Handmade Houses Stitching

Now this project has been a long time in progress. In fact so long that I can’t actually recall when I started. I am thinking it was about five years ago but as is the usual way with these things it is probably considerably more. The design, or should I say designs as it is actually 5. Is by Michael Powell. I have worked several of his smaller designs before but loved this set of 5. They were designed so the patterns joined up to each other perfectly so me, being a glutton for punishment decided to work them all together on one piece.

It has been a lot of work as it is a solid design with a huge amount of backstitching. It was put to one side many times in favour of something else but finally it is done and I am really pleased with the finished piece.

But of course, if you are still reading this post, you will want to see some pictures. Well enjoy. I have included some close ups to see a bit more of the detail.

handmade Houses of Provence

Cafe Des Arts

Grocers and Arch

Hotel and Arch


Archway close up

The completed piece is approx 12 x 24 inches in size and is probably well over a hundred hours of solid stitching.


Birthday cards

After a slight delay, here is the last but two catch up post. A few recent cards. Two for hubby and one was an order for my second cousin to give to her friend.

Tim’s birthday

Snap Happy

I am pretty pleased with how this card came out, and Tim was thrilled with it too. It’s a double easel card using Owl images created by the talented Dustin Pike and a wall digi stamp (sorry, can’t recall where from – if it’s yours let me know and I’ll be happy to credit) Both owls are coloured with Promarkers then mounted on backgrounds using various Kanban card and elements.

Tim’s birthday 2

Quack Snapper


A very simple card made for William to give to Tim for his birthday, a simple image sourced from the web (if he’s yours let me know and I’ll happily credit) matted and layered on co-ordinating cardstock then simply mounted. Very simple but effective I thought.


And last but not least a Spa card for cousin Joanne’s friend.

Spa day


This card was for someone who was being treated to a Spa day for her 40th birthday. The image is a digi stamp from here  coloured with my faithful Promarkers. I used imaginisce backing papers with princess tiaras, added hand drawn stitch details, a grosgrain ribbon trim and card candi and greeting from craftworkcards The edges of the card and image were inked with a chalk finish ink pad and layered using textured cardstock.

Hope you like. Next up, a bit of stitching.


This post should actually be before the previous one, but unfortunately I have got slightly out of kilter. Hubby and I both turned 40 in April and Tim asked me if I would like a weekend away in Brugge, just the two of us to celebrate the occasion. Well what a tough decision to make, would I like to spend a weekend just me and hubby surrounded by stunning buildings, lace, chocolate, waffles, chips and mussels? Well let me have a think about that.

It took all of a couple of seconds to say yes. I absolutely love Brugge, having been there once before with friends. We had a wonderful time in beautiful weather strolling through the streets looking at the sights, soaking in the atmosphere and being together. Blissful.

Here are some of my pictures from the weekend.


Night time at Belfort

Classic Brugge

I'd like this one

Chocolate shop

On the river

Sweet Lovely Nancy

On the 17th May, my lovely cousin Nancy caught up with me in the age stakes. Some of the happiest times of my childhood were spent with Nan. Running barefoot to the seaside at Felixstowe in the summer holidays. Roller skating at the roller rink, riding round the town as teenagers singing at the tops of our voices. Singing, laughing, dancing, playing and working at the Spa Pavilion in the summer of ’85.

There was a big gap sadly as we grew up, went our separate ways and all but lost touch, but with the advent of Facebook I get to speak to her regularly and see her more often. While I have spent the years crafting, Nancy has been singing her little heart out and is now quite rightly very well respected in the folk scene now.

Anyhow, I digress. On the 21st of May my boy William and I joined other family and friends to celebrate Nancy’s birthday, so of course a card must be made. Here I shall share not only the card I made for Nancy but the lovely one the boy made for her too. Nancy has a love of owls and as well as her solo work she sings with the fab band The Owl Service. There was only one theme for her birthday cards.

Here is mine.

Twit twoo

I made a girly pretty owl using the lovely fruit scoop range from Craftwork Cards. This is an easel card, which is a style I love as it’s a little bit different.

And here is William’s

Concertina Owl

Nancy is not only a fab singer but a fine musician too. I reckon she could play just about any instrument. She also plays the concertina and this is what William chose to capture in his card.

He drew this great cartoon and I mounted it simply on grey and black layering mats to give his card the finish it deserves. I love this card and think William has a real talent for cartooning. Nancy was thrilled and all her guests were shown William’s artwork.

