Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Two more tags

I have to admit I really shouldnt be playing tags with Sir Tim as I have quite a few other projects that really aught to take priority (such as the bits for decorating the home made hamper I am making or the dress I am supposed to be making to wear on Christmas Day), but since I woke up at 5:30 am and couldnt get to sleep, I thought what the heck.

Since I can list the amount of Ranger products I have on the fingers of my hands (11 distress inks, no re-inkers, 2 distress stains, 5 alcohol ink colours, 7 distress stickle colours and a few nearly empty ordinary stickle colours) once again I was into improvisation on a grand scale.

Tag 2

This one was fairly easy. I simply used a sheet music background stamp (same one used on tag 1) and then rubbed white acrylic paint across it using a damp baby wipe. I t left a nice chalky effect and a similar texture to the one Tim created. I stamped the Hero Arts christmas sentiment (in Tea dye distress ink) across it first and heat embossed with clear embossing powder so that it was resistant to the paint.

The Holly was part of a larger Papermania stamp and at last, I had the right products to colour it in with!!

No canvas material so I cut the deer on my cricut out of some gold paper I had in my stock. It wouldnt take the ink even when I tried distress stain so its not got that lovely 3D colour effect Tim got, but he's still pretty neat.

Iwas tempted to cut a chunk off the artificial christmas tree for the wreath but settled on punching out a kerzillion small holly leaves and glueing them all in place.

I was being a bit lazy when it came to the trim a the bottom and decided to simply go with the bit of ribbon.

Tag 3

Sometimes not having all the resources actually makes these tags way simpler. No stamp or embossing folder like Sir T I simply used lots of Hero Arts sentiments, putting them all together on a large block and then inking each different colours.

A generous spray of glimmer mist gave a pretty good background

I hand cut the holly leaves (attacking them with both walnut stain and peeled paint distress stains) and the scroll, and used candy cane stickle for the berries (I didnt have any red alcohol inks, and although I could have used my promarkers to colour some gems I couldnt see the point when stickles do the job equally as well.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Tim's tag time!!

Woo its that time of year again already.

Sir Tim insists that his tags are not to sell goodies but to fire our creativity and imaginations. Well the stunning tag he has started us all on this morning certainly fired something as the only 'ingredient' I actually owned in the whole mess of things required to make it, was the new iced spruce distress ink!!

So here is my attempt, and how I made it

I dont own any core co'ordination cardstock so I cut my tag by hand out of some blue bazill. The only snow embossing folder I own is Snow dots, so I spent quite a bit of time attempting to make an embossing folder by cutting snowflakes out of thick card with my little bug. Unfortunately my mats have seen better days and couldnt hold the card still enough to do the intricate designs so after an hour I had to resort to the snow dots embossing folder after all.

I still used the embossing tecnique that Tim highlights on his blog although I dont have a ranger pad and the embossing powder I used was white opaque Stamp 'n stuff. I couldnt sand the paper so juts rubbed some Stamping up rouge ink over the top, followed by the Iced spruce.

For the pine cones I used a free svg from Paper Scissors Ink for a 3d rolled rose. It seemed to work, despite being on my last glue gun stick and having to use a cocktail stick to poke it Reeves acylic paint (no paint daubbers) to add the snow effect and some star dust stickles (right product, wrong colour).

For the Noel, I hunted and hunted for a font I liked (another hour lost to the net) finally settling on Laurenscript. I welded the letters to a scroll I found lurking in my hard drive using SCUT 2. I cut two layers out of cardstock and another layer out of silver glitter paper (tip Tim, even easier than your tip for avoiding glitter).

For the banner I stamped an Artimio music background stamp onto some white copy paper, rubbed over with vintage photo distressing ink and cut out by eye.
I spent another hour or so hunting through my hard drive and the net to find the right leaves to cut out, but apart from the larger ones, I ended up using a punch and a holly scroll svg.

These too were all dry painted with white acylic and then given a dusting of decorart glamour dust A couple of beads from my bead box (and I thought the tag needed a little red to lift it a bit, and voila!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Not for the life of a star

Hello Little Blog. Long time no see.

I have one huge heap of christmas cards waiting here to be photographed but every time I remember it needs doing, the light has gone but I will get them recorded on them eventually.

So still no supply work, not since the start of September so I have trundled along and signed on the dole (sorry JSA) in order to get my NI stamp paid and a little bit of money coming in to keep us from spending all our savings to survive.

