Friday, 31 December 2010

Gentle fun!

We have had a lovely few days at home as a family, enjoying the holiday season with all of us in the house together.  Alex has been great fun inventing loads of great games to play...we have played castles and monsters (no surprises there as these were his Christmas presents), golf (with a brush and ball), cleaning (with a jay cloth stuffed into a cardboard tube as a mop), camping (sheet over the old play pen), shopping and cooking (with his new shopping basket and play food), robots, cars and many others.  It has been wonderful to get him really playing and not watching too much television (one of the dangers of being at home all day).
In the afternoons we have been to various parks, although he gets cold quite easily, and yesterday I took him shopping on the tram to buy some new slippers and socks. There was a Merry-go-round in front of the City Hall so we had a lovely ride on that as well.
I have also had time to do some crafting, making a couple of much needed thank you cards, a birthday card and a scrapbook layout.  This thank you card used my new stamps and K&Co papers.  I coloured the images in with distress inks and put the two larger birds onto foam pads.  The layout follows this weeks Unscripted sketch and the card fits with the flourishes theme of pearls.
The next thank you card used a brayered background and a crafty individuals stamp and I am entering it for the theme of thank you from Phindy's place.  All the cards in this post also fit with the theme of using stamps (not digi) from City Crafter Challenge.
This final card follows sketch #155 from CPS and the creative card crew theme of Birthdays, and SSS theme of celebrate.  I used some tree stamps from crafty Individuals (a birthday present), the birthday sentiment from penny black and the bird from Hero Arts (a Christmas present).  This also fits with the Crazy Challenge of 'punch it' and with the lots to do 'favourite card' as this is my current favourite card.  I always struggle with cards for men and this is for my father in law who loves bird watching.  I tried to keep it nice and masculine with the colour scheme and would love to know what you think.
Finally I have made a scrapbook layout following a sketch from a site that is new to me called the Scrappiest Sketch.  This layout features myself and a colleague from work and our two children bouncing around on her trampoline.  It was  fun afternoon and one to capture despite the rather strange photo of me!

That is all from me for now other than to wish you all a very Happy New Year.  We are off to celebrate New Years Day with family tomorrow.  Have a wonderful time and stay safe.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

White Christmas!

Well we certainly had a white Christmas!  Alex and I made the journey down to my parents in Somerset on Christmas Eve...the journey was remarkably good until we turned into my parents lane to be met with a skating rink..not my idea of fun, but we got there in one piece.
After lunch we headed out into the snow where the little boys (Alex and Daniel) had fun running round and digging with seaside spades,
whilst the adults had a snowball fight! Needless to say, my brother, Andrew, being the biggest and fastest, won hands down,
even when Nel and I ganged up on him!
On Christmas morning we all piled into Mum and Dad's bed for the grand stocking opening, which was the greatest of fun! Even 11 month old Nicholas got in on the action, playing with his stocking presents on the floor at the foot of the bed before having a cuddle with Grandma.
After a leisurely breakfast and games with the stocking toys, it was coffee time and time for everyone to have their main presents. The boys were delighted with their new toys and had great fun opening them...the wrapping went everywhere in the excitement.
Alex and Daniel then played very nicely together with the new Castle, Snapping Dungeon and knights
and then Gran (aged 86) read them a story before my Aunts and cousin Tamsin arrived for Christmas dinner (she looks a little squashed by them both!)
Christmas Dinner was a great success, the food was wonderful
and all the little boys behaved very well. 
They enjoyed the attention of their various great Aunts
and it was a wonderful opportunity for us all to catch up.
After dinner we went out for a Christmas walk and ended up sledging!  The little boys had been given small skid pans which they loved
while the adults (Andy, Tamsin and myself) went on the bigger sledge...all very silly and good fun!
After Christmas cake and tea, Tamsin and Daphne left and once the boys had gone to bed, the rest of us settled down for an evening of reading (three siblings on a sofa!)
and card games. All in all it was a wonderful Christmas Day!
Boxing Day was very gentle by comparison. Alex spent some time cuddling Juno,
then playing with Grandma and Daniel
and I spent some time bird watching...I just love the contrast of a bright robin red breast on snow
as well as a fat male pheasant!
We finished the day with another game of cards.  In the morning the snow had begun to thaw so Mother took Alex and Daniel for a walk across the fields while I packed the car ready for our return journey after lunch.  We arrived back safely having had a wonderful time!
Yesterday we celebrated Christmas as a family with more presents and Alex was delighted that he also was given a castle which he played with for much of the day. I also put away my new crafting stash (promarker pens, stamps and scrapbook papers) and organised my desk with my new drawers (a belated birthday present).
For today's WOYWW I wanted to show you my desk in action making the first of many thank you cards.  You can see my new drawers in the background, my adirondack ink pads which were used for the background of the card (with my brayer), various Lavinia stamps and acrylic blocks, and some scrap paper which I used for masking on the card.
Here is the final card which I will enter for the CCC and PTW 'thank you', and creative craft and Sew Many Cards  'anything goes' challenges. This blog post has taken an age to upload with blogger being a complete pain today so thank you for bearing with me.  Have a great day and rest of the week. 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Carol concert

