31 Aug 2011

Enjoy the Process

Eeeeeeveryone worth some clout should know whose by-line that is.
No? Yes? .......hopefully yes, of course it's yes - YES?!!
But just in case you forgot, it's Rhonna Farrer's inspirational message to all who love her products. And today I can reveal with excitement and glee that Rhonna selected me to be on her Creative Team - the announcement line up is such a pretty fanfare......I got goose bumps!

Da da-da-da da-da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! (thats a trumpet announcement!)

This is total self indulgence for me because not only is this CT for inspiration and celebration of her products (No 1 Priority) but I secretly love it just for me - for my precious free time and to enjoy every lavish pixel on offer.


I have loved Rhonna forever. Well, since she supported me when I did a little fun projects called "I am a Woman" back in 2006. And then when I met her out in Paris (the same year), at a scrapbook event, I repaid her support when I helped her with a "little pickle of a situation" - and she rewarded me with a pack of her rubber stamps (which I have treasured so lovingly ever since). So of course after that, well, I just loved her even more. Heeeeeeee!

Isn't she de-lovely? (Sep 2006)


What I adore about Rhonna is her immense commitment to inspiration - both by product and her outlook on life. We all have people we aspire to be like or who uplifts and recharges us. That person, for me is Rhonna. She is a genius with a wacom, a guru with her wisdom but most of all she is just like you or I.....a woman who likes to create, although her passion just oozes 24/7.


This is one of my fave projects that I have made with House of 3, Rhonna's previous outlets:

Come and see her new website (launch 1st Sep) here. Be prepared to be transported to a vintage bazaar of beautiful digi and hybrid product. Float down each stall as if you were in the hot air balloon and enjoy a feast of pretty pixellation.

THEN - to be in with a chance of winning a prize, nip over to Rhonnas Facebook page HERE and simply hit the "Like" button. You will proper "Like" it, its not a trick!

**Im the luckiest person today**

PS: Giveaway fun advent calendar class below, just in case you missed it.

To-yous-Day from me-day

Aaaaaw this is a little bit of "last of the school holidays" fun, if I may add - but.....um,in AUGUST?!! Yes, a pre-christmas project to make for a song....a song, I tell you!!!

Clothes pegs = £1
Chipboard = about 50p
Scraps of Basic Grey Fruitcake = 25p
Ribbon = 50p
Mini peg = about 2p

Free downloadable instructions and 1-25 numbers to punch out with a 1.5 inch punch.

With the numbers adorned

With the numbers tucked in the box

I left my pegs bare. There is something wholesome and organic about wood that I just feel so drawn to. I did consider covering each peg with BG Fruitcake buuuuuuuuuuuuuut in the end, I plummed for nakedness. We like a bit of freedom, here ;)


You can download the print out with full instructions here.
They are in PDF format

Please share me your makes :)

28 Aug 2011

Life is Beautiful - sneak 1

After yesterdays launch of my new online class, Life is Beautiful, I will be sharing sneaks before it goes live on the 1st Sept.

The yellow in this makes me feel so chirrupy! I don't think I care that chirrupy is not even a proper word!

Corrugated card just steals my lil ole heart


If you are interested in signing up, read the post below this one to find out more. You can book the class here. Come on, get some colour and mucky fingers in your life :)

C25K progress:
Week 1 complete. Pace has gone from 13:30 to 12:47 to 11:43 which I'm so surprised at but I am determined to beat my averages on every run. What am i doing to myself?!
Week 2 starts on Tuesday.
Anyone else doing this program?

Sign up to my newsletter here

27 Aug 2011

New Class - Life is Beautiful

I've loved the last two classes, I truly have but I want to step it up a few gears and turn this class into a book of beautiful things. Its rammed with technique, techniques that I have researched, trialled and admired but brought together in my own, sweet way.

Click the pic to enlarge: The blue painted, triple layered book print is stitched in with the doiley. Yes, I used a sewing machine but you can either hand stitch in big, chunky stitches or just adhere with glue


I love how organza frays. This piece is stitched onto the book print

Lace and mists and paints and gesso - so much to touch and feel.

