30 March 2013

A little preview

I have been working on a few things of late.
A little download. A set of eight homemade project life cards. Plus two fun extras.
They are my friends, entirely free.
They are cards I have made in response to my own needs for project life and things I think you guys might enjoy using too.

The download will be available on Easter Monday.

But in the meantime here is a sneak preview....

Have a Happy Easter.
"And behold, he's alive. Alleluia!"

29 March 2013

Around here- March edition

This is what life has looked like in March. Enjoying cuddling with this silly creature, folding, cutting, hammering and weaving. Drinking copious amounts of tea after coming home, trying to take photos of animals and experiments with my new graphics tablet.

My around here photos are the photos that get left behind. The ones that are left on the memory card or never made it to the blog post. They are imperfect, the exposure is often wrong but they capture now. This month.

What would be your picture for the month?

27 March 2013

Let's sit and have a cup of tea.

Hello. It's nice to see you again. Come on in and let's talk...

If we were meeting for tea today (or coffee or hot chocolate or even juice if you are so inclined) I would greet you at my front door.

I would usher you in from the cold and invite you into the warm kitchen. The table would look pretty with its spotty oilcloth and the kettle would be whistling on the Aga. We would laugh that due to my mothers love of polka dots, our kitchen looks like something out of a Cath Kidston book. If you were lucky there would be a plate of fresh cakes or biscuits on the side.

As we sat warming our hands round our mugs this is what I would probably tell you...

I would tell you that I am so fed up with winter. That I am longing for spring. That I have lost all faith in the British weather (not that I had much in the first place) and that the jumper drawer is looking less and less exciting. If you were from warmer climes I would listen avidly to your stories of sun streaked days and balmy weather. We would discuss Summer plans and I would tell you that I am heading off to France with the boy and his family which I am so excited about.

As we bit into the first cake I would tell you that I am so glad to be home. That I was feeling really under the weather at the end of last term and that what I really needed was my own bed. I would tell you how good it is to spend time with family and play many new board games with them. You would look over to the corner of the kitchen where some of our current favourites are stacked up. I would laugh as you pointed them out and explain that board games are a bit of a thing in this house. We would chat over Easter plans and family. I would mention that the relatives are descending on Friday and that it will prove to be an exhausting and hilarious time.

If we were together now I would tell you how much I am enjoying creating again. How I have lots of ideas in my head and can't wait to get them out into the open. I would tell you about my creative process how ideas form and how sometimes they come to fruition in unexpected ways. I would ask you about how you are inspired and what inspires you. I would tell you too that I am seeing a lot of good stuff on pinterest at the moment including a lovely new blog course by Julie Kirk.

I would tell you that I cannot get enough of weaving. That I am loving the repetitiveness of it, how tactile it is, the possibility of infinite number of patterns. I would laugh as I mentioned with a sheepish look that I have no idea what these scraps of material are going to become but that sometimes it is just good to create.

The cat would come into the kitchen and curl herself around our legs. I would get up and put the kettle back on in anticipation for another cup. If we were there now I would tell you excitedly about my new toy- my graphics tablet- that arrived the other day. You would look quizzically and I would explain that it is like having a pen and paper attached to your computer. You can draw on photos, documents, photoshop. I would tell you that I am having so much fun using it and playing around and can't wait to play with it on project life this week.

As the cake turned to crumbs and the clock chimed, our thoughts would go the coming week. I would tell you that the boy is coming over for the day and we are going to follow Paul Hollywoods recipe with Mum to make some hot cross buns. I would tell you that there is going to be a lot baking going on in this house in time for the Easter weekend. I would also mention with a sad note in my voice that I am in the middle of revision but it is made easier by the fact that I am revising at the same time as my little brother. Nothing like sibling rivalry to get us sitting down and working.

I would be sad to see you go as we walked to the front door. I would encourage you to wrap up warm and we would hug and laugh out loud at the power of blog friendships.
I would love to sit down and do life with you.

If you were with me now, 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 2013

Weaving some magic

There have been a few tutorials flying around the web recently about how to create a loom and weave on it. These are the two I followed most, here and here.

