Saturday, 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011...

...and Hello to 2012!!!
In just a few hours time we will be listening to Big Ben chiming in a brand new year - to be honest it seems only a short time ago that we were bidding farewell to 2010 - where has this year gone?

So what did 2011 mean to me...

My only resolution for the year was to pay more attention to my blog and despite PC troubles, Blogger issues etc. I think I have managed to do that. It certainly helped that back in Apr/May I took the plunge and entered my very first challenge...and won! Coming up with ideas for different challenges helped with the crafting motivation and also brought me into contact with lots of new crafters. The different challenge sites have also encouraged me to try different styles - this time last year I would have said "CAS - me?...never!" but I gave it a go and from time to time I do manage to come up with designs that I'm really fond of (was a great way of dealing with bulk Chrimbo card makes).

I got to try my hand at being a guest DT for Creative Craft World - it was great fun but also scared me silly LOL - how do folk cope with this week in/week out and for multiple DTs.

I've met some lovely new crafty folk via the web and been very lucky to gain lots more followers this year - thank you all for visiting my little bit of cyberspace. For some reason I have been having trouble visiting some of the blogs that I normally follow (She - Rubber Addict, June - Dezinaworld, Jacqui - Cats Whiskers, are just a couple that spring to mind) they seem to 'freeze' and I find I can't scroll through the posts or leave comments - sorry folks.

I've been very lucky healthwise (says she sitting here typing with a heavy cold & cough) - I know many of you out there have had lots of health problems to deal with and I hope the New Year brings better fortune for you all in this.

Whilst health has been okay, life in general has been quite stressful (on-going personal issues that I won't go into here) and work has been a nightmare. The year started with me being one of 3 junior managers - each of us with 10 or 11 staff each. Almost immediately one manager went on long-term sick absence so we were down to two dealing with the same overall number of staff (I managed to end up with the bulk). Come July and the other manager needed to re-locate for family reasons so by August there was just me with 30 staff - to say I have been feeling like a hampster on a wheel is putting it mildly. Never have I appreciated the chance to endulge in fun craft sessions/classes more - Dawn, Andy, Helen & Pauline you don't know what a lifeline you have been - thank you.

Family has brought with it different issues - Mum's health has been up & down but she doesn't let it get her down. Kristy being over in Germany with her hubby Dan not knowing from one moment to the next whether he still had a job has brought home how little control we have on certain aspects of our lives - but it has also shown how important a listening ear, time for a chat...just being there, really is. By the way, Dan is okay, he has been reassigned and the pair of them will be staying in Germany for the next few years - just what they hoped for.

What do I hope for in 2012...

Less stress!!! Although working in the area of the Olympic Park (East London) I don't see that happening any time soon. I am not looking forward to 10 weeks of public transport disruption or the crowds of people all trying to battle their way to various events. I also don't see any easing of things at work this side of Easter.

More crafting!!! At some point this year I want to try and sort out my crafting space and get a bit more organised. I need some decent storage so that I can actually find what I'm looking for and hopefully this will also minimize the duplication of items bought because I 1) couldn't find 2) forgot I had.

I need to take stock of what I want from life and what is important to me. Family, health, security...are all things at the top of the list.

I won't be making any resolutions as such as I don't want to stress-out over doing or not doing stuff.

What I will do is wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy 2012 and hope that what you wish for in the coming year comes your way.

Happy New Year folks............................

Friday, 30 December 2011

1000 Posts...

...and to celebrate I am entering the last challenge of the year over at "The Paper Shelter".

The Paper Shelter recently celebrated their birthday by having a blog hop and I was lucky enough to be one of the winners and decided to have the 'Winter Princess' digi image - isn't she pretty...
The challenge was to use a bow on the creation, so that's what I've done.
My little princess has been coloured with Copics and a bit of bling added in the form of Stickles.
The bow is made from my favourite crystal ribbon in a lovely blue shade that I've used on a number of previous occasions. The snowflake charm came on a card of 6 winter charms that I got in the 99p Store.
The silver roses were part of a spray that I bought a while back in Hobbycraft and they are nestled onto a bed of white punched fir sprigs (Martha Stewart).
I didn't go mad with the stickles on this one, just using them to give the snow a bit of sparkle and to add glitz to the princess' tiara.

This could be used for either a Christmas card or a winter birthday.................

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Just one...


That's the challenge that has been set over at "Less is More" as the last challenge for 2011.

