Friday, April 29, 2011

Party time?

Today is THE wedding. Most people in my family couldn't care-a less but I love weddings! I don't get to take many these days as people go to hotels rather than churches. I am sure I would do more if you were allowed religious ceremonies in hotels in England and Wales* (God won't mind, he is happy to be part of the party wherever) but you are not so I don't.
* Scotland has much better laws and Ministers can take services wherever - even outdoors - how cool is that!

Carys and I will sit and watch a bit and go "awww" a lot. She goes "awww" every time she sees Will and Kate, sweet romantic big hearted fool that she is! Everyone else will go bah humbug (but may secretly sneak a peak at the goings on).
Daring Cardmakers is joining in the royal fun with this weeks dare. The uber talented Nat has asked us to make cards "By Royal Appointment"
I had picked up this crown at Imagine That as it was cute (and cheap!) without knowing what to do with it. I have been making a lot of cards with this basic frame design recently (as you will see) and wanted a red/ white (ish) and blue theme to the card. Aside from the "Q" being a bit off (the blog isn't called Slightly Squiffy for nothing you know) I am rather pleased with this card and I don't say that too often. Fortunately a special person has a birthday soon so the card will be hers (and I can hand deliver it too - result!)

Details: Cardstock: Papertrey Ink; Papers: MME Stella and Rose; Stickers: Jenni Bowlin; Stamps: Banana Frog; Dies: Nestabilities; Embossing Folder: Cuttlebug.

I have been making cards using my Stella and Rose paper pads. I bought all four as I couldn't decided which to have and I am so glad I did as they are just so lovely and make crafting a joy as they all tone together so well. The first two are basically the same card using different pads and opening differently. I also used Stella and Rose stamps in the background.
The flower dies are Tim Holtz for Sizzix with punched circles in the middle as faux buttons. The stamp is from Imagine That - and you can buy everything to make the card from Emma's wonderful shop (call in if you are near Upminster or phone/go online).
This also uses the Stella and Rose doily stamp which stamps perfectly every time (amazing for me!) and the other stamps are Paula Pascual for Personal Impressions which fit the EK Success label punch (also easy to cut around which I was doing until I read the back of the stamp packet and realised how they were designed) - the stamps is available from Imagine That.

Some of my favourite things together - striped paper; butterflies; white pen; pearls (possibly added to cover up a white embossing powder accident); kraft cardstock.

So if you are of a crafting nature then why not buy at least one of those pads - I heartily recommend it.
Right where's the champagne to toast the happy couple?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Refreshment and recovery

Its been quite a week and a bit for me. Holy Week is usually full of different kinds of worship every day. This year there was less, some cancelled in advance to give me a break whilst I cared for my friends (I have wonderful, understanding Elders at my Church) and some because of when the funeral was - Maundy Thursday. As it happens there was already a Seder Meal planned for the Wednesday so we had some Last Supper moments there and then ate together after we gave thanks for Alison's life on Thursday. It was a big funeral and it is hard to lead them when it is someone you care about. Actually I try to care about everyone I lead a funeral for, even if I have never met them as we are all beloved children of God - but the personal connection can make it tough. But God held us together and it was good.

It gave Easter a new dimension for me as well - preaching about the power of resurrection and the hope of new life so soon after being confronted with death. But it was good. Phil (photgraphed by our friend Alan)and Carys
(picutred with Pilate) were stars of the Passion Play in Hornchurch (OK Jesus was outstanding but they were the next best things in it) - an audience of 8-9,000 over three nights isn't bad is it!

So now I am in full recovery mode which means doing as little as possible as I have no energy left (cue the violins). Mind you I did need to go to Lakeside so that Carys could have some new clothes on Tuesday (she keeps growing) - she is a very unfussy person who doesn't need designer labels - hurray! And did very kindly allow me to buy two tops as well, using my New Look 20% student discount. I'm gong to miss that next year...

