Monday, 31 October 2011

A Halloween Pumpkin Treats idea

Halloween Pumpkin Treats!

Take a look back at my blog post from last October for a great trick or treat creation!  I have to admit I've been a little busy this year and due to the fact that both DD and DS are getting older and growing out of the whole Halloween thing we've not been quite so organised!  Never the less, 'A' will be off out tonight with her friend and I'm making a last minute dash now in a futile attempt to find a pumpkin.  Mother of the year I am ;)

Monday, 24 October 2011

October update and a change of scenery

First of all, sorry!  Long time no post!

Things have been a bit busy recently.  Work has picked up, which of course is good but just means things are a bit more hectic.  Have been spending a lot of time over the last couple of weeks making updates to the website and looking at marketing strategies for the business.  We have a couple of meetings lined up this week too which should help things along.  Our lease now looks like it will be extended into 2012 which is good news as it means not having to start hunting for appropriate business premises again, which is just impossible!

'A' is still loving high school and has now been set for some of her subjects, really pleased that she's been placed in the top band for English and Maths.  She's joined the school orchestra and after a shaky start is now enjoying the sessions each week.  Her rehearsals are also well under way for Youth Onstage's production of Hairspray that will run at the end of November.  'S' finally decided to stick with his GCSE music option after much deliberation but has changed from Woodwork to Food Tech which we are enjoying as much as him as we get to sample his culinary delights :).

Finally decided last week that the grubby cream walls in the lounge just had to go!  We'd actually bought some green floral wallpaper samples back from B&Q some time ago with the intention of revamping the bedroom, but after buying the new sofa's we decided to go for this scheme in the lounge.  I trekked off to B&Q on Thursday to stock up on the supplies (Dulux Malt Chocolate and Laurence Llewelyn Bowen wallpaper) and we spent the weekend filling, painting, glossing and wallpapering.  Poor Arnold has spent the majority of this time behind his gate watching the proceedings.  I don't think he could quite work out why he'd been shut out but I think after last night's stressful wallpapering events and profanities he was quite glad to be as far away from me as possible!  All in all though I think we did well to get it all done in one weekend and we're both really pleased with the results.  Just curtains to buy now once we find some we like.




Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bulk Christmas cards - Choir of Angels

For a 'certain' group that I belong to, I thought it would be nice to make them each a handmade Christmas card this year.  As there are 23 of them all together I needed to come up with a fairly simple layout for each card so as to not be too time consuming (I do have a life outside crafting and a business to run...*shock*!  :)).

I chose a lovely and very appropriate digi stamp from 'Little Musings' which was just £1.50 for both a coloured and an outlined image.  It's the stamp colouring that's actually taking the most time but I much prefer the overall hand finished looked rather than the pre-coloured.

I've used red card stock from my stash and run this through my Cuttlebug to get the dotty effect.  The musical paper is from Dovecraft's Jolly Christmas.  I've coloured the stamp with Promarkers, inked the edges of my image with red ink and finished off the Angel's wings with glitter.  The sentiment is from my Daisy & Dandelion collection (which I'm making great use of!) and the button and bakers twine are from my stash.

All in all I've made 5 of these so far and am hoping to make a batch of 5 each weekend.....that's the plan anyway :).

I am entering this card for the following challenges:

Thanks for stopping by! x

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Christmas Humphrey - Make a wish

I'm just loving the Humphrey decoupage sheets that I bought the other day by Crafters Companion.  This is my second creation and I decided to have a change from the usual red and green and instead match up the colours in the decoupage.

I've used lightweight card from my stash and the blue swirly paper is downloadable from Shabby Princess.  This is from the 'Holiday Magic' collection.  I've used my Martha Stewart scallop punch and the ribbon and stars were also from my stash.  I thought the sentiment was a lovely match to the picture and this is from my Daisy & Dandelion collection.  The decoupage image has been finished with varnish.
Thanks for stopping by! x

Friday, 14 October 2011

My Mind's Eye Christmas freebies

Well, another beautiful day today in the Midlands.  It's hard to believe with all the lovely weather that Christmas is just around the corner.  Went for a super dog walk this morning which Arnold just loved as we were with his best bud Arthur the Airedale Terrier :).   

