Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Conference week!

I was one of the invited guest speakers at an important conference in my field this week and I am relieved and glad to say that my talk went reasonably well. The conference itself was fantastic and fascinating, and I have loads of new ideas as to how to take my research forward which is very exciting. Although I am sharing my desk as part of WOYWW, having arrived back home this afternoon my desk is how I left it on Sunday evening! Yes, there is the all important cup of tea (I think I run on tea the way a car runs on petrol!), and lots of photos which I am sorting into groups for scrapbooking projects. Underneath the photos are my crafting notepad and the latest edition of craft stamper magazine.
Obviously I haven't been at home to craft but I did make this before I left following the sketch which is this weeks Less is More challenge (haven't had time to show it to you until now!). I was desparate to use some of my new crafting goodies for this sketch and the filmstrip seemed to fit...the only challenge was to find a stamp to fit!  In the end I went for the Lavinia stamps poppy coloured with promarkers.I then mounted the filmstrip on red, and added a punched butterfly with gems. This card also fits with OCC 'show us your style' style has always been clean and simple. That is all from me for now...I hope to get back to crafting tomorrow! Have a great rest of the week.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Weekend fun!

Yesterday the weather wasn't exactly what you would call summery, although there were hints of sun at some intervals. Mostly it was windy and wet so Alex and I played indoors with a mixture of lego (I built cars, trucks and tractors until we ran out of wheels and then had to build a robot!), castles, monsters and a trip to the indoor play area to let him burn off some energy. Today the weather is completely different...brilliant sunshine with very little breeze so we have been playing out in the sun and been swimming this afternoon.
Crafting wise I made this little card following this weeks CCT sketch. I went with the colour scheme of red, white and blue (the pale blue paper is striped) and used ribbons and star shaped brads so this card also fits with Meljen's 'stripes', Paper Play's 'stars and stripes', Aud sentiments 'food or drink' and Penny's challenge 'red, white and blue' themes.
I also made a scrapbook layout following this weeks Sketchy Thursday Sketch. This used Sandylion white and silver 'ice' paper as the background, shimery dark blue paper as highlights and die cut for the title (using a Sizzix alphabet), Silver peel off snowflakes, dry embossed snowflakes on pale blue card and a Whiff of Joy stamp coloured in with promarkers.  The journalling reads 'Alex was very clear about how a proper snowman should be built. It should be made from three big balls of snow and have a carrot for a nose. It also needed eyes (we used fir cones), a smile and bow tie! Frosty became Alex's new friend and he was very sad when Frosty melted 7 days after construction'. This layout therefore fits with Daring cardmakers 'Something old and something new' theme - The old thing is the sizzix alphabet which I have had for years and not used for at least 18 months, the new thing was the whiff of joy stamp which I used for the first time...the layout also has blue on it (sorry, I couldn't managed the borrowed!). The layout also fits with sew many cards 'dry embossing', SCSC 'embossing', and the pixie cottage 'outdoor fun' challenge. That is all from me for now. I am off to a conference in Birmingham tomorrow and wont be back until Wednesday so will update then as usual.
Have a great rest of the week,

Friday, 24 June 2011

Incredibly blessed!

