you have a kit for a class like this I have no such qualms!

With the Shimmerz paint in blocks in the background, then the layers of tone on tone tags and then the same tone of stickers on top, it creates a cohesive layout that doesn’t feel overwhelming even though it has loads of “stuff” on it. It’s definitely a style I’ll be trying to recreate in another layout – I just love Nicki’s layouts and I’m so happy that she chose this collection to work with so I could document a rare romantic scene, including this very pertinent phrase “I only have fries for you!”

Mr Pretty, Miss B, Luigi and myself, once restrictions lifted in the very first lockdown, decided to go out for dinner because we were all desperate to go somewhere other than walking distance of our house. Restaurants were open by this point but we didn’t fancy eating where people were serving in masks and gloves (we’ve since changed our minds of course!) so we decided to do a doorstep visit to my Dad who lives near the sea. We got some fish and chips and sat on the sea front watching the paddle boarders as the sun was setting – perfect. Simple things isn’t it? Simple things…

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi,

I’m gradually getting back into the swing of things after my recent blip with my arm (and subsequent mental health). One of the big differences this time is that I knew what I had to do (rest my arm) and try not to get frustrated about it… ahem… Easier said than done I know, but after a few days of total rest and anti-inflammatories, I was able to start doing a few minutes of scrapping at a time. Eventually I managed this layout.

This page was a class at the most recent Go Go Getaway cyber retreat taught by the lovely Lorraine Morris. I hadn’t completed it at the time because my ‘happy’ was already well into a decline and I couldn’t cope with following instructions etc. I completed some of the challenges instead while we chatted in our little on-line bubbles, which was lovely, so while I was sad that we couldn’t be together in person, I was at least able to ‘park’ the classes and come back to them.

The focus of this class was obviously the bunny bow which we had a template for. Miss B soon snaffled that and created an Easter card for a friend – so cute! The bow is painted with 2 Shimmerz paints – Gosh Garnet Inklings and Pink Lemonade spray. I’m such a novice when it comes to mixed media so I love these classes for pushing me on my messy journey.

The papers and die cuts are Maggie Holmes Marigold collection and the sequins are a gorgeous mix from Lucy Abrams. I struggle with these big blooms generally so they’re not something I would normally purchase myself but it’s funny how when someone gives you ‘permission’ to use loads of them, you find it a lot easier!

In our retreat kits we had a pack of Amy Tangerine puffy stickers as a gift. I thought the gold in them worked really well with the lettering, sequins & die cuts and that the dark pink matched the variegated thread and flowers really well too. Using the Hello from the stickers meant I could save some of the precious Garden Grove Thickers too. Everyone’s a winner!

The photo of the daffodils with the fields behind is our view from the sofas in the barn that we usually go to twice a year for our scrappy friends retreat. We sit there watching the lambs, having our morning cuppa, sighing happily and chatting about pretty paper. We normally go at the beginning of March for our first visit of the year so I went with Hello Spring for my title, as Lorraine had in her original. We just about got there last year before the human malware issue forced us all into the first lockdown and hopefully it won’t be long before we are back there again.

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

It’s really outside type weather isn’t it? But here is my inside-desk for ‘What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday‘ nonetheless.

With a lot of rest in between and regular anti-inflammatories, I can manage a little bit of crafting now – huzzah! It has done wonders for my mental health I can tell you, even if I do say naughty words when my ‘timer’ runs out and I aggravate my tendonitis too much. One of the things that really sets it off is twisting my wrist, in particular to pick up and put down my ATG, so Mr Pretty has given me the heavy plant pot on the right hand side to act as a stand – ta da, no twisting! You can also see my hand cream in there too to remind me to use it every time I sit down.

You can also see my jungle water bottle there as usual but I’m making a concerted effort to drink a whole one every day. Water, hand cream, soothing breathing exercises, daily walks or gardening and a little bit of crafting, are all snippets of self care that are keeping me going.

I wonder if anyone can guess what I’m making here? The photo is the view from the barn we normally go to in March for our scrappy retreat. The layout is one of the classes from a recent Go Go virtual retreat that I didn’t manage to do ‘live’. I wasn’t in the right headspace for instructions and I’m learning to go with what the brain wants and adapt accordingly. If I had been there in person, as planned, I wouldn’t have felt that I could change course like I did at home, so that was one benefit of the event having to go virtual.

Well, will you look at that?! Self care, learning to adapt, finding the positives – all good stuff huh?! And I have booked a trip to Wales in a couple of weeks too (sadly to put the cottage back on the market) so there’s even things to look forward to as well.

I’ve had a break from Instagram because of my hand (which didn’t affect my driving, please don’t worry that I was driving one handed or in pain – it was a good position for my achey limb). So, instead of my normal #throwbackthursday I will leave you with my tote bag (well not actually leave you with it, you have to give it back, it’s just for show).

