Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Herr Kürbis

A seasonal post from me today with thanks to Child No. 3 and her German teacher who taught her, in German, how to make an Origami Pumpkin ... and we thought we'd share with you!  My German is a bit rusty so I've taken photos and will do the writing bit in English :o)

First fold a square of paper right sides together in half and press the crease line.  Then fold it in half in the other direction so that it is divided into 4 smaller squares.  Turn the paper over and fold it in half across both diagonals - to give mountain folds on the diagonals and valley folds across the sides as shown.
Then "squash" the paper together to form a triangle - this probably has some official name in Origami, but my daughter didn't know it! The next step is to fold  the two side points up towards the centre and crease the fold lines sharply.  Turn over and repeat to form a square as shown.

Now fold both side points towards the centre line and crease the fold lines.  Turn over and repeat to form a lozenge shape.  The next part was trickier to photograph, but is simple enough to do:  there are loose flaps at the top and side pockets formed by the folding ... slot each loose flap as far as it will go inside the pocket. 
Repeat for each of the four loose flaps and press flat.  Fold the visible sides of the pumpkin together to reveal a nice flat surface and draw a face - keep it within the centre of the lozenge shape so that it stays in the round part of the pumpkin.  Finally find the hole at one end of the lozenge shape .... and BLOW!  The pumpkin will magically inflate and you're ready for the next one!
Herr Kürbis, Frau Kürbis und ihr kleines Baby Kürbis
When drawing the face you have a choice of  having the blow-hole at the top or the bottom - if it's at the top the pumpkin sits a bit flatter on the surface (but needs propping up for a photo at this angle, like the "baby" in the photo); a blow-hole at the bottom means it can roll around a bit more, but looks better on the top.  I leave that up to you!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Cat's Whiskers

I love sewing on my pages as I think it gives an extra textural dimension to them.  In fact the sewing machine is permanently loaded with a bobbin of clear thread so that I can quickly load up a top spool in the colour of my choice and get stitching.  I tried doodling stitches once as the machine was temporarily tidied away and vowed never again!  It took an age to achieve the effect I wanted and was a pain to try and keep the "stitch" lengths even!

As regular (are there any?) readers of this blog will know I recently attended the 5th Pink Booby Charity Crop in aid of Breast Cancer Research and I did a lovely class on distressing by Cathy Windsor from Sarah's Cards DT.  I bought the kit and produced a page that I love with photos from 2007.

There were loads of scraps left from the 3 sheets of double sided October Afternoon Thrift Shop papers so I thought I would see what else I could do with them rather than let them get buried in my scraps bags (yes that is plural!).

There were some large scraps for strips and lots of little bits which would do for a collaged paper element too ...

I was also inspired by a post about paper appliqué over on Siân's blog and thought I would try a bit of hand sewing on a page element!  Alas! I have yet again come to the conclusion that I prefer my machine for sewing.  Of course it didn't help that I was sewing through layers of card collaged with scraps of thick quality paper scraps.  Nor did it help that I'd decided to add zig-zag and blanket stitch rather than just sewing a simple straight line!
My fingers were aching by the end and I know it will be a while before I attempt anything by hand again!

My page started life as a Pencil Lines Sketch (#146)

It was much easier to machine sew the larger scraps of paper to my page and lots of fun to try out a few of the different stitch styles.  Using red stitches throughout helps unify the diverse shapes and colours on the page.  I used the free font Type-Ra for my journalling to tie in with the words from the One-of-a-Kind wordy paper.  I like this font better than Adler and other typewriter fonts because it includes more punctuation marks, including, for us Brits, the £ sign!
And I still have enough scraps from the kit to make something else.

