Friday, February 29, 2008

What day is it?

I have to use a diary and refer to it a lot.
It is not a lot of fun to look at at the moment as there are not many white spaces left.
I am seriously thinking of asking the Pope to fix Easter so it doesn't come so early and can be right in the middle of the school holidays.
That wouldn't help the number of days that have all day meetings followed by evening ones at the moment - but it would help.

All of which means my crafting will need to go on the back burner for a while... including this blog. I could have updated several times this week but have just been too pooped to type! So I'm just going to share my Salt and my DCM work for this week.
The theme for Salt is Inspiring Christian Women...
there really wasn't any contest for me as to who I would talk about.
was a URC Minister who was very young when ordained - 21 and so was a wonderful Minister to young people - because she was still one herself. She was good with all ages but I got to know and love her through various youth events. She was tragically killed, along with her two year old daughter, as they were driving away from church on a Sunday morning. A drunk driver hit her car. Weirdly I read her story in a Readers Digest article about a ward in a Cardiff hospital a few years later. The names were changed but the details were all spot on as Bethan lived on for a few days before her poor father had to decide to turn the life support machine off. He is once more happily married with a new family but thinking about his loss still makes me sad. And I can't believe it was 24 years ago now.

When I found out she died, having spoken to her a few days before (a rare phone call) I went through a rather dark night of the soul where I couldn't sleep for fear of being engulfed in grief. I was almost 19 and it was the first time I was old enough to really understand what bereavement was. I was on the Campus at Lancaster Uni at the time and early in the morning I went out to walk around to cry and ask God - why? And the trees looked beautifully green and the birds were singing and I felt that actually I would never know why - there wasn't any good reason why it happened. But that God was there with me - and Daphne - and her family, and that the big love that causes the seasons to turn and change is something that not even death can end. I suppose I learned that morning to be content in not knowing the answers but to trust in God. And it felt like the last gift that Daphne gave me.

Well actually describing the layout seems a bit trite after that - but I'll do so anyway. Its the sort of awkward pause that would make Daphne laugh - ok it might not be rude enough and she would laugh at anything but that is beside the point!
Scenic Route paper and stickers. Buttons from my stash. Doodling and make it yourself journalling spots. Here is a close up of what I wrote.

And then DCM today with my choice of subject.
I am woman

As its coming up to Mothers day in the UK here’s a chance to make a card that celebrates women and girls . So I’d like to see a card with at least one feminine image on it. And no Tildas, Bellas or Nellies.

I put that rule in just cos they are so popular at the moment and I wanted people to think a bit about what to do. My own personal challenge was not to use a stamped image. And not just because apart from said Tildas, Bellas and Nellies I don't have any...

A gorgeous girl at church is having her birthday on Sunday so I thought I would try and make a Charlie and Lola type characture of her. I found a picture of Lola that I could copy in terms of style and made the face I drew a bit more like Leona's. The papers are all Piggy Tales - some paper pieced to make the dress and socks etc and she was coloured in with watercolour pencils. I found a font called Trust this One on Dafont (thanks to a UKS tip off). A wee hint of doodling later and I'm done.

So I do hope I have a little crafty time over the next few weeks but can't promise so au revoir for now...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hard Day

Boy did I feel sorry for myself yesterday!
Phil and Carys set off from home at 5 to go on a giant chicken rescue. Phil went to the farm to help pick up 700 birds! Mrs Goggins and Miss Marple have now joined Mrs Miggins in our own little Hens Institute. That was the nice bit...

When I got up to the siren call of Lucky at 7:30 it was to find that actually it would have been a lot better if she had whined to go out several hours earlier. I HATE that kind of start to the day...
By midday Hywel and Emrys had been arguing for a few hours. By 2 all three of us were in different rooms being all tired and emotional. The boys usually get on really well but when they don't ...argh. By an hour after that things were happy between us. But it had all taken its toll so when a physically exhausted Phil and Carys got back they found an emotionally exhausted rest of us!

