Thursday, 29 September 2011

Still Life?

Here's another page from my Green Button Retreat last weekend - from a misting and masking class by Ali.  She generously shared dozens of misting inks, masks and templates so that we could all have a few goes with her techniques.  This was my third (and final) attempt!!
It was all a bit random and uncontrolled for my mathematically ordered brain - but once I stopped trying to control the spray and allowed myself to "go with the flow" I really enjoyed myself. Thank you Ali for your generosity - perhaps I'll put some mists on my birthday list!

I used Ali's cogs and sequin waste masks plus two colours of blue and a lovely delicate shimmery mist to tone perfectly with No.3 Child's photos of a street artist we'd seen in Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

I used gold acrylic paint to stencil through the waste from a chipboard question mark and painted a variety of chipboard letters with a thick and lumpy layer of paint for my title.  I don't know what I'd do without chipboard alphas in my supplies - I buy white or plain and cover them with paint, paper, embossing powder to go with my projects - they are so versatile!!  Do you like chipboard?  Why not check out what other people have been doing with chipboard here at Scrapbookers Anonymous.  I'm also playing along with ATDML's A-Z challenge - with C for Cosmic Shimmer!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Shared Stamping

Welcome to my post for the CKCB Master Forgers' Blog Hop - you may have joined me from Kim, or just happened by - in which case, feel free to catch up with previous hops by starting at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog.  This month's hopping is sponsored by one of the Master Forgers, Sherri, and her Etsy Shop selling Ippity Stamps.

I've just returned from the most brilliant weekend away: scrapping with friends old and brand new!!  My UKScrappers team is part of a "house" and a bunch of the girls from our "house" teams got together for a meet up near Birmingham.  A few of us had done classes & challenges to share and the weekend was packed full with creativity, chat and chocolate ... plus 3 meals a day with NO washing up to do!  Heaven!!!!

One of the classes was given by my good friend Claire K.  I knew in advance that it would be perfect for this post as she was sharing a stamping technique which is surprisingly quick and easy to do and creates a really effective decorative frame for your page!  I saved some of my September Counterfeit Kit especially for this and, with Claire's permission, I took photos of my page as the class progressed so that I could share with you.
  1. Choose a decorative CLEAR stamp, ink, a photo and base card or lightly patterned paper.
  2. Decide what shape you want your stamped frame to be: circular, square, oval ... or something else entirely??? Cut the shape from scrap paper (I used the back of some unloved old stash but others used the inserts from page protectors). 

    I've used Kaisercraft Christmas Bauble stamps from their Silly Season line
    It's worth practising the next steps on some scrap paper before you try it on your decent stash ... or have a go on the back of your page first!
  3. Lay your scrap paper shape into position and keep it there with repositionable glue/sticky tak/paper clips/magnetic posts/paperweights/a third hand.
  4. The stamping around the shape will almost certainly leave a gap or an overlap, so work out where you can conceal this with an embellishment cluster, title letters or a journalling block.  Start stamping from this point, around the edge of the scrap paper shape - with part of the stamped image on the scrap paper and part on your background paper or card.

  5. I lined up the centre of the bauble along the edge of the circle with adjacent images just about touching. 
    It didn't always work exactly, but nobody but me will really care!
  6. Remove the scrap paper shape to reveal a crisp outline frame.

    Gold Stazon (lent by Claire) was really effective on my cardstock
  7. You can now use the paper shape as a template to cut patterned paper to fill the centre of the frame if you wish.  (I decide to mix it up and just use a partially curved strip of paper across the bottom of my circle)
  8. Place photo, title, embellishments journalling blocks etc onto your page, not forgetting to conceal that gap/overlap in the stamped frame.
Claire suggested using ric-rac/ribbon to outline the frame shape for added definition (or if your stamping has been less than perfect).  Mine was good enough for me, but with 20/20 hindsight I did wish that my join had been a little higher up the page.  I had to make quite a large embellishment to cover it up yet leave the page balanced.

As you can see I got carried away with another bauble stamp on my background and also used it to help make layered petals for my "flower".  I toned down the Quickutz Blossom die-cut title lettering by overstamping with an Artemio dotted circle stamp.

Many, many thanks to Claire for a great technique (and allowing me to share it today) and a special thank you to a class-mate, Karelyn, who lent me her circle-cutting system for my photo mats.  Aren't scrappers just the best, most generous people?!?!?!

The keen eyed amongst you may notice that I have supplemented my September Counterfeit Kit supplies with red cardstock and fancy ribbon ... but those pearls were in my kit, honest!  I just attacked them with a red Sharpie pen!

