Friday, December 28, 2012

Celebrations and other stories

Is it really the end of the year already? Christmas has been and gone in a much laughter, colour, good food, great presents - it's been special. I am still working on my Christmas pages and will share some more of those when they are all done.Even using a smaller size than ever before, I am still not as up-to-date as I would like. There are just so many stories to tell. 

2012 has been a momentous year in lots of ways, not least because it's the first year I have ever had to use two albums for my pages. After discussion on one of my forums, someone pointed out that it means I've had a really full year. The fact that every single page represents a happy memory for me is very special indeed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Journalling my Christmas

The Christmas lurgy has struck early and my crafting has definitely suffered. I am very thankful that I decided to do a small, no pressure album for JYC this year!

The first couple of spreads are done, in their pockets and ready to go in the album. I have a fairly simple system - prompts where I want to write just a few lines get the 'layering' treatment like the one above. Prompts which inspire me to write a bit more get a 6x4 card which I printed a border on, just to make my journalling look neat. And then the other slots are taken up with photos - some of them inspired by the photography prompt, some of them a record of daily activity.

These 12 slots cover days 1-7. Some days I have lots of photos, and other days there aren't any, which is why it's irregular - but I don't mind at all. I am just thrilled to bits with how the pages are growing, and how the cards all work together to make an interesting spread.

It takes a surprising amount of consideration to make the pages balance - photo, journalling, embellishment, what goes in which slot - and I am not sure that I could do this all the time. But for recording lots of smaller memories, it's perfect.

Nine sleeps!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

So this is Christmas

Well, here it is again my friends. The festive season means Journal Your Christmas, and my attempt to document (almost) daily thoughts about Christmas past and present. This is my sixth year of JYC, and some albums are more complete than others, but however much I have completed I am always glad to have this record of the season. It's not just a daily record either, it's an opportunity to ponder on different aspects of the season and do some reflective journalling.

My format this year is slightly different. Most of my albums have been 6x6 or 8x8, and last year I experimented with a 6x8 sketchbook. I've realised that I'd like to try including these JYC pages with the rest of my pages for 2012, so to do that I am using divided page protectors with 6x4 slots. My hope is that I will be able to adapt by using them for photos, text, or a combination of the two. If the topic really grabs me I will have the freedom to use more pockets, and if I miss a day (or two) it won't matter. It also means that if I really want to include a 12x12 page, it's easy to slot that in - and that's exactly what I've done with my manifesto page. This paper was just too nice to cut up and I wanted to make a bit of a 'statement' to identify these pages. 

The banner at the top has taken...most of the day. No kidding. Cutting each individual shape, layering them together, putting them in place and then leaving it, before coming back and tweaking it to get it 'just right'. I won't be putting this much into every day. But sometimes it's worth it. 

Here's to finding the magic in Christmas all over again!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Stories of all sizes

Does the New Forest count as travel? We had to go on a ferry, so I think it does. We've had quite heavy frosts here the last couple of days, and autumn seems like so long ago.
I have SO MANY pictures that I want to work with at the moment. Hundreds. Quite possibly thousands. They are all carefully stored in neatly labelled folders in date order, and it's not the amount of them that makes me feel overwhelmed. Rather, it's the act of prioritising - how do I decide which story to tell next? From a memory-keeping point of view there are some stories that are surely more important than others, but sometimes telling those big stories seems so daunting. Sometimes, I am inspired by particular photographs, a product or an artistic style...but it almost feels wrong to do that instead of focusing on something more significant. 

If I only have a limited time to scrapbook (and work does get in the way) then how do I make sure that the pages that are in there are the ones with the stories I really want to tell? And I suppose there are two parts to the answer. Firstly - I read my albums. Occasionally I sit down and flick through the album from a particular year and realise that I have missed out an event/person/occasion that was very important. The first time I did that I realised I rarely scrapbook birthdays, and because Christmas is a separate album then most years' albums ended in November. I am making an effort to correct that as I feel inclined. I did a bunch of Christmas pages earlier this year and it totally killed my enthusiasm for the season, so now I just do little bits here and there.

And secondly - I don't worry about it. I scrapbook whatever inspires me at the time. Whether it's the story, or the photos, or it matches perfectly with a new piece of paper. Sometimes something that seems significant might be a page that in a few years' time I will throw away. And other times I won't realise the significance until months or years later. The most important thing to me is that a page in my album is better than a memory in my head.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I had a thought that maybe I shouldn't be posting photos of other people on my blog (and in my scrapbook pages) without their permission. Especially Gran, because she doesn't even have the internet and I'm not sure she knows what a blog is? Maybe I've just spent too long working on publications at work. Next thing you know I will be asking people to sign photo release forms. Anyway - that meant that I couldn't put some of my most favourite recent layouts on here. Which is annoying. But entirely self-inflicted, so I am not sure why I was annoyed. I mean, after something like five years of blogging and 14 of being on the internet, it's a bit late to be worrying about over-sharing now. 

