Thursday, 30 December 2010

Happy New Year Everybody!

Hi everybody, here's wishing you a happy and healthy 2011! Hope you all got through Christmas OK, and are ready to start into the new year tomorrow.
I have made this card for the *STAMPMAN BLOG CHALLENGE - ANYTHING GOES!*
I have been resting and reading a lot this past few days, tanking up some fresh energy ready for celebrating with my friends tomorrow. Strange to think that this is the last thing I will have made for this year!
Once again, many thanks to all those who have visited my blog, left encouraging comments and who have given me a lot of inspiration.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Happy Christmas & A Blog Award

First of all I would like to wish everybody who looks by a very merry Christmas, hopefully with some time to relax from the pre-Christmas stress, pleasant hours with family and friends, and all the best. I have been reading on many blogs about all the preparations and hard work people - mostly the ladies- have put into making this holiday memorable for their beloved families, and seen many beautiful cards and presents which have been made with phantasy and a great love of creativity, and hope that all these lovely things will be much appreciated by the recipients. Have a lovely time, and thank you all for visiting my blog and for all the encouraging comments you have left.

Secondly, I have been given a blog award by
Carole who got it from Kevin of McCrafty's Cards.

Many thanks to Carole, who for me is the Queen of hand-coloured Tilda Cards, for thinking of me. I don't really like Tilda at all (Hey, don't shout at me, all you Tilda lovers out there!), but Carole's techniques are worth taking a look, then this lady is good!
One of the conditions is to write 8 things about me, and the second one is to pass this award on to 4 other bloggers.

Hmm, what can I say without revealing too much???

1) I am not a good cook, but like eating and baking cakes and biscuits, such as shortbread, chocolate cake, Muffins, Waffles and....and....which probably explains number 2:
2) I am a little too short for my weight; well actually I am quite tall, but I do weigh a few pounds/kilos/stones/ perhaps tons too much.
3) I am NOT planning on making a diet in the new year, because I cannot afford to buy new clothes and lifting the sewing machine out of the cupboard to alter those I have would hurt my back and anyway I can't see well enough to thread the needle properly - and I could surely think of a few more excuses if necessary!
4) I like driving my little red car around, but NOT by ice and snow.
5) I love crafting, making scrapbooks, LOs, mini-books, cards, albums, tags etc.
6) I love reading books about crafting, making scrapbooks, LOs, mini-books, cards, albums, tags etc.
7) I do NOT like clearing up after I have been crafting, making scrapbooks, LOs, mini-books, cards, albums, tags etc.
8) I love reading, and spend most of the time when I am not crafting, making scrapbooks, LOs, mini-books, cards, albums, tags etc. reading everything that falls into my mostly sticky and inky fingers.

OK folks, I hope you now have a good idea what I (am) like!
I have to pass this award on to 4 other people, so I have chosen
Netty of Netty's Craftings,
Carole of Carole's Crafty Corner,
Sue of Scrapbook Susie &
Alma of Tassels, Tags and Teabags.
So Ladies, grab your award when you have time!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Lantern Waste is Everywhere - Remembering Narnia

