Sunday, 2 November 2014

Christmas. Yes, I concede.

Usually I try not to acknowledge Christmas until after Bonfire Night. Pumpkins, bonfires, fireworks and tinsel just don't go together in my head. I have tried to drown out that our church choir has been rehearsing Christmas music since not long after Easter, and that the shop began selling Christmas gift wrap last week. But when it got to 11pm on Halloween night after a cosy evening of ghost TV and candles, with the crop the next day and having done not a moment of packing or planning, I found the cutest set of door wreath cards on Pinterest. That was it, I was hooked. Another one for Fiona's SIPIDI!

I'm not getting much crafting done since I started work, but yesterday was our monthly Bristol Scrappers crop, and despite having to share the hall with a team of noisy stage builders, I managed 4 of these identical cards. The door is made from a Memory Box window die, but I cut it about and discarded most of the important bits, and I think it looks a lot like a door.

I'm entering it into Less Is More's non-traditional Christmas card challenge. It's simple, but I just hope it is clean enough after I added the faint stone stamping to make the wall. I'm sure Chrissie and the team will tell me if I've made it too busy!

It is also for Simon Says Stamp's "anything" challenge, Cute Card Thursday's "razzle dazzle" (is the Ice Stickles glittery enough? It's much more glittery in real life, I promise) and Pixie's Crafty Workshop's "snippets" challenge. Seriously Di, you should have seen me taking my bits of leftover white card onto the kitchen worktop where my noise wouldn't matter so much, and bruising the back AND front of my left hand punching out all those branches. That is, until I was requested to "move over" from my approximately 1 square foot of space to make room for the stage builders to have their coffee...

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Sending hedgehugs

Look! Aren't these darling?

When I saw these adorable stamps from Lawn Fawn, I fell ears over fluffy tail in love. I showed them to my wildlife-loving DH and he said Get Them. I said But and he interrupted Get Them. So I did, along with the Into the Woods stamp and die set.

I didn't get the dies that will cut these darling hedgehogs out - I decided that I was proficient enough with a pair of scissors to manage that one by myself, and put the money towards this feathers set instead.

But I digress, in my enthusiasm! I wanted the hedgehugs set for my brother-in-law, who is a particular fan of "hodgepogs". Here's the card he got, and it got a nice grin out of him, so I was a happy squirrel. I used this week's sketch from Sketch Saturday. Cute eh?

And for the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge this week of "kraft", I am entering this simple little regrets card that I made in response to an invitation to our friends' baby's christening. It's such a shame that we couldn't go, but the sentiment was spot on for it.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

World card-making day

World card-making day was last Saturday, which was the day of our monthly crop. I managed 3 completed cards and 2 more that just have to have a finishing greeting on them.

This worky stuff is getting in the way of my crafting though. For CASology's "chocolate" challenge I made a lovely chocolate cupcake card, and then didn't get round to this post until after it had finished. D'oh. I think I might be able to adapt it for this week's "splatter" challenge though, if that is allowed! 

I did manage to get these posted in time. This one is for Less Is More's "autumn" and Pixie's Crafty Workshop's "snippets" challenges, and for Papertake Weekly, whose challenge this week is a nice broad "anything":

For Simon Says Stamp's "transport", Cute Card Thursday's "spots'n'dots" and Sketch'n'Stash's sketch (new = the yellow spotty background paper, bought last week, old and beloved = Kanban's nautical stamps):

Sunday, 21 September 2014

I've got a job!

As you may know, I've been looking for work for months. I've had interviews but someone else, usually a graduate or someone with more recent experience, always got the job. But something finally came through and I'm working part-time, which is why I've been missing in action from my blog. Yesterday DH went to a Hi-Fi show with his friends and I allowed myself a crafting day. You can only imagine how much I enjoyed that if you've been in the same position of not being able to craft for a while. I made 8 cards! Here are some of them.

For CASology's "grass" challenge:

For Less Is More's "face the music and dance" challenge (and yes, thank you, that song has been stuck in my head ever since - I hope you're happy!)

For Cute Card Thursday's "autumn", Papertake Weekly's "punch it out" and Pixie's Crafty Workshop's "snippets" challenges:

For Sketch'n'Stash's sketch challenge (neglected = dancing paper, new = speech bubble die):

And for Sketch Saturday's sketch challenge:

I'd love another day like that sometime soon, but I suspect it won't be happening for a while. Meanwhile I'm very thankful for it.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Red Arrows

My DH recently went to the RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) at Fairford with a couple of his friends and his 12 year old god-son. The array of photography equipment that they took with them was eye-popping, and after they got back of course came the task of sorting through the photos. They took over 10,000 photos between them - I swear I'm not exaggerating.

