Thursday, November 30, 2006

On the first day of Christmas... true love gave to me, one crappy photo and an angel sitting in my tweeeeeeeeeee!

My wordy word, I hate photographing layouts in the winter. Don't like winter, don't like it, don't like it. It's pooey bottoms. Cold. All the leaves have gone. Cold. Rains a lot. Cold. AND you can't go outside to take pics of layouts and get a really good shot in the natural light.

Hence this is a really naff old shot of my class layout for Crafty Pastimes' 12 hour crop this Saturday. I'm in auspicious company, teaching with Rach and Penny who have both got mighty-mighty fine layouts. So in an attempt to keep up, I went mad and used string. Pulled out all the embellishment stops I did. Bwaahaahaaa!

Here's a close-up of all the twiddly bits on it (which are lost somewhat with the flat image).

Well, in response to a comment on my previous post - Tina asked whether NOT talking or striking up conversations on public transport was terribly British, and I have to say I think it terribly is...or isn't (I mean, one doesn't, does one?). When I was 18 I went dashing off to America on my own (now I'm a mummy myself, I think my own mother must have been having palpitations at my wreckless, strong-willed nature). Anyway, I went to Utah (where I ended up living seven years after this event), and whilst there I was sat on a bus going from one part of Provo to another. I was sitting opposite a middle-aged lady, and then at the back of the bus were a bunch of high-school students whose conversation was quite clearly audible from where we were (which I found a bit strange but, hey, they were teenagers). Well, I will never forget being mortified (MOR-TI-FIED) that as one of them made some comment about somesuch subject, the lady opposite me JOINED IN the conversation. CAN YOU IMAGINE!!!!???? I looked at her with my eyes slightly wider than before, fully expecting the teenagers to be quite shocked at this terrible breach of etiquette, when (blow me down), they carried on talking to her from opposite ends of the bus. CAN YOU IMAGINE!!!!!???

Another time I was standing on the tube with a very good friend of mine from the States who had spent a little bit of time in England already. Suddenly the train came to a standstill in the tunnel and as it slowed and then finally stopped (waiting for lights to change), the very subdued conversations that were going on completely halted. You could hear a pin drop. Not a whisper was uttered without the noise of the engine to cover the sound of their voices. Mitch started to giggle and said, "Man! If this was New York, everyone would still be talking...and talking at full volume as well!!"

So, yes, it's true. I think we are a nation of subdued talkers in public places. But not ALL public places.... And that doesn't mean to say we don't interact with one another in public...I've had some very witty comments spoken to me (and vice versa) with total strangers in shops and restaurants etc. What are the rules there then?

And another day I'll tell you about one of the most embarrassing things I've EVER done...on a bus. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What do you think?

I have to do an emergency run to Borders book store fairly frequently as my Mother, a voracious reader, becomes a bit twitchy if she runs out of reading material, and starts perusing the back of cornflake packets in an attempt to satiate her lust for words. And then starts mooooooooooaaaaaaaning in a most irritating fashion until you go to the book shop and buy books for her.

So, on Monday I obediently trotted into said store with a list in one hand but knowing that if said books weren't in or a sensible price yet, then I could pick any good crime novel (as long as she hasn't read it before...and there's the rub) and she'd be a happy camper. I picked up one she wanted and discovered it was on a 3 for 2 offer, so then chose another with the same offer, and then spotted this book by Kate Fox. And after a cursory flick, I was immediately hooked and bought it for me. Me, me, me.

Ms. Fox has made an anthropological study of the English and our particular national traits and quirks which make us decidedly English. She does point out that she hasn't lumped everyone together and said 'Watching the British' as that would mean that the Welsh and Scottish don't have a separate cultural identity, which of course they do. However, there is a fair bit of crossover with our cultures of this book does apply to those nations as well (on the whole).

I have only just begun reading it and am enjoying it thoroughly already (I'm an anthropologist ...who knew!? LOL). She makes mention of the fact that people who have lived here and have had their cultural upbringing based here for many, many generations past, may not even be aware of their own national traits because they are so deeply ingrained.

Which got me to thinking. What do you think our national traits are (before I read any further in the book and discover them all)? What makes us quintessentially 'us'? What habits do we as a nation exude to make us different from the French or the Americans or the Spanish? What are the hidden rules of our behaviour? What do you think?

All I know so far is that she spent a long (and stressful!) day at Paddington Station (a) bumping into people, and (b) queue jumping. Poor woman. I bet she got a roasting.

Answers in the comments please, and then I'll let you know as I read it if you are right :D Oh...and she also says foreigners who live here or have spent a bit of time here are quite good at pointing out our traits because they are so blatantly obviously different from their own cultures. So this is open to anyone who reads this :D

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Strictly Come Scrapping!

The South Wales Crop's 12 Hour Christmas Crop is coming up and as my website is in a state of flux at the moment, I am putting all the details up here :D

The crop is full to the brim (40) with about 10 on the waiting list.

