Thursday, 30 October 2014

Nearly the witching hour

Halloween is nearly here and although my children were born in the late 1980s, when only our friends over the water knew the meaning of trick or treat, I still like to give my "babies" a treat. I love finding Halloween chocolate and making some fun tags which I use to tie up my little gift bags.
These were my finds this year.
 My daughter adores Cadbury's creme eggs and this year I chuckled when I found "screme" eggs. I have no idea if inside the goo is yellow or green! 

 My personal favourite Halloween black and orange
A girlie version of the spider. I honestly love spiders but if I saw a pink one walking around that really would make me shriek! Although  I know my dear friend Mia would love pink spiders ;0)
Now our Daisy is too young to eat chocolate so I decided to buy her a Halloween board book as even though she is not quite 1 she loves her bedtime stories. I choose Room on the Broom, written by the same author as The Gruffalo and Stick Man, such brilliant books.
I wrapped it up in some spider web paper I stamped and then added my inky tag for her.

You will have already seen all these tags I made over the last month except for the tag on the right which I made for my SIL.

I started with another Halloween inky base, blending my colours and then added Dusty Concord through Tim Holtz's Gothic stencil (one of my favourites). I then added some stamping in black archival ink.
and then some die cuts and details.

and here it is in full, very Adams Family in my books (is anyone else old enough to remember that fabulous TV show?)

I would like to enter my tag into the following challenges;

Crafty sentiments Trick or treat or something sweet
Party time Tuesdays anything goes
Pan Pastels UK Halloween colours
We do doobadoo Halloween
Oldie but a goodie Spooky my ribbon is my oldie, bought at Ally Pally last year.
Sparkle monthly fall/autumn colours
Simon says Monday treats you can see the bag of treats my tag is attached to in photo 3 above this one.
Crafty Ribbons tags 'n ribbon
 Crafty Card makers cut it out
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday anything goes

Happy Halloween to everyone tomorrow and I hope there are more treats than tricks coming your way.

Boo again ;0)

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Last of the harvest

I have enjoyed a weekend sorting out my garden. I even had to cut the lawn as it is still growing. This is everything tidied up this afternoon. There is still a lot of colour out there despite it nearly being November.

My tiny garden is still giving me some last harvests. Today I picked the very last tomatoes but my chilies are still bearing fruit. Long may this mild autumn weather last. This was how my baby chilli plants arrived in April through the post.
 I planted them up

 and labelled them (edit; in response to Helen's comment/ question) and kept them on my window sill indoors until mid May. I then stood them out on my patio in the garden.
 and all through the summer they fruited their little hearts out

 and they are still out there doing so even now.
 My Hb keeps cropping and drying them out and they last us right through until next year...mmmm
It is wonderful to taste them in the depth of winter, it reminds us of the long hot sunny days of summer.
It's great to have memories of summer when the nights are cold and dark.

And on the subject of memories for my challenge piece today I wanted to show you the Memories box I made recently when I attended my great and super talented  blogging friend Brenda's workshop a few weeks ago. I had to finish it when I got home.
 It opens out like this
and inside is a secret box to hold some special memories

a couple of close ups of the details of the stamping and extras I added for decoration.
This is the back
and lastly a top view .
 I wonder if I should put a couple of my chilies in here.....I'm joking but it would be a safe place for some of my summer memories
I really enjoyed making it despite all the cutting and measuring involved. I never excelled at maths and this gave my brain a good work out. It was a super ink filled day. Below is a fun photo of us all.....(that's me front far right stroking the caretaker's dog and trying to look at the camera at the same that multitasking I wonder?)

I would like to enter my Memory Box into the following challenges;

Party Time Tuesday anything goes
The Artistic Stamper Memories
Rhedd's Creative Spirit Halloween or not!
Simon Says Stamp Monday anything goes
Sweet stampin anything but a card
Fashionable Stamping Weather forecast mine is summer sunshine!

