Monday, 30 January 2012

One Little Word 2012: Calm

Almost the last day of January and I finally deal with my One Little Word prompt for this month!

I've chosen the word 'Calm' this year as it was a word that kept popping into my mind. In the same way that I chose Balance as my word for last year (you can read about that here), I continue to be incredibly busy and sometimes it feels that inviting some Calm into my life would be very useful.

For me, this encompasses the need to find ways to relax and unwind as well as responding carefully to stressful situations including dealing with two young children.

I've also tagged the word 'patience' onto this year as it seems to go hand in hand with my OLW. As I explained in the last post, our current housing situation is far from ideal and the house doesn't always lend itself to being calm- after all, it's hard to feel like that if you're worrying about your 2 year old scribbling on the wall or living half out of boxes! I do feel though, that I need to practice calm and patience in waiting our time out whilst we find a new home.

I really enjoyed embracing my OLW last year and can't wait to see what possibilities this years word will open up for me this year.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Home (for now)

Ok, I'm gonna admit it! I love this LO! I know I probably shouldn't admit this outloud but I do!

As soon as I saw that hexagon patterned paper in my Studio Calico kit I knew that I wanted to use it for these instagram photos that I took of the area I live.

One October afternoon, I walked through the village with my phone snapping away at local landmarks or areas of interest that just make me smile.

All the map patterns were just perfect and I'm so please this turned out as I wanted.

We moved house in Autumn into a neighbourhood we've always dreamed of living in. Events that unfolded weren't ideal and the house we wanted to buy didn't come through but renting for now will help us meet our aims with regards to Jacks school choices. We really hope that given the current economic situation too, that having no chain will pay off when a house we want does come up. The only issue is that this area is so lovely houses rarely come on the market- it really is a patience game for us at the moment.

In the meanwhile I plan to really enjoy the village atmosphere and that all our friends live locally.

Home for now anyway. With luck, 2012 has bigger and better property opportunities opening up for us.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Challenge: The double LO!

Last week I blogged a series of layouts that I'd quickly made using a prompt and sketch from a UKscrappers challenge and said that my first attempt was actually a double LO but I hadn't yet finished the journalling....
Well, here is the final LO!
(apologies for poor quality images. The light here is so poor.)

These were all instagram photos that I took with my iphone on Christmas Day, when Emma was busy looking after her new baby. The journalling was typed using a typewriter font that I downloaded from the internet and tells the story of how caring and attentive she was towards her new dolly.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A quick mini!

I had been wanting to make a Thank You gift for a friend for a while but as always, time escaped me. Finally, I got myself into gear, sorted out some photos and put a Saturday afternoon to good use.
I started with a range of cardstock offcuts that I had lurking around that I knew would make a great mini album. The colours all co-ordinated so I sorted them according to size and trimmed to make uniform.

Using the scalloped edge of a tag, I drew similar edges on the edge of each cardboard piece and trimmed to add interest.

I then used offcuts of other coordinating patterned paper and a few new sheets from my Studio Calico kits to create mats for the photos. I inked each edge of the mat. I also used washi tape throughout and a sheet of stickers left over from the Sarahs Cards retreat.

Finally, I added some photos (3x4" and smaller) and some embellishments. I tried to keep it really simple so that didn't get too bulky.

In the end, this mini had photos of a bunch of our friends from about 3 different occasions in 2011- I gave it to my friend last night at our first 2012 party and she absolutely loved it! I'm so pleased!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Recipe for success!

Regulars to UKScrappers will know that this year, they are running a series of challenges and classes to tempt all crafters of all different styles. I took a nosy over at the homepage last week and thought I'd check them out. You can do the same here.
The one that really appealed to me straightaway was the recipe challenge which has a PDF attached. The theory seemed to be to create a kit/collection of supplies based around a given colour theme (your basic ingredients). Add in a few 'speciality ingredients' for example, find something with texture, felt, ribbon etc and then off you go 'to cook for a while'. You can use the given sketch as a prompt to make a card or layout and look at a layout that's already completed for inspiration.
Well, I certainly was inspired!
Firstly, I collected some old stash from using the colour scheme of pink, brown and grey. I wasn't worried that some of these clearly didn't match as I knew I just wanted to make a dent in the supplies, not necessarily use everything. I used some glitz design papers for the background, lots of leftover scraps from the Sarahs Card retreat layered as a background and label stickers from a few Crate Paper ranges. Picture wise this is an Instagram photo of my daughter at Christmas this year, being mum to her new dollies.

