Friday, 29 July 2011

Blooms, butterflies and fairies

The Scabious is at its very best at the moment in my garden. I love it and so do the bees, butterflies and hoverflies. Definitely worth propagating for elsewhere in the flowerbeds.

And here is Cicely Mary Barker's Scabious Fairy. I recently read about her work as an artist and was amazed to learn that as well as meticulous research of the plant, choosing and sketching the right child model, and writing the fairy's song, Cicely also designed and made up each fairy costume. Not only that, she unpicked and reused the fabrics for the next fairy once the painting was finished. There are 168 fairies in her 7 fairy books - can you just imagine how much work went into them! The wings of the Scabious Fairy look like they come from the Holly Blue butterflies I chase around the garden with my camera. I haven't managed to catch one this year but here's one I nabbed last year.

I'm linking this post to NF Flowers and NF Winged this week - two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Last Chance

We've one more chance to win a prize from Papertrey's Stamp-a-faire event - Challenge 10 has been extended until tonight. The challenge is to create a single layer card, stamping a focal point over a stamped background. As its my first free day since the event on Saturday I took some time this morning to try my luck once more.

When I first discovered Papertrey Ink (I sometimes wish I hadn't!) the only way to get my hands on the stamps was to buy used sets offered on the Splitcoast Stampers Buy/Sell thread. Wishing You was one of my first aquisitions and I haven't used it in a while but I do love the graphic style of these tulips. I've stamped them over my favourite background stamp from Tin Types. Cross your fingers for me as this is my last chance to win the Stamp-a-faire free set Iconic Images - just love that jug stamp!

Stamps: Papertrey Wishing You, Background Basics: Tin Types, Beyond Basic Borders
Ink: Distress Ink: Worn Lipstick, Bundled Sage, Antique Linen

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Stamp-a-faire Challenge 5

Well I couldn't resist one more challenge even though its gone 2.00 am here in the UK and I have to be at work at 10.00 am in the morning! Challenge number 5 is to use a solid stamp to make a faux border and as I love the card Mish has made I wanted to have a go myself. As time is short I've made a very simple thankyou card using the strawberry stamp to make a pretend banner across the top. I love that the tag circle looks like a plate holding that HUGE berry - if only strawberries were that size but tasted like the tiny alpine berries I have in the garden!
Well that me done in! I'm off to bed........ night night!

Stamps: PTI Fruit Fusion: Berry, Tag-its 5
Ink: Distress Ink Worn Lipstick & Tumbled Glass
Tools: PTI Berry die

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Here's one I made earlier! (Stamp-a-faire Challenge 7)

Is this cheating? My favourite stamp company Papertrey Ink is holding a Stamp-a-faire today in the US and all us PTI-holics have been invited to join in from afar by participating in 10 (yes 10!!) challenges, one to be posted every hour. Well I'd love to play along but its been a long day........ then aha! I see challenge number 7 just happens to fit in with one of the notepads I made for the craft fair I attended today. The challenge is to marry up images from two different Papertrey sets and I have to say I was really pleased with the effect I got from the gingham stamp from Bitty Blocks with the little birds from Take Three Summer.

I enjoyed the day however despite only getting 3 hours sleep last night trying to finish everything. The event wasn't very busy but the friendliness of the other crafters and the frequent trips to the tea room made up for the lack of customers. And we had a pretty wedding across the road to keep us amused.

Stamps: PTI Bitty Background Blocks; Take Three: Summer
Tools: die from Button Card Die collection
Ink: Scattered Straw Distress Ink; SU Chocolate Chip

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Notepads UK size

I was inspired by a thread on the Papertrey blog to make some covered notepads for my next craft fair. There's a tutorial on Nichole Heady's blog with a downloadable template but of course it's sized to fit the pads Papertrey Ink sell and I've not been able to find any of the right size here in the UK. Then I saw Joyce had made a lovely notepad using Jotter Pads from a certain supermarket beginning with the letter T ! Its not somewhere I like to shop but needs must....... so I sneaked in, bought 10 (only 30p each) and sneaked out again before anyone noticed me!
I worked out a template quite easily and just in case any of my lovely UK followers would like to make some pads too I thought I'd share it. The pads are just under 3 inches (7.5 cms) wide and 8 1/4 inches (21cms) long, which is exactly the width of a sheet of A4 cardstock - how handy is that! So you need one sheet of cardstock per pad. Score along the long edge at 3 inches, 3 1/4 inches and 6 1/4 inches.
My scoring board isn't long enough to score right across the cardstock but it was easy enough to extend the line with a ruler. I did use Nichole's template for the curve of the pocket. I printed it then cut out the piece, placing it along the 6 1/4 inch score line and tracing round with a pencil. It needed to be elongated a half inch to make it look right - you can see this in the photo.
Its easiest to cut the curve with a scissors and finish off along the score line with a knife. (A hint here - I've found it much easier to decorate the cover at this stage if you are going to stamp or colour directly on the cardstock.) Fold and crease the scorelines with a bone folder or a ruler and stick down the pocket flap with some double sided tape along the bottom. I found that a small piece of tape at the top of the pocket just next to the fold makes the flap lie a bit flatter.
Then cut off the front of the Jotter and attach it to the cover with more double sided tape - quite a lot of tape is safest - I used three strips. See how nicely the pad fits. Then all you need to do is decorate to your heart's content. I made 5 this morning and hope to make another 5 tomorrow.
I like to add a little matching stamping to the pocket flat too. I hope you can follow all this - if anything is not clear please do ask.
Oh and thank goodness I've got something for my Make-a-Month challenge now.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A great buzzing!

