My Family & Other Animals

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

"Itty Bitty Piggy..."

So things have very quickly reverted back to their normal state of affairs - welcome to the blog where Sod's Law would be a welcome break! Not only have I had to put up with a throat infection that has literally felt like my throat has been slit from the inside but my mother has once again been admitted to hospital, this time after having had a rather nasty fall in her bedroom.
Mother is 83 and lives with my sister and you know that old saying about timing being everything, well her timing has been just perfection. My sister has booked a ten day holiday to Cyprus so that she can not only see her daughter and grandchildren but also get a long overdue and well earned rest. Mother fell on friday morning - my sister flew out yesterday (tuesday) morning! Jo and I were meant to be going over to my sister's house to look after my mother while she was away. We had organised a cat-sitter, I had booked time off work, everything way all set up and then this happens. So now, Jo and I are sat here waiting for my infection to clear up so that we can visit mum in hospital. I am also sat at home, not knowing how long she is going to be in hospital for (because God forbid, you should ever get a straight answer from anyone in the medical profession eh!) and until I know when she is coming out, there is very little Jo and I can do but sit tight and wait!
Of course it hasn't been all bad news. I received my Mimics Creations CD-Rom from Create and Craft this week and have been frantically colouring in ever since. Apparently, while the disc was being sold on-air, the presenters or the disc's creator weren't allowed to name any of the characters on the disc, even though it was glaringly obvious who they were meant to be! I don't know if that means I shouldn't say who they are here but as my followers fall well below the two hundred line I don't suppose I really need to fret too much about getting into trouble!!
I never buy craft CD's as I prefer stamping and Digi images, plus I have yet to find a paper I really like enough to want to home print on and use in a project! But this CD is soooo different, I just had to have it! It features a host of characatures from popular culture, both past and present. There's Lady Gaga, The Twilight gang, Cheryl Cole (we think!!), Rihanna and the Top Gear team all representing for today and there's the likes of Arnie as The Terminator, M.J. in his Thriller zombie outfit and Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses representing the classics. It is jam packed with great backgrounds, word art, backing papers and envelopes, but the main draw for me was that all the characters were available as Digi stamps too. So far I have coloured M.J. and The Trotters, both images giving me a little challenge or two along the way; zombie skin and D.P. army wear! but I think I have coped with both problems rather well and hope to show you the finished products on this blog in the very near future.
On to this weeks card and the theme over at I ProMarkers is Flower Power. We are once again being sponsored by the wonderful Digi Doodle Shop and the little porker above is called "Sweet Smell". I love pigs (I even used to collect them at one time, that was until the house became over run!!) and I am really fond of this image, he has such a happy face and he was beyond easy to colour. I have basically used scraps of paper (designer though!) and card to make it with but I did manage to use my new Woodware Crafty Edger and my even newer Cheery Lynn fancy swirl die. The flower was a fairly recent pick-up too from The Range, so I assume it's from Papermania and I love how 3D it looks.
Anyhoo, that's enough from me, hope your week has been okay! See you again soon,
take care,
Entered Into: Creative Inspirations Paint Challenge: Flowers
Great Impressions Challenge #2 - Flowers, Lots of Flowers
Kenny K's Krafty Girlz Challenge #91 - Anything Goes
PanPastel UK Challenge #16 - SpringTime
Di's Digi Designs Challenge - Let's Meet Your Animal Friends
Crafts 4 Eternity Recipe Challenge #69 - Spring
Opus Gluei Challenge #129 - Use Flourishes In Your Project
The Paper Players Challenge #93 - {Tic Tac Toe}
365 Cards Challenge #61 - Layered
Bunny Zoe's Crafts Challenge #23 - Ribbon or Twine
Always Crafting Creative Monday Challenge #7 - Anything Goes
Hooked On Craft Challenge #20 - Flowers
Lollipop Crafts Challenge #78 - Anything Goes
Squigglefly Challenge #1712 - Use Pink & Blue on your card
Stamp and Create Challenge - April, Spring

