Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011

I took this picture this afternoon - it's the Lobelia that has been flowering since the early summer. It has been so mild here, the summer bedding is still flowering, and also some of my Scottish marigolds. And the fuchsias. Very odd. I've spent today finishing off the blanket I have been knitting squares for, still got the border to do but it's a long night! No photos yet, will take some in the morning and share them for the new year. I wish you all a happy and peaceful new year and may it bring you many happy days and moments of joy.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Trees

I used another sheet of those trees last night - I wanted a completely different look this time, more to do with time and the passing of time, and growing up. The light is a bit funny on the photo, but its plain, there's nothing else there. The text is from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, the section about your children being the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself and how you can only ever hold their hearts for a little while, but never own them. I can't believe the photo was taken 20 years ago, wow, how time does pass! That little boy is pretty much as tall as a tree now, and his Granddad has long gone to the great orchestra in the sky, where he can hear the wind in the trees and see the starlight.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Death, and Life

In the dying moments of Christmas Eve, 2011, we received news of the birth of a new baby to our family. A new little boy born to my brother-in-law and his partner. Yesterday I went to a funeral - the father of a friend of mine. A couple of days before I met up with another friend who is surviving her first Christmas as a widow, and her children are learning to live without their father. Death is part of life. It is even more a part of life at Christmas time. Whatever we believe, we know that the baby that was born in a small place in Bethlehem would grow up to face a horrific death. It is all intertwined and we can't have one without the other. Somehow, I find that comforting, as I remember my dear dad at this time of year. To know that although death happens, there is also life, and birth, and new things, always and forever. There is light, always light. The light shone in the darkness and the darkness knew it not.
Have a peaceful Christmas with your loved ones xx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holly's up!

Christmas can begin now, I got the holly up over the pictures :D I also put a little over my nativity scene, with some ivy from the garden. Shopping is all done, bar one or two very small things which can be got easily. I drove round the car park twice today before I could find a spot, it's so busy. Not to mention the queues everywhere both people and cars. Anyway, all peaceful now, and I thought I would share this beautiful poem. I love that line 'haphazard by starlight' - what a wonderful image. It brings a bit of calm into an otherwise busy busy time. Enjoy :)
BC:AD by U.A.Fanthorpe

This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even
energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote
provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trees, lampposts and magic

Okay, so it's not Narnia, but when Jackie gave me these 'waste' sheets from some trees she was using at a workshop, that was one of the images that came to mind. Then I got a photo from a friend of a lamppost at some ad shoot she was at and I knew I just had to use it. It's up behind the top right hand tree, which are covered in silver stamped snowflakes, music and script. Then a couple of ballet photos from the Snow Queen and it's my perfect combination - snow, winter, trees, ballet and magic!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas envelope album

Thanks Lou, for the inspiration for this, I've just spent a messy evening making the guts of it! I still need a few more tags but I've left it just now with stickles drying and will inspect it again in daylight. I really got in a muddle with some of it, but managed to sort it out without any glue disasters and by the time the photos are put in, hopefully the mistakes won't be visible!
This is the front cover and a couple of the pages, my camera battery is going and it's hard to get good photos in artificial light anyway so I'm sure in the morning it will all look quite different!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Lights

Nothing to do with crafting yet, although I did get to do a little today, but it's too dark now to take a pic so I will do that tomorrow. These photos are from when Michael Bublé turned on the Christmas lights and unveiled the Brown Thomas windows. He was so lovely, he sang and charmed the crowd. The windows have a ballet theme this year and my daughter was lucky enough to be one of those members of INYB dancing Snowflakes on the red carpet outside the windows.
It was a very special evening, and for the girls it was even more special as Michael shook each of their hands and said 'Hi, I'm Michael' while they just gawped at him! He told them that they were beautiful and was thoroughly charmed by their dancing. What a lovely memory to have, and it was the start of the Christmas magic for me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm back!

