Thursday, 28 February 2013

Farewell February!

Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?

Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing

Yep February - you miserable old beggar!  Go far, far away!

Although its the shortest month of the year, February always seems never-ending to me.  Cold, dreary, yuksome and without trying to wish precious time away, I'm more than ready to welcome the turning of the wheel of the year and Spring Equinox next month.

Everyone I have spoken to recently seems somewhat subdued; there have been severe attacks of the miseries at work, and more illnesses and long lasting viruses about than you can shake a stick at.

I for one shall be welcoming in March with open arms and look forward to more daylight hours, spring flowers, and cold, crisp Spring days.  Although a little more warmth wouldn't go amiss Mama Nature if you're listening!  It will soon be time to revisit Lottie 'Lotment  and begin the planting process once again.  How I've missed her!

I'm celebrating March the 1st by awarding myself a day off work!  And what's more, I think I'll have Monday off too!  So there!  Yay me!

See you soon x

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

WOYWW - 195

Ooh - one is late for a very important date!  It's Wednesday - **checking watch in a manic fashion a la the White Rabbit** and therefore it must be time for a crafty (tee hee) nosey around the work desks of the universe!  Jump into THIS RABBIT HOLE which will take you over to Ms Dunnit's Stamping Ground to find out more!

Here is my work desk this very Wednesday - the last one in February - eek how did that happen?!

For those of you who haven't visited since last week (Ahem.  *taps foot*  And WHERE do you think you've been eh?!  lol) you'll be pleased to know that: I'VE MOVED IN!!!  Moved into very own my little craft pod and this very Wednesday marks my first WOYWW from my new desk!

Ohhh it's SOOOO lovely having my own space.  It's so cosy in there with the heater on and I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be able to escape to my little haven just two steps across the patio from the house. Lovely man of mine has done a wonderful job of making it perfect. He's earned about 47 million billion brownie points from this project!

If you want to have a further nosey around - then please check out THIS post from a couple of days ago if you have time, where there are some more photos from before it got messy!!

On my desk this week is a card I was making for a work colleague's birthday tomorrow.  This lady owns four ferrets so I thought it would be fun to find a cute image on the t'interwebnet to use as a one off card topper.  There is an abundance of paper flowers, (that tin at the top of the desk contains lots more flowers!) a Happy Birthday stamp and an ink pad.  Of course no crafting table is complete without the obligatory coffee cup (sadly empty by the time this photo was taken!) and my BlackBerry which was playing a very eclectic selection of 'choons' as I crafted away.  (Eclectic is right.  From Daniel Merriweather to Rammstein; from Pendulum to Slipknot and from Faithless to Green Day!)

What's on YOUR work desk this Wednesday then?

Ooh really?

Then I'm coming right over!!

See you soon!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Nail (Brush) Art and a Beary Challenge Entry.

Happy Monday Bloglies.

Thank you so much for your lovely comments about the new Pod.  I had to laugh though - so many of you wondered how long it would stay tidy and pristine!  Well ... um..well I dunno but one has to be neat and tidy at one's grand unveiling doesn't one?!  heehee.

Our good friends over at The House of Bears  SEE HERE issued a challenge for the month of February.which was to base your artwork on a love story.

Well my "artwork" (cough) took inspiration from Robert Fulgham's True Love;  "An irresistible collection of real-life love stories, mixed with Robert Fulghum' s own quirky insights and unmistakable homespun observations, "True Love" tells the many unpredictable tales of love. Here it is: the intriguing story of the woman who marries her mother' s high school flame; a man who learns that "old love" and new pajamas are a dangerous mix; ......" -  you get the picture.    I found a quotation from this book some time ago and always thought that it was perfect.   It's a bit of a tenuous link - the book is neither well known nor a classic - but it's book-related at least!  Sorry bears!  

I chose to do a journal page as my entry and here it is:-

The quote should be visible if you enlarge the picture by clicking on it.  I used acrylics, Octopode digi stamps which I coloured in  with Promarkers and drew on some free hand hearts with oil pastels.  

I've been playing a little more this evening.  The background of the above journal pages was created using a very cheap (39p) nail brush and I loved the effect it gave I had to do it again to show you!!  

First of all I covered some pages with gesso, then blobbed (technical term) some acrylic paint on top.  

Then I took the brush and dragged it through the paint, 

Randomly scrub the brush over the paint - so dragging the paint across your page.

Add more paint when needed.

Once you have covered your page, coat the edges of the bristles with contrasting paint and tap lightly all over to create little splodgy blobs!

