Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Stitching With Patterns

Layout detail - String Art On Paper
Are you joining in with the UKS Cybercrop?  It's free, with lots of interesting classes, challenges and games ... plus PRIZES!  Also, a certain someone did a class on Saturday afternoon ... more string art stitching with a template and instructions available to download.  Several people have already adapted the design page for their spider-webby Halloweeny photos.

Meanwhile, I have been attempting other people's classes and am now able to share a final page from my October Counterfeit Kit:

Layout - Africa, Animal Kingdom - Jimjams

Layout detail - zig-zag stiching on patchwork pattern
I was inspired by the patchwork quilt class by my friend Suzysnail and adapted it for a page featuring one of the African pillars in Disney's Animal Kingdom.  LOTS of machine zig-zag stitching later I had a finished page and a floor covered in sewing thread offcuts!

There's still time to join in on UKS - the deadlines are pretty relaxed (Friday evening for the classes, Saturday evening for the challenges).  Plenty of time too for you to check out the Master Forgers call over at the CKCB.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Spot The Difference!

The third challenge this month at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog is to make two cards with the same design: one masculine version and one feminine.

This got me thinking about what makes a card suitable for one sex or the other.  Looking in the shops, the girly cards have flowers, shoes, handbags ... and the manly ones feature boats, footballs or power tools!  Hmmm, not every woman spends a fortune on handbags (or wants to), nor does every man like to fish!

Anyway, my cards rarely feature objects these days - they're just made with scraps from my kits, so I guess that just left me colour ... pink for a girl and blue for a boy perhaps?

I decided to start with a card sketch and see how small a difference I could get away with using scraps from my October Counterfeit Kit.  The Sampler Kit Club has a great card sketch challenge this month which I stuck very closely to:

Cards - two versions from one design - Jimjams

Identical in design, I just used slightly different coloured dots from the Echo Park Lazy Days paper and then picked out one of the dot colours with my kit's tiny alphas and buttons. {I'm very irritated by the Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type teal stickers ... WHY is that "A" so ridiculously small?  The "R" and "T" are also shorter than the rest of the letters ... is it a coincidence that they spell "art" or do I smell a "rat"?}

While the card on the right is definitely more feminine (thanks to the pink), I can't really say that the other one is only suitable for a man.  My Mum reckoned I should have included more brown ...

What do you think?

Friday, 26 October 2012

Lean Mean MAXI-book

Over on UKScrappers it's Cybercrop time.  Things have been building up during the last month ... with pre-cop activities and challenges ... but today was the start of the CC proper.  There's lots of free inspiration over there - and prizes too!

So far I've only managed to join in with one pre-crop activity: the Mystery Kit Challenge, where you buy a kit of unknown content and make something or some things with it - BUT you aren't allowed to add anything to the kit except a few limited extras e.g.black/white paint, black/white thread, black/white ink, adhesive ...

I forgot to take a photo before I got cutting - but the kit was based around a Stamping Up Tickets & Tags Kit similar to this digi download on the SU site.  I decided to see if I could expand upon my Lean Mean Mini-Book and make a larger album from the good quality double-sided patterned papers.

Collage - 3 views of Lean Mean MAXI-book - Jimjams

After much experimentation with 12x12 page protector inserts, I worked out what I could do with 2½ sheets of double-side paper and 3 sheets of cardstock ... and made an eleven page book with 5" square pages and enough tags and pockets to hold 21 3"x4" photos!

Collage - pp1,2,3 Lean Mean MAXI-book - Jimjams

The photos are from our 2004 trip to Florida and feature No.2 Son, aged 12, "meeting" the various cast members. At 14 No.1 Son felt he was too old to do this and Child No.3 was only interested in the classic princesses and cute furry creatures.

Collage - pp4-7 of Lean Mean MAXI-book - Jimjams

Not all the photos had colours that "went" with the papers e.g. The Grinch was much too green, so they were relegated to the pockets.

