Monday 25 April 2011

A Spot of Journalling

I know everyone scrapbooks for different reasons. Maybe it's to preserve memories, because you like having crafty time, because you want to record stories... Whatever. Mainly I do it for me. Because I enjoy it, I like jotting down anecdotes and then making them pretty and being crafty.

When it comes to journalling I don't think of it as recording memories. That part for me is taken care of by the date, place, people's names. I think of journalling as telling an anecdote. So when I make a page, the most important thing to me is getting that down and preferably, as a camera geek, getting a good photo to go with.

And journalling takes up space. Partly because I am truly fascinating, especially when I go on at length. Partly because, to be honest, I'm not that bothered about exactly where I was or exactly when it was, but I do want to remember what it was like, what I was like, how I saw the world and what it meant to me and the people with me. So I write a lot.

This is why I scrapbook. It's my pretty, crafty diary. And it makes me happy. Plus, I am fascinating. But I already mentioned that.

When I make a page, my first question is: how much space do I need to journal? And I go from there. And I know there's no right way to scrapbook. Just go with whatever floats your boat and rocks your mittens. But I recommend giving it a shot. Journal first, then worry about the photo and the pretty.

"There are many things wrong with punting in Cambridge. First of all, you have to stand on a little platform at the wrong end of the boat; inferior in every way to Oxford, naturally. Then there are all the standard punting issues: the presence of other river users, the potential of falling in etc. Then you're off: you stick the pole in, shove with all your might and end up veering wildly to the right. It costs so much effort to get facing the right way again that your net movement forwards is zero, or even negative is the current and wind are against you. And yet, despite all this, we three had a lovely time punting on the Cam, admiring the admittedly rather beautiful second-best university. We caught the first of the April sunshine, revelling in pleasant nostalgia of our halcyon days at university. Oh, and the ducklings were cute and fluffy too."

Posted on UKScrappers as part of Scrapfactor


P.S. I've been listening to some back episodes of the PaperClipping roundtable recently. If you've never listened to their free podcasts before, I say give it a shot. Basically, a panel sit around and discuss scrapbooking for an hour or so, sharing tips, ideas and inspiration. This may sound weird. It sounded utterly ridiculous to me as scrapbooking is so visual. But I like to listen to it while I mark papers and books, or for 15 mins on my iPod before bed. It's just kind of relaxing. But they'd been discussing journalling and I figured I'd share my take on this whole thing.

P.P.S. Happy Easter everyone :D

Saturday 23 April 2011

Mother Daughter Challenges Return

At half term, I visited Spain with a friend. We stayed with another friend which meant that it was waaay cheap but we had to sleep on a cold, hard, tiled floor. And we flew Ryan Air which means hand luggage only so we had sleeping bags but no sleeping mats of any kind. But no matter, it was fun! Plus we were pretty tired from dashing about all day.

And oh-my-goodness we drank. This isn't what you think though. Because we drank orange juice.

I like orange juice as much as the next person, but I've never wanted to make a page about it before. It turns out this is because I'd never had orange juice in Spain before. It's awesome. And pageworthy. Sooooo fresh and sweet but tangy, not insipid and really bright yellow. So yummy. Orange juice will never be the same to me again.

Anyway, I made this as one of the Mother-Daughter challenges. I set this one and the topic was "Pink, Paint and Pleats". Feel free to give it a shot. Although you have to hunt quite hard to find the paint on mine.* And thanks to Shimelle, this picture should display bigger. Fingers crossed...

Kisses xxx

P.S. Next week I'm going to experiment a bit with the things I post here. Maybe a tutorial or something, but I want to have a bit of a crafty focus. Stay tuned...

*I had to have 2 goes at this challenge as it turns out that pink didn't go with the first one. Ne'er mind.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Good Advice. And a Winner...

So, first and most importantly, I need to announce a winner of the Washi tape. So without further ado, I proclaim that Rachel B, if you email me (kirsty dot merran at googlemail dot com) your address, I will send you a treat! Yay!

For the Scrap Factor auditions over at UKScrappers, I had to make a non-photo page. Never done that before. But I figured I needed to scrap something that I didn't have any photos for, so that I wouldn't miss them.

And so to good advice. Please don't get the impression that I'm going to give some. I deal mainly in awkward/comedic/tension relieving sarcasm, or at the very least, I like to think I do. But I do like to receive good advice. Especially if it's pithy and easy to recall.

When I started training to be a teacher, lots of people gave me advice. Much of it was indeed pithy and easy to recall. Treats such as

"If you're a woman, always wear good shoes and chunky jewellery"

" 'On the floor' is not a filing system"

"On break duty, if you take one crisp from each student, you don't need to bring in your own packet"

This is advice of a sort and it's definitely pithy, but I would not necessarily term it good. Good advice ran more towards the:

"Make sure you make time for yourself of teaching won't just be your job, it will be your life"

Good advice, but not as pithy. So where does the middle ground lie? My favourite piece of good advice came from a highly unexpected source: a very sombre, academic sort who mentored a group of us in one of the schools we trained in. And it went like this:

"Teaching is not an act. But it is a performance."

