My Family & Other Animals

Monday, 25 April 2016

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, and the.... Hang on!

It's only April, so why on earth am I making Christmas cards Gentle Reader? I normally start making my cards about two weeks before the last postage date! So why so motivated this year?
Well, it would appear that my rather industrious wife has been sitting at the craft table, day after day, making a really beautiful card over and over again; so much so, that we now have enough cards for everyone this coming Christmas.
Her card features one of the above Tim Holtz Crazy Birds stamps, a common theme in our house since their arrival! I have used a couple of the birds, who I thought looked perfect standing on each other. I have also used a really rather beautiful sentiment stamp which I know came free with a magazine last year, but please do not ask me to tell you which one it is!, I have bought that many magazines over the years, I really can not begin to say how many, with the total cost being in the thousands of pounds area. Sad really, as they just get thrown out and end up as land-fill somewhere!! I never learn!

On to darker times, the last few months have seen us grow accustomed to losing a lot of very famous people in quite swift succession. By the beginning of February I was beginning to take it all quite personally after not only losing one of my absolute idols David Bowie (he was 69) (he died on January 10th), but Alan Rickman (was 69) (dies on January 14th), Glenn Frey of The Eagles (67) (January 18th)  and then the co-founder and leader of Earth, Wind and Fire, Maurice White (74) (February 4th). EWF were one of my favourite bands of all time, with music that will truly stand the test of time; some of their tracks are now held so dear to me and the nights he helped me though are too numerous to count, but I owe him for every single one.
Then we lost David Gest (62) (April 12th), a very funny man with a massive heart, is how I chose to see him. I know he was quite an unconventional character and a lot of people couldn't see past his looks or that horrendous wedding day kiss to Ex-wife Liza Minnelli!! but I liked him and I think the world seems a little duller for his passing.
A week or so ago, we lost Doris Roberts (90) (April 18th). While she may not be very well known in this country, to me she will always be the definition of a battle-axe wife, a harridan and harpy of the highest order and the long suffering wife of Frank Barone, the biggest Jack-ass of a TV husband ever, played by the very brilliant Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein) in 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. She struck me as a woman of very little vanity, especially as in the early days of 'Raymond' her make-up was so hideous, she was usually made to look like the bride of Frankenstein with her pasty, whitened face. She had loads of energy and while her heart was probably in the right place, you were never 100% sure that she actually owned a heart!
Now we are up to date nearly and yet in the past week we have been dealt a massive blow by losing both Victoria Wood (a mere 62) (on April 20th) and finally Prince (an even younger 57) (on April 21st). Two genre defining artistes and absolute giants in their chosen fields. Prince has been with us since 1979, gyrating and thrusting his way through one quality piece of modern R 'n B/Funk after another. His singing voice and his musical voice stand on the shoulders of giants and his Purple Majesty shall reign there forevermore. As for Victoria? what can be said about anyone who can make you cry with laughter, not just once but every time they take to the stage or screen. I can remember watching 'As Seen on TV' one Friday night on BBC2 while I was (supposed to be) working nights and she did the '2 soups' sketch. I had people banging on my door checking to see that I was okay because I was laughing so loudly. So I will leave the final words to Victoria, wish her well on her continuing Journey and thanks her for all that she shared of herself with us. This is a brief snatch from Freda and Barry (The 'I Can't Do It' song)

“I can’t do it, I can’t do it,
I’m not exactly Russell Brand.
You’re thwarted:
I’m sorted,
Got the evening’s telly planned;
It’s a pity;
The nitty-gritty:
I’ve taped eleven episodes of Holby City.
I can’t do it, I can’t do it tonight.”
And that is where I take my leave Gentle Reader, my time to say Cheerio 'til the next time. I hope I left you with a smile on your face,
Love 'n Hugs

Monday, 11 April 2016

"There's a Starbucks, waiting up the road..."

