Thursday, 31 December 2009

'PINK' GIFTS AND NON-PHYSICAL GIFTS


I must try and get back into my crafts, ooh it's a few days since I've done anything - actually I'm managing to keep up with my Journal your Christmas which is amazing for me!  Anyway thought I'd show you a couple of the gifts that I made - meant to put them on pre-Christmas but never got round to it!  In October I went to see Pink in concert (which was awesome by the way) as a treat for my cousin and my niece I decided to do some 'Pink' books with photos from gigs in them, I had great fun making them even though they both turned out completely different.  This is the one I sent my cousin and took far longer than the one I made my neice (or the one I made myself by the way) but I was really pleased with the finished product.  I used the stage-set on the night as my inspiration for the shape of the book! 

Absolutely fantastic working with such great pictures and I used quotes from her lyrics to really set it off!



Chipboard base for the book with gold paint and then stamping, with papers added over the top!  I even put photos on the back page and hidden amongst the pages were little folders to open and find even more photos inside!  Apparently it was really well received which made my Christmas, that and the fact that Royal Mail got it there in time!

Apart from that both myself and my Mum had some none-physical gifts to give - you know the ones that you literally can't give but you want it to be a nice gift, this included treats at a Center Parc weekend we've got to look forward to as well as a few other things, then I came across these on the UK Scrappers website - they were absolutely awesome but didn't think I'd manage to make them but I did, in fact I loved them so much I made four in total



Amazing fun to make and really well received I put little envelopes in each tray with the gift written inside on each one!  I can highly recommend these and if we still had our laptop I'd be able to give you the link as to the original instructions but there was a slight mishap with it two days prior to Christmas involving, husband, laptop and a rather large hot cup of tea - don't ask!  I'll try and find the link and put it on later!  Just glad I've managed to get an entry on here now! 

As it's the 31st December 2009 may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year and I hope that for all who read this 2010 provides wonderful opportunities and moments to enjoy time with your family and friends and with yourself - hugs! 

Saturday, 26 December 2009

GINGERBREAD HOUSES, PRESENTS AND A WHOLE LOT OF FUN

A merry Christmas to all who read this, well what can I say Boxing Day already - another 364 days till Christmas - let the countdown commence!  Lol!  On reflection it was definitely a tiring day but awesome and amazing as well, a 4.30am start was a little early, we managed to drag out two more hours of bits and bats of sleep before we were dragged into reality at half six!  Part of our Christmas day last year was a gingerbread challenge, we made a Church and all our guests on Christmas day got a gingerbread house to decorate - this year we upped the challenge!  We went all out for a - can you guess what it is yet? 

Something different - that's right we went 4 hours of solid gingerbread baking - 4 batches of pure butter gingerbread, the house smelt divine!  It was something of a hot house and the electricity meter was whizzing like no-ones business! Templates were cut, baked and recut, each piece meticulously measured and remeasured.

Windows cut, greaseproof paper was used, reused and used again and finally we started the construction side - string was an absolute essential factor in this. 

Glorious Gingerbread time to put it together - into what became an enchanted Castle, complete with inner keep, draw bridge, an army of jelly baby guards and snow. It was great fun to make, we had such a ball!


Draw bridge as mentioned

Jelly babies guarding the entrance

Sheer fun - so what did we do for the family?  An eclectic mix of two and three storey houses, some with chimneys, some with flat rooves - all absolute awesome - the most 'amusing' and I did mean to use quote marks was my brothers - what do you think of it - recognise the movie in question?

Need another clue?


No?  Still no good?


Yep you guessed it Bates' Motel! Not very Christmassy - but highly amusing!  Even the marshmallow smoke coming out of the chimney!  We all had much fun and it was a great day - hope everyones was the same!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

UPDATE ON JYC, I DON'T 'DO' CARDS NORMALLY BUT....

