Blethers and blahs

Random ramblings from a chaotic life

DD or JYC?

Two years ago I did a December Daily along with Ali Edwards and good proportion of the crafting world.  I absolutely loved every minute of it but I found that sometimes getting my photos printed was a hassle I didn’t need at a very busy time of the year.  With this in mind last year I decided to do a digi version.  Well, it took twice as long to sort the pages beforehand and I couldn’t make them work in the brief time I had each day so i gave up about half way through, which was very disappointing.  This year December was on me before I knew it so I didn’t even get started but I am regretting it when I see so many gorgeous pages from people doing either Ali’s December Daily or Shimmelle‘s Journal Your Christmas.  Maybe when the holidays finally come I will sit down and do a retrospective something, even if it’s only putting the basics of a book together for next year.  After all how else am I going to use up all the gorgeous Christmas stash I can’t seem to resist, yet seldom use?

For now it’s on with some semblance of Christmas card making spurred on by the helpful suggestions and comments from others.  Maybe there will even be one or two to share soon, which should brighten up everyone else’s day, even if it’s only because they are less then fantastic. 🙂


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This and that

I am so far managing to remember to take a photo a day for my project 365.  I think this will highlight what a pretty boring life I lead but I am hoping that it will encourage me to get out and about  a bit more with my camera, work permitting.

I have to say here that I absolutely love Alexa‘s fortnightly round up and I may try something similar myself next year.

My December Daily is progressing well and I have made myself a list of things I want to include so I feel that the end is finally in sight.  Apart from that life is pretty hectic between a rescheduled Lego Challenge, a new timetable with totally different groups, teaching a very challenging, class 2 mornings a week and all the other little bits life is throwing at me at the start of a new year I am struggling to find a balance at the moment.  I know it will come but there is a fair amount of work to be put in beforehand.  The funny thing is life is good at the moment, challenging but good and for that I am grateful.

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I had a plan

I really did but like some of the best plans, it didn’t quite work the way I had hoped.  I am used to plans as my hole working life is planned in advance.  We complete long term plans and weekly plans, individual plans and group plans, even our holidays are planned in advance for us.  My plan was to work on my December Daily digitally but to scrap some of my many Christmas photos with paper and embellies as I was yearning for the tactileness that I could see on other people’s pages.  I used the box from last years December Daily to store all my Christmas themed papers and embellies  so they were to hand, I gathered all my unscrapped Christmas photos from my binders and my category drawers and all I needed to find was some time.

Now I am a great little bits of life and little stories scrapbooker but I am a rubbish event scrapbooker.  When I first started going to crops and the people talked about having to finish one album before starting another I used to smile as I had no idea about scrapbooking like that.  I had always scrapped those photos that took my fancy and in very random order and although i take loads of photos at events such as birthdays and Christmas I seldom get round to doing anything with them other than an occasional multi photo digi page, so there were a fair few photos.

I have managed to make some small dent in my Christmas photos but not near as many I would have liked to have done.  Now I am fed up with moving the box of stuff from one spot to another to get room for anything else so I have put it away for now.  I am looking forward to scrapping something other than Christmas photos.  I am almost fed up with my December Daily now but I am determined to finish it and get it printed and bound and put away safe.

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I must be mad!

I am a great fan of Ali Edwards.  I like her style, though it is sometimes a bit too unadorned for me, but I also like her relaxed approach to scrapbooking, story telling and memory preservation.  When she recently blogged about Becky Higgins Project 365 kit she caught my interest.  I really liked the look of the kit, especially the turquoise one and so I looked at the costs.  The kit itself wasn’t too expensive and was really great value for money.  Sadly though the shipping costs to the UK were extortionate and way over what the kit itself cost and what the actual shipping costs would be and then there would be tax on top of that.  I did contact the customer services section of Becky Higgins about this which was made worse by the fact that was shipping it free in America, but I haven’t had a reply.  Others who complained and posted on UKS were basically told that that was how it is and there was nothing that could be done about it, which annoys me and makes me sad, as there is a huge potential market here, if the costs were reasonable.

In the end I resolved to just forget all about it as I knew I wouldn’t complete the project if I had to put the things together myself.  It was the ease of using the kit that made me want to try it.  Then I found Project 365 stuff coming at me from all sides.  BPS have a forum community especially for those taking part, several of my regular blog writers are doing it and it just seemed to be everywhere, none of which helped me until I saw this post.  Now despite using Arrowfile pockets to store my printed photos I would never have looked there for divided page protectors, so that will be stored away for future reference.  However the link that really caught my eye was for these templates which are demonstrated so well here.  I also liked the link to Blurb, which I have heard folk talk abut but not actually used myself, though I think that will be where my latest project ends up and maybe even my December Daily once it is completed.

