Wednesday, 31 July 2019

More Greek Treasures

As you know from a couple of years back I have "had a thing" about Greek Tamata's after seeing them hung around the pictures of saints in the various churches Lucy and I have visited.

The rectangular shaped tamatas are made from tin, silver or gold and feature a variety of stamped images with multiple interpretations. A heart symbolises a prayer for love or a heart problem, eyes may indicate an eye affliction, hands or legs problems with limbs, a pair of wedding crowns happy marriage, a torso for afflictions of the body etc. They are then hung on a ribbon on a pole or hooks near an icon or shrine of a saint, an act usually accompanied by a prayer, and/or the lighting of a candle.
Lu managed to find me one with an eye after some degree of searching on eBay one Christmas which I framed (above), but we've always looked for more on other holidays but to no avail until we went to Rethyminmon. On the off chance I looked in a jewellers window which contained various icons and just decided to go in and then saw them on the shelves for 2 euros each.  I couldn't believe it .........
....... and then as we continued down the road we found what we called "a funeral shop" (below), another first. It has to be one of the most fascinating shops I have ever been in, filled with so many religious tranquelments for funerals, memorials and leaving on at the graveside.  
The tamatas here cost just 1 euro so on a roll I bought another one ...........
........ as well as a couple of other things including this small locket (below)
At present the tamatas are safe in a drawer while I have my bedroom "done", but as I am going for a sort of Mediterranean feel, I don't think they should be framed as before, but simply hung from one of the candle scones on my mirror, on a ribbon as intended, with the locket on one of the shelves.
Not everyone's cup of tea I know, but very me ........... 

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Greek Treasures

I have just got back from our annual Greek Odyssey, again to Crete, as we loved it so much last year,  but this time we stayed in Georgioupolis between Rethymno and Chania.  As per usual we went on couple of trips and as such had a couple of new experiences, both in Rethymno.
We found an antique/second hand shop in a back street, I was in second heaven, although I have to confess, no considered purchases were made!

Naturally the first thing I oohed and ahhhed over were the light fittings, having a huge thing about chandeliers and over the top type lights.
There was such a weird mixture of stuff, some classy and some downright tat ............
...... and it was amongst the tat where I was most tempted. You may just be able to pick out a Christmas house on the back row of the top shelf (above), it was so kitsch and I think there was some age to it as it had the sort of metallic finish that reminded me of childhood Christmas's, I wish I had got a better picture of it. However, I was too frightened to ask how much it was and I really, really regret it now ..... it would have been such a perfect holiday souvenir, something that would have come out year after year, with the memories that went with it, I can be such a ninny at times!
We also found a craft shop ........  lots of mdf wooden embellishments, but really nothing I can't get here, plus ribbons, buttons, lots of silk flowers and lots and lots of findings for making jewellery, but again I didn't get my holiday money out.
I thought Marc would have loved these purses made from old fashioned flowery swimming hats, but thinking about it again, I think he would prefer to model/wear one rather than put "his bits" in one!!!!!
And last, but not least, something I searched everywhere for after I spotted it, but to no avail, a little shrine for holy water that was in the foyer of our hotel ..........
........ every time we went past it poor Lu had to listen to me going on and on about how much I wanted it ...... oh well, perhaps a challenge for next years Greek Odyssey?

Monday, 29 July 2019

Random Letter Birthday Card

This card measures approximately 5ins x 5ins and uses a handcut red corrugated card blank as it's base.

A card for a gentleman (my lovely and very helpful next door neighbour Laci) a theme I always struggle with, hence the random letter theme once again. 
I have to admit that I think the corrugated card may have been just a touch on the thick side to fold, and crease but in the end it worked really well and was probably something only I would really pick up on.

I've simply put together a selection of my ever growing collection of alphabet stickers for the sentiment on a ready made Kraft tag, which probably came from The Works.
Due of the light, the stars look white, but are actually silver.  A little faux stitching round the tag and scattered groups of three dots pull the tag together, but if I were to repeat the idea I think I would use a white gel pen instead of a black fine liner for the twiddly bits to help the card to "pop" more.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Toilet Roll Covers by Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer

Well, what can I say except that Christmas is well and covered as far as I am concerned this year ..... and I am sooooooo excited.
I found this book reduced to £1 in The Works and just couldn't not buy it as I was mesmerised by its contents.  I haven't knitted since I moved to Evesham, I actually gave all my knitting needles to the charity shop. All only thing I'd been knitting in the past six/seven years were my a much requested cotton, garter stitch dish clothes.
However, I now have an urgent need to get some new needles (I know just the right charity shop where I can get them for 20p a pair) and then some wool (pink to get me started) as I am really fired up! Marc sprang immediately to mind as he absolutely loves all things knitted ...... he's definitely, if you'll pardon the expression, going to get the pig!
At festive family get togethers it's my job to fill the TUT sack, (a sack of usually pretty rubbish presents, tut, costing no more than £1 each) so I think a few choice knitted items are going to find their way into said sack!
Knitting will also be a way to, hopefully, stop me snacking while I am watching television, a terrible, terrible habit I know. We have booked to go to Disneyland, Paris next summer and am definitely not going to be the fat nanny who is banned from or who can't go on any of the rides!
As soon as I have finished my first effort you can all be assured that you will be there for the first great reveal. 
How exciting ........  something new ....... happy days!

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Iris - A Million Dreams

This litle scrap of paper never fails to bring a tear to my eye whenever I see or read it ............
It was written by Iris within a few months of her learning to read and write at school and is something that she just sat down to write when the mood took her in all its innocence.

It's the first few lines of "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman.

'"..... every night I lie in bed

The brightest colours fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be"

I also have both Iris and Bertie singing their own versions of the song on my phone to listen to whenever I want to fill my heart with joy  ......... pure magic, what more could any woman need!

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Snowman Box Frames

Just a quick catch up today, as you know I made the first of these snowmen box frames as part of a Hunkydory review using a frame I found with Marc in the Portobello Road branch of Poundland.  It was only when I started to use the glass fronted frame that I began to realise their potential, and I knew then that I wanted use the idea as my Christmas "card"/fairing gift for family and friends this year, but it all relied on my finding more of the frames ...........  and we all know the golden rule of Poundshop shopping, you've got to get it there and then when you see it as you might never see them again!  As it was, when Marc and I visited a retail park in Malvern with very good and large Poundland a little while later they had them and I cleared the shelves ..... and then bought a few more in Wolverhampton recently, just in case!!!!!

Snowman Shadow BOx
I was then able to get really cracking, even managing to make a few spare to give as last minute gifts or even, I am not sure, to sell  ...... and this in June ....... I have never been so organised!
The only thing I have added extra was to cover the backs of the frames with Christmas papers where the patterns are not of a proportion that I would use on my cards. They also make the frame look "properly" finished off.  When I am ready to start posting them out I will add a mat and layered label to the back with my Christmas wishes and the year it was given. What can I say? Christmas is well and truly on the way to being done and dusted!

Monday, 22 July 2019

Congratulations Perscription Card For My Pharmacist Niece

This card measures approximately 7ins x 5ins and is made using a hand cut white linen blank.

My niece recently got a big promotion at the hospital where she works as a Pharmacist and we were all so proud of her. It was also another excuse for me to rack my brains and come up with an original (I think) and suitable congratulations card for her to express our pride.
I used an image of a NHS prescription,  printed it off and then filled it in with my own handwriting. I then mat and layered it on silver to help it pop just a little more.
To be honest, I think I may have gone way overboard on the stars and clusters of dots, they would be a little more toned down if I were repeat the idea again, but who cares, it was for Emily and more than likely a complete one off .........  and she really is our star!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Charity Shop Bargains - Two Sunburst Mirrors

Well, would you believe it,  ...... just as I'd thought I'd put the finishing touches to my re-vamped, re-vamped guest bedroom ....... I walk into my very favourite charity shop, where the prices are always just right ....... and spy these two beauties .......... talk about right place, right time!
I am not ashamed to say I pounced, as best an overweight panther can   ...... realising that they could/would be perfect on the newly painted wall behind the bed ..............
......... and at £1 each, well, it would have looked rude not to have made a considered purchase.  I also  quickly realised that if they didn't look how I imagined chez Towers, they would certainly find a home somewhere in Marc and Rick's Worcester garden. 
The mirrors have no age, I don't recognise the label on the back, but they originally cost £5 each.  
There are amber coloured beads at the end of each of the small "rays" with leaves on the longer ones.  Some of the leaves had been bent (now straightened) and the paint cracked as a consequence, but I think that adds to their character.
I am leaving them exactly as they are at the moment, I like the yellow and the blue side by side, but I know the "symmetrical" part of me might just be tempted to paint them the same, yellow immediately springs to mind, but mI know that is an urge I really need to resist for fear of ruining them!!!!!

