Friday, May 19, 2017

11 years later...

Friday 11th May is the date that I started this blog.
I can't remember why now, probably to have a place to note my crafty challenges.
I'm certainly not as prolific as I was but I'm still happy to have a place to note what I am up to and when it happened. Especially as I have a bad habit of not backing up photos so this is needed!
This is what I looked like then

 and now
 (is that a flattering angle where you can't see all the wrinkles? Possibly...)
 So much has changed - we have moved twice, all three kids have gone through University, (the oldest was a wee teen of 13 and is now almost 25!) Phil has a motorbike and loves cycling, I've started and stopped and started running (I say running, it is more like a small but heavy wilderbeest thundering throught the tundra very slowly). I now crochet as well as papercrafting - it makes evenings more sociable as I sit and crochet in front of the tv while Phil snores.

Here is the first card I put on the blog
I still rather like it. It was Phil's birthday card.
My latest is Phil's birthday card as well.
Last week's Daring Cardmaker Dare was All that glitters is not gold
where you had to make a card with lots of glitter but no gold. I went for something simple
 Lots of thick glitter paper circles punched out and raised up and stuck on a piece of cardstock which was given a glittery edge with a glue pen and more glitter. V. simple
(Paper Smooches stamp badly embossed with black powder)

This week the dare is Two's Company where you could only use 2 colours including the colour of the base card. I went for simple again with black and white
I painted the white paint onto a black card ready for another challenge but liked it and so decided to use it for this one. I found some old textured papers and cut and trimmed them into different shapes. I knew I had a set of paper trims somewhere but only found them days after making the card!
Little bit of glitter, little bit of die layering, a vellum heart to allow the eye to see the words and job done. It looks better in real life than it does here :)

I also made my first ever layout 11 years ago in July
and here is one of the latest

made for the latest Quirky Kit. That style has evolved a bit more than cardmaking!

I must make a blog post of all the pages I have done recently - I had a lovely time at the beginning of May when it was Scrapbooking Day putting lots of memories onto cardstock. Don't get time to do so much now but its still good.

Last weekend I made more memories and also remembered a host more. I met up with friends from Lancaster University - some of whom I have hardly seen since we left in 1986. We stayed in some luxury lodges just outside Windermere and I had a an awesome time. We are all quite different now (e.g. old) but in many ways very much the same. It was a delight and I hope I can do it again. I'm aware that I have chosen a road less travelled in that being in Church Ministry means spare weekends are rare. I wouldn't be without my job and perhaps that makes these times even more of a joy. Poor Phil was also away from home but for a work conference....
 I thought I had taken lots of photos but no, so I am hoping some of the others have some I can use as these are stories worth telling as well!

And here is to the next year blogging....

Friday, May 05, 2017

April in a nutshell

It seems I am now totally incapable of blogging more than once a month :(
Anyway, lets not feel guilty, just be glad I'm doing so. 

So this month I have been
  •  doing Easter things (although that all seems like a long time ago now! I went to hear the St John Passion by Bach at Exeter Cathedral. It was heavenly. I did nearly blot my copy book at the beginning. There were five of us there and in front of us were kneelers with names of birds on. One of my friends had one which was rather dull (can't remember what now) so I thought I would treat her to a different one. I pulled one out from near me without seeing the name. It said "Thrush". Carys and I got the giggles. Fortunately we calmed down before the music. Its become one of our catchphrases though
  •  Good Friday we held a Good Friday experiences for a few hours where you could try things out. Here are two of mine 

  • The dark tomb was the last one where we talked about Jesus body going after he died. It was made to look different for Easter Sunday
    we also got up for a dawn service. that will be featuring in a layout soon
  • went to visit number 1 son in his new flat which meant buying/making furniture and an Easter Monday trip to Ikea. 