New crafts are fun I thought, so I headed over to our lovely next door neighbour who works wonders with wood and asked for an off cut.

I decided just to use a solid piece of wood rather than a frame and found this worked just fine. I then set about hammering nails into the top and trying not to hit my fingers. I placed my nails roughly half an inch apart along the top and the bottom. They aren't that straight but I'm afraid at this stage I was more concerned with getting the things in the wood!

I used string to weave around the nails and then used wool to weave in and out. The string was good in that it didn't give too much and pull the edges in but I didn't like the texture. I am creating another design at the moment where I used wool all over and I prefer this.

As said in so many of the tutorials, it is really easy to pull too hard at the end of each row which will create an hour glass shape. I found the easiest way to weave was to choose my length of wool and then thread it onto a large darning needle.

I didn't really follow any pattern or design when I was weaving. I chose my colours and worked with what felt right, trying different things along the way. I experimented with two colours and really liked how that turned out. It is very easy to experiment and equally easy to undo it when it all goes wrong!

This is such a tactile craft and totally mesmerising. It is also very addictive.

I don't quite know what I am going to do with these small pieces of material. There are ideas running around my head for some sort of blanket or maybe a patchwork? Who knows. For now it is fun and simple to sit and pull yarn over and under.

Have you tried weaving?

Tomorrow I am sitting down for a chat and a cup of tea again. Do pop on over tomorrow, say hello and tell me what is happening with you. See you then!

25 March 2013

Project life week 12

I LOVE how project life turned out this week! I don't really recall doing anything different but for some reason the colours and the photos worked well.

And week 12 friends...week 12, hasn't it flown!

Lots of big camera photos this week from taking photos of projects.
I ran the photo of the weaving through one of my favourite actions to give it a cross processed effect.
I am especially pleased with the three small photos on the right hand layout. I decided to incorporate close ups of my finished weaving and took three photos with the purpose of adding them to the album like this.

Compared to usual there isn't too much journalling this week. I wrote a small card about visiting the boy this week and added detail about my weaving project (more on the blog tomorrow).

I also experimented with using a blurry photo as the background for some text about my origami project and really like how this turned out.

I can't get enough of those watercolour brushes. I used one as the background for the creativity quote and as an area to journal on the top left hand picture on the second page.

As this project goes on I am becoming more aware of uniting colours across my pages. Therefore for the creativity quote I took the colour of the journalling card next to it and painted the background in the same colour.

My friends and I group skyped the other night so I thought it would be fun to include a screen shot of that

I hand drew around the journalling on the origami photo. I am really pleased with the combination of capitals, blurred background and wobbly lines!

Anything else: 
It was fun this week to add photos without any journalling or explanation. I am learning to use more white space within my layouts!

I am enjoying doing this project at home, maybe because I have more time or more opportunity to take photos!

On Wednesday I am sitting down for a cup of tea and a chat with you all again. It was so good to see you all join in last month, it would be good to hear your news again for this month! See you then...

22 March 2013

Origami wall art

I love geometric shapes.
I am also partial to a good bit of origami. There is something intriguing about creating a series of folds that will eventually form a shape that needs no glue to hold it together.

I found this tutorial the other day. These are such simple shapes to make. Officially they are a "triangular bipyramids" but I like to think of them as funky shapes.

I didn't really know where I was going with making them. They were just very addictive!
I eventually decided on stringing them on white cotton and hang them.

To do this simply grab one of your triangles and a long needle. Then choose two points on the shape and string it on.

On some I made knots so that the triangles hung on the cotton, on some they are resting on each other. I  also varied how I strung them, going through different points each time to make them hang at different angles.

I then created a loop in cotton and hung them on two tacks hammered into my wall.

They are peaceful floating there on my wall. Colourful and delicate geometric shapes.

20 March 2013

Life right now according to instagram

I love working on my instagram posts. It is fun to collate so many pictures from the month. Moments that look small but have a lot of meaning, moments that were fleeting and moments that just had to be photographed.

