Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Hello Everyone,

I have a quick post for you before I leave on holiday. Finally everyone better in the Thorpe household and the excitement has set in. I managed to do this layout at 2.45 am the other morning when I couldn't sleep and I just want to put it up now before I go.

Here is the latest sketch challenge from Scrap Friends. I really love their sketches and this one was a bit of a challenge, because of all the fussy cut arrows, but I wanted to stick to it quite closely....

Here is my take on the sketch. The hardest thing for me was the circular photos. Trying to find something that would fit my theme and the circles.

Here are some closeups...

Once I knew what my placement would be on the page I started off by spattering the page with watered down black paint  and created the line tracks with a pizza wheel drawn through the paint.

 I then stamped the saying that says ...
"As long as we have memories, yesterday remains. A long as we have hope, tomorrow awaits. As long as we have art, today is beautiful."
which was a bit of an epiphany for me.

The circles were painted with a silver distress paint and then sprinkled with black micro beads. The little silver disk under the twine was stamped using a script stamp.

I added some little black tulle roses and a couple of strips of washi tape too.

Then lastly I added the little silver heart, the buttons and bling and of course everything was doodled and finally I added a few stamped arrows just because I could.

The journaling on the back of the layout reads.

For months now I have been feeling overwhelmed by a feeling of lack of creativity. There just seems to be nothing there, I sit down to start something and I have nothing. I can't choose photos, I can't find papers, I don't have the right embellishments. Then I sit and browse for inspiration and all it seems to do is to show up the areas where I feel I am lacking. What has happened to me? ... Since when did I become this jibbering wreck that needs constant validation for the layouts that I produce. What happened to this being a hobby that I just could not live without. That I just had to do every day? What happened to the enjoyment of the process of creating a layout?
Then this week in a sick household when I couldn't sleep at 2.45 am the other morning I got up and came down to my studio and sat down at my desk... I printed out the layout, the photos, found the paper and just started. What had changed? I realised that I was the problem, that this is NOT a competition for the prettiest page it is not a race to see who could get the most pages done and the only person putting that pressure on me was me...there it was.
I am not doing this for anyone else. I am doing this for me and for my family so that they will know who I am and where I came from. I want them to know that there were days when I found it hard to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. I want them to know that there were days when I soared. I want them to know that it is ok to push yourself but it is not ok to cripple yourself with self doubt. I don't know what they really think when they look at the layouts, they always say the right thing... but I DO know what they feel when they read the stories, and THAT is why I do this. So I have picked myself up, dusted myself off and I am back in business.

Thanks for taking a look and I will see you all when I get back.

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Hello Everyone

Well it is Saturday morning again and time for the new reveal over at CSI and here is the case file for you. I am also entering this in to the Scrap Africa challenge which is to use texture paint, stencil and paint or mists.

Not the usual pretty soft colours that you would associate with a wedding but I loved them.

This case file came with another sketch from the amazing Em Starface... and here is what I did with it.

Scheme - all the colours are there... if somewhat muted.
Evidence - Circles and frames - the number were supposed to be on the tabs at the top and bottom of the photos but I forgot to put them in before I took the photos :(
Testimony - Document a wedding (mine this time)
Journalling (on the back of the layout) reads:

Simon and I met in January 1977 in Kariba, Zimbabwe where I was working as a croupier, he was in the police force and had been badly burned in a petrol fire and they sent him to Kariba to recouperate and re-integrate him into society after having been in the bush for so long. As he walked down the steps into the casino I caught a glance of him and just knew that he was the one I was going to marry. I knew nothing about him or even where he was from, but I just knew inside that he was the one. The next day a few of us girls went up to the police mess to play poker with some of the off duty cops and lo and behold there he was. I was loud and gregarious the life and soul of the party and he was so painfully shy, trying to blend into the shadows and stay out of the limelight but we started hanging out together and we had so much fun back then.
March 31st, my mother’s birthday, we got engaged but had made no plans further than that. In November Simon got word that they were transferring him out and we didn’t know where to but it would be some small farming town so we decided to get married – quickly. Now every girl wants a fairytale wedding RIGHT? – The whole shebang?... So what was wrong with me because I wanted none of it. No church, no fancy white dress, no guests, no presents, no party... just us getting married. After digging my heels in I got what I wanted. A simple affair in the garden at home. I found a beautiful aqua Gretian style dress from Truworths, (the compromise was the overlay, my dad did not want my shoulders bare), a navy suit for Simon with the same colour aqua shirt, my dad got the same and mom got a gorgeous navy long dress. Once we were sorted out I told my future in-laws my colours.
The guests were my grandparents both sets of parents and our siblings – sixteen people in total. We chose to get married in the garden at my parent’s house around the pool area, with the minister from my dad’s church, another concession. Gran made us a two tier cake and did the flowers for my hair and bouquet. Simon arranged for the police crime scene photographer to come and do some photos for us. It had all be so easy and stress free.
26th November 1977 dawned warm and sunny a perfect day for a wedding. I did my own hair, nails and make up. By 4 pm we were all ready to do this. The photographer arrived on time and so did Simon – with bright purple hair! Yes! Really! At his farewell the night before the other police guys thought it would be fun to dye his hair with Gentian Violet thinking it would wash out. Wrong! While the photographer was setting up to start my dad decided to light all the floating candles on the pool... (I know you know what is coming J) then he fell in – fully clothed in his new wedding finery. After changing he came out in a brown suite with a yellowy colour shirt. Simon’s mom and dad arrived and she was in orange, his dad was in a black suite with a white shirt. What the hell happened to trying to co-ordinate colours for photos, this was so not what I had hoped for so the photographer and I decided on black and white photos, and we only had about 20 photos in all... not professional quality by any stretch of the imagination but a record of our special day ... FINALLY we were good to go... and I went from I do to I did.
If I had to do it all over again I would not change a thing. I love that I got to spend my day with the people I love most in the world without any tears, drama or stress. I loved my wedding day and for me it was all about just getting married and not about the production of a huge, fancy, bigger or better wedding.
36 years later we are still going strong, a few pounds heavier, a few hairs greyer, a little knocked about, a little weathered and hopefully a little wiser, and I still feel that this was just meant to be. We have a lot to learn from one another and while the lessons are certainly not all easy I am glad that I have him by my side.

Here are some closeups of how I constructed this layout.

I started of my mixing some gel medium with a little golden perfect pearls to use with the stencil on the background page. I love how it dries clear but has a golden shimmer. I also sprayed the doilies with TH mini mister in the turquoise colour and then stamped them on top with a script stamp. I made the little red, yellow and aqua flowers with circles.

The photos that I do have are not great but printed out this size they were ok. I really loved this sketch to work with, and I kept pretty close to it. The papers used are from Authentique and had most of  the colours I needed in them. I layered up the mats behind the photos, and doodled around the edges of everything. I used the cut circles to partially frame the photos, and added the flowers and the bling.

I then gave the whole layout a spritz with the turquoise spray (protecting the photos) and then I stamped the music stamp at the bottom.

Thanks for taking a look and for leaving any comments I really appreciate them :D 

Happy Fathers day to all the dads out there for tomorrow.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Hello Everyone

It is Monday and really chilly here in Jozi Town, and I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend.

Today I have a layout for the OUAS June Challenge and the theme for June is Guilty Pleasures and here is the sketch...

Here is my layout.

The journaling (on the back of the layout) reads :D

Photography is my passion, my guilty pleasure and my happiness. It is what makes me get out of bed in the mornings, it is what has helped me to recapture the wonder of a child that has seen or found something spectacular or precious for the very first time. It has taught me to look at the world through new eyes and it has helped me to find myself again, it has shown me that beauty comes in many forms and that if we accepted this we would all be so much happier, and it suits me perfectly because it is a solitary pursuit and I like to be on my own.

To go out somewhere and discover a world of extreme beauty if you just take the time to look is an amazing thing... with my camera as an extension of my eyes and arms I have found untold gems, most of which I would not have given a second look before and which I now get to use to create layouts. As far as I am concerned it doesn’t get any better than that.

I you haven't looked at their challenges before you should do yourself a favour and take a look, the sketches are beautiful and there is so much eye candy from the design team too.

Here are some close ups of my layout.

First of all I cut the grey cardstock slightly smaller than the white and then applied the gesso over the diamond stencil, then punched randomly around the border and adhered the grey card to the white. I cut some strips of pink cardstock and used the same punch so that I could layer these behind the grey. The Tim Holtz pediments were cut on pink and pattern card.

I stamped in black in the butterfly trellis stamp, and the diamonds were cut from the pattern paper. I punched another boarder to go under the photo, which was layered underneath a strip of pale pink and a row of diamonds. The flowers were added and then the bling, the little silver camera and a button.

In this one you can see the stamp a little better. All the little bits of paper were doodled around the edges. I also added two pink heart brads and the photo corner which were not the right colour so I painted them with my TH distress paints.

I added bling to all of the diamonds and the title was painted with Tim Holtz distress paint in Black Soot.