    Everyone is a dab hand at the old flat pack now. It does seem strange not knowing when we will all be together again.
  • lots of work - mostly really creative and challenging. I've started a new venture which means sitting in a cafe for an hour. Its a hard life.
  • Eating an amazing meal at Fatbelly Freds in Barnstable which is a fish speciality restaurant. 
    that is about an hour from us but we ate there as we were singing in an Easter concert at a church not far away. We declined dessert as they were not sure we would be able to leave by 7. Just as well as it turned out it started at 7 not 7:30 as Phil thought. I've almost forgiven him. He also hadn't mentioned the refreshments after the concert. The tables were heaving. I had my first "tatty" cake which looks like a Welsh cake but tastes different as it is made of potato. Rather lovely though
  • Got up to Week 6 of Couch 2 5k. I'll be running the 25 minute run when this posts hopefully. Then going out to the new pub which is opening in our town (our first and everyone is very excited) they are offering free trials of the menu provided you pay for drinks. I'm also thinking of starting another new venture called "wine Wednesday" at the pub. Also work....
  • And in crafty news.... Daring Cardmakers first. Spring Garden was Kathy's choice and I went all floaty and flowery
    I do love colouring flowers, I've just bought some more because its my favourite cardmaking thing at the moment. I never tire of this set of doodle blooms. I stamped them with white embossing ink and coloured them with Zig Cleancolor markers. I decided to go with the colours of spring flowers, not necessarily actual flowers as I had used tulips the week before. I fussy cut round them (though I think I have the dies!). I used a backing plate die and backed it with vellum, leaving the vellum poking out the side. I then tucked in the flowers and leaves. Lastly I die cut the words and stuck them together. Everything got the Wink of Stella treatment. I should have done what I wanted to keep white first OR kept the brush clean as I had to turn all the letters yellow thanks to my boo boo
  • That card was reasonably in the pastel zone for me, not my usual habitat but I stayed there for the 5 papers challenge where we had to use 5 patterned papers.
    I have some new pastel colour markers so I washed colour onto my background card and added water to make it come together in an ombre effect, matching the papers from an old collection - Pink Paislee Color Wash. I found various butterfly punches and dies in my stash and cut out 5 different patterned ones (the top left one looks single coloured but it is patterned, promise!). I added die cut words, carefully managing not to colour them with my wink of Stella pen. The butterflies were getting lost on the ombre background so I dry embossed some vellum and attached it with brads (brads! I've mssed you). I stuck everything together and decided the perfect finishing touch would be some Nuvo drops in buttercream. Except some of my dots became a line so they all had to. 
  • Last week's theme was Superhero .  I was slightly miffed that Dawn nicked my fave one (at least graphically, Captain America is the best!) until I read about why she had made the card as she did - which is a wonderful reason for cardmaking.  Then I wondered if I could find any logos on the internet and a card idea was born. This is for Phil for our wedding anniversary (29 years at the end of May!)
    I printed the logos on good quality cardstock and punched them out. You can see my old punch doesn't like the cardstock but none of my many circle dies were quite the right size! They demanded outlining and some black cardstock to give that comic vibe. The words are made using Lawn Fawn tiny letters. Finally an old Studio Calico arrow finished it off (arrow had to get in there somewhere !) Everything was built up on pop dots
  • Bringing us up to date with the first May dare.... Here is the inspiration photo and isn't it beautiful?
    I could just put "hello beautiful" on that and call it done. (the words would be over the cat of course, the cat spoils it!!!!) (sorry cat lovers, come baaaaack). Anyway that would be cheating so I did this
    I used a peacock stencil, embossing paste and various glitters to make the feathers. I then die cut them, realised the paste was still wet, threw that away, die cut another piece and then stenciled it..... while I was waiting FOR IT TO DRY PROPERLY, I dry embossed a die cut rectangle and covered it with Distress Ink in peacock colours (one is helpfully called peacock feathers). I then went round the circles with silver pen to mimic the circles in the photo in the middle of the left column. I die cut "hope" once from blue glitter cardstock and twice from white card and stuck them together. When the feather piece was dry I added silver pen to the lines, stuck that to the background layer and added some lovely vellum butterflies from the recent Quirky Kit. I have some very old, very lovely stick on gems from Prima in my stash and I thought they were perfect on this card

    I was going to mention my scrap pages and crochet activity but I think this is long enough for now!

