Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Postcards: Summertime Photo Scavenger Hunt

My first tick on the list is number 5, a rack of post cards.

Have you heard about Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt? It's not too late to start.

This one was super easy for me as I live in a seaside resort, every other doorway is festooned with cards, magnets, tea towels etc.


I have also found a back-up photo for Juggler, but I am going to wait and see if I can get a better one.

Tune in next time for a layout about a coastal walk made for the fantastic Simple Recipes challenge on UKS :-)

Monday, 16 June 2014

Summer Bucket List #1: Gone Crabbin'

If you haven't heard of the Summer Bucket List and you would like to know more then please see here.
First up was a pick of mine; recreating a childhood memory of crabbing from Ilfracombe Pier. I did it with friends in our teens whilst we were knocking about around the harbour. We had a cheapy crab line and poor sacrificial worms, I was too squeamish and made the boys affix the bait. We caught a few and popped them back in again, but I mostly loved it when the water was clear and we were stretched out on our tummies on the scratchy-with-barnacles-concrete hanging over the edge watching them scurry about at the base of the pier pillars. We lived in Chambercombe to the east of the harbour and sometimes we would dawdle back around the harbour scrabbling our pennies between us to afford a sparkle lolly each to lick on our way home, we weren't above sharing if the pennies weren't enough either. Sometimes though we swam back across to Larkstone cove across the harbour and squelched back up the hill home. We wore our swimming costumes under shorts and vests and our trainers at all times so we could just jump in, swim across and then scramble across the rocks. Of course this was prohibited and not recommended and I would be 100% more wary of doing it now and definitely wouldn't let my boys do it! Although I would love for them to be able to do it, it was so exciting. There weren't any water ski's then of course so actually the danger has increased incredibly.

***I wish I had a snapshot of my minds eye for this***

Enough of the reminiscing, I could go on for hours.

So I wanted to recreate those feelings as best I can for Alex this year by pottering about the harbour as much as we can and seeing if we can catch a crab.
IMG_8923The first time we bought a cheap crab line and the most vile vacuum pack of squid bits. I cannot even describe that to you, you will just have to imagine. Some things do not change and I am still too squeamish to bait a line and there were no impressionable teenage boys around that I could flutter my eyelashes at and, well, manipulate a bit knowing that they were crushing on me a little bit ;-) However there was a very eager 9 year old that knew that if he didn't do it, it wouldn't be happening'.
So baited up, we cast the line, and we cast the line and we pulled it back up and we pulled it back up  again and again and nothing, nada, not even a bite. We had a fab time enlivened by the arrival of a larger than life brummie couple, lovely-most welcome grockles (colloquial name for tourists round our parts), they were so friendly and happy and had such a lust for life, the man eventually got into the natural pool left at lower tides and used his net to hook them out. Ali fell hook, line and sinker for him (did you really think I wouldn't use that gag?).
The second time we bought a crab net and the remainder of the vile vacuum pack...time for you to use whatever you had imagined about that and increase it by 4 (the amount of days it had been in the bucket since the last outing). Got it? Ok, moving on...
Excuse my finger in that shot. Oh and Ali has got more outfits, it is a different day, it's just that I didn't plan very well and he had the same fave outfit on!

There were a few more local children down there with their families and Ali had a wonderful time with them.

Remember when I said last week in my blog post about how I loved being in the moment and then moving out of it and recording it, this was one of those times, I retreated back to the steps and sat and watched them all and recorded some thoughts in my journal.
Then I went back to help him and we cast out and pulled in and did it some more and finally caught a jellyfish! Oh well, we were encouraged by a catch and came home via an ice cream (which cost considerably more than a sparkle lolly) with sticky mint choc chip faces and sticky unmentionably scented hands, a sense of accomplishment and firm plans to get back down there as soon as possible to try again.

The third time we hauled the crabbing gear out of the back of the garden, the vile vacuum pack could no longer be anywhere near the house, get your imagined idea of that back out and increase it by about a million .
*Pack of baby wipes now in my bag*
It was evening, the heat had eased into warmth, it was peaceful, the grockles would have been having their evening meal, the locals were mooching around with their dogs and ice creams. We had checked the tide times for the perfect crabbing moment and cast that net out again. We leaned against the metal poles of the pier rails gazing down at the most amazing deep turquoise clear water just enjoying.
As we watched the crab net, something moved over the bright white of the bottom of the net (the bit where the squid bits were trapped as bait), we whipped into action (Ali hauling on the line and me getting the camera out lol) and up it came, so exciting to see that net rising and it looking as though something was in there,

and haul,
and, YES,
IMG_4851two little crabs were having their tea :) We bothered them long enough to touch their claws, very gently and quickly and after one last look we submerged them again to let them finish their nibble and go about their business. Ali made me (and some locals that had stopped to watch) giggle, wondering aloud whether their business involved getting back down there to check Spongebob was serving at The Krusty Krab. (If that goes over your head, be thankful).
Gone Crabbin' from Jennie Hart on Vimeo.

