Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Yes, I am!!! I'm doing it!

I finally have started sewing again. I suppose I'm weird because it takes me forever to actually DO anything. When I start thinking about a project, I'll buy a few books, collect a few websites in my Bookmarks/Favorites, spend lots of time dreaming about it, then... if I haven't lost interest by then ... I'll actually start working on it. So first, I had to drag out my sewing machine:
My Brother Innovis 600 - sadly neglected for about 4 years!


Of course, then I had to play awhile on scraps to make sure it still worked. It took about 30 minutes just to figure out how to get the self-threading needle to work! But it didn't let me down. It still sewed a near-perfect stitch. So I proceeded to cut out my project.








I decided to start small just to get back into the swing of things. I chose a little owl pincushion from the book by Christa Rolf titled Simple Patchwork Gifts. It's got all kinds of cute little sewing projects.


Christa Rolf's book


After I cut it out I realized I needed some rick-rack for the trim on the apron, so from my boxes of ribbons, I chose one that was perfect with the fabric. But although I have boxes and boxes of thread, I didn't have any that were THAT color, so off I went into town to get one little spool of lime green thread. Well, that took about 45 minutes as traffic on the (only) main street was snarled up with two buses, a big cement lorry ("truck" for those in the USA), and a fire engine (apparently just passing through). This main street is only wide enough for one car at a time in most places, so you either have to back up, to wait until the oncoming car can pass, or whatever. In this case, a black BMW got tired of waiting and drove on the sidewalk! It reminded me of traffic in Iran when I lived there.




But back to my story:  Once I got the thread, I was off and running. I now have it all cut out, the apron is done (thanks to the lime green thread!) and I just need to hand-stitch the apron on the front and the felt face to the front body. Here's the work in progress:
The various pieces in their raw state.

It's beginning to take shape!

It's going to be so cute! Of course, hand-stitching isn't my thing so it will take a little while to do that among all the other things (non-sewing) I'm doing. Once these are hand-stitched, I have to sew the front and back body pieces, then the wings, and of course stuff it all.  I'll post the final picture once that's done.



Saturday, 7 February 2015

Whew….where has the time gone?!

It’s been such a long time since I did any blogging, but today on UKScrappers I noticed that the BlogBits is back on the homepage and the Blog-a-thon is still moving along. BlogBits is info and updates on various scrappers blogs. It’s a really good way to keep up with some great blogs. And the Blog-a-thon allows all UKS members to post that they’ve updated their blogs and to give a little quick summary of what they’ve updated. So here am I….

Also, I haven’t really done much crafting for about a year. I don’t know why, really, except that I have so many other things occupying my time now: book club, Women’s Institute (I do our WI blog plus contribute to our WI website), church (we have a weekly study group), the bowls club, and more. Just in the past week or so, however, I’ve felt “the stirrings” again. I’m in the mood to do some card making, some sewing (especially patchwork items), and to bring my Project Life album up to date.

Part of the problem is my craft “room” (actually craft cabin) at the end of the garden. It’s just such an effort to make the trip to the end of the garden when it’s cold and/or dark, plus I’m like a grumpy bear in the winter…I just want to hibernate until it’s over. In the Spring and Summer, however, it’s just delightful to work out there. In fact, on hot days it’s downright wonderful because it’s air conditioned. It’s also heated in the winter and autumn, but still a bit drafty (that’s the way we spell it in the US) and cold when we’ve had the bitter cold winds we’ve had this winter. Yesterday, however, I bought a rug so I hope it will help.

20150207_130809This is the pattern… a nice neutral colour but modern-looking pattern. It’s got a nice flat weave, perfect for someplace like a craft room where I’ll be cutting paper, etc. You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

I also wanted something on the laminate floor because I have two exercise DVDs, just bought a gym mat, and also pulled my yoga mat and dumbells out of the loft. Ahem… we shall see how that little inspiration progresses, however. I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you.

Once we laid the rug (bought locally and not expensive), I felt like a reorganization (another US spelling…just seems better to me!) was necessary, so I started moving things around and trying to make it look more spacious, plus leaving room for me to flop around on the floor doing exercises, assuming that will EVER happen, of course. Anyway, I think I’ve just about finished and am pleased with the results. The pictures below show the arrangement with the new rug on the floor.