Collage - pp8-11 of Lean Mean MAXI-book - Jimjams

I had originally intended to scrap the majority of these photos on a double page in with the rest of our Florida trip ... but this way No.2 Son has his own little mini- MAXI-book.

P.S. If anyone knows the identity of the characters in this photo - please let me know - they offered to pose with our son in the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland near the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House and we felt rude asking who they were :o)  I'm hoping that they were cast members and not just a couple of weirdos in fancy dress!!!

Photo - mystery cast members at Magic Kingdom 2004

ETA: They're not the Wild Thornberrys as they are Nickelodeon not Disney - nice try though Missus W :o)

ETA: My instructionsfor the Lean Mean MAXI-book are now available here and here - enjoy!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Photo Focus

Layout detail - Stitching in circles - JimjamsBack in May, just 3 days after my surgery, I donned bubble wrap around my elbow (!) & braved the drizzle and the crowds to watch the end of the torch relay in Crewe.  I'd picked out a good spot which gradually got worse and worse as the marshals failed to stop the crowd standing in the road rather than on the pavement.  Just before the torch bearer arrived I gave up and moved up the road, away from the crush ... ending up with a prime spot to view the flame safely being transferred to the lantern.

Perfect for an unobstructed photo or two!

Here they are on another page made with October's Counterfeit Kit at my recent weekend retreat: quite a different vibe from my holiday pages as I've used two of the "B" sides.  There's also more hand-stitching using a circle template printed onto acetate.

Layout - Olympic Torch Relay - Jimjams

This month's second challenge at the CKCB was to get creative with photographing a project.  I toyed with patriotically breaking out the Union Jacks, but decided that some wooden eggs would complement the colours and textures of my page rather better.  It certainly makes a change from laying my pages on the floor and standing over them to photograph them without distortion. How do you photograph your pages for your blog?

P.S. If you love the CKCB as much as I do why not think about joining the Master Forgers

Friday, 19 October 2012

I Scream Treat!!!

It's October and Halloween is fast approaching ... I'm seeing lots of orange creeping into pages and kits ... and there's plenty of orange in my October Counterfeit Kit, but that post title isn't quite what it seems ...

I have at last made a start on scrapping the photos from our 2004 Florida holiday and one of the highlights was a pre-booked treat for everyone at the Garden Grill in Epcot ... the "Ice-cream Social" ... where you could meet various Disney characters as well as indulge in yummy ice-cream in the rotating restaurant.  I've already shared a page made with some of the scraps from this one, but this one came first:

Layout - Ice-Cream Social - Jimjams

I've based it on Sketch #216 from Nuts About Sketches, which was chosen for the UKScrappers October monthly challenge.  I'm always happy to find a new and interesting sketch site and have several more of theirs bookmarked for future pages.

Layout detail - paper covered chipboard letters

Those paper covered chipboard letters were a labour of love ... it would have been so much quicker to paint them!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Calendar Catch-up #2

Layout detail - home-made felt flower
I promised myself that I would get a move on with transferring my Month In Numbers posts (read all about MiN here) onto paper while I was away at The Second Green Buttons' Retreat (the Remix) earlier this month.  Armed with print-outs from my blog and some extra notes from the calendar and my diary, I am proud to report that I completed seven missing months' journalling!!!  The pages themselves were ready, it was just a question of adding the words and numbers.  I won't bore you with them all, but I do have a previously unseen pair of pages made with my September Counterfeit Kit, featuring the stitched lettering that I have been using recently along with some counterfeit tags and fake felt flowers too.

Layout - May & June In Numbers - Jimjams

My contribution to the retreat was sharing some hand-stitching ideas including a template for the stitched letters.  I have sized the letters to match my diminishing supply of Scenic Route chipboard alphas.  Printed out onto a transparency, they can be positioned exactly where you want them to be before you prick through to create your stitching holes.  And because the transparency is reasonably durable you can use it again and again.