This class will also have a kit but will also use the kind of stuff you have most likely got in your home....... everything else is pretty much similar in product to my last two classes. You know, ink, paint, tags, mists, cardboard, scrap card etc.

Each page is layered and layered and layered. Did I say its layered? I'm talking several layers of delicious technique and colour coupled with quotes about a beautiful life; a real treasure to have in your home to stroke, show off and admire.

The kit/no kit supplies you will need are: spray inks or liquid inks, paints, organza (frays beautifully), fabric scraps, scraps of scrapbook paper, scraps of card, access to a sewing machine (although not entirely necessary), needle, thread, paintbrushes, a stapler, decorative stamps, masks (if you have them), gesso, corrugate cardboard, tags (large through to tiny - but you can make your own from scrap card), eyelets, utee, journal pen, felt, book print, newsprint, a brayer, beads

There will be one video per 5 PAGES because its labour intensive - quite unlike my last two classes which were taught in 2 hours (ish, as you know ;)). There will be a manual, like you have become accustomed to, and a facebook page to enjoy the process with friends.

You can buy this class HERE but the first release of videos and the manual will not be available until 2nd Octt. Once you sign up, I will give you access to the Private facebook group too.

I will be making an exact replica of the book too, which I am going to sell for the sponsored walk to Machu Picchu (see the left of this page about my "Just Giving" money raiser).

Sign up to my newsletter here

25 Aug 2011

40 and green?

I hate to pigeon hole myself but I might be reaching out to many middle aged women-of-the-world when I say that when I hit 40, I suddenly fell in love with green. I recall the disparaging remarks I made towards my Momma (then 40) when she painted almost every room green in the house, hung green curtains and sat on a green sofa. I didn't get it. But now? NOW? Im obsess-a-roo with it.

My fave ProMarker is Pear Green, my nail polish (in the pic below) is "Under the sea" green, I love green eyeshadow (I wear an electric green shade to highlight my eye colour) and this skirt forced me to buy it when I went shopping yesterday. How rude ;)
I'm also pea green with envy that I my friend Beth can run 7 miles, then call for me, run/walk 2 miles as part of my training program and then run a further 1.5 miles home afterwards. Yes, its day 2 of my C25K tomorrow and Beth is coaching me again. So far, Im feeling good, hope there are some of you who can give me some encouragement x

24 Aug 2011

A slick of colour

Belles was set keen to have a little colour about her today as I'd promised to take pics of her and her two cousins for a little family shoot today. As her cousin, Megan, is a typical young teenage girl who likes her make up and music, I feel Belles has been influenced slightly in the past two weeks. Just a few mannerisms have come to light since she has been home has certainly made me aware of Megan's influence. So this morning she asked for a bit of make up and something completely new.......... bear with me.

Belles nails have always been beautiful. They have a natural ability to keep their shape and never, EVER chip (unlike mine!). With Belles dexterity being pretty poor, its no wonder she can keep her nails beautiful. And now with a set of fab talons, it wasn't long before she asked me for a slick of colour on them, this morning! WOW! I thought - we can manicure every week now....such a fun prospect for us both.
And as I've recently grown my nails back in prep for their Tv debut, I have bought a couple of new colours to try out. And so now Belles has looked them over and she then chose a GORGEOUS red shade from Rimmel called Movie Star. Its peppered with a muted mica tone and is currently getting an airing on my nails, too!

Just think of the fun both she and I are going to have now with our girly, long nails, from now on. It's about blummin' time, Belles!

To-You's-Day, Numero Dos

Help yourself and have my heart.......either colour in the blank, scale it and make smaller if you wish or print out a sheet of pre-coloured hearts, all in super-fruity colours. Far too many options for a Tuesday, no?

I love hearts this shape - all point and full of love.
You can download the pack from HERE


And how can I not finish off with a card? A simple number using a VV rouleaux stripey ribbon which totally makes my scraps look utterly decadent.

