Friday, September 26, 2008

Sue, it is all your fault!

Up to now I have pretty much resisted the urge to make some ATCs. This was mainly through lack of funds. I mean, I need some felt and patterned fabric first.

Which means I need some money. And I don't have any spare until I get paid.

I think I have spent my first months wages 10 times over so far and I haven't even earned it yet!

So, as I start my new job on Monday, I thought I had better get the house clean and shiny as I am not going to have as time for stuff like that.

First, however, I had to get the sewing machine out to fix something for Mark.

Fatal Mistake!

There was this bag of scraps sitting on top of the sewing machine. It is cut offs from when I frame the silks.

Normally I would sort through this lot, save the scraps of wadding for stuffing other things and throw away the scraps of silk and fabric.

But now I have discovered a use for them.

Yes, ATCs!

So guess what I was doing instead of housework??????

I started off quite neat and pretty much following the style of the first one.

But that was done with felt and patterned fabric. I couldn't leave a raw edge with silk because it would fray.

I stitched the silk on and folded it over for a neat edge.

The problem was that most of the prettiest scraps were far too small for this so I started being a bit more adventurous.

I used smaller scraps and some embroidery stitches on the machine to cover the edge and do the quilting.

As I am not selling any crochet bits at the moment, I have a huge stash of them. So I figured I may as well use them rather than make some.

I can always make some more if I ever do get any orders for them!

And, of course, it wouldn't be one of my silks if it didn't have beads on!

On some, I have used brads instead of beads.

Finally, I glued them to the printed backing cards, trimmed them to size and did buttonhole stitch around the edge.

I have to admit the the original with the stitching matching the leaf looked nicer but I gave away all my old thread which these embellishments are made from when I stocked up with the new thread.

I used the sewing thread I quilted it with instead.

So what do you think?

And now that I have made some, does anybody want to trade?????

Like you Sue, as it is all your fault!!!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

D is for Dragons!

I did want "Damsels and Dragons" but I didn't see any Damselflies!

As Chatteris is in the middle of the Fens, it is surrounded by waterways so there are always plenty of Dragonflies around.

Last week I went to Welches Dam. It is a local RSPB bird reserve not far from Chatteris.

The Ouse Washes cut across the Fens with a long, straight stretch of wetland between artificial channels.

Tens of thousands of ducks are attracted to this remote location in winter, as well as the largest concentration of Bewick's and whooper swans anywhere in the UK.

I knew this would be my best chance of getting photos of them.

Did you know that the species is over 300 million years old? That is twice as old as birds.

There are approximately 3,600 known species of dragonfly in the world.

In the British Isles there are 27 species of dragonfly and 16 species of damselfly.

Dragonflies can reach 30mph in full flight.

They are a voracious hunter from the time it first hatches as aquatic larvae to its peak as a flying adult.

The adult dragonfly has the biggest eyes in the insect world and they are capable of detecting movement up to 15m away!

Male dragonflies have their own territory; they guard their particular stretch of water seeking prey, females and chasing off rivals.

Of course, there are loads of other things to see there and its well worth a visit if you have the chance.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ooooh! I am all excited!

I went out to Tesco this morning and when I got back there was a message from Sam asking me to give him a ring. So I did and he wanted me to go and fill some forms in. Of course, there is no time like the present so I have spent all afternoon there filling in banking details, going over various aspects that I need to officially know, choosing my uniform (as I am the only Activites Organiser, I get to choose the colour) and sorting out a start date.

Of course, it just so happens that the lady I am taking over fron is on Holiday and won't be able to do my induction until October 9th. However, Sam suggested that I would need to go in to read all the paperwork etc and get to know the residents.

So I start Monday!!!!!!!!!!!

Best thing is, I still get to go to C&C Monday morning first and until Tina gets back, I can go in as I please. I am hoping to do as much as possible during school hours to save on the child care costs as I have missed the cut off date for this month so won't be paid until the end of October.

Obviously, after then, I will have to fit in with Tina for the induction and work the longer hours when I am doing it properly. But the After School Club is great and only £2 an hour.

