Posts tagged with "family"

Adventure album for the trip of a lifetime

A wonderful bespoke travel company, Brown & Hudson, commissioned me to design and craft albums for a client travelling to Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands for a trip of a lifetime.

The brief was very detailed – 3 albums with similar artwork but personalised to each individual, were to contain pages for a diary and events on a daily basis in phases of the trip, pages to record the different species seen, pages for photos and notes and species reference pages so the children could identify each species they saw on their trip.

It was a complex brief but I was happy to oblige.

The front artwork took the form of one of my canvas covered albums, the interior was lined with hard wearing black book cloth. The design reflected the trip and included elements personal to each family member.

Canvas travel album 1 at The Scrapbooker


The rear artwork continued the theme from the front, shown here with Brown and Hudson’s logo…


Canvas travel album 8 at The Scrapbooker

The internal pages were pre-printed with details of each phase of the trip.

Canvas travel album 4 at The Scrapbooker


There was lots of  space to keep a diary and notes about the highlights of each day.

Canvas travel album 5 at The Scrapbooker


Printed species sheets for each of the 4 phases are laminated to protect the printed pages from being affected by the humidity – a small but serious detail to consider.


Canvas travel album 6 at The Scrapbooker


An index at the back to aid easy reference when reviewing the album.


Canvas travel album 7 at The Scrapbooker


… and somewhere to store the photos.

Canvas travel album 11 at The Scrapbooker


These really were amazing albums to work on and brought together many elements from different aspects of my work – a real self indulgence you could say!

Brown and Hudson were delighted with the albums too, which was a huge bonus!

Brown & Hudson testimonial at The Scrapbooker

If these albums are just what you have been looking for, Email Me to discuss your requirements, I’d love to hear from you!

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The green, green, grass of home

As I was hanging the washing out on the line this morning I faintly remember the distant hummm of a lawnmower near by. It didn’t register at first until I was standing in the kitchen half an hour later washing up when the smell drifted in through the window and hit me with a garden spade….

..the sweet, fresh, undeniable smell of freshly cut grass.

I stood there and closed my eyes for a few seconds and was instantly transported back to my childhood. Memories of my grandfather painstakingly cutting, rolling and spiking his perfectly manicured weed-free lawn with it’s tennis court stripes and luscious dark green colour; my father emulating him as he attempted to do the same with our ‘footie pitch’ at home – the three of us rolling around in the cuttings til we itched uncontrollably, shoving hand-fulls of the cuttings down each other’s backs til my father yelled at us to ‘pack-it-in”;  coming out to play on the school playing fields during the summer after the lawnmower guy had been with his ‘ride-on’ lawnmower – lying down watching the clouds go by and inhaling the intoxicating aroma, gently lifting our spirits and rejuvinating us for afternoon lessons and me trying to emulate both my father and my grandfather on our bumpy, uneven, dog-run of a lawn whilst the girls run around the outside being chased by the dog…

They say that smell has the strongest memory and thank goodness it does for in that single moment countless happy memories came flooding back and when I finally opened my eyes I felt enlightened, uplifted and joyous ……LOL and with Tom Jones singing ‘..the green, green, grass of home’ playing over and over and over and over in my head…..

God bless you Tom!

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Fighting back…

After a very long absense from the track Amber finally got back into training again this week. Since her illness last year (LeMierre’s disease – a post on this coming soon) she hasn’t had the energy or the inclination to train and of course there has been the school production of School Will Rock You which has taken up most of her free time and her energy.

Her enthusiasm was obvious and her track buddies were all so pleased to see her but it hit her hard just how unfit she was (and to think this time last year we were celebrating her semi final place at the National Indoor Championships). Whilst practising sprint starts she commented on the fact that she was coming in last – a position she is not at all used to (shown above in pink) and she is now finding it hard to accept that she no longer dominates the track the way she did, her road to recovery and previous fitness will be hard and she may never run the way she did before.

My heart sank as I watched her expressions change as the reality hit her. How long will it be before she starts to find excuses to go? She has already stated she doesn’t want to compete this year, so low is her confidence; but her enthusiasm prevails, it keeps her off the streets, active and staying healthy and from a parents perspective, especially after what she has been through, things could be a lot worse!

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End of an era

There were so many things I had planned to write about this week. There was the fact that the Deadly West Brom Winger had scored a fantastic hat trick at the weekend in a 16-0 thrashing of some poor team who probably wished they hadn’t turned up; or there was the on-going saga of my Wii fit experiment that left me crippled for the week after just 2 days doing the yoga moves or even Mother’s Day which saw me sitting in casualty on Sunday evening after taking a nasty fall and sustaining a suspected broken right wrist – what a nightmare that was! (Turns out it was just a sprain but painful nonetheless).

