Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy Day!

It is always a happy day when things go right. I did have a muddled morning, one of those when you just can't get going.   After I'd got myself into gear, with the help of a bacon butty,  it was off to the craft table.  First task was to use the new paints to see how they worked,  I think I've got the hang of them now, but first attempt was a mini disaster, just need to practice with them.

Next it was time to use a new template for a dove on my arch template as I wanted to use the lead liner and not the relief paste. 

Then it was onto this beauty, a Celtic knot, all done with the lead liner,  its not quite finished, still got some pieces to put in.   This is the new and thinner lead liner, so it bends more easily.  I do like the thicker stuff for framing, so I'll be using the two.  I did this on a clip frame that I picked up in Hobbycraft, only £2.50.  There is an awful lot of work in this, I also need to number the  pieces when it comes to painting otherwise I'll get lost!

This is a design I reworked using the lead liner. Previously I'd used the relief paste for the petals and buddha.  I now prefer it with the lead liner, I even managed to persuade the lead liner to bend enough for the buddha.  He has since been painted white.  Just a few more bits to do to this. It's nice having a few things on the go as the paint takes time to dry.  The water based paint is quicker,  but each piece has to be placed on a level surface.   The new relief paste also takes an age to dry,  I'm taking a break from using it as I'm having problems with my right wrist and having to squeeze the tube/bottle is proving painful.   Plus the new lead liner goes a long way,  there are ten metres to a roll, but you split it into two, so that makes 40 metres!

Now to the wonky picture!  And the new 'dove' while the cross has gone.   There is still a lot of painting to do,  but now that I am happy with the design it will be done this week.

Tomorrow I have horrible stuff to do, like tax the car, which always makes me grumpy because of the state of our roads. The forecast isn't very good either,  more wind and rain. 

Hard to believe it is the end of the year.   My favourite moment of the year was watching Andy Murray win Wimbledon.  The worst moment was losing my mum,  but out of that loss I discovered how many good friends I have.

That's all for now, I hope to start some painting on the Celtic cross tomorrow, and get a bit more done on the other pieces.

Thanks for stopping by

Saturday, 28 December 2013

A belated posting

Seems ages since I blogged.   I wanted to hunker down and get through Christmas.   I spent the day on my own as I wanted.  In the morning I went for a lovely walk,  and was amused by the antics of the dogs on their morning walk.  It was a typical winter's morning, cold, frosty, bit of a nippy wind and sunny.  I did get quite a few 'Merry Christmases' along the way.  When I'd left the house there had been only a trickle of traffic, when I returned it was in full flow.  That caused me to remember all the Christmases I'd spent travelling to and from places - and I hated it!   I always thought how nice it would be to wake up on Christmas morning and NOT have to go anywhere.  I was glad when the day was over, had a few tearful moments,  but not the turkey dinner,  I chose Toad in the Hole.   I also got myself into a tizzwozz with the glass painting.  Didn't like what I'd done, so ended up taking it all off.   I did though have a nice surprise on Christmas eve, finding that at last my claim had been successful, so I had money!  The first thing I did was pay a few bills.  Then on Boxing Day I went to Hobbycraft to indulge myself,  just got a few glass paints and some relief paste.  Then I ordered some lead liner off Amazon,  and was still wondering what had happened to my CnC order, which I discovered was coming from America.

In the early hours of Friday morning the storm hit us, so there was no chance of me stepping outside the front door.   I went back to the glass painting, but was having no success.  I knew I was trying too hard, so I called it quits.   Then at 8pm my parcel arrived,  no I couldn't believe it either, felt sorry for the poor chap as he looked shattered.  But I was very happy to have my goodies at last.

Today I had a long lie in - 10 a.m!   A spot of supermarket shopping,  it is a bother that we run out of stuff like milk and bread!   The postie brought me my lead liner, wow that was a fast delivery.  So I sat down to the glass painting,  this time it went well.  The new lead liner was thinner than what I had been using so I was able to do finer work with it.  The new paints are tricky, but they are nice to use, as is the relief paste that came with it.  In fact I've checkd it out on google and I can get a much larger bottle of it!   The afternoon was well spent,  I got a lot done, and managed to improve one picture by using the lead liner instead of the paste.   I may be able to bring some pictures tomorrow.

I am also glad that this year is almost at a close,  and I have things to look forward to next year, more art therapy,  a visit to my friend who lives in Hampshire.   Last New Years eve was so bleak,  it was a really horrible day with the family managing to upset first me, then mum, with their job done off they went to their respective New Year celebrations and not giving any thought to the damage they'd just done.   I think I've grown stronger since then,  it hasn't been an easy year, and not just for the obvious reason,  I just feel as though I've been tested to my limit.  On Christmas eve I tried counting my blessings and realised that I had far more than I thought or could count.   I've found that it is my friends and cousin who I can count on for support, and who care about me.  I can't thank them enough for what they've done for me this year.    I've also found out a lot about myself.   More of that at a later date. 

I'll end it here, and I hope you've all had a lovely Christmas, I hope none of you were affected by the bad weather, and if you were then know you were in my thoughts and prayers.  I'll be back tomorrow, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Just having a lovely time

I've been wanting to pick up a paintbrush for some time and just paint.   Trouble has been the moment the brush is in my hand I tense up and the confidence drains away.  A few weeks ago I started my art therapy and little did I know that I'd be introduced to something that would grab hold of me - glass painting. I'd wanted to try it, but I didn't want to paint glasses or vases, nor did I know how to get started with it.  So I was delighted when our first project was glass painting.  Then I was presented with an A3 piece of perspex,  yikes!   I realised that I had no need to come up with a picture,  but a design, that freed me up and I did the Mandala.  I took a quick look on youtube to learn how to use the materials (what did we do before youtube?),  I was rubbish to begin with, as you would expect.  I wanted to run before I could walk!  But I did practise and gradually I got used to handling the relief paste.  I started with small pictures, aside from the Mandala, but I had an urge to do something big.
This idea, the bird of peace came to me a couple of weeks ago and I found a large piece of glass (another butchered frame!)    I took my time drawing the design, quite unlike me, usually I rush these things,  but I seemed to have acquired some patience.   I wanted a stained glass window, and for it to have some religious significance.   Making the window was the easy bit, then I had to find some free clipart for the bird.  I played around with the size until I was happy.    I felt a bit nervous today when I began the painting,  but as it went on the picture started to come alive.   I know I need to fill in that huge space, it is just to large to paint, so my next task is to create a pattern. 

