Monday, 19 November 2012

Another Birdy-Themed Handmade Card

It's that time of year again. Between November and March I am always crazy-busy making handmade cards for family members. Don't get me wrong, I love doing it, I just tend to spend too long making the cards, and before I know it the whole day has gone. This latest one is for my mum, who has turned 21 again! (You're only as old as you feel right?!).

I love birds, and most of my artwork tends to centre around a bird of some kind, intentional or not.  Last year I made the Rain Bird card for my mum. This year she is getting an owl. Speaking of birds, I just found out that my little parakeet, Pippin, is a girl and not the boy we thought s/he was*... no wonder she never replied to "who's a good boy?" But I's a pic of my handmade effort

I used various cardstock I have collected over the years, with the patterned card coming from different Dovecraft packs. This design just came from a doodle I had scribbled a few weeks ago. Doodling is the best way to let the ideas flow!

I took another pic with the flash on so you can see the lovely sparkly card (and also the manky glue blobs).

So that's one card down...

 * You're probably thinking 'how the heck did you not know he was a girl?! It's hard to tell when they are babies, the colour of their cere often changes, especially through hormone imbalance which is what we thought had caused the change.. Pippin also has the body shape of a boy. S/he is effectively a parakeet Keira Knightley.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Using Washi Tape in My Filofax

A long anticipated parcel arrived through my door the other week. Washi tape!!

Belive it or not, this is my first ever batch, I have seen so much Washi tape featured in various arts, crafts and stationery blogs that I found myself idley lusting for some. I think it's a brilliant idea to have designs on masking tape, such a simple concept but very effective for adding finishing touches to almost anything.
These beauties are from a lovely seller on Etsy called Pretty Tape. She has a huge range but unfortuantely is in the USA so it cost me a little bit extra for shipping costs. They arrived within 10 days of ordering which I thought was pretty good.

Here they are on paper:

I came across a post by Imy of Imysworld about sticking Washi Tape in your Filofax so you could keep track of which Washi tapes you already own (great for the impulse buyer!). I think I'll cut this paper down and punch it into my Filo :)

At the moment I'm just using the tapes for brightening up boring stationary, namely my Filofax stationary.

To Do Lists

Notepages (The bird cage stamp is from the same Etsy Seller).

I'm also using the washi tape to stick in any lists that I make for the week.

I've been trawling eBay since they arrived and have noticed that a few of these same tapes are available on the 'Bay but I just hadn't noticed them. It's amazing what a difference good product photography can make! Browsing Washi tape on eBay is dangerous though...there are so many more I'd like to have. So pretty! Uh oh, I feel a new obsession coming on...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

New Homemade Filofax dividers

My old dividers were getting a bit scruffy looking so I decided to make some new ones from some card stock that arrived through my letterbox last week:

The sun came out just as I took this picture! The shadows are from my plants on the window sill :)
This card stock is from Dovecraft, this set in particular is called Garden Party. I have loads of Dovecraft paper; I just love their colourful patterns.
Here are the dividers I made using the flyleaf as a template:

The post-its and stick-on tabs are from the Martha Stewart / Avery collection at Staples. Post-it notes are ideal labels for me as I chop and change my setup all the time. I love the colours used in the Marthe Stewart range, colourful but not overbearing.

And here are the finished dividers in my Malden, all ready to go!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Trip to Venice

When I disappeared back in March I was preparing to go a short break to a place I have always wanted to go to - Venice. I can honestly say that it didn't disappoint :) I have to say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my stay there, I really expected it to be a big let down as I read so many wonderful things about the place before I visited and thought it was just tourist hype.
We had been very lucky to spot an online offer to stay in Venice during the off peak visitor season. On arrival we found that despite it being March we had the fortune of a wonderful weather forecast, and even better, there were less tourists around than I can imagine there would be in Summer - another plus was that the lack of extreme heat meant we didn't experience the...'aroma' of the canals.

We stayed in a town near the coast of mainland Italy called Mestre, and from there it was a 10 minute train journey into Venice. We had our first journey across on a Wednesday morning at 11am on an unusually quiet train. I couldn't believe my eyes when we walked out of Venice train station to find that Venice...was completely silent. Empty! A few locals, the odd group of tourists here and there... but peaceful. I will never forget that moment. It was exactly how I had wanted Venice to be. 

