Tuesday 27 April 2010

A Very Pink Post

I don't often get the chance to make a baby card and don't have many baby stamps in my collection - this seemed to be the only contender when Mum asked me to make a card for a new family baby girl yesterday. An excuse for more stamp shopping?? But this is a cute image and can be coloured to suit a girl or boy (or in a neutral colour) - its from a retired Stampin' Up set I think. The gingham background stamp is from Darkroom Door and I used this vintage baby ribbon I've been hoarding as it perfectly matched the Tattered Rose Distress Ink.

Did you notice the bunting decoration on the card's envelope? I copied Cathe Holden's clever idea for a homemade roller stamp - here it is on her blog Just Something I Made. The roller I found at our local ironmongers was plastic not wooden like Cathe's and I had difficulty gluing the rubber strip to it but when I tried double sided tape it worked very well.

I've been looking for one of these flower arranger's pinholders to hold my cards for photographing and found this lovely old version complete with its original box on ebay. I've seen quite a few being used on crafty blogs and apparently they are called Florist Frogs - I'm very pleased with my find.

I can't have a post without a garden update - so here are some photos I took yesterday. It was a good day for butterflies - I saw the Comma, Orange Tip, Meadow Brown and this lovely Holly Blue. And I give you some more pink - the Apple Blossom is just about to break and the buds are a beautiful rose colour. The Pear is already out and is a lovely pearly white. The Plum trees are usually the first to blossom at the bottom of the garden but there was very little on the trees this year and I don't think there is much fruit to come. They are probably recovering after the huge crop they produced last year - I've still got a couple of boxes of plums in the freezer waiting to be made into plum crumble!

Thursday 22 April 2010

Happy Earth Day!

I'll be celebrating Earth Day 2010 by planting my onion sets this afternoon. And I'll sow some carrot seed if I can find the packet from last year. I've already planted tomatoes, cucumber and potatoes and really hope for a good crop this year. My tomatoes were very disappointing last year but that was probably my own fault as I spent quite a lot of time away from home and didn't look after them properly.

Here's a little Earth Day project I copied from Erin Lincoln's blog Procrastination Station. As soon as I saw her lovely little areoplane box I wanted to try my own version. Instead of a piece of doweling I've used a lolly stick for a wand. It works just as well and enables my dragonfly to flit from flower to flower. This was also my first attempt at creating a sky by sponging over a scalloped Spellbinders die. I've seen this technique used on a number of blogs recently and I'm really pleased with the result. These lovely tulip-type flowers and the dragonfly are from Papertrey's Wishing You set which I found for sale on Splitcoaststampers recently.

I hope Kayla likes it - her 4th birthday isn't until September but I couldn't resist Erin's post and wanted to make a box straight away.

Oh, and I'm entering my project for the Passion for Papertrey challenge this week too as the current theme is floral!

Monday 19 April 2010

Has the Cowslip Fairy visited?

The Cowslips in the garden are lovely this year and I'm sure the Cowslip Fairy has visited and sown more seed. However I did chop a rosemary bush that had grown too large for its space in March so the Cowslips have had much more room to grow and haven't had to fight their way through the rosemary bush to flower. But I don't really want to pick them for cowslip wine, a traditional use for the 'peeps' - petals. Have you noticed a great flowering of Cowslips on roadside verges over the past few years? I wonder if the council workers are brewing their own wine!

I saw some very pretty Flower Fairies pendants on Theresa's blog today - she loves fairies! I've admired Cicely Mary Barker's book illustrations for many years and collected these three old Flower Fairy books before all the commercialisation of her images started. The covers of two are very scruffy but the Flower Fairies of Spring is in good condition and the inside pages of all three are still perfect. I bought the three together so I think they must have belonged to one little girl and there is an inscription dated September 1938 ("Mair Davies from her Dad"). The books were first published in the mid-1920s.

Lastly, I've been looking for the wonderful sunsets we've been promised from the Icelandic volcano dust cloud. They haven't really materialised - I supposed because the skies here have been clear of clouds when the sun is setting. But I did see this wonderful moon and star on Friday night - not a perfect photo but it does capture the atmosphere of the heavens that night.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

99 Years Ago

Yesterday would have been my Dad's 99th birthday! Mum and I took these gorgeous orange tulips and some pale lemon spray carnations to the cemetery.

