Saturday, 31 October 2015


We never celebrated Halloween when I was a child. I don't remember it focusing much in my own children's childhood either.

But for my grand daughters it is different, and every year it comes round with great excitement. And I get to enjoy it too, because I get to go trick and treating. And last year stands out in memory, see here.   

Halloween also gives me a good excuse to make things.  Like this:

And if you would like to know how, there are instructions here.

Other things I have made are tag books for each of my girls. These have been in the making for a long while. So long, that Halloweens have come and gone! But this year I am going to print some more photos and make up small bags of embellishments because the idea is for the girls to add their own finishing touches. I know they will love that. Here's a few of the pages:


What do you think?

Have a Happy Halloween what every you are doing, and thanks for popping by.

Friday, 30 October 2015


I look forward to Julie's monthly post about numbers because I can be a bit of a geek sometimes where numbers are concerned. I love how they make patterns, sequences, and are the basic structure for so many things. Like the Fibonacci sequence, for example. I may not be good at maths but I don't need to be in order to appreciate the order and rules that can sometimes apply. Look at this for example:

This was shared on Facebook by Australian Teachers. Why can't we teach maths like this?!  How simple when you know the tricks and patterns. But I'm not going to talk about that. Not today. Because Julie invites us to look back over the month and to look for numbers:

And I start by celebrating!
Because THIS post is my 100th this year!  
What's more, it is also my record year for writing posts.  I started off with intention to blog more regularly, and I am.

30 - the number of days I signed up for, when I started the
30 Day Blogging Challenge.

16 - the number of days completed so far.  Meaning I am over HALF WAY.

FOUR - the number of new groups I have joined this month in an effort to meet other like minded people. Three of them, the NLP, Artists Group and Knit and Natter will become regular dates in my diary as I discovered lots of common interest, lovely people and I came home buzzing. Just what I hoped for!!  
As for the woman's business group that I attended: I may try again or another group. I want to network and share more of what I do, in terms of running workshops, but I do not want to focus on sales pitches, marketing, and promoting a business. That's not my style.

2 - Webinars
ONE pending, ONE watched. My FIRST experience.
Often I have been out/in a different time zone/otherwise busy and so the timing is not always convenient for me when Webinars go live. I discovered that these are a great way to learn and I look forward to signing up for more in future. Even if I have to change plans, in some instances!

4.6 MILLION  shells decorating Margate Grotto.

3 friends a visiting....

 And no, I didn't count them!  
Other Grotto facts you might like to know:

Age of construction: unknown. 

1836 - the year the Grotto was discovered.
1838 - the year it opened to the public.
104ft -  the length of the underground passages.

ONE - workshop run:
Austrailian Hidden Piano Hinge books with 5 signatures.

 TWO  -  nights away in the camper. 
With THREE  giggling grand daughters.

Windows 10 downloaded.   I will share my thoughts when I've had more time to play.

ONE retreat, and LOTS of things made.

TWO workshops attended.

And a story to tell. 
I planned a visit to a local craft shop and discovered there were 2 places available if we wanted to make a card while we were there.
So places booked, my friend arrived to pick me up and showed me a set of free stamps on her latest magazine. I immediately decided to buy a copy. But guess what?  When we arrived at the shop we learnt that these stamps were used in making of the card, and that copies of the magazine were on sale.  I was meant to have them! 

So, that's me, this 30th day of the TENTH month. I have meant to take part in 'My Month In Numbers' for such a long time, so I'm pleased to have finally succeeded. Thanks to Julie, over at 'notes on paper' for coming up with this idea, and to you for popping by.

Thursday, 29 October 2015


This week I was given some vintage knitting patterns. 
Just imagine my joy!!
And it got even bigger as I looked through the pile.

Because they triggered memories. 

Such as my dad telling me about the time his Mum (my Nan) knitted him some swimming trunks. The weight of the water made them stretch so he had to be careful to hold them up when he got out of the sea.

And the funny thing is, I wrote this post yesterday. Before taking my mum to see my aunt..... 

and they started to reminisce, as they often do, and to talk about things that they used to enjoy. Like knitting, before onset of failing eyesight and painful joints. Which bought them round to my nan... and the infamous swimming trunks. And they seemed surprised when I started to laugh and tell them about my vintage patterns and how these had triggered my own memories about the swimming trunks. And a blog post, written just hours before. 

