Saturday, April 08, 2017

So this month I have mostly been...

not blogging again!

but this has happened:
  • My nephews from Canada came to stay and we found some new lovely places to eat
  • changed my hair colour several times (the advantage of wash out colour is that every time you wash it is a surprise. I have some bleached streaks and they make me think grey will be ok!)
  •  started Couch25K AGAIN. But it isn't as hilly here so I'm hopeful of getting back to 5k again. I've just done Week 4 Run 1. Yay!
  • taught lots of lessons in senior school (well 4, 4 was enough).
  • went back to Torbay for Ministers Spring School. Torbay behaved and the sea looked pretty awesome most of the time. Love where I live now but I miss the sea so much. True I'm only 20 minutes away but I did have a sea view from my bedroom. (play that tiny violin for me)
  • Went to see the parents for Mothering Sunday weekend. We went to the Gower

    and out to the Mumbles for tea at the new Prezzos which has gorgeous views (and a VERY noisy party near us)
  • who says we look alike?
  • I crocheted a shawl for both mothers but forgot to get a photo of either! Also doing an Sue Pinner aran spinning top blanket and have just started the Nuts About Squares blanket crochet along because I am a sucker for blankets
  • Joined in the short Quirky Kits scrap challenge day but not the weekend as I had to work that weekend

  •  And a few cards, which mostly came late to the party because that is what my life is like at the moment
 March 17th it was my challenge which was "green with a glimmer of gold" what with it being St Patricks day and all
 I was going to make two cards like this but ran out of time so my mum had something different! This card is not like the ideas in my head! All of the green is watercolour paint. I die cut lots of different shapes from watercolour card  - actually no, a few were on paper and then weren't right so I turned them over and coloured them and it still worked! It all got the Wink of Stella treatment (which you can pretty much take as read these days, like the Sharpie pen on scrap pages!). I die cut the letters from glitter card and found the sticky heart in my stash. Then I went to town with various stickles and liquid pearls
Next came my major boo boo Enfys gave us a great challenge to use things wrapped around groceries - wrap it up.
I didn't read it properly and decided that it was about using packaging. So that's what I did. Doh. I quite like the card though
 I was so proud of myself for using 3 kinds of packaging too. Only one from shopping though. I die cut the Clearly Besotted feather from cardstock . I squished some Distress Inks onto some clear packaging, sprinkled water and smooshed them onto the feather. Then I used the matching stamp over the top to add the feather details. I saw a card recently with a large scallop on and it made me all nostalgic so I cut one from a Heidi Swapp paper with my mahoosive scallop scissors. The turquoise paper is from the same pad. The diagonal stripe is the back from some Pink Paislee embellishments and the coloured stripe is the shade strip cut from a Quirky Kits contents card. I found some thick vellum and heat embossed a Paper Smooches sentiment onto it. And yes, Sharpie pen around everything for definition. I assembled it all, with glue behind the feather and some Prima gems to hold the vellum in place. It isn't quite as squiffy as the photo looks.
Anyway, apologies to Enfys for not reading the challenge properly
And finally this week it is the first Friday of April and an Elemental Inspiration photo
 I looked at the photo on my Ipad and obviously should have had it portrait not landscape as I only looked at the bottom four pictures! 
 So my inspirations are:
the blue egg, tulips, twine wrapping, patterned glass, little daisies and the tag on the cup.
I remembered I had a Clearly Besotted tulip set so embossed that with a silver pearl powder. I coloured it in with Zig Clean Colour markers trying to keep the colours light and pastel (man, that is hard for me). I cut it out and wrapped some twine around it. I die cut an oval shape from watercolour paper and added turquise Clean Colour to it. I also die cut vellum and also dry embossed that with a circles embossing folder. I die cut a tag shape and heat embossed a sentiment from the same Clearly Besotted set as the tulips. 
I put foam pads on the back of the tulips and stuck them to the vellum which helped me to see where to attach the vellum to the blue card. One that was done the card base was looking a bit plain so I dry embossed that with a large embossing folder. 
The daisies were punched 3 at a time with a handy Stamping Up flower punch and once put in place I added some creamy yellow Nuvo drop centres

  • that's all folks! well apart from my 40 Days journal which is up to date. I posted this one online and then realised it was actually Day thirty two so it looks slightly less pretty title wise now 


Saturday, March 04, 2017

If I don't do it now...

I've just managed to haul my (not quite as fat as it was but not exactly tiny either) behind off a comfy chair and into the study to write this post before I sink into an evenings snoozing/crocheting. I've already missed a few weeks and if I don't post now, when the next few weeks are mad, then who knows when?

