Friday, 27 October 2017

Nearly 7 months ...

... of 'radio' - OK, blog, silence 'nawty' me!  I've just been reading some posts from way back in the first year of this blog because of a messenger convo I've been having with a friend this evening.  I started the blog intending it as a crafty one back in March 2008.  Mum suddenly took seriously ill and died within 4 days in April 2008.  The blog took a change of direction very quickly and became my way of dealing with what was going on.  It helped me deal with my emotions over the following months and years while looking after Dad and dealing with all the other things that life brings.  It became my release.  Then it became more like a diary and none of it was done with a view, or thought, of how public it was.  From my point of view it was for me.  If anyone read it that was fine but I wasn't bothered.  I started a second blog - called PeeJays Crafty Bits - just for craft stuff.  That blog I finally deleted this month.  There was nothing on it except a redirect back to this one.  I'd used it as intended for this one, initially.  Then this one had served it's purpose and I started posting crafty stuff on here and on Crafty Bits.  I was beginning to repeat.  I merged both to this one, my original.  Then I virtually stopped blogging and since then it's been on and off.

Strangely, when Dad became ill I didn't feel the need to blog as I did with Mum.  We lost Dad just before Christmas in 2011.  I was flat clearing and funeral arranging over that Christmas.  His cremation took place on 3rd Jan 2012.  He would have been 90 at the end of that month and he would have become a great-great grandad 9 days after his cremation.  I still didn't feel the need to use the blog in the way I did with Mum.  In 2010 my hubby was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  In the past 3 years he's had 3 long periods in the hospice - not once was he expected to come home.  He did, each time.  Last July (2016) all barr one medic had given up on him and he was effectively sent home for his 'last days'.  That one medic insisted that a treatment be made available to him.  6 months is the usual time anyone is on it.  Hubby has just completed his 16th cycle.  It's possible that will have been his last.  We've had a brilliant year but the last few months haven't been too good.  He's had sepsis and it seems to have left him open to the slightest upset.  A failed CT scan a couple of weeks ago affected him badly and he's still suffering.  He's since had a successful CT scan.  We may get the result next week when we see the oncologist.  We're expecting bad news.  We're expecting no more of the medication he's on now.  We've been told that his kidneys are not good enough for full blown chemo.  We're expecting to be told that there is no more treatment available.  We're expecting, but we're hoping!  I may be using the blog again ..... I don't know.

In the past 7 months I've been crafting.  I've been on a craft retreat in Aberdeen (my first ever trip to Scotland and to a part of my maternal ancestral area).  There's been another House Party (the 9th year).  I've been on my very first cruise and hubby and I have had a couple of weeks away together.   I've lots of photos.  I've photos of holidays, retreats, cards, mixed media and all sorts.  I've not been in the right frame of mind to blog.  I've not felt a need to blog.  I've considered closing the blog completely.  I'm keeping it open.  I may need it!
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

4th workshop ...

... was Linda's.  Something different.  We made home decor items instead of a card or even toppers *LOL*

Using Stampin' Up Succulent Garden stamps and dies and a selection of different containers - and moss!

Looking forward to Linda's next class.  We're doing a kinetic card ..... hopefully *grin*

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Monday, 3 April 2017

Oyster Stamps Heartfelt Creations ...

... workshop, West Wittering.  Really looked forward to this one.  Thought it was going to be worth the 90 mile round trip. It turned out to be quite disappointing. We spent more time sitting waiting, chatting, eating, drinking or queuing to use machines, than actually crafting.  We were supposed to make 2 cards.  Sample cards were beautiful.  In reality we didn't make a card at all. 

