30 Mar 2012

Little things on my mind

Todays random post of the things on my mind:

I am disturbed by a number of things this week. For one, the petrol panic which is totally unnecessary as the strikes haven't even started yet and may NOT even happen yet. Conveniently, I needed fuel last night as I was actually on empty, so had to really buy it. The queues and the anger were horrendous. There were extra staff ushering the lines into order and drivers were ranting and raving. Diesel had run out and fortunately, as I was buying from a supermarket, the prices were not hiked like other stations in the area. The conservative party members who ushered this panic buying can go and choke on their pasties for all I care. TOTALLY UNNECESSARY.
Meh, am I 75 years old?

Sunrays sent from heaven, had to share this....this was the view from my sun lounger as I wrote text for a class I'm teaching.


Legs as pasty as milk and chalk. I'm not in the nakky-noo. Just hitched my skirt up over my knees and liberated my ultra pale legs.


On Tuesday night I received a call from a prospective client, just before I went to the beach with Belles and Poochy. The conversation and how it turned out is still making me feel very angry and I really do need to vent my feelings on the matter. The caller asked if I would take photos of her 14 year old daughter and airbrush and add photoshop makeup. I flatly refused. It is outrageous and it is WRONG. Are we living in such a perfect world that we cannot accept ourselves as nature intended? I refuse to give into this style of photography, opting to make the best of natural light. I have to add that the client insisted that her daughters skin and teeth were blemish free........ I may get less work for it but sometimes you just have to stick to your guns.

Muller light coconut yoghurt?
My god, this is just the most heavenly thing ever. Dunk a couple of strawberries in it and you are transported to paradise. For about 5 minutes, anyway.

And Japanese dumplings?
oh my, my Uncle took me to a Japanese restaurant in Leeds at the weekend and these babies are my new fave delicacies. Thank you Uncle Sippy xx

This tune by Gotye.
When I first heard it, I thought it was Sting. Listen to it and love it. Its a grower.



I've got the gardening bug after a 3 year hiatus.
And when I get the gardening bug, I REALLY get the gardening bug. This year we are growing purple carrots, garlic chives, basil, lettuce, potatoes and mint. I'm also seeding anenomes, gladioli, verbenas, petunias, stocks and sweet peas this week too. We have 14 days for these babies to germinate before I shove them in my new greenhouse (its just a pokey little 4 shelf thing but still practical) and then a further 6 weeks to get our raised beds built and installed.
I'm more excited than I am at the launch of a new Basic Grey collection.

And finally, after all that randomness, Ive added two extra spaces to my class starting tomorrow (although you can dip in and out as you choose to suit). Read all about it here.

Right, that's my head totally emptied for now. I'm off to Bedfordshire to play Draw Something. Gotta love that new iPhone App.

Love
Kirsty x
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28 Mar 2012

Teaching Photography

I teach people how to use their DSLR's the easy peasy way. No technical jargon and no fancy-schmancy long winded ways of getting to point. Instead, I get straight to the point and miss out the yawny bits. I teach them so that photoshop needn't be an option to rescue a bad picture as I feel that getting it right in the first place is key. Instead of wasting time clicking 100 clicks on one subject hoping you get one good image, I can teach you to invest a quarter of that time getting the image right, first off.

Take Marilyn. She came to me today on the advice of one of my old students. She emailed me saying that she wasn't a fast learner and would I be gentle? (ahem, of COURSE!). Well, within 3 hours she had cracked it and I was easy going. Here are her fab results today.

First off: aperture differentiation

Then taking a picture of a coffee cup in a dark corner of a bistro and nailing the exposure in manual (no nampby-pamby automatic. And when she did try in automatic for comparison, the image was blurry, too yellow and wrong!). When I mean that this corner of the restaurant was dark, I mean no daylight and lit with 2 halogen spot lights....ie RUBBISH! By learning the tricks of Manual photography plus the madness of ISO 1600 (baulk!) .........this came out perfect!


