28 Aug 2014

These people have stories. Or Plans.

So, as promised, here are my inspirations for my story-hunting. 

Shimelle Laine
I love Shimelle's blog and her view on all aspects of Scrapbooking. I first noticed her in Papercraft Inspirations and I then stumbled across her blog and have taken a few classes, 2 of which inspired the creation of my blog. I follow her on Facebook and Twitter and became overly excited in 2010 when she actually replied to a tweet of mine. A Scrapbooking Celebrity replying to MY tweet! Gosh, how exciting. I even love the episodes that she appears on the Rountable, especially as she is representing the UK in a largely American market and its nice to know that we have some people flying our flag. So it's not really surprising that I would pick her for inspiration. 

But the main reason is that her attitude is to keep things very simple so that we are more likely to keep up with them. She is a real-life scrapper so she understands the problems. Yes she has loads more pages already then I will probably ever make but the ideas and principles are basically the same.
So her specific advice can be found here but if you click on this link it should take you to all the places that she mentions her album organisation if that is more your thing.

So here is a good segway over to the Rountable, or rather to Paperclipping and Noell Hyman. I found Paperclipping through Shimelle's blog and once I found it I just haven't ever looked back. It is just the perfect accompaniment to scrapping or crafting, especially if you can't actually be doing it at the time you listen. 

And it is from here that I decided to have a shot at Project Life because Noell (& Izzy) managed to explain the system to me in a way that was clear and excited me to try it as an alternative to the unachievable workload that I had set myself. Now I am still trying to find a starting point with it, but even now (literally right now!), just going back to the posts that they have (here, here and here) has helped me find a possible staring point. If you want to see what they have to say then I would go to the website and search for posts about Project Life, because there really are loads.

Scrapbookers Inner Circle

This is where I have brought a lot of my Project Life supplies from (They are great, they have good delivery and good prices.) And I was clicking about the website and found that Tammy does a course. So I clicked on the button and signed up. Now for me this is a work in progress, I'm only just starting out on this course, and the first 4 months were about stashbusting. But 1- its free. Really is free so you aren't going to lose anything right? And 2 - The first 4 videos/transcripts about stashbusting contain really good advice! So if you fancy a look then have a go, I can't really say anything more but its extra information that might just be the thing that you need.

Big Picture Classes -> Stacy Julian's Library of Memories.

So you can't listen to Paperclipping for more than a few weeks without hearing from Stacy Julian. And in fact you can't listen to a single episode of Paperclipping without finding out about Big Picture. But just like I love the episodes that Shimelle appears on, I love those that Stacy is on. And Stacy has done a Proper System of Album Organisation called Library of Memories. There have been classes on it at Big Picture but annoyingly it is not being run at the moment. But she has an E-Book called  "Photo Freedom" which details it all out. This is not free, its $15.00 USD (currently about £9-10) and 

I have not yet tried it. But I have heard a lot about it from people on the Roundtable who use it and find it to be a good system. These are people who work in the scrapbooking industry who have a LOT of pages to store, but also the people who seem to want to have a story to their lives which they are making though their scrapbook pages. And not all the people on the Roundtable are that kind of scrapbooker. They do have a lot of different people (which is what makes it such a good show; there is a proper cross section to all the guests so no one way is made out to be The Right Way) As I said before, these are the people whose methods and philosophy particularly resonate with mine.

And before I finish, if you fancy it, then take a look about the classes. And  if  you decide to buy any then go through the Roundtable as you get 10% off.

So here is my external inspiration. I am still thinking but so far I haven't had any Eureka moments. 
Maybe pudding will help. Either way I will be back on Saturday to try and wrap this week of posts up

See you then

Love Elliefantasy


26 Aug 2014

My Albums are here, but not my Story

I have quite a few different albums which cover different topics. None are finished, Some are not meant to be and some aren't far off.

I have 2 post-bound albums of traditional 12x12 pockets dedicated to my nephew covering him from 0-2. I have no albums for him later, nor ones for my neice due to the arrival of Pickle Pants.

I have 2 post-bound albums of traditional 12x12 pockets for DPS of all the weddings that I have been to. They are divided into friends and family weddings. These both have layouts that need finishing but they are very straightforward and I am happy with them.