When his god-son's 13th birthday came up, it wasn't difficult to decide on a card, and this week's Sketch Saturday sketch helped it all come together.

I used a free cloud embossing folder that came with a magazine, and which I've been planning to try out for ages. It looks fabulous, doesn't it? The Red Arrows were taken from one of their photos and cut using my Silhouette. How appropriate.

I'm also entering into Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday Challenge of "anything".

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

It never began life as a rainbow

You know when you wonder what will happen if you try something, and you find the time and the courage to give it a go, and you learn things but don't end up with what you started out to do? That was me yesterday. I was aiming for last week's CASology challenge of "run", and I had the bright idea of letting ink run. Nobody else seemed to have thought of that, and I had until 6pm to make something of it.

I discovered that I had the wrong card-stock, and the wrong ink. The card-stock soaked up the ink like blotting paper. Huh. Well some of it - I had a lovely selection of different inks: Smooch Spritz, Distress Stains and Dylusions mists. I can tell you now - they don't mix! The Smooch smears all over the craft mat and leaves bits of glimmer in splodges. The other inks all bead. And my Evergreen Distress Stain poured out of the dauber in a great whoosh and soaked itself up under my fingernails in a really ghoulish way. I'll have to remember that at Halloween, because 2 showers and many scrubbings later, I still look distinctly oxygen deprived around the extremities.

After dripping and dropping these inks, diluting them, painting them, spilling them, blowing them about with my heat gun and generally making a mess, I decided to cut my losses and just wipe my remaining card-stock over the craft sheet and see what happened. It was nearly 6pm by then and I had waved goodbye to my deadline, so what was there to lose?

I lost last week's challenge, and gained a whole bunch of rainbows, which just happens to be THIS week's challenge. What a coincidence!

I turned one piece into this card for my DH's godson's 8th birthday. He and his black Siamese cat have a special relationship. I cut this little cutie with my Silhouette and not a little trouble, but we got there in the end.

I'm hoping this is CAS enough for:
CASology: rainbow
Less Is More: anything as long as it's CAS
Simon Says Stamp: emboss it (the greeting at the bottom is dry embossed)
Cute Card Thursday: for the birds

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

It's behind you!

It was my niece's 11th birthday yesterday, and I was hard put to think of something suitable for her card. In the past she's been into tropical fish, Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty, and Moshi Monsters, but this year's craze is loom bands in a big and exclusive way. Really not great for a card subject.

I consulted MIL about it, and she came up with the brilliant idea of the school pantomime "Aladdin trouble" {groan} in which my niece has been playing Widow Twankey - and also Widow Twinkey for some complicated reason that I didn't fully get my head around.

What a great excuse to use my brand new Bo Bunny Enchanted Garden 6"x6" paper pack! With the aid of on-line colouring pages, my Copic markers and some home printed greetings, my niece got a card which she and her little friend pronounced as "cool". And if that isn't high praise from a pair of tweens, I don't know what is.

Here is the inside. I couldn't resist bringing pantomime humour in somehow.

I'm entering this into the following challenges:
Charisma Cardz: anything goes
Cute Card Thursday: pretty papers
Sketch Saturday: this sketch

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Yes I know, this is going to get THAT SONG going round your heads for the rest of the day, and for this I apologise. Hehee!

My cousin's eldest turned 5 on Tuesday. When I asked her mother what her current craze was, I was told anything to do with Frozen, so I got her a purple t-shirt and the DVD. Of course, that meant that she had to have a Frozen birthday card too, which gave me carte blanche to go back to being a little girl myself again and play with colouring-in, glimmer, glitter and shine.

The snowflakes are from Sizzix's framelits set which includes matching stamps. The felt snowflake border is from Little Yellow Bicycle and the background paper is from Bo Bunny's Midnight Frost collection. I printed the image from the net, and coloured it using about half the Copic markers that I own, so I'm afraid I can't give you the numbers. Add Stickles Diamond and Wink of Stella in clear, silver and gold, and this is a card that shines with its own light.

I'm really looking forward to finding out how she liked it all, but really I know she loved it.

