Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 343

Hello Everyone,

It's the last Wednesday of the year and so the last opportunity to join in with Julia and friends for WOYWW 2015.
And, unlike last week, I can show my desk today because it isn't half the mess it was last week! Though I have to admit that all I've done in the last seven days is clear the stuff that was there and set out the materials for my 2015 Christmas Journal ... a pile of photos from previous Christmases - some of which will be included in the album - a tray of embellishments, bowls holding inks and punches and various other bits and bobs that may or may not come in useful. As you can see, I've made a start but time is running out and I'd like to complete it before we are too far into the new year. I'd better get a wriggle on then! I have the prompts, the notes, the photographs - I just need the time!!!

However, there is just one problem ...
... a new toy that is proving to be quite a distraction!

Before I go I'd just like to thank you for the fun and friendship experienced each Wednesday throughout 2015 and wish you a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year. I hope that 2016 brings you all you wish for yourself and yours.

Monday, 28 December 2015

To Lost Friends on Blogger

Copied the following statement from my friend Neet's blog. Whilst it explains the sudden loss of followers recently, I'm finding it difficult to see how this is going to improve our experience. In fact, I'd say it is nothing more than an attempt to force readers to sign up to a Google account whether they want to or not. Really!

Posted: 21 Dec 2015 03:02 AM PST
In 2011, we announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites. We made an exception for Blogger to give readers an easy way to follow blogs using a variety of accounts. Yet over time, we’ve seen that most people sign into Friend Connect with a Google Account. So, in an effort to streamline, in the next few weeks we’ll be making some changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs.

As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.

We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow.

We know how important followers are to all bloggers, but we believe this change will improve the experience for both you and your readers.

Posted by Michael Goddard, Software Engineer

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Garden Flowers in Bloom on Christmas Day

Happy Boxing Day Everyone,

Every Christmas Day, weather permitting, I take a stroll round my garden, camera at the ready, to record what, if anything, is in bloom. This year it was full of surprises. So many plants that should have taken a winter break are still flowering.
Red antirrhinums, blue campanula and euphorbia Ascot Rainbow. Even the daffodil shoots are appearing too early for this area of the British Isles though I have heard that down South they are already in bloom ... daffodils at Christmas!
Helleborus - the only plant in this line up that I would be expecting to flower about now - primulas, pansies and violas.
Wallflowers, roses - Elena and Pride of England - and more primulas.

The unseasonably warm temperatures are to blame for kidding the plants into still putting on a show - although not with the same exuberance they would show in Spring and Summer, their normal flowering time. And although it's lovely to have a bit of colour out of season it feels very strange. So strange, I'm hoping for a chilly spell. A fairly long frost would produce a spell of dormancy ... it would nice too if only to kill of the slugs and snails before Spring arrives ... or even snow. A garden shrouded in a blanket of snow is a beautiful sight.

Hope you are all enjoying the holidays.

Take care and stay safe,

Friday, 25 December 2015

Friday Smiles - The Christmas One

Happy Christmas Everyone ...

... Everywhere!

Just a few happy photos that have made me smile this week.

Thanks to Annie and all you Friday Smilers for a year of smiles and chuckles. I've thoroughly enjoyed every post and appreciated all the comments received too.

That just leaves me to wish you all ... with the help of our own little Elf - never seen without a huge smile ... a very happy Christmas Day and Health, Wealth and Happiness in 2016

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW Week 342

Hi Everyone,

It's a bit hectic here at Chez Worthington, as I've no doubt it is for you all, but it would never do for me to miss the last WOYWW before Christmas. I'm not sharing my desk today - you really wouldn't want to see the mess it's in - but I have quite another desk to show you instead.
The piece of technology on this desk has made this Christmas the best ever for my family. It's my daughter's Cochlear Implant Processor which was officially switched on yesterday morning at the Scottish Cochlear Implant Clinic, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock and I can't thank the team enough. Not only have they made this the most wonderful Christmas ever for my Juli, but they have made my entire year ... I really couldn't ask for more than the chance for Juli to hear better.
Here she is wearing the processor - it's attached to a magnet which is just under her scalp. She underwent the operation to have the Cochlear Implant fitted a month ago and we have all been waiting in anxious anticipation for the switch on yesterday. Although it is going to take some time, and many more visits to the clinic, Juli is already hearing new sounds. Here is what she had to report just a few hours after the switch on.