I apologise in advance for those who have seen these both on my instagram feed and through project life. There will hopefully be some you haven't seen though!

So March...

Top row left to right: drooling over material in the market, bringing out the pumps for what I hoped was Spring, working and blogging my little mac has done well this month.

Middle row: hot chocolate with friends- a wednesday afternoon tradition, trying to keep healthy. You know that Spring like weather? Well it turned to snow just as quickly.

Bottom row: fun ethical socks, books, books, books, instagramming a Psalm or Proverb for each day of lent.

Top row: Enjoying the old buildings, the weather could not decided if it was spring or winter, walking in the cloisters.

Middle row: This was the amazing light pattern in the cathedral on a sunny day, enjoying time with these ladies, watching a friends concert in the cathedral-so magical.

bottom row: coming home, fun lights in the club, first creme egg of the year!

Phew! It is exciting at the moment to see more friends join instagram and more and more people use it to capture those little moments.

I read a great post the other day here about lifestyle photography. It summed up a lot of what I thought about taking photos of the everyday. Do check it out!

As usual if you want to follow me on instagram I am abibeach

Thanks for stopping by.

19 March 2013

Project life week 11

I missed project life last week due to being ill. Rest assured that I have documented the week however didn't want to fill another post with project life spreads! 

So, on with week 11. I am going to be honest, there are times when I get to Sunday, look at project life and think "gosh, that's going to take some time". Once I get going though I love the process of choosing photos and words.

Not so many this week what with being ill. I am still doing an instagram a day in lent though so I had a few from that.
I also used some lovely close up ones of our cats that I took when I got back home.

My journalling this week focuses on my frustration with still being ill and how it effected my last week of term. I still maintain that I want to be honest in PL and whilst I only had a cold, I want to look back on this week and understand why there aren't many pictures etc!

I also wrote about how good it is to be home, my experience with bloglovin and finding a certain furry creature on my nice clean bed when I got in!

I used one of my own graphics in the top left of the first page. I love the semicircle effect and am thinking of replicating it again.

I also used one of my scanned stamps for the "still" card. I combined this with a wonderful script font I found and am so pleased with how that turned out.

On the bloglovin card I used some graphic tapes and attached them to the screenshot.

Anything else:
There are some things I keep coming back to because I have found they work well. One is adding journalling on a card and then attaching this to a photo as seen in the cathedral shot.

I am also giving my self more freedom to fill some slots with a pattern or just a filler card when I don't have enough photos or words!

Week 11 has come round quickly. I'm excited to see how this project progresses when I am at home for the holidays.

17 March 2013


So google reader announced that it is intending to close in July.
I will put this out there now. I don't use a reader. Shoot me. 
I think my style of blog reading is pretty old fashioned. I link up a load of blogs on a separate page that is linked at the top of my blog. I don't know which are updated I just click and hope! 

Since hearing about the google reader news, I have come across blog lovin. Maybe I was in a happy mood, maybe I thought, lets just experiment. But I signed up and gave it a go. 

So far I am liking what I see. 

The process seems pretty simple. You sign up with your email or facebook and then simply search for blogs to follow. I found my favourite blogs really quickly by just tapping their name into the search box. 

When you have done that it comes up with a feed. Sort of a combination of facebook and instagram. 
Any posts that you haven't read will come up on the feed with the blog name, post title, photo and start of the post. 

Just click on any of these and it will take you to the blog. You see the blog as you would normally so you don't lose any of the formatting or lovely art of the blog. You can also comment like normal and even add linkys like normal. 

When you have finished reading the blog post there is a toolbar at the top of the page. It tells you how many other unread posts you have and you simply click "older" and it will take you to the next one.

Once you have clicked on a post it will be marked on your bloglovin feed as read. 

So far I have found it a very clear and simple design. I had a bit of a problem "claiming my blog". Basically attaching Creating Paper Dreams to my username but that was fine- all sorted now. 

I like that all the blogs I read are collected in one place and that I can still see the whole blog not just one post. It has also cut down my blog reading time. No fiddly tabs etc just one button to lead from one blog to the next. 

