Friday, 14 April 2017

Palm Sunday

Spring from my bedroom window
Palm Sunday had the promise of a beautiful Spring morning bathed in
sun freckles, cherry blossom and
newly born leaves under a canopy
of clear blue sky...

Just what I needed!

I went to early morning mass and
collected my palm crosses. One for
me and one for each of my children.
I remember reading or hearing
somewhere that displaying the
palm cross at home throughout
the year will bring peace.


Well I can't say that's definite from my own experience but then I don't
know how life would be without a palm cross on display. 
I'm not going to shelve my blessings by not showing one, that's for sure.


As the sun climbed higher in the sky it got warmer, too warm for April really but welcome all the same. The diced lamb was cooked so I switched off the slow cooker and decided it was too nice a day to be stuck in doors cooking Sunday lunch so John and I went out for the afternoon to Seaham and joined throngs of people of all nationalities and accents, all doing the same. I would imagine very much like the first Palm Sunday. 
The giant car boot sale spread out across fields and why we should spend an afternoon looking at mostly other people's junk I will never know but we weren't the only ones. I did manage to get some very nice silk flowers and John got two new pairs of casual trousers, the kind he likes and for whatever reason, can only find for sale at markets!

By mid afternoon it was hot and the sun was still blazing down. The one and only ice cream van had a vast queue and I wasn't prepared to take my turn in it so we got hotdogs instead. Mine without a bread role but with onions. I thought it tasted awful but John scoffed his with lashings of mustard.

A ramble in the fresh air and sunshine
Palm Sunday wreath
did us the world of good and when I
got home and after lunch I was
motivated to make some spring/
summer wreaths using my newly
acquired silk flowers and
butterflies that belonged to a recently deceased Philippine lady
who was well loved in our parish. I gave one of the wreaths to her carer and she was so grateful, bless her.
It will be a lovely memory of Joanna.

My mother was on my mind for much
of the day too. It would have been her birthday and I like to think that in her corner of heaven she shared making wreaths with me.


By the way. The lamb was beautiful, it was so tender and juicy, mmmmm, must make it like that again sometime.













Friday, 24 March 2017

Mothers Day

                                                                                        
Mothers Day flowers

                                                                                  
What a wonderful sun drenched morning that came with a delivery of fresh flowers...tulips in shades of pink! They arrived in plenty of time for Mothering Sunday, so kindly remembered by my lovely son Drew and daughter in law Kelly. I cant thank them enough. They brought me such pleasure.

But other delights were in store! Squirrelled away in the depths of the giant box the flowers came in were two more gifts.

Wow!

What next!

A bag of heart shaped chocolate truffles, mmmmmmmm. I will allow myself one per day and decadently eat them all by myself.

The third surprise was a mini scented candle, boxed and wrapped so prettily. I was delighted to discover the fragrance was bluebells and wood anemones...my favourite wild flowers.

scented candle with bumble bee


Look at the photo of the candle and yes, that's a bumble bee. How sweet!

The wrap has absorbed the fragrance beautifully and so will be put in my undies drawer to spread out its scent but not until I finish colouring it in. What fun! 

scented wrap to be coloured in with pencils
 Thank you Drew and Kelly.


 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 - 17 and counting

Craft stall at Tanfield


Gosh its almost a year since my last blog...so what have I been up to? Its hard to say so I really should recap on achievements me thinks. I will ignore any unsurmountable challenges. They just make me huffy anyway 😉
 

I've really got into colouring for grown ups, as have half the population. My first attempts were postcards by Johanna Basford. They just about wrecked my eyesight but overall they were very enjoyable and they have been distributed amongst family and friends.
                          

Inspired and supported by my local U3A group I did some line drawings and coloured them with mixed media. I so enjoy using a water brush with water colour pencils and pastels and I mixed these with coloured pencils too. Painting birds was rewarding and a subject I would like to come back to.




      





 Lots of candles were decorated with pressed flowers and boxes were deco-patched, cards of all types made and Christmas cards were recycled and in the middle of all this I was able to start a church group for creative women. There's lots I have to be thankful for in 2016. I really didn't think I had done so much. I'm hoping there will be much more in 2017.



Friday, 5 February 2016

All my own work

Artwork in recycled frame


I finally got to like pastels, yeah....! My latest piece of a goldfinch was my interpretation of a picture I saw in a magazine. The step by step instructions began with a yellow base layer for the bird but it looked just like a canary to me. My first pet was a Norwich canary and so I fell in love with him straight away. The magazine article was a 'how to' in watercolours but as I'm still not comfortable with watercolours decided to use pastels instead and I'm really pleased with the outcome. 

