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Friday, 3 December 2021

Elemental Inspiration for Daring Cardmakers

There is a great winter mood board over at Daring Cardmakers this week, pop over to see how it inspired the Design team. Here is mine......


My Christmas cards are done, now for the bit I hate - writing and addressing them. Every year I feel as though just signing them simply isn’t enough when sending to a cousin or friend that I haven’t seen for years, so I sit there chewing the end of my pen desperately thinking of something relevant/witty/interesting to say, and let’s face it, the past few months have not been a barrel of laughs for any of us. There is not much you can say about the joys of masks/social distancing/isolation......maybe this year I really will just sign our names with a flourish and be done.....at least they will know we are still around 😁

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Chatsworth at Christmas

No card today but I thought you would enjoy seeing some photos of a recent visit to Chatsworth - especially those of you who live overseas and like to see how the aristocracy live.....shades of Downton Abbey!

Each year the house (the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire) is decorated for Christmas, with dozens of Christmas trees, heaven knows how long it takes, it is a labour of love for me to get the baubles for one tree out of the loft....




This next room was decorated to celebrate the Nutcracker ballet, the dancer you see was inside a box that opened like a music box, with music from the ballet playing......



Imagine sweeping down those stairs in your Christmas party outfit.....


My friend Heather and I had to make do with puffa jackets instead of silk and velvet.....


The library was fascinating, it was a theme of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and all the glass fronted bookcases had paper cut outs of the images from the song, here are twelve ladies dancing....

 


and Lords a leaping - I love the way they are all different poses and sizes






There were other signs of a handmade Christmas as well, these paper angels were used to tie back drapes



Imagine sitting here for Christmas lunch!








I hope you enjoyed your visit to one of England's most beautiful stately homes

Friday, 26 November 2021

Stockings for Daring Cardmakers

This week on Daring Cardmakers, they are saying 'show us your stockings!'

Here's mine, stocking from good old Christmas Cheer in Cricut design space, filled with some random greenery and some leaves I left white. That Merry Christmas paper that I used for the stocking has been hanging around for at least ten years!



Today is this little poppets fifth birthday. Happy birthday Molly xxx

Here she is on her first day at school in September


and eating some giant fire pit toasted marshmallows........ 
 


 

Friday, 19 November 2021

Silver, Aqua and a Dash......

This week on Daring Cardmakers, Kathy challenged us to use Aqua, Silver and a dash of one other colour.
I came up with this.........


 The silvery snowflake background paper is from the Arctic Winter paper pad from Craft Label (isn't it gorgeous?). Snowflakes and NOEL word are dies by Spellbinders, and the silver circle is a MFT die

Pop over to Daring Cardmakers to see the inspiration over there, and we would love you to join in if you are getting into your Christmas cardmaking mode....





Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Twelve Days of Christmas Card

Craft Label have a Christmas pad called the Twelve Days of Christmas, I got the 8 x 8 size, there are three pages of these tiles - enough to make eight of these box cards, I love the way they turned out



 I followed a very good tutorial on this particular fold by Paul  Ford  on YouTube. Here is the link  He is well worth following if you like unusual folds for cards, or make mini albums. I love the way he is so organised, there is no faffing around on his videos



Sunday, 14 November 2021

In my design team parcel from Craft Label was this little Santa stamp, a last minute addition, and an absolute bargain at only £1. I knew at once what I wanted to do with him, quick stamping, even quicker colouring, and the image cut out beautifully with my Scan n Cut machine. Then it was Ho Ho Ho all the way..............perfect quick card for small excited people!




 

Friday, 12 November 2021

Jolly Holly

The challenge over at Daring Cardmakers this week is Jolly Holly Days, pop over there to see the fantastic creations from the design team, and we would love you to join in

I made mine with a variety of die cut leaves on a twig wreath background. I cut them all in white and inked them. Holly and bow dies are by Spellbinders. I spattered a bit of white acrylic paint on the navy background. Sentiment stamp by Tim Holtz, embossed in white WOW embossing powder


I went to a lecture yesterday on Moorish architecture in Spain - it was focused mainly on Andalucia, especially the gorgeous city of Cordoba, and it took me right back to a week Mike and I spent there some years ago. That area of Spain is the home of flamenco, there was a local festival of some type going on, which meant all the women were dressed in gorgeous flamenco dresses and mantilla's, even the young girls, who were perched on the back of their boyfriends scooters in full flamboyant dresses. One night we went back to the hotel, it was quite late, but there were crowds of excited people gathered outside....big crowds. They were clearly waiting for someone, we thought it would be a pop star we had never heard of, but the noise and cheers were overwhelming when a car drew up and out stepped a Matador, fresh from the bullring, still wearing his bejewelled suit of lights

Isn't it lovely when something triggers memories of days and events you have forgotten? Yesterday in that lecture, I could almost feel the warmth of the sun and smell the delicious aromas wafting out of the tapas bars

Monday, 8 November 2021

It's been a while..........

