Sunday 17 May 2009

My 60th Birthday Week - My Favourite Bits

The view looking out from the escarpment at Hardwick Park over Derbyshire.

It was my 60th Birthday last week and as I didn't want a big fuss made, we kept it simple with a couple of outings which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The first was a midweek visit to Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire just my OH and myself. As a child I used to live very close to Hardwick and spent many school holidays exploring the park with it's fishing lakes and beautiful Elizabethan hall. Although since leaving the immediate area when I got married I still only live about 30 minutes away but haven't visited in over 40 years. It really hasn't changed much since my childhood except that they have put in a different entrance and a one way road system which at first disoriented me completely. I soon got my bearings though and we spent a lovely afternoon, having first been for a carvery lunch at the Young Vanish pub, Glapwell, exploring the Hall and gardens. I only ever went inside the Hall once before on a school trip when I was about 12 but I did remember the beautiful tapestries which adorn most of the walls. There is an ongoing project by the National Trust to restore as many of these lovely works of art as possible. When we first went into the Hall we listened to a brief life story of Bess of Harwick given by a really nice gentleman who made it extremely amusing and interesting. Boy, was Bess some lady! She sure had the men beaten at their own game.

The gardens of the Hall are not very big but are well worth a walk round. There is a huge herb garden and a sort of wild meadow area as well as an orchard and a small (for a house like this) formal garden looking out over a formal avenue of lime trees.

We really have to go back soon because we left it too late to explore the Old Hall ruins and I would like to have visited the Stonemasons' workshop too because my youngest brother who was sadly killed nearly 10 years ago worked on some of the stone restoration of the Hall when he served his stonemason's apprenticeship about 30 years ago.

The second outing of my birthday week was last Sunday and myself, hubby, my son and his wife, my daughter and her partner, my 2 little granddaughters, my step granddaughter, my Mum and not forgetting the 3 dogs we have between us, all went to Fountains Abbey near Rippon for a picnic.

Of course, it rained but not enough to spoil our day. We positioned the 3 cars in an almost circle, raised the boot lids and stretched a tarpaulin over them and had our lovely picnic (mostly courtesy of my daughter, thanks sweetheart for your hardwork) underneath out of the drizzle. Unfortunately, I never thought to take a photo but it was great fun. The men and the dogs had a great game with the frizbie and then we borrowed a wheelchair for my mum and did the walk all around the abbey and grounds. I absolutely adore Fountains Abbey and could not have wished for a better place to visit for my birthday picnic. It was nice to take my Mum to see the place I'm always whittering on about too.

These are a few pictures to remind me of the beautiful flowers I received.

I also received quite a few pressies and some beautiful cards from my family and friends but only one absolutely gorgeous handmade card from my crafty friend Jo. We met through our mutual love of crafting over the internet just about a year ago and I'd like her to know that her friendship has come to mean a lot to me, so thankyou Jo for the wonderful card but most of all for your 'crafty' companionship and encouragement. Finally the two most precious gifts in my life alongside my own two lovely kids are my granddaughters


and Alexa

This post was really a record for myself but I just wanted to share a little bit of the lovely week I had with anyone who feels like visiting.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

A Welcome to Baby Ava

This is a card I posted today to my niece to welcome her new baby daughter Ava.

The pink pearlised 8" x 8" base card is from Craftwork Cards together with the co-ordinating card candy which I've used in the centres of the flowers. First of all I used Versamark and a Rollagraph design down the left edge of the card and embossed with clear detail EP. Of course, this is so subtle you can only just see it IRL let alone on a photo.

Next I stamped the image (which is a lovely Whiff of Joy stamp called Melinda blowing kisses) onto plain white cardstock using Black Onyx Versafine ink and coloured it with pencil crayons. I actually used some really cheap crayons (£1.50 for a set of about 30) from what used to be Partners because I loaned my good set to my son and, of course, he still has them. I used OWS to blend the colours a little. I used plain Rectangle Nestabilities to cut out the image and then added a little Tattered Rose DI to the edges. Next I used the scalloped Rectangle Nesties to layer the image onto ivory pearl card.

