Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Project 365: February

I think everyone occasionally finds that their creativity ebbs and flows with the demands of everyday life. February and March have been strange, frenzied months...and looking over my 365 photos for the past few weeks, I was struck by just how much these pictures reflect this. More than anything, I think I've just been feeling a bit uninspired, with a stop-start routine making it difficult to settle down and switch off. Luckily, the Easter holidays officially begin on Thursday. Teaching for my course has ended, so I have just one more major essay (to be submitted at the end of April) and one exam (in June) and then I have completed the first year of my Masters! It has definitely flown by.

Anyhoo, despite February's lack of inspiration (I took nine photos of various meals and foodstuffs), I took a few photos which have become some of my favourites so far:

1. Every time I walk through this little square, I fall in love with it all over again. It is at its most striking in the evening, when the street lamps are lit and the buildings are illuminated with a gentle glow. Round about this time of day, it reminds me of Sherlock Holmes and the London of yesteryear...so very cool.

2. If something exciting is happening on a particular day (such as the Super Bowl), I'll try and take a photograph that acknowledges it in some way. We have some Saints memorabilia lying around the flat, so I grabbed this football and experimented until I got a shot that I liked.

3. As I was walking out of the library on a dreary and depressing day, I noticed this little blossom, which was a happy reminder that spring is on its way. I was dashing off elsewhere, so I whipped out my camera, put it into macro mode and hoped for the best. With a little bit of editing in Picnik, it came out much better than I originally expected.

4. Walking home one Thursday, I noticed that there was lots of activity outside of the Royal Opera House...a couple of days later, I realised that they were making preparations for the Baftas, the British equivalent to the Oscars. So, on the big day, Jamie and I wandered down to Covent Garden to see what was going on, but sadly it was impossible to get a close to the action. I did manage to get this photo though...and the following week, it was pretty exciting to think that I was walking in the footsteps of Kate Winslet and other hallowed celebrities :)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Something from Almost Nothing: Prompts 1 & 2

I am so very glad that I took the plunge and signed up to take Something from Almost Nothing. This class is amazing, not only for the inspirational prompts that Shimelle sends us three days a week, but also for the enthusiastic and supportive atmosphere that it has fostered so far. It's so exciting to see so many blogs abuzz with such incredible creativity!

I decided to use an American Crafts 6x6 album with a customisable chipboard cover for my Celebrate Life album. For the theme, I wanted to use some of my favourite photographs from the past four or so years (while I was at university). I realised the other day that I have been so focused on my future that I have been neglecting the past...so this is a good opportunity for me to take stock and remember the good times, while at the same time celebrating what is (hopefully!) to come.

I don't have much in the way of metals, so prompt 1 was a bit of a challenge. I do, however, have a Big Bite and some eyelets, so I played around until I came up with something I liked. I'm still in love with those American Crafts chipboard frames...I originally wanted to use some AC Fabric Thickers (By the Yard in Bubblegum) for the title, but they just didn't sit well with the rest of the layout. Luckily the frames complimented the October Afternoon patterned paper, so I printed off my title and journaling (font used is Learning Curve from dafont.com) and left it at that.

*Apologies for the slightly blurred image - my scanner can't handle raised surfaces or kraft!

For prompt 2, I used the patterned paper scraps from my 'This is Why I Scrapbook' layout. I love Basic Grey's Lemonade collection and was so sad to see so much of it go to waste, so it felt good to stretch it a bit further :) I was really inspired by the circles used by Tara Anderson and Laura Buckingham in the prompt, but struggled to create the same look with such a small medium. I settled on a linear design instead, embellishing each circle with some bling and some butterflies, and used foam pads to give each circle some dimension.

For each prompt I am doing a double layout, so that the 6x6 photo will feature separately:And, because I was the epitome of all things pink at university, I have tried to co-ordinate my layouts with my style and personality as it was between the ages of 19 and 22/23. Needless to say, pink will feature throughout the album to provide some consistency, along with the same title and journaling fonts.

