Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Got a bit of a shivery cold.
This is THE worst week for one. At least one service or something everyday. So far the voice is fine - please God don't let me lose my voice. I know that would be popular amongst some members of the family but its really the worst time....

To divert myself from my fave hobby of feeling sorry for myself (I am Olympic standard) let me share with you some things I have made using Anice's brand new Funky Hand download Retro Fun. I honestly truly think this is my most favourite design scheme ever. What I like about the downloads is the resizability of the patterns. AKA I am a cheap skate and like to print up more than one pattern per page. It does also mean that you can have the patterns in different sizes which is a good thing. And I did something that is blinking obvous when you think about it, but I hadn't before. I printed up two letters per sheet and made a dinky word book. It is soooooooooo cute this size (kind of A7?)
With a down load you can't change the colour of the letter but you can easily cut the letter off one pattern and add it to another which is what I did with the "y". I gave this card to Fiona who led a 10 week Bible study on the Minor Prophets - a real labour of love. What is great is that we had more people than ever at Bible Study
I kept the design fairly simple - helped by printing the download on both sides of the thin cardstock (I've started using the Create and Craft white card from Wilkinsons. It stamps, prints and cuts a treat and is good value too)
I did a lot of Sharpie pen outlining, added some Nestie circles, a few Martha Stewart butterflies with gems and made my own tiny alpha stickers. Fiddly but worth it!
Then I made a Nestie scallop circle card
with almost the last of my felt ricrac and some real letter stickers and black stickles.
and a card that used a sketch that I can't find now to tell you what it was. Helpful aren't I. Ooodles of doodles on this one. Anice's colours really pop with a bit of black. I think actually it is the solids with a touch of weave that I love the best in this download.

I'll be showing another card made with the leftover papers on Thursday. I say leftover but actually as the patterns are on my computer I can access them over and over again. And so can you when you run and buy them.

Lemsip is calling my name so I shall drag my weary bones to the kettle.
Yup, I can hear those violins playing something sad, just for me...

Friday, March 26, 2010

An egg-cellent day

Having a pretty good day today. Slightly marred by having to redo passport forms because of using the wrong kind of pen. I did use black pen but
It has to be ball point.
Nothing else will do.
Ah the stuff you go through to get a student loan (yes not even a foreign trip. And as he doesn't have a loan yet I suppose we will be paying for the passport)

But apart from that a good day. Some good stuff coming from Churches Together. Being Churches Together isn't always as easy as it sounds. We all hold together our faith in Christ but sometimes the way we express it means we end up at odds with each other. But there was a wonderful lunch and time of sharing with one group and some signs of hope when things were not good in the other. (I'm in two groups because I minister to two churches. Yes - double the fun!) And I am not doing so badly with my Holy Week Service planning which just gives me some room to breathe. Go me. It also starts to get me excited for the whole Holy Week celebration.

And today I have a card to share as I chose the theme for Daring Cardmakers this week.

How Egg-citing!

Easter is on its way. Which, amongst other things means Easter Eggs. So be inspired by egg shapes or chocolate or both!

I don't often make Easter cards and when I do, they are religious ones so I decided to go with a punny birthday card instead.I'm back to the "classic" square white card aka my go-to for Daring Cards.
From the base up
American Crafts red and black cardstock
American Crafts Dear Lizzy papers (heart and stripe)
Kaisercrafts red pattern paper
Nestabilities rectangle and scallop frame
Cuttlebug candy cane embossing folder
Dot paper pack from Wild Rose Studio
QK egg and photo corner die
Glue pen and glamour dust
Black sharpie
Foam pads.

Writing that down makes it sound really complicated but it isn't at all really.

