Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Stormy Weather

I did want to walk by the river today as I'm looking for the perfect fallen branch to paint white and use as a Christmas tree.  You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find just the right shape and size.  However when I saw how angry the river was I decided not to risk crossing the bridge and came  home to get on with some more cereal box tree decorations instead.  I got out my Nestabilities hearts and stars and added in some Wplus9 die cuts and stamps, old sheet music, kraft cardstock - plus a few rhinestones coloured with my Copics.

I do hope the little bridge survives as its been there as long as I can remember and probably long before that too.  I'll have to visit again tomorrow to make sure its still there.

I'm not complaining about my aborted walk as many houses have been flooded in our small town today.  You can see from the two photos how the river has swollen in the night.  I've never seen the water as high as this before and the usually quiet and slow flowing river I photographed in Spring  has turned nasty, flooded the housing estate you can see in the distance, the park and fields around. These poor sheep have almost been marooned in a small space at the bottom of their field.

Luckily I live in the old part of the town near the church which was built on top of a hill - there are some advantages to living on higher ground even if I do complain about toiling up and down with my shopping.  Hopefully the river won't rise any further tonight - though there is a worry about more water pouring off the hills that surround us.

Supplies: Wplus9 Folkart Flurries stamp set, Seasonal Sentiments die collection, Nestabilities basic hearts and basic stars

Friday, 23 November 2012

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree (and a giveaway too!)

I love my papercrafting dies...... you may have noticed that already!  Last year I used them to make cereal packet decorations for the Christmas tree and as I've added a "few" more dies to my collection since then, I thought it was about time I put them to good use.

I was addicted to making these Angels in 2011 but this week I've gone to town with my new Christmas tree dies, one from Papertrey Ink and one from Wplus9.  And once again I've used cereal packet card as my base as its just the right thickness to cut nicely with the dies and of course its free

My very favourite cereal, both for card and to eat, is the Dorset brand.  I was busy die cutting the boxes the other day when I thought how nice the trees looked 'in the buff' so to speak, ie without a top decorative layer.  Dorset cereals come in a number of different varieties and the box graphics has had a new look recently with each cereal variety having its own colour scheme.  I really like the kraft colour one and set about cutting the trees more carefully so that I could utilise the best bits of the box design.  I thought my little trees were perfect for creating a garland and all I added were a few felt hearts and wooden beads before crocheting them together.  I really like how it turned out.

My other trees are more conventionally crafted - adding vintage sheet music, layers of stamped cardstock, or of course using the matching stamp set. 

If you'd like to have a go at making a small forest for your Christmas tree, I've decided to have a little giveaway - a sort of Christmas present for all my loyal followers - you know who you are!!  I've loved the recent releases from Wplus9 and was absolutely delighted to find Emily at Make the Day Special had started stocking the stamps and dies right here in the UK - yippee!!!  I added an extra set to my last order and if you'd like a chance to win your very own Pretty Patches Tree stamp set with the matching die just leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a winner on 1st December - which will leave you plenty of time to eat lots of cereal and make some trees for yourself before the 25th.  I used my Cuttlebug to cut the shapes but if you don't have a die cutting machine you I'm sure the old way of drawing round the shape and cutting out with scissors will be just as efficient - if a little bit more time consuming.  A few small elf helpers might speed things up!

Supplies:  Stamps - Wplus9 Pretty Patches Tree; Waltzing Mouse Stamps Nordic Christmas, dies - Wplus9 Pretty Patches Tree; Papertrey Layered Postmarks Holiday die collection

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembering Frank

This Remembrance Sunday I'm remembering Frank Beckett Hayes, my Dad's older brother.  I don't know much about him as I never met him.  Mum says he was the 'black sheep' of the family - I don't know why, perhaps because he never settled down nor had much to do with his family - except when he wanted to borrow money - which I'm led to believe was too often!  I wish I had known him.... however I did carry out some research into his experiences in the First World War some years ago as my Dad had told me Frank had been awarded the Military Cross - an award for bravery.  I found he had been attached to the Machine Gun Corps (you can see the crossed gun badge on his uniform) and found the award listed in the London Gazette, the official newspaper of Parliament.  The Gazette published the dispatches of the Commanders-in-Chief, listed officers promotions and appointments, gallantry awards and much else that is useful to the WW1 researcher.  You can search it one line for free.

After Frank died I asked Dad if he knew what had happened to his medal - Dad didn't know but thought Frank had probably sold it!  I wish I could find that medal and bring it back into the family.  

And when I think of what Frank must have lived through in those years as a soldier..... a young man whose life up until then had been spent in a small peaceful country market town in North Wales...... it is not surprising that he found it hard to settle down to normal family life after four years of war.

So today I'm especially remembering Frank, as well as my Dad, my Grandfather, and all the other members of my family that experienced the deprivations and horrors of war. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Vintage Yarns

Once again I'm in a last minute panic about a craft fair tomorrow!  For my last fair I made a few crochet flower hair clips and as they seemed popular I thought I should make some more.  Most of those in the photo above have been made using vintage yarn I've found on ebay and in charity shops and, yes, I have been able to make myself break into the skeins - something I usually find really difficult.  But needs must and I've found it very pleasant to work with something that has lain forgotten in a draw or workbox for many years.

This Robin Perle is very pretty but the very devil to unwind - it nearly drove my Mother round the bend trying to unravel the knots I got the first skein into and she usually loves untangling for me.  You can see it looks quite wild!  The label states it is coupon free so these definitely date from the 1940's or early 50's. 

This Jewel yarn from Pearsalls and Hayfield is much more sensibly packaged - the end is pulled out from the centre without unwrapping the skeins.  And of course this keeps the yarn in pristine condition.  In fact I have to say that all the yarns I've bought have been in perfect condition without a hint of mothballs or damp.

This "Artificial Silk" is really beautiful.  All these yarns are made from Rayon and although I knew it was a man-made fibre I had to google it to find out exactly what its made from and it turns out to be manufactured from plant-based cellulose.  So its not completely artificial and doesn't come from anything horrible like oil or coal.

It all has a lovely sheen as you can see in the photo above, and I expect most of it was bought to make those pretty crochet doilies that were so popular in times gone by - and still seem sought after by crafters today for modern projects. 

I've found it quite difficult to package my clips to my liking and this is my latest attempt - but I'm still not completely happy with how they look.  I just used a die cut tag and cut a slit in the centre to slip the clips through - but of course the clips don't lie flat and the whole thing is rather bent.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Time flies!

Where did September and October go - I didn't see them flash by!  I'm back from my visit to France and realised I hadn't made my October page last night.  Here it is - better late than never I think.  I'll post some more photos of France later on as I have to rush off to work now. :-(  Already it seems an age away.


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