Well, as promised, I am (finally) back with the December desktop which, to be honest, was only finished this morning. It was made using a background paper from my contribution to the Bellisima collab kit, a restyled frame from the same kit, my robin from last Christmas, and a tree made over the weekend.

If you like this, then you can download it here. Personal use only I am afraid but I have included the png file so you can insert your own photos as well as the jpeg using the photos I took last of the swans stuck in ice (don't worry, the ice had melted sufficiently two hours later to enable them to get out!) . Oh, and the size is 1280 x 1024 - sorry, but work is just too busy at the moment to make other sizes.

Happy scrapping!

Well, as I may have mentioned before I have started making all my own cards now and this is a thank you card I made last night:

The photos aren't particularly brilliant as the lighting here in the office leads much to be desired but at least they give you an idea of what is was like. I used some flowery paper I had in (probably either Laura Ashley, Papermania or Dovecraft), a butterfly that I had on my hard drive but I don't know who created it originally (all I did was print it on glossy photo paper and cut it out!), some skeleton leaves and flowers made using a punch. The "Just to say" is a small stamp from a set of gardening stamps my mum gave me!

I was really pleased with the overall effect ;). I'm gradually finding out the type of things I prefer doing and developing a style for cards (and digital kits) but I never seem to have enough time to do anything much really! So it was lovely yesterday to have some time to squeeze a bit of card making in!

Of course, having tidied up my craft desk last week, it now needs tidying up all over again! I find it impossible to make anything without leaving loads of bits of paper, ink smudges and all sorts everywhere. I am still finding glitter on my desk from two weeks ago and I know I cleared all that away!

I'm in the process of making a December desktop (I'm actually early for once!) so hope to be back later today or tomorrow with it. Trouble is, I have to finish a set of accounts first! O, the joys of being self employed!

Well, I had a wonderful time yesterday! As some of you may already know, Delirious, the band, is splitting up and are currently on their final tour. I went with a friend last night to see them play at the O2 Academy in Birmingham and had an amazing time!
We managed to get to Birmingham in plenty of time, but then had trouble actually finding the O2 Academy as it had moved across town to new premises. It is now in the old Dome nightclub, and since the only time I have ever been there was when my husband and I were courting (over 25 years ago!), I couldn't remember exactly where it was! Well, we found it in the end and stood at the back of a very long queue but soon found ourselves in the building.

The Cutting Edge Band came on first, dressed in wigs, baseball caps and old zipped jackets, and there were lots of comments about being on tour with those great guys, Delirious. then later, when Delirious came on, there were similar comments about how good it was to be with the Cutting Edge Band again! All very ironic considering the Cutting Edge Band is the former name of Delirious, hence the wigs and so on!

The music was wonderful, and the crowd fantastic. I have been to see Queen, Coldplay and the Fray, but this was even better because not only did you have a brilliant band, you had the presence of God there too! Awesome!

Apologies for the quality of the video. We were actually not too far from the stage, but my camera did a reverse zoom lens thingie on me and made everything look smaller than it really was.......

If you haven't been to see Delirious, then you should really try and get tickets, although most of them seem to have sold out. Delirious is one of the biggest Christian bands and definitely worth seeing as you may never have another chance to see them live.

OK, I am off to prepare our church notices and hopefully, I will be able to get some photoshopping in today as I have plans to make a 2010 planner and three advent calendars, as well as a thank you card for a beautiful scarf I was given earlier this week. the very same scarf that is around my neck as it is absolutely freezing here in my office being 55 F or 13C...I think I need to get my fingerless gloves on whilst I'm waiting for the office to heat up!

Oh, and if you fancy making a 2010 planner, take a look at:

The Amy Hutchinson planner can be found here (on sale at the moment with 20% off (so grab it quick!) although the price reduction doesn't show up until you put it into your shopping cart) and the free planner and pages from Brenda Arnall is here. I spent ages trying to find planners to download on the internet and these were the best of the ones I found. DIYplanner.com also has free downloadable pages too.

Ok, I am definitely going now and if I have time after everything else has been done, I will try to get back with a freebie sometime over the weekend.

