Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas time!

A very merry Christmas to you all! I hope that you have a fabulous, memorable and stress-free day!!! I just wanted to say a massive thank you for stopping by over the past couple of months, for leaving such kind and encouraging comments (which never cease to brighten my day) and for sharing your creativity with me. I am so very fortunate to have become a part of such a fantastic online community! Take time today to enjoy good food, good company and many memories in the deserve it!

Love and hugs,

Friday, 18 December 2009

Liberty's Christmas windows (day 12)

So, how many of you watched Kirstie's Homemade Christmas on Channel 4 a couple of weeks ago? Wow. I LOVED it (even though I've only managed to watch the first episode so far). I was so inspired by her week I 100% plan to make salt dough tree decorations (which I haven't done for years). I also think that the idea of blowing your own glass baubles is amazing, but a lot less practical than salt dough. Next year, perhaps.

Anyhoo, while I loved Kirstie's emphasis on a crafty and creative Christmas countdown, what I loved the most was her visit to Liberty, a beautiful old department store in London nestled in between Oxford Street and Regent Street, which you can read about here. This year, Liberty has some gorgeous Christmas window displays that feature all of the elements that you might associate with a 'traditional' (or non-traditional, depending on how you look at it) British Christmas. Kirstie used these displays as her initial inspiration in the programme, and I was so overawed by them (you should have heard the squeals of excitement) that I decided I had to squeeze in a trip to Liberty before Christmas. These were my favourite displays:

The attention to detail is incredible. I love the retro wallpaper...and the Queen's speech on tv...AWESOME. Here is a close-up:

Such a familiar sight on Christmas day!

This was possibly my favourite. Look at that wallpaper! There is also a fabric equivalent...I was SO very tempted. However, it was not quite within budget.

Not the greatest photo in the world, but the kitsch decorations were too good to resist.

How many of us went to see pantomimes as kids at this time of year?! I love this humorous take on a kitsch classic. You can just about see the beginnings of some quintessential 'panto' graffiti (I think this was 'oh no he isn't').

Again, I couldn't get over the attention to detail - everything was over-the-top!!

The contrasts in colour really appealed to me here - as well as the various decorations suspended from the bows. Very cool.

Altogether, the displays were eccentric, quirky, kitschy, and very tongue-in-cheek. They were most definitely not everyone's cup of tea. But I loved how Liberty incorporated those subtle and not-so-subtle traditions into the overall themes of each window, and (as I may have mentioned several times!), the detail was just amazing. I also spent a little while pottering around the Christmas department, where I saw these:

Generally I'm not a fan of trophies adorning the wall (it sort of spooks me), but I liked the shadow effect of the three on the left - very dramatic. And look at those penguins! Too cute for words.

Afterwards, I stopped by the haberdashery. It was heaven...the fabrics were STUNNING (but had a starting price of £19.95 a metre) and there was so much eye candy. I bought some dinky little ribbons for my JYC album and had to stop myself from begging the lovely sales assistant to hire me. I would get way too over-excited working in a haberdashery.

Today, Jamie finished his exams and both of our terms officially ended, so we celebrated with some Christmas shopping on Oxford Street and a Nando's takeaway this evening. Tomorrow, we are having our 'mini Christmas' - after the end of term, both of us go our separate ways to spend the holidays with our respective families (in Scotland and the South of England), so before we head home, we cook a Christmas meal, watch festive films (we have Polar Express and the Muppet Christmas Carol this year) and open presents. We're also planning a trip to Harrods, Hamleys and the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland if we have time. I'm so excited! On Sunday my scrapbooking supplies and I are relocating for the holidays, but snow is expected and the M25 will no doubt be a nightmare. Fingers crossed!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Playing catch up and days 1-4 of JYC... (day 11)

My poor, neglected blog. The last week has been frantically busy, but......(drum roll)....I HAVE SUBMITTED MY ESSAYS! In fact, I submitted one on Friday and one on Monday, with very little sleep in between. I spent yesterday and today relaxing, tidying, and catching up on everything that got pushed to one side over the last month and a half. Christmas shopping is very high on my to-do is laundry. Chores etc. aside, I have LOTS to share with you over the next few days - you shall (hopefully) be inundated with blog posts! And, I have yet to finish Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers class, but I am still 100% determined, because I have loved every minute of it.* Bear with me.

*Technically, prompt no. 11 is all about blog trains, but, being so behind, this is a tad we're switching it up today!

Which conveniently brings me to today's post: my Journal your Christmas album! Ever since the start of this class, I have read and reread each prompt, daydreaming about themes, layouts, supplies, photos, mementos...In all honesty, it was just a little torturous to have to wait until my coursework was finished before I could start working on the album itself. Every now and then, I would take a little peek inside the pizza box full of October Afternoon, Making Memories, My Mind's Eye and Cosmo Cricket patterned paper, stickers, die-cuts, Jenni Bowlin bingo cards, ric rac, ribbons...the list goes on. But it was my encouragement and my motivation, and I have had so much fun working on it over the past two days! So, here we go...

Day 1: 'Manifesto'

Patterned paper and 'Merry' Wild Card, both October Afternoon (Very Merry), cardstock, Bazzill and Bazzill Dotted Swiss, #1, Elle's Studio, scalloped punch, Fiskars, 'Manifesto' title cut with Slice Machine using Mistletoe Design Card, vellum laid paper, Ryman.

Day 2: 'Wintertime'

Patterned paper, 'Snow' Wild Card and 'let it snow' sticker, all October Afternoon (Good Cheer and Very Merry), 'Wintertime,' Cosmo Cricket (Jolly by Golly), snowflake peel-offs, unknown, glitter cardstock, unknown, Apron Lace punch, Fiskars, vellum laid paper, Ryman.

