Month: February 2012

A gift – an extra day


I woke up this morning and smiled. It was 6.56 and it was 29 February.

Now that only happens once every four years.

I was filled will happy thoughts and as I lay there for a few minutes waves of beautiful thoughts, of  inspiration, of memories drifted through my head as I pondered what a gift this extra day was.

I was whisked back in time to 1979 when a few of my friends and I got down on one knee in the middle of the lunch break and proposed to the hottest, most, dreamy and cool boy in school. Oh, to be 12 again!

After my soiree down memory lane I got up and took Buds out for his walk and by the time I returned I’d almost forgotten that this was a potentially special day, a once in four years day. Because life kicks in and normal kicks in and you just go through the motions again.

Oh, I understand that somewhere in these ramblings is a bit of a flaw. That really Mel, every day should be greeted with a smile and thoughts of wonder and awe because I’m here for another day and I should treat all of them as special.  And I’m a bit sad to admit that isn’t quite what happens. So work with me on this one.

I’m going to hold onto the feeling that today is special. In a small way, tucked at the back of my brain waiting for moments of joy and happiness to drift along and then I’ll grab them and smile a bit harder at them, maybe even laugh out loud with those moments because they are special.

Weekly layout – week eight

Welcome to week seven.

These photos have been waiting for ever to be scrapped. So I grasped the metal and did it.

I had cropped them to this size a while ago when I intended to scrap them before so this was the size I was working with. I laid them out in various positions on a 12 x 12 sheet.

I was getting quite frustrated at this point as the pictures were just too big to fit on a single page and leave room for some journaling and a title. Part of me wanted to put them away again and leave this LO or even re-size the photos to make them smaller or larger and do a two page lo instead. But I had a flip through Donna Downey’s book, A Photos First Approach to Scrapbooking and decided to keep going and use the pictures as they were laid ou

But I changed that blue cardstock to white.

It seemed to me that there was quite a bit of black in the pictures so it needed a lighter feeling. Plus the story behind the pictures is fun and the white was a better choice for that.

Then I tried a couple of sheets of patterned paper.

Although the red stars was fitting to the USA theme I preferred the Echo Park Dots and Stripes pale blue sheet.

I placed my title on the page next, an old sheet of Basic Grey stickers. I still had not solved the journaling space problem at this point but I just kept working through.

More colour was needed so I pulled out some other papers. I went for orange to balance that bright sunset in one of the photos.

In the end I went with more Dots and Stripes form Echo Park. I also altered the title to read ‘….. self timed’ rather than ‘……self timer.’

Layered circle punches and stamped initials made up the little embellishments and that splash of orange was balanced out with a circle at the top of the page. I a compromise I added the journaling to a tag and tucked it behind the bottom right photo.

The result looks great and I’m pleased to have told this funny little story and used those great shots of us and all those wonderful sights. I love the colour combination too. White, blue and orange. It works.

Unfinished Projects

We all have them – or at least I hope we do or I’ll feel like a total looser!

Over the last four years or so I have accumulated a stack of half-finished projects. These range from mini albums to layouts to travel journals. About a year ago I decided to put them all into page protectors to help keep them dust free and store them in a box under my desk.

And there they sit.

What is it about that first rush of excitement that get’s us pulling out supplies and cropping photos? Only to find a few hours later that the enthusiasm dwindles and yet another project gets abandoned.

The other day I had one of those flashes of creativity but instead of starting something new I pulled all the unfinished projects out and laid them on my desk.

The very sight of them all piled up made me feel both sad, that I hadn’t finished them and overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that they almost went straight back in the box again. But I had to stop myself because I didn’t want to have them sat there in another year.

I needed a plan.

I took a sheet of paper and quickly jotted down all the projects. Not in a list, because although I love lists it would have been overwhelming again so instead I wrote them randomly on the paper. I also agreed with myself that after this exercise it would be okay to put them back in the box. I wanted no pressure, no expectation. I thought that was the best plan to actually achieving something.

Then I thought about each little bubble.

  • What made me start the project in the first place?
  • What did I love about it? Or what did I not love about it? Maybe there was a reason it had remained unfinished?
  • Did I want to finish it? Why? Or why not?
  • How easy was it to complete? What was needed to get it done? Photos? Journalling?

After making the notes the put everything back in the box and I let the list just sit on my desk for a few hours.

Within three hours though I’d gone back to the box under my desk pulled out the almost finished mini book about Lewis and finished it!

It only needed two photos and a little patterned paper and it was done. Yay.

I also realised when staring at my bubble chart that some of the half put together layouts were not really suited to a layout at all. Which makes me think of Project Life but I want to write separately about PL in another post so for now I’ll just say that the trip we took to see the British Open Golf tournament and the trip I took with my friend to see Strictly Come Dancing filmed are more suited, I think, to being put in a Project Life style album.

So did this exercise get me any closer to finishing these projects?

I’d say yes.

Time of course is an important factor to work in. Some of them are too big to finish in an hour, even if they were greatly reduced in complexity. I’ll have to admit that these may stay in the box a while longer.

However, what I found was that I am totally okay with changing an original idea and that you have to compromise sometimes in order to get a story told. I know it’s not ideal. But realsied that I WANT to finish these projects.

I also realised that I adore the rush of enthusiasm when a new project grabs hold. But I must take action at some point to finish those projects even if simplifying is necessary.

It is better to have the story told in any form than to let it slip away and not be told.

Go on, take time today to tell those almost told stories!

Buddy Long Legs

Gav has a knack of making up perfect names for our dogs. They’re usually amusing too.

