Monday, 29 June 2009

A Very Fishy Day

Now her birthday's over I can share a card I made for my friend's little girl:

This card was based on an idea by my favourite designer, Jo Kill, who can work miracles with punched circles! The letters are Doodlebug, everything else is scraps and the embellishment is a felt flower that I topped with a gem and a ribbon.

The only other card I've come up with this week is an addition to my Pastel Tones range:

The paper is from Papermania's Big One, the stamps are by Studio G. An unusual colour combo but I think it's quite fresh.

Other than that, a disappointing week creativity-wise. My boiler is now fixed (yahoo!!!) and many thanks to Dad for giving up his morning to cat-sit once again. Saturday was a full-on day at work and I was determined that we would keep our "noses" to the "grindstone" (i.e I was a nagging old bat). I end up feeling quite motherly when working with my youngest colleagues but I also frighten myself with it sometimes!

Yesterday the weather was poop so Himself and I took a drive across to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry. I'd not been for years and it was a new experience for H. The place was awash with kids but we stoically made our way round the exhibition area, staring into the tanks and exclaiming in "wonder" at the fantastic forms of subaquatic nature that were presented to us. We were particularly amused by a purple, spotty fish wearing neon yellow lipstick that was doing continuous, frantic circuits round it's tank. In the underwater tunnels we stood on the creaky moving walkway and did two circuits of our own to make sure we got our money's worth of sharks and stingrays! We were present at the feeding of the cute seals and finished off with cappucinos and Rocky Road in the cafe. Very pleasant.

Then, despite the mist and drizzle, we took a drive up the mainly unscenic Fife coastal road to Anstruther, where, after a walk along the pebbly, rocky beach, we queued for an hour (an HOUR!) in the world-famous, award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar to get haddock suppers. The place is currently the best fish and chip shop in the UK and the food didn't disappoint but I'm not sure I would ever be willing to lose 60 minutes of my life in there again. When we first joined the end of the slowly-moving line of people that snaked infinitely into the bowels of the building, we began to worry about why we hadn't actually seen anyone coming BACK OUT. It smacked faintly of Sweeney Todd for a minute - until we realised it was a one-way system and you actually exited by a separate door! Camilla Parker-Bowles has apparently enjoyed a fish tea there. Bet SHE didn't queue. That is why one has minions.

So, a pleasant weekend all round. I've got hot water at my command again - woo! Time to go and soak one's bones in the tub.


Friday, 26 June 2009

New Stuff Excitement!

It's been a bit of a stressy week, what with me having some problems with my boiler (that's not a euphemism for an embarrassing medical condition BTW) and having to drag my poor Parents over to flat -and -cat-sit during the engineer's visits. There has been Illness at work, which meant I had to stand in for J during her class last night; it went fine and the cards were lovely and straightforward, but my nerves were a little frazzled. I showed off my Diaroma cards, however, and they "piqued" the interest of those present. Here is a sneak peek:

The Cosmo Cricket papers lend themselves nicely to this project, I think.

This week also saw the "launch" (with a whimper rather than a bang) of my Etsy shop. It took rather a long time to set up my listings (trying to work out postal prices is a nightmare!) but I'm glad I'm finally up and running. I plan to add to my stock as regularly as possible to keep my visibility up. There is SO MUCH competition!

Finally, there was excitement at work, with the arrival today of tons of new stock, including fab paper and embellishment ranges by Trimcraft (I've snapped up Bloom & Grow) and DoCraft's Christmas items galore. It's quite scary, actually. It was a race against time to get it all checked off, priced and put out in the shop but I think the two of us who were in did fairly well. It made the day go superfast, that's for sure!

Well, that's me for now. Sorry not more photos to show. See you next time!

P.S. RIP Michael Jackson. When will the conspiracy theories begin, I wonder?

Monday, 22 June 2009

Gassy Gastronomy

Every night last week I cooked myself a decent veggie meal and I've just planned the next batch, hoorah! There will be quite a lot of beans and lentils consumed and, if last week is anything to go by, I will be adding considerably to the hole in the ozone layer as a result (parp!). I'm looking forward to Mushroom & Lentil Bake (Tesco recipe) and Curried Aubergine & Potato Pie (BBC Good Food). I'll just need to get the Rennies at the ready for afterwards!

For Father's Day I got my Male Parent a selection of dark chocolate bars and decorated a box to keep them in:

Ingredients: Sweet Treats PP, Card Candy, Doodlebug letters and strips of Stix2 Foil.

Ingredients: Several yummy choc bars!

I made two final patch sticker cards:

That's that project finished now. I have several more in the "pipeline".

Yesterday the weather was decent so we spent a pleasant morning strolling along the canal at Linlithow:

We narrowly avoided being hit by a stray golf ball as there is a course alongside the water.

