Monday 24 September 2012

Podcast Episode 2: Against the Clock

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Show Notes

In this show, you can listen to my thoughts on making some time for scrapping, catch up on a couple of recommendations and hear about two or three of the minor mishaps that I've encountered this week.  So get your stash out and enjoy some scrapbooking talk :D

Unfinished page the first is below, and the second attempt (to discover if the first go with an hour to play with was a fluke) is above.

A misty-eyed foray into faking a fountain pen

Seriously, just be cool.

Beautiful words, lovely pictures and something to curl up with

An inspiring blog with unique, hand-crafted style

Thanks for listening :D

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this or take on board any suggestions.  Please do leave a comment below or post me an email to journalofcuriousthings at gmail dot com.

You can stream the episode above or download on iTunes by searching for 'Journal of Curious Things' Star ratings and reviews on iTunes are vastly appreciated and if you feel so inclined, I'd love to spread the word, so do pop a mention on your blog.

Kisses xxx

P.S. New Nigella tonight?  FanTAStic. What with the Bake-Off tomorrow, I'm becoming spoiled...

P.P.S. It can take up to 24 hours for the new episode to appear in iTunes, so patience, grasshopper, it will be there,

P.P.P.S. It's also entirely possible that I've done the technical bit wrong and it won't.  But don't be sad: you can join in the banging-head-on-desk party that I hold every time I have a stand off with a computer :D

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Shiny Shiny Die Cuts

First of all, I'd like to thank all those of you who gave me feedback on the podcast.  I'm really touched that you took the time to listen and let me know what you thought and it's been a big reminder of just how friendly, supportive and generally lovely the scrapbooking community is :D

I am going to make another one, but if you missed the first one, you can find full details here, and it's available as a download for free from iTunes.  Just search for Journal of Curious Things.  I'm going to aim to do one each fortnight and see how it goes from there.  Do email me if there are any topics you'd like to hear about or if you have any ideas or thoughts! My email is journalofcuriousthings at googlemail dot com.

Today, I have a page to share with a bit of a die-cut theme and I thought I'd share a step-by-step of how it came together.  I don't actually own a die cutter.  But I do own the following things.  This, in fact, is my die cutter.

Start off with a bit of squirly writing on rough paper.  I go for pencil so I can correct the wobbly bits.

Snip it out with a pair of scissors - I find little ones good for detail and the sharper the better.  Then I choose the patterned paper I want my finished 'die cut' in.

Trace around the shape, and cut it out!  If I had an Uncle Bob, I would be telling you his name right now.

I find this process doesn't take as long as I think it will.  I'm not particularly tech-minded and I think it would probably take me longer to set up a machine and convince it to do what I want.  And persuading machines is harder than persuading people because they're less susceptible to tea and biscuits.  As anyone who's ever tried to pour tea into a machine that wasn't a teapot will testify.

Die cut cheat the second: a lovely pack of die cuts from October Afternoon.  These are from the Woodland Park range Flower Sack.  There are so many delicious bits and bobs in the pack and they coordinate beautifully.  

A few foam squares help to build up the layers and add some dimension.

Then it's a matter of figuring out what goes where.  I opted for quite a basic design with my shapes stretching across the middle of the page.  I left a gap as I know the photo is going to go there as the focal point.

Everything stuck into place, butterfly wings popped up, and embellishments added.  It's nice to add a bit of interest to a circle by using a button or badge or little wooden bird that you found under your bed that must have got stuck to your pyjamas.  Ooops.

Then the photo, paper, words and title can go on top.  These are all clustered together to draw the eye and emphasise their importance.  The design is quite unclutered as there's lots of white space and a few droplets of mist finish it off.  And lo!  Another page for the Armenia album is done.

Journalling reads:

The state of our hair after four days at camp minus a shower, was admittedly a bit grim.  A wash was needed.  So we got up specially early one morning and through a complicated towel-over-shoulders, hose-over-the-river manoeuvre, managed to get cleaner.  It made so much of a difference.  Look how happy!  

So while I'm not anti-die cutter, I did just want to point out that it's still all good if, like me, you don't have one.  Got scissors?  You're good to go!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Trying to work out how to add an iTunes button to the blog.  Failing.

P.P.S. Anyone else watching the Great British Bake Off?  So dramatic!!!!

P.P.P.S. 300th post is coming up soon.  Trying to think how to celebrate.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Journal of Curious Things....The Podcast!

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I've had a secret ambition now for a while.  And today, I bring it to fruition.  I've made a podcast!  I've never made one before, both my audio and technical skills are lacking and I now know more about FTP than I ever wanted to.  (No, I'm not really sure what it is either).  But I've done it!  I made a podcast!  And I really enjoyed it!

The content is very similar to this blog: scrapping, crafty goodness, storytelling and the odd cup of tea.  I'd love it if you'd give it a listen: I reckoned it was about time there was another Scrapbooking podcast, especially one on this side of the pond.  Please go easy on me, but do take a listen, as I feel I could turn this into a regular series.  If it works.  It may not :D  Consider this my introductory episode and there may be more, better structured things to follow.

