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Time passes..

Just allowing myself a silly proud-mom moment today before gearing up for a return to normal next week…

DS has managed to actually parlay his love of online gaming into something more than sitting alone in a dark room, headset on and controller at the ready, awaiting the Welcome to Summoner’s Rift.  As I have mentioned a time or two before, I often watch him stream his games because I get to see him in a tiny little window at the bottom of the screen.  Thanks to that I at least know what an AD carry and what a Jungler is, what bot, mid- and top-lane means, that Baron spawns at about 15 minutes, and a whole host of other nonsense that I really can’t spare the brain-space for.

Since last year he has been a caster for The NUEL – providing play-by-play commentary and/or “colour” (just like a football commentator on radio or telly) for the online League of Legends tournaments they run.  The NUEL has grown a lot in the time he has been involved, and last weekend he was casting from a proper studio, rather than over a headset, from his flat.


That’s him on the left – doesn’t he scrub up well? Glad a bow-tie wasn’t a requirement – his co-caster totally rocks the look, but DS might not have been able to pull it off. And while it isn’t a full substitute for seeing him in the flesh, it does help slightly to keep the missing-him at bay….much better than a tiny window, for sure.

I feel a scrapbook page coming on…



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More unseen layouts

I did manage to track down a couple of the layouts from that unpublished book, and thought I would share.  I am still sorting and de-cluttering but I can see a couple of weeks more work.  I’ve managed on corner of my room so far. But there is still SO much more to tackle.

So here you go – My version of a Halloween layout:


Looking back at the text, it seem clear I was approaching they photos from a clean & simple angle, and focusing on multi-photo layouts. Shimelle was doing more her style (at the time) and more single photo layouts.

Her version:


And yes, our lounge really WAS that bright turquoise!

And on of DD with Granny – I also did more double pagers, based on what I found:


while Shim did more single photos – and in this case B&W


Hope you enjoyed the blast from the past.


Unpublished book

This is most def. a weird post. As you will have noted, if you visit here regularly, I have been de-cluttering.  It is amazing the things you find.

Eons ago, perhaps 10 years ago, I did a couple of book compilation projects for a publishing house.  The first was a greeting cards file.  The way it was done was a bit odd, to me.  Basically they sent me a stack of magazines the house also published and my job was to select projects from the magazine and, if at all possible, lift all of the photos they already had used then write text to turn the brief magazine info into a fuller project + technique entry.  This was the final product.


None of the projects inside were my work, just the text. Inside was a little tool kit and a projects book and a techniques book


After that, I did a similar craft file, which was on stenciling – don’t still have that one, or at least if I do I haven’t come across it yet LOL!

But after THAT, they asked me to do a Scrapbooking book.  That one was meant to have original work in it, as well as framing text.  At the time I said that my feeling was that a one-person book would be less interesting if the style the person (ME) used was not to the buyer’s taste.  I suggested adding another scrapper to the mix, they agreed, and I asked Shimelle. She said yes, and we set to work.  We made layouts and wrote text and just when it was nearly time to hand over the results, the publisher came back to us to say the people they were compiling the book for (I THINK it was Reader’s Digest for some reason) felt the market wasn’t strong enough and had pulled the plug.  DOH! Luckily we got paid, and they sent back all of the layouts.  I sent Shim the layouts I did using her photos and she sent me the ones she did using MY photos.  I never mingled them in my albums, just cause they weren’t MY work, IYKWIM.  But I did keep them in another album.  And I found them.

Here are a few, but not all she made. I love them all.  I want to go back and find at least a couple of examples of the ones I did using the same photos so I can share her version beside my version.  From what I recall she did her style and I tried to do a completely different style – more along the Clean & Simple lines so there would be a stark contrast and show how different a scrapbook could be.

I thought you might enjoy seeing these as I am pretty sure they have never seem the light before and it’s a shame cause they are lovely.