Oh and I have one more stamping thing to share with you before you hop over to Margie for more stamping surprises ... a free e-zine of The Best of 2010 from Craft Stamper - a seriously lovely UK stamping magazine.  Hurry though, as you only have until October 1st to download it!

ETA: Challenge combining as ever .... this is loosely based on Kaisercraft September Sketch #3, ties in with A Trip Down Memory Lane's "D" for Daughter and fits in with Scrapbookers Anonymous' stamping challenge - how many birds have I killed with this page? :P

Monday, 26 September 2011

100 Years of Company

I have worked on a voluntary, casual and, more recently, part-time basis at my local theatre for ten years and at the beginning of the month, the theatre celebrated its centenary: 100 years of plays, concerts, magicians, ballets, operas, comedians, films, boxing matches, circuses and entertainment of all kinds.  As part of the celebrations Illuminos created a stunning light show which was projected onto the outside of the building telling the story of the theatre's history.  You can see the lion that attacked one of its trainers, the fire that ravaged the building, the ghosts that haunt backstage, the bus that was pulled through the streets by the circus strong man, and many famous faces that appeared there over the years including Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel. The live show was brilliant so I'm really glad that Illuminos have recorded it so that I can share.

Best watched in Full Screen mode (and for some reason it goes black for a couple of seconds, 3 minutes in)

Friday, 23 September 2011

September Stamping

Over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog this month has been all about stamping - thanks to Sherri (a fellow Master Forger) and her Etsy Shop selling Ippity Stamps. Sherri is sponsoring this month's Blog Hops (on the 26th & 27th).  Challenge #3 was to create an embellishment with stamps.  I decided to take a plain manilla tag and see what I could do with a few scraps from my Spetember Counterfeit Kit.

I stamped a wood-grain frame directly onto the tag and added strips of patterned paper after running them through my EK Success border punch.  I then stamped the leafy circle (by Artemio) three times onto blue & white patterned paper and punched the images out with a 1" circle punch. Finally I stamped the large dotty circle (also Artemio) once onto the same patterned paper and punched four tiny circles out of it.  A little ribbon and some brown pearls and it was ready for a project.  The scraps are from the page I made here for Scrapbookers Anonymous.

I'm away on a scrapbooking retreat this weekend and I wanted a quick card to give to the organiser ... a quick trim of the ribbon, a fold of some cardstock and the addition of some stamped letter tiles and  ... hey presto! ... a card was created!  I can see me making a lot more of these tags - they are a great way to use up scraps and can fit equally well on a page or a card.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Traveller Has Returned!

It all seems a very long time ago.

Actually it's two months since No.1 Son left on his travels to India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali.  And two weeks since he returned - safe and sound!  Some of you may remember my extra worries about his well-being following a mis-adventure while celebrating his exam results.  His injuries did impact his journey - long coach and train journeys were even more uncomfortable than they might have been and trekking had to be contained in days trips.  I was less than happy to hear about motor cycle "taxis" being used, especially as No.1 Son's dreadlocks didn't fit well into the supplied riding helmet!!  But he has survived, with dozens of great tales to tell, hundreds of photos, several new culinary skills and a desire to do it all again!

I sent him off with a home-made travel themed smash book, but I honestly expected it to have more of an impact on his girlfriend; No.1 Son has never managed to keep a travel journal before.  Imagine my delight to find that it was nearly full of his jottings and drawings and small trinkets.  Apparently he would have filled it completely but for their total exhaustion during their seventh and final week - they simply sat reading books in the shade by the beach every day!!  It has taken a bit of a battering and got "slightly" wet at least once, but it is bursting with details of places, names of new friends, dates of excursions, prices and exchange rates, warnings of scams, journey times and recipes, ...

Before      &      After
No.1 Son is no longer on daily pain medication, which is good, but the corset has stretched beyond usefulness in the tropical heat, which is bad.  He's back to university at the weekend and hopefully a full check-up at the hospital very shortly after that.  Phew ... I just can't stop worrying can I?

Monday, 19 September 2011

Wet & Wild

Over on UKScrappers last week there was a fun challenge to use an advertising slogan as your title - and of course my mind went totally blank!!!  I get this when I answer surveys too - no matter how hard I think, I can neither recall the product when told the slogan, nor remember the slogan when faced with the product.  Yet while I'm watching the advert I'm usually irritated because I've seen/heard the combination so many times.  Marketing budgets are wasted on my butterfly brain!

