June 18, 2013

The Basics

Hello and welcome to my new little corner of the web, Scraps of My Life!

I've been toying for a while now with the idea of setting up a blog and friends have finally convinced me to give it a go.  It's been a looong time since I've last blogged or ran a website, though, and a lot has changed over the last decade so please forgive my learning curve - I'm sure there will be a number of ups and downs here in the beginning but I'll get it sorted hopefully soon (and please feel free to offer suggestions!).

But since this is just the very first post, I thought I should share with you some of the basics about me, so let's get started!

Who are you?
My name is Cindy England.  I'm Canadian born and bred (Ontario, specifically) and a child of the 70s.

What do you do?
I'm a teacher.  Grade 2 to be exact and I teach at an IBO international school.  My class is comprised of children from numerous countries and ethnicities around the world and many of them begin with no English language, which I teach them along with all the usual school subjects.  It's a very interesting environment in which to work.

Why Sweden?
I moved to Sweden in 2002 due to a relationship, which lasted six years.  When that had finished running its course, I had a obtained a full-time classroom teaching position, had a wonderful circle of supportive friends and a cat so it seemed natural to stay and make it on my own.  I have since purchased my own flat, take advantage of traveling Europe several times a year, enjoy a very high quality of life and have never looked back.  I have found where I belong.

What is your crafting background?  Why scrapbooking and sewing?
Creativity and crafting have always infused my life from the very beginning.  I am a quilter's daughter - my mother has spent her whole life sewing; first clothing (she made her own first wedding dress!) and then later quilts and home decor and finally culminating in her own quilt shop business (Quilts 'N Critters in Millbrook, ON - recently closed for retirement).  I spent my youth helping to turn fabric tubes, stuff animals, work craft shows and sew samples, just to name a few things.  At this point I didn't get into sewing too much; it was really more my mum's 'thing' and it's hard to express yourself in someone else's shadow.

After I moved out on my own in Sweden, my best friend who is also a quilter, encouraged me to start joining her and her mum at the local quilt guild, Öresundsquilterna, which I did.  It was really nice to add another community of people outside of my work friends and colleagues to my life and a good opportunity to ensure I kept up my Swedish regularly, as working in an all English environment with English friends runs the risk of loosing the local language.  Needless to say, I started to come into my own sewing here, although I still struggle with starting projects and taking forever to finish them.

As for scrapbooking, I originally tried to get into it around 2005 or thereabouts.  This first go simply entailed using photo corners to stick three or so photos randomly onto some patterned paper and I never got around to adding titles, journaling or embellishments.  I tried again several years later when a friend of mine also got into the craft.  I actually finished some pages, including all of those previously missing elements but they often lacked many basic design principles and they never made it into albums.  I was starting to give up hope and then I found some issues of Papercraft Inspirations at the local magazine merchantile.  I was hooked and the card-sized format was much easier for me to work with and learn from.  I spent a year really focusing on making handmade cards and it became a hallmark to those who knew me.  Then I found Shimelle Laine - amazing!  She completely revoluntionised my understanding and vision of scrapbooking and what's more, she got me back into scrapping full page layouts and they actually worked!  Thanks, Shimelle!

Bits and bobs...
A few other things about me you may want to know or soon discover.

My style: I love bright colours; my favourite colour is currently orange, closely followed by turquoise.  I love graphic prints, especially chevrons, stripes and polka dots and I also like a lot of retro patterns with a contemporary finish or colour palette.  I like to layer but I don't tend to go overboard.

My quirks: I'm a wee bit OCD.  Nothing clinical but in the sense that I'm fairly hyper organised; I like structure and everything has a place and there is a place for everything.  Oh, and I won't leave the flat unless my dishes are all washed and my bed is made.  Also, the cutting edge of all my knives must face to the left in my cutlery drawer.  Don't ask - I honestly don't know why.

My cat: His name is Oskar and he's a 9 year-old classical tabby moggy (feline version of the term 'mutt').  He's slightly over-weight, extremely lazy and not much of a snuggler but he keeps me company and someone to natter to incessantly.