Thursday, 19 February 2009

February Photos

I think I mentioned before that I'm attempting '12 months=12 projects'. I've struggled slightly to take photos this month, other than of the snow and rain! One idea I had was to take a full length shot each month to show my weight loss, but without there being someone around with the necessary skills to do so on the correct date that's not always going to be possible. I thought I was being pretty creative this month when I came up with this picture to represent my weight loss.

Looking at this photo I'm even hoping to be wearing trousers the next size down when I go back to school next week :)

I must try to take some more interesting photos next week to beef up the Feb page and add some colour. Everything is so dreary though right now. There's not even any sunshine!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

All My Own Photos Circle Journey, Ready for the Off!

Tomorrow is the first posting day for my second CJ of the year. This one is a record of Connor's first year, using all my own photos (AMOP CJ). I have done two LOs for this one to start it off;
Poddy: a LO commemorating our first scan in May 2006

You are just so ADORABLE: to celebrate his birth.

I lost my little box of white flowers during the CC last weekend. Yesterday I found it in the car park at my Ex husbands house, completed smooshed and the flowers all snow ruined :( It must have fallen out of the car last weekend when I dropped Connor off and got driven over. Last night I went to Leigh's house again to do some scrapping and could have sworn that I'd taken the tags she cut me out for my CJ with me. I spent ages turning out my totes without any joy. When I left, I found them in the car park again but this time not ruined! Next time I lose something I'll know where to look first though.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I'm going to Scrapfever, are you?

Today I have booked and paid for Scrapfever Oct 2009. I am really realy excited about that :) My team mate and personal photographer, Lis, is joining me and I can't wait.

But before that, I've booked my ticket for Ally Pally in April!! I'm looking forward to stroking a lot of the new stuff from CHA- yummy, yummy! I just hope that not too much of it jumps into my basket, like it does when I shop online.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

More on the Cybercrop!

I set my alarm for 6.45am so that I could be up and at 'em for the 7am challenge on Saturday morning. My heart was saying 'Yes!' but my body was saying 'No' at that time in the morning though and it was at least 7.30am by the time I dragged myself out of bed. Luckily the first challenge was a photo one so that was easy to catch up on.

And at 8am, the first class of the day a Bubbly Funk extravaganza. What a way to start the day!! I love Caroline's work and this project was no exception. There were a number of colourways, and for each, a different project so I picked and choose a little bit to come up with my LIFE LO with the photos on each letter.

But the house decor I copied exactly.

The next challenge was also a photo one (which is just as well since I was again running late having spent a while on the first class, and let the tiler in to finish my cloakroom and taken time out to make the guy a cuppa). And then came the 10am class 'The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes' from Craft at Home. This was a simple book binding class, and the result is gorgeous, but it needs decorating and filling ready for my Mum's Birthday in March.
Another quick photo challenge and I decided to catch up on the 12pm class later on as I was getting behind again. That left me with the 2pm class, 'Spiders Web' by Laura Godfrey. She had made a lovely LO but not really my thing. I did however plan to use the technique to link up some flags on a Birthday LO, but I couldn't find my beads anywhere so the LO remains unfinished- you get the idea though! I loved the hidden journalling with the decorated bottom, and will definatley be doing that again in future.

Next up, the 4pm class (still playing catch up!) 'Cat amoung the pigeons' by Taniwha. Wow!! Is this a gorgeous LO or what. I loved the colour scheme she'd gone for and she had suggested using a B&W photo I was able to use any photo for this LO. I went for one of me from 2006 when I was at the weight I feel happiest at. This is the photo that I have been using for inspiration to lose weight this year and it's the photo that I believe is 'The Real Me', hence the title. I used lots of bits that I picked up in the Hobbycraft sale, like the bright pink flowers and butterflies (K&Co). I do love the colours :)

I was, of course, really behind again and I'd been asked to do some last minute babysitting so I hastely packed up my stash again and headed out. I quickly put the kids in front of a video (as instructed by the parents who were just grateful I'd said yes at all) and set up in the study next to the lounge so that I could get on with things. And then disaster!! I had forgotten my patterned paper :( So for the rest of the evening I tried to work with what I had. I did have a pre prepared kit for the 10pm class 'Partners in Crime' by JenniF so was at least able to put this together, although I didn't have a printer with me so could only ready the photo. The top I was wearing in the photo was green, but not lime green so I converted it to B&W and then put the green back into all the plants. It all came together when I got home and was able to print it out, and there are some techniques there that I will definatley use again.
I had started the 3pm challenge at home and so also had everything with me to finish that one off. This was a hard one because you had to make it symmetrical and have four of everything. Well, everyone knows that you should use odd numbers so I don't think I'll ever get used to this LO and may have to re do it sometime. But I got the points for the FBI none-the-less!

