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.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Northern Lights - thanks, Shaz.

 While at the WOYWW Crop last week, I took the opportunity to learn a bit more about something I had seen Shaz Silverwolf blog about on a couple of occasions.  If you take a look at this link onto her blog, she will explain the process far better than I can.
I also followed the link on Shaz's blog to where she found it and found a whole load of YouTube videos on the process.  Some of them were better than others.  Some were so dark that the stamped images were totally lost in the background, which I reckon is a shame.

I did have a slight problem when I came to scan these images.  For some reason the scanner brought them up far brighter than they really are, so I did adjust them on the computer to tone them down a touch.  
 All the stamps I used are Clarity stamps, and I have a number of others which I think will fit the technique well. 
It is a lovely messy thing to play with and it really is similar to using the Gelli plate in some ways, in that it is virtually impossible to repeat a design.

I used a mixture of Adirondacks and Distress ink pads, depending on what came to hand, and stamped with Archival black.

As I said, this was what I learned from Shaz, so I must thank her and those she followed.  Now I just need to trim and mount these.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Post WOYWW Crop - Day 2

 After a good night's sleep and a relaxing day on Sunday, Monday dawned damp and threatening.  I didn't care.  I set off with a vague plan to visit Bowood Rhododendron and Azalea gardens, but not really sure exactly where it was.  On the way, I suddenly found Silbury Hill.  You couldn't really miss it if you were on the right road.

It is very noticeable how many hawthorn bushes there are in the area, which is not surprising when you remember that it is a tree of Celtic mythology and magic.  Apparently, you should have sprigs of hawthorn among the rafters of your house to protect it from evil spirits.  I did move on from the layby to the Silbury Hill viewing spot, which was beautifully set out and very peaceful.  I don't think many people bother to go in there, and just make do with the view from the main road.

I carried on from there towards Calne which is supposed to be a good place to look around, but I wasn't in the mood for towns, so I tossed up whether to head for Chippenham or Wootton Bassett and at the last moment turned the wheel to Chippenham.  Then I realised that I had arrived at Bowood.  Unfortunately, as I pulled onto the field that acted as the main car park, I realised the ground was very claggy and the rain had arrived with me so I drove straight out and carried on, passing the sign to Lacock on the way.  So that is two possible places to visit next time I am down there.

From there, I literally just took whichever lane looked interesting, and quite by chance came to somewhere I had been trying to find without success.  I had seen West Wood on a leaflet as being very pretty with loads of bluebells.  Trundling along a very narrow lane with half a dozen cars behind me (that was good as it meant I had the weight of numbers if we met anything coming towards us), I suddenly saw the Forestry Commission sign saying West Wood.  I didn't get out of the car, as it was very muddy and I did not want to fall and possibly cause an injury, especially as phone reception was non-existent again.  It was a lovely spot, quite dark and mysterious under the heavy tree canopy.  These photos really do not convey that feeling, but it was very beautiful.

 From here, I reset Jane to take me back to the pub at Oare for another lovely lunch, which meant that I just did not want to eat again for the rest of the day.  From there, it was back to more trees, this time at Postern Hill in the Savernake Forest, just outside Marlborough.

As it was raining quite hard by then, I expected it to be very quiet up there.  I was totally wrong.  I was amazed and pleased to see so many families there with young children, sitting out at the picnic tables in the rain, just having fun.  None of the children (all ages) were glued to their technology, and none of them were whinging.  They were all having fun, as I was watching them.

Once I got back to Burbage, it was a case of rejigging the car to clear the back seat so that I had room to collect the dogs from the kennels on the way past Evesham, which saved me an hour of extra travel and fuel.

Despite a lot of traffic on the road, I had an excellent journey home with no holdups anywhere.  A good end to a good break.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Post WOYWW Crop - Day 1

 If you saw my post from yesterday, you will know that I was away over the bank holiday, down in Wiltshire at the WOYWW Crop, which was Saturday.  There was no way that I was going to drive there and back in one day, so a B&B was the order of the day.

This was where I ended up - Upper Westcourt,  right on the edge of the village of Burbage.  What a gem!  A real home, welcoming, comfortable and peaceful, just the place to unwind and relax.  Comfy beds, everything you could need and an excellent breakfast - nothing was too much trouble.
This is just part of the lounge available to visitors, overlooking the lovely garden.  All round the house there were huge vases of home grown flowers filling the house with their perfume.  Even the bedroom had a small vase of lilies of the valley, a really nice touch.

