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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Tic Tac Toe challenge #16

At last I've finally had some free time to play with the Tic Tac Toe challenge again.  It is still my intention to catch up and make something using challenges 14 and 15.

I've gone for a diagonal row Autumn Colours, Paper Piecing and Free.  I've picked some autumn colour patterned papers, distressed the edges and layered them.  The stamped image is from SU and I've paper pieced the umbrella and dress and also used a sentiment from the same stamp set.  To finish it off I stamped some tiny leaves to try and make it look as though she is walking through/on the leaves. 

I'm also going to enter this into Darnell's NBUS challenge as neither of the two stamp sets from SU had been used until now.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Happy 30th birthday

I can't believe our baby (now grown up) girl is 30 years old.  It was her birthday yesterday and she's been having a tough time lately what with one thing or another so we invited her down for a little birthday tea.  What she didn't know at the time was that her two brothers and their families were also going to be there.  It was chaotic, loud but a very enjoyable time and so nice to have all our family together to celebrate Colette's milestone birthday. 

Colette hates the photos but I love them.  We even managed to get a photo of all the grandchildren together, not the best photo as trying to get them all to sit still was a challenge.

From left to right we have Savannah, trying to keep Lincoln from escaping, poor Harlee-Jay squashed in besides Elisha then Connor who is trying to stop Theo from escaping and finally Logan holding Sebastian.  I love them all.

Monday, 18 September 2017

First page of It's Only Forever completed

For the past week I have been trying to focus on It's Only Forever and I am pleased to say I've actually finished the first page of this design.  Only another 29 pages to go!  Having said that not all of the remaining pages have 4616 stitches on them so some will be quicker to complete than others.  

I really do like having the matching needleminder and I can now see which part of the picture I have completed.  Its like having the picture on the outside of a jigsaw puzzle box.

Having concentrated on the stitching this week has left no time for me to take part in the Tic Tac Toe challenges but it is my intention to catch up with challenges 14 and 15 tomorrow evening and hopefully get challenge 16 done in time to take part in the link up again.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Home reading

This week at home I have been reading and finished Take Mum Out by Fiona Gibson.  A thoroughly light and enjoyable read, lots of humour but with a great every day life storyline.  I will definitely look out for more by this author as its one of those books you can pick up and put down without losing the storyline.

This was one of two books I picked up at our local garden centre.  The other one is called Steps to the Gallows by Edward Marston.  After buying the book I noticed its the second book in a series and while it is probably a stand alone book as well I will try and find the first in the series before making a start on it.

In the meantime I can finally continue with the Sue Grafton alphabet series of books as I've now picked up L is for Lawless.  At the same time I purchased O is for Outlaw as I already had M and N as well as P.

At work I am still reading The Interpretation Of Murder by Jed Rubenfield which I picked up when we were in Scotland.  Although a bit slow to start with I am now starting to enjoy the book more.

In the Get Artsy book club we are reading The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.  I have to confess I have fallen a little behind this month so need to try and catch up this week.  I have to say I'm enjoying reading non fiction books that I wouldn't usually even think of reading and it has given me lots to think about.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Tic Tac Toe challenge #13

#13 unlucky for some but I think finding the Tic Tac Toe challenge was lucky for me as it has made me create at least one card every week since it started.  I have also been lucky enough to have had two of my cards selected for Team Picks.

I was lucky enough to be able to make this card at my favourite bricks and mortar shop Scrapbook Magic today.  I've gone for the top line this week, pink, patterned paper and sequins.

The papers come from 6 x 6 paper pads from the First Edition range by Trimcraft.  I made the scallop border using a circle punch.  The sentiment is a TH Stampers Anonymous set Simple Sayings CMS155.  Clean and simple and finished off with some sequins and punched hearts.

Last week I used some flowers with coordinating dies and Jackie W left a lovely comment for me but also asked which company they came from.  If you are reading it this week they are from Clearly Besotted and the stamp set is called Fresh Flowers.  At the moment they no longer sell the dies but I think I did read that they might be bringing back some of their die sets.  I have however just looked on the Simon Says website and they sell the mini version of stamps and dies which also include an additional four flowers.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Stitching updates

The weekend is almost over and I spent most of yesterday morning at work getting the end of month filing checked, counted and packaged ready to be sent of to the pricing authority. In the afternoon it was spent putting an enormous order away as well as helping out with the dispensing.  By the time we left there was still a backlog of prescriptions from Friday's surgery collection still waiting to be dispensed - it has just been plain crazy the past few weeks and we seem to be constantly chasing our tails.