Saturday, April 08, 2017

So this month I have mostly been...

not blogging again!

but this has happened:
  • My nephews from Canada came to stay and we found some new lovely places to eat
  • changed my hair colour several times (the advantage of wash out colour is that every time you wash it is a surprise. I have some bleached streaks and they make me think grey will be ok!)
  •  started Couch25K AGAIN. But it isn't as hilly here so I'm hopeful of getting back to 5k again. I've just done Week 4 Run 1. Yay!
  • taught lots of lessons in senior school (well 4, 4 was enough).
  • went back to Torbay for Ministers Spring School. Torbay behaved and the sea looked pretty awesome most of the time. Love where I live now but I miss the sea so much. True I'm only 20 minutes away but I did have a sea view from my bedroom. (play that tiny violin for me)
  • Went to see the parents for Mothering Sunday weekend. We went to the Gower

    and out to the Mumbles for tea at the new Prezzos which has gorgeous views (and a VERY noisy party near us)
  • who says we look alike?
  • I crocheted a shawl for both mothers but forgot to get a photo of either! Also doing an Sue Pinner aran spinning top blanket and have just started the Nuts About Squares blanket crochet along because I am a sucker for blankets
  • Joined in the short Quirky Kits scrap challenge day but not the weekend as I had to work that weekend

  •  And a few cards, which mostly came late to the party because that is what my life is like at the moment
 March 17th it was my challenge which was "green with a glimmer of gold" what with it being St Patricks day and all
 I was going to make two cards like this but ran out of time so my mum had something different! This card is not like the ideas in my head! All of the green is watercolour paint. I die cut lots of different shapes from watercolour card  - actually no, a few were on paper and then weren't right so I turned them over and coloured them and it still worked! It all got the Wink of Stella treatment (which you can pretty much take as read these days, like the Sharpie pen on scrap pages!). I die cut the letters from glitter card and found the sticky heart in my stash. Then I went to town with various stickles and liquid pearls
Next came my major boo boo Enfys gave us a great challenge to use things wrapped around groceries - wrap it up.
I didn't read it properly and decided that it was about using packaging. So that's what I did. Doh. I quite like the card though
 I was so proud of myself for using 3 kinds of packaging too. Only one from shopping though. I die cut the Clearly Besotted feather from cardstock . I squished some Distress Inks onto some clear packaging, sprinkled water and smooshed them onto the feather. Then I used the matching stamp over the top to add the feather details. I saw a card recently with a large scallop on and it made me all nostalgic so I cut one from a Heidi Swapp paper with my mahoosive scallop scissors. The turquoise paper is from the same pad. The diagonal stripe is the back from some Pink Paislee embellishments and the coloured stripe is the shade strip cut from a Quirky Kits contents card. I found some thick vellum and heat embossed a Paper Smooches sentiment onto it. And yes, Sharpie pen around everything for definition. I assembled it all, with glue behind the feather and some Prima gems to hold the vellum in place. It isn't quite as squiffy as the photo looks.
Anyway, apologies to Enfys for not reading the challenge properly
And finally this week it is the first Friday of April and an Elemental Inspiration photo
 I looked at the photo on my Ipad and obviously should have had it portrait not landscape as I only looked at the bottom four pictures! 
 So my inspirations are:
the blue egg, tulips, twine wrapping, patterned glass, little daisies and the tag on the cup.
I remembered I had a Clearly Besotted tulip set so embossed that with a silver pearl powder. I coloured it in with Zig Clean Colour markers trying to keep the colours light and pastel (man, that is hard for me). I cut it out and wrapped some twine around it. I die cut an oval shape from watercolour paper and added turquise Clean Colour to it. I also die cut vellum and also dry embossed that with a circles embossing folder. I die cut a tag shape and heat embossed a sentiment from the same Clearly Besotted set as the tulips. 
I put foam pads on the back of the tulips and stuck them to the vellum which helped me to see where to attach the vellum to the blue card. One that was done the card base was looking a bit plain so I dry embossed that with a large embossing folder. 
The daisies were punched 3 at a time with a handy Stamping Up flower punch and once put in place I added some creamy yellow Nuvo drop centres

  • that's all folks! well apart from my 40 Days journal which is up to date. I posted this one online and then realised it was actually Day thirty two so it looks slightly less pretty title wise now 


Saturday, March 04, 2017

If I don't do it now...