I managed to pick up a pack of Papermania bare chipboard shapes (Christmas) for just £1 in the sales and the word 'Joy' seemed just the thing to use.
The base card is smooth white CS, A5 folded in half and then embossed with the 'Crafts-Too' folder - Snowflake Banner. I saw this folder used some time ago and soooooooooooo wanted one but it seems to have been a bit of a seasonal 'must-have' because everywhere I went I just missed the last one. I thought I would never get one but I did manage to nab one on the Friday before Christmas...result!
I coloured the word 'Joy' with my Crimson Copic pen and mounted it to the card with 3D foam - it was the perfect size for the centre panel. I then stickled the edges to give a bit of sparkle.
I think this folder is beautiful and doesn't really need very much added - the snowflake detail around the edge is lovely. It is the sort of design that doesn't just have to be used for Christmas - I think it will make a beautiful background for winter birthdays too.

Well that's my entry to the challenge - hope you like..............................

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Ruffles & Bling...

...and lots of colours.

When I bought my first yarn to make these ruffle scarves I thought how quick and easy they were and would make super gifts - the problem however was that I only knew of one local source and I had just bought the last two balls.

Whilst attending a meeting at our Southend office I ventured out to a small shop that was mentioned to me and I found the same style yarn but not a very inspiring range of colours and to make matter worse the price was higher (and as I knitted it I found the quality wasn't great) - I went for a red/black mix which was the only colour I liked and I had promised someone a ruffle scarf as a gift.

I then found that my local wool shop was stocking this style of yarn and in a lovely range of colours so I bought a selection...
...and despite only getting the yarn on 23 December - I was able to get a couple of gifts made.
Mum and my sister each received one of these scarves - Autumn colours for Sis and a Blue/green mix for Mum.
On the same day I also popped to Barleylands to see if there were any bits I could add to the presents and Denise had received another delivery which included this lovely yarn with the silver edging...a couple of balls just happened to find their way into my basket.

Despite the lurex the yarn is still very soft and I managed to get this made so that I could wear it on Christmas Day - I mean, a girl has to have a bit of bling at Christmas............................

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day...

...what does it mean for you?

Will you be dashing off to the sales and battling with the crowds all looking for that 'must have' bargain...or...will you be taking things easy and munching your way through that mountain of food that still greets you when you venture into the kitchen or dare to open the fridge.

Every year I say I'm not going to buy tons of stuff and even though I think I have cut back, there still seems to be loads of the stuff - does it multiply overnight?

Boxing Day in our family was always more 'chilled' than Christmas Day - no trying to create the perfect feast, no trying to keep the peace over what to watch - Boxing Day is way more 'layed-back'.

Out come the...
...mince pies that everyone forgot about and the main meals of the day consist of...
...pickles, cold meats...
...pork pies and...
...the cheese board.

The only 'cooking' that takes place is a quick rustling up of "Bubble & Squeek" to have with the cold meats, cheese & pickles...or a quick zap in the microwave to heat the remains of the Christmas pud.

Growing-up, it was sometimes a case of popping round to Aunty & Uncles at tea time (they came to us Chrismas morning - we went to them Boxing evening) as there was no driving involved...we lived at number 18 they lived at number 4. However, as we all grew-up traditions changed and we all moved away to create our own homes and new traditions.

We seem to have gone full circle and are now back with the slower paced day of 'help yourself catering' and just general chilling out.

I hope you all had fabulous Christmas Days and are now able to take things a little easier. How do you spend your Boxing Day..................................

Sunday, 25 December 2011

All lit up...

...and set in place.

As promised, here is the tree all let and merrily decorated.
The tree is a wicker cone that I covered with lights (from the inside) and I've collected a few decorations that now hang in place.
A couple of the decorations are embroidered ones that I've picked up in the sales.
There are also a number of felt decorations.
This little card came all the way from USA - my lovely friend Lynn (Stevens) sent me this lovely creation and it matches beautifully with my tree.
This fun little Santa is a tealight holder and do you see the magazine trees...

There is nothing lovelier than a lit Christmas tree whether it be big or small.............................

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ready and Waiting...

...for the lights to be switched on.

Yep, I know this is a bit dark but I tried to take a pic of the tree without the lights on...and when I went to take a pic with them on the camera battery ran out.
So you have a very dark photo (I hope to post a 'lit' version as soon as the batteries have re-charged).
The birdcage I use to display some of my LOs has been given a bit of a festive make-over with some bits and pieces that I have collected throughout the year (ain't January sales and Christmas in July wonderful LOL).