Thank goodness for relaxing hobbies.  The seaside boats received some attention during the week and we now have some houses and the large green boat is complete, I'm now working on the sea again before I get to start another boat.  I'm probably about a third of the way through this one.

Today has been miserable and wet so have I spent most of my time working on It's Only Forever.  There are a total of 30 pages to this one.  The page I've been working on has 4616 stitches of which I have completed approximately 1300 so just over a quarter of the page complete.  It doesn't look much but this is a very large piece and will measure 19.43 x 28.64 inches when finished.

As if I don't have enough to keep me going I purchased Gecko Rouges Halloween SAL in the form of a download and couldn't resist the needleminders that go with it.  Typically after I'd purchased them the fourth installment came out with another needleminder  - I will now wait until the other two installments come out and get the final three needleminders all at the same time.  Not sure if I will start it this year or put it on my list for next year.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Tic Tac Toe challenge #12

Another week has flown by and it's time again for the Tic Tac Toe challenge.   I did actually make the card last night but was unable to get a decent photo of it until this morning.

I chose to go with the middle vertical row pink, oval, sentiment but after I'd made it I realised it also fitted the bottom row too, die cut, sentiment, floral.

I already had some of the flowers stamped and die cut and I knew I wanted to use one of the Kraft card bases I had lying around on my work desk.  After trawling through my paper stash I found the background paper with some green foliage on to which I added some stamped flower images to add more pink to the design.  The sentiment is from SU and fitted nicely into the large oval.  Although I didn't do it at the time I think I will add some little gems to the centre of the flowers to give this card a little sparkle.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

I started so I finished

On Thursday evening when I got home from work I made a start on the jigsaw puzzle I bought DH (us) for Christmas the year before last.  I was able to get the outside completed apart from a few pieces which had evidently got left in the box while sorting before going to bed that night.

Yesterday inbetween household chores and taking Max for a walk I was able to finish the jigsaw although I did stay up until twenty past midnight to complete it!  Probably not a good move but I kept saying just one more piece and the time just flew by so fast.  

It felt good to accomplish this so quickly.

Max and I  will be catching a bus into town later to take a walk up to Plymouth Hoe where there is a bus rally going on and all the males from our family are involved with it.  The sun is shining brighly so it will probably be busy which is good for a bank holiday weekend.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Tic Tac Toe challenge #11

Another quick post before I go to work to show the card for this week's Tic Tac Toe challenge. 

I went for the bottom row this time leaf, free (used background stamp and gems), splatter.

Back from work so I can now explain how this card came about.  I used the SU En Francais background stamp and inked with a few autumnal coloured inks to give it a multi tone.  I also stamped one of the small leaves from the SU Vintage Leaves set.  From the same stamp set I stamped out several of the leaves onto patterned paper and used the coordinating dies to cut them out.  The patterned paper came from a retired SU DSP pack which has been lurking in my stash for quite some time.  The sentiment came from one of the new stamp sets that will be available from 1st September called Painted Harvest.  My free choice(s) were to use the background stamp and a few pearl gems.  The final choice was to use brown and green inks watered down to create some splatters flicking a paint brush.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Rainy Sunday stitching

It rained all day yesterday so our plans to tackle the tidy up of the garden and wash the car were put on hold - personally I think DH said a little rain prayer Saturday evening to avoid doing the garden.  So if it rains then it's the perfect excuse to spend the morning stitching.

I managed to get the sailing boat completed and some of the background behind it done before our eldest son and family came to visit.  It was then time to play with the Plasticine and the Wii.

Once the family had departed I could resist no longer and made a start on the It's Only Forever cross stitch kit from Gecko Rouge.   When I bought the kit I also treated myself to the coordinating needleminder so that as I work the many thousand of stitches I can remind myself what it will eventually look like.