Well the title says it all really - a little bit of everything to be included in this posting.  Firstly my 'Journal Our Christmas' is proving difficult - it's not in essence a difficult task I'm just making hard work of it and it's becoming more of a Christmas diary than anything else, but documenting life whichever way I write it is still documenting life!  So I'm two days behind at the moment and two days ago I was also two days behind!  Something of a trend here, anyway day 13 should have been about Christmas carols, but I did that last year so I documented one of those little gems that shouldn't be forgotten here is the entry:

"I covered the topic of Christmas carols last year, so this year thought I’d document one of those awesome conversations that I have with my little lad—this is how it went:



“Mum, do you know what people in Africa get for Christmas?”
“No sweetie—what?”
“Life!”
“Pardon?”
“Life?”
(My brain was not connecting at all)
“What they all get sent to prison?”
“What are you talking about Mum?”
“I don’t know what are you talking about?”
“I told you people in Africa get life for Christmas”
“Have you been practicing for the Christmas carol concert today?”
“Yes”
“Have you been singing, ‘Feed the World?”
“Yes Mum, how did you know?”
“Just a rough guess” I said trying not to stifle a laugh—talk about cross purpose talking!!"
 
Day 14 was another ecclectic mix that was supposed to be around gifts, so one page had this on it
 
"Most amusing gifts we’ve ever received


Two years ago when Craig picked his Mum up on Christmas Day she gave him a half full bottle of Bell’s Whisky unwrapped and I got a pair of her clip on earrings! We were mighty confused as you can imagine, but I suppose this is what dementia does to you and she obviously panicked and wanted to sort presents quickly, we have since chuckled about this!

The year my Mum saw fit to buy me a tracksuit in bright green with beading around the top! I had what can only be described as a rock hairstyle at the time—the outfit looked what can only be described as WRONG—when I asked why she hadn’t got me black she said she and Shaun thought a little colour in my wardrobe would do me good. Firstly when on earth had she ever seen me wearing a track suit and secondly there is nothing wrong with the colour black!

And the other page on gifts!  (NOW FOR ANYONE RELATED TO ME THIS IS A CHRISTMAS PRESENT SPOILER, I'VE BANNED IMMEDIATE FAMILY FROM MY BLOG TIL AFTER CHRISTMAS BUT JUST INCASE YOU'VE POPPED ALONG - GO AWAY IMMEDIATELY!)

Every year I try and come up with something just that little bit different as a gift, this year is no different but thankfully due to UK Scrappers I’ve come across some awesome websites that have really got the imagination running riot! One such website is http://www.bakerella.com It shows all sorts of delightful goodies to make including this cookie in a jar mix! Don’t they look awesome, apart from having to convert the cups into grams it was such a fun gift to make.


Now I have never nor do I ever wish to attempt to proclaim myself to be a card maker, I make cards primarily because I send out loads of cards to family and it's a great way of using up scraps of paper from my scrapbooking and mini book making. I've sent all the Christmas cards that I need to send this year so at the weekend I did something that I always promise I'll do but never manage, I made cards for immediate family, yes one for hubby, one for son, one for Mum, one for my etc etc... You get my drift I made cards, my first thought was that I wanted to make them all different, however half an hour with a few promarkers led to four of these! What happened to individual!! So I sorted one of these for my Mum and her hubby and then set to making cards for the rest.

I did a card for my sister which turned out to be my first art journalled Christmas card - what do you think?

I then proceeded to take my halloween spooky house embossing folder and my halloween stamps to create a Halloween inspired Christmas card because my brother and his girlfriend adore Halloween so it seemed apt!


I loved making them and can confirm they were well received (well apart from my brothers which still hasn't landed on his doorstep, despite me having seen him last night!!!!!! 

Finally I've now officially finished work for over the Christmas season, now all I have to do is get my brain to stop thinking about it and I can start to relax, when I went to my last scrapbook class before Christmas we did a fabulous altered project and the lovely Sandra brought in her stamps for us to use.  Apart from being highly envious of the gorgeous stamps she owns I realised how neat and tidy her stamps were and thought in shame at the state of mine - this is what mine looked like! 




