Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

I thought I'd look back through my photos and select the best of what I've created this year. I feel I've come a long way creatively, particularly with stamping. I have taken inspiration from Michelle Zindorf, Glenda Waterworth, Jean Hardy, Deby at Just add Love and of course my good friend Lynne. I'm not sure about New Year resolutions - I'd like to get fitter, lose a bit of weight, create more, spend less... I'd also like to wish a Happy New Year to everyone who reads my blog. I'm always thrilled when people leave comments or rate my entries. It is so good to get feedback. Blog-wise I've had help and inspiration from Guzziesue and Biker Ted - many thanks!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Today Meg and I went out to do a bit of shopping. We went to Craft Central at Derby Garden Centre, only to find they have called in the recievers and are selling off stock before they close. Very, very sad - a recent discovery hit by the recession. We came home via Hobbycraft and Range, where I found out about the Create a Card for Cancer Care campaign. It is being run by Do Crafts and Marie Curie. I got my bags from Range at Lady Bay retail park, but there are more details here. I intend to make quite a few.

Monday, 29 December 2008

January Birthdays

Whilst I had the Cuttlebug out I decided to try a brass stencil in it using the rubber mat I have and came up with this. The stencil is from Lasting Impressions and I have used it alot. Then I turned my thoughts to my brother's birthday on 7th January. Knowing how much he admired Megan's Christmas card I decided to do him a wolf too, but not in snow this time. I'm quite pleased with him. The Wolf/ husky is a Clarity Stamp, the leaves are Lavinia and the bracken Crafty Individuals. The small fir tree is by Making tracks, inc.
Finally I moved onto a card for my mother-in-law. Her birthday is on the 4th January. I came up with this initially, but on second thoughts it might be a bit modern for her taste. The stamp is from Stamp to your Arts Content, but I'm not sure how clear the Clematis image will be to an 84 year old, so I might just have another go.
I feel very positive about today. The cooker is fixed, Meg has been out on her new bike, I've made cards, done the shopping and had some R'n' R. Planning for next term is looming now!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Wild Meadow background

I've been playing with a few stamps (Wild Meadow and Autumn table from graphicus) I started off stamping the bracken in versamark onto slightly shiny white card. I then sponged over it using Distress inks in broken china and peeled paint. It was okay, but needed something else, so I stamped some leaves and stems over it. In a bid to get the ink off the versamark images I used a damp sponge that softened and blended the colours a little more. I quite like this background now, but don't know what to do with it, so I'll put it on one side till I get some more inspiration!

Santa was very generous!

Well, I have finally managed to get round to playing with a few of the lovely gifts I recieved from Santa. My Christmas had a distinct Graphicus flavour, with Wild meadow, arboretum and the triple birds plate, and Nature's table and Autumn hedgerow thrown in for good measure! I also got a proper cuttlebug. A few years ago - just before they brought out the cuttlebug I bought a zip-e-mate, and although I have had my money's worth out of it the cuttlebug takes up a lot less space and is more suited to my needs. The bird stamp (Graphicus) is stamped onto shiny card and sponged over with butterscotch and stonewashed Adirondak inks. I inked the Cuttlebug embossing folder with silver brilliance ink before putting it through.

Friday, 26 December 2008

There's an Angel by the name of Julie that lives up my road

There I was on Christmas Day cooking a fairly simple dinner ( just the 3 of us to cater for ) when a fuse blew and the cooker and Microwave went off. We went to the fuse box and switched everything back on one at a time and all seemed well... until I realised the oven was no longer steaming up my glasses and I couldn't hear the Duck portions sizzling any more. I have a cooker with a small top oven as well as a main oven, so I quickly got that going and transferred the duck. The problem that was causing me to panic was the fact that I was cooking Christmas dinner for seven on Boxing Day, and was staring at a huge Turkey that would fit into my top oven about as easily as Dawn French would fit into a size 8. I could cook everything else - roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots, brussels, broccoli, gravy, bread sauce, and stuffing, but not that one vital ingredient. I even looked at saws in the garage, wondering whether to chop it up and just roast a bit of it, or stew it in a big pan!

