Progressing Past Persuasion

(This post is part of my Onwards and Upwards Blog Event)

This hour I want to talk about something I struggle with at the moment, which I never, ever, thought I’d struggle with in my life.

Reading books.

I love reading. When I was a child I read all the time: while I was eating dinner, with a torch under the bedcovers at night, whenever my mum would let me! I continued reading as a teen and went on to study a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, where I started writing a children’s novel (which may never be finished since I discovered scrapbooking!). I even taught creative writing workshops to children in the years since university, only winding down the courses about a year ago (see more about that in an old post HERE if you are interested).

The trouble is, I don’t seem to be able to move on from reading children’s books! My ‘How I love to read’ mini-book that I made a few months ago was full of children’s and young adult’s novels. If I try really really hard to think of an adult novel that I love, I can only come up with one – Persuasion by Jane Austen.


I love the anticipation of the drawn-out love affair, and I fall in love with Captain Wentworth every time I read it.

So my question is, how do I progress past Persuasion?

My trouble is I don’t like to read anything too depressing. I really don’t like it when a main character dies – especially at the end of the book. This has happened in a few books that I’ve picked up off the shelf in the Library, and it makes me want to throw the book at the wall. I like happy endings! When I read I want to escape and enjoy it. Plus I’m a worrier and I think too much – when bad things happen in books I can’t stop thinking about it for days, and worrying about it happening to people I know – it even keeps me awake at night.

A friend of mine recommended Lisa Jewell to me, so I recently read The Truth about Melody Browne:

the truth

Which I did enjoy. There were some sad moments in it, and I won’t say whether the ending was entirely happy or not (I don’t want to spoil it if you want to read it), but it was an ending I was satisfied with. I got caught up in Melody’s story and didn’t want to put the book down. The only thing that was missing was a bit more romance – I don’t always need romance but I was in the mood for it at the time!

Another book I want to read, but haven’t got hold of yet, is Austenland by Shannon Hale (not surprising considering Persuasion is my favourite adult book!):


I’ve heard good things about it, and I’m kind of assuming it will have romance and a relatively happy ending, as it is aimed at the same people who would read Austen novels!

So my question for you is what else should I read? I really want to have more choice. Lately I’ve been picking up old Bunty annuals and reading through them, as I’m so desperate to read, but I’d rather have something more grown up – I’m with kids all day long after all, so it would be nice to excape into an adult novel! Please help me progress!

Be Inspired:

Create a mini-book about the books you love

Write a blog post about something you struggle with that you’d like help progressing with

Make a book mark or book journal

Remember that commenting on this post, and any other over this weekend, will count as an entry into the Grand Giveaway, but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that prize right HERE!

See you again in 60 minutes! x


A Giveaway {NOW CLOSED}! Sponsored by Digital Paper

(This post is part of my Onwards and Upwards Blog Event)

Welcome to another giveaway {NOW CLOSED}! This one is from the stunning by Digital Paper!

I’ve been investigating printables lately – there’s something so exciting about being able to go online, buy a product, and print it out, all within ten minutes! It makes for some beautiful embellishments, it’s cost effective, and immediate! This shop caught my eye because though the images are ‘vintage’, they are also really bright and colourful…

baner facebbok 1 blog

Here’s some of my favourite items in Janet’s shop right now:

1. Balloon Circles – whimsical and detailed, these ballons make me think of adventures and exploration. I’ve never been up in a hot air balloon and it’s something on my ‘bucket list’, so adding these to my projects will remind me to keep that dream in mind, and one day I’ll be up in the clouds in a beautiful baloon:

ballon circles

2. Hope Peace Love Dream Ovals – These words are perfect to add to layouts and cards – they are romantic and strong. They lift my spirits and remind me to cherish what I have:

believe love

3. Retro Fashion Tags – These images of some very fashionable ladies are just awesome! Look how confident and content they look. Their dresses are amazing! Yes, I would like to be one of these ladies:

retro fashion

Now for the giveaway {NOW CLOSED}… one winner is going to receive a $15 Coupon Code to use in the Digital Paper Shop!

I’m rather jealous of the winner!

