Monday, 23 November 2015

Russian Life?

Hello Everyone...
My brother recently had a very odd conversation with his ex-wife, that got me thinking.  So... a little background... my brother married a Russian lady, who turned out to be a bit of a 'nutter' (a cultural thing?  Or just that she's crazy?... I really don't know).  He has had some very hard years but through it he has gain custody for his two children (on a 50-50 shared residency, even after all the lies she has told... it has gone some way to re-affirm my faith in English justice and the law ~ even though he had to fight every step of the way AND it has cost the family a small fortune!  But that is neither here nor there considering those two beautiful innocent children are now given much needed balance in their otherwise weird and warped lives!).
Anyway, his ex-wife recently told him off for buying his 10 year old daughter a 'black' rucksack for school (at this point I must point out that she does not work saying that the British benefit system is there so that she doesn't have to - meaning Annabelle's school items and clothes are bought by her father, and rightly so, he takes his responsibilities to his children very seriously), he pointed out to his ex-wife that the choice of colour had been Annabelle's, that it was ideal for school and what were her objections ~ big mistake, because?  She told him! (upsetting poor Annabelle in the process and showing us all once again why she is a bit of a 'nutter')...
  • "a 'black' bag is for funerals" ~ how many school rucksacks have YOU seen at a funeral?
  • "Annabelle will turn out gay if she has a 'black' bag" ~ what??!*!???  I can't even get my head around that reasoning
  • and "by the way... she's getting FAT" ~ why would you even say that in front of your pubescent daughter? 
I have to say, I think my brother handled the situation brilliantly (but then he has had years of practice at trying to reason with the unreasonable).  He just walked away (I, on the other hand, would in all likelihood of had a raging argument with the 'nutter') .
So, my thought processes are now working overtime... do people really think this way?  Or is this only one rather odd woman's view?  And if so, how will her influence effect my niece and nephew's outlook on life?  Is this how Russians are raised?  Is this the beliefs of  all Russians?  Would it even matter if your daughter turned out gay?  Does it matter where she finds love?  Or who with?  Has the human race not evolved and become more understanding, more knowledgeable and more tolerant?  Is all our politically correctness just a sham and we really are thinking that if a girl wears black, it will influence her life choices?  I don't think this way... but do others?... my answer?
I hope not!
On a recent visit (Halloween), the family (brother, niece, nephew, daughter, future son-in-law, other niece) all descended on me.  Oh what fun we had, all getting together and catching up with our lives.  The photograph I scrapped is of my daughter (at the bottom of the pile) getting a load (a heavy load) of love from everyone...
This is my 11th layout out with this fabulous LIKE FOR EVER September kit called 'Acorn Avenue', the kit consisted mostly of Pink Paislee's 'Cedar Lane' collection ~ I've loved this kit!
In the kit... Twelve 12x12" double sided patterned papers from the 'Cedar Lane' collection | Two 12x12" sheets of cardstock: Bubbles and Blackberry Swirl | One pack of Fitzgerald Glitter Thickers: Teal | One pack of Ephemera | One pack of Word Jumble Stickers | One pack of 3D Arrow Embellishments | One exclusive, custom mixed pack of Pretty Pink Posh Sequins | One vellum bag of wooden butterfly buttons.

I bought some glitter words add on ~ this 'snuggle up' just seemed so appropriate!

I used my very old typewriter to add some journaling and went back over some of the letters with a pen to add a little bit of interest

'love this' came from the puffy sticker embellishment add on

Those colourful wooden butterfly buttons were fab along with the Pretty Pink Posh exclusive sequin mix

More fussy cutting from the 'Town Square' patterned paper
Et Voile!
From the look of this layout, you'd never guess that the kit is almost killed!
Now to decide if I make one more layout or whether to use the last few bits in my PROJECT LIFE, decisions, decisions...
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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Just Desserts

I blogged the other day about 'white space' [here], a design concept in scrapbooking.  I featured an article (by Debbie Hodge) about white space which showcased three layouts (using the same images) to show off this concept on finished layouts.  I personally liked layout #2 and thought I'd give it ago...
Here is a picture of the original layout design...