wow, where on earth did all that time go, and to make it even worse, I haven't done a single bit of crafting in all those weeks. No wonder I've been feeling stressed and as if my head was about to explode. So I'm using one of Ewa's beautiful photos from the latest INYB production of The Nutcracker Suite and The Snow Queen. This is one of the reasons that I've been so busy, working backstage, and making some extra costumes and generally helping out. In this photo, Gerda has found Kai, but he is trapped in a cage made of icicles and she can't get him out. She starts to cry and her tears gradually melt the ice cage and free Kai. My own daughter is one of the tears, and each night their faces looked as if they were the personification of grief, which indeed they were supposed to be. It melted our hearts in the wings, and we ended up in tears with the emotion they all brought to the performance, not to mention Gerda herself, whose grief would break your heart completely. Ah, the magic of the theatre, nothing can beat it.
Holiday time now, and decorations coming out, cards being written and lots of time to play - I can't wait!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Telescoping time

Time is such a funny thing really - you think you have masses and masses of it and suddenly, whoosh! its all gone just like folding up a telescope. AND it definitely moves faster approaching the end of the year! I have really enjoyed my week off work, and managed to get lots of sleep, reading and catching up done. Only got round to the craft table today, but at least it got cleaned earlier in the week!
I went back to my wing book to make a few pages of snowy wonderfulness, it's all very sparkly and blue and white, but I think it captures the emotions of that journey. I had been looking forward to the trip so much, and I was dreading the possibility that it might not happen, even at that last moment sitting in the aeroplane. Looking at that first photo, I really don't know how the pilots got any planes going that day but it all seemed very routine to them!
Once again my photos have uploaded in a random order so this little snippet of something is just a teaser for something I am making for a friend. I couldn't get fabric in the colour I wanted so I am going to have to modify the final creation somewhat, I hope it will work. I have a morning allocated next weekend to get cracking on this.
And finally airborne! Looking down at a snowy landscape as we left Ireland was pretty special.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Work work work

Wow I've been busy the last few weeks. Back to work with a bang and getting used to new hours and trying to juggle everything else around at the same time. I've not had much time for crafting, just a bit of knitting which hasn't been photographed yet. A work in progress, so to speak. This weekend though I finally got time to sit down and get my head round a project that I have had brewing for nearly 2 years now! This photo was taken in January 2010 when I went to Scotland for a very snowy visit. I took lots of pictures from the plane window, with the intention of making an album of them. The album is wing-shaped, and I had bought it about a year previously, just because I liked the shape of the pages - I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with it. But when I got on the plane that day I knew what that album was going to be used for. But then, of course, other things took over and it sat in a drawer, neglected but not forgotten. A quiet time on the card front meant that I could finally start it this weekend, and I have spent a lovely few hours painting each page with white and blue acrylic paint, and some silver and sparkles on the cover for good measure. The photos are printed out and ready to go - hopefully at the end of the week it will make some more progress!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Eli's Owls


This is another project that I did during September, for the very special and utterly amazing Eli......they are little crochet owls, so easy and quick to make and a lot of fun too. My knitting and crochet has come to a pause just now, but I am starting a blanket of knitted squares which will be posted in due course :D

Friday, September 30, 2011

The cheerfulness of colour

I finally got out into my garden the other day after a long absence and picked these lovely flowers from my Scottish wildflower mix. The bright colours really warmed my heart and cheered me.

Thank goodness for colour, for flowers, and for good friends.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heartache

I have reason over the last couple of weeks to consider the notion of heartache. It's a very strange thing. How can an emotional response to something cause such a physical pain? Sometimes I feel as if something has been wrenched from my gut. The feeling can be overwhelming, and makes it hard to breathe. I want to roar. Then it dies down and I feel almost normal again. For a while. Tears are never far away, I seem to have an endless supply of salty liquid. I need to sob and curl up in a ball. Then I feel positive and strong again. Until the next wave. My chest feels as if it has a tight suit of armour round it and I will never escape. No one has died. This is grief for the end of a way of life, a change in my role and how I define myself. How I have defined myself for the last 23 years. Although many things continue on in the same way, this subtle change threatens to overwhelm me. I watch a friend who is coping with real grief, real bereavement, and I wonder how I will ever deal with that. I try to hide it from my children, because these feelings are caused by one child leaving home to live away at university. I don't need them to feel guilty for growing up and leaving, it's normal. It's the way the world works. I remember how I felt when I spread my own wings, how exciting it was, and how wonderful the world was. I am glad that my son can feel that. So why then do I want to die? Why do I go upstairs and bury my face in his dressing gown which stills smells of him? Why do I get into a breathless panic when I haven't heard from him that day? Why does my body feel as if it is ripped apart?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Scottish wildflowers