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Marc and Rick's Moss Gardens

While I was staying at Marc and Rick's for our annual Eurovision Weeekend at their Worcester cottage they were busy gathering moss ........ 

........ starting off a series miniature moss gardens for around the patio area and garden.

We'd also been car booting where Marc had managed to find a few farm and wild  animals, some plastic and a few lead which were in perfect proportion amongst the moss and gravel.

There has been a lot about creating fairy gardens on the Poundland Appreciation Facebook page, using items found in Poundland,  recently but this idea appeals much more to me.
As we are now on the cusp of the school summer holidays I am looking for small animals and interesting dishes and/or pots in the local charity shops to make a few with Iris and Bertie, I think they will really love creating something special of their own for their own garden.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Heads Up - The Works - Wooden Counters

I found these wooden counters in The Works (6 in a pack for £1) and I immediately thought "Christmas", well, it's never too early.
This little angel is just a very basic experiment to see if using felt pens on the face would bleed into the wood . The result wasn't too bad, however, I have some nail art pens which dry like enamel which may work even better.
Anyway, I think this prototype worked out pretty well, and I am now thinking ...... a nativity scene, with just Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus on a base using lolly sticks or perhaps inside a drawer from a matchbox made using my Stampin'Up die. Anyway, first job is to nip back to The Works to make sure they still have some in the shop (or on line) as I have been caught out before when I have suddenly realised the potential of a product, only to find that they are no longer available.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Iris's Succinct Summing Up Nanny .........

Out of the mouth of babes! These are two pages from Iris's homework/cool time book when she was asked to write about someone in her family.  Iris's first line when writing about me?   ........ "Nanny likes glitter"and she's sooooooooooooooooo sooooooooooo right!
Yes, I am kind too, as I never fail to share my glitter whenever she and Bertie visit/stayover. It gets everywhere, from their faces and clothes, to the shower and bath, the floor and furniture and even carpet in the communal entrance  to my flat!

"Nanny took me to see The Wiggles" Sometimes we don't realise just how deep the memories of experiences go, but obviously the time, two years ago when Lu and I took Iris and Bertie to The Wiggles Show in Birmingham and then waited afterwards to meet them, when Iris was barley three years old still remains one of those significant moments that created a huge impression.
And the chia latte?  That girl don't miss a trick! Yes, I have pods for my coffee maker beside my bed for my first drink of the day before I get up.  I have another jar of pods for my coffee maker in the kitchen/diner ......... and whenever we go out it's always my drink of choice. I guess she REALLY knows me!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Hunkydory Steampunk Seahorse.

You just wouldn't believe how Marc and I went backwards and forwards and upside down on this project ..........

It was part of a review I was asked to do for Hunkydory, and in an effort to step outside my comfort zone I asked if I could "have a play" with their MDF Steampunk grab bag (which I don't think is available on their site at the moment). 

 ........ which I thought would also work with their  cogs and wheels embossing folder
Marc and I started with the background, embossing metal sheet (Paperchase £2.50) which really worked well.

Spookily Marc had bought a couple of packs of  LaBlanche industrial puffy stickers with him .......

......... the drainpipes, joints and screw heads worked perfectly to frame the embossed metal which we had glued onto a shaped wooden plaque (The Works) .........

....... which we covered with black paper and simply aged for a leathery effect using DecoArt One Step Crackle with again very pleasing results. 
However it was with the seahorse when things didn't gel so well ....... 
We tried so many things to make it work. In the end I coloured the body and details with gold and blue nail art pens and then tried adding some rub on foil to the head and tail, but it just jarred with the both of us and looked pants. 

In the end, frustrated I just left it all in the drawer for a couple of months waiting for inspiration, then Marc remarked that I hadn't posted anything about it.  We both agreed that the problem had been that the tail had been left plain with no design etched into it and as a result it has been hard to find anything that seemed fit there.
However, with Marc's words ringing in my ears I returned home and decided to tackle the seahorse again ....... this time limiting myself to using the contents of two wheels of metal nail embellishments from Poundland.
I am afraid in doing so I have all but lost the steampunk theme with each tiny embellishment I added.

........ but, I think it works and it is finally finished. I think perhaps Marc will now be presented with it as a lasting momento of a very frustrating afternoon and following evening we spent together trying to get it right!