30 March 2014

Project Life weeks 10 & 11

This was what my last few weeks looked like: 

Things I am loving this week: 
Using the graphics tablet again. I go through swings and roundabouts with this tool but when I use it I love the effects. On the week ten page I added just a few words to some of the photos but on the week eleven spread I wrote quite a large portion of journalling. I love the magic of being able to handwrite on a digital layout.

Speaking of writing, I am also really enjoying using the font 'courier'. Super clean and simple. I'm a fan.

Techniques I have tried:
The usual selection of collages and writing directly onto photos. My friend has a polaroid camera and I took a photo of one of the little photos that had come out of it. I then trimmed the photo down, backed it to patterned paper and added some chevrons. I tried to imagine what I would have done if I had had the photo in real life doing this project physically. I like how it turned out.

Photos I have documented: 
Week ten focused on the everyday stuff. I tried to frame the layout around that journalling card that says "every day". There weren't enough photos to make a double spread but i'm happy with what was documented on this one page.
Week eleven mostly documents the very long walk to the priory. I always love it when I have photos of the boy to scrap with.

Thoughts on the project: 
I'm glad I chose to purchase digital kits this year rather than project life sets. I think I can tailor them to my style slightly better and like the pop of colour the patterned paper gives.

A fifth of the way through the year. Time is flying!

27 March 2014

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

Come in, come in.
I'm glad to see you have dodged the rain showers. As my mum would say peering at the sky, "it's looking black over Bill's mothers..."
Oh, that's it, dodge the suitcase, let me take your coat and make your tea.

If I was meeting you now I would sit you in the saggy red sofa and chatter away to you as I pulled out the pretty mugs and the teapot. I would laugh and point at the piles of things around the lounge and joke that you can't tell it's the end of term can you?! I'm getting ready to pack off and head home for the easter vacation. I think you would probably raise your eyebrows and say something along the lines of "already?" and I would respond, yes, can you believe it!

As I passed you the first steaming mug of tea and the plate of biscuits I would comment how fast this term has gone. How last year I found this term quite tough. Epiphany term is always the hard one in the university calendar. All essays submitted count towards your degree and there are a lot of them. It's normally dark and wet and cold and everyone has a lot on. Smiling though I would tell you that somehow this term was better than I expected it would be. The work happened, I kept smiling and we avoided snow. All good things!

Can you believe spring is upon us? You would look out of the window and see the rain bouncing off the pavement. Yes, it's hard to believe isn't it! Have you got plans for Easter? Cradling my mug, my eyes shining I would tell you about how exciting it always is to go home and see the family. I would tell you that I am excited to work on a project with my best friend. I am making her a quilt. Together we have chosen the material, a moda jelly shop roll, and we are planning how to cut it up and make it into something pretty to throw over her bed. Creating with friends is just the best.

If you had teenage children or maybe if you remembered your own student days you would probably ask me if this term consisted of revision. Yes, yes I'm afraid it does I would sigh as I poured myself a second cup of tea. Would you like one? Keep this under wraps but I do quite like revision! I think its the excuse to buy some nice stationery and organise work into pretty colours! I feel though I may be alone in this. Revision is always better when everyone else is working too though. Most of my friends are taking finals this year so there really is no excuse to work!

I would help myself to another biscuit and pass the plate over to you. "I need to finish them up", I would tell you. "you're doing me a favour eating them!" As we both enjoy blogging and crafting our topic of conversation would move onto this and I would sighing tell you that I have been doing less blogging this month but hope to change that over the holidays. It always ebbs and flows and after nearly five years at this little gig I have learnt to just go with it. The words will come when the time is right. Gosh, that sounded very philosophical. I would smiling tell you that despite the lack of blogging in these parts, the support from blog friends has been incredible. I am loving participating in the friendship quilt- Bev, your square will be on the way to you soon. I have signed up for a bloggers retreat in September so will maybe be sharing my cup of tea in person with some of you soon. I have also skyped a dear blog friend of mine, Sinead this week and am hoping a visit to see her in Ireland will happen in the not too distant future. Community is wonderful isn't it we would agree.

I would look up at the clock and with sadness in my voice tell you that I will have to be on my way soon. My train is waiting and I am anxious to do one more check around the house for those stray objects that will be forgotten. Thank you thank you for stopping by again. It is always wonderful to see you.

I would tell you to wrap up warm. The rain is still blowing in and there is a nip in the air. We would hug tightly at the threshold. "see you soon" I would call as you stepped onto the street. "definitely!" you would reply.

If you were having tea with me today, what would you tell me?

If you would like to write a "tea" post please add it to the linky at the bottom so we can all sit and share with you! The linky will be open for a week so you have plenty of time! 

26 March 2014

Time to get the mugs out

We're nearly at the end of March folks. Spring is on its way!
This is a little invitation for tea at mine tomorrow, the 27th.  You will have to step around the suitcases waiting to head home for the holidays but it would be a pleasure to chat away to you about the goings on of this term.

