Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Something old

Is the craft room done yet?

No, not, nada, not at all. Un-blinking-believable.

I know, it is hard to fathom how it could possibly take so long, but there have been so many glitches along the way I have stopped counting. The last being the floor, my beautiful wooden floor which now has to be my old carpet put back and simply cleaned floor. The guy who built our house did not posess a spirit level, the floor dipped by more than 8mm on the one side and after much deliberation and many a tear shed we decided it would just not work. The floor has to be level or the wood might crack and there was no way we could prop it up properly, believe me we thought of many ways. Of course we found this out AFTER we had completely prepped the floor, scraped off the yukky carpet tape, bought the wooden flooring strips and underlay, opened the pack ... you know, spent a whole day getting it all ready, just to pack it all back in the car and pray that B&Q would give us a refund.

I did get a brand new VAX carpet cleaner out of the deal as a consolation prize, so it is not all bad. We cleaned that old carpet to within an inch of it's life last night. It is sparkling and fresh all ready for me to drop paint and ink on it. Of course the inevitable fate of a clean carpet.

By now I am suffering from a bit of crafting withdrawal. Every now and then I just open up an inkpad or a box of stamps and give it a good whiff. I gently run my fingers through the packs of papers stacked on my lounge floor and if I am feeling particularly in need of a fix I grab punch or two and attack my paper bin.

Thing is, once I am moved in and ready to craft again, I am off to South Africa for a month, so there is going to be no crafting in this neck of the woods until January.

I will just have to go with the inkpad sniffing for now.

And then we get to the something old - some old projects, which I am sure you probably don't want to see, but I am afraid it is all I got, unless you want to join me in some ink sniffing :)

One of my favourite projects for Practical Crafts magazine used to be the 9 for 5 feature. I loved that. Make 9 cards with just £5.

My materials for these were a sheet of pattern paper, some sheets of coloured cardstock, bottle tops and string. I used my pc to print the greetings and a paper piercer to add detail.

Here are three of the nine cards, I will post the others in the next few days.

Bottletops are so inexpensive, I love to use them for cheap decoration. These were bought from Wilkinsons for something like 79p for a whole bag full. Flatten them with a rubber mallet and voila. The little flowers are cut from the patterned paper and the row of holes was made with my dress makers tracing wheel and every second hole enlarged with a paper piercer. Cheap and cheerful!

For this card I printed the letters onto the back of patterned paper (mirroring them first) and then cut out. The rest of the message is printed. Simple simple simple – just the way I like it, again adding some detail with the little holes.

And lastly, the little flower stem is normal stock standard cheap string that you can buy anywhere. I pricked holes and used a large embroidery needle to sew the stem. It is a bit bulky on the back, so the panel with the flower is attached to the tag with 3D pads.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

You would think ...

You would think that by now I would be done painting and moving.

You would think that our house would be waterproof.

You would think I would be grateful that I have a whole room, albeit the box room, all to myself to use as a craft space and not be envious of other people's crafting do-overs ... but look at all that fabulous space. I want to be Donna Downey.

Talking about Donna Downey, I LOVE these new stamps she has designed.

But, back to business.

The reason it has taken me so very long to get to the painting bit is all down to a recent strange developement in our household. It seems we are very successfully attracting water. Good if you are thirsty, not so good when it is invading your house.

First, when we uncovered the one corner of wallpaper we also uncovered a large black patch of, what I assume has been years of water damage. GREAT!

For some inexplicable reason the water was running down the interior beam on the gable end of the house and trickling straight down the wall. We had just recently had the fascias and gutters replaced too ... so it is a bit of a mystery. No amount of detective work could solve the puzzle of where exactly the water was getting in, so we went for the next best thing ... silicone everything.

On Sunday, Matthew and I got up onto the flat roof of the garage, very long ladder in hand, and siliconed every possible crack and crevice that could be letting in water. There is no tile damage either ... we are truly stumped.

So now the drywall had to be fixed, plastered, sanded ... see that unpainted patch of plaster still drying out. I have one very proud of himself husband as he has never done any plastering before. I know it is only a little spot, but heck, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

We got up on Monday morning, very happy indeed that our plaster seems to be staying dry and that I could finally paint. BUT THEN, just like a really bad B-grade movie, we had scene 2 of the water saga.

This time downstairs, around the kitchen counter.

As Matthew was about to leave for work, he reached to pick up his iPod in it's lovely little iPod sock, only to find a soggy watery mess and a lovely damp patch of ceiling dripping merrily and steadily. NOW WHAT!

First thought of course was the radiator pipes, but after ripping up the floor ... yet again ... they seemed perfectly intact.

Someone was having a laugh.

We could see the water pooled under the floor on the downstairs ceiling, but had no clue where it was coming from. There is only a small portion of the passage way floor that can be lifted for inspection, and that was just not enough,  so out comes the circular saw. Now we have a substantially larger portion of the floor that can be lifted.

Nothing a good old circular saw cannot solve hey!

Eventually Matthew figured out that the water was dripping down the wall from above. Upon closer inspection he noticed that the pipe to the water tank in the attic had worked it's way loose and was steadily emptying itself onto the ceiling, down the wall, onto the downstairs ceiling, and onto his iPod which was lying on the kitchen counter.