Layout detail - stitched June

Do you fancy having a go with my template?  I've uploaded it to share here (for some reason it looks like a blank sheet on Google Drive's preview, but it does download properly). Do please leave me a comment and let me know what you make of it.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Sampler Quilt

Just over a week ago I was happily scrapping with 14 lovely ladies at The Second Green Buttons' Retreat (the Remix).  We had a weekend of crafting and chatting and chocolate :o)   I gave a quick class on stitching with templates and happily listened while others shared their expertise.  Ruth showed us three brilliant ways to use up our scraps and I knew straight away that this was a technique I could use for the first challenge of the month over at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog: to take inspiration from a quilt. 

Layout - Bad Hair Day? - Jimjams

What's more I have finally made a start with the photos from our 2004 Florida holiday!  We all look so young (and thin) in the pictures ... my diet has restarted with a vengeance!  Not that I'm in this particular photo - there were only four wigs to try on so I stayed safely behind the camera!

Layout Detail - Stitching, brads and stamping

The scraps are from my October Counterfeit Kit (OK I know I haven't shared any pages made with the kit yet, but this was a scraps class) with the addition of some Polka Dot Bazzill, Sizzlits Trixie die-cut title, Studio G stamps and a few brads.  I used this lovely sketch from The Sampler Kit Club's September Challenge too:

If you are inspired by a quilt pattern then please do link up over at the CKCB - check back soon for the pages I made which created these scraps!!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Good Morphing!

When I was small I loved watching a TV program called "Vision On".  Produced to entertain deaf children with lots of funny visual gags and inspiring art from Tony Hart, it was enjoyed by many of my generation whether they could hear or not.  I particularly loved "The Gallery" of children's art at the end of the show and the wonderfully relaxing, yet up-beat music that accompanied it ("Left Bank Two").

Later I watched its successor, "Take Hart", where Tony continued to inspire me with achievable arty projects, shared "The Gallery" and shared his desk with a cute plasticine character called Morph.  Able to change his shape at will, Morph had great adventures in amongst the clutter of pencils, paints and string and later on he even got his very own TV series.

Layout - The Games We Played - Susanne
Just like Morph, I've been changing things to suit along with my fellow Master Forgers  from the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog.  We decided to do a Morph Challenge where each of us in turn took inspiration from a page to make a layout before passing it along to the next player in the chain.   It's a bit like the Chinese Whispers game we played at parties, whispering a phrase along a chain of children - very interesting to see how things change from start to finish.
Crystal started us off and I was no.4 in the morphing order, taking Susanne's horizontal lines and cute edge clusters and title placement to make my own page.

Layout - 3 is a mgic number - Jimjams

That's my July Counterfeit Kit and a studio portrait of my three kids from 1998 (I think - hence the lack of date while I check).  I love how Child No.3 is holding onto No.1 Son's thumb and No.2 Son is trying not to laugh out loud.  My they have changed - I'd love to get them together for another group shot, but getting them all in one place for a photo nowadays is hard.

Layout detail - Embelishment cluster, machine sewing on photo - Jimjams

I passed my page on to Bethany to adapt.  If you want to see the full morphology of our pages you can start at the beginning by visiting the CKCB today.

Layou detail - stitching letter stickers in place - Jimjams

P.S. If you love the CKCB as much as I do why not think about joining the Master Forgers

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Ten on the Tenth: Not Quite Self Sufficent!

Last year we received a vegetable plot as a Silver Wedding present.  It took so long to prepare the soil that it was really a bit late to plant it, but we tried.  And a few things grew.  Their growth featured in my October Ten and I blogged about the harvest in November.  This year we had a little more help with the digging {thank you Vilius} and we planted a lot earlier.  It was still late according to the seed packets and the summer has been typically unpredictable with gallons of rain and intermittent sunshine.  There have been some successes:

Photo Collage - Successful Vegetable Crops

Our runaway champions were the St George runner beans: we have several bags of them in the freezer, have given loads away to friends & family and got fed up with eating them every other day!  The peas were tasty but I under-estimated the number of plants we should sow and we only managed to harvest enough peas at any one time to sprinkle on salads rather than serve with a meal. The Lollo Rosso & Little Gem lettuces were a great addition to our salads too, along with the carrots which were actually finger-sized this year!

