Wednesday, 4 September 2019

WOYWW #535: A Sewing Box and Blenheim Palace

I wasn't around last Wednesday to post because we visited Blenheim Palace. We had a lovely family day out with our normally elusive teenage son and it didn't even cost us a penny as we were able to convert Tesco vouchers for an annual family pass. I'll show you some photos further down but first - the all important desk shot for WOYWW.

You can't really see much as I'm working on a top secret birthday card for my son's 15th birthday later this month - Oreo is conveniently lying right on it. All will be revealed in due course.

I do have another project though, that I can share. I made this earlier in the summer - a little fabric covered sewing box. Not that I sew much but I still needed somewhere to keep my threads and needles for the odd repair job. I used the Sizzix Scoreboards Treasure Box die to cut the box - I didn't have the right card for it (I used an empty a cereal box) - so it's a bit flimsy, but it serves its purpose quite well. I wish I could give you a tutorial, but I really just bodged my way through it - hence the crochet lace covering the untidy edges!

And now, just a few of the photos we took at Blenheim Palace. We were very lucky with the weather - it was nice and warm but not too sunny or hot and it didn't start raining until just after we had left. 


Here's a triple selfie we took in the Secret Garden at Blenheim - I needed a photo of the three of us for my son's card as is our tradition and we didn't have any recent ones. My husband appears a bit rough around the edges as he's growing a beard but he's still not sure if he's going to keep it. 

Toodaloo! I'll be around visiting, if not today than later this week definitely! xx

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

WOYWW #533: Paper lantern

Here I am again for WOYWW, or as Julia likes to call it, Whizzday. That's the day when we whizz around each other's desks - and also the day that marks a new week in the WOYWW calendar following the one that has just whizzed by. And there's no whizzday without a desk share, so here's mine:

I did a good tidy up and unearthed a few bits and pieces that I was going to use for a mini project, but never got around to it. I did finish my lantern though, which I can show you today. I wish I could give you a tutorial as well, but the truth is a bodged my way through it. I know there are some Sizzix lantern dies, but much as I wish, I can't keep buying all their dies, so I make do with what I have.

This was done with an old frame die and the pediments bigz die. It's sitting in a shadow box that I made out of paper. Similarly, the top is an upside down shadow box. They're easy to make just the right size. There's a tutorial here. I covered the whole thing in crackle paste and then inked it up with acrylic inks and used a bit of gilding wax to bring out the highlights.  I used vellum in the windows and gold embossed some stamped images. Metal corner embellishments complete the look.

And here it is in action with some LEDs inside - it comes off the base for that purpose. 

In order to restore Oreo to his rightful place on my blog following last week's K9 feature, here he is lounging in my husband's reading chair - who's currently on his way back from LA (literally sitting on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic as I write this), so he doesn't know! Oreo is allowed on this chair under strict supervision with a zero tolerance rule - one dig of the claws and he's booted off - and he knows!

Happy #533! Hope you have a good week!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

WOYWW #532: Faux batik technique

Good morning lovely people of WOYWW! I can't believe we're almost halfway through August now but I can really appreciate the slightly cooler temperatures. I'm on holiday at the moment, but I'm  confined indoors due to my injured ankles. I'm glad to say, they're healing nicely and I hope they'll be as good as new by next week, when I return to work.

My husband is in California for a conference this week, and son and I are really enjoying having the house to ourselves! OK, we miss him a little bit, but not enough to stop us from having fun, staying up very late, having midnight feasts and watching films together. Last night he had some of his friends stay over -  they're all sleeping downstairs like not-so-little angels, probably until mid-afternoon as they were still up at 5 o'clock!

I have several projects on the go at the moment and a few more in the pipeline. I took this photo of my desk on Monday night, trying a 'faux batik' technique that I'd learned about in this month's Craft Stamper magazine. A perfect opportunity for me to try my new Tim Holtz travel stamp platform - I must be the last crafter in the world to get one! I never realised I needed one before!

The faux batik technique involves clear embossing a stamped image on watercolour card, then using watercolours for the background - so far just a simple resist technique, but here's the twist - you then remove the embossing with a hot iron and a sheet of copy paper placed over the design. This melts and lifts all the sticky embossing, leaving you with a smooth surface, which creates a look similar to batik designs.

In the first example I used watercolours on the background, but then I moved on to distress oxides, which created stronger colours, as you can see.

Then I tried the same technique with a stencil. I didn't get a good result putting the embossing ink through the stencil, but then I had an idea to use the inked stencil like a stamp which worked much better! Nice and grungy - probably my favourite of all these attempts.

Gardening news: We bought this lovely plant just a few weeks ago for only £2 from our local garden centre run by the agricultural college down the road. It has since tripled in size and doing very well in its new spot. It's called Campfire Coleus according to the label and looks a lovely orange/red/purple when the sun shines on it.