I knew this would be a mistake!

I have managed to stay away from ATCs for quite a while but after making that one last week I have been bitten by the bug!

Yesterday I spent ages designing this and printing it out on to cardstock ready to make some more.

Luckily, I have an A3 printer I bought with another purpose in mind and its perfect for printing on to 12 inch card!

And, although I have managed to stay away from organised swaps for the moment, have agreed to a private one.

What am I getting myself into??????

That lovely lady in the new florists got me some green handmade papers on the weekend so, to celebrate going into work, I splashed out on them and finished off the Snowdrops LO yesterday.

I crocheted a Snowdrop by adapting the pattern I have on my site slightly. I didn't use wire in the stem which is the basic difference.

Yesterday evening there were loads of kids outside the window.

When I looked out, they were all standing in the next door garden looking at the old cistern (they are in the process of having their bathroom redone).

However, when I looked a bit closer, they were actually watching a baby hedgehog eating catfood from a bowl.

Of course, I had to rush out and take pics!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I am working today - sort of!

They phoned me yesterday and said they are taking the residents out on a trip to the Garden Centre and would I like to go. When I officially start working they will put it down as a shift for me. So I get a day out with lunch and paid for it as well!

Of course, this is only if I can sort child care for DS for after school. If they had told me Friday, this wouldn't be a problem. But I can't contact the After School Club on a Sunday.

Saturdays plans ended in disaster! We were cycling out to the Iron Age fort. I didn't tell DS quite how far it was but have taught him how to use his gears so he is riding a lot better now. Anyway, we popped into the Garden Centre just down the road from it to go to the loo before going there for our picnic lunch. As we were pushing the bikes out, mine started making a funny noise. I had a puncture!!!!!

So, there we were, about 8 miles from home and NOT looking forward to walking back. Luckily, a very nice man in the Lawnmower hut said he was on his way to Chatteris and could put our bikes in the back to give us a lift home. I was soooooooooo relieved. Marks car isn't big enough to fit them in so I knew it was a waste to phone him. We ate our lunch at home then I took DS to the park instead.

When we got back, Mark had fixed my puncture! What a darling!!!!

I am going to invest in some of that stuff I have seen in Halfords. Its a gel strip of some sort thet you put in the tyre, between the tyre and inner tube. It is supposed to help prevent punctures. I am hoping it isn't too expensive as I am really short on cash until this CRB gets sorted for me to start work properly. I did sell another pattern yesterday though, I wonder if I can find it on eBay and use Paypal instead!

I put DSs cyclometer on his bike yesterday morning. I think I did it ok. There were only ever such a little out. I am hoping to go to Halfords on Wednesday to look at that gel stuff.

DS and I spent the afternoon at an Art thing for Fenvac. It was a get together where you chatted and worked. DS sat out in the garden and read his book, then tormented all the bugs he could find!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My first ATC!

Last night was Craft Club, normally an opportunity to try out something new.

And last night was no exception, I made my first ever ATC.

Sue Cheffins is a local lady who dabbles with dying threads, quilting and a whole host of other things. She brought along kits for us to make Fabric Trading Cards. The kits were all for an Autumn theme and had all those lovely rich autumn colours in them.

Most people had great fun doing it, including me and they only cost £1 as well so it was a cheap night!!!

It just so happened that I had a crochet hook in my bag - I guess you are all really surprised at that!

So I got some of the lovely hand dyed thread she creates and crocheted a leaf. Then I stitched it on the the background, added some leaf sequins, stuck the background on to the card and did button hole stitch all around the outside with what was left of the thread.

I have to say I was quite pleased with the result and can see this becoming habit forming!

Another thing I am quite pleased with is this 12 inch LO I did for the UKS weekly challenge.

As I am working on Halloween embellies just now, I thought I would make it Halloween themed.

This is Benjamin, age nearly 3, in a Pumpkin outfit I made for him.

Unfortunately its the only photo I have of him in it and isn't very good but it will have to do.