I don't think that door is used very often!

A tree had keeled over into the water..

We could have walked all the way to Glasgow...

Up close and personal with a busy bee (click on this photo for better view).

Likewise to see the blue creature in Himself's shot...

Some delapidated barges, not exactly pleasure cruise material!

The canal "basin". The beginning and end of our walk.

We bought some sandwiches, sushi (my first experience - a non-fishy one, of course) and maple pecan pastries and sat by Linlithgow Palace, watching mad people having canoe races across the loch. Himself found a hair in his sandwich. Good old Tesco! Well, it was a reduced price sarnie, what do you expect???

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Ashes to Ashes

In a rush to type this entry as I'm off to the dentist (boo!) for a checkup this morning. Only switched on to see if some technical problems regarding my internet connection had sorted themselves and - fingers crossed - they seem to have for the moment. May as well blog while I'm here.
A pleasant weekend was had, including a visit to Craigie's Farm Cafe, where we coffeed and caked with Himself's Brother, Brother's Wife and their VCB. So many cute babies around at the moment! And I'm not even really the maternal type! It must be my age...anyway, we spent a very pleasant time, although the weather wasn't nice enough to do any trekking. We made it home just in time before the heavens opened and a full-on thunderstorm began. I enjoy this type of heavy rain - as long as I'm not driving, working (there was almost as much of a downpour inside the shop!) or going anywhere important in it. It's so refreshing.
Made a card to send to the vet who helped my Parent's old cat on her way to the big cat bed in the sky a week or so ago:

I was sorry I couldn't be there at the End. She was originally my cat (adopted from the vets where I worked at the time, 16 years ago) but stayed with my Parents when I left home. She was a sweet old thing and will be missed. We're having a little ashes-burial ceremony in the garden this afternoon. Sniff. RIP Shelley.

Finally, a couple more patch-sticker cards (I ripped one up because I didn't like it - bah!)

I quite like these ones though.

Need to do a bit more work on these Diorama cards as I've got hold of some nice Cosmo Cricket papers to make them with. My colleagues keep calling them Diarrhoea cards. How lovely.

Bye for now!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Class List Mania!

Just reporting in with a quick entry to update on the week. I've finally worked my way through a big list of cards I had to make for various occasions and now I can kick back and make cards for no particular reason at all...
Hence these bright and simple cards using cute patch stickers I got at a "snip" from work -

The July class list was "launched" at TPMS and places have filled up faster than my stomach after a jar of jelly beans. There was almost an element of hysteria about it, with ladies clamouring for places as if it were the release of tickets for a Daniel O'Donnell concert, not craft classes! Scary!

I am planning three classes: a Circle Flip-Up Book, Diorama Cards and Doodled Doggies. People are slightly unsure of the latter, I think. But the others are arousing intrigue. I'd better get those cards made!

I have taken small steps towards setting up ye old carde shoppe but goodness knows when I'll get round to the rest. I've had to settle for a bit of a dull name too - Mushroom Papercrafts as Crafty Mushroom was already taken!! Can you believe it - there's someone else out there as mad as me!

Finally, I must mention a Special Anniversary that occurred this week. Himself has put up with me for a year and so I plan to cook a deluxe meal this weekend to celebrate this fact. Will he survive my cooking? That remains to be seen!

Monday, 8 June 2009

A Blurvely Day!!

It was a tad chilly yesterday but that didn't stop us having a lovely day in East Lothian. First we headed to Tantallon Castle for a spot of ghost-hunting:

The castle has quite an imposing frontage.

There were some lovely views out to the Bass Rock in the Forth.

We climbed to the top of every tower for sweeping views over the coastline.

Sadly no ghosts appeared at any windows...

There were some interesting formations in the stonework.

After that we went to North Berwick and ate ice creams on the sea front. The temperature was -250 degrees (near enough), yet there were still some maniacs swimming in the sea! It gave me frostbite just watching them!
Met up with friends and their Very Cute Baby, went for a coffee, were assailed by a mad OAP woman, sent back a mouldy scone, had a very pleasant natter and a breezy walk along the beach. My friend and I got carried away chatting and so the menfolk were literally left holding the baby, but it was rather touching to see!

Then himself and I took a lovely walk at nearby John Muir Country Park and watched surfers from the beach and people using a weird skateboard/kite contraption to whizz along the salt marsh. We walked further on and found a completely deserted beach with sculptures formed from driftwood:

Finally, we ate fish suppers in the car at Dunbar beach and threw chips to the birds. Tried to take photos but, sadly, I haven't quite mastered the use of my camera yet, so they didn't come out. Never mind, I will keep practicing!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Terrible Smells and "Comedy" Moments

What have I been up to this week? I've been making a couple of birthday cards:

The plane image is a PM one recycled from another card made by a colleague (sorry, J!) and I've used my trusty Claire Curd papers again. The greeting is from Craftwork Cards.

