Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A different kind of challenge...

My employers, the charity Papworth Trust (hello, chaps!), came up with a brainwave for fundraising at our annual staff conference last week ~ On arrival, we were all handed envelopes. In each envelope was a £10 note, and we were challenged to invest it in something ~ anything (legal!) ~ and turn it into more than £10, and then return it to the charity. Interesting idea, and it certainly has people talking!

My idea is to sell ten extra of the CD-Rom I developed some years ago, which I currently sell on Ebay (occasionally). If I can sell another ten CDs on top of the handfull that sell on Ebay, my production costs will be covered by the £10 (not counting the time it took to develop the CD in the first place!). All the proceeds ~ 100% ~ will then go back to the Papworth Trust.

It's a wedding stationery CD, developed for bridal couples to enable them to have a suite of beautifully handcrafted wedding stationery (the works.. not just invitations), but at a fraction of the cost by guiding them through making their own.. whether or not they have ever made anything like this before.

There are 100 wedding stationery 'recipe-style' design projects on the CD, with photos, lists of tools and materials required (and where to get them), full step-by-step instructions (in simple, non-crafty jargon terms), tips, inserts, and various other bits 'n'pieces.

The CD has a front-end menu that launches automatically, and is as professional as any you'll buy from the telly!

99% of the files are Adobe PDF format, except the inserts. I have left them in Word format so they can be edited. Because of that, the formatting depends on your having the same fonts and margin settings on your computer, so I have included those as a free bonus, rather than rolling them into the price.

Speaking of which, the cost is £9.99 (free P&P).

Would make a great present for anyone you know who is thinking of getting married, and even if they're not thinking of making their own invitations, it would be useful as a catalogue of ideas to trigger their own inspiration.

If you buy it by contacting me through my blog (and NOT through Ebay), 100% of the proceeds will all go to Papworth Trust. Once I have met my target of selling ten extra CDs, I will let you know. (The deadline is 31st December.)

Equally, if anyone would like to make a donation to the Trust without buying a CD, you can either do so directly (which would be great, as you could do it through Giftaid and incease the value of your gift), or you could send it to me and I will make sure it gets passed on.

Payments and donations can be made to me through Paypal or (uncrossed) postal order. Drop me a line, and I will send you the details.

For more information about the wonderful and broad ranging work that Papworth Trust do for people with disabilities, you can visit their website HERE.

Many thanks, and wish me luck! Ten CDs in three months. Hope I can do it! It will turn that £10 into £100.

P.S. For any one making stationery for the wedding market, I am quite happy for you to use the designs for inspiration, or even copy them directly (by hand), just as long as you don't use my photos in your promotional materials, Ebay listings, etc, and don't reproduce any part of the CD in any format. Also, please note that the CD may not be transferred or resold. (That applies to everyone, not just wedding crafters.)

Basic Grey Challenge - Weeks 3 & 4

This one is for the current Basic Grey Challenge (Week 4), which is 'Embossing', but it was inspired by the picture from the Week 3 challenge (below), so qualifies for both.. aaaaanndd it is a good luck card for a colleague who will be moving on to a new job very soon. That's three ticks off my list of cards to make.. Love it when a plan comes together! :o)

If you look very carefully, you will spot the qualifying bit of BG kit... Yep.. the button! Couldn't tell you which collection it's from, though. The packaging was long since discarded.

The DP is pretty, don't you think? It's actually snowflakes, but I think it works as flowers. The paper is from Funky Hand's CD, 'Yule Be Funky'. Other bits used include Doodlebug rub-on lettering, and although it doesn't stand out much against the background, I quite like that.. it's subtle and doesn't fight with the design. Quite pleased with that. Three dew drops top left, and the Big Shot came into its own with the Nesties label, and the Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Getting funky... in the nick of time!

Hi, all.. *Phew!* Managed to get this one in under the wire! This is for the Get Funky challenge, which is due to end tomorrow! There will be a new challenge posted on Thursday. Well worth entering, as the prize is a £20 voucher to spend on Funky Hand goodies (which are very cool).

This month's challenge was set by very talented Funky Hand DT member, Ruth (Tip Top Toppers), and as both her sons had birthdays this month, the challenge is to make a card (or something) for a boy, using paper or an element from Funky Hand...

