Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I ache!

Well I haven't made anything today but I did a lot of raking of leaves. I've manged to fill about 12 or 13, 55 gallon bags which is a lot, believe me! My poor elbow and wrist joints are so sore that I feel another warm shower coming on.

However as a bonus, one thing our garden does not lack is pine cones, although they are vicious ones with spiky bits but I picked up quite a few and they are destined for some holiday project or other. At the moment I'm thinking a front door wreath - burlap and perhaps painted and/or glittered pine cones.

Before that though I have a Pecan and Pumpkin cheesecake to make for Thanksgiving (can't believe it's next week!) plus some kitty kat tree ornaments for The Cat Corner's Tree of Hope which is in our local Petco store. Guess I'd better fire up the ole Cricut and Sure Cuts a Lot then!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mannequin pincushion

Well I saw these on DIY Dish and just had to have a go. Just a fat quarter of fabric, a candlestick and a mini Xmas ornament. I think I see more of these looming in my future. They'd be great to drape some necklaces on but I think they'll make pretty ornaments as well as pincushions in my craft/sewing space - when I get it ;oS

Also had a go at recycling some garden/yard flags that Debbie bought at a yard sale. I had no idea what to do with them when she brought them to me but they ended up as reusable shopper/tote bags. Recycling or upcycling, whatever, they make pretty nifty bags I think!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

sharing some wise words.

I know a lot of what he had to say has been quoted recently but this particular "conversation" just really hits home for me!

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

- Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Little pouches

Well I've been busy with the sewing machine and must really get my tired butt to bed, but before I do, I thought I'd just make a quick post.

These are a few little pouches I made for The Cat Corner to sell at a street fair this weekend. We have three little kittens, Fang Fang, Felicity and Felicia who need eye surgery. Their eyelids didn't develop fully in the womb and so if they are to avoid serious eye issues they have to have them fixed. It's going to cost around $1500 so we're trying all we can to raise some funds for them. Let's hope that they get is quickly and that the surgery and recovery is speedy and successful. I hope they still look as cute as they do now!!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Still here!

Well as much to reassure myself as to actually inform anyone who happens across this blog ;o) I haven't stopped creating and have been trying to find little pockets of time to do so. I'm still looking forward to having some dedicated space and keep telling myself that it won't be long now. Of course other areas of the home have taken priority but hopefully the day of declaring war on the spare bedroom is not too far off.

So first up I decorate some more candles. This is definitely fun and this little batch actually went towards raffle prizes for The Cat Corner. I made more than I will share here - just don't want to bore the masses (joking of course) silly!

Then it was back to stitching. Since moving across the pond and having fabric shops more readily available, I've found my love of stitching re-emerging. I'm so glad that I was opted to take Needlecrafts as an exam subject (for which I got an A by the way!) because I know most of the basic and more advanced techniques and can read a pattern etc., not something most young women know today sadly. Just wondering why with my love of colour and needles I didn't think more seriously about getting in to fabric and design as a career. But then back in the day most of us were encouraged to go in to office work - heck I decided I'd be a Shorthand Typist before I even really understood what that was. Of course I was influenced by my teachers but also by the fact that I was one of the best at both shorthand and typing in my year. Us Leo's just hate to be average at anything we do lol. But I digress, as I often will.

There have been a few little precious lads born around me recently - and so I decided to have some fun with some babygro's or onesies as they're called this side of the pond. I think they turned out pretty cute!

Then I found a source for good natural unbleached linen which seems to have made a resurgence. I love the stuff and when it arrived I opened the box and took a great big addict like sniff. The smell took me right back to my days working at the linen factory in Sandy Row, Belfast, and walking around the factory to sort out issues and time cards for the factory workers. Ahhh the good ole days lol. Anyway, I'd been following Rashida Coleman-Hale's blog and loved the look of the Zakka (Japanese cutesy in everyday objects) style and her tutorial for a little coin purse. Given I had some colourful scraps I decided to make a couple. They are definitely cute, but next time I'll be more clued in to doing some fussy cutting to get the patterns in the right places (hence half of a cat head in the first attempts), and also use softer interfacing. Mine won't hold coins and I'm not sure that changing the interfacing will make much difference - but they will hold credit and store cards or a little needled kit.

So now will I give them away or will they go in to future shop inventory!???? Decisions, decisions. I can't wait to start experimenting more with this fabulous fabric, now wonder if I can find a good source for reasonably priced quality IRISH Linen!

Friday, 19 August 2011

a discovery!!

Although I moved to the USA more than a year ago, all my boxes haven't been unpacked as yet.

Well today I got to the bottom of a couple of boxes of my craft stuff and I found something I'd been missing for ages ........... my Ultimate Glue Pad, all my glitters and Stickles.