I want to thank everyone who made a comment on yesterdays post. I am going to give each piece of advice some serious consideration. It means the world to me that you took the time and trouble to spare a few minutes to give me the advice or love (and both!)

PS - please pray for me Wednesday morning, its day one of my personal C25K and I am very very apprehensive (mainly due to worry about agonising my shin splints).

PPS: I have my first confirmed show date for QVC. Its 7th September at 4pm. I've not to give too much away but all I can say is that I'm delighted with the products on this 1 hour show - especially the last item. So many brilliant changes to this channel including the announcement that Dyan Reavely is going to make an appearance too **skips off into the sunset with glee**

22 Aug 2011

Guess who comes home tomorrow?

YES! My Belles......Hooray.

One of my fave pics from 2006

A 2008 pouty shot!

She will have just spent a little over a week at her nanna's caravan in North Wales where I'm sure she will have grown an inch and come back with new confidence. Seriously, I notice these things after a week. Luckily she has been spending the time with her two cousins, just about the only kid company she gets these days. However, things are a-changing! An action groups called Aiming High have been out to assess Belles and have awarded her 6 sessions of "no family" time with two volunteers who will take her out and allow her to do stuff without Me or Mark or the Grandparents. This is a unique experience for Ellie and one that I am dying to see how she "copes" with. I could literally cry with glee about the prospect. So this Friday will be her first experience as she goes out for dinner with two girls (I think they are in their early 20's) and whom have been CRB'd and all sorts through Wigan and Leigh's childcare services.

Ellie enters her last year of school this September and I am filled with hope (and equal amounts of dread) about how her future will pan out. She has no clear indication of what she would like to do when she leaves school, mainly because of the bubble she is "encased in" within the school environment. She doesn't get to mix with her mainstream peer group (and by that, I mean children who don't have special or extra needs) and share the experiences of gossip and chatter about how life is. Of course, Mark and I encourage her all we can about "life" but its just not the same. For instance, just before the school holidays we got a call from the Connexions team (the careers advisors). They wanted to explain that they had asked Belles what she wanted to do when she left school and Belles being Belles just said "I don't know". So the Connexions team asked ME what I wanted her to do? Well I almost blew a gasket. Why would I know what I wanted Belles to do, it's not my job. I'm not an advisor but obviously they are. I mean, I have an idea what she wants to do but I'm not steering her to fulfil my wishes. I'm sure that's what she goes to school for - to be educated, you know?!! The conversation did not bode well at all. I am not driving Belles to be what I want her to be. I was hoping the school might set a course or plan for her; I certainly knew at 15 what I wanted to do and I actually went and did it! So this is how it is with kids like Ellie. Systems shirking responsibility at every opportunity and barely meeting us half way. I could literally cry.

I really don't want you to read that as that we don't care because that is certainly not what it is. Its awfully heartbreaking when there isn't a system built for kids like Belles. And yet the Connexions team, with all their knowledge and contacts I feel that they are the right people to guide Ellie. Plus the whole "Non Diagnosis" really doesn't help unlock the doors to all those path ways and roads that are available to kids who have a diagnosis. Its incredibly frustrating and it chokes me all the time. I feel like I'm scratting around in the dark with people prodding me and laughing at me and refusing to help. It truly is a very lonely place to be as a mother right now. Although, to be fair, Ellie is non the wiser about it. She skips along at her own merry pace under the false security of the bubble at school but when it pops next July and she has to move on from it - who will blow her the next bubble? Gosh, I hope you are following me on this one.....I'm trying my best to keep it together, here.

After a sketchy converstaion with the Connexions team, I went to visit a special needs college nearby but it was incredibly heartbreaking. There were some severely mentally disabled children there and it broke my heart. Ellie is not severely mentally disabled but she is not physically abled either - she kind of falls into this grey area that isn't "text book". I really wish I could campaign for kids like Belles who are neither mainstream or severely disabled but I'm so drained from campaigning as an individual now - would I have the strength to carry it out? So the college for severely disabled children is NOT an option because its not fair on her. In truth she would come on leaps and bounds due to the small classes and the structure of the program however, placing her in a room with kids who are at the opposite mental spectrum as Belles is highly unfair. I wish someone in authority would put Ellie in the right box, as it were, so then Id be able to deliver it (her) to the right place... you know?

