Not scrapping yet!

As is the same every year the last day of the year and the first day of the year are my busiest for sorting sponsorship of UKS.

In anticipation of the chaos, we slipped in to London for a couple of days – a belated birthday meal for me at my fave fun restaurant Inamo,which has good food, if on the pricey side, but the real draw is the interactive tables.  DD spends the whole meal changing the patterns, browsing the menu and has been know to try to call a taxi if we don’t keep a close eye on her!

She loves looking at the food and watching the chef-cam.

It’s always a fun experience and the presentation is very scrap-friendly – check out DS’s dessert ….

We spent a bit at Paperchase, as you do (got myself a very cute tea flask with cup, decorated with owls) and I scored some tiny little mister bottles at Muji, although they are surely not the best price for such things.  Impulse won out over sensible spending, I’m afraid.  We waited outside a magic shop under Charing Cross and were JUST on the verge of leaving when someone rushed up to open the shop about an hour later than advertised.  But managed to get DS a couple of specialty Arcane decks, which aren’t intrinsically magical, just very pretty to look at.  Once DS has scuffed them up a bit and they don’t spread as nicely I may take a few for altering/scrapping.  They are lovely.

DS and I went to see An Inspector Calls, although I was more interested in Rope at the Almedia (we lived just across and down the street a house or two from there once) but I lost that battle.  Great production, but SO uncomfortable in those tiny seats with no leg room at all.  Note to self – NEVER book anything but an aisle seat, ever.  Tried to hit Avatar in 3D at the Imax but it was booked for a week.

Now, home, awaiting a City Link delivery they first sent out on the 17th which still hasn’t even been attempted, just goes on the truck then back to the depo every day.  Why? LOADS of other stuff has been delivered no problem,  but not the main package that has all the best stuff in it!  Still the kids are enjoying the neverending Christmas LOL!

So Happy New Year to anyone who actually sees this and hopefully it will be back to scrapping in the New Year.


Doll DONE!

DH managed to get out today, as he had a meeting in London that was postponed from yesterday but no chance of me getting the kids in the car and out to the store. Our road is still covered and with a layer of ice below the melting snow. Maybe later …

So our Christmas dinner is likely to come on Boxing day and we will eat out of the freezer for now – which means slim pickin’s as I don’t usually have frozen food (well ice cream and ice cubes and a pack of chicken tenders and a pack of hot dogs for emergencies and usually a bag of dumplings after we go to the Chinese market in Reading … oh! and a bag of frozen peas to use as an ice pack for minor injuries LOL!)so I’m hoping DH gets back from London in time to at least pop into a shop in town and grab a few things to round out a meal. Not the Christmas I imagined but hey ho. As long as we can spend it as a family, all together, that’ll do me.

And the good news is the forced isolation meant I DID finish the “last” doll! Here is Mariah (or maybe Mitchie or perhaps Mimi – I think DD is not entirely sure yet!) all done.

Not a brilliant photo, but you get the idea. She does actually have a nose, you just can’t see it very well, and DD was VERY insistent she not have eyebrows or eyelashes (I did put on eyebrows but they are mostly hidden by her hair because she just looked a bit STARTLED without them) and have a “small smile” so my artistic creativity was slightly curtailed by her desires. But I have to keep telling myself it’s HER DOLL not mine.

Now, if I can just keep DD occupied with a Christmas film or two I can get on with sewing all those uniforms! We already had to have a birthday party for Alicia (another doll – DD was very keen on having a Mulan doll but finding one was impossible so I downloaded a Mulan wallpaper, printed it on tee shirt transfer paper and ironed it on to some fabric, then used THAT as the face. The whole thing was of questionable success as I didn’t realize the pattern needed cutting out with an added seam allowance (ALWAYS read the full directions before you start!!) and she has pencil thin arms, lopsided and wonky shoulders, HUGE feet (that was actually part of the pattern, not MY fault) and a giraffe neck with a big bulge at the back of her head when I tried to add a cardboard tube between the head and body to keep the head from flopping over! – bizarrely, she seems to be DDs favourite) yesterday, and I had to take time out to make her a birthday outfit.

Wow. I know I do like my parenthetical inserts but that one was a bit long and multi-nested even for me! Sorry about that. I tend to write as I think, and my head is always so very full of things that I struggle to keep a single train of thought on track. Going back to DSs Thomas the Tank Engine days, my thought process is a bit like those rotating platforms that shift the trains into their sheds for the night.

My train of thought is on a constantly rotating platform and taking trains out, putting them back in, then taking another one out tends to happen even within a sentence.

