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 December 2014

WOYWW 291 - A Very Happy New Year to all of you.

I am making one resolution for the coming year, which is to do better at blogging, especially on our wonderful WOYWW meetings with Julia, and even more to visit and comment on other people's posts.

I am a bit late again this week, but it is still Wednesday and I have been playing today, so I hope you will forgive me.  I finally found my missing Open acrylics which meant that I could have my very first go at painting the grunge paste image that has been waiting for nearly two weeks.

In fact, there are two canvases, roughly the opposite of each other.   I used the Houses stencil from Clarity, and pushed Grunge paste through it to give the texture.  The next step was with  the gold acrylic, brushing it across the houses,

 following up with Magenta

and then the Blue.  The Open acrylics stay wetter for longer which means you can blend them together  which gives some interesting colours.

You can rewet the paint in areas where you think you have overdone it, using a baby wipe and a piece of kitchen roll and remove some of the excess.
As the paint dries, you can then use a craft blade to scratch paint away to create highlights.
These canvases are not entirely how I intended and I may do some more playing with other media to see what happens.
This is the tidiest I have been for a long time.  However, I have to admit that the floor is not quite so tidy as I sit surrounded by my folders of stamps and stencils all waiting to be properly catalogued, but I am not showing that lot today.

Right, it is time, I went and washed those stencil brushes ready for next time and then you can go off and meet up with everyone else at Julia's place.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year for 2015.
Lots of hugs to you all.  xxx

PS if you decide to use grunge paste on your stencils, make sure you put the stencils straight into a bowl of warm soapy water otherwise the grunge sticks like concrete - it is worse than Weetabix (you could probably make that up into a paste and use it in the same way) .

PPS I forgot to say that the inspiration and directions for these stencils came from a YouTube video by Barbara Gray.  Sorry, Barb.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas and a Belated WOYWW 290 to everyone.

Like a lot of people this week, I had completely lost track of the days, so I forgot Wednesday completely, mainly in the frantic wrapping of gifts and making these tags for the family.  I quite enjoyed doing them and it was a good test of my spelling under pressure.  They were done using whatever inks and stamps were within reach, including Red Pepper, which is one of my favourite ink pads at the moment.

I have not got near my desk for weeks, just working on any space that I could find anywhere.  That included doing this present for the granddaughter of close friends.  The stamps are from the Clarity Nursery Rhyme set, and coloured with Promarkers.  I used the stencil brushes and a couple of Adirondacks to take the whiteness off the rest of the card before framing it.

Now that the panic of Christmas preparations is done and dusted, I am hoping to get around all the desks on show over at Dunnit Towers and meet up with you all.  In the meantime, I hope you have all had a good day and met up with family and friends. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

This is just a short message to all my friends, whether internet or not, just to wish you all a very good Christmas and Happy New Year, and to thank you all for your support and friendship throughout this year.  xxx

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Clarity trees - the last of the Christmas cards.

The idea for this card started off with a very different card in a class down at the local craft shop, Pink Tulip Creations at Studley.  That design did not use Clarity stamps etc, but it did give me the incentive to go off and play once I got home.

I took myself off back to Pink Tulip to their Open Crafting session where you take your own projects and play with them while having a lovely chat with like-minded crafters.

Going out in a rush, I forgot to check my ink pads and all I had was Stonewashed and Red Pepper, not an obvious mix when I wanted a soft pink.  Not willing to waste time doing nothing or go home to find what I wanted, I  loaded a brush with Red Pepper and then got rid of most of it onto copy paper, leaving just a hint on the stencil brush.

The main design is on Gelli card, (what did we do before Gelli card)  and uses two Clarity stencils - the  circle aperture and the woodland trees (Cannot remember what it is called properly), and one of the moon masks.  Oh yes, and, of course, the fabulous Clarity stencil brushes.

Having hinged everything together with lo-tack tape,  I masked off the ground area with copy paper, and started with the Stonewashed, then added a hint of Red Pepper over the top .  If that got a bit hot for my taste, I just brushed a little more Stonewashed over it to tone things down again.  I used a make up sponge to apply the Stonewashed to the ground area, then brushed in a hint of Red Pepper to tone in with the sky.

Once I was happy with that, I lifted the moon masks and brushed over the area with Stonewashed to leave the trees showing white across the moon.  I removed the tree stencil and used a make up sponge to give a little bit of shape to the moon, before brushing Stonewashed very lightly over the whole of the area within the aperture.

