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Wednesday 27 February 2013


Hi everyone

I couldn't believe my eyes when Jill calmly walked in on Monday with a basket full of kittens!  Am I not enough for her?  Two little black girls and a little black and white boy.  I am not very impressed with them and while looking at them through the glass door I told them so.  For once, Daisy and I are in agreement - no more kittens please!  It's all very well Jill saying 'they are only staying until they get new homes', but she said that about me and look at me now!

Well, day three and they have grown on me a little.  Buster, the boy, is very brave and comes right up to the glass door and speaks to me.  Unfortunately it is double-glazed so I can't really hear him - thank goodness because I get the feeling he might be saying something a little rude about me.

Jill said I should include a photographs of them as she thinks you would like to see them, so here is one of them all cuddled up and snoozing.  They are not normally this still or quiet, but at just under 9 weeks old they  often curl up and go to sleep - mind you, so do I.

So that you don't forget how gorgeous and cuddly I am, here is a photograph of me as well.  A box appeared on the floor and I jumped into it - as cats do:

Snoozy time for me - best check on the kittens first - I will be back next week with another instalment of my diary.


Sunday 24 February 2013


Hi everyone

A week of very mixed weather - lots of snow (only woke up one morning to find it had settled, but not for long), plenty of frost and some sunshine.  One of those weeks when you get to see most of our usual weather - except rain.  I almost wonder what is normal weather for this time of year as every year it seems to be different

It's been a busy week of card-making, workshop planning, lunch with friends and a family get-together - and arranging to foster 4 8-week old kittens, that I am collecting tomorrow.  I am sure Milly will post some photographs of them in her mid-week post on Wednesday.

I met up with the Twitter Gals (Lesley, Dawn and Michelle) on Tuesday for lunch at Secretts Restaurant.  This was our first chance to get together since before Christmas - where does the time go!  While there I nipped into the garden centre and bought three large red raffia type hearts which had been reduced to 25p each - an absolute bargain.  I can either save them for next Valentine's Day or redecorate them for other events this year.

Unfortunately, I cannot add a photograph of one of my card orders for this week, but I will let your imagination conjure up a picture: the order advised that the card was to incorporate model railways, the Titanic, Real Ale and malt whisky - the person was a sergeant in the army too.  It was difficult to get a mix of everything without the card looking too busy, but I made it.. I did have  to leave out the sergeant in the army part as it didn't really fit in with what I produced to meet the rest of the brief.

I know that everyone taking part in this week's Handmade Monday will have lots of lovely makes to look at as well as great blog posts, so don't forget to drop in on the contributors.

This coming week is going to be very busy.  Apart from cards and gift bag orders, my pottery course is back after its half-term break and Linda (my cake-making friend) I are going to a business networking meeting on Wednesday.  I also have kittens to collect and cuddle, a Woking Cats Protection get-together to go to and a birthday party to attend.  After that I think I will spend a day snoozing!

Have a good week everyone, I will be back next Sunday and Milly will be here on Wednesday with tales (or tails) of kittens.


Wednesday 20 February 2013


Hello everyone

Jill is writing my diary today because she claims she knows the full story.  As if!

I woke in the early hours of Monday morning to crash, bang, thump, etc and thought 'oh, only Milly playing with her toys'.  Dropped off to sleep, but woken up again a little later as the noise was continuing - Jazz and Daisy were sound asleep, so clearly nothing to do with them.  I got up to find Milly 'playing' with a mouse - a real one!  Luckily it had departed this world already, but the question was (and still is) where did it come from?

Milly has not been outside yet, Jazz catches things but tends not to bring them inside (well, he tries to) and Daisy restricts her catches to flies, spiders and butterflies!  Yes, I know cats can be disgusting, but how can you change the habits of history.  With three cats in the house, it seems impossible to think this mouse has been living here.

Sunday was a gorgeous, sunny day and we think that as we had the back door open during the day (Milly tucked away elsewhere) that one either nipped in to get away from the many cats who live around here, or Jazz did indeed bring one in and it got away from him.

Just before 3.00 am on Monday morning saw me sweeping up said mouse and nipping out into the garden (it was very, very cold) to dispose of him (or her).  What did Milly do next?  Went to sleep!

Milly will be back next week with her diary - hopefully mouse-free.


Sunday 17 February 2013


Hi everyone

Yes, the nights may be chilly, the mornings frosty, but the sunny days are sooo good, aren't they?  Apparently it is going to be like this for a few more days - then back to chilly, grey days?  I hope not.

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day and received lots of flowers, chocs, cards and even more chocs - and cupcakes too.  Talking of cupcakes, don't forget to check out my Friday blog of last week to see if you were awarded the Super Sweet Blogging Award.  It's a bit of fun, but I am sure you agree it is always lovely to be recognised by other bloggers and nice to be able to pass on the award too.

