Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January's Numbers

Earlier in the month I bit the bullet and made a page about my goals for 2012 - craftily mostly crafty, as I know full well that major life-style changes are more difficult and less pleasurable to effect!

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Januaries (!) in numbers
I've managed 2 pages for my BOM, 1 of which is put away already; I've de-cluttered the dining room, the utility and made a start on my bedroom;  I've not only remembered two birthdays in good time, but sent  home-made cards and made some in readiness for next month too!  I've joined in with several on-line challenges and now I'm joining in with Julie Kirk's "My Month In Numbers".  Julie doesn't scrap her month, though some of her friends do.  I fully intend to make a page a month, but will blog the numbers first and see what happens!

So here goes:

84 = £ spent on a new tyre after a midnight mounting of the kerb outside our friends' house caused a flat!  None of us were dressed to change tyres by moonlight, but luckily our friends had a torch I could hold while the men-folk got down & dirty putting the spare into place!
75 = the approximate number of Black Dice watches that No.1 Son didn't want for his 22nd birthday - we eventually found just 1 that had the right combination of colours of strap, fascia and hands (at a price we were prepared to pay).  Sometimes I wish that on-line shopping didn't give us quite so much choice - there is something to be said for going to a real shop and selecting something from the things they have in stock that we can actually see, touch and try on for size!

13 = the number of people attending our 10th crop.  Though as usual I only managed pages and even they weren't 100% finished!

2 = new recipes tried: Harvest Pork Casserole with Apple & Parsnip was not an unmitigated success thanks to our dinner guests turning up about an hour later than anticipated.  The Grilled Pears with Stilton we had as a starter was much better, partly because I didn't start cooking that until after they'd arrived.  Simple too - toasted baguette, covered in watercress, peeled, sliced pear and slices of Stilton which is all grilled until attractively browned.  The watercress was not very obedient and kept poking out from under the pear, even tipping it off the bread, and the bits that were exposed to the grill were ash by the time the Stilton was melted.  It all got eaten though - but another time I think I'll try spinach leaves instead. 

2 = also the number of Book Club books I have read this month - "Room" by Emma Donoghue was my recommendation for December and was just as thought provoking a second time around.  Thankfully the rest of my group also found it a good read - always a worry when I've chosen the book!  This month's book was "The Crying Tree" by Naseem Rakha; quite a slow starter with two, rather confusing, time strands at the beginning, it explores the effects of the murder of a teenage boy on his family & friends, his killer and the prison governor.  There are many, many secrets to uncover and while I suspected some of them, the final chapters had plenty of surprises.  Tissues required though!

228 = £ saved on buildings & contents insurance in just 5 minutes!  To say that I was surprised when the renewal quote came over 50% higher than last year would be an understatement - shocked, but certainly not speechless!   I immediately phoned to complain and the insurance company immediately found me a better deal which came out £7 cheaper than last year's policy!  Good news, but why couldn't they have done that in the first place?

4 = the number of hours driving to & from Bangor to spend 3 hours with No.2 Son.  Well it was one way to spend a day off work and did allow us to treat him to some supply shopping and a lunch in Weatherspoon's.  Shame about the atrocious weather - alternately windy, rainy and haily (is that a word?)  We also got to see inside his house (he didn't have a key to the front door when I dropped him off in August last year), but still haven't seen inside his room as he'd apparently left that key at a friend's house - Yeah right!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

& Now For Something Completely Blood Splattered!

Did that get your attention? LOL
No, I haven't been careless with my craft knife, just attempting to get with the program and splat some ink/paint onto a page in a random artful way.  Like having banners everywhere, I just don't "get" it.  Or at least not on every page!  However, over at UKScrappers and on her blog, Shimelle is doing a monthly challenge to get us to try out lots of "different" techniques; this month they included splatting, small square photos, paint under titles, writing in more than one place, adding stitches & glitter ... all on one page!  Too much for me in one go, and not all all-that-different to what I already do, so I picked the "scariest" one (the splatting) and a couple of the others that I am comfortable with (small square photos, writing in more than place) and produced this:

I'm pretty happy with the page, but part of me does think that my brown paint splats do look like dried blood!  Maybe I should have chosen grey paint to splat with?

 It's another page for our Barcelona 2011 holiday album: we topped off our wonderful cycling tour day with a cookery "course" in the evening.  As the journalling says, it didn't quite live up to the hype, but it was a lot of fun (aided by the liberal quantities of strong sangria that we made during the evening).  Three of us had never eaten paella before and despite not being a great seafood-eater I thought it was delicious.

