Friday, 31 January 2014

Crafting again

At last I can get back to my crafting.  I spent a few days with a friend down South.  I had a lovely time and was spoilt rotten,  but it is still nice to be home.   So no crafting at all until today.  My friend is behind the inspiration for this box.  She had spotted some lovely papers in Lidl a while ago and got them for me.  They are just gorgeous, I must take a  photo of them.  They're natural papers and will be kept for special projects.   So to this project.

I've had this box for a while, it was plain brown, very boring brown...  so I gave it a couple of coats of gesso.
Then applied a coat of red to the outside, and black to the inside.   Next came the drying time, so made myself a cuppa and selected a paper for the top.  The reveal will be tomorrow as the glue is now drying, and the cracked paint effect is developing nicely. 

So I'd best tell you about my mini break.  I drove down on Sunday when, of course, we had that storm, which I encountered on the M6.  At one point I couldn't see a thing, was down to 20 mph, and yet some idiots were still going at 70 mph.  I came close to turning back for home as the weather was so bad, but I ploughed on and it did improve.  I was very thankful to see signs for the town were my friend lives.   On arrival I was told to sit down and do nothing!    So my friend and her mum made a huge fuss of me all week.   I have to say it was nice to have someone offer to make me a cup of tea, and sharing a meal with others.  Mealtimes on your own is the pits. 
The highlight of my week came on Tuesday when I was taken to a Buddhist Temple in Woking.   There I enjoyed a wonderful and very relaxing meditation, it was just what I needed. Althought my back didn't like the hard chair!   Even so I managed 25 minutes of the mediation, only really missing the last 5 minutes.  We were asked to make a wish at the end of the blessing, so I asked for a quiet journey home, and guess what - yes my wish was granted.  I've never seen the motorways so quiet midweek.  I'm sure the weather is putting people off travelling unless they really have to.  On the way back I made sure NOT to order any tea at Costa,  as the one I had on my journey down was revolting.  Why do they think putting in scalding hot water is necessary?    When I stopped on the return journey I ordered a filter coffee,  asked for plenty of milk, but didn't get it, so I tipped about a third down the sink and filled it with milk, then it was drinkable.  Coffee shouldn't be made with scalding water - do they know this?  Bloody starbucks wanted to know my name...  grrrrrrrr.    That was my only moan.   Think I'll start a chain called Stop for a Cuppa, guaranteed to give you a damn good cup of tea which won't burn your mouth.     We had some nice lunches,  but as usual the portions were just too big, please can all restaurants start offering a choice in portion size?   I hate to think how much food is wasted in restaurants.   Oh the food was excellent.  The only bum note was the weather,  yes it rained, then it rained a bit more.... will it ever stop?  

So now back home.  I had my art therapy yesterday, felt a bit down, the rest of the group were cracking on with their silk painting and I was at the design stage. I  gave the class a miss last week as I really was having a bad day.  One of the tutors came and chatted to me about my absence, she just wanted to make sure I was okay.   I'm feeling better since I had the PIP decision, and now I have it in writing a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulder.   My shingles appears to have been eczema,  well that is what the other doc reckons, so now I have some cream for it.  My BP was high,  had to have that done so I could get more HRT,  I put the high reading down to a panic attack I'd had earlier.  the doc checked my records and could see it was just a spike.

So tomorrow the box is to be finished, and I must complete my Mandala as it is needed for an exhibition!  It is just for the Art Therapy group,  the organisers like to put the work on display. 

Well stay dry and warm.  Thanks for stopping by

Friday, 24 January 2014

Tin update

The tin is coming along nicely.  I put the finishing touches to the lid.  Hope you like the title.  I was very glad to have cut a few alphabets a while a go, made it easier to find all the letters.  I'm very  happy with the tin, now I have to fill it up with quotes!

I have got a nice set of quotes on some cards, which I think I'll use, and maybe grab a few from the internet.

So for the first page I had no idea what to start with, but staring at me on the craft desk was the leaf mask I'd bought from Clarity,  so I rooted out the leaf stamp.  

Then I stamped all the way round the card, next  using some masks I stamped more leaves and  used the solid leaf to add colour,  I used a mix of the TH distress inks,  oranges, golds and reds.  I wanted an autumnal look.  I love the autumn, when all the leaves begin to turn.  I chose another Clarity Stamp with "What is this life"... a quote I am very fond of.

So page number one is sorted.... number two?

 I decided to stick with the Clarity stamps.  I love the bird house set, and it seemed very apt for this quote.   This was easy to do,  used a black versamark for bird house and greenery, a bit of green for the Hollyhocks.  For the sky I used some adirondiac and a sponge,  and a lot of light dabbing, and that was that. 