But the bit I am really pleased about is that I used chipboard!

I covered it with PP - and should really have waited for it to dry propery before trimming.

One of the tags made a perfect leaf for the pumkin!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Scary!!!

Thank you for all the comments about the chipboard, both on here and the UKS thread.

Unfortunately, I can't do most of it because I don't have a clue what half the stuff you are using is and I certainly don't have any of it in my stash.

However, that WILL change when I get my first wages from my new job!!!!!

When that will actually be is a totally different matter. Yesterday my CRB form was STILL sitting on somebodys desk. This time it is because the cheque is made out to the wrong people so they can't cash it. And, instead of getting back to the nursing home about it, they just left it. They don't seem to realise that they are playing with peoples lives when that do things like that!

Ok, in my case, it may not be a matter of life and death but, it is a matter of stash or no stash!

Anyway, on to better things!

Look at what I am working on now!!!!

These are the prototypes. I am not sure whether to embroider eyes etc on them. I think it might be better leave them so that people can add their own.

I am currently working on a ghost and, as always, open to suggestions for this collection.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have never tried chipboard before but I had this lovely lot ages ago in my crochet embellishment swap from Donna.

The thing is, I don't have a clue how to use it!!!!!

Any suggestions?

Unfortunately, I can't find out how you leave clickable links in your comments but, if you can leave a link to something you have done, I can copy and paste it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Real" Scrapping!

I managed to get those photos sorted!

This is the layout for the Shooting Star, the first in the set of 3 along the Stars and Rainbows theme.

Those handmade silk papers I bought are gorgeous! They are made from recycled garments so are perfect for the layouts.

I crocheted a shooting star to match the one in the silk painting and stitched the beads on to some handmade paper.

This is the second one I did.

When the lady picked up the first one she decided she wanted 3 different ones instead of 3 the same.

This gave me a bit of a dilemma - but also a chance to experiment.

I had never tried crochet on any of my silks before but it worked really well.

I re-created one of the stars for the layout.

I also stitched some of the beads on to the paper again and used more of the silk papers.

I wasn't so happy with the third silk - but she likes it.

I was trying to re-create the effect at the bottom of a waterfall in stars. I made loads of crocheted ones in rainbow colours for the silk, which I also used on the layout.

I stitched a rainbow on to the silk paper in the beads I used on the silk.

The Snowdrops are still a W.I.P. I have made the embellishments but need to wait until I get some green handmade paper for them.

My CRB check for the new job STILL has not been received by the CRB and the cheque I wrote has STILL not cleared.

I am beginning to think that somebody doesn't want me there!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I have been scrapping!

"Real" Scrapping as well!

Unfortunately, they are not quite finished so you are going to have to wait to see them!

But you can see the digi ones

I was sorting out my photos to send off for printing for my A-Z album, when I decided to digi scrap A.

Part of the reason is to use the digi versions to "plan" the real versions.

And part of it is because I want a digi album to share as well. I can put it on to a cd or online and it will look so much nicer than photos of the real one.

I have also used the journalling blocks from this and added them to the photos to be printed so that I can use them in the real one.

This is A for Abbey. There were loads of photos and info for it that I ended up with a double one.

The "Real" scrapping is for my Silk Album. I was going to wait until I sent off the other photo to do it but changed my mind.

Sorting out the photos gave me the urge to scrap so I printed them off myself. Besides, I wanted some of them bigger than 6x4 so I couldn't use the free ones anyway.

I have crocheted the bits I need for the embellies and am in the process of making the beaded embellies. I decided to stitch them on to the paper, rather than making wired ones for the rainbows.

I think I will be making a wired Snowdrop one though.

If all goes to plan I will have the Rainbow ones finished very soon and get the photos taken.

Unfortunately, I couldn't do the Snowdrops as I don't have any green handmade paper.

Also, until I start this job, I don't have any money to get some.

They are going to have to wait!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spam, Spam, Spam

You know, I get so fed up of turning my emails on to find about 50 emails (or more) and only one of them is actually for me.

