Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Final Countdown

Can you believe that's another year gone? I swear they're making them shorter. There's some sort of conspiracy going on - all the governments around the world are secretly nicking days here and there and soon a year will be only 5 months long.

I'm not a huge fan of 'New Year' as an event. I don't go out - not that I tend to go out anyway, but especially not at New Year. There's no way I'm going to pay to get into somewhere that's free any other night of the year, pay extortionate prices for drinks and taxis and spend the night with my face in someone's armpit/cleavage as the venue is so rammed you can't move and you spend the whole night bursting for the loo, not daring to go in case you can't find the person you came with when you come back... Nah, I'd rather stop at home watching whatever passes for entertainment on the telly and watching the bongs at midnight. The drinks are free, I can stretch out on the sofa and there's no queue for the loo. This year I shall be at my parents with J, as D is conveniently at work on nights this week. Unfortunately, this means I have to get up at stupid o'clock to go and get him on Monday morning as he can't get home. Gah!

I saw this blog prompt on UKS and thought that it might be an interesting one to ponder. Have a think and blog your own answers, or leave me a comment.

What are you doing now, or what have you done this year, that a year ago would not have seemed possible?

  • Er, well. I've had a couple of promotions at work and a nice pay rise, which was unexpected. This didn't seem too possible last year, when I was unemployed (or taking a career break, as I like to call it!)
  • I've rediscovered scrapbooking, after a feeble attempt and the grand total of one layout I did last year. This has also led me to spend way too much on stash - also not possible last year due to the 'career break'... The scrapbooking led me to join UKS and now I've booked a place on a one day event that I would never have had the courage to do before on my own.
  • One of the best things that has happened is being asked to be on the design team for the Daring Cardmakers. This has been just fantastic and I have made some new friends, both on the DT and participants in the Dares and I've learnt some fabby new techniques. I've really been inspired to craft again - I was worried I was losing it and seriously considering chucking it all in last year.
  • Ooh, my blog!! I wouldn't have dared do this last year. Who would have wanted to read my thoughts and ramblings? However, I decided to go for it earlier this year and here we are! Still hanging on in there on the Crafty Blogs Top 50!!

I'm sure there's probably lots more, but I can't think at the moment. It doesn't actually sound like I've had a very exciting year from that, but I have! I'm back doing a job I love (most of the time), I love my husband more than ever, I have a gorgeous stepson and my bootiful bunnies and smelly hamster, my Mom and Dad are the best, I have proper hobbies that aren't just watching telly and make me feel clever and creative and I can honestly say I am happy. Yep, I still have my down days, but they are few and far between now and I feel better than I have done in a long time and that, for me, is enough.

Whatever you're doing this New Year, enjoy. I hope you've had a good year and if not, just think - things can surely only get better. Trust me, I know.... See you in 2007!! Kel xxx

Friday, December 29, 2006

Thanks For Christmas

Did you have a good one? It was all over a bit quick though, eh? 'Specially when you have to go back to work at 7.30 on the Wednesday morning. You wouldn't believe how many children were dumped on us at 8 o'clock - it's as if the parents have actually had to spend some time with them and they needed a rest! Whaddaya mean, they do?!

Right, Dare's up! A nice easy one for those of you with post-Christmas fatigue. We decided collectively that it would be nice to make some 'thank you' cards, but simple, stylish ones that don't take forever to do, just in case there's lots to send. Well, we can live in hope.

Technically, this wasn't as quick and simple as it was meant to be, but that's mainly due to my rather unusual incompetence on the PC! I used Jo's text box technique to make a background of 'thank you' in different languages. Once you've done this once, all you need to do is press print and hey presto! You've got lots of quick cards. I then cut the 'thanks' from DCWV mat stack card using Sizzlits 'Nouveau' alpha and stuck it on top. I really, really tried so hard not to ink anything, but couldn't resist using my black Stazon around the edges of the card blank - sorry! Ta-daaaaaa!! One simple (and hopefully stylish) thank you card. Once again, check out the blog to see the other creations the girls have managed this week and please have a go - it won't take you long, honest!

I plan to blog some of my Christmas, but the photos are on Mom's camera, so will probably get round to it sometime in June. Hope you all had a lovely time - can't wait to read all about it!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Home For Christmas

Woohooo! I've finished work for a whole 4 - yes, that's 4, days!! Hardly worth it, eh? Roll on Wednesday morning....

Still, it's been a good, if exhausting week. As a rule, I don't go out. Well, not often anyway. My social life is crammed into a week at this time of year and I'm feeling a little worse for wear now! Last Friday D and I went to a colleague's leaving party in town - it was great to catch up with lots of ex-colleagues of my own and I somehow managed to drink most of a bottle of champagne on my own - oops! Paid for it muchly the next day though... I went out for a yummy meal with my Mom and her work friends on Monday and was shattered at work on Tuesday, then on Thursday it was D's 40th birthday! Awww, bless him. The day before he kept telling me he was still in his 30s. Again and again. And again... We went out for a Chinese buffet to celebrate, then came home and had a couple of glasses of wine while we watched 'Bruce Almighty'. Early nights all round as we were both up early on Friday. Then last night was my works do in Solihull. It was a good night, although there is so much tension between the two nurseries owned by the bosses. If the others loosened their knickers a bit, they might have actually cracked a smile and enjoyed themselves... Nothing stops us when we get going though!

