Category Archives: Crafting

The last of the layout challenges (for now)

The fourth layout challenge for National Scrapbook Day (hosted at was to create a page around a photo with a hidden story.  This challenge should have been a piece of cake for me — for I love to tell a good story.  But, I labored over what photo to choose, what story to tell, and I finally settled on this photo as the focus of my page:

This photo was taken just days before Christmas and Simon is in fact wearing his first of several festive outfits (Santa’s Little Helper shirt gifted by friends from church), but I decided to step away from all the Christmas papers and stickers and embellishments and so I turned to a few pieces of paper from K & Company in the Blue Awning line that I’ve been saving.  I wanted to include some photos other than the one with the hidden story and this is what I came up with:

I remember this day like it was yesterday!  It was just a couple days before Christmas and we spent the afternoon shopping in town.  I needed to find a place to nurse, and fast, and so that meant tea or coffee somewhere.  We decided to give the cafe in Marks & Spencer a whirl…and it was fabulous!  My mom enjoyed a slice of Victoria Sponge and I gambled on a slice of Sticky Toffee Cake (and was SO glad I took the risk).  We enjoyed tea and then snapped some photos of sweet Simon, trying to capture his festive attire.

We headed to the bathroom to change his diaper and this is where the hidden story comes into play.  Up until this point, Simon had cried his way through every single diaper change.  No, I’m not exaggerating —  We went into the baby change room and fully expected a screaming fit, but much to our surprise, he didn’t make a peep.  I was dumbfounded and immediately reached for the camera because I just knew at any moment the screaming would commence.  It never did.  Our little boy made it through an entire diaper change without making a single sound.  I guess he decided all was well in the world right there in Marks & Spencer.  I left the bathroom in utter disbelief and awe and reported the fantastic news to my mom — who promptly cheered for Simon as any good grandmother would do!

I wish I could say that he never again wailed through a diaper change.  He has on several occasions since screamed bloody murder.  He’s gotten a bit better now (thank goodness since he’s staring down six months next weekend!).

A few more details about the page: I love the journaling cards and sticky border tape, both by K & Company.

I don’t have a fancy border punch yet (I plan on using a Jo-Ann’s or Michael’s coupon for one this summer when I’m home), so I made my own border by punching several one inch circles, inking the edges, and then just assembling them in a straight line underneath a photo.  I am pleased with how it turned out:

This layout took the most time to put together and I’m so grateful to CK for giving me so much time in my office this afternoon and evening!  It’s been such a fun week of scrapbooking and creating these layouts to participate in the Scrapbooking Day challenges.  I hope I don’t lose my motivation.


Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Crafting


Layout 3: The Owl and the Pussycat Tea Party

I first saw the Owl and the Pussycat cookies at a Starbucks during our visit to the US last summer.  My mom had her eye on them, so I bought a box and we had them at a special tea party

It was a great excuse to break out the special Wind in the Willows plates, too.  And, since I just got a new camera, it was fun to pull out all the Owl and the Pussycat things to take a picture (or two or ten):

The little Golden Book that is propped open is what started my love of the Owl and the Pussycat.  It was one of a few special books my mom gave me when I had the chicken pox back in 1984 and I remember looking through the book and falling in love with the illustrations. 

Anyway, it was a nice tea party we had together back in June.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the Owl and the Pussycat cookies in my neighborhood Waitrose!  And, for just £1.99, which seemed like such a bargain compared to the $5.00 price tag they had at Starbucks.  I promptly bought three boxes, sent one to my mom in a back-to-school box, and kept the other two in the back of my cupboard squirrelling them away so we could have a tea party when she came to visit at Christmas.  I was just sure that Waitrose was going to sell out of the special cookies (of course, they did not).

Then, one day while I was searching eBay for cute Owl and the Pussycat things (like onesies and pajamas, both of which I scored for Simon), I stumbled upon a set of Royal Daulton plates (just like the Wind in the Willows ones my mom has) and so, on a whim, I bid on them.  It was a ridiculously low bid for the set of four and I never thought I’d actually win.  I did.

The plates and the cookies sealed the deal: we were going to have an Owl and the Pussycat tea party when my mom visited at Christmas.  I was going to dress Simon in his Owl and the Pussycat pajamas, we’d eat the special cookies off the special plates, and I might even christen my cupcake maker and make owl cupcakes (that has yet to happen).

I had no idea that my mom was going to gift Simon with some wonderful Owl and the Pussycat things: a beautiful quilt, a double handled baby mug, a pea green boat, and two wonderful copies of the book.  Those gifts served as the decorations for our tea party and on December 29, 2010, we enjoyed those sweet cookies on the sweet plates…along with some other sweet treats. 