So the next option is to look at a few mainstream colleges but yet we hit another stumbling block. Ellie is not independent enough to catch a bus to college on her own and nor is there funding to have her collected from home. I was hoping to take on some extra work away from home after devoting 15 years caring but I'm not able to as I would have to driver her to and from college. Not that its a hardship (DEFINITELY not a hardship) but again, because of this grey area that isn't "text book in college legislation", its very difficult for her to manage on her own and again "Momma will be there" - restrictions she could well do without.

I wonder if any of you readers (who are special Momma's) can give me any advice on any services that might be able to assess Ellie or should I just keep chipping away at the current system until someone hears my desperate pleas? I really do not not know what to do next because all authorities simply shrug their shoulders and slope off the subject because even they don't know. I desperately want to have us all go through a 3Di test, that's for sure.....any indication on how we go about that, momma's?

**sigh**

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, I'm not ending on a low note. Instead I'm going to share a card that I made, using a manilla envelope and some scraps I found whilst clearing this dump of a craft room up ;)
Diamonds are one of my fave shapes to work with so this cheers me up no end. A splash of colour, a doiley and ink......a perfick escape from the humdrum of a complicated life :)

21 Aug 2011

British tucker

Mmmmmmmm, British food maybe so bland to our foreign visitors (ie - we don't over salt nor over sugar our food!) buuuuut me? Well, I loves a good old salt-free nosh up. The other night I made mini beef wellies. And I was crowned "cooking goddess extraordinaire" for approx 3 seconds by my husband whom rarely compliments my amazingness in fear I will pull the cooking rug from under his feet. I was tres smug with my triumphant presentation and culinary mastery. But I had nobody else in the house who could enjoy my smuggery with so I shall boast most magnificently throughout this blog post with you. I don't even think I shall apologise for my modesty, either.

Kirsty + homemade mini beef wellies = She rocks.

Aside from not making my own puff pastry (and quite frankly, who the hell does?) everthing was cooked to perfection by me. Simply roll out enough (bought) pastry to make a base and a lid. And OK, rolling out bought puff pastry is hardly "Larousse gastronomique" but it sure looks pretty.

Seal a piece of steak both sides in a hot frying pan (and granted, we didn't use best steak - hello, we are northerners....it was almost brisket. Well, not true but it wasn't fillet either). Tip: I never use oil for sealing meat, you might as well just dip it in diesel for the good it will do for you.

Cut the steak in half and lay one piece on a floured piece of puff pastry. Then mince up some mushrooms and finely chop some black pudding and place on top of the steak. Then layer the other half of the steak on top of that. Its a bit bloody tricky as all that minced mushroom is a tad unstable. PS: If you don't like black pudding, just use some pate (as in the traditional way of making beef wellies).

Then drape another piece of puff pastry on top. Now comes the best bit....take a fork and seal the damn thing shut so nothing can escape. Slice away any uneven pastry from all four sides. Then brush with egg to ensure it turns a lush, caramel colour whilst cooking.

Bang it in the over, on a baking tray, for 18 mins on gas mark 5, or in our case gas mark 4 because our oven is knackered.

I served our beef wellies with roasted chopped potatoes and squash which was doused in parika and a tad of chilli. Ive got a bit of a squash fetish right now - love, love, love it.

Doesn't it look damn fine?

Gotta admit, as with all beef dishes, I'm still picking it out of my teeth 3 days later but still - a quick beef welly supper in less than 30 minutes.

Finally, I shall leave you with a pwitty card - if beef wellies are not your thang.

Toodle-oooooooo x

Love him so

I think I've mentioned this before but years ago, I had no regard for animal lovers. I just wasn't into animals at all. Yes, they were cute but I'd never get the whole "I adore my dog/cat/fish" thing. I think I even used to think that about children at one point. But then, when you don't have neither, how can you appreciate the bond?

