Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No goodbye at all

Having talked about a dear friend wanting to die in the last post - and he is still just about with us - I was shocked to hear on Saturday of the sudden death of someone else from the church. I was teaching at Imagine That at the time and would like to thank those taking the class of their patience and understanding as I had to keep making and taking phone calls. Dave was Captain of the Boys Brigade until a few years ago and was still a fit and active almost 70 year old, still taking a leading role in BB and was our key technology man. He was at the church running sound and vision for a youth service on Thursday night. As Chaplain, I'll be at Boys Brigade this Friday trying to help the boys through this first difficult week. When he retired there was a surprise party and we sang, to the tune of the song from South Pacific "There is nothing like a Dave". Which is so true.

Last week was Work Central, even before hearing about Dave and so I really, really needed a day off this week. (The clue might have been the toddler melt down I had when I couldn't get the bath water hot enough the other night. Why that is difficult is a whole long and boring other story) Yesterday I had a lovely time - chores aside! Time to veg and to do some crafting and ended up with watching "Attack the Block". The 2 watchers in their 40's both gave it 9/10. The teens gave it 6.5 or 7. The senior reviewers now want to spend their time talking street - fo shizzle. They have been banned.

I really enjoyed the Adventures of Glitter Girl this week and while I didn't slavishly follow the advice given it certainly made me think with both of the layouts I completed yesterday.  I chose the papers because I love that background one and had bought two copies so I could use the back as well. I wanted to use the big glittery tag with the yellow flower from another paper and ended up layering it with several other papers as well. Which led to ensuring there was more yellow. Then I looked at the photos and could see that there was a fair amount of bright pink thanks to my scarf and the inside of Carys' coat. so I added a few bright pink details in with the yellow. Actually now I look at it this page is basically inspired by the school uniform of Rosebery Grammar School for girls in the 1970's when I was there aka Lord Rosebery's racing colours - green, rose and primrose. Hmmmm

Details: Papers and Chipboard: MME, Lilybee; Stickers: Studio Calico; Dies: Dienamics and Nestabilities; Letters: October Afternoon, Cosmo Cricket and Websters; Punch: Martha Stewart; Also: Pinking Scissors and pink bits from stash

I'm still scrapping the summer holiday photos as well. This one was kind of based on a Skissedilla sketch. I adore that top left hand photo of my daughter! She did stand up quite a lot but I wanted to keep all the other photos portrait so you will just have to take my word for it!

Here's a close up of the title
and the rather hard to read journalling

Details: Cardstock: Bazzill: Papers: Studio Calico, MME, LilyBee, Cosmo Cricket; Letter Stickers: Cosmo Cricket, Websters pages, October Afternoon, Authentique, Simple sotires; Other stickers: Simple Stories; Chipboard: Pink Paislee; Gems: Prima; Punches: Martha Stewart; EK Success and Fiskars; Stamp: Kaisercraft; Ink: Ranger Distress Ink

I have sent off my dissertation for binding today and hope to hand it in next Monday. V. nervous now! And v. busy so I do apologise for not blog hopping as I should but blog writing is about as much as I can do at the moment

Friday, February 24, 2012

The long goodbye

Last night was one of my final performances. There are quite a lot to come as there are still 5 months until we move but they are all quite hard (and liberating) in their own way. I have been the Convenor of a quite important committee in the local area of the United Reformed Church, important in that we have responsibility for pastoral care and decisions about deployment of Ministers. It has been quite gruelling in its way and I would have stepped down now anyway, but knowing we are leaving the area has made it easier to do. I took along a bootfull of papers which are the history of the churches of the area that no-one really knows what to do with. Suddenly our understairs cupboard looks bare! But I hate goodbyes. And planning the "lasts" of things (many of which will all too soon be replaced with quite similar "firsts" when it comes to meetings!), but it is part of how things are I guess.

At the same time a dearly loved member of one of the churches is coming to the end of his life. He is in his late 90's and longs for heaven. He is comfortable in his bed in the house that he built and is now asleep much of the time. But when awake he tells people they are "wonderful" and has been heard singing hymns when no-one else is in the room. The care he is receiving is exemplary and his house is filled with love and peace. I do hope his goodbye will not be too long as he is so looking forward to the welcome he will receive in the next life.
Which puts my feelings about goodbye's into perspective eh?

to change the subject completely, it is Daring Card day today and the fabulous Sharon gave us something to get our teeth into  - Marie Antionette. Some of the girls have produced amazingly frou frou and ornate cards. I went for a simpler interpretation!

