Friday 30 September 2011

A Day Trip to Annan

Afternoon Everyone,

It's a lovely afternoon here in Ayr, warm, sunny with a gentle breeze, perfect. Quite a contrast to the day we took a trip to Annan recently ... the morning was cool and rainy, though it did clear up later, and we all brightened up too.  I thought you might like a wee armchair trip round the town.

Bridge - view from Annan
This trip took us through the Dumfries and Galloway area in the south-west corner of Scotland. It is reputed to be the Scotland's hidden jewel because visitors tend to bypass it on their way to Glasgow and the Highlands. There's no big city, only a few small towns, to encourage people in, and it's only those in the know who come to enjoy the beautiful scenery and interesting wild life. Annan is one of these small towns, situated on the Solway coast, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1964.

Bridge - view approaching Annan
The bridge over the Annan was designed by Sir John Rennie and built by the famous engineer, Robert Stevenson, grandfather of the writer, Robert Louis Stevenson. It is made of the local red sandstone, as are many of the buildings in the town.

Town Hall
The Victorian town hall is one such building. Built in 1878, it is Gothic in style. The ropework carved above the main doorway is a reminder of Annan's former success as a port.

Here's the ornate street lamp that is situated just outside the Town Hall - so much nicer to look at than the modern ones we see everywhere now.

The War Memorial is like many others in the area - I'm not sure but I think this may be a soldier from the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) - once the local regiment. Carved on the plinth, at this time, are the names of those lost in WWI but there are, I believe, plans to add WWII names some time soon.

There's a picturesque harbour - Annan was once a very busy port with trade and shipbuilding creating wealth for the merchants of the area. Now many of the old warehouses have gone but the harbour quay has been partially restored.

This is the imposing Annan Old Church steeple.

You can't go very far in the south of Scotland before coming to some reference to our Bard, Robert Burns - he got around a bit as excise man for the area. This cairn, raised in his memory, is in a most beautiful spot overlooking the Solway Firth - quite fitting, I think, for a man who loved nature.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos which are a lovely reminder of an enjoyable trip taken with the family last week. And, hopefully, it might inspire some of you to visit Annan and the Dumfries and Galloway district because there is an awful lot of tourist attractions to see there and beautiful scenery to enjoy. And no, I'm not in the pay of the Scottish Tourist Board :)

And just because I love this shot, here's my granddaughter in that hat again.

Before I go I'd like to welcome my newest follower, Doreen - many thanks for taking an interest in my wee blog.

I hope you all, wherever you are, have a great weekend doing what you want to do.

Happy crafting,

Thursday 29 September 2011

Tropical Bird - Inked Filigree Card

Evening All,

After yesterday's brilliant sunshine today has been a disappointing day, not helped by my visit to the physiotherapist ... I think the tension of being put through my paces exhausted me more than anything. The verdict was mixed too - exercises for my hip and more tests to come, oh joy! So, on to today's card.

It's the card that you might have seen on my WOYWW post this week. I'd tinted the filigree bird using make-up sponges and various colours of ink pads. Once I had done that I decided that I didn't want it on the white base so I backed it with a plain brown design paper, covered the base in another striped,  jungly sort of patterned paper. The embellishments are just gold raffia, gold coloured rainbow drops and a greeting topper.

Inside and front just decorated with strips of the patterned paper.

Materials used:
  • 1 Papermania Birdsong delicate filigree card;
  • white cardstock for base;
  • Design Paper - Pebbles Skipping Along The Pathway & Basic Grey Archaic Primal;
  • various Papermania ink pads in greens, yellows, reds & gold;
  • gold raffia;
  • gold rainbow drops;
  • greeting topper from Papermania Persimmon Collection cardstock sticker

 Most of the materials were either leftovers from previous projects or much neglected stash that hadn't seen the light of day for many moons so I'm sure it qualifies for Jules Sunday Snippet Challenge and as this is closing early again this week I'd better get my skates on or I'll be too late :)

Happy Crafting,

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Beaded Pins in Close-Up by Request

Evening All,

Lunch Lady Jan has asked that I show the pins I beaded recently in close-up. No problem, Jan, here they are up close and huge, I hope.

