Saturday, 23 September 2023

Hello .... is there anybody there?

Hello there ........ Happy weekend to you.

That's if any of you are still visiting my poor old neglected blog.
What can I say ..... it's been a while!  

Such a lot has happened since my last post, way back at the beginning of July.  
I think this has been the longest break I've had from blogging since I started this journey back in 2012.  
It's also been a break from craft too, I haven't spent any time in my craft room except to de-stash the place, which I seemed to be doing on a regular basis.  
Hopefully that's all done now though, and I think I'm actually ready to start using what's left in there ...... that's if I can remember what everything's for!

I won't bore you with all the details of the last 12 weeks, just to say life hasn't been boring!  Lots of family time spent here on the island, with birthday celebrations, wedding anniversaries and all that, and the odd BBQ here and there.  School holidays have been and gone,  we welcomed our new ferry to the island .... the Manxman.

It looks like a crusie ship.  We haven't had the pleasure of sailing on her yet but hopefully it won't be long

I don't know if I've mentioned before about hubby's back pain he's had for a while.  Well,  he finally got to see someone about it, had an MRI scan and was quickly referred to a specialist spinal surgeon in Liverpool a few weeks ago.   We thought he was going to have to have surgery but, thankfully he doesn't need it ....... that was such a relief!  
Funnily enough, his back got considerably better when he was made redundant from his job at the end of August.  Something that wasn't in our immediate plans but hey!, it didn't really come as too much of a shock.   
These things happen I suppose, and I'm sure something new will crop up.  As one door closes another one opens, isn't that what they say.   
Plus, the surgeon did say at the time, the best treatment he could recommend for Stephen's back was ...... to change his job!!  Well that's seemed to work.
It does mean that we can spend more time in the motorhome though .... every cloud!

Speaking of which, we have just got back from our latest trip ..... the Cotswolds, Somerset, North Wales and Chester this time.  We enjoyed some of that glorious Indian summer that was in the UK which was nice.
Lauren and Alex joined us for a few days in Somerset before he went back to school.  It's years since we've been there but it hasn't changed much.

We visited Cheddar Gorge and the caves ......

Climbed Jacobs Ladder ...... all the way to the top (well, they did!)

We went to Wookey Hole ...... just look at all that cheese!

And we also had a day in Bath ....... Alex enjoyed his trip around the Roman Baths 

and, he learned to use chopsticks in a Japanese restaurant.  If you're ever in Bath, and you love Japanese food you need to try out Robun ...... the food was amazing!!

We also met up with Chris, Myra and Arthur on this trip.  

We spent the day at Chester Zoo for Arthur's 2nd birthday.  I can't believe he's two, he's growing up so fast.  

Craft wise, I've not much to report really.  I haven't been doing anything.  
I have been visiting my usual blogs occasionally, so I've been keeping up with most of you, a little bit. I always like to see what everyone is up to, and I love all the fabulous inspiration from you guys.
I do apologise for the lack of comments though.  I am looking to change that so you might see a little bit more of me now.  
I've also been keeping up with the new product releases, although I haven't actually bought that much, maybe that will change too once it starts to get a little more festive!

The only other bit of news I have is that I've stood down from the Sweet Poppy Stencils Design Team.  
It was a really hard decision for me to make, as it always is when leaving a design team, but, I felt it was the right time.

Now, for once in a very long time, there's no pressure or deadlines I need to work to.  I can take my time and explore through all my stash again, and create just for me! 
Don't get me wrong, I loved being on all the Design Teams I've been privileged to be part of, and I'm not saying that I don't want to do it all again,  just not right now.

I'm hoping that this break has done me some good and that I can enjoy spending time in my craft room again.  I've got some online workshops to complete, I want to do more in my journals and of course the 'C' word is on it's way so,  I need to start thinking about Christmas cards!  All inspiration will be gratefully received!

Well, I think that's it for now.  
Thanks for popping by.  
Have a lovely weekend and I hope to see you all again very soon.

Cheerio until next time .......

Sunday, 2 July 2023

What's this? Christmas cards already ........

Happy Sunday ......

Welcome to July! 
I hope you're enjoying your weekend.  Is the sun still shining where you are?
It's a little overcast where we are today, and a little on the breezy side but, it is still warm.  
Not sure what next week's forecast is, we're on the move again tomorrow so hopefully the nice weather will last just a little bit longer.
July certainly crept up on us, it's hard to believe we're already halfway through 2023.   We're going to be counting down to Christmas before we know it ..... there, I've said the C word!!