I also did another flower, I want to make three, then find someway of hanging them together.  I know I can drill into the glass, but have to treat it like drilling into a tile.  These flowers are also good for practising the relief paste work.  I'm going to add a little more to it, so watch this space as they say!

CnC also told me that my paints are on their way,  can I hope that they will arrive tomorrow?  I am thinking it will be Tuesday,  never mind at least they are in transit.

I thought I'd watch Mandela's funeral, thinking foolishly that all the speeches were done and dusted.  Wrong, once again the politicos bored the pants off everyone.   The service should have lasted 2 and a half  hours....  tradition dictated that Mandela had to be laid to rest at midday, but they trampled all over tradition so they could keep waffling.  One chap was determined to name and thank each dignitary who had turned up!   I feel sorry for the people of South Africa, they've been kept at arms length,  even the funeral procession sped by not allowing any to pay their respects.  Some of the weeks antics  have left a nasty taste in the mouth,  seems some set out to exploit the situation,  only Obama's speech was memorable.  Nor should there have been any speeches at the funeral,  just a eulogy and the service. 

I'm still struggling with the whole Christmas thing.  I wasn't expecting it to affect me this much.  I did some shopping at the supermarket yesterday and just had to get out of the place.  I've never liked the build up to Christmas, it starts far too early,  everyone is in a rush,  then as the big day approaches the prices get slashed.  I noticed yesterday that all the crackers were at half price!   It was the same last year, which is why I always waited so I could get the posh ones.   Now the supermarket has a large bin, they're asking people to buy a toy and donate it.  Why not also ask for food donations, perhaps hampers could be made up for the elderly? 

I also had a nice surprise yesterday, while flicking through the channels I found that True Entertainment had a whole afternoon and evening of The Waltons!   Yes I know, sentimental, but who cares,  it makes a nice change to watch something that doesn't involve violence towards women,  no murders,  casual swearing or general nastiness.   I really don' t understand why anyone watches Eastenders, it is so gloomy and has no credibility.  Corrie always finds a balance, the sad stuff is offset by some humour,  just as it is in life.  Haley's story has been very touching,  the two actors deserve Oscars for their performances.

Just watched Strictly,  I think Susanna will win.  She's not the best dancer,  but she is the one everyone identifies with.  She's also a working mum,  quite a few of the others have not had any other work to do, or juggle a family.  She also tries,  I can't warm to Natalie, she is very good,  but her performances are clinical,  dance should be about passion. 

Anyway think that is enough waffle,  saw the forecast on Countryfile,  it doesn't look good for the week ahead, especially the end of the week, and I am supposed to be driving down South.  If the forecast proves to be true then I think I'll be staying at home.

Stay warm and safe, and remember, Christmas is not about buying expensive presents, or going into debt. 

Saturday, 14 December 2013


Well I think it is... can't help wondering if it does need something added?   Oh I am talking about my mandala, today I edged it with more lead,  and then painted the trim.  Ah, I think I know what it needs!   Watch this space.

It was a hunker down day, weather was filthy, then I realised it was also Friday 13th,  and after my week I wasn't taking any chances.   Though the lead I bought, that I worried about not being up to the job, proved to be excellent.  I'd got the window lead, which was thicker than I'd been using, but actually I like the finish better.

I also saw some nice glass paints on CnC, since I had my ten pound voucher I decided to put it to good use.

This is a piece I've been working on for the last week.  The design took a while,  then of course I had to wait for the lead to come.    The tricky bit was using the relief paste for the bird, but to my surprise it went without a hitch.   I'd kept on telling myself that the more I practised the better the work would be.  Of course we never believe that, we just want to 'do it'.  I was like that with stamping, when I first started I either over-inked or under inked, pressed down too much, or not enough.  Although I also think that stamps have got better in quality, which always helps.   I also noticed that Sheena, who loves pebeo paints, prefers the Cerne relief paste.   I hope at some point she does some glass painting as then she will bring out some amazing kits.

The leading took pretty much all day,  with all the smoothing and cutting it can be quite fiddly.   I'm thinking of adding a cross behind the bird,  or some scenery.

Still no sign of an end to the PIP claim saga.  I looked around a few forums to see if there were any useful addresses and I found one, the head of customer services at ATOS.  So I emailed him,  I wasn't expecting to hear from him until next week, but to my suprise he got back to me, and for the first time someone has actually apologised!   There is still all the waffle about bringing in a new benefit etc,  the truth is that ATOS have no guidlines, as the DWP haven't provided any.  They keep moving the goal posts as too many are qualifying for the benefit.  In the meantime people are suffering,  even the terminally ill, who should be fast tracked, are being forced to wait.  Meanwhile back at the ranch Iain Duncan Smith has his head stuck in the sand and is refusing to bring it out.   I once had a sliver of respect for IDS,  but no longer,  he is a spineless piece of jelly who has realised that all his theories and 'good ideas' are impossible to put into action.  So instead the public is fed a load of propoganda, told that thousands are better off on benefits, the truth is very few are,  fraud is also minimal,  there are actually very few benefit tourists.    I don't agree with someone continuing to have children while on benefits,  pay child benefit for the first two children only, that is how it used to be.  And do you know why we have child benefit?  It was brought in to help women,  often women had no money to feed their children,  some men kept all of their earnings,  so the government of the day decided to introduce child benefit payable only to the mother so she would have some money, there were restrictions.   And what of the poppy seller who had his benefits stopped for not seeking work, well technically the department was correct, except the poppy seller should have said that although he was selling poppies he was continuing to seek work.  Yes I'm back on my soap box because it seems no-one gives a damn,  the public are swallowing the propoganda,  I found myself countering everyone of a friend's misconceptions about benefits.   Could you manage on less than £80 pw?  Think about it, you may get your rent paid, but you have to pay for everything else, electric, gas, food, water,  don't expect a feast from the food bank, it is the basics, and you have to show you are in need of help.  Many people get caught up in the system, their benefits stopped for no good reason,  someone has input the wrong information.  That happened to me when I claimed HB,  some twit assessed me as having over £200 pw in income, I wish!

