Thursday, 4 September 2014

Bellowhead 10th Anniversary Concert

I was sitting at my desk at work one Thursday morning when I spotted an email from a friend. This is someone we have known for a very long time, but who we only see occasionally these days, so the email caught my eye. 

He was kindly asking whether my Better Half and I would be free to join him and his wife at the Bellowhead 10th Anniversary Concert at The Royal Albert Hall that Sunday. They have access to a Corporate Box, which would mean that we would not need to pay for the tickets either. At this stage I only had a very vague idea of who Bellowhead are, so did a quick Google search to discover that they are a folk/jazz/pretty much everything else band, multi winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 'Best Live Band' and 'Best Band' Awards; this sounded like it was going to be a very entertaining evening, so I quickly checked with the Better Half and he confirmed that we were free and that he would like to go.

It was a slightly wet evening when we set off to The Royal Albert Hall, but I remembered that there is a covered walkway from South Kensington Station pretty much the whole way to The Hall, so that saved getting the umbrella out too soon, and happily it had stopped raining by the time we left the tunnel. We met up with our friends at the front of The Hall, and made our way to the Box, and then the Bar. As we were in good time, we got to sit and watch as The Hall filled up and also spend some time catching up. 
Then the concert started. WOW, I was not prepared for this, it was amazing. The production was just out of this world and I can see why they have won the 'Best Live Band' award so many times. I had deliberately not listened to any of their music before the concert, but even bearing that in mind, my foot was tapping most of the way through the evening and I was very disappointed when the evening finished. What a great night!
As for the layout, this was my first foray into using divide page protectors along-side a 12x12 layout (other than 6x4 divided protectors just to include lots of photos). I wanted to include as many photos as I could, along with the ticket and lots of embellishment. I had some of the Glitz Design Wild & Free Collection pack left and thought that the bright colours would work well with the photos from this vibrant evening. I am really please with how this all worked out, although photographing a divided page protector is something I am going to have to work on I think, any suggestions on how to do this without too much reflected light would be gratefully received.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


The photos for this layout were some of the ones I had not seen for many years as they had been residing in the attic at my parent's old house. After I had been working for about three years, I decided that I would go back to college to study Fashion Design. It was a fairly mad idea, but was something that I felt I needed to get out of my system. So I managed to find a two year course at the London College of Fashion, handed in my notice and had two of the most enjoyable years of my life.
It was strange becoming a student again and, even though I was still only in my early twenties, I was by far the eldest on the course, most of the other students being 16 or 17; so quite a large age gap, particularly as I had been working and been out in 'the real world', and the others had mostly come straight from school.

One particularly enjoyable part of the two years was suddenly having so much holiday time again. I am sure that when you are at school you really do not appreciate having so much time off, but having worked and only been allowed four weeks holiday a year, going back to long holidays again was a real bonus. The slight problem of course was what to do with them and how to afford to do anything much, particularly as I was getting no grant (which at the time was strange for someone returning to education) and was basically living off my parents and my savings. Fortunately there were ways around the problem, starting with being allowed to 'sign on' during the holidays (something that you could only do if you had already been working and were not getting a grant) and I got a tax rebate as I had paid tax for part of the tax year, on the basis that I would be working for a full year.
Having realised that this was going to be the last chance for many years to have a really long holiday overseas, I booked a place on a camping tour up the East Coast of The States, from Miami to New York. The tour would take about two weeks, but I really wanted to be away for at least three, but ideally for a month. My Father suggested that I write to some work contacts of his, who had been to see us at home a few times and always said they would be delighted to put us up if we were over in The States. So with his introduction, I wrote to them and they kindly invited me to stay with them for a week at their Condominium on the coast in South Carolina. I was to fly in to New York, catch the Greyhound to North Carolina, where their offices were, fly down in their private plane to South Carolina and then catch the Greyhound to Miami. 

