Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All is calm

Yesterday my parents left. Today my mother in law and Auntie Jones and their 5 dogs between them should have arrived but they are delayed until tomorrow. Which actually means we are ready for them. But have had some quiet just the family time too. (tonight we laughed together at the Not the Nine O Clock News retrospective. I used to watch it on a black and white tv on my own rather in colour with my parents so I could laugh at the rude bits. I'm glad we are able to laugh at the rude bits together. Though I refused to explain to Carys what was so funny about the last song they sang...)

And Christmas went pretty well. I think the moment at 12:30 in the morning as we returned from church when my mum suddenly remembered she was responsible for the turkey and we went to fetch the meat tray from the bottom of the oven where all good vegetarians keep them all year round and could not find it (but it stays there. SO who has pinched it?!!!) so Phil had to go to church and borrow a meat tray from there at very late o'clock - will remain in the memory.
The slinkies were very popular stocking fillers. Not to slink down the stairs but to work as executive toys. Everyone liked their pressies. I was thrilled with my corner rounder (what the one you picked out yourself? Yes but I didn't wrap it) I didn't melt down (well except for a massive head ache Boxing Day which sent me to bed after making lunch and before eating it). All good.

And the services were wonderful (though I say so myself!) Pyjama service there were 15-20 kids and their families - most of whom don't come to church so it is building up to be an unexpected outreach worship. Midnight was full of expectant awe and wonder (except when two of the advent candles wouldn't light. Pah! At least the Christ candle did as it failing to light kind of blows part of the point of the service that the Light of the World has come) And Christmas Day was full of love and joy and laughter and celebration - even though the heating had failed to come on. I allowed myself to keep my coat on. That lasted halfway through the service. I think the fingerless gloves stayed the whole way through. Can't do that any other worship!!! It is lovely having these three services so close together, each with a different dimension of celebrating God with us. And then of course it was Sunday again all too soon! (How can I say that? I meant hurray - more worship time together! With heating!)

Today I had to pack up the craft room and turn it into a guest bedroom/quiet sitting room. Something will have to be done as there are more and more boxes and less space. Will I manage to use more and buy less in 2010? But before that I made some cards. I have one for the next Get Funky! Challenge (my first to set) which you can see on Saturday. But here are a few cards that I made to give the in laws as part of their Christmas presents. It is the time of year when I am short of cards so had to make more!
This uses Basic Grey Lemonade and my new corner chomper. That will feature A LOT. Sentiment is by Imagine That
Ditto for the papers. Auntie Sarah bloomer. Pom pom ribbon from somewhere (sorry!) and hand written sentiment
There is a bargain basement sale at Artbase at the mo so I popped in yesterday and scored 2 sheets of double sided Penny Lane patterned paper and some die cuts too all for £1. I've made 4 cards so far and there are still loads of bits left
2 something like this
and 2 something like that
the latter being developed from a sketch on Emma's Paperie
I was feeling like all my cards are samey so I went and had a look at this site and the sketches and what they produce are wonderful. You'll love it!
(Unless you are one of my non crafting friends then you will probably just shrug your shoulders and say "I couldn't care-a-less Lythan" which is also fine by me. Don't look at it then)

I also made two "simples" cards like this
using BG Boxer and a new sentiment stamp.

the final one for today is a secret
1: because it is for a friend whose birthday is in January
2: because it should have been part of the Christmas present and I couldn't give it up!
I treated myself to a Crafty Templates December card kit (now sold out) and it is just beautiful. Silver card blank; matt silver sequins, so much lushness. The hand made papers make wonderful rolled flowers. I punched the leaves out of the blue card in the kit and embossed them with silver, deliberately leaving some of the blue show through. That Hambly paper shimmers - it is beautiful though I do say so myself. (And there is a new kit up on the site - red and kraft so I will link you to that instead as they are fab value)

Now I really must go to bed. Tomorrow will be full of woofs and paws and happy new years!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Its nearly time...

