Monday, 31 October 2011

Extreme Scrapbooking

Ever tried scrapping beyond the page?
I've made cards, a canvas or two, some mini-books and the odd bit of wall art.
Child No.3 has recently excelled herself with my scrap supplies ... completely off the wall page ... in the name of Halloween fancy dress!

Normally she looks like this ...

... well actually that isn't completely normal as she generally uses a little bit of mascara and wears her hair loose. However, after borrowing some Rhonna Farrer swirl stamps, some black ink, green face paint and a sprinkling of glitter, she looked like this ...

A few punched leaves attached with glue dots to a hair-band and the application of some red false eyelashes and an even brighter wig and she was transformed into ...

... her version of Batman's enemy and eco-terrorist, Poison Ivy! 

Fifty poses in front of her camera later and she had a new Facebook photo :D

Of course I had to make a scrapbook page about it, just in time for Halloween!

I've used a Pagemaps sketch (twisted onto its side) with some more of my October Counterfeit Kit and also scored some points over on UKS for the Weekly Challenge to use some printed journalling, 10 embellishments and something free (the font, Satellite, and those eyelets ... yes, I know that they're probably maple leaves, but I am so glad to get rid of them as they've been hanging around in my original hand-me-down stash from 2006).
Oh and while we're challenge combining, this page fits in with H for Holidays over at ATDML's Thirsty Thursdays.

What's your craziest use of scrapbooking supplies?  Are you dressing up for Halloween ... or Facebook?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sticker Magic

Welcome to the October Counterfeit Kit Blog Hop for the Master Forgers - if you found me via Helen's blog then you are on track, if not then you may want to pop back here to start at the beginning so as not to miss out.

"Miss out on what?"  you ask.  Well, this month over at the CKCB the prize sponsor is Momenta Stickers and this month's blog hopping theme is to work some magic with stickers - I can't wait to see what sticky creations the rest of the Master Forgers have come up with!

I have two projects to share with you plus an apology.  The apology is because neither of my projects uses my October Counterfeit Kit - it's half term holiday at the moment and we've taken the opportunity to visit friends and family so my creative time has been severely curtailed!

I have made use of my August Counterfeit Kit though - on a page based on a sketch by my good friend Mary that I started last month at the Green Buttons' Retreat.  My kit had a large sheet of multi-coloured Polar Bear Press stickers that toned beautifully with the papers but I needed the title to stand out more from the page.  My first attempt was to colour over them with some (borrowed) Promarkers.  I left them on the sticker sheet while I coloured them so that I it wouldn't matter if I went over the edges.  The finish wasn't brilliant because a) I've never used Promarkers before and b) the sticker surface was pretty glossy.  On top of that the exclamation mark wasn't plain like the letter and its pattern showed through a little.

So I decided to detract from my rubbish colouring by over-stamping with Saddle Brown Stazon.  I placed the stickers on some cellophane packaging and used a striped circle stamp by Artemio.  The pattern on the exclamation mark is now practically invisible!

This page will go into my Egyptian Holiday album: my friend and I ate lunch on our balcony each day, but we discovered that 2 seconds wasn't quite enough time for me to get back to my chair after pressing the camera button

My second sticker project is from quite an old page, one of my favourites, created for a challenge from Indigo Mill.(I miss that shop).  Here, I took a really nasty, cheap, glossy paper and transformed it using un-loved peel-off stickers and a couple of shades of chalk ink.  I removed some adhesive from the peel-offs by applying them to my skin a few times and then placed them randomly onto my paper.  The ink was dabbed over the stickers onto the paper.  The stickers were carefully removed and I repeated the process until I was happy.

I reckon both of these ways of altering stickers would also work well with part used alphabets - you could mix and match alphabets by colouring and stamping them to match each other or you could use up all those unloved consonants to make a subtle background.  Let me know if you give either of these a go.

In the meantime why not hop over to Jen who has more sticker magic for you and don't forget to drop by Momenta Stickers to see what they have to offer.