I have so neglected my blog lately......down to a variety of reasons,  I had a period of being unwell, had all sorts of unpleasant tests, luckily all is well and I am fine again now. Somehow I haven't got back into the swing of things since lockdown, it's strange really, during those difficult times, friends were saying 'well at least you have your crafts to keep you occupied', but I hardly made anything, with everything going on in the world, it all seemed a bit pointless to play with paper! But here we are...triple jabbed and crafting again 

Trimcraft sent me a box full of their delightful Christmas goodies, I particularly liked the Winter Wonderland pack and made these box cards. The santa sleigh is a die cut, the little trees were cut with my Cricut. They turned out just as I hoped 

and a couple of regular cards made with elements from the matching decoupage stack. Branch from Winter Woodland in Cricut design space
 

These photos are pretty bad, I took them at night, but wanted to give you an idea of the pads. They are available from Craft Label


Don't we live in a divided world these days? There seems to be no grey areas, just angry people who wear masks, and angry people mad at those who do. Angry people who believe in the vaccine programme, and angry people who don't. Angry people who believe so strongly about climate change they superglue themselves to roads, and angry motorists who believe they are nuts. It's quite difficult to tread the middle ground I find - but humour helps. It quite made my day when I saw someone wearing an Extinction Rebellion T shirt tucking into a plastic wrapped sandwich with coffee in a unrecyclable cup. Or see someone faithfully,  wearing a mask as a sort of chin strap with nose and mouth uncovered. It was funny as things started to get back to some sort of normality how, when you bump into friends unexpectedly, there was a sort of hesitation...oops, no, can't hug you and those elbow bumps are ridiculous, let's just stand awkwardly a good distance away from each other and hope that's allowed 

So here I am again, still pondering about the realities of life, and with a very messy craftroom once more. I promise to be back very soon (is it too late to make a new year resolution? No, it's only November.......)


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Another Album!

Sharing another album with you today, this is one I made for our daughter in law Lidia at Christmas. I filled it with photos of the boys, from babyhood to their lockdown summer in 2020.

I chose this metallic copper paper pad by Papermania for the pages - I had a hard time finding the right papers, as most of the photos were of little boys, I didn't want to make it flowery. Some of the papers are a soft peachy pink with foiling, but because the patterns are geometric, it still worked. The photos don't show a charm that dangles from the spine of the book - I found some metal charms that were tiny letters on chains, and used them for their four initials







The following pages are of their visits to their second home in Dorset. I found an old map showing their village, that's the central page you can see, I die cut a circle to highlight their village





 A lot of work, but I was very pleased with it, and Lidia loved it!

I blame the pandemic, I was facing yet another groundhog day, idly browsing the web I found a Scan N Cut machine on eBay and bought it. Old friends may remember that I bought one of these in America when they were first released and found it very frustrating, so I gave up and sold it. All I want it for is cutting out stamped images and pattern papers. It arrived and was unpacked (with a lot of buyers remorse going on - it's an expensive pair of scissors!). But, hooray, it's a lot more responsive than that early model, and cuts beautifully. I now have enough stamped images cut to make about a hundred cards, better get colouring, but I can't stop cutting stuff out ............... 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Butterfly Kisses Star Album for Trimcraft


The latest paper stack from Dovecraft is the very pretty Butterfly Kisses, available from Craft Label. All the papers coordinate beautifully, so I decided to make a star album to display photos........  

 

The cover was decorated with some fussy cut
roses, and I used matching ribbons as a closure






I really like that these albums can be left open to display the photos, when You are tired of one page, just turn it round for new photos......


Whilst the papers were out, I made a quick card with some of the leftover pieces. The rose was fussy cut from one of the papers, the die is by Spellbinders. The sentiment is from a sentiment sheet in the paper pad

















I've had a few of you ask how the grandchildren are - we haven't seen any of them for over six months now, since the winter lockdown, thank goodness for Zoom. Here is Molly, she is four now, very chatty and enjoys showing me all her toys on facetime calls - usually with the camera pointing at the ceiling!

