Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home to Home to Home

Please bear with me if you visit my blog to see if I've got any new crafty stuff to share, because today I'm going to head off on a different tangent and share a couple of photos of what can be done with a bit of imagination and a lot of money........and sand!

I really really miss being near the seaside. I love where I live now, but once a seasider, always a seasider, so walking on the prom (and it doesn't really matter where that prom is located) always makes me feel better. So far this year we've been lucky enough to get to the coast a couple of times already, but our trip up to stay with my rellies in the ol' hometown of Newbiggin by the Sea in Northumberland was extra special this year

It's an old fishing village and my ancestry goes way back within the fishing community for many generation. Then during the first decades of the 20th century the coal mines were started up and a lot of the menfolk in my family left the sea and went down the mines instead of out in those little cobles to fish for a living. Great choice eh? risk your lives out on the North Sea in a wooden rowing boat or go and dig the seams underground with all the dangers surrounding that particular occupation.
No wonder really that my dad went off to night school to do more studying and get more qualifications so he could get himself away from the coal - he wanted to make sure too, that we kids would have more opportunities when we grew up. That's how we came to move away from the North East.

Anyway, the coal mines are all closed now, but they went right out for a mile or more under the sea (my Grandad used to swear that sometimes he could hear the boats overhead when he was down the mines....) and they reckon that that, plus the wild storms that batter the coast up there is what "did for" the once lovely beach that Newbiggin boasted. I have old Victorian postcards and photos showing the beach absolutely stuffed with holidaymakers and daytrippers. Even when I was little there was plenty of sand to play on - even if there was a lot of the coal "dross" washed up along the shore a lot of the time. At various times new sea defences have been erected and most have looked a right mess - an awful lot of concrete must have ended up on Newbiggin bay! It got so bad that in recent years any sand at all was only in the very east and west bits of the bay and in the middle was all concrete and was really very ugly indeed.
This photo was taken a couple of years ago - see what I mean about the concrete?
So, back to why I was excited to be going back this Easter.
Well they spent most of last year building a new breakwater in the middle of the bay, taking out most of that horrible concrete and bringing in new sand from Norfolk to rebuild the beach - they brought tonnes and tonnes of it up every couple of weeks by dredger and then pumped it onto the beach. The excitement in the town was immense, my Aunt and Uncle said they'd never seen so many people walking the prom. Loads of visitors came to watch and there wwere even webcams set up in the houses above the bay so you could watch progress online!
We drove up to Newbiggin a week past Thursday, were in my aunt's house long enough to say hello and dump our bags and then we were heading across the road to the top of the big steps to get our first glimpse of what had been done!
I just stood there saying "WOW WOW, I can't believe it, it's amazing"
Because now Newbiggin bay looks like this:
OK so the sand isn't as soft an white as the "old" Newbiggin stuff was, it's a bit coarser and redder than that, but it's 100% better that it was and to see the old bay looking more like I remember it when mum used to meet us out of school and we'd go to play on the beach for an hour or so gave me such a thrill - even if a lot of it is already up on the prom thanks to the high winds and rough seas over the winter!
It's brought such a feeling of excitement and optimism to the place - you can feel it in the air. The village has had a really rough recent history, the fishing industry being dpleted, the mines being closed, and little new industry to replace them. To be honest it was all looking really sad and shabby and you got the feeling that the people were equally downtrodden with little hope for the future. Now it's all so different, the bay looks amazing -ok so those enormous statues are a bit on the strange side....but hey, they are a "talking point", see below for closer pics. There's a buzz in the air that wasn't there before, people are coming from all over the world to see whats been done - and maybe even to look at Ebb and Flo as those two weirdos standing on that very odd platform on the breakwater in the middle of the bay have been "christened". I doubt it'll be the sort of place you'd go for your fortnight's holiday like the Victorians did, but if you're ever in my beautiful home county of Northumberland do go and have a walk along the prom at Newbiggin by the Sea. And if we have a good summer this year - well, who knows...
Maybe the future for my old hometown is looking a tad brighter nowadays

I took the photo above just before we left on Wednesday morning - we went for a last look before we headed out of the village. Must admit it brought a tear to my eyes. Actually I was snivelling like a baby till well after I'd had my last glimpse of the Angel of the North. But then I always do that - leaving "home" is so difficult - and then after another few miles I start looking forward to getting home to "now" home. Funny old world

"Couple" is a sculpture by Sean Henry that stands out on the breakwatrer in the middle of the bay - Britain's first permanent off-shore art work, apparently. hmmm.....
Not sure anyone really knows what the point is, but I'm sure loads of people will visit just to stand and stare and ask the same questions I was asked by a visitor to the town when we were walking along the prom
"What are they there for? What is it trying to say?"

