Saturday, 10 December 2011

10 Tree Decorations on the Tenth


For those of you that don't know, Shimelle leads a 'Ten Things on the Tenth' extravaganza at each month. Here's my contribution. As it is December, and I'm feeling very festive, I've decided to show you my favourite 10 decorations on our Christmas tree:

1. A deer that was always on the family tree when I was growing up. I'm not sure of it's history - I'll have to ask my mum, but I love it's vintage look:

2. The same goes for this kitsch angel:

3. This cardboard stocking is one I made as a child (about 7 or 8 years old I think). It has a picture cut from an Argos catalogue showing what present I wanted most that year - a 'Lite-Brite' pegboard toy. I did not get this gift. I'm sure I got some lovely other presents, and I think one reason I like to put this on my tree each year is to remind myself that it does not matter that we won't ever get everything we want for Christmas. I'm sure I was disappointed at the time that I didn't get this toy, but in the grand scheme of things it didn't matter, I had love and a happy home and that's what Christmas should really be about - and it's something I'm trying to teach my daughter this year:

4. This little elf is one I made at 6th Form College (when I was 16). I studied Textiles A-Level, and we had a challenge for the first autumn term, to make a Christmas decoration from material. Everyone else made big items, but I hand stitched this elf with teeny tiny stitches. He's about 7cm tall. I won the challenge because my teacher was so impressed that I could stitch so small (you unfortunately can't see his cute gold boots in this photo!):

5. And along the elf theme, I made this elf lady (I think she might have been a fairy originally, but if so her wings were lost long ago!) when I was at University. We had a Christmas crafting session in our house, 5 of us making little bits and pieces, as we didn't have enough of our own decorations yet to make the place feel like home:

6. Now for a few shop bought decorations. First up is this one with Aslan on. I absolutely love the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis, and when the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie came out I snapped up some Christmas decorations in the Disney Store, and this is my favourite from the set:

7. This one I like because I adore the colours. I also think it's special because I bought it the Christmas before we had my daughter, when I also I bought a lot of other 'grown up' luxurious looking decorations as I was feeling like a proper adult. And then realised the very next year, when my daughter was already crawling around and grabbing at things, that I couldn't put any of them up as they were all delicate glass! Apart from this one which is safe. So it's my one really 'posh' decoration on the tree, for now at least!:

8. This one is simply because penguins make me laugh. And this bauble makes me smile every time I look at it:

9. I also like owls, a fact which my mum is well aware of and she buys me lots of cute owl-themed pressies (thanks mum - I love them!), this is one of her gifts to me:

10. And I'm going to finish with another handmade one. This one was made by my daughter last year at her nursery. I have made wall decorations and cards with her each year, but this was the first tree decoration she'd made and I hope it's the first of many:

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse at my Christmas tree decorations! I love having such a mix of old and new, handmade and shop bought. It's nice to have bits of my history and personality all displayed each year. Do you have a favourite tree decoration?

Hope you're all having a festive weekend. :-)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Journal Your Christmas 1st - 3rd

Hello all,

Sorry there's been a bit of a gap here again. I was ill last week, and the doctor said it hit me worse than it should because I was over-working myself and getting stressed. So I've been trying to take it easy this week. I'm not very good at relaxing, I like to be busy and multi-tasking all the time. This week I have actually sat and watched telly without blogging or crafting at the same time - shocker! Anyway, I think I'm now fully recovered and back on track.

Luckily I had prepared most of my Journal Your Christmas album before I was ill, so I've already been able to complete the first few entries. I haven't done a title or manifesto page yet, I'm hoping to get them done tomorrow or Monday. But I have managed pages for the 1st through to today (the 3rd):

They're quite simple, and not entirely co-ordinated. I'm trying not too worry about it too much - my aim for JYC this year is to get the story and photos down, (and use up a lot of old supplies), as I know I'll treasure it even if the pages aren't 'perfect' for my scrapping style. Then next year I can fuss over it more and get some new, more co-ordinated supplies to use!

I'm feeling in the festive spirit, as I had Christmas tunes on while I was putting these pages together, and I'm off out for a Christmas meal tonight with some friends. I'm looking forward to having a chance to chat, and let my hair down! Hope you are all having fun, festive weekends. x

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Hello again!

Yep, two posts in one day, that doesn't happen on here too often these days, does it? It's getting quite late in the evening too, but I've just won a game of scrabble against my husband and my dad so I'm in a jolly mood!