All you have to do to try and win the prize, is pop over to the Digital Paper Etsy Shop, take a look around, and come back to comment – tell me what items you love the most!

This giveaway will close at 10.59pm BST on Monday 13th May. The winner will be announced on Thursday 16th May. The giveaway is open internationally. Please make sure you tell me how to contact you if you win!

Remember that commenting on this post, and any other over this weekend, will count as an entry into the Grand Giveaway {NOW CLOSED}, but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that prize right HERE!

Don’t forget to let me know what you like in the by Digital Paper Shop! You can also see more from Janet at her blog HERE, and her facebook page HERE. See you again in 60 minutes! x

Onwards and Upwards Counterfeit Kit

(This post is part of my Onwards and Upwards Blog Event)

This post is a relatively quick one, so if you are still hopping along the blog hop, then there’s not too much to distract you!

As I’m part of the current Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog Design Team, I thought it would be quite appropriate to create an Onwards and Upwards Counterfeit kit! Hopefully it will give you ideas for how you can dig through you stash and get crafting right now, along with me!

I based my kit on the Grand Giveaway Prize, can you see and similarities even though this is all older stash/handmade embellies?:

Onwards and Upwards Counterfeit Kit

The white sheet on the right with the stamped images on is an index of the stamps I have, that I thought went well with the kit.

I’m not going to list everything in this kit, instead I’m going to suggest things which you could grab from your stash to create a similar kit. You don’t have to make a big kit – it could just be a page kit or a kit for a couple of cards. Here’s some ideas:

– clouds – hot air balloons – stars – aeroplanes – birds – uplifting words/phrases – paper that makes you feel happy – travel  themed papers/embellishments – sparkles – feathers – sequins – butterflies – blue – pink – beige/cream –  

Onwards and Upwards Counterfeit Kit

Here’s how to make a journaling card like the one I created, which reads ‘a thousand places in any direction’:

1. Cut a piece of Simple Stories Sn@p paper or lined paper down to 3×4″. 2.  Stamp swirls, birds, and a hot air balloon, and colour the hot air balloon with promarkers. 3. Glue on words cut from an old book. 4. Paint the edges of the journaling card with black watercolour paint. Done!

The glitter tape is also handmade – the one with pink glitter on is some normal double-sided tape, and the one with blue glitter on is foam double-sided tape. The glitter stuck better on the foam tape, but I’m not sure whether that was because the foam was stickier, or whether the pink glitter was too tinsel-like to stick well!

If you create an Onwards and Upwards Counterfeit Kit remember you can link it in the ‘Challenge to be Inspired’!

Be Inspired:

Create a counterfeit kit along an Onwards and Upwards theme

Layer some stamped images and cut-out-words on a project

Make your own glitter tape

You’ll be seeing my counterfeit kit items on some projects this weekend!

Remember that commenting on this post, and any other over this weekend, will count as an entry into the Grand Giveaway, but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that prize right HERE!

I hope you’re enjoying everything so far… see you again in an hour! x


A Bit Of Guest Blogging

Hello and good morning!

I’m just popping by with a quick post to let you know that I’m guest blogging at Julie Kirk’s Notes On Paper blog today. Julie’s running a fantastic series at the moment, called ‘Push-Up Bra Blogging’! What a great title, right?! It’s all about giving your blogging a ‘lift’.

Here’s what Julie says about the series:

‘Do you wish you had the time or inspiration to blog more often? Do you keep promising yourself you’ll blog more regularly? Do you wish you could blog as confidently as some of the bloggers you admire? This 6 week course [March/April 2013] is aimed at giving a pushed-up and padded boost to those of you who like the idea of blogging … but who, from time to time, feel a little, well … flat!’

The course has begun already, but you can read all about it and catch up with anything you’ve missed right HERE. It’s all free, though Julie is asking for donations to Save the Children via her sidebar button, if you enjoy the posts!

I’m guest blogging there today – you can read my post HERE! What do you think the topic of my guest post is? Need a little clue?

event logos

Yep, it’s all about my weekend blog events, and how much work they are to put together!

Don’t forget, the next one will be on the 10th – 12th May 2013, see you here then!

But for now head on over to Notes on Paper. Do you feel like your blogging needs a lift?

