I’m back!

Hello again, it’s been a long while since I posted anything on this blog, but I am back and hope to be able to post a little more frequently in the coming weeks at least!  Over the last couple of years I have been working in the local primary school during lunch hour, doing admin work on the school website and volunteering to read with some of the younger children.  This has taken up far more time than I had imagined it would and I guess this blog is what I sacrificed.  However, I have been crafting when I can and my facebook page has been updated more often than the website.

I am currently not able to do my lunchtime role in school and the additional admin work I was doing seems to have dried up as well.  Yesterday was the official end of my contract and I don’t predict that to be renewed in this current climate, so I am now back to crafting and looking after the home again full time.  Of course, my daughter is also at home and I am trying to find ways to keep up with her school work as well as keeping her busy and interested each day.  I would love to hear of any activities you think would be useful to share with an eleven year old about to leave primary school!

So while I sort out the rest of the day, here’s a card I made last summer, using Tonic adorables die and stamp set – Kirby and Lulus Wash Day.  I think it sums up how I feel at the moment.

Cute cats in washing

Stay safe and happy crafting.

x

 

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Visit to Bristol

This weekend we had a family visit down to my husband’s family in Bristol. We were visiting the family as we haven’t been down since Christmas and one of our nephews was playing at the Totterdown music festival.

The trip down was pretty uneventful, a bit of rain and fortunately it was cooler than it has been of late. Our air-con in the car stopped working a while ago and we didn’t want to be stuck in a boiling car for over three hours! Anyway, we had a good trip and I even managed to get some knitting done on the way!

On Sunday we were taken to a lovely new craft café on Wells Road, called Craftisan.

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We were told it was a craft shop and café, so it’s the ideal location to visit for me. Who can resist crafting goodies and cake?! I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a lovely shop, loads of natural light and lovely bright displays of craft materials, tools and some hand crafted items too. And the cake is delicious. Between us we sampled most of the selection on offer. I can totally recommend the millionaires shortbread and the chocolate, cookies and cream cake.

As we were off to watch the festival, we couldn’t stay too long, but I think we will be visiting again. They also have a lovely craft table for kids and run some craft workshops. So I reckon it would be a great place to visit with Alice, she could do some messy craft while I eat cake, drink tea and knit / crochet.

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Do visit if you get the chance, it’s laid back and very comfortable. The sofas are enormous!

Happy crafting
x

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January Birthdays

January and February are busy months for birthdays and anniversaries for us. So the beginning of the year is always taken up with family crafting. This year I’ve decided to have a real go at using up some of the numerous card-making kits I’ve bought over the years and see what I can come up with.

The great things is that all the people celebrating are of different generations and have totally different likes.

I started off with my in-laws. I was inspired by a visit to see the Flying Scotsman on our local steam railway and made this card for my Father-in-Law using a Hunkydory kit.

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I followed this with a card for my Mother-in-Law, using another Hunkydory kit, this time the little book of birthdays. Such lovely designs and I just couldn’t help adding some die cut butterflies!

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Next it’s my nephew’s first birthday. So not a card he would appreciate so much as one for his parents! I was given a set of balloon dies and some number dies for Christmas which was perfect for this occasion. This is a great card for using up offcuts of papers.

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I’ve also made cards for my Brother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law and my husbands Best man. The little book of birthdays and male images have been a great investment here!

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Finally for now is my other nephew’s fifth birthday in a couple of weeks time. He’s mad about Star Wars at the moment, so I made him a spaceman card. I hope he likes it.

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Well it’s time to get back to desk, I have my Mum’s birthday and Mum and Dad’s 45th wedding anniversary to make for, as well as Valentine’s Day!

Happy crafting
x

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New Arrivals!

My Christmas present this year has been these two little lovelies! Since we lost Stella and Guinness earlier in the year, I’ve been coming to terms with the emptiness in the house, but I knew I would want to bring some more cats into the house at some point. Well we had our fabulous holiday and I have (hopefully) got over all my hospital admissions for the foreseeable future, so I decided a few weeks ago that I was ready to look for a couple of kittens.

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A friend of mine is a vet and she had a mother cat with five kittens abandoned at the practice, so we have now become the owners of two of the little kittens. So meet, Lily (tabby) and George (tabby and white). They are both quite shy, but I am sure that they will settle in soon and we are all looking forward to them playing around the house. I can’t wait for them to fall asleep on my knee too!

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Happy crafting
x

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Half Term Art

This half term we’ve been lucky to all have the week off and we decided on doing some new things as a family.

