Memorandum Monday - 25th January 2016 - Be Prepared

06:30 Karen 5 Comments

Joining in with Sian's Memorandum Monday.

Yes I am a Guider and have been for almost 15 years,  but don't always live by the motto 'Be Prepared' but this weekend I learnt the value of planning.  It so makes for an easy life.  

I know I have a really, really busy couple of weeks coming up - next week I am going to Tate Modern (something I vowed I would never do) on a school trip with the sixth form girls.  I also have things to do for the school production of We Will Rock You.  Next Saturday, I am working setting up the lights and sound system ready for the technical rehearsal on Sunday, which I am also required for. Then the week after there are the performances.  

My forward planning started on Friday when I went to The Range to source something to make with my Rainbows this evening - usually a job left until Sunday.  As we are doing the butterfly badge I found some beautiful sparkly foam butterflies and lolly sticks to make bookmarks with and then on Saturday found some stick on gems in Asda to pretty them up.

On a roll with the forward planning - Saturday saw me planning and making the class I am teaching at my crop on the 6th February thinking that, although I don't have the photos yet as it is a Month in 5 for January, if I don't get a chance next week I will be stressing about getting it done.

I then prepared Monday's dinner in advance, on Sunday when I prepared Sunday's dinner, so that I can come home from Rainbows and slap in in the AGA and it will be ready in a trice, preventing me snacking on the wrong things whilst I prepare and cook.

Apologies for blurry photo from my cook book - meal in fridge

All of this has paid off as I got an email, with some very exciting news which I can't divulge yet, but which means I need to find some time to make something quickly and because I have been well prepared I can easily find that time. 

Reason to be Cheerful:

Accepting that the next two weeks are going to be manic and preparing in advance for it. 


January DT for ATDML

08:55 Karen 4 Comments

This month Jill sent me a selection of papers and stickers from Echo Park's The Story of Our Family and don't you just love those cute little owls.  They featured on several of my pages this month. 

I also had some Simple Stories - We are Family wooden elements.

The first page I made was to document Gracia's new hair colour.  I can't believe how lovely and natural it looked but then again her hair was that colour when she was a baby, before it went dark blond.  

Next I made a page which featured a photo taken earlier in the month, before the kids went back to Newcastle.  This was at the start of a lovely walk.  Unfortunately it absolutely poured with rain all the way and in the 'after the walk' photo we are all soaking wet!

We met up with Eileen and Hannah just after Christmas and had a mediocre breakfast together.  Seeing Eileen and Hannah more than made up for the food and we spent a lovely day together. For this page I used several of the word stickers from the sheets.

My next page was inspired by one of the cut apart pieces and some words from one of the sticker sheets.  A photo from our Boxing Day walk.  I used three of the little wooden people and framed the large owl sticker with a little wooden frame. 

For my final page I wanted to challenge myself to use a very small photo as more often than not I scrap 5 x 7 photos - I love pages with just 1 big photo.  This page has a 2 x 3 photo and the size was determined by the size of the sticker frame that I wanted to use.  I tried to keep it quite clean and simple but then got carried away with layering and stickers as I usually do.

So there are my DT pieces for January and I'm now waiting in anticipation to see what Jill has for me for February.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1.  Planning the class for my next crop - using Bo Bunny Provence papers.
2. Just about to go for a lovely walk with Kiera.
3. Its Saturday!


Memorandum Monday, 18th Jan 2016 - This Little Light of Mine

06:30 Karen 10 Comments

Joining in with Sian's Memorandum Monday.

After reading this post from Deb and a subsequent email conversation, with her,  I decided that this was the year that I 'go public' with my blog.  I am always worried that people will make fun of me because I spend time playing with paper and glue and that people 'don't get' how I can spend an inordinate amount of time making scrapbook layouts - even David is puzzled by it! I am wary that people will think I am boasting or showing off.

For me scrapbooking is an extension of my love for my life and family.  I like to take a happy memory, in the form of a photograph, and then put in time and effort to showcase it the best way I can.  Whilst doing this I am constantly remembering the background to the photo and the fun we had during the time it was taken. My pages used to have a lot of journaling on them but since Gracia moved to Newcastle, I don't have a story to go with many of the photographs.

So instead I pinch them off her Facebook page and then make a layout with them - she doesn't seem so far away if I can scrap her, I know it sounds silly but that's just 'How I Roll'!

I have a design degree - it is in my DNA to create and I should celebrate the fact that I have been privileged enough to have been on Shimelle's design team, that I was runner up in the 2009 UK Scrapbooker of the Year competition and that I am now a member of the ATDML design team, and not hide it.  

