Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Craft Fair - Scrap Crap

As I mentioned in the previous blog I bought a few bits of scrap crap - all of which was being sold at great prices so I indulged a little but not too badly!!
 Some flower rub-ons and some dynamo label style word stickers (I have a specific project in mind for these)
Some alphabets, one set of rub-ons and two sets of stickers - the pink ones match some paper I have which I have used in a layout of Binnie and the black ones are just great value - upper and lower case and loads of letters.

Some lovely Prima flowers with leaves, butterfly, ribbons and bling and a alterable tin eventually - love my prima!
 And finally some bottle tops, I've never used these before so worth a try.

A couple of snippets of layouts where I've used some of these products - the beige rub-on alphas, which I also used on the front cover of my journal for the circle journal (more of that later) and the green prima flowers.  Below is my "Don't Tell Gwen" a piccie of me and Kai Owen from Torchwood and below that a close look at the flowers, I like the shapes which I hand cut an achievement for me!!

This layout is Jamie at the race track near Crick with his cub troop having a brilliant brilliant time, its called "boy racer" and I've used the alpha rub-ons for the title a closer look underneath.

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

I Try My Hand At a Craft Fair (A catch up!)

A catch up blog from last year!!
One of my friends from the crop decided that she was going to organise a craft fair and credit to her for organising it and doing it well.  As I hadn't at that point returned to work I thought I would have a stall and see what would happen.  My stall would sell artificial flower arrangements - as that would be the best way to show off my skills, generate some interest and hopefully raise my profile for my flower business - as it has now turned out selling flower arrangements is really more a hobby but more of that in another blog.
I came up with some simple designs, and made up some inexpensive arrangements - I think its vital to remember your audience when creating items to sell - you need to ensure you have a variety but all within the budgets of the clientele of the craft fair - so most of my designs were priced from around £4 to £12 with most at the lower end.  Although I could have sold the poppies in the jug at least 6 times - market research done (!) - as we were near Mother's Day too - arrangements to suit that occasion were a priority - so lots of pink which is not my own personal preference.

I was pleased as I sold 4, although making money was probably the least important aspect of the event and I spent what I made buying cupcakes for home and some crafting materials from another fellow cropper - who has masses of stock from when she ran an online craft store.  I was more interested in gauging responses and to see whether craft fairs would be a worthwhile avenue to pursue and what styles price ranges sold the best or market research as I would call it with my students now (ha ha!!).  For me the jury is still out on that, but as other events have taken over at the moment not something I can devote much time to anyway.

One of the best outcomes for me was bumping into one of the fellow cub Mums who is a friend of the organiser too, so we are now good buddies and I'm looking forward (for Jamie) when her son joins Scouts too.  So we spent a lot of the afternoon nattering and Jamie was happily nattering away to his old cubs buddy.  Thank you to Jamie for the photos from my phone as I'd forgotten to take them at home!!  An enjoyable afternoon.

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

Recently Enjoyed - Film Review - Paul

Beware Spoilers!

Jamie is quite a fan of Simon Pegg and loves a couple of his films - and of course here we enter the debate of what is and isn't suitable.  Whilst I would generally not advocate children watching anything out of their age range we have allowed Jamie to watch a couple of films, Shaun of the Dead being one of them - it doesn't bother him and as its comedy horror it hasn't frightened him and ultimately the story is pretty moral but most of all its great fun and we always watch it together, he's not just stuck in front of the TV to keep him quiet.  So we decided we'd watch Paul the latest offering from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Paul is the story of 2 sci-fi/comic book geeks who go to one of the big American sci-fi conventions and then make their way to Roswell in a Winnebago- Pegg and Frost are of course playing to type but there characters are familiar and comfortable to the viewer.  Along the way the encounter a real alien, CGI but voiced by Seth Rogan and his pursuing FBI agent Jason Bateman.  There are one or two other familiar faces along the way including Criminal Minds/Glee face Jane Lynch.

It's an amusing film, with several very funny moments, all the gags you would expect, and a largely predictable plot with a couple of minor twists - not a challenging film but a good fun enjoyable midweek fun film - worth a viewing.

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

Friday, 24 February 2012

Scrapbooking Crop - Circle Journal

A catch up from April - November 2011 and a long one too!!

This blog is going to be written as I go along and then posted when all the journals are completed so will take several months...we are doing a circle journal at our crop.  We have each got our journal, picked our topic and the journals will be circulating for about 8 or 9 months until everyone has contributed to everyone's journal.  One of the rules we have is that we cannot see the journals until they are all completed, so you see a little of the one you are working on but will not see anything that comes after yours and you cannot, under any circumstances see your own.