I have used pretty paper from The Funky One, Funky Hand's first CD release (and one of my favourites).

Other items used: Bazzill cardstock, Woodware stamp, Doodlebug rub-on letters, Decoart Glamour Dust and various bradlets.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Wedding Card Preview

A wedding card commission for a colleague. Can't show all of it (just in case!). The wedding's not until mid Oct, so here's a preview without showing the names...

The invitation was made with ivory hammered cardstock, so I've echoed that in the panel, and the rest of the brief was gold and purple, and that butterflies would be a big hit. Think I nailed it. lol ;o) The butterfly looks weird, though. It is mounted at quite an angle to the card, so you're effectively looking down (almost along) the back. Looks better taking a view square on to the card, but I didn't think of that, and it is now with my customer.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Hooray! Something craft-related!! :o)

Went to a Stampin' Up! workshop last Monday evening at my friend, Debbie's. It was her first workshop after being made redundant. I think it's a brave move and although I don't know Debbie yet as well as I'd like to, I have the impression that it is typical of this lady not to take things lying down. She has my utmost respect, and I wish her well with her new venture.

So.. I made her a card. As you would.

It uses BG Euphoria DP, Cuttlebugged and sanded, with stripy BG Euphoria paper on the panel, stamped with a nice Inkadinkado flourish in Dark Brown Chalk Eyes. Used a Fiskars Threading Water border punch for the scalloped holy bit, some cream crocheted lace, chipboard letters and computer-generated letters and sentiment, with a metal embellishment 'Go for it!'.. Prima flower, hand-drawn arrow, BG button, cotton twine + rosebuds & gems.

Tigger's New Birthday Photo

Still got it goin' on...

Birthday Boy

Tigger ~ Sweet Sixteen today!
(This is a few years old, but will grab him for a photo-shoot after his nap!)
This cat is so special to me. He is very affectionate, and talkative. Loves a cuddle. He was a particular comfort to me during my cancer treatment, and seemed to know I wasn't feeling the best. He would just nestle up next to me, and cuddle up for hours. I adore him!
His birthday treat is a new supply of jingly balls... 49p from Morrisons for a pack of three! They're the see through little mesh balls with a cat bell in the middle. He loves them, and even at his age, he will chase them around for ages! He likes the open mesh as he can pick them up and carry them wherever he wants them to start his game. I often find them in the garden!
Trouble is, they get under my feet, and eventually get trodden on, and have to hope that Morrisons have them in stock! They did yesterday, so I bought several packs! They should last him a while. I hope!
Happy birthday, Tigger!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Better today..

Well, today is better, thank goodness, but then, I'm not going out, so can't do any damage by coming into contact with other people!! lol ;o)

I am not proud of how I reacted to those people yesterday. I should remember that ~ like them ~ I am still 'under construction'.. a work in progress! Oh well.. today is a new day! Can't help thinking about that poor pooch, though. He seemed like he would be such a lovely dog. He was clearly very old. I just pray he won't have to suffer for very much longer. At least he looked well fed.

AND... on a brighter note... I called the taxi firm back again this morning to give them my contact details.. just in case my mobile turns up, and a few minutes later, they called me and said they found my phone!!! Yayyy!! Phew! That will save me a lot of aggravation!

My daughter is coming up for the weekend anyway, so she's going to pick it up for me.

Thank you to those who left comments in support, and gave me a giggle (Suze!) ;o)


It's been an.... "interesting"... day!!

Sorry, guys.. no cards today.. just a personal rant. A L-O-N-G personal rant. I am a single woman, with nobody to really vent to except you and the cat, and he’s outside mousing right now.. most definitely not interested.. especially as one (yes, just ONE) of my stories from today involves a dog. So grab a coffee if you’re up for it.. or better yet, a glass of wine, and come be a grumpy old woman with me.

OK.. still with me, or did you skip on by already? (Wouldn’t blame you if you did, but it would feel so good if somebody agreed with me! lol ;o) Please let me know if you do. And if you don’t, please keep it to yourself, as I’m about ready to smash someone’s teeth in! Grrrr. Hope I haven’t scared you off.. I’m just kidding. No ~ really.