So... we shall be having a competition running throughout the day called Strictly Come Scrapping!

There will be four categories to the competition. Distressed, Heritage, Clean & Simple, and Altered.

In the first round everyone taking part will complete a Distressed Christmas Card (the card has to be created with distressed elements e.g. ripping, inking, sanding, painting, heat embossing etc.). Everybody will vote for their favourite Altered Card and by the end of Round 1, twenty-four people will remain.

In the second round, you will be asked to make an 8x8 Heritage layout. This can be any era up to the 1970s. The success of the layout will be judged on how you have captured the era by the papers you've used, and the placing and design of elements to suit the period. Voting will again be conducted by everyone and by the end of round 2, twelve people will remain.

The 12 who make it to the third round will then have to create a 12x12 Clean & Simple Graphic style layout. You will also be asked to use one of the following Christmas colour combinations:

  • Red (of any shade, but not pinks) and green
  • Red and turquoise
  • Green and gold
  • Cream and gold
  • Red and gold
  • Blue and silver
Once more voting will be done by everyone at the crop, and six people will remain to the last part of the contest.

In the last round you will be asked to bring anything you wish to alter, but it has to look Christmassy. For example, you could alter a box, a CD case, a suitcase, or anything else you wish to use.

You can prepare all your bits and pieces for each part of the challenge (a 'kit' as it were, including a sketch of your idea to work from) but you cannot put together any part of your project before the day.

The winner will receive a plethora of lovely goodies, including an album, papers, embellishments, papers, rub-ons, papers, cardstock, and papers!

The second and third place winners will receive prizes too.

Secret Santa

We are asking everyone who's coming to the crop to bring a gift for another scrapbooker. This should consist of scrapping goodies to the value of £5 (not less than £4 please). We will be exchanging presents during the lunch.


There will be a buffet lunch during the crop, so you needn't bring your own sandwiches this month :D

Scrapbook Bingo

Oh yes, eyes down for scrapbook bingo...our South Wales Crop favourite! Get ready to shout 'I'm A South Wales Scrapper, Get Me Out of Here' if you get 'house' :D


There will be three classes throughout the day - one layout by Jools Gauger who is our guest teacher, and one by myself. The third will be a mini-class making a Christmas necklace, by Sian Lamrick (very cute!). These layouts and project will be posted on here as soon as they're ready.

The crop will commence at 9am on Saturday, 16 December, and will finish at 9pm.

Any questions, please yell :D

Oh nooooooooooooo!!!!

These are the words I cried as I opened a letter and read it this morning.

Now, there have been several scrapbooking shops that have closed their doors in 2006 and while that is sad, their closure hasn't really affected me (selfish cow! LOL!!!!). Because I run my own scrapbooking company where I'm constantly organising retreats and seminars and crops, 98% of what I buy is wholesale. My 'shops' and my shopping expertise is with the distributors in this country.

So imagine my groans when the fabulous fabulous Trading Memories wrote to me this morning to tell me that they are closing their doors in January. Trading Memories are the UK's main supplier of Bazzill cardstock (so now I'm panicking a bit about where I'll get my Bazzill from). She also sells Bazzill albums (which I really like) and papers like PaperLoft, as well as Fiskars products. But more importantly than all that, they are a distributor that I can rely on.

Kathy (the owner) is pleasant, efficient, friendly, efficient and did I mention 'efficient'?. If you order something with her it's with you the next day most often, and certainly the day after if not. She never mucks up the orders (not with me anyway). She's always got 95% of her stock actually IN STOCK, and if it isn't in stock, it's due in within days (truly) because it's on its way over from the States. When you're trying to pull together a seminar with a specific theme, with specifically designed classes that fit around that specific theme, and the date of the seminar is approaching, it is really really very difficult when distributors don't have the items in stock. This hasn't happened with Trading Memories. *big sigh as Chrissie shakes her head and wonders if she can persuade them stay open!*

Trading Memories is BY FAR AND AWAY the best distributor I deal with. No question.

I know Kathy in real life too, and she's great. Her new baby boy was born a couple of weeks ago (congrats the Weeks family!) and I'm sure that has probably played a huge part in their decision. But I for one will be very sorry to see them go.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I have Stacy Julian envy...

Don't know if you've seen Clique Tv (and I don't remember now if you have to register to see it) but the other day I sat and watched all the 'On The Clock' films which document a day in the life of Stacy Julian who's the founding editor of Simple Scrapbooks.

The woman. Is.


Can't decide whether I should go for option a) Amazing! Or option b) Waaaaaaaaaaaay too organised

You have to go watch them now. Go...go...go on. But then come back here once you're done.

