Monday 30 January 2017

Snippet Monday

Hello Everyone

I have this little card to share with you today. It was made for this month's UKPC Swap for which we were challenged to create a card/ATC/ tag/etc., from some new or as yet unused stash. This card is what I came up with and, as I was able to use several snippets as well, I'm submitting it to Di's snippet challenge on Pixie's Snippets Playground.
As it is late and to keep this post short I won't go through all the steps for making the card. Instead, here's a list of the materials used:

  • White card base measuring 4"x 5¾"
  • Satin finish card, mauve & scraps of white for die-cutting
  • Embossing folder - Crafts-Too Trellis
  • Dies - Spellbinders Designer Series, Renaissance Jubilee & Die'sire Edge'ables Mini Victoriana
  • Stamp from Summer in the Garden - free with a magazine
  • Ink pad - Memento Tuxedo Black
  • ProMarkers - Bluebell, Lavender, Lilac, Marsh Green, Pear Green &  Ice Grey1
  • Embellishments - Crystal Stickles and purple satin ribbon

This is a photo of the new/unused stash I used.

Having used so much Never Before Used Schtuff, a term coined by the fabulous Darnell,  I'm submitting the card to her NBUS Challenge #10 . Darnell is celebrating her 5-year blog birthaversary - now that's worth celebrating!

I'm feeling pretty chuffed with myself as this is my second post today. I think I need to go lie down in a darkened room now.

Thanks to everyone who visits and if you leave a comment I consider that a bonus.

Take care everyone,

In A Vase On Monday and a Little Garden Chat

Evening Everyone,

In A Vase On Monday - A Last Hurrah

Monday is when I try to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for In A Vase On Monday. I don't always make it, sometimes missing it altogether and occasionally making it a day or three later - as I did last week - but this week I've made it, just!
It's almost February and it has been feeling almost springlike but there's still very little colour in the garden so I've cheated a little today. I've added a few stems cut from a red Poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima,  a gift from our grandson we've had since before Christmas, to a jug containing some ivy, hedera
Sadly, the poinsettia was losing its leaves and starting to go over so I thought to give it a last beautiful hurrah - hence the title. The ivy has been around for at least two months, maybe longer, forming part of a much earlier arrangement. Ivy has a way of going on forever and these stems have started to form roots!
Last week's arrangement which made a late appearance on Thursday also contained euphorbia, E, x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow'. By this morning it was all shriveled up and looking very sad so I've replaced it with what was left on the poinsettia and a few flowers from two new hellebores, H. niger - the taller one - and H, niger 'Christmas Carol' - the two shorter ones. 
Here they are, the two vases on the hearth - very festive looking. A little bit of Christmas lingering on. The bird dangling from the fire door was crocheted by a very talented friend. 

Garden Chat

We've had some lovely weather recently, lots of blue skies and sunshine - spring isn't too far away. Because of this unseasonable warmth there's lots going on in the garden. Seeds sown in the autumn are now peeping through and it won't be too long before the daffodils are in flower - I can just see signs of colour peeking through. 
Cyrtomium fortunei 'Holly Fern', Dryopteris astrata 'Buckler fern', Polystichum braunii 'Braun's Holly Fern' 
This bed has, so far, proved to be difficult. It's shady and damp, up against a brick wall, and rarely sees the sun. There's been a shrub or tree, maybe a climber, growing there at one time but all that's left is a stump and there is an established clump of comfrey too but otherwise nothing. Last year I tried to cheer it up with forget-me-not and nasturtium but with little success. I'm told that the conditions are ideal for ferns so after a trip to the garden centre on Saturday we now have the worlds tiniest fernery! 
Hellebore niger 'Christmas Carol' and White Hellebore niger 

White Hellebore niger
I'm having no luck keeping hellebores in the garden. I've tried growing them down in the woodland area but they just don't do well there although the conditions should be perfect for them. It's a shame because they can brighten a shady area beautifully and look stunning growing in drifts. Anyway, given my lack of success you would think I'd resist the temptation to buy more. Not so! I left the garden centre with two more which, with the one survivor from last year, I intend to grow on in large pots where they will be cossetted. 
Finally, not the best of photos but here's our first, much anticipated, snowdrop, galanthus nivalis, of the year! I'm totally delighted to have snowdrops established in our garden and it's all thanks to the generosity of Cathy

