Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Well it may not be the messiest desk on the block this week but neither is it the tidiest or the most productive.  The selection of letter stickers was out to finish the little book you can see near the parcels there.  It is not supposed to be visible yet so you'll have to check back of you want to see more :-)  
The packages might seem interesting and you'd be forgiven for thinking that they contain new crafting goodies, however, you'd be wrong.  I'm being exceptionally good about new stash, even in the face of huge sales on my favourite brands.  I simply cannot fit any more into what we hope will be our new house.  No, the packages contain a chocolate protein shake sample and a bag of powdered superfoods.  Both things to be taken together in a shake with oats and peanut butter as a breakfast before training.  I'm really hoping that the green powder (which contains things like spirulina) will boost my system and general health and help me get back into some sort of fit shape.  I'm back at the gum today after over 2 weeks off while the children were on Easter holidays and I know I will hurt tomorrow but I've really missed it.

The magazine cuttings are also going to help towards my goals but they are crafty too.  Its part of Ali Edwards class for One Little Word which I have done nothing about recently.  I'm really hoping to tackle it on Saturday at the Artful Angels 12 hour charity crop.  I'm also hoping to finish the couple of layouts you see on the left there before then so I can start some new ones but one of those is for my OLW album too.

You might be wondering about the white blobs with safety pins on the back.  So am I.  They are fairy badges, created from plaster and painted by Miss Bella but the pins provided won't stick as they are supposed to.  Luckily Mummy has a supply of a variety of glues to try so that I can wear whichever one she chooses for me.  All day.  In public.  With pride. :-)

This post is brought to you by the powers of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday at Julia's Stamping Ground. 

Bye for now

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Divided loyalties

Good grief the Spring is marching on isn't it?! One minute we were drowning in rain filled fields and overflowing rivers and the next minute the garden centres are sunny and crowded and we are awash with hayfever and the smell of cut grass.  It is nearly time for the children to go back to school after the Easter break and we've been away to Wales and I've been on a craft retreat too.  Of course now the house looks like a bombsite and there is a pile of laundry bigger than my mother so the house looks a far cry from the tidy pictures on the estate agent's website!  

The good news is that we have found a house but the bad news is that they can't find anything yet. So in the meantime I will cherish the space in my current craft room and try not to buy anything else to go in it!  It is very hard though when you come across wonderful collections like Homespun by Simple Stories.  I was immediately drawn to the variety of primary colours and sweet designs however, like many companies and collections these days, Homespun is designed with pocket pages in mind.  Now, I love using pocket pages for big events like holidays and Christmas but I don't want to use them for the every day stuff really.  Does that mean that we have to miss out on such collections or can we be a bit creative and use them for our standard pages too?  Let's see shall we?  

The Simple Stories divided pages come in a variety of styles so the collections are not just 3x4 and 4x6 journalling style cards.  I wanted to see exactly what I had to work with so I trimmed all the cut apart sheets in to their various pieces.  I went through and selected the ones I wanted to use as they were and kept these in a separate pile.  Any others were fair game for being used in other ways and this meant that I could fussy cut them, use them for layering, punch shapes from them, etc.  


One of the first pieces that really grabbed my attention was this 6x12 woodgrain section.  The wording and design on the bottom make a great title and so another option would have been to use just that portion.  I love the whole piece though and I think it makes a natural home for the striking photograph.  I did a little photo shoot of my niece and her little boy so most of the layouts from that day probably won't have much in the way of journalling other than perhaps the first few.  
I really liked the eclectic bunting near the title so I used the matching design from the sticker sheet on pop dots for texture and interest.
My next use of one of the pieces was to make a photo mat.  I cut down the photo slightly to make it fit onto the standard 4x6 card but I wanted a second mat too.  Here's where you need to get a bit creative! I really liked the pattern on the card but I knew I wouldn't use the sentiment so I could cut an L shape to expand the parameters a bit.
I'm no good at sewing so this is the nearest I get to patchwork!  I added a punched shape, a sticker from the sheet and a heart from the chipboard sheet on one corner
To cover the other corner I used the same punched shape, some banners cut from the branding strips and one of the beautiful brads from the same range.

There are going to be quite a few layouts from this little photo shoot so I like to mix things up a bit by using some A4 pages too - they fit just as well as any other page protector in my American Crafts D Ring albums.  For this layout I decided to use the 3x4 cards to make a grid of the photo, a journalling block and then 2 for decoration.
 I used a piece of red A4 card and cut out the middle to use as a mat for the whole grid to lift it from the beautiful floral paper.  The designs on some of the cards are so pretty that you really don't need to add much to them.  Here I've just extended the design a bit with a chipboard heart and a button tied with baker's twine.
I drew the design together by using another button diagonally opposite and used the stickers from the alpha sheet for the little title and mini tag.  Branding strips and thin off-cuts ground the design and then I finished off with some fun bobble trim.
So far then we've used a 6x12 piece as it is, used branding strips and off cuts and punched shapes from a "spare" card for embellishments, made a grid from 3x4 cards, used one as a journalling card, used one piece for a title, used another "spare" card as a photo mat.