To finish off, I stamped the Happy Christmas across the top and edged it with the fat end of a blue promarker.  Oh yes and there is a fair bit of Glamour Dust to highlight the branches of the trees, although it dies not really show up.
  I also have to acknowledge inspiration from Mandy Branston, who joined me in playing with the idea one evening. I had fun with it and I hope she did too.  I am entering this card into the Claritystamp Challenge for this months which is on the subject of trees.  You cannot have too many trees and there are so many ways to use them all.

PS.  If you are kind enough to want to leave me a message, please do not be put off if there is a box popping up with the Word Verification.  I believe that if you just ignore it and press Publish, it goes through anyway.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

WOYWW 288 - a little late this week

Before I go any further, I apologise for the appearance of Word Verification on my comments page.  If anyone knows how to get rid of it, please let us all know.  I am one of many who selected NO to it but Blogger has put it in place all my itself and will not listen to my complaints.  I do seem to have removed it for now by changing from the pop up window to the embedded comments.  Please let me know if it comes back.  Meanwhile, does anyone know how to remove it from the pop up comments window?

Sorry I am so late on parade this week, but at least I have made it at last.  If anyone is still wondering what this is all about, I can do no better than refer you to our esteemed leader, Julia, who has loads of info already on her blog.  Have a read and then then come and join in.

Not really my desk this week as you can probably see, but this is the reason that my whole house turned into a desk over the past few weeks.

My daughter, granddaughter and I shared a table at a local school Christmas fair to sell our wares.  Not a major success, in fact, not a success at all.  We barely made our table money back.  As far as I could see, the only stall that really did reasonably was the Tombola which was full of alcoholic bottles.  I do not think even half the children and their families in the school even came to look, and this is a school with a reputation for good results in raising money like this.

My granddaughter was selling 5p and 10p sweets and was the only one of us three who made a profit.  I sold 6 cards all evening and brought my candles home intact.  Even the pocket money packs of 6 Christmas cards with crayons did not sell.  My daughter sold less than a quarter of what she would normally expect to sell at this event.  She deals in tiny micro craft items which she spends hours making - tiny fairy nut baskets and potion bottles and mini houses with individually applied roof tiles and windows.

I think it is a sign of the economic times with some of the companies in the area laying off workers and putting those that remain on reduced hours.

I have actually sold more cards since the sale than I sold all evening, and, at least, I have a lot of next year's Christmas cards already made and ready to write.  The candles will come in very handy when we get our likely power cuts over this winter.

I hope the rest of you had better luck at your events and that you are now all sorted with your Christmas preparations.  Now it is time I sent you on your way to visit more of those desks on show at Julia's.  Have a good week and I hope to get to visit as many of you as possible over the next few days.

Friday, 28 November 2014

R.I.P Jane Crosby

I could not summon up a Friday Smile today so I will just leave you with this link to the most inspiring blog I have ever read.

Please take the time to read Jane's story  and spare a thought for her family at this time.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Bespoke ink pads

Several people have asked for details of how to make the bespoke ink pads.  I could have done a few still shots but I could not do better than point you in the direction of the lady who taught me - Barbara Gray.  She just happens to have done a YouTube video on the technique from start to finish.  You can find this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HQIiRCLY8I&list=PLmytW2NIfA_ZD8Cjcgb8NDyHTPKh-yn-y

When you have made your ink pad and finished your stamping, keep the pad in the zip lock bag for future use.  If it has dried out when you want to use it again, just spritz it with water a few times, and if it has gone too far, just re-ink it.  Over a period of time, the ink migrates across the whole pad.  This is perfectly normal and just softens the blends in your stamping.  

These little cards were stamped with another Clarity stamp, one of the clever corners, using the same ink pad.  As you can see, each one is slightly different, depending on where you place the stamp on the card.

Once you have made your ink pad, you can just keep stamping and produce several similar cards in a very short space of time, always a useful trick if you are short of time.

Just one thing, I think it is a technique for using with see through stamps.  I am not sure that rubber stamps would give such a good effect, although there may be ways round it.  Let me know.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

WOYWW - 285

Happy WOYWW!  What are you talking about, I hear some of you say.  If you would like to know all about it, then I can do no better than to direct you to the desk and home of our leader, Julia, who can be found at Stamping Ground.

