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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Finally some scrapbooking

If you're lucky enough to be outdoors, your lucky enough!

 Author: Unknown
It was the first Exeter Scrapaholics crop of the year yesterday and I took Moya and myself up there to play.  I even managed to complete a layout for once - well apart from putting the date and place on the page.  Having said it's complete I might add one or two more elements to it.  Apologies for the minor flash spot on the photo and personally the layout looks better in real life - couldn't quite capture it how I would have liked.
I want to try out some new techniques and styles this year.  Initially I put some gesso on the page and then some texture paste through a Paper Artsy stencil.  One of the papers that came in the kit had outlines of flowers and leaves which I coloured in using watercolour pencils to tie in with the other papers in the kit more.

  I just added strips of the patterned paper to create the mat behind the photo I was using.  Next I put some ink on a piece of plastic and spritzed with water to dilute and then pressed them onto the card stock to bring out the stenciled background.
My final step was to stamp some flowers and leaves onto the card stock in similar colours to the papers.  Not sure how well the texture shows up but hopefully you get an idea.  It was fun just playing and trying out new things.

I'm really pleased that I have been able to blog every day this month and hopefully I've provided a variety of posts for you to look at each day.  I just hope I can keep this regularity going.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Rainy days, friendship and coffee

Today I caught the train up to Newton Abbot to meet up with my friend Lisa.  Unfortunately it was another rainy day but it didn't stop us from having fun and a good old catch up.  First stop was Costa Coffee - my cappucino came decorated with a snowflake?  I know I love Christmas but even I thought they would have moved onto another design by now - still it was a photo opportunity and something to put into Project Life for this week.
After coffee we had a wander round Next - could have spent a small fortune on clothes but want to shift a few more pounds before I buy any new clothes.  Then we moved onto Hobbycraft where I came across a packet of escutcheons so picked them up so I could finish off the card holder project so that will finally be completed this month - yippee one craft project I'll be able to tick off my to finish list.

After the craft shopping it was time for lunch - I had a BLT salad with a poached egg on top - very delicious and relatively healthy LOL.  To finish off the meal another cup of coffee!  This time it came decorated with a lovely golden shimmery chocolate - not sure if you can really see the shimmer in this photo or not.
After lunch we braved the rain again and wandered around some of the shops in Newton Abbot itself.  In one of the shops they had a wonderful display of wool - a true rainbow of colours and I was very tempted to buy some to crochet a blanket but remembered I haven't finished the one I started last year.  I was very good and resisted as I am trying to make a determined effort to finish up my projects from the past few years.
All too soon it was time to say our goodbyes and I was soon back on the short train ride home where I settled down and managed to finish my 'home' reading book.  A wonderful day despite the rain.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Reading material

I generally have two books on the go, one which I have to read when I'm at home and one that I have in my locker to read during my meal breaks on my days of working. At work I am currently reading CJ Sansom's book called Lamentation which I am really enjoying.  I have read all his previous books involving the character Matthew Shardlake and thought they were all excellent.  I really enjoy something which also has part of our history involved in it too.
The book I'm reading at home is by Sue Grafton, above picture.  I'm gradually working my way through the alphabet and as you can see I'm currently at K.  I'm probably about two thirds of the way through this one but I only read a chapter every now and then before bedtime.  Tomorrow though I might just finish it as I am catching a train up to Newton Abbot to meet a friend so I will take it with me.  I hate wasting time just sitting looking out the window even if the countryside is beautiful but it;s a railway line I have travelled up and down on more times than I care to remember.

What are you currently reading at the moment?  I'm always looking out for recommendations.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Steady progress

Stride forward with a firm, steady step knowing with a deep, certain inner knowing that you will reach every goal you set yourselves, that you will achieve every aim .
Eileen Caddy
I've been making steady progress on the baby sampler again this week.  I've managed to complete the blue fancy border on the left hand side and also completed the black border on the bottom right corner.  In addition to that I have also managed to stitch three more motifs a rugby ball or an american football. an animal nappy pin and a tiny chick.  Some of the motifs need french knots added to them but I will add all of the french knots at the end along with any words.
My confidence is growing every week in my ability to get this completed in time for Harlee's birthday in May.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

WOYWW # 347

Wow another week has flown by and it's time to share our workdesks again with Julia on The Stamping Ground.

