Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New year roundup, WOYWW and a quilt!

No desk from me today I thought I would show you what I have been working on in secret for Christmas, after a quick roundup of my year.
Well, 2013 has finally come to an end and naturally one thinks of reflection.

2013 brought many changes and taught me a lot.  

Jan - March were hard as I was ill through RA and exhaustion due to long, hard hours at work.
 I finally collapsed and was signed off to recover.  
That was when I learnt I needed to sort my work/life balance and remembering that I have a chronic disease and I need to look after my health.

April saw the sudden death of my father.  As a real daddy's girl this was a total shock and took several months to actually come to grips with the fact that I wasn't going to see him again. He taught me crafting and I found it hard to craft-the one thing I used to help me survive.

Before I knew it, the summer had come and gone and September was here and my brothers wedding.  He met his wife, Zoe, in Ecuador where they both lived for 3 years before moving back to London.  It was the most beautiful day, complete with a volcano wedding cake that actually smoked!!

October-December saw me in hospital having an operation on my ankle and then the long recovery (having RA means I have a compromised immune system and take longer to heal....however, I have NO patience and this means I try to do things before I am fit enough!!!).

Then Christmas was here!!  This year we were determined to do it differently so that we would have different memories so hubby, mum and I went to a local Indian restaurant and had christmas lunch there!!  We are all veggie so it made it much easier, and it was  a very different day, but still enjoyable.  In fact I could get used to not having to do the food shop, cook and not having to do the washing up!!

I wanted to make a special present for my mum-after everything she has been through this year.
So, I made my first ever quilt!  

I decided to make this in December!!  Not exactly the cleverest idea ever I must admit.  I followed the Jelly Roll 2 hour challenge to make the top (it took me longer though) and 2 days later (alright, one of those days was a VERY long day) I had a quilt!

It was worth the time and expense (now I know why quilts cost so much, even the raw materials were expensive) just to see the smile on my mum's face that day. 

So this year has taught me a couple of things.  Firstly balance.  I need to ensure I find balance in my life (I think that will be my word for 2014) and secondly if it doesn't need to be done perfectly or by me then delegate or don't do it!!

I hope during the times of reflection that 2013 taught you something and I wish you all the very best for 2014 and beyond.


Monday, 30 December 2013

Oven Glove Joy

Hello peeps, another update on some of the Christmas pressies I made this year.

As well as Elderflower cordial, sloe gin and spiced sugar (which I LOVE) I also made some other pressies.  You have seen the jewelry I made, well this is a small gift I made my DH.

Back in the late 70's and 80's he (as was I, but I didn't know him back then) was a big fan of a band called Joy Division.  Probably their most famous album had a black and white cover:

Lots of bands over the years have cashed in on merchandise (cue Misfits and Kiss....kings of exploiting merchandise-you can even get a Kiss coffin!!) so another band called "Half Man Half Biscuit" brought out a song called "Joy Division Oven Gloves" about bands exploiting themselves (youtube it...its a great song!).

So I made him some!

I bought a black oven glove and painted a representation of the Joy Division album with white fabric paint!!! 

Making a gift for DH is hard, his gifts this year consisted of a LOT of vinyl records and a bass pedal tuner (he is REALLY into music and plays in a punk band) so I was chuffed when I thought of this one!

Happy Crafting

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Jewelry makes for Christmas

Hello peeps, I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas.

I made several Christmas presents this year so have not been able to show them on 
here until after the big day!!
 These are a couple of the presents that went out to my family in New Zealand

 This necklace and ear ring set for my aunt is red and amber (the red didn't show up too well in the photo).

These are cufflinks I made for my uncle.  Not Marks and Spencer (or even S&M!!) but his initials!

I got some lovely crafty bits and bobs for Christmas so am off to play.

Happy Crafting

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Hand carved Stamp and useups

Hi folks, I hope you are all well and are up to date with all your Christmas stuff....there is so much to do isn't there...pressies to wrap, food to buy, decorations to put etc, ironing, dusting etc etc etc...SO much that its hard to find any crafting time, let alone blogging time!

