As with most (and quite possibly probably all) of you, this time of year just gets busier than ever. I'm fed up of hearing myself apologise for falling behind with my blog visits, so please just take it as read. I will do my best to get round to see you all and comment when I can, but I can't promise when that will be! It may be that for a while I'll need to scale down my commenting in order to fit in more reading, but I will try to check in with you often enough that you know I am still reading :)
Meanwhile, apart from my Project 365 posts, I shall also be scaling down my own blog posting for a the next few weeks. I have plenty to share about the fabby weekend away, and I shall be working on my Journal Your Christmas as well as some sort of December Daily, but I shall probably aim to do less frequent 'round up' posts with a few days at a time rather than daily individual posts. I'm hoping that will save some time for both me and you! (And I think you deserve a rest after my mammoth posting frenzy with all my Pretty Paper Party layouts!)
People who've signed up for the second phase of the Facebook Project, I'll be in touch with you very soon. All your faces are stamped and ready, but I was planning to go to the Post Office on Wednesday; however, both The Children's schools will be closed due to the strike action and I've also offered to look after my friend's two kids for some of the day so it looks like that one window of opportunity will be closed and I might have to wait till next week :( I'll send an email round letting you know where I'm up to with that.
I did want to share with you some particular photos as soon as possible, though :) One of the (many) highlights of the weekend away was receiving a very special gift from the lovely and very talented K as part of a Pay It Forward. I had no idea what she might make for me but having seen some of her previous projects on her blog I knew I was in for a treat! Do you want to see what I got? :)
Isn't it amazing? A specially altered dictionary, custom-made for me!
I love the finish on it - the texture, the glaze, the patina of age, the little details...
But you know, it's even more special than might appear at first. You see, when you open it up and turn the first few pages, nestling inside in a little secret cubby hole is:
How extra fabulous is that?! I love K!! She rocks! Thank you, my dear :)
(Footnote: I tweeted pics of this last night, and Green & Black's spotted my tweets and retweeted the photo above! So thrilled that K's creation gets the recognition it deserves!)
Right, my friends. Time for me to have an early lunch before heading off to teach my papercrafts class then collecting The Children from school and dropping them off home then going to a (long) school governor meeting before fetching The Tomboy from Brownies then dashing home for a late dinner before heading out again to collect The Boy from Kids' Club and then trying to dash off a few more Santa letters because some came in late on Friday so I couldn't do them over the weekend and then having a much-looked-forward-to Skype with my dear friend Amy... Yes, it's a quiet day today! ;) Speak soon xx
I look forward to telling you lots more about it, too - I had the most wonderful time with the most wonderful people, it was ace! I achieved quite a lot, I laughed much, I talked a little tiny bit, I saw much amazing craft to inspire me, I ate a little tiny bit of cake, I adopted a Herman, I added some new words to my Melsh-English Dictionary...
For now, here's a quick photo:
More details will surely follow, but I wanted to announce the winner of my giveaway! After much highly technical and advanced choosery involving torn up scraps of paper with names scrawled on, which I accidentally dropped on the floor and decided that was as good a way as any of shuffling them, I picked out....
A while back, the lovely Cheri offered people the chance to have a read of this book:
I leapt at the chance, and was thrilled when it arrived with me via various other bloggers in various other locations! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and the time has come for me to send it on to Amy, who I'm sure will thoroughly enjoy it too :) Many thanks Cheri for sending this book on its journey! xx
Now, some of you may have missed out on the chance to read it; I thought maybe I could do something about that? ;) I've been having a little look at Amazon and both the UK and US versions thereof currently have this book in stock. In fact, so does Canada... And indeed so do France and Germany and Italy and Spain and China and Japan!
So, here's my plan. If you'd like to have your own copy of this lovely book, and you live in one of the countries mentioned above, please express an interest via a comment on this post. What I'm hoping to be able to do is generate an Amazon gift certificate to the value of the book in whichever country the winner lives in. I've never actually tried this with a non-UK version of Amazon so if the winner is overseas I may have to think of an alternative method, but I'm hoping I can make it work! Once I've picked a winner and established where it is they live I'll investigate ways and means....
The closing date for entry is Sunday 27th November, at 6pm GMT. By then I should be home from my special Bloggers' Weekend Away so I hope to announce a winner that evening (though it may be a day or two later if life gets in the way, as it has a habit of doing!) Till then, I'll leave this post top, so scroll down if you want to see any new Project 365 photos.
17th November: In my role as one of Santa's Elves, I had to write to the children at school asking them if they'd like to write to Santa and receive a reply from him. Which meant photocopying 200 2-page letters and stapling the 2 pages of each together, counting them out into class sets and taking them to each classroom..... (Father Christmas, please note that I've been a very good and helpful girl this year, especially that day!!)
16th November: The Mother and I spent the morning at a big local shopping outlet, getting some of our Christmas shopping done :) (And then in the afternoon I went to Asda for the weekly shop, and followed my usual pattern through November and December of adding in just a couple of imperishables for the Christmas food fest, to spread the cost - this week it was the turkey!)
15th November: My issue of the new scrapbooking magazine arrived :) So good to see another scrapbooking mag, I've really missed Scrapbook Inspirations since its sad demise - and even more exciting because the Design Team includes my talented and lovely friend Sian! :)
14th November: We have a tradition that on someone's birthday they bring cake into work for everyone to share (I should maybe add that I do mean someones who work with us rather than random someones who happen to have a birthday!!) This particular colleague had had a cake made for her with a photo on it, so I can't share the pic, sadly - but I can tell you that the cake was delicious ;)
Hooray - the faces are all back with me, beautifully coloured in :) And so, as promised, here's a tutorial for putting together a 'wandering snake book'!
