Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Belles of the ball

On Saturday we drove all the way to Margate for a Masonic Provincial Summer Ball. My Grandad, Step-Dad, and now my brother, are all masons, so these kind of events happen quite often, but me and my hubby rarely have enough time or money to attend! This year my Step-Dad is Chairman of the Board of Stewards though, so he wanted to get along as many family members as possible. It was great as I got to spend the evening partying with a lot of my family that I don't get to see very often, as they all live in Kent / Essex. Here's me with my little sister, my mum, and my gran:

There was lots of entertainment, but my favourite was the swing band with music to dance to. Me and my sister were dancing barefoot by the end of the night as our high heels were making our feet sore!

Little one was left at home with my friend Rosie and her fiancee Dave, I think she had lots of fun playing at the beach with them and generally wearing them out. Thank you Rosie for looking after her!

On another note, I have discovered a blog today called Paper Craftorium, a site showcases papercrafters and bloggers. They have a blog hop post on Tuesdays, so I thought I'd join in, you can see the details of the hop here.

I've also just spent a couple of hours trying to work out how to crochet a flower. I'll post the pics of my achievements soon (don't have the camera handy right now!). I'm off to attempt another one now I've worked it out! x

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Time for the truth...

Okay, I'm going to let you in on which were the 'true' facts about me from my 'creative writer award' post here.

1. My Teddy Bear once spoke to me. TRUE. Or at least, I believe she did. I'm a believe in dragons, believe in Father Christmas, believe that your toys come alive when you're not looking kind of girl. This might make me a little strange to some of you, but hey-ho, that's who I am! One day I'll tell you about the time I saw a fairy!

2. I own a 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' first edition hardback book. FALSE. Unfortunately! I love the books, and wish I could have gone to Hogwarts. This probably doesn't suprise you after reading the above!

3. I'm a synesthete. FALSE. I don't have this condition - sorry Sian! I find it very intriguing though, as I teach a lot about using the senses in creative writing. Often our students find it hard to fit in descriptions other than what they can see, so it's interesting to get them to push their boundaries and include other senses in their stories and poems. I found out about Synesthesia from this book:

which I bought for my daughter. It's about a little boy who has a trumpet that plays colours and smells as well as music, and it has a bit about synesthesia in the back. I'd been reading the book to my daughter when thinking of my creative facts, so that's what gave me the idea.

4. I'm learning to speak Chinese (Mandarin). FALSE. I'd love to learn a language, as I don't speak anything but English and that makes me feel like an ignorant English person sometimes! I do always try and learn at least a few words of the language when visiting a foreign country, and when I visited Venice I really loved speaking Italian, so that would be great to learn more of. But learning Italian would take up valuable scrapbooking time so maybe not!

5. I am a cover girl. TRUE. I do grace the covers, front and back, of this book (I'm the one in the middle):

I wandered around Bath in regency costume a lot that year - it was lots of fun! I have a little chuckle sometimes, thinking about how many people's holiday snaps I must be in around the world!

So that's that! Hope you found it interesting!


Saturday, 26 June 2010

ruffly card

It's my Grandad's birthday tomorrow, so I've made him this card:

It's based on last Saturday's Twisted Sketches card sketch, with the twist of 'ruffle':

It took me ages to get my sewing machine out and sew the ruffled ribbons on, but it was worth it! You can see what other people have made from the sketch here.


Friday, 25 June 2010

a lovely birthday

I had a great day celebrating my birthday yesterday, enjoying a picnic:

swimming in the sea:

playing with my daughter:

and being serenaded:

Sort of!


Thursday, 24 June 2010

It's my birthday - GIVEAWAY!!!

Today I'm turning 28 years old. And to celebrate I'm offering a fabulous giveaway to one lucky reader:

Whopping, isn't it?! In this prize you'd receive a whole, brand new, shiny pack of DCWV Taj Mahal 8x8 cardstock. Here's a glimpse of what the patterns / colours are like (I photographed my own set of the papers - the pack in the giveaway is still sealed):

There's 14 sheets of 12x12 cardstock, in a mix of colours, from PMA, Bazzill Basics, and DCWV metallic stack (you can see them in the main giveaway photo).

