Just A Little Show and Tell

07:57 Karen 6 Comments

A quick post, before I shoot off to work (and oh boy am I glad to be back) to show what I made with Shimelle's Polka Dot Papers and Autumn Apples Embellishments last week.

Place setting for Thanksgiving.

For this page I also used this digi kit too.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. I am glad to be back at work.

2. The three young girls who offered to help at Rainbows yesterday turned out to be far more helpful than I had anticipated - note to self - don't judge on appearances!

3. I live in hope that it will stop raining some time soon!



Blog Hopping Love xxx

19:47 Karen 4 Comments

I originally started blogging as a way of keeping my parents updated of our day to day lives. They live almost 200 miles away, you may not feel that that is a great distance if you live in the states. Gracia is their only grandchild and so by blogging I was able to keep them informed of any exciting events that happened, complete with photographs which my dad would 'snaffle' off my blog and on our too infrequent visits we would find them on the walls in his office.

I than discovered the blogging community and was amazed when my blog hit 1,000 views in September, this year. I was surprised that people would be interested is our daily life!

I now blog more frequently than I used to and find it therapeutic to write down my thoughts and recollections of the day but I also, through Shimelle's class, have discovered a whole new world of bloggers that I follow for various reasons to add to the ones I had cyberstalked previously.

The blogs I follow most frequently are:-

Kirsty Wiseman - because there have been times when, whilst drinking a cup of tea and blog hopping, I have come across her blog, read it and snorted with laughter and tea has escaped through my nose! Not a pleasant sight but it happened!

Papermaze's blog - because of the awesome designs and brilliant instructions.

Pencil Lines - how can one sketch be transformed so differently by such inspiring designers?

Karen Cole
- you have to go and look at this girl's work and you will be blown away!

Allison Kimball - a woman who is an inspiration to me, a wonderful mother, devout follower of God and an brilliant scrapper too!

SJ - just because she is one of the funniest people I know and she has such a way with words.

And a few new ones I have discovered over the past three weeks:-

Amy - love her scrapping and journaling style.

Sian - this woman is simply a genius at writing things down in a unique way - so funny.

Angela - another very funny lady (can you see a theme running through here - to get on my blog list you have to make me laugh)

Eileen - just because she is my bud and I like to know what is going on that she hasn't told me about (I am very nosey really perhaps that's why I love blog hopping)!

There are so many more blogs out there waiting to be discovered I just can't wait!

But I will leave you with a couple of peeps of a project I made this week.

AND yes looking at this you can see I hand cut 48 leaves for my tree!

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. There is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

2. The heating is on - the water is hot and as soon as I pick Gracia up from her ballet lesson I will be in that hot bath I have promised myself all day.

3. Clean sheets on the bed to snuggle into after my bath - bliss.



In A Better Place?

16:48 Karen 6 Comments

Apologies for a long and rambling post without any photos!

Am I in a better place than I was this time last year? That's a question I have been asking myself today and I think that the answer must be yes.

Although, I am soon to loose the majority of my lounge, due to renovations and I have the prospect of having the washing machine moved into what's left of the usable bit of the lounge - I am in a better place because we have a beautiful bathroom now which we didn't have this time last year so I can now take long languishing baths instead of quick showers.

Even though I am the same weight I was last year I am a little more comfortable with it and feel that I have a new incentive to get fitter.

The sadness of loosing Dad is counteracted by the knowledge that he would have rather have left us quickly and painlessly, as he did, than deteriorate to such an extent that he could no longer do the things he loved and that kept him going.

Work is more settled this year and I feel that I know what I need to do to get the best out of all situations there. I feel I am more in control of the things I should have control over.

Over the past year I have mellowed and given Gracia much more Independence which means that she is out far more - a good thing because we appreciate the time we spend together much more and argue much less. Also it means that David and I spend more time together and are rediscovering the pleasure we get from each other's company - he says it is practice for when Gracia goes to Uni.

So taking all things into consideration I am in a much better place.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. Accepting what life has in store for you and looking for the best in it.

2. Kiera and I managed to walk much further today.

3. The piece of technology I have been struggling with for the past 2 weeks has fallen into place and it is much easier to use than I had thought.



A Little 'Make It On Monday' Project

14:14 Karen 5 Comments

I cannot believe that Blogger just did what it did! I took ages to write this blog entry and it lost it grrrrrrrrrrrrr. So I will start again.

Last week, during my confession that I loved to journal, I mentioned that I was making a mini album for Gracia. I like to make her one each year to celebrate her achievements over the previous 12 months and I have managed to whittle my 2 sides of A4 down enough to fit onto little journalling spots for this Match Book Album.

