Monday, 30 November 2009

17 again!

Welcome to 1991! This very special train is taking everyone back to being 17 :-) Lots of my friends are also 17 today, though they may be in slightly different time zones...

There's Kate, Helen, Jools, Nightwolf, Naddie, Laura, Sian, Beverly, Becky, Deb, Christy, Siobhan, Jo,
Sara, Monica, Gen, Abi (she's the train driver), and Jay (the platform guard). And me, of course. But you already found me ;-) Hope you enjoy the trip!

Would you like to get to know me a little bit better? Well, firstly, here's a pic:

Sorry, I hate having my photo taken! Most of the pics of me have my hand hiding my face, or are a side view or something because someone snuck up on me and I didn't realise they had a camera. Like this one:

Here are some facts about me:

My hair colour is: brown with a hint of red.

My hair style is: non-existent! Long hair, no fringe, no style as such…
My favourite brand of makeup is: none, I don’t wear make-up.
My "fashionable" item is: Um… You seriously think I might have a fashionable item?!
My favourite outfit is: jeans with a baggy t-shirt.
I drive a: Peugeot 309 when I can borrow it from my mum!
On a Saturday I go: to work in a bakery (my Saturday job).
On a Saturday night I go: home from work and stay in. I don’t have much of a social life :-(
On a Sunday I go: round to a friend’s house, or just stay in (see above!).
Monday-Friday I go: to school (6th form – to do A-levels in English, Maths, German and General Studies).
My best friends are: Caroline (even though she’s moved away), Catherine, Clare
My favourite place to go out is: nowhere really (see above…).
My favourite subject at school is: English. But I also really like Maths.
When I grow up I want to be: a teacher.
My favourite drink is: pineapple juice with lemonade.
My favourite food is: salt and vinegar crisps. (I’m a vegetarian. I’m not keen on vegetables though.)
My favourite shop is: the bakery where I work. Great boss, yummy cakes, and the odd freebie :-)
I want to marry: I have no idea! I suppose Marti Pellow would do nicely… ;-)
My favourite actor is: Kevin Costner. Or maybe River Phoenix. And I like Alan Rickman, too.
My favourite band is: Wet Wet Wet.
My favourite TV programme is: The Crystal Maze.
The one thing I want to do but can't (yet) is: go to university. I can’t wait to finish my A-levels and go to uni :-)
My most used mode of transport is: my feet!
If I had all the money in the world I would: go on holidays with all my friends :-)
I wish I could visit: New Zealand. I don’t know why, but it really appeals to me.
My favourite sport is: football (to watch, not play!)
This autumn I: started having driving lessons (they were a birthday present).
At Hallowe'en I dressed up as: nothing, I don't do anything for Hallowe’en.
I recently saw: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and thought it was: excellent! Kevin Costner AND Alan Rickman, mmmmm…
I am reading: Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Sylvia Plath’s poetry, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennesse Williams, The Rainbow by DH Lawrence (all for my English A-level). Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis by Bertolt Brecht and Das Brot der Fruehen Jahre by Heinrich Boell (for my German A-level). Touch Not The Cat by Mary Stewart for myself!
The big newspaper story this year is: Terry Waite got released from captivity. Also, Freddie Mercury just died.
The most dangerous thing I've ever done is: provoke my step-father.
The furthest away from home I've ever been (from the UK) is: Crete.

I seem to lead quite a boring life :-(

But also, I should maybe let you know that my Mum reads my blog sometimes....

I picked 17 of these facts about me and made a layout with them. Here it is:

(I meant to zoom in and crop that photo before I printed it. *doh!* I shall do that and replace the one on the layout some time...)

The background is dark brown card. I covered chipboard numbers with linen-textured pink card and inked the edges in brown.

The rest of the title I die-cut from the same pink cardstock. I printed the journaling in brown on the same cardstock, using Crushed Out Girl font. I cut the journaling into strips and arranged them on the page.

