Tuesday 30 November 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

Just a quick update: I went to a scrapbooking day run by Scrapagogo this weekend where we made 5 pages in 7 hours! I love the five classes and came away with lots of lovely stash from the kits. Just wanted to share one of the pages I made. I class used lots of stitching including pricking out and stitching around a circle. I love the frame that this made for the layout and is definitely a technique I will use again! (Although half way through the stitching, I did moan a little bit as I wanted to get back to cutting and sticking again)

Parents evening tonight. Yay...

Kirsty xxx
P.S. Snow finally hit London today! Hardly any and it's not really proper but I love it anyway!

Friday 26 November 2010

Peyton and Byrne

Any other fans out there?

I love St Pancras station. It really is one of my favourite places in London. The architecture is beautiful and it's a great place to watch the world go be. In short, it is romantic: everything a station ought to be.

In fact, whenever I catch a train for there, I always make sure I have plenty of time so spend in the station first. And I discovered I am not the only one to do this. The lure of the station is also felt by my friends who confess to doing the same thing. And we all agree that one of the best bits is choosing your tea and cake to go from Peyton and Byrne so you have something to indulge in on the train. Yummy!

So when we returned from Paris, we returned from Paris, we finished with elevensies at Peyton and Byrne (and started to plan our next trip!)

Kisses xxx

P.S. Glad you liked the snowflakes! I'll work on the tutorial and get it posted!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

And of course, that must mean decorations. I'm going to make my own this year as I think this will be just as festive and much cheaper. Plus I'm using up old (and we're talking about 5 years old) stash. I thought blue snowflakes would be appropriate and here they are!

I'm pretty chuffed with how these turned out. I saw similar snowflakes in a shop window last year and thought they were very pretty and delicate. So when I got home, I attempted to make one. I used scrap paper and it turned out to be huge and unwieldy and time consuming. Largely due to the fact that I couldn't lay my hands on any glue so I thought stapling would be a good idea.


Also, the paper had no structural integrity. This meant that although my parents hung it up, (and for some reason, have not taken it down), it started to droop and mis-shape pretty quickly.

I have learned from my errors. I made them smaller with glue and a newly-designed middle has meant that these specimens are holding up rather well. I was really pleased and made three while watching It's A Wonderful Life and another while watching Kirstie's Homemade Home.

I no realise the downside - I have nothing to hang them from. So this year's challenge will involve large amounts of blue tack, cotton and my beautiful freshly painted ceiling. Wish me luck!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Thoughts on these? I'm thinking about doing a tutorial. Anyone else making decorations that I can mercilessly pillage?

Sunday 21 November 2010

Le Weekend Parisien

Yay! Studio Calico kit came! And it was filled with yummy map-style paper from Basic Grey and a lush paper called Peleton with bikes on by the Studio themselves. Something about them said Paris to me so I put them together with this pic of my friends posing on a bridge over the Seine and included a few of our Metro tickets.

We did have a great time seeing all sorts of different things but I think we were all agreed that where we really struck gold was with the eating places which were non-touristy and gave us the chance to practise our French and see the locals.

Chez Louisette was a cafe that served us a delicious lunch while being serenaded with traditional Chansons. Audience participation encouraged, although you must put something in the hat each time the performer passes it round. There was also some great people watching as matriarchal French women served food and henpecked the harried-looking waiter, Gerrard. Poor bloke.

In the evening, we went to a crowded bistro called Le Tambour where all the staff seemed to be male with grizzled haid, moustaches and aprons from which they could pull a bottle of wine at a moment's notice. They were all extremely genial and while I scored points by asking for Gratinee d'Oignon, I was mocked for ordering tea. My friend Ruth whose French is pretty awesome even managed French banter and as we left, our waiter said that next time we could return as friends. Kisses all round.

I've been having a weekend in as it will be the only one I get for weeks so it's been great to have some quality scrapping time. Got a few projects in the pipeline - watch this space - and I've been watching Merlin. I've never watched this on telly but I got the first disc with LoveFilm this weekend and it's great fun!

How excited is everyone about Christmas? Lots.