'Spooky' my aunt called it. Me? I like to think it was time for this story to be told, and when the time is right everything connects and falls into place. Call it synchronicity, if you like.

My aunt reminded me there was a photo of my dad wearing these trunks, so when I got home I looked it out. I'd never noticed before that my dad had got over the problem by wearing a belt. 
And apparently the trunks were maroon!

I had a similar problem when  my nan knitted my first bikini. Maybe it was crocheted, either way, my lack of boobs meant that I had nothing to hold it up.  And I remember standing up in the sea and the sudden realisation that my top part was not where it was meant to be!  Seeing my nan in the photo above makes me think that she is still laughing at these happy memories and mishaps too. 

There will be more to share about these vintage knitting patterns so I'll be back soon with more.  

Meantime, thank you to everyone who is cheering me on in this 30 Day Blogging Challenge, reading my posts, and leaving such heart warming and positive comments. I truly appreciate this. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


On Monday my daughter's home was burgled. Luckily she was out at the time, enjoying some Halloween fun during half term. But I feel sick when I think what it must have been like for her, going home and discovering that someone else had been there before her. That there had been forced entry and things taken. Wedding and engagement rings, the watch she had bought her husband and other jewellery that had special meaning. Other things taken belonged to the girls, and the compassionate part of me thinks it sad that someone who would do this might lack the love and stable upbringing that my grand daughters have. Because anyone with any thought for others or sense of justice and morals would not do this to another person.

My heart swells with pride when I think about what an amazing mother
my own daughter is, and my son in law is not only a brilliant father but also her rock at times like this. And that makes it all the more painful that someone should break into their home, and destroy this
safe space. Or could have.  Because it would be so easy to let this awful thing manifest into something bigger. To dwell on the negative rather than the positive. Because both take the same amount of time, and it is how you manage adversity that makes the difference.

And it's times like this you learn who cares and what matters. Their
neighbour proved priceless. After giving hugs, phoning the police and making cups of tea, she cooked dinner for the girls and looked after them so that my daughter and her husband could do what was needed. After the police had taken fingerprints, family turned up to do what they could to help and we took the girls overnight. Next day flowers started to arrive from friends and neighbours down the road.
They have said they will look out for each other more. So many people have sent heart felt wishes and offers of help. And I am so proud of how my daughter and her family have dealt with this. Yes, they are truly shaken. Heartbroken about things taken. And it will probably take time for them to feel safe again in their own home.

They may be winded from the punch, but they know how to fight back.
And the love and support of others is a true help. 

I hadn't planned to share this. But when I woke this morning and thought about what to write I remembered an art exhibition I saw yesterday at The Turner Gallery in Margate.  And the two things became connected.

At first sight the exhibit looked like pieces of metal created as musical instruments. But then I read the story behind these and learnt that the metal came from decommissioned illegal weapons seized by the Mexican government. 

I hadn't seen weapons. And when I looked at the art exhibit again knowing, I had mixed feelings. Because I don't like what these stand for, power, corruption, and living in a way that does not have care or compassion for others. But I looked again with an open mind. 
This time I saw a piano 


and percussion

And I love that Pedro Reyes has turned this dark side into something playful and light.  When the instruments played you could not help but pause and enjoy, be fascinated and intrigued. Someone else who is using adversity to the better good. 

And as the sun set in Margate, I reminded myself that there is always a blue sky behind the clouds, you just have to look and believe. And know how to fight back when life throws a punch.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

30 Day Blogging Challenge - What have I learnt so far?

I'm nearly half way into this challenge.
So what have I learnt so far? 