This is quite an old school card as I used some of my Quickutz Dies and papers from Self Addressed kits from way back when. The problem I have with QK is that they are quite small. So I made an American sized card (5 1/2 x 4 1/4" for the interested). The colours are just slightly off - that ribbon is more of a dusty pink than a dark red and the papers match but I couldn't get the balance right on the photo. Love the colour in the photo though!
Cardstock: PTI and Bazzill; Dies: circles - Nestabilities, Scroll - Sizzix, Cake and Spoon - QK; Ribbon: Dear Lizzy American Crafts; Papers: unknown from SA card kit; letters - Authentique and Cosmo Cricket

Here is the other layout I did at the weekend
The photo was taken in Whitby last Friday. I can't believe they actually posed in front of the sign for us. Em made sure most of his face was covered, but he did stand there. They do love to argue about stupid things when out for walks. We went for a long walk during the week while Hywel was with us - and he just joined in as well! Its a bit of a busy layout but I had fun playing with colours and patterns. The alphabet is a new die that cuts out all the letters but has them in random order so I was able to make my own alpha mask. I had to use white opaque spray ink as it is hard to find cream in the UK. (Hmmm, get a life Lythan)

Cardstock: Bazzill; Papers: October Afternoon from various collections; Dies: Nestabilities, Dienamic Dies; Border punch: Fiskars; Spray: Studio Calico; Letters: American Crafts and October Afternoon

A close up on the writing

and best of all, Phil was taking photos of the pier and caught them in a snuggle. How nice to see siblings so close even at (nearly) 16 and 18!

And now, its goodbye from me!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A week of fillums

Sorry I've been quiet again but we have been away and I never like to broadcast it first!
We stayed here at the Power House. Sadly not all of it! We had the first two sets of windows on the right. The other part looks gorgeous too (I had a peek in the windows and on the website). It was in Skinningrove and this was the Power House for the Mine there. I would tell you more about it but the Mining Museum that the house is in the grounds of does not open until April. How the teenagers in the party sobbed. Skinningrove is very much an old mining village right on the coast. It would have been thriving at one point - if harder to live in due to pollution etc. We were away for half term and like to be near Hywel in Teesside. We thought we could only see him at the weekend but he was able to come and stay for 24 hours with us in the middle which was lovely.

Here is the front room of the house
Isn't that lovely? And best of all those stairs meant that the dog couldn't come up and visit during the night! We had a gorgeous 4 poster bed in our room. Really lovely. You can see more here . Emrys had an interview at Teesside (for the same course H is doing!) but we couldn't stay in the cottage as you can't have a short break including a friday night. So we decamped to the Grey House hotel in Middlesborough as they accept dogs. This was also fabulous. We were all booked in to share one room with lots of beds but as there was a cancellation we were allowed to use two at no extra cost. And Phil and I had another 4 poster bed!

During the week we got to see a lot of fillums ( as they say in the North East. It was kind of sad that the kids struggled to understand the gentle Teesside accent. It is their heritage, having all been born in Hartlepool General!) Before we left on Monday we went to the cinema to see Woman in Black. Mixed reviews from the family. Carys - studying it at GSCE didn't think much of it. I was quite scared myself! Then we watched Limitless from Tesco DVD. Hmmm. Not a very moral tale and lots of questions about plot. Poor. At the cottage there were some DVD's including The Adjustment Bureau which I had wanted to see but can't get on Tesco DVD for some reason. I'm glad I saved my money... This was followed by Inside Man - which I liked but only averaged a score of 6.5 from the family (yes we give marks out of ten for fillums). The last night we watched 50 First Dates. Oh. My. Days. Not my sense of humour and a rather nasty hero. Drew Barrymore was cuteness itself but why she fell for him, brain injury or no, I don't understand. We had the rest of the week off but then tonight finally watched Robocop. A tad violent but it has worn pretty well. Emrys gave it a remarkable 20 out of 10.

On our return from the North East I finally got to do some crafting. To have a real break we need to get away from the house but I can't take much with me. So better late than never is this weeks Daring Card on the theme of Postage People

The lovely Sue H bought me some BoBunny papers and stamps for Christmas which I used on this card. I also remembered I had a cuttlebug square stamp die which the focal image rests on. I bought some dies from Dies to Die For including the Dienamic alphabet used here and Tracey bundled in some die cuts with the package including a purple shiny corner treatment. I tried to turn it brown and failed - until I thought of turning it over and adding distress ink to the other side. Doh.

