Welcome to my blog

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please leave me a comment. I always enjoy reading them, and will try to visit you in return.

You are welcome to copy any of my designs, as long as you do not take credit for them yourself. I am very happy for you to sell them. If I have used anyone else's design, I always try to give credit where it is due. If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will put things right.

This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Monday, 28 February 2011

My Crafting Buddies - Week 3

This is one of my fur babies who is no longer with us.  He was our first cat, a cream Burmese (one of the first, which is why he has such strong tabby stripes - we did not care, we just loved him), and answered to the name of "Cat". 

As you can see, he was a very creative cat, making new carpets from tissues, and, in this case, a new lawn.  In those days, my main crafting ws knitting, and he was very good, learning that if he attacked my needles he landed on the floor - fast!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Crafting Buddies - Week 2

Apologies to everyone - this should have been posted on Monday, but I never actually got the camera, the photos and the computer together until today.  Flash and Gemma are not actually with me crafting on this one.  They have been released from my craft room to lie on the hearthrug.  As usual, Gemma is acting the tart, pretending she is an angel (which she was not today, having belted out of the front door when the delivery man came, and refusing to come back).  The fireplace has now gone, having been replaced with a lovely new black Welsh slate hearth and multifuel burning stove.  Looking forward to getting the room straight eventually.  However the folks who did the work have to come back next week to redo some of it, having laid the slate on top of the carpet, instead of trimming the carpet to fit.  How they thought we could have removed the carpet in the future to replace it, who knows - they probably just did not think we would notice - wrong!  They also have to redo the plastering which is like the waves of the ocean and cracked.  Why can't things go smoothly?  Why does every job lead to at least ten others? 

I think our next job with the dogs is to get them trimmed.  We have a lovely lady who comes to the door, plugs her van into a power point and does everything in the van, bathing them and trimming them beautifully.  Once they are done, we get much less mud in the house, and they do not take half as much grooming each day.

We also have to get them used to the people at the boarding kennels as neither of them have ever been in kennels before.  Fortunately, they do training classes and agility there, so that would be a good way of getting them used to the environment.  We were very impressed with the attitude of the owners to the dogs in their care so we have no fear that they will not be taken good care of.  We shall probably be more upset than the dogs at leaving them there.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

WOYWW - 89

It's that time of the week again when we all nip over to Julia's place at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/    to have a good nose around everyone else's workdesks.  Sadly, as I write this, I have no photo to add.  My excuse is that I am still in the same state as last week, working on the shawl.  I do, however, have the satisfaction that the knitting is finished, and it just needs to be put together.  According to the instructions (you can tell I am desperate as I actually read the instructions - obviously, all else failed) I am supposed to pin it all out first to press it into shape, then attach the borders and the final lacy edging.  The only problem with that theory, actually two problems, is that the dining table is the only place big enough to do it (no I am not crawling round the floor this time), and that is full of stuff from the living room which has been dispossessed by the ongoing work there, and furthermore, when I looked at the pieces, they are definitely not as pristine and white as they should be, having hung around a plaster dust filled house for two years.  So the decision is to crochet the pieces together (supposed to be sewn, but never mind that), and then gently wash the whole thing.  Hopefully, by then, we may have cleared enough of the table to allow me to block the whole thing out into shape and press it properly.  Then I will post a picture of the finished item.

If anyone is desperate to see my desk, just look back to the last two weeks, where you will find the same picture, which really has not changed.  I cannot wait to get it done, and get back to other crafting.  My mind is going so fast thinking of all the projects I want and need to do.  Our friend's son is getting married in August to his Spanish fiancĂ©e and I may be helping to sort the invitations and other stationery, so I want to get on to that.  I have so many techniques I want to try out.  If our government want to do something useful with their time, they need to invent at least one new day each week, with each day containing 48 hours to give us all time to craft properly.