I have had some crafty time - not as much as I had expected but there you go! It is Salt day today and we have some sad news as Kim is stepping down. She has been such a support and inspiration and will be sorely missed. Pauline asked us to think about "the great commission" from Matthew 28. I love this passage for two reasons as you can read here
"Some of them doubted" but he commissioned them anyway. We don't have to be super sure and confident in our faith - Jesus still has work for us to do - but sends the Spirit to help us (which is why there is a bird on my layout)
I thought I would use this photo of lobster pots in Staithes as a fishing motif for evangelism. I wanted a cream or kraft background then remembered one of my new purchases was a Tim Holtz kraft resist paper pad - one of which was a map image - result! And then I noticed one of the papers I had pulled out to use had all the days of the week on it - which is how often we should be witnessing to Christ - double result (Non crafty people just to let you know that when this sort of thing happens we get VERY excited).

Details: Papers: MME Stella and Rose, Crate Paper Restoration; Punches: Stamping Up, Fiskars, EKSuccess; Letters: Jillibean Soup; Ink: Distress Stains and Inks in Peeled Paint and Broken China (and Vintage Photo ink); Kraft Cardstock: Papertrey Ink; Embellishments: Prima flower, Papermania pearls

I completed the last of my kits last night as well - and used summery paper on a snow scene layout but I think it works
Papers are Bella Blvd and Echo Park plus Fancy Pants chipboard. I cut lots of strips using punches and dies and as I was laying it out managed to do it slightly squiffy but decided that it worked like that and kept it so! Here is the writing
It should, of course, say "rifling through". Don't know why I missed the word out but if I hadn't it wouldn't fit so there we are

Other details: Bazzil cardstock; Punches: Martha Stewart, Fiskars and EKSuccess; Stamp (for label which fits my label punch perfectly): Personal Impressions; Ink: Spiced marmalade Distress ink; Flower: Maya Road; Brad: WRMK; ribbon from stash; pens: Sharpie (for outlining) Zig (for writing)

I'm obviously still in an orange phase. Unexpected.
I'm hoping to get to watch a bit of the wedding tomorrow and then it is outfit shopping for our family wedding in July on Saturday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Call

Sure enough the call that I have been waiting for came at 4:55 on Friday morning. It was my intense yet painful privilege to be with one friend as her life came to an end and another friend as he begins a new kind of life without her.
Its only Sunday now but that seems like such a long time ago. This will be a very different Easter with a very special funeral on Maundy Thursday - the day when Jesus reminded his friends one last time that his death was coming soon and what it would mean - and a very poignant Easter Day when we celebrate the eternal life we share through the resurrection of Jesus.

And I have a sore throat and a cough.
Which may seem a bit trivial in the grand scheme of things but Ministers need voices - so I have to not talk too much for the next few days in order to do what is needed from Thursday onwards.
The outpouring of love for my friends has been wonderful.
And so has the love given to me as I have walked the road with them. It is very humbling.

Which may make then talking about crafting seem a bit trivial.
But I don't think it is.
Doing crafty things has helped me through some tough times and when I can't craft it is usually an indication that I need to do some self care. So spending time with ink, glue and paper is an important and healing thing for me.

I did actually do my Daring card for this week on Thursday but have only had the chance to photograph it today. The theme is Spring Fling. I woke in the middle of the night on Thursday with an idea of what to do for this card.
I have seen this quilting technique done on scrap-pages and fancied adding it to a card. Its a bit fiddly! Basically you punch out circles and fold the edges over as evenly as possible and stick them together. Next time I might glue all the edges down as it caused a few problems with the flower. The flower was on a spring which went wrong and then I tried three ways of sticking it down before I had to sew it onto the card!
Details: Card: Craft Creations; Papers: Cosmo Cricket Delovely: Punches: Martha Stewart around the page and Woodware circle; Flower die: Tim Holtz; Stamp: Imagine That; InksMemento and Dewdrop; Candi: Craftwork Cards; Sharpie Pen

I've had a little space to do some scrapping as well (see note on therapy above! I have been able to speed up my scrapping by making up kits. I've only got one left so I will have to do some more now as it works well for me
This one had a moment in the middle where I thought I would have to start again but I persevered and am glad I did now. I used a poundland doily as a template. I have had the glass beads for about 5 years and the lace was in another kit bag but wasn't used. I thought I had finished the layout and then found the transparency over the photo caught in the bag and I am glad I used it as it adds a certain something
Details: Bazzil cardstock: Papers: Kaisercraft; letters: Doodlebug; Spray: Tattered Angels; WRMK Corner Chomper; Punches: Martha Stewart; Craftwork Candi; Flowers: Hobbyhorse crafts; Pearls from Imagine That.