Good Morning Gentle Reader, hope you have had a lovely weekend. Not sure what your weather was like, but ours was very hit and miss, patches of rain and sunshine but all the while there was a bit of a chill in the air, so much so that it kind of ruined the nicer bits!
Jo and I like to have a little treat on a Friday morning and have been regulars at the local Gregg's which is so convenient, it is virtually across the road from us.
That all came to an end last week however, when one of the young ladies serving Jo really upset her. She was waiting to be served and the majority were all queueing at the first till, Jo however was at the second till and when the girl asked if she was next, she explained that she was ahead of the second in line on the other queue (are you still following this!), well this seemed to baffle the girl completely as she asked Jo again if she was next to be served. Jo politely went through it again for her when the young girl said "Well I'll just serve you to get rid of you". She immediately gasped to herself and put her hand up to her mouth as if trying to stuff the words back in.
Now my wife is a very polite, very proper lady and this really upset her. She virtually screamed out "How Rude", to which most of the customers looked over to see what was going on. When the under-manager came over to see what had happened, Jo was having none of it. She felt humiliated and all she wanted to do was be served so she could leave the counter. When she returned to me and explained what had happened we put our Kindle's away and left the shop.
Jo has vowed to never return to that particular shop and has emailed the company a couple of times so far, with no reply I might add!, that in itself speaks volumes about their customer care.
So we were on a scouting mission to find a new place where we can take our e-readers/books on a Friday morning and have a couple of drinks and a bite to eat, with good staff and decent prices.
Our first port of call this week has been Starbucks on Tritton Road. It's very nice inside, great big comfy sofas and the proper chairs aren't too bad either, quite comfortable really. The staff all seemed to be very friendly and extremely attentive, especially to Jo who went to the counter to buy the drinks etc. They told us they didn't care how long we stayed and unlike Gregg's they didn't add "as long as you are buying something". We had the most gorgeous cheese and ham toastie followed by a large blueberry muffin and all washed down by a large Latte. The prices weren't as cheap as Gregg's but then the atmosphere was one hundred times nicer, so I think Starbuck's could be our new Friday hang out place.
On to today's card and this is a brand new technique for me. I have used the Spectrum Noir AquaTints and as soon as I saw them being demonstrated on C and C I just had to have them. I managed to get the entire range for a silly price and they are proving to be a very good investment. I wouldn't normally buy anything from Crafter's Companion (short story being, I think they steal everyone else's hard work and idea's without giving the credit to the people who slaved over the original versions! Controversial - maybe, but I stand by it), but as I haven't seen these anywhere else, I assume they are an original idea and that should be supported.
Sheena Douglas was the Demonstrator and I absolutely love everything she does, I don't always understand where the ideas have come from (Day of the Dead, India etc) but she has a great sense for thinking outside the box and coming up with things we never knew we needed!
The inks are incredibly easy to use and if used with Sheena's Stamping card they blend perfectly and you can spend as long as you want getting it just right as her cardstock doesn't do that ripping thing when it gets too wet.
The stamps are also Sheena's and as a bit of a softie where cats are concerned it was another essential purchase (I know you know what I mean!!). I hope you like the finished product and feel free to leave a comment, I can handle it!
Anyhoo, take care and I will be back again real soon,
Love 'n Hugs,
Entered In To:
Artistic Inspirations Challenge 154 - Anything Goes/Twist of Flag Colours
Crafting From The Heart Challenge 107 - Anything Goes
Craft Your Passion Challenge 307 - Always Anything Goes
ElliBelle's Creative Moments Challenge 7 - Anything Goes/Something Coloured
Dream Valley Challenges 129 - Anything Goes
Lost Coast Portal To Creativity Challenge 23 - Anything Goes
Make My Monday Challenge 04 - Pets
Not Just Cards Challenge 31 - April Challenge Always Anything Goes
Oooh La La Creations Challenge 202 - Words
Our Crafty Corner Challenge 8 - Always Anything Goes
Scrapbook Stamp Society Challenge 89 - Anything Goes option Flowers

Friday, 1 April 2016

"I Don't Want To Talk..."

