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, 31 July 2013

WOYWW - 217 Crafting is taking place

For anyone who has just landed here by accident, you may be wondering what WOYWW is all about.  Briefly, it stands for "What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday", and lots of us like minded crafters take a photo (or many photos" of just how our desk looks, without deliberate tidying up, and then we show all our other crafting friends what we are doing.  It is the brainchild and hosted by our leader, Julia, at Stamping Ground.  Anyone is welcome and all we ask is that you leave us a brief comment on what you see, so that we can call on you in turn to see what you are doing.  Any craft is welcome.  One warning though, it is very addictive.

This is the first time since April that my desk has really been used for its proper purpose of crafting.  quite a mixture, as you can see.  All these photos were taken on Tuesday morning, while the light was good, and I even had the window wide open (the scaffolding has all gone).  You may remember that, way back at the beginning of May, I went up to my son's presentation ceremony for his Chief Constable's Commendation for the work they all did during the Riots.  I took a video of the whole thing, and then burned it onto DVD for him, but I never got round to printing the discs or doing the covers for the cases (one for him and one for his pal).  I had also put together some small videos of his eldest daughter onto DVD, and needed to finish that off too.  You can see the work in progress on and around my lovely Tonic Guillotine.  

There is also a birthday card, which just needed finishing for my son-in-law.  All I really needed to do was the insert, and to put my label on the back.  If you want to know more about that card and a couple of others I have done, just look back at my previous post.
All my shelves are going to be cleared off, cleaned and everything sorted before the important stuff goes back.  That is where I need to start my great sort out and tidy up, before I bring back all the things that got dumped in the other room while work was going on.  The bright pink thing on my desk is my new phone.  I chose that colour of case so that I could find it more easily, and also no-one else would even want it.
This is now the view from my desk, to the side, with no scaffolding cutting off the view or restricting the opening of the window.

The dogs seem to be happy to settle down on the floor while I am working/playing, which is very helpful of them.  Flash, in particular, looks for the sun to relax in.

Gemma just has to decide that only one chew is on offer and when that is gone, it is time for a nap.  I really must make a serious attempt to keep the floor as clear as possible to give them room to stretch out, and to give me a chance to craft in peace.
Suddenly realised they were both lain down happily behind me

If you have had the patience to get all the way down to the bottom of this post, then thank you, and must send you on your way to visit some of the other desk on show this week over at Julia's place.  Have a great week, all of you.

PS Not a good start to the night and definitely not conducive to sleep. As I was about to get into bed, I saw it - the most enormous garden spider, less than two feet away. Well, she had to go. Catching her was the easy bit, keeping her in the pot was the difficult bit. I covered the pot with a piece of card, but as I got to the door, she forced her way out and jumped out onto my arm. You could have heard the screech throughout the land. Fortunately, I was saved by a spider eating dog - I just had to hope that she wasn't sick afterwards.  My next action was to log on to Amazon to search out a turbo powered spider vacuum, and, yes, they do exist -The Spider & Insect Vac with new Turbo Booster by Bug Buster.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Elizabeth's Comforting Blog Hop - T is for Tuesday

This may not be the most exciting drink to be sharing, but this bottle goes everywhere I go now, full of cool water to ensure I do not get hydrated.  I have decided that I am allowing myself to craft for as long as this bottle of water lasts.  After that, I must do something else for a while, then I can go back with another bottle of water and craft again.  Being a Thermos, it keeps the temperature just as I like it, and it does not leak, so if it falls over, there is no problem.  I am linking this post to Elizabeth's Comforting Blog Hop - T is for Tuesday.
As you know, my crafting has been seriously limited in recent months.  However, panic really set in this week. You may remember that we went to a wedding in Spain a couple of years ago.  The young couple had a beautiful baby daughter in May this year.  It has taken me till now to do them a card, but as they were coming down to stay with his family this last weekend, I thought that I really must finish it.  The trouble was that I knew what I wanted to do, but could not find the pattern, so it ended up as a major panic on Friday and Saturday to get it done.  When I was at college years ago, I could cope with very late nights and very early mornings to meet deadlines, but these days I need my sleep. 
This is a decoupage from the Crafters Companion Flower Fairies, mounted on white pearlescent card.  It was a bit too white so I applied a little chalk around the edges to soften and blend in.  I did the same to the date and her name before glueing them in place.  
I sprayed the whole thing with fixer to stop the chalk smudging, and added a little glitter on her wings.  If you peer very hard, you might just see a sparkle.