The day started me pondering on how different life has become for us all in just two generations. Dad was always one for the latest gadget and had to have anything new and novel. Of course he wouldn't recognise the must-have gadgets of today - all those hugely expensive "indispensable" gadgets people carry in their pockets or bags these days. I can't imagine Dad making use of any of them and he died only 15 years ago! Apart from my trusty 6 year old laptop, I don't have these gadgets myself and don't feel the need for any of them. However what I do see is family and friends constantly pestered by one gadget or another - cursing them for the most part - and I thank goodness I'm not at the mobile phone's beck and call 24 hours a day! Oh dear..... this post has turned into a bit of a rant and makes me sound rather a luddite - but I have to admit I can't imagine life now without the world-wide resources of the internet!

Monday 12 April 2010

"Land of my Mothers"

Rather late in the day on Sunday we decided to drive to Porthmadog and Borth y Gest - it was another lovely spring day - and it was after 4 o'clock when we were on the beach at Borth. It was so quiet and peaceful there; just the sound of the seabirds, a few children still playing, and sail boats slowly chugging back to harbour.

Of course I took lots of photos and scrapped some last night. I'm always attracted to and admire the pages of scrappers who design with small images surrounded by lots of empty space - but I can never bring myself to scrap that way myself. I want to cover my pages with photos - they are after all almost always a record of a place, a day, a person, or a memory, so for me the image is the focus rather than the space around it.

The big photo on my scrapbook page captures the distant Rhinog Mountains, Moelfre, the dip that is the entrance to Cwm Nantcol, and the village of Dyffryn Ardudwy - birth and burial place of many ancestors on my Mother's side of the family. And below Moelfre (pictured on this old postcard) is an ancient farmstead - Hendre Waelod, where my great grandfather Hugh was born in 1862, the eldest of 12 children belonging to Evan and Elizabeth Pugh.
But Hugh did not stay on the land - he married Ellen, a distant cousin, and crossed the bay to establish a "High Class Grocery and Provisions" business in Criccieth High Street. Hugh died at the early age of 37 and Ellen took over and later handed on the business to his children and grandchildren. Its still a going concern today - though sadly no longer in the family.Yesterday's visit to the "land of my fathers" - or mothers in this case - has certainly brought me into a family history frame of mind again and I can feel some more heritage pages coming on!

Thursday 8 April 2010

More Garden Close-ups

I love to record things emerging in the garden at this time of year. So much needs to be seen close up so when I should have been digging the potato patch yesterday (tradition dictates they should be planted Easter weekend), I was wandering around with my camera again. I really must get them planted this afternoon!The Pasque Flowers again - when they first emerge the flowers look like little furry creatures and I want to stroke them! They really are one of my favourite spring flowers.
There was a lot of flitting and buzzing around yesterday in the back garden, which is much more sheltered and warm than the front. I saw this Comma butterfly sunning itself on our old flag pole. It came down in a storm and now lies under a hedge which gets the evening sun. This butterfly has emerged from winter hibernation and looks rather ragged - I hope it will survive as the nights are still cold and there's not much for it to feed on right now.
My sister was working in Romania a few years ago and on one of my visits we stayed in a lovely village deep in the countryside. I picked up a few willow twigs there and brought them home (is that allowed?) . I've been training them over a metal frame to make an arch.I love my blackcurrant bushes - the smell of the leaves evokes memories of the gardens of my childhood. My Dad and Aunty Bessie grew them. They are so easy to propagate that my original bought bush now has 6 offspring. I've already seen lots of ladybirds in the garden this year and hopefully they will be eating all those pesky aphids soon.
Another success has been the cob nut bushes I planted when some nuts sprouted in the fridge a few years ago. There are three little bushes and I do hope they can keep going and produce a small crop one day.This little patch of Speedwell has suddenly appeared in the grass platt at the front of Mum's house - just where I scatter bird seed. I read that it appears where the ground has been disturbed so perhaps the birds' little feet and pecking beaks has germinated the seeds. We've always called it "Birds Eyes" and its a much more intense blue than my camera thinks!

