Monday, 23 December 2013

Last Card

This is my husband's card.

I made it from a design I printed off from a La Pashe CD. The card is from a series called Behind Closed Doors. I changed it slightly by decoupaging the image inside rather than leaving it flat. Quite fiddly to cut out, especially the decorations, candles and wine glasses.

The finishing touches were Anita's glossy accents on the turkey, fruit, bell and door handles. Then lots of crystal fine glitter on the tree, candles etc

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Card for Mum

I always make a special card for both Mum and Rod.

A company called Craft Creations have a bargain area on their website, and a couple of weeks ago they were selling back issues of their magazine for 25p!! I bought all 59 issues for myself and some for my son's fiancée who has just got in to cardmaking. They are a fantastic resource, and it was there that I found the inspiration for Mum's card. (They also have decoupage sheets as low as 5p and card blanks at very low prices too. Well worth a look if you do cardmaking.)

I folded a piece of A4 card into four and folded it as a zigzag. I then cut a sloped piece out of 3 sides. I had some suitabloe peeloffs and placed them onto the card so that the top of the candle touched the top edge of the card. I filled in the gaps with smaller peeloffs like pieces of holly. Then, it was a matter of cutting around the peeloffs with a small, sharp pair of scissors, and the occasional use of a knife.

When you take a peeloff off the release sheet, you are left with all of the insides. These I coloured with spectrum noir pens and then took a sharp point to left them and fitted them into the approriate part of the peeloff. Much cursing at this point as some of the tiny, fiddly little pieces flew off all over the place!

Finally, the flame and candle drips were covered with crystal glitter glue, and the centre of the poisettias with a gold glue.

It was hours of work, but well worth it (I think). I know Mum will appreciate it and it will be stored away after Christmas...not thrown away


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Adipose the Bear

I finished another soft knitted toy yesterday...a pink bear I have named Adipose after a #lqw prompt and rembrance of a Doctor Who episode!! She is soft, squishy...just adorable.

I knitted her from a Patons Bear in the Bag kit. Definitely not for a beginner, and it was made more difficult from the number of mistakes in the pattern.

Her nose is knitted as an individual piece and sewn on afterwards and the eyes are oversewn from brown tapestry wool.

Here she is. Awww...

Surrender to the Wind

I wrote this poem on 09/12/13, inspired by the #orjay prompt "Surrendering the wind". It has been very well received so I thought I would write it here to save a copy of it.

After years at a steady state
Life needs to be rearranged
Accept the vagaries of fate
Surrender to the wind of change


Friday, 6 December 2013

Felt decorations

When I made the mobile phone cases, I also made some 3D birds and owls. It was always my intention to add ribbon and hang them from a tree.

I wanted scented stuffing, but didn't want to pay exhorbitant costs for it. I read online that I could fill a plastic container with ordinary stuffing and then sprinkle 4 drops of essential oil on this, close the lid and leave for 4 days. I now have the most gorgeous freesia scented stuffing that I used to fill the decorations.

I finally completed 4 of them yesterday and here is the result.

More Christmas cards

Here is another selection of Christmas cards that I made over the last 2 days. Again, from my Kanban kits and again with the poinsettias I made.

This time, I made 5 poinsettias in one go. By batch making like this, I cut down the preparation time and they were all ready to be stuck on at the same time.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Birthday cards

This morning, I decided to make the 2 birthday cards I need for later in the month. Again, I went through my Kanban kits and chose some really lovely prints to work with. Then it was just a matter of sorting out backing cards and appropriate embellishments. I decided to make easel cards for both.

Christmas cards

Yesterday, I started to make some of the more "special" cards for family and friends. I had some Kanban kits that I bought a few years ago and decided to use just one of these. I made 3 lovely cards rather than the 2 that they showed, and the pictures are so detailed that they did not need much in the way of embellishment. All I did was make some poinsettias to balance the greeting in the opposite corner.

The flowers were made using one of the Tonic flower punch sets. They were quite fiddly to make, in fact taking longer than the cards did. I added glitter to finish them off.

This card was actually made from the bits left over from the second card!

This is a tunnel card. I made it differently to the suggestions, placing an accordian both sides and then mounting the whole thing onto a standard C5 card.

I made this card by putting the first decoupage layer onto navy card to represent night, and then building the layers up.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

More memories

Here they are from the front. So pretty.


I've been quiet for a while!! That doesn't mean I haven't been busy. I have!! Just no finished projects to report on.

A friend in Amsterdam asked for photos of her friend's families for Christmas this year. I had a couple of small kits by Kay & Co that I bought a couple of years ago and hadn't had an opportunity to use and thought they would make the presentation of the photos so much nicer. So I spent a very happy 3 hours yesterday afternoon putting together a photo frame and a memory book.