Kirsty xxx

P.S. Collecting yummies for JYC. I'm trying not to buy anything new and really enjoying digging through stash and matching stuff up.

P.P.S. Have to wait until Thursday to see Harry Potter. My students have been warned that spoilers = detention.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Behind the Camera

This was the title of a class that I took on the Scrapagogo getaway. Great class as there were loads of photography themed supplies that I would never have bought myself but that I really enjoyed using. Including some film strip - score! I made the page about my Diana lomography camera. Snagged a free camera stamp in the kit as well. Excellent!

Feel I need another holiday now - was there ever a half term? Looking forward to Christmas hugely. It's my favourite time of year and this weekend I'm going to hibernate totally in my flat with Christmas films and music, do some baking, some crafting, some flat-tidying and decorating and just enjoy some me-time. Before all the seasonal craziness begins!

I also have a cold at the moment so I'm going to see out this episode of Poirot and retire to bed with a scrappy podcast. If you've never listened to the Paperclipping Roundtable, I suggest you give it a go. A few scrappers chat about various things in the industry and there are some good ideas. But mainly, I find it really relaxing to listen to people chatter while I drift into sleep - a bit like listening to a conversation on the train or in a cafe.

Kirsty xxx

P.S. Waiting for my November Studio Calico kit now - need a stash injection.

P.P.S. I have been working on a few special projects this week - can't share yet but will reveal all before too long....

P.P.P.S. Clearly it's accident week this week as my iPod has finally given up the ghost, the power cable for my laptop is on the out and I dropped a book in the bath. Let's just say it has more dimension now. On the up, I am examining the budget in detail to see if I can afford an iPod touch because they are too cool for words.

Sunday 14 November 2010


Well, our 26 hour dash to Paris was lovely - we all felt like we'd been on a long holiday and although we came back very tired with sore feet, we had an amazing time! We were so excited even on the train home, discussing where we could go on our next trip!

I took my lovely camera and my favourite 50mm f/1.8 lens which I love and I've got loads of pictures. Stories from Paris as I make pages! Suffice to say I've come back with lots of images to play with!

And I was so pleased that my two fabulous friends came with me - one had even figured out the entire Paris transport system which meant that we didn't have to spend time wondering where we were - we could just grab a bus and go!

Oh, and we went to a couple of AMAZING bistros and practised our French, made some friends and gorged on Tarte Tatin and Profiteroles!

Kisses xxx

P.S. On a less successful note, we missed our Eurostar home. Alarm fail! So the trip wasn't quite as cheap as I planned. So we decided that this will be a trial run and we have learned not to do this next time.

Friday 12 November 2010

Winner and Weekend

Streets of London is a page I made using the index card from the film I had printed. I shot it on a wander around London with a friend and although some of the photos are a bit blurry to use full size, you can't really tell that on a teeny tiny index print! I arranged them all in order and used the journalling to tell the story of the afternoon: a stroll from Leicester Square down to the Thames, along to the Tate to see all the sunflower seeds, and back up to Soho for tea!

Plus, got my hands on some of the new Cosmo Cricket Circa 1934 which is right up my alley as it's all muted vintage tones and it's GORGEOUS. Yummy.

And the winner of the giveaway was Abi! Yay! If you send me an address to kirsty [dot] merran [at] googlemail [dot] com Abi I can get that in the post for you.

Right, off to Paris tomorrow for a weekend - hurrah! Have packed no clothes and 3 cameras which means my priorities are in order. Back on Sunday morning but we'll have a whole day in the city and we'll see what we can fit in. Am obviously taking my beret for posing opportunities. And it's given heavy rain. Excellent!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Harry Potter on the news today. Looking forward to seeing the new film. My form invited me to go with them as long as I didn't come to their sleepover afterwards because they thought that might cross that line. I declined politely.

P.P.S. So excited to win the measuring cups - have recipes lined up awaiting!

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Get In The Picture

Really love this photo. It's not very good at all but it was one of those that really has some great stuff going on in it. I lined up the family for a group portrait at my brother's 21st and took a few shots. They were nice but a bit..well...staid. Everyone stood up straight and smiled nicely and that was that. After I'd taken a few, they said why didn't I get in one?