The clocks went back last night and by just gone 5pm tonight it was already dark......winter approaches. Keep snug and carry on crafting,

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Friday, 24 October 2014

Week 4 of the Funkie Junkie's 12 tags of Christmas, Jane's Journal style

We are now 1/3 of the way through Linda's fun Christmas Challenge. I am really enjoying it and also my Christmas cards are piling up nicely. Thank you for all the really encouraging comments you have been leaving, I really am grateful. I am glad you like to see my creative process, I think in the crafty world we all like to learn new things and sharing is so important. I love to see other people's design processes too and I thank them for their crafting generosity. I really think that I have learnt so much this year and it has moved my card making and creativity on a long way.

Everyone is welcome to join in with The Funkie Junkie challenge which closes on 21st December by which time you need to have submitted all 12 creations using Linda's tags for inspiration. You can make anything at all. The full rules are over on her blog here . Linda offers 3 very generous prizes of gift vouchers to spend in her terrific on line shop, The Funkie Junkie Boutique. Do have a look at the link here .

Here is the inspiration tag which Linda has made for week 4.

I was inspired by the "primitive" look to Linda's tag and the simple colouring. I also thought the inked border cut with pinking shears looked great so I wanted to use this on my card. Her shiny embossed heart looked fun and I remembered I have a great "primitive heart" punch I could make some with. I also really liked the green, red and browns she used with her stencil.

So armed with my ideas from her tag I got down to business in my studio after work on Monday. I used Kraft cardstock.
I chose my 3 Distress ink colours and masked off parts of my stencil. I used one colour at a time to build up my background card.
I cut the edge with my pinking shears and masked off the border which I coloured with festive berries DI. My inking was not perfectly straight but I decided, as I have such limited crafting time, that it added to the "primitive" feel to my card (well that's my excuse).
I wanted to use one of my Tim Holtz Father Christmas stamp and I chose to ink up the stamp using the same 3 inks. I only have gathered twigs as a pen so I swiped the others on from the pad and cleaned off areas I did not want to cover.
 I then gave a "huff" to my stamp as the inks had dried and stamped him out onto another sheet of Kraft card.
I also punched out some hearts and added ink and clear embossing powder to make them shine.

Next it was time to put on my creative hat and put together my card. Here is my finished creation;
and a couple of close ups

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

The Funkie Junkie 12 tags of Christmas #4
Craft stamper mulitcoloured stamping
Natalie and Amy colouring on Kraft
Little Claire's Christmas
Christmas cards all year round embellish it
Whimsy stamps anything goes
Simon says stamp Monday anything goes
Simon Says stamp Wednesday Use Kraft
Crafty Ribbons tags and ribbon my sentiment is a tag

I would like to thank everyone for the really kind and really touching comments you left on my last "Poppies" post and my tribute to my Grandad. I think it makes us appreciate that we really must seize the day, no matter how the much the path we walk can twist and turn as we make our way along it. Above all life needs to be cherished and enjoyed to the full.

Another weekend is fast approaching. We actually have a free one so I hope to get some more sorted out in the garden as after this we have a rather full diary ahead and the countdown to Christmas really will begin.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Remember...the blood swept lands and sea of red

Last Thursday I enjoyed a wonderful and memorable day in London with my dear Mum. We met at Harrods (more on that another post) and after lunch we took the tube to Tower Hill as we wanted to see the poppies which are multiplying by the thousands in the moat of the Tower of London. For those of you who may not be aware of this incredible venture, it is to remember the 888,246 British lives lost in the First World War, as this year is the centenary of the start of the Great War. The idea was devised by the British Legion and 888,246 ceramic poppies are being made and will have been planted in the moat of The Tower by this Remembrance Day, 11th November. If you follow the link here you can read the details. I have bought one of the ceramic poppies myself and it will be delivered to my home when the display is taken down in the middle of November. If you would also like to buy a piece of history you can purchase them here. The aim is the raise millions of pounds for charity. It is such a worthy cause.

I have not been up to the Tower of London since I was a little girl and I was delighted to see how much the area has been tidied up. There has obviously been a lot of money spent and the visitor area and surrounds are really vibrant. There were a lot of people around that afternoon as the Queen chose to visit that morning.
This was the sight as we approached from the exit of the tube.

We were blown away by the sight of  poppies. It really is a sea of red and quite extraordinary. It is not yet finished, there are still thousands more to plant. I love that  the Tower which dates from 1080 sits amongst some of our most modern London buildings, including The Shard, which you can see above.

 What a sobering though that every single poppy represents one British soldier who was killed during this terrible war. 

