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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Masterpiece in the Making

I'm always inspired and encouraged when I watch a Master Crafter or Artist at work, either by video or in real life. The later means you can get in some dialogue too and that is fantastic. Some one is demoing Dylusion Sprays later so might take my young crafters along to watch and see if we like the technique, it's not something we've tried yet.

This last week, after school I've been having the privilege to watch, and listen as a young master in the making creates a scrapbooking layout. She approaches it so differently to me, which was a surprise as she learnt by imitating me.

TJ was invited to be a Junior Scrapateer for Meredith Cardall. Meredith and I used to work together on the RAKScraps Team and she's always been keen to encourage my young scrapper ever since she saw TJs first pages in the gallery. TJ gets to choose something from Meredith's store to work from each month and this month she has chosen a snowy themed bundle.

After putting the co-ordinating kits onto the laptop for TJ I left her to have a look at it. I had to leave the meal preparation to go and have a look in at the squeals from her and her brother. Roo was sat next to his sister and they were playing with the papers and elements in the kit. That is how she always begins, by playing with every piece of the kit in her software as a way of checking it out. This particular set of kits included something for building your own snowmen and they were having a fantastic time doing that together.

Next TJ plans out a layout using her favourite pieces and works on getting them to look how she wants them. TJ has now asked to look through the photos so she can add them to her layout and finish it. Can't wait to see it later.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

DIY Mod Podge

My art mentor, Cilenia, is kindly allowing me to share some of her hints, tips and tutorials with you all here.

I keep seeing and hearing the two words "Mod Podge" about the crafting community and haven't found any anywhere. Guess what! Cilenia makes her own! Here's how.

You don't really need anything special.  School glue from the dollar store, a left over jar from a sauce you've used and water.  Yes, that's it!

Squirt your school glue into the jar.  Fill the glue bottle with warm water and shake it up really good.  Squeeze that into your jar and shake to mix.  Yep, that's it!  Works beautifully!  And at about 1/10th the cost, you can't beat it!

Thank you Cilenia.

I am an Artist

There is an art journaling group on Facebook and there has been a trend recently to create an art journal page with the title "I am an Artist", and one of this month's Follow Your Art Workshop themes is "discovering the true you". So I decided to merge the two into one page today using the new technique I learnt yesterdayI am truly me when I can create.

Can see in more detail in gallery by clicking on image.

I used the Discover Kits from the Follow Your Art Series:

Paint Effect

Ciliena pointed out this really cool Photoshop tutorial yesterday (here). For my after putting the kids to bed de-stress time I decided to have a play. It was fairly simple to follow and translate to my different photo editing software (Photoplus). I played with one of Daniel's photos.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Nature's Princess

Near the start of one of our favourite local family walks is an old tree trunk that has been carved to make an ornamental seat. All three kids love it.

Click the image to see a larger version in the gallery.

The layout arrangement was inspired by a sketch from the Another F Scrapbooking Challenge. There is a guest spot up for grabs in August, the post is the prize for one person taking the challenges this month. If you take part in any of the June challenges please let them know I sent you as I'll get extra points for the referral.


My Mini Engineers

I love that my kids are creative and that they enjoy construction. They have two bright yellow trucks on the garden, one is a digger the other  a dumper. They persuaded Daniel to take them to the park a few years ago to play in the sand pit with.

This scrapbooking layout was inspired by Sketch number 212 at the Creative Scrappers Blog ChallengeI created it with my usual digital scrapbooking software, Serif's Craft Artist, and one of the Daisy Trail kits that goes with it called Dune. To edge the background and give it more depth I added an overlay from Cilenia Curtis's Scribbles and Scripts Overlays pack.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Induction Day

I walked into the room and was surprised by the number of parents sat in rows and a staff member rushed off for more chairs. The Education Welfare Officer spotted me as a familiar face and waved me across to the empty seat next to her on the front row. She was really nervous. She doesn't like giving presentations and this was by far the biggest audience for a welcome to the school system talk she has ever been part of. There were over a hundred parents and other family members waiting to hear the Head Mistress and her guests.

We had all just taken our little ones into their new class room to meet their teacher and were now sitting down to a collection of talks on uniforms, school attendance and curriculum. The very large free-flow styled class room and courtyard now contained 83 children. The largest single intake yet at our local Primary School. There are about 65 children in TJ and Roo's year groups.