Happy scrapping!

Well, yet again it seems to have been an age since I blogged but I have been busy (honest!). We had our church conference last weekend and it was amazing! Plus our middle son was back from St Andrews for a few days and it was lovely to have him home, even though he reverted into his typical teenage ways as soon as he walked through the door! Oh, the joys of having a teenage boy in the house..... ;)

Apart form that, I have really been doing nothing but working and this week has involved several late nights trying to get accounts finished, or at least finished in enough of a state to be able to go and discuss them with clients. I did, however, manage to squeeze in some time to do some photoshopping, although I must admit, this time was straddled over a two week period. And this is what I came up with:

These are overlays you can use to make your own papers (CU ok!) and were created using photos taken:

  • in the Peak district (the two left hand overlays);
  • the canal where I park my car before church on Sundays (top right hand overlay); and
  • a view of Ironbridge Gorge (bottom right overlay).
You can download them here.Feel free to use them as you will, just don't claim them as your own. I'd love to see what you come up with using these as well!

Happy scrapping :).

O land, O land, O land, hear the word of the Lord (taken from Jeremiah 22:29)

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (NIV).

A member of our church was out shopping earlier this week and kept having the phrase "the devil is in the detail" running through her head whilst she was at the checkout at the supermarket. She felt very strongly that she should go sit and read a newspaper, so went and had a cup of coffee and took the only newspaper that was in the rack, The Independent.

It was as if God was directing her thoughts and her eyes as after reading one or two articles, she was told to "keep going, keep going". She carried on reading and then on page 9 of the newspaper came across an article on the Copenhagen global climate summit which will take place 7-18 December 2009. The article was headed "Bureaucrats clash on shape of climate deal" but what really caught her eye was the by line:

"The devil is in the detail ahead of next month's summit, as representatives of 192 countries struggle to reconcile their often conflicting priorities. Michael McCarthy reports"


Genesis 2:15 (NIV) The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it

From the time the earth was created, it has been man's responsibility to work the earth and take care of it. There has been a great deal of concern in recent years about carbon emissions and the effect these are having on the atmosphere. The fourth report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was published in early 2007 and this said that there is no longer any doubt that the earth is warming, and that there is a 90% chance this is caused by man. If this continues, then according to the report, the global average temperature could rise by as much as 4C (or even in the extreme case, 6C) by 2100, which would, in effect, make human life on Earth impossible.

In 1997, an internationally binding treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, was signed by 184 countries and subsequently ratified by them all. This treaty commits the rich industrialised nations to quantified cuts in their carbon emissions by a given date, and it is legally binding in international terms. The USA also signed the Protocol but has not ratified it, since President George W Bush withdrew the USA from Kyoto in 2001 as his administration considered it gave an unfair advantage to China.

Kyoto did not go far enough, however, as the cuts are insufficient to reduce the anticipated global warming and unless the agreement is renewed, it will run out by 31 December 2012. At a subsequent UN climate conference held in Bali in December 2007, it was agreed to negotiate a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol to give a "second commitment period" for member states to undertake emissions cuts, from 2013. It also agreed to work towards a wholly new climate treaty, which would:

○ involve the US;

○ oblige China, India and the other developing countries to cut their own emissions;

○ compensate the developing countries for doing this; and

○ set a very ambitious level of new medium-term targets for the rich countries, in an attempt to hold the warming to below the danger threshold of C above the pre-industrial level.

The EU, including Britain, want to have a new treaty based on the Bali action plan which would be legally binding and with a compliance mechanism and international rules for carbon accounting. The USA, however, wants nothing to do with Kyoto or its architecture. It has put forward a wholly new model for a climate deal in which countries would set out what they are going to do without being bound by international compliance regimes, or international carbon accounting. The developing countries, collectively known as the G77+China, are insistent that the Kyoto Protocol be renewed, and its rich country member states sign up for new emissions cuts from 2013 onwards . Three potentially opposing viewpoints. Any deal on carbon emissions and funding for developing countries to enable them to cope with the changing climate needs to be both strong and fair. Bureaucratic detail should be the last thing that prevents an agreement to save the planet from climate change.

