Friday 31 March 2017

Friday Smiles

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have all had a lovely week with plenty to smile about. As usual I'm joining Annie over at A Stitch In Time with a Friday Smile or two, though I nearly didn't as I thought I'd shared all the things that made me smile already. Or so I thought! But, sharing photos on Facebook probably doesn't count so here's a few shots from Sunday trip out to the RSPB Visitor Centre  and Castle Semple Lochwinnoch.
Our first stop - the RSPB Visitor Centre where we enjoyed the picnic we took with us. I left wishing I was a kid again so I could go pond dipping - it looked like lots of fun.

This pussy willow just made me smile - those furry catkins are always a welcome sight.
The loch at Castle Semple. The birds are so well fed it has made them almost tame.
This swan seemed to recognise the person who was feeding him.
A rare photo of the two of us together. A lovely young woman, who was just passing as I was taking a pic of himself, kindly offered to take this shot with the yachts on the loch behind us.

Something else that I've been enjoying is this embroidery. There's no pattern to it, just rows of stitch combinations found in a book, Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork by Hazel Blomkamp, giving me the chance to learn new stitches and re-learn the ones that were taught at school more than sixty years ago. Notice - the rows are not particularly straight - I do try, even to drawing lines on the fabric with a ruler!

And finally, having overindulged due to a Mother's Day box of my favourite chocolates, this funny was so reassuring.

Wishing you all a very happy weekend and a wonderful week ahead.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW Week 408

Hello Everyone,

Ah, back again. Another week gone, another What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday come. I'll make this post brief, as is preferred by our Head Desker, Julia.
A little sewing project on the desk today. Easter chicks. I'm planning to make one to begin with and if that works out okay I'll make another three to give to my great-grandchildren. The pattern pieces have been traced on to wax paper ready for the cutting out. To the back, that's some left over wadding and cotton backing fabric from the quilt I'm also working on and the red folder is full of instructions for the said quilt. Here's an update photo of how it's looking before quilting.

All three layers being pinned together after ironing.

This is my least favourite part of quiltmaking - mainly because I haven't got a surface big enough to spread the whole quilt out on before pinning it together. Might be a good idea to stick to smaller quilting projects in future.

So, that's my desk today. It's all sewing and no papercrafting. Next week could be completely different - that's the joy of crafting.

I'm off now to snoop around other folk's desks.

Here's to a fabulous WOYWW and a great week ahead.

Monday 27 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday - It's Tulip Time - plus a garden update

Hello Everyone,

Well, here we are one day into British Summer Time, and we're having gorgeous weather! And as if to celebrate the sun the tulips are bursting into colour at last. Just in time to be included In A Vase On Monday over at Cathy's blog, Rambling in the Garden.
Planted by my husband, who never labels anything, these could be Sunlover tulips but I can't be certain. I do know, with absolute certainty, that the twiggy foliage is from the black elder, Sambucus nigra 'Black Beauty'.
Tucked in between the emerging leaves are the dark red flower buds which will, in a few weeks, open out into frothy sprays of pale pink flowers.

Needless to say the warm sunny days are encouraging me out into the garden to spend a couple of happy hours tidying up and noting what's putting on leaf or is just about to burst into blossom. I've also been repotting hellebores and narcissisi ... after a winter of being in the shelter of the kitchen door I thought it was time to put them in a sunny spot.
The pot back left contains dog's tooth violets, Erythronium 'Pagoda' which are just about to flower.

Here's a few other shots taken today.
Pansies planted up at the weekend.

Flowering current, Ribes sanguineum

Celandines, Ficaria verna

Spirea 'Gold Flame'
Lemon Balm

I'd better stop there or this post could go on forever!

Have a great gardening week wherever you are.

Saturday 25 March 2017

Rudolph Day - March

Hi Everyone,

It's been a gloriously sunny day, a day to potter in the garden, so it seems strange to be talking about Christmas but it's Rudolph Day and I've made a trio of festive themed cards to share with Maureen over at Scraps of Life.

They are all the same design but I've used a variety of patterned papers, ink colours for the greetings and embellishments, e.g ribbon and enamel dots.

I can't make up my mind which version I like best - they are all so pretty.