Taking inspiration from the black and white photo, I tried to use monotone within this LO. I just loved the Amy Tan '2' brad which co-ordinated perfectly!

I did this LO on a different day to the others and therefore didn't realise that I'd used the same title twice but it does suit both LO's! Lots more scraps and ends of kits from all over the place. Again two photos leftover from my Christmas Album pile.

I also did a double LO using multiple photos but this still needs journalling adding so I'll blog that another day.

I've got 2 crops this weekend so I'm definitely heading back to UKS to see what other inspiration I can find!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

December Daily: Feedback post

Whilst I was preparing my December Daily album and posting my blog pages, several points regarding the December Daily album occurred to me which I thought might be worth sharing. And even if it's of no use to you, it might just serve as a reminder to me for next year. :)

What I've learnt:
1. I love this album. Yes, it takes time and commitment and by day 25 I'm ready to stop, but the finished project in its entirety is so worth it.

2. Preparation is key. Gather supplies. Print any overlays. Get the bulk of the album prepared. This year I did an A4 album. The advantages were that the pages were easier to print in preparation but it was quite daunting. I think next year I'm going to skip the overlays and simply make my own album with smaller pages made from cardstock and a small amount of patterned paper. It seemed silly to print A4 overlays and then cover them with the paper. I might as well skip the printing step next year and save the money that I would have spent on overlays. That said, the smaller overlays I used in 2010 (I think Ali did 6x8? were faffy to print but easier to use as the fitted 6x4 photos nicely- swings and roundabouts?)

3. Don't worry about what you're going to document. Life happens and nearly everyday I found something to journal. I thought this years album would be too similar to last years. It wasn't. I guess as the children grow up, they get into new things, find new experiences and that makes the album different.

4. I wish I'd had a notebook on hand or journalling spots ready in advance as often I had a story in my head and nowhere to put it. I did write notes on post its and added these to the album in the right place but that's not the same. Having a place to journal ready would have saved me having to rewrite things or trying to remember too hard. I guess, I think the journalling would have been more natural if it had of been written 'in the moment'. Plus all those cute things that the kids say- I would have them recorded more accurately. That brings me back to point 2- I think next year, smaller double page spreads are the way forward. One for photos. One for journalling. Something to think upon.

5. Photos. Using a mix of DSLR photos and iPhone photos really worked well for me as did using the instant photo printer at Boots. The smaller 3x4" photos were a great size and something I'd repeat again. Getting 4 photos to a 6x4 print? Not so great.

6. Memorabilia. I love including this. Drawings the children have done. Programme leaflets. Cards. Invites. All this helps to build the album up and give a broader picture of the season. I need to make sure I have enough pockets and envelopes to hold these things for next year.

I hope this has been a helpful review. If I think of anything else over the coming days I shall edit and add to this.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

December Daily: Day 3

Welcome back to Day 3 of my December Daily 2011 round up. It's the home straight today so well done if you've read my previous two posts. :)

Day 17: Village Christmas Party
Another manic day rushing about all over the place doing Christmassy activties. Lunchtime and early afternoon was spent in the village pub (hoorah!) at their childrens party. The kids really enjoyed the games and crafts and we had Santa visit number 3 (from a rather awkward looking, only just post-teenage Santa!) Kids enjoyed having their photos taken with him anyhow. :)
We then ended up back at my best friends house where we stayed for dinner and the children cosied up on the couch to watch Cars. Day 18: Christmas Nativity/Love Came Down
You can see my Love Came Down pics in this post here. I've mainly focussed on the nativity pics from Church on todays LO although I've added a smaller page protector in for the additional LCD photos and to include extra shots from the Nativity.