I've just managed to haul my (not quite as fat as it was but not exactly tiny either) behind off a comfy chair and into the study to write this post before I sink into an evenings snoozing/crocheting. I've already missed a few weeks and if I don't post now, when the next few weeks are mad, then who knows when?

So life in a nutshell: Half term in Bradford with Carys in a bonkers but fabulous little airbnb place; Hywel has a new job which means finally leaving home and moving to Halesowen- real mixed feelings about that; work life is full on but really satisfying on the whole; attempting to do 40 Acts for Lent - its only day 4 and 40 seems a big number!

I'm catching up 3 weeks of Daring Cards - the first due to it being half term (seems months ago now but its only 2 weeks!). 
Leo challenged us to Go Geometric
I went for a simple take on it
I got out some old Simple Stories papers from a  Say Cheese 2 pad - I think they are subtly Disney themed but I love the colours. Armed with a triangle die I cut out loads and then spent ages putting them in place on some kraft cardstock. I did a little pen outlining then stuck the whole thing down on a white cardbase. I treble die cut the "Happy Birthday" phrase dies and stuck em together. I only had a short time to create but was quite pleased with the end result.

The next one gave me no end of trouble - not because of the dare but a discovery I made during the process.
Dawn asked us to Tear It Up
as it turned out that is what I had to do with part of the card...
I had the idea of covering a tag shape in layers of tissue paper. It looked lovely - except for the fact that the Tombow Multi glue dried yellow and you could see it through the layers. So in the bin that went (after carefully peeling off the stamped flowers and leaves) and I had to start again. Only instead of reaching for the tissue paper I picked up the hand made paper which I had also used behind the tag. Of course I didn't notice until everything was glued down so decided it would be better to leave it be. So I did.
The stamps are new to me - Bloom and Buds by Reverse Confetti. They are lovely but solid rather than  colour in stamps and I am in need of practice!

I was much happier with this weeks card - though sad I needed to make it. The lovely Enfys had her first turn at picking an Elemental Inspiration and went for a beautiful room design

 I was inspired by the windows, the black and white stripes, the plant and the pop of yellow in the left hand corner 
I used 2 sizes of square die to create frames and die cut vellum to the larger size to stick behind the frames to give a window effect. I found some black/white striped card to use at the top and bottom and I cut this into waves. I think that the wave and the off whiteness of the stripe help to soften the card otherwise the black/white stripe would have felt too stark even for a bereavenment card. I found a Spellbinder border die that I cut with green and yellow papers. I remembered to use Stickit paper for the yellow one which made adding the flowers a lot easier. The whole bloom was covered in Wink of Stella
and carefully stuck down using Tombow glue (without any hazards this time).

I'm not going to be able to join in the challenge this week - what with our two nephews from Canada (and my mother in law and four dogs) coming to stay; me going away for two days and Hywel (hopefully) moving in the middle. I'll be back soonish with the scrapping I have done with my latest Quirky Kit - I'm off to schedule some posts over there now!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Where did she go?

