Thursday, 25 December 2014

On Christmas Day....

My Santa gave to me:
A beautifully wrapped gift box containing a file folder containing.....
a huge selection of ephemera, clips, die cuts and embellishments.
I cannot tell you how much I love this gift. Every layout this year, I have been faffing around trying to find layering embellishments or tags or something themed to finish it all off. I don't think I am going to have that trouble next year!
This is a totally ideal gift for me and I just love it - thank you Santa and thank you for all my gorgeous pressies this advent :)
Merry Christmas everyone xx

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

On Christmas Eve....

My Santa gave to me:
An absolutely gorgeous burlap alphabet. I love the trend for natural textures in scrapping right now and this alphabet is fantastic as it is kraft coloured so goes with any layout. Thank you Santa xx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

On the 23rd Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
Two gorgeous sheets of patterned paper. One in duck egg blue and one from the Simple Stories "Happily Ever After" range that I love - thank you Santa :)

Monday, 22 December 2014

On the 22nd day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
A beautiful handmade Christmas card and a mini alphabet from Adornit. Thank you Santa :)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

On the 19th, 20th and 21st Days of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:

Gorgeous papers by Beloved and MME (Now and Then). Wordy stickers from Studio Calico - these are so handy for little photo captions on layouts so I am very pleased to have some in pink now too.

Simple Stories "Happily Ever After" tags and a sheet of Studio Calico paper which is grey one side and bright green the other - perfect. Thank you Santa xx

Thursday, 18 December 2014

On the 16th, 17th and 18th Days of Christmas

My Santa gave to me:
Some Beloved cards which are perfect for journalling, some enamel dots in gorgeous mint green and shades of blue, some Beloved paper by Fancy Pants (Crush) plus one from the Shimelle range I love (Hurley).
Thank you so much Santa. This week has been a whirl of end of term madness so I haven't been as good at updating as I would have liked but I have absolutely loved having a present to look forward to each morning. They are all really lovely - thank you :)

Monday, 15 December 2014

On the 15th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:

Two beautiful papers: Beloved (Crush) and Crate Paper (Open Book). Both are the types of paper that are equally gorgeous on both sides so I shall faff with these a lot and be able to use them on several things :)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

On the 13th and 14th Days of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
Gorgeous woodgrain cardstock and an Adornit alphabet. I saw this card online and really wanted some but it was always out of stock so I am thrilled to get some. It looks even nicer in real life and will be fab for Winter layouts. I love receiving alphabets too as I have given up on the 'handwriting on layouts' trend and gone back to legible alternatives instead. Thank you Santa :)

Friday, 12 December 2014

On the 12th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
Gorgeous gems from Studio Calico. They are faceted and such pretty colours - thank you Santa xx

Thursday, 11 December 2014

On the 11th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
A sheet of Studio Calico paper in my favourite duck-egg blue and a sheet by Crate Paper that is going to be totally perfect for scrapping about my new specs! Thank you Santa :)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

On the 10th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
A pack of Freckled Fawn woodchip hearts. These will be perfect for cards as well as layouts - thank you Santa :)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

On the 9th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
A sheet from the Basic Grey Spice Market range which I really love (Sea Salt) and a sheet of Studio Calico Brighton Pier paper with gorgeous sunset colours and botanical prints. Perfect - thank you Santa :)

Monday, 8 December 2014

On the 8th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
DIY Shop Cork Stars. I love natural textures on scrapping products right now and these are just gorgeous - thank you Santa xx

Sunday, 7 December 2014

On the 6th and 7th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:

A pack of MME 3x4 cards just perfect for layering and journalling. The cards are all gorgeous shades of corals, greys and teals. They are stunning and I know they are going to get used lots.

A sheet of Basic Grey Spice Market paper in gold and coral which is just beautiful and a 12x12 sheet of Simple Stories stickers which I love. There are hearts and butterflies and borders for all sorts of layouts but also some wedding themed ones which will I am so excited about as I started a wedding layout at yesterday's crop and had nothing to finish it off. Psychic Santa - Thank You xx

Friday, 5 December 2014

On the 5th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
Gorgeous sequin paper by Simple Stories and Hopper paper by Shimelle. Thank you Santa :)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

On the 4th Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:
DIY Shop Sequins. They say the best things come in small packages and this just proves it. They are perfect colours too - I love greens, greys and golds right now. Thank you Santa xx

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On the 3rd Day of Christmas....

