Saturday, 30 March 2013

What to do, what to do . . . plus an update :o)

My garden is in dire need of a good sort out & I hoped that I'd at least be able to get the grass cut on Friday. Mostly because it really needs it, but also because grandson 1a informed me that if the grass was too long, the Easter bunny would get lost hiding the eggs & they would all be eaten by the ants & spiders before he & his little brother could find them :o)
 As you can see, the grass in the middle of the garden is all tufty & really does need a good cut.
 However, Mother Nature decided it was a good day to send sleet, fine snow & hail. It was the sort of snow that doesn't lay but is enough to cause you botherations, even if all you wanted to do was
I also had a large pile of ironing that needed doing,
so it was a case of *what to do, what to do*.
Do I dash in & out between snow/sleet/hail showers or do I do the dreaded ironing ???
Well, the winner was:
Yep. The dreaded ironing.
I figured I could always cut the grass today, couldn't I ????
Well . . . . .
No :o( Yet again, Mother Nature decided to chuck fine snow at us.
Typically, the sun is now shining, but the grass is too wet to do anything with.
I think I'm going to have to leave a note for the Easter bunny, asking him to hide the eggs in the house. After all, I really don't want to blamed if he gets frost bite, do I ? I don't think grandsons 1a & 1b would ever forgive me  !! :o)
Have a lovely Easter, wherever you are & whatever you do :o) 

Update:  Well, I decided to bite the bullet, risk the freezing cold & go & cut the grass. It was hard going, especially the middle bit because that always grows clumpy & tufty, but I managed it. I also managed to wound the lawn mower. OOPS !!! I ran over a fallen twig & snapped one of the blades. Good job we had a spare, but now I've got to buy some more & keep them as spares.

The compost bin is full of grass & the council green bin is half full of twigs, leaves & other bits I pulled up. It was far too cold to spend more than a couple of hiours outside, but hopefully, the weather will soon improve & I'll be able to get the garden looking respectable once more :o)

It probably doesn't look that much different to it's un-mown state, but it is, in real life :o)

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Three-threety-three :o)

Hazel's challenge this week is for a Christmas card with 3 of something & here is my effort.
It's made with 3 pieces of card - the red I embossed with my holly folder & Cuttlebug; the green already has Christmas greetings on it, so no need to add another & the white I used a stamp on.
The stamp is 3 animals - a cat, a dog & a mouse & I decoupaged it in 3 layers - the cat is as it was, the dog is made of 2 layers & the mouse is 3 layers :o)
I then added just 3 colours - red, green & brown, the brown being 3 different shades, one for each animal.
To finish it off, though you can't see it very well, I added Glossy Accents to the holly berries & the dog's nose.
As well as Hazel's weekly challenge, I'm going to be a devil & enter it in her monthly *Anything Goes* challenge as well :o)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Some you like, some you don't.

Cards, that is. I managed to get 2 more cards out of Terri's parcel - I'm sure I could do more, but to be honest, my brain is worn out & unless anyone can actually recycle it, then I think that's it for March. HOORAH !!! :o) This has been a challenge & a half for me, who, this month has felt more like Winnie the Pooh - a bear of little brain - than ever before.
Of course, it isn't ALL Terri's fault . . . .  or is it ?! :o)
Anyway, as I said, I set to last night & made two cards. I like the first one but don't like the second one.
Included in the parcel was this pic of two old fishermen mending nets & having a chat. I cut the surrounding frame bit off & mat & layered it on white glossy paper that I rubbed a green ink pad over, I then stuck that onto slightly darker green card, leaving the bottom bit longer to stick a greeting on. I used the rest of the ink-rubbed glossy paper to cover the cardstock & using the same green ink pad, stamped 3 fish at sort-of-jaunty-angles along the bottom just to give it a bit more . . . something :o)  They WERE supposed to be equal distance apart, but with my eyesight, I'm just grateful they ended up on the card at all :o) Everything was from the parcel apart from the greeting, the ink & the stamp.