I entered the Elzybells blog giveaway (didn't win for 25 days. Sob!) and we were asked what our fave thing about Christmas was. When the draws started I realised I had written a LOT more than most people. But it is so true
My favourite thing about Christmas is the worship i get to be part of - the pyjama service for kids on Christmas Eve (pj's and a soft toy to snuggle are mandatory); the midnight service - so full of wonder and expectation and then Christmas morning when we are all so happy (and tired!)

I've got the traditional making of the cashew nut and parsnip layer first - which is preceded by the traditional hunt for the recipe (its on a photocopied page). Delish but oh so fiddly. And a last minute present to buy as I have been let down by the BBC. And the snow. But then the shops will shut and it will be too late to do anything but anticipate and enjoy. By some Christmas miracle my voice is now fine. the ominous throat disappeared completely which was wonderful. And I am actually all ready service wise (not always a good thing mind as I get over confident then!). SO I had time to do the Salt challenge for today which I really didn't think would be feasible. Ruth came up with a lovely idea for this - Jesus Joy

I decided to use one of the spare pictures I had printed up and the left over items from the churhc Advent journal class which we did over 5 weeks. The last week's theme was Preparation which was about really looking forward to greeting Jesus and thinking about what his birth means for us today. The title had to be Joy to the World as it is my favourite carol. its the first one we sing every year on Christmas Day (ah the perks of being the Minister!)
I wanted to keep the layout minimal NOT as Phil sid, because I couldn't think of what to fill the page up with. The stripy paper and die cuts are from Kand Co Hannah. Really lovely double sided papers in that pad. the heart shape is a sizzix die cut from Cosmo Cricket early bird papers. The flourish is a Maya Road chipboard one covered in Dabber gold paint which I used round the edge of everything else. FOr some reason I knew I wanted a kraft circle journalling spot which is also an echo of a halo. The button is Bazzill and is tied with the gold string from a Tesco angel ornament that I used on some Christmas cards. The gold ribbon is a tiny scrap from Ikea. Oh and the letters are Adornit.

Here's a close up of the journalling

And now some pictures of my finished Advent journal. I did manage to muck up the holes for the wire. AGAIN. I panic and then don't think proerly. But so far it all stays together. I have made the photos small so this post isn't huge but you should be able to enlarge them by clicking on them. There is a lot of writing and not all will be in focus so it is not your eyes!

Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm saying nothing

One of the worst things that can happen to a Minister is to lose their voice. The congregation may not think so but...
Mine's not gone. Yet. But I have an ominously sore throat. Its the bit at the bottom which is a bit of a weak spot. And tonight is the choir concert where I have to sing solos and the other sopranos tend to take their cue from me. Which would be ok - I could wreck my voice tonight if I didn't have three services to do on Sunday. And just one or two midweek! I guess even then we can work it through but it is so frustrating to feel ok apart from no voice and seeing other people doing what you should be doing. So if you are the kind, pray for me.

All right I will stop being Mrs Moaning Hypochondriac now!
Carys' was in the Wizard of Oz at school on Wednesday playing the leader of the flying monkeys (dressed as Goths). The play was fabulous. The acting excellent especially the scarecrow who kept throwing himself over on the stage in a remarkable way. And the wicked witch (played by a boy) who melted by going down on the platform lift at the side of the stage.
Here is Carys being menacing on the stage...
and her publicity shot afterwards (actually just Phil playing about with photoshop)
She was v. good too.

In other news - we went for our annual shopping trip together (seriously, once or twice a year do we shop as a family. Clothes buying is an alien concept to the boys!). We went to get our Christmas Decorations - only with a full week to Christmas the shops have hardly any left (Tesco had got rid of theirs last Tuesday) and then Secret Santa in Poundland. We each have to buy a "lovely" present for one family member for a pound. And I made everyone buy a new 'Christmas costume' as I wasn't sure what size the boys were any more. it was more fun than we had expected which is a relief!

Which is why my Friday blog post is late. If it isn't updated any other day of the week the blog always is on Friday due to the Daring Cardmakers. This is the last Dare before the New Year and we say goodbye to my Funky Hand pal Dolly who is one of the most brilliant card makers I know. Sue chose a dare -
New Beginnings

As we are coming to the end of the year and fast approaching the start of not only a new year but a new decade, I’d like to see some cards celebrating something new.