One of my Scottish friends gave me a packet of wildflower seeds last year, and the weather has been so odd this year that they are only now coming into their full glory.
I took these photos a few days ago and they look even better today. I love love love these bright marigolds, I hope I will be able to save some of their seeds for next year.
Lots of little pretty things too, I think these are Calendula, and there are some poppies lurking about and a gorgeous purple thing has appeared at the back. Lovely!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mini Birthday Album




I made a little chipboard album (3x3") instead of a birthday card for our recent birthday. I always wanted to try one of these, so I had great fun messing about with it. I painted the edges with acrylic paint and then used Mod Podge to put the papers on. They are a mixture of Graphic 45 and the V&A collection. The numbers and flower are chipboard which I painted with acrylic paint and then crackle glazed. The little heart lock is off a necklace and the frame is from K&Co.

Each page has things that the birthday girl likes, so this one has a clock and some gears, vintagey lace and some butterfly tissue tape.Some music flowers from Sabrina on this page, and a little ballet shoe charm from Jackie.


More charms from necklaces on this page, and a bit of a die cut from Papermania. The background paper is from the Once Upon a Time collection and the heart label is from K&Co. I gave everything a top coat of ModPodge to seal it as well. I'm not entirely happy with the way I made the hinge, and I think I will do it differently next time, but it has stayed together!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cogs and Gears

I saw this in the CardsnScrapz shop and knew that I wanted to do something with it for my daughter's birthday. So I painted it with acrylic paint and put it together. Then I got out the Tim Holtz gear die-cuts, metal cogs and gears and some lovely graphic 45 papers. A bit of tissue tape (also TH) and a peacock that I had from somewhere (and that the daughter loved) and voilá -
- a steampunkish clock! Which she was very pleased with :D

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's nearly the birthday......

...and she's seen the cake so here it is - a chocolate cake covered with Kimberley biscuits which are stuck on with chocolate. 'That looks yummy' was the verdict - here's hoping it is!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pause in proceedings........

I've been busy with lots of projects recently, but they are all for birthdays or other upcoming occasions so I can't post anything yet.........expect a flood soon!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kit swap cards

At Jackie's recent workshop I took part in a card kit swap on the theme of Thank You. We were given a list of items to include, and although I included one or two little extras, the very generous Pam, whose kit I got, included lots and lots of extras.
So far I have made 4 cards from her kit and still have more papers and bits to make more!
Thank you Pam, for your generosity, and next time I am adding in many more extras into mine!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Masks

I got 2 TH masks recently, which I was interested to try. The music one is quite large (this is on a 14x10" watercolour pad) but the compass is smaller. I played around with different acrylic paints and touched it up with a brush -
on this one I tried ink too. I'm not sure what I will use the music one for, but I would like to try some other media with them. The inaccuracy of the music is slightly irritating, if you're going to get someone to design something, then do it properly!

Monday, August 15, 2011

New bits and old bits

I've had a bout of card-making this week, using up some old stamped images from a swap, and some other bits and pieces, and also trying out some new stamps and dies. Mostly they were just for fun, only one of them was for a specific person. The card above has some of the TH gear bits on it, and also some stamps from a new set which I ripped open and threw out the packaging and in my excitement have completely forgotten who makes them!
This one is for some friends who moved house in April (whoops) - at least getting a card at this stage will be a novelty! I tried using fabric in a TH die and it worked quite well, the fabric is silk from the lining of a bag that I took apart. (Even better, free stuff!) More stamped paper, and I used a bit more of the fabric to tie a raggedy bow.
This one uses a Fimo embellie that Lou sent me ages ago and the little lacy frame is a new one from K&Co. I got a set of them the other day in my local office-type shop - just an odd thing sitting in amongst some ribbon and packaging. I love finds like that!
For some reason my photos have uploaded in a weird order again......I will have to have a word with my more techie friends and sort that one out.....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Once Upon a Time

