The Staredown! (Scrapbook Layout)

The Staredown!
It has been a very long time since I have done a proper scrapbook layout.  Mostly because all of my craft supplies were packed away in moving boxes for so many years and then because where I was living at the time, various annexes and studio flats, didn't have the needed roominess for me to craft in. 
Hence the reason I got back into "scrapping" with Project Life as it didn't require excessive amounts of supplies nor a great space to do it in.
However, now that I have been perusing Two Peas ( and Studio Calico ( looking for ideas and inspiration I have actually been inspired to create an 8 x 8 layout.  Historically, I have always been a 12 x 12 girl but sort of now feel that this size is almost too big to work with so have been thinking about starting an 8 x 8 album. 
This was my first attempt at a smaller sized layout.  I did have fun with it and just "let it flow".  I have to admit I did struggle with it a bit, trying to fit all the elements on the page while still having it feel balanced.  I had originally intended to add a LARGE title ("The Staredown") but I think realised in the scrapping process that this would take away from the picture and the other elements on the page.  I thought it would make more of an impact to just have the final picture stand on its own and then include the title in the journaling below.

The journaling reads: The Staredown!  Rupert has been having some health issues so we have had to restrict his diet which means no treats and definitely no biscuits. He was not too happy about this!

After his dinner he followed me into the living room.  I knew he wasn't pleased and was trying to ignore him, which is very difficult because he does the "puppy dog eyes" look very well.  I don't like having to deny him as I love him to bits and pieces however I know for the moment its in his best interest.  But he doesn't feel that way and tried to will me into giving him a biscuit, giving me the staredown as I sat on my laptop.

Products Used| Black card-stock is Bazzill; both the scalloped polka dot tags & and the white scalloped one are Jillibean Soup-Journaling Sprouts; the yellow chipboard arrow is October Afternoon Boarding Pass Chip n'Stick; the orange chipboard arrow is Simple Stories Snap Chipboard Stickers - Hello; the yellow "Hello" brad is Simple Stories Snap Brads - Life; the "Jeepers" Dymo label is an embossed sticker by Marcella; the "Don't Forget" chipboard speech bubble is by Simply Stories 24/seven as is the red chipboard polka dot heart and the small red & white brad is BoBunny Bodacious Brads.  

Thanks for looking!

NYC Mini [Amy Tan] Album - (Finishing up some projects!)

This mini album has been sitting on the "sidelines" of my craft table for far too long so I decided to get off my creative "backside" and finish it this week. (Btw, this is a long one)
I really enjoyed putting this little mini Amy Tan daybook together.  This is from a trip I took earlier this year to NYC to visit with a friend from college - a mini break for both of us.  I originally took the daybook with me "on the road" with a few embellishments and some adhesive as I was going to try to finish this while I was travelling.  All good intentions, however I just couldn't seem to get it done.  I have heard a lot of other fellow scrappers talk about creating their albums on the road, "get everything in there when it's still fresh and active in your mind, plucked directly from your brain"!  Not only did I not find enough time to complete it but when I did find small snippets of time where I could have worked on it in piecemeal I just never felt in the right creative frame of mind or place to complete it.  It's something I aspire to achieve, as one of my scrapping goals (create & complete an album on the road) but I just couldn't quite get there - somehow it just didn't feel right and I think part of me was worried that it just wouldn't be as good, if done on the road or on the go.  A strange thought really when I reflect back on it.  Nonetheless, it is now complete and I am sharing it here!

 I did add a few pages to it by utilising some of the larger insert cards in the Echo Park Photo Freedom starter pack.  One convenience I did have in the United States was those handy dandy photo machines at CVS where you can upload images with a USB stick and print them off to any size you want which WOULD BE really useful for an album on the road (not something that you would ever find here in the UK) or at least not that I have come across.  I hate to admit it, but it is at times like that where I wish the UK was more like the US in that capacity, making life a little more convenient as opposed to some of the "difficulties" I've found in the UK.
The card above is from Simple Stories.  We stayed at Affinia Manhattan, which was in Midtown.  I had wanted to stay a bit further uptown but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.  We wanted to try and get a place with either two beds or two bedrooms, plus two bathrooms and then a lounge area plus a small kitchen as we didn't want to be eating out all the time.  Found the Affinia online, a great little group of boutique hotels.  As Alina had never been to New York before I thought it might be a bit more exciting for her to stay in a central location so chose this one, located on 31st and 7th.