Shim was one of the first scrappers I met in the UK when we moved over the second time and she still inspires me over a decade later.  I am so delighted to have her layouts using my photos. I hope you enjoy seeing them – finally.

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Layout using the printables

I decided to have a go at making a layout, using nothing more than my printables set  (and just a bit of patterned paper and title letters) cause I am SO out of practice.  This is what I ended up with:



Soooo annoying.  The background looks light blue on my left monitor and pure white on my right monitor. And the striped line is totally straight on the LAYOUT but damn if it doesn’t look totally wonky in the photo.  And the striped texture of the cardstock is totally lost.

Oh well – it was just a bit of fun, and after so long it’s was just to remind me how much I love scrapbooking.

Look back to yesterday to see the download. And happy scrapping!


A great little trick ….

It’s been a helluva morning already – DD had a Drs. appt this morning and DH is off at some app developers conference so the school run was down to me for a change.  Going around a roundabout a woman who clearly has NO IDEA of the traffic flow, and was unable to read the lane markings, thought she could just change lanes and carry on.  She perhaps could have, had I not been in the way.  Been to the body shop and the mechanic already.  The mechanic says the car is safe to drive so relieved. Now with a seriously crumpled fender and a door that doesn’t open and close as well as it should, but fortunately no injuries, and thanks to a witness,  a clear claim to insurance agreed by both of us that it was HER fault and not mine, I am finally back at my desk for a short time till school pick up.  {sigh}

As a result of al that I haven’t made anywhere NEAR the planned progress, but I did discover a little trick that I thought I would pass on.  I am SO doing this all the time now!

Given my recent issues with t’internet, I’ve not been watching YouTube videos much.  But I did stumble across this one last night.  To be fair is was drifting, nearly nodding off I was so tired, but the round about 5 minutes in I saw something that totally jolted me awake:

When I am making a layout, be it traditional or mixed media, I always layer and cluster piles of things.  Laura, from crop, calls me the Queen of Layers.  Not sure that is true, there are others who do it way better than me, but I will acknowledge it is def. part of my style.  Problem is I am always shuffling things around and I often get it all set up perfectly then when I come to sticking it all down I get a piece turned around or something out of order and then I look at the final result and slap my forehead and go DOH! WELL, a simple staple is all that is needed!

After laying out the pile of layers


Just staple the pile as you want it, once in the middle


This keeps everything as you want it to be, but the edges are all still free, so you can easily slip other layers into the gaps and play around with them to your heart’s content without losing the basic structure of the cluster!


Isn’t that genius?  I find that the base is not going to be something I want to shift – once the photo is on top I’m happy with the overall SHAPE and it’s just slipping in a strip of this, a label or tag end of that, etc.

OK, so it isn’t this A May Zing technique, but it is one of those super nifty little tricks that just make the process so much easier.  And if I WERE to change my mind, there is only one staple to remove to free it all up again.

As you can see I have the next folder ready for its base of paper, before I start building in the colour with inks and sprays and paint and stamps and masks.  I may try to get all that stuck down before dashing off to collect DD so I can begin work in earnest in the morning, but not sure I’m done with sorting out the insurance stuff quite yet so it may have to wait.

Poor DH.  He leaves town for a few days and CRASH BANG WALLOP – so typical.  Just thankful if there was a car accident in the cards, it was one as minor (albeit annoying) as this one and not something far worse.  Thanking my lucky stars….


Flexagon layout

I did say I wanted to try it so I did.  I wanted to see how the flexagon structure would work for a mini-book.  I think it worked, but the inherent problems with it made me think of another use.

Start with creating the flexagon as I mentioned in the post here.  I opted to make it as close to 12 x 12, with the idea that the photos wouldn’t be skimpy, even in the fairly small areas.

I made another on using the only large format paper I had on hand, which was vellum/tracing paper.  I stuck the circles to create the structure with repositionable adhesive, so I could see where the folds were.  My plan was to make templates to use when cutting the actual photos and/or decorative papers to add.


