Friday, May 28, 2010

22 years ago today

I hadn't really slept.
I was nervous and excited.
And excited and nervous.
Then, dear reader, I married him.
22 years later I cant't imagine life without him.
He makes me laugh.
He put the bins out.
He (sometimes) lets me put my cold feet on him to warm up.
What a star!
Happy Anniversary hun!

The day before we got married was my mum's 50th birthday. So for the first few years the 'rents would come and visit us to have a double celebration (ie they got our one bedroom and we slept on the sofa and floor in our tiny flat). Because they were coming and we had to do a lot of cleaning and tidying and present buying for mum, on our first anniversary it suddenly dawned on us that neither had remembered a card so we had to go to the nearest shop and hide from each other while we bought one! (This year Phil remembered at 5pm yesterday)

To stop that happening to me this year I decided that the Daring Cardmakers challenge this week would be
Happy Anniversary
and here is my card
Lovely Cosmo Garden Variety papers, all outlined with black card. A Martha Stewart border punch, Papermania chipboard pieces, some Stickles action and a gem and it was done. Neither of us reneged on the no presents pact (phew) but we will go out for lunch today.
Whatever your day brings - may there be some love and laughter too!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Flash! Aa-argh

I'm still in shock from discovering my trousers had split and I don't know when it happened - while I was out all morning? (please no) and of course it was a white undies day! Must stop eating all the pies...

It is Salt challenge day today and Hazel chose the theme Power to be Witnesses, reflecting on the coming of the Holy Spirit. At the church I led worship at on Sunday we have a large cross outside covered in chicken wire and we want to use that more to do something arty and share our faith. So on Sunday I took along banner shapes for people to write the letters of "Pentecost" on them for us to hang up. Once more I fell foul of having a great idea but not really thinking it through... It took FOREVER to tie the banner shapes on - and we were in the middle of worship. Note to self: think more about how to attach pennants and practice. Still it made a nice little display along with some ribbon.

However I had not learned my lesson by yesterday when I had a visual idea "take photo of bubbles" without the skill to do it. It was quite windy and so it proved quite hard to take a photo even when Phil had fiddled with the camera settings. The one I used on my layout was the best of a poor set really!
You'll need to click on the photo to even spot the bubbles in their grainy reality.
Next thing to go wrong was decided to use A LOT of paint to make the circle. Made the paper really hard to work with. If it wasn't my new favourite Basic Grey Basics I would have given up. Anyway I am glad I perservered. My idea was to have the bubbles representing the Spirit that blows into our lives - usually unseen though! It was lovely that the tiny letters set I used (Cosmo Cricket) had the word "spirit" at the bottom of the individual letter stickers.
Also used:
Costco papers
Tim Holtz die
Making Memories paint
Grungeboard heart coloured with Distress ink and red sharpie pen
Hambly overlay
Nestabilities die
QVC chiboard coloured with brown sharpie
I'm following Christine Middlecamp's embellished paper doily posts which give insight into her wonderful layers which led to this

You can also see my attempts to layer embellishments on this page. My younger two just love spending time teasing each other - in a loving way (usually). Just goes on and on! So I used that as a theme for a random (but rare) photo of the two of them on a fossil beach last summer
Its a layout that was a disaster to start with (like the one above!) but has gradually turned into one I love. The papers are Scenic Route Grafton. I also used Banana Frog stamps; Scenic Route Stickers; American Crafts Thickers; Martha Stewart butterfly punches; Tim Holtz die - ooh and lots of real sewing! The monograms were peachy coloured so I alcohol inked them.
Plus more Christine style layering
I'll be back tomorrow with a Daring card - my challenge this week!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Endings and beginnings

Today I stepped down from the role of Chair of the Compact for Havering. A Compact is a written agreement between the Voluntary Sector and Public Bodies about how they will work together. I am mightily relieved that the new Government have endorsed Compact otherwise the last 5 years would have been a waste but apparently it is a vital tool for Big Society. I became part of Compact because I was wingeing in the sidelines and I have a rule which says if you moan a lot you have to do something about it. And because I moaned about something else I ended up being Convenor of Area Committee for the United Reformed Church which means I have to step down from Compact. I have another rule which is if I take something on I have to give something up.