"Time for tea" is a simple meme. There is just one instruction:
"what would you tell me if we were sitting down together having tea?"

If you are an old friend, welcome back, this is becoming a lovely monthly ritual! If you are new around here, do stop by and join in so we can get to know each other better.
As I always say, a "time for tea" post does not have to be long. It can be a funny story, a list of bullet points or a piece of news. It can be a flying visit or a whole afternoon catch up.
Regardless, share a piece of life with us and we in turn will share some of ours.

If you want to join in with 'time for tea' there are three ways:
1. Grab a cuppa, switch on the computer and sit and read my little ramblings and join in if you want in the comments
2. Do a tour around the world and visit a few of the lovely ladies who link up to the post and share their own hearts over a steaming brew on their blogs.
3. Write your own tea post. Long, short, funny, sad, and link it back here so others can stop in for a cup of tea with you too. The linky is open for a week so you have plenty of time. 

Hope to see you tomorrow! 

If you are feeling short on inspiration all of my tea posts are under the tab on the right hand sidebar along with the links to the many ladies who have joined me over the months. 

24 March 2014

Looking for the Signs

I had family visiting at the weekend and as they had a car we took a day trip out to Beamish, a living history museum just north of the city.
It was a fantastic day. There was so much to see, all beautifully reconstructed.
We spent most of the day looking around the Edwardian town. There was a street of houses to look inside, a row of shops all selling different goods and a tram to travel on.

Looking back at the photos I took that day, I was struck by how many times I tried to capture signs.
Shop names and notices in windows.
Newspapers and advertisements.

Signs say a lot about a place.
I don't know what draws me to them. Perhaps because they are so different to the advertisements and notices we have now.
Perhaps because I appreciate pattern and typography.

One of the shops was an Edwardian newsagents and upstairs was the printing room.
Rows and rows of printing drawers full of letters were laid out.

We were shown how an old printing press worked and saw the sheets of newsprint hanging up to dry.
Letters and ink and signs. It was perfect.

I like looking for details and in this fun museum there were quite a few!

19 March 2014

The details of our home

I often record the conversations and the stories of our experience of living in our first house. I realised though that I never think to record the little details. The day to day stuff. What our home looks like.

Yesterday I took my camera and wandered around our little house. In many ways it screams student but I also think it has a lot of girly touches too.

These are the details that caught my eye....

My belongings littering the bed after coming back from a lecture. Backpack, phone, text book and computer.

Miss Maggie Rabbit who I made by hand, who still needs to be blogged about, and sits on my desk.

Housemates curled up on the sofa tapping away at work.

Bright spring daffodils on the table.

The obligatory cleaning rota tacked to the pin board in the kitchen.

Pretty cake tins by the window.

The sausage full of old plastic bags which never seem to get used again.

The cupboard full of pretty girly mugs. You can tell we are tea drinkers can't you!

The fridge magnets of love and happiness. Its always good to receive affirmation when you go to grab the milk in the morning!

and slippers just stepped out of in the middle of the lounge.

One day I will love to look back at these details that made our first little house a home.

What details make up your home?

17 March 2014

On going on very long walks.

The boy was up in Durham this weekend and I was determined we would go on a walk.
We both love strolling along together, wellies on, coats flapping.
A few friends had mentioned the old priory north of the city and suggested that I visit it.
A cursory look at the map confirmed where it was and also that it was some distance.

The boy is a geographer. I am not. I think he grasped how far a nine mile walk was.
I didn't.
Thankfully he suggested we took a packed lunch. The resulting four hour walk though was just perfect. We knew that we might not make it all the way to the priory. Or at least he knew that. I was cheerfully optimistic!

We walked through woods, across the fields, past the category A prison which was a tad daunting and finally down the hill towards the priory.

The priory was beautiful but the company, now that was perfect! Hand in hand we chattered and joked and talked and walked in silence. We schemed and planned and dreamed and laughed together.
There is something about a long walk that lends itself to good conversation.

I am so thankful that he humoured my desire for this little adventure. I am also blessed that he knows me so well. As I pointed my camera up to capture the details of the priory he looked at me and said,
"photos and old things, they make a happy Abi don't they!"
They do, especially with him.

11 March 2014

Project Life weeks 8 & 9

Here we go again and I'm finally feeling like i've found my groove with this project this year.

Things I am loving this week: 
Light, clean and airy pages. I have realised I like a lot of white, pops of colour from my photos and a few good fonts.
White boarders on photos and splashes of pretty floral and striped patterned paper.
Writing directly on photos. Nothing new here but I don't think it will ever get old.
Those week cards. I am glad I spent an hour making them in January.

Techniques I have tried: 
Trying to shake up how I document the week. Particularly on this week eight spread. I had lots of photos from one event so made a feature of it and placed them all in one area and added three journalling spots to tell the story.
I'm trying to become less concerned with telling the story of the week and more focused on telling the story of the photos I have.

