Monday, 28 November 2011

Bloggers' Crafting Weekend - We Came, We Crafted, We ate Cake...

'Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.'
Dr Seuss

Photos will follow, when I get more organised, but I just wanted to say a huge

Thank You!

to all of you wonderful ladies, who made the weekend so special. I was so delighted to see every one of you, and to meet you and talk to you face to face, after all the time I have been reading your blog posts (a very long time for most of you!).

It was a Good Weekend.  Definitely. We had a great craft room to play in. There was lots to eat (oh, did the YHA feed us well!), especially Cake - we had so much cake!  There was plenty of tea and coffee (which all of you will know is absolutely essential).  We had demonstrations of clever techniques (I made my first ribbon rose today, as demonstrated at The Weekend - a photo will follow!).  We had a fun walk - with craft shops included! 

And, best of all, the Company was The Best

I think we should do it again!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Blogger's Crafting Weekend - We Really Are Going!

Yay! It's all organised.  We will be there! Ten Intrepid Crafty Folks are "exploring to" Coalport for the weekend.

If you're coming along, I will be so excited to meet you.

If you can't come, but wanted to (Miss Smith, Fiona, Heather, several others...), I'm hoping to arrange a similar Weekend in 2012 - perhaps toward the start of March.  I think it may be a bit further South, but not sure til I find out what Hostels have the right facilities, with vacancies and at the right price.  I wonder if anyone would like to come and what you think would be "too expensive"?  The cost for this weekend - bed, breakfast and dinner, plus a share of the classroom hire - was £65 for YHA Members, plus an additional £9 for Day Membership of YHA for non-members - so just under £70.  Would £80 be ok, or £90 - some of the City hostels are more expensive than the others?

Anyway... on Friday I will be going out Early and driving North to Coalport, where I hope to meet up with 9 other lovely people.  We will Do Crafting Stuff, go Exploring in Ironbridge, eat Cake (and maybe some other food) and hopefully enjoy ourselves (I do hope everyone enjoys it!).

So, if you're coming to Coalport, I'll See You on Friday!
If you're not, I'll "see" you next week!

* * *

Just an update, by the way, about my mum - as several people were kind enough to leave interested enquiries about her disaster.

The Flood was caused by the cold water pipe that connected to the bathroom wash basin.  It was one of those "flexi" pipes, with a rubber core and a wire-mesh outside.  The rubber inside failed and because it was mains-pressure water, it burst (with a loud "pop" that my mum heard downstairs!).  The water obviously came out very fast, as mains water is pumped, so by the time mum had found someone to help her turn off the water (her hands are not strong enough to turn the tap), everything in the bathroom was flooded and the water was pouring through the ceiling, into the kitchen below.

I spent Wednesday afternoon rescuing things and clearing up the flood, then fielding visits by the warden, plumber and electrician, to make sure she was safe to stay in her home. 

Thursday was the start of the sorting out.  Trying to dry the carpets in the hallway and upstairs landing, which were sopping wet, from water flowing out of the bathroom and kitchen.   Most of Friday was also taken up with this - lifting the carpet upstairs and putting it outside, making phone calls to the insurance people, arranging for the assessor to come on Monday etc. 

Monday was then taken up with visits from the insurance assessor, about the carpets, plus someone to see what damage had been done to the building itself.  Also lots of phone calls and other visitors.  Mum was exhausted, so I ended up doing it all for her - she just doesn't cope with all this hassle now and when she's so tired, nothing sinks in.  She kept trying to tell people stuff that wasn't right, or telling the wrong people, or re-telling things I already dealt with.  It's tricky to keep your temper when you are tired also and someone keeps interrupting you etc.... but I did my best and I think it was sorted out ok. 

We're now waiting for the person from the carpet company, to come and measure up for new carpet.  The Trust who own mum's house will pay for the removal/ re-fitting of the stair lift, so the stair carpet can be removed and replaced - obviously we need to co-ordinate this with the carpet fitter!  They will also re-decorate where there is water damage.  Hopefully, by the middle of December, everything will be dried out and repaired. 

It's been quite a week!

But on Friday I'm going to Coalport!!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

What an Afternoon!