It’s quite clever, it looks like a normal tote bag but it opens out (as shown) so you can get to both sides (and build a barrier to other people at crops…) I’ve now positioned it at the back of my desk, partly to keep things in easy reach and prevent repetitive movements, and also to stop things falling off the back… I took these photos a few weeks ago but you can see from my desk shot that it needs a tidy up. The triangle tiger / pig thingies are book marks made by Miss B that actually work really well – I just need to move them to an actual book…

Well that’s me for this week. Put the kettle on crafty friends, I’m on my way. In the meantime, stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

Welcome to this week’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, which this week is called WHW – that’s Won Handed Wednesday (I know, but WHW is better than OHW…) No, I can’t craft. Yes, I’m still sulking. I’m very vocal about my sulking when Mr Pretty has to help me get dressed. Thankfully I can still drive when I need to. But will you just LOOK at this uncreative desk…

Several diaries (yes, needed to start using those again), lots of Daddy paperwork – hospital appointments, operations (scary at his stage of life / health), banking, finally selling the car, overdue for his second jab, all hard to deal with when he lives 45 minutes away with no internet and we don’t have Power of Attorney (don’t even go there…). Profound deafness, the beginnings of dementia, and lots of ADHD in the family make life very… interesting…

So, with no crafting to cheer me, I set about planning a layout for a guest designer spot involving snow. Which led to this box being delivered. Plus two more on the way…

Oh yes. When I break a no-spend, I go hard. My last crafty spend was November! My defence – we don’t have much snow here on the south coast so I avoid snowy themed stash. But of course this year we did have some and I wanted to scrap it for this DT challenge. So I HAD to buy snowy items, didn’t I? Say yes, everybody.

I checked one shop but they had nothing suitable so I checked another – bingo! I decided I would add in another collection I’d been contemplating, to make it up to the free postage. But they only had half of what I needed, so I checked another shop, and had to add in another collection that will be perfect for our upcoming holiday. They still only had part of what I wanted from the actual snowy stuff. So I had to make up the postage with them too and then go to E-Bay to find the original collection pack I wanted, that actually comes free post and I needn’t have bought the other 2 boxes of stash at all. What can I say? I blame using my non-dominant hand – it knows not what it does… Or maybe the meds… The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

As a distraction – SQUIRREL! I offer you last week’s Throwback Thursday. This layout is about the picnic 2 days after the Twin Towers attacks where we decided to quit our jobs / take a career break and go travelling.

The photo is from a good few years after the actual picnic so I documented it as a ‘looking back’ story. I didn’t have any photos from the picnic itself apparently (pre-digital) & this pic was in the discard pile as I’d scrapped all the stories of that day – this makes a double win. I probably deserved my splurge this week after that…. if it were not for the fact that the layout was created in 2014… Ahem…

If you have any crafty confessions to make, or just a desk to share, please do link up with the lovely Julia from The Stamping Ground. There’s no judgement, no matter how many pairs of scissors / snacks / purchases on your desk. There might be jealousy. And enablement. But definitely no judgement.

In the meantime, stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

It’s Wednesday and time for our weekly desk share with Julia over The Stamping Ground. Tricky one for me this week as I can only use my non-dominant hand / arm.

I was mid-layout when I realised that I was making my tendonitis so much worse by crafting (dagnamit). It’s been going on for a while but getting worse despite getting a ‘pass’ from housework, so I knew I had to immobilise the whole thing, including my pointing / tapping finger. I’m very much NOT ambidextrous so I’m sitting, sulking, and typing very slowly one handed.

The layout is one of the classes from the recent Go Go cyber retreat and it took me hours to get to this point, nothing to do with my hand / arm, all to do with measurements and an inability to cut a straight line. This is even with the power of 3 different rulers, 3 pairs of scissors and 2 trimmers. Indeed… Outrageous incompetence.

Aaaanyway… Here’s the watering can mini book that I was working on a couple of weeks ago.

I worked on the book for a week, took and edited loads of photos, wrote a 1700 word article (you can read it here), and only now realised that I’ve got the date wrong – last year was 2020 – how could I forget!!??

One of my favourite pages using Paige Evans Bloom Street. Chit happens…

Finally, last week’s Throwback Thursday, which came about because of my final article where I’ve made an interactive layout for our 9/11 story. I shared the full tale of that day with another layout from the same set of photos, for a new blog feature. Story Telling Saturday was an idea from another, now closed, blog that I used to love taking part in (except it was a Sunday) and I’m hoping to continue it for the first Saturday in each month – I’d love you to join me.

This page features 9 photos by way of two pull out sections so ideal for those less than perfect shots! We’d got a new camera in Singapore, but still pre-digital, about 5 months into our Round The World trip. It meant we ended up with circular photos from a new fish eye lens and that the incorrect date stamp appeared on most of the pictures. The photos are 18 years old and the layout itself is 10 years old!

I normally get around everyone pretty swiftly on a Wednesday but as well as being incapacitated I also have an in-person funeral (my very elderly aunt) so it might take me longer this week!

As always, stay safe and keep smiling x