Wednesday 30 April 2014

A walk on the beach

I am sure I was a mermaid in a past life, not because of my swimming abilities, although I am quite proud of those, but because I am inexplicably drawn towards the sea.  I love looking out a a huge expanse of water and wondering where it ends.  I love the waves as they froth and crash onto the beach, and I love all the things that I imagine is going on underneath.  I just love the sea.

So this weekend, I was feeling a little down in the dumps, life just has not been the same since Dotty Dog left us, and all I wanted to do was to have a walk on the beach, to let the salty sea air blow all those mouldy cobwebs away and clear my head.

On Saturday morning Hubster said "Let's go to Morecame", I ummed and ahhed, couldn't be bothered, not enough time, excuses, excuses, until he said "You've got 20 minutes to get in that car!"

Fair enough then, 18 minutes later my boots were on, hat and gloves dug out of the cupboard (not needed as it happened) and we were on our way.

I do like Morecambe, it's only an hour and a bit away from us, a few tatty shops, a few greasy spoon cafes, but a nice walk along the sea front and down onto the sand.

There are loads of these guys about too.

The promenade wasn't enough for me, I needed to be down on the sand with the risk of wet feet.

And soaking jeans at the back where my hems are too long.

While I was taking this arty shot, Hubster was taking one of me, taking it.  Cheeky boy.

It was cloudy and fresh, but not cold.  In fact quite warming when the sun poked it's head out from between the clouds.

We walked, then turned around and walked some more.

Lots to look at further down the beach, where the water has washed up all manner of sea treasure.  Shells, crabs, the odd bit of sea-glass. And a solitary tennis ball.

I squatted down to have a good root about, see if there was anything worth pocketing.

...and this wee fella came right up to me to see what I was doing.  I took a quick snap and left as I don't do flappy feathers, they send me into a right spin.

Crab!  Sadly departed, or I would have thrown him back.

I did come home with a strange bit of pottery shaped like a mushroom, and a shell with some gorgeous colouring.

Oh, and a windmill, coz you can't go to the sea-side and not buy a windmill   ;)

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Forgotten treasures

Whilst giving the glass shed a good tidy I came across a pot of forgotten bits and pieces that I have made over the years, and thought it might be nice to share them again  :)

The first few are enamelled pieces from a class I did YEARS ago with Dorothy Cockrell inn Tullie House.  I tried to look through the blog archive, but it might have even been earlier than that!

This piece is about 5cm with added wire to make tree branches.

This one is the same size, but with a foil goddess cut out then layered with transparent enamel on the top.

...and this piece I made after the class, once my huge amount of enammeling stuff had arrived.   The same stuff that is still in the box, all of it, except for the single piece that I made this with!

Actually, it wasn't all bad, I did enamel a large pile of 2p pieces  (copper ones) to give me a colour pallete  :)  but that is as far as my enamelling adventures went.  Maybe one day....

This piece is pewter, from my times when I tried pewter casting.  Again, I bought all the stuff, used it once, and gave it away to a friend yesterday after tiding the shed and deciding I wouldn't probably use it again.  Hope she gets more use of of it that I did.

I stuck some Swarovski crystals to it for a bit of bling.

This one is Precious Metal Clay - now I am thoroughly ashamed to admit even half of the stuff I own for working with PMC.  There is a huge box full of bits and bobs, tools and more tools, and even more shamefully packets and packets of PMC just waiting to be used.  I popped it back under the shelf before Hubster worked out what it was.

This piece is studded with Swarovski Cabochons, some of them cracked with the heat of the kiln, but it was a good experiment.

Glass casting - no, it's not a nipple, it's a shell.  I took a class in this, also years ago, with Diana East.  I took a cast of a shell then added powdered glass and popped it in the kiln overnight, before polishing.  I should have shown you the underneath really, it's like a deep pool of rainbow water.  I have never carried on with this craft either, but I did only buy a pot of molding stuff so not as expensive as some of my "must buys".

Resin.  A bit too messy for my liking, messing about getting quantities correct, then failing to get most of them out of the ice-cube tray I was using as a mold.  I still have a large tin of it.  (back under the shelf)

A jar of daffodils.   A slumped Jam Jar, heated until soggy in the kiln, then with an added edge of soldered copper foil, as in stained glass work, then an added daffodil transfer.  Cute I think  :)  I have hung it on the wall in the shed, and plan to make some more - probably in time for next Easter.

A cockeral coaster.  I just stuck the little bumpers on last night, he has been in the shed for about 18 months so I thought it was about time he came out and was used  :)

I have LOADS of clear glass now from by big tidy, so will definitely make some more coasters.

(sheesh, horribly dark photos, but I have now tidied them all 'away' again to goodness knows where so cannot retake them!)

Monday 28 April 2014

Tiny little doll's pram covers

My great niece  (yeah, I am THAT old!) has just gotten her first pram - how cute, I remember Shona getting her first pram.... actually, it was probably more likely to be a wheelbarrow - she was always a "wellie boot" kind of girl.  

So, I thought every girl needs a blanket, or two, for their new prams, and I got to work.

These only measure approx 8" by 12" so are teeny tiny and everso cute.  Well, I think so anyway.

They fitted perfectly and she loved them, all is good  :)

Sunday 27 April 2014

Another Shed tidy

This time it is the glass shed.  After the Flame Off it was decided that if we didn't want to spend another year not melting glass, then we need to act and clean up the mess so we could melt glass.

What a dull job it is tidying up.  I do wish I wasn't quite so messy with stuff, that I took the time to put things away properly.

This is my workbench for glass cutting and stained glass work  - when it hasn't got stuff piled on it that is.

And this it the torch section.  We can't get into this bit as the floor is covered with tool boxes.

