Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Starting well ...

... (or should that be ending) NOT!!

What have I been doing today? I've been talking to a very nice (and patient!) man in India 'cos brand new lappy threw a wobbly and died! We've been trying to revive it but it's dead - or at least the hard drive is. I've now got to wait for a new hard drive to arrive and then hope that my techie can get my files off of the old one for me before I send it back. I'm usually so careful about backing my files up on a weekly basis but there has been so much going on just lately that I've not backed one file up since I've had the new lappy and I've got lots of photo's on it that I will have lost if I can't get them retrieved. Other stuff, although annoying, is not so important.

Seems that the hard drive was faulty and, if I had realised, I was actually given a clue all was not well last week and that it may be on it's way out. My Favorites folder moved itself to a different location. I tried moving it back but it just kept duplicating itself where it had moved to and then, when I tried to do a System Restore it told me it hadn't been completed but it had. Apparently all clues that there's a potential problem with hard drive and I'd have done a backup then if I'd known!

Anyway, using eldest son's lappy at mo so, will take this opportunity to wish everybody a very happy 2009 and hope that it's gonna be better than 2008. Don't think it could be much worse for me but there were some good points - the arrival of little Zac being the highlight.

Thanks for dropping by .....

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Cuttlebug Q & A's

I don't profess to be an expert on Cuttlebug usage by any means but, I've picked up lots of information and tips along the way in trying to help other people or just in my general playing with the machine. I decided to try and put together a Q&A post using questions I've seen asked by new users. This is intended to be an expanding Q&A so, if anyone has a question they'd like answered and it's not covered here please ask by leaving a comment and, if I don't know the answer I'll certainly do my best to find out.....

Q: When you cut a die is it supposed to leave an impression on the B plate or am I doing something wrong?
A: No, you're not doing anything wrong. All dies cut with a metal blade of some sort and a metal blade hitting plastic will always leave a mark. I would recommend that you keep one B plate as your 'cutting' plate and keep the other 'clean'. You will then have a clean plate that will not leave marks on cardstock if you want to use other dies/stencils. Personally I have 2 sets of B plates and I keep one set for cutting and the other set for everything else.

Q: Can I use other makes of dies in my Cuttlebug?
A: Yes, as long as they fit through the space available. Adjust the 'stack' or 'sandwich' so the die and media go through the machine comfortably - not forced or too slack.

Q: Can I emboss with brass stencils in my Cuttlebug?
A: Yes. Ensure that you use the 'clean' B plate (as previously mentioned) on the 'right' side of your embossing, otherwise you will get embossed cut marks on the surface.

Q: Do I need anything extra to be able to emboss with brass stencils?
A: You need to use something like compressed foam or a rubber mat as part of the stack. The Spellbinder's Wizard tan mat is ideal, as is the tan mat sold by Oyster Stamps. Some people use a mouse mat or funky foam but I've not had much success with them although they are useful as a temporary measure. Kars have also produced a foam mat for use with the cuttlebug and, although I've not had problems using it, it is very tight to get through the Cuttlebug and some people have been known to break their machine using it.

Q: I've been trying to emboss with brass stencils but it's not happening. What should I do?
A: If you've followed the recommended stack it's likely that you need to add a shim to thicken the sandwich slightly. All machines are different and, although most won't need to have a shim added, unless it's specifically mentioned in the stack, sometimes a little assistance is called for.

Q: My non-Cuttlebug dies won't cut or don't cut well. What am I doing wrong?
A: Probably nothing. If you've followed the recommended stack it's likely that you need to add a shim to thicken the sandwich slightly. All machines are different and, although most won't need to have a shim added unless it's specifically mentioned in the stack, sometimes a little assistance is called for.

Q: What's a shim?
A: A shim is an piece of cardstock cut to size and added to the stack. I use the cardstock/chipboard from the back of paper pads as it's sturdy.

Q: You keep mentioning 'stack' or 'sandwich'. What are they?
A: They're the order that you need to use the plates, cardstock (media), dies/stencils, mat and shims in to make whatever you are trying to do, work. I started by using the stack list found here but I've adjusted it to suit my own machine. I downloaded it to my PC then printed it off and, as I found where I needed to add shims or not use them so I amended the list. I would recommend that everyone does the same and then keep it with their 'bug' plates.

Q: My B plates bow when I put them through the Cuttlebug. Is this normal?
A: Yes, it's perfectly normal. I turn mine over after each use to keep them flat however some people do not advocate doing so as they say the plates are more likely to break. Provocraft themselves recommend that they're turned (or rotated**) so I'll continue to do so. It's always wise to have a spare set of plates to hand so if the plates do break (and it is more likely to be down to general usage than turning them) you have replacements ready.
** Provocraft blog - Cuttlebug Conversion dated 24th June 2008.