Thankfully Google pointed me in the right direction and I eventually found a 7-up slogan from 1965/66 that fitted these rainy pictures from last July (please note the typical British summer holiday weather) when we visited Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads Fort.  I've used my September Counterfeit Kit along with a sketch from Sarah's Cards

The rain allowed us to imagine how much the Roman troops must have missed
the Italian sunshine - we could have done with some ourselves!!
I think No.3 Child is responsible for getting rain droplets onto the camera lens and chopping off my feet ... don't we all look like we're having a grrrrreat time .... aha, now that reminds me of a slogan I can link to the product - Tony the Tiger and his Frosties!

I also visited Housesteads in August 2009 - it poured then too!!  One day I'd like to walk the length of Hadrian's Wall, but given my track record, I'd better invest in some decent waterproofs first!

P.S. As I love combining challenges, this page also fits in with Scrapbookers Anonymous' "B" challenge as I've used Basic Grey paper and Buttons!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Cracking On At My Crop

Every month I attend a local crop.
Every month I prepare to take full advantage of 6 hours of uninterrupted scrapping time.
Every month I print dozens of new photos.
Every month I take along my latest Counterfeit Kit (& often the remains of the previous kit too).
Every month I spend the first hour or so unpacking, admiring pages & purchases ... and chatting.
Every month I spend the next hour or so pushing paper around, eating cake ... and chatting.
Every month I spend the final hour or so wondering where the time's gone, sticking stuff down ...

... and (you guessed it!) chatting!

Every month I come home with two 90% complete pages & at least a dozen un-scrapped photos!

Sometimes I use the photos during the month, sometimes they get taken (along with the newly printed photos) to the next month's crop.  I have had some ready-trimmed photos from a March trip, to Orvieto Cathedral, sitting in my crop bag since May or June ... and despite printing new photos for last Saturday's crop, I decided enough was enough and these pics deserved to make it onto a page!

The weekly challenge over at UKScrappers provided a lovely sketch from Ali Edwards' Cathy Zielske's (thank you Dawn!) Make It Mondays which was unfussy - a prefect foil for the luscious decoration on the front of the cathedral.  I've never been inside, though Hubby tells me that it is relatively plain with black & white striped walls - but the outside is absolutely overwhelming - I find it quite stunning that so much effort has been put into the facade which can't really be appreciated by us mortals on the ground.

Do you have photos that keep getting neglected when you are choosing what to scrap with?  Have you made a start with September's Counterfeit Kit?  Do you have a better crop chatting to scrapping ratio than me?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Ten on the Tenth: (Old) York

A mix of new and old buildings around the university lake
Hubby studied at York University.  He loved it and regularly reminisces about the pubs and the parties and the people he knew there, but I had never been to York - ever.  Thanks to Tesco points we arranged a short break during the last week of the summer holidays and took my Mum & Child No.3 along too.  The University has grown from 3000 students to 13000 in the last 3 decades which meant Hubby spent a lot of the first hour shaking his head at how things had changed and getting lost while he showed us around the campus!

It rained a lot during our first afternoon, but luckily it had dried up by the time we went on our Ghost Hunt ... well hardly a hunt, more like a tour around a few of the "haunted" areas with some storytelling and audience participation humiliation - great fun!

Apprentice stonemasons can train at York
York Minster is a beautiful cathedral and was top of my Mum's list of "Must Sees"; we were fortunate to enter in time to catch a wonderfully informative tour by a volunteer guide. The tour was free, but then we had just paid to enter the building - and like most of the attractions in York the entrance price is quite high, but does allow you free return visits for a year, so if you are staying a few days you can dip in and out of various venues and revisit your favourites.

No visit to York is complete without seeing at least some of the walls that surround the heart of the city.  Due to old legs and limited time we only walked one small section, but I'm determined to return soon and try to complete the circuit.

Child No.3 managed more wall walking than her Granny

I am reliably informed that Betty's is the place to go for Afternoon Tea ... however we baulked at queueing around the block and then paying £16.50 each for it ... so chose a smaller establishment and opted for a Cream Tea instead - it was delicious!

I knew that nobody would put up with me geocaching during our visit, but I did spot that there were two virtual caches that I could collect without disrupting the touring:

The Stonegate Devil
Holes in The Wall

Initially I was looking for a literal hole in the wall, but finally got the joke when I remembered that here in Britain we refer to cash points in banks as "holes" in the wall .... there are four banks here (Roman, Dark Ages, Norman & Medieval) - different levels of fortification over the ages.  This was a new location for Hubby too - though I think he had visited the pub of the same name during his student days!