Do you want to know who won my giveaway for this handmade smash-style book?:

I just put the numbers of comments into, and it came up with number 1! Seriously, how often does that happen? The first comment was left by Sian, so congratulations Sian, this book will soon be on it's way to you! (I already have your address I believe). I hope you enjoy the book and manage to get some use out of it.

I also thought I'd share a couple of photos I took yesterday. It was quite sunny, so as my Dad was here and able to drive me and the kids around (I have not yet learned how to drive!), he took us to Swanage for a walk on the beach:

It was lovely to get some sea air, I think I like the beach even more in the autumn than I do in the summer - it's a lot less busy for one thing!

I should go and get some sleep now before baby wakes for his first night-time feed. How old do babies need to be before they start sleeping through the night? I've forgotten and I'd like to know when I might start getting a full night's rest again! 


slip-slide, a sketch challenge entry

Hello all.

First of all I want to say a big THANK-YOU! to everyone who commented on my last post. It really did cheer me up a lot to know that you enjoyed looking at my layouts. And thanks for the encouragement to keep going, on Friday I was a bit sulky and ready to shut my craft-room door for a while, but after reading all your kind comments I decided it would be better to just plunge straight back in with another project, and keep going as if nothing had happened to dent my confidence. It's working so far, as I finished off the below layout and am halfway through creating a card. So thanks again for perking me up and keeping me crafting, you guys are amazing!

The layout I have just finished off is for a sketch challenge over at the My Mind's Eye blog (the challenge ends today - nothing like a deadline to get me to finish something off!), to use this sketch by Anam Stubbington), and as it's autumn, to include the colour brown:

Supplies: My Mind's Eye: Lost&Found2 Rosy 'Best of Friends' Dotted Paper and 6x6 paper pad, 12 Days of Christmas 'Deck the Halls' Paper, Rosy 'Ordinary' Decorative Brads, 'Everything' Stamps and 'Ordinary' Label Stickers, 12 Days of Christmas Chipboard Accessories and Rhinestones, Lost&Found Union Square Glittered Alpha Sticker, My Little Shoebox Mini Alphabet Stickers 'Cream', brown thread, a brown Faber Castell pen for journaling, gold glitter, white acrylic paint, VersaMagic Jumbo Java Chalk Ink Pad, Mod Podge.

I used a piece of paper from the MME Rosy 6" paper pad to make a paper pleat, by spritzing a 1.5"x6" strip with water, pinching it gently together, and then flattening it out a little and shaping it how I wanted it to end up. I then left it to dry (can be sped up a bit with a heat gun). When dry I dipped the bottom edge into Mod Podge and then into gold glitter, and leaving to dry again (this didn't take too long):

I made a journaling block by gutting a rectangle of the main green dotty paper before sticking anything else onto it, and turning the rectangle over to the 'b' side which has text printed on it. To create a space to journal on I painted a block of white acrylic paint, and to finish the block off I dipped it into Mod Podge and glitter the same way as I had with the paper pleat: 

Underneath the paper pleat, and under the embellishments in the top right corner, are pieces of light brown paper from the Rosy pad which I cut into semi-circles and then used scallop-edge scissors and my Cropodile Big Bite to make them look like doilies:

I love these banner-like alphas, they are a really fun finish to the page!

Now I'm off to cook steak for dinner - my Dad's down for the weekend so he bought some for us. We've had a nice weekend so far, yesterday was nice and sunny. I'll be back later with a couple of photos and to announce the winner of the smash-style book giveaway.

Thanks for reading! x

Friday, 18 November 2011

Feeling a bit blue :-(

I know in the grand scheme of things this isn't much to worry about, but it's got me feeling down today so I thought I'd share. I'd entered some layouts into UK's Scrapbook Magazine 'Scrapbooker of the Year' competition, and I received them back this morning with a polite note saying I wasn't a winner this time. I'm kind of gutted as I put a lot of time and effort into the layouts, as well as typing up all the supplies and instructions, and I thought I stood a chance of a runner up place at least.