But if you are still undecided about using divided collections on standard page then I still have 2 more posts to show you lots of other ideas too!

Bye for now

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Rushing in briefly to join in with WOYWW.  As you may have read last week we were putting our house on the market that day.  It sold in the first viewing!  We've since been rushing around to find a house for us and I can tell you that there is a real shortage!  People are fighting over viewing appointments - its a crazy time.  Add to that the school holidays, Miss Bella's 5th birthday and associated party, a trip to Wales, a craft retreat in the Cotswolds and now a poorly husband and you can see why my desk is not in use again this week.  I even rushed to take the picture and didn't check it hence the dodgy angle.

Because I haven't had much chance to prepare for the retreat and I can't spread loads of stuff out because our buyers are coming several times in the next couple of days, I am just grabbing large collections and a big bundle of photos and hoping for the best!  I can't train with the children off school either but I did reward myself with my previous hard work by purchasing the Project Life Jade kit to use with some of the camping photos from last year.  It doesn't go exactly with the Echo Park Happy Camper collection you can see just above it but it goes well enough that I think I can make it work.  Check back next week to see if it worked!  I've also got loads of DT stuff outstanding too but luckily the team is a bit bigger now so our projects can be spread out a bit and Sarah is wonderful at appreciating that life sometimes doesn't allow for crafting, no matter how much we would like it too!

Right, another play date beckons but at least the weather is dry enough for them to get out in the garden (at the moment!!)

This post is brought to you by the wonders of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Bye for now

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


It's time for another WOYWW and I have missed the last couple of weeks thanks to my madness.  That doesn't mean that things have been quiet here at Crazy Towers, oh no no.  

Our house goes on the market today so I have had to clean up my craft space ready for the photos.  I have no idea where anything is because I just boxed it all up and hid it away!  Doesn't look too bad though does it?
I haven't actually done any crafting since our Artful Angels retreat a few weeks ago because of how bad I've been feeling - normally it would help.  I even missed our regular crop last Saturday because of a stupid vertigo type attack.  I finally went in my room to craft at 7pm last night!

Because of my recent "blip" and the lack of any medical treatment that works, I have had to try something different, a different sort of crafting if you will...  I'm planning a post on this in more detail but you get the idea from the photo...
This is my amazing niece - she has literally saved my life in the last couple of weeks.  She is my Personal Trainer and people find it hard to believe that she lifts all these weights because she is even shorter than me and I barely scrap 5'2"!
She has really really helped me and as such, I felt I was able to finally go back in my craft room and mess it up again!  I had to do a very speedy card for Miss Bella because she is 5 today!
Hopefully once this very busy week of birthday celebrations and house marketing is out of the way I can get back to regular blogging and regular visiting again.  Put the kettle on, I'll be around soon ;-)

This post is brought to you by the powers of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Bye for now

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Mixing Collections

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch recently about my previous posts etc - it has really been heartwarming for me.  I've got a long way to go but I think I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, but more on that another time ;-)

It seems like months ago now that I was on a retreat with Artful Angels but it's only a few weeks really!  I had a lot of fun while I was there mixing up different Crate Paper collections with some surprising results.  Lots of manufacturers use similar colours across collections so picking out a colour to use from a variety of kits can really expand the life of your papers.  This is why I love it when Sarah brings the S J Crafts shop to our crop because I can see all the beautiful papers together and not think of their collections in isolation.  Plus I get to stroke and go starry eyed over all the lovely products.... ahem.

Busy Girl

Here I've used a watercolour floral from The Pier with the red triangle print from Bundled Up - who says you can't use a beach theme and a Christmas theme together?!  I also used the reverse of the triangle print because the aqua sort-of-snowflake print went so well with the floral print too.  It gives it all a very different look than when I've mixed that same floral with other papers from The Pier so its great if you are looking to change things up a bit. Incidentally, both of these collections are currently on offer in the S J Crafts sale!)

I used some of the cut apart sheet too because there really wasn't much to add in the way of journaling when you have several albums of your little people playing on the beach!  "And here she is, digging away again." "Here's Miss Bella looking cute in a swim suit!" "Now here's Louis having fun in the sand!" - You get the picture... ;-)

I finally got to use some of my precious rose trim by American Crafts too!  I can't tell you how old this is and I do love it but it isn't the easiest thing to incorporate because of its size and impact!  I cheekily sneaked in some alphas from another kit I was using at the time which you'll see in another post, Homespun from Simple Stories.