All of the supplies I used for this album came from the following:  Echo Park Everyday Eclectic element stickers, Echo Park Today's Story element stickers, Simple Stories Sn@p Life 12x12 Collection Kit, Simple Stories Urban Traveler cardstock stickers - Expressions & Fundamentals, Simple Stories Sn@p Pockets - Color Fusion and Simple Stories Urban Traveler Sn@p Cards.  The various tabs I used were Echo Park (the greenish blue ones) and the black ones were from Pink Paislee called Portfolio Photo Tabs.  The New York chipboard accents & stickers were by PaperHouse Productions.  If there is anything you have a question about, just email me.
There was a lot of eating, some shopping and mostly chatting, laughing, catching up with one another and just simply enjoying each others company.
As we only had a long weekend and there was so much to see and do we had to pick between the Empire State OR the Top of the Rock.  I thought the Top of the Rock would make for a better experience.
Had to take a snap of the airport and the Welcome to New York sign.

A few snaps of Madison Square Garden which was virtually across the road from us! Always something going on! 
 Another snap from atop the Top of the Rock.
 Pictures of the hotel room.
 A pic of Times Square.  Even though I've seen it before, it still Wows me every time! Such a vibrant energetic feel to the place.
 Doing a bit of "shopping" on Fifth Avenue, I use the term loosely.  It was more like window shopping.  We spent the better part of one afternoon looking for the American Girl Store, first at the wrong end of town and then along Fifth Avenue.  There had been a promise made that if "someone went to New York" they just might bring back an American Girl doll!  Very sweet.
 One afternoon we had a wander through Central Park, leisurely taking in the scenery.  Having a stroll, then sitting on a park bench to enjoy the view and have a chat.  Then moving along a bit further, sitting to have a chat and then moving on again and again.  Until we had nearly walked three quarters of the park.  It was a lovely afternoon. Enjoyed watching the roller disco skaters as well!  Such a lively bunch.
 Saved our Metro Cards from the subway and included these in the book.  On our way to the subway one day we happened by Lucy's Cantina Royale and glad we did.  This place was great and the food was delish!  Liked the casual "beachy" atmosphere.
 As Alina is a bit of a science geek we spent an afternoon at The American Museum of Natural History.  Nothing like checking out some giant dinosaur bones!
After we came out of Central Park we walked down part of Broadway so Alina could see the lights of Broadway.   
 I snapped this one when we were outside Rolex, the time "back home".
 This photo makes me laugh every time!  I was taking some pictures of Alina and she started "Vogue-ing".  Why, I don't know, that's just her quirky personality which I love so much about her.
 Couldn't go to New York without going to Macy's, a must! The picture below that is of the most expensive glass of milk I have ever purchased.  I could understand the price if I had been on the French Riviera as a simple cheese sandwich there is about 25 Euros but a glass of milk - $9.00?!?!  Did they bring it straight from the cow??  Normally I wouldn't have ordered something like this from room service but it was the first morning after we arrived and we had yet to go out and get supplies from the local shops.
 Added another page here by taping in a post card (with a bit of Washi tape) that I picked up from a shop called Cocoa Bean back home in Windsor.  Not intended for scrapbooking or marketed as a scrapbooking item, but thought it would work in the album.
 Back of post card and another shot of Times Square.

 I used a Simple Stories Sn@p pocket to include our tickets from the museum, the floor plan and brochure from the museum that tells you about the current exhibitions, our ticket to Top of the Rock along with my airline ticket.  I added the card to collect our Top of the Rock photo to the front of the pocket.
 More "Vogue-ing"
That's it! 
A wonderful mini to commemorate a brilliant trip!
I did warn you it was a long one.
Thanks for looking!

Posting September too!!