"...About Things We've Gone Through"
or do I? Of course I do. Since when did I not want to talk??
So, gentle reader, what's the reason for the obscure lyrics in the post headline this time?, well my son and future daughter-in-law chose number one from their wedding invite options (pictured below), my son even going so far as to say it was beautiful, which is practically gushing if you know him. He plays his cards very close to his chest at all times does my boy, never knowingly using seven words when one will do, you would think that there was a word shortage and he is the only one with this valuable information!!
Card Number One

Before sending them, we changed the colour of the bow tie to brown, and put it in the top right corner of the wraparound at a 45 degree angle and it made a world of difference to the finished product.
If anyone finds out you are a card-maker and they have a wedding planned, my advice to you would be; think very, very hard about it before committing yourself. I volunteered to do Liam and Holly's and we only had to do 34 Daytime and 26 Evening. Granted we did leave it to the last minute to pull our fingers out and actually start making them, but 60 cards literally took me and my wife a week to do and that was putting in quite a few hours a day, especially for a pair who can't sit in a chair too long without ending up being in crippling pain!!
The job that took up the lion's share of the work was having to cut out the two front panels. I used a die from Create and Craft called Couture and that heart is now officially retired, if I ever see it again it will be too soon. It was a bit of a nightmare to cut out too, having to go through the Grand Calibre for at least three or four passes before getting a halfway decent cut out of the whole die!!
Having said all that and not a word to Jo, I actually enjoyed it and working with my darling wife made a really pleasant change.

On to today's post and I came up with this...
I got the amazing Krazy Kats and Bird Crazy stamps and dies a few months ago and after trawling through Pintrest for some inspiration, I have made quite a few cards now and the birds are officially my favourite set of stamps EVER! The things you can do with them (I have decoupaged the bow tie and I NEVER decoupage anything!), the occasions they are suitable for (especially if you but the accessory stamps/dies too!), the mediums they can be coloured with and the techniques you can use to make their backgrounds with are multitude. I just love these birds to bits, so funny and so forwards thinking of Tim Holtz to even come up with such a clever concept in the beginning is just brilliant. So expect to see a few of these animals peppered throughout my posts through the coming months.
The alpha is from my stash of old Sizzix alphabet die boxes, which should have cost around £75 each and I got them direct from Sizzix for between £5 - £10 each. Of course this was in the good old days when Sizzix used to have a kick-a** sale over Christmas and New Year and you could get some amazing deals, not like today!!
So that's me, busy for a change and loving it. I have just started reading 11:22:63 by Stephen King, a mere pamphlet of a book at just over 1000 pages (Phew!), I am also watching the American TV adaptation at the same time and it is remarkably faithful to the book, it just seems to pack a lot into one show that I doubt I will ever catch it up (especially as it is on episode 7 already!!). Anyhoo, the book is a fantastic read, go try!
So I will bid you adieu and hope to be back really soon,
take care,
love and hugs,

Entered Into:
A Beautiful Mess Challenge 001 - Always Anything Goes
Aliciabel Challenge 017 - Anything Goes/Spring
Brown Sugar Challenge 192 - Anything Goes
Chocolate, Coffee and Cards Challenge 106 - Spring Is In The Air
Crafting-With-Friends Challenge 17 - Anything Goes
Crafty Catz Challenge 318 - Decoupage
Creative Artiste's Challenge 14 - Anything Goes (with option to use Chipboard/Stencil or Flowers)
Creative Fingers Challenge 106 - Always Anything Goes
Art By Miran Challenge 55 - Anything Goes
Dragon's Lair Designs Challenge - April Anything Goes
Pattie's Creations Design Challenge 121 - April or Springtime
PDE Linky Party 117 - Anything Goes
Simply Papercraft Challenge 26 - Anything Goes