That's my January Counterfeit Kit almost used up ... I'm now down to scraps.  Take a look at the back of this page to see how I was struggling to get a 12x12 out of it!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Confetti Time

Challenge number 3 for January over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog is to use confetti! "Too much mess!" I screamed, but they didn't listen couldn't hear me from across the Atlantic!!!  The other Master Forgers have no doubt been good and produced something totally in line with the challenge, but I have stuck to my guns and chosen to interpret the challenge in a non-messy, minimalist fashion ... with a card:

My poor step-mother has fallen and broken her wrist and I wanted to wish her a speedy recovery.  I've used a teeny tiny heart punch to make my "confetti" hearts along with my Threading Water punch and both sides of the Blue Ridge Paisley paper from my January Kit.  The alpha stickers are an added extra from My Little Shoebox.

By way of compensation for my rather sparse confetti, here is another card made from January's Kit, with  counterfeit pearl dots made with Ranger Liquid Pearls, counterfeit mistable ribbons made with Promarker coloured bedsheet, that same border punch, some flower punches and the addition of Cosmo Cricket alpha stickers:

Thursday, 26 January 2012

My One Sketch

Here's my sketch for Miss Smith's Just One Sketch Class.  Still way behind on the prompts thanks to the feed issues, but hopefully I can catch up a little this weekend.  I started fiddling about in Photoshop Elements before deciding that there was nothing wrong with good old pencil & paper (& marker pen & scanner LOL).

Thanks to some welcome extra feed-back about my "style" as seen on my example pages I've added a couple of extra points (thanks guys):
  • Layering and overlapping √
  • L shapes: either formed with the photos and papers or the photos themselves √
  • Curves: curved shapes or at the very least rounded corners √
  • Not a lot of visible journalling √
  • Big, bold title (Julie) √ 
  • Not wishy-washy or frou-frou (Helen) √
  • Framing (Siân) √

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Just One Sketch Class

I signed up for Miss Smith's Just One Sketch Class as I am a sucker for a good cause - she's raising money for Girl Guides (in Armenia?) - and I love sketches.  However Blogger isn't playing ball, so I missed the beginning of the class and keep missing the prompts.  Luckily a few of my blogging friends are also taking part so when they post about the class I do get a reminder of sorts to get off my posterior and search for the prompts!!

First off we had to choose some favourite pages and analyse what features they had in common (click on them for a closer view if you're a glutton for punishment LOL):

I've purposely only looked at single 12x12 pages although I do like double paged layouts and also scrap some 8½x11 pages. It was hard enough choosing just these!

Well I see:
  • Layering and overlapping
  • L shapes: either formed with the photos and papers or the photos themselves
  • Curves: curved shapes or at the very least rounded corners
  • Uneven titles to squeeze large fonts into a small space or titles split over several lines with mixed fonts
  • Quite full pages
  • Not a lot of visible journalling 
  • Maximum 2 patterned papers
What other factors do you think these pages have in common?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

All That Glitters

Welcome to the second of January's challenges for the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog.  This one was to add glitter, bling, sparkle, pizazz to your project!  But I had nothing glittery in my January kit - so I had to improvise in the way that we counterfeiters do LOL!

I took some unloved brads, and a beautiful, but not-the-right-colour star-shaped brad from Susanne's swap packaging and got busy with VersaMark ink, some glittery embossing powder and my heat gun:

Transformation complete, I set to work on my page.  Remember how I failed on my JYC?  Well I also gave up on my 2011 Project 12 after only 2½ months!  Which was a shame as I love my Project 12 album from 2010, and I love the year in review hidden tags I did for JYC 2009 and JYC 2010.  So I decided that I'd do a double page summary for the year, based on a lovely sketch over at Scrap365 magazine's website.

The year was a bit hit and miss with photos (hence the Project 12 fail so early in the year) so I couldn't find one decent photo for every month.   Instead I made sure we were all on there with a couple of feature photos representing some of our year's activities.

I had fun decorating each of the circles at the top of the tags - with snippets of my counterfeited Pink Paislee Mistable Ribbons, some of the contents of my counterfeited October Afternoon Flower Sack, a few buttons and the glitterfied brads.  My month names are stamps from a Scenic Route set and the free font is Veggieburger.

In my January kit I had two ways for counterfeiting the mistable ribbons - fabric (strips torn from an old sheet) and paper (border punched tissue paper) - and I promised to let you know how I got on with them.
I haven't tried actually misting on them (no mists LOL), but started by colouring them with two shades of Fiberscraps Tintz: dabbers which dispense a colour-wash a bit like very watery paint.  Both took the colour well, but the tissue paper distorted and crinkled really badly as it dried.  It took a while for the fabric to dry, but I used some of it on my 2012 goals page for the first CKCB challenge.