So...where does that leave me? With a page that has a photo that's not of a person, of course. There's only so many cat photos I can share with you all, so I decided to use one of my favourite pictures from a visit to Owl & Monkey Haven in September. This poor guy looked like he'd had enough!

Style-wise, I am still trying to experiment. There are lots of lovely pages out there using very pale, monotone colour schemes and I wanted to try and replicate that here. My inspiration was this page which I think is lovely, and so very different from my usual style. I managed to find some pale, delicate papers, and also different textures - using ribbon, ric-rac, washi tape and sticky gems to add some dimension. The stamped dots on the left are maybe a little darker than I would have liked, but that's all part of the charm of stamping directly onto your page. And those dots please me more than you can imagine, because they were made using a stamp set I bought in 2007 and is still going strong. I knew my hoarding would pay off one day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Things that make me happy right now:

  • Creating scrapbook pages.
  • Walking in the crisp autumn sunshine.
  • Singing cheesy Christmas classics.
  • Wearing warm boots.
  • Chatting on the phone to Gran every night.
  • Shopping for Christmas presents.
  • Snuggling under a crochet blanket.
  • Eating packed lunches made especially for me.
  • Planning things I am going to make.

I rarely scrap 8.5 x 11. In truth, this wasn't either until I tried to put it in the album and realised that I had cut the page to 8.5 x 11.75, which was no good at all. Thankfully, I managed to rescue this and the other pages I had done in the same format without too much trouble. That big journal card is a new thing, too. Lately I am just trying to make my pages look different. I can make page after page with bright colours and layered paper and they are always square with one or two is easy to get stuck in a rut. And so I am trying to use new papers and different embellishments and change the layouts of my pages. I think they might always have butterflies on, though. 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Rolling towards the weekend

I think the clocks changing a couple of weeks ago has put me more out-of-sorts than I care to admit. I am struggling with the cold mornings and dark evenings, and craving comforting food that is hot and full of carbs. Last night I slept for nine hours, which is just ridiculous. I never do that. Where has all my energy gone? Maybe this is just the downhill slope to 30 and beyond.

Clearly, I am behind the curve on scrapbooking trends here. Bunting? So 2011, darling. Washi tape? Well, it's definitely not a new trend even if it hasn't reached the point of being passé yet. Come to think of it, what are the current trends? If I could only think of the one that hasn't happened yet, I could make my fortune...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Still scrapbooking

Is it really November? The last couple of months have passed so quickly; it feels like summer was just a few days ago and now we are preparing for Christmas. I think I am ready for winter - I have a stack of crafty projects lined up and am looking forward to some rainy weekends that might give me the chance to work on some of them. I also have a big juicy pile of photos just waiting to be scrapbooked...
If this was a proper lifestyle blog, then I would have done a tour of my home by now and shown you lots of interesting details and carefully posed ornaments. A proper craft blog would have done a tutorial on crochet blankets and how to make your own candles. Since this blog is neither of these things, I don't have any of those to show you. The shameful truth is that I still have things in boxes and I buy my candles from gift shops. But what I do have - is a house that feels like home. Far more than anywhere else I've lived, and despite the fact that this place is rented, I've managed to make a space that works for me and feels unbelievably cosy. When I come in from work and close the door behind me - I am safe, warm and comfortable.

There is still a lot to do. Unpacking those boxes for a start. And maybe one day I will get around to putting something on the walls. In the meantime, I have come to realise that what makes a place 'home' for me is not stylish design or fancy furniture. It is about having a space that works for the things I love, that I can feel in control and comfortable in, and sharing it with people I care about. This house definitely feels like home.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Blue skies and happiness

This is my favourite time of year. Bright sunny skies, crisp clear air, and a total lack of tourists. We went on an impromptu trek around Shanklin Chine yesterday, and the beautiful views made it worth the 150-something steps up. As we reached the top, a whole row of benches greeted us. I needed a sit down by then! And just around the corner...a monument to the life and music of Elvis Presley. Just when you think this place couldn't get any more random.

It's all too easy to fill my weekend with chores and household tasks and supermarket I am all the more thankful for moments like this. Take a deep breath and carry on...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Where does the time go? '28' Blog Hop

Why, welcome! If you are here because you're following Jamie's birthday blog hop, then you should have come from the lovely Jules' blog. Are you enjoying it so far?