The black and white card had to be stamped and the apertures cut after the stamping had been done and that's where the first main wait was.  The stamp was already lined up on a Misti so we literally had to stamp and then go cut.  After that it was a case of adding some glitter and matting and layering up onto the backing card given - but no card blank so no complete card was made.  Total time it would have taken to make this card without any waiting time?  Around ½ an hour as a guesstimate, certainly no more than an hour.  That part done it was nearly lunch time - or rather, we had a long wait to start the next card so some of us had our lunch. *grin*
The floral topper was more complicated.  We had to actually colour, shape and construct the flowers so a reasonable amount of crafting was needed.  Everything was cut for us, including the die cut border but we had to trim the card to position the borders to our liking.  We chose our own sentiment stamp from a selection.  Again, we were given everything to matt and layer onto with the exception of the actual base card so we were actually just making a topper.  Flowers and leaves coloured, made, glittered ready to put together and that's as far as mine got.  Our toppers were not going to look much like the sample card.  No flourish was given and neither was the silver border backing that the sample card had.  We were only given one bow so no contrast colour (I lightly inked the edges of mine but it's not obvious).  I will finish both cards , eventually, once I've found some card or card blanks to do so ... and some time to do them in.
Me & Cally on the right, working on the morning black & white topper
This workshop should have run from 10:30 to 3/3:30-ish.  It started on time, we spent time as mentioned previously.  We spent time browsing the shop.  We (me & Cally) finished before 3 but that's because we chose not to finish our toppers there however, others did and still finished with time to spare.   Both toppers could have been made in a morning or afternoon workshop.  Would we do another with Oyster?  What do you think? *ROFL!*

UPDATE:  Eventually finished and here's my versions with what we were given .... plus my own card blanks, ribbon and gems.  Think I should've found a swirl or something for the floral one, as well, but they are what they are!

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Sunday, 2 April 2017

March ....

... the 2nd part *ROFL*

Busy! Bed making, 4 workshops, movies, hospital appointments (the OH, not me), opticians (me, not the OH), Mother's Day, a new toy for the OH and a tip run for me.  Some covered here, others for the future .....

The bed replacement went well.  It took me an afternoon, once I got time to work on it, before I got to a stage where I needed a little help - or so I thought.  I realised afterwards that I could have done it completely on my own by just putting a part together in a different way to the instructions but hey-ho, youngest came and gave me the 15 minutes of help needed and I finished putting it together a couple of afternoons later.
From this ....

To this .....
Time taken in total, not allowing for the frequent breaks I needed ... about 2 to 3 hours.  Tip run?  To get rid of all the blimming cardboard, polystyrene and plastic packaging.  All in all this bed gave me a good workout, that's for sure, but not bad for an old girl *wink*

Workshops ... in order of appearance
Oyster Stamps, held at West Wittering.  That'll be in another post *grin*
Clair & Sharni's .... cards, details made follow
Linda Goble ... something a little different and another post
Helen Winstone ... a Stampin' Up afternoon and very enjoyable - cards at end.

Clair & Sharni's workshop this time were cuties
Clair's card 
 Stamps: Wild Rose Studio Dog with a Heart stamp, Stampin' Up Best  Wishes,
 Dies: MFT Stitched Stax, Mama Elephant Mini Tags
 Background: Nuvo mousse, Tonic stencil
Sharni's card
 Stamps: WRS Bunny Ballerina, Lawn Fawn Happy, Happy, Happy
 Dies:  Lawn Fawn Happy, Happy, Happy,  MFT Stitched Scallop Basic edge 1

Helen's Stampin' Up workshop.  I love this stamp set ...

More will follow - at some point *wink*

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

So what's happened ...

... during the last 2 weeks?  Apart from that monstrosity of a ring, the bits that went to auction sold.  Most went for lowest estimate but a couple went over the highest.  Not by much.  The biggest surprise was 4 silver pieces.  A bracelet, pendant, brooch and bangle.  They sold for more than expected.  Big ring goes to auction next week.  Seems it's rated.  They've used it in their promo material and it's featured on the relevant page of the catalogue.  Keeping fingers crossed for the OH that it fetches more than the estimate. We'll see.