I am really pleased with the finished results. And the small memory book did just as it says...made me remember some very happy times.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Baby Koala

I finished knitting baby koala yesterday. He's incredibly cute and should be attached to Mummy Koala's back. However, a few of us decided we prefer him as he is!!

I used the pattern from World of Knitted Toys by Kath Dalmeny for Baby Koala and Knitted Wild Animals by Sarah Keen for Mum.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Notelets Version 2

I worked very hard yesterday, into very late evening, producing, what I think, is a workable version of a gift set of notelets.

I printed both sides of card with different views of Gloucester to make a box and wallet. This saved a lot of time, which I need to do if this is going to sell.

The notelets were made by mounting an image of the postcard onto black card and then onto a card. I think they look very effective and would also sell singularly.

The final job was to print up some posters for my husband's shop.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

And finally...

After a couple of months, I have finished knitting the cow which is a Christmas present for my daughter-in-law.

She was a great deal of work, but once I started to put her together I was thrilled.

She is from a book called Knitted Farm Animals by Sarah Keen. I've knitted her in a standard double knitting wool. She has horns and even a tail!!

My next project is smaller. I am going to knit a baby koala to go with the big one I made a few weeks ago. The I want to make 2 small teddies.

Friday, 1 November 2013


I am feeling a tad distressed after spending the past 2 days studying verbs.

Yesterday, I tackled a very big unit of work, which might have been a mistake. It covered the infinitive form, the verb "to be", conjugation and past tense regular and irregular. Fine so far!!

Present participles and past participles seemed to be okay at the time. Auxiliary verbs and modal verb...again okay at the time but I will need to learn the 11 modal verbs. Then transitive and intransitive verbs. Which is where I began to struggle a bit (understatement).

I was quite apprehensive today. The topic was "Verbs that are not verbs" and was divided up into gerunds, participles and infinitives.

Okay so far. I passed all of the quizzes and I think my lowest grade was 95%.

Then I got to the final review. I was given 4 long sentences that made up a passage. I was then given a series of things to identify in the passage in the order they appeared in like gerunds, auxiliary verbs, present participles, past participles, intransitive verbs and transitive verbs.

I really, really struggled to the point of a big worry that I just won't be able to do this. The sentences bore no resemblance at all to the practice sentences we had been shown before. There was just too big a leap from simple to "well, this is what it's really like folks". Okay, I got 80% (pass grade 75%), but I was not happy with that and redid the test twice more to get it up to a respectable 95%. It was ridiculously hard and I felt ridiculously stupid and wondering if I am just too old to be taking something like this on.

I went onto the student forum afterwards and read that a lot of the other students had struggled on this section to. One of the girls, who had obviously studied English, said that the rules we had been given for transitive and intransitive verbs were far too simple. She gave some extra rules and hints for being able to recognise them which I will write down in my notebook when I feel less frustrated.

So, in the next few days I will be buying a grammar book which I will have by my side.

Rant over!

(By the way, my average grades so far are Nouns - 100% and Verbs - 98%)

Notelet Holder

I mentioned before that I had an idea for using the postcard images that we have, and that is making notelets to sell alongside the calendar that my husband wants to produce.

Making the notelets will be easy (if a little time consuming to start with) once I know which images of Gloucester have been chosen. I was thinking along the lines of a box or gift bag for putting the notelets in. Then a chance 5 minute glance at the TV yesterday gave me a eureka moment. I would make a display book that opens up to the notelets stored on the left, and the envelopes stored on the right. A photo will explain this better than I ever can verbally.

I made the book out of 2 pieces of white A4 card overlapped in the centre. I then created a backing paper using one of the images and tiling it. This was then layered onto cream card and stuck on the front and the 2 inside pages. The card and envelope holders were then made from further pieces of card and needed scoring, cutting and sticking.

It took about 90 minutes to design and make this first holder, which will just not be feasible if I want to make money from these. So, in the 2nd attempt, I will print the images straight on to the card on both sides, and that will just leave the wallets to construct.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


A quick word about the course I decided to take.

Looking slightly ahead, I obviously will need to earn money and I really, really do not want to go back into a school to do so.

In the next few days, I will produce posters and flyers offering my services as a tutor! I can teach both Maths and Science from the age of 9 or 10 up to 16 (GCSE). As Gloucester has lots of pupils for whom English is not their first language, it seemed a good idea to brush up on my English and offer basic lessons in that too.

Really, I would need a TESOL course for that, but they are just too expensive. So I have opted for a TEFL course, which is more for people who want to teach English abroad or online. The company I chose the course from was also offering a free specialist course and I have also booked the teaching English online course. I have recently become friendly with a young woman who does teach TEFL online to people all over the world, and is doing well in this.

After some procrastination, I started the course this morning. It begins with a 30 hour Grammar course and today I studied nouns: Concrete nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, group nouns, plural nouns, possessive nouns, and countable and uncountable nouns. I did find it quite difficult to grasp abstract nouns and got a couple of quiz questions on countable nouns wrong but then watched a you tube video which helped.


