Saturday, 30 October 2010

boobs and a strap

Thanks everyone for the freebie links yesterday. I shall be checking them all out.

This is the day for the first official outing of my new Black Rapid ladies camera strap.If you watch this video its just like me in action.


I have always favoured my trusty hand strap for shoots.I can’t stand having anything around my neck, even heavy necklaces.But everyone was singing my new straps praises on Karen Russell's photography workshop. So Erin kindly had it shipped to her American address for me and bought it with her when she came to stay.

It’s designed with boobs in mind. And as I have quite large ones, it will be interesting to see if I find it comfortable today.

This is how I look. (complete with my Hufa lens cap holder, sent to me unexpectedly from the kind lady in the video)

Do I look like I know what I am doing?

Or does he???

I have been asked to shoot a group of hairdressers today so that they can use the photos in a local paper.They are happy to have someone to come up with some different ideas for photos other than the papers photographer. And I am happy to get some practice. It will be a true test for me, weather, light wise and the group size.

The salon is the one where my friend works and it the one I gave interior design advice to earlier in the year.Check out the link for the shop .Do you like the writing on the mirror idea, it was mine.

Its a late in the day shoot, as they have a full day of hairdressing. They are a real mix of ages and heights. And the initial setting is in a small busy town. But I have some ideas up my sleeve, I want to play with. I shall leave early and go on a location scout.

In between doing this and editing the images we are trying to finalize all the places we want to stay in Florida during our trip and book our trips aboard the cruise.

First place booked last night was this awesome hotel . I had seen it years ago and had it stored away in my brainer, as a place I would like to stay. So when it came up during a search of the Florida Keys it was a no brainer, we just had to stay there. So we booked it last night.

So one night down another 8 to go !!!

And our first trip booked on the cruise is to Stingray alley in the Grand Caymans.

I must remember to buy a waterproof camera !!!

Hubby is busy demolishing all the fencing at the front of our house ready for its new look.

And here’s a snap from last weekend spent in Sheffield with my daughter.

Anyone hungry? You may need to take a closer look to spot what it really is ???

Friday, 29 October 2010

what did I do before scrapbooking

Shimelles latest class is filling my days at the moment. Its been great to get back to thinking with a scrapbookers mind. I’ve found its been a great way of making me knuckle down, and practise digital scrapbooking. I am one of those annoying people that never give up on something. So I HAVE to now complete a digital blurb book for this class.

Does anyone out there have any great free digital sites, I could grab some papers or embellishments from. Plus, I am in desperate need of some lovely handwriting inspired fonts. I have very distinctive handwriting. It used to drive my teachers mad at school, as when confronted with an entire page of it. It does make your eyes go a bit funny. Nothing I can find is anything like my style. I seem to slant my writing the opposite way to everyone else !!!

Today's layout was inspired from the numbering prompt sent by shimelle. Its about my friend Julie. We met at a mother & toddler group 23 years ago. We have children of a similar age, in fact we were both pregnant with our second children at the same time. We became very close friends. But there was one problem, I am very sensitive and I only need one slight and that's it for me. I promptly withdraw from a friendship and move on.

It all happened this time over a dinner service Julie borrowed from me  about 13 years ago. We had matching plates , etc. So when she asked could she borrow the entire service I willingly obliged. But I was extremely hurt when I found out it was to be used for a dinner party she was holding for our group of friends and we weren’t invited.

I tried to not let it effect me for days, but on the night in question I was working as a carer and I happened to have a client who lived just doors away. I remember well, how upset I was to see everyone sat in the window laughing having great fun. But that wasn’t the main thing. The days and weeks went on and the dinner service wasn’t returned.

I heard people joking about it. That it was sat in the back of a car,going nowhere. I was really humiliated that I was the brunt of peoples fun. So one day another friend who knew I was very upset returned it to me in a box.

That was it for me. I stopped talking to her, and just got on with my new life.

