Monday 29 April 2019

In A Vase On Monday - Springtime Blues

Hello Everyone,

I'm glad to be able to join in again with In A Vase On Monday over at Rambling in the Garden with Cathy - it's been a while. It's still very much spring here in this little corner of Scotland but the weather this past week has been wet and wild hence the Springtime Blues.
Photo taken on our front doorstep just for a change. Bluebells, aquilegia and forget-me-nots have self-seeded through the garden so perfect for sharing among these two vases.
There's both Spanish and English bluebells growing - happily in different parts of the garden so hopefully they will stay true to form in their separate beds. Not so the aquilegia ... they spread themselves all over, sometimes in the oddest little corners.

I did intend joining in last week, even had a vase filled and photographed, and though there is nothing blue about it I thought I'd share it here today.
A few sprigs of Forsythia Weekend 'Courtalyn', erythronium (dogtooth violets) and cowslips made up this cheerful and sunny vaseful.
I particularly like the dogtooth violets and I'm always sad to see them go over - it seems too soon when they do.

It's a busy time of year in the garden but as neither hubby or I are fit enough at the moment we've been struggling. However, we had a gardener in yesterday to clean up the long border and  he's made a great job of it. There's now lots of empty spaces just crying out to be filled with the dozens of cosmos plants I've grown from seed this year. There's also a tree on order, an Amelanchier lamarckii, - I'm looking forward to the delivery sometime soon. All the fruit trees are in blossom so hopefully we will have plenty of fruit in the autumn. We may even, for the first time,  have some plums this year judging by the amount of blossoms on hubby's tree. He was disappointed last year but it is still quite a young tree.

I wish you all a very happy week in your garden.

Sunday 28 April 2019

Christmas Card Club - Card 9/2019 - Cosy Cute Christmas

Hello Everyone

Another fortnight gone and it's another Christmas Card Club Sunday - this time the them is Cosy Cute Christmas chosen by Zoe. Just for a change I've somehow found time to make several cards - this only because a rummage through neglected stash led to the discovery of a fairly old Hunkydory card kit, Festive Wonder, just waiting for me to delve into. The result: these four pretty cards.

All papers and toppers came with the kit. To decorate them I've dipped into my collection of card candy, dew drops and adhesive gems.

I'm also submitting these to the following challenges:

April Rudolph Day Challenge 

CHNC Challenge 435

These are just a small selection of the cards that can be made from the kit. There's still a lot of toppers and papers left yet and I expect I'll get around to using them up one day - just not today.

I hope you've had a wonderful weekend wherever you are - and hopefully with plenty of time for crafting.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 516

Hello Everyone,

I know we all say just about the same thing every week but I don't know what the devil has happened to the last seven days! They've gone in a puff of smoke and there's not a lot on the workdesk to show for it.

Truth is, the weather has been too good, drawing me out into the garden and the sunshine. So this is all I have to show for a week. It's a piece of calico that I've been stencilling, stamping and colouring with watercolour pencils. It's an experiment. I plan to add some free motion sewing too. I'll post the finished piece when I think it's done. If Sarn, Stamping for Pleasure, is looking in she might recognise the stamps I've used.

And here's what has been keeping me away from my desk over the Easter break.
Cosmos seedlings - now big enough to be pricked out into individual post - and a few zinnias, pansies and sweet peas in the mini greenhouse.
Even the bedroom windowsill has been pressed into service as a nursery - sweet Cicely and columbine seeds in the propagator.

If you think of gardening as a craft then I've been crafting. Not that I feel that I've had much to do with crafting this fabulous display.

clematis montana rubens
It's all down to Mother Nature.

Finally, the book bit. Only one today.

Helen Fitzgerald's 'The Cry' is a psychological thriller and it really is edge of the seat stuff. So much so, I listened almost non-stop to the seven and a half hours recording!. It's a completely absorbing story of a relationship under considerable duress - Joanna, a new mother from dealing with a crying baby, Noah, and Alistair, her devious and controlling partner. Some of you may have watched the mini-series starring Jenna Coleman based on this book in 2018. Don't let that put you off reading the book - it's a page-turner right to the end.

I'm glad to hear that some of you enjoy the book bit and you find it useful when looking for a good book to read.

It's taken me too long to put this post together today - too many distractions, including the need to get out the duster after days of neglect. For sure, I'll never win 'housewife of the year'!