Now bear in mind that I had never been to The States before, and had only ever travelled overseas with my family; this was quite an adventure, one I am not sure I really appreciated at the time. I was going to have to travel through some of the roughest parts of New York and Miami on my own, the saving grace being that at least there was no language barrier.
Anyway, the journey went pretty much as planned, and other than my luggage ending up on one bus to Miami and me on another, it was all very uneventful (happily my luggage was waiting for me when I arrived in Miami). I managed to pick up a broad Carolina accent along the way, which confused my fellow travellers on the camping tour. I got to see at first hand some of the race issues, particularly on the bus from South Carolina to Miami, where I was told I was sitting in the wrong seats as the back of the bus was for 'Blacks' only; I remember having a real issue with this as I was perfectly happy sitting next to a very kind lady who made sure I was OK the whole trip, the colour of her skin had not registered with me as being significant. I continued to sit next to her for as long as she was on the bus.

This is another layout I can confirm the supplies for, as they are pretty much all from American Crafts 'Dear Lizzy Polka Dot Party', other than one small piece from Maggie Holmes. The Thickers are from American Crafts and the Enamel Dots are from Studio Calico.

As every, my thanks go to Shimelle Laine for the inspiration that she has brought to my scrapbooking - this is a layout of hers I have used time and time again. I commend her blog to anyone looking for inspiration.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Shard of Light

For many years now, I have worked in The City (being the City of London); since 2011, close to The Tower of London. In the past three years I have tried a variety of routes to get to work, some were driven by the need for an easy, convenient journey that allowed for a period of recuperation after an illness, some by time involved. My current journey came about following a Tube Strike earlier this year that meant a few days of very unpredictable commuting (more of that on a later post).

As often happens, the result of this enforced change has become my regular routine. So now when I travel into The City on the four days each week that I am there, I have a great walk over one of London's iconic bridges and along part of The Thames Path. This route means that I get to see St Paul's, Tower Bridge, The Gherkin, Hays Galleria, The Tower of London, to name but a few. In fact, just watching what is happening on the river itself keeps me amused during the fifteen, or so, minutes to the office. It is one of my greatest pleasures of the day, and has the added benefit of keeping me really quite fit as I walk very fast, and my whole commute includes about 150 steps up or down each way, which is the equivalent of about 12 flights of stairs, just getting to or from work.

I have spotted all sorts of things during this walk, some of them are very easy to spot, some less so; some are very fleeting, as with the site I captured of The Shard. You had to be standing on exactly the right spot to see it in quite this way, and it only lasted for a very few moments before the sun moved on and the angles no longer provided the same level of drama. It was one of the many moments I have been grateful for a Camera Phone.

This is one layout that I can actually confirm the details of most of the supplies I used, helped by the visual clue, but as it is a very recent layout, I also made a note of what I used. So I can confirm that the papers are from the original Maggie Holmes Collection for Crate Paper, the die cuts are from the Styleboard Ephemera Pack, the 'You are my Fave' sticker is from the original Accent Sticker Sheet. The label sticker is from Crate Paper 'The Pier' collection, the enamel shapes are from My Minds Eye Cut & Paste and the Thickers are from American Crafts. So for once, I think I have managed to include details of everything I have used.

Friday, 29 August 2014

La Tour Eiffel

Many of the photos I take are what can only be described as 'arty' shots, so not necessarily a standard shot of the subject. I had been under the impression that this was a recent habit, but these photos were taken over 20 years ago, so clearly it has been in my blood for a while.

The layout is a straight lift from one that Shimelle Laine did just over a year ago. I loved the papers and the fact that you could use up a number of scraps to such a great effect. It worked perfectly with the photo taken straight up the inside of La Tour Eiffel.

This is a fairly recent layout using a photo I had forgotten I had taken until my Parents downsized a few years ago and decided it was past time for me to store all the bits and pieces I had acquired while I had either been living with them or in my one bedroom flat. This was a wonderful trip down memory lane because I have always enjoyed taking photos, and had been fairly organised about writing down what pictures I had taken, and then transferring that information into a photo album. So I not only rediscovered lots of long lost memories, but many, if not most of them, included the details that otherwise my memory would  have struggled with. It has been great fun scanning these pictures and then scrapping them with the added perspective of time having passed.

These photos were taken on a long weekend in Paris that my Parents kindly treated me to soon after I had had my appendix out; they felt I needed a bit of a break after a fairly rough few weeks and, as I had only just moved into my flat, my finances were a little stretched (this was at a time when mortgage interest rates were at 15%, which is eye-watering to think of now). I certainly appreciated both their generosity and their company and I remember we all had a really enjoyable time, spending much of the weekend laughing.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

St Paul's

St Paul's has to be one of the most iconic images in London and of London. If you see a picture of the Dome you know exactly which City you are being shown pictures of, don't you? Or is that only because I grew up and live in and around London?