So happy that September is done as well!!
I did post some pics near the end of October (I would post a link but to be honest I am still learning how to do that with a bit of ease) when I was going though the new process of documenting my Project Life monthly.  Yes, in some sense I suppose it is a bigger task doing it monthly now but I think I find more freedom this way as you don't have to work within the timeframe of week-to-week and you can do whatever you want, adding things wherever and whenever you want as they happen. 
 This is my title page for September.  A popular way to create and document your title page for the month so I thought I would give it a try.  Funny how this picture came about.  I was walking through the pasture with Rupert and had stopped to bend down to tie my shoe, right near this post and as I was kneeling on the ground I thought to myself this would make a good picture from this angle.  So after swiftly tying my shoe I pulled out my phone and snapped away.  I like it!
I created the "Rare Moment" insert card with paper from Simple Stories  6x6 Basics Paper Pack along with a cardstock sticker ("this was the best" banner) from the Simple Stories 12x12 Collection Kit Snap Life and then some paper strips, from the same kit to create the banners along the bottom.  The blue "flower" is from a kit by Papermania called Capsule Collection Embellishment Set in Teal (that I've had for a while in my stash). With these photos of Rupert I sort of wanted to get the perspective from my eye line view, him climbing up into my arms, so hence the extreme close-ups. I always like to try to find ways to take "different" pictures.
The upper left insert card is my own creation (I use that term loosely), again another way to scrap on a "budget".  I've seen insert cards like these online on various websites and liked the mix of different fonts so created something that was unique to some of the photos I have taken this month.  The picture to the right of that is of Rupert.  I have never had a dog with such character and Rupert definitely has that!  Whenever Simon will eat a yogurt or pudding cup Rupert gets right up in his lap and tries to sit as close to him as possible.  It's so funny!  He watches Simon so intently and every time he lifts the spoon from the cup to his mouth, Rupert's tongue quickly darts out of his mouth, licking the air, as if he can taste whatever Simon is eating.  On this occasion I quickly snapped a few pictures and Rupert sorta gave me the sideways evils, like what are you looking at so I used this phrase for my banner.  I created this in Word and the "LOL" stickers are from Simple Stories Typeset letters kit. 
At the cinema this month we went to see Rush by Ron Howard, it was such a great film! You don't necessarily have to be a race fan either to enjoy it, there is a good enough back story there to make it good without knowing anything about racing.  For the movie insert card I downloaded a jpeg of the movie poster and then glued it to a red insert card with the title " At the Movies" on it along with the film reel's both sides on either end.  The other card is the IHG logo as I was working at IHG again this month.
For this layout, on the top is a pic of the laundromat as we get all the linens ready for the cold months ahead, airing everything out and getting them cleaned.  Spent my Saturday shuttling back and forth to get everything done.  The bottom pic, a pic of my homemade Mac & Cheese because sometimes you do just need some good old comfort food to cure a craving! The text in the upper left hand corner was added in Word when I printed the picture and the tag on the bottom was printed on Simple Stories yellow graph paper in the 6x6 Basics Paper Pad. Also added a bit of red polka dot washi tape.
The top pic is of the mist that is now starting to roll in early in the morning, which means the days will get chillier and the nights more crisp.  Fall will be here soon and then gloomy winter, still haven't yet become used to the winters here in the UK.  The bottom pic is of Simon and Rupert - that dog really is just so attached to him it astounds and amazes me. I have never seen anything like it. The "Adore you" is a sticker from the Simple Stories Typeset pack.  
The upper left insert card reads "Simon and I are not coffee drinkers and we do both like our tea, him admittedly more so than me but when it comes to Hot Chocolate, that is something we definitely both agree on!".  This card was created in Word with a bit of clipart.  The insert card below "Enjoy the Little Things" I also created as well.  I was trying to tie the colours into the colours on the Costa coffee cup, not exactly spot on but near enough.  The title on the photo  is "Ho Cho" Sunday @ Costa and by the way we don't actually call it Ho Cho.  I actually got the term from a girl I was working with that week.  She was sooo determined to not be "trendy" and not be "one of the mindless sheep", (yes, she was about 20-something) that she was striving so hard to be a unique individual that she had almost come full circle to being trendy again, in her rebelliousness. (If that makes any sense!) We were ordering tea's & coffee's one day at work and in an attempt to be unique, she said she didn't believe in the consumption of hot caffeinated beverages, only in "Ho Cho".  I found it hysterical, so I used it!