I really don't want a bigger penis so that I can thrill the girls all night!!!!!

I tried setting up loads of filters to get the spam deleted but then I started missing other emails that I needed. So now I have to go through it all and delete it manually.

I am in the process of changing my email over so a lot of it will hopefully stop when I delete the old addy.

I thought there was laws against this happening. If there are, they are not working!

I am not sure how they get my email all the time but I know part of it is down to mass mailing.

Basically, if you forward an email on to somebody and leave everybodies email addies on it, some where along the line it will get picked up and all the addies will be harvested for spam.

If you must mass email, please go and read this on my msn group so that you can do it more safely.

And the other thing..........

I get really fed up of mail through the letter box trying to get me to spend money I don't have or offering me money I can't afford to pay back.

It is no wonder so many people are in debt!

I am a bit naughty with this. Just my little "Stuff it where the sun don't shine" to these people.

If the things come with a prepaid envelope, I take out the bit that has my address on and shred it, them stuff all the rest in the envelope and post it back to them.

Its even better when you get two lots on one day, you can swap the contents over!

It doesn't cost them much for all this mass mailing that they do but it does cost them more for all the returns that they get. They don't actually have to pay for those until they are used.

OK, it may not make much difference in the grand scheme of things but it gives me a certain satisfaction!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I am pleased to announce........

That I have finally finished my Puppets pattern!

You have already met the individual puppets so I won't bore you with that.

I am off to add the pattern to my site and to Etsy. The actual puppets are already on Etsy if anybody is interested.

When all that is done, I can carry on with my A-Z. I am sorting out the photos I want printed so that I can send them off. I need to decide how big I want them all first and any smaller than 6x4 can be added to one print.

I would nornally print them myself but I had an offer of free prints through from Snap fish and the postage is only 99p for up ro 50 and £1.49 for up to 500. Also, if I refer people and they sign up (don't need to actually buy and no card details needed) we both get an additional 20 prints free.

If anybody is interested, use the "Ask me, I might" button on the left to email me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Are you sitting down?

I have done some scrapping!!!!!!!

I took it into my head yesterday to have a go at the weekly on UKS

And this is the result.

Its a digi LO from some of the pics I took when we spent the afternoon at a friends farm.

The pics are for my A-Z Photo journal of Chatteris and I do plan on a scrapbook for the complete collection. So I will be re-doing this one "properly"!

I used a photo of the corn in the field for the background and Slightly lightened and desaturated the centre. Then I used different photos of the combine with a black and while border in the middle.

The Corn is from my "Flowers and Friends" Scrapbooking pattern and the Bow is a free pattern on my msn group. If you can't crochet, I can supply the "real" versions.

If you would prefer the digi versions, here are the links for the Poppy and Corn and the Bow.

Have fun with them.

By the way, there are loads more crocheted digi freebies scattered amongst the scrapbooking pages on my site. Happy Hunting.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Have you burnt any yet Mum?

My son has such faith in my cooking!!!!!!!

As it happened, I hadn't. But I still told him they taste better burnt!

We were making Welsh Cakes. They are a sort of scone but cooked on a griddle. And, seriously, when cooked on a cast iron griddle they do taste better with a tinge of black on them.

Cooking is not my favourite pastime. Especially baking.

I hate the feel of the mixture under my nails and spend more time washing my hands than anything else.

So it helps to have a willing helper who loves getting his hands in to this sort of thing.

Unfortunately, there is no way I can let him near an extremely hot cast iron griddle so I have to do that bit.

Better I get burned than him!

Fancy making some?

You will need -

1lb SR flour
½lb fat
6oz sugar
mixed spice

Mix the flour and sugar together. Add some spice to taste. Then mix in the fat.

When you have a nice even mixture, add some currants to taste then just enough milk to bind it all together.

Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thick and cut into circles.

You then need to cook them on the griddle. This takes some practise. Too hot and you burn them before the middle is cooked, too cool and you dry them out.

I just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Keep turning them over until they are a nice colour on both sides and put them on a cooling rack when they are done.

