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.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

WOYWW - 125 OK, I know Christmas is coming - fast!!

It is that time of the week again, the first of the two Wednesdays in this week (there must be two or the time is flashing by even faster than I thought). so it is time to bare all - well, not all, but our desks in all their glory.  What is on my desk this week is rather a lot of stuff.  We went over to Webbs of Wychbold last week and, of course, it would have been rude not to wander round Hobbycraft, and even more rude not to buy something.  So you can see a couple of packets of white flowers with gems on, ready to colour in, and a little storage box with coloured and textured flowers.  They are on the left.  On the right you can see some of my Silhouette pens, which I have been using a lot to draw some of my cards.  In the middle you can see a pile of recycled toppers from previous cards, ready to use in some way.  On the far left you can see one of my Really Useful Christmas boxes, full of stuff, decoupage, peeloffs etc.

 I have finally given in to the Christmas rush.  I got the two really useful boxes out at the end of last week and had a good sort through.  I had a bag of recycled toppers from previous year's cards, all shop bought.  A couple have been turned straight into new cards by cutting them and folding them.  As you can see, they are both robin pictures with out of focus backgrounds.  I found the centre on each side, and cut the top half of the robin with my trusty finger blade (Fiskars) and then folded the card at that point, so that it will stand up.  I still have to work out how to do the inserts, which will help to strengthen the finished card.

I have also had the Silhouette out again with the pens, rather than the blade.  The tree design is one I bought from the Silhouette site.  I used the coppery Silhouette pen to draw both the tree and the Happy Christmas, the filled in the design with Sakura glitter pen, then dug out all my gems to decorate the trees.  I am quite pleased with them, they are simple in style but still have that glitter we all want at Christmas.

I have just added the new Silhouette Cameo to my Christmas list - it looks awesome and is bigger than the previous machines, and will take 12x12 papers/card.  I prefer the Silhouette to the idea of the Cricut, as you can use it to create your own designs and you are not limited to buying expensive cartridges.  The software is continually updated to supply what we as crafters want.

I have used some of the toppers I recycled from previous year's cards, and added a bit of a twist to them with peel offs.  I am determined to use more of what is in those boxes this year - I need the space for other things.

If you managed to get all the way down here, thank you for visiting me.  Please leave a comment. I really do value your opinions.  I would also be grateful if you would visit a friend of mine, Debbie, who is just starting to get her blog up and running.  She would love to hear from you all, although there may be a problem with her being able to leave you comments - we have not sorted that bit out properly yet..   You will find her at  http://acrafterslife.blogspot.com/
When you have done that, it is time to head over to http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/ Julia's blog where you will find loads of other desks to wander round.   Have fun.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

WOYWW - 124 Where has the time gone?

I cannot believe that we are nearly at the end of the year again.  Where has 2011 gone?  I seem to have achieved so little.  Is it a sign of age or is it happening to everyone.  The pace of life seems just so fast.  You blink and another week has gone.  I am struggling to get round even half of all your lovely desks each week, for which I apologise.

I have been a good little girl this week, finishing off several projects and getting all the cards done that I need for November (only 4 needed for December).  So before I descend into total chaos with the Christmas stuff everywhere, I thought I would show you some of my finished projects.

I think I have shown you some of these before.  They are from a set of decoupage sheets that I picked up from Little Lou's in Redditch (Hayley West's shop), and are very pretty.  However I did have a problem deciding how to mount them.  In the end, I went for the simple approach to allow the artwork to show itself.  I think they could be used as sympathy cards too as they are plain.

My next finishing off was the Peter Rabbit Winter Tales kit.  I don't often go for kits these days, and I realised why, when I started work on this lot.  There is nothing wrong with them and all the elements are good quality, but they do not leave a lot to the imagination.  Anyway, they are finished and ready to send off, probably to our local children's ward.  I did add a little glitter to each one - well, it is for Christmas, after all.  I used some of my Martha Stewart glitter on top of the Quickie glue pen in strategic places, so it is not over the top.

