Monday 30 March 2015

In A Vase Monday - Spring Posy

Monday again and time to join in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and show today's garden discoveries. Today has been a day of dreadful weather, windy and rainy and very, very cold, so it took a relatively calm spell for me to nip out, do a quick turn round the garden, and cut some of the spring flowers that are putting on a very welcome, if drenched and windblown show. More of the cowslips that have been flowering for a few weeks now, a few tiny daffodils - Jumble and Tete-a-Tete - white Muscari, pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign' and one blue hyacinth.
The hyacinth was a gift from my husband last year ... he 'surprises' me with a pot every year (blue last year, red this year)! When it had done flowering I put it outside on the patio where it stayed all summer and autumn but when the weather cooled I took pity on it and popped it into the cold frame to overwinter. In truth I did not expect it to survive let alone flower but it has and is so pretty I just had to add it to my wee posy today.

The photo was taken outside on top of the old, moss covered, redbrick wall - very quickly, there was quite a gale blowing at the time! The little jug, another of my charity shop finds, is really a very delicate shade of green and not the white it looks in the photo.
This wooden tray, positioned just by the kitchen door so that it can be admired every time we go out into the back garden, is kept filled with seasonal plants in pots ... it's where I found most of today's flowers.

Once again, if you've only come for the vase you can skip the following garden update.
Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign'
Tulips - a mix of Angelique & Sunlover
Primula auricula
Spirea 'Gold Flame'

Each week brings a few more lovelies to enjoy - when the weather allows - here's the few I snapped today.

Thanks for visiting.

Happy Gardening,

Sunday 29 March 2015

Scrapbook Workshop - Return to the Collection - Part 4

Hello Everyone,

Hope this finds you well. I'd like to warmly welcome my two newest followers, Lesley and Karen ... I appreciate you joining me here and hope you will find good reason to keep coming back :)

This is the last of the series of posts showing layouts completed with the help of Shimelle's Return to the Collection workshop. It's the second of two double-page layouts created with materials from the kit. If you are a regular reader you will recall that it's the double-page layouts I've been having trouble photographing - here's the proof!

As you can see, I was running out of 12x12 sheets so couldn't use two of the same for the background. Instead, I cut some of the leftover patterned papers, using two Kiwi Lane templates to create the wavy effect, to decorate the turquoise and pink dotty background sheets in an attempt to pull the two together.
I was scraping the bottom of the barrel by the time I got to this layout so I  made most of the embellishments using punches and dies, circles, butterflies and hearts, from some of the leftover snippets of paper. The photos were taken on a visit to Sorrento in June 1998. The first photo shows me looking over a very hazy (caused by the amazing heat) Gulf of Naples from the Park of Villa Communale. The second is of a wonderful statue of St Francis of Assisi. 
The third photo was taken in the cloisters of the Church of St Francis. I've journalled about how the cloisters are renowned for the acoustics which make it perfect for the outdoor concerts held throughout the summer. Our tour guide, Maria, was so keen for us to appreciate the sound quality for ourselves that she gave, there and then, an unaccompanied rendition of Ave Maria in the most beautiful soprano! Being treated to that completely unexpected performance will be one of my most enduring memories of Italy. 

The pink silk flowers were added because they reminded me a little of the bougainvillea that can be seen growing in the cloisters. 

I think I may have made a mistake adding the last photo ... I thought it was taken in one of the streets of Sorrento but now I'm not so sure - it could be Amalfi, where we were based ... 1998 was a long time ago! 

So that's it ... the kit is all but finished, just a few bits and bobs left over. Most of the cardstock and paper will either be put in the snippet drawer or consigned to the bin and leftover embellishments returned to their respective drawers/boxes to be used on another layout, another day.

I've started to make up another kit from my stash - got to use it up! I have a ton of photos to scrap and so conscious of the fact that I'll have live another 30 years or so if I'm going to ever catch up :) Not entirely an onerous task to contemplate though, those photos bring back some very happy memories ... and that, I think, is why I keep scrapping!

Hope you have all had a wonderful weekend.