Shimelle's 7pm challenge was to use the kit to make as many things as possible. I was a little disappointed because I really love her work and love learning things from her. I also loved the kit and was looking forward to doing something special with it. In the end I made a few cards for the points and decided to do something special with it when I had more time.
By this point I was expecting the parents home anytime so I packed up again and waited. They were home by 1am and I was home by quarter past and back up in my scraproom to catch up on the rest of the challenges and classes with all my stash available.

Then it was back to the classes that I'd missed. 'The Da Vinci Code' by Ifa being the first. I didn't have watercolours so I improvised with it and came up with 'St Lucia'. I loved the LO idea and am pleased with the result. The only thing I didn't like was when I was doodling the edges of the paper I smudged the writing on the label across the white cardstock so I removed the label and put a longer one over the smudge. It looks a little weird out on a limb though so I will revisit it and add some more elements to make it work better (I hope!).

The challenges were;

The 'Mugshot swap' (where we swapped photos and scrapped the other person). My swapee was Mhairi and this is the LO.

The 'Jessica Fletcher' challenge (include type written writing on a LO).

The Saturday night challenge- scrap using Plum and Buttons only.

Somewhere along the way, I heard the birds singing and realised that it was almost time for the next challenges and classes to start! I had been so far behind that it had taken me all night to catch up. Last year I had gone out for dinner on the Saturday night and still managed to catch up on all the classes and challenges. I know where I went wrong. I should have thrown LOs together to satisfy the challenges, but I did that before and then never liked the LO and never used it. That to me is a waste of time and stash. In future CCs I will have to choose which classes and challenges I do and not get so hung up on each LO I think. Having said that, despite the tiredness, I am really really pleased with my LOs on the whole.

Sunday's CC started with an embellishment challenge so I took the oppurtinity to earn 100 points by doing a scavenger hunt. This was followed by an Agatha Christie quiz (that was hard!). I snuck another challenge in in the form of 'Miss Marple' (scrap with lace) and my LO 'Estepona'.

And finally the 'Scrap your day finale' digi LO from Shimelle which I really struggled with, having never done it before and not having instructions to follow. I managed to get two photos uploaded ready to complete for 2009.

Not a bad haul :) In the end I had 1025 points for the FBI, which is 225 more than last CC and I did the MK that time around!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Murder, Mystery and definately Mayhem!!

Phew! Am I tired after this weekend's cybercrop on UKS!! It all started on Friday night when I drove to Leigh's in the snow. I don't mind the snow, but it was a little frightening trying to reverse onto a curb with the wheels skidding a bit. Leigh had set up an excellent space for me and I was right at home. Here I am with Leigh's Mum, 'Paddy', working hard (courtesy of Leigh).

The first class was a little late in kicking off but was def worth the wait. I find it really hard to pre select photos for classes based only on a list of materials so my first job was to print off some photos. That was fine though because I was able to get on with the class as they were printing. The class was from Caroline at Artbase and called 'In the Frame' and it fitted perfectly with me displaying some of the photos from the snow we had earlier in the week. I was really pleased with the final product 'Snow Day'.

Already though, I realised that I should have brought more stash with me. I had to steal some cardstock from Leigh (thanks Leigh) and didn't add the title until I got home to all my Thickers. It was nice having company to scrap with though, and Paddy's running commentary of what she was doing and endless conversations with patterned paper was very amusing!
At this point we were about an hour and a half behind. Whilst Leigh and Paddy started work on the second class I tackled the first challenge: FBI. 'Include file folders, some buttons and some ink on a LO'. Again, I immediately knew which photos I wanted to use. I'd been trying to get a photo of Connor in his pink wellies and he kept hiding behind a tree. When I said 'Boo' he'd peep out, so I had a series of nice photos of him that I hadn't known how to display. I made a file folder form cardstock and then a consertina from another piece of cardstock. The final picture I attached on a real slant so that it was peeping out of the file folder. A really simple LO, but a lovely way to display a number of photos I thought, especially when they're all so similar.

Then it was straight on to class number three 'The Mousetrap' by ziggysmammy. Again I knew immediately which photo and colourway I wanted to use with this class and already had the photo printed. I went with the photo that I'd edited so that it was black and white except for the carrot nose on the snowman, and used orange, black and white for the colours. I loved the hidden journalling (where is says 'All the facts') and the stamping. The labels are all Fontwerks black labels and I altered them to make the fit the LO. This is probably my favourite LO of the weekend, but def my favourtie of Friday.