Here are a couple more of the cards themselves.  You might struggle to see the glitter, but it is there.  The kit had the basic printed card and then there were lots of rub ons, which were quite good, apart from the white writing, some decoupage, some gems and paper flowers and I still had some left after I had finished the 24 cards.  It also contained the rubber stamps to go with it, so it was quite good value.  It is just that I prefer now to do my own thing.

They are a mixture of scenes and shapes and sizes, all with their own envelopes.  I quite liked the two bridge scenes, they seemed to lend themselves to setting up a story.  Because I was really trying just to get them done, I did tend to follow the pictures in the booklet to some extent, to make sure I had enough bits to finish all the cards. so there is not much of me in this set.

Today, I am hoping to get round a few more blogs than I managed this week, and still get some crafting in later on.  If you arrived here by accident, you are very welcome.  However, you might also like to have a nose over at Julia's blog, where you will find links to loads of other workdesks, some tidy and some very creatively covered.  You will be very welcome at all of them.  Please leave us messages, so we know you have been, and we will try to get back to you.   You will find Julia at   http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/

Monday, 17 October 2011

Computers and the big C word

Our computer has come out of intensive care and is back with us.  It still needs a bit of work but that will have to wait till the computer doctor is free and we have all the bits required.  Then after that, our very kind computer doctor is going to set up a server for us to link all the computers in the house and the TV, so we can update everything easily and share files between the hard drives.

In the meantime, I have been putting together some of the cards we need for the rest of November, just one left to do, then four for December.  Once those are done, I can really settle down to sort out Christmas, and perhaps do some playing.  This is the first one, using a Clarity stamp on parchment, which has then been embossed, and mounted on dark brown PDA card, using brads, before sticking the topper to the background with Pinflair glue.  The base card has been printed with the feather design in a random pattern.  I first stamped the image, then scanned it and manipulated it to create the backing.  I also printed one single feather on the back to provide some interest.  

The insert also used the scanned and printed feather, and because I wanted the sentiment inside to fit a particular space,I typed the sentiment from Barbara Gray's stamp in a freestyle script.  As it for a man, I needed it to be fairly plain, with no real fuss, and Barbara Gray's stamps just fitted the bill perfectly.

My other offering today is a card for a 1st birthday for a little girl.  It is from one of the Crafters Companion cd's and I quite enjoyed making it, although if I did it again, I would use thinner card for the topper to make the cutting out more accurate and less stressful.  I do like easel cards, and most people who receive them seem to like the format as well.

While our pc was out of action, we took the chance of hooking up every other machine to the broadband modem and updating software and virus protection.  although they all work on Windows 7, each one had to be done in a different way.  What worked for one did not work for the others.  What a pain.  I cannot wait for this server to be able to do all of them in one go.

Right, I am off now to watch Doc Martin and The Hotel Inspector before getting off to bed.  Sleep tight, everyone.  See you soon.
PS Just realised there is not much about Christmas in this post to justify the title.  The reason (excuse) I forgot what I was talking about and just waffled on on to a different track.  Never mind, I will show you some of my Christmas creations tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I'm back - for the moment

As you can see, I am finally back online properly, by using the laptop with the Virgin modem.  It has taken a while to update the laptop virus software, not to mention Firefox and the email program Thunderbird.  I was so frustrated  yesterday when I could look at everyone's desks but I could not comment.  For some strange reason, the Orange dongle we use with the laptop normally will not allow me to leave comments - I can type them but when I press the button to leave the comment, it just sits there.  Never mind, I am back on broadband now.

The Headland between the Harbour and Fistral
I thought I would brighten your lives today by showing you a couple of photos from our holiday last year.  I have always loved Cornwall from when I was a child.  This first photo is of the Headland between the harbour at Newquay and the famous surfing beach at Fistral. 

