Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm never getting those three hours back!

The Christmas hols is one of those times of year where you find yourself catching up on films that have passed you by in years past. I'm a big Peter Jackson fan and love the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy and am eagerly awaiting 'The Hobbit' so I thought I was on for a safe bet settling down to watch another Peter Jackson epic (all three hours of it!) - King Kong, especially when the wonderful Jack Black was the star... sadly for about three quarters of an hour of action and a bit of pretty CGI, you have to sit through one of the dullest films i've ever seen... it took over an hour before we got even a hint of a big monkey... Shame.

Talking of big black hairy creatures here's a page featuring lovely Lola (another tragic attempt by my scanner!) This one is mostly November Studio Calico.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Amazing Hooter...

I have no idea what sort of owl this is... or what they are talking about... but I sort of want one!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

This one should do it...

Well I promised you a cute Birthday pic and I think this one fits the bill quite nicely! Martha's such a wally posing in her little hat... and check out her nice damp crimpy ears from her paddle!!! Sweeeeeeet!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Birthday Girl...

Today was Martha's 2nd Birthday! We of course had a little party and I have some fun hat pics to share once I get them off my camera! She's promised to be a good girl now she's all grown up (but still growing!) but I'm an eternal optimist... Lola's 4 and she's still a little tinker!!!
This page (November Studio Calico kit) shows one of her favourite poses... and the noise that Newfs tend to emit! (My scanner is clearly having a bad day.. plonking a big weird green splodge across it!!)

Friday, December 26, 2008


Looking back on my Christmas pics I seem to have lots of fun prep pics, but a few less once the Champagne was opened! Oops! Anyway here are a few to share - first up I had to polish of the last few advent chocs...
Then of course about a million sausages had to be rolled...
The stuffing made the obligatory appearance...
And met up with a scrummy yum free range turkey...
And the sprouts were peeled and prepped...

When dinner was nearly over Sandie's homemade pud went centre stage...
And Martha posed serenely by the tree...
Or maybe serene isn't the right word!!
Hope your Christmas was as much fun as mine!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Well I got so distracted by free Bacon Sarnies at our local farm that not a single photo was taken - you'll just have to imagine the rural festivities! But suffice to sayn Mr Turkey is safely in the fridge awaiting his big moment! Sausages have been rolled (in bacon not down a hill or some other weird ritual), gifts are nestled under the tree and i'm just mustering the energy to get out of bed after sipping a little glass of a gorgeous Rose' last night (thanks to my Secret Santa at work!!!) I PROMISE I'll try harder to snap a few suitably blurry pics later!
I have to share a suitably festive page today - I whipped this one up the other night when visiting my lovely friend Emma who if you read her blog you'll know that she's just about due to produce her first Baby Collins. She's one of those irritating people that is still uber organised and glamorous even at nine months pregnant! Love ya sweetie!!
Anyhoo... from me and mine, to you and yours... Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All together now....

I'm happy to say I've started my Christmas hols! It's been a busy ol' year and I'm grateful for a few days to chill out at last!
Christmas Eve to me means a visit to my local farm pick up our free range Turkey and some organic veg, with the chance for a wee nibble on a Mince Pie while you wait! I'll take my camera along and hope to grab a few pics of the festivities! A really good turkey makes all the difference - it's succulent, fresh and of course makes me feel happier knowing they've had a good and humane up-bringing.
The arrival of my December Studio Calico kit has inspired me to get cracking on some festive pictures - I'm of course starting with some of my Martha pictures from our Christmas card photo shoot! Out of all her options she seemed to like the scarf the best and let me know by having a good bark whilst wearing it! It made me giggle that she looked a bit like a carol singer in this one, hence the title! (although my scanner hasn't loved it as much and it's a bit dark! So I'll add the original below!)