Who would think that years later when I heard she had left her husband. How much it would effect me. Then when she had a new baby with her new partner it was the chance for me to visit her.

I never expected I would return to the town I had lived in when my children grew up. But return I did.

Julie was one of the few people who didn’t come to visit me in my new home. But when the opportunity came up that I needed someone new to colour my hair. I didn’t hesitate in contacting her. So now we see each other regularly. Its been so nice to have her back in my life.

We are on the same wavelength, different in lots of ways but so similar in others.

So this layout : friends, me, you was about us.

Oh and I got a very interesting email today:-

Hello Karen

I'm Jemma, I'm the editor of, the world’s leading ‘how to’ website. We’re about to get bigger and better and I'm looking for some keen & skilled writers to be a part of it.

We've just launched a powerful new self-publishing website that helps people with unique know-how & expertise (i.e. you) connect with our knowledge-hungry audience. The website is called Videojug Pages -

I am searching for a select group of writers & bloggers to become Founder Members on Videojug Pages. I came across your blog - 'Somewhere over the rainbow' - and was really impressed.

I'd like to invite you to join our growing community of writers

How cool is that.I’m sure it was probably sent to oodles of people but it was still great to get.

In fact it made my day.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Dear Karen

How many of us send written letters now? Very few I should think.

Shimelles prompt 4 today was all about writing letters.

I immediately thought “ I shall write a letter to Auntie Jean ”

I haven’t seen my Dads sister in over two years. In fact since my Dads funeral.

She lives far from us, on the other side of the UK. In fact,I always think that it may not be long until we get that dreaded phone call that “ we have some bad news. ”

The only problem was I couldn’t find a single pad of writing paper. We always used to have a pad so I could write letters if I needed to, to the children's teachers.But since school days are long over it obviously hasn’t been needed. I had a brand new packet of envelopes though!!!

So I will drop my Aunt a line, when I’ve bought some paper and a stamp.

The prompt that immediately spoke to me was writing a letter to myself. I knew the exact picture I could use and what I wanted to write about. The only problem was doing it all digitally. Yes, its taking me hours to complete each layout,but I am getting better.

Oh and by the way, I have worked out the problem of the 8 x 10 layout for Blurb. I don’t need to worry, they accept 12 x 12 !!!! So all that phaffing about trying to resize was for nothing. I now have 4 pages in my new blurb book titled True Stories.

I shall have to be adding author,to my CV at this rate.

Here’s the digi layout I came up with today.

The journaling says.

Dear Karen

I remember this age well.

How could adults have been so cruel to make you sit all day being sick, for what was your first and only school dinner.

They have something to answer for in making a child with an eating disorder, grow up into an adult with one.

How could all the adults have run away from you screaming at the school gates, when you fell and banged your head.

Don’t worry I go back during hypnotism years later,and I’ll be waiting with open arms for you. I’ll keep you safe.

You'll also go back to that time when you were doing handstands, and remember it as your happy, carefree moment.

You’ll order Charlottes Web from the book club, but you never get to read it. It was definitely too hard for you.  

But you have a lifetime to read books.

Adults let you down again later in your teens, when no one thought to ask why you forged your mums signature in your homework diary.

The most conscientious student too scared to tell why.

Shame on you adults.

But one day, you to will be an adult and you won’t make the same mistakes ,


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

let me tell you about….

I’m on a roll . Another digital layout using Donnas free templates.This was for day 3 prompts from Shimelles True stories class.

The only problem is I burnt my typing finger frying some prawn crackers.


So it was a bit painful making this layout.But it was great doing a digital one for a change. I could even carry on making it whilst eating my tea…….

And pretending to listen to Hubby at the same time. Well, I am a multi-tasker.


I can’t seem to change the pre size of this layout to the 8 x 10 I need for a blurb book. Any ideas anyone?

alphabet prompt 2

It’s thanks to a comment on my blog by Melissa that prompted me to checkout her blog.This resulted in the following two digital layouts.All from a link she had on her blog!

