Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

We have had a lovely Christmas snug & warm from the damp, wet days outside !
The family all arrived safely from North Wales & Berkshire loaded with gifts & drinks !
We had a very nice meal at Sosban on North Dock in Llanelli - amazing the restoration they have accomplished there !
On Christmas Morning, we gathered for a happy hour of present opening, then ate a full Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, drank plenty of Cava, chatted & played games & watched Christmas TV.
We followed this with a couple of days of peaceful fuddling about & resting up and enjoying each other's company.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas Miracle 1918

Today I had a story published on the "Scrapgirls" website.
They were asking for true Christmas stories & I just had a compulsion to write the story that my Great Uncle Arthur had told me many years ago about his coming home from the First World War.
I just had an intuitive feeling that they would like the story and if I sent it I might be chosen !
So I wrote my tale & created the required accompanying digital scrapbook layout using their products as was laid out in the rules of the competition.
And today out of the blue when I opened their daily newsletter - there was my story !

I was chuffed that they liked it & chose to publish it - and pleased to think of girls all over the world reading Uncle Arthur's story !

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Journal your Christmas 2011

And we're off ... today is the first day of my 4th Journal Your Christmas ! I have my covers underway & love the feeling that girls all over the world are taking part in this scrapping month ! I also like the idea of looking back on each year in years to come & remembering the good (and even the bad) times I have had each December !

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas Makes !

So Christmas activity on the workdesk this week !
I have the place cards for the Christmas Dining Table finished (as you can see it's a red & gold theme this year !) so that's one job done & dusted.
The Angel (one of Tilda's patterns) I am making for my mother in law is well underway - just the hair to stitch on & features and a few finishing touches !
I am making a quick gift box for my Mum so that to finish ... happily all the rest of the pressies for my side of the family are safely wrapped & ready to pass over to my sister when we meet for our annual girlie weekend in Bath on Saturday ! Looking forward to having time together as we live 6 hours apart & seeing the Christmas market which is supposed to be very atmospheric.
Although I am eternally grateful we don't have the snow we had this time last year - with it being so mild I'm feeling it hard to get Christmassy ! And Journal Your Christmas starts tomorrow !

Friday, 18 November 2011

Lest We Forget

It struck me that we are a unique generation living through this sequence of special dates at the start of the century where the day the month & the year all have the same number.

11-11-11 was especially poignant being Remembrance Day. So I created this Journal Page to honour this date & the fallen - in special memory of Great Grandfather Thomas Blackman, killed at Ypres in 1915.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

WOYWW - Huddled in my workroom away from the winter rain !

So here we are with the clocks changed for the Winter - dark going to work in the morning & dark coming home at night ! The only fun place is amongst the clutter on my work-desk !
Here we have the Industrial Chic configurations box project which I didn't quite get finished at my Artsycrafty Weekend - what a big step outside my comfort zone with the paint effects & style - but brilliant to have the chance to try something new! After a bit more gluing & decoration to finish it off & I think it looks really cool !
I also have my new Paperartsy Hot Picks stamps which I am looking forward to playing with !
I'm also having a play around with my own version of what I saw the girls had done on one of the Lynne Perrella workshops - taking a photocopy of a face & overlaying with paint & other decorations - early days but fun to experiment with a new style ! Hope everyone has a happy crafty week !

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Watch the Birdie ...

Another fab day at the Autumn Artsy-Crafty Weekend !
Always a long day but so enjoyable - today was metal work (I always forget how much I enjoy the metal stuff & now vow to do more of it at home !!) and lots of paint.
Cunning use of ordinary kitchen foil - all scrunched up then painted & sanded works a treat to create textured surfaces !
Layering card strips & shapes below the thin sticky-backed metal then refining them to show as sort of silhouettes afterwards looks brilliant !
Constructing the bird houses was a 3 woman job & we agreed it was a very bonding experience to all pitch in with each others houses - short of renting an octopus for the task there wasn't a hope of doing it on your own !!
Blending our own paint colours was fun - I came full of intentions to go with Autumnal colours but as the new paint colours hadn't arrived from Leandra's manufacturer these were off the agenda - so I went with a sort of Damson - which they all teased me matched my shirt perfectly !
At lunchtime as the sun was out I had a brisk walk round the block (penance for the berry cheesecake !!) and found some cute pine cones & feathers which were happily recycled into my birdhouse project !
Such a shame this is probably the last class here - the end of a happy era in which I have learnt such a huge amount ! All the more reason to enjoy tomorrow to the full !