I can't wait to get started on the next prompts! I have some ideas for the ribbon and cardstock prompts, but I am a bit stuck on how to incorporate a page protector into a layout...

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Welcome to my little corner of the world...

Back in January, Kelly Purkey wrote a post on her blog called 'Where I Work.' Have you read it? One comment that she made in particular really stood out for me:

"So I want to tell you that you don't need to have a big elaborate scraproom or a mini scrapbook store in your house to really rock it."

Although I definitely don't 'rock it' just yet, I was vigorously nodding my head when I read Kelly's post. Even though I find myself longing for higher surfaces (I prefer to scrap standing up), less condensation (my scrap space is in the kitchen) and a slightly more 'free flowing' and methodical space (things can get a tad cramped at the moment), I have grown to love my little corner of the world. And, since I am taking Shimelle's Something from Almost Nothing class at the moment, I thought that this would be as good a time as any to share it with you. So, here we go:

At the beginning of last summer, I started out with just one set of those handy plastic drawers. They aren't pretty (at all), but they are very functional. Since then, I've added various bits and pieces as my stash has grown. The house-shaped Cath Kidston sewing basket, for example, appeared after I resurrected my sewing machine last August (you can find it here). I bought the box underneath it in a W H Smith sale - it's going to store 4"x 6" photos once I get around to printing them online from Photobox. The white boxes from Ikea behind my sewing basket contain small punches and my stamping supplies (which are growing by the minute).

As you move to the left, the stuff propped against the drawers mostly consists of my patterned paper (in the plastic accordion folder) and various 12"x 12" plastic wallets which contain cardstock scraps, patterned paper scraps, layouts that went badly wrong, and bits of photo paper that have been guillotined but are still usable. I also have a 12"x 12" glass cutting mat for my Slice machine wedged in there, along with some cereal boxes, which are useful for all kinds of scrapping shenanigans (mostly messy stuff).

In the drawers (labelled with my Dymo Embossing Label Maker) from left to right: Tools, including my heat buddy, my Xyron Create-a-Sticker (from Mrs. Rose!), refills, heat gun, my Big Bite and the label maker, among other bits and bobs; Stickers, including AC Thickers and various other alpha stickers; Embellishments of all varieties; Cuttlebug accessories, including embossing folders, dies and cutting mats; and my Slice machine, with my three design cards (Mistletoe, Spook Alley and Words & Expressions). I have another drawer that I can expand in to over the next few months...although it's already getting some overspill.

On top of the handy plastic drawers, I store my Cuttlebug and easel, scrapbooking-related books and magazines (holders are from Muji), my collections of ribbons and scissors (also from Mrs. Rose!) and my go-to supply of cardstock. I'm a big fan of AC cardstock, if only because I bought this a few months ago - seeing as I buy most of my supplies online, it's a huge help being able to use the swatch book to compare the colour on the screen to the colour in real life. You can also just see this stamp peeking out at the front, as well as my Slice tool kit (also very useful).
For the past few months I have monopolised the kitchen table as my makeshift work space (you can read more about it here). On one side, I have set up my laptop and printer (which is very small, so it can be moved around easily). My scanner also usually sits here, but I wasn't using it on this particular day so it is tucked away elsewhere.

On the other side, I like to collate all the things that I know I will need as I work on a layout: my Making Memories paper trimmer, which folds out to become a 12"x 12" surface (this was a birthday present from Jamie last year after my faithful Fiskars trimmer finally packed up); my 'punch bucket' (love those die-cut hearts! It's from Paperchase); my tool organiser; and my cutting mat, which is supposed to protect the glass surface on the table from getting covered in glue....but which doesn't always work. When I'm working on a layout, I like to take a step back from it every now and then to see how it is progressing, hence the easel. And I store my 'one manufacturer per month' papers, cardstock and embellishments in 12" x 12" plastic wallets (you can see my January supplies laid out on the cutting mat) so that I have easy access.