As I have worked a significant amount of my career in The City of London, the sight of St Paul's has been in my sub-concious most of my life more than for many. But it has to be one of the greatest sights. It withstood heavy bombing during World War Two and although there are many more modern buildings around it now than when it was first built, there is a sense that there has been a degree of sympathy and consideration in the designs of these, particularly in more recent years. There is one building that is only just being finished now, that was designed specifically to ensure that the view of St Paul's Dome from other parts of The City was not interrupted.

The Cathedral is additionally special for our family as my Father is a volunteer guide and travels into The City once a week to share his knowledge and passion for the building and its history with tourists from far and wide.

There is something about this layout that just worked. Sometimes it happens that way. The photo is in colour, although because it was taken in the dark, it has a feeling of black and white, and I think that is why the basically monochrome supplies work, with just a hit of very pale aqua to lift the design. Unfortunately this is yet another layout that I did not keep a note of the supplies I used, so am not able to provide that information. Eventually, when I have caught up with recording my older layouts I will be able to include that information. I will try to include some more recent layouts amongst the older ones so I can include some of these details.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Happy Couple

One of the things I am thankful for, and there are many, many things, is that both sides of my family clearly loved taking photos. As a result, I have pictures on my mother's side dating back to the 1880s and on my father's back to the First War and beyond. Every now and again, my parents will find another envelope full of goodies and I will then spend a few hours scanning them so that we have a record of them for future generations.

I think it is fair to say that my mother has been better at digging photos out and letting me scan them than my father, so for some years I had a very 'maternal side' heavy scrapbook. But a few years ago my parents moved house and as they were going through various cupboards and drawers, my father found lots of photos from his family, including this photo of my Grandparents Wedding. It was quite a society occasion and the wedding dress was very much the fashion of the time.

The layout was done for a National Scrapbooking Day Challenge a couple of years ago hosted by Two Peas in a Bucket in January 2013. The challenge was for the layout to be monochrome, but not necessarily Black and White. The papers are from a Papermania Capsule Collection, I think it was called Lincoln Linen. It seemed to lend itself to this photo, being a twist on classic monochrome. The Flower was cut using the Tim Holtz Tattered Floral Dies, the doily was an X-cut die, the border around the journalling was a Martha Stewart punch around the page set, and the gems are Papermania. I imagine the the mist was Studio Calico.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Monarch of the Glen

There is a park near us that we rarely go to, but in it there are lots of Deer, and because it is a suburban park, they are all very accepting of people. As a result of this it is fairly easy to get close to them with out them getting spooked.

On this occasion, we were actually cycling past one side of the park and I spotted this white deer. Now I accept that they are not that rare, indeed I understand that in Fallow Deer the 'white' colour is not that uncommon at all, but I had never seen one before, so I came to a halt and got the camera out to take a few snaps.

The layout is one from my 'before journalling' phase, so the only writing other than the title is the date. This is a layout that I am very tempted to go back and change slightly. There is a perfect spot for journalling under the title and then down the left side of the photo. I am also tempted to add a bit more embellishment. I will have to have a serious think about whether to change it or not. I am always a little reluctant to change layouts as they are as much a record of my style as a scrapbooker as the photos as a record of what I found inspiring. This one would just be such and easy one to 'fix'.

Watch this space, the layout may appear again in a new guise one of these days.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Fizz Fridays

My mother's nickname is 'Fizz', there is a story behind it, but that is not for sharing here. The fact that it is her nickname is the point to be aware of in order to understand why I would possibly want to take a picture of an advertisement for a promotion on Sparkling wine outside a pub. The sign suggests that you should 'put some sparkle into your Friday', well my mother puts sparkle into every day of the week, not just Fridays.

The layout was another 'messy stack' using up lots of bits I had after a weekend of scrapping, I am fairly certain the blue with white polka dots has been cut to stretch it, in fact I think all of the strips will have been treated the same way, it is a common thing for me to do when I have got to the end of the bigger pieces and is something I really enjoy doing, seeing what sort of layout I can make when there is almost not enough to make a layout at all.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Beach Huts - I appear to have a problem!