And so, yesterday was Dare Day! This was a first for many of us, as we had to make a card to celebrate the new year, following a recipe too - 3 brads, 2 patterned papers and a die cut or punchie...

For my card, I used a square blank, then tore two different DCWV papers into opposing triangles. I inked the edges and added a couple of brads in the opposite corners. My die cut was the tag, which was cut from DCWV mat stack and inked. The '2007' was cut from the Nouveau Sizzlit set. Added some green spotty grosgrain ribbon and the final brad and there you have it! Once again there are some fabulous cards on the blog and some of our players have already added theirs to their own blogs - do you ladies have nothing else to do or something?!! I'm sure there's something called Christmas around the corner!... Thanks for joining in though - it's so uplifting to log on and see the new comments on both the Dare blog and this one.

I felt so inspired by last week's dare that I decided to make some new Black & White cards to send out this year. The picture's not great, but they look nice in real life!
I used a scribbly tree stamp (see what you've started Keryn?!) and embossed it with black sparkle glitter. Did a few squiggles and mounted this onto some lovely Kings Foils from Little Lou's that I picked up at the NEC last year. This was then mounted over some lovely spotty ribbon from Paperchase. The greeting was printed onto the blank using the Greeting Card Factory program. I'm just so glad I got to make my cards this year, as buying them from Asda last year pained me!!

Not sure if I'll have time to blog before Christmas, or indeed anything to blog about, so if I don't, I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!! Thanks so much for reading my mundane mumblings - it means a lot to know you're out there. I hope you have a fabby time, whatever you're doing, and the 'Kalorie Kounting with Kel Klub' starts in the new year for anyone feeling guilty about overindulging like I undoubtedly will be...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas

So why do we often feature it on our cards now? Weird... Anyway, it's Dare time again. This week we decided to challenge you to make a Christmas card using only black and white - oh, and maybe a teeny splash of another colour....

This is my one and only attempt this week - things are just so manic and I'm really missing having a day off in the week at the moment. I used a white card blank, and a piece of black card, inked around the edges in black and white and used a piece of ribbon from Paperchase to divide the two. I Xyron-d some DCWV paper to an old cereal box and cut out some good old triangle trees, then inked the edges of those. Placed them on at 'jaunty' (love that word!) angles and drew trunks with white gel pen. The greeting is - wait for it - stamped with versamark and embossed using some lovely pearlescent embossing powder, then name of which escapes me at the moment. Ta-daaaa! Now, go make some more cards - you know you need to! Or is that just me?...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Slender Frame

Woohoo! I've just jumped on the scales (well, stepped carefully - didn't want them to scream in agony) and discovered I weigh a fraction under 13 stone, for the first time in years! Yay me! Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that I spent the best part of yesterday either locked in or not venturing far from my bathroom. Euch. I think it was a dodgy piece of fish that I had for tea on Friday night - serves me right for being lazy and going to the chippy instead of cooking good, wholesome food...

I go through phases with my weight and body image. I'm not slim, but I'm not what you'd call chunky either. I think I must be 'big boned' or one of those other cliches, as I seem to hide the weight well. Whenever the subject of dieting comes up at work, people are surprised to learn that I'm that heavy and take a size 18. However, I'm not unhappy. In my mid-teens, I weighed just 9 and a half stones and still took a size 14, but geez, I must have looked skinny! Then, after a series of events still too painful to talk about here, I put on a considerable amount of weight - I went up to about 15 stones and was in a size 22.

Nowadays, I tend to use sizes as a guide - the shops are all different anyway and I can buy trousers that fit in a 16 or a 20 from the same shop! I know I'll never be skinny, and I wouldn't want to be now anyway. It's nice to see my weight starting with a 12..., but it's not a problem if it creeps back up slightly. The main problem is that I know I'm unfit - I just don't have time for exercise! I get quite a bit running round after the kids at work all day anyway... Hey, if it aint broke...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let's Make It

Eeeeek! I've just switched over to Blogger Beta. Did anyone else get reeeeeeally scared just before they pushed the button? I was petrified I'd lose it all, but everything seems to be here...

It's Dare day!! This week was Keryn's turn to set the challenge and I was a teeny bit worried - Keryn is a stamper!! So, no surprises when she said she wanted us to stamp. However, she then made it harder by telling us we couldn't use a manufactured rubber stamp or such like... Oh no. We had to use something - anything else to stamp with. Hmmmm...... Unfortunately, my creative juices were all used up at the Cyber Crop, so I was very unimaginative and these were the results...

I made a stamp by cutting a sizzix Christmas tree from Funky Foam ( I knew there was a use for it!) and stamped the background onto a card blank. Then I tore a piece of moondust vellum and layered it over the top. I stamped another tree on to scrap card, cut it out and inked the edges, adding a little bit of Stickles glitter for interest. This was mounted on to red card and a greeting added.

My second card was again made using funky foam stamps cut with a sizzlit flower die. They were cut out and layered on top of some torn and inked Basic Grey Gypsy paper which was placed on a pink Bazzill card. A rub-on greeting finished it off.