Before I begin my long and involved story... A note to those attending the Bloggers' Crafting Weekend at Coalport, next weekend (25th-27th November).
I sent out an update e-mail, to all those who have confirmed they are attending.  If you haven't seen this, please check your "Spam" folders in your e-mail.  If it's not there, shout, as it contains important information and also some questions that I need you to answer asap (like what you want for dinner - I have to tell the hostel tomorrow!)
If you have already sent me an answer, that's fine - thank you. I have a couple of e-mails with outstanding questions, which I aim to answer by the end of the weekend.  I was going to deal with this yesterday but.....

Wednesday 16th November - What an Afternoon!

12:15pm - stop working on the three books I am currently making for my Shop.  It's time for lunch.  Eat chicken and rice (left from last night's tea), then a banana.  Bored with tv and raring to go, so back to work asap.

12:30pm - start work again, punching holes in a pile of pages for a wedding album

12:35pm - phone rings.  Now, I don't usually answer the phone on "working days", as it's too distracting. If it is urgent, people leave a message.  I check for messages from time to time, so I can deal with anything important.  So, I didn't answer.

12:36pm - phone rings.  I was up to my ears in paper punching, so didn't pick it up (but I did wonder).

12:37pm - phone rings again....  Couldn't get to it in time, but this time I thought I really should check...

12:38pm - pick up phone and listen to the three (!) messages:
Message 1) Mother's voice - "Oh dear"
Message 2) Mother again - "There's been a burst pipe and water's pouring through the kitchen ceiling. Bob's here (the warden) and he's turned off the water. I'm going to ring M. (her friend).
Message 3) Mother - "There's water pouring through the ceiling. The kitchen's flooded and I can't make any lunch. Can you help?

Who would refuse? I got in the car.

12:50pm - arrive at Mother's house. The front door is open - not the back door as is usual.  The warden and a neighbour, plus M (the friend) are all there, with my mother.
12:51pm - the nice neighbour goes away
12:52pm - I get into the house - now there's room in the hallway!  There is about 2" water over the kitchen floor, with more trickling through the ceiling.  Everything is getting wet. I start to move stuff out of the kitchen, to minimise damage to anything made of paper or fabric - or electrical (the radio and phone).

12:55pm - the warden stands and watches me work. He waffles... clearly he doesn't really know what to do now. I continue to tidy up.  Mother is upset and keeps wandering in and out - take her and get her settled in her chair.  Her friend is still there and she offers to go home and make a little meal for my mother - she is so kind.  Friend leaves.

1pm - the warden is now a bit more helpful. He explains that the bathroom is also flooded (!).  He asks for the mop and bucket. I say I am going to get it in just a moment, when I have done what I'm currently doing - so he goes and asks my mum to get it (!).  I get him the mop and he starts to help clean up the kitchen. 
He says that he's contacted the office, who are sending the emergency plumber asap.  At least that's been dealt with.

1:05 - 1:30pm - tidying up, aided (mostly!) by the warden.  The plumber arrives and identifies the problem.  The pipework supplying the bathroom wash basin has flexible hose attached - rubber core with a steel mesh outside.  The cold water hose had burst - huge hole in it, big enough for a finger!  He says it must have been faulty.  He disconnects it and isolates the basin pipework, then turns the water back on.  He has spoken to the electrician, who will be here as soon as he can, to check the electrics.

1:30 - 3pm - continue cleaning up and dealing with Mother, who is worn out and upset.  To her credit, she behaves very well, though she still has the idea that she ought to help.  The shock has upset her nerves, which has affected her mobility and she is having problems walking properly.  Persuade her to rest in her chair, eat the nice eggs that her friend cooked her etc. 
Deal with issues like the back-up batteries for her electric reclining chair, which had run out, getting the bathroom floor dry and putting the sodden mats, towels etc in the washing machine (for when the electrics are back on).  Friend has hung the kitchen mat out to dry in the garden. 
Most of the work is drying things - floors, worktops, even inside cupboards, where water has run in from the ceiling. 