It could be the New Year, a New Home, a New Addition to the family or even a New Day
which fitted well as I had a new home card to make. So, it seems did other DCM's! Still they are all very different.
Mine is made by cutting a card base from Kraft cardstock with the largest Nestie 8 and embossed the bottom halfwith Swiss Dots. I paper pieced a little house with Cosmo Cricket Nutmeg papers. Afterwards I wished I hd put a little grass in behind. I added some ribbon and teeny alpha stickers - not MM but I can't remember who. And that is it.
Phew - just as well I don't speak my blog posts as it ended up quite long!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So here they are - merry Christmas

Actually that is something that one of my cards rarely says - Merry Christmas. I am Happy with Happy but Merry for some reason, doesn't sound right to me. It is in the list of phrases that make me grit my teeth

  • Merry Christmas
  • and all the trimmings
  • and without further ado
  • what's the drill? (that's a family one)

I digress, for a change..
Anyway I have now made about 65 cards like this. Enough for me! And most of them are posted - a whole 4 days before the end of second class posting! Not the ones for abroad mind, they go last in our house! I try and come up with a fairly simple design every year but it turned out to have quite a few steps

  1. print sentiment
  2. round corners
  3. choose 3 co-ordinating papers
  4. cut star and trim to cut off one point.
  5. trim second patterned paper and round corners
  6. punch border on strip of third paper
  7. ink edges of paper
  8. add outlines with sparkly black pen
  9. add sharpie pen outline to star and do glue pen and glitter routine.
  10. put foam pads on the back of the star
  11. stick everything down
I could never, ever, ever do wedding stationary. The thought of doing all that but to look identical each time would send me bonkers! (ok more bonkers)

Must get on with wrting nativity reflections - for a carol service this afternoon. I'm doing Mary remembers and we are only up to Joseph agreeing to marry her so far...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Its unbeleivably spotty

I think I have linked to this song before but you can never have enough Spotty Muldoon in your life.
And today I have a great excuse...
it's polka dot week at Daring Cardmakers.
Vanessa came up with this fabulous dare
Onto to this week's dare, set by me (Vanessa) and I thought we'd have a little break from all things Christmassy. So, for one week only over this festive period, we're having a no-Christmas and no-Winter zone! Its polka-dot week! Lets bring some warmth to our cards with polka dots, but I don't mean spots or dots in a variety of sizes, it has to be specifically polka-dots (i.e. a pattern of dots of equal size, equally spaced). However, you can have whatever colour(s) you choose as long as your card doesn't look cold and wintry!!
I luuuuuuurve spots. Spots and stripes together is even better. (a love I share with Emma at Imagine That). As it happens I had a brand new set of Papertrey Stamps crying out to be used - Polka Dot basics. The card didn't quite turn out as planned but I think I managed to save it!
I used kraft cardstock and rounded the corners then added polka dots to the bottom. The good thing about these stamps is that they are in a double row and come with an extra one dot to fill in the gaps. I embossed with white embossing powder. Then decided to use some distress ink on the bottom area. To be honest I wish I hadn't! Still it looks a bit better now with faux stitching and the dots outlined in black pen. I added some strips of Cosmo Cricket early bird papers. The butterfly is a Cuttlebug die. The dots on there were intially cream so I used a white pen over them then added white gliter with a glue pen. Still didn't look right until I added the Nestie frames. Do you like the bow? I think I have finally cracked it. A properly tied bow. At 44 I have finally got the knack (I've been a two loop girl. Blush. I think because being left handed I have to put it round the wrong way.) Now if I could only bring the bows to the front and the ties to the back...

I decided when I made the layout for Salt that I needed to use up the papers by making the card. Obviously Daring Cardmakers was also on my mind as I ended up with quite a few dots on this one too...
The bird is the other way round as the paper is double sided! She is swiss dot embossed and inked. Lots of foam pads were used to create layers.

