Friday, October 23, 2009

Every day when I wake up I thank the Lord I'm


I'm not the best at being Welsh - I can no longer speak my mother tongue (Its on the list for retirement or if I go back and work there) which is rather embarrassing but there is a long and boring reason why.
But I am also proud to be British. Part of the band of tribes that make up our Islands. I am not English and it is often frustrating for us non English people to be called that when what is meant is British. And British means people of different races, faith expressions and ideologies living and working together and always has. (At least since the English managed to take us over and subjugate our mother tongues but us Celts are not known to bear a grudge. Ha, ha).
I watched Question Time last night when the leader of the British National Party was allowed to speak. I could say a lot about it here, but won't. Enough I think to remind everyone that British is something wonderful and bigger than being English or Welsh and that very, very few of us could claim to be racially unmixed (I am pretty pure Welsh but my children aren't!) and that is one of the beauties of being British.

Right off my soap box now! That song by Catatonia you found if you followed the link is one of my favourite things (yes, even though I can't sing along to all of it as I don't know all the Welsh words) and Fave things is what the Daring card challenge is all about today.
"These are a Few of My Favourite Things"

This is a chance to go mad with the papers, embellishments, tools and styles you really love to use.
I'd like you to use at least 5 of your own personal favourite things on your card this week - if you can make it 10 then you can claim our DCM Gold Star - virtual, of course lol.
As it happens I needed to make a card for my Uncle who reaches a special age this week!

SO here are my favourite things
1: Kraft card
2: Square card
3: October Afternoon papers (Farm Fresh in this case)
4: Urban Lily number templates. They came on a patterned paper sheet and I have them cut out in a bag and they are some of the most used pieces of kit I have as they are lovely and big
5: Distress ink (black soot in this case)
6: Embossing folder (argyle)
7: Glue pen and glitter
8: faux stitching
9: random photo corner
10: ribbon (Anitas)
11: buttons (vintage)
12: tied with string/floss
13: foam pads (under the 7)

Oooh I am fickle. Look how many faves I have and I missed out nestabilites, doodling and white gel pens! And gems. And Scenic Route. etc. etc. etc.

Some of those things can be found here
IF drawing a line round the edge counts as doodling. The chipboard pieces are Scenic Route. The papers are Fancy Pants. the chipboard is Basic Grey and the Journalling Spot is from Scrappy Fairy. The lettering is all Doodlebug.
I do wish that I had reversed where the title and photos are as I prefer to read left to right and top to bottom and it doesn't quite work like that! My fave bit is the arrows. They are actually cut out of FP paper and stuck on with foam pads which looks quite cool.

Hywel and Phil are going on the last Uni trip today - to Middlesborough. Which is just down the road from Hartlepool and makes me feel a bit last home sick. I can't go as I am Boys Brigade chaplain and it is Enrolment tonight!
I hope he does go to Teesside as it will be a great excuse for hols up that way! It has just been voted Times Higher Education University of the Year so it does sound pretty good. Last night was the first Sixth form college open evening. Eeeh its a never ending merry go round this parent hood lark!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

She's a model #2

Yesterday I made Carys up to be a Goth. She is Leader of the Flying Monkeys in the school play and they will be Goths. Having been a little bit of one in my time I knew what to do...
Now I am trying not to be feel funny because
1: she looks so grown up
2: She makes a better Goth than I ever did (although she wouldn't let me put kohl inside her eyes. Doesn't she know you have to suffer for beauty?)

Second shot I finally broke out my reflective circle - you can tell the difference I think!

Onto other rather splendid news
Use this code and get all sorts of loveliness from Funky Hand. There are some fab Christmas downloads for example as well as the now even greater value for money CD's!

And finally, catching up with some of my holiday layouts
Scenic Route Surprise with a Pink Paislee rub on
October Afternoon - Detours or Cherry Hill
Can you beleive it is the same girl just a year ago?

