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Sunday, 30 June 2013

THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR (SO FAR)?

Hi everyone

It has been sunny and hot today - perhaps a little too hot, but so much better than too cold, or too much rain.  I hope the weather is good for you and that you have had a great week.

I took part in the third Craft and Food Fair at Ripley Nurseries yesterday and it was great and I am looking forward to taking part in July's event.  The organiser, Claire Dadswell was lovely: very welcoming, friendly and helpful. The fair had a really nice atmosphere and the other stall holders were friendly and helpful too.   Apparently not as busy as the previous two (when told that you get a little concerned, but it wasn't only the organiser who mentioned this.  The general feeling was that as it was a day packed with sporting events, all being televised, and there was a big event at Wisley - not far from Ripley - a lot of people were at home glued to their television).  However, quiet or not people were buying - not in large amounts but I covered my stall fee, costs of materials and travel and had some profit on top of that, so I was a very happy bunny.  Here are a few pics of my stall, the 'shed' and my crafts:

 

The view form the 'shed' doorway


A shot of most of my stall - see the very smart bench I had to sit on during the day.  Very handy as I used any free time to make more cards - plenty of room to spread my bits and pieces around.


I made some citronella candles in lovely mini-flower pots I bought from the company I used for my candle-making supplies.


These are half-and-half and my apologies for anyone who feels it is not strictly handmade (as I say, it is half-and-half).  On a recent shopping trip, I came across these lovely pink rose serviette rings - they were reduced to 99p each and I had a 10% discount on sale prices card at the time!  I couldn't resist them and knew they just needed a matching napkin;  I bought rose-printed linen and made six and got them finished in time for Saturday's event.  They didn't sell, but were admired and I have plenty of other selling opportunities later in the year.  However, one male stall holder said 'if I was a woman I would buy them' - er, in there must be some sort of logic, but I still cannot think what it is.

When I signed up I was advised that we would be in sheds - my first thought was that it might be sheds that are used for growing plants, veggies, mushrooms even.  However, when I arrived I wad discovered it was garden sheds as in sheds, summer houses, lodges, etc; big and small ones and I was lucky enough to be in one that was rather like a large summer house: plug sockets, lighting and carpet!  Amazing. I had visions of it being uplifted and 'planted' in my garden so I could use it as a workshop - seventh heaven.  I shared the shed with one other crafter, a lovely lady selling unique jewellery made from computer net work wire, the wire from old plugs, etc.  This was her (Sarah) first event and she did very well.  She had made some really beautiful necklaces, which were hard to resist, but I couldn't resist her earrings and bought two pairs:


These are orange coiled wire - a poor photograph, for which I apologise.


Believe it or not, these are supposed to be read, not fuchsia pink!  Very pretty though.

Sarah's work is lovely and I have recommended Handmade Monday to her as it will be great for her work to be seen by established crafters, so I hope she joins us.  Don't forget to visit the other bloggers taking part in this week's shared blogging event.

It's back into the sunshine for me - my cats have been knocking very large stones into our pond in an effort, I think, to see who can throw furthest!  I have to rescue the stones.

I may not make next week's Handmade Monday blog party.  I am going into hospital on Thursday to have a lump removed and because it is near to my appendix, that is coming out too!.  A double whammy.  It could be that I may be a little groggy from the anaesthetic - I was going to say out-of-it but that is sometimes situation normal :0).  This 'problem' has been hanging over my head for the last few months and has caused me to get behind with work and commitments and not do lots of other things - even ones I had promised to do.  Whilst I am naturally concerned about the operation, my biggest fear is that they will attack me with a road drill to take more blood!  I am beginning to feel like a tea bag, so many perforations that if I was dunked in a bath I would sink to the bottom.

I hope to post either over next weekend or soon afterwards, and in the meantime have a great week and let's hope this fabulous weather lasts for a long time.

Jill

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

Well, so far this week it has been dry, so can someone please tell me, is this summer?  I was born in August last year, so not too sure what I should expect of the weather, because since then it has been rather interesting!

I am sure you will all be pleased to know that I haven't caught any birds this week - think they are on to me and steering (or flying?) clear of me.  However, Jill has had to rescue three frogs this week!  Well the silly things will keep jumping out of the pond and they are such fun to chase - never know which way they are going to jump!  Rather like me.  Jill says I bounce just like Tigger - whoever he is.