Possibly the closest I shall ever dare to be to the "Chunnel"!
Our hotel was just outside York and we took the Park & Ride bus in each day to save parking costs and congestion.  On our last day we hopped off the bus early to visit the National Railway Museum - free (but the car park would have cost £9!) and despite three of us not being that enthusiastic about trains, we did enjoy a couple of hours there!

We visited quite a few of the historical attractions in York including Barley Hall (thank you again Tesco points) where there was also an exhibition of film and television costumes through the ages.  We saw wonderful suits, dresses and hats from films like "Elizabeth" and "The Kings Speech" and TV series like "Cranford" and "The House of Eliott".  You were even allowed to try on some of the hats!

Quite a flattering shape of hat
The Yorkshire Terrier

When walking around York you really have to keep looking up as a lot of the beautiful old architecture is still preserved (and some of the doorways are built for much shorter medieval folk) and this building in Stonegate was no exception - Hubby was inside buying some Yorkshire beers for his weekend!  After all he hadn't had a cream tea!

Want to see other people's ideas for Ten on the Tenth? Take a look over at Shimelle's place here!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Peachy Sweet Counterfeit Kit

Time to reveal another kit that's been counterfeited.  This month at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog we are being sponsored by the lovely Sherri (a fellow Master Forger) and her Etsy Shop - and this month's kit to copy is the September 2010 Kit from the Sweet Peach Crop Shop
There were 2 kits on offer - a main kit and a themed add-on kit plus a couple of paper and embellishment add-ons.  I loved the main, but in the end I chose the "Juicy" themed kit to counterfeit.

Sweet Peach Crop Shop's Juicy Themed Add-on from September 2010
As usual, I have almost zero of the supplies in this kit [are we completely out of touch with US manufacturers here in the UK?  No!  It's probably just me as I tend to shop in the sales so my stash is out of date even when it's new!] and I had to put my thinking cap on:

The kit-to-copy features dots, checks, stripes, yellows, greens and browns ... so I dug out some dotty,  checked and striped paper from a My Mind's Eye "Ooh La La" collection pack that I won last year and which features lots of green and yellow.  I knew I had some ancient ruler paper too.  I didn't have any corrugated alphas, so I substituted some swirly textured cardstock and I'll cut my own alphas with some Sizzlits dies.  Then I rooted through the rest of my papers to add some more counterfeit stash.

On the embellishment side, the kit-to-copy has some chipboard tags, lots of journalling tags, some pearls (at last something I can match exactly), some ribbon and bottle-caps ... bottle-caps?!  Never quite understood the need to scrap with them myself?! So I'll be using buttons instead!

Cardstock: 1 sheet each of white, duck-egg, aquamarine, brown, mustard cardstock, ⅔ sheet Chandler Dotted Swiss and 1 sheet of brown swirly embossed Bazzill

Simply Sweet (green pattern reverse - see below), Get in Line (striped on reverse- see below) from MME
2 x ⅓ sheet Hannah Blue & Ivory & 1 sheet Folded Wooden Tape Measures (both by K&Co)
Accessory Sheet For Him from MME's Ooh La La Collection
Ancient from Basic Grey's Archaic Collection
Fall Festival Cocoa & Primrose Damask (both by Bo Bunny Press)
the postcard reverse side of {Miss}fit Tough by Dream Street Papers

A selection of buttons from my stash
Beige & Brown pearl dots
Sei Poppy Alphabet Stickers
Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type alphas
MLS Butter Mini Alphabet stickers
Maya Road chipboard tickets
Some green lace, brown grossgrain and yellow ribbon 

And there you have it - a kit that I will use which has cost me exactly ZERO new money - can't wait to show you what I make with it now!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

September's Storytelling Sunday

Well it's that time of the month again .... Siân's Storytelling Sunday and I have taken added inspiration from Siân - from the book that she passed out last September ("Still Missing" by Beth Gutcheon) which I reviewed here.

It was back in the summer of 2000 and we had just arrived at our campsite near Grosseto, Italy after a week in a central Tuscany.  I say campsite, but we haven't stayed in a tent since one very wet fortnight in Brittany, when the tent leaked from both above and below!  No, we were staying in a two bedroomed mobile home and looking forward to mornings on the beach, afternoons in the pool and nights in proper (bunk) beds.  We always found holiday catering for ourselves was fun - fresh bread, salads, barbecued meats, some fries from the campsite take-away, followed by ice-creams from the bar - what's not to like?  (Especially with three fussy kids in tow)  Trouble was, we'd only just arrived and the campsite shop had already closed and both the cook and the pot washer were tired.  So we decided to treat ourselves to an evening meal in the open air restaurant and leave the supply shopping until the next morning.  While we relaxed afterwards with the remains of the carafe of vino rosso, the small people began to get restless and wanted to do something - the playground was right next to the restaurant, within sight of our table and all three went to swing or slide or climb.  After 5 minutes or so, while Hubby was settling the bill I went to fetch them to choose ice-creams before bed.

