Sunday, 30 March 2008

A lovely weekend

The weather has been very kind to us this weekend…although it was revolting on Saturday afternoon it has been lovely and sunny the rest of the time. Our weekly family shopping trip was a great success, with us buying a set of wicker baskets to store Alex’s toys in. He has since had great fun taking things out of them…I have yet to get him to put them back in! Alex enjoys the weekends when I am around because then he has greater freedom and we spent much of yesterday afternoon with him crawling at great speed around the whole house to his great satisfaction.
Today Alex spent time drawing whilst sat on my lap (with me trying to prevent him from drawing on my desk!). He loves having a go when he is in the right mood, although his first experiment with stickers wasn’t quite as successful…they stuck to him and me, and it took a lot to get them to stick to the paper. All good fun. His artwork will be turned into a Birthday card for his Granny which I will show when I have the chance to do it.
This afternoon saw us heading out to the park where we met several friends, which was lovely. Alex wasn’t so keen on the swings today, but loved going down the slide and into the metal tube as this grin shows.
I have managed to do a little crafting as well which is nice. This scrapbook page is entitled ‘Bounce’ and is based on the fact that one of Alex’s favourite games is bouncing and then watching us bounce as well. This photo was taken last August when he was still quite little and the images and phrases of Tigger are from Sandylion paper. The orange springs are hand drawn onto the Bazzil cardstock. The journaling reads ‘Alex resembles Tigger in the fact that ever since he could support his head he has liked to bounce; in our arms, on our laps etc, which is why he loved his door bouncer’.
Finally I have made three Egyptian ATCs for the organised swap on the CM&PC forum. These all used stamps from the Tanda range, and a brayered butterscotch Adirondack ink background. The freeze was stamped in Adirondack Ginger and the central images in each case were stamped with StazOn black. I have never stamped onto metal before so was pleased with the royal vulture stamp. The gold cartouche was made by stamping into three layers of ‘metal magic’, and was a new technique to me, but one I am very pleased with. The final ATC does have a stamped verticle cartouche on it, but it hasn't come out in this picture sadly. I hope everyone else has had a nice weekend. More soon,

Friday, 28 March 2008

A massive thank you.

Don’t you just love getting crafty post? I have had a fair bit over the past week or so and would like to say thank you to all the lovely ladies out there who have sent me these beautiful pieces of artwork. Firstly thanks go to Lindsay Prince (aka Potter) who organised the ‘all about me’ swap. I received these two lovely ATCs from her (the bright pink one which opens up to reveal details inside as shown in the second photo) and from Linda Brunton. The two ATCs couldn’t be more different and yet both tell me so much about the wonderful people who have made them. Fabulous.
I have also been the lucky recipient of three more fat book pages. This enchanting one is from Dorothy Wilmott and I love the parchment butterflies and the saying which comes from a Hans Christian Anderson story.
The second one is from Kerry Knowles, and I just love the sentiment ‘Beauty surrounds us’, it is so true of nature and of this lovely page. I like the way that Kerry has hand drawn the swirl and the little bells are really cute.
This final one is from Isobel Waite and uses the K&Co background paper to great effect. I love the unusual addition of the copper corners and the cut out butterflies are very effective. Thank you once again all of you. This book is going to be beautiful when it is finished.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Sorting out and catching up

It always seems to take me ages to get back on top of things after being away and being really busy at work hasn’t helped. I have therefore spent the past few days (when not at work) sorting out the house and trying to re-organise my crafting things which have got out of hand again. I haven’t yet finished but hope to this weekend. Work has been completely mad and I have finished and printed two A0 sized posters ready for the conference next week. As well as that I have submitted another grant application to Yorkshire Cancer Research for a years worth of funding. Fingers crossed that one of these grants comes through.
As part of the great tidy up I ordered some more pockets for my trading cards which were sitting in a pile on my desk and have now filed them all away. The complete collection looks stunning and I love seeing ATCs added to it from the different swaps. I have also sent off all the cards I owe including all the fat book pages and this months ‘send a smile’. The picture above was generated using one of my photos adapted with Adobe Photoshop and was used on the back of all my fat book pages.
Alex has been a bit off colour this week, alternately happy and grumpy with no apparent cause, as well as being off his food and not sleeping properly. There is no evidence of teething so we can only assume that he has the same virus that Tim and I have which leaves you feeling achy (especially headachy) and not able to sleep well. Poor little chap, I hope he feels better soon. We have had a lot of fun though playing with new toys etc.
The only crafting I have managed to do this week was this card, which is for my mother-in-laws Birthday. The flowers are from Scrapping Angels and I am pleased with how the card has come together. Anyway, off to do some more catching up and sorting out. More soon I hope,