Monday, 23 April 2012

Liebster Award

I've been a bit under the weather for the last few days; there are always some nasty bugs going around at this time of year but this one left me feeling like my throat had been cut - from the inside!! So I have not touched my laptop for at least three days. Woke up bright and early this morning and for the first time in days could actually swallow without having to contort my face so I ended up looking like a tickle me elmo!, went to my blog and Ta Dah! there was this lovely award from Melanie. If you haven't come across her blog, check it out here.
If you have never heard of the Liebster Award (and I will be totally honest here, I hadn't), here is how it works:
The "Liebster Award" is given to bloggers who have 200 or less followers, in the hope that it will bring them new followers and friends. The tradition is that it is then passed on to five other blogs to help them too. If you want to accept the award the steps are:
1. Link back to the person who gave you the award and in a new post, thank them.
2. Post the award on your blog.
3. In your 'Thank You' post (No. 1, above), nominate five fellow bloggers who inspire you.
4. Leave a comment on their blogs.
The five fellow Bloggers I would like to award are:
Crafting Christine
Lorraine's Place
Mrs B's Blog
Berit's Hobbyblog
Kate's A Crafty Bugger
Not an easy decision to make but I would like to thank ALL my followers - you all inspire me and Thank You to all the people who take the time to read my blog, I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

"We're S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G., We're Shopping..."

So no whinges or moans this week. For a change I thought I would talk about what I've been watching instead!
Why do you care what I've seen? Well in truth, you probably don't but I always like to read a good review and hopefully you will find this fractionally more interesting than watching the latest episode of Coronation Street or any of the sub-standard dross UK tele bosses seem to think we want to watch!
I finally got around to watching both The Hunger Games and 21 Jump Street and I was pleasantly surprised by both. I read an article in my Empire magazine that reported Donald Sutherland saying he though The Hunger Games would prove to be the most influential film of the new decade! Well he may be slightly over-reaching with that statement but for a film directed at teenagers it proved to be very entertaining and more than a little exciting. It's kind of a watered down version of the Japanese classic "Battle Royale" which has teenagers stranded on an island, having to kill each other before they have their heads blown off! The Hunger Games pits teen against teen in a fight to the death but it never feels mawkish or like so many films today, overly glorifying the violence contained within. It's already been a massively successful book series and the film has done really well here and in the US so expect the second and third books to be made quite quickly.
21 Jump Street was a totally different kettle of fish, a great big dumb movie with a massive heart and shed loads of laugh out loud moments. Making over the hit US 90's TV show, the film stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, two actors I have never taken to before but in this movie they really shine. In terms of story, it places the two leads into a school looking for drugs - so far so normal, but where it differs is in the relationship between the two leads. Where some films put polarised characters together and you know they are going to end up "besties", this film has them start out as friends and that friendship gets tested along the way. It has laughs without being offensive or cheap and you really care about what happens to both of them. Both films are highly recommended and if you see them and enjoy them please let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you.
On to the card and the theme at I ♥ ProMarkers this week is "Let's Go Shopping". My idea of shopping is nothing like that represented here. I do nearly all of mine (and occassionally the weekly 'big' shop too!) on-line! I have even been known to stealth-shop; that's where you end up wide awake at three in the morning and with nothing else to do you start trawling your favourite craft sites and loading your virtual shopping trolley so that it ends up fit to burst! Rather than just clicking on close you end up buying a truck load of stuff you could really live without. As for Christmas shopping, my idea of hell on earth is trudging around a load of shops, all playing the same God-awful songs you hear time after time and standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the rudest creatures crawling the earth. Apart from fruit and veg, there's nothing you can't buy on the internet (and I bet you can get that too if you want to look!). Last year, Jo and I tried to order our food for a home delivery with ASDA and they genuinely offered us the third week in January as our delivery date!
I struggled to find an image I liked but finally remembered seeing this beautiful young lady over at the Kenny K site (and I have since been told they do a non-Christmas version too!). I have never gone for the traditional red/green for my xmas cards and I think blue is a lovely colour as it fits the temperature of the season rather than the temperament. The backing papers were free with a craft magazine and were meant for the "Me to You" characters but I thought they worked really well in setting the scene. All the dies were Memory Box and the title is made from some of my lovely Sizzix alpha's, finally I added sparkle with tiny gems and pearls. Hope you like it as much as I do and I will definately see you again next week.
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Whimsy Stamps Inspirations Challenge #35 - Punches or Die Cuts
Just Keep On Creating Challenge #1 - Anything Goes
Freshly Brewed Challenge #92 - Funny/Humorous
Moving Along With The Times Challenge - Merry Christmas
Shelley's Images Challenge - Show Us What You've Got
The Emerald Faeries Challenge #22 - Dazzle It
One Stitch At A Time Challenge #110 - Anything Goes
Paper Sundaes Challenge #117 - Let's Get Cute
Lexi's Creations Challenge #63 - Use Your Punches and Dies
Love To Create Challenge #12 - Anything Goes