No sign of my real desk this week.  No change there, then!  I have just finished the bulk of my Christmas cards, written and sealed as well with letters done for those who need them.  Now I am gathering up all the crafting stuff that has wandered down from my craft room disaster.  It all has to go back and find a proper home - easier said than done.

I took the easy way out on Monday and found a new desk to work on which was not even in my own house.  Instead I took my stuff down to the local craft shop, Pink Tulip Creations for their Open Crafting morning. You just take what you fancy working on, whatever it is, and use their tables and their equipment if you wish.  This is what I was working on for the morning.  I used the Cut and Dry felt to create my own ink pads.  That way, once you  have the pad, the creation of the card is quick and easy, with slight variations in the colouring.  The vase itself is made by using a Clarity stencil brush to build up the shading through the stencil to show the shaping and shadows.  

 The small cards are printed with the same ink pad which gives a lovely more random design.  I am intending to use those as larger than normal business cards for the school Christmas Fair, at which I am assisting my daughter and granddaughter.  I still need to stamp my details into the centres.

I should be tidying up today, but someone has been extremely generous and given me one of the cold germs and I just am not in the right mood for tidying.  I want to do what I want to do, not what I need to do.  Loads of hot and cold (when I forget to drink it up) lemon, honey and ginger, paracetamol, not to mention hot chocolate with cinnamon in.  I do not have time for this cold, especially as I am supposed to be visiting one of my school friends over at Much Wenlock.

I am going to finish now as Julia does really like us to keep it short, so I will let you go off to a less germ ridden place to visit loads of more interesting desks all over the world.  Have a good week.  xxx

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Where has this week gone?

This has been a frantic week from start to finish, but, at least, I do have something to show for it.  So I don't feel too bad about the vanishing of the time.

As many of you know, I have had some problems over this past year or so with getting the caravan nto a condition that I can manage.  Each one of those problems has been sorted with the help of Broad Lane Caravans.  I did manage to get away once this year with the dogs and the caravan and proved to myself that I could do it.  It was within my capabilities.  Then came the decision that, yes, I could do it, but, do I still want to do it?  That was the question.

I finally made the decision at the end of last week.  My life has changed so much in the past 18 months and I need to follow through with a totally different life style, which no longer includes the hard work of taking the caravan away.  So, it is on its way to the dealers, who will sell it on my behalf, saving me the hassle.  Apart from the money for the van itself, it also will save me the cost of insurance, servicing etc, which will pay for quite a decent holiday each year or even for the Clarity Retreat.

So this week was partly clearing the caravan out, removing everything personal and things I wanted to keep.  Needless to say, the house is now a wreck until all the things have been found a new home.  I have enough paracetamol and ibuprofen to stock a chemist and as I have reduced my intake of painkillers since starting with honey and cinnamon, they will last me a long time.

Thursday was still chaotic with a dental appointment in the morning and my first visit to a painting club.  I am not sure about it yet.  They were very friendly and welcoming but they were all into fine art which, at the moment, is definitely not my strong point.  They were all doing beautiful paintings on large canvases or sheets of watercolour paper, and looked at me as something of an oddity with my gelli plate, brayer and stencils.  How they would have coped with Sam Crowe, who is so brilliant with the gelli plate, but known for her talent along the grunge lines.  I think that might have been a step too far for these ladies at the moment.  I shall go back, but I think that next time I will take ink pads, stencils and stencil brushes as being less confrontational for them

Friday was busy too as I had booked myself into a crafting club down at Pink Tulip Creations at Studley in the morning.  That was more comfortable with lots of ladies, all at different levels, but very friendly and helpful, keen to show what they had mastered and what everyone else had done.   The class was led by Angela Crompton, an old friend, the mother of two of our competition swimmers from when we were so involved with the swimming club.   A couple of ladies took the projected design and did it their way, with lovely results.  As it was my first visit, I went with the original, but being too busy chatting, I realised after I got home that I had made the classic mistake and created an Australian card, ie I had mounted it upside down.  Oops!

The original design was all blue and white, but after I had destructed it at home, I decided to mount it on a larger card, as that pack was right next to me.  Also, one of the other ladies had added pink flowers with tiny pink pearls,which was so pretty, and I decided to follow her example and used one of the small flowers from the Clarity Florabundance stamp.  The first generation stamp was far too bright as it was a very juicy ink pads, so all the pink flowers are second, third and fourth generation.  I also used a stencil brush and Stormy Skies (again because it was next to me) around the edges.  I edged it with  a Reef Blue Promarker.  Then I brushed the base card with the same Stormy Skies to soften the stark whiteness.

