My Family & Other Animals

Sunday, 30 September 2012

"Thank You For Being A Friend..."

Hello again. I am so glad to be back with you if I'm honest, I have missed you but I have been busy getting the house ready for our visitors on Tuesday, I just hope that they make it all the way here or Jo and I will have put ourselves in a lot of pain for nothing!
So, news first and a couple of announcements from Kenny K.
Today over at Kenny K's Krafty Krew we have a fabulous chance for 10 Brand New followers to win 5 Digi Stamps from Kenny K Downloads and all you have to do is follow the Kenny K's Krafty Krew blog and leave a link to your blog in the linky .
The 10 winner's will be picked at random and announced on Sunday 14th October 2012 on the Kenny K's Krafty Krew blog!
Good Luck Everyone!!!
Also, this week we have some FANTASTIC NEWS!!!

Kenny K Downloads is having a SALE!!!
For just one week you can get a Whopping 30% off all Digital Stamps with this coupon code:


So now's the perfect time to nip over and grab some bargains.

So a massive thank you goes out to Kenny and Elena for their unbelievable generosity and Kenny wanted everyone to know that he has been super busy lately and so hasn't had enough time to put out a full new release set of images for September but keep your eyes open for a bumper set towards the end of October, so there's something else to look forwards too eh!.
I wanted to share a memory with you. This one goes back to when I was living in Redcar and I must have been about 10 or 11 years old. Both of my parents used to work and an unfortunate incident with a frozen sausage and a bar heater meant my mother no longer trusted me on my own in the house, consequently I was bansihed to roam the streets until one of them returned home from work. As there aren't a lot of places to go in Redcar during the Winter months I discovered the local Public Library, a place that not only had heating but a coffee shop (this being the early 1970's, by coffee shop I of course mean one cantankerous old woman with a kettle, a jar of instant and halitosis to spare!) and more books than I had ever seen in one place in my life before. I was already an avaricious reader but this place seemed magical to me. They didn't mind which books I looked at or indeed, in which section I wanted. There were a few librarians who took me under their wing and even suggested books for me. On one fateful day, I was given a copy of 'Stig Of The Dump' to read and from that moment on I was an addict. No one had yet to tell me that you could 'legally' borrow books by way of library cards and so on occassion I used to take the book home to read (I ALWAYS returned it though, I just put it in places only I could find so that when I needed it again, I would know exactly where it was!).
Our house (was a very, very, very fine house) was a 3 bed, semi-detached at the end of a street that would honestly have made Coronation Street look glamorous! My bedroom was shaped like a Dairylea triangle and would have made the term box room seem positively Majesterial. It contained a single bed, a small chest of drawers and a tiny wardrobe, adding me literally made the room seem overcrowded. I was never trusted to have a lamp, Mother knew I would have stayed up all night reading! So instead, in order to read at night, I used to harness the power of a street lamp. Fortunately my chest of drawers had a mirror on it and if I left my curtains open just a wee crack, the light from the street lamp would shine onto the mirror and with a bit of angling on my part, I could get the light to bounce onto my bedroom wall and I then had a constant, strong source of reading light (for free!), best of all, Mother never had a clue in all the time we lived in that house!
I used to read 'Stig' so often I swear I knew some of the pages off by heart. It never occured to me that you could actually buy a copy of it, so my love affair was only with the Library's copy and it began to feel like I was lending it to them rather than the other way around. Eventually, I of course purchased a copy of my own and to this day I still love that book and try to read it at least once a year, it only takes a day or two to read and the copy I have now was bought for me by Jo for our first wedding anniversay - the paper one.
I don't know what made me think of that but I really wanted to share it with you, my blog is kind of evolving into a shared therapy session and the feedback I am getting is really poitive so I will carry on sharing until you no longer want me to.
This weeks theme over at the Kenny K Krafty Krew Challenge Blog is #113 - No Squares Allowed! As per usual, I have put my out of the box thinking into overdrive and come up with this decorated paint tin which I bought from Create and Craft a couple of weeks ago. The image used is Princess Pia (available here) and all cardstock is from Core'dinations. The crocheted flower on the lid was made by my good wife and the flowers on the tin and tag are from Wild Orchid Crafts and my stash. I have made the tin as a Thank You for the one workmate who took the time to see how I was doing while I was off sick and I am going to fill it with some choccies for her when I return to work this Thursday for the first time in six weeks.
So that's me then. Another entry finished and I hope it wasn't too much to take in in one go. I will be back in a few days with my first card for Pepalito's, so keep an eye out for that.
Take Care and Hugs 'n Stuff,

Sunday, 23 September 2012

"Pretty Maids All In A Row..."