So last night I found myself thinking, 'I shall be like Stacy Julian. I shall have the quiet time, the prep time, the work time, the family time and the me time. Oh yes I shall. And I shall use my new notebook to be organised in the my prep time and make planning lists every day. Oh yes I shall. And I shall organise my stuff. Oh yes...' (you get the picture). I did bypass the 'I shall go jogging every morning...oh yes I shall' sentence in my head because that's NEVER going to happen.

But. I have Stacy Julian envy. True story.

So this morning I stumbled out of bed at 7.30 (can't do getting up in the winter), and it's now 10.15 and I still haven't had my quiet time or my prep time, and here I am in the thick of work time. AND my house hasn't magically organised itself. Sucky house.

Although I did put on a load of washing at 7.40. Go me.

And then I realised that although she's up at 5am every day (oh yeah baby, FIVE A. M!!!!) (she says "in order to have a great 9 to 5, you have to have a great 5 to 9), that somehow strikes me as a bit. Ummm...


Here's the layout I finished on my birthday. Big snogs to Helen for letting me have one of her precious 7gyppos rub-ons (You're Not the Boss of Me) cos it was as perfect as can be for that photo of Celyn. And thanks Linz for my K&Co rub-ons that let me finish the journaling title.

Right. Off to go jogging.


Sunday, November 26, 2006


Oh knickersplopoo

Went to watch Pride & Prejudice this afternoon as a lovely piece of Sunday entertainment and the blinkin' blummin' stupid damn DVD player has packed up, died, gawn to its maker. No power whatsoever, despite Husband's best efforts.

So. I have 5 DVDs all bought with my birthday money, and no DVD player to play them on. Blummin' MARVELLOUS.

And THAT Ms. Morrisette is irony.

(and the first person who laughs will be scolded soundly and sent to bed without any tea)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm having a lovely day, I have to say.

This morning I got up before everyone else and scrapped!!!! Perfect start to my birthday, don'cha fink? Mr Postie had delivered some GOOOOOOOORGEOUS cards from Rach, Tina and Linz (thank you guys - they're so lovely!!!) (and I got a card from Debbie yesterday too - thanks mate :D ). My card from Linz meant I was able to FINISH my scrapbooking page cos she sent me some rubons that I neeeeeeeeeded!!

My morning peace was interrupted (tsk! LOL) when Celyn came down the stairs, stood looking at me contemplatively for about 15 seconds as I scrapped with a little smile on my face, wondering what she was going to do. She then flung her arms around my neck and said, "It's Joseph's birthday today!" (kid in her class...she went to his birthday party this afternoon).


"AAAAAAAND..." says I. "And HOLLY'S!" she says (her friend's sister).


"AAAAAAAND...!" says I. "And yours!...And Miss Fraser's" (her teacher).

So it's good to know I'm third in pecking order, and then and only then, sharing with her teacher. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Husband gave me a very soppy card (very lovely...with a badge that I've worn everywhere all day that says "I'm Loved to Bits!"). He also gave me tickets to see the X-Factor Live Show in the CIA in March! YEY!!! What a cool pressie! Celyn gave me a notebook (from Paperchase, which is very lovely and may end up scrapped in because it's got lovely brown pages)...she chose it and paid for it with her own money (we have a thing about not buying her presents for her...she chooses and pays for them herself, even if it's only small or an odd choice!). And my Mum gave me 100 squid. And FIL sent me £40. *Chrissie rubs hands together in a Fagin-like manner*

After taking Celyn to her friend's birthday party, I decided I'd like to spend some of my birthday money on DVDs. I've been CRAVING to see the Kiera Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice again since I last watched a borrowed copy a few months ago. So I got that, and Walk The Line (which I haven't seen but Danny has, and used the word 'outstanding' to describe it, and as we have fairly similar taste I think it'll be good). I also got Love Actually (which I really like, except for one dodgy bit) and Hitch (with Will Smith, which looked like it'd be crap before I saw it on Sky Movies, but turned out to be completely hilarious and very good). And finally I pur-chased The Office Christmas Special (which I'd also wanted since...since...well, when was that on? 2 years ago, or 1? But completely hilarious as usual from Ricky boy, and just THE BUSINESS at the end with Tim and Dawn - I was jumping up and down and crying at the same time when it was shown on TV for the first time). The best bit of buying all that lush viewing is that it cost a grand total of 30 quid!!!!! What a complete bargain eh? I love HMV!!!

We then popped over to Tesco to buy scrumptious food, and Danny's now cooking me a roast lamb dinner followed by toffee pavlova. Good night's telly with X-Factor on and then I'm a Celebrity.

Should I reeeeeeally WANT to be out doing something VERY I SO TOTALLY showing my middle-agedness? LOL - I don't care. I'm content! In fact, today I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Full, full, full

That last bedroom has just gone.

So that's it. Brecons 2 Time Out for Scrapbookers is Full dot com.

I have to say...I'm really proud of my team. They do a fantastic job and they are great teachers and do lovely lovely classes. And (most important of all) they're not up their own bottoms about it either.

