Saturday, 21 May 2016

A paddling of ducklings


We have had a couple of ducks nesting in a tree in the garden - who knew ducks nested in trees? I didn't! So yesterday, there was a big commotion up there, lots of rustling and quacks, and all of a sudden it started raining ducklings. Out of the tree they tumbled. Mama duck had obviously decided that this was the day her brood needed to get out into the world. So they picked themselves up with a little fluff of baby feathers, and set off behind Mama

The first obstacle was these steps - under construction. Mama hopped up, the babies gathered in a chirping little huddle at the base of the steps.....




Mama quacked encouragement, but there was no way those little things were going to climb those steps, so we carefully lifted them up, one by one....



 and off they set again.......



I opened the gate at the top of the garden which leads down a steep bank to the canal. Mama got very excited at the sight of the water, and flew down the bank, leaving her chirping brood at the top. They took a few tentative steps, then all rolled and tumbled all the way down to the water - it was hilarious to watch, like a load of little kids rolling down a grassy bank


Papa duck was swimming around waiting for his family to arrive. He started quacking quite loudly - I think he was saying 'for heaven's sake  get those kids under control'


Eventually, they all hopped into the water, and off they set - the babies took to swimming like, well, ducks to water!


It was such a special little episode, I had to share it. I just hope they remember how we helped them, and come back to nest with us next year

Friday, 20 May 2016

Not such green fingers.....

So the garden is taking shape, slowly, very very slowly, but it has gone from this.......


To seeing Paul, our very patient landscaper getting almost to the end of the marathon.....


and in the meantime, I have developed a sudden and quite inexplicable obsession with gardening. Now you must understand that I haven't a clue what I am doing. There were lots of large shrubs in the area that has been paved over, so I dug them up and planted them in other parts of the garden. 

Then I watched Gardeners World on the TV, which told me that you should put a few handfuls of compost or something into the hole you have dug for the shrub. So I rushed out and bought the stuff, pulled the poor shrubs back out of the ground, added the compost stuff and put them back. Poor things.....

Especially when, a few days later, as the landscaping progressed, I thought 'hmm, I think I planted this yellow bush in the wrong place', out it came again to be replanted in a totally different spot. So far, everything seems quite perky, even the plants that were uprooted three times before they reached their final resting place look okay, but I bet if plants have any sort of sensors, they want to curl up and die when they see me approach with my little trowel in my hand

The other thing I have learnt is that some plants that I have been nurturing - great big tall spiky things, I gave them a good feed of fertiliser - turn out to be a rather nasty weed. Well, how was I to know? And how is it that garden plants that you have to nurse along as if they are babies, fertilising them, watering them, staking them, grow at a snails pace, whereas weeds that get no attention at all, spread like a wildfire and grow at a staggering speed.

The final thing I have discovered (well, apart from the fact that you can spend the equivalent of the gross national income of a small country just in one visit to a garden center) is that someone invented gardening gloves as a necessity, not as a fashion accessory. I tend to forget this, so my nails (never my best feature) and hands now look as if I have taken a new job helping those guys who are permanently restructuring our motorways. 

Finally for today, it's Max's ninth birthday today, here is the card I made for him - suitably quirky I hope. Milo was seven yesterday. Happy birthday boys!   



Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Gardens and Glue....

So I have been a bit busy...the garden is being landscaped. Who would have thought it would take so much effort to choose new paving...


That filled in fish pond that we inherited had to go....




So now it's gone - but not before a boulder the size of Stonhenge was dug out, and they unearthed the foundations of some ancient building that also had to be dug out. Let's hope we haven't destroyed a major archaeological find and dug up the foundations of a Roman villa or an Egyptian tomb - no, I'm being silly now....

So this is still a work in progress, I will update proudly when it's finished


Then Max and Milo came up for Sunday lunch with their parents. The boys and I spent a happy afternoon in my den, painting and making apples for their teachers. Much glue was spilt in the making of these apples, but they were so proud of their efforts. Max had watched my YouTube video on making little pumpkins, and wanted to try, so we adapted it to apples. He also said 'if you don't make more videos soon Ma, I am going to have to unfollow you'


and lastly for today, a quick card idea. A single white punched butterfly, stacked on top of six different coloured punched butterflies. A doodled trail, a scattering of gems, and you are done!


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Swimming along - and some winners

Today's card was made with a watery background stamp from Designs by Ryn


here are the punched elements that made up the fish - quick and easy!


On to the winners of the colouring books. They are:

Glenys Beedell and Nanapat

Congrats ladies, email me with your addresses and your prize will be on it's way

I am having a bit of an intensive workout in my crafting den today - I have all sorts of projects that I need to get under my belt, my mojo has gone missing and so far I have stared blankly at the wall waiting for the crafting fairy to come and shower me with a bit of magic - so far she hasn't turned up, so I think it's time for coffee and a few deep breaths.......






Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Balloons in every size......

I fancied making some balloon cards, but I don't own a balloon stamp, die cut or stencil, so I made my own.......


