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Friday, 31 July 2015

If you ever get the chance...

...to visit my neck of the woods - you must visit Barleylands.

I normally park in the main car park and then cut through to the craft village via the office car park.

However, last weekend was members weekend at Pinnacle crafts and Farmer's Market day so I thought I would go in via the main entrance and take some photos.

This is what welcomes visitors to the craft village...
,,,quite an impressive entrance from the visitor's car park.
As you pass under the welcome sign you can see the walk-way that takes you into the village...
 ...and leads you to the large green where I often sit when the weather is lovely.
Just as you are approaching the green this is where most of the market stalls start...
...Giggly Pig is a regular and they sell the most wonderful sausages - so many fabulous varieties.
A glance back towards the entrance and you can see the barn that is used by some of the stalls...
...it tends to be used more in the bad weather as it can actually be quite chilly in there so folk tend to mainly use it when it is wet. The barn has been extended and renovated to incorporate additional units and the ground floor of the part with the windows houses a glass jewellery making business who have some lovely items on display in the windows.

The Farmer's Market is held on the second & last Saturday of the month and it all helps to add to the fun & enjoyment of visiting - there is the most wonderful muffin stall and they do some of the most delish flavours..............................................................................

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Happy Birthday Sis...

...hope you have a good one.

A short while ago, I shared this coloured Saturated Canary image with you...
...and I said at the time it would be perfect for my Sister's birthday card.
Well here is the card all done...
...the base is a pearl CS card blank and then the image was mounted on some turquoise Bazzill. A bit of washi tape down the spine and a few gems - sorted.

At the moment the sun is shining so fingers crossed she will be able to take Lexi for a couple nice strolls rather than trudging through the rain.

Happy Birthday little sister...............................................................................

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

I don't think...

...I've introduced you to Lexi.

Lexi is my sister's Jack Russell.

She was a rescue placement and when she first arrived she was a bag of bones and very skittish.

This little madam has certainly made herself at home and as you can see...
 ...biscuit munching is far more important than coming when called.
It was as much as I could do to get her to look up from the task in hand...
...after all, what could be more important than tucking in to a bowl of biscuits.

She is now at a healthy weight and has decided that a 'walk' means a trek around most of the estate - not just to the park & back (much to my sister's dismay).

At my most recent visit, Lexi decided to honour me by jumping up on my lap and then proceeded to make herself comfy for a snooze. She is also a cheeky little thing. She knows most visitors sit in the armchair by the window so when I arrived she made a bee-line for the chair to retrieve a biscuit & toy that she had hidden behind the cushion.

Lexi has settled in and I know that my sister finds her good company - even if she does grumble about the length of the walks.................................................................... 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Done and...

...decorated.

Here is the completed box...
 ...I decided not to use the roses I had made but to go with Sue Wilson's Finishing Touches dies "Delicate daisies". I used some solid and some cut-out...
 ...with Creative Expressions Blue Dazzlers as centres. The scattering of tiny flowers were cut from the PP waste after die-cutting the daisies. I used a tiny Woodware punch and then used a WACO Pearl Maker in cream to make the centres. Talking of pearls...
 ...the box lid was edged with loads of the things. Creative Expressions do the pearls on a yard-long adhesive strip and I thought this would help to strengthen the corners.

The roses didn't make it onto the album either...
...although I'm not a great fan of Tattered Lace dies this one was perfect...
 ...a few dazzlers to bling it up and a scattering of the tiny flowers again...
 ...some matching Card Candi from Craftwork Cards to hide the album rivets...
...and few tiny flowers trailing round to the back and it is all done.

The inside of the album will be a mix of decorated grey-board pages and some 6x6 page protectors - once I sort out my photos.

These Craftwork Cards PPs are fabulous. I love the colours and the quality of the paper is super - almost like a thin card (perfect for punching & die cutting).

This was not a cheap project as I went overboard with the pearls and the dies were new (the daisies were planned but the mask wasn't LOL). However, it is Pinnacle Crafts members weekend this weekend so everything was 30% off - a great saving.

I surprised even myself at how quickly I can get something done if I really want to..........................

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Okay; so I couldn't wait...

...to break into my Craftwork Cards paper stack.

You knew I wouldn't - didn't you.

Having it sat on the "stroking" corner of the desk was a BIG mistake as it was crying out to be used.

So one constructed box and a covered Bo-Bunny Bare Album later...