Q: Is there a recommended way of putting cutting dies through the machine
A: Always have the cutting side facing upwards. This is the foam side on most dies but the 'bumpy' side of Spellbinder's dies.

Q: Do you leave the foam on cuttlebug dies?
A: Yes, as it is the foam that enables easy release of the media from the die, after it has been cut. With some manufacturers you have to attach the foam after you have purchased the die.

Update 27th Sept 2009: The blog appears to be no longer available on the Provocraft site but there is now a comprehensive FAQ page in the Cuttlebug section of the site.


Oh well ...

... Christmas is over and the cards are starting to fall onto the floor as people walk past or open/close doors. Guess they reckon that they've been up long enough - lol!! Well, they have been up since Christmas Eve so think they've done well to survive this long without falling down - hehe!! Those that have fallen now can stay down as I need to go climbing to put them back. Reckon the pile of cards we had before Christmas will start to be built again ....

Not feeling too good right now. Started to feel ill last night and went to bed before 10pm (very unusual for me). Not feeling quite so bad today but my 'normal' cough is not normal at the moment and is giving me headaches and my chest sings every so often. Still, must be thankful that it's happened now and not over Christmas I guess.

Thanks for dropping by .....

Greeting Card Organiser

I found this video tutorial while I was searching for a card organiser tut for a fellow imag-e-nationer and thought it too good to miss. Fill with cards and what a lovely gift! For better quality click on the vid to go to YouTube where you'll be able to choose to 'watch in high quality'.

... and here's a link to the actual blog that has all the materials and sizings on - Dannies Designs

Update: Having thought about this one overnight I've realised that the box made here measures 7x5 inches so will accommodate 6x4 inch (A6) cards (allowing for the loss of space caused by the concertina'd sides) really well but, if you wish to 'organise' larger cards then the box will need to be somewhat bigger. I would suggest that A3 card would be needed to make a box large enough to take A5 cards. When I get 5 minutes I will put together some measurements to make a box for A5 cards but the procedure will be the same.

Update 2: Measurements for a box large enough to accommodate A5 cards, using either A3 or 12x12 cardstock, can be found here


Saturday, 27 December 2008

Not another ...!! Just added a slideshow to this post - LOL!

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Friday, 26 December 2008

I've really ...

... felt for my Dad these past couple of days. He came with me to see the littlies yesterday morning and he joined the rest of us for Christmas lunch. Today he's spent the afternoon and evening with me and hubby - well, I've just got back from taking him home as he wanted to be back 'in time for the pirate film'! Yesterday, at lunch, he had 'watery eyes' (his explanation) and then got a bit of a grump on. This morning I spoke to him about his 'upset' yesterday and he admitted he was missing Mum and thinking of how much she would have enjoyed it all with the children. This afternoon his eyes have been 'watering' a fair bit again and he says that he 'never wants another like this one'. I know he's enjoyed himself with what he's done but it seems to have made it harder for him without Mum. Perhaps it would have been better if we had treated the 'holiday' as normal days. This one was always going to be hard but, it's been harder than anticipated ...

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Thursday, 25 December 2008

Well ...

... despite me telling everyone that I didn't want anything for Christmas as there was really nothing that I wanted or needed, I did get a couple of pressies and extremely pleased with them I am as well. I've got vouchers for spending at the Glitterpot (and that includes classes - woohoo, hehe!) and vouchers for beauty treatments at a local salon - and boy, do I need them!! I can have facials, massages, reiki, indian head massage, manicures and pedicures, waxing and so on and so forth. Facial and massage is going to win over anything else, then see how much I've got left - LOL!! I also got a beautiful bunch of flowers chosen by Emma.

On top of those I got another pressie from hubby - a USB Speedo! Not sure I'll ever use it - definitely not with lappy anyway as it's quite a large thing and, as I'm not hooked up with a tower unit - and won't be for a while - it can languish in it's box. Not sure it's going to be too accurate anyway as the dial already shows 40 and it's not been out of it's box yet - LOLOL!! It was the traditional 'silly' pressie he somehow finds - lol!

Youngsters had mega loads of pressies and I think they've thoroughly enjoyed themselves and Christmas lunch was scrummy! All the better for being able to leave the mess for somebody else to clear away ......

Plenty more photos taken for the family album .......

Ooooooooooooooh yes, forgot! I gave hubby this card as I'd intended from the day I made it. Eldest son was having a look at it and asked me if I was going to keep the bits & pieces off of it - lol!! He hadn't realised that I'd made it! How good was that?????????? I was soooooo chuffed!