Off soap box....  back to glass painting tomorrow, well after the shopping I put off doing today - yuck.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Yesterday I got myself into a right old tizz.  I was meant to meet a friend for coffee, only she was a no show.   Felt like it was the last straw to a bad few days.  Managed to resist going straight home,  drove around and ended up at a garden centre which usually has a fantastic Christmas display, but it was all rather tired looking this year.   I spotted a white bisque owl,  which lit up,  so bought it as a little treat for myself.  Got home, thumped a few things,  had a rant, and a cry, then I made this picture.  I was amazed I did it, as for the last few days the crafting has been awful, nothing has gone right.  I wasn't that sure about doing this, as it meant a steady hand, but I got there.  

I mixed the paints this time,  just to lighten them. I was really pleased with it.   Felt it still needed some finishing off, but had no more lead.

Then today the postie brought me a little parcel, it was the lead I'd bought off ebay.  A little wider that what I'd been using, but just as flexible.  So I decided to give the flower a frame, even managing to mitre the corners!   I took it with me to art therapy,  everyone liked it.   Sadly there were only four of us today,  and two were leaving as it was their last session.  I felt really sorry for one lady,  you could tell she really didn't want to leave.  The tutors had made her a lovely card, and had got everyone to sign it, even us newbies.   I know she is going to some of the other groups,  so I hope she draws comfort from that.   I also learned that for our next project we'll be doing some silk painting - wow!    And making an aromatherapy cushion,  I can't wait to get going. 

My mood was much better today,  helped by lots of good wishes from friends, and a lovely phone call from my cousin.  And there I was feeling very unloved yesterday!     The friend who should have met me for coffee had a problem with her car,  she'd also lost my landline number, and my mobile has died.  She had sent me an email but I hadn't switched on the PC, so it was a case of confusion all round.  But things happen for a reason, and I believe I was being told to reach out.

I finished most of the painting on the mandala,  I brought it home to finish it off.   I think it needs a bit more lead work on it.   Did have a chat about the relief paste, the tutor said that they do vary in quality,  and not to go for the cheap stuff.  I'm sticking with the Cern or marabu.  Still got my party to look forward to next week, and a newsletter to read, and lots of things to sign up to if I wish.

Thanks for stopping by to read my witterings,  it is much appreciated.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Boxing clever?

Today I decided to get on with box making.  That was after the housework,  well you can't ignore it forever!   My wrist wished I had, because after a bit of dusting it was so painful I had to stop and take some anti inflammatories.  Wonder which bit of me will start to ache next?

I also had a bit of a tidy up of the craft space...  I was down to a corner so thought perhaps I should put away the stuff I wasn't using.    So with the space cleared, a ruler unearthed, had been wondering were it had gone!  It was time to decorate the boxes, and make a couple of lids.   Yep I guess I could have done some stamping before putting the boxes together, but I have dies so why not use them?

As with this one, it had to have a greeting, so one tag, and a stamp.

On the other three sides is this nifty little number,  just a big and little die,  mirri and glitter card.  What could be easier?   Box lid is made of gold mirri,  and them embossed, to give it a luxury look, topped off by a poinsetta.   Oh almost forgot the bit of ribbon at the bottom,  some that I had left from last year. 

I don't buy any Christmas stash, no honest I don't.  I bought quite a bit when I started crafting, and now I find I've got quite enough.  I opted to buy classic stamps, trees, wreathes etc,  and stick to gold, red, green,  white and blue.  I have indulged in the odd kit now and then, but for the most part I go with white card, with a topper, keep it simple I says.   Last year I made mum an all white card,  with a white poinsetta, she really liked it.  I've not yet made one card, not a single one,  this year I've bought some.   But I refuse to buy boxes as they are usually overpriced, also if you make your own you can tailor it to the gift.

This is the last box, it contains the wooden box I decorated.  The lid is made from a piece of kanban patterned mirri, which I bought yonks ago from QVC.   I used the same dies, well the big die and the middle die for the decoration. 

Who needs a box maker, I used my ruler,  glass cutting mat and my paper trimmer, which comes with a scorer.   I'm only saying that cos I was watching a bit of CnC this morning and they were flogging box maker gizmo. 

I had been wondering what had happened to Dawn Bibby, one minute she was on screen then she seemed to disappear for ages.  I have discovered that she has two slipped discs,  one is bad enough,  they do calm down after a few weeks, but boy are they agony when they first slip.   I was thinking that one of the contestants in SCD also had a bulging disc,  mmm,  must of cleared up as she won the lindy hop marathon, being flung round in all directions.   I was glad that Susanna made it through,  I think the audience are identifying with Susanna,  she tries very hard and is very good, unlike the others she is working, and has 3 boys to look after.    I can't warm to Natalie, she is very good, maybe too good,  but I don't feel any passion from her.     It is odd to be watching it without mum,  she really enjoyed it, though I'd have to make sure she stayed awake. 

It's been a sad day, I don't know why, just felt really fed up.    I am sick of being kept waiting on the PIP claim,  and yet there is nothing in the news about the delays or huge backlog.  There are message boards full of people complaining about how long they have been waiting.   ATOS seem to think they have all the time in the world to process these claims.    I wonder how MPs would react if it took 8 months for their expenses to be processed?   And I am sorry, but I am now tired of the whole Mandela thing, our parliament spent a whole day to allow MPs to reminisce.  I think Mandela would have preferred that they got on with their usual business. 

Best get off my soap box, and need to make a Christmas card list.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Battling on

I am continuing my battle to master glass painting!  Yesterday I went to The Range to get some self adhesive lead strip,  sadly they didn't have the roll, only the strips.     It was an interesting drive along the coast road,  saw the detrius from Thursday's storm,  there was a very high tide, so lots of seaweed dumped on the road.

On returning home I painted one of the glass outlines,  was sort of happy with it.   This morning I looked at it and thought: yuck.  So stripped it all off and began again.  I used only the outliner, this time I used the lead strips,  I think it makes it look more impressive.   So happy with that I sat and thought about applying the paint,  I'd been flood filling the spaces, but I realised I'd over done it. I guess less is more.

I'm much happier with this one, but no idea of why the purple is acting like it is, as the other colours seem to spread evenly.  I'm leaving it as it is, I was tempted to fill the whole thing, but actually like the lead being left plain. 

