Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The first one came when Carys lost her baby. They are reading "Flour Babies" by Anne Fine at school and all had to choose some sort of baby to adopt for 3 weeks. Carys chose a potato called Wilibur. There was no more devoted mum. She would wash him, talk to him, read the bible to him... she took him to school in a little bag inside her big bag which she left open "so that he could breathe" and on getting to school discovered he had fallen out along the way never to be found. She was distraught. She called herself "the worst mother in the world". The weekend gave some perspective and now she has a new child called Javier. Who WON'T need as much air on the way to school.

The second came when my computer died. The hard drive is fine - but there is something crook. There was a time when I thought the edits I had done to my essay were lost as I didn't back up as carefully at home. And then the laptop stopped working so for one bad moment I thought that I might have to start the whole thing again. But Phil has grafted my hard drive to another computer - which has a dodgy keyboard. And I handed my essay in yesterday. Phew! All done for the year. I keep worrying I have failed. But that is how I am.

The third has been trying to find a dress. I won't go into the long and tedious trips out. I now have a very nice if rather boring little black dress. It is the Monsoon one I loved only in black. I knew it would suit me. Still want the green one!

Other shopping news - had a fab few hours at the Imagine That open day on Saturday. I watched Paula Pascual demo with grungeboard and art from the heart powders and paper artsy stamps. She was so inspiring. And I did a make and take card too which caused me to buy some more new stamps from Paper Artsy. I love their new ones - not so scary!

Onto craft stuff. I am limited with what I can do on this puter. But I have a new one coming tomorrow. We are really computer reliant at Nevard Towers. So I am not going to attempt to show you the Template that Kathy did for the Little Extra on Daring Cardmakers this week - just clik on the link to see it.
Here is my take on it
I used those lovely alien stamps I bought and some Cogsmo papers from Cosmo Cricket (I usually like the name but it is the C that stiks on this mahine)

On Monday I did a Scrapitude pre crop. You had to make a layout, then a card and tag from the scraps. Now I am sorry about the size of the layout. It may get bigger if you clik on it.
It is called "O I do like to be beside the seaside" and the rest of the blurb says "even when it is freezing" "and you are at the mouth of the Clyde not the beach". It was cold watching Carys and Phil! The paper is Pink Martini. I traced the scallop shape (I love it so a the moment!) The heart is bazzill and the flash card is from a self addressed kit. I have an Around the Block version of a Dymo which I used.
And here are the other items
I am slowly filling up my holiday album. Just as well as summer approaches!

That is enough of sticky letters for now. Roll on the new omputer (but thank goodness the hard drive is ok and I really, really will back everything up now honest)

Friday, April 25, 2008


Well the essay is really very nearly done. For some reason I really get myself in a twist over important things like that. I get all churched up inside and it takes me forever to do the simplest part of it. If I could just put my big girl pants on and deal with it I would have felt sooo much better. I know this. But do I do it? No. Anyway I just have the Bibliography page to do and then I am FREE! until next year. I have actually loved doing the course and found it hugely useful. I love going to Cambridge and I love my student discounts! Just don't particularly love actual hard work. Although as it reflects on an aspect of my ministry I hope to find it helps one of my churches in the long run.

All my stupid self indulgent angst yesterday meant that I got my Daring Cardmakers card done in daylight hours! And as I was distressed with myself, distressing the card seemed apt! Keryn has dared us to
Distress your cards.
You can make a card for any season, any holiday, any occasion but you need to use either a fingernail, curled edges, sandpaper, tearing, anything you like really as long as looks like it's had a fair bit or wear and tear.