Today I am very excited as I have reached the target weight I set myself. It is still on the heavier side of the health bmi section but I am still over the moon about it.
I've been trying to lose weight for ages. Since moving to Devon my weight has gradually gone up adn up. And it was not for want of trying to cut down and exercise more. But nothing I tried worked. Its not helped by having an underactive thyroid and being over 50/perimenopausal. So I decided to go for a weight loss programme. I was going to do the Joe Wicks one but it was a LOT of money. I still wonder if I should have done that as exercise isn't happening much and is a large part of that one. But instead I chose the Freedom Diet which was half the price but basically is just a load of diet sheets. However I'm not knocking it because it has worked and I have lost a stone now. The diet sheets are tailor made (I don't eat meat) and I have hardly ever felt hungry so that is all good. I have slipped in a little alcohol every now and then and eaten out too but slow and steady has done the trick. I had kind of ground to a halt so I would like to thank that horrible bug for getting me back on track. I lost 2lb then and another 2 since! (I don't recommend the bug but at least I had a reward!)
I haven't got many before and after photos, except in a bikini and no-one is seeing those on the internet!
The best I can do is one taken last February and one last Saturday when I was dressed up as Ginger Spice (as you do) for the local charity 80s/90s dance.

 As you can see, plenty left to lose if I want to but I'm a healthy weight and happy with it. I don't know why Phil chose to take the photo from the least flattering angle ever but there you go. Here is a better one with Sporty and Baby Spice and several girls from the 80s. (who just reminded me of my teen years!) Oh and one chap...

 Anyway I expect the Spice photos will be coming to a scrap page soon. 
So lets get on with some crafting news shall we...
this week on Daring Cardmakers the theme set by the lovely Sharon was Mirror, mirror 
 we were tasked with using something reflective on our cards. It could be foiling, shiny stickers, miri card, or even mirrored tiles. 
I had a great idea using silver miri card. Only I didn't have any. I did have a lot of gold miri card over from Christmas Messy Church crafts so used some of that. I wanted to make a Valentines Day card so went for something quite simple (well I always do!)

Once more I went for that rectangle die cut with the faux stitching. This time I cut out watercolour paper so that I could paint lots of hearts on it with my Kuretake paints. It might have been neater with pencil lines but you can tell its hand drawn this way! I die cut the letters using Wplus9 Whimsy alpha dies. I've used them before but never on such thick card and love the embossed edge that you get with the thicker gold card. 
For the inside I die cut a cross stitch edged heart and added the rest of the letters. I've got lots of the stick it stuff for sticking down letters but forgot until it was too late so used my old friend the xyron x150 refill sticker maker (I don't use the little machine as you get to use more sticker by just using the inside refill bit!).
And there you go. All I need now is to remember to take it with me next week when we go and visit Carys in Bradford for the last holiday there before she leaves.  
We have a new place to start visiting though - Hywel has a new job starting soon in Halesowen near Dudley/Birmingham so that is where we will be for our Easter hols, helping to buy and assemble furniture. His new company have a relocation officer so he is doing the had work of finding suitable accomodation!
 (which is more exciting than me losing weight. But only just...)

I had a day off yesterday and enjoyed doing some colouring in of stamped images and also making a scrapbook page for fun. It turns out that the Go Now Go paper line by Shimelle is very similar to Fancy Pants on Trend 2 so I was able to mix up embellishments and stickers. (And also going through my random selection of bits to stick on as well)
When I took my mother and sister in law to Rockfish, a really lovely fish (and chips) restaurant in Brixham where all the fish is freshly caught, the batter was sublime. But ma in law only likes a little so asked if the leftovers could be wrapped up for her dogs. She was tickled to have them returned in a posh little box!
I wasn't sure how to stick on the clouds. "Love" went through my little xyron machine but the clouds were too big. So I dotted some glossy accents on the back and it looks like a pattern. I'll do that again. 

 The photos of the layout are not great - it snowed this morning and is still rather dark with white yet dark clouds covering the sky. Lots of excited children as snow is rare in Devon. But it didn't settle.

I'm still practicing with the lettering (thanks for the kind comments last week!). This one is done with Kuretake Zig watercolour pens. Its better but I still can't always get enough differentiation between thick and thin letters

 Next week it will mostly be crochet as we will be away but I might take my writing practice stuff with me too.
Do have a look at the Daring Cardmakers blog as there are some really terrific mirror ideas this week