Tomorrow I am going on a church family walk and then spending time at the best craft shop there is (Imagine That of course) for some fun crafty time. Should be another great day. And then Palm Sunday when we will wave palms and think about the events of the week to come to prepare us for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Easter here we come!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I will survive

I love Easter I really do. But boy there is a lot of work involved! Holy Week meditations, services, Maundy Thursday communion, Good Friday (I am leading the bit in Romford Market. Eeek!) as well as the highlight of the Christian year when we celebrate the Good News of Jesus bringing the promise of new life and forgiveness for all.
And after Easter I will mostly be working on my MA in my spare (ish) time. Still, in just over a month all that will be behind me. So crafty moments are really special just now. Just have to grit my teeth, keep my nose to the keyboard, hope God inspires and keep going

Before I share what I have been up to, I just need to be clear that I only made one card in my last post. The rather lovely "a little birdie" was made FOR me BY Kath. Thanks Kath!

AS it is nearly April that also means it is time to prepare new classes for Imagine That. I just did one this time - another layout. My own challenge was to use more that one photo. The class challenge was to use the rather lovely Imagine That Write This Way stamp set , two Bazzill (plus a little white too) and two patterned papers. I chose Bella Bouylevard Man of the House papers. (Man of the house and cufflinks). It is strange choosing papers before photos but it gives scrapping an extra twist. I did have the main photo in mind and was hoping that it would tone. The fact that two others close by in the photo album had the same expression was a bonus...
My beautiful little boy. Em at about 2-3. I NEVER dreamed I would have a child with blond hair. It is deffo more dirty blond now but he was the Milky Bar Kid when he was little (Did I used to plead with him to say "the Milky Bars are on me" Of course. DId I let him have one as a reward. Of course not as we boycott Nestle and anyway his 4 year old brother would have told me off no end. True that)

Anyway enough of a trip down memory lane - these papers are fabulous (and double sided but I only used one side of each) and I enjoyed turning some of the journal spots into embellishments. The problem with looking at this is that I want to go and give my lovely boy a big squeeze and tell him I love him. He will give me a look that says "you touch me,you die" and then will wave his hand at me and go "buh -BYE" as I am dismissed.
Still if you would like to learn how to use these stamps and make a layout something like this then contact the shop for details. Cute boy not included.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A new adventure begins

not for me as such though!
Today is a significant day for the Nevard family as Grandma is moving house. Brenda and David moved on retirement to a tiny house in the countryside near Hereford - a cluster of houses that used to make up the outbuildings of a large country estate surrounded by farmland. The house came with a vast garden and it was David's dream for them to turn the (literally) wild 1/4 acre into something beautiful. Sadly, less than two years later he died and Brenda has spent the next 13 years fulfilling his wishes. I can't show you now because I can't find photos on this computer but Phil has the camera with him as he helps with the move so I'll put some on later.

One of Brenda's best friends lives in Milford on Sea and by a real miracle there is a URC retired ministers house there that had just been vacated. As the housing scheme covers widows too. Brenda is able to move there. It is a beautiful place which we shall go and visit soon! But there is also a pang. None of us have lived in one place for that long. In fact I've been 101/2 years in this house and that it the longest I've ever lived in one spot. The house near Hereford is the only home for Grandma the kids can remember. We planted trees for each of them - a Willow for Hywel, Silver Birch for Emrys and a Victoria Plum for Carys that are now mature and beautiful. And can't travel... so it really feels like we will leave a little of ourselves behind.
(Although we won't miss squeezing 3 adults, 3 teenagers and 4 dogs into one really small house!)

Here's to the future and a smooth move. And we will find a way to put down new roots in this place too.

This week on Daring Cardmakers Vanessa came up with a fab dare for us to work with.
Tweetie Pie
Please use a bird or birds on your card and that's it, any kind you like.

I didn't have time to start this until late last night but was confident that I had an October Afternoon die cut that I could use as my focal point. I was wrong. So after saying a few of the words that have the kids call me "Mum and her foul mouth" I went to my QK dies. Which are lovely, but small.
So here is a lovely (ish) but small (ish) card. It is about 41/2" square. Bought from Crafts U Love.
Papers are October Afternoon and the green dot is from a pad of just spotty paper from Imagine That. SO cute! Die cuts are OA and Pink Paislee; aforesaid QK die; My Little Shoebox letter stickers and Studio Calico die. Oh yes and some brown distress ink and brown pen.