I grew up with *The Chronicles of Narnia* from C.S.Lewis, and that magical land, where it was always winter and never Christmas, was something that impressed me very much. I used to have an old wooden wardrobe in my bedroom, too, but it had no magic door to another dimension. Snow was something we did not have much of in London, I have more memories of fog and rain, while snow was something on old fashioned Christmas cards.
I have been living in Germany since 1972, and up till now we never had a *white Christmas*, and to be quite honest, I never wanted one. The only one in the family who liked snow was my dog.
It's still a few days to go, but as we have had snow for a couple of weeks now, it looks as though the wishes in Irving Berlin's *White Christmas* song - made immortal by Bing Crosby - will be coming true for a lot of people this year.
Today it was extremely cold. I watched the sun rising, and the crows sitting in the tree waiting for me to disappear so that they could get to their *supplies* on my balcony. Later it snowed again, but it was still possible to go out for a walk along the Rhine and through our little town. Two joggers passed me on the Rhine-path, one wearing shorts and with naked feet! Well, it takes all sorts to make the world....Unfortunately I was not able to get my camera out quickly enough to get a pic of him.
The old fashioned lanterns along the path, and the snowy trees, reminded me of *Lantern Waste*, but I saw neither Lucy nor Mr Tumnus.
I did see some nice Christmas decorations again, and Santas climbing up several houses. And a snow-ball bush. And kids throwing snow-balls or being pulled along on sledges by their Mums and Dads. And had time to admire the beautiful windows and entrance to St Swidbert's Church, and the arch leading to the *Marien-Hospital*.
And after I had warmed up again at home, I watched the sun putting sparkles on the snow before setting in the west, and a few minutes later the moon rising through the trees.
Am I getting to actually like snow??
Have a nice weekend, take care, and thanks for looking in!

Friday, 17 December 2010

A Winter Walk through Kaiserswerth

Woke up this morning to a white, white world again. It always looks really pretty outside, I have a beautiful view over snowy fields and trees from my window, but don't usually like going out in it. Anyway, today I needed to go to the bank, and as I didn't feel like exhumating my car from under piles of snow, I decided to dress up warmly and walk. It's about half an hour to Lohausen, where the bank is, I walked along the road, as it's the shortest way. Then I decided to cut down to the Rhine and take the *Scenic Route* on the way home. There was just a light snowfall, and it was good to be out in the (very) fresh air. Walked along the Rhine, but never met anyone else today, nobody else crazy enough to go there in this weather! At the *Old Rhine Ferry* I stopped for a coffee to warm up, and then discovered that I had my little mobile camera in my pocket, and was able to take some pics after that. From there I walked further, past the ruins of the *Imperial Castle* of Emperor Barbarossa, through the ancient Church Close, and then down the main street, where there are a lot of old houses, some of which were seasonally decorated. By this time it was snowing quite hard, and as I got to the top of the street, it had turned into a little blizzard.
But fate was on my side! Just at that moment, I noticed that I was standing next to the Grill Take-away, where they make such delicious chickens and chips and....
So, what is a girl to do under those circumstances? - Clear thing - open the door and go in! The shop is run by a very friendly Greek family, with a sunny temperament whatever the weather, so after being warmly welcomed I sat down, ordered half a chicken, chips and a diet coke. I think the diet coke is important. After all, the meal had more than enough calories - but it was sooooooooooo delicious! I hadn't had any breakfast, apart from my usual 3 cups of coffee, so was really hungry and enjoyed it no end. The lady sitting at the next table was very chatty, so we talked about this and that while eating and strengthened ourselves before going out into the blizzard again. I felt really full and warm and well by the time I had finished and was ready to stagger on home. The last 20 minutes back home was a bit unpleasant, because the wind was blowing the snow into my face, and my glasses were so snowed up that my vision was rather impaired....Or was it because of the glass of *Ouzo* that I got before I left the grill??
Well, if I hadn't got back safely, I wouldn't be writing this, found my way back like a homing pigeon, but probably not quite as quickly.
Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the pictures!

Friday, 10 December 2010

2 *Snowflake* arches for the Gothic Arches Challenge

Brrrrrr! It's chilly here. Just been out on the balcony in PJs and dressing gown to take the pics of my arches, as the light inside was not so good this morning. Managed to get some pics of the mist, and then watched the sun slowly rising over the snowy fields, and now I feel like I have been deep frozen!
Made 2 simple arches this time. The blue one has been cut from some blue patterned paper from the *Taj Mahal* Stack, overlaid with some blue starry gauze material, and then I put an embossed and distressed frame round it. Added some snowflakes, a TH die cut, and some alphas, and that was it.
The second arch has been cut from different scraps of black and white card which were part of a calendar from last year, I added a silver border, the flower, 2 snowflakes and a text made with the Brother P-touch. Was fun making them, as always. Thanks for looking, and keep warm and safe!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