Happy Scrapping,

Friday 27 March 2015

Friday Smiles

Late again! This time it's to join in with Annie's Friday Smiles.
And I've had much to smile about this last week or so.

Because I'm feeling so much better my husband has been taking me out on jaunts. After being confined to quarters for so long getting out and about is building my strength up with fresh air, even though it's been a tad too fresh at times , and walking ... not far and mostly round shops :) Here's some of my favourite photos from these jaunts.

 This Wednesday we took a shopping trip to Gardenwise Garden Centre in Dumfries, recently awarded the title of Best Garden Centre in Scotland (we've been there before - you can see the first post here) and afterwards we carried on down to Sweetheart Abbey at New Abbey.

We've been to visit the abbey before too - I'm sure I did a post on it but haven't tracked it down yet - but anyway it was well worth a second visit.

This is called The Warming Room - the only room on the site that had a fire. The poor monks ... this is the only place they could go to warm themselves up ... I can just imagine how cold they must have been at times ... it was decidedly chilly on Wednesday!
After leaving the abbey we took a stroll down through New Abbey's main street and I couldn't resist taking a photo of this old sign. I thought the artists among you would enjoy an 18th century blacksmith's tag line: By hammer & hand All arts do stand :)

On our way home we stopped off at the little town of Thornhill for a cuppa and discovered a World Champion Pie Maker. Of course, we just had to buy a couple to try. I'd like to show you how good they looked but I forgot to take a photo. However, I can assure you they were every bit as tasty as claimed! The the old butcher's bike brought back some happy memories for my husband ... he actually rode one when he was a butcher's delivery boy back in the day :)

Final photo for this week is one taken last Wednesday when our jaunt was to Castle Douglas, my personal favourite town in county. I spotted this herd of strikingly marked Belted Galloways on our way down and made a point of stopping on the way home to take this photo. They are a rare breed of cattle that originated here in the South West of Scotland and because of this they are particularly well adapted to living on the poor upland pastures and windswept moorlands of the region. Spotting them really made me smile :)

And now the joke for this week:

One day a kindly Grandmother offered to look after her eight year old granddaughter. Whilst in the middle of a game the child turned and asked Granny, 'what do you call it when one person lies on top of another person?'

Granny could not believe her bad luck in having this question asked and decided to explain all about the 'birds and the bees'.

The next day, her granddaughter came round again and said 'Mummy says that it's called Bunk Beds and that she's coming round to see you later!

Hope that made you smile too :)

Have a great weekend.

March Rudolph Day Card

Hello there, thanks for popping in! It's a late card for ScrappyMo's March Rudolph Day I have to share today.
As I've been finding it difficult getting back into the crafting groove of late I thought I'd give myself a challenge that might just flick the switch again! That was to try the layering technique I normally use on photos when creating a scrap page on the LOTV Cute Square for this card. I think it worked quite well. All the papers are from Kaisercraft Christmas Collections 6" paper pad ... it's an old one so I'm not sure it's still available. I cut the scalloped edge and berry printed strip from one of the sheets of patterned paper to add a bit of decoration to the layout.  The greeting and the holly embellishments were die-cut from snippets of red and green cardstock using Tattered Lace mini dies.

Off-cuts of the patterned paper were used to decorate the inside and back.

Having used a couple of teeny tiny snippets of red and green cardstock I'm submitting this to Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 169 too.

And as it was the first outing for those Tattered Lace Mini Dies I'm submitting it to Darnell's NBUS challenge #4

I think this little exercise might have revived my crafting groove ... just :)

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Happy Crafting,

Thursday 19 March 2015

Daffodils Just For You - Card and Matching Bookmark

Hello Everyone

Spring really does seem to have arrived up here in Ayrshire in the last few days. Not only have we had sunshine but the temperature is definitely gone up a couple of degrees so my latest makes are very timely.
First up is this card with matching bookmark set made for this month's UKPC swap ... the theme, of course, is Daffodils. The patterned paper, topper, insert and greeting were printed from an old CD, Aroma Notes, from Card Creations Plus. This CD was sold in support of a very good cause, Macmillan Cancer Support. I printed the topper on glossy photo paper instead of paper. The patterned paper was intended to be notepaper but trimmed down it was the perfect size for the front of this A5 card. Decorations are mauve card candi and a tiny bow made from mauve organza ribbon - also used on the bookmark.
Inside with insert and back with tiny topper.

