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Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Dear Reader

Well, it's nearly here! I've finished work for the year, the decs are up, the food's in the fridge and we're ready to party. We've been practising already(!) so I thought I'd post a few pix of Christmas hats I've seen over the last couple of weeks. First up are the hats from our pre-Christmas Christmas family lunch and the later ones are from a get-together. I love christmas hats!

Here's Maurice's which was a slightly tight fit

Chloe, Richard and Ebony sporting theirs

Me in one I bought from The Range with mum and decorated up
with snowflakes and a snowman from one of last year's cards

Nina and her hat which moved and danced. Totally awesome!

Jacqui wearing two hats. One just wasn't enough. The first is a Rudolph Reindeer - you can just see
his red nose and antlers. The second was from our crackers which contained bells which if we all rang them
when directed would have played a Christmas carol. Unfortunately, we just didn't make it happen but had fun trying!

and finally Helen with lovely antlers. Helen's leaving town as she's got a job as the video editor for the News of the World. Yes, we did all the jokes! I shall miss her.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Dear Reader
I thought I'd post a couple of pix from the recent snowy weather conditions just to remember how cold and snowy it actually was... I was reading last year's Christmas journal and it said that we'd reached -4 on Christmas Day. This year we've been at -6 most mornings now for a couple of weeks and we haven't even reached Christmas Day yet!

The first pic is the view from my front window. I love wintry scenes but I was particularly taken with the angry sky. And yes, it did mean that more snow was on the way!

The second pic is of my brother Chris who when we were snowed in rode round to see us on his bike. Here he is just arriving for a coffee, a packet of biscuits! and a chat. How he managed to ride in these conditions was a mystery but he did.

Here's one of a set of 'Candy Cane' cards I made using K & Co's retro style papers in their
Secret Santa collection. I love candy canes so I thought I'd add an actual one to each card. A card with something good to eat in it - sounds good to me! I made a hinged pocket to hold the cane and then tied a little 'Secret Santa' charm to each cane with a ribbon bow. I cut out the sentiment from a page in the same paper collection and embellished with a pink organza ribbon. Voila!

Reverb110: Day 19
Prompt: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?
Goodness some of these prompts are making me scratch my head and I'm not sure that so much soul searching is good for the soul! But here's my thoughts on this one:
I think what healed me this year was patience, time and a little bit of practical help to a problem.
I always remember my mother arriving one day unannounced when I was ill and on my own with two tiny children and she just set to and cooked a meal and sorted us all out. When I thanked her she said "Well, a bit of practical help is worth an awful lot of sympathy". That's stayed with me. And as for 2011 I'm really hoping I won't need any healing...

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Make a Note - Just Larkin about

Dear Reader

Here's a notebook I made from, yes you've guessed it, a Laura Dennison design. I've kept it really plain as I wanted it to be practical. The first photo is the chipboard cover, back and spine, all covered in one sheet of 12 x 12 paper (MME - Wild Asparagus Flower). The inside is another sheet of 12 x 12 and has a tad more decoration. The concertina wallet on the left (designed to keep receipts/tickets in) is fastened with an oversized button and the decorated border uses anMS punch.

The notepad is from Chamber members Prontoprint. I've got to know their Sales guy Simon well over the last eight years. He always has a tale to tell when I meet him at our events - he's a keen biker, loves DIY and is always on with some project, decking or the like, for his family. He so energetic and so up-beat he always cheers me up! This time when we met he' told me he's helping a mate prepare some land for motorcross!

I really like his company's work too. The print is always good quality with a bit of quirkiness. This range of complimentary pads they produced all featured musical instruments, hence the 'Make a Note!' which I really loved. So I made the little pocket at the bottom just big enough to hold the paper pad in place. Unfortunately you can't see the musical instruments as they're hidden within the pocket. Ah well! It's really earned it's keep this little pad in the run up to Christmas and it's lovely to use something you've made yourself. And I mean, if you don't like the pattern you've only yourself to blame!

Reverb 10: Day 17Prompt: Lesson learned.
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
I've learned that I can live every day for itself. No more dwelling on what was, or obsessing at what might be or might not be. I've tried to enjoy or at least smile at something every day, no matter whether it's a good or a bad day. I'm going to continue on with that in 2011. Carpe Diem. Live for the moment.
Revert 10: Day 18
Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn't go for it?
In 2011 - Two man tobogganing..... Yes, definitely two man (or one man and one woman) tobogganing. In Switzerland. Wearing one of those lycra suits and a crash hat. I'm thinking in yellow. Ann Widdicombe eat your heart out. Of course I'm joking. The suit would be black. !!
Seriously, what would I like to do in 2011. To be honest I'm quite happy to see what the year brings, the traditional health and happiness would be nice, and as long as I have Maurice to share it with I shall be pleased. I'm going a bit off track here but I watched the programme on Philip Larkin recently, where the relationship between him and his secretary Betty, started when they were both in their 50's, was brought to light. I thought the poem Larkin wrote about them meeting in the 'autum of their years' was very poignant and although Maurice and I met a little earlier than they (hopefully in our 'high summer years'!) it still touched a chord. It goes
We met at the end of the party
When all the drinks were dead
And all the glasses dirty:
'Have this that's left', you said.
We walked through the last of summer,
When shadows reached long and blue
Across days that were growing shorter:
You said: 'There's autumn too'.
Always for you what's finished
Is nothing, and what survives
Cancels the failed, the famished,
As if we had fresh lives
From that night on, and just living
Could make me unaware
Of June, and the guests arriving,
And I not there.
Very poignant. As for 2010... can't think of much. I did want to go to The Dogs. No sniggering thank you. I might have mentioned this before as something I've always wanted to do. Probably one of those things you want to do just once! The year just slipped past and I didn't make it... but who knows in 2011...

