Thursday, 31 December 2015

Sugar and spice and all things nice

 I thought I would share some of the presents I have made this year (now the coast is clear to share them!).
I made a few of these small lined zipper bags.  Some I stuffed with shop bought goodies others with vouchers.

 I also made several batches of Elderflower cordial this year and also sloe gin (the sloe gin I give as gifts has been maturing for a couple of years, I never give this years as I like the flavours to develop and mellow).  I also made another batch of spiced sugar (with bay leaves from the garden, cloves, cinnamon etc)

Hopefully people like the gifts, they usually ask if they can have some more so I am assuming they do!

Happy crafting


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Last desk of shame of 2015

Happy WOYWW the last one of 2015.
So my desk is looking totally uninspiring devoid of crafting with only a few scavanged ribbons from various presents and wrapping and some tags from the homemade sloe gin, elderflower cordial and spiced sugar I give as gifts which I will try to blog later.

The black empty wrapper on the top left is from a misfortune cookie that I blogged about earlier in the week. Doug and shaz suggested they would make good stamps so I thought I may give it a go, or at least an interpretation on the theme.

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week spell more doom for our Mayor!!

I hope you all have a wonderful end of year.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Nac Mac Feegles, Birds and a Krampus

 We received many fabulous cards again this year, some handmade, some bought (charity or storebought) and some handmade by artists.

Here is a selection of just a few that really summed us up well!

A friend I have known since School (Sammie) bought me a Terry Pratchett card with the Nac Mac Feegle (both Sammie and I love Discworld and they have a shop in Dorset where Sammie lives)...Sammie also made me a shortbread christmas tree but lets be honest...that didn't last more than 48hrs after she gave it to me!!).

 Ju (another school friend) has recently returned from a trip to Japan and kindly brought back some Japanese spa products (one was a collagen mask in the shape of a face!!!! It was lovely to use but there are NO photos of that one!!) and this was the fabulous Christmas card. 
An original lino cut of Krampus from

 The final card to share is from my Mum.  She didn't paint it (though she is a very talented knitter) but she did buy it from an artist selling paintings and original works direct to the public in a park in Sidmouth, Devon.  Once a year artists sell direct to the public from around the bandstand and flower beds!

So just a few cards I thought I would share.  Each very different but each celebrating art in various forms.

Happy crafting


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Coven Crafty Christmas

 Merry Christmas to all my followers.  I hope you are all having a lovely Christmas and New Year.
I had a break from blogging for a month as the pay the bills job was taking up too much of my life and any crafting I did meant I couldn't blog as it was for Christmas presents!

One thing I can share though are some of the presents I got at the Coven party.  Each week for about 7 years we meet and craft and this years Christmas 'do' involved pressies and curry!  
It was our first Christmas without Bex who moved to France a few weeks ago (waves manically to Bex via our skype chats!!) and some of the presents were homemade fudge and peanut brittle (thanks Julie and Jane-none left to show!) and then.....

 These misfortune cookies from Anna!
 The fortune cookies inside were black too!!!

 This wooden spoon was from Chief Coven member, Jill.  Loving her pyrography work.
Then we were all stunned when Arlene (who makes miniatures) presented each of us with one of these......

Each one was modelled on us (Julies had red hair!) and Arlene got my hair colour spot on and even included my white shot I have had at the front of my hair since my early twenties!  She included a pair of scissors on the hat too-simply stunning.

I hope you have had some great gifts this year and I look forward to spending some time crafting over the holidays.

Happy crafting


Friday, 27 November 2015

Red, red wine....

Just a quick update, I thought I would stamp up some images from the lovely stamp Shaz gifted me at the recent crop.  I have been after a decent sized wine bottle stamp for AGES (literally years) and Shaz kindly gave me this one.

So I stamped it on card with memento ink and was really surprised at how fine, crisp and detailed the image was.

