Friday, January 29, 2010

While I'm blogging....when I really should be sleeping.... do you like my new pebbles? :)

I bought these today in the local bargain shop (where Ethan used to work, sadly now in its last week) for 20p :)

I thought they might be good for photographing jewellery on.

They don't really work with this first one, which is a half Persian 4 in 1 bracelet I made last night for Connor, as the rubber rings make it hold its shape for dear life, which means the bracelet steadfastly refuses to drape attractively over the pebbles....

But they look fab with my, still work in progress, Euro 4 in 1 copper cuff, don't you think? Drapes like a pro :)

Stampers CJ - #4 - "gates"....

I'm actually a bit early with this one as I'm hoping to hand deliver it to me bessie Alison next weekend, but for my purposes it's Stampers CJ time again ..... and this book belongs to T-Ann, whose stamp was this pair of ornate gates:

The brief for this book was not only to make something purty with the supplied stamp, but also on the facing page to explain exactly how the purty thing got made, as T-Ann is a beginner stamper and is hoping to learn lots of new techniques from this book when it lands back home.

I've gone with stamping into melted embossing powder as my "technique", probably teaching granny to suck eggs, as I don't think she is that much of a beginner, but I couldn't think what else to do that would work with the angel wings I've had sitting in a drawer for goodness knows how long, and which I really wanted to use on this page.

So here's my entry:

I won't bore you with how everything was done, for once, as if you're really interested you can read about it on the piccie :) (you might need to click on it to see it bigger first)

Sorry about the glare, I didn't even use a flash, that was just from my light - but this entry is very shiny-sparkly :)

PS yes, I know we've skipped straight from #2 to #4 - I forgot to take a piccie of #3 soz...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shop til you drop

It's coming up to the end of the month, so as usual I have been rushing about like a blue bottomed fly trying to get this month's Disney CJ layout completed....and by the skin of my teeth, here it is!

This month's book was so much fun to work in - I really liked the layout of Maggie's book - here's the front of the CJ - she has bound the journal itself (on the left, horizontal) and the sign in book (on the right, vertical) on the same back cover. So when you open it up you can see each person's sign in tag next to their layout:

Genius! I am soooooo going to be stealing this idea for a future CJ round :)

Maggie's theme is "Shop til you drop...Disney style", which was fun, as it meant I got a chance to document my antenna topper habit :) Yes, I'm a topper shopper, and proud!

Here's my layout plus sign in, in full:

Closer look @ the LHS:

and the RHS:

I gave the Cuttlebug a bit of a workout on this one, as you can see from all the embossing.....nothing else particularly clever going on here, a few of the topper heads have been decoupaged up on foam pads (you can see that clearer in the pic at the top of this post), the wording was either Cricutted (title) or stamped (the rest), and I made a couple of little accordion books for the journalling.

th-th-th-that's all folks.

Another one next month....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A to Z year : January 1st-14th : the letter A

So – what’s this A-Z year thing about?

It’s a stroke of genius, that’s what it is, and the genius in question is the super talented Nicole Maki

She explains the concept far better than I could in her blog posts here and here

But in a nutshell, 52 weeks in a year = 26 fortnights = 26 letters of the alphabet. The idea is to do / experience / try as many things as possible each fortnight starting with the allocated letter.

We’re only on B so far, but it has been a huge amount of fun already, the whole family has got involved in thinking of things to do and try.

I’m going to try and document each letter’s adventures here on my blog ….. so here’s what we did for the letter A:

First of all, we made an A-Z notebook....the boys helped me by punching the diamond shapes, and stamping the letter and date range on each double page spread for me. We are carrying this book around with us everywhere, so when we get an idea of something we’d like to do later in the year, we can jot it down under the correct letter in the book, before we forget. It’s already filling up nicely.

Then we went to see a movie – Alvin & the Chipmunks, the Squeakuel – it was funny – maybe not quite as good as the first one, but the “you spin me right round baby right round” moment in the mixing bowl certainly had me giggling :)

The next challenge was to get Connor to eat apples.....he wasn't keen :) But I did get him to try fresh pressed apple juice (which he has been resisting for years because it has 'bits' in, but has now decided he loves) and Nutrigrain cereal bars with an apple and blackberry filling, which he also really liked. So I count that as a partial success.

And who could resist an Art Attack afternoon? We all love this programme, so we watched an episode and the plan was we would all make something from the show. Neil, the presenter on the show, made these ace little crows out of cones of black's my masterpiece :) (I'm not sure where his wings have got to...he did have some when I first made him)....the boys made some stuff too but they have whisked their creations away out of camera range so you'll just have to trust me on that one.

Our major "A" was a trip out to beautiful Avebury in the snow. Unfortunately Reece wasn't with us for this one as the weather was particularly bad around where his mum lives, and so Jay wasn't able to collect him. The rest of us had a cold but fun time though, exploring the ancient stones and throwing lots of snowballs. And I enjoyed the opportunity to take photos of the stones (and the boys) in the snow.

Other than doing our big shop at ASDA instead of Tesco for a change, I think that's all our As.

