My Family & Other Animals

Thursday, 28 February 2013

"You Don't Bring Me Flowers... Anymore"

So my 8x8 bug is still biting strong, I haven't made anything smaller for weeks and weeks now! I love having a large canvas to work with and you can choose loads of things for a larger card so I guess I'll be sticking with them for a while longer yet.
So far it has been a very slow and sleepy week. I have been a bit ikcy today but the last three days have been a bit of an improvement from the weekend so at least it isn't all bad news.
As far as news goes, I can't begin to tell you how upset I was with the Oscar results this year. I think that in years to come people will look back at this year as the year that mediocrity managed to beat everything in it's path. Don't get me wrong, 'Argo' isn't a bad movie, but seriously, 'Lincoln' 'Life of Pi' 'Amour' 'Django Unchained' and 'Zero Dark Thirty' were all definately better films but maybe the competition was just too strong and people couldn't split their votes! By the same token, Jennifer Lawrence is a superb young actress with a massive career in front of her (if that were in doubt then just watch 'Winter's Bone', a stunning movie!) but BEST actress, really?? Ignoring Emannuelle Riva or Naomi Watts was criminal, if you haven't seen either 'The Impossible' or Michael Haneke's heartbreakingly beautiful 'Amour' then I urge you to treat yourself to two of the finest movies not just of 2012 but of the last ten years.
At the moment we are trying to ignore our eldest furry-child who is currently sat next to Jo, looking as if to say "Where's my dinner?" She was supposed to go to the vet tonight, ready for an operation on her teeth tomorrow but Jo had a small breakdown this afternoon at the thought of her not being at home tonight with us. She has never been away from us in fifteen years and every time someone gets up for a wee in the night (and that happens a lot in this house!) she jumps up for a quick fuss when you get back into bed. She always comes to me for fusses, I am the only person who does 'tummy-scrunches' properly and she wouldn't have anyone else in the world touch her ears!! She goes to Jo for a non-contact love, she will lay next to her on the bed for hours and hours, something she has never done with me, how funny are cats eh! So if you read this tonight, then please think of Georgie tomorrow and how hard it is going to be on Jo and I.
For a nice change I thought I would make an Edwin card, I am always saddened by how few stamps he gets whenever Magnolia release another collection and I love his little face, he is soooo cute. I coloured him with my ProMarkers (including my 11 new colours care from Create and Craft) and I'm not going to go on about the other bits and pieces used, you all know what's on there and if you don't, then drop me a line and I will gladly let you know.
I should be back again on Sunday with another new card, so until then, take care,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: The Emerald Faeries Challenge #41 - Bling
City Crafter Challenge #149 - Shades Of Pink
The Craft-Room Challenge - From Me To You
Crafty Sentiments Designs Challenge - Pretty In Pink
Cuttin' and Stampin' Challenge #9 - Use Flowers
Inky Chicks Challenge #9 - Use A Magnolia Image
Loves Rubber Stamps Challenge #42 - Anything Goes
Magnolia-licious and Wee Stamps Challenge Blog - All About Boys!!!!
Papertake Weekly Challenge - Anything Goes
Party Time Tuesday's Challenge #110 - Die Cuts
Created With Love Challenge #31 - Anything Goes
Fashionista Challenge #13 - Pink
Forever Friends and Co. Monthly Challenge - Lots of Flowers
Paper Playtime Challenge #5 - Anything Goes
My Grafico Challenge #146 - Anything Goes
Victorine Stamps Challenge #54 - Anything Goes
Whoopsi Daisy Challenge - 2 Patterned Papers
Seems A Little Sketchy Challenge #34 - Sketch
Addicted To Stamps Challenge #51 - Brinsg On Spring (Lots of Flowers)
Creative Inspirations Paint Challenge - Inspired By Anything Goes

Sunday, 24 February 2013

"You Raise Me Up..."