That allowed me to note the various shapes and cut apart the sample to create templates. Once I had folded t, it opened each section and noted the direction of the photo and how many of each section, with what orientation and number I needed.



Problem One:  With the best will in the world, and as much attention to detail as you can muster, getting ever fold absolutely precise, the EXACT same size, is impossible if you aren’t a programmed machine.  Creasing to the left of a line one time and to the right of it another is going to have the cumulative effect of things being “out” when all those tiny differences are added up. Accept it.

I had the idea to do something I’ve always done when using odd-shaped templates for photos, which is to cut them from black card, scan them, take them and the photos into PSE and use the shapes as a mask – that way I print only the area of a photo I need.  I started down that route but had the niggling suspicion that I wasn’t going to be entirely happy with the project in the end, so went instead to a stockpile of old printed photos, with the idea I would make one and see how I felt about it in the end, while not spending a huge amount of time on it.





Where I discovered the cumulative effects of so many folds was when I tried to match the templates to the actual piece.



They fit fairly well, but I noticed that, for example, with the cover, the small shape at the top is actually repeated 4 times, the large shape twice.  BUT the top two small shapes were every so slightly smaller than the bottom two.  It was the same in every case, where a shape LOOKED the same, but it was slightly different.  I just resolved not to worry about it if they were not perfectly matted, but still checked each template according to which photo I was cutting, and adjusted on the fly.



Problem Two:  There are a couple of areas that you will see either in two different flips OR thru a gap to another page.  Not a PROBLEM, per se, but it’s worth checking to make sure those repeated photos work with both pages.

Problem Three – The photos in some areas are really big.  The middle two, top and bottom above, are 5 x 7 prints and they are too short to fill the area.  You can work around that by leaving the background on show, like here, OR by covering that area with decorative paper or an embellishment or journaling OR you can cut two photos smaller to fill the page OR cut many smaller photos.  MY aim was to have the biggest photos I could for each section. You’ll see how I dealt with it at the end.

And that leads nicely on the PROBLEM FOUR, which is, I think the biggest one (no pun intended) – it’s so darn BIG!  a 12 x 12 “mini-book” is no mini!  Where would you put it? How would you display it? – especially given there is no way to have a cover that protects it because that would totally interfere with the flip action! and unless you only want there to be two flips, leaving the front AND the back as “covers” of only decorative paper, there will be photos on the back page, the final flip before returning to the front cover, exposed.

Let me show you the un-decorated version – I’ll add some flat decorative items, some journaling blocks, etc, to finish it off – and then talk about how I think it COULD be used.

The “Cover”

7flexscrappythe first flip – I just added some decorative strips to extend the too small photos:



Note those two side photos – here they are again in flip two!



Also note you can see thru to the last page – I tried to get faces in those areas by careful photo cutting with some success, but it may not matter too much.  Just be aware.

And the final flip before returning to the cover – this would be the BACK cover if you left it as decorative paper, which is a waste of good photo space! Note too you can see the green bits from the front cover.  You may think they could be the green curves from the previous page, but they aren’t. That may inform your title placement. unless you want sideways words appearing here.



Right.  So while I so love the flipping action of this how do I make it more usable or do I give up on it?

1. I DO think it works in this large size as a LAYOUT.  The hint was in the title of this blog post LOL!  So, decorate the cover, add the journaling, and slip the whole thing into a page protector in your album just as if it were a round layout.  Where might it work?

  • first or last page of an album
  • any memorable moment with lots of photos but I think it would be fab as maybe a Baby’s First Year, where the flipping action could highlight the changes in a baby.
  • it might also work for maybe school photos?  If you, for example, did the repeating photos as 1st grade and 6th grade (or nursery and year 6)  that could be cute.
  • any sort of THEN and NOW layout – dating photos, ending with a wedding? documenting a weight loss or makeover or haircuts over the years?

Any of those things COULD work for a layout topic.