Then I had Ellie of course, my one pure natural bond that is so powerful, I think it could light up the world for the rest of eternity. And then we got Eddy. And we only thought about getting a dog after going to see our friend in The USA - she has three dachsies. That trip was life changing in so many ways and how we fell in love with those little rascals. How can you not fall in love with a pet who just wants to be loved and wants to love you as much back? And looking back, how could I have been that person in the past? I'm so ashamed that I had a disregard for animal lovers. I truly am.

The moment we bought Eddy was incredible. It was like we had managed to find all this amazing love from out of thin air. I just didn't think I had any more love to give. But you manage, just like you manage when you come to the end of the money and the bank is looking a little bleak ;) This boy is amazing and trusting and loving and cuddly and so precious that I often think I might die from my declaration.

This is one of his first official shoots

He is always kissing me (taken feb 2011)


A tender cuddle from Mark (this was taken yesterday)

Brither and sister (Taken 2009)

Ellie likes to wrap him up like a baby on the sofa!
On Friday night, however, I thought we were going to lose him. On Friday I almost fell apart and that Friday will haunt me forever. Mark and I went to take him on a lengthy walk on pastures new. We are surrounded by lakes and flashes around here, so there are many paths (and geocaches!) to explore. We are very fortunate that we can let Eddy off the lead as he is faithful and in no way a threat to other dogs let alone people. And believe me, these breeds are notorious for running away at the slightest wiff of rabbit or badger! We have worked hard to train him to come to us on demand and more often than not, he is only a few paces behind or in front of us as he sniffs around and inspects new spaces.

We were on our way back from a cache find when out of nowhere, a staffordshire bull terrier met our path and it stood there without his owner in sight. We shouted to Eddy to come to us but by then the Staffs had gone to investigate little Eds and at first, the Staffs seemed playful. But as quick as you could register such a thought, was there a terrible, most ferocious attack on eddy that I almost passed out from screaming. I should have known not to trust such a dog and after only a minute of screaming and bitings and growling coupled with Mark beating the Staffs away from Eddy, the owner appeared out of the marshland to see what was wrong. Fortunately the owner came to retrieve the Staffs and in good time as Mark was frantically trying to collect Eddy in his arms whilst I screamed like a banshee - mainly out of fright and horror.

Luckily Eddy had no bite marks or scratches but we do think the Staffs came off worse as Mark beat it away from little Eds. The owner was apologetic but he was, sadly, under the influence and stereotypically the type of owner that uses Staffs as a status symbol. I'm sorry to have to be judgemental on that score but I do have friends who are responsible Staffs owners and their dogs are as soft as butter - an owner simply must control their dog. So you can imagine that I am particularly wary of Staffs owners in this area who seem to be allowed to cross breed their dogs illegally and allow them to run off the lead and attack at will - its just not on.

We do love little Eds so much and during the scrat on Friday night I thought we were going to lose him and I could never imagine our lives without him. Its making me well up now. How precious our pets can be, it truly makes my heart ache thinking about the time he will have to depart this life **pulls an "ugly cry" face at the thought**

Link me to some of your fave pet piccies xx


20 Aug 2011

Have a reat day?!

Up here, in Wigan, we don't talk proper or anything (!!!).
We don't say have a "Great" day.
No. Nuh-uh. A-huh.
We say have a "reat" day.
Well, according to my cards, we do!
oh OK.........of course, it actually does say "Great" but my ribbon is hiding it.
So, um.....anyway...............here it is.
And if you look close, I actually used a peel off. Twice. So ner!

Then comes this majestic bunch of colour-fi-cation. A House of 3 number no doubt drawn up by the lovely hands of Rhonna Farrer. Has anyone met her before? I was lucky to meet her in Paris (2006) at a scrapbook event - wow, that was my "I can't speak" moment when I did. I also used a peel off on here too.......see, I'm stepping into the darkside!

And there are my quick makes for today.

Tune in tomorrow as I have a demonstration video using the fantastico "FlexMarkers" from Letraset. I'm going to be using some of THIS lovley girls digi stamps too!

