Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Catching up ? I hope so !!

So, there I was, fast asleep, minding my own business, when suddenly, I found myself standing underneath the clock at Panic Station !! What on earth would my Mum say if she knew I was out of bed & in public at 3am on a school night ?!
I don't know about you, but Christmas seems to come around a lot quicker the older we get. Grandson 1a told me the other day that 18 days is long time to wait for Christmas & I just wished I was 5 all over again :o)
Anyway - what was I doing standing under a clock at 3am on a cold & frosty morning ? Well, PANICKING, of course !!
This year, we have exceeded 215 medical appointments & we've still got 3 weeks till the end of the year. It's no wonder I'm going greyer by the day & wandering around in my slippers & nightie  at night :o)
These appointments have included hospital - outpatient & inpatient; daily visits from the Hospital At Home team, every-other-day visits from the Community Nurses (District Nurses in old money) Social Services Occupational Therapists; Wheelchair Occupational Therapists; Motability assessments; home visits from the Doctor, as well as appointments at the surgery. I've said it before & I'll say it again - surely it  would be much easier in the long run just to shoot Shaun ? :o) I'm seriously beginning to think that the NHS is in the state it is simply because of him !! I'm sure that in 100 years time, he'll be amongst the case histories of the medical profession's *Weird & Wonderful Undiagnosed Oddities* !! :o)
Maybe I should get him stuffed & mounted & charge an entrance fee for people to come & have a look at him . . .
But - I digress. As I often do. Just ask my big brother :o)
(What ho, Steve !!)
November came & went in a blink of an eye. I have NO idea where it went, all I remember is Bonfire Night & then it was December. I don't drink, so I didn't lose it in a bottle or a glass; I don't smoke, so I didn't lose in in a foggy haze. I just don't think it lasted as long as it should have. Thirty days in November ? Not THIS year !! Five if I'm lucky.
Because of this lack of a month, I am finding myself visiting Panic Station more & more the closer we get to Christmas. Although I managed to make the Christmas cakes & puddings and knit a few gifty bits, I haven't had time to make enough cards & so I'm going to have to resort to sending e-cards to all my friends abroad. I'd much rather send a real card, but lack of time & money - grrrrr to whoever decided we needed to pay more for postage - have put a spanner in the works where that's concerned this year. Let's just hope that 2014 is nowhere near as busy, but to be honest, I'm not holding my breath :o)
So, if you should find yourself getting a bit panicky, come & join me. You know where I'll be most nights at 3am - underneath the clock at Panic Station :o)  I'll be the one wearing these:

And if you happen to find November, please give it a clip round the ear & send it back to me :o)
Thank you :o)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Swapping the swaps

It's been a really busy month here on my patch, what with all his nibs' appointments & I wasn't able to get round to making any of October's challenge cards till this weekend. The month is almost over, so it was a bit of a mad rush, but I did it, just in time to open November's parcels !! :o)
For October's challenge, Liz chose *swap the swaps*, which involved us swapping bits & pieces we'd received from each other, but not used, over the past few months.
I must say, it was quite discombobulating opening a parcel from Liz that looked Terri had supplied it & a parcel from Terri that looked like Liz had supplied it :o) I think we each have a style or way of putting certain things together that makes it fairly obvious who supplied the goods :o)
I hope that makes sense. It did in my head, but that's no real recommendation !! :o) .
Anyhoo. On to the cards. I managed to get 4 out of Liz's parcel & 3 from Terri's.
Oh, they were all supposed to have something rectangular on them, I remembered to do six like that, but goodness knows why I forgot the seventh, especially as it wasn't even the first or last, but there you go. These things happen :o)
First up was Liz's parcel.

I loved this image, it reminded me of when we used to have a helter skelter along the front when I was a kid. It's been gone for many a year, but many happy hours were spent at the amusements in the summer holidays.  Everything except the sentiment, blue star button & silver stars came from the parcel.

This was a very quick card - background paper, image & a stamped sentiment. Other than using my own stamp, everything came from the parcel.

