Sunday, 28 December 2008

Have you recovered?

Well, thats Christmas done for another year, have you recovered from yours yet? We had an amazing day with all of the family round. We had both sets of parents plus aunts and uncles which gave us a real houseful. I just love having the family around me and the house filled with chatter and laughter and this year was fab as it was our first Christmas in our new house. Dinner turned out great too, being organised paid off as everything came together like clockwork.

I was spoiled rotten this year by Dave who treated me like a princess - as always! I was a very lucky girl and got so many gorgeous gifts but the best present of all was seeing Dave walk into the house followed by the kids - I nearly screamed for joy when I saw them. Dave's Mum and I both burst into tears because we haven't been 'allowed' to see them for over 6 months. It was magical to have them back in the house even if they were only allowed to stay for 30mins. It was as if no time had passed at all - they were right at home, everyone playing together and laughing. The best gift of all was when they both came to me of their own accord and gave me the biggest hugs and kisses to say goodbye - I thought my heart was going to burst! I held them so tight and really didn't want to let them go because we just don't know when we'll be allowed to see them again. It's so sad that they are denied these relationships, every child needs their extended family - its very, very sad.

When the kids had gone we spent the afternoon playing games, talking and laughing together which was really lovely - a great feeling of family and the real spirit of Christmas. It was very late before we called it a night after one of the best Christmases ever! So thats it for another year, next stop - the sales!!!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Its Christmas Eve, the veg are prepared and we must have the world's largest turkey waiting for us in the fridge and I have to confess to feeling as excited as the kids about waking up tomorrow!! For the first time ever I was completely organised and had the presents sorted ages ago and wrapped well before today so I am feeling really serene and completely ready. In a few hours we'll all be going out to the carol concert and Mass which has become a bit of a family tradition - it just wouldn't feel the same without it and the mugs of mulled wine we have when we get back home! It certainly gets us all into the Christmas spirit!!

I'd like to wish everyone a peaceful and happy Christmas - have a wonderful day!

Monday, 22 December 2008

End 2008 in style!

What better way to end 2008 than to put all of your best memories of the year into one book? Thats exactly what Dave did when he designed this gorgeous mini book using Making Memories chipboard numbers. I have to admit to being absolutely blown away when I saw what he had made, he's obviously been paying attention when I've been working! LOL!! Each of the pages of the book is slightly larger than the last and the numbers are staggered through the book so that when it is closed they overlap but can still be read easily. He added an acrylic page between each chipboard one and has included photos from the last year to make a really beautiful collection of memories.

I have put together packs of the '2008' numbers and have added them to the shop today at a special price if you'd like to do something similar - you may even have time to make it as a Christmas gift!! You can find the numbers at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk under 'chipboard'.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Kit subscriptions are now open!

Today I have finally been able to open the subscriptions once again for the monthly kits. Its been a little while coming because we buy a few months in advance to keep ourselves organised! I have added the subscription to the shop today so anyone who has been waiting to get our kits can now sign up.

If you didn't know, our subscribers get 2 kits posted out to them each month which include cardstock, patterned papers and co-ordinating products to make a single or double page layout. We also include full step-by-step instructions for a sample page so you need never be stuck for ideas. The subscription includes P&P and anyone who subscribes gets free P&P on their online shopping because we can pop it in with your kits!

The pic above is of the first of the January kits which is in cool and sophisticated tones of cream, blue and brown. The kit includes cardstock, 3 double sided patterned papers, a whole pack of flock alphabet stickers and a whole pack of lace flowers. We were really excited to find the flowers as they come in masses of layers which can be pulled apart to produce the prettiest delicate lace flowers we've seen! Getting a whole pack of these means you'll be sure to have some left over to play with after - how cool is that?

As its so close to Christmas we have been asked about the subscription as a Christmas gift and we have been able to produce a gorgeous gift voucher so that the person receiving it has something to open on Christmas Day. Someone out there has a VERY thoughtful other half who asked for this!! We can of course do this for anyone else who is interested but you'll need to get your skates on so we can get it in the post (we have a Post Office which opens on a Sunday AND has collections - so we have an extra day!).

Numbers for the subscription are limited so you may need to be quick to be sure you get on the list at www.totalpapercrafts.co.uk

Friday, 12 December 2008

A bit of Christmas Magic

Christmas pages have always been a bit of a nightmare for me, I never seem to get great pictures on the day and its more important to me that everyone has a good time than I get good photos! But I like to have Christmas layouts, even if its just one every year and this year I found this gorgeous double page 'Christmas Magic' kit from Little Yellow Bicycle. I put this double page together using photos of the characters at the Dickens Festival - they were fabulous and really made the event special.

This kit is fab as it contains everything you need to make these pages including papers, stickers, chipboard, ribbons, brads and the photo mounts together with full instructions for this design. Its quick and straightforward to put together which is perfect for this time of year when everyone seems to be madly busy! They are only £9.99 each which won't break the bank either!!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

My back has gone!

I'm flat on my back unable to move after my back went early this morning. The doctor has just left and Dave has to pick up my prescription in an hour or so but until then I am in agony! I can't move without my back going into spasm, its no fun at all.