A quick blast with the heat gun to set the ink and I started colouring it with inktense pencils applied with a wet brush so that I got that 'fluid' look.

I set the colours with a quick spray (I normally use a spray sealant but I was being lazy so grabbed my hairspray!) and was really pleased with the outcome.

I plan on making some masks so that I can stamp the glass and bottle separately and also mask the words and the wine label-I will let you know how I get on.

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Time to celebrate...the procrastinator has been thwarted!!!  Look....

 I know!  I couldn't believe it either.  I decided to put some more vinyl on the record player and settle down to a sewing session and I finally finished it!  I thought that since you ladies helped me think through HOW to do it at the WOYWW crop I would share it on a Wednesday (not actually my workdesk but I hope Julie doesn't mind).

The red sticking out the sides is actually my fluffy rug I placed this on top to take the photo!!  I think I made this in time as the weather in the UK took a turned colder at the weekend (not unexpected in the latter part of November) so I should be snug as a bug with this new topper on the bed.

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week left me wondering whether I should actually show them considering the awful news from Paris and Lebanon recently, but they really were the first four cards drawn randomly so I decided to:

A series of horrifying acts of violence....senseless.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Quilt procrastination

So, how am I getting on with the quilt I hear you ask?  Well.........I was distracted!!!

On my recent trip to London we went to a Manga Exhibition at the British Museum and also a quick visit to Tate Modern.  As Banksy said "exit through the giftshop" and this meant I ended up being surrounded by lovely art books!!!!

I treated myself to a pocket watercolour book (it is nice a simple, unlike some of my other books which confuse me and put me off painting) and also an urban sketching book.

I really enjoy urban sketching and on trips out I often have a small drawing pad, pen and a mini watercolour kit.  I have sketched on trains, buses, in pubs....anywhere I find something interesting to record.

So I was all prepared to crack on with my quilt after having made an effort at the weekend...only to find myself distracted by flicking through the books..which ended up being more than a hour!

I am determined to crack on with  it.....oh, but there is ironing and bottling of the sloe gin, and filing....etc........ah, why am I SO good at procrastiation!!

Happy crafting

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Music to quilt by

So after a fabulous weekend in London visiting my brother, sister in law and my new niece Emily (she is SO cute) and a quick trip to the British Museum and Tate Modern whilst we were there I found myself extra busy with a mix of gigs (The Legendary  Shack Shakers) and an evening out with friends sampling a new Veggie and vegan restaurant in Bristol (1847-great good and service) not to mention crazy hectic at work to boot.
So I decided this weekend I need to crack on a finish some UFO's (unfinished objects-I am sure you all have them).

The one I chose to tackle is my quilt! Now some of you know I have been struggling for quite a while with this but I made great progress at the recent WOYWW crop with all the advice (couldn't convince anyone to finish it for me though!!) so I put on the record player and plugged in the sewing machine and tired not to swear too much as I tried to make some progress!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Christmas cards

So after saying I don't usually make quick cards here are some more!!  I must admit I tend to batch make Christmas cards as it just makes life a little easier.
These were made from a topper pack I bought at the NEC, it was a selection pack which you could only see the top and bottom layers in the pack so it was a bit of a gamble-but for £1 it was worth it as they are really good quality.

 I used a blank square card and a micron pen to add some detail around the edges of the card.  Then I added some colour around the edges with TH Distress Inks and highlighted the card with some stickles.

I kept this card much more simple as the toppers were a bit more 'fussy' but I still added some colour around the edges and used the micron pen again to add a border.

I managed to make about six cards in under an hour, not enough but a good start to my Christmas cards (I did make some back at the start of the year after I was inspired by Hettiecraft...but I stashed them somewhere safe and the inevitable happened and  I have NO idea where I put them!!).

Still avoiding making Christmas presents (mainly as I have NO idea what to make-last year I made handbags and fabric book covers so am at a loss for this year) so I may resort to vouchers and having to shop for presents!  If you have any ideas please let me know!!