I decided that it would make sense to spend another couple of days in the area to relax and do the touristy things.  I have never explored that area.  When I was young, we either drove straight through on our way down to the sea or went to Marlborough to visit my godmother.  She was a bit of a gypsy, in that she had at least two addresses in Lockeridge, one in Burbage and I know of two definite addresses in Marlborough itself. 

Sunday, the day after the Crop, I did have a semblance of a plan, in that I wanted to go to Avebury.  I found my way to the Visitor Centre, but decided that I really was not in the right frame of mind to get my buggy out and go all round, so I carried on into the village itself and parked up at the Red Lion pub.  It was getting towards coffee time, so I just sat in the sun and giggled at the odd things that the tourists were saying.  Opposite the pub was a victorian aged red brick cottage with a thatched roof, and one lady was asking the coach driver if it was an original Avebury house.  I am not sure what she thought it was original to, when it was surrounded by the stones of the circles.  The pub was far older, but she barely glanced at that.

This was the view I had from the pub.  The concrete bollards were put in some years ago to mark where stones had vanished from.  I liked Avebury.  It was so much more relaxed that Stonehenge seems to be.  You could walk freely among the stones and get the feeling of the place. There was no-one to pester you and hurry you on.

On the way to Avebury, I suddenly saw a signpost to Lockeridge and dived off to have a look.  I was actually a road too soon and came to Fyfield, but I think this was the church that my godmother had her youngest son christened at and chose me to be his godmother.  I still need to find the original photo to compare.

From Avebury, I decided that I might go and have a nose at Stonehenge.  I had intended to book a visit - you cannot just turn up on spec these days.  You even have to book a car park space and a visit for a definite time.  I foolishly thought I might just get close enough to get a photo - what a "mistaka to maka".  The queue was manic and I had to wait just to turn round to get out, totally disorganised as far as I could see.  The car park is miles from the monument itself, you cannot even see it over the hill.  I shall not bother to try that visit again, unless someone likes to helicopter me directly to the stones.  Avebury was much less stressful.

I decided that I would carry on down the main road south and see if there was a layby where I could pause for a photo.  No chance!  I could see it but no chance of stopping and it looked so small.  I looked at the other side of the road, two lines of stationary traffic and thought no way was I joining in that to go back. So I just took the next left turn, reprogrammed Jane to take me  roughly back in the right direction.  By now, I was starting to get a little peckish, so I was on the lookout for a decent pub to eat.  Eventually I found a place called the White Hart at Oare.  I would certainly recommend it to anyone - excellent food in comfortable surroundings and a welcoming couple as the owners.

The one downside of B&Bs is that they do like to have the house to themselves during the day to live their own lives.  After lunch, it was still too early to go back and I didn't have anything in particular on the agenda.  However, on my way to Avebury, I had noticed a car park right on top of a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside, so I pulled in there and just relaxed, watching the walkers and the general wildlife.  This was my view without even getting out of the car - perfect.  There was another advantage or disadvantage, depending on your outlook, there was no phone signal at all, absolutely zero reception.  You would expect that the top of a hill like that would give you good coverage, but I put it down to the magic of the stone circles just over the hill.

Back at Upper Westcourt, I decided I need to craft, but it had to be clean crafting.  I could not possible take paint and ink into that lovely house, so it was down to parchment work, clean as you could get.  This was what I did.  I had already done an ink drawing before going away and thrown the parchment tools into the car at the last minute.  I had forgotten how relaxing this craft is.  It was taken from a photo I took a couple of years ago down at Hunters Inn in North Devon, when the bird very obligingly posted perfectly for me.

That is all for today, but I will continue my break tomorrow for anyone who is interested.  Have a good day.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

*******WOYWW 260*********

 It cannot have escaped everybody's memory that this is a special get together for the WOYWW Deskers - 260 meetings - five whole years.  That is a great achievement so congratulations to Julia for hosting us all for so long.   

It also cannot have escaped your memory that this last weekend was part of the celebrations - a Crop down at Burbage, where around 25 deskers got together to chaft (my new word for the week - a combination of craft and chat, with a little more chat than craft).  A really great day and I cannot wait for next year to do it all over again.  I have even provisionally booked my B&B again.
Here we all are, gathered together, some new visitors and some from previous years all ready to have fun.  We certainly did.  Some crafting, many different kinds, and a lot of chatting, and the eating of an excellent lunch provided by Lunch Lady Jan.
The photographer was kept busy with everyone's cameras so that we all had the record that we wanted.
Some deep conversation going on here.