P.S.You know I like a good combination challenge ... so my first page ties in with October's Die-cut Challenge over at Scrapbookers Anonymous - thanks to the Tim Holtz rosettes!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Keeping Calm

I was catching up on my blog reading after a few days away (visiting lovely friends) when I saw Siân's post about keeping calm and ... *insert phrase here*.  She wanted to know what phrases her readers liked to add.  I was Googling to see what was out there and came across a fabulous website, Keepcalm-o-matic, where you can fill in your own words, add your own images and produce your own poster.  So here is mine:

As I said to Siân, there aren't many problems that a cup of tea cannot help with!  Further reading on the Keepcalm-o-matic site led me to discover that the phrase KC&CO may be under threat ... take a look here!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Magic Tulips

As you may know tulips are pretty important in Holland and were once more prized than gold.  Not surprising then, that they feature in the Dutch theme park, the Efteling, one of the oldest theme parks in the world.

I lived in Holland as a child and enjoyed many visits; pretty much everything I remember is still there (plus lots more) and we have visited several times in my adult years (before and after starting a family when I worked in Holland) and we returned in 2006 to reintroduce the boys to their childhood memories.

When I was a child, one of the most magical animatronic sets was where a sorcerer flies on a magic carpet between two towers, serenading yellow tulips into life from the window of one tower, before returning to revitalise the red tulips around the other tower.  Our visit in 2006 coincided with some of the worst August weather and we rarely had to queue for more than 5 minutes for the various rides, but I was amazed to come to the "Fliegende Fakir" and find that we were entirely alone.  Nobody else there at all!  Can you see the puddles and the wet jeans?

"This attraction hasn't changed at all since I first saw it over 40 years ago;
what was different today was that we were, briefly, the only people watching
the tulips rise and fall to the sorcerer's magic flute."
My October Counterfeit Kit was great for this page as it brightened up the soggy photos and reflects the magical feeling the Efteling evokes in me.  I also took up the third CKCB challenge this month: to pile the layers on a page.  I have cut up a strip of Kaisercraft Allsorts Passionfruit, punched loads of circles from a sheet of Allsorts Blue Heaven, layered my photos and added a few squares from my Life Happens paper to match the bottom of my ancient (rather creased) Creamotion yellow paper - so glad that that is covered used up!!!

P.S. The use of punched circles and Creamotion paper also ties in rather nicely with Scrapbookers Anonymous' C Challenge :D

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Welcome to the World

One of the things that amazes me about blogging is how many people stumble over here to my little corner of the world wide web ... and even more interesting to me is where they come from.

When I started blogging I thought a few UK(S) friends would come over to say "Hello".  My circle of regular visitors has expanded around the world thanks to joining in with the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog and a couple of Shimelle's classes (including Blogging For Scrapbookers).  It's lovely to establish links and friendships across the web through creative blogging.  However, just as I read blogs without making my presence known, hop, hop, hopping from pillar to (blog) post, I know that I have unknown visitors ... and I'm curious ... who, where, why?

Well, the "why" is probably from hop, hop, hopping like me, as my blog is not readily searchable.  The "who" will never be known unless they say "Bonjour", "Goede dag", "Labdien", "Aloha" or even "Saluton"!  But the "where" ... that I have solved to a degree!

Early on (get me, this blog isn't quite 15 months old yet!), I came across a fun free gadget - Flag Counter - which I installed at the bottom of my blog to keep track of all my visitors in a visual way.  Currently the flags in my collection range from the United Kingdom to the United Arab Emirates.

On April 1st I had an extra special flag for the day - a Pirate who last visited on October 12, 1492!

And now I have had another special visitor - my 50th flag - from Estonia.  Tere tulemast!