The weekly challenges over on UKS are fun ways to motivate me, so there is a misted masked background (again using a home-made spritz from dilute ink), a symbol representing something from the photograph (my UKS team name is "The Scrappy Cats"), numbers on the page (not that difficult to do, but I included it in my title to show willing), and ribbon - the cat's whiskers :o)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Project 12

I have just about been keeping up with this year-long project hosted on Scrapbook & Cards Today run by Davinie.  The finished album will be a brilliant record of this family's life during 2010 and gives me a chance to chart the changes that have taken place as well as celebrate the little things that might not merit a whole 12x12 page to themselves.  Here's my page for September:

This DLO gave me a lot of headaches to be honest and I'm slightly fed up with it!  Firstly, and very embarrassingly for a mathematician, I miscalculated the widths of the photos I wanted to include when I was printing them (the Pagemaps sketch just wanted three 6"x4" landscape photos but I had loads more than that), then, after discarding two photos, I over-cropped some of the rest, then I ran out of glue, then the new glue glooped onto one of the photos, then the Kaisercraft rub-ons refused to rub-ON cleanly ...

... as I was saying over on Alexa's blog - I am trying to embrace imperfections, but this was a bit too much at midnight!

Anyway it's done now, in time for the deadline I hope (at least if it's in Canadian time LOL) and I can start thinking about what to scrap for October's page ...

Sunday, 17 October 2010


A challenge over on UKS asked for us to scrap our superstitions, or failing that, our quirky habits.  Now I'm not particularly superstitious, apart from the not walking under ladders thing, which is just plain common sense really, oh and the old throwing salt over the left shoulder thing, and did I mention the magpie counting thing?  No, not superstitious at all!  So I started thinking about quirky habits ... and decided that most of those were NOT to be shared publicly if I wished to step outside of the house ever again!  Then one day in the kitchen, I realised that I was doing something that nobody else in my family can see the sense in, but which I love doing, even though it takes a while and there are probably Lakeland or Betterware gadgets that can do it in half the time.  Namely, preparing a fresh pineapple.  Nearly 30 years ago my sister in law Zen showed me the Phillippino way to cut away the skin (peel?) and remove the eye spots and I was hooked!  I love the way Nature hides mathematical curiosities away and I find it really relaxing to reveal the spiral hidden away inside a pineapple.  Twisted I know!

I love the way a pleasing spiral appears as I remove the eye spots from a fresh pineapple.  
It's a shame to cut it into chunks!
The other part of the challenge was to scrap in a different way to your usual style.  Now I'm not sure I have a style, so I chose to try a couple of new techniques: spritzing as that seems to be in vogue, and keeping the whole thing fairly minimal with a hint of stash creeping into (or off) the page the way that the fashionable scrappers on DTs do at the moment.  I've used a sketch from Sketchy Thursdays' November guest DT call.

While I had a few spray bottles to hand I didn't actually have any commercial mists, so I had to make my own.  They didn't turn out too badly actually: some dilute acrylic paint for the lime green, and some dilute ink with a spoonful of face bronzing powder for the orangy brown! The bottles did clog occasionally and needed a shake or two, releasing a few large drops onto the page - totally on purpose of course! 
I'd stuck my title letters down lightly so that they would act as a mask and reveal a clear outline once removed.  My orginal intention had been to paint all the title letters with acrylics afterwards, but the two white GinX coaster letters were rather pretty after the spritzing, so I decided to keep them as they were.
A little layering with some strips from a Hambly screen print, some sewing and a few clear pebbles later and I was done!  Note to self - punching through acetate is not necessarily that great for the punch - I may have broken my 1" circle punch :o(
Hubby is applying WD40 as I type!
Now if only somebody would invent a sewing machine that tied off its own ends I would be a happy bunny, because I don't find that relaxing at all!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Catching up!

This week has been a time of catching up in all sorts of ways.  Hubby will no longer be under my feet from next week so I have been making him help with some of the little jobs that could have been done at any time during the year but of course have not!  I caught up with some friends for some geocaching and I caught up with the ironing - unfortunately it's getting away from me again :o)

Yesterday I finally caught up with my LSNED album - just seven pages and the sign-off page - everything was ready last weekend, but somehow the rest of the catching up took priority!