The other girls have had some great ideas - they're all so flippin' clever, I'm getting a bit embarrassed at my lack of imagination now. Check out the blog and have a look, but promise me you'll have a go - if I can do it, so can you!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Problem Child

Argh! I'm having trouble with me furries this week. I've got two days off work, as I have leave to use before the end of the year and no other likely time to take it, so I thought I would use it wisely and get some cards done, layouts scrapped - you know the drill. Housework - what's that?! Anyway, I got loads of little jobs done at the weekend so I could leave Monday and today free to lock myself away in my craft room. But no. My wonderful, gorgeous fluffy babies decided they needed some extra attention and thought a couple of vet trips were in order.

First up was Pickle. You remember her? Well, one of her front teeth had overgrown and I hadn't notice (I'm a terrible mother!), and this meant that her other teeth weren't wearing down properly and I'm not even sure she was eating very well. Off we trot to the vets - how embarrassing is it when they call you in by your pet's name?! *Note to self - think of more normal names for any future pets*. Offending teeth were soon clipped down and she behaved like an angel - didn't try to savage the vet or the nurse. Why does she find my fingers so tasty?

So, I get home and notice that Beany is sitting with her eyes closed - quite unusual for her, even when sleeping. After tea she was still like it, so I picked her up and eeeeuw!! Her eye is all gunged up! Ick! My poor little baby. My poor meagre bank account! Yet another trip to the vet, but considerably more money than Pickle's 'trim'. Gah! Bang goes my shopping trip for an outfit for Christmas parties.... How on earth they think I'm going to squeeze cream into her eye twice a day I have no idea. Actually, what is really sweet is that Radar obviously knows that something is wrong, as he's hardly left her side and keeps licking her eye (it's not just the taste of the cream - he was doing it before!) Not actually helping much though mate....

So, I've actually done diddly squat in crafting terms and now my mojo's gone walkies. Thank goodness I've managed a couple of cards for the Dare this week - to be announced on Friday at 10 am. Keep your eye on the blog though, as I think Kathy B has another 'Little Extra' up her sleeve...

Friday, December 01, 2006

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

It's my Dare this week!! Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided it would be a good idea to dare you all to use a song title or lyrics on a card. Hmmm, not as easy as it seemed, I soon discovered. I had all sorts of ideas that were fantastic in my head, but when it came to committing them to card, looked, well, crap. So, this is my one and only effort for this week (and is for my young niece's birthday in a couple of days).

It was a lot harder to make than it looks! After much fiddling around in Greeting Card Factory Deluxe, I managed to print the first part of 'Twinkle Twinkle' around the edge of a square card blank, using Journaling Hand font. I tore some strips from a DCWV Mat Stack, stuck them onto scrap card and trimmed it to size, then inked the edges with black Stazon. The star was also cut from the Mat Stack on the Craft Robo (using a template by Cindy on UKS - thanks!!) and again the edges inked. The star was raised using 3d foam pads to give it some depth. Et, voila!

Please have a go at my little challenge this week and let us know when you've posted it somewhere we can see. We really, really love reading your comments and then trotting off to look at your blogs and websites.

Nothing much else to report really, as I've had a strangely busy week doing not a lot at all. I want to apologise to everyone for not leaving comments this week on your blogs - I am trying to read them all (there are so many since the Dares took off!!) but just haven't had the time to leave comments. I hope to go back and do it soon, but you know how it is... I did see this on Rhi's blog and thought I'd have a go:

Kel --


A person who enjoys the smell of rotten eggs

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at
Nice. Laters xxx

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This Must Be Magic

So, how was it for you? If you took part in the UKS Harry Potter Cyber Crop, then I hope you had as much fun as I did! It was my very first Cyber Crop and I know it won't be the last - I absolutely loved it! I was very lucky to have such an understanding family - D was on nights, so in bed during the day and out in the evening, but he cooked my my meals (he knew I would have neglected to eat otherwise) and made me copious amounts of tea to keep me going. Mom said she wouldn't ring unless I rang her so as not to disturb me and also lent me her fabby camera to take photos of my work over the weekend. Some inconsiderate b****rds decided to steal my Dad's car on Friday night, yet he was more worried about me missing a class than giving him a lift to pick up the hire car. At this point, I should really just do this: *BIG WAVE!!!!* to my parents, who are now avid readers of this here blog (yep, I finally told them!).

And so, now I'm going to bore you with what I did over the weekend. All the classes can still be found and downloaded on UKS...

This was where I lived from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening! I moved lots of my stash downstairs so I could be near the PC, printers and Craft Robo, as well as the telly! Not that I watched much in the end... It all looks quite tidy here.

The LO on the right was the first class that I did and I think is my favourite LO of the crop. I used Doodlebug paper and Kissy Fit sequins, plus some grosgrain ribbon. The title and the frames were cut on the Craft Robo. The journalling reads: "September 2nd 2005. I married my best friend. Magical doesn't even come close."
This LO is for the 'Notions and Potions' class and was all about using stamps on acetate to make a frame for your photograph. I wasn't going to do this one, but had some spare time, so dug out some stamps that had come free with a magazine and this was the result. The journalling reads: "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are". (ee cummings).

This one was for a challenge entitled 'Marauder's Map'. The challenge was posted at midnight and I was a bit too tired to work on it then, so I went to bed. Of course, I lay awake thinking of possible layouts and wasn't able to sleep for ages. I then got up at 6.45 and got straight to work! I'd wanted to scrap this picture of D on Waikiki Beach for ages, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it.