Saturday, 14 April 2012

"One For Sorrow...."

Firstly let me apologise for being so tardy this week. I normally have my blog updated on a Wednesday to go in line with the I ♥ ProMarkers site who update their challenge on a Wednesday morning, but I have really let this week get away from me somehow and here I am at half past one in the morning on what is now officially Saturday updating with a very heavy heart.

"Why so heavy?" I hear you ask. Well, this tale starts last night at work. I was absolutely freezing (I was in short sleeve order and wearing a flimsy body warmer - in borderline Winter weather!) and it didn't help that it was freezing outside, but I was sweating like a lady of the night in a church (that really is the nicest way I can think of putting that phrase!!), I had two heaters on but couldn't feel any of the heat at all. I rushed home and dived into bed and hadn't really emerged until late on Friday afternoon, still feeling particularly sorry for myself. Jo and I settled down to watch Glee and during one of the ad-breaks there was an advert for Steps and how they are preparing for their triumphant return to the stage. I have had my tickets since last September when the tour was announced and my chance to say farewell to one of my favourite pop groups was well and truly galvanised. I reached over to just double check when we were going to see them and there it was - the 11 April 2012!!! Two days ago.

So what, I hear you ask, was all that about being poorly the night before got to do with anything. Well if you thing I was sick before I picked those tickets up, image how I felt just two second after looking at them!! Sick as a parrot doesn't even come close. So now I have to hope they do a twenty year reunion tour and go and see that.

On to this weeks card and this is another new experience for me - White on White. I was a bit stumped about how to do a card using just one colour way, but after looking at Sue Wilson's site PartiCraft, I came away fully inspired and ready to go. The dies are the new Nesties from Spellbinders and they are the Persian Motifs and Accent dies. The background is embossed using a Creative Expressions embossing folder (Lattice) and then I finished it off with some gems and a lovely little Tilda image which I thought fitted the card really well.

So that's my week, hope yours has been a little better and I'm sorry every week seems to come laden with tales of doom and gloom, it's not for lack of trying that I want to bring you stories of puppies and sunshine - it's just the way my cookie crumbles at the moment!

Hope to be back soon, take care,



Entered into Wags 'n Whiskers Challenge #77 - Anything Goes

Fairy Fun Friday's Challenge #76 - Anything Goes

Delicious Doodles Challenge #17 - Loads of Layers

Card Makin' Mamas Challenge - Make It Girlie!

ATC's and Cards with Attitude Challenge #11 - Anything Goes

Art With No Boundries Challenge #6 - Anything Goes

Craft Your Passion Challenge #106 - Die Cuts and Punches

Lexi's Creations Challenge #63 - ~Use Your Die Cuts and Punches

Make It Monday Challenge #85 - Anything Goes

Paper Pretties Challenge - Embossing (Dry or Wet)

Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge - Anything Goes

Whoopsie Daisy Challenge - Free and Easy (Anything Goes)

High Hopes Rubber Stamps Challenge #133 - Anything Goes

Bearly Mine Challenge #31 - Embossing

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

"You Are My Sunshine..."

