Thursday, 31 May 2012

Happy Mail from the USA

Hi everybody, I am happy to say that the postman brought me a lovely, fat envelope from Diane yesterday. I knew a surprise was on its way, but there were so many goodies inside I was still surprised. Everything was tied up into neat little packages, wrapped with pretty tissue and bound with fine twine, all of which will be re-used, too.

After carefully opening the little packages, all these goodies appeared - butterflies, little smiley beads in the form of moons and stars, beautiful buttons, brads with pearls and gem-stones, fantastic metal keys, charms, sparkly embellies, die cut frames, peel-off corners, masses of gorgeous lace, glass flowers and some of the most beautiful, hand-made paper I have ever seen:

And one of Diane's fantastic cards, with matching paper lining the envelope, and inside a riot of pop up fairies and butterflies. I have received a lot of beautiful cards, but this one is easily the most lovely one ever. Thank you, Diane, for putting so much love and thought into your present. It has really made me feel special!

I spent a lot of time just drooling over all those lovely goodies, spread them all out on the couch and just enjoyed them!

Today I have to go to the orthopedic specialist again for some more acupuncture and treatment for my foot and other aches and pains, so hope it helps! Have a great day you all, take care, and thanks a lot for visiting!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tag Tuesday on Wednesday - Bunting

I cannot say that I am a fervent follower of the monarchy, but I do very much admire the Queen. She has been *In business* now for 60 years, and still going strong - hats off! I respect her enormous discipline and consciousness of her office, and how she carries out her duties, day for day. I am sure she has had a good life, too, with certainly more diversions, pomp and ceremony than most of us, but she has done her job well. And she has shown herself ready to learn and to listen to advice - I am thinking of her bowing at Princess Diana's funeral. And let's admit - she has had her share of troubles with her family, too!
At Tag Tuesday our theme this week is bunting, and my tags are meant as a little 'homage' to Queen Elizabeth II. As an oldie myself, I remember the parties at her coronation. I was lucky, I went to four - one on the street where we lived, one on the street where my Aunt lived, one at school, and one at a ladies' club, where I accompanied my great aunt. The parties were a great treat in those days. Growing up in post war London was dreary - grey streets, bomb sites which we used as playgrounds, buildings blackened and burnt. Rationing was part of daily life. Sweets and sugar were still rationed at this time, and so parties with jelly and custard and cakes were a real treat! Not to speak of a whole bar of Cadbury's chocolate each to take home. And other presents. At school and at one of the street parties we were given books; 'The Coronation Book of kings and Queens' and 'The Little Princesses'. At the other parties we were given commemorative mugs. The Mugs I gave to my sister when she left England and immigrated to the USA in 1958, as she wanted them as a keepsake; the books I still have and use. And it was also the first time that I was able to watch TV - my Aunt had bought a TV set for the occasion, and we all squashed into her tiny front parlour to watch it all happening.
Okay, enough reminiscences for today, I am starting to feel like Methuselem! (Spell Check evidently never heard of Methusalem, and advised 'Methadone'!!!)

And here's a song we learnt at school:

Here's a health unto her Majesty,
With a fa la la la la la la
To drink this loyal toast of wine.
With a fa la la la la la la.
And he that will not drink her health,
I wish him neither wit nor wealth,
Nor yet a rope to hang himself.
With a fa la la la la la la la la la,
With a fa la la la la la la.

