Sunday, 15 December 2013

A few photos

The last few weeks in pictures.

Deer on the critter-cam. Aaaaah!

The annual Victorian Fair, in aid of our town's Christmas lights. It has got less and less Victorian, with only a few costumes around now. Still quite good fun though.

Somebody has been on the thieve. And so have all his little furry friends.

A tube of squirrel.

Early morning ablutions in the apple tree before all that church bell cacophony started.

Our tree.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Christmas shaker card

I had enough Christmas cards for this year months ago, due to a bit of a surplus last year and some over-enthusiastic scraps-using-up sessions, so I haven't needed any. But a card-maker can't get through November and December without making ANY Christmas cards, really, don't you agree? It goes against the grain!

I satisfied my craving by making this shaker card for a bunch of challenges. It doesn't show up very well on the photo - I couldn't get the stars to shake down properly.

Charisma Cardz: Christmas
Cute Card Thursday: anything
Simon Says Stamp: anything
Stampin' for the Weekend: Festive

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Scrap Whispers new game!

The new game on Scrap Whispers is now on!

The first challenge is "minimalist" and the inspiration for it is this little page that I put together after DH's and my afternoon at Westonbirt Arboretum last weekend. It was the first break he has had for such a long time, and we really needed it. These leaves are just stunning in the sunlight.

Do you want to play along with this? Hop over to Scrap Whispers and join in!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Didn't it rain

DH and I went to see Hugh Laurie earlier this year on his "Didn't it rain" blues tour, his second one.

What a gifted man. Seriously. I grew up with a crush on him as a comedian on Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder, before falling in love with him all over again as House 20 years later. And now to see him singing and playing - and dancing - live on stage was the icing on the cake.

His manner was unexpected quiet. But the self-deprecating, apologetic awkwardness in real life only reinforces the talent behind his portrayal of the brilliant and broken American doctor. And that's another thing, that accent. I have American friends who have been gobsmacked when I proudly claimed him as a fellow Brit. "You mean he's not American?" I can't do accents. I'm in awe of people who can, and he's got it quite perfect.

OK, enough of the hero-worship. Let me show you the LO I did of the show. It was for umpteen challenges: 2 pieces of die-cut paper (SJ CoW), tickets (SJ), autumn colours, misting, book title, sketch (UKS and SoW).

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Blowing him away

That gorgeous tree stamp belongs to Sue and she generously let me use it at this month's crop. The rest of the card was paper-pieced and put together using most of the stamps I brought with me, and some of Carroll's too. Thank you Sue and Carroll!

This is for Pixie's Crafty Workshop's "snippets" and Stampin' for the Weekend's "anything goes" challenges.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Old chair, new chair

It has been pointed out to me, quite correctly, that I'm slacking in updating my blog. A huge thank you to Darnell for the kick up the backside that I needed! Mwah!

Let me show you my latest project. I've been on an Annie Sloan painting class to update our furniture. Amongst other things, we learned on the course how to "age" furniture by crackling the paint and rubbing with dark wax. We also painted two layers of different coloured paints and sanded some of the top layer off so that the older colour showed through. Not that I wanted any of that, I just wanted some pretty chalky coloured paint that you can use without sanding first. 'Cos I'm lazy that way. And they taught us how to use it for that too.

I began with an old kitchen chair that was in my bedroom when I was a child, and which my Mum last painted with a colour called Frascati (I remember the colour, not the manufacturer) to match my wardrobe when I was about 8. I chose that chair because it wouldn't matter much if I got things wrong. Well ironically, when I looked at it, it was already showing two colours of paint, and had genuine dirty age crackles - I couldn't help wondering whether Juliet would actually let me paint it if she saw it!

See? Poor, tatty, grubby chair. Destined to go in our new conservatory. With its bare skirting boards. See where this is going? ;-)

Yup, I did the skirting boards too.

Pretty isn't it? It's called Duck Egg Blue. I have a chest of drawers and a wardrobe to do too, but don't hold your breath. I need a serious amount of courage to tackle those. I think the scariest part is the thought of emptying them out, finding new homes for the contents, and getting them upstairs.

Meanwhile, back to the paper-crafting. That's a lot quicker and cleaner.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

More autumn colours

This is for CASology and CAS-ual Fridays, both of which have autumn colours and leaves as their theme this week. I used Bo Bunny's Apple Cider 6x6" paper pad, and some new dies and matching stamps, not to mention Stickles. Can't go wrong with Stickles!

ETA: Oh, and it's for Simon Says Stamp's "anything" as well. I always miss the beginning of those challenges since they moved their blog and I can't follow any more.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Autumn colours

Autumn is really beginning to set in now. The beech leaves are turning to copper, the acers are starting to glow crimson and orange, and the autumn fogs are obscuring the top of the hill and blotting out the sea. I can hear the tugs' engines throbbing and the ships' fog-horns blaring somewhere in all that swirling whiteness.

