Saturday 26 November 2011

Passing the book

Well today is the day that I Pass the Book.  Painted Pages is about to find a new owner ... drum roll please ...I had five people asking to be included in the draw and I have numbered them in the order in which they left their comment

  1. Cheri
  2. Rinda
  3. Mel
  4. Jo.C
  5. Jennifer
I have found a dice throwing website where you can choose the number of sides on the dice so without further ado ...
Number three - Congratulations Mel - drop me an email and I'll get it in the post to you.  I think you will really enjoy it.  Thanks again to Sian for organising this project - it's been great!

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Two things

Firstly, I am going to draw the name for the Pass the Book on Saturday so if you are interested let me know.  Only three names in the mix so even to someone with my poor maths skills, it would appear pretty good odds to being lucky!  If you want to add your name, please make sure you do by Friday night.  And please don't be put off by the painty sound of the book, I found it really interesting to see how I could transfer what I was learning about really looking at a photo and the colours within it for choosing colours and patterns and embellishments for paper page layouts too.
Secondly, do any of you live within easy reach of Colchester in Essex?  If so, do you fancy joining us on the first Saturday in December for a lovely crop day organised by Eclectic Keepsakes?  Full details are on my dear friend Denise's blog.  She's doing a pretty card and envelope class I believe.  It's all a bit top secret so I can't tell you any more as I don't know myself but I am sure it will be lovely as she is one very talented lady.  One of the other classes is being taken by Ann Freeman who comes up with some rather clever layouts and projects.  A CD Calendar is how it is described on her blog, but knowing Ann, this is probably just an excuse to make something using twelve photos of her heart-throb Matt Cardle!
Please try and join us, contact details are available at otherwise known as the Queen of the Cupcake, Mrs Karen Moss!
I - for one - am counting the days .....

Sunday 20 November 2011

Out of my comfort zone

I've really enjoyed browsing through the book that I received via Pass the Book last month.  Painted Pages by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare.  I am the first to admit that I'm not a keen painter.  Well actually, I'm not a painter at all, so I relished the opportunity to look at what someone with that kind of talent can do.  Now in the spirit of Pass the Book, I chose a page in the book and used it for inspiration to make a page of my own.  
 The thing that attracted me to this page was the image of beach huts that it put into my mind.  I do love beach huts.  Fortunately for me, I can get to coast line that has beach huts by the dozen within an hour and a half drive from home.  So there was no problem in finding a photo for my layout.  There was no way I could just have painting on my page - far too scary - so I've incorporated a bit of mixed media here!  I added some texture to the photo by uploading the photo to my phone and using an app that does special effects and I like the way it has altered the look of the beach huts.
I wanted to get a bit of texture there too, so the quote is on card with the edges distressed, and the clouds are from some patterned tissue paper.  The quote is from a rub on that Rinda included in her package of goodies to me earlier this week.  I loved the sentiment behind it and decided that in keeping with doing something out of the ordinary for me, I would - write it out in my own scruffy handwriting.
So there we have it.  Something totally different for me, and something that I am reasonably pleased with.  It doesn't show too well, but the top half of the page has been sprayed with glimmer mist, and I painted round the edge with the same liquid too.  Rather heavy handed as you will see from how the paper got so wet it no longer lies flat!
Now, we all know what comes next don't we?  I have to find a new owner for the book.  So, without making a fuss like I did last time, I'm putting out the call for people who would like to read the book for themselves.  If you are interested - let me know by leaving a comment.  

Saturday 19 November 2011

Butter wouldn't melt ...

Look at the sweet innocent Puppy
Look at the happy little penguin showing off a gorgeous crystal embellishment that Deb Turtle saw in a shop and thoughtfully decided to buy and send it off to me {thanks Deb!}
And while I put the gorgeous crystal penguin somewhere safe .....
GULP! .........

Thursday 17 November 2011

Back in blogland

I've been a bad blogger recently, haven't posted anything and haven't really been in a crafty frame of mind.  It's a combination of things really, and I seem to have slipped into feeling a bit miserable.  It's been a whole combination of things, six months down the line my husband still hasn't found another job and it's affecting both of us.  He's not sleeping well and I'm just plain worried about him I guess.  Our daughter was pretty poorly at the beginning of the month with food poisoning, the weather's turned miserable, a close friend of the family died aged just 64 and work is just full on at the moment for me.  So I've been feeling a bit 'down in the mouth' but yesterday I received something in the post that brought a smile to my lips
A package of rather lovely craftiness all the way from sunny California!  I won a giveaway from Rinda over at Gallo Organico a little while ago and this is packed full of new papers and stamps and all manner of lovely things.  Just what I need to get my scrapping mojo back on track.
Hopefully this will help me turn the corner and back to regular blogging !