Next up - (I like this bit best!!)  load the brush in even more paint (I used green on one end and yellow on the other) and press it on to the paper, then keeping a constant pressure turn the brush 360 degrees to create a swirly painty circle!  Or lots of them! 


Hmmm.... I'm feeling a springy- flowery -journally page coming on in due course!

Whaddya reckon Charlie-Mouse?    OI!  What do you mean you'd rather watch paint dry?  

How very rude!! 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

I declare this Craft Shed..... Now open!!

Happy Sunday darling readers!

Well - today was the day!

At long last I was able to move my crafting stash into my little hidey hole.

Here it is in all its glory!   Of course I couldn't have done it on my own.  Cassie offered much help, creative direction and moral support and sat on every available surface for quality control purposes.

Here it do be then.

Without further ado.


Green Man will oversee proceedings

Yep - its ok.  It'll do.   Please make sure my cushion is warmed and plumped prior to my next visit. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cheery Up Flowers

Hello Bloglies - great big warm hugs to you all. Throw another log on the fire and grab a crocheted blanket to put across your knees!  Lawks a'mercy Guv'nor just how cold is it?!  Although the last couple of days have been bright, the bitterly cold wind is making it feel like 379,890 degrees below the -2 they've forecast!  Brrr, basically!!

Can you believe that its Thursday already?  Friday is so close that if I stand on the sofa I can almost see it! Woohoo!

There's not a lot going on here at Peapods.  Its one of those get up, go to work, come home, go to bed kinda weeks with not much in between.

Flowers seem to have featured quite prominently this week.  My two (lady) bosses and I have had the week from hell this week with workload and stress at an all time high.   On Tuesday one of them, most unusually, went into a semi-meltdown and there were tears and a big tantrum.  It was one of those straw breaking the camel's back moments.  I bought a cheapy bunch of bright pink carnations from the big green supermarket for £2 and split the ten stems between the two of them, leaving a little yellow post it cheery-up note for them whilst they were at lunch.  It wasn't much to do in the grand scheme of things but I know they appreciated them, and the vase of flowers now residing in their tiny oppressive office really cheers the place up.

When I came home, the lilies in the Valentine's bouquet from lovely man which had been in tight bud that morning had burst open and are now filling the kitchen with their heady, peppery scent.

The basket of hyacinths on the windowsill which were a gift from lovely mom are also beginning to 'hatch'.  I think this one got a little over excited though and appears to be blooming before it has fully emerged!

I had a bit of sketch frenzy last night and added this little lady to my journal.

It certainly whiled away an otherwise mind-numbing evening whilst DD was watching The Brits.  (One Direction annihilating not one but two classic punk songs at once was enough to make me want to throw things at the telly.   *shakes head in disbelief*).  Not impressed.

Sorry for the rubbish quality of the pics by the way.  I had to take them on my BlackBerry as the camera batteries died.

Keep warm now xxxx

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

WOYWW - 194

Greetings lovely readers.

I do hope you're all fine and dandy and that life is treating you gently.

If its Wednesday then it must be time to get our Nosey Pants on and blog hop like hoppy things around the crafty desks of the blogging universe to see what everyone is up to.  This brilliant blog hop for nosey parkers like me is hosted by Lady Dunnit over at  Stamping Ground

This is my desk this week.

I was trying to have a bit of a sort out but it all went horribly wrong and I got distracted by a doily.

Said doily was duly distressed.  Well actually  it wasn't until I attacked it with some ink.

Then I cut out the middle as I figured it would look better scrunched up a little
(and would fit my card blank better!)

I stamped the cut out centre and wanted to heat emboss it but the doily was
far too flimsy and became a potentially incendiary experiment!

So. I cut out a circle from some textured cardstock, distressed this with similar colour inks, then stamped  the fairy image
on to another piece of card.  I was able to heat emboss this with copper embossing powder, and then lightly tapped some ink over the top of it.    To complete the card I added a couple of 3d flutterbyes and some stickers for the greeting.

Crafty Lessons learned today

  • Very cheap doilys from the Emporium of Poundness do not take kindly to being heat blasted and crumple alarmingly quickly. 
  • If you intend to heat emboss an image its a good idea to let your distress inked cardstock dry completely first.  Otherwise when you add your powder to your stamped image the powder is highly likely to stick to the entire piece of cardstock you are using.  Sigh. 
Happy Wednesday!  

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Happy Sunday my lovelies.  I hope you've been out enjoying the sunshine today.  It felt almost spring-like here in the Black Country.  It was bright and breezy and perfect weather for drying lots of towels on the line outside.  