If you're here because you know me or you already follow my blog, then you'll already know that my name is Kate and my little corner of the internet comes from the Isle of Wight. I live in a little house filled with paper and pretty things, accompanied by a cat who watches every move I make. By day I work in an office where the furniture matches our corporate colours, and by night I scrapbook, crochet and sketch.

And if you know me really well, you'll know that this is my last month as a 28-year old, that I am dreading being an odd number because it makes me feel unbalanced, and that the end of October will not only mark me entering the last year of my twenties but also three years since the bowel cancer diagnosis that has completely changed my life. When Jamie suggested a blog hop to celebrate her birthday, it seemed like a most opportune time to reflect just a little bit on my life too.

I think this page hardly looks like I made it. But I did, I promise. Right now I am loving delicate colours, retro patterns like polka dots and chevrons, and instagram photos. I'm drawn to layouts with small photos and lots of detail on a neutral background. I am trying to incorporate more layering, freedom and asymmetric elements. And yet....if I continue using patterned paper at this measly rate, I might never get to the bottom of my stash pile.

Thank you so much for looking at my project. Are you ready to hop on now?

 Who's next? And also the order in case you get lost:
Kate YOU ARE HERE! Visit Leigh next

Don't forget to comment on everyone's blog and then hop back to Jamie and let her know you've finished for your chance to win a $28 gift card to an online retailer of your choice. You have until 8.00pm EST on Sunday 30 September (and by my reckoning, the UK is 5 hours ahead so that gives you until 1.00am the following morning). Good luck everyone!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An autumn weekend

This weekend I have mostly been...

Finding new paths. I have driven on these roads all my life and I've never parked up and explored beyond the hedge. It's very special to walk slowly along, looking for fruit, listening for squirrels and soaking in the beauty of it all.

Foraging for blackberries. More than I can carry, mostly small but sweet and full of flavour. Every so often you can find a big juicy one, hidden behind a leaf or protected by a bramble. They taste all the better for having to fight to get them. 

Being grateful. Somewhere after crossing this stile I dropped my phone (which is what I was using to take these photos). We walked on and eventually left....a couple of hours later I realised what had happened and we returned to trace our steps. Before we had even parked the car, someone rang to say they had found my phone in the long grass and where could they meet me to return it. I am amazed that they found it, and that they returned it. People are good.

Resting. Much like these little sweeties in the pet shop. I wish I could take them home, but I don't think a certain pussy cat would approve.

Being inspired. Taking photographs for future reference (and sketching). Enjoying colours, shapes and scents.

Doing things differently. Being outdoors doing stuff means I'm not indoors making stuff. I'm making the most of it while the sun still shines, and it feels good.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Scrapbook Sunday

Time off work has been absolutely perfect. Lots of lovely times and in between...some crafty stuff too. 

In between experimenting with sketching and painting, I still scrapbook. I have many stories to tell and much pretty paper to use.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Hello September

Sliding in to autumn and the weather is as hot and sunny as we could have wished for in June. Right now my days are filled with scrapbooking, painting, long walks in the sunshine and precious moments. There are some really good things happening, and there are some really terrible things. The contrast between the two is almost more than I can handle. Taking it day by day, moment by moment, is the only way through.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

An art holiday at home

This week has been quite lovely. Staying home from work without any plans to go's nice to have time just to be.

One of the things on my lifetime to-do list is an art holiday - preferably one of those ones somewhere in Europe that's warm and sunny with great food, cheap wine and lovely scenery. That's not really in the budget this year, so instead I am making an effort to make art at home - starting with getting out the watercolours and experimenting.

Hopefully I will have some finished works to show you by the time I go back to work...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Favourite photos

This photo is one of my all-time favourites. It's taken me a while to scrapbook it, because I wanted to do it justice. And there is SO much I could write. (There is some hidden journalling on a tag behind the photo). Sometimes, though, you just have to get it done. Things change, feelings change...let's get it down on paper while it lasts.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Project Life?

Project Life is a massively successful system that has taken over the scrapbooking world this year. Instead of doing pages about single events, scrapbookers use pages with lots of little pockets to record individual photos and journalling cards. It's mostly done on a weekly basis to record every little moment. Lots of people are doing it. 

