Followers

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Wishing you all...

...

Have a wonderful time everyone...................................................

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Last crop at...

...the Toby carvery.

Saturday was the last "Toby" crop for 2016 and it is unlikely there will be crops held there in 2017 (mounting problems with arrangements that I wont go into here).

Apart from trying out the Chalkola pens on some different surfaces I also had some Christmas cards to finish off.

However, before the 'finishing off' I had a play with the Cardio stamps that I bought at the Pinnacle Crafts November Member's weekend...
 ...the set is called "Vintage Christmas". I had also packed my Tapestry stamps...
 ...which if I remember rightly, I bought many moons ago at a trip to Ally Pally (they haven't seen ink for ages).
Having lightly drawn a circle on the card blank I then placed the Cardio stamps that I wanted to use in the place that they needed to be on the circle. I then pressed an acrylic block onto them so that they were ready for use in the exact place that I wanted - this also meant that I was able to reproduce the same layout on a batch of cards...
 ...the Tapestry stamps were used to create a wreath around the design. A fine-liner was used to add in the landscape and some Cosmic Shimmer Twinkles was used to give the 'snow' a bit of bling. A sentiment was then added to finish off.
I finally finished off my 'Brussel Sprout' card...
 ...I decided to use my snowman juggling penguins as the image to finish the card.
On a roll with the batch making...
...all laid out to allow the twinkles to dry. Here is a closer view...
 ...of the stamped design.
I have a variety of Hunkydory "Little Books" and thought this design would make the perfect topper for a card I wanted to make...
...a few layers, some ribbon and some flat-back gems and it was good to go.

I have been very late in actually writing my Chrimbo cards this year as suddenly there has been loads to do. Work has been hectic and everything has become a bit manic so before I forget...

Have a very Merry Christmas - one and all.........

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Chalkola review...

...part 2.

So I wanted to try the Chalkola ink markers on some different surfaces. I had already had a play on the whiteboards at work so now I wanted to try some glass and acetate.

One clean and dry jam jar at the ready and I was all set to see what I could do...
 ...the two packs of pens that I was sent - 'Earth' and 'Party' - provided a good selection of colours.
Starting with a white pen I created some 'snow' around the base of the jar...
 ...I wasn't sure what would be the best way of applying the colour - circle motion or straight strokes - it didn't really matter as the white gave a good coverage using either method.
Having let the white dry for a few moments...
 ...I had a go at adding a bare tree. Then a house...
 ...and I thought a fir tree was also needed. I added the green first of all...
 ...leaving gaps where the 'snow' would sit and then added the white to complete the look.
A second fir tree put in an appearance and then I let loose with the snow fall...
 ...the large bullet nib on the pens is perfect for applying the random dots...
 ...creating a pretty Winter scene ready to house a t-light.

The next thing I wanted to try with the pens was to see just how detailed an image I could get.

This adorable stamp is one I bought a while ago...
 ...and this is what it looks like coloured with my normal medium of choice - Copics...
 ...and as you can see, the shading is easy when you have almost 200 shades to chose from.
I placed a sheet of acetate over the stamped image and started to apply the Chalkola colours...
 ...starting with the hat. The pen sets I have been sent contain white but no grey so I used the pale blue to give texture to the fur trim - leaving the white to dry before adding the blue. The moisture of the pen ink does pick up a little of the previous colour but a quick scribble on a piece of scrap paper soon cleans that off. Across the two packs of pens there were two purples of different shades which helped to complete the hat. Having just one brown I had to use the cream coloured pen for the highlighted areas of the fur. I applied the cream first and when dry, went back with the brown. A bit of black & white for the nose & eyes and I was all done.
I found that by flipping the acetate over...
 ...the image from the reverse was more pleasing.
As for the t-light holder...


...not too bad is it.

The ink in the Chalkola pens applies smoothly and as long as you don't over prime the pens to get the ink flowing they give a nice even coverage. I found it easier to let each colour dry before moving on to the next colour - there will still be a bit of transference (especially on glass or acetate) but the lovely thing about these pens is that if you really don't like what has happened...grab a wet tissue or a wet-wipe and clean it off ready to start again.

The limited colours mean you have to think outside of the box a little bit. Users of Promarkers, Spectrum Noir or Copics will be used to having a much wider colour range at their finger tips but even with these limited colours it is still possible to create something quite detailed. You are not blending like you would with alcohol pens but laying the colours side by side. A little bit of blending does take place where colours overlap but I found things looked a bit messy if you tried to blend things on purpose - perhaps I just need a bit more practice but I feel these pens work best as they are.

Not sure what type of surface - it might even be a chalkboard.....................................................

Monday, 19 December 2016

I promised...

...so here they are.

Elaine (Chidkid) sent me some lovely goodies when I was lucky enough to win her giveaway...
 ...the box contained a pretty gift bag with the cute penguin card. Look what was inside...
...some adorable stamps, elastic string (now that was a lifesaver as I broke a bracelet and this came to my rescue), a tape dispenser elephant, pine cones, pearl brads, a lovely tag (perfect for a bottle) and a little zip bag.

