Saturday 28 February 2015

Books for February

Short month this month but still managed a few books :)
This months were:

Paul Copeland's sister went missing 20 years ago. Now raising a daughter alone, Cope balances family life with a career as a prosecutor. But when a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to Cope, the well-buried secrets of the past are threatening everything.
Is this body one of the campers who disappeared with his sister? Could his sister be alive...? Confronting his past, Cope must decide what is better left hidden in the dark and what truths can be brought to light...

Quite liked this. Was another freebie one and while the ending felt a little rushed it was a good story and kept me interested in finding out what had happened and why. 

Chloe Benson wakes up kidnapped and bound in an underground tomb with no memory of how she got there.
She manages to escape but no one believes her story—not the police, not the doctors, and especially not her husband, Liam.
When she suspects Liam is lying to her, Chloe is forced to retrace her past, following in her own footsteps to find the truth and stay alive. But who is following Chloe?
Look behind you. You never know who's out there.

Really good book. One of those ones I found myself reading way after I should have gone to sleep. You felt genuinely sorry for the main character Chloe and I found myself almost shouting at her in my head when I could see certain situations coming bu she couldn't. A very good psychological thriller, particually since it was another freebie :)

Every parent’s worst nightmare: seven year-old Natalie Barrett is snatched on Friday afternoon walking home from school. The police begin a desperate hunt to find her before it is too late. They fear the worst when a body is located near a golf course.
Sarah Jenson is Natalie’s teacher. When one of the detectives on the case is suddenly killed, Sarah believes the events may be linked and begins to search for answers. With suspects stacking up, she is in a race against time to discover the true identity of the perpetrator before Natalie winds up as another statistic.
Where were Natalie’s parents when they should have been collecting her? Why was Natalie so scared of her Uncle Jimmy? Could a convicted sexual offender from Sarah’s past be involved?

I forced myself to read this. It sounded good from the blurb but it was really dreadful. The character of Sarah is just so random. Her fave student is kidnapped, then a couple days later her partner is killed and she doesn't really seem too bothered at a lot of points. She hadn't spoke to her father in years after blurting out she was gay at her mothers funeral (not the best timing IMO) and she didnt get the reaction she wanted but then she suddenly forgives him and it turns out its a huge missunderstanding . :s I figured out who the killer was pretty early on and honestly felt quite cheated when I finished this one.

What do you want most in the world?
Bookshop owner Anne Marie Roche wants to find happiness again. Her life hasn’t turned out as she expected and, recently widowed, she’s never felt more alone. On Valentine’s Day, Anne Marie and several other widows get together to celebrate…what? Hope, possibility, the future. They each begin a list of twenty wishes, things they always wanted to do but never did.
As Anne Marie works her way through her wishes, she learns that dreams can come true – but not necessarily in the way you expect.

Now I'm a huge fan of books involving murder, social services, general misery. Mark jokes that if nobody dies or gets close to it in a book I'm not interested. That said every now and again I like a fluff piece. A really predictible, soppy, ends with everyone happy and in love girly book. Debbie Macomber is good at these and this one it no different. Similar in ways to 'Ps I love you', while there were some moments where the cynic in me thought 'really?' its a great book to curl up on a rainy day, with a cup of tea and just drift into for a couple of hours. :)

8 down, 44 to go :)

Thursday 26 February 2015

Sketchy scrappers

Well its a horrible, dreary, wet day today. I think I'm all scrapped out atm so been doing a bit of cleaning this morning now I'm sitting with a coffee and catching up on Greys anatomy. Such a sad episode! Won't post any spoilers but if you haven't watched it yet have tissues.
Well before my mojo ran out I tackled this sketch last night. It was set by Karen over on Sketchy scrappers.
So this was my take :) bit different from the original sketch but I'm pleased with it :)
The papers are ones I got for Christmas and I admit when I opened them I smelled them lol. I don't know if its just me but I love the smell of new paper. New 12x12 papers. They have a certain smell. Just reminds me of retreats with my friends, getting a new kit each month when they kids were babies. You know how certain smells make you happy cos they have happy memories attached, like that. :) My neighbour says I'm 'A certain kind of special' I choose to take that as a compliment lol.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Where has this month gone?!