I’ll spend the day cleaning up the mess on my desk (and floor, and every other available space) and watching for any delivery trucks that manage to make it down the road as we have LOTS of outstanding deliveries expected and I am hoping at least some of them will arrive today. Have a Happy/Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays, if you prefer!

Mary Anne

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WOYWW – doll faces

In a mad rush to get all the sewing done for DD for Christmas. As I mentioned I have made her a number of dolls, trying out a number of patterns, from a number of different materials. Painting the face for the “last doll” (I made her promise me this is the last one I have to make) and will finish her TODAY for sure. from a pattern at this site and some eye painting tips from the Doll Fashionistas book by Ellen Brown!

And a shot out my scraproom window!

DH and DS are on the road trying to get some food and coal. Fingers crossed they get out and back OK! We had a double lorry completely blocking the road, part in our drive, angled like a Z across the narrowest part up until about an hour ago (it sat running since about 3PM yesterday then a second lorry tried coming down the hill this morning and for a while we had two of them stuck!) but they managed to move at some point. With luck we won;t be eating Chinese dumplings and hot dogs for Christmas dinner!!


Brushes and holiday resolutions

Oh the holidays are so busy for us all, aren’t they? But every time I start to have a little twinge of guilt that I am ignoring my blog and instead spending time working on last minute gifts (dearest DD sprung on me she fully expected a set of school uniforms for her dolls (eight of them, seven made by me, with varying degrees of technical success but with 100% approval ratings from her) for the mythical “Sunshine Lane school” they all attend while DD is at school, as well as “the new doll” I only just found out is expected) or cuddled up on the sofa with DD watching some old classic like The Secret Garden or Wallace and Gromitt, or seeing DS perform his newest card trick, I end up (quite rightly, I think) pushing it to one side.

But I fairly recently got a copy of the newest PSE for the Mac, and have been playing around with it. It really is quite powerful for the price. I was getting a bit fed up with seeing great brushes out there and not being able to take advantage of them if they didn’t also come as a .PNG file.

One of the places that prompted me to get PSE was Mel’s Brushes. Wow. Mel is from Gloucestershire, here in the UK, and is a graphic designer, art workshop leader and video artist. I love her brushes. Check out the brush index on her old site, as well as her “newer” blog. There are tutorials as well as lots of other links. I thought would first ease my twinges of guilt by sharing, then go back to the sofa with DD. And I resolve to keep those twinges at bay till the new year.

Here is a cute brush set to whet your whistle:



What a kerfuffle!

People wonder why we struggle to get out of the house when we get the least little bit of snow. This is an old layout I did of the house from across the fields:

If that’s not bad enough, here is a shot of the top part of the long, steep drive and then the bottom of the drive out to the road:

That’s DS clearing the drive!  The road goes up the hill one side to a main road, and down then up a very narrow road with a couple of tricky hills that snakes thru a small village.

Here is a layout I did for SI last year of a shot from the same day:

Believe me, we will be staying in for much of the day if not the whole day.  I suggest a cup of cocoa (with marshmallows) and warm socks and a stonkin’ fire are the orders for the day.


Christmas layout

Well, this week has been a bit manic, to say the least. Between UKS sponsorship stuff, Christmas stuff, DD’s Ice Show stuff (7 hours yesterday, including 2 hours stuck on the M4 behind an accident) and other school stuff (3 hours yesterday) updating my blog has slipped to the bottom of the list! I have to assume it is much the same for most people. But I thought I would add a Christmas layout today, one that was in SI last year and which is still a favourite.

We had a son in 1991 who died shortly after birth due to a heart defect. It was a sad time for us, as anyone who has experienced something like it will know, and we still deal with that great sadness now 19 years later at a few expected times of the year. Looking at DS at nearly 17 tends to make us wonder what our other son might have been like had he lived.

I remember at the time I wrote a couple of very long posts on a pre-cursor to forums, the news group.

Bizarrely, I had a look, purely on a whim, and they can still be found in an archive (somewhat scary to think that anything you put on the web could still be found so many years  later). They make painful reading, given that they were written in the throes of early stage grief. If you are feeling curious you can find them here and here but there are pretty detailed and pretty raw, so honestly, don’t click on the links unless you are mentally prepared.  Seems I am still warning people not to read them – I did that when I wrote them as well. All these years later, I thought I might not be affected, at least not seriously, by re-reading those posts but in fact I have tears streaming down my face.