So this weekend I have learnt that I can take a leap of faith, be brave and put it out there - posting to my main Facebook page and not just to the closed groups I am a member of!

As Deb said - This little light of mine, I gonna let it shine!

Reason to be cheerful:-

Blog friends who inspire and encourage - thank you Deb x


AGA Cropping

09:24 Karen 5 Comments

This weekend was the first of the ATDML virtual crop dates for this year and I had a day of AGA Cropping - sitting in front of the AGA all warm and cosy.

What is a virtual crop you may ask - well its an online crop with kits.  There are three classes on the third Saturday of each month with different designers designing the classes.  Kits are available to buy from ATDML and class instructions are posted on their blog at 10am, 12noon and 2pm.  There is also a challenge set by Ann.  Some people just buy the kits to complete at a later date and some join in and make the pages during the weekend.

My class was up first and the kit I had been sent to design with used Simple Stories - December Documented.  I made two quite quick and easy pages, using photos from last year.  

The first was taken in November, when David and I visited Gracia and Josh in Newcastle.  We all tried on various Christmas themed pieces of headgear in Primark but I was rather partial to the Santa hat complete with beard!

The second page documents, what we said would be a new tradition, Gracia and I making a gingerbread house.  She had brought the cutters from Lakeland with the specific purpose of us making it together - got to love that girl of mine.  We baked the house on Christmas Day evening and decorated it on Boxing Day.  We spent such a lovely few hours together chatting and laughing and it really was a joint effort with us both working together to make the best house we could.  For a first effort it was ok but I am planning next year's one already!

Finally, the challange for the virtual crop was to make a page inspired by 'Make Believe'.  When Gracia and I visited mum in August we went into the local shopping centre and in Primark (can you see a theme with our photos) and as always spent time giggling whilst trying on the wacky glasses etc.  Gracia found these tiaras - just remembered I have lots of Primark photos in my photos folder and I can feel a Posing in Primark layout coming on! The title for this page is a quote from A Little Princess - my all time favourite book when I was little - some would say I am still little, to which I would reply 'It is still my all time favourite book!'

So if you have time on the third weekend of the month and would like to join us for a virtual crop keep an eye out here for the kits and here for the crop announcements and here for the classes and photo requirements.  

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. Taking several hours to make the 'Make Believe' layout - sometimes fussy cutting and layering is the most relaxing thing to do. 

2. Relising that I can get our Now TV sevice on my laptop.

3.  Becase of reason 2 - Watching Moonstruck and then Into The Woods whilst scrapping by the AGA - Toasty Warm!


Memorandum Monday - 11th January 2016

06:00 Karen 8 Comments

Today I am joining in with Sian's Memorandum Monday - she says "I'd love you to tell us something you did over the weekend FOR THE FIRST TIME. Or (though it's not really an "or", because you are very welcome to do both) delight us with something you learned and DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE." 

I got caught out last Monday and learnt that if you write your Me on Monday post the night before and schedule it to go live, Sian might mix it up a bit on the Monday!

So what did I do for the first time over the weekend - well I went to a different church.  I have been going to the same church for 22 years but over the past year have felt disconnected from the congregation.  I decided that I would try another church in the new year and as it is now the new year I did just that.  What a culture shock it was - the church I usually attend is a very 'posh' Church of England one and this one was as opposite from that as could be possible!  I did text David after the service to say it was more like a rock concert than a church service but the congregation made me feel so welcome and it was such a fun service - everyone left with a smile on their faces.  

So that's what I did for the first time this weekend - realised that worship doesn't have to be the way I have done it for the last 22 years. 

Reason to be cheerful:-

I am making an effort to rediscover my faith. 


Three Birds with One Stone.

17:41 Karen 5 Comments

Today I want to Katy's crop and what a lovely time I had.  Although it starts at 10, I didn't get there until nearly 11:30. When it is my crop I have to be at the hall at 9:45 and am often stressed about being late and not having everything I need, about people not turning up when they have said they are coming and whether ladies will like the class.

On the days of Katy's crop I can get up when I like, pack the bare minimum, not worry that Sainsbury's photo printing is out of order because I have time to go to Tesco instead, take my time getting there and pay a little visit to the Range on the way.  So it was a fabulously relaxing time spent perusing Katy's Stampin Up catalogue and choosing what I am going to buy when I see her next, drinking lots of tea, making 2 pages, well almost 3 really, and chatting to the lovely girls.

One of my pages fits three criteria for things I wanted to do this month. 