Bit of a tenuous link this time I know but I couldn't think of a song that had amything to do with layers in it!
I am writing today from my sick-bed (yet again!!!!) as I have had a horrible week. It must be some sort of 'bug', some unnamed, unidentifiable, insidious BUG that has left me feeling like I have gone 10 rounds with Joe Frazier. I have had to take even more days off work so the Lord alone only knows what they must make of me. I have never been as poorly as I have over the last six months or so and it is really starting to get on top of me again, hopefully though I can start getting some answers soon as I am going to the Hospital tomorrow morning for some X-rays. The Doctor seems to think I have tendinitis in my shoulder and arthritis in my knees and hips and while I know there is nothing they can do really, I like to know exactly what is wrong with me, the not knowing drives me round the twist!
But enough of my boring medical drama, what kind of week have you had? Hopefully better than mine!
I really wanted to comment on The Brits this week as for the first time in recent memory they turned out to be a really good show. Muse opened it with an astonishing array of beautifully adorned and made-up classical musicians and it was hit after hit from then on. Robbie Williams was a stand-out performance with 'Candy', the whole set was black and white checks and then he turned around and took his coat off to reveal a stunning blue suit (looked like Paul Smith to me!!) but the performance of the night (for me) was Justin Timberlake who sang 'Mirrors', a new track from the long-awaited 'The 20/20 Experience'. I was also delighted to see Emilie Sande take home the award for Best British Album, as that particular set of songs has been my constant companion for the last twelve months. I love everything about that woman, from her neatly coiffured hair to her stunningly emotive voice, I watched her Royal Albert Hall show a couple of days ago and there is something really special about her, when she sang 'Suitcase' I was in floods of tears. There is a line in the song where she says 'What changed so quickly? Answer me! If you must kill me, then please, please tell  me why" and while I know the song is about a lover leaving and it's the end of a relationship, something really struck a chord with me and all I could think about was my dear departed Dad. He died unexpectedly and when someone is torn away from you so suddenly you are just left asking Why?
With yet another song added to the list of songs I will not be able to listen to without thinking about him, I say;
to the greatest man I have ever known, here's to you Dad, missed not just today but EVERY day x.

Okay, on to the card. This week over at the Kenny K Krafty Krew Blog the theme is 'Layer It Up!'. I have used Devastatia (available from Kenny K Downloads here) and if Kenny's images float your boat then check out the 3 brand new Steampunk Burlesque pics. There is an amazing little bulldog chap who is wearing a wonderful flying cap (a la 'Biggles') and two brand new chickadees. As per, they are all stunning and I will be using them all in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out.
I used an M'bossability embossing folder from Spellbinders and as the card I used was quite thick I was delighted to see just how well the image came out, really deep and crisp. My colouring was done with my Flex-Markers and Pro's for a change and I used one of my newish Nestie dies behind the image, the flower is from Woodware and instead of layering it up as normal, I turned the petals over to get this lovely budding flower instead. The wings at the bottom of the card are from Make It Crafty and the crown is a Tim Holtz one while the butterfly is a Spellbinders die and the sentiment is from Lily Of The Valley. Everything else was just lying around on my table!
So there you have it, a new card and a start to a week where I will hopefully get some sort of resolution about my various 'new' aches and pains!
Hope you have a good week, I should be back quite soon as I have a few cards made up and ready to publish, so take care,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Baffles Kreativladen Challenge #17 - Purple And Green
Crafting For All Seasons Challenge #46 - Dies and Punches
Crafts and Me Challenge #122 - Dies or Punches
Divas By Design Challenges - Anything Goes
Flutterby Wednesday's Challenge #229 - 3 or More Layers
Penny's Paper-Crafty Challenge #116 - Favourite Colour (Purple of course!!)
Stamp-n-Doodle Challenges - Use 2 Different Punches/Dies
Bearly Mine Challenges #75 - Anything Goes
City Crafter Challenge #148 - Wings of an Angel
Part Time Tuesday's Challenge #109 - Anything Goes
Sweet Stamps Challenge #106 - Embossing Folder, Die(s) and Stamp
Through The Craft-Room Door Challenge - Anything Goes
Card Mania Challenges #15 - Faeries or Butterflies
Daisy Doodles Creative Challenges #78 - Anything Goes
Kaboodle Doodles Challenge #160 - Use Any Bling
The Pink Elephant Challenge #188 - Anything Goes
Victorine Stamps Challenge #53 - Stamp, Emboss and Embellish

Sunday, 17 February 2013

"I got Brass In Pocket..."