Can't believe its almost March! January always drags but as soon as we hit March it always seems to go on fast forward to me.
As well as Birthdays, Mothers day, retreats and school events March, April and May are always super busy. Then we're in June and its almost the summer holidays! Will be Christmas again before we know it ;)
In the meantime I'm making a dent in my photos, might be able to put another order in soon lol. This is one from our local woods. We're lucky that around here there are lots of parks, woods and open spaces. We also have a large boating lake where you can play in the park, feed the ducks then walk through the woods to town to get some lunch :)
In the woods there are lots of tree trunks carved into mushrooms, statues and various other things, my fave though is this huge tree which reminds me of the Ents in lord of the rings (tree people in case you don't know what I'm going on about lol)
Starting to reach the dregs of my CK now so pulled out some ribbon to add a bit more to this layout. Think I can maybe put one more together before I can class it fully killed :) A kit made and used in the same month, first time ever!
Well it's gone really dark here :s we're predicted snow but we usually end up just getting rain. Kettle on for a cup of tea I think :)

Tuesday 24 February 2015

counterfeit kit blog hop

Woops! did schedule this but something went wrong, lets try again :)

This month I decided to go for the counterfeit kit blog hop :) Typically this seemed to be the month where I had the most trouble with the challenges! The options were:

Challenge #1 - Invisibles and Clear Cuts - I didn't put anything like this in my kit
Challenge #2 - Date Stamp - Don't own any stamps lol
Challenge #3 - Title Challenge - tried this, but couldn't think of anything.

So after thinking about it for a while I went back to challenge number 1, invisables and clear cuts. With an idea in mind I ran next door and asked them if they still had the empty Krispy Kreme doughnut box I had saw on their counter the day before. With a strange look they handed it over lol.
Inspired now, I ripped the clear plastic out of the top of the box, washed the stray sugar and chocolate off of it, set about cutting, embossing, inking and punching, and made this layout.
See what I did? I first cut some flowers out using my Tim Holtz tattered florals die, embossed some of them and wiped an ink pad over the top to give it a bit of colour. They still didnt stand out as much as I'd have liked so I punched the circles to put behind them too.
In addition to the flowers I added these butterflies. This is more of a personal touch. As readers of my blog will know my Gran hates getting her photo taken, so I was very surprised when she happily posed with the kids at Christmas. Last year was a very difficuilt year for our family with lots of losses, big changes and challenges to overcome. I like the idea that the clear butterflies, hard to see but still there, almost represent those issues.
Not that anyone just glancing at the layout would know that, but I like to have little secrets on my layouts :)
So I hope you liked my layout :) There are plenty more places to drop by on the hop and lots more talented work to look at. :) Next in your list is Margie so be sure to pop by :)
The full blog hop list will be published on the link-to-the-CKCB so if you get lost along the way, head over there to find your way back onto the hop.
Don't forget to leave me a comment to let me know you were here and happy hopping!"

GD Doris
Lisa Harris

You are here :) - Gemma


Monday 23 February 2015

Back to school

Well the kids went back to school today :) Both were quite happy to be going back so think the break did them good :)
After dropping Cam at breakfast club I came home to a very hyper Caitlin. Shes in the star of the week assembly so very excited about going back :) As we had a little while before school I put some music on my phone and we sat on the stairs dancing, as you do lol.
Very proud little girl :) The teacher has picked her because she is so kind and caring, and looks after any child who needs a bit of extra help. Very proud Mummy and Daddy too :)
So assembly finished home to do the ironing. Bleh. Didn't do any last week so the pile was huge! Scamp decided he'd had enough and climbed back into bed! Its a hard life.
After ironing and cleaning I had a bit of time before school run so did a quick layout. Almost finished this months counterfeit kit now.
This photo is from our local farm. They have a large woodland nearby which has a few themed walks including an elf town with elf houses and hotels carved from the trees. Its a lovely way to encorage the kids to explore and Cameron was mystified.
Love these leaves, think I got them in a pack from something ages ago but no idea where lol.
Well not much planned for tomorrow, may attempt to get cams hair cut again. Something seems to go wrong everytume we go to try so seems cursed!

