Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas...and a visit to Bangor Cathedral Christmas Tree Festival.

December 25th 2014...Wishing you all a lovely peaceful time, wherever you are...especially the women, who in my experience make Christmas happen for their families! Here's a photo of my mantlepiece..yes, I know, a bit over-dressed but it's only once a year! 

Last Saturday my daughter and I escaped the shopping frenzy for an hour in the calm cool oasis of Bangor Cathedral. We went to see the Festival of Christmas Trees. It was all looking very pretty...

There are two paintings on long-term loan in the cathedral..they are really stunning..modern interpretations of Caravaggio's paintings of Christ, by John Granville Gregory. One is called "Why" and the other is "Still Doubting"...I will leave you to guess which is which ;-)

It's 2a.m. on Christmas morning..I have finally finished wrapping presents, peeling sprouts, making cranberry sauce and grinding nuts for tomorrow's nutroast (we are sacrificial turkey in this house!) . I am too tired to write more and am off to bed now. Happy Christmas to you all. xx

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Folded Book Christmas trees, cold porcelain stuff & other news... 

17th December 2014. 
Goodness, it's been months since I last wrote on's been hectic,as always, and I sort of got out of the habit. Any-road-up, as they used to say when I was a girl, this is my latest project for work and home..folded pages made into trees to decorate for Christmas. I broke the spine cover off an old book, folded the pages twice into rectangles then folded the bottom bit up...bit tricky to explain...and VERY tricky to get the top point perfect, but worth it I think. You can probably see proper instructions/videos online. Okay, so then I brushed gold glitter paint down the outer edged of the pages, wrapped some fine gold thread around and added a tiny glittery star on top.  

Here are my two trees on the mantlepiece..alongside my vase of crocheted stars, blue angel, blue dove, blue wolf, blue horse and blue candles...guess you can work out my favourite colour then!

and here are the ones I made for my clients to decorate. They made a pretty good job of them and were all pleased with their mini-trees :-) 

Another craft I tried this Christmas is the "cold porcelain" clay technique (cornflour and bicarbonate of soda)..I've seen this a lot online and it was pretty easy to make the clay..the only thing was it was SO crumbly and I had many goes before managing a tray of passable decorations. I wasn't sure how strong they'd be but once dried out they're fine. Sadly I don't think this technique is suitable for the disabled adults I teach but it's actually quite nice to make something for myself and not work-related.When I have more time (ha!) I'll try some with subtle colour printed into the clay. 

In "any other news" I went last weekend to a fab Christmas Crafts fair at Plas Newydd, not far from where I live. I went to the same event last year and the great thing is that you get to see the house, gardens and craft fair for only £1 !! Compared to the usual National trust entry price that is bargain of the year! There were lots of crafts and food stalls. I didn't feel I could take photos of the stands but this lady was particularly friendly and didn't mind... 

This little French van sold the best coffee I've had in ages..I do love my coffee and am reminded of a board I saw in a shop window in Chester recently.Made me laugh...

Yes, a Christmas shopping trip to Chester before it all got too hectic. As usual it was a lovely place to shop and there were many really good buskers dotted about through the town.

    I was tempted in Cath Kidston...can one really ever have too many lovely mugs?? daughter...all shopped-out ....

Okay, all for now..except I don't think I ever showed you this year's crop of chillies?? The plants were a hassle...several bouts of whitefly infestation and of course I didn't want to spray food crops with chemicals so it was washing-up liquid spray...several times. We got there in the end and I've frozen many of these..probably enough to last me a lifetime truth be told..I don't eat them often,ha!! 
Happy Christmas everyone...hope you all have a lovely time wherever you are. xx

Sunday, 24 August 2014

August 2014

Summer fair craft table and other doings... 

So, after spending all my spare time making stuff for my stall for the past couple of months the day dawned at last and my daughter and I trooped off to a local summer fair held here on Anglesey at a working farm for adults with learning difficulties. It was another hot day and I did boil a bit but it was good fun and in a beautiful rural setting... 

Some closer views of stuff I was selling...felt bunnies, voile brooches, cards, cards and more cards....

