Wednesday 30 October 2013

using project life cards 12x12 style

If you've read my blog posts over the last couple of months, you may have noticed that I've gone from a beng a self-confessed phone-camera hater to a raving Instagram addict.  No one is more surprised than I am.  So I wanted to make a album to put all those random Instagrams in that don't really have a place in my normal albums.  They don't tell a particular story in most cases; I just think they're pretty or interesting in some way and I want to prise them out of my phone!

With a new album in mind, I need a new album title page.  Enter the little project life cards.  Again, readers over the last month will notice that I tried the project life thing before rapidly concluding that it just aint my thing, darling.  But I do have an abiding love for scrapbooking with the little cards.  Because they're lovely, and just made for layering.  And so I put this page together like this:

All that remains is to add a touch of journalling about my recent Instagram conversion, and now I have my title page I can think about getting my little square pictures into a album. 

 I think this project will be more photo album than scrapbook, but I look forward to working on it :D

Kisses xxx

P.S. I LOVE half term - my goodness I was in need of a break!

Tuesday 22 October 2013

tutorial time at shimelle's

I'm very excited to share a tutorial over at today!  I love Shimelle's blog and jumped at the chance to guest post.  My tutorial looks at a creative way to use text paper as a background to a scrapbook layout... and that's all I'm giving away.  I know; I'm such a tease.

Kisses xxx

P.S. School trip today!  I love it when going to work feels a bit like skiving.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

layered carrot cake

One of my missions to complete before I turn 30 was to make a multi-coloured layer cake.  So I did!

I love the look of these cakes, but I wanted to make something with a bit more flavour than a standard sponge cake.  So I decided to make autumnal-coloured carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing.

I used this recipe by Mary Berry but I made a couple of changes.  First, I used on and a half times the quantities given, to make 3 layers instead of two.  Then I added ginger (lots), cinnamon (lots), nutmeg and cloves to my own personal taste, instead of the recommended mixed spice. One the cake batter was mixed, I split it into three and added yellow, orange and red gel food colouring respectively.  The red was very effective, the orange and yellow less so.  So I added a bit of red into the orange layer.  The cake has a lovely golden brown colour by itself, so the colour needed to be quite strong.

Finally, I adapted the frosting by adding LOADS more icing sugar and quite a healthy dose of cinnamon.  I wish I'd made slightly more as I was running a bit short by the time I came to ice  the sides of the cake.  It looks like an apprentice plasterer did the icing.  And apprentice plasterer who is about to be told to give up because they'll never make it as a plasterer. 

But it tasted good! Really good, but as it's a Mary Berry recipe, I expect nothing less :D And the pictures don't show how monumentally HUGE it is.  One slice could feed 6, and that's from yours truly who is a firm believer in big portions when it comes to cake. I kept it in the fridge, mainly to keep the icing reasonably firm, and it lasted a good week without drying out.  YUM.

So ambition achieved!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Little news flash: I've now spent so much more time playing with project life cards on non-project life pages that I've completely abandoned m project life project plan.  It's just not for me.  So I'll share some layouts soon and stick to working with those lovely little cards that way!

Monday 14 October 2013

project life the second

This Project Life spread takes me up to the 6th October.  It covers an evening with a friend doing cake, dinner and a film (logical order), Friday post-school pub and Guides, cake making and crafting, a weekend to-do list and Sunday brunch at the Diner.

So I've almost done a week.  Hmmm... and it's virtually half way through the month...  Here are a few thoughts then on the epic amount of progress that I have made. 

 I don’t know how anyone keeps up with this on a week by week basis!  I find it hard to fit in at random moments here and there and I’m just experimenting for one month!  If you’re doing this regularly, you have earned my respect, my friend.  

As expected, I do feel I’m giving up my regular scrapping time to do this.  Right now I don’t see myself doing this for longer.  

 I LOVE the little cards.  They are AWESOME.  But I also think it’s telling that I’ve been picking out my favourites to use on 12x12 scrapping.  So I think I will continue to pick up the odd kit of 3x4 and 4x6 project life cards, but I will be putting them to splendid use on pages.

I like doing 3x4 pockets more than 6x4 ones.

 Did I mention that the little cards are SO GOOD?

I don’t feel I’m really recording much more in the way of stories. I often write down little anecdotes anyway, so all I’m doing is spending a bit more time making them pretty in an album.  But I’ve found myself doing quite a few bits and bobs on the project life spreads simply documenting “and then we went to the pub” or “and then I had a cup of tea and it was brilliant”.  I keep a record of what I do in my diary, so I’m not sure I’m getting ay more value from putting it in Project Life.     Am I glad I’m doing it?  Yes.  Because, y’know, the little cards.  But I also think doing this has made me appreciate my 12x12 more and want to make more pages about little things.  So definitely lots of positive outcomes :D

Kisses xxx

P.S. Lastly, a question.  I've got to a point with PL where there are events I want to make big pages about.  I don’t want to leave it out of PL as it’s part of the week and helps put the month into some sort of chronological perspective, but I feel weird then duplicating some of the stuff.  What do other Project Lifers do in this situation?