And that makes all the difference.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

My very dear friend Lee called today from New York (my word, I love him to bits), and in the process of chatting and falling about laughing (one of the stories I told him was the "What are the chances of that happening" story Debbie *taps nose knowingly*, we did chuckle!) I was of course reminded that it is Thanksgiving in America tomorrow.

I loved that holiday when I lived there. It's just all about being grateful. That's it. No cards, no presents, no hype (except for the Macy's parade I suppose!). It's about getting together with your family and friends and just thinking grateful thoughts. And eating lots of food. I mean, how cool is that?! It's a great holiday and I wish we had it over here! Actually, I did have Thanksgiving in my house for several years after returning from the States...perhaps I need to start that up again.

Anyway...just wanted to wish all you people who hale from that side of the Duck Pond a very happy holiday. Have a wonderful weekend! Have some pumpkin pie and candied yams on me :D

Ladies Who Lunch, Dahling!

Life for me is still a bit non-stop but "I swear I shall not whinge about not nuffink no-how on my blog" is my motto. So I'm not. I'm very grateful that I'm so busy and that everything's going so well. I just mention my busy-ness as a reason why I haven't blogged for days on end.

As the Brecons retreat sold out in a matter of hours *Chrissie raises both eyebrows and shakes her head in a 'how mad is that?' manner*, we decided to have 'overflow' accommodation at a hotel in Crickhowell, which is less than 2 minutes' drive from the Manor Hotel. So Sue and I had the arduous task *snort* on Monday (20th) of going to beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful Crickhowell and its environs to scope out hotel numero dos with a view to opening bookings there.

The Dragon Hotel, it turns out, is just lush. In fact Sue said, "Mmmm...I like this hotel. And THIS *she points into a doorway of a bedroom we were looking in* is my room. 'Kay?!" Oooookaaaaay then! It overlooks the quaint High Street in beautiful beautiful beautiful Crickhowell, and the bedrooms are very well decorated (the owner has taste...there's not a piece of 'Fusion' paper in sight...I think Fusion paper looks like dodgy hotel curtains...peachy early 90s throwbacks of gack-ness). And it's all very clean and so on, blah blah blah. Lush.
Here's Susie-Woo standing in the doorway of the hotel (which I admit is terribly pink on the outside, but not so on the inside!). To the left of the hotel is the little drive that leads to the car park at the back, which is plenty spacious. However, that entrance way is not, and Sue and I were both terrified for the very lives of our vehicles' paintwork as we were driving in. You can see how close the two buildings are in this piccie. We both had to bring our wing-mirrors in to ensure no scrapage and I'm willing to bet Americans hyperventilate and go park their cars halfway up the street rather than negotiate it! LOL. Those pesky people in the 1600s just were so self-absorbed, and didn't take one moment to think about us poor car drivers. Tsk.

When we left The Dragon we timed our journey up to The Manor Hotel, where the retreat will take place, and it was 2 1/2 minutes flat, including edging out cautiously from the narrow walls, which (scarily) had car scrape marks up either side. However, I reckon it'll take our retreat guests a couple of hours to get up to the Manor (at least) one morning, because they'll discover all the lovely lovely lovely lovely shops on the high street and be sucked in, spending time pottering in their loveliness. Butchers shops with homemade chutneys and goose eggs on the counter, or the faaaaaaaabulous art gallery which Sue and I wanted to steal things from last April (see here under entry of Sunday, April 9th). We had a good wander around a couple of the shops again on Monday (I was looking for a birthday present for Mother-in-Law and found the most gorgeous vase - when MIL wrestled the wrapped package out of my hands that evening, I said "If you don't like it, I'm taking it back 'cos I LOVE it." But she did, so poo-bums.) Here's the view of the hotel from halfway up the high street, with the mountains of the Beacons in the background (horrid isn't it?).

We then had a ladies that lunch afternoon of pampering. It's my birthday on Saturday and I thought, "Oh what the heck!" We drove up to Peterstone Court Hotel, which is a stunning Georgian house about 10-15 minutes further into the Brecon Beacons (and sister hotel to The Manor), and indulged in having a pedicure, chilling out in their relaxation room (and I very nearly did fall asleep), and then ate the most delicious lunch. We felt terribly spoiled and it was GREAT! Gorgeous building just for starters...which I told Sue she had to buy for me because it was my birthday *stamps feet in a petulant manner* and she did say "okay" so "yey...go me!" Johnny Depp was there in the summer apparently. Can I have him thrown into my birthday present package as well please?

Here are our pretty feet. Well, okay...perhaps not 'pretty'. Pampered...yes, pampered would be a better word! They were washed in a lemongrass infused bowl of warm water, followed by an exfoliating scrub, followed by toenails being decuticled, cut and shaped, followed by hard skin being got rid of (sorry if you're eating while you're reading this - LOL), followed by hot paraffin wax being painted all over them (very strange sensation...I felt like a candle!) and left to warm and soften my feet, followed by a moisturiser and foot massage, followed by pretty pretty toenail varnish. My feet have never had it so good!

