Monday, December 22

Christmas cheer

Still here, still battling on.  Old computer still out of action, but getting more used to the  lap top now.  Haven't uploaded any photos yet, that's a must on the to do list.  Also need to look and see if it can cope with a hook up to the printer, but not sure if that will happen this side of the new year!

The days are zooming by and Christmas fast approaches.  The schools have broken up, we've had the church nativity (Small-n-Grubby was Joseph and Branston Pickle was a king) and now I'm on to the big tidy up before Christmas Eve.

Hope everyone's having a peaceful run up to Christmas.


Monday, December 8


December has come in with a whimper and then a bang as my computer went phut!  I'm reduced to using an old laptop that even the out-laws have rejected.  The cursor jumps from one line to another of its own free will and it sends e-mails whilst you're still typing them.

Press return and you could end up anywhere!  Quite exciting, and how about a change of font and size without the need for any user input.

That's better.  I think I'm reasonably organised as far as Christmas is concerned.  Apart from a few photos I'd planned to print off and frame.  I think the laptop might have a nervous breakdown if I attached a printer to it, but I might give it a go.

That's it I can't be bothered to type and correct any more.  Coursework is going to be a nightmare on this thing.  The keys are 4 inches from the front of the machine - who has wrists that long???


Saturday, November 29

No room, no room!

It's official there's no room in my life for the things that I would actually call my life!
All that time set aside to literally put the house in order was totally monopolised rescuing someone else from their own disaster.  Now December is looming and I just have a handful of days to myself in which to get anything done when there isn't half a dozen other people trying to get a piece of my time.

So, where to go from here?  Do I set aside all forms of creativity - crafting, decorating, photography - it seems the obvious thing to do, but then what is left of me?  Just a shell?  What do I do?


Monday, November 17

Reality Check

My home looks like it belongs to one of those hoarders they show on TV.  We've been turning out and doing the place up for a year now, progress is slow.  Watch out horrific pictures of disorganised living coming up. 

This is the craft area.  My course work is taking up more time than I anticipated, you can see it sitting on top of the debris.
The hall where we have been turning out the loft.
The unusable dining area.
The TV area where the boys have scatter bombed it with Lego.
The front door (currently jammed shut) with boxes for the dump stacked up in front of the heating system so we can't turn it on!
With the prospect of spending another Christmas here it just can't stay this way, so here's the plan.  I'm taking Friday through to Monday out (apart from some essential meetings) and planning to blitz it.  If the TV hoarders can clean up there act in 4 days then so can I!!!

Wish me luck?  After photos to follow next week.


Sunday, November 2

Post Holiday Blues

I'm back from a family week away with no internet connection.  It's been glorious weather in wonderful company.  Pictures and news to follow, plus I think a few changes are needed.


Friday, October 31

Friday, October 24

Scooby-Doo impressions

My Friday smile for this week.  What do you wear to a 1960's themed day?

Your best Scooby-Doo outfit of course.
Here's (not-so) Small-n-Grubby dressed as Fred, who just scrapes into the 60's with a first airing in 1969.  Not sure about the hair, that mop is all his own (in case you were wondering).

Happy Friday smiles everyone.


Wednesday, October 22

It's Time For Coats

It's the first day of the school break and I'm sat in the kitchen with the fan heater on.  It's definitely chilly, definitely autumn and definitely time to dig out the warm coats.

My winter coat for the last 2 years has been functional and warm with a sort of hiking style.  It's been to camp, smells of campfires and is looking well used.  In my attempt to (sort of) capsule my wardrobe it is being labelled camping, hiking, gardening and anything else cold with potential mess.  I've then bought not 1 but 2 new coats for this autumn/winter.

This dark navy one from QVC, under their Centigrade label, I hope will take me from shopping to a drink at the pub or a meal out with a good smart yet casual vibe.  it's not waterproof, but I imagine wearing it on occasion when an umbrella will be at hand. 
Centigrade Zip Front Quilt Jacket with Leatherette Trim

I like the collar detail and that it has no belt.  I've worn it already and it was warm and exactly as I'd hoped it would be.

In preparation for heavy rain and the really cold weather my second choice is this one.
The style is very different for me.  It's light weight with minimal padding, I have plenty of that of my own! The length is down to my knees so I can arrive at work without the thighs of my trousers being wet and the reviews I've seen say it's good for keeping the cold winds out.

I was skeptical about the colour.  Should I choose black on a padded coat to be slimming?  In the end I went for it.  I suspect a long coat doesn't suit my 5' 4" frame but I wanted the extra protection from the elements.  I'm sure the right weather to test it out won't be far away!