Are you curious about your unknown blog readers?  What's your favourite blog gadget?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Sweet Scrapping

The first challenge over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog this month is to take inspiration from sweets ... or candy as they say across the pond!  I have scrapped about sweets before (chocolate to be specific) but I wondered what edible delight could provide a nugget of creativity for a project with my October Counterfeit Kit.  In the end I chose to use some seaside rock as a starting point.

still life beach rock
No! Not this kind of seaside rock ...
Chocolate Rocks
... nor this, although they make a tasty seaside souvenir ...
Blackpool Rock
... yes, it's this sort of sweet, minty goodness ...
with letters around the outside, but all the way through the inside too!
I decided to echo the cross-sectional view of the rock for my title. Using MS WordArt's "Button (Pour)" shape (with a blank middle line) and Budmo Jiggler I printed directly onto the plainer side of some Kaisercraft Allsorts Passionfruit paper.  The photo is from our holiday in Holland in 2006 - I actually thought that the album was complete, but I found a few photos in the "reject" stack and decided to make some room for them!  Here, Child No.3 is looking a lot more than 5 years younger than she is today (or is it that she now looks more than 5 years older than she was then?).  Her legs could barely support her after a long and tiring day out; I think she really wanted to be carried!

The black bobble trim from my home-made kit was stuck to tape on the back of the striped circle to mimic the way that the seaside rock has a skin of colour.  I also took inspiration from the paper rosette post on the CKCB and "altered" the rosette I made with my new Sizzlit die by punching holes on each fold before construction.

P.S. Are you playing along with A Trip Down Memory Lane's Thirsty Thursdays challenges?  I am.  And I was lucky enough to win a yummy prize last month.  Why not pop over there to take part in the challenges from E onwards and you could be in with a chance of a prize.  This page fits in with F for Family as well as taking inspiration from a Favourite Food!!!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ten on the Tenth: Grow Your Own

Our most unusual Silver Wedding present was a vegetable patch - a gift that goes on giving - or will eventually!!  That was back at the end of May, but it took me so long to prepare the soil and our "summer" was so inhospitable that nothing much got planted until late August.  We have had some edible treats and there is plenty to eat in the pipeline, but the truth is that it's now a race against time for several of the crops.  October started wonderfully and gave everything a big boost, but has now reverted to windy, cold, rainy normality.  So I'd better document the (potential) harvest before the remaining plants curl up and die!!!

So here, in alphabetical order are the 10 crops (and I use that word in its loosest sense) from our vegetable patch:

I can't really take credit for these as the tree came with 10 tiny apples on it.  Four fell off between the garden centre and the tree's second planting (I moved it after a day in the wrong place) but we harvested the remaining fruit, removed the spiders webs, cut off the odd lumpy bits, and really, really enjoyed the crisp sweet apples.

The carrots are, as yet, an unknown quantity as I really have no idea how you know when they are ready to eat.  Someone told me they start pushing up the soil when ready, but I suspect that was a joke!  The lettuces are thriving, but are actually meant to be Little Gems and look nothing like what I buy from Tesco!

The Lollo Rosso lettuces are doing well and I have tried a couple of leaves which were tasty.  So far (touch wood, fingers crossed etc etc) the crushed eggshells have deterred the slugs - or perhaps the slugs haven't yet made their way across from my flower beds?  The peas, however, have a long way to go before they can be harvested - the packet reckons I can sow in late October for an early crop so I'll plant some more soon.

The single red pepper was green when it gave up its weak hold on the mother plant and fell to Earth.  Now it's red but extremely wrinkled.  I shall not be opening a market stall any time soon!  The salad onions are growing reasonably well, but again, I have NO idea when they'll be ready to harvest!  Why oh why is soil so opaquely black?!?!

We love raspberries and grew these very succesfully before we built over the previous veggie plot with our extension.  We now have canes growing inside potato sacks in an effort to contain the runners.  The crop is going to be massive - providing the frosts stay away!!  Tick tock, tick tock!!

Much less successful are the strawberries.  Not one has ripened to something close to a recognisable fruit.  I'm beginning to think that these are just too much trouble for the taste.