The others are all back at school now, I just can't wait to see them all



Thursday, 11 March 2021

Plant a Flower - for Daring Cardmakers

This week over on Daring Cardmakers, the challenge is Plant a Flower. Pop over to see the lovely samples from the design team. 

Here is mine - playing around with pencils again, I used a Clearly Besotted stamp, then masked it to sponge in a distress oxide ink background. I die cut the oval using a Spellbinders stitched die, then a frame from the left over inked piece using the same die set. I used a tall thin card for a change - I rather like these, its quite effective to put all the elements towards the top of a card, and leave lots of white space below, but they are quite challenging to photograph





Not much in the way of news here this week, apart from a TV suddenly developing a multi coloured barcode over the picture. So that was a day gone, trying to phone the manufacturers helpline. Then another couple of hours getting through to the repair people they recommended (who did a sharp intake of breath when I described the fault, and recommended buying a new TV). Then another few hours researching the best TV's, followed by searches for the best deal.....I swear I have listened to so much canned music whilst hanging on waiting for a human to talk to, that I can't  get the dratted tunes out of my head!

So the new TV arrived. Perfect, super picture. But wait, it was too big for the console the old one stood on. Sigh.....back to the phone, back to more canned music and people telling me how important my call was to them. If I am that important, answer my call for heavens sake.....

The new larger console arrived in a coffin sized box, so a few not so happy hours were spent assembling it, the legacy of that is a very sore back. Not much time for cardmaking this week as a result of this, now I have projects to make, and no time to watch the new TV 😀
 

Friday, 26 February 2021

Practicing with pencils.......


I have been enjoying colouring with Polychromos pencils this week, I especially liked the soft look of the pencils on kraft cardstock. You do have to be patient and build the layers up slowly, but at the moment it's my favourite relaxation. Do you use pencils? Because the Polychromos are oil based, you don't get that waxy finish that lots of pencils give. 



So my online grocery order was unpacked and put away, but not without a few surprises. Frankly, I am rubbish at grocery shopping online. In 'normal' times, I trot happily around a supermarket, rarely using a list, just picking stuff purely on appearance and impulse. The problem with an online shop is that you can't see the size of the item you are buying and I am a dinosaur when it comes to metric measurements! Having been schooled in imperial, I suppose I have been lazy and I still, 40 years after the UK became metric, mentally think in pounds and ounces! This does not work when you are buying a joint of meat online (or anything at all in fact).....so the hunk of beef that I confidently reckon will be big enough for at least three meals for the two of us, morphs into either a tiny little sliver of beef, or a chunk that would make an excellent display at a banquet. 

Then there is the sheer frustration of remembering just as you are about to checkout that you need furniture polish.....in real life you would just dash to the cleaning aisle and throw one in your basket. Now I have to navigate through about six different menus to find the stuff. The other thing that I miss is bumping into people you know and having a chat for ten minutes next to the cat food. Somehow an automated message chattily asking me if I have forgotten tea and coffee this week does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling. So I am pretty sure that this online food thing is not going to become a regular part of my life - even though Brian in the mask in the raspberry van seemed like a very nice chap


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Love was in the air!

Another Clearly Besotted little birdies card - I meant to post this before Valentines Day, but somehow it got lost!

I used a MFT die cut over a distress ink background. I do think these little birds are sweet




 It is 10 p.m as I write this, and I have just had an Ocado delivery - the only slot available this week. There is something rather bizarre about having a weeks groceries dumped on your doorstep by a masked man at 9.30 p.m. 

Ocado amuse me by giving me plenty of warning that the van arriving will be the raspberry/strawberry/cherry van (they 'wrap' their vans with images of fruit or vegetables). Presumably they give me plenty of notice so that I can peer out into the darkness and check that the van outside my door is indeed the long awaited raspberry van, instead of slumping back onto the sofa muttering 'no, it's the cherry van, not mine'.

I mean, how many fruit covered vans are likely to pull up at your door in one day? Still, it's nice of them to warn me to expect raspberries. Enough waffling......now I have to go and unload the stuff before bed    

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Happy Valentines Day!

 Happy Valentines Day to all you romantics out there! Here's a card made with the Some Birdie Loves You stamp set by Clearly Besotted. I love those little toucans. The aperture was cut with a MFT die - I stamped some leaves on the 'waste' of the frame and slotted it onto the back


I guess that after playing around with techniques again, my go-to comfort zone is still clean and simple cards..........