For more details, see:





God made the world for us, chose us before He even created the world and all that is in it so that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:

Ephesians 1:4

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight (NIV).

Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love (The Message).

His deep desire for a people to love came first. Then a world for them to live in was created. And with the world He gave us all that we needed: the night to rest, the day to wander, water to drink, seed bearing plants, fruit bearing trees, the sun, the moon and the stars, fish, birds, and animals. What an awesome testimony of His love for us.

We are called as Christians to care for others, to care for the world that God created, and yet here we are on the path to heating up the world so it is inhabitable for mankind. This is something that we as a church, as a body of believers, should pray about. We desperately need to turn to God, to seek His will, and ask for Him to move in this situation. We are destroying the very land that He gave us through our behaviour, our lack of regard for the environment, our disregard for others and our continued determination to make sure our own countries are not penalised in some way. We have raped and pillaged God's planet for long enough. This should not about the bottom line. We are all at fault here. We cannot point the finger at our governments, at the industrialised nations, at world powers, at our neighbours. We are all to blame.

There is very little time between now and the start of the summit on 7 December, so please, please pray about the summit, however you may be led. The devil is in the detail here, and he is at work creating havoc, causing the nations to disagree, creating disharmony and strife. There is a spirit of mischief at work, designed to sidetrack the summit and take the earth off course.

We need to pray that God will be at work in the leaders, politicians and civil servants taking part in the summit, that there will be a real spirit of harmony, a genuine desire to reach a compromise and reconciliation and not a spirit of territorialism, of protectionism as countries seek to do as little as possible so as to protect their foreign trade and their own industries and economies. We have a corporate need to humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. Then He will hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.

But one church cannot do this on its own, it needs all churches, not just the church here in the UK, but the worldwide church. We have a God given mandate to look after the earth and all that is in it, so please, forward this email to your friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ to mobilise the global church to prayer. We need to seek God’s will here and ask for his Spirit to be at work before, during and after the summit. This prayer request needs to hit as many inboxes as possible in as many countries as possible in the next 24 days (at the time of writing) so that the church is actively seeking God’s will on this matter and praying for all involved. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). Like the widow in Luke 18 who kept going to the judge for justice, we need to seek God’s face. Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. Luke 18:7-8 (NASB)

I am really excited as I have recently taken part in a charity collaboration kit and it has now been released! It's in aid of Chris Turnbull and full details can be found here.

Please do go along to Bellascraps and have a look at the kit. There are, 15 designers, 43 papers,. 75 elements and 1 alpha all for an amazing price of $4.99! there are actually no detailed previews, but my part of the kit is as follows:

Please excuse my spelling on the preview - I had the wrong name for the kit and didn't realise until after it was released!

Finally, I haven't yet had chance to write that tutorial on masks, but it is on my to do list (along with six million other things!) and I will get around to it, I promise :).

Happy scrapping.

Well, yet again time seems to have flown by and I don't know where it has gone too! I reckon if I were more organised, life wouldn't pass me by in such a blur because I honestly do not know where each day goes!

I have been busy with work, mainly because it is almost the end of the month and I was desperate to get work done so I could bill clients and get the money in to pay bills! I have found that a lack of money is a great incentive in making me get some work done! That is the problem with being self employed though - you are responsible for getting the clients in the first place, doing the work, sending the bills out, chasing up payment.... if you take a day off, you have to make up the time by working extra hours, and as for having a week off, well that is why I always take my laptop with me! Not that, unfortunately, I end up getting much work done!

I am currently waiting for clients to pay some not insubstantial bills and unfortunately, I cannot force them to pay me by the end of the week, much as I would like to. Some take as much time as possible to pay, coming up with numerous excuses.....mind you, I suppose that is somewhat like me coming up with excuses as to why I haven't done their accounts or tax return... ;(.

