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Monday, 31 May 2010


Dear Reader
Here's a card I've made to fit three challenges. They are Simon says StamP, Creative Card Crew Challenge and Sketch Saturday. Thank you to all the design teams.

I've used a Sugar Nellie Leanne Ellis stamp. It's Annie with a bottle of champagne - nothing could say celebrate more to me than that! I've coloured her in distressinks and stickled the champagne 'bubbles'. Papers are My Minds Eye and the sentiment is Woodware. I've used nestabilities to mount the image and Martha Stewart double loop punch for decorating the 'strips'.

Sunday, 30 May 2010


Dear Reader
Happy Bank Holiday Sunday! Well I have to admit we've had a very lazy one. But I think we really needed a quiet couple of days to rest up. We did, this afternoon, open the garage door with a view to doing a massive tidy up and a car boot tomorrow, but we just looked at each other, shook our heads, quietly closed the garage door and went back in the house for a cup of tea! How does that song go "Sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all" .....

At teatime I watched Look North which turned out to be Look London or whatever they call it down there. Was there a terrible mistake or has regional TV been abolished in the cuts and nobody's told us lol? Anyway, hearing about the possible demolition of an Art Deco mosque in Tooting made a change from hearing about what's happening in Hull! Then we started to watch Alan Titchmarsh and a programme on Winter(I think there's been a series on "the Seasons" but still seemed a funny thing to put on for a May Bank Holiday although we did get a shower of ice balls this afternoon which caused me to press my nose anxiously against the window to see if all the tender summer plants were wilting as miniature snowballs bounced off them... Anyway, reference Alan, I remember looking at him thinking what an expensive looking but inappropriate outfit he was wearing (very thin leather bomber jacket) and was thinking that he'd probably just bought it and couldn't resist putting it on despite the freezing cold conditions he was reporting on and then I was out for the count. Given the quality of my thinking I think I bored myself to sleep!!! Or perhaps given that it was a programme on Winter I was practising hibernating! In fact we were both out for a good hour, hence the reason it's now 1 am and I'm still blogging...

Did find time today to make the above card to suit two challenges, Whiff of Joy and Friday Sketchers. Whiff of Joy wanted the colours brown/yellow and one other (I chose cream to soften the dark brown background) and Friday Sketch was of course the sketch I have used. Thanks to both DTs for the inspiration.

The card is for a man so I've kept it pretty plain and resisted the urge for bling! Stamp is the WofJ poorly mouse which is painted in distress (what else for a poorly mouse lol) inks. Background card is Bo Bunny but all other papers are from my stash. I've used my nesties to mount the image (thanks so much Nicky xxx) and my new Shapeability fancy tag for the sentiment. I think this one's going to earn its keep. Ribbons from RWS and my stash.

Hope you're all enjoying your Bank Holiday too!

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Dear Reader

Although I'm not yet finished with the Awards blogging I'm posting something more recent today as well. It's been two solid weeks of events, going from the Awards, to a lunch and speed networking at Grimsby Town Football Club and finally yesterday a hen party for our Chamber Chair Nina, who will be marrying fellow Chamber member John at Gretna Green surrounded by close family on 5th June. Unfortunately, their honeymoon is being cut short as John is heading out to Nova Scotia four days after their wedding on one of the Chamber's international trade missions. That should allow him a few days grace to get over the shock of married life! Anyway, I wasn't going to let Nina get away with slipping off to get married without marking the occasion somehow, so we had a hen party curry lunch at Me2Raj in the Market Place at Cleethorpes (food was great) and presented her with a gift voucher for Freshney Place. As you can see I organised some hen party T shirts (pink of course) with "Chamber Chicks Do the Business" on them, my friend Carolyn organised a wedding themed quiz with winning trophy! and we had a whole selection of hen party goodies including willy straws, willy bubbles, stress willy, (spotted a common theme yet!)and party poppers(no, not willy shaped) for people to play with willy nilly! Then we had another T Shirt - plain on the front with "What The Bride Should Know" which we all wrote advice on. My favourite comment was "Keep it Fresh!!" and "Always go to sleep on an argument and never give in!" So silly but so much fun! So we celebrated and wished good luck to Nina and John for a very happy married life together...