Mr Postman brought me a nice treat yesterday. I won a punch from my Funky Hand team mate and all round wonder craft woman Kath. Inside the package was also a card that she can enter for the dare this week so I shall put it up here for you to see. How did you know Kath?
isn't it lovely?

We have a special Sunday coming up at church. 5 people are coming into membership and one will be baptised as a beleiver (sadly a sprinkling not a dunking. One day people at that church will understand the beauty and symbolism of full immersion but I'm not going to push it!). It is a sign of life and hope for the church and there will be much rejoicing. There will not really be time for a sermon either and I don't know who rejoices more over that - the minister or the congregation!

But although the date was not chosen with the readings of the day in mind the fact that the first is about Marys wiping Jesus feet with her hair - doing something special out of love for her Lord and the other is from Philippians 3
All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life. I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.
suggests that God has been at work. It is incredible how often the readings chosen on a rota basis fit the occasion in unexpected ways. I call that another miracle

Thursday, March 18, 2010


As I shared the fact that I won something recently I ought to share the failures too. I did apply for the Sketchy Thursdays design team and wasn't selected. Boo hoo. Still the sketches are amazing and the people they chose are fab and maybe it just wasn't my time. So its important to pick myself up and enjoy all the things I am privileged to do - like teach in my local scrap store Imagine That this afternoon. And my job. Sometimes it lays me down flat and sometimes it has me curled in a ball in despair. And sometimes it fills me with joy and wonder and a sense that God has more work for me and the churches I serve to do. Finding our balance, our purpose, is good.

I need to think about balance because I am about to go into a crazy wonderful time called Easter. There are so many things to prepare, so many ways to worship and celebrate Holy Week and Easter means that I will be working more than I rest or play. And then it will be a short time of rest before getting my MA essay done. Then I can breathe a bit more! But balance is important. Ministers are not always very good at that and even when you practice it, it is hard because often we gain pride from overwork. "If I don't have any time off then I am obviously doing all that I can for God". When I deliberately try to make sure I have space for self care I then sometimes feel I am not doing enough.

OK a lot of that was more for me than for you- just something I need to keep reflecting on. And in order to balance my day I have a lot of work bits to do so will quickly move on to my Salt Challenge this fortnight.
Hang on, no I won't because I was going to talk about the Talented Mr Ripley. As ever, the set was visually stunning and oh so clever. If I didn't have season tickets which means I see everything I wouldn't have chosen this as I don't really like anti heros. You had to concentrate - the adaptation was quirky but worked. Bottom line - I enjoyed it but didn't love it. Although I did appreciate the skills in getting dressed and undressed on stage and men looking buff in 1950's style swimming trunks.

Right, back to Salt. I chose the theme this time.
Which I would put simply as "being aware of what we have done wrong and seeking God's forgiveness" or having a sense of regret for sin and wanting to make a sincere change. The focal reading for me is this one 1 John 1:8-9
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Which comes before the prayer of confession in some orders of worship. What does it mean to be aware of our wrong doing and of the forgiveness we receive through Jesus Christ? How can we sincerely make a change in our lives? There are many ways that the word and the reading may take you.

I've just realised that the unusual thing I do with Salt is that I have a theme and then chose a photo rather than vice versa. This pic was the best I could find

I was trying to get C to look sad but I said "think about dead puppies" and for some reason she giggled instead. Maybe I should be penitent over that... I decided to tint the photo. May have gone overboard on the colour (Phil says perhaps it is meant to represent what happens after you die if you don't repent. No Phil it is not). Anyway Carys is supposed to be looking penitent and prayerful. I love these lines from 1 John.
We all do what is wrong sometimes. The key is sincere repentance (which means turning back to God) and ALSO accepting forgiveness - which can feel just as hard. Faith is knowing that you really truly are forgiven and loved.