My daughter and I went to see Ludovico Einaudi play at Symphony Hall in Birmingham last night. This is part of his "Nightbook" tour and he was amazing. I love his music, it is so relaxing and soothing, but last night it was unbelievable! Never having been to something like that before, neither of us knew what to expect, but it was wonderful! I would definitely recommend that you go see him play if you can, or failing that, listen to his music:

And you would not believe how long it took me to work out how to embed that video!

I've not had much time to do any photoshopping, unfortunately, but I did manage to have a go at making my own masks:

There seems to be a trend at the moment for using masks but when I looked around and saw what was on offer, I thought "I could do that" so I went and did it! I'm thinking of doing a tutorial on making masks, so if any of you would be interested in this, let me know. Otherwise, feel free to download the mask set HERE.

Happy scrapping!

Well, Sam seems to be settling in at St Andrews now and we don't seem to be using the family alert system any more i.e. when one of us is concerned, we contact one of Sam's siblings and get them to text/messenger/phone him so's not to appear too worried! Maybe Sam has seen through this ruse though, as I am on messenger to him, he says something to me and I get big brother to ring him!

As for the rest of the family, we are getting used to the peace! Now that there is no one playing Call of Duty, Storm Force, and the like, the house is so much quieter! What's more, Sam can't bring his computer home at Christmas so no shoot 'em up games then, either!

I've not had time to do much designing - things are starting to get busy work wise and I have had a lot to do the past few weeks. This weekend is likely to be busy too as I am off to help out at The Presence, the national day of prayer at the NEC. If you should be going, come along to the Release International stand and say hello! I can then tell you all about persecuted Christians ion Eritrea - I think it is amazing how people never get to here of the persecution going on in other countries. It is almost as if there is a conspiracy in the press not to report it, but there are some real horror stories out there and I am in awe of the faith of persecuted Christians, how they carry on witnessing despite incredible hardship and danger.

Anyway, turning back to designing, I have managed to put together all the spare stuff I made for my Arbour Winds kit that I ended up not using. It has actually made a mini kit and here are the previews:

And yes, I've just noticed that there are no titles on the close up preview and since I have closed down Photoshop and now have to go and do breakfasts for the guys followed by the school run, I stand no chance of updating this.... Oh well.

To download the mini kit, click HERE.

Happy Scrapping!

Well, I must obviously be getting used to the weekly deadline, as I have now started the SAS Designer Challenge for those eliminated from the contest. I must be a glutton for punishment, especially since I drove 800 miles in 60 hours to take our middle son up University in Scotland over the weekend....

I thought when he went to University, it would be easier (on the heart) than when our eldest went. but if anything, it seems worse! Of course, time dims the memory and you tend to gloss over the bad things, so perhaps I'm forgetting the worry and concern we have when our eldest went to Uni, although I do recall several weekends where either we went up to see him, or he came down her.... But he was less than 2 hours away, whereas Sam is 8 hours away.... So maybe it's the distance, because we probably won't see him again until Christmas; maybe it is because I went to the same University and went through exactly what he is going through right now; maybe it's just because I love him and miss him and know he is having a hard time settling in. I reckon he will be a lot better when lectures start next week, as he will meet the others on his courses.

Until then, it is a case of getting to know people in his hall and trying to find a friendly face to talk to. Of course, having a roommate who is totally inconsiderate, always has people round and has already had people sleeping on the floor overnight (totally against regulations) when they spent a considerable time talking about Sam when they thought he was asleep is not helping either....

But St Andrews is a beautiful place and a wonderful University as you can see from the photos below.

This is one of his room, or at least his half of the room:

This is the view form the top of St Rule's tower. The grey semi circular building in the centre is the Hall of Residence where my son is staying.

The cathedral ruins:

The view from near the West Sands overlooking the town:

The castle:

Looking back up at the castle from the beach!

The Quad:

Sorry the photos are a bit dark. It was cloudy and overcast for most of the time and whilst I have tried to lighten the pictures, they actually look better on my screen than they do here on this blog!