Speaking of Christmas, the craft world is already starting to see new festive releases, one of which is from the fabulous Sweet Poppy Stencils.  
Did you see Lucy on TV this week?   She was showcasing the first of this year's Christmas stencils and stamps from Sweet Poppy and, it seems like they were as popular as always, so you must be starting to think about your festive makes after all.

It's not always easy to make Christmas cards when the sun is shining and it's hot! hot! hot! outside but, I did get chance to spend a little time in the craft room before we came away on holiday using a few of the new designs.

This is JOY, one of the festive words stencils .......

I used the stencil with the Pearlescent White paste onto black cardstock, and then used glitter gel pens to add some colour 

I also added a touch of sparkle to each of the letters using a glue pen and fine crystal glitter. before stamping and heat embossing the rest of the sentiment underneath. 

A few gold and silver ink splatters on the background, and I finished off with a tiny sprinkling of Chunky White Embossing powder here and there, heat set from underneath the card so as not to blow it all away.

Here's a different look using the same stencil only this time, I moved the stencil slightly before inking each of the letters.

I used a little masking tape around each letter before using my Distress Inks to add the colour

My idea was to make the letters into baubles so, I added the look of a hanging chain to each one using a Stardust Gel Pen

I then stencilled the poinsettias again onto a snippet of white cardstock and fussy cut them, attaching them with a foam pad to give a little extra dimension

I blended Distress ink around the edges of the card keeping the colour from the centre and going darker at the edges.  I then splattered a little bit of water over the ink, let it sit for a few seconds before mopping up the excess with a paper towel, giving this pretty splattered look to the background ...... a sort of snowy effect.  An old technique that I never get tired of using!

One of the stamps from the new release is this pretty Festive Candle, used here with another of the new stencils ...... Holly Aperture Circle

I stamped and heat embossed the candle in gold, and then coloured it using Festive Berries Distress Re-Inker for the candle and Sweet Poppy Brush Markers for the foliage

I then used the stencil to add detail to the background ...... simply Distress Ink applied using a stencil brush, being careful around my stamped image

A little touch of glitter for added sparkle and my sentiment stamped in the centre. 
And then, to finish off I stamped and embossed the foliage again onto a snippet of card, added a touch of pearlescent paint to the flower and then fussy cut it, and attached it to the card using a foam pad to add dimension 

No time for colouring and fussy cutting, the Festive Candle makes beautiful CAS designs too ....

Stamped and heat embossed in gold.  Just a touch of colour added using pearlescent paints

and a simple sentiment stamped and a few splatters of ink to finish ...... simple but so pretty!

Well, that's just a few Christmas card ideas for you,  I'm sure that when my festive mojo really kicks in, there'll be more! 

We're still away in the motorhome ...... we're on day 16.  
We've spent the last week in the Norfolk Broads ...... very different from being here on a boat, but still fun.

We've been staying on a lovely campsite near Ludham Bridge, one of our mooring spots when we're here on a boat. 

Hubby has been working this week but we still found time to get out and about.

We've walked into Ludham village one afternoon to restock the van with supplies.  Found a lovely pub not far from the campsite .........  The Dog.  Great food and a lovely beer garden (sorry no pictures!)

We went the other way and walked into Horning one day,  another of our favourite spots.  
The boatyards looked busy in the afternoon ......

But things always calm down a little in the evenings ......

One of our favourite restaurants is in Horning ....... The Bure River Cottage.  It's a fish restaurant, just fish!  No veggie or vegan options, and definitely no meat, just fish!!
We love it there.  The menu changes daily,  and it's really hard to choose what to have, everything is always so good!
We've actually been twice on this trip (well, we are on holiday!) and had two beautiful meals.   We were there last night and we both had Baked Cromer Crab with a green salad ....... yum!

and after

This was followed by Pan Fried Wild Halibut, herb and butter sauce with brown shrimp and samphire Deeelicious!!!

We have had a lovely week here but, it's time to pack everything away and move on tomorrow.  We're not going far though, we've still got a couple of days left in the Norfolk Broads. 
We do need to re-stock supplies (again!) before we go anywhere so, it's off to the supermarket in the morning.  Then our next stop is Thurne, at what's known as a Certified Location (CL) campsite called Red House.  It's another new site for us, just a handful of pitches but it looks like it's right by the water so we're looking forward to checking it out. 

Thanks for popping by, enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Time for us to enjoy our last evening in Ludham

Cheerio until next time .......

Sunday, 25 June 2023

Bourton, Cheltenham, and now we're in Norfolk ........

