Thursday, 28 February 2013

Give me....

STRENGTH and a huge dollop of fresh patience!   I'am so looking forward to my break this weekend.  Today I nearly came to the end of my tether.   I've been on the go pretty much all week,  today was no different,  and we had the added pleasure of a hospital appointment.  We got there early, but they are still building that blessed helipad, so two car parks are out of action resulting in absolute chaos.  I dopped mum at the clinic and then tried to find a parking space, I had no luck, every space was taken.   Managed to find a short (15 minute) stay space, so had to dash in and tell mum that I wasn't able to park, she said she'd be fine on her own, it was just her regular appointment, which is usually a total waste of time.  So feeling reassured that she was okay and happy to get a taxi back home I left.  It is a horrible winding journey to the hospital, every road is busy, and at rush hour...  it is absolute murder. 

So at 4pm I get a phone call from the hospital, mum is ready to come home,  I mention that she was getting a cab,  the receptionist said it would be better if I picked mum up, hinting that mum was upset, but also in earshot.  So I imagine the worse, that she's been told she needs a  major op or something and head off,  by this time the rush hour traffic is building, so it is a nightmare journey.  I get to hospital,  and find mum, sitting quite happily with a cup of tea!   She was in a hospital wheelchair, but had her walker, first thing she tells me is that she is desperate for a cigarette,  all she had to do was walk ten yards and she would have been outside.   There is no drama,  she is not upset,  no bad news...   so why couldn't have got a cab home?   I could feel my patience ready to snap, she then asks if I minded having to come pick her up, no mum, not with petrol at £1.37,  being caught in rush hour traffic, which I know will be even worse on way the way back and it is.   I have mum moaning about having to hang round all afternoon,  do I mention the pile of ironing I've done, the housework,  making sure she has everything for the weekend, that I've left instructions for my sister?  We get home,  by now it is nearly 5.30,  so I need to start dinner,  she needs a cup of tea... run round like an idiot for half an hour while mum gets over her exhausting afternoon of being pushed round by nurses.  She doesn't want to eat at the table, okay,  but she is also too tired to come get her dinner...  I'm beginning to feel like a boomerang.

Finally I've been able to sit down and relax,  now have a large glass of red,  and up yours all the health nutters who want us to stop drinking, smoking, eating fast food etc etc...   My glass is full... and it's a very nice cabernet sauvignon! 

And no crafting, not even time for more playing with my new stash.   Roll on tomorrow,  and I'll be heading for the Lakes for 48 hours of bliss.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

From the heart!

My flitter glue and flake kit arrived today,  sadly only had chance for a very short play.  It has been a very busy day,  the sun was shining so it seemed a shame to stay indoors.   I went to the library to get mum some books, she is in a reading mood.   I chose a different route so as to avoid the main road,  and instead came across several police cars, and officers near the railway line. One of them asked me to walk on the other side of the road, which isn't a good idea as there is no pavement, when I asked why he said there was a body on the railway line.  This was about 10.30 a.m.   I've seen plenty of gory sights from my ambulance days,  I told the officer I'd be okay,  and I am not a gawper.   I have no idea if it was an accident, someone crossing the line, as they sometimes do, or someone committing suicide.   Not a great start to my day to hear sad news.  

There were lots of dog walkers out, my route took me near to the fields and canal, a popular place for the dog walkers.  They are such a cheery lot, so I got lots of smiles and 'good mornings'.  Then a bit further down I spotted a large ginger cat sunning itself on top of a car!   It was happy to be fussed over.  Think I overdid the walk as my back and knee were both sore by the time I made it home,  I noticed that the railway line was still closed.   I made lunch, then had to take mum to the hairdresser, she was moaning again about having to disturb herself!   I was taking her, she would only have to walk a few yards from car to hairdresser,  a real hardship - I think not!  Then it was off to supermarket for a quick shop,  home to do some vacuuming, which didn't help the back!   Prepped dinner,  while waiting for call from mum,  she wasn't ready till 5pm.  Picked her up, cooked dinner and finally flopped into a comfy seat. 

I squeezed in a quick play with my new stash.  For a change I followed the instructions.  But it was easy peasy, and yep the results, as you can see are amazing.  I stamped the image,  then added the flakes,  then to finish it off I just used some DST.   I am really going to enjoy using this.  It opens up more uses for the gilding flakes,  I've already got a few boxes of them.  I'm also planning mum's mothers day card,  I was busy die cutting yesterday, and experimenting.   But it will now have to wait till next week, as on Friday I'll be heading off to the Lake District for a much needed break.

