10 Things… That I’ve ‘pinned’ about Winter

So today it’s time for 10 Things on the Tenth, as led by the lovely Shimelle Laine.
I’ve been looking on Pinterest a lot lately for winter inspirations, in preparation for my Frosty Festivities blog event, so today I thought I’d share 10 of my favourite wintry things I’ve pinned so far:
Some amazing Christmas Tags by Ashley Calder, using Jenni Bowlin and vintage bits and bobs – so inspiring!

A photo of Winter Snow in the City, which makes me think of Narnia because of the lampost, but also of shopping for Christmas presents!
A collage of Cosy Photos, I want the mugs! And I’d love to make a collage like this for my December journal this year.
This ‘Joy’ Spool Ornament looks simple to make but so pretty!

Some Festive FREE Fonts, what’s not to like?!

How to make Macaroni Snowflakes – me and Little Miss will be making these this year!

A Golden Snitch Ornament – I want this on my tree.

Christmas Mojitos. These will make me merry!

Looking at all these makes me feel very festive. Have you noticed anything wintry and lovely lately? x

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10 Things… new to play with!

Today it’s the 10th, and that means 10 things – any random ten things, are blogged about by many lovely people, led by the fabulous Shimelle Laine. For my ten things this month I’m going to tell you about the new products that have freshly arrived in my stash, which I’m dying to play with and show you the results of:

1. Pink Paislee ‘Artisan’ Album – I wanted this as soon as I saw the Summer CHA reveal, and now that I have it I’m a little scared to start altering it! I will though (!):

2. Studio Calico ‘Burst’ Mask – Received today from SJ Crafts, and I can’t wait to start misting through it:

3. Epiphany Crafts ‘Flower 25’ Tool – Which I won on the Epiphany Crafts Blog, and I’m going to use it once I think of the perfect project to show it off:

4. My Mind’s Eye ‘Bluebell’ – I’ve bought a few bits and pieces from this collection as I just loved the colours -just look at that yellow and blue:

5. Elle’s Studio ‘Sweet Life’ – I ordered some items from Elle’s Studio – it’s the first time I’ve had the chance to use their stuff – and I love these ‘Sweet Life’ Note Tags. You can expect them to appear on a layout soon:

6. Memento ‘Gray Flannel’ Ink Pad – I own very few ink pads, and I kept wishing I had a grey one! So I’ve finally bought myself this:

7. Maya Road ‘Linen Album’ – Which I won on the Maya Road blog. I have a plan for this one – for a mini about my favourite place in the whole world. I need to start splattering some gesso on I think:

8. Crate Paper ‘Little Boy Blue’ Tags – Remember the Tag Mini-Book I made using Crate Paper ‘Little Bo Peep’ Tags? Now I need to make a similar album, featuring photos of baby boy, for my Mother-In-Law’s Christmas Present:

9. Studio Calico ‘Wood Veneer Snowflakes’ – I also snatched these up from SJ Crafts today, and I love them even more than I thought I would. They are going to be perfect for using on some projects for my Frosty Festivities Weekend, which brings me onto item 10:

10. Frosty Festivities Prizes! There’s a whole lot of new stuff building up in my stash which I’m NOT ALLOWED to play with – because they are prizes for YOU to try and win during my next blog event! I’m not going to reveal them all yet, but you can expect a lot of lovely wintry products, including, just maybe, a set of the Wood Veneer Snowflakes above! 
Look out for the reveal post with more details about the event weekend, and a glimpse at the prizes and projects, coming some time next week!
A couple of other things to mention before I sign off:
  • SJ Crafts is holding 2 giveaways right now – one to win a collection kit of your choice from the shop, and another to win a pack of mystery papers – you can find both the giveaways here – but hurry – they close at 10pm on Friday 12th of October so there’s not long left!
  • Sorry I’m a bit behind on a couple of blog posts – Both my September in Numbers post, and my Scrapbooking Soiree post, are overdue, but they’ll be here as soon as possible I promise!
Thanks so much for stopping by. I’d love to hear what new items you have in your stash that you need to break open and play with! If you haven’t got anything new, then what is it you’d love to get your hands on? 
Bye! x
Get Crafting