This weekend was extra special as my brother and his new wife came to stay.  They no longer live in Ecuador but (for the time being) have moved back to London.  So, Saturday lunch time we went to a local pub (owned by the local Bath Ales whose brewery is 10 mins walk from the house-sadly the pub is 10 mins DRIVE away!!) with hubby and my mum for an early Christmas celebration lunch.  During the evening the four of us went to watch a friends northern soul band play.  Lots of dancing, laughing and maybe a cider or two!  What's not to like!

Before they arrived I managed to grab some time in the craft room and I did managed to make a card from some papers from my scrap box.

This is a stamp I carved from drawing I did of a seed head (inspired by the wonderful Angie Lewin at St. Judes). 
 I stamped it onto some leftover lilac paper and matted and layered it on some silver card (I have lots of silver off cuts after my Christmas card making session the other night).

I am entering it into the snippets challenge over at http://pixiescraftyworkshop.blogspot.co.uk/ where they have some lovely entries each week.

Happy crafting



Friday, 20 December 2013

A mini me (of sorts)

Hello peeps, are you ready for Christmas? 

 I am amazed how it creeps up each year...it is 25th December every year isn't it?!!!  

Most of my pressies are bought, wrapped and already delivered to family and friends (yep...I am sat here a little smug for once-but not much a they say pride comes before a fall...and with my healing ankle I cannot afford that!) so this means I can indulge a little (only a little, I have a couple more gifts to finish!!) in some crafting just for fun!

So let me introduce you to dolly

This is the first one I have made-we all made them in the Coven earlier this year.  I took mine to show my dad just a few weeks before he died so I haven't been able to face finishing it.  But this week I finally did.

Isn't she lovely?  For those of you who know me will recognise the shot of white hair at the front of the fringe!!  Well, it wouldn't be my doll without that.

I am not sure where she will live, but at the moment she is sitting on the bookcase watching over me.

Happy Crafting

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Hello peeps, its hump day again so that can only mean one thing-a legal snoop at desks across the globe as part of Whats on Your Workdesk Wednesday!

After 3 months off work following an ankle operation I am finally back at work-which means I am having to schedule time in for crafting so was pleased I was able to do WOYWW as I need to keep my work life balance more in check - I think that will be my new year promise to myself!

So, on my desk this week...LOTS of different stages of Christmas cards.  

One thing I have learnt this year is that I need to do less.  It if doesn't need to be done 100% perfect and it doesn't have to be done by me (because I have the special skill set or liability at work) then I either ask someone else if they can do it-or...shudder....don't do it at all!!!

To make life easier, this is the first year for many years that I have supplemented my handmade cards with some shop bought ones.  I am not seeing it as a failure on my part that I haven't made them all, but a part of making my life easier-I was amazed how much less stressful it was, and I actually enjoyed making the cards this year (I just need to keep remembering this)!

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week are 'Romantic Singer Weeps for Fans'-now considering these are random and X Factor (not something I watch but the girls at work do!) finished at the weekend this seemed quite fitting.

Happy Crafting

Friday, 13 December 2013

Frugal Christmas cards

 Hello peeps, I hope you are well and not freaking out too much over Christmas!

I decided to make a few clean and simple cards (not really my style)

 I drew a box around the card in a light blue pen and embossed some scraps of blue metallic card and die cut them with a die borrowed from a fellow coven member.  

These are frugal cards, not only is there no mat and layering, the blue card is from the scrap box and the ribbon is actually off a present I received and saved!

This bauble was too long for the card so I decided to snip the bottom off and add a point to make it shorter (and fit on the card!).

A couple of cards, didn't take too long to make and cost pennies.  What a shame I didn't think of this before I made my others!!!

Off to shake my sloe gin (bit late making it this year, but it should be ready new year celebrations).

Happy Crafting

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


 Hello peeps, its hump day so that means its time for a legal snoop at desks across the globe, thanks to Whats on Your Workdesk Wednesday Queen Julia!

Now, I have kept something quiet for a while.  Yes I am embarrassed by it, but it is about time I came out and admitted it.......