Monday, 24 March 2008

Easter weekend and Birthday celebrations

Well I am exhausted again, but due to nice things this time. Alex and I made the long trek down to Somerset on Good Friday, and yes, the traffic was bad…lots of cars on the road, two accidents and a car fire turned the trip into a 6 hour marathon. Alex was actually really very good considering that he only slept for 30 minutes of it. He just about fits into his little car seat so I could have him in the front next to me and so we played games of peekaboo, clapping, waving and bouncing etc which along with finger foods (mini sandwiches, cheerios etc) kept him entertained.
It was lovely to see my family, especially as Mother had decided to make it a weekend in which to celebrate her 60th Birthday with the family (although her Birthday isn’t until May!). We had lots of laughter and fun with the two boys (now 9 and 11 months old), watching them chase each other round the room (Alex moves faster), grab each others toys (Daniel has the grab technique down pat) and generally interact with each other.
Alex and I shared a bedroom which, at least for the first night, was a complete disaster. I am not exactly sure what unsettled him, a new (huge) room, different cot (travel cot), me being in the room with him, not being well (he subsequently has lost his voice), Daddy not being around and general baby randomness. As a result of that he screamed blue murder every time I put him down in the cot after his 10 o’clock feed and wouldn’t sleep. I eventually got him to sleep in my bed, but he is such a restless sleeper, rolling over, kicking, turning sideways, suddenly sitting up and turning through 180 degrees so I get feet in my face, crying out for a few seconds and then stopping etc, that I got very little sleep myself. At 7am I dumped him on Grandma and went back to bed as I was shattered. Alex was also exhausted and ended up falling asleep on Gran.
Alex and Aunt Lavinia
Daniel and his Grandma (my Mother!)
Alex and Tamsin

Saturday wasn’t the nice weather we had hoped for so we went for a short walk in Vivary Park in Taunton, while Mother bought a ‘shrug’ to go with her party dress. We were joined for the Birthday celebrations by two of my aunts (Lavinia and Daphne), and my cousin Tamsin. Kick off was 4pm for afternoon tea with a very posh Birthday cake (organised by Gran) – the daffodils are because my Mother is a world expert in miniature daffodils.
Gran also gave Mother a ‘this is your life book’ full of photos of key events in Mother’s life and decorated with Gran’s flower paintings. It was a wonderful book and Mother was really moved by it. This photo is of Mother with the book and cake.
The 'not quite Birthday girl' in her glad rags.We all then dressed up for a wonderfully smart dinner party (dresses all round – well OK not Andy and Dad!). As far as I can tell Mother thoroughly enjoyed the evening which was filled with fantastic food and lots of laughter.
You should have seen the dining room table on Easter morning…I have never seen so many Easter eggs (I didn't have my camera available so I have substituted a photo of the boys)! After a very nice breakfast (croissant and home made marmalade – my favourite) we all piled into the church where I was Christened, married and used to sing in the church choir. It was lovely to be back and to see everyone, and both the little boys were very well behaved…Alex actually fell asleep during the sermon and woke up at the end of the service in time to be sociable which was wonderful. We travelled back on Sunday evening and the journey couldn’t have been more different…apart from a 10 minute snow storm it was really easy and only took 4¼ hours. It was a wonderful weekend but I am glad to be back in my own bed! More soon,

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Happy Easter

Thursday already...I can't quite believe it. It has been such a busy week, what with furniture arrival on Monday and a hectic work schedule. Monday was chaos, but the new furniture (solid oak dining table and chairs, solid oak dresser, and a glass fronted book case) is very beautiful and now that it is all in place looks fabulous. I can't quite believe this is our dining room! OK so the highchair doesn't quite fit with everything else (especially as we got it from a skip!), but that doesn't detract from how amazing the rest of the room looks.
Work has been stupidly busy, with yet another grant deadline looming, having to organise a 6 week teaching and laboratory schedule for 15 medical students and making 2 posters for a conference in less than two weeks time. Poster making is quite fun in many ways and appeals to the crafty side of my nature even though it is only Powerpoint and follows a strict structure with an Introduction (background to the science), hypothesis and aims of the research, methods used, results (usually graphs and pictures), conclusions and references. I like the challenge of putting it all together on one page and trying to make it look neat and balanced. This is an example of a previous one as I haven't finished either of the two I am currently working on.
Alex has been great fun to be with this week...we have been playing lots of different games, chase, using Mummy as a climbing frame, stacking bricks & rings, cars, ball, reading etc. I should say that he now appears to have a toy that he is very attached to...his teddy. He has lots of teddies, but this little white and red knitted one is a firm favourite which he munches the nose, ears and paws (it needs regular washing!). He can often be seen crawling across the floor with teddy in his mouth! Another firm favourite is a green plastic isn't fancy, doesn't do anything, in fact it is just a lump of plastic, but he loves holding it and especially hitting things with it. Loud banging noises are a firm favourite with him.
I have managed to do some crafting this week. These two fat book pages have completed the ones that I need to make...I just need to decorate the backs of them all and then I can send them out to people. Again I have used a K&Co background and added vellum and sticker butterflies to it, and highlighted some of the patterns with a sakura stardust pen.
This double page layout is one I have been meaning to try for ages, but haven't had the is entitled 'Stepping out with our baby' and contains photos of our many walks through Sheffield while I was on Maternity leave. I am not very confident at using lots of photos on one page, so I was quite pleased at how this one turned out. I have also made a card for my Dad's birthday, however, I can't put a picture of it on here as I am intending to show him this website when I see him this weekend.
I wont be around for a while as Alex and I are heading down to Somerset to my parents for the Easter Weekend. Sadly Tim wont be joining us as he is currently too ill to travel (gets too dizzy and carsick as well as the CFS). We are celebrating my Mothers 60th while we are down there with a family dinner party which I am very much looking forward to. I will update upon our return. In the meantime, Happy Easter everyone.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Another big thank you.

