My Family & Other Animals

Monday, 27 August 2012


According to Billy Joel, you may as well be blind, because Honesty is so hard to find!

Where is all this coming from, well I made a throwaway statement in my last entry and have apparently hurt someone. I have apologised to the person in question and I can honestly say I never, ever intended to hurt them, what I said was written in jest and I have learnt a very valuable lesson from it.

The person who went tittle-tattling to the person I upset! Well there was no honesty in their intent, all they wanted was to push buttons and cause trouble and while I have not been told who they might be, I do have my own ideas about their identity and if I were 100% certain who they were I would try as hard as I could to ban them from ever reading my blog again. They didn't take anyone's feelings into account, just their own personal gratification and I don't need people like that in or around me at the moment, life is proving hard enough as it is.

A couple of days ago I was talking to my darling wife Jo about honesty in feedback and how honest you can be with people. I really appreciate all my fabulous followers and in certain cases I would have no problem whatsoever with their honesty about my projects; my sister, Star (my dear friend Eileen), Distressed Miss (the ever fragrent Clare), Torrey (a fellow Krew member) and a couple of others, who as friends would give me their honest opinion in a constructive way. I appreciate every comment (with the exception of the odd random intruder!), even the ones where you can just tell that someone is only saying what they think you want to hear. As card-makers, we all know when we have made something that is not up to our usual standard. I imagine you are all similiar to me in that we are usually our own worst critics but even then if we are honest with ourselves, we know sometimes what we are putting up isn't as great as we are being led to believe!!

My sister is forever telling me that while she likes my colouring (and I have to say, I am over the moon that something I taught myself to do is appreciated by so many of you) she doesn't always agree with my choice of papers or my colour schemes. I myself find her cards tend to err on the dark side (I don't mean in a Darth Vader stylee!!), she prefers earthy tones and uses lots of dark colours, greens and browns being the most prominent (this is an observation, not a criticism!) and when we are together we are quite open about what we do or do not like in each others work. Her scrapping is beautiful, she uses so many different colours and her style is quite unique, while her altered art (something I have no interest in at all) is something to behold, she recently altered a bottle that has to be seen to be believed. So I am able to handle criticism, as long as it is constructive I can take it and then it is up to me to decide how much I am willing to take on board.

So please do not be afraid to tell me what you REALLY think of my work, I can handle it. I only ever comment on work I genuinely like, I have learnt that if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all and I think that that works well in blogland, we don't all want out comment boxes to end up like the unending diatribes you so often see under video clips on YouTube or in the forums of I could well be opening the floodgates here for a stream of abuse but I really do not think that that is how our community works but as the title of this blog says, try a little honesty in your commentary, it could set you free.

Apologies for the lateness of putting this up but as mentioned in previous entries, I am not in the best place in the world mentally at the moment and it takes me quite a long time to formulate my thoughts into something legible (this particular entry has so far taken four hours!!!), so really it's a miracle I am even here at all. The latest challenge over at Kenny K's Krafty Krew (#108) is Anything Goes and we have all used the latest releases which have a Halloween theme (and yes, it is nearly THAT time of year again!!). Kenny recently sent the following message;

Hello everyone!
As this summer comes to an end, we gear up for what Autumn and Winter bring . . . the Holiday Season!! So exciting! It's especially exciting for us, since this will be our little Sean's first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and Valentines day!! We take holidays very seriously in this house, so Sean is in for some fun! Our first year here, the kids in our neighborhood told us we were the best house. So, now we aim to live up to that every year! So, let the fun begin!!!!!
New Release:
This Sunday, August 26th we will be releasing 12 new Halloween digis for you to color and craft with! These ghoulish dozen include two new additions to the Gothik Angelz - Princess Pia and Trixxie Treat! We have also bumped up the entire Gothik Angelz collection just beneath the new releases on our shop's homepage, since these wicked ladies love to play dress up and it's that time of year!