I made the hybrid elements for this little book using a digi kit from here. I am so in love with digi kits at the moment - for the miserly sum of $4.00, which equates to about £2.50 (there are even some free kits too), you can download a kit and then use it as many times as you like!

I have included instructions for making this little album below or you may want to wonder on over to Avital's blog and look at her instructional video on how to make a hybrid board book - that girl is just so good at these!

Instructions for making the book:-

You will need
A piece of cardstock 3 1/4 ins x 12 ins
Picture paper

Thin card



Glossy Accents or equivalent

Autumn Apples Kits from

Fold the piece of cardstock at 5 ins, 5 1/4 ins and 10 3/4 ins to make the matchbook cover.

Next print out 18 pieces of background paper measuring 3 in x 5 in. 9 are polka dot and 9 are apples.

Make 9 journalling spots using Word and import the pictures of the apples and stamps to decorate them. Also make the front title and journaling spot for the back of the book.

I printed the background paper and the journalling spots onto Picture Paper - this is a similar weight to photocopy paper but has a coating on to prevent the ink sinking in - I got mine from ASDA ages ago.

In Adobe Photoshop Elements or similar program, resize and print out a set of embellishments to decorate the pages of your book. The 'brads' were coated in Glossy Accents to give them a shiny surface and to add dimension.

Cut 4 pieces of lightweight card 10 inches x 3 inches and fold them in half to form the base for your pages. Cover these with the background paper you have printed out, alternating the apple and polka dot papers. I then rounded the corners of mine.

Line up the middle of your 4 sets of pages with the 1/4 inch spine of the cover and hold them in place with bulldog clips. Decided where you want to punch your holes and punch 2 small holes. Thread a piece of narrow ribbon through the holes and tie tightly, I then threaded beads onto the ends of the ribbon. Punch 2 more small holes through the flap and again tie a piece of ribbon through these, knotting tightly, and tie it into a bow.

Now you book is ready to add photos and decorate. I used buttons, printed embellishments and thread to decorate mine but you can use anything you wish but beware not to make it too fat - I did and ended up having to add two red extension pieces to enable the book to close!

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. I am just about to go for a little walk with Kiera in the brilliant autumn sunshine

2. My 'black mood' has lifted and all is well with the world once more.

3. 1 week down and only one more to go before I can return to work 'fighting fit'.



Shimelle Digitals - The Baker's Dozen

16:00 Karen 18 Comments

How thrilled and delighted am I? I really cannot put it into words. I have been chosen by the lovely and talented Shimelle to be one of her 'Baker's Dozen' 13 ladies hand picked to design with her digital kits. And wow what a talented bunch of ladies they are - pop along to their blogs and see what they have done with this fabulous kit. In truth, when I got the e-mail and saw how good the other ladies are, I seriously thought Shimelle had e-mailed me by mistake, this was reinforced when I realised that there are in fact 3 Karens on the team so she must have meant one of them! But no it was me she wanted and wow am I amazed!

As a starter we have each made a page using Shimelle's Long and Winding Road Kit and the FREE add on kit. Some pages are digi and some, like mine, are hybrid. This just goes to show how versatile the kits are. You can go totally digi as many of the ladies have (are you now standing back in awe at their talent?) or you can print out the elements, papers etc - cut them out and use them as you would paper scrapping supplies - hybrid scrapping. I have gone down this route as has the very talented Karen C.

As a thrifty scrapper I love the fact that for a very small payment I can get something that I can use time and time again, changing the colour and size as and when I wish - genius I would say, wouldn't you? For me hybrid scrapping is the way forward.

Go and look on their blogs at the other 'Baker's Dozen' pages - then after you have got your breath back from gasping in amazement maybe go and have a little peek at Shimelle's kits and maybe buy one - go on I know you want to really.

allison http://hugharts.blogspot.com/
anso http://glitteradventure.blogspot.com/
avital http://www.CreativityPrompt.com
dolly http://dollysdreamings.typepad.com
elisa http://hybrid-alien.blogspot.com
helen http://lovingthetraditional.blogspot.com/
karen c. http://redartscrapping.blogspot.com
kate http://libertycottage.blogspot.com/
nadine http://hello-love.org/
rani http://www.scrapyoga.typepad.com/
sheri http://www.auntierere.blogspot.com/
yvonne http://yvonnes-inkyfingers.blogspot.com/

For this post I have just one reason to be extremely cheerful:-

I am one of Shimelle's Baker's Dozen!



Ok - I confess - My name is Karen and I love to journal!

13:14 Karen 10 Comments

I am a journaller! It's become clear to me today that there are times when I love to journal. I am working on a little project, similar to one I did last year. A little mini book about Gracia and the things she has achieved over the last year of which we are immensely proud of.

