5 Dec 2011

JYC 2011 5th Dec

No picture today which is symbolic as I have no advent calendar. That's right, no calendar. None, zilch, zippo, none whatsoever. A tragedy in chocolate form.

The problem actually is the chocolate. I looked in Tesco and Sainsbury and could only find ones for children. I'm far too old to be counting down to Christmas with Thomas the Tank Engine or Peppa Pig. And those advent calendars tend to run high on licence cost and low on chocolate quality. I like Cadbury's. Well like is an understatement. I will accept Mars chocolate, Malteasers, Thorntons, any proper chocolate but not cheap nasty chocolate for 24 days on the trot.

The Cadbury factory shop had run out of Calendars when I went on 30th, which was probably a little too late to start shopping. And now I am not having one on principle. Though I feel like the only person I am hurting is myself. And I am sure if I see a suitable one I will jump on it and open the first 5 doors with gusto.

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2011 4th Dec

I am trying to make this year's stories about the present day as last years stories ended up being about past Christmas's. Thankfully today we finally rounded out a lot of our plans and we're all set for a pretty perfect Christmas. I want a slightly different type of Christmas day this year, one that focuses more on relaxation than frenetic activity. I am happy to be spending the day with family, but also happy that its not the whole family so it wont be too overwhelming. I'm looking forward to giving my nephew his present, but this year seeing him be able to open it himself, rather than showing him how to do it. And a small part of me is looking to enjoy this last Christmas where our family is just OH and I.

And in the spirit of perfection, this is the new lovely craft desk that OH & FIL made for me. I still need to find places for everything and the pursuit of a perfect craft room layout is still nowhere within my reach.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

JYC 2011 3rd Dec

Here are this years Christmas cards. I quite enjoy writing them, even if I only get a few words down for each person. I went through the whole rigmarole of writing them and addressing them last year but I never got around to posting them, so this year I am determined to get them done and out early. The actual cards I made last  year but only got round to designing envelopes for them in October. I have some small black ones from 2009 to send to work, which also need envelopes doing but work cards don't take as long to sort and deliver as the ones for friends and family. 

2 Dec 2011

JYC 2011 2nd Dec

Weather for the South West  -Slightly colder than before but generally cloudy, no rain. Temp at time of writing - 7 dgC

Which doesn't sound too bad, except we have the window wide open in the room next door trying to get rid of the smell of paint and white spirit. My lovely Winnie the Pooh mural is no more than a slightly darker shadow, but the wooden area is now a lovely clean white all the way over. 

Back to the weather again today and we had another pregnancy fail. I parked my car too far to the left and so struggled to get between it and neighbours car to scrape the ice off the window. For the last few days it was just condensation but this morning, it was definately icy. So sent OH out with instructions to buy de-icer as well as paint. 
However I did enjoy once again using the heated seats in the car, which work much quicker than having the fan on. 

Picture above is this years mitten and hat combination. Last year I went for a tasteful cream woollen hat. Which OH tumble dried and shrank. Also I had understated black mitten gloves for driving. Which unravelled at the thumb. This year I have gone for childish and fun. Much better. 

Love Elliefantasy (& Bumpy)

1 Dec 2011

JYC 2011 Dec 1st - Manifesto

Its the 1st of December again! But I find myself in remarkably different circumstances than I was expecting. Not that I wasn't expecting to be "expecting" but I wasn't expecting to be so far along. Or so big.

Some other changes from this year to last year include a new car for baby and having to change my craft room 2 or 3 years earlier than expected. Whilst most will be doing Xmas shopping or putting up their decs, my poor OH will be painting and building me a new craft room so that I can move into the smaller room and let Bumpy have my nice big one. (I will be putting up the tree and whatever other decs I can manage as I am banned from going upstairs on Saturday unless bringing cups of tea. Which is fair. Overall I am happy with the changes but I feel like I have really underestimated just how exhausting and imposing pregnancy can be on all aspects of life. All the energy that I normally have to put into being excited about Xmas is  just not there and if I don't get a shift on, neither will some presents.

For those who are interested, after last years success for blogging but lacking of album, I took a totally new approach some time in June this year. My 2010 album was sat on the desk with no end in sight because it was far far too small. At that time I seemed to take notice of American Crafts albums and WRMK divided page protectors, mainly through some of my fav bloggers, Shimelle of course, and Laura over at Lazy Dynamics certainly spring to mind as being very taken with these albums. So I have come up with a nice, small but on-going idea which I shall show later in the month. But it means that all I have to do for moment is worry about blogging. Which I can do from my PC or my phone so it doesn't matter if I'm away from home. Or if I miss a few days.

Lastly a look at the Welcome Message mail today. I have the following to add.
I will believe in .... Santa (cos I always do!)
I will be grateful for ...... some time to rest
I will always remember.....Being pregnant for the first time and the differences it brings.