So, whilst Sam is settling in, I've been busy designing my kit for the Designer Club challenge. We were given the colour swatch to start off with, the theme was boys and I had an awful time trying to decide what to do! The challenge was to create everything from scratch (no CU!) and since I take loads of photos (much to the dismay of my children as I keep making them wait while I take photos when we are out !) that wasn't a problem. My problem was what to actually put in the kit to make it useable... Anyhow, this is what I ended up with:

And here's the close up:

Let me know what you think. You can either download it following the links at the SAS gallery HERE or direct from 4shared HERE.

Happy scrapping!

Butterfly overlay

OK, well voting ends today in the SAS Designer contest round 2 and I reckon I haven't got through :(. Oh well, the first three rounds were all about getting people to vote for you anyway, rather than how good a designer you are. I know I'm not one of the best designers in the world, but I know I can come up with good stuff and I am by no means the worst. Looks like the way to get my own designs selling is to open up my own website and since this is being done even as I write this, I will just have to twist my son's arm even further up his back to hurry him along!

If you do feel like voting for me (and all votes are gratefully appreciated :), just follow the links in the post below to take you to the SAS forum where you will need to register first (if you aren't already registered), then wait for the email from the administrator to activate your account, then wait for the moderator to approve your account and then, finally, after all that, you can vote! What a palaver, eh?!!!

In the meantime, here is the overlay I used to make the butterfly paper in my Best Friends kit (my entry for round 2):

This is how it looked when I used it to make a paper:

You can download the overlay HERE and the download links for the papers in my kit can be found HERE.

Happy scrapping!

Just to let you all know that voting has now begun in Round 2 of the SAS Designer contest. Obviously, I would much prefer you to vote for me ;), but the polls are here:

There are some gorgeous kits there and they are all downloadable. Just go along and have a look and then take a couple of minutes to vote for your three favourite kits (even if mine isn't one of them ;)).

Well, I meant to get back here well before now to let you all know that I managed to scrape it through to round 2 of the SAS-y Lady Designer contest! Woohoo!!!! This is the first time ever I have got through to Round 2 of a designer contest so thank you to all those who voted for me :).

Life has been busy since the results were announced as one of my boys is off to University on Friday and so there has been all the preparation involved in that, making sure he has everything he needs. He's off to Scotland, so will be about 350 miles away and we won't see him after Sunday until Christmas, sob! I am hoping and praying he gets on all right as the first few weeks are always hard when you try to settle in, meet new friends and start lectures. He's doing a joint degree, maths and computer science, so of course I am expecting him to be able to solve all of my computer problems in no time at all. But he keeps telling me it's not that sort of a course....well, I am sure he will pick up all sorts of useful computer problem solving information on the way so will be able to fix my 'puter no matter what! He just has to prepare himself now for all those long distance phone calls when I can't get the internet to work or my computer crashes!

Anyhow, back to the SAS designer contest and round 2 is due in at 3 pm EST. I have just finished uploading my kit and here are the previews:

You can download it here so please go along and take a look. There are also lots of other wonderful kits in the gallery, all of them available to download.

Voting starts soon so I will be back to let you have the links for this shortly. If you like my kit, please consider voting for me as it really would be quite something if I got through to the next round. I don't think I will, but hey, a girl can always hope!

Happy scrapping!

Just a reminder to check out this Week's kits in the SAS Designer Competition.

Register Here: http://www.stoneaccentsstudioforum.com/forum/
View and Download Here: http://www.stoneaccentsstudioforum.c...ry.php?cat=964
Go Here to Vote: http://www.stoneaccentsstudioforum.c...ead.php?t=5782

There are some wonderful designs there and all the kits are free downloads. Voting finishes tomorrow (Wednesday 9 September) at midnight EST, so go over and vote for your favourite designer (even if it isn't me, ;)).

Well, it's finally come around, the day my youngest son goes back to school! Woohoo! Does it make me an unnatural mother to be glad?!!! I'm torn really, since whilst it is good for him to be at school, the hassle of the school run can be a real pain as I have to travel six miles in one direction, then reverse the journey, go past our home and travel six miles the opposite way to take our daughter to work. It's like an expedition every morning trying to get everyone out of the house on time and today, being the first day back after the holidays, the traffic will be so much worse. Oh well at least it should be quiet in the house today!