And here's our lunch.

Ah me...what a lovely afternoon. And then, on the way back to Crickhowell to get Sue's car, we took these pictures of the countryside...these shots are 2 or 3 minutes' drive from the hotel, and no Photoshop doctoring of any sort done on the colours or light or nuffink. So, all you Brecons 2 Time Outers out much of a happy dance are you doing now then?!!

Oh. And the Dragon Hotel? Booking went live last night at 7.30, and every room bar ONE had gone by 9.15pm. So...if you want it...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Chickens Make Your P's Fall Off

So yesterday I went over to Penny's house in some unpronouncable town near Pontypridd where Debbie was lurking as well, so they could get papers off me for the South Wales Crop classes that they are teaching this Saturday. Phwaw, it's all go, go, go at the moment.

Anyway, that done, and Debbie gawn 'ome, Penny, her husband, Celyn and I went to see the chickens. As you do. The Kafais own a piece of land at the back of their house, wherein strut a whole Tesco's freezer section of these birds (bwaahaahaaa!). Mustn't say such things...they lay lovely, free range, delicious eggs, which I have eaten every now and again. Yum.

So we all went to see the chickens. Celyn and I are such townies - I kept moaning about all the mud and outdooriness of it all. But it was fun watching her throw corn to them...she really enjoyed it. Penny's pigeons kept flapping around behind me, the b******s (anyone who knows me, knows I FREAK with flappy birds or butterflies or moths or bats *brrrrr*) but I braved the b****** pigeons for my art, and took a ton of photos of Celyn! Also a few of her stroking one of Penny's two big bunnies, if you'll pardon the expression.

Back at the house, I then got blamed for losing Penny's P. I had borrowed the box she had in the exchange at Gloucester 2 (which was the one that came second, made by Imogen), so that I could photograph it...but I hadn't had time. So I brought it back to her yesterday, and we were getting it ready to take the piccies in her kitchen. Well, she picked it up, plonked it on our makeshift studio (read "a couple of bits of mountboard") and there was no P on the top. "You've lost my P!!!" she cried. "I did NOT!" I said. "It must have fallen off in here" and lo and behold, it was on the floor between the living room and the kitchen. I told her it was obviously the skanky air in her neighbourhood that had made her P fall off, because it was perfectly fine at MY house. Too much chicken poo and mud has obviously contaminated the air quality, making Ps fall off willy-nilly. Skanky, poo-ridden mud air. Obviously.
I had an 'I'm the Worst Mother in the WHOLE WORLD' moment yesterday. When we were getting ready to go up to the unpronouncable town near Pontypridd, Celyn asked who was going to be there. I told her that we were going to see some of my friends and she asked if she knew them, and I carefully explained that yes, indeed, she did know Debbie because we'd been to the beach with her in the summer, and with her daughter Hannah - see this post here entitled 'Tiddly Om Pom Pom'. Well, when we got to Penny's she went into the kitchen and then back into the living room, and then literally dragged me up the stairs. I thought she needed a wee, but she popped her head in the bathroom and then came out and started heading up the hall, looking all the more distressed. "Where are you going Celyn?" I asked, quite perplexed. "I'm looking for my friends!!" she said. "What? What friends?" I replied.
And then...the awful truth dawned. In my description of our day on the beach with Debbie and Hannah that I'd seen in MY head, I failed to realise that she hadn't seen that AT ALL. She'd seen a completely different day which I blogged about here, entitled 'One More Down...'. She saw Linz's children, Sabrina and Alanna, and was all excited to see them again and play with them. And all there was was boring old Penny and boring old Debbie (no offence).
She started to cry. Not crocodile tears. Real, genuine, distraught, sadder than sad, tears pouring down her face. "Ooooooh. I don't want to play on my ooooooown."
Can you feel the guilt in the room? Stabbing, indigestion-like, smooshing all over my chest GUILT. Oh I felt so bad. Soooooooooooooo bad.
I blamed Linz of course. And she's blamed her children. So hey ho. All's well with the world again.
To make up for my worthlessness, however, Husband and I are taking Celyn for a fun lunch at Pizza Hut this very noon. Happy days!

Oh my word, how cool is THIS?!

Rouge de Garance have done it again. They're just cooooooooool! European cool.

Take a look at this announcement about their limited edition of papers. Turn up your sound, and if you don't start to sway, even just a little bit, then you HAVE. NO. SOUL.

Now THAT's how every new line should be introduced!!!

South Wales Crop Tomorrow

Puff, puff, puff...South Wales Crop for tomorrow sorted at last. Bless you Debbie and Penny for coming to my aid, like two pants-over-your-tights superwomen.

