Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Starting the new and finishing the old...

Sorry my blogging has been a bit sporadic lately, I need to try and get my groove back! Something that should help is that I've signed up to Shimelle's Journal your Christmas class, which I'm excited about as I {heart} christmas! I'm really looking forward to this year as I think my daughter is going to start realising what it's all about too, and I want to record it properly now so that she has a great keepsake of her christmasses in years to come. Here's the manifesto for the class which Shimelle has given out for us to use (as decoration and a reminder of why we're joining in!):


One of the prep things that was suggested for JYC was to put all the bits of paper and embellies that you want to use for the project into one place, to ease along the process of making something everyday. Now, I have a box for such projects, trouble was, it still contained items to use on my unfinished LSNED album from September. I thought I'd better finish off that journal before starting on another daily project! So here's the final 5 pages from my LSNED book. They aren't my faves as I was out of the habit of making them, and also trying to finish them off quickly, but they still record my lessons of the day (click on any to see them larger):






It feels good to have finished it! Now I can really relish the Christmas prep. Speaking of which:


You can check out my Christmas page for a couple of updates on things I've been making. Now I'm off to fill aforementioned box with festive scrapbook products! xxx


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Hello all!

Sorry I didn't manage to post the winner yesterday, I think Sian's right, I am wearing myself in the run up to Christmas! I was very tired yesterday. Anyway, thanks again to all who commented on my Blogging Friendships Party Post (which can be seen here). It was really interesting seeing which fictional characters you'd all like to be. There's an interesting mix of superheroes, fantasy creatures, stars of kids cartoons, and book characters.

If anyone's wondering, I'd be a fairy. A scrapbook fairy to be precise. This kind of fairy is very small, and hides out in people's craft rooms. She makes her clothes from scrapbook stash, ties ribbons in her hair, and at night, when the unsuspecting crafter is asleep, she adds extra glitter to their projects or steals their supplies to make her own mini-books! These would be her wings:



These were made as examples to the children on our workshop called 'Funtastic Fairies', when 7-11 year olds come and make up their own original fairy, to make wings for and write a story about. We run this course a couple of times a year, it's always very popular. We ran it last weekend and have it again in a couple of weeks!

Anyway, on to the giveaway winner. Everyone who answered the question about which character they'd be was in for a chance to win these cards of my paintings:


Here's everyone's names printed and cut out:


Placed into a hat:


And then my daughter helped choose the winner (you can just scroll down if you don't want to watch the movie):

video

So there you go, the winner is:


Miriam said...

Thanks for a lovely post, your cards are indeed fabulous.
I would be Marge Simpson, just for the hair! or the 'Snowman' as I would really love to go to that party! :)
6 November 2010 21:10

Miriam can you please email me at jennifer grace at hotmail dot co dot uk with your postal address and I shall get your prize sent to you!
 
Now we have to go food shopping. Sooo boring!
 
xxx
 

Friday, 19 November 2010

busy, busy!

Hi all!



Sorry I've been AWOL for nearly two weeks. I've been busy running writing workshops for kids, and also spending some quality time with hubby and daughter, as hubby has had the week off work. It's been a bit wet weather-wise, so we haven't gone out much, but we did go swimming the other day. Here's little miss all bundled up after we got out of the pool:



A project I created for this week's Monday Challenge went live on the Fiskarettes blog too. Here's the earrings I made:

More info on these can be found here.

Now I'm off this afternoon to run another workshop all weekend. In case any of you didn't notice it before, there's still a couple of days to enter my giveaway here. You have until Sunday night 8pm GMT to answer the question - I'll announce the winner on Monday!

Hope you all have a great weekend! xx

Monday, 8 November 2010

mini-gloves

Wow, I was overwhelmed with all the blog love during and following the Celebrating Blogging Friends Party! Thanks so much to everyone who left comments, and to everyone who particpated, I had so much fun reading all the posts along the way.

I've finished the mini-gloves for my daughter, she's very happy with them!


These ones worked out a lot more similar in size than mine. Practice makes perfect, so I shall make another pair for me I think! Night night! xxx

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Celebrating blog friendships, party and prizes!

Hello, and welcome to the party!


This evening is about meeting up with like-minded friends and having some fun. If you started the hop at the beginning you'll have joined me from Lizzie's, where I'm sure you had a great time. Did you check out her recent snaps of a trip to London? She must have caused a whirlwind with all the sights she managed to see! If you haven't been to Lizzie's then make sure you head back there, otherwise you won't be able to complete the master phrase for the big giveaway! You have to hop all the blogs in order and collect letters along the way. For my piece of the puzzle, and to see who you need to head to next, you'll have to read to the end of my post - where you'll also find a personal pass the parcel giveaway from me!

