Sunday, February 17, 2013

Just nipping in

as I have loads to do and little time to do it.
And for the next few weeks it will get more so.
Lent is a really important part of church life but it puts extra demands on and leads up to the biggie - Easter! I will have some down time but will talk about that after it has happened...

So this is just a quick marker to let you know I am still alive and still trying to create.
My Lenten discipline involves a wee hint of crafting, but very simple so the creating doesn't become more important than the devotion. Will photograph it at some point

Zuzana chose an awesome dare - putting butterflies on your card. I love putting butterflies on cards so that was no trouble. I had two sympathy cards to make and kind of like the symbolism of butterflies so wanted to do something clean and simple. Which I thought would be quick.
Oh ha,ha,ha

Not helped by (and I am really not complaining about this) the sunshine that made the cards difficult to photograph.
I went for a smooth white card base. I cut a sunburst die from more white card, cut that out with another circle and cut out the centre. I also then die cut the centre of the card base (with me?) die cut and dry embossed some vellum which I stuck across the hole in the card with a glue pen; die cut two butterflies, one from vellum (also dry embossed) and one from patterned paper (Basic Grey PB and J). The butterflies were attached together with a little tape and some thread wrapped round several times. This was covered with silver stick on gems. A scroll was die cut from a Studio Calico 6x6 pad. Butterfly and scroll were stuck to the sunburst circle which was layered over the vellum with small foam pads. I added a Marian Emberson sentiment. Yes it would have been easier to stamp it before I added everything else but why change the habit of a life time?

Having said all that, I do like the way that the card came together. Or cards, as I made two at once. Here is a view that shows off the dimension and the vellum a little better.
I have just made another card which features butterflies but as it is already a day late I have put it in an envelope without photographing it. It is quite nice - you will just have to trust me on that!
And that is all there is for now!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Slightly Squishy

is probably a good description of me at the moment.
All the good work I have done over the past few years in terms of keeping fit has sadly become undone since we moved and in some of my trousers I feel like I am like a little sausage ready to burst out of its skin. Thanks to the way I dress you probably can't tell that much but I can feel it. I'm being honest just to try and shame myself into doing something about it. So far its not working. As Jesus noted about his friends when he asked them to stay awake and pray "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" or in my case "would rather eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and play on the computer rather than running or doing the Shred". I have bought a Zumba DVD but it hasn't done much good yet. perhaps because it hasn't come out of the box.

I need to gain some discipline. I'm still trying to work out what to do about Lent. For these 40 days i try to take things on as well as give things up. I have bought a lent devotional book which I hope to combine with some light crafting. I will do the Christian Aid Count Your Blessings and I might have to give up sweets and chocolate. (Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Its only worth giving things up for Lent if it really hurts. I think this year it will)

Anyway onto something much more slimming (more for the wallet than anything else) Cardmaking.
This week on Daring Cardmakers the theme is Love is in the Air (song now going round my head) and here is my rather bright interpretation of the theme

It wasn't really meant to be like this. I knew I wanted to do a button filled heart. I've seen one recently and fell in love but of course didn't keep a link so please let me know in the comments so I can credit properly.
The papers are old Echo Park. I do love a bit of pink and orange together. I drew a heart on white cardstock and coloured it with pink distress ink. Then I had fun choosing buttons to match the colours on the patterned papers. I glued them on lightly and then sewed them to the heart with white thread. I then decided to add some liquid pearls which had mixed success!

The sentiment letters are Dienamics dies. I stuck three layers together, the top one being embossed with Swiss Dots and outlined like everything else with a Sharpie pen.
I've only made one other card this week. I actually remembered my rule of trying to make a card using off cuts from a scrap page. I've almost finished this paper - but still not quite. This October Afternoon paper is quite similar in some ways to the Echo Park used on the other one. Its a bit older though I think
Yuppers - I know what I like in cards and that is a variation on  the same theme! Dies, embossing folders, Sharpie pen, base layer just a little smaller than the card base. Check. Only difference here are some handcut flowers and leaves. And the fact that the Liquid Pearls (check) was used to create a few large blobs not a lot of little ones.