Friday, October 17

Friday Smile

Joining Annie's Friday smiles this week with a little surprise.
I've had my waist length hair cut off for donation to the Little Princess Trust.  The Dinky Diva had 7 inches cut off hers as well.  Hopefully we have put a smile on the face of a little princess somewhere.


Monday, October 13


Inspired by Krista's post here, I thought I would blog a little update of where I'm at currently.

In front of me right now are Reese's mini peanut butter cups.  No doubt they will be lodging on my thighs shortly!  Keeping me company is this little guy.
I think they like the heat from the screen as I find one hanging around quite often.

Be prepared for gale force winds around southern England this week as we've finally got the fence put back up that blew down in the spring.

No recent spending on craft supplies.  I've been very good turning out and getting tidy ready to have a fully functional creative space.  More on that as it happens.  I have bought some new clothes though as I'm working more hours and all my clothes have become 'work wear'.  New items include this White Stuff shirt to wear under wide neck knits...

and this cute map print cardi...

So I can have something to wear with jeans at the weekend and not feel like it's all work and no play.

My childcare qualifications seem to take up nearly all my spare time at present, but hopefully rearranging my creative space will mean that even 10 minutes to spare can be put to good use.  Well that's the plan anyway.

Expect lots of blog posts on a Monday - it's when I've scheduled the housework into my weekly plan!!


Wednesday, October 8

How Old?!? WOYWW

Last time I joined in at WOYWW there were quite a few comments generated by my announcement that I was dramatically reducing my craft supplies.  Thank you, it was interesting to read them all and I will definitely return to the subject when I get nearer to my goal.  In the meantime, my turning out has unearthed this BasicGrey card making kit which must date back a good few years, perhaps 5?
With the use it or lose it ethos, and twin great-nephews 3rd birthday's coming up, I decide to make up what was left of the kit and - look away now - ditch any bits left over!
Here's a few of the finished cards now on the desk waiting to be filed in the cards ready to send box.
Before I sign-off to look at some desks, a quick thank you to Twiglet for this lovely collage she sent me in exchange for some of my crafting chuck outs.
Love the colours and the 3d detail.

Wednesday, September 17

I'm Still Here

Not sure how many times I may have typed that blog title?  But, I am still here.  Reading blogs daily, dipping into my Twitter feed and generally mooching about.  I've finally got my new work schedule and it's a little more full on than last term, hitting some of the times I might have normally thought about crafting and blogging.  So, I need a new plan to maximise my free time to include:
- Relaxing
- Creating - what ever form that may take
- Family time
- Household chores
- Voluntary work  
I'll have to give it some thought.

The early mornings are getting chillier here, but we've been blessed with some very sunny days and more are forecast as on the way.  With my schedule feeling a bit overwhelming the summer holidays seem like a long time ago.
My thoughts are often here, rather than where they should be!


Wednesday, September 3


There's been a little link on my side bar to Society6 for some time now.  It's where I upload my photos to be made into products for sale.  Admittedly, it's been a bit neglected lately, but I notice they have some fab new products available since I last looked, including tote bags.

I think I might have to upload some more pictures and get shopping!  If you are in the UK keep an eye open for their special postage deals and then with the exchange rate there are some good buys to be had.  I'll try and remember to shout next time I see one available.


Tuesday, September 2

One Little Word

I've been keeping the summer vibes going with some bright little bracelets featuring word beads.
Blue Moon Beads metallic words come in silver and gold and feature words such as 'faith, 'wish', 'wisdom' and 'love'.   They're very tactile and have a pleasing irregular shape.  I think they could be made into great gifts for a celebration or to offer support to a loved one.
The bracelets I've made use glass, acrylic or ceramic beads strung simply on wire and crimped at the end to hold them in place and provide a loop to attach the clasps to.  Match them up with your favourite colours and you have a piece of jewellery with a little bit of personal meaning to take you into the new season.
All of the beads and findings used are from Blue Moon Beads.


Wednesday, August 27

Learn Something New

Shimelle tweeted a reminder earlier today that next week is the start of September and so time for her annual Learn Something New Everyday online course/challenge.  First of all there is no way that next week can be September.  Are you sure you folks just haven't got this wrong somewhere?

Last September saw a shakeup in my personal life and, as the craziness landed in mid-September, my LSNED book remains a lasting record of my state of mind at the time.  Changes in my life and priorities have left their mark.  I now have much less time and inclination to pursue my creative hobbies and I dream of returning to the bliss of creating a little bit each day and the peace of mind that it gave me.