19 Aug 2011

Who loves Creamy Vintagey tones?

I do, I do!
I have a brand new section in my SHOP. Its an Action shop (but not like Arnie, all cammed up with heavy ammo and a Kalashnikov looking for a fight!). This is action numero uno but bear with me, more will come. Lots more will come! Actions are the new, new, new black in photography and although I rarely use them, I will be sharing my favourites including some of my work flow actions that will reveal quicker ways of procession your images.

I love those kind of actions that give skin tone a creamy, almost blemish free finish. The ones that lifts the darks and creates a subtle pop. So I decided to fiddle and faff and create a perfectly unique action called Vintage Cream. Its scalable too so that you can have control with its overall appearance too.

This one is £2.00 and will work in Photoshop (maybe the Elements version will come soon?!) I'm working on a Lightroom preset which is a whole new world to me as I normally only use sharpen and vibrance on my images!

I ran the action on my recent images too, so you can see how they work on every non-client shots too: Click on the image to enlarge
You can buy this diamond of an action
Keep your eyes peeled for more x

18 Aug 2011

Twitchy Fingers

I get twitchy. All. The. Time.

My fingers scrabble the air, as if playing an imaginary piano and only a craft session stops the urge. I'm not sure if twitchy fingers are healthy but what I do know is that satisfying that urge is immense.

It may only take 10 minutes or sometimes longer to get something together to fix the craving and this layout here was made between prepping tea and waiting for it to cook (30 mins). I love this pic of Belle, in the bath when we lived up in Newcastle (ie Forces families quarters were never the height of luxury). She would let us style her hair a in mohawk at shampoo time or let us play with bath toys and stick them to her head and take pictures. It's every child's rite of passage to let their parents share bath-time glam!

And here is another quick make, made during the same cooking time.......I used my little cheapy £1 shop flower stickers mixed with some left-overs.

So now all urges have been satisfied!
And my fingers have stopped twitching.

Um, for now!

To the rescue

Last week, when we went to pick up our curly girl from my mums, we had taken Eddy on a beach walk. As we took to the promenade, we saw a commotion on the beach but thought it was just a family gathering having some fun. We continued our walk, just doing walky stuff and mainly connecting as a family. But on the way back we heard people talking and pointing to the previous commotion on the beach. Apparently a seal had become "stranded". So Belle and I rushed to go and see because, ahem.... I had my camera to hand.

When I took this picture of Ellie last week, we had no idea that at this precise time that the commotion was going on just 50 metres away behind her.
When we got there, the Seal rescue was driving away and both Belles and my heart sank :( It turns out she was turning around and as soon as she saw Ellie and I almost crying (seriously, we were THAT disappointed) she pulled down her window and said she would meet us up on the promenade so we could see. Belles and I skipped a little and I carried Belles to the promenade as she had no energy to walk further. The woman opened up the back of the rescue car so we could have a look at this little mite, here.

If you notice, his mouth is all red which has been ulcerated from a common infection to seals at this time of year. Also, she claimed, that he wasn't stranded as seals never become stranded - they are 80% land mammals. And what is more upsetting is that humans who come across a seal then think they are water starved and end up pouring water over them to keep them "alive". This is wrong. It only brings-on hypothermia because, like she says, they are land mammals and can survive out of water, using the water to forage for food and play.

Belles and I were crying our eyes out at the sad stories she told us about how cruel humans can be to baby seals and how these baby seals live and die as part of nature. This pup is 5 weeks old, the age they become naturally separated from their mums. He was only "lost" but also in pain with his ulceration. The Seal lady told me that she would take this little darling to the rescue centre, treat his infection (they love the medication, they practically guzzle the stuff down!) and they will release him back to the cruel seas when he reached 32lbs.

It was lovely to be able to see him close up I mean, who can resist those huge eyes and furry skins?

If you have a couple of quid to spare, would to like to donate some to the Seal Rescue Centre at Scarborough - so that lost, lil pups like these can be loved and treated humanely instead of being kicked or hounded by kids on the beach for fun.

16 Aug 2011

To-You's-Day - see what I did?