So another week rolls by and over at the Kenny K Krafty Krew challenge blog (#112) the theme this week is 'Hey Fruity!'. Well I read the challenge and the first thing that came to mind was something my dad always used to say, whenever my mother got a little 'frisky' he would say she was being fruity! So these girls with their sassy attitude reminded me of what he used to say. Of course, most people will go the literal route and use fruit in their images but my mind just doesn't roll that way! The images I have used on my card are (from Left to Right), Boogie Down, Brooklyn Babe, Hot Weave and Download Diva. I used a Memory Box die behind each girl and used Core'dinations cardstock. Of the four girls I think my favourite is Download Diva, she looks so real to me and I think she is the most eye-catching of the four. I don't do a lot of Blondes, so she really is a work in progress for me and I will endeavour to keep trying to do blonde hair as I was quite happy with the finished image.
I do have a bit of news to share. I entered a competition at Papelitos Challenges this week and they had a call out for Design Team members. After scrolling down their own members cards I decided that I loved the images so much I had to put my hat in the ring and have a go - I'm guessing that by now you have worked out I got the place on their team, and you really should check out their images at their Etsy page (here), they are designer by an artist called Jordi Muntaner and they are very reasonably priced. The images are a little left-field for some people's tates but there are some amazing images you can use on Halloween cards - go give them a look-see, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
On a happy note, my wife recently received an email from an old friend who she lost contact with over thirty years ago. After emailing and talking over the phone, her friend Christine and her husband are coming to visit us on the 2nd of October. It is so nice to get in touch with people you thought had left your life forever. I made contact with someone who now lives in Australia and I haven't seen him since the early 1980's when he left the UK on a posting to Germany. Over the years I spent in the Royal Air Force (23 and a half), I made lots of friendships, but as is the Military way, you tend to lose contact with most of the people you serve with as over the years you just accumulate too many frindships for it to be viable to maintain them all. But there are always people who make a big impression on you, usually because they act so kind towards you at a time when you really need someone. My friend Neil was one of the first people who took the time to talk to me and because he was a couple of years older than me I think I looked up to him as a big brother. He took me clubbing and he introduced me to his family on a weekend away to Thornton Heath, a weekend that has lived with me ever since. Being in contact wiht him again has given me a sense of peace that was missing for such a long time, so if you have someone out there who you would love to get in contact with again then I highly recommend you give it the old college try and attempt to bring them back into your life, it will be worth the effort.
So that's me then, ready to start work on some great new images and to face the week ahead in a really positive way, there's some great stuff on the horizon.
Have a great week too, take care, Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: ATC's and Cards With Attitude Challenge #23 - Anything Goes
Inspire Me Fridays Challenge #78 - Anything Goes!
Pattie's Creations Design Challenge #53 - Anything Goes
Stamping With The Dragon Challenge - Music
Craft Us Crazy Challenge #27 - Halloween or Anything Goes!
Crafty Ribbons Challenge #29 - Anything But Square!
Cute Card Thursday Challenge #236 - Letters & Numbers!
Little Miss Muffet Challenge #44 - Anything But Square
The Paper Shelter Challenge #83 - Anything Goes!
Simon Says Stamp Challenge - Anything Goes!!
Stamp 'n Doodle Challenge - Anything Goes
Stampin' Royalty Challenge #143 - Use Your Big Shot/Die Cuts!
Whimsy Inspirations Challenge #51 - Anything Goes

Thursday, 20 September 2012

"Oh The Times, They Are A Changing..."