Thank you for visiting and if you leave a message know that I read and appreciate every one of them.

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Hello everyone

This is posted a little late this week because I went down to Durban to watch the rugby. Now those of you that know me know that I would rather poke my eyes out with a blunt stick than watch sports of any kind. However... a friend of ours has a box and invited us to go down and join them there so I agreed to go. Well did we have a fun time or what. I got loads of photos, it was such fun to watch all the people that were there and we all had a party of note. It has been a long time since I partied like that and I have to say that for once in a blue moon it was a whole lot of fun.

Anyway here I am with this weeks beautiful soft palette and being June the feature for this month is Weddings... Here is the case file

Here is how I solved the case.

Scheme - the colours are all there
Evidence - Lace, flowers, distressing, jewels, heart, gold.
Testimony - Document a wedding.

My journaling (on the back of the layout) reads...

Life is a very funny thing. We think we have all the answers but in truth we know nothing. I look at this photo of mom and dad on their wedding day, so young and I am sure full of ideas and plans for their life and I know from experience that the reality is very far from the dream.

I know that Pops and Gran didn’t want mom to marry dad, he was 12 years older than her and had a reputation for  being a bit of a party animal and a ladies man. They were married for 25 years before mom died at 46 but she had been really ill for a very long time and he looked after her and gave her everything that she needed to make her life a little easier. I think that he was out of his depth with a sick wife and four kids and he buried himself in his work, leaving home at 6 in the morning and returning at around 7-8 at night.
What I do know is that he loved her and he loved his kids and family always came first. Everything was an extreme for him, partying, drinking, working and then finally religion. Mom was just too sick to be anything I think she just fought so hard to put one foot in front of the other despite agonizing pain that had her crippled. She always put on a brave face and I only ever saw her cry once.

Now that I am older and (hopefully) a little wiser I wish I could have those years back. There is so much that I would like to say and do differently. Most of all I just want to let them both know that I now understand that “You do the best that you can at the time, with what you have at your disposal” ... It is so easy to say I would have done things different. Now I know that in those moments you just want to make it through. My wish for them is that they had moments of happiness when their dream became their reality and for them to know I love and miss them both every single day.

The background paper is a taupe colour from Bazzill and the papers that I used are from Kaiser Kraft. The strip at the bottom of the paper had this ruler on the other side and so I used it so I used that for a few reasons...their wedding was on 31 October 1954 and mom was 21 when she got married. I left the chipboard raw and just sanded the edges, the ampersand is a gold metal one, and the butterfly is made with burlap and I put some gold glitter onto it.

To bring in a bit more of the peachy colour I used flowers and a piece of washi tape. and for the gold I used the button in the middle of the burlap flower, also a little metal flower and the heart and the bling. There is also a little bit of left over lace ruffled inside the flowers.

I love that quote and so I stamped it at the bottom of the layout underneath the banner, and finished it off with some bling. All of the added bits were doodled around too and distressed and inked. 

This was a wonderful colour palette for me to work with and not colours that I use too often.

Thanks for taking a look and if you choose to leave a message - know that it makes my day :D

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Hello Everyone

On Saturday the new challenge for Scrap Around the World was posted, and today I had some time to complete the challenge. :) The idea behind the challenge is to be inspired by the mood board and to use the sketch as a starting point.

I love this mood board because it is all about cameras, and I love my camera, and taking photos it has become an extension of my arm. This weekend we took the Steam Train from Pretoria Station out to Cullinan where the Diamond Mine is. It was such a fun ride and the little town is beautiful and really bustling over the weekend with all the shops and restaurants and we had the most wonderful day.  I took 450 photos :) Yes I really did.

Of course we had to get their early so that I could take photos of the trains and tracks before we left ... as I was wandering around the station I got this photo of a whole pile of old railway sleepers stacked up underneath an oak tree and the leaves had collected on the 'steps' made by the sleepers. 

When I was going through my photos trying to decide what to scrap I knew it would be this one because it is totally the kind of "stuff" I love to shoot.  I really take notice of everything around me now whereas before it would not have got a second glance. I took my inspiration from all of the cameras and the top photo because it looks like a wintery background...:)

I added the quote 'Winter is a second Spring where every leaf is a flower" by Albert Camus

I started off with a white background and added the gesso squares. Once it was dry I sprayed the paper with some Lindy's Stamp Gang mists and got this soft background which has a slight shimmer to it. Once it was dry I randomly stamped the page with a woodgrain stamp and a chestnut colour box ink... it is very light - almost like a watermark stamp.

Here are some close ups of my layout.