First, the longer pins (2.25"/5.5cm)  with the heart shaped heads - bought from Wild Orchid Crafts.

Second, the smaller pins (1.25"/3.5cm) with round heads - bought from my local department store.

As you can see, all I have done to make the pins is thread the beads, starting and finishing with a small bead, aiming for colour combinations that co-ordinate. I use a clear gloss finish glue to fix the beads securely.

Right, that's me for today. I did get a card finished today so that's progress ... the mojo is back :) I have a first appointment with a physiotherapist tomorrow ... I'm not sure how I'll feel after but hopefully I'll be back fit to post the card and visit more WOYWWers later in the day.

In the meantime, happy crafting,

WOYWW - Week 121 - Playing with Ink Pads

Morning All,

Yes, it's still morning for me ... it's almost a tradition for my fellow WOYWWers to remark on how quickly the week has gone, but, for me, it's how quickly each day goes spinning by - 11 am and I haven't accomplished much!!! The good news is that it's going to be a sweltering day here according to the weather reports and the beach beckons:) But before I go anywhere I'm clocking in ... to Stamping Ground - that's Julia's place - to record for posterity what's on my workdesk this Wednesday. Intrigued, don't know what this is all about ... just click the link above and join in if you dare!

As you can see I've been playing with ink pads, using them to colour in this filigree bird card. I bought a pack of these cards many moons ago, an impulse buy, and when I got them home I just had no idea what I was going to do with them. With my mojo still not in full flow ... see my previous post here to see how I've been coping with a dire lack of motivation ...  I thought I might give it a bit more of a nudge by digging out something neglected from my stash. This is as far as I've got, but I rather like the effect the inking has produced so I've riffled through my snippets, as you can see, and found some bits and pieces that might just make a half-decent card, eventually.

The little plastic box at the back is storage for my newly-made pins ... see that same previous post for a full colour piccie ... all sorted out tidily. Note to Shaz in Oz: the pins are bought with the heads already in place ... I'm glad to say I don't have to stick them on! The smaller pins are from a local department store and the heart-shaped ones are from Wild Orchid Crafts. Most of the beads I use, apart from those I pinch from my sister's stash, are from old bits of costume jewellery I have just broken apart ... I find that car boot sales and charity shops are great sources - you can pick up an old beaded necklace for a song in the right place.

The various storage boxes, pails, shelves ... not forgetting the chook cupboard ... at the back are permanent and you will see them in almost all of my WOYWW photos.

Another wee note for those who asked ... no, we did not walk the 55 miles from Annan to Moffat, we just stood in the rain and followed the trail on the information board. On a really wet and rainy morning that was exercise enough for us :)

Right, I'm off to start my blog hop before disappearing beachward for the afternoon. Just a wee reminder - it's only 88 days to Christmas, not soon enough for panic to set in, but getting there :)

Happy WOYWW day to you all,

Tuesday 27 September 2011

My Memories Suite Digital Software Giveaway - Winner

Afternoon Folks,

Breezy but bright here in South Ayrshire this morning ... just the kind of day to announce the winner of the giveaway of the My Memories Suite Digital Software

Although only 4 people entered their names, I thought I'd leave it to Mr Random to make the decision for me, though still haven't worked out how to insert him into this post, so without further ado ...

The winner is number

Congratulations Colleen - I'm sure you're in for hours of fun creating beautiful layouts. Please let me have a note of your email address so that I can forward the information on how you can download your software.

Colleen's favourite My Memories kit is the gorgeous Garden Package.

For those who were unsuccessful, sorry, but don't forget that My Memories have very kindly allowed any and all of my blog readers a $10 discount on the purchase of the My Memories Suite, AND a $10 voucher towards anything from the my memories website !

