Saturday 29 May 2010

Half Term

And lo! the nation's children and teachers rejoice because they can take a breather. This is been a manic week and so time for a few updates.

First, I'd like to say thanks to all those who stopped by to see my 'All About Me'. I loved looking at all your projects and found loads of inspiration and beautiful ideas. And I really appreciate the comments you left - I've never had nearly so many before and it made me feel all fuzzy inside :D I think I'll enjoy perusing your blogs in the future.

This week in school I have written 40 Year 8 reports, Marked 27 Year 9 Summer Exams, Organised and risk assessed a school trip and had two lesson observations. This in addition to the usual round of planning and marking which means I've been working every night at home. There have also been department meetings and department politics, eventually smoothed down with a little help from Starbucks and angsty pub rantings. It's been a busy half term with exam leave starting and panicking students popping up all over the place after just minute (or half hour) of your time. And of course, you can't say no!

This week also saw the launch of Oh Comely magazine. It is beginning to appear in little shops around the country and will hit WHSmiths on 10th June. A couple of my friends have spent the last year getting it together and completely pitching their hearts and souls into it and I'm totally proud of what they've achieved. Plus, guess who's the cakes editor?* It's an alternative lifestyle magazine. So forget your celebrities and glossy gossip, and indulge your curiosity in articles about real people and their lives and passions. It's got artists, musicians, fashion, cityscapes from night climbers and interviews with people who put on little independent music festivals. It's got three articles about peanut butter, three ways to make a ribbon rosette (yay, crafty!) and even a review of various toothpastes. Oh, and there's a quiz. I highly recommend it as something to dip in out of, for anyone who is interested in people.

Anyway, I popped along to the launch party at a bar in London one night after school - had to show up with work bag and work clothes on but whatever. The party had a lovely chilled and cheerful vibe and there were free cupcakes and goody bags containing the magazine, stickers and a biscuit! I'm a little bit invested in the goody bags as I helped to decorate them.

So it's been chaotic, enjoyable madness.

Fortunately to counter all the madness my Amazon order arrived with a new Mexican cookbook and three novels for me, a birthday present for my Mum (the original excuse for ordering naturally) and some more photo paper. Since getting home last night I have indulged in my new goodies and collapsed with four cups of tea and a book. Had just enough energy to swap armchairs and watch Glee but lounged in bed after that. I accidently fell asleep but woke up again around midnight jut long enough to switch things off and get back into bed again. Mmm, microwavable bear.

Anway, half term plans involve:
  • Mexican cooking - hurrah for new cookbooks and food!
  • Scrapping - haven't done any since All About Me.
  • Reading - nothing with subtance this week please.
  • West End Show - a once-each-holiday treat. Otherwise what's the point of living in London?
  • Hooking up with friends - preferably over food.
  • Write my masters portfolio - my goal is 7000 words in 2 days.
  • Get ahead with some A-level planning - the errant Year 12s will return.
  • Road tripping for two days - this is a very new, spontaneous, unlike-me kind of plan by which me and a friend set out in a car and try and persuade little shops to stick the magazine. Insane!
That's about all for now. Eurovision and Doctor Who tonight so clearly I'll be very busy. But now I'm going to do a little of that A-level planning before heading to Leicester Square to do lunch with a friend. Fun times! I love half term!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Posts look prettier with pictures and top-and-tailing this one are the papers that I have pulled out of my stash to work with this holiday. Not my usual colour scheme - quite bright - but I'm going to have a Something-From-Almost-Nothing inspired scrap and limit myself to my self-constructed kit. Now all I need are the pictures....

*Me!!!!! A small but very necessary job.

Saturday 22 May 2010

All About Me: Blog Hop

Hello and frantic waving, especially if you've stopped by on today's blog hop! Just to explain, Mel organised a group-class-undertaking called All About Me. We all downloaded the class information and now you can jump from blog to blog to see our scrappings and interpretations.

So, without further ado, this is all about me.

I decided to take on this project in 12x12 format because single 12x12 LOs are my favourite. This first page is a self-portrait and the journalling explains how I actually like having my photo taken, and love doing those silly self-portraits with the camera stuck out at arm's length.

Page two is all about my addiction to tea. Addiction as in 8-15 cups a day, withdrawal headaches if I don't get my caffeine, makes me feel and better and I love love love it. Throughout this project, I've stuck pretty much to October Afternoon's Fly A Kite patterned papers, Bazzill cardstock and Thickers. Border and Flower punches make regular appearances as do buttons, brads, ribbons and little pearls.

As this project's aim was to explore the items around me, my third page is about books. This is a layout featuring a slice of my book collection. Most of these pages feature lots of journalling as that's where the About Me bit really comes into play, but this one has the most. It explains my relationship with reading and books from bedtime stories when I was little right up to my favourite reads on the tube now that I'm an independent twenty-something!