Ohhhhh yea!!!!!!! Blingyness will now be resumed.

I also kind of consolidated some of my papers and embellishments and I've decided it will be most likely be mini books and albums for gifts this year. Really really must make use of some of the great stuff I found that I had forgotten about.

Guess between sewing and paper crafting I'm going to be busy. And on that note I must get off the www as I'm off to the other side of the bridge tonight to do some stitching with like minded ladies!

Missin ya already :o)

Monday, 15 August 2011

retro fashion.

Well I haven't made it yet, but I just got this pattern because I fell in love with both the wide leg pants and the fitted but simple jacket. This style of trouser (do you like the way I shift between UK and American english - so multi-lingual I'm getting lol!) really suits me and an unfussy jacket is to much more flattering to ladies who have been blessed if you catch my drift.

I'm thinking I could do light weight and floaty for summer, heavier for winter. Now I haven't made any clothing for years so this may take some time. In the meantime there have been a lot of little lads born to family and friends recently and I have an idea for some onesies/babygro's. More to come!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

WOYWW - Pretty Candles

Well I haven't been very good at posting for WOYWW, but I have been working on these for a couple of days and just finished them today. I've seen these done by others and decided it was about time I had a go. A friend made me a scrummy Butter Almond birthday cake and I wanted to give her a little something as a thank you.

The candles were inexpensive and smell of clean cotton. I kind of thought you can't go wrong with that fragrance - smell seems to be such an individual thing, for example I dislike body products that make me smell like fruit - but I digress!

Anyway the Koi one made it's way to my friend, the paisley candles I made just because. Not sure if I will burn them or give them to friends. They were fun to do and now I want to buy more just to play with stamps and colouring :o)))

Ohh and just a shot of our current littlist resident at the Cat Corner. This is little Millie, she is small enough to fit in a coffee mug at around 5 inches from her nose to her btm. She's the runt of a litter of 7 that we rescued, and although she is the runt, she is definitely a feisty little fighter - you just want to try giving her a pill ....... well you don't actually, my finger still has a little bruise from her pin sharp teeth. She is adorable though isn't she!!

Friday, 29 July 2011

time to blog ....

because I haven't been very good at it lately. Doesn't time fly!

I have been keeping myself busy as usual. I redecorated our guest bathroom. It hadn't been done since my dear hubster moved in and whilst we are thinking of remodeling it, it definitely needed a little TLC. Just some paint, a few pictures frames (all at knock down prices) and a window treatment to give us more light and privacy at the same time. Fresh and clean with just a hint of beachy!

It's really hot here at the moment and the flowers are blooming nicely. It feels like being a kid again because so many of the flowers, plants and bugs (both good and bad) are all new to me. I'm loving the butterflies and hummingbirds. Two of the hummingbirds are getting quite bold and will come and feed whilst I'm out sitting or grilling (food not me!) on the deck. Hopefully I might manage to catch a picture of the little male who has the most fabulous red throat. The pic below is the bolder of two little females who call regularly.

The boys are very well settled and we are learning more about their little quirks and likes and dislikes every day. This is a favourite pose of our boy Checkers - and looks like he winked, just for the camera lol.

As for my other creative endeavours, I have been making some more cards when I can fit it in. I am aching to get on and do more creative things but there are so many other much more pressing things right now. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will have created me some more creative space and I can get stuck in to all those projects that are on the infinite to do list!

A card for the "pocket" card swap

This one was for the "What a woman Wants" swap, and who doesn't want good times with girlfriends!

And lastly one for the "Gatefold" swap, I'm loving these vintage sewing stamps I picked up on Ebay.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

herself very very busy .........

Just because I haven't blogged for a while doesn't mean I haven't been making things. Quite the opposite really.

Firstly I did a bit of an overhaul on our front door. It took lots of cleaning, primer, and coats of paint and it's almost done. You could call it a bit of an extreme makeover, not because it changed the whole look of the house, but because it was done during extremely hot temperatures ... all above 90 degrees. That'll make a woman tired I tell ya! I'll post some befores and afters when it's completed finished.

Then I did get some paper crafting in too. This card is for a red, white and blue swap on Split Coast Stampers. Not a very fancy or difficult card but I quite like it anyway. It says Smile on the front and on the inside "the world is your Lobster!" Bit of a pun .... well I think it's kinda funny.

I took a trip over the James River Bridge yesterday. It's like nothing we have at home, or even in the UK as far as I know. It's a bit like London Bridge in that it opens to let ships through, only it's a whopping 4.5 miles long!