One of the traditions we began that first Christmas was to buy a special heart shaped ornament every year for our Christmas tree.  Finally, only last year, I documented that tradition in a layout:

Only a few of my favourite ones – the calendar is a flap that opens up to reveal a very short version of the story (more of a “Just the facts, Ma’m” version). The hearts were all printed then cut out and some pop-dotted.  The greenery is a few bits of an old Christmas tree.  I’m looking for this year’s heart every time I see ornaments.

A bit of a downer, this one so I suspect it’s a good thing not too many people actually read my blog  {smile}



I don’t know about you but all the stress of the holiday season makes me want to revolt and do nothing useful for an hour or two every day. I love the Samorost games, one and two (and I did spend the $5 to get the full version of S2). They are free online flash games and very lovely to look at, with ethereal music (very relaxing) and are fun to play, if your mind works in a certain, twisty sort of way.  For some, I acknowledge they can be mind-blowingly irritating.

The company, Amanita Design, recently released a game called Machinarium, which works along the same lines, very reminiscent of The Neverhood, perhaps my all time favourite game EVER EVER EVER, with fiendishly wicked puzzles, seemingly mindless sequence of events, and sometimes quite specific actions required to make the whole thing work.

This puzzle is early in the game so not so fiendish – you mush construct a bomber man by replacing the duds in the figure with the live TNT on the shelf, light it, and feed it to the creature who comes thru the door … who then, from what I recall, explodes fairly spectacularly. If I could talk DH into getting me a working PC with a 75 MHz processor and Windows 95 I’d be playing THAT! But I find the Amanita games to be a decent substitute.

So there is your Sunday-something-else. Not at all scrapbooking related, but woman does not live by scrapbooking alone….


Calendar slideshow on YouTube

Not sure how viewable this will be here on my blog but you should be able to click the YouTube logo to watch it there. It gives brief instructions for making the calendar from the last two days posts. I think this could also be made as a sort of mini-book-on-easel if you wanted. I hope it’s clear but if not, do leave me a comment here or on YouTube and I’ll try to clarify anything that is confusing!

There is a fair amount of text to read and I fear the AudioSwap music might be a bit loud as you can’t set the volume on YouTube when you do that, so apologies in advance.


2010 Calendar

I’ve always been slightly annoyed with scrapbooking calendars. While I can see the sense of looking up from your calendar to the child in front of you and noting the change from the previous year, I am quite sure when I am old and senile (it’s happened already, apparently, according to DS) I will look back at the 2009 calendar and think “He looks younger than 16” and be very, very confused LOL!

So, back to my WOYWW – I was working on a desk calendar. I constructed the frame (might have to do one of my little YouTube slideshows on that) and then built the pages on those kraft divider cards that I love. I found a nice calendar online, downloaded the PDF and then (as it was an every-month-on-one-page wall calendar) marked and copied the individual month, resized them, then printed them on cardstock. Using the celery green as my colour scheme (more or less) I made January to June, then working backwards on the back of the pages, made July to December – that way I can flip to June then reverse the whole thing and flip them back. It keeps the bulk down.

Each page is basically the same layout – month and 2.5 x 4 inch chunk of kraft cardstock. A simple embellishment on each page, with a bit of stapled ribbon, and everything inked if appropriate. The plan is to TAKE a photo every month and add it to the calendar so at the end of the year I have a photographic record. The base and rings I can use again – although it annoys me to have BLUE book rings (I need to get some green ones or silver the right size) I wanted to share it so try not to think about the “blue and green should never be seen” malarky!

Sorry but it is a bit photo intensive – I may just pick out a few favourite pages here rather than upload all of them:

While I would never, ever commit to one of the Take-a-photo-a-day challenges, I would like to think even I can manage one a month!

There are still a few bits and bobs to sort (like the month on the tab, and covering the back of the cover) but they will happen as soon as I get caught up on a few more things.

Thanks for looking.

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WOYWW – or should that be WOYFW??

Just a quick post on my WOYWW – although in reality it’s all over my FLOOR because my desk has been taken over with UKS business (sponsorship, Home Page publishing over the holidays, new class for 2010 stuff – it’s all piles of paper and lists and copies of things to be filed and is likely to be that way till mid-January!) and I am scrapping onboth the floor and a small TV table at the moment. BUT I am really, really excited about my project, which is a 2010 calendar on a stand. I’ll share more when it’s done but at the moment, this is the only photo I managed:

There is a lot of GREEN and a lot of stash getting used up, and an interesting approach to the whole calendar idea (at least for me it is!)

I should finish up tomorrow and will write a bit more then. Fingers crossed!