Friday, May 24, 2013

Be prepared

If it is good enough for the Scouts...
(although as a former chaplain to the Boys Brigade I don't say that too loud)
(I did go on Scout camp in Sweden when I was 14. They have have mixed gender Scouts since the 70's there. Mine was the only troupe not to have mixed tents. I was very glad about that at the time. I was quite something at the camp, not just because I was foreign but because I had exotic brown hair, not the usual boring blonde!)
(But I digress)

This week I needed to make a card for my mam as it is her birthday in a few days time. Which I did and will show you now, in a minute (as we Welsh like to say). But I had a great idea for my Dad's card - inspired by this weeks Daring Cardmaker challenge, where Zuzana has called us to Plant a Tree. So I have made his card and won't need it until Mid August. (Now I just need to make sure I don't lose it)

it is for Dad as he is always saying that everything is "tremendous".
I used an 8x8 october Afteroon pad - Midway. I traced some Maya Road chipboard tree shapes onto paper and cut them out - it makes the card flatter for posting. Then I stamped the sentiment using Imagine That; Banana Frog (letters) and Paper Smooches stamps and mounted the sentiment strips onto foam pads.
I did a close up of the stickles that I added to the stars on the paper and then spotted my mistake. Humph
I suppose I do have until August to stickle that star I missed!

And here is the card for my mum. It uses another Clearly Besotted stamp and die set

and some Fancy Pants papers. I cut a slit in the vase to slide the stem into. After adding gems to the flower middles I decided it needed more bling and went Stickles crazy...
(its not quite dry in the photo!)
Hope she likes it....

Friday, May 17, 2013

To take my mind off flying

The day our holiday was about to begin Carys woke with something strange going on with her eyes. it was all up in the air whether we would be but as I write (Monday night) we are off to the airport in a few hours.

I have done my Daring Cardmakers card for this week
Gez has dared us to stencil it
And so I did.
Son number two is guess how old this week?
 And as it is his "golden" birthday (same age as the date) I took that as my inspiration.
I used an MME 6x6 paper pad. First I die cut the sun blaze from the middle of the yellow paper and then I stencilled gold texture paste through a bubbly style stencil (which leaves it looking a bit like snake skin to me).
I die cut PTI numbers from some yellow Doodlebug glitter card which I also covered with the texture paste to tone the colour down a little. A Fiskars punch, some American Crafts gold glitter tape; a Paper Smooches sentiment on a Spellbinders die cut and some Sharpie outlining action later and all I had to do was mount the lot on foam pads
and call it done! It is the first time we have had a family birthday and not all been together which will be strange. But Hywel has promised to play birthday fairy on behalf of us all - the benefit of having two boys at the same University I guess!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nervous flyer

Next Tuesday I will be boarding a plane to fly to Pisa and then hopping on a train to Florence. (The house will be occupied by ferocious dogs and a ferocious Grandma whilst Phil and I are away before anyone gets any ideas)

Already I am in full panic mode. It is not so much the being on the plane - although I don't particularly enjoy it. It is the being in time and sorting everything out that has me a bundle of nerves. Ditto the train. So we are staying at Pisa airport longer and catching a through train rather than risking missing the connecting train at Pisa Central. I find this all VERY annoying. Its not much fun for anyone else either. The fact that we are spending days in Florence to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary (actually nearer the end of the month) is a total credit to Phil for having the patience to deal with my many foibles all this time.
Thanks hun.

BTW just looked at the projected weather forecast - high 70's F most of the time but also predicting rain and a thunderstorm on Saturday...

