Monday, January 31, 2011


and its not even summer again yet. I have finished my summer holiday scrapbook. I do one every year as it is a good way of capturing the memories and pictures of the family. I'm often still going until just before the next summer hols so ending by the end of January must be some kind of record...

I adore the colour of that Bazzill cardstock that came in a Gottacraft kit to match the Glitz papers. I also used Fancy Pants and MME papers; Chatterbox, Making Memories and Bella Blvd; Rnager white paint and Nestability dies.

I've put another needle in my sewing machine and also played about with tension and stitches and so am ready to give the sewing lark a proper try again - as here
I'm so cross that there appears to be a brown caterpiller across the page. It is actually some beautiful flower ribbon
here it is with the light turned up!
I used cream cardstock; MME papers; a doily inked all over; Cosmo Cricket lettering and a Jenni Bowlin button. Phil took the beautiful photographs and edited them.
And finally
Papers: Basic Grey and Echo Park; Daisy D rub on put on acetate with paint one the back; Glimmer mist; Embellishments: WRMK, October Afternoon, Cosmo Cricket; Making Memories; Bazzill;Nikki Sivils; Paperchase; Fiskars border punch

And that is that!
Yesterday I was not preaching as it was my Study Leave week but there was a Pastoral Tea Party at one of my churches. There the Elders, who have a group of people to care for within the Church, sit with their groups so that folk can get to know each other and their Elder better. It is a really good time of sharing and helps us to feel like a real family. I asked the children what to sing for one of the hymns for our short closing act of worship and they chose "O come all ye faithful", then after some thought "Come and join the celebration". We sang the latter. Why should carols just be for Christmas after all!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My new favourite number

is 78.
'Cos I did quite well in my last Dissertation module - results came out yesterday
OK enough of that.

My other favourite number is 216 as that means home. I have been away for three days doing some research for said dissertation in Cambridge. I did have a fab time, catching up with some of the most adorable people I know, meeting the new ordinands at Westminster College (thats someone training to be a Minister and where they train) walking a lot (it is 30 minutes walk from where I was staying to Anglia Ruskin university) and reading lots of Management Studies books about teams and leadership and making connections to Ministry until my head buzzed. But it is good to be home and hanging with my babes and laughing over tea again. Tomorrow Carys and I are having a girly day at Lakeside which will be fabulous I'm sure! (Even though I detest Lakeside :))

Because I have been away I haven't been crafting but I actually managed to do my Daring Card early in the week rather than 10pm on Thursday night as I usually do.
Lynda gave us a fun dare to think about.
The Year of the Rabbit

3rd February 2011 will welcome in the next Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rabbit. So this week I’m going to let you have TWO options to choose from:-

Make a card with an Oriental feel to it
Make a card that features a rabbit.
It’s entirely up to you.

I went for rabbit as I knew I still had one of these cuties left
Cosmo Cricket Togetherness - what a great collection. I only have a few sheets left but loads of the chipboard pieces as i couldn't bear to use them. Serve me right! So I'll have to make some cards with the rest of it I think. Everything is Cosmo apart from the ribbon which is Papertrey Ink. Oh how I wish they would make it easier (ie less costly) to order for UK people as it is soooo expensive.

My other favourite number is 30. That is the date this Sunday and although I have a tea party at Church I do not have a service to prepare this week as I am on study leave. Although I look forward to Sunday's away from the pulpit there is often a sense of regret as well because of what I won't get to wrestle with. This week its the Beatitudes - some words that Jesus said and I love this version from the Message
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope.
With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you.
Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You're blessed when you're content with just who you are - no more, no less.
That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God.
He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'carefull,' you find yourselves cared for.

"You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right.
Then you can see God in the outside world.