The stall next to me was full of interesting things like essential oils and crystals. I tried all the crystal pendulums and only one rose quartz pendulum worked for me..I couldn't not buy it of course after it swung wildly round and round above my hand! Not sure if it's a guardian angel swinging (for "no") or rotating (for "yes") the pendulum or my subconscious making it move but it's interesting..something I must read up about before taking seriously.

A few yards from my stall there was a very needy sheep which kept us entertained. It must have been hand-reared as it shrieked loudly demanding the attention of any passer-by. Its lamb looked distinctly bored by its hyper parent..I guess it was used to it!


It's been a good summer for tomatoes...they love all that heat we've had. I've been growing seven different varieties.I always like to try one or two new ones. My two must-grow favourites for flavour are "Sungold" and "Black Cherry". This one didn't grow quite as regular in shape as "Will Gardner"..named after a similarly-endowed character in The Good Wife ;-)

Too tired to write more now. Leaving you with a lovely patch of wildflowers outside our local university..aren't they gorgeous?! 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

May 15th 2014

Hello people..I haven't been writing much recently.. just too much going on and I'm still coping with bereavement which meant that something had to give. However, I decided I missed this too much so will try to catch up with recent news, albeit a bit at a time. Slightly excited to be doing a craft table this summer at a summer fair type event so much of my spare time has gone on making and creating. However, jumping back a little....

A few weeks ago I went to the golden wedding party of some very dear friends who meant a lot to me when I was a teenager. At the time they were a young married couple with four little children who somehow managed to find the time to host a youth group in their home after church on Sunday evenings. The fact that I didn't attend church didn't seem to matter..they opened their home to us and opened my eyes to many creative ideas. There was always something interesting going on there: guest speakers, talks about crop circles (a new phenomena then!), trips to the countryside and so on...and unlimited access to their record collection! Jean used to make jewellery and Alan used to be into paper sculpture and archaeology. I used to babysit their children, which now I look back on as an amazing leap of trust. I hadn't seen them for some years but we have always exchanged hand-made Christmas cards and kept in touch. It was so lovely to see them again at the golden wedding party..the children I babysat are now adults with children of their own but as I sat with two of them at the party the years slipped away and we spent a lovely afternoon reminiscing about the old days. Of course I had to make my own Golden Wedding card for the day (and a few extra whilst I was in creative mood)..  I experimented with a swirly heart stamp I had found at one of the Creative Crafts & Hobbycraft events and tried making the hearts in two ways...embossing in gold (on the left below) and also using gold leaf then tearing the edges and finishing them off with gold paint...

So, this is how they ended up..the embossed one is on the left and the gold leaf again on the right. After a bit of deliberating and asking a few people I settled on giving the embossed card to Jean and Alan. I hope they liked it..

                    We had a lovely meal, including a delicious lemon cheesecake dessert..

                                      ...a lovely special couple and a very special day...

Whilst I'm in heart theme mode here are some pierced paper hearts I made a couple of months ago which I hope some time to get around to mounting onto greetings cards..who knows, at this rate they may be ready in time for next Valentine's Day!


I was sad to hear of the death of Tony Benn  a few weeks ago and whilst flicking through holiday photos recently I was reminded of this portrait of him by Andrew Tift which I saw a few times in the National Portrait Gallery in London. A great portrait of a great man...

Last month there was a wonderful exhibition in our local botanical gardens at Treborth, just next to Menai Bridge. Called Plantlife Patchwork Meadow Exhibition it was a celebration of Britain's wild flowers. Here are just a few of the embroideries...

             The beauty in simple things..the almost sculptural loveliness of a simple
box of cotton buds. Thank you Poundland!

                                                            (Spot the rogue blue one!)

Oops, time is running away with me and I have a class to teach in an hour and a half so I must love you and leave you..tonight my class is finishing off beach hut paintings then we'll be painting sunset skies and seagull silhouettes..a summer seaside mentality is the theme of the moment..happy happy pictures. I wish I could show you the lovely work the service users create but client confidentiality prevails. Ciao for now!!