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Wednesday, 24 December 2008

My favourite ...

... two sites for this time of year .....

1. Norad Santa Tracker (he's extra busy right now - lol!!) and

2. Santa Claus in Lapland Check out the inside webcam during office hours but the whole site is superb!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Christmas shows ...

... at school and nursery! Even though I don't 'do' Christmas I do enjoy the things that the little ones do and to watch their little faces light up. This year is Emma's last in Primary school but it's Amy's first at Nursery. They both had Christmas shows although I only got to see Emma's because of space restrictions at the nursery. As usual camera was with me although I didn't take many photos 'cos I was too far back from the stage but ............... I took some short video clips. Pictures are rubbish - because of being too far away from the stage - but got some sound which I think is cute - lol!! Watch out for the poser (bless!) in the second clip.

Just in case she's missed here she is in all her glory ...

... and here's our little snowflake, Amy, ready for her show. Apparently she spent the whole time in silence although she sang every time in practice. She said she didn't like all the Mummy's and Daddy's being there ...........!

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Footnote: Seems really strange to me 'cos the school in the video is a school I've been involved with for 53 years-ish. It's the school I went to between the ages of 4 and 11 and it's also where we used to meet weekly for NTC (Nautical Training Corps) cadet nights and band practice for many years. That hall brings back so many memories when I walk into it. Saturday evening fund raising dances, Christmas parties, fancy dress .............

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Catching up ...

... with photo's and the like. We had a very rare occurrence in the family recently. We all met up and the whole family were there with the exception of my eldest nephew who ended up having to work. Such a shame but miracles don't happen often so a nearly miracle had to suffice .... LOL!!!

The third, and final, version of Breakfast with Santa has been uploaded here ... lol!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Simply the best ...

... show dance that Strictly Come Dancing has ever had ...... Well, I think so - LOL!! Way to go Tom & Camilla!!

Doh! Can't seem to save the high quality version but click on vid here and go to You Tube to be able to select 'watch in high quality'.

Thanks for dropping by .....

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Been playing ...

... with Windows Movie Maker! I know it's pretty basic but I've been having great fun. Version 2 of my first attempt can be found on the Breakfast with Santa entry but I shall be playing more - lol!! Reckon it's a brilliant way of putting photo's together if you have rellies in far off lands. Put them together as a 'movie' and save to disc (although they do go by email) but then you can copy the actual photos onto said disc so peeps can print off those that they want. Don't yer think it would make a lovely gift?

Doh!! Why didn't I think about it sooner?? I've got an American penpal (been corresponding since we were around 12 or 13 on and off) and - shock, horror - she doesn't have a PC and no way of communicating other than via snail mail and phone. Never know what to send her as a pressie come Christmas but ................ I'm assuming she does have a DVD player so guess what I'm gonna get ready for next year now!! Reckon a 'through the years' might go down quite well - LOL!!

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Winding down ...

... at long last! The past few weeks have been so busy I've not had time to do much by way of 'me' time! By that I mean where I can just sit and do nothing if I choose to - lol!! Having said that the time has been productive and I have a sense that something has been achieved - phew!!

Things are now ticking along towards getting Dad sorted out with care and a more managable home. He's been linked up to the Carelink system and, fortunately, he hasn't yet managed to push the button in error (he's not actually pushed it at all) although we do forget to take the alarm off of his wrist when he goes out! Think I need to put a notice by his coat to remind us as he's been out twice with the thing on his wrist - lol!! Not sure if the other end knows when he's out of range (like when he goes out) with it on - oooooooops, if they do!! He chose to have a wrist band instead of a 'necklace' which I guess is understandable, especially for a man. He's had a problem with one of his hearing aids and it still hasn't been repaired satisfactorily therefore it still can't be adjusted as needed but, there's been a bodge job done to take him through Christmas. Will need to get it looked at again after Christmas and hope they repair it properly next time. Seems that the computer can't communicate with it! Just as well he's got 2 really ....

Some weeks ago I managed to get him reading again. Dad used to be a real bookworm and I never knew him without his head in a book. A few years ago he just stopped. No idea why but it's been noticable that his memory/concentration got worse once he stopped. Anyway, he's now a proper bookworm again and there is a distinct improvement in him altogether. His memory, although still not good, is slightly better and he is much more animated. He barely watches TV any more and he's getting through books at a rate of knots. Have to say he had one where he went backwards though and I do wonder just how much of what he reads is being absorbed but I'm not bothered really - just glad of the improvement! At the moment I want to say a great big thank you to one of my imag-e-nation friends, who lives close to me. She mentioned the author Peter James and his Inspector Grace novels. They are set in and around Brighton so I bought all 4 of them. Dad started reading them on Monday and he's nearly finished the 2nd book. He loves them and says that knowing the area makes them so much more interesting as he can picture the places in his mind .... so THANK YOU JOYCE!!