I was a bit down in the dumps yesterday,  I decided to give the art therapy a miss.   I also bit the bullet and rang the DWP to find out what is happening with my PIP claim, and guess what... nine months later, almost to the day,  my claim has been settled and the benefit will be paid to me.  I nearly fell off my chair.  I'd convinced myself that I would be refused as it was just taking so long.   I have to say it is a huge weight off my mind,  I actually felt sick with relief.  I should get a letter in the next few days, and a payment will go through on Monday.

Today the crafting was a bit boring, repairing a few boxes, and then making a box using Craft Artist, I was very impressed with it.  I'd almost forgotton about Craft Artist,  and was all set to start making a box from scratch...  I'm not happy with the 3D glue our craft shop are selling, they were selling the nice collal glue,  now they only have the smelly stuff, and it goes off in the syringe after a couple of days - it is rubbish!  Going to treat myself to some Pin Flair.   I can now also afford a new pair of trousers,  need some shoes as well.  Luckily I kept up to date with the bills.  And I can apply for a blue badge at last. 

Well that is all for now,  hope you all have a lovely weekend - though it is going to be stormy!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A bit of this and a bit of that...

It was time to finish off the tin.  With everything nice and dry it was time to add some colour to the top.   I used a versamark pad to make the top nice and sticky for the embossing powder, or rather: powders.   I used a mix of normal powder, cosmic shimmer and frantage.  I had to give it a couple of coats as well,  but finally I was happy.

The owl has been sitting on my desk for ages. I gave him a couple of coats of TH distress stain, bronze,  which hasn't shown up at all on the pic. I plan to put some words next to him.

The bottom got a second coat of paint, and was finished off with rub and buff.  I've only used one layer of tissue paper, so the lid and bottom still do fit together. 

With the outside all finished I can turn my attention to the inside now.  I need to choose a few quotes, papers and other assorted items!

Yesteray afternoon I went to a therapuetic writing workshop.  It was a first for me, I've attended writing workshops, but never one like this, so I didn't know what to expect. I needn't have worried, it was very gentle, and very interesting.  I was also thankful that the room we were using was warm, last time it was bloody freezing!   I'd gone prepared and wore a few layers.  We did about four exercises,  first we had to choose a card and say write down why we'd chosen it, what had drawn it to us etc.  Next came an exercise on our names, that was the most interesting.  Our tutor read out a poem,  then asked for comments,  I told her how my brother refuses to call me by my preferred name,   I think he is being disrespectful, and a hypocrite.  His son was Christened Benjamen,  but he let it be known that his son would be called 'Ben',  but he won't call me Maggie.  Everyone agreed with me,  and a couple had had a similar experience.  We also discussed how we were often known by different names, or a variation of our name by others and how we acted.   I think we all realised how personal our name is,  and what we wish to be called.   The last two exercises we had some fun, which was a nice way to end.

I did watch Corrie last night, and cried.  The whole storyline has been well written and beautifully acted, there have been some touching scenes with Roy and Haley, together and apart.    It also affected me in another way,  making me think about my mum and how she'd come to hate her life, or rather her existence.  We have no right to judge others in what they consider to be a fulfilling life, one that is worth getting up for every morning.   For my mum that meant being independent, being able to get out every day,  either to potter round the shops or to see her friends.   Sadly she lost the first after the operation, but she still had her friends, and some desire to get out.  Then two of her friends died, and with it so did my mum's desire to live.  

Update on PIP - yes it is still going on!   ATOS forwarded my paperwork to the DWP before Christmas,  the DWP only acknowledged that they had it two weeks ago...  and still no decision.  Funny I was told it was ATOS that decided, then the DWP worked out what you are entitled to, if anything... seems no-one wants to pay this benefit to anyone.

Well all for today,  hopefully maybe back tomorrow with more pics from the tin!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Take one tin...

It was time for a change and have a break from the glass painting. So I decided to tackle the scrap book tin.  I wanted to add some texture to it,  so for the base I thought that some tissue would do the trick.

I scrunched up a few pieces of tissue, then applied some of the decopatch glue to the tin, then put on the tissue paper.  I left this to dry in the sun - yes we had some sunshine!

Once it was dry I painted it using some dark purple acrylic paint.  It will need another coat but I wanted to give it a full 24 hours between coats.

So with the bottom half of the tin almost done, I turned my attention to the top half. Again I wanted to add interest. 

I used a mask and the modelling paste.  I used one I bought from Hobbycraft,  it is lovely and thick, and I have a large tub of the stuff!  This just now needs to dry and I can begin to add some colour.