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Oh! goodness. I just hate timed things...too much like an exam! Help! Here we go or I'll have wasted my five minutes going on and on. Like this. Oh! dear.....Right I'm starting..... Mind blank.....Raindrops on roses, whiskers on that's someone else's favourite things. OK. Focus. Maurice, the kids, my mum and dad, my family. Venice, gondolas and pavement cafes Spain, the views, the mountains, heat, warmth. Harry Potter, Russell Watson and the barbeque, Running with Scissors, my friend Pat (RIP), wildflowers, Leanne Ellis, Nicky's charity ball, the Races, new shoes (a Dick Emery disaster), new shoes (sooooo comfy), my birthday night, Twickenham and a Lulu Guinness handbag!

Reverb10 Day 16
Prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

My funny, smart friend Carolyn has certainly made me think this year. Really stretched the brain cells. She's so quick and witty but it's not for that I mention her here but for the way she's made me think. Sometimes she makes me think so much it hurts! We meet for tea once a month and she's followed my progress on the new business. She's challenged me to think what I'm doing and what I'm trying to achieve. She's passed on valuable stuff she's learned in her own business and really made me focus on what I'm doing. I've so looked forward to our get togethers and she's gradually changed my perceptions on all sorts of issues. And we've had a lot of fun and laughs along the way.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Dear Reader
Here's another Laura Dennison project the 'Hinge Mini Album' I made as a Christmas present for a teenager who likes funky bright colours. The pages of the mini book are joined together using a central die cut (in my case a heart). The pages are actually cut envelopes so the whole thing goes together very quickly and easily. Add a front and back cover made from chipboard and some Martha Stewart punched photo mats to slot into the 'envelope' pockets and you're done. I've kept the embellishments to a minimum so the recipient can add their own photos and journalling. I have put in some tags, which have been designed to fit into the central hearts. Another great design from Laura to put my own take on.

Reverb 10
Day 14
Prompt: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
Wow! I can't believe how we're whipping through these prompts and December is flying past. Which I suppose brings me neatly to what I've come to appreciate more and more in the last year..... time. Where does it go and how does it get used up? Of course I blame crafting! Before I crafted I seemed to have more time. Now, there are so many projects I want to do, so many techniques to try, so many classes I'd love to attend if only I had time. How do I express gratitude for time? I treat it with respect by using it a little more wisely. But still there aren't enough hours in the day for my liking. I'm starting a campaign for the eight day week. For us full-timers please note that three days will be holiday! Sign up please! ps please note that the eighth day will be called 'Funday'.

Monday, 13 December 2010


Dear Reader
Here's a card I made for this week's Friday Sketchers. I asked Maurice to try and take one against a plain background in daylight hours as I seem to leave the house in the dark and return to darkness. His answer to that was to blu-tack the card to the front room door. Maurice doesn't really do 'plain' so he couldn't resist photographing the card in a Christmas scene and I had to laugh when I saw this one with the bottom of a little Christmas tree, a Father Christmas jug and a snow globe. I think he did a great job though
The papers are Bo Bunny from Running with Scissors, the tree image is stamped with a Papermania stamp and mounted on a Nestie and embellished with 'Diamond' Stickles. The sentiment ticket is by Whimsy. It was stamped and then cut with the Whimsby ticket die and glittered. The icicle stamps were punched and embellished with some Papermania jewels. Ribbon came from Running with Scissors.
Reverb10. Day 12. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

The short answer to this is ‘no’. Sadly my mind and my body exist very much as separate entities these days. It’s a protection thing. In my mind I’m still young, fit and agile and well able to do the ‘splits’, but my body tells me a different story and won’t oblige. Not that I’m desperately wanting to do the ‘splits’ you understand , although it would be a good party trick! I can remember the kind of cohesive YOU experience the author speaks of, when all senses are channelled into one perfect exhilarating moment. Someone tweeted on Twitter that nerves are the connection between mind and body and I can see the truth in that so perhaps it’s when the nerves are charged and adrenaline flows that we feel most ‘alive’ and mind and body is unified. I think back to the rollercoaster rides of my childhood, the nervous anticipation that grows on that oh! so slow journey to the top of the ride, before the first drop down ‘over the top’ when your stomach flips over. Then no time to think or adjust, just enjoy the overwhelming exhilaration of giving yourself up to the ride. Lovely. These days I just enjoy the rollercoaster of life.

December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

Yes, good prompt. I see so many businesses that have amazing aspirational ideas but that fail because those ideas aren’t turned into realities. What goes wrong? What stops people? Mostly it’s just that the daily grind of life gets in the way and instead of being proactive we spend our lives being reactive. There’s only so much energy we have in the day and if that gets sucked up by the everyday, the mundane and life’s detritus then there’s nothing left for the ideas we want to make happen. So they sit on the backburner as time, the quiet enemy, ticks silently on. Having witnessed it you would think I’d be better than most at turning my own business ideas into reality. But sadly I’m not. I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator and I often think when I should be doing. But on the positive side 2010 did see me get my little sideline business off the ground. Took longer than I thought and has not taken the direction I anticipated, but hey ho we’re lurching on into 2011. So my next step? To try and focus on where I’m heading, keep getting the basic building planks into place (whatever we do in life we need solid foundations!), find some time, nay make some time, and take my aspirations a little further along the track to reality. But first I think I’ll make a cup of tea.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Dear Reader

Here's my take on another Laura Dennison design from her 'Days of Christmas' series. It's a Christmas card holder although I'm thinking of using it as a general letter holder too over the Christmas period and putting it in the hallway. I don't know about anyone else but mail arrives at Christmas and I don't know where to put it. My usual shelf has a garland on it and I don't want to spoil the look with a pile of bills!