I hope you enjoyed the Easter break and had at least some of the wonderful weather we've had here in the UK. The forecast for Scotland is that it's not going to last - the weekend is going to be colder and wetter.

On that cheerful note, I'll wish you a fabulous week ahead.

Wednesday 17 April 2019

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 515

Hello Everyone,

Not long now until the WOYWW tenth anniversary crop - we've made our travel plans and are looking forward to seeing everyone again. Hope you are going to be there. More details on Julia's blog, the Stamping Ground, in this post.

Now, on to what's on my Whizzday desk today.
It's the post cyber crop desk and it's a such a mess I can't bear to talk about it. I haven't had time to clear it up yet. I won't go into details of what exactly is in that pile on top of the desk and hopefully there's no need for an explanation of what's in the trolley!

And here's why everything is still so messy today.
We have converted what was a spare bedroom into a combination of sewing/music room and this morning our two fit and strong grandsons came round to give us a hand. They lifted our old, but very heavy, china cabinet upstairs into the room so that I can use it for storing fabric. As you can see, I've made a start but it's going to take time. I'm in no hurry. Under that pile of fabric you can see to the left is a new cutting table. I'm feeling truly spoiled to have so much space, equipment and storage. And the light from the window makes it perfect for sewing - these old eyes are not as sharp as they used to be. 

I thought I'd let you see the sampler that's only partly visible in the above shot.

It was stitched for us many years ago by my daughter. We had a touring caravan back then and went all over the UK and Ireland with it. Although we no longer have a caravan we enjoy having the sampler as a reminder of all the fun we had in it.

And finally, the book bit. Two books written by Kate Humble, the well-known presenter of wildlife and nature shows.
'Humble by Nature' is Kate's account of her and her husband's move to a smallholding in the Wye Valley after living for twenty years in London. It's a really good read describing the problems they encountered with converting and refurbishing buildings, the buying and rescuing of animals, the sowing of a wildflower meadow and the setting up of classes for other smallholders. They also rescued another farm from being split up and sold off by the council. Altogether a very heartwarming story.

'Thinking on my Feet' is a journal about walking, in particular the joys, and the benefits, of walking every day. Even a short walk does you good. This is an inspiring book and I lived the Wye Valley Walk vicariously with Kate. Through her we meet other walkers, in particular a memorable woman who walked every footpath in Wales (3,700 miles) when she discovered she had cancer. Awe-inspiring.

Two thoroughly enjoyable books.

I'd like to say I'm off for a walk now but not so. I have a lot of desks to visit instead and there's a pile of fabric in the sewing room just waiting for me to sort out into neat little piles. And that's not to mention the mess just beside me that's waiting to be put away.

That's it for today. Until our next Whizzday, I wish you all a wonderfully crafty week.

Sunday 14 April 2019

Christmas Card Club - Card 8/2019 - Christmas Scene

Happy Sunday Everyone,

My, but these fortnights come round so quickly, do they not, and it's time for another Christmas Card Club Challenge. This week the theme, Winter/Christmas Scene, has been chosen by our lovely, and very talented cardmaker, Shaz, Silverwolf Cards,
Because I've been so involved in the MTS Cyber Crop this weekend, I didn't even think about this challenge until this morning! So it had to be another quick and easy one ... this is fast becoming my default setting ... and luckily I remembered this Christmas Scene die set - a freebie with a magazine a year or so ago.

Supplies used:
- a white 5½" square card base from Docraft's Papermania
- scraps of aqua and white cardstock
- green glitter card from Dear Lizzy's New Day Mixed Media Pad
- the Christmas Scene die set

To make the card, all I did was use the three parts of the die set to cut each layer, the scalloped piece in the aqua card, the green glitter layer with the stitch effect die and the topper in white card. I used my Cuttlebug die-cutting machine to cut it all out and though I had no problem with the two background layers the topper wasn't so easy. The first attempt was with fairly thick cardstock didn't cut well at all, despite passing it through the machine several times, so I tried with thinner card with more success. Something to bear in mind next time I use this die set.

I'm also submitting this card to the following challenges:

Pixie's Snippet Playground - Challenge #350 - two very nice snippets of cardstock were used in the making of my card.

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - CHNC #433 - where anything goes as long as it's Christmas themed.

Right, I better get back to the cyber crop challenges now though I hope to pop over to see all the other CCC cards at some point today or, if I'm being realistic, tomorrow. For you to see them sooner just click on the links listed on the sidebar on the right.