 Deep concentration from Shaz - I must have a go at her Northern Lights technique tomorrow (blow the unpacking) before I forget what she did.
 Interesting conversation and expressions here!
 Intense determination!
 Debbie recording a momentous moment in her recent life.
Shaz still deep in concentration with her Northern Lights inking.  They are so beautiful.

I will finish now as there are so many others for you to visit.  However, I do want to say a very big thank you to Julia and to Lunch Lady Jan for making it such a great day.  It was so good to meet friends in person at last. 

If you were not at the Crop, and would like one of my ATCs, please get in touch.  There were a number of envelopes there for people who could not get there in person, so I have left an ATC in each of those, but I do have some left to send out to the first people who want one.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Post Crop- more to follow

No pictures from me yet, just an apology for my seriously late replies from last Wednesday.  Internet access here is poor and even my phone lost the network today.  Being on top of a hill does not necessarily improve a non-existent signal.  I have read all your lovely comments, for which I thank you, and I will try to catch up with you all asap.  Thanks to Julia and Lunch Lady Jan, we WOYWWers had a whale of a time at the Crop.  Photos etc to follow, as I have no idea how to transfer photos from the cameras to the tablet without the aid of a pc.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

WOYWW 259 - One week to go!

 Only one more week to go and then we all need to sing to Julia to celebrate her 5th anniversary of trying to keep us lot in order every Wednesday.

In case, there is anyone visiting today, who has not heard of WOYWW (What's On Your Wworkdesk Wednesday), then just take a moment to slip across to Stamping Ground, otherwise known as Julia's Place, where she will explain it far better than I can.

 This is where I am working at the moment, as my craft room floor is still strewn with too much stuff being sorted to allow me and the dogs to get in there together.  It is actually Tuesday evening, so it is beginning to get darker, although we have been spared the heavy rain that we were promised.  If it does not come overnight, I might have to water some of my new plants out in the garden - that does not mean I want it to rain for the rest of the summer, so no rain dances, please Julia.

You may have noticed that there are one or two Cosmic Shimmers in the shot, together with some jars of Pinflair Buff-It.  By the way, there were some Pinflair  glitter pastes there too, but they have been relegated to the kitchen for safety's sake.  I nearly had a very glittery computer.  Took the top off one jar, ready to use a hint, and found that it is more of a liquid than a paste and I had a handful!!!

I have been playing with the Perfect Pearls again and the gilding flakes and you can see one result of that playing - a personalised ruler.  No good for using a blade with, but part of an idea for presents for children, with their own designs on and their names on the reverse.

I wish we had smelly blogs so that you could appreciate the fantastic perfume filling the room from this one small flower.  I only picked it because the stem was broken, otherwise it would have remained in the garden with all the others spreading their perfume around the neighbourhood.  I shall be busy soon, taking loads of cuttings to increase the numbers of plants.
Clarity have recently brought out a lovely bag to carry stuff around.  I have one already filled with my storage books of stencils and other similar stuff, but the other one was standing up against it, until Gemma decided it would make an excellent dog bed.  She was less than impressed when she was evicted and the bag moved (theoretically) out of her reach.  Four times before she got the message, then she tried for the one that was already packed.  Such an angelic little dog - NOT!!!
Right, I am off now to refill my coffee cup and relax before bed.  I will link up as early as I wake up in the morning, and then hope to visit as many of you as possible.  Don't forget the Anniversary next week.  Till then, Julia is waiting to welcome you to her place and send you of to visit others.  Have a good week.

PS.  If you can find the time, I thoroughly recommend doing what I have just done - going right back to the beginning of this great blog hop and reading some of Julia's posts from then   I had a real giggle.  By the way, Julia, I wish I had learned the rule of three much longer ago (although with acrylic paints, it is a rule of four, given that I have now mislaid two complete sets this year).  I need at least three sets of everything, one for the house, one for the caravan and a third because I can't find the one in the house and the caravan has gone to be serviced - you know the way it goes!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Craft A Scene - Make Your Own Garden, Week 3

What better at this time of year in England than to look at the lovely flowers in our gardens, just as we are going into early summer, with the sun shining.  This month's challenge over on Craft A Scene is to Make Your Own Garden.  Remember that you must show us a completed project, with a foreground and a background to compliment it.

This is my third offering for this month as part of the Design Team.  Sadly, having moved all my stamps around, I cannot remember who made this particular series of stamps (If anyone can identify it for me, please let me know so that I can add that information to this post.).  It was stamped onto watercolour paper, and coloured in with Derwent watercolour pencils, with the addition of the Derwent Inktense pencils, especially for the red flowers in the foreground.  The butterfly was, not surprisingly, a cover up for an errant blob of red.  I have loads of sparkly butterflies to hand to cope with things like that which could ruin a nearly completed card.  The topper has been edged with a Krylon Gold Leaf pen, and then mounted on to the lavender pearlescent card.