I just love this Santa garland that I got from 'Past Times' last January... my bloggy friends, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope Santa brings you all that you wish for and may 2012 be a happy, healthy, crafty year for all. Enjoy the holidays.........................

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Season's Greetings... one and all.

I am about to start a lovely long break from work (don't return until 9 Jan) which is great because I will be able to catch up with my blog hopping.

Down side is that apart from the days I am over at Mum's I won't be able to post anything as my home PC still won't publish posts on Blogger.
I will try to get a load of posts prepared and then schedule them to appear over the holiday period.

I hope you all have wonderful holidays and that Santa brings you all the stash and goodies that you have requested - have a lovely time............................

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


...lucky, me.

On Tuesday at our weekly team gathering (10 mins to share good news, important info etc.) I was presented with this... my staff along with the stern warning "No tears, please".

I manage a large team of clerical support staff (20 directly and another 7 in-directly). Considering I never wanted to be a manager - I was more than happy working on my own collecting & collating statistics - I have ended up with one of the largest teams in our building. Managing such a large number has its headaches and there are times when I would cheerfully bash a few heads together if I could but on the whole they are a great bunch and I would willingly defend them all against whinging from folk who get paid an awful lot more than they do. From time to time they really amaze me by their willingness to take on additional duties and ownership of problems which they proceed to deal with on their own initiative.

On this occasion I was told I had to open the contents of the gift bag...which I did thinking it consisted of some chocolates and Buck's Fizz and a couple of cards for which I thanked them all.........."No, open the little envelope as well!" say I was overwhelmed was an understatement - £45 in vouchers for my favourite craft store.
It would appear they did some on-line detective work, knowing that I regularly visit the Craft Village at Barleylands, and came up trumps.

Every year I have given my staff a small gift - usually a scarf, sweets or a diary - this year is no different other than I have a much bigger team to cater for.
I had to keep the wrapping quick and simple otherwise I'd have still been wrapping this time next year LOL...................................

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Knit one...

...or maybe three.

Sorry the photo on this is rather fuzzy but the light this morning is terrible.

With Christmas just 5 days away it would be hoped that most of the gift buying/making would be complete...I wish. Although I had good intentions, I made a planner, I've been making things throughout the year - I still arrive at the week before Christmas and find the need to make a load more cards and the odd few extra gifts wouldn't go a-miss.

Luckily I found a store that still had stocks of yarn that knits up into the ruffle scarves that seem to be very popular at the moment. As they only take a couple of hours to knit I've managed to make another couple and as you can see...
...number three is well on the way.

For those of you who knit, you still have time to make one or two of these - they really are that easy and quick. Just eight stitches and all garter (plain) knit on size 8mm fancy work, the yarn does it all for you.

I hope to get another couple done by the weekend.

Over at Kerryanne English's blog her "Simply Christmas" event is encouraging folk to share how they are preparing for Christmas and what lovely goodies they have made. Do take a moment to pop over there and see the lovely things...................

Monday, 19 December 2011

The last Sunday...

...before Christmas.

Mum wanted to make one last trip to Basildon before Christmas and to be honest I was dreading it - I normally avoid large shopping areas at all cost this close to the festivities...but we went.

Surprisingly, it was easy getting parked and there didn't seem to be that many folk about - we soon found why.

The queues in the stores were awful.

We didn't stop long but it was long enough for Mum to get her last bits-n-pieces.

The day was bitter and we had some pretty heavy sleety down-pours which was one of the reasons these folk were taking shelter inside the shopping centre - bet their knees were cold LOL

Considering it was the last Sunday before Christmas and the last weekend many folk have for doing their festive shopping - it was surprising to see Debenhams closed & shuttered...wonder why? (couldn't see any signs to say why they were closed).

The town centre had several market stalls (some from the Farmer's market) but they didn't seem to be doing much trade.

In fact, despite the decorations there wasn't much of a 'Christmassy' feeling anywhere.

I have my cards sorted, the decorations are still not up and I still have some gifts to what's new...the usual last minute dash to complete everything ready for The Day..............................

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I think I got a bit...

...carried away LOL

The challenge over at "Less is More" is a one layer card with the theme 'Let it Snow'. As you can see I really did get a bit carried away as I needed to make another 20 cards...
5x5inch cream card blanks were used and stamped with the Clarity stamp 'sprucescape' using "iced spruce" distress ink pad from the Winter collection stack.
As you can see, I've done the cards so that they stand 'tent fold'.

