Search This Blog

Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.  We've had a pretty good 2011, as it stands and are blessed to have two happy, healthy and growing sons who are gorgeous!

Thanks to Paul's Mum for a splendid Christmas and Boxing Day.  She goes to so much effort to produce a delicious meal and a beautifully decorated table. 

The boys were very spoiled for presents and received so many.  I have made a concerted effort to write everything down - otherwise it is so easy to forget!

Here is Henry in one of their presents - a lovely snuggly bear hat from Aunty Katrina and Grace.  Lewis decided not to like his indoors - I think he was too hot!

Still, Lewis was in fine form and was smiling and laughing a lot of the time.  I think this is the first time I've managed to get a photo of either of the boys smiling - once my face disappears behind the camera, that's the end of the smile! 

Their present from Paul and I was, amongst other things, these booster chairs/high seats, which attach to normal chairs.  It means that the boys were able to grace us at the Christmas table with their presence - what a lovely addition this year. 

I finally got out from behind the camera to be included in a family photo.  It's turned out quite well, but is a precious memento, whatever the quality. 

And finally - the boys with their paternal grandparents.  Hopefully next year - we might be with their maternal grandparents and keep the trips evenly spaced from one year to another!

Just after this, Lewis grabbed Grandma's earring and was giving it a really good bash.  I think Grandma was very lucky to escape with her ear! 

May you all be happy and have good fortune throughout 2012.

December Scrapology card challenge

This month, the card challenge was set by Chrissy from Merly Impressions. 

My husband and my FIL have birthdays very close together.  The timing of this challenge was perfect with a theme of autumn and leaves.  I often resort to using leaves on masculine cards as I feel they are a very versatile embellishment. 

The above was the card for my husband - my Sizzix dies turned out very useful.  I have bought both the Tim Holtz labels and mini labels die and I also used some ancient alphabet stickers from Chatterbox.  I like the positive and negative images here - a great way of making the stickers stretch further on a budget.  All the leaf images are also from a Tim Holtz Decorative Strips die - Autumn Gatherings.  I used the Basic Grey Granola range of papers for all the leaf shapes.  The background patterned paper was an ancient piece of Jenni Bowlin - great to cut into some of these papers and get them used up!  I used lashings of Tim Holtz distress ink around the edge to add some depth. 

My father-in-law's card was a variation on the theme -

A few more bits and pieces gone from the mountain of stash - now, where can I buy some more time?  If you get some time, why not join with us and having a go at the challenge? 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

December Scrapology Layout

I didn't think I would make it this month, but managed to carve out a bit of time close to the deadline to make the December Scrapology challenge.  This month, we scraplifted Pamela Young's layout below. 

This is how I interpreted the scraplift. 

I went with the three photos (albeit of different shapes) and the scalloped circle, so stuck to the main elements on Pamela's layout. 

The background is a very light green Bazzill cardstock, so it doesn't show up too well.  I haven't indulged in too many new scrapbooking products lately, but one thing I couldn't resist was a couple of collections by First Edition, bought to scrapbook the boys as babies.  The papers are so cute, and perfect for baby boys.  The alphabet, journalling block and patterned paper are all from the same range, called "Up Up and Away!"

You can see looking between Pamela's layout and mine that I also interpreted using the mist differently.  Rather than use tissue paper, I misted a border around the edge of the patterned paper.  I used a piece of Crate Paper as a template for the patterned paper, and then drew a border freehand using some white scrap paper to form the border.  The mist is Cosmic Shimmer "Teal Wash" and this mist really does shimmer in real life. 

The journalling spot and motif does glitter too - shame the effect does not show up on the screen.  My journalling reads:
"6 days old - 12th July.  When you were first home from hospital, we were still trying to breastfeed.  However, we were also worried that you weren't getting enough, so we were also feeding you with syringes so you weren't getting confused between breast and bottle.  Looking back almost 5 months, it is hard to believe you were both so small and we were worried about your weights!
Grandma Brierley and Lewis, Grandma Jones and Henry.  Scrapbooked November 2011."

Even though it is a very busy time of year, why not grab some time for yourself and take part in this challenge!  Thanks for stopping by.  :) 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A recent photo ...

of my darling boys, taken on 18th November, when they were 19 weeks old.  How they've grown!  Lewis on the left, and Henry on the right, dressed in their bargain jammies, at 50p each.  We were staying at Grandma's, so I took advantage of a little holiday and did a bit of a photo shoot with the boys.  :) 

It shall be scrapped in due course, naturally ....

