Category: Blog

My first retreat (October 2016)

Last weekend I attended my first scrapbooking retreat. What an event! So many new adventures! So here’s a detailed recount of my experience:

Friday.

I arrived at the hotel at around 6:30 pm after having left the twins at home with the promise that “I would be home soon” 🙂 I checked into my room -pretty average hotel room, nothing special about it- and went down to the hall where the retreat was taking place. I met a lady in the lift on my way there and she showed me the seating plan and helped me find my seat when we got to the hall.

What a huge place! The room that we were using was much bigger than the one normally used for the crops and it was pretty full when I got there! If I remember correctly, there were approximately 6 tables with an average of 12-15 people per table… That is a lot of people!

On my table space there was a goodie bag with chocolates and snacks, a bottle of water and a scrapbooking pack as well. There was a letter from the organiser explaining the times and activities taking place during the weekend and also a list of challenges.

I decided straight away that I was not going to take part on any of the challenges, as you had to put your pages on the wall for everybody to then rate, and because of the way that I scrapbook with my books, there wasn’t an easy way for me to enter the challenges. So I decided to skip them.

A little while after my arrival, Claire arrived too. I know Claire from the Facebook group and we’ve also met before once at one of the crops, so at least I wasn’t completely alone! Unfortunately I didn’t know anyone else at our table. The rest of the people that I know from crops or facebook groups were already sitting in a group table. I must admit that I was a bit jealous of this. I went to the retreat for the break from my routine and to scrapbook a lot, but I also wanted to build a little bit on the friendship with the “Bracknell crew”, and unfortunately I didn’t get a chance. There were at least 15 ladies on that table and they all knew each other, they were a group. So much so that on the Saturday they were all wearing marching t-shirts and all! It felt a bit intimidating, like a closed circle… However, I didn’t let that affect me and I still had a great time.

On the Friday I only managed one layout. A little while after arriving, there was dinner included, so I took a little bit of time to relax having dinner and chatting to some of the ladies. So after more chatting and hardly any scrapping, I finished one layout and decided to go to bed.

Saturday.

I got to the hall at around 10 in the morning, after having breakfast at the hotel. Claire, who was sitting next to me, didn’t arrive until well past noon, so the morning was very quiet. The other ladies on my table were not really the chatty type, so we all just got on with our layouts.

For lunch I had a sandwich in the hotel bar. The hotel gave me a £5 voucher to spend for declining to have my room serviced that day, so a £9 sandwich ended up only costing me £4. Kaching!

After lunch Claire arrived, and the afternoon was more entertaining. She is really chatty and very friendly, and she is even more crafty-crazy than me! There was another lady at the table who was very chatty, who also came in the afternoon, so that was good as made it very enjoyable.

For dinner I asked several times what everyone was doing and got no replies or shrugs (Claire was on a diet and didn’t eat much at all all weekend). So I ordered myself a pizza for delivery. After my pizza arrived a couple of ladies in my table said that they would have ordered with me had they known…. well, I did say!

I finished 8 layouts more (wow! huge number!) but by 10:30 again I was knackered and went to bed. A lot of the ladies, especially the Bracknell crew, stayed until much later. I heard stories of bottles of wine rolling and scrapping until well into the night.

Sunday.

Again, I made it into the hall at around 10 in the morning after having breakfast. However, I kind of lost my mojo and took me a while to get started again. Eventually I got the mojo going again and managed to finish three more layouts before packing up and going home.

Before going home, we all got to vote for our favourite entries in the challenges. As I left before the results were announced, I didn’t get to see who won. I found this a bit annoying, actually. It would have taken the organisers very little to take a photo of the winners and let everyone know. But, nevermind, I suppose next time I need to stay longer if I want to find out!


All in all I had a good time, but I think I would have enjoyed it better if I had had “friends” with me. All the groups are already made and it seems hard to “infiltrate” these circles. Conversation at my table was sometimes a bit forced and not all that natural, given that some of the interlocutors didn’t know each other that much. So when I heard real laughter coming from the other many groups of friends I felt a bit of lack of belonging.

But hey, I’ve only been going to crops for less than a year, and I see some of these people only once every couple of months, so I can’t expect them to welcome me into their already made group just like that! It will happen with time…

So here are the layouts that I made over the weekend!

Crazy hat

Balance bikes

Hello friends

shine today

Greedy chops

New skirt

breakfast club

round round

Love you loads

meeting pepper

world book day

wagamama selfies

 

 

 

 

 

Artful Angels Crop – October 2016

What a fantastic day! This time was a million times better than the last crop at Artful Angels. Maybe it’s because I had serious lack of sleep last time, but this time it was a completely different experience. Everyone was friendlier and I chatted with all the ladies at my table. We even had lunch together and I could feel like the relationships are starting to build (with me – they all know each other already)

Scrapping-wise, the day started slow and it took me a long time to finish the first layout, however, after lunch I managed to get so much more done! Although, I must admit that some of my layouts were very plain this time, making them faster to build.

And without further ado, here they are!

Mum's birthday selfie

Love these moments

Adventures

Grandma's garden

I haven’t unpacked anything since I will be going straight into the scrap cafe retreat on Friday! So excited about it!

#TBT – Motherly Love

Facebook very kindly reminded me the other day of this layout, a very early one in my scrapbooking adventures.

on-this-day

I remember how proud I was of that page, and to this day, it’s still one of my favourite ones. It’s a lovely photo of me and the kids (despite it not being in focus) and I was very proud of having done some embossing on the blue cardstock.