This image was a postcard & as the main colours that stood out for me were pink, cream & purple, I decided to stick to  use just those colours. I die cut the image & a piece of cream card, used a leafy folder to emboss the pink paper & cream die cut & stuck them all together. I used a purple ribbon to cover the join where the pink & purple paper met, added a sentiment & 3 peel off flowers.  Only the flowers & sentiment came from my stash.
When I saw this image, it just shouted Valentine's Day or Anniversary, but I decided on Valentine's Day simply because the bear had a lovely bunch of red roses :o) I die cut the image, stuck it on to the red mostly square/slightly rectangular card & added hearts & sentiment. I slso put the little red heart on the bear's chest :o)
Now onto Terri's parcel.
All I did here was use Pro-markers to colour the image, stamp small snowflakes with silver grey ink, matt & layer onto silver mirror card & spotty red paper. I added a silver bow & sentiment from my stash & that was it.
This is one of my favourite stamps - I have a feeling it may well have been one that I included in a swap parcel earlier in the year, but that's all part of swap the swaps. You get a mix of things, including your own bits & bobs :o)
Green is my favourite colour & I decided to use all three shades that were included in the parcel & just keep it simple by colouring in the bear & the top of the present. I added silver card candi & a sentiment just to give it a bit of a lift & yyet again, a PeaJayKay special - plain & simple, just like me !! :o)
Lastly, I needed a card for a little girl who's going to be 2 soon. Everyone loves Eeyore, don't they, whether they're 2 or 92, so I thought he'd be a ideal :o)  He & the flowers, the sentiment & no. 2 all came from my stash, but the card & paper came from the parcel.
November's challenge is my choice - Ribbon :o)
Oh dear . . . 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Wonderful Webs

Like many people, I have a fear of spiders. It used to be that if I saw one coming my way, I'd head for the hills, clambering over anything & anyone who got in my way :o) But - life changes & now, unfortunately, I am chief spider catcher in my house. Even if Shaun managed to catch one, he couldn't get rid of it without falling off his Zimmer or out of his wheelchair & either way, I'd end up trying to get him up off the floor & worrying about where the spider had darted off to. Shudder !!!
That said, I can't help but appreciate the beauty of an Autumn garden covered in webs - just as long as their owners are nowhere to be seen !! :o)
Last Monday, we woke up to fog. Everything was damp & eerie, until the sun managed to break through.
When I looked out the front, this was the view up the road.

Looking over the wall & next door's garage to trees in a garden along the road.

Then, the sun began to break through.
 It shone through, between the conifer & the apple tree, lighting up the webs spun during darkness.
As it grew stronger, the sun hit the webs hanging from the railing at the side of the ramp. You couldn't see them before, they were so fine.

Those spiders certainly had a field day on my washing line !! :o)

 I just love this photo - it really shows how busy spiders are at night & how beautiful their webs are when lit with an early morning Autumn sun :o)
Although I always say that there is beauty to be found in every season, Autumn is my favourite time of year. Not keen on the bugs & spiders, but the colours & the sharp wintery nip in the air far outweight those. Just as long as I don't walk headlong into a web strung between the bushes !! :o)

Monday, 30 September 2013

Men !!! :o)