Saturday 28 January 2017

Rudolph Day Cards

Hello Everyone,

Here we are starting the 2017 Rudolph Day Challenge, hosted by our lovely ScrappyMo over on Scraps of Life.  The whole idea of this challenge is to make Christmas cards/projects throughout the year thereby taking the pressure away from finding time to make them at the last minute - like I did last year! That being so here's my entry for January.
The beautiful illustration of Christmas Roses is recycled from a card received in 2016. All I did to make the card was trim the image to size, mat it on to satin finished gold card and then adhere it to a white card base measuring 5¾"x 4". Next, I stamped a greeting from the Christmas Visitors set, from Sheena Douglass' A Little Bit Festive collection, on a scrap of white card using Tim Holtz Tumbled Glass distress ink, trimmed it down to size and matted it on to the gold card, and then adhered it to the top left corner of the card with dimensional adhesive pads. The final touch is the three aqua coloured dew drops.

As you can see there's not much to making a recycled card. Often the image says it all, as is the case with the following three cards.
I can't resist images of kittens and this one was no exception. All I did was trim the image down to size, mat it on to red card and add two groups of red dew drops. The greeting was already on the image, as was the silver sequins you can just about see in the photo.
The same was true of this image too, greeting and glitter already done for me. I simply cut it to size and adhered it to a black 5" square card base and then added a group of silver enamel dots, from Simple Stories' The Story of Us collection, to the top right and bottom left corners.
Finally, this beautiful scene of a shepherd bringing in the sheep. This image also had the greeting already printed on it so, like the previous card, I trimmed it to size, adhered it to the black card base, and added a group of black enamel dots, Echo Park's Petticoats & Pinstripes collection, to the top left and bottom right corners.

So there we are, four Christmas cards made in absolutely no time and all recycling favourite illustrations from Christmas 2016. I've deliberately kept them as flat as possible to help save on postage - always a consideration for us pensioners, as I suspect it is for everyone in these expensive times!

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful weekend wherever you are.

Friday 27 January 2017

Cardmaking - Snow Capped Mountain Scene

Morning Everyone

Today I have a card made for the November UKPC Swap. It got forgotten because of our really bad December and only rediscovered today when I was tidying up computer files, moving last year's photos into a 2016 folder.

The challenge for this Swap was to interpret the sketch below.
As you can see the sketch is portrait but inspiration didn't come until I switched it to landscape. I could then see that it was clearly a mountain scene - snow capped mountains in the moonlight, of course!

Since making the card the list of materials has gone missing and, as it could be anywhere now, I'm going to have to rely on my memory - that will be fun :)

Here goes:
The background, a piece that had been tucked away in my stash for a year or so, was made using cling film and Cosmic Shimmer Mists in shades of green, Meadow Lush & Blue Lime, and Rich Gold. Once it was trimmed to size it was embossed using a Textures Distress folder from Crafter's Companion.
The hills were made using kraft card, trimmed to shape, and heat embossed in the style of Stampendous' Fran Seiford's famous Frantage, only I mixed up my own from a variety of powders already in my stash. They were, as far as I can remember, Papermania Seafoam White, Heat It Up! Gold & Silver, Sheena's WOW! Lime light and I added, for even more texture, a scattering of Flower Soft Sage,
The 'moon' was created using a Clarity Circle Dot stencil and Pinflair Silver Buff-It which has a nice gritty texture with a glittery finish. The sentiment is from Clear Impressions' The Wild & Free stamp collection from an issue of Get Stamping.

Also used is in the background is a stamp of house and trees from the Winter Wonderland stamp set, a freebie from Creative Stamping Magazine, Issue 36. For embellishments I simply used some natual twine stapled into the positions suggested on the sketch.

That's all as far as I can remember but I'm sure to have forgotten something. As I said, I did note everything down at the time. It's probably long gone, a casualty of my frequent tidying sessions. That being so, if there is anything I missed that you want to know more about do let me know, I'll do my best to answer any questions.

In the meantime, take care, stay safe and have a great weekend.