This card was not quite such a rush, just needing the insert doing and my label stuck on the back.  The stamps were from Hobby Art and are a mixture of three different sets all mixed in together.  They are good landscape stamps, although they are not as robust as my favourite Clarity stamps, so they need a little more care.
If you peer very hard at the signpost, you might pick out the name on there.  My first attempt gave me an upside down wall with the fence underneath the stone wall.  Don't think that would work very well in real life.

It is all coloured in with my Derwent water colour pencils, and mounted on pearlescent card.

Having had dinner and finished yet another bottle of water, I think it is time for a short power nap, otherwise known as an afternoon nap.  I have visitors tonight so I need some snooze time to last out without being so rude as to yawn all through their visit.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Roof's DONE!!!!!!

Saturday morning!  Two scaffold lorries arriving, with two full crews so they could remove everything in double quick time.  It was all done in an hour, leaving the builders to just remove the protective boards from the top of the conservatory and sweep up.  By midday, it was all done and dusted.

It was quite strange when everyone left.  One thing is good though.  I can now go to the loo without having to sing in case someone else needs it, and I can go and soak in the shower at any time, without fear of interruption.

However, I still cannot bring the caravan home as the builders will be back in two weeks to do some more smaller jobs for me, and yet another skip is required.  When those jobs are done, then I shall be after the decorator.  I want all these things done before the winter, so I can open doors and windows to get rid of the smell of paint.  However, as my daughter reminded me, a cut onion placed in the room is a very effective way of removing those sorts of smells.

So far, since Saturday morning, I have completed three cards, which I will show on a later post, as I have not yet downloaded the photos.  The one card was something of a panic as it was needed for Saturday afternoon.  I knew what I wanted to do but could not find the pattern, so I had to settle for something I could lay my hands on.  The delay caused by that meant I did not get to bed till 2am and was up again by 6am.  I cannot function on that level of sleep.  However, it did get done and delivered on time.  This sort of panic working was how I used to function years ago at college, leaving everything to the very last minute and burning the midnight (and much later) oil on a regular basis.  Now, my ageing brain and body cannot cope.


No chance of sleep yet.  My cleaner is due any time now, so I do need to do some clearing up to give her any chance of doing what I need.  Then, I have a delivery from Ocado (food etc) due at about the same time, so I need to clear the fridge and sort it to get the new stuff in.  I also have a surfeit of eggs and milk so I need to make an egg custard to use some up - that is perfect for this weather, especially when it goes cold, silky and easy to swallow.  Lots of nutmeg on top to finish it off properly.  I shall not be doing a pastry base - far too many calories in that.  My one grandmother used to make an egg custard with a pastry base.  She would prick the base properly and bake it blind, but the pastry always came out on top of the custard.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

WOYWW 216 - How can they work in this heat?

If you are wondering what WOYWW is all about, then where have you been for the past few years - you have missed so much fun.  If you go over to Julia's place where you will find all the explanation you need to join in.  the first few of my photos are really not a lot to do with my desk, other than the fact that it shows some of why my desk has been so inactive over the past few weeks.

These were the photos taken last week by my DD after we got back from swearing at the solicitors - not the nasty kind of swearing, but just the one where you take the Bible in your right hand etc.  So the probate is almost sorted now, just a case of waiting for the final paperwork to arrive before I can finally finish the job.

I do not know how my brilliant roofers could carry on working in the terrific heat and humidity we have had over the past few weeks.    They have just kept going steadily, up and down the ladders.

This week has been totally crazy.  Monday morning, I came down early (couldn't sleep in the heat), opened the cupboard door to get a packet of porridge out, only to be attacked by a large number of jars of chutney, mayonnaise, jams, and tins various.  The shelf support had given way, twisting the shelf and throwing every thing at me.  The astounding result was not one crack or breakage, not even the six brand new glass tumblers that it all landed on.  Even the one jar that made it to the tiles floor survived intact.  My daughter came to the rescue again, stealing the builders' tools to do the repairs herself, much to their amusement.  She then turned her attention to the problem of getting into my craft room, so the roofers could get in to make good the ceiling in there.  Anything that was on the floor was just moved wholesale into the next room for me to sort properly later before bringing it back and putting it away in its own place.
As you can see, Flash is a little happier that there is somewhere to lie in there at the moment.  It is certainly unusual to see any of my floor.