In other news, it's the final week of the World Cup, and what a week! With Germany wiping the floor with Brazil in a 7-1 massacre, and Argentina and Holland spinning out their goalless match until long past our bed-time with Argentina winning 4-2 on penalties... wow, what will the final bring? I don't know about you, but our fridge will be stocked with beer ready for Sunday night's final.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Virtual Blog Hop!

The lovely Tanya, one of my beautiful friends from Oklahoma, has asked me to take part in a virtual blog hop, so here I am! I think the idea is to share what we have all been doing recently, so that we can share, be inspired by, and admire the work and creative processes of other people who we might not otherwise have "met". That's a great idea, isn't it?

Here's a little bit about me and what I've been working on lately.

1) What am I working on?
Andy, the Rector of our parish, asked me to make 50-odd stars for the church to give out to the school children and their teachers. Each has a quotation about spirituality, which needed printing in exactly the right place on the card, which I then die-cut and matted onto a bigger die-cut star. A punched silver star was then stuck on and a hole punched through for silver ribbon to be tied so that the stars can be hung up.

I made something similar in hearts, for a recent church wedding fayre, and they were very popular. Here they are before I tied the silver ribbon on. Andy wanted to add essential oil to the ribbons, and the first ribbon I got turned out not to be absorbent at all - oops. I had to get some more, and then there wasn't enough so I had to raid my stash.

I am also scrapbooking as usual, but with a slightly simpler style than I normally do:

This one was made for National Scrapbooking Day at our monthly Bristol Scrappers crop. Usually I bring home a handful of half-finished pages and never finish them, but I actually finished this one.

And here are a couple of my latest cards, one experimenting with a new embossing folder that I got for Christmas, and the other a design lifted from Pinterest, but I did come up with the greeting myself:

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well I don't know. That makes what I do sound pretty posh and professional, and I'm only a hobby crafter. I make cards for family and friends and the choir, so I'm constantly on the look-out for ideas for designs. My scrap-book pages are mostly in response to challenges, either sketches, lifts or technique challenges, so they are different every time because I'll try most things once.

3) Why do I write/create what I do?
I love playing with colour. I love being creative and using what tools and materials I have to design new things. I love giving my cards away, strangely enough.

I quite like blogging about it all too, because I can organise my rambling thoughts into (also rambling but not quite as random!) words and clarify things in my own head. I like showing off what I've done - don't we all?

4) How does your writing/creating process work?
That's a tough one. I have to start with a need: I mean someone's birthday coming up, or a challenge to enter.

For a card, I think about what the recipient is interested in. I try hard to steer away from those generic old cars and golf for the men, although they can be so difficult. Then I find a challenge that fits the bill and looks fun, and go from there. And thinking about it, I use the same principle for LOs, trying to keep to the subject matter. I love challenges.

Next I will pass you on to Georgina, fellow Scrap-Whisperer, line-dancer and friend, who I met in 2008 through an American scrapbooking site while I was living in Singapore. It turned out that she works for the same company I used to work for, and lives not 6 miles from where I went to school. How freaky can you get? Haha!

Georgina will post on Monday June 16th, so please go and check out her blog. See if you can work out how many cats she has?

Thanks for the inspiration to write, Tanya. I'm going to enjoy going back through everybody's blogs and joining the dots!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

I want to show you my latest card. What with having a week away in South Devon, then the kitchen work tops replaced due to a faulty joint (and I'm not even going into all the hassle that caused), then being away for a family funeral last week, crafting has rather been pushed onto the back burner lately. Oh and I've got shingles. Pfft. Hopefully life will return to normal very soon - whatever normal actually is!

Meanwhile, have a look at these. For Less Is More's "smile" (rainbow colours always make me smile) and Papertake Weekly's "Easter". Also for Pixie's Crafty Workshop's Snippets challenge, because you may recognise the doily as being used as a mask on the Mothering Sunday cards I made a few weeks ago. If that doesn't count as recycling, I don't know what does. Hehee!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Pink all over

#171 is the final Scrap Whispers challenge in this game. It is to create your page from one of the delicious colour palettes provided. That's all! Easy, right?

I chose this sugary pink palette:

to make this LO:

You can play too, for just 2 more days. Actually, you can choose any of the challenges for this game, as long as you enter them within 2 days, and you will be entered in the Grand Prize Draw. Go on over and have a look?