It also includes 3 sheets of scalloped 8x8 PMA textured cardstock, and 4 sheets of glitter card from the 6.5" x 4.5" DCWV glitter stack:

two sets of alphabet stickers:

ten lengths of ribbon-type things, all at least 12" long except the blue ric-rac sticky ribbon which is about 7":

a sealed pack of gems, a sealed pack of flowers (both PMA Hampstead), and an off-cut of a cotton doiley:

and last but not least a bunch of co-ordinating embellishments pulled from my stash, including some postage stamps and a bunch of buttons:

Good eh? To be in with a chance to win this lot of lovely stuff, you can do any or all of the things listed below, each will get you one entry into the draw:

  • Become a follower of this blog. (current followers will be automatically given an entry - I like to reward my loyal readers too!)

  • Blog about this giveaway. (You can take the main photo at the top of this post by right clicking on it and saving it to your computer. Then blog about the giveaway, include the giveaway photo and a link to this post, and then come back and tell me you've done so or I won't know to give you an entry!)

  • Leave a comment on this post, telling me which of my posts during June you enjoyed the most. (There's card-making, scrapbooking, altered art and other various bits and bobs, so there should be something for everyone!) 
You have until the 24th of July to enter, and I'll post the winner on the 26th of July. I'll do the draw by putting the names in a hat and letting my little girl pull a name out, unless I have tons and tons of entries, in which case I'll use a random number generator!

I AM willing to post internationally, so anyone can enter! If you have any problems commenting please email me at jennifergrace at hotmail dot co dot uk.

Have fun and good luck!


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

fly free

I have been thinking about attempting some altered art projects for a while, and the recent purchase of a glue gun has helped give me the push. The blog 'Alter It Monthly' has the theme of 'birds of a feather' this month (see here), so I've been mulling over what I could create.

We had a baby blue tit in our garden the other day, and its mother was flying down to feed it - me and my little girl were watching. I decided I wanted to make something to reflect how my feelings are probably similiar to the blue tit mother's, so I thought it would have the words 'fly free little one' on the project somewhere.

I started with a wooden birdie purchased from Hobbycraft in the sale:

And I ended up with this wall / door hanger:

You can see I ended up just using the words 'fly free', as I decided I wanted it to apply to myself and others that I know and love as well as my daughter.

I began by painting two coats of white acrylic paint onto the bird, sanded the edges to reveal a bit of the blue underneath, re-painted the eye, and punched two holes with my big bite for the ribbon to go through:

Then I arranged the chain for underneath, by taking a few charms off a bracelet, and adding a couple of old earing bits and extra beads. I used glitter glue in the bottom of one of the earing bits, where it was missing a gem, and then I attached the chain to the bird by hot glue-gunning the head pins to the back.

I finished off with the word plaque at the top, edging a piece of corrugated card with white acrylic paint, and then layering on a piece of paper, an old postage stamp, and my pink stamped words, which had all been edged with a blue ink pad. I added a white metal rose which I'd cut off an earing, then punched holes and tied the pink polkadot ribbon to the top.

Now I've just got to decide where I'm going to hang it! I think it would be good on daughter's door, but as we live in a rented house I'm not sure if landlord would be happy with me sticking a hook or nail it!

For those of you that are curious about the creative facts about myself which I posted yesterday, you'll have to wait a few more days for the answers - I'll post them at the weekend. To keep you happy in the meantime, I will be posting a giveaway tomorrow so check back then for a chance to enter!


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Once upon a time...

...there was a young girl who devoured books. She read them one handed whilst eating dinner, she splashed them with water when reading them in the bath, and she hid under the covers at night with a torch for the last few pages of a story, so her mum wouldn't see a light on and tell her to go to sleep.

