Saturday, 24 December 2011

Nearly there....

Nearly there....this will be my last post until after Christmas Day.  I only have one more page after this to show you but I need some foodie photos. 

This year I tried to make mostly homemade gifts.  I didn't do too badly but i learnt a can never have enough time and maybe I should of started earlier.

Well, it just leaves me to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and to say thank you for looking in occasionally and leaving kind comments.

See you after Christmas...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Happiness is a found snowflake...

Simple things make me happy, like when I found my lost stick-on snowflakes.  They had been missing for a couple of years until I discovered them in a Christmas decorations box that needed clearing out.  I immediately stuck them up on the windows and doors.

In the box was a paper folder full of Roberts Christmas creations from when he was little.  They brought back memories of shepherds with tea towels and school Christmas dinner crowns.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Fairies optional

Fairy, multicoloured, white, multifunctional, static and morphing lights are all essential in the Christmas decorating. On the ceiling, wound around green garlands, around windows, draped alongside Nordic white hearts and stars.

I'm so pleased to have found the time to make this mini Christmas book. On the last day of school,after I had got home, I decided I wanted to write down our Christmas traditions and oddities. We have only recently started to have Christmas at home, just us three and now we find that we are much more relaxed and can chill out watching a DVD or if we don't want to, not eat sprouts for dinner.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

No to sprouts!

This household is a no sprout zone, except for the sprout racing after dinner.

They came one year in our crackers and it's become a tradition after dinner to race them around the dining room table.

This year I am making my own crackers with a cracker kit that I bought last year and never used.  I have bought some lottery tickets and need to make some hats.  Maybe a dare or two?  What do you think?

Just to answer a few of you that have asked for video evidence regarding my dancing.....there isn't any, will never be video evidence.  You will just have to be reassured by myself that it did happen, I was good and I made some of the boys dance with me (well one as this one had a resigned look on his face and the others ran when they saw me coming).  The girls just looked embarrassed and laughed!!!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


When we first set up our home, our decorations were very chic and had a colour scheme.....well it was the 80's.

But now we prefer a multicoloured kitsch dream.  Don't ask me why our tastes have changed, maybe it's our interests and hobbies.  Maybe we just like to be different.  I know I like it when people ask 'What do you have on top of your Christmas tree?' (because they do don't they?) and i reply 'Oh, a glittery, purple leaping deer'.  Although the deer is at the top, Rob has stuck on the very tip, a tiny feathered robin this year.

There are dogs with ruffs and tutus, burgers, fries and glitter balls, sledging snowmen, jewel coloured glass stars, angels reclined on clouds and chandelier baubles.  Whatever finds itself on our tree there is always to be found a little golden bell (from a lindst chocolate reindeer) and a iridescent bauble, inscribed with gold pen 'Roberts 1st Christmas'

Monday, 19 December 2011

It's all about the holly

There is a never ending quest to find holly with berries for my Christmas Wreath.  In the lead up to Christmas I can be seen scouring the hedgerows for evidence of berries.  We do have a couple of holly hedges nearby but the council cut them back in the autumn so all the berries are cut off.

We used to troop off to the woods searching and come back empty handed.  Until last year we found a bush on our doorstep that produced berries.  So this year it was literally a minutes walk away, armed with scissors and plastic bag.  I also cut some nice long lengths of ivy to weave around the wreath too.

I know it is only the third day of my mini series (a sort of JYC mini style) but I am enjoying it immensely.  Knowing that I have plenty of time to make the pages, some gorgeous My Minds Eye papers and a supply of pre made bottle tops really help. Have you noticed the Dymo tape titles.  I used the strips of paper on the bar code section of the papers and then either sanded or inked the letters to stand out.  Another thrifty idea was using the packaging page that shows you all the designs in mini version that comes in the set of papers.  I used a circle die to cut the paper and popped them inside my squidged bottletops.

Tomorrow gets a bit kitsch....

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Festive Bakes

Page two of my mini festive book is all about Festive Bakes.  Early preparation is key when it comes to baking for Christmas.  It varies year to year to what gets made but you can be sure there will be a mince pie or two.  This year I used a Jamie Oliver recipe and made my own 'Whisky and Walnut' sweet mincemeat.  It was incredibly easy that I wished I had made it in previous years.....tastes good too.

He he, see my nosey kitsch doggie peeping over the top?