2.  Make it smaller as a mini-book (I’m thinking 8 inch circles to start) and use photos only in the biggest spaces, saving the smaller ones for journaling. Present it in a large custom box or envelope.

3. Make is smaller still  (6 inch circles like the Steins;Gate doodah for DS) and present it with photos only in the middle two flips, leaving the front and back as decorative, and present it more as a CARD, for a really special person on a really special occasion.

So that draws a line under this particular experiment.  It was fun, working it out, I’m calling mine a LAYOUT and will put it in an album.  The photos are a bit random, but I would call it Out and About, or something like that as all the photos are from days out, or at the very least out in the garden.  That works for me.

If you find a use for this that I haven’t thought of, do share.  I still think it makes a cute card, but I really like the interactive nature of it with the photos.  But I’ve satisfied my curiosity so I can move on….



Two layouts!

This must be a record, at least for recent years.  I’ve managed to make a total of 6 layouts in the two crops I got to this month.  Woo hoo. Perhaps more shocking is the fact I also managed to use, at least for these two, CURRENT photos, rather than ones from when the kids were little.

First, yo may recall me mentioning DH and his constant chili-cookoffs over the summer.  That would have been the prime reason I missed a few of the crops.  Here is the layout.  I thought about doing this as a two-page spread, but in the end I felt it worked fine with 4 photos on one page. I went all the way back to that Wordfetti – still love it.



Oops.  I forgot to re-stick the dot over the first i.  And I will ALWAYS spell CHILI in the American way – despite the fact my Mac, set to UK English will insist on asking me to “correct” it to CHILLI. Bah!

The next one uses Louise’s fab school printables from the UKS Blog Hop.  I printed them and spent a week pushing them and the tiny polaroid-style photos from the Fuji camera DH brought back from Japan around on the basic background.  Finally settled on the arrangement here.



Both seem to use the little file folders, decorated on the front, which flip open to reveal journaling.  The Chili one, the back half is stuck UNDER the blue paper (I’ll photo the trophy, print it small, and add that to the surface of the big photo, then journal to the right, on the reverse of the flap, while on the bottom layout the back of the folder is stuck to the background and just opens, leaving me more room for my thoughts.

A bit annoyed because for months now iPhoto will NOT open a photo to be edited in PSE.  Well, it WILL, but only in the older PS 6, not 10.  I’ve changed it in the preferences, so it SHOULD work, but all it does is open PSE 10 but refuses to open the photo.  Grrr.  The reason I am annoyed by this is that there was a discussion on UKS about photographing layouts, with a nifty little trick for getting them square and in perspective. Wanted to try it, couldn’t, so I just took the photo and slightly cropped it.  Lucky I’m tall so even the top one , which I couldn’t crop as easily as the bottom one, looks OK just by using the iPhoto tool.  But still…I need to hunt up an answer.  Likely as not I will have to uninstall iPhoto (or PSE) and re-install it, or something stupid like that.


FOUR crop layouts!

Although it took me quite a while to get my scrapbooking hat on straight, I managed to set aside four kits for my crop yesterday.  I finished all four of them, with minutes to spare.  Pretty happy with them all – less so with the photography of them.  The light really doesn’t come in my window till afternoon, and I have a lot going on today so I didn’t want to wait.

This one is a box of pumpkins – rubbish handwriting but I am still pushing n with using my own.  It just isn’t getting any better… I still love Mr. Campy papers.


This one is one I started at the LAST crop but I wasn’t sure where I was going with it.  Fresh eyes a few months later and I finished it.  So annoyed with the sticky foam letters.  They stick SO completely to the surface of the photo and they just are impossible to add perfectly straight on the first contact.



I am considering adding fresh letters to a scrap and putting it over the wobbly letters.  I THINK the photos are digital but I’d have to peel them back to see if there is the developers mark on the back or not.  If they are I might just print another one and pick different letters.  Grr.