But the play area was now deserted.  No children at all, neither ours nor anyone else's!  And it was no longer dusk - it was really quite dark.

Retracing my steps I found that No.1 & No.2 Sons had established themselves by the arcade games opposite the play area (in fairness they had already been without computers & TV for a week which is a long time when you're 8 & 10), but that left Child No.3 ... they'd left her happily messing in the sand pit apparently.  This was when the doubts began to creep in, hearts began to race, stomachs began to churn ... it was dark everywhere except the bar/restaurant/arcade area where it was brightly lit and she was neither back at our table, nor ogling the ice-creams, nor watching the boys.  For a moment I wondered if I was looking for her in the wrong coloured clothes - was she wearing blue not pink? Was that why I hadn't spotted her?  No - she simply wasn't there!

It was a complicated walk to our mobile home but Hubby checked it in case she'd somehow wandered back there.  Meanwhile I had started asking at nearby tables if people had seen her, checked and re-checked the playground half a dozen times and was really beginning to worry.  Was she lost?  How could she ask for help in a foreign country?  Had she been taken? There were too many places to hide a small child on a campsite this big!  How would we find her? Hubby and I took turns to walk dash in increasingly large circles around the restaurant area to see if we could spot her but without success - we decided it was time to report her loss officially.

Of course this story does have a happy ending - on Hubby's way to the reception building he spotted her ahead of him - slightly teary, hand-in-hand with a kind soul who had found her wandering about between the nearby tents.  She'd taken a roundabout route back from the play area to our table to find it empty and then gone off into the dark to find us!  She was probably missing for about ten minutes, but they were, without a doubt, some of the worst minutes of my life.  I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Now as you can imagine, we do NOT have photos of this unhappy event.  In fact the holiday photos are all pretty poor, coming from a pre-digital time, but the story needed scrapping and so I picked a photo of Child No.3 from earlier that very day to use with this story.

Layout - Time - Jimjams
August Counterfeit Kit, used plus the UKS August Week 5 Challenge criteria
For more, hopefully happier, stories please pop over to Siân's and why not share one of your own - everyone is welcome.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

CKCB News!

WOW - over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog they have announced some new Master Forgers to join the creative team - some seriously talented and clever counterfeiters will be playing along each month!

It's nearly time to reveal the latest kit-to-copy too, but you'll have to wait for the 5th for that.  In the meantime, I have a small announcement of my own to make .... I have been busy with again in order to draw a name from the kind people who commented on my CKCB August blog hop post (here) and this is what it produced for me:

And the number 7 commenter was the lovely Mary B       Congratulations Mary - I'll be in touch to arrange delivery of your prize!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Still Missing Returns Home

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive one of Siân's passed books (details here) via Rinda.  The book, "Still Missing" by Beth Gutcheon, started its journey last September and it will now be returning home after a year of travelling around the world, having visited Amy, Jacky, Mel, and Becky as well.

"Still Missing" and a beautiful card from Rinda
"Still Missing" describes every parent's worst nightmare: the disappearance of a child.  Alex, not quite seven years old, doesn't complete his two block walk to school one morning and his mother Susan, doesn't realise until he fails to return home that afternoon.  The book takes you through her initial panic, the involvement of the police, the media prying, the recriminations, the waiting for news of a breakthrough ...

I tried reading it each evening in the half-hour before "lights out", but found that my sleep patterns were being  affected by me empathising too closely with Alex's mother, so I had to find time in the day to read instead.  As the novel progresses, hope for the missing boy diminishes yet the reader's investment in the story increases - we all want a happy ending, but of course we know that cases like these do not always end happily and Beth Gutcheon raises the tension levels as each sighting, lead and "breakthrough" comes and goes.  As time progresses the boy's mother is encouraged to start letting go, to move on, even to think about having another child!  Naturally enough she cannot do any of these things and continues to press the police and media to keep searching for her son.

Four years ago Madeline McCann, aged just four, went missing from a Portuguese holiday apartment and her parents are still waiting, still hoping, still trying to be a family for their remaining two children.  Beth Gutcheon's book, written in 1981, gave me a deeper insight into the McCann family's continuing suffering as Maddy is still missing.

Thank you Siân for sending this book on its travels to me - it was not a comfortable read, but I am a better person for having read it.