Tilda Hugs a Heart

Kind of loving the new-look Blogger, just working out a few kinks before I'm fully confident in what I should be doing but in the meantime I have put up this new card I made using a new (to me) Tilda and my latest Marianne Designs die, part of their Anja range and I think it is one of the prettiest dies I have ever seen.
As for what I wanted to talk about, well I was watching a show on Channel 5 tonight (I know, Channel 5 - I was experimenting!!) about a hospital that makes prosthetics for people faces. There was a woman who had no nose (I could do the old joke about "How does she smell?", but I am better than that; shame on you for thinking it though!), a young boy who had terrible burns on his face and there was even a man who had a detachable false ear.
Now I do not consider myself a technophobe, I own an iPad, an iPod, a mobile phone and a Blu-Ray player with Hi-Def TV (any burglars reading this please note we have EXCELLENT security and some fearsome cats), but I am constantly amazed by the world I live in. I am 48 now and if I think back to when I was a teenager, you had to
 be from a middle-class family if you had a TV in your bedroom. If you wanted to phone Australia it cost you several pounds per minute and you had to book the call! Computers came in the form of a Spectrum which had a cassette (remember those!) with your game on which took ages to load and even then that wasn't guaranteed!!
A few weeks ago I used Facetime or whatever it's called on my iPad to talk to my brother in Weymouth. Not only could I see how much weight he has lost recently, he also took his laptop downstairs to show me his new cat! Kids take this for granted now, they can't even imagine a world where this technology doesn't exist and yet it blows my mind. I know people were expecting the world to be a massively different place by the year 2000, flying cars and jet boots etc, but realistically those visions of the future in movies always have gleaming new cities that tower above everything and yet during the parade of Olympians through the city of London you could see the hundreds of years of history in all their buildings, you don't just tear that down no matter how far in the future you go.
I think the most amazing thing of all though is the Internet. Every time I log on I am astounded at what I can get from the web - for free. However much I pay Virgin for my broadband it's just not enough. I now have a blog that has helped me reach people all over the world with my cards, something I just sit at my dinner table and work on. People have built worldwide corporations - from their bedroom!!  So take a minute sometime, think about the world you are inhabiting and just how far it has come in the short time you have been alive (short is a relative term!).
Back to the card and it was coloured with my ProMarkers and I have used the flowers I bought  from Wild Orchid Crafts, they really are the best on the web at the moment.
Anyhoo, hope you like it and I will be back Sunday with my latest Kenny K creation, a card I am really proud of.
See ya soon, Hugs 'n Stuff
Entered Into: Challenges 4 Everybody #3 - Anything Goes
GingerLoft Challenge #48 - Embossing
Joanna Sheen Challenges - So Sweet
Sweet Magnolia Challenge #52 - Anything Goes
No Matter Which Challenges #2 - Die Cuts/Punches
Totally Tilda Challenges #56 - Bingo Grid

Sunday, 16 September 2012

"I Put A Spell On You..."