Anyway, here’s an updated photo of the layout as it stands today.

motherly-love

Mixed media, episode 2

So I have finally finished my first mixed media project and it has not been an easy ride. To start with, my cardstock base sat on my office untouched for way too long. I kept looking at it and not wanting to finish it. I was overwhelmed just by the thought! But I finally finished it…

Lessons learnt:

1) I really struggle with 12×12. It’s an overwhelming amount of space to work with (for me). Having worked on 8×8 for such a long time, anything bigger just feels huge. Funny though, because the 12×12 layout that I did back in May for the National Scrapbooking Week was easier, it flowed better. I wonder if rather than the size, this time the problem was the mixed media aspect that put me off.

2) find a different nail polish to wear whilst scrapping, as unfortunately I have left pink streaks around my page . I am not a girly-girl and I very rarely put on any make up or nail varnish, so it was really unfortunate that this precise time I was wearing some!

3) I thought I had pressed “record” on my phone before starting working on it but silly me, I didn’t record any of it. So what was going to be my first process video is gone 🙁 Now I can’t really decide if I can be bothered with making process videos or not, as I scrap when I can, most of the time at night when the light is really rubbish, so I don’t want to stop my creativity and time to scrap for the sake of a video. We’ll see what happens next…

Overall I am not too displeased with my final layout but it was a big step away from my comfort zone. I may scrap this photo again at some point in the future (especially because it is printed in normal cardstock rather than photo paper. I just wanted to be done with this layout and it needed to be a 5×7 photo, so for speed sake I just printed it in normal cardstock – it looks good, though. You can be fooled by it)

A couple of days later after finishing the 12×12 layout, I have started another mixed media project… This time I have taken an 8×8 piece of cardstock from my book and trimmed the edges a bit.

I mixed the gesso directly with a tiny bit of brown acrylic paint and a few drops of gold Heidi Shine, and I am very pleased with the shade I got (it’s a bit more pink-ish than brown-ish in natural light)

I spread it all over my paper (same card from my 8×8 book but trimmed smaller) and let it dry. By the way, I need to find an old gift card or similar for the spreading, as at the moment I am using my expired Spanish ID card and I need to be careful not to destroy it!

Once dry I applied some texture paste on the flower mask. I found this quite hard as I didn’t want to get over the line, but the mask is so tiny that I had to be super careful. Maybe next time I’ll carefully apply some washi tape around the edges?

I let the paste dry in a place that I thought was safe, however my cat managed to get a paw there when it was still slightly wet. You have to look very closely to notice it but I thought it was hilarious.

And finally a few more splatters of gold Heidi shine.

The plan now is to stick this to my 8×8 card and work with it as a background. So I’ll get back to you soon with a finished layout when I figure out what I am going to do! (I don’t really have any photos at the moment that would sit well with this background)

 

Mixed media background for a future layout
Mixed media background for a future layout
Finished first mixed media layout
Finished first mixed media layout

(For this layout I used the Sea Breeze collection by Kaisercraft – I love those colours!)

Crops, retreats and other musings

Apologies for the lack of content lately, I have been quite busy!

On Saturday last week I attended the Artful Angels crop near Winchester. This was my second time, the first time being back in April! (I couldn’t make it in May because we were on holiday in Cornwall, I couldn’t make it in June because it was Jon’s brother’s birthday do, I couldn’t make it in July because we were on holiday in Spain, and they didn’t run one in August!)

Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have at any other time, because the previous night I was out with some girl friends and went to bed stupidly late! So in the morning I drove from Blackwater to Hursley… The drive was easy enough actually. I thought it would take me longer, but I was there by 10:30, which I was happy about.

But yeah, due to the lack of sleep it’s like I wasn’t there. The ladies that I sat with last time were there again this time (Lisa Jane, Sarah, Elise, Jo? and Paula) and I chatted a bit with them. But I don’t know if it’s because I was so tired, it didn’t feel as friendly as the previous time…

Still, I was productive enough and managed to finish four layouts! Not bad!

I also wanted to say that previously I hadn’t been 100% satisfied with the quality of my home printed photos, so for this crop I ordered them via Jessops. I selected my photos and placed an order online on the Monday, kind of hoping that they would be ready for collection and day or two later (they don’t tell you how long it takes on their website). However when I still hadn’t heard from them on Thursday afternoon, I started to panic! Luckily they texted me on Friday morning saying that the order was ready to pick up…. Phew!! However, when I got to the shop and I gave all the details to the girl, she couldn’t find my order!! After waiting for another 10 minutes or so and asking for a manager to look, they finally found them (the downside of a surname like mine… they had stored it under “C” instead of “L” like the girl was expecting)

But now I have very high quality prints to scrapbook until end of April, so quite pleased about that! I’ll just be more careful when ordering the next batch, to order it with plenty of time!

 

Tomorrow is the regular crop in Bracknell, however I am going to miss it! It is the birthday party of one of the twins’ friends and we couldn’t miss it. However I am planning on going the following week to the one in Earley, despite having said that I wouldn’t go again due to being a nightmare drive… But I really enjoy them, and I catch up so much with the scrapbook!

The lady who runs the crops in Bracknell and Earley also runs Retreats (a retreat is like a weekend-long crop, where you stay in a hotel or country house). The next one she is running is in mid-October and I have already booked my place! It is at the Hilton Hotel in Bracknell and they include a light dinner, plus all the other stuff that is available at the regular crops. I just can’t wait to go!

And here are the layouts that I managed at the Artful Angels crop. I am particularly pleased with the “naughty kids” one 🙂

Naughty Kids

Love US

Pretty sweet girl

Speccy four eyes