I received some lovely free papers and chipboards with my October edition of Cardmaking & Papercraft so I thought I'd give them a try.

The free goodies are by My Mind's Eye and I've used lace, ribbon and gems from my stash (although the lace doesn't show up very well on the photo).  The sentiment is a rubber stamp from Daisy and Dandelion and I've coloured this with promarkers.

Thanks for stopping by! x

Monday, 10 October 2011

A butterfly sympathy card

My brother asked me to create a sympathy card for him to send to a friend so I decided on a blue and ivory theme using butterflies.  I ordered some pearlescent card from Ebay and a new embossing folder and decided I would use a die-cut butterfly to finish off the design.  Unfortunately, although dispatched some time ago my Marianne butterfly die has not arrived and I think it's looking less and less likely that it ever will :(.  Due to this I've used a mirrored butterfly instead that I bought a while ago from a sale at Hobbycraft.

The embossing folder is 'Garden Flowers' by Crafts Too and I've used my Nellie Snellen die to cut the circle.  the flowers, ribbon and pearls were from my stash and I've printed the sentiment using a grayscale shade.  I'm quite pleased with how the overall card came out and I think it's definitely a design I could use for other occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays etc.
Thanks for stopping by! x

Friday, 7 October 2011

My First Tilda Stamp

 I took my DD to the local craft shop, MSA Crafts last week as a treat for doing well settling into High School.  Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! (Although I did buy a fair amount of stuff too ;) ).  I can't believe I've never visited before and I can't wait to go back again as they had a really good selection.  We bought another pile of Promarkers, rubber stamps, decoupage sheets, card blanks and I was really chuffed to see they had a massive collection of Marianne dies.

I've seen a lot of Tilda stamps around on various blogs and magazines and I just love these cute stamps. So I decided whilst out 'treating my DD' that I would also treat myself to one of these :).  The Magnolia 'Tilda Wants a Hug' stamp grabbed my eye but it wasn't till I got home that I realised it's actually a Christmas Stamp as she has holly in her hair! Oh well, I shall enjoy using it for this years Christmas cards.

I've used Dovecraft backing papers and my newly bought Marianne swirl die.  The paper edges have been torn and inked with Dovecraft Forest Green ink and the stamp coloured with promarkers and finished with a little red glitter glue.  The sentiment is from Daisy & Dandelion with Mulberry flowers from 'Flowers4Crafts10' on Ebay.

I am entering this card in the following challenges:

Thanks for stopping by! x

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Christmas with Humphrey

Sorry no cards for a few days, had to make the most of the glorious weather while it lasted :)

I saw some lovely Humphrey decoupage sheets from Crafters Companion on Ebay last week so just had to give them a try.  It felt a bit weird creating Christmas cards while the temperature was in the high 20's but I still enjoyed it none the less :).

The decoupage sheets were diecut so extremely easy to use.  Again, I've used my Dovecraft Jolly Christmas papers for backing and used stamps from Daisy & Dandelion for the sentiment and snowflakes.  The bow was from my stash and I've finished the decoupage with clear decoupage varnish.

I am entering this card in the following challenges:

Thanks for stopping by! x

Happy 1st Birthday to me!

Well yesterday, Tales from a Mother, Musician and Multi-tasker was exactly one year old, goodness me, where did the year go?

I initially started blogging very occasionally on Windows Live Spaces but when this was taken over by I got the bug for blogging and haven't looked back since.

I look at my blog like a diary.  I love to look back across my own posts to reminisce or to see what was happening this time last year.  It's a bonus that other people like to read my posts too and I'm always happy to receive comments.