Love Elliefantasy (& Bumpy)

19 Oct 2011

Mid Octoberly Post of an Updating nature

So, epic, epic fail with LSN again. I can't seem to remember to do it, but I have no problems with doing JYC? Maybe this is something that I need to learn?? I have a pile of purple, paper, album and embellishments still sat on my desk in a very accusatory nature which I need to find a space for out of my sight.
I have actually not been doing too badly with the whole crafty stuff, especially as Bumpy is limiting my craft time by making me very very sleepy after work days and making my posterior sore after sitting for too long at the weekends. I have a pillow and a cushion but after a while its just not enough. So what have I been doing? (warning, epic post with pics to follow)

Well, whilst the world is starting to gear up for Christmas, I have been gearing up for weddings. Well one wedding in particular where I will be making the stationery. I haven't done this since my own wedding, but its proving a fairly un-daunting task so far. Mainly because we are scraplifting a design from somewhere else, using the very popular english rose/Cath Kidson theme. I am not a fan of this style myself, and making a design using a style that you don't like is a bit of a challenge, but hey, its not my wedding and therefore not my problem. So we now have a design, some rather nifty blanks from Craft Creations and all I need to do is find vast quantities of cream and pale blue card.

So what am I doing about the big "C" word that we mentioned earlier. Surely as a crafter, I should be sat slaving over a pile of barely started cards. Well I've actually finished some that I made a couple of years ago, that needed special envelopes. I've designed them, printed and folded them and they are ready if I need them. I've also done the same for another set of teeny cards I made. But my actual, sort of cheaty plan for the year is to make a digital image from our 20 week scan photo (that we get next week) and get photobox to print my cards for me. Only OH isn't that impressed with the idea of Bump with a santa hat on. I haven't pressed the issue, as I need to see if I can do it first. If it doesn't work then I've got a load in backup so my time is relatively free.

The project I should really be starting soon though is the baby book. I've cut out a lot of 6x6 squares of apricot, pale yellow/green/blue card and put the apricot through the bind it all. I now love my bind-it-all (the key for this was reading the instructions properly and then then having a play. I've also got a 3/4 finished book done for nephews 1st xmas, all punched, just waiting for more pics)
The original plan was to have 1 book but I don't think that I'll get wires big enough. So I'm going to do 4 books, each a different colour card, 1 for the pregnancy, 1 for the labour story, 1 for general info (family tree, what happened on d.o.b, general worldy info) and the last for the 1st year story. I haven't yet printed any photos of the pregnancy, and tbh haven't taken many at all, even bumpy photos. There didn't seem to be much point when there was no bump but as I've now "popped" I might start to take a few. OH and I have planned a "baby-moon" so my aim is to get the photos taken and printed to work on the first part of the book then, colour to be decided when we know the sex of the baby.

So that's me for a bit. I'll try to take a few pics and do a post later in the week for my JYC pre and post planning, the result of a rather good idea.

Love Elliefantasy xx

6 Sep 2011

LSNED 2011 - 2nd - 6th September

2nd September
Morning sickness doesn't go, just because you want it too. 

3rd September
Sometimes you find just what you are looking for when you least expect to find it
Don't put things off until later, you might find what you worry about isn't the case.

The first of these lessons refers to the fact that we found our ideal pushchair in our local babyshop with £100 deducted from the price. We had gone in mainly to look at a specific bedding set but when they didn't have it, we decided to have a look around at the pushchairs. Having decided we couldn't see what we wanted, we were on our way out when we saw "our" pushchair, right by the door. It was the last in the shop and they weren't going to stock any more. Total bargain. 

4th September
I am not used to being hormonal
I need to pace myself better.

These come from what felt like a wasted Sunday. Having lots of plans to tidy and sort, I ended up falling asleep on the sofa all afternoon. And then feeling overly grumpy that I hadn't had as productive a day as Saturday. 

5th September
Going to bed at 9pm if I am tired is a perk not a worry.

6th September
I can see things in the light that they were meant, and I must learn to keep this up. 

1 Sep 2011

LSNED 2011 - 1st September

Welcome to this years Learn Something New Every Day attempt. Last year I crashed and burned about the middle of the month. This year, I hope to be more successful. I have a pile of stash, a proper album and my trusty blog to catch the daily thoughts. 

LSNED this year is exciting for me as I'm 12 weeks pregnant. Originally I thought of doing an in-depth book about what I need to learn about being a mother. But the first thing I have actually had to learn is that pregnancy has made me really tired and has lessened my attention span quite drastically. So that idea has gone out of the window. Instead I will just reflect on the day and note down my lessons in a nice list fashion, possibly adding more detail if required, or the list is short enough.

Then, when I feel up to it, I will put the posts into my album. I'm using up an 8x8 album that my mum got me a year or so ago in the sale at her local craft shop. Its a purple, Papermania postbound album. Before I get to the middle of the month, I will need to hunt out 10 more page protectors, but I have a bit of time. I've dug out loads of purple and silver cardstock, ribbons and embellishments in a serious stash busting excercise. Hopefully it will look lovely and stylish. Or like a big purple fiasco. Either way is good!

So here is today's list of things I have learnt.

  1. My first real pregnancy craving is dijon mustard. For breakfast I had a cheese and mustard sandwich. Nom-tastic!
  2. My early morning queasy-ness hasn't quite gone.
  3. Even though I'm really happy now I'm pregnant, it doesn't stop me from waking up in a grump for no apparant reason.
  4. It is very difficult to reply to random emotionally effusive e-mails and texts about the baby from people who I am not very close to. Not yet worked out what to say.
Hoping that your September 1st has been lovely and you have learnt something really cool. 
Love Elliefantasy xxx

19 Jul 2011

Creating titles

A few posts ago I had a bit of a rant about how much trouble I had in creating titles for pages. A little while after that I managed to get a set of Papermania alphabet stamps which were identical to some letter stickers that I had and particularly liked. I have also made a visit to Boots and had ordered a load of prints of my nephew as he is my main scrapping focus at the moment, the place where I seem to find the most inspiration. One of the sets I liked was 3 pictures, taken at very different ages, but all in variations of Arsenal outfits. Immediately a title "Growing up as a Gunner" sprung to mind and I've taken the opportunity to create a really bold title. The page isn't finished yet but I've done the work on the title.