I'm currently designing another picture,  and a head full of too many ideas.  

I had to really search to get the Cern outliner, ebay sellers were being far too cheeky with their postage,  luckily I found what I wanted on... guess were, yep Amazon!   And with free postage, the outliner was a bit more expensive, but it is on its way to me. I tried to use the outliner I got from ebay, it is just way to runny and impossible to use.   I'm not blaming the seller, the tubes were in a sealed pack, but I won't ever be using it again! 

Such sad news about Nelson Mandela,  yet was it really necessary to keep broadcasting for several hours non stop?  Both the BBC and Sky went OTT with their coverage.  Of course it had to be the lead story, but at the same time there was a major storm happening, people losing their houses and no mention of it on either news channel.   Mandela was a great man, but also a human being, he would be the first to say he was no saint,   he acheived a peaceful transition from apartheid to racial harmony.  Yet poverty is still rife in South Africa, the gap between rich and poor is wider than ever,  people are still living in tin shacks,  they are still being shot in cold blood... it still has a long way to go and needs to find the person who can fill Mandela's shoes, and Zuma isn't that man.

The Christmas cards are starting to fall on the mat,  I'm dreading getting those that don't know about mum.  Must get my act together and start sending some out.   No idea what will appear here tomorrow,  I really have to make a couple of cards and finish off a box, so guess they are top of my list.  Oh had a sneak peak at the Christmas telly, the usual dire stuff,   films galore,  a few gems,  but not many.   When will the planners learn to not mess about too much?   Daytime TV is often better than the evening stuff, but what happens every bank holiday, all the programmes are taken off - why? Think I'll stick with True Entertainment for the day, or Youtube.

All for now, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Art Therapy

Well it was, as forecast, howling a gale today, lots of rain, sleet, hailstones, flooding in some parts.  I watched a few wheelie bins go flying past at one point.  The most hilarious moment was when I caught sight of our street cleaner, I watched him struggle to pick up a small piece of litter, while all around him there was paper, cardboard etc, he placed the piece he'd picked up in his bin and then walked off... leaving the rest of the mess behind him.    I wished I'd been able to film it as it would have been a hit on Youtube!   Two ariels are currently precariously dangling from their wires on house opposite, wondering when they'll come crashing down!  Also, we were all warned, so why do drivers in high sided vehicles still venture out?  One poor man lost his life, they should be banned in conditions like this,  then perhaps tragedies could be avoided.

I was also at my Art Therapy class, only three of us made it,  one chap was moving house today, but not sure what happened to the others,  just hope they were safe.   I got on with my mandala, and this time I remembered to take my camera.  I finished off the outlining, and made a note of which outliner I was using (cos it is just lovely) and it is Cern, so that is what I am sticking to!    See pic above for the Mandala,  I used the lead liner for the outer and inner circles, it is really easy to use.  The paints were water based, another point I made note of, as it means not messing with brush cleaner.  It also seemed to give a better finish.   We had to finish a little earlier as one of the tutors had to get away handy, otherwise I would have managed more painting.  

It was all so relaxing, had a good natter with the tutors.  I showed them some of my work via the digi camera,  they love the thought of gilding flakes and mica powders.  We also had a chat about mandalas,   I've got a work book on them which I bought last year, the aim being to work my way through it.  However it proved impossible with caring for mum,  it meant meditating, and I could hardly do that when mum might need me at any moment.   So that is on my to do list for next year, or Vision Board, as one of my friends calls her resolutions.   I think I may make my own, and see how many goals I achieve.

Also had some success with ATOS.   I was so angry last Friday that I sent off an email, and to be honest I didn't expect much from them.  But to their credit they did apologise, sort of,   and explained that it is the government who has asked for the audits to be done, hence all the delay.  They have though asked for my case to be fast forwarded,  I think they were also agreeing (tho they didn't admit it) that waiting 8 months is far too long.  I sent them a reply to say thank you, and also suggesting tha if they kept people informed then perhaps we wouldn't be so stressed.   It really annoys me when, say you are on a train, and suddenly it stops, nothing is said, you just sit and wait, and wait...  and all you want is for someone to tell you what is going on, and perhaps offer free tea and coffee.    I've found if you tell folk what is going on then they are generally well behaved and patient.   Anyway I hope to see an end to the PIP saga sometime soon, now would be preferable as my gas/electric bill arrived, though it wasn't too bad.

So I am off on a hunt for cern outliner tomorrow.  I could get it from ebay,  though would you believe some of the sellers want nearly £4 in postage,  for a 25ml tube of outliner!   I know postal charges have gone up, but even so, £4! 

Stay safe tonight... thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Not a good day

A painful day today. I got down the Christmas decorations.   I was confined to the flat as I was waiting for a parcel to be delivered for a neighbour.   I put the tree up, put the lights on and then the tears started. My heart really wasn't in it, but I don't want to avoid Christmas, and I know mum wouldn't want me to. So I ploughed on,  the tree looks nice, just put a few more decs out,  and then called it a day.   Funny how grief grabs you,  sometimes it is with warm memories and you feel happy, at others it is the sad stuff.

I finished off this little glass tree,  I painted it yesterday, just had enough outliner to do it. I put some little gems on,  now I'll hang it on the tree.  Mum had bought some really pretty glass ornaments a few years ago, made sure they are on the tree.

Next project was making a box to fit a small pillar candle.  I looked for a template, then abandoned that idea and started measuring!  To my astonishment I did it!   Well after I'd remembered where I'd put my 12x12 cardstock, and a bit of fiddling with the measurements.  I made a separate lid, which I'll take a pic of tomorrow, damn these dark nights!   But the box fits the candle perfectly.

Here is the candle.  I got the idea from one of those little magazines that are stuffed into the Saturday supplements. I still had some decal paper from the wedding stuff,  so all it took was some printing.  I've also made one for mum, and another for my niece with 'Granny' on it.  When I saw the candles in the catalogue I just thought it was a nice idea.

I've made all my ATC's for the swap, but they'll be going with some ready made cards.  A rather sinful thing to do for a crafter, but who cares.   My heart isn't really into making Christmas things this year. 

I'd also been wondering where my advent candle was,  so I checked the order to see when it had been sent and... doh, guess who forgot to 'check out'?  Yep!    Just about sums up my state of mind right now,  scattered is probably a good description.

