Friday, 29 February 2008


Yes, it is the end of the week and I still haven’t recovered from going to London…it was only a day trip and I wasn’t up any earlier than normal, but it still has left me totally wiped out. Work has been going OK, although due to tiredness I have found it hard to concentrate…I even fell asleep at my desk yesterday (Oops!). I am currently working on a manuscript which we hope to get published this year. The first draft of the manuscript is written, but the discussion needs a lot of work and it has been hard going. Apart from that my talk for next week on ‘Concepts of Cancer’ is complete…found lots of pretty pictures from the web to liven it up a bit so hopefully I can keep the students interested.
On the home front life has been pretty good…Alex is eating again so must be feeling a little better, and he has been great fun to play with. I just wish he would sleep…he was awake at 3.30 this morning (Aargh!). The range of sounds and noises he makes has gone up and he is definitely developing his own sense of humour and methods of inventive play. One of the latest games that he finds amusing is to put a book on the floor, put his hands on the book and then crawl while sliding the book across the floor into the wall to make a loud banging noise! The range of cuddly games has also gone up which is very cute and I get lots of very wet open mouthed sloppy kisses (with the occasional, not quite so nice lick!).
My time for crafting has been slightly limited, although I have managed to complete the digital scrapbook layout for my Mum. In the end I have decided to get it printed at 6x6 size and turn it into a card and then if she likes it we can print it out bigger for her. The photos are all representative of different aspects of her life, the central one is one of the most recent ones of her and the others are of her as daughter (with her Mother, Father and brother), wife (her wedding photo), Mother (with Dad, Me and Andy outside Buckingham palace) and Grandma (with Alex and Daniel). The daffodils surrounding the central photo are taken from some of her own photos and are representative of how much daffodils feature in her life (she grows them and lectures on them). I hope she likes it.
Finally I have managed to make some ATCs for the Alphabet swap…we are not too far from the end of this now and I have found the inspiration a little slow in coming. S is for shoes used a background image from the web, a shiny letter S and a 3D sticker freebie from one of the magazines. T is for train reflects my love of steam trains…I replicated the photo in the background and printed it in greyscale on parchment coloured paper to give it a vintage feel and then cut the letter T out of some old train tickets andmounted the image of the train on foam squares. Finally U is for Underwater used my alcohol inks (Denim and stream) to generate the watery background, a piece of blue watery patterned paper for the letter and a hologram sticker of a dolphin underwater for the centre. More soon,

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Day trip to London

Yesterday was the day trip to London...totally exhausting, but good as I got to see my brother and do a tiny bit of site seeing from a distance (Tower Bridge, the Golden Hind, the Post Office Tower and St Paul's cathedral on the skyline). It was lovely to see Andy as although we are really close we don't get to meet very often. We had a fleeting lunch together before he set off back to work and I went to my meeting. My lecture seemed to go OK, although there were a few sticky moments as I realised that for the next time I give it, I may need to alter the order of things somewhat. What was more fun from a work point of view for me was that I have been invited to join the editorial board of the International Journal of Experimental Pathology. This is a huge honour and fantastic in terms of my career development so watch this space. The only really difficult thing about London was that it was the longest time I have spent away from Alex and I didn't get to have my special time with him yesterday.
Today I made up for it though as I have been off work sick and so got to spend all day with him and we have had fun drawing, rolling on the floor, him climbing on me, knocking bricks over, giggling, reading, cuddling and trying to walk. Lovely special times today.
I haven't done much in the way of crafting as I am trying to generate a digital scrapbook page to celebrate my mother's 60th birthday and it is taking me ages. The only crafting that I managed to get done this week was this layout entitled 'Shopping with Daddy' which is based on Sketch #73 on Pencil Lines. The journalling reads 'Family shopping trips are the greatest of fun because Alex's special relationship with Tim means that Alex is always happy and content'. The ribbon actually has ' A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty' written on it which I thought was appropriate. More soon,