I am addicted to googly eyes!  I have amassed tons of them!  I cannot wait until April 1st when I plan on sticking them to EVERYTHING in the fridge at work and waiting to hear the kerfuffle along our open floorplate!

I thought I would use some of them (ooh, my precious things...use them I did) on a card. 

 The design came from alltarynne.blogspot.com via pinterest (I like to credit people if I can) and I think its a great idea for an alternative Christmas card (can you spot Rudolf in the dark?).

On my desk, top left, if a small purse I just made from a kit my friend bought me from Simpleway.co.uk (I have a bag from them but have not attempted that yet), also a few bits and bobs the same as the other weeks as they have been sat there waiting to get tidied up-a job I am promising I will do today!!!

My "Man Bites Dog" cards read (sorry the flash was a bit harsh) 'Nurse Slays Tough Movie Actor'!!

Right, I need to stop procrastinating and crack on with cleaning my craft room!

Happy crafting

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sympathy snippets card

 Hello peeps, I hope you are all well and had a fabulous weekend.

It's that time of year again when I cannot show much of what I am making (it would spoil the surprise come the 25th!).

However, this is a card I made for a friend whose mum died recently.  Having lost my dad this year I really appreciated those cards I was sent that weren't black and white and didn't have words such as "sorry for your loss"...so I thought back to those cards and made one that hopefully she liked.

The great thing about this card was that it was all from the ever overflowing scrap box.  
I embossed some pearl card and punched a slim strip with my leaf punch.  I die cut some music paper with a butterfly die (borrowed from one of the coven!).  I used Tim Holtz tea dye DI to warm up the colours a bit and added a simple sentiment.

As its all from my scrap box I am entering this into the http://pixiescraftyworkshop.blogspot.co.uk/ snippets playground.

Happy crafting


Thursday, 5 December 2013

365 Challenge catch up

Hello peeps, I have FINALLY caught up with my 365 challenge pages over on the thekathrynwheel

For my November pages I sprayed Dylusions and created a firework 'burst' mask, over spraying with black Dylusions.  When dry I added glitter and pearl paint for that added sparkle.

For my December pages used Dylusion sprays (they really are my 'go to' spray at the moment), this time spritzing with water to add some layers.
I stamped snowflakes and added glitter and pearl paint, this time with a bottle lid to create circles.

I stamped some trees onto paper and coloured them with water colours then cut them out and added them to the page, outlining them with black wax to make them 'pop'.

Both November and December letters were made with my cereal box die cuts (see my earlier post for full instructions), coloured with pro markers and for December I added some foil for extra christmassy sparkle!

So, finally caught up so I can now crack on with Christmas cards!!
Happy crafting

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


Hello folks, well its Wednesday again so time for the legal snoop at desks across the globe.

This is a little cheat, its taken on Tuesday afternoon and its not my desk!

That is because I am at a Coven members house and am making Christmas presents so its only a bit of what I am making that can be shown so there are no spoilers!!

I don't have the correct kit for what I am making so luckily my friend does..hence using her desk (thanks Jill!).

It was a fabulous day and we got a lot done....still much to do though!

"Man Bites Dog" cards this week are "Swinging Lover Bites General!" - a classic!!!

Right, I am off to check out some other desks.

Happy snooping!!


Friday, 29 November 2013

Dies, free stash and a warning

Hello peeps, I hope you are all well.

Those of you who know me will recognise this scene:  Kyla at home, friends house, coffee shop or street....walks past some junk, rubbish and/or recycling....Kyla has a root through and pulls a bag from her pocket before stuffing new found goodies into said bag!! Yep, even at the WOYWW crops I ferret through the desk bins and LLJ once caught me peering into the kitchen bin (well you never know what you MIGHT find!!).

My latest discovery is cereal packets.  Now, I have often used them as a fake thinner chip board for crafting, but my favourite cereal is Dorset Cereal.

Whilst dismantling the box for recycling I noticed the inside was pure white and smooth......

 So I decided to cut it up carefully (rather than the carefree tearing I normally do!). I soon realised that the side panels fitted my X cut letter die....would the cardboard be thin enough to go through I wondered?