I ended up having to have a new exhaust on car - doh!! Left the hearing aid place on Friday and on the way home I pulled away from a junction, up a steep hill and VVVVOOOOOOMMMMMMM!! Not a gentle blow this time but one of those full blown, all out, "what the heck is that noise that's soooooooooooo loud everyone is looking as I drive past" embarrassingly loud noises!! Was only 5 minutes from the garage so detoured off. Another first for Dad 'cos he'd never been to a garage of any type before. Up on ramp goes car and there was the problem - a huge great hole in the rear part of exhaust so another £167 later and it was all fixed. Still, got to give blessings for small mercies - it would have been more if the VAT hadn't just gone down to 15% ... LOL!!

One other good thing - I've got my specs sorted. Collected them yesterday and have to say .............. it does help when the prescription is right - LOL!!

Still to be recorded - school Christmas show and family gathering!!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Breakfast with Santa ...

... an early morning but then it was breakfast - lol!! Enjoyable - because of the littlies - but sad at the same time. This had become an annual treat for Mum to her great-grandchildren. We are meeting this Christmas with all of the 'last things Mum did' before her death earlier this year. Breakfast with Santa on Saturday was particularly poignant as it was the last thing she did by way of enjoyment before she became housebound immediately after last Christmas. Anyway, life goes on and she would have loved it, as did our littlies - and Amy didn't cry this year! In fact, she actually spoke to Santa so I guess that's the ice broken for future years - hehe!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Monday, 15 December 2008

Sooo busy ...

... and wish I could say it was all down to Christmas but it's more like - what's Christmas?? LOL!! There's been a fair bit to do with Dad but there's also been school Christmas plays, breakfast with Santa, a family get-together, shopping, meeting with friends and .............(OK, so some of it is down to Christmas, hehe!). I've photo's to sort and no time to sort them as there are still more friends to meet, more shopping, stuff with Dad and nursery Christmas events to babysit for (hardship that is - NOT!)

I feel really tired - in a good way - at the moment but reckon I can now feel why I'm losing weight without even trying. I'm looking forward to having time to sit and sort the photos so I can update blog properly but in the meantime ...... I am still alive - LOLOL!!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Nooooooooo!!! ...

... just doing a bit of blog-hopping, via Feedblitz, and started reading Stamping Caz's latest postings and shock, horror!! The Glitterpot had a fire 2 nights ago and the workshop is now closed. Fortunately the shop is still trading but it seems the fire started in the workshop and badly damaged the roof. There's a report here (local rag). Thank heaven that there was nobody there and what luck that somebody was able to raise an early alarm. I feel so sorry for Bryan and Carolyn. They've done a brilliant job with the extension recently, having more than doubled the shop floor space and adding space to deal with their mail order side. Hopefully the workroom won't be out of action for too long and they can get the workshops back up and running quickly.

Thanks for dropping by .....

UPDATE @ 16:45 - Spoke to Bryan (owner) and classes have been cancelled for this week but bookings are still being taken for all others. Rear wall has already been rebuilt but lots to do to bring workshop back into use. I've just booked a class for January .....

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Colouring Techniques Workshop

I spent a day at the Glitterpot on Friday trying to learn how to colour more effectively, with Jane Gill as tutor. Not sure it was totally successful on my part - in fact, I know it wasn't but, I have learnt what to steer clear of and what I prefer. I wasn't alone in wanting to learn this art as none other than Julie Hickey was also taking the class. Now, if a crafting guru such as Julie feels a need for a class on colouring techniques, then I reckon I shouldn't worry too much about my feeble attempts - lol!! Anyway, it was a very intensive but enjoyable day.

The colouring mediums in use were Derwent Inktense and Derwent Coloursoft, Sansodor and paper stumps (alternatively known as blending stumps). We also had a selection of papers to experiment with, from flat card to different types of watercolour paper.