Photo Collage - Failed crops

Unfortunately there were also some failures: not a single apple on the tree as all the blossom dropped in June and the Romanesco cabbages were initially food for the birds and then the caterpillars!

Luckily there were some surprises too:

Photo Collage - Surprise Vegetabe Crops

Our stripey courgettes were cute and tasty (once I worked out that the flowers had to be removed to prevent them rotting).  However, I discovered that FIVE squash plants and ONE courgette plant were rather too much for the space I had allocated them - the photo shows them at half their eventual spread!  And I didn't realise that onions grew above ground - I thought perhaps I'd planted them too shallowly!

And finally there are still some things to come:

There are five small cobs of sweetcorn waiting to be harvested - but how do I know when they are ready????

I'm linking up with Shimelle's Ten on the Tenth today - if you have a 10 to share why not join me?!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Blue, I Love You #2

If you're looking for my Counterfeit Kit for October you need to go to the next post here - or you could stay a while and read my story for the first Sunday of October - part of Siân's Storytelling Sundays - why not join in yourself?  Everyone is welcome to tell a tale.

Now I was going to tell a tale of dressing up as per Siân's prompt ... but then I was working on my counterfeiting and a song started playing in my head.  A song that I've listened to again and again during the last 14,978 days.  A song that was the title track of the very first album I owned.  On cassette.  For my brand new tape player.  A song that I made into a layout last year.

Layout - Blue - Jimjams
Lots of Tagxedo use with the lyrics!
Thank you, big brother, for giving me such enduring listening pleasure for my birthday all that time ago.

And here it is for YOU to listen to - enjoy!

P.S. Come back next month to see me in Fancy Dress!!!
P.P.S.  Now go over to Siân's for some proper Fancy Storytelling

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Blue - I Love You #1

Photo - kit detail
Hey Blue, here is a post for you ...
Below you'll see a kit
My October counterfeit
There is your hop from meeeeee ...

Apologies to Joni Mitchell :o)
But with a beautiful kit-to-copy containing lots of lovely blue papers, patterns and alphas, from newcomer to the kit-club scene, Gossamer Blue, this song has been playing over and over in my head!

Welcome to the October Blog Hop from the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog Master Forgers.  Hopefully you popped over from Crystal, but if not, the hop started here, where there's a full list of participants so that you don't miss any inspiration.

Photo - kit-to-copy - Gossamer Blue Sept 2012

Lots of chevrons this month (there are even more if you count the reverse sides of the papers), but seeing as my bargain bin stash isn't really on trend and I'm not supposed to be spending money on these kits, I had to improvise as usual:

Photo - October 2012 Counterfeit Kit

My supply list:
Cardstock - Coredinations burnt orange, AC Kraft, Bazzill white - but as ever I may will add more!
Lily Bee Design Victoria Park Charcoal (plain black reverse - which is probably the official front)
6x6 sheet of Everyday Lines from MME's Lime Twist Fly A Kite pad (multi-coloured diagonals)
Front Porch Picket Fence Painted Wicker - my only single-sided paper this month
Lazy Days (multi-coloured dots) & Playground (multi-coloured flowers) - both EP Walk In The Park
6x6 sheet of Spring Zag from MME's Lime Twist Fly A Kite pad (orange reverse)
Lily Bee Design Victoria Park Grand Theatre (green check on reverse)
Victoria Gardens Sunshine (yellow damask) & Walk In The Park Mother Nature (brown wavy lines) - both Echo Park