Wednesday 9 November 2011

October 4x6 Photo Love

I am really enjoying this project that is organised by Shimelle where every month you increase the number of photos on a layout and this month we had to use 10.  Eeek!  One of the main problems that I am having is finding a large amount of photos all linking to the same theme - clearly I need to go on that round the world trip to rectify the situation!  So for this month I used some photos that my husband took when he went on a trip to Florence and the surrounding area in Italy last year.  Instead of doing a normal layout, we had to use a divided page protector.  (Which I didn't have so the trusty sewing machine came out and I made a do it yourself version - seems to have worked just as well though!)

The background to him going on this trip always makes me smile.  Friends of ours went to this area a couple of years ago and my husband had said how much he would like to go there too during the very early summer before it got too hot and crowded with tourists.  Now, I work in a school and am not allowed time off during term time.  Just because we have 12 weeks off at various times of year, they don't seem keen on letting us have other time off in addition or in place of that time.  It's a very inflexible place to work!  So I said to my husband that as it was a place he really wanted to see,  and June was the ideal time to go, why didn't he have a few days away with his friend?
So one evening we went to our friend's home and the husbands went upstairs to their study to book their trip while we shared a glass or two of wine downstairs.  After a while they returned downstairs, smiling and already planning the places they would be visiting.  'All booked?' we enquired.  'Yes' they happily replied.  'When are you going?' asked my friend to her husband.  He told her the dates.  All went quiet.  Apparently he had chosen the weekend that coincided with their 30th wedding anniversary.  Ooops! 

Sunday 6 November 2011

Storytelling Sunday - Vertically Challenged

Can you guess what Lulu, Kylie Mynogue and I have in common?  Natural youthful looks? An ability to look good in gold hot pants? or not being very tall?  I'll leave it to you to decide while telling you a tale from my childhood.
My sister is 8 years older than me.  This means that by the time she was a teenager, I was at quite an annoying age.  So every now and again, she would try and get me into trouble.  At least that's how it seemed to me.  Our home had a brick built storage shed attached to the back of it and we kept things like bikes, lawn mowers and dad's diy tools out there.  It wasn't very big, and it had a small window on one side.  To try and make it blend in with the garden, mum and dad had planted a forsythia hedge around it and by the time of this story taking place, the forsythia had grown the height of the shed and dad had cut a square out of it so that the window could be opened and closed.  We hardly ever locked the shed up and the key was kept in the coal bunker out of harms way. 
So one day, Gill told me that she wanted to see what it was like to be locked inside the shed.  Honestly!  That is what she said.  Being a gullible child - I didn't question her.  We went outside, got the key, she went in the shed and closed the door and I was left outside to put the key in the lock and turn it.  Now it hadn't been used much and over the years the lock mechanism had become very stiff but eventually the key turned and she was locked in.  I went off to play in the garden and after a very little while, she decided she'd had enough.  She called me over and told me to unlock the door.  Well I was only about 7, and the key was very stiff in the lock and I just couldn't do it.  She did not seem keen for me to go and tell mum what had happened so I suspect that she wasn't really supposed to be in there!  
Then she had the bright idea of opening the window and for me to hand the key over to her so she could unlock it from the inside.  Brilliant!  Only I couldn't reach.  The ground must have sloped slightly on the outside and the forsythia hedge was too tall and prickly for me to reach over and hand the key over.  I was only little remember.  I suspect she started to get annoyed with her little sister and get cross with me.  I can still see her reaching out through the window as far as she could, and little old  me on tippy toes leaning into the hedge as far as I could, and the key dangling from my fingers and oh so very nearly reaching hers ... and then I dropped it.  Our eyes met across the hedge, hers in horror and mine in 'oh no, she's going to be very mad at me'.  The key fell through the hedge and the more I shook the hedge to find it, the further into the foliage it fell until neither of us could see it any more.
At this point I obviously decided that I'd done all I could and it was time to go indoors.  And as Gill had banned me from telling mum what we were doing, obviously I couldn't tell her what had happened.  I think I may have been sitting in the dining room with a glass of warm milk watching Blue Peter when mum noticed that Gill hadn't been seen for quite some time.  Gill may have been trying to get our attention but the walls of the shed were thick and I may have had the tv on loud ;-)  I mumbled something about 'she might be locked in the shed' at which point dad arrived home from work and the two of them had to go out there and root around in the hedge to find the key and release her.
I can't remember who was in the most trouble.  Her for leading me into doing something I shouldn't or me for not telling anyone what had happened.  But I'm pretty sure that dropping that key was an accident.
Or was it?