I decided to make a distressed flower my focus for the card and after choosing some old Gin X papers from my stash I was away.
I used my Nestabilities dies as the circles come up lovely and close together (and I get some upper arm exercise using the Cuttlebug) The cream curcles and stms are from some cardstock. All the papers were sprayed, crumpled and distressed. The pink bazzill background was roughed up with my Basic Grey precision file kit but I think I need to use a new file as it didn't really do much damage. And I ripped the flower paper as you can see. Everything was distress inked to within an inch of its life. I really, really wanted not to outline on this card. But it looked naked without. Here is a self indulgent close up of the flower in its crumpled glory and its cute little button from my button box.
I also finished off a layout that has sat for a while. It goes in our holiday album. We have some great photos from the holiday that I just like making into random memories rather than giving any sense of chronology
I have had these little scraps of material for an age and thought they would look funky on a layout. I'm not sure I have totally pulled the look off but I love the sentiment! (It doesn't matter where we are {the Pizza Hut in Glasgow in this case} you are always at home in a book). Which, apart from having to carrying said books around - and two of them prefer 500 pagers - makes life loads easier when you are out and about.
The material scraps are from Bits N Pieces - I bought them at the Stitch show. The two stamped scraps are identical but shiny gold doesn't photograph well. I used Purple Onion stamps. I also used Scenic Route Grafton papers and stickers, Adorn it stickers and um, some other letter stickers and some Acrylic Dabber paints.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Now often I struggle with Salt layouts. In a good way. Part of the joy of Salt is working out how to convey what I want to say with photos, paper, ink and glue! But this one eventually came together a lot more quickly. I say eventually because my first idea was vetoed.
Hazel chose the theme of Contentment
I was drawn to Philippians 4, particularly verses 11, 12 and 13, where Paul says:
'I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.'

My first idea was to have a picture of me jumping in the air, launched from a trampoline, possibly with Carys as well. This was inpsired by the book I have just read - Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. He is so wonderful to read - or watch on the Nooma series of films. And he talks about faith like jumping up and down on a trampoline. But Phil did not look content at the idea of dragging the trampoline out from under the tree and putting the washing line away. So I changed my mind. In retrospect I think the idea of me jumping is much more attractive than the physical reality would have been...

SO I decided to do a slideshow of photos until one spoke to me. And the one that did was rather unexpected.
We went to the Big Pit whilst in Swansea. On the day of a Museum workers strike. (Just typical that) But the Iron works round the corner was open and free so we went there instead. It had been used for a BBC Wales programme where families lived in some of the houses and worked as ironworkers last year so it was fascinating. They used this water pump to get their water. AS people always used to do. And many in the world still dream of getting water this easily. So it got me thinking...
The backing paper and the two cut outs are from Cosmo Cricket Wanted. A must have that hasn't been much used. The other paper (double sided) is from Scenic Route Grafton. the little word stickers are Adornit. the circle ones from my QVC kit of years ago. the typewriter ones I can't remember but suspect came in a Self Addressed kit, as did the green journalling block. (Hiding the fence that rather spoils the photo!)
The gorgeous ribbon came from my window sill. It had been there for ages waiting to be used and was just right. (And it isn't squiffy in real life!) I couldn't remember how it got there until it came to me that it wrapped my Secret Santa present from the wonderful Gillian Hamilton. See it pays to be untidy!
Here is a close up of my journallingI almost didn't manage it this time but I am always surprised that I can take a scrap of paper and write on it and finish what I have to say in just the space I have been given. Not the most useful gift ever, but a handy one for a crafter!

Have a look at the amazing variety of interpretations on the Salt blog. There is so much inspiration there.
I have to finish off my essay today ready to take to Cambridge on Tuesday and I am procrastinating madly. It isn't helped by the fact that the kids are home. Its not the interruptions - its the noise of the computer games.
And getting told off for being messy...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Copper load of this

Took me ages to come up with the blog heading!
And it is all to do with it being Little Extra day on Daring Cardmakers. I decided that I had to join in as it would be a great excuse to buy the copper Dabber to continue building up a rather gorgeous set. I don't always use these paints as dabbers as some don't come out easily. But I love the colour and consistency soooo much!

We are starting a little series of cards based on wedding anniversaries. This week it is 7 (why start at one, that is boring) and so the theme is
'Wool or Copper'

My next anniversary is 20th. That sounded like a good excuse for a present so I looked up the gift for that. China. Humph. I don't want china. Incidentally we are going for some posh nosh to celebrate. Which is also an excuse for buying. In this case a nice dress. There was one I have had my eye on in Monsoon - a real treat for me. Price was good, colour lovely, style would suit. I just didn't have time to try it on. It was in the shop for six weeks. Until the week when I did have time. And they have a whole new stock range in Monsoon. Now it was a summer dress - small straps and sleeveless. How can it be out of season already? Gah. There are lots more nice dresses around but of course none as nice as "my" dress. Sulk. Now I am going to have to go clothes shopping in a serious way. Which I don't like. Although NO new dress would be worse...

