Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Remembering July

I'm never sure whether I'm sorry or glad when another month ends.  Seven 2012 months have already passed, the longest day is long ago and soon we will be thinking of Autumn.  I feel I never really got going in the garden this year and parts of it have gone absolutely berserk when I haven't been looking.  Of course I'm blaming the horrible weather we had in the spring, but also my own laziness - I'm such a fair weather gardener!

While looking for solutions to my gardening problems on the net today I found Garlic & Sapphire,  an inspiring blog created by a talented team of people who love the things I love!  One of the team is my very favourite TV gardener Sarah Raven and I spied that she is currently running a photography competition with a fabulous prize - two places on one of her courses with B+B accommodation thrown in!  Oh if I could only win one of those places!  I quickly sent in my entry - you can enter too as the competition doesn't end until next week.

Here's my picture - its my all time favourite garden butterfly photo.  A female Common Blue - yes, I know its not blue, but the male is.  I love how perfectly her wings blend in with the surrounding grasses.  You can see my photo and all the other entries on the Pinterest competition board.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Salty Living

I've a passion for anything seaside themed and I loved the recent Salty Living digi-kit from Anna Aspnes Designs.  I created this fairly simple page with a photo my sister took last week on a sunny day in Rhos-on-Sea.  Hopefully we will have many more sunny days before the end of summer.  We are owed quite a few by the Gulf Stream this year!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Bits and Pieces Pincushion

First of all I want to thank the lovely people who left me such kind comments on my last post.  They really did make a difference to me when I was feeling rather sad.  Its only 4 days but the house is feeling so empty I'm already browsing local animal rescue websites and feeling there is another furry friend (or two) out there who would like to live here.  But not just yet.

 But on to happier things and crafty pursuits really do make us happy don't they.

If like me you are a thrifty stitcher you'll find it impossible to throw away even the tiniest scraps of fabric and those who don't understand the addiction have said "what on earth are you going to do with those?"  Well here's something I made this week with some very small fabric bits and the fabulous hexagon die from Die-namics. I saw Pinks & Needles beautifully stitched pincushion here and came up with my own not so perfect version.

Adding iron-on interfacing to the back of the fabric made cutting out and machine stitching the hexagons on to the linen background much easier and gave a neater result.  I stuffed my pincushion with polyester toy filling and a handful of my favourite dried lavender to make it smell nice.

I made a gift card to go with it but I might just have to keep this one for myself and make another for a stitchy friend - you can never have enough pincushions can you!

Card supplies: Jam Packed from WMS; Happy Hexagons & Background Basics Gingham from PTI

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My Life in Photos - Sausage 1994-2012

I don't know why I want to mark the sad day yesterday when my Sausage died, but I don't keep a diary anywhere else and I have a need to record it somehow.  The vet diagnosed cancer last week and he deteriorated quickly after that.  I'm just glad he was at home and I was with him.  Sausage is the last of my four cats and all lived to a good age.  He lost his sight about 18 months ago but soon adjusted and was able to get around as much as he wanted inside and out.  We'll bury him in the garden later today.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bodnant Garden

We are lucky enough to have Bodnant Garden close enough to visit easily in an afternoon so my sister and I picked a day last week when rain was not on the forecast.  It did rain, but only as we were leaving.  Its a large and most beautiful garden looked after by the National Trust and it's army of  hardworking volunteer gardeners.
We usually visit in spring as we always want to see the Laburnum Arch, but I think the garden is even better in high summer - the borders were just gorgeous and stuffed full of fabulous plant combinations. I loved this combination of ruby coloured scabious and rose campion (Lychnis) with the lilies.

As you can imagine, we (and all the other visitors) couldn't stop taking pictures.  I'm so glad digital cameras have been invented and I don't have to limit myself to a film of 36 photos - half of which would probably be no good.

I could fill two or three posts with images of beautiful plants, flowers and views but that would be a bit repetitive.  However I can't resist just a few more photos............................

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Packing Tape Image Transfer - easy peasy!

I've seen the packing tape image transfer technique mentioned here and there in the crafting world and thought I would try it out as it sounded so easy.  I found a great little video by Julie at Balzer Designs and loved the jewellery she had made so decided to make something for a colleague's birthday.  My friend just dotes on her two Jack Russell dogs and I must admit they are the most well behaved Jack Russells I've met.  So her gift just had to be doggy inspired.