I feel so incredibly blessed!  Tim and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this week and just look at this amazing pile of presents that he gave me.  A mixture of wonderful crafting goodies including Tim Holtz paper stacks and cutting dies, Lavinia and Darkroom Door stamps, nestabilities and cuttlebug embossing folders
and my main presents; a beautiful pair of earings and a pandora bracelet containing charms chosen specially to mean things to me: A pram (Motherhood), an elephant (I had an imaginary friend who was an elephant when I was a child), a pencil (crafting), a dramatic face (musicals and theatre), dog (I love them!), a teapot (I drink at least 8 mugs of tea a day!), a bible (my faith) and numerous hearts (our love).  A truly special present representing 10 wonderful years together. 
Alongside these presents we celebrated by going for a romantic steam train ride
complete with champagne in proper glasses and posh nibbles
Followed by lunch at a lovely restaurant in the peak district, The Chequers Inn at Froggat. We also went to the cinema to see X-men: First class - a truly amazing film - and had time to play with our new toys. A wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary.
This project is my first ever venture into the wierd and wonderful land of Steampunk and was made almost entirely with my new toys. The background paper and map was from a Tim Holtz paper stack, the filmstrip and cogs were Tim Holtz dies and the stamps were all from the DarkRoom Door Steampunk set. I am entering this 6x6 piece of artwork into the following challenges: Simon says stamp and show 'metal', City Crafter challenge blog 'number 1', Tuesday Throwdown 'masculine', Just for fun 'Steampunk' and Pixie Dust 'number or gears'.
I have also been continuing with my scrapbooking. This layout entitled 'Train Fun' follows the left hand page of this weeks Nuts about Sketches double page sketch and fits with Pollycraft's 'travel/holidays' challenge. I used entirely Basic grey papers and added the original train tickets and a xela train stamp.
The final page is the first of this years Christmas layouts (I know I am way behind!) and includes photos of absolutely everyone who was there (all 13 of us!).  I added the sparkly Christmas trees cut from scraps of paper and kept the layout simple to keep the focus on the photos.  The title is 'Christmas Fun (I love it!)' because I absolutely adore the fun of a houseful at Christmas.  I am entering this into this weeks Scrap it with a song as I took the phrase 'I love it' from the Lady Gaga song for this week, and into Crafty Creations 'let it shine' challenge. That is all from me for now.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Flowery Wednesday!

How lucky am I?  We celebrate our wedding anniversary this week and I am already being spoilt rotten!  I was given this lovely bunch of flowers yesterday and later today we are going out for a steam train ride followed by a meal at a lovely restaurant.
Today for WOYWW catches my desk in between fact I am in the process of tidying up after a scrapbooking session to enable me to have the space to start the next layout or card! On the desk you can see my trusty mug of tea (nearly empty now), the stamps I have been using recently, some post-it notes, glue roll, craft knife, scissors and new phone (in its case!).
So here are the two scrapbook layouts that I have been working on. The first one follows the sketch from this weeks  Sketchy Thursday.  I used scraps of three different papers, and drew the circles using four different coloured pro-marker pens (created by drawing round a plate!). I added two ribbons (the ones printed with autumnal leaves), 3 buttons and a stack of flowers to make one 3D flower.  The title was made using a Stamps Away 'Autumn' stamp and Letraset and Making memories Rub Ons.  This layout therefore fits with the All sorts challenge (3 different papers, 2 ribbons and 1 flower), and Speedy the cats friends 'buttons' challenge.
The second layout followed this weeks Pencil Lines sketch and again uses scraps of papers.  The title reads 'My Friend Santa' and the journalling reads 'Alex and Santa sat chatting away like old friends when they met'. I heat embossed the gold swirl in the corner (before I added the photos!) and added gold peel off stars. This layout therefore also fits the Pile it on and Simon says stamp 'metal' challenges. That is all from me, I am off to find a steam train!  Have a nice rest of the week.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Father's Day!

Well Tim's request for Father's Day was that we did very little as he is still exhausted after our staycation.  As a result we have had a weekend of really nice food, watching films and good TV and playing with Alex.  Needless to say Tim loved the card Alex made him and this picture which was drawn on the envelope (Daddy and Alex).
While Tim has had his afternoon naps Alex and I have been out to the funfair in Endcliff park where we enjoyed various rides (Alex especially liked the ghost train and the mini rollacoaster).
Today we went to our local park where Alex spent most of the time practicing his cycing and stroking this extremely friendly dog!
I have had a busy weekend crafting wise having made my DT entry for this weeks challenge on Quirky Crafts. Lyn (Spyder) set the challenge this week which was to choose any three elements from her box of 9 and combine them to make a card. I went for the ribbon or lace (ribbon), cream and brown colours, and the digi image (kindly supplied by our sponsor). I am also entering this into the Fresh Brewed 'song theme' (how much is that puppy in the window).
As you will probably know by now, I always check the Less is More challenge first thing on a Saturday.  The theme this week was 'Monograms'!  Talk about a challenge...not my type of thing at all and I really didn't know who would appreciate a card with one on. In the end I made one for my Gran using the letter G as the monogram (I know she will appreciate any card I send!). I stamped tapestry stamps through a cut out of the letter to make a flowery stamped G and then stamped the other letters much smaller. As the main focus of this card is the flowery G I am also entering this into the Kaboodle Doodles challenge.
Finally I made another scrapbook layout, this time following last weeks Pencil Lines sketch (#242). I am also entering this into the Delicious Doodles 'things that flutter', Sew Many cards 'punch it', and Lasting Memories 'photo inspiration' (I used the birds, and the pale blues and greens as inspiration from the photo) challenges. The colour reproduction on this photo isn't great as the light was so poor, the background is really a pale blue! That is all from me for now. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Friday crafts