I have a few family layouts that are currently album-less. An American crafts d-ring with 4" square divided pockets for doing JYC which only has one year in. Plus my ephemera book which is a bound Paperchase kraft book that stuff just can be stuck in to if it is too bulky or the wrong size for pocket protectors.

For Pickle Pants I have 3 albums. 1 post-bound Forever Friends12x12 for her 1st month.1 DCWV Once Upon a Time album for her first 2 years. And an American Crafts d-ring for photos of us together. I also do Photobox photobooks for the everyday moments between each birthday which is where my problem is starting.

I have 2 Project Life folders, one to tell the story of my friends and I up to the end of 2012 and another to hold proper Project Life pages for 2013 and 2014.

But when you strip out the photos that relate to Pickle Pants, and the ephemera that doesn't fit, there are not many everyday moments left. And it is the day to day events or little moments and observations that litter up the desk and the mind especially as I don't know where they should go.

And overriding all of this is, when taken as a whole, the albums don't show a picture of who I am and how we are living (Unless to illustrate the bitty-ness that I am currently experiencing)

When I looked for the sites that I knew shared information on how to organise your albums (sorry, will follow tomorrow) they all point to having this over-arching story. None say that this is The Way It Must Be Done but I obviously wish to do it like this or I would not have noticed the advice to turn back to. But I still cannot find a way to get myself and my albums to identify the story of me.

Tomorrow I will share the advice and see how the systems work in order to see where I might shape and adapt them to help me. Hopefully.

See you then


Stories and Albums

This week is all about telling My Story through my albums. But it starts by saying that I'm not managing it very well at the moment.

We're Pickle Pants free this week which has afforded me some time to clear my desk and stick things in albums. So I have put things in my ephemera book, put pictures in my divided page protectors and put other things in the recycling pile.

And that left me with a pile of bits that I wasn't sure what to do with. Things from this year and last year and 2012. Things that remind me of moments I want to scrap but are totally unsuitable for putting in an album. Or things that by themselves are fairly insignificant but serve as a reminder of 3 or 4 potential stories that could appear in 3 different albums.

Over lunchtime I sat down with The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt which is an amazing novel created in the form of a scrapbook which shows the progression of a life by means of ephemera and magazine cutouts.

Now I am not saying that I want to use this as an instruction manual for my books but it does show up the fact that I don't have a clear way to show my life (or the parts of it that I want to document) and my current system is bitty, with both macro and micro albums, none of which are finished.

I have some books that I love and some that have the vision decided upon, just needing photos and time to get them done. But there is no system to my albums that allows me to document events and thoughts in a quick and easy way, in the right place and with the right story so that I can make the most of the time available to scrap.

This week I will be trying to fix this issue and I hope you will follow me on this journey, especially if you are having similar problems. Tomorrow's post will list out the albums that I have and look at some sites that I know offer advice on this topic to see what kind of solutions are available.


22 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 4 - All the Other Stuff

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Today's final Post is on All the Other Stuff. Which is normally the part that ends up driving me round the bend. So let's sit and tackle it together.

Location. Best idea is have it at someone else's house. They sort out the decor and music and they have to deal with the mess. But if you can't then take the following advice.

  • Try for a summer party and keep everyone outdoors. Put up a flag and some blow up Swords (which can be found on Amazon) and that looks pretty festive.
  • If you have kids coming and some of them are your friends kids and they live close enough then arrange for them to help you with bringing over some outdoor toys. Paddling pools and sandpits are in keeping with the theme and are lots of fun. Just remember to remind parents to bring swimming costumes.
  • Have gazeebo's (preferably waterproof ones) If you barbeque in the summer then it WILL rain.
  • Don't worry particularly about Pirate Music, people will chat over it. But if you must then Amazon have a selection and all the Pirates of the Carribean soundtracks are on Spotify. Just in case.
  •  Here is a link for more decoration ideas. Try them if you want.
Food. Again, get someone else to do it. No, seriously YOU CAN ASK FOR HELP! We all wanted to spread the cost so we all brought something. Those who wanted to spend more did, those who were on a budget could still contribute and those that were hosting didn't end up feeding everyone, which was fair as it really was my idea! Some of it was pirate themed, some of it was Carribean themed (I did Pulled Pork), some of it was not. But its more important to have really good un-themed food than rubbish but well themed food. That goes for any party. And if in doubt fill your guests up with Chocolate coins!

