Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Years Eve Reflections

Well, what a year 2014 proved to be, more to the point, where did it go?  It’s so weird, some things seem like they were only yesterday, and then others seem like a million years away!
Happy DaysThe one thing that blighted  2014, until July, was the announcement of redundancies at work, it was awful.  I found the whole process unbearable and so withdrew, taking no part in applying for any of the new positions created, until almost the very last week of term, when after many weeks of being gently persuaded constantly badgered and nagged by my best friend Sarah that she couldn’t do her “new job” without me, I finally applied for the one part time Admin post that hadn’t been filled, still admittedly with reservations.  Then in September I began working my new hours, 8.30 – 1.30.  It took a lot of getting used to, not only the shorter hours but the drastic cut in wages, but I had a job.
However by mid October I had adjusted and discovered that by leaving work at 1.30 it gave me almost another day to play with (if that makes sense?)…….no more rushing home to get the tea on and then crashing on the settee but more time to be creative, blog and as you have seen, finally bond with my garden!!!!  Work wise I am not sure what 2015 will bring, as more big changes seem to be a foot …… and whether I decide to fit in again is another story.image (15)But onto much happier events and memories …..
In June I became Nanny Nell to a very, very beautiful little Iris. The first baby to be born to all our families for at least 18 years, and we are all totally and absolutely besotted.  
And then …… later in the summer Marc came to stay play with me, something neither of us ever thought would happen, even as I waited for Marc’s train to pull in I still expected to get a text saying he wasn’t coming!! 
We had such a special time …. and in those ten days, no, we never, ever stopped talking or laughing, especially when he filled my bathroom with bubbles, when he put a few too many drops of luxury product in my jaccizi bath!! 
And I am sure the charity shops of Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton still remember our animated visits.
There were also all my return frequent visits to London to stay with Marc and Ian….. where we saw the Poppies at the Tower together ……..
…….. took part in unusual quiz nights …..
10671233_293944937461596_4052050747317001579_n…… and who can forget the Live Theatre Window Event at WE Interiors in November or my need to cut those calories!!!!!!
DSC00611Lucy and I went on our Greek Odyssey to Kefalonia, accompanied by three equally enthusiastic monkeys who embraced all things Greek, a time away in foreign climes that ticked all our boxes for the perfect holiday ……….
…….. accept that seven days was just not enough!
At Easter I went Iceland ….. this was the third time I had arranged the trip for the Geography Department and this time it just had to be my time to go with them.
DSC00885It was the most beautiful, magical and at times “spooky” country I had ever been too and where I finally managed to tick off swimming in the Blue Lagoon from my bucket list. 
I know there’s been an awful lot more to my year, but these were for me the most memorable. Tonight I plan to go for a meal with some of my family to the local Indian restaurant up the road, and then toddling home early to see 2015 in very quietly ………remembering the year, good and bad and indifferent and the people who helped make the memories, then looking towards a New Year …… not with dreamily misty, whimsical eyes, but just hoping that it will be a good one.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Thank You

I have received some very lovely cards from followers of this blog and The Boyz which I thought I would share with you.  Lu made me laugh just before Christmas after checking the post and sighed saying, “Those flipping Monkeys get more post than I do!”
Once again, I am thinking that I really do not stamp enough …..
…… despite having a couple of drawers full of wooden and cling stamps …
….. as well as a whole plethora of inks and embossing powders and heat gun,
….. so perhaps one crafty New Years Resolution should be to include at least one stamped project a month ……..
And now I can hear Marc’s voice in my ear saying “…and you don’t use your Silhouette (as card above) enough either, do you Madam?” and then continuing the nagging by asking if I have downloaded this weeks Silhouette free file!! 
So that’s now one stamp and one Silhouette project a month ……… hmmmmmm!!!!!!  We shall see!!!
And last but not least, cards with Monkeys are always particularly special to me.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Overly Dressed Goat Bell

My sister-in-law loves Christmas and it is a tradition to try and bring her a Christmas tree decoration from places we visit during the year
Well, I saw some tacky baubles in Greece in the summer, but Lucy gave me that look that said “No Mum, that’s just too tacky!” …… so after further searching over the holiday I finally settled for a small, simple and very plain goat bell.
However, as Christmas neared I decided that it really needed a bit of embellishing, for fear it would look just too plain and simple amongst the other rich and ornate baubles …… but…. I think I only succeeded in making it look even more tackier than the bauble I left behind!!!!!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Maisie’s Christmas Card

I promised Maisie and her Gran that I would post a picture of the WONDERFUL 2014 Christmas card Maisie sent to me for all the world to see …….
It’s about A5 in size, using a textured white card, assorted red buttons and lot’s of different ribbons, my favourite being the one on the bottom edge, so clever, and would you believe Maisie is only 8 and is already giving us older crafters a real run for our money!!! Maisie I LOVE it ….. and keep up all the good work in 2015 xxxxx

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Last Minute Christmas Packaging Idea