The journaling took up so much space that I couldn't fit much patterned paper on the page but I wanted to use a little bit, so I cut two pieces the same size as the photo, inked the edges in brown, and used them as a photo mat by angling them either side of the photo.
Thanks for visiting me here in 1991 :-) Now it's time to travel Back to the Future - you see, Abi really is 17! Wishing you a safe journey xx

Sunday, 29 November 2009

17 hours to go!!

Don't forget to check back after 4pm GMT for a special train - where 17 might just be an important number.....

Answer amnesty, blog break and Christmas card

I've had a few days where I've deliberately cut back on the time I've spent on the computer. It's been good. After some practice, I've been able to confidently recognise The Children and The Doctor, even in a crowd. We've been eating proper meals. I've spent time with friends. Yes, it's been good.

BUT it means I haven't been able to keep on top of replying to your lovely comments or returning visits to your lovely blogs, which is a shame :-( Please know that I have read, enjoyed and appreciated every comment, and I may well have visited your blog but just not had time to comment. I will catch up with you all, it just may take a while. Thanks for your patience xx

I did manage to make a Christmas card last night - in fact, I made quite a few! This particular one is for Something Completely Different:

The 'rules' were to use green and red, and to include a snowman. My little snowman consists of two pearlised buttons and two black ones and a scrap of red ribbon.

He's mounted on two different kinds of green handmade paper (not handmade by me, I hasten to add!) and the whole lot is on a green base card. Hope you like him - I think he's kinda cute :-)

Not long till that train leaves!! Don't forget - 4pm GMT on 30th November. But which year? That is the question.... See you then ;-)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

I love this video

Make sure you have the sound on - and enjoy :-)

Friday, 27 November 2009

Sneak peek

Don't forget, the train starts running at 4pm (GMT) on Monday. Here's a sneaky peek:

And you want another hint? Go on then: you'll be time travelling on this journey! ;-)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Wow!! exactly what I said when I opened this package yesterday:

Now, before I tell you about it, I want to bring your attention to Mise's giveaway tips. Apparently I should have been gloating shamelessly about my giveaway wins. According to some people, I have indeed been gloating shamelessly. The trouble is, I wasn't intending to gloat - merely to share my excitement at each little win, to let my joy bubble over onto my blog.... Yeah, OK. I can see how that might have seemed like gloating. But I only did it accidentally. So does it count? If not - Mise, I promise I shall try harder!

So anyway, I came across Ange's blog during Blogtoberfest. She happened to be running a giveaway, which I duly entered, but I didn't win it :-( (Unfortunately, I neglected to say that I liked her hair. I hadn't come across Mise's tips at that point.) BUT!! Ange said that she would send me a little something anyway, as I'd been such a regular visitor to her blog!! :-)

Well, that 'little something' arrived yesterday, all the way from Tasmania. Ladies and gentlemen, I think in Tasmania they have a different definition of the phrase 'little something'. The amazingly kind and superbly generous Ange had sent me a little scrap kit (mini-album, bee-yoo-tiful double-sided papers, photo mats, die cuts, title stickers and epoxy stickers). AND she had sent me a box of chocolate hearts. AND she had sent me some sweeties. AND she had sent me some caramel koalas 'for the kids'. AND she had sent me a couple of lovely postcards, including one of a Tasmanian Devil. And I didn't even win the giveaway! Thank you, thank you, thank you Ange! The Children are so excited to have chocolate sent to them from the other side of the world, and The Doctor is thrilled to have a share of the chocolate hearts. (The Doctor is also rather surprised that I'm actually sharing chocolate!) And I can't wait to use my scrapbook kit. So many thank yous from all of us!

You can see why I said Wow!!

The Doctor also received a package. It had a label on the outside. The label said 'Joe Browns'. Oh boy.... Do you think this post and leaving this annotated catalogue lying around will have been enough of a hint?!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Let it snow

A couple of interesting points were raised yesterday. (All comments left for me are interesting, naturally!! But there were a couple in particular that I wanted to mention!!)

