crEAting, drEAming, general chit chat, getting things done, managEAble

the best things come in small packages…

I have quite a few birthdays in October – all friends –  and we give each other gifts that are modest in price about £5 to £8.  I usually find bits and pieces in some of the gift shops in Scotland and buy them as I see them and stash them away.

On Sunday I had a mammoth wrapping session it felt a bit like Christmas.  I like to make my modest gifts look tempting and I wrap them with care taking time to choose the paper and ribbons I think appropriate.  I often use printed tissue paper for those awkward shaped items.

I have one of those paper punch shape cutters that produces a tiny label.  I decorate these in different ways in this picture I have used some little rubber stamp pictures.  I also cut up cards for labels as it is such a shame to throw old birthday cards away.

I found the coffee coloured spotty paper in Sainsbury’s it comes on a roll and is good to keep on hand as it is useful for any occasion.


Here they are all ready to go with the appropriate cards.

It always feels good to have things organised and I feel quite pleased with myself that this month at least I won’t have to think about rushing around getting gifts and cards sorted out at the last minute.  Oh… if all my life was like this!

celebrations, crafts, drEAming, fEAsting, general chit chat, sEAsons

starting with a fresh page…

I have hesitated and pondered about writing this blog post – it is not easy to begin again after my long ‘gap year’ last year, to say nothing of finding some time to sit and think of what to write.  I worry in case this is the only post I produce again this year and another unforseen crisis will suddenly strike and prevent me from having any time for blogging.   As you may well have guessed last year was not an easy one as we continued to try to sort out our flood damaged cottage with the insurers, keep up with the extra demands of work since the death of my colleague and progress the probate to a conclusion.

But…it was not all doom and gloom and the highlight of the year was my eldest daughters decision to get married in the July.  The wedding on 30th July was followed on the 31st with our Ruby Wedding anniversary and my granddaughters 2nd birthday on the 1st August – what a weekend of celebrations and cake spent with friends and family.


I spent every spare minute between January and July planning and organising the wedding, sewing miles and miles of bunting, making confetti, favours, invitations and doing alterations.  Believe me, 6 months is not very long to do everything you have to do to for a wedding especially as it took place in Scotland 250 miles away in my husband’s home town.  Having our cottage out of action did not help but my daughter felt she could not hang on any longer for it to be fixed so we went ahead and hired a farmhouse nearby for the week.

Wedding Flowers

We had the most wonderful day – glorious weather which was just as well as the reception was very much an outdoor wedding held at Castle Kennedy Gardens on the Castle Kennedy estate owned by Lord Stair.  It was here that my daughter’s Great granddad lived and worked as head gardener from the twenties to about 1960.  The wedding ceremony took place in the nearby Inch Church where her dad was baptised and her grandparents worshipped.  So a very special place for our family and what better place for a wedding.

The style of the wedding was a mix of formal and informal but very much home made with lots of summery flowers, peonies and roses in peaches and creams.  The bridesmaids wore floaty long coral dresses and the little one ivory.  The formal ceremony took place in church and a white Morris Minor took them on to the reception.  We had an old fahsioned Afternoon Tea on picnic tables before the sit down buffet of salads and cold meats for the evening meal in the marquee, then lots of dancing.

We made plenty of these signs to get people from their hotels to the church and reception…


and we made all the notices from free pieces of wood from the recycle bin outside the Ikea store in Leeds and painted them with blackboard paint…


We also made some of the flower arrangements ourselves…these hanging cones on the stone pillars at the entrance to the Church were made of chicken wire lined with Sphagnum moss

with a hidden jam jar of water inside to hold the flowers…


The bride and groom left the church to the sound of Scottish pipes…


We held a drinks reception in the beautiful walled garden by the old ruin castle.

castle kennedy

With plenty of bubbles being blown

Wedding Bubbles

We also made large cut out photo frames and dotted these around the grounds for guests to take selfies…


Then it was afternoon tea on the lawns by the old painted tea room…a casual affair on the picnic tables

Afternoon Tea



then the afternoon interlude when our guests could wander the grounds or sit and take in the view or play games…putting up the little princess castle proved more difficult than putting up the marquee…


but it proved to be a big hit with the kids…


and everyone amused themselves in the sunshine whilst the bridal party had all their pictures taken…


