Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Friday, 29 August 2008

2 newbies, and a new "Best Cup"

Did these the other day. I've had to break from blogging and crafty stuff for a couple of days because my back has been too bad to sit and type/sprawl an pootle. :^)

I want to be using a more varied spread of materials, and this time I've managed to use some fabric. A Fabric shop in town sells scraps for 10p each, various types and sizes. I bought 5 pieces the other week. The flowery background here is part of one of them.

The bird image is from a sheet from Crafty Individuals- the same one that provided the robin on my last post. They are printed on thick, glossy paper. I've rubbed a nail file round this one and then rubbed a gold ink pad over it. Then I stuck it on a square of blue paper.This glittery bird is from a sheet by K & Co., I think.
Close up of birdy...
All this- especially the fabric- makes it heavier than usual. I used a thick brown card, made by Kraft.


Here's a very elaborate effort, for my next one. I usually veer towards simpler stuff, I think. But again, I was trying to incorporate more stuff. The angel is, again, from a thick glossy sheet of images from Crafty Individuals. So is the card itself.The image is set with sticky foam pads onto a piece of water-colouring paper, the edges of which I rubbed with a few ink pads, pink, blue and gold. The top triangle is actually a square of card, turned on its side and attached- gold rubbed on the edges again. I wanted to add ribbon, but didn't want it to be even MORE girly with pink or sparkles (!) so used a nice brown one. The 'brad' dragonfly was actually from Tesco!Hmmm... I think this is quite luxurious looking but without being too girly.


Lastly, here is something I picked up in a Village called Hathersage last week, on my hols in the Peak District.

Hathersage is where the grave of 'Little John', of Robin Hood fame, is buried! I never knew that! We were going to walk up to the graveyard and take a photo, but it was toooo rainy. LOL! SO we browsed the shops instead.

Anyway, here it is. My new "Best Cup". He looks like a tabby I had years ago, called Sam.

Sandpaper Kisses
On a cheek or chin-
That's the way for
a day to begin!

It holds more tea that you'd think, and has a comfy handle, too. Not that that was my chief concern when I spotted it ;^)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

"Saturday Sketch" Challenge

Two, because I missed last week's, being away! (I'll post some photo's from our trip later in the week- still going through them!)

First, last week's challenge.
This was the 'sketch', or layout:And this is my interpretation:I lined it with matching paper. You can just about see it here-Don't ask me the make of the stamp- I've no idea; I bought it from E-bay and it doesn't have a label! It arrived when I was away so this was the first time I've used it. Many thanks to Miss Peach for suggesting I try E-bay for a more economical way of finding nice stamps!
Next, this week's sketch:And this is what I came up with:
I'm quite pleased with them. Very pleased with the robin card! The robin image is from Crafty Individuals.

Monday, 18 August 2008

On hols

The Crescent, Buxton. For more info on this town, click here.

We're off to Buxton for a wee while now. Buxton is in Derbyshire, and is about 1300ft above sea level. I've been told that locals say "It's one overcoat cooler up there". Ahuh.

August has been weird in England anyway- scorching hot one minute and gale-force winds and torrential rain the next. Hey, that sounds like rainforest conditions! That'll explain why my usually-foot-high-by-now chrysanthemums are nearly up to my waist. And why the gravel I weeded the other month is now gradually disappearing again.

So it sounds like our break might be similar to the one we took in Norfolk two summers ago- we got soaked at Pensthorpe Reserve and froze in wet fleece jackets, squinting against the rain whilst trying to photograph some strange looking geese. Can't remember what type now. But my other half was very excited about them at the time.

Hmm. Well it's nearly 4am and I forgot to go to bed again. Better give it a try. I have jumpers to pack in the morning!

By the way, there's a Gilbert And Sullivan festival on up there this week, and rumour has it that the cast usually stays at the same hotel we're going to. I wonder what the breakfasts will be like....

Friday, 15 August 2008

Inchy Challenge

The theme for this week's Inchy challenge is CIRCLES.

Did you know that a Bear's face is lots of circles with a cheeky smile added in?

To see more inchies, click on the logo above!

Keeping me out of mischief....

I've lost count of how many loads of washing I've done this week! Our washing machine broke down on 17th July, and the replacement only arrived last Friday. Getting the backlog washed is one thing, trying to get it all dry when outside is gale force winds and torrential rain has been... a challenge! It's all been hanging up everywhere, all over the house! I'm on my own this week, too, so, in between basket-fulls, I've been relaxing and pootling.....

First, a "Thank you" card:A plain brown notebook stayed still too long and I got it:This one I made for my God-daughter. I wanted to send her a wee note as she lost her favourite toy this week: "MooCoo" had been with her since she was a few months old. She is now 9 and inconsolable to have lost him in a shop. Waah!Not sure either photo shows it very well, but you get the idea. I love this stamp!I left this one blank but I suppose it could be Christmas card.... I just liked playing with the image and the crochet flowers...
This is definitely a Christmas card! Using the same stamp I used in the Saturday Sketch challenge earlier this week:
Ah well! It keeps me out of mischief!