It has meant that I have got to spend nearly every day with Finley. He is 4 months now and is becoming very aware, can role from front to back (and nearly the other way) and chatters away, is as happy as a sandboy provided we feed him on time and is sooooo cute.

Thats not just my opinion, it is official as he has been accepted to several baby modelling agencies including the top dog Elizabeth Smith. Laura hasnt actually registered him with any thinking it might just be a bit of fun, but yesterday she got a call for Finley to go do a casting for a shoot for Johnson and Johnson's baby wipes, even though she hadnt stumped up the hundred and so registration fee (a freebie to see if he likes it said the lady).

Which is why today saw Laura Finley and I travelling all the way to Clapham to go find out all about it. Laura drove and a heck of a drive through London traffic it was. Finley was adorable and slept all the way. We parked in Clapham Sainsbury and walked (following Laura's GPS LOL) to the casting studio. There we had to strip Finn down to his nappy and then Laura had to cuddle him in and at the same time get him to face the camera for his photo's, then we were asked if he would go to sleep in a bit so they could get some sleeping photos. Well of course he had just slept all the way up in the car and was clearly not in the mood for more sleeping. neither would he eat with all that was going on around him.

We were there for about 20 mins, and in that time a steady stream of babies of ages from around 2 months to 6 months were coming in, undressing, having 3 or 4 quick photos taken and then leaving.

Laura and I didnt say anything to each other until we were back outside but both of us had come to the same conclusion. All we wanted to do was get out of there and go someplace nice to simply play with Finley. It was too much like a fodder farm, although the people were friendly it seemed no thought for the babies comfort was really going on and it was just for the parents. We didnt enjoy it one bit.

So Laura decided the high life of a model is not for little Finn, we packed him back in the car, and drove to Croyden to see Auntie Kelly and Uncle Olli instead.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Life's little trials

There seems to be zilch in the way of supply teaching and zilch in the way of jobs to apply for, so I have been attempting to run a 'save-on-the-spending campaign. Last month it seemed to work ok, but this week has been a bit of a 'mare as those little life's trails have come along to try us.

On Sunday Martin had tickets to watch Spurs play QPR, and drove up, as he has in the past, to park in his favourite secret parking spot near the ground. As he parked the car, he somehow managed to clip the tyre against the kerb. there was that horrid sound driver's know so well, of a tyre blowing out, and that was £55 down the drain for a new tyre.

Yesterday I did a small food shop (well not that small, it came to around £60 but I didnt seem to get many items) and as I unpacked the stuff and filled the freezer something clicked in my brain that all was not well. Things already in the freezer seemed a little soft. Had someone left the door open? I left it for a bit and waited to see if that was the case, but when I returned an hour later, things seemed to be even more drippy. The light was on in the fridge part so it wasnt the plug.

In a kind of stick your head in the sand moment, I decided it just hadnt had enough time to refreeze so I left it a bit longer .. and a bit longer... but at 9 o'clock, although the fan had consistantly been coming on and going off, it was obvious things were not going to improve. The food hadnt totally defrosted (aside from the icelollies which had dripped all down the drawers, but no ice was forming.

So I emptied what could be saved into bags and took it all down to put in my mum's chest freezer until Martin could sort it out. I came back with lots of freezer blocks from mum and put them round strategic items in the fridge, and went to bed.
I had however left one small tomato on the shelf in the freezer and left the freezer on. This morning, strangely, that tommy is frozen solid.

I hope it had only put itself onto auto defrost as it is only about 15 months old and I really do not want the hassle.

On a less trying note, Mum is moving much better on her knee and seems to be improving, and Finley is still off all his meds, enjoying the bottle feeding (at regular 4 hour intervals) is smiling his way through life and even managed to sleep from 9 pm until 6 am for the first time last night.

More cards to share. All these are scraplifts of cards I have seen either on Thinking Inking (thankyou for sharing Debbie) or Jennie Maguire's blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bandana's away

Our Finley has not been a healthy happy chappie, and from birth has kept both Laura and I busy coping with his silent acid reflux. We spent yet another day at the health centre Monday signing up for his third batch of medication This has kept me away from blog land for quite a while, but I have still found time for a bit of crafting.

Yesterday I was
appalled to discover the price of a baby bandana was £8, and was made from no more than enough material to cover a place mat!! So I came home and from an old towel, left over of a fat quarter, and a pattern downloaded from Tracy aka Mad Quilter in a matter of minutes I had run up a little bib.

Here is Finley modelling it, and despite also now having a viral cold he managed to smile as he did.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crafting away

I have been doing lots of bits and bobs of crafting but blogger has been refusing to let me share my goodies online. I am kicking bloggers backside, so lets see how far we get today.