Day 19: Poorly boy

My first day off from kids in what seems like ages and what happens? Boy child wakes up with a fever. You seriously couldn't plan this stuff. :( Anyway, plans for me-time/scrapping/shopping/baking got put on hold whilst I dealt with him (obviously, how it should be) and therefore the next few days of LOs are pretty mundane. But you know what? That's how it was here this Christmas and I think that's kind of worth documenting too. Life isn't all cherry pie.

Day 21: Poorly day 3
Missing a day out for obvious reasons, I've headed to day 21 where Jack was showing signs of being slightly brighter but Emma was coming down with it. Joy. :( I was beginning to show signs of going stir crazy so with the Grandparents help, we headed into town for a while to pick up those last minute things. Funnily enough, boy child felt better when he saw the fairground rides but was really, really poorly when he was getting bored. Strange that. ;)

Day 22: The big food shop.

I enlisted the help of my parents today- dad to babysit and mum to help tackle the supermarket. I absolutely hate this element to Christmas but needs must and all. In the afternoon, I returned the favour by helping mum lay Christmas flowers at all the Grandparents gravestones.

Day 23: Christmas baking

Christmas ingredients in store, I made today my baking day. The children enjoyed making some Christmas Cookies and I started on the Christmas Cake (better late than never?). In actual fact the cake still isn't decorated to date, but I've been told airtight conainer+ feeding it with alcohol= fabulous cake next year. Consider myself super organised. ;)

Day 24: Christmas Eve

I love this day. Probably more than Christmas Day actually. There's something magical about it. We had friends over for lunch and the boys enjoyed decorating yesterdays cookies. Late afternoon, we then headed to the village church for their 'all in' Nativity. Once home the kids opened their Christmas eve presents (new pjs and a book) before having a bath and leaving cookies and a carrot for Santa. Jack was eager to choose exactly the right spot for his stocking to hang- right next to his head! There were no squabbles getting them to bed on time tonight. ;)

Day 25: The Big Day

For once, we were actually woken at the reasonable hour of 7am with a very excited Jack who was keen to tell us that Santa had been whilst simulataneously devouring the contents of his stocking. Once we were all awake and calm we went downstairs to see what else he'd brought. Santa was very generous with us this year. :) The rest of the day was a mix and blur of grandparent visits, toy construction and food. Altogether very enjoyable!

At the end of the album I always like to include a place for any handmade items to go. This year I used up a zip lock pocket I had left over from paperchase and added all the handmade cards I'd been sent. Given the time people had taken to make them, I think it's nice to keep for inspiration etc.

And that's that. My December Daily 2011. Done.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 6 January 2012

December Daily: Part two

Wow! Two posts in a row... I'm almost on a roll with this blogging malarky! Lol!

These are my LO's from day 9-16 in my December Daily album. You can find the beginning LO's and a few more details about the album in part one which is here

Day 9: The Tree Festival
I absolutely love this evening. We head out to a local town, watch Santa arrive on the RoundTable float; play on the fairground in the market square; visit Santas grotto and then head into the Church to see the tree festival, drink tea and eat mince pies! What's not to like?

This year brought new adventures to the festivities as both children are now big enough to enjoy the fairground and they both wanted to have ride after ride (Mummys purse didn't like that as much!). I was actually surprised that Emma would ride on her own, but as usual she decided to prove me wrong and absolutely loved the experience. One of the photos had to be their faces on one of their many turns. The top photo was one of the trees within the Church.
Day 10: Mother In Laws 60th Birthday
We headed to Ipswich on the Saturday evening for party number two. The LO has two shots: one of MIL and FIL and one of me and my husband- I'll leave you to guess which photo is which... ;)

Day 11: Christmas cards
I was shockingly bad at sending out cards this year so if you got one then you should feel very priviledged. I must try better next year... Anyway, today I made some homemade cards with the kids to send to Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles etc... you know the kinda thing. I really love doing something personal like this as I think it's nice to see the changes over the years and the kids really enjoy making them too. This year I created a handprint angel card with them, using both of their handprints. A bit faffy but very sweet and worthwhile.

