Monday, 30 May 2016

"Rainbow" Birthday Cards

I've used my Silhouette Portrait and a packet of rainbow patterned card for a couple of birthday cards recently.

The first one was for my brother. I cropped The Cut Shoppe's Oh Little Star* to a rectangle and welded it to a frame before I cut it out. I then backed it with a piece of rainbow card, rounded the corners and attached it to my card front. I cut a couple more stars with my Big Shot, stamped my greeting and inked the edges before I attached them with foam pads.

(*Oh Little Star was a free Christmas file; you can find it here.)

My second card was for a work colleague's 60th birthday. This time I made my own cut file by welding the number 60 together eight times. I cut it from the rainbow card and stuck it to a white background. I based the rest of the card on Stick It Down's May card sketch, but I rotated it and then played with the proportions and positioning of the sentiment panel so that it would cover only one of the 60s.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

We Will Remember Them

This page will sit opposite the last one in my 2015 album; both are from a day in and around Runnymede last summer. The Air Forces Memorial is on top of Cooper's Hill, overlooking Runnymede, and is dedicated to 20,456 men and women from British Empire air forces who have no known grave. The long lines of names were a powerful reminder of the sacrifice that they made for us.

I used the May Week 1 sketch from Let's Get Sketchy, but with larger photographs and I straightened up the photo block.

Cardstock - Colorset
Paper - My Mind's Eye Vintage Charm
Letters - Basic Grey
Wood Veneer - Maya Road
Sequins - Pretty Little Studio
Ink - Ranger

Silhouette Portrait
Fiskars Postage Stamp Border Punch

Thursday, 26 May 2016

J.F.K. Memorial

Last summer I spent a day in and around Runnymede, the water meadow where Magna Carta was signed in 1215; you can see a plethora of photos from the day here. I'd always thought that they would make a double page, but when I sorted through my pictures for printing recently I realised that the photos really fell into three groups and that I would need a double page plus two singles.

I've started with one of the single pages, for the memorial to President John F Kennedy that is on the hillside above the meadow. It was designed to be part of the landscape and consists of a flight of 50 steps (one per state), the memorial stone itself and some seats for peaceful contemplation.

I used a sketch that Laura Whitaker designed for Imaginisce, rotated for my landscape photos. I moved the title across to the top corner and ran my journalling down the column below it.

Cardstock - Colorset
Paper - My Mind's Eye Vintage Charm
Letters - Basic Grey
Flowers - Dovecraft
Gems - from Stash
Ink - Ranger

Big Shot & Provocraft Alphabet Dies
Fiskars Postage Stamp Border Punch
Studio Calico Doily Stamps

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Snug as Two Bugs

National Scrapbook Day and other online crops are always a trigger for me to abandon whatever I'm working on and scrap random photos that I can fit to the challenges. While part of me is feeling the urge to return to my Canadian Cruise album, another part is quite happy with scrapping older photos and taking on challenges that I can't fit to pages in that cruise album.

For this page, I've paired an old photo of my son and my nephew with this month's single page sketch from Stick It Down

Just looking at the range of pages that the DT produced, it's clear that this sketch is open to a certain degree of interpretation, but I did make sure to include the three main elements - a background shape, a strong vertical line and a horizontal title. That title came from the old saying 'snug as a bug in a rug' which I re-wrote for my two bugs here.

Since it's a post-bath photo I wanted to hint at the bubbles from their bath in the page design. I've had this piece of chipboard for a few years and used it as a mask on several pages but it's getting a bit battered now and needed to find a permanent home on a page. I layered it behind the photo along with a bubbly paper and a 4x6 Project Life card. I cut a pie chart from the same collection as the bubble paper, added a brad and rummaged for other teal and white embellishments that would fit my circles theme.

Paper - Unknown Background, My Mind's Eye Just Splendid
Letters & Border Sticker - KaiserCraft
PL Card - Boys Rule
Chipboard - Creative Embellishments
Circle Stickers - Anita's Glitterations
Word Stickers - My Mind's Eye Now & Then
Pearls - The Hobby House
Brad - Fancy Pants
Mist - Maya Road, Docrafts, Mr Huey's
Ink - Ink It Up!

Heidi Swapp Circle Mega Mask
Fiskars Shape Cutter & Circles Template

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Feeling

I still have a few NSD challenge pages to share here, but May isn't just about National Scrapbooking Day; there are plenty of other challenges too, and I need to share those before the end of the month.

