Saturday, 31 October 2009

Blogtoberfest: The Finale (and a last chance to win!)


31st Blogtober is here - and I did it!! Was there ever really any doubt lol? So today is your last chance to enter my Blogtoberfest giveaway and my 100th post giveaway. Now, I said that both giveaways would close at 12 midnight tonight GMT, but as I won't be able to pick any winners till tomorrow afternoon, and as the time difference for some readers makes things more complicated anyway, you can basically enter up until the point where I edit this post to say 'Giveaway now closed!' which won't be till about lunchtime tomorrow... Have I overcomplicated that enough?!

Fancy another entry? Leave a comment on this post telling me what you're most looking forward to in November and I'll put your name into both draws one extra time :-)

As for me, what I'm looking forward to is:

Blogging for Scrapbookers (starts Monday!! Yay!!)

I Have To Confess (even though this was a free class and I paid for Worth a Thousand Words - and signed up for that first - it's the confession one that's got me thinking most over the past couple of days so that's the one I'm going to start working on first. See below!)

And - getting to the end of the month! I love December, it's full of birthdays of people I love, beautiful lights and decorations, singing in a choir, special traditions, presents.... and also I can't wait to do Journal Your Christmas!

Oh yes, the confessions thing? Now don't go expecting any deep dark secrets lol... But I have been thinking about the kind of 'confession' I could put into an album like this. Here's one:

I enjoy reading children's books...

Did you spot my cunning plan for blog fodder here? I can blog the photo of each confession, and then, when I make the page, I can blog about that too! Twice as many posts! ;-)

Friday, 30 October 2009

Blogtober the 30th - penultimate day!

The end of Blogtoberfest is in sight... I'd worry about what on earth to blog through November, except (a) I have Blogging for Scrapbookers to sustain me, and (b) I've never yet run out of stuff to say!!

Here are a few cards I made last night:

They're all dinky little A7 size, very simply put together - strips of my hoarded scraps in rainbow colours, and a tiny peel-off greeting (these tiny greetings are among the few peel-offs that I actually like!) I wanted gold greetings - you know, like the gold at the end of the rainbow - but I only had one gold peel-off that said the right thing so the rest are black. And actually, the black greeting on white card with rainbow brights looks pretty good anyway :-) I like this colour combination - as can be seen here, and in various other projects I'm sure I'll share some time!

I must just mention a couple of kits on offer at Can You Pixel This? I can vouch for the quality of Jess' work and her excellent taste, on account of me having received this from her last week. Her latest offering is a kit to help you make some beautiful little magnets, something like this:

Better yet, the kit comes in this cute little tin:

I've also got my eye on a traveler kit that comes in orange or blue (I'm after the blue one):

Have a great weekend, everybody :-)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

That's weird...

I really was going to stop at just one post today, but I just came across this in the new Joe Browns catalogue:

Does it look familiar? It probably does if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, because here's what I made just a little while ago:

And yes, they're both made from recycled magazines. And of course I posted only this week about what a fan of Joe Browns' stuff I am!

So now, to be honest, I feel a bit strange about it. I also feel the need to state, categorically, that I had not seen the Joe Browns version before I made mine, it's purely a coincidence.

I feel I need to say that, just in case.

Thanks for listening...

Prizes and punky hair-dos on 29th of Blogtober

I can't believe Blogtoberfest is nearly over!! Which means only a couple more days to enter my giveaway... And my other giveaway..... ;-)

Meanwhile, look what the postie brought!!

It's my stunningly pretty, cute and gorgeous prize from the giveaway Sarah ran at Christopher & Me - a pillowcase dress (which sadly is slightly too small for me, being suitable for 9-18 months...) I had planned to give it to a friend who just had a baby girl, but Sarah mentioned that it could be worn as a top over jeans or such like and while it's still too small for me (boo!!) it would fit The Girl - if I can only persuade her to wear it, as she usually avoids pink, being a The Tomboy type! Failing that, I could give it to my god-daughter, who is definitely a The Girly Girl type and _loves_ clothes. Decisions, decisions! Meanwhile I just keep looking at it and admiring its cuteness and workmanship (and speed of arrival, all the way from Australia!) Here's a closer look for you too:

In other news, The Boy had a haircut this week. His hair is so thick and grows so fast that it's been really difficult to find a 'style' for him - we mainly just go 'short'! But this time we experimented with spiking up the fringe a little. He's still getting used to the idea lol and yesterday he discovered the hedgehog look:

We're still working on the style thing!! Note how the fringe is the only bit that didn't get spiked?!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

I talk too much!! (A giveaway opportunity...)