Thursday, 24 November 2011


All about ways to save money at Christmas and all throughout the year?  I am, especially with only one wage coming in, and two more mouths to feed ...

If you do happen upon this post, and are interested in saving money, then Quidco is a special website which offers deals, and then gives you cashback at the end, depending on how much you've spent with them.  For instance, I recently bought a pair of Clark's shoes on line, which were not only 50% off, but I also earned a cashback reward, simply for clicking through the Quidco site!

If you are so inclined, follow this link, and then start referring other people too, for more cashback rewards ....

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Scrapology November card

This month, the card designer who set our monthly challenge is Joanna Sheen.  She challenged the Design Team to use a mouse image on their cards.  Bearing in mind the time of the year, I decided to try and incorporate the mouse with Christmas in the cheesiest way possible - get it!   (Hee hee hee .... )

Thanks to Linda for sending me some images as this is not really my normal style of card. 

I dug out an ancient piece of patterned paper for the background and made sure that I coloured in the image to match accordingly. 

I made it more "Christmassy" by sticking some felt snowflakes over the top and then stickled them to make them glitter.  I also glittered on the patterned paper on top of the stars to pull the card together. 

I then stamped out my Christmouse message using my PSX Playful alphabet stamps - I have several sets of small alphabet stamps.  I still consider them to be an essential part of my scrapbooking/ cardmaking tools, even though I don't use them nearly as often as I used to.  Great to get out these things from time to time and dust them off!

I then "enamelled" the outline of the flower using the Ranger white enamel accents.  It was my first time using these - they add a considerable dimension to the card, and hopefully look like snow!  The liquid flowed out of the nozzle faster than I thought it would, so I would recommend caution if using them for the first time.  Hope you join us in the challenge, and have lots of fun playing along! 

Patterned paper:  Colorbok Starry Sky
Ranger white enamel accents
Diamond Stickles
Make It Yourself Furry white snowflakes
PSX Alphabet stamps - Playful

Monday, 7 November 2011

Sketch and Scrap November

For my group's challenge on UK Scrappers this October, we were challenged to create a layout using this sketch:

I decided to use a picture of my boys, and make a companion layout to the one I produced for Scrapology for November. 

Supplies List:
Bazzill cardstock
Journalling pen:  A fine black permanent marker
Patterned papers: Urban Lily "Polka Dot", Chatterbox Scrapbook Walls "Stitched Ivy", 7 gypsies "Life Blanc", Sassafras Lass Indian Summer "Pumpkin Patch"
K & Company Metal Art
Doodlebug rubons Sew Easy Lilywhite & Black
Maya Road Office Sheers Journalling Spot
Wooden Buttons: Hobbycraft
Ribbon, Lace, Felt, Fabric, Gem, Pearls

It's very satisfying to create what I think is a beautiful result from old supplies and great to get some of this hoard of stash used up! 

The photo is of my Mum with the boys when they were just over two weeks old. We did a photoshoot with a local photographer, and were so pleased we did it. I loved the photo - it's a very precious memory and is just what it says a "special moment".

Friday, 4 November 2011

Scrapology November Challenge

This month, over at Scrapology, we are scraplifting Hannah Young's layout below: 

The challenge this month is to make fabric flowers. 

This is my interpretation.  I decided to interpret the flowers rather differently, so had a shufty through my materials to see what I could choose from.  I had black tulle, bits of left over felt, and various bits of material.  The larger red flower is made from wide wired ribbon.

The photo is one taken at a photoshoot when my boys were 3 weeks old and is of my mother and I.  All the patterned papers have come from my scraps bag and are all ancient - how satisfying is it to use them up?

Bazzill cardstock
Patterned paper:  Urban Lily "Polka Dot", Chatterbox Scrapbook Walls "Stitched Ivy", Scenic Route Laurel "Sailmaker Lane", 7 gypsies "Life Blanc"
Tim Holtz:  Mini Labels movers and shapers die
Alphas: K & Company "Handmade mini alpha", Making Memories "Tiny Alphas white on black"
Stickers: Scenic Route Laurel Monogram ABCD
Wooden Heart: Hobbycraft
Ribbon, Lace, Bonbon

Because my target photo was a completely different shape to Hannah's, I had to reinterpret the sketch somewhat, and also decided to simplify the colour scheme. 