2:30pm - the electrician arrives. Poor man has broken his hand and has just been at the hospital to get it checked.  He has to work, as he is self-employed.  He's pretty tough though and gets on with disconnecting the kitchen and hallway lights, then checking the electrics and switching them back on.  He wants to come back in a couple of days, when everything has dried out, to fit new lights.  The electrics are back on and we can start to run the heating, switch on the washing machine, heat water in the kettle... 

3pm - 4pm - Mother finally gets a hot drink.  Finish tidying the kitchen, wash some dishes that were wet with dirty water (from the ceiling - dust I suppose, from between floorboards), take the rinsed washing out of the machine to dry at my house, settle Mother down and make sure she has a meal to heat up for her tea.  Cover the sodden carpets with newspaper.  Call the insurance company to tell them what has happened.  They want us to report back tomorrow, to tell them how the carpets are, as those could be the big problem - if they stay very wet for a while, they will rot and smell.  The building insurance is the responsibility of the Trust who own mum's house - we will check with them tomorrow.

4pm, go home, as DS is back from school.  Mother is settled down and ok.  She doesn't want me to go back this evening - tomorrow am will be fine.

Wednesday evening - usual jobs, make dinner, deal with laundry...  finish the hole-punching for the book I was working on.  Retire early to bed... zzzzz!

So, this morning I am going back to my mum's to deal with wet carpets and any other issues.  I have to go soon, so it's time to stop typing!  

Happy Thursday everyone!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Facebook Sales

I have made my first sales directly through Facebook.  I decided to have a go at this, so set up a Photo Album, with pictures of ready-made books for sale.  I don't think I really publicised it enough - you need to keep flagging things on FB, as everyone's homepage shows lists of all their "Likes" or "Friends" comments and items, which change all the time.

However, I had a request from another crafter, The Pink Fairycake, to make her a Cup Cake Notebook.  I made this:

Cupcake Journal, A4 size, with plain pages and decorated covers. 
The patterned papers wrap round onto the back cover.  It has a wrap-round ribbon fastener, with a vintage button.  There is a decorative pink tassel on the spine.
It has decorative end-papers, to match the cover trims, plus a pink ribbon book-mark, with a yellow tassel.

The customer was very pleased with this - as was I.  I think it turned out really quite nice!

Following on from this, another Facebook person has asked me to make a similar special book, as a gift for her friend, a musician.  She wanted something for her to write lyrics in and liked the cover of this 6" square scrapbook:
She didn't want a square book, but one that was A5 size, like the cupcake book.  It was to have lined pages and her friend likes green. So I came up with this:
Musician's Notebook, with decorative panel on front cover.
The cover is stiff black card, with a wrap-round panel of apple green art paper.  There is a metal button, with wrap-round pale green ribbon to fasten the book.  It has lined pages - it is very difficult to find A4-width lined sheets, so I cannibalised some exercise books. There are just under 150 pages altogether, so I think the owner will be able to write plenty of her lyrics in this book.

The customer says she likes it and I'm just waiting for her payment to go through, so I can trot off to the Post Office again! 

I'm learning how to flag my stuff on Facebook, so I hope my new Photo Album of Christmassy stuff will begin to get a bit of attention - I might make some more sales!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Herman (or The Blessing of Cake)

I received this from my friend Debbie...
For ten days, Herman 1 lived on our kitchen work-top, covered by a tea-towel. 
He received daily attention, as in the instructions.  On Day 4, I fed him, on flour, sugar and milk.  The rest of the days, I stirred him, so he continued to bubble and grow.

On Day 9, as per instructions, I fed Herman again, then divided him into four Hermans. 
However, I didn't give away 3, like the instructions say.  I gave away two and kept two.

On Day 10, I baked one of the remaining Hermans.  But I still had one left. 

I took care of the New Herman for 9 more days, before separating him into four once again, giving a double portion to my niece (so she can bake one straight away and keep one for next week).

Today was Day 10 again...
I added sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, cooking oil, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon...
and fruit - this is a mix of apple, pears and banana (we fancied a bit of variety).
Herman was put in a large baking tin and sprinkled with brown sugar. 
He remained in the oven for 40 minutes...
until he became the Miracle called Cake!

DS ate Herman-Cake with custard, for dessert.  I ate a slice plain, with a fresh cup of coffee.  

