Sunday, 31 January 2010

A bleak, black and snowy weekend with plenty of time for crafting....

I was not in a good mood this weekend. The weather was bad, snow again, and my mood was even worse. I had been looking forward all week to cropping with my friend on Friday, but she was ill, so we had to cancel our crop, and that was the last straw. So, I got stuck into my crafting to try and tide myself over a long, cold and lonely weekend. I have been trying to use up paper from a stack of paper that I don't much like, which meant thinking of new ways to do things. Made another layout using similar techniques to the *spring-cleaning* one, just with other colours. It is a very fiddly job, cutting out petals and leaves and butterflies with a small nail-scissors, but I was quite happy with the results. I used an old photo showing the aunties - or great aunts of my husband, taken at a wedding in 1910. They are standing there so stiff and somehow looking very anxious, and I had to think of Gilbert & Sullivans *Mikado* and the *Three Little Maids who all unwary, come from a ladies' seminary...* I hope you enjoy looking at it!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Thank you Gina....

For this lovely blog award.

Now I must tell three things I should (would) never do :
I should never throw my nightdress into the toilet
I should never paint my toilet seat with Eddings
I should never go out in my PJs, especially if I want to go shopping at Tesco's!

The three people who I have chosen to get the award are Alyson (Crafting to stay sane) Joanne (Take life by the hand) and Tania (Tartantaz). So please start thinkig about those three things that you would NEVER do!!!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Spring cleaning, naked facts and how not to sort the laundry....

Yesterday I had to go out to do a few errands. It was freezing cold and the wind was biting. I went to the post office to buy a stamp, ususally not a big problem. But for some strange reason they had closed at 12:00 for lunch, an hour earlier than usual. So I decided to try the stamp vending machine. The screen is so dark, you have to practically put your nose onto it to read what is on offer. You can buy stamps for 1 cent, 2 cents, 3 cents etc. What the hell does anyone want with those? Are you supposed to put 55 or more of them on your letter? And an assortment for 5 or 10€. Didn't need those, either. Then there is a possibilty to choose your own denomination. As long as you want 5 cents or 10 cents no problem. After struggling with small change and a sign which kept telling me *not available*, I managed to get an assortment of stamps to the value of 1.30€. The next problem was finding room on the envelope for so many large, freshly printed stamps, and getting them stuck on by arctic temperatures and a boisterous wind while worrying if they were going to freeze onto my tongue....OK, they didn't, and I got the letter posted after 8 minutes of deep-frozen time. Got back home and warmed myself up with a hot coffee. Then I decided to tidy the bathroom and bedroom, which I had left in the usual mess after getting up and taking my morning bath. Wanted to put my nightdress into the laundry basket, lifted the lid and let it drop in. How lucky that I do not usually flush the basket. I had dropped it into the toilet by mistake. Quick hunt for the elbow length rubber gloves. A blue bin-bag, eyes closed and a quick grab to put the nightdress into it. No, not for the old-clothes collection, this needed to be put into the garbage bin, straightaway - yuk! I never did like that nightie, anyway.
After recovering from tidying up I needed to make some mess again, so started on a layout. Used a photo of T when he was about 2 years old, *helping* - helping to make a mess, as usual. Love his outfit! I used coordinating papers from the SEI *Bridgeport* stack, 2 as background, and 2 sheets which have been cut out to make the flowers, butterflies, vines and alphas. After cutting them out - by hand! I glazed them with sparkly mod-podge and decoupaged them to give it more depth. Was fun making it, but now I have to clear up again....

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Made some ATCs in the past few days, it's a good way to use up some of the scraps which get left over when making bigger projects. I used lots of different techniques - stamping, embossing, distressing etc. Was fun making them!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Cardboard and loo-roll mini BIA-tag album

Made this album using a lot of recycling materials - cardboard for the covers, loo-rolls for the pockets and cream coloured packaging for the tags. The buttons have been *rescued* from old clothes and stored in my *treasure tin*. The cardboard for the covers was distressed and inked with T.H. inks in weathered wood, brushed corduroy and lettuce, then sprayed with *My tattered Angels* glimmer spray in wheatfields and garden fairy, powdered with some *perfect pearls* and given 2 coats of glimmer mod-podge. The loo-rolls have been flattened with my *Big Shot*, covered with 2 different papers - I think from K & Co, and also coated with mod-podge. Tip -after covering them I put them through the Big Shot again so that the glue bonds better and doesn't cause air-bubbles. Used 1" BIA O-wires to bind it, and then decorated the little album with lots of bits and pieces from my *treasure boxes* - ribbons, wool, flowers, magic mesh, cut-outs, die-cuts, some *bling*, nostalgic pictures, plastic animal stickers from the toy-shop, animal transfers, clock-faces etc. The tags have been distressed with T.H. inks in the colours used above, and patterned using a T.H. *Scroll* mask. Each one has been stamped with owl pictures, and I added some quotes about wisdom and owls. Was great fun making it, hope you enjoy looking at it!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Mini BIA Album