The picture on the left was sent to me by my best friend Laura as she was getting ready to go out for the evening and celebrate her birthday.  How I wish I could have been there but as I currently live so far away as she lives in the US, it wasn't going to happen.  She has become such the fashionista!! I love it!  That photo almost looks like something you would see in a magazine.  As I didn't like the original insert card I had on the upper right I went back and changed it, adding some thoughts about when she lived here in the UK and how difficult it was to even get her to change anything about her style or try something new and now, she is so stylish!!  Like a completely different person. 
The insert card below this (The girl is a Fashionista) is my own creation.
This month was Simon's birthday, not something he was really looking forward to.  Well, actually I think he enjoys his birthdays, it's just the getting older bit that he doesn't like and I won't mention what age he was turning this year, sore subject in this house.  But I don't blame him, I am only a few years behind him and not looking forward to my next birthday either.  Well, the getting older part.  Anyway, I digress.   For his birthday I treated him to a day out, playing 18 holes at Mill Ride Golf Course, over in Ascot with a good friend of his Paul.  I told him to take some pictures for me, for my book and he did.  I thought this one was great! Both their bags sitting on the back of the buggy with the same Jack Russell head cover on their clubs. Too cute!
This layout was an easy one.  The picture above was the front page of the finance section for The Daily Telegraph for an ad for Lloyds Bank.  We don't buy this paper but my neighbour Brian showed it to me as the likeness to Rupert is uncanny. If you didn't know any better you would almost think it's him.  For this I took a picture of the paper, added the text "Is that Rupert on the front of the Daily Telegraph?" trying to mimic the style of the font so you couldn't tell the difference between the two and then printed off the pic & mounted it on white cardstock.
As I love to bake I helped out a friend with her MacMillan Coffee Morning this month by baking loads of donuts.  She was organising the whole thing herself and for a good cause, so I thought the least I could do was bake and donate 4 dozen donuts for her to sell.  The turnout was good and in the end I think she made a couple hundred pounds for the charity.
 On this layout the upper left pic is of one of the trucks we were looking at for Simon.  In the end it didn't work out as it just wasn't right for him. On the top right is a picture of a new recipe we tried.  Since I got back from my trip to the states earlier this year I have been doing a bit more cooking and baking, trying a few new things.  This recipe in particular was quite good and very simple.  It really was extremely tasty. One to add to the regular menu. The bottom pic is a close-up of a BBQ pulled pork sandwich I made at home one day accompanied by cheesy coleslaw and a crisp dill pickle.  This was to curb another American food craving that I had............
and I have to say I'm now starting to see a theme here.   
For this layout I included a couple pics from a weekend country walk we took while in Hertfordshire.  We were up in St. Albans looking at work trucks for Simon.
All stickers and tags are from Simple Stories.
This layout includes a few pics of Rupert from one afternoon when we were playing in the garden. I wish I was half as photogenic as this dog! I don't think he takes a bad picture.  The "Good Boy" insert card is my own creation.
"Shopping at Jerry's" - this has become a bit of a tradition for us now. Who's Jerry you ask? Well, he's a wonderful butcher located in our village. People come from far and wide to shop at Jerry's and I'm not surprised, everything is fresh, locally sourced and well prepared.  We typically find ourselves there on Saturday morning picking up things we'll need for the week and as well, all the fixins for a Saturday morning breakfast.
That's it, September done! I have to stop playing with it, tweaking it and just let it be, come to the realisation that it's okay to let it go, it doesn't have to be perfect.
I have enjoyed the process of doing Project Life monthly.  Now I just need to get stuck in with October!