Jo pointed out that, in saying that I had nothing to say, I was in fact saying something. 'Tis true, I seem to have used 43 words just to say that I had nothing to say.... Which is very 'Me', somehow!

And Amy asked how long I thought I could actually go without talking. Hmmm. I really don't know. Anyone care to offer an opinion on that?!

Clearly 'normal' service has been resumed, for here I am, wittering away as usual.... And today I have a card to share. It's for Something Completely Different, and this week they asked for the colours of blue and white, and for a snowflake.

I've kept my card very simple as I haven't had a lot of spare time this week, but I knew exactly how I wanted to put this together - alcohol inks on acetate is one of my new favourite techniques so that was definitely going in! And I have a little snowflake Sizzix die and lots of textured white card (is it called hammered, that texture? It looks like snow, anyway!) So I cut an aperture in a white base card, stuck some alcohol-inked acetate behind the aperture, and fixed a die-cut snowflake onto the acetate so it's 'suspended' in the middle of the window.

I wanted to add some layering and embellishments - maybe some paper sculpture-type detail in the bottom corner - but time just didn't allow, so I coloured a peel-off greeting with more of the alcohol ink and applied that just below the aperture.

By the way, I've just been checking train timetables! I think I should let you know that a very special train will be setting off at 4pm (GMT) on Monday 30th November..... And the good news is, it'll wait for you even if you're a bit late! It's a journey worth taking, as it may well help you to feel young again (and failing that, there should at least be few photos to giggle at and some lovely layouts to admire). See you then :-)

And probably several times before then, yes......!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

I don't believe it!!

You won't believe it either, but it's true - right now, at this moment, it's true!!

I don't know how it happened.

I don't know how long it will last (I suspect not long).


I have nothing to say!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Feeling blue....

....but only a little bit! For this week's Fashion Forward I've scouted around for a few accessories in turquoise hues. Just little touches to brighten up an otherwise sombre outfit. And they're all pretty affordable too - bonus!

Feeling blue

Items in this set:
Oasis belt, 10 GBP
Oasis scarf, 20 GBP bracelet, $10
Dorothy Perkins brooch, 8 GBP

How gorgeous is that velvet flower corsage?! Love it! :-)

Sunday, 22 November 2009


Thanks to everyone who came to the party yesterday :-) I wanted to give a little surprise party bag to a couple of you so I used a bit of (because The Hamster was sleeping and didn't want to play today....) and the random comments thus picked were:

Fiona, who said:
Fantastic. I have never tried doing anything smaller than ATC sized - maybe I should try an inchie!

Mise, who said:
These are super, and in one of my favourite colour combinations. I love the stained glass effect.
And you didn't even have to say that you liked my hair, Mise! Though saying that you liked my craft was obviously a bonus... ;-)

Fiona and Mise, I shall be in touch :-)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Creative Circle Blog Party

Welcome to the party!! Did you get here via Sian's blog, From High In The Sky? Cool, you'll already be in the party spirit then :-) Did you just happen upon the party here? Cool, you're very welcome! Let me take your coat. What would you like to drink? I can recommend the punch....

May I introduce you to a few people?

There's Rinda, at Gallo Organico. She's sharing some lovely mixed media work with us. (And she organised this party - thanks, Rinda!)

And here we have Jacky, aka Scrappy Jacky, who is a prolific and very talented cardmaker!

Then there's Sian, From High In The Sky, who scraps beautifully and makes me laugh often.

Me? I'm Mel :-) I dabble in almost any craft going lol but today I've been playing with small scale pieces - my contribution is of an inchie/twinchie/taggie/moo variety!

Sharyn, who is Living Artfully, will be popping in and out of the kitchen - she's cooking up something gorgeous for us (can't have a party without food!)

From Happy Bunny Designs we have Gemma, who's our photographer in residence today :-)

Fiona from Fiona's Flotsam has been having fun with some cute crochet. Can't wait to pick up some tips from her, as crochet is on my 'to-try' list!