When I came home I decided to do something about this, so over a couple of nights I've chopped up some paper, stamped on it with my stamps and then laminated it, I've then cut them out, rounded the corners and adhered my easi-mount stamps and acrylic stamps on the back, I've then put them in little plastic wallets that you normally use for cards, and I've left them open for easy access.  So the rather awful pile of stamps now looks like this, how awesome is that, I hadn't realised I had so many and I've even categorised them, furthermore the gorgeous blonde moments stamps I've got already come on laminated sheets, so no work was involved in doing those!  Although it was a lengthy and somewhat laborious task now it's done I'm really pleased with it.  

It's freezing here today and my poor hubby has come home poorly so he's upstairs in bed, hope he feels better soon.  If you stop by for a look leave a message. 

Saturday, 12 December 2009

OK EYES DOWN - YOU MAY NEED A CUPPA TO ABSORB ALL THIS!

First of all, where has the week gone, primarily it's been spent on work, normally I only do three days but this week has been a four day week with a 12 hour day on Tuesday and a split shift on Thursday which has led to someone stealing two of my evenings!  Not a good thing at this time of year, however, I'm hoping to finish on either Tuesday night or Wednesday night and then won't be back in until the New Year - yee hah!  So what has this meant, this has meant that basically my journal for Christmas has stopped, not slowed down but quite literally stopped.  So today's task was to catch up!  Essential because any longer and I won't catch up and the album will sit looking sad and sulky forever and I hate half started projects. 

Now the entries are somewhat short on embellishments, and mainly consist of written entries - but hey - that's better than nothing and does document the days.  Last year I followed Shimelle's prompts to the letter, but this year I've sat saying - "I did that last year" so some of the entries are unique in the fact it documents our day! 

So entry five should have been Advent or Countdown - but I did that last year so this year's was about how our 9 year old kept himself occupied whilst we were building a bookcase!  Here is an excert from the journal

"In amongst all this was our nine year old, who managed to occupy himself—with the cardboard box that we got the microwave in! He hacked at it with scissors, used cellotape on it, chopped up lumps of polystyrene to create—a car! He had great fun making his own car and added wing mirror and engine and was very pleased with his creation! And here he is sat in said car looking mighty pleased with himself!"

Here is the said 'car' fully made together with headlights, engine and wing mirrors! 



The 6th of December - was about good times and bad times - but I decided to relay a little nativity story which was neither although rather humourous! 

"The first year Malachite was in infant’s the Parents Association saw fit to buy a number of nativity scenes for children to bring home and ‘enjoy’ for the evening. These nativities were brand new and Malachite was very excited to be the first person to bring one of them home.


Imagine my dismay when we started to remove it to discover that the people and animals were made of pottery—who in their right mind would provide 4 and 5 year olds with something like that! So it was an evening spent trying to explain that he had to be really careful with all of the ornaments, as the evening grew to a close I was relieved to be at the stage where we could put it all away again, but for some unfathomable reason I had forgotten the ornaments weren’t secured to the ’barn’. I picked it up with all the ornaments stood up and over toppled Joseph and off came his head, “ooh no” I cried “what have I done!” then launching in to pick up the pieces I knocked over a sheep, off came it’s head “ooh no, I’ve made it worse” Craig by this time was laughing! Before I’d done I’d beheaded, Joseph, a sheep and a King or two, Malachite was in tears but Craig was laughing so much! Out came the superglue and the set were returned the following day and I vowed if they ever sent one home again it would remain in it’s box, because after all we already have a nativity set to admire!"

The joys of being a Mum sometimes - what am I like!

Won't bore you with entry for 7th December - a 'to do' list ranging from cleaning stair carpet to trying to find that extra special something for my brother!!!!!

8th December - Christmas tree festival - this occurs at the church nearest to us and consists of community decorated Christmas trees on a theme.  This year's theme was the nativity, ranging from poems to excerpts from Christmas nativity plays, my favourite tree was the Cherry Tree Carol tree, covered in cherries!  An absolute delight to the eye!  We took my Mum and she enjoyed it as well and it's a time when you can take that step back from the stresses of the season to really enjoy being in a beautiful environment. 