So we fixed all of that, correction, Matthew fixed all of that while I made encouraging noises. We have had the upstairs floor open for two days to try and dry out the downstairs ceiling and now we are wondering why we seem to be a conduit in the universe for spontaneous water leakage.

Talk about having a Monday morning. Garfield eat your heart out.

Having now dealt with our collective bad water karma, I could finally get down to actually painting.

One wall.

One is a start. Tomorrow I shall do one more, I don't want to exert myself now do I?

(Oh, the blue tape will be removed ... it is not part of the plan, only there to keep me painting inside the lines)

It is a green wall, and oh my, green it is. Amazing how it looks so much more green when it covers the entire wall as opposed to only a swatch.

I like it though, and it will be mostly obscured my my new NEXT curtain ... woohoo, I am getting new curtains. I am only painting one wall green, the others will be natural calico (technically just off-white, but natural calico sounds so much more posh).

The spare bed will also go here, with a matching duvet cover ... woohoo, I am getting a new duvet cover.

Then I will squash and squeeze all the rest of the bits into the remaining itsy bitsy space that is left over.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Oh how I hate DIY

So I spent the entire last week stripping wallpaper, and yes it was as fun as it sounds. Then there is my darling husband ...

You see, when he was twelve years old the owners of his local hardware shop asked him if he wanted to work for them because he spent so much time in there, looking and drooling over all of the tools and equipment. At twelve!

In those days in South Africa you could go to work part time even at that age, so he jumped at the opportunity. When I met him he was 28, and still working at the hardware shop on weekends, even though he was then holding down a 9-5 office job during the week. I think you get the point here - he loves all things harware, and probably the reason he gets my obsession with crafty tools, gadgets and stash.

There is a down side to this though, whenever there is any DIY work to be done, it gets done by the book. There is no painting over anything, everything has to get stripped down to bare metal, wood, board ... you take your pick, then primer, then sanding, then undercoat, then sanding, then top coat. Jeesh!

It always looks really good in the end, but working with a perfectionist is ... well ... hard work.

I have left a whole month for us to do my craft room, because I just know that it will stretch on with all the little extras we will have to do - not to mention all the new tools we will have to acquire.

First though, I had to get all the stuff out - and that took nearly a week. Sorting, organising, trying to find a temporary home for everything ... ugh!

This is my room starting out. You know how you have to get everything out and on the floor first before it can get properly sorted. Stuff everywhere - who knows where it all came from.

I am aiming for it all to be organised and neat when I am done, at the moment I only have one bookshelf that is organised the way I like it. The rest is in a state of, shall we say, semi organisation. You know where only I know where anything is.

Oh yes, and my ribbons – that has just been organised too, thanks to this cool hanger from Lakeland. I will just need to find a good place to hang it -maybe behind the door.

Once all the stuff was out there the fun and games started. Stripping the walls. That was fun ... NOT, and took me an entire week because I had to be super careful not to damage the plasterboard underneath.

I stripped all of the walls, using water, sponge, ladder and a scraper, but see all of the tools that suddenly arrive when Matthew starts doing all the things he needs to do. Like putting in new drywall screws, filling holes, levelling stuff, sanding stuff, sawing through the floor, putting in a new radiator ... the list is endless.

I am grateful, honestly I am. Matthew is great to have around, and he does a sterling job. It does mean however that this week I need to sand the skirtings, paint the skirtings, sand the door frame, paint the door frame, sand the door, paint the door ... do you feel my pain!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Christmas cards ...

Have you started yet?

Nope ... me either. Truth be told, I seldom make batches of cards for Christmas. I know I should, I know it would definitely go a long way to reducing my pile of stash that, at this rate of acquisition, will serve me way into the 22nd century ... but you know, I just don't.

A few years back I was doing quite a bit of magazine work, which conveniently left me with a nice steady pile of handmade cards to give to relatives come Christmas time. I am very deadline driven, and having to make them for a project always does nicely to light a fire under my "would rather sit at the computer and surf or watch tv if I could" bottom ... can I say bottom? It is not a bad word where I come from, but my daughter told me off the other day for saying it, so now I err on the side of caution.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, deadlines, the great motivator.

Having cut down on my magazine work dramatically in the last two years, I don't make nearly as many cards, and as a result I actually have to make a conscious effort to get off this here chair and go and craft for myself. I did however make some Christmas cards for Craft Stamper this year. (So at least my mum will have a handmade card ... phew!)

They will be in the December issue, out on Friday. Think brown, think pink, think Season of Joy .... think Stampin' Up!

Love that Season of Joy set - especially the lovely flourished tree and cool swirl. I do have a thing for swirls.

Of course I am not allowed to post any of the images on here, but I made two extra cards for the Craft Stamper website and you can see them here

I can however share a card that made a while back, uhm, like two years back I think, but I do love these Bella's so much. This is WinoBella. Add a small Santa hat, and she transforms into a Christmas hostess ... voila. The hat is a small punch, but I really cannot remember who it was made by.

I cut an aperture around Bella and glued some patterned paper onto the inside of the card so that it shows through the aperture when the card is closed. Her dress was stamped seperately onto red cardstock and then pieced on with foam dots. Patterned paper is BasicGey.

On that festive note, I shall leave you as I have an appointment with a scraper and some wallpaper that needs stripping.