We started with 2 ready stamped images to 'test the waters' before we moved onto the main project which was designed to get us experimenting as much as possible with the colouring mediums. Jane had devised a Birthday Book so we had to stamp 12 images on different media and colour using different techniques. I used my 'practise' pieces for 2 of my images as I was pleased with the way they turned out. I had a couple that I hated once done but most I was either satisfied or really pleased with. Overall I think I went against the majority as most of the class preferred working with the Inktense but personally I preferred the Coloursoft with Sansodor and blending stumps. I've been advised that the Prismacolor I own are similar to the Coloursoft but will probably need to have more area coloured to blend them effectively as they don't 'drag' quite as well - possibly!

a) Watercolour paper, Coloursoft blended with Sansodor.

b) Flat card, Inktense, brush and water.

c) Watercolour paper, chalked background and Coloursoft untouched.

d) Watercolour paper, Inktense, brush and water.

e) Watercolour paper, Inktense, brush and water.

f) Flat card, Coloursoft blended with Sansodor.

g) Watercolour paper, Coloursoft blended with Sansodor.

h) Watercolour paper, Coloursoft blended with Sansodor.

i) Watercolour paper, Coloursoft blended with Sansodor.

j) Watercolour paper, Inktense, brush and water.

k) Flat card, Inktense, brush and water.

l) Watercolour paper, Inktense, brush and water.

Cover of Jane's book....

My birthday book is not finished as yet. I've mounted all my stamped and coloured images onto the tags (all hand cut from Bazzill by Jane) which were chalked, stamped, trimmed but never left plain! I've yet to deal with the months and the title page. The pages will be held together with a book ring.

All 'ingredients' can be purchased at the Glitterpot or Google for the Inktense and Coloursoft and a selection of sites come up. Click here for Derwent's site and their full range.


A Christmas Story ...

I had this story sent to me in an email from a friend. I can't credit anyone for it 'cos I don't know who wrote it but it's another of those that tickled my sense of humour.......

When four of Santa's elves got sick the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure. Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where. Then, when he began to load the sleigh one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum but, when he went to the cupboard he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom. Just then the doorbell rang and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the angel on top of the Christmas tree!

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Aaaaawwwww ...

... bless! Got my old Dad writing his Christmas cards and gift labels today. He has real problems writing anything nowadays. Not just because he finds it hard to write but also because he has problems remembering how to spell - even his name. I've been getting him to write on all the birthday/anniversary cards since Mum died and he is getting better. Today he had loads to do - well, for him anyway! He got there in the end, with varying degrees of success, but he did it. He does prove though that if yer don't use it, yer lose it - LOL! We're not sure when the last time he had to sign cards was, other than those he's bought to give to Mum, or even if he's ever done it!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Monday, 8 December 2008

Busy day ...

... again. Should have gone to do grocery shop but instead I was on my way to the garage to get car exhaust looked at. Had a new part in late August when car was MOT'd and serviced and it had developed a 'blow' - a light one a couple of weeks ago but it got very noisy - lol!! Went with book ready for a long wait and just managed to get a couple of pages read when they tell me it's all fixed! Apparently there's a bracket that holds the joint and it had moved. They said they 'weren't blaming me' but it must have got caught! Now, if I had been off-roading in it I might have accepted that but to me, if it had been tight enough in first place it couldn't have moved, even if I had been off-roading (don't think a little Peugeot 206 would take me off-road very well in first place - lol!). Anyway, I have a quiet car again now and they didn't charge so guess that's another reason to think it was more to do with the initial tightening of the bracket .....

On way home after a couple of other errands, I found myself at the cemetery. Don't know why I went there 'cos I haven't been since May, when we dealt with Mum's ashes but, on way home from there I realised it's the 8 month anniversary of her death today. It is/was also eldest sons 18th wedding anniversary (his birthday was on the 3rd). Is/was 'cos of them separating last week but they are still married and still talking ...

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I know ...

... it's silly and I'm a saddo but I just lurrrvvve this. It really, really tickles my sense of humour!

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Sunday, 7 December 2008

I knew it ....

... I just knew they weren't right!!

I had new specs at the end of August and within a fortnight I'd had them adjusted twice 'cos I wasn't happy with my vision when using them (varifocals). I've never had a pair of specs that I've had to fiddle with so much. I've been wearing varifocals for 10 years or more and, apart from the initial fitting, I've only ever had problems once before. Usually I put 'em on, have them fitted properly and away I go - happy bunny! This pair have driven me to distraction but, going by the 'give it time to get used to them' advice (although I've never needed time before) I've done that. Nights started to draw in and driving in the dark. Could I see? Could I 'eck as like! Road signs became a blur until I was on top of them and it has been driving me crazy. No amount of fiddling gave me that nice crisp, clear picture that I so needed.

Friday I gave in and went back to my old specs - perfick! - I could see again.

Yesterday off to opticians I went. Ended up having eyes retested this afternoon and ............. my prescription was wrong! Seems that long distance is the same as old specs and just needed stronger lenses for close distance. What I'd got was stronger distance and same close. No wonder everything was blurred! Trouble was, in good light it wasn't really noticeable, it was only as night fell and in the dark ......

Now I've got to wait for new lenses so I'm back to my old specs until they're ready.

