Sunday, 29 June 2014

June's Books - Strange Ladies

Emma Donaghue - Frog Music
One of my all time favourite books is "Room" by Emma Donaghue and when one of my blog friends recommended her latest, "Frog Music" I knew I'd be in for a treat.  Set in smallpox-ridden San Francisco, bathed in the heat-wave of 1876 it flashes back and forth telling and re-telling the real-life story of murdered, cross-dressing Jenny Bonnet from the perspective of her friend and exotic "dancer" Blanche Beunon.  It's not only the climate that is steamy; Blanche's life-style is described in fairly explicit detail as we try to puzzle out who killed Jenny and the whereabouts of Blanche's young baby.  I certainly learnt a LOT about the period, but needed a cold bath afterwards!

The Last Runaway - Tracy Chevalier
In stark contrast to the underbelly of 1870s San Francisco, my next read and this month's Book Club choice, "The Last Runaway" by Tracy Chevalier featured Quakers in Ohio and lots of quilting!  Chevalier has a gift for including interesting research without overwhelming her readers.  Contrasts were drawn between English and American Quakers, the theory of abolition versus the practicality of helping runaway slaves, and the unbalanced opportunities for single men and women.  However, I was frustrated by the central character's self-centred daze as she was buffeted by events beyond her understanding and control - I would have given her a good slap!!  The lack of a "u" in said English heroine's name meant that Honor annoyed me twice over on every page!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand  - Helen Simonsen
Our "alternative" novel at Book Club was "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson.  Now this was a great read with recognisable and appealing characters and setting in the heart of the English countryside.  Major Pettigrew's village, lifestyle and values are under threat - which will he champion and will he prevail?  A charming comedy of modern (and old-fashioned) manners as the Major gets to know and appreciate the village shop's exotic Mrs Jasmina Ali and her family, whilst resisting his self-centred son Roger's efforts to pre-inherit some funds!
Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl
Another book recommendation that I grabbed from the library and loved - thank you!!  "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn is a tale full of twists and turns told (in turns) by Nick & Amy Dunne following Amy's mysterious disappearance on the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary.  You are kept guessing whether Nick knows more than he's telling, or perhaps Amy's diary entries will help the police catch her killer?!  A brilliant thriller, shortly to be made into a movie - read it first!
M. J. Arlidge - Eeny Meeny
M. J. Arlidge has apparently worked in high end TV drama production for the last 15 years and to a certain extent that shows in his debut novel, "Eeeny Meeny", which has 117(!) short, pacey chapters a bit like scenes in a TV series.  This was a rather gorey thriller with scenes of torture, sado-masochism, rape and worse as Detective Inspector Helen Grace battles with her own demons whilst chasing down what turns out to be a serial killer by proxy ... a kidnapper of couples who are then faced with the choice of killing their partner or being killed.  It was certainly a page turner, but the ending seemed very rushed and rather under-developed whilst a glaring continuity error about half way through really took the shine off!! 

I'm not a very forgiving reader ... are you?

Friday, 27 June 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out #26

We've been away for a few days ... seeing No.1 Son and his lovely girlfriend in Durham and then travelling on northwards to visit Edinburgh (my *first* trip to Scotland!).  I've been doing a bit of Summertime Scavenging and had hoped to get a holiday version whilst we were away ... I'm still checking my photos against the list, but I did manage a surprising couple of last-minute photos at the Tebay motorway services on the way home:

Jimjams - Holiday Scavenger Hunt #7 Rural Landscape
#7 Rural Landscape
That's the view from inside the service station restaurant!  There were swifts darting about, catching insects and a family of ducks swam by while we were eating.  As we walked through the building to continue our journey home, we spotted another water feature through the windows:

Jimjams - Holiday Scavenger Hunt #11 Waterfall
#18 Waterfall
A fairly pathetic waterfall, but upon Zooming In a couple of times we discovered the family of ducks were happily drinking from it!

Jimjams - ZIZO 26 Ducklings

There are lots more unexpected treasures over at Helena's this week.  I'll be back next week with a round-up of my holiday scavenging ... but first the holiday washing needs attention!!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Who Me?!

Jimjams - Layout detail - layered papers
Welcome to the start of June's Members' Blog Hop from the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog .
I chose the third challenge this month to line up my embellishments on my layout, using photos I took last month whilst visiting No.1 Son and his lovely girlfriend in their new home.
They have two amazing Bengal kittens, full of energy and personality and we had a great time playing with them (though the tom doesn't seem to know how to play with retracted claws!!!).  It didn't take them long to commandeer the two chairs we'd brought up from our house to theirs.

Jimjams - Layout - Who Is Sitting In MY Chair

Having liked the effect of layering punched vellum circles on my previous page, I layered the vellum from my June Counterfeit Kit over one of the patterned papers.   This page started life as the June 1st  sketch from Stuck?! Sketches - there's still time to link up if you fancy a go.  As for the lining up ... those eyelets are in a straight line!