No, today I am going to pay homage to the end of an era.

My grandfather’s younger brother, Ernest Godfrey James Shill passed away last weekend and with him went the last of a generation. As I sat next to my father in the crematorium today I couldn’t help
wiping the tears from my eyes as I thought about the people he had lost
and the emptiness he must feel. My grandfather, Robert passed away some 12 years ago, my grandmother, Kathleen just 2 years ago; my uncle, his only brother Leslie over 20 years ago. I gazed around the room at people I hardly knew, family I hardly knew, family who I had only ever remembered seeing at funerals. All connected but all so unfamiliar.

I don’t remember meeting Ernest or should I say “Curly’ – no-one ever knew him as Ernest. I learnt he had been a gun dog handler, a lover of country and western and big band music and he left behind him a wife, several children and 14 grandchildren. He had been one of 4 children all now sadly gone (I knew this as I have been researching our family tree on ancestry) and his father, Godfrey, my great-grandfather, I had been told by my father, was a lovely man. Having said that my grandfather was a lovely man, a real character with a wonderful manner and jovial to the core.

So it was with a saddened heart that I left the crematorium and said my goodbyes to people I hardly knew. I also dwelled on our family history, our family name, the SHILL name. My father, proud as he is of his 3 daughters, knows that our name will soon die out. My sister Maxine is unmarried and still bears the SHILL name but she will be the last Shill descendent from our known ancestors: Robert Shill (b.1796) and Sarah Shill (b 1791) and it is sad to think of it this way. Our future lies with our children, The Daniels’, The Hay’s, The Brady’s – all I can do is document it and ‘scrap’ it for them and their children so that our names and our histories will always be remembered long after we are gone.

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Producing the goods

I have many nephews (5 to be exact) and 1 niece – all of which are Superstars in their own rights AND in their own ways. They are all great characters (it must be the Shill genes…) but every now and again one or even two of them leave me in a state of shock or wonderment at something they have achieved, gained or experienced.

Take Tyla for example. Tyla is NOT your average 14 year old. His appearance strikes you immediately – a skinny kid with a massive afro (frequently seen embedded with an afro comb) and a huge cheeky grin. Yes, he possesses all the usual teenager issues and attitudes BUT this is a kid, for example, that will put himself up to play netball  ‘coz the girls dig it’  and not only play, but play well! His speech can drive you to distraction so laden is it with hip-hop slang, Chav speak and lazy english you could mistake this lad for an ignorant, vacuous yob until you spend more than 5 minutes talking to him and realise he’s doing it deliberately to wind you up, get your attention and amuse himself; attention, I may add, you gladly give because he is so amusing.

TylaNow, last year was a bad year for Tyla. Sometimes this cheeky chappy just doesn’t know when to say no or when to put the brakes on his jovial ‘bad-self’. His friendship with several other notorious pupils keen to exploit his need for attention and acceptance coupled with his somewhat challenging attitude towards authority saw him get several suspensions and a near expulsion from school – one more offense and he was out and he had only just started the New Year! Now, this isn’t a bad kid, just an intelligent, bored kid with a real need for attention and recognition – he was just looking for it in the wrong place. His poor mother, along with the rest of us, held her breath ’til the end of the year when the slate would be wiped clean and he could start afresh.

And start afresh he did!

New teachers and a fresh start have seen him adjust his attitude, knuckle down and produce the goods… and oh has he produced the goods. Last Thursday his Mom popped in for her morning cuppa armed with a thick bright orange, dog-eared school book, a big grin and a request from Tyla to ‘show Aunty Andrea’ something special. The book it turns out was his Maths book from this year (September 08 – March 09). At first I was a little bemused but as I slowly turned the pages I realised that I couldn’t see a single cross anywhere in the book.

Not a single WRONG ANSWER in the entire book!

In fact, it was completely full of right answers, merits and ‘good skills marks’. Tons of them!IMG_9846b

I have never seen anything like it! Neither has anyone else I have shown. I was so proud of him and so pleased for his poor Mom whose relief was evident.

A couple of years ago I rewarded his brother financially for producing a straight A’s school report so when I finally got to see the big man himself and commented on his maths book, his answer was simple, cheeky and to the point …

‘More birthday presents for me then Aunty Andrea!”

Yes, Tyla, most definitely more birthday presents for you!

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