Monday, 31 May 2010

Two Robins

A Passion for Papertrey's challenge this week is to use your favourite colour and although I wouldn't say brown was my favourite colour I do love using it for cards and I especially like it with kraft cardstock. So here's my entry for the challenge. I used the Round and Round set again and the Stampin Up new bird punch - isn't it great!

Although these are little brown birds they remind me of my garden robins. I love to hear them singing - they've such strong voices for such small creatures. And if you listen to a robin in full voice you'll usually find he's in duet with a rival robin nearby. Just like on my card!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

70 years ago

I can't let the Dunkirk 70th year commemorations go by today without remembering Dad's war. So I've created this digital page. Dad was one of the soldiers who didn't get home in the frantic evacuation from those tragic beaches. His unit was with the rearguard, trying to keep at bay the German forces determined to stop the rescue of the BEF. Dad was a Gunner in the 101st Light/Antitank and Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery and one of the very few facts I was able to extract from him (he never wanted to speak of the war) was the memory of their antitank shells simply "bouncing off" German tanks. He was taken prisoner near St Valery, France on 12 June 1940 and the following years included the forced march of POWs to camps in Poland, 5 years slave labour on the land and in railway yards, and finally another forced march into Germany in the freezing and snow-covered January of 1945, with no food or shelter, keeping ahead of the advancing Allied forces, before eventual liberation in June and return home.
For many years I've been searching for Dad's fellow POW mate Artie from those times. Artie and Dad kept in touch after the war even though Artie lived in London and Dad was in North Wales. Artie and his wife June visited and Mum and Dad visited them. I know that they named their son Leslie after Dad. Leslie and I were born in 1948 and here we are sharing a pram in our back garden. And here's another portrait of Leslie - just look at those bonny legs! Unfortunately Mum, the only one left now who remembers Artie, can't remember his surname, so my search is almost impossible. I don't even know if Artie is his proper name. But I'm still in hope of finding him as I've posted his photo and my request for information in many places I think he or his son might see it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone reading this knew of his whereabouts!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Granny's Bonnet and Shawl

Its months since I've even logged on to Ravelry, let alone added anything to my page but I might just show off my latest project as I really like the way it turned out. Ysolda Teague's Damson shawl is perfect for my Mum as she has taken to wearing the lap blanket I made last year round her shoulders and of course as its a blanket it keeps falling off - but this little shawl is the perfect size and should stay put when she wears it. Its knitted from top to bottom on a circular needle and I used a ball of sock yarn I've been hoarding for a couple of years. I liked the finished project so much I started another straight away!

And to go with the granny shawl, the garden is absolutely full of granny's bonnets at the moment - Aquilegia. It self-seeds all over the place and is such a fabulous plant at this time of year I let it go wherever it wants to - only pulling it up from the paths.

As usual they have crossed with eachother and produced some gorgeous blue, purple, white and violet bonnets - I think this is my favourite this year.

Friday, 21 May 2010

May is Out!

Our family's millennium baby Jodie was 10 years old this week - can you believe its 10 years since all that fuss! I made her this pink bird to hang in a window and to match (well, vaguely!) the bird decorated birthday card. I found the free pattern here at Spool. I had already bought a fat quarter of this cute Japanese fabric to make a little gift for a new baby a few weeks ago and there was enough left over to make a bird or two. Its such a cute design and not too babyish for a 10 years old either. I found the pattern for the bib here at Juliette's Chickpea Sewing Studio. I find so much inspiration and ideas in blog-land - and its all there for the finding!

Apparently we're in for a spell of hot weather over the weekend and although its very welcome to most people it does make my latest garden project very difficult. I'm doing a bit of archeology - uncovering an old cinder path which has long been overgown with rough grass, nettles and brambles. I may have to leave further excavations until next week when cooler conditions are expected.
However, the good news this week is that the May is out - the Hawthorn hedge in other words. So you may cast all your clouts to keep cool as the temperature rises!
Isn't it beautiful!

Monday, 17 May 2010

A little Waltzing Mouse!

Here is my birthday project for the Waltzing Mouse blog waltz later today. I couldn't wait to make up Claire's A Nice Cup of Tea template for my Mum's birthday even though it isn't for a couple of weeks yet. Mum always has to have a pretty china cup for her tea - she hates thick pottery cups and mugs and says tea just doesn't taste right in them! She even refuses to go to some cafes if she doesn't like the cups! I'm not sure what I'm going to put in it yet but I've got a bit of time to decide. I really enjoyed making up the template - it all fitted together perfectly and really wasn't as fiddly as I expected it to be. I used a roller stamp by SU to decorate my cup and saucer and a gold leaf pen round the edges. I've made a birthday card to match - the gorgeous cup full of pansies is from the new Afternoon Tea Sentiments set - I love it!

Oh, just one more thing - I've been saving this little story especially for the Waltz - I was watering some new planting the other day when a tiny creature hopped by. It was my very own Waltzing Mouse! A Wood Mouse. He was so busy investigating the new plants and nibbling grass stems that he didn't seem to notice me at all. I rushed off to get my camera and amazingly he was still there when I got back and again didn't seem to notice me! Perhaps he'd never seen a human being before so I didn't scare him.

I remember a TV programme about birds in the garden some time ago and someone commented on how they seem to get so tame, coming so close when gardeners are working to snatch any worms and such like that we might dig up - the expert pointed out that our own birds get used to seeing us in our gardens and so feel safe enough to stay close by. I love close encounters with my garden wildlife - its such a privilege!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Butterfly days?