Friday 20 February 2015

Weird day

Today was one of those days which seemed to last a really long time, but at the same time I've no idea what I did :s The usual housework, sorting washing, clearing out the garage, tidying, cooking etc, but didnt actually seem to get much done. Ah well.
Yesterday was the opposite, that went SO quick and I managed to get a good amount of crafting done :) The table gifts for a future retreat are now all finished plsu I managed a couple of layouts I can share.
First was for the challenge YOUrself blog challenge. This months was a colour challenge, plus you had to use 'I am' in the title.
I did struggle with this a little until I found a photo from my 30th birthday. My niece had made me a t-shirt with all the things I loved on it. So as well as using that photo I thought I would write all the things I considered myself to be at this age.
I also used some embellishments showing things I liked, such as owls, butterflies, Frozen and My little pony :) Yes I am a big kid lol.
Next was a sketch challenge from Stuck?! sketches. I also broke out this months Counterfeit kit too :)
This wasn't the kind of layout I would usually go for, but loved the result. The photo is of my Gran and kids walking home from school one day. My Gran hates getting her picture taken so I was sneaky and snapped this one with my phone.
Love these little stickers which I think go great with the layout.
Hopefully tomorrow will feel a little more productive :)

Monday 16 February 2015

More layouts

What a wet and miserable start to half term. Luckily we hadn't planned to go anywhere outside anyway but trying to keep two hyper kids busy in the house without breaking anything isn't easy! At the moment they're being spies upstairs and I'm ignoring the banging and crashing as I have the feeling I don't want to know lol.
While they're preoccupied I figured it was the best time to blog some more layouts :) These were the last two I did with what was left on my desk o a bit less busy than my previous ones.
This is one of Caitlin when she was given her star of the year award at school last Summer. Its an award the children in her class vote for so meant a lot to her to win it. Needless to say we were super proud too :)
As I was running out of bits to use I cut a few embellishments out of PP and used stickles to give them a bit of interest.
This was the very last layout and tbh a bit of a mishmash lol. I wanted to use up as many of the paper scraps I had left as I could so made a simple layout with lots of layering.
Well I'm still loving scrapping :) Also working on a couple of other bits at the moment but can't share those yet. Im off away next month with some other crafty friends and we all make table gifts for each other so getting those done. Can't wait!!!!

Sunday 15 February 2015

February counterfiet kit

This months kit is across the miles and is very travel themed as you can see.
I don't really like travel themed paper as I feel it is quite restrictive but loved the reds and muted browns in the kit so picked my papers and patterns based on that. As usual I found Lesleys individual layout of the kit made it SO much easier to copy, so if you fancy giving it a go I suggest you head here
So after digging these are the papers I decided on.
Next embellishments, always my fave part :)
In the original kit were wood vaneer sequins. I had nothing like this so put in some wooden buttons instead. I based the rest of it, chipboard, journaling tags etc on the colours of my kit and what I think would go best.
Love those flowers :)
So thats my kit! I never name mine as I'm rubbish at that but there you go lol. Kids are both at play dates tomorrow afternoon so now I've finally finished my Sarahs kit I was working on I hope to finally cut into this one :)

Saturday 14 February 2015

Challenge layouts

Now I'm scrapping again I'm trying to keep up with some of the many, many challenges online :) Theres loads to choose from but my fave are the sketch ones as they are really open to interpretation.
This one for example is from Stuck?! Sketches and I think is a really pretty one.
As soon as I saw it I knew what photos I wanted to use. Last summer Cait got a craft kit from a car boot sale where she could make her own slime. She asked me to 'help' and by that do the messy parts lol.
I didn't have any doilies so I made one using a corner punch and used up a few more stickers and embellishments.
Quite pleased with the result, so onto the next one :)
This was another sketch, his time from The Studio challenges blog
Quite a simple sketch, so I dug through my photos and found this one.
Jounaling reads 'You, dressed as princess Rapunzel, along with Darth Vader mask, sword and shield. Seems about right!'
I wanted to make the layout as girly as possible to go against the photo so included lots of pink, pretty embellishments.
Come back tomorrow for my late counterfeit kit! :)