Thank you so much Elaine. Hope you enjoy many more blog posts.................................

Thursday, 15 December 2016

More...

...Happy Mail.

I really wanted to have this post done last night with photos & all but due to the building site across the road, connectivity has been very 'hit & miss' for a few days.

Elaine King had a 'giveaway' to celebrate the number of posts on her blog and I was the lucky winner ***happy dance***

The postman very kindly hid it behind the plant pots by my front door late on Tuesday. I took some photos yesterday of all the lovely goodies with every intention of creating a post yesterday evening to share with you what the lovely Elaine had sent - my service provider had other ideas on the matter.

Having spent ages doing & re-doing the post because every so often the whole thing would freeze or just disappear...I finally gave up.

So this is just a quick post to say a BIG thank you to Elaine and when connectivity starts to play a bit nicer, I might even be able to load some photos.

Thank you Elaine........................................................

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Christmas lights...

...are appearing everywhere.

The old shopping mall in Stratford is all of a twinkle...
...in the same blue & white scheme that was used last year. Although not new, it does make the mall look pretty.
Closer to home, the shops in Stanford-le-Hope have these lovely lights on the lampposts outside...
 ...the simple tree design looks very effective. We also have lit wreaths on the hanging basket posts this year but I haven't yet been able to get a photo.
Back in Stratford, the Christmas tree has arrived on the plaza...
...I'm not sure that it is as tall as last year but it is certainly much wider at the base. It is a lovely focal point outside the station.

My sister has plenty of lights up this year as do many of her neighbours - I will have to get a few photos to share....................................................

Friday, 9 December 2016

It is a sorry state of affaires...

...that so many folk in the UK are needing to resort to food banks to make ends meet.

Not the sort of thing that you expect to see in this day & age - but unfortunately, a fact of life.

For the last few years a colleague of mine has organised a food bank collection at the office and this year was no different.

I set up a decorated collection point for him and keep an eye on the progress - keeping it tidy and highlighting items that we could do with more of.

This was the collection point for this year...
 ...the WRMK Alphabet punch board came in handy...
 ...and we had a good selection of festively decorated boxes ready to take the donations...
...and it didn't take long for those boxes to fill up...
 ...these photos were taken at the start of this week...
...but by yesterday when the goods were packed up to take to the food bank, you couldn't get anywhere near the original boxes (sorry, no photos as my camera battery went flat).

Folk in the office who were not able to purchase anything themselves were very generous in making donations for the "Big Shop" - over £300 was given in addition to the donated goods. This meant a group of colleagues headed off to the local supermarkets and did a mahooooosive great shop which was subsequently deposited by the collection point until arrangements could be made to get everything to the food bank. An army of staff then assisted in loading everything into a couple of office cars (it was a tight fit) and it was delivered to the food bank yesterday afternoon in time for the organisers to make up the Christmas parcels that they do each year.

As a Nation we really shouldn't be in a situation where folk are having to rely on food bands just to survive but hopefully, for those who find this a reality it is hoped that our efforts will help a little to brighten things up at what can be a very difficult time of year.........................................

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Chalkola pens...

...part one.

When I opened the parcel that arrived containing the Chalkola pens I was extremely happy with the range of colours that there were - greens, reds, white, black, yellow, mauve - to name but a few.

We have a lot of whiteboards at work and I normally add a bit of Festive d├ęcor to the ones on our floor of the office (not that my 'free-hand' artistic skills are anything to write home about LOL).

I decided to add some Holly to the corners and duly 'primed' two reds and two greens.

Now if you have used barrel type pens before, you will be familiar with the process of getting them ready to use. With the lid on (yes, I have made the mistake in the past of not having the lid on - gold metallic ink can be a rotter to clean off when splattered everywhere **rollseyes**) shake the pen up & down a few times, keeping it up-right. Remove the lid and placing the bullet tip on a hard surface - I used a post-it note on my desk - press up and down a few times to start the ink flowing down into the nib.

Warning: please don't be too impatient at this point. It will take a few 'pumps' of the pen to get things going but don't go mad. I was a bit too enthusiastic with one of the green pens and I made it blob and it also ended up with ink running down my hand when I went to use it on a vertical surface. This was totally my fault as it didn't happen with any of the other pens - and no damage done as the pens are waterbased and wash off easily.

The primed pens write smoothly on non-porous surfaces so it was very easy to create a little sprig of holly in the corners of the whiteboards...
...for the berries I did some red balls in the lighter red and then added the darker red for definition  With the leaves I outlined the shape with the darker green, coloured in with the earthy green and then added the veins. The picture shows my first attempt - not bad considering I was at full stretch to reach the corner.

The chalk ink dries fairly quickly but until it is dry it is easy to smudge - not a problem - have a wet-wipe or a damp cloth handy and you can easily tidy up any smudges or blurred edges.

As you can see, the colours are clear & bright.

My next 'try-out' is going to be on a jam jar - I want to have a play with the white pen. Having a bit of a scribble on my glass mat shows the white to be bold and clean - a true white. So that will be my next project with these pens.