The Foundation Year Class now has three teachers plus teaching assistants (TAs) instead of two. Each child is assigned to one of those teachers for registration purposes and they are split down further into small groups for focused teaching sessions. Mostly they operate as one huge class moving freely around the different activity areas. Foundation at this school is all about learning through play.

Tisha was pleased to push a picture in my hands when I returned to the class room and happily chatted about the sand pit  in the courtyard. We ate in the dinning hall to show the kids where they will be having lunch, the very hall we had only recently vacated.

Tears burst forth in abundance when it was time to go, my little sweetheart wanted to stay. She was disappointed that she won't be going to school tomorrow, but is looking forward to her second "School Practice" morning next Monday.
photo taken when she was trying out her new uniform a few weeks ago

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Be Transformed

The latest theme for Follow Your Art is Transformation, and that immediately made me think of this scripture.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12 v 2

Click on image to see larger in the gallery.

I used items from the June 2012 Treansformation Kits, part of the Follow Your Art Series by

Thursday, 21 June 2012

My Dream Home

When I was a kid we moved house a lot and my mum was a professional at setting up a new home by the time I was in my teens. I never really appreciated how much work and organisation is involved. I have a whole new respect for my mother. She helped us on the first few days and I asked her "who helped you the first time". Her reply was "No-one". She had to do it alone, my dad wasn't even allowed time of work to help, and she was pregnant with me and my twin brother at the time.

I have no intention of becoming a professional house mover. This is where I plan on staying until we need to downsize as pensioners. This is my dream home, it has nearly everything I wanted. There isn't a pantry/utility but the kitchen is big enough that it isn't needed, and there are no fruit trees yet, but they can easily be planted.

This house does have

  • Space for everyone to sit around the table together
  • Space for a bed for Tisha
  • Separate rooms for each child
  • Plenty of private and family space
  • Space to run and play
  • Space for creativity
  • A Kitchen overlooking the garden with lots of workspaces
  • Space for all my things to come out of the storage unit they have been stuck in for over 4 years.

And it's gorgeous too!

Have you been collecting Angie Young's Dream Catchers Kit free as the daily download at Digitals? It was the perfect kit choice for a 2 pager about my dream home.

Close ups in the gallery:
Credits (everything by Angie Young and still at 40% off until the end of tomorrow):

Friday, 15 June 2012

Warping Text in Craft Artist

Hello everyone, I have another technique tutorial to share with you today for Serif's Craft Artist Professional (CAP) software. I'm playing with text again, and this time I'm going to show you how to warp a block of text.

I was scrapbooking with a new kit from Aria called Follow Your Art - Discover, and wanted to add some text to this lovely book element she included in the clusters pack.

As you can see, just putting text across the top doesn't work. So how did I warp it to make it look right?

  • Select the text and look at the handles on the selection box.
  • Click on the one in the centre of the top and drag it left or right (right in my example).

  • Repeat with the central handle at the bottom.
  • Move both handles until you get the side of the text running as you want it. In my example I now have the left edge of the text box parallel with the edge of the page.

  • Click on the central handle along the side of the text box and move it up or down to change the angle of the text lines.
  • Adjust the handles on both sides until you get the result you want.

You can see the completed layout in my gallery here.

Have fun adding creative journaling to your layouts.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Happy Painting

Little Tisha like to feel big by helping mummy and loves painting.I found the perfect job for her this week, painting olive oil onto the new wooden chopping boards to season them.

Clicking on image will take you to larger version in gallery.
I used Angie Young's new kit: Come on Get Happy, all her kits are 40% off until the 22nd June, and a sketch from Pagemaps Blog for their current contest.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A WOYWW Welcome to my New Craft Space.

We are now about 85% unpacked and semi-organised. I know it's going to take months to get everything "just so", but most things are finding places to go even if they are only temporary until we find a better location. I posted views of the outside of our new home a few days ago (here) and as it's What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday it's the perfect time to show you where my desk now resides.

There are 3 doorways onto my creativity room, two sets of double doors and one single door. When crafting with the kids I can open up the  double doors and we can expand into the lounge or conservatory.

View from the Lounge

View from the Conservatory
And through the single door is the kitchen. Lots of lovely workspaces in there for creative cookery etc.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Water Spray

Why do we carry a small water spray bottle in our diabetes kit bags?

Roo and TJ need to have their blood sugar levels tested using a finger prick blood test. Traces of anything, including print from a book can give false readings for the blood tests. So prior to any blood test they have to wash their hands using water without soap. Yes, that's right no soap. Even soap affects the test results. Lotions etc on wet-wipes and also the chemicals in the waterless hand washing gels will also affect the test result.

