Ladies Camera Club

29 Apr 2012

Chaos and calm

Whenever I spend time with Jane, we don't need to be constantly having a laugh or talking endlessly.  Often we can be sat in the same room musing over different things without saying a word.  This is what I love about her; I just don't have to try and be her friend because its just natural that we are.

On Friday, belles and I drover over for a sleepover.  We were planning to craft but one of her friends didn't show which put us on a craft downer.  As her room was in this sort of state to start with I bravely suggested that we roll up our sleeves and sort out the chaos.

 I think Jane had got into that void where it just never felt tidy.  Which also meant that she didn't feel that, come the time for an impromptu craft session, she couldn't face the chaos.

Jane is an interior designer by trade and also a stampin up demonstrator.  She's a full time Mum to my favourite little girls in the whole world (next to my Belles).  So having the dedicated time to keep on top of things is zero.  I, myself, do have a little more free time than Jane and as neat and tidy is my middle name - it was the perfect opportunity to have a good old clear out.  And, as luck would have it, they had a skip on the drive half full, ready to take the crap she no longer needed.

All of Friday night and four hours of Saturday morning we sorted, sifted, tidied, grouped and slung a billion things.  Between breaks we would find the girls either iPadding, chatting, giggling, playing or chilling.  THEY WERE SO GOOD!  We even found the time to have a mini feast of nibblets and chocolate dipped strawberries.  It was SUCH a good night but I was totally ready for my bed at 4.30am.

The next morning we woke up to a gorgeous breakfast before we tackled the room for the final onslaught.  I'm not kidding you, this woman has got a problem; worse than mine and I thought my craft stash was hideous.  But Jane and I are very much alike....... we just love creating.  And that's why we hoard so much thinking every piece and part will come in handy one day until a ruthless clearing up session tells us that its time to have a good old cull.  I don't know how many times I said "What the hell is this?" or "What you doing with that?".  Some 15 bin liners later, the room started to take shape.

And it ended up like this..........**insert sparkly fairy tinkly noises**

Didn't we do a great job?

Were supposed to be going home at tea time but Ellie was having such a good time that we left at 1am this morning.  At one point in the day, Jane's hubby took Ellie and Lady K to Starbucks without ME!  I mean, these outings without Mark or I are so incredibly rare.  I was amazed she agreed to it and she loved it. Plus Ellie rarely likes anywhere else than home (and her grandparents).  She doesn't even really like going to other family members houses let alone friends.  So I must give a huge credit to both of Jane's girls because they are so gentle and patient with her.  Here she is with Lady K......

Soooooooo, anyway........
Whilst at Janes, I also planned to take a few pictures of the girls too.  Ive been taking pictures of them since Jane adopted them some 5 years ago.  Ive relished every single passing year and it catches my breath when I see them again, all grown with new attitudes.  They are the most luckiest girls having Jane and Stu as their parents.  This is what I managed to grab between sorting out Jane's studio

Miss C!  What can I say about her?  A proper little madam with a very special place in my heart.  I could literally cry for her.  It takes a lot of work to get pictures like this but they are worth the wait.

Here is Lady K!  Im thinking this one is going to be a model with her flowing locks and easy manner to sit and pose.  Well, not even pose.  Just sit and smile.  Easy :)

Show stopper, I think!

And my Little Miss C xx

Bath time cutie in a mountain of a bajillion bubbles.  Its those red lips that steal the show which are proudly showing off a very minxy smile.

And Im thinking that red glitter goes so well with her fabulous specs!

Lastly, I shall leave you with this months ATC swap that I took part in.

And that my friends, is a sum of my weekend.

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.

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 :(

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


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!
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.

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.

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 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 :)

13 Apr 2012

And the concensus is......

A deluge of emails today with regards to yesterdays post. Some scorning me for missing a couple of key towns of which I have added (Carlisle and Hitchen/Hatfield). Id also like to thank those of you who took the shortest survey ever known to man (he heeeeeee)

Dates for venues thus far:

9th June - Birmingham
10th June - Cardiff
16thth June - Southampton
17th June - Bristol
23rd June - Glasgow
24th June - Aberdeen
30th June - Nottingham
1st July - Hitchin/Hatfield - tbd
14th July - Newcastle
15th July - Carlisle

Im not taking bookings just yet. Im just planting the dates in your mind and in about 4 weeks time I will open the reservations. The cost is the same as last year (£80) and includes 6 hours of DSLR training - taking your immediately out of automatic mode and shooting photos like your camera secretly begs you to. Read all about what the course entails here. Email me if you want me to contact you when the dates go live for booking and I will give you first refusal. My email is HERE.