This is what I have...
 ...the box base has been lined and the lid covered but no decoration yet. The album has been covered and this photo shows some idea of decoration...
...but nothing is glued down yet and I'm still trying to decide on flowers or perhaps cutting out one of the masks to place across the corner - decisions, decisions.

A work in progress to be sure because once the box & album cover are finished there are all the grey-board pages to cover & decorate. Just a 'little' task to add to the list LOL.........................................

Thursday, 23 July 2015

I love mugs...

...in fact I have loads of them.

The addiction doesn't quite run to the numbers that my pen collection has reached but it is still pretty large.

I'm rather partial to country cottage styles and Duck-egg blue is one of my current colours of choice.

Over at the Shabby Art Boutique, the lovely Kerryanne English has been making us drool over these...
Greengate products available at http://www.woodberrydesigns.com.au/GreenGate.htm
...a range of lovely items from GreenGate. I fell in love with this latte mug and china spoon and although Kerryanne stocks these wonderful items, postage from Australia is likely to be rather steep - so I went web browsing.

There doesn't seem to be many places in the UK that stock this brand and certainly none near to my location. Prices are also rather high - this mug is retailing for about £15 here in the UK. So as the style is very similar to that of Cath Kidston and there is a store at Westfield near where I work, I decided to pay the shop a visit on my way into work.

You won't be surprised to find that I came away with this...
 ...a designer carrier bag containing a "Button Spot" mug but it didn't stop there...
...I also popped into John Lewis and in their Cath Kidston section they had a large dot turquoise mug (to the back of the photo) that also ended up coming home with me.

Whilst I love the GreenGate range and if money was no object I would buy a selection in the blink of an eye, I am very pleased with my purchases. Even more so because both of these mugs together came to less than the price of one GreenGate.

I'm still on the look out for some co-ordinating china latte spoons. John Lewis was totally lacking in anything of this nature and there was no way that I was spending £10 on a set of four Cath Kidston teaspoons that I didn't really like. Never mind, I'll keep looking.......................................................

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

I was lucky enough...

...to be one of the daily winners - yipeeeee!!!

My entry for the Monday challenge of "Christmas in July" was chosen as a second place winner.



All the winners can be seen over at the Catch the Bug blog.

I get to pick 7 digis from the Bugaboo website so that could take me a while LOL

I was sent a lovely winners badge but you all know me and my 'techy' abilities - for some reason I can't get it to copy onto here...ho hum.

Well, I know what I will be doing when I get home from work............................................

EDT: The techy numpty that I am, I managed to link to another copy of the image above - sorry. The link should now be sorted and should take you through to the challenge blog.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

I just couldn't...

...resist.

Pinnacle Crafts at Barleylands had this Craftwork cards paper stack...

...the colours are fabulous and the images wonderful - there was even matching card candi.

I have a few ideas about what I want to make with this but I also have a collection of UFOs that I need to finish off first.

So for the time being, it is sitting on my desk so that I can have a flick through it from time to time and give the pages the occasional stroke.......................................................................

Friday, 17 July 2015

This week has been...

...very hectic.

It has been murder at work but I was determined to participate in the Bugaboo Stamps "Christmas in July" and I'm pleased to say that I completed all 7 challenges.

The previous post contains details of each day's challenge and a photo of my make for that day.



There was a bit of a glitch with the last challenge because we were supposed to use the Friday Freebie image and the contents of one of the above presents...I think the gremlins invaded the system and as a result we were allowed to use any image as long as we used the contents of our chosen present.

I tried to be very organised this time and had coloured a large selection of Bugaboo Christmas images in preparation for the event. With only limited time available each day, this really helped as all I had to do was select the appropriate elements and construct my make for each challenge.

There is something fun & quirky about this event and I'm really pleased that I was able to complete it this year...............................................................

Monday, 13 July 2015

Christmas in July...

...with Catch the Bug & Bugaboo Stamps.

This is a week-long event with a new challenge everyday.

Here are each of the daily challenges and I will add in the photo of my completed items as I finish them and get them uploaded. The day of the week in each challenge title will be linked up to the relevant post over at "Catch the Bug"...