Here are the words in closeup

I have just finished this one

Photo was shopped by Phil (thanks hun) My skin is not really so fresh! Its all about the fact that at 45 (ok nearly 46) I have probably lived half my life. The friend who has died was only 7 years older than me which shows you never know...

Details: Bazzill cardstock; Papers:MME; Template: Technique Tuesday; Punches: Martha Stewart; Stamps: MME and Kaisercraft; Ink: Memento; Rub ons: Basic Grey; Bird from a Gottacraft kit; Letters: Papermania and American Crafts; Sharpie pen; Gems from Imagine That.

Don't forget to tell everyone that you love them...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Palm Sunday ponderings

I'm having a few moments away from preparing for Palm Sunday and waiting for the phone to ring with sad but not unexpected news. It may not ring today, which keeps me on my toes. But it will soon. Which makes it hard for me to concentrate on anything - and I am remarkably easy to distract (oh look a car went passed the window! and a person! And a horse drawn hearse!) (Actually a horse drawn hearse didn't just pass but I live within walking distance of a busy crematorium and do see at least one a week. They are growing in popularity round here).

The thing with Palm Sunday is that you can have a fun service full of hosannas and praise to Jesus and donkeys (if you are really brave) and then the next Sunday it is Easter Sunday full of alleluias and praise to Jesus and Easter eggs (we have mini eggs as part of communion and there is always a bit of me that wants people to not eat them so I can take them all home as I love mini eggs so much.).
And in between though, we have Jesus sharing himself on the cross and helping his friends prepare for his death and the acknowledgement of all that we have done wrong that has brought him to this.
So if you miss out on Holy Week service events, you miss out on the sadness that makes the celebrating even more joyful.
So what to do?

Most years I do a kind of walk through the whole lot of events from Palms to Cross but this year it is a little different. More palms than passion but still something about the cross.
I think.

All of this in head chuntering led me to chose the Salt Challenge for this time around.
The Servant King.
I found this rather lovely picture on the internet and thought that these older MME papers complemented the colours. I shoved them around a bit, inked, outlined and then added extra bits where the outlining went a bit off. It is a technique that stops my work being too regular but I wish my hand wouldn't suddenly make a line where I didn't want it!

Details: Bazzill cream cardstock; Papers: MME; Letters: Websters pages; crown and heart: Grungeboard; Cord brad: Nikki Sivils; stars: Jenni Bowlin; Punch: Martha Stewart: Candi (ugh, hate the new name) Craftwork Cards

The blurb is two verses of "My song is love unknown". How cross am I that it just missed filling the space? Very. Does it really matter in the bigger scheme of things? no.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with a Daring Card, but it does depend on whether the phone rings today or not. If you are waiting for bad/sad news - my prayers are with you

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One of those days

when I am not really settling to anything and there is lots I should do.
Oh well.
I am going to divert myself with a quick blog post and then see if I can do something constructive with my time.

I had a fab day with Sue H going round Alexandra Palace on Saturday. I say day but we get there early and were shopped out by 2 which left me loads of time to visit and work the rest of the day. Here is my haul
I didn't get any bargains but did get some things I was looking for, a couple of treats and even something for Phil - the purple prayer paper that is like the material used in floating lanterns. I was her very first customer!

I managed a card making and scrapping time yesterday. Here is the layout first.
It was made with one of my prepacked kits which was actually made up mostly of a Gotta Craft kit featuring Glitz Designs. It is based on Shimelle's sketch but kind of went its own way!
I reinked my Black Soot distress ink pad but obviously overdid it as I was getting ink everywhere. In the end I gave up and addded extra "grime" to the background. The problem with being left handed is somehow you often end up putting smudges on stuff. But perhaps it is just me! The awesome photo is by Phil and taken at the end of March when he dropped H off at Uni. The month thing is a transparency and I painted the back and added it to paper for added visibility.