I've now got a SatNav.  Spotted a review in the weekend papers,  and saw one at half price at Argos, so after reading a few more reviews I reserved it.  Only hitch was that I had to go to Ormskirk to get it.  Ormskirk is a lovely place but it has a nightmarish one way system,  and of course I missed my turning so had to go all the way round the town to get back to where I wanted to be.  So the SatNav is charged and all set to go.  I'll still plan my route, and print out the directions from Google maps, but the SatNav is my back up.    I've got another busy day tomorrow, mum has a hospital appointment, the last thing I need.   Roll on the weekend when I can relax properly.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A bit of crafting...

Moved away from the Mandalas and back to some crafting.  This has also been made for someone.  I began with the idea of a tag... and as you can see it sort of grew.

I cut out a piece of white card,  it was inked and stamped,  using a crackle background stamp (crafty individuals) and the Paris background stamp, (crafty individuals). I already had the butterflies,  so I made the flowers using two coordinating colours from coredinations  I embossed them first, using a freebie embossing folder which has butterflies on it.  I added some gold rub on to some, and sanded the others.

The hardest part was finding the right poem.  I found this on Google, it seemed apt so I printed it out,  inked the card and stamped it.

I missed out on some sentiments today on CnC.  They had Indigo Blu,  and I hadn't realised, so by time I saw the show most of the stuff had gone, including the clock!  But I consoled myself with the flitter glue kit,  the Bibster was presenting and she said she had been confident that the flitter glue would pick up all the detail from the stamp, and that was my worry,  but then Dawn said she was happily surprised when it did.   I do like Kay from Indigo Blu, I just love her stamps they are use so useable.  I keep most of them to hand as I always seem to be reaching for them.

So now with the poem and the flowers I needed to rethink my idea of a tag.

I had a spare piece of canvas board, that had already been prepped.   I had a dig around my papers and found the lovely pink and blue piece,  Paper Mania, bought quite a while back.  I tore a square,  made life easier for myself by scoring it first, then using a ruler.   My fiskars paper trimmer also has a paper scorer,  which comes in very handy.

I also added some gems to the butterflies.  The bits coming out of the flowers are from the butterfiles,  the left over bits, fiddly to attach when you've not got any quickie glue.

As a finishing touch I added some vellum butterflies.  I did stick the torn bits of paper round the edge but have since removed them as I didn't like it.

It's been rather cold these last few days, we've even had a few snow flurries.  Was a bit alarmed yesterday when I saw that my car had a white snowy top!  It was an enjoyable Saturday morning, I met up with a friend for a coffee, we had a nice long chat.  I also managed to get in a walk.  Walking has been the best option round here lately as it seems every major road has road works.  Do they ever stop digging holes?   It is like the railways,  they are always doing engineering work.    Just four days now to my weekend in the Lakes,  the surprise was revealed,  the two cottages we have hired has a Biosphere,  no idea what it is but it looks intriguing.   It can stay cold, but I would like to stay dry and snow free.  In fact it can stay dry for the rest of the year.

All for now... have a good week.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A distressed state

Let's hear it for the sun!   Four days of sunshine - it has been bliss. But it also makes me want to be out in the fresh air,  yes, no bad thing,  but that means no crafting.   I got back to it today after enjoying a walk.

I had bought a small frame,  cost me £1.70!   My aim was to distress it.  So had to first sand it back to the wood, then give it a couple of coats of gesso.  Next came the thinking time - what colour should it be?    I decided on blue,  so gave it a coat of dark blue paint, then the PVA glue, a thin layer, then a top layer of pale blue.  Then I aimed the heat gun at it, and here is the result!    It went exactly as planned,  which makes a change.   I had been to the craft shop, needed a few more poster paints, then spotted this lovely butterfly die....  it fluttered into my basket - honest.   It is a Marianne die, I've now got quite a few of of her dies. 

I had a hunt for some vellum,  knew there was some lurking around.  I cut two butterflies, one in silver mirri and one in vellum.   The die cut with no probs,  perhaps the cuttlebug knows I'm wishing for a Grand Calibur?   This is a nice big die,  it fitted the frame perfectly,  I just needed some accents.  More rummaging and I found the small blue flowers, they just need a coat of glossy accents, or crackle glaze.  For the background I used some coredinations and used the tree grain embossing folder, and some sanding.