The week before last my Uncle Charlie died suddenly (age 81) from a massive anurism, so I needed to go out and buy something suitable for the funeral wear. As I parked the car I noticed that the building which had housed PC World was now The Range. All thoughts of black dresses were abandoned as I rushed to the back of the warehouse to find the craft goodies. I was a tad dissapointed as there didnt seem to be a big selection and what was there was mostly christmas stuff, but I did get a First Edition 8x8 pad, Up, up and Away by Mindy Terasawa with a mind to making an 8x8 album for Finley's baby pictures which are beginning to stack up.

When I got home I ordered some free prints from a couple of online printing services, its a long time since I have had photos printed instead of getting them done myself and I was pleased with the results. I also scoured the net for some 8x8 sketches but there are not that many about. Pagemaps have a few, but not many, and thats about it, so if anyone has a secret part of the net where they know there are some hiding? Preferably with some examples too?

I decided I would back all the pages on white co-ordinations paper and make the pages double LO's to give some continuity to the book.

When I was at Debden some of the girls put up a bring and buy stall to share round some of the goodies they no longer wanted. One of the things I missed out on was a book 'Kick it up' by Greta Hammond and Angela Wigginton. It gives ideas on how to take ordinary looking LO's to the next level. I really liked the look of it, and when I got home I ordered a copy from Amazon not realising it had to be shipped from America. It eventually arrived a month and a bit later, but already it has been so worth it.

I started this LO at Debenham. It was done, but it didnt grab me.

I left it laying about but when the book came I went back to it and added.

I think adding the blue and yellow title and journalling makes the colours in the photo pop more. I also kicked this LO up a bit, it had been a bit bland so I added the white ric-rac and the title down the side of the page. I am really enjoying the book and its giving me lots of ideas but most of all its making me go back and take another look at LO's I would usually say were finished but perhaps feel a bit let down by.

Of course I am still making all my own embellishements. He was fun.
And the flower making was demonstrated to Kelly and I when we went to Ally Pally. We bought loads of twine, and so far this is the only one I have made LOL

Another LO recieving the kick it up treatment, adding the white ricrac and the side title after I had first called it finished.

I also finished another of the classes from ATDML's long ago cybercrop.

I dont usually do mini albums but I recently discovered a neat little trick in Picasa where you can use templates to collage lots of photos onto one page.

I used it to put all our Portugal holiday together and was doing really well playing with some past kits from Kate Hatfield, it was a lovely sunny day so I decided to take some bits outside to play with. I was keeping every page very similar so I was bulk making the journaling which made it quite easy to sit in the garden playing.

When I came in though I had managed somehow to loose a whole page. A completed page at that, and despite much repeated seaching of the garden it still hasnt turned up which means I now have to start that page again, which has kind of kerbed my enthusiasm in finishing it, but I am sure I will get round to it soon.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My baby girl is all growed up.

Actually she has been all grown up for quite a while LOL but tomorrow she turns 30 and makes me feel very old. To celebrate, last saturday she hired the hall at our local community centre and had a 'bit of a do'.

Inspired by the geogeous milk bar on that talented lady Debbie's blog, I set about the decorations for her. In contrast to her pink and silver themed 21's party she went for a blue theme this time round.

Rather than a large birthday cake together we came up with the idea of a cupcake bar, and then spent two days baking umpteen cakes between the two of us.

(sorry the photos are a bit rubbish, my poor old Fuji didnt
cope well with the dark hall vs the outside light and white table cloth).

It was little baby Finley's first party and he got lots of cuddles as he was passed around plenty of new 'aunties' desperate for a little hold and sniff of his babyness. He also got to have his first ever slow dance with his grandad.

I also didnt have my mega big memory card with me so all the later evening shots are on my dad's camera (yes we made him finally get it out the boot of the car) and I havent pinched them back off him yet.

In other news: I worked my last two days ever at the Children's Centre this week, budget cuts meaning they can no longer afford 6 teachers. I was rather sad in the way it was all handled as, although those of us on supply contracts had been promised a decent bit of notice, I didnt actually have more than a day, and had no chance to visit my nurseries and groups to say a proper goodbye, or to enjoy cakes and hugs with the lovely people I have been working with for over a year now.
I am back to waiting for phone calls from the agency and hunting the web for jobs, *sigh*.

Anyway finally all that promised craft stuff !

We decorated the front bedroom and made a nursery!