 Only one way to find out!

 Result!  Free smooth white letters that can be coloured with pens, inks, paint, embossing powders, foil, glitter.....the list goes on.  Because its cardboard it takes wet mediums quite well.

 I then tried the cereal box on a few other dies....this die is notorious in my craft room for causing an outburst of unladylike behaviour (me?  Never?!?!) as hardly anything cuts well on it apart from paper.

 But lo-and-behold!!  They too cut perfectly.

I coloured them with promarkers and promptly made a 'sailor jerry' inspired tattoo card.

So if you know me you have been warned....normally I am discrete with the bin diving round friends houses....now, I think I will be looking in their larders too and bagsying the cartons before they are used!!!

Also, I have been lucky enough to win 2 tickets to the craft show in Exeter in the new year!  Thanks Craft Stamper  magazine for choosing me as one of the winners.  After missing out on the NEC I am hoping Santa will be bringing me some cash so I can splash out of new stash!

Happy crafting


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

WOYWW and Bunting

Happy WOYWW peeps.  This week finds my desk with some Chrimbo items on it as I have properly started making cards (well the fronts, still waiting for the card blanks to be delivered....they really are very few card and art shops in the West).

I am doing some bird cards at the moment. Some of you may know that my darling father (and fellow crafter and painter) died earlier this year so Christmas will not be celebrated quite the same way this year so I am making some non religious (and to be honest not too Jolly Christmassy) cards I can send the immediate family.

Also on my desk is my cuppa (pushed right back so I don't do the inevitable dipping of the dirty paintbrush in it!!) and my night scene stamp (its just sitting there on the right, no idea what to do with it this year....hoping my mojo will surprise me!)

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week (it could be any variant but I chose)..."Exec Tells On Dead Killer Cop"!!!!!...ooohhhhh.....  

On a lighter note...here is a picture of my bunting from my lounge thrown, without care, onto the chair....why?

 This is why.....LunchLady Jan kindly sent me some of her fabulous bunting...little did she know I have a red and cream/burlap lounge so hers matching marvelously so up it went straight away (I am taking bets on how long it takes the hubby to notice its change!!).

It was a fabulous giveaway on her blog-thanks Jan, its loveerlllyyyy and is in pride of place every time I walk into my dining room from the lounge.

Right, off for a legal snoop around some desks courtesy of the lovely Julia....come and join us...its calorie free!!!

Happy crafting

Sunday, 24 November 2013

A turkey of a card!

Howdy folks, just a quick update as its becoming mighty chilly here so I need to find my fluffy socks and get a hot chilli chocolate on the go!

I made a couple of these cards for thanksgiving for a couple friends of mine over in the states.

I cut the dies from some scrap white card and coloured them in with pro markers (to be honest I couldn't work out which part should be cut out of which colour card so thought this way was WAY easier).

I die cut a fence which I distressed with DI and mounted it all on a gingham background, adding some highlights on the turkey with a white gel pen.

Nice and simple.

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Happy WOYWW!  
As we approach Christmas is does appear these visits are becoming closer!!!

On my desk this week (its getting a mess again...I will clean it up this week! Honest!) are bits and bobs that quite frankly I should put away but for one reason or another I haven't (I think we all know why I haven't.....lazy and the classic "I will need to use that soon" clause!).

Also my 365 journal as I am a couple of days behind so I need to fill them in.

Now, after hearing the news today about the Mayor of Toronto I did set these "Man Bites Dog" cards up!!

If you fancy a legal snoop at desks across the globe then pop over to Julias desk (link over on the right), they are ever such a friendly bunch.

Happy crafting


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

How to deal with a difficult day

  Hello peeps, this is quite photo heavy so why not grab a coffee and settle back whilst catching up with my latest exploits (or click away and come back tomorrow for the WOYWW post which is MUCH shorter!!)-the choice is yours my lovelies.

Sunday was my Dad's birthday.  He would have been 71 but sadly died earlier this year.  Before he died he helped me and my mum choose some fancy yarns for me to make my mum some scarfs with. I have already made the other scarfs but I hadn't gotten round to making the final autumnal colour one.  I thought Dad's birthday would be a nice day to present mum with it-she was delighted.

