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Thursday, 22 April 2010


Dear Reader
Here's a card I've made to fit two challenges - Simon Says Stamp Challenge which was to feature something with wings. (as you can see fairy was my choice) and I've used the sketch from Sketch Saturday. Thanks sto the design teams for the inspiration.
This card is a bit different from those I've made of late as there are no added flowers. I used paper and card from a mixed pad, a fairy/toadstool and heart stamp and sentiment from Little Claire Designs and coloured them all in with distress inks. I finished with a toadstool charm and an organza spotty bow.
I'm out tonight for Dinner with some friends. We all met as the founder members of a ladies business network club a few years ago and we all just gelled. Now I am the only one left out of the original six still in the club and there's lots of lovely new ladies come along, but the original six still get together now and again for Dinner and it's great to catch up with them all.
Today I've finished my scripts for the Awards and pressed SEND with some relief and then shot off to Brigg to the launch of a business - well actually two Chamber businesses who have merged together. They were both marketing/web design businesses and have decided that the way forward is together. It was a lovely event, their offices are so trendy (not surprising I suppose for a marketing company) with lots of white, just accented here and there with shocking pink and a bit of grey. There was champagne (pink of course) and a huge chocolate fountain with lots of tempting things to dip in. I went for the strawberry as the healthy option lol which proved a lot trickier to get into my mouth than I'd bargained for but I managed. You know how it is! Met a woman who ran an online workwear company from home who I enjoyed talking to. It never ceases to amaze me what people do to earn a living. She said she'd started out as a fitness instructor but her dad had always been in business so I guess it was in her genes to try a business. An online business means she can work from home and still be there for her kids which is cool. I came out of there feeling a bit frumpy and dowdy being amongst so many young and trendy things and there was a shop just shouting me in as I made my way back to the car so I went in and found a dress with my name on it (not literally in case you're thinking I'm wandering around with Anne on my cleavage!). So now I can be a trendy old thing!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Picture: My Mum (or as my girls call her "Grandma Jean") in her Sunday best and looking "smashing" as mum would say, "great" as I would say or "cool" as my girls would say..... How language changes!

I was ten years old and I was playing with my friends as usual. I sat on a house wall opposite our house - the wall was quite low because at the beginning of the war the iron railing which had been above the bricks and the decorative iron gates had been cut off to help make ammunitions. There I sat trailing my hand in the damp grass behind me when I felt something and picked it up. It looked like a fountain pen made of glass. Fortunately for me a neighbour was nearby and saw me with 'the pen'. She said "Stay quite still, don't drop it and I will fetch an ARP Warden".

Two wardens came and they stood me in the middle of the road (still holding the pen) and proceeded to put sandbags all around me. Then another man came, I think he must have been a domb disposal man. He took "the pen" from me and put it in something and went off at great speed.

The ARP warden went to see my mother and told her I had found an anti-personnel bomb and that I was lucky not to have been blown up. They said they were going to search to see if there were any more. Well they found hundreds in close proximity to our house. They were on the roofs and in the gardens.

On the next Saturday afternoon quite a lot of people were killed on Freeman Street Market with these bombs. They were small and came in many guises. I'm told it was decided that nothing should be said and it was one of the best kept secrets of the war. The Germans had chosen Grimsby to be a guinea pig but they thought that the anti-personnel bombs had been a failure. This wasn't the case, they had been very successful but the secret worked and they didn't drop any more.

The sad thing as far as I was concerned was that the next morning I was called out in Assembly, and the Head Teacher (Miss Beeson) said, "This silly girl picked up an anti-personnel bomb yesterday and could have been blown up, I hope none of you will do anything so dangerous". Turning to me she said, "Go and wait outside my door". Later when Assembly was over she came and said "Come in and hold out your hand". I got three sharp strokes across my hand with the cane. I can remember I didn't cry - I just hated her for the injustice of it!!

Another of my nine lives gone!

