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 legacy..................my 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


  1. Lovely vintage tribute to your Grandad. Love that background! Good luck and thanks for joining in on the fun at Cheery Lynn Designs challenge.

  2. Wow Jane! Your project is stunning and such a beautiful tribute to your Grandad! You captured your journey perfectly - the background is so pretty! I love the ghostly images as it captures the haunting quality of your trip. What a beautiful place to visit too and as lovely as it is it really would be a sobering experience seeing the amount of flowers for those killed in the war. Thank you for sharing your story and your photos from your visit! I would love to be able to see this in person someday! Daisy Jane is such a little sweetheart and you know your Grandad is definitely smiling somewhere!! Thank you so much for playing along with us at Loves Rubberstamps! We hope you will play along again soon!

  3. Hello my friend! Dayle and I both read your post with interest and admiration. What an amazing story of your family! My husband was shot in Vietnam while flying a helicopter.. and I've often thought if he was lost how none of my children or grandchildren would be here. Sobering thought! Your card is magnificent! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  4. Jane, such a lovely story. Yes, so hopeful and full of blessings in so many ways. Daisy being your magical legacy. Love the picture of your grandfather and that card is just so special and well done. Thank you so much for sharing. xoRobin
    I do have to admit, I thought the poppies would be real, yet I couldn't understand how they could be this time of year.

  5. Lovely creation. Gorgeous background and great elements. Thanks for playing along at Loves Rubberstamps.


  6. What a beautiful, moving tribute to your Grandad...all the details are perfect. Daisy certainly is a sweet legacy. It never ceases to surprise me how our lives can change dramatically in a moment.

    That carpet of poppies is amazing...quite a sight to behold. I have fairly recently graduated from Uni, as a mature-aged student, with a History degree. I am now a volunteer guide at Fort Scratchley in Newcastle, Australia, so the significance of the sacrifice made by those brave young men and women is very strong for me.

    Jennifer. x

  7. That is quite an amazing and moving installation, it must be wonderful to see it in real life. We owe all those who gave their lives for our freedom so much!
    What a wonderful story about your grandad, my grandad served in France too during the Great War but thankfully returned home.
    Your moment depicts the whole story so well.
    V x

  8. Beautiful project Jane and such a nice way to tribute your Grandad. I love the background you created and the pretty embellishments. Thank you for playing along with our Anything Goes Challenge at Whimsy Stamps. We would love to see you again ... Anet DTx

  9. Lovely tribute to your grandfather. Thank you so much for sharing. Love your layout and all your layers and details. Thanks for joining Craft Hoarders Anonymous!

  10. Oh my Jane,

    Tears are rolling down my cheeks after reading your beautiful post! Your personal story, your reflection, the wonderful remembrance and your art have moved me so deeply that I'm at a loss of words.


  11. Lovely story and project..I love the crackled framing! Thanks for joining us at Craft Hoarders Anonymous!

  12. A lovely post Jane and a lovely inky creation.

    In case you didn’t know, we have some great candy to be won at our sister challenge here

    Thanks for joining us at Allsorts this week.

    B x

  13. Dear Jane,

    What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing some of your family history - and that memory page you created was simply stunning. And stunning are those poppies representing the soldiers, got tears into my eyes.

    Kisses to that little princess (soon 1!!), and lovely October days to you!


  14. Good morning, Jane! What a wonderful day out in London with your Mum and what a poignant and stunning vision of all those beautiful poppies, cascading from the Tower - truly a sight to behold, I'm sure! I loved the story into your family history and how despite the tragedy of your Grandfather, it is what made you who you are today - we cannot dwell on the past too much, but should be thankful for those who have gone before us and brought us to where we are now!
    I LOVE your Moments page - a wonderful tribute and the sentiment sums up your story perfectly!
    Can't beleive Daisy will be one soon, where has that year gone?! It's been a pleasure to share her first year with you and see how proud you are of her and all of your family! Hugs, Lisa x

  15. What a lovely tribute to your grandfather! I love all the layers and each and every little bit of it! Thanks for joining us at Craft Hoarders Anonymous!

  16. I absolutely love this project...and this post, too. (You write as well as you craft!) This is such a gorgeous tribute to you granddad. The textures, colors, images and techniques you incorporated here are so impressive, and the finished product is just fantastic. I love the burlap you tucked in, and the wonderful raven...and so enjoyed reading the story! Thanks for sharing this with us at Craft Hoarders Anonymous!

  17. Very moving and sobering, dear Jane. I'm glad you and your mother could visit the Tower.
    What a tribute to your Granddad.
    We will never forget!!

    Thinking of you and your family...
    Anne D.T.

  18. Wow Jane, these are such beautiful efforts on your part to commemorate these historic, personal and meaningful events. Yes, I do believe your granddad is smiling, quite proudly from above! :o)

  19. I have not been there in years. The poppies are absolutely stunning against the green & stone. Thanks for sharing the photos.
    Fantastic piece to honor your grandfather. I'm sure he is smiling…
    Thanks for sharing with us at Craft Hoarders Anon :)

  20. Wow Jane, I adore this and what a fantastic family tribute and keepsake you now have. The background is so perfectly suited to the photograph of your grandad. Love how you altered the frame and the raven, such inspiration. Thanks for joining us at Cheery Lynn Designs this week and good luck.
    Julie x

  21. Gorgeous creation and fab pics too, thanks for joining us at Allsorts, xxxx

  22. Wonderful post! Love all the photos! Fabulous project! The texture looks amazing! Thanks for joining along with the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge!

  23. Beautiful tribute and gorgeous page Jane! Wonderful photo of your Grandad and fabulous colors and elements combination!!
    Thanks for joining in on the Cheery Lynn Designs challenge and lots of luck to you!

  24. Wow, wow, wow!! Great post and I love your tutorial. Thanks for playing with us at PTT!

  25. Great story, pictures and excellent work on the card /frame ...Love all details and how you put it all together.
    Thanks for joining our warm colours challenge at Loves Rubberstamps, please come back soon,
    Hugs Blankina

  26. wow!! wonderful pics and just love your project!!! Thanks for sharing with us at Craft Hoarders Anonymous!

  27. Great Journal Page and I have been to see the poppies too :) Thank you for sharing your page at The Artistic Stamper

  28. Beautiful tribute to your granddad, love all the layers.... thanks for joining us on the Craft Hoarders Anonymous Craft Blog.

  29. I love the photos of the poppies. I was to visit the Tower in September 2007, so no poppies. I did see the crows (ravens?) however. What a stunning sight the flowers are! Your project is wonderful. What a tribute! Thanks for playing along at Craft Hoarders Anonymous!

  30. I'm so glad you wrote his post and included all those fabulous photos of the poppies. I'd really hoped to go and see them but never made it (I know some of the poppies will stay there a little longer now) and felt quite sad to be missing such an amazing event with such a poignant message, so thank you for sharing your visit. Your Moment is wonderful, it really captures everything so perfectly, you are clever when you make these, I love seeing them. Bethxx


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Jane x