GC79: Random Redhead Challenge - Stitching

Although I used to love sewing,nowadays I find it more and more difficult because little things get in the way, like not being able to thread the needle any more! But I was determined to try the GC79 Stitching Challenge. I cut a large TH tag from some embossed paper, which I distressed with Victorian Velvet and Faded Jeans. The ribbon on the left side has been stuck on – OK, I cheated there, but it was sticky ribbon! *Live* has been cut with a large Sizzix die and the edges distressed with Faded Jeans again. Then I sewed it on with the sewing machine – it took ten minutes to get the silly needle threaded! – using a zig-zag stitch in dark blue. The lace flowers – which used to adorn an unmentionable piece of clothing! – have also been sewn on with the same stitch and additionally fixed with brads in a purple-blue tone. I added a medallion in blue to the bottom of the tag, and sewed a hanger on with pale blue ribbon – by hand!! Was fun to make, in spite of the little difficulties, but the problems in life are there to be overcome.
And as I looked at *Gingersnaps* this morning, I saw that I had been chosen again to be a *Ginger Gem* for my entry in the *sewing notions* challenge - woohoo!! Thanks a lot to the team for the great inspiration!

Monday, 6 December 2010

An Altered Drawer

Well, some time ago I started altering this little drawer made for sorting slides, and wanted to enter it into a challenge. It took soooooo long, that the challenge is long done and dusted, but I have managed to finish it, don't like leaving unfinished things in the dark corners of my flat - they are probably all full up, anyway! I started by removing all the *shelves* and supports in the drawer, sanded it off, and started painting - that's where the trouble started, as it just sucked up every coat of paint I put on it, and I was determined to use just things I had, otherwise it wouldn't have been recycling. Anyway, after a lot of work I got a coat of bronze structure paint to stick, which I roughed up a bit using an old washing up sponge. The inside has been painted with a remnant of sage green acrylic paint, which I then sprayed with some walnut sparkle spray to cover up the thin bits. Gave a powdering of perfect pearls in green and gold to round it off, and then hammered and sawed till I had got the dividers more or less back in where I wanted them, Then I filled it with different bits of mini - glass vases and other bits and bobs, and added a clock, which cost 1€ at the Euro shop. That was it. My neighbour saw it, looked at it rather critically, and said *It looked better before!* Never mind, he's a man, and I had fun making it, that's the main thing. Thanks for looking!!!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Busy doing nothing....

Well, not quite busy doing nothing - but busy. Had a few days away, with no time or opportunity to do any crafting, just had to be contented with things like watching *Harry Potter*, playing games, reading, snoozing, nattering, cooking and partying, so it was an enjoyable break from the usual daily patterns. It has been snowing a lot, so it was a good time to stay in and keep warm. Today it is is raining, and icicles are forming on the trees, look like big diamonds. The Harry Potter film was fantastic, but scary - glad B was there to hold the popcorn and comfort me at the bad moments. In the last couple of weeks we had made an advent calendar together for her Mum, who had to be sent into the bathroom to hide while we fixed it on the wall on Wednesday morning. She was really thrilled with it, too, so that was good. And on Tuesday evening, before we went to Harry Potter, B gave me a beautiful Calendar that she had made for me - in secret! and I was over the moon having something made expecially for me - thanks B! And I got another present, a beautiful gold bird with a winter hat, who came complete with his own travelling tin, and who now has a place of honour on my window ledge, so he can look out at his colleagues outside. And then on Friday evening, when we made our Channukah / Advent celebration, I got another bird from Inge, a red one with a crown and a majestic cloak. Now they are residing peacefully side by side on my window ledge, and no doubt have a lot of birdie tales to tell. Thanks B & Inge, for being so kind.Inge also has 2 of the lovely golden birds,who also seem to need to tell each other a lot!
All in all, some nice days, in good company. giving and receiving presents, and much more important, love & kindness.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Gingersnap Challenge *Vintage Hues*