I went quite simple with kraft cardstock and suede/toffee apple glimmer mists and wild honey/old photo distress inks. Strips of Pink Paislee and Basic Grey papers and die cuts; a Prima stamp and gems; Basic Grey rubons and a Card Creations flower.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

9 down 1 to go

I've only got one more seminar left for my MA course this year. There is still a huge amount of work to do though. Next Monday I present my consultation report to a local church I have been working with. (One whole paragraph so far) and then when Easter has died down a bit I will be writing that up into a proper essay type thing with data and research and everything. Which then means I am almost at Dissertation time. Scary! (not that I cross my bridges before they are hatched. As you can tell)

Sunday we had a great time at church. The downside with it being Mothering Sunday is that for Minister Mums we have to work. And we followed Church with an AGM as well. But the worship made up for having to work. It was a service full of noise and thinking together and praying together and sharing communion together. We thought about God as Mother, as Father and about ourselves as family. This teeny church (on Sunday we had 1 over 80; 2 over 60 (one of whom has special needs and uses a wheelchair and brings a carer with her) 8 30-60 (one of whom uses a wheelchair) 2 16-18, 1 10 year old and 4 under fours!) is a very special place where we are all ages and stages and colours and levels of ability. It is messy and noisy and fragile and for me a wonderful image of the Kingdom of God

Still I didn't have to cook lunch! And I had a little crafting time before we settled down to Larkrise to Candleford. (Minnie for Prime Minister is all I'm saying). I had lots of chocs and a gossip magazine (only time of year my daughter allows me to read them) and a mothers first aid kit. Oh and my annual Mothers Day hug from number 2 son (not into bodily contact with his parents)

Monday I was thrilled to find I had won the Sarah's Cards Sketch Comp for last month. I'm eagerly awaiting the Guest Designer Sketch now (oh as well as the gift voucher!)

So here is a little of what I have made recently and not shown yet - 2 layouts for my 2009 hols album and a card to use up papers.
This is for an old Sketchy Thursdays sketch using October Afternoon papers and stickers and Basic Grey chipboard.

And this one fits the current Sketchy Thursdays sketch (yay!)
These papers are all KandCO Urban Couture. I added some stash ribbon; a Prima stamp; some coloured acetate (that I have had for YEARS!) that I stuck on some white card and punched with my EKsuccess border punch; some square brads (ancient also) a Scrappy Fairy blogspot with liquid pearl dots; Chatterbox stars; Papermania letter stickers and buttons from my huge pile of buttons.

Here's my leftovers cardStamp from Imagine That; KandCo embellishment pack rose; velvet rickrac also Imagine That.

Must cook tea and then I am off to theTheatre to see the Talented Mr Ripley. I'll give my verdict on Thursday (Salt day)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Don't believe the TV news...

I was staying in a Travelodge yesterday and put the breakfast news on (never do at home!) They had a story about two churches in the same street from the same denomination both being for sale in Sunderland. I recognised the logo on one of the notice boards as United Reformed Church. (The two buildings will be because in 1972 the Congregationalists and Presbyterians joined together so obviously they must have built churches close together in the past. Sadly that is what churches used to do - compete!) The journalist was talking about closing these churches because they were only being used by a handful of people for a few hours a week.
That is so not true!
Confirming my feelings listening to the minister interviewed by looking at their website this is an active church which is selling two out of date buildings in order to create one that will better serve the people of Sunderland. Sigh.
Yes, some churches struggle and some congregations are aging but there are a lot of signs of hope too. I think that the Church will look very different in the future and would love to know what that will look like both for my peace of mind and for planning what I am being called to. But God has not finished with the Christian faith yet - despite the way we are sometimes portrayed in the media.

(jumps off soap box and kicks it into the corner)

Its been a busy week - both in terms of work and play. But also a fulfilling one which is good. I spent 24 hours in Derby - at the Travelodge - with two colleagues. We spend time twice a year sharing issues that we have and helping each other work them through. We are allowed to do some straight talking and finger/(soft) drink twizzler pointing and we hold each other accountable - if you say you are going to do something you will be checked up on. There is something wonderful about both being helped and helping at the same time. we don't live close - at either ends of England almost - which is why we meet in Derby as its central ish! but there has beena lot more on my plate too. And will be from now until Easter and then to the end of April when my MA essay is due in.