Monday 26 September 2011

Monday Card Class and What I Got Up To When My Mojo Deserted Me

Hi Everyone

I hope you are all well and, if you are here in the UK, ready to enjoy the Indian summer that's been forecast.  My apologies for being such a bad blogger since Wednesday ... my mojo had gone AWOL so I had no cards to write about, no projects on the go ... nothing, until today.  I'd missed a couple of weeks at the card class, due to Alan and I both being poorly, but I was able to go back today. Evelyn, our noble leader and Stampin' Up demonstrator, brought along two card kits that used different techniques in the making.

To make this card I used a Bigshot for the first time ... it's not unlike the Cuttlebug to operate. We inked the beautiful Hydrangea stamp in two colours ... a technique I've only tried once before ... stamped it three times in my case because I messed up the first time :( ... and then cut out the flowers and decoupaged them.

I also got to play with a waterbrush for the first time when I drew out the ink in the flower, and liked it ... I usually use a fine paintbrush but I may have to invest in a waterbrush now.

The second was a buckle card. As you can see there's a tab that comes across from the inside and slips through a slot on the front to 'buckle' the front and back together.

Once Evelyn walked me through how to make it, I really liked this card ... it's a bit different. I think it's a great card to send a male friend who is not too well at the moment - I think he'd like the closure.

As mentioned before, I hadn't done anything creative to speak of for several days and I was beginning to get a bit desperate. Oh, I'd taken out some paper, put it away again, taken out some card, put it away again, taken out some stamps and put them away again ... you get the picture ... nothing was happening at all, my creative enthusiasm was well and truly dimmed. So yesterday, I decided that taking some action was better than no action at all. I emptied the stamps out of the  'catfood box' on my desk and catalogued them, first stamping them on to A5 sheets of paper then stamping them on to scraps of card, trying out different coloured inks and sometimes different textured card. Here's the result.

These should be handy if I want to make a quick card in the future - plenty to choose from.

Later whilst watching Downton Abbey ... I'm addicted ... I raided my bead box and made quite a few pins ... my wee stash had got down to two blue pins.

Aren't they pretty ... they will look great pushed into bows and flower embellishments. Most of the beads come from old costume jewellery but a few were begged and borrowed from my jewellery making sister, Margaret. Must pay her bead collection a visit again soon :)  While I was making them I discovered that a piece of thick sponge is ideal for leaving the pins in while the glue sets.

Just a wee reminder that I have an exciting giveaway, donated by  My Memories, of a copy of My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking software.  It ends tomorrow, so if you would like the opportunity to try out this fabulous software to make anything from digital scrapbook layouts to a hybrid form of cardmaking then please be sure to check out the details here.

Ah, that's better, I feel as though I'm getting back into the swing of things.  I've a Christmas card or two to make ... I've fallen behind ... and there's a mini mountain of snippets to attack ... so better get cracking. Now, where's my cup of tea ...

Take care all and happy crafting,

Thursday 22 September 2011

WOYWW - Week 120 - More Like WNAMWW

Or Why Not At My WorkDesk Wednesday. I've been out all day and the work space has been deserted. So, for what it's worth, here's what my desk looked like last night and what it still looks tonight.

Not much on my desk, then - some lovely freebie papers that came with the latest issue of Scrapbook Magazine, and somewhere I have just the photograph to make an 8"x8" layout out of it, a sheet of white cardstock for the basis of the layout, and the embellishments cut and ready to go. And probably the oddest storage box of them all, the cat food box holding my newest stamps. I usually put stamps away tidily on the shelf but, by doing that, they never get catalogued and it could be some time before they get used. So, I started leaving them on the desk, a constant reminder that I should try them out, but they then were in the way, cluttering up the desk ... what to do? The answer was to put them in something, and the cat food box came to hand ... ideal. Looking at it now, I can see that the box is a candidate for altering - it's just not pretty enough :)

I expect by now, some of you are wondering exactly why I played truant today. Well, DH & I have been out with the family ... or, at least part of it ... my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. We've been to Annan, a town in Dumfries & Galloway, in the south-west of Scotland.

Here, my granddaughter, Shari-Ann, is standing beside the River Annan and a noticeboard by the gate that is the start of the 55 mile walk that takes you from Annan to Moffat. Once I've sorted out the other photos taken I'll do a wee post on Annan.