Jimjams - Layout detail - mixed font title
I wonder which of this month's challenges will feature on the next stop on the hop: Tina's blog.

If you get lost whilst hopping the full order is published on the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog today.

P.S. There's still time to have a go with the S J Crafts June Challenge and be in with a chance of a prize ... check it out ... and check out the winner & favourites from May's challenge  here !!

Saturday, 21 June 2014


Jimjams - Layout detail - vellum circles and raised titleHopefully my current trip to Durham to visit No.1 Son and his lovely girlfriend won't involve a trip to A&E like the last one did!

Many thanks for all the sympathetic comments and well wishes.

Thankfully the bruising has gone and the wound has healed well: I won't be needing the sunglasses unless it's sunny!

Of course the photos had to be scrapped for my Book Of Me and perhaps I might remember to duck next time!

Jimjams - Layout - Ouch!

I've used my June Counterfeit kit and adapted the current sketch over at Purple Pumpkin to fit the 11x8½ album that houses my BOM pages (and fitted in with a UKScrappers weekly challenge).

Do you scrap the good the bad *and* the ugly sides of life or are your albums filled with purely happy memories?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out #25

Nearly half-way through the year with Helena's ZIZO meme.  This week I realised that I have an aphid problem in the garden.  Yuk!

Jimjams - ZIZO 25 - Aphids

The ants seem to love 'em ... in fact, it was following the ant trail that led me to discover the scale of the problem!  Not sure who the wasp was after though.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Refreshing Cards

Happy Fathers' Day / Happy Father's Day

I'm never quite sure where to put that apostrophe ... most of us only have one father to make a card for (though I used to have two thanks to my lovely step-father) so it could be the apostrophe-S, but then there are hundreds thousands millions of fathers being honoured today so perhaps it's the S-apostrophe that's correct!

Not my problem though, as I have nobody left to make a card for.

Instead I have been having a playing with my June Counterfeit Kit using the 1st challenge over at the CKCB: using tone on tone as a background.  It's not a new technique for me to layer my cardstock with letters cut from self-coloured scraps; I love the subtlety it gives to (sub-)titles here.  Today, however, I've used it to create the background for an 18th birthday card:

Jimjams - 18th Card
Sizzlits Round-a-Bout numbers
I took inspiration from a Jennifer McGuire card I found via Kool Kitty Musings (a brilliant source of card inspiration).  I have other number dies so I gave it another go:

Jimjams - 21st Card
Sizzlites Broadway Melody numbers
These cards use up an entire A4 sheet of cardstock: half for the base A6 folded card and half for the extra numbers.
I wondered what it would be like to use the letters with a Queen & Co washi tape covered word:

Jimjams - Hello Card
Sizzlits Boys Will Be Boys letters
The trouble is that dies that are small enough to fit a word across the card result in a lot of sticking to fill the background!  I had another go after rotating the card base:

Jimjams - Hello Card
Sizzlits Round-a-Bout letters
Hmmm - it was still a lot of cutting and sticking, but a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon whilst listening to the radio nonetheless.

I'm also joining in with Jennifer's Refresh Your Craft Event challenges - keeping things clean and simple and using teal orange & white.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Project 12 2014

A while back I was lucky enough to get the Hello My Name Is collection pack from S J Crafts to play with.  You can see how I started to cut into the collection at the S J Crafts blog

I've produced three singles and one double from the collection already (here, here, here and here) but I'd kept back the names of the months sheet and the scraps to use on my "Project 12" pages for 2014.

This year I'm scrapping one photo for each month along with notes about our doings ... and squashing two months onto a page.  Here are January & February (minus the journalling).

I'll add more embellishments if there's space after I've journalled!  I had photos ready for March & April too so they were next.

Although I didn't have a photo ready for May I pressed on with (nearly) all the remaining months. It was actually quicker preparing them without worrying about the photos; I'm sure things will work out later in the year.  These pages will fit into two double page protectors that take two 12x12 layouts on each side, leaving me space for a 2014 front page and a page of extra photos too ... I have plenty of scraps left from the collection.  Which ties in nicely with Jennifer Grace's challenge to let yourself go ... create without worrying about the ends result (yet)!

One more? Five more!  :-D

Do you ever prepare pages before you have the photos ready?  Or are you a photo first scrapper?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sketchy Card

There's a sketch today as the second challenge over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog and it came in time for me to make something for my fellow Master Forger Lesley:

Jimjams - card - Retro Sketches #110 - plus fibres

And gave me a space to use up some fibres ... still not a new worldwide trend, despite my best efforts LOL!

