My Family & Other Animals

Thursday, 31 May 2012

"Too Shy Shy, Hush Hush...."

Well it's been an interesting week so far. On Sunday Jo and I went to the Sincerely Yours Show at the Lincolnshire Showground. I normally take a wallet full of (saved) cash and as soon as that's gone crack open the credit card. This time I managed to take a smaller amount of cash (only £70, which in crafting terms is little more than two Martha Stewart punches!) and I came home with £10 in my wallet. Never been heard of before.
I got some of the lovely new Memory Box dies and yesterday I used the wavy music notes on an upcoming challenge card for the I ♥ ProMarkers blog challenge (you will see that particular card in about three weeks I think!). I have been diligently keeping up with the challenges but this week I think I have managed to give myself some breathing space, Space that will be very much needed as I have just been asked to join the Squigglefly Challenge blog for six months and I have applied to join the Kenny K's Girlz team as well (really hope they are going to add 'and boy' to that title if I get it!!), so I should be very busy indeed for the last six months of this year if everything pans out.
I have stopped playing Farmville for the first time in three years! I have given myself a month off but in all fairness I think it may end up being a lot longer as I am really not missing it at all. Jo gave it up as well but she is itching to start up again so I will be surprised if she manages to last the month. We have given ourselves this well earned break so that we can concentrate on other things for a little while. Farming was taking up a couple of hours at the beginning and end of EVERY single day of the week, nothing so trivial should be taking up so much of your time really.
On to this weeks card and the challenge over at I ♥ ProMarkers this week is Use A Digi Image. I have only recently gotten into Digi stamps and I have to say I am a 100% convert to them. I have acquired some amazing images (some not even available as 'proper' stamps!) and have become aquainted with some fabulous new names (Saturated Canary, Kenny K and Make It Crafty are my Top Three Faves). The stamp used for this particular card comes from the Digi Doodle Shop and is called Tu Tu Shy. The Hippo reminds me of a Disney character, I think she appears in Fantasia! I have used some of my new Magnolia dies and an embossing folder but I will not be entering this card into any challenges this week as I really don't like it that much. I'm not saying this to get a reaction, that last thing I need are people telling me something is good when I know I am capable of so much better. It all started going wrong when I put the Marianne Designs wreath down. Instead of just taking it off, I left it there and started adding to it!
Anyhoo, hope you have a great week and I will be back again soon,
take care,

Saturday, 26 May 2012

"You're In The Army Now..."

Another week, another dead pop star! Poor Robin Gibb, I was really upset to hear about his death, not only am I a huge fan of the Bee Gees (always have been, always will be) but I really feel sorry for Barry. He's now lost three of his brothers and to make matters worse they were all younger than him! How unfortunate is that.  We are left with an amazing legacy of music though and they really played a major part in music in the late 1970's with the whole disco movement, so when we look back over the history of modern music they will always get a mention. Favourite track is "Too Much Heaven" but I love the line in "How Deep Is Your Love" where they sing 'and you come to me on a summer breeze...', as a kid I always thought it was 'and you come to me on a submarine...'.
The final of Britain's Got Talent was on last saturday night and who would of thought it, the most talented thing in the UK is a DOG!Forget the opera singer, the amazing precision of the jumping basketballers or even the (not quite in time with each other but still quite good!) synchronised singers, no, our contribution to world talent is a dancing (and I use that word under advisement!) dog. I'm not against the show, I just think that if you are going to have a judging panel then make them judge. The great British public shouldn't be allowed to decide who wins things like that, kids and teens are always going to be the biggest deciders in any kind of phone poll as they are the only ones who care enough to vote; if you are reading this and disagree with that statement because you voted for the dog then please feel free to leave this blog right now!, I also hope you enjoy your dog's long and illustrious career.
Only kidding. I couldn't care less who wins what. I had hoped Joshua Ledet was going to win American Idol but Phillip Phillips won that and the world didn't end did it?
On to this weeks card and the theme over at I ProMarkers is Use die-cuts and is being sponsored by Die Cut Dreams. The image comes from Kenny K and is called Soldier Girl while the dies come from Cheery Lynn and Spellbinders. The Cheery Lynn die cuts like a dream but is so far the only large die I have bought from them that cuts okay. The alpha is a Tim Holtz one and I have had it forever. I have left out colouring the girls bag for artistic reasons, I tried it in a matching pink and it was too much and in green it just pulled focus so I left it blank.
Anyhoo, that's it from me for another week, hope you like the card,
Take Care,
Entered Into: One Stop Craft Challenge #184 - For The Boys
ATC's and Cards With Attitude Challenge #14 - Anything Goes
Chocolate, Coffee and Cards Challenge #13 - For The Boys
Crafty Catz Weekly Challenge #134 - Card For A Man
Fairy Tale Challenge Blog Challenge #41 - Boys and Men
Fat Pages And Cards With Attitude Challenge #14 - Anything Goes
Guylou's Inimitability Digi Stamps Challenge - Hello Doily
Hotshot Craft Challenge #8 - Die Cuts
The Joyful Stamper Challenge #60 - Anything Goes
Our Craft Lounge Challenge #119 - You're A Grand Old Flag!
Stamping With The Dragon Challenge - Birthdays and Boys
Aud Sentiments Challenge #55 - Any Sentiment
Crop Stop Challenge #73 - Use A Doily
Cute Card Thursday Challenge #218 - Pink & Green
Delightful Challenges Challenge - Flowers, Flowers Everywhere (Use 5 Or More!)
DL.Art Thankful Thursday's Challenge - Anything Goes
Little Miss Muffet Challenge #35 - Anything Goes