I'm hoping that those who took part in the project will find this useful as a possible way of displaying their images, but even if you didn't take part you may find a use for a little book such as this for something else - photos cropped small, your own stamped images, any other tiny keepsakes...
First, find a piece of cardstock that will give you a good contrast with the colourful faces. I've gone for black. (Actually, perhaps I should say that first you'll need to trim the excess cardstock from the images!)
The stamped images measure a little under 2x2", so I wanted each 'page' of my book to be 2x2", which would leave a narrow black border around the edge. With 16 images that meant I needed my cardstock to measure 8x8" to start with, so I began by trimming it to that size. You can make a book with 3x3" pages by starting with 12x12" cardstock if you prefer. (The basic rule is to start with a square, and each square page will have sides that measure 1/4 of the original square's sides.)
Next, score the cardstock at every 2" (or at every 3" for a larger book, or at the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 points of any other size square). The Martha Stewart scoreboard is ideal for this, but you can measure and score the lines or if all else fails just fold the cardstock in half, open out, then bring each side in to meet the middle crease.
Turn the cardstock 90 degrees and score again, so now it's divided into 16 smaller squares.
Next, cut along some of the scored lines to create an 'M': cut from the bottom of the first vertical scored line, up 3 squares, leaving the top square still joined; cut from the top of the second vertical scored line, down 3 squares; cut from the bottom of the third vertical scored line, up 3 squares. (This is a lot clearer when you refer to the photo!)
Now we fold the book together. Starting at the bottom left corner, alternate mountain and valley folds (ie, fold one crease down then the next up - again, refer to the photo). When you reach a corner just keep folding alternately up then down till you reach the final square.
That's the basic book put together :) All that's left is to add the images. You have some choices here; if you like, you can arrange them so they look best with the book opened out, and just fold it together for storage. In that case, the arrangement would be something like this (though please note that I haven't stuck my faces down here so they've shifted slightly out of position):
If you prefer, you can arrange them so that as you turn the pages of the book the images are all the right way up - because of the way the original piece of cardstock 'goes round corners', once opened out the position of the images would be something like this:
(Though if you go for that plan it's better to stick in one face at a time as you work through the book, so you can make sure each is the right way up as you turn the pages.)
Another option, and the one I went for, is to use both front and back of the original cardstock. As I worked through the book I added a face to every other page, and will use the facing pages to add a few details - this could be the blog address and geographical location of each participant, or quotations, or anything you like!
Having stuck in the faces as I turned the pages of the book so that each one felt the right way up as I navigated the twists and turns of the folds, the layout looked like this:
Please note, though, that yours may vary slightly depending on exactly how you fold the book and how you turn the pages. I went with what felt logical to me but how you follow those turns may differ slightly. I've shown my layout for your reference but I'm not suggesting that you follow it exactly!
And here's how mine looks all folded together:
I'm having to hold mine closed here for the photo, as it does have a tendency to want to spring open! You can incorporate a ribbon into the design to tie it closed, or add a tie of some sort afterwards, or make a little box to keep it in which will keep it together - there are lots of options :)
As you can see from the photo above, I used two of my spare faces for a decoupage technique for the cover; I cut out just the hair from one of them and used foam pads to add it as a raised frame on top of the complete image.
How about a bonus tutorial for another possible little book?
The cardstock I had started with above was 12x12", so I had two trimmed off strips, one 4x12" and one 4x8". I cut the second down to 4x6" and then scored each strip every 2 inches along its length:
I overlapped the end panel of each strip and stuck them together:
This gave me a little book with 16 panels altogether (counting the front and back), each 2x4". By adding a face to the top half of each page I have the option to add details, quotations etc to the bottom half, or alternatively I can add a simple body to each by drawing it on or cutting out triangles of patterned paper to create dresses or - so many ideas!!
Do please ask if anything isn't clear enough!
And now that the first phase of the project is complete, phase 2 can begin :) I already have 11 names on my list (spots 16-26 below) but can take up to 15 (ie spot 30 below), so if you're interested in taking part please sign up on the Linky. All details can be found on my original post. I'll be in touch soon with everyone who's expressed an interest :)
12th November: The Doctor took The Children to the cinema to see the new Tintin film. I was a bit worried that it would disappoint me, so I'm happy to wait till I can watch it at home for free. Instead of accompanying them, therefore, I took myself to the nearby shops to pick up a few Christmas presents and an outfit for our Christmas 'do' at work, and then enjoy a gingerbread latte or two while I used a beautiful birthday gift from a dear friend to make lists of Christmas gifts to buy, Christmas cards to write, and other things to do - and then read a book loaned to me by another lovely blog friend :)
11th November: Haircut day :) But I like that I'm wearing a poppy so the day is clear, too.
* The clock in my car is the only one I have that shows the date and time together in a digital format. Shame it shows the year in full, but the fact that it also gives the temperature - and the temperature just happened to be 11 degrees just then! - totally makes up for that :)
It's true - I do love cameras :) I particularly love my trusty Nikon dSLR (and look forward to taking a short photography course next term to help me to make the most of it!) But I'm also fascinated by information about cameras and how they work, such as this display at the California ScienCenter, and how I *love* to see old cameras such as these in a fabby shop in Ventura :)
Amy Tangerine papers, camera printables by SJ, Thickers
...is what I speak. It describes what I actually say (nonsense, mostly) and how I say it (ie my accent, which is a mixture of all sorts - a bit of North of England, a bit of Irish, a bit of South West England, a lot of just me!) The word comes from my name, Mel, and the fact that I'm one-quarter Welsh. But there's not actually any Welsh in my accent. Go figure...