I think this is great advice: approach each lesson with bounce, enthusiasm, a clean sheet, a new leaf, another tautological metaphor that means the same thing and good humour. But don't ever be fake because they will see right through you. Good advice.

And pithy too.

Kisses xxx

P.S. And making that page was how I found out that if your story doesn't need pictures, nor does your page. Gotta have a moral.

Monday 18 April 2011

This Little Blog of Mine

Right-ho. What's it for then? Mainly for self-aggrandisement, egotism and arrogance. But I'm being modest...

I wanted a blog mainly because I saw that other scrapbookers had a blog and that meant that they could share their work with others, get feedback, comment and just generally get inspiration and ideas. And I wanted to get in on that. That simple.

More recently it's been a great place for me to write my journalling and pair it with pictures. Then when I'm ready to scrap: hey presto, it's all there, fresh and detailed and ready to go.

And y'know what? I LOVE to get comments, it makes me smile. And I LOVE stealing ideas from other people because of my self-aggrandising, egotistical and arrogant ways. Which sounds better if you call it inspiration ;D So I'm going to stick at the blogging lark and carry on with Shimelle's Class, Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers.

In the spirit of sharing, here is a sneak of my page for this week's Scrap Factor over at UKScrappers. The theme was a colour scheme of blue, pink and green. You can hop over there, see the entries and play along - fabcakes!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Washi tape is like masking tape only really, extremely, terrifically, very pretty with patterns on it. And if you're in the UK you'll be chuffed to discover it can be found in Paperchase! Certainly the big one on Tottenham Court Road has lots. I'll announce the giveaway winner tomorrow - thanks all for stopping by to play BlogHop. It was brilliant!

Sunday 17 April 2011

Alphanumeric Blog Hop: Brought to you by the number....ONE!

Welcome Alphanumeric bloghoppers! You may well be joining me from Donna's fabulous blog Creating Room. If not, don't worry, you can find a full list of participants in the bloghop below or on the blog our infamous instigator, the lovely Mel at I Speak Melsh. And so, putting the Numeric into alphanumeric, onto the number one...

Being a maths teacher and lover of all things numerical (although I'm just not into Sudoku - don't ask) I had to go with a number for this. And when it comes to numbers, where better to start than at the very beginning, the very best place to start. It says so in the Sound of Music.

So number one it is. Some may say it's the loneliest number there is but I disagree. Ever tried being the third person going out to dinner with a couple? Or getting up to leave at the end of a thirteen-person tea party? One is suddenly looking pretty good.

One is so good, in fact, that I've made a scrapbook page: One Afternoon. One Camera. Photos? Many....

My thanks go to my friend in the green coat who never complains about posing. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion she enjoys it. Whenever we hang out, we always take huge quantities of photos. Other times we spend time going through them and reminiscing. Good times! I wanted to scrap a few of these to celebrate having fun messing about with friends, celebrating cheerful weather and beautiful magnolia trees and enjoying genial daffodils and the self-timer setting on cameras.

And now for a little giveaway which is brought to you by my scrapbooking supply of the moment...Washi tape! Leave me a comment by noon on Tuesday 19th April telling we what you'd like to use Washi tape for and I'll send one randomly chosen commenter a roll of my favourite.

Next, I'm going to pass you on to Daily Life - Bits & Pieces, Melissa's wonderful blog. The full hop is as follows...

P.S. If any of the posts aren't up yet, please bear with us - the different time zones and the peculiarity of blogging platforms when it comes to autoposts may mean that one or two posts don't appear on time! If that's the case, come back to this list to pick up from the next blog, but do please pop back and try the other link later, when the post should be there for your enjoyment.

P.P.S. I'll be back later in the week with a few Scrapfactor Audition pages from UKScrappers.

Saturday 16 April 2011

It's coming...the Alphanumeric Bloghop

Brought to you by....You'll have to wait and see! But there will be a little giveaway cats and kittens! Consider this your incentive to get the party started. Be here tomorrow...

P.S. You might want to start with I Speak Melsh at 2:00pm BST.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Medical Case of Too Much House

I think I might have a terrible disease.

I’m not a hypochondriac, honestly. In fact, while I wouldn’t describe myself as the possessor of a risk-taking personality, I think I am pretty happy-go-lucky in an optimistic sort of way.

But now it is the school holiday and I have started watching House. I like scrapping to it. It’s engaging enough to hold my attention while I ink the edges of 83 000 bits of paper, but predictable enough that I know what’s going on if I need to peer down at my layout and shuffle bits and pieces around. I’m a big believer in the shuffle.