Friday, October 16, 2009

She's a model and she's looking good

Last night I took Carys to a local camera club to do some modelling for them. She had a ball and was a really good sport at pulling faces and jumping up and down and all sorts. I naturally took our camera along. Thank the Lord for digital as it means that you can try all sorts of things and not worry about wasting film. It was actually a lot harder than I thought to get a good shot - to do with technical stuff like ISO's and apertures and all the words that make me start going "la,la,la" in my head because I don't really understand.
So... prepare to be bored by a few of the 72 shots I took!

this overexposed one is actually one of my faves...

this has had nothing done with it post production either

a behind the scenes shot (taken with the wrong lens and no flash so thanks to Picasa for being able to see anything)my first really successful jumping shot (shame about the beard!)
totally Carys
I look forward to seeing the other photos taken by those who know what they are doing. Carys had her braces out last week - look how lovely her teeth are! (She now has retainers and being the gentle, loving supportive mother I am I keep asking her to say "I am not an animal, I am a human being" while she struggles with the amount of hardware and saliva in her mouth and then laughing uproariously)

In other news...
I was supposed to be going to Belmarsh prison today to visit someone. V. nervous. Discovered yesterday he has been transferred to Norfolk (why he didn't write that to me but hoped that someone else would pass the message on I dunno) but I am relieved all round!

Today is Daring day. It is a pretty special one as we have now been Daring Cardmakers for three whole years. There are four of the original Darers who still take part regularly (can you spot who they are?) but no-one ever really goes away - once part of the team you are always part of the team! I have been inspired by so many wonderful card makers - both my teamies and those who take part in the challenges so thanks to all of you.

It was my turn to set the dare this week so I went for something simple (like me!)This week's dare is
I can see clearly now
and I would love to see something clear on your card. It could be an acetate card, an acetate embellishment, a window cut in the card, clingfilm, OHP sheet, Mirror fragments - anything that shows that your card is clearly one of the best!

It has actually coincided with some sad news (not end of the world tragic but sad anyway). I have found that the best place to buy acetate cards - Shortcuts - is actually on the point of closing down! Although it is in the US I have found them great value for money including postage. So if you want a bargain go now!

I love to use acetate cards now I have got the hang of it a bit more
I think it is all about the layers - putting something on the back, the inside front and the outside front. Actually the card is remarkably similar to my one last week I think - purple, gold and a big flower. The papers are all Basic Grey; letters are Adornit; threading water punch; nestability label 8 (my new fave!). the flower is made using grungepaper and an Artistic Stamper stamp set. It didn't go quite as well as I had hoped (sulk) but it was my first go. I painted the flowers with a purple/gold acrylic paint and stamped over it with versamark and a Prima stamp. Then embossed with Stamp and bond powder and sprinkled black and gold glitter on different layers. Because I couldn't get it all to stick together properly I used a Papermania brad to hold it all.
Here is a version of the card more closed
Right then, lets make the most of the time when I would have been going to prison!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Having confidence

I don't have much self confidence. Or self esteem. I have worked on this but it is still a struggle at 44* to believe that I don't just spout nonsense or am no help to anyone or that all I can create is the same old rubbish. But knowing that this is my default position means that I can try and have a stern word with myself about how I am. In a sense lack of confidence in myself becomes lack of faith in all that God has given me. Not a sin exactly but close to it.

(*Carys asked me how old I was this week. I asked her to guess. She said 26. I pointed out my oldest son is 17. She is 13. Still I don't mind looking young to her!)

I was reminded of this struggle on Tuesday when my MA course began again. This year I am doing a module on Psychology, faith and church life. It is the reason why I started the course in the first place so I am very excited about it. I had a really tough time a few years ago and doing the MA is a way into finding something positive from being at rock bottom with no self confidence left at all. But it is funny how, even at my third year level now, I get really nervous meeting the new group and worrying how I will shape up. It is fascinating being introduced to the people I will spend a few months with. Some are training to be Ministers, some are working like me, some are retired people. It is a good mix.