I've enjoyed playing :^)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

This week's layout challenge

Here's this week's layout:
and here's my attempt:

Background paper: The English Paper Company. This is from their Xmas set from last year, called "Twelve Days Of Christmas". You can still get this from artymiss.co.uk - a 6 x 6 pack of 36 sheets is being sold there for just £1.
The Arch stamp (embossed in gold) is from Paper Artsy.
The Mary & Jesus stamp is made by Stamps Away and I watercoloured over it.
I added stick-on pearls and some dots with Sakura Souffle pens.

Not very good photo's, sorry! The Mary image is set on foam pads so it comes forward a bit, but you can't see that here :^(

Click on the "Sketch Saturday" logo at the top of this post to find links to more interpretations of this week's layout sketch.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Window Shopping

With all the rain (what's that all about?), I can't go wondering around window shopping and coming home with an empty bag of nearly-gots. So I've just been window-shopping on the internet. Do you ever do this? Amazon is great for this because you can set up a wish list and dump all your nearly-gots in there. Then you can go and get a cup of tea and *feel* like you've just done some shopping but you haven't spent anything.

But for tonight, I have had to bookmark places that sell this. It's made by Hampton Art Stamps.

I want this stamp! (Can you see why?!!!)

Oh well!

The Bus Company finally answered their phone, but said that nobody had handed in anything fitting the description of my bag or its contents.

Bum in a jockstrap!

Now I have to stop myself thinking about whoever has got it. And stop seething. Grrr... The generous side if me thinks, well I hope they get some fun out of it. The other side says, basta*ds!!!!

Saturday, 9 August 2008


Today I went shopping for a few things. Mostly food, and something for my nephew's (Alex) birthday, next month. He'll be 8.

In Colchester there is a big shop called "The China Centre"- we have a lot of people from the Far East dotted about here, as they teach various Far East Studies at the Uni, teach Mandarin, etc. So! I had seen a few weeks' ago that they sold genuine Olympics souvenirs stuff and spotted a range of children's rucksacks. I bought one for Alex- a light grey one, with the Beijing logo and a panda character on it. I also bought matching pens. They packed it nicely in a big paper gift bag with red and white ribbons.

And now I don't know where it is.

The last place I know for sure I had it, I was packing my shopping in a food shop before jumping on the bus just outside of it.

Did I leave it at the end of the till?
Did I drop it as I was walking out of the shop?
Did I put it down for a moment, by the bus, when I was getting my fare out of my purse?

I don't know. All I know is that I was only on the bus for 3 minutes before thinking "OH NO!" and ringing the bell for it to stop, leaping off, leaving a confused driver and about 25 bemused passengers.

Or.... perhaps I panicked on the bus unnecessarily, and it was really there, beside me, or at my feet

I went back to the shop. No one there has seen it. Nothing at the bus-stop.

Next step is to call the Bus Company in the morning.

I also had put stuff from other shops into the gift bag- a few things from the art & craft shop, a T-Shirt I'd found in a charity shop. It had a cat on it, too, dammit.

Have you ever done anything like this?

Those who know my other sites, and my muses Bob and Dilly, will understand how my heart jumped into my throat and I bawled my eyes out- I came so close to losing Dilly. They often come shopping with me. If she had been in that bag, I'd have lost her...... At first I cried out of frustration, then anger at the possibility that someone had taken it, then disappointment that I had lost really nice gifts that I'd already been looking forward to showing my partner, then my mum, then finally sending to Alex. But THEN, when I realised how easily I could have lost Dilly, oh boy did I lose it.

Do I feel stupid or what? So, so STOOOOPID! -I feel silly that 4 bags was too much for me to look after!

Rang OH, he got the car out and came and got me. His advice?
We'll call the Bus Company;
you didn't lose your purse;
you're not silly- it happens;
sometimes you just have to say "D'oh!" and let it go


Thursday, 7 August 2008

2 Crafty Challenges

I thought I'd join in on a few weekly challenges, to keep my creative doobrys flowing!

The first is the Inchy Challenge set by Inch By Inch.

To take part, you must create something to fit in with the week's theme. Any materials can be used, but it must be 1 inch square in size! Then link back to the Inch By Inch site, and leave a comment there, so they know you're joining in.

This week it's hats. I was wondering what to do, and then realised that that old song, "The Sun Has Got His Hat On" was going around my head. My dad used to sing it round the house during his wackier phases! Well, here goes:-It's a 3 layer watercolour- the hills and the sun at the back, then the trees cut from another piece of watercolour paper, then the writing on another. I've gone over the leaves on the tree with some green Crystal Lacquer pen.

Having the 1 inch square to restrict you is amazingly freeing! You have to be very strict with yourself about what you have to leave out. It's like writing a poem to a set metre or rhyme- a restriction, but a helpful one.