I had been toying with the idea of making digital layouts, but I wasn’t sure how to make a template.So it was with great thanks that Donna,also in sunny Hertfordshire here in the UK has provided some  free on her blog.

I would like to try my hand at another blurb digital layout book from this class. I am still a total novice but as I always say practice makes perfect.

I know without doubt that I will look back at these layouts as being embarrassing in years to come. Remember those first scrapbook pages you made?

I am sure they are hidden,in a grotty album somewhere.

Anyway these alpha layouts were prompted from Shimelles True Stories prompt 2 –all letters and numbers

They took me forever to make as my computer was slow to load each layer I made. I get so impatient waiting for things. I could have done it all in a fraction of the time. So I had to keep going off to read blogs in my Google reader.

Poor me……

T is for Tasmin

R is for Ryan

I think I already know what my 2011 New Years Resolution will be.

2010 was to learn photography.

2009 was to get on a scrapbook design team

2011 will be to learn Photoshop inside out.

Well  I’m off to do some ironing and make a Thai chicken satay curry.But I’ll be back I haven’t checked out today's prompt yet.

Thanks for all you new people to my blogs comments.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

True stories-Day 1

had me stumped at first.I had a quick read, the morning it arrived.

And then today I grabbed my notebook and settled down with my reading glasses so I could concentrate better.


I scribbled down three pages worth of notes.Covering questions people ask me.Advice I would give a younger version of myself and ideas for layouts.

I am thinking of doing two layouts about my children's names and how I came to name them.So watch this space.

But my first layout from prompt 1 is about questions people always ask me.

I used one of the sketches Shimelle gave us.This made it a quick effortless layout.That used up lots of scraps of old paper and an old photo that has been waiting to be scrapped.

The questions are

1.How do you keep your house so clean and tidy?

2.What's for tea?

3.How do you stay so slim?

All things I have covered oodles of times in my blog.So I won’t bore you with the details.

When I went to put it away,I realised I had a pile of layouts I hadn’t shared on my blog.

So here they are.A bit dark as I took them at night in the kitchen.


Ride the rails

Who am I?


So I’m off to top up my painkillers for my back, so I can scrap the evening away.

all finished

I have a lovely clear day today. So I finally got to finish my blurb book and take advantage of a 25% discount.

Result …..

I thought I’d share with you my front title inner page

and my handwritten last page

I hope you enjoyed reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.

It has inspired me to use this method instead of scrapbooking pictures in the future.

I have just started Shimelles latest course and I may have a go at making a blurb book of all my writings I hope to do during the three weeks.

Plus here are some random things I have been wanting to blog.

I read on a blog the other day that Creative Memories consultants like to say  “ Don’t let your babies grow up to be jpegs ”

They are so right. I hope you girls are printing off your photos regularly, backing them up and keeping them in perfect order

Get into a monthly habit. I print a batch of images every month without fail.

Yesterday I took an old friend and her young daughter to the village I used to live in.

I couldn’t resist taking some snapshots of them in the beautiful light we had.It was a beautiful Autumn day and reminded me of the days out we used to have together over 15 years ago.

Its lovely to have her back in my life.I missed her.

Plus she has asked me to take some pictures of the staff at the hairdressers where she works for the local paper.So that will be a steep learning curve.But practice makes perfect.

Monday, 25 October 2010


In less than three weeks I shall be boarding the largest cruise ship in the world …….

For weeks I have been trying to tie Hubby down to a holiday.We were due to do a tour of China in September and it was cancelled.So I have been itching to go somewhere since.We both wanted to go to Vietnam or India.But all the tours just wouldn’t fit in with hubbys work commitments.

So In the end I thought if you can’t beat them,then join them.

So we quickly decided on Monday that I would fly out to join Hubby in the States.I can think of worse places to have to go!!!