The page shows off my little Christmas present to myself - some gorgeous Studio Calico alpha stamps - they both seem really usuable fonts and in a great size.
I'll hope to be back later with some festive pics... have a great Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We had a little tea party on Sunday in honour of my Lovley Auntie Sandie's birthday and much fun was has - a bit of scrapping, a whole lot of raucous Karaoke and a buffet tea. Although judging by this picture the most fun was had by Martha...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Despite my December Studio Calico arriving i've been so busy getting bits sorted for Christmas I haven't had a chance to craft all week - that's going to change today though!
I've nearly finished my wrapping and try as I might I can't resist paper that errs on the side of cheese - it would be a whole lot less fun to have perfectly elegant gifts each with a coordinating topper, for me Christmas is about tradition and for me wrapping needs to be a bit more fun!
I had a wonderful little (ok... giant) helper this year getting everything wrapped, but i'm not sure stomping on the paper as you cut it is that helpful... in any case every bit of sticky tape has the odd stray brown hair trapped beneath and most likely a few dribbly spots for good measure...inevitable when this... is about two inches from your arm!
I want to get on and take a few pics of each of my favourite tree ornaments - this cute little chick decked out in hat and scarf is a fave so thought I share... I'm going to break out the tripod again later and take some nice long exposures to avoid flash, but this is one to keep me going in case I never get round to it!
Of course with all the festive preparations some things can't be forgotton, doglets still need entertaining and and Martha doesn't care how cold it is... she still needs a paddle, although I'm sure I ended up wetter than her!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Om nom nom...

Fingers crossed I think I'm past the worst of my lurgee... and thank goodness it was just in time for a scrummy Christmas luncheon at our local olde-world local pub with the guys and girls in the product team at work. I went against tradition and scoffed a big ol' steak between wholy traditional prawn cocktail and essential Yule log.
On the topic of food here's a page featuring Martha scoffing her din-dins. It's definately one of her 2 favourite times of day (just behind lunch!) and takes her all of 2 mins to polish off. This one is again with the SC November kit  - i'm making good use of it while I wait not so patiently for the December one to arrive!

Talking of  food... is it wrong to hanker after tomorrrow's advent chocolate?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Love this new Lily Allen track... enjoy.

Flash ah ah.....

There's a new challenge over at the Forever Friends challenge blog and the challenge this time is to use a Christmas song... here's my offering..
At the moment I'm bearly seing the light of day, it's dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home so my photography is severely limited at the moment. So the only alternative is long exposures with a tripod or getting busy with some flash - this is one of my favourite Christmas ornaments - who can resist a bit of glitz at Christmas? I finally use the Liveview on my 40D for the first time and it really does make nailing focus a cinch for close-up shots. I was decidedly sceptical, but I'm a convert!
For a while now I've been wanting to get some off camera lighting and rather than invest in studio (continuous or flash) lighting I've taken the plunge with a set of wireless flash triggers for my speedlite. It means you can get a bit more creative with the angle and amount of flash. This shot (which is by no means perfect!! was lit with the speedlite on the right hand side of the shot and it straight away adds a bit of drama and interest.
Once I'd got the Speedlite off the camera you loose the thru-the-lens metering so you have to control the flash manually - a whole now world to learn which is quite exciting!
This is a page from the weekend (November SC) and features one my recent favourite pics of Martha - I took it when I was aiming to get some Christmas card pictures (hats and antlers!!) but Martha much preferred posing without!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I've been AWOL for a little while because I've been fighting a horrible virus... I'm still pretty ropey and am taking it super easy in an attempt to shake it off. I've got a page to share though that I did last weekend before it all kicked off! It's using Novembers Studio Calico kit and it was quick and easy, just the way it should be! Love those K&Co Embossed Butterfly die-cuts - I'm really not a fan of Butterflies that are too realistic, they always remind me of those horrible pinned displays - so these are perfect as they are more stylised.
Also to share is a wee Xmas notebook using BG Wassail and a Forever Friends stamp - he's made using the bits left over from my Wassail after finishing my Christmas cards (see last post!). I think he looks rather dapper in a Wassail hat and scarf... now there's an idea!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

An efficient Christmas..

One evening... 40 handmade cards... job done! Who says making Christmas cards has to be hard work??

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Wrap up warm!

I have to admit that Martha really doesn't feel the cold, but she still looks darn cute in my scarf!

Page is mostly Sassafras plus my fave Stampin Up punch down the left hand side of the lined paper layer... love that note-book finish!

I'm still trying to psyche myself up to crack on with my Christmas cards... even though i've ordered the pics I think i'm having a change of heart!! It's a tough (and important.... honest!) choice!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Keeping you in the dark...