"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.
That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

May you feel blessed this weekend!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Passing on the style

My wonderful friend Sue has just passed on an award to me and said lots of lovely things that make me blush. Thanks Sue!
I ahve to share 7 things about myself. I can't believe there are 7 things people don't know (that I am willing to share!)
  1. My mum wanted my middle name to be Xantippe. It isn't.
  2. because both my parents are 5' 7 I thought I would be as well. At 45 and 5' 2 I need to accept that the only way from here is shorter
  3. I look a lot younger than I am - and being 45 as I said this is now a good thing.
  4. When I see people struggling with 3 small children under 4 I pity them, wonder how they do it and also why they chose to have kids so close together. Then I remember that was me 14 years ago. (it gets better but more hectic in terms of exams/university)
  5. my voice is one of the biggest things about me. Not when I speak one to one but I know how to PROJECT.
  6. My singing range is almost 3 octaves. it is rather weak or shrieky at both ends but I would love to finally get there!
  7. I bite my nails but not down to the quick so I just about get away with looking like I just can't cut or file them properly.
So who do I pass on to? I jsut can't link to 15!!
but here are some of the best crafty blogs that Sue hasn't already mentioned. Many of them I am/have been on teams with and they are lovely people as well as great crafters!
Jo Kill - unique and amazing talented. The details on her cards are amazing
Nat - it was seeing her creations that got me into Self Addressed kits that kept me going the first few years of my cardmaking. She is still fresh and funky!
Samm - she does bright and beautiful so well. I hope we'll meet one day as we only live about 15 minutes from each other!
Keryn - one of the original Daring Cardmakers still going strong and she is the person to go to in NZ if you want Stamping Up goodies
Rein - there is always something fun and unusual to see on her blog
Asia - makes such sweet and pretty cards
Lynda - I am in awe of her stamping
Jules - great cards and I love playing hunt the heart
Anice - best boss ever and creator of the wonderful Funky Hand goodies
Ruth - her cards are great but it is the other creations that she makes that inspire me
Allison - I love the soft and subtle colour palettes that she uses. (And the feathers!)

there that is 10. Enough for now I think!
I finished another scrap page today.
This uses the November Gottacraft kit as the basis
I added
Papertrey ink stamps; White dabber paint; letters: (Making Memories; Cosmo Cricket; Tim Holtz dies;) Martha Stewart butterfly punch; EK Success and Fiskars border punches; Prima bling; KI memories striped paper (how old is that?); Paperchase Deer.
The silver disc is a chipboard circle covered in glossy accents covered in fine glitter covered in glossy accents.
And lots of ink and black pen work.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Its a toofer day

Yes, I ran out of time to do my Salt post yesterday and so it is "toofer the price of one" today.
Yes, almost as funny as the reason why Milliband chose Balls as his Shadow Chancellor - cos "two Eds are better than one".
I'll get my coat.

So ... Salt.
It was my turn to choose the subject and so I went for something that I needed to process and reflect on - bereavement. As I am a Minister I get to take funerals which is an enormous privilege. It is harder than you might think - a funeral itself is usually 45 minutes tops but there is a huge amount of emotional energy to try and deal with and I find them spiritually draining. I try and help the family to come to terms with the fact that their loved one has died. I know it sounds obvious when you are staring at a coffin but it needs that full stop. And also to let go of that person and give them to God. And to say thank you for the way that they touched the lives of others. A mixture of laughter and tears and tough moments and prayer.
But it is only the beginning really of the long hard road of living without that person and thinking about all the "what might have beens". I have suffered some bereavements in my life which had a profound effect but it was not until a close family member suffered an even greater loss that I began to realise just how hard this is. How long the path is. And that no-one else can travel it with you. Apart from God.

