Keep It Moving

It’s funny that this months Pixel Scrapper blog train theme is “Keep It Moving” because I’m certainly not doing much moving at the moment! I’m just over halfway through my pregnancy, still sick as a dog and still spending a lot of time on the sofa or napping in bed.

I wasn’t always this lazy though (honestly!) Once upon a time I was young, fit and a ballroom dancer. A very good one (one of the few things I can proudly say I was very good at.) I started when I was 6 or 7 years old and had passed my Oscar – first time around – at the age of 16. (The Oscar is the highest award achievable comprising a long complicated routine within a particular style – Modern, Latin or New Vogue. Not everyone passes it the first time round.)

I haven’t danced for years now and I don’t think I’ll ever start up again – it’s very much “use it or lose it” when it comes to the body and dancing. While I still have great movement in my feet (the way I can hold my toes still freaks out my partner who thinks my feet are unnatural), my knees are completely rooted. Dancing in 3 inch heels for most of your teen years will do that to you.

I had some great teachers over the years and was pretty good at all three styles, although I will admit that Tango and Paso Doble were my weakest dances – all those heel leads made me nervous and I often thought I’d slip in my stiletto heels and go sliding across the dance floor, snapping bones as I went. (I never had any major injuries while dancing, although did fall flat on my backside a few times.)

So for this month’s Pixel Scrapper blog train, I used the “Keep It Moving” theme to play around with some Ballroom bits and bobs. I’ve also done that thing where I experiment – I am a paper girl, I make papers, I use (mainly) papers in my own layouts. But I couldn’t resist doing some glittery dancing figurines and a smattering of word art this month. I hope you like them!




Download cardstock (Dropbox – 30mb)
Download figurines (Dropbox – 15mb)
Download word art (Dropbox – 6mb)

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I hope you love the huge range of goodies over at Pixel Scrapper this month and don’t forget you can see all my non-blog-train digital papers in my Etsy store.


Layout – Gertrude of Nivelles

My last layout wasn’t one of my favourites – it was just… meh.

This one, however, turned out fabulously!

The first thing I do when I begin a layout is search for an image to use. Obviously pickings can be quite slim when it comes to people who lived a thousand years ago and some of the images I find online are….well, crap. Poor quality and really tiny are generally what I find. When it came to Gertrude however, I found a simply stunning image. A photograph of a stained glass window and it is truly beautiful!

The colours of the stained glass are vivid and intense so instead of sticking to my usual neutrals, I went bright! To make the paper I used one of my most popular patterns – Tudor Damask – and coloured it the same shade of red as used in the stained glass and added in some grunge overlays. And lo and behold – it looks almost EXACTLY like the stained glass!

(I’m aware at this point that I’m using a lot of exclamation marks – in my defence I’m very enthusiastic about this layout.)

Because of the intense colours of the background paper and the image of Gertrude, I kept the elements to a bare minimum.


Products used:

Papers I created myself
Metal decorative border by Sheila Reid at Pixel Scrapper
Fonts are Blackadder Regular, Castellar and VTC Switchblade Romance

This is what the text says:

When her father, Pepin of Landen, became Mayor of the Palace to Dagobert I, King of Austrasia, Gertrude and her family moved to Neustria to be with the court.

After Pepin’s death, and despite pronouncing that she would take no earthly husband, there were constant requests by what her mother, Itta, called “violators of souls” who wished to gain wealth and power by marrying Gertrude. Despite Christianity not being common in the 7th century, Itta founded a monastery at Nivelles in modern-day Belgium and Gertrude was installed as Abbess.

After her mother’s death in 652, Gertrude took the whole burden of running the monastery upon herself. She has been described by contemporary scholars as intelligent, scholarly and charitable, devoting herself to the sick, elderly and poor, including orphans, widows, captives and pilgrims, especially Irish monks who travelled to evangelize.

The first miracle attributed of Gertrude in the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis takes place at the altar of St. Sixtus the martyr as Gertrude was standing in prayer. “She saw descending above her a flaming pellucid sphere such that the whole basilica was illuminated by its brightness.” The vision persisted for about half an hour and later was revealed to some of the sisters at the monastery. The second miracle attributed to Gertrude took place as the anonymous author of the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis was peacefully sailing across the sea on monastic business. An incredible storm and a sea monster appeared, causing great distress to the sailors aboard the ship. The sailors turned to their pagan idols but the author’s friend cried out to Gertrude to save himself and his companions. Immediately, the storm subsided and the monster dived back into the deep.

Gertrude led a devout life and eventually had to resign as abbess due to chronic exhaustion from continuous abstinence of food and sleep which she said brought her closer to God. In 659 she sent a monk to a nearby monastery to ask the superior, a living saint, whether God had made known to him the hour of her death. The superior answered that she would die the following day during Holy Mass. The prophecy came true and Gertrude was proclaimed a saint immediately after her death at the age of thirty-three.

She is the patron saint of travelers and gardeners and may be called upon against mice, rats and mental illness. She is frequently depicted in artwork as bearing a staff with mice or rats at her feet.