Here's a list of the supplies I used:

  • white textured cardstock, Papermania, for the base. A5 (14.8 x 21cm) size folded in half. 
  • patterned paper from the Mistletoe 6x6 pack (Memory Box) 
  • scraps of ribbon
  • white and green funky foam for poinsettia flowers
  • poinsettia die from Spellbinders
  • enamel dots from Simple Stories DIY collection
  • greeting stamp from Scenic Stamps Woodland Cottage set
  • inks - ColorBox Cranberry and Memento Tuxedo Black
  • scrap of dark brown cardstock for matting the greeting on the first card

I should point out that the greeting on the first card was trimmed from the same sheet of patterned paper as used to decorate it.

I'm also submitting a card to Hazel's  CHNC Challenge 326 - anything goes as long as it's Christmas.

It's the start of British Summer Time so remember to put the clock forward one hour before you go to sleep tonight.  Oh dear, that means one hour less sleep for me - my biorhythm will be shot to pieces for at least a week!

Hope your weekend is going well.

Friday 24 March 2017

Friday Smiles

Evening All,

It's quite a wee while since I joined in with Annie's Friday Smile meme - a month actually! I don't know where the time has flown - well, I do but won't dwell on it - however it's nice to be back with plenty to smile about.

First up, this little chap.
My great-grandson Callum, 21 months, popped in, accompanied by his dad of course, for lunch on Wednesday. He's very picky with his food, I almost was at a loss on what to feed him as he passed up on buttered bread fingers, chopped egg, tomato, etc. etc., but I discovered he'll eat scrambled eggs and crisps. A very strange combination - he loves crisps! He loved playing with the doll's house you can just about see in the background so I think one may be on his birthday wishlist now.

Next up, this big chap.
My grandson Josh. He's just moved into a modern town apartment, on his own after years of sharing with a friend, and today I got to visit for the first time. As you can see he's mightily pleased with his new home - this photo was taken in the second bedroom which he has fitted up as the snooker room much to his grandad's delight.
This is the view he has from his lounge, St Joseph's Church - a lovely old red sandstone building.

And as if that wasn't enough the postman delivered two items that also had me smiling. The first was this.
I've been struggling to work on this embroidery on a round hoop so I've treated myself to this square snap frame which is just the ticket.

And the second is this book.
Obviously I bought this book for it's contents but what I didn't realise is that it is actually covered in printed fabric. I keep stroking it ... the fabricaholics among you will understand!

So that's just some of what made me smile this week. If you would like to see more then do pop over to Annie's blog, A Stitch In Time, where you will find links to other's smiley posts every Friday.

Take care and have a lovely weekend. Oh, and for those of us in the UK, don't forget that the clocks go forward one hour on Sunday.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW Week 407

Morning to you all,

Firstly, I'd like to begin by apologising to you all for not commenting on Week 405. I suddenly became ill that afternoon, after eating a mushroom omelette for lunch, and it took six days to recover. Just in time for jury service last week, meaning that I couldn't participate in Julia's What's On Your Desk Wednesday then either. However, fingers crossed, normal service is now resumed. Desk snooping here I come. It's so nice to be back!

So here's my desk this week.
To the left - a finished card sitting on top of a the stamp set I've been using these last couple of days. To the right - a pile of card scraps, And centre - work in progress. Rudolph Day is coming up so I'm aiming to make a suitable card or two before the day. Besides, I'm way behind with my goal to make a minimum of one C-card a week this year already so I've quite a bit of catching up to do. The basket at the back is full of festive paper packs - see how hard I'm trying not to say the actual word for that time of the year. I know it's too soon for some of you :) The pile back left is made up of various stamp sets. In the same way as I'm methodically reading through a list of books - another one of my goals - I'm also making my way through a list of stamps beginning with that pile, otherwise they linger in a drawer unused which is ridiculous. I like them, therefore I should use them!  Also out are stamp blocks, and empty plastic pot used as water container for colouring, ink pads, a tin of Windsor & Newton watercolour paints, spritzers, gold Cosmic Shimmer, a pack of enamel dots and a tub of card candy - all of which have been used on recent projects. Oh, and those trays off to the back left are just full of junk I should sort out - and I will, one day!

