Wednesday, 30 July 2008

It never rains but it pours...

...not the weather though. It has been a tough few days as far as my family young cousin was knocked over by a car while crossing the road and been in a coma, my sister-in-law is going through relationship difficulties and Tim is definitely going to have to go to appeal to get his benefits back. They say that things come in threes so I really hope that that is it for bad news for us for a while and that we will start getting some positive news instead. Work has been would never believe how much hassle printing out one document (24 pages) in colour and then photocopying it 25 times would took 24 hours to get it done because of conversion difficulties between different versions of MSWord. I have to confess that Microsoft is fast becoming a swear word in our house. Never mind, I got there in the end and the grant was packed up and sent off today.
Alex has been hilarious these past few days...he is back to eating more normally again which is a relief and he has discovered that if you drive a plastic toy car over the air vents it makes a great noise, which he usually accompanies by a loud BRRRRMMM BRRRRM! He has also discovered that if he lifts my top up he can find my tummy button which is apparently totally fascinating as he keeps sticking his fingers in it. Hmmm...Not too sure about that one! We have had fun playing in the garden again chasing the football round, playing aeroplanes, playing peekaboo in his wigwam and generally having a good time. He went to nursery again today and ate and slept pretty well, although apparently he doesn't say much when he is there and he was getting tired and crotchety towards the end of the day. He made up for not talking much at nursery by chatting all evening this evening.
Crafting wise I have managed to make another layout of Alex's birthday. This one used loads of shots I took of him having cuddles with various family members and opening his presents. None of the shots were quite good enough to use by themselves but together they make a great fun edging to the page. I don't normally do this as usually my photos are in the centre and not the journalling but it seems to have worked OK. The title is '1st Birthday Party' and the journalling reads 'Alex really loved being the centre of attention on his Birthday, receiving loads of presents, playing with his cousins and having lots of fun, laughter and cuddles'.
I have also made some teabag ATCs for the August technique swap on CM&PC...I know I am ahead of myself but I wanted to be sure and get these done early as I always seem to run out of time before the end of the month. It was quite a challenge to get the size of the tiles right..for the simpler types of folding you need smaller tiles to fit them on the page whereas the more complex folds need larger tiles. The autumnal one is a little small I feel, but I decided that it was still good enough to use having spent the time on it. The backgrounds to all these tiles are a stippling effect of three different colours and then stamped using the Purple Onion stamps. That is all the news for now. More on Friday,

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Far too hot!

I know that some people will say that I am a stick in the mud but the weather has been too hot for me this weekend. Don't get me wrong, I love the sun, but I would like at least a little breeze to cool things down, especially at night. Poor Alex hasn't been sleeping well as a result of his cough and cold so the heat isn't helping him much either, and he was so tired yesterday that he slept for much more than normal...we had a lie in yesterday morning until 7.30 which is totally unheard of! Our shopping trip was comparatively peaceful as he was rather subdued and then he slept for nearly two hours in the middle of the day...most unlike him. We had a great time at the park in the afternoon though chasing around after another little boy and rediscovering the joys of the tunnel, swing, seesaw and slide. The only hat I can persuade Alex to keep on his head is this one, which is far too small...he looks totally ridiculous but at least it gives him some protection.
Today Tim and I spent some time putting Alex's new wigwam (a present from my parents) up. The wigwam is made of willow and is lovely. Alex thought it was great, although as he is obsessed with sticks he spent some time trying to pull it apart. I will have to watch him with it to make sure he doesn't completely destroy it. We went to the park again this afternoon, although it was almost too hot to be there. Alex is still struggling with food and anything with even a hint of a lump gets spat out, with the exception of cheerios and toast. I tried to give him a strawberry today and he spat it out and fed the rest to me!
I decided that it was high time I made some ATCs for a change and so made up a sheet of A4 with brayered background using butterscotch and cranberry Adirondack inks and then stamped the chinese writing over the top before adding the embellishments. This first set used butterfly images from Crafty Individuals.
This second set used dragon stamps (bought from Ebay) which were either heat embossed in copper or stamped using StazOn black ink.
I have gone totally inchie mad again this weekend and have made 7 sets for swapping! This first set used images taken from a card and then I drew bones and footprints on the bayered background to make them more interesting.
This second set was made using free paper from one of my crafting magazines and some stickers I had left over from a previous project. To top them off I added some glitter glue.