I left Leigh's and drove home. A big thank you to Leigh for putting up with me all evening. Next time I'm definately keeping the whole weekend free and staying put!
When I got home (around 2.30am), I put the finishing touches to the above LOs (titles and snowflakes and buttons and things that were here at home) and worked on two more challenges; Challenge 2: Cagney and Lacey (Scrap a girlie photo without using pink) and Challenge 3: Moonlighting (take a picture of the suspect asleep).
Challenge 2 was actually much harder than I thought it would be. I rarely am pleased with the LOs that I do during challenges and this one is no exception to that rule. As I looked through my papers, I was struck by how many had some amount of pink in them. Eventually I fell upon the Basic Grey papers I'd bought in the DoCrafts sale and used them to produce this rather garish and uninspiring LO 'Girls just wanna have fun'.

Since I was the only one in the house, I had to take a picture of Connor's bear in bed asleep for the third challenge :) I finally fell into bed sometime around 4.30am, tired but happy.

Friday, 6 February 2009

A quick quide to removing colour from photos.

I just learnt this technique the other night and in response to a request, here is my quick and easy guide to removing colour from photos. I did it by trial and error and it only took me 10 minutes so with these instructions hopefully you'll have the photo that you want in a few minutes.

Perhaps the longest step is the downloading of software. There are lots of free programmes out there but I went for Serif PhotoPlus. Warning! It does come with an Ask! tool bar on Internet Explorer but I uninstalled this (via the control panel) and the PhotoPlus still works :)

So once you're downloaded that you're ready to begin. Open it up. You will have a few options in a purple box central to the screen. Select 'Start new picture' and okay to whatever it offered! You should have a white 'page' central to the screen (the orientation doesn't matter because it'll change it for you when you open the window.

Locate 'File' in the bar at the top and 'Open'. Find the photo that you want to use and open that one. This is your background layer and you will use the colour from this one.

Make another layer by dragging the cursor at the top left hand corner down to the right hand corner, selecting the whole picture basically.

Select 'Edit' (next to 'File') and then 'Copy'. Now go to 'Layers' and select 'New layer from selection copy'. You should now have two layers displayed on the right hand side.

Next you need to make this top layer B&W so, again from bar at top, select 'Image' and then 'Adjust'. Towards the bottom it says 'Greyscale'. Select that. It opens a new screen and I just hit okay. It'll take you back to the original page, and the photo on top should be B&W (this sometimes takes a while depending on the size of the image- don't panic!).

Now you need to rub the photo away in the place you want colour so on the left handside select the rubber (about half way down, pink and rectangular). Use it to rub out from where you want colour to come through. You can make the rubber bigger at the top where it says brush size and you can zoom in by doing 'ctrl' and '+' a few times. If you make a mistake there's an 'undo' button at the top and you can start over. Then choose 'Merge' from 'Layers' and click 'Merge down'.

Once you're happy do 'File' and 'Save' (or select the disk icon to save quickly).

And hey presto! Easy isn't it :) Enjoy and I'd love to see your finished photos, so please post a link for me to look at!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

What's in a name?!

When we first started thinking about naming Connor, I was very sure about the names I liked. My favourite was Isaac, meaning 'he will laugh'. Who wouldn't want their child to laugh? Of course I would have nicknamed him Zac, but Isaac is a name that you can grow into when you grow out of Zac. What I forgot to factor in was my husband's opinion ;) He got so fed up with me going on about baby names that he flushed the name book down the loo :) So it wasn't until 'Poddy' was born that I dared raise the subject again. Why Poddy you ask? Well our surname is Brumby. A Brumby is an Australian horse, and a baby Brumby is called 'Poddy'. The baby was called Poddy from about 3 months in and we called him Poddy for 5 days after he was born too. Finally Poddy's Dad sat down with the book. 'I only like one name' he said. I held my breath. 'Connor'. 'Connor' I said, trying it on for size. 'I don't dislike Connor'. So in whispers we tried it out, not telling anyone in case it didn't suit our new baby. We 'tried it out' all weekend and on day 6 we announced to our family that Poddy was Poddy no more (except that it was a hard habit to get out of and every now and then we did call him Poddy by mistake)!

Connor means 'lover of hounds'. Connor loves animals fullstop. He loves snails and cats and dogs and rabbits and, well animals!! I wonder if he had been Isaac he would have loved animals quite as much as he does now, or whether he would have just laughed more ;)

Anyway, I wanted to do a LO to remember what I had wanted, and what we got. The title is simply 'Connor'. I used a fabulous sketch from My Sketch World, this one being one side of the January sketch. I didn't follow it as religiously as I might usually, but because I had such a specific idea in my mind, adding embellishments and subtitles just made it look cluttered. I'm still really into trying out rub ons and stamping now that I am more confident that I won't ruin whole LOs that are nearly finished when the rub on doesn't rub on correctly, or I stamp in the wrong place. Both these techniques feature here.