Clearly I do talk too much, because this is my 100th post!! And I only started blogging towards the end of August... *blush*

I also got my 50th Follower yesterday, woo-hoo!! Thank you so much :-) I value each and every one of you :-)

Now, either of those things would be worthy of a giveaway ordinarily, but of course I'm still running my Blogtoberfest giveaway! But then I thought, you know what? There's no reason why I can't have another giveaway at the same time - yes, it might get a little confusing, but hey - I like to overcomplicate things! So, here's a little prize that's specifically to celebrate 100 posts and 50 followers:

There's an Usborne book of 'Christmas things to stitch and sew', a set of mini alpha stamps, and a handmade mini album.

If you'd like a chance to win this prize, just leave a comment - anything you like! - on this post. Anyone welcome to enter, I'm happy to post worldwide. As with my other giveaway, you can enter until midnight (GMT) on Saturday 31st October; I'll choose a winner at random and announce it on Sunday afternoon. And because I just can't keep things simple, if you're a follower then leave a separate comment telling me so and I'll give you an extra entry :-) Good luck!

As well as talking too much I also do too much... Not content with signing up for Blogtoberfest, Blogging for Scrapbookers, Journal Your Christmas AND Worth a Thousand Words, I've also taken on a couple of free Shimelle classes: I Have To Confess and This Year.

I'm also very interested in Scrap Your Day but I'm thinking that would be a good 2010 project. Write It Down also looks really cool. And I'm sure I'll work my way through every single one of Shimelle's classes eventually. Now I'm the one who needs the luck...!

Comments, cookery and craft on 28th Blogtober

About comments, first of all...

I _love_ getting comments on my posts! It's so lovely to know that people are reading what I have to say, and that they're interested enough to reply. It never fails to make me smile when I get an email to say that there's a new comment on my blog! (And all this despite the fact that I claimed right back here when I first set up my blog that it really didn't matter if I was the only one who ever read it....)

BUT! I know I can be a bit rubbish sometimes at getting back to people when they've commented! I do try, really I do... Sometimes by email (if you left an email address on the comment form - it doesn't get published here, but does allow me to email you), sometimes by referring to your comment in my next post, sometimes within the comments themselves, and sometimes by visiting your blog in return. But I know that I haven't always managed it, and I am truly, sincerely sorry if I've missed you (particularly when I consider how much pleasure and how many smiles your comments give me). I have been going back through a few older posts and so if I haven't visited you yet I may well be doing so soon, but more importantly, I promise to try harder with all new comments. And please, know this: I read, enjoy and appreciate every single comment, I really do :-)

Craftwise, today's post once again includes a cookery update. Jess's gorgeously lovely and generous giveaway prize has really inspired me to keep building my recipe blog - next step is to make some recipe cards and transfer the details onto those! So the latest updates are:

Drop scone/Scotch pancake thingies

Tomato sauce

Smoked salmon and spinach pasta

And I'm just waiting for an excuse to make some chocolate fudge, so I can share that recipe with you too... ;-)

And finally (for now!) I've made an inchie for the latest challenge at Something Completely Different. The theme this week is Faces, and once again I really seem to have made heavy weather of it, for no good reason! I dithered between lots of different ideas, eventually going with a mixture of faces on coins and watch faces, like so:

I'm still not completely happy with it, but I'm glad to have done it at last! As you can see, I've turned the face on a 1p coin into a clock face, by sticking on some old watch hands and writing the numbers around the edge of the backing card. That's the bit that didn't turn out quite as planned (partly because the ink bled slightly) but I'm going to leave it be now or I'll never get this week's challenge completed!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A notebook tutorial on 27th of Blogtober

Here's the notebook tutorial, as promised :-)

Fabric-covered notebook

You will need: mountboard or sturdy cardstock, fabric, scissors, adhesive, Crop-a-Dile or other hole punch tool, book rings, ribbons/buttons/stickers etc for embellishment (see step-by-steps for sizes and other details!)