This next set used the left over card from the ATCs and then edged them with pen and added Oriental stickers.
This next set used some sparkly flower stickers that I was given by a friend a long time ago and I drew some patterns onto textured card which I cut around with deckle scissors and then edged with ink and mounted onto silver card.
This first set of pirate inchies was made using a butterscotch Adirondack ink brayered background with the stickers and appropriate drawings/words in brown pen.
The second set of pirate inchies was more adventurous with some parchment coloured paper, cut with deckle scissors and mounted onto copper shiney card. Finally I made some inchies using my dinosaur stickers. I have to say that by the time I got to these I wasn't feeling as inspired and so resorted to some patterned/texture background card to feel a bit jungle like and then added simple pen in the corners. Not bad for a weekends crafting! More soon,

Friday, 25 July 2008

The weekend is here!

Yippee! The weekend is here, and what is even better news is that I have finished my grant (near enough) so don't have to do any work on it this weekend. One of my senior colleagues has been fantastic at helping me write this grant so it is as good quality as we can possibly make it. Here's hoping that it gets funded although we wont find out for ages. The other main work project for the week has been editing my Taiwanese students first year transfer thesis. This is the thesis that she has to pass to allow her to progress to doing a PhD. Bless her she is really struggling with the English for this one and in learning how to think about the interpretation of the data in a broad enough manner. She will get there but it is tough going.
Alex is still struggling with his cold, bless him, especially at night as he has a bit of a nasty cough which keeps waking him up. He is also still off his food, anything with the slightest lump in it gets spat out. I have finally managed to get him eating a vegetable and meat based soup rather than just having desert, but we are not back to normal yet. We have had the greatest of fun in the evenings though as the weather is dry so we have been out and playing in the garden. Yesterday we also did some drawing, and today we have been reading a book with flaps hiding pictures of animals which he loved.
I have been messing around with doodling again. I decided that I wanted to try adding a stamped star image on these and then follow the lines out and fill in the resultant shapes. This was a new idea for me which worked quite well and I am quite pleased with how these two turned out.
I decided that having organised my ATCs into folders, it was time I organised my inchies as well so that none of them get lost. So I bought a cheap A4 file and covered it with wrapping paper and added some silver and blue peeloffs to decorate it, and my inchies are now in protective sheets inside.
Finally I made this scrapbook layout of Alex's birthday. The layout is loosely based on this weeks sketch from PencilLines and uses a complete mixture of papers and cardstock (Basic Grey, Bazzill, Junkitz and American Traditional Designs), Papermania and Stickles stickers. The ribbons were a kind gift from Gran. The title speaks for itself 'Balloon' and the journalling reads 'Alex loved playing with the balloons on his 1st Birthday'.

And just as an aside...if you are interested in some crafting Blog Candy, then pop over to Funkyhand who is celebrating 2 years of trading. More soon,

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

My turn!

Yes it is my turn to have the revolting cold, my darling little son has kindly shared his germs with me and I have to say I have felt pretty rotten so I now understand what he has been going through even more. It is hard to concentrate and to think clearly with a head full of goo but as I am writing a grant application at the moment and editing a thesis (written in really bad English) it has been necessary. Work is busy and challenging at the moment, but better that way than being bored. Due to his cold Alex hasn’t been sleeping well, being woken up regularly throughout the night by bouts of violent coughing poor little thing. Despite that he has been fairly cheerful during the day although getting more tired than normal and more inclined to yell when he doesn’t get his own way. It was Alex’s second full day at nursery today, he went off quite happily this morning and didn’t really notice Tim leaving. Apparently he got on very well although there were some tears...mostly when he wasn’t allowed to do what he wanted to do. He also didn’t really sleep, which doesn’t surprise me. When I turned up he was happily playing on a tricycle outside although we had the usual little cry when he saw me. Feeding has been difficult with his cold, but he finally ate a little better tonight even though he did insist on trying to eat from the bowl...who needs spoons anyway! We have had fun this evening playing games of chase in the garden with lots of giggles and then calming down and playing cars immediately before bed. I have managed some crafting this week after Alex has gone to bed. I especially enjoyed making this thank you card for my parents who are funding Alex’s nursery fees. The photo was taken the evening after Alex’s first day in nursery and the background was stamped using ‘Clear choice stamps’. I also made this scrapbook layout of Alex’s first birthday. This is the first of several pages I intend to do using photos from his birthday, and this one features his first experience of chocolate cake! The title is ‘let him eat cake’ and the journaling reads ‘For Alex’s 1st Birthday I made a sticky chocolate cake and we all sang Happy Birthday which received a huge cheesy grin followed by a puzzled expression when his name was mentioned. He made a wonderful mess with his slice of cake; there were crumbs everywhere’. Finally I have made a set of ATCs using paper piercing, some flower stickers I had and dry embossing using one of the free boards from a magazine. I like to keep some ATCs in stock so that I can swap for ATCs that people have posted on the forum without having to worry about finding time to make some then and there so these will be kept for that. More soon,