' When I got home, first I make myself a cup of tea, I heard I make noise with teaspoon in cup. Then heard Graeme (her husband) walking on wooden floor. It's a strange noise. It's slowly picking up.'

Simple, everyday noises and ones we in the hearing community take for granted, and even filters out most of the time, but to Juli they are a miracle of sound.

Here is a link to a video of Juli and the technician during the tuning session - just a snatch of it as it the whole procedure took more than four hours! In the background you can also hear the voice of the sign language interpreter explaining to Juli what the technician is saying. Oh, and there is a fleeting appearance of yours truly and the EM in the background too.


Ending on an all time high here's my Christmas Card to you all:

Have a wonderful holiday everyone.

Monday, 21 December 2015

In A Vase On Monday - Warm Winter Wishes

Now that I'm back and blogging I couldn't possibly miss joining in with Cathy's In A Vase On Monday meme over at Rambling in the Carden, especially as it is the last Monday before Christmas.

It's been a rainy day here in Ayrshire so it was dusk before I made a dash out into the garden to find material for the vase. And, after all the inclement weather we've had this last month or so, who would have thought that I would still be gathering roses on the Monday before Christmas.
This is Elena, the cream ones, and the peach is Simply the Best.
The red roses are Pride of England. They have been teamed up with some cuttings from a fir tree that grows by the gate to the driveway. We inherited it and guess that it was once a previous occupant's Christmas tree planted in the garden once all the decorations were taken down. Perhaps it even got dug up in following years, decorated and given pride of place ... well, I'd like to thinks so anyway. Now it is too big to be dug up and taken indoors but, instead, it provides lovely greenery for a festive arrangement.

Beside the vase is my favourite Christmas ornament, the postbox in the snow with a little girl, well wrapped up, posting her card watched over by a cheeky little robin ... all so very reminiscent of bygone winters.  It's usually the first to come out every year and so is our own personal harbinger of the upcoming festivities.

As this is my last vase before Christmas I'd just like to wish you all the following:

Whatever is beautiful.
Whatever is meaningful.
Whatever brings you happiness.
May it be yours this holiday season
and throughout the coming year!

Merry Christmas Everyone,

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sunday Snippets

Happy Sunday Everyone,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying a fabulous weekend.

I can't believe it's almost two weeks since my last post. Bet you thought I'd left the planet, stowing away on the Soyuz rocket that took Tim Peake to the International Space Station no doubt but, no, I'm still here on planet Earth and just about getting by. The EM and I haven't been so well recently but we're both recovering and can look forward to enjoying Christmas again.
Needless to say I haven't got a lot of crafting done but I did manage to whip up these two cards - the design is super quick and easy to make in an emergency.

How they were made:

  • Two 5" square black card blanks were covered with patterned paper, from Trimcraft's The Night Before Christmas Trimcraft 8" x 8" pad. The paper was trimmed to leave a ¼” margin of the black card uncovered. 
  • The greeting, IndigoBlu's Dinkie I Wish You A Merry Christmas, was stamped on to two snippets of black cardstock using Color Box Frost White ink pad. Next, I trimmed the greeting to size and then matted and layered on to snippets of white and red cardstock to create the toppers. They were then mounted, using dimensional sticky pads, on the front of the cards. 
  • Both cards are finished off with some Paper & Script black and white wrapping twine I found in my local WH Smith's.

That's all there was to the cards. A big stamped greeting like the one I used for the cards is perfect when time is at a premium - it makes the perfect topper!

I plan to submit the cards to the following challenges:

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Weeks 208 and 209 - The Christmas One

CHNC challenge 260 - anything goes as long as it's Christmas

CHNC Challenge Extra for December - always anything as long as it's Christmas

Sweet Stampin - Merry Christmas

That's me done for now. Glad to be back and posting again. 

Take care and have fun.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Harbour Scene Cards

Afternoon Everyone

I have a quick post today, sharing a couple of cards made for two of the December birthdays I mentioned last week. I don't know - am I the only one that is so busy crafting that finding time to blog is near impossible? Of course, maybe I just need to be a tad more organised! Anyway, on to the cards.
This is the first of the two ...
... and this is the second.

Both cards were made from more or less the same materials ... it's the configuration that is different.