Saturday, July 11 – A Theme Challenge - Jingle all the way 
I decided to decorate an old jingle snowflake decoration. The image was coloured with a mix of Copics, Distress Markers and Cosmic Shimmer Iridescent Watercolour paint. A recycled decoration ready for use this year at work.
Sunday, July 12 - Sketch

 
 This is my take on the sketch using a 6x6 pearl CS card blank, Turquoise Bazzill, Kraft card, Copics , Distress Markers, Cosmic Shimmer Sparkle Pearl PVA and some adhesive gems.
Monday, July 13 - Color Challenge

 
The colour combo for this challenge was fabulous - so great being able to colour Santa in non-traditional colours. Another 6x6 pearl CS card blank, topped with some turquoise Bazzill and apple coloured PP. A matt of very dark blue holographic miri-card and the image coloured using Copics.


Tuesday, July 14 - New Release + Recipe Challenge:
3 Embellishments, 2 Designer papers, 1 Ribbon/Twine 
My 3 embellishments are 2 flowers and a diamant√© buckle. The two designer papers were from my stash so I haven't a clue what brand they are and I used some jute ribbon. Do you think "JJ" is heating up another batch of mulled wine?
Wednesday, July 15 - Humor Me Wednesday + BINGO
 
I think this "JJ" image is so funny and perfect for a guys Christmas card. I used the bottom line from the Bingo card - Sparkly/glitter texture paste on the fur & bobble of the hat - Ribbon/jute Christmas ribbon - Snowflake/there is a snowflake in the place of the "O" of NOEL on the ribbon.
Thursday, July 16 - Oldie But Goodie + Photo Challenge 
 
This photo challenge had to have a Santa on the beach. A fairly simple card - kraft card blank, image coloured with a mix of Copics and Distress Markers and a hand cut palm tree. 
Friday, July 17 - Friday Freebie + Pick A Present Challenge
(Use the freebie & pick a present below for items to include on your project)
 

The image for this card should have been the "Friday Freebie" which was a super cute Rudolph but the was a bit of a glitch over at the Bugaboo site so we were told we could use any image as long as we still used the 'extras' that were from the present we had picked. I went with this sweet image as it contained stars and then I added some gems - my present was Stars/Image/Gems.
 
As each challenge is completed, I will link it up to the appropriate "In-linkz" section. So for this week, there will just be this post but it will be added to...ALL DONE

Why don't you play along too...(did you?)..................................................................

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Snow, snow, snow...

...and more snow.

Don't panic folks, we haven't had a freak turn-around in the weather - we are still heading for some hotter temps (if the weatherman has got it right), this photo was taken in February 2012...
...and I just wanted to set the scene as the Bugaboo Christmas in July event kicks off today.

If the hot/humid weather has been getting to you or you are having to stay inside because your hay-fever is still bad. Why not take advantage of the situation and get a few things made for Christmas.

I'm sure all you creative crafters will still manage to turn out a few cards even though you may be sat in front of the TV watching the tennis as Wimbledon roles to an end.

Get yourself started on those Chrimbo makes and have a bit of fun too..............................................

Friday, 10 July 2015

What a week...

...this has been.

Full of ups & downs.

Just a week ago today, we were observing a minutes silence to show our support of the families who had lost loved ones in the horrific act of terrorism that had taken place in Tunisia.

The terrifying thing was that my niece had been on holiday out there with a group of friends last month at a location just over an hour away from where all those folk lost their lives.

This was the photo that she took of the sunset on her last evening on holiday...
...seeing this lovely peaceful scene, you can't believe that such awful things could happen.

Saturday I sat in the sunshine at Barleylands, colouring.

On the Sunday the mood was far more up-beat as we saw footage of the crowds trying to get a glimpse of Princess Charlotte on the day of her christening.

Monday was fairly up-beat too. 10 years ago on 6 July, the UK was celebrating being awarded the 2012 Olympic games. I can remember the fabulous party atmosphere on the square outside Stratford station (East London) where they had a stage and a huge TV screen. several of our athletes were there leading the crowds in the celebrations as they saw the announcement made on the huge screen.

Tuesday saw us observing yet another minutes silence in remembrance of the 52 people who lost their lives as a result of the bombings that took place on the morning of 7/7 in London in the aftermath of the previous night's celebrations about the Olympics. I was caught up in the public transport disruption that day but luckily was nowhere near any of the sites where the bombs went off. It wasn't until I finally reached work that I found out what had happened and it became a very frightening day. On police advice, offices were put on lock-down and folk were not allowed to leave their buildings for safety. Communication networks went into meltdown as folk were trying to contact loved ones to ensure they were safe. We had folk reporting to our office as they could not get to their locations in central London and many were panic stricken because they could not let family know they were okay or check that their friends/family were okay. There were a lot of frightened people that day.