This is approximately 400 stitches.  Initially I wasn't marking them off but I realised this is too big a project with very similar shades of thread and so not to do so would be a mistake.   As I go back near areas I have already worked but hadn't crossed off at the time I can mark everything and so be able to have a more accurate stitch count with each session very soon.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

A trio of tags

Yesterday I travelled down to Scrapbook Magic for a tag workshop in the morning and a general crafting session in the afternoon.   I did far more talking in the afternoon than crafting but it was lovely.  We made three Christmas tags using a variety of stamps and dies.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Tic Tac Toe challenge #10

No time to lose so short and sweet for Tic Tac Toe challenge

This morning I only had time to post a picture of the tag with no explanation on how I made for the Tic Tac Toe Challenge before going into work.  I'd left it right up until this morning to decide which elements I was going to use and it was a frantic effort at getting it made in time to post in order to meed the cut off time.  Eventually I decided to use the centre horizontal line Anything But a Card, Fun Fold and Watercolour. 

To make the tag I used some watercolour cardstock and placed it into an embossing folder and ran it through the Big Shot.  I used a few different SU ink pads to create a random watercolour background and when dried I added some gold embossing powder.  I created the fancy fold snowflake rosette using a Tim Holtz die and also added gold embossing powder to the peaks of the rosette.  Finally I added an SU sentiment and mounted the watercolour card onto a piece of Kraft cardstock.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Bobbing along

Bobbing along was the song that entered my head this afternoon as I finally got to sit down and work on my stitching.  Of course in the Bedknobs and Broomsticks version of the song they are bobbing along on the bottom of the beautiful briny sea, thankfully the boats in my stitching will be on top of the waves.

It's been a while since I've done any stitching with being away on holiday and spending time with the grandchildren now they are on school holidays.  It was also very nice to have a different colour to stitch with as the right hand side has been predominately blue.

A confession now - I've bought another kit this time from a company called Gecko Rouge.  In my opinion they are a UK version of Heaven and Earth designs, very large and generally detailed designs.  I was browsing their website prior to going on holiday and kept being drawn to one particular design which reminded me of hours spent watching the film The Labyrinth with our children.  It was our daughter's favourite and I can always remember when we were expecting Bryan that she said if our new baby cried all the time she would call upon the goblin king to take it away.   Luckily for Bryan he was a good baby so there was no need for Colette to call upon his services.  While on holiday I subscribed to their newsletter and when we got back they had sent a newsletter out with details of a money off coupon which finally made my willpower crumble and so yesterday morning this arrived via the postman.

It's a large project and comes with a detailed pattern in a booklet format, all the threads presorted and a huge piece of 14 count aida (although there are other counts and fabrics to choose from).  I also purchased a coordinating needle minder.  It came neatly packed in a striped paper bag along with a thank you sticker with a gecko charm attached to it.  Now I did make it a condition of buying it to go through the many already unopened kits I already have in my stash and put those that I am no longer likely to stitch ever up for sale.  That's a job for Monday morning as I clean up the conservatory which was recently used as a dumping ground while we decorated the living room.  Wish me luck as I know I need to be realistic with past purchases and let them go.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Farewell Scotland

After breakfast on Thursday morning I could no longer resist visiting the craft shop before leaving Castle Douglas. Two stories high and filled with an abundance of different crafting materials from fabrics to paints, stamps to yarn and lots more inbetween.  I almost managed to come out of the shop unscathed until I saw this pair of Alice stamp sets and then my resistance failed miserably.  However it could have been a lot worse I guess.

Back to Nantwich we went avoiding the chaos of motorway roadworks by taking the toll road. We took an afternoon stroll along the canal to stretch our legs after the car journey.  We walked along the old Chester canal which was built in 1772.

It was a beautiful walk away from the traffic, lots of pretty canal boats and its hard to imagine that this would once have been the main way of transporting goods in times past.

We came across this wooden sculpture as a reminder of the wonderful horses that would have towed the boats along the canal.

The main line between Nantwich and Autherly Junction was almost built as a railway line but eventually they decided to build it as a waterway.

Along our journey we saw a sign for the Star Inn public house so on the way back we turned off the canal path in search of it.  The footpath took us through fields of corn.

Then through a housing estate before getting back onto the main road, passing this pretty church and arriving at our destination.

Sadly when we arrived at the Star Inn it was to find it had been permanently closed  I've borrowed this photo from a newspaper article, sadly the Star Inn we discovered was covered in grime and road traffic dirt and looking very forlorn.

It would appear that it has been sold and outline planning permission given to turn the Grade 'll building into three residential homes - however this was back in 2016 and sadly it is still empty which will no doubt be another building left to decay before any real action is taken.

