My Family & Other Animals

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

"Everybunny, Needs Somebody...."

So we are leading up to one of the most memorable moments during my lifetime - the olympics of course! But before we get there we have had to endure the trauma that was the European Football disaster of 2012. Now this is not a Football blog and I don't claim to be a world authority on the beautiful game but I do watch any major tournaments and I can read a game as well as the next man (and in the case of Mark Lawrence apparently better!) and I could tell that our team were a bit of a disaster area. They started out a bit lethargic and I don't think they got much better . We were all meant to bend down and praise Buddah for the inclusion of Wayne Rooney but all I saw was someone who every time he took possession of the ball he immediately gave it away - didn't matter who too as long as he gave it away!
Now we are going to have to put up with Wimbledon and the perpetual disappointment of Andrew Murray. We watched him play today (tuesday, I am writing this and getting ready to publish during the night) and he hammered some Russian player who apparently used to be a big deal once upon a time but clearly looked outclassed from beginning to end. But we're not stupid are we? We all know that as the competition goes on his opponents will get better and better and he will either get knocked out during the quarters or if we are lucky the semi's. By now the country should be riding a sporting high, especially as it has led on from the Coronation celebrations but I reckon by the time the Olympics roll around we are going to be so demoralised having watched all these losers we aren't going to give a tom tit about them.
Well I hope that that doesn't happen because this really is going to be a big deal for us. It is highly unlikely to happen again during my lifetime so let's hope we can all take away some nice memories and be able to look back on what has been a pretty dismal year so far for England and remember all the Gold we are going to win and forget the overpaid, useless footballers and the predictable tennis player and the endless dreadful weather too, let the sun shine in.
On to my card for this weeks challenge at I ♥ Promarkers. The two images are Love Grows From Digi Doodle Shop (the cute tree stump with the heart vines) and Allie and her Bunny from the very brilliant Squigglefly (it has been designed by the rather fabulous artists Cheryl Alger, I love her work, it's simple yet masses of fun and great to colour). Papers are all from my stash and the flowers are from Wild Orchid Crafts while the rosette is made using the Tim Holtz Sizzix Die. So I hope you like it and I will be back soon with some more Squigglefly news! If you are wondering why I am not part of this weeks DT on the PM blog it's because I used another image with the Digi Dodle Shop image!! Nobody told me I couldn't do this and I suppose it makes sense, you should always try and promote your image first and foremost - so lesson learnt and I look foreward to joining you as part of the team again next week!!
Take Care.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

"And It Seems To Me, You Live Your Life..."

Poor Marilyn, she really didn't stand a chance did she. But as the years have rolled by her legacy has really endured, probably way more than she could have ever imagined. Some people say they don't see the attraction, I even have a friend who having never seen any of her movies actually said to me 'she couldn't sing and I don't think she was much of an actor either so I don't see the point of her!!' Wow, what a dumb statement.
Marilyn had bags of charm and that's what shines through in her work, that and the fact that she was beautiful and had a figure to die for. Even in her early work, like "All About Eve", she nearly steals the film away from the two female leads and that's a big deal when one of those women is the indomitable Bette Davies!
My favourite film of hers is 1959's "Some Like It Hot". The scene where she is walking along the train station platform and the steam blows as she passes is such an enduring image of her. This scene announces her to the audience and Director Billy Wilder really knew what he was doing didn't he. He has two men, dressed up as (pretty ugly and incredibly obvious) women, on the run from the Mafia and he tells us in no uncertain terms, THIS is what a woman is, a real, honest to God, sexy woman. From that moment on she dominates the whole film and the character Sugar Kane Kowalczyk went down in comedy history.
1955 saw her making "The Seven Year Itch". Again working with Director Billy Wilder and starring alongside comic actor Tom Ewell, she made film history by standing above a New York Subway grille and as a train passes below her, a jet of air blows her dress into the air and that is the image I have used for this weeks challenge over on I ♥ ProMarkers. I was a little wary when I saw the challenge at the beginning of the year, but then I bought the Mimic Creations CD-ROM from Create and Craft and knew straight away which image I had to use! There isn't a lot to colour but I think I have done Marilyn justice. She has always been one of my favourite actresses and I couldn't care less about her affair with JFK, or her disasterous marriages, all I care about is her amazing body of work and if you aren't convinced she was a great actress, just watch her in "The Misfits", it will break your heart....
Papers are from Basic Grey, the tape is a craft magazine giveaway, bottle cap from my stash (I have had it for years and can't remember where I got it from!!) and the music notes are from Memory Box's new range.
Hope you like it,
take care and see you again soon,
Entered Into: Crafting For All Seasons Challenge #29 - For Men
Crafts and Me Challenge #89 - Anything Goes
Dancing In Pyjamas TCP Tuesday Challenge #214 - Taken By The Wind
Divas By Design Challenge #40 - To "die" For
More Than Favours Wacky Wednesday #72 - Father's Day
Paper Minutes Challenge #222 - Films/Movies