Authenticity. When I was originally thinking of doing this party 3 years ago I got very bogged down in things being properly authentic. Which kind of misses the point. But if being accurate is your thing, here are some links to pirate stuff. Plus a funny name generator.

Ships parts
Nautical Terms
Treasure Chest Construction
Pirate Maps
Name Generator

Plus I cannot push the website for International Talk Like a Pirate Day enough, there is so much good stuff on there.

Divide and Conquer. If you can, get help planning. Its ok to ask. People like to help, really they do! Planning the Games was my responsibility. And it was a lot of fun when I wasn't worrying about food or decor or how clean my house was. I had so much to do before the party anyway that if I'd had it at mine then it wouldn't have happened.

Selecting what to Play. I wanted my evening to be reasonably flexible so catergorised my games into "Runny Roundy" and "Sitting Downy". I had my list and could then judge the mood of the moment to suggest the correct game. True we did a lot of "sitting downy" but on a different day with more people we may have managed at least 1 "Runny Roundy". I am also pretty sure that every game that I planned could have been turned into a drinking game. If you wanted. Just saying.....

Preparation is the Key. I had my list of games as mentioned above. Then I copied out all the rules into 1 word document and themed them. Next I listed next to each game what I needed for that game, which helped me whittle out the ones that were going to be too much or too expensive to worry about. At that point I started to gather my bits and pieces into 1 bag so that all I had on my overall packing list for the weekend was "Pirate Game Stuff". This process helped me easily identify more games that we wouldn't bother playing, plus write the shopping list for the things that I felt would be cheap enough to buy or could be re-purposed later if we didn't use them. So on the night I wasn't stressed because I knew I had everything I needed.

Ask People What they Want to do. If you want people to have a good time then making them play stuff that they don't want to play isn't really a good way to acheive it. Bear in mind that at an adult party adults like to sit and drink and TALK. So will you if you haven't seen these friends for a while. So all games must be optional and just available to give the party a nudge in the right direction if there is a suitable pause and people seem interested. When we knew that we were just going to be sitting, I gave a few examples of the sitting games and we picked the ones that we wanted to play and everyone had fun. And it is a good idea to bear this in mind when you are planning so that you match the time that you spend on organising the games accordingly. Otherwise you just end up resenting everyone and that isn't much fun either.

Some people don't want to play. So let them off politely at the time (and talk about them later) 

Oh and something about having fun. Apparantly that is de rigeur at parties.

So I hope that you found this all useful. I have posted it at a point when I have planned a LOT of parties but only just managed to acheive a good balance between planning and what happens on the night. I did forget stuff, it just happens, and maybe 20% of what I did could have been left off the list. But I get a lot of fun from the planning which is why I offer to do it, and I know a few more things now for some parties that I could hold in the future so its not really wasted knowledge. And I came to the end of this specific party with no resentment that things weren't used, the feeling that people had enjoyed the theme and that I had enjoyed it, which is the most important. 

Plus I never have to do it again if I don't want to.

Lots of Love
The Crazy Housewife xx

21 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 3 - Games Pt 2

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Today is another Games Post. 
And before I start on the specific links, I would just like to put in a comment on why I picked the sorts of games I did, even though we didn't play them all.

My friendship group for this specific party consists of some just 31 somethings and some nearly 30 somethings. Some have kids and some don't. We have all been friends for an extraordinarily long time and so don't have to worry about ice breakers. Unless its to break some ice. But we tend to buy it bagged now. And even though we are all pretty up to date with the world we still like to play what are affectionately known as "parlour games" because often these are the funniest and take the least amount of effort to plan. Plus they are easily adapted to most themes and can be good ice breakers if you need them. The reason that we didn't play many of them this time was that we had 2 rounds of BBQ food and pudding to get through and that tends to slow people down.

So, the games that I picked..

The other game that we did play that wasn't mentioned yesterday was a good round of Drawing Consequences. We split up the parts of a pirate into 8 (which is harder than you think!), Draw, cover and pass it on. So long as you are clear in your instructions and don't mind repeating them every round, it is blooming good fun. 