The last week has disappeared and I don't really have a lot to show for it.  Where does the time go?  I plan, I plot, I organise, I get set up, I make, but don't appear to achieve all that I had hoped for.  Perhaps it is because not everything I do can be seen?  I have been busy working on advertising and promoting my workshops, so I haven't been completely idle.  I have added the workshops to the UK Handmade website, and What's on in Surrey, tweeted them every day and placed posters around the Christmas Pie area.  I shall spend time this coming week adding the details to more websites.

The one thing I have to show this week is my pottery plaque.  Not complete, but very different from the last photograph I posted:

If you look back at the previous pic of this, you will see a lot has changed.  The blue glass beads have been added to the 'boulders' on the left hand side, the trees have changed as have the hills in the middle.  I reduced the amount of sky by appx 1.5" as I thought it was too much to fill.  By the end of last Thursday's session I had 'painted' everything.  However, as the colours will change once the plaque has been biscuit-fired I didn't really want to add a photograph at this stage, as some of the colours don't look great.  The blue glass beads (smashed to allow them to be 'sprinkled' down the hillside) will melt into pools and blobs, the ones with yellow in will apparently lose their colour and become clear. I added some more boulders to hold in the glass as I don't want to to leak into the sky.  No pottery this week as it is half-term; this will give the clay time to dry out ready for biscuit firing.  Once that has been carried out, I will paint the plaque in a clear glaze.  I also made a triangle-shaped porcelain pendant this week.  I folded up the sides and added crushed glass beads to the centre.  That will also be ready for biscuit-firing after half-term and then glazing.

I always miss pottery when it is half-term week, but I don't think I will ever forget how much I loved half-term when I was teaching.  The peace and quiet in college was wonderful - I know the students loved the break, but boy oh boy, so did we!

While on the crafting topics, don't forget to visit this week's Handmade Monday blog posts.  Wendy's weekly linky parties are a great way to catch up with fellow crafters, keep up-to-date on what is happening in the craft world and also read some great blog posts.

We went to see Les Miserables on Friday.  Amazing!  I know everyone who has seen it says it is fantastic, and it really is. Richard wasn't overly keen on going, but really enjoyed it.  Two rather unusual things happened in the cinema: nobody coughed during the film and the audience clapped at the end of it!  If you haven't seen it yet, I do recommend it.

I am off to enjoy the last of today's sunshine - everything in the garden is beginning to burst into bud and it's a good time now to prune things that need a tidy up.  I hope you all have a good week.  Milly will be here on Wednesday with her mid-week post.  I have some card orders for the unusual (which seems to be usual for me really) and will post pics of them next week.,


Friday 15 February 2013


Hello everyone

As mentioned in my Sunday post, I was awarded the Super Sweet Blogging Award by Badger Boo.  I also received the award from Dawn Hart and Lesley Beeton - thank you both.  

The baton (or should that be cupcake?) is now passed on to my favourite bloggers.  As well as answering five questions (see below), you get the chance to pass on the award to a Baker's Dozen of your favourite bloggers:

The five questions:

1.  Cookies or cake?
2.  Vanilla or chocolate?
3. What is your favourite sweet treat?
4. When do you crave sweet things the most?
5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

My answers to the five questions would be the same as in my original post (all chocolate related of course) and my Baker's Dozen would be the same and here they are:

Ali of Alibee Creations

Mad Dog Woman of Shackleford

Dawn Hart and Badger Boo

Sarah of Lilac Dragonfly

Handbags by Helen

Jan, who creates beautiful things

Wendy of Alice and Florence

Hannah of Spans Studio

Desire's great 'Doing Life' blog

Wendy (Handmade Monday blog)

Raindrops and Roses

Mich - who blogs about craft, life and hair


Great bloggers, great crafters - sometimes both.

Have a good weekend everyone - the weather looks set to be wall-to-wall sunshine.  I will be back on Sunday with my main blog post.


Wednesday 13 February 2013


Hi everyone

I am so glad I have a fur coat!  How on earth do human beings survive without one!  Very chilly outside - well, not that I have been out yet, but Jazz and Daisy have told me it is cold.

As my lovely readers know I am becoming a regular blogger and I thought you would like to see a picture of me planning my post and getting ready to write it:

I tend to prefer using a laptop because the keyboard has plenty of sitting room around it.

Jill went to a Woking Cats Protection Quiz night on Saturday and embarrassed me by not knowing how many whiskers a cat has!  The good news is that the quiz night raised £663 for the branch - well done everyone.

A short post from me today as I have some snoozing to catch up on - also I have promised Jill I will help her with her cards.  Although for some reason she is not so keen on me picking up bits of card and paper and running off with them - just helping to keep things tidy.

'See' you next week.


