Sunday, 29 May 2011

Photo Freedom by Stacey Julian

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I first read this book about 3 years ago, and immediately knew this was the system that would work for me!  I had 3 decades of old ‘sticky’ photo albums, the photos quite nicely presented, but very little journaling!  Right from when I started scrapbooking I knew I wanted to go back and redo these albums.   I especially love Stacey’s Library of Memories, and have set this up for myself for the older photos.

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This year, Stacey has tweaked her Library of Memories class and changed it’s name to Finding Photo Freedom.  I think she will concentrate more on keeping tabs on those thousands of digital photos we take nowadays!  My Nikon has recently taken it’s 10,000th photo!  I am in the happy state of having most of my old film photos well sorted. They are either in storage binders or my category box (a 12 x 12 Creative Memories power sorter).

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So my pre class preparation has been to spend time with my digital photos!  I use Windows Live Photo gallery to organise my photos.  This enables me to tag and rate my photos.  The vast majority have been tagged correctly, but I have not rated very many.  So I have been going through them, by tag at first, and deleting the rubbish, and giving 1 star to any decent photos.  My thoughts were then to go through these and give the best 2 stars, then 3 stars and so on.  But I might skip straight to 5 stars, we’ll see!

Regarding albums, I have albums called Us, People we love, Places and Things. So as I scrap the kids when they were little (which is something I have been doing lately in LOAD), they can go into 'Us'. As the albums fill up, I think I will split them into Nicholas and Lucy and then into decades.

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The other scrapbook I like to keep is a yearly album, as per Shimelle's 'Document 2010' class last year. I do 2 12 x 12 pages plus a divided page protector for each month. So I do print out photos each month for this album. I don't know if I will print any other older photos out - maybe for projects from time to time.

Other than that I have projects, such as Home, 52 walks, an album about me. These 3 are nearly finished, but have taken a very long time! My next ongoing project will be holidays. None of our holiday photos are within my LOM system, They are all in divided page protectors in 12 x 12 albums. One day () I plan to scrap a couple of pages per holiday leaving most of the photos in their divided page protectors and incorporate the diaries I have kept and memorabelia into these albums.
Other arty things such as stamping, painting, embossing etc, I find I do not do very often. I would rather be scrapbooking and memory keeping!

What I really need to do is seriously pare down on my stash, and be ruthless. It is so hard though isn't it? I might need that 1" square bit of paper - it might be just the thing to embellish my current page! Yesterday I put all my scraps back into their drawers. It doesn't seem so bad when they are out of sight.  I feel like I might be nearly ready to give up stamping too!  Maybe just keep a few little stamps for scrapbooking, I so rarely use all my stamps now.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

What’s on your Worktop Wednesday?

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Here’s my workspace dining room table today.  The LO is my LOAD for today.  I found this old picture of Maurice’s brothers and families c 1982 and just had to scrap it!  It is scraplifted from one of my favourite scrappy books, The Busy Scrapbooker by Courtney Walsh.  I have already used this sketch and will use it again.  The book is actually open at the page on top of a RUB, which is full of scraps!  I also have drawers full of scraps, both of patterned paper and cardstock!  What to do with it all?  I am so tempted to throw it all away now and start all over again.  I was determined to finish up all my old kits, but although I still have 20 or so sheets of pp left, I can never find the right one for my photos.  I have started to cut out shapes with my cricut (flowers on this page for example), and may go through the scraps and toss anything smaller than say 3” x3”.  What have you done with your scraps? 

The stickers are all ‘family’ quotes that I was hunting through for embellishment. I have a similar problem with stickers, loads of half used pages (especially alphabets), but they don’t go with the papers or I haven’t got the right letters! That’s where the cricut machine comes in to it’s own – I can cut as many letter ‘e’ as I want!  I just need some more cartridges so I have a bit more choice as to font and shapes.

Maybe it’s time to be really ruthless!

Monday, 23 May 2011

A Weekend Away

Nothing like a weekend away for re-energising!  Nicholas and Lucy bought us a ‘farm weekend’ for Christmas, and we booked it for this weekend just gone.  We decided to go to Shropshire, somewhere we haven’t explored much in the past.  The weather looked fine so we went on the motorbike.  It feels like a real adventure when we go on the bike!  Just us, the satnav, and a couple of bags with change of clothes, and a few toiletries!