Achieving maximum depth of field:

I didn't want Marilyn to leave. My poochy fell in love with her and the day was too gorgeous to end at 4pm. I invited her to stay for an extra cuppa whilst I mounted UV filters on all her lenses. When I mean all, I'm talking paparazzi sub woofers right down to delicate macros. All those lovely lenses that can now be put to professional use. As we talked shop, we put the world to rights - it was a super day. And I made a lovely new friend into t'bargain x

So, this leads me to my 2nd online photography course. Are you in a rut with your DSLR and rarely use it out of automatic or even aperture priority? Get to grips with your camera and learn how to achieve maximum depth of field or learn how to freeze frame or record motion blur with perfection. I deliver 4 lessons over 4 weeks to get you to the stage where your camera boasts about the beast it really is. Come and read all about it here and snag my last spot on the course (which starts this Friday).

PS: You can dip in and out of the course as you wish, you have 8 weeks to deliver your assignments and there is absolutely no pressure whatsoever (but there is lots of encouragement).

PPS: If you prefer, I teach one to ones here, in Wigan. An action packed 6 hours gets you shooting images as fab as Marilyn's, above. Come see here

Love
Kirsty x
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27 Mar 2012

Mad March Weather

Its completely barking! Our county was set to reach 18 degrees Celsius today but in my little nook in the garden, it was 29. I couldn't breathe and was worried about my factor 15 being rendered useless or even worse - flammable!! Im gently nurturing my freckles and have harvested a whopping 485324832709749836520165765 to far with room for more. I cant afford to be burned to a crisp like Katy Price, so I gave in after spits and spats throughout the day. I have to consider whether I want fluffy cloud skin or leather (and I'm not opting for the later!).

Last night I promised Belles I'd take her to the beach after school with the dog. We packed cold and hot drinks, blankets, a camera, doggy stuff and a couple of pounds for a fish supper. As we are lucky to live near the west coast (22 miles is near, right?) we set off so that we would have an hour sat in the sun as it went down in hope that the blankets kept us snug and the coffee warmed our insides. It gets pretty chilly on the coat, especially Southport. Of course, living by the west coast means you get a spectacular sunset over the sea and with it being completely cloudless today, we were going to be in for some pretty fabulous photos.

We arrived at the golden hour. Ellie was hysterical at my tallness with the evening shadow!


Belles and the boy took a seat between mad dashes in the shale and sand.


Cuddles were plentiful


And leftover coffee shares were an added bonus for poochy poo



The sun didn't take long to dive into the north sea, so we played a little because on the west coast - you can!


This one is my favourite, Belles had no idea what was going on and passers-by must have thought we were loons!


Belles was getting cold at this stage so she went back to the car with the pooch and more coffee and I waited (over the road) JUST for this shot. I knew I wanted it the moment we arrived so had to wait for a couple to pass along the railings whilst I pretended I was taking pictures of the sky (sneaky!)


I glad we got these photos as a memory of a happy little night together but in all seriousness, these pictures are not half as delicious as the fish supper we troughed on the way home. We even bought a sausage for the sausage dog **I'm covering his ears, he doesn't know he ate his 3rd cousin, twice removed for his tea!**

PS: 2 spaces left on my Online photography course, starting this FRIDAY! Read all about it here if you are wanting to get shifting with that DSLR. Whether you are a novice or trying to get out of Aperture Priority - I'll get you to Manual in 4 easy lessons over 4 weeks.

Love
Kirsty x
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Bad perms and other things

Between 1983 and 1988 my hair was either frizzy permed or permed-and-growing-out or grown out and then re-permed. Wow - we were so fashionable. Only this particular perm was done by a "Boyfriend at the time's Mum" (who really didn't like me because I was a common northerner - her words, not mine). She thought it was a GREAT idea to frizz up my head on top of highlighted hair. How was I supposed to know that it was a big no-no, at the time, to perm directly after highlighted hair? I only agreed as she was doing it for free and a free perm was a saving of £24 back in those days!

To my horror, when the perm was set , washed and dried, my hair looked like a haystack-cum-candy floss. I immediately dumped my boyfriend and went out to buy dye for my hair .....to kind of tame it a little. And, ahem - this was the result.
Photobucket

I mean, I'm not bitter about it. I think she did me a huge favor of forcing me to dump her son. I seem to recall having the BEST summer that fateful year and all without him!!!!! Hooray for bad perms! And the extreme close up is a real treat for you, here..........