Materials used:

  • Cardstock - 12" x 12" sheets of American Crafts in blue, red and white. The blue was cut in half to create two 6" square card blanks. The red and white used for matting and layering.
  • Patterned Paper - Spring and Summer 6" square paper pack from Create & Craft
  • Toppers - Stunning Scenes from September 2015 issue of Making Cards magazine
  • Embellishments - red/white Bakers twine; blue metallic cord; Denim Blue Dome Stickers from Docrafts Papermania
  • Card 1 Greeting - 'Happy Birthday' from Tattered Lace Mini Die Set
  • Card 2 Greeting - 'Brother' from Aspire Dekro Mounts; Color Box Frost White ink pad; Clear Transparent embossing powder from Stampendous.

I'm ashamed to say no snippets were used in the making of the card, in fact a goodly few were created instead, but I did manage to use up a fair bit of 'old' stash (the American Crafts cardstock) so I'm feeling good about that.

For those of you who look forward to my In a Vase on Monday post, I have to apologise. It's just not been the best conditions for flower and foliage gathering. The weekend was a wash out - Storm Desmond made sure of that - and yesterday we were out ... daughter, Juli, had a hospital appointment - a follow-up to her operation. Happily, all is well :)

I'm having a wee bet with myself that you are all busy, busy too. It's still too early to panic but there's a bit of pressure on to get the cards written and posted - hardly started yet - presents bought - tick - and wrapped - not even begun yet - baking to be done - well, what can I say! I did get the mixing bowl and wooden spoon out at the weekend and made a ginger parkin loaf, carefully wrapped and stored away, only to find that the in-house quality control has already been testing for taste and texture!!!

Before I go, for anyone and everyone living in the areas flooded this weekend my thoughts are with you. I hope that you are, for the time being, somewhere warm and dry. Take care and stay safe.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Friday Smiles

Afternoon Everyone,

I've been out Christmas shopping today - trying to beat the crowds! - so this is late and therefore has to be a very quick Friday Smile post. As usual, I've had plenty to smile about this week. First up is this super cute photo of my two youngest great-grandchildren, Callum and Lacie.
The family have been having a real giggle at the difference in size between them. Callum is just over 5 months old, Lacie is almost 7 weeks and, I'm told, doing her best to catch up with her big cousin.
Here she is being fascinated by the toys hanging from her play mat. She's just discovering that she can touch them with her hands.

Now for the funnies - this week they are all to do with the upcoming festivities:
I can think of quite a few folk that might share this dream!

I'd be very happy with a penguin :)

And finally,

Not sure my Celtic supporting grandson's would appreciate the colour!

Hope you've all had a wonderfully happy week and that you enjoy the coming weekend.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Leaves - UKPC November Swap

Hello Everyone

It's been another busy day at Casa Worthington. We've had builders here fixing the pointing on the gable end wall - a temporary fix until the better weather when the entire side and back walls will have to have a total repointing job done on them. Apparently the house has settled down, rather like we have done here too. I've also been sorting out the bookshelves in the spare room with the intention - by weeding stuff out, donating books and tossing magazines - of making it look less like the junk room and more like the guestroom it's supposed to be. Another long overdue job ticked off - it's only taken me two years!
And because of that flurry of activity no crafting got done so I'm sharing a card made recently for the UKPC November card swap - the theme for which was 'Leaves'.

How it was made:

  • Mustard coloured American Crafts Smooth Cardstock was cut to create a 6" square card blank.
  • A square dark brown cardstock, trimmed slightly smaller than the card front, and one of patterned paper, Falling Leaves from the Carta Bella A Perfect Autumn collection were layered together. At this stage I wrapped a length of some gorgeous shimmery red ribbon - been in my stash for eons - from top to bottom of the layers before adhering all to the card front.
  • To make the topper I inked through a Clarity Stamp template, Leaves 3, on to a snippet of smooth white card. Distress inks used, Shabby Shutters, Crushed Olive, Scattered Straw, Dried Marigold, Brushed Corduroy and Fired Brick - in that order too. The intention was to create the gradual change of colour that we see in our autumn leaves, starting with the greens at the base, merging into yellows and golds in the centre and finishing with red around the edges. Once that was done, I stamped the ferns, from IndigoBlu's Nature II stamp set, on the leaf with Memento Rich Cocoa, then it was matted and layered on to a piece of the patterned paper and brown cardstock before gluing it, at a jaunty angle, on the card front.
  • To make the foliage embellishment I raided the snippet box, picking out shades of brown, gold, silver and red card in a variety of textures, and cut out various shapes of leaves and ferns using dies from Tattered Lace Lavish Blooms Leaves set and the ivy spray from the Mini Dies set. Once I had a little pile of die-cuts, I fiddled and fussed until I was happy with how they looked then used a glue gel to adhere them in place. 
  • The aurora borealis embellishment was a bit of an afterthought but it very nicely covers up the area where the leaves all meet in the centre. 
  • Yet another afterthought, and one I really like, was the yellow Stickles used to edge the topper and highlight areas of the fern stamp. I think the extra bling from the glitter glue looks lovely. 
  • The final touch was to add the ribbon bow top left.