Saturday 5 November 2011

Happy post

You remember how Sandie stole that book  won the book that I so enjoyed about Mail Art?  Well, it looks like either she's a fast learner, or she has a natural flair for such things, as look what dropped onto my doormat this morning:

 and look what was inside it...

such a cute notepad!  Thank you so much Sandie - I love it. 
It's lucky I was quick out into the hallway to retrieve it as we have been puppy sitting my daughter's dog
and she was very quick off the mark to see what the noise was.  I expected a bit of a tug of war if she got her paws on it before me!  My daughter has been suffering this week with a bout of food poisoning.  I've never seen her in so much pain or distress.  So we had little Coco for her at the beginning of the week as she did not have the strength to look after her and then we had her later in the week too as once she was feeling better, her boyfriend had organised a night away in a posh hotel 'up north' somewhere and then a day visiting his brother.  It was lovely to have the puppy, she's quite a character and it seems very quiet now they have come to collect her and take her back to her proper home.

Friday 4 November 2011

How the other half live

I was speaking to one of our board of Governors before we went for our celebration afternoon yesterday and she referred to where we were going as 'Downton Abbey'.  It's not a programme I watch so it didn't mean much to me.  However, when I drove through the gates and saw this
I could guess what she meant.  This is just the main part of the house, to the right is another 'wing' with tennis courts behind it.  When I tell you that about 150 members of staff went and more than 100 cars parked on the front lawn you can imagine the size.  And yet although it was very grand, it was not pretentious inside.  This house is quite obviously some one's home, and not just something for show.  Yes, there were chandeliers in every room and oil paintings of the owners in the drawing room, but alongside that were framed photos of them dressed in silly costumes and pulling faces for the camera with grandchildren at Disney.  The furniture was very regal and yet they obviously have fun in this home.  There was a large dresser in the hallway, for coats and hats to hang from.  The top of it was covered with all manner of hats, from knitted berets to panama hats, bowler hats and floppy sun hats - dozens of them.
It was a lovely gesture from a lady who has been on our board of Governors for over 20 years and who has taken a genuine interest in the school.  I think we all appreciated being given a few hours off work to relax and enjoy a collective pat on the back. 

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Santa's little helper

Well I have finally done all my labels
I've kept them really simple - just chose a fancy font and am adding glitter to make them festive.  I start off enthusiastic and by number 18 I'm in a very 'Bah Humbug' kind of 'next year someone else can do this' mood!  Which is why I've streamlined them this year!  I seem to have acquired rather a lot of buff luggage labels and this has been a good project to use a few of them up.  I do like the idea of using labels on layouts and had no idea you could get them in so many shapes and sizes ;-)
We had only two little trick or treaters this year which was very disappointing, and has left me with two bowls of sweets which I suppose I will have to eat myself.  I am currently eating my way through a bag of candy shrimps and bananas.  I don't even really like them, why am I eating them????
Trying desperately hard to think of a story for Sian's storytelling Sunday but am lacking inspiration ... still, I have a few days to go to come up with something.  I have 53 years of memories, surely there must be something worth sharing!
Tomorrow will be a very different day at school.  School closes at 1.20 and all staff have been invited to the home of the Chair of Governors for a celebration afternoon.  Our exam results were simply outstanding this year, we are officially the 4th highest girls' school in the whole of the UK, and this is a thank you from the Board of Governors for all the hard work in getting such good results.  By all accounts, it is a huge house.  It is definitely a listed historic building and the word 'mansion' has been mentioned.  I can hardly wait!  Sure beats sitting at a desk all afternoon.  If there are any photo opportunities I will be sure to share them!