My card has used the following images: Devil Girl, Bat, Mad Mummy and Haunted House (all available here) and I covered the front with a sheet of Graphic 45 paper that was from their recent steampunk pack. I put the bat on a strip of acetate to make it look like it could be flying (Jo hates it, says it makes the card look childish!) and it is all coloured with my Copic markers. I know that this entry is quite a long one but as I will no longer be putting cards up for I ProMarkers or Squigglefly I have to get it all out somewhere. I have left both design teams as I found that I was constantly on the back-foot with both of them and the fun had started to go out of it for me, so rather than wait until it became a chore I decided to leave them. Although I wasn't with Squigglefly for long I found them to be a very supportive team and I would like to take this time to thank Rhonda and the rest of the Rowdy's for making me feel so very welcome, I hope I can hook up with them again in the not too distant future.

So, that's it from me, feel free to let me know what you honestly think of this weeks card and as soon as I get a bit ahead of myself on the Krew I will start working on some other projects for you to see,

Take care, hugs 'n stuff,



Entered Into: The Emerald Faeries Challenge #30 - Punches/Dies

Everybody-Art-Challenge #202 - Anything Goes

Going Grey with Scrap-Creations Challenge - Off The Edge!

LEJ Designs Challenge #18 - Anything Goes

Part Time Tuesday's Challenge #83 - Anything Goes

Shopping Our Stash Challenge #66 - Use Your Favourite Things (Spellbinder's Nestabilities)

Sweet Stamps Challenge #81 - A Favourite Technique (Colouring)

Through The Craft-Room Door Challenge #33 - Diva or Anything Goes

Monday, 20 August 2012

"Nice Legs, Shame About The Boat Race..."

Well, so far I haven't really done a massive amount for Squigglefly, we only post once a fortnight per team so I have only done 3 cards since I started and even then I missed one through poor health! So this is my latest entry for them and the image is one of the best I have coloured for ages, I am really proud of her hair, I think I have managed to get every strand showing near enough and I am quite happy with the finished card too, I used some really gorgeous new Basic Grey papers and a Memory Box die (which needed the Marianne steel plate to cut but went through my Cuttlebug a treat). I also cut out the Marianne card stand which looks lovely too and I might just treat myself to the other couple now!!

The image is called Badonkadonk, which refers to her lovely peach of a behind, one look at her face tells you how proud she is of this particular feature. For me though (please don't be offended, it's my blog and I do tend to just write about what's on my mind when I start!!), you will never beat Beyonce, that woman is just perfection, God really knew what he was doing when he put her together, she was clearly in the front of the queue when he was dishing out everything!

Yesterday I saw the video for her latest release (another track from '4' which was a surprise, yet she has taken time away from music to give birth!), the track is called "I Was Here" and is set in the United Nations building. Her performance is live and was used to launch the project called
'I Was Here', hunt it out on You Tube, she looks amazing and the song is awesome. I Was Here is tied in to World Humanitarian Day which was on August 19th and uses the slogan - Do Something Good, Somewhere For Someone Else. Personally I think we should try to do this every single day but I know we all have busy lives and it's not always easy, but how hard is it to do ONE nice thing a day, you could even try just giving someone you know (well) a peck on the cheek and give that person a compliment, tell them how much they mean to you, it's not hard to do and once you do it for the first time it becomes a lot easier and the people around you begin to reciprocate.

I have a couple of friends at work, Tina and Elaine and we have worked together for nearly three years now and I quite regularly tell them how special they are and how much they mean to me. I've seen a stamp with the words "Friends are the family you choose" and as corny and cliched as it sounds, I value my friends above all, they are always there for you and unlike your family they occasionally invite you round for dinner!!, of course this might just be my family that has no social etiquette.

Back to the card - this challenge is SFC33 - Techniques, we want you to use either your favourite technique (I myself have used colouring and die cutting), or a totally new technique you have always wanted to try out. So go on, give it a go and see what you can do, I would love to see your creations.

See you again really soon,

Hugs 'n Stuff,



Entered Into: Basic Grey Challenge #75 - Anything Goes! (Paper Used - Out Of Print)

Craft Your Days Away (Final) Challenge #52 - Anything Goes

ATC's and Cards With Attitude Challenge #21 - Anything Goes

Avadares Challenge #2 - Anything For August!