Monday, 19 April 2010


Dear Reader
Here's a card I've made for this week's Friday Sketcher challenge. I followed the sketch given by Inga. Thank you Inga it was a great sketch to work with. I used Alva with her flower, coloured it in with watercolour pencils and kept the papers simple as the design was fairly detailed and I wanted to give a nice fresh spring feel to the card. Papers are, yes you guessed it, Martha Stewart. I think they replenish when I'm asleep as I still keep finding more! They've certainly been good value and I love the tonal plain colours. I used some Orchid House flowers and a pearl brad from my stash and a woodware sentiment. Of course I stickled. The pearls are the last pieces from a small Prima flourish I bought at Harrogate. I've cut into it three times and this is the last. Oh! no. I love using pearls - this time I wanted to give the look of a butterfly flying behind the flower and up into the sky ( experimenting with a 3D look to my cards). I'm also into oversized/undersized themes at the moment. I think the Alice in Wonderland film had too much of an effect on me! On this card I've used an oversized flower. As if I need to point that out.
I've always wondered why I seem to be the only person using Alva and her little elf friend whose name escapes me at the moment. Sorry I'm tired. I mentioned this at the crop on Saturday and apparently it's because they're Christmas elves! Christmas! - passed me by. And do I look bothered? I like them so it's another case of Christmas all year round as far as I'm concerned. I just can't elf myself . (groan and read on...) Just remembered the little boy elf's name is Alf. Elf Alf - not hard is it. I must be really tired. Anyway, hope you enjoy the card. I'm away for some much needed shut eye.....

Sunday, 11 April 2010


Dear Reader
Here is a card I've made for the Magnolia Down Under Challenge. An interesting challenge this one. We were told to use black/grey/white for the image and coloured backing papers. The Challenge is called Olden Days. Hmmmmm - what to do? Brain cells had to go into overtime for this one and at one point I swear smoke was coming out my ears! Yes I know I exaggerate but you get the picture - inspiration was not leaping through the door.
Then I thought of the Graphic 45 papers that I used for my ATCs. Now they've hit the light of day again they're in danger of being all used up! I do like their vintage feel though. I've used the Tilda with the quill again as what could be more vintage than that and then lots of 'olden days' writing ephemera to go with her, including a bottle of ink, some nibs and a stamp. I often wonder what she's writing in the book (haven't I got enough sensible stuff to think about you might well ask) . I've decided she's writing a novel that she's going to send to be published. Mind you, if that's the case with the thickness of her volume - she's obviously well into writing a boddice ripping blockbuster - I should probably have used at least three stamps. It's never going to get through the miserly Post Office measuring slit thingy.
I've also used a random page from a very old rhyming dictionary that a friend bought me so many moons ago that it doesn't bear thinking about. It's got nicely aged yellowing pages - just the thing for vintage. When I opened a random page the word 'sentiment' jumped out at me. It's a word crafters use all the time and it's a word with a nice vintage feel to it, so I went with it. With such a cute image I didn't want to go too grungy so I lightened the feel of the card with a pearl flourish I made from an, some tiny white silk flowers with silver centres that I aged with a grey archival pad. Strangely it had the effect of turning them a vintage silver colour which I quite liked. I also used a pearl embellishment from Prima on top of a black velvet ribbon. To me nothing is more vintage than black velvet. I love it! When I was going to be seven my great aunt said she would buy me a new frock for my party. She took me to Guy & Smiths and let me choose one. I chose a thick black velvet one with integral net underskirt and a white lace collar. Gorgeous! Only trouble was my birthday is in August and it was a boiling hot day. But I still wore it. As granny always said "You have to suffer to be beautiful!". Do you know, I've just noticed that the word 'dress' appears under the word 'sentiment'. Coincidence or what! Wish I could say I planned it!
Anyways, back to the card. But surely there can't be any more to say on it they cry! Well I suppose I should just mention that I coloured Tilda with a gray watercolour crayon and stamped her onto glossy white card to give the impression of a photo. The sentiment is from Clarity Stamp and has been put onto a Woodware punched tag and edged with liquid pearls for a bit of vintage glamour. I've also used Stickles but sparingly just to lend a bit of magic. The bottle of ink reminds me a bit of the bottle in Alice in Wonderland and as it's out of proportion with Tilda makes her look as though she too has been shrunk. Who knows, perhaps Tilda's dress is velvet and she will get to go to the Mad Hatters Tea Party!?
Hope you like the card and thanks to the DT team for the inspiration. A real challenge but a very enjoyable one.

