Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Greetings!

A quick note to you all, dear blog friends, to wish you a very happy Christmas, and all the very best for 2014 :)

And I hope - though I will make no promises! - to get back to blogging just a little more next year... xx

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Another instalment of #3UP!

Back in May I was lucky enough to take part in a super fabby PaperArtsy project called #3UP - and I *loved* it :) So, naturally, I leapt at the chance to take part in it again! This time it's been part of PaperArtsy's 10th birthday celebrations, and somehow WE ended up getting the pressies - oh boy, did we ever! Just look at the wonderful box of amazingness I received:

Look at those gorgeous stamps!! *happy, happy dance* :)

My project is featured on the PaperArtsy blog tonight, but here are a few pics:

I decorated the little canvas then used it as a cover for a minibook

I added some suitable quotations, details of the project and some spotlight stamping!
It's well worth a visit to the blog to see the other projects being showcased this week, there's a lot of inspiration over there! A huge big thanks to PaperArtsy, you totally rock and I have so loved being part of this again :) Happy birthday!!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Working it out...

Hello, hello!

New laptop, check :)

Few minutes spare to blog, check :)

Plenty to say, check to the power 50 million!! :)

So, here we go, into September already (how did THAT happen?!!) Another Learn Something New Every Day has begun, and we are well and truly preparing to head back to school. The Boy gets until Thursday before he goes back, The Tomboy starts her brand new school on Wednesday, and me? I get to go tomorrow. Something seems a little unfair here!

I promised to tell you a bit about my new job. Well, as I've explained on here, I decided last year to make a change from being a part-time teacher to a full-time teaching assistant (TA). I did the training course, gained loads of voluntary experience, and absolutely loved it! The time came for me to hand in my notice so I could leave my teaching job at the end of the academic year (*sob!*) I knew the school where I'd been working wasn't in a position to offer me a full-time TA post, and I really needed a full-time job. I was so gutted to be leaving that lovely school though!

To cut a long story short, I've been extremely fortunate, and I'm very excited about how my new job has worked out :) You see, I shall be working for half the week at my old school, and for the other half at another local school! Each school could only offer me 50% of a timetable but between them I can do a full-time job, and they're very close to each other and to where I live so getting to them will be straightforward even on the day that I'll spend the morning in one and the afternoon in the other :) The exact details of my role and timetable is to be finalised this coming week, but it will involve maths support, ICT (including maintaining each school's website and Twitter) and various other duties. Basically, all things I've been doing recently in my teaching role; all things I know I can do really well!

I am a little nervous, to be honest; partly about the change from teacher to TA, which will be an adjustment for me, but mainly about going into a new school, working with new colleagues, getting used to new routines, getting to know new children - everything you'd expect about starting a new job! But oh, I'm excited to use my skills and experience in this way, and I shall learn so much from my new role :) Which will be handy for this year's LSNED project, of course!! ;)

As I settle into these new routines and help The Children to settle into theirs, too, I shall be figuring out the whole blogging thing. I feel refreshed and ready and keen to get back into it properly, but I need to plan my time!! But I still have plenty to tell you about - for example, our recent holiday! Want a few photographic clues to where we went? ;)


Any guesses? ;) Details will follow soon... x

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Hello, hello!

Gosh, doesn't time fly? I hadn't realised quite how long it was since I last posted... I'd intended to get back into blogging once we broke up for the summer holiday, but then we were due to go away for the best part of 3 weeks and I didn't think it would be ideal to take an immediate blog break!

Also, my poor laptop is on its last legs, and I needed to wait until we got back from our trip before ordering a new one. We got back yesterday, I placed the order this morning and my new laptop should be here soon - hooray! :) Then I'll be able to sort through the (ahem!) over 1500 photos I took during our holiday, and choose some to show you. I also have news of the job I'll be starting in September, another #3UP project, some scavenger hunt photos and a few 'proud mother' moments to share!

Thanks so much to those of you who emailed to wish me a happy birthday or just to say hello :) I will be responding to you all individually but the motor of my laptop is making ominous noises so I think it's about to switch itself off... Once the new one arrives I'll catch up properly with you all, but for now I'll be back offline for a short while. Speak soon xx

Friday, 10 May 2013

Liberate Your Art: the blog hop!

I mentioned back in April that I was taking part in a rather fabby and fun project run by the lovely Kat :)

Oh, the excitement of stalking the postie each day to see if a new card had arrived! Now that they're all here, I don't know quite what to do with myself.... Though the postie is thankful, I think! ;)

I didn't share images of the cards as they arrived, as I preferred to save them til today's 'big reveal'. I did however do my best to contact each sender to let them know (a) that I'd received one of their cards, and (b) that said card was now on proud display in the UK! I also posted a quick note on Facebook each time, and sent out a tweet. (I didn't hear back from all the recipients of my own cards, but it was such a thrill when I did get a message, and lovely to hear where they'd ended up, so I wanted to do my best to let my 'senders' hear from me!)