Fat Pages and Cards With Attitude Challenge #21 - Anything Goes/Music

Inspire Me Friday's Challenge #73 - Anything Goes!

QKR Stampede Challenge #2 - Anything Goes

Stampin' For The Weekend Challenge #16 - Pearls And Swirls

Cute Card Thursday Challenge #231 - Bling It Up!

Dutch Dare Card Challenge #179 - Bling It On

Paper Crafting Journey Challenge - Anything Goes

Sunday, 19 August 2012

"Future's Made Of Virtual Reality..."

Let's talk about that, Reality. Many, many moons ago Channel 4 Television produced their version of a Swedish TV show called Big Brother. Ever the intellectuals, the Swedish made their show a social experiment, it was meant to show how people reacted to each other when they were living their lives under a microscope. For the first year, we followed their lead and made one of the most interesting televsion shows ever shown on British TV.
Of course, from the second year onwards that reality was tainted as people had seen how the show worked and it now became more like a game show, people entered the house with their own agenda and over the years we have certainly seen the worst society has to offer. In recent years we have seen the nicer characters in the house triumph over those whose sole purpose in life is spent gossiping and spitting venom at anyone around them who doesn't fit their social group.
The success of Big Brother has led to a plethora of 'reality' TV and while the concept may not be a new one (who remembers the classic BBC show of the 1970's 'The Family'?) I will state here and now that I LOVE 'REALITY' TELEVISION! and I mean the 'realer' (surely that isn't a word!!), the better. I watch I'm A Celebrity, Hell's Kitchen, The Farm, BB + BBBOTS, The Next Great Artist, Project Runway, America's Next Top Model (plus the many international versions), Make Me A Supermodel, The Salon, The X-Factor, The Voice (UK/US), Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing With The Stars, The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Fit Club (because they were 'famous' we couldn't call them fat, only non-celeb's are fat!!), The Shot, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and even the latest generation of shows that include the likes of TOWIE.
For this, people think that I must have a seat on 'the special bus'. Liking these TV shows does not make me stupid, it just means I have a weakness for tragically awful television - and so does my wife. I could spend my time watching Soap after endless Soap but I prefer shows that take desperate wannabe's/has-beens/never-were's and they are either summarily humiliated or they are just left to their own devices where they eventually humiliate themselves!
What got me on this particular topic? Celebrity Big Brother is on and there's a woman in the house who allegedly did something with Simon Cowell, but she can't talk about it (she probably has proof about his sexuality, proof nobody cares about really and if they do, then shame on them, plus if she can't talk about it then why even have her in the house?) and it turns out she is a giant douche. I was stunned to see just how vile she really is, calling one of her fellow housemates a prostitute! Granted, the woman in question does kind of sell herself on the internet, but prostitute, a bit harsh by anyone's standards.
Let me know what you think, I love reading your comments.
On to this weeks card for the Kenny K Krafty Krew, Challenge #107 and it's called 'Get Sketchy'. Have a look at our site and see if you can't rustle something up that follows our very simple sketch. My card uses one of Kenny's recent releases (Dragon Rider) and I have coloured her using my Copics.
I will be back tomorrow with my next Squigglefly card, so see you soon and take care,
Hugs 'n Stuff
Entered Into: Basic Grey Challenge #75 - Anything Goes
A Gem Of A Challenge #53 - Animals or Teddies
Craft Your Days Away (farewell) Challenge #62 - Anything Goes

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

"Oh How Real Those Roses Seem To Be, But They're Only Imitation..."