I started by stamping in black and then inking the edges with a gold ink stamp. But it just didn't look striking enough. So I then decided to ink the pages, but I knew I wanted the letters in white, as they are on the strip. So I Glossy-accented the lettering and left it overnight to dry. The lettering really lends itself well to Glossy Accents as the nib is just as big as the gap. How fortunate is that!

So here you can see all of the parts of the title. (I apologise now for the photo's but I have a short focus lens and I was going for arty farty shots with short depth of field!) The next evening I got out my Aged Mahogany Distress ink pad and blenders. I inked over the whole title, wiping off the lettering immediately with a babywipe. And the lettering came out crisp and white. I was really impressed with how it looked and just how easy it was to do.

Once dry, I re-inked the edges with the gold and it gave a really good, aged look but still with the basic Arsenal colours. For the Gunners part, I've stamped my large, plain Dimension fourth letters in gold and cut them out. I have the photos matted onto white with gold edging and then onto navy blue card, but that is as far as its got. I can't decide whether to mount the titles onto the navy blue as well before they all end up on a nice bold dark red piece of 12x12.  But as far as lettering goes, I'm quite happy with this DIY look.

For those who don't use them, I can't recommend baby wipes enough. You can get the really cheap ones that you wouldn't necessarily use on a baby, but they clean stamps up immediately, as well as glue and ink on my messy sheet. They pick up glitter better than anything else I've found, and even me when I get a bit sticky! 

Love Elliefantasy xx

28 Apr 2011

My Day in Photos - A quick Explanation


For those who are confused about yesterdays post, it was Monday's prompt from Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers. I got to it a bit late, but the gist was to take 4-10 pictures of your day, either Monday or Tuesday.

Now Monday was actually spent having a lovely family bbq at my mum's, a totally spontaneous thing and really nice to do. But we didn't get back until late, and I didn't get round to checking my e-mails until after work Tuesday. So cue me running about to take a few photos during the evening to try and simulate a bit of a day.

As I am one of those unfortunates who has a day job to support their hobby, I don't to think that the day really begins crafty-wise until after 7pm. So the 1st picture is to simulate getting out of bed in the morning. The 2nd is my desk at 7pm-ish; me with my fav lil person reading through my e-mails whilst having a drink. 3rd picture is pudding (self explanatory). 4th picture is my desk before I posted but after I'd finished for the evening. 5th is to denote having a nice shower before the 6th; bed and a book.

So that's me for Tuesday 26th April 2011. Why not let me know what you were doing. 

Love Elliefantasy

27 Apr 2011

26 Apr 2011

Making some storage pt 1

The leaning tower that you see above is a pile of distress-inked pieces of card which are going to form a home-made felt pad storage unit. I've been playing about, looking at a couple of links and think I have good idea of what I want to do. This is not what I thought I was going to do when I started, but that is all part of the design process. But its a nice task to last me the week so we'll see what we make of it.

Once upon a time (well over 10 years ago) I did Graphics at GCSE. I wasn't very good at the technical and detailed drawing side, but I did enjoy the design elements and picked up a few good habits and a few ideas about how to make nets for making boxes. I also did Art at GCSE, but again was not accurate enough at drawing to be very good.  I found that struggling with the technical side of both subjects somewhat diminished my enjoyment of the creative elements and I came away wondering if I was as creative as I had originally thought.  I wish that Scrapbooking had been on offer as it mixes the design side of my graphics training with the arty and messy side of my art training. I don't have to be super accurate to produce some lovely pieces and best of all, no one is marking my work!

I'd love to hear if you have any skills that you picked up at school which influence your crafting or if like me, you have found that crafting has unlocked some potential that you didn't know, or wasn't certain was there.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

18 Apr 2011

Decopatch & Back to School with the old Bloggeroo

Two fold post today chums. First (and with pictures) is my Decopatched Elephant. Yes, that's right, you heard me. Decopatched Elephant. Whilst planning our trip to Ally Pally, my mum mentioned a stall called the MDF Man, who we went to see. But right next door to them was The Decopatch Place. We stopped in at the start, and then again at the end of our trip (we only managed until about 2pm before we had spent ALL our ££) Our other craft show buddy decided to get some papers for the MDF scrapbook that she had brought, and after watching a demo, and looking at the papers with her, I somehow managed to leave with one of their kits to decorate an elephant in quite bright pink and red papers. 

Needless to say that the look on my OH's face, when I returned home and explained this final purchase, was perplexed and amused. Even I wasn't quite sure how this was going to turn out. My friend was interested because she was looking for something a bit new and different and this is certainly something we hadn't really come across before. But having spent some time on Friday, and then finishing it off this evening, I have found another crafting obsession. Its so easy to do, and very very relaxing. I've made it through 3 episodes of "Desperate Housewives" and am feeling very chilled but still like I have created something. I wont bore you with the science here of how to do it and what you need, please do have a look at the link above if you are interested. But it looks like a lovely way to make some really individual gifts, if that is why you like to craft and its a break away from all the other things, something that can easily be put down and picked up whenever you want. For those confused about the flap at the bottom and the slit at the top, its supposed to be a pot for me to put my change into at work, rather than the flapjack/chocolate bar machine of Evil.