I am chuffed with the distressing technique, it does save on buying the crackle glaze.  On the video I saw the demonstrator had applied the PVA glue thickly,  which I tried with some success,  though I got more of a bubble effect.  So this time I applied a thin layer,  made sure that the base coats were thoroughly dry, in fact I left the frame overnight.  I am much happier with this result than the last one, though the thicker layer can look like rust.

I am intending to enter a couple of challenges this week,  so I've started prepping my entry for Artful Times, which is all about colour.  I checked the ABAC challenge, that is to do with the number 13,  was feeling clueless but now I have an idea which will involve another frame and a cat. 

Just over a week to go now to my much needed weekend away, off to the Lakes with some friends for an arty time.  We've rented two nice cottages, so we should be lovely and cosy.  Mum keeps asking me the dates I keep telling her and she then forgets!    The sunny weather has cheered her up, and at least she now wants to go out,  I'm pleased about that as she was in danger of taking root in her fancy chair.    I'm part way through a declutter,   I really do need to sort out the stash.  The bedroom also needs a good lick of paint, and a change around.   I'll be doing that when I come back from my weekend. 

Tomorrow is housework and then crafting,  weather is going to change and will be colder.  On Thursday I am meeting a friend for coffee, that will be nice,  we have chosen the cafe bar down at the marina. 

All for now folks, thanks for stopping by

Saturday, 16 February 2013

From snow to sun!

Only in the UK can the weather turn in an instant.  On Wednesday I was watching the snow come down,  which then turned to icy rain,  then it became rain, the snow went... and on Thursday the sun found its way through the clouds!  I was tempted out for a walk by the blue sky and sunshine,  sooo nice to be in the crisp fresh air.  i went to the library, mum is reading again - she goes through phases.  I bought her two books at Christmas which just lay unread, then last week she picked one of them up and raced her way through it.  The only mandate is to get her an easy read.   So I got her 3 books,  they should last her a week or so. 

I returned to my Mandala, just to put the finishing touches to it.  I love these earthy colours, they are also the colours of the first 3 chakras, red, orange and yellow, root, sacral and solar plexus to be precise.  I didn't consciously choose the colours for their meaning, I just wanted something bright and vibrant.  A friend did a reading from the Mandala,  which I found very gratifying and true.   I have also now got my Mandala work book, it is so interesting,  I will enjoy working my way through it. 

There were other crafty projects on the go, such as a birthday card.   I completely changed my mind on this.  At first I intended it to be butterflies,  and then I remembered my Owl stamps, and I knew BJ had just got the same set of stamps.  They are delightful,  and easy to use, you get nice crisp images every time.  I've been stamping them on patterned paper and doing some decoupage.  For this I embossed some white card using my brick wall folder,  before embossing I stamped on it and inked it, and did some crackle stamping.  Then I stamped and cut out the tiny flowers - very fiddly, but worth it.  I added some ribbon, found an old Happy Birthday wooden stamp, and that was that!   Haven't made a card since Christmas, so it made a nice change. 

Just been blog hopping,  seeing what the new challenges are, one is for something colourful...  think my Mandala fits the bill!   Not managed any this week,  I got carried away with all the painting.  Even today I was at it again.  I've had my 'pay day' so I can treat myself to more poster paints, the nice ones. 

Today was another sunny day, I managed a nice lie in.  After I'd dragged myself out of bed I had another walk,  just to the high street to get mum's prescription and a few other bits.  On my walk back home I met a very friendly moggy who wanted to be fussed over,  I am hankering after getting another cat,  not sure mum would be that happy to have a kitten running around.  My last cat, Ms Mufti arrived in an unexpected way, but her timing was spot on, so I am sure when the time is right the next feline that is meant to enter my life will do so. 

Not sure what is on the agenda tomorrow,  I bought a small frame to decorate,  have a Mandala on the go,  so will see what the day brings.   CnC have amused me with their spellbinder blockbuster,  it is just too big, who could afford it?   Obviously some people can, but I doubt that they are inundated with orders.   The new dies are nice,  but they are out of my price range, even with the flexi pay. 

