Blog Archive

27 Apr 2012

Layout 3 this week

I put the finishing touches to this layout, tonight.  After a loooong day with my friend Jane, it was a great way to wind down.
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I haven't spent time with Jane for ages and we always, ALWAYS have such a laugh.  She brought over some delicacies for me to try including Quinoa and spiced butternut parcels.  As I like to really trough on a Thursday (my only pig out day), I totally went for it.  The table was laden with stuff that only a heart attack can thrive on and so we dug in.

I was expecting to do many random oddments with Jane during the afternoon - you know, sort this bit of craft stuff out here and show her other things, there.  But we got a call from school to come and collect Ellie.  The reason really needn't be broadcast so explicitly in public but lets just say that the poor kid was in turmoil over a mother/daughter incident this morning.  Not only was she all cut up about it but I was also completely thrown by the way it affected her.  My beautiful, sensitive daughter is oh-so-precious; I can't help but constantly fret for her.  My heart is still lurching over it and my eyes are welling up now, some 12 hours after the debacle.  After a cuddle and a gentle talk, the matter was sorted no sooner than she had the time to slip into her jammies.
Will I ever stop feeling like this?   
Please don't tell me to pull up my big girl pants; remember, this kid doesn't function like your everyday 16 year old :(

Anyway.
Supplies were sorted and shared with Jane.  We discussed our future plans, the kids, life.  Its so natural to talk to Jane as we are alike.  We're both Mothers to children with extra needs, both hurting for them immeasurably.  Plus I'll never EVER forget Paris 2006.  I laughed so hard for 3 days that I thought I might die from it.  I think I still hurt, 6 years after the event.  We really have gone through all the emotions a friendship endures and days/weeks/months can go by without and contact and yet when we do manage a chat, it's like it had been yesterday since we last communicated.  I love that style of friendship.

Both Ellie and I are nipping to her house tomorrow for a sleepover - we are like 5 year olds over prospect.  I may even indulge in a glass of wine, my first since February.
Rock and Roll.

26 Apr 2012

My flippy floppy layout

Hooray, I got round to filming the layout that I created for the Scrapstars event, in Leeds last weekend.  Please excuse the lack of fixed camera footage and me bent over (thus squishing my 12 bellies - I sound like I'm going to pass out!).

Watch out, Eddy the wonder dog makes an appearance near the end!



I am mid-layout number three for this week but I just ran out of ink for my printed strips.  So it's a case of robbing some ink from hubbies printer. I must act in stealth mode whilst he is out at work tomorrow and also nick other types of stationery whilst in his grubby little man-office.  I'll be back!

25 Apr 2012

Loving my Pogo

Approximately 2 years ago, I was asked to trial a Pogo machine for one of the magazines that I used to write for.  And then I put the machine away because I found the picture quality pretty pants.  More recently, I have seen people using them for their smash books and thought Id drag it out again, to see if it had magically got better whilst hiding in one of my cubby holes.  Alas, the quality is still pretty pants but the convenience is rather too delicious, so I printed out several images in readiness for tackling my over excitable mojoness.

So after:
  •  running 2 miles tonight (yes, I'm back on it!) 
  •  scoffing BRITISH strawberries (thank god they are back in season - you just can't beat them and  the scent?  Why do British strawbs taste like heaven?)
  • watching my favourite TV prog; Touch
I grabbed my glue and little bits and bats and fashioned this sweet layout



And the little featured cut from Websters pages papers


And my novel formulation of the year 2010


By jove, readers, I think this mojo came back with some kick-assness (rather, kicking me up to rear end!)

24 Apr 2012

Neglect

Dear Blogging schedule for April
You suck.
But you are about to be shocked with a blog post this evening, so shove that in your binary code and eat it!
love
Kirsty X

23 Apr 2012

La Mojo? He return!

Thank goodness for Scrapstars!  My all time favourite scrapbook event.  Not too small and not too big - it's the Little Bear's treat for the goldilock's style scrappers.  I went away to Leeds on Friday to teach an interactive, very kinetic scrapbook layout-come-album.  I'd take a picture but it more likely needs a video to show you how the page flops, flips, and flaps.  I shall do that is daylight tomorrow, I hope.