So, back to school with my blog. Just in time (thanks to a timely tweet reminder) I signed up to the follow-up to Blogging for Scrapbookers, which is called Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers. Hopefully this 3 week course should enable me to tighten things up and get it all ship-shape. Todays post is all about connecting with all of you lovely people out there (somewhere I hope) So please drop me a line to say hello. And sticking with a theme here, why not leave a comment about a technique or craft that you have found "new and different" or one that you find you return to just to relax with. 

Please be prepared for a mass 3 weeks of posting. Hoping that your day has been as pink and shiny as this little elephant

Love Elliefantasy xx

15 Apr 2011

Alphabetti Spaghetti

A lot of what I do with cards and scrapbook pages results in the need for some kind of writing. Either stamped, peel off, stickers, printed etc etc. And I never ever seem to have the right thing. I feel like I am constantly buying alphabets but when it comes to crunch time I just don't have something to match the project. If I was better organised I would plan all my pages in advance, matching up kits before I even put glue to pretty paper. But that isn't fun if you do it all the time (I am just guessing, I have NEVER managed to do it for one page, let alone many.) Some of my favourite pages are ones that just come together without a lot of effort, but I have a 5% success rate in finding good letters and having enough of them to make the associated title. 

Today I popped into Hobbycraft to spend a £10 voucher on some non-crafty bits and came away spending a bit more and with some crafty bits. One of which was a packet of Papermania alphabet stamps. The main thing that attracted me was that it was the duplicate of some stickers that they do, but now I can do my own alphas in my own colours and have exactly the words I need. Plus they are a decent size, which is not easy to come by and they are not often that cheap. Dimension Fourth do a lovely set of alpha's in a blobby version of Times New Roman, either in plain or in funky patterns. I have a set but unfortunately have chopped the top off my U. The queue was too big at Ally Pally to bother them with random queries but I shall be e-mailing soon to investigate the possibility of single letters. I also am the proud owner of Zoo Alphabet by Penny Black. Unfortunately they have only had 1 outing so far, but now I am perfecting the art of the pro-markers (and worked out how to stop them bleeding) I will have another go soon. 

I have also delved into the world of printed alphas and these have also worked. I recently made a 360 degree card for my mum and didn't have enough of some chipboard letters that I had brought from Dunelm. So I poodled into Paint Shop Pro, downloaded some new swirly brushes and made a pattern. I then wrote some text over, first ensuring that the fill colour was sent to transparent. Printed off, cut out and glossy accented and I had some fairly good little letters, albeit in a fairly over the top shade of purple. I do have the robo if I can sort out using it, but sometimes you want something nice and quick and lets face it, the robo isn't really. I also like to make the absolute most out of any card that I cut so just 1 phrase isn't good enough.

So what is the point of this ramble. Well partly it is that, just a ramble. Partly it is a plea to any manufactures who might possibly maybe have stumbled upon this blog by accident, please put in loads and loads of vowels and useful letters in your packs. And partly it is to share some ideas that I have had to try and solve this perennial problem.

And 1 final tip for you all (in case you hadn't stumbled upon this yourself) With silver peel offs and permanent brush pens you can get a lot more coloured peel-off letters than you think.  Don't bother with the pro-markers, its a waste of their capabillities and the ink doesn't spread well. But 3 or 4 goes with a good old fashioned brush pen and you unleash a whole new world. 

Love Elliefantasy xxx

31 Mar 2011

Messy Messy Mess Mess...

 ...but my mojo is definately here somewhere because I have been so on the ball with the crafting. Scrapbooking or card making, its all pottering along nicely. The problem I have is that every time I go to tidy, I start to just pick at bits and pieces, do a bit here, do a bit there and then its all messy again. Having said that, its quite hard to craft on top of so much stuff and every flat surface has something piled upon it. I had my friends from home up at the weekend, and none were surprised at the messiness of the room, nor at the fact that OH & I have to have seperate rooms. "Stuff expands to fill the space!"

So what have I been doing to create all this mess? I really got into the "In the Meadow" papers that came with a very recent copy of Simply Cards and Papercraft. I made a whole selection of cards, mostly from the papers and die cuts that came with them. I 've sectioned off a few to make some new baby photo frames for a couple of friends. That has lead me on to a mini-book from some other SC&P papers, but I need to find some images. I also attacked the butterfly stickers in the Papermania birthday set and made 6 good cards for general purpose. There is a Double scrapbook page of pics of my nephew and his 2 aunties at Christmas, plus 2 more on the go of me and my best friend, and 1 to be started. All piled up on the desk.

I've also got back into the stamping and really getting the hang of the pro-markers, the mixing and the general colouring in. With Ally Pally coming up, I'm gunning to get some more, the range of greys is definately on my list for blending purposes and Elephant colouring. I read it somewhere on the internet (UK Scrappers I think) and it really does give a much deeper colour, especially to the Reds.  Other potential purchases are some envelope templates that craftwork cards have released and to expand my collection of distress inks and get some blending pads. I have been using stippling brushes and they do give a nice effect. But for the pale colours (which account for 2 of the 3 I have, it really needs to be pads. Or RSI. 