No project about me would be complete without some reference to music (classical for preference) and so this is a page about my violin. My poor fiddle has been a little neglected in recent years as my first study instrument is really singing. But that's hard to photograph and I think it was time for my violin to get some airtime. The journalling recalls some of the experiences playing the violin has brought.

Page the fifth features my button collection (because buttons are so pretty and coordinated) while the journalling mentions my current loves in the world of scrapbooking supplies. I know of no scrapper who doesn't adore choosing stash and I am not exception. Currently, I am all about October afternoon, hence my decision to use one of their new lines on this project. I'm saving the Thrift Shop collection for the next project. However, it's virtually all gone so I may have to order some more. How simply dreadful...

The sixth and (currently) final page of this project is about my self-designation as a Filofax girl. I rarely go anywhere without it and that's how I like things. I really get a kick out of making lists, planning, organising and crossing things off lists. I enjoy the process of planning, the anticipation of the things planned and then when it arrives, I can enjoy it without worrying about what I'm going to do because it's all been organised. I know there are people who hate living to a schedule but I love it (hello, teacher=timetable) and get a smug feeling from going to bed with everything ticked off and ready for the approaching more. I even converted some friends to the cult of the Filofax.

What I love about this project is its potential for extension. The original guidelines were for a minibook in a tin, but to me, this project seemed much bigger. My list (yes, I know) of possible pages is still growing - I want to document my love of maths, Doctor Who, the theatre, mac and cheese, baking, London, Yorkshire, teaching, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, my patchwork quilt, my satchel, my charm bracelet.... and I fully intend to. The great thing I've found is that these layouts can be done any time because I can take pictures of the objects at any time - they're right here. Then off I go, inspiration in seconds. And just because I've done a topic, doesn't mean I can't come back to it. I really loved doing the journalling and have loads more to say about books, my violin and music, my love of tea.... And these are the kinds of things that I'm going to love looking back on in years to come.

So go for it - look up the project and scrap All About You!

Next in the blog hop is A Roof Of One's Own where you'll be able to see another fab interpretation of this idea. And in case that's not enough, all these lovelies have posted even more delicious ideas. In blog hop order we have:

Enjoy the rest of the day, and happy scrapping!

Kisses xxx

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Awkward Funny

Covent Garden, fabbest part of London. They have cake and tea and singing and playing and opera and Lush and magic and acrobatics and there's always loads going on a tons of people to watch. I love it so much! And I love it even more having discovered the frankly incredible food at Wahaca, a delicious Mexican place. Thought it was time I scrapped Covent Garden. For the past week or two I've been scrapping for the All About Me project that Mel is hosting. Actually, my eternal love for Covent Garden would have been a great topic for that, but never mind. I'm really enjoying doing the project and there'll be more on that and others' projects come le weekend.

Some of my students today informed me that they think I'm funny. Intrigued, I asked if they meant funny ha-ha or funny peculiar. Without even thinking about it, one responded "Awkward funny". This caused confusion on my part and long-lasting embarrassment on the part of the student. When I demanded an explanation, I received the response that none of my jokes are funny, but everything else I say is hilarious. Especially when I get cross.


Then they invited me to Scrabble club. Students are funny peculiar. But I am going to go and crush them at Scrabble anyway.

More soon - will attempt to be update more frequently. Plead illness this week, having a cold and a sore throat. Teaching is tricky when you've lost your voice and some of my students asked if I were trying to be Dalek. Sadly, extermination of children is not lawful. How petty.

Kisses xxx

P.S. Put awkward funny anecdote to the other staff and they said that my jokes weren't funny. Clearly my colleagues are not as witty as I am. Some of my favourite classroom puns include:
Concentrate - like orange juice.
Make like a camera and focus.
Margins rule.

Friday 7 May 2010

Walking right into it.

Well, another week at school is finished, but it's been a good one! We had the leavers' concert this week and I played my fiddle at the back of a couple of groups and generally supervised. It's incredible what the music department get from the boys, who are, it must be admitted, pretty talented. Meanwhile, I'm busy arranging a trip to Oxford for some of the 6th form, in a bid to convince them that maths at Oxford is the ultimate in education without any bias. At all.

Speaking of uni, here is another LO from my NSD album, this time of the Commemoration Ball, a swanky white tie all-nighter held by a few colleges on a 3 year rotation. Very exclusive darling.

Still working on other layouts in the time I can squeeze out of marking. I loved making this so much that I'm going to repeat the process by putting together a kit for myself, choosing some sketches, selecting the photos and then spending the day making the pages (and I hope to convince my Mum to do it with me!). I might head for 6 12x12s this time and I haven't thought about anything else yet, but I really want to repeat the experience and this way I can!