It was very quick to make and all you need is three sheets of double-sided 12 x 12 paper (mine were from the K & Co Secret Santa pad - you get three sheets the same in there which was handy as I wanted to keep the same pattern as they are fairly busy designs) , a bit of chipboard to strengthen and three punched borders (mine are punched with the Martha Stewart embossed snowflake punch). A spot of eyeletting, a couple of metres of ribbon and voila! you have your finished project. Just embellish to taste. I actuallycuttlebugged MERRY XMAS 1 & ALL but it wouldn't fit!! ho ho ho So I just used XMAS and some pretty snowflakes punched with Tracey's punch (thanks Tracey) and decorated with a bit of bling. Now I just need some cards and post to fill the pockets.....

Day 11
Prompt: Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
Ooooh I love a list. Right, I'm going to do this one as a 'stream of consciousness', i.e. whatever comes into my head I'll put down in the order it comes in and I'm going to do it based on actual objects.
1. The huge gilt mirror and giant rug in the garage (+ 90% of the other clutter in there)
2. Odd socks
3. Grey socks (i.e. black socks that have seen better days. I haven't just suddenly taken a dislike to the colour grey lol)
4. Holey socks (yes, the sock situation is getting out of hand)
5. Crisps (such a weakness)
6. Paper bills - I'm switching everything to online - but just thought then I won't need my letter holder above. Ooh! Dilemma.
7. So much craft stash. Must stick to projects that use stuff up
8. My kitchen floor. Driving me mad - desperately need a new one.
9. My labour-intensive garden that looks lovely in June and July but needs so much work
10. Butter. Hate to see it go but it's such a weakness and so fattening!
11. Sticky nail varnishes in my nail varnish collection. Why have I kept them? I just like the colours and thinking I have a good choice when actually I don't!
Hmmm that was interesting. For me but probably not for you lol. All do-able stuff without too much effort. How will it change my life? Not in any great way but might get rid of those guilty niggles that pop into your head every time you open the sock drawer and it's always an odd, grey or holey sock that seems to be looking at you and instead of doing something about it you just push it under the pile until you find one of its brothers that is black, new and worthy of spending the day on your foot!

Friday, 10 December 2010


Day 10

Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Well this one had me scratching my head, going off to make a cup of tea, thinking whilst the kettle boiled, coming back upstairs with hot drink and still being none the wiser what I was going to write. The only thing that kept springing to mind was Ernie Wise. I liked him when he was with Morecombe! So instead of dwelling on something that's just not happening for me perhaps this wise and weather-apt quote from Samuel Coleridge Taylor would suffice tonight:

Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Dear Reader

Here's another project I finished a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it's another Laura Dennison design. I think I'm becoming a groupie! I just love Laura's designs. I've put her blinkie on the sidebar so check her out. I know I've lauded her designs on this blog before but they're so cleverly put together that they're a joy to craft. And they always work out. They are to crafting what Delia Smith is to cooking! Years ago when I used to cook lol and I wanted to try something new but really needed it to turn out ok as others were eating it too I always turned to Delia. And she was never found wanting and we were never found hungry. Apart from the time I added two tablespoons of cayenne pepper instead of paprika to the Hungarian Goulash. Wow - that made everyone blink a bit. I digress.

This project followed the "Pocket Full of Memories" design. There's room for lots of photos and journalling mats and for a Christmas version see Tracey's lovely and beautifully crafted 'Days of Christmas' minibook on her blog. I think this design lends itself to lots of uses. In my case I've made it as a Christmas present for my daughter's Australian housemate called Ebony who we've all taken to. I thought she might like a book to record some memories from her trip. She's never seen much snow before - there was some, she said, on the top of mountains a three hour drive away from her house in Australia - and her wonder at the snowstorm we experienced on the drive back from Leeds a couple of weeks ago was so funny. Every couple of miles I'd hear from the backseat in a beautiful Australian accent "Holy Moley". She told me her mum had lived in England until her grandparents emigrated when she was six. Her mum had told her about the roasted chestnuts she used to eat at Christmas and when we saw a stall selling them she ran over to get some. I didn't say anything wondering how they would go down as they're not to everyone's taste. She peeled one, popped it in and I waited. Her face told its own story but I don't think she wanted to appear rude. So when I asked her how she found it the reply came "I think it would be improved with some chocolate round it". Had to smile at that one. But she's right - there's not much that doesn't taste better with chocolate round it! Which brings me neatly on to

The Reverb10 Day 9 post which is

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

I could think of a few parties I've been to this year that have been fab and which I'm still smiling about. But I think the day out I had in Leeds with Chloe and Alice, Maurice and Richard (Chloe's new man) and Ebony was just lovely. We shopped 'til we dropped and had a great lunch at Nandos, Alice's fave restaurant. Lots of people, lots of buzz, lots of drama when Maurice played skittles with four bottles of lager and got a strike! I never knew there were so many ways of eating chicken and chips - allow half an hour just to read the menu. But I'm now a peronnaise (spicy mayonnaise) afficianado and the Portuguese lager that got re-ordered(!) - was good too. Apparently they sell peronnaise in Sainsbury's so must get along to buy some. It was a really good day and great to spend some overdue time together and have a catch-up and our new Australian friend made me see everything with new eyes. Luckily I didn't 'rock my socks off' as it was -4 but it has made me realise that sometimes you don't have to go to a party to have a party.