Birthday time has just (literally) come and gone and a lot of goodies have come my way. I've spent the money from grandparents on a few (lots) bits from Crafty Devils, including the new v2 Bind it all, a hobby arts stamp I saw in a magazine (Actually, it was SC&P, again) and some nice santa stamps. I also got a lovely new camera lens, wide angle, which gives lovely short depth-of-field shots for portraits. I took some really lovely ones of my party, very easily with fantastic results. I'm hoping that with it I can get some really good shots of my nephew without using the flash and them being blurred or grainy. And also some good stealthy ones of my family. See this picture of the crisps and dip. I just literally pointed and shot. For those who are interested there is also one of Fishfingers.

When there is some daylight I will post up pictures of all the bits I've made and finished. Its all a bit yellow in here at the moment. I have some ideas for a light box as we have a deluge of cardboard boxes around and a lot of spare white 12x12. Hopefully this should make photos easier to take no matter what time of day it is. 

Love Elliefantasy

16 Mar 2011

What's going on with me

Hello to all of you lovely people. Yes I have been rather absent but very busy. So what have I been up to? 

For most of last month I have been trying to make some progress on my family tree. I have the idea of doing it in scrapbook forms, and so I have started to collect more detailed and throrough information. But the more I looked, the more information I need to find and it is very much spread about. This is not a quick and easy job, but something I need to make headway with so I can make a start on the scrapbooks. 

Mini-A-Month. I have done most of February's, though most of it was done in March. Its a really cool little book based on the theme of Love and the pictures are from a friends wedding that I went to in 2009. I haven't started March's yet but hang on a couple of weeks and something will turn up. 

Cards & Layouts. The pics below are of some cards and a layout that I made at the weekend, the layout is of me and my newphone, opening his present on his first birthday. The cards are made from the kit box that I mentioned in my previous post, just one sheet of cardstock did 4 birthday cards. I've also got the hang of the Tim Holtz bits that I brought at Stamperama, and with Ally Pally just around the corner I am planning to get some more ink pads and other bits.

Parties - With my birthday coming up shortly I had planned a massive Piratey affair. Work and timescale have meant that it's been postponed for a few months, however its giving me enough time to plan it properly and there will be a few crafty bits that I can share with you all. 

So, hope you have enjoyed catching up, see you all soon.

Elliefantasy xxx

10 Feb 2011

Elephants should be grey

This is my very first ever ever challenge card entry for the new monthly challenge over at Little Claire. I love their stamps, and I love elephants and they are so lovely as to do some really wonderful Elephant stamps. Here is one of a set called "Lots of Fun" which I picked up from their stall at Stamperama on Sunday, along with a grey Pro-Marker pen.

Now I really love Elephant stamps, and as well as my Little Claire ones, I also have the Ellie range from Stampasaurus, the cutest Elephant in the whole world (apart from the one that acts as my avatar and has her own place on the rocking chair in my craft room) Now my elephant is Pink. And for her that is a very suitable colour. (She is also dressed in dungarees, and you don't see many elephants dressed in those!) But really for stamping, Elephants should be grey. But what do you do when you don't have a grey Pro-Marker pen? I have tried Pink, Blue and Purple. All kind of funky but not quite Elephant-y enough for me. I have also tried using a different kind of pen, but it shows against the clear effect of the Pro-Markers So finally I can do Elephants in the colour that they were meant to be!! I will obviously be getting the lighter grey colour so I can do 2 different kinds of grey elephant. What kind of crafter would I be otherwise??

For those who are interested (and for the folks at Little Claire) the Stamp is Lots of Fun coloured with Pro Markers (Cool grey 2, Pink Carnation, Powder Blue and Leaf Green) and the water picked out with Glossy Accents. The cardstock, both yellow and green is taken from a double-sided sheet, out of a Papermania Birthday collection box (for which I must say a big THANK YOU to my mum who saw a few in her local craft shop reduced to £8 and cleared the shop of all sets, sending one my way!!) The flower and button are from the same box set. The card candy is Craftwork cards, from the Candy store and the Peel off (which didn't come out well with the flash) is from an unknown source, I can never keep track of where I got them from. 

I'll let you know how I do in the challenge, but putting that aside, this is a fab stamp and a very easy card to make. Its so nice when it all comes together. 

Love Elliefantasy xxx

30 Jan 2011

A Mini A Month - Jan New Beginnings 2

Sorry its been so long. Here is the album made, I haven't yet put any pictures in, still can't decide what to do, but I have time to worry about that later. I loved making this, and will have a go at some more later in the year. I didn't quite twig that the envelopes didn't have to be open, but hey, that's no bother, I have a nice album with pockets in. Another tip. Leave yourself loads of ribbon to fasten. My jeans hem isn't quite long enough to cover the thickness of the paper and the embellishments that are on the pockets. All in all though, I'm happy about how its come together, with the colours and papers. For those who wanted to know about the rosettes, see this post at Sticky Inky Scrappy Mess, though mine aren't stiffened, its just fabric. But the method still works out fine.

Love Elliefantasy 

17 Jan 2011

A Mini A Month - Jan New Beginnings 1

So, here we go, making the first book. Its not too late to join in either, the instruction post is here

After reading through the instructions, I actually changed my mind over what I wanted to make the mini-book about. Originally it was going to be about resolutions, but the book lends itself to pictures so well, I've decided to make it about moving into our first brought house in the middle of last year, and have pictures of the rooms as old and new. I want to see if I can make little mini-mini books to go into the envelopes so that there is plenty of room for pics and journalling. 

