Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 so far

what have I been up to?
I've been to a wedding (ok that was on New Year's Eve but it went on until after midnight. Although we were home by then to see the New year in with the family)
I've been twice to the same restaurant in Exeter - Comptoir Libanais which is lovely (actually been 3 times in a month but the other time was earlier in December)
I've been wassailing - dancing round apple trees and hanging up toast for the robins. As you do.
I've been to Zizzis for a farewell meal for Carys before going back to Uni. We met friends there who didn't know about the 25% discount code and that made it even better!
I've been to a classical concert which rather won me over. I like classical music but I prefer to either play/sing it myself or be doing something else at the same time. I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I could have taken my crochet but I don't think that is the done thing...
Seen Ross Noble. His show, as far as we can tell was not scripted at all, just talking to a few people and taking it all from there. Totally brilliant. Well most people thought so, some walked out. And then became a major theme for the whole of the second half.

When I look at photos of my kids or reminisce over old times I do miss the cute toddlers and small children. But I also love spending time with the young adults they are now AND having time to do things that don't revolve around them so much.

Which means I am also trying to get back to... making cards.
To that end I have managed the last two Daring Cardmaker weeks - and (spoiler) next week's one is already made as well. I dropped out for a while because life and work were a bit overwhelming as you may have noticed and i hadn't worked out a good rhythm. I think that if I can make a card on a Sunday that is the best time to do it.

Having said that I nearly fell at the first hurdle as I struggled with my card for the first week of January. It was an inspiration one and this is the picture
White woodgrain, a silver wreath, pine leaves and lots of sparkle, what's not to love? It started well, I found some woodgrain paper and added white paint to lighten it. I cut some leaves from pine coloured card. I decided to cut up an old Spellbinders thing that you were supposed to be able to emboss or use in pieces and the embossing had never worked... and then it all went dangerously wrong. Well maybe a slight exaggeration.
 There just wasn't room for the leaves so I decided to mat the woodgrain on green cardstock instead. I could only have a narrow border and it kept going - slightly squiffy. There is a good reason why the blog is called that as I have a real problem with keeping things straight. I only had a tiny bit of green and in the end I decided this would do. 
I did something I have done before and cut a Sizzix heart out using some sticky shiny material I have. I've also got some new WPLus9 alpha dies (with stamps to match but haven't used them yet!) that I used with old silver glitter cardstock. Then came snipping off the silver flowers and turning them into a vague wreath shape. That was more or less successful. Wierdly it is ever so hard to photograph as it is silver metal that looks copper in some photos. See that bottom right hand flower? that is the correct colour
nothing like this! 
Although as it is reflective metal that is probably my skin colour in that photo :)
So all in all, not great but at least I tried.

The next week Kathy dared us to try something new. I decided to go easy on myself and found a Jennifer McGuire  technique that involves stamping lightly and tracing over it with gel pen. Inspired by her colour choice I found a Papermania 4x6 mat that was a lovely teal colour and went to work with some of my favourite stamps and a white gel pen. I'm much happier with this one!
 
 The greetings are heat embossed and I went round the die cut panel which has the stitched lines with more white pen. Then added a few gems that have been on my desk for months and were starting to annoy me. They please me much better on the card!
My teamies have been kind enough to welcome me back and they have done some amazing cards so do go and show them some love!


 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Surprise!

to be honest it was the stopping of the blogging and the crafting (mostly) that was a surprise to me. I had managed to keep going through thick and thin and then suddenly, nothing! I think maybe moving and starting a new wonderful but overwhelming job took it out of me more than I had realised. But I am gradually coming back to it. I have completed an Advent Journal




made a few blankets (there is another completed one that I must take a photo of, too busy using it!)



and dabbling in layouts







 in case you can't read the journalling on this one...
and perhaps my favourite - although it used no paper at all!
 I used some distress stains, some material stuff, tissue paper, glitter paste, sea glass and chipboard painted white with glitter added plus vellum for the lettering
Lets see how long it is before I have something to blog again - I'm making no promises!
 

Friday, September 02, 2016

Take a deep breath

and launch into action! I've had a great summer here in my new job but actually only did a few weeks work before the school holidays when most things stopped happening. So now I will be experiencing life on a different level as the regular events begin again and I have to juggle my diary a bit more. But I am loving it all so far! A lot of the things I love doing have become "work" but then it is hard to tell  what is work and what is fun....
I haven't as yet managed to fit creative stuff into the work side but that will come I am sure...