I am really pleased with how this layout turned out.  I shall be making a companion page for the boys' albums using another sketch challenge!  Why don't you join us - Jill from Cardinal Colours has once again donated a fabulous prize - check out the Scrapology blog to find out what it is!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Scrapology October Card Challenge

This month, the challenge set by Sue (Doogle 007) over at Scrapology is to use eyelets!  Goodness knows, if you've been a crafter sometime, then you probably have quite a stash of these in your craft drawers. 

I decided to make a card for my niece Erin who has a birthday coming up later this month. 

I used Autumn Leaves Freestyle Alpha by Tia Bennett.  I stamped each letter onto a different piece of green patterned paper scrap - I find my scraps do come in very handy for all sorts of things! 

This photo was taken outdoors in that amazing bout of late summer weather we had at the beginning of October.  The boys and I really enjoyed being out in the garden those afternoons - hard to believe we had that mini heatwave, after the wintery weather we've had just lately. 

I really like how this card came together and have decided to really use those eyelets more often.  Why don't you go check out the other girls' work and join in with the challenge?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Ace of Spades

As part of the Sketch and Scrap challenge on UK Scrappers for September, we were asked to follow this sketch:

It was fairly similar to a sketch that came up earlier in the year - so I had previously prepared the photos and already decided on the background colour for the layout.  I failed to complete it, however, due to being pregnant and intensely tired and not really interested in being creative!  So when I saw this sketch, I was very happy that I had already started the process of pulling things together. 

The photos are from Chelsea Flower Show 2009 - and the garden is called the "Ace of Spades", designed by David Dumoney. 

My journalling reads:  "Designed by David Dumoney, the 'Ace of Spades' garden fell in the Urban Garden category and gained a silver gilt medal.  He was inspired by listening to the Motorhead track, whilst working on his bike at home.  A giant Ace of Spades was set on the back wall, created out of garden spade heads.  The 'Alien' furtniture was constructed from old motor parts by artist Susannah Trigg."

I particularly love drawing inspiration for a look and feel of a layout from the photos, so I wanted to achieve an industrial, grungy theme - tying in with the heavy metal song and the extensive use of metal in the garden!  I outlined the border and my photos with paint, and also had great fun flicking paint onto the cardstock with a paintbrush.  I used lots of silver metallic card to mat the photos and other elements.  I found the "Ace of Spades" logo in Google images and printed that out and stamped some additional swirls around the edge. 

Bazzill cardstock
Heidi Swapp mask "Floral Bouquet"
K & Company Handmade embossed stickers
Stamps:  Technique Tuesday "Irony", Autumn Leaves Stampology "Round & Round"
Dawn Bibby Silver mist
Black Distress ink
Jo Sonja black acrylic paint

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Scrapology October Layout

Welcome to October!  This month we are scraplifting one of Georgia K Keay's layouts, with the theme being "B for Borders". 

I was quite intimidated when I saw Georgia's layout because I knew I wanted to scrapbook my boys, but didn't want to splatter paint or ink or make it quite as eclectic as she did, even though I greatly admire the finished product.  In the end, I went with these photos as I knew I wanted to scrapbook them, even though they weren't marvellous, and thought that I could eventually make them work on a layout. 

Here is my layout:

The layout is all about the bibs my mum bought the boys from Brisbane Airport when she flew over to be with us for the first month after the boys were born.  One bib had a picture of a pirate kangaroo and was emblazoned with "The Wild Ride" whilst the other was called the "Happy Turtle", depicted in the aboriginal art style.   The bibs are so cute and I wanted to remember their provenance so I decided to incorporate their design into the layout.  So I picked up the aboriginal art theme and thought that the Basic Grey Archaic papers were very suitably earthy.  I traced the kangaroo and turtle outlines onto acetate with a permanent marker and filled in the detail with Promarkers.  Then once the various patterned papers were stuck on, I decided to use the dot imagery for a border around the page to fit in with the Scrapology theme this month and also use the same principle to surround the journalling shape.  I liked the naive lettering on the bibs so just scribbled out my title and coloured in the letters using the same colour scheme.  After all, I can't cut up every item of clothing the boys have ever worn (as I did with their first baby grows)!  The splotches from Georgia's page are emulated with the dots in the border to look like air bubbles from the turtle and also the same with the fish. 

I outlined the patterned paper with my black Promarker to save on black cardstock, but did matt the photos on black Bazzill to give them more stability. 