Then that girl grew up ... but not very much changed. Books still occasionally have spaghetti bolognese or bath water speckled on them. Except these days she can stay up as late as she likes, reading by a proper lamp. Now she likes writing stories of her own, and tutoring new book-loving children to write their own too. And, of course, she's hoping her daughter will find the same joy in reading, reading, reading:

(picture taken 17.09.2008, little girl is 6 months old at the time)

Reading and writing are a huge part of my life; I studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Uni, and with my friend Rosie I run creative writing workshops for children. So I was delighted to be given this award by Sian:

I certainly wouldn't call myself a liar, but I probably embellish the truth here and there when telling a story, the same way I embellish photos on a scrapbook page to make it look pretty and interesting! To accept this award I need to tell you a few creative facts about myself, and let you decide which you think are the real deal. You can see Sian's post with her intruiging tales here.

I'll follow the same pattern as Sian, by giving you 5 facts which may, or may not, be true. Leave a comment guessing which of them you think are fact instead of fiction!

1. My Teddy Bear once spoke to me. I was about 5 years old, and her name was Funshine Bear (one of the Care Bears). It was really late at night and I couldn't sleep, when suddenly I heard my teddy say 'Hello'. She never said anything else, so I can only assume she was talking to my dolly and had a bit of a shock when I sat up and tried to speak to her. I'll never know for sure, and you don't have to believe it really happened, you just have to believe that I believe it did.

2. I own a 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' first edition hardback book. Luckily it escaped being splattered with dinner or bath water, so is still in relatively good, though slightly thumbed, condition. It is now kept carefully out of reach of sunlight or toddler fingers! One day I might have to sell it, but for now it's mine all mine.

3. I'm a synesthete. I've got a condition called lexical → gustatory synesthesia,which means that certain words bring an involuntary taste to my mouth, even though they may be nothing to do with the food or drink that I taste. For example if I hear or read words ending in 'th' like 'bath' or 'faith' it makes the taste of sherbet appear on my tongue. It's kind of fun most of the time, and I've always had it so it doesn't feel wierd to me!

4. I'm learning to speak Chinese (Mandarin). I spent 5 months travelling around SE Asia a few years ago, and met other travellers that had been to China and told me what an bustling, beautiful place it was. Next time I go travelling, on my way to New Zealand, I want to stop for a few months in China. It might be a few years before I get to go, but that's okay as it turns out Chinese isn't that easy to learn. Bu Hao.

5. I am a cover girl. Okay, not of a glossy magazine, that would be too far fetched! But if you find yourself wandering into the Jane Austen Centre in Bath you can spot me on the cover of a book called 'Jane Austen TV and film locations guide'. And a photo inside the book too. So I grace the same pages as Kate Beckinsdale, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet. Good enough for me.

Hope you had fun reading these, please let me know which you think may be true, it will be interesting to see how good I am a lying. If I'm really good I can start planning devious things like robbing a bank. Or maybe just telling my hubby I'm doing the housework when actually I'm blogging!

(P.S. Rosie - you can't play, I know you know the answers!)


Sunday, 20 June 2010

a bargain to beautify

Look what I bought at Wilkinson's yesterday:

Now, I already thought this was a fantastic bargain, at only 97p, but I have also just discovered that there are two in the packet. Two ready to alter jigsaws for under a quid, how great is that? They're about eight and a quarter inches square, and, needless to say I won't be using the included felt tips on them! I'll use scrapbook papers, acrylic paints and maybe a photo on one, and then, if I'm feeling generous, I'll let my daughter paint the other!

You can even buy these online, but they are out of stock on the website at the moment - page is here. If you live close to Poole and want some they had plenty in stock. I'll show you the finished jigsaws when they're done! x

Saturday, 19 June 2010

An abundance of dads

I'm lucky enough to have three father's - my dad, my father-in-law, and my step-dad. All of them love and support me in many ways, and I love them lots for it! So I have been spending some time this week making father's day cards for them, and for my hubby - to thank him for how well he looks after me and our little girl. Here's the cards, outside and in:

For my dad:

For my father-in-law:

For my step-dad:

For my husband:

I kept them fairly simple because I had so many to make. All the patterned papers are from the 'all about boys' 6.5" x 4.5" stack  by DCWV, I love these papers as they're so fun and versatile.

And of course my little girl has made her daddy a card from herself too:

We should be going out for a nice walk and then having a barbeque tomorrow. Hope you all have a good a father's day too.


