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Monday, 31 August 2015

Taking a break - Monday 31st August

Hello Friends,

Hoping that you are all well...I can't believe it's our last Bank Holiday before Christmas already....and it's raining!

Recently I have posted infrequently - you must be fed up with my apologies for lack of posts and visits to you all! After a lot of thought over the past few weeks, I've decided that I need to take a proper break from blogging, only for the next month, but I need it, in order to come back with renewed enthusiasm and energy.

I have been blogging  for 4 years, but this year for some reason I have found it increasingly difficult. There's no one reason - it has been a busy year outside the craft room indeed and  we have a busy few weeks ahead...they start to build the conservatory this week and in two weeks time we have our holiday - we aren't going away, we will be busy painting, choosing tiles for the floor and pieces of furniture - I have 2 'Annie Sloan'  furniture projects to get on with - and amongst that some day trips to places we love (actually we have some exhibitions of art etc lined up to see).

I have also also found that in the last few weeks, whilst I  decided to put blogging to the back of my mind, my craft time has improved and been more relaxed. It's crazy really, when I was prolifically designing for Sam Poole's Team last year I had no problem in coming up with ideas and meeting deadlines. Over the past month or so, I hadn't lost Mr Mojo, he just knew I had been getting a bit 'anxious' about so many things to get done, so he had decided to shut down for  a while - as soon as I relaxed a little, he bounced back!

This is very hard to say, as I really do love visiting your blogs, seeing all your wonderful work and leaving a comment - as I love it when you visit me, but I think that a break will regenerate my enthusiasm and I will hopefully come back with lots of cards and crafts made, so that I won't be frustrated about 'making' to blog. It's not just been blogging either...I've barely visited Facebook or twitter, except for work.

I've been out with the Owl group a few times now and have really enjoyed getting out in the open and learning so much about Birds of Prey.

Over the next month, I hope to drop by you all from time to time, but I won't be here again until here is my last card for the time being...

Exam Congrats!

Today I am sharing a card I made for a cousin of Tom's (well his dad and Tom are first cousins, you know what I mean) who has got into Oxford University to study law....whoopee! Everyone is of course so proud of him, they are a lovely, close family and he himself is an amazing young man. His sister also just got straight A's and A*'s in her GCSEs!

The card is 7x7: I used a base layer of black card and added a layer of script/map card, the edges of which I inked slightly with Vintage Photo distress ink.

I then die cut the arrows using Tim Holz 'Artful Arrows' for Sizzix, penning 'Oxford' on one of them.  I stamped the Bird Crazy, (which looks like a wise owl to me) and used the die cuts to make it 3D. I coloured it with promarkers. I made the mortar board myself, just drew it and cut out and then added an 'A Level' certificate.

That's it for now, take care all and I look forward to connecting with you again in October,

Love and Hugs,
Carole Z X

Monday, 10 August 2015

Hi Friends!

I hope you all had a great weekend and the sun shone where you are, as it did here! I had every intention to hop on my computer and write a post on Saturday, but it was so lovely outside, that by the time we got back from our shopping 'must do's' Saturday lunchtime, we just went outside and got stuck into some gardening....I have been trying to sketch a revamp of a rather untidy little corner where we have a tiny pond.

To be honest, I agreed with Tom's thinking that the whole thing should be drained and gotten rid of, the plastic is now exposed and it looks bad -  just one problem - it's a really thriving wildlife area and the little pond is home to a heck of a lot of frogs and other little creatures, so at the moment at least Tom's preference wasn't an option really.

I made these sketches for ideas to at least pretty it up and encourage even more butterflies and insects and set to work on it....the hens of course were not a great help! Tilda especially!

 My general idea is to get plants growing around the rim to hide it as much as possible and to plant honeysuckle and other climbers at the back against a trellis to hide the fence - we'll see what it looks like in the least then we can collect the frog spawn, replace the pond and put it all back.

After I'd removed all the pots and plants already there
I didn't know Tom had taken this of me hard at work!

Tilda having a break from annoying toads

After I'd planted some herbs and other plants: the trellis goes up next week..Tilda is still looking for the toad!

At one point I turned my back, she suddenly squealed and just managed to take off across the water instead of landing in it (thank goodness - a green weed coloured chicken would not have been a pretty sight!) and ran around the garden clucking. Cara was in the nest box laying her egg and I have noticed has learnt to stay put when Tilda gets agitated about something.

