Saturday, 25 July 2015

Gwynt y Môr

Its not been a week for crafty pursuits as my sister is visiting and we've been out and about when I was not working. The other evening we did one of my favourite things and went to the beach to watch the sunset.

Unfortunately there was quite a lot of cloud about so the sky was not spectacular but we enjoyed the display nevertheless. As you can see there were very few people around - just a few dog walkers and one lone fisherman with his little terrier. He must have been wearing his thermals as the wind was very cold once the sun went down.

I wonder how long he stayed. Is it mean of me to say I hope he didn't catch anything! I really hate the thought of those nasty hooks!

There is a huge wind farm off the North Wales coast named Gwynt y Môr (sea wind in English) which is supposed to be the second largest in the world! I don't know how I feel about it really but there is no doubt it makes an impressive sight in all sorts of weather. 

But its always the minutiae of life that catches my attention - like this beautiful stranded seaweed. Unlike more popular beaches on the North Wales coast, the sand on this beach is always perfectly clean and smooth as it gets washed by the tide right up to the sea wall twice a day.

We stayed right to the very end of the sunset and got a bit chilled - so I bought a bag of oven chips on the way home to warm us up!!!

Now I really must get on with something creative to  show you next week! 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Another hexi week

Its been another week of small hexagon patchwork and I'm still really enjoying it.  Two more sewing kits and a lavender filled pincushion came together in the last few days. My next project might be even smaller as I won some lovely Liberty Tana Lawn 2 inch squares on ebay which are now waiting for attention.

And there have been a few notecards inspired by this card on Audrey's blog that really took my fancy.  I just had to order that brush stroke stamp set and inked it up as soon as it arrived.  I coloured (with Zig watercolour pens) the daisies from Friends till the End (Papertrey Ink) after stamping with Versamark Ink and white embossing powder - something I don't do very often as its rather a palaver and I never seem to get a perfect result. The daisies were die cut and glued over the stripey background.

And finally this week, I watched a family of swallows on the wires in the same spot on the farm where I took the first photo on 14th April this year - the first swallows I'd seen locally.  I like to think these are the same pair with their successfully fledged offspring - I'm sure they are!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Summery Outdoors Stitching


We're enjoying a rather changeable July here in the UK. Sunshiny hot days, the odd heavy thundery shower, and days when the breeze is just too cool to sit out.  But on evenings when I can I like to sit on my Mum's front porch with a bit of stitching, watching the birds and the hedgehogs gobble up the bird seed I've just scattered on the lawn.

This week I've been busy with a small patchwork project from that talented duo at A Spoonful of Sugar.  Who doesn't need a small sewing kit to take on travels - either when holidaying or crafting away from home.  The pattern is an instant PDF download here.

I'm on my third kit already - the first two being gifts for my traveling sewing sisters and the third will be for me.  Such small scale patchwork comes together very quickly and if you enjoy a bit of hand sewing the whole project can be put together without a sewing machine if you choose.  I did resort to my machine for the outside quilting and stitching on the binding but its really not needed.

And sitting out at this time of year I cannot ignore the lovely sweet scent of the Mock Orange (Philadelphus). One boundary of the garden is lined with the shrub and its in full bloom at the moment. It doesn't last very long and soon there will be a shower of confetti-like petals every time the breeze blows. So I'm making the most of it.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Stitching, Baking and Colouring


Thank you my lovely readers for your suggestions on fabric tray motifs (see my last post). I think I'm going to go with Anja's suggestion of a strawberry - not least because it should be quite easy to sew! I am still on the fabric tray kick and this week as a variation made this little patchwork coaster set I found in Rashida Coleman-Hale's lovely book I (HEART) Patchwork. Quite time consuming but a lovely gift idea - I'm going to give these to my sister for a house-warming gift as she is moving home (and country) soon.

This week I also tried Mary Berry's recipe for Mini Apple and Almond cakes - it looked so simple on her TV programme last month. I had to buy some baking rings though and stupidly bought the wrong size so though the recipe should make 6 cakes I only got 4. At this time of year there are no cooking apples from the garden so I bought a couple of whoppers from the supermarket - enough for about 20 cakes!!!

I didn't have any flaked almonds for the topping but found a bag of ratafias on the cupboard and crushed them over the tops instead. Yummy with Greek yoghurt or Creme Fraiche!

And it had to happen didn't it! I'm such a sucker for the latest craze in the papercrafting world and THE latest must haves are the Kuretake Clean Colour Pens. Yes, I've started a small collection. I toyed with the idea of getting them from Japan as they are cheaper over there of course but there is that long long wait for them to arrive.  However I ended up buying them from my favourite on-line pen store Cult Pens, which has a really good price with free postage if you spend over £10 - and they usually arrive the next day.