Free PL Journal Cards


I see a lot of others share Project Life printables on their blogs so here are some Project Life printable inserts for you that I created.  Lots of printable goodness and all for free!  You can't beat a freebie!

Let me know if you use these in your PL albums and please send me pictures.

You can download here:
(I have posted many a blog before which is easy - just type, hit enter and save but this is the first time I have posted a link so hope it works!)


August Project Life..... FINALLY!!!!!

Well, here it is !!! 
I am finally up to date with my August Project Life via Snap.  No more stressing out about it!

When I made the decision to document my Project Life in September as one continuous layout, all in one month, rather than week by week in the interest of making the process less stressful and easier to stay on top of, I then found myself struggling with August when I went back to play catch-up.  I had a few holes in each week and was looking to either put insert or journal cards in the blank pockets or additional pictures.  As I didn't want to add a picture simply for the sake of adding something to fill a hole and "creating an event" or memory where there wasn't one I decided to make August monthly as well, which made the whole process a lot easier to pull together.

I simply disregarded the existing "holes" and moved some pictures around to balance out the flow of the 'now monthly'  layout and then removed the Weekly date cards.  I like how the month has now turned out and I can't wait to get going on October! (I have been making notes throughout the month to ensure that I don't forget anything and as well collating my pictures on a weekly basis for printing.)
For the main title page in August I didn't "go big"  (with the page) as having already created it as a weekly page, so simply made what would have been the date card for that week into the month card for August.  The polka dot background was created in Word (took some time and patience with those dots, let me tell you), the title "August 2013" was also created in Word and then I used the 1950's style font (Harlow Solid Italic) to mimic the letter detailing on the picture of the Bel Air on the right hand page. The retro "Sweet" embellishment above the letter A is a die cut from Melissa Frances called "Kitschy Kitchen".  The red letter A is a chipboard embellishment by the girls' paperie by Margie called Tinsel & Twig. The picture of me to the right, all "retro-ed" out is me practicing the various retro looks I found on Youtube so I can perfect my look for the Retro Festival.
What is the Retro Festival you ask?  Well, the event aims to be a celebration of all things vintage and the festival includes Rock n Roll, Blue Grass, Swing, Jive, Big Band and 50's bands.  There are also hundreds of classic and vintage cars, a live air show and a vintage village where there is a large selection of traders selling some of the best the UK has to offer in vintage and Rock n Roll clothing and home wear, craft sellers and local produce sellers. It was a real blast!
For the bottom 4 x 6 insert the black background paper used was by NRN Designs called "Heritage Border" (something that I have had for a very long time). The Dr. Pepper and Lunches Soda tags are from Farm House Paper Company "Where Ideas Take Root", the Super Tabs cut-out from October Afternoon "Steno Pad", the vintage lady from Graphic 45 "Le'Romantique Collection" with a scanned copy of the festival leaflet and a picture of some of the retro girls at the festival.
For the second layout above I have included a few summer shots from Cookham, where we go to walk Rupert at the weekend or during the week now that I have a lot more time on my hands.  Hard to believe that Summer is gone now and we are heading into Fall. On those rare sunny days, when the ice cream man has his truck parked in the carpark there, Simon and I will buy a double scoop ice cream to share! Yummy!  On days like this a snapshot of Cookham is ideal for a Kodak moment, making a picture perfect postcard with the vibrant colours - the crisp blue sky, the fluffy white clouds and the luscious green grass.  The blue tagline at the bottom reads "This is what Summer looks like!"   The "You Are Here" card I created in Word as well as the "The Important Stuff" insert card on the opposite page.  I was really pleased with the picture I took of Rupert playing with his stick in the water.  I was amazed that the camera captured all the water droplets.  I have to say that I now find myself using my camera on my Samsung phone way more than my DSLR, which is supposed to be a pretty good high street model.  Not only is the clarity much better but I suppose it is also the convenience factor of not having to carry the camera around and the fact that my phone is always in my back pocket.  On the bottom of the opposite page is a photo I took whilst out on the golf course with Simon (I tried adding a bit of coloured text with a glow tint to it) and I like how it looks. One weeknight when he was off to the course after work he suggested I come along with him and rent a buggy so we could cruise round the course together.  It had been a long time since I had been out with him and I had forgotten what a good laugh it was! The golf journal insert card on the bottom is another card I have created in Word. 
On this layout, on the right hand page I have included a couple of pictures where Simon is working this week in Benson.  I drove out one day to visit him and have lunch there (brown bagging it of course) as the estate was so beautiful and he thought I would love to see it.  The house was a barn conversion and looked incredible.  As well there was a small fruit orchard, a pond with wildlife, an English garden with conservatory and massive great decorative slate pond that Simon was working on, laying the slabs and putting the finishing touches on.  The upper right picture on that page is a picture of Rupert in the car on the way back from the park one day - the banner says "The look you get when you realise the awful smell in the car is coming from you!!"