Right.. Regular readers will know my mum and I are ‘stay-cationing’ and hopping out for days out here and there. Today was the trip to London to see a matinĂ©e of ‘Oliver’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Smart alec me suggests we will save money on the train fare from Cambridgeshire if we drive down to Stanmore (end of the Jubilee line), and leave the car in their lovely big car park there, and take the tube into the city from there. So far, so good.. until we get to Stanmore. Car park full. WHAAATTT???!!! I have never seen Stanmore station car park full. OK, it's been a while, but all the same. Usually LOADS of space! To cap it off, the entrance is blocked so we can’t even drive round and check that there isn’t one tiny space. I mean, I only have a wee Renault Clio, for goodness’ sake! Panic sets in.. Omigosh.. what do we do now? Don’t know the area. Haven’t a clue where else to park. Everywhere seems chock-a-block.

Well, fortunately, my daughter lives just a few miles down the road in Bushey Heath. We decide to leave the car there and get a taxi back to Stanmore to catch the tube. Thank goodness we left plenty of contingency time. Called my daughter at work, asked her to text me a number for a local taxi firm. No problem. Called cab, turned up five mins later, and off we swan to London. On the train, I realise I’ve accidentally left my mobile in the car. On display. (We’ll come back to this later.)

Nice speedy journey into town. Get to Covent garden in plenty of time to have a nice lunch in the Piazza. Lovely day, so we opt to sit outside, and get put next to two – well, we’ll call them ladies, shall we? – ladies who lunch. One of them was very loud. Well-spoken.. tubely wheel-spew-ken in fect, dahhhling. Clearly holding her own opinions in great esteem, she wanted to make darned sure everyone in earshot heard them, too. That was fine. She was actually very witty, and to begin with, I was highly entertained and amused. Until she started liberally sprinkling her conversation with f words, amongst other things. I don’t like that, personally, mainly because it’s disrespectful and inconsiderate of other people whose sensitivities may not match your own (and therefore just plain bad manners), but I would have put up with it had I not been with my 75 year old mother.

My mother was clearly uncomfortable, and I was embarassed, so we cancelled our dessert order so we could leave early and get away from our nasty noisy neighbour, but we were still drinking our coffee and awaiting the bill. After the third expletive, I’d had enough and slapped my hand on the table, with, “Madam, will you please moderate your language!” (Not so much a request as a demand.) She looked completely shocked, so I went on, “You’ve been swearing like a trooper, and I’m here with my mother. You could be more respectful of the people sat around you.”

She said I shouldn’t have been listening, so I responded it was kind of hard not to. To which I got a ‘whateva’ (this woman must have been late thirties, at least), and she carried on with her conversation, but at least it was quieter, and I didn’t hear any more flowery language better suited to Covent Garden in bygone eras.

When we got up to leave, so did they. Darnit! We could have had dessert after all, and I'd ordered cheesecake, too!

Would it bug you, too? Would you have said anything?

Anyway, that was story number two...

How’s that coffee/wine doing? Might want to freshen it up a little.

‘Oliver’? That was great.. highly recommended, except that mum and I had to sit with our legs wide open (sorry about the imagery)... as the row we were in at the back was so cramped, there wasn’t room to sit demurely with our knees together. Having said that, it was quite comfortable, in spite of the undignified sitting position, and we had the row to ourselves. (Jodie Prenger [“Nancy”]was on holiday this week, so there were quite a few empty seats.)

That's three. Here comes story number four...

On the tube back to Stanmore, we were joined in our carriage at around about Baker Street, I think it was, by a very drunk young woman. And her dog. Not on a lead, but the dog was actually not the problem. He lay straight down in the middle of the carriage at people’s feet, quiet as you like, and meek as a lamb. His owner was slightly less meek, however, and proceeded to talk loudly, slurring badly and again swearing like a trooper, barrage-fashion to everyone in her line of sight, swaying and swishing her can of scrumpy jack around in the process. I wasn’t about to tackle this one on her language, though. It struck me as a waste of time.