So life in a nutshell: Half term in Bradford with Carys in a bonkers but fabulous little airbnb place; Hywel has a new job which means finally leaving home and moving to Halesowen- real mixed feelings about that; work life is full on but really satisfying on the whole; attempting to do 40 Acts for Lent - its only day 4 and 40 seems a big number!

I'm catching up 3 weeks of Daring Cards - the first due to it being half term (seems months ago now but its only 2 weeks!). 
Leo challenged us to Go Geometric
I went for a simple take on it
I got out some old Simple Stories papers from a  Say Cheese 2 pad - I think they are subtly Disney themed but I love the colours. Armed with a triangle die I cut out loads and then spent ages putting them in place on some kraft cardstock. I did a little pen outlining then stuck the whole thing down on a white cardbase. I treble die cut the "Happy Birthday" phrase dies and stuck em together. I only had a short time to create but was quite pleased with the end result.

The next one gave me no end of trouble - not because of the dare but a discovery I made during the process.
Dawn asked us to Tear It Up
as it turned out that is what I had to do with part of the card...
I had the idea of covering a tag shape in layers of tissue paper. It looked lovely - except for the fact that the Tombow Multi glue dried yellow and you could see it through the layers. So in the bin that went (after carefully peeling off the stamped flowers and leaves) and I had to start again. Only instead of reaching for the tissue paper I picked up the hand made paper which I had also used behind the tag. Of course I didn't notice until everything was glued down so decided it would be better to leave it be. So I did.
The stamps are new to me - Bloom and Buds by Reverse Confetti. They are lovely but solid rather than  colour in stamps and I am in need of practice!

I was much happier with this weeks card - though sad I needed to make it. The lovely Enfys had her first turn at picking an Elemental Inspiration and went for a beautiful room design

 I was inspired by the windows, the black and white stripes, the plant and the pop of yellow in the left hand corner 
I used 2 sizes of square die to create frames and die cut vellum to the larger size to stick behind the frames to give a window effect. I found some black/white striped card to use at the top and bottom and I cut this into waves. I think that the wave and the off whiteness of the stripe help to soften the card otherwise the black/white stripe would have felt too stark even for a bereavenment card. I found a Spellbinder border die that I cut with green and yellow papers. I remembered to use Stickit paper for the yellow one which made adding the flowers a lot easier. The whole bloom was covered in Wink of Stella
and carefully stuck down using Tombow glue (without any hazards this time).

I'm not going to be able to join in the challenge this week - what with our two nephews from Canada (and my mother in law and four dogs) coming to stay; me going away for two days and Hywel (hopefully) moving in the middle. I'll be back soonish with the scrapping I have done with my latest Quirky Kit - I'm off to schedule some posts over there now!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Where did she go?

Today I am very excited as I have reached the target weight I set myself. It is still on the heavier side of the health bmi section but I am still over the moon about it.
I've been trying to lose weight for ages. Since moving to Devon my weight has gradually gone up adn up. And it was not for want of trying to cut down and exercise more. But nothing I tried worked. Its not helped by having an underactive thyroid and being over 50/perimenopausal. So I decided to go for a weight loss programme. I was going to do the Joe Wicks one but it was a LOT of money. I still wonder if I should have done that as exercise isn't happening much and is a large part of that one. But instead I chose the Freedom Diet which was half the price but basically is just a load of diet sheets. However I'm not knocking it because it has worked and I have lost a stone now. The diet sheets are tailor made (I don't eat meat) and I have hardly ever felt hungry so that is all good. I have slipped in a little alcohol every now and then and eaten out too but slow and steady has done the trick. I had kind of ground to a halt so I would like to thank that horrible bug for getting me back on track. I lost 2lb then and another 2 since! (I don't recommend the bug but at least I had a reward!)
I haven't got many before and after photos, except in a bikini and no-one is seeing those on the internet!
The best I can do is one taken last February and one last Saturday when I was dressed up as Ginger Spice (as you do) for the local charity 80s/90s dance.

 As you can see, plenty left to lose if I want to but I'm a healthy weight and happy with it. I don't know why Phil chose to take the photo from the least flattering angle ever but there you go. Here is a better one with Sporty and Baby Spice and several girls from the 80s. (who just reminded me of my teen years!) Oh and one chap...