Hi-De-Hi Campers, it's been a long week but I'm back again; new card, new challenge at the Kenny K site (more of that in a bit) and a fresher outlook on life for the first time in months.
Why so chirpy you ask?, well it's all chemically induced but I'm in no position to complain and if I'm honest with you I wouldn't want to anyway, for the first time in months I actually feel like my head is clear and I am even sleeping better, so yay to anti-depressants eh!
Jo and I have had a lovely day today, we have been at a friends' house all afternoon after being invited for dinner. We don't get out much these days as evenings are spent in bed watching the TV and friends all work during the day, so slowly but surely we are losing touch with people. We are very lucky that the friend we saw today is willing to put herself out for us. She picked us up and brought us home again and is the type of friend who says "you only have to ask you know" and actually means it!
I have spent a lot of time this week doing my colouring for future cards and am nearly finished a fantastic Make It Crafty image, one of their new(ish) releases of their lovely 60's inspired 'it' girls. So far it has taken me about six hours and it should be done tomorrow within a couple of hours, I just have one girls' hair left to colour and I can't believe how long it has taken me. I always knew I was meticulous but I am surprised at how slow I am! I tend to get lost in my own world when I colour, I am usually surrounded by my pens (the more you get, the less room you have for yourself!!) and I like to have a bottle of cold water on my left and a cat on my right (the cat is optional!, they have a tendancy to do what they want which can be annoying). I am completely self-tought and yet I would love to go on one of the Copic courses so I can get certified. I am being asked to show people how to colour all the time and I think I could make a bit of money showing others as everyone wants to show their work off to it's best don't they?
I want to get ahead of myself with Kenny as I just discovered a pile of Sugar Nelllie stamps I bought months ago and would love to work on, but judging by the pile of finished images I have I should just bite the bullet and crack on with any card that takes my fancy and worry about the latest Kenny once a fortnight, but since starting with the team I like to enter every challenge.
Anyhoo, back to this weeks card and the challenge over at the Kenny K Krafty Krew site is (Challenge #111) Black and White + one other colour. As you can see from my card the other colour is orange (we are having a challenge in a few weeks Black & Orange + one other so might just enter this card twice!!), it's a bit of a cliche I know but I do love the colours and when something works it works, I don't know what else to say. The image is called Trixxie Trouble and she was part of Kenny's last wave of releases. There isn't going to be a release for September as Kenny is really busy at the moment but he has promised a big release in October so that's worth keeping your eyes peeled for. The dies are a cross between Memory Box and Sizzix and she is coloured with my Copics on Nenah cardstock.
Well that's all from me for now, hope to see you again soon,
take care,
hugs 'n stuff
Entered Into - Crafting For All Seasons Challenge #36 - Things With Wings
Fab 'n Funky Challenge  #139 - Things With Wings
Paper Pretties Wednesday Challenge #224 - No Designer/Patterned Papers
Stamp 'n Doodle Challenge - Anything Goes
T and A Stamps Challenge #201 - Myth and Mystery
Whimsy Stamps Inspiratioms Challenge #51 - Anything Goes
Creative Craft Challenge - Anything Goes
Digital Tuesday Challenge #178 - Things With Wings
Papelitos Challenge #12 - Anything Goes
Through The Craft Room Door Challenge #36 - Anything Goes

Sunday, 9 September 2012

"All The Leaves Are Brown..."

If only Mama Cass had followed those lines with the words "and polka dotted too" then this would have been the perfect post title...ever! As it turns out, she didn't have the foresight I credit her with and all we are left with is this week's card! The new theme over at Kenny K's Krafty Krew is (Challenge #110) Autumn Hues. I have used a stunning image (Farmer's Daughter) which I think has such a lovely retro feel to it, when I saw her she kind of made me think of a simpler time and 1950's Americana, the only thing missing is a hay bale. I had a go at handmade flowers this week and it has to be said that they aren't exactly difficult are they, don't know why I waited so long to give them a try. Dies come from Marianne and Magnolia and the leaves are Anita's See-Dee's stamps which I haven't used in forever.
On a personal note, I don't have a lot to say this week except that my new pills are beginning to kick in and for the first time in weeks I don;t feel like the world is one one big gaping wound. I've been watching loads of new movies as my concentration has finally been able to cope with something that lasts more than twenty minutes. I saw Men In Black 3 which was quite good, better than 2 but not as good as 1. The latest Bourne movie was brilliant, a real shot in the arm for the franchise and hopefully thae start of a new trilogy. Finally I watched Martha Marcy May Marlene which was just brilliant, a thriller that moves at a drama's pacing and has a real indie sensibility to it. If you like your thrillers to give you all the answers then this one isn't for you, it goes at it's own pace, it has non-linear plotting and has no famous faces in it but it left me breathless at the end, a real original for the new millenium.
So that's all I have at the mo, I have been colouring all week so hope to be putting some cards together this week. Take Care and Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Bearly Mine Challenge #52 - Anything Goes
City Crafter Challenge #126 - Polka Dot Palooza
Crafty Sentiments Designs Challlenge - Leaves
Creative Card Crew Challenge #19 - Tree
Through The Craftroom Door Challenge #35 - Anything Goes
Use It Tuesday Challenge #39 - Anything Goes!
Colour Q Challenge #154 - Colour Inspiration

Lexi's Creations Challenge #73 - Autumn Colours

Lollipop Crafts Challenge #89 - Fall Frolic

Make It Monday Challenge #106 - Anything Goes

Stamp and Create Challenge - Anything Goes

Tammy's Scrappin' Story Challenge #27 - Fall Inspiration

Sunday, 2 September 2012

"Reading, Writing and Arithmatic Are The Branches Of The Learning Tree..."