Alex had his Christmas carol concert at nursery was so sweet watching all the 3 and 4 year olds singing their hearts out.  Alex was very enthusiastic remembering all the words and actions and singing at the top of his voice...just a shame that it wasn't very tuneful!  He got so excited and carried away that he sang an extra chorus of jingle bells all by himself!
I am now officially off work and so spent yesterday wrapping presents and tidying the upper half of the house...I have downstairs to do now.  For this weeks WOYWW I thought I would show you our dining room table which is full of wrapped presents...only a few left to do now.
My actual desk has a last minute tag production line going on.  I needed a few more than I had made so frantically cut some netability shapes out and stamped a tree onto them in coloured ink..quick and simple, but effective.
The only crafting I have done apart from that is to make this scrapbook layout following this weeks unscripted sketch and the theme of on the farm from SCSC.  The journalling reads 'We had a magical day at Cannon Hall farm seeing all the baby animals including a 1 day old donkey and a week old llama. For the first time Alex got excited about feeding the animals, especially the smaller sheep and gots, before having fun on the playground.'  As this is likely to be my last post before heading down to Somerset for Christmas I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas tags

Well the party on Friday night was the greatest of fun! The company was wonderful, the food was very good and the dancing was entertaining!
Alex has had a good weekend as well - we went to an indoor play area yesterday where he met a friend, to the mueum this afternoon and was a shepherd in the nativity service this morning.
He was sweet trying to share a seat with Mary, placing the straw carefully round baby Jesus and arranging the kings gifts! I am finally feeling a little more Christmassy which is nice.
On that theme I actually decided to make 4 Christmas tags taking inspiration from Tim Holtz's 12 tags of Christmas.  These are all for Tim (my husband) and will have a little personal message on the back of each one. On the top one I drew the somewhat stylised houses and then used a masking technique with two different shades of blue distress ink to create the sky.  I added white stars using a white pen and then stamped Santa and the trees before adding the Merry Christmas and stocking.  The lower tag used a resist technique with clear embossing over the trees before going over the top half of the tag with blue distress inks, then adding snow flake stamps and a brad, then glitter embossing powder and sakura stardust pen to the snow.  As a result these tags fit with the snow theme from Fussy and Fancy, The winter project from Sew Many cards, and the winter and sparkle theme from Stamp n doodle. The bottom one also fits with the theme of blue, white and silver from Simon says stamp (the only things that aren't these colours is the trees)
The next two tags were made using different distress inks and a variety of stamps.  The lefthand one used two different greens in the background, layered with a crafty individuals writing background stamp then splattered with pale blue paint before adding the dark green leaves (Lavinia stamps) round the edge.  The bids are another crafty individuals stamp which were stamped onto a separate piece of card inked with fired brick distress inks and cut out. Finally I added the gems and heart embellishment.  The other tag used three different distress inks to create the background including fired brick around the edge and as a halo round santa.  In the background I stamped a Stamps Away music background and then added some inkadinkado swirls round the edge.  Santa was from a stamping swap so I don't know which company he comes from.  I decided to leave him uncoloured as I thought he would stand out more that way.  Finally I finished the tag with gold embossed edging and Merry Christmas. These tags fit with the Stampin' somthing for the weekend 'Christmas',  Stamp something 'tag' and All sorts 'Anything goes' themes.  That is all from me. I can't believe I finish work tomorrow in order to get everything ready for Christmas (house tidy, Alex toy sort, shopping, present wrapping, packing etc). Have a great week everyone.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Christmas starts here!