The Huers Hut, Newquay
We used to stay in a small family run hotel, overlooking the harbour, and after our evening meal, we would walk across the Headland and sometime as far as the headland beyond overlooking Pentire, before ambling back to the milkbar across the road for a large mug of Horlicks before bed.  The owner used to do a fair bit of traffic control when things got busy.  He would leave his bar and go out to direct the traffic round the junction to get things moving at rush hour.  It was another world.  These days, I would not want to stay in Newquay - it has changed so much.  It is too big and busy now, not the relaxing family resort it once was.  We usually visit when we are in Cornwall, but now we generally stop at the outlying beaches such as Porth or Mawgan Porth, where we can park close to the beach and take the dogs for a run.

One of our favourite outings in Newquay when I was a child was to take the bus as far as Porth, have a coffee and a cream tea there while we waited for the tide, then we could walk all the way back to our hotel along the beach, just creeping round the headlands, keeping dry, apart from a bit of gentle paddling.

I did have a break from screaming at inanimate objects yesterday afternoon and spent a bit of time adding a little gentle glitter and glitz to all the Peter Rabbit Christmas cards I had made the day before.  Not a lot of creativity, but lots of fun.  When I am sure they are dry, I will show them to you.  If they are ok, I may donate them to the children's ward of our local hospital or some similar children's charity.  They are mainly cards for children, so they would be appropriate, in my opinion.

Hope you are all having a good day, despite the dull skies, such a change from all the late summer we have been having.  See you all soon.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

WOYWW - 123

It probably will not be a long post this week as I am having to post through the dongle which costs large amounts of money.  Our broadband connection is down at the moment due to the computer having mislaid its network card and drivers.

As you can see, my desk is a little tidier than it has been in previous weeks.  The two piles of cards are from a Crafters Companion Peter Rabbit kit.  It has been sitting around for a while, taking up valuable space, so I decided that as part of the tidy up, it was time to make the cards.  There is not a lot to show really this week.  You can probably see my little pot of dog treats which are very useful in removing illgotten gains from the mouths of our two little horrors.  There is also a small pot of blue embossing powder, all ready to follow Shaz (Silverwolf), with her tutorial on hearts..

The only other thing I have to show you this month is a very simple card for a friend's birthday.  It has to be posted so needed to be as flat as possible.  The picture is a photo of a Rosa Mundi Versicolour (the Apothocary's Rose), and the background colour was created through My Craft Studio, where I put the design together.  The verse was one I particularly liked from a little book of sayings which I keep close at hand.  The recipient likes things to be plain and simple so this card fits the bill.

I will try to get round as many of you as possible this week, but computer problems may limit this, so please forgive me if I do not get round to see you.  meanwhile, why don't you all go and follow the links on Julia's home, which will  explain what we are all doing.  You will find them at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/

PS I have just tried to leave some comments, but Blogger does not seem to want me to leave comments when I am using the dongle and not the broadband,  I will look at as many desks as possible, and comment as soon as I can.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Latest cards - aging photos etc.

 This first card is from one of my own photos.  It is Archway House in Sherwood Forest, and it was a full colour photo.  I changed it to sepia (well, the program calls the colour tan - sepia was too bright), using Roxio Photosuite.  I printed it on to watercolour card, and then aged it further with Tim Holtz Ranger Distress Old Paper.  Apart from rubbing round the edges with the cut and dry foam, I also put a random light coating over most of the picture to make sure it did not look too new.  The coppery card it is mounted on is from the PDA Majestic and Stardream range - beautiful quality card and a joy to work with.

This second card was treated in the same way, and I think the steam engine fits this technique perfectly.  In this case, the topper is mounted on dark brown pearlescent card from PDA, and then onto a dark olive green card from the same range, which has a slight hint of gold in it too.

Both these cards were for birthday cards for friends, the second of which is a real steam enthusiast, so his picture is of a Great Western engine on the famous Lickey Incline, near to where we live.

I do like using my own photos where possible and altering them to create something different.  In fact, I am off now to have a real play, both with photos and with some brayering practice.  Have a lovely day, all of you.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

It's that time of year again - time to get out the glitter!