I also want to show you this pretty, pretty card that I made for a friend's birthday. I'm entering it into these challenges:

Less Is More: masking/stencils (I used a doily as a mask)
CASology: blush (pink, obviously!)
Simon Says Stamp: glitter (Pink Stickles)

Thanks for looking, and have a happy first day of spring!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Rainbow balloon

Papertake Weekly: bingo (die-cut, free (punch), glitter)
Stampin' for the Weekend: anything
Pixie's Playground: snippets

Another Pinterest steal (SIPIDI) using Threading Water punch for the balloon, cloud die-cuts thanks to Amy, and a tiny piece of leftover chipboard that came from goodness knows where, that I've been hoarding for years for EXACTLY this moment. Apparently. Hehee.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Silhouettes and butterflies

Monthly crop today at the Bristol Scrappers!

I never know what to pack for crops. I fill my little car and take two trips to carry everything in and out. But even when I'm prepared (which doesn't happen often!) I always, without fail, want to use the one thing on my scrapbook pages that I haven't brought. Last month I made an executive decision to concentrate on cards at these crops instead. And last month I came away with 18 little "thank you" notelets, so that was a productive day.

Today I only made 3 cards but they were a learning curve and took some time. And I STILL didn't have everything I needed, but Susan, owner of a gigantic sack of paints (including 4 different shades of lime green!) very kindly let me use her acrylics and brush. In exchange I gave her the bull-rush template and die-cut for her art journals. I love how friendly and eager to share we all are at this crop - not just stash and tools but ideas, compliments, appreciation. They are such lovely people.

This week's Less Is More challenge is yellow and green. I brought along my Distress inks and made a wonderful mess.

And CASology's challenge is paint so this one was Susan's acrylics. I always think silhouettes are deliciously dramatic, especially with a colourful background to them - don't you? I'm not sure which I prefer. I'll add the greeting when I decide who and what it is for.

Finally Simon Says Stamp wants pearls, and Cute Card Thursday have requested "springtime". I nicked this design unashamedly off Pinterest where it appears in so many guises that I don't know who to thank for the original. If anyone knows, please leave a comment and tell me so that I can leave credit where it's due, because isn't it delish?

I also want to put this towards March's SIPIDI, as it is definitely a Pinterest steal.

ETA: Look what I won for these cards. Thank you so much! 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

SIPIDI - See It, Pin It, Do it

I am on a team on the UK Scrappers forums called the Inky Minxes. Our team leader is Fiona, whose blog is Staring at the Sea. She has challenged us all to See It, Pin It, Do It and that means taking an idea that we've pinned on Pinterest and actually do it rather than just collecting ideas. How sensible is that?

I found a lovely idea for making a cake in a mug in the microwave, but have struggled to find a recipe that works for me and DH. So I've been playing with my own recipes. My first attempt was a dried-out, slightly burned, rubbery failure, but today I had another go and tweaked it a little and it was quite yummy. It began as gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free, but then I added chocolate chips and some Stone's ginger wine on a whim, and it promptly stopped being sugar-free and child-friendly!

Here is where I got it from, and these are my tweaks.

3 minute gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free microwave chocolate cake

All measurements are level tablespoonfuls.

3 tbsp rice flour
1 tbsp arrowroot
2 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
4 tbsp agave nectar
1 large egg
3 tbsp Stone's ginger wine (or dairy-free milk)
2 tbsp olive oil
a handful of chocolate drops (optional)

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl and mix. Add the wet ingredients and mix well together. I used a whisk. Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the mixture.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes. My microwave is 1000W which is quite a powerful one. Last time I think I overcooked it, so this time I put it in for 2 minutes, then another 30 seconds, then another 30 seconds, and it was just right. Not very pretty at this stage. I let it rest for a couple of minutes to finish cooking.

Turn out and serve.

We had ours with an Alpro vanilla soy dessert which took the place of custard, and it was all quite delicious. Very chocolatey.

I'm looking forward to next month's SIPIDI. I already have an idea. If any of my readers want to join in, just let Fiona know by commenting on her blog, and she will add your blog posts to her SIPIDI Pinterest board. Hopefully she'll get a nice collection of really achievable things, created by normal people rather than Martha Stewart!

Friday, 14 February 2014


Over at Scrap Whispers this week, the challenge is a horizontal band of circles, inspired by Jenn K's beautiful LO where she has put her photos in the circles. My inspiration LO goes in a slightly different direction, and is based on one photo and a sketch from this week's UK Scrappers challenge.