Papers I used were My Minds Eye Pretty Please. This was from QVC in their sale and was very cheap, even taking into account the postage. When it arrived I was amazed to find that it included some ready made tags and embellishments with it. I don't normally do 'ready made' but thought they would be just the job to use on this quick project. I used the labels punch from Stamping Up (sorry the tags aren't better arranged in the photo - rush job in precious daylight hours!), a Magnolia die flourish and the Cuttlebug Baby Face alphabet. Flower is punched from EK punches and the pearl brad is from The Hobby House. The photo journalling mats poking out the 'pockets' are punched with the Martha Stewart stars punch. The little handbag was in some charms I won in a Candy Giveaway from Jane at Jane's Lovely Cards (thank you Jane). Lace, card, ribbon and everything else from Running With Scissors.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Dear Reader

My finished bird house

Here's the side view. A bird house wouldn't be complete without a bird.

And here's how the roof lifts off and surprise! there's a mini book attached to it

Whoops photo came out sideways on for some reason! But you get the idea of what the book will be used for and an example of the lovely bird tag on one of the pages.

And here's the cover of a page with a couple of tags peeking out the side 'pockets'. The birds in these papers were so lovely I didn't embellish much

The above pix are of a project I made a few weeks ago, photographed with a borrowed camera. I loved making this' bird house'. I'd been hanging on to the Martha Stewart bird papers for some time looking for just the right project when I got inspiration from Laura Dennison's birdhouse mini book and they seemed, well, just right! The 'shell' for the mini book is made of four chipboard pieces held together with laced ribbon, covered with a removable 'roof' to which is attached the mini book. I've made mine into a birthday book (to be filled in before the New Year starts!). The design of the mini book is so clever that it allows for four tags to be hidden away in the middle of all the pages, giving oodles of room for journalling/extra photos etc. Each of the pages has a front flap and a back flap, there are six pages so bingo! enough space for a different month on each page plus an extra page for gift ideas, receipts etc. I didn't make my tags and used the suggestion of the Cavallini ones. Not cheap these but so pretty I couldn't resist and the tin they come in is beautiful too! There are also butterflies and travel tags in the range and I'm sure I'll be seeking them out soon. I've used a little owl charm to remind me to be wise and check my book often! The flowers I used were Petaloo.
Day 7 Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Community - a word I love. Who could not love a word which broken down into its syllables literally means 'together harmony'. My job is about community. Not a community that instantly springs to mind. It's the business community. But just as in so much of life human beings want to 'belong', to interact, to help each other, so that it is true of business too. And as a business community we are able to help build relationships with our local communities too. I could really get on my soap box for this prompt! But I do believe that it's only by being involved with others, that being actively part of a community initiative - any community initiative I'm not fussy - that we can live fulfilled lives, help our area to thrive and each other to flourish. And the community I'd like to join? I'm hoping to join a creative industries forum that meets monthly to share ideas and promote creative and digital industries locally.
And here's today's Reverb10:
Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.
Whoa! Now this one is a bit too strong for me, a little too much navel gazing. I'm thinking we're all different - that's what makes us unique individuals. What makes me 'different'? Just being me!

Monday, 6 December 2010


Dear Reader

Reverb 10 - Day 6
Prompt = Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make but you need to clear some time for?

Phew! An easy one and no angst today. But first I'm posting the last thing Maurice made, a masterpiece of culinary genius. We had lamb for Sunday dinner yesterday and I was saying how much I loved Shepherds Pie but never seemed to have the time to make it these days (perhaps being truthful the lure of crafty projects is a bit stronger than culinary ones but anyway.....). When I got in from work tonight here's the surprise that was waiting. What a guy, what a pie! I took a picture (discovered camera is not completely kapput - takes one pic before switching itself off) as I thought I could use it in my 'Days of Christmas' book that's all in my head but not yet on paper (something I want to make but need to make time for). You're probably wondering why this picture would fit in a book on Christmas. Well I know it's tenuous but I'm thinking Shepherds lol I told Maurice who wondered if we'd be eating King (geddit) Prawns later in the week !!!

Below the pie is my latest crafty effort, a star mini book for Maurice's son Maurice (yes, the entire family seem to be called Maurice. Shout Maurice at his mother's house and you can fill a room instantly). Maurice Jnr has a son Adam (had to break with tradititionsomewhere!) and he adores him, as dad's do.. As we all do in fact as he's such a cutie. I thought I'd make him a mini brag book, somewhere to store some picture memories of his son growing up.

It was a quick book to make as it was fresh in my mind from a project class Tracey taught at RWS. This one used some papers I bought from the shop (sorry can't remember the make but there's some left) and the rest of the stuff is from my stash, just chipboard, bits, bobs and buttons that shouted out to be used. I wanted the book to be in bright cheerful colours as kids always love them. I'm not normally a fan of yellow but I think it works here.

And now away to finally start that Christmas book.......

