Friday, 30 May 2014

May's Books - Tales of The Unexpected

This month's Book Club choice was down to me and I put forward a couple of recommendations from my (blog) friends - many thanks and keep them coming please.  I'm restricted in that my 3 suggestions have to be available from the library - and in sufficient quantities that we aren't queueing to read the same copy.  The vote actually went to a book that I alone was responsible for choosing: "The Woman In Black" by Susan Hill.  I'd watched the recent film, starring Daniel Radcliffe and was really looking forward to seeing how scary the original book would be because the movie made me jump in several places.  Oh dear, oh dear!  I obviously don't understand what makes a classic piece of literature because I found it turgid and far from scary.  The novel may have suffered because I knew the bones of the story from the film (not that close a rendition of the book) but I am left wondering quite why anyone would have been inspired to make a film from it.  There's a play with the same name coming to my theatre later this year ... I wonder if that will be better?

I'd picked up another Susan Hill novel, "The Small Hand", from the library at the same time and was mightily relieved to find that this story did have some chills and creepy surprises.  A much better plot, involving creepy houses, gloomy lakes, Trappist monks and ghostly children ... this one could make an interesting movie.

I needed to read something totally different after a run of Susan Hill novels and grabbed "Blind Faith" by Ben Elton from the 50p charity shelf in the village bakery.  This was a completely gripping, satirical vision of a sweaty London, half submerged following the effects of global warming: privacy is forbidden; everything is shared on social media; blogging is compulsory; neighbours have 24/7 video access to each other's tiny flats; laws are made by popular vote; mob violence is unpredictably swift to erupt; political correctness has been taken to ridiculous extremes; heretics are burned at the stake!  Shades of 20-84 perhaps?  It quite put me off using the internet for a few days!

Finally this month I whizzed through another random choice from the charity shelf: "Rough Weather" by Robert B. Parker (the "Dean" of American crime fiction" apparently).  It's probably my own fault for starting with book 36 in a 40 (!) book series of private eye thrillers, but I was not impressed.  Short chapters full of dialogue rather than description and a rather contrived plot just did not float my boat at all.  Perhaps readers familiar with Spenser, Hawk and Susan would get more out of it, assuming the earlier 35 books make more of an effort to develop the characters?

Monday, 26 May 2014

Remember The Expanding Blog Hop?

I posted a week ago with my answers to a number of questions posed by my blog friend Sandie.

Today it's the turn of some blog friends of mine to do the answering: Lisa, Mary Anne and Lesley

Thank you all for joining in with the hop with such great answers ladies!

Good job they were posting this week rather than me, because I've had my hands full with some very special visitors helping me celebrate my mother's 80th birthday :-)

So lovely to have a house full again!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

One Ride Two Fish Three Kids For Fun

Welcome to the final post of the May CKCB Members' Blog Hop; if you didn't reach me from Julene then you might want to start at the beginning with Lisa.

This month we had a choice of three challenges to use for the hop (#1 Use A Weather Icon, #2 Use A *Number* Of Embellishments and #3 Use A Bucket List).

I started off thinking that I'd do the first challenge as I had some cheerful photos to scrap and there was a perfect sunny icon on the Stickers in my May Counterfeit Kit!  However I'm still on a mission with the fibres I'd included and ended up adding a fair number of eyelets (I've learnt my lesson about sewing with them) so this fits the second challenge too!

I love that Crate Paper Boys Rule Pow paper - what a playful combination of blue & green. 

It was a short Members' Hop this month - why not join in yourself in June - everyone is welcome!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out #21

Not the ZIZO I was planning for this week.  I'd thought I might take some photos in Durham, possibly of No.1 Son and his lovely girlfriend, possibly a shot or two of their not-so-little-anymore Bengal kittens, possibly a view of our car loaded with "stuff" (including 3 chairs, 2 zed-beds, 2 record decks and copious boxes of books) from our place, destined for their newly purchased house.  However a last minute rush around to jam a few more items into the back of our MPV led to me ducking in and out of our garage without fully opening the up and over door ...

... and then, in a classic example of more haste, less speed ...

... I forgot to duck!

Which led to a 90 minute delay while I got the cut on my eyelid glued shut at A&E.  My specs were bent out of shape and gained a scratch or two as well, but probably saved me from worse!

Hopefully Helena's fellow Zoom In Zoom Out-ers will have equally sunny but happier tales this week.  How was your weekend?