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My cabin is 5m by 4m, so it’s quite large. It seems a real shame that I haven’t used it more than I have. For this reason, I’ve added a little sewing area and an office area (for my WI work, various paperwork, and study).

Maybe now I’ll be more willing to make the trek out to the end of the garden. At least now we’ve got daylight hours increasing, which also helps. And on the rare occasions when the sun does come out, I love to sit near the window and look out onto our garden.

Meanwhile, BRING ON THE SPRING!!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Changes Afoot

Well, what do you know... the most popular scrapbooker website has shut down! Yes, Two Peas in a Bucket is no longer, but it left a lot of people in the lurch. Quite a few designers who were in a working relationship with them (known as "Garden Girls") were apparently taken by surprise, although I don't think anyone was really shocked. Rumours had been circulating for some time, but most of us just didn't think it would really happen.

So where is everyone going now for their scrap gossip, information, tips, advice, and friendly chatter? Well, so far, I've found a few: "2Ps Refugees" is an interesting title and they seem to have a good bit of traffic, but I haven't found out who is behind it. Quite a few people have gone over to another long-time forum, Scrapbook.com. Then there's always SplitCoast Stampers, a huge board mainly for stampers and cardmakers, but they do have a healthy scrapbooker presence also. Luckily we have one of the best in the world forums here in the UK: UK Scrappers, with members from all over the world.

Frankly, however, I haven't had time to follow any of these boards for a few months. Since starting my Project Life album and renewing my interest in photography, those have more or less consumed me. That's in addition to all the Women's Institute things I do, like the blog and the newsletter and the website and on and on. It all takes time and energy. I could make more time, I'm sure, if I just had more energy!

At the WI Craft Fair in June, I displayed a lot of my scrapbooks, mini-albums, circle journals, and Project Life album. It all generated quite a lot of interest and comments.
 I made some little cards to explain each of the types of scrapbooks, etc. I also showed some ATCs and some general cards I'd made. I've been feeling more than a little guilty for the past six months or so, because I have that gorgeous craft cabin that many crafters would love to have --- but I seldom have time to even go out there! So sad. I do think that having a cabin versus another room inside the house has stifled my crafting slightly. It just seems awkward to have to go to the end of the garden to do any crafting, although once I'm there I can really concentrate and get some serious work done. It's all about trade-offs/compormises, I suppose. It's just easier to pop into another room.

My next project is to use my PL pages to display all my very, very old photos that I've inherited from my grandmothers and mother as a sort of family history scrapbook. Project Life makes it so easy as you can move the photos around as it develops. I want to try to identify and do some journaling about them while I can still remember.... and my children won't have a clue who they are. Of course, right now, mine are not the least bit interested but some day they will be. I wasn't at their ages either. If they do or perhaps my grandchildren do, and if I'm not around to explain who these people are, it will at least be ready for them!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

No Excuses

Yes, I know it’s been a long time between posts and yes, I’m sorry. A lot has happened (illness, injury, holiday, dead computer so a new computer, getting used to Windows 8.1, life….) but I’m not making any excuses this time. I can only do what I can do.

Yes, I’m rocking on with this Project Life and loving it more all the time. I’ve found great resources on Pinterest, Facebook, and the Internet in general. It seems that Project Life is becoming more and more popular all the time. I often go to look at UK Scrappers, Two Peas in a Bucket, and SplitCoast Stampers. All of them have lots of threads, or even a separate section, for those of us into Project Life. We’re sometimes knows as “PLers” for short.

I haven’t tried making my own cards yet, partly because I haven’t had time, but also because I went a bit mad and bought so many that I will be years using all the ones I have. The biggest problem right now is organizing them in any kind of meaningful system.

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I took this picture at our crop yesterday. As you can see, my 3x4” cards are in one small plastic box on the upper left corner. The 4x6” cards are in another plastic box (in the middle of the picture). I got these handy little R.U.B.-brand boxes at Staples, 2 for £5. Not perfect for permanent storage but great for taking to a crop.

I’ve converted at least one of my crop buddies into a PLer. She’s doing a Baby Girl album for her new grand-daughter and having a great time with it.