This is my entry for the GS *Vintage hues* challenge. I used a photo of the wedding of my Great Uncle Benny, taken in 1927. My Mum is the bridesmaid second from the left - the only one who is smiling and evidently enjoying herself! - and sitting next to her on the left is her older sister, who was nearly always scowling... The bride and groom don't look too happy either! But it is a photo I like very much, and it is hanging in my hall together with some other reminders of the *good* (?) old days....
I used an embossed paper for the background, which has been distressed with antique linen, stormy skies and chipped saphire, as were the flowers - made from the tattered florals die. The centres are from prima. The flourishes have been cut by hand out of sheet of paper from as SEI stack, that took the longest, working with a little pair of nail scissors.... The alphas are cut with a Sizzix die, *Cherish* has been cut with a Bosskut die. Was, as usual, fun to make, thanks for looking!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Challenges - *The Stamp Man* & *Simon Says*

Both these challenges are Tim Holtz and distress themed. *The Stamp Man Challenge* has to have something TH in it and a Xmas theme. I made a black and white tag, as it is very frosty outside today, so seems to fit. The black tag has been cut with a TH die, as have the winged heart and bird die cuts. The Santa is an old Sizzix die. I left the chipboard white, and distressed them with silver & soot black stickles. The tag background has been stamped with a text stamp using clear ink and white embossing powder. Added some die cut white lace at the bottom and a silver ribbon.

The *Simon Says* Challenge was to use distress inks. I cut a tag from cardboard, which I distressed by partly pulling off the top layer. Then I used distress inks in crushed sage, Victorian Velvet and tubled glass, before embossing with a mixture of bronze and clear embossing powder, and perfect pearls in pink, gold, interference blue and green. Added a TH timepiece and a nostalgic angel cut out. The pearls are from Prima.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Gothic Arches Challenge *Harvest*

For this triptich arch I used a harvest photo with pumpkins and corn-cobs, which I blurred a little in my photo programme before printing it, to give it a softer look and to emphasise the colours more than the objects. Cut an arch out of embossed paper, which I distressed with TH ancient linen and wild honey. The photo was cut to match, but half a centimeter smaller all round. Added a lace doiley which was distressed with the same inks and some scroll, bird and flower motives. Was fun to make, as always, and successfully kept me from doing my h*******k! Thanks for looking!

How to scare your parcel postie without really trying….

One day this week I decided to do some crafting before I got showered and dressed. Needed to get some sanding and painting done, so pulled a sweatshirt over my pjs and got to work. The work took longer than I had thought, thus, when the doorbell rang just after 2 p.m. I was – shame on me!! – still not properly dressed.
Before I reveal more, I wanted to say that I have a good friend B. And she recently gave me a sort of miner’s light, with a stretchy band to fix it round my head. As I have had a lot of eye operations, I don’t see very well, and need a good source of light directed exactly there where I am working.
So far so good.

I was dressed in my grey and white striped pjs, with pink mice on the top, a bright red sweatshirt with alpine embroidery, my grey and white animal slippers – always a pretty sight! And my head-mounted spotlight. Oh, and sage green fingers from painting, and the foam brush held firmly in my left hand. Not really looking my best.

OK, I pressed the intercom, and a voice asked me if I could accept a parcel for a neighbour who wasn’t home. Sure, I said! The Postie staggered up the stairs carrying a giant parcel, and stared at me as if I was an apparition from Mars.
*You been looking for something?* he asked.
*No, why?*
*You’ve got a spotlight on your head.*
*I was just painting.*
*Really?* he said rather doubtfully.
Hmm, I had forgotten it was switched on. No problem. Pressed the switch, and asked,
He grinned all over his face.
*Now you’re on blink modus, Lady. Better be careful, we’re near the airport. A plane might land on the house!*
With that he gave me the thing to sign, dumped the parcel, and disappeared with leaps and bounds down the stairs.
Then I went and looked at myself in the mirror.
PS: Another parcel came today, this time for me. He didn’t ring my bell, but gave it to the lady downstairs.
And the moral of the story?
There isn’t one. At my age, and especially at home, I can wear what I like, when I like. If the Postie doesn’t like it, that’s his problem!
PPS: The doorbell just sounded. I’M BUSY!!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Some Quick distressed Xmas cards....