Which is why I am involved in Bereavement courses and set the tough challenge for the team this week.
Here is my take on "Walking through the valley of the shadow of death"
The photo I used was taken by my very talented photographer hubby. I had wanted to explain the significance but ran out of room (as you will see). See more here and click Phil's link for more information. It is a path that you cannot take without guidance from one who knows the way.
I thought that I would have plenty of room for the Bible quotes and my own thoughts on the left hand side but I had more to say than I expected.. I have a Creative Memories lines template that helped me keep the writing straight. I did some handsewing this time as I haven't changed my sewing needle yet.
Cardstock - Bazzill cream smooth
Papers: Pink Paislee(Parisian Anthology; Queen Bee) : MME (Lost and Found); embossed paper from stash
Embellishments: Copper brads and button from stash
Inks: Distress - Pumice Stone and Brushed Corduroy
Letters: Making Memories; Cosmo Cricket; Adornit: Jenni Bowlin

Here are a couple of close ups of the hard to read bits...
I do appreciate the wonderful work the rest of the team have done for what is quite a challenging challenge!

Asia chose a fabulous dare for the Daring Cardmakers this week!
It's All about Me!
where we had to choose some of our favourite stuff to put on a card that you would like to receive yourself. well... I should have made a bigger card as I had to take some bits off
So what are my favourite things?
Kraft cardstock - check
Square card - check (but the ones I have are smaller than my usual square ones. Sulk)
Pink Paislee Parisian Anthology papers (which I love so much I bought some more at Imagine That yesterday. I NEVER buy more of the same paper!) They look pretty without anything done to them (the mat for the photo above is the reverse of one of the papers) but when you put ink or spray or anything on them - oh my. They have a fab resist. Isued tow of my fave Distress inks - Peeled paint and crushed olive on the paper which I then faux stitched using the more time consuming punch and outline technique.
I used papers from another favourite collection - Crate Paper Restoration - hand cutting the doily and letting it hang off centre (which I love). The doily is covered in Glamour Dust but you can't really see it, not even up close. (The butterfly has white glitter on it)
then there is a little bit of ribbon, a sticker border and a punched border - there had to be a punched border - this punch is Fiskars.
On top I inked a Waltzing Mouse stamp for Nesties label 4, cut it out and embossed it and then decided I wanted to use my best new stamps and matching ticket die - my Christmas present from the adorable Sue Hyde and also bought from Imagine That.
A punched Martha Stewart butterfly on foam pads and some pearls and the card is complete. Phew!
Although now it is on big screen the card looks like it is leaning to the side to me, I do think the presentation looks professional. wanna see it before cropping?
My work and play desks are much more like the right hand side of the picture than the left!

I have quite a full weekend ahead. At one church we are trying something new by inviting the people in our road in for coffee to see what is needed by the community and if we can get something going. I wonder if anyone will come?
Two services on Sunday and in the afternoon there is a tea party at the other Church. For two sunday afternoons these are held so people know who their elders are (the Church leaders who have special care for them) and get to know others a bit better - ending in a short act of worship.
I hope whatever you are doing, you have the chance to be creative - it is good for the soul!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How I spent my day off