Oh well, at least I can share the layouts with you now! And I know that the important thing is that me and my family enjoy the layouts. It's just that as well as enjoying the layouts for myself I like to know that other's like them too - striving to improve my layouts is what I do to feel like I'm 'myself', as well as a mum and a housewife, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I'll stop babbling and show you the pages. I hope you don't mind me having this little rant on here! If you can spare a minute to leave me a comment, whether it's layout love or constructive criticism, I'd really appreciate it :-)

Layout 1: 'Your 1st Trip to London':

See the button and twine clasps? They both hide some 3D elements. If you're a regular reader of my blog you might remember this 3D mini that I made about how much I wanted to make a trip to London. I thought because the mini was 3D my layout about the trip should be too:

I'm glad that my daughter loves looking at the layout too because of these fun elements!

Layout 2: Sweet Dreams:

Complete with lots of handmade embellishments including a rocket-ship made from corrugated cardboard, and a cloud cut from felt and blanket stitched around the edge:

And one of my crochet flowers and a fimo button:

Layout 3: Autumn:

Including some leaves hand-cut from felt and embroidered with veins, layered up with skeleton leaves:

Thanks for taking the time to have a look. If anyone wants any more info on supplies or techniques used on any of the pages just let me know.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. I'll be back at some point over the next couple of days to let you know who won the giveaway! x

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Garlands Galore and Using Chipboard Uniquely

I'm back with a couple more cards following challenges as part of Shimelle's Christmas crafting weekend. First up, the challenge to use a garland on a project:

I had so much fun using up scraps of Christmas paper to make the flags on the garland, that I also added a few to one of my JYC papers so it's pre-embellished:

I also made a card following the inspiration of Leah Farquharson (cool name!). I chose to use the idea of taking a supply and using it in a different-than-expected way. I used some chipboard photo corners, sticking four together at a time into a square shape, and adding a bow on top to make Christmas presents:

I quite like the bright pink-green-brown colour combo on this one, I shall try to make some more cards with these papers.

I've got a few more things I want to make from the inspiration this weekend, including dates for my JYC album, and some gift tags for present wrapping. I'm loving getting some of these things out of the way early, I usually leave it all until December and then have a mad rush and don't get it all done! Fingers crossed I'll get everything done that I have planned this year. x

My JYC album 2011

Last year I signed up to Journal Your Christmas, an online class with Shimelle Laine. I didn't end up joining in with it last year, because I was pregnant and exhausted! But this year I'm already preparing my album, so I ought to be able to keep up with it. If you're already prepping a JYC album then link it up to this challenge, as part of Shimelle's Christmas crafting weekend.

I'm trying to just use up old Christmas supplies this year, as I had so many I thought I shouldn't buy any more until I'd made a dent in them! So for my album I'm using this 8x8 scrapbook album by Trimcraft that I bought a few years ago:

And, inspired by Daphne's LSNED album (here) I'm doing my pages as 8" tall by 4" wide. I just need to stitch up the middle of my page protectors. I've cut an array of patterned papers to this size:

So I'm all ready to slot them in! Next I'm going to make some numbers, and collect some stickers / chips / journal spots to match the various pages, and slot them into the right page protectors, so the pages should be nice and quick to make each day. I'm going to use my Ipod Touch to take photos for it like I did for my LSNED album, as it worked well for me.

I'll be back with a couple of Christmas cards later. I'm glad to be getting the Christmas crafting started! x

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Christmas Cut-Circles Card

Shimelle is having another online cropping weekend, this time with the theme of Christmas crafting. I've been playing with a few bits, but the only one I've managed to complete and photograph so far has been a card following the tutorial by Pam Brown. Even this I had to photograph using a daylight bulb - it's so dark here already!

I didn't have any page elements as large as the poinsettias that Pam used, but I cut the circles out of some 8x8 paper, layered them up, and added a gem to the centre.

Are you joining in with any of Shimelle's challenges this weekend? x

Thursday, 10 November 2011

10 things ... in my living room

I keep meaning to join in with Shimelle's '10 things on the 10th', and not remembering until the actual day, when I see her's and other's posts pop up. Last month I took these photos of 10 things in my living room, and then I ran out of time to post them. So here they are now. I hope you like having a little glimpse into my house. And I'll try to think ahead about what I can post next month on the 10th, instead of leaving it until the last minute!

In my living room there are:

1. Some very full bookshelves:

They've been spotted on here before but I do love them! My favourite things on the shelves are...

2. Harry Potter books and bookends:

I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter books, and I like having them pride of place, with their own special bookends.