So on my desk this week I have my box of scraps which has gone down considerably - hooray, thanks to Listers Gotta List, 5 Year Journal and a few other projects.  I also found the feet that I wanted to add to my card box which was the project I was revisiting this month,  They have now been added with the help of my glue gun.  I still have the faux drawers to add on but I have found some lovely antique looking brads which will look great as the drawer pulls so I hope to add them later today.  The finishing touch I think if I can find it is an escutcheon to give the look of it being lockable.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Anniversary card

My Perfect Refuge

When life is cold,
I wrap myself in your warmth,
nestled in your love,
my perfect refuge.

By Joanna Fuchs

Just a quick post from me today to show you the card I made for a work colleagues anniversary.  I've used an embossed piece of cardstock for the background and added the beautiful heart die from SU using some paper scraps.  This really is a beautiful die so delicate.  Finished off with a simple sentiment and a heart embellishment.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Cornwall Cottage Sampler Distraction

You can't do big things if you're distracted by small things Picture Quote #1
I didn't mind the distraction today as it was a visit from the delightful Harlee and his mummy and daddy.  He's not quite crawling yet but he can roll around and sit himself up with ease and managed to find his way to my cross stitch projects.  I wonder if he has a sneaking suspicion that I am working on something for him and he was checking to see how I was getting on with it!  The project holder was a lovely Christmas gift from of my crafting friends.
Before they had arrived I had managed to work on the Cornwall Cottage Sampler for an hour or so.  When they left I was able to pick it up again and made steady progress on the final motif on this page and the internal border.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to work on it quite a bit next Sunday and get that motif complete and finish another page of this delightful piece.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Stitching updates

Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness.  ~Author Unknown

I've been working on the baby sampler this week and I have managed to complete the blue internal border.  No motifs added this time, that will be next week.

As I had added some more to the baby sampler I again rewarded myself by working on June's Honeysuckle yesterday once my household chores had been completed.  I have managed to complete almost half of this one now.
I have been a little distracted with the stitching this week due to the Australian Open - there have been some good matches to catch up on when I have not been working.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Food for thought

food for thought - anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking

As I unwrapped my Acitvia yogurt last week I noticed on the inside of the lid they have started to put quotes on them.  After wiping them clean with some disinfectant wipes I have put them to one side as I am sure they will come in handy for some project or other LOL.  Food for thought on how and where to use these quotes.
Something else that has given me food for thought is my 5 Year Journal cards.  Initially I was decorating the index cards from an address holder, knowing that I would need to add more for the whole year.  What I hadn't realised was just how much extra space would be required for the cards once they had been decorated.  I will now have to think of where I will store them once this box gets full up.  It could be a case of custom making my own box for them to fit in at the end of the year - definitely food for thought there.
My final food for thought was the arrival of these lovely magazines.  It's the first three publications of a magazine called Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher.  For anyone who loves Primitive Stitching then they are great value for money.  There are designs from many of the leading Primitive stitching designers including some of my favourites The Primitive Hare, Nikyscreations and The Snowflower Diaries.  I'm not sure if I will ever do any of the Punch Needle but I am sure that many of the patterns that are included could be adapted for applique designs or embroidery which gives me plenty of food for thought on using the projects in the magazine.
For anyone who might be interested in buying themselves a copy I bought mine from The Patchwork Rabbit, excellent service as always from this shop.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Journal 52 - Prompt #3

  1. a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.

  2. Journal 52's prompt for week 3 was your favourite David Bowie song/lyrics.  We have several of David Bowie's albums in our music collection but I don't think I have a particular favourite so I decided to just create a page dedicated to this amazing pop icon.

At the weekend my mum gave me a supplement devoted to David Bowie that came with one of the weekends newspapers.  Initially I scribbled onto the journal with some colour from my watercolour pencils to create the coloured background.  I then made the mistake of using texture paste with a star stencil before I really knew where I was going with the page.  In my mind I knew I was going to use some lyrics from the track Jene Genie from the Starman album - hence using the star stencil and then add images from the magazine.  I should have done it the other way round so that the images were being adhered onto a smooth surface.  A lesson learned but then I am pretty knew to this journalling adventure so I'm forgiving myself.  Then I thought the lyrics that I had chosen were even more appropriate to the page - 'let yourself go'.

I've also used a mixture of watercolours, Wink of Stella and one of my newly acquired (see Wednesdays post) gel pens.  All in all I'm pretty happy with my collage journal page.  I wonder what this weeks prompt will challenge me to create.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

I'm keeping warm and toasty

A measure of the warmth and comfort gained from an object if it were to be snuggle hugged.