We had the front bedroom replastered to smooth off the walls (and fill in all the hundreds of screw holes in the walls )which then painted in Almond White paint giving a lovely plain background. When I started out, we still didnt know the flavour of baby Laura was to have so I needed to find something fairly neutral but also something that wasnt too baby orientated as I still need the room as a guest room. A photo on the net and bedding from Dunelem supplied me with my theme of Owls.

I bought a duvet set for a single bed, which I cut down to make the cot quilt cover.

With careful cutting I was able to cover the frame of the picture I printed out and added embellishments to,

as well as make two cushion covers (including the applique owl).

The banner I started while on my weekend scrappy retreat at Debden

but I was able to add the name once Finley had been born.
Alongside the new cot, the mosquitto net, the new lamp, the repainted mirror and the pictures from the internet that I printed out and framed, I think the room looks pretty cool.

I've been flitting between my sewing machine, and my scrapbooking tables for the last couple of months. I spent quite a bit of time making a dress for the party. This is not a good image of it but you get the gist.

Its Simplicity 2362, a pattern I bought last year but which has sat waiting for me to find some reasonably priced suitable fabric for. C&A fabric shop finally had the kind of remnants I liked at a price I felt reasonable and I got this and two other peices. The pattern went together really easily and for once it fit in all the right places with no alterations. I had to shorten the skirt bit and add a small ruffle at the hem as the remnant wasnt quite long enough for the whole pattern piece to fit but I am really pleased with the result.

I have a whole raft of layouts and scrappy stuff to share but this post is getting very long so I will put those all up in a new post once I get blogger to accept a few more photos.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Catch up 3 Phones and flowers

On Wednesday throughout the summer Martin plays in a golf competition which means that een if it is his day off we can never go out far. The wednesday of his holiday was no exception, but I was surprised when he said he wanted a trip into Canterbury.

Turns out he wanted to go into the 3G shop to find out if his phone contract was ready for an upgrade.
It was, and not only that they could give him a discount on his contract if he took out a second hand set for me.

Now upgrading me has always been a problem because I have always been on PAYG and typically last August I put £10 on it, I still have £3 on it!! Yeah I admit, I am billy-nomates. But I really did want to join the smartphone set and it wasnt hard to pursuade me that £25 a month for 2 Samsung galaxy mini's with god alone knows how many free minutes, texts and internet access was worth it.

Of course with Martin being computer illiterate and my last upgrade being just after the start of the millenium, using them was always going to be a steep learning curve, but Laura came over and got us started, and we have been playing with our new toys eversince.

The carpets were put down on thursday, I cant get over how quick the guys were, two carpets down in under an hour and a half!

Kelly's fish tank had arrived and needed transporting to her house, but with the riots at the weekend (did I mention them, well its all over the web. The little row of shops a the end of Kelly's road was torched) Olli who is in charge of co-ordinating Sainsbury's emergency peoples was on nights making it difficult to pick a day to take it up. However he had quickly been changed back to days when they discovered how much they missed his brilliance on days and we were invited up for dinner on Friday.

Since Kelly didnt get home until 7 we decided to take in a visit to RHS Wisley for the day and then back track to Croydon afterwards.
It had taken us the best part of the the morning to make all these decisions, and to pack a picnic (we remembered from Harlow Carr just how hard getting food and drink in their gardens was) and to get there.

It was so worth it though.
As you walk in, you are greeted to a wonderfully preserved Tudor house (used as offices now) and a beautiful formal water feature with borders stuffed to the brim with summer flowers.

The place is huge, we picniced on the huge lawn, and then we wandered around all the various sections for 5 and a half hours and still only saw a portion of each part of the garden. There was a large proportion of mums pushing strollers visiting the gardens, and I have to say that considering the problems at the weekend with unruly children and teens terrorising the country, it restored our faith to see just how brilliantly well behaved every single child in the park was. The lake was full of ghost carp and huge golfish. I have seen big kio carp before but its the first time ever I have seen them actually attacking the ducks to get to the food.

The greenhouse was vast and housed a temperate zone, a dry zone and my favourites, a large variety of hibiscous.

Then there was the rockery garden, the rose garden that extended for as far as the eye coould see, the veggie garden (we whipped round that quick as it looked like rain) the alphine greenhouses ..... the list goes on and on.

Finally exhausted with our little leggies unable to walk anymore, we braved the M25 in rush hour back to Kelly's for our dinner.