Never having been someone who thinks before they leap I hastily bought the year’s collection of templates and a new project sprung to life.  It fits in well with Journey, my word for the year and it will also help with my photography skills which I have become lazy about over recent months.  So here is my first week of 2011.

The templates come complete and all you need to do it insert photos and journalling.  The pack also comes with highlight pages for those times when you want to include several extra photos, which should help me get more events scrapped, as I am rubbish at these normally, and so for me, this is the ideal pack.  I am under no illusion that remembering to take a photo every day and sometimes even thinking of what to take a photo of, will be difficult, but it is something I feel I want to do and these templates make it so easy.

I am still plugging away at my December Daily and have another 4 pages complete.  This year I also signed up for Shimmelle‘s Journal Your Christmas prompts, which I have to say were extremely good value for the sheer volume of prompts I received.  Unfortunately I can’t tell you how good the prompts were or were not as I haven’t actually opened any of them!  That is a shocking confession to make but my intentions were good.  I have no doubts though that as I continue with my December Daily I will be turning to them for inspiration.  I am determined to finish this project, mainly because the pages are all made just ready for photos. This year I may not make a DD book as it will be incorporated in my 365 project, which I will finish, and hopefully in time.  For now I am off to tidy and iron clothes and all those good things ready for returning to school tomorrow, not quite fighting fit, but in the best semblance of it that I can manage.  Wish me luck!

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Slow progress

I am making slow progress with a few things just now.  I am on the mend after the horrible flu type virus but it is painfully slow, and boy the cough and my throat are still very painful.  I am making slow progress through the pages for my December Daily, I am about to start on 9th December, and I am also making slow progress with my new toy, a LK 150 knitting machine.

I have wanted a knitting machine for many years now and following a conversation with my children on Boxing Day I finally bit the bullet and bought one.  Unfortunatley due to the holidays a lot of the extra bits I need such as the DVD, a yarn winder and some cones of yarn have only just arrived so I have only really had a little play and have not actually made anything as yet.  I am so amazed at how fast a piece of knitted fabric is produced though, I can see the demand for knitted garments from my family being even greater than before, but at least I might have half a chance at keeping up now.

The only times I have been out of the house this past week have been with my grandaughters.  On Wednesday Iwent with my daughter and Katy to see Hairspray in Edinburgh.  It was Katy’s treat to make up for her birthday party having to be cancelled because of the snow.  I have to say it was an absolutely amazing show, one of the best I have seen and so much fun.  Today it was my oldest gradaughter Beth’s turn.  We were having a girly shopping day so she could spend her Christmas money.  It was great fun and she did really well but I am so tired tonight, way more than I would have thought possible.  The plan is for a lazy weekend so that I am fighting fit for Monday, well as close as I am likely to be anyway.  Hopefully I will be a bit more proficient with my knitting machine, a bit more up to date with my DD and I am hoping to get a chance to scrap with paper too, though that might be pushing my luck a bit.  We’ll see.

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I found it!

My missing mojo that is.  Well, for a wee while at least.  This being January it is time to think of my word for the year.  This is my third or 4th year of choosing a word for the year ahead and I have en joyed the process of thinking about my word and what impact I would like it to have over the year ahead.  This year Ali is also doing a year long class related to OLW and I readily signed up, partly because I really like her relaxed, guilt free style and partly because I knew I needed a push in the right direction.  I am loving the first month’s prompt which is all about what your word means and how it might impact on your life over the year ahead.

For this year my word is Journey.  It sort of found me.  I had a list of possible words some I thought might suit, others I borrowed from the lists Ali compiles each year and I gradually went through the list crossing off those that I felt didn’t fit.  Funnily enough journey wasn’t on the list but there were a few I was leaning towards but they all seemed to fit into journey and how I envisaged it.  Then I began to notice the word journey in various places around me and the more I thought of the year ahead and the things that I know will be happening, journey fitted more and more.

My handwriting is a bit scrappy and I may well redo the cards with print at some point but for now, this is enough.  The caravan pic with the quote I loved and found on this fab site, which someone on BPC kindly linked to.  Another relevant picture I found on the same site is this – which I am going to get printed and framed for my craft wall.