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Material Challenge - Passion for Paptertrey

I had a lovely surprise yesterday morning - my Papertrey package arrived from my good friend Sunny in the US! She had ordered two small stamp sets with the matching dies for me and I got down to experimenting with them last night. Here's my card using the Fillable Frames #2 set - I really like this shape and can see it will be very useful. I wish I'd also ordered the #1 frame set now - maybe next time.

A Passion for Papertrey's current challenge is to use fabric on a project - I die cut the fabric (which had iron-on interfacing on the back to stiffen it up) and the felt using Cuttlebug flower dies - the two smallest sizes. Not very original, and not a lot of fabric used I know, so hope it counts!

Tuesday 6 April 2010

The Garden Close Up

The Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla Vulgaris) - so named as it normally flowers at Easter. Of course its late this year and the first flowers are only just opening. A lovely thing - the beautiful flower later turns into a very pretty seedhead.
The pansies I put in hanging baskets and pots in the autumn haven't done much over the winter and I did think they had been frosted and would not survive - but these are tough little plants and against all odds (being completely ignored over the last few months) they have started to flower.
A week or so ago I managed to do what I had meant to do in January - I moved my rhubarb plant. It has been sitting in the middle of a patch overrun by alpine strawberries for the past 5 years. I don't want to get rid of the strawberries as they fruit for months on end once they start, cover the ground in pretty foliage and smother out the weeds. I was able to divide the rhubarb into three plants and look - its started to grow already!
Another Easter bloomer is this Lenten Rose (Helleborus Orientalis). It's flowers are absolutely beautiful - but its hard to appreciate them as they hang their heads downwards, so unless you lie flat on the ground you won't see them - not an inviting prospect at this time of year!

Sunday 4 April 2010

Baby food jar Pincushion

I seem to be on a blogging roll this weekend - this is a little gift I made a couple of weeks ago for a niece who has just bought her first proper sewing machine. I found the idea here at Craft Pudding and I've used a baby food jar too as I couldn't find anything else suitable. I didn't have a friendly baby who could let me have an empty jar so I had to buy one - it was a fish pie and I have to tell you my cat Sausage absolutely loved it!

Anyway - the real reason for this post is to let my niece know about a US blog I found The DIY Dish. Looks like there will be some great ideas coming up from these two girls - hope you find something you would like to try there Faye.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Easter Gingerbread

I decided I wouldn't give chocolate eggs this Easter as the kids get so many every year. So I baked ginger- bread Easter eggs - just the normal gingerbread recipe cut with one of these cutters.

Then I made these little packages and slipped the gingerbread in glassine bags inside. I used my lovely Darkroom Door plaid background stamp again and all the other stamps are from two Papertrey sets - Tin Types and Tags for Spring. This pink, green and yellow colour combination always says Easter to me. Its so pretty.

The current Passion for Papertrey blog challenge is for Easter theme projects so I'm entering these - and here's my Easter card too. The flower is from another Papertrey set, Garden of Life, a set I don't seem to use often enough.

Happy Easter Holiday!

The sun is shining and the sky is blue with fluffy white clouds skudding about - perfect Easter weather. We're having a family day today with fish and chips for lunch (hope there's a veggie option for me!) and a wander round the local shops. I had a baking day yesterday and we will have an Easter Tea before the everyone departs for home.

I picked up a lovely book in a charity shop recently. "Good Housekeeping's Picture Cake Making" and both these recipes are from it. Its dated 1958 by it's previous owner and, as well as loads of yummy recipes, is full of lovely photos - some colour, adverts, and advice and suggestions on the best equipment to use in your 1950s kitchen. What I really love about old cookery books is that the recipes don't use any hard to find fancy ingredients and the recipes use imperial measurements - being of a certain age, I just can't get my head round metric - I can't visualise 500gms or 10cms in my head and I don't suppose I ever will. When someone says something is 10 kilometers away I haven't a clue how far that is but I can easily visualise 5 miles!

Anyway, these are Easter Biscuits - a simple recipe using flour, butter, sugar, egg and currants, and the cake is a Cinnamon Sponge made with semolina - an easy recipe from one of the advertisement pages. I halved both recipes as we aren't a large family and I would end up eating the left-overs for the rest of the week! Isn't that teaset in the photo pretty!

I'm going to post my Easter crafts tonight as, as usual, I'm running very late!


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