It seems to have been a bit of a crazy fortnight. We've had visits to the hospice, a new car for the OH, an old bed base collected for dumping and a new one delivered ..... with a story!  Inbetween there's been more crafty 'stuff' listed for sale (check that out via the tab at the top), a visit to the movies, a Clair & Sharni workshop and a crafting retreat booked.  

New car .... a Volvo XC60.  Shorter but bodywise, slightly wider, than the XC70 but .... inside it seems smaller all round.  Think there must be more 'impact zone' protection.  Boot space, not so much either.  Takes the wheelchair sideways on.  Not much room left once wheelchair is in there.  Was plenty left with the XC70.  OH likes the new car though and he's the one driving it.  Reckon it'll be a good while before I'm allowed to *ROFL!*  I had no input into this car.  He chose everything, including the colour.  Probably why it looks like a funeral car ......
New bed base .... arrived as expected and early, Friday morning.  Friday afternoon I went and opened both boxes (flat pack, needing to be put together).  Checked everything there.  Fine.  Had youngest on standby to help put together but he was in Gran Canaria for the weekend so decided to see how far I could get putting it together on my own ..... ottoman bedframe, double size, 66 year old female .... what could go wrong, eh?  On the face of it, nothing.  
Managed to get very heavy boxes moved, opened, contents checked etc. Started to put together. Going well.  Need to fix sides to head and foot boards.  Small room, can't move bed around when together so put headboard in situ and work from there.  Problem!  Headboard won't fit in space for bed which means ... bed too big.  Not all doubles are the same width, it seems, and guess who hadn't measured the space before ordering bed???  Just an inch too wide but too much to even force the situation.  
Saturday, spent afternoon trying different configs in room (really need the storage the bed provides - as last one did but this has more) but either wardrobe doors blocked or bedroom door wouldn't close.  Choices - same style but small double with a possibility of having to dump brand new mattress for a smaller one of forget the storage (not really an option) and have a 'normal' double base that fits the space available.  Decision made, retailer contacted and they're doing a straight swap - same bed, smaller size.  Got to wait until next Tuesday but not a problem.  Wrong bed all reboxed and ready for collection.  Hoping I can make the new mattress work on the smaller bed *grin*  Waiting for round 2 now *LOL!*

Workshop - a couple of different cards.  I don't think I'll have a use for them but enjoyed doing them, none-the-less. Something a little different to normal. I didn't read what we needed to take.  I just looked at the pictures.  With everything else going on it never entered my head to read or even look too closely so I never took any colouring equipment with me.  Fortunately Cally did.  She brought her Sharpies along so these were coloured with Cally's Sharpies.  Have to say I was a tad pleased with the result *LOL!*

Sharni's card ..... all Lawn Fawn, stamps and dies

Clair's card ..... a little bit of 'sewing' *lol!* Again, all Lawn Fawn stamps.  The circular die is Little B Pierced Circles and the 'square' die Lifestyle Crafts Rounded Corner Squares

I've booked myself into a crafting retreat in May.... in Aberdeen!  I've never been to Scotland.  I'm flying up.  Hope to have a couple of days sightseeing as it's the area one of my 'greats' came from.  I believe she was in service at Balmoral at some point.  Would be good if I could get there.  3x great-grandmother (2x great-grandfather's mother) is buried in Strachan cemetary.  1x Great-grandmother was born in Banchory. Can't find much detail about those that came inbetween.

Nephew had his 22nd birthday in New Zealand and, I guess, you could say he's on his way home.  About 2/3rds of the way through his world cruise now and in a few days will be repeating a day as he crosses the International Date Line.  He's currently on his way to Fiji!  It's alright for some *LOL!*
He's now completed .....
Malta - Athens - Heraklion - Port Said - Suez Canal - Suez - Aqaba - Salalah - Muscat - Dubai - Mumbai - Cochin - Colombo (Sri Lanka) - Penang - Singapore - Semerang - Bali ....
Perth - Melbourne - Adelaide -  Kangaroo Island - Sydney - Milford Sound - Doubtful Sound - Dusky Sound - Dunedin - Akaroa - Wellington - Tauranga - Auckland ....
Spring is in the air.  Weather has been beautiful recently.  Long may it continue * grin*

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Having a clear out ...