Thursday, 17 May 2012

"Love To Love You Baby..."

The BBC 6 O'Clock news has left me feeling very sad today. At only 63, Donna Summer lost her fight with cancer and the world lost one of the defining voices of a generation. She not only meant a lot to me, she meant a lot to the world of music. In 1977,  we were teetering on the edge of a music revolution. Punk was waiting in the wings, ready to shake up music charts that were being bogged down with terrible songs from the likes of Demis Roussos, Bernie Flint and (my own guilty pleasure, but still rubbish none the less!) David Soul. Slap Bang in the middle of this waiting uprising from the second wave of 'Youth' driven music was a brand new sound in the clubs - the sound of disco and at the forefront of that sound came the overtly sexy, throbbing beats of Giorgio Moroder produced music, sang by a woman who would later become uncomfortable with her own moaning and groaning. That woman was Donna Summer and she sang more than one song that has played a massive part in the forming of The Soundtrack To My Life.
We all have one, we just may not have actually started burning CD's with this soundtrack on them, playing over (so far...) 15 eighty minute discs. Now I know this is slightly off topic, what with this being a craft blog, but anyone who has followed me for any amount of time will know the crafty stuff comes at the end!
Back to Donna. My favourite track by her is Heaven Knows, a track that didn't even really bother the UK charts, it has all the things I love in a good song; soaring vocals, strings, a strong dance beat and a diva in full effect. Over the years I have played that song literally thousands of times and it sounds as good today as it ever has. I loved her duet with Barbra Streisand (No More Tears) Enough is Enough, her many 'comeback' songs - Dinner With Gershwin, She Works Hard For The Money, This Time I Know It's For Real and State of Independence. All of these songs will have a deeper meaning to me now that she has passed. Every time we lose someone who has given us a gift, even something as seemingly impersonal as a song, that person enters your life in a way you weren't even aware of until they are no longer there. I will miss you Donna but I'm sure you are up there now having a ball with MJ, Sylvester and all the other great proponents of dance music. Much Love x
Now, on to this weeks card and the challenge over at I ProMarkers is everyone's favourite "Anything Goes". Our sponsor is the very wonderful "The Paper Shelter", an on-line company that offer great digi images that not only come with the line art for you to colour but also the pre-coloured image and a background too, great value for money and a superb selection of great images. The finished card isn't one of my best, but I had a card already lined up and the goal posts were moved on us quite late in the day, but it's not the worst card I've ever made so that's why I have put it up, otherwise I would have just missed this weeks challenge altogether!
So I hope you like the card. If not, then I understand but next weeks card is a doozy, one I am really proud of, so can't wait to show you that.
Have a great week.
Take Care,
Entered Into: Stamps & Fun = Creativity Challenge #100 - Anything Goes
Stamps And Create Challenge: For The Ladies
Make It Monday Challenge: Anything Goes

Saturday, 12 May 2012

"Needles and Pins..."