Most scrapbookers admit to taking their camera pretty much everywhere they go, but I wonder if many people take it out in the pitch black to grab a couple of candid shots? Well I have! On a nightime walk with Lola grabbed my camera and flash and while she merrily snuffled through the leaves I snapped away! She didn't seem to mind the flash either!
I've used the wonderful November Studio Calico kit including this cool die-cut from K&Co. I love the autumnal shades and it's been the perfect way to scrap my autumn photos.
There's also a new challenge using the cute little Forever Friends bears - this weeks it's all about an unconventional Christmas - never let it be said that I like conventional colour schemes so this one was great fun for me. To be extra non-traditional I've used flowers on a Christmas card (and not your standard Poinsettia!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Variety is the spice of life...

The new challenge is now up at Scrapschemes. This time we had to lift a lovely page by Holly.
I of course grabbed my November Studio Calico kit and created a fun autumnal page with some added lashings of Sassafras for added cute-value!
One of the things I love about Scrapshemes is that it's a different sort of challenge each time... I'd get a bit bored with the same old idea every week... it's nice to have a bit of variety in your life!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting sketchy...

There's a sketch challenge over at the this challenge blog - and her's my take on it... sketches are great for cards (as well as scrapbook pages of course!) as you can mess with it to your hearts content to get something totally original. At first glance the sketch was a bit linear for me to use 'as is', but if you bring in your own style it soon becomes your own. I simply can't have anything floating on it's own so by skewing a few elements i've made it more pleasing to my eye!
So the moral of the story is.... (if you haven't dropped off yet!) don't dismiss something out of hand just because it isn't 'you'... there's always a way round it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

50mm is plenty...

Most digiSLR users will admit it's nice to have a big ol' bag of lenses to play around with, but sometimes if you take more than a couple out on a jaunt you'll end up with either a headache or backache... a headache from the fuss of changing them over or picking the best one for the job, or backache from lugging them around all day... Sometimes it pays to do yourself (and your chiropractor!) a favour and limit yourself to just one... So on Sunday I set out with just my Canon 50mm f1.8 (and my external flash for a bit of fill...) on my camera.
This lens is a total gem... it's pin sharp (especially when you stop it down a little bit), it's light and small in size so you can leave your huge camera bag at home! It's massive maximum aperture (f1.8) is perfect for dull winter days (yes... it's officially over!) when you'd give your right arm for a bit of decent light! Plus it's only about £70! (or you could get the f1.4 for 3 times the price!) Bear in mind thought that the f1.8 does feel a bit plasticy (if you've got some quality glass you'll be forgiven for wondering if it's a toy) and the AF is as noisy as hell! But if you can forgive that you'll be rewarded with a new best friend!
This lens is of course a prime lens (ie - a fixed focal length, you'll need to use the manual zoom.. aka your feet!) and what I love most about it is that you really have to think about compostition and framing rather than rely on a handy zoom!
All that being said it works just as well for frenzied action shots like these... where framing is sometimes more down to luck that judgement!!

Sassafras Land...

I'm finding the November kit perfect for a few fun Autumny (it's a word!!) pages - including these one of Martha not loving munching on some Pumpkin. I honestly think Sassafras can do no wrong as i've bunged loads on here! (I've just realised i've totally missed a dot off the 'I' on this one!)
Here's the little flower embellishment up close - I have to admit this is more a chance to show off how wicked my macro lens is!!! I can heartily recommend the Canon 100mm!
I'll hopefully be back later with a little challenge card for your viewing pleasure!

I managed to get out and about in a tiny window of sunshine opportunity to take a few more potential Christmas card pictures... neither the hat or antlers went terribly well last week... but i think i've got a winner now!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Famous smells.... in a good way!

I love it when you are browsing your old photos on your hard-drive and come across a really cute one that you missed scrapping at the time - i guess when you have a puppy, pretty much everything gets missed!
This page (which is all November Studio Calico) features baby Martha helping to sort our paper recycling into the special bag... I think the term 'help' is relative...

Today saw the wonderful experience of new carpet! It's one of those iconic yummy smells, along with new car, baking bread and dog conditioner (you had to be there!) and I can't stop wandering around in bare feet over it! Of course it's not one of those fancy shag-pile affairs... by necessity it has to be hard wearing, easy clean and a fetching beigy-brown tone to disguise dusty doggy footprints between vacuums! But it's a great finish and I love the warm colour and the open and spacious look it's given the room! The girls love it too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tell their story too...

The new Challenge at A True Friend is now live and it's all about the stories of our pets - My page features baby Lola and tells how it only took about ten minutes for Sandie to teach her to bark on command... told you she's a bad influence!!
For this page I've used some scrummy Sassafras along with my new Ali Edwards, Technique Tuesday stamps.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Paper clouds make me happy...