But again I am behind on the old blog front so here are my cards from the last two weeks
At the end of August we had Wonderful Woodgrain
I found (ahem, on the floor under my desk) a card that I had stuck the woodgrain paper onto many moons ago and then forgotten about it. It is Cosmo Cricket from their Mr Campy collection. I also found the flower raised sticker which is from a different collection of theirs on top of my desk. (I am that tidy) So that gave me the inspiration I needed. I die cut a circle of dark cream vellum and ran it through a woodgrain embossing folder. That was stuck onto a gold foil die cut doily which was added to a pinking edged circle (I added some gold pen work to that) Before sticking that all to the card I felt that something else was needed so that is where the striped paper strip comes in. I die cut the word thanks from gold foiled paper and then finally added some gold dots as a border using Beads in a Bottle. And they all worked!
This week as it is, indeed September, there is a round of Elemental Inspiration
using this photo
I went old school with it and made a little boat. I used to make these boats a lot.

 this one was just a bit too big for the card. These papers are all ancient Authentique ones, die cut using various stitched squares and turning some into sails/the boat. The leaves are Clearly Besotted dies and the word is from the Maya Road Art Journalling stamp set. The leaves and boat were covered in that shiny wink of stella stuff but I don't think you can really see it. Tis pretty though

 

Monday, August 22, 2016

One of these days

I'll get back to regular blogging. I'm still trying to work out a pattern to life at a time when lots of things have stopped for the summer and suddenly I'm writing to someone I can meet with you this week or after 21st September! So lots to cram in but I am loving my new job so much.

All of which is a feeble excuse for being 3 cards behind for Daring Cardmakers...
8th August was the first of the month so a chance for Elemental Inspiration
 turned into
 Sadly the silver/chrome features don't stand out on the photo. That heart is a lovely squishy silver one and I added silver streaks to the die cut "love" that look good. Oh well.
I used
the patchwork wall
chrome effects (the lamp shade)
flowers
teal and yellow.

I adore teal - it is the main colour in my bedroom and kitchen. Maybe I could do a wall like that? The papers are a mix of old ones and the die cuts are from a recent Quirky Kit.

The next dare was a room with a view -  to make an aperture card with a scene behind it. My card for this was pretty late but there you go...
I made an aperture card with a porthole effect, putting acetate in the middle. On the inside I had a die cut circle the same size as the aperture hole and layered up blue coloured card and a small semicircle as the sun. I added dots and sparkles with glitter glues. 

When it had dried and I picked up the card, somehow some yellow distress ink had got on to the front (it is a mystery but I am untidy and anything can happen!) So that decided the placement of the stamped letters and also meant I had to add those lovely yellow polka dots as well....

And this week - I was on time! I so enjoyed colouring these flowers raspberry and lime as per the request 
 I used another die cut circle and started colouring with Distress Inks but even the Raspberry one wasn't vibrant enough for me. So instead I went for the Clean Colour brush pens and they delivered. Some of the flowers and leaves were stamped and embossed directly onto the circle and others were done seperately for increased dimension. I did sneak a bit of blue in so that the whole thing wasn't too sickly. 

OOh that reminds me of when I was small and my mother overdid the food colouring and created a layered cake in almost exactly these two colours - only brighter. "Who made THAT?" said a man, temporarily blinded by the cake. "I did" said mum. Not sure she ever used food colouring again

The icing could well have been similar to the background of the card. I mixed some texture paste with some Mowed Lawn distress ink and pushed it through my favourite stencil. While that was drying I stamped and embossed my sentiment, layered it all up and job done.
I've done a wee hint of scrapping as well...
 
I love just bundling embellishments together and seeing what works. And I managed to use a paper I was hoarding on the next one
I couldn't get a good photo - still experimenting with photo spots in the new place. I needed a double spread to get all the photos and what I wanted to say in. It is one of the best meals/experiences ever so deserved that gorgeous Dear Lizzy gold/green see through paper and lots of other shiny bits as well. (If you ever go to Madeira you MUST go to Mozarts!)