Here is the blurb
and an arty detail
I also made two cards using left over scraps of Bella Blvd papers.

(I think the green is another company though). Also used Fiskars and Martha Stewart punches, nestabilities, IMagine That stamp and white Candi
If in doubt, use a star die, that's what I always say. This card features my new Martha Stewart punches and some papermania brads. everything else as above.

OK off to mope about and try and think about Palm Sunday now. Or tidy up. Or something

Friday, April 08, 2011

Life is sometimes hard

One of the things that I do is run a bereavement course that helps people understand the grief journey - it is called Helping Overcome People's Emotions in grief - or HOPE. And it is amazing to be able to see light dawn on people's faces as they begin to see that how they are feeling is normal. This week was one of the tough ones - about handling guilt and anger amongst other things and remembering that basically Life Is Difficult.

And at the moment it is. Not for me and my family but for people that I love and it is a hard journey that I am trying to support them through. And not managing very well on it myself just now! I need to remember the Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
And I need to allow God to hold onto us through it all.

Which is all a bit deep and vague, to protect others privacy, but I know that this too shall pass and God will wipe away all tears.
Which is keeping me going. Just.

All of which is by no means a way of introduction to my rather frivolous Daring Cardmaker Challenge this week! I was a bit stuck so asked my best friend (Google) for help and he told me that it is Draw a Bird Day today. Who knew? So that is my dare!
I hand drew mine onto patterned paper. This was version 2. Please do not look too closely at where version 1 made a nasty mess of the paper that I was too tired to deal with.
(Made ya look)
All but the orange paper is from American Crafts. I bought a kit at TKMaxx which was a bargain price only the papers are thin single sided paper and not the double sided card weight that AC normally is. Be warned! The clouds are cut from a cloud patterned paper and the flower came from the same kit. The orange paper is MME Stella and Rose. The card was going to be 4x4 but then I like the ovelapping look so stuck that panel onto a 5x5 card that the orange is stuck to (still with me?)

And that's that.
If your life is hard and you would like a prayer or a chat then just leave a comment and I'll get back to you

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A lovely couple of days

No its not Friday - I just have some time to post earlier in the week (but must make tea soon before Phil has to go out to management committee. As much fun as it sounds) and have some things to show. I had a pretty nice Mothers Day. Wonderful breakfast in bed, fabulous books and tasty treats (especially the licorice allsorts that Hywel left behind for me as only he and I like them in our family. Sadly all gone now!). It is only pretty nice because Mothering Sunday is a Sunday and thus - a working day for me. But later in the afternoon there was a family walk (just a short one), some kit preparation (see below) and the return of Lewis which is a Sunday evening treat (more for Hathaway than Lewis say the girls of the family). I did miss out on the annual hug from Emrys I was hinting at. I'll be more specific for my birthday...

Then yesterday I went over to my gorgeous friend Sue Hyde's to have a crafty play. We haven't really been able to craft together - or meet up much - for ages and ages so it was good to do that. Plus she makes the best ever lunches. I took some of my kits that I had put together on Sunday. I printed out loads of photos and then bagged them up with various papers and embellishments, spraying one lot of cardstock and adding paint to a title the night before. So now when I have a little time spare I can grab a bag and go. Even more fun as I begin to forget what papers and photos there are in each one. (its me age)

So here they are. The first one doesn't really do justice to Phil's amazing photo which you can see in all its glory here but I did want to show it off a little
Still loving that turquoise and yellow! I used some turquoise seam binding from the Ribbon Girl - it is so easy to ruffle it with just a strip of tape underneath

Details: Bazzil cardstock sprayed with black glimmer mist and a glimmer mask. MME Stella and Rose 6x6 pad; Nestability dies; Fiskars punch and decorative scissors; Bazzill edger strip; Making memories letters; Prima flowers; Dewdrops from Sarah's Cards; silver stick on gems from Imagine That. Black Soot distress ink, Sharpie and other black pen.