I am aware that living with teenagers could be a whole lot worse, but its a different set of challenges to little ones. Its not so much that they can argue better now - Hywel has always been able to argue his case and , frustratingly would often be proved right as he has always delighted in telling me. (yup, rows with that kind of 7 year old were always fun). But the difference now is that they are less likely to give in so any rows we do have seem to take all day.

Today was another day though and much, much better. the usual peace and harmony has returned and even the dog behaved!

Last night I was able to scrap - a lovely bit of quiet therapy.
The layout is 81/2 x 11. I do enjoy scrapping in 3 different sizes. I usually look at the photos and work out what size will be best for me. although the Scotland 07 pages are all 12x12 as they are in a special album. the others just go in the order I scrapped them.
Charrie at Scraptitude got a mention on the Creating Keepsakes page of the day and I went to have a nosy. there was a link to someone else's work and one of her layouts caught my eye as just asking to be scraplifted. So I did!
Mine has a few less hearts on as I would have lsot the will to live doing as many as she did!
I used an old Self Addressed kit which had Sassafrass Lass papers and Bling cardstock. All the hearts have been doodled over. I inked around using a Sharpie pen. I saw that idea on someones blog and it works well for fine inking. Then I did a little false stitching which I did deliberately wonky to look like my real machining!
Precious Memories stamp came from a big Costco kit. Title is hand written (yeah as if you couldn't tell).

And here is the layout I did on Tuesday
I used Cherry Arte Poolside Papers and Piggy Tales Hansel. The chipboard shapes are poolside too. Thickers, punches and lots of doodling completes the page.
Here is a tip.
If you are using lots of white gel pen on a page make sure it is completely dry before you put it in an album that way you will not end up with big white smudges on the edge of your cardstock.

I'll end with a special gift book that Phil has just created for me. there is only a cover for now but it may be a hit - what do you think....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Single parents I salute you!

Phil was only away for four days but I am now exhausted. It is very hard to work full time - even in study week- and take care of everything that needs to be done on your own. I was not so much glad to see Phil because I missed him but glad because I wouldn't have to cope on my own any more. OK I did miss him too! But those of you who have to deal with children, work and pets on your own on a daily basis, take a bow because I am in awe!

I would have managed better if Lucky had behaved herself. I won't go into details in case you are eating but she lost her sense of being house trained this week... If she had been like this on her trial weekend she wouldn't be our dog now. That's all I'm saying. She is lovely but maaaaaaaan, she is pushing my buttons.

I managed to squeeze in un peu de crafty time as the French would say (if they had forgotten how to speak French obviously). Made a layout on Tuesday night and still haven't decided if I like it enough to photograph! Then yesterday got down to making my Daring Cardmakers card for today
Rhi chose the theme of
Plastic Fantastic
I dare you to look again at the plastic packaging around you and transform it into a brand new card. It could be food packaging, craft packaging or just something plastic that's destined for the bin or recycling. Trim it, die cut it, alcohol ink it, crop-o-dile it, give it a new lease of life then share it via your blog for us all to see. Happy Recycling!

I kind of got hooked on the idea that it had to be craft packaging. Actually apart from milk cartons I couldn't see much more plastic in the recycling box. So I used the cover from a box of stamps. I'll have to find somewhere else to store the stamps now as they will all fall out :)!

UNfortunately I couldn't get all the sticky goo off the back easily so couldn't use one big sheet as I had hoped. But there are three bits of the plastic on the card - can you spot them all?
Once more, apologies for the photos. I needed to post the card through a letter box last night as it was for a 40th birthday today so had to take the photos in the dark. The large one shows up the plastic details better but the small one is truer to the actual colours.
1:I put a large section of the plastic through my cuttlebug using the new paisley embossing folder and coloured it with a red and a pink alcahol ink. The larger part was punched using the purple square punch which was stuck behind a pink square punch hold in the cardstock.
2: A small strip was sanded lightly and stuck just below the blue patterned paper
3: The numbers were die cut using Sizzix lollipop numbers from both card and plastic. The plastic was coloured with stream alcohol ink. they were sandwiched together with glitter stickles and then mounted with foam pads. This was v. tricky.

Two pieces of K and Co Bella paper were given the cuttelbug folder and sanding treatment. I added a tiny strip of another pattern and added the ubiquitous knotted ribbon - this is my all time fave May Arts one.
I promise I will stop doing these ribbons soon.

Actually Kristina Werner - the knot tying queen - uses a whole load of ribbon wound right the way round. Gasp! I struggled with that but then rationalised that I do have enough ribbon to do that. However I just can't get my knots to sit tight enough. So I cut two longs pieces and then stick them to the back first with DST. this gives me the tension I need. And more usable ribbon left over!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


That is the noise I heard from the study at 12:30; 4:40: 5:30 and 6:35 this morning.
Normally I can ignore it but that is because Phil gets up and tells our DEAR dog to be quiet. He is away for 3 days and so I have to be the disciplinarian. But I needs my sleeps. So I am v. grumpy this afternoon. I wasn't helped by photoshop crashing on me this morning as I was trying to get my card edited for the Little Extra on Daring Cardmakers today. Its all fine now though.
the theme is -oh so juicy - make a card using lemon or orange toned colours. So I did! And I also used two of my brand new cuttlebug embossing folders and dies. You won't thank me for sharing them as they are just too lovely and you will want to buy them too.
Build a flower
Swiss Dot
and I also bought perfect paisley and number collage.
All very reasonably priced from my wonderful local craft shop Imagine That

Its a cream square card; Stamping Up ribbon; Scrapworks Ethan Kate and American Crafts Bookshelf papers

I made this layout on Sunday.

It is honestly square. I have tried putting layouts on walls, between my feet, everything but I still canna get them straight. Its a simple one. Piggy tales papers, circle punches, felt thickers and oodles of doodles

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hello peeps!

Well I'm back.
We had a lovely, if brief break at Grandma's house.
Here are the highlights.
  • Listening to "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" - several series worth on various journeys. This radio show is hilarious. It also staggers me how they get away with such innuendo - all of which I can't repeat here...
  • Baby lambs - aaaah
  • lie ins
  • long walks with our dog (the laziest in the world)
  • A trip to Bolton on Valentines Day to watch the UEFA cup game. Who said romance is dead. (It did include a slap up Subway sandwich)
  • Christmas Day on Friday (quorn roast with all the trimmings) with Grandma and Auntie Jones thrilled with all their presents
  • playing Perudo - a hilarious dice based game and Bananagrams - a bit like Scrabble but not so intense
Of course there is molto catching up now.
So without further ado here is the Salt challenge of the week.
(Actually just a little ado to say that I hate both the phrase "with all the trimmings" and "without further ado" so you have to appreciate how hard is was to use the two in this post. See how much I love you?)
I chose the theme - and hadn't realised just how controversial it was. But it has been an interesting few weeks of theological discussion on our private message board. But all good...
The theme was Lent - to express creatively what it means to you. And as for some of the girls it had little meaning I think what they have all come up with is wonderful!
I decided to fill a lot of space with journalling about why the 40 days of Lent are important to me. So I used a painting I love of Jesus in the wilderness. The paper, card stock and journalling card were from the January Self Addressed Kit. Numbers are Basic Grey inked with a red Distress Ink pad and distressed further with Making Memories paint also used around the paper and card and to paint the Heidi Swapp letters.
Friday was Daring day. We had fun with Stampin' Up papers, ribbons and stamped images. Rachel B was hugely generous. I halved my goodies with Sue H and still had loads to play with. I made three cards, my own Guest Designer Carys made one and I still have some bits left over.
We obviously all liked the heart images. If I had known I would have put one of my other cards on the Daring Cardmaker blog.

Everything here is SU apart from the blue dots which are using a Sakura glaze pen.

My card blank, everything else SU - I just love the papers!
My card blank again - all else SU. But will you just look at that knot! It deserves a congratulations all of its own. I do look awkward doing them but I am getting the hang of it now!
This is Carys' card. Everything SU (the pot is half a punched tab) plus some white pen. She gave it to Grandma for Valentines Day.

SU stuff is not cheap but it is excellent quality and I do love the way it all goes together so well. Think I better save my pennies... Right better do some washing - the end of a holiday downside...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Work Life balance

Work has been winning over the weekend. I discovered that I am still on the rota to preach next Sunday although I thought I had booked it off. Arg. As we are away this week I had to get it all done by Sunday evening and also spend time at another Church that I am helping find a new Minister. Today I had to go to Cambridge for a seminar which is why we are still at home although it is half term. I did manage a little crafty time yesterday and my balance will be life the rest of the week. We all went to see National Treasure yesterday at the Cinema. Enjoyable tosh.

Most of what I have crafted is for challenges to be revealed later in the week but I cam show you this
I participated in a challenge on the Scraptitude forum.
The challenge was embossing so out came two of my fave cuttlebug folders and some lovely bright cardstock (stampin up) and paper (KandCo). Note the knot on the white grosgrain. How neat is that. I only had to watch kwerner's how to film 10 times. And I won't tell you how many times I tied the knot...
The flowers are die cuts - the green slim ones that are like Sizzlits and the sentiment is Stampin Up too. A fair few Poundland foam pads were used as well
I may be able to pop in over the next few days otherwise it is a MASSIVE post on Sunday!

Friday, February 08, 2008

MMmmmm Pesto

I love pesto. I love it with pasta and I love it in sammiches. When I am in Cambridge I usually have a buffalo mozarella, sundried tomato and pesto panini. Oooh mouth watering as I type! That particular lunch time treat is made all the tastier by my student discount though.

This week on Daring Cards we were given a tasty Paper Pesto kit to use. I did try it with cheese and tomato but it didn't taste the same, so I used the rest to make a card with. I shared my kit out with Sue H - now a member of the Daring Cardmakers Team. And wow what a card she made with it. It looks like something from a Basic Grey designer. Just so cool. Run and have a look here! The other cards are also wonderful of course and it is nice to see us all matching colourwise - though all very different as ever (hope that doesn't sound too gushing or big headed. Hate that)

My card was based on the J M Barrie quote in the circle
I used my nestabilites circles to layer it and added some doodle dots with a Glaze pen. The same round the little birdie. We were also given some funky Sassafrass Lass paper with the bird on it but she was white and my card was cream so this is a home made effort. The bloom is a borgeous Bazzill Bling one.

This week Lent started so I have begun my Lenten journal. I won't show the cover page because it is not finished. And I am going to redo it anyway as I wrote "Joural". Pants.
I think I am going to start adding some patterned paper to my pages otherwise they will get very samey - although the arty bit is supposed to be secondary to my reading and reflections!
The prayer on the left I found on the Salvation Army website - they put up a short prayer every day and I love this one. The Bible quote on the right hand page is from the chapter heading of a book by someone called Jennifer Rees Larcombe talking about her life. I also plan to put in challenges from Faith Sisters and other thoughts and prayers I come across each day.
Hopeflly at the end, not only will I have enjoyed the journey but will have something to look back over and treasure.
(BTW Faith Sisters made my Grace layout their challenge layout of the week. Stoked!)
The paints that I use are dye based from Art Van Go. They are really vivid colours and dry ever so quickly.

DO you know I wish I hadn't mentioned pesto because I am now starving. And I must work a bit more before taking Carys on her first trip to the orthodontist!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Woulda if I coulda

Phil helpfully tidied up my hard drive the other day. And deleted all my photo editing programmes. The one I use every other day apparently told him that I hadn't used it for 18 months. Well I have one reinstated now after a full and frank discussion... So I can show you what I've been up to now.