So this week has seen Petrol Pump Madness (good name for a band that!!) and me getting to grips with the rather wonderful FlexMarkers.
First things first though and let's address the lunacy that was the 'shortage' at the pumps. Working in a petrol station has given me a rather unique insight into the demented British psyche. The news reports that tanker drivers may go on strike in the near future, the PM telling people it's okay to fill up and that simpering dolt Maude telling people "Panic, Panic, Panic, get it all now, keep it in your garage, whatever, do it now, OMG it's so scary innit". What do we do as a nation - obviously we listen to the stupidest man on earth and whirl into a tailspin and start overwhelming all the garages and waiting in queues for hours on end in the hope of getting at least a teaspoon's worth of fuel! If only we had all listened to the end of that news story before charging out of the house eh!, the bit that said the drivers weren't striking, they were in fact in talks to take a vote as to weather or not to go on strike and if they did they would give us a week's notice first.
I heard tell of a man who queued for an hour and three quarters for £7.20 worth of fuel and was then going to put the car in the garage and not use it again until JUNE!!! and he was one of the reasonable ones. I don't wish to mock the afflicted, but what kind of mentalist fills petrol cans in their kitchen, at teatime, with the cooker on?!?! I have to tell at least three people a shift to stop smoking and nearly every one of them will look at you like you are trampling all over their civil liberties. They take great delight in telling you that diesel will not ignite with a naked flame. "Ah yes", I tell them "that's very true. However, the 150'000 gallons of fuel beneath you in the storage tanks do give of the odd 'flammable' vapour, which is easily ignited and would leave this site a gaping two mile wide crater, so please put the cigarette out as I quite like my life at the moment, even if you do have a death-wish!" Working in the retail industry has really knocked my view of people, I have seen how greedy, rude and downright ignorant they can be.
Thank God the crafting world has restored some of that faith with all the lovely people I meet whenever I go to a craft fair or club, or even on-line now! Thank You Crafters everywhere.
On to FlexMarkers and all I can say about them is WOW!!! They are so good. I have been using ProMarkers forever and when the new pens came out I got a set at a show but never really used them. I thought the pale colours were too pale if that's at all possible, but I recently got a great Multibuy deal on Create and Craft and as the sets came with some of the original colours but with the Flex tip I gave them another go and that's it, I'm hooked. So now I can't wait for the whole range to be replaced with the Flex tip (and neither can my wife Jo, who I have told can have all my pens which are replaced).
This week's card is the first one I have done with just the FlexMarkers and although it's not as good as I would normally expect, it's not far off and I know that with time and practice I'll get there in next to no time at all. The image is one of the new Kraftin' Kimmie sets from designer Cheryl Alger, which I purchased from the very wonderful site Quixotic Paperie. This lovely young lady is called Lulu and comes in a few sets (this particular one is from the 'Lovely Lulu' set), reasonably priced at £15.99. I have used my Magnolia tree die and the flower die is an old one from Marianne Designs. The double ribbon makes the flower look like a daffodil and the bows are the petals. While I would love to take credit for this, it was a 'happy accident', but I do think the final effect is really great.
Hope this week hasn't been too stressful for you and if you have made it down this far, well done, I hope my rambling doesn't put you off and keep you from coming back again!! Hope you like the card and I will see you back here again real soon,
hugs 'n stuff,
Entered Into: Through The Craft Door Challenge #23 - Spring is in the Air/Must use a Butterfly
The Crafter's Cafe Challenge #3 - Spring with Pastel Colours
Tando Creative Challenge - Predominantly Yellow & Green
Sparkles Monthly Challenge #30 - Mother's Day or Spring
Fashionista Challenge #1 - Anything Goes For Girls
Really Reasonable Ribbon's Ramblings Challenge #45 - Button and Bows
Pretty Little Ribbon Shop Challenge #9 - To Die For
Oozak Challenge #1 - Anything Goes
Just Tracy's Crafts Challenge - Yellow, Green and White
Just Keep On Creating Challenge #1 - Anything Goes
Be The Next Papercraft Star Challenge #91 - Anything Goes!
Divas By Design Challenge #29 - Anything Goes
C.R.A.F.T. Challenge #149 - Easter/Spring
Hanna & Friends Challenge #139 - Easter/Spring
Little Miss Muffet Challenge #32 - Spring Colours (Pastels)
Charisma Cardz Challenge #13 - Chipboard or Stickers