Wednesday, 19 August 2015

World Photography Day


Its ‪#‎WorldPhotographyDay‬ (apparently) so I thought I'd blog some of my Dad's photos. When we were young he was a keen photographer and developed his films in the bathroom - we were forbidden to enter when he was in there in the dark with his strange paraphernalia, spooky red lightbulb and those weird chemical smells. His photographs were often imperfect but I love them all, especially those he took of us when we weren't looking. Here we are on the beach - I think at Butlins Pwllheli circa 1956.

Here's another Butlins photo probably taken in 1954 - I swear it never rained when we were at our most favourite place in the world at that time. We so looked forward to our week at Butlins. I think I dreamed about it for weeks beforehand!

Its the moments in time caught forever that I love about these un-posed photos. Most Sundays we went for trips into the countryside - either just for a walk or a picnic in good weather.

Here we'd been given fishing nets and messing about near the water was always irresistible. This is the River Dwyfor near Trawsfynydd where our Uncle and Aunt lived.

Another of my sister and I - there were four of us but by the time my youngest sister came along in 1956 Dad had stopped developing his films himself so there are fewer photos - much to my baby sister's disgust. She is still put out that there aren't many pictures of her!

Here we are with Mum playing a game of chase in a daisy strewn field long ago.

And this was a birthday party in the garden - we'll never know what everyone was so interested in on the grass.

There are lots taken in the back garden. This is us with my Mother's friend Bessie's newly adopted son Peter - a much longed for child for her and her husband.

And another game in the garden - this time with Hazel from next door. We were always outside even in the winter - warmly wrapped up of course!

And with my cheeky cousin Dafydd - Mum says he was always a naughty boy.... something he vehemently denies now!!

And finally a much later picture of all of us with Mum. My sister will only moan if I leave her out! By this time (about 1958) Dad's pictures came as coloured slides which we viewed on a big white plastic screen through a slide projector. Some time ago I got the chance to borrow a slide scanner and scanned them all into the computer.  It took an age but I'm so glad I did.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Those Adult Books!

Hands up whose been sucked in by the current craze for adult colouring!  Add me to the list!  This week I've spent a couple of hours every evening sitting at my Mum's kitchen table with pencils and a pretty image colouring away. Took me back to my childhood when a new colouring book was a treat bought with my Saturday afternoon sixpence in Woolworths or W H Smiths.

But now in 2015 the queen of colouring is undoubtedly Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford.  Her first book, The Secret Garden, has sold over a million copies and has been translated into 14 languages! Already a very talented artist of course, Johanna's idea to turn her illustrations into a colouring book, and one for adults to boot, has shot her to fame. I came across her books when looking for a colouring book for my mum.  At 91 and in frail health, she doesn't go out now. I thought she might like something other than watching TV or doing crosswords to pass the time but I have to say all the adult books I looked at (and there are many!) were far too intricate for her eyesight. However I was rather taken by Johanna's second book Enchanted Forest myself.

Being a stamping card maker I already use pencils and markers but I was still reluctant to spoil the pages of my new book. After all its easy with cards - you just start again if there's a mistake or blot on the image. However I found some free downloads here and here and set to practicing.

I printed the pages on thin white card and found my Staedtler pencils gave a pleasing result. I also liked the effect of Kuretake Clean Color Brush Pens but sadly my Copics are out as they would bleed through to the other side of the page - disaster!

I finished my first page last night and, oh dear, looks like I've started another already!  Apparently I'm not the only one addicted though. Take a look at the Colouring Gallery on Johanna's website. Some pretty impressive work there! Hmm, might just add my mermaids to its walls.

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.


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