9th December - Traditions - well we started our own tradition last year - The Christmas Day Gingerbread Competition - basically last year we created 8 plain gingerbread houses which we challenged our visitors on Christmas day to decorate with sweeties and icing!  It was the quietest that the house has ever been on Christmas day and afterwards we put them around the gingerbread church that the three of us had done the week previous to create a little town!  We said this year we would do a castle - watch this space to see if we actually manage it - just to say we're on with planning this.

10th - wrapping - this was ultra fast basically enclosed a bit of this year's wrapping paper - I was trying to catch up!!!!!!!

11th - Commenting on where the trees are in the house this year - already done on blog so won't bore you with the detail!

12th - Real Reindeers in the local town.  We ended in town this morning as each year the town centre has a Saturday when real reindeers trundle into the town centre pulling Santa's sleigh, this year we had two reindeers pulling the sleigh and two following and Santa had decided to walk this year to make a change.  It's so sweet to see them and they seem quite happy to parade around the town - I've never seen the town centre so busy.

   
Last night we ventured to Meadowhall - I know potentially we were heading for a catastrophe being this time of year, but to be honest it was quite good at the time we went, I bought a top (which is something I never do) and we had a lovely wander, other half went to buy more gifts whilst I headed to a retailer for food for 9 year old!  Then purchased two evening meals in the two for two pound section of a retailer who loves to talk about their food seductively on the TV, before we headed home. 
 
So that's it caught up, Saturday evening, journal done and blog updated.  Went online this morning to my local scrapbook shop to find a 50% sale on loads of things including Tim Holtz stamps!  It's only a 24 hour sale but I managed to order loads of things and then went and collected them, off there again tomorrow for the shop sale to have a further peruse. 
 
Tomorrow means scrapbook shopping, food shopping (which I detest but there's no food left in the house) and hopefully catching up with family.  If you wander by for a read and you actually get this far without falling asleep then leave me a comment!  I know there are the odd family member's who've wandered along following my Christmas newsletter - so if you're still here leave a comment! 

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A FEW 12 X 12 - TIDYING UP MY BLOG FOLDER AND A LEARNING CURVE

Well I'm officially running seriously behind on my Journal your Christmas project, but a 12 hour Tuesday is never easy!  I'm planning on attempting to catch up later on (or maybe tomorrow), in the meantime some non-Christmas related layouts that are in my blog folder but haven't quite made it to my blog!  The first is from our summer holiday, when my son joined in a game of water polo, although got slightly frustrated at their 'anything goes' type rules, mainly because he's level 9 in Water Polo so kind of has an idea of how it should be done! 

Now this layout started out as a single page project done by Sandy Poppins at my local store, we spent considerable time making the large 'matchbooks' with the word 'Leaf', however I loved the project so much it seemed a shame to just turn it into a single page, so I bought an extra couple of papers and turned it into the double page layout.  I cut the saying (which had originally been on printed paper in the class) with my big shot and then did covered in glossy accents. Then managed to find some gorgeous autumnal photos from Portmeirion last year.  Thank you Sandra for a gorgeous page!!!!!!






















The second page to the layout!  Don't ask me why there's a gap - no idea - new blogger being naughty!













  









The double page spread!  You can understand why I had to stretch it to two pages can't you! 














Another holiday layout , this is what happens when your child decides that you've taken enough photos!  This page was difficult because I still don't feel it's finished mainly because of the white space on it!   It's also one of the ways I've used up a vellum title - I love vellum but no matter what glue I use I can always see it (even the especially for vellum tapes) so the title on this was placed behind some torn cardstock and worked like a dream because you couldn't see how I'd adhered it!


















Finally the water slide pictures, the stamp is Tim Holtz, the journalling follows the edge of the photos! 





















Well I've updated blogger and wow is it hard work or what now!  I assume it will get easier as I get used to it - or maybe not.  Off to work in half an hour, hopefully have a less stressful day today that yesterday.  I help run a volunteer project at work, primarily altering items that can't be sold in our charity shop or making cards to be sold through our social enterprises (not that I'm any cardmaker but I was deemed the resident expert!)  people come along and learn new skills and in exchange for their time we feed them tea and biscuits.  It's turning into a really great group of people who are bringing their own skills with them which has been awesome, we've discovered some great glass painters among them, some hidden card making skills, someone who can turn out the most exquisite bags - the list goes on!  