Monday, 19 May 2014

A Different Sort Of Blog Hop

My blog friend Sandie invited me to take part in a blog hop tour. This is a little different to ones I am used to participating in because the posts are spread apart and the hop spreads OUT as it progresses.  The idea is to answer four questions and pass the baton on to three fellow bloggers.  Sandie's answers from last Monday are here.  Thank you for asking me Sandie - here are my answers:

What am I working on? 
Currently I'm finishing off a page for the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Members' Blog Hop on May 24th - it's another page for our Disney 2004 album (from before I started scrapbooking).  I put a load of fibres in my CKCB kit and I'm working hard on incorporating them in interesting ways ... haven't quite managed to use these yet, but it I'm working on it!

Jimjams - working with fibres

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
Oooh!  A squirmy question if you're British and don't feel comfy blowing your own trumpet.  The facetious answer is that the use of my own photos guarantees that my scrapbooking is unique!  The serious answer is that we all gradually develop a style of our own; a way of sticking paper and photos onto card that we're comfortable with.  I'm a bit of a control freak and like things to be "just so" which means that my "style" is fairly clean and simple, plenty of straight lines, limited layering, not a lot of ink splatters or random stamping because I can't control exactly where or how well they will go and I won't be able to click "undo" if they go wrong. 
You won't find a lot of pastel pink on my pages either ;-D
I do love to share though ... hence the blog, and the teacher in me isn't averse to writing up instructions and tutorials.  I invented the Lean Mean Mini Book for a class at the Exall Crop back in 2010 and adapted it to make a larger version, the Lean Mean MAXI Book for UKScrappers.

Jimjams - Lean Mean MAXI Book
Instructions for this and other projects can be found here
Why do I write/create what I do? 
First and foremost scrapbooking is fun.  It's my creative hobby.  I used to make cards but got fed up with putting my heart and soul into something, only to wave it goodbye at the post office.  Secondly I want to remember the stories behind the photos we have.  I can't imagine forgetting any of the details while everything is still fresh in my mind ... but experience has shown me that it's all to easy to confuse dates and places, names and backgrounds once a year or two has elapsed.  Scrapbooking is helping me counter my future forgetfulness!  Thirdly it allows me to preserve some memories for the family.  Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing the kids leaf through the old holiday albums.  Here's a layout I made about exactly that!
Jimjams - Why I ♥ 2 Scrapbook
How does your writing/creating process work? 
I have a huge stack of photos to scrap (some of which are printed already)!  In fact, so many photos that I generally need a separate impetus to help me pick the "next" ones to use.  Sometimes I'll find an on-line challenge to join in with, using a sketch or a title prompt or a colour scheme to get me focussed.  Sometimes I'll decide that it's about time to use up a particular set of papers or a scrapbooking technique and grab a photo to suit.  Ultimately I'll get close to completing an event-based album and will be desperate to scrap the final two or three pictures so that I can stop feeling guilty that it's taken 10 years to finish it!
After that, it's a question of arranging photos, cutting paper, sticking stuff down, adding embellishments, changing my mind, re-arranging things, starting the story-telling, checking the facts, sleeping on it, re-jigging the journalling to fit the space I've made for it, adding some pockets because there was more to say, redoing the title as I've had a better idea ... and eventually deciding that I've finished!
Not at all speedy, but then it isn't a race as far as I'm concerned!

Jimjams - BOM Page

A page from my on-going Book Of Me - hopefully not finished for a LONG time :-D
I'm passing this particular blog hop torch to three other bloggers now ... friends both real and virtual ... they'll be posting next Monday 26th May.

First there's Lisa, one of my fellows on the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog.  Lisa is an uprooted Brit living in Germany with a love of photography, pretty paper and story telling. She combines these passions into scrapbooking with lashings of pink, a sprinkle of romance and a whole lot of words. Scrapbooking has opened up a world outside her craft room (if only virtually!) of crafty challenges, friendship and blogging. This has helped her form new relationships with fellow crafters around the world, rekindle old friendships nearer to home and to strengthen connections to family and friends. You can find her at Recklinghausen Musings and Whimsical Musings.

Then there's Mary Anne from UKScrappers.  I say from, but really Mary Anne *is* UKScrappers as she's the creative powerhouse organising the sponsorship, arranging the challenges, moderating the boards and giving scrappers from the UK (and elsewhere) a place to virtually hang out.  MA is an American living in the UK with her husband and two kids and fills her free time with all sorts of hobbies including scrapping, stamping, quilting, art journalling, mini-book making, digi designing and, most recently, gelli plate creativity.  Her blog title really sums up her wonderfully eclectic style - scrappystickyinkymess - and it's full to bursting with free downloads, instructions and ideas!