We carried on walking back along the road to our original starting point at the aquaduct before going back to our hotel for our evening meal.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Tic Tac Toe challenge #9

Another week has flown by but what a great week we had with our trip to Scotland and the birth of our grandson more to follow in the next day or two.  However it's time to share the card I made for this week's Tic Tac Toe challenge. 

I've gone with the vertical middle row sequins, distress inks and stencil.  I've used four different coloured distress oxide inks and a Stamplorations stencil to create the panel of my card.  Sequins were added to the centre of the flowers and a few additional random ones.  The sentiment is from a recently acquired sentiment stamp from Clearly Besotted which is one of their August releases and was waiting for me on my return from our holiday!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Threave Castle

On Wednesday morning we took a walk along the Threave estate footpath with the aim of seeing Threave Castle.  It was a lovely walk through the countryside and nature always has wonderful surprises for you.  We came across a cow that must have recently gave birth to her calf as she was cleaning her as we walked by.  If we had been maybe 10-20 minutes earlier we might even have seen the birth (something I would have appreciated but DH was relieved not to have been there any earlier as he gets a little squeamish).

Further along we came across a collection of fungi growing on a fallen tree branch.

The walk to the castle was about two and a half miles.  The castle was the stronghold of the Black Douglases and built in the 14th century.  It lies in the River Dee and can only be accessed via boat.  

You have to ring a bell and the boatman comes across to take you over to the tower house/castle.  Unfortunately dogs are not allowed so we had to admire this impressive building which is the same height as a ten storey block of flats (30metres).

We then walked back to Castle Douglas where we found another dog friendly cafe called Street Lights.  We stopped for lunch and they even brought Max a doggy chew to enjoy while we had our lunch.  We then headed back to our B&B just before the skies opened and the rain came down for the first time since we had been there.

After a few hours of rain the sun came out again and we popped along to a shop called Enigma where we had seem some nautical themed wooden ducks which we had decided to buy and they would go in our newly decorated lounge.

Pirate Peter and Admiral Neil.  It turns out these ducks are made by a company called DCUK, the duck company which is based in Diptford, Totnes which isn't far from where we live.  We were also tempted to buy one of their Scottish cousins, they were wearing different coloured Tam o'shanters but we couldn't decide on which colour to have.  As we have now discovered we can buy them online we have plenty of time to decide if we will add to our duck family.

We also took another walk down to Carlingwark Loch where the swans seemed to be practising their synchronised swimming routine.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Exploring new places

On Tuesday we visited Kirkcudbright pronounced Kircoobree.  It has been a Royal Burgh since 1455 and is predominately a fishing port but also boasts museums, galleries and a castle.  We paid a visit to the Stewartry Museum which holds an amazing array of historical artifacts and wildlife.  As it was busy with children it was difficult to take photos without inadvertently capturing one of them so this is the best I could do.  It was founded in 1879.

Kirkcudbright has a long establishment with the Glasgow art movement including the Glasgow Boys, Samuel Peploe and  Francis Cadell.  There were plenty of gallery/shops to peruse.  Scattered near the estuary where the River Dee runs were several sculptures and even beach huts?!

This is one the town cat who apparently spent his days in different shops and by the harbour.

This wooden sculpture was placed on the harbour in 1994, it was built to remember all those that have been lost at sea.  The artist was Charlie Easterfield.

Sir Thomas MacLellan had the castle built from material from the church which was dismantled for this very purpose around the 1570's.  It was difficult to get decent photographs as there was scaffolding in the centre of the castle.

There is an art trail around Kirkcudbright and from one of the windows it looked like Rapunzel was letting her hair down.

Beautiful views down the River.

Our next stop was Dalbeattie which is known as the granite town of South West Scotland and on wet days I can imagine it looks a cold and grey place.  Thankfully the sun was shining for us.  Dalbeattie was established in the 1790s beside the water power of the Dalbeattie Burn and the granite was extracted from the local quarries which was also exported across the country.

Dalbeattie most well known figure is Lt William McMaster Murdoch who was the First Officer of Titanic.

There wasn't a great deal there but I did go into one of the charity shops and buy some books as the one I'd taken on holiday I finished reading Monday evening.  Three books for a pound - can't go wrong there.  A mixed selection purchased.

From here we called into a small pottery workshop, lots of nice things to look at but nothing that really caught my eye.  I did like the way they had shaped one of their hedges though.

Our final stop of the day was Kippford which is a small village along the Solway coast.

All along the beach is just one mass of pretty shells of which I collected quite a few and have brought them home with me for future projects.