You can see the woodgrain stamp and see the coloured squares. The papers I used for this layout were all from my scrap box and really fitted in with the colours in the photo. I created a little banner with bling in between.

I stamped and embossed the large oak leaf and tucked it into the flowers and the tickets too. I swiped the tips of the flowers with gesso to make them a little more shabby. Between the strips underneath the flower I made random lines of glue going down and added micro beads just for something different.

I created a little cluster at the bottom with some more leaves and a film strip. The chipboard letters and birds were sprayed using the Lindy's Stamp Gang mists and then inked. I added little bling eyes to the birds too.

I kind of kept to the sketch because I really liked it and it worked for my photo and what I wanted to do.

I also randomly coloured some of the squares in autumn colours. The splats were made with Tim Hotlz - Frayed Burlap - Distress stain.

My journaling is on the back of the layout and reads...

Winters here can often be very cold, dry and brown. A bit desolate looking and it is often hard to see the beauty but it is there if you just take the time to look. When I saw this stack of worn old railways sleepers under the oak tree I was taken aback at how pretty it looked. The tree was bare and the sleepers were covered in a layer of pretty yellow, orange, red and green leaves that fluttered in the gentle early morning breeze and my initial reaction was dead leaves crackling in the wind... but as I was taking the photos I started to think that the colours were so rich and earthy and that as with everything the cycle of life turns. There is nothing we can do about it but we can enjoy and appreciate every stage of it.

Thanks for taking a look and if you leave a comment - thank you I love to read them.

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Hello Everyone

I am back with a quick post to let you know that 2Crafty Chipboard has a blog hop on at the moment, their first and there are some wonderful blogs to visit for amazing inspiration and lots of really yummy prized to be one so don't miss out on this one. You can start the blog hop HERE.

I hope you enjoy. I know I did. :)

Scrap Around the world has their new challenge out for June too... You can find them HERE. Such a lovely mood board and I love the sketch. Totally going to play along again this month.

See you all soon.


Hello Again!

I have the new case file reveal from CSI. I just love the colours from this weeks scene...

I chose to 'kind of' follow one of Becky Flecks layouts from Pagemaps. :)

Here is how I solved the case.

Scheme     - All of the colours are there
Evidence   -  Lace (the punched border), metal (the pale pink brad), beads (inside the pink flowers), flowers.
Testimony - Document a childhood memory
My journaling (on the back of the layout) reads ...

A time before...A time when nothing else mattered, a time when I was happy and carefree and safe and a time that I had no idea that my world would be turned upside down. A happy time.
I loved that house in Vumbwe, Malawi, we used to call it the old house and whenever we went out and it was time to come home we would sit at the windows of the car on the look out for home and the first one to spot the house as we came around the corner would sing ‘I can see the old house’ over and over J– I can still remember the layout of the house and the huge garden with the sweeping lawns and the rows of trees at the bottom, our neighbours on either side and Alice our nanny. Gran, Pops and all Moms’ sisters all lived close by and life was so good.  I remember that car too - it was a real ‘Noddy’ car – yellow with red mudguards and seat, the doors opened and closed and you had to peddle it to make it move and John and I loved to play in it. Betty Lou, moms youngest sister was in one of the photos too so I am guessing that they were all there that day. She was only 10 when I was born so she played with us often, what I really remember from that time was how it felt to be part of a big, close, happy family and it is ‘that’ that I have strived to replicate in my family.
I want my children to feel safe and loved and protected, not judged, scared or alone. I want them to be able to come to us with anything and for us to sort it out together as a team. When they have children I want those kids to have the benefit of an extended family too. I want them to have large, noisy family gatherings and holidays together. I want  their kids to grow up together as friends and I never want them to have to look back to a ‘time before’.

Here are some close ups...

I decided to go with a black background so that these gorgeous sherbet colours would really pop. I stamped the Hero Arts flower image onto a piece of ledger paper by Amy Tan and coloured in the flower part with Tombow markers . The pattern papers were from my scrap box - left over from other layouts. The check one is from Girls Paperie and I don't know where the yellow dot one is from. The other papers are all from Bazzill.

I added the tab tops, cut using my Silhouette (at last I have worked out how to use it) and the tags and then the flowers from Prima and Petaloo

I cut the ends of the green and pink strips to form a banner on this side and added more flowers. I put bows on the ribbon strip and added two decorative pins. The green border was cut using a punch from X-cut. All of the elements were doodled on and the chipboard letter from Enmarc were colours using a Tim Holtz paint dabber.

Thank you for taking a look and leaving any comments. I want you to know that they are very much appreciated. Have a wonderful weekend.