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


Welcome to another What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday....only 7 more until Christmas!!!
Not that I am worried....after all I have only made one present so far!!!

So with this in mind you'd think I was cracking on making presents...but no, I am sat here colouring in!!

Like many others I do find this a calming distraction.  Rather than the Sci-Fi colouring comic book I have used previously I thought I would pull out my Secret Garden one that I bought over a two years ago, one of the first in the craze.  Sometimes you just need to do something different.

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week were 'Priest Burns Lost Tourist' ....ooh that sounds like a script from a film!

Happy crafting and please feel free to join in WOYWW where many of us share our desks across the globe.  Full details of how to join are here 

Happy crafting

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A couple of quick Kanban cards

A couple of weeks ago at the WOYWW crop Lunchlady Jan was selling some craft stash to raise money for the local brass band that she plays in.  Well, it was for a good cause (I used to play tenor horn in my school orchestra so I know how much sheet music etc costs) so I bought a pack of silver and cream embossed cards and a pack of Kanban toppers.

Not my usual style as I tend to use plain cards but these are a really quick way to make some cards that really look impressive.  

 One tip when using die cut toppers and you push them out of the card often there are small 'tags' left on the topper so I use a sanding block (really cheap, under a pound in the hardware shop or poundland sells them too) to lightly sand them so they have nice smooth edges.

I used sticky pads (again from the hardware shop-I tend to get quite a lot of my stash from 'different' places) to attach the toppers, lightly curling the edges to hide them yet still giving some dimension.

The downside is that these cards are far too big for my cellophane bags so I used some old overhead projector acetate sheets I had hanging around and made my own covers.

Quick and easy cards-now if only all my projects were that quick!

Happy crafting



Sunday, 8 November 2015

Converse and drink!

Just a quick update for a card I made recently with one of my new stamps.

The converse "daps" (as we say in Bristol!) is a stamp from Deep Red which I stamped on white card.  I then stamped again cutting it out and curling the edges slightly adhering it over the original image with some foam tape to give a little dimension.

I matted and layered it on some black off cut card and the background is from a sheet of wrapping paper I found in an arty shop in town.

 I really like this card.  I think it is perfect for young, older, male or female (in fact many of my friends....most wear converse and drink!!).

Happy crafting

Friday, 6 November 2015

Craft haul from NEC

I was lucky enough to go to the craft show at the NEC yesterday. I went with two ladies from work, Emma and Michelle and Emma's husband (who I also work with) kindly drove us....he did a great job as it's all motorway  and it was chucking it down.

As you can see my haul wasn't too large. I did buy some Buddha heads and texture balls from powertext as I intend making a canvass as their product looks amazing (Emma uses it a lot and blogs about it at www.bakeandmakeinbristol.word 

I also bought some more visible image stamps as I love the quality of their stamps and they are a little different.
A few bargains such as three greeting dies for £5,embossing folder, crafters companion stamps,x cut snowflake  die and a Sheena Douglass  stencil for £1 each!
Also after seeing card-io majestix at shows over the years (small stamps they use to build up entire scenes ) I relented and bought a couple of sets....they always look impressive-fingers crossed I can replicate their demonstrations. 
A few other bits and pieces and now I am shattered but looking forward to playing.

Happy crafting 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


This week is a look back to the first Autumnal WOYWW crop that took place on Saturday.

About 12 deskers met up and it was great to chat, exchange ideas and eat cake! It was great to see both Shaz and MaryAnne looking so well after their recent illnesses and we missed Sam (Hettiecraft) who was unable to make the crop.

I took my camera but was too busy eating Fiona's lemon drizzle cake (seriously, it was so good I had 3 pieces!!) to take any photos.

 We made and exchanged Halloween tags (I only made a few).  I made some mummy ones with googly eyes.