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Reverb 10 Day 5

Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

The glib answer here would be my waistline. Why nobody thought to warn me that menopause = complete change of body shape I can't think. Or perhaps they did and I just didn't pay any heed. That's probably it. Funny how selective hearing is at times. Seriously, tough one this prompt - there's nothing that instantly springs to mind. I did however at the start of the year make a decision to stop acting like Dobby in the Harry Potter films, constantly beating myself up. In my case because I hadn't achieved 'perfection', done everything myself, that everything wasn't quite exactly the way I'd planned. I decided to try and make life easier by delegating and sharing or sometimes, where possible and without compromising quality, try an easier option, a more laid back approach. No one else was putting pressure on me to be perfect so why was I doing so myself. I decided to adopt the mantra "if red isn't available use blue - and do it happily". !! Strange mantra perhaps but in my case it's worked and I'm definitely more laid back about 'stuff'. Of course the valium helps too. Just joking!!!

A couple of years ago I organised an Awards dinner and had chosen a main course of chicken. Unfortunately, for reasons I never did fathom the chef cooked lamb. I was wandering round the venue early evening getting ready for the guests that were arriving in around an hour's time and something was not 'smelling' right. Couldn't put my finger on it until suddenly I realised I was smelling lamb cooking and put two and two together. Oh! disaster. I consulted with the Operations Manager who confirmed
that it was definitely lamb in the oven. I was so upset - all the menus were wrong and everyone would think I'd made a mistake. What could be done? And now? Oh! woe was me. The Operations Manager (lovely guy - cool as a cucumber but actually pretty hot if you know what I mean wink wink) whisked away all the menus and stuck in a fresh piece of paper with the 'new' main course on. I started to breathe again. Do you know out the 100+ guests that showed up only one lady came to see me to ask what had happened to the chicken. And she was impressed that we'd managed to alter the menu - she'd checked it and seen 'the join'. I'm sure she was a crafter! So what was all my concern about. And so what if people realised there'd been a mistake and thought it was me. Was the world going to end, were people's lives in danger, did it really matter? The answer of course was and is no. And the only person putting pressure on me was me.

So now I do my best but if my best isn't good enough, well tough (always a worry with lamb)! And of course I never count my chickens 'til they're cooked.

Saturday, 4 December 2010


Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Nature always provokes a sense of wonder in me. I love 'big' nature, the kind you get in the USA and nearer to home in Scotland, the kind that dwarfs you, is humbling and awe-inspiring. I remember once seeing a train travelling through one of the glens along the side of a mountain and a loch and it looked like a little toy chugging along. Seeing it suddenly gave me perspective, made me realise the scale of the scene I was witnessing and it definitely had that elusive 'x' factor - without switching the box on! This year we were lucky enough to travel through the Sierra Nevada mountains and that was wonder-ful. To my mind there's a strange irony that such dramatic and stark scenes can promote such a sense of peace, relaxation and well-being. I guess sometimes you have to wander to wonder.

Friday, 3 December 2010


Dear Reader
Sorry I've not been blogging. The problem lies in the fact I've had no camera since it went down the pan (literally) and quite frankly blogging is just not the same without it. The whole raison d'etre of the blog was to post my craft projects and obviously can't do that without a camera. Here's hoping Santa reads my blog and brings a new one. If not, it's top of my 'What to buy in the January sales' list.
Which brings me quite neatly to what I can blog about, which is to follow the Reverb 10 challenge. This gives a word prompt every day in December.. A million thanks to Tracy to alerting me to this great challenge for which I don't need a camera. I'm playing catch- up (as normal) so I'll post three days worth tonight and try and stay on track for the rest of the month...

December 1 Encapsulate the year in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word. Now, imagine it's one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

My word is TEETH. And no, before I hear you groan, I'm not re-blogging the saga of the teeth problems from the beginning of the year - traumatic as it all was lol. It's just that the whole teeth episode brought home to me how much we take stuff for granted in life. Like your teeth! It's that whole getting older thing, the general feeling that you're falling to bits and the taking it on the shoulder when you're told there's a 99% chance of saving your tooth and you turn out to be the 1% and lose it. Like winning the lottery the wrong way round. Of course, there's far far far worse stuff healthwise than a lost tooth and I appreciate that, it's just that it's emblematic of my year, which quite frankly has not been the best. I've lost my smile at times in more ways than one this year.....

I've also spent much of the year at work trying to keep up with national and regional politics and the perplexing problem of how this area is going to fare, in short what projects will have 'teeth' and what we need to be involved in. A year of change and uncertainty for us all.

I'm also reminded of the teeth of my comb. Combs are so old fashioned now but I still have one. My grandmother always used a comb and every day after lunch and the morning's housework she'd religiously make time for us to have a wash and she'd comb my hair and 'dress' it. She always kept her comb pristine and washed it regularly and I can still 'see it' - a big pink thing with teeth that graduated from thick to thin, sitting in the drawer she kept it. Anyway, my personal time for grooming - hair appointments and the like - have been sadly neglected in 2010. Now that's a sign I think of an unbalanced life when you're too busy to get your hair sorted, to generally take a little 'me' time. Shame on me!

There's also been times this year I've had to 'grit my teeth' and carry on despite what's happening to me and around me... as I say it's not been the best of years. But it has made me appreciate what good times I've had, a particularly lovely birthday celebration with my family, a very happy year's crafting, a new business venture and some good and valued friends.

And as for the word I'd like to encapsulate 2011 it is SNOWLESS !!! lol

Seriously, my word would be SMILE

Heavens! Gone on a bit there. Hope it's not like pulling teeth! Next two will be shorter.