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Although we save time by riding down the middle of traffic jams (bit scary sometimes when the gaps are very narrow!) we seem to spend ages doing this!  Disconnecting the satnav and bracket, locking helmets, sorting ourselves out…. 

We stopped at Gloucester and had lunch at the cathedral cafe. Sadly it is not as good as our local cathedral cafe at Chichester! However, the cathedral itself is quite magnificent and has a really ancient medieval feel to it, with lots of ancient burials.

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The best bit for me were these magical cloisters.  Just look at how the light shines through the stained glass windows throwing all the colours of the rainbow, truly magical!

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Our B&B was not actually a farm, but was a lovely house in the middle of nowhere. (I think most of Shropshire is in the middle of nowhere!)  This was a spectacular view on the way to Ludlow.  That’s me and the bike as shadows!

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We decided to eat in Ludlow and found a lovely Indian restaurant.  There are many of these really old higgeldy piggeldy black and white buildings.  How I love an English market town!

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On Saturday we spent the day at Ironbridge, which was a lovely one hour ride through the beautiful, green countryside of Shropshire.  Ironbridge is such an interesting place!  A small pretty village full of tourists today, it was a real hive of industry in the 18th century, when the Darby family had a thriving iron smelting and casting works here.  Abraham Darby I found a better way to smelt iron using coke instead of charcoal.  Along with improvements in steam engines and pumps, iron casting and transport links, the family business thrived until Abraham Darby III built this cast iron bridge over the river Severn in 1779, the first iron bridge in the world!shropshire 026 

Today the Ironbridge gorge is a popular tourist attraction with no less than 10 museums!   We concentrated on the Coalbrookdale museum which charts the progress of the Ironbridge Company.  We also toured the Darby houses, 2 gorgeous villas above the gorge that the Darby family and works managers inhabited.  One is still undergoing restoration, and is planning to be furnished and decorated in Abraham Derby I’s time, the other is furnished as a Victorian house, including a dressing up room, where visitors can try on Victorian costumes, what fun!shropshire 041

A refreshing beer by the banks of the beautiful and tranquil river Severn energised us for our ride back via 2 more Shropshire towns.

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We loved the town of Bridgenorth, and wandered round the castle walls, before stopping at Bewdley for dinner.

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ON Sunday we rode to Great Malvern, a lovely Victorian town on the slopes of the Malvern hills. shropshire 049

This is Malvern Abbey, and here is the Abbey Hotel.shropshire 051

I stayed here as a 20 year old for several accountancy courses.  My employer at the time, Metal Box Ltd, had factories all around the UK, and arranged these accountancy revision courses for it’s trainee accountants.  Although I was actually doing a different accountancy qualification to the rest, I managed to wangle my way into these courses.  What a riot!  We used to stay up all night drinking, and then walk up to the top of Malvern Hill before breakfast!  I don’t think there was much learning going on!  Gosh, amazing to think that was over 30 years ago!  I wouldn’t be able to (nor want to!) stay up all night drinking now!!

Malvern was the home of classical music composer, Edward Elgar, and here is his statue looking towards the fabulous view over the river Severn valley.

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After a very windy ride, we arrived home very tired about 5pm.  A great weekend!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Welcome to my new look blog!

Do you like my new look blog?  I have Shimelle to thank for this.  I recently took her online Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers, and was lucky enough to be one of her few blog ‘makeovers’.  The idea is to showcase my photos, but I love how pretty it looks!  I’d love your feedback to please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Can you read it OK?


On another note, I just had to show this off:

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This is my LO for day 13 and 14 of LOAD.  (By the way I forgot to put a link on yesterday’s post – click here for more information)  It is a page kit from Basic Grey.  I more or less followed the design, and I love it!  It goes so well with these photos of Lucy when she was little.  I decided not to have such big kit after I stopped subscribing to Cocoa Daisy, as I have way too much stash (don’t we all?).  I saw this kit at a crop I went to recently with Cre8tive shop.  Katie from Cre8tive handles the Basic Grey kits,  which just have enough stash for a double page spread like this.  This one is absolutely gorgeous, it’s the Hello Luscious line.  I’m looking forward to my next kit arriving at any moment! So if you fancy a page kit, I would definately recommend this one!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

LOAD (LayOut A Day) May 2011

Here are days 1 through 12.  Really pleased with some of them, not so with others!  I am on a mission to scrap the 1990s, when the kids were little!  It is such fun!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