As we girls can testify, men are oh-so-difficult, in oh-so-many ways !! :o) I'm sure they'd say the same about us, but we know that's just not true, don't we ??!! :o)
For me, one of the hardest things is making a card suitable for a man who doesn't like sport or who doesn't drink. Think husband, Dad & brother, here :o)  So, when Terri suggested men as the theme for this months card challenge, not only did I inwardly groan, I had a fit of the vapours & needed to have a lie down in a dark room, with a cool flannel over my eyes !! :o)
With a shaking hand & in a state of panic, I opened Terri's parcel first.
Ohhhhhhhhhhh dear . . . .
I was completely stuck, nothing came to mind, ideas, imagination & inspiration all gone :o(
So, all I ended up with were these three cards
I really liked this image, it reminded me a bit of an Art Deco picture.  All I did was fold the front of a card in half, cut the image down a bit & mounted the left side of it on dark blue card. I then stuck it to the folded front of the card & added the silver sentiment from my stash..
I love dogs & this image was so nice, I decided to use it on an easel card. Other than corrugated card & the sentiment, everything came from Terri's parcel.
Another image, just matt & layered & a sentiment added.
Wouldn't it be nice to chug along a canal & see where it takes you ?
Now on to Liz's parcel, but yet again, my mind was a blank. It seems that plain & simple is my only way & as much as I'd love to be able to make classier & more intricate cards, it seems it's not to be. 
Included in the parcel was this lovely, peaceful looking fisherman, so I die cut the image with a scalloped oval nestie, then die cut a larger oval from some paper, also included in the parcel. Again, I folded the front of a card & covered it in dark brown card. I then stuck the image on the front, added some gold strips, a sentiment & card candi from my stash & that was it.

Wellington bear, another old favourite :o) I didn't want to distract away from the image so I just put the backing card through a Cuttlebug folder, cut it slightly smaller & stuck it to a white card. Again I added a sentiment, card candi & silver peel off strips from my stash.

As soon as I saw this stamped image, I knew I just wanted to do a plain card & have the image as a real focal point. However, I thought the white was just a bit too bright,  so I cut it to size & went round the edges with a black ink pad. I wanted a slightly distressed/grungy/ type effect so I lightly dusted the ink pad over the whole image. I stuck it on some silver mirror board & yet again, added the sentiment & card candi from my stash.
So, there we have it, six very plain & simple cards.
Goodness knows what October will bring :o)

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Sky at Night - & in the Morning :o)

This past month or so I have seen some of the most beautiful clouds, sunrises & sunsets. Every now & then, Mother Nature throws something into the works that takes our breath away & in my opinion, the sky at night & early in the morning, is one of those.
In no particular date order, here are some photos I've taken over the past few weeks :o)

I just love this first photo. It's just so dramatic & moody. Somewhat like me at times !! :o)

This pic and the one below look, to me, as though the day didn't quite know what to do with itself :o) Would it be cloudy, would it be sunny, would it rain or would it be dry ?

 It decided to be all four. Because it could :o)

The sunset seen from my front door is just amazing. I'm lucky enough to have a fairly clear & uninterrupted view of the sky, simply because my house is a bit higher than those across the road.
I loved the shape of this cloud as it drifted across the sky. I also loved the mist below it, making everything in the distance a bit hazy.
This was the sunrise on Tuesday, so beautiful.

The sunset a couple of weeks ago. I love the mistiness in the distance.

The different levels of streaky pink & grey are just so lovely. I could watch the changing colours for ages.

This sunrise was spectacular. It was like a huge gold beacon just burst out of the sky . . .

and the rest of the clouds just tumbled, all pink & fluffy, into a new day :o)
Mother Nature. The world's greatest artist :o)

Monday, 26 August 2013

"Those" cards

Our theme this month was my choice, and, just like everyone, although I don't like to think of it, there are times in our life when a not so jolly card is required, so I thought I'd bite the bullet & choose sympathy, thinking about you & get well.
I opened Liz's parcel first & found some lovely bits & bobs, including this poppy image, which is one of my favourite stamps. All I added to this was the glitter strip, the sentiment & the three red gems.

Everything on this card came from the parcel. Because I decided to use the flowery background paper, I didn't want the image to be too fussy, so I used very few colours on the flowers. I love this little girl stamp, she's very versatile.

This butterfly is one of Liz's favourite dies :o) Because it was cut with 2 tone paper, I wanted to keep to that & although you can't see it very well, the white card is mounted onto a dark green card. All I added to this was the silver gems to give it a bit of a lift.

Another card using the little girl image. This was hard to photograph because of all the different shades of green :o) Some look more like yellow or mustard in the pic, but in reality, they're all various shades of light green. Again, all I added was the green gems & I used a die to cut the image & its background .