I made this layout using my March and Feb Scrapagogo kit which Ive just received. I haven't paper scrapped for a while and tonight, as Mark is away in France with his students, I had free reign to do what the hell I liked in the house. Ellie and I are having a blast. For a start off, the remote is OURS. To choose which channel we so dearly wish to change without a moan and a groan. ITS FANTASTIC! Go to France more often, please...... tee hee.

With my leftover kraft card stock (Cut from 12x12, I used 8.5x11 for the layout and the excess strip is perfect for cards), I whizzed this little number up to accompany a small parcel I'm sending out tomorrow.


Finally........
Ive got a few places left for my online photography course, starting next Friday. Read all about it here if you are wanting to get shifting with that DSLR. Whether you are a novice or trying to get out of Aperture Priority - I'll get you to Manual in 4 easy lessons over 4 weeks.

Love
Kirsty x
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26 Mar 2012

We have a winner

Helen? Of Elliewee blog? Step forward to claim your booty!
Hooray x

Plus! Get 50% off all canvas sizes at Snapfish using this code here 50MCANVAS12 until midnight tonight. Hurry!!!

25 Mar 2012

Robert Pattinsons agent

Who is she/he? Anyone got their number? I'm afraid if Belles doesn't get anyone to go to the prom with then I'm going to have to call them. His agent or the cute little blonde's agent from One Direction (no idea what his name is but she is currently holding a bit of a torch for him too!!) Heeeeeee! Poor kid, she has nobody to sit with (girl or boy) as all her friend's have already organised their seating plans/travel arrangements etc yadder yadder. I was just going to sit here and bawl my eyes out FOREVER over the matter but Belles has decided that she will just hang out and enjoy being fabulous. That kid has no qualms over the debacle; I don't know where she gets her strength from because I'd be mopping up my tears, with my prom dress underskirt, if I were her. Talking of which, her ultra fluffy petticoat arrived today and I have to say, its pretty fantastic for the price. If anyone is looking for fluffy-under-prom-under-skirts, then get in touch.

Tonight was a great night on the telly for the Wiseman household. The Voice and Britain's Got Talent. At times I found The Voice a little contrived and cheesy but we all gave it a thumbs up in the end. And Britain's Got Talent? Oh we just LOVE LOVE LOVE this show. Its got everything including belly laughs and tears. Loved Johnathon and Charlotte (Click this link here) in fact I was so happy for them I wept buckets and wiped my snot down the dogs back. Love little gems like this. Another Susan Boyl/Paul Potts moment.

Finally, here is a little something I whipped up using leftovers and fiddly bits as I was tidying my craft room. I guess its kind of christmassy with red, green and white but what the hell....... it's a card to sit amongst my standy-by collection, for that special someone, in a hurry.


I'm off to Leeds tomorrow to meet a sweet friend of mine for coffee and my fave uncle in the world for a bite to eat. What with the clocks going forward, I best get my ample backside to Bedfordshire xx

Love
Kirsty x
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24 Mar 2012

Bawling my eyes out

Sport relief, tonight, made me cry so many tears. I don't know if it was down to my temperament today or the fact that David Walliams and John Bishop cried too. Either way I stretched to £10 in donations to help out causes where people will be saved.

Kids in the footage didn't want for anything but food. They didn't ask for hand outs but a hand up. Oh how I'm welling up just thinking about it.

My £10 was earmarked for some new socks but I already have threadbare ones. And threadbare ones are better than none at all.

Have you got a spare couple of pounds you won't miss? Xx

23 Mar 2012

Spring in Macro

Its still not green enough for a proper spring outing. Trees and hedgerows are still a little too dark and dank for me. Even the blossom looks pathetic without a spray of green enveloping them. And the magnolias always sprout their bloom before their leaves but the tree from which they bloom looks like tardy driftwood. The remedy to capture their beauty is to macro shoot them. I tried with all my might at sundown (and with a slight breeze, too - grrr) and managed these little pretties tonight:

In about 2 weeks, these cherry blossoms will be all gone. Time to soak them up before the wind turns them into pink snow



This Camellia looks like a rich, plush velvet. And the colour is just so happy


More blossom but what I love most is the pollen on the stamen tips



The sap running though the bark cracks is crying out for a bee or two to feed on its gooey-ooey



And finally, Im using the last of my Bloom and Grow papers from My Minds eye. I know its like, so retro for most of your die-hard paper users but Im so behind with scrapping right now, it will be years before I use this years new releases as it is!