And here is my take...
'Special For Today'... feature's my LIKE FOR EVER August kit (Oh So Lovely), which consists if the Crate Paper 'Wonder' collection.  This is my 8th layout with this kit, the photos tell the story of my daughter and I taking my niece out for her first 'grown-up' shopping trip... we had a ball!  Part of the experience was to be 'ladies what lunch', so here we are having lunch in Frankie and Benny's.  Of course lunch had to include dessert... and what fabulous desserts we had!  I'm so glad I managed to capture this moment.
My journaling

Love these sequins and enamel dots that came in the kit, they add just the right element

I used some of the die-cuts for my title and embellishments

I think this design may become one of my 'go-to' layouts when inspiration deserts me!
Have a great 'hump day' everyone x
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As I sit here, typing away, in-between watching the new Christmas adverts on TV.  I'm thinking... why would you (supposedly) spend 7 million pounds on one advertisement?  Seriously, these supermarkets have far too much money, far too much power and not enough freebie coupons!
My current pet hate is the tiny amount of money countless big well-known businesses are not paying in UK taxes.  We hear about how much profit they've made each year, but they are not so forthcoming about the tiny percentage they pay in tax on that profit.  No wonder they can spend so much on adverts!  If they have enough money to spend 7 million on one advert or can afford to scrap thousands of pounds worth of merchandise (just because it is 'old' stock ~ that's less than a year old by the way) then surely they should be putting back into the country they are getting all this profit from!  But no!  They are more likely to create a new highly paid job to someone who knows how to evade taxes than just cough it up!  As a consumer it is MY responsibility to protest this, by boycotting these disgusting tax-dodgers and flexing my consumer muscles, by withdrawing my hard earned cash from these rouge outlets!
How can I stand on my principles when the worst of these companies are... GOOGLE and AMAZON!  I mean my Christmas shopping would not get done if not for Amazon... I'm even on 'Prime' for goodness sake!  So much for my ethics!
And as for Google... does the internet even work without it?
I will do what I can, though... no more Tesco deliveries for me.  Definitely no more trips to Boots and everyone is going to get something from 'Lush' for Christmas this year (because they pay LOADS of tax on their profits)!
I've had my moan... so on with the crafting...

My photo today is from 2013 Halloween ~ my niece, Abbie, decided to dress-up as a cat ~ an 'Abbie-Cat'...

LIKE FOR EVER, August kit was used for this.  all from Crate Paper's Wonder Collection, the colours are lovely and that vellum with the gold triangles is beautiful

I love this little cardstock sticker


...more cats

These thickers are fab ~ 'Gold Charm' they are gold and corrugated for additional texture

and to finish a few stickers
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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Beautiful Game... RUGBY!!!