From top to bottom: un-touched original tissue or sheet strip
2 samples with Tintz
5 samples with Promarkers
Then I tried Child No.3's Promarkers out on them with much better results: a great range of colours with plenty of decorative potential using the blending pen and contrasting shades.  Being alcohol-based, the ink dried really quickly and the tissue paper didn't crinkle at all.  It does crease though - I'll have to get the iron out before using any of it!  The fabric has taken on a starchy stiffness after colouring with the Promarkers  - very different to the untreated or colour-washed samples.
On balance the fabric has worked better and if I had a die-cutting system that could cope with fabric my counterfeiting would be complete!

P.S. I haven't joined in with a Thirsty Thursday Challenge from A Trip Down Memory Lane for a while, but I reckon I've covered P for Polka-dot, Portrait Photos and Parents (that's us!) pretty perfectly ... as well as R for Red and Review!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Passing The Page with JSquared

A month or three ago I was invited to take part in a Pass the Page venture by my friend Julie (aka JSquared).  She collected a group of 14 of us together and sent a page off into the ether to be scraplifted by each of us in turn.  The person before me in the chain was Ginger (if she sent you here then you're on track, if not, you might like to start at the beginning with Julie here).  I scraplifted Ginger's lovely page to produce one for our Northumbrian holiday album:

Jimjams - layout - Alnwick Gardens - Pass the Page

We visited Alnwick Gardens where we enjoyed an interesting and informative guided tour of their unique Poison Garden (as well as exploring the beautiful water features).  It's under lock and key as there are some seriously dangerous plants in there along with others like tobacco that generally kill in more indirect ways.  They even have a special licence from the Home Office to grow cannabis - well out of reach of visitors - with a sign exhorting us to "Keep Off The Grass"!!

Ginger - layout - Pass the Page
Can you see the resemblance to Ginger's page?  I kept the punched border and layered horizontal strips of papers, but needed more photos and less journalling.  The papers are from my home-made November Counterfeit Kits.

I wonder what elements were kept or discarded when Lisa-Jane scraplifted my page?  Before you pop over to see, you should know that there is a prize available on this Pass the Page hop, kindly supplied by Deb Clark, all you have to do is comment (here, there and everywhere)!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Real Life Confessions of a Christmas Misspent

This is where I come clean ... remember the post on December 10th where I admitted to being 5 days behind with journalling my Christmas ... well that was it ... I didn't manage another page!  Not a single one.
My JYC album just didn't suit - neither the time available, the photos I had, nor the things that happened!  I barely had time to read the prompts, let alone mull over what to scrap for the day.  At a certain point I realised it would be too draining to have the project hanging over me all through January, so I chose to let go, move on, call it a day!

Instead I decided to take inspiration from Siân's December month in numbers & Alexa's Christmas numbers journalling and capture some of our festive memories in a single page. 

The page is based on the monthly challenge sketch from UKScrappers and uses my January Counterfeit Kit, an X-cut border punch, some of the packaging from Susanne's Christmas packages as well as the most perfect embellishment from inside the packaging!
This is indeed REAL life - not everything works out the way you plan it:
  • sometimes you can't find the power lead for the tree lights and have to buy new ones (only to have the missing lead magically reappear)
  • sometimes teenagers simply will not cooperate for a photo (or even get out of bed on Christmas morning to open their presents)
  • sometimes you get so carried away with the food shopping that you don't need to return to the shops for nearly a week, even though they are only closed for one day!
But there's still a whole load to be thankful for including:
  • a son who wants to help with the cooking (if not the washing up)
  • a daughter who loves to help decorate the tree (and would be happy for it to be up all year round)
Oh and for the record, a 14lb turkey is about 3 days too big for our family of six (plus the dog)!!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Why Not?

Over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog we were challenged to scrap our hopes, dreams or aims for the new year.  Hmmmm - I'm not a great one for resolutions as I am even worse at keeping them so I thought I'd give this one a miss.
However, reading some of the blogs of my crafty friends, awash with posts of their good intentions, I began to feel a little left out.  Then the CKCB supplied a lovely sketch by Creative Scrappers and then I saw Ruth post her 12 goals for 2012 - most of which were spookily perfect for me - so I thought "Why not?" and decided to join in after all.