I finally finished my album using the Once Upon a Time papers. The cover took me a while to sort out, but I eventually settled for rings, with a cloth 'spine' and some metal thread holding the 2 together. The photos have uploaded in a weird order for some reason.
The papers are so ornate that I kept everything else to a minimum, and as it's a very personal album, I only needed the barest of captions too.
This baby is yawning even he looks like he is crying!
First page has one of my favourite quotations from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and one I think that should be given to every new parent. 'Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you'.
The last page is a very rare family photo taken on the 2nd eldest's 21st birthday earlier this year. Precious!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Perfect Roulade

Sorry, I just have to boast. Usually my roulades turn out a sloppy mess (in fact, one friend calls it 'the Slop', even though he loves it!). But this recipe for spinach and mushroom roulade from my veggie magazine (Cook Vegetarian) suggested keeping the parchment around the roulade as you rolled it up and wow, what a difference! It rolled perfectly and held together perfectly as I cut it. And it tasted yummy too.

Not getting it at all

I had a kit from Jackie's July workshop to make up, and one of the packs didn't have a picture with it. Soooo, I decided to challenge myself and make a card without looking at her website to check. I sat for ages fiddling about, wasted one bit of embossed card and failed completely to see how it could all be fitted onto one card! So eventually I made 2 cards using only some of the items, and ending up totally dissatisfied.
When I looked at her blog, of COURSE, I should have realised - she made an easel card with it, no wonder I couldn't fit the things on properly. Scroll down a bit on her page and you will see it, it's much niced than my efforts, and honestly, I felt such a numptie!!! Next time I'm going straight to the blog......

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Mystery

I went for a walk this morning down around the park on my usual route. Happily they have repaired the steps now so I get my favourite view of the sea again. It was lovely down there, lots of birds and the early morning sun just trying to get through the layers of cotton wool clouds that we have today. The swans were on the pond too, floating asleep in the middle of it. Which brings me to my mystery. I haven't seen any cygnets at all this year. Not one. Last year they had nine, and every time I went to the park I could see them swimming about, feeding, sleeping on the grass. But this year, nothing. Were there any eggs at all? Did they not hatch? Or worse, did they hatch and did the cygnets fall foul of something or someone? It's kind of sad just to see the two parents on their own. Beautiful as they are. But hopefully next year will be a cygnet year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Birdy Present


This beautiful face appeared in the middle of my salad bed a few days ago. I saw it coming, but I thought it was one of the yellow poppies that we have scattered about in the garden. But instead it was this amazing red colour. A proper poppy! There is another appearing too, thank you birds! I am definitely collecting the seeds to plant for next year :D

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Girly stuff

We've had groups of teenage girls in our house recently, and it fascinates me how they act and how their group dynamics differ from a group of boys the same age. Mostly the boys just sit around the Playstation or the TV interacting by sharing a game or a programme (with minimal verbal communication), eating, and shoving each other about a bit. The girls never stop talking, there's a lot of 'oh my god' and 'did you SEE', some squealing and lot of laughing. They come into the house after a party, and first thing is that the high heels come off (if they haven't been taken off in the car on the way home), then the false eyelashes bite the dust, and finally the make up wipes come out and all the faces are cleaned, before they settle down for a good gossip, some pizza and lots of orange juice.
I found these pretty eyelashes on the table the next morning, I thought they looked a bit like dragonfly wings and I wanted to incorporate them into a craft project..but I had to give them back to their owner for her next transformation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

23 Years Ago

On a Monday, 23 years ago today, I gave birth to this little boy. This photo was taken when he was about 20 hours old and it's pretty much the expression on his face the first moment I saw him. He was so alert and inquisitive, almost as if he was also saying 'well, hello there, nice to meet you at last'. He weighed 9lb 7oz, we didn't really bother with kilos then! Today, of course, he is much taller than me, but when I look at him I still see his face as it was that day, somewhere inside the adult face that I love just as much. He has kept that sense of wanting to learn and wanting to know, though, may that never leave him. Happy birthday :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So many boys!

So many new baby boys this year, it's weird. I hope someone somewhere is having girls, cos otherwise in 20 years time there will be a slight problem! I made this card for some friends in Scotland, went for something completely different to other baby cards I have made as I wanted to use some newish papers. I also decorated them using bubble wrap which I had stamped with Versamark and chalked. Then I glossy accented the name. It's so pale it doesn't really show in the photo, but it's pretty in real life.