I chose to scrap the pictures from that tea party for this next challenge.  The mission was to create a layout with a border between two photos.  We could use as many photos and as many borders as we wanted, but the border had to go between the photos – not off to the side or above or below.  This time I just tried to come up with something on my own and not try to completely copy Shimelle’s example.  Here’s the end result:

I wanted to use all four photos, so I came up with this layout -a grid of sorts, with four pictures and four combinations of borders.  My favorite border, of course, is the sparkly, glittery TEA PARTY against the sparkly, glittery blue snowflake paper:

I used a stocking embellishment that says TREATS which I tied in with a glittery sticker on a plate full of treats:

Aren’t the pastel Owl and Pussycat plates the perfect dish for this tea party?  And those sweet little teapot lemon cookies added a nice touch, I think.  The border between the plate of goodies and the silver plate of the star of the party (macarons) was a simple pale blue ribbon and gingerbread house embellishment:

The final border on the page is the journaling space – a stamp from the 7 Gypsies set I just discovered I had:

I’m so happy to have these photos scrapped so I can look back and remember the great tea party I shared with my mom.

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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Crafting


Layout Challenge #2

CK came home from work and after greeting him with just a diaper-clad baby at the front gate I said, “Just give me 30 minutes, ok?”  Well, I needed 46 to create (and completely finish!) this next layout for another Scrapbooking Day challenge hosted  by Shimelle.

My office is still a wild mess, but it’s what I like to call an organized mess.  Only Christmasy things are strewn about: pretty papers with names like Peppermint Twist and Swell Noel; big, chunky, cutesy chipboard stickers that say HO HO HO and BELIEVE; and hundreds (yes, hundreds) of photos taken in the last two weeks of December.  It’s definitely putting me in the mood to deck the halls and put on some Christmas music already…and it’s just May!

Anyway, this challenge was a bit more difficult to tackle than simply making a layout on a piece of patterned paper.  The challenge was to create a triangle, which seems easy enough  because I could’ve just arranged three photos on a page in a triangular format.  But, I wanted to copy Shimelle’s layout and have three things such as an embellishment, a title, and a journaling spot that together create a triangle if a line were drawn connecting the items and to place my photos within the triangle.  Apparently, once upon a time, this technique was widely used (maybe it still is?) in the scrapping world.

So, here it is:

I created this layout on the backside of the page from the last challenge (I love double sided paper!).  I also used all Peppermint Twist and Swell Noel supplies, so both pages are similar in color.

The page is all about Simon’s Christmas presents from Grandma and the triangle effect comes from the title tag that I stamped using my handy 99 p alphabet stamps from The Range

the gift embellishment to tie in the Christmas presents

and the journaling circle that I stamped using a set of 7 Gypsies stamps I got on the scrapbooking cruise I went on back in September 2007 and just now opened for the first time!

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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Crafting


First Layout Challenge

It took about a week for me to straighten up my office and organize my scrapbook supplies and then it took about 30 minutes to mess it all up.

I wish I had a before picture, but you’ll just have to trust me that everything was in its proper place and looked beautiful.  While I loved the clean look of everything, I think I love the mess even more because it means I’ve been able to dive into embellishments and stickers and pretty papers and stacks of pictures (oh, my!).  With CK’s help yesterday, I stole away into my office for 30 minutes (though I might’ve stretched it to about 40) so I could create a layout for one of Shimelle’s Scrapbooking Day challenges.

The challenge was about as simple as could be: create a layout on a piece of patterned paper.  I already knew I wanted to do a Christmas page, but I always have such a hard time getting started.  I spent all of Simon’s hour nap yesterday just looking through photos trying to decide which one/s I wanted to use.  Did you get that?  I spent an hour just trying to decide what photo/s to use!  By the time CK got home from work and took Simon on a walk around the yard for 30 minutes, I knew I had to spring into high gear if I wanted to get anything accomplished and chose the only two photos from Christmas day that had all three of us.

With no guidelines other than using a piece of patterned paper, I was having a bit of difficulty starting.  I kept staring at the piece of paper and two photos I chose and just didn’t know where to start.  So, I decided that I would just do my best to copy Shimelle’s layout and by the time CK and Simon came back inside, I was just about finished with my page.

It took just a few more minutes after Simon went down for the night to finish adhering everything to the page and to add the journaling.  All in all, I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  I love the sparkle and I also love having lots of different items from the same line that complement each other. 

I can’t wait to put a layout together for the next challenge!

I used paper, chipboard letters, grand adhesions, and stickers all from K & Company in either Swell Noel or Peppermint Twist.

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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Crafting


Half way through December already?