Anyhow, before I start preparing breakfasts, making packed lunches and getting everyone (including myself) organised, here is the cluster frame I made when doing the QP's at the weekend:

Feel free to download it HERE and let me know what you think :).

Happy scrapping!

I'm off to make breakfast for my children in a few minutes before going to see a prospective client and just have time to post this before I get everything ready.

I managed to get some scrapping time in yesterday and made these two pages with my kit from the SAS-y Designer Contest:

I've made them into quick pages and, as promised earlier, you can download them HERE.

Happy scrapping!

Just a quick post to let you know that voting in the SAS-y Lady Designer Contest has now opened. You can look at the entries HERE and vote HERE.

I'll be back shortly with two quick pages created with my kit for the contest ;).

Well, I actually managed to finish my entry to the SAS-y designer competition last night (well, strictly, it was early this morning as it was just gone midnight when I uploaded it!). That must be a first for me, to finish something well before the deadline (3pm EST today)! I normally lurch from one deadline to another and spend my life fighting fires, metaphorically speaking.

Anyhow, do you want to take a look at what I came up with? Well, here it is, Arbour Winds:

The colour swatch we were given is not necessarily one I would have chosen myself, but I ended up really enjoying working with it as it was a challenge to come up with something that didn't look like many other kits you see these days. I used some CU stuff, but the flowers you see in the close up here are mine, all mine (insert evil chuckle here, lol!) as I took the photos and extracted them, so can't blame anyone else for any loose pixels and whatnot in those!

I ended up making far too much to go into the kit, so there will definitely be freebies coming soon! I just need to find the time to sort them out and upload them! A surprising amount of time is always taken up when designing anything in just making a preview, uploading and posting so it's not just a quick two minute job.

So why don't you all nip on over to the Stone Accents Studio and take a look at what all the contestants have come up with? The gallery can be found by CLICKING HERE. All the kits are being offered as freebies and the download links are in the gallery. There's an amazing range of kits and styles considering we all started off with the same five colours so I am sure you will find plenty there to help build your stash!

Voting doesn't begin until later today, so I will let you have that link as soon as I get it - obviously I am hoping you will vote for me ;). Roughly half of us (probably this includes me, lol!) will be eliminated in this first round. You have to be registered in the SAS forum to vote, so please don't let that put you off and just get out there and vote (even if it's not for me ;))!

OK, I'm off to finish printing our church notices now as I only have an hour now before church. And yes, it probably is leaving it a bit late but I always end up printing them off at this time on a Sunday. I just don't know where the time goes!

Happy scrapping!

Yesterday was busy - the first "real" day back at work after a holiday is always hectic and yesterday was no exception. I seemed to have millions of phone calls when normally the phone hardly rings at all. I even had one very nice gentleman from Google ring me up asking me if I wanted to take out a month's trial on google search engine (only £3.30 a day plus VAT!!!) and when after several minutes of me saying I didn't want to take out any more advertising at this time, he slammed the phone down. I don't know who he was, but slamming the phone down on me is definitely not the way to get my business, especially as I was perfectly polite to him. He must have either been having a lot of refusals that day or was totally stressed out after the Bank Holiday weekend!

Anyhow, despite being busy, trying to get my own accounts finished for once (!!!!), I managed to make a September desktop using my part of the ADSDesigners School Daze blog train:

I am afraid it is only in one size (1280 x 1080) but hey, one size can be made to fit all, eh? Just like those trousers in the Colour Purple?!!! If you really need it in a different size, just let me know and I will see what I can do ;). Oh, and in case you are wondering, the birds will be offered as a freebie hopefully sometime later this week (depending on work commitments as I do have a large set of accounts to get done for Friday so time is at a premium at the moment) - I just didn't have room for them in the original zipped file of the kit.

To download the desktop, CLICK HERE.

Happy scrapping!

Well, it is that time of the month again - release day for the ADSDesigners September Collaboration, School Daze. I have been busy zipping files an uploading to 4shared this morning but am going to make you wait a bit to catch you up on what has been happening since my last post.