My head is bursting

With ideas...that is!!

Hubs has wanted to produce a calendar for some time, using pictures from our vast postcard collection. Although it is probably a bit too late for a 2014 calendar, we decided we might as well give it a go. We looked around online for blank calendars that you can stick your own pictures to. I was quite excited by this, because it is an area that I could have contributed to. However, hubs (quite rightly) decided that it wouldn't be professional enough. So then he got some quotes from local printing companies, which were actually reasonable, and he'd picked out one of these to go with.

Then, at the last minute, a friend suggested that we print them ourselves using Microsoft Office and glossy lightweight card. It is easily doable, as Hubs found out in just a couple of hours play. All that is needed now, is to sort out the right photos, add details of Hub's business (he's a picture framer) and design a front cover.

Also, by doing it this way, we can more or less print to order.

So, this then got my creative juices flowing. Why not use the same photos to produce notelets. I could present these in either a box or a gift bag.

As I own a binding machine, I could also produce notebooks in various sizes, again with these photos on the front and back covers.

Can't wait for Sunday when Hubs will produce the final versions of the postcard views we will use.

Friday, 25 October 2013


It's Friday, so it's baking day. I concentrated on cupcakes today as family will be coming for the day on Sunday. The first cakes I made were strawberry flavoured. As I added white chocolate chips to the icing, they weren't going to be my first attempt at piping! White chocolate curls are then sprinkled over the top. Sorry the photo is not the best. It was taken in artificial light which seems to cast an orange pall over everything in the kitchen.

The second batch of cupcakes are Red Devil cupcakes. I was finally able to use my new icing kit that hubs bought me last weekend. It was surprisingly easy to do, and surprisingly (or not!) messy. Even though the washing up water was very hot, it was incredibly difficult to get the buttercream icing off everything, even though I had made a sterling effort to scrape off and eat all that I could. I used a sponge, a dishcloth and eventually a paint brush to get the buttercream out of every nook and cranny! Here is the result. Not sure it was worth it!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

My Prize

I was so excited when the postman delivered the mail this morning that I almost cried. In among the regular bills and circulars was a small parcel. When I opened it, I found that I had won a prize from one of the papercraft magazines that I buy. I only entered the competition last week and it was the first competition that I had entered for a very long time. It is a craft resource CD and a couple of stamps.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Card Making

I am an avid postcard collector and now have several thousand. I have a large collection of Edwardian Gloucester and Gloucestershire and also many greeting postcards. For a long time, I have been thinking about incorporating them into my card making.

A few days ago, Hubs photographed some of the cards for me. I then printed them out in various sizes.

This afternoon, I picked out a few images to try. The first thing I did was emboss them to make the card look more like glossy postcards. To go with the traditional feel I wanted, I stuck to layering the mini postcards on plain card, using some lace, ribbon, gems and paper roses. I love the cream and pink card. The black and white one still needs a greeting on it. I am not quite so pleased with this one. I wish I had used some red card for layering as well as red embellishments.

Again, I will need to make boxes to put them in.

Making Boxes

I had made 3 cards a few weeks ago using both my felting machine and traditional methods. I decided to put the felted pictures inside a small box frame to protect them. The result is quite pleasing.

The cards would, of course, not fit in an envelope because they are too deep. So I spent a couple of hours this morning making boxes. A boring job!!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Craft Cupboard

This is the cupboard that I decided to sort through this morning!!

Fortunately, I found the wool I wanted to look at pretty quickly! 


My knitting is only proceeding slowly, despite the fact that I simply must get the cow finished. That didn't stop me looking at more wool when we were out on Saturday. I saw it at the supermarket, Aldi  of all places. They have some 400g of Aran for £7.99 which is enough for the cushions I want to knit. They also have a 200g chunky for £3.99 which I could use.

But before I do that, I know I bought a couple of bags of cheap wool a few years ago which are hidden away in the attic. My husband says he will look tonight. I also know I have some Aran weight wool in both cones and big balls which have got to the back of my craft cupboard. So I am off to sort that out in a minute.

Hubs finally decided to help me die cut some shapes yesterday evening. We set the die cutting machine up, and the handle just would not turn. It was fine Friday!! It really upset me because it is one of 2 machines that I use all the time now, although I hardly used it at all the previous 3 years. It would cost at least £100 to replace and as I'm not working at the moment, it would make a big dent in my finances.

So out came the screw driver. Hubs was convinced it was one of the teeth on one of the 3 gears, but it wasn't. More of the machine was stripped apart, with me getting more panicky. Still the handle would not turn at all, and it became obvious that it was a bearing, which hubs assured me we could easily buy. Out it went to his shed, he knocked the bearing out and told me that he could easily sort it and we would be back in business. True to his word, he got it running again.

