Saturday 29 June 2013

Pinwheels #2

Another card using the Pinwheel die.
This time I used them as more of a traditional windmill. The kind I would have stuck in sandcastles as a child, or attached to the handlebars of my bike. I embossed the background with clouds and made a 'hill' from some spotty scrapbook paper. A quick sentiment banner with a stamp and matching die. Got to love that for ease.

Now I’m off to Rinda’s place, to see who has found what, for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. Are you joining in this year?

Friday 28 June 2013

Friday Finds ~ Summer Scavenger Hunt 2013

I’m here with the first round up of shots taken for Rinda’s Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. We made a start yesterday, my boy and me. We dragged my Mum along with us, for a morning of wandering at beautiful Stourhead. We even had some hazy sunshine. You might have almost believed it was Summer.


10. A bench that is outside.


There were plenty of these to be seen….


….although very few were actually occupied.


13. A fence

A very simple wooden one (you’ll be pleased to see Jacky!) bordering the path down to the Spread Eagle Inn.


8. A tower.

I’d forgotten about these either side of the entrance to the house. We tend to stick to the gardens when we visit and don’t venture out across the road. I had another tower in mind, not far from this one, which we’ll go to another day.

We’ve made a few plans for the next four weeks, while my girl is still at school. I have a good idea where we’ll find most of them, but there are a couple that may prove tricky. To see the whole list and join in the fun, go visit Rinda.

I’ll be back tomorrow with Stampin’ Up Saturday. My give away is still open if you’d like to enter. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #212

This is what my kitchen table looked like yesterday, before I cleared it for dinner.
My visitors often comment how tidy my workspace is, which always makes me smile, because I am such an untidy person. When I had a permanent desk, it would get piled up with all kinds of clutter throughout the week. I don’t get the chance now, because around here, everything stops for tea.

The pinwheel/windmill from last week made it onto a card, which you can see here, if you’re so inclined. I know there’s not much time to get around a whole host of desks on a Wednesday, without clicking on links and getting distracted. Perhaps that’s why I never get very far.

I mentioned ‘no-reply’ bloggers, in my post on Monday. It might just be a very small bugbear of mine. When somebody asks a question, I like to be able answer them, if I can. When their comment comes through (more and more often it seems) without a return email address attached, it’s much trickier to do that.

I could leave a comment on their blog, if they have one, but sometimes their profile is ‘unavailable to view’. I could answer them in my own comments, but that could easily be missed. How often do you go back and re-read comments on a previously visited blog post?

Of course not everyone knows that they are a ‘no-reply’ blogger. So how do you check? The easiest way is probably to leave a comment on your own blog. When the email notification comes through you can see if it’s possible to reply via email. Alternatively go to your blogger profile and it will say ‘contact me’ or ‘email’ and if it is not a clickable link then you are a ‘no-reply’ blogger.

The good news is, it’s easily fixed, if you want it to be. I appreciate that there are some folk who may not want to share an email address and it’s a deliberate choice. However there are quite a few people who I’m sure I used to be able to answer and now I can’t. In those cases I think Blogger is just messing with us!

I was going to write some instructions and then I found these and Eva explains it much better than I could. With pictures, which are always good.

Oh dear, that was a very long post for a Wednesday! Sorry Julia. Hope it’s useful to some of you. Part of blogging for me, is about connecting with other like minded folk and it’s so much easier to do that with an email address. Enjoy your day.

Monday 24 June 2013

300 Today…..I think!!

I’m a bit rubbish at anniversaries. I let my first year of blogging roll by uncelebrated. My 100th post pass unannounced. Before I knew it, my second birthday and 200th post had both been and gone. I was determined not to miss another milestone.

I checked the stats and according to my dashboard, I have posted 295 times on this blog. I was gearing up for a special post next week, but….when I added up the numbers in my sidebar this morning, I made it 299! Now maths has never been my strong point, I’ll admit, but that would make today’s ramblings my 300th post.

What to do, to mark the occasion? How about a little giveaway? I had a lot of fun putting together a little package for Sian’s Great Big Swap of Very Small Things. I was even happier that Sandi was so delighted with what she received, although that had quite a bit to do with my clever girl. You can read all about it here. You’ll see I have shamelessly stolen Sandi’s picture, as I forgot to take one before packing.

I decided I would make up three more packages, with an assortment of little things that could be used for scrapbooking or card making. Would you like one of them? Just leave a comment at the end of this post, before midnight on Sunday. The giveaway is open to all my followers, whether you have been here from my very first post or just found me today. I’ll announce the winners next Monday.

I would like to take this opportunity, to thank each and every one of you, that has ever taken the time to leave a comment on any of my 300 posts. I still get a little thrill with every email notification. I feel blessed to have blog friends who stop by week in, week out and every now and again to have a brand new name pop up, or maybe somebody that I haven’t seen in a while. You are all appreciated.

Not exactly what I was planning, but I did say the other day that I was a “blog on the fly sort of girl” and this post has been a good example of that! Thanks for visiting.