Friday, 16 September 2011

Following On ..

Saturday last week saw me a football widow as Rich & his friends headed for London for an away match - so a complete day to myself. With the rain lashing down as usual in Wales, I spent a happy day camped in the conservatory - where the light is great despite the rain !- covered in paint & working on a number of projects at once as I waited for paint to dry !
At one point I got a bit dispirited that I had bitten off more than I could chew & nothing would come out right - but with time to dedicate to it & getting into a groove - suddenly they all seemed to come together !
Great fun & the day whizzed past even though I didn't venture further than the back garden & the shed all day !

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Finally Some Crafting Action !

At last I have had a weekend post our Summer family visits, post catching up on washing bedding & ironing - and raining so no guilt about "should be working in the garden". So finally I got to spend a couple of hours in the conservatory - with the rain beating down on the glass - get painty & starting some crafty projects !
I have been scrapping in the meanwhile - with a lot of our moving in Spain scrapped but still with Jersey, family visits and other summer goings on still waiting in the pile !
And now I have started the 2011 Learn Something New Everyday class with Shimelle ... so more to squeeze into each day !

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

WOYWW - Chaos on the desk

Oh boy am I well over due a huge clear out on my desk - chaos & clutter reign supreme ! I have my laptop taking up most of the desk - hence the stuff piled on top ! To the left are some photo frames waiting to be altered, on top a Jersey £1 note waiting to be scrapped with our pictures from last weekend's rip to Jersey with Mum & Dad. And a couple of Home signs I have gesso-ed up to start altering - one for me & one as a gift !
Centre stage is my folder of printed out prompts from the new Shimelle EXPLORE class - signed up late & beavering to keep caught up ! So have made my Play-Book, taken my "me in the mirror" self portrait & have to find a post card to post back to myself about my "adventures" - such as they are for Mrs Risk Adverse here ! To the right is a Pringles tin which I have painted black & cut an aperture as part of a packaging mock-up for work! I really must make time to have a massive de-clutter at the weekend !!! Have a great crafty week !

Off Exploring !

Just found a new class from Shimelle starting yesterday & signed up for a 4 week project on the theme "Explore" - just been reading everyone's introductions on the forum & I love the feeling that girls are joining in from all over the world - all parts of the US & Canada, Australia & NZ, Singapore, Holland, Germany, Switzerland & Sweden - and even the Middle East & South Africa - big world becomes small village !!
We had been given a challenge to create a "no Scrap Club over the Summer" personal mini book - so this will keep me on track to do mine !

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Five Year Quilt - finally in Situe

Just to prove that the Five Year Quilt (vintage 2006 to 2011 !!) finally got made & found a bed to lie on - here it is in place on our spare bed in Spain ! It's strange how given that I love the colours SO much & am really happy how it turned out that it should have taken me 5 years to finish !!

I think I had just moved on or away from quilting as our life changed & we moved to Wales & I
became more engrossed in scrapbooking, altered art & papercrafting - making a quilt seemed such a huge project !

And it is time consuming but I was surprised how much I did enjoy it once I got going again (and somewhere deep in my brain remembered what to do !!) - so maybe there is hope for all the fabric still in my stash to one day get made into something !

Anyway - finding the time for any projects seems hard at the moment but whilst time in the garden is possible I don't intend to fret about it !

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Who's On My Workdesk Today !

Hi - it's a "Who" not a "What" that's on my work desk this Wednesday !

My Mid-Summer Angel !

I made her to a "Good Night Angel" pattern from Tilda's lovely Christmas Crafting book - but she doesn't know she's supposed to be a Christmas Angel & as she was finished last night on Mid-Summer's Eve - a Mid-Summer Angle she is !

She is destined to be heading out to Spain to our new house at the end of the week & will sit on my new quilt propped up against my new Evening Angel/ Rising Star patchwork cushion !!

Hope everyone has a good crafty week ahead - at least all this torrential summer rain means we can craft without a guilt conscience we should be gardening !!

Friday, 10 June 2011

10 on the 10th !

What could my subject be for Shimelle's first - 10 on the 10th Blog Challenge than to say ten of the reasons it has been over a month since I last blogged - so here is my ode to my poor neglected blog !!!