I want to try and do a little digi give away every Tuesday (To-You's-day ....... you know, To You's day!!!). Aaaaaaaaand so I give you my first Tuesday giveaway, Moo cow. I am reeling in amazement at my over imaginative name for him, I really am. But he is yours, both coloured and uncoloured to do with as you wish. And if you take him, I'd love to see how you used him too.
You can get the him from here
When you get to the links destination, you click on the purple link to download him, then it takes 25 seconds for the link to appear - please be patient

Today
I whipped this card up whilst I was having a good old chin wag on the phone to one of my friends. I enjoy be constructive/productive whilst Im on the phone - I even like to clean and cook when Im on the phone. I could well do with some of those headphones that "feeds" from the phone so I could have two hands free without holding the phone in the crook of my neck! Ouch!

Tonight
I made another "dinner in a bag". I'm on my own until Mark gets back tomorrow and it's not fun having a pile of dishes for a tasty meal for one, is it? I mean, I could just have beans on toast or a boiled egg but tonight I really fancied something homemade. Mark has gone to drop Belles off at her Nanna's for a week and its just me and the pooch - ugh, I hate being in this house on my own. So, anyway, this time I used cranberry chutney and honey instead of paprika plus I added a tablespoon of those salad crispy dried onions.
Now, let me tell you that those high fat little buggers taste so amazing in stews and casseroles so I knew this would be no different. And the result was insanely delicious.

This recipe calls for an oven bag (hence little washing up) and Ive called it Licky lippy, super sweet sticky Chicken.
You also need:

8 chicken thighs
tiny chunks of the salami style chorizo
half chopped fresh onion
8 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of cranberry chutney
1 tablespoon of crispy dried onions
You could add 2 medium chopped potatoes but I omitted them and had rice (cooked separate)

Fill the bag, place on an oven tray for 35 minutes on gas mark 6. Remove, drain chorizo fat away and devour.

Just because.....

.......Well, because I had 20 minutes this morning spare before the lovely Lynn came to be taught one to one photography. I shuffled a few things around my office (to sort of "half tidy" it - you know the kind of "sort" I mean.....shove stuff in a drawer and fling other bits in the back of a cupboard!). I came across the polka dot paper you see in the card below. I also fell upon the bloom and the ring quote it sits on and just threw it together to make a thank you card for spesh friend of mine.

I love my "not-even-really-20-minute-card-but-more-like-10-minutes-including-a-tidy-in-my-office kind of card!

**stalk the postman, little friend**

14 Aug 2011

Dear Insane Rioters

You might have ruined the planned photo day in Birmingham this week but you forgot that I'm smarter than you! he heeee, I took the class in Solihull instead and you know whats? It's lovely there. Its a mix of 70's shopping arcades entwined with the old town which is quaint and pretty and oldy-worldy. In hindsight, you little twerpy beings, you did us a favour!

I taught these three gorgeous girlies, Sue, Sue and Zoe.

Zoe, the girl in the middle, is one of my oldest friends ever. I met her in 1987 when I joined the RAF and we went through training together. I think she is lovely. As for the two Sue's? They did nothing but giggle all day - they are in my lovely club too. The day went far too fast but in the end, lovely photos had been taken and fun was had by all.

Finally, I finished off this card tonight by forcing myself not to use coloured cardstock.
To read more about how I did it, click HERE

13 Aug 2011

Call myself a scrapbooker?

Oh what to call yourself these days is ridiculous, Kirsty. You scrapbook, yes, but you also make cards, take photographs, paint and stamp and ink and faff and play and fiddle and all sorts. And when you woke up this morning, you were suddenly overcome with an identity crisis and asked yourself "what am I?". But rather than sit there and try and figure out what it is you actually do regularly (I mean that - what do you do regularly?!), you just went into your playroom and finished off this layout and put this simple "Greetingless" card together.

I was inspired to do a hybrid title after seeing this layout, here
I am going to have to get used to hybrids when it comes to presenting on QVC as I'm not always going to have alpha stickers that I can use for many projects - and that's a good thing. I forget how trusty my printer can be!