Anyway, I am off now to wield my crochet hook.  Look out next week for a change in my desk, I hope.  Meanwhile why don't you head back to Julia's for a look at more interesting desks.  Thank you to all those who visited me last week, and left such encouraging comments.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

WOYWW - 88

Not so much a workdesk this week, more a refuge from dust and brick rubble and noise.  The two dogs and I are holed up in my craft room away from the chaos downstairs.  This is our existing fireplace which has been here almost since the house was built in 1947.  After the big freeze just before Christmas, when the new boiler froze, we decided to have a multifuel burner put in.  Needless to say, it was not just as easy as that.  None of the stoves would fit the opening in the fireplace, so the fireplace has to go.  

Then we find that the chimney would almost certainly fail the pressure test so we must have a liner, so that means men on the roof, right above where we store the caravan.  So the caravan must be moved for 2 days.  OK, we will put it down the drive.  Fine, till we get it halfway there, the motor mover fails and we are stuck, with about 3 inches either side between the houses.  The dustbins are stuck behind the van with no way of getting them out and it is bin day.  Ooops - didn't think of that! Not only that but we have trapped the neighbour's bin too.  Lack of planning there, I think.

My actual desk has not changed since last week, just knitting, with 320 still to do.  I am off now to get busy with that, to see if I can get it done before the baby arrives.  I will leave you to head over to see Julia now at   http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/ where you will find lots more desks to study.  Have fun!

PS.  The fireplace is no more, it is an ex-fireplace.  They have finished for today, having cut back to the original opening,  put in the slate base, and cleared up beautifully.  They will be back tomorrow to render the bricks, fit the stove and the chimney liner.  After that it is down to us to redecorate and decide what else we want to do in here.

Monday, 14 February 2011

My crafting buddies

These are my two crafting buddies, doing what they like best, getting wet and just having fun.  You can imagine the time it took to get rid of the snowballs they collected every time they went out. 

They are both working cocker spaniels, both from strong working lines, so they need lots and lots of training to keep their brains at full stretch.  Flash, on the left, is the oldest, and just wants to be with us and to please us, while Gemma, on the left, is much more independent minded and is not so good at coming back. 

She is also a serious escapologist, managing to get out of tiny holes.  She cannot be tethered outside the caravan, as she can undo the clips on the leads.  While caribiners will hold her, she can get out of her collars.  She can get out of her car safety harness, no matter how tightly it is secured.  She has escaped from our caravan on every single site we have ever been to with her, even jumping out through the window on one occasion.  She took Flash with her through the window, but once he was out, he knew he should not be there and rushed back to the door to get back to us.

When they join me in my crafting room, I have to ensure there are no bits of paper within their reach, otherwise I have a new carpet in seconds.  Apart from that, they usually settle down under my feet until I move, occasionally coming up to see if I have remembered they are there.

I am off now to give them some exercise before getting back to knitting.  If you have crafting buddies pop over to http://craftingpets.blogspot.com/     set up and run by Joanne, where you will find some of the other pets who keep us company and give us unconditional love.

Thank you, Elizabeth

I am so delighted and chuffed that someone thinks I am worthy of this award.  It is from Elizabeth of   http://silverscrappers.blogspot.com/   She actually made this award over a week ago, but it has taken me some time to think of what I needed to write and who I would like to pass it on to.

It is always encouraging to be given such awards by fellow crafters who are so talented, so thank you so much, Elizabeth.

In accepting, I am required to tell you 8 things about myself and then pass it on to 8 others. As I have already said, that is what my delay has been about.  Most of the relevant facts about me are already on my blog and I do not want to bore you all, but here goes:

1. My first crafting was at my junior school, where we made raffia coasters (they were just called mats then), and I cannot remember how we did them.
2.  At the same school, we made a needle case for our mothers from felt, decorated with felt shapes (they came in a packet), and I still have mine (since Mum died), decorated with bluebells and green leaves.  I will post a picture of that later - felt shapes are back in fashion by the look of things.  The needles came in bulk from a local factory - if you lived in Redditch in those days, you never bought a needle of any kind, you always knew someone who got them for you from the factory (these days, they are all made abroad - such a sad state of affairs)
3.  In the top class at junior school, my crafting went a stage further with my first attempts at embroidery, with dressing table sets, traycloths, and then progressing to a large tablecloth, which I still have.  My aunt also took a hand in my embroidery lessons, making sure I was particularly careful and neat.
4. The same aunt taught me to knit, driving me mad with her insistence that I held the needles properly and never took my fingers off them.  However, I bless her now every time I do any knitting.  It is thanks to her that my tension is correct and I can knit fairly quickly.
5. I was, and still am really horse mad, and would have spent all my time at the local stables.  My very best holidays were spent at the house of Pat Smythe, at Miserden in the Cotswolds (she was the leading lady show jumper in the world for so many years), helping to care for the horses, and do other stable work.  We were also allowed to travel to the shows in the back of the horse box, with the horses, and very occasionally were allowed to ride the top show jumpers.
6. I went to college at Bingley in Yorkshire for three years to train as a teacher.  I still love the area, although I know so many things have changed up there, but the scenery is still beautiful.
7. I have been married to Geoff since 1969, and would not change anything about him.  I have known him since I was 2 years old.
8. I am very proud of our two children, who have made their own lives in the world, and both have lovely children of their own.
 Sorry if I have gone on a bit, but I do get carried away once I get to the keyboard.

Now to the next really hard bit.  Who do I choose to pass this award to from all those who have inspired me with their blogs?
1. Shaz (Silverwolf)  http://silverwolfcards-shaz.blogspot.com/
    who has been the person who really got me started with paper crafting, and is always so generous with her time and advice.
2.  Shaz in OzCards Calligraphy - her calligraphy work leaves me speechless with admiration.
3.  Vivhttp://vivsvisuals.blogspot.com/  whose ideas always make me think
4. Eileen -   http://eileenscraftyzone.blogspot.com/  she keeps coming up with different ideas to play with
5. Diane - http://stamping-fantasies.blogspot.com/  who has shown us so many really pretty cards, and whose blog is so fresh and attractive
6. Chrissie - http://simply-one-of-a-kind.blogspot.com/  her cards are very varied in style, and always give pleasure.
7. Shirley - http://sdcrafts.blogspot.com/  who does such lovely cards to order, beautifully put together.
8. Julia - http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/   last but not least on this list, because she does so much to bring crafters together, and her humour gives me so much pleasure
I have really struggled to pick just 8 crafters to send the award to, 98 might have been easier.

Now I have posted this, I must get back to my shawl knitting - just 320 rows to do before I sew it together.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

WOYWW - 88

It is not a coincidence that my desk has not changed at all since last week.  In fact, this is one of the photos I posted last week, the reason being that all I have done is more and more knitting on this shawl, with a fair bit of backing to put right mistakes.  Having done this pattern once before, I really should have learned from my experiences then, but learning from experience is not my strong point.  It looks fantastic when done, but it is evil to do.  Not only was there a critical mistake in the pattern,, but another part could be read in several different ways, most of which make a mess of the design.  I am now working on the final part which is the outside lacy border, which goes all round in one very long piece, with 600 rows to complete - yes that is SIX HUNDRED.  It is a 20 row pattern with the number of stitches varying between 19 and 25, depending on the row.  I cannot do any of it if I am disturbed in any way.  I can't talk, and have to be very careful what music I put on to avoid getting sidetracked.  The first time I did this shawl for my daughter nearly caused a divorce, and the loss of good friends.  We all survived, but total concentration is the only thing that works.

The only other thing remotely crafty that I have done this week is to buy a couple of things.  I have finally decided that I definitely NEED a new light box for embossing and parchment work - it is an A4 LED box which puts out far less heat than my original A5 kit, which actually melted my embossing mat.  Can't wait for that to arrive - I had the embossing and pricking mats for it for Christmas.