I have already shown you some of my offerings for this year, but I had the Silhouette out again this week for another idea, and decided to get some cards out of it at the same time.  I think this design comes from a CD called Crystal Dreams, and is so effective when left simple.  It is cut by the Silhouette from pale cream card, and then mounted direct onto what I call Mary blue card (a cross between Mary's cloak and the night sky).  the sentiment was silver but coloured with the Dufex pens to tone with the blue card.  You can cut out the camels too and add them to create more depth if you are not posting the card.

This second card is also created with the use of the Silhouette to do the cutting.  The image is from  an old Christmas card we had ages ago, and I put it away.  when I looked at it again, I thought it would make an excellent decoupage, with the addition of white Flowersoft on the top of the postbox. 

With all these designs, I take them into the Silhouette software and trace the cutting lines on the screen, and then let the machine do the hard, time-consuming work for me.  I think I shall be doing a bit more to this design with some brayering to the background to darken it up a little.  Watch this space.

This was from another old card I found amongst my mother's things, and I gave it a similar treatment to the previous card, with the addition of some glitter on the snow.  Again this is all saved in the Silhouette files, so it can be recreated at will. 

I use the Silhouette a lot for cutting my decoupage when I have a design I particularly like.  I found I started to look differently at photos to see where I could cut to create the different layers.  The new software makes this much easier and more accurate.  When I get a bit more time to play, I have a few photos to convert in the same way.  If they work I will post them for you to see the results.

If you read my post from earlier in the week, you will have see that I had a bad day, and a minor strop, especially about people who bash cars and vanish without owning up.  Since then, we decided to have the work done ourselves, rather than go through the insurance and all the hassle that creates.

I also cheered myself up by spending a bit more crafting money.  I decided last year that, rather than spend a fortune travelling to the NEC, paying the exorbitant car park fee, and the entry to the show, I would spend that money on goodies that I could keep.  So it ended up as a couple of Barbara Gray's stamp kits - the Split Tree Kit and the new Joy Kit, plus the odd one or two new Adirondack ink pads to build my stock, a some of the new thin nibs for the Promarkers.

After struggling this week to find enough room on my workdesk to create anything, I have had a major tidy up, blown the vents of the computer to get rid of some of the gathered dust, and just moved a few things.  As a result, I now have more room than I had originally.  I can also see the top of both printers, and I have no tottering heaps of stuff.  Result!!!!  I have also finished all the cards needed for October.  Another result!!!!  Tomorrow, I have given myself permission to play and see what happens, that is, once I have put together a couple of simple Christmas cards (only a case of mounting the toppers).  Wha-Heyy!!  I might get up early tomorrow - exciting!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

That makes up for it

This arrived in the post this morning from Julia Dunnit.  It is the book she was asked to review and then she put it up as a prize on her blog.  I could not believe I had won, but it does look a really great book.  Thank you so much Julia, and thank you to Mr Dunnit for picking my numbers.

This not all, though.  Also in the parcel was this lovely card from Julia, which really cheered me up.  You are so right, Julia, you cannot rewirnd life.  You have to live every minute as if it is your last.  Make the most of all you have.

Thank you again Julia.

Why did I bother to go to bed?

I feel really lacking in the creation side of life this morning.  I cannot cope without at least 6 hours of sleep each night, and get quite grumpy when I am deprived, not to mention falling asleep at the drop of a hat for the next few days. 

Everything conspired against me last night, starting with the attack of the huge housefly (at least six inches across) while I was reading my Kindle, with the aid of a flexilight attached to the cover.  After he hit me 5 times, I gave up and put the light off.  Then the dogs decided to have an attack of wanderlust for the next hour or so.  They are only small dogs, but sound like elephants when they tramp around at night. 

Then Gemma decided that she had to go out NOW!!!  So I grumbled, not too quietly, fell out of bed, stumbled round the room to the door, managed to leave Flash behind (two dogs barking in the garden at night is not to be desired).  Gemma tore downstairs , woofing all the way, pirouetted at the kitchen door,  flew across the tiled floor, pirouetted again at the patio door.  Trying to put a lead on a dog who is whirling like a dervish is not the easiest, especially when you are desperately trying not to open your eyes.  She shot out of the door, stood on the lawn, and sniffed at the grass, then she came back onto the patio and stared very intently at the garage door.  That is quite unnerving so late at night - you wonder what horrors she can see that might come to get you any minute now.  Anyway she came back in, having done nothing, and rushed to the hall door, ready to go back to bed.