And in case that was not enough:

Have a nice day you all, take care, and thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Vincent Van Gogh Journal Pages

I was really wanting to do some work on my journal over the weekend, as the promt I picked out was *Van Gogh*, but I had promised myself not to do anything till I had cleared my table....Yesterday I was on strike, did NOT want to clear away all those bits and bobs, but today I ground my teeth together and got on with it. I was able to celebrate a happy *Wiedersehen* with lots of things that have been AWOl for weeks. I also had a brilliant idea. There is a drawer on one side of the table, which I thought would be perfect for foam squares and all the other little things which I am always looking for. I could just sit on the other side of the table, but I never felt comfortable sitting there, for reasons not known to me or the rest of mankind. Then I had the BIG IDEA - I turned the table round. Now the drawer is there, for me to fill with all those countless little pieces that crafters need to have at their finger tips. It has taken me six years to get this far! Oh well, better late than never! And while I was at it, I swept the floor and tidied the rest of the kitchen. Then I knew that I had deserved to start work on Van Gogh! I wanted to do some pages like I did for Frida Kahlo, with a printed background showing her works, but I wanted to paint, so I tried - but I am no Van Gogh! Anyway, I did my best, painted one of his pics as best I could, and then made 2 computer-generated transparencies as lay-ons. The left one shows a letter with a drawing, the right side a faded letter to his brother Theo, overlaid with his drawing *Sorrow* and a saying of his. I didn't draw anything before hand, just painted directly onto the paper, and resisted the temptation to use sharpies to give more definition afterwards.

I had a fun time painting it, perhaps I should try this more often.

For the challenge over at 'The Cheerful Stamp Pad' this week, 'The Sweet Life', sponsored by Stampotique, I have made a card for a little girl, who loves pink, blue and lilac. The background has been embossed with a texture fade folder. The middle panel has been cut with an ancient die, sorry, don't know from whom. I stamped it with the image of the kids and the lovely sentiment, and embossed with Ranger Tinsel EP before colouring with water-colour pencils. I threaded a narrow, pink ribbon through the holes, and added the lilac daisies.

By the way, several people suggested turning the third part of my triptych round so that the reddish part is outside. I have turned it, and it does look better - thanks!

That's enough for today. Take care, have fun and thanks for dropping in!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday and sunshine - rare combination

Hi everybody. Yesterday I decided to have a lazy day at home and do some painting. I wanted to do a square painting, but then I found these three 15 x 8" canvases, and decided to use them I have made three which go together to form a triptych. I painted them first with a layer of white, with a tiny bit of yellow in it so it wouldn't be too bright. Then I added the colours, just sticking to more-or-less geometric forms in yellow, greens, some orange and a tiny touch of red. I did a little bit of patterning with a CWS reversed chicken wire stencil, and that was that. I still haven't quite decided how to hang them, and may swap left and right again, or turn them - we shall see. I have them hanging on the kitchen wall.

Here I was trying out which side looked better where....

And this is how they are hanging now. What do you think?

Have a great day you all, take care, and thanks for visiting!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Red Riding Hood Revisited

Hi everybody, it's weekend! Hope you will all have a relaxing one. It's sunny and warm here - at last, and it's a long weekend with Whit-Monday coming up, so should be good. I need to do a spot of shopping and then I will have lots of time for crafting, writing, painting, and reading. Sounds good, huh?

2 days ago I published a little tag with Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Wolf. Now I have written a little story to go with it, and it's called - as the title above suggests - Red Riding Hood Revisited.

Here it is:

One fine day, Red is getting dolled up to go out. Her Mom comes into her room, and asks her to take her Grandma some goodies on the way to the disco.
Red decides to take the short cut through the woods, although the sun is already setting.
A big, bad wolf comes towards her and says,
‘Hey, Girlie, off out again?’
‘None of your business, Dude’ she answers.
‘Wanna go out with me, Babe?’ he purrs.
‘You got cash in your pocket, man?’ asks Red
‘Oh, sh-t! That’s a problem’ he says. ‘I ain’t got no pocket neither!’
‘And I don’t go out with no losers’, she says. ‘Go get yourself some old Grandma and have fun with her!’
‘Hey, Babe, great idea!’ he says. ‘See you around!’

So, if you go down to the woods today – chill! The big, bad wolf is busy!

Have a great weekend you all, take care and thanks for visiting!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Cissie in Brighton

Good morning you all! Today is Friday, and that means it's time again for Paint Party Friday, week 11 of year 2, hosted as always by Eva and Kristin, and Darcy's Postcard Challenge, week 21, where our participants are travelling to England.