So if there is no sink available, we spray a finger with tap water stored in their spray bottles and then dry it with a cotton wool pad (there are some of those in the kit bags too).

Kids Craft - Smash Books

This is a crafting activity I did with all three of my kids, we made smash books. What is a Smash Book? It's a cross between a journal and a scrapbook. The idea is to stick, draw and doodle in it on the spot when things happen. They can be prayer journals, everyday life scrapbooks or special occasion books. We made some coastal themed Smash Books for taking on a trip to the coast. The kids can fill them up with pictures from leaflets, drawings, rubbings and writing etc about what they discover and enjoy about their time there.


  • Large Cheap Old Fashioned Kids Scrapbook
  • White paper
  • Lined and Squared Paper
  • Themed Images
  • Activity or Spotter Sheets
  • Tags
  • Envelopes
  • String/Yarn/Ribbon
  • Scraps or Old Stash
  • Hole Punch (I used a Big Bite)

For the themed images you could gather together stickers and images from magazines. You could sift through your stamps collection and stamp some themed images etc onto white paper to cut out and add. I found some colouring book pages to add to my pre-schooler's book.

For our Coastal Themed Smash Books I printed out some items from the Water World Printable Jotter by Toucan Scraps.

Step By Step
1. Remove the coloured pages from the scrapbook and cut them in half
2. Cut the covers in half too

3. Add white, lined and squared papers to the paper pile. It doesn't matter if they are different sizes.

4. Add themed colouring and activity sheets, and maybe some patterned papers from your old stash or larger scraps.
I made some spotter sheets to add to these books (tutorial here)
5. Mix them up
6. Decorate the Covers

8. Line up everything along the left edge and punch holes for the fastening

9. Thread strips of ribbon through the holes and Tie with knots. Be sure to leave space between the edge of the book and the knots.

10. Stick an envelope to the inside front cover

11. Cut out themed images etc.
12. Put the images, stickers, tags and mini envelopes into the envelope.

I put some supplies in a pencil case to take with us on our trip including

  • pencils
  • wax crayons
  • pencil crayons
  • scissors
  • glue stick
Have fun making some smash books with your kids for them to fill this summer.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Diabetes Awareness Week

It's diabetes awareness week here in the UK (10th - 16th June). Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that both TJ and Roo have type 1 diabetes. If you are a new or recent visitor to my blog I'd like to invite you to find out a little bit more about diabetes and how it affects our family by one or more of the following:

And please, everyone feel free to ask me (or my children) questions in the comments section of this blog post and I (or they) will answer them later in the week.

Thank you.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Featured Designer

One of my favourite digtial scrapbooking and art journaling kit designers is being Featured at Digitals this fortnight -  Angie Young. She has all her stuff on sale at 40% off and a gorgeous free kit for us all as the daily download. Don't miss out.

Photos of Our New House

Thursday, 7 June 2012

We Have Arrived

We have arrived in our new home. It's like a dream and ciaos all at the same time. We have been without internet for a whole week but I've been too busy to miss it. We have however missed the phone, fortunately it was during school half term so that wasn't an issue. There are so many phone calls to make and letters to write after moving house.

The kids are as excited as we are and Roo is managing remarkably well with the change. He is having more meltdowns than normal, but that is to be expected.

Excitement levels are having a dramatic affect on blood sugars, both Roo and TJ have been having multiple hypos day and night. One benefit of having staying awake late is I'm getting lots of unpacking done, but I need to get more sleep. I've made changes to background (basal) insulin doses every few days in an attempt to regain some control and I'm hoping the kids are more stable tonight.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Kids Spotter Sheets - Hints & Tips

Spotter Sheets are a great learning tool for adventures and home schooling. They can be used for anything from birds, fungi and trees to landmarks and even artefacts to look for on a museum trip.

Here are 2 spotter sheets I made for my kids when we were planning a trip to the coast.


Hints and Tips

  • Think of where you are going and create a list of things to see, both common and rare.
  • Look it up on Wikipedia
  • Make sure any images you take from the internet are public domain - that means you can grab the images from there to use on your spotter sheet free of charge. Otherwise you would need to request permission from the copyright holder who might charge.
  • Wikipedia images are public domain as part of their user agreement.
  • Collect together your pictures
  • When creating your spotter sheet use a nice easy to read font. I used Beatnik SF
  • Add a little square for the child to tick when they've seen it.
  • For young children use photos, but for older children you could use line drawings for the images