And that is all she crafted! I've got a sermon to write, a wedding couple to talk to and a house to clean tomorrow so I'm not sure much crafting will be done. Its no good me hoping. I know that saying to a congregation "I didn't finish the sermon, but look at this lovely get well card" won't go down particularly well.... Have a lovely weekend whatever you are up to.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Telling Tales

I've joined a really fab scrapbooking class called Telling Tales. Miss Smith has put together some great pages and prompts AND it is pretty cheap AND it is part of her fundraising for Girlguiding UK which makes you feel good into the bargain. (Not too late to join up)

As ever with such classes I dream of having oodles of time to keep up to date. That is so not my life. But I have now managed two layouts which kind of fit the prompts. I'm not telling you what they are as that would be like, telling tales and you will just have to sign up if you want to know.

BTW what is it with the whole telling tales thing. I think not giving away paid for information is one thing but why do we say to children that it is wrong? So often we need to know what is happening and it is not tale telling. It leads to secrets and lies and all sorts? And why do we still seem to punish whistleblowers rather than praise them?
I don't have any answers, just a bit of idle wondering there....

Here is layout 1:

I was looking through some old photos and found these from a VERY long time ago. NB they are slides that my dad converted and then "edited" which is why my right eye looks funny in the second photo. The tale of these photos is a favourite one in my family. How we were fighting until we saw the camera and stopped and smiled like we were best friends. Anna came over again a few times. Although we were the same age we never really clicked. I think probably someone didn't like sharing their parents (that would be me then)

I used some old October Afternoon paper and the lined paper background is Basic Grey. I also used a Heidi Swapp journalling card coloured with Distress Inks, one of my Dienamics camera dies, a Spellbinders embossing folder, Making Memories/Adornit/American Crafts letter stickers. And some spray inks.
Oooh and some Prima plastic flower thingies. And a cute flag that I found in my stash.
The NCH home is where my brother came from. They had an open day every year. I always found it very exciting. I'm not sure he did though. (But then he can't remember it and I can and THAT is another story)

This one mostly uses Echo Park Times and Seasons with another BG Basics background. I think I have cracked layering papers. What I still want to be able to do is add lots of little details tucked in - like Lilith Eckels does (sigh). She is fab. And not just because her name is a bit like mine...
The only non Times and Seasons things are some Card Candy dots, some spray, Black Distress Ink, some stick on gems and some Liquid Pearls. Oh and the bit of paper with the writing on is from a BG journalling pad.

I don't know what I am doing in the middle picture of the three. It looks suspiciously like incy wincy spider....

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Are you sitting comfortably?

because it is Story Telling Sunday.
I knew just what precious thing to pick this time.
It may not look that precious to you though
Its a radio alarm clock.
Which was given to me on my 18th birthday on behalf of my most beloved grandfather - known as Pop. It was on his behalf because he had died just over 5 years previously on 28th May 1978, the day after my mother turned 40. I think Mum and Dad chose to give a gift from him because they knew of the close bond that we had and wanted something to mark it. It was lovely to have something to remember him by (although my next "precious" might be something else I have of his too!). There are a few significant things with regards to this radio alarm.

1) Pop and I really loved each other. He was my only grandfather - my dad's parents had both died before I was born. Until I was two we lived in the same road and he did a lot of caring for me. Gramma, his wife was lovely too but more distant in my life - not just because she died when I was 8. Pop chose his grandad name because he wanted it to be something that a baby could say easily and even be the first word. Being a teacher he worked hard to train me and according to mum it worked. I think he was a much better grandfather than father
My first memory is of being pushed in a pushchair along the Baglan Road and pointing up at the street lights and saying something about them. In Welsh. I lost my Welsh when we moved to England so it must be before I was two (I did start talking early much to everyone's chagrin delight and my Welsh was on a level with my mother's at the time. Apparently)

Most photos of me and Pop are at my parents house. And there are lots of memories that were not photographed as I used to spend precious holidays with him on my own, or with my brother. But the few I have, he is always looking like this at me. I hope he still does

2) The radio still works! I will be 48 next birthday. It is still going strong after almost 30 years. True, the cassette player stopped working but hey, who uses cassettes these days. But I do remember using the radio/cassette combo to create my own playlists

3) A few years ago, off their own bat the children decided to buy Phil a new clock radio as a Father's Day present. I tried to hide my feelings but I suspect my face was a little like Mrs Doyle at getting an instant teamaker
(Best. Father. Ted. Ever)
For a while "my" clock radio was removed. But to be honest, I pined. I felt like my arm had been cut off. It is only a thing. It is only a thing that wasn't even really given to me by the person whose love it somehow encapsulates for me. (And I am always cross with it when it goes off in the morning as I would rather stay asleep) But my lovely husband understood and although it was hard for him not to use his specially chosen and paid for the very first time by his children present, it is mine that we use. I don't know how I will feel when it finally stops working.
(with Pop as bridesmaid to my Uncle David and Auntie Clare)