So I am hugely proud that Mother's Day cards were made and posted with pressies by Wednesday this week. This was helped along by Lynda's dare for this week on Daring Cardmakers
A Host of Golden Daffodils
this week.
Please use daffodils on your cards or maybe make a card inspired in some way by those sunny yellow flowers.
The astute amongst you will notice the absence of actual daffs. I decided to plump for daffodil shades instead. (Huge confession - and a shocker wot wiv being Welsh. I'm not that fond of daffs). What you see instead is my latest fad - making ribbon roses. I must have seen one on someone's blog and thought "they look good" and then searched for how to's on the net. It was quite tough going - several were incomprehensible to me until I found this video in English and French - success! Being left handed I find it easier to have the ribbon on the left and not the right hand side but I am now obsessed. I do have a lot of ribbon to use up mind so that is fine.

White square card from Card Creations
Papers from Docrafts Sunshine Goody bag
Ribbon from Docrafts Sunshine capsule and Anitas
Punches - Fiskars and Martha Stewart
Nesties Label 8 (I traced around the die to get the thin margin)
Papermania Curly font letter stickers. I made two almost identical cards and there weren't enough "m"'s so that capitals are upside-down "w"'s
Coredinations cardstock
Liquid pearls in gold
Prima pearls

I am behind on my service prep this week although we are having a shorter service to fit in the church AGM without all the mothers rushing off to be spoiled. The reading is the story of the Prodigal Son - one of Jesus' best - especially because you have to fill in the ending (does the older brother join the party or not?) and also because of the way it demonstrates the wonder of God's unconditional love. But it is about a Father not a Mother. Mind you - I don't really like making a huge deal of Mother's Day as I think it can be painful if you long for children and don't have them or if your Mother has died or you have a bad relationship with your Mother. I don't know how any of those feel but we will find ways to remember these pains in prayer on Sunday too. So I think God's love for us all no matter what category we fit into is the best theme for Sunday.

Big meeting for me again tomorrow and then I look forward to the work rest, worship and play of Sunday!

Friday, March 05, 2010

I'm a Security Risk

The year was 1993.
I was 28.
Finally one of my life's ambitions was being fulfilled.
I think it came via a chat between Phil and Steve's Dad, but I can't remember.
Anyway, I got to sing backing vocals on a couple of tracks.
My church in Hartlepool had given some of its unused rooms over to be a recording studio to train sound engineers and launch bands so it was there that I did this
which, thanks to Steve Cooke finding a way to put music on line, you can now hear as well.
Security Risk
I think this one is my favourite and I don't think has really dated at all considering it was 17 years ago! Well it has kept fresher than those glasses anyway... Ah good times.

Back up to date. Its Daring day today! And it is the first Friday of the month which means its a birthstone challenge. And the stone for March is Aquamarine. We sometimes have a joke argument at home about whether turquoise is blue or green (made more exciting by having two colour blind members of the family) and you can have the same debate with Aquamarine.

My card is firmly on the blue side - but I do love blue/green shades anyway so if I did another it might be more green. It just so happened that I had a Crafty Templates card kit to use up with some lovely bits in it.
The card was hard to photograph thanks to the sequins and does really tone together better. Cream card, blue card, sequins and the focal bits and bobs are all from the kit. The papers are various October Afternoon and the letter stickers are Adornit

I made another card in similar vein but haven't put a greeting on yet as I can't decide what it is for. I think this soft paper is the best for making tiny roses.
It is the Centenary celebrations of our Boys Brigade this year launching on Sunday with a special celebration service. And the evening service will be looking at Postures in Prayer - as part of the URC year of prayer so we will be standing, kneeling, sitting, walking around. I did toy with prostrating as well but fear not everyone could get up again(and I think that is usually a private posture anyway) Any other ideas for body shapes for prayer will be gratefully received!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I have a very small heart

that is what Phil reckons as my hands and feet are usually freezing
(TMI alert - although now at THAT time of the month my feet are always boiling. Don't you love hormones?)
My hands are really cold now and typing is hard. So more mistakes than usual! But before go and have some warming soup for lunch (packet in cup. I am no domestic goddess) I want to get my blogging done for the Salt challenge this week. Kim set us a challenge that gave pause for thought - Keep yourself from idols. I highly reccommend that you read what she has to share this week.

