Thursday, 26 November 2009

Christmas tree ornaments

I've been having a good look through Etsy this morning at the selection of Christmas tree ornaments available, and there are quite a few!  Here are my favourites, I particularly like the glass reindeer ornament, and the Star Wars ornaments just make me laugh, I love them.  Yoda and Chewbacca are fantastic!

Why stick to traditional baubels?  You can find some very unique ornaments to decorate your tree with, head on over to Etsy to take a look at the wonderful handmade creations.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

More Christmas cards!

Another pack of Christmas cards up for sale in the usual place, this time you get eight small square cards, two of each design, featuring a penguin, a robin, a gingerbread man and Rudolph.

More details available in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Christmas tree oh Christmas tree

Here's the latest Christmas card design, a festive Christmas tree made from silver card, green paper and diamante gem stones - to add a touch of sparkle!  The border at the top and bottom of the card has been printed directly onto the card and the tree has been attached to the card using foam pads so it stands out.  It's on sale now in my Etsy shop as a pack of five cards.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

30 years and 1 day old

It was my birthday yesterday and I've had a great weekend celebrating turning 30.  I went to London for the day on Saturday with my friends, the weather was dreadful, chucked it down with rain and hail stones while we were waiting for the train.  Thankfully it didn't last too long and didn't rain much for the rest of the day, although it got rather windy.

Our first point of call was to Harrods for a quick spot of shopping, we didn't stay too long as it was very busy and rather hot in there.  We stayed long enough to see Michael McIntyre chasing after his little boy (who is a mini version of Michael) and to get some Krispy Kreme donuts.  A couple of my friends had never tried these American donuts before and they weren't disappointed!

mmmmmmm donuts!!

Next we were off to the Ice Bar.  For those that don't know, the Ice Bar is literally a bar made of ice.  They change the design every six months, and it's currently an aquatic theme, the walls, tables, bar and the glass you drink out of are all made of ice.  And because the temperature is kept at -5, you have to wear a snazzy cape and gloves.  You only get to stay in the bar for 40 minutes, but it's well worth a visit.

Looking good in the capes!

A rare picture of me and my husband, who's not pulling a stupid face!

There's always one, my husband licking the ice!!!

We had a nice meal and cocktails in Chiquito's and a wander round St Katherine's dock, stopping off for a drink in The Dickens Inn before going on a Jack the Ripper walking tour.  The tour lasted two and a half hours, which is quite tiring after you've been walking about London all day!  Our tour guide was a Beefeater and he took us all round the East End and to the places (or roughly the places) where the murders happened.  There is only one murder site still remaining as the other sites have been destroyed or built over, and there is an old pub, The Ten Bells, which has pretty much the same interior as it did when the prostitutes used to drink in there at the time of the murders. 

We all had a great time, although knackered by the end of the night, I couldn't wait to get home and have a cup of tea and a Krispy Kreme donut - a rather squished donut, it didn't make it back in the best state, but it still tasted good.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Golf Cake

Here's the latest novelty cake my husband and I have created.  This time we were asked to do a golf themed cake for a 65th birthday.

I'm getting better at modelling with icing, each person I've had to sculpt has gotten better each time (I think I could've done better at positioning the golfer with his golf club, not sure holding a club like that will be very effective!). 

I did have an 'OH NO!' moment whilst piping the shoes on though, my tiny piping bag full of black icing split and a great big blob of icing squirted out onto the cake!  I quickly scrapped it off and managed to remove most traces of black but it had left a mark.  Luckily it was quite near the edge so I could cover it up with buttercream and make the 'rough grass' a bit wider.  Few!  Panic over.

It was also my first attempt at writing with icing, which went better than I expected.  No mishaps with the piping bag this time!

We've now got a small batch of green buttercream left, I guess we'll just have to whip up a few cupcakes to use it up - what a shame!  Cupcake anyone?...............

If you'd like to see the other cakes we've made click here and here and here!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Who said cartoons were for kids?

I finally went to the cinema to see Up yesterday and I loved it.  The 3D effects were pretty good too, especially the times when they were flying.  It was also surprisingly sad in places, something I wasn't expecting, as well as funny.