 Below is my Mum contemplating the scene.

We walked all around the Tower and also along the river.

We also spotted this character wandering among the poppies
 How cool to see one of the Tower ravens out for a stroll

and here are the hand made ceramic poppies in close up.

Mum and I  then sat down at  Costa to chat over coffee before we headed home and we had a very interesting conversation.

My Mum's Mum, my Nan (sadly I did not know her as I was only 5 months old when she died) was married at 18 to her sweetheart. He went off to war and was killed just 6 months later. Yes she was a widow at just 18. Both young victims of the horror of war.

Years later my Nan met my Grandad, married and had 3 children, 2 daughters and a son. My Mum is the eldest. Mum recently showed me this lovely photo of my Granddad. He also served in the First World War but thank goodness came home alive.
This is my Grandad in the uniform of the Woolwich Military Hospital where he was sent to recover from a badly injured leg after being kicked by a gun-carriage horse. He joined the Royal Horse Artillery as he worked with horses all his teenage life. After his recovery he was sent back and fought in the battle of the Somme as a leading gunner.

As we both sipped our coffee I pondered one very sobering thought. Had my Nan's first husband returned alive from the war my Nan would never had met and married my Grandad and none of us would ever have been born. No Mum, no Me, no daughter, no son or Daisy.......what a sobering thought. Life really does move in so many different directions, the only thing that is certain is change.

So although one of those poppies sadly represents someone from our family, there is always hope too as my Grandad did return...and the rest of course is history.

I was so inspired by our visit and the stories of my family that I  knew I had to make a Moment for Jane's Journal and that it should feature my darling granddad.

I wanted the background to show the colours of the moat at the Tower of London. I used my Dylusions sprays first. The red for the poppies

and the green for the grass.
I added some stamping, using some floral stamps. I really liked the slightly ghostly effect they gave.

I also added some script with my Visible Image Bronte script stamp and red archival ink
and some partial stamping with green archival ink
I wanted to use my Grandad's photo so I altered a Tim Holtz card frame. First I stamped it with my Bronte script and coloured it with DIs. I added some crackle paint and left it to dry.
I loved this vintage effect.
I scanned the photo of my grandad and played with sizes.

I also wanted a raven or 2 to feature so I added clear embossing to a die cut to make it shine like the coat of the raven we saw.
I also made a few other embellishments and then it was time to put my Moment together............................
and here it is.
 and a few close ups

I think this Tim Holtz stamp is so appropriate
How history changed my own life.

If you get a chance to visit the Poppies at the Tower please do, It is a very humbling experience but I also found it also gives hope. I remembered my dear Granddad and how he not only lived through but survived the war. He was such a major part of my childhood and I spent many happy days with him as we lived in his house.  He really was my friend as well as a dear grandparent. He passed away when I was 13 and my memories of this very special man are of love and laughter. I hope he is smiling down at my Moment and that the little raven I added made him chuckle.

I would like to enter my Moment into the following challenges;

Cheery Lynn vintage
Pile it on Cheerful/uplifting message
Allsorts embossing my large raven has been embossed with clear embossing powder
Divas by Design texture
The Artistic Stamper memories
Simon Says Stamp Monday anything goes
Whimsy Stamps anything goes
Country View  sparkle and shine
Loves Rubberstamps warm colours
Party Time Tuesdays anything goes
Craft Hoarders anonymous  Layers

We must remember all those who died in that dreadful First World War, 100 years ago. Such a waste of precious lives. Over the years thousands of our British soldiers have fought and sadly too often sacrificed their lives to give us the freedom we have in this world.

Here's to the memories of all those fallen men including my Nan's first husband, Frank. My Mum's middle name is Francis, yes spelt the male way, in memory of him. What a lovely gesture from my Nan and Grandad to keep his name alive.

 However I also so grateful to have such fond memories of one of the survivors of the horrors of war, my darling Grandad: Ernest John Carpenter. And most ironically his great-great-granddaughter Daisy Jane was actually born on Remembrance day last year, 11.11.13. Now that really does bring joy and hope to life doesn't it.
 This is his darling granddaughter Daisy Jane who is 1 very soon, magical isn't it.

 I'm sure my Grandad must be smiling somewhere.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x