For more about Newbiggin by the Sea, click here

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pins and Needles

Ooooh don't these Fridays come around quickly - especially as we've just got home after spending a few days with my family up in my old home town in Northumberland.....Which is why my card for last week's dare was only uploaded to my blog yesterday.....and why I was a bit late getting this week's Dare card done too.

But, aha!
Smug me!
I managed to combine the challenge into another of those three Christening cards I have orders for, so I'm feeling rather chuffed.

This one is actually the third of the Christening cards, I'll share the other one next time I blog (just in case I don't get anything else made for a couple of days, you know how it is!). There'll be a box to go with this card too when I manage to get it finished. The Christmeining is next week so I really need to get a wriggle on.

Anyways, it was Jane's turn to set the dare this week and she said:
Its very simple really (prickly maybe but..:) I want you to design a card to any theme- but I want you to include pins or needles of some sort. Sewing needles, safety pins, dressmakers pins- any type of pin goes! :)

Don't forget to leave us a comment with a link to your card, so we can come by and admire all your pointedly, prickly creations!!

This wasn't what I'd planned to do so maybe I'll even get round to that too....or maybe not!
The card has a vellum wrap and the vellum (from PDA Card & Craft) has tiny specks of silver and gold foil all over it - absolutely beautiful.
The little safety pin is threaded with tiny blue beads and the small silver cross hangs from the loop.
Other supplies:
wide blue organza ribbon (Ribbon Oasis)
Alphabet Beads (Impress - USA)
Beads, brads, eyelets, silver cross and everything else - from my stash

Thanks for looking

Friday, March 21, 2008

Its all in the Game

This week saw Sue setting her first Daring Cardmakers Challenge with this one:

"It’s all in the Game"
Tiddlywinks, playing cards, dominos, jigsaw pieces…….the list goes
on and I’m sure that most of us have a drawer somewhere that has the
odd one or two of these lying around in.
Well now’s your chance to use them
because I dare you to make a card using some of those pieces.
Oh and no, you don’t need to throw a double six to start playing.
I was a bit stumped until I had a good rummage through the drawers that house all those "tha'll come in handy one day" treasures and found a blank jigsaw from an old SA Kit and some mini playing cards from a Christmas Cracker! I cut up some of the tiny playing cards and used them to cover one of the jigsaw pieces "serendipity" style. Over that I added a layer of Glossy Accents and threw on a couple of heart shaped confetti pieces, a bit of glitter and a few little beads. I found the background design on one of my graphics computer packages. I altered the colours slightly and printed it out on glossy paper (having first had a very big arguement with the printer which only wanted to print gobbledygook to begin with), then inked up the edges a bit. The eyelets and ribbon came from my stash and the greeting bit was computer generated and mounted on some lovely paper from the HoTP "Classic" cardmakers pad.

Don't forget to check out what the others have done on the Daring cardmakers Blog - and how about playing along with us and seeing what you can do with some dominoes, playing cards and other games pieces?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First of Three

I've got orders for three Christening cards, all for the same little chap. I probably mentioned this ages ago when I was first thinking I should get started on them. Then something rather exciting came up which I needed to deal with first - more of that in a week or two!
So today, I finally got the first of the Christening cards done - I wanted to get this one finished as I'll be able to see this particular customer over Easter and so hand-deliver it.
Ooooh I do love the idea of bypassing the nasty Royal Mail if I can! Funny how such small things can give so much pleasure!It;s a funny tbning, but the last time I actually got the stuff out to make a start on these cards (just before the exciting thing happened....;-) ) nothing was working - but this one came together really quickly. Maybe making this one before the one the Baby's mum has asked for was what made the difference as I also need to make a presentation box for that one. I think all the colour matching for box and card was making it seem more difficult - especially as I'd run out of the Lokta paper I like to use for gift boxes.
Anyway, I've now found a new supplier and had a boxful of lovely handmade paper arrived yesterday so it'll be full steam ahead on the other two cards and the box , with no excuses left...:-(

Just in case it all gets busy around the Waffle Corner I'll wish you all a Happy Easter now - while I've got the chance. I hope all my Bloggy friends have a peaceful weekend.

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easter Cards

Usually I make maybe two Easter cards, but the delicious Imaginisce "For Peeps Sake" papers are too tempting not to make a couple of extra cards to send at Easter. With their cute chicks and bunnies, pretty pastel colours and a hint of glitter - well they are just too hard to resist!