And Lizzie of Lizzie Made is queen of mini albums (Queen Elizabeth! You see what I did there?!)

If you get lost at all (it's a big party....) you can always look out for Rinda, she knows who everybody is and where they can be found. (And she has a little party gift for one lucky party-goer...) Or you can find me, of course.

So, what are these inchie twinche taggie moo things then?! Shall we start with a few definitions?

Inchie: A square piece measuring 1" by 1" (approx 2.54cm by 2.54cm).
Twinchie: A square piece measuring 2" by 2" (approx 5.1cm by 5.1cm).
Taggie: Just a tag. Taggie fit better. Any size, really.
Moo card: A rectangular piece measuring 2.8cm by 7cm (or 7cm by 2.8cm. Depends how I feel that day).

The rest is up to you - at various times I've used cardstock, fabric, acetate, wood, Stampbord etc as a base, and decorated with stamping, inking, stitching, collaging, glittering, painting, layering.... The possibilities are endless, my friend!!

I decided to go with a self-imposed theme of roses and colour-scheme of pink, green and white - just because. And I couldn't decide between inchies, twinchies, taggies and moos, so I did one of each! Here they are:

And here's a closer look at each...

Inchie: I made a ribbon rose by coiling and stitching a piece of narrow organza ribbon. I began by folding one end to a point, then wrapped the ribbon around a few times and securing with a couple of stitches. Then I sewed a running stitch for an inch or two, gently pulled the thread to gather the ribbon, wrapped it round and secured as before. This gathering helps to give the outer 'petals' some shape.

When I reached the end of the ribbon I stitched it neatly(ish) to the back of the rose. I then trimmed a piece of card to a square inch, attached a loop of green ribbon to form leaves, and added the rose on top.

Twinchie: I found an Anita's stamp which just happened to be almost exactly 2 inches square (hooray!) I stamped it onto acetate using black StazOn then left it overnight to dry. I then flipped the acetate over and painted behind the design using acrylic paint, letting it dry between colours. (A spare scrap of acetate is great for mixing colours - but don't mix too vigorously or you get air bubbles!)

Then when this was all dry I just trimmed the acetate to size.

Tag: I used the brushless watercolour technique for this. Stamps with large 'solid' areas give the best results. Ink up your stamp - I use a pale shade generously all over the stamp, build up with a stronger shade, tapping it all over the stamp, then add a still darker shade just to the edges. Refresh the ink by 'huffing' on it - just breathing heavily onto it - then stamp onto paper or card. Watercolour paper is particularly good for this. I'm afraid I can't tell you much about this stamp; it was given to me and it has no identifying labels at all! But I can at least tell you that I used Whispers inkpads in Whisper Lilac, Grand Cranberry and Port Wine to do the inking, and a heavyweight watercolour paper to stamp onto. I wanted a very faded, antique-y look, so didn't refresh the ink very much. You can get a stronger impression by slightly moistening the paper before stamping if you prefer that effect.

Then I used my Big Shot to die cut the tag shape from the stamped card (but you could easily just hand-cut a tag shape). I added a couple of strips of green checked paper and a selection of ribbons and fibres to finish.

Moo card: For this piece I went for a paper-pieced peel-off technique. First cut the background cardstock to size and choose a peel-off to fit. Stick the peel-off to your clothing a few times so it isn't so sticky. Then apply it to some scraps of coloured paper or card, draw around the selected area, and remove the peel-off. Cut out the pieces and arrange on the base card, using the peel-off to check placement before you stick anything down.

Finally, stick the peel-off outline on top.

There we go, a few different rosy small-scale pieces - hope you like them!

Mmmm, something smells good..... Shall we go see what Sharyn's up to in the kitchen? See you there! :-)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Three in three days!