The decorating theme is brown and blue, partly because I am trying to dig into my massive Claire Curd Papermania paper stack, and partly because I managed to make a couple of fabric rosettes from the cutoffs of some superlong jeans. I'm not a big sewer but they've come out really well. When I put the final pics up, I'll link over to a fabulous blog I love, Scrappy Sticky Inky Mess where I saw the video for how to make them. Trying to carry the theme on, I've used the hem as a clasp and will make it close hopefully using some sticky back velco. I'm also going to try and find some denim digital paper, or to carry Karen's "don't buy anything" theme, I might take some pictures of my jeans. The envelopes are just begging to be turned into Jeans pockets.

When I'm done, I'll put up another post. I really encourage you to join up and have a go. I've done this much in just about an hour and a half and I honestly had no difficulty in finding the bits I needed and letting my mojo spark off. At the end of a pretty pants day at work, this is just the sort of pick-me-up I need.

Love Elliefantasy xx 

13 Jan 2011

A Mini A Month

This is a challenge that I mentioned in a previous post. Karen, who is on UKScrapbookers is doing a fantastic challenge about creating a mini book every month. The format is really good, first prompt is about the subject, second prompt is a list of materials and the third prompt is instructions to make the book, with 2 weeks to actually acheive it. So there is time for reflection, a way to document the year and the opportunity to learn new things. One of the other features of this challenge is to try and use existing stash, but we'll see how that goes. 

This months subjects is about New Beginnings, and I'm going to use it to document some of my resolutions for the year. Some are going to be those listed in my JYC album, but there is a new one that I have been trying out fairly successfully for the last couple of weeks. 

As someone who works full time, its hard to make sure that the things that need doing around the house and all the little non-work related jobs get done. I used to put them off and put them off until I couldn't any more and would end up stressed and busy trying to fit them all into a couple of evenings. I would then resent the time away from things that I wanted to do, even though it was spending too much time on those things that meant I had this enormous pile of chores. 

So this year I have been going with the theory of doing 1 thing every evening. So something gets done but its only one thing that takes maybe half an hour maximum, leaving the rest of the evening free, no matter what time I get home. I've made this work for me and cleared a number of things to do, tidying up the bedroom, making a friends birthday card, hand-washing some clothes. This evenings job was to have a quick tidy-up. I washed-up in the dead time between my OH and myself getting home and then just cleaned the bathrooms after dinner. 20 mins of work and the house is clean for the weekend when I have a lot of time to play and a lot of things I want to achieve. Things that wouldn't get done if I had the mundane chores to do. 

I find this theory manageable as I know that I will acheive things that have been piling up and piling up, but still having dedicated time to relax. If there is nothing to do, well thats fantastic. But 20 minutes of work and then a well earned play in my craft room is more than good enough for me!

So, check back in a couple of weeks when you can see the completed mini-book and the other resolutions that made the cut. Also, over this weekend I hope to get a few bits scrapped, some craft room bits completed and make a start on the JYC album, so I hope you might stop by once or twice to see how I'm getting on.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

7 Jan 2011

Happy Happy Happy and I love My Robo.

So first proper project of the year is some 1st Birthday invitations for my nephew. Whilst in shock over the fact that a year has passed since he was born, I relished the thought of a new, non Christmassy project. 

Mr Men are a very nice and simple make as the style is very much hand-drawn. This lends itself well to someone who isn't quite perfect in the drawing field either by hand or digitally. They also involve blocks of colour, again good for digital images and stash saving.

Mr Happy was actually cut on the Robo, which is why I have a salute to that wondeful machine in the title. 32 cuts in only 4 sheets of yellow 12x12 done in only 30 minutes whilst doing something else at the same time. The shape was easy to construct, after all Mr Men are based on regular shapes. So 5 ovals  and a couple of rectrangles later I have a perfect Mr Happy shape which cuts cleanly and quickly. We save a lot of time and a nice job remains a nice job and isn't a chore. 

The background is done on PC, Capitals and script as per the Mr Men covers and a 1 for my nephew. Mr Happy will be stuck on using foam pads and job's a good'un. The print quality isn't that good but that will be rectified with a new ink cartridge. There is a nice invite insert sheet to match up inside. All I need to do is put it all together and hope that my back is happy with me sitting down for such a long time.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

6 Jan 2011

JYC 2010 6th January - And so to end

Twelfth Night at last. So to celebrate, here is a completely unrelated quote from the great playwright himself:

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.
Twelfth Night, 3. 1

I have never been into the magic of twelfth night, being in an age where as soon as New Years is over then reality comes crashing back in completely unwanted. Our decorations are away and we are slipping back into that time where it feels like the holidays were just a dream. I also was never impressed with the idea that you had to wait until the last possible moment of the holidays to exchange gifts. 

I have enjoyed writing this journal though, as it has made me stop and think about the holidays and the season a little bit more. I have a record of what I did and when I did it so that it wont just become a blur in the coming months. I have not yet taken the opportunity to read through the posts and will probably do so when I come to construct the album proper in the next two months. Certainly the 1st of December seems an age away, rather than just 37 days. 

So, as far as JYC goes,  I will bid you farewell for the moment, and look forward to seeing you here on December 1st 2011.