This is what I have learned how to do as part of New Skill Saturday.  If you want to know more about that, check out the link to Shimelle's class below.  But I'm very grateful for the inspiration and the metaphorical kick up the bottom.

Show Notes

This is the first of the two pages I discussed (can you discuss with yourself?)  Anyway, more info here.

And here is the second hexagon page which you can read about here.

Cavallini and Co: Lovely stamps in a pretty tin.

Learn Something New Every Day: A lovely class from

A Playful Day: A delightfully playful podcast of all things knitting and lovely

I would hugely appreciate any feedback, so do leave a comment here, or send me an email to journalofcuriousthings at gmail dot com.  And if you feel like sharing my efforts, I would love that even more - the more opinions the merrier and if I'm honest, I quite want to make another one!

Miss Smith, over and out
Kisses xxx

P.S. I'm working on getting the podcast into iTunes but I'm terribly confused and it might take a while.  I'll have a biscuit first, and then worry about it. -ETA: Now you can find it in the iTunes Store!  Just search for 'Journal of Curious Things' and you can download it for free!

P.P.S. Massive thank yous if you made it this far :D

Sunday 9 September 2012

My Name Is...

This is another one for the Armenia album and journalling reads: 

Two weeks into our trip we had an epiphany.  A rather precocious ten-year-old on camp named Nane had taught us how to introduce ourselves in Armenian.  We thought she had taught us to say "My name is..." and then we would tack our names on the end to get "My name is Kirsty".  It turns out actually she taught us to say 'My name is Nane" and so we have all been cheerfully introducing ourselves as "My name is Nane Kirsty".  We have proudly been showing off our Armenian for the past fortnight...


This explains the indugent smiles and sniggering.  We only worked it out (yours truly in an act of stellar detectivism) as one of the participants introduced herself in the session and didn't say the Nane bit.  Our translators, Siranouche and Marianna found the whole thing hilarious.  We are somewhat humbled.  And yet amused.

So much for learning Armenian.

For this page, I had a go at a bit of reverse-applique-action.  Cue some slightly fiddly cutting with the tiny scissors.  But worth it, I think.  I rather like the effect.  And it's a great way for using up scraps!

I'm going to leave you with a picture of the hexagons now as a mini-sneak for something that will be coming on Tuesday.  Do stop by as I'm launching an exciting (and nerve-wracking!) new project.  And I'm really looking forward to it!

Hexagons will feature.

Kisses xxx

P.S. I blame Shimelle for encouraging us to learn something new.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Priorities, People!

I put this page together to record our time at Camp Disco.  Not its real name, but as the music started at 8:00 in the morning - just in time for morning exercises - and played until gone midnight, it was hard not to spend a lot of time dancing.  Dancing is ably demonstrated by yours truly in the picture below.

The journalling for this page tells of our camp in Armenia and reads:

Camp was a constant disco as they'd managed to hook up a sound system with giant speakers and songs were fired up at all hours.  There was also a little docking station where you could charge a mobile.  It was nailed to a tree and protected by a plastic bag.  All this and yet no shower or toilet?  Seriously?  Priorities people!!!!

I hauled out the ole' confetti punch for this one and added paint splatters and mist for good measure.  I'm also loving the wooden embellishments at the moment.  They have a beautiful natural look that's delicate without being too fussy.  Delicious.

A few paint lines in the background and the camera to tie the page in with the rest of the Armenia album.  Whacked a bit of stitching around the edge of the journalling for good measure and layered it up with vellum.  Vellum seems to be having a bit of a comeback and I'd quite like to have a bit more of a play around with it. We'll see what I can get my mittens on.

Back to school is manic as usual.  None of my students were looking forward to snuggling up and watching the Great British Bake Off tonight.  But it was exactly what I needed :D

Kisses xxx

P.S. I have hidden a biscuit tin in my new office.  Every office should have a biscuit tin.  I'm now waiting for an appropriate moment to smuggle in the teapot with accompanying tea cosy.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Storytelling Sunday

It's Storytelling Sunday time again and that means we gather at the lovely Sian's blog to spin yarns, tell tales, swap stories and have a lovely Sunday.  So grab a cuppa, have a read and then head over to From High in the Sky to discover more of the same.

Sian suggested a theme of 'Too Cool for School' so  thought I'd continue my run of school stories by sharing my epic attempts to inspire the youths at my disposal in some mathematical activity.  By being cool.

Or by not being cool.

For instance, there was the time when I explained to my 6th form students about how maths could be a fun social activity:

"I went to a maths gig last night" I announced to my 6th form.  They didn't so much reply as roll their eyes and snigger.  "I did!  It was brilliant!"

"Miss, seriously, what's a maths gig?  Is it a real thing?"

"Of course it's a real thing!" I enthused. "You know how at a music gig a band comes on stage and does some music?  Well a maths gig is like a music gig only cooler and instead of a band you have a mathematician and instead of music, there's some maths".

"...So basically a lecture miss?"

"No! Nothing like a lecture.  Didn't I tell you it was cool?  There was a even a warm-up chemist."