Thursday 26 January 2017

In A Vase On Thursday - A Rainbow in Polka Dot Jug

Hello Everyone

This post ought to be entitled In A Vase On Monday but I didn't quite make it for Cathy's meme over at Rambling in the Garden this week.However, it did seem such a shame not to share it with you this week so here it is just several days late.
The rainbow of the title is the Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow'. It seems that this spurge got it's name because of it's striking, sage and lime green foliage that turn stunning shades of pink, red and orange during the colder months. I like it particularly for the vibrant green flowers with bright red centres.
Also in the jug is a few sprigs of Eucalyptus gunni. The leaves were growing too large so I thought it was a good time to clip a few to encourage fresh growth in spring. And encouraged by Cathy's recent use of stems of Cornus in her A Shot in the Dark vase I've added a few from from C. Alba Siberian Pearls - the red compliments the flowers of the Euphorbia very well. Tucked in at the back is a couple of sprigs from out huge unknown variety of Cotoneaster - it's so big it won't notice the loss.

It's no secret I love polka dots, especially white ones on a red background, so when I spotted this jug in a sale on a recent shopping expedition I just had to have it. The cake tin is a lot older. Like the fashion designer, Marc Jacobs, I don't think there is ever a wrong time for a polka dot!

The arrangement has been on our hall stand for several days now and is holding up well despite the heat from a nearby radiator.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Friday 20 January 2017

Friday Smile

Hi Friday Smilers,

It's a wee while since I've joined in with Annie's Friday Smiles on A Stitch In Time but I thought this photo of my great niece would make you smile as much as it did me.
Arihanna was delighted to lose her first tooth.

And here's the answer to a question, should anyone care to ask, of what I plan to do with what's left of my retirement.

Hope you are all having a wonderful day and that you've had a lot to smile about this week.

Take care and stay safe.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Whats On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW Wk 398

Morning  Everyone ...

... and a happy Wednesday to you all too. I didn't make it last week and suffered withdrawal symptoms as a result, so there's going to be no missing What's On Your Desk Wednesday - all courtesy of our fabulous Head Desker Julia, at the Stamping Ground of course!
I've been messing, not altogether successfully, with paint. Some time ago, could be a year, could be longer, I spotted this technique online ... source forgotten so many apologies to whoever you are ... showing that it was possible to transfer magazine pictures on to a card base using emulsion paint. I finally got around to trying it out yesterday. With not much success as you can see. I'm now wondering whether to persevere or give it up as a bad job and get back to something I know I can do.
Oh dear, that old adage is ringing in my ears as I type.

Back to the desk and what you can see are all the materials, paint tester pots, brush pot with brushes, an old shower cleaning spritz now filled with water. Out of sight is a folder containing pictures torn from magazines and saved for this purpose. That's about it. Stuff at the back of the desk has had a bit of a switch around - some stuff moved, some stuff removed altogether - to make room for the Really Useful Scrapbooking box you can see top left. I've also made room for my trusty sewing machine No. 1 on the far end of my desk. It's there so I can, if I so wish, sew on paper. No. 2 sewing machine is on the sewing table. My intentions craftwise are, as always, good!

That's it. I've waffled on enough today. I began this post intending to keep it short but ...

I'm off now to get a brew and then I'll be ready to do a bit of desk hopping. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who drops in to see what's on my desk today. If you leave a comment, that's a bonus and much appreciated.

Happy WOYWW,

Monday 16 January 2017

In A Vase On Monday - Amaryllis

Morning Everyone

I'm cheating a bit this week because there's no new vase, although last week's is still going strong and, yes, the buds of the Sarcococca did open to release their heady perfume. Instead, as apart from evergreens and a few berries on the cotoneaster and skimmia, there's little of colour in the garden to pick I'm sharing my potted Amaryllis, Hippeastrum.

Every year, just before Christmas, my husband presents me with a bulb which I duly plant up and we wait in eager anticipation to see what colour it's going to be. In the past they have all been bright red but this year's is the softest peach and white - a lovely surprise.