10 Things… That I want to join in with!

Life is quite hectic at the moment, with little miss starting school, and me getting used to the school run, plus a deadline or two I’ve been working towards, and a few other projects on the go. But there’s so many other things I want to join in with! Including this ’10 things on the Tenth’ party, which I’m just about managing to post on the tenth!
I know that during my organisation celebration weekend I talked about how I organise my challenge entries and submissions by limiting them, but sometimes it’s very hard to ignore all the fun stuff I could be taking part in. Here’s 10 of the things I’m itching to be part of right now…
  1. Daring Cardmakers Colour Challenge – I love the mix of grey, blue, and coral – Deadline Thursday 13th September
  2. Two Peas In A Bucket Card Sketch Challenge with Kimber – I have a lot of cards to make this month, so I figure it might be possible to join in a couple of card challenges, and I like the big butterfly on this – Deadline Friday 14th September
  3. Pink Paislee Social Media Challenge – oh, how I’d love to win the entire Portfolio collection, and I only need to create a project using Instagram pics and Pink Paislee products to be in with a chance… – Deadline end of this week
  4. SJ Crafts 6×6″ Challenge – Lisa-Jane created a great series on 6×6″ paper pads, so I’d love to join in with some of the great 6×6 pads I own – Deadline Sunday 16th
  5. Big Idea Festival at Big Picture Classes – Lots of different challenges, including scrapbooking your goals, and using big photos on layouts, there’s great prizes for the winners – Deadline Monday 17th
  6. Crate Colour Challenge – Gorgeous rich, autumnal colours this month – Deadline Monday 24th September
  7. My Mind’s Eye Project Challenge at Two Peas – I’d love to get my hands on some of the new My Mind’s Eye products and enter this to win even more! – Deadline 30th September 
  8. Scrapbook & Cards Magazine Winter Call – I’ve been thinking a lot about winter projects, planning for my Frosty Festivities weekend here on the blog, and I’d love to get my work in more magazines – Deadline Wednesday 3rd October
  9. Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog – It’s been a while since I made a counterfeit kit, and I like the embellies and colours this month – Deadline Thursday 4th October
  10. Mastering Manual Mode Workshop at Big Picture Classes – This is a workshop I’d like to take rather than a challenge or submission. I own a DSLR but I hardly use it. I’ve tried looking at all kinds of hints and tips from other bloggers, but I think I need the structure of a class to push me harder! Elisha Snow is an amazing photographer too, so I wouldn’t mind some of that rubbing off on me! I’ve just got to see if I can gather the funds – Deadline to enroll October 31st or when student limit is reached.

What things have you got that you’d like to join in with? Maybe you’d better not tell me, or I might add to my list… x

10 Things… Magical Disneyland Moments

My Ten Things this month had to include photos from Disneyland Paris, where we spent last weekend! ‘Ten Things on the Tenth’ is led by the wonderful Shimelle Laine – though today I see her post has been hijacked by the also fabulous SJ!
Here are 10 Magical Moments from our time at Disneyland Paris 
(photos are roughly in order of when they were taken):
1. Seeing the books I made for me and the kids getting filled up with drawings, stories, and autographs. Even baby boy enjoyed doodling in his book – he loves to use crayons right now (and only occasionally tries to eat one!):
2. Going on ‘It’s a Small World’ as our first ride, and watching the girls’s reaction (my daughter and my niece). They were amazed:
3. Baby Boy’s reaction to the illuminated parade, he kept pointing and smiling at each float as it passed by, though some of the loud music worried him a bit. This is the Aladdin float:
4. This was my personal favourite, the Disney Dreams spectacular when the park closes – a special event they’re doing for their 20th anniversary. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was a light / water / music / movies / fireworks show, with pictures projected onto the castle. It had a story about Peter Pan’s shadow escaping and travelling through lots of the Disney Movies, and the lights and pictures transformed the castle into a waterfall, and Notre Dame, giant rockets, Asian ruins, and more (there’s a video on You Tube of it here if you want to see more). I was gobsmacked at the whole thing, so much that it made me cry with joy to see it:
5. Appreciating time with family – we went with my Mum and Stepdad, my Brother and his Wife and Kids, my Sister, and her Boyfriend came for one night. The first picture was taken on our second morning, the next photo was taken on our third afternoon just before my sister’s boyfriend had to return home. It was so lovely spending all this time together, my family are wonderful! (And yes, baby boy is asleep in both pictures!):