When I started Tales from a MMM last year my posts were centred around the difficult time our family was going through due to 2 family deaths.  Although, I've included below the link to a post on blogged on 6th Oct which was an update on our lovely pup Arnold.  It's hard to believe now how much he's grown and changed.  We still love him to bits though (he's actually lying in his bed making funny snoring sounds as I type lol).

[caption id="attachment_1156" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Arnold 1 year on"][/caption]

Arnold Update - 15 Weeks!.

Thank you to all those who've visited, followed, liked and commented over the last year.

The Gallery - Winter White

Yes, I know you'll all be cursing me for this one especially with Tara's pic of the exact opposite but for my Gallery 'Colour' theme, I've chosen Winter White brrrrrr.

I guessed most people would take advantage of the beautiful weather we've been having over the last couple of weeks and post scenic shades of blue and green so I thought, not for the first time, I'd be different.

[caption id="attachment_1152" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Winter White"][/caption]

This picture was taken shortly before Christmas last year when we had week upon week of the snow.  Our Border Terrier Arnold didn't know quite what to make of it!  Consider me evil for even mentioning the 's' word but I do love it.  Don't get me wrong I love the Summer too and was quite happy to give my sandals one last airing but I'm one for the extremes.  You see, I'm a weather fanatic - you can keep your murky, drizzly rain and your average temperatures, for me it has to be baking or freezing, hail showers or thunderstorms, blizzards or hurricanes!  I guess I just like the excitement, although I'd probably feel differently if I lived anywhere other than England, where our extremes only stretch to a tornado swiftly relocating your peg bag or a heatwave that lasts just long enough to get the barbecue fired up! ;)


Monday, 3 October 2011

Coffee and cake

Friday morning saw our little business taking part in the 'World's Biggest Coffee Morning' in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  This is a yearly event that is organised in support of a very worthy cause.  Friday 30th September was the official 'Coffee Morning' date but I know supporters were running events nationwide throughout last week.

[caption id="attachment_1144" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Buttercream Fairy Cakes"][/caption]

I spent Thursday baking cakes in preparation for Friday's event and for those of you who know me, you know this is not a common occurrence.  Thursday afternoon I headed down to our offices to prepare, I took a bundle of handmade cards I'd created and we decided to also have a book sale due to the fact we have tons and tons of dust laden books just sitting in the loft!

[caption id="attachment_1146" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Coffee Morning at PSS"][/caption]

Although I'd promoted our little event through Facebook and via emails to work colleagues and clients we were still unsure how many visitors would turn up.  In fact with mom, mom-in-law, Adrian, Sally, 'A', 'P' and myself we thought we may have more 'helpers' than 'visitors' but as the clock neared 9.30 our first callers arrived.  From then on we had a steady flow until 12pm.

I was pleased to hear that people were enjoying the cakes that myself and others had supplied and my card creations went down a treat!  In fact out of around 20 cards I only returned with 6!

[caption id="attachment_1147" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Cakes galore!"][/caption]

All in all with the minimal visitors we had we still managed to raise just over £100 which isn't bad at all.  We've already decided to sign up for the event next year but think we may do things slightly differently maybe by either running a Saturday morning event or and cheese and wine evening.  Thank you to all the lovely supporters that stopped by x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

A few more quick and easy charity cards

Had an hour to spare this morning so thought I'd whip up a few more quick and easy cards to sell at Friday's Macmillan Coffee Morning.

I've used some freebie Edwardian Lady papers and chipboards along with stamps that I bought from The Range.  The other 'Thanks' card is finished in Dovecraft Back to Basics and Pink Petticoat papers.  Ribbons, gems and butterfly were from my stash.

Thanks for stopping by! x

Friday, 23 September 2011

A September school update!

[caption id="attachment_1139" align="alignright" width="225" caption="'A' ready for first day at High School"][/caption]

Well 'A' has just finished her third week at High School and I'm so pleased to say she's absolutely loving it!  She's finding the lessons so much more interesting and challenging than at Primary School and she's even now starting to get into a routine with homework.  The first couple of weeks were hard as she found it almost impossible to get up and out on time each morning, but after lots of nagging and me finally losing it completely she's now started to pull her finger out!  She joined the Rhythmic Gymnastics club this week and thoroughly enjoyed it and next week she'll be off to school orchestra for the first time.  She helped out at school open evening on Tuesday by taking part in an organised badminton session and then afterwards within the Drama department.  All in all we couldn't be happier at how well she's settle in.