So I made this phone/bag charm for her.  I found an image of a Jack Russell in a magazine, transferred it and attached it to the back of this Tim Holtz Charm Fragment pendant.  The transferred image is transparent so I backed it with a piece cut from an old dictionary.  If I'd used plain cardstock for the backing the image would have shown up more I suppose but I quite like having the definition for "companionship" showing through the dog image.  A bit more experimentation is needed I think.

I made her a birthday card with a Jack Russell on too.  I don't believe you can get Jack Russell brand coffee in the UK or I would have bought her some of that too.  Great image though.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

My Life in Photos

I think we all find it hard to keep our crafty blogs up to date at this time of year - I know I do.  Work, family commitments and the demands of home and garden are all taking away crafty time for me at the moment.  So I decided I would keep things going by posting some of my photos a couple of times a week using this fabulous freebie from three paper peonies.  Jaime is creating her My Life in Photos album by printing these beautifully simple cards for her photograph album as they fit the 4 x 6 pockets but I'm just going to post mine here.  Here is the first.  This huge, and I mean huge (about a foot tall) Shaggy Parasol mushroom definitely deserves a card of its own as it was so spectacular.  For anyone interested Bwlch Pen Barras, where we found the mushroom, seems to have its own entry on Wikipedia!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

More felt!

Well its been rather a fraught week - two airport runs, busy days at work, more heavy rain and blocked drains, and....... this

I can just hear you all saying awwwwwwwwe! We found this little kitten UNDER the bonnet of a neighbour's car on Tuesday and yes, he looks very sweet, but my ancient blind cat Sausage certainly did not appreciate being play pounced on every five minutes, nor did he like his food being pinched from right under his nose.  Keeping them apart was not an easy job!  But there was a happy ending tonight when his owners were found, peace descended once more for Sausage and he could sleep easy in his bed.  He was a sweetie though!

However  I did have a little time for some craftiness during the week when this delicious bag of plant dyed organic wool felt scraps arrived from my favourite on line shop Myriad. I just had to try out a few more felt brooch designs.  I used PTIs Strawberry Patch dies to cut a strawberry shape and added some glass beads and embroidery for this stick pin.  And of course I couldn't stop at just one and tried a few other dies.  They are definitely an addiction.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Back to the 70s

I just had to have this portable typewriter when I saw it at a Collectables fair in Chester last week - why I don't know.  But it was very cheap, in lovely clean condition and being sold by a charming Japanese gentleman who reminisced with me about learning to touch type on those heavy old manual machines in the 1970s.  And there is something very pleasing about the look of the font, the typos, misalignments and irregular pressure on the keys, not to mention the jolly  ping of the bell at the end of the line.

To practise my typing I typed out a couple of recipes for my file and added some stamping to decorate the page.  After 30 years and more of electric typewriters, word processors and finally PCs in the workplace I need a lot of practise to get back my manual typing skills - such as they were!  The wonderful Typewriter Heaven thinks it dates from the late 70s.


Carrying on the retro theme, I nabbed this electric blue Sparklets soda syphon in a charity shop a few weeks ago for £3.  When I got it home I was relieved to find the bulbs to charge it up are freely available on line.  Such a satisfying shape don't you think and I love the vibrant colour.  This design is a Hostmaster and I can just imagine it sitting on the sideboard at a 70s/80s dinner party.  And surely there must have been one on Beverly and Laurence's drinks bar in Abigail's Party, though I can't see one in the photos.

Recipe stamps: Darkroom Door's From the Kitchen

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Another new month and a look back at the old.  This time I've stuck with Carina Gardner's design for June instead of adding my own background and elements. I really like this lime and aqua page...... ok - I didn't have time to be original, but I really do like the look of the June page from the Design a Year digi kit.  Its not too late to catch up if you want to design your year and the kit is discounted by 40% at the moment!

And if you are looking for the next in my series of pages from Children Month by Month, here is the July design.  In March we were able to go paddling here in the UK but since then it has all been down hill weatherwise!


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