Sunday 13 October 2013

project life update

This is my first Project Life spread!  It documents the first few days of October from welcoming Autumn, popping out for a post-work pizza, and the conker saga.

I tend to think in terms of single pages even for Project Life.  I know it's more usual to do a double page spread for a week, but I don't want to have to fill out a quiet week or contract a fuller week, so I'm just going to go page by page.

It took longer than I thought and I think I'm still finding my way with it.  I do like working with the little Project Life cards, and Instagram prints make the perfect size photos.  Score!

Kisses xxx

P.S. More soon :D

Sunday 6 October 2013

conker season

It's Storytelling Sunday over at Sian's blog and she invites each of us to choose an object of item that's precious to us and share its story - you can head over there and read lots of wonderful contributions.  My items today are free and readily available, beautiful, shiny and they won't last.  But they evoke Autumn like nothing else and my little collection is now sitting on my kitchen table.

It’s conker season and the playground is heaving with them.  Unfortunately, snowball rules apply: no throwing, picking up or even touching of conkers is permitted on school grounds.  Punishment is swift and undiscriminating.  Detention.  So of course the day after this rule is proclaimed, I find one of my Year 7s squatting in the playground between lessons, shuffling and scuffling and grubbing around on the floor looking for prize conkers.  I waited until he straightened up which put him face to face with me. Or it would have done if he were taller.  And his face was a picture. He accompanied me to my office and I asked him if he was allowed to pick up conkers?  No.  And what happens to boys caught picking up conkers?  Detention.  So he knew the rules.  Did he understand why I was so disappointed?  Yes, because he had been breaking school rules and he had been collecting conkers when he should have been going straight to lessons.  But he liked to collect conkers and like any small boy, he couldn’t bring himself to leave such riches strewn about the ground going to waste.

Tears were streaming silently down his face and I felt like a conker Nazi kicking a baby squirrel. In the end, I didn’t have the heart to give him a full Head of Year detention (1 hour after school, parents informed by formal letter) and I gave him a scant 20 minutes at lunchtime.  Damn school policy. Conkers are lovely and autumnal and are irresistibly shiny and ripe for the taking and I’m surprised that more of my little lads haven’t succumbed. The seven pretty specimens nestled in my desk draw gathered hastily during a free period attest to the fact that none of us are immune to the allure :D

This story will form part of my Project Life experiment for October.  It's interesting to see how the change in seasons affects what we do in school.

Kisses xxx

P.S. Don't tell anyone that I'm a soft touch.

Thursday 3 October 2013

project life october

Project life has never really appealed to me, if I'm completely honest.  I LOVE making scrapbook pages, but I can't escape the idea that trying to work on a Project Life project would take away from my scrapping time and I would miss my lovely big squares.  Having said that, I'm a great believer in trying anything once, I've challenged myself to work on Project life pages throughout October.

I hope I will enjoy it and prove myself wrong, but if not, I've got nothing to lose.  And I'm still going to make big pages because they're my favourites and there's nothing I enjoy quite like pushing little bits of paper around until they look pretty and then writing about it.

So far, I have recorded a couple of observations which I've shared below.  One thing that I think I will like about doing Project Life this October is the chance to journal about little everyday moments!

It’s definitely time for snuggling up under quilts, watching the Great British Bake Off and Downton Abbey and wearing scarves.

Ah, statistics! Thou art a cruel, heartless, wretchedly time-consuming and fiddly mistress. The advantage of being the teacher and not the student though, is that they have to do all the legwork.  The PMCC and I are not destined for friendship.

I spent a lovely lunchtime in my office with two Year 7s and their Raspberry Pi machine.  We decimated my computer, chopping and changing all sorts of cables and buttons and they took turns sitting in my swivel chair and pretending to be head of year, Bond-villain style. We didn’t get it to work but in amongst all the naughty culprits I deal with, it was lovely to play engineering with those two little chaps!

Popped out for pizza after work with F to put the world to rights. Shocked to discover that they put olives on their pepperoni pizza, but the Messicana , replete with pepperoni, jalapenos and onions made up for it at the bargain price of £6

Kisses xxx

P.S. The Project Life kit I bought was from Studio Calico.  More on that another time, but suffice to say I love it and I think lots of it will find its way onto my proper scrapbook pages as it's so pretty!