PS Please make sure that you are contactable via your comment. I have noticed that many more people are ‘no-reply bloggers’ these days. I don’t know if that is deliberate or just Blogger messing with us, but it makes things a little trickier.

Saturday 22 June 2013


Remember those little pinwheels I was putting together on Tuesday afternoon? Here’s one of them added to a very simple card.
I was planning to die cut a circle to go behind the pinwheel, but I happened to have my pricking mat and tool out so I used a template to define the circles instead. I think it’s quite effective. I cut the two navy blue banners using a die, but it wasn’t quite big enough to fit the sentiment. I stamped and then cut to size on the trimmer. Finishing the end with the corner of a square punch. I find it neater than cutting into the middle with scissors. I always seem to go a bit too far on one side!

Friday 21 June 2013

Friday Finds ~ Summertime Scavenger Hunt 2013

Now it’s not often that I plan posts ahead. I’m more of a blog on the fly sort of girl. However, I did have something in mind for this particular Friday, when I realised it fell on the longest day. Coinciding, or so I thought, with the start of Rinda’s Summer Scavenger Hunt. An event eagerly awaited by bloggers around the world.

This year it kicked off a little earlier than usual, but don’t worry, we still have a whole 3 months to find the 21 items on Rinda’s list. There’s an interesting mix as always. I haven’t started yet myself, but I was going through the list in my head while washing up and I’ve pulled a few photos from the archives that would have fitted the prompts.


6. Someone taking a nap ~ On the plane home from the Czech Republic 08/10


8. A tower ~ On holiday in Derbyshire last Summer 08/12


12. A cloud in the shape of something ~ The perfect sky for cloud spotting 08/12


13. A fence ~ All decked out for the Diamond Jubilee beacon lighting 07/12


15. A police car ~ Waiting for the Olympic torch to arrive 07/12


17. Candles ~ 14 of them here, it will be 16 this year! 07/11

My intention is to post my photos on Fridays throughout the summer, like I did last year. We plan to start next week, my boy and me. It will be great to have something to do together, while we get used to each others company over the next few weeks. Thank you for all the good wishes on Monday’s post. It’s going well so far.

Pop back tomorrow for a windmill (no.16) pinwheel card. Have a lovely weekend.

ETA Just to clarify: I’m not actually entering these shots into the hunt. They were images that sprang to mind, when I was thinking about this year’s list. The idea is to go out looking this summer, not to use old photos. Apologies for the confusion.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #211

Tuesday afternoon at the kitchen table. Playing with pin wheels and punches.


I was trying to come up with some ideas for masculine cards for next week’s class. I also had out lots of small punches to make some other embellishments.


Here’s a closer look at one of the pin wheels made up. You don’t really need a die at all, but it does make mass production a lot quicker.

For anyone who was interested in the finished card, shown in last Wednesday’s sneak peek, it can be found here. I’ve shared the others we made last week too.

I’m off to link up with Julia and see what everyone else has on their desk. Have a great week.

Monday 17 June 2013

Simply A Moment ~ June 17th 10.10am

Today I’m joining the growing band who pause and record a moment from their day, around the middle of the month, with Alexa at Trimming the Sails.


I look out through the french windows and the sky is grey. It’s unseasonably cold for June. I consider what will be next on my list of chores this morning and plump for the ironing, thinking that it might warm me up a bit. I set up the ironing board and while I wait for the iron to reach its optimum temperature, I turn on the TV and scroll through the Lovefilm menu, for an episode of The West Wing. Something to make the task ahead of me a little more diverting.

I grab a shirt from the basket and it occurs to me that I will only need to do my daughter’s today. I glance at the clock, 10.10am, my boy will be just over half way through his Maths exam. Nearly there now. Geography this afternoon and his GCSE exams will be over. Eleven weeks of freedom and no more school uniform.

I wonder how we will get along together, during the next few days. The transition from term time to the holidays is a tricky one at best. This time there will be the added complication of a younger sister getting up and heading out to school every weekday morning. His day will need to have routine and structure. Not for him the staying in bed until lunchtime, favoured by many of his peers.

Suddenly I realise I have no idea of the skillful political manoeuvring that is occurring among the characters on my screen. I think I may have to rewind. My stomach growls and I check the clock again. My bowl of porridge has kept me going since 6.45am. Time for coffee and a banana. Jed Bartlet for president, anyone?

PS If you missed it on Friday. There’s a free class on offer at Jessica Sprague next week. More details here, along with some examples of what I achieved under her excellent instruction.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Easel Cards & Humming Birds

I showed a little sneak peek of this card on Wednesday and here it is completed.
I’d never made an easel card before, because I had it in my head that they were really complicated to engineer, but it couldn’t have been much simpler. The embellishment involved a fair bit of hand cutting, which is not everyone’s favourite thing to do, but I find it very relaxing, if I have the time to spare on it, and I think the effort was worth it.
The second card, on the right, involved cutting an aperture and stamping a pattern on the panel behind it. We stamped off most of the ink on scrap paper first, to give a muted look. I gave everyone the option of a punched butterfly, if they didn’t feel like hand cutting another humming bird, with its very slender beak!
Lastly our 20 minute card. Some random background stamping, on a couple of panels of cardstock, finished off with two punched butterflies, twine and some bling. Perfect if you need a last minute card, which seems to happen quite often, or is that just me? This design would work well for any small stamps you might have.
I used the same three colours for all the cards, with the addition of kraft.
Have a lovely weekend and I’ll be back on Monday with Simply A Moment.