I made a couple more than I'm showing here - but I'd already sent them off before I remembered to take photos - some things never change!
The cards are just a dinky 10cm square size and really simple, using just scraps of the various papers in the set. One paper has little motifs in circles just perfect for my circle punch, and I mounted these circles on plain green Bazzill scalloped circles from the Cuttlebug set. A little bit of inking and they were done. A shock I know, but no ribbon, no brads, no buttons.....

The theme for the DCM's Little Extra this week is Easter, so that was handy, wasn't it ;-)
Check out the DCM blog for more Design Team ideas for Easter cards.

Now though I need to think of more things I can do with these papers as they are too lush to leave in the box.

Thanks for looking

Monday, March 17, 2008

Izzy's Birthday

It was my gorgeous niece Izzy's 14th birthday on Friday - exactly how did she get to be 14 already?

We gave her the birthday cake card I recently made for Crafty Templates DT - it seemed just right for her.

Of all things, she wanted a camp bed to take with her when she goes to Wales with her friends from the riding stable over Easter - so we obliged and bought that, along with the CD from this years Brit Awards.

We went over to have pizza and birthday cake with her on Friday evening and she managed to get the bed put up - with a bit of help from her uncle D. I do hope it gets a bit easier though or she'll be sleeping on the ground surrounded by a pile of bits of metal and some canvas next week!For a while now she's been saying "oh I love this" when she ses the phone charm on my mobile phone, so I took the hint and made her one almost the same for her own phone, then I made this cute little box to put it in.Yesterday Hubby helped me to make a Craft Robo template for the box so presents for birthdays and Christmas presents will be bought with it's diminutive size in mind, I think!

That's all for today, thank you for visiting.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Feels Like.....

Teen Spirit!

Rachel is trying to persuade us away from all the flowery, girly, cutesy stuff for her very first DCM dare this week. She's asked us all to come up with cards with teenagers in mind.

Just as a little sweetener - because we all know just how difficult teen cards are and we think some added temptation might help motivate you ;-) - we've got another fab spot prize to give away - at the moment sitting on Jane's coffee table is a prize donated by Scrapbook Outlet NZ
It'll be on it's way to one lucky winner drawn randomly from all those who join in with the Teen Spirit dare.
Check out the beautiful goodies on the Scrapbook Outlet website for a glimpse of the sort of things you could be winning. remember, EVERYONE who joins in has an equal chance of winning our fab prizes

Well, sometimes these dares are a great way to get ahead with making those cards which would otherwise be put off for as long as possible. And there's nothing quite like the smug feeling of getting something made and put away ready for things like the birthdays of teenage nephews!

Strangely enough the same thing happened about the same time last year when Jo set us a "superheroes" dare and I made this "Superheroes of Rock" card for him.

So this new one is also earmarked for Andrew - one of 6 family birthdays we have to cope with in May aggghhh. He's been playing the guitar for a few years now so it's another geeetar card.

This time the guitar is cut with Mr Robo from a template hubby helped me to make- I love being able to make die cuts in the right size for my project rather than make the project fit the size of the die cut iykwim!
This fantastic paper is by Creative Imaginations and just perfect for teen or music mad recipients. I cut out the words "Time to Rock" from another paper in the same set - I could have done them on the Robo too, but I didn't!
The Happy Birthday message is Robo cut though, but I took the actual letters out and used the "neagative" (I know that's not the right word, but you know what I mean....) mounted on PDA glitter card (which is fab because the glitter is embedded in the card and it DOESN'T FALL OFF!
The music notes ribbon started off white, but I grunged it up a bit with some brown and charcoal inks, then washed some of the inks out again to get a nice and grubby finish :-)
I was going to add some star brads in the corner but couldn't find any nice grungy looking ones to match the eyelets, which is a shame, I wonder if such things are available....the eyelets are from a MM stack of metallics btw

Oh, before I forget - thank you for your thoughts on my little problem with "white space"
Joanne said
"Do you only have a problem with white on your own cards or is it anybody's? (my dragonfly had loads of white, for example). Maybe you just need to think of yourself having more than one style!"
Thanks for that Joanne - you hit the nail on the head - I really love other people's cards which have lots of white space - it's my own I have a problem with and I think it's because I'm just not used to making them this way anymore. One of the reasons I made the heart cards was that I'd been inspired by seeing a picture in that style. It's good to shake yourself out of a rut every now and then so I'll be having a go at more "white space" cards soon - obviously I need the practise!