In exchange for their dedication over recent months, we've decided to help them make a project as a thank you from us, which they can take home with them!  I racked my brain as to what to do that would fit the time slot and skill base and eventually opted for a squash book.  I was taught it years ago by the lovely Sandy Poppins and I've recently done an updated version from UK Scrappers using a circular base.  So that's what we started to make last night!  There was ink everywhere and I think they all thought I'd lost the plot at one point, but by the time we needed to pack away none of them wanted to go, they wanted to stay and finish it!  So might have managed to get a few more hooked!  It's just nice to be able to say 'thank you' in the process.  

So why the stress you say, well I have a counterpart at work and between us we run the group together, unfortunately she wasn't in the office yesterday and I got a text at 4.15pm to say she wasn't feeling great and wasn't going to make it in!  ARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!  All I can say is thank you to my husband who basically did the behind the scenes stuff so that I could direct the class!   

Friday, 4 December 2009

JOURNAL YOUR CHRISTMAS AND TREES

Well now I've started I'm on a roll, todays journal page is a tough one - perfect day mmmm - decided this one might not be for me, but looked at the alternatives and this is what I wrote

"Dear Daddy,


Well it’s that time of year again and it’ll be another one when I don’t get to see you, or chat with you, but I hope you’re close to us all day, let me know if you are. Christmas Day would be fun to have together, even if it was just for one day. We’ve got a full table again eleven of us this year, all family together all around the table. What would your Christmas day be like if you were here; well you’d probably have a slow start to the day, a pint pot of tea and a few presents to unwrap, with the Christmas tree twinkling and some low Christmas music playing in the background. We’d speak on the phone and Mum would be really excited as always. Melanie and John would wander up around midday and then you’d all make your way over here. There would be hugs and kisses all round, Malachite and Nirvana would be so excited about their presents and desperately want to open them immediately. Granddad Paddy would get the biggest hugs from the two of them!

The general hubbub in the kitchen is always charged with energy, you’d ask if we wanted any help, telling us jokes, sharing a laugh with John, you’d both end up stood on the front having a cigarette and chatting.

Presents would bring further laughter and hugs, wonder what random gifts there will be this year, John and Mum are both threatening random – but hopefully in a good way. Soon we’d settle down to the table, Malachite would be first to finish and desperate to pull all the crackers on the table, let’s see if Mum manages to break a glass this year – she’s good at that! We’d eat starter and then main course that is a ‘help yourself’ affair to allow people to have what they want rather than feeling obliged to eat what their given, you’d love that and as the true gent you’d wait until everyone else was sorted before you joined in, John Patrick still has this trait – wonder if he realises it reflects you?

Dessert is a home made Christmas pudding which I love making and thereafter they’ll be the Christmas challenge, sat sorting your gingerbread buildings, it would be simply perfect. Everyone has their fill of food before late afternoon everyone gathers up their gifts and presents and gingerbread houses and ventures home to enjoy an evening with their feet up in front of the TV. Wouldn’t it be wonderful just to share one more day?

Miss you Daddy
Hugs
Virginia "


It's 20 years since my Dad passed away and as you can see still miss him with all my heart, it was a toughy to write but just for a moment I could pretend what it would be like if he was here and for me that made it pretty perfect! 

The pages look like this and once again I've managed a double page spread - I can see this journal reaching an epic size by the time I've done with all these 'additional' pages.  I must go and source some embellishments, because up to now it's just been paper, journaling and ink! 




Well last night was spent decorating the house, we were just going to do the one tree - but that didn't happen so they are all up!  This is my staircase (which I love and miss these lights when we take them down each year more than any of the others). 

My other half decided to decorate Snype in a festive fashion - what do you think?