I also made a Christmas cake this year, Tropical Rum so no manky marzipan and icing to be done.  It would of been rude not to taste the dark rum with coke and we found that we actually quite liked it.  So much so we had to buy another bottle...hic!

Nigel had been hankering after Gingerbread Men recently so I made a batch of them too.  Unfortunately my legendary icing skills came to the forefront again and they ended up with very demonic faces...

It's all about holly tomorrow, so stay warm and see you then.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Festive Traditions, Oddities and Kitsch

Now schools out for the festive period, I can run my mini series of 'Festive Traditions, Oddities and Kitsch' in the run up to Christmas.

Here's my first mini scrapbook page......The Glittering Season.....

Squidged bottle tops and mini doily's, distressed with brown ink. Staples, string and old sheet music.

If you are wondering how to get an even squidge of your bottle them through a Big Shot or similar machine.

Another page tomorrow:)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Big box, small box....

Oh poor neglected blog......I'm back! After strutting my stuff at the end of term disco, doing the Superman, Conga and Big box, small box (which I particularly rocked at) I finally have some craft/blog time.
So whats new? I'm joining in the Project 365, photo a day for starters where I am going to take photos entirely on my itouch and upload monthly using the Project 365 app. Should be simples:) Over on Suzie's blog who is hosting the 375 challenge she has asked us to share some pics of our Crimbo trees. Another great app that I have used for this is a collage app using Pic Collage. Here's my freaky dogs with ruffs and tutus, santa in a spaceship and general kitsch:)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

My week in pictures

Clear frosty day shadows, furry warm boots, gingerbread baking, fair argyle wool socks, broken necks, found snowflake happiness, Christmas lights....

Thursday, 8 December 2011

It's all in the prep...

At last after a week of squashing bottle tops, cutting, sticking, spraying, heating and glittering, the prep was done and the tags ready.


Finally I could assemble my Christmas cards.  I don't know about you but I do find it hard to come up with ideas for seasonal cards.  Until I took inspiration from these Tim Holtz, 12 days of Christmas tags.

A couple squidged bottletops,smeared with stickles,a few Bo Bunny paper embellishments and these vintage style free printable downloads helped finish my Tim stylie cards.

But look.....Decemeber....that's not right.  So I stuck a star over it later on.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Last week in pictures....

What with the festive season jobs getting in the way, my week in pictures comes a day late.
A couple of frosty mornings with lovely red sky, cosy toes (my favourite position after a long day), walking to school on a strike day (so jeans were allowed), Christmas lights, seasonal lattes, new festive accessories, St Albans Cathedral and special memories.....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Storytelling Sunday

Over on Sian's blog 'From high in the Sky' it's Storytelling Sunday.  I have tried to join in as much as possible this year and this month I want to share a story that is a bit christmassy, a little sentimental but also joyful.

Pull up your chair, curl up under the blanket and I will begin.

This is the story of a strong, determined lady who had a heart of gold and despite outliving two husbands one of which she nursed through cancer and being herself housebound later in life still had a positive,cheery disposition.  

This lady was my Nan and Great Gran to my son.

I have fond memories of staying with my Nan in the summer holidays.  Going to work with her in the pub kitchen, walking home from the village as she didn't have enough money for the bus as she had treated me to a chocolate desert in Sainsbury's, and her ringleting my hair (Violet Elizabeth style) with her old fashioned metal ringlet curlers.

Later in life when I had my own son she adored his visits and understood the modern life when hers was so different. 

That was my Nan, dearly loved and missed since her death.  So I was deeply touched and felt quite sentimental when I discovered that my son had lit a candle in her memory when he visited St Albans Cathedral where he was drawing the inside for his college coursework.  