6. Realising how fearless my little girl can be sometimes – she’s definitely not afraid of heights based on the Parachute Ride in Toyland in the Disney Studios Park. The ‘parachutes’ take you straight up into the air, and then let you down, not super fast, but not really gently either – it makes your stomach jump! Hubby was more worried than little miss though – she loved it, and said ‘again again’ as soon as we stepped off:

7. Seeing Ariel! After being Ariel for my 30th Birthday, I couldn;t wait to see her, and we finally saw her properly at a parade on our last evening. I waved at her like I was a little kid myself! And then I smugly thought that my costume was better, hee hee!
8. My daughter and my nephew holding hands. This was the first time my nephew has been old enough and bold enough to play properly with my daughter, and they were getting on so well together, chasing each other around and chatting about things. The heart melting moment was when they walked along together after breakfast on our last day holding hands, so sweetly:
9. Looking at the little details. One of the things I like about Disneyland is all the extra details they put in so you really feel like you’re in another place, like the queue lines that always have things to look at. But I still miss lots that you walk past quickly – not so for my daughter, who kept pointing things out. My favourite was when we were on our way to meet the princesses, and she said, ‘I think we’ll meet Rapunzel, because there’s a Golden Flower up there’, and pointed up to the top of a tower, where there was a flower just like the one drawn in the Tangled film. We didn’t meet Rapunzel, but we did glimpse her later so it was okay:
10. Meeting characters. We met Goofy, and Pluto, and Mickey and Minnie, and Snow White, plus a few more. The kids loved meeting them and getting their autographs, it was sweet to see their expressions when they spotted another character, though my daughter was a bit shy of some of them, and baby boy cried at a couple of the larger ones!:
We had such a wonderful, though tiring, time! I hope we get to go again someday, when baby boy will be old enough to appreciate it more. Even though he won’t remember much from this trip I know he enjoyed it, and we’ll be able to tell him all about it, show him the many scrapbooks that I’m sure I’ll create, and know that we’ve made moments to treasure for all our lives:
Hooray for Disneyland!
Get Crafting

10 things… CHA Summer 2012 – Sites to See

Hello! It’s CHA time again! The trade show runs from the 16th to the 19th of July, and sneak peeks of the latest scrapbooking lines have begun all over the place. So for my ’10 things’ post (a monthly blogging link-up party hosted by Shimelle), I’m going to tell you about the websites / blogs that I’m keeping an eye on!
My first three sites will come as no surprise to those of you who read my ‘know what you love‘ post:

  1. Pink Paislee – they’ve already shown 2 of the new releases ‘City Sidewalks‘ and ‘Portfolio‘ and I want them both! You can leave comments on the reveal posts to be in with a chance to win the collection!
  2. My Mind’s Eye – They also have chances to win the collections just by commenting – and I really, really want the ‘All is Bright‘ collection, it has red & aqua, chevrons, and lattice patterns. LOVE!
  3. Crate Paper – The reveals haven’t started yet, but just they released the details of the new design team, and paper collection reveals should be up soon! 
  4. I’m going to add one more manufacturer – American Crafts, as I wanted both the Amy Tangerine and the Dear Lizzy collections from CHA winter, and I’m already in love with the new ‘Ready, Set, Go!‘ collection by Amy Tan – there are WOODGRAIN ALBUMS! Lush!
  5. If you want to see links to all the different reveals, then head over to Scrapbook Update, where there’s a long list to take you where you want to go! On their home page there will be more news and info as it becomes available too.
  6. For a more visual round-up, check out Paper Crafter’s Corner, which has posts for different releases, with a photo of the collection, to tempt you to see more!
  7. The next one may be obvious to some of you, but here it is in case you don’t know – Shimelle is going to CHA this summer, and she always posts great photos of the booths, alongside some industry info and her favourite items from the releases. So starting on the 16th of July I’ll be watching her blog very closely!
  8. Melissa Stinson, AKA The Scrappy Jedi, also usually goes to CHA and posts booth photos. She’s already starting to show releases on her blog too.
  9. Scraptime is somewhere to go if you’d like to see videos of the booths, there were some great ones at the winter show, so I’ll be watching to see what appears this time around!
  10. Finally, Two Peas In A Bucket always has a good atmosphere around reveal time. The ‘General Scrapping’ message board already has discussions on the new releases, and hopefully when the show actually begins they’ll be even more going on – in winter there were challenges and chats! (EDITED TO ADD – there will be, see the announcement here!)
So there we go, that’s what will be keeping me busy over the next week-or-so! If you want to see the things that I really want to buy, you can follow my CHA Summer 2012 Pinterest Board
What items have you seen that you want to spend your money on? I know that SJ Crafts will be getting some of the new items in, Sarah has mentioned on the shop Facebook page that the new Everyday Eclectic line by Echo Park has just arrived in, so there’s a good start!
I’m off to search for more things I want buy (but can’t really afford)! x
Get Crafting

10 Things… I Love About PicMonkey

Today it’s 10 things on the Tenth – for more details see Shimelle’s post today here. I thought that this time I’d share some tips with you for using PicMonkey
I’ve been using this website a lot lately to edit my photos – for family pictures, but also for editing photos of my layouts, and other blogging things. I know a lot of people probably have Photoshop, or something similar, so you might be able to do these things in those editing programs. But I don’t have anything like that, so I’ve found PicMonkey very helpful. And I hope these tips will be handy for some of you too! So, here’s:

1. To rotate pictures of my layouts.
If I’ve taken a picture of a layout, and then discovered it tilts slightly to one side, I can rotate it on here (go to Basic Edits – ‘Rotate’). I used to do this in Microsoft Office Picture Manager, but that program didn’t let me have enough control over the degree of rotation. And PicMonkey puts a VERY helpful grid over the top of your photo whilst you turn it, so you can see when your picture is in line:

You just drag the dot gently left or right along the ‘straighten’ line, until your picture is in the right place.
2. Applying effects to photos.
I like that choosing one simple effect can make a photo that little bit more magical. Go to Effects – the scientific vial-type symbol, then choose whichever effect you fancy. For this beach shot of my son I just cropped it a bit, adjusted the exposure to make it a little lighter, and then applied the ‘Intrepid’ effect, and faded it about 50% (so the effect was not too strong on the photo, it just gently changed it). The photo went from this:
To this:

I like the slightly retro feel, but it doesn’t overpower the photo too much.
3. Using the Clone tool.
This tool is amazing. I always wanted to try it out on Picnik, but because you had to pay for it I didn’t get round to it until until they were closing down and made everything free. It’s still free at the moment on PicMonkey, but when you do have to pay for it I will fork out the cash as I love to use it.
It’s a good tool for fixing ‘problem’ areas of your photos. I’ve used it to remove a big crease from an old photo of my granny from her youth, to lay part of one photo on top of another photo to make sure everyone was smiling in a photo, and for removing clutter from the background of a shot. Here’s an example of the last one, when I changed the photo on the left to one on the right:
I removed the pictures stuck on the wall using the clone tool. After selecting the clone tool (Go to Effects, then ‘Clone’) you need to choose the brush size, and then the ‘source’ – the part of the picture you want the colour/image to come from. I chose a part of the wall with nothing on it, as close to the patch I wanted to cover as possible. You want to get it as close as possible as the light or shadow will be different on another part of the picture:
To cover up the rest of the mess in the background I used overlays of Roses. Go to Overlays (the symbol of heart, starburst, and speech bubble shapes) , choose ‘Roses’ and then click on the one you want. It will appear on the photo and can be resized or recoloured. More on Overlays later.
4. Applying the ‘Dodge’ tool to lighten areas of my photo:
I’ve been able to adjust brightness on my photos before, but I love this tool because you can lighten certain areas of photos. I use it on family pictures and craft photos, when shadows have fallen and made the colours look wrong. I used it on the photo of this layout to lighten the bottom right corner, where the kraft cardstock looked darker than in the rest of the photo.
Just go to Effects – ‘Dodge’ and choose how light you want it to go (light, mid, or dark – dark still means lighter than the original, but only just). Choose your brush size, and drag it across the problem area:
Just make sure not to go over the same spot too much, or it will look too washed out compared to the rest of the picture. The less you do it, the more it will blend in. 
You can also do the opposite, and darken areas of your photo, by using the ‘Burn’ tool.
5. Using ‘Airbrush’ – to get rid of my moles!
I’ve a lot of small moles on my neck, and some on my face. I put up with these, and they don’t bother me too much in most photos. But it’s nice every now and then to have a picture without them! Of course, this tool can also be used to remove spots or other unsightly marks.
To use the tool you just go to Touch Up (the lipstick symbol), and either ‘Blemish Fix’ or ‘Airbrush’ depending on how strong you want the effect to be. For this photo I used ‘Airbrush’ as I wanted to lighten the crease lines around my neck too:
I have a feeling that the older I get, the more I may use this tool!
Shine Reduce and Red-Eye Removal are also tools I use a lot under the ‘Touch Up’ heading.
6. Easily adjusting the colour cast with ‘Neutral Picker’.
This helps when the light hasn’t been great when taking the original photo, so the colours look slightly ‘off’. You just go to Basic Edits – ‘Colours’ – Neutral Picker. Click on neutral picker, and a little pipette symbol will appear when you move your mouse. Click this where there is some white on your photo, and the saturation and temperature of your picture will automatically adjust. My top tip for this is to then go back and auto-adjust your exposure again too. I used this technique on this photo of a card:
7. Making a blog header (you can also make a collage).
I followed this tutorial about how to make a collage in PicMonkey, in order to make my current blog header.  There is now actually a function to make collages on the PicMonkey site, but I haven’t tried this out yet. I just made myself a blank photo, as per Ashley’s suggestions, and then layered up my elements using overlays and text. 
I used two rounded oblongs (from the Geometric overlays) layered up as the base of my header, and then added clouds, hearts, and arrows, etc. To add the text you go to the ‘P’ symbol – Text, and type in what you want to say. Choose the font – for ‘Jennifer’s Jumbles’ I chose ‘Marcelle Script’ – and click ‘add’ to place it on your picture. You can then adjust the colour and size:
The only trouble I’ve found using PicMonkey like this is that you can’t save the file-in-progress, just the end result. So if I’ve made a mistake it’s quite hard to fix it after saving it and leaving PicMonkey. I had to re-do the header from scratch because I hadn’t made it narrow enough the first time. But, it only took me about 5 minutes to re-do it, so it wouldn’t stop me using it again.
8. Resizing my photos.
Again, this is something I’ve been able to do in Microsoft Office Picture Manager, but it’s great to be able to do it here. I now find it easy to get the right size quickly, so that I can make sure my photos fit my blog page. 
To re-size your pictures, just go to Basic Edits – re-size, and type in the pixel width you want. It will automatically keep the proportions of your photo, unless you uncheck the box. I used it to resize this photo (which I’ve also applied the ‘Tranquil’ and ‘Dark Edges’ Effects to) – to fit my blog I’ve made it 630 pix wide:
9. For entertaining my daughter!
My daughter thinks it’s really fun to add effects and overlays to photos. She’s only 4, but she’s quite good with the computer (she’s taking after her blogging mummy!), and I can open a photo for her in PicMonkey, and come back a few minutes later to see it turned into this:
So fun!
10. For adding edited pictures to layouts.
I love all these fun ways of using PicMonkey, but the thing I love most about it is then printing off my edited pictures, and using them on scrapbook pages. I like using pictures from Hipstamatic and Instagram, etc, from my Ipod Touch, but the quality of them is not always great. By using high quality photos taken with my DSLR or point-and-shoot camera, I can apply effects in PicMonkey and still print them nice and large without worrying that the quality will suffer:
I love the way this picture of my little man stands out more from the page because it has such a striking effect (I used the ‘Urbane’ option). 
Just make sure you always save your photos to the highest quality (Russell) option!
There we go, my reasons for loving PicMonkey! I hope you have found something useful. See you again soon! 
P.S. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for an Echo Park ‘Note to Self ‘collection kit, and see details of my upcoming blog event, here! x