Monday 11 February 2013


Hi everyone

Plenty of snow, but not really settling - thank goodness.  Fed up with the heavy rain though.  Quite a lot of flooding around here and coupled with new gas pipes being laid in our road means lots and lots of mud.  However bad it is here, it seems to be 20 times worse in and around New York.  They have had some really bad weather recently and I am sure some of those who are currently without electricity suffered badly during the last lot of bad weather.  The worry always is that occasionally we get the tail end of the bad weather.

Last week was busy.  Spent time tracking tools for my workshops - although they can be used over and over again, the initial outlay is always a bit frightening.  I did get a very good deal on Ebay for size A3 self-healing cutting mats - postage free, so even better.

I had an order for a valentine's card from a friend - the brief was red card, a simple heart on the front and if possible a frog prince. I created a red and silver layered base, added a raised heart and popped on a frog prince:

Photographing mirror-card is always tricky as it picks up any reflections.  I really do need to work on my photography skills.  I have a tent with all the supporting equipment and am embarrassed to say that I rarely use it.  One for the 'To Do List'.  I am sure the bloggers who take part in Handmade Monday will also have some lovely Valentine's goodies to show, so don't forget to catch up with them.

I met up with my cake-making friend, Linda, on Tuesday and we spent our time sourcing carrier bags and reviewing plans for both our individual businesses and our joint-ventures.  We want to produce bags that carry details about both of our businesses, but don't want to spend a bomb whilst ensuring the product is of good quality.  The decision to be made is do we buy bags with an appropriate picture on them and have our details printed, do we buy ordinary plain bags and produce our own stickers to place on them or do we buy plain bags and have the stickers produced elsewhere.  We found several suppliers of bags, some with pictures, some that carried out printing - it seems the initial printing charge is high because of paying for the plates/design.  Back to the drawing board at the moment.

The next few weeks will be spent making cards for a couple of events I am doing in March and April as well as getting together packs for my workshops.  I have massive stocks of card, paper, envelopes and embellishments and need to sort them out and not get persuaded (by me) to go out and buy more.  So tempting as there are always lots of lovely things in craft shops.

As promised last week (and, erm, the week before) a brief review of the new magazine Homemade with love.  Lots of lovely crafting goodies: hearts, cake stand. photography (just for me I would think), in particular I enjoyed the section on up-cycling which included information about 7 projects.  A good magazine, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.

I don't have a 'next stage' photography of my pottery plaque to show this week, I forgot - as usual.  However, I will photograph it at the beginning of this week's session to show how it has changed (quite a lot) and also at the end of the session as I hope to finish it this week.  Next week is half-term and we only have 4 weeks after that until the end of term.  I want to try to make some more jewellery and am planning on adding the coloured glass to some of what I make

I went to a get-together on Friday evening with the Pottery Gals at which a magician was performing   Very good card and money tricks - had hoped he could change some of mine into higher value notes, sadly he couldn't.  On Saturday I went to a Fund-Raising Quiz Night with the Woking Cats Protection people.  Great fun and the team I was in came second - we were only beaten by a whisker!

The lovely Badger-Boo has awarded me the Super Sweet Blogging Award - how good is that?  Thank you Badger-Boo, my favourite Friday Guest Blogger.  There are three rules associated with the award: 1. I have to answer five questions (see below); 2. I have to pass on this Award to A Bakers Dozen of Sweet Bloggers; 3. Say thank you Badger Boo for the Award.

The five questions are as follows:

1. Cookies or cake?  I love both, but it has to be cake.

2. Vanilla or chocolate?  Definitely chocolate.

3. What is your favourite sweet treat?  Chocolate, chocolate and even more chocolate.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?  When I am trying very hard to avoid them.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Choca-Looney.

I will post my Bakers Dozen of sweet blogs in a separate post on Friday of this week, so don't forget to come back and check it out.  It's back to work now as I am running behind - need to catch up with the other Handmade Monday blogs too. Milly will be here on Wednesday with her mid-week post (she is doing very well following her op - stitches out this week).

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone - I hope you don't get any snow


Wednesday 6 February 2013


Hi everyone

It's a chilly morning in Christmas Pie.  Even chillier yesterday as we had no gas until 7.00 pm.  New pipes being laid in the road so lots of houses were feeling a bit cold.  Looks a bit like a battlefield outside - road up, pavements piled with soil, cars not knowing where they are going to be parked.  Hopefully everything should be back to normal soon.   Jill conveniently managed to arrange to spend the whole day with a friend, so she was warm!  Here is a photograph of Jazz and I keeping an eye on the workmen this morning, making sure they don't stop for too many tea-breaks:

Jill was not my favourite person on Monday.  To start with I didn't have any breakfast!  Then I was bundled into a basket, driven off somewhere and handed over to someone I have never met!  Is this the right treatment for a kitten?  Things didn't improve.  I discovered later that I had had an operation!  I have a little wound on my tummy, lots of fur around it has been removed - how on earth will I look in a bikini??  Thank goodness it is too cold for sun-bathing.  Jill collected me late afternoon and I was a little woozy when we got home - looked like I had had a bit too much of the old Catnip.  I had a little snack, snooze and cuddled up to Jazz in the evening.  He has had operations in the past, so he knew how I was feeling.  I felt much better on Tuesday, back to my usual mad-kitty behaviour.  Back to the same place (Jill said it is called 'the vets') in ten days for a check-up - as you can imagine, I can't wait!

