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, 30 April 2014

WOYWW 156

Hopefully, I am keeping things short this week, as Julia does ask us to.  It has been a hectic week so far and looks like being busy all the way through, with three or four things on each day.

I thought you might like to see the goodies that arrived on my desk yesterday from my two favourite companies.  Can't wait to get down to playing with them  

The Derwent box is what I have got to put in the caravan as it contains a small range of most things with room to stuff one or two extras, like the blending pens and water brushes. 

All the other things are from Clarity, including a couple of the new wheelies stencils (brilliant) and the second set of word chains.

Again there has not been a lot of time to craft with life getting in the way as usual, but I do need to gather some things together now for my Workshop with Maria Simms at Shrewsbury at the weekend, which should be fun.  A whole day just to craft with like minded people - bliss!

Then the following day, I am finally getting rid of my large dining table and eight chairs, which I no longer need, apart from the fact that I cannot move it to even vacuum properly.  Once that room is empty, I can vacuum it and then shampoo the carpet thoroughly before buying a new smaller table and chairs to take its place, something I can move on my own.

I hope you have all had a great week, doing whatever you desired, and now, perhaps, it is time you took your cup of coffee and wandered back to Julia's to meet up with some more crafting friends.  I hope to get round to meet as many of you as possible again this week.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Friday Smiles

Two very happy little grandaughters after a session of crafting.  It was after they had come to visit me last week, before I went away, and was also the first time I had seen Charlotte after her birthday, so I was able to give her her present.

I had given her a china model of this flower fairy a couple of years ago and then found the pack of shrinkles which I had kept for this year.  She is a very generous little girl and likes to share with her little sister.  Soon after they went home, I was sent this lovely photo, entitled "Done it". 

If you want to join in with something that makes you smile on a Friday, just follow the link to Annie's blog at  http://wipso-astitchintime.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 24 April 2014

TV and DVD sound qualitiy

In the wake of the row about the sound quality of this week's adaptation of Jamaica Inn, I have another gripe.  It is not just me who is complaining.  

If I watch a DVD, I have to sit with the remote in my hand and constantly adjust the sound levels.  The sound has to be turned up for the speech, and then turned down fast when music and sound effects come on.  This does detract from viewing pleasure, especially with the pained expressions on the faces of my dogs, who rush to hide in the furthest corner, making me feel so guilty.

I know I am not the only person with this problem and it is across the age ranges, so it is not just an age related problem as someone tried to tell me recently. 

We should not have to adjust the sound so much through a film.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WOYWW 255

 It is Wednesday (well, I cannot tell a lie, it is actually Tuesday while I am writing this) and that means What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW, the day when we all join Julia at Stamping Ground to see what everyone else is doing.

 I was MIA last week but I did have a lot to fit in, getting the caravan and myself ready for my first solo trip.  So this week's post shows you where my desk was, rather than what is on it.

I am quite proud of myself for managing to do all the things I need to know about, although I did accept help with things I knew how to do, like winding the legs up and down. 

This was my destination - Eastnor Deer Park, near Ledbury in Herefordshire, and this was the view from the front window.  The weather was a little mixed, some glorious sunshine and some very heavy rain (not heavy enough to wash the Sahara sand off the caravan or the motor).  The nights were chilly but, fortunately, the gas bottle ran out during the day and was easily changed over (must remember to replace the empty one).
Needless to say, some crafting was done, including a couple of sketches of the views.  I need to redo them before colouring in, and find a better way to show the different kinds of trees and bushes, but with the photo and the sketch I should be able to work it up to something better at my leisure.  The main thing was the practice in something I wanted to do, to draw my own landscapes.  This time of year is a good one to study the way trees grow as the leaves have not yet covered the skeleton of branches.

The birdlife at Eastnor has increased dramatically over the past few years.  On Sunday evening, I hunted the whole caravan to find out what the whirring noise was (others on the field were doing the same) before I suddenly realised it was outside and almost certainly birds.  At first, I thought it was some kind of owl, then I twigged that is was actually nightjars calling to each other.  There must have been around half a dozen around in the trees, and the calls were virtually non-stop until the cocks started to crow at first light.  I have never heard them before in the wild, only on wild life programmes on TV.  This YouTube video gives you a flavour of what we were hearing.
This is what the bird actually looks like.