  • That I can write short posts sometimes that are quick to construct.
  • That I can write long posts that lead to long and thoughtful  comments from my readers. These are much appreciated.
  • That sometimes there is a focus on developing a blog to promote a business or product. That's great. But it is not what I want to do. Even so, I can still learn a lot that is relevant and useful to me from this course.
  • That the blogs I most enjoy reading are ones where the person is authentic. I get to know aspects of them as a person. They feel real.
  • That I want to continue blogging in the way that I always have. To share different parts of my life and interests: photography, travel, my creativity, and dreams. Not forgetting difficulties. Because they are part of life too.
  • That I am happy with my style and content. I just want to learn techniques that will make me better and more efficient.
  • That I am enjoying the challenge of blogging every day. I like challenges, right?
  • Photos often provide inspiration for my post, but not all posts have to include a photo. Though I like that most do!
  • That a friend has decided to join me in this 30 Day Blogging Challenge. You might find it useful too, so long as you are not already committed to another challenge that is equally demanding but rewarding. I'm thinking here of those currently writing 300 comments in 30 days, while I cheer on from the side lines! Incidentally, I get nothing for mentioning this blogging course. I do so because I like to share when I find something useful or interesting.
  • That there is a new e-book to go with this course. It is available from Amazon and is a useful read even if you don't want to do the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Here's a link if you want to find out more.  And here's a link for the course which you can sign up for at any time.

Taking a new or unknown path can be exciting. It may lead to new adventures, or take you no where, but better that than standing still and having the same view point.  

Thanks for popping by. See you here again tomorrow!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Me on Monday - and a retreating kind of weekend

Today I am waving at Sian over at 'High in the Sky'. I love her
weekly meme 'Me on Monday' and lots of my blog friends take part. I often think I will join the party but never do. Until now. Because I have a post to write as part of my 30 Day Blogging Challenge and I have had a fun weekend. So why wait any longer?!

Friday was the start of my weekend. It was a get-up at silly-hour kind-of-day so that I could fit more in.  Out of necessity that is, rather than choice, because I had places to go and things to do. I try to be organised and prepared. Really!  

I had planned to pack for a weekend away before I went to bed but I was tired and sometime I need to listen to my body and rest.  And as it happens I am more active in the morning, so I set the alarm and then spent the next couple of hours packing my materials and equipment into bags while trying to think what projects I wanted to work on. There was also bags with clothes, bedding, and bits-I-can't-leave-at-home, you know the kind of things, mobile charger, reading book, journal, and wine....

It was also a shower, dress up and wear a necklace kind-of-day.
I had booked to attend a business woman's experience day, so I had workshops to attend, parking space to find, and a smart bag instead of my usual one. It was also tense drive in traffic kind-of-day, thinking I will be late and all the car park spaces taken. Instead, everything flowed. I arrived early, parked and booked in. I got a
bag of goodies (sorry, I tried a spirula cereal bar and decided the chickens may like them more than me!) and then it was successive workshops, each thoroughly worth attending. One of these was presented by Sarah Arrow, who runs the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and it was lovely to meet her in person. I enjoyed a Reiki session and a workshop about Inner Warrior, and let's face it, it is important to work, rest, and play!!

It was a leave early kind-of-day, because my friend Jill would be on my doorstep when I got home. And she was!  So it was open the front door, load all my bags and boxes into her car, and be off again kind-of-day.

It was excited-chat in the car journey, and finally, a letting-go as we pulled into the car park and unloaded our things into the hall.  It was a hello-lovely-to-see-you again kind-of-day, as we blew up lilos, made up beds, and prepared for our weekend camping in a hall.  We know how to live it up!! And as friends arrived, and paper and glue spread, the busy day slipped into a memory. Despite my early start, who wants to be the first to go to bed? Not me! I was up with the rest til gone midnight. Because that's what weekends are about.

Saturday was another create and chill kind-of-day, with cake o'clock and lovely home cooked meals. With Kerry pulling-it-together, this weekend is easy flowing and as relaxing as any expensive spa. It was a thinking-of-you card making, and lots of book making kind-of-day and with clocks going back we gained an extra hour too. But Sunday comes all to soon and in the afternoon it was a pack up kind-of-day. But for once I left feeling as relaxed as I arrived. A lesson learned kind-of-day. Because usually I am last to finish packing and tables and chairs are being cleared around me. I feel under pressure and each time I try a different tack - start packing earlier in the day, clear up as I go - but nothing made any difference. Until yesterday. I started to pack after lunch and just kept out a few materials that I was using. It worked! Come time to go I was packed within minutes and ready first!  It was a drive home feeling refreshed and content kind-of-day.