Whilst there, I was inspired by all the teachers BEAUTIFUL projects including my room mate - Emma.  She is just lovely.  Of course I got to go shopping at the BellaBoo shop (this makes me feel like Im at home as we often call Belles this name!).  And whilst shopping there, I picked up....ahem..... "essentials".  I came home on Saturday evening after spending the day taking photographs and I managed to squeeze a little mojo love on this layout here.
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I think that naughty little mojo may have just back home.  I've challenged myself to scrapbook a page everyday for this week to harness this mojo homecoming but obvs can't promise this to myself.  Life is always throwing curve balls at me.

Well I gotta go.  Trying to figure out this new Blogger layout (its the behind the scenes gubbins that I use when I blog - its irritating when they do that!)

18 Apr 2012

we all love a giveaway/competition - right?

Ive got two contests for you to feast your crafty eyes on. Actually, make that THREE!

First of all, my good friends at Tonic Studios are promoting their Facebook site. For every 1000 likes they get (capped at 5000) they will enter all the followers into a draw to win £100 worth of Tonic prizes. If you don't follow them now and you need a link - check it out here! Remember to share the post on your facebook wall to spread the word.

But wait! That is NOT all from Tonic Studios. There is a competition to win 5 border punches of your choice currently running on the page, too. If you click the link HERE and share it on your facebook page as well, you are in for the running.

I can't stress enough or encourage you gently (which is nicer?!) to enter these draws. The amount of people who say "I never win anything" will only win nothing if they never enter these things. SO GO AND DO IT!!! If you are like many of my friends who refuse to be a part of facebook because of privacy issues, why not set up an alias/undercover page just to enter all these facebook giveaways? Go on!!!!

And lastly? Oh man, this is another fab competition from Fantastic Ribbons. How about YOU designing your own WASHI TAPE? You hear that? YOU!!!! Find out all the goss and details HERE.

And that's me done, I'm still worn out from yesterday. Your comments and emails and links you sent has been wonderful - thank you (except for my frequent anonymous blog commenter who needs to get a grip). Good thing today is that we are under Social services radar for a social worker to take on Ellies case. Mark initially thought that having a social worker meant we were bad parents. NO WAY MAN. Social workers do good things for good people as well as good things for bad people (just in case you thought we were nutters!)

17 Apr 2012

Things are a bit tough

For Belles, that is.

**This is a very wordy blog post and not craft related - just so you know!**

She is in this hairy transition period of coming to the end of school and starting college. She is also trying to think of things to do for the future but when we try and explain that she is unable to do those things, it makes me feel like I'm the wicked momma. You are supposed to let your kids dream and wish and hope but the raw facts of some matters are just too damning. The other week, out of the blue, Ellie thought it might be a good idea to try working in a Library. I thought about it and save for heavy books, she would be perfect. I suggested she try volunteering first so that she could prove her willingness without being set back because of her problems. And lets face it, her only problems are muscle weakness and confidence where a library is concerned. Plus she wouldn't really need her wheelchair for the job either.

So I rang up the connexions team at our local authority to see how we should approach it. The guy at the other end was enormously helpful. This was a huge relief as normally cases like Ellies are just chucked by the wayside. You know why don't you? Aaaaah yes, the dreaded "she doesn't have a diagnosis so we point blankly refuse to help you - now be off with you, you vagrant, you are ruining my life". Obvs he didn't say that but when people point to this lack of diagnosis, they may as well be saying that. He did, to be fair, come up with a few suggestions; of which we have tried or will attempt to try. Then suddenly, he asked if we had a social worker. I said "No, didn't know she had to have one really".

He then gave a heart stopping "ah".
I know that "ah" sound.
Its one that crushes my chest and sends me crumpled to the ground. It means there is a problem.