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Weekend fun

I can’t believe that the weekend is over already. Time just seems to fly by and I still don’t manage to get everything done that I intended to do. Alex, bless him, has got a cold and so has been completely random with mood swings, (mostly happy, but occasionally really grumpy and wanting lots of attention) and random eating habits (from not wanting anything at all to wanting double the usual amount). Most of the time he has been a real cutie as normal and we have had a lot of fun with him playing rough and tumble and cuddle games with me.
He tries to stand up at every opportunity now including in the bath (very precarious) and leaning on his garage (which frequently collapses). A recent addition to the game repertoire is ‘noises’ – he growls at me and then I imitate him and then he changes the noise. This is just hilarious as he comes up with some of the strangest noises imaginable including a sort of dirty laugh and a Darth Vader sound. We have been so busy recently at weekends that we haven’t been to church for a while, but yesterday Alex and I went and he happily went into the crèche after crawling all around the main part of the church. Considering that he has never been to nursery and spends almost all his time with either Tim or me, he was amazing and didn’t bat an eyelid about being left in crèche so I could enjoy the service. Wonderful.
I also had a great crafting time on Saturday in which I made several ATCs in order to catch up with some of the organised swaps that I have agreed to. These first four are for a ‘techniques swap’ which this month was rubber stamping, and had some quite strict rules so I have taken the organiser (Angela) at her word and just stamped. The backgrounds are brayered with Adirondack inks (meadow, butterscotch and cranberry) and then stamped with StazOn (black) or pretty coloured inks. The flower and dragonfly stamps are Crafty Individuals, the little leaves and dragonfly are HeroArts, and the oriental dragon and letters were from ebay. I am quite pleased with how these have turned out and must have another go at some point.
These next three were for an Easter themed swap organised by Margaret and used K&Co background papers and freebie stickers and toppers from various magazines from last year. Unfortunately the photograph seems to have bleached the colours.
Finally, the weekend wouldn’t be complete without a new scrapbook layout and this one is of the two cousins playing together at Christmas. Everything, except the die cut teddies came from the Hot off the press finished in a flash kit. The journaling reads ‘Alex and Daniel were so funny learning to play together as they kept taking each others toys. Daniel had the advantage though as sitting up meant he had both hands free whereas Alex, lying down, only had one. The top photo is one of the rare times they shared a toy.’

I am off to London this week to lecture so will update upon my return.

Friday, 22 February 2008

The weekend is here!

It's Friday and I must say that I am glad the week is over...not because work has been hard, but because I am exhausted. Alex really doesn't sleep in the mornings and I have been up at 5am the last three days. I don't function at my best after only 5 hours sleep a night. At work over the past couple of days I have finished my lecture on 'Angiogenesis' (blood vessel formation) and have started writing my lecture on 'Concepts of carcinogenesis' (cancer formation and growth). Alex has been great fun in the evenings and we have had very splashy baths, lots of crawling around chasing games, standing practice, bouncing, playing with cars, rings and balls and numerous giggles. Don't you just love this photo...he was playing in his playpen in our study when I called him and he saw the camera, stopped what he was doing, gave me a huge toothy grin and then carried on. Cute or what?!
I have actually done quite a bit of crafting in the past two evenings and made this layout entitled 'Present' using Bazzil Basic card, K&Co patterned paper, free ribbons and Papermania stickers. The journalling reads 'Although Alex loved the wrapping paper, he didn't really understand about unwrapping his presents and sat like this for several minutes. Mind you, his hat over his eyes didn't help much'. This is based on a Becky Fleck sketch from her Page Maps site...Kay introduced me to that site and I have to say I love it!
This second one is of a extremely tired and exhausted little boy. The cardstock is again Bazzil, the paper is from Papermania, the rub-on letters are from Making Memories, and everything else was bought in hobbycraft. The journalling reads 'Alex only sucks his thumb when he is extremely tired. This photo was taken just before bed whe he was 6 months old'.
Just for a change I have made two cards as well, both using Crafty Individuals background paper and images. This first one is for my sister-in-laws Birthday and has the addition of green ribbon, the gold peel off greeting and an Angel kiss flower with a red gem at the centre.
The second one is even simpler with just the green ribbon and the greeting peel off added to it. As always comments are welcome. More soon,

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Freezing cold!