And finally there are the tomatoes:  the smaller ones are meant to be that small (from a cherry tomato plant) and are super sweet and delicious but have quite chewy skins; the larger ones are from a survivor from last year's efforts - I salute that plant's dedication to life as it has had no help at all from me and yet it has triumphed over frosts, droughts, draughts and floods!

There you have it - my ten on the tenth - for more of the same (though probably entirely different) please head over to Shimelle's blog here.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Two Tutorials For The Price of One

I was planning to do a quick photo how-to for the felt flowers in my October Counterfeit Kit and then got several comments and one request about how I'd made the blinking images of this month's kit-to-copy stop blinking!  Happy to oblige - just scroll down past the flowers!

Felt Flowers
The cutting mat has 1cm squares to give you an idea of scale
These are really quick and simple to make - simply cut 5 (or 6  or more if you prefer) squares from felt. Trim these squares to circles (or leaves or other fancy shapes) and cut a notch out of one end.  Take a shape and pinch the two sides of the notch together and sew through them; repeat with the next shapes and form a circle of petals; tie off your thread.  Insert a brad through the centre of the flower and arrange petals evenly.
My Tim Holtz scissors were brilliant for this as they allowed me to cut through 5 layers of felt in one go.

De-animating blinking images
First off - when you see a blinking image on a web page you seem to be able to stop the animation by pressing the ESC key (this works in Firefox and Explorer - not sure about other browsers).  There are browser settings to permanently disable animations but I'll leave you to Google that yourself.
Here's the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog blinking blinkie ... try pressing ESC and see what happens!  If you want to restart the blinking (glutton for punishment eh!), just refresh the screen.  Timing of the ESC key allows you to freeze the animation at any point in the sequence.

If you want to save a copy of just the first image (actually called a frame) of the animation - simply save the blinkie to your computer (it will have a name ending in .gif), open it with some sort of photo editing program (e.g. MS Picture Manager) then save it as a jpg file (e.g. via Export in MS Picture Manager). Simples!

The problem comes if you want to extract one of the later frames from the animation ... then you need to involve a gif editing program!   This is a bit beyond me ... but I did find an on-line gif-splitter which will separate the frames of an uploaded animated gif file.  You can then save an individual frame back to your computer or download a zipped file containing all the individual images. (Quite) simples!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Hybrid Counterfeiting

There's been more forgery going on in my house this month - this time the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog has chosen the September 2010 kits from Little Red Scrapbook.  Initially I thought that the colours of the main kit were rather too pink and floral ... but the alternative Halloween theme kit was a little too ... (how shall I put it?) ... a little too Halloweeny for this Brit!  We do have fun at Halloween here, but it's simply not on the same scale as in the USA and I have a limited number of ghostly, ghouly, pumpkin filled photos to scrap.

So I decided to brighten up the main kit, but I think the Halloween kit's colours had a subconscious influence and what I've ended up with is possibly a mix of the two kits - a hybrid perhaps?!

¾ sheet each of Spirit (1) Imagine (10) from Basic Grey's Colour Me Silly collection
Green Diamonds (2) - unknown manufacturer?!
Passionfruit (3), Lime (4), Blue Heaven (5) double sided papers from Kaisercraft's Allsorts range
The Fifth Ad (6) from Gin-X's Desperately Seeking Summer range
½ sheet Rainbow Life Happens (7) by Christina Cole
Tangerine Sweet Stripes (8) by Doodlebug
Yellow graded paper (9) by Creamotion

Black lacy cardstock (1)
Black, golden yellow, lime, lilac and kraft (2-7)

Free hybrid tags from Becky Higgins Project Life 2009 (8)
Gypsy Harvest Doodles by Daisy D's (9)
Basic Grey Colour Me Silly alphabet stickers (10)
Various black blooms and home made felt flowers
Various ribbons

I'm a bit nervous of this kit now that's it's all together - it is VERY bright (brighter than the snapshots, which were taken late at night, show) and I don't have any particular photos in mind to scrap with it ... we shall see how successful I am as the month progresses ... at least it hasn't cost me a penny!