Then all too soon it was time for the sit down buffet in the marquee – we decorated this ourselves with bunting and paper lampshades and large vases of hydrangeas from our cottage garden…


We designed and made the table plans that complemented the invitations and mounted these on long sticks stuck into herb pots…


the favours we made were tiny biodegradable seed pots (10p for 30) with a packet of wild flower seeds in printed envelopes placed inside

and a packet of Scottish shortbread made by a friends mum…

on each table was a different poem or verse about love and marriage and flowers…




after the meal we had a lot of fun with the speeches…


and finally the ceilidh with music provided by the brilliant band the Veritable Ceilidh Club…


then everyone joined in the dancing and on such a warm evening we were able to spill outside  – it all looked very magical by night lit up with fairy lights and candles around the castle and large lanterns in the trees –  and not a midge in sight…how lucky were we?


Once the wedding day and celebrations were over it was straight back to dealing with the insurers over the flood damage and the probate project. In October we bought a caravan to put on site at the cottage – it is wonderful to have a base at last.  No more B&B’s and hotels… a place to call  home at last until we get our cottage sorted.l1040676

Just to leave you with a recent picture of my granddaughter – she has grown quite a bit over the past year and she is just a joy to us all.


So a very apprehensive blogger is looking forward to the coming year and hoping it will be a year where we actually see some results for all our hard work during the last few difficult years.

A belated Happy New Year to you all – I have a lot of catching up to do and I hope some of my old blogging friends are still out there.





crafts, crEAting, handmade cards

50th Birthday Card in the making…

It was my colleague’s 50th birthday recently and I have a special card that I make for major birthdays as a keepsake which is made up of some of my watercolour sketches of my favourite flowers and this poem…

‘Your Birthday is a day of Promise’ by Emily Matthews

This is a day of promise
Of the beauty and warmth life can hold,
And of new dreams to dream
and more love to share
Through a year that’s about to unfold.


 Firstly I print each individual watercolour that has one line of the poem running aross it on some off white A6 (postcard sized) card from Paperchase.


Fifty Birthday Card5

  I then lightly score them and neatly fold them almost in half leaving a little tab at the end to join one card with another with narrow double sided tape…

 Fifty Birthday Card 4

  like this…

Fifty Birthday Card 3

  I then print the outside cover which is another piece of A6 card that I score twice near the middle and fold to form a book spine.  I stick the body of the card to the outer leaf enclosing a length of ribbon between them…

 Fifty Birthday Card 2

after writing a greeting on the back leaf I then fold the concertina neatly into the outer leaves and wrap the ribbon round to hold.  The finished size is 10.5cm x 7cm or half A6 size.

 Fifty Birthday Card

She had a great time…

50th Birthday


Have a good weekend x

crafts, crEAting, handmade cards

Craft it Forward – anyone want to play?…

One morning a few weeks ago I picked up a surprise package from our local sorting office.  It was from Alys over at Gardening Nirvana – she took part in Crafting it Forward read here  and I was one of the lucky people to receive a handmade gift from her and as you will see she is one talented gardener and crafter.  Apologies to Alys that it has taken me this long to write this post, but you will agree it has been well worth the wait.


Craft it Forward Parcel


The package was beautifully wrapped in tissue and ribbon – almost too nice to unwrap and this is what I found inside.

 Craft it Forward Cards

Ten beautiful handmade cards with pretty matching envelopes


Craft it Forward Butterfly


My photos do not do them justice

Craft it Forward Fairy Card

They are absolutely stunning I feel very honoured to have them

Craft it Forward envelopes


So now it is my turn to make something for 5 people and send it to them by snail mail during 2014.  When those 5 people receive my crafted item they must then agree to do the same deal for 5 more on their blog, Facebook or Google+.  I have never taken part in anything like this before and at the moment I can’t say what I will be making but it will probably be a handmade Artists Book. 

