Tuesday, 29 November 2011

All things must come to an end

Its cuppa tea again, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin
(Part 1 is HERE, & part 2 HERE)
Sunday I was up at 6, unable to sleep. I wasnt sure when the other crafters would be up & with a lack of signal in coalport I couldnt really ask, so decided to leave mine at 8:30.
I almost got the time right as when I arrived everyone was just finishing breakfast, I was offered some but I'm not really hungry until mid morning. So I sat & listened to the chatter until everyone was ready to go into the craft room.

I managed to finish the layout I was doing, well, except for adding to the backing layer that I decided it needed & started on my bookbinding. I was then asked to cut my cake so we could all have a slice, and I was very happy (and a lil abashed) that they said it was so nice.

Lizzie got us all to sit round Clair for her to show us how to decorate presents in a beautiful manner. This gal should work on QVC.....after the watershed. She is fab at showing techniques, though turns the air blue a few times which fits in perfectly with her being totally hilarious. I'd love to have recorded it. Its exactly what QVC could do with, upbeat & funny.
Clair, please please please do some video tuts in the same manner as you taught us, I think they would be EXTREMELY popular.

This was followed by both Clair & Julie showing us how to make ribbon roses which have sooooo many crafting uses.

Lizzie handed out a lovely present to us each, I got a fabulous christmassy beer mat book

Shortly afterwards Ruth & Julie had to leave so Ruth could catch a train back home. There were hugs given and the odd tear shed. After they'd gone the rest of us retired to the kitchen for lunch, much easier than carrying it down to the craft room. We sat in the dining area & chatted away before sorting out the left over food & dividing it up, there was still quite a bit.

We returned to the craft room but I dont think any of us could really get back into crafting. We seemed to take it in turns visiting the gift shop.  I bought a decorated star christmas ornament to put onto a thin ribbon & wear as a necklace .... later on Mel returned with the same one with a similar idea in mind. Great minds & all that ;-)

As we sat we ended up having a good ol' heart to heart, we learnt a bit about each others lives & I've received some great personal advice from the gals which I shall be following up.

Mel made us each beautiful little, personalised cards, heres mine....
Lesleys other half came to collect her so he was bribed with chocolate cake and other goodies.
We slowly packed up and divided the rest of the food, I made sure I had a sample of each of the homemade cakes I hadnt tried. It was lucky I'd packed a spare bag as it was filled with craft swaps & food goodies which I was very grateful for. Tables & Chairs were all put back in place & the room began to look more like a classroom & less like a craft room.

Within a short time of each other Lesley, Joe, Clair & Mel left leaving myself, Lizzie & Jem
Both very kindly offered me a lift home which I left to them to decide who actually would ... it didnt take long as Lizzie had a lot to get in her car and Jems car was bigger. Cars packed, room clear, keys returned, it was time to go.

It was peaceful outside the hostel as I waited for the gals to return the keys, the odd car & ducks quack broke the silence, it seemed a rather final, yet almost fitting end to the weekend.

As Jem drove me home we chatted & she kindly helped me with my bags. As he heard my voice Kai came running to the door before spotting Jem & shyly edged into my craft cupboard while Zack came for a nosey & a brief introduction. With a hug she was out the door & starting her own journey home.

For the next couple of hours I barely had a chance to look back & contemplate all the goings on at the weekend as Ry was feeling rotten (man flu was my guess, shhhh, I didnt say that ;-) and needed help with tea, the kids wanted my attention & finally I began to doze off.

I started this post with the title "All things must come to an end" and so they do, but this is just the end of this chapter, there is talk of another meet up, a bit further south this time & I'm determined to attend

Thank you lovely ladies for making the weekend such a wonderful event, I feel I have learnt loads & made new friends, I hope you all keep in touch xx
p.s if I havent got it already PLEASE can you send me your email addy so I can keep in touch by using the contact box on the right :-)

Meeting the Telford10

Now, have you got your cuppa & choccy biscuits? coz this is going to be a long one.
(part 1 is here)

I awoke Saturday morning fairly early so I could concentrate on the tasks at hand rather than my nerves. Ryan joked that it was like I was getting ready for a date, I told him my underwear said otherwise ;-p If I felt I looked ok it would be one less thing to be anxious over.
Kids ready, everything packed, & off we went in the taxi. With them dropped off I chatted on & off with the driver who was most amused at a bunch of women meeting up to craft together from around the country, a comparison to the WI was made, which I laughed at & answered "well, I have the starts of the stereotypical purple rinse so why not!" (The tips of my now Pink hair are purple). I went quiet as a panic attack struck, my subconcious has a lot to answer for as though nervous I really didnt think it warranted the chest crushing, mind numbing, heart quickening panic attack.
I concentrated on my breathing, calming myself down, concentrating on the rational positives and with that we rolled into the car park of Coalport Youth Hostel.