This fabby concertina-type card on the left was for the 'Diagon Alley' class and was one of my favourites of the crop. I used piccies of my parents, brother and me and will, at some point, journal a piece about each on the reverse. I used Crate Papers (ouch!! Killed me to use it!) and lovely ribbons, plus a few Primas and a clip with a teeny heart charm. I can see me making lots of these in future and they'd make great Christmas cards.

The next LO was for a challenge to scrap your hopes for the future. I love this photo of D and me - we are oblivious to the camera and so totally having fun, and that's how I want it to be always for us. I scrapped on 8x8 and used some HOTP Sara papers and some Doodlebug All Mixed Up rub ons, as well as cutting the arrow and parts of the title with the Robo. (See how I get value for money out of it?!)

This LO was for 'It's Magic' and the class was to get us doodling some accents such as the quotation marks. I'm not totally happy with this one, as I think it needs some journalling, but I'm not sure if it will look right in the space that's left in the bottom left corner. I like the design of the LO though and may well use it again sometime.

The next LO was another class that I wasn't going to do - until I saw it. This was for Shimelle's 'Magic in the Middle' class and was all about not being afraid of leaving 'white space' on your layouts. Now, this is something I'm quite fond of anyway, so when I saw the class, I knew I wanted to have a go. I scrapped on 8x8 and used Rob & Bob Studio 'Scribble Floral' paper, an Angel Kiss bloom and a teeny bit of Basic Grey 'Gypsy' paper. The colour hasn't come out very well in the photo, but it's so striking in real life.

This next one is my least favourite of the bunch and I'm not sure I even should show it here! It was for the 'Wishes' class and the aim was to print a frame onto a transparency. There's too much empty space on here and it either needs some journalling or should have been done on 8x8 and not 12x12, but hey, you live and learn!

I really like this one! This was for the 'Bewitched' class, which was a sketch. I stuck quite closely to the original sketch, but it was a great opportunity to use this photo of my beloved Athens Crocs that was screaming to be scrapped. I used Paper Loft Flip Flops papers (how apt!) and some freebie ribbon, as well as a Crocs leaflet I picked up with a view to using it on a LO someday. There's a hidden panel under the photo with "10 Reasons You Gotta Have 'Em!"

Nearly there! This one was for the 'Herbology' class, which encouraged us to do some paper layering. I couldn't find a really big floral paper, so I used this instead and scrapped on 8x8. The photo is my lovely Mommy, cos I think she is 'Blooming Lovely'.

This little tag book was constructed at 7.30 am on Sunday morning, as my attempt at 'The Burrow' challenge - to create a LO or mini book about what you love about your home. I used tags cut from a Sizzix die and decorated with some All My Memories papers that were sanded and inked. I printed out various 'home' quotes and added some Primas and ribbons to finish it off. Not bad for a quicky, eh?

This was the last LO I completed and was for the 'Magic Mirrors' challenge, which was about distressing. As this is already one of my 'must do' techniques, I had to have a go at the challenge. I chose a photo of my Great Nan with her great grandchildren and mounted it on more Basic Grey Gypsy papers which had been torn and inked. I added a clip and some ribbon, plus a few Primas and brads and a title cut with the Robo.

And, last, but certainly not least, is my flip book for the 'Spellbound Smiles' class from Tracey at Little Cottage Crafts
This was another class I wasn't going to do, mainly because I didn't get the kit for it beforehand, but, once I learnt that I could make my own flip book from a sheet of 12x12 cardstock, I thought I'd give it a go.

I used K&Co 'Studio K' papers and lots of photos of J to make the facets of the book. Accents were done with stickers, brads and phrases either printed or stamped onto matching cardstock. I think I'm going to give this to J's Mom for Christmas. I really enjoyed making this and am so glad I had a go at the class.

So, there you have it! I have been so busy, but I still can't believe how much I enjoyed myself just sitting in the same chair on my own all weekend! Although, I wasn't really alone - around 1000 other UK Scrappers were around to keep each other company; well done to everyone who took part and especially those who won prizes, even if the wrong house won in the end! Here's looking forward to the next one...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

All Night Long

Wooo! Half way through the UKS Harry Potter themed Cyber Crop. It's my first ever crop, cyber or otherwise and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! I have never scrapped so much in my life. At this point, I have done 6 layouts and a few little challenges and there's still loads of classes and challenges to go. There's steam coming from the Craft Robo and the battery's almost gone in the camera (upload as you go, upload as you go...), My bum is actually numb from sitting on this computer chair all day (and night and day - must remember to go to bed at some point...)! Here's a couple of piccies of what I've been up to so far...

I'm sure there'll be lots more to show off once it's all over on Sunday evening. For anyone who hasn't taken part in something like this before, try it - you might just like it!

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's So Easy

...Or so I thought! This week's Dare is provided by Jo and it's all about the doodles! Now, I've done a bit of doodling on layouts, but I'm not very good, so was panicking slightly, but here are my attempts for this week.

This one is really simple. The greeting was printed using 'Eight Fifteen' font and mounted onto some pink Bazzill cardstock. The flowers were punched using various punches and a Quickutz die. I used a Kandi Kane to put a bit of bling in the flower centres and then, of course the most important part was some swirly -whirly doodling to link the flowers.