As I love my TH *on the edge* houses die, I decided to use it for some quick cards. Some have a distressed background, using different blue inks together with Victorian velvet and wild honey. Some have been stamped with a sentiment or some small motives, others have some angel and/or star die cuts. Some have just been applied to a wine-red background. I will be experimenting more with this theme at the weekend, as it really is time to get those cards done....Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Woohoo - I am a *Ginger Gem*!!!

Today I woke up to a freezing, grey November day -not a good incentive to get out of bed. But I did, staggered to the kitchen to make my first coffee and settled at my computer for *breakfast* - coffee and computer. I gave up toast because of the detrimental effect of crumbs in the keyboard, although I will admit to an occasional currant bun, they don't crumble so much! But not today.
Switched the computer on, looked through my mails and usual sites, and saw that I had been chosen to be a *Ginger Gem* for my entry *Colours of Autumn* - woohoo! Last week *Simon Says* and this week *Ginger Gems*!!A good start to my day, and a big incentive to keep on meeting new people and trying new things in crafting!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

LIIU Challenge No 6 - Recycling

Now, for this challenge I was planning on recycling a small drawer to make a little show-box. Well, I am still thinking of recycling it, but need to work on it much longer than I had planned, so decided to do something else. Bought a rather tatty wreath in a charity shop for 50 cents. Took it home, cleaned it, and pulled off the few remaining roses, they must have been the last roses of summer! Then I sprayed it with snow spray to make it look wintery. You will be pleased to hear that the table and part of the floor also looked wintery - moral - put down some old paper first, or you need to be cleaning afterwards! Then I took the silver ribbon off a box of Xmas candles I had bought, straightened it, and wound it around, before winding some wire with mini-baubles around, too. Used a hot glue gun to get it all stuck. The flowers have been die-cut with TH *Tattered florals*, put together, distressed, and given a bit of bling with silver stickles. The centre has been made with a mini mirror circle. Stuck them on with the glue-gun, too. Then I stuck on the little sleeping angel, which was part of a Xmas bouquet last year. The card at the bottom has been distressed with TH inks, the houses are a TH on the edge die, Santa and the stars have been stamped, the birds have been cut with a Martha Stewart punch, and the tree and sentiment have been hand doodled. Was fun to make, even if it wasn't quite what I had planned, but it is all recycled, total cost 2,50€, and I still have a lot of snow spray left....Thanks for looking, I'm off to clean the floor and table in the kitchen!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Tag - *Things that make me happy* - Simon Says Challenge

Made this tag for the *Simon Says* challenge. Things that bring me happiness is such a huge notion, that it is hard to fit it onto a little tag or card. I cut the tag from recycled card, distressed the background and stamped & embossed the bird-cage and foliage on it. The large bird has been stamped, cut out and decoupaged, the 2 small birdies have been cut with a Martha Stewart punch. The large bird, foliage and bird-cage stamps are all from Tim Holtz, as are the inks. I gave the large bird a bell (from an Easter Bunny!) and added a mini post-card as title. The gems and pearls are from Prima. Was fun to make, as always, but now I have to do some housework before my place is knee deep in paper snippets! Thanks for looking!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Gothic Arches *Baubles* Challenge

This time the challenge was to make an arch with *baubles*, a good excuse to use up some *bling* from my stash that has lately been gathering dust. I used a photo of a distant relation, taken in 1918 when she was 3, and evidently a little lady of fashion. She still loved to be fashionable when she was over 90! I mounted the photo behind a die-cut arched door, which can be opened or closed. I like it closed, where the photo behind can just be glimpsed.... The arch behind has been cut with a scalloped circle die from Sizzix, using paper from the DCWV *Fairy Tale* stack. The edges have been distressed with TH ink. Was fun to make - as always! Thanks for looking!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Simon Says Stamp and Show your Favourite Tim Holtz Stamp!