I've also done my democratic duty this week and my intention was to stay up past my bedtime and watch election coverage with incredible quantities of pizza. But I only got in the door at 10:45 which, I then discovered, was exactly when the pizza place closed. Bit of a downer, especially as I thought it would make an intriguing LO with my vote hidden in an envelope on the page. Instead I have a picture of my polling station and a picture of me trying to look like election coverage is just as much fun without pizza. Fail.

Looking forward to a fabadab weekend, doing lunch with a friend, theatre with a different friend and then girly sleepover with Gilmore Girls watching, junk food, and of course, the delicious Doctor Who.

Kisses xxx

P.S. School moment of the week was when I caught one of my students lying to me about his homework because he hadn't done it. When sent to apologise to me, I pulled a classic "What are you going to do next time?" to which I received the response "I'm going to tell you I haven't done my homework". I asked for that. I valiantly kept a straight face and made sure he understood that he needed to do the homework next time.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

More of NSD

This is another of my LOs from the class I went to on Saturday run by Eclectic Keepsakes and led by Shimelle. I found it quite strange to morph someone else's style into my pages as starting with a design by Shimelle means you jump off straight away with another scrapper's ideas and placement. This isn't a bad thing! I normally stick to single pages, I have never scrapped in this size before and I don't often go for big blocks of patterned paper like this. But that's all first stage crapping stuff and it was fantastic to have a go at something different, especially with the added support of a class to motivate.

Mine didn't follow the design properly, partly because I wanted to move things around a little and bring all the photos together and partly because my photos weren't the right size to begin with. This being Not In Any Way My Fault as my beloved dinky photo printer chewed up an entire 50-print cassette of photo paper and ink for no reason. It wouldn't come out or do anything or respond and having downloaded the instructions twice (once in Spanish by accident) and finding no advice to the contrary, I opened it up and pulled the thing out with my bare hands.


It turns out that they call them cassettes for a reason. There was a long plastic ribbon entwined in the intestines of the machine that grew as I pulled. Just like when a tape player takes a big mouthful of cassette ribbon and refuses to let go.

I won eventually and although I managed to save the printer, I lost the cassette and so was only able to print dinky pictures. The large one in this LO was one I found in the cupboard.

Anyway, once I got to stage 2 scrapping, ie. the ribbons and embellishments and journalling and all that jazz, it started to look my like me again and I really like the result. The only thing I'm not convinced about is the 2-tone background. All my other doubles have the same background colour and I think I prefer them like that.

All-in-all however, I'm satisfied and I will use this arrangement again.

Kisses xxx

P.S. For another time, how being made the maths department point-man on Oxbridge is taking over my life.

Monday 3 May 2010

National Scrapbooking Day (and unconnected ritual humiliation)

First of all, I want to share the first couple of pages from the album I made on National Scrapbooking Day. We all got through tons of pages led by Shimelle and it was the first time I've ever been cropping or classing or anything, so a big thumbs up from me.

I decided to start on a uni themed album as I didn;t get to do much scrapping during those years as I couldn;t take my stuff with me. Plus the studying kind of got in the way. And then the holidays were invariably spent earning pennies. But I'm loving looking back now and melting into nostalgia. This is my front cover:

And the first double:

Uploading is taking a long time and some of the pages aren't finished yet (I still have some more "stage 2" scrapping to add) so more of this later this week. Suffice to say, it was a fantastic day, worth every penny, and I still cannot get over how much stuff I got done. I am a slow, page-in-a-day kind of a girl, but limited to the kit and with design promptings from Shimelle, the layouts really started to stack up. The kit, by the by, was Dear Lizzy-esque and full of delights including lots of papers, cardstock, thickers and ribbons. I didn't take any other supplies with me as I was going by train (read: a bus, 3 tubes, another bus and a train) and had limited space, but I found that a help rather than a hinderance. I'm going to make an album in a day again next bank holiday weekend. More thoughts on that later.

And so to ritual humiliation. I am of course, referring to the staff space hopper race. About 100 of the boys turned up to watch. I was in the maths department heat and I came last. Bad enough but I fell off. Twice. In a row. Landed both times on hands and knees and I have the bruises to prove it! This meant that I was miles behind and had to do the bounce of shame alone down the home straight. I blame it on the fact that my opponents were a)sporty and b)men so have longer legs and more muscles. So it was biology, not lack of talent, that let me down.

Although lack of talent can't have helped.

It was a great event though, with some witty sixth form commentary, masses of indiscriminate cheering, and lots of other teachers fell off too. And one of the maths department won, so that's a little victory!

Back into school tomorrow. It's been a lovely day, watching the rain while I'm snug inside, scrapping, baking and knitting while Poirot does his thing.

Kisses xxx