I'm really upset because its Kent club this evening and I was so looking forward to seeing everyone as its our last club before Christmas. Pauline is going to run club for me tonight so everyone can still get together and Mum is coming over to look after me for a few days. Everyone is being so lovely and I hate being laid up - fingers crossed that this settles down as quickly as it has flared up.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Back from a weekend in Nottingham


We're just back from a fab weekend away visiting Dave's Dad and his partner in Nottingham (well, actually just outside but close enough!). We've seen a lot of them recently as they were down staying with us last weekend and we had planned a trip up to them ages ago but it has been really lovely to spend time together. I've been to Nottingham a few times but never had the time to just wander and enjoy it - there is a great outdoor ice rink in the centre and loads of German market stalls. We had a great time looking at all the gorgeous things for sale and then warmed up with a steaming mug of Gluhwein - our cockles were very warm after!!
This was the first time I had met the extended family and we all got on really well - we put X Factor on and opened a few bottles of wine and it was as if we'd known each other for years! I laughed so much that I was aching when we left!! I've been lucky with my 'In Laws' in the past and feel that I have been really blessed this time as we all get on so well and really like each other.
I was told more than a few stories over the weekend (most of them horror stories about their experiences with Dave's ex), they really can't stand her but feel that they have to be nice in order to get to see the Grandchildren. They even felt obliged to buy her a Christmas present because they were afraid that she'd kick off and stop them seeing the kids. Its the same with Dave's Mum and step-Dad really, they felt they had to be nice just to keep contact when they really despise her. His Dad takes the view that they can put on a brave face a couple of times a year when they come down - but they really don't like it. Shame really, life is too short for this sort of thing.
This weekend was a much-needed break after the hectic past few weeks and we were well and truly spoiled. I'm really looking forward to going up again!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

2nd kit for December

I'm a little later than I would like to be with the December kits but the past few weeks have been crazy! Here's the second of the sample pages for this month and kits will start shipping tomorrow so subscribers should get them over the weekend or early next week depending on the post in your area. As I'm on a roll I'm getting stuck straight into the kits for January and we have 2 gorgeous kits lined up with one that includes a set of 5 acrylic stamps!!

I used a couple of 6" x 4" portrait photos on this second page - we took these at the Dickens Festival in Rochester last year and they make me smile every time because Mel was trying to catch the snow machine snowflakes on her tongue not realising that they were soap! If you fancy a day out to get you into the Christmas spirit then I can highly recommend it and I think its taking place this coming weekend.

I'm off to pick up some mince pies for the Essex club girls this evening, I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone and having a laugh as its our last club before Christmas!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Lost and Found

We've started sorting through the boxes of stock from Saturday's crop and I've come across the lost property bag so I thought we'd try and re-home these few items!

We found a pair of glasses just outside the doors of the main hall when we came to pack up. They have brown frames and are in a red soft Specsavers case. I'm thinking someone MUST be missing these by now! If they are yours, you're probably squinting to see the screen right now! LOL!

We also came across a large pair of purple handled scissors in the Cricut Jukebox when we packed it away. I have favourite pairs of scissors and would hate to be parted from mine so if they are yours let me know and I'll reunite you!

The subscription kits are going in the post this week so I can always pop these items in with your kit if you came from a distance away. So far we have always managed to match up lost property so just give me a shout and we can get your missing items back to you.

Monday, 1 December 2008

December kit #1

Whew! I can hardly believe that we're in December, the crop is over and I'm having to think about the December club kits! The crop was great fun, we had a great mix of people and there was so much laughter in both the main cropping room and the classroom. My back went on Friday morning and we were all terrified that I'd be whisked off to hospital exactly as I was this time last year! Fortunately I was able to get to my GP straight away who filled me up with super-duper stuff that made the pain bearable and I spent the weekend in a very happy place!!

I am so incredibly grateful to Dave and Lynda who got the shop organised and loaded this end - and to the amazing Pauline who ran everything with military precision once we arrived at the hall. I just couldn't do these days without these three and I really appreciate everything they do - you all deserve a big kiss!!

I also want to say thank you to Claire for a fab class - you rock girl and I can't wait to see what you have in mind for us next time! I've already been threatened with all sorts if someone doesn't get into your next class, I think thats a good thing!! LOL!!

A special thank you to my amazing Kent girls who always turn up early and get stuck into the setting up - Maria, Sue and Karen. I love you to bits and my back loved you even more this weekend! All this and they brought ME presents too, somethings just not right there!

Anyway, onto the December club kit. Everyone will get 2 kits this month despite there only being one club night in both Kent and Essex - unless you really fancy scrapbooking on Christmas Eve?? Both kits are Winter themed and this will be the kit that I'll be teaching at club. The second kit instructions will be sent out before club and all the kit subscribers will get them in the kits as usual.

The sample uses a 6" x 8" landscape photo but you could opt for a smaller pic or use two 6" x 4" portraits. I'll be bringing along my heat gun as I heat embossed the outside edges to give a glossy, frosty effect. If you have a heat gun plus clear embossing ink and powder you might want to bring it along - it will save you having to wait for everyone else. I'll also have some snowflake stamps and white StayZon so you can stamp your title letters if you want to. You will need 3d foam pads, a brown and a white inkpad - thats all! The templates for the snowflakes and swirls will be in your kit - I tried not to make them too fiddly but they are worth it!