What’s on Your Worktop Wednesday

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Here’s my craft space this morning.  I am trying to finish another project – this album is all about the houses we have lived in – actually only 4 in our 32 years of marriage!  In the old days we didn’t take photos of ‘everyday things’ very much, so there are lots of photos with the house and interior as a background, like the one of Lucy here sitting on her bed.  We decorated the little front bedroom for her in yellow with Winnie the Pooh border and duvet covers.  She moved into the much bigger back bedroom when she was a teenager and now the little bedroom is full of computers.  I think I have all the photos I need now, just want to tidy up and finish the journaling. 
The album is red American Crafts.  Red because that’s my colour for PLACES (a la Stacy Julian), and American Crafts, because I love the D ring versatility and the different sized and pocketed page protectors.  If you haven’t heard of Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories class, do check it out – here on Big Picture Classes!  It has been renamed for this year and revamped as Finding Photo Freedom, and alumni get to do it for free! YAY!  I have my photos pretty well organised in LOM style, it just needs tweaking here and there, so looking forward to following the prompts again and seeing what new nuggets she has come up with.
Beyond the album is my cricut machine, a box full of journaling spots, a little tin of flowers, my threading water punch (I use lots!) and some bling I picked up from eBay recently, thanks Laura! 
So I have now found out where to link these weekly posts, go and have a look over here, and maybe show us what you’ve got on your work desk this Wednesday!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Fun with self-portraits

I have been trying out self portraits since the begining of the year and want to add them into my 2011 album (it’s becoming more like an illustrated diary now, I love the way my yearly albums have evolved, maybe the details of that will form a future post).  I am even more inspired by Embrace the Camera (see which I found via Margie’s blog.  I usually take pictures in the mirror:
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But in my quest to understand my camera better, I recently tried out the self-timer.  First in the conservatory:
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That’s better, but not too happy with exposure
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Then, I went out into the garden, placing my camera on the back steps.  The white thing across the bottom of some of these pics is the book I balanced the lens on!  As you can see I had trouble with a certain dog!  Merlin was a bit confused by the camera taking pictures on it’s own and kept barking at it!  In the second picture I caught him mid shake!  Then I thought about putting the camera down on the grass and lying down.  Merlin thought this was very funny, and his cue to lick me!  We did have funSmile.
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Finally, I sat at the kitchen table and got this one:
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Not bad eh?  That is, apart from the camera lead in the way!  Note to self, clear the table in front of you first!  Oh well, keep practising!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Staycation day 3

My very favourite outing from last week was our trip to the Weald and Download Open Air Museum, at Singleton.  It is a museum of buildings, local to this area.  They have been rescued from demolition and painstakingly rebuilt here in the most gorgeous downland setting.  A recent improvement is the furnishing of the properties as they would have been at the time.  Here is somewhere I would love to volunteer!  But sadly it’s a bit too far away, about 45 minutes drive.  However, the drive is through gorgeous countryside and as it was a such a gorgeous Spring day, we went on the motorbike.

Looking down at the ‘village’

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The latest building is this cute little tin tabernacle.  It is tiny!  It is constructed of green corrugated tin.

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This is a pair of farm labourers cottages from c1860.  The left one has been stripped bare so you can see the construction, and the right one has been furnished.  They are so small!  Just 2 rooms downstairs (12 ft square) and 2 rooms upstairs!  We found them fascinating.

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This is Bayleaf, the most prestigious property there, and by far my favourite!  It is a 16th century farmers house.  The people who lived here would have been reasonably well off, and would have tended a few acres of land, and been involved in the local community.  If I could go back in history, this is where I would go to!  We have a painting of this house on our bedroom wall, that we bought years ago from a local art show!

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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Staycation Part 2

One thing we like to do is long dog walks across the South Downs, some low hills to our north.  The South Downs stretch some 150 miles from Winchester in the West to Eastbourne in the East.  The South Downs Way is a national trail that is well kept and marked along all of it’s length.  Every so often we decide to walk a little bit more of it.  We park somewhere and walk to a point and then back.  Last week we decided to park at Amberley.  We were parked in the river valley, so walked uphill for about 1 hour up to the road (A29) then back down for lunch at The Bridge pub!

On the way up..

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Stopping for coffee and refreshment

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View to the East towards Kithurst Hill.

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Merlin admiring the view!

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Part 3 coming soon….