But first the continuation of the events after Thelma saw Jason's letter from Ghana;

Shannon is not at home when Jason’s card flatters through the letter-box. But Thelma is. She is hopping mad because Jason had known that she would want to open it! So she rings Cissie and shouts into the phone: ‘Get over here straightaway, there‘s something you must see!’ Cissie grumbles back, ‘If you shout that loud you could have just opened the window, you don’t need a telephone!’ But of course, she flies up the street without delay, curiosity is a wonderful accelerator.
She shows Cissie the offending letter. They look at it. They look at the letter and Jason’s cheeky warning. ‘Well?’ asks Thelma. ‘Don’t ask me,’ says Cissie – ‘open it!’ ‘Well, if you think so’….says Thelma and pops the kettle on. When it’s steaming, before pouring water into the teapot, they steam the letter open. ‘Good job the little b-gger didn’t use sellotape,’ says Thelma. ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ answers Cissie, ‘They don’t have things like that in Africa!’ At last the letter is open. They take out the card. They read what Jason has written to Shannon, with burning cheeks and very red ears….They look at each other, their lips pouted up like chicken’s bums. They both say, with one voice, ‘They’ll have to marry!’
Decision made, they re-seal the letter and make themselves tea and crumpets to get over the shock.

Later on that day, Jason and Shannon turn up for tea and cakes. Thelma and Cissie serve tea as though nothing has happened. They chat about this and that, and then Thelma says,‘Guess who’s getting married?’ Jason and Shannon both shake their heads. ‘You two are!’ squeak Thelma and Cissie together. ‘What ‘im?’ ‘What ‘er?’ the ‘children’ ask, pointing at each other. ‘I ain’t marrying that scrawny git!’ says Shannon. ‘I ain’t marrying that skinny bird’ says Jason. Thelma and Cissie speak once again together, ‘YES, YOU ARE!!’ A long silence ensues. ‘Well, I suppose I could get worse’, says Shannon, ‘But not much!’ ‘’OO’s paying for the wedding?’ asks Jason. ‘We are!’ say Cissie and Thelma in chorus. Jason points at Thelma, Shannon at Cissie, and both say in unison, ‘Do I have to call her Mum?’ But as the two miscreants are grinning from ear to ear, they can all laugh it off, and they can almost hear the wedding bells ringing. But Jason and Shannon say they need time to make their plans, so it will have to wait for a few weeks or so....

Cissie is planning on going away for a few days, as London is so hot and full of tourists there to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. This time Thelma does not want to go with her, as she thinks it’s more important to keep an eye on *The Two*. ‘Where are you going then?’ they ask. ‘Brighton’ says Cissie. ‘Haven’t been there for ages, and I fancy going somewhere where they have good fish and chips and I can go for a paddle....’

Jason brings Thelma to the station, with a large hamper of food to eat on the journey. She manages to eat a considerable amount in the hour she is on the train. On arrival at Brighton she takes a taxi to her B & B, which she has chosen because they serve giant breakfasts. On the first evening she takes a walk round the Lanes, one of the oldest parts of Brighton, enjoys the shops and shopping, and then goes to a fish restaurant for her supper. She is rather cross when she sees that it costs more than it does in London, but says, 'Oh well, I don't treat myself every day'. The waiters are astonished at how much she can eat at one sitting, and keep bringing her more bread and butter, pickled cucumbers and pots of tea,and Cissie rewards them with winks and smiles and a generous tip.

After a good sleep, she goes down to breakfast early - before the others can get there! and manages to clear the buffet in less that half an hour. The proprietress watches her, smiling and nodding, whilst muttering under her breath, 'Greedy old cow! She eats like a horse!' Refreshed and strengthened, Cissie decides to have a look at the Royal Pavillion before going down to the beach for a paddle and to sunbathe.