I've tried to distract myself with work and play but nothing really works. Anyway here is the play for you to see
This weeks Daring Cardmaker challenge is to Ink It Up
mists, inks, whatever you like!
As some more new Clearly Besotted Stamps arrived through my door (yes I am clearly besotted!)
I couldn't wait to give this a try.
I have to admit that one went in the bin though
Here is what I put on the blog
Some lovely lilies (I think! Don't know much about flowers...) I bought some white watercolour paper with a prize draw from Simon Says Stamp that I won on the awesome Debby Hughes' blog. It is still not true white and I ended up using it on a cream cardbase. I white embossed the image - something Debby does a lot. Then I coloured it in with distress inks and a water brush. I decided to add a slight shadow around the edge. Lets just say I didn't always remember to make it as faint as I wanted. Needs some practice! The CB sentiment was inked using Wet Cement Hero Arts ink - a soft grey.
The backing papers are from the American Crafts Yes Please collection and one from Lucky Charm. The last thing I added was some lime green liquid pearls and a little bit of stickles action on the stamens

I inked up the same image on ordinary cardstock and embossed it with white again. This time I used the Distress Inks to sponge on a background
There are about 5 different yellows and oranges in there! I added a Paper Smooches sentiment (from my little SSS prize haul again), a strip of Yes Please paper; some Sharpie pen outlining and some silver gems.
I am not that keen on the white outline and black sentiment but I thought that white words would not be bright enough and a black flower outline too stark. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Direct to card stamping is scary

but I am trying to overcome my nerves. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't - but you can usually find a way to cover it up I find. Here is a card where I was semi brave - helped by the confidence I have in Clearly Besotted stamps (NB I don't get paid to praise them, I just think the stamps are fab!)

The gingham square was stamped directly to the cardstock using Hero Arts navy blue ink. I had to order it from Simon Says Stamp as I couldn't find a UK stockist. It is fabulous.
The butterfly was stamped using two stamps by CB - an outline in the blue and a fill in using a Memento ink pad. The leaf was another Memento one.
I used the complementary dies to cut them out. This can be scary too but I took a tip from Michelle Short with regard to the butterfly - I reccomend her tutorial here. Actually I die cut the leaf shape first as it was pretty easy to line up.

Then I added a Papertrey Ink sentiment and two kinds of Liquid pearls as accents. I think it took longer to write this all out and find the links than it did to make the card. I do love all the white space!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Another die cut card

I need some cards to sell at the Babbacombe Festival on the Church stall and so have made a variation of this card in 4 ways already. (Yes, I now live in a place with its own festival - how quintessentially British is that?)

It was supposed to be a fold over card but I managed to islolate part of it on the Silhouette and just cut the front piece as I felt that gave me more options (so proud of myself!)

The card base is some Letter size card stock I have had around for ages. I think it might be Personal Impressions? The colours actually blend together a lot better than they look - the navy blue and argyle pattern are both Basic Grey. The stars are Memory Box dies (ironically I can never remmeber the name of that company!) and I also used a Fiskars border punch. The "thank you" is raised on foam tape - but only thin tape so it will still squeeze through the UK posting regs on a normal stamp.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Top of the Pops

cue the music

can't find the "proper" version of this.
1: I was a big fan of TOTP from a very early age. As soon as my piano lesson finished it was Top of the Pops time and little Lythan (rather rudely now I think about it) would jump off the piano stool and run to the other side of the (long) sitting room to watch the show. I would have been about 6. (I would also listen to FAB 208 on my radio in bed to get to sleep. Now it is 5 Live). Sorry Miss Pickles

2: Miss Pickles was actually on TOTP singing with a group called Congregation. Remember them? (Rather excitingly she was also the daughter of the man who wrote the books that taught me to play the piano. "Flying Start" by Sidney Pickles)

3: There was a time when that Led Zepplin track was seen as old hat and was replaced as the theme tune. Not long after I got married and was a student again, someone was playing Whole Lotta Love across the Mansfield quad and I remarked to an undergraduate "Ah remember when that was the theme for Top of the Pops?" "Was it?" he said incredulously. I felt very old. Although I was only 5 years older than him, tops.

All that really has nothing to do with the story I want to tell this month. I just wanted to link it to the fact this is another story about my Pop (grandfather) who was Top of the Pops.
So it is Storytelling Sunday - which I missed last month so I am making up for it this month because I have already written a blog post today but don't want to miss it again.