Thursday, 8 April 2010


Dear Reader
Here's my entry for the Sugar Nellie Challenge which this week had to include flowers. I used up some of my lovely Martha Stewart paper which I do promise is now nearly at an end in case you are fed up with it! I'm not but you may be! There was quite a lot to the design so I kept some of the papers plain and just used two patterned ones. One has a lovely glittery texture to it but alas the photo doesn't show it in its full glory. I used the Leanne Ellis stamp coloured with Tim Holtz's new distress inks. Loving the new colours. I used paper flowers from Running With Scissors and a pearl brad from my stash. The background is punched with a Martha Stewart doilly punch. I thought we'd have some pink champagne to celebrate and I've highlighted the flowers (paper and the one in Annie's hair - which I've tried to echo) and the bubbles with icicle stickles.
It's been a very busy week again trying to cram three days work into five! Doesn't go! The Awards evening is really hotting up now. Marilyn who works with me has pulled all the stops out to get the right entries out to the right judges who will be deciding the winners on Monday and is now sending out tickets for the evening - as well as doing her normal work. I've been writing the evening programme and pulling together all the different strands for the evening. So it's all a bit hectic and manic but I'm sure it'll all come together. She says not all together convincingly - please keep your fingers xd! It's not helped putting the event on a whole month earlier - we're now wedged between the General Election and the World Cup instead of being during the World Cup!! But yesterday was a really nice day when I went to the opening of the ICHP Plant at ConocoPhillips. The plant is mindblowingly awesome and we were told that it has capability to provide 2 to 3% of the nation's power needs - and here's the really good news - works at 70% energy efficiency. If you think that a coal fired power station operates at 35% efficiency that's so much better for the environment. It was a really interesting lunch and tour and to commemorate the occasion we were given a small glass paperweight - a square with one corner sliced off, if you can imagine that. Inside was a 3D etched image of the new plant including chimneys that you felt you could peep down. I was really taken with it and have put it in my new craftroom as a keepsake.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Dear Reader
Here's my entry for this week's Whiff of Joy Challenge. I've used a bit of artistic licence with the stamp - instead of catching leaves the girl is now catching roses. Far nicer in my book! It also makes it more appropriate for a thank you card. I'm needing quite a few shortly so thought I'd make a start. I've used mixed papers - I'm always buying checks and spots as I love both - and I've used some raffia lace and pins from Quixotic Paperie. Flowers are Orchid Craft (I really love their gladioli) and sentiment is from Woodware. I've inked with Milled Lavender distress ink to soften the look. The image is also coloured with distress inks - various pinks and of course lilac.
This is the first card I've made in my new craft room. It looked so lovely and clean yesterday evening when we finally finished the painting that I couldn't bring myself to actually start to craft. Daft I know but there you are. Because the room now has a feature wall in damson (thanks to the BOGOF at B & Q at the weekend) I thought I'd do my first card in lilacs and purples in honour! Thanks for looking and thanks to Jane at Jane's Lovely Cards for providing a lovely sketch!

Monday, 5 April 2010



My grandfather kept his allotment all throughthe war. He had been brought up in the country at Stainton-le-Vale. He provided us with a valuable amount of vegetables and fruit when they were in season. Freezers were not known about then so we looked forward to strawberries and gooseberries coming into season. He kept his pots. for sprouting from one year to the next, he also took cuttings and kept seeds because everythng was in short supply. He was a very good gardener and I can remember other allotment holders coming to him for advice.

He found it difficult to do everything, especially when my father went into the Forces as he used to help quite a lot. He was often very tired because he had to fire watch at night so I was told to go with him and help. He taught me many things - simple things like digging a trench and sprinkling lime in the bottom of it before setting carrot seeds as this apparently stopped the wire worms from eating the carrots.

During the last 2 or 3 years of the War I used to cycle down there, the allotment was at the back of Carr Lane. I would go there as soon as I had eaten my tea and do some weeding, water the toms in the greenhouse with the sheep manure water out of the barrel and then I would pull a few carrots or pick a few peas if they were ready and sit in the shed and eat them.