3. A fish that wears glasses:

I actually bought this fish for my grandpa, at least 12 years ago. I recently mentioned to him that I was looking for one of my own, to keep my glasses on (I didn't wear glasses when I bought it for him), and he gave it back to me as he rarely used it. I think it's such a fun place to keep my glasses!

4. A lot of toys:

Mostly purchased at car boot sales or on ebay! The Winnie-The-Pooh drawers were a hand-me-down from my nieces, and it's a great way to store a lot of the little bits. At times it drives me crazy having the living room taken over by toys, but at least they get played with a lot.

5. My daughter's table:

This was such a good buy, from Ikea. She uses it for games, colouring, baking, and eating at, if we're not sitting at the dining table. It has definitely been worth the small amount of money that it cost!

6. A playmat, and 7. A baby hammock:

He's getting a bit big for the baby hammock now, but he did like sleeping in it. Now he likes the playmat more, and he's rolled over on it a couple of times. He does get a bit frustrated that the toys won't reach his mouth though!

Now for a corner of curiosities:

In the back are some fake flowers that my sister bought to decorate mine and my husband's bedroom on our wedding day. Other significant items are:

8. A champagne bottle:

The champagne was drunk on the evening we got engaged. Hubby proposed to me at a picnic we were at with our friends, and then after I'd said yes we had champagne and strawberries. Lovely! 
(The windmill is one I made a while back and blogged about here.)

9. A masquerade mask:

Purchased in Venice when I went there for 4 days with my best friend, about 6 years ago. One of the greatest trips of my life! We had such an amazing time, including joining in with the festival by dressing up in regency costumes, and wearing the masks we'd bought there. We also wore them on a gondola tour. So this mask brings back good memories!

10. A cross-stitched pillow:

Made by my sister-in-law for our wedding present in 2008. I thought it was lovely when she gave it to us, but it wasn't until I attempted cross-stitch earlier this year that I realised how much work had gone into it. So now I love it even more as I know she spent a lot of time making something special for us.

So there we go, a little look at things scattered around my living room! Have you got any similar objects in yours?

Before you go, don't forget there's less than a week left to enter my giveaway, see it here if you haven't entered yet. 

And I don't think I've mentioned yet that I had another DT project posted on the SJ Crafts blog, a video tutorial for some Christmas decorations. Find it here if you're interested!

Bye for now, xxx

Saturday, 5 November 2011

200th post! Giveaway & LSNED catch up

Hello all,

Yay, my 200th blog post! To celebrate this momentous occasion, I've made a little something for one of you to win, if you'd like. Details of the giveaway are after a LSNED catch up, so read on...

I finally managed to finish my LSNED book this week. I've been starting to gather bits for preparing my 'Journal your Christmas' book, and thought I ought to get September's project wrapped up before I started the next one. Here's the final pages:

I also wrote an introduction page, and a page about the top ten things I learnt, as well as a little 'blurb' on the back cover. If you're interested in seeing those, or any of the other pages of my LSNED album that you missed, you can see it all in an online photo album here, or you can watch this quick (1 minute and a half) video flick through of the pages:

Now, for the giveaway! I was so pleased that a lot of you liked the way I'd made my LSNED album, from an old ladybird book, that I've made another book just like it, especially for one of you lovely readers to win:

I know most of you could make one of these for yourself if you wanted to, but I also know you might want to, but not have the time! So now you have the chance to win one, and all you have to do to win it is leave me a comment saying what you might use it for. So that you can have a proper think about it, I've made a video (2 mins long), showing you the pages and bits and pieces you get inside:

So what do you think you'd use it for? A smash book? A mini-book along a particular theme? A journal or diary? The winner can ask me to decorate the front and back covers like I did with my LSNED book if they wish, or it can be left as it is, or the winner could decorate it themselves!

To enter win this 'Cinderella' smash-style book, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me what you'd use it for. If you're not a regular reader of the blog, please make sure you leave an email address within your comment so I can contact you if you win. Or you can email me your comment at 'jennifer grace at hotmail dot co dot uk' if you don't want your email address where people can see it.

For an extra entry into the giveaway, you can tell other people about the giveaway on your blog, or on twitter / facebook / pinterest! Just don't forget to let me know you've done it. Here's a sentence you could use for twitter: @_jennifergrace_ is giving away a gorgeous handmade mini-book, check it out here:

The giveaway will close at 11.59pm GMT Wednesday 16th of November. I'll try and post the winner the next day!

Thanks for reading, now and always, x
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