I was also hoping that the glass outliner would arrive today, the chap sent it first class on Monday, from Manchester, but no sign of it today.  Hopefully it will fall through the letter box tomorrow.   I also had a nice surprise tonight,  my friend has got us tickets to a Christmas party,  it is a Kim Wilde gig in London, but at a small venue.   I felt a bit awful for not sounding terribly enthusiastic, so I explained what I'd been doing today and all was understood.   This is not going to be a great month.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Nice way to spend an afternoon

Well yesterday I stocked up on some glass paints and brushes.  I'd spotted a 25% off voucher for Hobbycraft, so with voucher in hand I hot-footed it to the shop.  I got four paints, blue, purple, turquoise, green,  oops five, and white, plus a relief outliner,  plus brushes. 

My first discovery was what a difference using the better relief outliner made,  it went on so much easier.    I chose a simple design,  didn't want anything too complex.  It was so hard to choose as there are hundreds out there!   I've picked out a few others for later projects, but I still intend to make my own.   I found an A5 piece of glass, which I thought would do nicely for my first attempt.  I spent yesterday afternoon getting the hang of the relief outliner, and came back to the project today. 

The outliner took about 20 or so minutes to be dry enough to start the painting. I'd checked on Youtube to see how to apply the paint, and was glad I'd got the proper brushes.  Part way through flood filling the first bit I realised my craft table has a slope...  not good for this sort of work.  So I moved it over to my computer desk.   I really got lost in the whole thing,  it was very relaxing.    I can say with total honesty this is one craft that has me hooked.  I love painting,  and I love glass, so here I have the perfect combo.   The paint is almost dry and I can't wait to see it in the daylight. 

I have ordered more relief outliner, but from ebay,  found a chap selling 3 tubes for the price of one.  I've also sourced some self adhesive lead strip,  which is also cheaper than on the craft sites. 

I've got another project to do,  just need the outliner, which won't be here till Tuesday.   The second project is a present for a friend,  Xmas present, apart from one gift all the rest have been handmade.  I've only got one more bracelet to make.  I hope to make more at some point, when I've got some money.

I've got stuff to do, like made some ATCs and a few cards, so I can get on with them tomorrow.  On Tuesday it will be back to the glass painting.   I guess I'd also better think about the Christmas decs.  A few people round here have had them up for weeks, which I think is just ridiculous.  The staff in the corner shop have protested at having to listen to Christmas music, so have the customers, so a happy medium has been reached. 

That's all for now.  I've just seen the forecast for this week, best get out the winter woollies as it will be freezing at the end of the week!   Stay warm

Friday, 29 November 2013

All that glitters

So much for my bright idea to make the Xmas ATCs for the swap, cos they should be blue!   Rats and double fink.  Good thing I'd only made 3,  and the flowers will be used for some cards.

I hope next week to show a picture of my glass painting.  I made a start on outlining it on the perspex.  I've used the 'lead' and outliner.  I was a bit nervous about the outliner,  not having been very successful with the one I got from the craft shop, I thought I'd have the same problems. But, well those we are using in the art therapy are much better quality, and so go on easily!  I've just got a bit more outlining to do and I can start with the painting.  The 'lead' isn't real lead,  it comes on a reel, and is self adhesive, but it gives the lead look to the picture.  That was quite easy to use.   At least I know now to avoid any cheap glass paint products.

I also got round to finishing off the box, which I decided to enter into the fantastic ABAC challenge, always great fun, and there are some amazing things to see.

I decided I didn't like the dark top so I embossed some gold card.  I hadn't intended it to have a Christmas theme, but on a search for red card I came across some glitter paper.  I did wonder if the spellbinders would go through it,  it has a cloth backing and is pretty thick.  Anyway I tried and...  ta dah!   It took a couple of passes in the machine but it worked a treat.  I used hot glue to stick it down,  it is a much nicer red in real life. But I am really happy with the finished result.

I finished off the front with this little handbag charm,  trying to make it look like a clasp.  Oh I also put some ribbon round the lid.  And did a bit more edging with the embossing pen round the sides.  I am now officially happy with it!

I've also sorted out two Christmas presents.  This is the inside of the box with another shamballa bracelet.   I can say that I have now got the hang of the shamballa bracelets!   And after a lot of faffing I have managed to use the smaller beads as stoppers.  At first I couldn't put the thread through them,  in the end I sort of 'burnt' the ends of the cord to make it narrower, then it went through.  

Here's the bracelet in close up.  You really get into a rhythm with the knotting.  And they are quick to make, around twenty minutes from start to finish.   I also found you didn't need as much cord as they say on the website, I only used 130cm for the knotting cord, and around 30 cm for the bracelet.  Of course for a larger wrist you'd need to alter the measurements.   Nice thing to do in front of the telly.

Now best to close your ears...  I am mad,  I'd be  hopping mad if I was capable of hopping.  I called the DWP today about my PIP claim.  They said they still hadn't received the paperwork from ATOS. So called ATOS and after being told they still had the paperwork I let rip.  The chap said he'd find out what was happening,  he came back to say all the claims are now being audited!   How bloody stupid is that?  If they want a health professional to make a decision then why not use proper doctors for the assessments?   He couldn't tell me how long it would take, so I let rip again, then I apologised for shouting at him.  I let rip a third time in an email to ATOS.  This is the Tory government for you,  incapable of any sort of efficiency, or leadership.   They simply decided to choose the soft targets, those claiming benefits, we are far easier to beat up, and of course the propoganda in the press doesn't help.   They always highlight the wasters, the frauds, but not the real people who claim benefits and are not living the high life, but are barely making ends meet.  The Idiot Duncan Smith,  is clueless and a coward, so far he has refused to answer questions on PIP in Parliament.   Can I tell you that this policy change is costing a fortune to implement,  there is a huge backlog,  ATOS has had to take on more staff,  another tier of staff has been added to that for the audit...    All those who are successful with thier claims are entitled to have their claim fully backdated.   But then who cares, this government doesn't,  it wants us all to be in debt, it encourages some to apply for mortgages that will cripple them when interest rates go up, it forces others into debt by penalising them for having a spare room.  It doesn't think of imposing a windfall tax on the energy companies, instead it wimpishly asks them to please freeze prices - as if!   The energy market is privatised,  who by, guess who...   and their function is to make profit, they want us to use lots of gas and electricity, if we don't then they whack up the prices.    We do not have a competitive market, we have a cartel,  and we get ripped off.  In the meantime our MPs claim back heating and lighting allowances!