Every morning this week it has been below freezing and the frost on the trees and grass of the golf course near us this morning was beautiful...I just wish that I had had my camera with me as we drove past on the way to work. I have been marking essays this week which has been tough going as none of the students are English so their written work is pretty bad and sadly I was alerted by the University that the essay that looked OK may have plagiarised from text books and I have to investigate this further. I have also been writing my lecture for teaching on the subject of Angiogenesis at UCL next week and found loads of really cool images on the net for it.
Alex had his 10 month review yesterday with the Health visitor who came round to our house to see how he is getting on. He weighed in at 20lb 1oz and is exactly on the 25th percentile which he has been following fairly closely since not long after birth. She pronounced him in excellent condition and was perfectly happy with how he was interacting, standing, crawling etc. He wasn't in the best of moods by the time she left as he was hungry and tired. I have had a lot of fun with Alex this week as we have been doing some drawing together, playing peekaboo, rolling on the floor, climbing on Mummy, chasing Alex round the house and various other silly games to make him giggle and laugh. Sadly today he has developed another cold and has a very croaky voice and isn’t quite his usual perky self. I hope he gets over it quickly.
I have also had time in the evenings to do some crafting and was inspired to get out my little used flowersoft to make the Mothers Days cards. I haven't really used flowersoft in the traditional way before and Tim gave me some flowersoft pots for Valentines Day which I decided to play with. This is my first experiment and I was really quite pleased with how it turned out.
This is the second one, using the same shape of pot (because it worked so well the first time!) on a different background. I am hopeful that both Mothers will like these cards.
Finally, I completed another layout for my 'book of Alex' following this weeks sketch from Pencil Lines. It is a great sketch and I decided to adapt it for one photograph instead of the two that it originally used. This photo didn’t really need any journaling as it speaks for itself … I just love the look on Alex’s face as he wears the cracker hat and waves the rest of the cracker around. I hope to do some more crafting over the next few days so watch this space!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Beautiful weekend

Having been miserable on Thursday and Friday the weekend has been brilliantly sunny again, although it has been very cold with frost on the ground in the shade. I have enjoyed the sun and although much of the weekend was spent inside continuing the much needed spring clean we were out for a couple of hours each day. Shopping yesterday was good fun as always, and we coupled it with a nice walk in the afternoon and today we went to the park at Forge Dam to feed the ducks, although they had been fed so much they weren't that bothered about it. Forge Dam also has a playground and Alex had another swing which had him grinning and wriggling like a mad thing and I helped him slide down the smaller slide several times which resulted in large quantities of giggles.
While Alex had his nap this morning I made this layout 'Out for a family Stroll' using Bazzil cardstock, K&Co patterned paper, letters from a huge box of random letters from Papermania and sticker 3D flowers from the Marcella by K range. I am pleased with how this one turned out as it didn't take very long.
On my forum I have joined a 'Mystery Item swap' where the organiser sends everyone involved three items (we all get the same items) and we have to make 3 ATCs with one of the items on each ATC. The three items were a paperclip, a bit of blue mesh and a bright pink feather. I had to think hard about how to use these I can tell was quite a challenge, but fun.
Eventually I came up with these three. The paperclip I covered with beads and suspended a handbag charm from it and then mounted it on a shiny background. The blue net I used over an alcohol ink background of denim and stream with fish stickers and wooden fish under the net to make it look like the fish were caught in a net. Finally I thought of the pink feather as a feather boa from a glamorous night out with sequins, so I mounted the photo of the girl on a shimmery pink card and added the feather and sequins. I can't wait to see what other people come up with. More soon,

Friday, 15 February 2008

How lucky am I!

My lovely card from Tim, unfortunately the colours are a little bleached in this photo
Just some of the wonderful scrapbooking papers he bought me
Again, just some of my Valentines Day presents.