I am obliged as the ex-wife of a Welshman; the mother of two 'Welshies' and the inhabitant of the rain soaked, sheep laden 'Land of my Fathers'... to love rugby and surprisingly... I do.  Seriously, what red-blooded woman doesn't want to see a bunch of beefy looking, muscle-bound hunks (just don't look at their ears), beating the crap out of each other ~ all in the name of sport!  When I compare it to football, the supposed 'beautiful game', I just don't see how anyone can like the theatrical play-acting and all those 'pratfalls' better than the skills of rugby.
Of course, being English (the lowest of the low in terms of rugby supporters, not only in Wales but the world over), I find it very difficult having the entire world against my team, but such is rugby... everyone hates the England Team, always have ~ always will (the rest of the world , "Are you really that insecure?"  Apparently... yes, you are!), but that's another debate.
Although in recent years rugby players, in general, have been getting a little out of hand (I blame the footballers influence), with too much hotel carousing; dwarf throwing (who knew there was such a thing!) and adultery, on the whole (probably because there is less money involved in rugby) rugby players don't display so much stupidity in their off-field behaviour.  Ummm, perhaps its all those Max Boyce/Tom Jones songs they listen to and although most of them don't remember the words to the Lord's Prayer, let alone a full song... 'Hymns and Arias' 'Green, Grass of Home' and 'Delilah' can be recited word for word by all Welsh players and supporters alike! 
The best match ever?  Goes to the Barbarians (with a nickname like the 'Baa Baa's' how could I not appreciate them) against the All Blacks (New Zealand to the ignorant) in 1973 at Cardiff Arms Park.  This, most exhilarating match was a display of unparalleled skill with the amazing dexterity of Phil Bennett and his physics-bending sidesteps which were as mesmerising as Gareth Edwards' finishing prowess.  The entire 80 minute match was a display of 'offloading', 'dummying' and  body-swerving and was accompanied by the iconic commentary of Cliff Morgan and the operatic Arms Park crowd.  Apart from the Haka, which looked like a drunken rehearsal of camp Morris Dancers (thank goodness this aspect of Maori tradition, the infamous war cry,  has improved and become more authentic over the years!), everything was... 'the perfect game'.  Is it sad that I remember this game from the countless videos I've watched (thanks to my ex-husband's sporting obsession fascination and the fact that no-one knew what to buy him for Christmas)? Full version [here], just fancy a little peak? [here]
Football on the other hand... is just not my game.  I would have a serious problem sitting through 90 minutes of watching a ball being passed back and forward (another reason to like rugby... it only last for 80 minutes!).  In fact I DID have a problem when taking my son to his football matches when he was a boy (his father refused to take him... it wasn't rugby, after all) and having to stay there... needless to say I read a lot; cheered (hopefully) in the right places and was very. very glad when it was time to go.  I didn't even mind all the muddy boots (and smells) and sweaty football shirts if it meant it was 'home-time'!
My future son-in-law does not feel this way... and every week he can be seen strutting his stuff on the football pitch, yes... he plays!  Which is depicted in the photo on my layout...
I've used my LIKE FOR EVER September kit 'Acorn Avenue' for this and I've even managed some mixed media... woo hoo!
The border was made from 4 manufacturing strips (waste not~want not)
Thickers by American Crafts (Fitzgerald in peacock)
Puffy sticker and mixed media (modelling paste and a stencil from 'The Crafters' Workshop')

Doily and mixed media
Fox? no relevance whatsoever (artistic license!)

Glitter circles from last month's kit
Even after ten layouts this kit is still going... but I'm definitely going to be killing it soon! 
Happy Crafting
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R.I.P. JONAH LOMU (aged 40), a true sporting great

Monday, 16 November 2015

White Space...

Did you think it was... space that was white?
In scrapbooking (apparently) you'd be wrong!
I have said in previous posts ~ I just 'get on with it', that I try not to 'over-think' the process of scrapbooking, I just want to record the memory and use some pretty 'stuff' to do it, otherwise I get bogged down with the right/wrong ways of design and then just abandon it altogether... however...
I recently came across an article about 'white space' and found it, not only interesting, but informative as well... so I thought you all should know...
White Space can be any colour! Who knew? Right?
I have no idea how I actually came across this crazy way of thinking (probably trawling the internet!), but here it is [here], check it out... its good.
Simple 'space' can be predictably symmetrical or unpredictably asymmetrical! Uh? What? Over-thinking, much?  But it does make sense, even if it does go again my 'stick it and hope' philosophy!
I'm off to have a go at layout #2, if I can find three photos about the same thing...
Bye for now   ~   Happy Crafting x
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Home Time

If we are very lucky in life, our children will actually turn out OK... no matter how many times we, as parents, manage to cock up ~ they will manage to get through it and grow up to have only minimal hang ups, they will (hopefully) not be too traumatised by their parents stealing the occasional kiss (despite the gagging noises sons and daughters seems to have been born able to do!). I'm VERY lucky with my two off-spring.  My son is willing to overlook my obvious deficiencies and be kind to his dear old mum, whilst my daughter works and lives away and so, has more understanding of how the world actually works and misses having someone to pay the bills!