Thanks for dropping by .....

Saturday, 6 December 2008

What a week ...

... and where to start? On top of the new car and my classes, this week has been quite eventful!

Eldest's marriage is definitely over. The fact he's arranged his wages to be paid into his personal bank account instead of the joint one and he's also changed his address at the bank and his place of work means he's serious! No going back this time but a lot don't make it to 18 years of marriage (my first didn't last that long), especially when they were only just 18 when they got married. It's good to have him home but will be better for him when he can get a place of his own. Grandson wants to live with him when that happens (we can't put them both up) which I'm not surprised about if I'm honest. Think grand-daughter would like to as well but doesn't want to tell her Mum that. Awkward for a 12 year old, not so much for a 17 year old .....

Dad's caseworker called and she's arranging some respite care and is recommending him for Extra Care Sheltered Housing - yesssssssssss!! There is a new facility being built around 10 minutes away (used to park near where it's being built every day when I was employed). It won't be ready until May-ish but it looks really good. Reckon I might be interested - LOL!! Now got to keep fingers crossed - and anything else we can cross - that he's not too late and gets a place. She didn't know how many others had been referred so there may be too many ahead of him already as there's only 40 flats available. Really nice person though and she said that I was to contact her at any time I needed more help. Can't say fairer than that but I reckon that a bit of respite will help and, if Dad gets into this place, that will definitely help.

He had his doc's appointment as well. Bloods showed no underlying infection to blame for the way he is but, as he's having a good period doc decided not to take it any further at the moment ................ now why aren't I surprised?? We've to monitor things with him and if the bad times start to out-number the good then I'm to let him know and he will proceed with referral for assessment! Knew that seeing him at his best wouldn't help the cause still, at least caseworker seemed to realise so had no prob recommending the extra care.

On top of all this, problems started kicking off on the forum .......... again! I've never known so much trouble over such a prolonged period of time, by so few people and, all over a personality clash that the parties concerned can't sort out like adults. Unfortunately they choose not to ignore one another either and have acted like kids in the playground, affecting everybody else along the way. The one good thing to come out of it, from my point of view, is that there are no longer any admins/moderators so that pressure is off - and what a relief! I had already told another admin I was going to 'resign' (can you resign from a post you don't get any recompense for - only hassle?) 'cos I'd just about had enough of it but she talked me round. Now everybody has to take complete responsibility for what they say and do and people may also realise just how much 'stuff' went on behind the scenes that nobody is aware of. With no admin in place the children decided to take full advantage and I'm ashamed to admit to 'rising to the bait' a few times (effect of having the gag off) and for that I'm truly sorry as it effectively dragged me down to the same level. In deciding not to react further and just watch what was going on, some true colours showed including the fact that some have a propensity to selective memory and exaggeration - all stuff that fuels fires - which I could have come back on but chose to ignore, rather than stoke the fire. Comment was also made about something which happened that this particular member knew nothing about and, if they did, would know this recent bit of trouble was really very petty by comparison. Hopefully, now the forum owner has taken the steps he has, we can get back to what it's actually about and it's not these playground battles. I, for one, shall certainly enjoy it more now that I'm back to being a bog-standard member ... as I once was ..... LOL!!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Friday, 5 December 2008

I had ...

... a lovely day today. A full day's class with Jane Gill again. Seems all the classes that take my eye are with Jane! Floral Punch Craft is understandable but this one was on Colouring Techniques. I have this habit of ruining things when I start to put colour to them - unless it's with pastels, of the chalk variety, or pencil crayons. I have no probs with using them and can get definition, shape and whatever else you can think of with them but, start to add colour with a brush or anything similar and I'm in big trouble! Decided the class sounded just what I needed. A very intensive day (Jane commmented on how quiet we all were), where I learnt a lot and confirmed that I'm just destined to ruin something with colour that needs water added - LOLOL!! At least I know what to steer clear of in the future ....

There will be photo's added to Crafty Bits blog, with brief descriptions of what was used and on what media but, as yet, I haven't finished the project we were given. Not sure it will be for some while but it was designed for practising the techniques.

The sun started to set as we were clearing away and some of us just had to stop to take photo's. It was stunning! My photo's of sunsets never usually come out that well but I was quite pleased with this one. Still not as beautiful as the real thing but hey - enjoy! (Taken from the Glitterpot's workroom window)

Thanks for dropping by .....

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Ooooooooo yes! ...

