Friday, 31 December 2010

GOODBYE 2010 - HELLO 2011

This photo was taken exactly one year ago. We had invited neighbours round to celebrate the New Year in. And what a year it has been. Much unpredicted and unexpected, and undoubtedly a good one. Incidentally, the yellow post-its were part of a game!

I started by taking part in Project 365. Taking a photo a day was an interesting idea and at times my enthusiasm waned when photo opportunities were lacking or the light was poor. But I enjoyed the challenge and look back with a sense of achievement. My album is here if you would like to see it.

Year two on the allotment was successful and besides pickling and storing, I needed to buy a second freezer for the rest of the produce that I grew. I enjoyed pouring through Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver & other favourite cook books & cooking new recipes. One major success was the Green Tomato cake. Well, I needed to use the glut somehow!

In May I discovered ecourses and signed up for Kelly Rae Roberts 'Taking Flight'. This led me on to starting a blog. If you told me this would happen a year ago I would have laughed! Nothing had been further from my mind. But it has introduced me to some wonderful new friends, new ideas, and an unhealthy addiction to the computer! I went on to take a number of other e-courses, and my creativity has really taken off this year. It has been a productive and positive experience, best of all, because I have been able to share my experience with others and this has made it all the more exciting and worthwhile.

I have had some wonderful trips away with family and with friends. The Gypsy Camp was a weekend to remember, and I made lots of new friends at the Belstead Residential. Further weekends are mentally planned for the coming year!

One of my most exciting events was the birth of my third granddaughter, Wren Blossom. I am so lucky to have my family live nearby and to see them regularly.

My circle of local friends continue to meet regularly, to write, create, or just talk. But my social network has really grown this year. As well as meeting new people on-line I joined a local group that meets monthly. This has also taken my creative journey on to new unexpected paths and little did I know a year ago how much my world would open up. I have picked up my knitting needles again, and taught myself to crochet (still very novice & learning!). Oh... and I also learned how to make felt and how to use my overlocker. So much in so little time. I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store!

One thing on my list for 2011 is to teach myself how to use Photoshop Elements. I have the software, good inspirational books, and enthusiasm. I just need the perseverance and commitment. So as I say goodbye to one year, I look forward to another. I hope your own journey has been as exciting and rewarding. And I hope you have a wonderful new year with
everything that you wish for.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Slowly... slowly....

... my Journal Your Christmas Album is coming together. Today my workdesk is covered with papers and photos as I try and catch up, I have now done page 4 so only 25 to go!! Though I have not had time to work on the album my mind has been busy with ideas, photos are printed or planned, and it is quite exciting snatching today and tomorrow to bring things together. As always I am going into detail instead of a quick page... no wonder why it takes me so long! Do you do this too I wonder?
It has been nice thinking about each page. What kind of Christmas cards I send, who to, and whether I hand make or buy. It made me think about how pressured I often end up, trying to make so many cards and to include letters to people I don't have contact with during the year.
This year I bought most my cards, and wrote a short hand written note instead of a round robin letter. On my page I printed a photo I used on the cards that I did make, and behind it I journalled on a card I had bought.

I have always wanted to use this next photo in a page, so thinking about what makes Christmas perfect was the ideal excuse! The is photo was taken last year at my granddaughters pre-school nativity. It was called a 'Christmas Happening' because a group of 3 year olds are unpredictable and all kinds of unexpected things might happen. It went quite smoothly, a part from Mary leaving the stage to go to the toilet, and a couple of boys poking each other playfully. The highlight for me though was the expressions on my granddaughters face. This angelic picture melts my heart and I used it on my last year Christmas cards:

I also treasure the other photos I took during that performance and I could not leave them out. So I printed them wallet size onto a large tag and slipped it into a wallet, made by glueing two pages together. I laminated the tag to make it stronger. You can see this on the table top and some of the photos here.