I have to get back to watching the workmen - it can be very tiring, so I may have a snooze soon.


Sunday 3 February 2013


Hi everyone

Typical British weather again this week - can't make up its mind whether it is winter or spring!  A lovely day yesterday, chilly but good gardening weather.

My blog posts are attracting more and more spam every day.  If I ignore the content I could take them as compliments in that more and more people are reading my blog.  However, I don't want their comments, their visits are unwelcome and I am extremely glad I have a 'subject to moderation' proviso on my blog.

I took part in the give-aways organised by Wendy of the Handmade Harbour blog to celebrate 100 weeks of Handmade Monday and I was so pleased to learn that I had won one of the 'prizes': the book Commercial Creatives by Mike Carthew and Anna Ward.  Having read some reviews about the book I am very much looking forward to reading it - especially the section about how to price craft work.  Never too late to take advice.  Many thanks for a week of great give-aways Wendy.

Many moons ago, I bought (possibly the first or second issue) the Craftseller magazine.  I decided it was perhaps time to re-visit the magazine and am glad I did as it has become a very good magazine with lots of helpful content and also lovely pieces by some of my Handmade Monday colleagues.  This issue has a very good give-away, the Start-up Guide.   Although it is aimed at newbies, it never hurts to re-visit some of the basic rules about going into business.  It is easy to forget some of the very important aspects of running a small business and it has lots of advice-type articles written by crafters and other business people.

I am a member of the Crafts Forum, not a regular visitor, but I do like to drop in and catch up with how everyone is doing.  In my visit yesterday I came across a topic posted by Ros, one of my fellow Handmade Monday bloggers; the post was about professional or hobbyist.  It is a great post and I know this is a topic that can cause intense debate and I am not going to venture into the minefield here.  My reason for mentioning this post was because of a point made by Ros: '.......there are very few original ideas, all you can do is work with the basics and add a personal touch'.  I am a butterfly crafter flitting from one craft to another (but never abandoning my original paper-craft products).  I really enjoying trying new crafts, but sometimes wonder if other crafters may view this as deliberate or straight-forward copying.  I hope not as I like to think of crafts being for everyone with, more or less, no boundaries.  I think we are all inspired by others work and put our own 'spin' on things - thank you Ros, your comment of 'there are very few original ideas......add a personal touch' is so very true and makes me feel less like an industrial spy :-).

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had been sent a copy of a new crafting magazine, Homemade with love.  I said I would review and feedback about this magazine but am embarrassed to say I haven't done so yet - time has disappeared rather quickly recently.  Tax return, card orders, workshop stock and life in general has got in the way.  I will read it and promise to add my review to my next weekend post.

I have been working on Valentine's cards this week and have added some stock to my wall at Bourne Mill - yet again I forgot to photograph them!  I bought some Kanban flower circles and admit to being very embarrassed when I realised that I could quite easily have created them myself without having bought them already cut out .  However, I decided to have a go at doing something different with them and these are two examples:

I cut diagonally at intervals around the edges of the 'petals'.  I laid one colour on top of the other, trimmed the top one, stuck them together and added a centre spot to match the under colour.

Some of the pre-cut shapes had rounded edges.  I used a cream one for the centre and cut appx 2 cm all the way round and then 'fluffed' the edges.  I again added a centre of a colour to match the base shade.

My plan is to create a bunch of flowers - using my own circles of course - add some long green leaves to them and place them in a vase for a card.  They are very simple and easy to make and I think would be ideal for beginners to tackle in my card-making workshops.  I am also thinking of making some with newspapers or magazines - think they might look rather snazzy in print.  While I am on the crafting role, don't forget to visit the Handmade Monday blog - lots of great posts with beautiful work to see.

I continued working on my landscape in pottery - I keep moving and changing bits and I am still not 100% happy with it, but there is plenty of time to change it again.  Here is a pic in its bare state - the boulders on the left will have glass seed beads added to them.  These will melt when it is fired and should hopefully create the impression of water running down the hillside.  Everything else is work in progress, especially the sky, the hills and trees.  As always the sessions are very enjoyable, go too quickly and make me want to do more crafty things.

Have a good week everyone.  Milly will be here on Wednesday with her mid-week post -she is off to the vets tomorrow for 'the op' so she might still be a bit woozy by then.