This little creature isn't a bee or a wasp but a hoverfly. They like to wear that stripy jumper to keep predators and humans away. And they don't buzz either.... so why did I suddenly become aware of a great buzzing while I was pottering (don't you love to potter!) about the garden last evening. There were more bees than usual on the lavender and the geraniums but that buzzing sounded more like a motorcycle engine than a few bees. Then I looked up and saw what was making that noise - a swarm of thousands of bees excitedly moving across the garden. They were about 15-20 feet up in the air but although I knew they weren't out to get me I was not inclined to move any closer.

Of course now I'm kicking myself for not taking the opportunity to get some photos of something I've never seen 'in real life' before and may never see again. But it was too late anyway - they were over the hedge, into the next garden and on down the hill in a minute or two. I wonder where they finally decided to settle.

Natures Footsteps has a new section for winged creatures so I'm linking there this week. There are already some wonderful photos linked. I love to see what others are capturing in their lenses in other parts of the world.


St Dyfnog's Flowers

Time for a scrapbook page I think as I haven't done one for ages. St Dyfnog's Church at Llanrhaeadr is a beautiful medieval building well known for the glorious stained glass in its Jesse window. The window was completed in 1533 but the glass was taken out and buried in an oak chest (still in the church) during the Civil War as it would have been destroyed by the Parliamentarians. It was put back in 1661.

The church has a very active congregation who organise regular fund raising events. The annual book fair is a must for me, both for buying and donating unwanted books. This weekend it was a flower festival that brought lots of visitors to Llanrhaeadr to enjoy the lovely church interior decorated with 26 amazing flower displays on the theme of Childhood Memories.

The weather was warm and sunny and we were able to enjoy our tea and cake outside in the churchyard and browse the book and bric-a-brac stall. Unfortunately Mum couldn't resist adding to her large nicnak collection as everything was 10p!

If you are ever in the area its well worth stopping by as the church is always open to visitors. There's a pottery studio at the church gate housed in an old barn and an inn and cafe nearby if you need refreshment! More info and photos on the church website here.

Oh dear, I think I'm starting to sound like a tourist brochure now so I'll stop here! But there's room for just a couple more photos!

Here's the Vicar enjoying a well earned cuppa in front of the pretty armshouses which date from the early 19th century.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Red Summer Fruits Preserved

Its preserving time again and I've been trying to keep up with the garden (and supermarket) this week. There was a huge crop on my one redcurrant bush this year. They are such beautiful berries - they glisten like rubies in the sunshine.
Its also a time for using up what's left in the freezer from last year - raspberries and blackberries in my case. So I decided to use a recipe from my favourite preserving book Sensational Preserves by Hilaire Walden (cheaper used copies on ebay!) - Red Summer Fruits Preserve (yes, I know the blackberries aren't red but they needed to be used up).
So along with some reduced-in-price strawberries from the supermarket I cleared most of the fruit in the freezer, used almost all the redcurrants and produced six jars of the preserve. A very satisfying afternoon's work.
I saw this idea to top jam jars with paper cupcake cases and these I got at Ikea some time ago are the perfect colours for my jars. I also made some labels using my new PTI Strawberry Fruit Fusion stamp set.
I photographed the jars outside my back door in the sunshine this morning and I'm really loving the sedum that is spreading itself over the coalhouse roof. Its just started to flower. I've just left it to grow over the last couple of years - another plant that has just popped up from who knows where. LOVE that. But I think I need to add a bit of compost to the roof to encourage it a bit more. I saw a sedum roof on a TV programme last night and its quite expensive to buy so I'm very lucky it decided to pick my coalhouse to grow on.


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