Wednesday, 25 May 2011

No bootcamp, but lots of scrapping.

I have a poorly Ella, she has tonsillitis poor thing, so no school! This means that I have been unable to go to bootcamp, which is not good as I ate a HUGE piece of coffee cake at the weekend. On the flip side, Ella has been sleeping a lot, so I have put my time to good use in my craft room (can't do housework just in case I wake her, well that is my excuse & I am sticking to it). I have been working my way through some more of the Let's Scrap National Scrapbook Day Challenges. I have managed four more pages, all using Let's Scrap sketches, two for the challenges.

The first of my layouts had a long list of things the page must be include, it is my second attempt at this challenge, the first attempt you will see further down. My layout had to include the word "first" in the title, have some sort of texture, I used fabric and ribbon, it also had to have three patterned papers and a hand drawn border and finally a quote. I think I have remembered it all. The photo was taken at my Sister's wedding last year. The ribbon is the same ribbon that we used on the wedding invites. I love the layout other than my handwriting, which reminds me I forgot something, we also had to journal around the photo.

My next layout is the layout that I started with the above challenge in mind, but I did not re-read my notes before starting, so I missed half the list. Ella looks so small in the photo, it was taken on her first day of school. It was only at the end of 2008, but she has changed so much.

My third layout is using a sketch especially designed for the Let's Scrap National Scrapbook Day celebrations.


I really like this sketch I can see so many different ways that I will be able to use it. I have gone for simple (as always) this time, but I ma thinking that when I next use it I might change the shape of the squares. The photo on this layout is of Ella on her 7th birthday, hence the title 7even. I have hidden some journaling behind the photo, I don't have to see my handwriting then. I took the photo on the London Eye, which is what Ella wanted to visit on her birthday. We all had a great day in London.

My final scrapbook layout is of my niece Maddie, she is so easy to photograph and I have never taken a bad photo of her. I took these photos of her at Easter when she came to stay with us. Ella idolises her and follows her around like a puppy, it is very sweet and Maddie is brilliant with her. We spent most of Easter outside which was great. I might enter this page in the Let's Scrap weekly challenge, which this week is to use punches.

Finally the surprise, I made a card!! I follow Ann Freeman's blog and think she does amazing layouts, well this week she posted a card, at the same time my neighbour gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy. So using Ann's card for inspiration I made a card for my neighbours. I am really pleased with how it has turned out. Big thanks to Ann.

So there we have it, even though Ella is poorly, I have managed four layouts, which is another four towards my 100 goal.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

To freestyle or not to freestyle? That is the question

I had another lovely day at the Eclectic Keepsakes crop on Saturday. As always Karen M had made some very yummy cupcakes (diet went out the window) and Karen C had designed a gorgeous layout, using Mind's Eye Lime Twist papers,  for us to do in the afternoon.

I really enjoy going to crops and I always want to make the most of my day scrapping. This month I actually managed to finish something! In total I have six pages to add to my total for the year, hooray!

In the morning I did a layout for a Let's Scrap challenge. The challenge was to include the word "time" in the title. I entitled mine "Over Time", the journalling reads "your teeth will grow back. It seems as soon as one grows back another starts to wobble. Between ages 6 to 7 I have lost count of how many teeth the tooth fairy has taken." My Sister took these lovely photos of Ella for me. I am starting to get used to that toothy grin, just as well as the tooth fairy came to visit again last night.

The other layout I completed used the same sketch from Let's Scrap. I used the photos that I took the other week at the new playground at Highwoods. Ella loves it there and has no problem with me taking lots of photos. I am finding my pages a little plain, but I am not brave enough to take that next step and be bolder. I am hoping that, that will come with practice.

After a quick lunch (I was starving) Karen showed us her gorgeous layout, which used some lovely papers from Minds Eye. This is where my freestyling quandary starts, do I follow Karen's gorgeous layout (shown below) exactly or do I make a couple of small changes? Just in case you are like me and haven't come across the term freestyling (I hadn't until I started going to the crop) it is when you take somebodies layout and do your own thing with it. The ladies at the crop like to take the mickey about it, it is a standing joke.


Well to start with I still have no working printer so I used a single photo that I had in my stash, rather than Karen's three. I also used different wording using those fab wood grain alphas. I also didn't add the rosette but you will see why in a bit. So here is my finished freestyled (only a little).

I loved Karen's orginal layout, but I think that it is nearly impossible not to freestyle just a small bit for a couple of reasons, firstly we all have different tastes, I am not as brave as some and tend to go for quite simple layouts, but I love that the crop lessons take me out of my comfort zone and I now have some lovely layouts that I would never of been brave enough to come up with. Secondly we all have different photos, our subjects vary greatly. Thirdly we all have different stories to tell. 

So using the leftovers from the above layout (they were too lovely to put away) I did my sixth layout. I carried on Karen's cloud theme and also used those lovely alphas again. I also used the rosette from the original layout, also adding two more. I am very pleased with myself and I have also now added the Tim Holtz rosette die to my wish list.