The card on the right used baby blue Bazzill (sorry, I can't remember the proper names!) for the base, with inked edges and some hand-drawn lines doodled around the edge. I used Doodlebug Whimsical Winter paper (inked) layered on the base card, then some darker blue Bazzill (er, inked!) on top of that. I used a couple of the Whimsical Winter cardstock stickers and dotted around these, then hand-wrote 'Christmas!'.

Thanks to Jo for a great Dare this week. I've enjoyed doodling and plan to use it more, but it's not as easy as it first seems. I guess the thing to do is relax and let it come naturally and not to worry if it goes wrong. There are some amazing examples by the other girls on the blog, so I hope we've inspired you to have a try if it's not something you've done before?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Somebody's Watching Me

Who reads your blog? Do your family and 'real life' friends read, or is it something you keep for your cyber world? As far as I'm aware, none of my friends in the 'real' world know I blog and I certainly haven't told my family, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

I'm really proud of the work we've been doing on Daring Cardmakers (we hit number 4 on the Crafty Blogs list today!!) and I'd like to be able to share it with my Mom, my best mate, whoever, but so far I haven't told a soul. I'm really scared of them discovering my blog through the link on the site - am I daft? I don't have a lot to hide, but I guess I can be more open on my blog than I may be in reality, purely because it's more anonymous and it's easier for me to write down my feelings than to express them verbally. I know I have met some of you in the flesh, and, to be honest, some of you know me better than my 'real life' friends, but it's still so easy to hide behind the pc.

So, please let me know your thoughts on this. Shall I tell everyone and risk my blogging style changing, or shall I carry on as I am? It's getting harder and harder not to mention recently!

P.S. Does anyone else find it funny that the spellchecker doesn't recognise the word 'blog'?

Monday, November 20, 2006


Wooohoooo! I got a new car yesterday! It's not new new - in fact, it's only a couple of years newer than my last one, but at least it stands a chance of passing the MOT first time - I hope. I did so love my Clio, and it was so hard to let her go, but the problem with her was that she failed for the last three years on the same thing, so there was every chance the same thing would happen again in March. The chap next door to my parents was looking to sell his wife's Fiesta, as she doesn't use it now, so my lovely Daddy wondered if I would be interested. Er, hello!! So, with (a lot) of financial help from my Dad, I am now the proud owner of Felicity Fiesta. My poor Clio is now sitting on my Grandad's drive, waiting for my Dad to clean her up and sell her on. I did have an emotional moment or two when I drove her for the last time, until I remembered that it's just a car - a heap of metal and mechanics and there's really no reason for unnecessary emotion!

I've got the week off work as I had holiday to use up (hence this weekday blogging madness!), so I'm planning on getting busy in my craft room and making lots of Christmas cards, as well as doing various challenges and other stuff. So, today I was very busy... Watching Strictly Come Dancing and Lost that I had taped over the weekend. Hmmm, not very crafty. However, I did manage to complete a layout that covered two challenges (check me!!).

The LO is based on the Pencil Lines sketch for this week and also the Weekly Challenge on UKS
It finally gave me the opportunity to scrap those fab photos of the boys when they ate the sour sweets, and there is some journalling hidden inside the yellow gatefold mentioning this. I'm quite proud of the title - I wrote it all myself - no printers or anyfink! Papers are, of course, Paper Loft Flip Flops. Now, just 50-odd Christmas cards and a couple of Dare cards to make for Friday's challenge and I can relax....

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Man Made

Here it is, my effort for this week's Dare. Debbie dared us to make a card using some ribbon - oh joy! One of my favourite things! But no - that wouldn't be much of a challenge, would it? No, we had to make a card featuring ribbon for a male type person... Well, seeing as my darling D hits the big Four-Oh next month (eeek!), I thought I would have a go at making a card for him. I used my precious Crate Papers for the brown background, which was inked with Tim Holtz distress ink in Walnut and mounted onto green Bazzill cardstock, and used the reverse of the brown Crate for the little stripy square - also inked (duh - of course!) The ribbons are Making Memories and the circles and stickers are from the Lisa Bearnson kit that was a TSV on QVC a while back. There are some stunning examples from the other gals on the blog, so please take a peep if you haven't already!

Other exciting news - our lovely Jo is up for Cardmaker of the Year in 'Simply Cards and Papercraft Magazine' and her cards always leave me with my jaw hanging open (and anyone that has read about my jaw will know that that's not an easy or pain-free thing to do!!). Please vote for her here so she can win goodies to make more stunning cards with!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What About Me

I did this layout last night for the weekly challenge over on UKS and I'm really pleased with it. Not only did I think up the design all by myself, no help from sketches, books or anyfink, it's a page that can go in my (eventual) Book of Me. Lots of scrappers don't scrap themselves - whether they don't like to, are afraid to or for other reasons, but, d'ya know what? I love it. I like to scrap what I know, and, after a bumpy few years, I think I know myself pretty well now. I feel quite sad that D doesn't really have a record of his parents and now they're gone it's too late to ask them to recount their stories. I want to talk to my parents and grandparents, but there just never seems to be time, or I don't know how to go about it. If I scrap myself, as well as those around me, then there will always be some sort of record for my children and their children to look at.

Have you seen the mini midweek challenge on the Dares? There will be a few of these from time to time and they're great for kick-starting the inspiration. Why not kill two birds with one stone and use the recipe to make your main challenge card? Here's the one I've done so far...