I had not realised it before, but as I was going through my scrapbooks recently sorting them out, I suddenly realised that Beach Huts seem to have a fascination for me. These layouts are not the only ones I have with Beach Huts as the main feature, and I have just ordered some prints of the most recent ones I have spotted. What is it about them that means I cannot resist getting the camera out? I think it is a combination of a number of things; they can look so pretty when they are all painted in set colours, but there is also a part of me that thinks is is memories of 'Wendy Houses'. Not that I every had a 'Wendy House', and maybe that is the problem, a subconscious part of me that has always wanted one.

These examples are from the French and Kent coasts. The French huts were in Cayeux-sur-mer, which we visited during a trip to The Somme. There are some 400 wooden huts along a wooden path that runs for about a mile and a quarter so you can avoid walking on the shingle. The Kent huts were in Broadstairs. Both sets are most attractive, and would have been less so if they were not so beautifully colour coordinated.

In both cases I was keen to get shots of them from the less usual angle as well as a 'normal' shot. I remember scrapping these on the same day, which was perhaps fortunate as it highlighted the issue that I had started my collection of Beach Hut shots. It allowed me to add 'Also' to the second layout. In both cases there is a distinct lack of journalling. I do contemplate going back and adding some details to some of these pages, but part of me thinks that they should be what they are, a moment in my scrapbooking journey when that was not part of my process. I am not convinced that is the right choice, so who knows, I may yet go back, there is certainly sufficient space to add a few details. What do you think?

Friday, 25 July 2014


This is another photo from the family archives and, as is not unusual, it has no date on it. My memory of the  occasion is slightly vague also, other than I remember that everyone in the town was quite excited about the event. Putting what clues there are together, I can only suppose it was sometime in the late '60s or early '70s.

Clearly 'the event' was a steam train coming through the town. It was running on the Mainline tracks, rather than coming through the station itself, which is only served by the Metropolitan Line, but there was , and probably still is, a footbridge that ran over the track, and this was our vantage point. I don't think the photo is technically very good, but that really is not the point for events such as this, particularly when the price of film and printing would have been taken into account when deciding how many exposures to allow for a particular event. So the fact that whichever of my parents took this managed to capture it at all is the special thing.

As for the layout, this is one of my 'white space' layouts, where I tend towards a much cleaner look than my usual style. Although having said that, I have filled quite a lot of the space with mist using one of my favourite combinations, Studio Calico 'Shine' and 'Calico White'. The background is Bazzill Bling in Black Tie (a favourite of mine) and the gems are from Papermania, but other than the foam Thickers from American Crafts, I have not idea what the other supplies are. I promise that for my current layouts I am keeping a note of what I am using, so when I get to putting them here I will be able to confirm what I have used.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Take Off!

Just over two years ago, my Better Half and I joined some friends for the day at a house they had rented for an Easter holiday on the Norfolk Broads. Now when I say 'on the Norfolk Broads', I mean the back of the house was the Norfolk Broads and there was a jetty where a garden would have been.

We took our inflatable kayak with us, as the plan was to launch from the house and then spend the day 'mucking about' on the Broads. In the lead up to the weekend the weather had been quite good, so even allowing for this being Easter, a good day was anticipated. Needless to say, the weather took rather a turn for the worse, so we did get a little wet, but all the same, we had a good day on the water.

One of the highlights for me was when we were on our way back to the house, a little cold and damp, and we came across some swans. I love the elegance and serenity of these birds, and they appear in quite a number of my scrapbook pages. Generally, I snap swans in all their glory, gliding across the water and making it look so effortless. This day was different.

Fortunately, I grabbed my camera from the waterproof bag in time to point it in roughly the right direction, but it was with little hope of capturing the moment that I pointed the camera at them and hoped that it would capture the event for me; I was not disappointed.

I keep trying to remember which supplies I have used for these older layouts. In this one I can see that I was in a cardstock phase, so the background is a Bazzill cardstock. I can see some American Crafts 'Dear Lizzy' Neapolitan, and I think the camera stamp is also American Crafts, but would not bet on it. The butterfly punch is from Martha Stewart and the mist is Studio Calico. As for the rest, I have no recall at all.