Here's the words

Next a layout called "Since then". This photo was taken just before Hywel left for Uni. Although some of the perspective is off Carys is up close to me and is her real height - then. She is now as tall as me (which is not very in grown ups terms but still) which gave the inspiration to talk about other changes. Phil found a place that turns photos into credit card type things to have in your wallet - so I carry this around with me. (photo not layout)

Details: Base paper Basic Grey; other papers, stickers and die cuts Crate Paper Restoration; Letters: Jillibean Soup and Cosmo Cricket. Flower: Maya Road. Vintage Photo distress ink and brown pen; Nestability Die

and the words
and finally one I did at home
It is a very funny story so I'll let you read it first
I am a bit miffed with myself that I keep using banners on the right hand side of pages. Must look through old scrap pages before doing another one!

Details: Cardstock: Bazzill Vanilla; Papers: Girls Paperie and Echo Park plus Prima Journal Spot - all covered in Cosmic Shimmmer yellow spray; Chipboard: Cosmo Cricket; Stamps: Technique Tuesday; letters: American Crafts; stickers: Paperchase; Nestability dies (for frame); Black Soot distress ink and black pen. multicoloured thing bought at a Stitch show at Alexandra Palace. No idea where the ticket came from. I have a bunch and can't remember buying them!

Talking of Alexandra Palace I am off to the Stamp and Scrap show on Saturday. Anyone else going? (Just as well I didn't give up craft spending for Lent...)
And today is lovely because I have finally finished a section of my Dissertation and Carys has a Merit for her grade 4 piano. What a star!

Friday, April 01, 2011

One of these things is not like the other

... make that two as I am hiding my Daring Cardmakers card(s) down the post so that the picture doesn't appear on Facebook which Phil's mum sometimes browses.
So I'll start with one of the cards from my latest Imagine That class (schedule available now!) using more of those delicious Stella and Rose papers and a bit of the old white gel pen
I'm really loving yellow and blue together at the moment. Who'd have thought it? Once more my class is the opposite of "clean and simple" so there may need to be some die cutting done in advance. Emma and Judy, I apologize (and I'll help!). I'll show off the other two cards and the layout I have done for another class (guess which colours it features) some time over the weekend.

OK so coast is now clear for Daring Cardmakers. We are so pleased that Zuzana is staying on as a team member and would like to offer you the chance to join us too. No fame or fortune, very few freebies but a lot of fun! Have a look at this post and why not have a go

As this is the first Friday in April - and April the 1st (slight pang here as everyone is rushing off to school/college/university this morning and I didn't get my annual parcel which is full of potatoes) we are back to flowers and the flowers for April are daisies and sweet peas. I found a lovely free sweet pea image here - many thanks to Birds Crafts! Then I had several attempts at colouring in using distress inks and a water brush. One was too small for the card I wanted (which has now been put on another card and already given to someone!) and some went completely wrong. Having got the image the right size I did two more. One was ok, one was perfect - until I somehow managed to place it near the distress ink covered glass block. I could not face doing it all over again so both mothers are going to receive slightly flawed cards.

Spot the difference!

Details: Card Creations Card; Stella and Rose 6x6 pad papers; Spellbinders Dies; Cuttlebug embossing folder; Distress Stain; Ranger enamel; EK Success punch; Purple Onion sentiment stamp; Black sharpie pen

Phil and Hywel have set off on their road trip caused by C2C running 45 minutes late so that H missed his train to Darlington by 5 minutes yesterday. At least Phil doesn't have any services to prepare for Sunday so will combine chauffeuring and studying with some bird watching as compensation!

And I need to grapple with the humongously long (but all relevant) reading of the Man Born Blind for Sunday and tease out what it says for us today - whilst wondering how I shoe horn in Mother's Day. I like being spoilt on Mother's Day (chocs; brekkie in bed; slap up meal in MCD's. True. (the one in Harlepool used to give you a little pot plant and everything) even maybe a huge from Son 2, although i am not holding my breath) but I don't like to make it the central focus for worship on a Sunday. For all those who love it there are so many who are missing mum's who have died, missing mum's who are alive but have never been the sort of mother they needed to be or feeling the ache of not having children of their own. Actually both readings (the other is God choosing little david out of all his fine brothers to be king) mention parents to a certain extent so it maybe possible.

However you spend your Sunday - and however you feel about it - I hope you find it good.