First you need to decide how big you want your notebook to be. I usually make them A6, but long thin ones can be useful for shopping lists, and sometimes you might want a larger size - it really depends how you want to use it! Will it sit on a desk at home? Or do you want to be able to carry it round with you in a pocket or handbag? What kind of notes is it for? Short sentences, odd words, jottings? Or longer pieces of writing, such as journaling, story-writing, drafting articles or pieces of coursework?

Having made that decision, you'll need two pieces of sturdy cardstock in that size. One reason I usually go for A6 size is that I can get hold of A5 mountboard quite cheaply and just need to cut it in half to give me both front and back cover :-)

Next you need to gather together some fabric for the front cover. Pretty much anything will do - leftovers from other projects, spare pillowcases, pieces of outgrown clothes (though I only use items that aren't good enough to pass on to a charity shop) - you could even buy some specially! ;-)

Each piece needs to be just a little bit bigger than your front cover - there should be at least an inch spare on each edge.

Then you need to iron the fabric (yes, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid 'tis so...)

There are various ways of adhering the fabric to the cover but I tend to favour double-sided tape for most of my crafting. I'd recommend tape of about 1cm wide for this project but I seem to have run out, so I've used narrower tape here! I also strongly recommend the kind where the backing has a slight overlap to make it easier to lift away, as there are a couple of steps where that will be a _lot_ easier to work with. Apply tape all round the edge of the piece of mountboard/cardstock that is destined for the front cover:

As you can see, I've used two lines of tape on one edge. This is where I plan to punch the holes later, and I want to make absolutely sure the fabric is secure in this area. (This extra tape may not be necessary if you're using the wider variety.) I also applied tape in the same way to the other side of the piece of mountboard. You can if you wish apply tape to pretty much the whole of the piece of board or cardstock, to ensure that the fabric is secure, but I've found that thoroughly sticking down the edges is enough.

Now remove the backing from all the tape on one side of the mountboard/cardstock and lay it sticky side down on top of the fabric, making sure that the fabric is wrong side up! Turn the piece over and smooth the fabric over the mountboard, pressing down firmly along each edge. Then flip it again and trim away any excess fabric so there's a border of about 1 inch:

Next peel away the backing for the rest of the tape and neatly fold in the corners of the fabric, pressing down firmly:

And then add a little more tape in those corners:

Peeling the backing away from these little pieces can be fiddly, as the tape will want to come away from the fabric! If you've got the kind where the backing overlaps that will help. Make sure you press the tape down hard onto the fabric - rubbing it with the back of a fingernail or with a rub-on tool will help it to adhere. Alternatively, you can use glue dots in the corners.

*Make sure you remember which edge has the extra tape, because you're about to cover it up now! You can draw a tiny arrow in pencil in the centre of the inside cover if you like, as this will be covered up later, but at some point you'll just need to make a mental note!*

Fold the edges of the fabric over, again pressing down firmly:

Now just check that the fabric is smoothly adhered with no wrinkles. If you need to peel away a bit and re-do it you should find that the double-sided tape allows you to do this OK.

Next we need to cover up those messy edges, and make the cover stronger and the fabric more secure in the process. Cut a piece of cardstock to slightly smaller than the size of your cover. (With A6 notebooks I trim about 1/4 inch off the long and short edges of a piece of A6 cardstock.) Apply tape to the edges and a bit extra to the centre of this cardstock and stick it down centrally on the inside of your front cover:

Here's what it looks like from the front now:

Right then, quick!! Before you forget where the extra tape is! I use my Big Bite to punch the holes, though other kinds of hole punch should do the trick. (Alternatively of course you can use a Bind-It-All or similar, but I don't have one so I don't know how/if it handles fabric.) It's up to you exactly where you place the holes - and indeed, how many holes you have - but for an A6 notebook I generally go for two holes, 1 1/2 inches from the top or bottom edge, and about 1/2 inch in from the side.

If the fabric looks like fraying around the holes, or if you just want a neater or a different look, you can always set eyelets into each hole - but do make sure the book rings will fit through the eyelets OK!

Use the front cover as a guide to placing the holes in the back cover and, later, the pages themselves.

(You can also cover the other piece with fabric so both front and back covers look pretty... :-) I usually leave it plain though!)