Well, where to start? Firstly, we (i.e. me and the guys - two of our boys and our daughter) have been in the Lake District for a much needed holiday. Of course, I took my laptop and some work with me but, as usual, didn't get anything done, or at least, hardly anything, so I guess it definitely was a holiday for me then! Much to the perpetual disgust of the children, I took millions of photos and I will probably bore you silly with the photos as well as I intend posting some here once I actually get them off my laptop and camera onto my desktop.

I actually managed to get some decent photoshopping time in whilst we were away, which is something almost unheard of! Mind you, it didn't please DD as she wanted to go on the internet (which I paid a small fortune for to get access for the week so we were all determined to get a much use out of it as possible) and could only do that once I'd finishing photoshopping for the night which was usually well past 11pm if not later!

The Lake District, as usual, was stunning. I just love it there and we spent a lot of time around Lake Windermere and Coniston Water, with the guys getting soaked as they had fun in the water. You wouldn't have thought the eldest two were 20 and 18 as they behaved more like their 12 year old brother than anything else! In fact the elder boy even braved the water completely to go swimming! Admittedly, he was frozen afterwards but he was determined not to leave the Lake District without having swum at least once.

The weather was mixed - after all, this is summer in the UK, and we were on holiday in the Lake District. Most of the rain was either overnight or early in the morning and oh boy, was it heavy! It was literally bouncing off the roads and you couldn't even stick your head out of doors for one second without getting soaked. But we managed to get in lots of walking, plus plenty of time strolling around just doing nothing in particular, as well as lots of paddling time for the guys, reading and photoshopping for me plus a memorable visit to the White Scar Caves :). Photos to follow once they have been transferred to my desktop and hopefully you won't find them too boring.

We finished off the week with a trip to Blackpool, thinking the illuminations were on. But no, despite having the internet and reminding each other to check, not one of us bothered to actually find out when the lights were switched on. As a result, when we got there on Sunday they were still putting some of them up! So no lights for us, apart from the lights I saw when I tripped up on the pavement and went flying, ending up with very badly bruised hands and wrists, one of them so bad that even now (Tuesday) I can't put any pressure on it. Of course, hubbie was all sympathy when we arrived home (not!). For some strange inexplicable reason, he seems to be convinced I am accident prone and always tripping or accidentally cutting myself when baking and so on....the children also seem to be of the same opinion!!!!!

So, back to the photoshopping and the reason for all this time spent designing. Well, apart from the ADSDesigners blog train, I have also entered the Stone Accents Studio (SAS) Designer Contest, mainly for the experience and to learn some more tips. I honestly don't expect to get past the first round but everyone seems so friendly, and I have already learnt one or two useful things. Round 1 of the contest has just been posted, and since the deadline is Sunday, I really need to get a move on!

But here (at last, I here you say) are the details for the blog train. I split my previews this time with one for the papers and another for the elements:

and you can download them here.

Included in the kit are:

  • 6 papers;
  • School bus;
  • 3 ribbons;
  • 2 styles of buttons in 2 colours (4 buttons in total);
  • 1 stitched line
  • 1 messy stitched circle;
  • 4 crayons (red, blue, green, orange);
  • 2 red patterned photo frames, on with a ribbon;
  • 1 blue patterned photo frame;
  • 1 pin;
  • Bookworm;
  • Homework folder; and
  • An apple for the teacher
I have a desktop almost ready for you too as well as a few other bits and pieces that wouldn't fit in the zipped file, so keep coming back over the next few days and I will try and get everything posted.

The other designers taking part in the blog train are as follows:

Well, I was sat here wondering how many people might have downloaded the second set of watercolours, when I realised that you can't download something if it hasn't been uploaded in the first place! Talk about forgetful! I actually got these ready to upload a couple of days ago but completely forgot to let you know.

There are ten papers in all, and they are darker than the first set but hopefully you will like them. Click here to go to 4shared to download them.

Happy scrapping!