 Following on from my musings about lockdown, have you noticed that our expectations when watching TV have totally altered - I am by no means a lockdown fanatic, but find myself tutting when people are interviewed without any social distancing. Nowhere is my newly conditioned mind more alert than when watching a soap - I admit to watching Coronation Street, the only soap I follow. Those poor script writers and actors! They try so hard to be current, but as the rules change frequently according to the spread of the virus, they now have children going to school, people going clothes shopping, on holiday........all things that were probably perfectly possible when they recorded the episode some weeks ago, but are now illegal. Actors who are living in the same house in the soap, now stand awkwardly at opposite ends of a room, even when one of them is in tears and clearly needs a hug.  It must take special acting skills to appear sympathetic at those times. Then there are the people who bump into neighbours on the street, you have a group of three holding a casual conversation standing in a sort of triangle miles away from each other. My advice to the script writers would be to avoid any budding romances for a few months - it's hard to convey pent up passion when the actors can't get within six feet of each other. 

In fact, screen writers really need to think ahead a little - one character in Corrie gave birth to quads last year, did nobody think of the problems this would cause in the future? Since their birth, only two babies have been filmed at a time, most of the time the actors playing the parents are seen dashing upstairs with armfuls of nappies to their invisible offspring. These kids must be about nine months old now, in real life you would have four little humans crawling around or tucking in to bowls of sieved veggies, but these babies are miracles, they have spent nine months confined to their cribs, and sleep all day. I can only imagine the conversations that must take place behind the scenes on the soap. 'Who had the crazy idea of FOUR babies? You're fired!' 

Now I am off to watch more TV and put on my pandemic critics hat.....see you tomorrow

Friday, 12 February 2021

Miss You - for Daring Cardmakers

This is the first card I have made for months for the Daring Cardmakers Friday challenge - I needed a break to concentrate on Mike's health. 

Today Dawn has set the challenge of 'Share the Love', see what the team has come up with here , as always we have all interpreted the challenge in very different ways, it's always fascinating to see....

I used a rubber background stamp by Ton Stamps, a US company. I stamped it on white with Peacock Feather distress ink, using my Misti. Then I reinked a bit randomly in various distress colours, just dabbing each ink here and there on the stamp before moving on to the next colour. I used about six different colours, and then very lightly sprayed the whole thing with a fine mist of water. When that was dry, I filled in some of the details with a clear Wink of Stella pen, so in real life it is nice and sparkly 






 

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Lockdown musings.........

I am almost out of my favourite 6 x 6 white card bases, but rummaging around uncovered this shaped edge card base from years ago - I stamped and coloured the flower from the Make a Wish set by Clearly Besotted then cut it out. The shape of the card seemed to lend itself to a simple easel card (score the front of the card at the halfway point, and fold)


I couldn't find any cardstock to exactly match the colour of the flowers for a sentiment mat, so coloured a piece of white card with the same colour ProMarkers




 This lockdown business is strange - for non-UK friends, our whole country is in lockdown for the third time. People who can are working from home, pubs, restaurants, non essential shops and schools are shut. You can only travel from area to area for specific reasons, and can't have visitors inside your home, or even in your garden - although who would want to chat a garden table over a cup of hot chocolate on a freezing winters day is beyond me.

So when friends drop by to return a borrowed book or jigsaw, you stand inside the house (with your coat on because the front door is wide open), whilst your masked visitor stands a dutiful 2 metres away, and you chat awkwardly about the weather and other trivia until they climb, teeth chattering, into their car and drive thankfully away

This goes entirely against the grain for me, raised as I was by a hospitable mother who put the kettle on for a cup of tea as soon as your feet crossed her threshold. So for all of my grown up years, the window cleaner, odd job man, boiler servicing guy etc barely have time to unload the tools of their trade before a cup of tea or coffee is thrust into their hands. The problem now is that all those years of nursing and infection control have left their mark on me, I am indoctrinated in the extreme measures needed to fight the pesky virus....... So let's face it, anyone working for a couple of hours in your house with frequent refreshments provided are going to ask if they can use the bathroom before leaving. So a whole new can of worms is opened. Not only do I have their mug to gingerly place in the dishwasher, treating it with as much respect as if it were a radioactive bomb primed to go off and destroy the whole neighbourhood, I now have to clean the darn cloakroom as well. So it's easier to smile and wish them a cheery good morning with no mention of the tea word. This means that when I am desperate for coffee, I have to smuggle it unseen into a random corner of the house where I can't be discovered, and furtively gulp it down before my inhospitable actions can be witnessed by the thirsty workman....