It was a lovely drive over the water in the sunshine and there, just off the other end of the bridge, like a little pot of gold awaiting me was Bella's Fabrics. As I've mentioned before, I've really got back in to sewing since I moved here. The fabrics are just so tempting and the choice is fabulous. Anyway I went for something completely different than what I came away with, but when I saw this kitty fabric I just couldn't leave without it. So tonight I made myself a little shopper with it. It brings a smile to my face, and all sewn on my lovely little OAP machine. I hope you can see the advertisements on it clearly. They are so cute as is our big guy who is checking out the kitties lol!

Well after the front door is completely finished I have a bathroom makeover to do, then a little mini book to hold the instructions for my Featherweight. Soooo far from being done just yet!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

two new friends.

Well they are not really new because I've been seeing them twice a week for the last 8 months, but some huge steps for two little kitties at The Cat Corner.

First Rosie Red. Rosie would be considered maybe semi-feral. She really doesn't seek out us humans and seems to be able to get along without any feline company either. You tend to see her scoot about quickly, making her way from one perch to another and her favourite place is in a wicker basket right on top of some of the kitty condos, well away from arms reach ...... except when she let's out her loud unmistakable meow in demanding to be let back into her own condo. She has us volunteers all well trained so we open it and she rushes past to go in, get some food and use her litter tray. She will then meow to be let out again!! Like I said she has us well trained. Anyway today, she asked to be let in and I did as I was ordered, except I absently minded reached in to give her a little loving.

Well, before I realised what I was doing, contrary Miss Rosie decided she liked it and gave me a few head nudges. Awhhhhhhhhh, so of course I stayed a little while longer stroking her and getting head nudges in return. Eventually I got back up and left the door open as I figured she would want out again ........... oh no, she stayed a while longer so I had to go back and give her some more. Way to go Rosie!! How could you not love this face?

There must have been something in the air today. Let me tell you about Helga. Helga is the most beautiful Calico cat I've ever seen. When I first started I checked out the pics of all the cats that were there and Helga caught my eye immediately, but when I went to volunteer I couldn't see her. That's because Helga spent all her time on top of the condos, hidden in various boxes or cat beds that were up there just for that reason. After a while I'd occasionally see her bolting from one place to another, but that was about it. Helga has spent her entire little life so far living in shelters such as ours. She was adopted for a short while but the person didn't seem to understand how long it can take for a kittie to gain confidence and trust someone, and after a short time they lost patience and brought her back.

Then I was made a designated opener which means I open up the shelter two days a week and give the kitties their breakfast and medications. Helga of course had to be fed up on top of the condos. Well over the months, I got to know where she might be in the mornings, and each day would talk to her as I offered up her food. At first she would bolt away, but eventually she started to stay when I got on a chair and let me put the food quite close to her, but would shy back if I tried to move anywhere in her direction, but still I talked to her telling her how beautiful she was and what a scrummy breakfast I had for her (just call me a crazy cat woman lol!).

Well about a month or so ago, I started leaving my hand close by the dish as she ate, at first she drew back, but after much reassuring and talking from me she started to eat whilst my hand was beside the dish. She also started staying around on the screen porch a bit more too, although if I tried to give her food there she bolted back up to the condos. But, last week she was lying in one of the cat trees and I told her to stay where she was, I would get her breakfast first! When I came back I approached her quietly, talking to her and what do you know, she stayed where she was - I was so pleased!!! She's beginning to trust me, maybe in two or three years I'll get to stroke her if I'm lucky I thought.

But, it seems Helga had a different thought because today she was on a high shelf. I duly went to get her breakfast and gave it to her there. She shied back a bit and I let her alone to eat. A bit later though I thought I'd better get the empty dish back to wash. I got up and took the dish and chatted away to her as usual, then I reached out and she turned like she was going away ........ but she didn't!! She turned her back and I reached and touched it!! She didn't move and in fact seemed to move in to the touch so I tried to stroke her, well what do you know, she raised her butt up and wanted more. I can't begin to explain how great it feels to gain the trust of a little animal that has been avoiding people for so long and not only did I do it once, but three times throughout the day I got up and gave her some strokes. By the third time she was rolling over a bit and actually padding with her paws!! If she keeps this up I might just have to see if M. will let me bring her home.

You know that saying about taking time to smell the roses .............. well today was a day to take joy in getting to touch and be trusted by a couple beautiful kitties!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

a mini deck makeover.

Well whilst M. was out of town working, I decided to get busy with the paint brush and sewing machine. The kitchen table and chairs I bought about 20 years ago from Habitat, they are still solid and the table has the added bonus of having two extending leaves. If you were able to see the table top you'll see the signs of many a happy hour spend crafting! But, we don't really have room for it in the house so I thought we could make use of it on the deck.