I'm submitting this card to the following challenge:

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 205 - my second visit this week!

Looking at the card reminds me of how beautiful the trees were here in the west of Scotland this autumn. Such a shame that the series of storms we've had recently have left the trees bare and the leaves a squishy, squelchy mess ... no leaf crunching for us now. Still, there's always next autumn to look forward to.

Hope your day has been good and tomorrow will be wonderful.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

What's On Your Workdesk - Week 339

Hello Everyone,

I'd like to say I was breezing in to join in with WOYWW this week, but it's more tottering than breezing! So much to do and so little time sums up my week so far, and no sign of it getting any better either. Hence the mess on my desk.
What you see is the detritus left over from a male themed birthday card made in haste. Card now winging it's way to the recipient and hopefully on time. The leftovers are still lying out so that I can make one similar for another December birthday. So many December birthdays to make for! Much of what can be seen at the back of the desk is just the usual tools of the trade but there is a box of metallic cord top left and a couple of rolls of labels - out for addressing envelopes - not usually out. Just in view on the right, that's a couple of Scottish calendars waiting to be put in envelopes and sent to Australia - must do today! And the contraption wrapped in cable is an external hard drive. It's there because the EM threatened to bin it. It's a leftover from my working days and contains lots of historical stuff that I no longer need to keep, e.g. my accounts. I've been retired more than 6 years so I think I can safely delete them now and I'm thinking it would be better used to store digital photographs. I just have to work out how to delete the contents ... could take me some time!

So that's how my desk looked earlier today. Somehow it doesn't look so bad in the pic as it does in reality. Oh, that's because I've just dumped more stuff on it!!!

Right, that's me done and now I'm off to check out a as many desks as I can before dinner. I hope you can find the time to pop over to The Stamping Ground and join in the WOYWW blog hop! And if you haven't already but would like to, do join in. It is easy and you'd be very welcome. Just follow Julia's how-to's at the top of her blog.

Have a great day,

Monday, 30 November 2015

In A Vase On Monday - Simply the Best

Here we are almost in December and I'm still cutting rosebuds from Simply the Best - the rose that just keeps giving.
There's three buds altogether in this arrangement. Here's two. There's raindrops on them because I ventured out just after it stopped raining. To collect the berries from the skimmia and cotoneaster I squelched across the lawn to the shrubbery ... we will have to do something to improve that lawn.
Just like last week I've included euonymus Emerald Gaiety and ivy, helix Silver together with a stem of euphorbia Ascot Rainbow. This is an interesting plant. According to the label it should have flowered around April/May time but it didn't. It should also be tinged with red and pink but it's not. As Nick Hamilton, son of Geoff, said in the newest issue of the Cottage Garden Society magazine, 'what an odd growing season' we've had this year!

Once again, I've taken inspiration from Cathy and used the white kitchen tiles as a backdrop for my vase this week. Here's the last photo taken after I'd returned the pots of kitchen utensils to their rightful place.

If you like my offering for Cathy's In A Vase on Monday and would like to see what gardeners all over the world are arranging this week do pop over to Rambling In The Garden. Feel free to join in too, sharing your own weekly vase with a link to Cathy’s blog.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Christmas Joy

Happy Sunday Everyone

What a day this has been - Team Great Britain has won the Davis Cup, it's my umpteenth birthday and here's a card I made for the last Rudolph Day Challenge of the year, Pixie's Sunday Snippets and Hazel's CHNC too. It's always something of a miracle if I make a card that fits with one challenge but I think three is virtually unheard of!

And it's no accident that it has a Scottish theme because it is intended for an elderly relative living in Australia - just a wee reminder of days gone by.

