Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile. We're not quantified; there's no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. [Steven Tyler]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kindness In Abundance

I must start by saying a big hello and thank you to everyone who left a message over the last week. Your good wishes and helpful suggestions have really lifted my spirits. The knees and back haven't improved much but I feel so much better knowing that there are so many lovely people out there who firstly, so unselfishly care about others and secondly.... visit my blog! A huge thank you. If kind thoughts could make you better I'd be the fittest person around.

One good thing has come out of last week: the back pain is all being caused by the problems I have with my knees. Some weeks ago I was given the results of the x-rays I had taken and it appears that it's got a lot worse than it was a few years back. I now have chronic osteo-arthritis in both knees.... no surprises there! What has changed is that I have been referred to a specialist clinic and now have my appointment date to be assessed - yey! I'll keep you posted.

I'm sorry I didn't get back to update my blog during the week. Sitting at the computer for any length of time has been difficult and that goes for sitting in my work room too. So not a lot of what I set my sights at a week ago has been achieved. I have chosen little things to work on that I can do sitting where I can be comfortable. Stampbord needs very little room to work on and that's one of the things I have finished....

This is a piece that I originally designed as a workshop piece for Elusive Images's Retailer Training event earlier this year. It is an articulated pin made from a domino sized piece and a 1" square piece of Stampbord. I used Ranger's Distress Ink Pads to colour the Stampbord and stamped the images with Archival Black ink. The stamps are all from the Antiquities themeplate (one of my favourites for this type of work).

I added some embellishments: the 'heavenly' word is a pre-etched Creative Acrylics piece that has been over written with the white Inkessentials pen and attached with Glossy Accents. The brads have had most of the struts cut off with wire cutters (just leave a millimetre or two) then the holes in the acrylic piece have been filled with Glossy Accents and the brads set into it.

I finished the pieces with some white rub-ons and a domed letter. The outside edges of the Stampbord have been coloured black using a Sharpie pen. My trusty Crop-A-Dile chomped the holes and set the eyelets to link the pieces together and I attached a sticky-backed broach pin to the back of the main piece!

I have been doing a little bit more to the canvas I showed you in the previous post and I now know exactly how I'm going to finish it. I may get some more done this evening with a little luck.

What else has been happening this week? Well, it was Diesel's Birthday and boy did he know it - he was full of it. My parents bought him a 'giggle' ball. He absolutely lives to play. I suppose being a German Shepherd it's in-built in him... after all, that's exactly how Police dogs are trained - everything is a game. I'm sorry to say the giggle didn't last long, within minutes of giving it to him he'd fathomed out what was making the noise and removed it. He takes the 'squeaks' out of all his chewy toys too! Funny thing is, he doesn't destroy the toy - just the noise.

As a tribute to the birthday boy.......

The photo of him was obviously not taken on his birthday! It's cold in the North East but not quite this cold...... yet! I finished this layout for Glenda's Winter Glimmer TV show recorded a couple of weeks ago and I used some of the Glimmer Chips (the icicles across the top) and the Glimmer Glass (fancy corners and the articulated hanging snowflakes).

He loves the snow and always manages to come in covered in it and with a little 'heap' on his nose where he tries to push it around.

And finally, how fast is this month going? I sat down to prepare my working timetable in the run up to Christmas and was horrified at how little time I have to get so many things done. I always do a three month planner on the PC for October, November and December. I fill in all of the work related dates first and then anything that I have to travel for and finally, any personal dates that need time allocating to them. I then look at what's left..... and finally at my list of all the jobs that I have to do in the house to get it ready for the festivities and the two just don't correlate... nowhere near. Oh dear, I feel a headache coming on!

But you have to start somewhere and on Sunday afternoon, just before the shops shut, DH and I rushed out to an out-of-town shopping centre where there's a Borders book shop. So while he went into Borders I headed for TK Maxx and they had just set up their Christmas department. It was lovely to browse while it was quiet and I couldn't resist this......

.... just what I needed to get me full swing into the preparations, I'll catch up in no time (knees and back permitting). I wish I had time to decorate the house for the fall. Some of my American blogging friends do the most beautiful things to their homes and one of these years... yeh, I know - you've heard it all before! But I will..... one day! But for now, I will just enjoy the beauty of the season and the wonderful colours it brings.

Have fun and Happy Crafting!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Too Many Loose Ends!