... of my crafty stuff.  Some pieces have just been added to my Items for Sale page (click on tab at top of page).  Keep checking back as it will be added to over time.  All items for sale are being offered elsewhere.

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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

I'm not doing ...

... very well blogging lately.  Eleven days since the last one.  Not good.  What's happened in that 11 days?  More decluttering.  Loft is finished with for the time being.  There's still a little bit in there but it is only a little bit so I'm not worrying about that now.  I've descended on the junk room/loft extension/intended craft room.  I can now actually walk through from front to back without having to go mountaineering.  That's a huge amount of progress but .... the landing is now full up again.  I take stuff out of the room and deal with it on the landing.  I have piles.  I have a pile for giving away.  I have a pile to attempt selling and I have a pile to keep.  So far the 'keep' pile is way smaller than the other 2 but that's fine.  It's what I was hoping for.

From the depths of the loft came some bits and pieces the OH kept of his Mum's when she passed away.  They've been in the loft ever since.  She passed away in March 1999!  He kept what he thought had some value.  I disagreed that it had value but we went through it.  Some he decided could go straight to the charity shop and it went.  Some he wanted to find out for sure.  There was one ring we knew was of value.  The rest ... well!  On Friday I took it all to an auction house.  Some of it came home and is now in a box for the charity shop.  Some of it stayed and will be auctioned.  All, apart from the ring, will be auctioned next Monday in the weekly general sale.  Most are going in as mixed lots ... 2 Steiff animals and a cloth doll as one, for example.  A selection of silver jewellery as another and some costume jewellery another. The ring is being auctioned in the Spring Fine Sale, mid March.  It's big, it's ugly but most people seem to like it.  I don't!
The OH had his appointment with the oncologist last week.  Things are staying as is with his medication for the time being.  Mainly because A) his PSA, although gradually climbing, is still lower than it was before he started the treatment and B) he'd not had the report on the CT scan the OH had on 8th February.  Oncologist wasn't happy about that and neither were we really.  It would show the state of the cancer.  If it's spread significantly then the treatment may need to be looked at again.  Without that report he's working blind.  When he gets the report he'll call us in if he deems it necessary.  If he doesn't he's seeing the OH in May and the current treatment will continue, at least until then.  He's now on the 10th cycle.  Apparently the average 6.  He's doing OK on it at the moment *grin*

We've had a couple of good Saturday evenings.  First one saw my brother & sister-in-law visit (it's their son on the world cruise).  Chinese takeaway and a laugh. especially in trying to get a selfie of the 4 of us *LOL*  Then it was pretty much repeated this past Saturday when the family descended (with the exception of one granddaughter, sadly, although a 'step' joined us) - and all because the OH had reached the grand old age of 77!  Neither selfie photos are much good but a few glasses of the grape, a selfie stick and a lot of laughter isn't conducive to clear sharp photos *shock*  Still a good time was had both evenings, by all involved.
Thursday was Clair's workshop day.  Male cards this week - as requested by a few of us.  Men's cards always seem to be a problem for a lot of people.  Personally I've never really had that much of a problem but it's good to have a change from the flowers or cutsie ones.  I'm not necessarily a flowery or cutsie person so perhaps that's why I don't find men's cards too much of a problem.  My craft shopping leans towards Christmas (which I don't like - so why???) and male, or things that can be utilised for male, cards.  Anyhoo - I took a couple of new embossing folders with me.  One's I'd bought with a view to using with the technique we were using - a revisited one with a twist on one of the cards.
Clair's card
Sharni's card
Both cards used plumbers self adhesive aluminium tape.  Clair's card also used plasterboard scrim and and punched shapes. The Happy Birthday die is MFT.  Sharni's card used an embossing folder.  I used one of the ones I took - an Xcut one called basket weave but I thought it looked ideal to use with this technique. The stamp set is an SU one.  I'm enjoying the new format to the workshops. The smaller groups and 2 cards.  We're actually filling the whole time working now instead of spending half of it chatting and not working *wink*   Just wish that Cally & I got to sit together sometimes.  I'm spending more time with other people than I do with Cally now - lol!