Tilda with Little Pocket from the With Love range
As promised, here is one of the cards I made from the last set of new Tilda's (at least it was new until the mini Easter collection came along!!), the obviously titled 'With Love' collection. I have made a few cards and will be putting them up over the next few weeks. I am really proud of this particular card though, I don't very often work in green and I think I did a fair job on her little romper suit and I love doing black hair, I find it the easiest one to do but have still to try doing Ginger at some point!!
The dies are my usual mix of Marianne's and Nesties (really disappointed with the new launch on C and C this week! in my opinion Spellbinder dies are beginning to get very samey) and the flowers are of course from W.O.C.
So what kind of a week have you had? Mine has been filled with some big ol' shocks and a few soul searching moments.
The shocks have come via the ongoing horse meat scandal and the resignation of the head of the Catholic Church. I admire the Pontiff, it must have been a really hard decision for him to take, walking away from any job is hard enough to do but giving up what he has given up must have been a tremendous wrench for him. I was always really proud of my dad whose eyesight deteriorated thanks to some cataracts and he made the decision to stop driving, even short local trips, because he didn't trust himself on the roads. That same level of self awareness from the Pope must also be admired I think, it takes a strong person to look inward and admit their faults, let alone admit them to the entire world!! Week after week at work I see old men and women behind the wheel of their cars and when they come to my window to pay for their fuel, their hands are shaking so uncontrollably they can't even put their debit cards in the card machine, or their sight is so poor they can't read the numbers on the machine when they try to put their Pin number in! I have yet to get through a morning shift without at least one or two near misses as they pull out of the Station, ignoring the two lanes of traffic coming from their left-hand side!!
As for the horse meat scandal, what can I say that you haven't already said yourself eh! Jo and I get through quite a few frozen meals now, especially as we both struggle to stand and do any 'proper' cooking but we only ever order Chicken dishes because it is a very difficult meat to disguise as something else (plus everyone knows what Chicken tastes like!!). We used to get Asda's own brand Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie but after it was announced that Horse DNA is popping up everywhere there is slim to nil chance of either of us eating those for the very foreseeable future!!
I'm not really scandalised by the fact it is Horse that people have been eating, quite a lot of countries eat Horse so it's obviously a 'safe' meat, what I do object to though is the fact that we no longer have a clue as to what it is turning up in our food chain, the only way we can be 100% certain is to go native, put our loin cloths on and get out there catching and killing what we eat, a return to the Stone-age if you like.
I am of course only joking but on a more serious note, I work with a wonderful lady called Tina and she is a Jehovah's Witness. She spends a lot of her life dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and inner peace through her study of the Bible and we have been talking about religion and what it means to us quite a lot lately. I have always classed myself as C of E but the older I get the more I find myself questioning what that really means to me. I have been a church-goer on and off throughout my life and recently I thought I was okay worshipping at home, on my time-table as it were but Tina has shown me that the Bible teaches us we go to Church to have our faith bolstered by like-minded individuals and I like that thought, I'm just not convinced that the Church of England is where I belong anymore. I'm not about to become member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints but I am definitely on the lookout for something new in my life. I will of course keep you updated as I progress on this journey through 'what I like to call' "Life" (that's one for you Miranda fans out there!!).
So have a great week, hope you like the card and I look forward to seeing you again real soon,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Come And Get It Challenge - Colour Challenge
Totally Tilda Challenge #65 - Valentine's
The Squirrel And The Fox Challenge #37 - Love
That Craft Place Challenge - Love
Pile It On Challenge #7 = Clips and/or Pins
One Stitch At A Time Challenge #151 - Make It Girly
Lovely hAnglar or Sweet Magnolia Challenge #63 - With Love
Creative Inspiration Paints Challenge - Inspired By Valentin's Day
Challenges For Everybody #14 - Anything Goes
WhoopsiDaisy Challenge - Make It Girly
Pretty Little Ribbon Shop Challenge #19 - Anything Goes
My Grafico Challenge #144 - Anything Goes
Make It Monday Challenge #128 - Anything Goes
Fashionista Challenge #12 - Valentine's
Dutch Magnolia Lovers #50 - Valentine's Day
Crafty Blogger's Network Challenge #8 - Anything Goes
Card Mania Challenge #14 - Is This Love That I'm Feeling?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