 The following trips we had over the next few days included a day out in Verona and Murano. But we came back to Venice as much as we could before our time was up.
You really can spend a whole day losing yourself in the maze of bridges and miniature footpaths that connect the city. We also had the obligitory trip in a Gondola, and witnessed what can only be described as peak time congestion in the afternoon as too many vessels were trying to cram themselves down the narrower canals.

There is a kind of abandoned beauty to Venice that I just fell in love with. The ornate ostentatious architecture contrasting with the old neglected houses, not to mention the ancient carvings and paintings inside and out... oh just amazing! (I'm such a massive art nerd!)

If you ever plan to visit Venice here's my advice; go in early Spring and don't plan! Let yourself get lost in the backstreets of the most beautiful city in the world, you'll discover treasures that many tourists won't see. Like the San Giovanni Evangelista Complex, the most incredible marbles and ceiling paintings decorate this building. I would have loved to have seen the famous theatres of Venice too but I ran out of time - there's too much to see! I will definitely be going back to resume my exploration! Another piece of advice: visit Harry's Bar and get yourself one of the original Bellini cocktails. Be warned though - They are expenisve (of course!) and you will be required to be wearing long trousers; visitors in shorts be prepared to be turned away.

And now for some snap shots! I wanted to create a fancy pants montage with these, but I seem to have misplaced the SD card containing the originals when moving house.
You can see the originals and more on my feed over at Flicker.

One of the first views you will see if coming in by train.

Waiting for the waterbus to pick us up from Murano.
You can see Venice on the horizon.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

An Accidental Hiatus

Oops... it's been a while...
So sorry that I disppeared for so long! Life has a habit of getting in the way! So what's been happening?? Well, I've been on holiday to a beautiful place called Venice, bought some new Filofaxes, had a relationship breakdown, moved house, started a new obsession with fountain pens, and acquired a pet. Busy times!

I will try to resume my blogging activities now things have clamed down a bit. Take care for now!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 13

List 13: 10 years ago I...
Fonts used: NeoRetroDraw, NeoRetroFill

I really struggled to remember what was going on 10 years ago. It's not very interesting!
That last point - the one about being too quiet - I still get this today. For some reason people can't understand that I don't like to vocalise every thought in my head, it's really annoying.

Monday, 12 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 12

List 12: Super powers I would like to have
Fonts used:Abberancy, Teen

Time control is an obvious one isn't it! If I couldn't have time control then I would at least like to take down one of my biggest time killers at weekends: housework!  Failing that, then it would be quite nice to have the ability to see the stars clearly whenever I liked. Not for any particular reason, I just think it would be quite pretty and would cheer me up if I was having a bad day :)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 10

List 10: Today was awesome because...
Fonts used: Pincoyablack Black, Capture It 2
This was a quite a good one. It's easy to forget the nice things that happen and too easy to remember the bad things. Here's what happened to me today:

I finally bought a Kindle!
It's not that I was resisting the Kindle, it just never came as a priority to me, although I do feel a little late jumping on this bandwagon. I love reading books and normally I borrow them from the local library. But recently two things have happened: 1. I have read every book I want to read in the library and 2. I am going on holiday using an airline that has very strict (and ridiculously small) baggage restrictions. The first problem was that I would have to buy books if I wanted to read more, except that I don't have any storage space for them, and the second problem was that I couldn't fit a (thick) book into my hand luggage to read on the plane. I love physical books, but a Kindle was the obvious answer. I've only had it a few hours but I'm liking it so far!

I reached level 2 of the 30 Day Shred Challenge
30 Day Shred is basically an intense exercise DVD that you workout to everyday for a month or so. The idea is that you work your way up through levels 1, 2 and 3 as and when you feel capable of doing so. This isn't just an ordinary workout DVD though, it KILLS YOU. It is very intense and not recommended for those who are pretty unfit. Level 1 was a nightmare for the first few days but it got better as my fitness and strength improved. Now I've started level 2 I'm back to feeling like I'm going to keel over and die during the workout. That doesn't compare to the feeling you get once you see and feel your muscles toning and the fat disappearing. And I'm only on day 7!

I sold something on eBay
Not for the first time, but it still feels good to make a tiny profit!

I completed all my chores in the morning
Even better, I have the house to myself tonight which means I can relax and pamper myself.