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

my Pa

Challenge 82 at Journaling Junkies is to scrap about similarities between you and your dad, or your kids and their Dad, in honour of Father's Day. I created a page about 'my silly, mad, funny Dad':

I have been waiting to use that fish button (bottom right corner) on a layout for ages, and no - my dad doesn't like fishing! It fits because he loves 'Wierd Fish' t-shirts, they are suitably silly for him!

You can see close-ups of the page, and the journaling typed up, here. Also, don't forget that you can join in the challenges too, Stefanie does offer a RAK once she's received a few entries to draw from!

I'm off to make some father's day cards. I have to make 4! (my dad, my step-dad, father-in-law, and my husband!) That will keep me busy!


Monday, 14 June 2010

Ice-creams are yum!

My little girl was not at all keen on ice-cream the first few times we tried her with it. Fair enough, as she was quite young and it is, after all, quite cold. Then, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, she's become an ice-cream addict. I have tried just sharing mine with her, but then I hardly get any - she offers me a lick and then says: 'no, my turn' and gobbles away at it!

So now I've learnt to get her one of her own, on the rare occasions that we actually buy them. Though I must say I've been a lot more keen on buying them since I discovered Purbeck Ice Cream, produced right here where I live, and the best stuff I've ever tasted - especially the chocolate, mmmmm.

When I saw that the Sarah's Cards blog had a challenge to use paint on your layouts (challenge is here, but deadline is today!), I knew I wanted to use some ice cream photos and make a nice mess of a page, just like little one makes a nice mess of her chin when she eats them! So I started by splattering thick white acrylic paint all over the yellow background paper - it looks just like splotches of ice cream (the circles are made with the end of a cardboard tube):

I painted the 'yum' title letters with white acrylic paint too (they were blank chipboard before), and then I coated them with Anita's clear gloss to make them all shiny, like ice-cream right before it starts melting all over your fingers!

I also made a couple of my own embellishments by watercolour painting an ice-cream and a dotted heart. I really like the ice-cream, and I am glad I was prompted to paint it as I never would have found an embellie the right size and shade in my stash.

I'm going to try and combine my arts and crafts more often. Since I found scrapbooking, and especially since I had my daughter, I've not done much painting, and I've missed it. I've had lots of fun on the pages where I've used my painting skills, and on the card I made my sis which I posted yesterday. So I'll keep trying to use painting on my layouts and cards, but I'll also try to use my papercraft skills on some artwork. Watch this space!


Sunday, 13 June 2010

adventures with grampa

My Dad is down for a visit at the moment, he's allowed to visit lots as he always takes us out and about, which is greatly appreciated since I can't drive. On Wednesday we went to Corfe Castle for a wander around and then to visit Rollington Barn, which was exhibiting work of 70 artists as part of Dorset Art Weeks. There was also a display of art by some local school kids that had entered a competition, and I recognised a couple of names of students that have been on creative writing courses I've run with my friend Rosie. It was cool seeing other stuff by them as we only get to meet the kids for such a short time.

On thursday I had a driving lesson - scary - we actually went on roads with traffic -arrghh! And then I had to spend the afternoon catching up on office paperwork, so little one was in nursery.

Friday was fun though, as we went on a proper journey. First we went to Shaftesbury (about 45mins away) to visit a couple more Art Weeks venues. Shaftesbury's main tourist attraction is Gold Hill - a quaint cobbled steep street that's lined with cottages - it's where they filmed the classic Hovis TV advert (see it here). It's pretty, sure, but it's just a hill really! Here's my little girl standing at the top and begging to walk down it (she's very into up and down at the moment - steps, rocks, hills, anything! So of course we went down and up again!):

She's wearing one of my floaty scarves because I was wearing one and she wanted to be 'beau-ful' too!

From Shaftesbury we drove another 30mins or so to Wincanton, where my Dad wanted to visit a Discworld shop. He's mad on Terry Pratchett, and I love some of the characters like the Wee Free Men and Mort, so I was happy to go along. The shop was quite cool, but we are too broke to be able to buy anything other than a couple of postcards (mine was a view of the town Twoshirts, for any of you that know what that's about!)