Impossible to have just one favourite stamp from TH!! As I love nearly all of his things, I have made a tag using lots of different techniques, as I always have different favourites! The tag is made of corrugated cardboard from an old box, and has first been embossed with my favourite TH embossing folder. Then I swiped it with archival black and clear embossed it. Then came the perfect pearls in pink, gold and interference blue, which I heat embossed again. Then I used my favourite bird-cage die, cut from an old chocolate package. The bird has been die-cut from cardboard, clear embossed and then brushed with the same colours of perfect pearls before heating. The nest has been made from some fibres, the metal charm is from LaBlanche, with a flower embedded in glossy accents. The *admit one* ticket has been stamped with archival ink, clear-embossed and then cut out and fixed with jump rings to the cage. Was fun to make, as always, but difficult to photograph and get the colours! Thanks for looking!

GC78: Spicy Supply Challenge - Sewing Notions

The background for this has been made with sticky backed canvas, printed with a virtual collage, and decorated with various bits and bobs from the sewing box. The prints I used for the collage are taken from an old German Ladies' Magazine, showing the latest fashions and sewing tips from 1900, and an old bill, which I scanned & distressed. The photo is of Miriam, when she was about 4 months old - I had been sewing, she was sitting next to me on the couch, and enjoying playing with the tape measure. I die cut the lace around her pic. The bowler hatted gent in the right corner was once sewn into a garment, it is part of a little plastic bag which held the spare buttons. The cards in the top left hand corner once held darning wool, and the little cut-out doll and dress were taken from an Israeli magazine from the 1950's. The buttons are also from my button tin, and the leaves are from Prima. Was fun to make, especially looking at all the old bits and bobs in my sewing tin, which is always a journey into the past. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Night the Synagogues burnt....Reichspogromnacht 1938

In the night from November 9th/10th 1938 the Nazis started a pogrom. The action had been planned for weeks, all local SA and SS groups had been informed. During the evening, SA & SS groups started to smash the windows of Jewish shops and houses, Jewish families were pulled from their beds, their belongings smashed to bits or thrown out of the windows, people were arrested without any reason, many were beaten up and badly injured, and then the synagogues throughout Germany were set on fire. More than 7000 Jewish shops and businesses were also destroyed. Police and fire brigade had been ordered to attend, but only to prevent people helping or to insure that the fire did not spread to neighbouring, non-Jewish properties. Many photos show passers by just standing, watching. Others show the fire brigade standing in front of the burning houses and laughing. Hospitals and doctors were forbidden to treat the wounded, although many did, in spite of endangering themselves. More than 20,000 people (including my great uncle and his father) were carried off to prisons or concentration camps, where they were repeatedly beaten, and only released when their families could prove that they had documents and tickets to leave Germany. Between three and four thousand people died either during the night or later as a result of their injuries or subsequent beatings.. Some or them disappeared, probably beaten to death and *disposed of*.
The pogrom was *sold* to the German and international media as an *act of spontaneous people’s anger* to revenge the shooting of the German Ambassador Von Rath by the 17 year old Herschel Grynszpan in Paris. To *punish* the Jews for the damage they had caused (!) a *punishment tax* was levied to pay for the costs of the burnt out synagogues and their demolition, which amounted to the amazing sum of 1,127billion Reich mark. This night was called *Cristal Night* by the Nazis to make it sound like something harmless, where just a few windows got broken. In reality it was a long planned vicious pogrom, which should have shown the rest of the world what Hitler was up to. Those who managed to emigrate from Germany after this were *lucky*, even if they lost everything they had, those who stayed ended in the concentration camps, where 6 million Jews from the whole of Europe were murdered, including all of the family of my grandmother in Berlin.
This is in memory of them, and all who lost their lives as a result of this madness that engulfed the whole world.