My layout has some ambiguity in it. There are some struggles with "idols" that I am upfront about but there are some that go deeper that I'm not prepared to share l in public. Nothing terrible, just not for world wide consumption really - some of these things I don't always want to admit to myself, but as I titled it - God knows!
I biffed some yellow bazzill with black chalk ink to distress it. All the papers are BG Origins - some 12x12 and some from the pad. The quote from Ephesians is printed on white card using the Times and Times Again font and inked with two green distress inks and then black around the edge. The photo I played about with in Picasa - adding the shadow and the tint. I always feel a bit egotistical putting photos of me on layouts but it also makes me more honest in a strange way. There are also some Crate Paper cut outs as well as Origins chipboard added. The letter stickers are Jenni Bowlin. Here is a close up of what I did (and didn't!) journal
another quick layout that I haven't shown yet from my Summer 2009 album. This is based on a Sketchy Thursdays sketch and was going to be a double spread but worked better as a single. I am officially in love with that sage green/blue Bazzill. Papers are KandCo; I used a Jenni Bowlin paper as a template for the bracket; Bazzill balck edger; Thickers letters; Papertrey ink stamp; mirri glass and shisha glass from an indian craft stall at Stitches a few years ago
And I made a card with the leftovers
Imagine That stamp and Cosmo Cricket earth love chipboard.

Must go and warm hands (and heart) ready for worship at a nursing home soon!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Gwyl Ddewi Hapus bawb!

OK so I had to copy that from a Welsh speaking friends facebook page. But Happy St David's Day! I wish I could speak Welsh but there we are. One day maybe... (My mum learnt when they retired back to Wales and she can speak pretty well now - go Mam!)
When we lived in England from 1967- 1979 - the school years before senior school I would wear my Welsh costume to school on St Davids Day. The only one... I must have been MAD. Still I think I have earned my daffodil. It is lovely to be in school in Wales on St Davids Day - half day, fun stuff and Welsh culture, even in the most English of Welsh schools. And Welsh wear for Primary school kids. SO cute!
Carys was asking my dad who St David was last night (he and mum are here for a few days) and why he is a Saint. A big thing that happened was that he was preaching to a big crowd who couldn't really see him so he was able to rise above them. See, the Welsh have always been short!

Wicked was fab on Friday. It is a interesting tale about what makes us who we are and popularity. I've read the book (ooh hark at her) and that obviously goes into more depth but they manage pretty well in 3 hours as well. And the music! The costumes! The staging! It was such a wonderful spectacle (apart from the scary clown things - eek). I'd love to go again...

Of course, with it being St Davids Day that means that it is time for a new Funky Hand Get Funky challenge. This time it was set by the delicious Dolly.
Girls Girls Girls!
We all like making girlie cards don’t we and with Mother’s Day on 14th March it’s a perfect opportunity to get out the Funky Hand papers and join in the fun. It doesn’t have to be a Mother’s Day card though, you can make any girlie card or project you like, as long as it has at least one Funky Hand paper or extra included on it you can be up for the £20.00 prize voucher.

I had a scroll through the CD's to see what I fancied. I love doing that as I always discover new treasures. This time I picked some summery sherbety shades from Funky Seasons
I printed them out in various sizes and felt like making a circular card so layered lots of nesties together. It did keep rolling around so I snipped the bottom off so it would stand better. There is a fair bit of layering and inking with pink chalk ink. The butterfly was traced using a KandCo one as a template. I dry embossed it with a Cuttlebug folder and then used Versamark/ heat and stick embossing powder/glamour dust to add some very girly sparkle. The sentiment is an Imagine That rubber stamp. The perfect size for a little card (guess that is fitting for St David's Day!) The design team have all done an amazing job - the others are all so, so talented so go and be inspired!