If you are at all curious about what a hundred or so other folks have, or have not, on their workdesk this Wednesday - and they will have all checked in with Julia, the Keeper of the Workdesk Register, then check out her blog, Stamping Ground. It's all good fun.

I'm whacked after my busy day so time for bed for me so that I'll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for an early start tomorrow ... I'll be doing a fair bit of desk-hopping to catch up :)

Happy crafting to you all,

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Giveaway - My Memories Suite Digital Software!

Hello Everyone
I have an exciting giveaway, donated by My Memories, of a copy of My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking software . It's an award winning digital software package that lets you create a whole host of digital projects, such as scrapbook pages in various sizes, cards, ATCs and even calendars.

I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to try out this software for myself. I had never attempted digital scrapbooking before, even though I wanted to for such a long time, because I thought it would be difficult to learn to use but I found the My Memories Suite incredibly easy to use right from the outset. In fact, my first attempt took me about 30 minutes and here it is:


My great-granddaughter, isn’t she gorgeous! I started by choosing one of the many templates, a 12”x12” page size, thought that would be easier than using a blank page ... baby steps :)

It turned out to be very simple to change the background paper to one that co-ordinated with little Rhian's pink polka dot top, to delete/add the embellishments, add a title and text (the suite uses any true type font on your computer), drop shadows and of course the photographs!

There are plenty of papers, embellishments, etc., already available on the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking software to get you started you can also find lots of new kits to purchase and even a great selection of free kits, papers and embellishments on the My Memories website. You can also use many of your own digital kits/papers which you already have tucked away on your computer - something I really appreciate :)

So to sum up: the ease and the speed I had in finding my way round the software was impressive. I eased myself in by playing with all the tools, but after the success of making my first page in super fast time I was raring to go. The My Memories software does all the hard work for you so you can just get on with being creative! It is that easy to use. Here’s another page, this time in A4 format and starring my granddaughter, Jolene, made in super fast time:

This software can also be used in hybrid crafting, just print out papers, embellishments etc, and then use them as you would in the traditional way for making scrapbook layouts or even in cardmaking. And the bonus is that you have all these papers, etc., there on tap whenever they are needed – no need to go rushing off to the craft shop to buy more. Here’s a little sample card I put together:

            The design on My Memories Suite

                    The finished card

The background was designed on the My Memories Suite software using one of the freebie kits from My, and it is made up of two co-ordinating papers, several snowflake embellishments, blue & white trims, a gorgeous flourish and the greeting topper. I sized it to fit a 5"x5" card and printed it off onto thin white card - as you can see the red has not come true, I think the difference in colour is the fault of my printer, or perhaps the card I used. Once printed out II treated it just as I would any other card, adding a matted and layered topper (from Crafty Individuals), ribbon, card candy and glitter. Designing a card this way would be particularly useful if you wanted to do a batch of cards all the same - just print the background off as many times as needed.

To win this terrific software there are only two conditions.

One: please post on your blog OR Facebook page about my giveaway, adding a link to my blog;

Two: leave a comment here telling me which My Memories digital paper from My is your favourite by 27 September at 10am so that I know that you would like the chance to win this terrific giveaway!

The winner will be chosen randomly from the comments. It's that easy, and you could be the winner!

If you can't wait to see whether you win the competition, or let's say, with the benefit of a crystal ball, the winner isn’t you ... My Memories have very kindly allowed any and all of my blog readers a $10 discount on the purchase of the My Memories Suite, AND a $10 voucher towards anything from the my memories website ! How brilliant is that! 

If you would like to go right ahead and download the software at a discounted price, use the Share My Memories code – STMMMS3409 – which you should enter when you get to the shopping cart page – hot tip: to avoid typing errors simply copy and paste.

Right, time to sign out - it's after midnight and I should be getting some beauty zzzzzs.