We were going to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary in Florida next May.We had honeymooned there and it was the only way I could get hubby to go back without the children.

So after lots of discussing where we should meet up in the States:California ? Chicago ?

We decided on Florida.We’ll get that holiday out of the way early.That then leaves next year open for some big travelling.Plus a few weeks at our apartment in Spain.

So in 27 days I shall be on my way to Miami where Hubby will be waiting for me.We then board the largest cruise ship in the world for a Western Caribbean Cruise.We chose a cruise that was going to different and unusual places,as I have never been a beach person.So I knew the main Caribbean islands would bore me to tears.We are visiting parts of Mexico,Central American and the Cayman Islands.

Then we head back to Miami and we plan to drive down to the Keys and then finish our holiday enjoying the Christmas spectacular that Disney will offer.

As you can imagine I have packed already!!!

I LOVE packing.

Apparently though you are allowed 90KG of luggage on the cruise.That is a hell of a lot of clothes.I think Virgin may have something to say about the size of my case if it weighed that much.

Boy think of the scrap stash and clothes I could bring back.

If anything it will be me that will be carrying the extra weight on the return trip.Imagine unlimited food 24hrs a day.Ice cream on idea of heaven.Plus I will probably look slim on board a boat full of Americans.Yah…..

Hopefully,I will get all of my Christmas shopping done at the Mall I have already earmarked.

Then its home to start decorating the house for Christmas.


Except pray there won’t be a hurricane ,it is still hurricane season,right up until the end of November.

piggy back ride????

Oh and this one is for Dawn.

She was telling everyone at the crop yesterday that I like to get my kit off for my blog.

So I said I’d put up a new photo of me.

So here you go Dawn……………...


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Join us

Anyone who knows me well, is aware I am a big fan of Shimelle Laines classes.Tomorrow she starts a new online writing class.

I struggle with writing for my scrapbooking, So I am hoping that this course will help me address this.

I enjoyed writing my A-Z unabridged version of ME book, so it will be interesting to see what Shimelle has up her sleeve. Her classes are so multi layered you’d be hard pushed not to find an angle that works for you.

Shimelle has just posted this video link on her blog, go and check it out.

and come and join us…………..

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Z is for

Well that’s the lot,except for the handwritten note I have to do for the last page.

I have now got to go through and check all my fonts are the same,and I am going to make the flowered paper a lot smaller.

I would like to thank you all for proof reading my book.But the fact is I can’t .

Not one of you pointed out a bloody spelling mistake!!!!!

checked z

Y is for….


checked y

X is for…..


checked x

W is for…

sorry,but I am unable to show U and V as they have too much personal information for the internet.

checked w

Has anyone tried to print a blurb book using VERY old photos?

A lot of the images I have used are scanned old photos.There quality isn’t the greatest,but I wanted to include them in my book.

What do you think should I rethink the old images????

T is for…….


Oh whoops…….

checked t

S is for……

sitting on your arse all day.

I can assure you whilst writing this today:I have vacuumed the entire house,changed a bed,tidied sons room (no mean feat)two loads of washing,tidied the fridge and organised meals for the week,cleaned three bathrooms,bought in washing and folded it ready for ironing later.

All I have left to do is ironing,and walk the dog.Oh and finish my book and learn to use Photoshop…..

checked s

R is for

rock me tonight.The song we danced to on our wedding day.


checked R

Q is for….

this video is just for my husband.

And I’m off for a walk around and I’m going to grab some lunch.


checked q

P is for

I have now moved on to Mariah Carey


p checked

O is for…..


checked o

N is for…….


checked n

M is for….

Matt Cardle from Xfactor.

I can’t stop listening to this.

Erin and I played it over and over on Saturday night.It gives me goose bumps every time I hear it.

Oh and Teddy loves it as well.

checked m

L is for……


checked l

K is for Katy Perry

I LOVE her.In fact I tell my husband she is someone I would “turn” for.