I have great news to impart!

The craft-pod is DONE!!

 Its finished and complete and lovely and shiny and dry and insulated and  bright and airy and has a lovely laminated floor and shelving and.... is lovely! (!)  I'm so pleased!  At last I can move my stuff in.  Lovely man finished putting the electrical supply in today which was the last job to be done. This was important so that I can have heat and light in there, particularly as I'm most likely to us it during the evenings. I know it sounds like this project has been going on forever - but the bad weather coupled with him only really being able to work on it on Sundays because of work/sleep commitments has extended completion by a few weeks.  Its all good though.  I just have to be ruthless now and throw everything away that I'm really not going to use, instead of pretending that it will come in handy for a future project.  I'm guessing that some hideous papers which haven't been used in five years are highly unlikely to be used in the next five years either!  Photographs of my little play den will follow in a future post once all my stash is in situ.

I managed to get some crafting done today - just a little play in my art journal but it does my equilibrium good to do it.  Sundays and I don't get on very well really.  I'm ok up until midday but then I'm constantly watching the clock and willing it go more slowly.  I'm really finding out now how much art journalling is like a form of therapy.

I've never been able to draw.  Ever!  In fact, I used to despair of myself in school art classes when everyone else was creating masterpieces and my still life of a bowl of fruit looked like a tarantula who had taken mind altering drugs had done a tango across my cartridge paper. Particularly as I used to sit next to a girl whose artwork, even at a very early age, was truly mindblowing.  There was no way I could have ever competed.  Its only now that I realise that I didn't really need to.

Anyway.  I have recently challenged myself to do more drawing.  We bought ourselves (man and I) a  children's book which gives the basic principles of drawing and I followed the tutorial for drawing faces.  I sketched the basics of this face a few weeks ago but was a bit reticent about sharing it on my blog.  Today I took a paintbrush to it and thoroughly enjoyed mixing and shading and splashing acrylics and water over it.

These pages are dedicated to releasing my artistic inhibitions.  My journal my rules.  Therein - there are no rules!  

Ooh I say.  

I'm feeling strangely empowered!  

Thanks Journal! 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Love Love


Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who celebrate. This is for you:-

And for those of you who don't .............. 

Happy Thursday! 

As usual its a working night for Lovely Man so I have to amuse myself.  (I did this whilst admiring the lovely bouquet he'd had delivered to work for me though ;) )

I had a bit of a play with some chalk resist stamping.  I hadn't got any project in mind so just used my journal.  I love this technique.  It gives a great 'soft' result - almost ghost like.  It's also fun revealing the stamped image against the white page.  

Here's what I did.

Stamp your image using a clear embossing stamp pad.

You may have to enlarge this by clicking to see it a little better - it's just the stamped image.

Gently rub some chalk over the image.  The chalk will cling to the embossing ink.

Change your colours to suit your image

I got carried away and added butterflies and it ended up a little messier than I intended.  I am not of the persuasion that less is more.  Maybe I should adhere to that rule!!

Give it a go! 

See you soon. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

WOYWW - And a bit of Squooshing!

Gadzooks and Hey Nonny!  Tis Wednesday and I must haste away to yonder Stamping Ground for to  alight my peepers 'pon the veritable feast of crafty goodness laid out across Ye Olde Blog Lande.  What say you to accompanying me?


Sorry.  Appeared to have fallen into one of those parallel universe thingies then.  Either that or lack of carbs is causing me to become hysterical.

Now then.  Enough of this nonsense.  'Ere do be my workdesk this very Wednesday.

Cheeky hooligan dog decided to get in on the act too!.  

Stop pretending to look interested Harvey!

Now then.  You may see cast upon me table some 'flexible chopping mats'.  I spotted them whilst shopping in the Emporium of Poundness.  Two chopping mats for one whole English pound.  Coo I say.

I didn't know what I was going to do with them really but was sure that I could fit something crafty in, on or around them.

Now these photos are rubbish really so I do apologise if you're not getting much inspiration from them!  I stamped some distress ink pads randomly over both mats.  If you enlarge the photos by clicking on them, you'll see that the ink began to 'bead' on the plastic.

I sandwiched a tag between the two and squooshed them together so inking up the tag in a rather pleasing speckly manner!


There was loads of ink left, so I also pressed a couple of  my journal pages onto the mats and so achieved a similar pattern.  I added a bit of chalk over the ink once it was dry and I now have a couple of background pages ready to go whenever I decide what I'm going to put on them! 

As experiments go, it wasn't ground breaking really was it?  But I'm still learning about these things so that's ok. 