That's it for today, thanks for looking.
Don't forget to check out the other cards on the DCM blog - and remember that lovely prize - are you feeling lucky? Will your name come out of the hat this week?

Please leave a message, it's fab to hear from you....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another Crafty Templates card

The other day I showed a handbag card made with a template from the March Crafty Templates set.
Well, while I was working on that one, I came up with this idea to"tweak" the template and make a card which would stand up on a base and close at the top with a bow.

Yet again most of the things I used here came from the "Birthday Star Goodies Kit".

I lightly coloured the base card with a couple of blue cats eye chalk inks,
and sewed the little stars that come in the kit onto the side for a bit of bling.
Please go and check out the Crafty Templates website and blog when you have a minute, there's some great stuff to be found there.

These are a couple of sneak peeks of the circle journal I've just done. Probably for the first time ever I've finished these well ahead of posting date - normally I'm either just in time - or as it's been lately, a day or two late.
I'm never sure whether it's ok to show the full pages on a blog or not - should we wait till the book is back with it's owner to do the "reveal" or is it ok to post what we've done straightaway. Answers on a postcard, please - or alternatively, use the comments thread! ;-) I just love these papers, they are by We are Memory Keepers and came in the February SA Kit - I must try and track down a UK stockist as they are just gorgeous and make me think of Summery days.

I've made a couple of Wedding Anniversary cards today, I need one to send, and the other will go in the box on Hubby's desk. Not sure about the first one, it looks a bit "naked" - I may have got into the habit of using background paper too often, as I prefer the 2nd one by far. My cards used to have a lot of white card showing, but lately they seem so bare without a layer of pretty stuff in the background. Maybe it's just me though. I'd be interested to hear what you think.
Thanks for looking :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

If at first you don't succeed...

...wait till another day and see if Blogger is in a more compliant mood.

Last Autumn I spent days and days planting hundreds of Spring flowering bulbs in the garden. We'd been rather surprised to discover no daffodils, tulips etc grew ihere even though the garden is quite old. To be honest, we thought it was probably due to the resident squirrel population digging them up, and we have had to re-plant quite a few when we've found them on the surface rather than several inches below (bulbs that is, not the squirrels)
Anyway, it was nice to see lots of the bulbs come up and to know that the little blighters didn't get them all.
We've had snowdrops, crocuses and lots of daffodils, but something very strange has happened with the tulips - the ones that are already in flower are perfect, regular sized flower-heads - but on teeny weeny little stalks - don't they look silly, poor little things. I know that cut tulips continue to grow if you put them in a vase of water, but I don't really think these little guys will make much headway, do you?

I love this birthday cake template from the March Crafty Templates set.

It's a great shape to begin with, but is also fun to jazz up a bit in whichever way takes your fancy. I chose to use little flowers cut from the 3 Bugs paper that comes in the March "Birthday Star" Goodies Kit.

Having decided to use this style of tri-fold card, I then needed to decorate the other bits too, so carried on cutting out more flowers and I some of the paper flowers from the kit, then fixed them to the upper edges of the back two faces of the card - I used 3d foam to stick some of them. That lovely "Happy Birthday" ribbon behind the big flower and the green organza ribbon tied through the button are also from the kit.

Thanks for looking, I hope you like what you see.
Please leave a comment, I love to read them!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wish Upon a Star; Crafty Templates (2)

In my Crafty Templates kit, shown in my last post in case you missed it was the fab paper I used for this card.
Leo's templates always give you scope to develop your own ideas, you're not just stuck to using them in one way. In fact I find that as I work on one project more ideas on what to do with the templates start to weedle their way into my head.
Anyway, here's my take on the "Wish Upon a Star" template which you get as part of the March Crafty Templates download, and using more inspirational stuff from the March paper'card and embellishment kit
The letters and star patterns come from the Template set and all the paper and card is from the Birthday Star Goodies kit. I gave the star the Cuttlebug Swirls embossing folder treatment. Ribbon and some of the gems used to embellish the card are also from the kit.

At this point I was going to share some pics of my "stunted" tulips - but Blogger is having an off day and although I've tried numerous times now, it won't let me load any more photos. Maybe tomorrow, eh

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Crafty Templates, Crafty Kit (1)

Leo's Crafty Templates are always fab and fun to work with. I love being part of Leo's Design Team, it's so completely different from the stuff I usually tend to do so is a great way to challenge myself.
Every month I get the new templates and panic for a while, I'll open up and look through the templates a few times before I print them off, then finally I'll start cutting out. Sometimes I don't have a clue what I'm going to do even then, but somehow just handing the bits and pieces helps get some ideas working themselves out.