To be fair, we had a nasty leak last year and need the roof repaired, as well as the electrics, so it's been an ongoing mess for a little while now.  But (touch wood) all seems to be sorted in the repair department.

I am working away quite happily when Hubster spots I have my flip-flops on.  I always wear flip-flops, unless I am walking in the Lakes or the Fells.  My toes like to be free and aerated.

I was told, in no uncertain terms, to go and put sensible shoes on.   Like I am 6 years old!!

Sensible shoes  (reserve walking boots) later and I am allowed back in the Shed.

The plan was to get it all out into the garden, the tidy it up as it went back in.

At the back of the photo there are about 10 large clip frames that I liberated from the Hobbycraft bin because the glass was broken. I can always use bits of broken sheet glass  :)

But I needed to get it cut up into manageable sizes for storage.  It took me over an hour to cut it all up, but I have a lovely big boxful now.

After a long day, with a trip to the Vet with a sickly Milly Moo cat, we had made headway.  Tidy(ish) workbench, with a little space to work, and boxes underneath all sorted.

Tidy(ish) torch bench with swept benches and glass all put away properly.  Tool boxes removed from the floor.

We have no excuse this year not to melt glass, so watch this space   :)

Friday 25 April 2014

This old cupboard

.... was dug  out of the gardening shed at the weekend during a big "tidy up" event.  (We had a tick list of "to do" jobs and everything!!)

It is wood, no chipboard in sight, so it seemed a shame to chuck it away.

Now Daddy L has been messing about with bits of old furniture and tins of Annie Sloan paint, he made this - isn't it grand?

So I thought this draw unit might be a nice little project for him  (and he can give it back to me when it is all nice and lovely and useable again).

That draw still in there is stuck fast, the knob just falls off in your hand when you try and open it.

The drawers are lined with beautiful old lining paper, it's a shame it has to go really.

My Mum has promised to give it a good scrub with bleach and leave it in the sun to dry, then Daddy L will have a nice clean blank canvas to start on.

Mind you, his reaction when I showed him it was "chuck it on the bloody tip"!

I sneaked it into his car when he wasn't looking   :)

Watch this space.

Thursday 24 April 2014

The Weekend Box Club - review

A few weeks ago I got this box through my letterbox - what on earth might it be, I wondered.

It turns out to be a "Weekend Box" sent to me, to review, by the lovely team at The Weekend Box Club.  A club that sends out a craft box once a fortnight with things to do and make in it.

So let's review it then  :)

First impressions - fantastic.  Any child would be thrilled to find this on their doormat. Colourful and eye-catching with cute characters  (each have a name and I presume they continue to show their presence throughout the club).

It was a bit of a sod to open though, I really didn't want to tear the beautiful box, but tear it did as it was so well stuck down.

So you tear it open and open it up to reveal the contents.  The box itself has lots of information printed on the inside.  The main body of the box becomes a certificate for completing the weekend box, then there is character information and the companies social networking information, which invites you to pop photos on their pages of your finished crafts.

There are four coloured bags, each with a corresponding coloured information and instruction card.

Now here is a slight niggle - very silly niggle it must be said, but this box screams of quality to me - the print outs are on thick quality card, very professionally done, nicely set out.  The coloured paper bags are quality bags in thick paper, the accompanying cards and stickers for the child are all nice decent stuff.  THEN..... they stick a printed sticker on the front of the bag that has not been aligned properly.   It's not like it spoils it at all, it just looks tacky compared to the rest of the kit.

In the bags you get different activities. Taken from the website....

Something to Cook 
Something to Make
Something to Explore and
Something Green

Each activity is designed to build sensory exploration skills within little ones aged 3-8 as well as help teach them about different life skills in a fun and engaging way

 In my box the yellow bag has an experiment of sorts, the red one is a cooking activity, the green one a game and the blue one a craft.   A great assortment in my opinion, so onto the testing.

Now, as the youngest person in my household is 20, I had to go off and find a child to help me out.

Introducing my friends Granddaughter Ava.  She seemed more than happy to be my tester, and was delighted with the box.  Not even worried about the contents at first - the pretty box was enough.

I left Ava and Grandma to play and waited for the feedback....

Ava enjoyed making the rocking spring bird  and was it was easy for her to make although grandma used the scissors when required. The pot of gold game was very simple to put together and Ava enjoyed trying to throw the coins into the rainbow pot. The sound explorer activity was very difficult to do and needed the use of the internet to see how to make it. Was even difficult for an adult to get it to work.
The sound sheet pictures were good as Ava could identify what made what sound.
All in all I feel it's expensive for the bits of materials that came in the packs and if you have more than one child there isn't even enough for two or more children to do the crafts, it really didn't take that long for Ava to make and do the activities either although she did thoroughly enjoy opening and doing each and earning her sticker for each after finishing each one.

As Ava's Grandma mentions the price, I will let you know that the cost of the Weekend Box is £15.00 a month of which you will receive two boxes (one per fortnight).  You can add extra children in for £4.00 each.

The red cooking activity I held back for my 20 yr old  :)  (and, if I am honest, because the spices smelt divine through the paper bag!)  She still has not made it up yet but I will let you know when she does  :)

My conclusion about this idea is to tell you how much I love it- I think this would be perfect for Grandparents/Aunties as well as Parents - can you imagine going to Grandma/Grandad/Nanas/Aunties house to play with a craft box like this.  What kid wouldn't love that?  It is £7.50 a box, which is on the expensive side of a treat that might only last an afternoon, not a weekend,  but a lot of that will be gobbled up by postage, and it is set out nicely and it is exciting to open.

If you decide you would like to try one I have been given a code for you to have your first box FREE!  (what lovely people :) )

The code is SUE149 and can be redeemed at

Do let me know if you try it and what you think.