Layout – Rollo of Normandy

I have to start by saying that this isn’t my favourite layout. But I can’t tell you why. Something about it just doesn’t feel right – I don’t know if it’s my font choice, paper choice or simply a photo which doesn’t really inspire much (but it’s the best pic I could find of dear old Rollo.)

The research was also problematic. Lately, due to the popularity of the TV show Vikings (where Rollo is portrayed), there has been a flood of “facts” erupting from the show that aren’t actually facts. The TV show isn’t a documentary – it’s fiction. Very Game of Thrones but with less dragons and more Vikings. However people seem to be confused and are believing it to be 100% true so sorting through the glut of “information” online proved more difficult than it has been for previous ancestors.

Nevertheless, it was still fun to create this page. I layered some paper I made myself and made a string of coins based on the silver denier of Charles the Simple (who was the ruler at the time). A last minute addition to the layout was a frame I picked up from Arlene’s Scrapbits February Pixel Scrapper blog train contribution.



Products Used

Papers I created myself
String of coins I created from the denier (which is in the public domain)
Frame by Arlene’s Scrapbits
Paper tag I created using a basic Photoshop shape template
Decorative button by Laitha’s Designs (Attic Treasures kit)
Fonts are Old English Text and Bamberg Antique

This is what the text says:

Rollo is the son of Rognvald Eysteinsson, founder of the Earldon of Orkney, and grandson of Eystein Glumra “The Noisy”. Rollo himself was a powerful Viking leader, born in 846 somewhere on the Atlantic side of Scandinavia, probably Norway.

In 876, Rollo was one of a number of Vikings to seize Rouen and in 885 he and his fleet invaded Paris. The following year, the Vikings retreated but Rollo and a band of Norsemen stayed behind, invading then settling in an area in northern France – Normandy. There is some scepticism as to these dates, with some historians suggesting these events took place much later, in 911 when the Treaty of Saint Clair-sur-Epte was signed between Rollo and Charles III, King of Western Francia.

The treaty was negotiated after Rollo launched a failed attack on Paris before laying seige to Chartres. The Bishop of Chartres appealed to the local nobles for help and in July of 911, the nobles defeated Rollo at the Battle of Chartres. Rollo and his soldiers were granted all the land between the river Epte and the sea, plus Brittany. In return, Rollo gave King Charles III his loyalty, including military assistance for the protection of the kingdom.

Sometime soon after the signing of the treaty, Rollo converted from Norse paganism to Christianity, being baptized “Robert”. Rollo married Poppa of Bayeux. Little is known about Poppa other than she was the mother of William I, Duke of Normandy. There is some speculation that she is the daughter of a Count who was captured by Rollo when he invaded Bayeux in 885, but nothing can be proven. It is, however, agreed by historians that she was almost certainly a member of the Frankish aristocracy.


Edit: 7th March 2016

FINALLY we’ll be getting an answer as to whether Rollo was Danish or Norwegian. The history nut in me is very excited by this news article.

Layout – Harald Bluetooth

Everyone’s heard of bluetooth – it’s that invisible connection when your mobile phone talks to your car or your laptop. Well it was invented in 1994 by Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications company. And the bluetooth technology is named after Harald Bluetooth – Scandinavian king and my 30th great-grandfather.

There are a few images of Harald Bluetooth knocking around the place but I chose to use this gold relief of Harald being baptised by Poppo the monk – it seemed appropriate given Harald was the one to introduce Christianity into Denmark. The gold image also worked beautifully with blue, and I needed to have blue paper somewhere in my layout!


Products Used

Papers I created myself
Ribbon by Laitha’s Designs (Attic Treasures kit)
Paper frame by Laitha’s Designs (Day After Day kit)
Fonts are My Type Of Font, Charlemagne Std, Always In My Heart

Sometimes when I research my ancestors, there is very little information. Sometimes there’s a lot. With Harald, there was a lot of info but much of it was ambiguous and there are many contradicting stories. I made the decision to keep only a few facts as at the end of the day, Harald Bluetooth is only one small part of my family history and his story could easily have grown into many pages with explanations on different battles, why they occurred, who the main players were, etc.

This is what the text says:

When Harald became King of Denmark in 958, the country was at peace so Harald turned his attentions to the surrounding Scandinavian countries. When King Harald Greycloak of Norway was assassinated, Harald Bluetooth managed to force the people of Norway into temporary subjugation to himself. After a battle with the Germans in 974, Harald lost control of Norway. There were ongoing hostilities with the Swedish prince, Styrbjorn the Strong, and Harald was forced to submit to him twice. The first time he offered his daughter, Thyra, as a peace offering. The second time he gave himself up as a hostage, along with a fleet of 200 ships. The Swedish prince’s plan was to use the fleet to overthrow the current Swedish king, Eric the Victorious, but Harald and his Danish fleet managed to flee before the Battle of Fyrisvellir broke out.

Harald was married to Gynrithe, a Swedish princess, and they had four children together, although Harald fathered at least 12 illegitimate children. In 986, Harald died after fighting off a rebellion led by one of his own sons, most likely Sweyn Forkbeard, who became King of Denmark after Harald died. Harald’s lasting legacy is the introduction of Christianity into pagan Denmark.