'S' has begun studies for his GCSE's but has had a few problems with the subjects he's chosen.  He has now swapped Woodwork for Food Tech but we're having major deliberations over whether he should change Music for Film Studies.  I think he finds the whole prospect of completing his Music GCSE quite daunting, you see he can't read music and has never had any real instrumental lessons, but the thing is, he has a real musical talent and one we think should be encouraged.  He has the ability to hear a song and magically recreate it on the piano which is something I could never do.  I think his talent would come on no end by continuing with Music but he knows that we will not force him and the decision has to be his.

However, one good thing that has come out of his indecision is that regardless of whether he continues with Music as a school subject he's now decided that he wants to learn to play properly with lessons from yours truly as well as additional theory lessons.  This is something we've tried many times before but up till now he's always want to 'play his own thing' and has not been interested in learning the 'technicalities'.  Will keep you posted on his progress!

Quick an easy charity Christmas cards

Next Friday, hubby and I will be holding a coffee morning through our business in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  This is the first time we've attempted this so I thought, in addition to the lovely cakes and coffee on offer it may be nice to sell a few of my cards with the proceeds going to this very worthy cause.

Although I have a stock of cards that were suitable I thought it might be a good idea to create a few Christmas cards as people may want to stock up in preparation.  I scoured my old craft magazines to see if I could find a simple concept that would be quick and easy to make.  After sifting through I found some great ideas in 'Quick Cards' using their free rubber stamps.

As my Christmas stash of craft goodies is not the largest I used various freebies such as the 'My Minds Eye' papers I'd received in this months Card Making & Papercraft magazine plus other papers such as Dovecrafts Jolly Happy Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by! x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Lilac Fairyland

Today I thought I'd have a go at something I've not really tried before.  I've seen so many cards online using the distressed look and have never had the nerve to give it a try....till now!  It was actually easier than I thought in the end.  I marked my papers up and then lined them up on my paper cutter.  Then, instead of cutting with the blade I tore them along the edge of the trimmer.  I then inked the edges with a pink inkpad.  I think in hindsight the pink is a little too bold for this creation but as my craft supplies are not extensive I have to make use of what I have :).

The stamp I've chosen was one I found online (sorry, can't remember where though now as I have quite a few!).  I ordered a sample pack of papers from Ebay a couple of days and I chose one of these as the colour theme for the whole card.  Now, the papers I thought I'd ordered were from Dovecrafts Eastern Promise pack but after looking again online they look nothing like the picture!  Therefore, don't take my word as gospel as they could be something completely different :).
I've used Bazzill card for a couple of the layers and also lilac dotty paper from Dovecrafts Back to Basics.  The sentiment was found online here.  Paper flowers were by Fizzy Moon.  I've finished the digi stamp with Promarkers and finished the fairy's wings and hair with a little silver glitter glue.

I would like to enter this card in the following challenges:

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Gallery - A Happy Memory

Trying to find one happy memory for this weeks Gallery was pretty impossible.  I've trawled through thousands of photo's and there were just too many happy memories to choose from (which I'm sure most people have found!).

One particular set of photo's really did make me smile though when I started reminiscing.  The photo's were taken during our recent holiday to Florida.  The holiday itself had so many happy memories but this specific memory was of our last visit of Magic Kingdom.  We planned our last day there to incorporate the Main Street Electrical Parade and after a long and fun packed day in the park we stood around bagged our spot and waited for the parade to began.

We had quite wait so to pass the time we started messing around and taking silly pictures and just simply having fun!  So not one photo I'm afraid but a whole comedy collection.