But I can't let any more water go under the bridge without giving a great big enormous gigantic and humanimalgous thank you to Tracey for designing and making 20 - yes 20 - thank you cards to send to people after the Awards. They were fabulous. I've posted one here but my photo is poor and doesn't do it justice. Tracey has a daylight picture on her site so take a look

In return for the cards (and all the craft and creative support) I gave Running With Scissors a mention in the Evening Programme and on screen on the night and have shown the cards to everyone I have come across. But I have to say that it doesn't really go anywhere near repaying the compliment. So I would like to say here a really big and sincere thank you for what must have been an incredible lot of work on top of running a shop, several classes and looking after a family. You are very kind, amazingly talented and a true friend Tracey xxx I sent one of the cards to the guy who had done our staging and audio for the awards - a big burly surly manly gruff chap who didn't say much, you know the sort, and to my surprise got an email back thanking me for the thank you and saying "It was such a very beautiful card". And I smiled and had to agree.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Spreading the Magic II

Dear Reader

I'm back again with some more memories of the Awards night before they fade completely. Here is a picture of a contortionist called Dena who is in a 'bubble'. The Act was billed on the programme as "Acrobubble" so no one was aware that they weren't watching the act they should have been! Around 2 pm on the day of the Awards I got a phone call from the London booking agents who had supplied all our acts. Disaster! One half of the Acrobubble act had slipped a disc and was now prone in a motorway service station swallowing painkillers as fast as he could. There was no way he was going to be able to perform and his partner would not perform without him. But, the agent said, he had scoured London and found a replacement, a contortionist called Dena who had once appeared on the Graham Norton Show. As if that was going to reassure me! Well I had no choice but to say "send her" and she left London at 3 pm to get here in time for the show. She would, they said, still perform her act in the 'bubble' so that was that. A couple of hours later I went outside and there was the 'Acrobubble' transit van parked with a man as white as a sheet sipping tea in the front seat. He was so sorry to let us down and I felt sorry for them coming all the way and not being able to perform. They were a middle aged couple, probablly in their 50's, which surprised me as theatre acts seem to get younger and younger. Both very slim and fit looking (apart from the disc obviously) and nice people to talk to. Anyway, Dena the contortionist arrived in the nick of time and the day was saved, as Granny would say. And the audience were none the wiser!

The other picture is of The Singing Chandeliers. I thought they were very good. They were West End singers who'd got together a few months ago to form this group. They did a raunchy Lady Ga Ga type number which got all the men sitting to attention but my favourite was the actual Chandelier installation act they did at the beginning of the evening as people came in to Dinner. Their voices were amazing and it was such a spectacle to see these five young women standing together to form a massive chandelier! Very bizarre, very London but I loved it!

The main act was calleld Keelan and Charlotte and they performed quick change illusion. It really is one of those acts you have to be there to see it and I can't do them justice on this blog. Suffice it to say that the lady was stood there in one outfit, her partner poured confetti on her head and as the confetti dropped to the floor she emerged in a full ballgown. All in the blink of an eye. Truly amazing and no wonder they'd won Magicians of the Year in 2008.

All the acts had been booked on spec - I'd seen videos but none of them in person. What a gamble. I'd spent hours pouring over different acts, different combinations and approaches to the evening but in the event I was pleased with what I had chosen and they suited the Harry Potteresque theme well - a bit quirky but full of magic! And something a bit different for a Lincolnshire audience!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Spreading the Magic

Dear Reader

Well the Awards has been and gone. You live and breathe something for so long then suddenly whoooooosh and it's all over. That's events for you! But I did enjoy the night and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see all the strands of a large event come together. Eight months work and lots of creative angst and deliberation as well as partnership working,briefing, commissioning and trouble-shooting. I was surrounded on the night by people I actually enjoy being with (I'll never be a high flyer - can't be doing with all the politicking) - Maurice, my daughter Chloe, my mum, Tracey and Neil (a big thank you for all the creative input and massive support), Katie Carter (a brilliant new creative find and now I hope a friend - ex designer for John Lewis and so so talented and the neatest crafter I've ever come across - well apart from Tracey - wouldn't like to judge that neatness comp.), my admin lady Marilyn and Alan from Recognition Express who provided the trophies, plaques and table labels - and did the behind the scenes work on making sure we presented the right trophy to the right person! Sounds obvious but in the dark behind stage not as easy as it sounds! Anyway, all the people who do the work, inspire me or spur me on and who I wanted to say thank you to.