I was whooping for joy the other day as I found out the lovely Steph had made a draw for some extra Papertrey Anniversary stamp sets earned by a very large group order she organised earlier in the year, and I was one of the winners!! I'm sure they heard me cheering the other end of town I was so delighted. Its a very pretty set and I created a couple of cards with it straight away. One for my niece's birthday on Tuesday and this butterfly card for the latest A Passion for Papertrey challenge and is to make a card for a friend. I cut the circle in the card with a Nestabilities die and glued a piece of acetate behind. The butterfly image is stamped on the inside of the card. The butterfly on the outside is a single stamp from the new Stampin Up mini catalogue and is coloured with Copics. The butterfly seems to be a mixture of the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies - a bit strange but very pretty.

I'm always on the lookout for wildlife in the garden while I'm working and always have my camera nearby just in case I see something interesting. I've recently noticed that some days are definitely butterfly days. I know warm and sunny weather encourages flight, however there are some days when even if the weather is perfect there isn't a butterfly to be seen, and on other days there are dozens flitting about.

Last Saturday was definitely a butterfly day and I spent ages chasing them with my camera. Here are three I managed to snap - a Speckled Wood, a Holly Blue sipping from a Laurel flower and an Orange Tip - this is a male as the females don't have the orange on their wings. There were others I didn't catch as they spent all their time dancing with eachother in the sunshine.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Visiting Gwydir Chapel

A scrapbook page to remember our visit to Gwydir Chapel, St Gwrst's and Llanrwst last week. Here's the history bit.... the chapel is attached to the ancient church of St Gwrst and was commissioned by Sir Richard Wynn in 1636. It famously contains the stone coffin of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great), Prince of Gwynedd and a great Welsh hero who died in 1240.

We also visited Seion Chapel where lots of my father's ancestors are buried. The gravestone I found with my Australian cousin Jeni two years ago had not returned to the ground as I feared and although broken in two pieces its still readable.

A walk along the riverside and over Pont Fawr bridge brought us to Ty Hwnt i'r Bont, another famous Llanrwst landmark. You can't visit Llanrwst without sampling the delicious fare found here - we've been visiting for many years and it never fails to please. Its now owned by The National Trust. We had a lovely day and took lots of photos destined for the family album.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Gifts for some very special visitors!

I embroidered these little brooches for two very special visitors this week. Lesley and Sally are two members of our family I discovered through a family history website about 5 years ago. This week was the first time we have all been able to meet as the girls are both frequent globe trotters with very busy schedules - and Sally lives in Australia!

I found the pattern for these little hearts on Maggie's blog here and adapted them to suit my idea. I used some vintage linen cut from a half completed embroidered picture abandoned by someone about 50 years ago. I added some buttons and up-cycled two acetate boxes I've been saving for just this project! Two little notecards and chocolate completes my gift.

So we've had a lovely time this week. I've enjoyed showing the girls some of Wales and some old ancestoral places. Sadly I wasn't able to arrange the weather and we didn't see much of the sun - but this didn't spoil things too much. There are bound to be some digital scrapbook pages to follow soon!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May Day Seed Sowing and Happy Birthday Claire!

May Day and I'm hoping to sow some carrot seeds today - we've had a lot of April showers over the last couple of days so the ground is all set for growing - warm and damp! If all goes to plan my carrots should be ready to harvest by mid July and as I wanted to note this day I've created this little card with my Waltzingmouse Earthangel set. I would like to send it to Claire, the talented owner of Walzingmouse Stamps in Ireland. Today is a big day for Walzingmouse as over the past year Claire's wonderfully creative blog has grown into a very successful company producing brilliant acrylic stamp sets designed by Claire herself. So Happy First Birthday and Congratulations on your fabulous first year Claire! If you visit Walzingmouse today you will see exactly why we crafters love Claire's designs. Can't wait to see the 8 (yes 8!) sets she will be releasing at 7.00 pm tonight!

And if that wasn't enough to look forward to, Claire is running a competition to celebrate (finishing at midday today - Saturday) and the lucky winner will receive a set of each stamp set released today - what more could a crafter want! So my Earthangel card is my entry to the competition and I've got all fingers and toes crossed.
And finally, as it is May Day, some May Queens. The first queen is my Mum as Knighton May Queen in 1932- they look rather anxious don't they. And below a Criccieth May Queen of about the same time, with my Mum's cousin Lowri as a Queen's attendant, second from the left sitting on the floor. One more Criccieth May Queen, and the little girl on the left looking into the distance is my Aunty Gaenor , my Nain's (Grandmother) sister. This is 1914 and no doubt the last May Day celebration before the dark days to come.
Does anyone remember the May Day processions of the past - and dancing round the Maypole? I can just remember processions in Rhyl in the 1950s and an exciting concert in the pavilion on the promenade to follow - such a shame these traditions have all but disappeared.

Edit - Talking to Mum about the photo today, she said they were all really scared of the photographer's flash and look so anxious as they were waiting for the bang! When it went off Mum burst into tears and her headmistress ("a sarcastic so-and-so") said "fancy a Queen crying!" Mum was 7 years old - I don't think a 7-year-old today, used to the casual violence of video games and cartoons, would take fright at a photographer's flashgun!


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