So Summer Bucket List #1 - check. What I love about this is how it evolves from a checklist. Now, he wants a fishing rod as on trip 2 some of the other children had fishing rods and one of the lads caught a conger eel.

I have scrapped the photos now into a 12x12 layout and accompanying pocket page and I really want to say a few thank yous. Susi, thank you so much for selling me the Canon Selphy, those photos have printed so beautifully and so simply and so quickly after it happened. Also to Elaine whose blog I have found and really love visiting, she designed the weekly challenge which I used for the 12x12 layout and also as always to Sue who is always a great source of inspiration and on this occasion encouraged me to keep blogging with her support and also tagging me last week here.


IMG_9139I used an old kit from Webster's, Yacht Club and some newer stuff, a vellum from Maggie Holmes.

I have a great feeling about this summer.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Summer Bucket List: Intro Page

This will be our second year to compile and complete a Summer Bucket List (for details see here and I saw the original idea here). The basic idea is that everyone in the family contributes to the list which consists of things to do. This dovetails exactly with what I discussed in my last post about how I like to plan to do things to make sure we do things, enjoy them, record them and then document them with pretty paper and embellishments.

Some items on the list are exactly the same because they were awesome, some are similar in idea and some are new. Sadly some didn't make it, there is after all only so much summer available and a budget, so, no Ali-we can't go to Disneyland and Australia.
Now that is a bucket list :-)


So the list this year comprises:
1. Harry Potter Studio
We have heard good things about this tour so that will be our big treat.

2. Learn to sew
We have started, not well, but we have started.

3. Harry Potter Movie Marathon Day
PJ Day for a rainy day.

4. Make a Teddy
This is ambitious, see no. 2 

5. Blog Series 'Snapshot'
This is something I am considering for the blog inspired by other blog series I have seen

6. Plymouth Aquarium
The rest of the family have been over the past few years, but I haven't.

7. Stargazing Exmoor
This was utterly magical last year, we went ill-prepared as it was a little spontaneous and in April last year so it was very cold. We will be much better prepared with a disposable bbq, marshmallows for s'mores and dunking in hot choc while we marvel.

8. Daytime Coastal Cruise
We went in the evening and saw Dave the Dolphin last year, completely serene and lots of fun. We are going to go in the day and go the other way along the coast, see if we can see Sammy the Seal.

9. Make Chocolate Ice Cream
We have a great recipe for vanilla and for lemon, now the boys think we need one for chocolate, who am I to argue with that?

10. Coast Path & Geocaching
This has endured through the other amazing seasons and we will continue this summer.

11. Tunnels Beach
5 minutes from us we have a set of smugglers tunnels and a natural pool and beach, it has all been renovated and civilised with the addition of a play zone, excellent coffee and sunny outdoor seating.

12. Bodyboarding
I am not sure if I will still be brave enough to go on my own once the children have gone, but I think I probably will as I adore it and so do Louis and Lauren.

13. Rinda's Photo Scavenger Hunt
I have looked on at others completing this for a couple of years and this year I am joining in. If you haven't heard of it you can find out more here.

14. Catch a crab from Ilfracombe Pier
Recreating a childhood memory for and with Alex. 

14. Make Ginger Beer
Last year it was lemonade and you will see why we will need it for the next and final activity.

15. An Old Fashioned Picnic in an Old Fashioned Place.
We think it will be Dunster Castle and we are going to get out the proper picnic hamper (rather than the cool box and bag for life we normally use ;-)) make all the proper picnic food from scratch and wash it down with lashings of ginger beer.


Here we go! 

We have been out on the coast path already, also we have taken some photos for the scavenger hunt and we may have caught a crab, if you follow me on instagram you might already know :-) So hopefully I will be back tomorrow or the day after with one of those tales.
Thanks for coming by.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Tag - you're it!

I have played a lot of Tag this week. IRL Tag and Cyber Tag. More about the cyber Tag in a moment...

IRL Tag is an ongoing game with the kids. Sometimes it will take place in the house, mostly on our way to and from places or out and about. Our favourite one is to Tag whoever is getting out of the car on the school run or a drop-off; Lauren tagged Ali the other morning, he had got out of the car walking towards the school gate, she opened the window and swiped him as we drove away. His face was priceless, surprise and annoyed that he was 'it' for at least the next few hours. 