Here's the finished card you can see top of the pile on the left.
I know it looks like it's black and white in the photo but actually it's brown and white. The ink used to stamp the image, from Hobby Art's March Hares set, was Memento Rich Cocoa, the cardstock used for matting and layering is dark chocolate and even the enamel dots are a very dark brown. The only black used was the ink ribbon on the typewriter that I used to type up the greeting.

I am expecting a special little visitor, my great-grandson, today. He and his dad are dropping in for lunch before going off to soft play for the afternoon. Should be fun - he's toddling now and into everything. For the rest of the day I'm on WOYWW snooping duty :)

Hope you all have a wonderful WOYWW and a great week ahead.

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Tuesday's Card - A March Morning


I've been playing with stamps, inks and sprays to make another card using the March Hare set from Hobby Arts.

Unfortunately, it proved to be a difficult card to photograph and although this one is the best of a bad bunch it doesn't show the depth of the colours that can be seen in real life.

Here's a close-up that is a bit better.
Here's how it was made:

  1. a smooth white A4 (8.27 × 11.69 inches) sheet of cardstock was cut in two halves and then one half was folded to make the card base.
  2. the card front was sprayed with gold Cosmic Shimmer. To do this the fully opened card was taped to the craft mat and the back covered to prevent the gold spray getting anywhere but the front. It was then put aside to dry. Note: I should have kept it taped down to prevent the cardstock buckling as it did - I think you can just detect that in the photograph. 
  3. the topper was made using a scrap of watercolour card which was lightly spritzed with water, then the images of grasses - from Hobby Art's March Hares - were stamped using distress inks - Squeezed Lemonade, Scattered Straw, Crushed Olive and Shabby Shutters - and then it was given another light spritz of water to encourage the ink to bleed then left to dry.
  4. once dry, more stamping was done using VersaFine Vintage Sepia first and then Olympia Green - again it was left to dry before the next step which was to spray a little yellow colour, created by mixing Mustard Seed from a re-inker with some water in a spritzer. This spraying was concentrated n the centre. Next a light flicking and spritzing of the gold Cosmic Shimmer was applied and left to dry before stamping the greeting, borrowed from Sarntangles stamp set, using Memento Rich Cocoa ink pad.
  5. finally, the topper was matted and layered on to scraps of dark yellow and kraft cardstock and then adhered with sticky fixers to the front of the card.

A technique described by Jaine Drake, found in an old issue of Craft Stamper, provided the inspiration for this topper. She, in turn, was inspired by the effect of the sun on her herb garden.

It's a fun technique and well worth having a bash at so I hope I've explained it clearly enough for anyone who would like to give it a try.

Happy Crafting,

Monday 20 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday - Spring Bits & Bobs - plus a garden update

Hello Everyone,

Today is the first day of spring and so to celebrate I have a vase of seasonal bits and bobs  for Cathy's In A Vase.
A wander round the garden today was very cheering. Not only was there green shoots popping up all over the place, all promising lots of colour to come, but also quite a few spring flowers - among them cowslips (primula veris), lungwort (pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign'), helleborus niger 'Christmas Carol' - ready to be picked and popped in a vase.
Cowslips - Primula veris
Helleborus niger 'Christmas Carol' and lungwort, Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign'
I added, just because I couldn't resist it, the acid green foliage of an alpine aquilegia, not in flower just yet but it won't be long now.

For me this combination of blue and yellow just says springtime even though, dotted around the garden, there are just a few other colours, mainly from the old wallflowers that have been producing a bloom or two since January but are now really getting going. Here's a few shots of what I spotted during my wander.
And here's the lungwort and cowslips before picking. According to the label for this lungwort is also known as "Blue Cowslip".
I couldn't resist taking a photograph of some of the flower buds that are popping up - here's a couple.
Clematis 'Broughton Bride'
And there's no forgetting the many daffodils that are still brightening up my days.

The windblown flowers are cut to fill even more vases with their golden loveliness.

Cathy is celebrating five years of blogging at Rambling In The Garden so do pop over to see the fabulous vase, hand painted by her daughter, saved for this very occasion.