Can we ever, truly be friends with our kids?  I think not... and that's not just because I want to be the boss of everyone!  I could never be anything but 'mum' (or as they were wont to say "ahh mum!!!"), I expected to be the one in charge... it wasn't a democracy in our house but more of a dictatorship!  And of course as my delightful, well behaved children entered teenhood I managed to cross the invisible line of 'fuddiness' by uttering the immortal words (and there's really no going back from this) "in my younger day" ~ and once said, that's it, game over... you have just labelled yourself 'old' and have turned into your parents.  It will bring back memories from your own childhood, remembering how annoying your parents were, for never understanding you, but it will not make you more understanding of your current situation and the stranger in front of you! I guarantee the first time you say it (and there will be many more times), you only realise after the word have left your mouth, what you have said because you will, by this point, be frustrated and ready to be classed as 'old' because at that precise moment you really won't understand the person who is now inhabiting your child's body. 

By way of revenge, I used to really annoy my kids by being the 'cool' mum to all their friends ~ they always found it SO irritating, I had them over a barrel, they couldn't say anything horrible because it would make them look bad ~ mwahhhh!

Since I'm talking about my kids I think I'll show you my seventh layout made with my LIKE FOR EVER August kit ('Oh So Lovely' consisting of the Crate Paper 'Wonder' collection ) I'll get around to showing you layout number six next time...  these photos tell the story of my son's love of school or not!  I never had any trouble getting my kids to school.  School was one of those non-negotiable rules (like seat belts)... you go, that's it! "Yeah, I know... life's not fair (get over it)!"  Anyway, back to my boy... he went, but by golly like the proverbial horse taken to water... no-one was gonna make him learn!  His favourite subject was detention!  The first photo shows his pre-school face (happy? NOT) and the second one shows his eagerness to get out of that blasted uniform (finally a smile)...

Very busy layout

wood veneer

yep, there's grumpy

I little bit of journaling (gosh, I hate my writing!)


Those 'Trinket' thickers are lovely even if they do take up loads of space!

I love being a mum... and even though they won't admit it, they love having me as their mum... I think!
May your inks never run dry!
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

1992 & Best Day EVER

I apologise (if anyone's interested) for my absence... I've not been well, my 'condition' decided to throw me a curve and gave me some new symptoms and 'stuff' to deal with :(
My 'condition' (I have Progressive Multiple Sclerosis) has now officially placed me in the disabled echelon's of society, not a place I'd ever thought I'd be, but health is something we don't appreciate until we no longer have it (along with a lot of other things... like bladder control, the ability to walk or the simple act of cutting up one's own food).  I am NOT moaning and I still enjoy life to the fullest (well as that's a bit of a stretch but whatever), but my crafting is something that makes me feel... good. 
 I have achieved something ~ I am still useful.
Accepting the person I am now, is a never ending struggle, when I don't even recognise myself anymore, but this is what life has dealt me... so I'll make the best of it and acknowledge that it could be worse.  However, last week my little brain lesions decided to play havoc with my senses and knocked me out of action... but now ~ I'M BACK...
I've now dealt with all that health $h!t and am getting my mojo back together with my inspiration and trying to tackle my increasing stack of LIKE FOR EVER kits.
As I got further and further behind, I tried to run a couple of kits along side each other in the hopes of getting through them, no... it's not worked.  So, rather than getting bogged down with all the crafty goodness, (my December Day by Day kit also arrived), I think what I'll do is forget the October kit (of which I haven't even stroked, let alone opened!) and concentrate on killing my two outstanding kits before the next on arrives and/or I start the December Day by Day kit.
August's kit... 'Oh So Lovely' (Crate Paper 'Wonder' Collection) is currently proceeding as follows...
Seven layouts completed, love this kit (I say that with ever one of them!), it's very child-like with its papers and embellies with a beautiful colour palette and of course some lovely little cat die-cuts.  There's plenty of everything left for more layouts.
September's kit... 'Acorn Avenue'  (Pink Paislee 'Cedar Lane Collection) is...
Nine layouts down with probably only one or two layouts left in it before it's killed, so I'm getting there.
October's kit... 'Hello, Beautiful' is...
Currently untouched :(   and will remain so unless there is suddenly more hours in the day or I'm miraculously cured (then I won't have a de-fuddled brain unable to cope with more than two things at once... but then I'd have to look for a full time job and I'd still have no time... ).
I'm also behind with my blogging... meaning?  I've got a few page layouts to share with you... but I don't want to overwhelm you with my crafting greatness, so today I'll only show you two of the pages I've managed to complete...
Both are from the 'Acorn Avenue' kit, the first (layout #8)... 1992, is of my baby boy in yes, you've guessed it... 1992.
A very simple layout using 2x2 squares of patterned paper