My journalling reads " Grandma Brierley bought these bibs for you from Brisbane Airport because she said she couldn't resist them.  If you were crying a lot I would say to you "come on, my wild koalas, I want you to be happy turtles".  I don't know why you were called wild koalas where the picture was clearly a pirate kangaroo... @ 9 days old.  15-07-11".

Bazzill Basics cardstock
Patterned Papers:  Basic Grey - Archaic collection "Passe", "Fossil"
                               Crate Paper - Crate Avenue collection "Style"
                               Scenic Route - "Background Blue Grid Worn"
1/2" circle punch

As usual, Jill from Cardinal Colours is putting up a prize for the challenge.  Come on and join in!

Friday, 30 September 2011

12 week milestones

So much is happening, that it is hard to keep up with all your changes.  Lewis, it is amazing to watch you raise both legs into the air at the same time and then let them fall to the bottom of your moses basket or onto the ground - you're not called "little thumper" for nothing!  Since about 10 weeks, you have been smiling a lot more and it is so lovely to see.  Last Saturday, you had your first proper laugh at Daddy and he was really thrilled. 

At 11 weeks, you boys seemed to "see" each other and were checking each other out. 

Henry, you are happy and laughing a lot of the time, and it is naughty but it makes me laugh a lot when I see Daddy and you sticking your tongues out at each other.  I hope this is not a habit that will continue! 

You are both becoming more animated and a lot more alert.  Henry, you seem to focus a lot more on people's faces and respond directly to facial expressions. Lewis, you seem to respond more to items around you and enjoyed being on the bear mat and playing with the mobile.

Henry, you are cooing a lot more and spend a lot of time making cute little sounds.  With the really hot and very summery weather this week, you got a chance to spend a lot of time in your bouncers in the garden in your summer outfits.  These Pooh suits are one of my favourites and I am so pleased you got some wear out of them this beautiful week. 

Grandma Jones came with me today to the baby clinic to get you both weighed.  Henry, you weighed 13lb and 15oz - 1 oz off one stone!  And Lewis, you have nearly caught up with Henry at 13lb 12oz. 

You have both crept up to the 50th percentile on the growth charts, and the health visitors are very happy with your progress.  Mummy and Daddy both look forward to seeing what happens next!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Scrapology September card challenge

In the middle of each month, Scrapology set a card challenge.  This month, Craftwork Cards requested  us to use bunting. 

Having a scrambled baby brain, I made a girly one for my niece in a panic - but ended up giving it to her four days early, without having time to take a photograph of it! So then I decided to make something quite different. 

I had only scraps left of my Basic Grey Hang 10 collection, so I cut up the appropriate number of banner shapes.  The lettering is the Sizzix "Slobbery Kisses" alphabet - I love that the extended dies cut a whole upper and lower case alphabet with only one pass through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.  I outlined everything with a fine tip black pen, and went around the edges with a brown Promarker for more dimension.  I thought this would make a card suitable for a male, so something a bit different. 

Why not check out the Scrapology blog and join in with the challenge this month? A prize from Jill at Cardinal Colours is up for grabs ...  

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Week 9-10 milestones

Well, with Daddy off on paternity leave this week, it has been hectic, to say the least. 

On Sunday evening, we celebrated your cousin Grace's 11th birthday at a Chinese restaurant in Beaconsfield - and Daddy was very impressed with your best behaviour on your first outing in the evening.

I was supposed to have a day off from babysitting and minding duty on Monday but sadly that didn't happen.  Lewis was particularly restless during the night and not only kept his Daddy awake, but also his Mummy as well.

So we all went to the gym instead - Daddy went for a workout, whilst I sat with you - and then I finally had a chance to have a swim!  It was very nice to be able to paddle about in the pool and manage at least a little bit of exercise. 

On Tuesday, you boys had your first innoculations. Henry you screamed, poor love and was obviously in some distress, but Lewis - you were the champion today!  You whimpered for about a minute, and then seemed perfectly ok! Daddy and I changed our strategies with you today - we put you to bed quite early, and finally set up the baby monitor for good.  Daddy got a fright at some point - then he let out a huge laugh - he thought you both had scarpered, and was scared for a moment as he thought he lost you!  He then remembered that you were both tucked up tightly in your moses baskets upstairs in your room.

Henry, you were out of sorts for the rest of the week, so I had to keep checking on you during the nights to make sure you were ok and I would listen to you both breathing and feel reassured that you were well.  Henry, you slept through the night on Wednesday - Daddy was so impressed again!  Lewis, you finally smiled and laughed at me a bit, though I do look forward to seeing you happy more regularly. 