I am so grateful that I discovered the world of blogging. It has supported, inspired and entertained me in so many ways! I created this page for my 'Why do I Scrapbook Album' back in January this year:



It's great how I do really feel like part of a community through blogging. I don't go to any crops to meet to people, so I meet them online instead. I think blogging is like pen-pals for the modern day. I get so excited when I see someone has posted a new story or craft for me to have a look at, or when lovely readers have left me a comment. It's the same thrill as I get if a letter from a friend arrives via the postman!

One thing that's been inspiring me lately is bloggers knitting projects. Especially Rachel's knitted thingy, Sian's knitted dogs, and Deb's knitted blanket. These are all so cool in different ways, and I keep wishing I could knit. I have tried to learn many times, but always get in a tangle. However, a few months ago I bought a crochet magazine, and decided to give that a go. I managed to crochet a few flowers thanks to the Little Birdie Secrets blog, but hadn't made anything else. Until the aforementioned ladies kept blogging about knitting and making me want to try more of a project. So I decided to crochet some gloves:


I got the pattern for these here, and they were really easy to make. Well, one ended up slightly smaller and neater than the other, but for my first proper project I think they turned out okay. I've already started work on a second pair, some mini ones in pink, for my daughter! So thank you to all the knitting bloggers who helped give me the push to try more things! And thank you to everyone who blogs, for providing stories that are heartwarming, funny, intriguing or emotional, and for showing off your crafts that give me tons of ideas and make me happy to be a creative person! Thanks for leaving comments that let me know I have friends who understand my life! I LOVE blogging!

Okay, enough of that! Onto the really important stuff - how can you win yourself some goodies? Well, for the grand prizes, kindly given by Jo, you'll have to hop all the way along, and collect letters. At the end of the hop, you'll reach Jo's blog, and she'll tell you how to enter!

The letter you have to collect from me is cunningly concealed in the paragraph above. Did you miss it? It's big. It's party pink. You only need one of them from me, not twenty-one!

And finally, here's the chance of a prize from me! As I've said how blogging is a bit like having pen-pals, the prize I'm giving is a set of greeting cards that feature my artwork. You could post them to a friend in need of a chat or a cheer-up, you could gift them to someone for Christmas, or, if you like them enough, keep them for yourself! Here's the set:


To win a set, all you have to do is leave a comment here, before 8pm Sunday 21st November, answering this question:
'If you were a fictional creature, what one would you be?'
You'll need to check back on Monday 22nd Novemeber to see if you've won, or to be extra sure you don't miss the prize, then leave your email address in the comment too so I can let you know that way if you win.

If you don't win the prize and you wish you had, then don't worry, you can buy them in my new etsy shop:


There's only the cards in there so far, but watch out for other bits and pieces that I'll be adding this month!

That's it from me, hope you had a great time! Now you need to hop over to Mel's, who I'm sure will have a photo of something to make us drool, whether it be papercrafts or food! Cheers to all! xx

better late than never...

Sorry guys. I know I said I'd try to post these on Tuesday, and it's now Saturday, so I apologise for not getting this done sooner. I really have no excuse either, I've just been having a lazy week.

So, last weekend, I went to my friend Tor's Hen Do. On Saturday afternoon we were building sandcastles on Bournemouth beach, in the theme of wedding cake designs. Here's mine and Rosie's, though we didn't win the competition! It has a castle for Tor and her future hubby Nat, and mini castles for all the hens! And of course a bow tied around the sand cake:


We had hired a beach hut for the afternoon which we decorated with paper bunting. It was good to have a few deckchairs and we took a stove so we could make hot chocolate:


On Saturday night we went out in the costume theme of 'child of the 80's'. Most of us were in the typical neon clothes and legwarmers, except for the bride-to-be who was dressed as Rainbow Bright, and the head hen who was dressed as Big Bird!:


Here's Rosie and me enjoying drinks with Tor:


It was a great weekend. We had lots of fun dancing the night away on Saturday night, though it made me feel old when I was tired by 12.30am! Rosie and me had done the Bookshelf art performance that morning though, so I don't feel too bad for being so knackered!