So there we go, I had a very productive crop. I also came home to discover that someone had finally done my challenge, hooray! I was starting to think that I would have no takers. 

Yesterday I went shopping with my Mum and I bought a dress pattern, so there is a new project on the horizon, I just need to find some lovely summery material.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Three days to go!!

Three days till crop day, woo hoo! I  have no idea what they the lovely ladies have planned but I am sure it will be good. I will need to get myself organised and make up some layouts to take.

I have managed two more layouts this week for the challenges at Let's Scrap.
This layout challenge was to use a black and white photo/s, black and white papers and to add a hint of your favourite colour. Pink has always been Ella's favourite colour, times are starting to change though, we went shopping for t-shirts at the weekend and she only picked one pink one. The shock of the day was when she picked out a blue one, blue has always been a no go colour.

The next layout was using a sketch that has been put together for National Scrapbooking Day.

Here is my take on it, I have used another photo from the street party. I am loving the red, white and blue theme and the union jack stamp is getting a lot of use.

So another two layouts to add to my total and who knows what this weekend will bring, am very excited. I really look forward to crop days and I don't have to feel guilty about leaving Steve and Ella as they always have a great time together. I hear that they might be visiting the new playground at Castle Park, maybe I should persuade Steve to take the camera.

Monday, 9 May 2011

National Scrapbooking Day

It was National Scrapbooking Day on Saturday and Let's Scrap are having a whole month of challenges to celebrate. I plucked up the courage and submitted a challenge, I have asked the ladies at Let's Scrap to submit a layout using the Embossed Clear Resist Technique. I came across the technique while reading ATDML Blog. I had never used the technique before and any chance to use some of the many stamps I have is a good thing. In case you are like me and have never used the technique, you need, clear ink, clear embossing powder, heat gun, coloured ink pads, sponges and stamps.
You stamp your image using the clear ink and then sprinkle on the clear embossing powder, heat the image until it sets. Let it cool, then using your colour inks, sponge all over the image until you are happy with the image. Then get a clean sponge and wipe over the image, the ink should not stick to your embossed image. I used the technique on a layout to go in Ella's baby album (yes I am finally getting round to doing it!) I stamped little handprints and footprints. Sorry the LO is upside down, it is on the computer the right way, it appears to have flipped when I have added it to the blog.
I have also managed to do a couple of the other ladies challenges. Challenge #8 was to crop your photos on the diagonal, I have never even considered this! What a great way of chopping off unwanted bits. I took these photos of Ella at the new playground at Highwoods. She loves it there, we went three times last week!
Challenge #1 was to use at least two photos, a mixed alpha title and a boarder punch. I have started scrapping the photos of the street party, I have a couple more on the go. I bought a union jack stamp especially for the occasion.
So I have two more pages to add to my total, a vast improvement already on last month. I have Eclectic Keepsakes crop to look forward to on Saturday and shopping tomorrow with my Mum, so it is looking to be a good week, oh and I survived another session at bootcamp this morning.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Birthday Cake

So I managed it, I made Ella's birthday the day after the street party. Had a little wobble as I realised that in one of my "let's tidy up & get rid of stuff" moments that I had given away the book that has the cake recipe in it that I have used for all of Ella's past birthday cakes. After a quick flick through some other books, I found a new recipe with a slight twist. So with a new cake recipe that I have never used with an added twist, I went forth and made a chocolate marble sponge.
I will be making this cake again, it tasted lovely. The chocolate just adds a little something to the plain sponge and the marble effect looks great. Not that you saw it once I had covered it in turquoise icing.
There is a great cake shop in town that mixes icing to whatever colour you want, which saved my hands being turned turquoise. They also sell edible glitter, that is always a hit with little girls. I did cheat with the gymnasts that I made to go on the cake, I used fimo, instead of icing. I just find the process a lot easier and also Ella gets to keep the gymnasts.

I started by shaping the head, I find that this helps with the sizing for the rest of the figure. I used two black seed beads as the eyes.


I then make a body and attach the arms and legs.
I also find that a cocktail stick helps keep the head attached to the body and will also add a little strength to the figure.
My next clever moment is a garlic press, it makes great hair!
I used something to prop up the gymnast while she was in the oven, it helps keep their shape, until you have cooked and cooled them.
And then there is the final cake all completed. I think Ella liked it, she has asked for the gymnasts to go in her room and today she had a piece of cake as her snack for school.

As a weekend goes it was very busy, but it was fun. The street party was a great success, people are still talking about it and a couple of photos from the day even made it into the Gazette. Ella's party went very well, all the little party goers went home happy and my darling seven year old is beaming.

So what am I up to now that I have all this time on my hands, well I have gone back to boot camp, I am hoping that in just over a month I will look fabulous for our ten year wedding anniversary. Let's Scrap are celebrating National Scrapbooking Day, I have done a challenge for them, which is all very exciting and will put in my next blog. I also need to do a serious amount of scrapbooking layouts, as I only managed four last month, which is terrible.

Oh well, I am off to have some lunch, if nothing else boot camp makes me hungary.