To add an extra dimension to the whole Crafty Templates scheme of things, this month Leo has not only come up with a fab set of templates for cards, toppers, or whatever you want to use them for, but she's also put together this great "Birthday Star" with patterned paper, card, ribbon and all sorts of fun embellishments as well. There are die cuts, frames, flowers buttons, brads, felt shapes, wire and loads of other things - and I've had great fun playing with them all.
Check out the Crafty Templates shop for more information on how to get your own sticky mitts on the templates and the goodies in the kit.

I've made four cards so far using some of the March Templates and my kit but I'm going to string this out for a while and only put one card at a time on here (sneaky eh!)

So this was the first card I made, using the really fab handbag template. I did think about making a little mobile phone to go in that cute little pocket on the front, but I didn't get round to it. I cut out little flowers from some of the paper in the kit to use to decorate the bag, and made a rosette with some of the absolutely scrummylicious ribbon in there to use for the "fastening".

More tomorrow - or whenver next I remember to blog!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Where did all the days go?

No DCM card from me this week. I've got rather bogged down with all sorts of stuff, someone must have stolen some of February because there certainly seems to have been at least a week's worth of days missing - or at least that's how it feels. I got so far behind that I've spent the first week of March trying to catch up with things that should really have been finished before February left the building.

Hopefully I'll be a better organised person for the remainder of this month and I'm going to try harder not to leave things till the last minute - or even the minute AFTER the last minute from now on. I wasn't a happy bunny at the beginning of this week, because I had so much left to do, but I've just about cleared the decks now so feel loads better.

Anyway, going back to the Daring Cardmakers for a minute....
It's our Aussie-Girl Mel's very first turn at dare-setting this week and she's chosen to
"Take a Break"
she's asked everyone to make cards with tea bags on them!
Now that's a different sort of challenge, eh? pop along to the DCM Blog and see what the Team has come up with this time

The BF Fundraising Auction for the Ellenor Wiseman Trust os now over.

We raised about £230 for the Trust, there are a few things still available to buy, so the final amount will probably be a bit more than that, which is wonderful. We're all soooo chuffed that it went so well and we are able to help just a little bit towards Kirsty Wiseman's little girl getting the treatment she needs.
For more information on why we held this fundraiser, plus how you can help too see here

The Anglo-Scots-Irish Circle Journal on Bumbleberry Crafts forum has just finished, since the beginning of July 2007 the books have been flying hither and thither between the three countries. How many miles our books have travelled I can't begin to imagine!

Anyway, they're all safely home again now and it's time to share my lovely book on here. My theme for this cj was "The Comfort Zone" and I asked everyone to share the special places, people and things which always make them feel safe and comfortable.
Karen's pages
Angie's pages
Jackie C's pagesJacqui's pages
Caroline's pages
Beckie's pages
Rachel's pages
Hazel's pages
Nicky's pages
Sign in pages
My pages for the other girls' books - or at least the ones I remembered to photograph!
For Nicky's book "All My Hats"
For Hazrl's book "Glamour"
For Beckie's book "Strokable Stash"
For Caroline's book "It's a Girly Thing"
For Jackie C's book "Movies"
For Angie's book "My favourite Recipe"
For Karen's book "Surprise" - where each person chose the theme for the NEXT person's LO!
Nicky assigned me "My favourite book"
It was wonderful to be part of this fabby CJ. Thanks to all who helped make it so successful and such fun.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Maze Book for Ellie

BF Fundraising Auction for the Ellenor Wiseman Trust
- check what's on offer, and find out how to bid here

For more information on Ellie see here

I've finally finished the maze book I've been making for the Bubbly Funk Fundraising Auction (as mentioned in the message header above)
The book has space for adding little photographs, some hidden behind little doors fastened with ribbon etc. There's space for adding the journalling or messages to go with the photos, some on tags peeping out from little pockets. There are also three extra tags which are in hidden pockets within the structure of the book.
I used Basic Grey's gorgeous "Two Scoops" paper pad to make this one, and of course, lots of ribbons, fibres, blossoms and other bits and pieces. it's turned out quite a fat little book!
Here are the photos of the finished maze book, I hope people like it enough to place bids on it! Please check out all the things on offer at the auction, the links are above, with info on how to get involved - there's not long left to make bids one all the fab stash and the wonderful handmade items on offer as all bids must be received by Caroline by 7pm Monday 3 March 2008 - that's tomorrow! Which reminds me that I haven't placed my own bids yet!