Enjoy what is left of the weekend...  thank you for stopping by

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A bit stuffed...

Full of pancakes and I only had two,  mind you they were thick and perhaps I overdid it with the maple syrup and cream...  !

I've had a frustrating few days trying to paint a new Mandala.  I realised that my problem was the cheap paints I was using,  so decided to invest in something a bit better.  Popped up to the Range as they do have a good art section.  In spite of the vast array of water colours, acrylics and oils what did I get...  good old poster paint!  Not the stuff for the children, but something with a bit more welly to it.
And as you can see the colours are lovely and bright.  I chose to get a selection of orange, red and yellow,  next time I'll go for blues and so on and so forth. 

Since I wasn't getting far with the painting bit I did some designing.   To reiterate the two main rules, a Mandala must be round and symmetrical in design.    I think I went a bit mad with this one, but I'm looking forward to painting it.

I'm using a pair of compasses, and finally the old skills are coming back.    I also picked up a paper pad for acrylics at the Range. 

I've also been busy adding to the storage. Picked up these two small sets of drawers in the Pound shop, was  hoping the embossing powders would fit, but they didn't.  But all my other bits and bobs, like the dies, rubber, pencils, die cuts all fit nicely.   I can feel a big declutter coming soon! Watch this space...  so to speak.

I'm also in the middle of a birthday card, so can't post any pics of it here - yet!   You'll just have to wait BJ!   Just needs a few finishing touches and it shall be on its way to you. 

Haven't yet got round to joining in the Whats on your desk...  but here is what is on my desk tonight.  The nearly finished Mandala,  plus paints,  mixing tray and brushes.    I have now become a convert to the glass cutting mat, it doesn't warp,  so you can heat emboss on it, you can mix paints on it,  or your inks... it is flat so you can stamp on it.  Paper and card do move around on it, but you compensate, besides I tend to use the paper cutter,  my Fiskars, which has served me very well.

Not a bad day today, even managed to prise mum out of the flat!   Quite a feat as she's not been out for four weeks.  I'd deliberately made a  hair appointment for her,  even though her hair was a mess she still huffed and puffed about having to go!   You'd have thought it was a hardship,  I told her that she needed to get out,  so she went and then met up with some friends for lunch.  She did enjoy herself,  but it is worrying that she is now reluctant to go out.   The district nurses are once again in charge of the dressings!    That suits me, one less task.   Monday mornings are the worst,  well it is laundry day,  don't ask me why but it is...  and mum wants a shower,  plus we usually need some shopping.   No wonder I had a lie in over the weekend. 

Not sure about any challenges this week,  maybe I don't wish to be 'challenged'?   Although I do have an idea for the ABAC which ends this weekend.  We'll see,  but now I need a cuppa.

Many thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

And now for something completely different!

I just felt like painting  and decided to have a bash at making a mandala.   Best explain what a Mandala is,  it is a sanskrit word and means 'circle' and is used for spiritual and religous purposes  in Hinduism.   They must be round and must have a symmetrical pattern,  you can make them from anything, sand, paint, material... 

I had no protractor, so a plate made the circle, then I used what shapes I had to hand to make a pattern.   I was using some pretty rubbish brushes, and I mean RUBBISH!   Even so I didn't think it was a half bad job for a first attempt.   I found it very calming, which is the idea.  Just google Mandala and see be prepared to see some amazing designs.

A good/bad week.  The good stuff,  checked some old lotto tickets and they were winners, just a tenner on each, but it all helps.   Sorted out my crystals, cleansed them and recharged them, then I set them out using a crystal grid.  Last night I lit some candles and it all looked very pretty,  I also lit some Lotus incense,  it has a very soft fragrance. 

I even managed the housework!   It wasn't the plan for yesterday as it was such a nice day I had ideas for a walk, but...   mum has developed cellulitis.  At first I thought she'd just bumped herself, but on closer inspection I could see how inflamed the skin was, it was also weeping.  So had to call the district nurses and arrange for them to call.  So that ended my plans for Wednesday,  since I was stuck in I got the housework out of the way.   The nurses came and confirmed my diagnosis,  oh they are aware of my ambulance service background.   They dressed her legs,  then I needed to get in touch with the GP for more antibiotics,  mum wouldn't attend the surgery so had no choice but to ask if the doctor would come to her.  The surgery is a five minute walk away, or a two minute drive door to door,  so I need to find out why mum is now so reluctant to go outside.    Of course mum is being blase,  until I tell her that cellulitis can be serious if not taken seriously.   The nurses also told her the same thing, to drink more fluids and to raise her legs. 