My trouble is committing to a long-term project. I like scrapbook pages because they are single items and 'completeness' doesn't really extend any further than a 12x12 spread. I've taken part in annual month-long classes in September and December every year for the last 5 years and I only have a 50% completion rate on those albums. So I think attempting Project Life was always going to be a bit ambitious. Instead, I've used it as a bit of inspiration to get back to doing monthly review pages. I last did these in 2007 when I lasted until April, so I've already managed to get further than ever before. Currently operating two months behind....but when you consider that I am also scrapbooking a holiday that took place two years ago, that's pretty good going really. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Don't you just love flowers? I do, but then I'm easily pleased. Mum and Gran love flowers too, so for their joint birthday earlier this year, I bought loads of bunches of roses and mixed them all together for a huge, multi-coloured bouquet.

I'm also loving this embellishment under the photo (which neatly hides my foot in the photo). Paper + chipboard + washi tape....and those little wooden cameras will be featuring in a lot more pages in the future for sure.

Monday, August 06, 2012


I haven't done a Morpheus page for a while. Mostly because I felt like I was always doing pages about him, and there are other stories that need telling too. And then I realised that I'm always taking photos of him, just not scrapping them. Instagram is a wonderful thing (find me! @wightkate) and I've been taking lots of photos of Morph with my phone lately and making them look wonderfully vintage. The square format is also great for a different look to my pages. I've just had a big batch of photos printed, so you can definitely expect to see some more instagrams in my albums.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Something different

I think this is as close to minimalist as I get. A white background counts, right? One of my favourite photos from this year, Mum and Gran's birthday lunch in February. My 2012 album is already really full, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A summer burst of creativity

I don't have a lot to say, really.
Well, I do have a lot to say but none of it makes a lot of sense. I think I need to go back to keeping a journal to get some of this stuff out of my system. But to sum it up: life is full. I am mostly quite happy. I still face challenges, but I am growing to meet them. And that's not a bad place to be right now.

Also, I have made a LOT of scrapbook pages recently. Something about the wet summer weather we are having just inspires me to stay inside and create. And I definitely can't complain about that.

This page? Probably the most complicated page I've ever made and it certainly took the longest. I started it three times with different background papers and kept changing my mind. Then I had already stuck down the photo and the title card, so I had to stick with those, but I changed the background again to make a grid of punched squares. Then I layered on the doily, the title, some stamping, that cluster of embellishments....and then it still didn't look right, so I decided to continue the quilted effect by sewing across some of the squares. After the first one, I realised doing them all was actually going to drive me insane, so I chose random ones across the page. Then I decided I wanted buttons. Then I had to thread embroidery floss through each button and use a glue dot to stick them on the page. I *think* it's finished now, but I'm still not entirely sure!

Friday, July 20, 2012

A life online

It's hard to imagine a world without the internet. So much of my life happens online, and so much is recorded there too. This blog is my own little corner, however rubbish I am at updating it. Facebook, though, is another story. I resisted joining it in the beginning, figuring it was just another 'thing' that would pass. But in 2007 I gave in and signed up, and despite occasional weeks when I try and cut myself off, it's been an integral part of my life ever since. As someone who is really bad at keeping in touch with people, it's an easy way out. And as much as I would like to say I miss handwritten letters and postcards in the post - who am I kidding, I never wrote any letters.

The idea for this page came about when one friend was going through another's Facebook profile photos. And I realised that they are a mini-autobiography all of their own. Facebook keeps them in a folder and it's super-easy to go through and chart out my life. So much has changed since that first picture in 2007 - not least my hair - and making this page seemed like a good opportunity to bring it all together.

35 photos on one spread is definitely a record for me. Also, a great opportunity to use some office-themed supplies. I know I can't actually use a typewriter to go on Facebook, but it kind of fits the theme. The Facebook logo and 'like' symbol were downloaded and printed on photo paper to make my own embellishments.

I love this. I love the grid of photos. I love the way it charts my life. I love that it feels like progress and reminds me how far I've come. And I am absolutely going to do another one in another five years' time.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The sweetest feeling

Oh, it feels so good to be back. 
I took a long break from choir earlier this year, and walking through the door to my first rehearsal in months? Very hard. But after about five minutes it was like I'd never been away, and as soon as we start singing I remember why I love it so.
As I write this, I've just got back from our big summer performance. The photos on this page are from a rehearsal earlier in the week, when everything came together and we realised that it was going to be ok. And tonight it was more than 'ok'. Honestly, nothing beats singing in a big group of people when you can hear the harmonies blend and you know that your voice is joining with everyone else to make a sound that is bigger and richer than anything you can do on your own. And when you know a piece really well, and can sing your line with confidence (I'm still working on that bit) so that instead of concentrating on the notes, you can just feel the joy of singing...that is the feeling that I strive for, and it is sweet indeed.