And I have realised I may need more Christmas cards so experimented with a frosted acetate one
I can't get it to stay close enough together to really see the back. I think frosted cards probably only want to have detail on the front not the back. The snowflake is a window sticker from a set of 12 from Poundland with some Glamour Dust on the top. I wrote peace with a white sharpie and then did the old glue and glitter routine!

I have Sunday's service to prepare. And need to make sure things are in place for the 2 carol services for the 20th. And really need to do a lot for the service on 3rd January. It is that sort of time of year when I need to juggle lots of things in my head and hope I manage them all. We had the penultimate Advent journal last night at church and actually having that time to reflect and "journal my advent" (only once a week, maybe I'll do it properly next year as a more faith filled Shimelle type thing. Or maybe not!) ha really helped me to prepare my heart for Christmas. I'll share the finished project next week.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

God is with us

that is certainly how I felt on Saturday!
I went with a group from my churches to a United Reformed Church event in Birmingham which was to celebrate being Multicultural. We went in a minibus. Did you know that there is no parking in central Brum for minibuses? Phil (my hero and our intrepid driver) eventually parked it on a street right the other side of the inner ring road. By that time he had thanked me for having the foresight to print off a map of central Birmingham as the minibus obviously didn't have any juice flowing to the cigarette lighter as the Satnav died just on hitting the centre. Hmmmm. More on this in a minute

We were there not just because it is good to celebrate being multicultural but because my small church had won a special award for telling our story in an interesting way. You can see how I used my scrapping skills to finish the project off here (scroll down to 22 April) And our prize was a rather fancy pulpit fall that also has "We are a multicultural church" on the bottom pf it. We don't actually have a pulpit and we'll have to adapt our lecturn (the thing you stand behind to give a lecture or read from the Bible) but we will display it as we are mighty proud of it. Here I am with Esther who had only arrived back in the country from Africa the day before and our Moderator of General Assembly (not a very interesting name for an important short term job in our church) John Marsh who I first met when I was doing youth work for the URC on the Ginger Group 22 years ago

Then all we needed to do was leave Birmingham. Phil reckoned that the van was too far away for us all to walk there. He was right. So the two of us went to get the van while the others waited ready for a phone call to say we were outside. There is a lovely German market through the centre of Brum at the moment. It was heaving. People were allowed alcohol. It was raining. It was dark. It took us 30 mins to get to the van. And remember that inner ring road. We had to find our way round it to pick the others up. Birmingham centre also doesn't have roundabouts. It has circuses which are roundabouts with big buildings on them so you can't see your exits. Let me say that I know God was with us as we would never have found our way to the church to find the others any other way. He was certainly with Phil who ignored my suggestion, on seeing the motorway signs that we could just go without them. I was kidding. Almost.

And God with us is the Salt theme today. Pauline has written a wonderful reflection on it here.
I wanted to emphasize the fact that God coming as one of us meant entering into the whole human thing. It was also a great excuse to scrap this photo of my sister in law holding her grandson for the first time (eek how can my sister in law be a granny. We are not that old!)
The papers are all K and Co from the Urban Rhapsody scrap pad and I used an old Pencil Lines sketch to kick start the process. I liked the bird (would have been better facing the other way round) and the fact it said "blessed" on it so I highlighted it with glossy accents, a grungeboard star and a stick on pearl the two bits of grungeboard were inked with brown and yellow distress inks and then spritzed with pearl glimmer mist. the title is all Doodlebug letters

that's it for now must go and focus on how God will be with us again - Advent scrapbook journal tonight is on the Second Coming. Not something URC folk think about that much really. Maybe we should...

Friday, December 04, 2009

If you want it smaller then don't ask for small

that is the lesson I learned yesterday.
I missed tea at the normal time (not good practice I know) and at 9:50, heading home from something decided I needed carbs. Chips to be precise. But I can't eat much at one go. I'd phoned to check if Phil needed anything (he'd just eaten some chips!) and told him my quandary. "Just ask for half a portion" he suggested. I thought I would feel a ninny doing this so decided just to ask for a small chips and curry sauce. So I did. On the wall it said "chips and curry sauce£1.99" so I was surprised to be charged £2.20. I enquired about this
(you may be thinking it was only 21p but in my defence I am a.
a miser
b. very grumpy when I am hungry.
c. not kidding about the grumpiness. Ask Phil)
Apparently chips and curry sauce is in a tray - hence the 21p reduction in price which I surmise is because there are less chips so if I had asked for chips and curry sauce and not small chips and curry sauce I would have got a smaller portion.
They were very delicious.
I couldn't eat them all.
It was worth the 21p just for the way it has made me smile since I worked it all out.