A Pepper fireside scene

I don't know about you but I just love the 'Pepper and Friends' range by Trimcraft.  There's a lovely Christmas Party edition of the range and there's plenty of papers, decoupage and stamps etc available on Ebay.  I ordered some of the 8 x 8 papers and a small pack of the decoupage sheets and was really impressed with the quality.  Many of the papers have a lovely glittery finish and there are some lovely designs.
I think the layout is pretty self explanatory but I've used a sentiment stamp from my Daisy and Dandelion stamps to make the finishing touch.

The decoupage sheets were pre-cut which always makes things easier.  I always use an old nail file to gently sand around the edges of each layer, this just helps to remove any jagged bits from where they were attached to the main sheet.

Thanks for stopping by! x

I would like to enter this card in the following challenges:

Monday, 12 September 2011

Eight Legged Beasties!

Yesterday I did one of the scariest things I've ever done in my life.  You see, Autumn for me, brings with it something I'm not at all fond of, in fact hate would not be too strong a word!  September for me equals spiders and lots of them.  I sit in the lounge at night, one eye on my laptop and the other glued to all corners of the floor, waiting for the next little beast to hurtle in my direction, seeing laptop closed rapidly and me moving with a pace that Usain Bolt would be proud of!

However, after 35 years of living this way I decided enough was enough and booked myself a place on an 'Arachnophobia Workshop' at Dudley Zoo.  At the time this seemed a very good idea but when push came to shove yesterday morning, I knew the time had come to face my fears and began to wonder what the hell I was thinking!

The workshop started at 10.30 and was held in the Discovery Centre at Dudley Zoo and Castle in the Midlands.  There were around 20 of us altogether and I'm sure we were all thinking the same thing when we arrived....."no-one can be as scared as I am", but how wrong we were.  The first half of the session started with David Riley, our presenter, asking us to come forwards to write about our fears on a flip chart.  It was soon clear to see that I was not alone and that many of the fears people were feeling were the same as mine.

David Riley was an excellent, very knowledgeable presenter, he talked us through our fears, gave us information and was very careful to put us at ease and not introduce too much too soon.  In fact we weren't even allowed to use the 'S' word until some way through the course!

Part two of the course after our mid morning break saw us breaking down some boundaries.  We started gradually by viewing just 2 slides showing spiders and then we moved onto a detailed diagram.  All the time we were kept calm by reciting a mantra and using breathing exercises.  This all may sound very silly to anyone out there reading this who doesn't have this phobia, but believe me just to hold that diagram in my own hand was a challenge!

The final part of our workshop saw us breaking down even more barriers with the help of the 'real thing' so to speak.  Now, normally at this point I would have been a clear winner in a race for the door, but something was different.  Yes, I was scared, shaking even but something about the fact that I was in a room with 19 other people who felt exactly the same way, made it seem a little more bearable.  David, after warning us, presented two exo-skeletons (or tarantula shells for those not in the know!) and invited us to come to the table to touch, hold and examine them if we felt comfortable to do so.  Slowly and with a little gentle encouragement we all moved forward and gingerly complied.  Some were slower than others to take part, me being one of those but gradually everyone had shared the experience.

The grand finale saw us being introduced to 'Raptor' the Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula.  I can tell you that it took every ounce of control, breathing and sheer gumption to get me out of my chair and even towards the table.  Again, one by one we placed our hands flat on the table and David placed 'Raptor' in them.  Now if you'd have asked me the day before I'd have said NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS and if you'd have asked an hour before I'd have said NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS but something about that room, the company and David's continual encouragement and knowledge of these lovely....yes, lovely and fragile creatures made me want to do it.  And I did!

Don't get me wrong, I am by no means 100% cured but I certainly look at spiders in a different light now.  David said that the workshops are not a miracle cure and it will take time to 'not be afraid' but I certainly feel more able to approach them now and know that they are not interested in anything I have to offer them or in harming me.

For all of you out there who suffer from Arachnophobia, this is really something you should try, what have you got to lose?  But be prepared, it can be a very emotional experience.