Back home it was time to catch up with the family.  My son had stayed over and the men had spent their weekend playing with camper vans and buying a Nexus tablet. It was a cook a curry and chill
kind-of-day to end. And that was just perfect.  Just like my weekend. And that's Me on Monday. Thanks for popping by and I'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

IT'S TIME TO DREAM - Design Team Project

My last 2 projects were grungy so for this months That Craft Place Design Team project for I decided to do something different.
I looked through my box for inspiration but in the end it came to me through a quote: 
'A dream would not want to go out into the world unless there was somewhere receptive to receive it'.
Andrea Schroeder

I started by covering a mannequin and a pair of wings with gesso.
Please note: a supply list will be provided at the end!

While the paint dried I printed the quote onto 120gm paper, leaving a small gap between some of the words.
I then selected some decoupage papers. 
Can you spot the odd one out?  
I wanted another pattern to compliment the sheets of tissue so I picked out a serviette. It's important to separate the layers and often they are 3-ply. I find it easier to start in the centre as the edges are crimped together.
You will usually find the printed top layer, a plain bottom layer, and one in the centre that has a faint impression:  

Keep each of these, they will all be useful for future projects. If your top layer is too bold you can glue it face down, you will still see the colour but it will be more subtle.  However, I wanted bright so started to tear the sheets into small pieces and to glue them onto the mannequin using Matt Medium.

Once covered I tore the words into strips and glued these into position, sp that they run down the front and around the bottom. 

I painted the wings using a blend of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic and Pearl Glaze. While the paint was still wet I sprinkled
them with DecoArt Glammer Dust. Let me say here, I'm not someone who uses a lot of sparkle, but I thought it might suit this project. I'm not so sure! I have decided to leave it for now, knowing I can come back and change it if I change my mind.  The wings actually look better in real life, but what do you think?



Mannique and Wings

White Gesso
PaperArty Fresco Chalk paint: nougat & Pearl Glaze
DecoArt Glammer Dust
DecoArt Matt Medium
4 sheets of Decopatche tissue or serviettes 

*Note: You only need small pieces of each sheet. Keep the rest for future projects. 

All these items are available from That Craft Place
To see more Design Team projects pop over to That Craft Place Blog
 and why not enter this months Mixed Media challenge?  You'll find details how to take part and lots more ideas too. And if you watch shopping channels on tv you might have seen the owner of TCP this week.  Lisa designs and supplies MDF to Creative Expressions. Well done Lisa, you looked so professional and relaxed!   

So that's me done!
I hope some of these ideas inspire you, thank you for popping by.  

Saturday, 24 October 2015


Do you have a list of places you would like to visit one day?  Because I'm sure I'm not alone in this!

And it is good to tick them off.
Add new ones.
And discover places that would have been on the list. Had you'd known about them.

One such place was Prestonpans in East Lothian.

After spending an afternoon with my a blog friend Helena we decided to find a nearby campsite and to start our journey along the coast next day. Normally we look for somewhere interesting or picturesque but it was just overnight, so we simply chose a convenient spot. And what a surprise!!  First, we discovered that right next to the campsite was an open air museum. We were able to wander round and my camera was very busy. But more about that another time, because what we also learnt that this was an area of historical interest. And that down the road at Prestonpans there were murals painted on buildings to commemorate this.  So next morning we stopped off briefly to discover more. Here are some of my photos:

We didn't have long to explore so wasn't able to see all the murals.
Today I discovered this link and wish I'd seen this before our visit. But then it is exciting to discover new places and to be surprised. If ever we are back in the area we will stop again. For longer this time.

And if you want to find out more yourself do check out the link. I will share more about the open air museum another time because that was another surprise! Meanwhile thanks for popping by. I'll be back tomorrow with another post for my 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Hope to see you here.

Friday, 23 October 2015


I have a large collection of draft posts. Ones that I have started and not finished, because:
  • Something else grabbed my attention or excitement 
  • They were planned in advance and are no longer relevant 
  • They wait, their time to post is not yet right
  • OR! Perhaps they just got overlooked!
And that's what happened today.  Because as I was scrolling down my list I had a sudden heart sink. I found a draft that truly should have been posted. 

Let me explain:

One lady at our WI would win the raffle nearly every time she entered.  But not me.  I support good causes and buy the occasional lottery ticket without high expectation of winning, but there is always hope! Perhaps I should change my attitude. They say a positive attitude helps. But I digress.... 