Several reasons: do I trust my family with my camera? Emphatic no. Did I have my tripod handy so I could self-time? Unfortunate no. Even if I did trust someone enough to hold my pretty pretty camera, would I want them to miss out on being in the picture? No.

Now I actually like having my picture taken. I'm a terribly vain show-off and don't really mind having bad pictures of me floating about. I figure if I'm in enough of them, some have to turn out well and those are the ones that I can scrap! So I pulled and arms-length picture, stood in front of the camera and attempted to angle it so the family would be around the outside.

Result! Sort of. But you know what? The smiles and grins and giggles on the faces in the background are the best, the most natural and the most lovely of any of the group shots.

Going to scrap a bit now in order to suppress the trials of teaching Income Tax to an inquisitive Year 9 group. Inquisitive, and enterprising.

Student: Miss, if I set up a charity for my hamster and get it registered and then I give my hamster £10 can I claim the gift aid back to make more money?

Me: Enterprising, but no. You aren't a UK taxpayer.

Student: What if I get my parents to make a donation? Can I claim gift aid on that?

Me: I have no idea.

Student:I'm going to do it and make loads of money.

Me: But you can't just spend it - it would be the charity's money and if you spend it on computer games, that would be fraud. Probably.

Student: Aha! But! I'm going to spend it on hamster food.

Kisses xxx

P.S. The spirograph flower is a Sassafras Paper Whimsy. Love them!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Vintage Memories

Another couple of "old" photos. OK, they're not really vintage, but they are to me. 1998 is like, so last century. Which is what I find so inspiring! I got a bit tired of scrapping my modern pictures - much as I love scrapping my doings in London, it's nice to have a variety and my box of old photos is still providing this by the bucketload. These ones feature my brother and I befriending a sheep. In Wales. It was surprisingly willing to be manhandled and pose for pictures but I remember having to get down on hands an knees so we'd be on the same level!

And since I adore vintage-themed supplies at the moment, they seem to complement older photos rather well. I'm not as interested in the ephemera - you know the old cards and pictures and bits and bobs that companies now reproduce - but I love the muted tones, the off-white, lettering styles and, yes, still having a kraft phase.

Actually, most of what's on here is just scraps sculling about on the table. My poor kitchen table hasn't seen food for days. I can eat on my lap and leave my stash out instead! Although I did accidently get some StazOn on it today. Ooops.

Kisses xxx

P.S. My students are teaching me to speak street so that I can take my Gangsta (note the spelling) GCSE. They do not rate my chances. They call each other Sherlock a lot at the mo - assuming this was a reference to Mr Holmes, I enquired if they had read any of the stories. Blank looks. Gangsta faux-pas number one. Gangsta faux-pas number 2 was referring to number one as a "faux-pas". That's bear dread, man.

P.P.S. When I asked "Why d'you call him Sherlock then?" the response I got was "Because he's Captain Obvious". Students are creative in their own way

P.P.P.S. I did however get them to admit that I was the most gangsta member of the maths department. Unfortunately, this is the equivalent of being the best at embroidery among goldfish. Doesn't say much. We're not a naturally gangsta bunch.

P.P.P.S. Feel my gangsta vocabulary would make a good page for the True Stories class. Definitions! Note to self.

Monday 8 November 2010

Autumn Yummies

All the crisp, beautiful autumness seems to have dissolved under a damp layer of drizzle so I thought I cheerful leafy photo might help to stand in the way of this.

First I want to say huge thank you's to everyone who took part in the blog hop. I loved reading your blogs and finding loads of inspiration and new crafters. I've added loads to my reader and shall never, ever do any work again except as a cover for my illicit blog-absorbing. And thanks for all your comments! It was lovely to hear from you all!

This is one of the pages I made on the getaway - the vintage feel supplies (lots of October Afternoon Thrift Shop, one of my favourite lines!) was great and we used old dress making patterns to make flowers. Sadly I cannot crochet so I didn't make the flower, but I often shy away from larger embellishments like this so it was brilliant to use some. Plus, lace. Plus vintage dress-maker pins. Need I say more? No?