After Wincanton we drove another 45mins or so to visit another Dorset Art Weeks exhibition, in the studio of an artist called Amanda Popham. She makes jugs, vases and ceramic figures. I've just tried to find a website but she doesn't seem to have one so I can't link it, but she's very cool so try googling her if your interested - her stuffs' all quirky and fun and seems to carry a story. More things we couldn't afford though!

It then took us another hour to get home, by which point my daughter was seriously fed up of the car! I think she enjoyed the day though, as on top of the fabulous steep hill she got to walk up and down, she also managed to stroke several doggies (with permission!), she'd love to have a pet, but I'm gonna see if we have another kiddie first!

To make up for her being a bit bored on friday, we took her to her favourite place on Saturday - Corfe Castle. It was CorFest that day, which meant free entry into the castle grounds, a dog show, children's entertainment, and lots of food and craft stalls. I wanted to buy lots, but managed not to despite the tempting free samples! Little one had lots of fun watching the dogs and the juggler and then clambering about the castle:

I know she is wearing a frilly skirt, people probably think I'm a silly fussy mum coz she's usually wearing something dolly-like, but I'm really not. I just like pretty skirts, for me or her. I don't worry about them getting grass stains and rips, and my daughter seems to find it easier running around in skirts, as all her trousers seem to fall down a lot - I think she inherited her dad's skinny hips!

We spent the afternoon around Rosie's, playing in her garden, splashing in a tub of water, blowing bubbles, and helping her do the weeding. Well, mostly they did all those things, while I read a book on a rug in the sunshine. Bliss!

Today was Wimborne Folk Festival, so we went there this morning, watching the Morris Dancers, browsing the stalls, and eating burgers and ice creams! Then it was getting too hot and busy, so we came home, changed, packed a beach bag, and headed to Studland:

It was goreously hot and sunny and I had lots of fun playing with little one, as she is getting braver now and ventures into the sea for a splash around. I got to have a nice swim too, and we built castles with a moat and hunted for shells. I'm so lucky to live where I do!

Finally, and sorry as I know this is a very long post, but I have to say Happy Birthday to my sister! She's 19 today. It's annoying that she lives too far away for me to go and spend the day with her, though hopefully once I've learnt to drive I will be able to go and visit more often. To let her know I was thinking of her I made this A5 card for her:

She's dreaming of travelling to far-off places so I'm hoping the pic will help keep her motivated - she's struggling to save enough money at the mo.

If you're reading this Katy - I miss you! Hope you're having a fun b'day!


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I want to make...

this journal jar:

you can read about it on the 'make and takes blog here. I want one for me, with a matching journal, but I also think it will make a good little prompt jar to take when I'm running creative writing courses with my friend Rosie, it would also make a good activity for guides or maybe even a good pressie for someone. Thanks to Little Birdie Secrets for sharing the project! x

Monday, 7 June 2010

time for relaxing

I'm so busy lately that I really appreciate the short time that I get to relax. It's normally when it's my husband's day off, so we can share nappy changes and play time, and also have a chance to go out and about as a family.

The latest Journaling Junkies challenge is to scrap about what you do on one of your weekend days, and I chose Sunday because that's been Alex's regular day off recently, and because I love car boot sales. Seriously, I'm obsessed with the bargains that can be found! So I chose to use a car boot sale snap as my main piccie for this page:

I used the banana frog stamps that I won on Shimelle's crop party, and behind the stamped circles I stuck a tag which was off an item of clothing bought at the car boot sale. You can read the layout journaling, and join in the challenge yourself, here. I'm also working on giving new life to an item I bought at a car boot, I'll reveal when it's finished!

We've been enjoying the weather over the end of last week and the weekend, it gave my daughter a chance to play in the paddling pool whhich we bought last year - she wouldn't go near it then but now she loves it!

On Sunday it was the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Pool, an old clay pit with woodland walks which is near us. To celebrate it was only 10p entry per person instead of £5, so we took the oppportunity to go and have a picnic and a stroll around. It suprised me how peaceful it was there even though there were lots of people. We saw lots of bright blue dragonflies, and we stopped for a delicious purbeck ice cream on the way out.
Very happy day!

Tomorrow it's back to busy, busy, busy! x
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