I think she is stunningly beautiful,with a true woman's figure.Curves in all the right places.Plus she is fun.

So while I am writing my entries for Cathy's class I have this on repeat play.Teddy is loving it!!

I have on my back brace and I am dancing on my chair.Love it…..

checked k


to get as many of my remaining letters finished today as I can.

There is a 25% discount over at blurb books.

j checked

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


who makes up the numbers that says what size we are?

I had wanted to talk about a brilliant article that Nigella Lawson wrote some weeks ago.But I never got around to it.

Then last week Fi Glover had written about,just that article in the Waitrose Weekend paper.

The reason I am bringing it up know is because of what happened to me this weekend.

Whilst out with my new friend Erin we happened to bump into one of my oldest best friends.She thought it was hysterical to comment on my weight ,which to her is excessive.She said she couldn’t believe I had left the house without my support knickers on and that she reminded me of something that had happened to her recently.She had bumped into an old friend who she hadn’t seen for years and she remarked God she’s got fat and let herself go.That must be what people say when they see you!!!!

Erin was horrified at what was said to me………and walked away

Well I have news for you old BFF.I don’t really care,just like Nigella.

I spent my childhood being severely underweight and being measured weighed and prodded on a monthly basis.

I spent my teens being teased for how skinny my legs were.

I had to see dieticians when I was pregnant because I was so thin.In fact at 18 weeks pregnant a consultant said I couldn’t possibly be pregnant a mistake had been made!

In my 20’s & 30’s I was envied for how skinny I was.

So what if in my 40’s I have put on a bit of weight.

Like Nigella who watched three family members die of cancer.She can’t see how the physical  fading away of the body can be associated with happiness.

She said in the article that her Mothers entire life was spent cooking for others.But never enjoying the food herself.She kept herself on a strict diet.That was until she knew she was dying and she ate with abandonment for the few weeks she had left.

I watched my father die,with his only wish being that he could eat sausage,egg and chips one more time.He hadn’t eaten a solid meal for months.

He was never a cook.But in his last few months he would spend hours buying,planning and cooking food.Only to be able to smell it and throw it all away.

I believe in our last moments we aren’t going to be worried about what people thought of our size ,whether we had finally got into that size 10 dress.I know my parents didn’t.They both died looking like skeletons.How glam is that?

So whilst it is hard not to take on board what friends say to you.Try and stick your ground and be true to yourself.

I’ll know when its time for me not to have extra helpings of cupcakes or 10 roast potatoes.No peer pressure from someone will.

Mind you this morning after I got dressed and Hubby remarked.Its amazing how much bigger you look with clothes on.You look so skinny without them.Back handed compliment if ever I heard one.

So if you see me walking around Tesco's naked with my old BFF don’t be surprised.

By the way can you tell which one is me in the above photo?I was much older than the others,one of them is my sister.

I’ll give you a clue.I still have the same bloody haircut and I was the only one who could never wear flip flops.I had delicate tootsies.

Scott's blog.

I was pleased to see that Scott Kelby struggled with our British weather (here’s the link)

If a pro can’t take pictures here,what hope do I have.

Oh and by the way I forgot to include this image Erin took of me at the Christmas shop in Walkern.

Dame Edna eat your heart out.

I am still alive

but only just….

I’ve had a very busy week,well for me anyway.

Remember that amazing photography workshop I took with Karen Russell in the summer.Well there were a few of us who very prolific on the forum.Erin being one of them,she’s a Texan currently living over in Germany.

Everyone was encouraging me to attend a Scott Kelby Photoshop seminar in London.The fact that I would have to go on my own and like photography I am a complete novice,was putting me off booking a place.In fact i don’t even currently have full Photoshop!!

But Erin booked a place and I invited her to come and stay with us.


So it was with some trepidation on Erin and my husbands part we set off to pick her up from Stansted.I of course had no concerns.I knew she had the same sense of humour as me and as she loved all my favourite TV programmes,So I knew she was on my wavelength.Plus I can talk to anyone,I am known just to chat to random people!!!!

