Positivity wins the day

Tut. Tut. SIX months since my last post-that’s a record and not one I care to brag about. The good news is that I am winning my fight against those Black-Dog and extremely anxious days which can creep up gradually when your guard is down or just as likely strike without warning as a reaction to specific circumstances. At 55 years young I consider myself a slow learner but I’m not sure whether I am slowing down as a result of my age or, more hopefully, my experience but either way, a slower and more measured and calm way of life seems to suit me.

My mother always said that if I had been born 30 years later I would have been diagnosed as “hyper-active.” My psychologist initially thought I was bi-polar due to the extreme fluctuations between energy and fatigue and even now I get comments that I do too much and I have more energy than many people much younger. I make sure every second counts in my waking hours and I am always doing and making something but I am learning to do it slower and try to enjoy being in the moment.

Driven by a combination of both nature and nurture I have to make use of every waking moment and, unless I am making quilts, hedgehog houses, cards, or Twinchies, decorating, gardening, blogging, taking photographs or organising my next project, I am wasting my time.  I can’t help it, I have to be doing something but, although I do get tired, I get a lot of satisfaction from my many and varied activities and this helps me keep mental equilibrium (and sleep).

I have decided that much like Tutenkhamun, I will be buried with my most treasured possessions; knitting needles, sewing machine, crochet hook, camera, hammer, nails and electric saw and, maybe IF I get to heaven,there will be a long-arm quilting machine, unlimited Kaffe Fassett fabric, a very patient crochet teacher, a wide-angle lens and pre-cut wood pieces waiting for me!

Here’s just a few of the projects I have been working recently.





The Wedding scrapbook

I have now completed 30 pages for my nieces wedding scrapbook and have had to buy another album to put them in. I am going to limit myself to 52 pages in total which, by the time I’ve added photos, journaling, tags and the matching embellishments, will make a couple of really lovely mementos of the day. No two pages are the same colour or design although I have used the same paper in some of them.

It is a difficult task to do as each page takes a while to design, plan out and complete. I wanted to get as much done before the wedding as possible so that when I get the photos of the day, I can finish off the pages quite quickly in weeks and not months. If I had left it until after the wedding, it may have been a Christmas 2014 present instead of the wedding present it is.

I don’t really want to use any of the official photos as they will already have those presented to them in a formal wedding album. Instead I will be taking lots of photographs myself and will try to capture the more informal and personal moments during the day.

I have planned the scrapbook so that there is plenty of space for journal entries, both visible and hidden behind photos, in mini-envelopes and on tags. I have also tried not to take the emphasis away from the photos and journal entries by making the pages so full of embellishments that they draw the attention. It is a difficult balance to achieve and only time will tell whether I have been successful. I like to include lots of surprises in the scrapbook and the happy couple will find lots of them when they come to explore each page. That’s the fun of scrapbooking, you can include all sorts of very personal touches like mini-letters, words of wisdom, poems, favourite things etc etc and it is great fun for me contacting everyone for their contribution.

Scrapbooking is a great activity for me especially when low on energy and fighting fatigue. I get lost in the design and creativity, it is very relaxing and I like to feel that I have done something constructive. It is also a hobby that you can leave for a while and pick up at a later date with ease.

I recommend it!

One man’s rubbish……….

is another man’s treasure.

My Facebook friends will already be familiar with the second-hand IKEA chest of drawers that I have “up-cycled” this week but for everyone else, this is what can be done with a £3 bargain from a car boot sale, some funky paper and glue. All mixed with a little imagination and desire to make something nice out of a rejected piece of furniture.

Not only is my new chest of drawers decorative it is also extremely useful. I have transferred my inks, glitter glue, stamping equipment and ink pads to the 6 drawer chest so they are now kept in sumptuous luxury!

You too can upcycle items around the house that you are fed up with, or which are languishing in garages, shed or spare rooms just waiting to be re-born.

I am currently revamping a wooden fruit bowl which has seen better days and which is gradually taking on a new lease of life being covered with Decopatch papers.

Decopatch is simple, relatively cheap but most importantly good fun. So grab all those things that need a make-over, engage imagination and creative tendencies and give Decopatch a go. You won’t be disappointed.

On the mend

I’ve been poorly all week but I will spare you the details. Suffice to say that I’m on the mend thank goodness and able to stop coughing for long enough to get my inks and stamps out and make some “miniature works of art” or ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). I suppose that one day I’d better start swapping my efforts with others but I just haven’t got round to it yet. The result is I have an ever-increasing gallery of 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ pictures in a box. Here are just a few of my recent experiments.

I’m clean!