Just before I begin, a little reminder that something special's happening this weekend.... Check back tomorrow after 9am GMT to find out what it is! There might just be something in it for you.... ;-)

I am honoured and slightly overwhelmed that my blog has received yet another award :-) I can't tell you how much it means to me that people enjoy visiting my blog - so thank you to all of you who visit, to all who comment, and to those who have been kind enough to pass on blog awards to me. I'm really touched xx

I feel a slight Gwyneth Paltrow moment coming on.... "I'd like to thank (*sob*) my mother, my father, (*sob*) my husband, my (*sob*) children, my hamster, (*sob*) my postman, my window (*sob*) cleaner.....!"

More seriously, I'd like to thank the very creative and inspiring Creative Beast for passing on the Kreativ Blogger award to me :-) In return, I need to do a few things:

1. thank the person who nominated you for this award. (Check!)

2. copy the logo and place it on your blog. (Check!)
3. link to the person who nominated you for this award. (Check!)
4. name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. (Ah... Will do my best!)
5. nominate 7 Kreative Bloggers. (See below.)
6. post links to the 7 blogs you nominate. (Ditto.)
7. leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated. (Will do!)

Seven things that people might find interesting. Hmmm. How about I just tell you seven things about myself and you pretend to find them interesting?! Please?! Go on, be polite!!
  1. I once did a bungee jump.
  2. I know the value of pi to 35 decimal places (did I just admit that out loud?!)
  3. My name means black sheep.
  4. I have at least 7 scars (that accident prone thing again...)
  5. I can play four different instruments - all of them badly! But I can at least play a tune or two on them....
  6. I was married at the age of 23.
  7. I have spent time in 18 different countries, but have never (yet) left Europe.
Now to nominate some worthy creative blogging types :-)
  1. Ruth
  2. Liberty
  3. Sarah
  4. Rainbow Child
  5. GemmaJoy
  6. Lizzie
  7. Jacky
Hope you like your well-deserved award, girls :-) It's great to pass it on to you!

And I hope to see you _all_ tomorrow for that special something I keep hinting about... ;-)

We Are Writers!

We enjoy writing in this family :-)

I do - this blog is evidence enough! I like putting the English language together. I like to consider my audience. I enjoy composing letters and emails, I've written poems and stories, I did a couple of lengthy written projects at university (which may not sound unusual - but I did a maths degree!) I've been fortunate enough to have several articles published, too.

The Doctor does - he's written several books and many articles, and writing is a big part of his job.

The Children do - and their school actually published a book of collected writings of the pupils last year, so they too have been in print! But they both enjoy writing little stories, sometimes by hand, sometimes on the computer, usually illustrated.

Yesterday I came across two such pieces while tidying up. Neither is recent. Both are lovely. I will scrapbook these.

Written by The Boy, age 6, and tucked inside my birthday card.

my garden

          two sparow
          two sparrows
          two blackbirds
          one blue tit and
          one pigon played hide from the
          sparrowhawks they played all
          day and had a lot of fun.
               suddenly a
               cat came so
               they hid from
          the end

Written by The Girl, age 6.

The Owl and the Dog

Once there lived a story called the Owl and the Dog.
Here are some facts about Owl:
  • Owl is always boasting.
  • Owl is always asking if anyone wants to try and fly better than him.
Here is a fact about Dog:
  • Dog is as fast as a blur.
Here is the story. I hope you enjoy it!

Once a long time ago there lived an owl and a dog.
Dog was sleeping (as usual) when he heard a noise. But it was only Owl... So Dog picked up his bone in his mouth and set off towards Owl and said "Because you are always boasting then if you boast then I shall tickle you with my fur."
"Okay", said Owl and he never boasted again. THE END.
By Full Name Of The Girl. (By the way sheep suck.)

We enjoy writing in this family :-)

PS I don't know why sheep suck, OK?!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Another day, another award!

Aww, many thanks to Gez who has given my blog a 'Making Smiles On Faces Award'. That certainly put a smile on my face! :-)

(Not easy after an anaesthetic at the dentist's....)