My Santa gave to me:

Gorgeous papers from 2 collections that I love. The film strip paper is Shimelle's Goodfield paper and the floral one is Basic Grey Spice Market. Thank you Santa :)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Advent Time - Yay!

It's that time of the year again and my advent swap parcel looks so festive. Thank you very much Santa Sandra for going to so much effort. It looks beautiful:
How cute is the little buckle? It works too and I am under strict instructions to reseal it each day to discourage poking and cheating :)

Day 1: I was very spoilt with ginger chocolates (my favourites), a stitch-able journalling sheet, white pen, very pretty advent calendar card and a sheet of real cork just the right thickness for die cutting. I've never seen these before and am going to love using it all - thank you Santa

Day 2: Gorgeously wrapped in kraft coloured tissue paper with snowflakes and a curly red Santa boot

Inside: Basic Grey Spice Market paper and a MME paper with frames all over the back that I already have plans for. I am loving my presents - thank you.

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Roaring Twenties by the sea...

The theme of this year's scrapbooking retreat was the glamorous 1920's. Cue lots of beads, feathers, glamorous accessories and a few glamorous layouts and classes too. Ali did a gilding class that had most of us wondering how much of our home and furnishings could be turned gold before Christmas. We completed 3 challenges, a quiz, bingo night and a thread catcher class over the weekend (a thread catcher being a little fabric bucket attached to a weighted pin cushion to use with a sewing machine for those who are wondering). 

The mystery kit challenge featured Simple Stories "Legacy" papers which I have to admit are not my thing at all. They contain yellow and brown together and are very muted but hey, it wouldn't be a challenge if they were easy to work with. The rules are no added embellishments apart from the lace and dots in the kit (but when I got home I added some bunting and a kraft coloured background!)

The "Upstairs Downstairs" challenge was to scrap opposites. Some layouts were light and dark or busy with white space or floral and patterned and some used photos of opposites. Here is my super keen, all weather sporty golfer... and the other one who less keen!

Friday night was party night. Everyone dressed up and got into the 1920's spirit. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Yet Another Paint Related Post...

This time using Grand Illusions Vintage Paints.
Similar in concept to the Annie Sloan, these paints require no primer and no sanding. Just paint and go. Well paint and wait really....but definitely no fiddly bits and not too much prep.

DD chose colour 25 "Charleston Vintage." Personally, I thought it looked a little dark but she was very decisive. "It's just more me," she explained and who can argue with that? Plus, once again, we already own something so hideous that no iffy colour choice can make it any worse.

Here is the before photo:
Note the attractive fake knot effect and overall faux pine sheen. 
Ignore the handles though because they're staying. Ten new handles cost far too much to replace but I did remove the backing on some to tone them down a bit.

The paint is much thinner than Annie Sloan so goes on very easily but is more prone to drips. The colour changes as it dries in a very alarming way. After the first coat it looked just awful and very patchy but the second coat gave a uniform, flat colour and fewer visible brush strokes than Annie Sloan paint. I guess it depends on what sort of look you're after and whether you use a brush or a roller.

I preferred the final stage with this paint: using clear varnish as opposed to waxing but only because I am never sure if I am applying Annie Sloan wax correctly. Water based varnish allows you to feel certain that the entire surface is covered properly and it requires no buffing of course.
Here is the finished chest of drawers back in DD's room:

Actually, I think she was right to go a bit bolder with the colour. Maybe I should leave all my paint shade dilemmas to her in future!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Grey Blues

Who knew finding the perfect shade of grey paint could be so difficult?

I have been driving myself potty with tester pots. It started with boxing in the ugly pipes in the downstairs loo. This left a lot of bare MDF and made the rest of the room look a bit shabby in comparison. A grey makeover is planned but grey is tricky!
It is a pretty small room so there is some concern it could end up looking like a Bat Cave if we go too dark. Too green and it looks a bit like a hospital period drama. Too blue - ditto. I don't like lilac much so I don't want lilac tones but I don't want it too cold either. You can see where this is going can't you?