I still have to pinch myself but I am now on week 5 living drug-free. No Fluoxetine (Prozac) and no Amitryptyline. For the first time in several years I am off the anti-depressants and  in charge of my life. I’m sleeping well and feel calmer and more content than I have done for a good many years.

I’m not saying that it’s always easy as it most definitely is not. I’m not happy, smiley all the time but who is? Small set-backs can still produce tears of despair and frustration and Monday mornings ain’t great. So it is for most people.

I have worked hard at getting to this stage and I should be proud of my efforts. However, caution makes me very modest and I take nothing for granted. I just enjoy every day as it comes and every day I cope without meds is another secret triumph. I’ve had a couple of really crap days. Serious issues at work combined with minor frustrations would normally have condemned me to a tearful, hopeless and helpless victim of circumstance. But that old chestnut ” Keep calm and carry on” symbolises my approach to the various hurdles I’ve had to face over the last 48 hours and it worked.

My psychologist always told me that the best cure for depression is how you live your life. It all sounds so easy and we have had many a debate about his apparent all too easy attitude towards the treatment of depression but I do understand what he means. My life has changed for the better since I have indulged my creative tendencies and not pooh-poohed them as an extravagance. For me now, to be creative is a necessity and an outlet which must be allowed to function daily for as long as necessary. If that means I am up to all hours making things, writing, painting, or just thinking up ideas then so be it. It is no longer a luxury. It’s a must and it keeps me sane.

What more of a reason do I need?

Time flies

I can’t believe that it has been almost two weeks since I last posted. I have done so much but achieved so little and it is beginning to dawn on me that today being the start of Advent, Christmas will soon be here.

The late November temperatures are higher than average, my geraniums and fuchias are blooming merrily and yet I have a holly tree bursting with red berries. It looks rather incongruous to say the least but I’m not complaining.

So the great Christmas countdown begins in earnest and I need to get my act together soon if I’m to post my cards in good time. I’m not a fan of the commerciality, hassle and hub-bub of Christmas at the best of times but this year I have much more exciting things to do than go racing round the shops.

In the meantime, Will has a football match and I need to get to the craft shop if I’m to finish my pages today. Christmas cards and garlands have to wait.





Happy Scrapping!

Well, such a lot can happen in a short time and it only takes a few nudges from the right people at the right time to kick ass into gear.

I’m talking about my new-found passion for scrapbooking which started last year when I decided to make a keepsake for my teenage son making sure that his family history and childhood memories are there at his fingertips should he ever be interested enough to enquire. I just wish I had been more inquisitive about my family whilst my parents and grandparents were still alive as lots of interesting stories are now lost. As a result of outside interest in my passion, I have set up a website The Scrapbook Fairy where you can view my gallery of pages I’ve created, register for scrapbook workshops or, if you have a special family event approaching, think about ordering a personal, bespoke scrapbook as a wonderful gift. Or, even better, treat yourself!

Scrapbooking family photos, history, and memories is a creative and interesting way to display keepsakes and whilst looking through endless pages of photos  in a boring album and which all look the same can be rather tedious, the same cannot be said of looking through pages of photos and journalling which have had the scrapbook treatment.

You may be sitting there thinking “I can’t do this”, “I’m not at all creative” and “Where do I start?” but there is plenty of guidance available on the internet as well as scrapbooking workshops and friendly craft shop owners who will give you a friendly welcome and help you on your way. In the meantime, here are a few basics to allay common fears!

  •  Don’t be scared! Enjoy experimenting with colours and paper and ideas. There is not a right way or wrong way to scrapbook. Everyone has their personal style and what suits some, doesn’t suit others but that’s ok.
  • Keep it simple. Sometimes less is more and although some scrapbook pages you may see done by others are beautiful, they can also be expensive and time-consuming to produce. Practice on simple designs first.
  • “If you never make mistakes, you’ve never made anything”………is the sign posted in my local craft shop and how right Sandra is! Since making my scrapbooks I have made many many mistakes and as a result I have found more amazing ways to use the stuff I have. 
  • Never throw anything away! Football programmes, tickets, newspaper cuttings, even old lace, buttons and ribbon can be used to embellish your pages.
  • Don’t stick to the same colours and themes. This is hard to fight against if you have a natural preferenece towards vintage colours, modern patterns or shabby-chic designs but make yourself think outside your comfort zone and make your scrapbook more varied and appealing to everyone. Try using a colour wheel and you may be surprised at the combinations of colours you never considered.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help. The crafting community is a very friendly and helpful one and you will be made to feel very welcome. You learn a lot by talking to other scrapbookers and you will have a constant flow of ideas once you develop even the smallest network of like-minded crafters.

So, what are you waiting for? If you need an outlet for your creative tendencies try scrapbooking. But beware, it may take over your life!