For this one I need to share 5 facts about myself. Hmm.....
  1. I'm a Hereford United fan.
  2. Peppers give me indigestion.
  3. My eyes are of an indeterminate colour. They're kind of bluey-greeny-grey. I mainly go with green.
  4. I've broken both of my little toes, several times. (I'm accident prone. And I have big feet. Bad combination.)
  5. I lived in 7 different houses in my first 7 years of marriage.
And now I can pass the award onto some bloggers who make me smile :-)

There are lots to choose from! But I'd like to pass the award onto Gen, Mise and Vic, for being so entertaining as they write about craft, life, etc :-) And also to Eve, Rinda, Rachel and Sharyn for being amongst those who inspire me creatively :-)

(Now I've probably offended the first three by suggesting that they might not inspire me creatively, and the last four by suggesting that they might not be entertaining.... Sorry! You all inspire AND entertain me, OK?!)

These hands...

The new challenge is up at All About Me, and it's entitled 'My Mark'. I had a little think about this one. I don't have any tattoos (I'm scared of needles) so that option was out. I have plenty of scars (I'm accident prone....) but there's no way I'm photographing my Caesarian scar!! I have one tiny birthmark (on my hip) but it's really not very interesting. So I decided to go with the slant of leaving my mark. And that train of thought led me to handprints. And then that led me to thinking about what my hands do. Which led me to lots of messy painty fun!!

The base cardstock is just plain white, and I started by covering my hands with navy acrylic paint and adding my handprints to the page. For the title I printed the words 'these hands' using a stencil font, handcut the letters out, then used the negative to stencil using the same paint. It got a bit splodgy but that was part of the fun :-)

While the paint was drying, after I'd cleaned up a bit, I made a list of some of the things my hands do - just in rough, on a scrap of paper. Wow, it's amazing how busy our hands are when we think about it! I added this list as journaling all around the edge of the handprints and around the edge of the page. (My own handwriting, bleh.... But it couldn't be otherwise, really, on a page about my hands!)

I won't list everything here, but here are a few of the things my hands do:
  • cook dinner for my family, Sunday roast a speciality
  • open letters - I love to receive post, even junk mail
  • operate the remote control for the TV
  • wash, dry, fold and put away (eventually) all our clothes
  • type letters, emails and articles

  • change lightbulbs and do other little DIY jobs
  • do craft - cardmaking, scrapbooking, ATCs, occasionally cross-stitch
  • take photos, especially of my children
  • bake cakes and biscuits
  • fold together in prayer

  • do puzzles - crosswords, logic problems, Hanjie...
  • drive the car
  • wave my children off to school each day
  • make picnics
  • help me to talk! I find it hard to speak without gesticulating!
These hands are now going to be clasped nervously as I'm off to the dentist for a filling (I hate going to the dentist....)

But just before I go, a reminder that something's happening this weekend..... ;-)

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Sneak peek!

Shhh..... Something's coming...... But it's still a secret at the moment!

Do you want a clue? Oh go on, then, here are four ('cos I'm feeling generous):

Over the top!

My blog's been given an award! Thanks Jo, that's so sweet of you :-)

The idea is to answer some questions in a 'getting to know you' exercise, using one word answers only. Except that I came across these questions on another blog a while back lol - nothing to do with an award there - and liked the idea, so I've already answered them!! You can find my answers here...

And now I get to pass on the award to blogs I love! The only trouble is, how to choose?! There are so many fab blogs out there! After much deliberation, I have chosen:

Amy, for being a good friend-by-email and for her beautiful scrapbooking and elegantly simple/simply elegant blog :-)
Sian, for writing so cleverfully and making me smile often :-)
Jess, another good friend-by-email, for her cool craft kits and helpfulness with shopping and shipping :-)
Clair, for being generally fabulous and lovely in every way :-)

Hope you like your well-deserved award, girls! I'm honoured to share it with you xx

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

To all my lovely visitors...