I felt bad though as I had just berated him for not actually drawing anything as he had forgotten to take his sketch we revisited today.  I lit a candle and remembered these memories while he sketched.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Glittering season

Hello there, I am pleased to announce that today at school the glittering season began. Most of the glitter was on them, the table, the chairs and the floor but the kids do like a bit of bling.....and so do I. I met the teen in town for a seasonal Starbucks late afternoon today and also bought some Christmas headgear to add to my collection that I wear to school. After seeing lots of pretty seasonal light photos on Pinterest and various blogs this week I wanted to take some of my own. This was the best I could do......well our town centre Christmas lights are a bit pathetic. I will try again at the weekend when we visit St Albans (the teen needs to draw inside the cathedral).....their lights are much better. Just have to try not to feel like a berk taking random photos in public first.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Ripples and ribbons

I am trying to find some time to finish some projects in time for Christmas. So I started some new ones.....I know, what am I thinking? But when I saw this ribbon yarn scarf I couldn't resist having a go. Now I am not a great knitter though I am determined to get better at it this year. This scarf is actually quite easy and grows very fast. It's a basic knit pattern but using the ribbon yarn gives a lovely ripple effect. You can get the yarn in Hobbycraft and is called Can-can. There is a glitzy version with sparkles and Ideal world are selling a yarn set called Flamenco which is a two tone version.
To the readers who were interested in my photo of the was for my tropical rum Christmas cake. It just so happened that I found out I quite liked the taste of it and had to buy a bottle for over Christmas....hic! Well it was on offer in Sainsburys so it would of been rude not to:)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

My week in pictures

Some Christmas preparations this week. Homemade whisky and walnut sweet mincemeat, tropical rum Christmas cake, ribbon yarn knitting, new floral dress, cosy socks, photo collage apps, antipasti help yourself lunch and the latest copy of Mollie Makes magazine.....quite a nice week really:)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

How do you scrapook part 4

This is my final post about what we can use to motivate and inspire us to scrapbook.

We have talked about photos, stories, pretty paper, the everyday and sketches but what if we don't have a photo?  Every layout needs a photo right?

Ta-da!  News Flash! you don't.

This layout was inspired by my favourite words.  Yes, I have words that I just like the sound of.  For example...plod, splodge, sparkle, fab, fantastic, chevron, get the picture?  The idea of making a layout about my favourite words has been in my head for some time so I decided to finally have a go.  Guess what?  It's the first photo less layout I have ever done....woo!...go me!

Sorry about the glare but I ran out of daylight hours as it was already getting dark at four today:(

Yes, I did struggle initially with not having a central point but knew I wanted to use some Kaisercraft labels for the words.  A few different layers of paper helped to give a focus and this is where I wrote my journalling.

My favourite technique recently is to rub distressing ink over embossed card stock.

Sepia glossy accents over sticker alphas....lush.

As I was typing this I realised that there are many more words that I like as well....lush, glimmering, squidge (did I make this one up as my spellchecker only recognises squidgy?), and don't even get me started on phrases I regularly say....what am I like (there's one of them). 

So there you's official, you don't need photos to now you have no excuses not to.....

Go know you want to...

Saturday, 19 November 2011

How do you scrapbook part 3

So far we have looked at sketches, stories and photos to kick start that scrapping mojo.  So what next?

Scrapping the everyday...

You know what it is like, you feel like getting crafty but you haven't been to any special events recently.  Or maybe you don't have children, or are single....what can you scrap about?

Well the answer is anything!!!

I regularly scrap the mundane or the random things in my life.  Such as:

You can scrap about all sorts of things from your favourite sweets (liquorice allsorts, marshmallows, refresher drumsticks, milka chocolate, fruit pastels...) to your deepest thoughts.  If it's very personal to you, use hidden journalling or just don't share that layout with anyone.

Here's my take on the random...

My little craft room friends wanted to be in the photo...Kitty, Zombie and Christmas tophat pug.

Handmade buttons, splashes and polka dot ribbon...
 Yes, I am a tea addict and I admit it.  But it must be in the 'right' cup or mug.  I'm very fussy when it comes to my cup.  It must be pretty to look at but large enough for a good slurp. 

I have to admit the pretty 'the girls paperie' paper helped me to think of this topic as it almost matches my Cath Kidson mug.  A new acquisition to our mug shelf as the teen in his clumsy attempt to get his mammoth cereal bowl,knocked my other Cath Kidson mug flying resulting in a smashed mug.

So have a look around you, write down your thoughts and scrap the everyday.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

How do you scrapbook part 2

Well, it seems from your comments that most of you start with a photo to give you inspiration to scrap.  I wonder what started first, the photography or the scrapbooking?

The 'Wacky Faces' layout started life as a sketch....this one in fact again came from the new Scrap365 magazine (boy, I should be getting commission from the amount of times I have raved about this mag....but it is good).