The photo is of Connor when he was 5 days old. The description of the meaning of the name is from the actual book that we used to name him (a second version since I had to throw the first one away ;) ). I liked the idea of using the genuine article. I'm pleased with the result and have recorded the Isaac/Connor story in the journalling.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Scrapping in PINK, what a treat!!

Woohoo! I got to scrap in pink :) I have two pairs of wellies for Connor, some green crocodile ones and some blue Thomas the Tank engine ones. Could I find either of them when the snow fell this week? Could I heck! I went everywhere to find some and in the end found a shop with a choice of three wellies; green crocodile (didn't even get a look in), Smarties (which I really pushed for) and Peppa Pig ones. DS was adament that he was having the Peppa Pig ones, and I thought 'He'll grow out of them soon enough'.

I used Serif PhotoPlus SE (free download!) to remove all colour except for the wellies and then picked up on the pink in the rest of the LO. The challenge on UKS was to use a sketch they supplied, use black and white, use stamping and use flowers. I achieved all of these things, and am really pleased with the LO.

I wanted to scrap this because Connor calls wellies 'willies', which makes me smile everytime, rather childishly. I spent 20 minutes trying to get a decent photo of him in them and eventually resorted to bribing him with chocolate buttons. But just look at that smile :)

Bazzil cardstock
MM noteworthy journalling spot
daisyds rub on journalling spot
Ric rac, blooms and brads from stash
Thickers Daiquiri
MM alpha shimmer
Dotty card from back of 'Say it with crystals' packaging
Doodlebug designs stripes

Monday, 2 February 2009


I did hear on the weather forcast that they were expecting snow, but I didn't really take it too seriously. We hardly ever get decent snow. So I was very surprised when I got up on Monday morning and found a good 3 inches or so blanketing the ground and everything else for that matter. I had great fun trying to get decent photos of Connor, and in the end enlisted my Mum to help me out. I got some lovely ones though. Here are a selection of them and I'm sure you'll see them on LOs pretty soon.

Anyway, the snow has brought chaos across the country. We just can't handle snow, however much warning there is. Trains have been going nowhere, the airports are closed, offices are empty and schools are closed. I'm not complaining about that, don't get me wrong :) I had today off work (paid) and managed to get my first CJ of the year underway. It's Kathb's 'Big Cats' all your own photos CJ and I had a lovely photo of a Tiger to work with.

I'm going through a definition phase it would seem. I created a LO using the 'Connor' part of our baby name book and now this one with the tiger definition. On the other side, I tried to keep it fairly simple to make sure the focus remained with the fabulous photo, and just included William Blake's poem 'The Tiger'. I'm still not sure about scrapping in 8x8, but think I will get the hang of it and don't think I've done a bad job with this one either.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Fantastic February

Woohoo! I survived January and actually enjoyed most of it too :)

As I think I already said I've been planning on doing the 12 months=12 projects challenge and today I completed the January review. The hardest part was choosing between the photos, and then trying to work out a LO that could include them and a bit of journalling. Am pretty pleased with the result but may try hidden journalling next month to overcome that issue.

Shimelle's challenge for 'Scrap Like You Mean It' this week was to scrap in black and white. I thought that the best way to accomplish this was to use only black and white papers/embellishments and then have really colourful pictures. The topic I chose was the newly decorated house. I've put so much of myself into the house over the last 6 months with a little touch here or a little touch here. I've enjoyed being able to make things feminine and have exactly what I want, where I want. The consequence of that is that Connor is able to move things around and already things are getting a little tired, or cracked. The LO will keep everything perfect!

Another thing that I've been wanting to do is to redo some of my older LOs. The one I chose to do this week was my photos of Connor sleeping. He was born three weeks early and for the first three weeks until his due date, he just slept. One morning I took a series of photos over about 10 minutes and he changed pose about 8 times whilst I was doing it. I love the photos and the LO uses four of them. I printed Brahms lullaby off the internet to use as an accent and am pleased with how it turned out. It's much more accomplished than the first attempt, which was very basic indeed.

And finally, it's CJ time. Tomorrow my 'Connor's Second Year' sets off on it's journey. I completed the October page '1' last night. I've never scrapped in 8x8 before (other that CJ) and actually found it really hard to do with my own photos. I think it will come with practice over the next few months though!