Saturday 31 January 2015

Coffee and a Catch Up ~ January 2015

Or perhaps a hot chocolate with marshmallows, whipped cream and sprinkles?


It’s been a while (a whole 6 months in fact) since I did one of these posts. If you’d called in today, you’d have found me cutting and packing kits…


…ready for class on Tuesday. It’s not like me to be this far ahead of the game, I usually cut the day before. I know I’ll be unpacking them again, just to check, on Monday afternoon. The weather has been pretty mild for January, until this last week. We’ve been treated to some beautiful late afternoon skies. This one snapped on my phone, as I walked into town for a forgotten ingredient for that night’s dinner. That’s more my usual level of organisation.


It’s been a month filled with studying, revising and waiting (not so) patiently for mock results and university offers. The news was good on both fronts. All offers now in and the grades/points are achievable. A huge relief for us all.

Other than preparing for classes, crafting has been thin on the ground round here this month. I’ve managed a few little sessions on my rabbity hare but that’s it. I did break my #nospendjanuary to buy these charm packs. At £5 each they were just too good to resist. I’m still enjoying The Goldfinch and have about 200 pages left of the 700 odd total. Not sure what to read next. Any recommendations?


I was excited to discover that the 5th season of Mad Men, which I absolutely love, had become available to stream. I’ve watched that over the last few weeks, along with the last season of The Good Wife. I was a late convert to the latter, thinking it was a bit fluffier than the sort of thing I usually enjoy. There are some great characters in it and I love Alun Cumming as Eli Gold. I’m now up to date (for the UK) and ready for season 6. Are you a fan of either show?

I don’t watch very much “live” TV, preferring to stream as and when I want to. The exception to that, last week, was the eagerly awaited Wolf Hall. Did you see it? What did you think? I loved it. I know a couple of friends thought it was very hard to follow. Maybe because they hadn’t read the book. I was glad that I had. The Mechanic was asleep within 10 minutes! I’m looking forward to watching episode 2 on the iplayer, once I’ve finished writing this post.

How was January for you?

Wednesday 28 January 2015

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday # 295

I know we say it often, but I really don’t know where the last seven days went! After the drama of the neighbour’s house fire* last week, it’s been a pretty ordinary sort of Wednesday. I’m all for that.


This was the scene yesterday. I’d already made the samples and cut the kits for the main project of a card and matching box, but I needed another card. I had in mind a heart shaped easel and I fiddled about with the design….a lot….but it wasn’t happening. The only part I liked was the embossed heart and the colour scheme….


….which I turned into this. Much more me. Kraft cardstock and tone on tone stamping. The heart was cut from Coredinations, embossed and sanded. A technique that was new to most of my class. The banner could easily be personalised with initials to make a wedding card.

I’m linking up with Julia, but you knew that. What else would I be doing on this ordinary Wednesday?

*A very nice fireman called round on Monday evening, to inform us that the fire had been caused by a television left on standby. He said it was rare, but something to think about.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #294

Today, my workspace has been my lap. Firstly in the hospital, for a routine appointment, and later in the GP’s surgery, chasing meds, just for a change.


It was an afternoon of drama, although that was before I left home. A serious fire, in a neighbour’s house, meant I was blocked in by two fire engines. Nobody was hurt, but apparently I was the only one to ask. Considering a lot of people were gathered outside gawking, I find that very sad. When they realised I had to be somewhere important they moved the hoses to one side so that I could get out. It required some tricky manoeuvres and I could have done without an audience of a dozen firemen, but we got there in the end. I’m hoping for a peaceful evening and very much looking forward to Wolf Hall and a little more stitching. The rabbitty hare is taking shape.

I’m linking up with Julia, but I don’t think I’ll get much visiting done ‘til tomorrow now.

Monday 19 January 2015

Me on Monday

It was a post grabbing, envelope ripping, sigh of relief breathing sort of weekend. The last University offer (his top choice) came through and the tension has dissipated considerably. Just in the nick of time as mocks begin tomorrow.


Today you’ll find me photographing the stages of a screen card, ready for a tutorial. Making the most of the light. I actually had to pull the curtains across the french windows, it’s such a beautiful sunny day here. The lounge is toasty, despite the temperature outside. A bonus not needing to put the heating on in January.

I’m waving back to Sian and everyone else who is playing along today.

Friday 16 January 2015

Intentions for 2015

Definitely not resolutions, which I don’t make, because I never keep. Intentions feel less restricting, less set in stone and I don’t feel like a failure if I don’t keep to them. They’re just ideas for a path to follow, but it doesn’t matter if I stray into the woods.


Reading ~ There are lots of reading challenges around the internet, some have a very specific list of books, others are a particular number to complete in a year. I wanted something that was open to interpretation and a friend posted this one on Facebook, which looked good. The bonus being she has set up a “Reading Group” page, where we can share the books we’ve chosen to inspire and encourage each other throughout the year. It’s for 52 books, which I know I won’t read in 12 months. Instead I’ve set myself a target of 26 and I’ll combine categories for the books I choose. First up is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It’s over 500 pages and a Pulitzer Prize winner to boot. I’m enjoying it very much so far as I did her previous novels.