I discovered I had lost 2lbs in the past week
I'm a happy size 8 (UK size) so it's not my goal to lose weight, but to tone up. The weight loss is inevitable though and I admit it does feel pretty good to see my jeans fitting a little better around the waist. have a feeling that 30 Day Shred has a lot to do with this!! I haven't changed my eating habits at all so I can image if you did this workout while on a diet the pounds would fly off.

I found a parking space outside my house
It's the little things that make me happy :)

Friday, 9 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 9

List 9: Happy Places
Fonts used: NeoRetroDraw (modified), Amano

I have way too many to list but as most of my 'happy places' relate to being outside near hills or lakes I thought I would just mention my favourites which have given me happy memories :)

Reading In Bed
A luxury for me as I'm usually to busy to stop and relax before bedtime.

I love Edinburgh. I have visited both during down time and during the Fringe. Regardless of what is going on, there is a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere to the city that makes me feel at home. I love exploring the underground vaults and the narrow winding alleyways. Quirky but beautiful.

Redkirk is part of the Solway coast in the South West of Scotland. The name means Red Church and it is literally 3 or 4 miles away from my mum's house. I love to go to there during the Summer to sit and watch the sea. There really is nothing else there; you follow a bumpy narrow track down towards the sea all you can see is fields, 'beach' and sea. The most unusual thing about it for me it that there are a large number of boulders built up in one corner of the beach. When the tide comes in you can sit at the top of the boulders and be completely surround by the sea (apart from behind you, you can escape by stepping up into a field.) Its a very freeing experience, especially as you are usually alone there.

Lake Windermere
In the Lake District in the north west of England. Another childhood place, but excellent for a day out, be it hiking or sight-seeing.

At my mums
I love being home, surrounded by my family and by all that nature. Strange as it sounds, I miss the sea. I think once you have grown up near water it becomes part of you. I feel a little land-locked living in Cheshire.

In my car
I love going for a little drive, even if I don't get out of the car.

The Cornerhouse
The Cornerhouse is an independent cinema in Manchester. It regularly shows foreign films and films generally not screened at commercial cinemas. It's so full of culture that it also holds space for an art gallery, a book shop, a bar and a coffee house. It must be the only place you can have a cup of coffee and a cupcake at 11pm! Love it.

Talkin Tarn
A man-made lake situated between Brampton and Carlisle in the north west of England, it became a regular haunt for while I was studying and living in Carlisle. I still visit occasionally but it seems to have become a bit more commercial since my first trips there. It's still a beautiful area though, another place where you can sit alone and think without looking a bit weird.

The Trossachs
The Trossachs is a National Park in Scotland, just a bit north of Glasgow. It includes Loch Lomond amongst it's many beautiful sights. It was here that I hiked up my first ever 'proper' hill, Ben Narnairn, with my brother and his girlfriend when I went to stay with them in Glasgow. Even though it started to pour down it was a great day, especially when we finally touched ground level and could relax and warm up in the pub with a nice beer and basket of chips. Good times :)

Café Nero @ The Triangle
This isn't because I have a die-hard love for Café Nero as such, but it's the location of this particular one that draws me back to it time and time again. It is right in the centre of Manchester in a small (but sadly unsuccessful) 'shopping centre' called the Triangle. The Triangle sits right in the shadow of the better, bigger and more popular Arndale Centre and as a result it has practically gone out of business, the few shops still there look out to a central-built structure that houses Cafe Nero. It's sad news that the place is so empty, but it's ideal for me. Those who know me know that I HATE shopping with a passion. Manchester City Centre at the weekend is my idea of hell (though the Trafford Centre far surpasses that) and this Cafe Nero is a little slice of heaven to me whenever I go into the city. A cup of coffee, a deep breath, ready to fight my way through the crowds again.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 8

List 8: Things I Need To Say No To
Fonts used: Nasalization, Gabriola

This could have been a very long list all about eating. I love my  food!

Buying Filofaxes
I have six now, that should be enough (for now!)

Taking on too much
I have a bad habit of doing too much at once.

Eating that 2nd packet of crisps
In my defence, crisp packets are much smaller than they used to be!

Cleaning up after others
I tend to just get on with it rather than nag or moan. I need to stop that habit or else people will just get used to me doing it all.