Friday 14 June 2013

Friday Find ~ Free Photo Enhancement Class

I had an email this morning from Jessica Sprague, mentioning a free class she is offering to celebrate their 6th birthday. I took a very similar class with her, almost 4 years ago now, and was really pleased with the results I achieved on my photos.

The video lessons were easy to follow and the photo above was probably my favourite from those I enhanced. Changing the bright, sun drenched colours to sepia and adding a texture, in this case. I think I am a reasonably good photographer as far as composition goes, but when it comes to photo editing I am fairly clueless.

The photos you see on this blog are pretty much as they come from the camera. I upload them to Picasa, crop them and sometimes use the ‘Feeling Lucky’ button, if the colours look wrong to me on the screen. That is the extent of my photo editing prowess!

It was fun to try out some creative techniques. Most of the colour was taken from this photo and then I did some hand tinting on her cheeks and eyes, to give a vintage look. I found the brush work quite tricky and didn’t pick the best colours, but I love the photo anyway.

Adding a brush, which was very simple to do.

Using a clipping mask to get the distressed edges. Again very simple.

Finally a TTV (Through the Viewfinder) image. There was a trend a few years ago to use a digital camera to take a photograph through the viewfinder of an old camera, complete with its years of dust and dirt. In this example the effect is added as a layer over the top of your photo, much simpler to achieve. Another favourite of mine.

The class begins on June 24th. If you’ve never done anything like this before, why not give it a try? Even if you think you are not in the least tech smart, like me, you might just surprise yourself. You’ll need Photoshop Elements on your computer, but other than that the class is completely free. Have fun!

Wednesday 12 June 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #210

This was the kitchen table yesterday afternoon. I was making up my easel card for the class today. I totally changed my design from the one I had in mind last week!


Because the cards I make are usually fairly clean and simple, I sometimes forget that style is not always appropriate for a class project. A card you can whip up in 10 minutes is not a lot of use for a two hour class. I’d need about 10 designs for every session. This one should take about half an hour. Here’s a sneak peek.


I’ll share the full card later in the week.

That’s me for today. Want to see what everyone else has to share? Head on over to the Stamping Ground where Julia will be happy to welcome you.

Sunday 9 June 2013

Storytelling Sunday 3 ~ 26 Years Later….

I had a completely different story in mind for the June edition of Storytelling Sunday, hosted by Sian at From High in the Sky, but I wanted to tell this one instead.


I didn’t share my story last Sunday, because I was meeting up with these lovely boys. Thanks to a friendly stranger, enjoying a coffee and the view, I have this great shot of us all standing at the top of Gold Hill. I’m sure they were never this tall!

26 years ago we all left school and went our separate ways. The story goes back further than that though. Some of us first met in 3rd Year Latin lessons. I went to the High School in town and we had our own Latin teacher. The boys from the local Grammar weren’t so lucky and they had to come to lessons at our school. I can’t imagine why we were all so keen to be allowed to study a second language.

Fast forward a couple more years and after taking our O Levels, we all went parachuting together on a school trip. Yes, really. I don’t suppose it would happen now. After that it was hiking and camping on Dartmoor for our Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I was never a girly girl and my poor Mum despaired of my tomboy ways.

Four of us were also very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to India for 5 weeks. Another school trip. Two other friends joined us for that experience, but couldn’t make it to the reunion. One of them lives in Australia now and the other was flying as part of his work with the Aerobility charity so we’ll let them off.

I feel very lucky to have been part of this group of friends at school and to have had the chance to meet up again after all these years. We had coffee at one old haunt and lunch at another, then spent the sunny afternoon in the beer garden reminiscing. It was as if no time had passed. What could be more precious than that?

Scraping in under the wire, although it seems a shame to mess up the nice neat rows in Mr. Linky!

Wednesday 5 June 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #209

Another week between blog posts. I can’t blame exam season this time though, well only in part. I had a very busy weekend meeting up with lovely new friends as well as some very old ones. Both occasions brought about by the power of the internet. Don’t you just love that?


Nothing very exciting on the kitchen table this afternoon. I didn’t get much out, because I knew I didn’t have long to play with it. I’m designing the front panel for an easel card. That will be a project for next week’s class. I’ve not made one before, but they are surprisingly simple. A colour scheme of kraft, buttery yellow and chocolate brown with a hint of vanilla. Sounds good enough to eat!

My girl will be bursting through the front door any minute now so I’ll be round to visit later. Pop over to Julia’s place to find out what everyone else has been up to.

PS More on that busy weekend soon.