I tried to catch a bumble bee this morning that had got into the conservatory - yet again, Jill spoiled my fun and helped it fly away.  She is such a spoil sport.

I hope some of you managed to get to the Open Garden I mentioned in last week's post?  We couldn't make  it as we had lots of things going on here, but I bet it was great fun and raised loads of money for Woking Cats Protection.  Don't forget to check out their website or give them a call if you are looking for a kitten or cat to adopt - just tell them Milly sent you.

I am off to do some sun-bathing - have to make the most of it before the large yellow ball in the sky disappears!  Hope you enjoy the sunshine - I will be back next week with more of Milly's Diary.

Milly

Sunday, 23 June 2013

WEDDING OF THE YEAR

Hello everyone

How disappointing the weather has been again this week.  We had fingers, paws and even eyes crossed for most of the week hoping that the sun would shine on Saturday for our eldest nephew's wedding.  Sadly, the sun didn't shine, but neither did the forecast rain fall - thank goodness for that.  The dark clouds threatened the arrival of rain throughout the day, but we think someone had put a very, very big umbrella over the church and reception venue.  The wedding was lovely and I have added a few photographs below.  The reception was held at beautiful Wimpole Hall in Royston and as often happens with weddings (and sadly often funerals) it was good to catch up with family members who we had not seen for a long time.


The bride and groom, Sarah and Simon.  Sarah's dress was a gorgeous creamy colour with a long train.  The front of her dress was covered in beads.  


The lovely car that Sarah and Simon travelled in from the church to the reception.


Wimpole Hall, Royston.  The estate was given to the National Trust in 1976 by the daughter (Mrs Bambridge) of Rudyard Kipling.


A photograph of the partere at Wimpole Hall - sadly, not a lot of colour, but lots of great planting schemes.


I couldn't resist taking a photograph of a beautifully shaped laurel tree - oh, how, I wish I could do that with the massive bush that is over-hanging one of the boundaries in our garden.

No card makes to show this week, but I do have a couple of pictures of one of the pottery pieces I completed recently:



I had been waiting a long time for this to be fired.  I wanted it done at 1140 degrees and because this is not often used, I had to wait until a kiln-full of pottery was ready for firing.  My reason for choosing this temperature was that I wanted to maintain as near as possible the colour of the brown and yellow slip I had used for the trickle decoration.  A firing at 1250 degrees would have changed the yellow to a wishy-washy cream and the brown to a much darker colour.  

Unfortunately, and very disappointingly, whilst being fired or placed in the kiln, silica sand had dropped onto my dish from the shelf above.  This had created several rough/scruffy patches and although I tried to remove them by lightly sanding them, I abandoned this as it was scratching the glaze.  However, I am pleased with this piece and will give it another go using similar techniques and make sure this time around that I leave a note requesting care be taken when placing it in the kiln.

Over to Handmade Monday now as it is time to catch up with everyone's 'doings' for the week - don't forget to have a look as there are always great blogs to catch up on.  I will be back next weekend, Milly will be here on Wednesday and in the meantime if you would like to be a guest blogger here, please do get in touch on christmaspiecrafts@virginmedia.com.

Have a great week and let's hope the sun shines sometime soon.

Jill

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

MILLY'S DIARY

Hi everyone

Summer is here at last!  Woo hoo.  My black fur feels hot but my white fur is nice and cool.  I have been chasing lots of things this morning: damsel flies, butterflies and a bumble bee!  They all got away - better luck next time.

This is a photograph of me lounging on the garden table in between my 'chasing anything that flies' sessions - I did my bestest angelic look for Jill while she took the picture:


Jazz and Daisy are lounging a lot today as it is too warm for them - they are sooooo much older than me, so they need the rest.  Poor old souls.

One of Woking Cats Protection's lovely supporters is taking part in the Open Gardens Day event on Sunday, 23 June 2013 in support of the branch.  If you love gardens, do try to visit this one.  Lots of Cats Protection goodies will be on sale and you will get the chance to see photographs of the gorgeous cats needing homes.  You will be able to see photographs of Coco and Holly who are still looking for their forever home.