Having dessert despite already being full
More gluttony!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 7

List 7: Style Inspirations
Fonts used: Impact Label, Miriam Fixed Regular

I decided to turn this prompt into styles that I like to refer to when I am designing something in my personal life such as card crafting, interior design, illustration work etc. etc. Looking at the list, one word one summarises everything I like: Swirly. Enough said :)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 6

List 6: Things To Collect
Fonts used: Freshbot, Circle, Eurostile
***Quick note on copyright; I've used background image that has been sitting on my PC for ages. I don't  know where it came from so if you recognise it, or if it is yours, let me know and I'll sort out copyright.

I don't really collect things, by that I mean I don't actually go out of my way to collect things. It just so happens that certain things tend to accumulate in my house... not my fault...

ALWAYS useful for high quality prints to cut out and use for cardstocking, Filofax dividers, wall art etc.

I like having a large collection to hand so I can just spread everything out and get inspiration for my next card designs.

I don't have as many of these lying around as I used to, I've had a cull recently. I think Filofax is also partly to blame for this, most of my note keeping is done in one of my six Filofaxes these days.

I've read a few books on my phone (HTC HD - the screen is big enough for me read without going blind) but it's just not the same as a physical book. And my books are very...'loved'. Ok, they're a mess. But I'm not precious about my books, they get shoved in my bag, they are dropped in the garden, they have coffee spilt on them. My phone couldn't handle that!

Six and counting!!!! Only one is not in use; I'm super-organized, my life would be a mess without them.

You know those buttons you cut off new clothes, those ones you find around the house, the ones you impulse-buy in a craft shop? I keep them ALL. In a small biscuit tin. Because if you throw a button away, you will need it the very next day.

I have a thing about masks. In fact I'm attracted to these kinds of things in general, Venetian masquerades, Victorian circuses, ruined buildings, Baroque-style it all.

Ticket Stubs
I like to remember what I've seen and when (and who with sometimes). It's nice to come across an old ticket stub and reminisce.

I'm obsessed with growing a large plant one day. I haven't succeed yet. I blame the constant house-moving I do (six times in six years, getting tired now), the plants never seem to really settle in, especially if the new place has less light than the old one.

Monday, 5 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 5

List 5: Words To Live By
Fonts used: Clutchee, Disco, Berlin Sans FB

I was very close to using quotes for this list but quite honesty I dislike quotes. Usually they are taken out of context or attributed to the wrong person, or worse, a character from a play/novel/movie (Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare have a few of these). So I thought I would come up with my own 'quotes' for this one. These are things I have either learnt from experience or have come to conclude from the experiences of others. I won't go through my 'words to live by'; they speak for themselves.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 4

List 4: Things I will Do Today (And Not Put Off 'Til Tomorrow)
Fonts Used: Never Regular, Prestige Elite Standard Bold

Ok I've changed this one. The original prompt was 'Things I will Put Off 'Til Tomorrow' but actually I don't put things off, if anything I try to cram too much into each day when sometimes I really should let things slide now and then. So here's my list for today:

  • Ironing
  • Buy travel insurance
  • Attempt to fix printer
  • Order a new Wacom Bamboo pen

Boring, but it must be done.

Buy travel insurance
Again, boring but it must be done. At least with this task I get something good out of it (holiday that is.)

Attempt to fix printer
I think this may be a lost cause but I'll give it one last try before my trip to the tip next weekend.

Order new Wacom Bamboo pen
The pen for my Wacom no longer works and the tablet is so old that Wacom no longer supplies spares. I was just going to buy a new shiny one but a friend lent me their Bamboo pen it seemed to do just as well as the original stylus. So I'll need to order one of those before I go crazy trying to use a mouse in Photoshop!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 3

List 3: Recipe For A Perfect Weekend
Fonts used: AR Delaney, Bella Donna
This one is a little ironic as it's been a terrible weekend so far (car problems, plans fell through etc)
Anyway, here is how I would ideally like to spend my weekends:

  • Walking in the countryside
  • Rummaging in book or craft shops
  • Tea Rooms
  • Road trip to somewhere unknown
  • Reading in the sun
  • Spending time with someone special

Walking in the countryside
I'm an outdoorsy girl, not a shopping mall girl.

Rummaging in book or craft shops
I love finding something I can really get stuck into.