Goldfinch in pastel


The finished piece  would be best fit into a square frame and I just hadn't thought before hand how awkward it might be to buy a ready made square frame off the shelf, plus a mount. I checked on the internet and found some frames which I think must have been moulded plastic and cheap quality but I didn't want the cheapness. I thought my bird deserved better (smile). Then I remembered I might have an old square 8 x 8" frame I could adapt and searched my frame stash and found it. It needed some tender loving care and so I set to with recycling it. 

old frame in need of recycling

The wood frame was scratched in one corner so I scratched it some more all over. Did I say scratch? I should have said gouged to give a slightly distressed look. I needn't have bothered really because three layers of paint over the original washed-out pink sort of smoothed the distressed look away. I used a garden fence paint in willow colour. I liked the subtle green colour.

painting the frame

Next I brought elements together to see if they matched and ideas were forming. I fixed my artwork centrally onto a piece of mountboard I had cut to size to fit the frame and as the artwork was smaller than the back mountboard I had to work out how to tailor another mount with aperture to fill in the gaps. I have plenty of mountboard but I'm not confident enough to cut it to intricate shapes. My idea was to use a patterned card or paper to surround the artwork instead and chose a William Morris design from a Joanna Sheen paper pad I already had in my stash. 

ideas coming together

I cut equal sized strips of paper using a decorative edge cutter and placed them overlapping to make a square, gently gluing with low tack adhesive at the corners. I then chamfered the corners to a neat fit. Next I fixed the square paper frame around and just overlapping the artwork with strategic hidden traces of glue just to keep it steady. My artwork was now ready to place into its frame under a freshly cleaned glass window. 

I'm really pleased with my efforts. See above.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Fridge Magnet Challenge



Well I landed myself in it. My mouth running away with itself. I only suggested a challenge with other crafty peeps and here I am in the thick of it ... and enjoying it too.

With the crafty peeps at Be Crafty @ the Arches in mind I have laid down the gauntlet and with new crafty peeps in mind I thought I might set out step by step instructions. They are not just for Be Crafties. Anyone can copy them and download if they want to. Just give me a like on my florafinity fb page and I'll be happy.

There are lots of ideas on the internet. Just search for fridge magnets and you will get zillions of pictures to inspire you. I was inspired by the vintage look which is so trendy right now. I tend to pick up bits and pieces of craft elements at places like The Works or The Range or Home Bargains at very reasonable prices and I add them to my craft stash. So the first thing I did for this project was to grab items to play with and bring my fridge magnet idea together.



I chose to make a framed quote and decorate it with vintage style embellishments. 

I used:

Mount board for the backing, though strong stiff card would do

A pretty little vintage style chipboard frame from my stash

Rub-on transfer for my chosen quote

Chipboard butterfly which I outlined and dotted with silver pen

Three (the magic number) of tiny paper roses.

Tacky glue

Self adhesive magnet sticker for the back.

Using the frame as a guide I measured out a rectangle of mount board to cut out 

  



and then dry assembled it all with embellishments on top so I could decide where best to position my quote. 



Rubbing on the transfer was so easy 



and I was then able to glue it all together.



Voila! I have a new magnet for my fridge and so easy peasy to make. 

Are you going to take up the challenge?... I hope so... have fun!


Monday, 7 September 2015

Summer Break and School Holidays

Anyone going to visit South Shields Marine Park during the school summer holidays will have noted the high numbers of grandparents with their various young charges. We were not alone in this and blended in well. 
The boating lake at South Shields Marine Park

We had good times with the youngest of our grandchildren, visiting the park, the fair, the beach, Bedes World and Tanfield. Not all together I might add (smile).

Causey Arch, Tanfield
Drew and Kelly on the Tanfield railway


Drew, Kelly and Eva on the mini steam engine railway.
Lily-Jo on the mini steam engine railway



What is it about steam engines that attract young and old alike? 

Lily-Jo in the park
Eva on the kiddies rides


Eva at the fun fair

Bedes World, Charlies Park, the Fun Fair and Birthday parties are always good attractions for the youngest ones.

Eva at Jasmine's birthday party
Drew and Eva on the beach


The summer school holidays are over now and life gets back to some kind of normality but what a good time we had!



Phew...worn out!

Late summer and home made soup

view from back garden



I don't think its been the best summer ever this year...it was late arriving in my part of the country, very changeable and not quite as warm as I would like it to be but nevertheless, summer is hanging on. August last year was definitely showing signs of autumn by now and I think the previous year was the same but so far, I'm still struck by summer's presence, mellow light and that air of sleepiness I always enjoy in late summer. 
Walnut tree with Bat boxes at back of house


We still have to experience the tell tale autumn signs of a nip in the air and misty mornings. Normally, that would signal the home made soup season. Thick and warming soup, traditionally made with ham stock, lentils and vegetables. So I have been a bit early this year and its all due to a lovely little woodland cafe called Causey House Tea Room in Co. Durham. 



I was there last Sunday with my husband John and having to be careful with my diet I chose home made soup from the menu, kindly supplied with gluten free toast as an option. Well, each spoonful had a reminiscence of Autumn and I was hankering to make my own again whether the season changed or not. And so I did! 
Home made soup


Already hubby has had a good share and I will have some for supper tonight. Thats if there is any left...yuuuummmmmmmm.

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