So at 9.45pm we finally started cutting out the shapes. It worked perfectly.

Thank you, Hubs xx


Confession a child, I bit my finger nails. I didn't stop until the day my ex walked out. Over 20 years ago now.

Although my nails have always grown during the school holidays, they have always ALL broken off the day after I go back. As a Science teacher, I used chemicals and as we were a small school, I did the washing up too. Also, I have noticed that my nails are very affected by stress.

They are now incredibly weak too. They peel from the center downwards, and split from the sides across. Nevertheless, I persevere because it has always been my dream to have long(ish) nails.

So for the last few weeks I have gone through my nail paraphernalia and I always have a clear varnish of some sort on my nails. And my Mum bought me Sally Hansen nailgrowth miracle serum which seems to be working too. I have only had 1 nail break in the last couple of weeks. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 18 October 2013

More cases!

During the week, I cut out another batch of birds and owls. This time I decided to sew them onto the front of the cases. They look very effective, but did take quite a time to put together and I don't think I would be able to ask any more money for them if I were to sell them.

I also tried making some of the birds and owls 3D.  I have an idea that I will add ribbon so that they can be hung up. I have already found some metal trees on Ebay and I think they will make nice gifts with several birds hanging from the branches.

It's scone

I decided to bake scones today. The first time in years. I just used a standard mix and probably too much flour when I rolled them out. They were easy enough to make but cooked lopsided. They taste fine, though, if a little floury on top!

I then made my Friday cupcakes. I had bought a lemon drizzle cake mix from Morrisons. I have made the cake with no problems several times, so decided to adapt and make cupcakes with the mix. I managed to get 12 quite large cupcakes from the mix, but again they cooked lopsided. (I will have to keep an eye on the oven and check if an element has blown). I decided to change them into butterfly cakes. They are perhaps not the best looking cakes I have made, but they are absolutely delicious.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Losing my cool

I wasn't going to make any cases this afternoon, then decided to try something different on a Kindle case. I tried a freehand design using felting wool rather than felt. I quite like it and will probably use this one myself, though I realise it is not everyone's cup of tea.

While making this case, 2 of the needles broke making a total of 3 broken out of 12. So I decided to change them (rather than wait for hubs to get home). I managed to dismantle it okay and I DID put everything safely aside. One of the needles would not come out, so I had to pull sharply and then one of the little nuts flew off the table. I was in tears. I hunted for over 45 minutes and couldn't find it. I rang hubs who said he would bring a very strong magnet home with him. Then suddenly I found it and managed to put the machine back together AND it is running perfectly!!

The case depicts rather large flowers growing in a field! I do like the way I have done the sky though.

Baking and other things

Friday has become my baking day. Particularly when we have family coming to visit over the weekend. At the moment, I have to confess, I am using bought cake mixes (gasps) and (sometimes) putting my own twist on them. They have been turning out really well, and disappearing very quickly. I find Morrisons to be the best supermarket for baking supplies. Their own cake mixes are very good. I have also tried a Betty Crocker mix which I used to make the chocolate cupcakes.

The pink cakes were some that I put my ideas into. Mum had given me a mini cupcake maker so I made a plain sponge mix and cooked 20 tiny cakes. There was also enough mix for the 2 big cupcakes. I made a simple buttercream pink icing and then sprinkled sparkles over this. There was so much icing left over that I then made a simple sponge cake too. I baked this in a silicone bread tin and cut it down the middle. I spread strawberry jam and buttercream, then sandwiched the cake together.

I bought a cupcake book at the weekend, along with further ingredients and I intend to be much more adventurous this Friday.
I have also been looking for recipes online and have found an excellent website on

Thursday, 10 October 2013

More cases

I've just finished putting together all of the cases that I had material prepared for.

I am particularly pleased with the owl!!
I think if I am going to make a lot of these that I will need to buy a better quality felt. 

Try, try, try again

I spent a couple of hours yesterday cutting out owls, birds and flowers with my die cutting machine. I then attached them to larger pieces of felt with my felting machine. I am much happier with the results and I am going to go with this design. I even remembered to make sure the Kindle case was actually large enough for the Kindle! I am aware that the cases are quite feminine, so the next task is to come up with some cases that men would be happy with.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


As I have lots of felt left from when I taught craft lessons, and as I also own a felting machine, I decided yesterday to trial a phone case and Kindle case. I have some lovely cotton fabric so cut some pieces out of it and felted them on. i wasn't too pleased with the results. The cotton frayed too much and I had to cut the edges right back. But now it's settled, I am quite pleased with the effect. Nevertheless, I am going to cut felt pieces out today and use felt on felt and see how that goes. I also cut the Kindle case a bit too small, but it is a perfect fit for Hub's ipad. he doesn't want it, though, because pink is so not his colour!