Busy weekend - hardly got any scrapping done. Did make a curtain for my bedroom though, went to see The Railway Children at Waterloo station (very cool, stage was the old Eurostar Platform, seats banked up on both sides, real steam train from Yorkshire), had French toast in a diner, watched a couple of films, and mooched around Camden market. Very productive actually as found loads of potential things for the flat and picked up a vintage printer tray for £8! Excitement! I'm going to try altering it and hanging it on the wall.

Actually I'd like to de-Ikea my flat a bit, by which I mean make it look a bit less, well, flat packed and identikit. Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff I got, but I'd like smaller things to make it seem more cosy and homely. Anyone got any suggestions of ideas? Or any good blogs? I'll carry on watching Kirstie too. Oh, and it has to cost next to nothing as my budget feels a bit as though I bludgeoned it with a whole frozen tuna. Or similar.

Kisses xxx

P.S. Louisa-Jane, I think I am totally thinking what you are thinking! Unfortunately, I can't view your profile or anything, so if you are still thinking email me! kirsty[dot]merran[at]googlemail[dot]com.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Celebrating Blog Friendships

Welcome one and all! Tonight's post is part of a blog hop which you can start on Lizzie's Blog. Organised by Jo and Lizzie, we are all celebrating the wonderful things that blogging can bring. If you're not hopping, why not try it? If you visit all the blogs, you can collect letters to make a phrase and win a prize!

I have something of a confession to make. I'm a bit shy. I haven't been blogging all that long, and it's only recently that I've been blogging regularly. And because of these things, it's difficult to talk about blog friendships. So first of all, let me say, I'm keen to make some new ones! Blogging to me means crafty inspiration and so I'm relishing to chance to discover some new blogs and admiring some familiar ones!

What I love about crafty blogs though, is the genuine warmth that the people behind them have for their work and for each other. Everyone I've come across has been lovely and encouraging and I love that strangers are willing to take time to say to each other: what you've made is beautiful.

I love the inspiration I get from blogs which is why I've decided to share this page. There are so many things in my scrapbook page that wouldn't be there were it not for the blogs that I follow. The photostrip idea, the Mix and Mend paper, layering and banners, tiny type and mixing letters for titles....all things I've picked up over time.

So thanks for the inspiration, one and all. I'm really looking forward to shamelessly pillaging your blogs for ideas and hopefully making a few friends on the way!

Finally, I'd like to celebrate by having a little giveaway. I've had a bit of a clearout and I have a stack of 40 unloved 12x12 papers that need a new home. I'm not a card maker so there aren't a huge number of ways for me to use them up. There's a big mixture of styles and colours including quite a bit of some old Basic Grey lines. Leave a comment by 12 noon GMT on Tuesday 9th November telling me that you'd like to offer it a home and I'll randomly draw a winner! I really hope that someone would like to make use of it!

And now it's time to Enjoy the Ride Today by hopping along to the next blog!

Kisses xxx

P.S. The magic letter? It's R. Good luck!

Thursday 4 November 2010

Getaway Pages

I made this page in one of the classes on the Getaway - it was one of my favourites! There was pattered paper with cute little houses on it and wood veneer and chip board - what's not to love! I went with pictures of a friend and I putting up our tents at Hay-on-Wye Lit Fest. It was so cheap to camp and in the evening we made friends with a group of fellow campers who'd had the forethought to bring marshmallows and then lit a fire under them. Yummy!

I made this from October Afternoon text paper (Lush!) and Sassafras bits and bobs and it features my two little cousins (not so little any more) playing pullalongs. Pullalongs is a self-explanatory game involving vehicles on a string, walking around the garden, and roping in as many people to do it with you as possible. Made during cropping time on the Getaway - I want to go again!

Right, huge to-do list calls. Life first, scrapping second I suppose.


P.S. Taking part in a blog hop on Saturday from 8p.m, and there are prizes up for grabs from those who do the whole hop! (And maybe a little giveaway here...)