Made this one quickly last night at Card Nite, using free Daisy and Dandelion stickers. We had quite a laugh at our card-making sesh, including such "classic" moments as me producing a sneeze which sounded like a Jewish proverb (???) and J thinking she'd made two seperate cards when, in fact, she'd daftly turned one card round and decorated the BACK of it by mistake. Har har! ....tumbleweed rolls past.... OK... so you really had to be there. But it was funny at the time and we nearly expelled our internal organs through our nostrils we were laughing so much!

Other time has been spent cutting out a million tags using the supremely cute Paper Pups Cricut cartridge and very pretty they look too:

I've done this with a view to making lots of mini cards like these:

Sorry about the pants lighting, the weather's not been quite so glorious this week. At work we've been plagued by a smell worse than the Devil's Armpit and we're sure it's making us wheeze, such is it's toxicness. Blah. I'm waiting on lots of exciting new products to come in so I can design cards for my July classes. So watch this space folks for sneak peeks...

Well, off to visit the Parents now. As I type someone is playing bagpipes outside my window. How "lovely". Snort!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Marathon Madness

Well, this is gorge weather we've been having, isn't it? My flat is like an oven and the cats have melted into greasy blobs of fur on the carpet. It's interfering with my mojo a little, as my brain is too sluggish to function, which is a pity as I have THREE classes to plan ASAP. And therefore no cards to show today :o(
Looking on the bright side, however, I have spent a very pleasant weekend outdoors, beginning with a long walk through Almondell Country Park with my Work Friend and her sweet collie pup on Friday evening. She has boundless energy (the dog, not Work Friend - although we both felt we benefited from the workout our legs got during the trek!) and I suppose that's why I'm not so much a Dog Person - I really like hounds but I'm much, much too lazy to have one. Even though I enjoy walking. But not so much at all hours of day and night. In all weathers. And dogs knock me over easily. Even chihuahuas. Sad, I know, but true ( a bit).
Saturday I sunned myself in my parent's garden with Father. Then we washed our cars and had chip butties for tea. And yesterday I had an interesting new experience; namely going along to cheer on the Sister of Himself as she took part in the Edinburgh Marathon. We took a position alongside crowds of others at Longniddry (mile 15) and I was amazed at the sight of
hoardes of runners flowing past us - they seemed never-ending and you had to admire the pluck of these people willing to put their bodies through such torture in the name of charity or self-achievement. Especially the ones dressed in furry costumes. With the temperature exceeding 20,000 degrees fahrenheit. We clapped and cheered continually to "spur" the runners on, and if they had their name written on their vest it allowed us to make it personal: "Come on Dave! You can do it! You're doing great Fred! Keep it up!" Etc. We cheered Sister and then crossed the road to wait for her coming back (mile 20) but after standing for ages, with increasingly-knackered runners staggering past us on their return journey, there was no sign of her. An hour and a half later, it became rather worrying and we were unable to believe we could have missed her. Much panic ensued when we finally received news that she had collapsed with heat exhaustion at mile 19! So off we set, on foot, to find her and luckily by then she'd rallied, although her collapse had sounded rather dramatic and scary (unable to feel her nose, lips swelling, falling over into a bed of nettles, eek). She was, however, more gutted that she'd failed, and so, as she was now upright, we suggested that she WALK the rest of the route and we would accompany her for moral support. The rest of the route was 7 miles long. And I was wearing flipflops. But, undeterred, off we set. Himself and I were apologetic whenever the watching crowds cheered us ("we're not actually competitors! We deserve no glory!") but there was a little bit of a thrill gained from taking an active part in the event. You really had to hand it to those poor folk who were hobbling valiantly to the finish line. The heat was relentless. And the water stations had run out of water. I really hope no one was seriously affected. At mile 25 Sister decided she felt able to run the final part and so she crossed the finishing post in respectable time, despite her earlier mishap. We felt proud to have helped her achieve this. And I didn't even have any blisters! (My only after-effect is a slightly sore hip today.) It was amazing - although we nearly vommed when we saw Sister's falling-off toenails - blech!
After the excitement of the day, it was nice to return to the house of Himself's Parents and to be fed a delicious vegetable lasagne. Ah, it was good! And, despite my misgivings about pushing One's body to the limits of endurance, I'm now wondering if I should be making an effort and entering some kind of charity run next year. Maybe Race for Life. Never say never. Today really inspired me. Well done Dave and Fred and the other 15, 998 folk who took part! Your medals were well-deserved!