Here's Penny's class - Through The Square Window (which, for any 'foreigners' reading this, is reference to a children's TV programme - Play School (in old money) or Tikkabilla (in new)). FAB photo eh? Lovely lovely layout in fact.

And here's Debbie's fab class (photo does it no justice) - and how cute is that photo too?
Both classes and the tools required to take them, and also the Challenge for our November crop are here on the South Wales Crop page of the Scrappers Unlimited website.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I'm as tired as the curtains in a second-rate hotel. Poooooooped.

I was going to blog a proper blog (loads to blog about today). But I'm cream crackered, so I'm off to lie horizontal in a dark room with a nice snuggly duvet.

Talking of which...

Darling Husband recorded me on his phone last night...sleeping. In sound and vision. Snoring. Like a piggy-wig. For a full 3 minutes. He even did close-ups of my nose.

I am devastated. The full extent of my home-snoring habit was made truly clear to me (retreat snoring is a different matter). And (even worse) it became quite apparent that I, in fact, don't look like the Princess of lying-on-a-pea fame when I'm asleep.

In fact, oh horror...

I look like my MOTHER!!!!

Good grief.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006



The Brecons 2 Time Out for Scrapbookers is, um, full. In 16 hours. Booking went live at 7.00 last night and it was completely full by 11.00 this morning.



Sue and I are going to Crickhowell on Monday to check out 2 or 3 hotels in the village (which is literally 1 minute's drive from the retreat hotel), so that we can have some more guests at the retreat if they wish to come. There is more room in the crop hall for more delegates, so we'd be happy to take another 10 to 15 scrappers.

It makes me very happy that we're so popular. Guess we're doing something right :D

Plus (sssshh!) Sue and I might have a bit of lunch at Peterstone Court on Monday too... bit of a facial, or a pedicure perhaps. But ixnay to the usbandhays about that... *wink*

Fab Brecons 2 logo created by the fab Rach - thanks mate.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Going Live

No sooner than we've finished one...

The next Scrappers Unlimited Time Out for Scrapbookers is taking place next April at this beautiful hotel. And all the booking details will go live on the website at 7 o'clock this evening.

Very excited about going back here as it is completely and utterly beautiful. I swear, nearly every delegate spent time wandering around outside last year, taking photos of the scenery and the daffodils and primroses and sheep (boingy lambs with wobbly tails! Aaawwwww!) And the hotel is soooooo lovely. These are photos we took last April from the front of the hotel, just outside where the crop room is... *sigh* And we get to spend three WHOLE days there (the retreat is kicking off at 10.30am this time :D) So...get looking this evening if you fancy three days of Unlimited scrapping (geddit? geddit?) I'm off to do the ballet run...which is not, as it may sound, me dressed in a silly tutu running a marathon (as if), but the take-daughter-to-ballet-and-sit-outside-reading-a-book/magazine-in-a-glorious-bit-of-me-time-every-week-run. *piroutte, piroutte*

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Of Beach Bums and Hedgehogs

I finally had some time this morning to finish a Design Team layout for Crafty-Ness. I had 7 Gippos and BasicGrey to play with, as well as some other embellies. I'm finding it really hard to get decent pics of layouts at the mo, because it's too rainy and windy to go outside to photograph them, and inside it's too dark, and using a flash is hopeless. Hence this layout does look a lot better IRL. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. The 'Beach' is stamped and the 'Bum' is inked and clear embossed chipboard letters. Love them, kiss them, want their babies.

Yet another of Molly (my scrapping bud Tina's girly-girl). You can see Celyn in the reflection on the sand in the background. Yet another of our day down the Mumbles/Caswell. Very good mileage out of that day!

I think I'm just hankering after summer...

Got a treat this morning as I received a text from Katie-Jane's husband (and very good friend of mine) Rob, who suggested that we and they, plus his sister Tracey and hubbie Gwyn (another good friend from college days...SO handy that all these fab people have married each other!!!!!) and his twin Simon all get together this evening for food and board games and general hilarity. Sweet. One of my very favourite ways of spending time.

I rang him back to confirm details and he was in the middle of fishing a dead hedgehog out of their fishpond and had me in fits of laughter over it. Not that I'm anti-hedgehogs or anything...far from it. But he is completely hilarious. Rob was totally moaning his backside off about having to do these disgusting animal jobs for Katie anyway.

Bearing in mind that Rob does not and has never liked animals, several months after marrying Katie-Jane they discovered that there were, in fact, fish in the fishpond in their garden. Katie had completely ignored them for over a year and yet that had survived. But the pond was disgusting...full of green slime. So guess who had to catch all the fish, put them elswhere while he cleaned the pond, and then replace them. Yes, that would be Rob. Then Katie offered to look after 3 canaries last Christmas for their neighbours. They came down one morning and two of them were on their backs at the bottom of the cage. Cue one distraught Katie (she sobbed on her neighbour's doorstep when he returned!) and one husband having to retrieve them from the cage and dispose of them. And today they have a dead hedgehog in their pond. Hence one moaning-his-backside-off Rob. "Just call me Rolf Harris" he kept muttering.