By then, I was deep into playing so I painted the birds and the flowers with a blue Wink of Stella  and used the pink one for the flower centres.

I shall definitely be going back to this club again, which gives me another view to add to the workshops with Barbara Gray, Maria Simms and Sally-Ann Haines.  All good fun.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday 281

Anyone who has landed here from an alien planet, this is a weekly get together of loads of crafting friends.  It is hosted by the lovely Julia from http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/, who will be delighted to see you and explain it all far better than I can.  So come and join us.

Please do not collapse with shock at seeing a post from me at last.  I know it has been so long and I have no idea where the time has gone.  I am still not back in my craft room as it still looks as it a bomb has hit it, but as the "C" word is creeping ever nearer, I have set up the picnic table in front of my comfortable chair downstairs so I can watch TV at the same time.  I am now into mass production, as these photos show.

 As you can see, today's production line is using 'Twas the Night Before Christmas from Clarity.  I have been doing a bit of stamping every time I went past the table, then I spent my evenings colouring them in with my lovely Derwent Coloursoft.  Last night and today was trimming them and brushing the edges with ink and sticking them onto the base card.  Tomorrow will be doing the inserts, although there are still a few to be coloured.

This is a box of cards made up from three kits that I already had, including a Dufex set, all still needing inserts and two of the sets need envelopes too.  None of these are intended for my own use but for selling at a school Christmas fair.  My daughter has been doing these fairs for some time with some success and I foolishly said that I would join her this year and see what happened with the things I can make.

I also came back from having a massage yesterday morning with an order from her to make 50 Christmas cards for her to send out to her clients.  I still have to price those up.

I happened to glance up from my gluing this afternoon and spotted this glorious rainbow - only a half one but very wide and brilliant.

While I have been busy, I was being watched by this pair of bookends, apparently sound asleep, but really coiled springs in case I got up to go somewhere interesting.  Even me going to the loo is interesting and they have to come too (probably safer as I can stop Gemma stealing and destroying anything she can reach).

As I am writing this just after midnight, I reckon it is time for bed, so I will stop rambling now and hope to see you all tomorrow.    Do go and visit Julia's blog and follow the links to all the other wonderful and varied people who will be there at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/  .

Happy un-Christmas!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


Warning!  This is quite a picture heavy post today.  

If you choose to just whizz through the pictures and then carry on to visit all the other desks on show at Julia's place, you are very welcome.  When you get there, there is plenty of help to explain what this blog hop is all about.  By the way, I took all these desk and garden photos yesterday while the sun was shining so that I did not need to use flash.

I did say last week that I would have trouble visiting due to various other things getting in the way, and, oh boy, was I right.  Life certainly got in the way.  I won't bore you with all the details.

My dining furniture arrived safe and sound and fits perfectly in the corner of the room, so that it does not get in the way walking round and getting from door to door (there are three doors in my dining room).  It is small enough for me to move on my own without having to eat a couple of tins of spinach, but big enough to do a little light crafting on.  As you can see, I have started with the very beginning of my effort towards the "C" word.  At the moment, you can see some stamping with the Twas The Night Before Christmas stamps, some to go to my grandchildren so they can colour them and make their own Christmas cards, but some for me to make a few to sell.  I shall sit and colour them in at night in front of the TV.  You might also notice one of my crafting companions, the little terror, Gemma.

Who! I'm good, I am!

These are some of the things I can see in my new raised beds from my new table .

I went round the garden centres and looked at their end of season bargains, and if the plants had bees or butterflies on them, they went in my trolley.

I love buddleias and I have found a variety that is supposed to be very small growing, so they should be easy to keep within bounds in these beds, and the butterflies have been on them ever since they arrived.
These daisy type flowers were smothered with bees so they were a definite.  I still have a load of small plants to get in to fill the spaces for later on.

Last week, I showed you the first batch of projects we did at Barbara Gray's fantastic two day Retreats in July.  This is the second day's projects.  This first one is still giving me problems, not because of poor teaching but due to a failure of my brain to send the right instructions to the fingers holding the inks.  