So now, wide awake and cold, I stumble back upstairs, put Gemma firmly back to bed, read a bit more of my book (Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb - a fantasy book), then tried to get back to sleep.  Almost there and the milkman came round the road with much revving of noisy diesel engine and screeching of brakes.  All the local dogs, including our two, erupted into barking.

All through this lot, my OH slept soundly, and did not even notice when I stubbed my toe on the corner of the bed.  He only woke when he had a vivid dream and knocked something onto the floor. 
By this time, I had given up as it was time to get up. 

Now I am even crosser as Geoff has just come back from the weekly shop with the news that some "kind" person has bashed the roof of the Freelander, dented it and put a kink just above the tailgate.  That has to be deliberate.  What pleasure did they get out of it?  No wonder all our insurance premiums are out through the roof.  I wish I could get hold of that person ..... Grrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I have to gather myself together and get back to the cards that have to be finished today and put in the post.

Hope you all have a better day.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

WOYWW - 122

I am impressed with myself this week.  I actually did some crafting.  I actually remembered to take the camera (with newly charged battery) up to my craft room, and I remembered to take some photos.  I have also remembered to post a few this time.  By the way, I am putting this post together on Tuesday evening to make sure I remember.

This first picture shows some of my mess.  The Sainsbury's carrier bag is the recycling rubbish, while the non-recycle stuff is in the poo bags (nappy sacks), which are hanging on the light by the window.  I did have quite a bit of clear space this morning, but ideas took over, and the space shrank.

Moving to the right, you can see my computer screen (the keyboard is on the floor, as usual, propped up against the cupboard, and the poor mouse is also buried).  The pretty patterns on the screen are on Windows Media Player and shows that I am playing music, which is stored on the computer.  Today's choice was one of Hayley Westenra's albums, followed by a bit of Spanish pop (downloaded to accompany the photo slideshows from our Spanish trip). 

This lot is on the floor against the cupboard with the two printers on.  I won't show you the printers because you would not see them for all the stuff stacked on top.  You might have gathered by now that my room is full of piles of stuff at the moment.  One of these days I will get around to find space for all the stuff again.

This is my main project for tomorrow - to finish this design.  The stamps are from a set by Sheena Douglass.  I had a go yesterday, but that ended up as a disaster, with no redeeming features about it.  So I turned the card over and started again today, in a more methodical way.  I had intended to colour the train in GWR colours for a friend's birthday, but my colouring  of the black was blotchy and horrid.  so I have decided to do the whole thing in sepia  and to age the card with distress inks.  I shall leave that till tomorrow morning (Wednesday) to ensure that the ink is absolutely dry.

This card is one that almost put itself together and I am quite happy with it.  The couple whose wedding we went to in Spain spent part of their honeymoon in Bratislava, and he particularly loved the castle.  So I managed to find a black and white image, which I turned sepia (using Roxio Photosuite).  I imported it into My Craft Studio and reduced the opacity before printing it on to watercolour card..  That dried very fast, so I trimmed it  a little, before aging the whole thing using cut and dry foam and one of the Tim Holtz distress inks (cannot remember the colour offhand).

I used two different shades of PDA Majestic and Stardream pearlescent card to mount it, first onto dark brown with a very tiny border, then onto the dark olive green card.  I cropped the original image to use as part of the insert and changed the colour of the writing to match (using My Craft Studio).

If you managed to get all the way through to here this week, why don't you click on the link and pop over to Julia Dunnit's pad,  http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/

where you will find loads more interesting desks and some beautiful work to drool over.  Meanwhile, I will try to get round as many of your desks this week to see what you have been up to.  Happy Crafting.