Layout – Itta of Metz

For this layout, I wanted something soft and feminine, but not girlish (or garish!) So I created a blue paper with a very subtle floral pattern with some textures blended through and overlaid it with a flower element from a kit called Day After Day (details below) and turned the transparency to 80% so it almost became a part of the paper, rather than be a stand alone element.


Products Used

Papers I created myself
Floral branch by Laitha’s Designs (Day After Day kit)
Frame by Regina Falango (Last Roses kit)
Fonts are Louvaine, Orator Standard, C-721 Script

While I could find a decent amount of information on Itta, information on her ancestors was scant so I chose to display their names and include what little information I could find on them on this page.

Her story is also intermingled with her daughter – Gertrude – but Gertrude was so interesting I chose to do a separate page for her (which I’ll show you soon.)

This is what the text says:

When her husband, Pepin of Landen, died in 640, Itta founded a Benedictine nunnery at Nivelles in Belgium on the advice of the living saint, Saint Amandus.

Years before, Pepin had asked his daughter, Gertrude, if she’d like to be married to a rich and powerful duke. She replied that she would neither marry him nor any other man and that Jesus Christ alone would be her bridegroom.

Now that Pepin, their protector, had died, Itta was haunted by the thought of her daughter being kidnapped and forcibly married, so she took a knife and cut Gertrude’s hair, shaving her hair close to the scalp in the shape of a crown. Gertrude was said to rejoice in being able to wear a crown on earth for her Lord’s sake. She took it as a sign that she would wear an immortal crown in heaven.

As soon as the nunnery was completed, Itta appointed Gertrude as abbess (or mother superior). Itta spent the rest of her life at the nunnery and she was canonised after her death in 652. Her feast day is May 8th.

Itta’s father, Arnoald was the Bishop of Metz from 609 until his death in 611. Her grandfather was Ansbertus, a Frankish-Austrasian noble and Gallo-Roman senator, as was his father, Ferreolus of Rodez, and grandfather, Tonantius Ferreolus (the younger).

The older Tonantius Ferreolus was Praefecti Praetorio Galliarum – political leader of Gaul, a province of the Roman Empire. Tonantius was instrumental in organizing Gaul to defeat Attila the Hun and his army at the Battle of Catalaunian Plains. Although Attila and his army were eventually beaten, the Hun army successfully looted and pillaged much of Gaul and crippled the Roman military.

The Battle of Catalaunian Plains became famous almost immediately after it was over, not only for its sheer size (at least 100,000 soldiers with a large but unspecified death toll) but also because it was the first time Attila’s “aura of invincibility” was broken.

My 1st Family History Layout

I’m a bit of a family history nut – I’ve had an subscription for as long as I can remember and, slowly, I’ve investigated my family tree.

In 2012, I got to what I like to call “The End of the Line”. I’d found the earliest ancestor I could on my grandfather’s paternal line. I spent months writing a family history essay to give to my Granddad as a Christmas gift.

The problem I had with this essay was that I’d tried to write it like a story that flowed. Family history doesn’t do that. Each person is their own story and occasionally that story flows for a generation or two but then it stops and will pick up again somewhere entirely different.

Flow just didn’t happen.

I always thought digital scrapbooking was never going to be for me – layouts of other peoples wedding day or children or  overseas holiday just never gave me the creativity fizz.

But creating a family history scrapbook which combined people, history, politics, the changing European geographical landscape – THAT gave me the fizz.

It took a few years for me to find the time (and, admittedly, the confidence) to start my scrapbook. Here is the first layout I created a few months ago. The subject I chose to start with is Gorm the Old, the first officially recognized King of Denmark.

Gorm The Old
Gorm The Old

Products Used

Papers I created myself
Frame and tag by Laitha’s Designs (Attic Treasures kit)
Screws by Regina Felango (Last Roses kit)
Fonts are Livingstone, Typewriter Antique and Ballantines Serial

I found it a challenge – it was my first layout and there was so much information I wanted to include – his relation to me, dates of birth and death, his title, plus his biography.

The biography has been cobbled together from a variety of sources, many of which contradict each other (helpfully!)

This is what the text says:

Gorm the Old was officially the first recognized King of Denmark. Born in 900 A.D., he ruled Denmark from 936 until his death in 958.

Gorm was considered old in the sense that he had always been the ancestral head of the Danish monarchy, plus the custom at the time was to give nicknames to people as surnames weren’t formalised in Denmark until the 19th century.

Gorm married Thyra and they had three sons – Toke, Knut and Harald, who later became King Harald Bluetooth. Legend has it that Gorm and Thyra also had a daughter, but she was captured by trolls and taken away to a kingdom in the far north.

The three sons of Gorm were considered true Vikings and departed Denmark each summer to raid and pillage. One day, Harald came back to the royal enclosure at Jellinge with the news that Knut had been killed whilst attempting to take Dublin, Ireland.

There is conflicting information as to Gorm’s death. Some sources say he was so grieved by Knut’s death that he died the next day. Other sources say Queen Thyra died first. Either way, the King and Queen were eventually buried together beneath a large runic stone erected by their son, the new King of Denmark, Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson.