Thursday, April 30, 2009

to be a pilgrim

you can read the words and sing along to the funky (not) organ here

This hymn, taken from Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan is rather out of favour in churches now - probably because it talks about giants and foul fiends. I used to love it as a kid. Probably because it talks about giants and foul fiends. (I've just noticed that the version I ahve linked to have prettied up the last verse. It is supposed to read Hobgoblin nor foul fiend Can daunt his spirit,He knows he at the end Shall life inherit. See I am not making the foul fiend up.)

And there is still a lot of merit in it now. I often think of faith as a journey where we experience all sorts of things with Christ walking beside us. Its not always positive. There are all sorts of things that can be seen as disasters, dismal stories that people tell us and yes, even the odd foul fiend along the way. Pilgrim's Progress also has the wonderfully named Slough of Despond in it and I know I have fallen in a few times myself. But what the hymn tells us about is keeping our eyes fixed on the prize, keep on keeping on trying to be a Follower of the Way. Persevere.

Which is what the theme for Salt is this week. For many of the Salt team, this has been apposite as their journey is tough at the moment. My self doubt as I trudge through my essay writing is trivial in comparison to what others are facing (hey, but the skills are coming back. I just used the word apposite after all) and I hope that we have been supporting each other. But we get most support from the one who carries us when we need it (You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. Exodus 19:4)

Here is what Hazel has to say about Perseverance.
It's my (Hazel's) turn to choose the topic this time and my theme of 'perseverance' is based on Hebrews 12:1 'Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.'

I am so encouraged that, although we are urged to persevere, the race is 'marked out for us', so we can rest assured that the plans for our lives are in God's hands. However, we must do our part and 'throw off everything that hinders' and keep on track with Him.

I don't have an eagle on my layout, but there is a gull! I used the example of Phil patiently taking loads of photos of birds (my hard drive is full of feathered friends) before he gets the perfect shot
to reflect on what it means for us to persevere in the task of being a Christian, of being a pilgrim.

I actually managed to snag a Gotta Craft kit this month. Usually I am too late. They are full of gorgeous goodies. What is nice about this one is that it is more KandCo Amy Butler which goes with the pad I already have. The bling cardstock and the very patterned papers are from the kit, the light blue from the pad. The scrummy overlay is from the kit along with the larger journalling spot, which I cut down a bit, ooh and the sewing template is from the kit too. I am getting into proper hand sewing on layouts and cards!
Other stuff: I added white glitter to the pale blue paper as most of that pad has glitter or foil - but not that one! Also added some blue and white fabric flowers that I have had for about 3 years - from a Self Addressed kit and thought they were too good to use. But this layout deserved it. Buttons, brads, other journalling spot are simply "from stash" the letters are Doodlebug. When I finished the layout I felt that there was something missing. As ever I just made it up as I went along and there was too much space in the middle. Next morning I found some odd bits of Prima bling which was just what was needed. Glad I persevered.

Now I must go back to the spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous and whether it is desirable or manageable for Christians without addiction. I was really in the Slough of Despond over it yesterday. I have spent many years working on making intellectual concepts and theories accessible in a non academic way (well i try) so it is a struggle going back to the old way of thinking. Anyhoo first thing yesterday morning I discovered I had won a Studio Calico kit through Cathy Zeilske's blog. And somehow that lifted the whole thing. It may be trivial but it was just what I needed to get me through. SOme pilgrims use staffs, some stout walking boots, all of us, prayer, but for me at this point it is obviously crafting that keeps me walking that journey of faith...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Feeling funky

Well not really in that I am in the middle of my essay writing week. Not actually begun the writing yet but the planning is well on the way. I have tidied away almost all my craft stuff as I wouldn't be able to get a word done at my normal desk. What the kids will do when they realise I have commandeered the laptop I don't know... but the bright white space of the conservatory is just what I need. It also means I can keep an eye on the chooks. Mr Fox arrived at 5:30 last night. Fortunately the girls were already in their run but it gave me quite a turn. Don't foxes know that they are only allowed out when it is dusk?

The reason I am feeling a tad funky is that Anice's new CD rom Funky Word books was launched on Ideal World yesterday. And it sold right out! Sadly, you can't order it direct from Anice until 11th May so I'll remind you about it then. But just to whet your appetite...
The "U" was actually on stripy paper so I cut it out and added it to spot paper. Aren't these colours lovely? Every set of papers for the word book is completely different
the little letters are part of the set.
and you also get full page matching papers to use for your layers too. This is the "Spotted you" collection
And this uses the "Midnight flowers" collection, a fiskars punch and a QK die. It is an A5card (gasp!) In order to be seen well on screen we have to make big cards but I am pleased with how this one turned out. The stitching is faux, naturally. The sentiment is hand written. One day I will perfect that style!

Right, essay plan awaits. Grrrr

Sunday, April 26, 2009

the fab, the bad and the ugly

first, the fab.
I had a wonderful time at Imagine That yesterday. Was almost a disaster as I had 10 written in my diary and the class started at 9:30. So Emma phoned me at 9:40... cue a quick dash up the road which wasn't that quick as I was following a tractor. Just shows how much in the countryside this part of London is! Anyway Leandra had kindly started the project for me by making my mini canvases and then it was three hours of fun which went by in a trice. She is an amazing teacher who makes me realise how much I have to learn about teaching craft!

Anyway we used gel medium and old paper and dabbers and painted stamps and mica spray and metal and stamps and gems and this is what we made.
Here are the little canvases in detail. Isn't it lovely? I can't wait to try this sort of technique again (though it will involve just a bit of an outlay so will try and resist for a while!)
Next the bad. I am so proud of Phil and Carys (not the bad bit) while I had fun crafting they had got up at 4:30 in the morning to do a chicken rescue. Phil took the camera and took many photos inside the battery hen sheds. here is a photo that gives you an idea of what battery hen sheds are like
5 layers of chickens. (you can't quite see the bottom layer, just a few of the eggs in the egg catcher at the front). Chickens shoved together in tiny cages. And see those lights? they don't just show you how big this shed is. They are also used to make the chickens think there are 8 days in a week so they lay more eggs.
And if it weren't for the Battery Hen welfare trust and its volunteers these hens would spend 18 months living like this and then be killed.

The ugly - is the state of the hens when they come out. It makes me cry and I am not sentimental about animals at all. I won't put the photos on here. I'll give you the choice to look or not. You can see them on Phil's flickr account here
They rescued 600 hens yesterday which ahve all gone to new homs. Thanks to all who did that (but I still wouldn't let Phil bring anymore home. 3 is enough for me)

Here is a happier bird. Still trying to use up those American Crafts papers (actually I have put them away for now as I needed a rest. Really close to finishing that set though!). I used some Poundland gems and 99p shop coloured staples along with the cute Paperchase owl and Imagine That stamps. I used a scallop punch for the tree and hand cut the trunk

Friday, April 24, 2009

Can't think

of a catchy title to this post. Decided I ought to write it rather than spend time thinking of something.

I have a lot to fit in today. partly because tomorrow I am going to be taught at Imagine That - so exciting. Leandra from Paperartsy is doing a class all about grungy, painty, stampy things and I am sooooo looking forward to it. Phil and Carys are doing a chicken rescue. they have to get up at 4:30!

SO today I have to do most of my service prep and get ideas for the sermon slot flowing. Next week I ahve to write my MA essay and my tum is already doing butterflies at the thought. I didn't do that well with my first essay and my confidence took a real knock. Still for me the point of the course is the course not the result and at least it has made me realise that MA is the highest I can go!

It was my turn to set the dare at Daring Cardmakers this week. Have you ever looked at your stash and said "I can't beleive I have so many of "x" and never use it" that is me and big paper flowers. I love them. I buy them. And now I have to dust them... So to help me work through the bloom stash (yes, it is a selfish dare I am going to get as much inspiration from everyone as I can) I came up with this one

I have loads of enormous paper flowers that I have bought and never used. So I want to see some really big embellishments on your cards. Bonus points for outsize blooms!

it doesn't have to have a big flower on - just something BIG!
And here is my contribution
I'm still recycling unused Christmas cards - I must have made 20 too many! Its a good challenge though as I have to cover all but a little bit of the front because I drew a border around the cards. the papers are all American Crafts Metropolitan. I love the colours they put on the back - always so vivid and it means your plain bits match perfectly. Sadly that means the red bloom didn't quite as well but there we are. Blooms are from all sorts of places - some are paper, some are fabric, topped off with a pin from Scrapitude and a button from Imagine That.
My last bit of Crafty Templates white crochet lace (sob!) and my favourite Amercian Crafts thick ricrac are inderneath. The sentiment is a Clare Curd one stamped with white chalk ink and with a few adhesive pearls added. Bit of white pen and that's it.
Here is a close up of all the layers!

Now, don't tell my family but when I should have been putting washing away and doing more yesterday - I made a layout instead.
I've had these pics ready to go for ages. They are of Hywel on prize giving night in his new suit.
I used
  • those same American Crafts papers (have enough for one or two more cards, trying to finish them up now!)
  • Hambly overlay
  • Basic Grey Offbeat chipboard
  • a stamped image I was sent in the Funky Hand swap - I think from Maj, given an extra layer of distress ink
  • a lime green wire thing given to me by Sue H
  • a metal tag with Adorn it letters on. Expect to see more of these appearing soon. I ahve LOADS to use and they are just taking up space at home
  • a metal arrow. no idea where from
  • Bazzill brads
  • buttons from Button Mountain (or so it seems. I ahve buttons all over the place but together they would make a mountain I just know it)
  • I also used Nesties dies and Sizzix playground letters which I double cut to make them look thicker
Here is a close up of the journalling. Forgot to do at anything other than a funky angle, sorry.

Now must start thinking... a lot. Have remembered I also have a Church Magazine letter to write.
Will intersperse all of that with seeing what super supersizing goes on this week!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just cos

Its not often that I manage a blog post without a challenge of some sort on it so enjoy the moment.
I have had fun over the last two days doing craft stuff for work. Fairly simple but good! My small church is entering a URC Multicultural Story Award. In order to tell the story we did some things in worship that have ended up creating a tree - which I stuck together at home and then creating a Bind it all book to explain it. It was very hard to just stick things in without embellishing but I felt that would make it my contribution and not the church's if I did

SO here we are...

this is the finished poster - there are mustard seeds on the bottom and our hands make up the leaves (bet it takes yer back to infant school eh?)
and a few pages of the booklet. Plain and simple. The Dreamkutz comes into its own for doing things like this. I would still have been trying to get the card stock uniform size without it!
(yes that is me at work. Wearing lipstick. It was a Mothers Day present from Carys)

Last night I also made a card using scraps on the table.
The "h" was for the "sheep" on my Salt layout but I cut it back to front, so cut another letter to match. All the papers are Scenic Route Laurel (nearly fnished that set now!), the ribbon is Basic Grey and the buttons are all bazzill I think. Oooh no, two are Scenic Route Grafton. Ink, foam pads, nestie; scallop punch. Done.

And so am I. Long day today. Long day tomorrow with the fun of working out just how to post the above project....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Normal service will now be resumed

I've been away for Easter week at my dad and mum's house. It is always quite busy going to Swansea as there are so many people to see - my parents, occasionally some relatives on mum's side, my friends from school and also Phil's brother and family who live down the road from my pal Sue. I still find that rather bizarre - but it is good. Sohad a fab time all in all. Just wish it wasn't so far away and then I could visit more often.

Haven't got holiday photos to show as yet (who is that saying "phew"?) because they are all on the laptop. What has been funny is Phil and I tussling over the D60. Our Powershot S2 that just a year ago was the bees knees to us, just isn't any more. It is still a nifty camera but the Nikon just makes us look like better photographers. Especially Mr Nature Watch. Still I'd rather he was snapping that kind of bird rather than the unfeathered kind...

I did manage to get my Daring Cardmakers card done and posted for Friday, but haven't written about it yet. And failed miserably to finish my Salt layout now. All done but really hard to photograph, even with said new posh one but I will do my best. As that SHOULD have been finished first that is what I will drone on about first. The Salt challenge was
Sheep of his Flock.
The Lord has really been impressing on my heart my need to trust His guidance with everything, just as a sheep follows his shepherd.
As Gina gave us plenty of notice I mulled it over for a while but didn't quite know what I wanted to do. Then, during Holy Week we had a labyrinth at my church and one of the verses to reflect on was Psalm 23 verse 3
he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

And that was the inspiration for my layout - that even when we wander all over the place - like sheep do, our Shepherd brings us back to him. My layout ended up rather busy which maybe why it was tough to photograph - too many things to look at!
The verse was applied to the photo (of me and my mother in law walking down a straight path!) before printing. the scallop card stock is Docrafts. Papers are Scenic Route; Kaiser and Sassafrass. I used a Heidi Swapp mask and chalk inks; Making Memories mini letters and a card from the Crafty Templates quirky kit to do my jounralling on. The title is cut using a Sizzlit alpha - Playground I think. The sheep has a quickutz head and a Nestability body!

A close up of some of the details and here is the journalling
I don't think the Salt team need to feel sheepish about their contributions - every one is gem - rush over and see! Whenever I think of sheep I am taken back to other holidays - to the Rhondda where my dad's family is from. There, you used to see the odd sheep just wandering down the street. I wonder if they still do? (sadly there isn't really any family left there now)

Slightly less bright was my Daring card this week.
Rein went for quite a challenge for most cardmakers I know!
Games and Toys for Boys

put a race track, dart board, vehicle... on your card.
As I was already using my Archaic pad to make some male cards for my mum's card box I decided to keep with the programme
This is an A6 card. Pretty simple really. I'm afraid I can't remember if I used a sketch or not so if it looks familiar let me know! (yes I am old enough not to remember what I did the week before last now). The centre panel has my latest obsession - faux stitching. the car is a Quickutz die, the letters are Adorn it. Copper brads I have had for ages and the gorgeous velvet ricrac is from Imagine That. A lot of foam pads were also used in the making of this card.

Today my holiday has finished with an explosion of crafting all ready for the launch of the latest Funky Hand CD which will be unveiled next week on Ideal World. Stay tuned for some peeks and more details!
And of course all those lovely holiday snaps...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today I have stood at the foot of the cross and thanked Jesus for dying for me.

I have also been involved in a walk of witness with the churches of Harold Hill. Many churches join together on Good Friday and spend some of their worship time following the cross, quietly. By doing this we are showing that we still follow the cross today - in a very real sense. the Harold Hill procession was quite modest. Phil had the camera for the Upminster one - which ends up in the park. They asked for a police escort and this is what they got...
Yes there are a lot of people marching but its not the G20 crowds. Maybe they treated it as a cadet training exercise... Still it is nice when faith is respected and taken seriously. it isn't something to be taken for granted...

It feels a bit odd to go straight from that to Daring Cardmakers. Mid you, when I have finished my blog post I have to choose the hymns for Easter Sunday which will feel even more wrong!
Anyway Jozza came up with a brilliant dare this week.
This week the dare is hide and seek.
I would like to see a
hidden message or element on your cards.
I was a bit stumped to start with but then came up with something simple! As it happens I have two 50th birthday cards to make. On for my fellow Funky Hander Carol (which is going to be hugely late - sorry!) and one for someone at church. I think both are quite loud and proud about their birthday but I think it is quite nice to have a card where the number is a little sneaky!
SO here is the card for Terry Ann.

All the papers are Patti Picklicious with extra black pen from me!
I added American Crafts black card stock; bazzill brads; Imagine that stamps; Nestabilities labels and circles; Sarahs cards black flower; doodlebug button (the flower may have been added to hide a smudge...) a doodlebug paper frill and...
American crafts stickers. NB if you decide at the last minute to add pink glaze pen dots do not cover your circle again until they have dried or you will get smudges on your little circles and possibly, somehow that I can't explain, on the side of your hand and thence onto the front of the card. (ooh I think that is my first "thence" of 2009).
Now Kathy kept her reveal to her blog but I did hold something back. Yes, don't faint, I decorated the inside again!
the great thing about digi papers is that you can scale them down. the other great thing is that if you buy them from Funky Hand this weekend there is a big, big scale. And Anice's downlaods and cd's are absolutely faberoonie too - so go get 'em while you can!

Monday, April 06, 2009

O happy day!

for all sorts of reasons!

1: it is Holy Week - Holy Week and Easter are just the best bit of being a Christian
2: it is school holidays - there may be lots of work to do this week but at least I can lie in a little bit
3: Anice - Mrs Funky Hand has won North Tyneside Retail Business of the Year 2009. I'm just so, so chuffed for her and Ian.
4: It is Ruth (Tip Top and my fellow Funky Hander)'s birthday today. (OK not so good in that I had forgotten and the card is only going out today)
5: I have a few nice goodies to play with and a little time to play :)

Here is what I have managed since Friday. Saturday morning I did some weeding at Church. Weeding amongst rose bushes without gloves isn't really a good idea BTW. then card club in the afternoon. Not many there which meant I managed two whole cards. Well apart from the lettering on one as there is no way I am taking my tiny alphas to church. I've come back with half of a Happy Birthday stamp missing. It was an accident but still...

Card 1:
using the new Patti Picklicious CD. I said I wasn't going to buy it but I do love the funky colours! Just cut and layered away, adding a punched flower and gem. Sentiment is from Clare Curd. Plus oodles of doodles

Card 2:as 1 plus a Doodle factory elephant stamp, judicious use of my new border punch and those letter stickers. I put the pink and red paper in through a Cuttlebug folder and it looks really effective!

Card 3: Made while watching CSI on Saturday night. Phil wanted to watch Match of the day as Bolton actually won convincingly so I was sat at the kitchen table and if you are sat at a table you have to make something!
I found the yellow card blank on my work desk (no idea where it is from or how it got there...) three ancient pieces of card stock from stash and one piece of double sided paper that was rejected from my last Salt layout. the badge is from Paperchase in Cambridge. I was there last Tuesday doing some work for my MA and had lunch in Cambridge. I also wanted to find the Office shoe shop so after a sandwiched I toured round the whole of Cambridge looking for the shop. I found it just as I was giving up... 2 doors down the other way from the sandwich shop. And they didn't have the shoes I wanted anyway. SO I consoled myself with some bits from Paperchase. Much cheaper! trouble is - I love characters like this but send most of my cards to church members - who maybe slightly less delighted.

Card 4: My mum wants some male cards so I pulled out some old Self Addressed kit papers and found the 4 and the number embossed piece already done so made a card while waiting for lunch to cook. Spot the paperchase sticker

Card 5: the male card I finally did
simple eh? but I like it. The sentiment is Patti P which fits a punch perfectly and means that I can use up some buttons!

and finally. Guess what I had to make this morning? I am about to post it so Ruth - look away now!!!!!!

the papers are all Scenic Route. the metal heart is a present from Sue H (thanks), felt ribbon from paper and string. Ditto the button. Pin is from Scrapitude. I added some white glitter glue to the letters. So sorry it is late Ruth (but if you are reading this apology you have sneaked a peek you naughty thing!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Feeling fruity

and looking spotty.

So lets deal with spots first. I am now 43 years old (nearly 44, gulp. that is nearly 45 and THAT is half way to Fifty!!!!) I didn't suffer that much with spots when I was a teenager. And in that strange teen way longed for the signs of being grown up like acne and a sweaty upper lip.
(I had to pause there and remember the pangs of jealousy over a girl who had REAL BEADS of sweat on her below the nose area. I have only rarely had a sweaty upper lip since and strangely do not feel like I have really missed out).