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Kenny K's Krafty Krew

Hi Everyone, as mentioned in my previous post (and I must apologise to my new team mates, I always jump the gun!!) I have made it on to two new design teams. One is Squigglfy and there will be more about them in a future post, the other (and the reason you're reading this!) is Kenny K's challenge blog. After entering my 'Hello Boy's' card into their DT Call I have been richly rewarded with a place on the team. I am particularly pleased as it was my love of Kenny's images that really gave me the push to learn how to colour 'properly' as it were and the fact that it has led me here in less than two years is just so exciting for me.

If you are not familiar with Kenny's work then pop on over to Kenny K and have a shufty at what they have on offer. He is one of the best artists of Digi stamps in the world (in my humble opinion) and he has a massive assortment of images which range from edgy, funky girls with attitude to fun images of animals and animated elements like running baseballs (which just so happens to be June's FREEBIE!!). He lives with Elena in New York and has had work produced all over the world and for some of the world's biggest brands too, he has worked extensively for LEGO and when Pringles had a promotion on in conjunction with the Star Wars Saga coming out on BluRay it was Kenny they turned to, to reproduce the likes of Yoda, Vader and the rest of the gang. He really inspires me and I am incredibly proud to be associated with his name and work.

So now I can officially announce that Kenny K's Krafty Girlz Challenge Blog will be no more from July 1st 2012, it will instead be known as Kenny K's Krafty Krew and I will be on Team B for future challenges. I am currently working on some of Kenny's images, getting ready to put some new cards together and I can't wait to not only share them with you, but to see your creations too.

The future, they say, is so bright I've gotta wear shades!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

"A Wop Bop A Loo Bop A Wop Bam Boo!..."

Hey, Hey, Hey. How are you today? I am actually feeling very buoyant at the moment. Yesterday was my 48th Birthday - only two to go 'til the big 50 hits (I doubt very much I will be feeling quite as buoyant this time two years from now though!!) and I had a really nice day with my wife and son. Birthdays really don't bother me much these days but like most people who have hit this particular time in their life (or older) you do spend a fair bit of time looking back. I don't suppose anyone ever really feels their age but I don't think I feel any different today than I did when I was sixteen and a half and I left home to join the Royal Air Force. Obviously I have learnt a lot more and my responsibilities no longer feel like responsibilities, they are just 'life' now but inside, well that's a whole different ball of wax.
Part of the reason for feeling so nostalic lately probably has a lot to do with the repeats of Top of the Pops on BBC4 every Thursday. They are showing episodes in chronological order from 1977 and it was around this time (aged 13) that I started to take a lot more notice of what was happening in the charts. I never really got into punk but looking back at some of the dross that was on the Pops I can understand why it happened now. They had a song on last week with a woman singing to a Mr. Punch doll!! and the bloke who wrote the theme to EastEnders was singing a song from the 1920's (seriously, "We'll Gather Lilacs In The Spring Again" - can you imagine!), it was too awful to even contemplate. Still, you know what they say - nostalgia ain't what it used to be!
On to some good news and I am delighted to be able to share this with you, I have been selected to join a couple of new design teams, Squigglefly and Kenny K's (currently called Kenny K's Krafty Girlz Challenges, hope that name is gonna change!!), how awesome is that eh! I always knew my gift was too big to hold me back for long!!
Colouring has been a revelation for me over the last year or so. What started me off on the road to realistic colouring was the Magnolia Ink magazine and seeing just how good you could get with even really simple images. I used to really study those first few issues and then I discovered tutorials on YouTube and that was that, hooked. Now all those hours sat on the sofa with a mountain of images to colour has started paying off and I am getting a bit of recognition for what I do and it is made all the sweeter because I am self taught. On the other side of things, I still need to learn a whole heck of a lot about putting a card together. I get it right some times and in general I am usually happy with what I post but I look at some ladies out there in the blogosphere and I am so jealous of their talent, I just know that mine aren't a patch on theirs and it makes me work harder at getting it right!
Finally, on to this weeks card and this weeks challenge at I ♥ ProMarkers (Challenge #121) is Tuti Fruti. When I first saw this I had no idea what it was (other than an Ice Cream flavour and I have never even had that either!!) but good old Google showed me the way to go and in the end I really loved doing this card. The images are all from Magnolia and the papers are from Basic Grey (for certain) and Dovecraft (I think). The die for the bunting is from Memory Box and the gems came from Create and Craft (again!! what am I Like?), I hope you like the finished product as much as I do.
That's all for now, take care and I will be with you again real soon,
Entered Into:
ATC's and Cards with Attitude Challenge #16 - Anything Goes
Crafty Ann's Challenge #67 - It's A Girl Thing
Fat Pages and Cards With Attitude Challenge #16 - Anything Goes
Inspire Me Friday's Challenge #63 - Anything Goes!
Polka Doodles Challenge - Summer Scene
Stamping With The Dragon Challenge - Anything Goes!
Tilda's Town Challenge #5 - Lazy Days Of Summer