So on Monday we were up and out early for a trip out to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. I last went there when I was doing my art GCSE, back in around 1987/8, so I was looking forward to seeing all the changes. It was not really a surprise to find it nothing like I remembered. The galleries are really bright and airy, and the exhibitions are full of thought invoking pieces of art and sculpture. One of the most interesting pieces was a large cave-like structure adorned with knitting and crochet. It was very spookily lit, which made us think it was an old cave filled with cobwebs – very appropriate for this time of year. However, we were informed by one of the staff that it was actually the ‘Womb Room’ and with the low lighting inside it felt very warm and cosy.

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As it’s half term, there were several activities on offer for children. We opted for the ‘art hamper’ where we filled a small picnic hamper with art supplies and found an inspiring spot to make our own art. We decided on a bench overlooking the art garden and we all came up with something unique! It was great to do some drawing again, I realised it’s been a very long time since I actually sat down to draw a still life. But we all had fun and came away with our own piece of art.

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We finished the visit with the ‘welly walk’ around the sculptures in Whitworth Park. The weather was glorious, so we made the most of the dry conditions and played in the leaves, collecting some for possible future crafting back home. The walk involved trying to work out which of sculptures to find, using some slightly cryptic clues. We had great fun and particularly liked the out-of-season snowman and the upside-down trees!

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After lunch we headed off to The Imperial War Museum North, somewhere else I have been previously, but many years ago now. On arrival we were met with another menu of activities for half term, and we found ourselves in a studio doing still life drawing! This time of items from the Second World War. It was great that the parents were also encouraged to take part not just the children. So we all had another go with some beautiful pencils, drawing gas masks, goggles and incendiary bombs! This was all part of the ‘Big Draw’ and the gallery of work was pretty impressive – children and adults.

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We didn’t have anywhere near enough time to see all of the exhibitions, but we did do the Horrible Histories ‘Blitzed Brits’ exhibit, which was very popular with my daughter, even if she wasn’t really understanding everything. She loved doing the activity booklet, following the clues and getting hands on with all the interactive exhibits. It turns out I would have been a bomb disposal expert in the war!! Not sure I would have been any good at that, I see me more as a land girl or knitting socks for the troops.

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It was dark by the time we came out of the museum, so we had a quick walk over the ship canal to Media City, looking in vain for the Blue Peter garden, whilst enjoying the lights and the incredible moon. A quick cuppa in the Lowry while my husband set about taking plenty of arty photos in the dark, and then it was time to go home, thoroughly worn out!

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A great day out which we finished with a chippy tea. I would thoroughly recommend looking into any of these attractions and I think we will be going back to them again very soon. It was brilliant to do so much art too, I will have to see what else is on offer for the Big Draw week.

Happy crafting
x

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Hunkydory

Over the last few weeks I’ve been inundated with family requests for cards, so many birthdays, anniversaries and we even had a wedding this year! When you get to my age all the weddings just seem to stop, now it’s 40th and 50th birthdays of friends and we’re all waiting for the weddings of our children – which will be some time off yet!

Anyway, I invested in some of the Hunkydory ‘little books’ a little while ago, and as I have needed some quick cards recently, I decided it was time to stop looking at the images and actually use some. As I have quite a collection of Hunkydory cardstock, these little books are brilliant to put with card I have already. The images are really lovely too and there are loads to choose from in each book. I have one for men, one for birthdays and one about birds and they seem to cover every occasion. The bird images range from paintings of garden birds to more contemporary designs, these lend themselves beautifully to wedding and anniversary cards.

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I’ve also had quite a few birthdays this last few weeks and these images have been great for all ages.  This ‘hipster’ image really made me think of my brother.  I’m not really sure why as he doesn’t have a moustache or beard, neither does he ride a bike, but the overall feel of the image was just right.  It’s such a cool colour scheme, the little hints of teal work so well with the bright red and black.  I love it!

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This was the card I made for one of my daughter’s friends birthday. It comes from the birthday book and looks so lovely, I just couldn’t resist making a card with it. It really reminds me of my daughter on her bike, full of life, and the butterflies set it off perfectly.  I found this lovely cloud paper in a back-issue of Craftseller and love the dreamy feel it gives to the card.
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My next card was for my hubby, he loves a glass of red wine, so this image was perfect. I coupled this with a bottle of rioja from a local wine merchant, and made up a hamper of cheeses, biscuits, snacks, pasta and sauce. It was very well received and we all enjoyed a lovely dinner with the contents.
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Finally here’s my card for an ex-work colleague who has a small boat that he likes to sail over the summer.
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One of the things I love about making cards is being able to make something individual for the recipient, and these little books are great as there just seems to be an image to suit every occasion and age. I am sure they will come in very handy over the next few weeks and months. Time to get thinking about Christmas cards next though!

Happy crafting
x

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Back to School

Half Term is over already and we haven’t done half of the things we set out to do! We have had lots of fun and done some crafting at home as well as the decoupage at the library.