The students looked at each other doubtfully, as though deciding telepathically who was going to question my statement.  Eventually, one of them went for it.

"There was a what?"

"Well, at a gig, there's sometimes a warm-up band that come on and play to warm up the crowd before the main band come on."

"We know how gigs work, miss"

Undaunted, I continued. "A warm-up chemist is like a warm-up band only he came on before the mathematician and did some chemistry to warm up the crowd"

"There was a crowd?"  Disbelief.

"Cheeky.  Yes there was a crowd."

The student pursued his inquiries "And how did he warm up the crowd?"

"Oh, quite literally.  He set some stuff on fire using lenses and parabolas."

As it turned out, attending a maths gig isn't cool.  Explaining how to use maths to set stuff on fire: definitely cool.  Or at least, not totally lame.


There are other ways to mould young minds.  For instance, I shall be handing back assignments that have been marked over the holidays.  And I hope the responses will be more encouraging that last time...

"Miss!  You can't write 'numpty' on my paper!!!!"

I sauntered over to peer at the assignment in question. "I think you'll find I can"


"You were being a numpty" I interrupted scanning the problem.

"No, but-"

"Look here" I pointed to the problem.  "And here.  What did you do?"

"I forgot to put '+ c' when I integrated," he mumbled.

"And who forgets to put '+ c'?" I prompted.

He sighed.  "Numpties, miss".


Still, I hope to inspire the new intake to look to role models and work hard to achieve their goals.  Even if the role models they select for themselves aren't perhaps the most encouraging....

"Who would you say your role models are?"  I asked my Year 11s one afternoon.

Some of the responses were expected: parents and family members.  Some picked successful academics in their preferred fields, such as Richard Feynman.  But one was memorable.

"Miss, do you know who Rowan Atkinson is?" 

I nodded.  "Yes, I do.  That's an interesting choice - did you know he studied at Oxford?"

"No miss, not him.  Y'know Mr Bean?"

My face fell but the student continued.

"Well, he has a teddy.  That's my role model"  He grinned. 

I scowled.  "Your transformation is considerable advanced.


Who knows what they have in store for me this year, but I'm quite looking forward to finding out!  Now, pop along to Sian's blog to read more stories.  There's some amazing stuff out there :D

Kisses xxx

P.S. I have stumbled into the world of knitting podcasts.  There is nothing so relaxing as listening to a nice lady talk about knitting in a soothing way.  It's sublime.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Learn Something New Every Day

It's the 1st of September.  And that, rather than only meaning one thing, means a number of things to me.  It means taking up the rains of my new position at school.  It means summer is officially over (although I think I missed the official beginning.  Did we have summer this year?).  It's a time for New Academic Year Resolutions.  And I have some of those.  

And it's time for Learn Something New Every Day, a lovely yearly class over at Shimelle's.   This will be my third year and I'm going to do something a bit different.  I'm going to be working on my GOLD Armenia 2012 album, but I'm going to learn how to turn it into a proper book by combining my efforts with Cover to Cover, another Shimelle class.  So I'll be using the blog to document my progress and the things I learn along the way.  I'd also like to keep a school diary but I'm not going to do that here.  And that will be very time-dependent.  How do diaries fill up so quickly?

This page is quite empty in some ways.  There's lots of space.  But I tried out lots of techniques here: a stitched title (Thanks to inspiration from Clair at Obstinate Pursuit), a machine stitched border (ditto), stamping, border punches, little pearly raindrops and some doodled journalling blocks.  I conclude that I love stitching, I need a new black inkpad as mine is sticky and ineffective, pearls are awesome and little foam squares make everything better.

Journalling for 'It's Fun to Go on GOLD' reads:

Heck, did it rain.  And rain.  It also thundered and lightninged but as the weather was multitasking, the rain continued unabated.  We dived into our tents, burrowed into the inners and sat and waited.  I was tent-buddies with Rachael and Rachel - not in the least confusing - and we watched in despair as water seeped over the outer groundsheet and was slowly absorbed into our bags.  Everyone has their breaking points though and Rachael and I experienced ours around midnight when we couldn't take it any more and conducted Opperation Wrap-Everything-in-a-Really-Really-Giant-Tarpaulin.  It was successful and kept our stuff dry for the night.  We could hear some shouting from Tori, Amy and Jade in the other tent and after sticking our heads out the tent and then hastily deeming that a bad idea, we bawled back that we couldn't hear them.  Eventually, after much screaming over the drumming of rain on canvas, we realised they were singing G-O-L-D.  

To the uninitiated, that's to the tune of YMCA.  And this is quite obviously not the end of the story.  But it is the end of the journalling space.  So one of the things I'll be working on in the album is using journalling cards and divided page protectors to continue longer stories.

I'm also looking to include many more photos.  I take a lot.  And I like a lot of them.  But I like to scrap with little pics.  Divided page protectors mean that I can whack in loads of pics and that in turn will help to tell more of the story.

That's all for now and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's take on LSNED this year.  Good times!

Happy September,
Kisses xxx

P.S. Doctor Who tonight.  How exciting!