Both of you are sleeping much more at night and managing to go for longer in between feeds.  We went for coffee to an NCT friend's house in the afternoon - and both of you were bigger than some of the other babies born after you!  We didn't have you weighed this week but you must both be well over 12 pounds now.  So much so, that this next photo of you, Lewis seems particularly appropriate. 

Actually, I really wanted to capture you in this t-shirt whilst it still fit you.  You thrash around in your basket so much at night - it is a relief that your basket is no longer on the rocking base, as sometimes the basket would be bashing against the furniture so loudly, it woke up Mummy and Daddy!  I was lucky to capture this next picture - you are almost smiling! 

Mummy finally got your 3-6 month clothing organised and hung up in the closet. We went and visited Grandma and Grandpa Jones on Thursday afternoon and we learnt the lesson to take more than we think we need as things run out very quickly with both of you growing so fast! Because we got home quite late, both of you were more difficult to settle, so Daddy talked to you through the baby monitor as if it was a walkie talkie - "This is Daddy calling Baby number 1, and Baby number 2 - go to sleep now.  Go to sleep!"  It was adorable and really funny to witness, and so sweet too.  You did listen to him, and settled down a bit more after that. 

We have now run out of Size 2 nappies this morning, Sunday 11th September - that means that we have used 62x2 packs, plus 34 nappies in 12 days - that's just over 13 nappies per day between both of you, which really isn't too bad! 

Henry, here you are looking very serious as Daddy fed you - no doubt pondering on political matters like Teddy Roosevelt. 

Oh well - at least you can multi-task! 

Friday, 2 September 2011

Week 8-9 milestones

It's been an eventful week!  On Saturday, you smiled directly at me Henry and it just made my heart melt.  I am not ashamed to say it made me shed a tear.  On Sunday, you smiled at me a lot more, and even started laughing and giggling too!  Grandma Jones saw that on Monday and it made her very happy as well. 

Lewis, you smiled at me whilst I was feeding you in the early hours of Monday morning.  Your smiles at me have been a lot more fleeting. Daddy loved it when you smiled and giggled at him on Tuesday evening - he was tickled pink to see you so happy.  Daddy seems to spot your smiles so much more than I do - I do hope to see a lot more of them soon!

We all went to the gym on Bank Holiday Monday and I was most disappointed when the pool was closed because of a pump failure.  However, you enjoyed looking at the different scenery and waited patiently in the bistro area whilst first Mummy and then Daddy went about their business.  In the afternoon, we went to Grandma and Grandpa Jones's house for a visit and a proper meal and you enjoyed spending time with them.  As I had likened Henry to Teddy Roosevelt and Lewis, Grandma and Grandpa called you Winston, we could have future politicians in the making!  Grandma put you both together on Grandpa's chair, and wrapped you in her fake ermine coat.  You both looked so snuggly and funny with your heads peeping out from the fur!  I couldn't resist taking a photo. 

Lewis, I have taken quite a few of you on your own looking like quite the little boy - and here you are! 

On Tuesday, our stock of newborn number "1" nappies ran out - which is just as well, as it's been a struggle fitting you both in them for the past week or so.  Lewis, there is a bit more room to breathe with you, but Henry - you're definitely past the 11lb/5 kilo mark now, which is the upper limit for the nappies.  Onto number 2's - no pun intended! - more signs that you're growing too fast for Mummy's liking.

We also moved you both to feeds of 150ml on Wednesday as we had been feeding you every two hours or less.  Talk about drinking us out of house and home!  Daddy also put up a cot bed for you both today and put the mobiles above the bed - bedtime will be so psychelic from now on! 

Overnight, you both went to 5:30 in the morning for your next feed.  I was so impressed and got a decent night's sleep for a change, apart from Daddy's snoring. 

Today is Friday, so we both took you to the baby clinic, where we got you weighed.  Henry, you now weigh 5.34kg/11lbs 12 oz - you put on nearly a pound again last week! Lewis, your growth was a bit slower this week - you put on 14 oz, so you now weigh 5.12kg/11lb 4 oz.  Wow! 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Little Stars

This is my first layout of the babies.  Part of the Sketch and Scrap challenge on UK Scrappers for August, and here is the sketch:

I turned the sketch on its side to account for my landscape photo.  I just had to scrapbook a photo of the boys - my first layout of them.  Thank goodness my friend Tara had cardstock that matched the suits!  My stock of Bazzill just wasn't bright or vivid enough. 