Sketch designed by Lisa Saunders

I have used the bare bones of the design such as the two small photos, bunting and journalling written on a tag and then added a small paper and heart detail to the top right hand corner and instead of flowers a more manly typewriter. 

A little hearty chevrons...chevrons, love that word.
A manly stamped typewriter highlighted with glossy accents.

So the sketch was the inspiration to kick start the mojo this week but I always need a story.  I immediately found these photos of the teen and my glamorous self (actually not looking half bad with a bit of slap on....makes a change from activity, muddy, school trip photos).  Taken on the same night as the 'Smile please' layout.  The journalling reads...

A 'nice' photo of us together is getting increasingly difficult, especially when you pull these sort of faces.  But I kinda like it.  As you grow older your personality is starting to shine through.

Have any of you ever used a sketch?  If not I challange you to try it next time you scrap.  Until next time, where I will continue our scrappy look at inspirations....happy scrapping.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

How do you scrapbook?

How do you start a scrapbook page?  What inspires you?  Is it the photo?, a sketch?, a memory or some beautiful scrapbooking paper?

Most of us take inspiration from all of these at some time or another.  I know for me a sketch certainly helps when the old mojo is lacking.  For this layout I used a few ideas to kick start the page. 

I knew I wanted to scrap these photo's of Rob and his Gran as soon as I saw them.  There was a story behind the photos and I just loved the second shot of Rob caught mid laughter.  So I had the story and the photos, now to start the layout...

I am really liking the look of my i-touch hipstamatic photos at the moment.  It's not just the retro style they have but the different processes and the fact that they are small squares.

So I cropped the photos and printed them to the required size.

Another look that I like at the moment is the splashes and splodges of mists and inks.  It's something I have tried a few times and find after the initial interpretation of flicking the first splodge of ink on the page , is an enjoyable way of adding a distressed look to the page.  So when I saw this layout by Mahlin Wiggur in the new scrapbooking magazine Scrap 365, it helped inspire the placement of the photos, ink and colour scheme.

As you can see my layout looks nothing like Mahlin's which goes to show that when using a sketch or a technique you can make it  completely your own.

I will be back later in the week with another layout and what inspiration I used to make it.

I would love to hear what inspires you or how you start your layouts.  So it would be fab if you could leave a comment and share your thoughts with us all.

Friday, 11 November 2011

My week in pictures

What a special day I have had today:) a trip to Kew Gardens, special birthday wishes from friends and family, 50 kids singing a rendition of Happy Birthday ( in Kew and one on the coach) and an evening with my two special men tonight when we will share an Indian meal and a beer....or two. Simple pleasures.....

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn Pretties

When I had my 'felt good' moment the other day I made this little autumnal prettiness.

I used a combination of pre-cut, die-cut and free hand cut felt.  Chain stitched the leaf, attached a button and some coloured pearl pins and voila....a pretty autumnal brooch for my coat.

I intend to make a Christmas brooch next but I have a very long list of Christmas present makes including all my cards to do first.  I have set myself a challenge of starting them tonight, multitasking in front of the telly instead of vegging out and eating chocolate.

Good intentions....

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Great News.

Great news!!!

The new scrapbooking magazine, Scrap 365 is utterly fab.  I received mine today through the letterbox and wow!, so much inspiration and creativity in one place.  Whats more my scrapping cyber buddy Sian, from From High in the sky is on the design team and the first issue features a few of her wonderful projects. 

The magazine has come just in the nick of time to this household whose soul scrapper is hitting an all time creativity low.  After just returning from another residential trip I'm feeling pretty tired.  As much as I love my job sometimes (well pretty much all the time) it is exhausting and often frustrating.

Anyhow, a day of crafting is on the agenda but in the meanwhile here is my first Christmas card of the year....

Sissex Bambi folder embossed onto plain white cardstock, swiped with distress ink and Bambi glazed with sepia medium.

Not what I intended  but I like the finished result....quick and easy too.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

My week in pictures

Took a leisurely stroll through half term week and caught up with chores and friends. A frustrated craft afternoon turned into a good old sort out and now my crafting space is ready to rock:) Turns out chestnuts are the new conkers. Made my first Christmas card of the year, only 50 odd more to go.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

It felt good...

So Halloween is nearly upon us and although the teen is too old for dressing up and such shenanigans after browsing the blogs I felt like making this pumpkin brooch. It felt good (get it?) to do some stitching. I'm onto some felt autumn leaves now ( no conkers yet).