That's me blogged  for this week, the sunshine is too good to miss out on.  Enjoy the sunshine - I will be back next week with more 'tails' from Christmas Pie.

Milly

Sunday, 16 June 2013

OH DEAR, WHERE HAS SUMMER GONE?

Hi everyone

The forecast for around here was that part of yesterday and today would be sunny - er, was it?  No.  Like everyone, I am so fed up waiting for summer to arrive.  I feel like I live in one of those weather houses - when the sun shines I rush outside to get some gardening done, when the heavens open I rush back inside to get some card-making done.

The Card-Making workshop I ran with Lauren of the Crafty Hippy on Tuesday evening went very well and we all had a fun time.  The Therapy Garden is a really great venue and ideal for the future events we are planning.  Here are a couple of pics of some of the card-making participants - everyone enjoyed themselves and were keen to know when our next event was taking place, which was good feedback for us.  Photographs of the cards I demonstrated are also shown here:



Photographs of happy card-making crafters


This was the first decoupage card the group made.  It didn't start out as a decoupage sheet, but by copying/pasting the original picture, I was able to show  that you don't need to buy something that is specifically created for d├ęcoupage use, you can adapt anything.  Try to look at it with '3-D eyes' - what is at the front, what is the next layer, what is the 'flattest' part of the picture?  By using more sticky pads, the various pieces could be made more prominent.


This card gave the group more practice in delicate decoupage, the flowers needed more careful cutting and could be curved to represent the petals on the flowers.

I didn't start out as a fan of decoupage, but when I soon learned to appreciate how you can create and develop a beautiful picture.  It's a personal choice how many layers and sticky pads you use, and the effect created can be stunning.  I have seen some beautiful d├ęcoupage prints created by very clever crafters and it is something I never tire of doing.

Lauren worked with the group to make two cards using her Stampin' Up materials and the cards were lovely.  Stamping is something I haven't really got into, despite having a large box of stamps and inks.  I must add this to my looooong list of crafting to-do's.

Still on a crafting note, don't forget to visit the blogs taking part in this week's Handmade Monday - lots of great posts with fantastic makes to look at.

I spent a little more time sorting out the new look of my blog - it took ages to get Blogger to accept the colour for web links included in posts.  Initially they were not showing up so it was impossible for anyone to see that there were links included!  Annoying really as it looked as though I was promoting something without adding the link to it.

I spent some time at our local hospital this week (a follow-up appointment to some tests I have been having over the last couple of months) - the highlight of which was a pre-op blood test!  I have major problems having blood taken and despite advising nurses, etc about the problems, they all still like to try to prove me wrong and approach me with something that resembles a road-drill.  I ended up with a very large black bruise on the inside of my left arm and puncture marks on the inside of my right arm and on both wrists!  The 'dots' could be joined up to make a square!  Oh well, I know it is for a good reason - but it is painful.

I hope you all have a good week and many thanks for the lovely comments left on my blog post last weekend.  If you would like to be a guest blogger, do get in touch - it would be lovely to get this up and running again.

I will be back next weekend and Milly will be posting on Wednesday.

Jill

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

I missed posting last week - all because Jill was away and had taken her laptop with her!  Soooo inconsiderate, especially as I always have a lot to say for myself!

I have been busy sorting out the local wildlife - almost needless to say I am not very popular with Jill and Richard.  Mind you I think Jazz and Daisy are pretty impressed with my efforts.  Last week I caught a mole - Jill checked in her books and on the internet and yes, it definitely was a mole.  Today I caught a pigeon.  I was told that I looked pretty silly carrying a very large pigeon in my mouth because I kept tripping over it!  Being small is not always good when you are a kitten and I don't like being laughed at!

The weather has been pretty miserable here for the last few days, except in the evenings.  when the sun comes out, I rush outside and then rush back in because it starts to rain!  Someone keeps chattering on about it soon being the longest day - believe me every day is long when it rains and I cannot go outside!

We still have Coco and Holly with us - we thought we had someone interested, but it didn't work out.  My pal Badger Boo has written a lovely post about them this week - thank you Badger, paws crossed lots more people will want to come and meet them.  They are very friendly and love to play football and they sit on Jill's lap - and on Richard's computer keyboard!