Well I did warn you...  have a good weekend

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Brrrrrr - Jack Frost has been out and about

What a chilly week it has been.  I'm thankful that my flat is so well insulated,  when the sun has been out the living room has been lovely and warm.

So to crafting.  Well I decided to  have a go at glass painting, just couldn't wait any longer.  So I picked up a glass painting kit from the craft shop, and some other bits, got some glass ornaments and a very cute wooden owl cut out. Sorry can't resist owls.   I looked on Youtube for some tutorials on glass painting and picked up a lot of useful tips.  The two main points were how to apply the outliner, or gutta, and the paint. I was glad I did take the trouble to have a look as it saved much grief.  As it was I quickly realised that the kit I'd got wasn't up to what I want to do, but it will suffice for practice purposes.  The outliner isn't very good.  That's why I chose to emboss on this heart,  and then apply the paint on the reverse, and I did want it to be streaky!   I've been practicing, as many of the tutorials suggested on some acetate, my lines are almost straight,  and I'm gaining better control.   My other lesson was - don't skimp on tools,  I didn't get the proper brushes, luckily I did have a solid paint brush.  So with the glass painting experiment under way I turned my attention to a Christmas present.

I picked up this little wooden box for £1.75, it was of course plain.  It's for a friend's mum, who happens to like boxes  I didn't necessarily want it to be Christmassy.  I had some decopatch paper of owls,  that was to go on the top,  I first applied the gilding wax to the top of the box,  then the decopatch paper was applied.  The lower part of the box was painted red, in fact three different shades of red!   It looks bright here, but it is a bit darker.

Here's the top with the decopatch paper.  It came from a free kit with Crafts Beautiful.  I did give the top a coat of black poster paint.

I wanted to break up the red on the lower half of the box.  I used this lovely stamp,  it was hard to match up on all four sides so I cheated a little.  At the corners I used an embossing pen to draw a line on each side of the corner and then applied the powder.  The idea was to cover up the joins!

For the inside I painted the sides black.  I was being very careful, even remembered to use masking tape!  So unlike me to be this methodical.  I cut some felt for the top and bottom, and glued it into place.  The fetl also came from the Crafts Beautiful magazine, it should be used to make felt animals.  However it is far too stiff,  so I have decided to use it in other projects.

I've not yet decided how to finish off the top. I've got two ideas, as shown here.  The handbag has to go on as my friend's mum loves handbags.  I've also added more detail to the top, just to tidy up the edges.  I will take more pics tomorrow.

I've had a lovely few days making the box and messing with the glass paints.   More fun tomorrow I hope, and you never know maybe this will be the week I get to learn if my PIP claim has been successful or not!  Yes it is still going on,  this government couldn't organise a p*** up in a brewery.  Their incompetence knows no bounds.   Some decisions to stop benefits have been ludicrous, as in the case of the blind lady who had her benefits stopped because she refused to consider a cleaning job...  or the chap who was told he had to attend a course,  which he'd already done, he was told by one person he didn't have to do the course, so he didn't and then had his benefits stopped - he has 3 children,  or the woman who's jobseekers allowance was stopped because she said the job she was told to apply for was too far away, some 30 miles from her home, she has no car and it would have been impossible for her to get there by public transport.   As for all this nonsense about changes in rules, well it has always been part of your jobseekers contract that you will actively look for work, keep a job diary,   make note of all jobs applied for etc. The government trys to make it look like they are making changes, they aren't,  and also imply that all jobseekers are lazy good for nothings, which they aren't. 

I'll get off my soap box, and wish you a happy week.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Done and dusted

And here it is, complete, finito!   I got the positioning wrong, so had to make a new background,  then I didn't like another element, so made another...    I finished it yesterday but it was too dark to take a piccie.  I took it to the Art Therapy group and everyone loved it, so I can only hope that the person who wanted it also likes it!

At Art Therapy we watched a documentary on Brian Clarke, who is a renowned artist who works with stained glass.  And if you like boxes, then try Joseph Cornell  - I think he will inspire you.

For my glass painting I'm going to tackle a mandala,  these can be really personal.  Most think that they have to be circlular, but in fact you can use a square, not do they have to be uniform. 

I wanted a flower design,  but I didn't want it to be too complex as I have to use gutta, a relief paint, to outline the whole thing.  

Next week we should get going on the actual painting.  We've had people dropping in to say hello to us newbies,  which is really nice.  I also got an invite to the Christmas party! 

This is the other possibility... decisions, decisions!   Although at least I have a design, poor Vicky has yet to decide what she wants to do, though she was looking at Tiffany lamps.  We both agreed that they are divine, and that they would lend themselves to glass painting.  I hope she manages to reach a decision soon.

When I drove home tonight from the Art Therapy there was the most beautiful sunset.  I looked at the clouds bathed in a red and golden glow, the sky looked so magical.   I was so engrossed in it that I almost missed the green light.  Oops.   Everything was serene until a fighter jet roared past overhead.  They often do that, think they head up to Scotland, do  a U turn and come back. 

Well I started this an hour or so ago,   it got interrupted by a skype call.   Now my bed is calling me, I hope I get a lie in tomorrow.   The forecast is for a dry, sunny day....  I can only hope!   Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Not boxing clever

It seems to have taken an age to get the shadow frame together,  and it isn't quite 'together'.  Still not sure about the layout,  and methinks the background needs more definition.   The mojo keeps coming and going, mostly going.

I did make another shamballa bracelet, I'm really getting the hang of it now.

I also have an idea for an abstract picture.  Though  I need to focus on a new home card and some ATC's, but I'm not in the mood for either. I think Craft Artist may be employed for the New Home card!

Well I may not be happy with the layout, but I am happy with this corner.  It's not showing up very well in this pic,  it is these gloomy days, just no good for taking photos.  I found a faux pearl necklace, so I de-strung it,  and made some springs from gold wire, the roses were cut from black card and brushed with gilding wax.