As I was rooting through stuff I came across my dylusions, not used those for ages...  let's just say it got very messy,  and I was left with purple and blue finger tips! 

Yesterday I decided to treat myself to some new stash.  So after the boring supermarket shop, I drove to the craft shop.   They had a Do Crafts workshop on, so the place was packed.  I had no idea what I wanted, I fancied a new stamp and a new die - but didn't have many pennies.   I could have easily spent a fortune in their, but I satisfied myself with this lovely stamp by Creative Expressions,  and the Crafts Too die, two pots of glass paint and glue.  Yes the last bit was boring, but necessary.   But there was so much in the shop that was tempting me, it was so hard to resist.   Another lady was actually having a hard time finding anything to buy,  although her daugher seemed intent on buying enough for both of them.   The workshop was causing a log jam, none of us could get near the dies, I only managed to squeeze in,  felt a bit disheartened to see the Spellbinders and Tim Holtz, all very nice and lovely, but not in my price league, so I was more than happy to spot the Crafts Too range,  the die cost me a fiver!   They had me laughing, in hollow fashion, on CnC with their endless plugging of the Brother scan and cut, only £499! Yikes.  I did go down the road of a cutting machine, thought it would be the solutions to my problems, but it wasn't.  I'll not be tempted again, I'll stick with my Grand Calibur,  which I am very happy with.

I've got a semi busy week ahead of me, a writing workshop tomorrow,   a pile of ironing and housework for Tuesday, after the blood tests,  not sure what will happen on Wednesday, probably shopping at supermarket,  Thursday is Art Therapy, Friday... who knows.   Yes lots of blanks, but for me to have a few things pencilled in constitutes a busy week. 

All for now,  my bed is calling me.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 17 January 2014

And its Friday

 Well I have a nicely scented airing cupboard.  I put my aromatherapy pillow in there for safe keeping.

This was my 'stayathome' day,  I wanted to catch up on a few jobs and finish the small mandala. My insomnia reared its ugly head last night,  and there was no lie in as I woke up at 7.30 a.m. feeling anxious.  So by 8.30 I was washed and dressed, and hoping it would stay cloudy so I could wash the windows and nets.   I enjoyed an episode of MASH when I had my coffee break. 

After lunch I settled down to paint.  I am on the very last bit of yellow paint,  just squeezed out enough to finish the mandala.   I'm happy with the finished result,  I'll hang it up tomorrow. 

Also tidied up the front garden,  it was full of rubbish, why do people drop litter?   It was drummed into me by my mum NOT to ever drop litter.  These days no-one seems to care.  I am always disgusted when they show the aftermath of some public celebration,  it doesn't seem to occur to anyone to actually take their litter with them.  They also seem content to stand in what amounts to a litter dump for several hours.  It's the same down on the beach,  there are plastic bottles everywhere, bags and nappies.  Of course the very same people that drop the litter expect it to be all cleaned up.  Best get off the soap box.

I will go out tomorrow, don't like to stay in two days on the run.  And must decided on a project,  there are several to choose from, a box, scrap tin, or frame?    I need a change from the glass painting. Not sure whether to go to the craft shop, I think a little treat is in order.  Been trying to track down Get Stamping, but so far no luck :-(    Damn and blast, I really liked the magazine.

Now I think a glass of wine is in order, sun is well over the yard arm,  yes stuff Dry January!   Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Sunny Monday

Monday again!   Actually it wasn't too bad today, lovely and sunny, cold, but dry thank goodness.  First port of call was the doctor about my blood tests, which has resulted in me needing more tests!   Seems my blood count is low and I'm anaemic, hey ho.  Since it was such a nice day I hobbled round to the high street,  I was okay on the journey there, but not so good coming back.   The nice doc gave me some gel for my arthritis.  But it was nice being out in the sunshine,  topped up the Vitamin D.

When I got back, after a trip down nostalgia road, watching The Waltons (it is my guilty pleasure), I finished off this piece.  Very simple as you can see, just need to neaten up the edges.  This one is for me.  My mandala picture is still being put together,  finished the main part, now working on the extra bits.  And I've started on a piece of crafting. 

The tooth extraction hasn't given me any bother, none of the horrible after effects that you usually get. It was just a bit achy and that was it.  A torch that I had dropped and thought was broken, turned out to need new batteries!    I also had a lovely email from the organiser of the museum trip,  little things like that always cheer me up.   Tomorrow I must get on with the housework, and do the windows, plus nets.   I'm also looking forward to the resumption of the art therapy on Thursday,  there will be two new faces, and I know what we're doing, finishing off the glass painting.   I'm also thinking of going on a few more trips with the group.  Last year started so badly, the family upset me and mum,  and the weather was awful so she couldn't get out. This year has been different,  it feels fresh,  and a little exciting.  I feel more settled in the flat now,  it has become 'my' home,  there is still stuff to do, but I find it best to break it up into manageable chunks.  My priority is to get rid of mum's old walker,  I'll have to check out the charity shops and see if any will take it.  I keep forgetting about it as it is downstairs next to the front door, so I only think about it when I'm going out. 