5 Jan 2011

JYC 2010 5th January - Clean up

This post is a bit previous to be honest, as my decorations were all packed away Sunday. Although I like to have them up, putting them down again is always a bit of a chore and nothing that I want to tackle after struggling through work. Its always a bit sad when they come down and the rooms look so bare and cold without them. But I also like to start the New Year fresh and clear so despite the chore, I get them down as soon as is decently possible. We have the luxury of having a loft to put the decorations in, and this year the tree has been upgraded from the tatty box to "the cricket bag of no fixed purpose." This was a much better idea as the box couldn't fit the tree and the garland in and was beyond rubbish for getting up into the loft. The cricket bag has wheels and handles at both ends, plus enough room for the tree, garland, a spare hanging rail and the bear clothes. I have also splashed out on a new piece of cardboard to wrap the lights around, though I think there might only be 1 more year left in them.

Love Elliefantasy xx

4 Jan 2011

Challenging Times

So, here is the list of year long challenges that have caught my eye so far. I don't think I'll be able to do all of them, but I'm wondering if I might manage to combine a few. They are in no particular order of preference:

First is one at Scrapology. I think it is something that is running on from last year. Basically you get a sketch and a month to complete your layout, one layout per month for the whole year. There are some fabulous examples from the DT and if you are a follower and post to your blog you have the chance to win a prize. Quite a good one as at least one part of the decision process has been taken care of for  you.

Secondly we have a year in review challenge from Scrapbook and Cards today, a Canadian based magazine. Here is their blurb
"Becky will post, both here on the blog, a beautiful double page sketch on the last Saturday of each month for use the following month. Davinie will post a page example to get your creative juices started! When the new sketch is revealed, everyone who has sent us an image or a gallery link of their completed page for the previous month, will be entered into a draw to win a fabulous prize from one of our advertising partners! You can send us your image, or a link, to ideas@scrapbookandcards.com with “Project 12” in the subject line." 
So, again, fairly easy and stress free. Not sure what the prize policy is for the UK though.
Coming in third is Which Crafts, who are doing a project called Life and Me, with prompts every 2 weeks. This has a topic and a technique so you can learn something new as you go along. The first prompt has already been uploaded to the blog if you want to get cracking straight away.
Claireliz from The Crafty Alchemist is doing a couple of year long projects from her blog. The first is "This Year I Will" all about keeping resolutions made in January throughout the year. This is definately something that I will be getting on with, my resolutions in an earlier post will need constant attention. There will also be another revealed on Saturday apparantly so hop along to see what it is.

Ali Edwards is doing her One Little Word class with Big Picture Classes. Its about picking a word for the year and then reviewing and reflecting upon that word throughout the year.

Over at UKScrappers, NettyB is doing a 52Q Weekly challenge. A question will be posed at the start of the week and then you can spend a week thinking about it and making a project, anything you like really.
Finally, also at UKScrappers, Karen is doing A Mini A Month Challenge 2011, a stash-busting project to get us all clearing out, ready for all the new things we will no doubt buy during the year. Quite a detailed set-up so I will leave you to link up, but very useful for cutting out the stress of finding a theme and deciding on supplies. Karen will also be showing how to do a variety of mini-book styles so its a good challenge for learning something new and clearing out the clutter. Definately a winner in my book. The first link is to the post on UKScrappers, the second is to the Blog where she is hosting. There is also a dedicated social group on UKScrappers for people to chat and get at the prompts. 

So, just a few to get you all started. Looking at the list, I shall definately be playing along with Clareliz and Karen's Mini-A-Month and trying to incorporate Scrapology's sketches into the blank calendar I purchased last year. Hope you have seen some inspiration here, something to get you started if your mojo is still on holiday. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 4th January - Being Useful

Things to remember for next year

  • Do cake and do 2 lots of stollen. Don't forget to do it in little loaf tins
  • Do the Christmas shopping in November
  • Don't forget to get stamps so that the cards will actually get posted.
  • Do a bigger album and start it early November and not late late November
  • Stick to just 1 design of Christmas Card for friends and family
  • Write cards and addresses at the same time
  • Don't forget to get indigestion tablets before Christmas Day. 
Love Elliefantasy xx

3 Jan 2011

JYC 2010 3rd January - An Andrews Family Christmas

One of the over-riding themes this year was that nearly all of us had a stomach bug at one point or another. My step-dad suffered on Christmas Day but managed to procure a tub of Andrews salts which set him right. 

From that point onwards, no matter what ailment you had, Andrews was his answer to it. I had some, my OH had some, I don't know if anyone else got stuck with a dose or not but for every minor complaint, there was the inevitable cry of "Some Andrews would sort you out!!"

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 2nd January - Innocence

A trickly little subject really. Sort of boils down to why I like Christmas and that is a hard thing to pin down. Its reassuring to think that no matter who might have driven me mad throughout the year, I still relish the thought of giving everyone a gift that they might like and spending a little bit of time with them, just because its Christmas. And that everyone is just a bit more patient and a bit more good spirited, just because its Christmas.  That is the meaning of it for me, a chance to make amends for forgetting that message throught the rest of the year. (i.e. a chance to make up for being crabby and judgemental for 11 months of the year) 

New Year has its own message, just a fresh clean sheet and a few days to try and put some plans into action so that by the time it comes around next year, I might have learned or improved on something. This year I still have a few prompts of Learn Something New to do, so I intend to start again on the 7th when I've finished here.