It is fitting that so many of the challenges involve autumn colours and I'm making the most of that because those absolutely make up my favourite colour combinations. The only problem is that I don't know many people with birthdays at this time of year, so I always seem to have a glut of autumn-coloured cards on hand. Does anybody with spring birthdays really notice if the colours don't match the season? Not me. My birthday is in May, and I usually get cards with squirrels on them. I wonder why? Haha!

This is for Basic Grey's "autumn colours" and Charisma Cardz's "favourite colour combination" challenges. I used BG's Indian Summer 6x6 papers, and this particular colour combination is pink, orange and brown, although any of the autumn colours press my buttons.

Monday, 9 September 2013

A little bit of grunge

I do like a little bit of grunge every now and then, don't you?

This features some ice-resin paper I made at a recent craft retreat, and an experiment with Distress Inks, Crackle Glaze and Distress Stickles. If you embed the gems into the glaze before it sets, they stick. Didn't know that. I will say though, that after being passed around the crop a gem did fall off, but nothing that a blob of Glossy Accents (thanks Sue!) couldn't fix. I tried inking the tulle with Distress Inks too, but that didn't work as well. It looks quite nice though.

This is for Sketch Saturday and Basic Grey Challenges (I used Marjolaine paper).

Friday, 30 August 2013

Challenge entries

Just in case the Gallery uploads don't work (and they aren't looking good at the moment) here are my entries. Gallery Inspiration Anniversary Challenge
Tier 2 thank you card for my Mum. You can't see it on this photo, but on Mum and You there is major sparkle from my new clear Wink of Stella pen.

This is also for this week's Simon Says Stamp "anything goes" challenge.

Tier 1 birthday LO:

This LO is also for the ScrapJazz August Embossing Challenge. I embossed and sanded the pink Core-dinations whitewash paper behind Chris's birthday.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

25th anniversary candle

On discovering that I recycle candles, a friend asked me to make one for her daughter's 25th wedding anniversary. She chose colours and decorations from my stash to make it very personalised.

I hope she gets as much enjoyment out of it as I did out of making it.

Friday, 16 August 2013

A little bug

1) Years ago I saw a design for a "get well" card with a jam jar on it, that stuck in my memory and I've been waiting for a chance to use it ever since.
2) I had a bit of a spending spree last week, including an American Crafts pack containing two pages of printed jam jars.
3) One of the basses in our church choir has been poorly sick with a nasty infection.

Now while I would never wish ill on anyone, it was uncanny how the planets seemed to align to make this card possible just when it was required.

and the inside:

Now isn't that pretty likely to bring a smile to anyone's face?

I'm entering it into these challenges:
CASology - picnic. 'Cos of the jar and the beastie. We usually end up with a jar containing at least one buzzing beastie when we go on a picnic. Is that too tenuous a link?
Simon Says Stamp - monochrome
Sketch Saturday - sketch

This weekend I'm off on my first ever craft retreat. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement! If I make anything beautiful that is worth showing you, I'll post photos when I get back. Or maybe while I'm there, as apparently the hotel has free WiFi. I'll see how much time, energy and decent light I have.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Karate kid

DH's godsons are both into karate or taekwondo or some such kicky thing with white pyjamas and coloured belts. The older one is 12 this weekend, and we were only talking to him last week about it, and I still had to ask my DH today what colour belt he wore, for the card I was making him. I thought he would know, but he had to e-mail the boys' dad and ask! I'm so glad it isn't only me who doesn't listen properly to things that don't mean anything to me!

It turned out to be red. And then the next one is yellow. And that colour scheme doesn't match any of the styles we're familiar with so we had to look it up and it must be Shukokai Karate. I won't remember that next year either...

Anyway, it's for these challenges:
Sketch Saturday with this sketch that I have changed so completely that they may well disqualify me.

And the reason I've mangled it, is to fit into Stampin' for the Weekend's theme of no squares or rectangles. Cute Card Thursday's challenge is dies and punches, and there are both on this card. Charisma Cardz want stitching, which was also on the sketch (handy, otherwise I'd have forgotten that too).

I spent most of this afternoon trying to follow on-line directions on exactly how to tie a karate belt. Backwards. With slippery ribbon. And that is why this card took SO LONG but is ultimately so underwhelming. I think it will be appreciated though. He's a dear kid who has been taught to notice things.

Well? See the ribbon, tied in a proper, genuine karate knot? See it? That's OK then. In that case, it was worth it.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Bees and spiders!

I have two cards to show you today. The first is based on Less Is More's delicious colour scheme:

and is also for Simon Says Stamp's and Cute Card Thursday's "anything goes" challenges.