We saw ELO at the O2 last month, and they were supported by The Feeling. Normally the support acts are groups that I've never heard of, but we know and like The Feeling so they merit a page in my 2016 scrapbook. I used Sketch 104 from Sketch-n-Scrap for my page, but I played with the paper layers a little. The combination of one large photo and three smaller ones also satisfies Mercy Tiara's May 27 day challenge to scrapbook at least three photos, one of which must be 4x6.

My photos have a purplish tint, and I wanted to match this in my papers, but few manufacturers use purple in their collections and the only piece that I had was much too bright. I decided to make my own, using inks and water 'smooshed' onto the paper with plastic packaging, and after four attempts I had something that I was happy to use.*

I downloaded the band's logo from the internet and manipulated it in the Silhouette software to make a cut file for my title; I cut it in black cardstock and backed the letters with a piece gutted from my background. My main journalling is on strips at the bottom, but I also wrote the songs from the set list around the edge of the right side of the page.

* Four attempts at my background paper:
Try 1 - The ink and water mix soaked into the paper too quickly, leading to uneven colouring and warped paper.
Try 2 - I applied gesso to the paper before the inks, but the brush marks were too obvious once I added colour, and the colour was still uneven.
Try 3 - I tried using acetate instead of plastic packaging, inking up a 12x12 sheet of acetate, and laying my paper over it so that the whole piece would be inked at once rather than one section at a time. This worked, and I will probably use the paper, but I'd used white paper throughout, and the white looked wrong with my other papers.
Try 4 - I repeated the 'ink the acetate' method with grey paper, and this is the piece I used.

Cardstock - Bazzill
Paper - SEI Moravia, 7Gypsies Avignon
Puffy Stickers - Paperchase
Gems - from Stash
Ink & Mist - Docrafts

Silhouette Portrait
Big Shot & Sizzix Stars Die
Hobbycraft Star Punch
X-Cut Corner Punch

Friday, 20 May 2016

Around the Campfire

I have another page from our NSD challenges at For the Love of Pretty Paper to share today; Sarah asked us to make a page based on this sketch and I decided to rotate it and flip it for two landscape photos.

My daughter's a young leader for the local cub pack and they attended a district camp last bank holiday weekend. These photos from the Saturday campfire were posted to Facebook by one of the other young leaders, and I had to pinch them and scrapbook them.

I used Simple Stories Awesome collection, and one of the papers had three stars in circles that were perfect for the three semi-circles on the sketch. I punched smaller circles from another paper to go with them, and inked some wood veneer stars too.

Paper - Simple Stories Awesome, Heidi Swapp Vintage Chic
Letters - American Crafts, Cosmo Cricket
Wood Veneer - Studio Calico
Ink - Docrafts, Ranger

Woodware Scalloped Circle Punch

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


I'm still sharing pages made for National Scrapbooking Day challenges. One of the challenges set in the For the Love of Pretty Paper Facebook group was to be inspired by coffee; the example that Ewelina made was a mixed media page that even included coffee grounds. I didn't go that far, but it was another opportunity to get messy with mists on my page. I had ideas for the background, but it took a few days for me to pair it with a suitable photo - one of Tower Bridge at sunrise.

I used four colours of mist on my background cardstock, then cut the 'Right on Target' cut file (from The Cut Shoppe) twice (in vellum and cardstock) to layer behind my photo. I finished the page with a cluster of embellishments next to the photo plus a diagonal line of small pearls.

Cardstock - Bazzill, DCWV
Vellum - The Works, My Mind's Eye
Transparency - American Crafts Dear Lizzy
Letters - American Crafts
Gold Clip - Studio Calico
Wood Veneer - Studio Calico
Enamel Dot - Teresa Collins
Pearls - Scrapberry's
Mists - Mister Huey's, Docrafts
Ink - Ranger

Silhouette Portrait

Right on Target Cut File from The Cut Shoppe

Monday, 16 May 2016

Time to Recharge

National Scrapbook Day has been and gone, but I still have more pages to share with you.

I did this one for a challenge in the For the Love of Pretty Paper Facebook group where we were asked to scraplift a page from Beth Moloney. The photo of the little girl in her pushchair harness reminded me of one of my son in his car-seat. Having had that idea, I didn't bother to think about any other photos. A quick flip through my papers brought me to the Elliott collection from Scrap Within Reach (dated 2008 but I bought it on clearance earlier this year). Again, I stopped there rather than waste time looking at alternatives.