Well hopefully I should get some crafting done tomorrow.  I was so tempted by the modge podge on CnC yesterday,  it is wonderful stuff, but it will have to wait until my cash flow is a bit healthier.  So much I'd like, such as the melt pot,  with all the bits to go with it, and a load more Clarity stamps. 

That's it for now, thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, 11 January 2014

A good day

No crafting from me, not today or yesterday.  Friday was taken up by dental appointment, praise to my dentist for not inflicting any pain on me, even though she removed a tooth. Didn't have any of those horrible side effects that you get as the numbness wears off.   But I did feel a bit yucky, so I had a quiet day.

Today was entirely different.  I woke up to find that it was chucking it down with rain, then sleet, a bit of hail chucked in for good measure.  I was sure that the visit to the museum would be cancelled.   Yet the weather forecaster kept telling me that it was sunny, dry but cold... yeah, right!   I still got myself ready, checked the bus times and was determined to go.    The plan was to  head for the Museum of Liverpool life,  see first picture.

It is a very impressive place and I had wanted to have a look round for ages, but going on your own is no fun.  By the time I was ready, hair washed,  warm clothes, plenty of layers, the sun was out and the rain had gone.  So off I went. First challenge was to get the bus, absolutely no point in driving into town, parking charges are horrendous.   At last the bus arrived, well I was early,  nice bus driver took good care of me and told me where to get the bus for return journey.  It was freezing down at the Pier Head, and windy, as it usually is.  I couldn't see Rachel, so went inside to keep warm, no sign of her there either.  Then she arrived,  she is a lovely, lovely young lady, who always has a smile on her face.  Her good and sunny nature is infectious.  She introduced me to the others, some former members of the art therapy course, and 3 who were current members.  We had a tour guide, Sophie, she also was lovely,  and it was plain to see how much she enjoyed her job. She took us to a few exhibits, just to get a taste of the place.   I was reminded of mum, but in a very nice way, mum did a local history course shortly after my father died.  Every week mum would go off and have a wonderful afternoon, then she'd come back and tell me all about it.  I once helped her with some 'homework', she had to find some landmarks in Liverpool, I remember that day so well, mum armed with her piece of paper and me with the A-Z as we wandered around trying to find them all.  The tour has certainly whetted my appetite for more.   I had been to the old Museum of Liverpool Life, but it was so far removed from this.  We were all impressed by what we saw.   It was just such a lovely afternoon, everyone was happy to chat away to each other.  That, I have to say, is the benefit of being amongst people who also suffer from depression and anxiety.  No we are not all doom and gloom, far from it,  we just need some understandind and a whole lot of patience.  But being with others who know how you feel makes life so much easier. For a start you can drop the pretence and be yourself, no need to make out that you are a confident person and all that rubbish.

And I am also immensely proud of my city.  It does get rubbished, sometimes from those who should know better.   Yet it is a colourful, vibrant and beautiful city.  I know that the majority of people who come to Liverpool for the first time expecting the worst, leave the city with a very different view.  When I was at university I met many students who had been nervous about coming to Liverpool, but they all ended up loving the place and wanting to stay.  No it is not perfect, far from it,  we have our problems.   But we do have a very rich history,  whcih would surprise many.   Did you know for example that we were once the 2nd City of England?    And how about that for a skyline?   Not bad, it rivals New York and Sydney - so there!

And this is a cityscape, which is in the museum. When I first saw it I thought it was a photo, but iti s a painting.  The artist is Ben Johnson, who should be rewarded for his patience and attention to detail.  The painting itself is huge and took him and nine others months to paint. I, and the rest of the group, were picking out familiar landmarks.

And I bet you can't guess what this is?   Well had a Mr Lutyens got his way it would have been our Catholic Cathedral, amazing isn't it?   This model is in the museum,  I have to say I think to have seen that in Liverpool would have been amazing, the perfect riposte to the Anglican Cathedral at the other end of Hope Street - oh you didn't know we had two Cathedrals?  Oh yes, two tunnels, two football teams, two Cathedrals, we like to have a spare.   And fairly unique that they are linked by a street called Hope.  Sadly, Lutyens design was far too expensive and would have taken years to build, so they ditched it.  They also had many argumetns over the Anglican Cathedral, which now points the wrong way, it was meant to be much bigger than what it is.  I had the joy of looking at the Cathedral every day when I was at University.