Happy Crafting,

Monday 19 September 2011

Catch-up Post ... thank-yous, winnings, a birthday card and online shopping

Hello Everybody

Thank You to WOYWWers, Followers and Friends
Today, I very much want to begin by thanking everyone of you who sent their get well wishes to Alan and myself during the week or so we have both been unwell. You have all been very kind to take the time to drop us a line. We are both feeling very much better today and getting back into the swing of things ... albeit at a somewhat slower pace. Alan is even back behind the wheel of his beloved car again ... he gets cabin fever if he can't get out so being forbidden to drive was stressing him out as much as being poorly did.

Crafty Individual Win
Another cheering thing that happened last week was this package the postie delivered.

Fabulous! I just love these stamps and the pad is full of gorgeous Christmas miniatures which I'm going to really enjoy using over the coming weeks. Just in case you are wondering, I won these for guessing where Malcolm of Crafty Individuals took the photograph shown on the blog - to see it, click here ... the photograph is just beautiful, so serene and inviting, I want to there watching the sea lap over those rocks :)

Alan's 73rd Birthday Card
It was Alan's 73rd birthday on Friday - shame he was too poorly to enjoy it - and here is the card I made for him.

Another Autumn themed card. The panel was inspired by one I saw Sue Wilson demonstrating on TV recently. It's simply a panel of white card inked, using a make-up sponge, and then stamping the  leaves and dragonflies over the top. My first intention was to make it an all white card so inked and stamped on to a white base .... but, I boobed ... I got some tiny red ink smudges on the front :( To save the day, I trimmed the panel down and edged it with the gold leafing pen and adhered the panel to a lovely brown card base ... phew!  An accident turned happy :) To finish the front I added a greeting, also edged with the gold pen, and some brown card candy.

The insert is computer generated as is the paper on the back ... another happy accident ... for some reason the first print-out came of the printer skew-whiff so, being the frugal type, I trimmed it down and adhered it to the back.


Materials I used:-

Cardstock; Docrafts Textured card, brown for base; Neenah Solar smooth white card for topper;
Inks used: Tim Holtz Distress Inks, Fired Brick and Dried Marigold; Versafine, Olympia Green and Vintage Sepia; Memento Tuxedo Black;
Stamps used: Toodles and Binks Ivy Leaf (free with Craft Stamper Magazine; Denami Design Dragonfly; Stamps Away Words;
Other items from stash: 18kt Gold Leaf Pen; Card candy from the Craftwork Cards Choc-a-Mocha bag

The Online Shopping Experience
You would think that with my extensive experience of online shopping for crafting goodies, I would do all my supermarket shopping online, wouldn't you? Well, no, I never have until last week when we were both taken ill at the same time.

Alan, as the EM, usually drives down to Morrisons/Tescos/Asdas, practically on a daily basis, just because he likes to go out, zip round the supermarket, buy the paper and even haunt the High Street. He claims the exercise is good for him and, as he is such a gregarious buddy, he gets to chat to a few folk as he wends his way. I only take over the shopping in the direst of emergencies ... I loathe supermarket shopping.

However, last week neither of us were able to pop out to the shops so as the cupboard got barer and barer we decided that we'd get Tescos to deliver. If you'd seen the two of us, in our PJs, perched in front of the computer trying to find our way round the virtual shelves, picking our way through the endless types of bread, spreads, cold meats, etc., etc., ... the choice is amazing and the sizes confusing :) We got there in the end ... our order came to just £3 short of £50 ... I told you the cupboard was bare! Then we checked and if we spent the extra £3 we'd qualify for 5p of a litre of diesel ... there was nothing for it, we splurged on some choccie biccies and qualified.

Tesco delivered in the selected time slot, there were no substitutes ... something we had heard could happen and were dreading ... or mistakes ... well, there was a couple but they were entirely our mistakes. We now had a tiny quiche, intended for one when we wanted a larger size for two, and a delicious wee fresh-baked loaf ... again we wanted a larger size ... we should have paid more attention to the sizes!!! And the delivery man was a star ... he quickly sized up the situation ... how could he not when there we were, two OAPs, both still in our dressing-gowns, I could hardly stand and Alan was weaving from side-to-side as though on the high seas ... and carried our bags straight into the kitchen.