In a recent post I spoke about experimenting with my new Big Shot. Since then I found a YouTube video where someone was cutting out snowflakes from a drinks can. Today I tried it out. First time it embossed the metal rather than cut through - an interesting technique in its own right. However, I wanted to cut the shapes so I added one of the tabs and put it through again. Then I embossed the shapes them, using the Big Shot, and I am quite pleased with the result.

I am looking forward to collecting more dies and embossing pads. I did wonder at first if my new toy was one of those impulsive buys that might end up on the shelf, but so far I can say I am quite excited about how versitile it is proving to be.

Must get back to my album now and finish acouple more pages!!

I hope you had a good Christmas. Mine was lovely, spent with my family, and I have lots more photos added to my collection.

A very Happy New Year to you. I hope it brings you lots of good things and that it is a healthy, happy & creative one!

Friday, 24 December 2010

The night before Christmas.....

The waiting is nearly over..........


Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Since my last blog I have been busy creating Christmas and coping with the snow. I love the contrast of seasons so in a way I relish the current weather and it really does feel like Christmas. At home we have had to contend with frozen water pipes which have now been lagged so hopefully no more problems. We have also been unable to get to work some days as the road conditions have been just too bad. This has given me time to do other things and for the first time in many years we actually put the Christmas tree up on 1st December and decorated the house. Usually I make most my cards but this year decided not to put myself under pressure and bought most instead. I tried not to feel guilty but decided I wanted to put my energy into something different this year. So I have taken part in Shimelle's Journal your Christmas. Being snowed in gave me the perfect opportunity to make my album and put my first pages together.

Unfortuantely life happened, as it always does, so the rest of my pages remain as ideas and prompts ready to put together. I'm really enjoying the daily downloads from Shimelle and thinking about Christmas past & present.

This photo was taken last week for 'What's on Your Workdesk. Wednesday?' But I did not have time to post..... the table looks much the same, and much remains work in progress though my cards are now finished. One of the other albums on the table is 'Inspiration Everywhere', another e-course I have been doing. This was a free offering from the talented Jessica Sprague. It involved making an album to use for art journalling, and there were some lovely papers and ideas, including making a CD of inspirational music and doing hand prints which was a lot of fun.
If you share my interest in creative e-courses you may also be interested in Big Picture. They offer free classes as well as a range of others which are reasonably priced. One I am signed up for starts in Feburary and is called 'Embrace Imperfection'. A good way to start the new year!

One exciting event has been the recent arrival of a new granddaughter, Wren.

I will write about this another time but I mention it because a friend of my daughter did a wonderful photoshoot of the baby and her sisters. It was the perfect gift and I have used some of these photos for my Christmas cards this year.
The photos are very special and I can see these being used in lots of future projects.

TodayI received more dies through the post for my new Big Shot. Oh the excitement and anticipation!! I'm starting to experiment and getting to know what this machine is capable of. Today I have been making my own rubber stamps using a Tim Holzt alphabet die. I started by cutting the shapes from a sheet of funky foam and backed them onto EZ Mount so I can print using an acrylic block . So good so far....

Spot the not-deliberate mistake? I thought I had considered mirror image when placing the foam on the die, but forgot that this will be reversed again when it is printed! I always find it best to learn by mistakes and I can remedy this by taking the letters off the foam mount and reversing it. It just means cutting the backing all over again, tedious but at least I can watch a Christmas film on tv while doing it! I got the idea from a YouTube video. I love the way people are so generous in their sharing and I wanted to pass this on as it is so useful.
I will
show you the stamps when I have finished them. I would not have thought to use my Big Shot in this way so am getting quite excited as all the possibilities. I have also been busy sewing and will share these next week as they are Christmas presents and I want no peeking! Tonight I have presents to wrap. Top of the Pops Christmas Special is playing in the background so it is feeling quite festive, specially with snow lying outside and the prospect of more to come.

Have a very Happy Christmas. Some people will have plans disrupted because of the weather & impact on travel. What ever you do, be safe, and have a happy and peaceful holiday.

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