Chris had the giggles all the way to the airport.I thought he had a planned surprise secret for me.But it turned out he had the giggles because we had someone coming who he knew nothing about.


See they needn't have worried,we all got along famously.And the fact that Erin said she would love a crispy bacon roll for her packed lunch for the seminar sealed it for me.That's the only thing I eat in a sandwich.We must be twins separated at birth!!

Scott Kelby was a very good teacher and he made everything look very easy.I was pleased to find out my Photoshop elements had the majority of the actions I needed.I had my first play yesterday with a picture I had taken of a very reluctant model.After years of stress,alcohol and fags she wasn’t as fresh faced as she wanted to be.So I worked for hours trying to make her look nice and fresh.

I just couldn’t master the mask technique.Elements doesn’t have the layer so I had to download one but I just couldn’t get it to work for me.So I think I will download a CS5 trial monthly package and then have a play.

I wanted to make my models eyes pop how Scott had showed us.After much tweaking I couldn’t get it to work.

But I was pleased to note that when I posted it on her facebook page,she got lots of comments .One from someone who said she was very jealous as she hadn’t seen her for years and she hadn’t changed a bit.

Just the result I wanted.




It takes me hours to get results like this and Scott could do it in minutes.He had the added bonus of a pen tablet and I only have my laptop mouse pad.But who know after some more years of practice I may be happy with my photos!!!!!

One of the highlights of my day at The Design Centre,was popping to the toilets for a loo break and finding I had the choice of oodles of toilets,whilst the men's had a huge queue outside.Heaven.

The seminar was full of men.I hardly dared take a picture in case anyone was assessing my camera skills.I certainly ensured the dreaded flash stayed off.

At the end ,they asked us to fill out a questionnaire on what we thought of the course.Me and the man sat next to me,discussed whether they would give out freebies from the entries.But we decided no,and didn’t bother to fill them in.Imagine our horror when minutes later they said they were going to make a draw for a holiday to Florida and some other goodies.I could have cried.

The first couple of people who won,just put their hands up.The Americans running the event said,couldn’t we have a bit of a cheer if you won.So Erin said I’m going to raise my hands and shout out for the next one.Imagine our surprise when they called her name out.So she got to shout out after all.She won a DVD on Photoshop techniques.

An old lady won the trip to Florida and looked as excited as if she’d been told she only had weeks to live.Shame I didn’t fill that bloody form in.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Phew I am knackered

Just spent 5 hours processing some images from a shoot I did today.

You may recognise the little Lily.I took some pictures for her mum Amy when she was just 3 days old.

Well they wanted some family pictures.So I obliged.

Of course a signature shot

mum and dad (pretending they liked each other!)

I can’t believe Amy is younger than my son.And a mother to two!

I have known Amy since she was as tiny as Lily.Is that showing my age?

and of course little Alfie

I find it practically impossible to get four people looking good at the same time in an image.Professional photographers certainly must earn their money.You need an assistant with you really.If only I had one,I could use a reflector and all my woes would disappear.They could ring bells and make funny noises whilst I concentrated on all my dials.

I’m better at one on one close ups.Then I can use the f stops I love.Listen to me talking photographers jargon.

I’ll be charging next.

I think not………..

I’m far too much of a perfectionist  for that.I’d never be happy with what I’d captured.And so I certainly couldn’t charge for it.

But smartie Flurry donations would be nice………

I now have RSI in my wrist and hand from holding my camera and twiddling all the dials.Plus my back has gotten bad again and my stick has had to be recovered from the cupboard.Hopefully it’s just a blip.

I’m off to bed with a cashew nut butter cookie I made.Ryan said why do I make such disgusting things (he hates nuts) So as he doesn’t like them I have to eat my way through two cake tins full.Oh well,no rest for the wicked…..


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