The idea is unashamedly lifted from here on Pinterest - I've been waiting for a chance to make this cracking design since I saw it. My card is not for Hallowe'en though, it is for a friend who has been going through a lot lately,  and I thought it might cheer her up.

The original uses a rather fun stamp to make the spiders, but I didn't have it, so circles, googly eyes and a marker pen did the job just as well.

While I was on Pinterest, as nearly always happens, I came across yet more inspiration and ended up with this for one of our favourite waitresses at our local sushi bar, who is leaving. Cute eh?

Monday, 29 July 2013

Friends cards

Same super-simple design, different colours, same important sentiment, same using up of scraps - almost my favourite thing to do.

This one is for the Less Is More photo inspiration challenge.

These two are for the Creative Card Crew's "baby, pink or blue" challenge. No babies in my life at the moment so I did the colours - both, obviously.

They are all for Stampin' for the Weekend's "sparkle and bling", and Di's Pixie's Crafty Workshop weekly Snippets challenges (ooooh those raindrops!!) and Di has made a bee-ooo-tiful LIM card this week, much nicer than mine!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Go Minions!

DH's birthday is today. We went to see Despicable Me 2 last week - oh my goodness, it's the funniest film we've seen in years. He's become a little Minion obsessed! To pay him out for putting me through the banana song on repeat every time he starts up his iPad ;-) I've given him a Minion themed birthday.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Breaking the drought

I'm entering challenges again. I've still been entering challenges, but I realise that they haven't needed blog entries, they've all had their own galleries to upload to, so I've been neglecting my little blog. Maybe if I give it a make-over, that might remind me to to give it some more attention.

Anyway, this card breaks my blog drought, and I'm so happy with it!

It is for:
Basic Grey - flowers (I used Scarlet's Letter, Sweet Threads and Kioshi papers)
Creative Card Crew - great outdoors
Cute Card Thursday - good luck charm
House Mouse - sparkle
Simon Says Stamp - pins
Sketch Saturday - sketch
Stampin' for the Weekend - pink & green photo inspiration

And this one, my first attempt at a side step card, is for Charisma Cardz - no patterned paper. My nephew really loved it yesterday, despite telling me that Hex is the Skylander Giant that he likes the least. Last time I saw him, she was his favourite. Ho hum. The vagarities of being only-just-7!

Just one more! This is for the first challenge in the new Scrap Whispers game, which is to be completely linear, with no curved lines anywhere. Having set the challenge myself, I then wasn't sure I could pull it off (haha) but I actually love this.

Just a reminder that anyone can join in the weekly challenges, not just the game players, so if you want to be in with the chance of winning a prize, check out the site!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Dancing queen

A birthday card for someone who has always been a clubber at heart, and still loves dancing and sparkles even now that she has a half-grown family.

I was sent this little kit by a friend in the US, the challenge being to create at least 1 LO and 1 card using only the contents of the package, card-stock, ink, stamps and alphas as needed. The papers were all 6"x6" and there was a lovely assortment of embellishments as well. Everything was new to me, and I had such fun playing with it!

Charisma Cardz: no digis (the stamp is Whiff of Joy)
Cute Card Thursday: dancing queen
Simon Says Stamp: flower power

Oh and here is the LO I created with the same kit. I used my Spellbinders hexagons dies and a Basic Grey stitching stamp. Isn't my cousin's kiddie adorable!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Siamese if you please

Our friend has a beautiful black Siamese cat. He has always been one of those animals that sits on the window sill looking glossy and perfect like a china ornament. Then you ring the doorbell - and he jumps out of his skin, falls backwards off the window sill and instantly turns into an inelegant tangle of legs and tail as he scrabbles for a claw-hold on the laminate floor. Every single time. Why is it that a cat losing its dignity is one of the funniest things to watch? LOL

This Siamese puddy tat has most definitely not lost its dignity, and is perfect for our friend's birthday next week.

CASology: hexagons
CAS-ual Fridays: tic-tac-toe - polka dots, square card, birthday - happy birthday by the way!!
Cute Card Thursday: blue
Pixie's Crafty Workshop: snippets

Thursday, 9 May 2013


A couple of weeks ago we met our newest little cousin for the first time. What a sunny little girl! She was up early after a disturbed night, refused her nap because there was so much going on, mummy forgot her snacks in all the excitement, and bless her baby socks, there wasn't a grizzle out of her all day. If the small face crumpled and went pink for any reason, she only needed someone to give her a big smile - and she forgot to cry and smiled back. I know my experience of young children is limited, but I've never seen anything like her.

She will be 1 on Sunday, and she deserved a special card.

If mummy happens to log on and see this before the card arrives, then please keep it from her till Sunday!