Then you can decorate that front cover! I've included below one example of how you could do it and there's another 'look' here, but this is a great opportunity to use your imagination and any supplies you have available :-) Just one thing to remember: if you want to be able to carry this around in your bag, make sure everything is very securely stuck down, and you may want to avoid anything with too much dimension. (Buttons aren't out of the question though, but use glue dots so they're well and truly stuck!) You want to avoid loose edges in this case, too. If it's a 'stay-at-home' kind of notebook then you don't need to worry quite so much, but do bear in mind that it will be handled a fair bit.

So, this is how I embellished this particular notebook. First I applied two strips of ribbon across the cover, near the bottom. One was a nice red grosgrain, and for this I first applied a strip of tape across the cover, allowing it to overlap slightly at both ends:

I peeled away the backing and carefully placed the ribbon on top, again allowing it to overlap. I pressed down firmly then trimmed both ends:

Doing it this way helps to prevent the ribbon from fraying. Placing the tape first also helps you to keep the ribbon in a straight line! This also works well on cards and LOs...

For the ric-rac the tape was too wide, so this time I used glue dots. Did you know you can roll glue dots into thin strips?! I only found this out quite recently, and it was a bit of a *doh* moment! Very useful indeed in cases like this :-) I applied rolled glue dots here and there along the back of the ric-rac, making sure that when I positioned it on the cover there would be glue dot overlapping at each end:

(Ahem. I'm thinking I should maybe have ironed the ric-rac first...)

Then I pressed it into place and trimmed the ends as before.

(If you want the ribbon to be neater and also more securely adhered, you can use a longer length and wrap the edges round to the back of the cover - before adding the cardstock to the inside of the cover.)

Then I added letter stickers:

Then finally I put the book rings through the front and back covers. No pages yet lol! If you want plain (or lined) paper, just cut it to the same size as the covers or slightly smaller, punch holes using the cover as a guide, and join it all using book rings. Or you can use repurposed papers such as old book pages, maps, small pieces of notepaper or patterned paper etc, postcards, etc, etc.... As I did here (with more pics here).

Phew! Made it lol! Thanks for reading my latest tutorial - feedback and comments always welcome :-)

(Also, this is my craft for Craft It Wednesday - which doesn't have to be posted on a Wednesday!! It's kind of my contribution for last week, though actually the new MckLinky is up so it's kind of my contribution for this week too...)

Also, because once again I don't have enough to do.... (*hollow laughter*!) I've signed up for one of Shimelle's archived classes, Worth a Thousand Words:

The advantage of it being archived is that I won't feel any need to 'keep up', I can go through the prompts at my own pace. The disadvantage of this is, of course, I may not actually get on with it at all... I'll have to see how I go with Blogging for Scrapbookers (which I keep trying to call Scrapping for Bloggers!!) but with Journal Your Christmas on the horizon too I may just have bitten off more than I can chew....

Monday, 26 October 2009

26th of Blogtober's Fashion Forward

Before I get all 'fashionable', I want to thank those of you who've already left suggestions here on how to draw my giveaway winners :-) I am a little concerned that maybe Amy means I should freeze The Hamster...?! And Vic is so right, he is indeed a The Duracell Hamster - he does stop occasionally, but mainly because he's just run into a wall! I could maybe see where he is on the big piece of paper after 1 minute of rolling, or something... So any more suggestions will be welcome, thank you!

OK, now for this week's Fashion Forward :-) I've decided to go totally with a Joe Browns theme this week. I just _love_ their stuff!! Indeed, I'm wearing a JB top right this minute! I also love how they present the clothes in their catalogues. Mostly I just like the relaxed, funky vibe of the clothes, and how comfortable they are to wear :-) Here's a bit of a JB medley:

This is kind of my wishlist from their latest catalogue (hint, hint to The Doctor if you're reading this darling...!) Except that actually, it's my edited wishlist, as I figured this post was already extremely picture-heavy so I really ought to stop at 15 items... But oh, I love them all!! Most especially that floral peak hat on the top row, and the grey tunic with the pointy hem (great for work, with black woolly tights and knee high black boots), and also the pinky purply floral hooded top for casual wear, and - You get the idea!

I realise I haven't done a proper 'craft' post for a few days - that would be because I still haven't felt inspired to get the craft iron out. But I shall get and do that NOW (even though I don't feel like it) 'cos I really want to get on with those notebooks! So even if I don't manage to post the notebook tutorial I mentioned, at least I should have the notebooks themselves to share with you soon :-)