On Sunday evening after I got home we started getting ready for Halloween. We don't go crazy over it, but we do usually wear a bit of costume and carve a pumpkin. This was the first year my daughter has had a halloween costume, she was a cute little witch:


Rosie and me had a bit of costume too (my hubby and Rosie's fiancee made no effort whatsoever!):


And here's our pumkin with fangs:


So it was a very eventful weekend last weekend, which is probably why I needed a lazy week. I shall be back on form tonight though, donning my party clothes and raising a glass of wine for this party:


You should come back at 8pm tonight to join in the fun and be in with a chance to win some goodies! See you then! xxx

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Bookshelf Live Art

Last Saturday I took part in a live art event at the Lighthouse, Poole, as part of Poole Literary Festival. The event was called The Bookshelf, as artists were given a 30cm stack of books to recycle into art (books donated kindly by Oxfam), and our publicity material was displayed on a bookshelf. Each artist was situated on a plinth which was 1m square, and raised slightly off the floor. I was working with Rosie, who is my close friend and my business partner (for those of you who don't know, we run creative writing workshops, mainly for kids. Our website is http://www.creativecreatures.moonfruit.com/):


We were the only team in the event -  there were eight other individual artists taking part. Because we were a team, and on seperate plinths, we came up with some fun ways to pass things to each other, including a bucket on the end of a pole, and a rope system to pass book pages. Also, we weren't allowed to put things on the floor during the three hours that we were working, but as we were a team we were allowed to use books as stepping stones a couple of times so that we could change plinths!


We were creating a story on canvas. Other artists were working on various projects, like paper trees and canvas art. We dressed up for the occasion as we wanted to look fun and approachable. Rosie was wearing a ball gown, and a waistcoat I made for her from a Jacqueline Wilson book:


The reason we wanted to look approachable was because we were using public interaction to make our story. We asked public to help us choose images, words and characters from the books we were given. We had people from age 2 to approx age 80 giving us suggestions for plot twists, highlighting words on pages, and choosing character names. Some even helped with a bit of tea-staining / marbling / painting:


The story was quite bizarre but also really fun. The main characters were two ladies called Joanna and Elizabeth (picture and names chosen by some young girls). These characters usually have a quiet life, but one day, whilst partaking in their favourite hobby of drinking tea, their tea suddenly starts slurping them! They are transported to another world, where they meet a spider-costumed man named Mr. Clattercup who has a bubble blowing (not fire breathing) dragon in his home. The dragon turns out to be dangerous and the girls run from him and end up at a castle (meeting various other characters along the way), and the final line of the story is 'an elephant skidded into the ballroom' -  a sentence taken from one of the books we had!


Barely any of the story was chosen by us, we might have tweaked the wording here and there but all the plots, characters and a lot of the words were chosen by the public. Even my little girl came along and helped choose some images for illustration:


The finished canvas:


The title of the story is 'Dragons at tea time'. We managed to tear this fantastic front cover off one of the books - it had a picture of cowboys in the oval so we covered it up with the title:


And here's me in the jacket I'd decorated for the event, but then couldn't wear for too long as it was so hot in there! 


Our canvas is now on display in the Lighthouse gallery until the end of November. We need to go back this week and make sure nothing has fallen off!


It was great fun to take part in the event. We're hoping it will have made a few more people aware of us. Our photo was in the local newspaper today, we were the only artists from the Bookshelf event with a photo in there so that was quite exciting!
 
I have a lot of other photos from the weekend to share, as I also spent the rest of the weekend at a hen party, and on Saturday night we went out in 'child of the 80's' costume. Then on sunday night when I got home we had Rosie and her fiancee round for a dinner and as it was halloween we wore spooky costumes (well, the girls did!). I want to show you the pic of my little girl in her witch costume! How many costumes can I fit into one weekend eh?! I'll hopefully post those other pics tomorrow!
 
Night night x

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Away for the weekend...

Just a quick one to say I'm not going to be able to post until next Mon/Tue as I'm away for the weekend. I'm going to a friend's hen do, and performing in The Bookshelf art event as part of Poole Lit Festival. Busy and fun weekend me hopes! Hope you all have a good one! xx

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

mmm, chestnuts...

I was only introduced to roasted chestnuts about four years ago, when my hubby (then fiancee) took me foraging for them in Essex - where we lived at the time - and then his mum cooked them for us. I didn't think I'd like them, I believe I was imagining dry roasted peanut flavour when I saw them! But I was pleasantly suprised to find them sweet and soft and delicious. Every year since then we try to collect some, but we hadn't managed to find a spot with a good haul of decent sized nuts, now that we live in Dorset. Until this year.