For my journal I picked a Seven Gypsies album like the picture below but the 8 x 8 version.  The first stage was to create the front and back covers and the sign-in page, and then start the whole ball rolling with a layout on my journal's topic, which is favourite flowers, flower arrangements, gardens, plants etc - a vast array of subject matter to scrap and journal about.

7Gypsies 20PG KRAFT-RING BOOK KIT 5"X7" (7G-10036)

So here is my front and inside covers, my back cover, sign-in page and initial layout which started in March.

Journal 1 - Nature's Jewels (April)
The first journal I tackled was M's and her subject was nature and here is the layout that I created for her journal.  It's very bright and colourful for me, as I tend towards the natural colours more, although I have done a few brighter layouts of late.  I picked two favourite flowers, the carnation and the grevillia for the layout and really went to town with pink and lime green, I called the page Nature's Jewels.
 I'm really in doilies at the moment and used them here, I inked them to bring out the patterns on the doilies, cut out sections from papers to layer up and made tags for the journalling and found some flowers which picked out the colour scheme.  Pretty and bright with loads of flower information on the tags!

Journal 2 - My Favourite Bling - Charming (May)

So onto journal 2 and a totally different subject and a very different colour scheme.  This one was very easy to pick the subject, although I had to re-do the photographs twice to get the to the correct size for the page!  The page is called 'Charming' as it is all about my charm bracelet, a very treasured possession.
 My colour scheme was red and black, with a little bit of gold thrown in too, it was meant to look very rich, baroque even, a Georgian feel which I took from the damask style pattern on the October Afternoon paper.  I've also used some Stampin' Up papers, Jenni Bowlin bingo card and some flowers from my scrapcrap.
 I had a go to make a couple of fake charm bracelets for the page and am pleased with them, they work quite well on the page and give it some real dimension and movement.

 The journalling is hidden underneath the red ribbon, which is velcroed and opens all the way out, there was a lot to say, but I didn't want it to dominate the page, so it's all there just neatly hidden away, which is something I do like to do with some journalling, which can be quite personal but then isn't open to all the world to see but is there for those who you want to read it.

Journal 3 - Maria -  My Philosophy - (June)

The next journal was all about our philosophy for life and here are the pages I completed for that journal, I found that one quite hard as putting your life's philosophy into a couple of paragraphs was quite a challenge.  I'm not sure I really discussed my philosophy but included quotes on friendship but they could be also about marriage - well the second one in particular.  The pages are much more my natural colouring and styling - monochromatic - which I am very keen on at the moment, flowers, buttons and some chipboard.

Journal 4 - Vanessa's Journal - July

The next journal for me was V's and her subject was sayings to live by (I think) - this journal was truly stunning and I was worried just having it in the house in case I messed it up!!  I used some pink papers and some feathers and prima flowers to embellish these pages, I also added some pretty gathered ribbon too and made them very girly - not because V is girly but because it seemed to suit the journal.  The quote says "take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go"

Journal 5 - My Favourite Poem - SC's Journal

The poem for this was an easy choice but it was a very personal couple of pages, I had chosen Remember by Christina Rosetti which is my favourite poem but also a very sad poem and on these pages dedicated to my Mum.  I used papers from My Mind's Eye which are truly lovely and I think the brown, blue, yellow colour balance works really well.  I will at some point post the poem too which is lovely but sad.

Journal 6 - Nadine's Journal

I have got photographs of the pages from Nadine's journal but cannot find them - have no idea where I have filed them so will add them in due course - once I've found them - clearly a senior moment!!

Overall its great to complete a journal because you get the opportunity to see lots of pages completed by your friends and pinch lots of ideas but its also hard work being on a schedule and we did slip in the calendar a few times!!  I will post pictures of my journal too but overall a fun thing to share with scrapbooking friends.

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

Book Review - The Woman in Black by Susan Hill/Film Review - The Woman in Black

Beware Spoilers

I decided to read the book before seeing the film so the film review will follow, but I hope the film lives up to expectations set up from the book as I really really enjoyed the book.  Not a very long book but full of suspense, a real gothic novel and well worth a read.

After reading the film synopsis I can tell that it strays well away from the story in the book so can only assume (before I see the film that it is only loosely based on the book).  The book tells the story of Arthur Kipps a London solicitor who when spending Christmas with his family after an evening of ghost story telling, decides to write down the experiences he had in Crythin Gifford as a young man.

Arthur is sent to the funeral of the reclusive Mrs Drablow on the east coast of England (I'm thinking this is the East Riding somewhere between Hull and Scarborough but the book gives few clues as to a specific spot - I was intrigued over the place coming from a few miles north of Scarborough originally) and to wind up her affairs and bring her paperwork back to London.