As you can see - none burnt.

At least, not on that side!!!!!!

They are also really nice with apple instead of currants. Just grate up a large cooking apple and leave out the milk.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Puppets and Zion

I was going to be ever so good and try to blog at least every other day. Look how long that lasted!!!!!

Still, I have been busy with other things.

First of all, I listed my Halloween Baskets pattern on Etsy.

This isn't a new pattern, I wrote it some years ago but I still love it.

I was debating about putting it on eBay as well but with the new rules about ebooks (and the new listing prices) I decided not to.

Etsy is so much cheaper to sell from when you are dealing with handicrafts.

Here are some of the puppets I have been working on.

Meet Petula Parrot,

Sidney Snake,

and Arnold Aligator.

These are the "Jungle Puppets".

As always, made from 100% machine washable acrylic so you don't have to worry about them getting dirty.

I have listed them all for sale on Etsy.

The pattern will be on there just as soon as it is finished.

During the crash a whole pile of my photos got corrupted.

Fortunately, some of them were from my A-Z photo journal of Chatteris which means they are relatively easy to replace.

I decided to go out to the bank and Co-op yesterday and replace some of the photos. I went to the bank first then started taking some pics.

Wouldn't you know it - it started to rain!

So I went to the Co-op to get what I needed only to find I hadn't put my purse in!!!!

At least by the time I got back to the town centre it wasn't raining any more and I managed to replace some of the pics from Jubilee Gardens.

I actually think they are a little better than before. The dark sky wasn't such a contrast against the black clock.

But yesterday wasn't a complete disaster! In the evening I left the boys playing on the Wii and went out - complete with purse!

And I managed a new letter - Z

This is the Zion Hall.

I haven't been able to find out much info about it apart from this little bit I found online.

Another such church (non-conformist) in Park Street was founded in 1819. In 1851 the congregation numbered 485.

However, the sign says 1839.

I think a trip to the local museum is in order.

And I still need to finish sorting out those Harvest ones.

Monday, September 01, 2008

September Calendar

I have been a bad blogger! Nothing in over 2 weeks!!!!! I hope these pics make up for it.

I thought I would brighten up your desktop this month! This is a photo I took yesterday at the local garden centre. I just can't resist those bright blooms.

As usual, click on the pic over in the left column to download.

I just can't resist dandelion clocks! The macro lens allows me to get really close and see all the fine detail. I like the way the narrow depth of field softens it and make it look fluffy.

And, yes its pink, but it was the only rose bush there!

I did get some of a bee on the dandelions but he is blurred in all the photos because he just wouldn't keep still!

Better luck next time?????

I really don't know where the time has gone. Since Benjamin has come home it has been all go. We went to Cambridge on Friday to do all the Museums. Of course, I didn't realise just how many there were! There are 8 free ones in walking distance of the bus stop and 15 in total. We managed 4!!!!!

But we had a great time. The down side was the 1½ hours on the bus each way, which was actually more than that because of the traffic. But the fare was only £5.50 for both of us so that made up for it a bit.

This is a definate repeat for half term, however, as he also has 2 teacher training days added on to the end of half term, we might do it then when there won't be so many people around.

And I must remember to take the camera next time!!!!!!!!!!!!

Something else I have been doing is working on some puppet patterns. I "lost" the Jungle Puppets in my recent puter crash and didn't realise until I was putting them all back on the puter from the discs. I hadn't saved that one to disc - Silly me!

Anyway, I was sent a US copy of one I had sold and have been using that one the create the UK copy and remake them to take pics. While I was at it, I have altered one or two things to make them easier to do.

When finished, I will be putting both the pattern and the puppets on Etsy and send out the re-vamped copies to the two nice ladies who sent me theirs!

I have also been re-working some of the older pupper patterns. The original ones were made in a totally different way to the newer ones as they have "evolved" somewhat over the years. I have been working on the Pond set. This will also be on Etsy when finished.

Now, I have a jam packed day ahead of me so I had best get off here and get on with it!