Thanks for stopping by!

Also, don't forget about the giveaway from Tuesday. You can leave a comment here and Ill put your name in a hat...even if you commented on yesterdays or the day before's blog post!

Love
Kirsty x
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22 Mar 2012

Victorian posy by Belles

My Belles is doing a level two course in Floristry in College. She only goes one day a week during school time but will leave with a certificate good enough to get a job arranging flowers. Sadly, Ellie finds rose stems, wires and the green sticky tape too much to handle and needs help when coming to use these components in an arrangement. I have to say, despite the help she gets, she does come home with the most amazing arrangements at times.

Take this Victorian posy. Ellie tells me that ladies would have these to smell when trying to mask the smell of sewerage that was thrown into the street back in the 1800's. My mum, who is visiting, protested that they were actually called nosegays. Well I just burst out laughing; it totally tickled me. You just can't gay like you used to, when I was growing up.


I think its a gorgeous arrangement and that tea rose has the most stunning fragrance.


Didn't she do a great job of it, despite it containing her 3 worst elements: wire, tape and rose stems?

Finally, here is card using my leftovers for recent commission from Sizzix. Their framelit low profile dies are gorgeous


I also used my Sizzix Big Shot, Mei Flower Bling, My Minds Eye Bloom and Grow papers.

Please continue to leave comments here or on yesterdays post for a GORGEOUS giveaway of papers, card, stamps and buttons from Natalie Oshea

Love
Kirsty x
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21 Mar 2012

Friends in my garden and GIVEAWAY

We have a lovely tortured willow tree in our front garden and at this time of year it is heaving with little birdies breaking off the tendrils for their nests. We can watch from our window and marvel at their delicate work. So to thank them for the pleasure they bring us, we bought a seed tray for them. Its been such a success and after 4 days, its almost empty. I figure these mummies need fattening up for their babies! The tree is too awkward for cats to jump up at, so we feel its pretty safe for our new friends. We have chaffinch, goldfinch, bullfinch, blue tits, coal tits, sparrows, blackbirds and Jays (!!!!) who visit us daily; its lovely.

Here is one of our sparrows who doesn't even flinch when we walk out the front door. Isn't she a pretty little thing?


She is totes checking me out, checking her out, here!


The weather has been gorgeous here and today, the first day of spring, was bursting with the golden light that I love at 5pm. Ellie is much better with her vision at this time of night as the sun is a lot dimmer. Here she is yelling at me to hurry up as it got a tad nippy at this stage. Im not a big fan of sunflare but it couldn't be help here. Love my Belles, so much.
And finally - a giveaway from Natalie O'shea at Stampin Up! Its almost the end of Stampin' Up's Sal-a-bration so if you haven't grabbed one of their amazing bargains, come and check them out here (I bagged two sets of sale-a-brations this year!). All you have to do is spend £45 or more you receive a free stamp set or a stack of GOREGOUS papers.

The giveaway:

To be in with a chance of winning the above booty, leave your name in my comments box and I'll pick a winner at the weekend x

Love
Kirsty x
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19 Mar 2012

ATC Swap - March

This month I chose a colour I normally despise working with - lilac. I know it can look pretty but I always get it wrong. So, to try and make this work, I made my own shade of pink to match - if that makes sense? Using my Jo Sonja's finest paint I concocted this lilacky shade of pink and instead of my "go for" silver embellies, I plumed for gold.



Close up of my lilackiness


I hope Lynn liked her ATC as much as I actually enjoyed making them (despite lilac being v v tricky to handle!) PS: I make two - One for me and one for the next recipient on my ATC swap.