I'm knee deep in Quirky Kits now and have so many photos to scrap after a crafty hiatus. Leo makes it so easy with her choice of embellishments and papers. Loving it!
 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Turn around where possible

the phrase I least like to hear from Ken - the Aussie Satnav. Especially when I am on a narrow country lane and had just done a 3 (well 8) point turn because he had already suggested I was wrong.
Its all a bit discombobulating when you have a deadline - leading worship - but no real idea of where you are in the scheme of things and whether just heading for a place you have heard of would help. Praise the Lord that Carys was with me and had googlemaps on her phone which got us to the right place and almost at the right time. But Ken, what were you thinking?

There is a lot of turning around in my new job - but in a good way. On Thursday I was supposed to meet someone who had got the date mixed up. Instead I met everyone at the Volunteer Bureau, went to the cafe for a drink as I had another meeting set up for a short time later and bumped into someone else I have been emailing but hadn't met yet. Who told me about the Sidmouth folk festival being on, just after I had agreed to step in to cover a double booking, so then I asked Carys if she wanted to come along - which got me to the church on time (ish)

Meeting loads of new people and being at the start of new developments is amazing. It always comes with a weather eye to the fact that what works for a town of 3,000 houses won't always translate to 8,000. It does mean that I still have less creative time and energy - I wonder if it is because my day job is now so creative in a different way? I'm determined to get into the groove and think I might have to use my diary to sort myself out!

So here are the cards I have made for the dares - and I have made a whole other one in the last 2 weeks :(
A week ago the Dare was called Doodle, Doodle Do which was right up my street as I do like to doodle flowers. Purvi, who is behind the dare, almost always adds hand drawn features to her cards.
Here is mine
I drew some flowers on watercolour paper, coloured them in with my Kuretake watercolour pens. Then I cut them out before added black pen, white dots and a whole load of sparkle with a Wink of Stella pen. Its so sad that you can't see it. I matted some white cardstock onto black and added it to a white card. I die cut a Paper Smooches "love" three times from more black card and added them together. I think the "sending you my" is Wplus 9? Then I played around with the composition of the flowers and leaves til I was happy.
It is enjoyable - but quite time consuming.

this week it was my turn and I thought I would feature the thing that alongside work, has sucked up a lot of my creative time - crochet. The good thing about this craft is that I can do it with other people around and strangely, my family do like me to spend time with them. Having originally promised myself I would only ever do one project at a time, I now have three on the go. That is very much due to going on holiday whilst the crochet-a-long I have started was happening. This is it
not my version as I am still behind - I have two more navy blue squares and the 4 bottle green ones to do before sewing it together. It is to go in our bedroom and matches really well - better than with the other bedroom we had when I started it and had no idea we would be moving! I didn't know any of these stitches before so it has been fun learning. The project is dedicated to Marinke Slump - a really talented crochet designer known for her colourful patterns and love of teaching new stitches, who lost her battle with depression last year. She started this off and many of her friends got together to choose a square to design in her memory - you can read a little more here.
I'm not sure my blanket will look as good as this one pictured but I will show it when it is done in a few weeks time (I hope). I'm also making a corner to corner wrap for winter and a multi coloured blanket for the sitting room that is supposed to use up scraps but I ordered more wool to do it :)

Back to cardmaking - I asked the Daring Cardmakers to be inspired by crochet - maybe by the square patterns, or to use some wool or even a bit of crochet. I went for quite a simple design in the end, based on the squares
I'm not that happy - I think because I found this really, really old perspex button to use and felt it wouldn't look right on white cardstock but I don't like the cream. I may just have to make it again with white cos I am sure that would be much, much better!
Anyway I chose 4 colours of cardstock and ran each colour through a different embossing folder. Little bit of pen, a die cut banner and a really old dome sticker later and done.
The other designers did a much better job - go and have a look :)