Oh hang on - there's one more - during the heavy snow the week before last, I had to work from home for a few days, as Connor's school was closed. So I needed to keep him amused while I got on with my work, and therefore I asked him to paint me some things beginning with A. This astronaut is my favourite of his paintings.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks with the next installment....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More chainmaille....this stuff's addictive :)

May I present, my purple wrist, so far :

I'm kind of enjoying trying out new weaves with nice cheap materials, purple anodised aluminium and rubber on my left wrist, copper on my right. I'm working on a Euro 4 in 1 cuff for the right wrist to go with the Jens Pind Linkage and Byzantine copper bracelets I wear all the time.

My left wrist now has three .... Full Persian 6 in 1 in red and purple AA, Japanese 12 in 2 in black rubber, purple AA and, because I had them handy, sterling silver lil' rings, which kind of defeats the point of cheap experimentation, and Helm in black and purple rubber, and purple AA.

I'm chuffed with how they look together :)

I also cracked Half Persian 4 in 1 today, woohoo! It was a bugger to start off but fine once I got going...this little bit is just a practice but I'll probably do a proper one in copper for the copper wrist soon:

(Propper Copper, that rhymes :) made me giggle :) little things please little minds...)

So that's 7 weaves I can do now, this is FUN! :)

My next project is a little more ambitious - I'm going to make one of THESE for Darby. Once I can find a cheap supplier for the steel rings I need, anyway. Wish me luck :)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

a very rare event.....

...all three of my sons in the same photograph!

And here are some more pics from today's snowy day, in itself a rare event in Swindon:

(and yes, our snowman has a Catherine Wheel on his head....didn't yours??? :) )

Finally! my last entry in the Tattoo CJ

Well, this was a day I never thought would come - the day I finally get to update the Tattoo CJ in my works in progress list to 100% - yay!

This CJ round was one of those where everything that could go wrong went wrong - a few members had to drop out due to major life crises, and then a couple of other participants went AWOL for long periods of time, sitting on multiple journals for many months that I, as host, had to somehow retrieve.

This, Ally's CJ, was one of the ones that had disappeared into a black hole. I last heard from the lady who had this CJ plus my own book back in March 2009, saying she was just about to post them on. This never happened, and after that she ignored all my attempts to contact her, by text, email, facebook (she defriended me sharpish when I sent a message!), and registered letter.

I had totally given up on ever seeing them again, and then a couple of months ago - woohoo! a parcel arrived totally out of the blue with both missing books in.

I never did find out what the problem had been for so long - the lady had completed her own entries in both books back in December 2008 - so what was stopping her getting to the post office, I have no idea.

But no hard feelings - there's bound to be an explanation - I'm just glad they finally came back.

The timing, unfortunately, wasn't great for me, as I had just started two other CJ groups (the Take One Stamp one and the Disney one), and these were taking up all my making-stuff I wasn't able to find the opportunity to do my entry in Ally's book until the Christmas break from work....but she assured me that she could wait another month or two :)

But her wait is now over...and I *think* this is the last book to go home in this ill fated circle, so I can now draw a line under this one.....thank god :D

Anyway - enough of the preamble - the theme for Ally's journal was "reactions to your tattoos, good or bad"....a great theme, but I was struggling to think of something I could do differently to the girls who had gone ahead of me.

The truth is, none of my tattoos are visible in day-to-day clothing, and so most people don't even know they are there, hence I don't get much in the way of comments or reactions, I've never had a bad one that I can remember (well, other than from my mum :))....and that seemed to be similar to a few of the other participants, who had already done layouts along the lines of "I don't get any bad reactions because nobody can see them"...

But then my clever lateral thinking boyfriend pointed out that there is more than one kind of 'reaction' - and so I decided to do my page on the nasty allergic reaction that I had to the red ink in my latest tattoo:

(that pic was taken before the inflammation kicked in - I don't have a photo of that, but trust me it was manky, all swollen and purple and itchy as HELL)

Apparently, red is the only colour of ink they can't make entirely hypoallergenic. Trust me to be allergic to it, I have always been allergic to lots of stuff. This one I wasn't expecting though, after all, I have a ton of red ink in my backpiece, and that didn't react at all....must be a different brand or something.

But anyway - back to the page - here's how it all came together:
  • the pages are made from "Black Magic" coredinations cardstock, which is black on the outside but has a coloured core, red in this case, so you can sand it back to reveal the colour. It's cool stuff, I haven't used it before but certainly will again.
  • the "DANGER" tape was simply set up in a word processor, printed onto yellow cardstock, cut into strips, and inked a little to distress
  • the large skull and crossbones is Tim Holtz grungeboard, he's been painted with Ranger crackle paints, scuffed up a little with inks, and has had his eyes filled in with glossy accents, black microbeads and black glitter:
    (he is stuck onto the page with foam squares so he is popping out of the page)
  • the stencil letters spelling RED were cut on the Cricut three times each from white card, stuck together to make something closer to chipboard in depth, and then triple embossed using red embossing powder...they came out a bit darker than expected, and didn't really show up too well on the black background, so I backed them with the same yellow card I used to make the DANGER tape:

  • the rest of the title is lemon yellow rub-ons that I found at the back of my rub on drawer and have no recollection of actually buying
  • the fab little stickers are from Paperchase - love them!
    They are metallic and kind of puffy, and you get tons of them on a sheet for a quid
  • and those pewter stars are brads....I think that's everything....

So that's another CJ over....I really need to get around to blogging everyone else's entries in my own book....and the completed fabric CJ I got back a few months much to little time!