Month: June 2012


I once read that if you do something for twenty one days it becomes a habit.

Why can’t that apply to dieting? I’m serious.

But that isn’t really what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to wax lyrical about 31 things. A great class from Big Picture and Ali. In a nutshell she provides a prompt every day along with writing tips to help get to the nitty-gritty of the prompt.

And throughout the class so far I have  logged onto my computer first thing in the morning to write my bit for the ‘thing’ of the day. I was already in the habit of turning the computer on in the morning after walking Buddy so this should have reaffirmed the habit. See I was making a point – really.

There is something about the first thing in the morning. The quiet, the potential of a brand new day and just the time to sit and ponder.

I am hoping that after the class finishes I still sit and pound out a few words every day. Whether it be journalling for future layouts or draft blog posts or random rambling I want to keep writing.

It feels like a good habit to have.

Summer planning

This post is inspired by Ali’s summer manifesto.

I want to embrace this idea, this feeling of consciously changing life during the summer months. I have tried to get my thoughts and words together for a while now and I’ve been bumbling about, waffling on writing draft after draft. So I thought what do I actually want to say?

1. Yes, I’d like to write a Summer Manifesto.

2. Yes, I’d like to document this season. (Ali has just posted about her mini book.)

3. I’d like to change the pace of life for the duration of the summer.

The problem however, is the weather. So I searched the internet for average summer temperatures for Leeds, UK where I live and Eugene,USA where Ali lives.

And you know what? I was justified in dragging my heels on this ‘summer’ idea. Eugenes’ average July temp is 82 degrees, Leeds’ is 67 degrees. 67 degrees! Even I was surprised at the statistics and told Gav immediately that I needed to move house.

However, I do want to embrace the garden, eating outside and taking longer meandering walks through the park. So to heck with the weather I’m writing a manifesto anyway and will be back with that crazy idea soon.

In the meantime I’ll take Bud out for his walk. Anyone seen my woolly hat?

Weekly layout – week twenty three

Welcome to week twenty three in my weekly layout series.

A trio of photographs from the Grand Canyon this week.  When I was flipping through my file of photographs these three grabbed my attention because they all signified something beyond the control of us. And I captured them all during one day at the Grand Canyon. 

That got me thinking about what story was there to tell here? I came up with the title – the sun and the moon and Mother Nature.

I used the colours of the photos to choose my papers and embellishments. Orange cardstock and Basic Grey PB & J papers. I like both sides of the papers – one was a solid blue and the other a narrow chevron.

I pulled out a few star buttons and also some natural leaf and flower shapes. I wasn’t sure which I was going to use.

My intention was to use a grid like I almost always do but to have the embellishments lighten up the shape of the grid. That’s why I picked a few sequins out too.

I then tried the papers in various combinations along with the title. I haven’t used a computer title for ages and enjoyed playing with various fonts and colours for this layout. I decided to use the font ‘showcard gothic’ and in an orange colour.

I liked the second one best. Something about the busy-ness of the papers and the graphic style of the chevron. I also liked the flower print which might not be an obvious choice but it did fit with the mother nature aspect of the title.

I adhered the photos to the papers. I admit to ‘gutting’ the middle of the orange and the flowers papers. I hate to see a whole sheet covered up!

My planning hadn’t quite taken into account the two open spaces next to the bottom photo. I wanted to add some embellishment and my journalling so I had to make those two areas less busy.

I used the reverse of one of the papers – the smaller chevron. And then added the orange and the flower paper. 

I did try the star button and the sequins in a random pattern but it just didn’t work with the graphic look so I went instead for stamped stars on the right side and journalling on the left. The row of buttons look okay as they are in a straight line. I also used the two photo corners. I love these and wish I could remember who made them. I like a corner, it adds something without overpowering the design.

The finished layout is nothing like I set out to make. I have gone with my usual graphic but the busy background is a departure for me. I also loved going back to the computer for my title and should work this into more layouts.

Can’t believe we are almost half way through the year.


Weekly Layout is a series of blog posts that I am doing every week in 2012. I am walking through the process of putting the page together with a bit of background to why I picked the design and embellishments for the page. I hope to develop my style and push myself by taking on this challenge. You can see previous weeks here.