The circles in the embellishment are chipboard buttons, which I covered with scraps of paper and I used another scrap to punch the stars.

Paper - Scrap Within Reach Oliver, Bo Bunny Zoology, Heidi Swapp No Limits
Letters - Simple Stories
Die-Cuts & Chipboard - from Stash
Word Stickers - Tim Holtz Idea-Ology
Buttons - Meiflower
Enamel Dots - Trimcraft, Doodlebug
Washi Tape - Efco
Mist - Docrafts
Ink - Ranger

Hobbycraft Star Punch

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Say Cheese

I'm combining NSD challenges again today, but this time there are only two of them! Shimelle posted a challenge to repeat a shape on your page, and in the For the Love of Pretty Paper Facebook group Natalie asked us to scrap using negative space.

I picked the Spin Cycle cut file from The Cut Shoppe with its repeating circles as the basis of my page and cut it from solid cardstock as I didn't want white edges to the cut and there's no way that I am going to ink the edges of all those openings. I kept hold of the middle circles and used them as templates to cut patterned paper pieces to back the negative spaces. 

I needed a photo without a story as too much journalling would have detracted from the design, so I picked a group picture of my daughter's Explorer Scout Unit, taken earlier this year. One of the older girls posted it on Facebook on the night that she moved on to Network (the group for 18-25 year old scouts) so I have no story. I'm going to ask my daughter to write a list of who's who (as I'm sure she'll forget in a few years) and I'll put that list on the back of the page.

I picked a co-ordinating card with a camera die-cut which I backed with a cardstock scrap and layered a camera wood veneer over it. The starburst wood veneer was lying on my desk and was perfect for filling one of the circles. I then had a rummage for a suitable third wood piece and found an @ to fill another circle and complete a triangle of wood veneer pieces. I was going to add a proper title, but didn't have an obvious place for it so I'm going to let the wording on the card double as my title this time.

Carsdstock - American Crafts
Paper - We R Memory Keepers Free Spirit
Card - We R Memory Keepers Indian Summer

Wood Veneer - Studio Calico, Heidi Swapp
Gem - Doodlebug

Silhouette Portrait

Spin Cycle Cut File from The Cut Shoppe

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Never Still

I've recently started watching Inkie Quill's videos on YouTube; I particularly like her Grab 5 videos where she grabs five products and includes all of them on a page (adding other products as necessary). It seems that the girls at For the Love of Pretty Paper have been inspired by her too, as they set a Grab 5 challenge as part of the celebrations of National Scrapbooking Day. The 2016 Bash Your Stash group also set a challenge to create a page inspired by a YouTuber so those two fit together perfectly.

The five items that I chose were ink pads, a mask, a 6x6 pad that's almost down to scraps, a flair badge and some chipboard stars. I'll admit that they weren't chosen at random, and I did have a plan for the page that would also knock off four more challenges. 

I made my own background for the last page, and after I'd finished it Shimelle set the same challenge. I could have linked my last page, and no-one would ever have known, but I decided to incorporate that again here, and Mercy Tiara asked us to scrap with red, yellow and blue which clearly guided my choices.

This week's challenge from The Studio Challenges is to be inspired by diamonds, be that the shape, the gem, the word or something else and obviously I've chosen to work with the shape. Finally Rochelle Spears asked us to use either flair or buttons in a 'This or That' challenge for May, and I've used the camera flair.

The photo is another old one of my son, where he moved as I took the picture. These days, with digital cameras, we'd just take another one, but this is all that I have and I decided to emphasize the movement with my title and journalling.

Cardstock - Bazzill?
Paper - My Mind's Eye Quilting Bee, My Mind's Eye Record It
Letters - October Afternoon

Flair - Quirky Kits
Stars - Studio Calico
Ink - Ranger, Docrafts, Memento
Washi Tape - Unknown
Mist - Docrafts

Tando Creative Harlequin Mask
Amy Tangerine Polka Dot Stamp

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Every Summer has a Story

I spent most of last weekend close to my computer, trying to keep track of just some of the National Scrapbook Day challenges that were going on. There were so many that you just had to combine them in order to get through a fraction of them. I've managed four here, though it helped that two of them are actually the same challenge.