This is something I have never seen at Eastnor either, a swan flying so low across the park from the castle lake to the fishing ponds at the other end of the park. 
On the whole, the weekend was a success and proved to me that I can continue to use the caravan on my own, which makes it easier to take the dogs away with me.  It also showed up a few faults with the van, which are probably partially due to lack of use over the last twelve months, like cupboards that don't want to open, the barrel of one of the outside locks coming out attached to the key and a couple of others.  However, the adaptations that Broad Lane did for me worked like a dream.  The motor mover had enough battery power to allow me to unhitch in the middle of the road and bring the caravan back onto the drive without having to reverse (don't do that, yet) and no physical effort more than pressing a button.  

Now I just need to get these faults sorted and I can start to book holidays again.  I shall go mainly to more of the type of site with full facilities and flat pitches to save the extra hassle of levelling. 

Then I shall put a permanent set of crafting stuff in the van so I don't forget.  I am curious about what you all think about the different kinds of colouring pencils.  I have always, from childhood, stuck with Derwent media and have most of their products, including my precious electric eraser (not due to laziness, but because of its precision.   However, a lot of people swear by Spectrum Noir so I thought it would be good to see if there were any better.  I took a set with me over the weekend, together with a tin of Derwent for comparison.  So far, the Spectrum Noir have not impressed me and they may get passed on to others to play with.  I am fairly sure that I will stick to the Derwent, which are, after all, made in this country.

This was supposed to be a short and sweet post.  Sorry, Julia, I have waffled on again.  Anyway, dear readers (as they say), if you have stuck with me to the end, I am sure you will enjoy visiting all the other desks on show.  All the instructions on how to join in can be found at Stamping Ground - easy peasy.



Monday, 14 April 2014

Geoff's Memorial

 I have talked recently of how great my family and friends have been, doing all they could to help.  I do count my neighbours in that. 
Geoff had spent all but a couple of years of his life in this road, and was the longest surviving resident.  The neighbours wanted to mark his contribution to life in the area, and decided that a tree would be a fitting memorial.
 So in May last year, they got together and we had an informal planting of this lovely little tree.  As it was such a hot summer, it was decided that everyone would give it a bucket of water to keep it growing healthily.  I think that it was rather more in danger of drowning than drying out, especially after all the rain during the winter.
This is the result this year, a beautiful little pear tree smothered in blossom.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Friday's Smiles

This was a picture posted by my daughter the other day on my Facebook page.  The moon is one of her own photographs.
I am just about to go off for lunch with Geoff's two twin sisters and his cousins, which will be good, but in the meantime if
 you need cheering up today, just go over to Annie's blog and see what is on offer over there. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Thursday play



This is my very first trial at putting one of my own videos on my blog.  There is not much footage here, because I really did not want to expose my precious camera to the salty spray.  It was also quite a strong wind, which was doing its best to blow me over.

I shot this on my trip down to West Bay in Dorset over the weekend.  Please excuse the boring and unnecessary commentary.

How many of you remember the series called "Harbour Lights" which starred Nick Berry and Tina Hobley.  That was shot down in West Bay, but they mostly had better weather.  I found some of those on YouTube last week so I copied and saved them to my Kindle Fire and watched some of them while I was down there.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

WOYWW 253

What's on my workdesk this week?  Absolutely nothing!  Well actually, I should really say that I have no idea as I haven't seen it for two weeks.  So this week is a non-desk week again, I am afraid.  I also have a big apology to make to many of you who were kind enough to leave me some lovely comments last week, and I did not get back to you.  I am sorry, but I did have a few minor and a couple of major meltdowns during the week and time vanished in the process.  I did read them all and intended to answer you over the weekend, but I was away and had no internet access at all.

 I went to see the sea.  This photo flatters the weather.  It really was not that bright.  I left home in sunshine and as I left the motorway at Taunton, so the weather started to close in on me, to the extent that I could see nothing of the countryside either side of the road.  The clouds just came down and sat on the hills, and emptied themselves on the roads.
Some of you may recognise the place as West Bay, the seaside part of Bridport in Dorset.  I had gone down for an annual reunion with three of my school friends, two of whom now live in the area.My idea had been to hit the coast at either Lyme Regis or Weymouth and just wander gently along the coast till it was time to book in at my B&B.  However, the weather put an end to that idea, it was totally pointless in the fog.  I got out of the car on the sea front and nearly got blown over.  Obviously nowhere near the terrible storms earlier in the year, but still strong enough and wet enough to send me straight back in the car.