I'm fed up with having to take pictures of my work at night - they look better in the daylight, honest! Can you tell I am loving my new Basic Grey Gypsy papers?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Way We Talk

Dare 4 is up! This week, Tracie challenged us to come up with cards featuring different languages. Some of the others were really swotty and used ideas such as British Sign Language, Geek Speak and the language of flowers. However, I'm a literal kind of girl and just went for some bog-standard translation type stuff!

This card uses one of my favourite colour combinations of red, black and white. Paper is DCWV, torn at the edges and layered on black cardstock. Red heart cut from textured card, lightly sanded and edges inked with black Stazon. All of the 'I Love You' phrases are done with the Dymo Jr and the red ones have some tiny white gel pen 'stitches' around them.

The second card is another fave - I love using really bright colours. Background paper is Colour My World Cupcakes 'Jelly Spots' (from my NEC stash!), inked around the edges with a pink Cats Eyes ink. The tags are cut out of some DCWV mat stack card. Doodlebug 'All Mixed Up' rub-ons provide the phrases and a co-ordinating prima flower with white brad and some hot pink grosgrain and a staple finish them off.

I really enjoyed this week's dare, so please have a go and see what you can come up with. Also, keep your eyes peeled (eeeuw!) as we might just have some more mini midweek mayhem planned on the blog!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just Like Paradise

Thanks for asking after me. I still have the lurgy and I'm thoroughly bored of it now. Most of the staff and lots of the children at work have it too, so we all sound really healthy! Still, I couldn't let a little thing like a nasty coldy-virus stop me from shop, shop, shopping at the NEC this morning!

I usually go with my parents - Dad tootles off to the Art Materials bit while Mom and I don our protective body armour and delve into the scrum that is Hobbycrafts. However, they are on their holibobs this year, so I had to go it alone. I thought it might be a tad quieter on the first day, so I turned up nice and early in order to have a gentle meander round the hall. Hmmm, it was great - for about 20 minutes, then the hordes arrived!! Geez, what is it about crazed crafters at these shows? Anyone would think they'd been told they had 5 minutes to buy as much as they can before the world puts up the closed sign...
I really missed having Mom with me. Mainly because she is the little angel that sits on my shoulder and says things like, "Are you sure you need the same paper in three different colours?" and suchlike. I managed to spend an absolute fortune (well, for me, anyway) and I now feel rather guilty and everso slightly sick - Christmas is approaching and I've just spent J's present... I'll tell D that he won't need to buy me anything this year - I've already got mine. Oops. So, for anyone interested, here's what I bought...

  • Becky Higgins book - 'The Creative Companion'
  • Doodlebug Design papers - Lipstick Dotted Line, Love Letter, Loopy Love Hearts, Boldly Blue Stripe, Pastel Confetti (x3), Whimsical Winter Asterisks
  • Whimsical Winter cardstock stickers
  • All Mixed Up rub-ons
  • Crate Paper - Stork, Girly Girl, Tricycle and some matching ribbons
  • Colour My World Cupcakes papers - Jelly Spots, Mini Fancies, Hundreds and Thousands, Jelly Diamonds
  • 3 Bugs In a Rug - Rhapsody-Jubilation paper
  • Blonde Moments papers - one set each of Sugar Dumpling, Suet Pudding and Spring Fling
  • Basic Grey - Gypsy 6x6 pad
  • Bazzil cardstock - 20 sheets of various colours
  • Colourbox Q cats eyes inks
  • Simply Cards and Papercrafts magazine
  • And a partridge in a pear tree...

Phew!! All of that was achieved in approximately an hour and a half. Well, probably less, actually. I absolutely hate crowds in a situation like that, so I have to get out as soon as I'm ready or I'll have a panic attack. I escaped to the Crafts for Christmas hall and bought some yummy Tomato and basil cheese - mmmmm!

So, it's all over for another few months. I keep telling myself I won't go, that I have enough stash already etc, etc, but I just can't help myself. We're a bit deprived of decent bricks and mortar shops round our way, so it's just lovely to be able to see, stroke and smell all the pretties in such close proximity. Even if you do have someone's elbow up your other nostril while you're doing it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I Want a New Drug

Eurgh! I have the most awful, yucky cold going. My head is surely stuffed with several rolls of cotton wool, I look like Rudolph and I'm cold, or hot, or cold... I've been taking some supposedly strong cold and flu remedy, but it doesn't appear to have any fight in it, as I'm getting worse and not better. Any recommendations?

I hope you are impressed at my dedication to you though? I've dragged myself from my sick bed to post details of the cards I've made for this week's exciting Dare. This week, Kathy B has challenged us to create cards featuring sewing, be it machine or hand stitched. Now, being completely useless with a sewing machine, hand stitching it is for me.

Iiiiin one...

Background paper is from the Paperloft Flip Flops range - I love love love the bright colours in these papers! The edges have been inked (duh!). The flowers were cut on the Craft Robo and the edges of these inked too. I used some black cross stitch thread to do running stitch around the petals. In the centre of the flowers there are some matching colour seed beads, covered with some Anita's 3D Gloss.

Iiiiiiin two...

This one also features Flip Flops paper, cut into strips and backed on pink paper. I then used different coloured threads to do the stitching around the edges of the panels. The greeting was printed on the pc, but I can't remember the font!

And Bully's special priiiiize....