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Friday, 17 February 2017

Feeling ...

... accomplished!  I've been busy clearing our loft.  It was full to capacity and now it's practically empty.  Everything's gone to charity and I'm still in a decluttering frenzy.  I've finally made it into the room that should have become my craft room ??? years ago.  Lost count of how many years ago it stopped being a bedroom and units were installed for me to use.  Have they ever?  Nope!  It's been used as an extension to the loft.  It is now being cleared and sorted.  I'm aiming to have a working craft room this year - in fact, determined!  There is not just the junk to sort but what craft stuff has made it's way into the room.  I'm sure most will need to be found new homes but the charity benefitting from this hive of activity is the Martlets hospice that have been helping to keep the OH going for the past couple of years.  He's certainly had a lot of help from them, as have I.  Seems only right to put something back in any way we can.

Keeping track of nephew, inbetween time.  He's on his world cruise, about a third of the way through at the moment.  He's been to some amazing places and is currently at sea on his way to Perth, Australia.  Itinerary is here.  The places he's been already? 
Port Said
Suez Canal
Colombo - Sri Lanka
Bali ...
Am I jealous?  You betchya!  Well, jealous is probably a bit strong as it's not an emotion I generally suffer from but envious, certainly.

It's the OH's birthday next week.  I had a playday at Greta's yesterday with Cally, Debs and Kim.  I actually made his birthday card .... *shock!*  Made from the freebies in this month's Making Cards mag and some feathers from Greta's stash.  First time I've ever made something with a mag freebie.  Just loved the paper pack and stamp set that came with it - and the 3 issues for £3 offer that was within *happy*
 We have a busy birthday week for him ... hospice, oncologist and, hopefully, the cancer centre for the next month's supply of meds.  That depends on what happens with the oncologist!

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Sunday, 12 February 2017

2nd workshop ...

 ... done and dusted.  Finally got round to photographing the first one's makings along with the second.  Workshops have a new format.  We're now making 2 cards per workshop.  One is designed by Clair and the other by her daughter, Sharni.  The workshop is now split in 2 and each lead the half with their card design.  We're also told where we're sitting each time so we don't choose for ourselves.  We get to sit with different workshop members each time which is fine.  Only problem Cally & I have is that we don't get our 'catch up' time if we're not near each other.  We have the trip there and back in the car - and that's not long *sad*  Spend more time with others than we get with each other now - *ROFL*  Still, we've a play day at Greta's this week.  An 'au revoir' meet up before Kim departs for pastures new.  She's off to live near Prague.  We don't want her to go *sad*  We'll see her again in June for our annual Crafter's House Party though *woo hoo*

In the meantime, workshop cards .....
Those made in January - 
Clair's design - MFT stencil andstamps, Mama Elephant dies
Sharni's design - MFT dies & stamps
This weeks workshop cards ...
I've adapted Clair's design slightly.  She had hers mounted straight, I've got it on a jaunty angle.  Clair had coloured the background buds and leaves.  I decided to leave the as black and white line images, however I've mounted the image in such a way that I can colour it if I change my mind.  I also added some crystal for a bit of 'bling'
Clair's design - Stampin' Up & MFT stamps, Sue Wilson dies
My version of Sharni's design looks as though it's got some mauve sequins on.  It hasn't but they are iridescent so take on lots of different colours in different lights.
Sharni's design - Stampin' Up stamps, Sizzix embossing folder.
Last week I finally managed to blag some photos taken at our workshop craft day in November with John Bloodworth.  Clair had arranged for a local guy to come and take photos for a local website.  That guy is my window cleaner *ROFL*.  I've asked him a couple times for some copies, particularly one of the group with Maisy.  He sent me that one and a few more last week.  I checked with him for permission to share them with the workshop group and he kindly agreed I could, so I did, except for one *wink*  I'm sure he won't mind me sharing a couple here.