Anyway my witter is over for today. Here is my card!
A white square card, covered in 2 Basic Grey Perhaps papers. The flower paper was ct out and raised on foam pads. I also covered a grungeboard scroll with copper dabber and cut it up to add something extra. Finally I dabbed dots of copper around the edge of the card and added a hand written sentiment.

I am trying hard to keep to my "make a layout, make a card" rule. So here are some more cards made using Lynden by Scenic Route. All very sweet and simple, using some very basic but highly usuable templates by Nichole Heady
I had a real treat yesterday - it was a Christmas present actually - a facial! Someone at Phil's church is a beautician who comes to the house. I have never had a facial before - it was amazing. Phil reckons that some of my lines look less prominent. Mind you I think they were back in the afternoon when the class I led at Imagine That turned out to be less straightforward than I had thought! The lovely cards were made using die cuts of chocolate and cake and were a tad more fiddly than we might have believed. I think the ladies were pleased in the end though. On Saturday Paula Pascual is doing some Paperartsy demos at the shop so I might just have to pop in! Its worth a look if you are anywhere near Upminster

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hot and Spicy

that is the Daring Cardmakers theme this week. Makes me fancy a curry! Actually I'd settle for a hot water bottle and bed today but there we are!
We'd like you to take the phrase
"Hot and Spicy"
and make of it what you will.
It could be colour themed, food themed or maybe have just a hint of saucy spicy-ness
I decided to do a Kraft coloured base as it can make colours pop in a different way to white. Now I'm not so sure if white wouldn't have been better!
It is another Kristina Werner inpsired card. I just love the way she takes simple strips and makes things look lovely. I have a way to go...
The papers are all Marieke Vermeulen free downloads from a while back, given the old doodle treatment. The chipboard letters are Heidi Swapp, coloured in with a sharpie pen and the ribbon is a little bit of lushness bought when I was seriously into embroidery. Still love it but paper is my passion right now!

I've been really loving seeing what people have done with my doodle tutorial from Tuesday on DCM. I had been feeling rather down about my crafting abilities so reading the nice words people have used really made my day. Thanks!

And I finished the dreaded double layout. I always post what I have done here but I am almost reluctant to as it isn't up to scratch. Still hopefully I will be able to look back at my learning curve!
The paper is all Piggy Tales - the title was cut from it as well usig the craft robo.
{Grammar police (including my daughter) please note that I am aware it should be chickens' or chickens's or even chicken's as they are plural, to match the "women's institute". But because of the possible variations I decided to go for none! }

I also added some chipboard from my huge QVC store and of course the dreaded copper Stickles that I was cursing over. Plus some more "hide the mistakes" gems. And some buttons from my box. I put all my buttons together when I buy them so can't tell you where these are from. Some maybe doodlebug.

I think maybe I should have left off the chipboard as I couldn't get it painted the same colour. Ah well you live and learn. The journalling is printed on the plain side of some of the paper. Here it is to save your eyes...
Right as it is Friday you know what I will be doing for the rest of the day. That is right, regular readers - preparing the Sunday service! We have new people coming into membership of the Church which means several good things
a: new members!
b: short sermon! (to stop the service getting toooooo long)
c: I have to make cards to welcome them!

Have a good and crafty weekend

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Daring Doodling

For this week's Daring Cardmakers Little Extra it was my turn to do a tutorial. Ulp! I wasn't sure what to do as my work is pretty derivative and basic, but Rhi suggested showing how I add more patterns to patterned paper. So that is what I have done! The Queens of doodling like this are really SJ Scrappyfairy and Tracie Hudson - just look at the details on their cards and layouts! Anyway if you find the tutorial at all helpful or inspiring let me know.