My other purchase is a new 2 terrabyte (big) external hard drive to take all my media stuff.  My existing one has done well, but is now struggling with the amount I am asking it to do.  I copy all my CD ROM's to the external drive and then put the originals away (I do not get rid of them as that could cause copyright problems).  That enables me to flip from one to another and move images however I want to create what I want.  I can open several discs at the same time.  I also store all my photos on the external drive and all my music.  Again, I can pull any of my photos into any card creation I fancy, edit them and put them together with anything else.  I am considering installing My Craft Studio on the external drive which would allow me to carry it around and use it on any computer I want to work on.

Sorry I did not get back to all of you last week, but knitting did take over my life.  Thank you to all those who visited me and left such lovely comments.  Don't forget to pop over to see Julia, who hosts all our desks at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

WOYWW - 87

Sorry folks, I am rather late posting this week, but it is good to see you here all the same.  Before I show you what I have this week, I would like to thank all those who made it to my blog last week, and also those who joined as followers.

A slightly different workdesk this week.  I have finished the desperate cards, those that are needed this week, and have now till the end of the month to do the last three for February.  So, I decided the priority was to finish the shawl for the new baby, and try to get it done before he/she is actually born.  I started it over two years ago for our youngest grandaughter, but family troubles got in the way and it was never finished.  This time, I am doing it, so instead of playing with paper, paint, glue and things, I am busy fighting the worst written pattern I have ever met.  I do consider myself as a reasonably competent and experienced knitter, but I found one very critical mistake on the first line of the pattern.  It took eight attempts of knitting and unpicking to realise it was not me, but the design, and only by working it out mathematically did I get it sorted.  Now on the final border, there is one part which is very ambiguous, but very critical.  However, I think I have got it sorted now.  Watch this space!

My so tidy room last week is rapidly disintegrating.  We have to clear the lounge ready for tearing the wall boards off and demolishing the fireplace for a multi fuel stove.  That meant removing the cupboards where I kept all my embroidery threads for my cross stitch.  They were there because that is where I always sat to sew.  It has all landed now up in my craft room, together with my enamelling kiln and the bits to go with it (must get that out and have another go), the crepe and tissue paper I used to use at Christmas, and a couple more boxes of "stuff".  I did get very ruthless yesterday and threw away some things, manky zips, grotty elastic, press studs and hooks and eyes, and that sort of thing.

You can also see the cross stitch I started and nearly finished for my other grandaughter.  The excuse for not finishing that was that I broke my wrist and could do noting like that.  We also had a shunt in the car, being rear-ended by a car doing about 35mph when she hit us, pusing us forward into the car in front (we were stationary with the hand brake on).  That meant that I could not sit to do things like cross stitch for more that about 5 minutes at a time.  The unicorn is now the next project to finish once the shawl is done.

This is the parchment birth card for our great nephew which is now ready to post off.  It did take a lot of time, and I would not do parchment for anything but special occasions or for people who I know will appreciate the amount of work that goes into them.  The writing was done by doing a print out of the design, slotting the words into the right place (I used My Craft Studio Pro for this), then tracing the works from the front using a Quickie glue pen.  That is allowed to dry for a while (take the dog a walk or something else while you wiat), then with your finger, you carefully but fairly firmly rub fine glitter into the glue until it is covered completely.  Then use a paint brush or make soft make up brush to remove the excess, before turning the work over to the back.  You then need a small or medium ball embossing tool to emboss over the glittered words from the back.  The words will then really pop our and the glitter shines brilliantly.  I used one of the Martha Stewart glitters, which are brilliant.

Right, I am off now to wander through some of the many other desks on show this week courtesy of the wonderful Julia on http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/ (do take the time to read some of her wonderful blogs - you will have a little chuckle) , before heading back to the knitting.  I did actually manage to visit everyone last week, though it took a fair bit of time, and saw some wonderful ideas and desks.  Hope you have enjoyed what you see on mine this week.