I am quite a lazy person. I think sloth is probably my biggest deadly sin - although I can score quite highly on most of them if I put my mind to it. And I am very good at berating myself for all my deadly sins, rather than looking at what I have achieved and trying to amend my bad habits.
So in some ways I didn't do very much yesterday but in others I did so I thought that if I wrote it down that would help
  • several loads of washing (5 0r 6) either put away or washed and dried. Actually I have just realised that the whites are still in the dryer which means I will have to iron some shirts. horlicks.
  • cleaned and tidied downstairs loo and conservatory and also washed floor in sitting room. (Please let our next house have wooden floors)
  • Did a few work emails and highlighted others to deal with today - which I have!
  • Worked on my second set of 4 canvasses. Have a bit of a problem with these as having merrily stuck down paper in a slapdash way with multi medium (which I was sure is what we did in a class I took) I have discovered it is acting as a resist and is an ugly looking rim around the paper. Each canvas is now having a different treatment to try and hide it. Horlicks is not what I said when I discovered this.
  • booked two holidays - one near number one son so we can spend some time with him and the others can see where he lives; the other near my parents so we can join in the 80th birthday celebrations when they arise.
  • Finished two layouts (see below)
  • Watched movie with family - Nativity! and Glee (not so keen on the second series and am close to muting Lea Michelle as she makes my ears bleed. No offence)
  • Spent far too much time sitting on my backside on the computer.
but it was not so bad was it?
I can see that what was missing was
  • quiet devotional time. I do struggle with this. I feel really bad as I should be able to concentrate on long times of quiet prayer surely? However I am 45 now and I still haven't caught the knack so I need to truly find what works for me. Which I think is spending more moments in quick prayer and contemplation - a bit like one of my fave hymns (we don't usually sing it like this but all the organ versions had VERY loud organ and quiet singing and I rather like this). Being a "good" Christian does not come easy and at the points that it does, well, that can sometimes be a sign that things are not actually healthy either (although there are some really blessed saints who have their act together!). I preached on Sunday about it being "all about Jesus" - not John the baptist, or us - that success or failure is not just about how good/bad we are. I've found that phrase has stuck with me this week and as next Sunday I am leading worship at two other Churches and the readings follow on, I think more will be said along those lines then.
  • exercise and fresh air. I've been having a few annoying health issues and so am not throwing myself around like an idiot at the moment but I really ought to do something - even if it is taking a reluctant dog for a walk. Yes I ahve the only dog who is pulling to go home after 100 yards...
so lets see how I do on my next proper day off which won't be next week as I have a funeral in the middle of it!
Phew this is getting long and I haven't shared the crafty makes yet. I am waiting to take another funeral. It is hard to settle to anything on those days so I have been catching up on emails and looking at the lessons and ideas for Sunday (and wittering on in this blog)

Layouts then...
This one is about Phil being on a boat when they did an Air Sea rescue exercise. I suppose it could have been Prince William!
Papers: Echo Park; Bazzill white card stock
Embellishments: sassafrass (stickers) ; maya road (flower) ; prima (gem)
Lettering: American Crafts; Making memories; Cosmo Cricket
Tools: Nestabilities circle and label; Fiskars scallop punch; Sewing machine (either I need a new needle or to give up trying to sew on layouts)
Distress Inks - blues and greens used together;
Turquoise glimmer mist

And this one uses the photo that Phil photoshopped in December
Do you know this is the first non holiday or Salt layout that I have to put into an album since April 2010? I ahve made others - for the competition - and I hope they will be returned. But that is quite something. it takes me a year usually to finish the summer holiday album which is fine by me as it tends to be about moments or reflections on the family rather than events or a linear documenting of the hols.
This was based on an old Sketchy thursday sketch, originally for two photos. I am usually good at working out how much space I need for journalling. This was an epic fail...
I am fed up with just using all papers from the same manufacturer and also feel I am good with using loads of papers in different ways but rubbish at adding embellishments so I actually went through lots of paper selections to try and find colours that fit and having a pile of potential bits to use too. Kind of worked! The star tag is really the wrong colour so I might take it out and paint it a bit. Or leave it. The flower was white as was the little paper ric rac but I used the scarlet glimmer mist to paint them.

papers: Bazzil Cardstock; Basic Grey Junebug and Ambrosia: Cosmo Cricket Cogsmo
Embellishments: papermania brad and metal tags; corner and "family" plate from Costco kit; prima flower; Doodelbug paper trim; acrylic shape from a Gottacraft kit
Lettering: basic grey boxer
Tools: papertrey Ink die scallop die; nestabilities circle; Cuttlebug embossing folder
distress ink - Pumice Stone Glimmer mist - Scarlet

And the song still plays in my head every time I look at this photo!
And what do you know - I just went to see the intro to possibly link to the photo and you see the group walking sideways; individual headshots and a back view and never en masse towards you like this. Its an iconic shot that never was...
Hmmm got to be a sermon in that somewhere (yes ministers really do think that way!)