Tea Rooms
A nice pub could work here too, anything that lets you relax and have a nice cup of coffee and slice of cake :)

Road trip to somewhere unknown
I love driving and when I was a student I used to go out by myself at night (often around midnight) to have a little drive around the country lanes. Now I mostly drive during the day but nothing beats an adventure in a new place.

Reading in the sun
One of my most favourite things to do on Summer mornings.

Spending time with someone special
Because that's what life is all about :)

Friday, 2 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 2

List 2: This Month's Goals
Fonts used: Alba, 1942 Report

Quite an easy one today as it was only a few weeks ago that I was putting together my projects & goals binder.

  • Travel abroad
  • Develop French skills
  • Start fitness plan
  • Spring clean
  • Make home-made pizza

Travel Abroad

It' been a loooong time since I left the UK (about 9 years!) and it's been a long standing goal of mine to escape again. If everything goes to plan we should be jetting off to Venice at the end of the month :)

Develop French Skills
I'm in the middle of doing an online French course so I should be progressing every week.

Start Fitness Plan
I had a knee injury at the end of last year and while recovering I lost the will to go back to the gym. I have now cancelled my membership and ordered a fitness DVD (Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred - yes another 30 Day thing!) which will be much more convenient for me anyway. It arrived on Tuesday night and I tested it out last night - level one - I can't move my arms today! I'm really looking forward to getting stcuk into this. I'm also going to make more of an effort with my eating habits - I'm a crisp fiend.

Spring Clean
Already halfway through this! I've thrown out 3 bin bags, have 2 bags full of things for charity, and one bag full of things to sell. It feels good!

Make Homemade Pizza
Following on from yesterday's 'challenges to accept' I have decided to follow my 'cook something new every month' challenge and make some home-made pizza this month.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

30 Days of Lists: Day 1

List 1: Challenges to Accept
Fonts used: Askent, Agency FB

I ran with the number five here or else I would have overdone it. Here's my list:

  • Hike up Ben Nevis
  • Stick to an exercise plan
  • Learn a new language
  • Cook something new every month
  • Handmake everyone a birthday card this year

Hike up Ben Nevis
I feel like I need a hiking challenge so Ben Nevis will be my focal point. The largest mountain / hill I have hiked so far is Ben Narnairn in the Trossachs so I'll need much more experience before I tackle Ben Nevis. Definately a goal to work towards!

Stick to an exercise plan
This should help me with the previous goal! I would like to be a little more toned without losing too much weight in the process.

Learn a new language
Well, I'm cheating a little here as I'm already halfway through a French course - but it is only Basic level so I have a long way to go yet.

Cook something new every month
I want to expand my culinary skills. I do cook quite frequently but it's usually dishes I know well. I think it's time to push the boat out and make an effort with some new food.

Handmake everyone a birthday card this year
This will be a challenge!!

So that was list one. I have decided to jazz up each prompt by creating a mini graphic every day for each list. I will only have my lunch  break to do this though so this will be a mini challenge in itself!

Bring on tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

30 Days of Lists

I really should have posted this waaaay before now. Nevermind, better late than never!
Over the next month (ish) I will be participating in 30 Days of Lists. If you've never heard of this before then here is a little blurb from the girls at the 30 DOL Blog:
30 Days of Lists is our encouragement and challenge to you that you CAN journal just something every day – even something as small as a list.
Every day through the month of March we will be posting a list prompt – anything from weekend goals to celebrity crushes. At the end of the 30 days you’ll have a collection of entries creating a small snapshot of your life right now.
Only 5-10 minutes per day are really needed. While you’re waiting for someone, or when you’re the passenger in the car. You can even download the list topics ahead of time to get a jump start!
That’s all.
Just write.
There’s no wrong way to do this and if you don’t like a prompt on a certain day, just change it
The prompts start tomorrow! If you're intersted and haven't signed up yet you may still have time.

I haven't done this properly before but when I came across thier prompts from last year (via a Filofax video post by the lovely Imy) I decided to give it a go in my own time and found it quite fun. I think I might do it digitally via my blog this time, as I just don't have the time to make an art journal at the moment, although I would like to do that next year. I would love to hear from anyone who is taking part this year, or has done so in previous years.

Day 1 is tomorrow so let the lists begin!!