One success was inking the tiny type to match.  Don’t know why I never did that before.  I should have bought out all the white ones I could find then I would always have them to match!  Hindsight and all that…



This uses a Basic Grey kit I picked up at some point.  Always liked it but DD is pretty much grown out of pink, so I had to go back to some old photos to make use of it.



Funny, but the THIS & That scrap and the pointing finger are both from packaging.  The finger is from the masks/stencils I bought so I have a few of them.

BGdetailAnd  even managed a bit of Washi tape on that one.

Finally, a few shots over the fields from the In-laws house.



Just realized I used HELLO in the title of those last two.  Arranging the title on the last one was tricky, but by overlapping the letters and adding a foam square under the floating bit it worked out pretty well.



I actually had two other kits sorted but forgot to put them in my bag.  That means I have a head start on the crop NEXT weekend!

Now, I have some Christmas printables I am working on that I really need to finalize and a few other projects to work on as well.  Sunny day so the laundry calls, and a gazillion other things.  Happy Sunday!


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A layout!

Well, I am still indecisive about adding journaling to this but I thought I would go ahead and post it as it sits so far.  DD and her pink hair – although it looks more read than it does in real life. And because she has to use anti-dandruff shampoo, at the moment it has degraded into blond highlights.  Now she is off on to hair extensions!  OMG are they EXPENSIVE.  Not willing to spend upwards of £20 for something that is just a lark, to be honest.



I bought those Colorbok letter stickers (actually about 3 or 4 packs of various ones) eons ago on a trip back to the States and I have gotten SO MUCH use out of them.  Love this font in particular.

Not sure what is the plan for today.  The kids home, DH back from chili cooking (he got 2nd place!) and DS being home forcing way more grocery shopping than I am used to is all taking its toll on my free time. We shall see what I can manage – maybe working on the odd little mini-book from last week, maybe something for the SDC challenge, maybe something Gelli, maybe quilting.  I just don’t know!

And if you are a UKS member, do pop in to the Gallery there to vote for your We Challenge You favourite.  There are some fab layouts, all produced from UKS challenges of 2013.  If you are indecisive like me about what to do with a small block of time, it might help jump-start your mojo!

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A layout and a puzzle

I did this layout at the last Ludgershall crop.  I dutifully photographed it with the intention of blogging about it but then life, as it does, got in the way.  When I looked at it I noticed that 2 floating on it.  At this point, it has been so long I have no idea what it meant!  Was it TWO, as in the two kids?  Did something come off, like the rest of a date? 2012 maybe?  I have absolutely NO IDEA.


This is another one of those layouts I made from the debris in the bottom of my crop bag.  I had the photo, and a vague idea of what I wanted to do with it, but hadn’t made a “kit” to go along with it.  I just looked at the bits and bobs that were left from, I think, a card I made a few months back, and felt the colours went with the photo well enough.

I rather like the odd angled photo – I thought about putting the photo on point, so the kids were level, but in the end I preferred it this way.  The horizon is pretty close to resting on the line, from corner to corner diagonally IRL although it doesn’t look exactly like that  in the photo.

I am aware I still have my final BIG CARD to do, the Ace of Clubs, but to be honest, while I am feeling MUCH better, and able to sit at my desk for longer each day, I am not in the right head space to do that level of time-consuming crafting quite yet. I will do it, and photo the lot in suit groupings, and maybe review my favourite techniques, in the next week or so. For the moment it is all about UKS so bear with me.  I went from being totally on top of things, with a clear plan for getting all the sponsorship info and HomePage projects/classes for 2013 sorted when I went into hospital, to being laid up with my back and my recovery from surgery and once again a manic end-of-year rush to get it all set up.  It’s been more stressful than I hoped it would be but I’ve made huge progress in the last two days so I am optimistic it’ll be complete tomorrow – although I am still awaiting some of the class info, I think we have some nice things planned and will be sharing al that hopefully with the Monday Home Page next week.  Fingers crossed….