To tie in with the deck colours, I repainted the legs the same colour as the adirondack chairs and found some lovely outdoor fabric at Hancock fabrics to reupholster the chairs. I think it looks pretty good and will give us an outside dining space. The chairs used to be covered with the legs of old denim jeans and that fabric was still wearing well so I decided to recycle that too - I made some rough and ready table mats. I deliberately left the edges raw as I'm hoping when I wash then they get the ole frayed look.

The rest of the adirondacks finally got painted too, and I potted up some tomatoes in the corner. Now just to get some summer flowers for the pots and I'll call it done.

Friday, 20 May 2011

a trip home.

I hadn't been home since I moved west so it was a little overdue. The weather was usual NI wet and cold but as I was just there to see my friends and family, the weather mattered not a jot!

I also managed to pick up my precious (think of lil Gollum type hysterical laugh here). A fabulous little Singer Featherweight 221 machine. I'd spotted it on ebay, a US spec machine in Scotland of all places. I wonder what it's story was and how it got there? Sadly the seller didn't have any clues.

I'm speculating that it made it across the Atlantic on a ship when it was quite young and because of the different voltage used, didn't see much action since. It's in fabulous condition considering it left the factory on 22 April 1947 - that makes it 64 years old. I plugged it in, the original light still works and it purrrrrrs along like a kitten. So will be having a wee play over the weekend. Not sure what I will do first but will share when it's finished.

Isn't it a beauty! Oh and if you are wondering is it a really small machine or a really big cat - hmmmmm well it's a bit of both. The machine is a dinky little thing, our boy Checkers on the other hand, is not!!

Saturday, 7 May 2011


Well just for Sharon, because for some strange reason she was eager to see what I would make lol!

I'm part of a swap on Split Coast Stampers and the theme was the Beach. Well when I spotted this stamp by Jo Manning at Stamping Bella, I just couldn't resist it.

Anyway they turned out pretty cute I think. First time I've worked with watercolor crayons and I have to say they are great. Very easy to work with and a good range of colours for not too many $$$. Soooooooo I think I'll be leaving expensive Copic markers to those whose production can justify the cost. I've now got What Women Want and Red, White and Blue swaps to do but they will have to wait until I get back from the Emerald Isle.

Off now to make a flourless chocolate, lime and chilli cake for the Cat Corner annual meeting this afternoon, and if I get time, to paint another couple of the adirondack chairs on the deck.

Catch ya later!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


OK so inspired by Sheleen and having seen some other friends at this I decided to join in!

Firstly I have to say that I don't actually have a workdesk at the moment. We're still getting the house from a bachelor pad to married couple status and that is taking time! Hopefully some day in the not too distant future (like when the kitchen laundry is finished), I should be at least able to get up to craftyness on the dining table.

So for the moment I am using one of those little fold down TV tables - a challenge all of it's own I tell ya. So what's on it right now. Well I've been putting some unmounted rubber stamps on to some cling foam. Not the most well known brand but a much cheaper version I found on Ebay.
Seems to be working just fine. You might just see the back of an envelope where I took off the access ink after I'd stamped the foam and before I stuck them together. The madame in the bikini if to make some cards for a Beach themed swap I'm part of over at Split Coast Stampers.

The Cook this Not That I bought yesterday. Michael and I are fast approaching that age where we need to look after ourselves better because illnesses and accesses show on the body ............. sigh ........... but it looks pretty good and seems to be a good way to ensure we make healthier choices! I have no idea why there are a pair of Michael's safety glasses doing on there, other than that it is a flat surface lol!

The postcard is from a friend Linda. She is the sweetest and most amazing woman. She volunteers at The Cat Corner along with me but does so much more besides, rescuing kitties who are living in parking lots of local restaurants, strays and friendly ferals. Every year she goes to England where she spends a three week holiday ............... can you guess ................ working at a non profit cat shelter there too. She was sweet enough to send some us a postcard!

So what else has been happening lately, well apart from the little task which is turning out to be a bit epic - that's the fitting of some cabinets in to our laundry area, I've been sprucing up the deck and painted our adirondack chair red. This was an experiment to see if I could coax Michael in to letting me paint the front door - happy to say it worked - the door will be red in the not too distant future lol.

I've also planted up a herb pot to sit by the BBQ so we can pick and use them when we grill, and I've been watching for the Hummingbirds which have returned - horray! In fact it seems we have a bit of a territorial battle going on as I spotted two together this morning. Sadly I doubt that I'll ever be quick enough with the camera to catch their battle for the feeder.

Of course, there's been the arrival of our boys too. More to follow as this has turned into a longer ramble than I anticipated. Ohhhh well, nothing new there then lol!