Saturday, 2 February 2013


Hello everyone

Some exciting news for me. I have been chosen to be a guest detective over at CSI for this month and I am so honoured and excited. This is a site that I love and was totally intimidated by the first time I visited but I took the plunge and cracked my first case and I made it to the most wanted list. You could have blown me over with a feather.  It has helped me grow and find my voice in ways I could not have imagined and I am so grateful to Debbi Tehrani who is the founder of the site and to Helen Wallace one of the DT's whose support and encouragement for me has been unfailing. THANK YOU!

Here is the new case file, and the first one for February..

With Valentines day coming up the theme is perfect, all hearts and flowers and gorgeous soft colours.. I used this sketch from OUAS for this case. I really love their sketches.

Here is how I solved the case. The papers I used for this layout are from Kaiser Craft and they were perfect for this weeks colour palette.

Scheme     - I used all of the colours.
Evidence   - Hearts, flowers, 10 layers, die cuts, punches
Testimony - Document a love story.

My journalling reads...

Forever... this is a love story that began at a Christmas party 47 years ago between my aunt, Em and her husband Willy, who was then a married man. It lasted, in absolute secret, for about 23 years until his children had finished school, at which time he left his wife and announced to a horrified family of hers that they were now an item. They moved in together and in around mid 1980’s they moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa. On the anniversary of the day they met 25 years before the two of them ran away together and got married, in secret too. It was just something they wanted to do with just the two of them, and they didn’t want to share that precious moment with anyone else. They never had any children, Willy already had two boys and Em had me, and they didn’t want anymore.
 NOW I am not saying I agree with affairs as so many people get hurt, and I do not judge anyone who finds themselves, for whatever reason, in that situation, but I absolutely loved hearing the stories of their illicit meetings and trysts, and I think truth be told I was a little jealous of such a passionate love at the expense of anything and everything else.
They left South Africa in the mid 90’s and moved around like Gypsies, first living in Amman for a few years then in England for a few years and finally in Ireland where Willy still lives but sadly alone. They came home to see us every year once they left, until my kids had finished school and I was free to travel more then I saw used to go to them once a year too.   Whilst they were living in England my beloved Em got sick, she had leukaemia and underwent a long and horrific treatment and eventually went into remission. I was so scared that I would lose her and all the horror of losing my mom at such an early age came flooding back. I did NOT want to lose her, and I was over the moon when she got better, my prayers had been answered. The whole time Willy had never left her side, he nursed her, he cared for her, and he loved her. Sadly, it doesn’t really matter much what we want and she got sick again and just like the first time round Willy took care of her, travelling each day an hour there and an hour back to the hospital to sit with her, bath her, feed her and keep her spirits up. Sometimes at one in the morning the hospital would phone him to come to her just because she needed to see him. During this time I spoke to her every single day. She passed away three years ago in June and we were both left heartbroken. I still see Willy twice a year and we both still miss her every day. Although he has gone on with his life that spark has gone from his eyes and there is a sadness about him that comes from having lost the only thing you have ever loved...

Here are some close ups of the layout.

I used some gesso coloured with teal paint and a chicken wire stencil on the background page. I really like the subtlety of this. The big flower is a Tim Holtz die cute and a button was added for interest. The pink heart border is a chipboard die cute that I painted pink and diamond glazed. The butterflies are a Martha Stewart punch

This is just closer up of the hearts and the butterflies. The hearts was actually the negative die cut which I preferred to the whole hearts.

On the other side of the photo I repeated the cluster with the flowers and butterflies and I also put a frame on the photo with some ribbons tied to it.

I used my ticket stamps by Glenda Viljoen - which are my absolute favourites and printed them on to patterned paper and then cut them out and tucked them into the flowers.

At the top on the left hand side of the layout I created a little tear in the paper and behind it stuck a punched piece of paper that peeps through.

That is my first contribution as a guest designer.. Thank you for stopping by to take a look.


  1. Gorgeous LO, Val, and a beautiful love story.

  2. What a special story, thank you for sharing something so close to your heart with us. I love the colours you used and the page map too. Congrats on being on the team for this month. You deserve it.

  3.'re off and running as guest designer. How exciting, I'm thrilled that your gifts and talents have been recognized. Your case solving is superb. The colour choices, the design and that love story, now recorded, all combine to make this a stand out for me. Fabulous :)

  4. Hi Val!! I left you some love over at CSI! So happy for you, love your page and your story telling sent so many emotions running through me. I am happily following you now that i have found your blog and look forward to seeing what you create :)

  5. What a marvelous story Val and a stunning layout to accompany it. I have been following your success with all those "wins" at CSI!! Amazing and so very well deserved!!

  6. What a beautiful layout - with such a special story behind it too. I had tears STREAMING down my face as I read it.

  7. Gorgeous layout! what's more is the story of Em and Willy.. Congrats on your stint as guest designer at CSI! Muaks!

  8. This is a gorgeous layout girl..and the story is fabulous too! I love everything about it! You have certainly flourished at CSI and are certainly deserved of being a Special Investigator!! I look forward to sharing the month with you and seeing all your wonderful projects! ;-)

  9. What a love story - thanks for sharing!
    Beautiful page - love your mix of patterns and all the lovely details!

  10. Gorgeous work, Val. You are truly a gift to CSI. I am so grateful you found us!