I cut a strip of design paper by HOTP and used a Fiskars border punch down both edges, attached this to the card just to the right of the clear embossed border and then tied co-ordinating ribbon from my stash. I positioned the image and used 3D foam tape to attach to the card. Next I positioned the Jones Craft flowers and the Paper Shaper Wave Flourishes which were also punched from the ivory pearl card. Finally I stamped the little sentiment which is from the Aspects of Design : Little Trumpettes stamp plate.

In my hurry to get this in the post, I forgot to photograph the inside where I stamped the other half of the sentiment - Sugar and spice and all things nice - and added a couple more swirls.

I enjoyed working on this size card and I was really pleased with the end result which I think made a change from cuddly animals or booties and rattles.

Saturday 2 May 2009

Busy, Busy April

What with one thing and another, April has been a very busy month for me so as this might turn out to be a mega post I'd sit down with a cup of tea if I were you (or feel free to leave halfway through, Lol).

It started at the beginning of the month when I and my friend Jo went to a couple of stamping and cardmaking classes at a lovely little shop called Monk's Den at Ashby-De-La-Zouche. Unfortunately they don't operate an online shop but if ever you get the chance to go it's well worth a visit and Ashby itself is a lovely little historic town. They also run some fabulous classes involving stamping and getting inky. The morning class was called '5 Ways with 1 Stamp' and Deb, the owner of Monk's Den was our tutor. As the title suggests, we used a beautiful clear stamp from an Inkadinkado set called Morphic Bugs and did things like stamping onto acetate and using glitter on the back, stamping using Versamark and dusting with mica powders or chalks, stamping onto coloured card and then 'painting' with bleach, stamping onto shrink plastic and finally, stamping with Versafine and colouring selected areas with Sakura Stardust pens. We mounted this final image and made a simple but very effective card.

In the afternoon we took a second class which was run by Sheila Oliver who works for Deb. This was to make cards for men and we used the Eccentric Edwardian themeplate from Elusive Images to make two fabulous cards. We did lots of building backgrounds by blending inks and direct to paper techniques and we also used a Cuttlebug embossing folder on the first one. The following two cards were the result.

and this card is my own adaptation of the 'green' Sheila Oliver design.

Jo and I thoroughly enjoyed our two classes and would love to do some more when time permits. If anyone is interested in going to any of their classes or would like to see some more of Sheila's wonderful designs, links to her two blogs, Manicstamper and Manic's Inky Antics are in my sidebar as I visit them on virtually a daily basis.

A week or so after this wonderful crafty day my daughter and her family came to stay for the weekend and then as they needed child care for our little Isabella for that week she stayed with us for a few days while her mum and dad went back to Harrogate. It was a bit of a wrench for Jenna as it was the first time she had left Izzy anywhere overnight let alone for 3 nights. These are a few photos we took whilst she was with us including one of our other granddaughter Alexa.

The next event of my month was last Saturday when I went to a workshop run by Robert who co-owns Once Upon a Stamp. This was the second workshop in a set of three to learn how to work with Friendly Plastic and was brilliant fun. The first photo shows some pieces we made in the first workshop last month and the second photo shows some of the things we made this time, which include bottle top embellishments, a lovely little pendant, some beads and a button.

Unfortunately, my photography does not do these bits and pieces justice because they are really quite beautiful in real life. I can't wait for the class at the end of May when we are going to be making a gorgeous mask. I shall be a little sad though because it's the last one and apart from the pleasure of learning new techniques, Rob makes the classes really fun.

My final special event of the month was on Thursday when I went all the way to Barnard Castle, the home of Graphicus and Elusive Images, to attend a workshop with an extremely talented and lovely lady by the name of Lynn Robinson-Hunter. I've been to several different workshops at Graphicus over the past year (I'd do them all if I could) and this one was a beginners Ten Seconds Studio workshop, learning how to work with metal. It was a brilliant workshop and this was one of the most relaxing and therapeutic crafts I have tried. First of all we practiced different ways of using the tools and sheets of metal and ended by making a lovely book to put our samples in together with tags on which to write the methods we had used. I haven't done the inside yet but these are photos of a little embellishment and then the front and back covers of the book.

Well, if anyone managed to get to HERE, you deserve something a bit stronger than tea I think.

Thanks for sticking with me.