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Love From Home

For true stories, we were asked to write a letter. I wrote home. Sort of. I wrote a letter to my Mum and Grandma, thanking them for writing to me each week. I love that they both take the time every weekend to think of me and share all the news from home. They live next door to each other so it always makes me chuckle to get two perspectives on the same events: the church service that week, what the council did with the roof insulation, how the veg patch is getting on. My Mum is very much her mother's daughter, as I am my Mum's. We all three are very much alike and watching them is like beholding my future. Fortunately I admire them both hugely and would love to turn out like them. Fingers crossed. Getting their letters every Tuesday is one of the highlights of my day. And I'm not sure they know what their letters mean to me.

What's strange is that often they will apologise for only having humdrum things to report. Little do they know that it's the everyday that I love, that makes me feel connected to home, which can sometimes feel like a long way away.

Thanks Mum and Nanny,

Kisses xxx

P.S. Photo strips are my new favourite thing - I've seen them popping up all over and really wanted to have a go. Photo strips and Mix and Mend

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Grandma, Grandad and Me

This is the only photo I have of me with both my grandparents. It's the only one I will ever have. My grandma dies earlier this year aged 98. My grandad died over 15 years ago. I have strong and recent memories of my Grandma and I'll be able to make pages about her, but I was only little when they were both around and so my recollections are a bit jumbled. But some things really stand out. I remember visiting their house with my brother and playing: we were lucky to live within walking distance.

My grandma cooked a lot. I remember Yorkshire puddings; little ones that I could dip in ketchup and brown sauce. I remember white cake and chocolate cake and chocolate dipped shortbread- that was really good. The kitchen was her domain.

It was with Grandad that we really played silly games. He would sit with us while we all took it in turns to make up a story. And there was a song with 2 made-up words repeated over and over that he used to sing.

Those are the things I remember and the things that I wrote on this page.

This was one of the classes I took at the Getaway.

This page is probably the one I am least pleased with from the weekend. I kind of wish I hadn't put the brads on. But the class was about making and embossing pennants which was cool and a technique I can bring into my scrapping. I guess that because I love these pictures, I wish I loved the page. The pictures show me painstakingly arguing, convincing and cajoling my family into having a group photo at my brother's 21st. We aren't often all together so much and I was determined to take the opportunity. Once they were all posed, it was "Everybody say... CANDID"

Kisses xxx

P.S. So I didn't post the letter after all. Will do it tomorrow!

P.P.S. Also, nearly JYC! Whoop!

Monday 1 November 2010

Getaway Roundup

Well I had the MOST FABULOUS weekend. I went on the GoGo Getaway run by Scrapagogo and I went on a whim at the last minute. I wondered if it would be worth the price, if the other scrappers would be nice, if I'd like the classes and so on. Well, it was more than worth it, the other scrappers were lovely and the classes were brilliant. AND I got to stay in a swishy hotel with tons of free food, which is always a plus in my book. Hash browns and white chocolate buttons for breakfast anyone? I'll have double helpings.

I've also come home with ten completed pages, one half completed page and one nearly completed calendar. I took seven classes (SEVEN!!! - Each with a kit full of stash!) which made 5 and half pages and the calendar and there was also plenty of cropping time - we were set up in a large, light room with long tables, facing each other which was very sociable and great for inspiration. So I could be all "What does glossy accents actually do?" and someone would reply "Try mine and see" and then I would go to the shop and buy some. Ditto paint dabbers :D

So I've got loads of pages to share.

The page above was a challenge for the weekend. On the first night, we had a group photo and then the next morning, we were all given a hybrid printed page and a copy of the photo to complete a page. I'm not really a hybrid girl - I want texture and cutting and sticking so I hacked my page apart and used elements with the same colour scheme. But I'm pleased with the result and I love that the challenge left us all with a memento of the weekend.

P.S. Sadly next year's Getaways are sold out - sobadob - but I seriously want to go again in 2012. Need to examine my budget...

P.P.S. Next time, I'll post my letter page for True Stories.