And here is our Catholic Cathedral, or affectionately known as Paddy's Wigwam, or the Pope's Colander. The photo isn't doing justice to the amazing stained glass that forms the crown.  When you are inside the colours are so incredible, you really need to lie down to get the best effect from it.   I've visited both, and love them equally, I couldn't care less about how they practice their form of religion.  To me a church/cathedral should be a place for contemplation, to do your thinking, and have a word or three with Him upstairs. Oh don't stand on ceremony, I don't.  I've ranted and raved at him many a time.  I watched documentary about the Salvation Army last week,  very interesting, but it also made me very angry.  You see unless you declare that you declare your devotion and belief in the Almighty, then you are sent to Hell.  So I watched aghast when two of the people in the documentary professed their concern for loved ones who had died without doing this,  one loved one had dementia so was incapable. I was just furious, how could anyone be so narrowminded?  Or think that a loving God would turn anyone away?  The problem with faith is religion.   Oh you can see said documentary this Monday, 11.20 on BBC 4 or on Iplayer.

So that was my day, well some of it.  I came home cold, tired and hungry.  My return bus trip was nice, I had the same driver,  she actually had spotted me at the bus stop as she drove in to the Pier Head.   We had a nice chat until we had to pick up more passengers.  The world is full of really nice people,   I know as I met a few of them today.

I'll be back tomorrow,  and maybe with some crafting!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

More storms...

Will this bad weather ever end?  I'm a bit tired of getting wet!   I am a bit ratty but that is because of the toothace, but I did go and see the dentist, and am on antibiotics to kill the infection, then back on Friday for an extraction.  Still got the rash,  and some ezcema on my hand.  Had blood tests today, so I should find out if the anaemia has gone,  I feel tired but then I'm not sleeping very well.  Tried those Kalms last night, was very amused to see this warning on the box: may cause drowsiness:  I thought that was the idea?

No news on the PIP claim, yes it is 2014 and I and several thousand others are still waiting.  Just typical of this government, everything is half baked, and it is all about cutting,  they've gone beyond the tipping point and they can't even see it.

Now to something nice, my new picture.  I've been through 3 designs for a possible picture for a friend, I rejected the first two and have settled for this - the humming bird.  I am actually really chuffed with this.  Wasn't sure I'd be able to do it as there was a lot of work with the relief paste,  but I got there.  Just read Barbara Gray's blog, she talks about perfectionism,  and I realised that is what I strive for so end up rejecting stuff far too easily.  Got to cut it out, too much gets dumped in the bin.

But this just turned out far better than I expected.  It is in a clip frame, so it looks good, I put some white card behind it.  My friend can remove the back if she wants.   Now I can't wait to give it to her.

Not sure what to do next,  think I should do some crafting to keep my hand in.  I also feel like a change.  And there is a box that needs altering!  First though, the craft space needs a tidy up.  Finally managed to put all the Xmas stuff away,  now I need to have a good sort out. 

All for now, we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year

Will it ever stop blowing a gale?   Yesterday wasn't too bad,  but today it was back to gales and rain. 

I've at last sorted out a design for my friend, I had tried two and didn't like either, so here is number 3!   I just got out the compass and drew this flower. My relief paste also arrived,  very good timing as I needed it for this design.  I figured out where I was going wrong with the paste, it going wonky,  I remembered something Barbara Gray said about always look where you're going,  and as you can see it worked! 

I also tried a different form of painting, instead of the flood fill I went for a lighter look. This is the first coat,  just want to build up the colour gradually. 

It's not been a good few days.  I had a bit of a meltdown on New Years Eve, technically today - 3rd Jan, is the day my dad died, and with losing mum last year well it all got a bit much. I had been doing okay,  was chatting happily to a friend then bang,  the mood just crashed.  I was much better for a good night's sleep. 

The rest of me is falling apart,  I have toothache, back ache, a pain in my hip and a rash!  I can't work out what the rash is,  so I'm trying some cream to see it that helps.  The hip pain wears off a little once I start moving, it is the getting moving bit that is the problem.   Was hoping the toothache would go away, it hasn't so I'll have to make an appointment, I hate the dentist. 

Not the best way to start the new year,  it can only get better - can't it?   I'll also be glad when the telly is back to normal. Why do they think we want to watch endless films, few of which are any good!  In the last few days we had Mary Poppins,  Sound of Music, and I am sure the Great Escape was on at some point.  And if I see one more celebrity game show I'll scream. 

All for now,  back tomorrow with the second coat.