So, another day, another card. This one is for the latest challenge over at I ♥ ProMarkers (#130) and our theme this week is - Gardens. A nice open challenge this one, lots of different options for you to do so I am expecting a massive turnout, which is always a treat when it comes to commenting duties, you get to see so many beautiful creations, it makes being a Design Team member really worth doing.
My card has a lovely Cheryl Alger image which I got from Quixotic Paperie (available here). Oddly, the stamps appear on their site under Kraftin' Kimmie!! They are called Springtime Lulu and cost an amazing £15.99 which I thought was a great price for good quality rubber stamps that have three images per sheet (there are quite a few sets) and loads of sentiments too.
If you like this image then you can also find more of Cheryl's images at Sassy Cheryl's Digis. It's a great site with loads and loads of really cute images and also some real bargains in her $1 and $2 Bargain Bins. She even has a Challenge Blog too where you can win images.
Enough about Cheryl then. I have received some great feedback about my last entry which concentrated on Sunday's and how they differ today from the Sunday's of my youth. I enjoyed writing it and would like to do more writing like that, so keep your eyes open and you never know, this time of year always makes me melancholic and I start thinking about the great times I spent on the beach at Redcar or in the cinema (the one place on earth I always felt safe in). The weather reminds me of those biting cold walks home from school, eyes shielded from the swirling sand which seemed to be on every street, no matter how far you were from the beach!
God, this is making me nostalgic now, who knows what I will write next time! There will be another entry here soon, on that you can be certain.
If I don't see you through the week, I'll see yo through the window,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Sassy Cheryl's Challenge #128 - Favourite Colour Combo
Cards And More Challenge #62 - Anything Goes
Part Time Tuesday's Challenge #81 - Garden Delights
Ruby's Rainbow Challenge #35 - Butterflies
Freshly Brewed Challenge #109 - No Digi's, Rubber Stamps Only
Crafting For All Seasons Challenge #33 - Bright Colours

Sunday, 12 August 2012

"Let's Go Surfin' Now, Everybody's Learning How...."

Good Morning to you all, there's a hint of sunshine coming over the rooftops of my neighbours houses and in the distance I can hear a heavy duty drill! Drilling on a Sunday morning! What's wrong with you man, how selfish can you get.
I remember well the Sunday's of my youth. My mother was a big fan of the long-running BBC Radio 2 Drama 'The Archers', a tale of simple country folk and their struggle to achieve ratings in an ever less caring world. In order to listen to her favourite round-up of the week's events (in peace!) she used to get me up at the crack of dawn (8 a.m can seem like that to a teenager you know) and send me off to church. Whilst there, I would listen with great interest to the vicar and what he could teach me about the world around me. I don't think I ever came away from Sunday Service without feeling elevated in some way and with a more positive spring in my step.
Of course that spring was usually knocked out of me by dinner time but for at least a couple of hours I could feel good about myself and my own space. The rest of my day was spent 'hanging about', that thing that kids do today and that makes us say "Well that never happened when I was a kid, where are all the Youth Clubs eh?". One particular highlight was catching my dad on his was back home from his usual Sunday dinnertime drink and knowing that his jacket pocket was now filled with coins and if I caught him just right he would give me some money to go down the beach, to the arcades and the Ice Cream stands and treat myself to some sweets or a few goes on the latest game (Space Invaders and Galaxians being my favourite).
Sunday Dinner was always the best meal of the week. Meat, roast potatoes and loads of veggies with lashings and lashings of amazing gravy. Nobody makes a dinner like my mum used to, she was the greatest cook I have known and even my natural father (a Chef) says he can not make roast potatoes like her. I think this is the thing I miss the most about my mum, her cooking was a big part of who she was and all her strokes and age have taken all that away from her and more importantly, her children
The day would be finished with 'the weekly bath' (whether you needed it or not!), listening to the Top 40 run-down on Radio 1 and Esther Rantzen's 'That's Life' a consumer affairs programme that used to make you laugh and cry in equal measure.
Everything is different today. Nobody goes to church, shops are open all day and people don't eat meals together, as a family any more. Everyone just does their own thing and most of us have to include Sunday in our working week, something that thirty years ago would have had the Unions up in arms about. I'm not saying I don't like the changes. In fact I embrace these particular changes to my life, as Sunday's used to drag for me as child and now it's not much more different to a Wednesday or a Friday if I'm honest with you. But I do miss the peace and quiet, that was a given and I can't pinpoint the exact time that it left us.
Before I tell you about my latest entry into the blogasphere, I must thank everyone who left me a lovely message of support. I have been going through the ringer just lately and I am still not feeling right. After a visit to the Doctor I now know that last Saturday night I had a panic attack and that things are on their way to being sorted out. I may yet end up talking to a Psychiatrist, but I will keep you posted. I would also like to welcome Fernanda and Lauski, my latest followers, I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy doing it.
This week's card for the Kenny K Kraft Krew Challenge (#106) is Sun, Sea and Sand (sadly, no mention of Sex anywhere!!). I have used Surfer Dude (available here) for my image, Bazzil cardstock, a piece of Magnolia paper, some Craftime Embellies, a large pearl swirl and a lovely crab charm which I thought would be funny to have nipping his toe. I have used my trusted Distress inks for the sky background and I have coloured him using my Copic Markers. I am going to get my pencils out this week and have a play with them, if all goes well then I will be showing you the results soon. Hope you like the card and that it inspires you to join us this week and to have a go yourself, if you win then you could walk away with FIVE free Kenny K images and a prize (as yet unspecified) from Marianne Designs.
Hope you have a great day and an even better week ahead,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Art With No Boundaries Challenge - Anything Goes & Rhythm Of The Sea Pt. 2
Bunny Zoe's Crafts Challenge #27 - Summer
Critter Sketch Challenge #128 - It's Digi Week!!!
Incy Wincy Designs Challenge - Beach Days
Make It Monday Challenge #102 - Anything Goes
Paper Pretties Challenge #52 - Anything Goes
Truly Madly Crafty Challenge - Summer Fun
Whoopsie Daisy Challenge - Anything Goes