So today it was the turn of the GP.  I knew that she wouldn't be here till at least lunchtime, so took the opportunity to go out for a couple of hours.  Just to the local shopping precinct, wanted the new Stamper magazine,  oh and some new slippers.  Bumped into an old colleague in M&S, so we had a nice natter,  she's worrying about her job as they are about to close most of the libraries.  Funny I don't miss my old job, in fact in many ways I'm glad I am out of it, my old manager is just causing misery and driving all my old colleagues nuts.  Then there is the uncertainty of the job, what is this government doing to this country?    I am so appalled by what is happening.  I also had an appointment with the GP this week,  my thumbs and wrists have become really painful,  I've already tried one NSIAD, diclofenic, which simply doesn't agree with me, so I need something else, there is stuff available but of course the GPs are now cost cutting,    so are they expecting me to put up with the increasing pain and stiffness?   If it gets worse then I will have to get in help for mum, which will cost them a damn sight more.   In the meantime we are giving billions away to corrupt regimes all over the world.  Grrrrr - was going to say don't get me started, but I kind of did that myself! 

Will be back crafting or painting tomorrow,  though if it is painting then I need some half decent brushes. 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Sunny Saturday

Woke up at 4 a.m.,   for mum's nightly ritual of tea and toast,  tossed and turned till 6 a.m.,  felt that was a civilised time to have some porridge and a painkiller...  also switched central heating on - it was freezing.   Drifted back to sleep till just after nine...  peeped through the curtain, blue sky, sun?   

The sunshine had put everyone in a good mood.  My short walk to the paper shop was a delight, everyone saying good morning, smiling,  staff in shop looking far happier! 

Then I walked through to our high street, needed a prescription,  and other bits and pieces.  There was a rather cool breeze, but other than that the weather was fine.  Lovely to feel the sunshine on my face, and to get some fresh air,  just my knee complaining about the walking bit!   When I got home, around 1ish, Mum was just finishing getting dressed, she had mentioned about going to meet some friends for coffee.   An hour later she was still thinking about it,  by the time she'd decided it was too late to go.  I can only give so much encouragement, after which I usually get my head bitten off.  I retreated to my craft desk.

I'd cut the butterflies, organised the background, lots of dylusions and stamping, then watering down till I got what I wanted.   I messed around with the layout,  I'd dismantled a picture which had the Angel on it,  and took the heart off another (they all get recycled after a while) and ended up with this arrangement, which I rather liked.  It fitted well with the sentiment.  This is for a friend whose dad has just been diagnosed with cancer. She'd called me earlier to say that her dad was looking much better, and had asked to go out, it was good news as only days earlier he had been mostly sleeping.

So sunshine, Angels and butterflies, and some good news all makes for a happier day.  Pity my mum can't dig herself out of her self pity.  So many people, myself included, have tried to help her but she just doesn't want to know, she just wants to wallow.  I even accused of that, and she agreed, so there isn't much you can do - is there?  She just wants to feel sorry for herself.  I got a little angry with her tonight, she asked me if I'd make her a cup of tea as her leg was really sore, that was okay, so I did that, then started to clear away the dishes - she then said to leave them as she'd do them!  Now either her leg is too sore to stand or it isn't...   After realising it was too late for her to venture out she said she'd read her book...  she fell alseep,  book on lap...  she moaned about there being nothing on TV to watch tonight,  we found a few things and... yep she is fast asleep, she can even fall asleep while eating.  This is just my frustration coming out.  

But the crafting was enjoyable.  Started a Tim Holtz tag,  popped over to see what his new tag was for February, then began the one for January.   Watched some CnC today,  not keen on the Paperstash thing,  but then I'm no longer keen on card kits anymore.   One demonstrator got all confused, it was actually nice to see that they can also get things wrong!    Guess it must be their nightmare, to have it all go pear shaped.   I see they got the award for best craft channel, not hard when they are the only one,  think QVC has just about given up on craft, which is odd since it did so well out of us crafters.  

Not sure what will be on the craft desk tomorrow,  maybe the new challenges will challenge me? 

Thanks for stopping by