This album has chipboard covers and mini envelopes to hold the tags. The envelopes have been distressed with Tim Holtz inks in broken china and brushed corduroy, and then stamped with archival ink in black. The small stamps are from *Sousan Design*, the large clock from *My tattered angels* For some I have used masks from Tim Holtz. The Tags have been die-cut using the packaging from the T.H. masks. I used quotes about time, printed on to brown paper. I kept the embellisments sparse, some words, notes, clocks and owls printed onto overhead transparency foil, a few flowers, some clock face cut-outs, some ribbons, string and paper clips. The paper-clips have been covered with coordinating papers. The covers have been covered with paper from *Graphics 45*, and embellished with a T.H. *dog-tag* and a watch face, fitted into some clear plastic packaging cut to fit. The two labels at the front are from other products and have been distressed and stamped, the smaller one has an added die-cut from grunge board. Was fun to make! The quotes used are:

Love makes time pass
Time makes love pass

Time to remember

As if you could kill time
without injuring eternity.
Henry David Thoreau

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
Louis Hector Berlioz

Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
Henry Austin Dobson

Men talk of killing time,
while time quietly kills them.
Dion Boucicault

Time heals all wounds

Saturday, 16 January 2010

My First Card from 1951

While clearing and tidying one of my drawers this week I found this card that I made in 1951 for my Mum. I was 4 1/2, so I think it was an achievement! It's been written on rough post-war paper using pencil and coloured pencils. I remember making the card and that my brother picked wild flowers from a bomb-site nearby, which we placed in a cup for Mum.

Rest in Peas....

Well, they've gone. Soon they will be winging their way to their last resting place. They have been my loyal companions for 2 years now, have kept my feet warm in winter, slept next to my bed at night, were always waiting for me in the morning when I rolled out of bed, or when I came in out of the cold world outside. I feel lonely without them, and cold. Then I had to dispose of them - my wonderful sheepskin slippers. The problem was - where, and how?? In Düsseldorf, garbage is collected by the Awista. They give us bins for everything. Black bins for household garbage, brown ones for *bio* things which can be composted. Blue bins for paper. Yellow bins for plastic and metal. Containers spoiling the view on every corner where you can throw in brown glass, clear glass and green glass. Containers for old clothes (packed and bundled) or shoes (tied together in pairs, please!). Once a month they collect old furniture. We have a recycling yard round the corner where there are giant containers, not only for all these things, but also for garden rubbish like leaves and branches, for scrap metal, for small electric appliances (like toasters, coffee machines etc) but NOT for computers, TVs or LARGE things. These have to be taken to other specialised recycling yards. And once a month they have a special collection at the yard where you can take DANGEROUS things like old paint tins, batteries, acids, chemicals and old oil cans, to name just a few. Our garbage gets treated very well here, then they earn money with it. And the monthly, compulsory fees for their services are also considerable. Once a year we even get a free calendar which tells what you can put where and when. This was the problem. Where to put my sheepskin slippers? Normally, I could have bundled them and taken them across the road to the old clothes container. I mean, they are not worn out. It's just that I had to dispose of them because every time I took them off, the smell of decaying sheep was sooooooo strong that I nearly fainted. I had thought of trying to extract the gas they were giving off and marketing it as an anaesthetic for minor ops. Or would it have been more suitable as something for biological warfare? This was the problem. Did I have to take my slippers to the monthly collection of dangerous goods? Or could I dispose of them in the black bins? This morning I made a decision.
The offending articles were packed in a small bin bag, tied well, and I sneaked outside in PJs (the grey-pink striped ones) and my leather biker jacket and put them in the black bin. There they came to rest, not on a bed of roses, but on a heap of veggies, mostly peas, which were in the bin. As I said at the beginning - Rest in Peas!!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Getting screwed....