10 Things… Vintage Books

I’m joining in again with Shimelle’s regular ritual to write about ten things, any ten things, on the tenth of the month. To join in, or to read 10 things from many more blogs, see Shimelle’s post for today here.

This month I’m going to show you some of the vintage books that I’ve been hoarding. For a while I’ve been jealous of Julie Kirk‘s ability to cut up vintage books, and put the pieces together on her projects, or in her fantastic Plundered Pages packs. I’ve mentioned to her that she needs to run a course on how to be brave enough to cut up these books, because I have an ever-growing collection of ones that I’ve bought for projects.

Despite forcing myself to cut up a Ladybird book for my Learn Something New Everyday Album last year, and cutting up text for backgrounds and flowers for some Hen Party Gift Bag items, I still haven’t managed to get a pair of scissors anywhere near the rest of my vintage books.

Here are my favourites:

1: Book Of Ryhmes Number 3:

Which has lovely, detailed illustrations like this one:
I want to put this one into two frames, one for each page, and hang them in our entry-way, above our wellington boots.

2: Telling The Time:

Very intro images inside this one:

I don’t have any particular ideas for this image, except that I wish I could step into it and share their tea!

3: Sacred Songs & Solos:

This is a very thick volume, and I snapped it up for 20p at a car boot sale, because I thought it would be great to use the music pages as background papers. But then when I got home I couldn’t decide whether it was ‘right’ to cut up a hymn book, what do you think?

Strangely, when I opened this to photograph the inside, it fell open on ‘Amazing Grace’ which we sung at my Granny’s funeral in February. It made me think that somewhere she was smiling at me, possibly laughing at me for photographing a pile of old books 🙂

4: Famous Fairy Tales:

Which includes some gorgeous full-page illustrations like this one:

Which I’d love to frame for my daughter’s bedroom.

5: Time, Calendars and Clocks:

I bought this one for it’s cool, steam-punk style illustrations:

I’d like to cut this page up for some altered art, though I’m not sure what exactly!
6: A Book of Modern Verse:
Bought mainly for the stunning yellow cover, which I’d like to use for a project like this one. The pages inside might come in handy too:

I’m sure I could cut some of the poetry up to use on layouts.
7: Fairyland Secrets:
Which has the most adorable pictures of bunnies, cute critters, and fairies:

I want to use this on an altered canvas, with flowers and glitter and beads all around it.
8: The Pocket Encyclopaedia of the World:
A neat little book with colour maps that would look good as background papers, or cut into tags or letters for scrapbook pages:

Something about this book stops me tearing it up, I think it’s that I quite like its small size, when the other atlases I’ve seen or own are larger.
9: Play Street:
Look how cute the images are:

I’d like to use the best images to make mini-book covers for mini-albums for my kids. The rest would look good on cards.
10: Highroads of History:
Another one chosen mainly for the cover, the Celtic-style square would look great as a frame. But it also includes some nice colour illustrations like this:

Which I’m sure would come in handy for something!
So, what about you? Do you have any books you bought for crafting, but can’t bear to cut up? Do you have any ideas for what I could use these covers or pages for? Do you have any suggestions for how I can get over my fear and set the scissors on them?