December album supplies

28.11.15 - 18:00
Christmas things!

Let's get straight to it.

Here is my 'kit'. I've chosen a (slightly excessive) mixture of bits and pieces rather than one whole line. I never like everything and there is always glitter on something. I bought it all online at Craftie Charlie, except  a few pieces from Paper Issues (they stock individual sheets and since they are in the US, get things in stock faster).

- December Daily 6x4 Album by Jasmine Jones for Ali Edwards
- 'Christmas Magic' wooden buttons by Shimelle for American Crafts
- 'Christmas Magic' stamp and stickers
- 'Christmas Wishes' 6x6 papers by Pink Fresh Studio
- 'Claus & co' wood veneers by Simple Stories
- 'Joyful' journaling tags by Elle's Studio
- 'Yuletide' stickers by Pink Paislee
- 'Snow Day' flair badges by Lawn Fawn
- 'Imprint Tile' Printed Thickers for Pebbles
- Postcard from Paperchase

I'm excited to get started enjoying and documenting the most wonderful time of the year :)



How to make a mini Halloween countdown calendar - with printable

18.10.15 - 12:32
Well hello there. As part of my run up to Halloween (and revealing my finished Cabinet of Curiosities) today I'm bringing you another easy little craft that is kinda cute.

Since my project is primarily meant to be a countdown calendar, there really has to be some kind of number/time element... somewhere. Considering there are a limited amount of shelves/drawers it couldn't work like a advent calendar with opening doors/drawers.

I thought about clocks or dials but really I wanted something that would fit under that little bell jar and, well, I like paper. Hence the actual calendar idea. The pages turn over the top and I've added enough numbers to count down from 99, but 31 will probably suffice. It's only about 7cm tall (2.5in).

I'm sharing it as a printable if you want to have a go at making your own teeny tiny calendar, click on the image at the bottom of this post and right click to save a nice big print resolution version. It's still for personal use only though. Just for fun, guys.

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How to make creepy old photographs

10.10.15 - 11:20
For a while now I've been wondering why anyone would want the Tim Holtz Found Relatives cards. It seemed really weird to me that you would make something with photographs of people you don't know. Then as I worked on my Halloween Project I realised I was going to need some pictures. Not just photos, but old spooky ones. So I set to and made some that are a bit creepier than the Tim Holtz set, but I do get what they are for now. It's part of getting that feel right.

Here is how I made my old and weird photographs for my halloween project though this might be useful for all kinds of stuff.

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Halloween Project - making a start

3.10.15 - 15:30

I get that this does not look very Halloween-y. This is my plan for the inside of the Cabinet of Curiosities. I've used washi tape (surprise surprise) to hold all the shelves up and the blocks at the bottom will all be individual drawers. 

Obviously by the time it's finished it will look a bit more spooky-victorian and a tad less Ikea. I've been getting inspired by these awesome works of Assemblage.

You'll have to wait and see how it turns out!



Halloween Project

19.9.15 - 11:57
This year for Halloween I want to make a countdown calendar. Like an advent calendar but, you guessed it - until the 31st of October. I (laughably) thought I might be able to have it done by the first of October. No chance. But it shall be complete by Halloween my pretties and hopefully come out each October hence. Bwa hahaha hahah.

Back in the real world. I have looked at a myriad of options for advent calendars - windows, pockets doors and drawers and I want everything. My fascination with boxes of things goes way back. The only thing I like more than paper is boxes. Boxes with drawers are even better.

I love love love these in my makeshift studio space:

The point is,  I'm going to create a 'Halloween Cabinet of Curiosities Countdown'. A box with drawers and shelves and more boxes and jars. I've got no idea how it's going to work but it's going to be awesome.



Thinking about Christmas already?

25.8.15 - 11:36

I'm already dreaming of Christmas. Sounds crazy but this year I'm not going to tell myself it's crazy. I'm going to use it as the early alarm clock going off in Christmas planning world. Why do I never have a super fantastic hand-crafted advent calendar? Because I don't think about it until November 30th!

Here are ten things you can start planning way in advance to make December way more fun whilst also making you feel less like a moose for dreaming about Crimbo already.

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Black forest gateau macarons

11.8.15 - 22:34

I'll start today by telling you that this is a bit of an experiment. Not my baking, well, maybe. Actually that's always a bit of an experiment, but that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm attempting to blog from a tablet rather than a proper computer. I have a fond idea that I'll get more written if I don't have to sit at a desk. That it won't feel like work. Less formal. We shall see.

On to the baking. The start of a new series of the Great British Bake Off has once again ignited my interest in baking. Last week I made the rookie error of not having any treats in for scoffing whilst the program was on! So my brain was quickly running through what was in the cupboards in an attempt to find something to reconcile the situation.