Anywaaaaaaaaaaaaay. If you are a mum, I hope you had a lovely mothers day. I spent most of the day with Ellie, on my own and it was just heaven. Then it was time to roast (with what felt like) an entire hog for my In-laws. Here are some snapshots of our day:

Me and my sweet little love bucket


New slips for Mothers day which I BOUGHT!!! Tee hee (Sainsburys, £6 just in are you are wondering, Very Cath Kidston-ish). They are very comf.
I wore my Dachshund neck-ly, a nod towards my baby boy!

Ells and I baked and cooked and roasted and boiled and stirred the dinner. Here I am, straining a smile (gettit? - Man, I suck at puns!). My smile shaped strainer actually makes me smile (Asda, £2.49 - get yourself some happy!)

And that was the sum of my very lovely Mothers Day.

Love
Kirsty x
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17 Mar 2012

Crazy for Crochet

I'm getting way ahead of myself, you know. I knit 7 stitches for rows on end and make a scarf..........suddenly I can knit (but really, I can't.....its was fake knitting, really). And I had a go at crochet (again) but my tension on the chain stitch it utter horse crap. I still believe I can do it! Luckily, on Monday, Im meeting a friend who is going to show me some hooky moves (Hi Su!) and no doubt, after my lesson, I will be amazing. So amazing, I think I will make all of these, below!

Click on the pictures - they will take you to the places where I found the images (all Etsy!)

Look at these Ugg inspired bootees. I need a baby to make these for, who is going to have one for me?

I love this necklace, so cute for a trim too


How freaking gorgeous are these?


I really want to make these, even for me - keep my toes all toasty watching TV


Now this little fox is ca-yoooooooot


I laughed out loud at these crocheted baby sandals!

Hunting for yarn, now, because obviously I will have had all these made by next Saturday - no?

Love
Kirsty x
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16 Mar 2012

My Belles, of the Ball

You know, this prom thing is working out a lot more inexpensive than I first anticipated. I mean, I would have spent a fair amount but its way less than I had planned. One woman in the post office today said that her co-workers daughters dress cost £300. REALLY? For one night? Good grief. Maybe she needs to take up crafting and realise that thrifting and hunting down a bargain is a real lip-smacking challenge.

So? The Dress? Well, here she is - in all her soft frilly tulled layered-ness. This dress would be knee high on a mainstream 16 year old but on Ellie, its just above the ankle. Its bodice shape need tapering and Ive got to add straps.
Ive ordered an underskirt for a tenner (cheaper than making one) and that will help flute it out a little. It needs to be lightweight other wise she wont be able to move. She is so slight that even on a slightly windy day, she loses her balance.

Oh Ellie's just loves this dress and absolutely everyone I have shared the image with thinks its a beauty. In fact, one of my Facebook friends has asked to borrow it for her daughter in December!

Ellie will have to wear a shrug because her arms are excruciatingly thin. As the pink in the dress in ballerina pink, we are thinking a ballerina cross over cardigan will be cool but I'm going to get my mum to crochet a delicate picot edge and I'll painstakingly sew little clear beads to make it a little schmancy. I thinking of finding an unusual broach on Etsy or making one myself with gems, feathers and pearls. Ellie can't visualise this so we have not established that!
For the feet? Well, this will make you romantics baulk! Ellies feet are severely deformed and flat slip-ons are no-no - let alone sky scraping heels. So I just said to Ellie "why not wear some cool converse boots?". Initially we were going to plum for black then grey but no! We found SILVER!!! Im also going to gem them up too.
Ellie has specifically requested NO TIARA. Well, that's cool because a princess doesn't need no crown...she just needs sparkles. She chose some hair gems that you twist into your hair instead. Ive got to make a huge (and I mean HUGE corsage for her "up-do). I'm thinking of doing that in Ballerina pink....at this precise moment, Ellie doesn't really care what colour. She was tinkering with this hairstyle (gotta love Pinterest) but now she is thinking of piling all her hair on top of her head with barrel curls and loose tendrils.