Tags from left to right are: Dolores (Cardarian), Marcie Lee, Debbie (Tattered Rocks), Bluebeard and Elizabeth (Alteredbooklover) and Lizzie J.

The stamp in the middle is from Shaz Silverwolf.  I mentioned previously that I have been struggling to find a decent wine stamp and Shaz very kindly gifted me this one (it is made by Stamps Happen and is exactly what I have been looking for-a huge thanks).

I took my half finished quilt and between all of us I think I have got it sussed....just need some time to actually finish it!

It was a lovely day, full of laughs, catching up, coffee, cake, a great lunch some more cake and even a little crafting!  We had the raffle and Jan was selling craft stash for her brass band so I bought a few bits and pieces (well, it's for charity, so it would be rude not too!!!!-amazing how we can enable our crafting addictions when we want to!).

 A great day out.  It is never long enough to catch up properly with everyone but I love seeing others craft in the flesh (Fiona's delicate hand sewing, Morti's stitching, MaryAnnes amazing wool creations, Debbie's finnibar inspired creations, Cindy's delicate paper folding, Helens journal and Shaz's colouring to name just a few).

Happy crafting


Monday, 2 November 2015

November 365 Journal

Just a quick update as I have actually finished my November 365 Journal pages in time for November and more importantly I even remembered to photograph them before I filled the squares in!

The page is coloured with Dylusion sprays and a few TH die cut leaves added with some other leaves stamped with archival inks in various colours.

I doodled around each of the squares with a black pen and stamped the dates-all ready to fill in.

Happy crafting



Friday, 30 October 2015

A quick and easy card

Just a quick update on my latest card.

The background is actually tissue paper (covered in, I presume fake advertising) that I bought for £1 at the scrap store for about 1" thick of A4 sheets-bargain!

I then stamped a greeting (masking the flowers off the stamp as I didn't think it suited the card) and inked the greeting with distress ink which I flicked water over to lift off some of the colour.

I then matted and layered it on black card.

A nice quick and easy card.
Happy crafting

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


 Happy What's on your Workdesk Wednesday where across the globe many of us (led by Julia, there is a link on the right) bare all and share our desks of shame.

This week is almost the same as last weeks as I have been busy being social instead of crafting.  On my desk are the left over supplies from making a few tags for the crop and a recent purchase.
 I don't often buy a magazine just for the cover freebie but this months Simply Craft and Papercraft has an embossing folder and these stamps, which I think are varied enough for me to get quite a lot of use out of them (I try not to purchase more stash unless I can think of 3 uses for it).

 In case you were wondering what I made last week for my friend who is moving to France-well we put together an emergency kit (chocolate, candles, matches, bin bags etc...the sort of things you have no idea where you packed them).

I also bought a small tool box and converted it to an emergency stash box....

 filled with chocolate!!!  I have taped a sheet of acetate over the top so Bex will have to cut the chocolates out!!

 This is the card I made from a recent die I bought (I thought I could use all the different layers for so many ideas, hence I bought it).

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week are 'Scam Nurse Stabs Lawyer'!!!

Happy crafting


Friday, 23 October 2015

A new baby blanket

 Something a little different today. 
 5 years ago my brother was living in Ecuador and skyped me to say he had met the love of his life!  He was living up a volcano working for a charity that ran schools for local children where he met Zoe.  I was expecting a local girl....but she also lived in London, only a few miles from my brother!!  Such a small world.

They are now married and back in London and have just had a baby girl, Emily Sisa Rose.

Now, my crafting is not really child friendly (I will have to wait until she is older so she can get messy with her Auntie Kyla) but my mum is a talented knitter and I wanted to share what she made them.

This is a knitted blanket.  The hearts are embossed and debossed on each and every square

 The colour is not a very good rendition as it is not this blue it is more a pale green/blue

I wish I could knit like this, but every time I knit my tension squares differ and there are more holes than a string vest.