     I can’t believe that December is half over!  At least we now have a tree topper!  I made this little felt mitten Friday night as a Christmas ornament.  I was trying to decide which way I should hang it: right side up or upside down?  In the end I decided that I would hang it upside down and leave an opening so that I could put something in the mitten – like a candy cane or something.  And then I remembered the Black Apple’s Christmas tree topper.  I didn’t set out to copy her (and, not that this silly felt mitten really could be viewed as copying her), but Clark Kent and I both think it looks kind of cute up there.  (Its other side is in the reverse colors.)  We did try to secure for ourselves a real tree topper.  In fact,  we tried three different times to purchase a glittery star topper for just 50 p from Woolworth’s (each time we went with a different color: gold, silver, red).  Each time we failed to purchase it because the cashier lines were entirely too long or the store was closing unexpectedly.  Yesterday afternoon, we headed to Woolworth’s at 3:55 pm.  We were going to try one last time to get that silly tree topper.  Someone greeted us at the door and said, “We’re closing in 5 minutes.”  I looked at the sign on the door that clearly stated opening hours were from 10-4:30 on Sunday.  Irritated, Clark Kent and I just turned around and left – without a tree topper.  So, the felt mitten is here to stay.  I am now in the midst of a very tedious ornament project.  I’m not sure if I’ll even have the patience to finish this ornament, but it’s a wedding themed ornament with the only printed picture from the wedding that I have.  (We have over 1,000 pictures between my photos, Linda’s, Alias’s, and the professional photographer’s loaded onto Walmart, but we never printed any before we left for England.  We just have this one photo of us that a friend of mine sent in a card after the wedding.)

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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in Crafting, Holiday Cheer


Gingerbread Man

The first sleepless night in a week or so prompted me to make the latest addition to our Christmas tree, a good old fashioned gingerbread man.  The bow tie gave me a bit of trouble and I ripped off the first after it was messily stitched on.  My second attempt at affixing the bow tie wasn’t much better; it was, afterall, in the wee hours of the night/morning that I was crafting this little one.  I wanted to make him double sided, but I took the easy way out.  All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this guy as he was not copied from a pattern.  I simply drew him and then made him.  “Not the gum drop buttons,” kept going through my mind as I sewed him up.  I saw a set of gingerbread men cookie cutters in a store somewhere in town that had injured gingerbread men.  I thought it was funny – a cookie cutter with a gingerbread man missing a leg or arm.  Ha!

Today will be a lazy Saturday.  It’s been raining all morning – the kind of drops you can actually hear hitting the windowsills and ground, not the usual misty rain that is hardly noticeable when you’re walking around in it.  So, we’re staying inside all day.  Clark Kent will read some more about Obama, I will craft some more with felt, and we’ll both enjoy hot beverages and shortbread cookies as we get to work on Christmas cards that should have been finished last week!  I wish we had more of these lazy Saturdays – especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas where we can just sit by the tree and be quiet.  

Happy Weekend.

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Posted by on December 13, 2008 in Crafting, Holiday Cheer


Baking & Crafting

Well, I’ve gotten back into the crafting spirit.  Until Monday, the last ornament/craft I made was the Obama sun to celebrate his victory on November 5.  So, I jumped into crafting again on Monday night and the living room has been littered with scraps of felt and embroidery floss ever since.  Clark Kent lays on the couch and reads whilst I craft.  He’s reading the first Obama book and every now and then he’ll look up from his book and I from my ornament because he has something fascinating to share – like Obama’s dad’s first wife lives in our county, Berkshire.   Anyway, it’s a lovely way to spend our evenings.  I will show off my latest two ornaments (I’m keeping a couple a surprise).

The Christmas tree circle and the Star Trek thingie are the new additions.   Those glitter baubles (the pink and the purple) came from The Pier.  They’re going out of business and we waited in line to pay for those suckers for about 30 minutes.  I’m not exaggerating.  The place was a mad house last Saturday evening.  It felt like standing in line for a Disney ride.  

Since tomorrow we’re having a guest for dinner and I will actually cook up a dinner, I decided to take tonight off (we’re having a frozen pizza!).  So, since I had a bit of time on my hands this afternoon/evening, I decided to bake a couple of things: one out of necessity since we’re now out of breakfast bread and the other out of curiosity.   May I present Aloha Bread and Cinnamon Butter Cookies:

Both recipes came from – which is my second favorite website (bloglines is my first).  I can’t wait to try the Aloha bread.  It’s banana bread with crushed pineapple and coconut.  It just sounds so delicious.  And it baked up perfectly!  The cinnamon butter cookies are made with dark brown sugar.  I was happy to find a recipe that called for dark brown sugar!  I had to bake them in my 13×9 cake pan as I have yet to add the Faberware cookie sheet to my collection.  When we were at TK Maxx this weekend, Clark Kent even offered to purchased a new pan, but I turned him down afraid that we were spending too much money (as we bought MUCH needed 100% cotton sheets for both our bed and the guest bed…since we’re having a guest in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS NOW!).  The cookies are pretty good.  They’re crisp on the outside and pretty cakey on the inside.  They’ll be quite delicious with a nice mug of milk.  They’ll accompany this evening’s crafting/reading session quite nicely, I think.

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Posted by on December 10, 2008 in Crafting, In the Kitchen