Everyone else succeeded, as you can see from this photo which I lifted from Barbara's blog, so I just need to get down to it and practice until I get it right.   I know what to do and think it is working until I see my final result.  The card we were using is superb, the new super shiny Chromo card which embosses so beautifully.

This next one is more successful and I really enjoyed playing with the shading, just using the Castle and Rooftops masks, one stamp and three of the word stamps.  Simple and engrossing to do.

This used one of the new stencils (which we all immediately bought from the shop) and involved the gelli plate, just turning the card halfway between the two colours.  Apart from that, it was just one of the remountable sets and a great sentiment, just what we all need at times to find our mojo.

Barbara has done a YouTube Tuesday video on this next technique so I won't go into details, except to say that my tear is a little too wide so I will add a couple of little birds above the sentiment to balance it out better.
We had 4 projects planned for us on each of the two days, but we were promised that if we worked well on the second day, we could have a play with something that is so much fun and everyone is doing it at the moment - shaving foam and inks.  We used the plastic plates from our lunchtime sandwiches, a spray of Tesco 26p shaving foam and a few drops of ink using just two colours, and the stencil we had used earlier.
Again, this is something that Barbara has done a video on, so I will not go into how we did it, but it was so much fun and a great play around end to a fabulous couple of days.  What I really love is that you have very limited control over the effect you get and it is impossible to replicate any result.

This is my final pictorial offering for this week - a great family get together at the weekend, with my son and daughter working together to get the lunch.

There are two things I am determined to repeat next year.  One is the WOYWW Crop, definitely not to be missed, and the other is the Clarity Retreat.

Meanwhile, I hope you have enjoyed my rather long ramble this week (Sorry, Julia) but now it is time for you to go back to WOYWW Central for Julia to direct you to other desks on offer.  Have a great week, all of you.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Once again, I am late for the roll call for WOYWW, mainly because I forgot what day it was AGAIN!   I also have to apologise at the lack of a desk this week, but I have not had time to get to it at all.  Instead, I have a few promised pictures to show you.

I have to boast a little this week.  I entered my Ginkgo leaf and Lady's Smock card in July's Clarity Challenge  the subject of which was "Anything Goes", and I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the top 5.  As you might imagine, I was so chuffed as it was done in 55 minutes and only entered at the very last minute.

Now all the Retreats are finished for this year, I can show you the lovely things we did with Barbara Gray in two wonderful days down at Crowborough, apart from hobnobbing with major Royalty.

Over the two days we did 9 separate projects, the final one being an extra that we were allowed for being very good and working fast earlier in the day.  None of the projects are finished articles.  Barbara teaches techniques that e can go away and adapt and perfect later.

The very first one was, I think, my very favourite, being very much in the style I most favour.  The flowers were stamped in their very own hand made ink pad, which was a fascinating thing to create.  I used the same technique for the Lady's Smock in the other card above.  I just love the delicate image it all produces.

This one is a work in progress as you can see, both in the background and the Christmas baubles too.  As I have said, Barbara teaches techniques and we did not spend the extra time to finish the colouring in.  I will get around to that very soon.

This design was the subject of a lot of discussion in the group.  We all loved the effect of the stencilling, but less certain about outlining the leaves and stems, but for the sake of trying it, we did do some to see what we felt afterwards.  I still have mixed feelings, but it is good to try these things.  The bauble in the centre was stamped on double sided adhesive, and the alcohol inks stamped all over the acetate, then laid over the top of the design.  The bird at the bottom was "zentangled" to give it more shape and interest.
 This was another of my favourites, giving us another brilliant use for the Gelli plate and its newly produced Mega Mount which allows it to be used as a giant stamp to create the reflections, and to position them perfectly on the card without going into major contortions.  The trees are from the set of trees and their mantles, such a useful set for all sorts of things.

I will reserve the other projects for another post very soon, otherwise Julia will not be impressed at the length of my contribution today.   I had a wonderful time down in Sussex and shall be booking again next year.  Even the dreaded M25 will not put me off, although that awful island at Headington comes close.

I will not be able to visit many of you until the weekend, due to furniture deliveries and plants to put in the new raised beds in the garden, but I will try to visit as many of you as possible.  Thanks for being such an excellent hostess, Julia, and all of you have a good week.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


I cannot believe it is Wednesday again.  What a frantic couple of weeks I am having!  I am still not sure what day of the week it is, never mind what I am supposed to be doing at any given time.