I did do some crafting yesterday - I finished the tute stuff and then made two cards using up some scraps from the Love, Elsie page of the day before. Now the cards were supposed to be quick - and the second one was - but the first took for EVER! It was just getting the inspiration right really.
From Love, Elsie came the little square of fabric paper cut using a cuttlebug die, and also the blue paper. It actually says "love art" but I think that on its side it looks a bit like alien language. The little fella is Mimo from the Doodle Factory. I've only got the aliens in this tiny size - just to see what they are like. V. cute I think! He was coloured in with sharpie pens and mounted on a foam pad. The red paper is DCWV card stock with a few extra doodles. And I was very pleased with my roundy writing. I'll have to practice some more fonts as I am too lazy to print them out or stamp them if I can get them neat enough by hand.
Tip: to do the fonts as neat as possible I cut the strips of paper down first. "hope your birthday is" is about 1 cm high, the other lettering about 2 cm. And I don't usually try to do a whole sentence like the one above in case it all goes wrong.

this was simpler! 3 squares of love Elsie and one sticker mounted on white squares onto a blue square onto a white card. "Enjoy" and "your birthday" have foam pads underneath.
(totally unecessary angled shot but it looks quite cool!) The purple thing is my stamp mat.

And then came a layout based on an old Pencil Lines sketch
Bazzill - kraft
Lynden Scenic Route papers
Scenic Route letter stickers
title done using craft robo and mandingo font
shisha mirror squares
Ranger dabber paint to create journalling spot - my own handwriting!
Grungeboard heart
Scroll above photo is from an old Self Addressed kit.
I've also been working on a double layout - maybe my one and only as I really struggled. Mind you I found 12x12 hard to start with. It needs (a lot) more work and I have RSI from trying to squeeze out copper coloured stickles glue. Anyone got any hints about making stickles easier to use?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Crafty crafting

I have managed to claw a little scrapping time from my schedule this weekend.
Which is a bonus as tomorrow is official crafty day!

My weekend has also involved: a meeting; service prep on Friday; Saturday - Sermon prep and admin (though desk still looks like an earthquake hit); short hospital visit; quick supermarket trip including picking up a GORGEOUS dress for Carys to wear at my mum's 70th birthday celebration in May from Sainsbury's of all places (now working on getting the boys to wear proper shirts and maybe even comb their hair); Dr Who (ooooh) Casualty (ahhh, Carys gasped at the end over the twist which made me smile. I know it goes after the watershed but I do have the feeling that Carys is getting all her sex education from the programme now); today - 1 service and two elders meetings and doing some tidying up. Yuk. Didn't have to make lunch though thanks to my lovely hub.

So what did I make?

A few cards - I want to try and discipline myself to use up a few scraps of papers I use for layouts on cards so here are some using the Lynden line and some Self Addressed cards made of Bazzill.
One of my favourite boatsa Kristina Werner style one for my mum's collection
Adding a little fab May Arts ribbon.

And one using a new rubber stamp from Starving Artist Stamps
they arrived within a few days from the US with a hugely reasonable price and shipping. I just need to buy a little more EZ mount. I am going to be tempted by more of the doodle ones I can tell!
All the cahracters have their own names. This is Pip and Oggy. Aren't they tweet?

And finally... I had to create this quick layout when I was inspired to use the impulse purchase of Love Elsie Art papers which are not that easy to use when you get them home. Phil sent me the photo when I was at mum and dad's. If Lucky is bored she goes foraging for "things" to put in her bed - like umbrellas or food packets. Nice. It made me think of Tracey Emin and the lightbulb went on.

Everything is from the Zoe collection - I hand cut out the letters from some of the fabric paper, the red strip is from the other one. "By Lucky" is done using Penny Black stamps. There is liberal use of black and white pens. For a change. Not.

Right must dash to meeting 2 today. Will catch up with crafty stuff tomorrow I hope!

UPDATE: Had been driving for 5 minutes when I had the urge to look at the paper work for my 7 o'clock meeting which takes place 45 minutes drive away. Time of meeting 11:45 am. Uh-oh. Phoned the Church Secretary who admitted that she had put the wrong time on the agenda but no-one had mentioned it until this morning so she was confused as to what the right time should have been. I said a quick prayer of thanks to Big G for a: making me look at the papers before I drove all that way b: meaning I didn't have to be out all evening as well. Result!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It is finished

or I should say they are finished.
And I don't know which I am more pleased about.