Now here are 2 links for sites that had Pirate Specific themed games


http://arrrr.net/# - Not a game as such but if you can bear to copy and paste them off onto a word doc then they make good cracker replacements!

And here are links to sites that had General Party games, which with a little thought could be suited to any theme really.








Minute to Win It is an American TV show where contestants have a minute to do certain things. I had a look through the suggested games and basically adapted or swapped them out with the kids style games, which if adults were made to do in a short set time would be quite amusing.

Mafia is a long winded game that I think I would like to play if I can finish working out the rules and have enough time to theme it to my taste. But it would certainly work for this social group.

I also used the answers to the Pirate Bingo as mentioned yesterday as possible Charades words. Easy to do, easy to plan.

I hope that these games give you some good ideas for parties, if you need some more then all I really searched for was Party Game Ideas and had so many websites to choose from.

Tomorrow is the last post in the series and will deal with All the Other Stuff. 

20 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 2 - Games Pt 1

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Again, here is a link to the Pirate Pintrest Board. .

Todays Post is all about Games.

These are the pirate specific games that I picked out

Estimation Station. You can see on the board the one posted on someone's blog and the box that I used. Its one of the cardboardy ones from Hobbycraft that I painted brown and edged with a thick gold pen. I couldn't find plastic gold coins so I ended up using some poker chips. In the end so long as people  have something to look at it doesn't really matter what you use. I had a box of 100 chips but because I wanted to play too then I just shook in a random number. I cut up some squares of paper for people to write their names and answers down on and then just left it to the end of the night. No one came up with the right answer so we just played that the winner was the nearest number whether too high or too low.

Pin the Patch on the Pirate. I am very proud of my Pirate Man as it took a week of fairly careful painting, and only in the evenings when Pickle Pants wasn't around to try and help or want to get all the paints out and make a big splodgy mess (The first time I did it, that was what happened, hence evening painting!) I just googled some pirate pictures and drew a rough shape out and painted. When I had finished I cut out, and coloured with pen, an eye patch and then various parts of the pirate that we could use for the grown up version, to be done at speed. It's easier to do the small bits once you have done the main pirate as you can do them to scale!

I did a sword toss game, picture below. I cut out a sword from cardboard and covered it with tin foil and stuck it in the slit of an Amazon box with duct tape. Then covered the rest of the box with brown paper. I could not find proper plastic rings for love nor money so ended up cutting them out from cardboard too which was fine in the end, though they did get a bit dented. It also had the benefit of being completely free and recyclable at the end of the day, same for Pin the Patch

We did use a Pirate Name generator in the run up but one that we found on the Internet. But if you wanted then you could make it a poster for when people come in and make stickers available for them to make a badge. Makes for a good ice breaker.

Bingo was a huge success. I found a site that had some long story jokes, copied them into Word and then read back through them and picked out some relevant words. When searching on how to set out a bingo card I found a lot of sites that generate it for you, I used this one, very good for going back in and fiddling with. I already have a Sex and the City bingo night planned based on the ease of this game.

So that wraps up the Pintrest Board for things that we actually did. The Shark looks good but is probably a bit too much effort for the effect. The posters are just fun and get you in the mood for planning. 

Come back tomorrow for links to the other games that I found.

19 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 1 - Outfits.

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Firstly, here is a link to the Pirate Pintrest Board. This was my collection of hints and ideas to help with the planning when I finally got down to the nitty gritty of what I wanted to do.

Todays Post is all about Costume. 

I wanted to have a really good outfit. But a lot of the good "ready to buy" pirate costumes are pretty inappropriate for a party where kids will be. In fact they are mostly useless for anything other than standing and posing in them. Or maybe making "mini-pirates" if you catch my meaning. Funds were a bit tight so I had a Google and a Pin and seemed to come up with a fairly good outfit based on stuff that I already had. 

It consisted of The Hat and Scarf, Shirt with vest underneath and bodice round acting as a belt, Petticoat with belt over, over white 3/4 capri leggings and basically bare feet. In winter I would have worn knee high boots.

I have marked up all the parts that are mine but please note this website which is where I found out how to make my shirt. I found the bodice instructions here on a great website for making corsets. My total outfit cost was £14, £12 on trims, which I only used half of (but its my local sewing shop and i'll use the rest for other projects) and £2 on the shirt and gold scarf from barnardos. The rest I had and it was quite exciting to be able to riffle through all my stuff and find things that would really work. Makes up for all the times that I can never find the right thing. The only slightly odd thing was that the leather fabric was from my nan, so all day all I could smell was Nanny's house. Bit odd when you are running about like a pirate! 