4) By chance - at least in my eyes, our wedding date was 10 years to the day after Pop died (yes, the day after mum's next milestone birthday) and it has created another memory in which he is still very much part of life, even though it is almost 35 years since he died. How strange though that something as mundane as a clock radio could sustain this bond of love

Bet you never expected all that when you first saw the picture (and yes I might have cried a teeny bit whilst writing all this down!)

Friday, February 01, 2013

Life imitating art

The very lovely and highly talented Kathy who is one of the founder members of Daring Cardmakers also acts as unofficial prodder in many ways. One is making us talk to each other regularly. (We do love each other loads we are just all super busy) Anyway, she poses a daily question during the week. Today's was "what are you wearing". As I described my outfit - mostly black with a red/light grey/dark grey/white/black top - I realised that I am basically wearing this months Daring colour combination
This is the combo that Kathy found for us
This is not my dress but it is remarkably similar - by the same company (Purple) that sell through Dorothy Perkins. I love their dress/tops
If I could find that dress I would buy it too. They always have interesting details on them.
I still feel a bit silly :)
Thatnotwithstanding (one of the best words ever)
here is my card

which didn't quite go as planned. I think that my decision to be brave and not line everything with black pen meant that I don't like it because there is no black outlining...
I used an A4 cardstock cut in half and folded so it opens the tall way. I found some Echo Park papers and also some Kaisercraft ones in the right colours. oh and the heart i the middle is cut from Basic Grey. Hey 3 companies on one tiny card - not bad. I also used a QK heart die and a new Memory Box Chesapeake circle die which I cut from two sheets of heavyweight cardstock at one time and gently eased out most of the top layer to let the lighter grey show through. The white panel uses one of my favourite Cuttlebug embossing folders. The stamp is Marian Emberson, cut using a Dienamics Fishtail die. I then mounted the white panel on foam pads and the grey panel on more pads. I thought as I would give this to Phil for Valentines this would be ok. I have however forgotten to hide it so it is all slightly less romantic...
Much less romantic than the flowers and card I got for St Dynwen's Day (the Welsh equivalent of St Val. I didn't even know when it was)
I also used Liquid Pearls, Stickles AND enamel accents. Overkill?

Here is another card made recently using a new Memory Box die - the small sunburst. Oh so cute! The papers are all MME

Spot the other new die...
I have a rather lovely Simon Says Stamp die that cuts a shape into the card. I thought this die would do the same. Imagine my surpirse when that mesh part came away in my hand. Then I remembered the crafters new old best friend - vellum. I used some behind the cut out part to stick it back in again and used some more as one of my sentiment layers, along with some old scraps of paper. Note to self - black outline (or blue as on the card above) makes everything better.

Here is a sideways look at how vellum came to the rescue
It could almost have been deliberate...

I've been writing this blog post as I recover from Messy Church. Actually it was fab tonight. we gave the kids an idea of what to do and they ran with it. It was the rather abstract concept of drawing a road surrounded by things like forest, sunshine, the sea, a cave, mountains. The idea is that during the 40 days of Lent they reflect on each day and write the number next to the picture that most sums up how they felt that day. And most of the kids aged 6 and over really got it. And even the ones younger loved drawing the shapes ("squiggle, squiggle" "thats a cave in the sea" "I'm dwawing a weely big wiver" etc)

I did the double of doing a craft and leading the worship part. Thinking about Lent, in the Messy Church book they likened Jesus stay in the desert to Big Brother. But it hit me that with the tests and everything it is much more like "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" which has my brain doing all sorts of things and really looking forward to preaching on the temptation in the desert already. 
But first this Sunday which combines the reading that everyone knows that isn't the 23rd Psalm - 1 Corinthians 13 (all about what love is), with Jesus telling people that even in the Old Testament it wasn't always the Jews that were God's priority and his hearers decide to throw him off a cliff. (Spoiler - he escapes). So a lot to think about and not much written as yet.
Tonight we watch the last episode of Buffy Series 2 but I am not sure it will be much help!