I just wanted to type another separate post of thanks to all the wonderful people who have sent me ATCs and fat book pages in the past 10 days or so. I have received a fabulous collection and am thrilled with all the effort and work that has gone into these. These first two were from individual swaps where I really liked the pieces of work and bid for them. The Cadbury advertising (by Claire Saytch) really made me giggle as Cadbury’s try to present chocolate as good for you! I am a sucker for all things Oriental and so just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to own this Oriental ATC by Janet Matthews.
These next four are from the Alphabet swap and I love them all. S is for Shells is by Julie Hancock, T is for Time by Joanne Browne, U is for Under the sea by Michaela Wade (aged 9), and V is for Voyage by Gill Sweetman.
These final ATCs are from the mystery items swap organised by Claire Saytch. Claire gave us all the same items (a pink feather, a paper clip and some blue mesh) and we all had to make trading cards with them. These are all wonderful and very imaginative. Barbara Williams has used the pink feather beautifully in her elegant ‘Shop till you drop’, whereas Lindsey Prince has decided to use all three items in her wonderful ‘All things bright and beautiful’ ATC. Finally Joanne Browne had the same idea as me in that the net reminded her of the sea only in her case she chose to use the net as the sea to great effect.
Finally I have received three more Butterfly fat book pages. This one is from Carol Brown and uses the tag ‘butterfly kisses are the best’ to great effect.
I just love the use of brown and diamond framing on this beautiful page by Claire Saytch.
Finally, the use of text as a background with certain words highlighted is very effective on this elegant page by Gabi Mann. That’s all for now folks, a proper update on my doings will be forthcoming tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Another busy weekend

We are getting some new furniture tomorrow, thanks to my parents-in-law, and so this weekend has been spent clearing the entrance hall so that the removal men will be able to get the dresser, table and chairs in, cleaning the old table and chairs to send back to Pete & Kath and emptying the shelves in the sitting room of DVDs and ornaments as the shelves are being replaced with the new dresser. What with cooking, cleaning, washing and shopping it has been a tiring weekend and Tim retreated to bed this afternoon leaving Alex and me to play in the sitting room. We had the greatest of fun, although I kept having to chase him away from the CDs which he wanted to pull all over the floor.
He so loves having the freedom to explore, but sadly our house isn't really designed for it so I am having to try and make modifications to each room so that he is with him crawling around my feet trying to open the cupboards and generally making lots of noise on the laminate floor with his train is highly amusing. I did manage to bake a cake and some flapjack today which was nice as I haven't baked for ages.
Crafting wise I have been trying to catch up with the fatbook pages and finish them off so I have made 6 in all. 2 similar to previous designs and four new ones, all using different K&Co papers as background, and vellum butterflies as the main images.
these four were more vintage in style than previous ones.I hope you like them! More soon,

Friday, 14 March 2008

The weekend starts here.

I am so glad this week is over, work doesn't get any less busy and Iam finding it hard to keep up. That said, I did manage to give a good seminar about my research on Thursday, finish writing a paper for publication, review someone elses paper and finish off a grant for submission today...not bad for two days work. I am glad that it is the weekend though and I can have a rest from the heavy thinking.
Alex hasn't been sleeping at all well and hasn't really been himself at all...he has cut another tooth on the top, which might have something to do with it, and we wonder if there are more on the way. We are trying to teach him to eat 'finger foods' something which he isn't brilliant at..he can manage sticks of bread, biscuits and dry cheerios but I am trying to persuade him that fruit is good too...success with a little cucumber (minus skin today), but it is slow going. Our playtimes over the past couple of days have been a bit more gentle than sometimes, with lots more stories, cuddles and brick tower building (and of course knocking down), and driving of cars across the floor.
I have done a mixture of crafting with another fat book page completed using the same K&Co Hydrangia background paper with sakura stardust highlights, butterfly and word stamps and a vellum butterfly attached along with a couple of embellishments. I am really enjoying making these pages.
I have also completed another scrapbook page of my brothers 30th Birthday which was last August. The background paper is K&Co and that yellow cardstock is Bazzil. I can't remember the source of the stickers or embellishments, sorry. The journalling reads 'We celebrated Andy's 30th Birthday with a weekend in Somerset which included a lunch in the garden followed by Birthday cake'.
Finally, I have made this card for my parents-in-law who moved from their house in Shropshire into rented accomodation in Worksop this week. The 'Good Luck' is to represent both the move itself and also looking for a more permanent home. The background paper is K&Co, the corner stamp is from clever cuts, the central panel is from Crafty Individuals and the words say 'life is a daring adventure or nothing'. I hope they like it. More soon,