... Hubby went and ordered a brand new car yesterday! It'll be the first ever, brand new car he's had. He's been driving over 50 years so decided that it was time, before he got too old to enjoy it. How old is too old in his mind? I have no idea, especially as he's 69 in February (the month the car will be ready) - lol!! Have to say, his age is always a point of argument with people, including my bro and sister-in-law, as he looks a good 10 years younger so nobody ever believes us! Told him he should carry his birth cert around with him!! Just wish people would knock 10 years off of me instead of adding 'em on - LOL!!

Anyway, have to say the new car is courtesy of Motobility. Hubby has never been a fan and always bought his own cars but, it's changed so much over the past few years that he decided to look into it again. Result being that we now have or rather, he has, a brand new Volvo V70 SE Lux Estate on order, caper green in colour - and luxurious it is to!! Doubt that I'll get to drive it much as haven't driven the car he has at the moment but I'm a named driver for emergencies .... I've got my own car.

Actually got to see my brother today - LOL! He finally found his way to Dad's. First time since May/June time and he only lives about 40 minutes away (quicker on a good day). He stayed and chatted for around an hour but I guess we should be grateful he managed that. No offer of help forthcoming though - just a comment that what I was doing was above, and beyond, the call of duty - derrrrrrrrrrrr!!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Mixed ...

... few days.

Had a lovely, crafty day with friend's from the imag-e-nation forum on Friday. Pippa played host as she's done a couple of times previously. She is a wonderful hostess and always does us proud with the venue and the lunch she lays on. 6 of us descended on her this time. Debs, Kaz, Jackie, JanR, Cathy, me and of course Pippa made 7! We repaid her by trashing her kitchen with embossing paste and glitter - rofl!! Oh boy, did we trash her kitchen!! Well, I seemed to manage to do so really well. My embossing was fine - really impressed with it. Then I made a big mistake .............. I added some glitter!

Somehow, whenever I have to add colour to something, I manage to mess it up and this time was no exception. After failing miserably with 2 attempts I had a third and used a different glitter. That was so much better that I'm going to blame my failures, not on the embossing or me but on the glitter that I used - lol!! I need to thank Debs and Pippa for the demo's and instructions and help along the way. Sorry I was such a rubbish pupil (a word beginning with 'c' comes to mind but I prefer to be polite in my commentary - LOL!) .......( Right - My 1st failure)

After the superb lunch - some of which were contributions from the others - I attempted to demonstrate the poinsettia's (found here) that I made in Jane Gill's class a little while ago. I'd already punched the shapes to save time and provided a piece of the backing paper used on my card. Everyone took the finished 'flowers' home to make into a card and from the results posted on the forum I must have got the instructions over reasonably well as I'm very impressed with the finished results. I only made one 'flower' as I wanted to be free to help when, or if, it was needed. I'd taken the relevant punches and papers and everybody punched shapes to take home as well so I'm hoping to see some more examples of cards made. Reckon I will try using just the one as an accent on a card at some point!

(L-R: Debs, Jackie, Kaz, Pippa, JanR, Cathy)

I soooo don't like 'tutoring' or whatever you want to call it. It is way out of my comfort zone and I feel completely tongue-tied when trying to explain things. Doing is one thing, explaining is another!

Fortunately Dad has been having a calm period so it's not been so stressful doing my twice daily visits. Isn't it awful to wish but, his case worker is coming on Wednesday and he's to see the doctor on Thursday to start his dementia assessment. They both really need to see him at his worst but looks as though they're going to be seeing him at his best! Not a good omen for the help that we need .....

Unfortunately, something that has been going on in the background for some time now has come to a head and ........... eldest son has returned home! It's great to have him back but unfortunate that it has had to happen. You can only try to make things work for so long and he's been trying for over 2 years now but it takes 2 to make a relationship work. Hopefully we can give him the space and time to regroup and eventually move on to the next stage in his life. He's been married 18 years in 8 days time but it's only his 36th birthday on Wednesday so he's plenty of time ahead of him and he's still young enough to move on. It's strange but, they could end up good friends ...... That's been the reason for the recent activity of the trips to the Dogs Trust, the tip and offering stuff on Freecycle. I've been preparing the room but hoping it wouldn't be needed!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Stamping & Floral Punch Craft with SU!

An evening with Joanne and like-minded people (19th November). Joanne is not just a very talented crafter but a Stamping Up demonstrator as well so, the evening was spent using a variety of Stamping Up goodies to make 2 really pretty projects - with a little spend at the end - lol!!

This A6 card is really suited to the coming season. Unfortunately the photo does not do it justice. It is most definitely better 'in the flesh'!