Reasons or excuses - I'll leave you to decide !

1. I've spent many hours at the sewing machine making the 1st Quilt I've made in years ! In fact the centre panel of this was started in 2006 - the next border added in 2009 & now I have made a mad effort to finish it for our new house in Spain - just the binding to stitch & the label to create & add (and a big cushion with Angel applique planned to accompany it !!)

2. Artsy Crafty Weekend - a fun weekend covered in the new Paperartsy Fresco paints learning lots of paint techniques - really pleased with the
shabby chic & shading on my project - been hankering after this look but didn't know how to achieve it - so a good lesson learnt !

3. Journalling - may not have been blogging but have been having some fun in my Art Journal - as always more "journal" than "art" - but it's for my eyes only & I'm happy with the way it pans out - so it doesn't matter a jot !

4. The garden is at it's most verdant & rampant at the moment - so everyday is a constant battle with weeds !!

5. GYO - growing my own veggies is proving good fun & I have been more organised & disciplined about pricking out & planting & checking everything - so a better crop than in previous years - but all means no blogging time !

6. Ironing - I am trying to save our pennies by saving the ironing lady for dire emergencies only & tackling the weekly heaps of ironing myself - that's another non-blogging evening a week !

7. Reading stuff ! Sometimes after a day at the computer at work I really don't fancy logging on at home - so reading one of my magazines or my Kindle gets priority !

8. Work - just all those 10 & 12 hour days stuck in the office don't leave much time or energy for blogging once I finally get home !!

9. Travelling - a crazy couple of months for travelling - Spain on holiday - then Cologne then Dublin, then Cork - then back to Dusseldorf next week & back to Spain the week after that !! Poor old passport is just on permanent standby !!

10. Time together - with all the office hours & then travelling just spending time with Rich is the biggest priority - from trying to snatch meals in the garden on the occasional warm sunny day - to our afternoon on Pendine Sands last Saturday - weather being what it is - we need to make the most of any sunshine !

So my 10 reasons - or excuses - for my poor sad neglected blog - and full of good intentions to be more attentive & active in the coming weeks !!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

WOYWW- Finally some crafting !!

Thanks to everyone who visited last week & your supportive comments for trying to keep on crafting even when life is at it's most hectic .. I was getting that restless, pining feeling I have when I don't do anything creative for ages !!
Finally Saturday I got straight with all my garden tasks & it was bright & sunny but far too windy here in West Wales to do much outside ... so I was able to spend the rest of the lovely bank holiday weekend at my craft desk with a clear conscience ! My ever indulgent DH left me to get on with things - I think he knows I need this as my "wind down time" bless him !
So I have my Configurations printers tray all finished - it is inspired by the quote on the Paperartsy stamp - "In all Things in Nature there is Something of the Marvellous" - I have loads of nature based stamps - one of my many weaknesses ! - and as I am not a card maker I often wonder how I can get to use these.
Hence this project using loads of these lovely stamps - lots of distress inks, Promarkers & Vivagold paints in new ways. Great fun & I am fairly happy with how it has come out.
DH said "very nice dear - what's it for! " - his normal comments !!
When I said - well it's just a bit of art - he said "lovely - we don't have to have it out anywhere do we ?"
Oh well - at least he's supportive of my being crafty if not of the end results - can't have everything !!!! What do your nearest & dearest think about your crafting ???
Have a great week ! Ali x

Thursday, 28 April 2011

My Day in Pictures - Today's Class Assignment !

A normal working day in April - 6am up, shower, dress & make-up on. Pop out to the garden & open up the mini greenhouse so it doesn't over heat. Leave at 6.50 - five minute drive to work. Through the turnstile, up to the office - all day between the office, the NPD Kitchen & the factory. Presentations to get ready - sign off the new products, finish all the paperwork - leave for home- usually anywhere between 6.00pm & 7.30pm. Make a quick Thai noodle soup for tea- on a tray in front of the telly.
Maybe a quick trawl through my e-mails, catch up on some favourite blogs. Watch something I have taped for an hour - then to bed by 10pm latest.
Next day - same trip round the hamster wheel !!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

WOYWW - Life Getting In The Way !!