Wednesday saw the start of disruption across London as the Underground system prepared for a day of strike action on the Thursday. Although I had to change my route of travel to avoid possible problem areas, I have to say that the only problem I encountered was the extra time it took to complete my journey because I was taking a bit of a roundabout route to get to work. It was the first time that I had travelled on the Stratford to Romford line since TFL rail took it over and I have to say I was very impressed at the calm professionalism demonstrated by their staff. They were friendly, encouraging and extremely helpful. There were also plenty of them - clearly visible and quick to help folk that were confused or lost. They kept things moving and folk were completing their journeys without any of the hassle that was seen on the TV footage of events in central London. I managed to get home on Wednesday and to work on Thursday with the minimum of trouble. Well done TFL.

So here we are  at the end of the week and I was so pleased to get through Friday and back home ready for the weekend.

Let's hope that the coming week is far more up-beat.......................................................

Thursday, 9 July 2015

More colourful...

...planting.

This was one of the first raised beds to receive attention - it had become just a piece of packed dirt because folk had trampled through it. The addition of the large planter has certainly deterred folk...
...and with a bit of mixed planting (shrubs & bedding)...
 ...it looks wonderful next to the pedestrian crossing outside the Old Regent Ballroom.
Although Stanford-le-Hope was technically a small farming town, many of our older residents (born & raised in the area) refer to it as 'the village'...
 ...this building covered in ivy & Virginia creeper, is the pub that is directly across the road from the church at the end of my road. This section of the town is called "The Green" but in all the years I have lived in the area, there hasn't been a blade of grass to be seen. When I first moved here, the pub was called the Village Inn but when it was renovated some years later the name was changed to "The Inn on the Green" - namewise, technically correct but there hasn't been a green there for many, many moons.
The Green, King Street and the High Street all benefit from hanging basket posts that were installed a number of years ago...
 ...they all have varied coloured baskets which help to brighten the area and if you are wondering what those balls are...
...they are plastic topiary balls that contain fairy lights. They put in an appearance last Christmas but the lights weren't very bright. My photos don't show it but someone has crocheted woollen sunflowers (about 4" in diameter) and there are a couple tied around the hanging basket posts at about waist level - someone has obviously been very busy trying to add a bit of colour to the plain black post.

So there you have it, a bit more of the planting that brightens up my home town

There is a lot of history connected with this part of Essex. Much of the land that was turned into an oil refinery and is now part of the new Gateway Port development once belonged to the Boleyn family (the family of King Henry VIII's 2nd wife - Anne) and was part of an extensive deer park - perfectly located for the King to enjoy a ride down the Thames on the royal barge and then participate in some deer hunting.

A lot of our historical buildings were lost during the 1960s when little thought was given to history and heritage but if you take the time to have a wander round you can still locate a few gems. I love history and despite the continuing development of the area there is still a lot to appreciate (although there are times when this can be forgotten - especially when you see some of the eyesores that have been given planning permission). There are fields & woodland all within short distances and the Thames can be seen from the park just across the road.

So what do you like about where you live?...........................................................

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Where do you...

...craft?

We crafters utilise a wide variety of locations in order to carry out our crafting. Some have a dedicated craft space such as a room or shed, others take ownership of whatever space they can - dining tables, breakfast bars, the spare bed. If you can think of it, there is probably a crafter who is crafting there...

Over at the Stamping Ground, the lovely Julia has been encouraging crafters to 'share' their work space with Blogland every Wednesday for the last 6 years. Folk link-up each week to show in an event that is called "What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday".

However, there are other events around cyber-space too. One of these can be found over at "My Desert Cottage". It is an annual event held at this time of year in which a group of crafters open their craft spaces to the eyes of Blogland so that we can get ideas for creating our own spaces or just to sit and drool LOL

Although I have a table at the end of my lounge with a variety of storage, I still tend to use my computer desk in the study far more (probably because the table can't be seen for all the stash that is stacked there)...
...and surprisingly, this area is fairly tidy as I have been doing quite a bit of colouring lately and most of that has been done on my lap whilst sitting on the sofa.
The study is a nice space to use as it is where the PC is...
...but there isn't much of a view from the window - all you can see is the boundary fence and the side of next door neighbour's house which consists of a blank brick wall. It does have the advantage of being directly opposite the kitchen so it isn't too far to trip for an endless supply of coffee.