...and most especially, to everyone who commented on yesterday's post - this is for you:

I really appreciate your kind wishes and prayers xx

I am feeling better, sad, obviously, regretful for what might have been, but thankful that at least he is now released from his suffering. Please continue to think especially of my aunt and the other family members who were caring for him and so close to him, for whom this will be a continuing shock and grief for some time to come. Thank you xx

I just wanted to mention that I'm involved in a 'something' this week which is a welcome project to keep me busy. Look out for more details later in the week :-)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Sad news

Yesterday afternoon my cousin, who had suffered a brain haemorrhage a few years ago, sadly passed away. He was 36 years old. Auntie C, Uncle P, and all the family, our thoughts and prayers are with you xx

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Lovely people and a little craft project

Aww, you guys!! :-) I wasn't even going to mention that idiot from yesterday, just to prove that it really no longer bothered me, but I just had to say a big Thank You!! to everyone who left such lovely, sweet, kind and supportive comments for me :-) I'm really touched and very much appreciated all you had to say xx

I thought today I'd do a little share of my December project from last year. Before I do, I just want to say that in no way do I want to tread on the toes of Shimelle with her Journal Your Christmas class (after all, I've signed up for it myself starting this year!) Likewise, I'm not in any way trying to 'compete or compare' with Ali Edwards and her December Daily. But last year I made a little journal to take me through December 1st-25th, really enjoyed the whole process, and thought I might share a few notes and pics here.

It's a simple little album, 6 by 4 inches in total. I made it in November so that all I needed to do through December was add the journaling and photos. The covers are chipboard which I inked with a green inkpad. I gathered together pieces of Basic Grey Christmassy papers, ribbons and buttons in co-ordinating colours, cream cardstock for the pages, journaling stamps and a black inkpad, foam number stamps and a green inkpad, and a black journaling pen. (Plus scissors and adhesive of course!)

The front cover is decorated with a couple of strips of patterned paper and some rick-rack, and a journaling stamp which I embellished with a stamped tree and then wrote on the title of the project. For each page I just added a strip of patterned paper and a button or two, and I stamped a pile of journaling spots but didn't yet stick those down in case I stuffed up the writing.... But I did arrange them in the order I wanted them, and stamped the date of each in green so it would form a background to the journaling. I also made an introductory page, a kind of statement of intent, in the same style:

(I'm really not keen on my handwriting! But this was a personal project for me and my own memories so using my own writing seemed appropriate here.)

For each day I chose what I wanted to write about, did the journaling and stuck it into the book, and chose which photo I wanted to use. The photos I added later though, not having a photo printer at the time. On some of the days the topic of the journaling was obvious (for example, we have some family birthdays in December; The Children had their Christmas plays at school; certain activities were going to happen on particular dates). In some cases I deliberately chose what I would do that day so I could journal about it on an otherwise 'quiet' day (for example, I made my mincemeat and mince pies on days that were not already birthdays, Christmas plays etc!). I am the queen of lists, so I made a list of all the typical Christmassy activities I wanted to include and tried to match them up to the available dates. Slightly contrived? Possibly. Do I care? Not at all! ;-)

When the photos came I stuck them back to back, adding ribbon, buttons and a stamped number to each. Where the journaling was about Christmas recipes, I made a pocket by leaving the top edge of the photos open and included the recipe on a card tucked into the gap. A loop of ribbon attached to the top of the card made it easy to pull out when required and added to the embellishment of the album as a whole. I then arranged everything in order, punched holes through it all, used book rings to hold it together and tied scraps of ribbon around the book rings.

I love that this is an album of a particular Christmas but also an album of a typical Christmas. I love the mix of recipes, activities, traditions and memories. I love that it was so easy to put together during a busy time of the year, while also encouraging me to take time to reflect each day. I love that I can look through it again now and the memories and Christmassy feelings flood back :-)

Here are a few selected pages:

Thanks for looking! Hope your Christmas plans are coming on well :-)