In case you're wondering, my work space looks like that for all of ten minutes. After said ten minutes, it looks more like this:
And that's pretty much it. A few bits and pieces have migrated to other parts of the flat, but 95% of my supplies live along one small wall in the kitchen. It's not always ideal, but it works. And when space is at a premium (which is almost unavoidable in London), you have to make do with what you have :) That's not to say that I don't want my own dedicated scrap space one day...I've already sort of mapped out in my mind what it will look like...and I've already started hoarding things from Etsy to decorate it! Case in point:

Image credits: here and here

I LOVE THESE. I originally discovered the 'Get Inspired and Make Something' print (from stellagirl) via Kal Barteski's blog....and seriously, Stella is the nicest person you could possibly hope to 'do business with.' She was so very patient with me as I vaguely mentioned that "some sort of pink and lime green" for the text would be perfect (until I found the exact colours on lillypulitzer.com). And, when the prints arrived, they were beautifully wrapped. Check out her Etsy store here.

Anyhoo, I think that I've rambled on enough! Thank you so much for looking, and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Back in the blogging saddle

The all-consuming essay has been handed in (YEY!!!). I've spent the last few days catching up on sleep and laundry, all the while worrying about how badly neglected my blog has been over the past few weeks. My aim at the beginning of the year was to blog a minimum of three times a week....and so far I've failed miserably. But, sometimes life gets in the way of documenting life. I think that can be a good thing.

Anyway, now that I'm back in the blogging saddle, I thought I would share a few photos with you. In between the sleepless nights and the caffeine boosts (of which there were many), Jamie and I ventured out of London to go to the Craft Barn Craft Fest. The Craft Barn is my 'local' scrapbook store. By 'local,' I mean that it takes us about an hour and a half to get there by tube and train....and the same to get back. But it's worth the effort :)

While Jamie consumed a couple of coffees in the adjacent coffee shop (the photo above with the book shelves and tables), I mostly pottered around. I went to the November Craft Fest last year so I had seen most of the demonstrations, but it was a good opportunity to replenish things that were close to running out. I did get some new Cuttlebug embossing folders though, as well as some Bazzill cardstock in Jet Stream (LOVE that colour!). I always seem to put hundreds of things in my basket and then put them back...do you tend to splurge in scrapbook stores too?

After I finished up in the Craft Barn, we did a little bit of exploring in the town and then settled down in the local pub for the rest of the afternoon, where we had a few drinks and a couple of snacks before heading back to London. As we were walking back to the station, the sun was setting behind us - so pretty!!!

So, do you enjoy going to classes/demonstrations held by your local scrapbook store, or do you prefer to do everything online?

Monday, 8 March 2010

Wishing for tranquil waters...

It's that time of year again...essay deadlines are looming. The kitchen table is covered with books, photocopies and discarded cups of tea. The backspace key on my MacBook has become my best friend...and my worst enemy. This essay has become all-consuming. I miss scrapbooking...and blogging...I even miss the ironing. But I'll let you into a secret: deep, deep down, this is my favourite part of being a student. I love the adrenaline rush, the caffeine, the late nights and the early mornings. I love that feeling of frustration and even desperation as you attempt to construct and argue your thesis...and the elation as you finally push 'print.' In some perverse way, it makes me happy.

That said, I'm ready for life to return to normal. I'm so excited to take Shimelle's new class, and to spend some much-needed time getting caught up on layouts and blog posts. I recorded E!'s Live on the Red Carpet on Sunday night and I can't wait to devour the dresses (I got a sneak peek at Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock, who both looked STUNNING). I'm looking forward to watching my new favourite TV shows: The Good Wife and True Blood. And I can't wait to get stuck into these:

If you've read either of them, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Jamie and I are going up to Scotland at the end of the week to watch the Scotland v. England rugby match at Murrayfield (he's Scottish...I'm English...and I'm guessing that this won't be conducive to domestic harmony), so hopefully I'll be able to catch up with my Google Reader on the train. In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful week! Are you enjoying the sun where you are? It's so exciting to finally see some blue sky :)