For some reason Warburtons were handing out free loaves in town today - never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I gratefully accepted one.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sleep deprived!

I am back from a FABULOUS crop with the 54 other ladies attending the 5th Pink Booby Crop in aid of Breast Cancer Research.  Five other very talented class designers helped provide plenty for everyone to do, though I doubt very much if anyone did every class - there was just so much going on, including Irish Bingo, stash shopping with 4 different and well stocked shops, a Chair Raffle, chatting with friends, old and new, yummy meals laid on, a visit from the Soroptimists collecting unwanted bras (!),  naughty cakes and, most deliciously, I managed to get a little slice of heaven, a.k.a. Malteser Cheesecake.
A big THANK YOU to all the organisers on the committee (the Pink Marigolds) for all their hard work - I hope you've raised LOTS of dosh for charity, and here's to the next one LOL!

I think I'm seriously too old for the loop crossing at Go Ape!
I taught a technique class called "Ways With Chipboard" about various ways to make grey chipboard more interesting.  One technique was to cover alphas in patterned paper whilst maintaining the pattern.  Today I took it a step further for the demo and matched the title to the rest of the page as well.

The elements for this page have been ready and waiting for the class for ages - apart from the alpha sanding it's super quick to make - can you tell which of the "O"s started life as a "Q"?
I also gave a demonstration of various Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE) techniques and supervised the ladies experimenting afterwards - we managed with only one finger in the super-hot UTEE, poor Roxy!  I bought my class supplies from Imagination Crafts, who kindly knocked £10 off the bill in aid of the fundraising.  I have to say that I was really, really impressed with the qualities of their own brand "Magi Boss Chunky" UTEE - a lovely range of colours, and very reasonable priced, especially considering that it seems to cover in fewer layers and has a built in flexibility compared to another well know brand, so no cracking once it cools!

Canvas for M - don't you just love the mini CD!
Despite all the inspiration on tap I took time out to finish a canvas inspired by Sarah Carrington's class on the Green Buttons House Mini-CC over on UKS.  Funnily enough it's covered in all sorts of decorated chipboard, including the "M" which was used in a demo for my class.
The colour photos had been stripped from the instructions for my class instructions in the interests of printing economies, so for those that fancy a peek I have uploaded them here.  Have fun Pink Boobies!

Some, more sensible?, people went home for a sleep, and some, completely mad? ladies stayed up ALL night.  I was somewhere in between and managed to grab a couple of hours sleep (on the floor of the separate bedroom) during the 24 (well 26 by the time I left) hours.  I'm now feeling definitely sleep-deprived and my comfy bed will be very welcome tonight!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Bunting for the Boobies

For the next 24 hours I will be in Golborne, attending the 5th Pink Booby Crop in aid of Breast Cancer Research.  There are 55 ladies attending the event and I am really looking forward to taking some free classes with some very talented scrapbookers and joining in with the fun and games that the very hard working committee have put together for us all.  For my sins, I am also teaching a class on decorating chipboard, but not until I have been thoroughly sleep-deprived on Sunday morning!  Here's a peek and one of my demonstration pieces ...some Bunting for the Boobies!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A celebration

As a special celebration treat, M left me to scrap in peace this afternoon, so I'm sat here doing just that, listening to the local community radio This Is The Cat on my laptop - bliss!

Thank you Wordle for allowing me to journal what I love about my hobby in a creative way :o)

Friday, 1 October 2010

Lean Mean Mini Books - the instructions

A couple of people have asked me for the instructions to my mini-book, made from one sheet of card and one sheet of double-sided patterned paper ... my pleasure to oblige:
The instructions can be viewed, printed or downloaded from here.

There's a slide show with some internal pages visible here.

Do please leave me a comment with a link if you have a go at it - I'm amazed at how different the book looks with different papers, photos and embellishments.