As things have been a little shaky again this last week I've decided to keep my LSNED in diary format.  Documenting where I am and what I'm learning along the way.  If there's time for a bit of prettiness, some patterned paper or a few stamps then so be it, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it if it doesn't happen.

I just need a nice little book for my diary.  Perhaps one of these little spotty numbers from Paperchase.

Or one of these vintage blossoms from Papermash.

Will you be Learning Something New Everyday in September?  If so, what are your recording plans?


Monday, August 25

Not Again!!!

Been away camping and come home to yet another kick in the teeth.  Expect things to be a bit slow around here while I find my feet.  I did make some jewellery before I left so perhaps my 1st aim should be to photograph that and get it blogged.  It's dark and pouring with rain, so let's just hope for better things tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 6

WOYWW #270

I think it's exactly 20 weeks since I was last here for WOYWW.  "And what's on your workdesk?" I hear you say.  Well, nothing actually.  I have exactly nil projects in progress at the moment (other than the ones that have been sat in a box for months, because we all have a box like that, right?)

I have been sorting my supplies though.  In an attempt to reduce my stash by about 2/3rds so that it reflects what I actually use and fits into the space that I actually have, I have been purging big time.  Stamps are one of the items to be hit hard.  Here's the current status of cling and clear stamps.
Basically, I kept every stamp that ever came my way, whether I used it or not and that was a situation that could not continue.   All of the foam backed ones that I never use are gone along with loads of those free ones off the front of magazines.
I think there are more that can go, but at least they are (nearly) all on the shelves.

I found this really cute set of chicken wire shelves for my Distress Stains and Paints.  They are full, so no room for any more, well i could probably squeeze in a couple.
Before you consider me a paragon of virtue and remove my name from the list of messiest desks, I have to admit that my paper supplies still look like this.
So a bit more work to do there!  Happy Wednesday.


Tuesday, August 5

BoBunny Scrapbook Page

So, yesterday I said that today I would update on my craft stash reorganising, but that was because yesterday I thought that today would be Wednesday, but it's not, at least I don't think it is?  Ah, the joys of the summer holidays when the children fighting and arguing blurs from one day into the next.
This little cherub is no longer so little, but still just as messy.   I made this page using a sketch from Shimelle for an inspiration party that ended in June, so only slightly behind the times!
The background paper is one of those designs I've been hoarding, Mama-Razzi2 from BoBunny.  The designs are covered in lovely old camera prints and shutter designs.  The colour combo is a bit dark though - powers that be Mama-Razzi3 in pastels with a shot of brights running through it please.
I've done the classic 'pick colours from the photo' for the embellishments, using pink, yellow and aqua.  I think most of it's Kelly Purkey's Mon Ami, I couldn't resist using that 'Foodie' arrow in the top right-hand corner.  The alpha stickers are a mix of old Papermania foam ones and Tim Holtz little type writter ones.

Back to being referee, seconds out, round 4!

(Oh, and that update on my supplies organising tomorrow, definitely.)


Monday, August 4

Nautical Blueprint - Tim Holtz

A few days on and I'm feeling a little better.  Nothing like a vent and a good rant to clear the cobwebs.  I've taken on too much this summer and not left any time for summer. I have to accept that, make the most of things and remember not to do it again!

I have to keep remembering to nurture my creative side, otherwise I am just not me.  There are a couple of new creations on my desk, for some reason the blogging part has been a stumbling block.  When I sat down and thought about it, I really didn't want to give it up, so here I am.

Whilst I've not had the time I would like to create, I have been signed up to Camp Scrap over at Craft With May.  There are so many videos to watch, I have them playing in the background whilst I tackle my chores.  This card is for a birthday coming up and uses one of the sketches from the 'By Design' section.
 It's practically all Tim Holtz products.  The Nautical Blueprints stamp set, I love.  The whole of the sea horse stamp is used as the main feature and then I have cut the shells out from the others.  They are stamped on a cream water colour paper and coloured with Distress Markers.
I've used the Marker Spritzer with pale colours like Spun Sugar and Milled Lavender for subtle colour across the images.
The background paper is by Tim too, from the Menagerie 8x8 paper pad.  The sentiment is stamped with silver pearl embossing powder, my all time favourite, it looks different with every surface colour you use it on.
I plan to be back tomorrow with an update on my house sorting and drastic reduction in craft supplies.