Ended up moving the trees around this year, the biggest one floor space wise is now in the window, as my scrapping table is where it lived last year!  You can just see snype on the wall!

This is the corner space saver in the TV/scrapping room - never thought to close the doors on my cupboards before I took the photo LOL - but I'm still in the middle of making things, so nothings been packed away yet!

Finally the white one in the pool room (makes it sound like we live in a mansion but we don't it's more like a Tardis, it looks tiny from the outside but is bigger inside!)

Off to continue with a mini book I'm on with, need to also pop to local scrapbook shop for supplies, although may leave this until Sunday?  The washer is on, the food shopping sorted and I'm going to have a sort tonight as need my other half to shift some items that are heavy!  If you pop by for a look leave a comment, it's lovely to hear from everyone, what they are doing, where they are etc! 

Thursday, 3 December 2009

OK CATCHING UP TIME!

Well it's officially the 3rd of December and I haven't got off to the usual flying start - I could give a whole list of excuses but hey I'm on with it now! So here goes - a finished project (still loads to finish mind), this little book documents a fantastic outing we had last year. The Church closest to where we live holds a 'Christmas Tree Festival' every year, which basically means they have local groups dress real trees up on a theme basis and people go and have a look. Last year is the first year we managed to get (and we're hoping to make it this year as it's this weekend).

Last year's theme was Christmas poetry, so when we got in there we got a little brochure with all the poems in and had a wander around the church. The last tree wasn't based on a poem but was a 'remembrance tree' and hung on it were tiny tags, that could be removed for you to write a note on about someone who is no longer able to celebrate Christmas with us, it was a truly magical Christmas moment, very moving and very calming, the trees were gorgeous, the Church all lit up in the dark was a beautiful sight and at the end for a small donation we got to enjoy a warm drink. We asked if we could take photos with they said we could, so we got one of each tree.

I've been trying to come up with an appropriate book all year and then Dyan at AFTH came up with her new Christmas papers and everything fell into place, needless to say I used the Christmas Tree paper on the covers, I transferred the poems onto small pieces of card and I've finally managed to get the photos 'used', lots of Christmas stickles and ribbon and finally a year on, the book is finished!





Now December 1st marks the arrival of the first Journal Your Christmas prompt and on time it dropped into my inbox, unfortunately, it's taken until today to actually have a proper sit down, so I've had some catching up to do. The photo below is last yours Journal, in which I became mildly obsessed with Basic Grey papers, the album was based on an altered A lever arch file

Now this photo shows last years journal on the right compared with the only just started journal for this year on the left - do you think they are going to end up the same size?

Just look at how thick this book got!

Here is the cover of this years album, which is a home made 8" x 8" album covered in green fabric with pieces over the top and I've decided to call it 'Journal Our Christmas' - because that's what it is! Need to put the year on as plan on doing this for many years to come!

First things first my manifesto, it's strange as I struggled to get started on this last year but once this was written I was on a roll! The nice thing about the journal this year is I've got a feel for what is coming, this project for me tends to lean on the wordy side and picks the photos up as things 'happen' but for others it can be primarily about photos, or blog entries or digital or pretty much anything you want - Shimelle has an 'anything goes' attitude on this journal which leaves you with the feeling of freedom!

Another wordy entry on the lovely weather we had yesterday - NOT! This year's entry was less reflective than last years but did document the day, something that in years to come without this I would most definitely forget! We went to a Victorian Christmas market yesterday and had a lovely evening except the weather was vile! Hey ho, started getting us feeling Christmassy!

Today's entry on cards is a double page, I've made the album with extra pages so I can do double page entries when it suits, plus I'm running mine until the 11 January because we're celebrating my Mum's 60th coming up and I thought I could extend it until the end of the celebrations.

So Thursday has brought with it a day off (well a day off, once I'd picked some things up for work and once I'd answered a text message on payroll). As my 9 year old is desperate to put the Christmas trees up I thought I'd better do a bit of touching up paint wise, because despite aspirations to paint the stairs before Christmas it just isn't going to happen, however, I'm unsure if a match pot of paint is enough to do it LOL! I'll report back later!