This is the view of my dining room roof - I cannot get the window open any further as it hits the scaffolding.  Hopefully, that may come down tomorrow, depending how much they were held up by the torrential rain yesterday.
The big blue file on the left is for indexing my stamps, which is one job I need to finish off up to date.  You can also see my brand new pen and stuff storage unit.  The bottom drawer is perfect for those long pens that have to lie down.  In fact, I like this storage unit so much I have ordered another one for the computer table downstairs.
The bright red cylinder is a retrieval dummy for the dogs and I am not quite sure how that got classified as crafting materials.

I have written far more than I intended - sorry, Julia, I will try to be good next time.  Now it is time for you to wend your way round lots of other more interesting desks, all on show at Stamping Ground, otherwise known as Julia's Place.  I also must apologise to all those lovely friends who left me such encouraging comments last week, for not returning the compliments.  I do feel bad about that, but things like vicious kitchen cupboards rather took over my life.  I will try to do better next time.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


As you can see, the roof is progressing well, but there is still a lot of work to do.  This photo was taken a couple of days ago, and things have moved on since then, but there are still two smaller roofs to be done.  I am so glad I have had this job done as I found out at the weekend that the adjoining house has already had leaks coming through into the front bedroom.

However, you have not come to see my roof, fascinating though it may be.  This is the day we all visit each other to see what we have all got to show on our desks, courtesy of our great leader, Julia, who resides over at Stamping Ground

This is the first time for a few weeks that you have actually seen my desk, and I am thoroughly ashamed of it.  It is in the state it was in over three months ago, but I did get in there on Sunday and find enough space to make two cards. 

I do need, very urgently to clear the desk end of my craft room as there is some remedial work (as a result of the roofing) to be done, and, at the moment, they would not get there to do that work.  So I finally found a few minutes to get in there today.  This is the shot before I started.  It is not really proper sorting out as I am just gathering everything up into big boxes and taking those into another room (I do intend to sort them as I bring everything back later).

You have seen the front of the house.  this is the view from my craft room window.  Even the window will not really open properly as it hits the scaffold planks.  Hopefully, the level of the scaffolding will be lowered next week once the main roof is complete  and so that they can come down to work on the two smaller roofs over the dining room and the front porch. 
Remember, I did say, this was not a proper sort out yet.  However, I thought it would be a good idea to keep all the Clarity things together, the ones that don't have a real home yet.  Two of my shelves are filled with crafting cd's and dvd's, which don't need to be accessible, as they are already copied onto my crafting computer for ease of use.  So the originals will be removed and stored elsewhere, allowing me to move the extra Clarity boxes onto those shelves, once I have indexed them.  At the moment, though, my desk looks just as bad as when I started - just with a different stash in place.  You can also see a couple of new acquisitions - a couple of Spellbinders, some Pinflair glue gel, and a set of Distress marker pens. 

It is unlikely that the tidying up will continue tomorrow as I have to take Flash for his jabs first thing and then go to the solicitors later.  The afternoon is far to hot to work in there in this weather, so it will have to wiat another couple of days.

Hope you are all surviving this intense heat over here, and getting some good crafting done.  I hope to visit you all later.  Meanwhile, have a good week, and thank you for visiting me. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

WOYWW 214 - What have I started?

This is my view from the desk at which I am currently sitting.  Yet another pallet of tiles has just arrived, all ready to go up the mini conveyor to the roof.  I have lost track of how many tiles have had to be taken up there and laid in place.  I am on skip no 2 so far, full of rotten and disintegrating roof felt and rotten shaling tiles, which have only just about kept the water out for the last couple of years. 

Just look at this shot. I keep getting very long suffering looks from the two dogs, just wishing it was all over and we can get back to some form of normality.  What a dirty look!  Flash is an expert in delivering these long suffering looks of disgust.  "Mum, make it stop".

I am glad the caravan is safely off the premises, as I do not think I could get it out of our road at the moment.  The Gas Board have taken over, digging up both sides of the road at the same time - clever, that, don't you think?