And then he asked "Have you contacted Embrace?". I said yes and we were informed that they could not help us. Embrace is a local charity that offers advice, advocacy, support and information for people with disabilities. But when they came to take our details in our home last December, they never even clapped eyes on Ellie. And because she doesn't have a diagnosis, they fell short of routing out a solution for us.

**insert tears and snot here, I'm getting a bit choked up**

So back to the Connexions team. I am a massive fan of the Connexions team in Wigan. One of the team who liaises with Ellies school has been AMAZINGLY supportive. I can't credit her enough even when she has suggested things I knew were outrageous beyond comprehension, I also knew she meant well. Anyway, the guy thought that, seeing as the book stopped at the point where "she doesn't have a diagnosis", I should try Embrace again to see if I could further pursue help. After all, the education system recognises that Ellie has special needs as she has a statement and attends a complex needs school and a special needs college during her mainstream syllabus at school. Surely if the education system recognise she has special needs, why does the fact that she doesn't have a diagnosis stop us accessing different outreaches? Its like Ellie is only special needs when it suits the school when it comes to finance but not for help elsewhere - does that make sense?

So I rang Embrace again. I have to tell you that when I ring these places, I never start with any aggression or grievances or axes to grind. After all, if you need help, the nicest way to ask is with good humour and a kind heart. The woman at Embrace was super nice. I mean that. She was patient and listened to what I had to say and did lots of checking for me. She was an absolute diamond. She mentioned that when Embrace came to our house to take Ellies details (remember, they never saw her!), the came back to the offices to do some ringing around. They contacted aiming high, the befriending service (who can no longer help) and the social services. Apparently the social services had that letter sent to them on 7th dec and still haven't come back. And they are the people we really really really really really need. They are the ones who can be assigned to Ellie to draw up a case study and present, in BLACK AND WHITE, the true and official evidence of Ellies issues. Apparently, its the black and white that initiates action for most outreaches. Not a worried momma on the phone asking for help. Worried mommas are a NOTHING in this world. NO. THING. But having yourself a super social worker is like having a fairy godmother by your side and who is on your side.

In the same call, the helpful lady at Embrace suggested that she put Ellies name forward for Pathfinder. I had NEVER heard of it before and as she went down the list of what Pathfinder was, the more I got excited. In a nutshell, Pathfinder for Ellie would be like the second coming. Because Pathfinder, it would seem, is usually awarded to kids with a clear cut diagnosis and where all routes lead to carefully managed solutions. Pathfinder follows a child's twists and turns both educationally and medically up until the age of 25. Its paves the way for kids and adults that follow her so that information and access to outreaches are tried and tested for them. Basically Ellie is the guinea pig (for want of a better word) but with funding to open the right doors. Its monitored, tracked and recoded so that mistakes are learned from and successes are triumphed over.

For Kids like Ellie who fall into this vast wasteland known commonly as the "Grey area" and subsequently awarded the Pathfinder - well, it would be explosive. Wouldn't it be fantastic if Ellie was the first ever child to go through Pathfinder (with her strange array of ailments that have no diagnosis) and that she got the right help at the right time with the right people without me ever having to SCREAM to get it in the first place? I would sever both my arms to live in a world like that.

So the call ended like that and I was just so so excited.

Then Belles and I went to the Library to do some GCSE Science revision. Her GCSE's are coming up very soon and a fear for her results. Her expected grades are not flashy but they are passable and that ok. However, I know. I repeat. I KNOW she has more to give. In some ways I want to blame the education system about her lack of care for her school work because what I taught Ellie in an hour and the enthusiasm she gleaned from it was a shock to me. A real shock. I'm talking nuclear proportions style shock (he hee....I learned about atoms and neutrons and protons during that session too!). If only Ellie would come home from school that enthused but whats worse is, why didn't I realise all this with her sooner? I mean, I realise the education system stinks a little. A school has to educate no matter what the child's ability is but they cannot simply nurture each child individually. Kids are either gifted, mainstream or under achievers. The people that benefit most from school are the mainstream. Gifted kids get frustrated and under achievers just struggle to catch up. I know this, I was a pupil myself....I saw this with my own eyes. And it wont ever improve. I trusted the system and whilst I don't think the school has mistreated her one iota, I do think that perhaps teachers should talk to parents and not just one night a year at parents evening - what the hell can that achieve?