After a hectic start to the holidays we had a relaxing couple of days in the middle, where I caught up with my paperwork and we both did some making. This has ranged from lots of loom bands again (thanks to an activity at Rainbows) – pottery and drawing.

We had a clear out of a toy cupboard and found a pottery set that had only been partially used. So while I was busy making cards, my daughter was having fun playing with air drying clay.

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She made an uneven box with a lid, a candle holder and a dinosaur! Not a bad afternoon’s work.

It’s great now she’s getting older as she will do her own thing without wanting to do everything I’m doing. So we get to share the space and enjoy each other’s company, listening to the radio and singing along. I managed to make about 7 cards without her input or wanting everything I was using. It was a fun way to spend a very dull and miserable afternoon. So much for Summer!

She’s back at school now and enjoying all her different activities, while I get to crack on with my knitting and card-making. It’s certainly quiet around here!

Let’s hope we do get some sunshine and have something of a summer. I would like to do some outdoor crafting soon.

Happy crafting
x

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Knitting!

I haven’t done any knitting for ages and while I was looking through my knitting bag by the settee, I thought why not knit something for a change?! I normally knit in the winter, but it’s been so cold here recently that knitting has been really appealing to me.

I decided to have a real sort out of my craft room and found a pile of knitting patterns that I had forgotten about completely. I fancied making something different, but quick to make, and I came across a pattern for wrist warmers. Ideal for Spring and the current weather, and they don’t take up much yarn. An ideal project for using up some odd balls of yarn.

I started with a pair for me. I have a good stash of yarn, mostly double knit, and found some pure wool that I thought would be lovely to use. It knits up very easily and was so soft on my hands. (I was once told that lanolin occurs naturally in wool and that can soften skin – I tested this theory out in my previous life as an energy efficiency officer where I had a sample of woollen insulation and it was a great alternative to having handcream on my desk). The cold has made my skin quite dry recently so any help I can get to keep them feeling soft is appreciated!

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Anyway, I managed to make up the simple wrist warmers very quickly and decided to make some more for my daughter as an alternative to gloves. I scaled down the pattern by using smaller needles and cotton yarn.

I generally enjoy the knitting but not the sewing up of my projects, so I always have a few projects in the bag waiting to be put together. But this time I set myself a target to learn how to mattress stitch seams together. I’ve always struggled with learning from a picture as I can’t convert the flat 2d picture into what I need to do in real life, so this was going to be a challenge for me. I found a small set of written and pictorial instructions for this stitch, which took me a while to fathom – including unpicking a couple of times – but I mastered it and can’t believe how amazing the seams look. I was so impressed I even took my work up to show my Mum who was equally impressed and has requested a lesson!

So here are the finished cotton wrist warmers I made for my daughter.

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They were just what was needed for going to her dance class and they certainly attracted some interest. My daughter wants some legwarmers now to go with them!

Time to get back to the knitting needles and look for some interesting yarns and colours to put together!

Happy crafting
x

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Family Birthday

This weekend as well as being Valentine’s Day, is my Mum’s birthday. A big one this year, 70! She’s not particularly impressed with being 70 but we’re all going out for a family meal which will be lovely. Three generations of the immediate family, Parents, Children and Grandchildren.

70th Birthday Handbag Card

We also have a 4th birthday, a 44th wedding anniversary and a funeral to attend, so it’s a big weekend of emotions for us.

So hopefully to help cheer Mum up about being 70, I made her this handbag card. She’s a huge fan of shoes and handbags and I thought the colours would brighten up the day!

I hope she likes it.

Happy crafting
x

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Wood craft

Over Christmas I have visited my in-laws and discovered how my Father-in-law has been preparing for the Christmas period.  He is a fellow crafter (having taken early retirement a number of years ago) and his current craft of choice is wood turning.

This year he made a little Christmas tree for my daughter, which I loved too, so I ordered another from him for our Christmas dinner table.  These little trees are so quirky and gorgeous.

Wooden Christmas trees

The larger tree is made of lime wood (I think) which is very appropriate for us as we live in a lime tree prevalent area.  It looks lovely as a focal point on the table too and has prompted a number of comments from visitors.  I love it so much that I haven’t been able to put it away with the rest of the decorations and it is taking pride of place on my kitchen window ledge for use on my table throughout the year.

I was also surprised with a lovely gift for our Christmas tree.  This beautiful bauble.  It has been polished but this is the natural colour of the wood.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

Wooden Christmas tree bauble

He’s made some beautiful pieces for us over the years and has just recently set up an on-line store. So if you’re in the market for some beautiful wooden gifts or home accessories, give his stall a visit – Paul Brooks you won’t be disappointed.

Let me know what you think.

Happy Crafting
x

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