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

"The Way You Make Me Feel..."

I've had a heck of a week so far. Saturday and Sunday were just a write off, I'm not sure if it's to do with my low blood pressure but I went to work on saturday night and by the time I got there I was shaking, sweating and my head was as light as a balloon. The girls at work are such a pair of diamonds, I went from one booth to the next and in the minute it took to do this very simple task, it was arranged for me to go home and for my friend to work the rest of my shift for me. How lovely is that? It's always nice to know you work with decent people isn't it (not that I was ever in any doubt about them anyway, so thank you both, Tina and Elaine x x).
Monday was just the worst day I have had in a long, long time. I woke up in a very dark place and realy couldn't shift it all day. I watched one of my recorded episodes of the Channel 4 show 24Hrs in A&E (that's accident and emergency for my international readers) and the show featured a little girl who had set fire to herself next to an old bar heater. Her dad rushed over and took her clothes off and of course in the process ended up with burnt hands too. In the hospital he never left his five year old's side, even when they wanted to check his hands he made them wait while his daughter was cared for first. The way he spoke to his little girl, reassuring her and telling her exactly what was going on was a pure delight to watch. I of course sat watching it through a torrent of tears, missing my (adopted) dad and still breaking my heart for the relationship I never got to have with my natural father. I am nearly fifty years old and it never fails to amaze me that a decision taken by two people fourty six years ago can still affect me.
Their decision has been the dominant thing in my life. Counselling has been sought, closure tried, friendship yearned for, acceptance and loved denied and answers refused. There is nothing anyone can ever say to me that will help me to understand how a mother can abandon her child and the father who fought for the child could then do the same too! There's never been a truer saying than 'You can't pick your family', because if I could.....
Yesterday was a rather better day, spent with my dear friend (above) Elaine and her delightful mother Izzy. Jo and I had knitting lessons and tutorials (izzy even berated me for not trying harder patterns!), followed by a lovely lunch and some warm and friendly banter. Overall it was a really nice day and just the lift I needed to get me through the rest of the week.
I'm sorry if you find this blog a little on the dreary side but I am trying to be as honest with you as I possibly can. I don't just see my blog as being about the cards I make, it has become more about the journey I'm on and taking others along with me on the way.
But on to this weeks card for the I ProMarkers crew and this weeks challenge #129 is Vintage. I used one of the latest Kenny K Retro releases Frieda Flapper (available HERE) as I thought she was such a good fit for the challenge. I used a totally (Bazill) deep black background and then I put a Leane Creatief Lea'bilities Die (Frame Square Curve) over the top of that. My ribbon hides the place where I had to run my emobssing folder through my Grand Calibre twice to try and get the design to match up (I didn't do a bad job either but the card looks better with the ribbon ON it, trust me!). I finished with a lovely little cat charm, a couple of rose buds, some pins and a crocheted flower. It looked okay but I felt there was something missing in the gaps, so out came the old faithful alphabet rub-ons and Boo Boo Be Doop just finished the whole thing off.
She's a really cute character and it's so nice to be able to colour something realtively quickly because you don't have hair to do (and when your swede is that big!! Sheesh). Hope you like her as much as I do, don't forget the free candy over at the Kenny K's Krafty Krew site, just add your name to be in with a chance of winnning 3 Kenny K images, go on, what have you got to lose.
It's a lovely day so far so I'm going to get my next Kenny K card done and then concentrate on my other two Design Teams. Hope you like the card and that I will see you again real soon,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: The Craft Room Challenge - Fashion
Deep Ocean Challenge #31 - Anything Goes
Art Impressions Challenge #75 - Any Sentiment
C.R.A.F.T. Challenge #167 - Add A Charm
It's All About The Vintage And Beauty Challenge #24 - Doilies (Flower)
Paper Crafting Journey Challenge - Anything Goes
Pixie Dust Studio Challenge - Pixie Plays In The Attic (Vintage)
Crafts and Me Challenge #96 - Use A Digi