While i'm not what you'd call a fan of the real thing (unless they are those gorgeous fluffy white ones with a cerulean blue sky), the paper variety makes me so much happier. Lots of brands have some lovely cloudy offerings at the moment, this scrummy paper is October Afternoon - Weathervane and of course the stickers are Sassafras.
Another thing that always makes me happy is BasicGrey (Offbeat rules!) so i'm sure I can be excused for combining it with a Forever Friends bear! This is for a challenge that you can check out here...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Have I mentioned I love Studio Calico??

And so the wonderfulness that is the November Kit of Studio Calico begins... this was the first page I created and I couldn't resist using the cute Prima packaging that came with the gorgeous Map flowers. The page features my favourite Auntie having a cuddle with Martha! My girls aren't really allowed on the furniture.. I guess she's a bad influence!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Seven little things...

The lovely Emma has tagged me to list 7 random facts about myself... most of what I ramble on about is pretty random,  but i'll give it a go!

1. I've never seen Titanic - and have no desire to! Leonardo DiCaprio makes me a little nauseous!
2. When I was a child I used to have a dream about a Giant Caterpillar chasing me... and the only way to be safe from it was to make sure you had your coat buttoned all the way up! Clearly I've been scarred for life!
3. I have the Irish bloke (Sean!) on my Sat-nav... he's soothing!
4. Chris Packham once picked my dog as the second one he'd most like to take home at a fun dog show. - I've never forgiven him!
5. 'My' Karaoke song is Paint it Black by The Stones.
6. I quote Monty Python almost daily.
7. I'm proud to be a geek... i love a bit of Sci-fi and i'm not afraid to admit a fan-girl crush on Joe Flanigan! Swoon!

And to finish i get to tag 7 more people! I pick... Emma, Jo, Laurie, Laura, Paula, Beckie and Clare!

Just checking in!

Just to prove I am alive (and that I do get to see daylight at least once a week!) here's a shot of a very happy girl doing what she loves most!
Had a little recce about the local stores today for a few props for a very special photo shoot... I'm hoping for a bit of light to get it sorted - however you might have to wait till an important day in December to see the results!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Be SIlly...

The new scheme is up over at Scrap Schemes and here's my page for it...  I've used some of the lovely, lovely Offbeat BasicGrey along with this scrummy Crate Paper die-cut scallop circle and some Love Elsie bits.

The pictures are of Martha as a 'tiny' puppy - she was only 11 weeks old in these shots! She's still such a snuggly bear and will still quite happily climb on your lap for a big hug! You can tell she was a winter puppy - I think I kept my coat on almost 24/7 in case of needing to rush outdoors QUICKLY for house training duties!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm very, very glad to report that i'm typing this entry on my laptop!! Hurrah for ebay and a replacement power adaptor! Twenty odd quid later and i'm back online!
I've made another cute little card using a friendly Forever Friends stamp... for a little blog that you can find here... I've used some really cute papers from the Papermania Secret Garden collection - i just love those little clouds!

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a Hard Life...

I think i've scrapped this pic before, but it's so cute I couldn't resist it again! I've teamed it up with some of my favourite pages of the moment - BasicGrey Offbeat and Rose Moka. I'm also on a bit of a stash-busting kick to use a few of my mountain of flowers! I really love layering them along with papers and other embellishments so I hope you don't get bored with flowery layouts for a while!
I know a few of the girls are suffering a few sleepless nights at the moment (nothing earth-shattering in the greater scheme of things but enough to play on your mind) so wanted to give a big shout out to you all! You know who you are!! It's great to bond in the face of adversity though!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hopefully not terminal.....

Well my laptop is currently in Intensive care, i'm hoping it's just the power supply but until Mr Dell pulls his finger out we won't know!!! If you need me urgently..... call me!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Some friendly altering...

The new challenge has just gone live over at A True Friend - and it's a bit of a different one this time - this time we want to see your pet related Altered Art. I had a dig around and found this dirty and dusty old dog hook that looked in dire need of some TLC!
First I added some tasteful yellow/orange paint around the edges and on the knobs (stop sniggering!) and then added lashings of my favourite BasicGrey Ambrosia paper with a light covering of glitter glue.

Do pop over and check out the rest of the projects from the team. They rock!