Bloom – Sweet Pea supports

Remember in this post I mentioned the great arches constructed at Harlow Carr for their beans and sweet peas? Well I planted my sweet peas a month ago and supported them temporarily with a short bamboo cane. I was plucking up the courage to build a structure like the ones at Harlow Carr. Plucking up courage for both the actual building of the thing and the placement of it in the garden.

Over the years I have wandered round dozens of beautiful gardens some created by amateurs and some by professionals and one thing that stands out in all of these places is that you have to be bold. Being bold makes a garden.

So I was determined to be bold and stick to my plan. I headed out into the little wood at the back of our house to forage for long straight branches. But there were hardly any that were long enough so I brought what I could back into the garden and pondered my next move.

Gav said he’d build me trellis but I wanted it more natural than that. Then I found twelve long bamboo canes in the big stack of canes we use for the kitchen garden. Feeling a little guilty (read no guilt whatsoever) from comandeering them I got on with constructing my little arch structures.

I measured the width of the already planted sweet peas then set out three canes.

I cut more canes down to size and laid them out horizontally.

I then tied all the cross sections together with string.

When both sides were all tied together I measured the width of the path they were going to sit over and balanced the two sides against a little bench to tie the top cross pieces in and join the two straight sides together.

It took Buddy and I about an hour of meticulous tying of string to cane to finish the first one. I lifted it into position and couldn’t help smiling to myself. I loved it. And miracle of miracles I had made it all by myself. With a little help from Buddy trying to chew the end of the canes for me.

I made the second one and that’s in place too with the sweet peas climbing up the supports happily.

Here they are in place.

I love it when a plan comes together.

25 books – number twelve


I started this book back in August last year. It is probably one of the four or so books I chose to put down and not finished. I struggled with it for a few weeks before putting it to one side and moving on to another book.

And there is sat on the bookcase all these months and for some reason the other day I picked it back up and finished it in a couple of sittings.

I enjoyed it and that’s why I finished it. No idea why I enjoyed it now and didn’t last year but there it is. Of course I didn’t like the end because it wasn’t truly happy although I guess it was obvious that dear Linda was a tragic character all along.

Probably wouldn’t pick up another Mitford but at least I finished this one.

Weekly layout – week twenty two

Hello and welcome to week twenty two.

A photo of my niece this week.

I wanted to use up some scraps of papers I had sorted through a few days ago. I actually managed to put some scraps in the recycling bin. It was hard to do but I did it. I don’t know about you but I find purging scraps very tricky.

I thought that layering the pieces of paper would be good and I’ve seen it done a lot over tha last few years so I gave it a whirl. Here are the scraps I picked out.

Any photo of my niece crys out for pink or purple, fun bright colours to mirror her personality. I also picked a couple of alphabet thickers out and added two different ribbons.

The photo is about 5 x 5 and I went for a central placement. Here are a few layers under the photo to give an idea of what the layout will look like.

 Changed the papers around a bit and tried out a splash of yellow.

But not keen so tried out a little blue on the top and bottom edges.

Didn’t like that either so chopped down the blue and moved it to top and bottom of the photo.

Subtle but I liked it better. The blue sort of focuses the attention onto the photograph.

I made a flower embellishment using three circle punches and a button.

You can see it below and on the intro picture. I love circle punches and use them often of my layouts and layering them up to make my own flowers is a bonus.

I added the title using the pink thickers and the journalling directly on the stripy paper.  

And there we go another week, another story on a layout and another chance for me to flex my creative muscles.


Weekly Layout is a series of blog posts that I am doing every week in 2012. I am walking through the process of putting the page together with a bit of background to why I picked the design and embellishments for the page. I hope to develop my style and push myself by taking on this challenge. You can see previous weeks here.

Not Jubilee Bunting


I followed Shimelles advice about sewing bunting and made some yesterday by sewing triangles of material together with no spaces. Radical.

I love bunting but always resisted making any because of all the hemming but no need with this method. Maybe it won’t last for years but I love it!

We have a couple of get together over the long long weekend but in no way are they Jubilee celebrations. Honest. I just happen to have had red, white and blue material on hand.