Monday, 30 June 2014

What do you get a teenager ...

... for his Birthday ?

Err ... that would be money. Sad but true. The 'Experience' vouchers rarely get used , the book tokens are a non-starter and apparently iTunes vouchers are so last year . You might as well get them what they really really want and try as I might to choose , what to me, seems like a fun game for youngest teen ( 15 years old this year ) , somehow the Smurfs' Karaoke Hits or Pokemon Art Academy isn't going to hit the spot ( thank goodness).

So , rather than just dole out cash , I thought I'd make a money wallet. I found this one , called 3d Book of Money, in the Silhouette Cameo online store - by Jamie Cripps for 59p ( Design 52083).

Here's how it came together :

Black card stock seemed pretty cool for the base. The design is a pretty straightforward accordion- style mini book but the Cameo does it in a trice and every page is the same size whereas me and my trimmer wold probably come up with 4 slightly varying lengths which would look wonky when put together, especially as I probably wouldn't be able to find one of the 20 pairs of reading specs I've got scattered around the house.

Cut 4 of the page pockets and front panels - I chose one of my favourite woodgrain papers ( Pebbles -  Fresh Goods - Come Again) score lines are done for you ( LOVE my Cameo ).

The backs are decorated with credit card sizes panels for which I chose a similar woodgrain paper in a lovely charcoal colour ( Basic Grey - Granola - Wholesome) . To be honest you hardly see these when the book comes together so you could skip this stage.

Then it's just a case of assembling the pockets by attaching to  the accordion fold spine using strong double sided tape.

..and you end up with this.

I then cut some basic computer game geeky type shapes from my Cameo to embellish the fronts of each pocket ( Computer Mouse 9581 , Computer Monitor 14511 and Headphones 20233 ) in black card stock. Final touches - add money. A tip for those having a go at making one of these - the US design obviously is based on dollar notes . Tenners are bigger than dollars so you may want to adjust the height of the pockets to account for this . Mine just about fitted but only just.

Lastly assemble the slip cover that slots onto the end to keep it all in place . I made mine from the same Pebbles woodgrain paper . I then added a title cut from gold glitter POW (American Crafts) on the cover -  GET YOUR GAME ON ( 42708 ).

Job done and hopefully one happy teenager.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

How much fun can you have for less than £20 ?

Five posh coffees ?
Three pints of beer ?
Half a parking ticket ?

Or this little lot ?

I know which I'd rather spend my money on. Welcome Hema to the UK - a Dutch import which is billed as Tiger meets Ikea meets Poundland . Stationery heaven for you fellow notebook addicts out there. I blame Sandra ( Gottacraft ) for enticing me there with her Facebook post yesterday . How could I resist ?

The two wooden handled stamps bottom right are of a date stamp label and a paper clip and the 2 self-inking stamps above are of a speech bubble and a little birdy. The washi tapes are a mix of thick and skinny and the notebook bottom left has interior pockets and a zippered pocket at the back . I love the turquoise but I'm planning on inserting some scrapbook paper inside the cover to customise it. All in all , a bit gorgeous. Thanks for the tip - off Sandra.

Money talks...

... as they say . Mine says "Goodbye" .

I was contacted by Barclaycard Fraud department on my mobile the other day  A chirpy chap ( vaguely Northern but with a tinge of West Country - it must be so difficult for these PLC's to choose what sort of regional accent to use on their recorded messages when flying their corporate national political correctness banners ) told me that there had been 'unusual activity' on my account. How sweet that they should have noticed.

It transpired that they'd considered the payment of a large sum of money for youngest teen's Segway birthday party ( think giant two wheeled scooter /unicycle type contraption ) alongside a couple of mobility aids, to see me through my imminent period of post knee replacement recuperation, looked suspicious.

It struck me that this must a fun kind of job - spotting suspicious looking spending patterns on credit cards . What else might make their ears prick up ...Donation to the Labour Party alongside fees for private school ?..... Rehab Clinic stay alongside monthly sub to Wines Direct ?

Reminds me of how I used to collect discarded shopping lists from the bottom of supermarket trolleys with the idea of writing a cookery book from their assembled ingredients. The trouble was , trying to fashion a Paella from dog food and toilet cleaner wasn't a goer.

Monday, 23 June 2014


Apparently we have 206 bones in our adult bodies and several of mine don't work properly . It all started with a total knee replacement last year and since then, things have been going downhill fast ..... or rather not particularly fast as the prospect of running, let along walking downhill would be a physical impossibility at the moment.

This may be due to getting older , lousy childhood diet ( although I thought I ate enough packets of Butterscotch Angel Delight to ward off any calcium deficiency for life - clearly not ) or my absolute favourite - a sporting accident . I'm happy to pretend that my creaking skeleton is more to do with over-zealous downhill skiing ( incidentally why do we say downhill - can you ski uphill ? ) , a few too many netball matches in the upper sixth or my addiction to running. Those who know me will appreciate how big those whoppers are but it sounds so much better than identifying the cause as osteo-arthritis, which merely serves to make me feel about 80.