She got a seat, and another seat became vacant next to her, which she grabbed for her dog. In a rush hour carriage full of people wanting to sit down. The dog.. a truly ancient and very grizzled labrador cross.. clearly did not want to get up on the seat, as it would have been a struggle for him, but she was having none of it, and unceremoniously hauled him up... this heavy lump of a dog.. onto the seat by his collar, digging into his throat. Poor thing. It must have hurt terribly. He seemed glazed, though, and resigned to his treatment. She then proceeded to ‘pat’ him. Hard. The man next to her objected. She did it all the more. With an expression of disgust, he got off the train.

She then started banging on about how she loved her dog, and how much the dog enjoyed being ‘patted’. My word for it is different.. ‘beaten’ would more accurately convey the strength of the blows being rained down on this poor creature. My mother agreed with my description. The beating got worse, and I (stupidly, yes, I know) objected and begged her to stop. 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it was only afterwards I realised she was playing up for the attention. I then became the target for her verbal abuse, and the dog got even more physical abuse. I could quite happily have resorted to physical restraint, and it took all of my self-control to resist the urge. It wouldn’t have been difficult.. she was small, and I am quite hefty! Instead, I bit my tongue and felt helpless, while everyone else in the carriage became intently interested in the evening news in their papers. I couldn’t call the RSPCA or the Police, having left my phone behind, and what use would that have been anyway? There was no guarantee she wouldn’t be getting off at the next stop. Where would I send them to?

Anyway, she started to get threatening, so after a couple of stops, mum and I ducked out at the next station and waited for the next train, hoping that she wouldn’t be waiting for us at the end of the line.

She was there, but was too far gone to spot us walking past her.

I do feel sorry for her, too, though, as well as the poor old dog, as I strongly suspect that she has deeper issues than just alcohol, and that she’s not getting the support she needs to get treatment. All kinds of other social issues probably, as well. But I can’t tolerate cruelty to animals for any reason.

I called the RSPCA when I got home, but nothing they could do without corroboration from other reports, in which case they might be able to get hold of the CCTV footage from the station, but it’s such a long shot.

Oh, and when we get back to my car outside my daughter’s house... no phone. I must have taken it with me and left it in the taxi, but the taxi firm have not had it handed in. It’s a company phone. Not looking forward to telling my boss next week. (sigh)

Quite a day, then, all in all.

Now, I see myself as someone who doesn’t pass by on the other side. If I see inhumanity, cruelty, injustice, or just plain bad manners, I have a habit of taking action. Sometimes inappropriately. (Most times, inappropriately, actually.) But I can’t seem to stop myself opening my mouth and putting my two-penneth in. I’m not very good at ‘minding my own business’. It’s not heroic. It usually backfires on me, but I can’t seem to stop myself, or be happy to be like most other people, it seems, who seem content to let others get on with it, no matter how they are abusing others.

Feel like I am batting my head against a brick wall sometimes.

OK. Rant over. If you stuck with it.. thank you. You’re a true friend. Mwaaa!

Not sure I feel better about sharing all that, but maybe I’m just tired now. And so to bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, 11 September 2009

Only about three weeks behind on this one..

But not only that.. I have been back to check and find that I got the instructions wrong, too (because I did not read them, basically). Soooo.. I'm just going to chicken out of telling you which challenge blog it was for, in the hopes that you won't know about DCM... and just pretend that this was how it was meant to be all along....

The theme was inchies, but you were supposed to use five of them, and I only used one! Never mind.. the moment has well and truly passed anyway, as I said..

So what do you think? I originally intended it to be a portrait card, but I think I prefer it landscape. Anyway, my first Christmas card for 2009! Nice and quick and simple, I think I may use this for my 'batch' cards this year.
Uses Penny Black 3897H - starflake, Black Onyx Versafine ink, black Bazzill CS, Cezanne font on my 'puter, and a couple of gems and a dab of glitter on the inchie.
P.S. Apologies for being AWOL for a couple of weeks... Was extra busy leading up to my hols, and now I'm on my hols.. doing the 'Staycation', and I mean literally.. Not going away, but mum and I are zipping out for days out every other day. This week, we've done Burghley House, Bletchley Park and Woburn. Next week, it's the beach, 'Oliver' in London, and then shopping in Cambridge. Not everyone's idea of an exciting time, but suits me down to the ground. :o)


Thinking today of the British families,
and the families of all other nations,
who lost loved ones in the twin towers in 2001.