And last, but by no means least, there's the lovely Lesley, whom I met at my monthly crop three years ago.  A person with limitless enthusiasm for a challenge, great organisational abilities and a heart of gold; I am so happy that scrapbooking has added her to my circle of friends.  Lesley's a fellow Master Forger at the CKCB as well as part of Wear Craft's DT; she scraps about her travels and adventures with her family, tells tales about her time in the Royal Navy and showcases photos of her beautiful chocolate lab; you can find all this and much more over at Oh! Blog It!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out #20

After last week's ZIZO double bill due to lateness, I have another because I'd seen a great ZIZO opportunity in our friends' barn ... and had just got my camera out when we spotted a special visitor through their kitchen window:

Jimjams - ZIZO #20

I am so happy with my camera's zoom (and image stabilisation).
And here's the barn ... what a great way to store logs for the fire and brighten up the yard!!

Jimjams - ZIZO #20

Helena's Zoom In Zoom Out meme continues here - are you joining in?

Saturday, 10 May 2014


Jimjams - Layout - embellishment cluster, altered chipboard alphas Child No.3 turned eighteen last year and she  celebrated with her three BFFs in Manchester.  I drove them to a temporary ice-rink before they hit the shops for some retail therapy, followed by a meet-up with another group of celebrants in the nightclubs.

I love that they wanted to do something as fun as this before getting glammed up to hit the town ... and let me hang around to take some photos (and pay for the Dunkin' Donuts afterwards!).
Jimjams - Layout - Eighteen

The page is based on the May sketch from Purple Pumpkin (reflected, title and "journalling" swappped) and uses plenty of layers (colours, papers, photos) in line with the Wear Crafts {I}NSD layering challenge.

Supplies are (mostly) from my May Counterfeit Kit ... I even used some of the fibres!  Extras included the base cardstock, a Simple Stories Bingo card, some BG plain chipboard alphas, eyelets and a LOT of pink glitter glue.  I even used it to fill the eyelet holes back up again!
Jimjams - Layout detail - glitter filled eyelets
P.S. S J Crafts has free postage on orders over £15 this weekend!

P.P.S. Anyone else watching the Eurovision Song Contest tonight?  One day I really must scrap about the time it ruined my house-warming party!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out #18 AND #19


All the recent {I}NSD activities caused me to forget my ZIZO post last week - so it's a double dose for Helena and friends.  Back to my garden which is beginning to show signs of life (too much in the case of the grass which needs cutting again).

Last week's pairing was our emergent rhododendron bush - benefiting from increased rain, light and root room following the sad removal of our beautiful silver birch last year (every cloud and all that).

Jimjams - ZIZO #18 Rhododendrons

The opposite corner of our garden houses the wheely bins and two potato sacks containing ... can you guess ...

Jimjams - ZIZO #19 Canes

Raspberry canes! It's one way of stopping the raspberry runners taking over the garden!
What's growing in your garden?  Anything edible?

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Colourful Marvels

Jimjams - Layout detail
Did you have a good scrappy weekend?  The Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog hosted a weekend of inspiration and colour-themed projects.   I had a play with Challenge #4 to include all the colours of the RAINBOW of colours in a page.

Some photos of No.1 Son meeting the cast at Marvel Superheroes Island in Florida's Islands of Adventure certainly deserved a colourful layout and I had included plenty of colourful stash in my May Counterfeit Kit.

Jimjams - Layout - Marvels

Jimjams - Layout detail - embellishment clusterMy page started life using the May sketch from Scrap365 but the use of the Boys Rule Race Track paper in the background led me to titling the central block, Time Tunnel style ...which is more fun don't you think?

Apart from that rectangle of rainbow striping I've written my journalling in a variety of colours and included plenty of other shades to the page.

P.S. The joy of this sort of page design is the ability to "gut" behind the large blocks giving me plenty of spare yellow cardstock and, more importantly, the centre circles of the Race Track paper to use on another layout!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Fancy A Challenge?

Today's the day for a wealth of scrapbooking challenges - worldwide!  Thanks to {Inter}National Scrapbooking Day.  In fact I'm spoilt for choice and have been busy challenge combining to cope!

First of all I wanted to make a fresh example page for MY challenge over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog.  The post already has three of my older pages to illustrate the challenge colour palette but I had some photos of Child No.3 that were crying out to be scrapped in BLACK / WHITE / GREY and shades of ONE other COLOUR ...

Jimjams - layout detail - home-made voile flower

The girls dressed up to attend an Emilie Autumn concert and Child No.3 paid extra to get VIP access to her heroine.  I reckoned that the May sketch (#56) by Lisa over at Sketch~N~Scrap could be adapted to suit one large and one small photo and Scrapbook Generation have also got a call out for a monochromatic page ...