I used the Fiskars shape cutter and the circle template - draw two lines onto a piece of spare cardstock, and cut around the circle to the lines



Now you have a partially cut out circle.....Draw a little 'neck' to the balloon in pencil as shown below, and cut out with scissors


You now have a balloon shape.....


Which you can make in any size.....


Use a post it note or washi tape to steady your base card and the template and using a blending tool, start sponging your balloon....


You can see that I sponged the ink more heavily at the sides and neck, leaving the center paler


Now reposition your template....Sponge another balloon, sponging over the yellow area as well. Pale colours work best. I used Simon Says Stamp dye inks, Lemon Chiffon, Mint and Sea Glass. These colours blend beautifully together


So now you have two balloons, repeat the process with a third colour


Add some strings and sequins. I love the way the balloons look transparent, just like the real thing.....


Here is a second card, this time using a HUGE balloon made with the biggest circle on the template

 and some smaller balloons floating up - the WISHING stamp is by Simon Says Stamp, and I used the Brother label maker to do the 'make a' part of the sentiment


Using the Brother P touch label printer is my latest passion for sentiments, it's easy to type out what you want to say when you don't have a suitable stamp. I get generic refills for the machine at a fraction of the cost of the real thing and they work perfectly

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Like Colouring? Giveaway.........

Have you got swept up in the latest craze for adult colouring books as a form of relaxation? I have a couple of these books to give away......







I reckon those designs would be pretty enough to frame when completed. All you have to do is leave your name under this post and I will pick two winners randomly on Sunday. Good luck

The 'adult colouring craze' certainly seems to have caught on - I spotted a rather burly looking guy in my local coffee shop sitting happily with his colouring book and some coloured pencils. He was getting some strange looks, but was happily oblivious and carried on regardless. As a relaxation therapy, it beats standing on your head in a yoga position or sitting cross legged on the floor doing some deep breathing - now you couldn't get away with that in a coffee shop!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Cheers!


I hope you have all been having a wonderful Easter weekend - we have been busy catching up with friends. I was hoping to launch an attack on the garden but the weather has been wild and windy, so it's back to the crafty desk for me

Here's an idea for a male card....

I cut a rectangle of white card and handcut the handle. The 'beer' is strips of brown cardstock, and the froth was made with lots of different sized punched circles. I put a layer of glossy accents over the whole tankard

We are off to lunch at another friends house today, so a quick post from me today before I say cheerio for now. I have a little giveaway planned for tomorrow so drop by then x  

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Bird Crazy...

No, not those crazy birds! I'm crazy about the new intricate shape punch from Fiskars - I just find them the perfect size for my cards. Both of these cards were made with the birds punched in white, and sponged with distress inks





So I am off to another craft fair on Thursday - this time it's a retail show at the NEC, and I will stock up on the few basics that I need (that's the plan, it usually turns into a shopping frenzy, but I am resolute........), but my main reason for going along is to catch up with my Fiskars buddies, Caroline, who is my boss and over from Paris, Kath and Hina. 

And pull up a chair, make a coffee, here is a video I made for the facebook page - I wonder how many of you have this tool languishing in a drawer? When I finally got the hang of it (who knew you had to take that little orange thingy off, not me!) I use it all the time, so I hope it helps someone.....


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Stitches Workshops....

The last of the trade show photos - this astonishing display was a bit of a show stopper - all the costumes, and the wolves were knitted!



 and I promised you a peek at the results of some of the workshops we attended. Now these are all about teaching you new techniques with the latest products, so I am not always crazy about the results, but take away something that I can adapt and use in another project which is more my style. 

First up was the Indigo Blu workshop. The stamp - called Elsie was stamped onto fabric. I did love the background, which had all sorts of techniques on it



This canvas was done in a Kuretake workshop - I can't tell you what an inky mess I was at the end of that one! I messed around with it a bit when I got home and overstamped a few trees onto the canvas


This one was a Paper Artsy workshop - I loved making this little box frame. Can you see on the glass some writing which looks as if it's etched on the glass? that was done with a new product called Fresco Finish Frosting Glaze - such an innovative product. You simply apply it to your stamp then stamp onto glass, acrylic or any transparent surface and get the effect of etched glass. I liked this so much that as soon as I got home, I ordered a bottle, so look out for a project or two made with it 


and lastly, I thought you would like to see the view from my kitchen window - these horses stand patiently at the fence every afternoon waiting for my neighbour to cross the road to give them some carrots - I just love them!


See you tomorrow x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

More from Stitches

First of all a cute sample made with Karen Burniston dies - Kath and I met Karen and chatted for quite a while, she is the sweetest most unassuming person you could wish to meet.....


Next up a few samples made with Woodware Stamps - this is a company who have really upped their game in the past couple of years and seem to be developing a line of stamps which are big, bold and beautiful




Lastly for those of you who sew, I loved the quilt kits made by Craft Cotton Co - I really would be tempted to attempt one of these if I had a little baby to cherish with an heirloom from Grandma......


If you have a sewing area in your craft room, how cute is this thread holder?



I'll be back tomorrow to share the projects we made at various workshops, see you then x