Crafting ~ Card making is a given. I have to come up with around six card ideas and a 3D project every month, for classes and, of course, the cards I need myself for friends and family. Sometimes I can combine the two, which is handy.

I played around a bit with Project Life last year, but didn’t really find a way to make it work for me. I think it was possibly the 12x12” page protectors. They seemed a bit daunting, having not scrapped in a long time. I’ve now got some pages in a 6x8” format and will give it another go.


I’m looking forward to putting my Friendship Quilt together this year. I’ve been looking online for possible sashing fabrics, but I think it’s something that I need to see “in the flesh” to make a decision. I originally thought white or cream, but some blocks have one in the background and some the other. Now I’m thinking a silvery grey, like the fabric I used in Amy’s block.


I went a bit headlong into dressmaking last year. Starting with a simple skirt, great, then realising it needed lining and not being sure how to approach that. Moving on to a fairly complex dress and coming to a halt with the zip and how to finish off that centre back seam as neatly as the others. There are so many great sewing blogs out there and it’s tempting to want to make everything you see, but there’s no point if a. it’s beyond your current skills and b. it’s not something you would wear in real life.  With that in mind, I’m going back to the simple A line skirt pattern. This time making it in a lightweight denim, which won’t require lining. I just need to get a finished garment under my belt and stop faffing!

Blogging ~ Three posts a week, a monthly tutorial and the return of SIPIDI! I hope some of you will join me with the last one.

I think that’s enough to be going with. There is a lot of change on the horizon this years. Mocks begin for my boy next week, followed by the real thing in May. He has offers from three of his four choices so far and hopes to get the grades to go to university in September. At the same time my girl will be sitting her GCSEs and she is hoping for a place at Art College. New directions all round. My main intention will be to keep us on an even keel through it all. Anything else will be a bonus.

Do you have grand plans for the year ahead? I may have seen them on your blog already. If not, then point me in the right direction in the comments.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #293

It’s more like “Where is Your Workdesk? Wednesday” around here this week.


This is the spot where my desk usually stands. It was taken down for the duration of the festivities and the legs were put up in the attic, by mistake I’m sure. Without them the top is little more than a giant tray so behind the sofa it remains, for now.


Instead of a workspace, I’ll share the other two cards we made in class last week. The technique here, was using a variety of small stamps to create the look of patterned paper, which we then cut up to decorate our screen cards.


This was our “Twenty Minute” card. Although it’s considerably quicker in class as the cutting is done by me in advance. It’s just a matter of some punching and then assembling. A design you will no doubt recognise as a favourite of mine, if you’re a regular visitor. I haven’t run out of ideas for it yet. I tend to make a batch in different colours/styles, ready to add a sentiment when I know what I need it for.

Joining in with Julia and her merry band, as always on a Wednesday.

Friday 9 January 2015

One Photo & Twenty Words

Joining in with Abi at Creating Paper Dreams.


“There aren’t enough bullets in the world to stop all the laughter that will eventually drown the hate and stupidity.” 

Michael Moore

I usually steer clear of politics and religion on my blog, but I felt compelled today.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #292

Hello and welcome to the very first 2015 edition of this weekly madness blog hop.


The kitchen table has been busy, since the children went back to school on Monday. Kitting for classes yesterday and today. Lots of kraft cardstock, being cut to size, which doesn’t make for a very interesting work space.


The cards went down well this morning though.


It’s a good thing my class ladies like it as much as I do.

Right, I’m off to get myself organised. I’ll be looking forward to dropping in on some of you when I get home. Head on over to Julia’s place to see who else is joining in.

Monday 5 January 2015

Me on Monday

The first Monday of the new year and it’s time for Christmas to go back in the box.


If you’d popped in a couple of hours ago, this is how you would have found me on Monday. I like to read the cards again, as I take them down, and think of the people that sent them. It makes the putting away of all the festive bits and pieces a bit less sad. I’ll just have to make the most of all the new found space….


….and remember the fun we had decorating.

Waving to Sian, as always, at the start of this week.

Saturday 3 January 2015

A Year of Making ~ 2014

I’m starting the year with a look back at some of the things I made during 2014.


My favourite project from last year was, without doubt, the Friendship Quilt. From January to October I made squares and sent them off. I found photos of most, but there always seem to be one or two that get forgotten before popping in the post.


Then, in June, it was my turn. Such a lovely feeling when each one arrived. Carefully chosen fabrics and lines of stitching. All different and yet fitting together. Again, I couldn’t find photos of all of them. I’m so excited to sew them up into a quilt top, once the last two have arrived, as a reminder of our lovely blogging community.


I carried on teaching my original class and started a new one in May, which filled up very quickly. These are a few of my favourites from the past year. I’m looking forward to starting again next week, with a “Back to Basics” session.


Finally the sewing projects. To my shame, 5 of these remain unfinished. Can you guess which? Yes, the dressmaking! I seem to be incapable of making an item of clothing as the pattern intends. There is always an element I want to change, but I don’t have the necessary skills so I end up getting frustrated and moving on to something else. I need to change that and I’ll tell you how I plan to go about it when I blog my “Intentions” next week. 2015 *will* be my year of sewing. I’m determined.