Close up it's a beauty.  Apart from how striking it is I have another reason for my enjoyment of my Amaryllis, and that's in its name. It reminds me of a much loved character, Marilla, from one of my favourite childhood reads, Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery. Not exactly the same word but near enough to bring to mind a formidable lady who mellowed towards the orphaned Anne over time. And just to prove I'm not completely daft, Wikipedia informs me that Marilla is a shortened form of Amaryllis.and means Shining Sea!

If you want to see more cheering arrangements why not pop over to Cathy's blog, Rambling in the Garden where others are sure to be sharing what's in their vases (or pots) today.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Sunday Snippet Make - Thank You Card

Morning Everyone,

Here's a very simple 'thank you' card made using a couple of snippets for Pixie's Snippets Playground challenge.

It also features a new stamp, Cattus Librum, won way back in November for participating in the Cat Lovers Hop. I've been itching to ink this cute cat up ever since it was delivered in December, so very glad I have now. A big thank you to the organiser of the hop, Janis of Her Peaceful Garden. It was kind of her to send it all the way from over the pond. As you might have guessed, Janis is, like me, a cat lover ... she also makes beautiful cards.

Materials used:

  • white base card measuring 5¾"x 4"
  • black/white patterned paper from a Crafts-Too 6"x 6" paper pack that is entirely made up of papers with stripes or polka dots in various colours. It's and old pack so I'm not sure if it is still available.
  • snippet of white card stamped with Cattus Librum - a Stampendous stamp - using Memento Tuxedo Black ink - for topper
  • snippets of satin finished silver cardstock for matting and layering the topper
  • Stamp used inside is from Sincere Sentiments which came free set with a recent issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft

It's a grey and miserable day here with rain expected any minute. The kind of day to stay at home you'd think. Instead we are off to our local Costa Coffee for a cheering latte ... we're feeling the need to get out for a while.

Wishing you all a lovely Sunday.

Saturday 14 January 2017

Cardmaking - Botanical Thank You

Afternoon Everyone,

I have a quick share today. I've been sorting through my stash of made cards and noted that it's low on quite a few categories - most notably birthday (male & female), sympathy and thank you cards. 'Thank you' cards being particularly needed at this time I sat down to make some. This is the first.

I was able to use lots of materials that I've been hanging on to for far too long and a beautiful new die too - the Tuscany Strip makes a very effective band.

Materials used:

  • white base card measuring 5¾"x 4" 
  • cardstock - coral pearlescent cardstock - used for base layer and die-cut circle and flowers; scraps of white and beige cardstock for die-cut strip and flowers, circle on topper and sentiment tag
  • patterned paper from Prima Botanical collection - from my stash and very old, 2011
  • dies - Spellbinders Renaissance Tuscany Strip; Nestabilities Splendid Circles; Marianne Collectables Flower Set
  • stamp - 'Thank you' from Summer In The Garden set that came free with a magazine
  • ink - Memento Tuxedo Black
  • other items - flower printed peach coloured ribbon; an oval diecut from Stix2 - used as base for flower topper; Marianne Designs pearl swirls; Nuvo Crystal Drops, Bubblegum Blush on flower centres.

For inspiration I used the photo on the Spellbinder packaging. It was a good starting point but I now have a few more ideas of how it could be used.

Apologies, yet again, for not having been around much this week. It's been another sad one for us. My sister-in-law died Thursday afternoon. It wasn't totally unexpected, she'd been ill with Alzheimer's for some time, but her health took a turn for the worse recently. What makes it doubly hard is that it is only five weeks since her youngest son died.

I see from the news that many of you are experiencing the worst of weathers. We only had a smattering of snow a couple of days ago but since then it has brightened up and today we have sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds but it is FREEZING! I don't want to wish my life away but I so look forward to the time when we have warmer temperatures.

Keep warm and stay safe.

Monday 9 January 2017

In A Vase On Monday - Winter Gems

Evening Everyone

Despite it still being warm for the time of year there's very few pickings in the garden now. And not a lot of colour either. There is still the winter jasmine with it's tiny yellow flowers, used in a vase last week, and there are a few tiny blue primulas but I've left them where they are ... if they were picked there would be no colour at all.

Instead, I've trimmed a few short stems of these winter gems ... Sweet Box or Christmas Box, this variety is indeed Sarcococca 'Winter Gem', and Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price'. Both are hardy, evergreen shrubs just planted last year in the grass border that divides the driveway from the front path.