This card I really don't like at all. Many moons ago, my daughter had wallpaper in her bedroom rather similar - Liz, Terri & I have a daughter - one each, that is, we don't share the same one & change her name when it's *our turn* to have her !! :o) - & Pierrot's were all the rage when they were little, so although this paper brought back memories, I'm afraid it didn't bring inspiration with it.
It's all just a bit too fussy for my liking. To give it some dimension, I cut out 4 of the cherry blossom flowers, inked the edges & then stuck them in opposite corners, using sticky pads to raise them off the card. I then cut out a group of flowers & did the same on the right hand side. It all seemed a bit too pink, so I stamped a greeting onto green card, trying to pick up the green of the leaves & added a flower brad. Apart from the stamped greeting, everything is from the recycled parcel. 
What does April's challenge hold for us ???? Yikes !! I can't wait to find out :o)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

As part of our card shallenge, Terri chose March to be recycle month. I've blogged a few cards I made with Liz's parcel & now it's Terri's turn.
So far, I've made 2 cards from her parcel & Grandson 1a has made a birthday card for his Mummy as well. However, as her birthday isn't till next month & she sometimes reads my blog, I won't be putting it on here :o)
Normally, I'd have made more cards by now, but being poorly has put me behind in everything & I have a ton of catching up to do. The ironing basket is full to overflowing, the house needs dusting & hoovering & poor Shaun needs to be fed something other than cheese on toast :o)  As for the garden, well, don't get me started !! :o)  At least I can use the weather as an excuse for not setting to out there, though :o)
Anyway, here are the two cards I've made so far. I'm hoping to get at least 2 more done out of Terri's parcel & then maybe I'll do a Christmas card for Hazel's blog challenge. I rather missed not making one for last week.  
(Picture me here, with clenched fist raised & shaking in the air, shouting  *Curse you, Liz, for getting me hooked !!*)
But I digress. As usual :o) 
Here are the cards.
Everything apart from the buttons, greeting & gold stars is from Terri's parcel. The background is white tissue paper & the blue card I cuttlebugged with the divine swirls folder because I thought it echoed the swirly bits on the shoe toppers. I then cut the card into 4 using a deckled edge rectangular die, glued the buttons across the middle, added little gold stars to their middles & put the greeting on the 4th rectangle.
This card is just the page from an old atlas for the background, plus a stamped image & greeting. Very simple - first I scanned the map & then used the scanned image for matting & layering the stamped image. I then used the original map for the card background, distressed the image & white card that it was stamped on with an ink pad that I thought contrasted well with all the background colours. I stamped the greeting, distressed that as well, making sure I ran the ink pad over it while it was still wet, so that I got a slightly smudged look & that was that.
I should have a couple of hours to myself at some point today, so hopefully, I'll get another card or two made with the rest of Terri's parcel..

Monday, 25 March 2013

Calling Alfred Hitchcock . . .

Well, here I am, almost back in the land of the living after being proper poorly with tonsillitis & a viral infection for over a week. It's actually against the law for me to be ill, so I'd better not say too much about it or the powers that be will hunt me down & either shoot me or fine me :o) The way I felt last week, I'd have chosen the *shoot me* option !! :o) I'm still supposed to be resting - shhh, don't tell anyone - but I'm bored, so I must be feeling better.
Anyhooooo . . .
On Saturday afternoon, I decided to get a bit of fresh air & wandered out to the husband hut to see what Shaun was up to. There was a really strange noise & at first, I couldn't work out what it was, till I suddenly saw  . . .
 Starlings converging on trees a few gardens away from mine. I quickly grabbed my camera & tried to get some photos.
Apologies for the naffness of them - if you click on them, they'll get larger - but I had to be quick & zoom in because no sooner had they landed, than they started to  . . .
 take off again. The noise was terrific. At first, only a few took off, but once they had, the whole flock just rose almost as one. The sound of the air as hundreds of them beat their wings & flew up into the sky was amazing.
My back door has a rain canopy over it, so I wasn't able to get the whole flock as they flew over. This is less than half of them & they were so fast, it's a wonder I managed to get anything at all. One of them very kindly left their calling card on my arm, so I suppose I should be grateful :o)
I know a lot of people think starlings are pests, but you can't beat watching them dance in a huge group across the sky. They are so elegant & precise, although there's always one a wee bit behind, the one who doesn't quite have the same dancing skills as everyone else !!  I never tire of watching them, though.
They reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock's film *The Birds* & when I was a kid, of my Mum & Dad watching it one evening. My older brother & I (hi, Steve !!) had been warned NOT to go into the front room where they were watching it, because it was a *horror* film, but I went in for some reason - to ask for a drink or to say goodnight, I don't remember now, but I know I had my hand over my eyes as I went in !! :o) Anyway, my Dad said something along the lines of  - "you don't need to worry about covering your eyes, nothing's happened, it's quite boring" - when all of a sudden, the birds swooped down & PECKED SOMEONE'S EYES OUT !!!!
At least they weren't in an old run down motel, in a shower, listening to eerie music !! :o)
And now, on that cheery note, I'm off to kickstart this Monday morning. I hope to get a couple of cards made today, but it all depends how weary I am after doing a few bits & bobs first.
Have a fab day :o)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