I was in the local church choir before we moved to Singapore, and I still kept in touch with them. After two years, one of our dear basses e-mailed me to say that he, his wife and daughter were stopping over in Singapore on their way to Australia, and could we meet up? We had a lovely day walking around Chinatown and taking a boat trip down the Singapore River, before jet-lag took them over and they had to go back to the hotel and rest.

That was 7 years ago, and I'm back in the choir, and that dear bass now sits right behind me. He still talks about that day, but I think his over-riding recollection is of the exhaustion rather than the country!

Isn't the sketch a lovely one? So versatile - I can see myself using that one again, maybe the other way up. I really like those banners.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Friday, 7 February 2014

British weather

Can I just show you this?

You may have seen on the news that the UK is being lashed by storm system after storm system over this winter. Many parts, including the Somerset Levels near where we live, have been evacuated due to flooding. A section of a coast railway in Dawlish on the south coast has been completely washed away leaving parts of the south west isolated by rail. People have been swept away by enormous waves.

It is not cold. It is mild but soaking wet, with wind speeds of up to 90mph as each storm system comes over - and we're getting them every few days.

I found this website which illustrates in a dramatic way what is going to hit us over the next few days.

This was the storm we had 2 days ago that destroyed the railway:

If you have a few minutes to play, go and check it out. And send up a few prayers for those poor people who are facing evacuation from their homes, and looting to add insult to injury.

Too much sadness

Tuesday 4th February was Cancer Awareness Day. It was also the day that my friend Jen lost her K9 Cop husband to complications from leukaemia.

Phil was diagnosed only last autumn, shortly before Jen lost her mother to Motor Neurone Disease (ALS). He went through one round of chemotherapy but it didn't work, and he had just been admitted for the second treatment. He was doing well, good appetite, positive, cheerful until Sunday when he went downhill very quickly, and passed away early on Tuesday. He leaves three heartbroken girls.

Down the road from us, Rev. John celebrated his 90th birthday last July. He went to be with God this week as well. He used to be in my church choir, so as designated choir card-maker, I made both cards the same.

May God bless their souls and give strength and peace to those they leave behind.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mini backpack album

Have a look at this!

I created it as inspiration for Challenge #165 at Scrap Whispers, but I wanted to show it off here as well.

I used the tutorial originally featured back in 2010 here. Back then I used it to make this darling little backpack album for Anmarie, and of course it was to give away, but it was so pretty I didn't want to part with it!

And now all this time later, I've got round to making one for myself. I'm entering it into this week's Papertake Weekly challenge which is "anything goes", so I hope they accept it. And Stampin' for the Weekend's challenge this week is "anything but a card" which this fits neatly.

Want to make your own? Go for it! I've linked the tutorial and my other example, and if you enter it into the Scrap Whispers Challenge, you will be in with a chance of winning the prize in the draw at the end of March.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Updates from the dray

December was pretty much craft-free. Christmas was a busy but lovely time with the family coming to visit, DH having quite a bit of time off, and lots of church work to do. I've been playing catch-up ever since, but the last week or two I've had time to play. The house looks a mess; I had to reduce my ironing pile to almost nothing before I could start, and I couldn't have done it without not being required for quite a lot of church work. It's been such fun to get back into making things again.

Scrap Whispers had a mandatory hiatus over December and January too, and the new game starts this Saturday. We have some great challenges and a wonderful starting LO.

I've also had a bit of a rethink on my blog and challenges, and things are going to change. This is despite my new year's resolution not to have any new year's resolutions - typical eh? A facelift will be next on the list, but for now I want to get back to entering challenges. And actually remembering to check back on them.

Here is today's creation first. It is for Less Is More's sketch challenge, and CASology's purple cue card. DH ordered some card-making packs for me for Christmas and they contained several of these enormous butterflies. They're all glitter-embossed, although that doesn't show up in this photo. The stars are random punches, die-cuts and old embellishments.

This is for Cute Card Thursday's "new" challenge, and Stampin' for the Weekend's "birthday" theme. The new is that precious toadstool paper from the My Mind's Eye "Gnome Sweet Gnome" pad that I got on clearance after Christmas. I just love it!

The Simon Says Stamp team is requesting string or twine for this week's challenge. That needs no explanation! I couldn't wait to use the Darice wood grain embossing folder that I got in my Secret Santa pack - thanks Darla! The tags were in a pack of dies in a goodie bag from the craft retreat I went on last year.

All of today's cards are also for Pixie's Craft Workshop's snippets challenges, because thanks to my punches, my scraps are gradually reducing. I can actually close the lid on my punched leaves box now. Hehee.