And now, at last, I can show you the cards that came my way:

Thank you, garden trellis - you make a great postcard display frame! And the withered brown stalks also visible show both how late spring is this year, and how poor a gardener I am!!

My first card was from William J Charlebois in the US. What a fun, colourful moose! And I love that he designed the 'b-side' to properly look like an old postcard, too :)

The following day I received this gorgeous photo of a messily artistic workspace from Renee in Oregon. The quotation on the back is perfect for a photographer :)

3 days running!! Another card landed on my mat; this one a beautiful painting by Linda from Norway, with an inspiring reminder on the back:)

After a gap of a few days, this fabulous photograph arrived from Alison (in Minnesota, I think...). As a photographer(ish) and a writer(ish) myself, this really appealed to me. Super Rousseau quotation, too :)

Another few days passed, and postie was getting jumpy again... Then Kat's lovely photograph and inspiring quotation turned up. I particularly love that she went to such effort with the colourful and personal message on the back :) (No link available, sadly, but I do know that she's in Virginia!)

Last but by no means least, my card from Kat herself reached me all the way from Oregon. What a beautifully dreamy piece! And - hang on - she's thanking me?! That's not right at all, I should definitely be thanking her for all her hard work coordinating this wonderful project, and for making it possible for me to take part :)

I've had such fun throughout - the creative process of designing my own cards, the thrill of receiving my work in printed form, the messy joy of decorating the envelope to send them off to Kat, the excitement of seeing my envelope featured on Kat's blog (mine's the one with the swirls), the anticipation while waiting for my share of the cards to arrive, the hope of hearing back from the recipients of my cards, and the delight of receiving the ones sent to me....

And now, of course, there's the chance to hop around some fellow-participants' blogs and see the cards they were lucky enough to receive! If you'd like to follow round too then the links should appear in the list after my final photo below. (This list will grow as people add their posts, so it's worth checking back later for links to more inspiring work!)

And my final photo? Ah, yes - I didn't have a photo of the back of my own cards to share when I first mentioned this project, so here it is now. I had a printed greeting - which is my message to all of you reading this now! - and I added a handwritten note to each card, too.

PS I'm definitely signing up for next year's swap - are you? :)

Saturday, 4 May 2013


So I was casually scrolling through my Twitter feed a couple of weeks ago and I spotted a few mysterious references to '#3UP'. There were no clues to what it was all about, but it seemed that by using the hashtag myself I might be taking part in something or playing along with something or volunteering for something - but having no idea what that something was...

I was brave. I attached said hashtag to one of my tweets, and waited to see if anything happened.

And you know what?

Something DID happen! Something exciting, and crafty, and fun :) Something that involved secrecy and creativity and three surprise goodies in the post :) Something cooked up by the lovely PaperArtsy!

The DM (Direct Message) I received asked me for my address, gave me a crafting deadline, and swore me to secrecy. PaperArtsy freebies, crafting time and subterfuge? I was so up for this project :)

The goodies arrived the very next day - which was a Saturday, so I had time available to craft immediately, result! In fact, I was so excited to get started that I completely failed to photograph the three items, oops... But I can at least tell you that they were a box canvas, a little wooden branch and a pack of three wooden butterflies (sorry, no link - think they might have been an end of line?) The butterflies reminded me of a favourite stamp, which decided the theme of my piece, and I was away...

For the background, I added and blended Mermaid and Sky Fresco Paints using a baby wipe, then stenciled on some Inky Pool through sequin waste and stamped more Inky Pool with corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap:

Butterfly paper tape was perfect for edging the canvas, and then I got a rough idea of where I wanted to place my background stamps (I'd already decided more or less where the wooden pieces would go). These stamped beautifully onto the canvas, it gives a lovely smooth and sturdy surface!

A generous spattering of Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist added some shimmer, and I also brushed some Old Gold Fresco paint round the edge. To help my two 'focal stamps' - the clock from this set, and the sentiment stamp (origin unknown, sadly) to stand out better, I also sponged on a bit of Nougat paint:

In between times, while waiting for layers to dry (pesky drying times!!) I worked on the wooden branch and butterflies. The branch got a coat of Guacamole Fresco with Hey Pesto sponged onto the ends, while the butterflies were undercoated in Rose before having a layer of Crackle Glaze added with Claret on top. I also edged all the pieces in Old Gold:

I used Matte Multi-Medium to secure the embellishments to the canvas - love this super-strength adhesive! :)

I gave the little clock some hands by adding Tim Holtz spinners - it was easy enough to pierce a hole for the brad with my pokey tool! Then I realised that the green of the branch needed a bit of balance, so I painted and edged some little chipboard scraps and added them to the opposite corner.


All done! :)

Many, many thanks to PaperArtsy for inviting me to play along - and for making it so much more fun by being so mysterious about it!!

You can see the projects other '#3uppers' have made over on the PaperArtsy blog, they've been appearing there all week - mine is there tonight, which is why I'm allowed to break my silence at last... ;)