I have also managed to get a page of my December Daily done today as well, despite having a horrible viral thing which has made me sore and achy and left me feeling very miserable.  The misery was compounded by the fact that I did school work most of the day and will have to do more tomorrow as well, but at least I will be organised for the return on Monday.  I actually quite like working almost up till christmas because this week seems like an extra and I should even get a bit more time for me and my scrapbooking.  I am planning on enjoying the rest of the holiday as best I can once the boring stuff is completed.  My December Daily may well be finished before January is at this rate 🙂  Take care x x x

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I knew it wouldn’t last

The daily posting that is, but I do have a very good excuse.  Yesterday was my youngest granddaughter’s birthday party.  She will be 6 on Tuesday and this was to be her first proper party, in a hall with a special children’s DJ and all of her cousins, classmates and friends.  Until it snowed, that is.  On Thursday we got the news that there was no safe access to the venue, so it might have to be cancelled, on Friday the cancellation was confirmed.  To say she was disappointed was an understatement.  Still we pulled out all the stops and made it as fun a day as possible.  It was the have a Glee theme but many of the decorations were trapped in snowbound post offices so I spent Thursday and Friday printing as many Glee pics as I could and making badges and cake toppers, not to mention cakes, to try and make it special for her.

Luckily quite a few of her classmates managed to make it, as did al of her cousins and most other family members.  By the end of it I was completely exhausted but I did manage to get my December Daily pages made before I passed out late last night with exhaustion.  I am not totally happy with the Dec 4th one so that will probably get a revamp at some point when I have a bit of time to think, but for now it is done.

The other thing that has been keeping me busy is the Scrappy Little Christmas Cybercrop over on UKS this weekend.  It’s not that I have had time to actually create anything, though I am hoping to change that today, but I have been busy leaving feedback for people who have taken the class I was invited to produce.  I have been stunned by some of the results – they have made me laugh and cry and I would like to say a great big THANK YOU to everyone who has done the class.  I have to say that when i was first asked I was very close to saying no for various reasons.  I was delighted to be asked but I was wary of the way it would be received, with a careful eye on the UK Smack Blog where I have had my share of clouts over time, and also on UKS itself, which is a forum I enjoy being part of.  Luckily the reception so far has been positive and from the pages made so far, I am really pleased that I did do it.  It was mainly thanks to Angela, who I was meeting the day I got the invite and who helped me to work out what I wanted to do and kindly provided the papers I used.  Part of my worry was the step by step instructions, something I had never done before but having taken many online classes I knew that what seemed obvious to one person was not necessarily so for another.  Thankfully the process seems to be hitch free and I can now share the pages.

We were asked to produce a class with a technique and also a card, as it is that time of year.  I had less than a week to get it all done and sent away, which felt very pressured.  For me the technique was obvious – journalling – as it is something that is second only to the photos for me and sometimes it is first.  Putting it all together was a bit more difficult as it is out of some people’s comfort zone but still needed to appeal to a very wide audience.  In the end I went with a letter to Santa, which had a bit of poetic licence applied to make it more appealing, and a list.  The letter page is something that I will be making another, if not several, more versions of based on the inspiration of those who have done the class already, so thanks again to those who have shared their pages.  For now, enough of me, I am off to spend my last day before the stress of school tomorrow and Lego on Wednesday hits me.  Take care x x x


2nd December

Ok, 2 posts in 2 days – this must be something of a record for me.  I doubt I will be able to maintain this momentum but I will be posting more regularly.  Thanks to all the lovely people who have taken the time to leave me a comment, either on here or over on UKS.  I am really grateful for your feedback and positivity.

Tonight I am stiff and sore but the effort was well worth it.  Despite the chaos that the weather has caused so far, and is continuing to cause, I may well be able to drive my own car tomorrow, yippee!  Katy has an appointment for blood tests tomorrow morning and the original plan was that I would get some time out of my planning time at school to go with her.  Her mum is terrified of needles and although she would take Katy and try hard not to let her fears show it just will be easier all round if I take her into the doctor with mum there as back up.  At the moment the test may be cancelled due to staff shortages but we won’t know till tomorrow morning so I needed to be prepared.  Katy is having a hard time with all this snow as her party venue is inaccessible and she will have to have it at home now, which is not the same as having a big hall and special DJ and games etc.  I’m not sure how well attended it will be as conditions here are still really bad with no buses since Monday and very few roads in this area cleared.