Friday, July 15, 2016

Climbing slowly back into the saddle

Well, what have I been up to since last I put fingers to keyboard?
I have....
  • said goodbye to Torquay and moved to Cranbrook
  • settled into the new house, although there are hardly any pictures up yet and one room needs storage stuff putting up
  • met loads of my new neighbours and discovered what a community friendly place this is
  • finally had my DBS (safeguarding clearance through the police) which took from 9th March-  24th June and meant I could not start work straight away
  • said goodbye to our dog Lucky who managed the move successfully, clearly loved her new pad (especially the carpets, much more comfy) and cleverly waited for Phil to come back from a 5 day barge trip so that he could be part of her last hours
  • seen our chickens happy in their new homes at St Martins school. I bought some eggs from the school farm shop yesterday and we are pretty sure we have one of Chantelle's.
  • Gone on a wonderful family holiday spending a whole week on Holy Island which remains as special a place in my heart as it was before. Then spending another week 5 minutes from the end of the causeway which meant I could enjoy mainland Northumbria without worrying about tides
  • travelled to General Assembly of the URC in Southport and had a great time getting to grips with Consensus Voting which can be painful at times but seems to bring more positive results than a straight vote. I did have great angst over being asked to be a teller as counting is not my strongest point but I was only needed for one vote - that URC congregations are allowed to register to hold same sex marriages. I am glad that should my son and partner wish to, they can now be married in Church.
  • Been welcomed in a joyful and creative service as Minister for Cranbrook. I contributed some scones. My baking skills are not hugely better than my counting ones but I used lashings of clotted cream from a farm that is 10 minutes drive away so no-one would notice. I was given some wonderful symbolic items including this
    - a hard hat filled with flowers that all have a special meaning. They are in a hat because this town is still being built (I also now have my own high viz vest) and flowers because our first church building won't be one as such but instead will be a community garden and meeting space on the plot where a church will be (hopefully one of at least two in the town)
and probably more stuff as well. Cranbrook is an exhilirating and challenging place to be with lots of opportunities to share God's love.
All of which means I haven't had much of a chance to craft but I have a neat little space on the landing outside our bedroom, thanks to Phil.
So far though, all I have managed is a simple thank you card and two Daring cards! I think as life settles into a pattern (or even less of one over the summer) there will be more creative time

Last week I took the Summer Party theme and went for a simple option
party banner. I mixed up new and old for this card. New was the my Favourite Things wonky rectangle die and the Neat and Tangled skinny letter dies. Old was the Nestabilities flag dies and the Echo Park I love sunshine papers. And the black pen.

This week the dare was about Strawberries and Cream
I was inspired by the colours and also decided to try and draw some strawberries myself

The background stamp is by Winnie and Walter and called "Do you see what I see" It was embossed with white powder onto watercolour card and painted with Clean Colour markers. I drew some strawberries and coloured them in. You can't really see the little dots and shading on the fruit, nor the sparkle from a Wink of Stella brush, even in close up
but they are there. In order for the strawberries not to melt into the background I used a trick from Debbie of Limedoodle and punched a circle of vellum for the fruit to rest on
I do wish that I had started stamping the sentiment further to the left but tis done now! 
Do have a look at the blog. Bet it makes you hungry!

 

Friday, May 20, 2016

See you on the other side?

I'm not sure when I will post again. Although we are having packers come, I will need to at least tidy away my craft stuff (sob) and life is going to be mad for the next 10 days. Then it will all be a bit weird whilst I sort out the new job/house and i might have loads of time to craft - or none at all. The usual answer to questions about the new post is "I don't know" and that is both exhilarating and totally scary.

So here is a little catch up with what I have done
Last week's Dare was about Luck as it was Friday 13th
I dragged out some old Cosmo Cricket papers and die cuts. I kind of see it as a good luck in your new home sort of card. I layered up papers and even got out an embossing folder...
That hedgehog is so cute.

This week I went all rainbow.  This time last year we had a dare where we were monochromatic rainbow colours but I wanted all of the colours together this year - or at least some in rainbow order. the blog looks delightfully cheery.
My first card
I found some Paperchase postcards when I was tidying up that were perfect so I cut them into strips (there was a purple one too but it didn't make the cut) I die cut balloons three times out of card and layered some glitter sticky film over the top layer of the balloons.
I decided some enamel accents would be a good extra to break up the white but I forget that although the white is lovely, the delivery (at least in my hands) can be erratic - which explains the gems!


I wasn't going to make a second card but while my box of stickles and pearls was open I was inspired to try and make a glittery rainbow. So I picked out rainbow colours and smeared them on some card with my fingers. 
It took a long time to dry - almost 24 hours but it is so pretty.
 I wanted to keep the rest of the card light so die cut some Clearly Besotted leaves from vellum and a sentiment from white cardstock (think that is CB as well).

IN other crafting news I did join in with the Quirky Kits craft challenges for Scrapbooking Day. I haven't written them up on the blog yet. All of the pages use the current kit with a few oldie kit bits added in