Enjoy what's left of Sunday everyone.

Saturday 13 April 2019

MTS Cyber Crop Weekend - Pages 3 & 4

Back again with two more pages made today.

For the Love of the Beautiful Game

This photo is of my grandson playing football on a very unseasonably cold, miserable, day in July 2015, hence the title. I pulled out several punches and a set of circle dies to create all those circles. Supplies used are mostly from Mind the Scrap's kit for March - patterned papers are from Dear Lizzy, Maggie Holmes and Paige Evans; embellishments Amy Tangerine and alphas from American Crafts Marquee thickers and Kesi'art Script stickers - the orange letters are from old stash.

Sock Knitting

I don't usually do this but I posed for this photo earlier on today so that I could make a layout to record my sock knitting. Again the supplies used are mostly from the March kit with a few from older kits included. Patterned papers - Jen Hadfield and Dear Lizzy; die-cut embellishments from Amy Tangerine and stickers from Maggie Holmes; alphabet thickers are American Craft Charming and The Works black puffy stickers.

I can't pretend I'm making good progress - in fact, I'm way behind - but as the EM says 'it's not the winning that counts, it's the taking part'. It's fun and at the end of the weekend I will have a few more scrapbook layouts for the albums.

I'm off to bed now. Hoping to be up early, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to create a few more pages.

I wish you all a super Sunday whatever you're doing..

MTS Cyber Crop Weekend - Pages 1 & 2

Hello Everyone,

I'm participating in the Mind The Scrap Cyber Crop all weekend so thought I'd try to post as many of the layouts I complete as possible throughout. Here's the first two.

Lovely Day.
The photos of us with two friends were taken in the tea rooms on a visit to the art gallery at Rozelle Park here in Ayr. Supplies used are patterned papers from Echo Park, Petticoats & Pinstripes - Tiny Teapots - and Simple Stories So Fancy; white and blue cardstock; enamel dots in three shades of pink from stash. The background stencilling was created with a Heidi Swapp  stencil #312291 and teal blue Letterpress ink.

Believe in the Most Magical Things
These photos were taken on two different occasions but they are both of Scotland's mythical water horses, the Kelpies. Keeping with the mythical theme I've used unicorn embellishments - the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. It is both a symbol of purity and innocence and masculinity and power. Supplies used are patterned papers from Vicki Boutin Field Notes, Daydreamer, and Crate Paper's Hooray, Sprinkles and Birthday; embellishments are mainly from Shimelle's sticker sheet with Washi tape from craft Sensations and green enamel dots from stash.

There will eventually be more but I'm already way behind so we'll just see how I get on.

In the meantime, I hope you are all having a great weekend. As ever, many thanks for visiting.

Friday 12 April 2019

Friday Smiles

Hello Everyone,

It's quite a while since I've been able to join in with Annie's Friday Smiles and I've missed it. But, in truth, some weeks there wasn't too much to smile about. Happily things have gotten better and we've been getting out and about a bit more which means I have some happy photos to share.

Last Friday we took a trip to our favourite market town, Castle Douglas, and discovered this coffee shop, In House Chocolates, that also sells handmade chocolates - my idea of heaven!
I forgot to take a photo of the chocolates - they are many and varied. I did get a shot of the coffee and ONE chocolate ... the EM couldn't wait to have his!!!
We were aware of the chocolates being made further back in the shop. It was a lovely experience.

Later we drove down to Threave Gardens. It's a National Trust property renowned for it's ospreys. Spotted this artwork which depicts the wildlife, etc., that might be spotted there.

Back at home we've been enjoying some beautiful weather - sunny but still cool - and it's brought out the blossoms.
This is the plum tree. Planted three years ago it produced a few blossoms last year but no fruit. We have high hopes that this year will be better.

And finally, just because it made me gasp, here's a photo of my son, and his car, taken just a week ago at Aviemore.

This, while we were basking in sunshine here in Ayrshire. What a difference a few miles north makes.

As you can see, we've had plenty to reasons to smile this week. I hope you've enjoyed them and for more smiley posts do pop over to A Stitch In Time.