The first pic I posted is of the owl post envelope. Thanks to all at RWS who mucked in and helped with the distressing. I had a few problems with it when I tried to put the wax seals on and discovered that the red wool I was using really burned fast if you dropped flaming wax on it. Phew. Very fast. And then it set an envelope alight and I had burning envelope, burning wool and burning candle and only a limited puff to blow it all out. Thank goodness I gave up smoking when I did! But I managed. No way I was going to burn my carpet lol.

We actually had a live owl on the evening that flew across to the stage to deliver 'owl post' and start our Tri Wizard Tournament. That was great fun. I'd popped through a side door earlier in the evening and came face to face with a staring owl (they just have the most amazing eyes) and - it's true - such a wise countenance. I automatically said 'sorry'. Not quite sure why I said that just that it gave me such an unblinking stare and look of 'well apologise for bursting through then'! The Triwizard tournament also included a rope act (the rope was suspended from an RJS beam about 30 ft up (you'll know all about them Mel - RJS beams not rope acts lol) and I just couldn't bear to look earlier in the day when they crawled in the rafters putting up the rope to make it safe.

The second picture is of the compere for the evening, Steve Short, a local Chamber member but also a member of the Magic Circle. He did really well! The picture is of him during the day on Friday. He was the 'glue' behind the whole evening and had such a lot to remember. To help him I typed up lots of prompts and crib notes. He printed them off and stuck them to giant playing cards. As well as comparing he 'magicked' Harry Potter on to the stage at the start of the evening and did tricks to 'fill in' between acts. He is a genuinely funny guy and has a very dry sense of humour. When he arrived on Friday morning, looking I have to say a little pale, and asked "Is it too late to hand in my resignation" I just laughed and thought he was joking ..... but in retrospect I'm not sure he entirely was lol But he did so well and I was very proud of our local talent.

It's late so I'll finish now and post some more Awards stuff tomorrow. This is all a little random but I'd like to post my memories to look back on in days and years to come. It's interesting to read how you felt about things at the time. Tired is what springs most to mind today !!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Mirror Mirror Not on the Wall - yet

Dear Reader
Here's the mirror I promised yesterday. I made it for the new craft room. For a room that's a hub for creativity there is little evidence of it on the walls so far and it all feels a bit bare. However, when I finished the mirror I took it through to where I do my picture taking and it went far better in there. So not looking as though my craft room walls will be filled yet. Ah well, 'Tomorrow's another day' as granny would say. I think I went a bit over the top with my embellishments on this one but as it's for me lots of flowers are just fine and who can resist a bit - well ok a lot - of bling! I really love the Prima swirls and flourishes. Technicalities: used MME papers, a mix of flowers from Prima/Orchid House and RWS, some 'string bling' from Boyes and some stamped and inked Martha Stewart butterflies. And of course I stickled, I think it's a really cheerful mirror and should make anyone who looks in it smile! I smiled when I saw the picture I'd taken of the mirror - it has me taking the picture in the mirror! Ah well, it's late and I want to get it posted. Hope it makes you smile too!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Beary Nice

Dear Reader

I've had quite a crafty weekend. Up early this morning so got the essentials of life out of the way and started on the good stuff! Made a few more ATC's for the May RWS Challenge, then altered an Ikea mirror for the new craft room. That seemed to come together quickly (I'll post it tomorrow) so decided to make a card. I'd had a look at the Magnolia Challenge blog yesterday morning and there was a post saying that they had come 5th in a poll of the top 30 challenge blogs. Well I thought the top five place was lovely for them and well deserved too. I'm very fond of the Magnolia Challenge - as you know I love my elves! But what surprised me a bit was that they'd printed all the top thirty blogs for us all to go and visit. Which was extremely kind of them and perhaps it's me and I've been in the business world too long but isn't the main point of their Challenge blog to get people to enter their competition, not other peoples, and so use Magnolia images? Anyway,I'd had a wonderful half an hour checking out all the various challenges and decided on three to enter, two of which I'd not come across before. So here's the card I made and it's going to go into Sketch Saturday (really lovely sketch to work with I thought so thanks to them), the Cupcake Craft Challenge which asked for 3 papers, 3 flowers and 3 ribbons and a Spoonful of Sugar Challenge which asked for a "Furry Friend (animals)"

I used tonal Craft Works papers, painted my image (Sugar Nellie) with distress inks in Tattered Rose, Spun Sugar and Victorian Velvet and made a small sentiment tag and distressed it - again with my Tim Holtz inks. Both image and tag were die cut with a Nestability. I used a large pearl brad from my stash to hold the sentiment in place. The three flowers were made using Woodware punches and I embellished with pearls from RWS. I added two rows of smaller pearls to give definition to the three papers. The ribbons are also from RWS - two are used as border edgers and one as a bow. I stickled the balloons to highlight them. Thanks for looking and please leave a comment....