Woo Hoo! It is Friday and I am off out for the evening celebrating with a friend who is retiring from the NHS after 40+ years of working there. In the meantime I thought I would show you a little bit of crafting that Alex and I have been doing.  Firstly, this is Alex's Father's Day card for his Dad and the first time he has ever drawn a person's face (he is just 4).  Apparently the faces are his Dad and him, the green patterns are because 'Daddy's favourite colour is green' and the dinosaur is because he and daddy like playing with various monsters together.  I am entering this on his behalf to the Stamptacular 'Dads', Oo La La 'Fathers Day' and CCC 'Man' challenges.
I have been busy making tags for the present I have got Tim for our wedding anniversary.  This first one is being entered into the Fluorishes Timeless Tuesday 'use at least one circle and one square' (mine are drawn and stamped all over the background), Simon says stamp 'choose a line' (bottom one), and CCT 'birthstones' (emerald), creative card crew 'ribbon and brads' challenges.
This is the final tag which fits with the delightful challenges 'anything goes' theme and the DYSU 'use a star' (I used several). Have a great weekend everyone. I am off to get ready for the party.  More on Sunday as usual.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Working Wednesday!

Well it has been a hectic few days back at work but I think we are all getting back into the swing of the whole work/nursery routine again. I am pleased to say that Alex's mouth ulcers have cleared up and he is back to normal. As part of my normal weekly routine it is time to show you my desk again for WOYWW.  My desk is in the midst of a messy crafting session...I am covered in ink having been playing with my distress inks and an Adirondack colour wash. The other things you can see are various stamps, scraps of paper and my nice steaming hot mug of tea which I am very much enjoying!
Here is the completed tag which used 4 different stamps, some freehand drawing and the inked background.  I am entering this for the Simon says stamp and show 'torn/distressed edges' and TioT 'tag and butterfly' challenges.
I have also made a double page scrapbook layout following a recent sketch from the Nuts about sketches site. This also fits with the Lasting Memories 'create your own background using a punch' challenge (I used several different size circles and also stamped my background), the scrap and stamp 'men/boys in your life' (Alex!), The crazy challenge 'monochromatic', Spoon Full of Sugar 'splish, splash' and MTTC 'more than one image' and Aud Sentiment 'summertime' challenges.
That is all from me for now so have a nice rest of the week.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Staycation end!

I can't believe that nine days have passed since I started my 'staycation'. We actually had our final day of holiday trips yesterday when we went to a special diesel day at the Peak Railway.  Alex loves Diesels and was so excited to be going on a diesel train.  Our train was the first one of the day and as such it was a 'top and tailer' so we were able to watch the second diesel being coupled to the train. 
It just goes to show what looking cute and cheeky can waving at the driver Alex was allowed to go in the cab of the engine much to his fascination and delight.
It was a lovely train ride through beautiful countryside past one picturesque station and a good final trip of the week for us. The only slight marr to the day and holiday is that Alex has come down with hand foot and mouth disease and has a mouth full of extremely painful ulcers so is struggling to eat and drink anything.
On many of our trips out we drove past Chatsworth House and I was hoping to get a good photo of it looking stunning in the lush green landscape, however, this was the view I had!  Not quite what I had in mind! Today we had the usual end of holiday day, washing, cleaning and food shopping, but no unpacking thanks to the joys of vacationing at home (as it is chucking it down with rain, I don't feel I have missed out on a days holiday either!). 
There was even some time for crafting for the first time in ages.  The first place I looked of course was the Less is More site!  I do love this challenge blog and have joined in every week since I discovered it on week 2.  This week the challenge was to frame it.  I masked out a square on my card and sponged tea bag and linen distress inks into the square, then stamped the heart in frayed burlap.  I then drew freehand round the square to create the frame and added the sentiment stamp (both stamps are Crafty Individuals which were free gifts). As the colour scheme is quite masculine I am also entering this card into SCSC 'male card' and Crazy4challenges 'masculine' challenges. Once again I would like to apologise to my fellow LIMettes and others...I am still finding it almost impossible to comment on anyones blog...I end up in a never ending circle of having to sign in again and again. I hope things will improve soon.
I have also made a Father's day card for my dad, and before you ask, No! He is not an alcoholic gambler!!  His favourite evenings pastime is a game of bridge with a glass of brandy hence the images on this card.  I followed this weeks Unscripted sketch and am entering this to The Crazy Challenge, Flourishes Timeless Tuesday, Delightful Challenges, Paper Play, Delicious Doodles, Sew Many cards, Speedy the cat's friends and Stamp, scrap and Doodle 'Father's Day' challenges and Stamp something 'punches' challenge. That is all from me for today...I am back to work tomorrow (boo hoo) providing Alex is well enough to go to nursery.  Have a great week everyone,