Happy Sunday!

I hope you're enjoying your weekend.
We're still on our travels and currently making the most of this gorgeous weather, although it's a little bit too warm for me today so I'm sat in the shade!

Since my last blog post we've done a few more miles, and I must confess my craft bag has not been looked at, apart from moving it from one end of the van to the other, each time we pitch up!  There's still time though, we're not back home for another two weeks!
From Somer's Wood in Birmingham (my last blog post), we hit the road again and travelled to Bourton-on-the-Water (aka the Venice of the Cotswolds and still one of our all time favourite places)

We spent 4 nights on a lovely little site, Cotswolds Carp Farm.  

Set around numerous lakes, with woodland walks and whole host of wildlife.  And, it's only a short walk from the centre of the village ....... perfect!

We do love this place .......

On a nice evening you can't beat a nice glass of wine and dinner by the river ......

Followed by an evening stroll just as the sun is going down.....

From there we went to Cheltenham, the town where hubby lost his sense of direction (for the first time ever!!!) I got soaking wet as a result, and our love of the Cotswolds began, all those years ago! 

We stayed 2 nights on a club campsite at Cheltenham Racecourse.  Nothing fancy, all the usual facilities, great views of the course though ..... pity there was no racing meeting, I quite enjoy a flutter on the horses now and then!

We stayed here purely for the location ...... right by the Park & Ride into the centre of Cheltenham ...... you see, we had tickets for the Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival!  We've visited this many times when we've stayed in Bourton.

We ate too much, drank too much, and definitely spent too much!  A great day out.
We even saw these guys ..... the Hare and the Minotaur

From there, we set off again and drove across the country to Norfolk.  
We're currently on another 'new to us' campsite (our 4th one this trip!) ..... a little place called the Old Brick Kilns

I say little, it's actually quite a large campsite, not far from the north Norfolk coast, in a place called Barney.   It's lovely, nice large pitches, a fishing lake in the centre, and a restaurant and bar on site ...... we had live music last night too which was great.
We're only here for a couple of nights though, then we're off the next part of our adventure.  We're heading to the Norfolk Broads tomorrow ....... that's going to be weird, we're usually there on a boat!

Thanks for popping by ..... enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Think I'm actually cooking this evening ....... bad planning on my part I think, it doesn't seem to be cooling down any.  Salad anyone!?

Cheerio until next time .......

Saturday, 17 June 2023

We're on the road again .........

Happy weekend .......

How's your June going?

It's been a busy couple of weeks on the island, and we had an absolutely fabulous TT!!  
The sun shone everyday, and the racing was amazing!!!  So many records were broken ...... those boys are fast!!!! 
We had our annual trip to Bushey's for a cheeky beer or two (have to go at least once during TT) 

The Red Arrows gave us a great display .......

And Senior Race Day was on the Saturday, which meant there was an extra day of racing

We were up and the Grandstand, and had a great view of the start.

And on top of all that, I had to get the van ready for our latest adventure.
Yes, we're on the road again ........ I know, we've only been back for a little over three weeks but, we're trying to make the most of the motorhome and fit in as many trips as we can this year.  Plus, the weather is too nice to miss.

We came across to the UK yesterday and drove down to Birmingham.   Not very glamorous I hear you say but, we're staying on a lovely campsite called Somer's Wood Caravan Park, about three miles from the NEC (National Exhibition Centre)

What a little gem!  Not far from the motorway, located next to Stonebridge Golf Course and is so quiet and peaceful.  It was the perfect spot for us as we've started our trip with a visit to the Good Food Show today at the NEC.
We've walked miles, my 10,000 steps were done well before lunchtime!  
It got very busy.  We've tasted all sorts of goodies,  stocked up the van for the trip, bought a new gadget for the BBQ and,  we went to see James Martin in action creating a lovely summer meal ...... will be trying out those recipes  when we get home.

We also bought his gin, which is very nice ....... we were trying that at 10 this morning!!!  Well, it was 5 o'clock somewhere 🍸

We're back at the van now and, it's just started to rain ...... yeah!!  You could almost hear the grass sigh with relief.  Hopefully a good downpour will clear the air.

We're off on our travels again tomorrow, heading for one of our favourite places.  
We usually stay there with the family, in a cottage, but this time we're taking Remi.  We're off to lovely Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds ..... it's been a while!

Thanks for popping by ..... enjoy your weekend
I think it's time to open that bottle of gin don't you ......... cheers!

Cheerio until next time .......