By the way - thanks for all the lovely comments on the last post - they make me all warm and fuzzy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Running up

I'm chuffed to bits to say that I am a runner up in the Scrapbook Magazine Scrapbooker of the Year competition.
I had to send in 3 layouts and the one they chose to feature in the magazine is this one
It uses more of that fab Pink Paislee paper that you can ink. I also used Nestability and Tim Holtz dies; K and Co and basic Grey embellishments; Paperartsy stamps and lots and lots of Distress Ink. Thanks to Phil for taking the photos of the butterflies!

Would you like to see my prizes? This is most but not all of my haul
Ooodles of types of adhesive which probably only crafters would get excited about! Two 12x12 albums; brads; flowers; ribbons and also a magnifying glass on a stand which I am using for my cross stitch at the mo but may be donated to Auntie Jones who could then read her paper without holding a magnifyer as well.

I've also managed to make a whole two things this week
1: My Daring Card -
This week we had a No Calorie Recipe!
Here are the ingredients you must use on your card:
1 image (stamped, digital or other type)
2 pieces of ribbon
3 different papers
and we were also sent some lovely digital freebies from Robyn's Fetish digital stamp store.
The green and orange papers are digital as well as the green/orange patterned one and the image is coloured with prismacolour pencils. One of the orange layers was embossed and there is a lot of foam paddage going on - it will have to be a hand delivered card. The stanp is a Paula Pascual one and the ribbons are Maya Road and part of my prize which arrived on the day I needed orange and green ribbon!

Finally I also made a layout this week
You can't see the title thanks to the dark morning but it says "Simples". well it is a layout about meerkats so what else would it say? The circle took ages because I made a mask and misted the rest of the paper and then decided to hand sew around it. Looks good though for the effort I think! The layout is based on a sketch from Get Picky which is a sketch blog all about using more than one photo. great idea! I used Cosmo Cricket papers; Bazzill black card stock; Sassafrass and Prima embellishments; Tim Holtz and Papertrey Ink dies and the same Martha Stewart border punch as above. Sigh. I haven't used it on a layout since but it looks like I use it all the time now. Mind you it is pretty cool...

Here is what the journalling says for those of you who would also like a magnifying glass (like my hubby whose life has been changed by one...)
back to balancing the needs of two different churches and one order of service - this week it is Induction of Elders at one church and Reception of a Member at the other. That means I must be careful not to talk too much!

Friday, January 07, 2011


This year will see some changes for me - mostly work wise.
Firstly, I have now started (just) the new pattern of leading worship on a Sunday which means most Sundays taking a 9:30 and then an 11:15 service. I actually wrote 9:15 and 11:30 down first. Must make sure I get them right... Last Sunday was straightforward as it was the two Churches I am already Minister of - familiar territory and I could use the same material with a few tweaks. This Sunday it is Parade services at 2 of the other Churches and I am having to do different things at both for various reasons. All age services are never that easy to gauge for me - plus there are all sorts of little things that happen that you take for granted when you know how but can throw you when you don't - e.g. is there a sung amen at the end? What happens to the offertory?
So I am a tad nervous...
There is also the issue of getting out of one and over to the other - these two are the furthest apart. Not far in terms of mileage but if the Sunday shoppers are already out then it can take for-ev-ver.

Now Phil and I need to sit down and see how this new way of being Ministers in the Churches is taking shape. Exciting new challenge but daunting and scary.

And then there is the MA. My Dissertation paperwork is in, just need to wait for the OK in terms of subject and then ethical clearance and off I go. Up until now my work has been marked by seminars and tutor guidance. Although I have a fab supervisor now it is really all down to me.Ulp! My Christmas present was a digital recorder so that I can transcribe interviews which makes it all very serious like. Still I hope that what I look into will be helpful for the Church - I want to focus on how we get team ministries to function when in the United Reformed Church there is no leadership hierarchy. In our team that is just as well as Phil and I would not like one to be the boss of t'other. But you do need to have systems in place to make it work.