I liked using these collections together so much that I created several more layouts mixing and matching from different Crate ranges. 

Will It Still Be There?

While we were in Wales over Christmas, Management carved our names onto 4 stones and we hid them in a crevice in the rocks with the intention of looking for them again when we go back in April together.  I wanted to concentrate on the natural colours and feel of the photo so I mixed some of the kraft based papers from The Pier with some 12x12 from Maggie Holmes Flea Market and some of the same collection in the 6x6 pad format.

I distressed the edges here to give a more rustic feel and used the branding strip and stickers from The Pier too.  I used some of the alphas from Homespun again because they were there and they fitted the colours.  Sometimes having a set of alphas at hand prevents you having to go rifling through your whole collection for something even more perfect when it could be there in front of you all along.

Remember that picnic?

Sometimes you have a photo left over from the many you take but you've said all there is to say about the event that goes with it.  In this case I used one of the left over photos from a windy walk at Christmas to record a memory of the same beach many years ago.  We were staying in the Brecon Beacons on our way to the cottage in Newport when we heard about the attacks on the Twin Towers and everything changed.  We left for Pembrokeshire a day later and the next day we packed a picnic to take down to this beach at Moylgrove.  It was there that we finalised our plans to go travelling and ended up in New York a year and one week later.  I was going to take a career break from my job as an analyst with the police.

We sat there leaning back on a washed up tree trunk with our french bread and soft cheese pretending that the world was a peaceful and happy place and trying to escape from news about terrorists and dealing with armed robbers and peadophiles.

Here I've mixed The Pier again with some more Maggie Holmes AND some more Bundled Up!  Three collections that came together beautifully to create a soft but fresh layout.  I used some of the 6x6 Maggie Holmes to create some bunting and also to die cut the title.  The size reduction in the patterns work really well for embellishments and fussy-cutting etc because of the smaller scale making the patterns denser.

In the past I've used various My Minds Eye collections together and my Devon album is composed of a variety of collections by October Afternoon.  So, I'd really like to know what you think - do you like mixing brands or collections and which ones work well for you?

Bye for now

Monday, 17 March 2014

Always the shadow

Sometimes a photo perfectly captures a moment or someone's personality.  Now and then a photo can capture a feeling too and sometimes it can help you to put things into words.

This photo was taken at Christmas on a rare sunny day.  Everyone seems to have had lovely weather again today except for parts of Wales which has been cloudy and misty - typical!  I still managed to get out for a gentle stroll on the beach here in Newport though (the one in the photo is the next bay round in Moylgrove) except that this time I was on my own.  I'm waiting to have the aerial fixed after the storms earlier in the year and having some much needed head space. 

After many attempts to find the right medication for my depression, we've come to the end of the road with it really.  I'm in the process of writing a blog post about what it feels like (boy won't that be a jolly read!) but right now I can't even scrap - that's how bad it is.  I'm going to try something a little outside of the box when I get back in a sort of last ditch attempt to make some progress.  I don't want to be the shadow blighting the lives of my family and friends.  I want to be there with them, enjoying the sun.

Supplies List
Patterned papers from Crate Paper "The Pier"
Letter stickers from Simple Stories "Homespun"
Enamel dots inside the flowers from My Mind's Eye
Wood veneers from Studio Calico "Hearts & Arrows"
Cardstock from Bazzil Basics in Kraft
Other items from my stash

Bye for now

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


What have we here then?  Not much in the way of crafting I can tell you.  We are considering putting our house on the market and the potential move may involve me losing my precious studio.  What will I do?!  I want to scratch myself at the mere thought of not having my own place to craft.  I guess I need to start getting rid of stuff...

Here is this week's offering if you've come for a browse around the desks with WOYWW courtesy of Julia at the Stamping Ground.  
Evidence of some sorting out is pretty much all that's available this week.  We got rid of a load of videos but I had an inkling in the back of my addled mind that someone somewhere had a brilliant use for the empty cases.  I think it might have been something to do with cling stamps.  A brief peruse of Pinterest and Youtube yielded nothing so maybe I imagined it.

In the middle there is very very old evidence of a former crafting life.  I used to like drawing as a teen.  Nothing out of my own head, all copied and all cartoon style, but I obviously liked them enough to cut them out and keep them.  I also found some early poetry that I had penned - phew lots of teen angst there!

I almost didn't join in this week as I didn't manage to get around anyone last week and I sincerely apologise for that.  My littlest great nephew was a poorly boy and in hospital for a few days and it threw things out a bit and then my puter decided to have a funny five minutes which seemed to effect it from then on.  It is mostly sorted now apart from the screen looks a bit different in Chrome but I can live with that... *twitch*

So, regular WOYWW-ers - any idea who or where I might have seen someone doing something clever with storage using video cases?  Do let me know if you can think of anyone!

Bye for now