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Another What's on Your Work Desk Wednesday where we bare all (desks that it). Some messy, some tidy (they freak me out a bit!) and some with gorgeous storage (can you guess which one I fit into?).

 So on my messy desk this week: In the middle (slightly hidden) is a box I am doing up as a present for my friend and fellow crafting coven member.  Bex and her hubby are leaving the UK to live in France, we will all miss them but the Coven will especially miss Bex.  On top of the box is the card I am making for her (all will be revealed when I am sure they have opened them!).

The rest are supplies for a few Halloween tags for the WOYWW crop at the end of the month (I only plan on making about 4 or so as I know my time is limited over the coming weeks).

My "Man Bites Dog" cards are 'Actor Weds Fake Priest'.....ooh, I wonder if this will be in the headlines this week?

Happy crafting


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Malta roundup

One of the reasons I haven't blogged for a while is because we went to Malta for a well earned break.  My parents and grandparents both used to live and work there so it does feel comforting when I walk around.

The weather was lovely and warm (in the 80's) but there were a few days of heavy thunderstorms and downpours (but hey, if you are swimming you are wet anyway).

We were staying in Floriana (just outside the city gates of the capital Valetta) and knew that they had a street art festival (similar to the one we have in Bristol) back in the summer so we headed off walking the streets to see what we could find-and boy did we find some amazing pieces.  This is just a small selection:

These were down by the lido (where we swim if we are there in season but as we were just out of season it was closed, so we swam in the sea off the rocks with the locals instead.

This gent was HUGE and was painted on the roof of fishermen's huts

!!This was painted on the walls of a local cafe
These were next to the lido on the roof of their bar/changing rooms.  The jelly bears are larger than a person and when you walk amongst them it is difficult to tell what they are....but climb up through the streets and peer over a certain wall and voila, 3D jelly bears!  Several people were there and taking photos of the lovely harbour view but not looking down!  That soon changed when they heard us "oohing and ahhing"!

This large 3D melting icecube complete with trapped blue bottle was next door.  It almost felt you could reach out and touch it.

A short water taxi to Sliema and we came across even more

This one was 3 storeys high

The eyes on the skull cleverly used the drainage holes in the wall

So many colourful pieces all hidden under a walkway next to the sea, the only way to view them was to climb down when the tide was out and look back towards the town

I think this was a really old painting looking at the weathering 
From the road you wouldn't know any of this was here

Some stunning work and not what I expected to find

Back in Valletta we came across new bars and galleries since our last visit as it gears up to be the 2018 European City of Culture

Tables have been upcycled with handpainted tops

Locals have embraced the anarchic nature with "this is a piece of art!" we found in the street

Whilst we were there it was the 10th Anniversary of the performance and arts festival Notte Bianca where 60,000 people descend on Valletta for one evening.  These were Mdina Glass light shades suspended along one of the streets.  There was so much to see and do, 
such as crafts,

like this weaver
ancient and public buildings (including the Prime Ministers private office!!  The queues for that were massive) threw their doors open (free entry)

There were lots and lots of art installations such as this bedsit covered entirely in paper

These were small diarama's made by prisoners depicting what time in cells meant to them
We explored the WWII bomb shelters where my nan probably spent some of her time whilst she was on the island.  As you can see it was VERY far down into the depths of the island.
We then walked to the far end of the city to Fort St Elmo.  This was only recently re-opened after refurbishment and not somewhere we had been before so we took advantage of it all being open for free, with bands playing and lovely light displays

With rows of giant floor lanterns once again made with Mdina Glass

Then there were the fireworks....which carried on,

and on for almost 6 hrs!!  There could not have been any gunpowder left on the island!

We did some tourist things such as visiting the markets and Mdina (the silent city)
The biggest change we noticed were the new city gates in Valletta which are a stunning execution of stone masonry.
If you like your street art and are looking for somewhere sunny I thoroughly recommend the capital of Malta.