It's a Chr****** card!! I don't usually make these until about, ooh, 24th December, so you're honoured. Papers are DCWV Chr****** Stack, tree is a sizzix die which has been inked and dotted with sparkly red Stickles. I used read thread for the stitching.

That's all for this week, unless I get a sudden burst of creativity, but I think I might just crawl back to bed and stay there for a week. Check out the Dare and the other girls' blogs - some awesome work going on this week!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

So, it's 4.30 am and I'm wide awake, lying in bed with a cuppa, reading my new Cathy Zielske book. Of course, I should far away in the land of nod, but not a chance! I have all sorts of things flying around in my head, from random songs (why does that happen?) to layouts to card designs for next week's dare... I just love Cathy Z's stuff; man, that woman is talented, but so blimmin' neat. I've give anything to be even a teeny smidge as talented as her, or Elsie, or any of the other scrapbooking godesses out there.

My trouble at the moment is that I don't have what I want, and that's a defining style. I'm still pretty new to scrapping, but even in my cardmaking I flit from style to style, using various techniques. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this, but I would love to have a style that, when someone saw it, they'd say, "Oh, that's a Kel layout". Of course, if you already do this, please let me know and maybe I'll stop stressing!

I suppose I just love buying new bits and bobs, trying out new techniques and generally having fun and not taking my art too seriously. And I guess that's the way it should be.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My Ever Changing Moods

Woo hooo! Week 2 of Daring Cardmakers !! Told you it was a doozy! Jane likes to keep us on our toes... Have you had a go yet? Go on, I DARE you!

Right, for those who may be interested, here are the details on my efforts:

This one is nice and simple - papers are from the DCWV Christmas Stack, beer glass is a Quickutz die cut. Title is cut with the ever-trusty Craft Robo, bottle tops supplied by my wonderful hubby, who thought Christmas had come early when I forced him to go buy beer and drink it quickly... Edges well and truly inked with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Walnut.

The second one was more laborious and I still don't know if I like it, but there you go. Papers are random odds and ends from my scraps folder, sunshine is a cupcake case coloured yellow with chalks. A magazine freebie flower circle doo-dah was place on yellow card, then a few seed beads put in the centre and covered with a good dollop (love that word!) of Anita's 3D Gloss.

So, after a fairly productive crafting week (I have a LO to show off another day), I have ended the week on a low :-(

Had a good day yesterday - had a mock interview with an ex nursery manager to see if I might pass the Ofsted interview and she said I would pass with flying colours! Yay me!! Today was pants as one of our staff is blatantly taking the piss and my boss is ready to walk, which will gut me, as she is fantastic and I'm not sure how I would feel working there knowing the owners had let that happen....

Ho hum. At least it's Friday! Three whole days off and lots of crafting to do.....

Monday, October 23, 2006

So Far So Good

Wow! I'm absolutely gobsmacked at the reaction we've received for the Dares. I mean, I know how much hard work has been put in and I knew it was a fantastic idea when I was asked to be on the design team, but blimey! We've had loads of mentions and people taking part already. Thank you all for joining in, boosting our confidence and helping to confirm that some things are worth fighting for. Please please please stick around - the dares will just get better and better. This Friday's is a doozy - trust me!

So, nothing else to report really. Work is just work at the moment. Buns are bootiful as ever and we've gained another hamster while my bro and his family are on their holibobs.

Tell you what, have a bun-inspired layout to brighten the post! *ETA* Stripey paper is HOTP Sara Papers and the orange is from a Costco bumper pack.. Now stop asking!! ;-)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Point of No Return

Yay!!! Yesterday finally saw the launch of Daring Cardmakers - a new kind of challenge blog that some blog-land friends and I have been working on (you have no idea of the trouble we've had to get this off the ground!) What excited me about this was that pretty much all of the other dare-type blogs that are around are mainly for scrapbooking, whereas ours focuses on making cards to a certain theme or idea, which should hopefully include a huge chunk of fabulously talented crafters into the dare blog world.

The first dare was to make a card around the theme of 'friendship' - something that has been an issue to many of us in the last couple of weeks, in one way or another.

My card was inspired by a Lulu Guiness handbag I spotted in a magazine that used the phrases 'love', 'trust' and 'friendship', which I thought very apt. Papers are from Provocraft - Rob & Bob Studio Scribble Floral, the flowers are from my trusty X-Cut punch and the diamantes are attached using a Kandi Kane. I've inked edges with black Stazon (if it's not moving, ink it!!) and the phrases were done with a Dymo Jr.

There are some fabulous designers on the team and we'd love it if everyone had a go whenever possible and we hope to encourage some spontaneity back into card making and show it can be as cool and exciting as scrapbooking!

See you there - if you DARE!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Got You By The Balls

Sorry for the bluntness of the title, but that's basically how I'm feeling at the moment. Yes, it's another installment in Kel's Job Saga....

So, you know how I was dithering about applying for a new job nearer to home? Well, I kind of decided not to just yet, as I think it will be better to stay where I am for the time being, what with trying for a bubba. Imagine getting a new job and then having to tell them I was pregnant soon after... Hmm, maybe not. Anyhoo, we had a staff meeting tonight as there was a big announcement to be made. Our proprietors are in the process of acquiring the lease on a new site, literally round the corner from the current nursery and will be expanding from January. They have asked me if I'm interested in applying to be deputy. However, this would actually be acting manager for six months or so while my boss is on maternity leave.

