Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nice Photo Diary

July has whirled by in a blur and suddenly, August is upon us and the gradually dawning reality that the glorious summer is drawing to a close. Too soon, I say! The last few days have been spent reliving the amazing last minute holiday my sister and I took last week to the south of France. I'd never been before and it far exceeded my expectations... Sparkling azure waters, dazzling sunshine coupled with a warm skin-tickling breeze, quaint narrow labyrinthine streets, faded shutters, flaky buttery croissants and crusty baguettes... 
We flew from Shannon to Nice with Ryanair and stayed in Hotel Oasis Nice, which was conveniently located near the train station. Aside from basking in the sunshine of Promenade des Anglais, swimming in the turquoise Mediterranean waves and exploring the sights, particularly the charming old town of Nice, we also enjoyed some day trips. We took a forty minute train to stunning Cannes with its designer shops, sandy beaches, sleek yachts and of course the famous red staircase of the film festival! We also visited nearby Monaco which was only twenty minutes on the train, and well worth a look. This place just oozes wealth and luxury, with three storey yachts moored in the port and Ferraris on every corner. We visited Prince Rainier's palace and saw the famous Monte Carlo casino, and generally marvelled at how the other half live.
Nice is a beautiful city with so much to do and see, and the excellent rail service makes day trips easy. I loved every second of this trip and would definitely recommend it! Now to order the prints and get scrapbooking it...

Hope you're all having a lovely August...


Monday, 30 June 2014

Taking Up the (Scrapbooking) Challenge

Last week was a time of flux and change in the scrapbooking world with the announcement of the closure of Two Peas, the site which truly sparked my interest in this wonderful craft, allowed me to meet some fantastic people and educated me in scrapbooking (mainly thanks to a special glittery lady!). I honestly thought that Two Peas was a rock solid institution that would forever be my source of inspiration, but I guess the industry is changing and tough and it's got to be hard for companies to survive. Thanks for everything Two Peas!

However, I'm so glad to see that Shimelle is still scrapbooking, even in the throes of her maternity leave (what a woman!). The weekend before last, she hosted a couple of days of scrapbooking challenges and I was determined to make time to reclaim my scappy mojo and dive headlong into paper and the mountain of photos that continues to grow. Unfortunately, the time limit for submissions has passed... I started writing this post ten times today but it's only now I'm getting around to it. But I said I'd post the layouts anyway!

This was an easy one - I use quite a bit of pink on my layouts, though usually as an accent rather than the dominant colour. This lovely Dear Lizzy ombre paper was the perfect hit of pink prettiness. This is the title page for my Paris album. That black and white panoramic shot was in my to-scrap pile for WAY too long so it's great to finally get it into an album.

For this one, I didn't have a half page photo, so I replaced it with three 4x6 macro photos I took last summer when I got a change to play around with a macro lens for the first time. I also finally got around to using some lovely PL cards - I'm really enjoying using PL supplies on 12x12 layouts at the moment.

Challenge: Puzzle Pieces
Though I don't use sketches all that often, there's something nice about having the skeleton of a page there, especially when haven't scrapbooked in a while. This layout uses photos of when I met Abi last summer in London, and some of my favourite aqua hue!

Here's to a summer of scrapbooking!


Monday, 16 June 2014

The Slow Moving Blog Hop

Welcome to the Slow Moving Blog Hop! This blog hop has been growing and spreading out across blogland in the last few weeks, and I was honoured to be asked to join in by my sweet friend Abi over at Creating Paper Dreams. This blog hop is all about a celebration of crafting and creativity, and the idea is simple: to discuss your craft.

What are you working on?

The reason I started reading blogs and eventually started my own was because of scrapbooking, and that same craft is one that is never far away from any of my creative endeavours. At the moment, I have mountains of photos to scrapbook and so divided page protectors are becoming my very best friend! Though I haven't ventured into the uncharted waters of Project Life despite being tempted many times, I'm still a big fan of PL supplies. I love the little 3x4 cards and how wonderfully fast it is to create a divided spread with enough space for photos, journalling and embellishment. I also love how the divided page protectors break up an album of 12x12 layouts, which the majority of mine are. My next project will be to get all my photos from my recent trip to Edinburgh printed so I can get started on scrapping them.