Take care and have a great week.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 514

Hello Everyone,

It's Julia's Whizzday, more usually known as WOYWW, so time to reveal the mess that is my desk today.
I've been getting back into crafting, the hitherto elusive mojo has returned, so there's stuff, lots of it, on my desk to show for it. I had a lovely day recently experimenting with paints and inks using a much neglected Creative Palette - more details in this previous post - and now I've begun to make cards with the results. Admittedly, there's only one completed card but it's a start. Still out, because I haven't gotten round to putting them away,  in a cluster in front of the screen, are the bottles of ink and the tubes of paint, a saucer of bits and bobs used for creating markings on the paint/ink covered palette, the brayer, the palette and a stencil too. To the front, from left to right, is the stamps used on the card, adhesive, and the pile of printed pieces and some plain card left from making the card.
The background for this card was created with a combination of Vicki Boutin's Blue Hawaiian acrylic paint, Limon ColorBox Crafter's ink and Heidi Swapp's Hot Pink Metallic Texture Paste which gives a lovely shimmery effect. And I admit that the die-cut butterfly is there to hide an spot of bad stamping! 

And finally, the book bit. Just one again this week but it's a lovely one.

Lucy Mangan's 'Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading' is a joy. As a child my late brother and I were two little bookworms and this book captures so perfectly the necessity we both felt to read just one more page/chapter, and of being totally unaware of anything/anyone else when when our noses were well and truly stuck in a good book. However, Bookworm isn't just a funny and endearing tour of the author's childhood reading but it also delivers an insight into the eccentricities of her family, some of which made me laugh out loud. It's a book full of food for thought and I heartily recommend it to bookworms everywhere.

That's it for today. Until our next Whizzday, I wish you all a wonderfully crafty week.

Monday 8 April 2019

In A Vase On Monday - Tulip Time

Hello Everyone,

The daffodils are almost past - just a few late bloomers in the grass - and now it's tulip time in our garden. So it's a simple arrangement of  flowers and buds in an equally simple vase for Cathy's In A Vase on Monday.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know by now that my husband doesn't keep  the labels that come with anything he plants ... these tulips are no exception. I'm hazarding a guess that the fully opened orange/yellow ones might be called Flair - a single early dwarf tulip - but the yet to open yellow ones are a mystery. No matter what the name they are all a ray of sunshine at this time of year.
Here they are in situ. I'm ignoring, for now, the ground elder that is threatening to take over the round bed and just enjoying the colours of Spring instead. Word around the garden is that it is definitely Spring!
After taking the photos outside, the light is so much better there, the tulips were brought in and put on top of the fire - it is never on so never too hot for flowers - together with one of my latest acquisitions, a little wooden Easter bunny that, coincidentally, is holding a tiny wooden tulip.

To see many more flower arrangements - so much more artistic than mine - follow this link to Cathy's blog - links are always in the comments.

I wish you a wonderful week, weather permitting, in your garden.

Sunday 7 April 2019

Mixed Media Backgrounds - Part 1

Hello again ...

... two posts in one day - I'm excelling myself! Actually, it's been lovely finding time to mess about in the craft room. It feels like an indulgence to be able to experiment with paints and inks again, and the Stampendous Creative Palette I mentioned in an earlier post. Here's the results of my playtime.
As you can see I dug out the brayer ... I can't remember when that was last used too ... and for these background pieces I used a selection of ink refills - from Colorbox, Ranger's, Vivid and Rollagraph - all almost as old as Methuselah but still very usable! I tried placing a stencil (Clarity) over the wet inks with mixed success but scoring the inks with the Vicki Boutin Art Wedge, comb and bottle top was more successful.
Next, I tried out acrylic paints, Vicki Boutin (Blue Hawaiian), Maggie Holmes (mint and blue) and Heidi Swapp metallic texture paste (Hot Pink).Love this combination of colours.
For these backgrounds I added a base of some cheap white acrylic, Wilkinson's, which worked very well. As did the more pricey Daler & Rowney cream Simply acrylic. Vicki Boutin's Juicy Pear provided a great pop of bright citrus against the blues and pinks already mentioned.
Finally, the disaster! This is what happens when the phone rings and the card is left down on the painted surface too long. Patches of the card softened and stuck to the drying paint. It's quite textured and looks rather like flock wallpaper. I'm still debating with myself on whether it's at all usable or only fit for the bin.

Next, I plan to use the backgrounds for cards. Immediately!! Well, at least within the next few days. So much better than stashing them away in a box to be forgotten. So, part 2 should follow soon.

Hope you found this resurrection of old crafty tools of interest. It's my shame that they've been languishing in a drawer forgotten and neglected. They deserve better treatment!

Thanks for visiting.