Friendship Cake is a wonderful thing and we now have a home filled with the scents of baking, cinnamon and brown sugar!

* * *
Erm, forgot to say that this is a late entry for Sian's Storytelling Sunday this month!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A Mini-Album

I think I mentioned that DS had chosen to go for a day out at "Go Ape", for his birthday this year?  Anyway, that is what he did; his friend and DH went round the course with him.  I was allowed in as a spectator and I took over 100 photos!  They had a training session, then went round the rest of the course.  Overall, from start of the training, to the final loooooong zip-wire, it took us 3 hours to go round.  It was brilliant fun and the boys had a great time.
This weekend, it's J's friend's birthday.  Today he has been invited to go and join his friend for his own birthday treat - they are going "skydiving" at a local centre, where they have a large, vertical wind tunnel.  I don't think that activity lasts 3 hours though - probably more like 3 minutes I'm afraid, but I hope they are going to have fun.
Meanwhile, as a little gift, I have made this mini-album for J's friend:
The book is made with Kraft cardstock and double-sided papers by American Crafts.  The letters are by Papermania and MLS. 
J. took part in the choosing of the materials and embellishments.  He wrote this journalling panel.  Under the journalling panel and the kraft tree, there are magnets, which fasten the flap.

The back cover, which wraps round to make the front flap, has sparkly lines on it.  DS thought that they were not "girly", as the colours of the stripes are quite strong.  So that was alright then... !
You may notice the arrow has "pull me" written on it. The green-striped paper is attached to a piece of kraft cardstock, which pulls out from under the photo.  It has a message from J. to his friend, about the fun they had.  J is really pleased with this book and I'm sure it will please his friend (and parents) too.  In fact, I'm rather pleased with it myself!

I also made a 12" Page today.  But I can't show it to you. It's a Secret.  If you want to know why, go and look here!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Happy Bloggiversary to Meeeee!

I just went to look and see the date of my very First Blog Post.. Because I knew it was around the beginning of November 2009, that I started this Blog, as part of Shimelle's "Blogging for Scrapbookers" course. 

It was... 2nd November 2009, to be exact!  Which makes today my Second Bloggiversary! Yay!
Last year, in honour of our First Bloggiversaries, me, Jo and quite a few of our Blog Friends (29 of us actually!), had a Party.  It was a blog-hop, held on the Saturday closest to the start of the first BfS course the year before.  Many of the blog friends me and Jo had made, were through BfS.  In fact, I met Jo through her blog, while we were both taking part in the course.  

I am so glad I took up the challenge and joined in with BfS.  It gave me the encouragement to start a blog (my second, but the first was not a success, being in the "wrong place").  I also got lots of information and helpful hints from the great course that Shimelle produced for us.  To date, I have written almost 300 posts, on a variety of subjects, including home, family, friends, holidays and celebrations, my studio (and it's trials & tribulations!), scrapbooking, crafting, book-binding, my Etsy shop, sock pets, teaching... oh, lots of stuff.

But most importantly, I "met" so many fab people, as a direct result of keeping my blog going.  It's been a great two years of blogging - and I plan on continuing for as long as I feel like it!

And, later this month, I will be meeting up - for real - with nine of those Blog Friends, at Coalport YHA near Telford, for a weekend of crafting, chat, cake (of course!) and relaxing.  I am getting excited about this now - and will soon be contacting all those who are coming, to tie up loose ends and finalise any arrangements.  Watch your e-mail in-boxes!

Of course, if you are available on the 25th-27th November and can make it to Telford, there is probably still time for you to join in.  The hostel is quiet at this time of year, so there may be a bed for you.  If you want to join us, give me a shout (e-mail lizziemade (at) aol (dot) com).  See the sidebar for a link to the post with all the details, plus a list of "who is going"! 

Meanwhile, if you fancy a bit of fun, you could try re-reading last year's Blog Party posts, or have a look at my little story of yesterday's fun here at LizzieMade.

And it just remains for me to say a Huge, Enormous and Grateful Thank You, to all my Blog Friends and Followers - long-term and brand new.  I value everyone who takes the time to drop in and read my posts - regularly, or occasional - and I love to read your comments.  Starting my blog was one of the best things I ever did - and that is all down to my Blog Friends (which means you)!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Odd Sox Rox - Totally!