Those fussy cut flowers (from the 'Town Square' patterned paper) have provided a HUGE amount of interest on my layouts and of course, some gold splatters of Heidi Swapp Color Shine

Date and title in one, using the American Crafts Thickers - 'Fitzgerald' in peacock

The frame and 'smile' die-cut are from the ephemera pack
Look at those rosy cheeks and happy smile!
Don't look at that disgusting red flowered wallpaper

No layout is complete without a bit of bling ~ sequins from Pretty Pink Posh (exclusive mix

My second page (layout #9) is a very old photograph I fish out of the attic, of my Uncle Barry's wedding to his lovely bride.  My Aunty Linda (now deceased) was the most beautiful person I've ever known both inside and out, a very special lady who is sorely missed.  This photo gave me the opportunity to immortalise this precious memory.  I am the little bridesmaid on the right, along with my two cousins ~ we all wore pretty bright pink dresses and none of us had a clue what we were doing!  I went on to be a bridesmaid another five times for friends and family (wasn't I popular?!)...
When I see my Uncle next, I'll ask him what year this was and then make sure I record the date. I'm loving this light woodgrain patterned paper

Lots of layering, some of the tissue paper the kit came in and some glittered washi tape

I'm so glad I splashed out and got the embroidered tags (add-on), they are lovely.  I used the puffy stickers for part of my title and the AC thickers for the rest. I also punched out a gold glitter heart and added it to the top corner of the layering.  You can just see my (not so happy) little self in the bottom corner

... more glitter washi tape and another piece from the ephemera pack, the acetate 'memories' was stapled to a piece of yellow patterned paper and adhered to the washi tape with foam squares
I cut the acetate wreath in two to maximise its use and added some purple splatters to the top and bottom corners.  To complete the layout I added some journalling

So this was my part one catch-up, I gotta go now... my son's cooking roast beef for Sunday Dinner... see, being disabled has it's perks!
Happy Crafting
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Monday, 2 November 2015

Give Us A Kiss

Hello everyone, I hope you enjoyed Halloween...

I've recovered from my recent home invasion and managed to do a layout today.  This photo is of my two children way back in 1995.  As you can see my son was determined to have a kiss from his little sister, an event that was nearly as rare as water in the desert!
To say that they didn't get on is an understatement... I failed, miserably, to get them to even like each other!  I think they both have similar personalities (strong ones) and back then, they just didn't feel the need to EVER give in to each other, no matter how I tried to explain the concept of 'sharing'.

They get on great... now!  But that might have something to do with the fact that they don't see each other very often!

Anyway, my layout was achieved using the LIKE FOR EVER September kit 'Acorn Avenue'... it is a lovely mix of Pink Paislee's Cedar Lane collection patterned papers and embellishments...

(home made flair)

(journaling on the fussy cut flower)

(washi tape)

American Crafts 'Fitzgerald' thickers in peacock

This is my 7th layout with this kit, it just seems to keep going... but I REALLY want to start my next kit... 'Hello Beautiful' <<must NOT give in to temptation>> << why not???>>
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