She is delighted to discover that she doesn't have to move more than 50 yards to get to the next cafes, fish-and-chip shops and ice-cream stalls. If you look carefully at the photo of the beach, you will see Cissie sunbathing in the foreground, wearing her second best blue bikini. She wanted a deck-chair, but the man renting them refused to give her one as he was not sure it would carry her weight.... She has covered her hair so that the sun doesn't bleach out her tint.

She spends a pleasant few hours on the famous pier, sampling all the wares on offer there.

On the third day, she strolls along the sea-front, getting a bit of fresh air before it's time to get the train back to London.

And she buys some nostalgic pictures of Brighton in the 'good old days'

Here is the postcard she sends to Jason and Shannon, who are staying at Jason's flat 'to sort things out', whatever that means....:

I hope you like Cissie's patriotic best bikini, which she bought from the bargain counter of a local XXL store. The card has been watercoloured, the beach-huts have been collaged, and the red,white and blue bunting put up to honour the Queen, although Cissie is very gratified that it matches her bikini.

To be continued....

Last but not least, another of my purple canvases for PPF. I started it weeks ago, and have at last finished it.

So, that was a long post. Have a good day you all, take care, and thanks for dropping in!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Showdown at Sunset

We had another day with thunder and lightning yesterday. It started off very hot and muggy, and in the course of the afternoon and evening the storms rolled over us, bringing fresh and cooler air. I stayed home, busy again with the dreaded H*******K. I managed to get the washing done and dried, so I was pleased about that, although it was not good for my sore foot running (ha ha!) up and down three flights of stairs each time to the laundry-room. This morning I have an appointment at an orthopedic specialist's, so I hope he will be able to do something to help my poor foot! More about that tomorrow.

*Showdown at Sunset* is the fancy title I have given my tag. I used my Crafter's Workshop tree stencil, inking with forest green, wild honey and fired brick. I cut a circle out of a piece of plastic, and used the *waste* over the tree stencil to make the setting sun. Then I added a vintage Red Riding Hood and a wolf for a bit of fun. I LOVE the expecting look in that wicked wolf's eyes!

I am linking this to Frilly and Funky where the challenge this week is to use masks.

Okay, that's all for today! I'll be back tomorrow with the latest news on Cissie and Jason, Thelma and Shannon. Have a good day, take care, and thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

She who seeks shall find....

Hiding things in books is a great idea if you don't need to find them again, or if you at least write down which book you have used. As I have a few thousand books here, it is sometimes rather difficult.... But then I found the right book, *Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species*, and there were the four leafed clovers. I don't know who pressed them or put them in there, but I was happy to have found them again.
My tag has been made from some scrap card, covered with part of a page from *Webster's Dictionary* - an extremely large and heavy volume. I chose the page where *clover* was. I distressed the paper with forest moss DI, and added an image transfer of a clover plant, before affixing the four leaved clovers and a ribbon, which I also found in the cutlery drawer(?!).

I also found the frontispiece from a very ancient book, which had been placed in Darwin's pages for safe keeping, by whom I do not know. But it really is a little treasure, from 1627, which makes it almost 400 years old - amazing! If you would like to copy it for your own use you are very welcome.

And this is another found piece, discovered at the Rhine some weeks back, a little stone which has a three cornered form and looks like an owl. Well, I think it does!

My journaling prompt for yesterday was *time*. I scanned two old documents I have to make the backgrounds for the pages, and faded them before printing. The verse I have used is one of my faves; it's part of Isaac Watt's hymn, *Oh God, our help in ages past*, a paraphrase of Psalm 90. The picture on the bottom of the left page shows the statue of Isaac Watts in Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, London. I included it because I like the way the greenery is growing up the plinth of his statue - time does not stand still, as King Canute - a Danish King who ruled in England, too, in the 11th century noticed - *Time and Tide wait for no man*.
Apart from that I have used some TH templates to sponge the clock and cog images, and added some image transfers, a bee and a butterfly, insects with wings - time flies.