Thursday, 7 June 2012

"Together Forever..."

"Together Forever and never to part

Together Forever we two

And don't you know

I would move heaven and earth

To be Together Forever with you"

Aren't they just the loveliest words? Who would have thought that Rick Astley could have been so deep! I know that marriage vows in this country are going the way of the great USA (let's be honest here, this is virtually the 51st State already) with couples now being able to get married wherever they want and being able to write their own 'vows' to each other. Obviously during the marriage ceremony we still have to follow the traditional vows first but couples can now write their own promises to each other and they could do worse than to use the words above.

I remember in 1982 when I married my first wife, taking the vows in a church and saying those words before God had a massive impact on me, so much so that they were probably the reason I stuck around for twelve years instead of cutting and running after four! My own parents divorced before reaching their second anniversary and the aftermath of their decision had such a profound effect on my entire life I always 'promised' myself I would never do that to any children of mine. So did I do the right thing by putting my own needs before those of my son? I don't suppose I will ever really know but I do know that I couldn't be any happier now.

My life with Jo is so special to me. We are going to be celebrating our 15th Anniversary in December and the thought of letting anyone or anything come between us kills me. Our marriage is built on trust and respect for each other but with a really strong foundation of friendship as we have know each other for 25 years and the words to the Rick Astley song would have applied to our friendship alone! I know every couple starts their married life thinking it will be forever and you never know what life can throw at you but I think I can say, with a fair degree of certainty, that Jo and I will see out our days with each other. We truly are Together Forever.

So onto this weeks challenge at I ♥ ProMarkers and Challenge #120 is "For A Little Girl". We are being sponsored by the wonderful Lili Of The Valley and as soon as I saw this stamp on their website it made me think of Jo and I as kids. So my card is from the seven year old me to the seven year old Jo (but in real life she would be 15 as their are eight years between us, but that is just too weird to even contemplate!!). I set out to make a 'different' card this week and I think I have achieved that as it turned out a lot softer than I usually make. I used a really old 12" x 12" paper from my (never to be used for cards) scrap stack and that kind of dictated everything else on the card. The flowers are Prima (of course!) and the die is a Marianne while the doily came in a pack from Joanna Sheen and the buttons and wooden apple have been in my stash for ages. I am really happy with the final effect and I just hope you like the card as much as I do.

See you again soon,

take care,



Entered Into: Paper Crafting Journey Challenge: Colour It Up

A & T Digital Designs Challenge #25 - Buttons

Card A Day Challenge: Birthday/Friendship/Red, White & Blue/Just Because/Teen

Just Keep On Creating Challenge #2 - Anything Goes

ATC's and Cards With Attitude Challenge - Anything Goes/Father's Day

Inspire Me Friday's Challenge #62 - Anything Goes

Craft Your Days Away Challenge #47 - Bingo

Allsorts Challenge #158 - Ice Cream Colours

Craft Your Passion Challenge #114 - Anything Goes

The Ribbon Reel Challenge #30 - Strawberries and Cream

Saturday, 2 June 2012

"Now, Is The Time...."

for me to reveal a little bit more to this whole thing we call 'craft'. For too long now I have called this Andy's Craft Corner and really it should just be Card Corner! Well I have had a go at some Digi Scrapping for the first time as I got some Serif CD Rom's from Create & Craft a shile back and I wasn't going to post anything I considered below par (unlike this week's card!!!). So here they are and I hope you like them, they give a little bit of insight into my world. I enjoyed doing them and will be trying my hand at some more soon,
take care,