As the taxi left I stood in the car park, fumbling to get my phone out while trying to balance the chocolate cake so I could ring Ruth & find out where I was going, praying I wouldnt stumble & drop the cake (we all know how clumsy I can be).  A door opened & a rather excited Ruth & Mel hurried upto me. Big hugs all round before we entered the designated craft room.

I was greeted by smiling faces and hellos. The room was a buzz of creativity and humour. Jem came forward with a hug for me & having hugged 3 of the 9 I thought it would be rude not to hug everyone, lol, all rational thought leaves me when I'm nervous so I am sorry if I intruded into anyones personal space, I'm sure they wouldnt mind so much now they know me (or maybe they would even more, lol).

I was told that Mel & Clair are an old married couple, & they are! They are best friends who obviously know each other so well that they will bicker, and make comments like an old married couple, but love each other really. Its almost like when you look at an old married couple holding hands, you cant help but say "awwwww", they dont hold hands but you look at them together & they're friendship warms the cockles of your heart.

A space had been cleared for me on one of the tables, you know how we crafters can spread out :-) So I unpacked while listening to the conversations going on around me, getting my bearings and the feel of the place. & what was the feel of the place? Very friendly, the tables were in an oval shape so you could see everyone, conversations were open so if you wanted to chip in you could easily.
With such a good atmosphere & everyone crafting it was decided we'd take our walk to ironbridge in the afternoon. Ruth gave me a tour of the hostel as I'd never been before. It was spotless, staff were lovely and everything in a good condition - I thoroughly recommend the place.
I gave Mel her Pay-it-forward item, which she gushed over, which was lovely for me - I shall do a seperate post on it later this week so you can all see it but for a sneak peek @Green&blacks retweeted a photo of the inside yesterday

I also gave Ruth her Pay-it-forward which she attached to her camera. Lizzie asked where I sell my stuff (bless her) & of course I answered I dont, I'm worried my finish isnt up to scratch. I was told I was being silly, so I'm now thinking I might start making 2 of most of the things I make, 1 as a gift, to use, etc, the other to see if/how well it sells .... watch this space!

A swaps table was set up, or rather a we-dont-like/need-these-so-please-anyone-take-them-away table. Mel very generously had brought with her a quickutz with a few dies that she didnt use anymore which she happily let me have, I felt very lucky (thank you again Mel xx).

Alexa arrived, was greeted, and we sat down for lunch. Lizzie commented that we better get the rest of the food from the kitchen. I turned round & looked at the food table & said "what, thats just snacks???!!!" Lesley laughingly answered that it was. We had enough food to feed an army, AND give them all pudding. Mmmm, lunch was divine, mostly fingers foods, some homemade, some shop bought but all scruptious.

With full stomachs it was decided it would be a good time to walk off a bit before pudding (though most of us nicked a slice of Mels malteser cake, mmmmmmmm)

Clair & Mel decided to catch up in a bit of sleep, well, after such a wonderful meal who wouldnt feel a bit sleepy!

We trotted off along the canal towards Ironbridge, me giving little bits of history of the area that I could remember from year 10 "the industrial revolution". We stopped off at Maws craft centre where a few items were purchased, though I sat outside trying to get a signal to let Ry know I'd be home later than I originally thought. Lesley & I chatted about online shops, craft makes etc - this lady has some a lot of lovely craft papers, and thickers, and may have convinced me to get a kit subscription or 2, its a shame shes not on commission
Alexa & Lizzie returned to the craft room as Julie, Lesley, Joe, Ruth, Jem & myself carried on towards ironbridge.

Having always been used to walking on the otherside of the river severn I wasnt 100% sure of the route but knew if we kept alongside the river severn we'd end up at the bridge.

As the top of a bridge came into sight Ruth excitedly asked "is that it?" "No" I replied with a grin, "thats Jackfield bridge, its a tad more modern. Its so the cars can get across as they were causing too much damage to the Ironbridge" We continued on.

We could see the furnaces on the other side of the road, and read the display/info sign on the path. Here Lesley left us to go back, and we continued the last of the route.

