Tuesday 31 May 2011

All Change!

There's a lot going on behind the scenes generally at the moment, but in particular I'd like to mention that after a short hiatus, the True XOXO Girls scraplifting challenge blog will be up and running again in a bit with a new challenge.

It'll be blogging inspirational posts throughout the month, as well as giving the chance to win a great kit for scraplifting one of the DT's layouts.

Despite the hiatus, we all went ahead and made a layout for last month anyway.

There's a change in the weather, too: much-needed rain for the strawberry plants. All round this should mean a clearing of the air and a fresh start. Keep an eye out for my next XOXO post because that'll mean the challenge is up and running!

Sunday 29 May 2011

Marriage Musings

With the wedding of a friend next weekend looming, and our own some three months off, there may well be cause for musings on the subject.

For us, the invitations we recently sent out have given rise to a new flurry of congratulations... yes, we were engaged for a long time - long enough that people forgot, apparently - but it's been amazing, and we'll be a little sad to see it end, I think.

For others, plans are about to come together, anniversaries have just been celebrated, or memories are still living strong. I recently scrapped about my friend's marriage, for which I was a bridesmaid. Three years ago, almost, and hasn't that passed in a flash?

The sumptuous Emma's Shoppe papers from Crate formed the most part of this page - and aren't they sumptuous? Just right for a sunny Sunday. Have a lovely day, everyone, and give a few seconds thought to a marriage close to you at this time.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Working Long Distance

....isn't so bad. I have a sea view, a plush carpet to scrunch my toes into, and a nice comfy office chair of a calibre far beyond mine at home.

Speaking of work, I am thinking about relationships, and what it takes to make them work. It's a delicate balance, I've found, between standing up for yourself and giving a lot - amongst many other things. And I found myself turning these thoughts into a layout in response to a challenge that came up for me recently on Scrapbook Challenges. It was to make an olympic-themed page, and I got in the misting, the journalling, and the altered chipboard that were demanded.

Hoping you all have winning days. I'll be working, long distance, but with a smile on my face.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Back to the Grindstone

After a necessary break, I'm back, and seemingly with a vengeance. Life, apparently, goes on with or without you, so I'm not wasting a moment more of mine.

A recent Scrapbook Challenges DT Social event, generously and kindly sponsored by Nikki Sivils, The Paper Trail, Lawn Fawn and The Cutting Cafe, saw a flurry of creativity as we produced layout after layout.

This is the first one I produced - a real challenge for me because I'm not really a flower fan any more. It's about the time we went to Corfu and got engaged.

I used some rolled up Greek Drachma as a decorative element (they were long gone by the time we went to Corfu, but I had them and it was a nice touch, I thought).

And I used A LOT of flowers, including stamping some in acrylic paint. Which I think looks rather nice.

In the spirit of things, I'm going to keep this short to go off and do all the things there are to be done.

Monday 16 May 2011

How to Mark a Milestone

At the point of posting post number 200, I find myself contemplating how exactly to mark this milestone.

I could look back to the first days of my blogging career and be a little embarrassed by the fact that I didn't really have a clue how the whole thing worked. I could explain that, in spite of that, my original reason for setting up the blog - to easier show my mum what crafty things I'd been up to - was worthy, and has not been forgotten; I could talk about how, when I moved to Belgium, this reason became all the more valid.

I could tell you how our move to Belgium was great for my blogging career, because my need to connect again with like-minded people led me on an international journey around the internet and gave me knowledge, inspiration and friends. How becoming self-employed allowed me the freedom to experiment more with my art and my time, and enabled me to really start to find my style.

And I could reminisce about my first design team experience, how it challenged me to learn about video editing, and how that has led to a new kind of digital scrapping for me (for now I'm going to call it video scrap) - some of which, perhaps, I'll show you one day.

But instead, I'm going to look forward. I look forward to exciting opportunities from current and future design teams; to beautiful inspirational creations, posts, collaborations and more by and with those people in blogland I have come to know; and to a never-ending refinement of the 'crafty me'. I look forward to our crafty wedding, perhaps some more craft markets, and even more unknown crafty things.

And what of the present? Well, working from home and being able to observe our dog for most of the day, I've found myself really questioning what it's like being a dog. It's not a question I'll ever have answered, but I thought I'd make a page out of it anyway, just to remember this fascination and wonderment I have right now with dogs and their interaction with us humans.

I followed May's sketch on the Sassafras blog. Having only one slot for the photo, but five photos I wanted to use, I made a slidy thingy that fits through the page and out the back so that you can view any of the photos by pulling the slidy thingy left or right.

So that's it. My 200th post, up and out there, asking an unanswerable question. That's how I'll mark my milestone.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

My 199th Post

After all the planning and the looking forward to this moment, it's crept up on me in a fortnight of insane amounts of work distractions and will have to pass unceremoniously and without the planned giveaway. Well, watch this space on the giveaway.

At 199th post point, I obviously wanted to reflect a little. So, almost 6 months into the year, I'm going to glance back at my 2011 resolutions and assess the state of things.