The problem? She had stuck her beak into one of the pots that we leave there as frog and toad 'hotels' and had met a rather large toad holed up in the dark! Once she had calmed down and felt brave, she went straight back and kept tapping on the pot with her beak, so I was telling her off all afternoon. On a more serious note, I think she did actually eat a couple of very tiny frogs.

Yesterday we treated a family member to a trip to Highgrove gardens; the third time for Tom and I, but a first for Sandra and the rest of Tom's family. There were 6 of us, we had lunch after and the weather was perfect. No photos I'm afraid, security there does not permit cameras or phones in the grounds.

CAS cards

We had a super craft evening last week: some of the ladies had asked for CAS cards. I made the four projects below, with the hope that they would finish 3 of them...well I'm thrilled to say, two of the ladies finished all 4, two finished 3 and one finished almost 3, so not bad going. I deliberately made them as CAS as possible and they said they really enjoyed it. I was pleased, I really love CAS! I didn't get any photos, will try to remember this week...

I made a lot of CAS cards as demos, a lot of them using these two sets of stamps from Woodware and will show them over the next few weeks.

That's all for today, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by,

Love and Hugs
Carole X

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Bird Crazy Birthday - Saturday 1st August 2015

Hello Friends,

Thanks for visiting and thank you for your comments on my Birds of Prey mini album: a few of you were impressed I had made an album of photos from a recent event so quickly...well believe me, I have a full size scrapbook for our last holiday in California, with just a few complete pages! Our last trip to Italy is still on the computer! I do prefer to be able to pick up photos and look at them whenever I want, so this year I decided I would make mini albums of events and holidays - they can be quick to complete and are easy to revisit and add more.

 I hadn't intended that more than a week should pass between posts, but it has! I have got a lot of crafting achieved this week extra time in the office, no more craft time. I also won some sentiment stamps from Sue Wilson's blog, which was brilliant!

The first of our August workshops is this week and some of the group asked if they could have a CAS card session....I look around some of my crafty friend's blogs who specialise in CAS and I am always in awe. I really admire CAS, I find it hard to get started...and then  to stop adding to the card...but I love it and once I get started, I can't stop! That is what I have been doing in my craft time this week.

However for today I want to share cards I've made for hubby Tom's birthday tomorrow...he loves birthdays (much more than I do), so the family will be over for a birthday tea and hopefully it will be nice enough to sit outside (a big hope I think!). 

Now, I did say cards, because of course 'the girls' (our hens) have to give him one too (call us crazy, it's just a bit of fun) I made a quick one from them as well....

First of all here is mine: the 'awesome' is a bit of an in-joke with Tom about the US comedy Modern Family and the character Phil Dunphy, as it's one of his 'phrases'  that Tom adopted..but if you haven't seen it, ignore this as it will mean nothing to you!

I made this card before I got the Bird Crazy matching dies, so I layered them up by fussy cutting. I coloured them using my Chameleon pens and created the background with a wash of salted ocean distress ink and then used some ink and water and spritzed with an old travel toothbrush.

 I stamped the bird inside and added a party hat from another stamp set.

Now for the card 'from' Cara and Tilda...

For this one I stamped a Penny Black image and coloured with Promarkers. I then cut around the edge at the top and folded it at the base to make a simple stand up card. I die cut the greeting.

I also made some wrapping paper for their little present: I just used parcel wrap and stamped the chicken all over it. The stamp is from a small company called Noolibird, they are designed and handmade in Sussex by textile designer and artist Nula Shearing and are fabulous quality wooden block stamps, I love her designs.

At the moment we have our youngest hen, Tilda, just coming up to a year old who seems to be trying to decide whether or not she is broody..very odd...we've had a broody hen before, but not one that is showing all the traits but not quite doing it..that's fine with me, I don't want a broody hen to deal with at the moment! Cara, our older gal is in disgrace. We were eating a sandwich in the garden today, when she ran at me (quite comical really) leapt on my lap and made off with it! I managed to get most of it off her as I didn't want her to eat the bread and cheese (the lettuce and tomato I left for her)..naughty girl!!!

Well I must be off now and get the house ready for tomorrow's guests...have a good weekend all!

Love and Hugs,
Carole Z XX