I have had these past two days off work and have been spoilt rotten. Tim is really very romantic and loves treating me, so for Valentines Day I got a card handmade by him...he even got to grips with my crop-a-dile when making it! I also got loads of crafting goodies, including a 12x12 hot off the press 'finished in a flash' page kit, some blue brads, little feet brads, ribbons, stickers and about 20 12x12 papers and cardstock. Cool present or what! I was also given the more traditional flowers and chocolates and taken out for a lovely meal in our favourite Chinese Restaurant. We went at lunchtime, and took Alex with us and he was complete star, behaving himself beautifully.
We have also dedicated time over the past few days to tidying...a number of you have said that you don't know how I manage to do everything...well the answer is, by not keeping up with the housework! The house was in such a state that it couldn't go on like it any longer, so today was spent cleaning from top to is so much better now it looks like a different place altogether. I have to confess that I started the tidying with re-organising my craft area to fit all my new stash in.I have enjoyed the freedom of not being at work and have managed to make a further two layouts. This first one is of Alex playing in his ring in the garden last August made using my new Hot Off The Press kit, supplemented with some letter stickers bought at the local Post Office, and a dragonfly stamp from HeroArts. The journalling reads 'Alex enjoying the fresh air and sun while Mummy did the weeding'.
The second layout is much subtler and is of photos taken this Christmas at my parents house. Dad resolutely tried to sleep while his two grandsons bounced on the bed next to him. I added some doodling in the top right to balance with the swirls already on the patterned paper in the bottom left. The title of this one is 'Morning' and the journalling reads 'Alex and Daniel bounced and played on Grandma at 7 in the morning while Grandpa did his best to stay asleep'. The papers used were again part of my Valentines present, as was the rikrak. Let me know what you think of these.
More soon,

A special thank you!

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful ATCs I have received over the past couple of weeks. I have received so many and they are all so varied and beautiful that I felt they deserved a special posting all of their own. These first two are random swaps that I did with individuals. The lovely Oriental pyramid is from Rhea Bellamy, and the 'Male Author',a stunning black and white ATC is from Mhairi Forsyth.
These next two are again from individual swaps and I just love the way the Janet Matthews has used the batik effect in the journey ATC...I must learn how to do this. The second one is from Claire Saytch and I think that the opening window is really effective and a lovely idea.
I entered a Spring Flower swap on the forum and received these lovely ATCs in return...The elegant decoupaged flower fairy is from Kay Wilson and the sweet tulip is fromJoshua Wade (aged 6). I am delighted with them both.
These are two of the 'words of wisdom that I received' all 6 of which I love. The top one is from Linda Brunton and is so appropriate as I am a bit of a bookworm. The second, fun one is from Isobel Waite who I have never swapped with before. I like the style of both of these.
The rainbow is from Barbara Williams and is great fun with little drops of clear glue to make rain and the bright coloured stripes for the rainbow. The second one is a UTEE creation from Kay Wilson which is wonderfully tactile and a lovely sentiment.I love the wording on both these final two although they are both so different...the one on the left is fun and sophisticated and is from Gill Sweetman and the one on the right is just warm hearted and is another of Linda Brunton's creations. I love Whinney the Pooh so this is right up my street.
Finally these three ATCs are from the Alphabet swap and are all so different. P is for Poodle is from Janet Matthews and I love the French feel to this as well is it being very pink and girly. Q is for Quail is from Kayleigh Wade (aged 8) and is a simple yet effective ATC. I believe the final one R is for Radiator may be from Linda Brunton, but there is nothing on the back so I am uncertain. If anyone reading this can claim this ATC as one of their creations please let me know and I will write the details on the back.
I am thrilled with all of these lovely ATCs, so thank you very much to you all.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Taking a break

Wednesday and work is over for the week as I am taking the next two days as annual leave. What a great feeling! It hasn’t been a bad week really as I have submitted two abstracts (short summaries of data generated within the lab) for publication in a scientific journal and for presentation at a conference in London. I have also written the first draft of yet another grant application… a much shorter one this time, thank goodness! My boss is away for three weeks from now so we had a strategy meeting today so I know exactly what I am doing for the next month which is helpful. Still going to be very busy though!
Alex is still a delight to spend time with…yesterday I had to have him in work with me for a little while and he charmed everyone, smiling away and happily being passed round from person to person. He really is quite a sociable little chap which is very nice. We have had fun in the evenings playing with different toys…Yesterday we played with cars and he loves pushing them around the floor and watching them whiz round his garage. Today we played with balls, although he doesn’t really understand them yet, he hangs onto them after I roll them across the floor to him and shakes them around or hits things with them. It is very funny to watch.
I have had some time for crafting this week and made these two tags to match Tim’s Valentine’s card. They are to go on his presents (two computer games…not exactly romantic, but what he wants!).
This layout is of Alex and his cousin Daniel who is two months younger than him, on the first occasion that they met. The text reads ‘The first time the cousins met was so funny as they lay side by side gurgling and hitting each other’. The layout design is based on this weeks sketch # from Pencil Lines (I did it on time for once!), and the papers are all from a Making Memories set. I like the fun bright colours of this one… a complete contrast to last weeks. More soon,

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Gorgeous weather!