Journalling reads:
These were the first outfits Daddy bought for you whilst still in hospital.  You were scratching your faces and these baby grows from Mothercare had in built mits. 

I cut up one of the suits and saved the rocket logo and used some of the poppers as a type of brad.  I glued the fabric onto cardstock, and then made sure that after I cut out some of the aliens, I glued around the edge to stop the material from fraying.  The stars were made with a combination of punches and a Quickutz star die.  I still love my Quickutz - so handy to cut out small shapes when you just need one or two. 

I embossed some stars onto the background, and thought that the "little star" journalling block in the Fancy Pants Summer Soiree stamp set was perfect.  I just had to mask off the "s" to make the title suitably plural. 

I didn't have any embroidery thread in the appropriate colour, so I used some fibres.  I am determined to use up my ample stash of fibres some day - even if it takes me years and years! 

Stampin Up!  Cardstock Brights
Bazzill Basics
Basic Grey Lauderdale "Grass Stain/Lau"
Fancy Pants Stamps
White Embossing Powder- "Summer Soiree", and "Fresh Mod"
Uniball Signo White pen

It is my first completed layout for months and months - I had lost confidence and spent ages and ages completing it. Still, I am happy with the result and the subject has given me a renewed interest in getting pages completed fast! 

Scrapology September challenge - E is for Embossing

Well, I have returned from "maternity leave" :lol: and resumed joining in with the monthly challenges over at the Scrapology blog, where this month we have scraplifted a layout by Kelly Goree at Basic Grey. 

This is Kelly's layout below:

The technique this month was to use embossing, whether wet or dry.  I have interpreted the layout very simply below:


The image looks wonky, but it is not IRL! I cut out the kraft hearts with my Quickutz die, and then used a Cuttlebug embossing border with my Quickutz squeeze to create the embossing.  I wanted the layout to be quite simple so that the stunning Bounty photo of my boys was the centrepiece, but I did add detail by stitching around the embellishments.  Quite a combination of old papers used, which I don't think matters a jot! 

I used scalloped scissors to cut the blue dotty trim around the photo. Then I cut out one side of the border pattern from the Prima "Happy Go Lucky" patterned paper. Using a Bazzill "Just the Edge" strip as a template, I scalloped one edge of the My Mind's Eye patterned paper.

*  Bazzill Kraft cardstock
*  Bella Blvd Plastino "Label Additions" (family, heart sticker)
*  Chatterbox Scrapbook Walls collection "Spruce and Sky Paisley" patterned paper
*  Cuttlebug Embossing Borders "Just my Type"
*  Kaisercraft Squadron collection "Sergeant" patterned paper
*  My Mind's Eye Abbey Road Lucky Me Collection "How Fortunate" Title; Kaleidoscope Collection   Celebrate "Family" Journaling Card; Wild Asparagus cardstock collection patterned paper
*  Prima Marketing So Cute! Collection "Growing" (Apple of my Eye); Iron Orchid Designs Morning    Song Collection "Happy Go Lucky" patterned paper
*  Quickutz heart die A-SS-0001
*  Sassafras Lass Dreamy Collection "Tingle" patterned paper

Why don't you have a go and join in with us this month?  A lovely prize from Jill at Cardinal Colours is up for offer.  :)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Christmas Cards

Isn't it amazing, the amount of stash you build up over the years without really trying?  I keep Christmas bits and bobs in a box file and decided that whilst I was downstairs looking after the boys, I would do a bit of crafting in between.  Cards are easy to pick up and put down, so they seemed a good choice of project.  I have no idea what these papers are called, but they were a freebie with a craft magazine some time ago - so I thought I would challenge myself to use them all up!  All variations on a theme, but they certainly got my Christmas cards started off with a bang. 

Warning - image heavy post! 

Using the Tim Holtz Elegant Flourish die and some blue glitter paper - very simple!

Scalloped scissors for the border.  Craftwork Cards "Oh my words Christmas" for the sentiment - makes card making so quick and easy. 

Using up some of my extensive Bazzill "Just the Edge" strips and a bit of left over card embossed with the Cuttlebug snowflake embossing folder. 

A co-ordinating frame, again with free magazine paper from a different collection.  

White peel-offs and the end of the blue swirly ribbon as a tag.  I made up my own sheet of Christmas messages and printed them off on robust card. 

I've had the dimensional snowflake stickers for years and years - you only need one!  The blue scalloped border is cut from glitter paper.  

