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.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Things Are About to Change

For a long time now I have been planning to change my Blog so that it becomes the home for my creativity, rather than a place for me to just 'Muse'. I don't think the two things are mutually exclusive, but I want the main emphasis for this site to be the creativity, rather than the 'Musing'. 

I have been a keen Scrapbooker for about ten years now, but have always enjoyed being creative. I have worked in an office all of my career, with the working getting more and more serious as I get older. There are moments when I am really not sure how I got involved in what I now do, but I really enjoy it. However, as it has become more and more a seriously serious job, I have found that the creative side of my life has become more important to me. It is now time to start sharing some of my work, the Better Half has been on at me for months, neigh years, to start doing this, so here goes.

Over the next few weeks and months I will be sharing some of the Scrapbook pages I have made over the years. It has been interesting looking back at these as it shows how my style has changed and settled, not completely, but certainly more so than it was. A major change has been that I now rarely produce a page that does not have some journalling on it. There are a few occasions when this is still the case, but very few. I am not going to show these pages in chronological order, not least of all because I have no idea what that would look like as I don't scrap in date order. 

For many years I spent more time scrapping old family, often vintage, photos, than current photos. To a degree this was, I think, why my scrapping did not include much journalling, as the most I know about the photos was who was in them, but sometimes not even that. I was keen that what information I did have, should be recorded for future generations, so my pages generally only included 'Facts' and that became my style. As I have finished (well, 90%) recording the old family photos, I have now had a chance to spend more time on photos that are current, or at least are old photos of me, my friends and family, so I am able to include more of my thoughts. 

One major source of inspiration for me is the wonderful Shimelle Laine. I really cannot remember how I first came across her work, but her website is an inspiration. I have taken lots of her classes and would recommend them to anyone who wants to learn more about both technique and the theory of design. You can find a link to her website here. She is currently running a class 'Return to the Collection', which was first available a few months ago and I did it then. It is a great class and I return to the materials, including videos, often. In the Class Shimelle takes you through how to get the best out of a Paper Collection Pack, with a few additions from your existing stash. I found the class really helpful and is a great way to bust your stash. It only costs £12 and, like all of her classes, you get to take it as many times as you want at no extra cost. Why not give it a try?

The first page I am going to share is one I made about four years ago. I have chosen this as the opener simply because it is probably the page that took me longest to put together. From memory it took about five hours, simply because I had to punch so many border pieces to create the background. It was one of those ideas that seemed like such a good idea at the time, but I did end up cursing it. Having prepared all the strips, I then had to stick them all down. But I do like the final page, and the lack of journalling and date is not really a problem for me because of the subject matter; it really does not matter.

I do remember some of the supplies I used for this page, which is more than I can say for most of my pages. The patterned paper is all from Anna Griffin and was some that I had in my stash for far too long, so using lots of it for this page was a good idea, other than having to do all the punching. The punches were Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page and a Deep Edge Punch. The cardstock was Bazzill Bling and gives a soft sheen in the background. The gems are from Papermania.