I received a beautiful Fisherman's Wife Cowl in the most snuggly yarn and the prettiest soft pink shade from my dear friend Karen.  It has certainly helped keep me warm and snuggly on my walks with Max since it arrived.  I was lucky enough to become friends with Karen through our shared love of cross stitching - I replied to Karen's penpal request in The World of Cross Stitching magazine many, many years ago and we have met up lots of times and keep in touch as often as we can.  To me, Karen is like the sister I never had and has been such a wonderful friend - crafting truly does bring you together with wonderful people.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday #346

That is so true of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday's hosted by the lovely Julie on her Stamping Ground blog
My desk is a little untidy this week as I have several things on the go at the moment.  Bethany Bunny is keeping an eye on my planner this week - she particularly likes the new gel and ball pens (on the left) which I picked up at Tesco's for just £3.   Lots of lovely bright colours to use on my planner pages and no doubt other projects too.  I'm trying hard to just use items from my stash to decorate my planner pages.
This week I am decorating it with some lovely butterfly washi tape which came from The Range, butterfly stickers which I picked up from Lidls  and alphabet stickers which are from my days as a Creative Memories demo.  I've also used some of the planner stamps which I did naughtily pick up from The Homemakery at the end of last year.
Here's a close up of all those lovely colours in my pen pack - 20 pens for £3 I thought was a very inexpensive indulgence with my food shopping last week.
On one of my blog visits last week I found a very interesting post on how to improve your handwriting by Kara of Boho Berry and from that I  gave into temptation and ordered the set of Spencerian Penmanship books (in the package).  I really want to improve my handwriting in my journals, on my scrapbook pages and my occasional letter writing.  I know it involves practising to make perfect but I am hoping these will help guide me in the right direction.  While I was browsing for these I decided to buy myself The Chocolate Lovers Club book by Carol Matthews which will be a nice lighthearted read in the future.

I also came across Cindy Guentert -Baldo who has some fun writing tutorials called Llamas Love Lettering which I think will also be useful to work my way through.  If you go to her blog you can download practice sheets to help improve your writing too.  My first practice session will be this evening.

This week I received another lovely parcel through the post but I will share the contents with you tomorrow as I think that deserves it's own post.

Happy crafting and now I'm off to have a look round at other crafters desks.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Cornwall Cottage Sampler and a giveaway

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it
Jesse Jackson.

 The weather went back to being wet and miserable on Sunday so it enabled me to devote a fair amount of time to the Cornwall Cottage Sampler.  I managed to complete the large motif on the left hand side and a smaller motif to the side of that along with some of the internal border.
Here's a close up of the section that I was working on.  There is another large motif on this page which I hope to get at least half completed next Sunday.

I am offering the above chart as a giveaway - if you would like to add it to your stitching collection then please just let me know in a comment or drop me an e-mail 

Monday, 18 January 2016

I surrendered

To give over or resign (oneself) to something

I finally gave in to the temptation of making a start on another of the Cottage Garden Samplings.  As I'd added a fair amount to the baby sampler I decided to 'treat' myself and made a start on June's Honeysuckle.  Saturday evening saw me surrender to this sweet pattern and I was able to make good progress and completed about a third of it.  I will put this away now until I have added some stitches to the baby sampler.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Such joy

The sun finally came out for the day yesterday so we made the most of it and took a lovely walk around Plymouth Hoe.  It was so bright I could have done with having my sunglasses on as I looked out to sea.  It was a fresh winter's day but so wonderful to get out without worrying about whether we'd get wet or not.
Looking inland on The Hoe is the war memorial, so sad that so many lost their lives but a wonderful tribute.  We continued our walk from The Hoe round to the Barbican and browsed in the shop windows, there are some lovely galleries there and we picked out another picture we think we might buy for when our living room is finally decorated.

I have been making steady progress with the baby sampler this week.  I have added a tiny heart, a baseball and bat, a nappy pin and almost all of the black border.  Most of the motifs on the left hand side have now been worked so once I have done them and the blue border I will be 3/4's of the way to finishing.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A little purchase I couldn't resist.

the action of recommending something or someone.