Both Mercy Tiara and the 2016 Bash Your Stash group challenged us to create our own page background, while For the Love of Pretty Paper set a slightly different challenge - no patterned paper - which for me meant the same sort of thing. My final challenge is from Shimelle, who asked us to stamp an image, cut it out and use it on top of a photo.

I decided on a multi-photo page and picked three of my son in the paddling pool many years ago. I started my page from white cardstock, which I inked with a grid mask, then spattered with mists across the diagonal. I was going to use modelling paste with another stencil next, but my tube has completely dried up. I raided my husband's art supplies and found some heavy structure gel, which I thought would be similar, and used that instead. Although it's white in the jar it actually dried clear which I wasn't expecting but the clear circles add to the watery theme of the page. So far everything on the page was blue (or clear) so I used a bubble wrap stamp with yellow ink next. Photos and title card down, then I added sequins and gems to the diagonal line of mist and gel. I stamped the stripy stars and cut them out, but they got lost when placed directly on the photos. I also wanted more red on the page as I just had the big block from the title card. My solution was to place my stamped stars on red circles (and add word stickers); this does mean that my stamped stars aren't now directly on the photos, but I'm sure that Shimelle will forgive me.

White Cardstock
Simple Stories Insta-Squares
Word Stickers - Tim Holtz Idea-Ology
Star Sequins - from Stash
Gems - ZVA Creative
Ink - Ranger, Hobbycraft, Ink It Up!
Mist - Cosmic Shimmer, Docrafts

Creative Expressions Grid Mask
KaiserCraft Bubble Wrap Stamp
Heidi Swapp Stencil
Heidi Swapp Inspire Stamps

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Nan & Me - An NSD Challenge

Yesterday was National Scrapbooking Day and I'm trying to keep track of a variety of challenge sites who are having an NSD Extravaganza. The 'day' seems to have turned into at least a weekend and there are more and more challenges every year.

I'm mostly hanging out on Facebook, and for the second time I've been involved in setting one of the challenges in the For the Love of Pretty Paper Group. My challenge has just gone 'live' and this year I'm setting an alphabetical stash-busting challenge. I'd like you to pick any three consecutive letters of the alphabet and use an item for each of those three letters on a page. For example, you could pick Arrows, Brads and Circles, or Rub-Ons, Stickers and Twine. Of course there are 24 possibilities from ABC through to XYZ and it's up to you which letters you choose and what stash you bust. 

I made a sample page last weekend, and picked FGH for Flowers, Gems and Hearts. As the title says, it's a photo of my Nan & Me that was taken when we took her out for lunch last month. I picked the remnants of some papers from Teresa Collins and fussy cut two rows of flowers. I stuck one row flat to my background, and pop-dotted the second row so that I could tuck my photo in under it. 

Please come over to Facebook and share your pages in the group there - this is just one of the challenges, they are open for a week and we have prizes...

Paper - Teresa Collins Something Wonderful, Basic Grey Basics
Letter Stickers - My Mind's Eye
Frame Sticker - Echo Park
Heart Stickers - Sticko 
Word Stickers - Elle's Studio, My Mind's Eye
Washi Tape - Unknown
Brad - My Mind's Eye
Gems - ZVA Creative 
Ink - Docrafts

Big Shot & Cuttlebug Ampersand Die
Craft Creatives Heart Punch

Saturday, 7 May 2016


Today is National Scrapbook Day, but it's fast turning into a weekend or even longer. Scrap Our Stash and The ScrapRoom kicked off early with their combined challenges, so I've done my first NSD page already.

Scrap Our Stash asked us to used stash items from a list covering the letters S-T-A-S-H, and The ScrapRoom gave us a choice of five different sketches; I chose sketch 5 as the circle reminded me of a new cut file that I wanted to use.

My stash items are Staples, Tags, Arrows, Striped print and Hearts, and the choice of arrows satisfies Shimelle's latest weekly challenge too.   

I cut the 'Shattered Circle' background at just less than 8" wide which is all my Silhouette Portrait can manage, and backed each opening with patterned paper. Following the sketch exactly would have covered up too much of the circle so I used a single photo and reduced the size of the layers behind it. The photo is my dad, son and nephew many years ago. These boys are now adults, and my son voted for the first time this week.