As The Ironbridge came into sight Joe said "is that IT?" in a thats-not-much-rather-a-small-bridge type of tone, lol. The ironbridge is fairly small compared to modern day bridges, but in its day it really was an accompishment &, with all its decorative components was really something to show off about.
It was by now close to dusk, the christmas lights were on in Ironbridge, setting the scene perfectly. Ruth & I hurried across to get a better photo of the ironbridge

Sorry the quality isnt very good but this is Joe & Jem pulling faces at us :-p
I so hope Ruths photos comes out clearer
We rushed back to have pud & for Lizzie to show us how to do bookbinding with a stab stitch. She was very informative, and gave very clear instuctions (not easy with a few naughty school kids in the group ... you know who you are!!! lol) & though it was distressing to see Bambie having its legs & head removed at times we percervered. Please note, no REAL animals were harmed in the making of Lizzies book, it was christmassy craft paper. I havent quite finished my book yet so you shall have to wait to see it, I do suggest you go to Lizzies blog & take a look at hers, even more so I would suggest you go to her etsy shop & buy some as gifts. They are made to a high standard with a lot of love & attention to detail, even more so if you get one personalised.
Alexa then had to unfortunately leave, we kept her a lot longer than originally thought, though we did bribe her hubby with plenty of cake to let her stay a while longer :-D
We all went for Tea at the hostile which was GORGEOUS, I had a soup starter followed by curry, with both Naans AND a poppadom. By this time most of us were full but really wanted to try the sticky toffee pudding, so Ruth got a bowl & 3 spoons so myself, & Jem could have a taste of hers without anything going to waste.

Then it was back to crafting ... or more like chatting & noseying what everyone else was upto. Clair & I chatted as she found out the pro's of using a glue gun ... she unfortunately found out the cons when she caught her nail in the glue, OUCH I think most of us know that scalding pain of the hot glue from the glue gun. I have to admit that I was probably most nervous of meeting Clair, a bit in awe maybe. I've been following her blog for quite a while now, & not only was there a lil bit of envy that she was (so I thought) younger than me (I always like to be the baby of the group, I tend to get away with more that way ;-), but her blog is soooooo professional! Shes like blog royalty, she's been on design teams I follow, done makes & tutorials that I love etc etc etc ... not saying the others who attended hadnt, its either I've chatted to them before via the net or havent been following them for as long. I had nothing to be nervous of though, Clair is lovely, funny & down to earth. I think we both had a mutual appreciation of each other as we both thought the other was around 25, lol. And of course we all had a good giggle about Clair & her ruffles, I'm sorry but its one of those "had to be there" jokes that would take a lil while to explain.

As I crafted I suddenly thought "I'd better check the time, I told Ry I'd be home before 9", EEEEP it was now 10:15, time flies as your having fun. With NO signal in the place I hurridly packed up, planning on walking round the car park to get a signal to call a taxi, hoping they werent too busy with it being a saturday night. Thankfully Lizzie came to the rescue & gave me a lift home. I must have got in at about 11ish, though Ry was just happy I had had fun (damn, should have stayed longer!!!)

I tried to settle down to sleep but my mind was too full of fun, information thoughts ... oh, and I'd been made LOADS of cups of coffee. Normally I stop drinking the stuff once I start twitching but with the cups being cup & saucer size the caffeine had very little effect on me at the time... so I was very wide awake. Ah well, it allowed me to pack the things needed for the next day, and go over the things in my head that I had learnt that day

So, I'd like to introduce you to the Telford10
All copyright of this picture remains the property of JulieJ from the letting the days roll by blog
Front to back - Lesley (my craft-stash queen), Alexa (lovely & petite), Lizzie (our ruler & bookbinding expert), Julie (our non dudley accented Dudlier), Me (ducks & hides), Clair (& her ruffles), Mel (Clairs other other half), Ruth (who does a fine cockney geezer inpression), Joe (who laughs as much as me :-), and last but most certainly not least Jem (I have to do an internal giggle when this lady swears coz she speaks so nicely, lol)

Phew, well done if you've made it through! Part 3 will be here tomorrow :-)

Monday, 28 November 2011

What a Weekend!

I have just spent the most lovely weekend scrapbooking, learning how to do a form of book binding (including tassles), making wrapped pressies look pretty, how to make different ribbon roses, lots of scrumptious foods, stroking fantastic craft stock, discussing ruffles, getting inspiration, socialising, & lots of chatting.