P.S. British readers might like to know that S J Crafts is having a Bargain Basement Paper Sale at the moment - I've been tempted and have a few new supplies on their way {but shhh don't tell Bethany at the CKCB that I'm adding to my stash rather than using it up!}

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Zoom In Scavenge Out

My second photo for  Rinda's 2014 Summer Scavenger Hunt this year is the one that we may not substitute.  Namely, a photo of ourselves with something representing the season ... and what could be more representative of a British Summer than an umbrella?

Scavenger Hunt 2014 # 21 Seasonal Portrait
#21 Me With Something Representing The Season - tick, tick, tick, tick!

However, if you zoom in a little ...

ZIZO 24 - Umbrella photographer

... you can see that it wasn't raining at all (for once) - the "raindrops" were from the watering can and I had a little help from my Mum with the photography!

Is anyone else being lazy creative and combining Zooming In & Out with their Scavenger Hunting?

Monday, 9 June 2014


This weekend our scrapbook crop had a sleepover - we scrapped from 10 am on Saturday to 12noon on Sunday.  There were delicious cakes, great company, plenty of laughs and dozens of layouts were made between us.  This isn't one of them though!

I rarely "finish" a page at the crop because I like to double check the journalling, dates etc, may have the "perfect" extra embellishment at home or decide that what the page really needs is a touch of machine sewing!  However, I was using papers from this collection (Teresa Collins "My Name Is") and remembered that I had yet to share this one on my blog:

The photos are of three very different toweres in Västerås (the Swedish town I used to work in).  The first two (the cathedral and town hall) were unchanged, but parts of the city centre were filled with unrecognisable glass covered architecture.  Not really surprising after thirty years I suppose!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Mmmmm Dreamy!

I've been at work today ... in my local theatre ... where there was a very large bus parked by the stage door ... ALL day!  It was plugged into our mains electricity too!  And from time to time some rather pleasant young men stepped in or out between naps and trips to the gym for 2½ hour training sessions.
Purely in the interests of Helena's Zoom In Zoom Out #23 I just had to take a photo ... or three!

ZIZO #23

I didn't stay for their show after my shift - I have a {c}hunk of my own at home - but I did admire the images painted on the sides of their bus (which is also their home from home after gigs).  I'm hoping this is enough of a painted bus to start me off on Rinda's 2014 Summer Scavenger Hunt too:

Scavenger Hunt 2014 # 20 Painted Bus
#20 - Painted Bus - tick!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out #22

It's been another birthday weekend chez moi ... and this time I managed an appropriate card in time so I'll zoom in on it (and the cute hand drawn Samwise Gamgee tag that Child No.3 put on her gift to her father).

ZIZO #22

My card is  *not* one that needs to fit in an envelope, though it probably would fold flat enough!  The colour scheme was dictated by the June challenge over at S J Crafts ... check out the lovely examples from my fellow DT members.  I've also added a brief explanation of how I made my balloon (inspired by this amazing project) on the June Challenge post ... *and* Sarah has generously put a prize up for grabs again!

22/52 ZIZOs joined in with so far ... VERY good going for me!  It should be even easier to keep up for the next couple of months as I'll be out and about with my camera joining in with Rinda's 2014 Summertime Scavenger Hunt which launched on June 1st.  Anyone else joining in?

2014 Summertime Scavenger Hunt

Sunday, 1 June 2014

All Things Bright ...

Scrapbook Circle's May Kit High FiveWelcome to June's Counterfeit Kit Reveal Blog Hop.  Hopefully you started with our founder, Bethany, and got to me via Angela's blog.  If so you'll know we had a choice of kits this month: Scrapbook Circle's May Kit High Five and Clique Kits' Summer School Kit

Lots of bright rainbow colours against either black & white or woodgrain.  I didn't have any of the latter so I went with the High Five Kit as inspiration ...starting with some vellum circles in lieu of the HS Rainbow Rounds paper:

Jimjams Counterfeit Kit June 2014


Lilybeedesign Victoria Park ABC stickers (pink, lime, teal, black)
Simple Stories Sn@p! Letters  & Typeset (red)
Echo Park For The Record 2 Alpha Stickers (yellow)
American Crafts Chit Chat glitter thickers

6x6 sheets from Studio Calico - Wow, Holla, Hmm, Me Oh My
Sei Sporty Circles vellum
Crate Paper Boys Rule Zap (dotty diamonds reverse)
Echo Park Navy Ombre (grey reverse)
Lilybeedesign Victoria Park Charcoal (black reverse)
7 Gypsies Black Friars (inverse reverse)
Simple Stories Sn@p! Stickers

Jimjams Counterfeit Kit detail

Some fibres left over from last month's kit
Queen & Co Rainbow Pencil Stripe trendy tape
Black ric-rac and trim from my stash

The full hop list along with this month's details is published on the CKCB today - but if you're already on track then Julene is next on the tour.