Sent from my iPod

Friday, 28 October 2011

And then I made a card...

After the shrine, I made a card.  Well actually I made the card first and this inspired me to make the shrine.  I was so pleased with the way the shrine turned out I showed that first...confused?

A photo is a bit blurred but you get the idea.

...Back to the card.  A card for my friend and hairdresser Bev whose 50th Birthday we will be celebrating on Saturday.  She truly is a miracle worker to tame my tresses.  And now she tames Robert's mop too (he takes after me in that department).  Bev used to tame Nigel's when he was a mere teenager.  Unfortunately he doesn't need her help now...

Thanks for all your lovely comments about the shrine and as Sian quoted 'A shrine dedicated to life'.  I like that thought.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Aimer La Vie

I have a love hate relationship with rubber stamps.  I love how they are so versatile but hate the faff of stamping and lack the creativeness that is sometimes needed.  As I have expressed before on this blog, I hate cleaning them I don't.  I generally only use black anyway, so I don't think it really matters. 

Now usually my stamping consists using them for cards only and then colouring with Promarker Pens.  So this week when I received some new Kaisercraft stamps and papers I decided to do exactly the same.  Ha ha, had you there!  Except this time the stamps where designed in such a way that I could easily see how I could use them a little differently by cutting out the designs once stamped.  I also had a 'shrine' to decorate.  I'm not sure what they are really called but that's what I call them anyway.

So after stamping , cutting out, distressing and inking with the stamps I then arranged them onto a gessoed and painted shrine.  I used Kaisercraft stickers and a title 'Aimer La Vie' (Love Life), words that I try to remember to live by.

I originally stamped a little bird directly onto the shrine but  didn't like it so painted over it.  I added more and more layers as the little blighters kept showing through but this resulted in a lovely texture.

A splodge of stardust stickles dabbed over the stamps helped finish it off.

Friday, 21 October 2011


 In celebration of my conkers and all things autumny I have made a layout from 'My week in pictures' mosaic that I posted here on The Little Blue Shed last month.  I couldn't quite fit on all eight photos so settled for six.  I copied the journaling from the post about my giddy day.

I think I have found my 'shabby' style at last.  Most of my layouts seem to have distressed edges which I make scraping my surgical scalpel along the edges and then sanded with a sanding block. Unfortunately you can't really see the leaf mask sprayed with glimmer mist....but it is there lurking in the background.  Glimmer mist and Cosmic Shimmer Sprays are another must have product at the moment too.  The final touch is scrumpled (don't you love that word) parcel paper and corrugated card.

The autumn vibes continue in our house with the sound of bubbling butternut squash soup on the stove.  The veggies are are chopped for a batch of vegetable soup too...carrots,parsnips,potatoes and celery.  I haven't been eating the right things recently (too many chocolates and carbs) and my IBS has raised it's ugly head.  So healthy soups for lunch is on the menu this week and as it's half term I hope to find time to have a few autumn walks and some stress relieving crafting.

Monday, 17 October 2011


OK, OK, I know I always seem to be inspired by something new.  Last month it was sewing and cross stitch.  I haven't picked up a needle since I blogged about it.  The cross stitch I still have good intentions to do but it is the lack of time (as always) that has stopped me from really getting on with it and residential school trips, snotty noses and a general feeling of tiredness that is known in the educational circles as the 'end of term feeling'....except it is only half term.

So what am I inspired by this week.....

The creative License by Danny Gregory

I bought it to inspire the teen to practise his drawing but I haven't put it down for him to read it yet...

I love his style of drawing...

Lots of ideas to get you journaling and drawing...

Drawing everyday items...

  I tried Art Journaling once, not sure why but it wasn't for me.  Maybe because of the time issue, maybe lack of ideas or maybe it was the preparation of the backgrounds.  But this style is simple and quick.  All you need is a black pen and a sketch book.  Take 5 or 10 minutes a day to draw an everyday object, add journaling if you want, colour if you wish....or leave it as it is.
Here's me first effort.

Without colour...

With watercolour pencils...

It took 10mins to really! No lead pencil or rubber allowed, the first stroke is the hardest.  It's not perfect but I think that is the beauty. I am really going to try hard to  fit this in each day, taking my sketchbook with me on the bus, to work or do it while eating breakfast.

I'll let you know how I get on.