Have a great day! x


Gold Ruffle Trim & Handmade Tidbits

Today I’m going to tell you some more details about the handmade embellishments in my April Counterfeit Kit:

Gold Ruffle Trim and Handmade Tidbits

Starting with the Gold Ruffle Trim!

Here’s how to make your own…

Step 1: Get some gold balloon ribbon, and cut 60 pieces of ribbon at 4″ long.

gold trim 1

Step 2: Cut a piece of yellow (or gold if you have it) cardstock to 6″ long by  deep. Put some removable double-sided tape along on side of the cardstock, and stick the ribbon lengths all the way along it:

gold trim 2

Step 3: Once you’ve filled up the cardstock, put some more removable tape on top of the ribbon, and repeat step 2, so that you have a double layer of ribbons. Then machine stitch along the top edge, through the cardstock and both layers of ribbon, to make sure the ribbons won’t come off. If you don’t have a sewing machine to use on this, then you could try using a stronger (non-removable) adhesive on the previous steps and just hope it stays stuck, or you could handstitch it:

gold trim 3

Step 4: Use some scissors to curl the balloon ribbon. You hold a piece of ribbon between your thumb and one blade of scissors, pulling the scissors along the length of the ribbon. Make sure you keep the ribbon between your thumb and the blade so you don’t cut yourself (you can also use scissors that aren’t too sharp – I used my daughter’s kid scissors):

gold trim 4

That’s it! Your ruffle trim is curly and ready to add to a project:

gold trim finished

Next up are my Handmade Tidbits. I loved the Elle’s Studio Day to Day Tidbits in the Gossamer Blue kit that we were counterfeiting, in fact I loved them so much that I’d already bought myself a pack and used them all up! So I’ve tried to make some of my own with the same kind of feel.

First I used my Slice Design Cutter to cut 6 circles 1½” in diameter out of paper scraps:


The I decorated them! I didn’t take photos of all the processes, I’ll just let you know what I did on each circle!


From left to right:

Circle 1 – I stamped ‘the story’ onto cream cardstock using some Studio G alpha stamps and grey ink, stuck this onto the centre of the circle, and then machine stitched a black border all around.

Circle 2 – I put some My Mind’s Eye All is Bright washi tape across the middle of the circle, and then some Glitz ‘choose happiness’ tape on top of that, trimmed off the edges of the tape to match the circle, and then inked the circle edges with gold ink.

Circle 3 – I used a foam number 5 stamp and grey ink to stamp on the circle, and inked the circle edges with the same ink.

Circle 4 – I stamped ‘today’ onto cream cardstock using a different set of Studio G alpha stamps, and the same grey ink, then I cut the cardstock into a banner flag shape, sticking it onto the circle before trimming the top edge, then I machine stitched a border around the banner using dark yellow thread.

Circle 5 – I heat embossed an Elle’s Studio Day to Day ‘Right Here’ stamp onto the centre of the circle, using American Crafts Gold Glitter Zing Powder, and then distressed the edges of the circle with gold ink.

Circle 6 – I punched a Martha Stewart Vintage Doily shape from cream cardstock, adhered it to the centre of the circle, and then filled the holes with crystal Stickles.

I can’t wait to add these to my projects!

Finally there’s my Crocheted Flower:

crochet flower

Which I won’t do a tutorial for, as I totally just followed this tutorial at Little Birdie Secrets! I used Anchor Artiste Metallic Gold Crochet Thread, which I also put into my gold add on kit, in case I want to crochet any more!

I hope something here has inspired you today! Which of my handmade embellishments would you be most likely to use on a project? x