Saturday, August 2

An Unexpected Break

It looks as though I have taken an impromptu break from blogging.  Totally unintentional, but there it is.  I don't seem to be able to fund much joy in anything at the moment.  The summer holidays seem to be a never ending list of chores rather than a list of fun family activities.  Some when, somewhere I hope to be able to drag myself on top of things again.  Until then.

~ Kate ~  

Wednesday, July 16

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

We had a ruby wedding anniversary to attend recently so, obviously, that called for a card.
I took inspiration from a card made by Sharon Curtis for a recent issue of Simply Cards and Papercraft.  I've stamped and embossed a swirly Papermania flower with Tinsel Red powder and used the same technique for the greeting. The background paper is the same bit of Lily Bee Designs I used on the previous card.
For the '40' I've used Tim Holtz grunge board harlequin numbers and coloured them with Festive Berries Distress Ink. 

~ Kate

Monday, July 14

Now we are six

I don't suppose many six year old boys would appreciate a Winne-the-Pooh birthday card, but it had to be done.  It's a classic that occurs once in a lifetime.
I couldn't resist and kept things simple printing the verse directly onto some old Lily Bee Designs paper and adding an even older silhouette stamp of the classic, cute characters.  The background paper is Kelly Purkey Mon Ami by BasicGrey.
He got the whole book of poems too, with a little message inside from me.  Something I hope he will look back on and cherish, even if it isn't his top priority right now!

I just have to link up over at the Sunday Stamper for week 316's book theme.  It was meant to be. 

~ Kate ~  

Thursday, July 10

Belt Bracelet Workshop

My creativity is being boosted by lots of classes at the moment and one of them is Christy Tomlinson's Belt Bracelet Workshop.
It's masses of fun and, with only the addition of a couple of items, I've managed to create these with tools and stash I already owned.  Christy's course goes into detail about stamping your own metal embellishments, which I really want to try, in the meantime I just needed to get some bracelets completed as I was keen to wear them.  The skinny one at the top is just as the belt came with pretty flowers already embossed on it.  The blue one I've combined with techniques from Rings and Things to utilise Tim Holtz fab word bands.

These make me so happy and they're just based on bargain belts from charity shops, can't wait to make some more.

~ Kate ~ 

Monday, July 7

Camp Scrap

There are over 40 photos in my July file waiting for me to write some blog entries, 2 of them actual projects so I think I can declare creativity is back.

One thing that's top of my list at the moment is Camp Scrap.  If you haven't taken one of May's classes before I highly recommend them.  We're still in week one of Camp Scrap so plenty of time to join in.  I've signed up for all the classes, but they are available individually, and the content so far is great, loads of videos.  Get all the details and sign up at Craft With May.    

As well as getting creative I have, of course, been shopping.  2 great photo props have come my way.
This cute bird house with a tin roof from the TK Maxx bargain bin.  It has a little fence running down each side so great to photograph from all angles.
Secondly, my local florist had these in a bin outside for £1.  I've seen them so many times propping up peoples cards I just had to get a couple of sizes.

There, that's one blog update done.  Just another dozen to go!!

~ Kate ~   

Thursday, June 26

Bag End Cake

Me: What birthday cake do you want this year?

Him: A Hobbit house.

Me: What?  Bag End!

Him: Yes, with a round door.

Well I had to give it a go and, after a look at some beautifully crafted cakes on Google Images, I came up with a poor imitation.
I think I have made a pretty good job of it, even if I do say so myself.  Excuse the fingerprints on the chocolate door, it was melting before I could do anything with it in this heat.

Whilst on the table waiting to be eaten it attracted the attention of a few hungry dwarves.
Froddo seems pretty pleased.  Sorry purists, I've mixed Hobbit dwarves with Froddo from Lord of the Rings, I was just too excited to notice.  Let's face it, I don't remember Beorn, Arwen and bald Gandalf twins on a boat either, but that seems to be what the boys have going on in the background!
Note to self: make more themed cakes so that I can make scenes out of them with Lego, this kept me amused all afternoon!

Oh, and when Himself saw it.  Well, initial disappointment that the people weren't edible (yeash there's no pleasing some!) but very pleased with it after that and assures me it tastes great.

~ Kate ~   

Thursday, June 12

Snake Chain Necklace - Blue Moon Beads

After making a bracelet last week with the new chunky snake chain from Blue Moon Beads I was hooked and decided to make a necklace too.
I've combined the chain with silver wooden discs and a small piece with silver links to make one length that fits over your head.
A wooden pendant completes the look.
All of the chains are available from Jo Ann's stores.

~ Kate ~