 The scarf is actually doubled over as its nice and wide so it can also be used as a wrap around the shoulders.

 The photos don't really do the colours justice, they are so rich and deep.

We knew the day would be difficult so we bought tickets to see the Tashi Lhunpo Buddhist Monks on their Power of Compassion European tour.  Their spiritual leader of their monastery and his family were taken from their home in 1995, one of the worlds youngest political prisoners, and to this day their whereabouts remain unknown.

 The monks played ancient instruments made from human leg bones and skulls drums.  As well as ancient instruments and dances.

Their costumes were fabulous.

It offered an opportunity to experience a mysterious and endangered ancient culture.

They ended the exhibition with a dance by the snow lion, the symbol of tibet.  We were right in the centre front row so had a fabulous view of the entire show.

It was a lovely way to spend what was a difficult day and if you are at all interested in foreign cultures and get an opportunity to see the monks I recommend it (I have been lucky enough to see Chinese dragon dances and Japanese tea ceremonies in the past couple of years).

Right, off to catch up on Ripper Street on the TV (I love the series!!).

Happy crafting

Friday, 15 November 2013

Left over metal, ribbon and paper and viola!

Hello everyone I hope you are all well.  
Its getting really chilly here in the UK, proper scraping of the car windscreen time!!

When its chilly outside I don't feel as guilty about squirrelling myself away in my craft room (the smallest room in the house and therefore the warmest!!).

A friend is 50 in a couple of weeks so I thought I would make her a special card. 

The card is stamped in versamark to create the watermark effect and I used similar pieces from my scraps box (seriously...HOW does that box hold this much?!) to stamp the saying and mount it.  I used fabric dyes to dye a tag and then using my tiny attacher to staple some leftover ribbon (it was really thick ribbon, but only a couple of inches long, so I cut in half along the length so it fitted through the hole in the tag easier).  

Ferreting around in my box I also found a third of a metal tube (I know, I literally chuck everything in this box, leftover fabric scraps, off cuts of paper...basically anything too small to put away...but as we know a lot of us crafters are hoarders, so I CANNOT chuck out something that can be used again....those of you who know me from WOYWW crops will know I am the one who actually went through the bins on everyones desk...well, other peoples rubbish is SO much more interesting!!).

With this tube I flattened it out and dyed it with alcohol inks before die cutting leaves out of it.
There you have it, a card for next to nothing (shh...don't tell the recipient it was so cheap!!).

I am entering this in the playground at the snippets challenge here

Why don't you pop over and see some of the fabulous creations, all made using up some snippets-genius.

Happy crafting


Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Hello peeps, its hump day...so that can only mean one thing!  Yep, crafters across the globe bare all (well, their workdesks at least!!).

Some are tidy, others not so...mine....well, you can see for yourself-not tidy but not total chaos!

On my desk this week is a card I am making for a friend who has just had a baby boy.

He (the dad not the baby!!) is a massive Dr Who fan so I made a resin tardis and masked off part of the stamped design so the tardis could hang from the line!

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week spell out "Czar Wanted Thousand (of) Rare Dog(s)"!!!

If you fancy a legal snoop at desks across the globe then pop across to Julias blog here and stare in wonder at some of the gorgeous makes and spankingly clean desks!!!

Happy crafting


Monday, 11 November 2013

A regal card

Hello, I hope you are all well....its certainly getting colder here in the UK (they even had snow 'up north') and I have had to give in and put the heating on (best start counting my pennies now!!) AND get out the fluffy socks and thermals (its an attractive look, I know!).

I thought I would blog the latest card I made.

I darkened the edges of the patterned paper with brush corduroy DI and added some turquoise foil for a little 'bling'.  I did the same on the grungeboard numbers and added some roses, a wired ribbon bow and a crystal pin to finish it off.

I have not been making many cards recently and it was really nice to have a focus.

Happy crafting.

Friday, 8 November 2013

I won some wool!