So today. Hmmmmmm. Busy with the iPhone on push notifications as I had 1.3 bajillion emails and digital projects (on top) to cope with. This afternoon, though, I had to take Belles to town for a Science revision book for her forthcoming exams. We also bought little accoutrement's for her prom too. We are MAJORLY struggling to find a suitable stoal/shrug/bolero for her arms. She is painfully thin and its important to keep the mean girls at bay from her bare arms. I know that sounds catty but seriously, the ugly comments she gets in the summer with her bare arms (from passersby, people in queues etc) is VILE. I'm seriously thinking of a mohair style yarn to be made into a shrug so if anyone can help with locating a good priced mohair/angora effect yarn, Id be grateful beyond measure.

Whilst out shopping, what did I spy? Just what did I spy? Oh I was rubbing my eyes and blinking at my disbelief! Only polkadot converse with fatter spots on the reverse/inside. At £48 a pair, Ill have to wait until the next after next payday. Ive to also sell my kidney for my Hunter wellies which cost £85 in most shops except I bagged them for 33% less elsewhere (insert smug-but-hard-bloody-work-finding-them sigh of relief). I need super comfy yet stylish wellies for pooch walks on the marshland where we live. And my wedge wellies are a tad uncomf for doggy walks. They are more of a "I'll stand still, jump in a puddle on occasion but look-fabulous-into-the-bargain-kind-of-welly"". Don't you just love wellies, minus the sweaty feet and spiders?

Finally, just me and my girl are going to Knowsley Safari park tomorrow. I don't know about you but monkey and baboon butts scare the living hell out of me so I'm hoping I can swerve those enclosures and instead, opt to admire the things behind 5 inch thick glass and at a safe distance.

11 Apr 2012

A little bit of everything

First of all? We're back home.


Have just spent 5 fantastic days in North Wales doing lots of walking and resting, in between. Family time is precious to me and on the Llyn peninsula, we spent it wisely. Ellie came with us last minute (she was going to go to my mums at first) so that was an added bonus. This was our view for those cosy 5 days, taken with my iPhone. Note iPhone. I didn't take any fancy camera equipment with me because I totes needed a break from craft, photog, digital design.... the lot. And I got it.
And I'm chuffed to blog that I walked 10 miles whilst there, taking my total (since 29th March) to 29 miles. Oooh my backside is aching, I can tell you.

This leads me up to the latest on my Macchu Piccu walk. I'm not sure if you know but last month there was a little set back by way of the Peruvian government putting a ban on British naval ships docking in any of its ports. This was due to a flare up of instability between the UK and Argentina, over the Falklands Isles. I rang the British Consulate to find out whether I should hold back. Whilst they didn't exactly say yes or no in a formal manner, I got the impression to take precautions. In light of this, I'm not going to go until Autumn which gives me more walking planning and raise my sponsor levels. I'm gathering lots of prizes (from my fave crafty contacts) to give to won lucky winner from the list of people who sponsor me HERE. I will keep you updated on that as it happens.

DSLR Training in a town near YOU
Due to incessant demand over the winter period, I'm going on tour again. The success of last years tour has got me in the traveling mood again. Ive got several cities in mind but need to gauge demand in those towns first before I announce dates (mainly throughout June, July and August and namely avoiding London due to the Olympics and Jubilee!). So if you have a DSLR and want to learn how to use it effectively without referring to the (lets face it BORING) manual, I can teach you all the best and most important bits in a days group session. READ HERE for a full breakdown and a list of towns I'm visiting. In the meantime, if you are interested, please help me with this survey here:

Last week I set a sketch to a live crop (the sketch is a few posts down from here). I still haven't finished it but I am pleased with the progress I am making with it. It just needs a photo, a title and journaling ...............and whatever else I can cram on there.
I think Its my fave layout in a long time. Its nothing flashy and wreaks of scrapping style circa 2008 but you know what? I'm just going where my mojo takes me, you know?

And finally, me little love buckets. I have some very swish jewels to share with you. All crafted by my own fair hands. I've got a shop who wants to buy them under my teeny, tiny sub-trade name of Neck, Bedeck. Ive quite fancied a trade name with a comma in it; it sounds so.....erm? So....... comma-ishy?

But I'm not doing it full time. Just a few pieces here and there. Besides, Ive too much love for patterned paper and pixels to be taking on that malarky.

Aaaaaaanyway. Oh! I seem to have come to the end of my blog post. I'm sure I had squillions of things to say. Maybe tomorrow night.

9 Apr 2012

Pwitty things

Whilst on my holidays in North Wales, over Easter, my little wifi connection afforded me some Pinterest time. I scoured the site for things to salivate over and fix my thirst for pretties.

Here is what is floating my boat (click on the images to take you to the source)

This is a fabric sample. Of course I want it.

I have a little thing about belts tied over cardigans and this dress? Its just gorge.

Source: via Tanya on Pinterest

This is what I hope to achieve once my crochet improves

I sincerely hope I get to have shelving like this, one day

Thinking of making this

Vintage suitcases are just so pretty

I really want to have a go at making this

Ooooooh, now this is lush

Isnt this beautiful?