Well, I had finished making all my “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” bottle to give a small keepsake presents and was ready to parcel them up, but the problem was I didn’t have a clue how to. I had considered buying some Poundland crackers, just for the cracker packaging, but then I got “tight”,  why spend more money on stuff that would only be thrown away ….. especially when I had a room of paper and stuff, that owe me nothing?
It took me a couple of attempts, I know crackers was the obvious way to go, but me and crackers just don’t get on craft wise, past attempts always looked misshaped and uneven  …….
But this is what I eventually came up with, using some ancient lunch money envelopes.  I simple covered the front and back with small print scraps of 8” x 8” Christmas papers and then added a Craftwork Cards sentiment layered on plain and scalloped circles. Voila!  It didn’t really matter where I put the sentiment, front or back, but I think in the end I preferred it on the back, slightly overlapping the flap with a touch of faux stitching.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Festive Objects Of Desire

If money was no object ………
festive bed….. wouldn’t it be wonderful …….
festive bedding.……. to have a special set of bedding ……..
festive bedding…….. just for Christmas! So this year in the sales, this is what I will be looking for, especially for the Christmas's that Iris will come to stay, it's a natural progression from Christmas pyjamas .... Primark has a "Nordic" set .... so I am off to mooch as soon as the festivities are over!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

‘Tis The Day Before Christmas

And nothing will be stirring inside this house!!!!!!
I think I have been doing Christmas more or less since January, starting with ideas using stuff I found reduced in the January sales, and now, I think, I deserve a few well earned days off!
…… And then, I need to pull my finger out and tidy my craft room, ready for the New Year as it is an absolute tip, nothing is in its place and I can’t find anything!
I have to say that my usual Poundshop hunting ground for festive inspiration has been a great disappointment this year when it’s come to finding bits and pieces to craft with ….. and as for stickers, my embellishment of choice for Christmas crafting …. forget it, save for the Paperchase robins that I think I did to death over the past few weeks!!! 
Anyway, have a lovely, lovely, lovely day tomorrow …… I shall be spending Christmas in Evesham with Tom, The Lovely Laura and Little Baby Iris ….. starting family new traditions,  but, I will still be leaving a light, if not a candle to shine in the large lantern in the garden, to remember all those special people who are no longer with us at Christmas, but whose spirit, I hope, will find us where ever we are.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Very Special Memory Book For Iris

When I went up into the loft to get the Christmas decorations down I found this old book I made for Tom, when he was a little boy when he was mad about trains, using an old photo album. Seeing his childish handwriting on it, and then opening it up to look at the pictures, it was as if it was only yesterday ………
…… but in fact, it all happened in the autumn of 1984, thirty years ago! Where does the time go?Special Book of MemoriesIt then seemed so sad to leave those memories alone in the cold attic until the next time someone picked the book up …..
……. so I wondered if I could take them and make something for Iris …. to  live on for another generation, and so I decided to put them in a new, smaller ring bound book ………. but keep the wording exactly the same as in the original book (made to help Tom to learn read) …….
……. and keep the pages as equally plain, so that the pictures told the story, although it would have been so easy to go wild with embellishment!
…… but, I did add everyone's names on each page, so that even though Iris will never have known her Great Granny Shelia or Grandad Andy, she will eventually recognise them and know what a huge part they played in her own Daddy’s life.
The pictures of the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway were especially poignant for me, because about 25 years later Andy did the plumbing and heating work there when they renovated the Top Station to create a tearoom.  It was a job he was very happy at and so every visit I make there is always special, as I know there’s a little bit of him still there ….. looking down at the river…….. and some of his pipework is still visible, I know, because he always pointed it out to me when we were there, saying “I did that!”
We had very many happy times at Bridgenorth, camping by the river or just going on day trips …. and as I said at the beginning of this, it all seems like yesterday.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Jewelled Tea-light Holder

Nothing fancy today, just an Ikea tea-light holder that I have covered with the multi-coloured strips of self adhesive gems I found in Poundland.
I cut the strips to fit the depth of the holder and then others to fill the gaps across the top and the bottom.
Although I thought I had cleaned the glass well, a couple of the gems unpeeled slightly, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed by a dab of PVA glue here and there .

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Gingerbread Inchie Pendant Trays

These gingerbread pendants just need to be threaded with a narrow piece of red ribbon, and perhaps a bead and they will be ready to hang on the tree
They measure one inch square, with a background made up of a white glitter and snow patterned papers.
The puffy, slightly metallic, gingerbread man stickers came from Hobbycraft last year, this year sadly their Christmas stickers have been pants  ….. in fact I just haven’t bought any from them!
Once the gingerbread men were in position I flooded the pendant with Anita’s 3D, clear, glossy dimensional finish, which, when set,  the gingerbread man stand everso slightly proud, but with a seamless finish, giving an almost enamelled effect.
I am hoping that next year someone pulls their fingers out sticker wise, however I think I am going to start looking farther a field for my supplies in the coming year, most probably to China ….. you may have to wait an extra week or two for them to arrive, but you just can’t compare choice and prices ….. and I get to work with something different, that perhaps other people may not have.