Sometimes I enter competitions too. Again, my chances of winning have proved to be slim in the past, but there was one day in June last year, when everything changed.

So why did my heart sink when I found this draft, instead of doing back flips with excitement?

Because my friend Julie offered a prize in collaboration with Chamby & Cor.

And I was the lucky winner!! 

And I never publically said thank you!! 
Okay, it is not a prison-able offence, but generosity and kindness should be acknowledged, and I like to treat others as I would like to be treated.  SO! Somewhat late, but nonetheless a huge thank you to Julie and to Chamby and Cor! My gifts have been lovingly used and appreciated, and I had difficulty in choosing from such a huge range of washi tapes. So it's worth checking out their website. And while you are at it, take a look at Julie's shop too.  That's where you can buy the hinged hoop and lots of other lovely things!  

But there is more!!  

On the very same day I heard from a friend.

She had joined the National Trust and as part of her membership she was given a ticket to pass on to a friend.  It allowed free entry to NT properties for a one-week period, and she gave it to me! 

I wrote about my visit here and was very grateful because we had a wonderful day out.  One of those days that stands out in memory.  One of those days I made into a book:

But there is still more!!

Because another friend sent an email to say she was offering me the gift of a free online course. She had signed up and could invite a friend to join her. Can you imagine?! 

All three were received on the same day! 

I was blown away!! 

So, I have reasons to be grateful.

Reasons to appreciate friendship and the act of giving/sharing.

And of course, I like to pay things forward and to say thank you. 
Even if it is later than planned. 

Thank you for popping by. I'll be back tomorrow with another post as part of my 30 Days Blogging Challenge. And I'd love to know if any of this resonates with you. Please tell me I am not alone in my long list of draft posts and having ones you planned but have not written!

Thursday, 22 October 2015


I have stopped getting excited when the postman delivers mail. Usually there is a wodge of circulars that go straight into the recycling bag or the occasional bill (most are sent on line now).  
So when the post arrived this morning with a 'thud' my thoughts immediately went to a book that I have ordered.  So imagine my excitement when I looked and saw 2 packages and a letter.  Not a circular or a bill. A REAL letter, from a friend.  My heart flipped a few times and I dashed to the kitchen to open these. 

It was the arrival of the book I expected.  Marie Kondo's 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying' which I mentioned here. I put the kettle on to make a cup of tea, thinking that I'd take a break while I read my letter.  Meanwhile I opened my second package.

And my heart flipped again!

Because it was a package from my dear friend Angela, in France.

First I smelt lavender... carefully sealed in a handmade sachet. 
Then I looked at this package, beautifully wrapped in a French bakery bag.  And I carefully started to untie..... 
And as I touched the leaf I realised it was still supple. I loved that it had a message written on it!  Such simple delights always make my pulse beat faster.

And when I turned the package over I saw a vintage postcard.  The photo shows a rustic cottage where cows shared living space with the family. Yes, that really used to happen!

And inside the bag.... a book! 

Actually, an Agenda dated 1958.

And on this day, 57 years ago, someone wrote on this page. 
I don't know what it says because I can not read or speak French.  But I'm interested to know and maybe you can tell me?

There are also other slips of paper inside too.

But before I go I thought I would show you the postcard properly. Because in the days before tv, maybe people sat and watched their
cows as a way of relaxing!

Me?  I'll choose one of my books thank you! 

I already have ideas how I will use this vintage Agenda. One time I would have cringed at the thought of tearing pages from a book or doing anything to change it.  Now I came to realise that books like these will be destroyed or hidden away on shelves perhaps never to be seen again.  So by breathing new life into this book I can create something that can live on.  And in this age of throw away, it is good to appreciate and make the most of what we have. Right?

And the other book? 

That will help me to get my life in order and decide what I need to keep throw away.  Well, that's the aim!  And that's the type of balance I am working towards.

But before I start reading I am going to put wax on the leaf that Angela sent me.  Because in Joy's letter she told me that a leaf I sent her back in June has kept well. It was picked off the oak tree that I follow and post about each month, and it now sits on her studio windowsill. How lovely to hear that others appreciate little things that come in happy mail too. 

So, thanks for popping by and as part of my 30 Day Blogging Challenge I'll be back with more tomorrow. Hope to see you then.
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