One of the group who had done the introductory module the year before was winkling out of those he knew how they had done with the essay. I did rather badly (though I passed!) and my confidence shot down again. (I wish I had said something about how I barely scraped through as I think he is someone who needs to learn a little more sensitivity but somehow the words wouldn't come out!). We are to keep journals - which I am bad at. this blog is the nearest thing I have to a journal and look at how often it is updated. And I think it will be useful for me to reflect on all sorts of things. We also have to do a project with a church and I am cautiously excited that the plan I have in mind may really help a local church. But can I do it? the doubts creep in...

Confidence is so important. Not the "I can do anything because I am fantastic" but "I can do anything because God has confidence in me". This last week the reading was Jesus saying "all things are possible for God" which should give us hope. this week's Salt challenge was set by Hazel and is all about reflecting on our Confidence in God. I chose a verse from Joshua
I failed spectacularly to get a good photo of this layout despite two goes on different days. Each time the layout then fell off the wall and now has rather battered edges! The colour of the background of the photo is almost identical to the cardstock. It is a photo Phil took and tinted (it wouldn't be me taking it, I had to ask him which way up the birds were!). Everything else is Kandco - stamps; die cuts; acetate - everything! I do try and mix things up but think I am better when I can easily go for a co-ordinated range (I think the key word is easily!). The letter stickers are silver on green and they hate cameras! Here is a close up of my reflection

Yesterday I had another project posted on Docrafts. Apparently it is beginner level! I suppose it is although there is quite a lot to do to finish the layout off.
The papers are actually Christmas ones. I so love the turquoise and brown combo. And the build a poppy stamp is great. The photo is one we took on our day trip to France. I have since added a bit of journalling to say it is the most moving memorial I have ever seen. That fallen soldier is so poignant.

And finally I keep forgetting to share the layouts for the holiday album. Still working away on that!
This one came together in no time at all. All Scenic Route papers and stickers. A Technique Tuesday template; American Crafts journalling sticker; Fiskars punch and Making Memories template for the stickles swirls. I haven't done a close up of the journalling but you should be able to see it better if you click on the photo. If not, I reflect on how being a family of 5 sometimes means one person has to be left out. But I was able to shoot water from a cannon and take silly photos so still had fun!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Purple prose

Some days this week have been as tough as I feared they might be. The sort of days when I hate being a grown up. But also aware of God's hand on my life - guiding me to right, if painful decisions. Then today I have been even more aware that I am a grown up as I was the parent taking my child to look at University. (Still can't get over that. Really can't). This time it was Coventry

A few points
1: As we were early (thanks to staying overnight in a very comfy Village hotel. Like a four star travelodge for not much more) we got to park at the uni techonology site for free and had lots of help moving around the Uni. Not so good for others as the Uni has built on all their car parks and one of the staff noted that all of them tend to walk 15-20 minutes into work. Good for the environment, not so good for harrassed visitors.
2: If anyone was REALLY impressed with the opening film about how the Uni is on Facebook and I tunes and everything then they do not deserve a place at University
3: New buildings coming in the next few years is great but doesn't that mean that my dear child's studies will be disrupted by building work?
4: Computer studies staff need to co-ordinate how to run groups. 2 1/2 hours round the department is really too much especially when it is 11:45-2:15. I may delay lunch sometimes to watch Doctors but that is 1:45 - still technically lunch time to me! Mind you the pastries we got at the end were tasty!

All that said: Coventry looks to be a friendly and upcoming uni and I liked the Computing staff and would be happy for H to go there. I think I would be happier for him to go in 2012 when the fab new Engineering and Computing building is up and running.

On to crafty news - the stuff I do that makes me still feel young!
Yesterday was Daring cards day and Vanessa chose the theme of Autumn Purple

To be honest I nearly added this card but that would have been a cheat as I made it last week.
I used the scraps of paper from last weeks card and anew Hero Arts stamp and a new Waltzing mouse stamp which co-ordinates with my new Nesties labels 4
But decided it wasn't autumnal enough! So I made a new card with some Bazzill kraft folded to make a 6x3 card.

The papers are all purple - just don't look it! The two papers are Prima I think and I upped the purple on the punched paper by swooshing distress ink all over it. The three blooms are ancient stash and I added coppery glitter to the middle bloom with a glue pen. The middle of the blooms is a Jenni Bowlin button with lots of Prima gems on the top. The cork word came back from a French craft shop in Beurges and I added Craftwork Cards Candy and a Prima gem.