Morning, just a quick update as the postie has brought me a surprise!

I won this lovely booty of merino wool tops from the wonderful people at Torbay Textiles

I came across this company at a local show in the south west and instantly fell in love with the fabulous colours of their fibres.  

I have used them ever since and love it when the postie brings me my orders...but this was even better as it was a surprise, just for commenting on their blog!  How lovely was that?

Right, off to play.

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

WOYWW - call me a sheep!

Hello peeps, its Wednesday again!!!  It really feels like this comes round every week!!

So, the past few weeks some of you (you know who you are!!) have been showing your Christmas cards all ready and made!!  At first I decided to ignore it, pretending it wasn't going to happen....but then a few more blogs had them and before I knew it this week saw me actually making some cards!!!

I am not normally one to follow the herd......but this time I gave into the pressure!! 

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week are a bit gruesome - "Bored Thug Stabs Blonde Priest"!

Right, I am off for a legal snoop at desks across the globe and hopefully will not be led stray to making something else I didn't intend on doing....you ladies are SO persuasive!!

Happy Crafting


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

PaperCloth bookmark and no new stash in sight!

Hello peeps, I have finally finished my first paper and cloth project, its only a small bookmark but I was quite pleased with how it came out.

I thought I would do some steps to explain how I made it, but for full details on how to create some amazing projects then I recommend the book "Stitch Alchemy" by Kelli Perkins (mentioned in a previous post) as its SO inspiring.  

So grab and coffee and kick back for a couple of minutes if your interested in how to make one. 

 First I laid out some ironed cotton fabric onto freezer paper (the freezer paper protects the table).  I then mixed PVA with water (about 50/50) and soaked the fabric with it adding torn vintage book pages, tissue paper and pattern tissue paper.  I kept adding the PVA/water until it was all soaked through.

 I added some colour with mica powders and sprayed a little water over to help fix the mica.

 I then left it to dry overnight.

 I then added fabric dye sprays and some water to help the colour flow.  I am sure you could use paper spray ink, but I wasn't sure whether the colour would transfer to other surfaces and I knew that the fabric dye was permanent once heat set so I played it safe.

 I then added some more colour and texture with stamps

Here is the finished sheet.  I then decided to free machine embroidery all over the sheet to add some additional colour and texture.  Now, this was a BIG mistake as I was going to make a patchwork bookmark so when I cut the sheet up the embroidery started to come apart, so I had to unpick it all!  That's an hour of my life I won't be getting back!

I then cut the sheet up into random pieces and sewed them together with a zig zag stitch on the machine to create a long thin piece.  I then backed it with grey felt and machine stitched all around the edges several times.  I finished it off by punching a hole in the bottom, adding an eyelet and some fancy fibres.

Voila, a new and unique bookmark using only old stash, but with a new technique.

So there you have it, a nice colourful fabric and paper bookmark using my current stash!  Its so easy to buy new stash (I know, I am terrible with it!!  Missing the NEC this year so I am having withdrawal symptoms but I have SO much stash I really need to concentrate on using up what I already have!!).

Happy crafting


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Buddha card and keyring

 Hello peeps, I hope you all had a good weekend?  Mine was busy, the first time in over a month I managed to get into town...not for long (it got a bit too crowded for my crutches) ...but I managed it!

I thought I would share my latest make, this is a card I made for my mum who has moved into a new house. The tag is coloured with some dyes left over from a fabric dying session back in the summer and the Buddha is made from air drying clay in a mold.  The flower and oriental papers are all out of my scrap box (which seems to be growing again!) and I stamped the background.

I coloured the Buddha with coloured gilding waxes and a thin covering of matt multi medium to seal it.

I also made a matching keyring with the Buddha this time made from friendly plastic and encased in resin which I drilled with a hand drill to make the hole.

A small, but very personal gift.
Right, its Sunday so that can only mean one thing....craft, sofa and maybe a veggie roast!!

Happy Crafting

ps - Same (Hettiecraft) suggested I join in the Snippets challenge which can be found at http://pixiescraftyworkshop.blogspot.co.uk/ - so I did!!