Well, don't be disappointed, but this is probably NOT about what you may be thinking. Last night I couldn't sleep again, so decided to get on with my crafting. Whilst getting things out of my scrap cupboard - actually it's my wardrobe, but somehow the scrappy things have taken over, and in the meantime my clothes all look scrappy too, as they are bundled up into the smallest compartment to make space for the important things in life - I spotted an album, which I thought would be good for a few LOs. Took it out, and saw why I haven't used it - somebody (????) had taken out all of the page protectors. No problem - I found a pile, got my screwdriver and unscrewed the album. Spent the next ten minutes on my hands and knees, crawling over the floor with a little torch looking for the screw I had lost. Thankful to say I found it after kneeling on it. The screw did not get damaged, I'm not so sure about my knee. By then it was nearly 2 a.m., I have hardly slept all week, my finger-tip skills had dropped to an all time low, and my frustration tolerance level was sub-zero. Took the album, after clearing enough space on the table to put it there, fumbled the page protectors - why are they always so slippery? Why do they fall under the sofa when they drop off the table? Why are transparent page protectors so hard to see on the floor? Why do they attract dust better than swiffers? - onto the screws, and tried to get the top parts of the screws screwed back in. 2.30 a.m. and almost finished. Then I saw the pile of cardboard strips which should have been alternating with the page protectors. I refrained from screaming as it was in the middle of the night. Start all over again! Unscrew screws. Page protector. Cardboard strip. Page protector. Cardboard strip. Page strip. Cardboard protector....they just didn't all fit on the screws. Rootled in the draw and found some little tubes to lengthen the screws. Fumbled them into the album. Page protector. Cardboard strip. Page protector. Cardboard strip....up to ten of each. 3 a.m. and still trying to get screwed. Why didn't that last screw fit any more? 3.15 a.m. - DONE!! There's a title on the front of the album - *Happy Days* (that title is so sick it sucks!). But with the title at the front, the page protectors had the openings at the bottom. 3.30 a.m. Put the album back in my scrap-robe, under a large pile of other things. I can't even throw it away without having to get it unscrewed to separate paper and plastic for the dual system recycling bins. If I ever find it again, please remind me about sleepless nights, lost screws, bottoms up and a lot of frustration....

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Grunge Album

The tab album is from Tim Holtz. Made lots of die-cuts from patterned grunge board (also T.H. Who else?). Used distress inks (T.H. again, he must make a fortune!) in weathered wood, brushed corduroy and broken china. Used some masks from a travel kit for the Eifel tower and words etc. Decorated it all with ribbons, fibres, buttons, pins, paper-clips, an old brooch, brads, flowers, keys, clocks, an old postcard, printed cardstock - from T.H., some tags, pieces of old passports, transfers of animals and angels, and lots of other bits and bobs from my treasure tins. The only problem is, that once I start rootling in those tins, I seem to get lost in another world! Was fun making the album anyway!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Does the CSI operate here?

Had a busy day yesterday clearing and tidying and doing this and that. Then I wanted to go to bed. Wanted to put on my nice, warm PJs. I looked under the pillow - the PJs were gone!!!I was shocked! Had a criminal removed them while I was busy cleaning? Shock and disbelief lamed my usually sharp-as-a-knife understanding. It's not that I haven't got any other PJs, but I like these ones because they are so warm and comfortable. Horror! Perhaps I had thrown them away while clearing up. A thorough search of the blue bin-bag did not reveal any grey and pink stripey PJs. I double locked the door to make sure that the thief could not escape. Looked in the drawers of the desk - no PJs. Looked in my stash boxes - no PJs. Looked in the basket with the clean washing - no PJs. Looked in the dirty washing box in case I had thrown them in there by mistake - still no PJs. Went to the big closet in the hall where I keep a lot of my stash - no PJs. And then, as I turned round, I saw the culprit in front of me, in the mirror. It was dressed in my PJs, a black fur waistcoat and black and white cow-spot socks ( a real fashion statement!) I had forgotten to get dressed. How lucky that I had decided against an afternoon walk along the Rhine.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Old friends re-found....