I like it. I am reserving judgment till I have had a good few weeks of trialling but I am seeing good things. 

Have you given blogLovin a go? Did you use google reader? How do you read blogs in general? 

15 March 2013

Doughnuts and Dreams

Two weeks ago my friend and I decided to go on a walk.

It was a Monday. I had just finished my killer of a three hour lecture. She had just had back to back lectures. We were both a tad stressed, she with a report, me with news that I had to write a new essay about data. ( I am not good at maths. When the lecturer started talking about standard deviation my mind drew a blank) 

We were sitting in her room both having a good rant when we looked at each other. "walk?" I asked. "yes" she said, grabbing her bag and keys and within five minutes we were pacing arm and arm down the cobbled street. 

We reached town and it was only at that point did we realise that we had no idea where we were headed. 

We turned to each other, the shop coming up on the right was Krispy Creme. "Doughnuts" we said. 

And that was how we ended up spending an hour on those green chairs. We finished the doughnuts in the first twenty minutes. We sat and talked about life about work about what we wanted for the future about dreams. We laughed together. We enjoyed an hour or so of spontaneous luxury in the middle of a busy few weeks.

It was good to sit there with a friend and just be. To share in food and words. Something so unplanned but so needed. 

Two women, laughing and sharing on the cusp of girlhood and adulthood.

This post is my 'simply a moment'. A beautiful meme from the lovely Alexa. Do stop by her blog and discover other bloggers moments. 

13 March 2013


I'm back from my blogging break! The break was so needed to get all the essays done and rather well timed as I came down with a bit of a rotten cold. It has been good to take the time off and relax. 

I'm glad to be back though and have a lot to post and catch up on...

I got really into Ben Howard last summer and find his music very easy, chilled relaxing stuff. Maybe because of when I first listened to it, I always associate these songs to Summer. With the snow back in Durham (what?!) I am playing this music in the hope that we will soon get Spring! 

So it has been a lot of text books the last two weeks. Not so much fun. Nor is the prospect of lugging this collection back up the hill to return them by Friday! 

I have been putting together a few different graphics/project life cards. Things that I use within my own work. Over the easter break I want to make some sort of uniformed set that will hopefully be available as a free download. 

These socks. They are just wonderful. They came in a tin can held together by a wooden peg. With each pair sold, another pair goes to someone who is homeless. Ethical fun songs. Win. 

These are the little things that I doing this month. What are you up to? 

Also, a quick question. I am on the look out for some good reads for the easter break. Are there any books you have recently read that you would recommend? 

5 March 2013

Project Life week 9

So I am late with PL this week as my lovely friend L reminds me. So L, this is for you! Thank you for reading the blog so much! 

I thought I would shake things up a bit this week and go through PL in sections. So first up...

This was one of those glorious weeks when I took lots of photos so I had a nice big selection to choose from. The weather was wonderful this week so I took myself off for a walk and grabbed some photos with the intention of using them in PL.
My instagramming in lent is also providing a phone photo a day so lots of choice!

These pages came together easily because as well as a lot of photos I had a lot of things I wanted to say. I wanted to do a little round up of the month, journal about the lovely socks my mum sent me in the post and record my feelings on my family coming up and visiting.

I am really enjoying using a set of watercolour brushes on my journaling cards. I also experimented with adding a white paint effect to the photo of the library. I love how this turned out and that it reflected something I would do with my photos if they were in paper form!

I put a few simple words around the photos of leaves on the first page. Again writing around objects is something I would do on paper so I chose to replicate it.

I have used this technique before but I split a photo across two pockets. I find this works well for landscapes or buildings. This view of Durham was perfect.

Anything else: 
I am still loving the colours of the seafoam kit. On photoshop I often adapt the journalling cards to match colours up. For instance the 'recorded' card was originally black writing but I switched it to the blue to tie in with the card next to it.

I made the pages separately again and always love that moment when I put them together. So much fun to see how the colours and photos will work together.

I liked adding a monthly calendar to my last week of january spread so thought I would replicate it here.

Phew! Week 9. Such a great project. So excited to see the pages all together.