One day I was going to the allotment to pick some logenberries but discovered that I could not cycle down Carr Lane because there was a large bomb crater in the middle of the road with an unexploded bomb inside it. I had to go back along Cooper Road and back up again along a road nearer to the allotment.

We all loved going there, especially in the summer. Everyone was very old except for women who were trying to keep things going themselves. There were always lots of children and everyone was very friendly. They also did a lot of bartering of their produce.

I have since thought how lucky I was to have relatives living in the country and a grandfather with an allotment. With hardly any sugar ration and very little fat I must have eaten a very healthy diet although at the time I could always have eaten more!

When I was ten or eleven a school welfare officer came to see my mother and said they were concerned about me as I was so thin and hadn't 'developed' at all. She suggested that perhaps I should get more fresh air. "Fresh air!" my mother said, "how can she have more fresh air - she is never in the house." She needn't have worried because I did develop and once I started I thought I was never going to stop.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


Dear Reader
Well the Easter Bunny is nearly upon us, so Happy Easter everyone. Hope you all enjoy your eggs! Here is a picture of some of my Easter things. From l-r, an Easter card I made in an RWS class, an Easter basket I made for a Simon says Stamp challenge, an Easter Basket bought inVenice (can't resist their favours) and a birdcage Maurice bought me for Easter which contains the egg I bought him! And a little yellow Easter bird on top of the cage (didn't want him trapped inside). After Easter I plan to decorate the cage a bit more when time allows. And finally my Easter banner that I made one Saturday at an RWS crop. I think people wondered what on earth I was doing but I like it - it's cheerful. Thank you Loraine for giving me the images to use. I was commissioned to make another this week - but for the birth of a baby boy. I made the banner and matching card using just blues and whites and a blue/white gingham ribbon but this time hand-painted a bear with balloons stamped image
We've had a lovely Easter so far. Off we went to Ikea yesterday morning to get 'some bits' for the craft room we're still creating. I know it's been a while but it's a work in progress! We are hoping to get it finished over the Bank Holiday. Anyway, still undecided where to put shelving etc we decided to pay the Swedish shop a visit for inspiration. I love an Ikea experience now and again. It's like being in some kind of nordic parallel universe where nothing appears to match and yet somehow goes together so well - like bacon and egg, or should I say raw fish and rye bread. Maurice loves the meat balls with the sauce and the red jelly stuff. I like the way it tells you exactly how many you will get for a small, medium and large portion - I think Maurice opted for 14 this time! Everything in Ikea has wonderful names and I get carried away shouting "Can you see Sockerart in pink? It might be near Fridfull or Blomster." Of course, we buy something 2 metres long that causes Maurice to sweat and go "Redvig" trying to fit it into the "Carster". Only way is for me to pull my seat right forward so my eyelashes are touching the windowscreen. Well not quite but I bet Lynda's would now she has falsies! Not quite the way to travel when there's torrential rain late afternoon and the windowscreen wipers are on 'manic' setting, sending me dizzy I'm so close to them. I shut my eyes and go to sleep.
And today, a lovely morning and early afternoon crafting with some really nice people, including Sandra from Scotland who was an 'absolute caution'. And laugh? Did we! And I got some of my Harry Potter Owl Post envelopes distressed (thanks Lynda/Bee for your help). Maurice and I then went to look at a car I had spotted yesterday. It was an automatic Chrysler Touring Cabriolet, no more expensive than the basic Toyota I'm presently driving but it looked more fun to me! Certainly was. It broke down on the test drive and left me stranded at the traffic lights near Grimsby Tesco on Victoria Street. Aaaaaagh! I got out whilst Maurice ran off to the garage to get help. Some young lads drove past and shouted "Should have got yourself a proper car love" which I thought was hysterical and was still laughing when the police stopped to ask what I was doing. Apart from laughing. I told them I was test driving a car but it wouldn't go and they started laughing too. Ah! well, can't win 'em all as Granny would say.
And tonight I found out I'd won a top three blinkie for last week's Whiff of Joy Challenge, which was an absolute shock - I'm still amazed - but also delighted. Thanks very much to the Design Team for choosing me. It's made my Easter very special.