Hasn't it been wonderful weather this weekend. Surprisingly mild for February and wonderful sunshine. I have loved every minute of it and spent a good portion of the weekend outside. We took Alex shopping yesterday and as usual he charmed everyone, and I took him to the local park today which was great fun. He was absolutely fascinated by all the other children there and enjoyed watching everything they were doing. He went on the swing, roundabout and down the slide a few times which he seemed to enjoy. His confidence in terms of standing is growing enormously, although he still holds onto something, he will often be only holding on with one hand or just a few fingers...I wonder what he will do next! He has been on much better form these past few days and I think that he must be having a temperorary lull from teething. This evening Tim and I had him giggling over our very bad impersonations of Kate Bush!
I have only done a little crafting this weekend as I have tried to get on top of some of the chores that I hadn't managed to do over the past week (washing, cutting Tim's hair, washing, hoovering, cleaning,washing, shopping, and more washing!). However, I did make Tim's valentines card. I don't think that this is one of my better cards, although I am not sure what I don't like about it. It may need something else adding to it...not sure. Any advice before Thursday would be welcome.
I also made my srapbook layout for the week...of Alex's first Nativity play in which he played a sheep. The background paper is from Heirloom Interiors and the other papers are Bo Bunny and DaisyD. The little sheep images are Victorian Scrap Reliefs from Mamelok Press. The journalling reads "Alex was a very cute, well behaved little sheep during his first Nativity service, crawling on the floor or sitting on our laps". I am pleased with how this one has turned out as I haven't done a layout in quite this style before. More soon.

Friday, 8 February 2008


I have finished and submitted my grant today! It has been a tough week and I have had to work every evening, but at the end of the day the grant is as good as I can make it and therefore I feel I have submitted the best quality grant that I could. This one is to employ 2 people for 5 years and would really set my career in motion, so I am praying that I get it. The photo above is of the fluorescent experiment I have been running over the past two weeks. The panel on the left is of untreated blood vessel cells (endothelial cells) and the one on the right is of cells treated with a drug I discovered during my PhD. The grant is to investigate the effects of the drug further, using similar experiments. I wont find out whether I have got it or not until July!
Alex has been my therapy this week as I have made sure that I had my usual Mummy time with him each evening and only worked once he had gone to bed. It is his smiles, giggles and achievements that have kept me going. He learnt to stand this week and stood up for the first time on Tuesday. He was so pleased with himself it was great to see. Sitting down again is a is more of a semi-controlled fall but he is getting better at it. This evening he decided to invent a new game where he crawled across the floor to give me a cuddle and kiss, then crawled away at top speed and waited for me to come across and do the same to him...we must have done this 20 times! Very cute and great fun.
I also had him in hysterics just by putting a ring on and off its stacking post...the strangest things can tickle his sense of humour.
I did manage to also give myself 10-15 minutes of crafting each evening and have therefore managed to make several simple but effective ATCs which I am really pleased about. Sadly I haven't managed to make any scrapbooking layouts as they take more time! This first set are similar to the ones from before and were started over the weekend. I like the bright, freshness of them.
The vintage butterflies used K&Co background papers, Crafty Individuals images and postage stamp, Hero Arts dragonfly stamps and eyelets from a random set from e-bay. I thought that these were a bit of a different slant on vintage and quite fun!
Someone also requested a vintage ATC as a swap from me and so I made another vintage set, again using K&Co background paper (I love the french writing interspersed with flowers), ribbon, gold peel off hearts, a HeroArts heart stamp and images from Crafty Individuals. I like the feel of this set, slight romantic and dreamy.
Finally, tonight I made some very bright butterfly ATCs, with two different Papermania papers in the background, angel kiss flowers, and making memories flower brads and Woodware dragonfly brads and again, Crafty Individuals images...I just love these images, they have so many versatile uses. Must go now, we are having a takeaway and a movie tonight to celebrate finishing the grant. more soon,