Anyway, after lunch I got a text from my friend Julie thanking me for their presents. I rang her back to see if she would be around on Boxing Day, and she immediately said she would cook my Turkey for me! I took it up there at 9am and Steve fetched it, swathed in towels to keep it warm at one o'clock. I think that must be the sign of a true friend - someone who would cook your turkey for you, and to perfection too! So, on Boxing Day our whole house toasted Julie, for saving our Turkey (or should that be Bacon)!
Thanks is such a small word, but means such a lot!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Meet Tufty! This beautiful little robin spent his juvenile days hoping around our garden in the summer of 2007. He was very bold and regularly landed a few feet away. As he got his adult plumage he followed us around the garden and we nearly put our hands on him when he kept settling on the spade handle!

I spotted him on Tuesday (really murky day, so bad picture!) with a little gift... for this young lady...

Steve's Card

This year I wanted Steve's card to feature ducks. He really likes ducks and I have bought several stamps with him in mind over the years. The skating ducks stamp was the first I bought specifically for making his Christmas card (1997)and is a Stamporium stamp.The Duck Noel is a penny black stamp bought last year. Whilst you are reading this you might want to spare a thought for Guzziesue, currently nursing a badly broken wrist after falling whilst ice skating. Check out her blog for some fabulous lace making, quilting and embriodery. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Sue! I thought of you when I saw this stamp!!!

A couple of years ago, about this time we had a few hard frosts and Meg and I popped to Rufford Mill to watch the ducks skating for real!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

A Card for Meg

Meg has been a fan of 'Due South' for a few years now, and has watched every episode. She loves Diefenbaker the Wolf so much that he is the screen saver on her phone! When I spotted this Husky stamp by Clarity Stamps I thought it was just the ticket. The other stamps used are Lovely as a tree by stampin' up!, fir branch by All Night Media, and fir tree group by Clarity stamps.

Monday, 22 December 2008

It's amazing what you find on an untidy craft table!

There I was, trying to put some stuff away when I found the 'In the bleak mid-winter tree' image (Graphicus). At the time I stamped and coloured it I thought I didn't have any background papers to go with it. A week or two later I found two sheets of Magenta Gingerbread collection.This one is called 'Soft Mistletoe' which is a bit strange as it looks more like Holly to me!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Only 3 left to go!

Here are 3 more christmas cards. The first uses a set of clear stamps by Stampendous called Winter trees. This set will definitely stay out all year and won't be confined to the christmas box as they are so versatile. The middle card has another Nellie Snellen Snowman, and the last features the teddy by Hero Arts. The Teddy card has a winter text stamp (also Hero Arts) that has been embossed using cinnamon scented embossing powder...mmmm! We need smellyvision!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Inky Fingers

I went to bed last night with blue fingers! This card started off life as a smooth white piece of card that I embossed snowflakes onto (2 from crafty individuals, one from Stamporium, one from clear choice stamps and one unknown) with clear embossing powder. I then sponged a mixture of 'stonewashed' and 'denim' adirondak inks over the top, along with some metallic rub-ons in silver. the Let it Snow stamp is also Crafty individuals. The large snowflake is a chipboard piece painted with white acrylic and sprayed with silver creative colour sprays. there are a few dots of glitter glue on both the chipboard and stamped images.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Not many more to go...

This is the last Christmas card I'm making for other people to send. The photo doesn't really do it justice. The central snowflake stamp is another Clear Choice stamp. Now I need to get down to a few of my own. I need to do one for Lynne (that one needs to be good!), two for other friends, one for steve's parents, two for steve's sister's family, one for my dad, one for my brother, steve's and Meg's... think I'll tell the boss I've no time to go to work next week, lol!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

A bit of a joke

Well, here is my humorous offering. I found it a bit difficult to guage the humour of people I don't know, so I hope this will do. Not the best stamping in the world either, but snow does tend to get dirty when you build snowmen! The snowmen stamps are from the Clear Choice range and the Rabbit is an Anita's stamp.
This next card was one of two I made for a colleague, asking someone else to choose! I seem to do that quite often and the rejects go into my box. It uses more Lavinia stamps, and I've done it in several different colour ways, but I particularly like this one.