Front and back of the bookmark. The verse reads:

Daffodils .....
A carpet of gold heralds spring,
Heads held high, a magnificent
thing ......
              ... Hazel J Bainbridge ...

With just the addition of a few snippets of card for matting the toppers - mauve for one, green for the other, plus deep yellow for the tiny punched butterflies - I was able to make these two cards using leftover bits and bobs from the print outs. The butterflies are decorated with Stickle yellow glitter glue.

I'm submitting the cards to the following challenges:
The first card to Mrs A's Butterfly Challenge - P is for Patterned Paper - front and insert are daffodil patterned.
The second and third cards to Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 168 - snippets are, as mentioned before, the matting and the butterflies.

Many thanks for visiting. I hope you are well and enjoying some of this better weather wherever you are.

Happy Crafting,

Monday 16 March 2015

In A Vase On Monday - Spring Charm

Monday again and time to join in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and show today's garden discoveries. You can tell that the temperature is rising here on the west coast of Scotland by the increasing number of flowering plants spotted in the garden ... only a few weeks ago I was complaining about the lack of anything to cut. This pink/lilac azalea just came into bud recently so I imagined it would be quite a while before we'd see flowers. However, if I had checked back on photos taken last year I wouldn't have been so surprised when it suddenly burst into bloom last week ... here's the photo taken on 16 March 2014.

A lovely shrub inherited with the garden, as was the Barberry (berberis darwinii) that's been added to this week's vase. I did hesitate to add orange to the lilac but when the creamy hues of the two hellebore flowers (from the Gold Collection) were added this odd colour combination seemed to work just fine. 
The Japanese Noritake vase used this week is yet another that has been released from the dim and dark depths of the corner cupboard. About time too! I've had it for about 25 years and this is the first time it has had flowers in it.

If you've only come for the vase you can skip the following garden update. 

There are more signs that the temperature is rising. For example, these wild primroses flowering down under the shade of the cotoneaster. And even a supposedly summer flowering honeysuckle (Tellmanniana) is already in bud.

Without doubt there's a lot of fun to be derived from joining in with Cathy's meme, not least the everchanging vasefuls decorating our home every week ... my husband really appreciates the sight of fresh flowers everywhere. But there's also been an unexpected bonus ... some of the pickings, the ones that have a long vase life, have rooted in the water. This Skimmia from December last year, for example, grew strong roots so has now been potted up, and if it continues to do well we will have another lovely shrub for our garden. 

Ditto the ivy in this vase from November 2014. Once the rose died the ivy was left in the bud vase so long it rooted, so it has now been potted up too ... I have just the place for it should it thrive.

Plants for free ... it doesn't get any better :)

With no greenhouse these seedlings have to do the best they can on our bedroom windowsill. It's on the sunniest side of the house so they seem to be doing very nicely ... Canterbury Bells, Antirrhinum, Emilia Javonica, Didiscus, Agastache. Out of sight, further along the windowsill, but almost ready to pot up, are a few Lupin Snow Pixie seedlings - described as a wonderfully fragrant, charming annual with white flowers tipped with pink.

There's some Morning Glory (ipomea purpurea) seeds soaking overnight before sowing tomorrow ... they should look just right scrambling up the brick wall that divides the back garden from the front. 

We've had a busy few days in the garden. Not that I've been doing much ... I've just been an onlooker while others have been doing the grafting. First, the old sycamore has been decapitated and then the very patchy strip of grass in the back was removed, weed suppressant laid, and covered with gravel. In fact, the new gravel bed was the location for photographing this week's vase. All I have to do now is find out what plants will do well in a gravel garden :)

Thanks for visiting.