What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it?
Actually writing is integral to every day of my life and my working day. To me living and writing are always bound up together. I'm always writing something - emails (must answer between 20 and 40 emails every day) articles, scripts, Minutes, reports, my blog (just not lately!). I love all sorts of writing and at the moment I'm writing a piece on what 2011 will hold in store for Grimsby in terms of economic development and business prospects for a Lincolnshire Life magazine article. Love that kind of writing. Hmmmm what doesn't contribute something to my writing. Very little really. Surely all experiences inform your writing. Perhaps junk emails - yes sometimes junk emails. They say you decide in 2 seconds whether to read an email or not but I seem to have a penchant for junk - always think I might miss out on something by consigning it to the 'bin;. Although I do like watching the little icon of a bin 'swallowing up' the junk lol. Wish we could do that in real life with crappy stuff.... So yes, I suppose I could eliminate the 'junk' in my inbox if not my life but I don't really want to!

December 3 - MOMENT Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid details (texture, smells, voices, noises, colours).

My moment surprises me. It is Enrique Inglesias singing 'Hero' - you know that 'I can be your hero baby' song at the Help the Heroes Concert at Twickenham. Can't say I've ever been a fan of Enrique or indeed the song and that's what makes it so surprising. The concert - and cause - was just great and being there with my partner Maurice, who had a long army career and lost a lot of friends over his 24 years of service, was very special. I was so looking forward to seeing the Robbie and Gary re-union song moment but in the event it was Enrique who gave me one of those unforgettable life moments. He climbed into the audience and sang swaying from a 'fence', propped up by fans.

I guess it was the sight of this one small man perched precariously and singing his heart out to an electrifed 60,000 fans and servicemen and women who all joined in singing, swaying and and lighting up the arena with their lighters that had me completely overawed. Priceless! I've attached the video but I guess you'll all think 'what's she on about!" .. As my daughter Alice would say "One of those have to be there moments mum" ! But I was and for me it was a highlight for 2010.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Dear Reader

When I was little my grandma used to let me play with candles. I can't remember why - we had electricity lol - but perhaps it was when we had a lot of power cuts. Anyway, I remember making little wax shapes by dripping the wax into patterns on a saucer and then imprinting into it. I'm still fascinated by wax so was really pleased with part of my birthday present from Maurice back in August of the Papermania Christmas wax set. And I've just got round to starting to play with it. I'm sadly out of practice but by the time this year's Christmas cards are finished I'll be back on form as I'm loving it. Also in the Papermania present were some vellum papers. I don't know about you but I love the look of vellum but am always puzzled as to quite how to use it to best advantage. So I've tried to combine vellum and wax seals and although I think I can do better I've posted tonight's results. I've made a few cards this evening but the camera is playing up so I'm just posting two. Unfortunately Maurice 'sealed' its fate by dropping it down the loo whilst charging the battery and although it dried out it's just not working properly - keeps switching itself off. Can't blame it - I probably would if I'd been dropped down the pan lol. Maurice has already lost two phones down the loo and one in the pond at work so I was hoping he'd be wary around water but unfortunately it looks as though he's moved on to sending other gadgets to a watery grave. As he's cross with himself there's no point in me being cross too but I am missing it as I used it a lot. Deep sigh!

Here are the two cards. One is traditional. It's papers are by Bo Bunny - a 50p bargain at the Doncaster Show in the summer - and one is a modern design. Both feature a wax seal from the set. The titling on the modern card is stamped with Versasmark and then embossed with gold embossing powder. Background gold paper is a really nice textured one from RWS. The sentiment on the traditional card is Magnolia - stamped with Archival Ink and matted and layered using nestabilities.

Back soon - hopefully with some more wax seal cards.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Dear Reader

Hi again!

Well it's been a busy old time and I've had some health problems affecting my eyes so crafting's had to take a back seat of late. However, last night after doing a bit of blogging and seeing everyone's lovely creative efforts I decided to try a quick Christmas card.I'd checked out Tracey's class cards and thought how nice the easel cards were. Don't ask me why but I'd never thought of doing an easel Christmas card before. So I did one and the above is the result. Maurice bought me these Papermania papers and matching stamp set for my birthday and I was really pleased with them. He's a great lover of the traditional as you can see. Many of the papers are glittered or embellished in some way. I stamped the image with Versamark and embossed with 'old gold' embossing powder. The card is finished with a Prima pearl and a sentiment that came with the Papermania kit, along with a ribbon and bow to match the embossing.

I've also been busy juggling the day job with my hobby turned sideline company "The Cats Pajamas" and have been making some progress. I now have some business cards and the website is up and running and I've got a commission for an Irish themed wedding so really looking forward to working on that.

Talking of juggling I had to laugh today. Whilst I was crafting last night Maurice did my packing up for my lunch today. We'd obviously run out of just about everything - it being shopping day on a Friday - as when I opened my lunch box at 12 noon (I can never hold out much longer than midday lol) I was faced with a little ham sandwich and three oranges. Yes, three oranges. I wasn't sure whether to eat 'em or juggle 'em! When I asked why three oranges Maurice said he thought I needed to get my vitamin C levels up. Couldn't argue with that.