It was when he shouted to Katie in the house "Hey Kate...can we use it for a door stop" that I started guffawing in a most unladylike manner.

Anyway...they're due in 4 hours and my house has a layer of dust aaaaaaaall over it. There's a whole warren under our bed, let alone bunnies. So...gotta...


Friday, November 10, 2006

Swansea Crop This Evening

and here's the class layout.

I've been wanting to scrap this photo for ages as it's one of my favourites I've ever taken. It just sums up a happy happy evening on the beach to me.

Absolutely crap photo though (but I'm in a hurry to post it for the ladies who are coming to the crop).

I used Sweetwater and Cherry Arte papers, along with Bazzill cardstock. The stamp is Making Memories, and I hand-drew the title and covered it in Glossy Accents (she says, giving it another blow because it needs to dry!! :D )

Right...if you're coming tonight, see you later. And if you're not, tough.



Thursday, November 09, 2006


I was on the phone this evening with Amber, one of the Scrappers Unlimited team, talking about the next retreat (can we even catch a breath from this one... nope!) and as she wasn't at Gloucester last weekend, I was regailing her with all the funny tales, and with who won what, and what a lovely lady Mary was, ya-di-ya-di-ya...and in the telling, I remembered something that had happened which I'd forgotten. Probably in a Freudian manner...

So. I'm sharing a room with Katie-Jane, a pal of many moons (not of the bottom kind, you understand). We are lying in our beds on Friday night, completely pooped, and yet (and YET) still nattering, with the lights off, at around 12.30am...

Me: So... [please insert general chit chat sort of conversation here]

Katie: Well yes... [please insert reply]

Me: Asleep. Completely zonkers. In the 2 seconds it took Katie to reply. And then... (wait for it)

Me: Moooooan. Moooooan. Moooooan. Mooooan.

Yes, I was making noises of a norty nature but in fact I was snoring. But it didn't sound like snoring. It sounded altogether like something else. In fact (apparently) Katie was staring at me in the dark thinking, "Oh my. Oh MY!"

Meanwhile (next door) Rach and Ang are just settling down for the night:

Ang: (taking out one earplug) What's that??!

Rach: (taking out one earplug too) Oh! OH! sounds like someone's

Ang: But...aren't Katie and Chrissie next door?

Both ear plugs are out now. Sitting up and listening intently to "Moooooan. Mooooan. Mooooan. Mooooan."

Rach: I it? Is that SNORING?!!

Yes folks. I snore like a good time girl. Apparently. But only when I'm in hotels on retreats because (apparently) Husband says at home I snore like I'm bringing home the pigs. Which of course is a downright lie because I'm a lady and I don't make anything but the most genteel of breathing noises when I slumber, and my windy-pops smell of roses and lemon-drops.


Oooo...get her!!

Our Susie-Woo on the Scrappers Unlimited Team has been and gone and got herself in the BasicGrey gallery with her Together class from Gloucester. She's a big shiny girl eh? Good for her! *happy dance, happy dance* This flat image does it no justice at all because there's lots of dimension to it. So, voila, here are a couple of close-ups of the page too. There's lots of cutting out, pop dots, pretty plastic flowers and holographic embossing powder involved in the making, and it is just as pretty as can be.

So. If you go to the BasicGrey Gallery and pull down the Designers menu, there she be! Just below Rachel Millington. Heh heh!

More photos of the retreat are coming in from our fab delegates. I purloined these ones from Evie and Vanessa (one of the shop owners). The scenery around this hotel is beautiful to say the least, and although it was blummin' glacial at night (says Chrissie, whistfully remembering what it was like to be outside in a t-shirt every day, even at 9 o'clock at night...sob sob), it did make for some beautiful icy autumn morning views.

This is part of the front of the hotel, a 17th century manor house, and this is a frosty-grassed sunrise scene of the fields next to the hotel. Those two birds fluttering from the trees are saying (in a Cotswold accent):

"Phwaaaw! Weren't it perishin' last night Jack?"
"Cor yeah Rookie! I nearly froze me bits off"

(*Chrissie sticks out her pursed lips in a puzzled manner* Do birds have bits?)

Walking distance down the road from the hotel is the village of Down Hatherley, and Vanessa and Lynne snuck off one morning and captured this lovely autumnul shot for their troubles.

Quick post this morning as I have not one but two layouts I need to complete for the Crafty-Ness Design Team and for the Swansea Crop tomorrow.

So I shall leave you with more images from our lovely (and yet, almost a distant memory now...) weekend in the Cotswolds.