It was Margaret's (Scrapbook Magic) birthday last week and before Christmas I came across a sweet Etsy shop that sells handmade brooches and pendants which are a bit different to normal.  I know that Margaret likes steampunk and saw  this wonderful steampunk snail brooch which I thought she would like (thankfully she did).
Cute Steampunk Snail Brooch, handmade from polymer clay using watch parts and monacle
I have since got back to Aurora's Locket Etsy shop and purchased a steampunk mouse brooch for myself, I had seen the mouse in her shop before but when I went to buy him he had been sold.  I contacted Aurora and asked if she was able to make another one and I was so pleased when she said yes and was happy to customize it in whatever colour I wanted.  A beautiful product, great communication and superb service from this lady.  I would highly recommend this shop to anyone who wants something a little different and unique as each one is handcrafted.
Here is a photo of my steampunk mouse.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Journal 52 has a companion

  1. a person or animal with whom one spends a lot of time or with whom one travels

This week saw the arrival of a sweet little rabbit sent from the lovely Julie of Julie's Stitchyknitter Journal blog Julie sent it to me as a thank you for sending her some sock wool a while back.  The rabbits dress ties in beautifully with my craft room which I am sure was planned by Julie - thank you she is adorable.  All I need now is to think of a name - what would you call her?

Julie sent her to keep me company while I am working on my journals and she is proudly standing by this weeks Journal 52 prompt.  There was a choice of prompts this week, either what are you saying YES to or what are you saying NO to.  I decided to do a page for each word.
What am I saying YES to this year? 

 i love to use quotes as inspiration and I came across the quote 'Belief is the magic key that unlocks your dreams'  I need to believe in my heart that I have the ability to unlock my dreams and that is how this page evolved.  i drew the heart onto some patterned paper and then stamped the key image onto some glittery silver cardstock and added them to the heart.
 What are you saying NO to this year?

 I went with a quote which will hopefully help me say no to feeling guilty over certain issues that I have no control over.  The quote is 'When thinking about life remember this,no amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety or worry can change the future'  Once again I have used rubber stamps to obtain the tickets which I stamped the words Guilt Trip on and also the balloons.  I'm hoping that by sending the balloons on their guilt trip will help me with my feelings of guilt.

Lots of lovely bright colours used again this week, maybe that is reflecting how I am feeling about life at the moment - long may this bright and cheerful phase continue.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

CAS Stamplorations challenge

This evening I decided to take the stamp set that I was lucky enough to win from Stamplorations and make a card with it to enter into their CAS challenge for January. IIt's probably not the best photo but I had an awful job trying to get a photo of it as the anchor  was stamped and embossed onto silver mirror card and the flash kept bouncing off it!  The challenge was to make a CAS simple card but to use silver on the design.  I've used grey as my base card and then onto the white cardstock I have stamped the swirly sea background stamp and some sentiments from the set in grey and then used silver embossing powder.  

I know the sentiment is normally Home is where the anchor drops but I will give this to DH who is my anchor and as it's for Valentines day I also added a little pink heart.

Stamplorations are also releasing four new stamp sets this week and there are lots of opportunities to win either stamps sets or gift certificates just for commenting on their blog posts.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday #345

It's What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday over at Julia's Stamping Ground.  i hope to take part more regularly this year.  If you're curious to see what other crafters get up to during the week then this is a great place to visit as lots and lots of people post photos of their workspace for everyone to have a good nosy at.
On my workdesk this week is the journal I am using for the Journal 52 prompts.  I sketched out the ideas on the pages and then I've covered some of them up with pages from an old children's dictionary (the sketches will be worked over these pages again).  The pages have then been given a coat of translucent Paper Artsy paint.  A roll of washi tape from Paperchase is my next addition to the page I think - the pages definitely evolve as the week passes.

Also on my desk is my Plum Paper planner which I need to work on decorating for next week, a fairy calendar which came free with a cross stitch magazine - the designs are on my to do list!  I also have the Elf calendar that Valerie kindly sent to me. Some rubber stamps for planning and journalling and a few rub ons I came across while looking for something else and finally a card I've made to enter into a challenge which I will be posting about tomorrow.

Right I'm off now to have a look amd see what other people have been working with this week.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Stitching updates

I cannot count my day complete
'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

I have now managed to complete seven pages of the Cornwall Cottage Sampler. On Sunday I was able to finish off the flowers coming out of the basket which means it's just the borders and the alphabet to stitch.  It really has been nice working on this one on a Sunday once again - I'm not sure if Barbi and Kati are still working on theirs but if they are I hope they are continuing to enjoy it as much as me.