 Anyway I expect the Spice photos will be coming to a scrap page soon. 
So lets get on with some crafting news shall we...
this week on Daring Cardmakers the theme set by the lovely Sharon was Mirror, mirror 
 we were tasked with using something reflective on our cards. It could be foiling, shiny stickers, miri card, or even mirrored tiles. 
I had a great idea using silver miri card. Only I didn't have any. I did have a lot of gold miri card over from Christmas Messy Church crafts so used some of that. I wanted to make a Valentines Day card so went for something quite simple (well I always do!)

Once more I went for that rectangle die cut with the faux stitching. This time I cut out watercolour paper so that I could paint lots of hearts on it with my Kuretake paints. It might have been neater with pencil lines but you can tell its hand drawn this way! I die cut the letters using Wplus9 Whimsy alpha dies. I've used them before but never on such thick card and love the embossed edge that you get with the thicker gold card. 
For the inside I die cut a cross stitch edged heart and added the rest of the letters. I've got lots of the stick it stuff for sticking down letters but forgot until it was too late so used my old friend the xyron x150 refill sticker maker (I don't use the little machine as you get to use more sticker by just using the inside refill bit!).
And there you go. All I need now is to remember to take it with me next week when we go and visit Carys in Bradford for the last holiday there before she leaves.  
We have a new place to start visiting though - Hywel has a new job starting soon in Halesowen near Dudley/Birmingham so that is where we will be for our Easter hols, helping to buy and assemble furniture. His new company have a relocation officer so he is doing the had work of finding suitable accomodation!
 (which is more exciting than me losing weight. But only just...)

I had a day off yesterday and enjoyed doing some colouring in of stamped images and also making a scrapbook page for fun. It turns out that the Go Now Go paper line by Shimelle is very similar to Fancy Pants on Trend 2 so I was able to mix up embellishments and stickers. (And also going through my random selection of bits to stick on as well)
When I took my mother and sister in law to Rockfish, a really lovely fish (and chips) restaurant in Brixham where all the fish is freshly caught, the batter was sublime. But ma in law only likes a little so asked if the leftovers could be wrapped up for her dogs. She was tickled to have them returned in a posh little box!
I wasn't sure how to stick on the clouds. "Love" went through my little xyron machine but the clouds were too big. So I dotted some glossy accents on the back and it looks like a pattern. I'll do that again. 

 The photos of the layout are not great - it snowed this morning and is still rather dark with white yet dark clouds covering the sky. Lots of excited children as snow is rare in Devon. But it didn't settle.

I'm still practicing with the lettering (thanks for the kind comments last week!). This one is done with Kuretake Zig watercolour pens. Its better but I still can't always get enough differentiation between thick and thin letters

 Next week it will mostly be crochet as we will be away but I might take my writing practice stuff with me too.
Do have a look at the Daring Cardmakers blog as there are some really terrific mirror ideas this week


Friday, February 03, 2017

It was a lost weekend

cue the song...

I had a lovely day off last week, mooching about and crafting followed up by a delicious tea and movie night (the Hateful 8). It went downhill from there and I spent most of the night in the bathroom... for a while I thought it was my cooking but it turns out there is a bug going round here. I was able to be back in action for the most part on Monday but it as taken until today (Friday) to feel properly better. Apart from the low level cold I have had for a few weeks now. I think that moving to a new place and spending most of my time with children means that I will pick up every bug going. Sigh.

Anyway that means that I have two cards to talk about this week
Last weeks DCM dare theme was "I want more" where we had to decide what we want more of. Hmmm hard to choose so I went for 
more hand lettering
so I went for bravely trying to paint letters.
I find it really, really hard to tell if this is nice or not. I look at my writing and all I see are the things that are not perfect and it I am totally honest, the ways in which it is not like Kristina Werner's hand lettering!
There is a real difference between me and Kristina though and that is that she has spent a lot of time working on her letters and I just want to be like her straight away. To me that is a lot like discipleship. It is no good comparing yourself to others especially if you are standing there moaning rather than putting in the time practising. Christians are called to be the best we can be - using our own individual gifts not looking with longing at others.
hear endeth the sermon... 
so I do want to commit to working on this a bit more and have started adding lettering into my bible reflective journal that happens a few times a week (should be almost daily but I'm being honest here!) 

So the deets are large stitched rectangle die; Gansai watercolour paints; fine brush; sequins from stash.