If you are not sure about entering, just have a quick look at the Rules for Craft A Scene, and then join in   I look forward to seeing all your wonderful entries very soon.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Annie's Friday Smile Week 69 - could be a bit scary!


This is my son, looking a bit on the scary side, in his full diving gear.  Someone commented that he was obviously the man who caught Nemo.  Not sure where he was , but it would probably be some mucky river or quarry lake, looking for  sunken cars etc.

I don't know if this makes you smile but it did  for me.  I am sure you will find some other things to smile about over at Annie's (http://wipso-astitchintime.blogspot.co.uk/  ).  Have a lovely smiley week. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

WOYWW 258 - Panic is subsiding

 Not my normal desk this week, but it is where I am working at the moment, so that is my excuse.
I can't really show you a lot either as what I am working on will not be going public until the WOYWW anniversary.  

All you can see is the things I was working with.  There is some spray adhesive, a box that once held Carte Noire and now is the pot to catch gilding flakes, Archival ink, Perfect Pearls, some small pieces of card and a bag of ATC envelopes from Clarity, a paint brush, scissors and a blade. There are also a couple of Clarity stamps.  That is all the information I am giving you.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know why I have been missing from the blog scene.  Life has been fairly hectic, which is not abnormal these days.  I went away in the caravan over Easter, for the first time on my own.  Things went reasonably well and I was very grateful to Tattered Rocks Debbie and her husband, who came over to give me help to set up and also to hitch up to come home, and I was very grateful for that help.

Since then, I cannot find the charger for my camera batteries.  Unfortunately, all three of the cameras I now own have flat batteries (although I did get enough to do today's pictures - just).  Two of the cameras use the same charger which is not helpful.  I have also managed to lose two packs of acrylic paints.  Maybe they are with the battery chargers.  Tomorrow, a major search is in order, I reckon for both lots of stuff.  I have ordered some more, because I know they will not be wasted, but they may not arrive before I go away again.

The other thing that has kept me busy is doing a course last weekend with the Caravan Club on how to handle my caravan, including reversing.  I have towed for 38 years but never reversed even one inch, so I thought it might be a good idea to come to grips with the principles, even though I have a motor mover fitted.  I did learn a lot, and the instructors were very good at bringing the mystique of reversing down to very simple levels that we could all understand.  I was fascinated to notice that the women on the course were better than the men at reversing.  I think the men were a little over confident and tried to do it at speed.  The ladies, on the other hand, listened carefully and took everything very slowly and got it right.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Craft A Scene May week 2 - Make Your Own Garden

Apologies for my very late posting today.  I will explain why later.  anyway, this is my second DT offering for this month's challenge from Craft A Scene which is entitled "Make Your Own Garden".

This one follows on from the one I showed you last week, being another of my lovely embroidery designs, acquired from an aunt.  Again, I estimate that the design is over 100 years old, but I love these images, and I am not sure that I could shade them as well with embroidery threads.

I scanned the original image and then printed it out onto Clarity silk card and left the ink to set very thoroughly.  Then I went in with Promarkers to add the colour.

Come on, it is now your turn to show us how you interpret this theme.  Remember that you must have a foreground and a background to your completed offering.  I am looking forward to seeing what you do within these rules.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Craft A Scene for May - Card 1

A very simple card today as my first DT offering for this months' challenge, which is Create A Garden.

I have to admit to being a little short of time this month, so this one is really very simple.
When an old aunt died, I acquired her large box of embroidery designs, many of which must be somewhere around 100 years old.  When trying to decide what to do with them I realised that some of them would make good digi prints, so I scanned all those I liked.

This has been printed onto the Clarity shiny card, and allowed to dry for just over 48 hours.  Anything around that time, as long as possible,, allows the ink to set, so that it does not bleed when you colour in.

You still need to take care.  I used Promarkers to colour the image, with Adirondack ink pads to give me the background grass and sky.  You can get quite a good depth of colour with Promarkers, and shading, especially if you give them a chance to dry between layers.

I like using things that would otherwise be thrown away - I would never have time to turn all these into true embroideries - but this way, the designs live again.

Now, I hope you will all go over to http://craftascene.blogspot.co.uk/  where you will find full details of this month's challenge, and the rules you need to stick to.  Do have a go and let us see how beautiful is your garden.