So this week I want to talk about friends and family (or F & F in text speak!). Firstly family and the good news, is that my mother has finally come out of hospital after three weeks following a pretty bad fall. She has officially been diagnosed with dementia now but that was not really a major newsflash to anyone who has been around her for longer than five minutes. She can remember the ages of her sisters but not which ones are still alive and she will tell you repeatedly how happy she is that you have come to visit her but she can't remember the way to the toilet without directions. Her personality changed a lot after having her first stroke (as expected) but she is a battler, at 84 she still has more fight in her that Lennox Lewis and only the stupidest person would ever count her out. She has become a lot more loving, never having been a very touchy feely type of woman in the past. It is nice that she is sharing more of herself with me now than she ever has before and I feel a lot closer to her than at any other time in my life. I look into her eyes and I can se how much she loves me, I only hope she can see it coming back to her too.
On the friends front I have to give a big shout out to FaceBook. Over the years I have been in touch on and off with lots of people. I spent twenty three years in the Royal Air Force and as you can imagine, you get to meet an awful lot of people during that kind of time frame. One of the people I always regretted losing touch with was a young man called Neil who became one of the best friends I have ever had. When I arrived at my first proper unit after Trade Training he took me under his wing and showed me all the best bars in town. We were kind of inseperable for a few years but the military is very good at moving people around and you just lose contact. Things were exacerbated by the fact that I knew he had gone to Australia to live and I kind of gave up hope of ever making contact with him again; until this week that is, when I received a friend request on FB. You could have knocked me down with a feather. I gave Neil my contact details and honestly thought that we would just maybe write via email but last night I got a call at 22:30 and he was on the other end of the line, speaking from tomorrow! How awesome is that? Not only do I get to talk to one of the best friends I have ever had for the first time in 26 years but he was talking to me from the future too! He didn't sound any different (apart from the upper inflection in his voice and the odd use of the word 'mate' now and again - just like Alf in 'Home & Away') and seeing his picture on FB, he didn't look any different either, time sure has been better to him than to me!. We chatted for over an hour, before his wife had to go to work but there was a strong promise to stay in touch and I believe we will now, friends mean more to me the older I get and it was just so nice to hear from him, I don't think I could bare to lose contact again.
So, on to this weeks card and I must apologise for being so late in posting. I always post on a wednesday but (and I am being 100% honest with you here) I just couldn't be bothered to turn on my main PC to transfer the pictures of the card onto my memory stick so I could do my blog from bed on my laptop! So now you know just how lazy I am! The challenge over at I ProMarkers this week is Hat Pins and Charms and as you can see, I have used three pins on my card. When I first noticed them on cards in magazines, you couldn't get them anywhere but now they are (excuse the pun here) quite old hat but I still think they give a card a classy look. The image is another Saturated Canary and the papers are from Magnolia's 6x6 range. The sentiment is made up from Papermania's glitter letters and the small ticket is from Whimsy Stamps, anything else is from my stash.
So I hope you like it and I also hope you are as lucky as I am to have some really great family and some even greater friends, who you know love and support you, no matter what. Hope to see you on wednesday next week! Take Care.
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: ATC's and Cards with Attitude Challenge #13 - Anything Goes/Butterflies & Blooms
2 Sisters Challenge #91 - Make It Girlie
Catch The Bug Challenge - Things With Wings
Crafty Calendar Challenge - Things With Wings
Crafty Emma's Store Challenge #85 - Anything Goes
The Happy Scrappers Challenge #1 - Anything Goes
Sweet 'n Sassy Digi's Challenge #53 - Feminine Card
The Squirrel And The Fox Challenge #17 - One For The Girls
Sentimental Sundays Challenge #102 - (B)irthday
Platypus Creek Digitals Challenge #6 - Flowers
Paper Sundaes Challenge #120 - Things With Wings
Great Impressions Challenge #3 - Anything Goes
The Corrosive Challenge Blog Challenge #149 - Flowers and Doilies and Bling - Oh My!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

"The Answer My Friend....."

