16:09 Karen 7 Comments

Prompt 5 (I know I haven't even got around to opening prompt 3 yet) for True Stories was about writing journaling and getting someone to fill in the blanks. Shimelle directed us to this site - big mistake because it is addictive. So I used the 'Dream Man' questions and this is what I got! Words in italics are the ones I typed into the site.

My "Dream Man" should, first of all be very gentle and artistic. He should have a physique like Jonny Depp, a profile like Orlando Bloom, and the intelligence of a hippo. He must be polite and must always remember to demand my cup cakes, to tip his banana and to take my ear lobe when crossing the street. He should move passionately, have a sensible voice, and should always dress adventurously. I would also like him to be an inventive dancer, and when we are alone he should whisper chocolate nothings into my wrist and hold my messy orchestra. I know a parrot is hard to find. In fact the only one I can think of is David

I think this sums him up perfectly!

I was inspired to make a page from the 2nd prompt and was forced, by Karen, to delve into the depths of crackle paint and Perfect Pearls!

I had some from a job lot of stuff I bought and my intention was, as with a lot of newfangled stuff, to keep it for a token length of time and then dispose of it. When Karen got out her black crackle paint, not to be out done, as usual, I couldn't resist saying that I had some (I should have known better). Will I ever learn? (note to self - read yesterday's blog letter). I also had to get out my solitary pot of Perfect Pearls. Well, that was it, before you could say Jack Robinson - or more aptly Tim Holtz, I was crackling and pearling and liking it too. So the result was the three little houses, donated to my by Karen as a little incentive to get crackling, on my page.

Note to my dear friend - I missed you yesterday, saying "I'm liking it" is not the same without you to laugh at me for saying it!

I have an evening of visiting the blogs of the participants on the True Stories class and the 67 posts I have neglected to read on Google Reader. Also I must update the Eclectic Keepsakes blog with the beautiful photographs that Wendy McKee has sent me for the class she is doing next Saturday. So lots to do then, oh dear - not time for paying David's bills and typing up invoices. Heeeee heeeeee heeeee.

Reasons to be Cheerful:-

1. An old dog being taught new tricks (thanks Karen).

2. Secret scrapping, when I am supposed to be typing up invoices.

3. Although it is going to take 5 days, at least my laptop CD drive can be fixed under warranty.



Dear Karen ........

07:26 Karen 2 Comments

The prompt from yesterday's True Stories was about writing a letter - so who better to write one to than to myself. As I have no photos to accompany this letter I have included a page I made a while ago which is a sort of letter to Gracia - called ' A Mum's Advice (or Mistakes I Have Made)

Dear Karen

This is a difficult letter to write because you don't like taking advice. You get the hump if anyone contradicts or criticizes you. For example if a suggestion is made that you are tired and it would be sensible to go to bed you have to stay up an extra couple of hours, even though you and others will suffer for it the next day, just to prove a point.

Many years ago I went on a personnel course which said you should say three good things before saying a bad thing - well as usual I am going to disregard that advice as I like the good things to the be last thing that I remember.

So, you really ought to listen more, listen to what Gracia has to say - she is a woman now and, contrary to what you think, doesn't always have to have the same opinoin as you. There are some things you are allowed to voice opinion on but only those that would endanger her health and welfare, all others leave it to her to make the decisions.

You don't always know the right answer, sometimes other people are right and sometimes you just don't know. Again, listen to other people, stop interjecting all the time - to be brutally blunt - zip it and listen. Learn to back down gracefully!

You should occasionally get over your aversion to housework. You know you love it when the house is clean and tidy and acknowledge that it takes very little effort to get it that way, you just would rather put that effort into something else.

Remember - if you are unhappy with things, do something about it instead of standing back and moaning, speak up, walk out or get down and get it done if someone else is slacking. You will feel better in the long run.

Every month you say you are going to get slimmer and fitter and every month goes by without it happening. You know that David is worried that your stamina levels are poor and that you don't eat enough healthy food. For him as much as you, try a little harder next month, or this month if you can fit it in.

You have many good points, you are kind; will do anything for anyone; are very sociable, hard working, patient and funny.

You are good company and your friends enjoy being with you, especially when you are in one of your silly moods. You like yourself better when you are that fun person but th0se days don't come often enough at the moment - try to let your hair down more.

You embrace your quirkyness. Enjoy your love of bright colours, don't let muted people make you into one of them with their unkind remarks. You like to live out loud, it is who you are.

Finally, I don't need to remind you that you are a fine woman, you have faults - we all do - but you have recognised them and are going to work on diminishing the things you don't like about yourself and expanding the things you do.