SO why am I so spotty now. And the rest of my face doesn't look dewy and fresh to make up for it? that rather attractive freckle on my chin mutated into a frankenstinian mole ages ago. I have burst blood vessels on one of my cheeks so it is red all the time and people keep trying to wipe off the mark for me. And SPOTS. So I went to Boots on Wednesday and decided I now need camoflauge and serious chemical help. And now Phil tells me that my chin is glowing red. I wish balaclavas were back in fashion...

Just to make me feel better he sent me the link to this song Love you too my darling.

On to more positive things then... its school holidays! Which means I still have to work but not get up so early :) And it is nearly Holy Week and I just love it all (see yesterdays post) even though I have to work like a trooper. And the new Funky Hand cd arrived today so sometime in all of this I have to create so that Anice has some things to promote it when the cd goes live on Ideal World....on Monday 27th April at 6pm.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand its Daring Card Makers Day. And Keryn posed a real pip of a challenge!

Feeling Fruity

My dare this week is to put a piece of fruit on your card. Make your card for any occassion and use any fruit you like the look of.

I knew exactly what to reach for. Yes the Offbeat collection by Basic Grey. I'm still working through it. Its a fun challenge! And there is paper with pears and radishes on. there is also a chipboard radish. Still haven't worked out what to do with that. But anyway as it is not a fruit I was able to focus on the pear!
I added a paper frill, some tiny gems, some Making Memories Alpha stickers and a doodle or two. And you can just see the inside which is where the punch line is!
Right must go and do some work. And something about my chin...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Easter is coming

Yes, busy season is approaching!
But to me it is something somehow more special than Christmas. Maybe because it is all about grown up faith. Who doesn't love a baby. but Easter when Jesus faces death for us, that is something a bit different. Steve Turner put it well in his poem Christmas is really for the Children

So I love all the services and rituals and ceremonies. The sharing of bread and wine on Maundy Thursday. the quiet introspection and public procession of Good Friday, the joy and awe and celebration on Easter Sunday. (I always join the Salvation Army on a small hill at 7:30 on Easter Sunday. I have just read that back in Hartlepool this years service is at 6am facing the north sea. Now that is a real Easter sunrise service for you! Still I won't mind at 7 this Easter which is when I will get out of bed...)

But how do you put all of that in one layout? that is where being on a team is so great because, looking at the theme of Easter, everyone on Salt has taken it a little differently which builds up the complexity and the wonder of this holy time.

Our theme is
'The real meaning of Easter'
how easy it is to get caught up in the commercial side of Easter, without reflecting on why as Christians we celebrate it. God sent his one and only Son Jesus to die on the cross to take away our sin and the punishment we so deserve. He died, and yet even death had no power over him, Christ rose victorious and is alive for ever more! If you put your trust in God and believe that he died to take away your sin you also may experience new life in Christ

and here is my take on it.
The Easter cross in the photo is actually from Phil's church. Due to not saving hard drives all the ones of mine are lost or hiding right now. Which is a shame. Phil's church has strict colour code and clever layering of oasis to make this thing of beauty. My churches we bring all sorts of different flowers and ram them in chicken wire to make a joyful, colourful statement that is slightly less elegant. However on reflection it was easier to colour match this one!
The colouring of the layout is slightly off it is more "true" in the close ups.

I used Scenic Route Belleville and Brighton paper. I started out with papers from all sorts of ranges but ended up using only two papers all together. The yellow is Scenic Route too but from a different collection which is no longer available (and I am not walking all the way to the conservatory to find out either). the stamps are Fancy Pants big ones. I also used
Bazzill scallop cardstock
Basic Grey rubons
a little Hambly overlay
a flash card (from an old Self Addressed kit can't remember where from)
Doodlebug letter stickers
lace ribbon from Crafty Templates
green leaf ribbon from Imagine That (May Arts I think)
poundland nail sparkles

Here is the journalling so you don't get wrinkles screwing up your eyes to read it
and here you can see the sparkles sparkle!
oh yes and I used my new punch again too :)

Have a look at the amazing creativity at Salt and I had better get on with my Palm Sunday services!