Was it worth it, was it successful ... a resounding YES! If we are ever find ourselves in the same circumstances again we will not hesitate to go online shopping again.

It's been a fairly long post today, but I really had a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully, this week will see us getting back to normal. Unfortunately, I was unable to go on the craft retreat at Bolton Abbey as planned ... disappointing, and I won't dwell on how much I was looking forward to it, but you just can't plan for the unexpected! Hopefully, I'll be able to go next year instead.

Saturday 17 September 2011

No Longer MIA ... and here's the Frankie's Swap Birdcage Tag

Evening All,

Well, the vicious virus has been banished, the dizziness the EM was suffering from seems to have abated, and he is looking, and behaving, more like his usual self. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for me ... the pains persist but I've decided that enough is enough and time I showed a few items that were done last week but not blogged. As there are a few projects, I'll just show you the swap tag, organised by Frankie, of DragonsWeb, to celebrate her 300th post, in this post ... otherwise it would be a very, very long post - as opposed to a long post!! The swap recipient, DeeDee, has given me permission to show the tag even though she has not received it - she lives in the US - so here it is.

I didn't have a tag in my stash - if I want to make a tag I usually cut it out from an old template - this time I cut a piece of white card to the size and shape (as instructed by Frankie), together with a piece of the design paper from Pink Paislee Twilight Collection, spooky paper with a tree, bats, owls and ravens/crows depicted, that was for the front, and another piece of black Coredinations for the back.

After adhering the DP to the front, I brushed distress inks, Fired Brick first, then Black Soot around the edges. I turned the birdcage die over and used it as a mask, brushing Black Soot over it - not sure you can see the effect but here's a close up that might help:

I also stamped yet more birds, Lavinia's  Birds in Flight, on the top corners. The birdcage was already cut out  in gold mirri card, far too new and shiny looking, so had to be aged with a mix of distress ink (Aged Mahogany), embossing powder (Silver) and Perfect Pearls (Forever Green). To get the rounded shape it was wrapped round a jam jar with an elastic band and left overnight ... worked a treat. Rainbow drops in shades of amber and red decorate the bottom. The bird, and its wing, were covered in Black Soot DI and stamped with VersaMark and a flourish stamp from Papermania's Summer Bloom set  - particularly good for decorating the head - and embossed in a combination of Crimson Red & Seafoam White embossing powder, after which I picked out some areas with gilding flakes using a Zig pen as the adhesive.  The final touch is the green gem for the eye.  I then attached the cage slightly to the right of the mask and in such a way that the hole at the top of the cage overhung the top so that it could be threaded with the fibre.

The metal swallow is a car boot sale find - originally a brooch, I just removed the clasp before gluing it to the tag.

The flowers are made from punched circles, crumpled and inked with the red and black DIs and fixed with black gem brads. The leaves were cut from a piece of red flower embossed paper - a gift from a friend - inked with black DI and stamped with the birds in flight stamp. The flourishes are cut from the black Coredinations and the pin with the red heart-shaped head is from my stash ... I knew it would come in useful one day :)

The black Coredinations was embossed with Craft Concept's Flutterby folder and then rubbed down to reveal the grey core.  The bottom edge is trimmed with a piece of the Twilight paper showing gravestones ... very ghoulish looking. The scroll is computer generated.

Just another angle to look at - you can see the fibre better in this photo. I hope DeeDee likes the tag when the postie eventually delivers it - I tried to make something that I thought would appeal to her taste - I hope I've succeeded. She promised she would not peek at the link - I'm not sure how she will resist - I certainly couldn't :)

All the materials for the tag came from my offcuts and snippets boxes so I'll be submitting it to Jules Crafty Snippet Challenge  - Week 37 -  this week. It could qualify as the strangest snippet make she has ever seen.

Well, that took a lot longer to write up then I thought it would so I'm off to lie down for a while. I've a couple of birthday cards to post, and a little prize I've received to show you probably tomorrow now.

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend, whatever the weather wherever you are, and finding plenty of time to craft.