As yet, a greetingless card. I can save it for emergencies of course but doesn't it look sad without a quote?

After a good scissor and glue workout you came to a realisation that you are not a specific kind of person. You are just a plain, old simple crafter.

11 Aug 2011

Wet and Wild Edinburgh

Last weekend I went up to Edinburgh to teach photography to 5 lovely girls. I arrived on the Friday hoping to make a full weekend of exploring the city too. Friday was lovely and warm and exciting because the "fringe" had just started and there were hundreds tourists gathering on the mound in search of comedy. My friend Sam met me to show me the sights from as locals point of view and i found it all rather spectacular. We spotted a few celebs on the way including Abi Titmus (actually with her clothes on!!!) and The Hamiltons (whom were very charming to us!). Before long it was time for Sam to drop me off at my accommodation only when I had "booked" in, my room was not a room as such but more of a thoroughfare to the kitchen - I was mortified. I think Sam must have sensed it was not particularly enthralling as she text me an hour later asking if i needed to be rescued. Thank the lord for her sixth sense else I would have been trampled on during the night as one of the many other guests would have squished my heeeeed! Sam, you are an angel!

Sam and her friend Janet invited me to an open house art exhibition soon after my rescue which was as much bizarre as it was interesting. I scoffed a few olives, rubbed shoulders with eccentric artisans and kept eyeing the door hoping for further escape. With my heart still pumping with adrenalin from my escape from the "commune", the night got weirder and weirder. Sam and Janet and I went back to Sams to talk about the wonders of life via a bottle of fizz which was far more artistic than anything that I had seen that day! Hooray for fizz!

The next day I promised myself a trip around Edinburgh with my cameras and adventure was high on the agenda. Only when I got into the city did the heavens open and they had no signs of stopping. I barely took a picture all day and I had no coat with me and if it wasn't for meeting Elaine, a facebook buddy, I think I might have just ended up in the library reading books about how clever it would be to pack a coat and umbrella when travelling to scotland! Elaine, by the way, was so sweet and funny and kind that it almost felt sunny through the drizzle.

I head back to Sams to babysit her BEAUTIFUL son, Alex. Can you say that about a boy? I think you can - look......

Not only babysitting for Sam a great way of repaying her for allowing me to stay at her house but taking photos of her son was another gift I wanted to give her to reflect the gratefulness I felt. I loved babysitting for Alex. I brought lots of disgustingly fattening/tooth rotting goodies to scoff on the night which, thankfully, didn't provide the sugar rush I expected. It did, however, more or less gave us licence to cheat at Monopoly as we pilfered the bank and gave ourselves generous hands outs throughout the course of the game. Oh we did have such a laugh!

The next day I met the girls for photography in the city and yup, it was still chucking it down. This made me sad because it meant we couldn't roam the city and practice shooting in different locations. Instead we took respite on this bridge/walkway which had amazing light and was partially covered to protect us from the drizzle/rain/downpour.
I think we managed to make light of the situation and just cope with it all.

Here are the girls, under the said cover of the bridge:

I had such a good day with Sue, Jackie, Beckie, Jill and Margaret and was particularly pleased with how quick they grasped the concept of depth of field. So the rain may have hampered a few things but it didn't take away their spirit x

Later this week, we were reunited with this bundle of curls after 2 weeks apart. Oh my poor heart was aching for her so much. She just lights up my life and soothes my soul - without her Id be an empty shell.


She had just sat in a wet bench here - i love her giggling faceSo glad she is back for a while before she goes off to her Nanny's for another holiday!

Finally, after the RIDICULOUS state of most cities in the UK after various looting incidents, my photog weekend in Birmingham is cancelled. However, I won't be beaten and am going to relocate the event to Solihull. I have a couple of spaces left if anyone is keen to spend the day with us, learning how to use your DSLR. Contact me HERE if you would like to know more. You can read more about what is involved HERE

Phew, big post! Ooooo and whilst Im here, Im pencilled in for QVC on 7th and 13th Sept then 5th October. I'll keep you posted x