This week it is the beginning of a new month so we had a lovely inspiration photo from Svenja
I could have sworn that in my stash I had loads of these bits and bobs from when steampunk was all the rage. Not so much, it turns out. I also wondered what card to make as I think I did a "key to my heart" last Valentines day, if not then, the year before (what do you mean he won't remember!). So I turned out my whole craft space and came up with...
 The blue filigree backround (inspiration 1) is a booklet type thing left over from a Quirky Kit that I trimmed down. The key (inspiration 2) is made from a thin chipboard one covered with Versamark ink and peacock blue UTEE. When it was melted  mint green UTEE was sprinkled randomly on the top. The gold hexagons (inspiration 3)are dies covered with old gold and then tinsel gold embossing powder, plus a little bit of Vintage Photo distress powder that you heat on and rub off to age it. The letters are die cut cardstock covered in old gold embossing powder. The combination of rough embossing and UTEE covered die cut meant the two surfaces did not want to meet up, not even with extra strong glue but finally foam pads and the threat of going in the bin did the trick.
(it looks bronze there but really is green)
I was sure I had some nailhead brads to be inspiration 4 but these little metal square ones were the best I could do. I cut and inked some paper layers at the bottom as it all looked a bit too stark against the large square card base. Lastly in my throwing everything about I found these lovely Prima jewel like stick on gems that are the exact same colour as the key is now so they went on. Now who to give the card to? Would it suit Carys as she is (gulp) 21 in a few months time?

In other crafting news I have finished the blanket I made for my Goddaughter. She was 18 last birthday and is heading for Uni so I thought something to snuggle under in a cold student room might be the thing. I only decided that after her birthday so it is a bit late! I used the Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Cupcake kit
which was nice as someone else had done all the work of putting together the colours and I could just crochet

Its a largish single I would say. The edging is beautiful
 This is my second cosy stripe. The first was a rainbow baby blanket. I like bright colours and hoped the parents would too
 I've seen the baby wrapped in it and she looks lovely. (though I say so myself!)

So now I have two projects on the go, both by Sue Pinner and I will have to hope I don't get confuddled. One is the Secret Blanket which is a small lap blanket that uses up all the leftovers from the Carousel. Its a bit scary in that I have to choose my own colourways. I mean Sue chose all the colours initially but I wanted to try and put them together well too. Here are my first two large pieces
Every one will have red in as that is the accent colour in my front room and anyway red goes with everything in my opinion. 
I've just got the wool for the other one which is made in pieces in a similar way but using aran wool. Two of the colours should have been in a different more expensive wool so I swapped them out and hope it will still work well.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Best laid plans

I had all sorts of creative ideas for stitching for this weeks cardmaking Dare 
but ended up with something that looks fairly simple.
 I die cut a stitched heart from watercolour paper I had previously painted to create an ombre effect. Naturally I hadn't checked how big the heart was before painting so the effect is quite subtle as I had to choose light or dark as it wasn't big enough for both.
I cut from within the heart the words which I also cut from white cardstock. I stuck some Stick It paper behind the heart to make putting the white words in but replacing the painted middles easier. I think I put it the wrong way round as it wasn't easier at all. And I had to recut some of the tiny pieces as I kept losing them...

Once that was done and my blood pressure was back down to near normal, I peirced the heart and added some cross stitches. Finally I die cut a wavy stitched square, stuck the heart on. Realised it would have been better to cross stitch through both heart and cardstock.
 Knew it would be disastrous to reverse engineer it, stuck it all down and onto a card with foampad strips.
Which you can't see normally but you can in the sunlight that was pouring in when I took the photos (slightly better here than on the DCM blog) 

I've also done a few layouts for Quirky Kits (details up now or soon on the QK blog) I've used recent Stuck?! sketches for both


 apart from my own dies and glitter glue everything comes from the lovely current Lagom main kit

Our best laid plans did work yesterday (mostly). Phil and I have managed to get back to having the same day off - although Friday still feels wrong after 6 months! I ironed in the morning (I know how to live) but then we decided to go to Evensong at the Cathedral, a meal out in one of the 6 billion restaurants in Exeter and then to see a film. We got our timings off which mean a cuppa before Evensong (better early than late though). I impressed myself listening to the rehearsal just before the service in noting there seemed to be a lot of female voices coming from the hidden at that point choir. Turns out all the children that evening were female! I can't tell you what is different, it just is.

Our choice of eaterie and film venue were down to Phil's taste card which saved us about £15 for the food (Ottoman Grill is a Turkish place which was great. phil tried the fermented turnip juice which was intriguing but may not be ordered again). We also save money by going to the Exeter Picturehouse which is a great place to see a film anyway. We went to see LaLaLand which was good but not as good as the hype and not as good a musical as either of the recent Muppet ones.... (however much, much better than the film of Les Mis) (I have strange tastes i know) 

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!