Lets start at the very beginning, thats a very good place to start (I'll stop that sentence before I either get done for copyright infringement or told to hush coz its 4:30 in the morning & my singing voice isnt all that)

There was talk earlier in the year of a potential meet up of crafty bloggers, then 2months ago Ruth sent me a link to Curlyscrappers blog detailing information about.....
Ruth kindly did some emailing, querying if a day visitor was allowed to join in (aka me). Lizzie from Lizzie made answered that it was fine, yay! so I contacted her to introduce myself & so started a few emails of arrangements & chatting (once I rescued them from virginmedias spam, aghhh, how rude of it!).

Melsh emailed me asking if I was the person on the list of attendees (thats how I found out about the naughty spam box guzzling my emails from Lizzie). Yes, yes I was that Kirsty, Yay, I get to meet my Cyber buddy Melsh (even when I physically call her Mel I mentally add "sh" at the end in my head)

Friday arrived with me baking chocolate cakes (one to take with me, & another for my lads), checking everything was ready for the next day & chatting to Ruth via text while she was on the train. Oh, & altering the hole in Melsh's Pay-it-forward gift to fit a particular choccy bar thats was 5mm too big! (all will be revealed so that this sentence makes more sense)

Ruth mentioned via text she'd forgotten her umbrella, & then later, if there was somewhere local she could grab a sarnie as she'd forgotten to pack a lunch. As I was waiting for my cake bases to cool I grabbed my coat & rushed out the door. With time to spare I picked Ruth up an umbrella & sarnie from poundland - not the most glamorous of places but the queue was short, on the way to the train station & served the purpose.

I sat on a low wall, leaning on a lamppost, at the corner of the street, in case a certain little lady comes by (oh me, oh my, I'm obviously in a musical mood again). As the train pulled in I stood, hoping I'd put myself in prime position that Ruth wouldnt escape unnoticed (can you say stalker!!). There she was, a grin spreading on her face as she spotted me, blue suitcase in tow. As I said to her, I couldnt have her come to my little town without meeting her off the train. I know if I arrived in an unknown town I'd like a familiar face there.

I walked with Ruth to the Euston (as its known to us locals, its official name is The Euston Way,  Beefeater Grill)  where she was getting a lift by the lovely Jemma from Just Jim-jams (what a FAB blog name). With introductions over Jem kindly offered me a lift home, which I gratefully accepted as it gave me more time to do jobs; It didnt as they both ended up coming in for a cuppa, with strict instructions to ignore the dust/floor as though I'd tidied (briefly) I hadnt as of yet swept etc. Far nicer to be drinking a cuppa than sweeping in what was borrowed time anyway.

Partially out of shyness (I have an extroverts personality trapped in an introverts mind, I really should give it back one day), partially out of my liking to listen/watch people to get an idea of what they're about, I sat back with drink in hand & mainly listened to Jem & Ruth chat until it was time to get Kai. Another lift, yay, so I was nice & early to get him, which he enjoyed as he could wave for longer from where he sat in the class.
External design of the cake was unabashfully copied from one of Hayleys makes, who also kindly instructed me on how to do the topping :-)

I worked hard that evening decorating the cake, which I think was the prettiest one I had ever done, making sure everything I needed was packed, clothes layed out, school uniforms in the machine, house generally tidy etc etc. I sat down for half an hour & felt a little dispondent that everyone else going would have now all met up, maybe making clicks & I'd walk in tomorrow a stranger. I put it to the back of my mind as I read the magazine Ruth had lent me.

I crawled into bed at 10, absolutely cream crackered, excited, nervous, wondering what the next day might hold.........

......pop back tomorrow to find out! (it does get more interesting :-)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

CCWCC - Altered Noel

It is my pleasure & Honour to be joining in with the Creative Craft World Christmas Countdown 2011. The standard of projects are amazing, beautiful & theres something for everyone.
So on with my project...
I bought this letters in January, super cheap, yet again they're back in fashion & you can pick some up in most shops selling christmas decorations. I dont know about you but black & sparkly just doesnt say "Christmassy" to me, even if I do have a black christmas tree. They screamed out to be altered.
To start off with sand all the glitter off, & rough the other painted surfaces a bit with sand paper - this gives the 1st coat something to stick to.
See, its not perfect,  it doesnt need to be as long as theres no glitter left giving a nice smooth surface to work on.
Paint the letter, I used spray paint. Do as many coats as necessary to cover the letter following the instructions on the paint.