Monday, 21 July 2014

In Focus

For a long time I was desperate have a picture of a Foxglove. There is something about them that I just love. Whether it is the colour or the way they look, tall and majestic, I really don't know, but there we are, I wanted a photo of a Foxglove.

The problem with Foxgloves is that, being tall and majestic, it is not as easy as you would think to get the whole plant in a photo AND for it to be in focus. It fills so little of the frame that the camera would not automatically focus on that, so you get lots of photos of the tree or fence behind the Foxglove with a blurry mauve stripe through the middle. You would think it would be easy to sort the problem out, and I am sure if I knew where there were some Foxgloves
I would have had no problem doing so. But we don't have any Foxgloves near where we live, so that was not possible. The only chances I had presented to me were while we were out, often with friends, cycling round the country.

Now, our friends are very aware that I photograph pretty much anything that does not move fast enough, and many things that do, but they are not necessarily wanting me is to spend ten minutes framing a shot of a flower when the aim of the day to find somewhere for lunch. The result of this pressure, self induced I accept, is that it took me many, many goes to finally get a picture of a Foxglove that was pretty much in focus; I mean months, if not over a year.

But finally I did it, and here it is. To many people it is nothing spectacular, and had I managed to take it at my first attempt, it probably would not have ended up in my scrapbook, but that is not what happened. So the irony of this is that the fact of it being a challenge to get is what made the story.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

No Pansies

I am not one of those scrapbookers who will only use 'special' photos taken on a special occasion. I will scrap anything I find inspirational in some way, or that has a story to tell. Obviously this would include 'special' photos, but equally it includes photos such as this one taken on a wet day on my phone. I was the passenger in the car when my Better Half spotted this notice on the back of the van we were following. I grabbed my phone and took a couple of snaps while we were queueing in traffic. It makes me smile every time I remember the photo, clearly the driver has a good sense of humour; and needless to say, it was a gardener's van.

My mobile phone has really allowed me to record those moments that otherwise would pass and be forgotten. I know all the arguments against mobile phones, that they are a constant distraction and we spend too much time staring at them, but having a camera to hand is a real bonus.

This is another page inspired by Shimelle Laine and one I use often when I have lots of scraps I want to use up 'The Messy Stack', you just stack everything up without straightening the stack, and you are done. Normally I would include a title on a page, but somehow I did not think this one needed one as the picture was almost its own title.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cowes Week

For a very long time I was a keen, and quiet good, sailor. I started my sailing 'career' aged about 12, crewing my brother in a Mirror dinghy at a local sailing club on a disused gravel pit. We had a great time and made some good friends.

Our horizons grew as we started to compete in regattas across the country, moving into Fireflies and International 14s. Finally, we were drawn to 'big boats', and started chartering yachts with a group of friends for weekends away. Come rain or shine, we would be out on the water whenever we could. This was a challenge as we lived near London, so had to travel to the coast .

This scrapbook page shows the madness that is trying to moor at Cowes during Cowes Week. I have never seen anything like it since, we were often seven or eight depth on the jetties. This was fine while everyone was happy staying put, but if one of the inner boats wanted to leave, all sorts of fun and games would ensue as everyone tried to stay connected to the flotilla.

The layout is a straight lift from Shimelle Laine and is one I come back to often. it is simple and can either be very busy, or, as in this case, quite graphic; it all depends on the papers used and how much embellishment is added. This is a fairly understated layout as the colours are quite bright.I am not a great one for using much plain cardstock, but in this case the plain black adds to the drama.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Vamp til Ready

My Better Half is a member of a 'Boy Band', honestly he is!

For as long as I have known him, and we have been together for about 22 years now, he and some if his friends have been in a Cabaret group. When they started it was called 'Songs Familiar' and was a mixed group of men and women, but over the years the women dropped out, generally as they started families, so it became an all male group; now called 'Vamp til Ready'.

I have a slight involvement, as both Groupie and official Costumier. This scrapbook page records the last set of costumes I made for a new member of the group, nicknamed 'News Reader Vamp'.

As this is a more recent page, I do have a fairly good idea of the supplies I used. Most of these were from the Maggie Holmes for Crate Paper. I love the Maggie Holmes designs and have papers from all three of her collections in my stash.

For more information about Vamp til Ready, have a look at their website.