The Motley Crew
Really think I should have combed my hair after we'd been outside but it didn't see a comb all day *shock!*

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Friday, 27 January 2017

... and a Happy New Year!

OK, I know, it's late!  February next week.  Had a lot going on and no 'ooomph' to write blog posts.

December and Greta's playday.  As expected, not a lot of crafting got done although a good trial of 2 stamping tools took place - MISTI and the WRMK Precision Press.  I'd bought both.  A whole day of stamping this and that by me and some of the others and I decided I preferred the WRMK Precision Press.  Came home and sold the MISTI +extras.  Long story short (and a case of good karma in my direction as it turned out) and I ended up getting over £70 for it, nett.  Very happy bunny as I'd had to put up with some really nasty moron (as it turned out) through the transaction so I guess it became compo as well.

Christmas came and went and then it was back to normal with hospital appointments etc for the OH.  He had a 'blip' which could have been a kidney infection but wasn't.  Oncologist appointment meant we had a convo we'd rather not have had.  Told we may be optimistic in having our booked holiday in September.  Also told to keep a close relationship with the hospice.   Day after - everything back to normal!  Now we're not sure what's likely to happen. The OH is to have a CT scan before he sees oncologist again and the nurse specialist he saw this week had been asked to assess him for pain and overall well-being.  Fortunately he's doing well again so hoping things will continue as they are at the mo. She will be reporting back positively.  Seems chemo may not be an option at all so we may have exhausted all available treatment if what he's on now is stopped.  We're hoping to have a different, more positive, convo with the oncologist next month.  We know that 'that' convo will probably happen at some point though.  We're not ready for it yet!

Youngest found a flat and moved out.  So much better for him.  More space and it means the youngsters also have more space to stay over with him.  So pleased to see him happy in his new home.   It's a work in progress, getting things together, but slowly, slowly.  It's a long time since any of us have had to start from scratch.  We've managed to loan him some bits to tide him over.

I broke my laptop *sad*  I now have a perfectly OK laptop that I can't use because ..... I cleaned the screen!  OK, I didn't clean the screen properly.  I squirted cleaner directly onto it instead of onto a cloth.  Didn't catch the runs quick enough and the liquid got into the connections.  After a while screen started going odd and turning white.  Logging of and signing in again brought it back for a while but it kept doing it until it opened up on the white screen *oops!*  Techy hubby of a friend took it to look at and told me he thought the screen driver had blown - kaput!  Fortunately hard drive was fine and all info still on it so that's been put in a case as an external and the OH has given me a new/old laptop he had (barely used).  Driving me up the wall though 'cos I can't get it to 'wake up' from sleep with the keyboard or mouse.  Tried everything I've found on Google to put that right (seems a fairly common problem with W10) but nothing's worked so far.  I may just treat myself to a brand new, all singing and dancing, one ..... we'll see

I've finished the photo book for our October holiday *YAY!*  As normal I left it pretty much to the last minute.  Bought a credit in November, with 3 months to complete it in.  A month left and I'd not started.  Panic - I know it can take me 4 or 5 weeks to put a book together.  Cheat!   I used an older book I'd done for the layouts/guidance.  A few tweaks here and there as I added the photos - job done - but not before I'd deleted all the photos in the album by mistake and had to upload them all again and restart!  Wish I could embed the online copy like I used to be able to but seems Blogger still won't allow it.  Link instead .......

Had the first (for me) card workshop of the year this week.  Good to be back.  I've not photographed the cards yet ... new format to workshops with Clair.  2 tutors, 2 cards.  Excellent!

... and that's pretty much the rest of December - and most of January - in a nutshell!  Just got to sort out photos *grin*

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