 Now to pick some pretty papers, I chose a sheet with words & positioned my letter so  "Jingle Bells" would remain whole. I drew around with a thick black pen so you could see it easily, I wouldnt recommend doing this yourself, use a fineline pen or a pencil, otherwise you'll be having to wipe pen off your letters. Dont worry about little mistakes, I didnt :-)
Cut inside of the line & stick onto the letter. I used modge podge, and then covered it all over with a couple of coats. Now you can decorate. I added ribbons, charms, highlighted images with glossy accents, & embellishments.
Here is 3 sets I did to give you a few more ideas.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Rocking MY World Friday

Hi all **waves** running a bit behind this week, but I'm here, I'm commited & here we go :-)

First off paracetamol, ibrufen, olbas oil & pepsi are ROCKING my world. I have a touch of the flu (yes I'm ill again, its that flammin' time of year) but I am NOT complaining about it ... welll, not to you guys, to my other half, but not you guys :-) ... its that lil bit frustating kind of flu, the kind that saps your energy, makes your glands ache & swell, & leaves you breathing through your mouth for a few days/weeks. Medication is dealing with it nicely though & the caffeine in pepsi helps keep my energy levels high enough for a short time to do a few jobs - so yay, while medicated I'm feeling pretty good :-)

Halloween is always fab, I love it - so I dont repeat myself to my regular readers if you wanna see what we got upto please check out HERE and HERE

Kids are back to school, yay! I love them being off but I also love them going back, I know I'm fickle. I especially like having time to myself at this time of year as it means I can get on with christmas projects (in theory); Whether that means buying presents, making presents, ornaments, planning activities or just day dreaming, its all good.

Mmmmm, posh cake. I had promised Kai a slice of cake & a drink at druckers after he'd seen me bring one home that my Mom had bought. He was very good while we got the few bits of shopping so we went in there afterwards. I can no longer eat a greggs vanilla/custard slice after having these...
its a Mille Feuille - or a double decker, buttery custard slice to you & me. Ryan was a tad gob smacked at the total price but we could actually only devour the bottom layer of these, so I asked for a box & took them home for pud that night.

A chip off the ol' block. I took Kai to our new 99p store & then went back with him & Ry a few days later. as we walked towards it Kai looks up & says "Look Daddy, theres that lovely 99p store". Shows he's got my liking for these cheap shops, lol.

Treating ourselves to a meal out. With a day child free (well, between school times anyway), Ryan & I decided to treat ourselves to a meal out - we opted for Pizza Hut for their buffet as its fairly reasonably priced, we never leave wanting more & can get away with a light snack in the evening.
It gave us a nice bit of "time out", on Rys day off we're usually either doing jobs or concentrating on our own hobbies so its nice to put time aside for each other.

So whats been Rocking your world this week, do come & join in over at Celtic House

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Photo booth

Many of my Pinterest followers would have already guessed I was planning on making a photobooth due to the items I've been pinning.

I basically cut the front off the box we had the washing machine delivered in & wallpapered the inside of it (the box, not the washing machine). The central piece of the box (the back) I covered in blue tissue paper to try & resemble the blue background you can get in photobooths.

I printed out several halloween images such as mouths & attached a stick covered in white tissue paper (they were originally green which looked awful so I covered them) Other props I cut out of coloured card, sometimes adding embellishments.

I set up the "photobooth" with a stool inside & my camera set up on a mini tripod & a table. Then I got the kids to take it in turns posing ... heres what they came up with with the props

Kai even began adding his own props.

The kids had great fun with it so watch this space as I'm sure we'll be taking some more shots with different props soon.

Halloween Fun

As many of my long term readers know I love Halloween (or as I & many others call it, Samhain). I dont take my kids out trick or treating as I'd rather not take them out in the dark to knock on strangers doors for sweets, it holds all sorts of morally dodgy arguements but I sha'nt go into those. So instead, while Zack was at school I took Kai to his friends house that we'd been invited to & had a lovely day there. Kai dressed up as Mario...
...& I dressed up, minimalistically, as a witch. By minimalistically I dont mean I was half naked, that would have been a Halloween Horror, I mean I wore one of my long black skirts, blouse, green eyeshadow & black shoes. What made it more witch like was my purple & black striped tights, & my little witches hat I'd made...
.....which I slipped onto a head band...

We got home & I put the finishing touches to one of the main events of the evening.... my photobooth & halloween props! I shall show you these in a little while on another post as its rather picture heavy.

I then helped the kids make chocolate apples...
I stuck lollipop sticks into the apples before covering them with melted chocolate....
...before placing them onto baking parchment & allowing the kids to decorate with raisins, hundreds & thousands, and sprinkles.
These set in the fridge while we ate our tea of worms & eyeballs (spaghetti & meatballs)

While everyone settled down quietly I carved the pumpkin

One of my favourite movie characters "you're jokin', you're jokin', I cant believe my eyes"
**wanders off humming**


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