Fimo Feathers and Paper Straws Tutorials

Good Day! Sorry this tutorials post was a bit delayed, but I went away this weekend to a crop (more details about that on another post this week), and I didn’t manage to get this post finished before I left. So here it is now…
Here are the handmade embellishments that are part of my March Counterfeit Kit:
The ‘stickers’ and the little birds were quite easy, so I haven’t got a tutorial for those – I’ll just talk you through them at the end of this post. But first I have got two other tutorials for you – one for the feathers, made of Fimo modelling Clay, and a video tutorial for the paper straws!
Fimo Feathers:
Step 1: Soften a lump of white modelling clay (I used Fimo):
Step 2: Squeeze one end to be more pointed, and flatten the other end, so you have a shape a bit like a guitar:
Step 3: Elongate the flattened end, and pinch the pointy end together more. the pointy end should be about a quarter of the overall shape in length:
Step 4: Flatten the pointy end down too, so it now looks really pointy like a pencil. Shape the other end to have a soft point at the tip:
Step 5: Finish shaping and smoothing the clay until it looks like a feather:
Step 6: Bake or leave to dry according to manufacturer’s instructions. Then use a fine paintbrush and some acrylic paint to paint a feathery blue line all around your feather:
Step 7: When the outline is dry, paint a line up the middle – you can add a ‘hole’ somewhere along the line to make it look a bit thicker:
Step 8: When the centre line is dry, you can then paint diagonal lines going from the centre to the edges of the feather, all the way along. If you make any of the lines too thick, you can leave it to dry and then paint back over them a little with white acrylic paint:
Step 9: When the paint is all dry use some strong, dries-clear glue to add a gem and a sequin to the bottom of the feather:
Done! My feathers are approx 3.5″ long and ⅛” thick, and they weigh 6 grams. You could maybe make them a little thinner, but Fimo will get more brittle the thinner it gets, so don’t make them too thin or they will snap. And make sure you attach them to your projects with strong glue!
Paper Straws:
I did a video tutorial for this one – it’s only a minute long. The steps are:
Step 1: Take a square piece of paper and roll it from one corner to the opposite corner (with no adhesive).
Step 2: Unroll it and add adhesive to the two sides of the square that you were rolling towards.
Step 3: Roll it back up, and then snip off the two pointed ends.
Here’s the video (you can view it HERE in You Tube to see it larger):
Quick and easy! Use a strong adhesive – I used removeable tape at first and the corner unrolled a little, so I tucked a bit of strong gluestick underneath and it’s fine now. A permanent adhesive works better!
Happy Stickers:
For these I used a variety of stamps and inks. I chose images and words that matched the kit and then stamped them onto shapes, or stamped them onto paper and cut them out. The tag and label shapes were cut using my Slice design cutter.
For some of them I inked the edge, some I doodled a border on, and the tree I backed with card. Then I just stuck them all onto a piece of white card using blu-tack, so I can take them off and add adhesive when I want to use them!
Shrinkles Birdies:
These were simple too – I just coloured in a bird stamp using ProMarkers, and stamped it onto frosted Shinkles. Then I cut them out and shrunk them in the oven – they shrunk to about half the original size, so these little birds are just under an inch wide. They are so cute!
There we go! I hope one of my handmade embellishments has inspired you to add a little something handmade to your next project. Check back through the month to see how I’m using these on my layouts and cards!

Things to tell you… and a giveaway!

The wonderful Sian at From High in the Sky is running a very interesting series called ‘So this is Scrapbooking’, and she invited me to join in and tell my story. So if you’d like to read more about how I discovered scrapbooking and what it means to me, then go check it out here!
One thing you may notice on that post is a bit of news – I’m currently working on a new blog, to replace this one. Don’t worry, the stuff you love at Jennifer’s Jumbles will continue at the new blog, you’ll just need to change the address you’re following! The new blog is not quite ready ready, but if you want to take a sneaky peek at the work-in-progress, or start adding it to your reader, then you can – the address is www.jennifergracecreates.com.

In the meantime I’d love it if you’ll tell me what you’d like to see at the new blog, so I’ve created a survey with 10 questions, to ask what you’d like to find at Jennifer Grace Creates.

Anyone who answers the survey can enter to win a giveaway for a surprise box of papercrafting goodies! I’ll stuff a pizza box with a mix of old and new items. Just make sure you leave an email address in the right box on the survey so I can contact you if you win. The closing date is Friday 22nd March, and the winner will be notified by Sunday 24th March. The giveaway is open internationally.

The survey is HERE!

Thanks very much for taking the time to read my blog, your support is much appreciated! You are welcome to leave a comment on this post, but please be aware that only answering the survey will enter you into the giveaway!

And don’t forget to go and check out my guest post at From High in the Sky! x