Jimjams - layout - FANCY - NSD challenge for CKCB

Finally I had another go with S J Crafts' Bingo Grid Challenge for May; this time using the middle vertical line of Border Punch (EK Success ledger and cheese-hole), Metal Embellishment (brads) and Torn Paper (well vellum actually).  Supplies are just scraps from my crop box plus a Webster's Pages transparency, a button, BG White Chocolate Chip alphas, some gems from my crop friend Jacqui and an old home-made voile flower I found in my craft room drawers.

Jimjams - layout detail - WP transparency

Weirdly, I'm posting this at midnight my time, but 4pm over with my friends at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog who are continuing with fun challenges all weekend. Please join them while I get some sleep!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Transparent, Metal, Stamp!

Jimjams - Layout detail - 7 dots & Sn@p stickers and die-cuts
Happy {Inter}National Scrapbooking Day!

I'm playing at my monthly crop today, having fun with some {I}NSD challenges in very good company.  There may also be cake!
Yum :-)

One of the things I'll be sharing with my friends is this Bingo Grid from S J Crafts: their inspirational challenge for May.  Pick a line (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) and include those elements in a project.

S J Crafts Bingo Grid for May 2014

I used the middle row to create another page for our Disney 2004 album: Child No.3 gurning* in the "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" playground at Disney MGM Studios (now known as Hollywood Studios I believe).  She didn't know anything about that movie but "A Bug's Life" was BIG at the time and she had a ball playing in amongst the giant blades of grass, spiders' webs and riding on ants.

Jimjams - Layout for S J Crafts - Don't Bug Me

My supplies were almost all from S J Crafts March 2014 Kit (full of 7 Dots Studio Illumination loveliness).  The transparent items were clever black & white stickers from a pack of Simple Stories Insta Clear Word Stickers, the metal was the Prima word "Explore" from the kit and the title uses my own Banana Frog Pharmacy stamps.

If you fancy choosing a winning line (or want to see what the rest of the S J Crafts DT picked) ... nip over to S J Crafts Blog and play along - closing date May 30th.
P.S. There is a prize up for grabs too :-)

* Gurning: well not really but still a funny face don't you think?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

May The Kit Be With You

Jimjams - May CKCB Kit detail
Another month, another kit to copy.  Welcome to May's Master Forger Blog Hop ... did you reach me from Angela, via our Guest Forger Laura?  If not, the start of the hop is published on the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog today.

This month we're starting with Paper Camellia's April Kit plus their add-ons: lots of travelly, mappy, transporty papers and embellishments, plenty of stars, cameras and alpha stickers ...

Jimjams - May CKCB Kit to Copy - Paper Camellia April 2014

and ...

what's this?

Some papers I actually own?!?!

I was so pleased to spot some Crate Paper Boys Rule designs in the kits-to-copy: S  J Crafts sent me quite a few bits of the collection to play with (see my pages here and here) and the remaining goodies made a great starting point to my counterfeit kit.  I added plenty of alpha stickers,  stars, travel cards from Simple Stories, bicycles from Cosmo Crickets's Boyfriend collection scraps and some camera washi tape.

Jimjams - May 2014 Counterfeit Kit

LOL - not really like the original, but who cares as long as I use up the stash!

Jimjams - May CKCB Kit reverse papersPapers are all from Crate Paper Boys Rule:
So Rad (B&W stripes reverse),
Champ (brown chevrons reverse),
Race Track (woodgrain chevrons reverse)
Pow (green & blue stars reverse)

Journal cards are from the collections of
Crate Paper Boys Rule
Simple Stories 24/Seven &Urban Traveller
Cosmo Cricket's Boyfriend

The stickers include
Crate Paper Boys Rule Ephemera Stickers (which has the teal alphabet)
Simple StoriesSn@p! Letters (yellow), Typeset (orange, grey) and Icon

AC Meadow Thickers
Scraps from Cosmo Cricket Boyfriend's Borders paper
Wooden bicycle fromCrate Paper Boys Rule  Wood Embellishments
American Crafts Flair Buttons
Studio Calico Wood Veneer Tiny Stars
Scraps of Vellum Stars from Crate Paper Boys Rule
WRMK Camera washi

The fibres are a completely random addition!  They have been languishing in a drawer for too many years and I'm starting a new trend!!          ;-D
Or I will be if enough of you also dig out your unloved fibres and join in!

Jimjams - May CKCB Kit detail - unloved fibres

Julene is next on the tour for scrappy kit inspiration, but you might also like to stop by S J Crafts Blog for a fun challenge here to get you scrapping with your kit (and you'll also see a page I made for them with an entirely different kit).