I'll share a layout I have done this week. Putting photos in an album ready to scrap really works for me although it means I have to do a LOT of multi photo layouts and cut down a lot of photos too.
This is the pool complex at the campsite - very nice! Using the August Gottacraft kit; more Prima and more Jenni Bowlin - oh and a Scrappy Fairy journal spot.

Right off to a charity quiz where I may/may not behave like a grown up!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I made a child cry but I didn't push him over..

Well it is quite funny now.

At my harvest service for today (only one version left, a school assembly) I used an illustration of how you can't eat something without bending your elbow (unless you feed each other children, unless you feed each other). One child - who i shouldn't have chosen as he was a bit young BENT his elbow and I helpfully shouted NO! Everyone laughed. His little face fell. "but dat's wat I do ap home" he said in a small wavery voice. I said he could just finish it. He took what was in his mouth out and dumped it on the plate. "Don't want ANY" he sobbed. "Oh dear" I said "just go and sit down" and I moved my hand in a helpful sweeping gesture.
I didn't hit him.
He just tripped.
But apparently it looked like the Minister pushed him.
Oh my.
His mum came to the rescue.
I turned to the next child - a girl of 5. She looked at me with real terror in her eyes.
I let her eat some doughnut with bent elbows.

All through the rest of the service all I could see was the little boy - still so upset.
At the end when I went to apologize he said "dat's awight" and his mum said it was the people laughing that made him cry. Phew!

Here are some of my recent layouts I haven't shared yet. Finished another of the photos and journalling without a layout sections yesterday but haven't photographed it yet. It actually doesn't seem like less work. But maybe that is because I have to doodle on the photos too!
I messed up the journalling (can't spell journeys) and so tried to cover it up...
BG Offbeat bits and bobs; thickers and doodlebug letters. Pretty plain for me!
Roadmap by October Afternoon papers. A new Nestie borderability with stickles on it and various other punches too. Three layers of cardstock (unusual for me) from some chosen to match Roadmap by Crafts Emporium. Lyn from there sent an email saying she had the new OA lines in. I couldn't resist and they were in my hands (along with a Twix!) 2 days later. Mighty fine service there I think. The letters are Roadmap and Carolee's. The journalling spot is American Crafts. Here's a close up
Right must go and tidy the crafty area before the evening service.
I have to work tomorrow (sulk) but I am off looking round another Uni next weekend so it all evens out in the end I suppose

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tonight Matthew I am going to be...


My poor friend Sue ended up having to have emergency eye surgery this week. When I enquired if I could do anything to help she mentioned that it is her brother's birthday and she needed 3 cards. Well that I can do (better than taking the cat for a walk!) . Of course, what I can't really do is cards in SUe's style. We have a standing joke that I struggle with A5 cards and she struggles with A6 cards. But I thought I ought to do my best to go big.

The last card I made is actually the first to reveal. This week on Daring Cardmakers the theme is
Folding Up
It's "just what it says on the tin", we'd like to see some folds on your cards this week. Fold the whole card, fold some paper, fold some ribbon. Do some origami, teabag folding or just fold over a corner of your paper
to reveal the other side.
As long as there's some sort of folding used as a feature of your card then it counts. Any subject, any theme, any reason.

I knew exactly what I was going to do - a joy fold card. I haven't made one in ages and I really enjoy it. Only I was beaten to the fold. So I found another one. UPdate: I've tracked it down - it si a Tri Shutter card designed by Beate Johns. See here for the instructions. Anyway, here is said card
It uses a piece of card 12x51/2" and is straightforward to make in terms of the intial folds. It is a little more fiddly making all the bits to cover the panels. I used some old Chatterbox papers I have had for ages. I worry that it ended up a bit girly really. I also used a Quickutz die, Nestie circles and some KandCo letter stickers that did tone in well. Here's another angle
It squashes up quite small - an A6 envelope I reckon and I shall try this again for a special card.