Oh I don't know....its a mess. This kids has so much potential and all she needs is guidance and a fun way of teaching. A relaxed way and in the quietness of a library with no distractions from unruly kids and teachers shouting. I'm distraught that I never considered homeschooling before. But then I have to think that I had to work - jesus, where is the balance in all of this?

Anyway, as we wrapped up the revision session (which I have to say is educating ME too!) Ellie approached the Library pod and asked the guy if she could make enquiries to volunteer working in the Library. I've got to say, our Library is a listed building and is a beautiful little place - light and airy, to say its listed. He looked at her and said "No, we don't do that". He was really nice but from the way he was speaking and reacting, I could tell he thought she was a "kid". I didn't want to interject. I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO....I SWEAR, but my Momma instinct took over and I said "She is deadly serious. She is 16 and wants to volunteer in a library one day a week starting September". I think the shock of me revealing her age prompted something in him. He was a really nice guy and asked Ellie to fill out a slip of paper. The next thing we knew, the Library Manager came over to speak to her. She was patient and kind and explained that this Library does not accept volunteers but another one, nearby, does. Trouble is, its a bus ride away and the bus stop is half a mile from our house. So she couldn't do it independently as she doesn't have a motorised chair. Lets not ignore the fact she has barely left the house on her own in her life. Can you feel this frustration, I hope so....I do hope so. If only to help share the burden. Nevertheless we shall find a way but hopefully they will find a way....I'm holding out on some positivity on that score.

This leads me to today. It gets more tricky...........
On a Tuesday Ellie attends a complex needs school. The reason being is that she wasn't coping with the year 10/11 options syllabus. The school decided to place Ellie in a complex needs school on a Tuesday for maths and functional life skills. And on a Wednesday, she attends a special needs college for Floristry. The reason why they did this was because she wasn't joining in with the syllabus which meant that they had to "house" her elsewhere. Not exactly the most thrilling of choices but still an education of sorts. She is doing REALLY well in Floristry and should achieve a level 2 (which is pretty awesome for a kid who started a college course in year 10!). She does enjoy floristry but knows for a fact that she could never get a job in a florists because she can't tie the wire or tighten the green tape or use secateurs, Of course she could hope for a very empathic Florist shop but lets think about this REALISTICALLY for a minute.
Em..............?

Aaaanyway. The complex needs school is a lovely place. In fact its a very happy and positive place. I know Ellie enjoys the lunch time pampering session but she does think that the work is easy. She is always first to finish and often helps the teachers with things when she has no more work to complete. The rest of the day is spent doing things like shopping lists, adding money, making lunches and small meals. To me, that's just a waste. A waste of revision time, at least. I can totes teach her those things myself. In fact, we do. So today, I pulled her out to do some more revision from home. God knows she can attain much higher grades by doing so. I know it. I will make it happen. I WILL. In the mean time, whilst she was googling Sankey Diagrams and Energy Efficiency, I rang the school to see if I could officially/lawfully pull her out (on a Tuesday) between now and the end of term. She only has 6 weeks left as it is, i hardly think its a crime especially when its for her benefit. The teacher I spoke to was fantastic and amenable. But it looks shady right now because Ellie has a statement and pulling her for one day might affect that funding. This disturbs me as she doesn't get funding for the complex needs school (unless they transfer it from her mainstream purse). And the help she does get at the special needs college is full time (an assistant is sent from her school for the entire day) but Ellie tells me that the assistant often helps other children in the class thus diluting the funding which is primarily earmarked for her (essentially making ellies statement funding a right balls up as it is). I hope to goodness we get permission to Home school her on a Tuesday for revision. I need to make this work because I care very much about this untapped potential that we have seen over the Easter Holidays. Her enthusiasm for Science has increased so much. And we could make that happen with English and Maths too. We know it. I KNOW IT.