P.S. This month's CKCB Sponsor is Momenta - details of how to be in with a chance of a prize this month are here.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A-Z of me

I've enjoyed reading a few of these A-Z posts around and about recently and thought I'd have a go:

A - Age: Old enough to know better!
B - Bed size: Super King
C - Chore that you hate: Cleaning shoes - delegated (by incompetence) to Hubby
D - Dogs: Happy to play/walk with my Mum's dog - happier still to return it
E - Essential start to your day: A mug of hot tea
F - Favourite colour: Blue
G - Gold or Silver: Gold - silver requires too much maintenance
H - Height: 5' 9" down from 5'10" - the weight of my years is beginning to tell!
I - Instruments you play: Calculator ;o)
I sold my bicycle to buy one of these ...
and it didn't even have an equals button!!!
J - Job title: Chief Cook & Bottlewasher - former IT Specialist - occasional Box Office Assistant
K - Kids: No.1 Son, No.2 Son & Child No.3 - all born at home
L - Live: Cheshire, UK
M - Mother’s name: Inga
N - Nicknames: Jemma (it's not my given name!), Jimjams, JJ
O - Overnight hospital stays: Cruciate ligament repair
P - Pet peeves: Apostrophe abuse
Q - Quote from a movie: "I'll have what she's having." (When Harry Met Sally)
R - Right or left handed: Right
S - Siblings: One brother, two half-sisters, two step-brothers, three step-sisters
T - Tattoos: Rather you than me!
U - Underwear: Comfy - I am not from generation thong!
V - Vegetable you hate: Asparagus
W - What makes you run late: Underestimating how long it will take me to be ready to leave
X - X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth, knee, neck
Y - Yummy food that you make: Chinese ribs, Nasi Goreng, frozen Christmas pud, Anzac cookies
Z - Zoo animal: Orang-utan

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Storytelling Sunday Ten - Great Expectations

Last year we had a lovely week in Northumberland - I've already made some pages about our exploits at Alnwick Gardens, Go Ape (plus this one) and Hadrian's Wall.  During the planning stages, Child No.3 was taking a rather more active interest than normal - because she was allowed to bring along a friend!  This was a first for us, as three kids are normally quite enough to have on holiday, but as No.1 Son would only be with us for part of the week and Child No.3's friend would shortly be emigrating, it seemed like the right thing to do.  No.2 Son declined the opportunity to be embarrassed by his parents in front of a buddy and would happily have stayed home alone if we'd let him!  So that left us with a search for self-catering accommodation to sleep 6 people in 3, preferably 4, bedrooms.

We discussed everyone's likes and dislikes, where they wanted to go and what they wanted to see; we researched tourist attractions, pored over the map and Googled places to stay. One cottage I had up on the computer screen was just yards from the beach and both Child No.3 & I rather liked it - we had visions of being able to spend lazy afternoons eating ice-creams on the beach, after mornings spent exploring Roman ruins and castle battlements.

However I later discovered that it wasn't available to rent when we were able to go ... and instead booked a super place near Hexham which was well placed for Northumberland's attractions and it had a hot tub!  Trouble was that Child No.3 didn't really take in that it was a different cottage and was busy assuring her friend that the beach was in walking distance of the back door!  Ooops!  The nearest beach was 30 miles away on the other side of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and therefore a good hour's drive each way.  Ooops indeed!  We didn't let Child No.3 down completely though; towards the end of our week we managed a picnic at a beautiful, if windswept, beach.  The two girls were happy to be in their swimming costumes with sand beneath their toes, but not quite brave enough to go swimming in the ice-cold sea.

Family at Warkworth beach
Walking along the shore at Warkworth

However, there were other members of our group who don't particularly like a beach ... or sunbathing ... or picking sand out of sandwiches!  It just goes to show: you can only please some of the people some of the time!

Layout at Warkworth Beach - Jimjams

This story has been posted in conjunction with Siân's Storytelling Sundays.  Pop here for more tales!