* On a totally different note, I am focusing this week on getting all the essays done, deadlines met and birthdays of friends celebrated. I am therefore taking a bit of a blogging break until I am free enough to write coherently again! I will still be visiting your lovely blogs and commenting where possible. I am planning to be up and posting again by next wednesday! See you soon.*

1 March 2013

graze box- review

So, this isn't going to be a regular thing. This is what we might call a one time only! Make the most of it friends... I am doing a review!

It seems in my college that graze boxes are all the rage. Lots of my friends had ordered them and when a friend on my corridor gave me a voucher for a free box I thought I would give them a try.

What is graze? 

Graze boxes are small boxes containing four little pots of snacks. The boxes are small enough to fit through your letter box and you order them online.

Once creating an account you then spend a happy half hour going through the lists of snacks available. The snacks totally vary. There are seeds, nuts, dried fruit, croutons, flapjack, brownies, popcorn, you name it.

There is a photo of each snack, how nutritionally good it is and then under each snack are four boxes. Love, like, try and bin. Essentially you go through the snacks rating them. If you bin an item they promise never to send it to you. You can also tick a box for "send soon" if you really fancy the look of one of the snacks!

You then set up deliveries. Most people I know have a box once a week,  but there is an option for once a fortnight, twice a week or a one off.

The exciting part is that you don't know what will be in your box. Graze try and put in the things you have clicked love for but they also try and keep it balanced and healthy between the four snacks.

What did I get in my box? 

Now there is a funny story here. I ordered a box for myself to try it out and then my mum ordered me a box as a surprise so I had two in the space of a week!

My first box had:

  • Boston Baguettes- Little tomato breadsticks with a BBQ relish. I loved the breadsticks but wasn't so keen on the relish. 
  • Black pepper popcorn- this was so cute! The popcorn was made in the microwave and it filled a whole bowl! So tasty too.
  • Apple and toffee sauce- dried apple with a toffee dip. This was one of my favourites. Delicious.
  • Fiery seeds- a mixture of sunflower, pumpkin seeds. They were more spicy than I thought they would be but still nice. 

My second box had: 
  • Apple and Cinnamon flapjack- three little flapjacks. They filled a mid morning hole and you could really taste the apple and cinnamon. 
  • Bruschetta- man this was amazing! The snack was made up of roasted cashews, olive croutons and tomato breadsticks. So good. 
  • Seed mix- this one was ok. It felt very healthy but it was pretty boring. My friend loved it though so clearly personal taste!
  • Cookies and cream- white chocolate buttons, cookie, hazelnuts and seeds. I liked the chocolate and hazelnuts but the combination was a bit weird! 

After recieving the box you can go back on the website and rate the snacks you had. I would probably bin the plain seeds and move the bruschetta to a love rating!

How much?

each box is £3.89. 


I liked the surprise factor of graze. It was so much fun to get snacks in the post and then guess what I had received. I am a fussy eater and I found a lot on the site to tempt me. 

Most of the snacks I got were really tasty. The portions aren't huge. The box is about A5 size and there are four snacks in there. 

It was expensive. For a student it was just a bit too much than I was prepared to spend. I doubt I spend four pounds a week on snacks anyway so for the novelty factor it was a bit much especially as the snacks weren't huge. 

Although they are all healthy snacks, it sort of made me feel like it was ok to snack when actually what I should have done was just have a big cup of tea! 

It was very easy to cancel my order. I still have an account but have canceled any further orders. Once we get to exams I would be tempted to order a one off box to get me through that revision! 

A little gift

So because I am kind, (you can thank me later) I want to offer you the same offer I got. If you click on the link below you can make an account and get your first box free. There isn't any obligation to keep buying after your first box- trust me I read the small print several times! 

Also if you click on my link I get a pound off my next box. I am a student folks. It would be a kind thing to do! ha ha! Joking aside, it's always fun to get something for nothing but please don't feel like you have to. 

I'm afraid graze only post to the UK. International readers, do you have similar companies? 

Have any of you used graze before? What are your opinions?