Now on to Terri's parcel :o)
This lovely bouquet just shouted *get well card* to me, so I just matt & layered it onto a purple paper that was in the parcel & then used vellum for the top left & another purple for the bottom.Also in the parcel was the lovely black butterfly sticky ribbon & just to continue the theme, I stamped black butterflies in random places. Not too sure if they go, really, but it's too late now :o)
Terri is a great advocate for reduce, reuse & recycle, so she often includes old cards & pictures & as well as the flower bouquet above, she included the following two flowers :o)
Lilies, to me, are rather like chrysanths - they are traditional on sympathy cards and for funerals. I used a die to cut this single lily from the card front Terri had included & decided to keep it as simple as possible. I think simple cards for sad occasions are much more suitable. But maybe that's just me :o) I just added black glitter strip & gems from my stash.

And lastly, the other flower from a card front, the beautiful poppy. Nothing, in my opinion, can really improve a poppy, so yet again, plain & simple was the order of the day.

Now onto September's parcels, where the theme is:
MEN !!! ::o)

Monday, 5 August 2013

Heavenly Hollyhocks

and other beautiful flowers :o)
Over the past few days, I've been taking photos of the flowers in my garden. Even though it's a big garden, it never really looks better than in the Spring, when the trees are in blossom & the daffodils and Aquelegia are out.
I love old fashioned, country cottage type flowers & have been lucky enough to grow quite a few from seed, including one of my all time favourites, Hollyhocks :o)
I only have 3 colours -  a burgundy,a deepish pink & a most gorgeous pale pinky white one - but I'm positive I used to have a yellow one. Gawd knows where it's gone, though. I'll have to look out for one next year, I think, to replace it.
Anyhoo - when I was taking some photos, I managed to get 4 of a buzzy bee, doing what he does best - collecting pollen from my Hollyhocks :o)
 Here he is on the start of his journey in this particular flower.
In this pic, he seems to be having a good old rootle around.
In this one, he seems to have disappeared right deep inside.
And here he is again, almost completely covered. I bet he weighed a lot more going back to the hive than he did coming out :o) A good job jobbed, as my Mum would say :o)
This is one of the taller Hollyhocks - you can see it's taller than the fence between us & next door & that fence is taller than me :o)

I adore this one - the colour is just so beautiful & delicate.

One of my jobs this week is to tie them back to the fence. I can't get in the greenhouse because they are so unwieldy :o) I also need to tie the honeysuckle back because it's fallen off the top of the fence & is blocking my way into the veg cage. I have to bend double to get under it & being a PeaJayKay of the well upholstered variety, it isn't easy !! :o)

I love the colour of this Caen anemone.

Now this is one of my all time favourite flowers - Hemerocallis, also known as the Day Lily because each flower only lasts a day.  It's in the top 3 of my *Top Ten Must Haves* in the garden :o)

The delicate looking Dog rose. As much as I love the colour of this, it's not in my *Top Ten* :o)
A definite in my list - Japanese anemone. I only have the white variety but I would love to have a pink one, too.
 Poppies are a must have. Not only for their delicate beauty, but for what they signify.
Lest We Forget.
I  just love this peach coloured Gladioli.
I've always loved Gladi's - maybe when I was a kid, I had a premonition that I'd marry an Australian. If so, it sort of came true - Shaun's half Australian  :o)  

A red gladi :o) 
I'm not a lover of the colour red, but red flowers & red at Christmas are a must :o)

This beautiful little red rose is in my little memorial garden, known as Kit's Korner. This rose is in memory of Peg, a dear friend who died a few years ago.

And finally, this rose is also in Kit's Korner. It's in memory of Johno, who, once he'd learned to Trivvie hug, didn't want to stop :o)
I have a long list of things to do in the garden this week & I'm pleased to say that after the appalling weather we had last year, things are growing well in the veg cage. Even the courgettes have survived !! :o)
Here's to a happy harvest :o)