Sunday, 5 August 2012

"If The Kids Are United..."

So first of all, we must talk about the Olympics and how emotional and exciting they have been. I watched the most emotional tennis match EVER this afternoon with Andy Murray and Roger Federer. Murray played like a God today and I have never been more sure in my life that he will someday win Wimbledon. His skills and strength and speed all worked together to perfection, I just wish he would smile a little more because when he does you can see how much he is enjoying himself. Last night's athletics were very thrilling too and how great to see Mo Farrar and Jessica Ennis winning gold in such a classy manner. All those journalists out there saying at the beginning of the games how bleak it was looking for us have had to take all their words back now, Team GB have had a stunning games and I feel so proud to be a Brit (and it's not often we get to say that is it!!).

I would also like to say Hi-De-Hi to my latest followers too, always great to see new peeps on my board. Big hugs to you all.

Well done to my I ProMarkers team-mate Lorraine Bailey for winning Challenge #104 'Banners & Bunting' over at the Kenny K's Krafty Krew site with her beautiful 'Mermaid' card. On to this weeks challenge with the Krew and the theme this week is 'Favourite Ice-Cream Flavour' and my card has been made with the flavours Blueberry with a twist of Strawberry sauce, Hmmm! If truth be told, my absolute favourite is Baileys by Haagen Dazs but I couldn't think of a way to colour something with such a bland colour! In reality, I love any flavour ice cream. In my mind it's a food group!

The image I have used for my card is Li'l Pirate, a fairly recent release from Kenny K and one that I have to say was a joy to colour (as are all of his images!). I finally got the chance to use some of the charms I bought at the last Lincoln Showground Craft show from Sincerely Yours. I piled a load into my tray with the hope that I would be able to use them on something and it turns out I was right after all, the crab one is lovely and I have never seen anything like him anywhere else. There is also some news for you from The Krafty Krew too;

Tomorrow we will be launching our first followers candy.
It's simple, one of our followers will be selected at random and given their choice of 3 digi stamps from the Kenny K Downloads store. But like it says on the tin, you need to be a follower to be in with a chance of winning and it would be wonderful if you could all help to spread the word.

So, that's it from me, hope you like the card and I will be back in a few days with some more crafting goodness for you all to see. Good luck with the Candy.

Take care

hugs 'n stuff,