As I write this, on Tuesday, as usual, so that I can get it done in time, I am wondering what hornets' nest I have stirred up.  Over many years, we have had problems with our main sewer (sorry if you are just having your breakfast) which is old and runs through our front gardens instead of along the roadway as most do.  As Geoff is no longer here to rod the drains clear, I decided to ask the question of Severn Trent.  Now they have just rung up to say that a team is coming out today to assess the situation and decide who owns what, and to perhaps find out why the sewer keep blocking.  I just hope it does not involve digging up everyone's drives.  If it does, I shall move house to get away from irate neighbours who have just had block paving laid.  After two weeks of tiles flying down the chute, lathes and tiles being nailed into place, and AA man blocking the road and making a row on Sunday (right in the middle of the tennis)  I don't think I am the most popular person in the road right now.

Oh yes, the AA man was here to change the wheel on the Disco after a neighbour pointed out that I had a very flat tyre.  Oh joy!!  Still, I was lucky there in that the tyre was repairable and not too expensive. Just a pity that the AA man did not realise that the Disco has transmission braking (it acts on the prop shaft and not the wheel), until I shouted at him that it was moving down our drive towards the scaffolding as he was jacking it up.  After it had then been put into gear and two hefty wheel blocks put in front of the wheels, things went a little better.

I am off now to make another drink for the hard workers, then the plan is to vac and shampoo the hall carpet, before actually going upstairs and starting to clear my craft room, for the remedial work to be done in there, and then I might (yes, really, I might) get some crafting done.  I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms.  Watch this space!  In the meantime, our beloved Julia is waiting to see you over at Stamping Ground, where she will have a whole host of wonderful desks for you to study and drool over.  I apologise to those, I still have not got round to answering.  I have read all your lovely messages, and if technology and roofs allow, I will get there in the end.

PS I knew it was foolish to make plans.  Halfway through shampooing the hall carpet, the machine conked out and refused to let go of any of the water and solution.  Despite the usual cleaning and de-hairing it, nothing seemed to work, so the job is half done at the moment.  I did finally get an email from Bissell with instructions on a possible fix, so, do I feel strong enough tonight?  Not sure, it might be for the morning when  it is cooler. 

PPS The fix did not work and the smell is telling me that something more radical and technical is required - a trip to the carpet cleaner doctor, I feel.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Ooops - I won't do that again!

I was quite pleased with myself today.  I decided the living room carpet needed a really good going over and a shampoo.  to do that, it needs to be vaccumed at least twice to remove the maximum amount of dog hair to avoid clogging the shampooer totally.

After that, I looked at it and decided that there was still too much dog hair wovern deep into the pile and thought it was tie to investigate why the Dyson was not really doing its job.  The filters have all been changed very recently and I had emptied it, so the only thing left was the front brush roller.  OK, turn it upside down to see how it comes apart and managed to drop quite a bit of dust all over me and the floor.

Did I learn from that experience .... well, not really.  I found the right size of screwdriver to undo the three screws that obviously needed undoing before removing the sole plate.  Next time, I will be doing that job either outside or inside a black sack.  As I removed the plate covering the roller, a dead dog fell out - so much dust, black dog hair and general detritus all stuck together in a thick felt.  Most of it landed on me and the rest on the floor.  However, it did reveal that it was a miracle that the brush would go round at all, it was so tied up with bits of thread, carpet backing and rubbish.  Twenty minutes later, it was all back together and in operation, almost like a new machine.  The carpet changed colour as it was cleared of all the ingrained hair.  I have now ordered a new roller as I reckon the bristles are so worn down over the years.

Anyway, I succeeded in vacuuming the carpet and then shampooing it thoroughly - result!  One more little success for me.  (I vacuumed myself as well and came up quite clean)

Tomorrow morning is sit down to watch Barbara Gray in the Classroom, and Sunday will need a good dose of valium to get through the final of Wimbledon.  Can he really win this year?

PS I did have a good afternoon today when a neighbour invited me round for a cuppa, sitting out in their lovely garden - a really relaxing and welcome break.  It was good to get away from the noise of the work on the roof.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

WOYWW 213 - not my desk but the closest I can get

What a day!  Rachel (KatzElbows) remarked last week that she felt tired just reading my blog.  I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon as I very much doubt if I shall be in any state to put one word after another by tonight.