Well Cuz. Here we both are. The other side of the hill. Here’s to us celebrating many more occasions together.

Cards update

What with one thing and another (one being Uni and another teaching) I haven’t made nearly as many cards lately and I have certainly been falling behind in updating my flickr gallery with them. I have now done this so to look at more of my recent cards follow the flickr link and go and have a look. If that takes your fancy at any rate.

In this post I thought I would share a few cards I have made with a technique that I have not really used before of using rubber stamps and patterned papers. I have avoided rubber stamping for many years as I never had a great deal of success with the technique. I never really got on very well with using embossing powders and heat guns and I found the selection and prices of available stamps to be fairly unattractive.

However, in recent times the wide choice of stamps and the emergence of clear acrylic stamps have encouraged me to have another go. I like the acrylic stamps and the fact that you can better see what you are stamping and rather than a huge stock of coloured ink pads and embossing powders I have gone down the simple route, stamping in plain black or brown ink then either colouring with Pro markers or stamping directly onto patterned papers for different effects.

Here are some of my favourites.


This first one was for a colleague at work the stamp is a woodware clear stamp and the papers used were DoCrafts Forever Friends paper packs and some pink gingham I also had in my stash. By stamping the image on each patterned paper and cutting out the different parts of the design I created a layered decoupage with the pieces then added pearl gems to the icing on the cake.


This one was inspired by a card seen at The Glitter Pot, a fab shop in Burgess Hill. The flowers are Hero Arts I think and the components are stamped onto papers from Basic Grey’s Kioshi range. The base card is covered with DoCrafts version of Bazzill card and the other mats are also from the Basic Grey papers. The card and mats are inked around the edges and the flower components shaped with an embossing tool to give dimension to them and finished with Card Candi pressed into an ink pad to give a mottled finish. The final finish was a peel off greeting and a pretty lilac organza ribbon.

Coffee and Cake


Again this card uses the large cupcake stamp  but a different look achieved by using the Spring Feast paper pad from First Edition Paper. The mug is a shaped card from Craftwork cards covered with more paper from the same set and the steam swirls are die cut with a swirls Sizzix sizzlets cutting die in my cuttlebug.

I have uploaded a number of other recently cards. Click on the flickr link at the side of this page to go and have a peek.

Birthday Baking

I had my new Kitchenaid a couple of days before my birthday and really gave it a workout in the first few days. I baked cakes for colleagues at work as well as for my fellow students at Uni. It was certainly a good test for the machine and I have to say I was not disappointed.

For Uni I made a dozen plain cupcakes with royal icing and sweets to decorate plus a dozen chocolate cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting and mini marshmallows. Then on my birthday in readiness to take to work I baked a second batch of the chocolate cakes plus a dozen Lemon Meringue cupcakes (fast becoming my signature bake) and a new recipe to me of a rather lovely Almond, Cherry and Coconut meringue slice. As you will see from the pictures I had a fair old mountain of cake which went down very well with my work colleagues. Indeed there were enough left over to pay a visit to hubby’s office on the way home and deliver some there away.

Here are the pictures.

Birthday baking


Cherry, Almond and coconut meringue slice


This is the first of a number of catch up posts from the last few months. You’ll probably be bored rigid by the end of them if you stick with me that long. On the plus side I’m sure it will be a good cure for insomnia.

Going back to the beginning of April for this one and the time that I hit the big four zero. Did I go out and get drunk? No. Did I throw a huge party? No. What about go out and buy a mid life crisis car? No. What did I do? I bought a food mixer. I say I, in fact I paid for some of it but numerous people kindly chipped into it for my birthday present.

This is not just any food mixer though, I should think not, considering what it cost. This has been the object of my baking desires for a number of years now, it has been paraded before my eyes in it’s many colours on more cooking shows than I care to count, taunting me every time with it’s stylish retro looks and fabulous baking performance. This, my friends is none other than a Kichenaid food mixer. And I am so very happy it is finally mine.

The hardest decision was which colour to choose, they come in so very many gorgeous colour-ways. Common sense however, prevailed and I finally plumped for the classic Almond Cream variety. It fits in with my kitchen and the classic colour-way means that if our kitchen changes it will still fit in.

So how to celebrate and welcome my new arrival? Well I had to bake of course. I love my new toy and indeed spent the whole day on my birthday in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

Here she is then. My new baby and the first lot of cakes. I was such a happy birthday girl.

My Birthday Toy