We had a great day together on Sunday with a whole year of gossip and general chat to get through.  The day went far too fast and it was very soon time to say goodbye again, and go our separate ways till next time.

The next day, some very kind walkers brought all my things downstairs and put them all in the car for me, which saved me so much effort.  Then I drove up onto the sea front again to say goodbye to the sea.  Still blowing a gale and lots of spray.  The diggers are still busy up there repairing the sea defences and dredging the harbour entrance.  Armies of workmen are busy repairing the roofs of the holiday chalets after the storms.

Again, the photos are making it look brighter than it was in reality.
 That cliff is now looking distinctly dodgy and you can sometimes see people standing on the edge of the cliffs - they cannot have any idea of how little precarious land is beneath their feet.
Today (Tuesday) I have just done nothing really, recovering from the energy expended at the weekend, both physical and emotional.  Tomorrow is another day and time to get back to sorting my craft room finally so that I can play with all my lovely NEC treasures.

Time for those of you who are still with me to go back to Julia's to find all the wonderful desks on show this week over at Stamping Ground.  Have fun and I will do my best to follow you round this week. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Remember the good times and don't be afraid to talk about them

Some of you may remember this poem and the words that follow it.  They formed part of the service at the Crematorium.  Twelve months on, they are just as true and just as important to me.

Feel no guilt in laughter, Geoff knows how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that Geoff is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; Geoff would not want you to.
 He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you care,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared. 
Let memories surround you, a word someone would may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings Geoff back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that Geoff is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And Geoff will live forever locked safely within your heart.
Never be afraid to mention Geoff, to enjoy memories of things that happened when he was with us.  Yes, there may be tears, but that is normal.  Don't worry about it.
Take time throughout your life to laugh and make good memories. In the end, they are what hold you
together in the bad times.
My wonderful husband died suddenly and far too soon, and my happy memories and all the wonderful tributes from everyone and your memories you have shared with us are a great comfort.
I am lucky to have incredible children and friends and we are getting through. Do all you can to fill your lives with joy from the simple things of life.
Don't waste time arguing about the totally pointless things in life.  Treat every moment as if it were the last.  If anyone tries to put you down or upset you, remember that they are not as lucky as you.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

WOYWW 252 - Outdoor desk

This week's post is fairly photo heavy so I will try not to waffle too much.


This is my crafting this week and probably next week too.  Inside crafting is limited to a bit of knitting etc at night.  While it is nice, I have loads of plants to put out in the garden, ones that are able to cope with a bit of frost, and one or two others that I am taking a bit of a risk with. 


This is my new greenhouse, which was put in at the end of last year.  I won't show you the other one this week as it is just a storehouse for all the pots that have come out of the shed, which is due to be demolished very soon before it falls down.

I ordered a lot, and I do mean a lot, of tiny plug plants, all ready to pot on.  I would normally have taken more time to grow them all from seed, but this is the first year of my new garden with its raised beds (more of those due to be built soon), and I needed to cram them as full as possible to cut down on the weeding and give the maximum colour throughout the year.  Some, including two trays of Sweet Williams, will not flower till next year.  Others are annual and should give me a good show this year.


I have tried to choose plants that smell nice, or attract bees and butterflies, and it seems to be working already.  I have had some of the huge bumble bees and loads of butterflies already, coming in to the small number of plants I have planted out so far.


These two beds are still looking quite good although the daffodils have gone over now, but other things are starting to take their place.  Because I was busy in the greenhouse trying to finish off the potting on, I was very late taking my photos, hence the flash photography.  Needless to say, all my photos were taken on Tuesday evening.

If you are wondering why I should be showing you pictures of my garden, it is all down to Julia, who leads our Wednesday group of snoopers.  If you slip over to Stamping Ground, you will find loads of other people who are showing their desks.  Have fun looking around.  As you have gathered, indoor crafting has given way for me at the moment to outdoor creation, so I hope you will forgive the absence of paper, pens, stamps etc.  They will make a return very soon.