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Stinky cold

Poor Alex has the worst cold he has ever had, caught off the kids at nursery. It is a complete streamer and so bad that he can't really breath very well at all which means that he isn't sleeping well at night, as he keeps waking up having not been able to take a breath. He is also struggling with eating and can only manage to eat food such as soup and purees which can be swallowed really quickly, anything that he has to chew gets spat out as he can't chew and breath at the same time. Yesterday the poor little thing was fairly miserable with it, grizzling and being clingy for most of the day, and not really wanting to do anything. We tried to go to the park and got caught in a downpour and then when we went out in the garden later he was so shivery as he had a temperature that I had to take him straight in and warm him up. I was exhausted by the end of the day.
Although Alex didn't really sleep very well last night we have had a much better day today. He was in such a good mood that I was able to clean the house from top to bottom, which made me feel better. We managed to go to the park twice and he enjoyed going on the swings, slide, bouncy seesaw, roundabout and sitting on my lap on the big swing as well as chasing his ball across the playground and pushing his pushchair round. Mealtimes were better, but only if he ate really smooth food, and he was even content enough to play by himself for a little bit while I did some crafting. His cold is a real streamer with the most gooey nose I have ever seen...yuk! I just hope that he manages to sleep tonight as that will surely help him.
Crafting wise this weekend has mostly been an inchie weekend as they are quick to finish and mean that I can quickly respond to Alex if I need to. I seem to have made loads and loads of inchies over the past two days. I was inspired to make this set from pictures cut out of sales magazines at work. The pictures are of cells stained with fluorescent dyes for the nucleus and a marker for cell membrane proteins mostly. I had fun making these but don't know if anyone will want to swap them because they are so unusual.
These two sets of inchies were made the same way..I used a peel off and then coloured it in with bright felt pens and then coloured round the edge in chalk, and then finally removed the peel off to leave the outline of the insects in white.
This set were made using a very small flower stamp and then a flower sticker on the top.
This set of Egyptian inchies were made using a brayered background in butterscotch and stamped images in ginger from the Tandastamp Egyptian set finished off with gold peel offs.
The final set of inchies again used a Tandastamp this time stamped with versamark ink and then heat embossed in different colours. I haven't tried this two or three coloured technique for a while or on such a small scale, but it seemed to work OK.
I also made these two ATCs to say thank you to Mhairi who kindly let me join in the idioms group swap even though my original ATCs ended up getting lost in the post. Not bad for a weekends crafting! More soon,

Friday, 18 July 2008


I don't know why, but Alex loves to growl, which is one reason his most commonly used nickname is 'Monster'. He seems to have spent much of the past two days growling. Not cross growling, just different growling noises to see what he can do and how we react. He sometimes even makes himself giggle with the different noises he makes which is just hillarious. It has made it so funny in the evenings when I have been playing with him or feeding him. Sadly today he has quite a high temperature today and isn't feeling so good, off his food and crying more than normal. I hope that paracetamol and some sleep will help him.
I haven't had a great deal of crafting since my last post but did make this ATC for Josh (aged 6), in exchange for the one he made me. It used Stickers of the Disney Pixar film 'Cars', which I believe he likes and is further embellished with peel offs.
I also made these inchies (sorry about the bad photo) using patterned background paper, drawing stitching round the edges and these fun animal resin stickers. I owe most of these to people I have swapped with recently, but hope to make some more inchies tonight and over the weekend for swapping. Must dash, More soon,