I cut a bunch of white snowflake die cuts last year with my friend Tara's Sizzix snowflake dies.  Easily customisable with Promarkers and Stickles.

Using my Tim Holtz keyholes die and bits of leftover free magazine paper.  

Lots of scalloped circle punches and a way of using up just a left over strip of patterned paper. 

Even though the paper above is really busy, I really like this card - I think the double scallop is really effective, especially when paired with that snowflake dimensional sticker embellishment. 

And some left over handmade purple paper - again, with just a strip of patterned paper.  I used up one piece of that collection last year, but from the remainder, I have made 25 cards - a great staple if you're on a budget.  All quite easily achieved using some crafting basics - circle punches, ribbon, shaped scissors and some die cuts.  Voila!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Week 7 - 8 milestones

You are both more alert and interested in your surroundings this week.  You have both been creeping off the mat on the floor when on your tummies.  Henry, you in particular have been swiping the mobile above the bouncer and have been hitting the toys with your feet.  Henry, you are getting noticeably stronger in your back, and are sitting steadily a bit more each day. 

The Dr was happy with both of you this week and Mummy got told by both the Community Nurse and the Dr that she was doing a good job, so that made me happy. 

Henry, this week, you weighed 10lb 13oz/4.90 kg - an increase of 11oz.  Lewis, you now weigh 10lb 6oz /4.72kg - an increase of 12oz!  The Community Nurse also said you have jumped from the 9th percentile to the 25th percentile - very good news indeed.  She also said that it was quite common for the smaller twin at birth to outgrow the larger one - so look out Henry - Lewis is catching up to you!

Both Grandma Jones and Daddy thought you were smiling earlier this week and now I am convinced of that too. 

We went to the town on Monday and ran some errands, and on Wednesday, we met some of the other NCT mums at Starbucks in Pinner.  Tomorrow we have plans to go out for lunch, so we are getting out and about quite a lot this week. 

Tonight whilst doing your weekly update, Lewis you were on your tummy, and Henry, you were on your back.  Lewis crept forward towards Henry, and started sucking Henry's toe!  Daddy thought it was hilarious. 

You wore your Pooh suits out to town on Monday.  You both look so adorable in them - people were stopping to admire you.  I had to make sure I took photos of you in them before you grew too big!  They were given to you by Amanda and Stuart Parry. 

I hope we will have more hot weather before the official end of summer, so that you can wear these suits again!  Thank goodness we only have one more pack of newborn nappies, because you are both almost too big for them too.  Before too long, we also will have to put you into 3 - 6 month clothes. Lewis, the Community Nurse told me you had moved from the 9th percentile, to the 25th percentile - that is how much you've grown. 

Henry, you were able to sit up for this photo, but Lewis, you kept slipping down - so these photos were the pick of the bunch. 

We can't wait until Daddy starts his paternity leave on Monday, so that we can all spend some more time together and let Mummy get more rest! 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Week 6-7 Milestones

This week, both of you managed to go longer than 3 hours during the day before the next feed - though sometimes you would wake up after an hour, screaming like you've been starved! 

On Sunday Henry, you turned over by yourself for the first time!  It was so exciting to see.  You were kicking strongly on your tummy (and kicking your brother too, I might add!) and turned up and onto your side.  The impetus of the movement took you onto your back!  I am not sure you liked it though as you immediately started crying.  You haven't managed to repeat this to date, but when on your tummy, you put your head way up into the air, and also your legs are bent up behind you, showing how strong you are. 

Lewis - you are more able to cope with the bottle on your own and one day I left you with it whilst I went into the kitchen to prepare a bottle for Henry.  You were still hanging on to it when I got back, so that is a real achievement also, I think!

Whilst Lewis is much more expressive, Henry you are also becoming much more aware of your surroundings and are looking about you a lot more.  Lewis, you will quite often stare in my direction, and have both hands on the side of your face with your hands clenched, looking like the end of the world is nigh!

On Thursday, Grandma Jones noticed that whilst you were both lying side by side on your mat, Lewis - you were sucking Henry's thumb!  Unfortunately I couldn't get to my camera quickly enough, but that made both of us laugh a lot. 

You were weighed earlier this week - on a Thursday instead of a usual Friday.  Today, Henry you weighed 4.6kg/10 lb 2oz - that represents an increase of 10 oz!  Lewis, you now weigh 4.36kg/9 lb 10oz - that is a 9 oz increase on last week.  Lewis, you are catching up to Henry slowly but surely - only 8oz behind now!  We shall have to see what happens in the future. 