I have to take this with me on Thursday to the Art Therapy session.  The tutors were interested in what a shadow box was.   I've also finished my Mandala outline,  now I can't wait to get it onto the perspex.   I was thinking today that I've got some pieces of glass, so I may invest in some glass paints.

I have found a great way of staying warm,  heat pads!   I got some for my back, I can say that they keep you nice and toasty.  The back has really been playing up lately,  it puts you off doing things. As on Saturday,  I just popped to the local shopping centre to get a few things, and to have a look round M&S, but I was soon down to a shuffle.  Think I'll have to invest in one of those shopping trolleys,  I would have got one from Argos only the queue was horrendous.  I'm afraid Christmas is also getting to me,  I would prefer it if the shops would at least wait till December, or maybe the very end of November.  I've always thought all the fuss was stupid,  as for all the rubbish talked about the Christmas dinner, it is a fancy roast, that is all.  I cooked my first Christmas dinner when I was sixteen,  we gave mum the day off, my sister wouldn't do the cooking, so it had to be me.   These days everything can be bought pre-prepared,  I do remember peeling mountains of spuds and veg, and making the Christmas pud.

Now I must remember to make a hair appointment,  been meaning to for the last week!

All for now folks, hopefully I will get that shadow box sorted by tomorrow.

Friday, 15 November 2013


I've had a lovely day today.   The week didn't get off to a good start, it was grey, cold and raining and it seemed my mood decided to match the weather.  Then yesterday it was my first Art Therapy session,  I was a little anxious, which was ironic as the idea of the therapy is to help with anxiety!   Once I got there I felt better, the group is small, there were six of us yesterday, there should have been two more.  Our course leaders, or artists are lovely, so friendly they made us all feel welcome.   We soon discovered what our project was going to be - glass painting.   We'll each have an A3 piece of perspex to decorate,  like stained glass, but using paints and something that looked like lead lining.   We watched a presentation on stained glass installations,  from cathedrals to modern art,  all were amazing.   Then we were asked to just come up with some sketches,  we've got to make something that reflects us, or our feelings and that we will find inspirational.    I had no idea what I wanted to do, a lot of ideas went through my head, a buddha, owl,  I drew a geometric design, which everyone liked.  It was when I got home and sat down with my sketch pad that my idea came to me - a Mandala!  So I was sketching all morning,  and now have most of the design,  it needs to be transferred to A3 paper.  I want to get the drawing bit out of the way so I can get going on the painting bit.  I felt so excited,  the rest of the group is really nice,  I met two at the taster session, so there were some friendly faces.  But everyone was just so friendly and understanding. 

I also had a nice surprise when I got home, my shamballa kit had arrived.  The beads are gorgeous, hematite, which is good if you need grounding, along with some sparkly beads.  The first thing I did was to repair my old bracelet,  I'd tried before using some stiff cord, but it was too stiff.  The result can be seen in the above pic.  I referred to the pics on the C&C website,  here's the link (if you are interested) Shamballa instructions.   It looks complicated, but I assure you it isn't.  Once you get the hang of the actual knot, you are away.  

These are the beads from the actual kit, the blingy one is just beautiful.  I think this took me about twenty minutes.   I used a storage box lid, A4, plastic, that I have for my card and paper.  It is just right for holding the cord tight,  you can use the corner for the final bit, making the fastening.   It's up to you how much space you want between the beads, how many beads you want etc.

Well I hope to have the mandala pattern made over the weekend.  I've also got to put the finishing touches to the shadow box.  I tried to explain what it was yesterday to John, one of the course leaders,  the I said it would be easier to show him.   He was very intrigued by embossing powders, frantage and the like, nor had he heard of steampunk!   There are a couple of other art classes running alongside the art therapy, so I am  hoping to go to either or both!   Well it is better than wandering around shops, or being stuck inside, so easy to take the easy option with depression.   Both classes are at the same venue as the art therapy, it has plenty of parking and is only a few minutes from home.

So I've got a busy weekend ahead, I've decided to take the bull by the  horns and go visit a Christmas fair, can't say I've enjoyed the Christmas stuff coming into the shops.  But there is no avoiding it.

Enjoy your weekend, and thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A Blast of Winter

It's very remiss of me to miss so many posts.  The reason lies in this picture,  as it has become the bane of my life.   I have been asked to make a shadow box picture of the Tor in Glastonbury.  Finding an image of the Tor I could use was the easy part,  deciding on a background, finding all the bits and bobs etc has been the difficult bit.  I'm almost there with it. 

I took this pic a week ago.  Still unsure whether to go with a dark background or light one, now I've seen the light one again I think I prefer it. Some of the bits on this piece will not be on the finished piece.

I was in Glastonbury the week before last,  just for a weekend.  It was nice to get away.   Mind you I had the journey from hell on the way down.  I'd only just got on the M6 and I got held up by an accident,  no major injuries thank goodness.  I lost count of the police cars that raced to the scene, seemed like they didn't have much to do.    Once I got past that the journey to Birmingham was easy peasy,  all was fine till the M42 and then the speed kept changing, 50, 40, 30, but the motorway was clear so the speed restrictions made no sense.   So what should have taken around 3.5 hours took 6 hours!  I was very fed up when I arrived.  My SatNav had also stopped talking to me,  think it was offended when I yelled at it for recalculating!   The map bit worked.    Nevertheless I had a lovely weekend, and met the new resident at the B&B, Apache, the black and white cat, who decided to adopt me and my friend for the weekend, and also shared our room.  We didn't mind as we are both cat lovers.

I've also now been accepted onto the Art Therapy course, and will be starting this Thursday.  Would you believe they phoned me on the Friday that I was driving down to Glastonbury!  I have no answer machine so luckily they phoned me back.  We did all the form filling last week,  and got more background on what to expect, and who our tutors will be.  So I'm chuffed.  It also looks like the long saga of the PIP claim may be coming to an end,  had to make several phone calls,  it isn't the fault of the DWP, they did their bit quickly, yes it is ATOS who is at fault.  They did admit to a backlog,  and then blathered on about wanting to be accurate,  as if! 

And it seems winter has arrived.   We enjoyed a fifteen minute hail storm,  followed by a thunderstorm, and then back to rain.   During the day it had been quite nice, the rain held off and it was sunny.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The colours of Autumn

Isn't this a beautiful time of year?  The reds and golds,  and all shades in between.   That's why I chose it for my swap card/tag, the theme was to use metal in some form. 