I'll see you back here for Chalkola - Part 2.........................................................................

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Happy Mail...

...from Chalkola.

I have been asked to review a selection of chalk ink pens from a company called Chalkola. The company contacted me and asked if I would be interested in trying some of their pens - free of charge.

Well, anyone who visits here on a regular basis will know that I can't resist a pen (I think my last count had my pen collection at around 1400 **chuckle**). So of course I said "Yes".

Once I responded, they were very quick at dispatching two packs of pens...
...one set in Earth tone and one in Party colours - unfortunately, I was at work on Tuesday so had to arrange to collect them from the sorting office Wednesday (a BIG thank you to my neighbour who picked them up for me so that I could collect them on my way home from work).

As I only got my hands on them late last evening, I haven't had a chance to play with them yet but I am taking them to work with me to see what they are like on things like whiteboards & windows.

It is perfect timing as I put up my office Chrimbo decs yesterday and hopefully these pens will be just the thing to add a bit of festive cheer to those boring old notice boards.

Do pop back and see how I got on.......................................................................

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Tuesday was...

...my birthday.

A day that I share the following events with...

The death of JFK
The birth of Jamie-Lee Curtis
The death of C.S.Lewis
The resignation of Margaret Thatcher

...and I'm sure there are many more.

My staff presented me with the most wonderful present...
 ...a coffee maker and a basket of goodies to go with it. They also came up with a wonderful poem (which I will share another time). Such a wonderful gift. The only problem has been getting it home as I commute - two days later and everything is now sitting in my kitchen.
Tuesday evening I came home to find flowers and chocolates waiting for me...
 ...my arranging doesn't do them justice...
...but they are lovely and contain my 'birthday flowers' - 'mums and sea thistles.

I was also given a huge bottle of Baileys which I shall enjoy over the holiday period.

I will be meeting my friend Hilary on Friday and we will be going for lunch and a bit of retail therapy as it is "Members Weekend" at Pinnacle Crafts.

Not a bad week........................................................

Monday, 21 November 2016

Getting ready...

...for Christmas.

I had a sort out at the weekend and all my Christmas china is now gathered ready for the festive season...
...the mug trees are now home to my collection of Christmas mugs...
...and my seasonal candles are all gathered together to help create that Christmassy 'feel'.

With Christmas just five weeks away, what are you up to getting ready for the holidays?......................................

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Knit & Natter...

...continues to grow.

We even have some colouring going on.

Poundland had some card packs that you can colour yourself...
...this one was coloured with pencils and had some glitter glue added...
 ...we have had a few folk drop by just for a bit of 'colouring & chat'.
The knitting side is going very well...
...we have a number of completed blanket squares and quite a few 'on the go'.
Crochet has proved to be very popular and one lady has been quite productive. She has made a small cot blanket using crochet flower granny squares, a pullover for her grandson and is now onto another set of flower granny squares. Meanwhile...
 ...I'm still plodding on with my car blanket.
The knitting looms have proved to be very popular and we now have four of the group members merrily 'playing' with them...
 ...here is a completed child's set (hat & scarf) which is now for sale on our RNLI table.
Francis is probably our most proficient knitter. About 3 weeks ago she bought some lovely blue yarn...
 ...the hat is what she made with the 'leftovers' because the rest was used for this...
...a beautiful Aran-style cardigan which she has found to be lovely and cosy now the temperatures have dropped so much recently.

The group is proving to be popular and folk are most disappointed if something crops up so they can't attend. It is very informal and folk can pop in at any time during the 2hrs that we have the room booked for. I'm glad that people have found it to be something they wanted to take part in..........................................................

Monday, 14 November 2016

We are just about...

...half-way through November.

Just in case you missed it, Kerryanne English over at the Shabby Art Boutique launched her 7th "Simply Christmas"...
Simply Christmas banner 600x400
...do pop over there to see all the lovely things she has to share.

For those of you who like lists and planners, she has a beautiful set of FREE downloads for you to create a super planner to keep you on-track and organised during this hectic season.

Do pay her a visit, I'm sure you will find lots of inspiration....................................................

Friday, 11 November 2016

"And in the morning...

...we will remember them".
We should never forget those who gave their lives so that we can live ours......................................

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

I thought I'd...

...have a play.

I've seen lots of lovely knitted & crochet poppies this year so I thought I'd have a go.

The large poppy was my attempt...
...no pattern, just adding rows 'by eye' and the little ones were made by Kristian at our last "Knit & Natter".
The red yarn has a sparkle to it but it doesn't really show well in the photos...
 ...the large poppy has been attached to a pin fastener so that it can be worn.
Kristian's cute little poppies will be stitched to a hair-slide...
...so that they too can be worn.

It was fun having a play to see what we could come up with. Not surprisingly, after this I found some free knitting & crochet patterns on 'the web' so I might give some of those a go.

There are so many little things that can be made using very little yarn and they make up really quickly. So if you don't have the time to knit or crochet large garments or the like, why not have a play at making some little bits & pieces................................................................