Good luck and take care of that lovely family of yours.

Your more sensible self.

P.s. Don't forget the diet!

Reasons to be cheerful:
1 A day of scrapping with my friend the other Karen.

2. That delicious apple and pecan crumble for pudding.

3. Kiera cut her paw badly on Wednesday but it seems to be healing very well, I knew I had missed my calling and should have been a dog nurse!



A Brief History of My Life In Numbers.

16:27 Karen 10 Comments

Yesterday (yes, even thought it is half term and I am at home I still fallen a day behind by day 2, my aim is to use the weekends to catch up if I need to) the True Stories prompt was to use letters or numbers. So, inspired by Laura's wedding day page, I decided to write my life - or that part I am prepared to share, in numbers.

First there was one
I am my mum's 1st child and my dad's 3rd. I have a 1:1 degree in Ceramic Design and Technology. Live 180 miles from where I was brought up (I know that's nothing to how far some of you live from your hometown), this is 11th place I have called home.

Then two
I met David when I was 28 and was in a relationship with someone else, and had been for 5 years, which I hadn't realised were unhappy until I met David. Within 6 weeks I had left the other man because I knew David was the one - I would have left 5 weeks 6 days earlier but David thought we had to be sure! You see he is the sensible one and I am the impulsive one.) We were married within 2 years of our 1st meeting.

A while later there were three
We lived in our first house for 7 years and I fell pregnant with Gracia 1 month after moving to our present house. Gracia was our third attempt at having a baby as I suffered 2 miscarriages (I look on these as blessings as I would not have had Gracia - I knew I would only have 1 child). David and Gracia are the two most important things in my life. We have lived in our house for 18 years and David has spent all 18 working on it and he still estimates that he has about another 5 to go. I have been in the job I have now for 10 years, the longest I have ever stayed in one place. Gracia is an amazingly hard working student gaining 3 Level 5's in her SATs, 5 A*s and 6A's in her GCSE's and is on track to get an 1A* and 3A's for her A Levels.

Now we are four
18 months ago we welcomed Josh into our lives. Gracia sees him as her life partner and I hope she is right. He has fitted into our little family of 3 + 1 (Kiera is our third Golden Retriever) like a missing jigsaw piece. The two of them are so happy together and make a great effort to do the best they can both academically, personally and in their friendship/relationship with each other and with other people.

So in the year 2010 I have more blessings than I can count, 27 years ago I never dreamed that the life I have now was the one for me. I can only thank David for the changes he has made and the treasures he has given me and I wish I remembered to tell him a million times a day but just remembering to tell him how much I love him once a day seems to be fine by him.

So there you have it - a potted history of my life in numbers.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. Writing this post has made me realise how fortunate I am.

2. Home made butternut squash soup for tea.

3. While I was waiting for Blogger to upload my photos to this post I took Kiera out for the most glorious walk in the evening Autumn sunshine, better than the afternoon pelting rain that was yesterday's walk.



The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How Of My Week!

08:33 Karen 8 Comments

After taking the plunge and deciding to take this online course, prompt 1 was about questions. We are supposed to be using pen and paper but I find that really difficult as I cannot write as fast as I can type and so get frustrated by forgetting what I wanted to say as I don't get it down quick enough. So I may do it the other way, write on the laptop and then transcribe it into my notebook. Also I am really aware that I am such a bad speller that most things I hand write I type first and then write up once I have checked the spelling.

So what was I going to do on questions? I did write quite a lot on the question 'What's next?" but some of that was pretty personal so not really fit for blogdom (only in an edited version, which may make it into a page.)

I thought of the 6 question starter words and then the questions using those that I have been asked over the last week.

Who is your husband? (at church, you can tell he is not a frequent attender!)

So who is my husband? This is an easy one to answer. To me he is my rock, my soul-mate, the love of my life, my saviour and my best friend. To Gracia he is the best daddy possible, someone who can fix anything and a never ending source of pocket money. To other people he is just a thoroughly nice man who will help anyone.

What are you going to do today? (asked by David as he left for work yesterday morning).

I always answer 'This and That' as I know he would like me to say "Clean the house, make you an wholesome meal to come home to, primp and pamper myself so that I look my best for the return of my hunter and gatherer" but in reality he knows that I will play with paper and glue or pixels and maybe, just before he is due home - run the hoover over the lounge and spray air freshener about, as I hear his car pulling into the drive - snatch something out of the freezer and if he is really lucky I may have dragged a brush through my hair more than once during the day and there may be the remnants of the lip balm I used left from the morning.