Gosh with all this sensible work stuff and having made cupcakes and altered a t-shirt this week I feel quite the super woman. But really, really, really I am not. e.g. I should be making tea for the family RIGHT NOW and if you saw the state of the study floor you would cry. And I have actually been doing both jobs since January up to now!

I am sad to be leaving behind the Compact and the politics and policies as I love it all. I might be able to still be involved in a small way. What has made me laugh over the years is the surprise shown by those who have seen me chair meetings and give speeches. Being a Minister involves an awful lot of chairing meetings and giving speeches - I guess people don't equate leading worship with speeches and think all Ministers do is tidy up the hymn books (that's the view on the tv anyway).

We managed to squeeze Emrys' birthday tea in before some meetings on Wednesday - Pizza Express as it was local (and speedy and delish!) . I was glad that it was his birthday this week as it gave me impetus to do the card for this week's Daring challenge nice and early. the theme is
(Which seems unfortunate now given that the group is in the news again, not for good reasons. oh Ronan, why?). There are some great download prizes on offer this week from Charmed Cards and Craft.
See the Daring Cardmakers blog for details of the prizes and how you qualify.
Here is my card...
I found these rather cute Papermania chipboard pieces for men and boys - expect to see more soon. This one looks a bit like our Em who is usually glued to a console! The papers are all Cosmo Cricket Cogsmo which I saved for best years ago and then didn't use it but I must get it out again as the colours are great. I also used a Tim Holtz die and MLS stickers.

The meeting I had on Wednesday was the AGM of one of my Churches. People write reports which are published and I like to give thank you cards to everyone involved. Some leaders cover more than one group so I had 17 cards to make. I managed them all in one evening by making them small and using a production line. Here are three of them
They are half A6 (7?) and feature an inked strip of card and a QK heart sewn together with zigzag stitch; a Papertrey Ink sentiment stamped direct to the card (only one fluff up, go me) and a Nestabilities cross on the top. Simples. Now I just have to write them all. But maybe make tea first....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Just for the frill of it

Having seen this post I had the urge to try it myself.
I am rediscovering my sewing machine - great joy!
NB I am not as photogenic and couldn't find such pretty coloured t-shirts as Dear Lizzy could but...
Now I have to make one for Carys...

It is actually this one's birthday today.
(He doesn't want a t-shirt like that)
16 years old... hates having his photo taken.
I found lots of photos of him as a toddler last night whilst looking for embarrassing ones of me in the 80's to show Carys my Ashes to Ashes moments (I think they are mostly at my parents on reflection). He was sooooo photogenic. A real milky bar kid.
We still adore him. Happy Birthday Emrys!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Missed my party

Zoomed by my blogaversary last week. I've now kept this up for four years. Amazing! Still I note that two of the last three years I was sick around this time of year so not being is a bonus. I'm too busy to be sick at the moment really.

I did have time to stop and be crafty today though. Love my day off! Also fitted in a clean of the craft room and loo and movie night. We watched Defiance which scored at least 8 out of 10 by all the family members. Now Carys is nearly 14 we watch more 15 films as it does extend the range of what we can watch. Actually some seem less sweary and violent that 12 films to me...

We didn't have a takeaway tonight as Phil and I both had one of my Peanut Butter cupcakes at lunch time. I found a recipe for PB cupcakes with PB frosting and chocolate topping that I just had to try. Next time I make cupcakes I will halve the ingredients as these would feed a family of four for a day (let alone being the calorie count for a Sumo wrestler for a week - I sued a whole jar of PB!). They are delish but the most filling and sickly sweet treats this side of Cadbury World!

Here are two layouts I made today - both Weymouth hols ones.
This is taken the day we went to Durdle Door - a really amazing natural phenomenon. I would have liked to dawdle round Durdle but it was cold and the kids weren't having it. "It's just a rock" Sigh. The papers are Crate Paper Brook. I got a great tip from their blog about using the very bottom edge with the tag bit, so I have used two of those here. Also used Brown Corduroy distress ink; Chatterbox cork embellishments (one recut with a QK heart die) Making Memories Letters and Prima pearls. Here is the writing bit
And here is the second
The photos are worth seeing in close up - P and C having fun rolling down a hill - several times! I used the first of my BG Basics papers using a doily to make a mask. Also used
Self Addressed doodle template
Scenic Route papers
EK Success punch
Fiskars pinking scissors
Sizzix letter dies
MLS stickers
Papermania eyelets
Flower top pin and heart buttons from stash.