I have also managed to add one more motif to the baby sampler, a tiny sheep - one is better than none.  Again each little motif is like a finish in itself so it is keeping me motivated.

The next part of the Joyful World has come out from the Snowflower Diaries but I am not going to start work on that one until the very end of January - it would be nice now that I have started them to complete each one in it's own month.

I'm still trying to work out how to add functions to this blog for those who don't have a google + account - I'm not techno minded but I have figured out and added a follow me by e-mail.  If you would like to know when I posted then you can add your e-mail address in the box on the right hand side and you should then get notified each time.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Crafty gift made and in use

  1. a hollow object used to contain something.

For Christmas I received a lovely kit from one of my crafting friends and so I took it down to Mullion with me last Wednesday to assemble and decorate it.  Once again that never ending box of scraps was used to decorate it - these were Graphic 45 scraps from the By The Sea range.

I shall be using this pot for my collection of pens that I will be using for my Journal 52, Listers Gotta List, 5 Year Journal projects - I want to keep them separate and close to hand to encourage me to keep going with the prompts/lists.  

Sunday, 10 January 2016

I blame Chris entirely

To throw down the gauntlet means to challenge. The term derives from the time of medieval knights when a knight would offer a challenge by throwing down his gauntlet (a metal glove which formed part of his suit of armour). The other knight accepted the challenge by picking up the gauntlet. To take up the gauntlet means to accept a challenge.

I was going to wait until I had stitched up June's Cottage Garden Samplings before I joined in with the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World SAL but .........

............... Chris suggested we challenge each other to complete this one before the end of January.  I couldn't resist the challenge, especially as I still had a couple of days of my leave left.  I did make one change to the pattern - instead of doing eyelet stitch where the two shades of green are under the fox I just did cross stitches.

As I didn't have a piece of fabric large enough to stitch all 12 designs on I am going to stitch as individual pieces. This one was stitched on 28 count Lugana fabric from The Crafty Kitten and the colour is called Spring Blossom.  It's beautifully soft and pale apricot/soft pink in colour.

 My thinking is that I will later make them into a banner as I've already got my Lizzie Kate months of the year framed and the Cottage Garden Samplings I intend to make into a fabric book so wanted something different this time.

It's a fun stitch and can boast my first finish for 2016 even if it wasn't on my initial plan.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Happy Mail

 'Happy mail is quite simply
 ‘mail that makes me happy'
Lisa from The Lollipop Box Club

I've been lucky enough this week to receive two pieces of Happy Mail this week and still have this months Lollipop Box Club kit to look forward to arriving.  So lots of Happy Mail for me.  So much nicer than junk mail and bills.

First to arrive was a stamp set which I received as a prize for commenting on one of the Stamplorations blog posts last month.  

The stamp set is called Anchored and will be great for male themed cards as well as lots of mixed media art.  Thank you so much Shery.  The Stamplorations blog has lots of different challenges you can take part in each month along with blog hops with prizes given out for them so well worth entering.  I'm hoping this year that I can take part in quite a few of the challenges.

I also have my Stamplorations subscription kit to come this month so more for me to work with this year.

Next up is a lovely calendar of the the Elf that stayed with Valerie from ValeryAnne Designs blog.  I enjoyed following his antics during the festive period and now I can see them all over again.
Thank you so much Valerie.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Scrap Cards using Cheat Sheets

plural noun: scraps
  1. 1.
    a small piece or amount of something, especially one that is left over after the greater part has been used.

I was lucky enough to receive lots of lovely Christmas presents from my crafting friends and so I needed to make some quick and simple Thank You cards.  I knew I wanted to get back into that never ending scrap box and so I gained inspiration from the Cheat Sheet I got free from Lyssa of Songs of My Heart.  I obtained the cheat sheet when I signed up to her newsletter and they contain sketches and measurements to make up quick and simple cards.
I've managed to keep up with the Listers Gotta List and here are just a couple of pages from the ones that I have done so far.  I am trying my hardest to only use paper and card from the scraps box again.

I've also been covering the index cards and keeping up with the 5 Year Journal prompts again using the scraps. Here are the first weeks worth of cards - very simple but it will be interesting to see next year if my answers will be the same.  I'm hoping that by the end of the month I may just about have finally used up those scraps which will leave me free to delve into all the other paper I have stashed away.
I'm hoping I can keep these going as well next week once I am back at work.  Today sees another Journal 52 prompt which again I hope to be work on each day throughout the week.  It's been a fun week of self indulgent crafting.