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 1st January - What will this year bring?

This is a bit of a question as there is one very specific thing that I want to happen this year, but it is something that wont even begin to happen until the later half of the year. Resolutions for me aren't always the best, but I'll have a go. So the list below contains things I hope to happen and things I hope to improve on

  • Resolution - try to spend more time doing things I should do rather than things I want to do
  • I will be going on holiday in June, something to look forward to.
  • Resolution - try to be better with money
  • I hope that I can finally get my Dolls House finished, if only so I stop using it as temporary craft storage
  • Resolution - try to do a bit of exercise
  • I would like to finish a few long term projects and do a few jobs that have been hanging around for ages
  • I would like all the roadworks between here and my mum's to go away!
  • Resolution - get a good balance between what I want to do and can actually acheive 
So there we go. A few goals to aim at so I don't get bogged down in the big issue of the year. 
Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 31st December - "What are you doing New Years Eve"

The title of a song by Mary Margaret O Hara on one of my Christmas Albums. New Year for me should always be spent with friends rather than family. Christmas is a family time but there should be some dedicated celebration time for friends to enjoy as well. Even as children, we never spent New Years with family; we have a large group of friends that we see a few times a year and a lot of NYE's were spent with them, children and parents together, all children sleeping on the floor in one room (when we were small enough to fit) 

On memory that sticks in the mind is when we played full-sized Cluedo. We had 7 out of the nine rooms covered and sort of shouted from room to room as we moved about. It was very amusing and perfectly suited to the small amount of guests that we had that year.

As an "adult" I've done the pub thing and found it wanting. Like Christmas Eve, its a lot of fuss and cramped conditions for not a lot of benefit when the clock strikes 12. We now pick a house and head over with offerings of food and drink and play on the consoles or play party games as we so choose. Its a good opportunity to catch up with people that aren't about much in the year and make outrageous plans for the following year. It doesn't matter if you don't have a "special person" to kiss at Midnight either, we are all special to each other and normally there is a 5 minute period of emphatic hugging and kissing while the bells chime. This year was no exeption, although a little quieter due to illness. But we had an enjoyable time watching the firework display on tv, glad that we were in the warm.

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 30th December - Year in Review

7 babies born to close friends or family
4 weddings of friends and family
1 house brought
4 months of having my own craft room
7 months of blogging
10 trips back home
1 trip to Roller Disco
1 theatre trip
1 Aqua-sphereing experience
Lots and lots of good times

JYC 2010 29th December - Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake.

So we haven't  yet documented the Christmas Cake as yet. I like to make a homemade cake. It starts the Christmas mood off nice and early in October and its a traditional Christmas thing that I can actually do. I have a recipie that works year in year out, no matter what size I might like to make. 

I do make a lovely heavy fruit cake, but I am not so big on the soaking in copious amounts of brandy. So I compromise by letting it mature for the full 2 months but not adding any more brandy so that the cake still takes like cake. I do put cherries in, I don't put nuts in, which makes for a cake that the whole family can eat, from step-siblings through to grandparents. Last year, I made 3, 1 proper sized and 2 loaf tins. This year I went for just the one 10" round, which actually was massive when we cut into it. That did for a lot of people with a nice chunk in for us to take home. 

The cake will get marizpaned and fondant iced, as per orders from my OH. As children we didn't have icing as neither parent is a big fan, but it is a mandatory requirement for a happy marriage, and those who don't like it can always peel it off. I am not a professional cake maker, and mine normally are a little scruffy at the edges. I try for some decoration but it is a little hit and miss; the taste for me is the most important bit. 

I have again this year scored a 10/10 from all but my OH. He maintains that the 9/10 I get is a perfectly good score, and the only problem with my cake, is that it is not our wedding cake, made by his step-grandmother 3 years ago. I do put on a bit of affronted pride for amusement, but really I also know that our wedding cake was the most yummy cake I have ever eaten, and as I will never get the recipie, I will never get the one extra point. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 28th December - A little bit of what you fancy

Ahh, that wonderful period between Christmas and New Year. We normally have a few visits still to potter through and actually the day was spent with the Mother-In-Law this year. But wherever we end up, its still nice to pop in and see sweets on the table to be picked at all day, plus cake and leftovers for tea. Its nice to have these days to wind down and have a play with the presents, but the biggest indulgence for me is just the freedom of being able to eat whatever and whenever, especially as there is normally so much left-over by this point that people are positively encouraging you to stuff your face. 

Having said that, I managed to get the sicky bug which is doing the rounds of the family, plus having fallen part way down the stairs actually led to a food-free day, the first of 4, so not much in the way of good food and leftovers for me this year. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

1 Jan 2011

Happy New Year

Just a quick post to say a few things.

First of all, Happy New Year, and I hope that you all had a lovely evening, as well as a lovely Christmas Break. I am back home now with lots of memories and lots of things to scrap. Thankfully I have a few days before I go back to work to get myself sorted. 

For those who have been following, I have been trying to keep up with the Journal Your Christmas posts, but not making it necessarily on the right day. This was partly through living the day and partly through problems getting my e-mail prompts whilst away.These will continue with posts up to the 6th January, with a catch up tomorrow. However I will also be doing some non JYC related, plans for the New Year posts at the same time so there may be more than 1 post a day.