Photos I have documented: 
A fun mix these two weeks. Week eight is focused on a walk I blogged about and a series of birthday events, week nine is the story of my brothers marathon and day to day goings on in Durham.

Thoughts on the project: 
I'm glad I am choosing to let it go a bit more this year. Week nine didn't have many photos. I let it go and created just the one page. I am far happier with this than trying to spin the photos out across two.

Still in love with the two page templates. I can't decide which I like more to be honest. It gives me far more options each week and has stopped this project so far becoming monotonous.

Back in the groove of making and posting layouts and it feels good!

9 March 2014

One photo & twenty words

My brother ran a half marathon down south. I followed on twitter up North. He raised £500. What a hero.
My challenge for you today. Find one photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story. Jot it down and link back here. The link will stay open for a week so you have plenty of time to join in! 

7 March 2014

Find your photo, find the words

The month has flown and again I am throwing down a challenge. 
On Sunday 9th I challenge you to find a photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story. 

It can be trivial or deep or funny or a quote. Twenty words are suddenly not a lot and each one takes on that bit more meaning! 

Like always there will be a linky so you can share your photo and it will be open for a week. Get the thinking caps on! See you there. 

5 March 2014

on our walk

The last few weeks have been busy around here. This time of term is clouded with deadlines and essay writing and library sessions. 
We have been having some glorious (if cold) weather here recently and it has been good to just stop work sometimes, don the wellies and head out of Durham. 

Last weekend we took a new walk, along the river and across the fields. 

The views were stunning. I have to remind myself to take my big camera more often rather than just rely on my phone. I love working with these photos far more than any quick instagram ones! 

It is so good to share a house with these lovely ladies. Sometimes a walk is just perfect to shake off those library blues. This walk came with a story too. We had planned to head to an old priory nearby. We ended up turning back before we made it. It's a good job too. It turned out the priory was on the other side of the river!

What things did you/do you do to break up work?

3 March 2014

On starting a meme

Memes have been flying around the blog world this past year and in light of "time for tea" I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts and tips about starting a meme after a year of running one.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert, these are tips that work for me, feel free to adapt to your purpose!

1. Don't think too hard about it. 
Memes often come about by accident or mine seem to do at least! Time for tea started out of as a few blog posts I wrote, inviting blog readers to sit and have a chat with me. It was sporadic at first but then as it gathered momentum more people asked to join in and just like that we had a monthly meme.

The same was true for one photo & twenty words. I threw this out as a one off at the end of last year. I set it as a challenge and it was quickly taken up. There were requests to make it regular. In my experience, creating a meme is quite an organic and natural process.

I guess my rule of thumb would be to keep doing what you are doing. Find a type of post that people latch onto, or friends ask to join in with. A meme is always popular when that type of post has a following to start with or you are really enthusiastic about it already. (obviously this doesn't always have to be the case but it is how it has worked for me)

2. Make it clear. 
When so many people schedule blog posts or at least have an idea of how their month of blogging will pan out, it makes sense to set a date for your meme or if it is weekly, a day of the week.
I also like to try (if I remember) to post a reminder a few days before. I know that with the other memes I follow and join in with, the reminder is always welcome!

Within a reminder post or on a separate page or just at the bottom of a blog post I like to make it clear what the meme is. Most of the time it will be obvious but I have a little blurb I put with both my memes. Just to make sure we all know what we are doing!

3. Link it up. 
One of the joys of joining in memes is that you are doing so along with lots of other people. I find memes are a great way of visiting new blogs, finding new readers and making new friends. If you are considering starting a meme look at a few options for linking up. Are people just going to link in the comments or are you going to put a "linky" gadget at the bottom of the post?

I also keep my links open for a good week just to give everyone a chance to join in. I am notoriously late with joining in on other memes I follow so I always appreciate it when I am given plenty of time to do so.

I was very daunted when I first put a linky gadget into my memes but it is far easier than you think. It is normally just a case of copy and paste into the HTML section of your post.

4. Commitment. 
To start and run a meme is a commitment. It is great fun but its your party. That means preparing and clearing up so to speak! I found that time for tea was something I intended to do each month anyway so adding a link wasn't too much more. One photo and twenty words is quick and simple to write. I really enjoy writing both of these memes. Both require setting up though and that is what can take the time.

I found it really helpful at the start of this year to set out what I was planning on doing on the blog and then asking for opinions. That is a good gauge of how popular a meme may be and if it is worth creating it into a meme in the first place. The answer in my experience is nearly always yes. The effort of running it (which isn't much really) is totally made up by the fun of writing and reading so many wonderful posts across the world.

5. Say Thanks. 
Courtesy can go a long way with memes. If someone has linked up I will make a point of visiting, reading and leaving a comment. Simple manners but I appreciate it if others have done that for me. At the end of the day people have taken time out to join in with you. Thanks goes a long way!

So, what are your experiences of memes? Do you join in with some? Do you run one? Have you thought of running one?

Alexa and Sian who I know run some lovely memes, are there any other tips you would suggest/ lessons learnt?