I'm not too late, am I ?

No, of course not, don't be silly, it's on till 10pm tomorrow night :o)
What am I going on about ? Hazel's weekly Christmas card challenge, of course :o)
I've had a busy week, what with making cards from my recycled challenge parcel, knitting a baby smock top/cardigan for Kids Co., the charity I knit for, knitting a special something else that I can't say more about yet, because the person it's for reads my blog, making a start on some possible Christmas presents  & life in general with 'imself :o)
BUT - I wanted to make a card for the challenge which, this week is Santa (shudder !!!) and/or his helpers. I say *shudder* because I'm English & it's Father Christmas to me, always has been, always will be :o)
But anyhoo - amongst all my Christmas bits,  I found the Father Christmas & Elf stamps. Both are a bit contemporary for me - as I've said before, I'm an old fashioned traditional girl - but I decided to use them, rather than the other ones I have & this is what I came up with.
I wasn't keen on all the white around the stamped images, so I rubbed an ink pad across them, giving them a bit of a grungy, distressed look. It still didn't look right, so I stamped all over with a tiny present stamp.
It's not easy trying to take a photo of an easel card & not getting the stuff behind it in the shot & I really didn't think you'd like to see my tatty old bread bin, so that's why the pic is a bit deformed !! :o)
As usual, I'll also enter it into Hazel's monthly Anything Goes challenge :o)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

So cold, I'm mostly blue :o)

Well, I'M not mostly blue, but the cards I've made recently are :o)
It's been bitter cold here this past few days, what with the icy, howling wind & flurries of snow. It seems more than just a week ago that we had such glorious sunshine & were fooled into thinking that winter was over & spring was on the way :o( 
As I sit here, tapping away, it's sleeting outside & it sounds like someone is standing in the front garden throwing pepples at the windows. It's definitely a stay-indoors-&-keep-warm day, a day to do what you want as long as there's plenty of hot coffee on tap :o)
As I've mentioned in a previous posting, March is our recycled challenge & I have managed to come up with 5 cards from Liz's parcel. One was the Christmas card I blogged about a while ago - the one with the tag made by Terri - & these four are the others. The elephant & bike cards I made this morning, the dog & flower cards I made last week.
 The flower & the blue card were from the recycle parcel, as was the pink & white card I used to mat & layer the flower.  The white card candy was from a previous swap & the pink & white embossed background & the white ribbon were all from my stash.
 The elephant picture was originally a long single picture from a magazine. I just cut two main parts of the picture using circular dies, mounted them on blue cardboard from the parcel, which I cut with scalloped circular dies. I then rubbed an ink pad over white card, cut to size & stuck on the bottom part of the card, added a greeting, which I mat & layered & then rubbed the ink pad over the top of the card & stuck the elephant pics on.