Finally, I booked tickets for the Help The Heroes Concert at Twickenham a week last Sunday. Their cause is very dear as Maurice was in the army for 24 years and did 3 tours of Northern Ireland and served on the front line in the Gulf War. He's lost a lot of army friends in active service over the years. Anyway, we went. I didn't really know what to expect to be honest but wow! it was an amazing thing to be part of. I've never been in a Mexican wave of 60,000 people before! There were a lot of our 'heroes' and their families there and their stories were very moving. It really breaks your heart to see such young men with such horrific injuries but their capacity to rebuild their lives and just 'get on with it' was truly inspirational. And the concert was awesome. Our seats weren't the best - aren't concert tickets expensive these days? - but we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. And of course the chance to see and hear the legendary Robbie Williams was just wonderful. A night we will always remember!

An historic moment - Robbie and Gary sing together again

Friday, 10 September 2010

Hopping all over the world

Dear Reader

It's been a busy week and I've not managed to take any pictures of my crafting efforts to post. So tonight I sat back, poured a glass of wine and went blog-hopping. I love doing that as you never know where you'll end up. Tonight I came across two blogs that I thought worth sharing with anyone who likes a bit of artyness. Perhaps you've already come across them but they were new to me. The first is which surprise, is a weekly illustration challenge posted every Friday with a word of the week. This week's particularly appealed to me as the word was 'proverb' (I love proverbs) and I thought there were some really good entries. This blog led me to another , a blog by award-winning Anna Raff, which is posting a whimsical bird-related image every day for 365 days. There's some really good ones. I particularly liked day 218: A bird in the ham. Which is your favourite?

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Day a Tiger Came to Tea

Dear Reader

It's been another day to remember at the St Leger Ladies Day in Doncaster. The sun shone, the horses ran (and a couple even won for me) and it was a great day. The icing on the cake was the 'tiger' we'd hired for the day. He was fantastic and really played his part well. Here he is taking afternoon tea with the President of the Chamber and his wife and helping himself to a scone! Lots of people had their photo taken with him (the girls above really got into the swing of it) and gave a donation to the St Andrew's Children's Hospice for the privilege. This all helped to swell the funds being raised by Chris Tonge of Ultimate Packaging, who sponsored our event and who is celebrating his 50 years on the planet by doing all sorts of stuff to raise money - like waterskiing across the River Humber.

I've been talking about the tiger for weeks so I thought you might like to take a look at him.

Monday, 6 September 2010


Dear Reader

Don't you just love a good night out! I do! And last Bank Holiday Sunday was a corker. Those of you on Facebook forgive me as you've already seen the pix but I wanted to post something for posterity and I loved the night so much I've already made scrapbook pages. The evening was a Charity Ball for Breast Cancer but it was an amazing event. Chamber had two tables and I had 20 people coming along, some friends, but many of whom didn't know each other so I was a bit worried but what the heck I like a challenge! Anyway, the Ball started at 4.30 pm (yes, 4.30 pm!) with a red carpet 'paparazzi' entrance and champagne reception. My first scrapbook page shows quite a few of my party who I gathered together for a 'proper' photo to use in our magazine. I didn't want to rely on my trusty camera!

After the Reception we went through for Dinner. I'd put four bottles of wine on each table and I think that helped to get people talking! We were entertained with the "Singing Waiters" , operatic singers who are pretending to be the chef, a waiter and a guest at the event! Wow the voices! Whilst we carried on with the meal a soundalike Michael Buble took to the mike followed by a game - which table could make the most noise. I think there was cheating going on as one table were armed with whistles and another table had a town crier on there with a bell!! Then there was an auction run by lookalikes/soundalikes 'Ab Fab Patsy', 'Lily Savage/Paul O'Grady/David Beckham/'Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne' with some wonderful prizes. My friend had problems with her husband who wanted to bid for everything. In the end in a particularly expensive auction she kissed him until it was finished! One way to take his mind off bidding!!! Then there was a raffle - again lots of great stuff to win - followed by a young 10 year old girl who sung like an angel. Then there was a cookery demonstration! Yes a cookery demonstration! I was busy talking and hadn't realised what was going on but suddenly saw flames leaping up at the front of the room and thought we were going to be evacuated so I drunk my wine down in one gulp (waste not want not!) but it turned out to be part of a demo, so I sat down feeling rather foolish. Once the meal and Dinner entertainment were finished some of us thought we should have a picture taken. Below is the result! I really liked this one!
Then it was on with a Beatles tribute band and then an Abba tribute band and we all danced. And laughed. And danced. And laughed. Sometimes we danced and laughed at the same time! I think that's what I'm doing in the picture below. Oh! it was a good time. Loved every minute.
For my scrapbook pages I kept it very simple. But then I don't do complicated. The papers are all Bo Bunny and from RWS. On the first page I used a Martha Stewart punch. I've had it some time but often find it too big a pattern for cards but I think it's found its forte with this 'evening' page. I also made a flower by using the punch to make a double border flower shape, cutting them into individual flowers and layering them up, then adding a couple of the flowers folded in half to give dimension. I decorated the flower with a diamante spacer from the Hobby House and a jewelled brad from my stash and some cerise pink diamante gems. For the second page I made a simple bow out of striped paper (learned at class - thanks Tracey) and decorated with a large Papermania gem and a 'breast cancer' emblem made from ribbon from RWS. Beautiful ribbon this - recommend it - as it's so versatile, beautiful quality and easy to use and stick (always a bonus in my book!)