Go on- have a go! You may surprise yourself!

**** **** ****

Next, a weekly challenge from Sketch Saturday. (It changes each Saturday but lasts for the week.)

The 'sketch' is actually a layout that you have to follow for making a card, postcard, ATC, etc. You can turn the layout on its side, or upside-down, but mustn't move the elements around.
Here's this week's:And here's my attempt, using paper scraps, stuck on to a plain brown "Kraft" card. Part of the bare card shows at the top, and I've rubbed gold and green ink pads over this part and then rubbed on some fine glitter. The butterflies are outline stickers, filled in with Crystal Lacquer pens. The flower in the centre bottom is a sticker left over from a pack (possibly K and Co). The three are sitting on squares of Indian paper handmade from recycled cotton rag. I've coloured the margins of these using purple and bronze ink pads.........
"Thank You" was a Paper Artsy stamp, using a bronze ink pad and clear embossing. Behind it is a thin strip of vellum with some gold calligraphy on it.

I added some light butterflies along the middle strip with another Paper Artsy stamp, using a watermark stamp and a little pink and blue.

The photo's don't show the colours very well, I think this is because they were taken in artificial light.

**** **** ****

While I found the inch by inch challenge fun, and the size restriction helpful, I didn't enjoy working to this layout at all! Whether this is because I've only made a few cards, and when I do, I just make them up as I go along, or whether a different layout would suit me better, I don't know. I'll do this challenge for a few weeks, and that way, I'll find out!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Balancing Act

This goldfinch was balancing on the buddleia in my front garden. In between storms, and the wind was coming up again, so he was swaying up and down, up and down. He stayed there for ages, so maybe he was enjoying his bouncy rest.

I didn't crop into a close-up because I had liked watching him boinging up and down. If I had cropped it then this wouldn't be what I had recorded!

Bracing for another downward dip.... whhoooooaahhhh....

Looks like the storm's coming in....

Time to go and find some shelter....

Isn't he beautiful?


Thank you for all the messages of support and encouragement after yesterday's post. I forget the very thing I say to others when they're low: this too shall pass. I always stress that. But then just when I needed it, I forgot. Thanks for reminding me. And thanks for reminding me that I'm not the only one.

Monday, 4 August 2008


Ooo this is the 100th post on this blog! I'm therefore sorry that it isn't an all-singing, all-dancing, colours a-blazing hip hip hoorraying one!

~view over London, taken from The London Eye, by my younger brother, Roy~

While I've been doing things like papercraft, drawings, etc., it's given me a buzz. Or was the buzz there first, and that buzz drove me to be creative? Hmm. Not sure. Both, I think. Yeah, both. This crafty phase started at the top of the Zig-Zag.

Well, here's the down side. Every now and then I get the sneakiest feeling that all of it is pointless. Utterly and completely pointless, a phoney wasting of time, frittering my life away playing with craft stuff like the little girl I once was used to do in her bedroom. I may as well clear out the spare room, put a lock on the door and move in.

My partner, bless him, says that he loves to see me getting creative. He'd like to see me drawing and painting and selling my pictures in the local art cafes. He'd like to see me writing a book and getting it published. What's more, he actually believes I could do it.....

But I feel utterly pointless, meaningless and useless. I wish I could disappear.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

I really must learn to drive....

I'm a Mazda RX-8!

You're sporty, yet practical, and you have a style of your own. You like to have fun, and you like to bring friends along for the ride, but when it comes time for everyday chores, you're willing to do your part.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Cat Oscars!

LOL! Oscars for cats! (What if the cat's name is Oscar?)

Awwwwww....... those two little black and white ones... look just like my old Figs.

A thankyou for Aunty Pat!

My Aunt had sent my partner a card for his birthday on 11th July. She had enclosed a monetary gift and the other night, we suddenly realised that no "Thank you" card or email had been sent, and no phone call made! Aaagh!

I think you should always respond with a thank you phone call, email or card when the gift has come through the post. Even apart from politeness and gratitude, how else will the person know it ever arrived safely?

I came up with this:
The photo doesn't really catch it!

The angel picture, white tissue paper and slide holder all came from Crafty Individuals a few days before!

After cutting out one of the angel pictures, I rubbed it all round the edges with a nail file to "age" and fade it.

I tore some of the white tissue paper and stamped it with brown, bronze and gold versions of the same swirly design, then layered these behind......
I covered the slide holder with some contrasting paper.

It holds a piece of tissue paper that's had the gold stamp-pad rubbed over it after "thank you" had been written.... A small swirly frame design is stamped on some paper and layered behind.

I made an envelope out of a vellum sheet that had musical notes embossed over it.

Well, it's a few weeks late but I hope she likes it. She should have got it yesterday!

I really recommend Crafty Individuals. They are a small business with friendly customer service and very speedy delivery.

Have a look at their projects gallery for inspiration- there is so much there I haven't flipped through it all yet! And check out their stamps- really nice, original designs, different from the usual.