Monday, 3 May 2010

Wallet Gift Card

Dear Reader
Here's a card I've made for three Challenges
a) Simon Says Stamp Challenge which asked for Buttons, Bows and Bling
b) Whiff of Joy Challenge which asked for a money/wallet card
c) Friday Sketchers - which gave a sketch to follow
Thank you to all the DT for the inspiration and to Friday Sketchers for the sketch. I really enjoyed making this card and I think I am going to put a gift voucher for a manicure in the little pocket. Chloe bought me a manicure and pedicure voucher for Christmas and I thought it was a lovely present. There's something so relaxing and 'other world' about beauty parlours - although last time I went to one a spider broke cover and the beautician ran out screaming leaving me to try and catch it hopping about with cotton wool between all my toes. For pity's sake! Mind you, my mum is terrified of spiders. Really frightenedof them so I should have more sympathy I suppose. Back to the card. For photographic purposes used my last tenner... Which looks like it's ready for the 'Home for Retired Banknotes' but gives the idea! Should have got a crisp new one from the bank but forgot. I'm afraid 'forgot' is getting to be my middle name these days. Think it's my age, but there again my memory was never much good. At least I don't think it was. But I may have forgotten!!
I used MME papers, inside and out. The image is Whiff of Joy and painted with distress inks. The pretty border ribbon and the pearls were from RWS. The punched swirls were from an RWS class. I fear they were for a scrapbook page I made but I inked and glitter misted them and used them here instead. This is such a useful punch - I must buy one. I always call it the Jane punch (Jane's Lovely Cards) as she was the first to discover its potential! Other punches - good old Martha Stewart. Buttons, thread and bling heart from my stash. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Dear Reader
Well I'm back! There's been a distinct lack of blogging recently due to the fact that the day job seems to have become the day and night job lol. Amongst other stuff I've been writing a 12 page Evening Programme for the forthcoming Awards. The Telegraph kindly agreed to print a special Harry Potteresque spoof newspaper as the Programme which is great but has meant a lot more copy is needed this year. So as well as all the normal menu/wine list/awards nominees etc I've been putting other stuff together to go in like lists of spells and articles like "Sorting Hat - Past its Sell by Date?". A lot of fun but a lot of work. Quite ironic really, writing a newspaper for a newspaper - I'm just keeping my fingers xd that the business community appreciate my humour. But if not the good thing with a newspaper is that it will be next week's chip paper so I decided not to get too hung up on it and just go for it!
I'm not sure what you're all doing this Bank Holiday but three days of pottering and catching up on some long-overdue housework and gardening is just lovely in my book. I overslept Saturday and missed my craft class which is unheard of. We were out on Friday evening and had a late one. The plan was to slip away early but after a couple of glasses of wine the dance floor beckoned and we were out there strutting our stuff. But next day I paid the price and missed seeing all my crafting buddies. What is it granny used to say about burning the candle both ends!
Last night I thought I'd catch up with some crafting and enter a challenge and after a spot of blog hopping settled on the Magnolia Challenge as I've been wanting a chance to use my Magnolia cupcake stamp and the sketch the DT team had produced (thanks !) seemed to lend itself. Limbered up first with an England banner for my dad. I'll post another one I've made for us soon but if you've seen the Easter one it's similar. Well alright exactly the same. Except it says England and has no chickens on it. Thought it would be a bit of decoration for the World Cup. Maurice says we'll probably only need it up for about a week. He of little faith!
I digress - back to cupcakes. I used some My Minds Eye papers I got in a BOGOF. Couldn't resist all the spots and they seem to go really well with cupcakes. The nestabilities came into their own again and I painted the image with distress inks. My new honey coloured one gives quite a nice 'sponge' colour I think. Used pearls and a ribbon from RWS.