From the moment of his arrival in the area and whilst still on the train he finds people very reluctant to talk to him and finds they clam up totally when he reveals his reason for being there.  On the train he does meet Samuel Daily, a local landowner, who befriends him.  Staying at the local coaching inn, Arthur settles and begins to enjoy the freedom and fresh air away from London but that doesn't last too long.  The following morning he attends the funeral of Mrs Drablow and sees, for the first time, the Woman in Black - disturbed but at this point unaware of who she is and what lies ahead for him,  he proceeds to Eel Marsh House, the home of Mrs Drablow.  Eel Marsh House is separated from land by a causeway and so he decides he will stay at the house to complete his work, making it easier and quicker to undertake his task.

It is here that Susan Hill excels in her description of the brooding, oppressive house, surrounded by the deadening marshes and it is here that the Woman in Black begins to haunt Arthur.  Slowly as he works his way through the paperwork, he begins to piece together the story of Mrs Drablow, her sister and Nathaniel the son.  The haunting and danger for Arthur get worse as he reveals the story and he is eventually rescued from Eel Marsh House in a state of collapse by Mr Daily.  You feel that maybe he has broken the curse (which I'm not revealing here so as not to spoil the fun) when he leaves Crythin and returns to London to marry his fiance, but the story has a sting, a huge sting in the tail and left me a little shocked, so a good (if not very sad) ending.

A great book, very enjoyable, well written and atmospheric - it really kept me turning those pages on the kindle and so now looking forward to seeing the film very much.  I would recommend this book especially on a cold, wet, misty night if you want a little bit of a fright!!

And so to the film - again BEWARE SPOILERS!!

This was the first really scary film I have taken Jamie too and whilst he was scared - scared enough at the end of the film to say that he thought he may have peed his pants (he hadn't!!) - he loved it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it too - although it bore only a passing resemblance to the story in the book above!!  The screenplay was written by Jane Goldman (Mrs Johnathan Ross) and it was well written and very enjoyable.

Daniel Radcliffe was very good and I did manage to forget that he was Harry Potter despite the odd well why doesn't he just get his wand out and sort it out gag.  This story differs in that Arthur Kipps has already lost his wife and he is bringing up his son with the help of a nanny.  He is also struggling at work and is sent on a last chance job to the north east to wind up the estate of Mrs Drablow.  Committed to the task he leaves his son at home and is single minded in his task, befriended by Samuel Dailey but ignored and ostracised by the rest of the community he begins his task.  Very quickly the film builds up the tension with one shock after another.  Jamie and I were regularly jumping out of our seat and nearly spilling the popcorn.  The story progresses and concludes differently to the book but I will leave that for you to find out.

It is an enjoyable film, with many quite suspenseful moments, you are drawn into the story and jump and squeal with horror at regular points during the film, which in itself if fun.  Overall I found the ending much weaker than the story in the book and the tension and suspense is not quite ramped up as effectively but a great film and if your nerves and heart can manage it well worth a watch - we will be looking forward to it coming out on DVD so we can give it another watch!!

Reading challenge 4/20 - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Film Review - Chronicle


Jamie really wanted to see this film so we all headed out to see as part of half term treats (of which there hadn't been too many because I was working 3 days during the week and both Jamie and I had or were recovering from the half cold/half chest infection which is doing the rounds around MK at the moment!!)

This was a little bit different type of film for both Mike and I really but Jamie was keen and it was his choice.  Didn't really know too much about the film in advance and still wasn't quite sure why some of the events in the film had occurred either. 

Chronicle is the story of older teenage boys who whilst at a party discover a strange glowing rock in an underground cave, the action we view is as a result of Andrew filming his life on video as a way out of his difficult life - his mother is terminally ill and his father incapacitated out of the fire service is drunk and abusive towards Andrew.  After their encounter with the strange object all 3 boys develop superhuman powers - the ability to move objects, to fly.

The film then explores how the differing personalities of the boys affects how they deal with this new found talent.   Where Andrew was always the outsider he now has friends and they form a strong bond but as Andrew's home life takes its toll on him then so does his use of his new powers.  Encouraged to take part in the talent contest he becomes one of the popular boys and it is from there that the friendship begins to fall apart with the powers tearing them apart leading to the death of one of the 3.  The film ends spectacularly when Andrew  uses his power to get money to buy medication for his mother but it backfires and he is injured, at the same time his mother dies and his father unable to communicate in any way with his son blames his son for no one being with her when she dies.  Andrew then spectacularly uses his powers to seek revenge on everyone.

Whilst not quite my kind of film it has many aspects which are very good, the performances from the 3 leads are excellent, all relatively unknown actors and they all portray their characters well taking us through the many emotions they are facing.  The film is obviously low budget but is better for it as it gives it a dark and grainy look which suits the story well and the film is not all about the special effects but about the story.  I don't think I would watch it again but it still has a lot to offer as a film.

Reading challenge 4/20  - currently reading on Kindle Tower of Silence by Sarah Rayne and in print Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins
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