When did you find the time? (asked by MIL on Saturday )

The saying goes 'If you want something doing - ask a busy person' so I always find the time to do things. I rarely watch t.v., unless it is on my laptop as I am doing something else, so have loads of time to do the things I like doing.

Where do you live? (asked by the mini-bus driver - on Wednesday)

I live in an idyllic spot, surrounded by heathland, with long country walks and bike rides close by. I also live 5 minutes drive from a fair sized town and less than an hour's train journey from London. So I have the best of both worlds really - town and country living.

Why did you choose the name Gracia? (asked by a friend - on Sunday)

Before she was born we were going to call her Sasha Grace. A few weeks before she entered our lives we decided that we liked Grace better than Sasha and that Grace Sasha didn't sound as nice. We looked in the Baby Name book and found Gracia (Gray-cee-a). I wanted her to have Grace in her name as that was the name of my favorite person when I was a child (my great aunt Grace). Rose is the middle name of one of my nieces, whom I am particularly fond of - so we called her Gracia Rose. I also felt that it was important for her to have an unusual name as people would remember her and she would stand out in a crowd, which she certainly does!

How is the house coming on? (asked all the time by anyone who knows us!)

This is a difficult one to answer as most people don't 'get' how we live. We bought our house over 18 years ago and since buying it David has doubled the size and is renovating the old house, which is over 200 years old. This is a monumental task to take on and the only help he has had was with the brick work, the roof and plastering the walls. All the other jobs he has done himself. So 'How is the house coming on?' So far we have a finished kitchen, dining room, spare bedroom (which we sleep in) Gracia's room and bathroom. An almost finished back half of the lounge. Left to do - the front half of the lounge and the largest bedroom.

So that's my questions answered.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. I can feel a page coming on - using the journaling and photos above :)

2. Off to David's work to do a job that I have been putting off for ages but will feel so much better when it is done.

3. Taking Kiera for a lovely walk - with my camera for some Autumn photos.


What A Weekend.

13:44 Karen 3 Comments

A quick update on what I have been up to.

This weekend I have made this.

I am not entirely happy with it as it warped quite badly and didn't turn out how I wanted it to but it was a quick class to help someone, who was maga busy, out. If you are interested instructions are here.

I have been turning this

into a project but will only give you one sneak peek until the class goes live.

I have made this - Apple and Pecan crumble, totally gorgeous with vanilla Mascarpone cheese.

I also made Sun Dried Tomato and Mozzarella flan (demolished before I could take any photos) and these lovelies - Chrysanthemum Cupcakes.

It was MIL's birthday so I cooked a meal and took it over to her house for us all to eat. Have a lovely week. I am still resisting Shimelle's new class that starts today but am only one click away from signing up!

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. It's half term.


3. Did I mention - it's half term!

UPDATE - I have now signed up for that class, how could I not when I love to journal on my pages, you knew I would didn't you. I bet you were sitting there giggling when I said I could resist, you all know me far too well. xxx



Delighting in the Dark Side!

16:20 Karen 9 Comments

No this is not a Halloween post - I personally don't do Halloween but do admire the lovely projects and pages that the people who do make.

The dark side I am talking about is of course a bit of digi scrapping. In fact, the only scrapping I have found time to do this weekend, apart from making a template to use with this package of gorgeousness which arrived from ATDML yesterday.

Just look at that beautiful Parisian Anthology paper and the gorgeous Webster's Pages stickers and paper - love, love, love it all xxx

I have a class to do for them and it has the potential to be a whopper! Well, as big or as small as the people doing the class want it to be really.

Sorry, back to my digi pages...........

I decided to document the little holiday that we took in August - it seems so long ago :(. This was all brought about by my finding a screwed up map from Carsington Water on my desk. Yes, I'm afraid that it has been there since August and that shows what a state my desk was in. Since having the laptop I rarely use my desk and so it has become a general dumping place for all sorts of things. I decided that I would make a concerted effort to clean and tidy the house this week and so blitzed the upstairs (except for Gracia's room as I cannot face tidying her floordrobe and all the other mess) and totally tidied and dusted the downstairs yesterday - hence the map find!

But I digress, so after finding the map I wondered if I could make it into a digi background so scanned it and reduced the saturation and it was perfect. Also on Friday, between housework duties and as a little treat to myself for actually doing any housework, I watched the Photoshop Friday videos, I had brought from Jessica Sprague (if you want to get into digi scrapping I would thoroughly recommend these) and learnt some new and really cool techniques which I was desperate to try out. So I can now round corners of layers - my map so needed round corners and I can fill text with patterned paper - another thing I really like being able to do.