One of these days I might even get my craft area of the lounge sorted but to be honest, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you..........................................................................................

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Community planters...

...are blooming lovely.

A few years ago, the local Council built a raised bed using kerb stones in an effort to prevent the inconsiderate parking that was taking place outside our Post Office. It was becoming impossible for Mum's with buggies and disabled folk in wheelchairs to get along the pavement to the post office because of the way folk were mounting the pavement and leaving insufficient space for folk to get by without walking out into the road to go round them.

The raised bed stopped the cars blocking the pavement but folk still insisted upon parking on the double yellow lines and walking through the flower bed. Needless to say, the planting didn't last long and this was another reason that the Council decided to withdraw the funding for these beds.

When local traders took over responsibility this year for all local planting they had to think about this bed outside the post office as it would have been pointless to plant it up only to have folk trample all over it.

The solution was a row of wooden planters...
 ...which are coming along beautifully...
 ...and the planters are sat within the raised bed and the ground has been mulched with shingle.
There are notices on the planters explaining that they have been funded and provided by local traders and residents...
...and so far there doesn't appear to have been any vandalism but I did notice that some rubbish had been shoved in amongst the plants by ignorant folk who can't be bothered to use the rubbish bin that is located just to the right of the post box. What is it about folk that they have to spoil things for others?

The traders have done a wonderful job sorting out the planting around the town centre and they are currently working on the small garden with seating near the park. Let's hope the petty minded yobs in the area leave well alone.................................................................................

Monday, 6 July 2015

Fancy a bit of...

...Christmas in July?

Each year, the lovely folk over at "Catch the Bug" hold a week long challenge event to get you started on those Christmas cards and other Chrimbo projects.

As you can see...

...the fun starts next weekend.

If you want to join in, hop on over there to so that you can keep an eye out for the latest details.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will have time to do all the challenges this year (time kinda got away from me last year) as they are fun and they really do help to get you started on your Christmas makes..........................................................................

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Oh to have...

...a beautiful garden.

I would love to have the sort of garden that you see on TV - beautiful flower beds, tidy neat lawns and lovely patios with the perfect furniture for sitting out and enjoying said beautiful gardens.

However, I neither have the time, money or skill to create one of these wonders.

You can bet that the only time I have available for getting out in the garden will be stymied by heavy downpours. In addition to this, most plants that I have added to my garden have either given up the ghost or probably burrowed their way to Australia...

So it was with surprise that I snapped a shot of this from the bedroom window...
...a spike of creamy white bell shaped flowers on the Yucca plant.

Now when my sister moved into her present home there were several Yucca plants acting as a boundary between her front garden and her neighbour's. Every year she gets masses of these white flowers despite the fact that she pays very little attention to these plants. In fact, the most attention they get is when she decides to hack them back because the spiky leaves are encroaching on the pathway.

About 5 years ago (possibly longer) she thinned out the plants by just breaking away shoots from the base. I had about 6 of these shoots and as instructed dug small holes and heeled them in - 4 departed to the great plant gathering in the sky within a very short space of time but 2 actually took.

Apart from bushing out nicely and providing a nice spiky display of greenery in front of the shed they never did much until last year. Suddenly there were two flower spikes.

They didn't last long so I thought it was a fluke and didn't expect to see anything ever again.

I was wrong.

I think the mix of sun & drizzle followed by the more recent higher temperatures must be something that the Yuccas have been enjoying because I have flowers again - only one spike but I'm not complaining.

Not the best of photos but I had to snap it quick just so I had evidence that I don't manage to kill off everything in the garden LOL..........................................................................

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Another Bugaboo digi...

...my favourite "JJ".

The previous version of this image was coloured in a limited fashion - lots of white areas were left with just a bit of grey shading. This time I went for more colour...
...and she was such fun to colour.

Whilst I'm not keen on making the 'same' card over and over, I do love playing around with different colour combos on stamped/digi images. It doesn't always work (I finished off the "Steampunk Betty" that I started with the new Twisted Citron Distress Marker - not loving the result) but when colours do work, they can make an image look so very different.

I'm hoping the weather stays good today as I might get a chance to sit outside with my pens for a while....................................................................................