Cardstcok - DCWV Neutral Stack
Paper - Fancy Pants Little Sport
Letters - American Crafts
Chipboard Tags - Woodware
Gems - Unknown
Ink & Mist - Docrafts

Silhouette Portrait
Big Shot & Little B's Arrows Die
Woodware Scalloped Circle Punch
Amy Tangerine Heart Stamp

Shattered Circle Cut File from Just Nick

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

London LOOP - Rainham to Purfleet

The London LOOP is a dodgy acronym for the London Outer Orbital Path, a 150 mile path around outer London. I have no intention of walking all of it, but the final section runs along the River Thames relatively near to where we live.

I chose the Capital Ring, a shorter (78 mile) orbital path, for a walking project this year and I walked the first section back in February. Unfortunately I chipped a bone in my foot in a silly accident less than a week later and that put paid to any serious walking for a while. I would like to get  back to that walk as soon as I can, but I decided to do something closer to home first in order to test how well my foot is healing.

Section 24 of the London LOOP joins the two railway stations at Rainham and Purfleet, but that's not my local line so I used the car and split the walk into two parts. I parked at the RSPB's Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve and walked from there to Purfleet station, then I caught the train to Rainham and walked back to the car.

The reserve is right next to the river, and I was soon on the riverside path, surprised to see a flotilla of boats heading up river towards the City with its skyscrapers clear to see even at this distance.

I almost lingered too long here watching the boats, as the level crossing was already descending as I approached Purfleet station. Slightly alarmed, I quickened my step, and made it onto the platform just as the train was arriving. I got off again one stop later and navigated my way out of the station and over the footbridge which crosses the Channel Tunnel Rail Link alongside. 

The footpath is well signposted with London Loop decals, 'rusty' metal signposts and Rainham to Purfleet Path markers (with distances).

I strode out confidently, heading south-ish and crossing the A13 safely, but was then was hit by a quandary. The path split in two, both signposted for Purfleet but at distances of three miles or four miles, and neither of them matching the descriptions in my walk guide notes or the path as marked on the map. I decided on the longer route, then had second thoughts and back-tracked to look for the London LOOP logo. I found it and was relieved that I had picked the right path after all, and annoyed that I hadn't checked the marker previously.

Off I went again, passing a curious concrete 500 in the grass, 

following the path as it skirted the edge of the marshes, yards away from the edge of the Ferry Lane Industrial Estate.

The path then cuts through the industrial estate and across to the Thames, running below the level of the flood wall, and passing between the Tilda rice factory and its private wharf. 

Passing the next jetty, I came to one of the 'sights' on this walk - a group of 16 concrete barges, constructed in the 1940s and used to create artificial harbours for the D-Day landings, now abandoned and left to rot.

Almost next to the barges is The Diver, a galvanised steel sculpture by John Kaufman. It might look delicate but it weighs several tonnes and is anchored into the river bed. The proportion of the sculpture on show varies with the state of the tide, but it seems that I'd hit it at about the right time. 

Next up was a less salubrious sight, the grassy mound that covers part of a landfill site. Something startled these birds and they rose up into the air en masse as I passed.

The river is at least partly the reason for the landfill site; barges come down-river from London, depositing the capital's waste into the Essex countryside.

Onwards to Coldharbour Point, and the lighthouse there. It looks like quite a modern structure, but it was built in 1885. 

Rounding the point, the Queen Elizabeth II bridge came into sight, and would be in view for the rest of my walk. This is part of the Dartford Crossing, and carries the M25 over the Thames (southbound) while two tunnels take it north.

The path follows a narrow strip of land between industrial units and the river, but there's room for nature too as I spotted bluebells and butterflies beside the path. 

Eventually, I left the landfill and the industry behind me as I reached Rainham Marshes, part of the RSPB Nature Reserve.

The area's hemmed in by roads and railways, but it used to be an MOD firing range so it remained wild, the largest area of wetlands on the Thames estuary. Some of the targets are still here, including this rifle target built in 1906. Paper targets used to be hoisted above the numbers, and the steps in front were covered with sand to absorb stray bullets.

Onwards I went, legs beginning to ache, past the seemly-unending marshes,

watching the progress of the City of Westminster as she came upstream,

until eventually the visitor centre came into sight. 

Not far to go now, and I paused one last time to look back on my route.

Marsh on the right, river on the left, even the green hill of the landfill site looks pretty at a distance.

One final thing, I have recently 'inherited' my husband's old smartphone, and I used the Map My Walk app to track this walk. I almost forgot to start the mapping, so the trail starts a little while after Rainham station, but this is where I went.