Must remember to buy Emrys some birthday presents tomorrow. (for Wednesday!) He finds it hard to suggest anything which makes shopping difficult too. We have found a way to squeeze in opening said presents which doesn't involve getting up at half six so it is done before H goes to college and means there is just time for a birthday pizza at our local pizza express in between H arriving home and me having to go out for a v. imp meeting!

For those of you who have been reading and supporting for four years - thanks! I often feel like my crafting is a bit dull and derivative so your nice comments always cheer me up!

Friday, May 14, 2010

And a day late

with my Salt layout.

Work life has been quite hard this week. Some demanding meetings and follow up (they do drain me darlings!) plus it being Christian Aid week so I have to fit in collecting. I ahve to say that it is not bad so far. A fair few people were out. I've done the same road for 3 years now and collect at randomly different times - some houses there has NEVER been a reply. I'm also more aware of who is probably going to say no so I am ready for the rejection. (Me, take it personally? Never!). I am sad when I can see that people just can't be bothered to go and find a few pennies to put in an envelope. Almost more than those who on principal don't give to charity or who don't want to support a Christian charity or who already give in other ways. But most people are generous and polite and for those who are able to give - I thank you.

Oops, forgive the soap box moment! Anyway I finally finished my Salt layout yesterday. Tanis gave us a Biblical quote and a CS Lewis quote to mull over. I used the Bible on my layout but not Lewis
"Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things" (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock)
which is fabulous isn't it?
When thinking "so what photo sums that up" I had a look at Phil's Flickr account and saw this wonderful photo which I publish without all my bits stuck to it as it needs looking at all on its own.I wanted to say that if God can make these wonderful tiny things then we can relax and obviously put him first. I had to use my Crate Paper Brook collection as the colours went together so well. I've got enough left for another layout fortunately as I love these papers!
This layout is loosely based on a Jana Eubank sketch. I also used red sticky tape and some fuzzy felt powder stuff (what's it called?) that was 99p for 4 pots from the Range. The letters are Jenni Bowlin and I also used Nesties Ovals; Prima and Papermania sticky pearls.

I'm obviously in a yellow/aqua mood as all the things I have to show today use those colours!
Next is my Daring card. Today's theme is...
A-Bunting We Will Go!
I knew that I had some Banana Frog bunting stamps somewhere that I had to have but have hardly used.
so I stamped and cut out lots of flags - enough to make another card I think! The ribbon is from the stamp set too. Also used October Afternoon papers and stickers; a Sharpie pen, Sizzix parcel die; Papermania pearl; corner rounder.

And here is the layout that I actually made before either of those things but haven't had time to photograph!
And there is sewing on it. Real actual zigzag stitch. The layout refers to the fact that given the chance to look at a view or stay in the car and read, the kids make the same choice that i did at their age! Also used Nesties and QK diess; buttons from stash; Jenni Bowlin trim, paper flower and Cosmo Cricket chipboardLoads to do this weekend - including making cards for my birthday boys (Sunday and Wednesday!). And of course Christian Aid collecting round 2. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A week early

Now the kids are older, one of us gets up to check the younger two are getting going (we get up at the time the older one has to leave for college poor thing!) and the other one can stay in bed a little longer. Tuesday is one of my stay in bed days. But I had to get up early as I have a Junior School Assembly in Romfordto go to and although it is not til 9 I have to leave not that long after 8:15 (for a 20 minute trip) in order to ensure I am there on time due to the work/school run. Of course when I double checked the assembly is next week...

Still it gives me a chance to showcase my latecomings! Funky Hand published a fab new download called Flutterby Flowers. What I love about the digi downloads is that you can change the sizes around and so get even more value for money. So here are my cards...
The first is yet another easel card using my fave download papers Retro Fun. It is my own card the person who is 80!Then I decided to be strong and find some different patterns to use! I broke out my "Now that's funky" CD and found some great patterns in lovely colourways including this rather gorgeous brown and blue combo. With a bit of Brown Corduroy distress ink and some faux stitching this panel card came together very quickly(stamp from Imagine That. Stick on gems bought from there too)

The third card took forever though!It is a large square card. I printed several butterflies of the same size on paper and used a few to cut the right size shapes out of different patterns, inked each one, stuck them on and then used black pen to go round so less white bits were seen! I think it took 2 hours in all so will be saved for someone special!
Also used Purple Onion stamps; Fiskars punch, Anitas ribbon.