Photo - kit papers reverseA selection of buttons and wooden stars
Ticket strips in yellow and orange
Chipboard curved frames and a Sizzlit bracket shaped die for making my own shapes
Heavy duty metal brads
Teal twine
Various ribbons
Papermania chevron washi tape (this featured last month too ... those rolls are BIG)
Lots of journalling cards - from Smash pads and Studio Calico Documentary as well as some left-over Project 365 hybrid cards I printed a long while ago.  I went looking for the link ... and found some even better ones from Persnickety Prints (with chevrons)!
Elle's Studio Bright Pennants
Thickers Regards, Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type and MLS Mini alphas

Photo - Kit embellishments

The next Master Forger to share her take on the monthly kit is Lisa so please hop over there to see what she's been up to this month.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

August's Activities - a little late!

Welcome to my August Month in Numbers - in October!  Oops!
Check out Julie's blog here if you have no idea what I'm talking about :o)

4321 (approximately) = minutes spent watching the London 2012 Olympics  Having been hooked by the opening ceremony, we were captivated by cycling, beach volleyball, swimming, horse-riding, tae-kwon-do, diving, and all manner of athletics.   Olympic fever was not even interrupted by a visit to my Step-mother's, where we introduced her to the delights of rhythmic gymnastics (the arm-chair variety) and mountain biking (the sofa strain)

Photo - Border Collie & Ball
2 = number of afternoons spent (unsuccessfully) trying to teach
Step-mother's puppy to hand the ball back in a game of fetch
Books read = 7 (but a shorter and more varied set than last month): "Twisted Wing" by Ruth Newman was a thriller set in Cambridge with a confusing start because two murders have already been committed and it takes a while to sort out what has been going on.  Gradually things fall into place only to fall out again as you realise that the murderer is far cleverer than their pursuers.  Cambridge was also the setting for "Lasting Damage" by Sophie Hannah and, like her other psychological thrillers, had me guessing almost to the (slightly disappointing) ending.
"Full Dark, No Stars" was next - by Stephen King, the US master of spooky short stories.  Having seen the film I picked up "Water For Elephants" by Sara Gruen and was amazed how close it had kept to the book.
My reading group's choice was "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett which was an eye-opener because I hadn't realised how much discrimination and segregation had persisted in America in the 60s - I had thought that Rosa Parks had put a stop to it all in the 50s.  At the group, my friend lent me two books to read "The Evil Seed", the first novel by Joanne Harris and "The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro.  The former is an atmospheric gothic horror about vampires in Cambridge (again) and the latter a beautiful study of life in service in the 30s - I must get around to catching the film on TV soon.

11 = the number of people we squeezed around our dining table during the weekend No.1 Son brought his friends to stay for the weekend.  They were visiting Chester Zoo - the weather was really kind and they enjoyed the picnic we provided.

There should be a PHOTO here of the happy hordes, but despite weeks of promises No.1 Son has failed to come up with the goods.  So I'll add a picture Child No.3 drew for him that weekend instead:

Drawing - Pen & Ink Doodle - Jimjams' Daughter Aug 2012
20 = minutes of interview which proved to be successful for No.3 Child in obtaining a pocket-money job so she is happily looking forward to some spending money after July's disappointment in her previous interviews.

0 = the number of A-grade GCSEs that she achieved - because the majority were A* and the rest were B; it seems there is no middle ground between the subjects she likes and those that she doesn't! 

6 = days spent away by No.2 Son attending a 3 day music festival ... maths never was his strong point!

Part of the reason why I have finally published my belated numbers is that I have a weekend scrappy retreat coming up and I'm hoping to get the scrapping of my months up-to-date!  I have February, April, May and June, August still to complete ... all I need to do is add the words to the pages from my MIN blog posts.  Oh and of course there's still September - eek!!

If you a) want to join in with your Month in Numbers and b) are as late as I am, then other Augusts can be found here.