In the end it was quite tricky to narrow it down to just 12 goals - but I've picked a mix of personal & creative, small scale & life-changing, fun & functional.

I wonder if this public statement will actually help me achieve more ...  I hope so!

P.S. This one page ticks both the "BOM" and the "join in" boxes: it fits the CKCB challenge, the UKS Weekly challenge (with something old - my January Counterfeit Kit, something new - borders created with my Xmas gift from Child No.3: a Threading Water punch, and bling - clear gems coloured brown with my Sharpie pen) and the monthly challenge over at Sarah's Cards - result!!!  I've even put it straight into my Book Of Me album.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ding Dong Merrily

Sorry, sorry, sorry - I had promised to draw a winner for my festive give-away on New Year's Eve - and totally forgot!!!!  So my huge, heartfelt apologies to anyone who was in the draw with a better memory than me!

Congratulations to: DAWN

Drop me an e-mail please with your address and I'll package it up to you!

And while I'm catching up on things: massive THANKS to my Counterfeit Kit Swap Sister Suzanne for the lovely gifts and embellishments that were so beautifully packaged in our Christmas Embellishment Swap:

I've kept all the usable bits of the packaging and used some of it up on a page already ... watch this space!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ten on the Tenth: Nails

I've been enjoying some mother-daughter time over Christmas, helping Child No.3 with one of her favourite gifts - a nail art set.  There was also a pot of gold crackle nail varnish in her personal Christmas cracker so she has plenty of scope for fun manicures in the future.  However on Christmas Day itself we had fun trying out several of the ideas from the inspiration booklet:

From left to right:
  1. Purple base colour with gold crackle effect
  2. Black & white Yin-Yang symbol on white base
  3. Turquoise base with pink & white swirls
  4. Black base with pink & turquoise starburst & gold dots
  5. Purple base with multi-coloured butterfly
  6. Yellow & red chevrons
  7. Glitter base with red, white & blue stripes
  8. Daisies on a green field
  9. Pink base with turquoise & white swirls
  10. Red base with gold crackle effect
Not bad for a first attempt - my favourite to do was the daisy field and appropriately enough, Child No.3 liked No.3 best!  Which is your favourite?

For more Ten on the Tenth posts please pop over to Shimelle's blog!

Friday, 6 January 2012

A New Year of Counterfeiting

HAPPY NEW YEAR fellow counterfeiters! Welcome to the start of our kit-copying for 2012.

If you have hopped over to me from Helen's blog then you are on track with the Master Forgers' Kit Hop; if not then you may want to pop back here to start at the beginning to see them all.

This month we were given links to an array of kits from Cocoa Daisy as our starting points. I know my limitations and only picked one to copy: the December 2011 Add-on.

Cocoa & Marshmallows
Having none of the actual papers in my stash, I decided to look for a “match” for the October Afternoon Button Box paper and go from there. Eventually I found some Polar Bear Press Blue Ridge Paisley which had a similar dark colour base with a lighter coloured intricate all-over pattern printed on top.

That was stored next to the Cabin Fever Dots from the same range which “matched” the regularly spaced flowers on one side of the Jillibean Black-eyed Peas paper while some Holly-Jolly paper from Daisy D’s made a bright alternative to the other side. I replaced the retro cards from the reverse of the OA Button Box with yellow/cream text blocked paper (manufacturer unknown!).

I had planned to counterfeit the OA Farmhouse alpha stickers by stamping white letters onto matching cardstock … but I had Polar Bear Press stickers to match already!

Instead, I had a lot of fun reproducing the OA Flower Sack of die-cuts by simply punching scalloped & pinked circles, flowers, butterflies & hearts from scraps of paper and card. I even cut some words from some OA paper scraps that I found!

That just left the MME Pearl swirl and the Pink Paislee Mistable Ribbon … well I have made my own swirls with Ranger’s Liquid Pearls before and I’ve got two things to replace the ribbon: some strips of fabric torn from an old cream sheet, cut on one edge with pinking shears and some border-punched tissue paper. I shall see which works and let you know.

ETA - I've reviewed my attempts here!

As it was originally just an add-on kit, it’s light on embellishments, but I’ll pull buttons, brads, stamps etc from my stash as required. I’ve added some plainer cardstock and paper to pad it out a little with an extra sheet of the Blue Ridge Paisley as it has a grey textured reverse, some Basic Grey Indian Summer Dogwood paper for contrast and some blue/grey & cream card.

There you have it - my take on Cocoa & Marshmallows; for more counterfeiting of Cocoa Daisy's inspirational kits please pop over to Jen who will certainly have something stunning to share with you.