Also on my crafting to do list yesterday was a 90th birthday card for a friends mum. His wife made a lemon drizzle cake as payment. As we have eaten the cake (my fave!) I thought I had better make the card. I ahd asked what her favourite colour was (mum not wife!) and he said "Lilac". I don't have much lilac I thought to myself. I fancied that the card would need some big paper flowers so I ordered some from Wild Orchid Crafts along with a few other bits and bobs. Don't look at the website if you can't resist temptation!
Of course you have to buy in bulk so expect to see some more lilac flowers appearing.
Now when I went to look at my papers I realised I was right. I don't have any lilac. Well apart from some Prima papers that I am saving for a really special layout (aka they scare me) and I was just about to use them anyway when I thought "Have you or have you not just spent the morning looking through your Funky Hand CD's. Surely there will be some lilac there". Naturellement on It's Funky Too there are loads of lovely lilacs - as you can see...
Its an A5 card. A style I use a lot for special occasions, using some Urban Lily paper numbers I have to draw around. Also used Cuttlebug Embossing folders; Glamour Dust; purple distress ink; purple onion stamps; Nesties label 8. FLowers leaves and crystals all Wild Orchid.

I have quite an intense day ahead so it has been worth getting up early all in all!

Friday, May 07, 2010


a word which covers both my musings on the election results in Britain today - Labour lost and the Tories didn't win - so what does that mean?
and also my musings on the US phrase "half-bath". Now, although I would never use the spellings, I believe that American English has the more sensible spelling system in many ways. BUT why say "half bath" when you mean a loo which doesn't have a bath in it at all?
Hmmm I wonder which musing is more controversial...

Having planned to stay up late I suddenly came over "oooh I have a lot of work to do tomorrow because I am at an all day meeting on Saturday so better go to sleep". Ah the joys of middle age. (Although I am not quite there yet, a month or so to go!). However I keep getting distracted now by the politicians arguing over who is the winner (I keep shouting at them "none of you are!" but they haven't heard me yet).

So onto other matters. It is Christian Aid week this week - a chance to lift our heads from thinking about local events and reflect on what life is like for others around the world. This year the focus is on Kenyan slums and poor sanitation and the title "from hope to change". It is good to be aware of our responsibility to care for God's children across the world and to give thanks for some of those things we take for granted - and yes, we will be talking toilets.

Craft wise - it is Daring Cardmakers day today. And the first Friday of the month - again! Which means it is birthstone week - and for May it is ...Emerald. Flushed with my success with my square easel card last week I have now made a shaped one for this weeks dare. I had to make a 90th birthday card - well two really as I had to make a large one for the church to sign as well. (Its three 80 ones this week) so wanted to make something a bit special.
I don't suppose Stan really would appreciate the fact that I used my favourite Basic Grey papers - but yes, there are some Origins on there. And yes, not all the greens are emerald. But enough are for me to decide it counts! I also used Origins chipboard; the largest Nesties scallop circle; a new Fiskars punch; Papertrey ink die and stamp; Sizzix numbers and Papermania gems.

Dcorafts Creativity! 21 is now out. There are some bits by me in it but I feel eclipsed by the talents of the other designers - especially my team mates Jo Kill and Enfys Cashmore (from DCM and Funky Hand respectively) and all the Creativity Life layout creators. Just awesome. Here are my two featured layouts this issue
This uses the Papermania Rose Garden Collection, some raffia and hand stitched ribbon roses. The journalling is about how my great-grandmother had to leave school at 9 to take care of her dad, older brother and her baby siblings when her mother died. The photo is of her with her own 5 children so she wasn't put off. I submitted another layout about my grandmother on my mum's side which wasn't used but I can't show you in case it is later. Shame as it was my favourite one of the lot. But I can show you the photo I used which I tinted pink. Isn't she beautiful?I used a Clare Curd template for the enxt layout
and the same paper range - but in a very different way and featuring the die cuts from the paper pack. That is me. Short hair on girls was "in" in the late 1960's apparently.
I also did a feature on the Henbury Lane goody bag. This photo is so bad as I had a quick turnaround of the materials and this was taken at about 1 in the morning! SO you can't really see all the glitter and the fully lined box. In the mag there are other boxes which are painted. I think I prefer that look! although those dimensional butterflies are so pretty.