Make-up? Ellie never wears it except for the odd (and I mean ODD) occasion and even that's just a swoosh of gloss on her lips. She just wants a swipe of gloss, pink blusher and silver mica eyeshadow. Simple and fresh, I think

Im making her a necklace in ballerina pink, steel grey and cream pearls on a string - that's all she wants and so she will get it! And then she wants the arm warmers to extend from her cardigan. I fitted her with her arm warmer I made last night....................
But it swamps her arm (ahem, its snug on mine...I get to keep them!). So we are on the look out for slightly lighter grey socks in a children's size so that we can get these babies made and wrapped in tissue for nearer the occasion.

And I think that will be the look complete except for a little wrist purse that I'm going to make in grey for her money and lip gloss. I will prob embellish it to match her broach ensemble.

Now that these things are mostly visual in her head, she can get excited. She keeps coming to our bedroom to admire the dress. The tough bit at the moment is that she is a bit worried that nobody has asked her to go with them/sit with them. I'm sure nearer the time she will be seated with someone she knows plus I don't think Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) will be able to make it but could you imagine that? I'd fight her for him ...or maybe not, cos I prefer Jacob.

Love
Kirsty x
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15 Mar 2012

A funny old day

Today, woke exceptionally early because today was "get a free latte" day from Starbucks. The fact I had to drive 4 miles, pay a parking charge of £4.50 to get one is besides the point - I was grabbing my opportunity to bleed them dry. I'm really a Costa Coffee girl but a free coffee tastes oh-so-magnificent, even if the beans could have been ground with human bones and dog poo.

Before I set off, I gathered my shopping essentials. Namely reading glasses, a brolly, lippy, purse, pen, paper and my sunnies. Only they decided to break. But I wasn't going to let that hamper my day.

I made a beeline for Starbucks where people were backed right out of the door. This is typical but hell, why not - its free coffee! I had only been stood in the line for 30 seconds when I recognised the guy come and stand behind me. It was only Luke Marsden from Big Brother 8. He is an absolute scream and so I asked if I could have my picture taken with him. Sadly neither of us were particularly endorsing Starbucks nor being paid for it. Remember - I'm a costa coffee girl. NB: I was wearing my rather fetching "quilt cover" style jacket for ease of wear and not a fashion accessory.

After 45 minutes of queuing and enjoying conversation with random queue-ees (seriously, I love talking to anyone and everyone.....it was pure entertainment), I was served my free half shot skinny latte with sweet and low. And it was fan-friggin-tastic.

Afterwards, I ran some errands around town before being lured by the mystique of TK Maxx. Normally I cannot stand rifling through rails and racks of oddments (all in XS, Size 6 or browny fawny coloured clothes that nobody else wants). But today I noticed there was a sale on and the prom dresses were on that rail. Now, we know Ellie isn't your average 16 year old who is going to be wanting to spill out of a satin-y/sequin-y top with splits up to her knickers, fake tanned with false eyelashes and all sorts of "gypsy wedding style" paraphernalia. Ellie's simple request was "Bella from Twilight". So I had to look for "soft shades and simple". Good old fashioned simple and understated. And in one shopping session (out of a predicted 385483534643) I found the dress. And its just heavenly (although needs taking in a few inches). Best thing was that it was reduced from £100 to £30. But I'll savour those pictures for tomorrow as we have done nothing but plan accessories since I got home with the dress she practically salivated over when she saw it. Im so glad she trusts me!

I have started to make one of the accessories and that's some hand warmers. Ellies unusual, slightly soft "emo" look needs hand warmers and this blog HERE gave me a great idea. I cut up a beautiful, soft pair of Pringle socks in grey and followed the instructions of the blog I just mentioned before. I have lashings of lace (the colours in the lace and socks match her dress perfectly) and lots of ornate buttons so I set to work whilst watching a re-run of The 2 hairy Bikers "Bake-action" programme (loving it Although had to pain myself watching them lavishing over bread). I only managed to finish one but I think she is going to love this. It looks better on but I cant wear it and take a picture at the same time - duh!


Ive also got a necklace to make (again, simple and understated), a flower corsage for her hair and a wrist purse. Bless her sweet heart, she really does want to approach this Prom with something a little unique and of course I'm def going to help her.

I also made this pretty little post-it note holder and gift bag too





As well as a 1 minute card made with left overs. Seriously - slap, dash, zip!


Its been such a fun, happy day. I'll sleep well tonight.

Love
Kirsty x
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