Well, it promised to be a dry day on Saturday, not necessarily sunny because this is, after all, Britain in the summer, so we decided to go to the Peak District. this is a part of the country we have spent very little time in, shocking when you consider it is only an hour, hour and a half away (two hours if you get stuck in a traffic jam going through Ashbourne!).

DD found a walk in the internet from Milldale down to Dovedale and back. The first part of the walk is along the river, then you cross a bridge and go through Dovedale Wood and come out at Bunster Hill, then walk round to the Stepping Stones and then back along the river to where you started. Of course, if the map and guide is left in my very capable hands, you will end up not crossing the bridge, and effectively do the walk in reverse. Not necessarily a bad thing, apart from the fact that the walk along the river is a gentle meandering walk, whereas the walk through the woods and round Bunster hill is very steep, a real killer when you have to walk up the hill and then down through a steep, narrow,muddy path through the woods when you are already exhausted after walking some 3 miles! We are definitely going to go again, as it was so beautiful as you can see from some of the 101 photos I took!

This is the start of the walk at Milldale standing on the stone bridge across the river:

The path then takes you along the riverbank and winds and curls its way along:

Whilst it was flat along the riverbank, there were some terrific views and heights along the way:

This is Ilam bridge where we were supposed to cross to go up into the woods. DD is actually going back the wrong way here, presumably following directions from me :(!

As you can see, the path follows the river very closely:

And if you look closely, you can just about make out one brave soul rock climbing! He was actually being photographed by two women who had all the right gear - digital SLR cameras, tripods, lenses and so on, kind of put my little point and shoot camera to shame!

We spent ages trying to find somewhere quiet and secluded to eat our lunch, but it was actually really busy. there were loads of people around, mainly families with children, but also some serious looking walkers. This looked like being a good spot to eat, but everywhere this close to the river was damp and muddy! Not really surprising in view of all the rainfall last week.

We ended up not crossing over the Stepping Stones, mainly just because it was so busy. There were queues of people both sides waiting to Cross with at least one person on each stepping stone. We walked further round and crossed over at a foot bridge and then started to walk up Bunster Hill - a definite killer as it was just so steep! But the views were worth it!

All in all, we probably walked about seven miles, and I have the blisters to prove it! then on the way home, look at what we saw:

The perfect end to a wonderful day!

And then on Sunday, I managed to get some Photoshop time in (woohoo!!!). I finally managed to track down a paintbrush/watercolour effect tutorial and this is the result:

You can download them here, so let me know what you think. I have another set of 10 almost ready to go so I'll upload those later this week for you ;).

Happy scrapping!

Well, two weeks ago we (myself and three of the guys) went up the Wrekin. I'd promised our youngest a run out so even though it was raining, we decided to brave the elements and go up the Wrekin. The weather was just a slight drizzle for most of the time, so we didn't even need our coats on until it got too wet without them!

After the usual exertion of the steep path up to the house/cafe where we always get an ice cream, the path eased out (well, if you can call it easing out - at least it wasn't as steep as the first part where I always feel as if I am about to have a heart attack and have trouble getting my breath!). The view was, as always, stunning, even with the looming grey clouds:

So last Sunday, when our youngest wanted to go again, the weather was completely different: no rain and, in fact, there was actually some sunshine! The first part of the walk was the usual killer. DS kept telling me to be quiet on the way up when people passed - this was so they wouldn't hear my heavy breathing as I panted my way up the hill! I don't know what he was complaining about, at least I was walking (crawling?) up and many people wouldn't even attempt it!

As you can see the weather was much better. In actual fact, it was really warm and sunny and you can see the difference in the following photos:

DS wants to go to the Stiperstones next, but that will be an all day event, as we usually walk several miles when we go there and end up absolutely exhausted. I'm always amazed just how long a four mile walk can take as I am sure the trail map we follow is deliberately misleading. There is no way I could be that tired after a four mile walk, and I am convinced the walk is really eight miles at least but is only described as four in the brochure to get more people walking!

Anyhow, I have been playing around in Photoshop and actually managed to make a desktop before the middle of the month (just!):

I've only made it in one size (1280x1024) so if you would like it, grab it here.

Have fun!