  • I used some of my ATDML DT kit
  • I used lace which fitted into the weekly challenge on Crafters@Play
  • I used a sketch I had pinned to one of my Pinterest boards - Fiona's SIPIDI (see it, pin it, do it)

So far my day has been splendid and it is going to remain so as I am just about to finish the third page I started at the crop.

Reason to be cheerful:-

Katy's fantastic crop x


Me on Monday - 4th Jan 2015

06:00 Karen 6 Comments

Well Hello, hello lovely people - joining in with Sian's Me on Monday.

It has been a lovely weekend but a weekend tinged with a little sadness as always in the back of my mind was the thought that Gracia is going back to Newcastle today.

On Saturday I planned meals for the week, something I never do, and then drove to Tesco's to pick up the food shop and the photos for Gracia's Christmas journal that I had made her.  For some reason two lanes of the A12 were closed but you couldn't tell until you were on the slip road - people were doing 3 point turns on the slip road and then driving back up it the wrong way!  Consequently it took me an hour and ten minutes to do a fifteen minute trip.  

The shop was a really healthy one as I am determined to eat better in 2016.

On Sunday we all went for a very long walk in the rain 

and then had a pub lunch.  

I had the most delicious Creme Brulee 

I was genuinely shocked when Gracia ordered a whisky and coke as I had forgotten that she was well over the age of consent and as I never drink and David only does on occasion it seemed so wrong but at almost 23, of course she likes a little drink.

When we got home I decided it was time to put all the Christmas biscuits and sweets in a carrier bag for the kids to take back to Newcastle and to clear the cupboards and the fridge of things I didn't want to be tempted by.  In doing so I cleaned out my cooking cupboard and found a whole bin bag of things lurking at the back that were out of date!

So it's back to school this morning and picking Gracia and Josh up straight after school to take them to the station to get their train home.  

Not long until half term when we will see them again.

Hope you have a lovely week.

Reasons to be Cheerful
1.  We have had a lovely 10 days with Gracia at home.
2.  We have gone on long walks almost every day,
3.  Reflecting on all the times we have spent laughing together over the Christmas period. 


Being a Cheeky Little Sew & Sew

18:48 Karen 7 Comments

Hello, hello.  I bet you didn't expect to see me so soon!

A few days before Christmas I posted on Facebook that I was going to spend the day sewing Christmas presents and only just remembered that I had promised to post what I had made.  After posting on Facebook I thought - that would make a cheeky quick and simple blog post and so here it is!

These weren't all made in the same day but over a couple of weeks.  Firstly I made a scrapping bag with lots of pockets for my Oldest Best Friend Eileen.

Then I made another form my New Best Friend Denise.

I then wanted to make something special for Hannah, who is Graca's oldest best friend and who just happens to be the daughter of Eileen, my oldest best friend (not as complicated as it sounds) so having found several on Pinterest I decided that I would make a Disney Princess apron.  As Snow White is her favourite Disney princess I chose that one to make.  I bought a vintage apron pattern from Amazon and set to making it.  

It was a project that to look at you would think would only take a couple of hours but in fact it took 8.  

Then as I had made one for Hannah and as we had bought Gracia a super dooper new all singing all dancing food mixer for Christmas I thought I had better make one for her too and so I made a Belle one as Belle is her favourite Disney Princess.

Eileen and I are planning another sewing project for this year - quilt blocks but I may well be asking for help there DEB KEYWORTH are you available for consultations?

Reason To Be Cheerful

I have rediscovered my love of sewing.


Out With The Old and In With The New

14:00 Karen 7 Comments

Happy New Year to you all and I hope 2016 brings you all you wish.

I have been wanting to blog more but haven't felt very inspired so and tried to analyse why I have blogger's block.  On reflection I was not happy with the look of my blog and also I felt that if I had my three reasons to be cheerful at the end of each post that prevented me from writing none specific blog posts that could be drafted and posted as and when.  So the answer was out with the old and in with the new - a new look blog and only one reason to be cheerful! Although, I always feel I have many, many reasons to be cheerful so sometimes there may be three.

I hope it will rekindle my blog love and so I am starting with good intentions and as it is New Year's Day am having a round up of the year using my 'Month in Five' pages.  I am so grateful to Jo for coming up with the idea of scrapping your 5 favourite photos each month and for me it is a way of doing a condensed project life.  I have enjoyed this project so much that I am making kits and teaching a class, along these lines, at my crop each month this year.

Reasons to be Cheerful (there you go I can't stick to my new resolution)!

1. Loving Gracia's new hair colour it reminds me that her hair was once naturally that colour when she was very small.

2. Spending the last 10 days with the people I love most in the whole wide world.

3.  Just wrapping up warm to go out for a lovely long walk.