As this post is now epic I will just share one layout. It is based on the Studio challenge sketch for this month which I just loved.
I did try using a mask for my mists (you can just see some circles) but all my blue mists are cloggnig and came out as splats and drips. Hmmm. I combined some Die cuts I bought at Imagine That, with October Afternoon papers and stickers, some washi tape, gems and that alphabet again. I am following Miss Smith's Just One Sketch class which is brilliant although I haven't used it properly - just her sketch once and now her style of journalling which i just love. The title is a play on words as the sea looks balmy. How was the photo taken? Phil took the camera (carefully) into the sea. That is the summer sea at Tenby not the winter sea at Skinningrove I hasten to add.
Here's the words close up if you want to see them
I MUST go to bed now as I am off out super early in the morning to drive 2.5 hours to lead a session on team ministry in Salisbury. Yes it is a long way, but it does give a chance to test out my dissertation findings on real people. I am very, very nervous. You wouldn't think I do public speaking at least twice a week would you?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Doo dee doo doo dee doo dee, doo dee doo doo"

"I'm siiiiiiinging the rain, just sing-ing in the rain
What a glorious feeeeeeeeling, I'm ha-ppy again"

If you have been reading this blog a while and have a long memory you may remember that each February for the last two years we have made the most of Get into London Theatre. From December onwards you can book tickets for most of the London shows in January and the first week of February for half price. Last year it was Legally Blonde, the year before Wicked - which had been my top fave until I was able to score half price tickets for the first week of Singin' in the Rain. We went last night and it was unbelievably good. Oh the dancing! And from where we were sitting you could see how raked the stage was and yet they were hoofing away as if it were the easiest surface in the world. Carys and I are seriously thinking of rebooking for our birthday trip, it was that good. Sadly the "get wet" seats are already sold out for that night (no, I'm not kidding) but I could easily see it again tomorrow.

Which is partly why I haven't blogged my Daring Card this week as yet. Nat came up with the theme of Hearts and Doilies
I'm still using up my MME pads. Love this colourway. I wanted a card with a bit of colour and maybe it has a hint too much! The doily is a Cheery Lynn die - it takes a lot of work to get all the bits of paper out but well worth it! I also used a Martha Stewart butterfly punch;  sizzix heart die; Nestabilities circle dies; PTI label stamp and die and "you" die.
I decided to layer two papers when I die cut the word and liked the idea of leaving the other paper in the holes. The word above was made using Imagine That stamps. Then the whole thing was surrounded by Enamel Accents.

Here's a few more cards using the same pad - now finished!

A lot of Martha Stewart punching going on here

An image I was sent in a swap years ago, coloured in with distress inks

And finally, how to use up all your scraps!

I've only got one service tomorrow and then it is hols time. Much needed as we haven't had a full break since the summer and won't have another full one until next October I don't think (our summer holiday will be taken up with moving!) The story is that of Naaman which is a brilliant one to reflect on. Hope you have a good (if cold) weekend

Friday, February 03, 2012


this will be a year of two halves for our family. The first half will be spent living in Upminster. The second half will be spent living in Babbacombe. And the first month has gone already. How did that happen? I'm feeling very anxious as there are an awful lot of balls in the air at the moment and lots of things to finish and/or set down. And a countdown that is unforgiving.

It will help a little when the MA dissertation is finally handed in. I met my supervisor this week and he didn't think it needed much changing. But I need to read one. more. book. Hopefully not all of it as it has just arrived and is 500 pages long.  And write the abstract (a version of the whole thing in about 500 words) Then resend the updated version to him, then to my lovely school friend Sian who has offered to proof read, then get it bound and then submit it. I'm sure that is all possible before the end of March. well it has to be as that is the deadline. But it does wake me up worrying in the night. I am about 7/8 through the process I reckon. And then I need not mention it again until I know if I have passed. (You may be pleased to know)

So time for crafting is still limited but it is a wonderful release when I can't really think about important stuff. (Although I wasn't quite as relaxed this week as I listened to an audio book about cannibals and mad sadists on an island. Gruesome). I managed the Daring Card for this week which had a colour theme
and here is my take on it
the colour is a little off on this. The red is not quite as in your face as it looks in real life. well all the colours are just a little more muted. The papers are all American Crafts and mostly Dear Lizzy from spring last year (or was it the year before?) Oodles of layers. The little pennants were cut from the paper. The little owls are from Paperchase and the greeting is from the Imagine That stamp set that I used on the next card...
I used some more old papers from Basic Grey (one of those pads that I then wondered why I had bought it). The trees and house are a die that my talented coDarer Nat pointed out and I couldn't resist it! This card was molto fiddly to make (but fun).

And finally (for now)

I keep looking at all the lovely stamp sets I have and don't use enough. This is a Claudine Helmuth set. Well two actually - a sponge set and an acrylic one to go over the top. They deliberately don't match but I always feel like mentioning that in the card! I made a little skirt from patterned paper. These are all MME Lime Twist papers (again using them up and really mustn't buy more as I am supposed to be downsizing) The greeting and the grid are from two Paula Pascual stamp sets, the label one fitting an EK success punch. I have had a few acrylic stamps break on me recently - including the birthday greetings from that stamp set. Anyone got any clues why?

Incidentally while writing this I nearly had heart failure. While waiting for the pictures to download I thought I better re-read the rubrics of the MA dissertation. Which mention a word count of 18,000, not 15,000 which I have been working to. Cue a fretful face and a few tears (I'm Welsh and I am temperamental) and a panicky email. But it turns out that I only have to do 15,000. Phew!