Gil being vewy vewy wuuuuuude! Sharon & Bethany and Jenny & Jessica - two of the three mother/daughter* guests at the retreat (all 3 of those pics taken in one of the classrooms). And this is an example of just how comfortable and chilled out people can be...Evie fell asleep on the floor of the crop hall on Saturday afternoon - LOL!!

Nic with her first place winning 'badge' tiara. And Rach being...well... Rach!

Ciao bellas!

* Edited to note that we did, in fact, have FOUR mother/daughters at the retreat I have just realised.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Forgive me for not blogging till now about the retreat...I have either been asleep or sorting out all the bits that need sorting after such an event. So I thought, to keep you all happy, I'd post loads and loads of pictures. (That sentence was, of course, Blogger's signal to stop loading pictures...we'll see! LOL) These pictures certainly make me happy, as we had the BEST weekend! order...we have:

All the delegates on Saturday afternoon in the beautiful courtyard with that lovely 400 year old wall behind us!

The Scrappers Unlimited Team (minus Amber who wasn't there this time) - Fiona, Julia, Sue, me and Rach, along with our two lovely shop owners - Vanessa of Crafty-Ness and Linz of Crafty Pastimes. We all worked our socks off and many thank yous to all of them for being great at what they do :D

Some of the delegates photographing the gift boxes - we asked our guests to create a pamper box with lovely items inside that would be exchanged with another lady on the Friday morning. Toot toot to Penny Kafai, Imogen Lawrence and Karen Philpott who came first, second and third with their gorgeous entries.

And here are Anita and Sian ("Alright my love!?") swapping boxes. They both got honourable mentions for those two beautiful projects.
And here are Sanjeeda and Roo in the crop hall (with Roberta - our scrapping masseuse - in the background).

Fiona made the most fantastic 'badge that's not a badge' (we asked all the delegates to create a name badge that wasn't actually a badge, but something you wore 'elsewhere' on your body). Her apron was FANTASTIC!

And here's Rach in the middle of teaching one of her classes. No...really...she was!

  • Some of the Reading girls :D - Anita, me, and Lorraine (of The Scrap Cafe) in the crop hall. They were in the middle of doing one of Vanessa's Bit On The Side classes...and I'm clutching Katie-Jane's book she's making for her brother for Christmas (hope he doesn't read my blog - LOL)

  • This quite quite gorgeous slide mailer is Jackie's (from Scrapajack) that she completed in one of Fiona's classes (our Fi is a clever soul). Isn't it stunning?! Jackie was so delighted at having her (ummm...) grandparents (might be parents...she will no doubt correct me ;D ) displayed in such a beautiful way, she blubbed in the class. Awwww!

    And here is our 'Super Scrapper - Gloucester 2006' the lovely lovely Mary (aka Mammy Hen on UK Scrappers). Super Scrapper is a competition we run where all the delegates vote on the person that they have noticed throughout the weekend as being kind, fun, involved, lovely, friendly and just a thoroughly nice person. We think it's good to reward someone for giving so much to the atmosphere of the retreat and not just because they're a good scrapbooker. The Super Scrapper wins some scrapping goodies, a Scrappers Unlimited apron and £100 off another Scrappers Unlimited retreat.

    Well, at this juncture, I must stop loading photos and tell you about Mary. She was just an absolute sweetheart. She made ME cry talking about her son David in one of my journaling classes (damn it! sniff sniff). And the girls sitting on her table were constantly in fits of laughter at the funny stories she was telling. She was so concerned one morning when she didn't make it to class because she was ill, the silly sausage! Everyone who got to chat with her just loved her. Each team member had about 10 ladies from the weekend to 'buddy' or look after, and Mary's buddy was Rachel, and she absolutely adored her. So imagine our delight when we were counting votes on Saturday evening, and Mary's name kept coming up again and again as the Super Scrapper winner.

    So...we begin the prizegiving ceremony. And, as it happens, Mary also won a layout challenge prize (her entry into the 'newbie scrapbookers' contest). She looked so genuinely shocked when she won, and tears filled her eyes. She was completely thrilled to bits. So there were Rach and I stood at the front, thinking "You just wait for another 5 minutes luvvie, when we tell you what ELSE you've won." So...I announce..."The Super Scrapper for Gloucester 2006 is...MARY!" and everyone erupts in applause. Mary's hands flew to her mouth and she looked completely flabbergasted. She almost didn't believe it...she just kept sitting there with her hands to her mouth, and tears spilling over her eyes. I kept nodding, and smiling (tears welling up with me now) "Yes, you! You!" and eventually she stood and came forward to claim her voucher and goodies.

    And I tell you. There were over 50 women in that room and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

    She so deserved that prize. And the best thing of all is that we will definitely see her again. :D

    We had the most fantastic time at Gloucester and many of the ladies said it was the best retreat they had ever attended. Ever. I'm just pleased that they had such a good time - it makes all the hard work worth it :D

    I'll post more retreat pics and classes later.