For those not familiar with the format, in each episode, Doctor House grudgingly takes on the care of a patient with a mysterious illness. It has to be mysterious for two reasons: firstly if it were simple he wouldn’t need a whole team of doctors to assist him and the dialogue would be somewhat one-sided, and secondly they would cure and send home the patient before the first set of adverts.

Doctor House is a maverick, a loose cannon. He has to be as he’s the main character in a medical drama. He’s also damaged emotionally. See above. Anyway, each episode, House and his team diagnose illness after illness until they hit the right one and cure it, usually at the last minute before a fatal dose of the wrong medicine/liver transplant/end credits etc. And by telling you this, I’ve basically just ruined every episode for you.

How does this affect me? In MORE THAN ONE episode, the patient asked a question and then couldn’t remember having asked it and asked again. Today, this happened to me. I asked my brother twice if he wanted a cup of tea because I couldn’t remember having done it the first time. Both times in House, this meant that the patient had an enormous tumour/tapeworm in their brain for which they needed needles poked in their eyes and brain surgery.

You understand my uneasiness?

Of course, all this could be rubbish and I’m simply a squeamish numpty with an overactive imagination. I’m just saying y’know?

And then I wonder if I should scrapbook things like this. I like to imagine my grandchildren looking up watching poor-quality (for then) episodes of House on FutureYoutube and laughing at me. (And maybe behind the laughter being a little bit afraid of having needles poked in their eyes.) What do think? Scrapbook the crazy? After all, it's a part of me ;D

Kisses xxx

P.S. Having slight internet/photo issues at the mo hence pictureless posts. Add to that I am working on secret projects... all shall be revealed!

P.P.S. Totally excited for Mel's Alphanumeric Blog Hop! Check it out on Sunday! And before then, a bit more on Scrapfactor. Thanks for your comments: once internet is quick again I shall go on a commenting frenzy, I tell you!

Monday 11 April 2011

In praise of mac and cheese

I'm a big mac and cheese fan. I LOVE it and have done ever since one long summer at university when I had about 4 part-time jobs. It's my go-to, warming, delicious, perfect comfort food. I make it about once a week, twice if I'm feeling naughty, invariably in enormous portions, the entirety of which I always consume. And I always make it the same way, to my specification. I don't have a recipe; it's the only thing I make by eye, from scratch, exactly the way I want it. Then I douse it in black pepper and dive in.

As it's my favourite thing to eat (or one of them, certainly. I like chips too ;D) it's something I sometimes order if I'm eating out. And I'm always disappointed because it's rubbery or the top isn't crispy or it's swimming in oil or it's not really think and gloopy. I like it gloopy.

And because I know exactly how I like it, I never change how I make it because it's a little ritual I enjoy once a week and it's satisfying to sit down to a cheap, simple, I-made-this-from-scratch enormously delicious meal. Even watching Great British Hairdresser while you eat it can't bring you down. (I know I shouldn't but I can't help it - addictive)

But then I read this. I was that girl. I thought there was only one good kind of mac and cheese, and I was sticking with it. But if she found other good recipes, it must be true. Plus I love reading the lovely recipes on her foodie blog. But her mac and cheese had this breadcrumb topping thing going and and it sounded good. Really good.

And then someone sent me this website. And it made me a little unsure about my one kind of mac and cheese rule. What if one of these mac and cheese recipes was better than mine and I was missing out? Only one way to find out. Plus, I put it on my 25 before 25 list so I had to give it a try.

This evening, I made a different kind of mac and cheese. I stayed pretty close to the original but I added in a few extra spices, some garlic, paprika, bit of chicken stock and a cheesy ritz cracker topping.

Let's just say that I don't think garlic is a good addition, but everything else can stay. And now I only need to accomplish 24 things... So go on! Hook me up with your favourite recipes because I'm always hungry :D

Kisses xxx

P.S. The most exciting thing happened today - I'm going to be a contestant on the paper team of Ukscrappers ScrapFactor contest! I'm so excited! I think the word I'm looking for is EEEEEEEK!

P.P.S. Scored some fab stash at Ally Pally. Got some good ledger paper, lots of small alphas and label stickers, piles of tags and some vintagey lace. Excellent.

Saturday 9 April 2011

School's Out!

And good morning to you all! The sun is sunny but not too hot, all my windows are wide open, I've had a productive morning cleaning to the sound of Classic fm on the radio and I am going to spend the rest of it scrapping and baking. Bliss! Two long shiny weeks of freedom are ahead and I intend to make the most of them.

The parents are coming today (hence the cleaning) which means two things: first of all, Mum and I will make our annual pilgrimage to the Big Stamp and Scrapbooking Show this weekend at Ally Pally (Dad will have to look after himself) and secondly we can share our big reveal.