How come "real life" seems to crowd in all at once & crafting & blogging just falls by the wayside ! ! A combination of a fortnight of unseasonally stunning sunny weather - meaning that I have wanted to spend every moment possible working in the garden ! Rich's birthday last weekend meant a fun trip to our favourite fish restaurant The Shed in Porthgain down in Pembrokeshire - and then this weekend we had a trip to North Wales for a great couple of days catching up with my in-laws - plus a 4 hour drive each way through the breathtaking scenery in gorgeous Spring sunshine - good to be alive kind of days !!

So here we are with a desk with not much action !

I have my Configurations printers tray - with hardly anything done on it .. just plans for a nature themed project !

On the left is today's prompt from Shimelle on the Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers course - I am just about managing to read the prompts each day but not having much luck in doing the projects yet - hoping to have a major weekend catch up session !

On the left is my confirmation of my place on next month's Artsy Crafty Weekend - so something to look forward to in all this busy madness at work !!

Hoping to get some crafting done this coming weekend & to have a bit more to report next week ! How do YOU juggle making time for crafting with "real life" ?? Any tips to share ??

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Ally Pally Roadtrip !

Stunning weekend of warm sunny weather ... more like mid-Summer than April !
Theresa, Gill & I set off early & headed up to Alexander Palace arriving about half ten - we hadn't expected it to be such an attractive building & location looking out over the whole city. And free parking - how much better than the NEC!! In fact we found the whole event better than the NEC show - perhaps because it was focussed on stamping & scrapbooking rather than a whole host of crafts that aren't really our thing !
Happily we all prefer to split up to look around & shop - so much easier to squeeze through the crowds & get into to see the things that you want to see !
There were loads of goodies to buy & great demo's going on - we shopped 'til 12.30, took our sandwiches out onto the lawns then headed back in for some more shopping before heading off home about 3 o'clock - just as our feet were telling us they had had enough walking around. Traffic free journeys in the the sunshine & good conversation made the 3 hours each way seem much quicker than when I drive it on my own !
I found most of the things that I had on my shopping list .. a couple of new Martha Stewart punches, some stamps, a Resist ink pad that I have been reading about & wanted to experiment with, 3 new background embossing folders, a die cutting set for cutting square photos for scrapping & the Tim Holtz Vintage Market alphabet die I have had my eye on.
Lin from LB Crafts was demo-ing the new Fresco paints & Distress Stains & I had a happy half hour watching this - they look lovely worked together & the chalky colours seem very shabby chic ! I also met Hels Sheridan who was demo-ing too on the Artistic Stamper stand - it was funny to finally meet someone who's blog I read most days !!
I also got lured by the Configurations Printers tray which will be great fun to use to work up small pieces of art - I have all these lovely stamps & I not being a card maker I am never sure quite what to do with them when I have made them !!
Oh & I saw Tim's resist papers pad - images embossed onto brown papers for you to ink up in any colours that you like - it seems a great idea & it should be fun to have a go !

After a long day on Saturday - Sunday dawned bright & sunny & after our weekly swim we headed back into the garden for a grand tidy up, more clearing of the dreaded oak leaves - how I detest them !! And a good sweep of the paving, cleaning the pots, trying to mend the crack in the water feature with sealant then our weekly trip to the tip with the old BBQ we never used since we moved down here ! In the afternoon, I used the new Fresco paint to re-paint a large pot & then gave all the trays on my printer's tray a covering of chalky emulsion - it will be a base to work colour onto each little box - and avoids the blank page syndrome !!
And we rounded off the unseasonally gorgeous day with a 5pm BBQ to catch the last of the sun - sitting out on our deck, a glass of Cava, home reared meat from the Farm shop & baked pineapple with rum for dessert !! End of a lovely "Summer in Spring" weekend !!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A few projects & some new stash !

I was lured by some new stamps this week & with the miracles of Internet shopping & mail-order by phone - and first class post I could order on Friday & be crafting by Saturday !

The Pod's caught my eye on the Artistic Stamper's website & I had fun making some stamp board panels to decorate this papier mache bag.

I finally finished this spring greens & yellows tick tack toe board that I had started months ago - it was supposed to be like a sampler of techniques - all brought together by the common colour way.

I have finished my canvas - spring Jack in the Green - Summer slumbering & waiting her turn to arrive.

I have been playing in my art journal as well - trying to follow techniques of how to draw faces .. but more of that another time !