So, today I found myself in an NHS waiting room , choc full of the walking wounded , jostling for position amongst the zimmer frames and crutches. After a slow trawl around the M25, a wait for the car-park , and an even longer wait for my name to be called , I finally found myself seated opposite a green coated junior doctor ( not the consultant I'd been promised but presumably that would have taken another 2 years ) who looked as if he was about to whip out my tonsils. I tried not to notice that his lab coat was blood-stained. I should also say at this point that I'd waited several months for this appointment and so expectations were running high. The interview got off to a bad start . He didn't have my X-ray , had never heard of the clinic where I'd had it done, read from some clearly inaccurate notes and then informed me that the procedure I was enquiring about for my shoulder which my GP had advised ( yes , we've gone from knee to shoulders - it's a long story but involves crutches ) wasn't available at that hospital.

He grimaced when I mentioned that I'd just completed some treatment with a chiropractor for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction , was being X-rayed tomorrow for signs of Scoliosis and was about to succumb to the knife for a second knee operation in two weeks time. He clearly thought I must be either a write-off , a hypochondriac or in the final stage of Munchausen's.

Either way he went off to consult with the consultant I was supposed to have been seeing in the first place who was hiding in an adjoining room. When she emerged from her hiding place, she asked Mr Blood-Stained lab coat if he would give me a steroid injection. What then followed was at best farcical and at worst alarming. He made a sort of face. I've trawled the internet to see if I can find a picture of the sort of face he made but can't find anything that comes close. Let's just say that it resembled the sort of face you might make if you'd just been asked to amputate a leg with a plastic picnic fork, blindfolded.

This was not good and so I ran for the hills, or in this case the car park where I was fleeced a whopping £5 for the privilege of leaving but at least my shoulder was intact , not a drop of blood was shed and I deemed this to be a lucky escape.

I'm left wondering if this is normal . I guess if you read the Daily Mail then yes , this is what they'd like you to believe about the NHS.  I have to say , although I'm not about to subscribe to that tabloid , I think maybe they have a point and I never ever thought I'd see myself write that.

So, in two weeks time I'll be off to have my second knackered knee replaced with a Robo-cop style metal version and I'll be checking the surgical instruments tray in the operating theatre for any signs of picnic forks.            

Friday, 13 June 2014

Vinyl Decals

I bought a cheap and cheerful vinyl decal of a tree from Ikea when I was re-vamping my craft room . It was nice but I guess you get what you pay for and at £8 you can't grumble but it never quite looked right - a little bit too blocky and  you could see the clear vinyl around the edges.

Then I found a similar product on Etsy from a company called walldecals001 - admittedly pricier at £48 but far superior in quality and look. The detail is much finer and the vinyl is matte and thin so when it adheres to the wall , it looks as if it's been painted.

It came with a hilariously translated set of instructions ( they're made in China ) but never having been one for instructions , I set at it like a demon possessed without even looking at them , determined to get it up on the wall within the hour. Can you see where this is going ?

I don't suppose it helped that I decided to photograph the process and I'm not sure why I chose to do it before I'd eaten any breakfast , on the hottest day of the year so far and with crippling back pain . Somewhere in my reckoning, I'd supposed that the task would take my mind off the pain .

After having got the damned thing on the wall , I noted that the instructions suggested you'd need 4 people, so I was feeling pretty smug that I'd managed it alone ... oh apart from  a little 'help' from my eldest teen at one point,  who stayed for his attention span of about 5 minutes then flounced off in a huff.

Let's just say it was a pretty sticky process . In fact everything was sticking to everywhere , including me as I'd worked up quite a sweat by this stage . The whole event typified my general approach to life -  no patience , it can't be that difficult , I'm sure I don't need to do as it says etc.

Anyway - it's up and looking fine and dandy . Loving it in fact and it only took 2 hours .
My recommendations if you fancy attempting one of these :

  • Don't tackle it if small children are within earshot - the profanities were flying 
  • Avoid unsolicited 'help' from grumpy teens
  • Read the Instructions - if only for a laugh at the Mandarin to English translation
  • Eat first - sticky backed plastic wrangling on an empty stomach can get ugly
  • Adopt the mind set of " Well Nature isn't perfect so neither will my tree be " 
  • Read this 

And here are the pictures to show you what it looks like.  By the way - this design is called Happy Tree - how could you possibly not buy something called that ?

Stage One - this is going to be easy ...

errr ... maybe not

Pokey tool came in handy for reluctant leaves

Necessity is the mother of inventions - used a one metre metal rule to roll it upwards

Then all you have to do is peel the clear vinyl away
( I'm making this sound way too easy  ) 

Job done

Before ....                                          

... and after

Haven't added the birds yet  and there was also a vinyl cat that came with the design , sitting look up at the tree but I don't want to put ideas into my pussycats' heads , not that they need any encouragement , but then that's a whole other blog post.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Crafters Workshop Stencil / Templates for sale

If any of the below take your fancy - let me know . ALL SOLD - thank you

Selling for £10 as a job lot . They're all photographed against  12" x 12" card stock to give you an idea of size.