While I was on my own in Swansea - the family having decamped home, I finished my 6,000 word essay, (well it is about 5,800) some revision not withstanding (must get back out of essay speak now) and also this
its about50,00o stitches I think. I've been doing it, as I just might have mentioned before, for about 4 years - as long as I have been cardmaking! Now I will have to wash and iron it - I'm always so nervous for that bit, before the expensive outlay of having it framed! I have just bought my next pattern - equally as complex, as I prefer my cross stitch to cover the whole piece rather than having canvas showing. I'm going to attempt a version of the Lady of Shallott by Meteyard. I have a thing about pre raphaelite paintings (or sad dying women as Phil puts it). LofS is one of the most common but Meteyard's painting is very hard to find in a good print. So I shall have my version on the wall instead - in about another 4 years time! Sadly you can't get all the detail - but it will be fun - I need 148 different threads!
I'm just doing the maths... and concluding that cross stitch is expensive. Just as well I shall spread the cost over 4 years in order to justify it!

It was very worthwhile staying in Swansea to do the essay. There were less distractions - and I am always easily distracted! Mind you I could have done without the work on the sewers on the road opposite. I also got to see a little of my school friends which is always nice. It would be good to be nearer but there you are.

Last night involved cuddles, but also some crafting time. Boy do I miss it! Cross stitch and knitting are not quite the same (I am knitting a cushion cover. I have a feeling that the kit is not going to have enough wool. Of course I didn't do a tension thingy. And I had forgotten how to cast off. It has been 11 years...) I managed to do my Salt dare a day late.

I love Gill's challenge.
His Presence
what does God's presence mean to you?
Does it mean Comfort in time of loss,
Strength when you face a battle,
Reassurance that you Walk the Good Walk...
I was going to use the words of a chorus (again) but then started to think about how I know I am always with God, but sometimes I don't count him into what I am doing. And so came up with this.
I was also helped by the arrival of a new package of goodies from a Million Memories in the US. Some Cosmo Cricket Robot stuff and a little Jenni Bowlin (not so keen, rather flimsy) and two lots of lush Scenic Route. This is Lynden. If I was being fussy I wouldn't mind some plain in with the patterns but the patterns are just fabby. As you may have noticed I lurve blue and green together. So it is all Lynden with a little bit of blue and white bazzill, blue and green distress ink and a grungeboard key painted with chalk ink. Two lots of ribbon from stash and a sprinkling of green flower sequins. They may have been added to hide a smudge. See if you can guess where. the photo is taken in one of my favourite places ever - Verdi's in the Mumbles. Oh how I hope there will be a little corner of heaven just like this. I had just eaten a scoop of cinnamon icecream with hazelnut crunch.

I am also beginning to struggle with the issue of pictures of me. I want my faith scrapbook to reflect my faith so there end up being a few pics of me. But it does seem a bit self indulgent - or "vain" as Phil helpfully commented when I shared this dilemma with him. ANy thoughts?

And today is Daring day!
Jo chose the dare

Butterfly, Flutterby

I seem to like butterflies at the mo. This week therefore I would like you to put some butterflies on cards. Stitched, felt, shiny, bright, plain, paper pieced, stamped, drawn... you get the idea :) any theme of card but it must have a butterfly somewhere on the card!

I loved the idea of this dare. I came up with the idea of using a grungeboard key for the layout and then spied butterflies in the pack. There is almost too much in a pack of grungeboard - but I am NOT complaining!
I also used some more new Scenic Route - Grafton this time. I bought the collection pack and matching buttons. Oooh be still my beating heart. Some of it is a tad surf orientated so I might save it for our summer holiday this year as we are going to a water park.
but then again I might just use the other patterns...
the grungeboard was painted with orange dabber and then I got out my old wax colour things that you are supposed to add on with your fingers - a bit like cream eye shadow. Bet you have some if you have been crafting a while! I layerd on colour and distress ink and outlined it on the sides with black pen. The greeting is "Happy Birthday" in Welsh as I said I would make my mum some cards for her to send to Cymraeg speaking friends. I am very proud of mum as when they retired to Wales in '96 she could only say a few things. She has studied, done her A level and now is pretty fluent. I can say swyddfa'r post and allanfa dan and hufen ia but unless you want the post office, emergency exit or icecream they are pretty useless. The tiny stickers are from Adorn it.

And now it is back to the usual Friday service prep. Still life should be on a slightly more even keel again now and I am looking forward to being crafty and updating the blog more than once a week!