And this scrapbook page is delicious, too

And finally, I hope I can take inspiration with this image at a wedding shoot next month!

Share some of your best Pinterest finds, won't you?

7 Apr 2012

Just hanging

Firstly, thank you for all your detangling advice! Yes, Ellie really cannot brush her hair. Those who really know Ellie will know that she has no upper body strength. She cannot even open the fridge. Not ideal but it is what it is.

Aaaaaanyway. This week we finished decorating our kitchen diner. One of the walls is badly dented from the inherited plasterwork; when we moved here. Replastering worked out to be too much to budget for, so instead we hung some gorgeous stripy blown vynyl wallpaper. Have I hold you how much I love hanging wallpaper? I think I missed my vocation. Mark pastes and cleans the pasting table. And I hang, smooth and cut the excess to precision. All without a plumb line. I think I'm pretty awesome to say nobody taught me. Then, when it dried, we painted it in Dulux Mocha. A colour I could lick!!

I doubt you can see the wallpapering expertness in this picture but imagine this seat with me in it, having a cuppa and reading a book (currently the Happiness Project - which i sincerely wish my regular anonymous blog commenter would buy and read). It's such a cosy little nook.

And when we exit the kitchen diner, I'm always happy to see this sign, too

Im thinking of where my next wallpapering adventures take me...............

6 Apr 2012

My curly girl

People often comment on Ellies hair. And the older she becomes, the tighter those spiral twist. Unfortunately she had no muscle strength to brush her own hair and so the excruciating job is down to me. And there are tears every time. For 16 years she had cried every morning at hair brush time. I hate it even though I'm gentle and use detangling spray. The bonus is that her curls hold on to the fragrance of shampoo for days and I'm often hugging her and inhaling the scent.

Yesterday her hair was so shiny and extra curly, I couldn't resist taking these pictures.

After a good tug on the knots and scrunched up matting, it's easy to scoop up into a top bobble and after the tears gave been wiped, it's a treat to see those bouncy tendrils on top of her delicate neck - it's the most delicious thing.

5 Apr 2012

Live crop and chat - at 8.30pm (5th April)

Come and join me here and a wealth of crafters who pop in and out to chat as I create a project, using this sketch:

Come play. Come chat or just plain watch :)

Out of my comfort zone

It's true, I have a passionate hatred for a colour that reminds me of a bruise. But when you have a number of inks in this colour, use them you must. And I actually like how this came together.

This tag is to accompany a little parcel I'm sending out tomorrow. I think the crafting Mojo has come back and it needed to. Ive got the finishing touches to apply to my class layout for the Scrapstars event in Leeds at the end of this month. Hooray for Mojoville.

Ive also got bum-acheitis this week. Ive totalled 12 miles of walking the dog and 2.5 miles of running since Friday. With summer coming up, I need to shape up for putting my legs on display. On the walks Ive been wearing my Reebok shape-up trainers which I have to say really do make a difference. My hams are on fire! Ive also cut out foods with bleached flours (ie white flour) which has helped settle my gut which has a habit of flaring. And I also think Ive managed an entire crop of apples and strawberries this week. Its all good in this little temple of mine!

Just hoping I can swerve around the Easter eggs this weekend!

PS: Do consider reading the post below, you might be glad that you did x

Kirsty x
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4 Apr 2012

How to win friends and influence people

This term of phrase came from a book written over 70 years ago. And a bloody good book it is too. Ive recently revisited it with a renewed skip in my step (on my Kindle app, no less.....I can read it anytime I want from my iPhone). I can't recommend it enough, this book makes me feel that all is well with the world and that I am impenetrable! Its not a self help book per-se, its more a book on studying the psyche of other peoples behaviour and how you can come to agreements/arrangements that work in BOTH your favours. The trouble is, everyone SHOULD read this book so that everyone has a level pegging. I seriously think that all schools should teach its findings in school. Kids would leave school with excellent morals and ready to face the world with a supreme confidence.

This book was written mainly for people in business; to learn to be effective communicators. But I feel anyone can learn from its lessons and utilise it in their normal, daily lives. Whether you are a stay at home mum, a postman, a road sweeper, Richard Branson.

Im going to start a discussion group in a months time so if you want to join, try and find a copy of this book on AMAZON (or ebay) NOW! Don't pay more than £6 for it as its quite cheap. Or you can Kindle it or download the entre book (PDF file) for FREE, by typing this in your address bar:

By god, its a beauty. A real treasure and one that you will thank Dale Carnegie for, for the rest of your life. And maybe me, too - for introducing it to you!!! He heeeee **insert smug but happy to share the inspiration look**

Leave a comment below if you are interested in joining the discussion group. Then I'm going to run a free journal class to accompany it.

Kirsty x
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