There are a couple of other ideas pins for outfits. The red coat was just a luxury thing. On a hot day like we had there is no way it would have been worn, but good for Winter Pirates. The makeup tutorial for smokey eyes looked very good, for a daytime party maybe a little heavy though.

This is the outfit that I picked for Pickle Pants and she looked pretty darned adorable in it. She only wore the dress and the belt but its all one outfit, pretty good make and its going to do double duty for Halloween this year so I'm very happy about the cost.

So that is my round up on Outfits. Tomorrow's post will be about the games that I pinned.

18 Aug 2014

AAAARRRRR! Pirate Party

Wow, we did it! We had the pirate party that has been 3 years in the planning but only about 3 weeks in the actual organizing. 

The Crazy Housewife will be posting details for where to get the stuff and ideas for games and hopefully link up to the Pintrest Board (which will be updated for things that we actually did as well as the ideas) But one of the reasons that I am happy that it is Done and In The Past is that I Planned Accordingly.

I only ended up being in charge of entertainment (which is a definite benefit of having the party at someone else's house) for a party in 2 halves. 1 half for the afternoon where kids will be involved and then a Post 6pm party which is just for grown ups. 

Part 1 is actually easy to plan for because basically you don't. I have learnt very quickly that children, and toddlers in particular, have no respect for timetables and carefully scheduled activities. So you make sure that there are a few games that you can get out in case of emergency and let them get on with it. Especially when there is a paddling pool so they won't even be dressed up in their carefully chosen outfit for more than 1/2 the party anyway.

Grown ups are a different matter. Some thought has to be put in, but actually the same kinds of principles do apply. You need to leave time for eating (Lots of time!) and for chatting. But actually most kids party games can be tailored to any theme and adults enjoy them too as they aren't too taxing on the brain. 

I did 2 types of games, running around and sitting about. Some bad pirate jokes to act as a during mealtime entertainment. And a guessing game which they could play at any time. This sort of game is the best kind as it's set up early and minimal effort. As I had forseen, the running about games didn't get a look in. Especially after 2 rounds of BBQ and pudding still to come. But we had a game of bingo and a game of consequences which was highly amusing. 

The only difference between adults and kids though is that adults ask questions about EVERYTHING! So make sure that you are fully prepared as teeny tiny mistakes will get picked up and debated for 20 minutes with a lot of repetition afterwards. You have been warned.

So I pillaged the internet, changed a couple of words to suit my theme, got all my stuff together and set off to the party. On the night I read the mood, ate far too much, did the games that were applicable at the time and just let the others go. And I had a very very relaxing evening, albeit dressed up a bit odd. Which is apparently how my parties should have been all along.

14 Aug 2014

Why make 43 when you can just make 1??

I seem to be an expert in making a project into a chore. Not a skill I enjoy but one that is rapidly developing.

There are so many wonderful things out there in the world to make and I have beautiful ideas sparkling and shimmering in front of my eyes whenever I see something that grabs my attention. And they do grab for my attention with the same intensity that Pickle Pants will grab my hand and drag me places, shouting "Come on Mummy!  Let's Go!"

So I look and get just as excited. Think about telling others. Then think about how much they would like one too. And so would someone else. I can't leave thingy out either. But now I haven't got the time. Oh wow, that is going to cost a lot to make. Should I put it on the blog? Wouldn't it be nice to have a tutorial? That will take ages to do. I really need to do some other posts first. Plus some work. And some chores. Oh well, can't do it then.

And so my excitement to play quickly fizzes out and stands looking as dejected as Pickle Pants does when Mummy says "Not now baby, Mummy has to do this first."

But I have had an idea. A fizzy sparkling little idea that I have for a bag that I going to do. Just for me. All Mine. I might post about it, I might not. It might never again be mentioned until I go "Ta Dah! , I made THIS! " I am not going to make a tutorial as I only ever intend on making ONE.

And at the weekend Pickle Pants and I are going to go and dig in the mud.

Come on! Let's Go!