Monday, 18 June 2012

In the blink of an eye....(posted by Judith)

Well, it seems an age since the girls came to stay for a few days, but I wanted to let you know how we all got on, and post one or two pictures of our time together.

The weather was absolutely atrocious for most of the few days that we spent together, so sadly, we didn't manage to spend our afternoons drinking tea outside in the garden. My OH had spent a considerable amount of time trying to get the garden looking just so, in time for the arrival of our VIP guests.

We have lots of little areas around the house for sitting and relaxing, but not in a downpour! So we stayed inside, and made the best of the bad weather. We still ate plenty of cakes......

Elaine was our cake maker extraordinaire for the trip and she made some Apple Scones. Chocolate and Orange cupcakes, and my personal favourite, Lemon Drizzle cake.
She got to grips with my range cooker and knew where everything was in the kitchen by the time she was ready to leave!
One of the days the girls were here, Linda Elbourne came to see us, and taught a class for us. We made a great project incorporating an altered suitcase and a mini book. It was lovely to see Linda, and to catch up with her. We took a class with her when we had our last holiday together, so this was a little bit of history repeating itself.
This is my suitcase all finished with its little labels and the paint job all done. My book is almost finished as well, but it need the holes for the book rings. My Big Bite just can't quite manage the job, so my OH is going to make the holes for me. Linda had a fabulous tool that makes holes in leather belts that made her holes. This is her book:
We spent far too much time chatting as per usual, and didn't get our project finished during the class. That's always the way I'm afraid! Linda was telling us that she is hanging up her crafting hat for a while, and becoming a pub landlady, you may have seen the announcement on her blog. She will be crafting again once she is settled, but she will be busy getting herself sorted out to start with. Happily for me, she will still be within driving distance of where I live, so I may have to stop in for a Pimm's!

We had another visitor the next day, Paula Whittaker. She lives not that far from me, and she came and had a crafting session with us as well. We were very honoured to see some of her fabulous creations that she had brought with her. It is lovely to get to know crafters online, but even more special when you get to meet them face to face.

So after all the weeks of planning, and emails flying backwards and forwards, our time together has been and gone. I hardly dare tell my OH that we'd like to do it all again next year......!

Judith xx

Friday, 1 June 2012

Four days to go! (posted by Judith)

Well, it's been a long time since there has been a post on our poor neglected blog, and we are sorry for that. Life has taken over recently, and we have all had our fair share of ups and downs.

Hopefully over the next week, you will see a few more posts from us, as the Craft Stamping Quartet are having a holiday together in Norfolk! The girls are coming to stay at my house, Poppy Cottage, and we hope to craft together and spend some quality time catching up with each other.

We have decided that we are going to try to do a bit of sightseeing while they are staying, but the most important thing on the agenda is afternoon tea, and cake every day.

To that end, I have been collecting new, borrowed, and charity shop bits and pieces ready for their arrival. My Mother in law has been a great help to me, as she has vast cupboards full of crockery, so she has lent me some treasures. The glass dish is a 1937 coronation dish, which will be great for strawberries to go with the cakes, don't you think? The teapot is one of my wedding presents, and only comes out for high days and holidays. The Cake stand is actually new from a Laura Ashley sale, it is enamel, and very pretty. Everything else came from charity shops, and cost very little. I have a few other bits that I haven't photographed, but today is a bit grey outside, and I think that it's going to rain.

Behind where I was standing when I took the photograph is this beauty at the moment:

I absolutely love wisteria, and we inherited this one when we moved here. I consider myself very lucky to have this treat every Spring.

Well, I'm sure we'll be back with more updates of our time together in a few days, thanks for stopping by, Judith xx

Monday, 2 January 2012

Must try harder! (posted by Jo)

What would we do without New Year and a chance to start afresh with the motivation that only saying goodbye to Christmas can bring? I love Christmas but afterwards am so keen to get things sorted out. My last six months have been almost completely craft free so to make anything would be a resolution in itself. But I've tracked my dry spell down to three things which I think will help me keep my juices flowing.

I am like so many crafters and have lots and lots of unused stash. I am in danger of becoming a mere collector. So often I find that when I rediscover something I can't remember why I bought it in the first place. So my first resolution is, when I buy something new, to make a note of the technique or project I want to use it for.

My second resolution is to be more open-minded about what materials I use. Since I have been crafting less I have not been able to keep up with what is fashionable in the crafting world. So I need to achieve results using what I already have and even pull in materials not intended for crafting. I hope this will make my work a bit more original too as I am not slavishly following recipes.

Thirdly I want to follow the advice of my good friend Judith. I am the only one of our Quartet who doesn't have a dedicated crafting space. It means I don't have a room or studio to worry about keeping tidy but it also means that when I want to craft I have to trawl round the house looking for things in all the odd cupboard corners I have to keep my stuff. I also have to put it all back again at the end of the session. If I only have an hour free to craft then most of it is spent getting out and putting away. Judith suggested having a little portable kit so that I can craft from my armchair without too much effort when I come home from work in the evening. I have a KP2 which is a very useful tote. But I have been using it for storage. Now I am going to fill it with my most used equipment and a couple of project boxes and bring it out in the evenings to make better use of my limited spare time.

I lost all motivation before Christmas and worried that I was no longer even trying to find crafting time. But I am feeling strong urges to get started again now so I am looking forward to having something to show on here again soon.

I hope you are all feeling refreshed and bursting with ideas ready to start the New Year. I know many of you craft your way through sad times and adversity and I hope it gives you as much joy and strength as seeing what you make gives to me.

Happy 2012, everyone!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

My resolutions (posted by Elaine)

As Judith and Lesley have already said, life has been pretty hectic for us all lately, but we are starting 2012 intending to try harder to keep up with our shared projects this year.

Like the other girls I mean to try and keep my craft area tidier, keep on top of Christmas card making through the year and make better use of things I have already. Here are my specific resolutions though!

Firstly, I keep looking at projects on different blogs that incorporate machine sewing. I really like the effect and although I have traditionally used an old Singer treadle sewing machine for my sewing, I do now have large and small electric machines, so I have no excuse, but to make time to get practising and try and master this skill to add a new dimension to my projects.

Secondly, in order to make better use of my stash, I have resolved to stop buying loads of stamps I don't get around to using. (The trouble is there are such a lot of amazing images out there!). So, I will really try to get all my stamps indexed and organised by subject this year and that will need to include cleaning them properly and putting them away when I have used them! This is what happens when I don't and I have to have a massive clean up and it is very tedious!

Lastly, I really want to try and make more time for experimental and fun crafting, instead of always meeting deadlines and planning all the things I make instead of going with the flow, and I really hope some of that crafty playtime can be spent with the other quartet girls this year - that would really be special.

Happy New Year everyone - enjoy your crafting and make every minute count!

Elaine x