What I hope won't be changing is my crafting time. I do need some creative outlets. Being an introverted type I need time on my own to make sense of the world and crafting helps me do that! So here is this weeks card for the Daring Cardmakers. This year we are going for flowers of the month starting with Snowdrops or Carnations as January gets two! I adore snowdrops so it was no contest choosing really. But then how to do it? I did some googling and found this lovely digi stamp at Doodle Pantry (the shop isn't working today - perhaps I broke it! so the link is to the blog)
I painted the image (badly) with Peeled Paint and Antique Linen distress ink and coloured the petals with Glamour Dust. I used the same inks to distress and colour the card stock. The background paper is the fabulous Pink Paisless Parisian Anthology (Fancy Filligree) which you can buy here. Its kind of like the old magic painting whereby you add some colour - ink or spray or paint and the resist is revealed. The sentiment is also from Doodle Pantry - it comes with the snowdrop. I used several different nesties incluing that new Circle border one so expect more circular images to appear on my cards. The ribbon is from stash.
Here is a close up of the lovely image and my terrible colouring. I need to find a reeeeeeeelllly fine brush and a steadier hand. It doesn't look so bad from far away.

If you are one of the people expecting presents from me, look away now.
Have you gone?
I give people from my churches parts of animals for Christmas. Or parts of toilets. Or teachers. I buy gifts through Oxfam and then make a token crafty present for them as well. Only I ran out of time this year and so have promised they will receive something before Easter. I have just about done the first batch of 4 (another 4 to go)
They are (about) 6x6" canvases. I used lots of different paints and distress inks and sprays, plus some vintage book paper. Then I added stamped text and flourishes to the canvas. Some thin chipboard or mountboard (depending on the scraps I had) was painted with white paint and given a grain effect and then distressed with Antique Linen and vairous blue and green inks. The house was made from papers by Crate Paper; MME and Glitz Design. The knob is a bead from Hobbycraft and the heart is Ten Second Studio metal, cut using a Sizzlet heart, embossed, painted and sanded.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


I'm really not a very holy person.
Even though I am paid to be.
I am all too aware of my faults and failings.
And how they can become an excuse "I was born that way"
No excuse at all Rev Nev!
This "New Year" (actually only one of many - School = September; Jewish = Sept/Oct; Christian year = Advent; financial year = April etc, etc) is a time to reflect and to try and loosen the bindings of complacency once more.
Although it is EXTRA hard when the mornings are dark and I am exhausted after Christmas and just want to lie in bed and eat chocolate which is sadly not very biblical.
But today's SALT challenge is helping me in my thinking about how to make a change. And Kim's blog has a wonderful reflection on wanting change, praying for change and making change that I will be dwelling with for a while.
Kim challenged the Salt team to "Pray for holiness"
and here is what I came up with
A picture of a Willow Tree angel and a determination to strive to be the best me I can be.
I am very good at comparing myself badly to other people. Apparently this is a trait of people who are INFP on Myers Briggs (don't know what that means? Have a Google, it is very interesting). So this year I have decided that what I need to work on is being who God has called me to be - ie me and not anyone else.
It is hard work though!
But that is where the verse that Kim have us is so helpful
and if I manage this
perhaps I will be closer to my goal.
The papers are all Lily Bee Christmas Town purchased because I like the die cuts (one used as the photo frame) and they are not too Christmassy. We didn't really take any photos over Christmas so that is just as well.
Other products used:
Flourish stamp and white chalk ink
Jenni Bowlin buttons
Sticky backed copper studs from Imagine That
EK success label punch
Tim Holtz flourish die
Crochet ribbon from stash

I've also made a few cards - some tiny thank you cards using up odds and ends (Scenic Route and Funky Hand)
and some cards based on a sketch by Joke I found - I think through 2Sketches4U
(papers all Funky hand)
I think I will adapt it a bit more as it is a great way to make 4 cards at the same time. The card is still quite big though.
Sentiment is from Imagine That