First you have to endure news time
  • craft club - good
  • service - actually really rather wonderful spiritual time
  • evening service - didn't have to prepare as we went to a commissioning service for some new Street Pastors. They go out late on Friday and soon Saturday nights in Romford and help take care of all the party goers. It is an amazing ministry and I would love to be a part of it. A few people at church are already considering it.
  • had a lovely Monday with Sue H - who has some big news to share. I stocked up on cardstock at Craft Creations - how can I have nearly run out of white and cream? we visited a local Craft Central. I needed some brads but had no cash so had to buy a few more things in order to pay by card (such sacrifice!)
  • in the evening it was Movie Night and we watched the Illusionist. Fantastic.
Here endeth the news.

I managed to squeeze in a tad of crafting.
Another layout for the Scotland album - and yes it features the colour orange. This was going to be a quick and easy page but all the doodling took a while in the end.
Cardstock: Bazzill; Papers: Scenic Route Metropolitan; Alpha stamps Purple Onion; rubons K& Co; stickers and thickers American Crafts; buttons from a Button company bought at the stitch show; bloom from Little Silver Hat kit. Everything else is doodly oodles.

Talking of doodles, Jo has done a fab tutorial this week on Daring Cards. She has let us into all her little secrets. Here is my version...
The papers are from a little K&Co pad - Bella I think. Just super quality and lovely colours. And as it happens the stamp is a Bella too, coloured in with the Works el cheapo sparkly paints which give a wonderful sheen not unlike H2O's (thanks for the tip Rhi!). It is all straighter than the photo looks but the photo doesn't show up the curse of the left hander (ie smudging stuff by sticking your hand over what you have just drawn which is wet), so not all bad then!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Another one gone

Maybe we aren't meant to have chickens.
Windle Poons suddenly died yesterday. She was full of life in the morning but Phil found her dead - but still warm in the afternoon. Apparently chickens are prone to heart attacks. But it doesn't half make your heart ache. Especially Poons who is almost completely feathered now. It has been so wonderful to see her go from battery chicken - with wing bones showing and a very thin layer of feathers - to an independent outside loving plump egg laying bird. So Mrs Miggins is on her own again... Sob.

We have spent a fun filled morning at Pupil Review Day. The school is closed but you go in for a short time to set targets for the next term. The report is really hard to understand anyway. Phil and I have about 20 o'levels, 8 A levels and four degrees between us and yet we still can't make head or tail of them - let alone Hywel's computer mock GSCE results. AAAAaaargh. They all have just about the same targets as before.... Obviously we are not doing enough as parents to help them out. But you can't force a child to speak up in class can you?

Today is Daring Card day. Boy they come round fast! We went for a colour theme this time as a change. It was a lot of fun.
We want you to design a card using only RED AND WHITE on your cards- it doesn't have to be a Valentine themed card - it can be any theme- as long as use incorporate RED and WHITE on it.
Though red and white isn't as easy as it sounds...
Red is quite a hard colour to put together with other reds. I think I just about managed it! I used sassafrass lass and American Crafts papers. The SL paper is technically red and cream so I added white circles! And then matching outlines on the AC paper. I used some red and white dotty grosgrain ribbon from my stash. The flower was made using a bloom donated by Kathy B, a white button from a Scrapagogo kit, a punched out red circle given the compulsory dot treatment and a red bargain gem (a huge boxful from craft central for 99p). The scrolly bits at the top and bottom are peel offs. My friend at church gave me a box of fancy new ones for Christmas. I only had gold and silver before and some of these are quite something.

I have heaps of work to do for Sunday now plus card club at Church tomorrow after noon to prepare for. I think we are doing Mothers Day cards as it is now scarily close. Lent starts next week!
Have a good weekend