Instead of an Oreo photo today, let me share a Facebook post by my dear friend, Jackie! This is her dog, Chum - isn't he just the coolest dog you've ever seen? Pssst, we mustn't let Oreo see this post! (edit: if you can't see the photo of Chum in the embedded FB post below, you can find it on Jackie's blog HERE.  He's really worth a look - not just your average dog!)

Have fun everyone and enjoy the last few weeks of the Summer! xx

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

WOYWW #530: Two missed anniversaries, QDS and a stupid accident!

Today is the last day of July. How did that happen? I managed to miss two anniversaries this month:  my 5th blogiversary on the 2nd and my 17th wedding anniversary on the 27th. I'm just not good with dates - neither is my husband (in fact, he's even worse!) which is lucky because at least we don't hold it against each other. I'm more upset about missing my blogiversary, to be honest.

So to celebrate, I've made this collage of some of my projects in the last 12 months, which has become sort of a tradition - and a quick-fix to post something arty without actually having to do any work.

And to commemorate our wedding anniversary, here's a throw-back picture to 2002. I never realised back then just how young and slim (and dare I say good-looking!) we were. I would have made the most of it if I had known! 

So, with the anniversaries out of the way, I can now move onto QDS - Marit's Quirky Dutch Summer, where I was a guest blogger this week! I clean forgot to take a photo of my desk for WOYWW, but perhaps I can get away with it just this once (wink at Julia), so I'll only post a picture of my finished project.

If you want to see how I made these little containers, head over to Marit's blog where I describe the process. It's really very simple. Thank you so much for the invitation, Marit, I really enjoyed taking part in QDS. Watch out for our fellow WOYWW-er, Tracey's project next week! 

Hey, funny story! I fell down the stairs at work in a pretty spectacular fashion (just before Julia started issuing notes to employers due to the unprecedented temperatures). Literally 10 seconds before this stupid accident happened, someone had warned me to walk carefully (perhaps because I was wearing flimsy sandals) and I was like 'yeah right, what could possibly happen?' and then bang! I hurt my ankles pretty badly. Luckily, my job allows me to work from home and my boss is very understanding, so I've been working from home for the past week (and may I say I got more done than in the office!) My ankles are on the mend, but it might take a while before I'm back to normal and able to walk 3 miles to work and 3 miles back again. These ankle supports really help:

I thought I'd better not leave you with visuals of my clumpy feet and pinky toes, so here's a more pleasant photo I took of the roses I got from my SIL last year. They seem to be thriving by the side of the house right next to the Hydrangeas I showed you previously - thanks for identifying them, by the way - I don't seem to know my flowers, but at least I can recognise roses!

Thanks for visiting and for goodness' sake watch where you step! xx

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

WOYWW #528: A scrap collage and general catching up

Has it really been 5 weeks since I last posted? I seem to have taken an unscheduled sabbatical doing other things. I was going to post last week, but ran out of time. The good news is, I have all my photos prepped now, so it shouldn't take long to finally put this post together. I'll probably end up oversharing, so apologies in advance.

Let's start with the all-important desk photo for WOYWW. I have a before and after shot - I realised I had no choice but tidy up - the mess was getting overwhelming. The good thing about tidying is that you unearth all sorts of hidden treasures, i.e. scraps.

I ended up using some of those scraps in my new project. This was the biggest piece that went on the background. It's an inky piece of tea stained paper - I probably used it to mop up some leftover ink. Isn't it just beautiful? Better than anything I could have created on purpose.

And here's the final project incorporating the inky sheet of paper and countless other scraps uncovered  from my messy desk: gelli prints, diecuts, tickets, book paper, embossed paper, tissue paper and I think there's a tea bag in there somewhere as well. 

There have been some outdoor activities going on too - which was part of the reason I couldn't get busy in my craft room. We built a new shed, much bigger than the one we did last year. We decided to paint it this nice seagrass colour. It was a big job but it's now finished, thank goodness!

Gardening news: we have this beautiful shrub in full bloom in front of the house. I have no idea what it is as the previous owners planted it. Any ideas?

My avocado is doing really well too. It's about waist high now. I can just about move it around - I don't know what I will do with it next year when it gets even bigger. It wouldn't survive outside in the winter, so I'll have to keep it in the house. Last September it was only this size!

Oreo's doing well too. He's enjoying spending lots of time outdoors, sometimes staying out most of the day. Here's a photo of him I took a couple of weeks ago. After taking the photo I realised that the project I did for Marit's Quirky Dutch Summer was on my bookshelf, so I had to blur it out until it's unveiled on 29th July on Marit's blog! 

I look forward to catching up with everyone. It's good to be back! xx