Monday 29 February 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Just Take Eight Daffodils ...

... and four vases ...
... and this is the result.

Back in the autumn my husband planted one hundred daffodil bulbs and we have been reaping the benefits for a few weeks now. A few days ago, while they were still in bud, I cut these and brought them into the warm to encourage them to open up like this.
The surprise was the white ones - the pale lemon centre is lovely.
Then there's this one which is the oddest of them all ... I've not seen a daffodil that doesn't nod before!
The terracotta pipes in the background are going to be planted up with herbs once the weather is better. This is an adaptation of an idea I spotted in one of Geoff Hamilton's gardens at Barnsdale. That was many years ago but it has taken me quite a few more years to move to a house with a garden that has the ideal place in which to incorporate the idea. Oh, and the duck is a remnant from the days when my grandchildren were small and liked to explore gran's garden. There a snail and a tortoise around too.
One of the snowdrops that Cathy, our host of In A Vase On Monday,  very kindly sent me last year. Here it is growing in an area of lawn I've left to grow wild. It's a bit of an experiment to see what, if any, wild flowers might pop up amongst the grasses. If none do, I'll plant some myself.

That's it for In A Vase On Monday. Pop over to Rambling In The Garden to see Cathy's vase and find links to many more.

Friday 26 February 2016

Friday Smile

Hi Smilers,

This has got to be the quickest post for Annie's Friday Smile ever because I'm in the middle of sorting out squares for a patchwork quilt and I've laid them out on the bed. If I don't move them soon there will be no bed for me tonight!

Anyway, here's a photo that made me smile today.
Two of my great-grandchildren, Brodie and Rhian, snuggled up and snoozing under the lovely patchwork quilts their gran made for them for Christmas. There's nothing quite as adorable as little ones sleeping :)

And here's my joke for the week:

A man moves into a tiny village, walks into the pub and promptly orders three beers.

The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone. An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more.

The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers.

Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town. "I don't mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers." "'Its odd, isn't it?" the man replies. "You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond."

The bartender and the whole town was pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the vilage, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.

Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening -- he orders only two beers.

Word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers. The next day, the bartender says to the man, "Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know -- the two beers and all..."

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, "You'll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It's just that I, myself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent."

Hope you enjoyed that one :)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Rudolph Day Card for February - Christmas Train Postcard

Hello Everyone,

Here's my Rudolph Day card for February.
It features one of my favourite Christmas stamps, brightly patterned paper and a few snippets of cardstock.

Supplies used:

  • a 4"x 6" white card blank
  • cardstock - snippets of white, for stamped image, and dark green, for the embossed holly leaves
  • stamp - Stampendous Train Postcard, stamped with a Stazon Jet Black ink pad
  • patterned paper - Berry Merry by Jennifer Ellory paper pad - free with an old edition of Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine
  • embossing folder and dies set - Holly Trio  by Tattered Lace. This is a very useful set to have because it creates embossed holly leaves, first by embossing card with a design of leaf veins and then die-cutting the shapes.
  • marker pens - Memento Lady Bug, Bamboo Leaves & Cantaloupe
  • embellishments - red gems from Anitas

As well as Mo's Rudolph Day challenge I'm submitting it to the following:

 Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 217 - didn't quite empty the snippets drawer with this one but made a wee dent anyway

and Hazel's three challenges:

CHNC - Challenge 269: cute or anything goes as long as it's Christmas
CHNC - Challenge Extra for February 2016
Craftyhazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - February 2016

I'm off to do a bit of blog hopping now so I'll wish you all a very happy weekend.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Completely At Home - Scrap Page for the Cat Album

Afternoon Folks,

Celebrations! The new memory disk for my camera arrived this morning and problem solved. Many thanks to, Shaz, Silverwolf Cards, for her sound advice - I'm indebted to you!

So to celebrate I'm posting the first of the layouts for the album I'm dedicating to all the cats I've had in my life - and there's been quite a few. Starting, of course, with our fur baby, Bonnie, The Boss.
Here she is settled down for an afternoon snooze and looking completely at home.

Supplies used:

  • Card - base from American Crafts Smooth Cardstock, Primaries, Aqua
  • Paper - Meow by Alisha Gordon Kit, Echo Park. 
  • Turquoise Alphas - Simple Stories So Rad Expressions Stickers
  • Stamps & Inks - Kaisercraft Polaroid Set stamped with Memento London Fog on pink and aqua paper and white vellum from my scrap box
  • Paints - Spectrum Noir Aquatints - various colours mixed to create shades of pink, aqua & grey for the splatters on the base
  • Punches - Stampin' Up 1" and 1¼" for circular embellishments
  • Enamel dots - ScrapBerry's This Summer set

The kitty and camera embellishments were cut from some of the patterned paper in the kit.

I'm so happy to have my camera in full working order - without I felt bereft :)

Have a great day everyone.

Monday 22 February 2016

A Saturday Saunter Down A Country Lane

Hi Everyone

I'm still experiencing problems with my camera and yet to sort it out. Thought I'd try my DH's Olympus but having just as much trouble with that. It would seem I need a CD Rom to enable me to download pics to my PC and, as it was bought secondhand, we don't have it. So, just to prove I haven't given up altogether, I'm posting some photos taken during a saunter we took a couple of Saturdays ago, before cameragate!!! It's a short walk that takes us by several footpaths and streets down to the lane that goes through the nearby golf course.
It was, as you can see, a bright and beautiful day. This is the boundary hedge to the golf course. It was a chilly but dry day and the sky was mostly a clear blue with just a few 'white fluffy clouds in a cluster hanging on a breeze to dry' (lyrics from an old Max Bygraves song - can be heard here).
Lichen growing in the hedge. I believe that they are an indicator of clean air but this growth is only a few yards from the A77, the main arterial road from Glasgow to Stranraer - a very busy road causing, you'd think, a great deal of pollution. Not so here. The only other fact I know about lichens are that they are used in the making of natural dyes. A quick search online shows that the colours can not only be the shades of yellows and browns, as might be expected given the colours we see growing, but also very pretty shades of pink and lilac. If you fancy having a go at dyeing with lichens there's more information over at Jenny Dean's Wild Colour and It's A Stitch Up websites.
Ivy in flower. Apparently this is good for the bees and gardeners are now being urged not to rip up ivy when tidying their gardens. Honey bees rely on ivy for the majority of the pollen and nectar they collect during the autumn months, a crucial time when the insects are trying to build up stores for the winter and feed their young. Now, I like ivy for the way it clads a fence, climbs up trees, and provides some much needed foliage in a winter vase when there's little greenery about but DH considers it nothing but a pest to be controlled at all costs. I think I have a major hill to climb to persuade him otherwise!
There's a big old house down the lane which has a pair of ornamental iron gates, at the end of the driveway, with some very nice detailed work on them.
A pretty shrub flowering away in February. I'm not sure what this one is called, possibly a viburnum tinus, but at a time when there's not many flowers in the garden spotting it blooming away was such a treat.
That sky again! This photo was taken at the top of the lane. We live under the flight path from the airport at Prestwick so it's unusual to look up and not see a plane overhead. It was no different on this day - seconds after this photo was taken one flew over, no doubt full of folk escaping the cold of our Scottish winter for warmer climes.

Hope you enjoyed this wee stroll down our nearest country lane.

Taking the advice of a fellow blogger, I have on order a new memory disk for my camera. I'm hoping that will provide an end to my camera problems and I will soon be back posting my crafty makes. Until it arrives I'll try to find other, previously photographed but not posted, items that might be of interest.

Many thanks for popping by. If you leave a comment, all the better.

Friday 19 February 2016

Furry Friend Birthday Card

Hello Everyone,

I hope this finds you well. I managed to make the card with the supplies I had lying out on my desk on Wednesday. I could/should have posted it earlier but it's been such a busy week, in the garden and out and about, and I have had very little time to spend here in my craft room, sigh. Still, today I have all day to potter in here so that's good :)
Nothing difficult about this card. All the detail is created using the cute embossing folder and stamp set, Furry Friends, which came free with a magazine (Simply Cards & Papercraft).

Supplies used:

- base is a white 4"x6" card blank

- the front edges were inked using a Rose Pink ProMarker, and a ruler - with my hands I wouldn't trust myself to do it freehand!

- a sheet of pretty pink heart patterned paper, from LOTV Nitwit Collections Bonnets & Bowties paper pack, was trimmed, to fit the front leaving the pink edge showing, and adhered to the card.

- snippets of white and pink cardstock and the embossing folder were used to create the window and curtains. As all I wanted to emboss was the 'window' and 'curtain' I chose snippets that were not the full size of the folder but just big enough to cover the 'window' part. First the white card was passed through the embossing machine (my trusty Cuttlebug) and then the pink. Then I cut out the complete 'window' from the white card but only the 'curtains' from the pink card - these were then glued to the inside of the 'window frame'.

- another snippet of white card was used to stamp both the kitten and the greeting using a Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad. I then carefully trimmed round the kitten so that it could be fixed, using dimensional sticky pads, to the inside of the 'window', making sure that it's wee paws were 'clinging' to the 'windowsill'. 

- a leftover scrap of the pink cardstock was used to mat the greeting after it was trimmed to size. It was then fixed to the front using sticky pads.

- pink gems were used as a final embellishing touch.

I'm submitting this card to the following challenges:

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 216 - It's a wee while since I popped over to the playground only to find that our Head Snippeteer, Di, isn't so good at the moment. Let's hope she makes a speedy recovery and is back in charge again soon. In the meantime, Sarn is doing a sterling job of keeping the playmates under control :)

Cuttlebug Mania - I {Heart} You - project to include a heart. Not immediately apparent, but the 'curtain tiebacks' are embossed hearts.

I think this card will be perfect for one of my girly great-grands.

Now, I'd like to wish you all a very happy day.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Whats On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW Week 350

Hello WOYWWers, Fellow Bloggers, Friends and All,

I really did try to post earlier today but I've been held up with a little camera difficulty. My Samsung 5X seems to dying on me. Not only did it take several attempts to take the photographs but then it refused to let me upload the shots on to the computer. I got there in the end but methinks I need a new camera!!!

Enough of my moaning! Here for our Head Desker, Julia, and all WOYWWers everywhere is what's on my desk this today.
Sadly, no sunshine this Wednesday! It was too good to last, I fear. At least it's not raining. Anyway, what you see is the makings of a snippet card I have in mind using that Furry Friends stamping and embossing set - came free with a cardmaking magazine - papers, cardstock, gems, ink pad and stamping block, ProMarkers and my Cuttlebug for the embossing bit. Fairly unusual for me to be using a new goody so soon after acquisition, but it was lying out on my desk so why not! At the back is the usual miscellany of stuff I tend to collect rather than do the right thing and put away - there being a place for everything and everything SHOULD be in it's place! But then, if I had put it all away I wouldn't be planning to use that cute set, now would I?

Hurrying on, I thought you might like to see the giant granny square I've been working on.
Completed but for the sewing in of the many ends on the back. It's made from a soft acrylic DK yarn in light and darker shades of beige, orange, brown, cream and red using a size 5 hook (size 9 US). The original pattern was made up of a different combination of colours and rows, using just a simple combination of the treble and chain stitches, but I used the yarn I had in my stash and made my pattern up as I went along. In total there are 47 rows and by the time I got to the last one it seemed to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R!!!

Call me a glutton for punishment, but I'm now planning to crochet another, again from my stash so it could be a very interesting combination of colours :)

Okay, so it's lunch time and I need sustenance but I will be back as soon as possible to do a bit of blog hopping and commenting where I'm allowed. Google/Blogger are currently being rather unpleasant and making life just a tad difficult if you don't belong to their club. I say to them, really, is this necessary? You have the lion's share of the market anyway, anything else is just plain greedy!!!

Hope what's left of Wednesday is good and have a great week.

Monday 15 February 2016

In A Vase On Monday - The Essence of Spring

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” 

                                                                 Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard's Egg

The sun has been shining, it has been invigoratingly fresh, and it's been a day entirely devoted to gardening. Working my way round the beds, however, it wasn't difficult to see what should be In A Vase On Monday this week. 

We have our very own host of golden daffodils. My husband spent several days in the autumn planting up a hundred or so bulbs he bought from the local garden centre. 
I've no idea what variety they are ... my husband rarely keeps labels and I wasn't quick enough to save this one ... but they certainly make a bright and cheery jugful.
The white hyacinths were cut from a pot bought recently from a supermarket for a song. They started to droop so I cut them and popped them into the orange jar. It's one of the few receptacles I can lay my hands on since all my jugs and vases have been packed away waiting for the new flooring to arrive and be laid.

The glass snail, a paperweight, can be relied on not to nibble the flowers :)

Happy Gardening,

Friday 12 February 2016

Friday Smiles

Evening Everyone,

It's Friday. The day we share some, or all, of what made us smile this week with Annie at A Stitch In Time.

I wasn't around earlier today. Instead, we took advantage of the better weather an drove down to Castle Douglas to do a bit of shopping. It's a smashing little market town with loads of lovely shops, including a great health food store that sells herbs and spices, loose from the jar. Here's a few photos taken during the day.
Who could resist this display! Every time we visit the town we make a point of popping in and adding a few more goodies for our spice rack.
A pretty Easter display in one of those shops that always displays the kind of thing I find really hard to resist!
Book shops, especially secondhand book shops, are becoming as rare as hen's teeth these days. This one draws us like a magnet every time we visit the town. The shopkeepers in Castle Douglas seem to have a liking for choosing quirky names for their shops. Some even have interestingly different signage too.
The key on this one caught my eye.
And here's one for the Master Clockmaker.
Love the grandfather clock.
There are approximately fifty local businesses involved in either producing or selling food and drink in Castle Douglas, and for that reason it has been designated a Food Town. We like to have lunch in our favourite tearoom, The Scottish Pantry, and I always order their macaroni cheese ... it is simply delicious.
And because it's that time of the year here's a snap my DH flanked by a display of red balloons, flying to mark St Valentine's Day, found outside the Post Office!

So that was my day. Hope your day was as much fun too.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 349

Hello Everyone,

WOYWW is almost over and here I am making a very late appearance. It's been such a bright, sunny day, though nippy, that I've been out clearing up empty pots that the winter storms had strewn all over the garden and tidying up all the dead growth to make way for the spring. All this means that my workdesk looks exactly like it did at close of play yesterday ... not a thing has been touched.
The desk streaked with sun, again! It's getting to be a Wednesday feature here at Chez Worthington :)

Not much else on the desk though. Just a pair of cord trousers I'm altering for the EM and an almost completed scrap page featuring Bonnie, aka The Boss, our much photographed cat. You may recall the supplies were lying out on my workdesk last week. Also in last week's post was an applique project I was working on. I finished earlier this week and the result can be seen in this post here.

Short and sweet this week ... just as Julia, our venerable Head Desker, likes our posts to be. I'm off now to do a bit of desk hopping.

Take care and have a great week.

Monday 8 February 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Harbingers of Spring

Hello Everyone,

It was drizzling when I ventured out into the garden this morning to see what was in bloom, if anything, for In A Vase On Monday, and was delighted to find I could pick a little posy of spring flowers at last.
First I spotted some Tete-aTete daffodils peeping through in the rose bed. These were transplanted from a pot after they had finished flowering last year. It looks as though they have increased in number; they seem to like the spot I've chosen for them.
Further down the garden, in what I rather grandly named the woodland area, I discovered a few pink and white cyclamen, blue iris reticulata and snowdrops. My husband has  planted these with crocus and muscari all around one of the apple trees where he hopes that they will naturalise and spread to give us spring colour year after year.
Finally, I cut a sprig from our newly purchased Jasminum nudiflorum, winter flowering jasmine. I was gently reminded of reading, some forty years ago, a wonderful description of this plant and deciding then that no garden should be without it, Sadly, I can't remember the title of the book or the author but he, and I do recall it was a he, said of winter jasmine that it was the fragrant harbinger of spring. Irresistible!
We are having new flooring laid in our hall, where I display most of my  my collection of vases and jugs. Result, most have had to be packed away safely out of harms way so I found myself a bit stuck for what to put my wee posy in today. The wee brown jug I did find doesn't look quite right but no matter, it has to do. The antique Chinese puzzle ball just happened to be nearby. A gift from an old friend who, after retiring from the military, was an antique restorer. The ball is made up of several concentric balls of carved ivory enclosed one within the other but all able to rotate freely. I can only begin to imagine the time and concentration it must have taken for the artist to create it!
I'll leave you with this photo of the little Tete-a-Tetes as I found them this morning.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Tartan Flower Applique Tote Bag

Happy Sunday Everyone,

I hope you are well and having a wonderful weekend.

Today's share is the appliqued tote bag you may have spotted in this week's WOYWW post. It's taken me some time but it's finally finished and ready to sent to my wee sister ... she doesn't read my blog so no worries about spoiling the surprise :)

This was my first serious attempt at free motion embroidery. Not easy! My hands got so sore and cramped up that I had to sew in short bursts. I believe that wearing special quilters' gloves would take some of the strain so I plan to acquire a pair before I try this method of sewing again. And there's no possibility of me trying it on something as large as a quilt - ever!

Supplies used:

The plain calico tote bag was purchased in a pack of ten from Amazon. The cost worked out at about 66p each ... that's approximately 96 cents in US currency at the time of writing. Before attaching the applique, I unpicked the side seams to make it easier for sewing.

The flower and butterfly shapes were first cut out of Bondaweb, an iron-on transfer adhesive, using Dies from X-Cut's Bloom and Butterflies sets and my Cuttlebug die-cutting machine. The Bondaweb needs to be passed through the machine several times to persuade the dies to cut it and even then I still had to snip stubborn areas with scissors to release the shapes. However, this method is still quicker than the alternative which is to trace around the shapes and then cut them all by hand.

The next step which is to iron the shapes on to the reverse of the fabric. The tartan fabric used is from a pack of fat quarters bought from Create and Craft. There was no easy way to cut the fabric shapes out - it all had to be done by hand, cutting around the ironed on shapes. That done, the shapes were arranged on the front of the bag and then ironed in place. I also cut some strips of dark green tartan for the 'stems' and fixed them in place with Stick and Spray for Fabric.

Next came the 'fun' part - the free-motion sewing. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be precise and the result doesn't bear too close inspection, but in the interest of honesty here's a close-up.

The final step was to sew up the sides of the bag and press. Job done!

Things I learnt from the project apart from the fact that I might benefit from those quilters' gloves. Well, use good quality thread. Because this was very much a practice piece, I used cheap, thin, old black thread. Not a good idea. It snapped several times making the experience more frustrating than it needed to be. Oh, and be careful when giving butterflies antennae ... it's so easy to get them wrong!

Otherwise, the bag didn't turn out too bad. Now that the law requires large shops/supermarkets in England to charge 5p (about 7 cents)  for all plastic carrier bags I thought my sister, who lives in London, could do with a tote to pop in her bag for when she is shopping. I think the tartan will remind her of home.

We had our 16 year old grandson over yesterday to help us lift the carpet from the hall and landing ready for when new flooring is fitted next week. Needless to say, he made very short work of it ...oh, to be that young and fit again!

It's amazing what you find hiding in an old house ... this one is over over 60 years old. There was cheap laminate under the hall carpet and that had to come up too. Under that is beautifully polished floor boards. Upstairs on the landing it's not quite so beautiful. There's a strip of bare floor boards up the centre where, presumably, a carpet runner had been laid, and the edges have been painted red, then white, at some point in the past. Still, I rather like those polished floor boards in the hall. So much so, I'm thinking it might be a shame to cover them up again ... decisions, decisions!

It's a really nasty day here. I've come to the conclusion that one thing the west of Scotland does well is ... rain. We've only had one sunny days in weeks and I hear there's another storm on it's way. I'm feeling miserable! To cheer me up the EM is taking me out to the garden centre this afternoon. There we will treat ourselves to a delicious scone and a really good cup of coffee.

Hope you have a lovely afternoon too.

Friday 5 February 2016

Friday Smile - The Boss + Tough Love - Simon's Cat (A Valentine's Special!)

It's Smiley Friday over at Annie's A Stitch In Time again.

In a week full of reasons to smile, for example, one perfectly lovely sunny day, a good book to read, a difficult sewing project finished, it is difficult to choose what to share but I think this photo of The Boss snoozing on the windowsill is a favourite of the week.
That windowsill is the perfect site for a snooze because she can catch the sun on her back and the heat rising from the radiator just beneath ... the best of all possible worlds for a sick old cat. And the book, not mine but the EM's - we both read crime novels but I don't share his taste for violent and gruesome London gangster based crime!!!

A bit early, but I thought you might enjoy the Valentine Special featuring Simon's Cat.

He/she does make me laugh :)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend with lots to make you smile.