Friday, 10 June 2011

Staycation part 3!

We are continuing with our staycation with another few trips out. Yesterday saw us crossing the pennines to Manchester’s Old Trafford Centre and the LegoLand Discovery Centre. Alex was fascinated by the model of Buzz lightyear,

whereas Tim and I were really interested in the other models of places we know and loved the 4D cinema show (Alex found the 3D effects a bit too scary!).
And we all enjoyed building and testing lego racing cards down the different tracks.
Today we went to Twycross Zoo where we were lucky enough to see all the different animals that each of us wanted to, including the Amur Leopards,
Gibbons and monkeys
orangutans that seem to like hiding under blankets,
And the sleepy, sunbathing snow leopard! It is sad to think that our staycation is nearly over, but we will hopefully manage at least one more trip out before I have to go back to work.
I have had very little time for crafting and have only managed to make postcards to send to our family using a compilation of photos from our holiday put together using photoshop elements. I printed them out onto card and the coated the card with sticky back plastic to protect the ink and to add strength to the postcards.
And a small tag for Tim's anniversary present. This uses silver and blue which was the colour scheme of our wedding, contains hearts and a dragon (because we both love fantasy books).  This little tag therefore fits with the Kaboodle Doodles 'mystical creatures', Pollycraft 'love and marriage', Simon says stamp and show 'a tag', creative card crew 'things with wings', The pixie cottage 'shape it up' and TioT 'wierd and wonderful' (not sure if a combination of dragons and anniversary is wierd enough!) challenges.
Have a great weekend everyone,

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Staycation part 2!

Well our staycation is getting better and better! Yesterday we spent a lovely sunny day at Cleethorpes playing in the sand.
Alex quickly made friends with another little boy and they spent a happy hour or so digging a deep hole
and making sandcastles.
The weather was nice enough for a paddle in the sea
and then the game was to bury Mummy!
Today we went to the National Tramways Museum where we all enjoyed the rides on the trams and the opportunity to see so many old trams up close and personal.
Alex even got the chance to stand at the controls of one. 
As is traditional for an English holiday we did get rained on, but only briefly and it didn't stop our enjoyment of the day.
As we are holidaying at home this year I am able to show you my desk as part of WOYWW, but as I have had no time for crafting it is relatively empty, just a few things that need putting away including my brayer and a couple of stamps and a ribbon. At the back of my desk you can see the lovely play it forward present I received as part of the massive 2 year anniversary swap.
Here is a close up of it. Needless to say I love it and will be finding a place on my wall to put it. Thank you so much Sunshine Girl!
As my person should have received her PIF by now I thought it would finally be safe to share it with you.
It is a pull out/slider card with the WOYWW inside.
So here is a photo of it all opened up. I am entering this card into the Stampavie 'more than a fold', MTTC 'wildlife' (bird), Creative card crew 'wings' (bird), Cupcake craft challenges 'things with a tail' (bird again!) and papertake weekly 'anything goes' challenges.  That is all from me for today.  Please pray for us that our staycation continues to go well (Tim's health isn't the best at the moment). Have a great rest of the week everyone.