Day 2: 'Wintertime' (contd.)

Patterned paper and 'let it snow' sticker, both October Afternoon (Good Cheer), #2, Elle's Studio, Word Fetti, Making Memories (Mistletoe), glitter cardstock, unknown, Apron Lace punch, Fiskars.

Day 3: 'Merry and Bright'

Patterned paper and 'Merry and Bright' die-cut, My Mind's Eye (The Merry Days of Christmas), 'Joy' sticker and journaling sticker, October Afternoon (Good Cheer), #3, Elle's Studio, vellum laid paper, Ryman, felt star, Paperchase.

Day 4: 'Daydreaming'

Cardstock, Bazzill, Tiny Alpha stickers, Making Memories, #4, Elle's Studio, felt star, Paperchase, bling, unknown, ric rac, local haberdashery.

Image credits (clockwise from left): I'm Dreaming of a White House Christmas, Light up the Night, Little treasure, Color me Pretty @ Decor8, Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg, Twinkle.

I'm using a 7Gypsies naked album (19.5cm x 18.5 cm, or 7.6" x 7.2"), and, surprisingly, I love having the small, contained pages! And, I just signed up for a flickr account, so you can visit my JYC album uploads here.

I will be back tomorrow to share some of my favourite Christmas window displays with you, but in the meantime I want to say a massive thank you to Christy, who emailed me a fantastic link about 'bokeh' photography from Write.Click.Scrapbook. Thank you so much for sharing, Christy!

And, we had REAL snow in London today...
Happy Thursday!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Oh Christmas tree (day 10)

Right now, I'm sitting next to the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree, listening to the Ronettes singing Sleigh Ride and getting ridiculously excited about the Christmas countdown! Last night Jamie and I took the evening off to put up our Christmas tree...and I spent most of the time pretending to be 'artful' with my camera, with varying degrees of success! Deary me. Anyway, we've decided that our tree needs some more tinsel (because you can never have too much tinsel, apparently), so I won't post the 'finished tree' photo until we've made a trip to John Lewis. In the meantime, here are a few festive photos from last night....

Fairy lights!

An action shot of Jamie attempting to sort out the fairy lights (which actually didn't get too tangled whilst in storage). Last year we decided to buy an artificial tree, seeing as a good-sized Christmas tree is pretty hard to come by in Central London. We found this 'snow covered' tree in Next, which I love! It looks as though someone has frosted the branches with icing...

Hopefully you can tell that this is a Christmas tree....

He he! This photo makes our Christmas tree look very 'loud'!! I'm actually big on tradition at this time of year - red and gold ornaments, white fairy lights etc. - but Jamie LOVES coloured fairy lights, so we compromised with a hybrid tree. You'd never know it looking at this photo though!

Remember this little guy?! He has taken pride of place on our tree (and he's safely anchored between two branches, because he's surprisingly heavy!).

So, in yesterday's post you may recall that I was rambling on about bokeh photography. After fiddling with practically every setting on my camera, I managed to produce this photo...which sort of captures what I was going for. Practice is needed, I think.

On a non-related subject, I have a couple of questions which I'm hoping someone might be able to help with. First of all, can anyone recommend an adhesive (available in the UK) which I can use with vellum and acetate? I'm using some Making Memories acetate for my JYC album, but right now I'm stuck on how to adhere it to the front cover...Secondly, does anyone have experience with any of the following:
  • Zutter Bind-It-All
  • Cricut
  • Silhouette Digital Cutting Tool
Would you recommend these products? How useful have they been? Are they worth the investment? Would you recommend a Cricut over a Silhouette Digital Cutting Tool? Your help is massively appreciated! Thank you!

Enjoy the start of the week!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Inspiration (day 9)

It seems that the whole of the scrapbooking blogosphere is consumed with JYC albums, December Dailies and other holiday-oriented classes at the moment! I have been so inspired by other people's creations and how they have interpreted and personalised these ideas - I just can't wait to get started on my album in the next few days. In the meantime, I've spent a little bit of time searching online for some seasonal inspiration, and I have found a few things which have really struck a chord:

From Martha Stewart Living

I originally found this photograph in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. I just love how evocative and uncomplicated it is...the stacked logs, the wreath, the sledge, the can practically feel the cold but for the 'Joy' sentiment which adds just the right amount of warmth.

From ChelseaVictoria

I love how this is so completely simple but still seems so festive. I'm obsessed with bokeh photography at the moment...there are some stunning photos that I have found on flickr, such as this one and this one. Definitely check out ChelseaVictoria on Etsy - she has some gorgeous photographs for sale. And she has a buy one get one free offer this week!

From alicebgardens

One of my favourite seasonal prints. The shops are full of it at the moment - it well and truly seems to be synonymous with the holidays! It reminds me of warm and cosy log cabins surrounded by snow. A definite winter warmer.

From Raceytay

The Making Memories Mistletoe collection is one of my absolute favourites for seasonal layouts, and this little cardinal reminds me so much of this sheet of patterned paper, which I can't wait to use in my JYC album! A really beautiful photograph as well - have a look at this photo of the Empire State Building when you take a peek at Raceytay's Etsy store...awesome!

From irenesuchocki

I think this might well be one of my favourite photographs of all time! So completely and utterly beautiful and surreal and a real winter wonderland. Irene's photography is incredible...I already have about 6 things from her Etsy store on my wishlist! I should also mention that I found Irene's Etsy store via the amazing and always inspirational Decor8.

So, happy December everyone! Only 19 days until Christmas...can you believe that?! It feels like yesterday that it was Halloween....