I think I am up-to-date with my blogging now, and it has stopped raining so it's time to nip outside.  I will be back next Wednesday - have fun everyone.

Milly

Sunday, 9 June 2013

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG?

Hi everyone

I intended to blog today, but Blogger didn't intend me too!  I had problems accessing the 'new post' section
of my blog and several re-boots later, it appears to be back on my side.  Thank goodness - I hate to miss out on my main post of the week.

I took a few days out last week, following my back problems it was very welcome.  I spent some time with my sister and we did some shopping, relaxing, walking, chatting and eating out - all very nice and the weather was very kind to us.  

I bought some lovely crafty things including some more embossing folders.  I can't show them to you this week as they are part of my workshop demonstrations, so don't want to give the game away for my crafters.  We still have spaces available on our card-making workshop, so if you would like to join us please get in touch on thecraftycats@outlook.com.

I made two items in pottery this week: a shallow dish which will be burnished, biscuit-fired and then fired in saw dust - a new experiment for me.  My second piece was a large candle-holder made up of individually decorated sections.  No pics yet, but next week.  Due to no power at the centre during half-term, we have a rather large back-log of work waiting for various temperature firings to take place.  Now I know why I got started early on those Christmas pieces!

My fellow workshop crafter, Lauren, is running a great give-away on her blog - lots of great Stampin' Up goodies.  Nip over, follow the instructions in her post and you will be in with a chance to win.

The Surrey Artists Open Studios event opened this week and my pottery tutor, Jean Tolkovsky, held a special viewing today to which she invited her pottery group.  It was great fun, lovely nibbles, Pimms and of course really great pottery.  You must have a look at her work - such a diverse range of creations.  Last year at Jean's studio I bought a mum guinea fowl and two chicks.  I saw some lovely pieces today - one big head-shaped pot caught my eye - sadly not my bank balance though.  However, there were other pieces that come within my price range, so I will be going back.

Off now to make more cards for the workshop.  A crafter's work is never done.  Don't forget to visit Handmade Monday - it's number 120!  Where does the time go?  If you would like to be a guest blogger here, please contact me on christmaspiecrafts@virginmedia.com.  

Hope you have a good week - I will be back next Sunday and Milly (who missed last week - just can't get the staff) will be back on Wednesday.

Jill

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A PAIN IN THE NECK, WELL IN MY BACK REALLY

Hi everyone

The end of a painful week - not in the neck, but in my back.  I have spent the last three days flat on my back, mostly in bed!  I have backache off and on, due to a childhood ailment, but this time around it was soooo painful.  I just had to give in and hope that some rest would help and it did.  Feeling much better today and trying to get things back to normal - if there is such a thing here.  The result of this forced inactivity is that no work has been completed this week - thank goodness I didn't have any orders to complete.  I also had to cancel other plans, one of which was to attend the Jacob's Well country market on Friday and to do some research at local gift shops with Linda (cake-maker to the stars - well, one day).  I had already arranged not to do this coming Friday's market and due to other commitments this month, I will only being doing one session.

My working week was squashed into Tuesday and Wednesday: I had a meeting with Lauren to discuss our workshop and other ways of promoting it; changed the background to my blog (I loved the vibrant black and green, but felt a softer look was probably needed and it means I am still using one of my business colours) and booked a spot at a Craft and Food Event at Ripley Nurseries on 29 June.  Fairly productive, but nowhere near what I had hoped to complete this week!

Last week was half-term, so no pottery - thank goodness as I wasn't in any fit state to do anything.  On my return to the class this week, I hope to find that my candle holders have been biscuit-fired so I can glaze them.  It would be nice to have them ready, filled and on sale at the Craft and Food Fair.  Not so worried about the snowflake ornaments being ready for the next glazing stage as I have plenty of time to get them into a saleable condition.  Knowing how quickly time goes when making Christmas things for sale, I hope this is not famous last words.

A short-ish post this week - normal blog posts will be resumed next weekend.  Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last week's post.  Don't forget to nip over to check out this week's Handmade Monday posts and if you would like to be a guest blogger, please do get in touch: christmaspiecrafts@virginmedia.com.

Have a good week.

Jill