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One of the great  things about our “crop” is that everyone feels free to do her own thing. We’ve been meeting monthly for at least 7 years now and over the years have had our scrapbooking enthusiasm kind of wax and wane and even morph into other areas. Hazel, on the extreme left, is sewing a Christmas wall hanging (yes, in April!). Barbara, second from left, is primarily a cardmaker. She’s in much demand at shows as a demonstrator and has done the card below. Next is Andrea, who is mostly a scrapbooker but has now embraced the Project Life system for her new grand-daughter’s album. On the right is Diane, who is mostly a traditional scrapbooker. Here she’s working on a holiday scrapbook. The empty spot is where I was sitting. We have one other member who wasn’t able to come this week.

IMG_0454 This is Barbara’s pull-out card. She likes making very intricate and creative cards. If you’d like to see more of them, her blog is Art in My Soul. She’s done some really stunning cards. It takes a special, very patient person to do this level of intricacy, which is why I don’t try. In fact, going from traditional scrapbooking and cardmaking to the more streamlined Project Life gives testament to how much “fuss” I’m willing to do!

Next time I’ll share some of my PL layouts. Meanwhile I have two more blogs to update: our WI blog and a new one I started for photography: Life Through a Cracked Lens (for lack of a more creative title). My problem is that I have TOO MANY interests and not enough time to pursue any of them well. I have a feeling I’m not the only one, however, who feels this way. Am I right?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can

I think that’s the title of a book or movie and I seem to remember something about that if you don’t dance fast enough, something bad happens. Well, I’m not expecting something bad, unless it’s tripping over my own feet, but I honestly don’t think I can dance any faster, either! March has been a frantically busy month and it does seem at times as if I’m being a bit overwhelmed.

First, there’s the WI (that’s the national Women’s Institutes if you don’t live in Britain). We’ve put up a new website (http://www.southstreetwi.org.uk) and although we have a cracking great web guy doing it, I’m still having to liaise with him for text, photos, etc. Not too time-consuming, most of the time. Then I still do the newsletter for our group, plus I started a blog for our group (http://southstreetwi.blogspot.com). And of course, we’re starting up the Programme Committee to plan next year’s programmes, also. And guess who’s doing that again? Yes, yes, yes. Oh, and I’ve been taking lots of photographs for the website, newsletter, and blog, but you can see those if you look at those links to the website and blog. On the 26th of March we had the Annual Council Meeting for the East Kent Federation, and I was the voting delegate from our group. It was a great meeting and we had 850 attendees, so the Women’s Institute, which was started in 1915, is still going strong. I feel really privileged to be part of it.

But then… as if this wasn’t enough, I joined the local Whitstable camera club. Oh, dear… they meet EVERY Friday night, which is a little bit of a downside. I’ve already learned so much, though, that I’m really glad I did. I dug out all my old and new camera equipment, added a few more bits to it (of course), subscribed to a photo magazine, etc.

I belonged to some camera clubs in Colorado and Texas, but it’s been awhile. I didn’t even have a digital camera then…. it was all on film or slides. Below is a sunset picture I took recently from our deck.IMG_0485

So where has all this left my crafting life? Well, photography IS a craft, but I’m still carrying on with my Project Life scrapbooking, too. In fact, it’s probably what has spurred my renewed interest in photography! I’ve been devouring information, inspiration, advice, tips, and discussion online with other PLers this month. I’ve so far finished January, February, and March (I’m doing the month-by-month approach) and absolutely love it, still. It’s not as easy as it looks, though. Here’s what I struggle with:

- getting the right photo in the right orientation (portrait or landscape) for the pocket pages

- getting the right orientation in the right chronological sequence (but I think I’ve given up on that!)

- making my layout look lively and unified, not just a collection of photos slapped into an album

So I’m not going to share any layouts/pages just yet. I will, in time, once I get something worth sharing. I’m accumulating quite a big pile of PL cards, stamps, dies, and page protectors meanwhile.

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This represents just a start. I’ve added even since then! 

The thing about Project Life is that each layout is a collection of photos of things or people that means something to the person doing it. For example, I’ve seen pictures of meals, manicures, pets, flowers, weather through the window, and other ordinary daily encounters. Unlike traditional scrapbooking, where one or two photographs are decorated and embellished on one page, then admired by everyone for their artistic qualities, the PL albums to me are so much more personal. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE looking at other PL layouts even if I don’t know the people in the photographs! In fact, I seek them out, but for inspiration and maybe to validate that what I’m doing is also “okay”.  I especially love looking at handmade decorated journal cards. I can see my altered art and art journal experience coming into play here. Someday. When I have time. Umm hmm. . .