As you can seem I am in the middle of having my house roof completely replaced - and not before time.  This was something that Geoff and I were well aware needed to be done.  The builders are known to many friends as being good and trustworthy, and I have been waiting since April for them to be free.  The scaffolding arrived at pig-squealing hours last week, which was a real shock to the system.

The actual work on the roof started on Monday morning with the arrival of the skip and the setting up of the chute, and the two of them have worked hard ever since, fuelled by tea, of course.  The dogs are dividing their time between barking at the strange noises and hiding in a dark corner.

The next person to arrive was the pest control man to deal with a large nest of bumble bees in the one corner of the bay, before the roofers had to do that bit.  (The local council will not do anything but rats, unless you are in receipt of every benefit known to man)  I tried bee keepers to see if they could remove the bees safely, but they were not interested.  My next try was Defra, who put me onto the National Bee Unit. A very nice man there told me that they could not be relocated, and I would need to get a pest control company in to do the job.  I was shocked to find out that it is not possible to relocate bumble bees, and they are not protected anyway.  I was also shocked when a huge one escaped the collection bucket and landed on my trouser leg - my heart failure for today.  Apparently, this particular variety are not native bees and have arrived from the continent somehow.  I still feel bad about them being killed off, but my roof will not wait till the autumn when the colony will die anyway. 

I just about managed lunch before realising that the gardener had arrived as well.  He always brings his dog with him, who is very well behaved and so much calmer than my two hooligans.  He was followed swiftly by the delivery of my tablets from the pharmacy - I usually collect them but time is against me this week, not to mention the problem of my Achilles. 

While writing this, I have had so many phone calls, including one from Severn Trent, regarding our sewers.  Instead of running up the roadway, ours all run through our front gardens, and our house is the lowest point on this part of the system, so blocks up with everyone else's "stuff".  As Geoff is no longer here to rod the drains to clear them, I needed to clarify things - Severn Trent have assured me that it is their responsibility, which is good.  

I now have to get ready for my Tuesday visitors.  That also involves shampooing the lounge carpet where dear Gemma was disgustingly sick, no warning!  Then, I shall have to get the alcohol tray ready - and I shall be drinking (probably sloe gin) to hopefully sleep tonight. 

Sorry Julia for gong on a bit this week, but I must just say that I have finally finished with the bulk of the paperwork.  I still have a minor mountain to shred, and six A4 files to archive in case I need them, but I can see most of this desk downstairs.  I still have a number of letters to send out, but they are not urgent, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter all the time.  I can give myself permission to take a little time to craft, that is, after my massage and hair do on Thursday.  Yippee!  

If you are still with me, thank you for sparing so much time, and I am sure you are ready to visit lots more interesting crafty spaces, courtesy of Julia at Stamping Ground.  See you all soon. 

PS this link came via Barbara Gray of Clarity Stamps, and while going through it doing my voting, I found there is a section for Best Crafting Blog.  http://mailer.eonic.co.uk/t/r-l-bstlo-jyegjydj-n/
No contest is there, it has to be Julia every time - get voting, folks.
PPS Hope this rain clears up - never mind Wimbledon (although that is great), but I am more concerned with my roof.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Help - Bumble bee nest in my disintegrating roof

Does anyone know how I can find someone who will remove a bumblebee nest from my roof?  I know they will die off in the autumn but my roof will not wait for that. The area they are nesting in is the most urgent for repair. The tiles are rotten and the felt has disintegrated.   If the roofer cannot get on , I shall end up with huge bills for damage to the rest of the house.

The Bee Keepers Association only wants to deal with honey bees. Some people suggest using a pest control company, but surely the bees are protected, and I don't really want them killed anyway.

Any help gratefully received.  Why can't anything go smoothly?  xx  

PS Having rung the council and been told they will only deal with rats, unless I am in receipt of all benefits known to man and beast, rung Defra who put me on to the National Bee Unit who told me that bumblebees are not protected anyway and I would have to get a private pest control unit to remove them, I now have someone coming this morning to kill the nest.  I hate having to do that, but it seems that I have no alternative.  It seems so wrong that they are not a protected species when we are told how endangered they are.