So if you are interested in taking part get ready steady go…I will make something handcrafted for the first five people to leave a comment on this post.

celebrations, crEAting, fEAsting, handmade cards, handmade chocolates, sEAsons

Happy Valentines Day…

Hubby has been away for a few days but he hadn’t forgotten it was Valentines Day – I had a call at 9am this morning telling me to look under the settee and there it was… a card together with a large box of Milk Tray…ahhhhh. 
It was lucky for me that he was a few hours away as it gave me chance to first organise a card for him (homemade)…

Valentines Card

and then a cardboard tray…

Chocolate Tray


Chocolate Tray 2

whilst making a slab of chocolate on a lined baking tray.
Before it sets throw in nuts, fruit and crystallised ginger at one end and toffee pieces, honeycomb and chocolate chips at the other.  Melt some white chocolate and with a spoon flick across the tray haphazardly…

Chocolate Slab

Just before the chocolate sets hard cut out heart shapes with a metal cutter and lay them on baking parchment, then use up the left over white chocolate by pouring into the heart cutter.  Cool in the fridge for a while.  When set remove from the mould and warm the back of a spoon to run over the heart then coat with sprinkles…

Chocolate Hearts

Lay the chocolates on the decorated tray and cover with cellophane…

Chocolate Hearts

Then just time to hide them away and rush to put a bit of lippy on before he turns into the driveway…

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day

crEAting, handmade cards

Christmas Robin…comes bob bob bobbing…

I made it at last.  Everytime I have had the intention of sitting down to write I had an interruption from one person or another and I include myself here.

What have I been doing you might well ask.  I have been quite a busy little bee – or multi tasking as some would say.  After making those birthday cards a couple of weeks ago I made up my mind to do more crafting and on Saturday morning I settled down in my craft room and began to think about creating some Christmas cards for my daughters shop (as I had promised).

It is a long time since I attempted any lino prints and I felt eager to have another go as I like the quality of the prints and the fact that once you have carved the original design you can print an unlimited amount of cards.  It is also appealing because unlike rubber stamps the design belongs to you and it is exclusive.

I had no particular idea in mind for the card design other than it should be slightly vintage in feel and perhaps a Christmas Robin would be appropriate for a shop called Birdhouse Interiors.  So I flicked through my sketch book and settled on a drawing I had done some time ago of a Robin.  Not the best drawing in the world but the shape isn’t too bad and it seemed quite promising.

Robin Sketch

I converted this into a more simplistic black and white shape transferred it onto the lino then set about carving out a picture remembering that the bits I remove would come out as white.

Robin Lino Cut

I did a few test sheets before printing on the actual cards.

Robin Tests

Then the production line began…first with the black ink…

Robin in production

then I applied the red ink for the breast and berries by hand.  Finally the Christmas greeting was done with a rubber stamp.

And voila here is my line of Christmas Robins.

Robin Xmas Card

I can’t say it turned out just as I had in mind I think that will take much more practise but at least I have made a start and my daughter is delighted.

All packaged up and ready to go.  I can’t believe that only this morning these cards were just an idea in my mind and didn’t exist.

Now I just need some inspiration for my next one.

You might also like to read

Christmas Card 2011
Christmas Card 2011
crEAting, handmade cards

A productive crafternoon…

The weekend before last I made some cards for my friends birthdays partly to save money on bought cards but mostly because handmade cards are so much nicer to receive.

My ‘Art’ cards are based on a concertina theme – almost like a mini artists book.

Autumn Leaves Card

For the one above I incorporated a beautiful photo my hubby took by the lake at Corsock House in Scotland and illustrated a poem about leaves with differing typefaces and some pressed leaves .

Peters card 2

This was a similar theme of Autumn with a pencil sketch I did many years ago of a Beech leaf

again illustrating a poem called ‘O hushed October morning mild’ by Robert Frost.

Butterfly Card 2

The Butterfly card is more on the craft side and made from  butterfly shapes

stamped out with a punch and stuck onto a printed stock paper with a few scattered stick on jewels to add sparkle  and finished with a Happy Birthday stamp.  I have made quite a few of these recently – I almost had a little production line going in my craft room.


This card was made from a  print of a water colour sketch I did of some very pretty Alstoemeria that I received from a friend for my birthday.

I had quite a productive afternoon and great fun exploring new ideas – I just wish I had more time.

You may also like to read

Christmas 2012
Homemade Christmas Cards 2012