I'm hoping the warmth of the house will encourage the red buds of the Sarcococca to open into the highly fragrant white flowers that this plant is renowned for. I've just discovered that this shrub is ideal for under-planting trees. This is good - there are two areas in the garden where very little grows because of the massive fir trees there. It's been a real problem but I may just have found the answer.

The pink buds of 'Eve Price' opening to reveal tiny white flowers that are so pretty and in winter a very welcome sight.

Because the sprigs I picked are very short, I chose a small vase, actually four small vases fixed to a tile base, in which to display them. This vase has a bit of a history. The first time it was used I was disappointed to find that the base was very porous, water would slowly seep through making it not fit for purpose. Who would have thought it! However, after much deliberation I came up with a solution, the base is now waterproof so it can now be used without leaving watermarks on the furniture.

I was going to remove the glass pot next to the vase before the photo was taken but, as it has a frosted finish that seemed appropriate for the winter theme, it was left where it was.

As usual, thanks go to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting In A Vase On Monday and encouraging us to search our gardens for material for a vase each week.

Saturday 7 January 2017

Christmas gift tags

Morning Everyone,

Yet again I've been so busy, visiting family, that I've found no time for blogging ... sigh. I thought I'd try to make up for my absence with a very quick share today.

These gift tags were made, very quickly, to attach to each of the books in the 'week of book's I gave to my great-grandchildren as a countdown to Christmas.

To make them I simply cut down some white card bases, they'd been in my stash forever so really should be used up, to a suitable size, attached a Papermania Noel die-cut, another item from old stash, to each one and stamped the date to be opened inside. They were finished with a punched hole, top left corner, and threaded with some glittery cord (from Meiflower).

Right, that's me for now. I'm off again over to my sister's this morning - she has a few jobs needing doing around the house. She tells us her heating is not working so we are to come well wrapped up.

Hope you are all well and enjoying the new year so far.

Take care and stay safe,

Wednesday 4 January 2017

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 396

Morning Everyone,

The first Wednesday of the year 2017 and time to join in over at Julia's Stamping Ground with a pic of what's on our desks today. Here's mine.

Not so tidy this week. I've been busy elsewhere ... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!! There's three new Spellbinder dies. A new year's treat to myself - they were an irresistible bargain -  and I'm looking forward to trying them out for the first time. Lying under them is a huge, 12x12, Prima stencil which I have in mind to use on the background of a scrap layout. It's has a mix of words and images that I can pick and choose from. I've had it for maybe a year or so and never used it so that will be something else used for the first time this year. Underneath all that is a mess of paper scraps and enamel dots - leftover from another scrap layout finished recently. And then there's all the other stuff that seems to accumulate, inks, glues, stamps, etc., etc. Sigh. Once all those et ceteras start to give me a headache, I'll have a blitzing session and all will be well again - if only for a few nanoseconds!

It's back to normal for us this week. Most of the decorations are down, just the tree still up until the end of the week. The tree is so gorgeous I'm loathe to say goodbye but it has to be done. Am I the only one that feels like this about a Christmas tree - surely not :)

Happy first WOYWW of 2017,

Monday 2 January 2017

In A Vase On Monday - Jasmine & Myrtle

Hello Everyone,

Having not been able to venture into the garden for a few weeks, caused by a nasty bout of Norovirus followed by the garden taking a battering from Storms Barbara and Connor, it was a pleasant surprise when I did get out to discover the winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, in flower.

The bright yellow flowers are such a cheery sight, brightening up the fence in the corner at the end of the long border. I only planted it out a few months ago so really didn't expect it to do much in it's first year, but it's really done very well.  I've teamed it up with a few sprigs of myrtle, Myrtus, and the first two sweet white buds of hellebore, Helleborus Lividus White Marble.

After all the weeks of winter greenery and berries it makes a lovely change to have these tiny sweetly scented yellow blooms in a vase. It feels like spring isn't so far away and they make the hall look very welcoming.

If you want to see more cheering arrangements why not pop over to Cathy's blog, Rambling in the Garden where others are sure to be sharing what's in their vases (or other containers) today.