I DID IT!!!! I have managed to clear my desk. Thought I would need a bagger to get rid of all the rubble and archaeological remains which have heaped up on it since I last scrapped there. I pulled on my elbow-length rubber gloves, took an extra strong plastic bag in my left hand and started. Found lots of old friends hiding there. Some nice piccies of my last dog, Scruffy. The angel-wings which I bought to use on Xmas cards. Lots of buttons, brads, flowers, paper-clips, pieces of ribbon, Easter decorations (just in time!), 3 Labellos in different stages of going off, a dried out stamping pad, my camera which I have been looking for for at least half a year, embellishments galore, 3,70€ in small change, you name it, I found it. No, I did not put all those treasures into the bin-bag, but sorted them lovingly into the right boxes, which were, strangely enough, mostly empty. And I found 3 (yes, THREE) spiders, probably relations of Freddie and Frieda. One was already dessicating, the other two got flattened ready for the journey to the big web-in-the-sky for the re-union with their family and friends up there. Then I cleaned the floor. I got out my steam broom and steamed the floor hygienically clean, which was necessary after I had removed so many families of dust-bunnies. The floor now has the same pleasant beech-wood tone as the living room, I think I had forgotten that. The desk has been moved to a space near the door, where it is nicer to sit, but I will have to keep it tidy....and the storage units have been hidden in the corner next to the wardrobe, where the desk was before. Anyone casually going past the bedroom on the way to the bathroom will not be able to see into this corner which makes it predestinated for a good stash hideaway. And there was even enough space for my spare bums in the corner! I still have to sort and tidy some of the drawers in the storage units, but I think I have done enough for the time being. I wish you all a good start to the week, and hope that the weather will soon give us a break. But bad weather is at least wonderful for clearing up and scrapping.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

*Daisy* in Kaiserswerth

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*Daisy* has now reached us with wind and snow galore. Time to stay home and watch the snow from the warmth of my living room. Time to think about the homeless looking for somewhere to save themselves from freezing.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Girls rule....

Spent the last 2 days helping a friend move into her new Surgery where she is *setting up shop*. We bought mounds of things by IKEA, and much to my surprise, they even fitted into my Panda, thanks to B's skills in packing. Yesterday we were 4 *girls* at work, screwing, drilling, assembling, hanging things up, putting things away etc, was fun doing the work, enjoying each other's company and watching things progress from empty rooms through mounds of boxes and packages to the first *taking shape*. And R, one of the girls, had made us wonderful mini sandwiches with home-made bread for lunch, which we very much enjoyed, and there was coffee galore and sekt to wash it down, so the fun part didn't come too short. And although I am really scared of driving in bad weather, I managed the drive there and back with no mishaps, even had my head clear enough to enjoy the white sparkly boughs on the trees and hedges, and the glittery,icy sheen on the little roads round here....Sometimes B is right, I can do more than I think! And in the evening I managed to get my washing done. Not ususally hard, but the washing machine here is in the cellar and I live on the second floor, so have to run up and down three flights of stairs each time, so after washing and drying three machines - white, dark, and the things which are already ruined with other colours in the third one! - I was feeling fit. Fit to drop onto my sofa, with a glass of pro-secco and amarol, where I spent the rest of the evening watching Dr House (glad he is not my doctor!) and CSI Miami. Not my favourite programme either, but I LOVE the way Horatio looks out from under his eyelids!
This morning I got woken up by an ex-colleague, who could not understand why I was grumpy at being woken at 10 a.m. - hells bells, I am a retired lady of leisure, and entitled to stay in bed as long as I like, especially after screaming with laughter over Stephanie Plum's escapades and witty sayings half the night!
Now, although it is half past one, I am still sitting here in a long nightdress, that once had a pink floral pattern, and has now been reduced to soft, mottled tones of floor-mop grey, long wooly socks, sheepskin slippers (that smell like decaying sheep when I take them off), a knitted cap and my fleece dressing-gown. Look like Garfield dressed up as Scrooge, but as nobody knows it doesn't matter.
But now it's time for the good intentions. Going to get dressed in my housework outfit, tidy away all the scrappy things strewn through all rooms, and then start cleaning....this could take some time, so, till then - watch this space!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Soft and noiseless world....

Woke up this morning very late, no traffic noises, no planes, just quiet everywhere. Looked out of the window and found the answer - snow everywhere, sun shine and icy temperatures. Just added some photos taken at dusk, and one of the wood pigeons resting in *my* tree. It's just starting to snow again, looks beautiful, but I am glad I am viewing it from the comfort of my warm living room.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Recycling - what some people throw away!

Sue Bubbles sent me a dotee doll and some other very pretty things for Xmas. And they were packed in a drop-dead gorgeous grungy vaseline box - thanks Waitrose - and this little album has been made out of it. I covered some of the pages with some pretty gold brocade paper from Maria Bubbles, and used lots of other bits and bobs of decorations from other DC Buddies - thanks to all. Was great fun making it, and I hope it will be an inspiration to others to look before declaring something as *rubbish*