Friday 13 February 2015

Poorly catch up

Well I've caught the lurgy that's been going about so taking it easy this morning before the half term madness starts!
So between catching up on my TIVO and doing online questionnaires I'm scheduling some blog posts. May as well make the most of the time while I can :)
So today I'm sharing a layout I did the other day. In the Summer our local Library does a lot of free craft classes which the kids always love. Last year they made little kite bookmarks. Think Cam still uses his.
Using up scraps of the kit now. Will be on to the next one soon!

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Almost half term

I'm so excited for half term. Poor Cam is exhausted and really needs the break and it will be nice to just spend family time at home baking cakes etc. This time next week I might be saying different granted lol.
So this week I've been scrapping again. yesterday Mark was in Birmingham for his usual check up which always worries me. All was fine but scrapping is always a great way to keep myself busy.
Still using the Sarahs cards kit I did this layout of Scamp and Poppy when they first met.
Again scraplifted, but I'm starting to get a bit more confidence in making embellishment clusters on my layouts.
The next was a challenge set between me and my friend Jess, we had to use this sketch and something blue.
This was my take.
Used lots of blue, and look, little embellishment clusters :)
I love this layout. Usually I use as little as possible on my layouts as don't want to use up too much of my stuff. Trying to get out of that a but as tbh I have plenty and now it is in reach its much easier to use. Hoping it will improve my layouts a bit too :)

Monday 9 February 2015

Expencive weekend!

So its been a very hectic, expencive weekend! Back in December I booked Mum and I a night in a hotel in Milton keynes, just to get away for a bit and give my Mum a much needed break. Was a great time and worth every penny :)
On the way we stopped off in Ikea, and got a few essentials (of course) before hitting the town and going out to dinner.
We ended up in a place called Giraffe which while an odd name was a brill place :) We might have shared a bottle of wine too...
before going back to the hotel and sharing more wine in the new glass I bought. I admit I had a few too many and was ill for the first time since uni!!
Next day we went for breakfast then home :( One of the things I got in ikea was this brill paper storage though :) Won't hold all my papers (obviously) but will put a few colours of cardstock in it and whatever papers I'm using at the time.
Sunday I'd promised to do something nice with the kids so made the most of a special offer at the Odeon and took Caitlin and Mollie to the cinema. Wasn't the best film ever but they loved it.
When I got home however it all went a bit wrong :( Scamp had had a poorly tummy yesterday with very runny, mucasy poops (sorry) spoke to the vet who told us to give him a bland diet as otherwise he was fine. When I got back however Mark told me he'd been throwing up while I was out. :( Quick trip to the vets and a large bill later we were armed with medication for an inflamed bowel.
Even after one dose he seemed much better so very happy Mummy :)

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Scrapping and sleeping lol

Over the past few days I seem to have been really productive. I've got housework done, bills and all the other bits done much quicker than usual so that's left lots of scrapping time :)
In the spirit of using up what I have I reached into my kit bag and pulled out the first one my hand laid on. It turned out to be a beautiful kit from Sarahs cards, wayyyyyyyy back from March 2012. I have far too many of these kits untouched. :s
I've managed to make 3 layouts from this kit so far, but this was the first :) It was scraplifted from the DT booklet but I've apprently thrown it away so can't give credit to the designer unfortunately. I love the result though :)
I might have managed to get a lot done because we haven't really left the house much. I don't know what the weather has been like where you are but it's FREEZING here! We've had some snow but not enough to do snowmen and sledding :( Scamp has been deeply unimpressed with the climate change and has taken to snuggling up in the bed whenever he can. Spot the dog dog, lol.
We've also finished Caitlins termly project :) This time she had to pick a famous ship and make a presentation about it. As you can see she picked the Marie Celeste where the crew went suddenly missing.
I did ask her what her theory was on where the crew went. 'I think they were all eaten by crocodiles' was the reply. Well, nobody knows what happened right?! lol.