In other news...
I really, really shouldn't be here as I am going to Birmingham all day tomorrow for a URC multicultural celebration. My church has won a prize for telling its story (about how we are v. small and learning to be multicultural and being a version of Jesus story about the mustard seed which you can find here) so I will have to look reasonably smart as well. Problem is I will have to leave home about 6:45 in the morning which is not my best time of day... And I have two services on Sunday (guess I won't be enjoying the Eastenders omnibus Sunday afternoon then)
so here is a quick recap of some of the crafting highlights of my week
1: Last week's Daring card"
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas"
I want to see Christmas cards that are mainly white with just a hint of colouring on your embellishments or stamped image.
Drew a triangle on white cardstock. Cut it in three and embossed with different folders. Simples. The sentiment is from a big Papermania Bauble Decoration stamp
Lots of glamour dust and a little olive ink round the edge

2: This weeks Daring card. My word the others have done some amazing work this week.
Say it in "Sepia"
I've been sorting through some "Old" family photographs with the intention of Scrapbooking them and I just love the Sepia ones. So I thought it would be nice to see a "Thank You" card made using "sepia" tones. So that's just brown/white or brown/cream depending on your card base colour. .
Mine is again on the "simples" side. But I do have to make four of these by Sunday. This is it so far...Papertrey kraft cardstock cut to an American card size. Swirl embossing folder. Hero Arts clings stamp (which I can ink much better putting the card on the stamp and rubbing. Wierd.) Prisma colour penicls and ribbon & button from stash

3: I have a Layout featured on Docrafts using the new Doodlebug Christmas papers. oooh it is bright - but fun I think!
A WRMK Corner Chomper is an expensive bit of kit but as ever, I am yet again falling for the false premise that if I use the same tools as Kristina Werner I will make cards like Kristina Werner:) Also I am that lazy that the thought of only having to round two corners at a time not four sounds brilliant.

I'll see you sometime on the other side of the weekend!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Oooh again so soon?

How often do I post two days in a row? Not often. And this is just a quick one as I have ooooooooodles of work to do. Can't make any more cards until my white cardstock order arrives. But all I need to do is a print through of the message and everything else is ready to stick on. I have impressed myself. Sadly behind on every other aspect of Christmas.

But I have made a decoration. This probably ranks as the simplest decoration I could have possibly made for the latest Get Funky dare and I have another one planned. But it might have to just stay in my head for a wee while longer! Kath came up with a fab challenge
Deck the Halls! What I would like you to do this month is to create a Christmas decoration to decorate your wall...mantlepiece Christmas table or to hang on your tree.....a Christmas Gift or perhaps a box or gift wrapping
I was wondering what to do and then had yer actual brainwave. Why not print some Funky Hand paper onto acetate and start from there? SO that is what I did.
I chose a design from Funky Seasons that had a lot of white on the background so most of it came out clear. I used my Sizzix star (which has been worth its weight in gold this year) to die cut the shape. Then I inked the edges in blue, added glamour dust to the star and studded them with stick on gems. I may have added the button because I made a mess of the hole but it looks quite nice! Simples!

(Apparently the photo has nice bokey - no idea of how to spell that - I am just pleased that the out of focus means you can't see how truly messy our garden is...)

Anyway - now the challenge is yours! As usual you have a whole month to complete the challenge and all you have to do to enter is use at least one Funky Hand product and leave a link here to your creation so we can come and visit you and you could be the winner of a £20 Funky Hand voucher to spend on Funky Hand products....a great start to the new crafting year.
So what are you waiting for?!!!!