She had decided on a takeaway dinner from the local harvester, and the good news was that Ollie was going to be home in time to join us. Our plans were foiled though when the Harvester staff informed us they were not doing take-outs as they didnt have any take-out boxes!! Poor Kez had to scrabble about in the fridge and make us a delish meal from nothing. Good ol' Kezzy!

And she was pleased with her fish tank, we were pleased with our day out!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Catch up 2, A day trip to spend money.

Brighton beach

I spent yesterday giving the hall and stairs a coat of paint. This is not an easy task for a 5ft nothing person, and there is still a small patch where the full drop on the staircase is that will need Martin's longer arms and legs to reach, but I am pleased with the results. I slightly lighter shade (almond white instead of peach white) makes it brighter and a darn sight more clean looking (it was last painted in 2005)

So back to my blogging catch up.

On the second week of Martin's holiday I had thought we could throw the list of jobs aside and go out for days, but before I knew it, I was booked to accompany Finley and Laura on their first visit to the Healthvisitor's clinic, we needed to stay in for a delivery of a fish tank (for Kelly's birthday present from Ollie) and we had another day to stay in when the carpets were to be fitted. Adding in the afternoon of golf that Martin regularly plays on Wednesday afternoons through the summer it didnt leave that much time for long days out. I had asked to go to Brighton though, because even though its only an hour and three quarters journey away I had never actually been. I lie, I had been once with Mum and Dad, but he had been unable to find a parking place so he had turned round and come home again.

Veiw of Brighton pier as we went to park

We didnt set out that early on the Monday morning so it was getting on for mid day by the time we arrived at the sea front. We think we might have made a mistake in our choice of parking because we didnt discover until we got into the multistory that they were charging £2.50 an hour and that the car park belonged to a hotel (which was probably why they were able to charge so much) but we were already in so would have had to pay the first hour even if we had driven straight out. It was close to the Pier and the Lanes though.

Its been a while since we had been out doing the day at the beach thing, you kind of take it for granted when the sea front is 3 mins walk from your front door, but we were stunned by the price of ice-creams (£1.85 for a cone) doughnuts (£12.50 for 12) and didnt even go there with the prices of candy floss, chips, and other beachy fare.

Entrance to the pier

The walk along the pier was lovely but soooo expensive if you wanted to eat or go on any rides. I dont know how families with children manage?

Martin watching the rides

Fish and chips eaten in the fish restaurant was £9.50 each so we walked back down the pier and crossed the road to Harry Ramsdens.

Fed up with the wind, we took our fish meal across to the little park and sat on the grass watching the dolphin water fountain and ate while fending off sea gulls. We enjoyed that, it was quite peaceful and gave us time to collect our thoughts and decide where to go next.

Dolphin waterfall, very refreshing if you get caught downwind in the spray.

We walked up to Brighton Palace, and then all round it because there is no gate in at the front.

In front of Brighton Palace

It has a really nice garden if you ignore the drunks hidden in the bushes, but there was nothing to tell us either the price of entering the Palace or what we were likely to see if we went in. We didnt bother with the inside and just enjoyed the architecture from the outside.

I had downloaded a tour of the Lanes at home but had left it in the car. It was a document produced by the Tourist Information so we went in there next to grab another copy. I was stunned when they charged us 50p for it, when it had been a free download. Mmm expensive paper and printing ink I suspect. Anyway we set off to follow the pathway that was supposed to show us the best of the places in the Lanes area.

I was expecting lots of second hand, antique and shabby chic crafty type shops. I was so disappointed. What we got, between all the coffee shops and cafes was shop after shop after shop of jewelery shops. I think we pasted only 1 crafty type shop and I also have to say I suspect the TI route took us away from the shops and concentrated more on the arcitecture of some pretty poorly designed buildings.

We had had enough. We concluded that we didnt really like Brighton much, it was expensive, the beach wasnt up to much and it wasnt even that interesting. We redeemed our car (£7.50 in fees by now), looked at the sorry state of our wallets, and headed off to take the long coast road route home.

As we were going along we managed to get behind an open top tour bus. Martin was amused by the advert on the back of it considering its destination, and thought hop on, hop off wasnt really a good choice of slogan.

I had never been to Beachyhead so we followed the bus as it took its detour. It was beautiful countryside and I really would have loved to go see the cliffs (even though the heights terrify me, but I am guessing that Sussex council must think they need to fleece every visitor for as much as they can because once again they charged a high toll just to park in a layby!!!

The detour took over an hour, and with the coast route being so long it took us nearly 4 hours to get home. We did have a good day out but have come to the conclusion it is no wonder most people go off to Spain and such for their holidays. This country is just far too expensive to enjoy