Well I know you are not going to believe me, but for the first time in forever there is nothing wrong with me! My throat is feeling lovely and cut free, my mum is still in hospital but doing okay (and looking rather good too) and for the first time in a long time my back isn't too bad (and by that, I mean it's not leaving me in crippling pain). So what can I talk about this week if I have no aches and pains? What about crafting?, that would make a nice change eh!
Jo and I have been buying quite a few things from Create and Craft lately. I have resisted their membership for the longest time, always telling Jo that we would never get our money back! I couldn't have been more wrong if I tried. I relented a few months back when they had a Grand Calibut P.O.W. (Pick Of the Week) and as a companion to the Calibur, they sold a mountain of Spellbinders dies that were brand new to the UK and exclusive. Well that was me, hooked. Nesties are my absolute favourite crafting companion, I can't imagine making a card without adding some gorgeous little die or other (if you doubt this statement just look back through my posts!!).
So we took out a membership and literally within a month we had our money back from them. We have bought more Spellbinders than I could ever possibly use (that is unless I make one card an hour for the rest of my life, then I just might fulfil that order!), a massive collection of cardstock, both Kraft and multi-coloured, a CD-ROM (which I mentioned last week), a fantastic collection of Kanban cards and this week we have bought their amazing 4 day deal of British themed cardstock. Jo has even had a go at knitting!, she bought a pack of knobbly bobbly yarn (not wool!) to make a cushion with, but if it turns out to be anything like the blanket she started knitting in 1972 i'm not going to hold my breath that that project will ever see the light of day!!
So would I recommend their membership? Well I think I would have to say yes, but so far it hasn't all be plain sailing. Their customer service has always been on the poor side (a few years back I was called a liar by one of their 'customer service' reps!) but I think the one thing they need to work on the most is the P & P policy. For one single item they charge £2.99 which isn't too bad, but when you consider you could be buying a CD-ROM one day and a sewing machine the next, it doesn't really add up does it? Also, I have noticed that they could easily cut costs by reducing the amount of packaging they use. For our first order with them (a collection of 12 packs of Nesties), they sent the order in a massive box and inside the box there were 3 large Jiffy bags, each bag containing 4 Nesites each. However, the Jiffy bags were so big that putting all 12 in one bag would have still left enough space for a small piece of garden furniture!, so they are not the greenest company in the UK.
I would like to say though that I do enjoy them as a TV station, their presenters are (on the whole) very professional and they make viewing very enjoyable, even if you only have it on in the background there is always something you will want to watch. They have some great deals, especially when they have Flexi-Pay offers which allow you to pay over a few months (with no credit checks!) and they are ALWAYS open, which is a major draw for an on-line shopaholic like me.
On to this weeks card and the theme at I ProMarkers is Fairies. When I first read that it was coming up, I went into a major tail-spin. Fairies! I'm a boy! I can't do fairies; for one thing, I've never seen a fairy image I like, yet alone one I would want to colour. Well that changed when I found this image on Mo Manning's website (Mo's Digital Pencil), he's called Winter Fairy Halla and I thought he was just perfect, ready for loads of lovely blues and greys. For the background of the card, I used a mask and a sheet of Core'dination cardstock in  blue, then after running it through my Grand Calibur I inked up a few sections of the pattern to make it look like windy swirls. I finished off with some Basic Grey card for the panels, ribbon, pretty jewel flowers, hat pins, doily and a Memory Box corner die, the card came out a lot prettier than I thought it was going to be.I wanted it to be a bit more 'manly' but I guess I just don't know how!
So that's me, happy and crafty, hope you are too,
see you again real soon,
Aud Sentiments Challenge #53 - Anything Goes
Crop Stop Challenge #70 - Emboss It!
Digi Doodle Shop's Best Challenge #106 - Anything Goes
2 Sisters Challenge #90 - Anything Goes
Catch The Bug Challenge - Anything Goes
Crafty Calendar Challenge - Things With Wings