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Belgium travel album

27.6.15 - 21:36
I have returned from another trip to the continent.

Brussels is a lovely city, it feels like a low-pressure Paris. By 'low-pressure' I mean it doesn't have to be AMAZING all the time. You don't have to feel like someone is going to propose all the time. You don't have to pretend you are Audrey Hepburn or anything. It's just a really nice European city. And they speak French. Sometimes.

This is one time that I felt like we didn't see half of what was on offer. I suppose because we were there for an event rather than to run around seeing the sights.

This was my first trip with the Traveler's Notebook format journal. The one I took is a DIY version rather than a real Midori. I have the Passport size one from Midori but it seemed a bit small for this adventure. Perhaps because we were five of us. Why would that matter I wonder? It's not going to make the photos bigger...


This is the book. The cover is a kraft card from the My Mind's Eye collection 'Kraft Funday'
I usually like to choose a photo that kind of represents the whole trip on the front, but this beer mat seems to tell the story on it's own. I added the gold frame die cut.

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Got me a new Filofax

3.4.15 - 13:00
I'm spectacularly pleased with my latest purchase. Not only is it way cool, I got it half price. So, what did I get? A new Filofax. To be more precise the A5 Filofax 'Original' in Dark Aqua.

I reckon this would divide folk I know into those who would say: "Nice! What inserts are you using?" And those who would say: "The last person to have a Filofax was Del Boy".

I can see their point, in the general sense paper planners are a bit dated - everything is electronic now. However, I always have a sketchbook with me and I've always had a bit of thing for, well anything stationery related...

In fact this is not my first Filofax. In fact this is not the only Filofax I own. This is not where I reveal a cupboard stuffed full of them.

Yeah, I've always been like this. 

But this was my first. Yep, it's from the eighties. I got it as a birthday present when I was a kid. I don't think it's a real branded Filofax (since I was about 8 at the time, I didn't really care) but it does still have a bunch of Time Manager inserts in it.

I've been looking at so many lovely planners. The way some people have them set up is stunning especially the Kikki-k fans. I'm also glad that this is expanding the scrapbooking industry a bit. Getting new people involved and making creative products for them can only be a good thing.




14.3.15 - 22:23
Be still my heart.

Although the French word 'cartonnage' technically means cardboard, I seem to have stumbled upon a great word for things constructed out of cardboard, like boxes. Except the English word 'cardboard box' doesn't really cover it. It sounds so disposable.

These are actual items constructed out of cardboard. They are sturdy objects like drawers and even some furniture. I'd like to try some of these techniques, it opens a whole world of new options for scrapbooking and bookbinding.

Many of the items pinned below are not styled to my taste, but you can see the possibilities. A tiny bookcase for a set of mini-albums? A box to contain a travel journal with a drawer for all the extra memorabilia? Fantastic.

Check out this Pinterest board too.



Learning French

2.3.15 - 22:20


J'ai commencé à apprendre Français encore. C'est le deuxième fois. J'avais appris à l'école mais avec pas beaucoup succés.

[ Hello there! ]

[ I've started learning French again. It's the second time. I did learn at school but with not a lot of success. ]

That's not true. I learned quite a lot, and my reading comprehension is still quite good. I was just a bit lazy and didn't take it very seriously. Now I am enjoying learning irregular verbs. Maybe I would have enjoyed it at school if there had been an app for it like I have now. I'm currently using Brainscape which is a flash card based system for learning all sorts of things.

Or if there had been YouTube videos like these:

Comme une Francais TV - Geraldine is great, she inspired me to start speaking French more
Her show is aimed at people who live in France and want to fit in. So its not for beginners but I find it fascinating! She also has a website - commeunefrancaise.com

Damon and Jo - these guys are funny. They have a LOT of personality. They make travel videos and sometimes French videos as Damon teaches French.

Caillou! - Geraldine, Damon and Jo, and everyone else suggests finding TV programmes in French similar to those you like in English (or your native language). I find these extremely difficult to follow and a lot of the French is slang-y. Not useful when you are still learning. So I started watching Caillou. Yes its aimed at 5 years olds, but it's very sweet and I understand a lot of it. Plus they use real words so the kids can learn.

Tu parle le Français? Or do you speak another language?



Thoughts on Project Life 2014 and plans going forward

2.2.15 - 20:04
Last year I completed a full year of Project Life in the 12x12 format. Well, just about. All the photos are in, there are still some words to type up.

Anyway, after this mega achievement, I asked myself if I wanted to do the same again, and as with the 10k race I ran, the answer was no, not straight away.
Both were very satisfying to complete but also hard work. Enjoyable hard work. Maybe commitment is a better word.
And my Project Life binder is giant. I kept it to one since I did on average one side a week. There is a very boring month where four weeks are on one page. And a couple of extra inserts from trips.