Hello Blog Friends,  sorry I've been away for a while. I have been pretty busy, but also had one of those blog-breaks that happen from time to time... No lack of material, but a definite lack of inspiration!

But here I am, back again, like the provervial Bad Penny!

To tell you about an Event that Happened this morning.

For a bit of background...  You may not know, but I have a Page on Facebook - called, funnily enough, "LizzieMade" (you can find it here, if you fancy a look - feel free to "Like" my page, it will make me smile anyway!) .  Sooooo.... Anyways, I follow a number of other folks' Pages from my own, including a lot of artists and crafty folks, who make fab and wonderful stuff.  A few times, I have bought something from one or two of these people - either from their shops on Etsy, Folksy or BigCartel etc, or direct through their Facebook Page. 

One of these people is Louise, proprietor of Odd Sox Rox, maker of  "Original stuff made from socks."  - she has a shop here

Odd Sox is not the place to find a cute sock bunny (though, as you will see, Cute does occasionally happen there).  You won't find a monkey or a giraffe, elephant or bear... But she makes and sells the fabbiest Sock Creatures in the whole world, so it doesn't matter if the traditional toys are not featured!

So, to return to This Morning:

The doorbell rang and the Post Lady was there, with two dark pink parcels for me.  Cue happy dancing, as I had forgotten!

Once I had (nicely!) got rid of the post lady, I hurried to open them and then to find my camera, to record the Event:

What was Inside the packages...
This adorably cute little person, is a Bug.  She is my very own - I chose her from a basketful - and she is the Best Bug in the Basket.   See the note on the back of that postcard in the previous picture?  That shows how Important my Bug is.
She has cute little Buggy Wings....
...and a little heart-shaped pocket, just right for tucking a note inside - or holding a folded-over notice like the one above.

That was the first parcel.  There were also some very nice cards, with envelopes, as I had paid for two lots of postage (2 orders on the same day), but Louise felt I should have only paid for one; so she sent me a pressie (or two... wait and see!)

Parcel Two

First of all, out fell this sweet little heart.  He says his name is Clive - who am I to argue? Welcome Clive, to your new home!
Then this Person! 
This is a Grump.  You can tell because he looks like one.  He is a Grump and Proud of it!
I don't know his name - he doesn't seem to have one.  DS will help him to choose one later.
The trouble with being a Grump, is that grumpiness is your natural state.  But, hey! I know other people who don't like having their photo taken (in fact, I have an excellent photo somewhere, of my mum and grandma, at my sister's wedding... point a camera at them, and they immediately began to look as if it was a funeral, rather than a wedding - yet they were all smiles before and afterwards. Hey-ho! )
So, anyway, grumpy being his version of Normal, this Grump found it hard to pose for a photo shoot.
He did try - I'm sure he did...

I thought it was time to introduce the new members of the household to the Studio and its other inhabitants.  I started with Zombie Monkey.  He's been a bit lonely the past week, because all his friends - Bella, Elvis the Teddy-Bear, Apres-Ski Bunny, White Bichon Puppy and Doggy - are at Tudor Rose (the sewing shop), being "models" for my Sock Creatures workshop day in January.  They are supposed to look cute and drum up trade.  Zombie Monkey isn't good at being cute.  Besides, he had work to do last night, so I couldn't let him go away. 
I thought they would like to meet each other.
In spite of the challenges he faces, Zombie Monkey is primarily a kind and friendly creature.  He doesn't like to see anyone else feeling sad.  He tried a kind word or two, a friendly gesture.
Mixed results, I think.  Our Grump didn't run away, but he seemed a bit bemused. 
I introduced him to the Shelf, where Zombie Monkey lives and works. 
You can see that Zombie Monkey is doing his best to be welcoming.
The Grump seemed less unhappy after being reunited with Clive.
The meeting between Zombie Monkey and Bug was more successful. I think they like each other.  Bug just needs to be loved - and Zombie Monkey does his best to be kind to those smaller than himself.
I think, in time, they will all settle down happily together... 

Thank you to the wonderful Odd Sox Rox, for my fab new Sock Things! 


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