Anyway..... 17 paint samples later and some have been instantly discounted. Dulux Grey Steel 2 is definitely veering into Bat Cave territory. Porcelain Doll is pretty but pale. It feels like a waste to spend all that time covering up the white paint with a slightly creamier white paint. Lots of samples are more greige and they seem to work. Grey - Beige. Perfect!
Five shades of greige currently occupy the wall. They are painted onto A4 paper and blu-tacked up so I can add comments to them at various times of the day. There is no clear winner as yet. Polished Pebble was leading but, since I changed the light bulb for a brighter LED one, it's all up in the air again. Thimble Case is edging into the lead now... I think.... maybe. I am boring myself with the indecision. Please somebody just confiscate my colour cards!

The playroom is going much better. I completed one project this week with no such messing around. Coral Flair looked gorgeous in the Dulux colour book, I convinced DS it was hardly pink at all (it isn't - it is a really beautiful coral) and painted a huge backdrop for the kid's pictures all in one day. I really love it - the room was a bit cold and boxy before so a splash of colour is perfect.
I am now trying to decide on a nice complimentary teal colour for the other end of the room. Dulux Teal Tension is nice but a bit dark. Blue Hawaiian 2 is also lovely - a lot like Teal Tension except fractionally less green.....still a bit dark though. Maybe I should get 17 samples, blu-tack them all to the wall and rate them out of 10 at varying times of the day as the light changes? Or maybe I should just stick pins in the Dulux book and let fate decide?

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

In the Garden 2014....

A little annual update on the garden:
This time last year, I started to take a keener interest in our garden so I thought it might be nice to keep track of how it flourishes. Flourishes might be a bit strong. Doesn't wilt is more what I'm aiming for.

This time last year, the Magnolia tree was in full bloom but this year the flowers are long gone. It is still looking good though:
The Red Robin was growing well and continues to resist dying. This is good. I am not actually sure it has grown much though. Many of our neighbours have the same shrub so I think this must mean it likes the soil. I shall have to stick with it:
Not everything has been so successful though. Laurels are supposed to love chalky soil but are really not taking off. Hebes, which apparently tolerate anything, are looking a bit leggy and grim and there's an Rosa Alba in there too but it is getting prickly rather than big:

I planted lilacs only last year following my chalky soil guide and they seem to be coming along well. The dogwood went in the year before and looks healthy but not much bigger. I have no idea how fast these things grow:

 The clematis, which last year were too skinny to even photograph, have been making valiant efforts. I just don't think they can withstand the unique snail-exposed position combo that my garden offers them:
We have such ugly fences and I really wanted to cover them ASAP. Even ivy doesn't seem to grow. I am pondering getting Russian Vine (mile-a-minute vine) which I don't much like the look of but am desperate now for something to take off.

The front garden is a similar mixed bag although all of the good bits were here when we arrived so I am not sure how much credit I can take for them. The Calla Lily has gone totally mad. It must like wet winters:
The Acer Tree is as beautiful as ever. I just love it and leave it well alone. The bluebells are back and (my own addition) two wallflowers grew. That's 2 out of all the seeds I planted last year but I don't care, they look really lovely and must be very hardy indeed!

I don't think the roses are quite so happy though. Normally they grow all summer long but a lot of them seem to look a bit manky this year (a technical gardening term indicating either pest or disease). One of them looks fine but the rest seem a funny shape.
So that's the garden for this year and I shall leave you with a shot of happy wildlife out enjoying my front drive this morning:
Since ladybirds are lucky, I am taking this as a doubly good omen for the year ahead!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Annie Sloan Addict....

With half a can of Annie Sloan "Old White" left over from my fireplace and a chest of drawers kindly donated, I am up-cycling again.
Honestly, it is so easy. No sanding. No prepping. Just painting!

For an impatient up-cycler like myself this is totally ideal. I hate sanding. I'm not that keen on priming either but this was completed in just one afternoon. I waxed it the next day and buffed it the day after and it is being used already.

The obligatory before and after shot

The ceramic knobs are a bit of an eBay bargain. I went for mismatched not with any great design statement in mind but because I liked all of them and couldn’t decide.
I am eyeing up more furniture to paint. I don’t think I own anything that wouldn’t be vastly improved by a coat of Chalk Paint and the addition of ceramic knobs!!