The Community Nursery Nurse told me that Henry, you are in the 25th percentile - that means that of 100 babies of the same age, 75 would weigh more than you would - but that you are growing appropriately in accordance with that percentile.  Lewis, you are on the 9th percentile, and also developing appropriately.  That is interesting to know - as most other babies of your age would be heavier than both of you!  Both Mummy and Daddy think that you are already heavy and growing every day. 

Since late last week, you have grown out of your New Baby clothes, and things that fit you a couple of days ago are too small for you now.  I find it astonishing how quickly this all happens!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A lullaby ....

This is one of my favourite things to sing to you, when you are both crying and struggling to settle ...

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night

O'er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.

Love, to thee my thoughts are turning
All through the night
All for thee my heart is yearning,
All through the night.

Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever,
There's a hope that leaves me never,
All through the night.

Apparently, this is an ancient Welsh folk song.  I remember it (not all the verses, though!) because I sang it when in a choir as a teenager.  I have always loved it, and find it very soothing.  I also think the words are very beautiful, and hope you have a lasting memory of me singing to you - though you may find it more psychologically disturbing rather than soothing!  We shall have to see what you remember. 

Friday, 12 August 2011

Week 5 - 6 milestones

Lucy the Health Visitor was seriously impressed with both of you boys today.  Henry - you weighed 9lb 8oz/4.26kg, so in one week you have put on 14oz.  Lewis, you are rapidly catching up to Henry - you now weigh 9lb 1oz/4.12kg - so this past week you have put on 15 oz! 

She also asked me whether either of you have smiled yet - the answer is no - but we can detect that they're on their way, because both of you give windy expressions that look like the beginnings of a smile.

You both like tummy time on the colourful mat we bought from Mothercare with some gift vouchers we were given at the baby shower.  Henry, yesterday I put you next to Lewis, and then after about a minute, I saw that you were perpendicular to him!  Henry, you push yourself up by your arms, and raise your head up.  Both of you can also lift your legs into the air whilst on your tummy.  Daddy and I think that you are both pretty strong!

You both march your arms and legs into the air when you're not happy and throw your heads and upper bodies back when you're feeling active and nearly headbutt us. 

You both are pretty good at grasping our fingers or the bottle when feeding, and we've all noticed that you've started to put your hands to your mouths and begin sucking your fingers when you're hungry.  Another trick you've both managed this week is to pull my hair when it is not in a ponytail - so that is something for me to remember. 

Grandma Brierley and I cut your fingernails this week with the nail clippers for the first time - that was very scary, but necessary!  They were so sharp before hand - you would both scratch your faces and our necks when cuddling up with us. 

I took the following photo on Sunday, 14th August and I think it is pretty darn cute.  The suits are the first item of clothing that Daddy bought for you when I was in the hospital.  I asked him to go to Mothercare and buy some babygrows that covered your hands, as both of you would scratch your faces.  These are two of the three designs and are so bright and colourful!  Sadly, you have nearly grown out of them now, but we will make sure that they get passed onto a good home. 

Both of you focus on our faces when we're feeding you and we feel that you can definitely see us now. It also looks as if you are starting to be aware of each other especially when we put you so closely together on your mat.  It is all so exciting and interesting!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A Mother's Love ....

I said goodbye to my mother yesterday.  We stood outside, and cried in each others' arms, not sure when we would see each other again, especially wishing we lived within closer proximity.  Mum wrote in her card to us "it has been a privilege to share in the first month of your babies' lives".  Mum, it was a privilege for us to have you here - you have provided not only a great amount of practical back-up in terms of feeding the twins through restless and sleep deprived nights but an impetus to get things organised.  Perhaps most importantly, an enormous amount of emotional support through a huge period of adjustment for a new family!

I did an internet search for something which approximated my feelings and found the following quote:

Life began with waking up and loving my mother's face
- George Eliot, English novelist

Well, that is the way that I hope my sons feel about me in the future, secure and confident in their parents' love.  Hopefully they will never have to question the way their parents feel about them - that unconditional, constant and unwavering support.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.

Despite just a couple of week's experience, Mum you have made me more confident in my ability to love my sons and to look after them by giving me a strong and positive role model.  You were indefatigable and tireless in your efforts for us and we so appreciate it.
I am hoping that we can see you again very soon and that distance will not always be such an obstacle. 

With lots of love and gratitude,
Alison xxxx