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

First time at nursery

Alex went to nursery for the first time this week and coped remarkably well considering that he only had one introduction session prior to the full day today. Tim went with Alex on Tuesday and stayed at the nursery for just over an hour before leaving him there for the rest of the morning. He did really well and even ate some tuna pasta bake, which considering he doesn’t usually eat lumps was a huge break through. Unfortunately he didn’t finish his lunch because he threw his bowl on the floor...a favourite trick of his and the reason we don’t let him have his bowl usually! He was exhausted when he came home on Tuesday lunchtime because he hadn’t had a sleep as the nursery nap time is from 12.15. Apparently he only threw one minor strop when he was asked to move through to the quiet room with everyone else and sit and read a book when he wanted to play instead, but other than that he played nicely with everyone and chatted a bit which is a good sign.
This good trend continued today when he went for his first full day. He even had a sleep, albeit only 1 hour. However he didn't eat his lunch at all and only ate 1/2 of each of his other meals. Apparently he played nicely all day, it was only when he was asked to stop playing that he cried. When we arrived to collect him all the kids were outside and he was sat on the nursery workers knee...the moment he saw us he started to cry! This is the complete opposite of most kids...they cry when they are left not when they are collected. It seems like after some adjustment he will be OK at nursery although very tired in the evening afterwards. In a way it is a shame that we cannot afford to send him for more than one day a week, but at least he is now getting more regular interaction with other kids.
I have done a little crafting in the evenings this week and have got into doodling again (Zentangles for those who like the posh word for it!). These ATCs are probably my most intricate doodles to date and took ages (especially the spiral one), however I am pleased with the results. I have to confess these were done on cream card as I didn’t have any white to hand.
I have also made a few inchies as I owe some for swaps. I do find them very therapeutic to make as they are so little. I seem to have a collection of little stickers which are just perfect for embellishing them. This set are a group of fish on a blue background with seaweed (green pen) and water effects drawn using a sakura stardust pen.
My ATC collection is bursting out of my current file so I bought a cheap lever arch file yesterday and decorated it with wrapping paper (blue stripes) and then embellished it with patterned sparkly paper, silver peel offs and an origami butterfly that Frances Gale kindly gave me the template for. I am quite pleased with this and look forward to spending a happy hour or two sorting through my ATCs to file them away safely. More soon,

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Water experiments!

The theme of this weekend has to be water. Alex has been so funny wanting to experiment with dipping his hands into every glass of water he came across as well as sinks, puddles etc. He has spent most of today sopping wet and enjoying every minute of it. He decided that he wanted to try and drink from a proper cup (without a sip attachment), which he can do, but he has a tendency to turn it upside down without realising...very messy! He has also discovered that he can put the lid on his cup, but then can't take it off again so yelled at one of us to remove it for him again. Added to that his bath times this weekend have to have been the wettest ever...I was soaked!
I have had a wonderful weekend playing with Alex...we have been to the park twice and out in the garden for much of today. He was very good as we went round the shops on Saturday morning and spent a happy time wandering round the kitchen opening and shutting drawers while I cooked. I just love it when I can spend a lot of time with him and we have been giggling away, playing chase, catch, pass the ball and many other fun games that make him laugh.
I have even managed to do some crafting while he slept and made this card to say thank you for the lovely wedding I went to last weekend. I used one of the free embossing boards that I had to do the border and am quite pleased with the over all result.
As my batik ATCs have proved so popular on the forum I made another batch, this time using two different stamps from the Purple Onion vintage flourishes set. I am quite pleased with how these all turned out, although the batik images don't show up quite as well on the butterscotch and terracotta inks.
Finally I made this scrapbook layout of the time we went to visit Arundel Castle on our holiday in May. All the card used on this is from MakingMemories and I cut the inner card in the shape of crenallations to remind me of the castle. The stamps are all from the same Purple Onion set and the replica coins were bought st the castle. The journalling reads 'We thoroughly enjoyed the day we spent exploring Arundel Castle. The spectacular views of the castle grouns and surrounding countryside made all the hard work of carrying Alex's pushchair up the hundreds of steps worth it.' I would love to know what you think of it. More soon,

Friday, 11 July 2008

Tiring week

I seem to have been just a bit under the weather this week...not ill enough to be off work, but ill enough to stop me sleeping and to leave me with a thundering headache at the end of each day which is not my idea of fun. It is now Friday and I am completely exhausted and ready for the weekend. However, the week has been successful as I have managed to complete the first draft of a paper I was writing and have given it to the other authors for their edits which means it is off my desk for at least three weeks clearing space for other urgent things. There is never a break in this job I can tell you!
Alex has been a bit variable this week as he is beginning to cut some more molars and they are giving him some gyp poor little thing. He is still a total joy to be around and really makes me laugh with some of his explorations into the world. His current trick is to stand up, then lean over and put his head on the floor while looking at the world upside down through his legs with his bottom raised high in the air...I haven't yet captured this properly on camera but it is very funny. We have had some fun outside in the evenings, but sadly the weather for the last few days has been too wet to go outside so we have had fun rampaging round the house instead playing 'hide' and seek. I usually hide just round a corner for him to try and find which he does with much squealing and giggling.
I have been too tired and lacking in inspiration to do much in the way of crafting this week but did manage to make these 'button fairy' ATCs following my raid on Mother's button boxes at the weekend. I have to say I think these are quite freaky in some ways, but I am pleased that I managed to make them. I have made two for the swap (the one with Alex's face on it and the one with the red wings) and one for me as a record of this as it is so unusual. I have seen other people do the tails of their button fairies by fastening little bells and things to them so I decided to use some matching beads and to coil the wire afterwards into two little circular coils. I think this has worked better than expected and I am quite pleased with them. I hope to have more inspiraton for crafting over the weekend so more then.