 This card couldn't have been simpler :o) Apart from the brown card & the birthday greeting, every bit of this came from the recycled parcel. I cut the dog pic, mat & layered it on brown & light blue, covered the card with another light blue & stuck the ribbon on. I placed the dog pic on top, added the greeting & card candy & it was done. Quick & simple :o)
 Another quick & easy card :o) I folded the front over diagonally, stuck the motor bike pic on blue card, put the ribbon across the borttom, stuck it on the folded over bit, added the greeting & then added the card candy.
I MAY be able to get one more card out of Liz's parcel, but 5 isn't too bad, really :o)
Next - Terri's parcel. GULP !! :o)
Oh - by the way - it's stopped sleeting now :o) But it's still very cold :o(

UPDATE: it's nearly an hour since I posted the above & now it's SNOWING !!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Penny plain, tuppence coloured . . .

So goes the old saying about ribbons :o) Was it a saying ? I know I read it in a book HUNDREDS of years ago, but maybe it wasn't actually a saying, just something the author made up. Who knows ? I don't - not any more !! :o)
Anyway - enough waffle :o) I've always liked this digital stamp & as it has a ribbon smack bang in the middle of it, I thought it would be *perfick* to enter into Hazel's Christmas Challenge no. 114 & her Anything Goes extra challenge for March :o). 
If I enter her challenges every week, I'll have nearly enough Christmas cards by December & I just MIGHT be able to avoid the yearly panic, when I suddenly realise there's only x amount of weeks to go. Fingers crossed, eh ? :o)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Another card challenge :o)

Hazel's Christmas card challenge 114  this week is ribbon & although I have a fair bit of Christmas ribbon, the first thing I thought of to use was a lovely tag that my friend, Terri, had sent me to use last Christmas :o)
Now, as our March challenge - that is, Liz, Terri's & mine - is to use recycled bits & bobs to make cards,  I decided to use a piece of recycled Christmas card that Liz gave me to put the tag on & therefore, both challenges would, I hoped,  be met with one card. A hand, a bush, a couple of birds - see what I'm getting at ?! :o) 
However, as much as I'm all for reduce, reuse & recycle, I have to admit that it always feels like cheating when I recycle cards & use things sent to me by other people. I wonder how many others feel like that :o)
Anyway, here is the card & as it's
 Anything Goes for Hazel's March challenge,  I'll pop this in there as well :o)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

A Sunny Sunday - whatever next ? :o)

At long last, the sun has decided to shine over my little patch :o) After the dull, grey, wet & windy days we've had recently, it makes a lovely change. Still cold, though, but what else should we expect for the beginning of March ?
I took a wander round the garden earlier this morning & it really DOES look as though Spring just might be on the way :o)
Amongst all the weeds - which seem to grow strong,  whatever the weather conditions - were signs of life, struggling through the cold, hard ground. A splash of colour hidden beneath dead leaves, a small bud, pushing its way further upwards as it gets stronger.
Hopefully a good sign of what's to come. After the wash out that was 2012, I think we all really need a drier, brighter year :o)
 This beautiful Hellebore lives right at the back of a flower bed, nestled against the wall between us & next door. It's a lovely splash of colour through the winter months.
 The *Butterfly Bush*, springing to life again. It's a lovely deepish pinky/purple colour & attracts butterflies & bees.
 Berginia - one of the first flowers to bloom after Christmas. A welcome bit of colour in an otherwise drab grey & green garden :o)
 One of the many primroses I have, poking out from behind the Morning Glory. This little primrose lives a few feet away from the Hellebore.
 Fighting their way through a clump of weeds, crocuses, almost ready to burst open.
 Morning Glory. It can be quite rampant & tends to take over, so every 2 or 3 years, I pull some of it up. It's extremely hardy though & always comes back fighting :o)
Japanese Quince - such a lovely colour & again, one of the earliest flowers in the garden. Every year, I say I'll use the fruit & make a jam or jelly with it, but I never do. I don't know why - maybe, subconsciously, I think I'll end up poisoning everyone who tastes the end result !! :o)
Happy Sunny Sunday wherever you are :o)