And here endeth the 3874673564315671 chapter in life and trials of Momma to a special needs kid (when its suits, anyway!).

Can you share your thoughts as a frustrated Momma?
Would love to hear from you x

Want to win something AMEZZIN?

Of course you do, we all like fab and amezzin things.

Coming this Wednesday is a chance for you to design a roll of washi tape. YES! Your name in lights and on every stonking, great pieces of artwork in the uk craft world.

Don't worry if you can't draw because I can interpret it for you. I, myself, am designing 24 rolls already and soon, I can tell you all about this abundance of beautiful tape that is the trend of the moment (and for years to come).

This on top of planning a trip to Gay Paree, with my friend Emma in November. Well, it's just too much for me to handle. MontMartre is my fave part of the city (avoiding the slutty Moulin Rouge - too rude for me). I am going to ram my face with creme brulee, tart au citron and pan au chocolat washed down with (not) French Wine. I'm sorry but french white is god awful. I prefer New Zealand Sauv Blanc, as educated to me by my friend Louise, in Chepstow. Although, you know, i could partake in the champagne because when in France, you just do - yeah?

Before I go, I gotta add a picture. Here is one of my faves from our Zoo trip last Friday.

Belles and I had a blast. So much so that we are thinking of buying a year pass for Knowsley Safari Park. Whats worse is that we have lived here almost 9 years and we never knew how close it was. I could have watched the baboons ripping windscreen wipers off everyone's car ALL DAY LONG! tee hee.

Gotta go, its been one hell of a day.


16 Apr 2012

Its all silicon crazy

My lovely, lovely friend Marion Emberson is a bit nifty with WOW embossing powders. So much so that she has created a monster with these silicon moulds. I have two sets of them and bought them two weeks ago. As my mojo had simply buggered off in that time, they have been sat on my desk doing sweet nothing. Until tonight. My mojo mysteriously crept back into my life and spurred me on to give the embossing powder in the mould test.
I LOVE IT! So much potential for pendants, rings, flower centres, earrings, buttons.....a kajillions things. Use all the colours of your embossing powders or simply use your worst colour and paint it/glitter it/jazz it up.

Now, don't be suprised if you get to Marions shop and find them all gone. She has just had a cracking weekend at Ally Pally and prob sold out of these on the first day. But do keep an eye on the silicon mould range because these babies have so much potential. And if you do buy any, tell Maz I sent ya xx

Lastly, I wanted to share my new necklace with you all. Im not sure if I should put these on my website. That thing is well under re-construction as it is.....it looks so dated.
I gave one of these to my mother-in-law yesterday and she loved it. Its very hard to price a hand made piece of jewellery so I might hang fire on that score and just let my little retailer have them instead. Still, its another piece to add to my growing collection of heart pendant necklaces.


14 Apr 2012

Zoo'd out

Our safari trip today was most spectacular. There are photos to accompany the story in full but the best bit about the day was when Belles exclaimed that it was the best day ever. She never says things like that. It was worth sitting in a hot car for an HOUR, in the Lion enclosure (and not being allowed to wind the window down, thus baking us half to death) just to hear her say that. Oh and the Baboon enclosure? We watched, from a safe distance, scores of cars having their aerials/windscreen wipers/rubber seals either snapped/broken/ripped/peeled off. We've been there before at Longleat so knew to avoid this like the plague. It was really, really funny.

I can't leave with a few pictures, so I thought I'd share some "work in Progress" logos I've been working on. I enjoy this aspect of my work routine as its all-so meaty to be able to conjure up a logo on the slightest description.

It is amazing how many cake making businesses are starting up. I've done several business cards/logos/blog headers recently. I hope that because I've been asked to create artwork that I get to sample their wares. I mean, its only fair, right? Anyhow, if you are after something bespoke, take a look HERE

Don't forget, if you're a DSLR owner and want to take part in my UK DSLR training tour, catch up with the goss in the post below :)