Blog Posts

A Week of Firsts

Here we are at the end of the 4th week of lockdown in the UK and it’s presented me with a few firsts.  My first new experience was to cut Mr L’s hair! Now, I’ve never cut anyone’s hair before but I’ve watched our hairdresser cut Mr L’s hair many times.  She makes it look so easy.  It isn’t!  It took me a while but we got there in the end and Mr L still has both ears!

#covidhaircut

My second ‘first’ was to attempt to make naan breads.  I’d made my favourite dhal recipe when I noticed a naan bread recipe in the same book and, since we had all the ingredients, I though I’d have a bash.  They were not quite like the restaurant ones but were delicious nonetheless.

My third ‘first’ was an introduction to a technique called Inlaid Embossing.  Amanda (from Inspiring Inkin’) showed this on her Facebook crafting group this week and it looked interesting.

To begin, I used the ½”, ¾” and 1” circle punches to cut a mix of circles in 3 coordinating colours.

These were glued randomly onto my mat layer and any overhanging edges trimmed off.

I then put the pieces into embossing folders and ran them through the Big Shot to create a textured background.

I didn’t want to overwhelm the background as that was the main feature so I used some polka dot ribbon and a butterfly from Stampin’ Up! Butterfly Gala.

My second card featured burlap ribbon and a tree from Rooted in Nature.

 

 

 

Images © 2020 Stampin’ Up!

Dedicated To Dads

Sadly, two of my friends have lost their Dads in the past couple of weeks, one of those being due to Covid-19.  The casualty figures are harrowing but it really brings it home when it affects people you care for.  So, my post this week is dedicated to Dads, wherever they may be.

The love and thought that goes into any handmade card is magnified in a condolence card.  I find them difficult to design but soothing to make.  For this week’s card, I used Rooted in Nature and the ever-useful Peaceful Moments for the sentiment.

To begin, I used masks and sponge daubers to create a sun and mountains for my background on Very Vanilla.

I stamped the tall tree several times using my Stamparatus to ensure a solid impression.  The tree needed grounding so, using another mask, I sponge daubed Early Espresso at the base of the tree.  The panel was cut out using one of the stitched rectangle dies.

One of my favourite stamps in the set, the skeleton leaf, was used for decorating the liner and envelope.

The card was finished by mounting the focal image on a Crumb Cake mat and then onto a base layer embossed with the Woodland folder (retired).

I finished my week crocheting a rainbow to hang in my window in support of our NHS workers.

 

 

 

Images © 2020 Stampin’ Up!

Thinking of You   

As we approach the end of week 3 of lockdown, I thought a ‘thinking of you’ card might be appropriate to send to those you can’t visit at the moment.  I know you can telephone and Facetime etc. to speak, but sometimes a handmade card means a lot.  The monochrome colour scheme for this card makes it suitable for masculine or sympathy cards too so makes the stamp set, Stampin’ Up! High Tide, really versatile.

To begin, I stamped my images in Night of Navy ink on Whisper White card.

Whilst I waited for my image to dry, I cut a scalloped square of navy card and then used the frame to decide where I wanted my focal image and drew around the inside of the frame.

I cut out the square using my trimmer and then mounted the cut-out section onto the navy scalloped square.

I stamped some images on the liner and the envelope.

The front was mounted onto a Night of Navy card base and I used dimensionals to pop up the focal segment.  The sentiment is from Peaceful Moments.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with the highlight of my garden this week – the blossom on the Conference Pear tree.  It’s just stunning and the bees love it!

Happy Easter and stay safe.

 

 

 

Images © 2020 Stampin’ Up!

Painted Poppies

I hope this blog post finds you healthy and well.  It’s approaching the end of lockdown week 2 here in the UK but I fully expect that the lockdown will be extended as sadly, the number of Coronavirus deaths is still rising.  I am quite enjoying the enforced staying at home time (in between my shifts) as I can do things as and when I feel like it, taking as long as I want as I don’t have to fit them around other engagements.  My lovely Pilates teacher has taken her classes online too, which I am very pleased about!  I am trying to concentrate on the things I can do, rather than the things I can’t, to stay positive in these strange times.  For example, my hair is getting rather long but I was considering a style change anyway so this gives me a head start – no pun intended!

It was whilst I was out sowing carrots in the veg patch that the idea for this card came to me.  Our soil is quite stony so we grow carrots in a large container filled with sieved soil.  I know, mollycoddled carrots!  Anyway, there’s a self-sown poppy growing in there so I’ve just left it to carry on but it brought to mind the Painted Poppies set I’d not yet used.  I summoned up my mojo from wherever it’s been hiding for the past couple of weeks and got cracking.

I began by heat embossing the poppies in gold.

Next, I coloured in the petals using my polychromos colouring pencils.

The sentiment is from Peaceful Moments, a handy set to cover most situations.  The front was mounted on a Whisper White mat and then onto a Poppy Parade card base.

I then tried a second card using white and colouring with a blender pen and some ink from the pad stamped onto a block.

This didn’t dry as quickly as I thought and I ended up smudging it in a lot of places so it’s not fit to send to anyone but I glued it with temporary adhesive so I could get the contrast with the black version.

The same card but two completely different looks.

 

 

 

 

Images © 2020 Stampin’ Up!

Stay Safe

It is strange times indeed in which we are living.  My work is very weird as there’s around an 80% reduction in air traffic but we still need to keep the skies safe for the aircraft that are flying.  It is impossible to use radar to control aircraft from home so we are classed as ‘key workers’ and have to go out to go to work.  However, I feel that what we are doing is nothing compared to the key workers that are keeping our country functioning in these uncertain times, including (but not limited to) the NHS staff (including my sister), farmers, delivery drivers, the emergency services, the supermarket staff and the bin men.  Thank you all!

I haven’t been crafting this week but have been taking advantage of this gorgeous weather we’ve been enjoying and catching up on gardening.  The veg patch has been the focus of our endeavours and is ready for action unusually early!  Mr. L spent his time doing a long overdue cut on the leylandii hedge at the bottom of our garden.  About 6-8ft was lopped off the top so there’s a lot more light getting into the veg patch now.

Whilst Mr. L was doing battle with the hedge, I focused on weeding the beds and sowing some early seeds.  We’ve already got garlic growing, planted in January, and I sowed radish, various types of lettuce, carrots, red onion, spring onion, beetroot, broad beans, mange tout and sweet pea seeds.  Fingers crossed for a bumper harvest in a few months!  Whether it’s the weather or the enforced ‘at home’ time, the nation seems to be getting growing as my favourite independent seed websites have had to close for a few days in order to process the mass of orders they’ve received.  People getting out growing their own is great in my book, whatever the reason.  

I like to recycle when possible and I repurpose stuff to use in the garden.  I use plastic bottles with the bottoms chopped off to direct water to the base of plants such as courgettes and pumpkins, lengths of water pipe and scaffold netting to keep pests (and pets!) off the raised beds and I drill holes in the bottom of prosecco corks and use them as cane toppers.

I also sowed some tomato seeds indoors in the propagator and potted on my chilli plants which were sown back in February.  I’m also having a go at growing turmeric as the roots that I’d bought to eat had sprouted so I’ve potted them up.

In the evening, I’ve been crocheting.  I’m doing Helen Shrimpton’s My Nameless……. pattern which I bought ages ago but never got around to doing.  I always use a wool winder to transform my yarn balls into yarn cakes as the yarn flows more freely.  I also love the way they look!

I’m just under half way through the pattern, which will be about 5ft square when finished and will contain about 19 balls of yarn!  Here’s my creation so far…..

That’s all for this week.  Stay well.  Stay safe.  Stay home.