I sat in the kitchen, with my leg up on a chair, and started to write about her achievements this year. Before you could say 'Jack Robinson' I had written 2 A4 pages. Now I know our girl is fabulous but how big is this mini book going to be? Not being enough for all that writing, I can tell you. So I got to thinking about how sometimes I can write 2 pages and sometimes I have trouble coming up with a title for a page. I have concluded that it all comes down to how emotional I feel at the time. I pour out my heart onto my pages at times and journal about the good and the bad things.

Over the years I have documented how David came along and offered an alternative to the relationship I was in at the time and boy what a fantastic alternative it turned out to be.

I have made pages about the good and bad times of being the mum of a teenage girl.

about how my life changed once I became a mother

and about how we felt when we finally held Gracia in our arms for the first time.

The title of this page which is below the journalling is - I loved you in a heartbeat.

I love to journal and find it quite cathartic when I am feeling emotional, I like to put it down on paper and having the opportunity to add pretty paper and photos too is just the business in my opinion.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. Good friends who know exactly what you need and when you need it - thank you Eileen.

2. Kiera and I managed the short circuit a little quicker today - every day in every way I am getting better!

3. Writing about her achievements make me appreciate my girlie even more.



Taking stock and re-evaluating

16:58 Karen 11 Comments

This weekend had a some surprises in store for me - the main one being this:-

I knew I was going into hospital for a little op on my leg and had been told that this would be done by laser treatment and that I would be back at work on Wednesday! The consultant reconsidered once I arrived at the hospital and decided to do the procedure surgically resulting in a leg bandaged from thigh to ankle and two weeks off work.

After, one day I am sooooo bored. I have to have my leg elevated for two weeks and take two walks a day - ouch - today took me 3 times the normal time to hobble with the dog on our short circuit.

I am looking on the time off as a blessing as Shimelle's prompt for Blogging for Scrapbookers, today was to identify something you want to work towards and document it.

Well, I am determined, for several reasons, to get fit and to change my unhealthy lifestyle. My dear dad passed away suddenly last month and it made me realise that I am not immortal. I was an older mother when Gracia was born and I am determined to see her grow up and hopefully see her children grow up too. So what am I going to do about it? For a start I must loose some weight, I must walk more, I must stress less and I absolutely must enjoy and appreciate all the blessings that have been bestowed on me. So starting today:-

I promise myself to take more care of my health, to eat more sensibly and to take more exercise.

I don't know if I will achieve my goal but I have made the commitment to try.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. I have some very exciting news to share with you on Thursday!

2. 2 weeks at home should be viewed as an opportunity to get my life in better order.

3. My super duper girlie just phoned to say she achieved an excellent result in her Biology test - a child who works hard without being nagged is such a blessing xxx



Welcome to my world.

19:29 Karen 16 Comments

Well, hello and welcome to my lovely home. Come right through to my kitchen, my favourite room in the house, sit yourself down and I will make you a cup of tea - would you like a piece of cake to go with that?

My kitchen and dining room are a real labour of love, hand crafted by David (know as 'The Perfectionist'). See these cupboards, the ones with the piles of ironing on that is waiting to be ironed, he made those - not just from planks of wood but from Canadian Redwood Trees that be bought from a local estate. They were ones that had blown down in the big storm of 1987. He had them made into planks and then he made the cupboards from them - aren't they a gorgeous colour.

All the beams in the new part of the cottage are made from Oak trees that also blew down in the same storm.

I see you're looking at my Aga (ops sorry I still have the underwear hanging up waiting to dry)! That has a story to tell too. We bought it second hand from a local manor house when they bought a new oil fired one. It is coal powered and keeps the kitchen, and our bedroom above, toasty warm in the winter. See that beam above the Aga - well, David found that in a skip, pulled it out, cleaned it up and had it put in above the fire place when we had the chimney for the new part of the house built.

I am glad you noticed my kitchen floor - another thing about the kitchen I love. When we first ordered the flooring we had two Golden Retrievers and so the obvious choice for the main colour was 'muddy paw print brown'. We designed the pattern and had it made to measure - the lino is just so easy to mop clean.

The wall tiles are 8 different colours and handmade - they have such a gorgeous sheen to them. David painted the walls the exact orange of the orange tiles and this makes the kitchen always look bright and sunny.

Have you noticed the lights? They are in fact Victorian gas lights that have been converted to electricity. So in keeping with the rest of the house.

This is perhaps one of my favourite pieces of art in our whole house and has hung in the dining room for the last 8 years. It was made by Gracia when she went to a nature reserve craft day with her now best friend, it was one of the first times they had been out together. I love it and she insists that it depicts a rabbit jumping from one hole to another - I am sure you can see what she means.