I was going to use my glitter snow writer to give the effect of snow on the trees but after doing two I was getting cramp in my hand from trying to squeeze the bottle - I resorted to good old stickles.
This was the card that I actually did for the challenge. Whilst it is the same basic design I went for a bit more detail. I double stamped the image - once using iced spruce and once using evergreen bough (both from the Winter stack) and then used the residue to stamp again to create a misty shadow.
I don't think it shows very well in the photo but I also used the snow writer to create the effect of snowflakes falling.

I really can't believe that with all the Christmas cards I have made this year I have still found myself in this position of making more at the last minute LOL - such is life...........................

Lili's Little Fairies...

...challenge blog.

The Lili of the Valley challenge blog has come to an end but before you start getting upset...Bev & Jacqui will be continuing the challenge blog under the new name of "Lili's Little Fairies"
The web address stays the same as the old LOTV challenge blog so you shouldn't have any problems finding the site.

To celebrate the new blog there is candy up for grabs - see the button on my side bar - so hop over there and check things out. You can even grab the new 'button' whilst you are go on...go take a look.......................

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Oh heck...

...where has the time gone.

Despite the countdown at the top of my blog I have still managed to find myself this close to Christmas with a load of cards yet to write, presents to buy, shopping to do.

I'm sure someone has been stealing the odd hour here and there - HOW can Christmas be this close???
I haven't even got the decorations up at home yet (the office is nicely decorated though...LOL).

The weather has turned really cold and damp which doesn't encourage a fun, light-hearted attitude when all you want to do in snuggle up somewhere warm and forget about the outside world.

Perhaps if I'm not too late getting home I might try and get some decs out or even write some cards. I'll let you know how I get on....................

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Oh Christmas tree...

...Oh Christmas tree.

These little trees have been appearing all over the web - some have been left plain (like mine) others have been decorated in a mutlitude of different ways.

Why are folks interested in these?

They are quick, easy and everyone has the basic materials to hand - a magazine. Yep this little tree is created from a magazine and all you need to do is fold the pages...
My tree was made from two copies of a TV magazine - I used two copies placed back-to-back to give it a bit more bulk.
The folding takes a little while to do but is quite easy.
One of the good things with using a magazine is that it is already coloured so you really don't need to do much else unless you want to.

The Friday inspiration post over on Kerryanne English's blog for the "Simply Christmas" event shows lots of super ideas that folk have come up with - do have a look at all the lovely creations that are out there............................

Day 12...

...has arrived at "Catch the Bug".

Instead of 12 Drummers drumming the challenge is to create a card using a Christmas song as the inspiration.
This cutie of a snowman has always made me think of the song 'Frosty the Snowman' so I thought it was just right for this challenge.
Think I might have gone overboard with the stickles as you can only see 'Frosty' if you hold the card at the right angle LOL The lettering on the card has been done by hand using a silver Metallic marker.

Well that's it for the 12 Days of Christmas challenge over at Catch the Bug - it was fun taking part and great seeing what everyone came up with...................

Day 11...

...over at "Catch the Bug".

The challenge this time is to use plaid on the creation.
So here is my little elf from the Christmas Blocks collection of images.
Layered on a matt of red plaid paper from a very old stack that I found in my stash.
The image has been coloured with Copic pens and Letraset gold Metallic marker. A few areas have been highlighted with stickles.

Do pop by the challenge site to see what the DT and other folk came up with..........................


...the Progressive challenges are now up to part 8 over at CDAC.

The theme this time relates to how "animals hold our hearts" and this cute little dog was supplied by 'just some lines'.
The base card is black bazzill CS and the background matt is a piece of decorative CS from Kanban.
The digi image has been coloured using Copic pens and I have used the green Letraset Metallic marker to edge it so that it blends with the background.

Why don't you hop over to the CDAC site and see all the things they have going on over there..............................

Monday, 12 December 2011

Day 10...

...over at "Catch the Bug".

Rather than 10 Lords a leaping the theme for today is a masculine card.

Most boys will have played with toy soldiers at some time so I thought this image was just right - it is actually the Nutcracker from the ballet The Nutcracker Suite but I think he fits the bill.
A row of these images looks like a row of tin soldiers.
The images have been coloured using Copic pens and the Letraset Metallic markers in Gold. Each image has been mounted in its own panel and edged with the gold marker. Hope you like.....................