3 shapes per flower were punched using the 5 Petal Flower punch - 2 in Ruby Red and one in Old Olive. Veins were scribed on each petal/leaf, which had been cut further towards the centre to aid shaping, then they were cupped slightly and layered - offsetting the petals - to make the complete flowers. Sequins were added for the centres. A flourish was stamped 3 times onto the white card and the Stamp-a-ma-jig used to position the greeting. A piece of Holiday Treasures Designer paper was layered onto Chocolate Chip cardstock and Old Olive grosgrain ribbon knotted round. This was then layered onto the base card of Old Olive and the white, stamped card layered on top of that. Finally the flowers were positioned and stuck in place.

Products used:~
Season of Joy and Seasonal Wishes stamp sets.
Old olive - grosgrain ribbon, base card and ink.
Layering - chocolate chip, whisper white and Holiday Treasures Designer Paper.
Flowers - 5 Petal Flower Punch and Ruby red cardstock

This was actually the first card we made ... this tiny, but very pretty, one. It is 9.5cm square. The edge of the card was trimmed with a cuttlebug folder. A square, cut and embossed with a nestability, was masked with a post-it note up to the embossed line. The background was stamped in Mellow Moss (stamped off on spare paper to lighten the stamping) and then the foreground was stamped using Rose Red and Mellow Moss markers to ink the stamp. The square was matted onto a scalloped nestability square cut from Rose Red cardstock and then stuck to the base card.

Products used:~
Pocket Silhouettes stamp set
Inks - Rose red, mellow moss
Card - Rose red, whisper white
Forest Branches cuttlebug A2 folder



I've been tagged by Toni - thanks Toni - I think - LOLOL!
With this tag I have to give 7 interesting facts about myself and then pass the tag on to 7 more people. Not sure how interesting any of these will be to others but ..... it's a bit of fun!

1. I've climbed Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica.- absolutely loved it but, no way could I do it now ... no matter how much I'd like to. Health wouldn't allow :0((

2. I've shot for 2 counties as an archer - Surrey and Sussex - although only ever lived in Sussex and was invited to shoot for Sussex again, 3 years ago, on my return to the sport after a 13 year layoff.

3. I used to play a bugle, tenor drum and side drum in a marching band and ended up as the Drum Major before becoming too old to be a member.

4. I love old musical, mythical and swashbuckling films. Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Harry Hamlin etc - just love 'em !

5. I'm a collector of owls - in any non-living shape or form - as well as craft stuff!

6. I'm a very proud Mum to 2 handsome sons (well, I think they are) and Nana to 5 beautiful grandchildren (although the eldest wouldn't appreciate being called beautiful - lol!) ranging from 17 years old down to 11 weeks young.

7. I ate Theodore at my B&B for the North Yorkshire meet (there's an entry relating!)

Not sure who to pass this on to at the moment so I'll come back to that .....

Thanks for dropping by .....

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Stamping and Floral Punch Craft.

Here are my versions of the beautiful cards we made at the North Yorkshire meet on 1st November, where Jak was our tutor. The morning class was taken up with stamping and the afternoon, Floral Punch Craft. (click on photos for a larger image)

The stamped Christmas card used several techniques including shadow stamping (making use of a stamp positioner), heat embossing and highlighting with Sakura stardust pens. We stamped the reindeer in Brilliance white and, once dry, we used the stamp positioner to slightly offset the black image stamped on top which gave the shadow effect. The greeting was stamped and heat embossed and the other stamped images were highlighted with the Sakura stardust pen. Everything was then matted and layered using mirri board - lovely to look at but awful to photograph - lol!! The whole card was then edged with Krylon pen, after practising on an offcut of card!
The trees are Stampscape stamps (available unmounted or mounted) and the reindeer is a Penny Black stamp.

The sweetpea card was made from shapes punched out of thin card using the 'sweetpea' punch. They were then coloured with a Marvy pen and softened with water and brush. Each part of the punched shapes were then given form using a large embossing tool and were moulded and stuck in place with PVA glue. Tendrils were made from fine strips of green card and the leaves added to the backs of the flowers. They were then stuck to circles cut with Spellbinder's nestabilities and everything was layered up onto a card that had been scored using a ScorPal. A ribbon and crystals were added as a final trim.

The 'Happiness' card was made with two punched blossom shapes and one 'splat' shape per flower. Each petal was embossed to give form and then petals made to 'pop up' by pressing the middle of the individual shapes before they were layered up, off-setting the petals. Stamens were made and added to the centre of each complete flower after the tips had been coloured. The greeting was stamped on a square nestability shape, using Brilliance ink and then, everything was layered onto another card scored on a ScorPal with a ribbon as the finishing touch.

I loved making these cards, particularly the stamped Christmas card as I learnt a lot from doing that but, I also learnt different ways of using my FPC tools to those I've already learnt .... It's always good to have a different take on things!

All punches are available from 'Scrappily Ever After'