"This Is Dedicated..."

"...To The One I Love"
So this weeks theme over at the Kenny K Krafty Krew challenge blog is 'To The One I Love'.
I made the above card for my darling wife Jo using Kenny's image Sexy Cupid but not as a Valentine's day card because we don't really bother with all that. Now I would hate you to think that we are not romantic because I would say we are a very romantic couple, we tell each other how much we love each other every single day, we never go to sleep angry with each other and even though I am only at work for four or five hours at a time we always make a special time during those hours to speak to each other.
I cannot express how much Jo means to me. She was my best friend the very first day I met her and had I not already been married at the time I'm pretty sure we would have ended up together a lot sooner than we did. We stayed friends throughout my marriage and Jo was a good friend to my ex-wife too but it was always me that maintained contact with Jo and we never crossed a line with each other, even though there was always 'something' between us.
After my divorce, Jo and I stayed 'just good friends' for about a year and then one evening while we were in the local pub I made that first fateful move and we shared our first kiss. Now I don't want you to think that this is in any way B.S. but I knew deep in my heart right there and then that we would be spending the rest of our lives together. We very quickly became boyfriend/girlfriend and made plans to get married the following year (I chose Freddie Mercury's birthday of Spetember 5th) but after a few lengthy phone calls to each other it was decided that waiting for a big fancy wedding wasn't something either one of us really wanted, so we decided to get married at Christmas and a date five weeks away was set. With so little time to organise anything we gave everything over to Jo's dearly departed sister Pat to sort everything out for us. As wedding planners go we couldn't have picked a better one, she sorted everything out and we had the most wonderful day ever.
We got married at Leighton Buzzard Registry office on December 23rd (the closest we could get to Christmas at such short notice) 1997 and fifteen short years later we are still together, stronger as a couple than we have ever been and we have put our vows to the test over the years. We've had both rich and poor (to varying degrees!!), and lately we have been pushing sickness and health to it's very extremes but through it all we have grown stronger as a couple and I think we have proved that no matter what lifes throws at us we can get through anything as long as we have each other.
Without Jo's support I would never have had the nerve to go to University, or to learn to drive, no matter what it is she always shows me an unwavering support, sometimes putting my needs before her own and I love her, always have, always will.
Now for the the card. It was made using some Bazill Basic and a lovely dotty 8x8 embossing folder, the papers are years old from Papermania and I have used some of my new Memory Box dies with some flowers from WOC. The sentiment was cut out using a Sizzix alphabet set and I finished the whole thing off by adding a lovely little crystal angel. I hope you have a great week and I will be back her very soon (Virgin Media providing!!!!),
take care,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Blessings Ink Amusing Challenge - All About You
Catered Crop Challenge - Polka Dot Recipe Swap
Challenges 4 Everybody Challenge #13 - Anything Goes
Come And Get It Challenge - Show Us Your Heart/Love Is In The Air
Corrosive Challenge Blog #167 - Hearts And Flowers
Creative Inspirations Paint Challenge - Inspired By: Valentine's Day
Dream Valley Challenges #50 - Valentine's
Eclectic Ellapu Challenge - Anything Girly
Great Impressions February Challenge - Have A Heart
One Stitch At A Time Challenge #150 - Anything Goes
Pan Pastel UK Challenge #6 - Love And Romance
Scrappy Frogs Challenge - Use Red or Pink
Sentimental Sundays Challenge #141 - Love Is In The Air
Sunday Stamper Challenge #244 - Endless Love
The Hybrid Chick Card Caravan Challenge - Hearts
The Squirrel And The Fox Challenge #37 - Love
Cupcake Inspirations Challenge #197 - Valentine's