As I asked myself about it, I realised I do still want to document my life and some of the everyday things, but not everything. More of an over view and if I am going to be into this hobby for any length of time (not something that is normally a problem for me) it will need to not take up as much space. I've currently got four 12x12 albums (not all full).

Another thing happened, someone I follow on Instagram has the Heidi Swapp Planner (the new black and white stripe one that goes with the Big Picture class). It's gorgeous.
I know from past experience that a 'planner' is not going to work for me as an alternative to a whole PL but in googling that little beauty I came across some pictures of Heidi's Memory Planner (from last year I think) and some beautiful work people had done with it.

My brain started working on how I really wanted to document things and came up with something based on the memory planner/planners in general but mixed with PL. I think it will be a bit more monthly based - so I can be more selective about what I put in.

I'm making plans - it's got to be ring bound so that I can add/change pages and its got to fit some project life pockets - I like the tallways 3x4, but I probably need more than 4 a week (like in a 6x8)
maybe 6 like the memory planner and tabs like a filofax.

To the drawing board!



Adventure planning: Brussels

24.1.15 - 12:00
Isn't it odd sometimes the way things turn out? Like that quote 'Life is what happens when you're making other plans' (I'm not sure who said it originally there seems to be some attribution decay see here). Last year I hadn't planned on going anywhere travel-wise. But as time went on I got severe wanderlust and ended up going to Paris.

This year I am going to visit Belgium.
I'm actually not sure if I've been to Belgium before. I thought I had on a school day trip to France, but I asked the friend I went with and she didn't seem to think we did. This was the days before digital cameras, so I probably didn't take any photos.

But that's not why I'm going. We decided to surprise my Dad with the trip as a Christmas gift, he is interested in Napoleonic era military history and this year is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, which is, it turns out*, 15km south of Brussels.

After the success of the Paris trip I am using the AirBnB service again. I'm a little more apprehensive taking the whole family, but it should be good. We'll have a whole house to ourselves.

I've started a board on Pinterest with some things to do. Have you been to Brussels? Any recommendations?

*Isn't it shocking I didn't know that Waterloo was near Brussels?



Print your own binder

17.1.15 - 18:13
This looks cool. Today I was perusing some planners and binders online and came across this page on the Avery website.

You can get a personalised folder printed and sent to you. There is only the choice of A4 or A5 - but a nicely personalised A5 folder could be a great gift. You could set the inside up with any kind of custom pages - a week in the life set, a holiday journal or an easy to complete December Daily style project. I'd like to design my own, but you could use printable templates from someone like Ali Edwards, Cathy Zielske or there are tonnes on Etsy - like these from Printable Possibility (I've not tried these by the way - it's just an example).

A note on A5 though, you'd have to use custom paper sizes if you wanted to include tabs. That's the issue I found with my Paperchase files. They are made to for exactly A5 paper so anything else, like page protectors, are too big because of the hole punched section. Also whilst we're on the topic of Paperchase - their 6x4 pockets don't fit a 6x4 photo, they are smidge too small, which is fine for crafty projects but a nightmare if you want to slot a bunch of photos in.



'Five minute a day' bread

10.1.15 - 17:00

I've made a start.
As part of wanting to eat more 'real' food I've decided to try making my own bread. I don't want to give up bread entirely, although that would probably be good for me - I'd like to eat stuff without additional chemicals and I want it to taste like bread.

I've noticed that the (admittedly sometimes comforting) sliced white bread we buy tastes of not much. Over christmas we bought a loaf of real bread with cranberries and seeds and it was delicious. Really worth eating. I'd like to eat things that are worth eating. Less but better.

I've made bread before, but I find it extremely annoying. I know, you don't have to do anything whilst it rises, but it still takes that amount of time. I've never been prepared enough to do it in advance. I've tried this no-rise bread from Crafty Kin, maybe I did it wrong but I found it very doughy.

I had checked out the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day website before looking for faster ways of making breads. Now I've finally got to a point where I want to try and have it ready in advance. I got the book for Christmas and it is rising as I write this.

I mixed the dough. Looks gross, but super easy.
Let it rise. Looks even grosser, but you don't have to watch it.
Left it in the fridge.
Cut off a 'lump'. I say lump. Slurrrb is more like it. And managed to form it with a bit of extra flour.
Left it out to 'rise'.

How easy is it?
It's not difficult, but the squishy dough is tricky.

The real test - how does it taste?
It tastes like real bread! It's quite chewy and you know you've eaten it.

There is enough for another boule in the fridge. I'd like to try the pizza next. If we can make Italian style thin pizza I will be extremely pleased. Our trip to Venice has rather ruined any other kind for me ;)