Hmm…. Me thinks he’s not amused.

The Garden in February

Here it is.

Coming through a not so hard winter, disheveled mainly because we left it that way, but starting to spring into life.

The rebuilding of the compost bins is a work in progress. You can just see the wooden bin at the end of this shot.

Messy greenhouse but in there are a few dozen over wintered plants that will kick-start the season.

The tops of the last remaining sprouts. The look like cabbages on stilts now. In the right hand bed are the winter onions just starting to grow a little now the light levels are increasing.

 A better shot of that compost bin. I’ll get there eventually.

And to finish a true star. One of my all time favourite plants Euphorbia Wulfenii bulking up and showing its colourful bracts.

Come on Spring!

Project Sewing

Remember my list of things I wanted to acomplish over the year? I said I was going to do a sewing project a month and share it here? Hmm…..

Not really working out so far but I did get a few more rows of my little sampler quilt sewn together last weekend. I managed about four rows before I got bored.

But every little counts.

Weekly layout – week seven

Welcome to week seven.

I was running late with the layout this week so grabbed a picture and just got on with it.

It’s of Gav in our hotel room in Las Vegas – 2010.

Then I pulled out some cardstock and embellishments. At first I was going to go with black or grey for the background but I wanted to incorporate some yellow as the lamp in the picture is giving off bright yellow light.

Not sure where the American number plate cardstock came from but I thought it would look good with this picture.

I’m also trying to use the Tim Holtz tissue tape I love it but never get it onto layouts.

I placed the picture on the left side of the cardstock and thought I’d have my title over to the right. I then tried out several different combinations of patterned paper with the picture.

I liked the combination of all three papers. The stars the stripes and the damask.

I think because there are various ‘weights’ of pattern it works okay.

And the yellow paper really balances that bright yellow spot in the picture.

I didn’t use too many embellishments on this lo just the tissue tape the number plate strip and a label strip.

Here is the finished page with the hand written journaling.

The title is a sheet of 7 gypsies type keys, the oval charm is a Tim Holtz acrylic ornament. I stamped a Hero Arts swirl stamp in black on kraft cardstock then adhered it to the ornament with Glossy Accents and then attached a black brad. The soulmate sticker is from an October Afternoon sheet which is where the ‘3 day’ part of the title also came from.

I like it. The mix of papers, simple embellishment and a funny story.

On the way to see the Muppets

(The photo has nothing to do with this story I just can’t post without a photo!)

I took my niece to see the Muppets the other day. It had recently been her birthday and she began our car conversation telling me about her new music keyboard.

“It’s pink, it doesn’t have a stand but it has a headphone plug.”

To which I commented that would be handy so she could practice and no one else had to hear. I tried not to make it sound like a benefit for the rest of her family. She pondered this before moving onto a discussion about her Ugg boots. I said they were brown which didn’t go down well as she thought they were grey….

I changed the subject. “I’m having ice cream, what are you having?” She wasn’t sure but probably a drink and popcorn.

“Sweet or salty?” I asked her knowing full well it would be sweet. I got the expected wrinkled nose.

“Ugh, sweet of course.”

This was followed by, “Are we there yet?”

“Nearly.” I replied and explained that I liked to go a different way to the cinema than her Mum. We discussed  which was longer or shorter and I said it was probably, “As your Granddad would have said, six and two three’s.”

Which she considered until she spotted some graffiti on a brick wall.

“Why do people draw on walls?” This led to an explanation of graffiti and vandalism and I got all tied in knots trying to explain that it’s an expression of their youth and they think it’s art and ………. She’s eight for goodness sake why did I need to be so detailed? 

But somehow my chat about vandalism led to a conversation about Latin. She’s studying the Romans at school.

And then thankfully we arrived at the cinema and my brain took a rest from thinking and explaining while I sat and laughed out loud at the wonderful Muppet Movie.

Which my niece didn’t really like or understand bits of……..

But that’s another story.

Now that picture tells the story

Following of from my ramblings yesterday I had to post this picture.

I really don’t need to think about what I’d journal about on this one do I?

It’s all there to see. Sometimes it is so true that every picture tell a story.

Telling stories and a nice cup of tea


I was listening to episode 101 of the Paperclipping Roundtable. They were talking about how to balance a scrapbook page between embellishments and the story.

I have mentioned in this post that I used to scrap the photo and hardly ever write a story on the layout. I was finding my feet in this world of pretty paper and glitter and I was putting photo to paper because I liked doing it, it was a hobby.

Then as time passed and I found all those amazing blogs my perspective changed and I started adding more words.  

But I find it hard sometimes to find good words, meaningful words, words that will stand the test of time and convey what I was trying to say. So I understood exactly where Nancy was coming in the podcast but I also thanked Karen for not letting her off too easily. I adore Karen btw,whose blog I found through Paperclipping. I guess you have to listen to the episode to get what the heck I’m going on about but basically it made me realise that sometimes it is hard to get words onto a page and that you may have to search for the real story behind the picture.

Which bring me onto the other half of the title of this post.  

Back in September Gav and I were sitting out having on the patio having breakfast and I took a photo of him raising a cup and his newest teapot. I really liked the picture and stored it away to scrap at some point in the future.

That day came last week and I stood looking at the photo wondering why I wanted to scrap it. Why on earth would I waste a page of an album to include a picture, all be it a nice picture, of my husband’s hand and a teapot. Then it hit me.

And it was like duh! How to miss the completely obvious.

So I made the layout and I love it and even more than I love the layout is the fact that now the story of his almost addiction to tea is set down in the album to remember always.