Card 2 is one of my default square cards! Sue's dad has sight issues so I wanted to make something bright with big letters. I think I filled my brief...the papers are Fancy Pants - lovely double sided ones. I used my Technique Tuesday tall timbers letters and black embossing powder; new letter stickers and Papermania black gems. And just a tad of doodling.

And finally - an A6 card (faints!). I used a white card and distressed it to look more brown. The papers are Cosmo Cricket Mr Campy. I traced a Chatterbox deer; used my new Nestie 6 again - this time as a tree. Letters are MM tiny alphas; Jenni Bowlin and kraft cardstock cut from Playground and gone through a Cuttlebug embossing folder. I'll be popping along to Sue's to hand them over this afternoon. They are not really her style still but maybe it will make a change.

Get well Sue!
(but don't move...)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Busy little crafting bee

is what I look like today, but I'm not really! Its just that two teams I am on have a reveal day today and my latest Docrafts layout went up as project of the week yesterday - and I did that one ages ago. However I have done more crafting than usual this week - strangely I have had no evening meetings at all. Result! But next week has "Do not add any more meetings in this week" written all over it which does not bode well. Make hay while the sun shines I think then!

Back to showing some things I made earlier...
For Docrafts I had to make a Christmas layout. As it happens we keep a Nativity set out all year as I love it so much so that became the focus of the layout (I kept the dust in on the shelves for a sense of reality...) I was sent some rather lovely papers to use - an A4 Linen paper pack and a gold embossed vellum pack. The papers are traditional deep red and green colours with a wonderful texture to them. I have used the plain side for writing on too as that has the texture as well. Now I have to be honest - I'm not really a traditional colours kind of person (Well, not much Christmassy at all as we all know) and it took a while for me to get into the groove but I am glad I persevered
I was also sent a rubber stamp which i used freely to create a patterned backing paper from cardstock. The green and red papers have diluted Smooch inks sprayed over them which is quite hard to see. The layout is really very gold and glittery. There's a bit of distressing and rolling and rub on adding going on as well. And 4 photos. I am trying very hard not just to use one photo all the time. It's tough though...

Next up is the Get Funky challenge for October. Now it is clear that I will never be Miss Hallmark Cards 2009 because I don't really do Halloween either... I love the colours and the ghosties and stuff though and refuse to make it so that there is any time in which evil seems to have the upper hand over love so I am not one to frown over it either. Its just not been a big thing where we have been or that the kids have really wanted to join in with. (apart form one year and I have the photos to blackmail them with at a later date!)
Anyway all that lecturette is an introduction to the theme this month! Halloween.
And here is my offering
I used papers from the Now That's Funky CD. I was inspired by the ad for the Basic Grey Eerie collection to make the scary mask faces! I also used rectangle Nesties and Papermania gems. The middle skull has glossy accents on the eyes and mouth. I think I might add "I forgot your birthday" when I come to use the card. I love all the cards the team has come up with - check out Anice's labour of love on her card - and you can see how versatile all the cd's are.

Last but not least... it is Salt challenge day today and it shows how God works as Esther had decided on her theme before she looked at Tanis' reflection last week! So the challenge was to think about Growth
Its been a good one to think about as autumn comes and I keep getting hit on the head with shiny conkers! How the seeds need to drop from the tree - to be lost to it, in order for new growth to come. And how generously those seeds are scattered in order for even just one to take root.
Those were my thoughts as I made this layoutThe photo is from the shoot I forced Carys into for my "Autumn splendour" layout a few posts ago - this time you see more of her! I used kraft Bazzill (for a change eh?) and some of my new things from Alexandra Palace
1: Cosmo Cricket earth love papers
2: Prima mesh background stamp
3: Nesties label die 6 (clouds)

When I got home I thought "why did I buy labels 6 but I have already used it as clouds and trees so I think it was worth it after all!

I also used
  • little pearls from Imagine That
  • Papermania letter stickers
  • Maya road tree covered in Dabber paints
and copious amounts of Old Corduroy distress inks.
and a corner rounder. So into rounding corners on layouts at the mo'

Right, better buzz off now!