I was determned today to get my car cleared but once I started I wanted to cry as there was just too much snow.  I was thigh deep at points on the path behind my car and that was just what had fallen, nothing extra had been added to it.  There was quite a crowd out trying to clear paths for walking and cars and parking spaces but the kind neighbour who built the wall in front of my car yesterday was adding to it today, while I was trying to clear the side!  I was able to remain polite when I asked him not to add to that particular pile as my car had to be free so I could get out.  Luckily the foster son of one of our other neighbours then offered to help and eventually everyone was mucking in trying to get cars out so folk could get to work and anywhere else they needed to be.  I told them all how grateful I was for their help but when they saw me taking photos of my newly cleared car they thought I was mad, lol.  I didn’t try to explain just smiled sweetly and said thank you again.  Hopefull the snow will stop for a short time but even if it doesn’t it won’t be such a gargantuan effort to clear my car each day from now on.  I kept today’s page much simpler than yesterday’s as I wanted the sentiment to be the main point of the page.  Thanks for taking the time to come and visit and I hope that your neighbours are as helpful and friendly as mine have been today.  Take care x x x

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December Daily 2010

My poor neglected blog – apologies again and I promise to try harder from now on.  I actually have no excuse as today was the third day our schools have been closed due to the snow, which is about 4 foot deep and still falling!  We were told today that we will be closed for the rest of the week, which has panicked me slightly as the Lego Challenge is next week and we still have to put a presentation together and make a model wheelchair!  The snow is the last thing I need.  Fingers crossed it stops soon and we can make it next week.  My youngest grandaughter’s birthday party is on Saturday, she will be 6 next week and this will be her first party so yet another reason to hope for an improvement in the weather.

Up until today I have managed to stay home but the cupboards were emptying fast so it was off to the shops via taxi.  I have spent hours clearing snow off my car and digging it out but there is no way I can get out of my street.  In fact I came home today to find a neighbour had kindly cleared the parking area but in doing so had dumped a 2 foot square mound of snow across the front of all the parked cars, including mine.  What’s worse he actually asked if I was pleased with his work and I have to say he was very lucky I didn’t tell him what I thought 🙂  The day had been a success apart from trying to get a taxi this morning and then waiting 2 hours for a taxi home only to be told it had been cancelled by the company due to the weather, but they hadn’t bothered to tell us.  I have to take my hat off to the taxi drivers we did get though, and I told them repeatedly how grateful we were.  By we I mean myself, my daughter, her children and my youngest son, whose shopping I was getting while I was out.

Enough of the moans, today is the first day of advent and aslo day 1 of this years December Daily.  I loved making last years but due to some problems getting photos processed in order to not have a backlog of pages I have decided to do it digitally this year.  Here is the first page which I really enjoyed making.

I initially thought about having a thread through all the pages but I ended up with a more diverse range of pages than last year and have loved making them so far.  At the moment I am thinking about getting them printed 8×8 and then binding them with simple covers but this may well change as time progresses.  I will be making my book up till the end of December because if I only go to Christmas it will include Katy’s birthday but not her younger brother’s whose birthday is on December 29th.  I still have about 4 pages to make from scratch but I am sure I can manage that before the schools go back.  Here’s to more regular updates.  Take care x x x


The best-laid schemes ….

 ……. o’ mice an ‘men gang aft agley – wrote Robert Burns and never a truer word was written.  Right after posting that I was going to be a regular blogger it all went to pot.  I have been off work for almost 2 weeks now with flu and bad chest infection and I am only now starting to feel human again, though still very tired.  Gordon has had a milder form of it this week but thankfully he is starting to feel better now too.  For now, it’s onwards and forwards – at least in terms of creativity, if not in energy levels. 

With some gentle encouragement from a super group of scrappers on UKS I have decided to have a go at a December Daily book as inspired byAli Edwards.  I made the pages last month, before the lurgy hit too badly, but left them plain and unadorned because I wasn’t sure how I would go and what I would like to do.  So far, so good and I am loving it.  I know it will be something that I and my family look back on and it also takes the pressure off to scrap very similar photos every year – from now on many of them will be included in this type of album and will be much more accesible.    I have managed to get my first 3 days pages completed and photographed, something else I have been very lax about recently. 

Day 1 is about Advent and advent calendars and explains why my children only ever had traditional paper ones, rather than my grandchildren’s choice of chocolate ones.  Day 2 is about the mountain of Christmas cards I have to write, mainly for school, and my inability to make cards that I am happy with.  Day 3 is about lists and is a letter to myself about making the lists I am going to need to be able to get to Christmas with any aspects of my sanity still in place.  I have no clear plan of what the rest of the days will be about, except for the obvious ones such as birthdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day etc.  I am simply planning on taking it as it comes and enjoying myself in the process.  Hopefully this will get me back into the swing of blogging more often as it is something I have missed, but most importantly, it helps me remember things now that old age is taking its toll on my memory 🙂

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