Though I have loved photos since I got my first Fuji digital camera for Christmas when I was about eleven, it was scrapbooking and the discovery of blogs and the hordes of talented artists out there that really ignited my passion for photography. This is a passion that has continued to grow and expand, especially over the last few years, with the purchase of my beloved Canon DSLR. Even with the advent of iPhones and the amazing photos they can produce, my 'big' camera is never far from my side, and at the weekend, I was asked to photograph a wedding. My Mum's work colleague was getting married - it was a small wedding and she just wanted a few casual shots. That didn't stop me being unbelievably nervous though! My next project is to edit lots of wedding photos. I just hope the bride and groom are happy with the results!

Alongside scrapbooking and photography, it is crochet that has been taking up lots of my time recently. I go through phases with crochet - sometimes I can't get enough of silky new yarn and intricately woven stitches, and other times my interest wanes in favour of something else. At the moment, I'm loving crochet. Along with the blue baby bunting you may have seen me blog about recently, a few other projects have found their way onto my hook, namely some colourful Attic 24 mandalas and a few large granny squares which are destined to make their way into a new blanket (at some stage within this century hopefully!).

Another project that has kept me busy recently has been hand lettering. This is something I had zero experience of, but when a friend of a friend asked me to help her design a menu for her new tea shop, I jumped at the chance! Pinterest has been a mine of information and inspiration, and I've really enjoyed this new challenge to play with words and typography and design. Plus, I'll take any excuse to buy lots of new pens and markers :)

Why do I create what I do?

I create because I enjoy it. I love when my hands are busy, whether that be with pen and paper and photos, or wool and a crochet hook, or the dials of a camera, or a mixer and spatula in the kitchen! Crafting relaxes me, it makes me happy and it connects me with a world of like-minded lovely people through blogging (yes, that would be you!). I've loved crafts since I was a child - when my classmates craved computer games, I begged for art sets and candle making kits and pottery wheels. I think that creative adventures will always be part of my life.

When Abi nominated me for this blog hop, she asked that I nominate three other bloggers to continue the chain and discuss their craft. However, I've had a little difficulty finding people that have time to commit to writing a post, or even finding people that haven't been nominated already. So, I'm just passing the baton to one blogger...
Jenny at Adventures in Crafts & Castles: I met Jenny through scrapbooking (thank you Two Peas gallery!) but she has since become my best friend. She is an archaeologist and a talented scrapbooker, and her beautifully written blog features stories of her work, her life in the west of Ireland and photos of her colourful layouts.

If you're reading this and would like to take part, consider yourself nominated by yours truly! Talking about craft always makes me happy so anyone else that feels inclined to participate, please feel free.

Thanks again to the lovely Abi for the nomination!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

One Photo and Twenty Words

Blue crochet bunting made as a gift for my cousin's brand new baby boy. A parcel bound for Perth, Australia.
Today, I'm joining in with the lovely Abi's meme, One Photo and Twenty Words. Pop over to her blog to see more photos and stories, and join in for yourself.  

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

It's been a while...

I cannot believe it's been almost two months since I last posted! Just where has the time gone?! Since we spoke last, a lot of things have changed, the main one being that I am once more struggling with unemployment. The maternity leave that I was covering sadly came to an end in mid-April. It was so very hard to say goodbye to the children that had been in my class for the last eight months, and face into the uncertainty of supply and substitute work once again. Since then, I've been very quiet, only getting a day every now and then, which is difficult when I've hard steady work and routine for so long. I'm keeping everything crossed that another job comes up sooner rather than later!

Apart from the horrors of joblessness, I've also been busy with other things in the last few weeks, including a lovely trip I took to Edinburgh during the Easter holidays to visit a friend. It was just lovely - we walked lots, saw lots and really soaked up the atmosphere of this gorgeous city. It even stayed dry for us (most of the time anyway!). I took loads of pictures (no surprise there then!) and can't wait to get them printed so I can get some scrapbooking done!
In other crafty news, I recently spent a relaxing weekend at my friend Jenny's house where we chatted and drank gallons of tea and did lots of scrapbooking so that was lovely. I've also gotten back into crochet again, and am currently making a blanket of granny squares as well as some mandala wheels, inspired by the amazing project going on over at the Attic 24 blog. A new crafty adventure surprisingly arose in the last week when a friend of my Mum's opened a new tea shop and asked if I'd help her design the menus! I experimented with lots of gorgeous hand lettering (and even have a Pinterest board to prove my new passion!) and eventually created something that I was quite happy with. And just last Friday, I skyped sweet Abi and we began to plan her trip to Ireland this summer - very exciting indeed!
I hope to be back soon with some of that aforementioned scrapbooking, in between checking for job advertisements...