This is the first Mother-Daughter challenge we did: the brief was Blue, Birds and Buttons. Some of each had to be on the page.

The page is about me having a film and pizza night to watch Inception. A film recommended to me by my form in no uncertain terms. It was more disbelief that I hadn't seen it than anything and resulted in a bit of a falling out when I said the bit where they all ski around in the snow wasn't my favourite. They thought it was an action film and I thought it was a film about guilt and human relationships. Oh well :D

At the time, they wanted to do their class assembly on Conspiracy Theories. They don't any more (fickle!), but while they did, Inception was all they talked about and so I promised to do film and pizza night at the weekend and see it for myself. Thanks LoveFilm! A quick email round the usual crowd found that Ruth was free to help me out in my time of filmy need and this page was born!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Feel I should point out that as I shared this story with other classes, they all approved of the plan but advised that I eat the pizza before watching the film as "It's bare deep miss" and they were worried I would be confused.

P.P.S. What does any of this have to do with Blue, Buttons and Birds? Nothing. But I didn't have a story to tell about those and I wanted to scrap this story :D

P.S. Anyone else off to Ally Pally?

Wednesday 6 April 2011

25 Before 25...

It's sunny! Wish I was here, but at least I have cheerful weekend times to look back on :D

Anyway, I've seen these lists on other blogs in the past and as an enormous lists fan, I thought I'd concoct one of these for my self. So, without further ado, beyond a quick fanfare from a proper Yorkshire brass band, these will be my 25 things I want to accomplish before I'm 25...

1) Take every opportunity to travel.
2) Learn to crochet granny squares.
3) Take a photography course.
4) Improve my Spanish.
5) Have a London scrappy event.
6) Go to the globe.
7) Write down my school-year anecdotes.
8) Frame and display a mosaic of photos on my wall.
9) Go for a really posh afternoon tea.
10) Make a brightly coloured layer cake.
11) Organise my photos.
12) *Secret*
13) *Secret*
14) Get all my pages into albums properly!
15) *Secret*
16) Find a place to get chipotle chillies and cook with them.
17) Make a crazy union flag skirt for the last night of the proms.
18) Get a tent and go camping.
19) Put together my Guiding camp blanket.
20) Finish my unfinished knitted jumper!
21) Get to grips with the sewing machine.
22) See the Nutcracker at Christmas.
23) *Secret*
24) Branch out and try a new mac and cheese recipe.
25) Organise my photos.

Also, if you're hangin' out UK stylee, then I hope you're enjoying a lovely day! I can't get my car radio to work at the moment so I have to be my own radio. Today I was singing half-remembered-snippets-from-Glee-mixed-with-campfire-songs. It's an eclectic mix, but I like to think I am doing my bit and entertaining the local populous in these times of stringency.

Kisses xxx

P.S. In fact it's sooooo nice today that I brought my marking home with me. Score! Hence no crafting for a couple of days. Sad face!

Sunday 3 April 2011

The Mother-Daughter Challenges

What with me being a grown up and not living at home and all, Mum and I don't get to scrap together much at all. So Mum came up with a fantastic idea: we could take it in turns to come up with a challenge, both scrap it and then when we do get together we can see each other's pages. I signed on with glee!

This is the story of the third such challenge, which was the most mysterious. For about a week, all Mum told me was that she had an idea, but she couldn't share it yet. Her ideas are invariably brilliant and so I put all my (not inconsiderable) powers of pestering into uncovering the mystery, but I was not to prevail.

About a week later, an envelope was delivered which on the outside simply said "Challenge inside!". It also had my address, obviously, but this does not add much interest to the story. A stamp too, come to think of it.

Anyway, inside were a selection of 20 embellishments! She had carefully wrapped them in cling film to post them and had an equivalent set at home for her. And the challenge was to use at least ten of them on a page.

Actually, the first challenge was to get the cling film off. One of the buttons eluded me for some time. But I've really enjoyed putting this together. I used: Piece of die-cut ledger paper, treble clef, 2 fabric squares, little green tag, border sticker, green ribbon, cream lace, 2 buttons and a paper flower. Eleven. Not bad going. And I still have the rest to play with!

Another page using my Tea Potter journalling complete! Love scrapping these pics, although I now have another load from this weekend. I'm thinking photo strip...

Kisses xxx

P.S. This was brilliant fun and I invite you all to swap bits and pieces and play along! I'll share the other challenge pages this week in time for some Easter Holiday scrapping! Mum is under strict orders not to look at my blog this week until our reveal.

P.P.S. Spent yesterday swanning and punting around Cambridge, remembering to sneer artfully at the UK's admittedly rather beautiful second-best university. Not to self: print pictures!

P.P.P.S. Still treading water in sea of marking. Important thing is to keep head above water and when in doubt, take whole set of papers to trendy cafe and mark in the company of things. And off I go now to do just that.