I'm off to play with a couple of lovely stamps from Earth Art International - based on Pacific Northwest Animal Totem art - I remember seeing similar when we were in British Colombia on holiday - the designs are fabulously intricate & I am now mulling over how I could use the stamps.
I was interested to read what the animals symbolise - the owl is obviously wisdom but also the guardian of souls & the dragonfly symbolises thoughts - all those restless thoughts that skitter through the brain - like the dragonfly over the ripples of the water - but also aware of the depths of the water & the deeper thoughts & hopes beneath ...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

WOYWW - All sorts going on this week !

Lots happening on the desk this week ! Running from the left - lovely, yummy My Mind's Eye "Lost & Found" papers - all cream, eau de nil, soft pinks & chocolate - with a bit of glittery chocolate thrown in - think it's going to be one of those paper collections that you have to take a deep breath to cut into & use - rather than just admiring & stroking them !!
Then some pages in my art journal drying ready to journal on & a page I made about how I look forward to a lie in all week & then at the weekend I can never lie in because my mind keeps running over & over & over "stuff" - work, family, hopes & worries, random tunes ... just stuff that won't let me be !!
Then I have a canvas I am working on .. I saw these Art doll Sculpy moulds in Hobbycrafts on Saturday & really thought they would be fun .. I felt the large pointy face would make a great basis for a "Jack In The Green" - the symbol of Spring & the moon type face with her eyes shut made me think of Summer, slumbering - waiting for her time to arrive .. it'll be interesting to see if I can get what's in my head to come out onto the canvas.
And then on the right the mini-book I have made about my Tim Holtz class ...

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Scrapping The Day Prolongs the Fun !

So today I have done a fair bit of scrapping - around our weekly Sunday Swim & an hour getting some very breezy fresh air having a walk round the Botanic Gardens - I wanted to save the ticket Tim signed & his biography card as well as the souvenir page he gave us for the project .. so now they are all safely scrapped with my photos .. I've decided to do a double page spread and then maybe a mini-book with all the other bits & bobs left over .. but that's for later !

Tim Holtz Artsy Crafty Day

I met up with Jo - who I'd got to know on the weekend back in October for supper at the Magic Wok & then an early-ish night before the day of our class duly dawned ! It was an early start as we registered at 7.30am & then found ourselves a seat in the classroom. No colour choices to worry about as we all had the same fab personal kits & Configurations boxes already laid out.
the first part of the class was an introduction to the concept of the boxes & then the lining of the compartments with (thankfully pre-cut & pre-scored !!) papers and then an introduction to tissue tape as we used this to cover the frame edges & give them a neat yet aged look.
After a well earned coffee break we were allowed to dive into a little calico bag full of notions & embellishments & enjoy ooo-ing & arhh-ing over the Ideology goodies before we spent a contented couple of hours being creative & decorating our boxes.
It all flew past & suddenly it was lunch - the obligatory browse around the shop for our own stash of goodies (got some of the metal embellishments & a couple of stamp sets plus a couple more configurations boxes!!) - then into Lin & Leandra's class to get gloriously painty & inky making a frame with metal work etc.
Tim was a good & approachable teacher & I really did enjoy it - but I think that Lin & Leandra's classes are equally as good & they have always given such us such great weekends which are so brilliantly organised with their great kits !
I had a convivial Friday evening chatting with like-minded crafters & was very glad that I'd decided to stay the extra night & not drag home in the Friday traffic .. by leaving when I woke on Saturday morning & getting on the road by 6.15am I was home by 10.30am. A much better idea !

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Shameful Blog Neglect !!

Just how can it be the end of February already - and nearly 2 months since I last blogged ! Somehow with a combination of being manic at work, busy weekends and a week's holiday in Spain the weeks have just slipped by !
At least if I haven't been attentive to poor old blog, I have actually done a bit of scrapping !
So on my workdesk this Wednesday I have the pages I have done to scrap our trip to Spain - gorgeous groves of almond blossom - and a family of Jabali -wild boar - in the Sierra Espuna !

And my first attempt at an "Inchie" - this is to be my contribution to the Inchie Collection that those of us who are attending the Tim Holtz classes organised by Artsycrafty this week are giving Tim as a momento - never having made one before I was startled at just HOW small they are once you cut that inch square !! I have done an owl - representing the sharing of wisdom !!
We are all really looking forward to our classes - and I'm hoping I shall be re-inspired to get back to some creativity & crafting once I get back home !!