Day 12: Santa visit

I've given up counting how many times the kids saw Santa this year although it's something I'll be more aware of next year. All the playgroup/nursery/preschool/fete etc etc parties had a Santa and tbh, it did kinda start to loose the magic after a while. Anyway, this was the playgroup party where the kids met Santa (aka. the local vicar!) and they got a present. The kids seemed kinda happy with that arrangement! ;)

Day 13: Santa visit two

Jack had a party at nursery and the office staff sent me these photos of him with Santa2. They were allowed to go in fancy dress and Jack took his Spiderman/Powerrangers outfit. I've included additional pages alongside this to showcase the other photos that nursery sent me, mainly of Jack dressed as a Star in his nursery Nativity and of him watching the magician they had in at the party.

Day 15: Letter to Santa

We were slightly late in doing this, this year and again, next year I'll aim to do it earlier, but we did write our letters to Santa in the end and recieved a reply from Santa on Christmas Eve. I'm still trying to figure out the best address to send them to, to get a good reply... :)

Day 16: Christmas Party 3

Oh, the staff Christmas Party. How we look forward to such an event!? Last years was such a disaster that anything this year would have been better. Nelson, the office assistant, didn't disappoint with a Disney themed event. I went as Jessie from Toy Story which Jack was most pleased with as he then managed to nab the accessories later!

Thanks for getting this far. I promise to share the final LO's of the 2011 album with you tomorrow now that I'm on a roll... ;)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

December Daily 2011: Part One

Happy New Year!

I had it in mind to try and get my December Daily album completed before January appeared but the children were both poorly in the week running up to Christmas which then threw me off course (and completely ruined the 2 days of scrapping that I was plannning whilst kids were at nursery!).

Having a bit of surprise time to myself on Tuesday this week though, I set myself the challenge of getting this album finished (and truth be told, I'm desperate to get started on using some of my Studio Calico kits!)

This year I did an A4 album using 8.5x11.5 overlays from Ali Edwards. I used a Paperchase album that I decorated myself and WHSmith plastic wallets as page protectors. I did worry that A4 was actually too big for this project but overall it worked out fine. I mainly used the Boots photo booth to print out photos that were either 3x4" or smaller. This worked out well too as well as being cost effective.

To keep things as simple as possible I mostly used old stash in the form of Cosmo Cricket 'Jolly by golly' papers and Echo Park 'Everybody loves Christmas'. The journalling was either printed out or handwritten onto tags or very old Creative Memories kraft journalling spots. Embellishments were mainly from old stash apart from the Jenni Bowlin green and red stars which I bought from the Sarahs Cards retreat. Overall, I hope keeping to the same theme/style helps the album tie together.

This is Day 1: Advent. Kids were bemused by the calendars until they realised that there was chocolate inside! (they had two each- one bought by grandparents and one from us) Once that was established then it was full steam ahead.

I added my journalling to this LO with simple number stickers and facts.

Day 2: Christmas Party 1
I did a DLO here to fit in all the photos I wanted. I added my journalling to the back of the table number card that was on our table and slotted that inbetween these pages in my album.

Day 3: Birthday preparations
This LO shows the cakes that I made for Emmas birthday- I was rather pleased with them if I do say so myself!

Day 4 and 5: Emmas birthday
Today was Emma's 2nd birthday. I did a DLO again: one side with pics and the other, journalling in the form of a letter.

Day 6: Radio Times

Nothing much really happened today so this was a bit of a space filler! Day 7 is misisng from here too as it was the School Production and therefore the photos aren't suitable for sharing on here.

Day 8: Decorations!
Today was fun! I spent my day off decorating our house whilst Jack was at preschool. He was so excited when he got home to see the window lights and tree- it was almost as if he didn't realise that it was me that had done it all!

I added a colouring sheet that he bought home from preschool too. Not specifically colour by number, but I thought it would be cool to look back on these kinds of documents in the future.

I'll share some more pages from this album tomorrow. :)