We had our Christmas Research Update meeting at work today followed by a Salsa dancing lesson, which I have to say was the greatest of fun. We started by being taught three basic moves individually then put them together with partners and then introduced two different turn moves.  I really enjoyed it!  This evening I am going to the work's Christmas party at the Rutland Hotel in Sheffield so will be putting on my new party dress...I think this will really help me to start feeling Christmassy!
Talking about Christmas I realised I had a few last minute Christmas cards to make...This one is really quick and simple using my nativity stamp and so fits with this weeks theme from Ooh La La and the Christmas theme from Stamp with fun.
This one has an image of Santa in the snow which I mounted onto snowflake embossed card so it fits with the Pollycraft 'white Christmas', Kaboodle Doodle 'clean & simple Christmas' & CCC 'non-traditional Christmas'.
I have also taken a break from Christmas related things to do another scrapbook page.  This is based on this weeks sketch at Sketchy Thursday. As Alex was dressed up as a pirate I drew a treasure map on the cream piece of background paper and used various stickers I found in a local shop!  As pirates travel around the world I thought that this might fit with the around the world theme from MTTC.  I am also entering it for the 'first and latest or greatest' challenge from Crafty cardmakers as this is my latest scrapbook page
And this is the first one I photographed (one of my earliest 12x12 pages made in 2005) which used simple paper layering, ribbons, skeleton leaves and a flower. I have become a lot more adventurous with different techniques since then including more stamps, doodling, paint and ink effects on my pages, although my pages still mostly have a somewhat clean style to them. That is all from me...I am off to get ready for my party. Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Busy trying to finish!

Well it is time for another WOYWW and I have been busy trying to finish my Christmas presents etc.  The presents I have been working on are candles. I have been stamping and colouring images on tissue paper and then melting them onto the candles.  You can see a completed candle in the background (using Crafty Individuals stamps) and a coloured image ready to go onto the next candle. 
You can also see a large number of pens, both whispers and promarkers, scissors for roughly cutting round the image, more tissue paper (in case of mistakes), the pritt stick for temporarily attaching the image, and my heat gun just poking out on the righthand side.

On the lefthand side of the desk you can see the greaseproof paper (for holding the tissue image in place while melting the wax), more pens and a close up of the current image.
And after scorching my fingers here are the finished candles...sorry about the camera glare, but I still haven't got my laptop up and running properly since I upgraded to Windows 7 on Monday.  These candles are being entered into Creative card crew 'anything goes', All sorts 'last minute Christmas' (they are Christmas presents after all), Stamp simply 'gift', Creative Inspiration 'anything goes Christmas' and Fussy and Fancy 'anything but a card' challenges. Have a great day and rest of the week everyone.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Productive weekend!

We have had a really good family weekend achieving a lot within the two days.  Alex and I have been shopping, we have finished writing and posting our Christmas cards (Alex even managed to sort of write his own name in the cards to his Grandparents), I cut Tim's hair, made some Christmas tags and a card for a commision (see below) and most importantly (to Alex) we put up our Christmas tree and decorations.  We have a medium sized fibre optic tree since Tim hates pine needles everywhere. I always used to prefer real trees, but the prettiness of the fibre optics combined with traditional fairy lights have won me over! It looks great in our sitting room and Alex is delighted with it.
He loved helping with all aspects of the decorations, but his favourite decorations are these strings of little balls which he calls his snake! Yesterday afternoon we went to visit one of his friends from nursery.  It was the first time I had properly met Theodore's parents and we got on very well which was nice. The boys loved every minute of it and Alex didn't want to come home.
Today Alex and I went to meet Santa at our local museum.  This was a much more satisfying Santa visit than our last one (in Meadowhall - not recommended!) as Santa was a lot more jolly, laughing a lot and chatting nicely to Alex, and even better I was allowed to take photos. Alex drew a large letter A on a piece of paper to give to Santa,
and then had his photo taken whilst holding his present (some colouring pens and crayons) and being hugged by Santa.  A perfect Santa experience.
Crafting wise I was asked to make a Diamond Wedding Anniversary card by a work colleague.  She wanted something subtle, elegant and sophisticated and it had to have the number 60 on it somewhere.  I hope that she likes this...I will be giving it to her tonight!  As this card has glitz (diamonds in the corner and a small glittery heart) it fits with the Lots to do challenge, with the Sew Many Cards 'floral' challenge and with the Stamp Scrap and Doodle 'monochromatic' challenge.
I have also continued to make some more Christmas tags for various presents and as such some of these fit with the following challenges: DCM 'snow', All sorts 'last minute Christmas', CCC 'red robin' and kaboodle doodle 'tags'.  That is all from me for now as I am dashing off to a Christmas Brass Band concert to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign who sponsor some of my research.  Have a great week everyone.