1) The Get Healthy resolution - after some ups and downs, I think I can say 'Check'. Or at least, I've finally got it in check.
2) The Stop Worrying So Much About The Passing Of Time resolution - for me, really quite successful until a meltdown of sorts last weekend. Back up and running now though. And definitely happier for it. Which was the intention.
3) The Continue To Sand Down My Rough Edges resolution - slower going, this one, but I'm pretty sure I can say I've made some progress. Little and often, little and often.
4) The Co-Organise Our Wedding resolution - well, yes, this one is working. Not without spats, but definitely working. It has to, really, otherwise we won't have a wedding.
5) The Increase The Amount Of Freelance Work I'm Doing resolution - I meant by actively seeking out work, and in those terms I have failed so far. But on the other hand I've been getting pllllllllllllenty of work for 3 of the 4 elapsed months so far so it's not so bad.
6) The Craft In A More Focused Way resolution - I certainly have planned ahead, revelled in keeping lists, toned down the spending to small but Important purchases. And I've produced layouts in much faster times than ever before. Success here.
7) The Write More Narrative On My Blog resolution - so far, mainly a fail. I would blame the speed of the passing of time, but for the fact that Resolution #2 would jump off the screen and slap me in the face. But I do want to Write More Narrative. And Better Narrative. Because I do miss writing.
8) The Make Cards From Paper and Materials I No Longer Like And Will Never Use In Other Crafting resolution - not a complete success, but more a success than a fail. In fact, not making many cards at all this year helps skew the figures in my favour somewhat. Hmmm...must make more cards.
9) The Sit Down On Every 25th Of The Month And Make At Least 10 Christmassy Things resolution - ummmm, I was unable to foresee, in January when my eyes were bright with the possibilities a whole new year might bring my way, how utterly un-Christmassy I would feel on any day of  the month, let alone the 25th. So, after January - a fail. But not one I'm ashamed of. I've discovered I like Christmas to remain what - and where - it is. After December 5th - and that is all.
10) The Make A Postcard A Week resolution - I have kept this up, although I've been in such a rush lately that I've sent the postcards off before photographing them. So technically I can't prove it. But if you have any doubts, send me a postcard. Etiquette says I must reply.

There - my half-way status. I'm fairly happy with it. Not really into self-flagellation right now as stress leads to unproductiveness and I cannot be unproductive at this time.

2011 so far has brought me a whole bunch of new online friends - thanks you lot for being so cool - and numerous exciting possibilities that I can't wait to get my teeth into. Here's to the future - from post 199.

Oh, and here is the mother's day card I made for mum-in-law-to-be. Gotta get used to having two separate dates for this one.

Friday 6 May 2011

National Scrapbooking Day: Scrapbook Challenges Blog Hop

Welcome to the Scrapbook Challenges National Scrapbooking Day blog hop! If you're on the hop, you should be joining me from the very talented Marilyn's blog. If you have just stopped in and want to join in the hop, please start at Brynn's blog. There will be RAKs!

I'm Cheryl, Scrapbook Challenges DT member since January this year, lover of all things paper, and staver off of all things Hallmark. I found Scrapbook Challenges about two years ago, when I was still fairly new to the whole online scrapbooking community thing, and I found it such a friendly, lively forum that I stuck around. When the DT call came up I thought I'd go for it, since the team all seemed so nice and so creative. Their encouraging feedback made me feel I could contribute to the community and so I applied. Pamela certainly did a fantastic job of coming up with the idea of Scrapbook Challenges and taking it and turning it into a community - her time, effort, creativity and hard work shows, and will be missed.

Being part of the Scrapbook Challenges DT has made me scrap more than ever before - which I'm thankful for, because often it's all too easy to get distracted by other things in life. It has enabled me to expand my style - purely because of the huge amount of inspiration both the DT and the community have to offer - and it has made me think more deeply about how to construct a page. Especially when interpreting sketches...

...for this NSD/Thank You Pamela blog hop, the DT all chose one of Pamela's old sketches to make another page from. This is the sketch I chose (number 176):

As there always should be a twist, this time, the twist was to make a page along the theme of gratitude, friendship and hope. My take on this sketch looks like this:

The text reads: 'Have faith. The miracle of hope will prevail'. I used some DCWV cardstock and some 7Gypsies masking tape, and just love those Jenni Bowlin bingo cards and the Melody Ross inspiration cards.

Now, I did mention RAKs, so here are the RAKs (they're very good!) and the ways of winning them:

1.  One member who leaves a comment on all the blogs in the hop will get Chipboard Borders, 12x12 Collection Kit and a 6x6 Paper Pad from To The Moon by Fancy Pants.

2.  One member who post a NEW a layout based on one of Pam’s sketches and posts it in the HOP ON section of the Scrapbook Challenges forum will receive a package of Tim Holtz goodies.

3. One new member over the weekend will get the We R Memory Keepers’ Sew Easy Piercer, 4 Piercers, a mixed assortment of Divine Twine and 15 colors of DMC Embroidery Floss.

Well, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Now, hop on over to Ana's inspirational blog to continue your NSD/Thank You Pamela SC blog hop participation!

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Just for the Record: I'm Lifting Again

Look at that. I'm getting good at this headline-creating business.

It's layout time. More specifically, it's gorgeous spring yellow, For the Record time.

A blogospherical friend of mine who is rather good at making layouts (not to mention dresses, and cards, and mini albums) made a page a while ago that I kept thinking about. In creating my most recent layout I managed to lift her and use masses of the amazing collection that is For the Record. It's so versatile, with so many different potential 'looks' - I can't stop praising it.

What I'm loving about this page, other than For the Record: clouds, journalling, masking tape and Versamark stars. Thanks to Sabr for the inspiration!

Sunday 1 May 2011

Question: What's Red, Frilly and Spanish?

Answer: a flamenco dancer!

I've always admired fashion designers, not only for the clothes they make, but specifically for the simple, elegant lines they use when sketching their models and ideas. You might remember I posted here about trying to draw. Well, I tried again, and I combined it with a little paper piecing, a little Copic colouring and a lot of tiny rolled flowers, and I got this.


I tried to employ that fashion designer style of sketching - underneath the bold black pen were many pencil lines, until I committed and rubbed them out. I kept her face simple, her arms simple but with a bit of perspective, and even braved a foot this time.

I like her. I think she's pretty. And I love her hair. And the fact that I made her.