Finally here's a card I made recently - yes I know it's a Christmas card but I'm not going to mention that. Oops perhaps I just did. Well it's out there now! The inspiration came from my crafty friend Lynda. She brought into class the most beautiful card a friend of hers had designed and after I'd waxed lyrical about it for half an hour took pity on me and designed me a template so I could recreate it. And recreate it I did and I love it but it's not mine to post so I shan't. But thanks Lynda - it's a beaut!! I'm leaving you all in suspenders I know so sorry about that. Anyway, again moving swiftly on, the card used a scoring board to make a design on pearlised background paper and I thought I'd do my own version. What I ended up with was this simple 'diamond' card, which I've embellished using my new Marianne pointsettia die from Running with Scissors to create an embossed central flower.
oooh! forgot to mention, the Ball raised over £10,000 for breast cancer, which really is ab fab and what it was all about.
Thanks for looking in!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Hi All

I'm back. I've not drifted off into cyberspace or got fed up with my blog or anything - I love blogging - writing my own and reading everyone else's little slices of life. Rather, it's been challenging times. Some stuff quite frankly I could have done without (is it just me or are emotional crises more draining as you get older) and some stuff so exciting I've done well not to burst at times! Life as a rollercoaster in all its colours and hues. And I've been from inky black to zingy pink and back over the past few weeks.

But let's concentrate on the good. Smiley face. Big drum roll...... On September 1st I'm launching a little sideline company I've been working on in my spare time called "The Cat's Pajamas". I hasten to tell you that this is not a burlesque troop as I've been asked, but a very respectable (ha ha - as Janet would say) events company. Although my friends at Running with Scissors did volunteer to join if it was a burlesque troop and Tracey does have some tassels in stock I believe. Calendar girls eat your hearts out!!! I'm setting the thing up on a shoe string - or should I say a tassel! My daughter Alice has fashioned me a web site (thank you Alice!), I've got an email address and it's all coming together. So exciting. Hope you'll all keep your fingers and tassels xd that I get a couple of bookings! If you get a minute check out my site

I've started making a few christmas cards. I saw Lorraine had posted her first one so I thought I'd share a couple of mine. I love The Night Before Christmas poem and have been hankering after the stamp (from Clarity Stamps) for a while. I've not done anything too fancy with the cards (mojo exhausted!) but I'm loving the little mouse asleep in the shoe. My other card uses an Inkadinkadoo stamp that mum bought me last year from Running With Scissors (thanks mum!) and I love it too. He's so easy to paint (always a bonus with Christmas cards!), I like choosing his hat and scarf colours and his twiggy arms are fab!

Back soon with more news and crafting!

Monday, 9 August 2010


Dear Reader

This card is for The Sugar Bowl Challenge No 40 - Do It Yourself. The use of a Sugar Nellie stamp was needed but you could pick any of the previous sketches on the blog to use for the card. I chose no 33 (I think!) which was a fairly straightforward sketch that I'd missed. I like The Sugar Bowl Challenge as I love all the Sugar Nellie stamps and am always keeping my fingers xd that I win! I used up some papers I've had a while - MME, along with tonal bazzill and ribbon from RWS. I coloured the image which is Leanne Ellis's Annie with Tim Holtz distress inks and added a tiny tag on the birdcage. I used a couple of fabric butterflies as embellishments.

I loved the idea with this stamp of letting the bird go free. I think the stamp is called "Fly Away". Abroad last year in Croatia I was wandering through the back streets of Dubrovnik when I came across a host of birdcages, home to all manner of exotic coloured birds. They were beautiful but I always think there's something sad about caged animals and birds and I was itching to open their doors. For goodness sake birds were meant to fly! For some reason I took a picture of this orange bird, perhaps to take my mind off letting them all out and risking arrest lol - and the Dubrovnik birds came to mind again when I started making this card and I rooted around and found the picture. The irony is that as much as I dislike birds in cages I love bird cages themselves - I've got four in my house (ornate ones not blue plastic like the one in the photo in case you're wondering). None of them have birds in although one has one sitting on top of the cage! Makes no sense. Anyway, in my card the little bird is just plain brown and she's being set free. Perhaps I'm thinking that sometimes in life it's best not to be too showy!!

Monday, 2 August 2010


Dear Reader

Here's my friend Lorna. She's not keen on this picture but we were having fun last Christmas on a night out so it always makes me smile. (The guy is a very old friend John wearing a traffic cone hat. Don't ask).
Actually, I always thnk of Lorna as my jigsaw friend. I see her now and again through the summer and every week in the winter when I play for a ladies pool team but without fail we always get together over the Xmas holidays to do a jigsaw. We started when the kids were small doing a jigsaw on Christmas Eve in the vain hope that it would calm everyone down. Fat chance! But it became a tradition and even though all our kids are grown we still do the jigsaw, although now it's done after Christmas and in a slightly calmer environment, me with a bowl of pistachios and Lorna with a box of Celebrations. Oh yes, we know how to push the boat out lol
Anyway, last Christmas Lorna was looking at some of my craft projects and said could she have a try at making something. It's took us til last Saturday afternoon to get it together and make it happen. But happen it did. Lorna wanted to make a card but wasn't keen on painting an image so we dug around my stamps and she came up wth this fairly large 'Happy Birthday' stamp. She then looked through my papers and after a great deal of thought chose some from my old faithful K & Co pad. That pattern book is certainly a good workhorse - I've been chopping at it for about a year and it's still going strong! Anyway, Lorna took to crafting like a duck to water and I think the card she chose and made above is just fabulous. I think we may have a new craft addict, as she left (at 6 pm after four solid hours crafting saying "Wow that was fantastic" so if you see a lady looking like the picture above wandering into Running With Scissors, say 'Hello Lorna - how's the card making come along" !!!