On the left hand page, on the top there is a picture of the stove with the back burner still turned on.  Probably hard to see in this picture but trust me, it is on and there is a small blue flame there.  The journal insert card on the left reads: "Write this Down" on the header and then as follows: "Simon made breakfast this morning and then left the house all the while leaving the back burner on, with an open flame!!  Why is this Noteworthy?? Well, because I have been read the riot act where, on occasion, whilst cooking or baking something in the oven I forget to turn it off once I take the item out.  And I do mean riot act!!  So here, Mr. Self Righteous left the stove on, which has an open flame no less, which is far more dangerous than leaving the oven on!" So I totally had to pull him up on it!  This card was created in Word. (It may seem odd to document this but it is just our type of sense of humour with one another, always taking the piss out of each other and being extremely sarcastic about everything)
On this layout, on the left hand page I have included a photo of one of my favourite items from my American food order.  Living in the UK there are just some things that I simply cannot do without and as they are not frequently found in shops here sometimes I just have to place an American food order when the need to have something overwhelms me!  This time I ordered a massive great jar of Skippy peanut butter, I was so happy when it arrived.  I have included a blue arrow made in Word that says "My American food order and my obsession with Skippy PB.  Is the jar big enough?"  (And to answer that question, probably not!) I hate to admit it, but you'd be surprised as to how quick you can run out of a jar of peanut butter that size.  In all fairness, I do use it for cooking as well - for Chicken Satay and  PB cookies.  The picture to the right is of Rupert relaxing on the couch - too cute!  Added a "Love This" banner in pink and then the word "Adorable" in red script.  Below that is a picture of the small pond/river at Braywick Park, which was beautiful on this day.
On the opposite page is a picture of the signage at Coworth Park, a very posh well known hotel in Ascot adjacent to The Guards Polo Club where I was working that week, in the HR office, taking minutes for some of administrative meetings. I put the pic on lined paper from the Simple Stories Snap Life 6x6 Basic Papers Pad with a tag from one of my Smash tag booklets.  The "Our Life Right Now" insert card below it was created in Word.  Next to that is a picture of my tootsies with an ombre manicure.  The pink ombre card is from the Echo Park Photo Freedom kit, the stickers from the Simple Stories Typeset collection, the white flower from a Papermania Capsule Embellishment collection and the centre of the flower is a fuzzy brad also from Papermania Capsule Collection called Sweeties, Red Hot.  The last picture above that is of Simon and Rupert.  We took him for a walk one evening at Braywick and he was so tired upon our return to the car that he simply refused to get up so Simon had to carry him back to the car.  It was quite funny!
On the left hand page I have included a "selfie" whilst walking at Braywick and added the white text in Word.  I have seen a few others online use this type of angle whilst taking a selfie so I thought I would give it a go!  Next to that is a picture of a homemade pud that I made for Simon.  Have been doing a lot more cooking and baking lately.  Below that is a picture of another "craving".  Like I said there are certain things you just can't get here in the UK and on occasion I get cravings for things that are difficult to find so when I can I concoct my own versions.  Two of the places I miss the most have to be California Pizza Kitchen and The Cheesecake Factory.  I guess mainly because they both do BIG salads and do them well.  To find a big salad (some of you might remember the Seinfeld episode with Elaine & the big salad) in the UK is very, very difficult, to them salad is a garnish on a plate.  Why would you want to eat a salad as your main when you can have a meat pie of some sort or more importantly, fish and chips! So when I find myself in the midst of a maddening craving I will do my best to recreate them - this is the CPK BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad.  I have eaten this salad so many times in the US that I could probably recreate it in my sleep.  I have found most items here (or similar) with the exception of the jicama and the tortilla strips. (So for the tortilla strips I just use crunched up Doritos Tortilla Chips with a Hint of Lime. No plug for Doritos there).  It hits the spot quite well and curbs the craving, until the next time.
On the right hand page I have inserted a "Happy" insert card, two pictures of Rupert - the one on the top right of when we are arriving at the park: him all excited, full of energy, raring to go and then the picture on the bottom of when we returned to the car - all tired and hot with no energy left.  Added the text in word.  The last picture is of one of the trails we frequent when walking at Braywick. 
The last page I have included two snapshots of the classic cars from when we went to The Retro Festival earlier in the month.
So happy to have this done, now I can post September and then move on to October.  Really enjoying documenting my Project Life in a monthly format rather than the weekly format, don't feel as pressured or stressed out about keeping up on a weekly basis. The format allows for more freedom.

Onwards and upwards!