Happy Gardening,

Wednesday 11 March 2015


Afternoon WOYWW Deskers

Belated congrats to Julia, our noted Head Desker, for last week's 300th WOYWW post. I'm gutted to have missed it but, unfortunately, I wasn't up to it so didn't think it fair to join in when I knew I wouldn't be able to fully participate in all the fun. However, today I'm raring to go ... a bit of an exaggeration actually ... but determined to join in anyhow :)
I'll keep this short. As you can see I'm cutting out fabric to make a couple of cushion covers. You may recall that before Christmas I ran up a lot of covers as gifts for the family. I did plan to make some new ones for our the tired looking cushions on our sofa but didn't. The time has come to give them a bit of makeover ... at last! Love the fabric, love the birdies :) There's not much else to see - I have to admit to having been less than busy on the crafting front. There is a folder, under the notebook of sewing measurements, that contains the making of a challenge project ... I hope to complete it in the next day or two. Oh, and at the back you might be able to spot a couple of wooden egg-cups - there's a plan formulating in the old grey matter that will involve these ... can't say more than that, it's still formulating :)

So that's what's on my desk today. I'm off for a bit of lunch and a cuppa and then I'll be back to begin checking out the links for WOYWW Week 301.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy WOYWW.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Scrapbook Workshop - Return to the Collection - Part 3

Morning Everyone

I'm sitting in my craft room and the sun is shining - what more could a body ask for! In fact, it's so nice I'm planning to potter in the potting shed once I've completed this post ... it's a day too good to miss :)

This is a follow up on series of posts, Part 1 & 2, showing the kit and layouts completed with the help of Shimelle's Return to the Collection workshop. Today, I'm sharing the first of two double-page layouts created with materials from the kit ... that's the pages I've been having trouble photographing!
This one is a combination of a traditional one page layout with two 6"x4" size photos and a Project Life style layout with one 6"x4" and five 3"x4" photos - though two are in fact a 6"x4" split in half. 
The full title reads 'Family Day Out At A Model Train Show In Lyle Kirk Greenock' ... the smaller letters are very clear in real life but they don't show up well in these photos. The clusters top and bottom were made with tiny strips of leftover patterned paper and punched shapes, circles and hearts, layered up to give some dimension.
I don't do Project Life - two time consuming and my day-to-day life really isn't so interesting that I'd want to record it in all it's boring detail - but using the folder this way enabled me to include lots more of the photos taken, showing the beautiful features found inside the church, than I would on a traditional two-page layout. All the journaling cards were cut from the paper scraps left in the kit and embellished as for page one.

I'm submitting this to Pixie's Snippets Playground - lots of snippets and scraps were used, yeah!, but more specifically because of those gorgeous red/pink polka dot hearts - punched from a snippet left from a sticker I'd cut into for another layout. 

There's one more double page layout to share but I'll spare you that today ... otherwise this post would take on mammoth proportions and we all have 'places to go, people to see, and things to do' ... I've no idea where this quote comes from but it's one I use a lot to gee myself on to get things done :)

Have a wonderful day - hope the sun is shining where you are too.

Happy Crafting

Monday 9 March 2015

In A Vase On Monday - Cheerful Cowslips

Hello Everyone,

Monday again and time to join in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and show what's been found in the garden to pop into a vase today.
Spotted the cowslips (Primula Veris) down in the wooded area last week. I could see they were just coming into flower so I've been watching them ever since, hoping they would be ready to pick for today's vase. Of course, it's been pouring with rain all morning so I've been hopping up and down waiting for a dry spell so I could slip out and collect them. 
While down that end of the garden I grabbed some twigs with buds on ... I think they are from the white hydrangea (possibly hydrangea petiolaris) inherited with the garden.
The sun came out briefly, so very briefly it's now blowing a gale, and I love how the light cast shadows in the photos. The vase is from Sarawak, another gift, this time from a Malaysian student, given to me when I worked in Manchester at UMIST (now sadly amalgamated with the University of Manchester). The only reason the baby elephant is there is because, while looking for the vase, he was discovered forgotten and neglected deep in the inner recesses of the corner cabinet! I thought he deserved his moment in the sun :) 

If you would like to join in and find something in your garden or nearby that you can bring inside and place in a vase or container on a Monday do join in. I'm sure Cathy would be delighted!

Many thanks for visiting my blog - your comments are always appreciated.

Wishing you all a lovely evening :)