So I can build up a collection slowly by purchasing a few every couple of weeks or so.  There are plenty of reviews on line if you are curious to know what this craze is all about.  I recommend Jennifer Mcguire's blog posts and videos here  and apologise if you catch the craze watching them!!!

Friday, 19 June 2015

This week......

........I tried some different design motives and a square shape for more fabric trays.  I think the hexagon makes a more attractive tray but I've a plan to make sets of 4 drink coasters to go in the squares. These should make nice little gifts or an item for craft fairs (if I do any more fairs this year that is). Four different bird shapes should be quite easy but I need to think of a fourth fruit to complete a fruity set.

And speaking of summer drinks (a very tenuous link!!) the Elder in the garden is in bloom and its time to start some Elderflower cordial. It seems to be a good year for the flowers and there are Elders at different stages on my regular walks so if I can time it right I should be able to make at least two and hopefully three batches before the flowers start to go over into berries.

Its always quite sad pouring boiling water over those beautiful frothy blooms but the end result is so delicious, so cheap and easy, and produces the most perfect refreshing summer drink.  As always I used the recipe found in my favourite preserving book Sensational Preserves. If you'd like to follow that recipe I blogged it here in 2010.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Little Free Stitchy Time

I saw these little fabric trays at A Spoonful of Sugar and thought they would be just right for my Mum's 91st birthday as she is rather untidy by the bedside, with sweets, medication, pens, headache sticks, inhalers, tissues, biscuits, etc, etc, etc, jumbled all over the bed and bedside table. At least the very small items could be gathered in a couple of these.

I tried a patchwork one for variety and then I thought these small fabric spaces were the perfect spot for a little free motion stitching. I took a couple of classes earlier in the spring and really should practise and build on what I learned there. I tried a couple of floral motives and really started enjoying the stitching instead of being rather afraid of lowering those sewing machine teeth!

I like how they turned out so now I'm going to move on to some other motifs - birds, apples, pears and cherries are calling to me!  And Mum liked her gift and is at least putting some of her bits and bobs in them.  We'll see how long that lasts!  I crocheted a jam jar cover for her pens and pencils too as she's a great crossword fan and can never find a pen!


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Gotta Stamp Again!

This little corner of blogland isn't overly visited (according to Blogger stats) but I noticed one of my most clicked-on posts was this one I wrote way back in August 2013. Well, I've had that stamping feeling again this past week, triggered by a purchase from that tempting craft store at Make the Day Special. This time I've fallen for a couple of sets from Waffle Flower.  It only takes a mouthwatering card or two spied on Pinterest for my resolve not to buy more stamps to disappear in a wink of an eye!

You will see some of those new stamps in these photos, along with some older sets from other favourite stamp brands. And if you look closely you might notice some sentiments in Welsh which are always popular at fairs here in Wales. Unfortunately Welsh language sentiment stamp choice is severely limited  and I tend to buy any I see. But I must thank my lovely blog friend Lynn at Crafty Linby for my latest "Penblwydd Hapus" (Happy Birthday) - a happy surprise in the post! Can you spot it Lynn?

Here's a closeup of cards using Waffle Flower's Loved set. As you can see I cannot give up my beloved one layer style small note cards. I buy ready made blanks 4 inches and 3 inches square. The large sentiments above are Papertrey Ink's Graceful Greetings. Just the right size to be the focal point of a 4 inch card. 

There are a few images from Wplus9's Freshcut Florals on the heart card too. I drew round a heart die lightly in pencil and stamped within the lines, rubbing the pencil marks out afterwards.

Lastly these cards use Waffle Flowers' Flower Circles set - a bit of an unusual style for me.  However I fell for that stylised lantern stamp and just had to have it. I love Japanese calligraphy and think these three cards have a little Japanese style. Do you agree? ;o)

And now for something completely different!!!  Just have to show off a few photos from last Thursday's 'Out There' concert at Liverpool's Echo Arena. Do you remember when cameras were forbidden at live performances on pain of death - well expulsion anyway! Not any more - you couldn't see the stage for cameras and phones at times.  Of course I joined in! This was my first experience of a large gig and I really enjoyed it - even if my ears were ringing for hours after.



Of course we would not normally consider spending so much on an evening out (do you know how much tickets cost!!!! I was shocked!) but we were lucky enough to be guests of one of the band, were invited to the artists lounge for pre-show nibbles and had seats down the front.  A great night I won't forget - after all I was in love with Paul when I was fourteen! ;o)


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