Fare thee well fair maidens (and, erm.  non-maidens!)  

See you soon  

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Shrove Tuesday

Do you love them or hate them?

(I'm talking about the pancakes here and not the cat!)

My kids adore them and will eat them at any opportunity, dredged with sugar, drenched in lemon, smeared with chocolate spread, coated with maple syrup  (sometimes all at once!) and faster than I can make them.  Which, I have to say, I'm not particularly very good at! The first one is always a massive failure.  I never let the pan get hot enough for some reason and end up with an undercooked splodge!

 I tried to palm the kids off with some of the chilled, ready made ones but they're just not the same.  They're just big discs of flaccid, grey yuk.

For me pancakes are a bit of a non-entity really.  A bit... meh! Which is mad because I adore yorkshire puddings!   Tonight, just to be sociable mind, I shall partake of one little one.  Delicately stuffed with cinnamon scented roast plums.  

In fact sod the pancakes.  I'm just having plums! 

How do you eat yours? 

Saturday, 9 February 2013


Hello my lovelies

Sorry I've not blogged for a while!   Life got in the way a little these last few days.

I decided early last week that I was going to make a Valentine card for that lovely man of mine.  In my mind's eye I could see exactly what I wanted and so settled down at my temporary dumping ground craft table to get started.

Which would have been fine, had I been able to find the owl stamp I wanted to use.  Herein came the fall at the first fence. Said stamp was nowhere to be seen.  Well isn't that typical of every craft project I ever try?!  Frustrated was not the word!  I even text our Furry Friends to see if they knew where it was.  (This was highly unlikely as they live approximately 170 miles away but it was  worth a go!).  Said furry friends helpfully told me that perhaps the owl would come back later as it was a little early for them to be out.  Ahhh that would be it then.

So I waited.

Shuffled about a bit.


Looked at the clock.

Had a cup of coffee.

Whistled a little and swung my feet in a nonchalant manner.

Surreptitiously looked in the drawer I had first looked in about 3 hours ago.

Moved a bit of paper.


Sighed again.

Uttered lots of sweary words most unbecoming of such a delicate little flower as me. (Cough).

Yup.  There it was.

Home to roost.

And now it was too bloody late to do anything with it.


SO!!  this is how the varmint of an owl stamp became my valentine card to my true love.

Firstly - I stamped a couple of owly images onto some white card stock.  This the image prior to being promarkered to death and snipped out.  It's a Maya Road Singleton Stamp which was given to me by a dear friend for Christmas.

 Some midnight blue cardstock was adhered to a card blank. (This has to be the most boring photograph in blog land hahaha)

 A die cut yellow circle was added to the midnight blue. (Can you tell what it is yet?!)

Next up was a die-cut swirl cut from some brown card stock to which I attached some tiny red heart punchies.

 The varmint owls came next. Two(hoooo) of em.  Natch.

And some handy Stickapotamous stickers which were a serendipitous find whilst I was looking for the varmint owl stamp. 
I've entered into the wondrous PAN PASTELPAN PASTEL CHALLENGE   with this one :)

EEK!  Man is awake! 

Erm...Erm.... Quick - look at this instead........... back of the fridge soup  which is hubble-bubbling away in my caul..  pan. Back of the fridge soup (BOTFS) is just that. Anything that is found at the back of the fridge which hasn't grown (a)  legs or  (b) a beard or  (c) both) has been excavated, washed, chopped and souped.   Nom!!  In this week's BOTFS are:  2 spring onions, some savoy cabbage, a punnet of teeny sweet peppers (which I bought a couple of weeks ago because they looked very cute but didn't do anything with them), a very slightly bendy carrot, an onion and two leeks.  To this I added some chicken stock, some (fresh - erm.. at some point) thyme (also lurking at the back of the fridge) and a squirt of garlic paste.  This will be whizzed up for very low cal filling and frugal soup.  


Oh.  And these.  Y'know when you buy punnets of fruit which never seem to ripen for weeks and could cause someone serious damage should you test their ripeness by bouncing them off said someone's head?  Well I'm fed up of waiting for them to soften to be honest.  So I've chopped them, sprinkled them with sweetener (although I'm sure golden caster sugar would taste far nicer... grumble mutter.....) and some pumpkin pie spice and shall bake them until they yield in to a melting softness, whereupon I shall top them them with a cloud (channelling Nigel Slater here!) of low fat toffee apple yoghurt and scoff em in front of the telly later!  A sweet treat indeed!

I'll be off now then.

Relieved aren't you?!


Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...