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Anyone for Tea?

It's Sunday evening and the weekend has flown by yet again, but there's just about time for a quick cup of tea and a catch up I think, inspired by the lovely Abi over at Creating Paper Dreams. So come on in from the evening drizzle and grab a mug and maybe a flapjack? Settle yourself down by the stove and let's share all that's been going on in our worlds over the last while!

At the moment, I'm facing into my last two weeks of school before the Easter holidays, and therefore the last two weeks of my contract, as the teacher whose maternity leave I'm covering is returning to work at the end of April. It's impossible to believe that I've been teaching my little class for over six months. I've had such a brilliant time with them, and it's going to be very difficult to leave. I've become attached to the little characters, the giggles we have, the odd hug from the little ones at the end of the day, the staff and colleagues who have become friends... And if I'm being honest with you, I'm also terrified at facing the prospect of supply work (or lack thereof) and joblessness once again in just a few short weeks. Keep your fingers crossed something turns up, won't you? How is work with you at the moment?

So have you been doing much crafting recently? I've been really delighted to get back to doing some 12x12 scrapbooking. I had forgotten how good it is to just get totally lost in paper and photos and stories. I hope to have some more layouts to show you soon... Blogging though, is something I continue to find it difficult to fit in. I love blogging, I love the community of lovely ladies that inspire me and engage me and make me smile, and sometimes it annoys me that I'm not a more active member in this blog family. Joining in with memes is something that helps keep me on track though, and organisation is the real key I think! Any advice? What are your thoughts?

Another cup of tea? Go on, it'll give us a chance to discuss our Easter plans! I'm hoping to meet up with some friends, do lots of crafting and I'm also taking a trip to Edinburgh for a few days, which I'm really excited about! My friend from school is there doing a Masters in the University of Edinburgh for the year, so it's the perfect excuse to see her and visit Scotland for the first time. I can't wait to see the sights and take lots of photos! What are you planning?

Oh gosh, is that the time? There is so much more we have to talk about but it'll have to wait til our next cup of tea! Take care of yourself and can't wait to see you again soon. Oh, and don't forget to pop over to the lovely Miss Abi to catch up with lots of other ladies for a chat over a beverage of your choice!


Monday, 17 March 2014

For the Love of Aqua

What is your favourite colour to scrapbook with right now? Mine, without a moment's hesitation, is aqua (or teal, turquoise, blue-green... whatever takes your fancy!). Aqua looks great paired with pink, yellow, white, woodgrain, grey - pretty much everything really. It also looks pretty fabulous all on its own in its various hues and shades, as part of a monochromatic colour palette. So it comes as no surprise that when I put together a kit of supplies to ease me back into 12x12 layouts following my JYC adventures, aqua would feature heavily! Assembling a kit from things in my stash is an idea I got from the ever-inspiring Shimelle, and I find it really works when I haven't scrapped in a while. I'm often far more productive when I can only work with those supplies I have spread across my desk, rather than rifling through everything I own when I want to find the 'perfect' paper or embellishment!
These photos are from last summer, when my lovely friend Jenny came to visit me where I was teaching in the wilds of the west coast of Ireland. It was a lovely couple of days; we both took lots of photos of the stunning scenery, ate some delicious food and stayed up talking almost all night - perfect! This page came together pretty easily. Sometimes I find having two 4x6 photos on a single layout can limit my journalling space (and I like to write... a lot!) but clustering everything together in the middle of the page allowed me to fit everything in, along with a healthy dose of layering and confetti :D You can't really tell from looking at the photo, but I put some of the Thickers partially on pop dots to give some extra texture and dimension to the layout.

This second layout is one for my Paris album. I visited the French capital in July 2012 with my friend, and still haven't scrapped all the photos! I decided to use his sepia shot of the iconic Eiffel Tower to tell the story of how we planned for the trip. Our motivation for visiting Paris was to meet with another friend who was working there as an au pair (nanny) for the summer. However, her job didn't work out and she ended up at home in Ireland while we were seeing the French sights sans tour guide! This layout relied on a simple structure with a block for journalling and lots of layers under a single photo - this is a design I often fall back on because it accommodates everything with lots of white space too.

Hopefully I've have some more of the layouts made from my self-constructed kit to share soon! What have you been scrapbooking recently?