This is my last contribution to Creativity! unless my circumstances change. Its a conflict of work deadlines that has brought that sad decision as everyone at the mag is so lovely and helpful. And honestly, I think there are loads more talented people than me who could do some wonderful work for them. I am carrying on with the Layout of the Week projects every now and then though and have completed one this week WAY out of my comfort zone which actually turned out to be quite cute!

I have a heavy working weekend - and mustn't forget to post my Christian Aid envelopes in Tawny Avenue on SUnday. However your weekend goes - may it be interesting!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hailstones in May? Must be Bank Holiday

British weather is such a joke. We have these Bank Holiday Mondays and the weather is so often bad. Last week was beautiful and they promised good things for today. Wrong. To be fair we did go out for a walk and there was only one small shower. We entertained ourselves by thinking up things Emrys might like for his birthday - as long as they began with the "Sk" sound. A scar, a skeleton, a scorpion - any of these or the other 30 or so we came up with may feature if he doesn't MAKE A BIRTHDAY LIST SOON. All he has come up with so far are "things"

I've had a lovely time crafting though. I allowed myself yesterday to scrap without prejudice. I have some design team and request things to do but just wanted a little freedom - and got it. Today I'm back on the chain gang!
Here is a layout based on this week's Sketchy Thursdays design and is another for the summer holiday 2009 album - filling up nicely!I used papers from a MME paper stack. My fave blue and green with a little hot pink for contrast. I used a Jenny Bowlin label shaped paper to draw around. Also used
Nesties 7 label; Fiskars border punch; Sassafrass brads; MLS letter stickers; ancient pink plastic letters; Docrafts flower; button and sequins from stash.
The flower was a happy accident. I had gone made with an outliner pen and it looked terrible so I covered it with sequins. Nice
and here is the explanation of bokeh
I also used a sketch by Ingvild Bolme. I am so in awe of her scrapping skills. She makes the most romantic embellsihment filled works of art. I hoped that using her sketch would rub some of the magic off onto me. Not quite!
Here is the sketch
and here is my take on itthat ribbon is not red, it is the to die for Dear Lizzy pink ribbon. But for some reason it photographs red from far away and from close up!
White spot cardstock is Doodlebug. Stickers, papers and die cut are Docrafts. I hand cut the flowers from a paper and covered them with Glamour Dust and used foam pads for dimension.
And you know how I pride myself in knowing how to write just the right amount to fit the space? Failed!

There's more to come but that's enough for today. Back to work tomorrow - which includes handing in the essay and lunch with a dear friend. So easing back in really

Saturday, May 01, 2010

More tea vicar?

We really do say that in our house! Well Phil does more than me because I have to be really dying of thirst before I will stir myself (and the pot) to make one. Dunno why.
is probably the best answer.
He went out bright and early this morning bird watching.
I have had
1 cup of tea.
Am I thirsty?
(pause to get some water as I am out soon and so won't have time to wait for optimum tea drinking time)
that's better.

Anyway I have revealed one of my foibles just in order to share the Get Funky challenge for this month. Enfys chose the theme
Shaped Cards
and do you know what I have discovered?
they are truly not my thang.
I was supposed to have got this done by last night and failed - the worst part of it being that the others truly rocked the challenge. Go and see and bow down before their awesomeness!
Enough pity party - here is my effortI printed two Dreams Come True Delightful Fun patterns onto one sheet of A4 card which I folded in half. I used a tea pot digi image from the same CD as a guide (it would have been a bit small if I had used it as a template) and kinda worked from there. I think it will look a little better with the inside inked too.

I made a little pocket on the inside to put a tea bag in and also so I could do this
I do love the way the patterns co-ordinate. Love that brown check one in particular at the moment. Anyway do go and share love with the others - and why not try the challenge yourself - just use a Funky Hand product and you could win a £20 voucher!