On Monday we headed for Canford Heath Nature Reserve, where a friend of my husband told him she used to go chestnut collecting when she was young. We wandered around the woods, but could only find empty shells, so we thought we had been beaten to it by the squirrels.


We wandered a bit further, and found ourselves in amoungst pine trees. We didn't think we'd find any chestnuts there, but it was a lovely day, so we continued our walk, and stopped to eat our picnic lunch on the dry, pine-needle strewn, forest ground.


Then my clever hubby managed to find a lonely chestnut tree surrounded by pine trees. Yay! It only had a few nuts left, which we had to reach up and grab from the branches, but hey, at least we weren't going home empty handed. We gathered them up and then fought our way through prickly heather to go back the short way round. My hubby would tell you I was leading him through scathing thorns that stabbed his legs like pin-pricks, but there was a path, really. He'd be exaggerating. Slightly.


We got into the car and headed home. And then, as we were driving along, we saw a huge, bumper crop of chestnuts all over the verge, spilling onto the tarmac, from a dozen chestnut trees in a clearing just off the road! Ooh, we pulled over sharpish, our car tyres cracking some of the precious nuts that had strayed too far. We leapt out and ran like eager children on christmas morning, and grabbed up handful after handful of large, shiny nuts. I was sooo happy! I love gathering food. This is definitely one of the main reasons I love the Autumn!

I'm afraid there's no piccy of where we found the nuts, as I was way too busy collecting them to stop and get my camera out. Instead, here's a photo of the bowful of beauties we collected:


I included a chestnut leaf in the photo, in case anyone who hasn't gathered them before is inspired to go find a tree nearby! This leaf is one from the ground, so is obviously quite brown, the leaves still on the tree were yellowy-green. I can always tell when it's time to collect chestnuts when we drive past a tree and I see the yellow-green leaves!

You should also know, if you want to go gathering, that you need to make sure you're getting sweet chestnuts, not horse chestnuts (which are also known as conkers). You can tell the difference as sweet chestnuts normally have three nuts in a shell, and you only usually find one conker per shell. And sweet chestnuts fall later, and are smaller (in the uk anyway, I don't know about countries with different climates). You should gather chestnuts as soon as possible after they've fallen, otherwise they get damp. And don't pick up ones with little holes in the shell - they might have a little worm inside! The shell shouldn't be wrinkly either - grab the nice smooth ones.

If you then want to roast your chestnuts in an oven, here's what you do. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a cross in the shell:


And put them onto a baking tray, and then into your oven at 200 degrees C. They take about 20 mins to cook, depending on your oven, but you can tell when they're ready as the shell will be peeling back, and the nuts inside should not look too white:


Then you just peel of the shell, and the thinner brown layer of skin, until you have a nice, creamy looking nut all ready to gobble up:


These ones were for my daughter - she loves them too!

As we managed to collect so many, and they only keep for a few days at room temperature, I've also frozen some, both in puree form and still in shells. I'm hoping the frozen ones will taste good cooked around christmas time!

How about you? Do you like chestnuts? Do you gather your own, or buy them (which I also do when I run out of gathered ones)? Do you have any recipes you like to use them in, or do you just love to roast them? Or can you not stand the things?!

Hope eveyone is having a lovely fall! xx

Monday, 25 October 2010

Alter It Monthly - Sealed with Magic

October's theme at Alter It Monthly is etheral/magical/supernatural. I was thinking of doing something including a fairy image, as I haven't done any fairy art for ages, but then I was inspired by both the DT and the other entrants items, to go for something a bit darkly magical. Here's my altered box:



It started as a plain papermache box from Hobbycraft:


I painted it with red-brown acrylic paint, crackle glaze, and black paint (except for the middle of the lid which I left red-brown):


I painted the inside black too (after failing miserably at trying to glue some fabric in - any tips?):


The top was decorated with various items, including some lace trim which I coloured with Tattered Angels gold Glimmer Mist, an old watch key which I linked onto a bit of bracelet chain, and the words 'sealed with magic'. I also used blood red sealing wax to attach some items to the lid, and to gloop around the edge of the lid so the box looks sealed. If I was actually giving it to someone with a gift in I'd seal it up properly!


It would be good for a halloween gift, or for storing gemstones with magical properties. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it for myself or not yet!

We went chestnut collecting today, I'll be back tomorrow to talk all about it! xx
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