I began with an MDF tile,  then I painted it using red, gold, black, orange and yellow.  I used a dry brush and mixed up the colours until I achieved the effect I wanted.  Then I thought how I could incorporate the metal theme...   problem solved with some metal foil, coloured with alcohol inks, stuck onto some card, the I used a small leaf die cut.

Another method of using metal was to use a metal charm.  Since this is the time of year we put the clocks back (next week folks!) I used this clock charm.   For the leaf I used the clarity leaf mask,  and embossed it with gold and copper embossing powder.   I caught the edges of the leaf with some gilding wax.   You can just about make out the embossed leaves in the background using the smaller of the leaf stamps, and the copper and gold powder.

I do like this little die,  it is from Crafty Devils.  I cut it using some brown card from the leftover stash pile,  gilded it and then added the sprigs,  they were also die cut out of the metal foil. 

You can now see that I also used the corrugated cardboard again, this time I left some of the top cover on,  it was painted in the same way as the base.

And all that adds up to this!   I put on a couple of brads as well.   I know I've used the American term for Autumn, but as I wanted to use large letters I needed a small word.

I'm really happy with this,  it has come out just as I wanted it to.  I've now started the ABAC challenge, which is using orange and black, which I happen to like using.  It also gives me a chance to use me new steampunk stamp set, which was half price at the craft shop. 

It's been a funny old week weatherwise, rain, sunshine, warm then cold!   How is a girl to know what to wear?   On Wednesday it was freezing, the woollies came out, as did the warm jacket, then on Thursday it was brilliant sunshine,  back to a shirt and thin jacket.   I had a lovely morning on Wednesday,  it was my Art Therapy Taster session.  It was held at the Town Hall, and for some reason they put us in the main hall which was so cold.   I was a little early,  and so relieved when I saw that I wasn't the only early bird, two other ladies had arrived before me.  We were tempted by the coffee/tea machine, but none of us could work out how to use it.   The organisers soon arrived and we were all able to indulge in a  hot chocolate, just the thing for a wet and soggy day.    It was a lot of fun,  and I learned more about what the Art Therapy is all about,  you work in groups on a project with two artists.  Also there are trips to galleries, the theatre, all manner of things.   Just the thing I need. 

On Thursday I was back at the dentist for the second impression of the partial denture,  so it was all very painless, just how I  like my dental appointments.  Then off to pay a few bills, not so nice!   One I really begrudge is the bedroom tax!     How is it fair to penalise one part of society with a punitive charge on a supposed spare room, and help another section of society buy a house by acting as guarantor, meaning if the mortgagee fails to pay, us lot have to cough up?   Answers on a postcard and send to Mr D Cameron.

A program also got my goat, it was shown in C4,  On Benefits and Proud it was called, or close to it. Of course they had specially selected the most brazen scroungers,  so giving a completely skewed perspective of life on benefits.  What has also been forgotten is that many people, like me, have worked and we have paid into the system!   I can assure you I am not living a life of luxury,  and every penny is accounted for.  Why do they do this?   Why not show a program of balance,  yes certainly expose the scroungers,  but also show the majority who are barely existing.  Now they are trying to imply that people are abusing foodbanks!  Well there will be a few,  but again the majority will not be at the foodbank by choice,  it only provides the staples,  it is not a bloody supermarket stacked with luxury goods. 

Soap box moment over,  but it had to be said.  Enjoy the week, and remember next Saturday those clocks go back! 

All for now.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Altered Art

I have to say that I got the idea for this project from Julia .  On her blog was a tag using cardboard which had been peeled back to show the corrugated bit.

I found some cardboard and revealed the corrugated underside.  I painted this using three acrylic paints, gold, red and black, using the dry brush method until I was happy with the result. 

Next I focused on the base, which was a piece of MDF.  I used the red and gold.   Next I applied a mask and using gold paint for the leaves,  and then added a few red ones.  The background was largely going to be covered up so it didn't need to be perfect.

I used a die to cut some small roses out of brown paper from a Papermania pack.  These were painted using the same colours as for the cardboard, then I added some gilding wax.

I decided that I didn't want all of the corrugated cardboard to be seen.  I measured a piece of brown card,  painted it with the red, gold and black,  tore it and then used an embossing folder. I did the same with a smaller strip.  I wanted to break up the corrugation.

To finish the piece off I used some die cut letters,  a small MDF candle, coloured and embossed.  I used a stamp to make the tag (Little Girl),  embossing it with copper powder.  I added some left over bits from a necklace in the bottom corner, and the Art Comes... tag.

I also decorated the back with some embossed card.  A fairly simple project.  Time was taken up by stripping back the cardboard to reveal the corrugation,  and making the roses, which once cut have to be wound round and then glued.  Memo to self, get some glue sticks!   I have a hot glue gun, but no glue sticks - doh! 

I also ordered some Clarity stamps today,  just couldn't resist the leaves,  which actually would have gone well with this project!   I may do it all again but using the leaves when I get them.    Then blow me on the Tool shed there were more leaf stamps, and a die set!   I would have liked both but can't afford them :-( 

I had some good news this week my neighbour came home from hospital.  I have to say I wasn't impressed at how his discharge was handled.  I'd taken delivery of some equipment for him, a zimmer and two perching stools, all of which needed adjusting. I assumed that someone would bring him home to make sure he could cope, adjust the stools and zimmer, instead he came home by ambulance on his own.   The hospital had provided him with a few basics, some sandwiches, milk etc.  Nor were his family there to welcome him!   It's been left to us neighbours to keep an eye on him, the district nurses are coming to see him, but no sign of his family since Thursday. 

And it is officially cold!   I finally caved in and got the duvet out of storage, and packed away the summer togs.    A friend bought me a beautiful owl bed set,  so that will be going on this week.   The winter curtains are up, the place is now quite cosy. 

Well I can't wait to get my new stamp set, and try out some of the techniques Barbara Gray has been using over this weekend.  I've tried one using the gelli plate,  she put some ink on, water based adirondiac,  then spread it out with the brayer,  put the stamp into it then stamped in the normal way.  Mine wasn't quite as successful,  I hadn't used enough ink and I'd forgotten to clean the stamp which was a bit dusy. 

That's all for now,  enjoy your week and stay warm.