How it was made:

  • I started by creating a 5½" square card blank with Papermill Direct's Buff (Kraft) cardstock ... oriented to make a tent shaped card.
  • The front of the card blank was covered with red tartan patterned paper - a freebie from an issue of Scrapbook Magazine which has now, sadly, ceased to exist.
  • The stag, using Tattered Lace's Stag Head die, was cut twice, once from a snippet Mocha Brown cardstock and then from the leftover buff card.
  • To make the topper, the stag was mounted on a snippet of white card, then matted and layered on to an off cut of the tartan paper and another snippet of the brown card before attaching it, using dimensional adhesive, to the card front.
  • The computer generated greeting was given the same treatment as the topper.
  • I then wound buff coloured paper string (The Works) and bronze metalic cord round the top of the card, tied a bow and added a tiny gold coloured bell.
  • Finally, to finish it off some gold coloured pearly gems were added to the bottom left corner

This was a fast card to make ... it took longer to write up the above than it did to make it.

As well as entering it into the challenges already mentioned I'm also entering the card into Hazel's other challenge:

CHNC Challenge Extra for November 2015

Would you believe I started to write up this post hours ago?!?! There's been so many distractions today, but I've got to say it's been a very good day - one of the best :) I hope your day has been just as good.

Take care. I wish you a great week ahead.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 338

Hello Everyone,

And happy WOYWW day to you all.

Before I reveal the mess that is my desk this morning, I'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent my daughter, Juli, their good wishes yesterday. For those who don't know, Juli had an operation to have a Cochlear implant fitted. The three hour long op was successful and Juli has bounced back very quickly ... a whole lot quicker than her poor mum did! It will be a few more weeks before the device is switched on but then I think the world of sound is going to be a revelation to her - not least because after 44 years of silence she is going to hear music! I really can't think of a better Christmas present for my daughter than that.

Now on to what you've come to see - the desk!
That is sunshine you see streaming through the window! Apologies for the glare on the packet of stamps but I didn't pull the blind down for the photo. After the dreadful weather we've suffered recently it would be a shame to shut out the sunshine. And what's on the desk today? Piles! I'm really good at creating piles - in fact, I'm an expert at it. The pile of card and paper at the front is concealing a card I'm working on - the design for which involved the leafy template, the stamps and the distress inks, another pile, you can see at the back. There's also yet another pile, this time of die-cut leaves - tucked inside a tin lid top left - I went mad with the die-cutting machine ... I'm sure they will all come in handy for future projects. Next to that is, you've guessed, another pile, this time photographs - the same pile that has been there for some weeks. Should do something with them really ... maybe tomorrow, or the next day - you get the idea. On top of the photographs are some cut out letters - more off later - and next to the distress inks is a cute little crocheted chick - was a UFO but now finished - yeah!
This is what's on the sewing table today ... the reason for those cut out letters mentioned above. Bunting I'm making for my little great-grandson, Brodie, three tomorrow. His unusual name means that finding anything personalised is not easy so I'm hoping he will enjoy seeing his name hanging up on his bedroom wall - that is, once he can read :)

Well, that's me this week. A wee bit longer than Julia recommends but hopefully you've managed to hang on in there and read this far - my thanks if you have :)

Have a great day, take care, and I wish you all a wonderful crafty week ahead.

Monday, 23 November 2015

In A Vase On Monday - Enjoying the last Pink Blooms

Afternoon Everyone

I nipped out during a dryish spell today and picked what I could find that still had colour to create an arrangement for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme at Rambling in the Garden.
Last Monday I was bemoaning the fact that there was not one pink flower to be seen in the garden and just a few days later there they were, a few pink blooms, the rose, Happy Retirement, and snapdragon, antirrhinum Tall Mixed. Of course, I just had to pick them for this week's vase, which has a very pretty relief pattern of pink and white flowers. I've had it so long, over twenty-five years, that I've forgotten where it came from!
This pretty rose was planted only this summer in the round bed in the front garden which is more sheltered, which may explain why it is still flowering. The red roses are a mix of Pride of England and Anniversary - another first year bloomer.
This peachy orange rose, Simply The Best, doesn't want to stop flowering this year, though I think the snow and ice forecast will soon put paid to that.
And hiding down at the end of the long border, I only just spotted, and snapped up, this one penstemon, Tubular Bells Wine Red, in flower. The foliage in this arrangement is euonymous Emerald Gaiety and a variegated ivy, helix Silver.
As usual, many thanks to our host, Cathy for encouraging us to forage from our gardens in order to create arrangements to enjoy in our homes - not just in summer but all year round. Do pop over to see what gardeners all over the world are arranging this week and feel free too to join in, sharing your own weekly vase with a link to Cathy’s blog.