My dining room is the room which has many of my favourite things in - photographs on the Welsh Dresser,

Pre-Raphalite prints

and my shelf of red and gold nic-naks.

That curved door to the pantry was another of David's finds. He bought the door and then made a curved cupboard to fit it.

I love looking out of my french windows at the garden outside and

I'm glad I had the chance to show you some of David's hard work. We have lived here for 16 years and he has spent almost every weekend building the new half of the cottage and renovating the old part. He is such a good man.
Oh, you've finished your tea - would you like another? Ok if you have to get on but thanks for dropping by and I hope to see you again soon. I will just see you out and then I had better make a start on the ironing.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. This blog post has made me appreciate how lucky I am, both with my man and my house.

2. Gracia got 93% in her Chemistry test this week.

3. A whole weeks ASDA shop done and put away this evening - what a relief that I don't have that to do at the weekend.


When the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

18:09 Karen 11 Comments

You may think that just popping round to your best bud's house for a cup of tea would be quite an ordinary experience but no - today was one of those extraordinarily fabulous times when we were both on the same wavelength, both fairly chilled and neither of us had anything to moan about. Yes I do moan sometimes but only to my friends and I try to keep it to a minimum.

We spent a fabulous 90 minutes, most of them in fits of giggles. So what exactly did we find so funny. One thing, that always makes me snort with laughter is - earigami. You may not be familiar with this ancient art but it is just soooo funny. Eileen has two rescue greyhounds, Charile and Missie, well Missie is such an old softie that she allowes me to fold her ears so that they double back on themselves and lay over the top of her head. It is such a funny sight that even thinking about doing it is making me giggle while sitting typing this! Charlie has his own special talent of holding his ears at such an angle that they look like Dobbie's ears from Harry Potter - equally as funny in my opinion. We named this art earigami - the ancient art of ear folding!

We ate gingerbread men (a bargain from the local news agents down to 50p for 6) drank tea and put the world to rights.

But the thing that made us double up with laughter was when Eileen said she had seen my new 'hole' on my blog and asked for an explanation.

I described it to her in detail and she said not to fall down it because I would have trouble getting out of it. This was a reference to my lack of height - I am just a smidge under 5 foot tall! She then started to laugh rather loudly before saying that it wouldn't matter if I did fall down the hole as my ample bosom would save me from hitting the bottom! She said I would be left suspended by my boobs with my legs dangling down the hole. So not only did she remind me that I have a lack of height but also that I am very top heavy. Do I mind - No not in the slightest as that is what friendship is all about - laughing at yourself, laughing at each other and laughing with each other. I am so grateful to have such a funny friend! (Waves to Eileen when you read this and just to remind you - there will be payback for this)!

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. The girls are fed, the lounge is hoovered, David is going out and I am chilling and maybe doing a little light scrapping if that's what takes my fancy.

2. Friends are more valuable than all the wealth in the world.

3. That after telling David the 'hole and boob' story he said "Well the truth always hurts, I suppose" - love that we can share a joke with each other, even it it is usually at my expense.



... 'A Few Of My Favorite Things' ...

20:52 Karen 6 Comments

The Blogging for Scrapbookers prompt today is 'Favorite Things'. As many of my los are about my favourite things I will tell today's story using pages to illustrate it.

Last year a made a lo about 'A Few Of My Favorite things' and so in keeping with the Sound of Music theme 'Let's start at the very beginning - a very good place to start!'

Listed on this lo are 'a few' of my favourite things :-
  • Beach walks
  • Oriental lilies
  • Kisses from David
  • Rennie Mackintosh mugs
  • Baking cakes
  • My DM boots
  • Little pots
  • Home
  • Stencilling
  • My camera
  • Puppies
  • My FatMan iTube
  • Baby elephants
  • Doodling
  • Friends
  • Convent Garden Market
  • The blue bridge at Bergholt
  • Decorated elephants
  • and of course Gracia's cheeky face.
It stands to reason that scrapbooking is also one of my favourite things so :-

and how I feel about my scrapbook pages:-

Of course another of my favorite things is spending time with my family

My beautiful dog

My favourite boy in the whole wide world

And the best girl a mum could ask for

So these are a few of my favourite things. Just recalling them reminds me how lucky I am.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. My life is filled with blessings in abundance.

2. I had an unexpected reward today - an online supplier had sent me the wrong order, in fact the order they sent did not include an item that was £2.50 and paid for but did include an item that was £13.50 which I was not invoiced for and did not order! When I e-mailed to say they had sent the wrong item and in fact has sent something that was £11.00 more than I had paid they e-mailed back to say they will send the item that was missing and to keep the other one. So it just goes to prove the old adage - honesty pays!

3. I am looking forward to finishing the last few invoices that are languishing on my desk and getting off to bed.