Ahem: update. Guess who forgot to link it? So lets call it Storytelling (almost as it is really Tuesday) Sunday
The lovely Sian invites us this year to "Pick your precious" to share a story about something very special.
Here is mine

What is precious is both the picture itself - because my Pop painted it - and the scene.
When he died I was 14 and his two children divided up his paintings between them. They are not great art but they are a lovely reminder of him. I at some point asked Mum if I could have this one. It kind of got lost in our last two houses but was found when we moved and has finally been hung up on the wall. Yes, I should get it reframed but don't really want to be without "his" frame either.

So why did I want this picture? It is the view from his bedroom window on Baglan Road,  Port Talbot. South Wales. He had a big bay window and every night when I stayed there I would look out onto the most beautiful scene in the world to my young eyes. On one side was the BP oil refinery. On the other the Margam Steel works. Just below the first set of house rooftops went the M4 motorway. At night everything was lit up and sparkling. Some people might have seen heavy industry and light pollution. To me, it was like fairy land!

there is a joke (perhaps by Max Boyce?) where two people are arguing whether the thing they can see in the sky is the sun or the moon and they decide to ask the next person they see to have the deciding vote. He says "Dunno, I'm from Port Talbot myself"
which says it all really...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

I've got a Silhouette and I know how to use it

Well I don't really.
So far I have learned how to buy images, resize them, cut and paste and move them about a bit. I know there is so much  more I can do.
But I spent a happy morning on Monday printing out loads of bits for cards and gradually putting them together. They suit my favourite graphic style for cards I think.
Having enjoyed Julie Kirk's Push-Up-Bra-Approach-to-Blogging (you have to say it without stopping otherwise I sound like a perve) which suggests a little and often method to blogging I am trying it out.
a few short and sweet card based blog posts on their way

These two cards were made by resizing cards meant for Project Life.
(Which I will not be doing as my life is both too busy and too repetitive and also fairly confidential and definately boring)
I backed the holes with various MME 6x6 patterned papers, outlined everything with  black sharpie pen; used one of my favourite Imagine That sentiment stamps; die cut a Dienamics tag and added some stick on gems in the way that everyone else has started doing and I think looks lovely so am blatantly copying. If you think you were the first to start the trend do let me know and I will name you :) Where did the star come from you ask?
It popped out of here! 
(Yes they were a set of stars and stripes Project Life cards used in a totally different way)
Same scenario as before really except that there was no outlining and the frame was popped up using foam pads. Different Dienamics die, same stamp.

Oh yes, just because I have a Silhouette, doesn't mean I am out of love with my Cuttlebug. To my surprise it is still going a year on since I noticed the crack in it. Every now and then when I turn the handle it makes like a clown car and all the parts start falling off. But I bang them back together and they all do their job again!

Friday, May 03, 2013

Its still good

Yes another week has gone by and the weather is still lovely in Torquay. Maybe it doesn't rain all the time after all :)
And  I can't beleive that we have got to May already, that means we have lived here nearly 10 months now. It is a lovely place to be and I do feel smug as I drive past holiday makers and think "I get to stay here all the time!" although sadly, don't always have the time to enjoy it, what with not being on holiday...

Anyway the beginning of the merry, merry month means another colour challenge on Daring Cardmakers and Nat chose a beaut this time
all the weddingy type things were inspirational so I came up with this
The white card with the people on it was cut on the Silhouette - it is really a Project Life card I think. The papers are all from the Dear Lizzy 6x6 Lucky Charm pad. I added gold Glamour Dust to two of the papers. The tiny sentiment is from an Imagine That set  - not one that you would expect as it fits those little tickets you can get (and so is called Just the Ticket) A combination of stick on gems and pearls finished it off. Oh along with, a tiny heart punch; a Cuttlebut embossing folder (the only one big enough for this size of cardstock. I must either get more large ones or use more american sized cards); and a button from stash

The great news for DCM is that Svenja is staying on the team full time. That is fabulous for us!