I have so many projects started but not finished that it's getting to be 'more started than ever finished!' So I have decided to do something about it. I went up to my work room on Friday evening and pulled out just three of the said projects and decided that I would make a determined effort to complete them over the course of the weekend and the evenings next week. Three seems a manageable number considering I have a two hour live TV show next month that I need to start prepping for.

The first item is an altered canvas started at a workshop I taught in the summer.....

..... although it started out as a canvas I was using in the workshop to demonstrate techniques and to show how different products can be used, I actually liked the colours and worked along with the class when I could. The Grungeboard pieces are just laid on top to get a feel of what space I will have left as I want to finish the piece with some Ten Seconds Studio metal work.

There's lots of stamping onto tissue paper and layering with hot wax. The smell of the hot wax in the studio was Divine!

Next is an album started at a Workshop that Glenda and I took with the very talented Lance Anderson - Mr Rusty Pickle himself when he was over here in the summer.

The book was about 75% completed at the workshop. It was intended that you would add the photo's, journalling and the finishing touches later in your own time. I want to work in a few more pages myself and use the backs of the finished pages too, so I've bought some more Rusty Pickle papers and other bits so that I can tailor it to my own needs. I've really enjoyed doing this so far and definitely want to see it finished.

The third item I've picked out is a little chipboard box with cards on a chain inside from Maya Road which I started at the last Graphicus Open Days in September.

I chose to demonstrate with this as each of the little cards were perfect for collaging stamped images, inking and embellishing. I didn't get too much done during the open days as people wanted to see so many different products and techniques that I was swapping from one thing to the next but I would like to finish the box and its contents to put in the shop so that visitors can see what can be done with it.

I've also used some Maya Road chipboard flowers inked, stamped and embellished with Glossy Accents and brads. They are such fun to use and there's so many ways in which you can use them.

All of my good intentions have come to a grinding halt today..... I had a bad few days with my knees last week, my meds don't seem to have been helping much at all. I hate to be defeated and even more, to give in so I just ignore the pain as much as I can and do what I want. But last night it decided that it was going to get me back for not paying attention and I started to get some really nasty pain in my back so eventually I gave in and went to bed... well, it was about 1.30 a.m. so I didn't really see it as giving in! This morning when I tried to get out of bed I just screeched and couldn't move in any direction, either to get up or to get back into bed and had to just sit cursing.... everything hurt!

It took me over half an hour to get up and dressed and then I had to negotiate the stairs. It goes without saying... nothing much has been achieved today. I can't sit, walk or find a position to lay down in that doesn't hurt, so I don't think I'm going to make much of a hole in finishing any of the above today. Even sitting at the PC for too long is impossible and this has had to be written in five minute stages with time out in between and has taken most of afternoon and evening to finish.

If anyone knows of a good vet!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Friends In Art

Today was World Card Making Day! (It's the early hours of Sunday morning now so really it should by 'Yesterday' was World Card Making Day). I had intended to make cards and took myself of to my work room quite early in the day. After all, the weather was miserably and cold so I didn't feel guilty spending it crafting.

Glenda has a new TV show to film on Tuesday and I needed to get on with some samples for it that I have in production. The stamps being featured on the show are brand new Christmas stamps from Elusive Images and they are great fun to work with. Here's a card I made earlier in the week with products that are going to be featured on the show.....

It's quite unusual for me to work with pink, not one of my usual colours. There are three sets of Glimmer Mists featuring in the product line-up and I had all of the colours at home to work with. I had to start somewhere, so I just dipped into the box and picked one without looking and it was 'Pink Taffy', and that was what set the ball rolling.

Anyhow, back to today. I had a bit of mess to clear away before I could get started and to get me in the mood for working with Christmas stamps I decided instead of music, I would play this in the studio:

I love this film, a real 'feel good' movie with some lovely winter scenes. If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth a watch. OK, so the movies on, I've cleaned away all the clutter and just have to put a couple of sets of stamps away I was working with during the week and I can get started, the only problem is the stamps are like magnets and my hand is stuck fast to them. They are screaming 'use me' and guess what? I get completely side tracked and set about making a set of tags, first with the Eccentric Edwardian themeplate and then with Paris Memories.

It's very difficult to make out in the photo, but I added some Glossy Accents to the clock face so that it would look like glass.

Then I moved on to the Paris themeplates, they are every bit as lovely and I could have spent hours playing with these stamps. But, there was work to be done and the day was getting away from me.... rapidly!

I had a friend keeping me company in the studio this afternoon,

I'm not sure if Diesel was poking his tongue out at me, the results of my artwork or my choice in movies which he appears to be watching here!

Cute or What?