I am sure you are thrilled to know what passes for entertainment at Hart Towers.
A close-up of the last layout I made using the swirl on my eclipse die-cutter.

So cyber-tag, Sue has tagged me to take part in the blog tour that is going around which asks us to talk about our crafting. 

I do think about this a lot anyway, I know it is so good for me as I love it, but balancing real life with a hobby is a real balance, sometimes I go too far one way and sometimes too far the other and I think I have had to to see what works and what doesn't work for me and my family.
So the questions that the blog tour poses are:

How does my work differ from others of it's genre?
Why do I create what I do?
How does your creative process work?
What am I working on?

So I am a memory keeper primarily for me, when I am elderly I wish to be able to look back on these years with the children and remember the little things, especially as I don't have an especially good memory.
I started scrapping and paper crafting because I was attracted to the glitter glue and pretty paper that I spied in a new shop in our town. I asked loads of questions of the owners and they politely answered them and then steered me towards a class with Tracie Hudson. I was so excited to go. I wanted to know how to do things, I wanted a hobby, I wanted to be good at it. I think I was looking for something. I certainly and clearly remember a sense of 'finding something' about ten minutes into my first class.

I experimented, I bought stash, I attended IRL classes, I dabbled online, completely overwhelmed with the huge resource that is UKS,, Two Peas and many, many more. The side effect of all this experimentation and learning was 12x12 layouts of (mainly) the children. 

I painted a wood veneer card with gold pearly paint.

I was unhappy with the quality of my photos and that drove me to buy a DSLR and spend time learning how to shoot on manual (still forever learning that one and have upgraded the camera since then and I enjoy photography as a hobby all by itself, I also have Louis now choosing to study photography, my goodness if only that had been an option to me). I was happy with the photos and the progress I was making with my skills at scrapping  but something was missing and that was the writing. 

Setting up the blog, learning new technical skills  (more learning, classes, youtube, photoshop, blog design etc, has become a hobby on it's own) and writing has been so enjoyable. It is wonderful and gratifying when you see how many people have visited your blog and how many people leave kind comments, but it is such a resource to me, somewhere that I can go back and see how I felt about something and find the scrapping and the photos and videos (more learning on how to upload them, making QR codes and embedding them) all together in one place with it's story. 

I used an idea I saw on Ashli's blog to embed embellies into modelling paste.

I love that I am now in a cycle of live life, record it and document it. I love to plan what we are going to do (I completely subscribe to Becky Higgins' ethos of "Cultivate a good life and record it".), including stuff we have never done, see my Summer Bucket List below, taking my iPhone (best blimmin' invention ever) to record snaps and amazing quality video, taking my DSLR for the money shots, taking my notebook and pen (I adore technology and can see handwriting becoming an art form not an essential, but for me, there is nothing like a nice biro and blank lined page) to record moments and thoughts and feelings. Then most importantly, putting it all away in my bag and get in the moment with the kids, and I love the movement between being in the moment and stepping away from it to observe it, whether it is a beach trip, a museum visit or just a walk along the coast. Then I love editing the photos, choosing paper online, buying, stroking, putting kits together with older stuff and then spending time scrapping it. I feel an overwhelming sense of calm steal over me about ten minutes into scrapping time, a feeling I only ever feel something even vaguely similar when I have my toes in the sand and I am either sat on the beach or mucking about in the waves. My very happy contented places. I then love editing the video, (I loathe uploading it, roll on fibre-optic and 4G broadband, come on Mr Cameron sort it out) making the QR codes and writing my blog post.

My favourite blog posts have a close-up of the layout to start, then an introduction to whatever it is I am talking about, then the photos describing the story, then the video (if there is one, or it has ever finished uploading), then the layout and it's details. 

The layout above was, obviously, from a wedding I recently attended at the fabulous Saunton Sands. I have been using a flourish from my eclips die cutter that I also used on this layout and this one too. I am adding it in as I don't really like blog posts without any pics.

I am working on my Summer Bucket List. I did it for the first time last year from an idea by The Solar Family that you can see here
I have been writing the list with my family, choosing paper to scrap it all, waiting impatiently for it to arrive! Hopefully you will want to come back and see the post when it is done :-)
My last years Summer Bucket List intro post can be found here and here are some links below to posts from the events that we completed.
Devon County Show
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at the beach.
Evening Coastal Cruise

I now Tag the lovely funny Linds, her blog post will be up next Monday.