Age, and how people feel about it

Two of my workmates have asked me to make special birthday cards this week. One is for a 90 year old Mum and one for an 80 year old Mum. Both of these ladies are quite happy for everyone to know exactly how old they are, so the ages on the cards I've made are anything but small!

Funnily enough, the daughter of the lady who is ninety refused to tell anyone how old she was when she turned sixty! My Dad is going to be 80 in February and is quite happy for people to assume he is in his late 60s! I have been trying to persuade him to have a party, but he isn't sure at the moment. I'll have to think of a subtle way of including his age on his card.

Well, I guess I should get back to the Christmas cards now. Someone has asked me to make a humorous one, so I need to look for ideas. Megan is quite a lot better, but still coughing at night. She was supposed to be going to a sleep over birthday party tonight, but I couldn't inflict her on anyone else! She has gone ice skating with them and is going back to her friend's house for a little while and then will ring me as they are going to bed. I think I'm blessed with a very sensible daughter, as she was quite happy with this compromise.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

At home

Megan has a really, really bad cough. Steve took her to the Doctors yesterday, but they weren't able to give her anything to help. She has been coughing all day and all night since Friday now - every few seconds. It is a real bark too. Sleep deprived and muscles aching she was in no fit state to go to school today, so I've been looking after her at home. Not alot I could do though, other than making sure she was warm enough and plied with drinks and hugged from time to time. She decided to watch a couple of dvds, so whilst she did I made a few more cards.
The christmas cards all feature some Magenta puzzle self-cling stamps I bought last year. The copper and brown toned papers are also Magenta. The papers on the birthday card are from the Canon Creative Park website, and the stamp is a woodware one.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Card for Mark

Here is the card I decided to make for Mark. I did a cake in the end. I used some chocolate scented embossing powder that I got from Craft Central at Derby Garden Centre, so the cake smells of chocolate! Now some of you might think that is a bit cruel, but he will no doubt be getting chocolate for his birthday! I got some red cinnamon scented and some white vanilla scented too..mmm...I feel some more christmas cards coming on! I also managed to cut my finger with a very sharp craft knife - silly me!

Reflecting on last week and what's left to do

I never mentioned did I? the school panto was a huge success. We totally sold out for all the performances. The children were amazing - every single one of them. My class were little stars and we had no mishaps. There were a couple of comic moments , one involving a child lifting his head as a girl was leapfrogging over him and they both sat down with his head up her skirt! Fortunately everyone saw the funny side and no one was hurt! The two ugly sisters were year six boys in drag - completely out of character for them, but they were phenomenal. I take my hat off to all of them. Over the next two weeks we have a nativity with carols, an achievement assembly, christmas parties, christmas cards to make, calendars to make...the list is endless. I also have a new child starting in my class on Monday - that's 6 since September, although 2 have left. we normally get a few extras, but not this many so early on! Well, can't complain - more chidren means more money in school and less chance of any redundancies, which is more than can be said for most lines of work at the moment. It's not the biggest class I've ever had - I had 36 four and five year olds once.

Anyway, back to the present. I have written letters to post in cards (a round robin cheat I'm afraid), most of the Christmas presents are bought and I've made a card for a friend who has a birthday a week on Monday. It features a butterfly stamp from Aspects of Design range by The Stampman and the crafty notions creative colour sprays. I'm now trying to decide what to put on a card for Mark, who also has a birthday a week on Monday, and was our best man. He has had cards featuring a chocoholic stamp, cats and computers in the past and I just don't know what to do for him. A tree would be a cop out! I'm wondering about DIY or a cake...I'll post it when I've done it.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Oooh, that's better

After five days away from my craft table except for marking books at it, I needed to spend most of last night sat at it making cards! I'm now feeling very relaxed and quite happy with my creations. The first of my cards uses a lovely penny black stamp I bought last year. I bought it with Steve in mind as he loves ducks!
The second and third are variations on cards I have made already this year. The top one uses another Lavinia stamps tree, and the next uses stampin' up 'lovely as a tree' and the Nellie Snellen snowman. My final card from last night uses a Stamporium stamp from one of their A4 rubber sheets. I'm not sure if it is still available or not, but I love it's simplicity. It works well embossed in clear embossing powder on black and then painted with Blonde Moments pearl pigments.