Basic Grey: mix'n'match (Green at Heart and Ruby Lemonade)
Creative Card Crew: bling (it doesn't show up very well, but the 1 and the blue balloon are glitter card-stock)
Simon Says Stamp: things with wings (the butterflies obviously)
Stampin' for the Weekend: die-cuts/punches (the punched butterflies and balloons, and the other butterflies are stamped)
Sketch Saturday: I rotated the sketch

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Happy squirrel birthday to me!

Look what Karen from ScrapJazz found for me today! How cool, and how "me" is this!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

patriotic cupcakes please

This card is for my mother-in-law, whose birthday is on May 1st - the same as mine actually, but thankfully this has never caused problems!

And how's this for making my day? I always listen to Classic FM while I'm scrapping or card-making, and I just sent a text to Jamie Crick asking for any of Vaughan Williams' folk music, and here I am writing this post, and what is playing? His Folk Dance Suite! I have no idea whether it is in response to my text or whether I'm just psychic, but that's what they're playing. Hehee! 

It is for these challenges:
Charisma Cardz: the colour of your country's flag which is, of course, red, white and blue
Creative Card Crew (2nd entry): handmade flowers
Cute Card Thursday: cakewalk
Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground: more snippets, and thanks for the heads-up about the extra entries! Mwah!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

April showers bring forth...

We have flowers in the garden already; a pink flowering redcurrant, yellow forsythia, daffodils, blue anemone blanda, the primroses are all over the lawn like little patches of lost sunshine, and as for our magnolia tree... it is simply stunning. It is so very white that at night the street light reflected off it actually lights up our dining room.

This time of year is delightful with the little birds flitting around, all busy and singing. We have at least two pairs of black-caps nesting in the hedge, and one pair of long-tailed tits, and umpteen blue-tits and great-tits, as well as robins, wrens, blackbirds, dunnocks, chaffinches, siskins, goldfinches, pigeons (of course) and the ever-present noisy pheasants. We have Mr and Mrs Pheasant, as well as two distinctive male pretenders; one very pale slender one that we call the juvenile, and one adult male with half his tail feathers missing, bless him. These make constant attempts on Mrs Pheasant's delicacy, and have to be chased off by hubby. He is very glamorous and proud, she has the grace of an agitated chicken, and always makes us laugh.

Here is Mr Pheasant. He just popped through the hedge one day last week and came face to face with Mrs Deer. They had a brief, slightly startled face-off, then each decided that the other was no threat, and he walked round her to hoover up the bird-seed under our feeder, and she went back to pruning our shrubbery. How lucky am I?

Anyway, on to today's crafty stuff. This is a card that I made from using up bits from my scraps file. Even the vase is a cut-down oval die, and the greeting is made from a label die but cut using the two opposite ends without the middle. If you see what I mean.

I'm entering it into these challenges:
Creative Card Crew: handmade flowers
Simon Says Stamp: April showers bring spring flowers
Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground: snippets (and the BEST prize this week, I would LOVE to win this!)

Friday, 19 April 2013

Clean and simple owls

I like owls. We have a lot of tawny owls living in the woods behind the house. We can hear them calling to each other in the evenings, and bat-eared DH has identified 15-20 different birds. We've seen them flying past the window in the fading light - it's such a satisfying feelings knowing that they are so close.

It was DH who bought me the Basic Grey owlets mini stamp set, and also the stitchery one, and I have to admit there are some stamps in the set that I hadn't used until today. Look how beautifully they have all come together though!

These are for the following challenges:
CASology: Word
CASual Fridays: birthday (it's mine in two weeks too :-> )
Basic Grey: Clean and simple
Less Is More: One Layer Card and a film - I'm going with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

I don't know whether I'm going to be able to give these away.... haha!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Scrap Whispers Challenge #136 - round the corner

We're powering through the latest Scrap Whispers game, around halfway through, with everyone pretty much on schedule and having lots of fun.

While the game is going on, the weekly challenges continue. These are open to everyone, not just the players, and there will be a prize pack awarded to a random winner at the end of the game. Why not play along?

This week's inspiration is from our Guest Designer Steph McBryne's innovative use of titles. Here is her page:

And the challenge is "round the corner" - to create a page using her title design. Here is what I came up with:

Isn't it effective? Why not join in the challenge as well, and be in with the chance of winning a prize pack? Pop over to Scrap Whispers and take a look around.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Volunteers' Morning Tea

Back in 2011 when DH and I lived in Perth, Western Australia, we were heavily involved in the church, spending many hours each week working for them and with them. DH and I, along with other church members, were put forward to the City Council for a recognition award for our services to the church. The Volunteers' Tea was for all charities in the town and we shared a table with the WI and Toastmasters. We got a certificate and a photo of us shaking hands with the mayor, so I scrapped them both using Creative Scrappers sketch #247.