As you may have gathered by last week's very belated post,  The two day Clarity Retreat was a roaring success, and we are all looking forward now to next year's event.  All those who had been in previous years agreed that it was the best ever.  As it was my first experience of the two day event, I had nothing to compare it with, but I loved every second.

I still cannot show you any of the projects we did, as there are still a couple of sessions to go next week, and we do not want to spoil it for those still to come.  What I can show you is a card I did yesterday in 55 minutes from start to finish, using this month's Clarity New Design Club stamp and stencil.

The stencil was two Ginkgo leaves, and the stamp was the little spray of Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis (cuckoo flower or lady's smock), is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae, native throughout most of Europe and Western Asia.).  It is a pretty little wildflower that I always cherish in my garden.  It is delicate and understated.

I also used a technique I had already seen from Maria Simms and we actually did for the first time at the Retreat - that of making your own multi-coloured ink pad, using various shades of Distress inks.  If you keep your home made pads in a ziplock bag, then they are good to use for quite a while and will save no end of time if you want to do multiple stamps as I did on this card.

Each of the Ginkgo leaves was stencil brushed individually, starting with pale yellow and then shading down with two different greens.  I used the final green to brush around the corners and edges and then very lightly over the whole thing to create a misty effect.  For 55 minutes effort, I was quite pleased with this one.

As I am having more work done this week (the final run of raised beds and a path relaid (not to mention getting some repairs done to the neighbour's fence to keep my dogs from escaping) I am working downstairs on the computer desk - I am being very careful, Doug, not to get ink in dangerous places.  I am also taking the opportunity to mount up all the projects still outstanding from the workshops with Maria Simms and Sally-Ann Hanes.

I was going to make it very short and sweet, as Julia prefers, but once again, my fingers and brain did not quite compute that idea.  Anyway, it is time I sent you on your merry way with coffee cup in hand to visit WOYWW Central and meet all the other lovely people who meet up there each Wednesday.  I hope to meet up with you again as we wander round all the desks on show.  Have a great week.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Belatedly - WOYWW 268

I could not blog yesterday as I was driving home from East Sussex, and by the time I got home, I would have struggled to remember my own name.

Why was I in East Sussex, the other side of that huge barrier - the M25?  Some of you will already know that Barbara Gray of Clarity Stamps runs a series of two day Retreats, close to her home in Crowborough.  As soon as I heard about it, I booked my place.

What has all this got to do with my workdesk, I hear you ask?  If you have ever done a workshop with Barbara, you will know that it is very full-on and hard work with a lot of fun thrown in.  I shared my personal workdesk with seven other like minded ladies and we all had a wonderful time.  Barbara teaches the whole class of 32 herself with help, on this occasion, from Paul Church.  abilities and experience varies between us all, but that is not an issue, with patient help from Barbara and Paul, and others around you.

 Now, I hear you asking why we should be outside in the middle of a busy crafting day, peering round the building and through a gap in the trees.  What is this to do with crafting?  The answer is - nothing at all, but it was exciting.  Bear with me and all will become clear.
 This lead car might give you a mini clue, coming from the helicopter on the rugby pitch.
You might be able to recognise a very fit looking Prince Philip waving from the front seat.  He was on his way for a private engagement to visit one of his charity interests.  I think he was rather amused to see 32 slightly mad ladies in pinnies (and a couple of men as well), all waving frantically at him and waving cameras.
 We were sworn to secrecy until after the event to avoid possible security problems for the plain clothes police.  Once he had left for his visit,  we had to do our gym exercises for Barbara for the camera.
 You did not know she was also a gym instructor, but here she is showing her moves for us - Ta Dah!
 We did abandon our crafting once more to welcome the Prince back and wave him off in his helicopter.

Then it was back to our workdesks.  I cannot show you yet what we actually learned and produced, because of spoiling things for those still to come on the Retreats.  Once they are all over, then I will show all.  Until then, I can say that we got lovely and inky and thoroughly messy at times, and learned new things and new ways of using things we already had.

It was not just a crafting time, but a chance to get to know, in person, some of our Facebook and blog friends.  I would not have missed it for the world and I will be going next year for sure.

Now I am off to Julia's to log myself on to Mr Linky and to start looking around at some of your lovely desks to see what you have all been up to.  See you soon, I hope.