Sorry, off on a tangent once again (can you imagine how difficult it is living or working with me as I have such a butterfly mind). Well I then decided to make a page about out day at Carsington Water and that was how my first lo of the weekend started.

Now, once I had made the first page I thought I should make pages for the other two days and incorporate maps into those for continuity.

So I have made 4 digi pages of our little sojourn and am digi scrapped out!

I have used templates from here and here and have used this kit throughout.

Tomorrow I am going to start playing with the ATDML goodies and hopefully, by the end of the week will have some sneaks of my project to show you.

Have a lovely week.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. Beautiful afternoons, gathering leaves for leaf printing with my Rainbows tomorrow.

2. A clean, if no longer tidy house.

3. Learning new digi techniques.



I Told You So! (a very photo heavy post - 19)

09:12 Karen 8 Comments

Well, don't say I didn't warn you. I went to Mel's crop yesterday and spent the 5 and a half hours - yes you read that right five and a half hours, making this paper page of the digi one I made on Wednesday.

If it takes me that long to make one page you can deduce that I am either a very slow scrapper or a very enthusiastic chatter and cuddler of the babies that go to the crop. I am afraid that it is a bit of both.

I am sure that I used to be able to scrap much quicker than I do now but perhaps because I enjoy cutting out little bits and pieces now and not using bought elements as much it takes longer.

At one point yesterday I wondered if perhaps I should just spend my spare time cutting out bits and pieces and not actually making any pages as I so enjoyed the process of all the cutting out that went into making this page.

So what went into this page?
  • a piece of cream card stock
  • some scraps of Keisercraft Hey Birdie paper, left over from another project
  • green paper mania glitter letter stickers
  • green embroidery floss.
  • lots of love - :o)
Also have a look here - I was asked to be A Trip Down Memory Lane's guest designer for October and the papers Mel and Jill sent me were awesomely beautiful, from the very sparkly Lost and Found range - I defy you to resist them! I made 5 projects but go and have a look what the other designers have made - ATDML certainly have an amazing bunch of ladies working for them!

Three los

If you are reading my blog Denise - thank you for the loan of your butterfly punch
(even though you didn't know you were loaning it to me) xxx

A card
A mini album

I just love my little cupcakes with E-line pearls for cherries!

As it was my best bud's birthday this week I made her a little card.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. The new job is loved so much by my beautiful girlie.

2. Although I have millions (well a slight exaggeration on my part) of invoices to type today I got up at 6 and made a good start, in between surfing the net and ordering scrapbook supplies.

3. The sun is up, the sky is blue and all is well in my little world. I really hope it is in your world too.



Life Is Good

16:32 Karen 2 Comments

Life is good - but the title refers to my Learn Something New Every Day. A month long project which documents daily life for the whole of September.

Last year I used traditional scrapbook supplies to make a little 6 x 4 book

and my photos were only small, the journaling was written onto index cards and cut into strips for speed. I used little puffy stickers from Paperchase on every page,
made double los and loved the finished book.

This year I decided to make my book digitally, other than the covers, and have used Echo Park digital papers throughout the project.

I used a calendar template from here and the digital papers are here and here.

I also purchased a digital elements pack from the same site here. I printed out some of the elements for the covers of my book and digitally made the pages.

I had an offer from ASDA photographs of 40 free 6 x 4 photos and used this to get the pages printed. I would recommend them as they do a mat finish, which I prefer.

The pages all had their corners rounded and were then stuck back to back onto a piece of cardstock which I had punched Bind It All holes into. I used a large white wire to hold the project together, this was after trying a smaller silver one and really disliking the look of the final mini album.

I am so pleased that I went down the digi road for this little project. Once I had sorted out how to do it, in theory, the pages only took 10 minutes - but in reality some took a lot longer because it is just so easy to drop in different papers and keep changing your mind!

Another life is good project is this one.

I made it on Wednesday using Shimelle's Springtime Basics paper and the Echo Park Life is Good digital elements. I just know that I will be making a paper version, tomorrow, using some Keiser Craft and My Little Shoebox papers that I have been hording away!

I also finished this page on Saturday but forgot to upload - sorry about the photo but it is getting late and the light is fading fast!

It has hand sewn snowflakes as well as some printed and cut from this kit.

I made a page a couple of years ago for Scrapagogo with hand sewn snowflakes and wanted the same effect but didn't want to sew as many. So on the Winter Walk page I only sewed three of varying sizes.

So now I have to go and get some housework done so I can at least pretend that I spent my afternoon off doing more than surfing the web and taking photos.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. It's Mel's crop tomorrow.

2. Gracia has got a Saturday job in a swanky wedding shop.

3. The weekend is upon us.