So, that was all for today. Have a good day you all, and thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

From the Heart and Tag Tuesday

Okay, I'll start with Tag Tuesday. We are supposed to be making tags with something we found. At the weekend I found some pressed 4-leafed clovers in an old book, and planned to make a tag with them. BUT - I have forgotten in which book they are....I will start searching seriously, and hope to get that tag made later!

I picked a journal prompt from my tin today, and saw *From the heart* - eeeeeeeeek! Not really my cup of tea. But I remembered that nice quote from *The little Prince* about only seeing rightly with the heart, and that was the inspiration for my pages:

The little prince has been coloured by hand and then cut out, and stuck on to form a pocket, so that I can put some *from-the-heart-journaling* into it, and keep it for my heart.... The background has been made with Adirondack colour wash and stickles, with some little planets and stars stuck on. My finger will probably be blue for some days. The sparkle was, unfortunately, not easy to photograph.

Have a good day you all. I need to do some dreaded H*******K today, so I'd better start before I forget it again. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Frida Kahlo Journal Pages

Hi everybody. The weekend is over and we are once again at the start of a new week - hope it will be a good one. We had strange weather yesterday. It got really warm and muggy, and then in the afternoon the clouds started building up, and then we had a heavenly fire work display, with thunder, lightning and torrential rain. But the air felt good when it was over.

I pulled another prompt out of my tin yesterday, and got *Frida Kahlo*, an artist whom I very much admire - for her fight against her badly injured body, for the wonderful, expressive paintings she made, for her heartbreak with her husband, Diego Rivera, and for the marvellous art journal she kept. For my journal pages I have used scans of 2 pages from her journal as background for mine. I have added an image transfer of 'The broken column', and some of her quotes. This is the first time I have made journal pages without writing anything myself; I thought it was better just to share her thoughts and writing. I have added some stamping, a title, and a winged heart made of painted tin, sent from Mexico; Mexican folk-art seemed fitting.

Here are the front and back cover pictures from her Diary; I have the German edition, but it is available in English, too, and is a must-read for those who love journaling.

And last but not least, my DT piece for 'The Cheerful Stamp Pad'. The theme is running this time just for one week, and is a colour challenge - black, white and a dash of yellow. I have made a card featuring TH's old jalopy die-cut. The windows and trim have been made with music paper, and the car has been mounted onto some yellow and white patterned BG paper with foam squares, with yellow and white flowers for wheels. It should have a *Bon Voyage* sentiment, but the box with the sentiments seems to have gone on holiday....

Have a good day you all, take care and thanks for coming by!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Journal and Goodies in the Post

This week the postman brought me some goodies instead of the usual bills and ads. I love getting happy mail - don't we all - so want to show you what arrived.
The first package was from Jeanie, who sent me some *royal* creations, which pleased me very much, as there is nothing to commemorate the Queen's diamond jubilee in the shops here, as well as some matching ribbon, three beautiful little water-colour ATCs and some mixed embellies, all of which will be very useful in my day to day crafting.
Here you can see the lovely tag - which has both sides decorated, in its pretty pocket, and all the other pretties:

The second package came from Sue the Iron, who sent me a huge goody bag which backing papers, rub-ons, transparencies, metall flowers and embellies, skeleton leaves, quotes, puzzle pieces, rubber stamps (not on the picture as I am mounting them!) with angels and flying creatures, and a beautiful tag and card.

I was really overwhelmed by all the goodies I received from Jeanie and Sue, and am always surprised how generous and kind the blogger family is. Especially just now, where I have been feeling so down,your kindness did me good. Thanks a bunch!

And I started work on my new journal, this time I have a tin with prompts, and the first one I pulled was fashion:

I made the background using pages from one of my old magazines, painted with gesso, and then doodled, collaged, scribbled etc. I have already made some alterations; I have edged the *fashion* script with red, which sets it off better.

Have a good Sunday, take care, and thanks for dropping in!