Saturday, 1 March 2014

March again

How quickly these months roll around. It's March again and I didn't do a single post in February. Even so, I've been very busy.

Moving ahead with Project Life, but struggling with the photos. The weather has been so bad to take photos and I'm not especially creative with ideas, either. I have a nice camera: Canon 550D but I haven't used it enough to even get familiar with all the settings! I found a fantastic video here on YouTube and learned a lot just watching it. I ordered a new close-up filter for my camera, but haven't actually used it yet except for one outdoor shot on a very windy day.


Not exactly spectacular results! Can you tell what it is? (Stem on a rose and these are the thorns)  Focus is bad, lighting is bad, and frankly it was so windy I could hardly stand up to get the shot. I gave up. I read some reviews of this filter and they were all very favorable, but they did say it takes a bit of work to get up to speed with it. I think I may join a local camera club for some tips and inspiration.

Also this month I've been fighting with my PC. Generally every evening when I go to bed, I don't turn off the power, I just put it to "Sleep". Lately it won't wake up. I have to power on and off twice to get it to wake up and be useable. Aside from the frustration, I've been filled with dread that one of these days it's just not going to wake up at all. So I guess I'll need to start scouting around for a new system. I don't mind getting a new computer, but I really hate the thought of transferring all my files over. That takes hours and hours. I do back up, but of course not every day. I'm living in fear now......

Yesterday I went to the Make-It Show in Farnborough. This year they combined it with the Knit and Stitch Show, so together they made a very big show! I drove and brought three of my crafty mates with me for a lovely day out. We all "shopped til we dropped" and had a good time, but I was really tired by the time we got home. At the show, I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a lot of Project Life supplies, so really that's about all I bought other than some Washi tape. I have enough paper already that if I made cards and scrapbooks every day for the rest of my life, I wouldn't be able to use it all! I've got a self-imposed ban now on buying any more supplies other than things like glue, which does get used up, and a few Project Life things. Even those have to come to a halt for awhile as I'm not using them up as quickly as I can.

So today, I'm off to play with my new supplies and finish my February PL layout. And maybe do some laundry and a little housework?


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Slight Moan

Yes, but only slight. My Project Life bits are still not here and I don’t know WHEN they will be! I ordered them from Amazon UK, but it will my last Project Life order with them. First of all, I didn’t realize that they would be shipped from the USA. That just takes tooooo long! Second, I got two notices that the order has shipped; one was shipping via USPS (US Postal Service) and one was via DHL Couriers. I wrote and asked which one is the real one, and they (the seller) replied they ship out of the US via the USPS and then in the UK it’s delivered via DHL, but they couldn’t/wouldn’t give me any kind of tracking number. So now I just have to sit and wait, possibly for a couple more weeks, and hope it comes. Meanwhile, I could have ordered it through a UK-based company and would have had it all by now! I did look for one, but didn’t find it until after I’d ordered! Anyway, I’ve since found some page protectors at Hobbycraft, who have a fair selection of Project Life supplies, and some other goodies from Sarah’s Cards Ltd, who have lots! I’ve also found several web pages of printable (and free) PL cards, so I suppose I could get started.

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Also, I’ve found tons of wonderful examples, information, ideas, and more on Pinterest as well. (Pause to answer the door) Oh my goodness! It’s here….. a huge box with my album, core kit, page protectors, and more. Now if the order comes from Sarah’s Cards today or tomorrow, I’ll be well away……

About finding things to document: I’ve been getting so many ideas of things to put in the album that I hardly know where to start. We were away this weekend at the youngest grandson’s christening, so I took several pictures there, of course, and a few along the route. And photos of things I’ve made this month so far, and the month isn’t over yet!

I’ve also started my 5:2 Fast Diet. It’s going well…. until this weekend away, that is. But never mind, I’ll just get right back on the wagon. I’d lost 8 lbs this month until the weekend and now gained back 2.6 lbs. I’m not too disheartened.

fast-diet-recipe                           new-fd-book

Well, I’m salivating over my non-food parcel just now. I’m sure I’ll be posting more later, with photos. If anyone have comments on either the diet or on Project Life, I hope you’ll share them.