Good morning, what a beautiful day (I hope the same can be said of where you are right now too), the Challenge at Kenny K's Krafty Krew this week is (#109) Back To School and that of course got me to thinking about my own school days.
I attended the obligatory reunion around my 40th Birthday and was amazed to learn how many people there were looking back through rose tinted glasses. There was a girl at the bar when I arrived and she was stunned that she didn't know me from our school days, she couldn't believe that we had never been in the same social groups or that she didn't at least remember my name. I had to point out to her that the reason for this massive oversight on her behalf was due to the fact that she wasn't in the same class as me (and I don't mean socially!) and as my memory served, she spent most of her time with her girlfriends being a Grade A bi*@h to every boy who even dared to enter their radar! I pointed out to her that there were an awful lot of people at school I stayed well clear of for that very reason and I was amazed that she had been able to rewrite her own history, no longer was she the 'Mean Girl', now she was Miss Congeniality!
Of course British schools in the 1970's were nothing like the cool, modern, whitewashed buildings of US movies. They were grey, tired prefab buildings with the permanent stench of cabbage and desperation about them. They were filled to the brim with embittered teachers whose soul had been crushed by the weight of their pre-pubescent cannon-fodder whose only hope of escape from the area was to join the Armed Forces or hope that they were 'discovered' (for what though still remains a mystery!!), failing this they had a life on the dole/at the local steelworks to look forward to, until the grim reaper too their final breath with one last lash of his sythe.
Was it this grim? Probably not, but I really don't have a wealth of positive memories to draw from. I was bullied for a while but that stopped when I finally had enough and actually stood up for myself. In retrospect, I probaby asked for it, as I imagine I was quite a distant child who (as in adulthood) only had a few 'real' friends and these people were fiercly guarded from intruders taking them away from me. I had a particularly heinous homelife and used to gravitate towards kids from 'happy' family homes. I liked to surround myself with friends who came from large/ish families and who had siblings to share their hopes and fears with. My sister is nine years older than me (I'm sure she's delighted that particular cat is out of the bag!!) and as such was never really around while I was growing up, plus she really didn't like me either!
Of course it wasn't all bad. School gave me the one thing that has been with me throughout my life - art. I wasn't a particularly academic child (I could have been if I hadn't set my sights so firmly on joining the Royal Air Force where I knew I didn't need any qualifications to get into the areas I really wanted to join) and I hated sport with a passion, we had a Sports teacher who would watch us play rugby from the comfort of his Ford Fiesta, ocassionally rolling the window down to let the steam from his flask of soup obscuring his field of vision totally. But art class was where I came alive. My imagination was fired up and all I could see were an endless world of possibilities, one filled with every different type of medium known to man and colours that could make you weep. I loved to paint and draw and my favourite medium to work in was charcoal and pencil. It wasn't a particularly well funded art programme (this being the industrial North East, where men were men and the children frightened!) but we had teachers who went above and beyond for us and I will always be indebted to them, so let me take this chance to say Thank You now and I hope I have repaid their generosity with an ongoing yearning to keep learning about something so precious to me.
As for the day to day stories, I am going to save them for another day. I must remember to tell you about the time I was arrested for breaking and entering - into my own home!! But that's for another time and now I feel I should tell you a little bit about this week's card. I have used Kenny's Sexy Teacher (available here) and I have kept my colour palette very neutral this week, this card could easily be sent to a man or a woman and I love the argyll striped ribbon which I found at the bottom a drawer earlier in the week.
So that's it for this week, I will be back with some more projects soon,
take care and Hugs 'n Stuff,
Rntered Into: Incy Wincy Designs Challenge - Back To School
Critter Sketch Challenge #131 - Back To School Is Cool
Hooked On Craft Challenge #24 - Cards For Men
Love To Create Challenge #31 - Back To School
Paper Pretties Challenge #55 - Create A Square Card
The Cutie Pie Challenge #26 - NO Flowers!
Di's Digi Designs Challenge - Back To School
QKR Stampede Challenge #4 - Back To School
Daring Cardmakers Challenge - Colour Inspiration
Art Impressions Challenge #79 - School/Office Supplies