Monday, 4 February 2013

"'Cause My Only Joy, Is A Cuddly Toy..."

Well I managed to survive a whole weekend on my own! Jo went away with her craft club (only girls allowed, no boys!!) and left me here all alone to look after our three hairy kids. Feeding myself was easy though, after all that's why the baby Jesus made takeaway's isn't it!!
I did manage to work my way through The Killing II and spent a good couple of hours on the phone catching up with my long-lost Australian buddy Neil. We spent so long on the phone that my cordless actually ran out of it's charge for the first time since we've had it!
I was going to craft while she was away but my back was so bad I couldn't manage to sit at the table so I did my usual and stamped a load of images to colour. I now have a mountain of stuff ready to go on cards but have no idea when I am going to be able to sit at my own table and make something with them.
Last week was a creative one though and I did manage to make a couple of new cards, one of which is this little beauty featuring Alice and the Cheshire Cat and to make it even more 'Carrollesque' I used my new X-Cut Make A Scene dies. I got the Tea Party and Sewing sets with my Mum's Christmas money and I wanted to make her a nice Mothering Sunday card with what I bought. I have used quite a few 'new bits' on this card, the flowers are (of course) from WOC and are unbelievably only made up of four flowers as they have these gorgeous sprays of Gardenias (available here) which come with three flowers on plus leaves and one of those lovely metal springs that are meant to look like a vine or something. I added a single rose and a couple of their lush little white daisies to make a pretty floral arrangement and I also used a new sentiment stamp I got from Lily Of The Valley. I love their stamps and their sentiments in particular as I think that £12.50 is brilliant for a whole A5 sheet of different sayings, plus they stamp like a dream every time too which doesn't hurt their cause any.
The images are from Kraftin' Kimmie and I haven't bought anything new of theirs for the longest time as all my attentions seem to be between Kenny K and my lovely Tilda. I have just added some more Tilda's to my collection and yesterday pre-ordered some of the new mini easter collection too, I love colouring them and as soon as I am able to sit for longer than half an hour I will be making quite a few cards up as I have a rather large pile of pre-coloured Tilda and Edwin's ready for use.
Slight digression I know but I just stopped to watch Beyonce and Destiny's Child perform at the Superbowl and Hey Presto, an e-mail arrives telling me that Bey is touring for the first time since 2009. I saw her in 2008 and I have to tell you that she is amazing live. I have never seen anyone keep up such a high octane performance for over two hours, all the while keeping her vocals pristine while she dances her boo-tay off. I hope to be able to get a ticket to see her but if the last tour is anything to go by then I doubt I could afford it now as her ticket prices went through the roof from one tour to the next, such a shame that only her super rich fans can afford to get near her now, while some of us have been there since the very beginning, since the days of the first D.C album which no one even bothered to buy in this country!
Anyhoo, moan over, keep your fingers crossed for me that I can get a ticket eh!
See you again at the weekend and if I don't see you through the week I'll see you through the window,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into: Brown Sugar Challenge #28 - Anything Goes
Inspire Me Friday's Challenge #95 - Anything Goes
QKR Stampede Challenge #25 - Someone Special
Raise The Bar Challenge #130 - A Couple Of Things
Copic Marker Europe Challenge #13 - Anything Goes with Copic Marker
Craft Us Crazy Challenge #36 - Get To Cutting
The Altered Alice Challenge #24 - Romance In Wonderland
Blessings Ink Challenge - All About You