If you remember (or look back in the archives!) I had this dilemma a few months ago - and the proprietor hasn't forgotten. I did tell her that the main reasons for not going for it then were the travelling distance and lack of knowledge, but now I feel ready after a few months in my current role and distance isn't an issue as it's actually a few hundred metres closer!

So now I have to do loooooots of reading up and generally get myself to a stage whereby I can convince an Ofsted bod that I am a 'fit person' to be in charge of a nursery within a couple of weeks. Eeeeeek!! If I can't convince my boss, then they won't really consider me for the position.

I am really excited by this opportunity. Hopefully it's just what I need to feel happy at work again, although I am well aware that it will be hard work and pretty stressful at times. I almost started giggling to myself, thinking, "so this isn't the best time to tell you I'm thinking of leaving?..." Any pearls of wisdom will be gratefully received....

Blimey, if you're still reading this, you've done very well!! Here's a new layout I did last week to brighten a very dull post...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Alive and Kicking

Well, it's been a funny old week. Something that has been a huge part of my life for the last 3 years has come to an end in a rather unpleasant manner and I've found out things about people that have surprised and saddened me. I still have a bitter taste in my mouth, but it's slowly being sweetened by the taste of true friendship. I think it will take me some time to come to terms with what's happened recently, but I'm sure I will eventually. My comfort blanket has been taken away and I feel as though I'm standing here somewhat naked and cold, but perhaps it's time to stand on my own two feet. I feel new and exciting things starting to happen and this can only be a good thing. I'm really sorry that all this sounds rather cryptic for those of you not 'in the know', but I really don't want to elaborate as I believe that it's better that you don't know as it may spoil your own fun.

I've had a fantastic weekend in Paignton, Devon, blowing out the cobwebs with a walk along the sea front. It was just what I needed after this week. I love, love, love the sea - I actually cry when I see it for the first time in a while and I could sit and watch it all day. I feel so much more refreshed and ready to go again. I also had a great night out last night, playing pool with D and friends in a bar on the harbour and drinking plenty vino pinko, getting rather tiddly - something I haven't done in absolutely ages. D took much delight in telling everyone today how I got drunk - that's how rarely it happens. Funnily enough, my pool-playing improved with the increased alcohol consumption...

So, dearest readers, I'm back and I'm raring to go. Thank you for your supportive comments and messages and for sticking with me through all the whingeing and moaning, the tantrums and tears. Hopefully, I and a few friends will have something exciting to share with you very soon...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Something to Believe In

Wish I did have. Don't know whether I'd rather be at work or at home at the moment. Both seem to be as horrible as each other and I can't seem to get out from under the black cloud. Don't worry, nothing wrong at home per se, but I've had some upsetting news and a really bad 24 hours and feel very disappointed and well, almost bereft.

Can't talk really.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Gah! Work. Crap. Eurgh! Need to find a new job closer to home... Ooh, what's this in the local paper? An ad for a job not dissimilar to the one I do now - only about 13 miles nearer to home.... Hmmmm.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch*

Well, maybe it was dinner, but close enough. I love this photo of A and me. It was taken by her sister one evening in August last year, when we were on a recce for a hen night venue.

(You'll have to excuse the flash - there was no natural light. Damn these darker days!)

I love the fact that I actually look okay, even though a couple of days before I'd had a St Tropez tan trial (I never had the second one before my wedding!) and that evening I'd had my hair cut and my lovely hairdresser had once again gone a bit scissor-happy and I'd been in tears just before I went out. I finally got round to scrapping it for the weekly team challenge on UKS , hence the colours. I wouldn't normally use orange, but I needed to for the challenge and thought that this photo would be good as the paper compliments my oompa-loompa skin tone.... Still not sure if I'm any good at this scrapbooking malarkey, but I guess I'll persevere.

Here's a little tag challenge I've spotted and not done yet...

1: Do you have any middle names? Yes - Ann, funnily enough.

2: Whats under your bed right now? I dread to think. In the drawers there's all sorts of crap, but actually under the bed, probably just fluff.

3: Last time you laughed so much you cried? I think it might have been on Friday, laughing at D who can't say 'chassis' and 'ignorant', my SIL who can't say 'wage slip' and my brother who can't say 'status'. What is it with these people?!!

4: What age were you when you first drank alcohol? Probably quite young - we were allowed a tiny glass with our Sunday lunch. I was 14 when I started going out drinking.

5: Whats your porn star name? (first pets name and mothers maiden name) Inky P (edited - thanks Rhi - never thought of the security issue!).

6: Whats your desk top photo on your pc? The sunset picture I took on the cruise.

7: What did you have for breakfast? Toast and marmite... LOVE IT!!!

8: Music or TV? Music. But I do like a bit of TV.

9: Worst out fit you have ever worn? Ooh, found a lovely photo yesterday of me on holiday when I was 12, wearing a green, reversible Betty Boop jumper, tucked into high-waisted jeans with nice white canvas pumps and socks, my big frizzy perm tied back on one side and my Deirdre Barlow glasses...

10: Where do you feel most at peace? By the sea.

Okay, I'm gonna tag: Carol Tracie Rhi

* Yes, it's an 80s song title - by Weird Al Yankovic ;-)