One of the things I love about these animated films these days is the attention to detail, they think of everything and will painstakingly animate individual items, no matter how many are involved.  Like animating more than 10,000 balloons to lift the house!  Whilst they didn't hand-animate all the balloons, they had to come up with a computer programme that could cope with that many individual balloons, and how they interact with each other.  Quite a task in itself. 

If you haven't seen Up already, I highly recommend it.  Get down to the cinema, put your 3D specks on and enjoy!        

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

My brain is itchy

"You've got to fight, fight, fight, fight, fight for this love" this keeps going round and round in my head and it's driving me crazy......damn you Cheryl Cole!!  Another case of itchy brain.  This older post will explain what I'm on about.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Children's cards

Here's the next batch of new cards, this time birthday cards for children.

We have Goof Ball, a hairy monster with wobbly eyes, he's made from fuzzy paper so has a furry feel to him.

Dino Short Arms has made it onto his own card.

And here are some fairies ready to grant a birthday wish.

All of these cards can now be purchased from my Etsy shop.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Fun, Festive Cards

So here's the first batch of new cards ready for sale in my Etsy shop, I thought it was about time I added some Christmas cards.  These ones all have bobbly heads!  Just give them a shake and their heads bob about. 

I've been busy drawing these chaps, cutting out their heads and making springs for that important 'bobbly head' feature.  You can buy them individually or as a set, head on over to my shop for all the details.

Does anyone think the Elf is scary?  My husband thinks it is, he won't look at it, gives him the heebie jeebies!!  (Guess which card he'll be getting for Christmas?  Hee hee!)

I'll let you know when the next lot of cards go on sale..........

Friday, 16 October 2009

Bad blogger!

I've not been a very good blogger, it's been just over two weeks since my last blog!  Thing is I've been keeping myself very busy with card making.  I've been very productive and made nearly 60 cards!  Some are duplicates of the same design but it all counts, I've even managed to make some promotional magnets and experimented with making my own note pads.

my promotional magnet which is free with every purchase

I'll be adding all my new creations to my Etsy shop over the next week or so, and I hope to have my website up and running soon, I've been working on that too.  And I'm very pleased to hear that I've sold some cards in the shop in town (only four so far, but it's a start and that was after 2 weeks). 

I've certainly been getting through some ink, my printer's never worked so hard!  I'll update soon with some pictures of what I've been making.....

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Why are some books harder to read than others?

Why are some books harder to read than others?  You know the sort, it sounds like it'd be right up your street, it has loads of great reviews about how good it is, yet some how you just can't get in to it.  I have a few books at home that I've never managed to read, I've tried on a few occasions to get through them but it just felt like such a chore.

I generally find that if my mind wanders quite a bit when reading, I'm either not that interested in the book or I'm not in the mood for reading.  I love to get stuck into a good book but do find I have to be in a reading mood.  I can get through a few books relatively quickly when the mood strikes though.

I have a few books by the author Val McDermid, and I really want to get stuck into her books as they sound like they'd be very good, just my thing.  I have managed to read one, 'The Distant Echo', it was actually quite a good book but it was a bit of a struggle to get through it.  I'm mid-way through another, 'The Mermaids Singing', which features the character Tony Hill from the tv series 'Wire In The Blood' (which I haven't actually seen).  I abandoned this book some time ago so I probably won't ever finish it, I've forgotten what's happened and can't bear the thought of re-reading it!  I haven't even attempted the other book I have, 'Beneath The Bleeding'.

She has a new book out, 'The Fever Of The Bone', and it sounds really good, maybe I'll have another go at reading one of her books, but for now I'm enjoying Tess Gerritsen's books featuring the characters Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles.  I'm currently reading 'The Mephisto Club' which has some rather nasty murders in it!

So are you the type of person that can read just about anything or are there any books you've given up on because you couldn't 'get in to it'?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Cards in local store!

For anyone living in the Colchester area, a selection of my cards can now be purchased at Shalamar Bazaar, the handmade craft and gift shop at Long Wyre Street, Colchester (opposite Game Station).  They go on sale from Monday 28th September.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Toilet Tube Sculpture!

I thought I'd share this article with you from the Daily Mail, it's about an artist, Junior Fritz Jacquet, who makes head sculptures out of toilet roll tubes!  Once they've been sculpted they're coated in shellac, coloured and then mounted onto flexible metal stalks.

From the comments, people think this one looks like ex-president George Bush!

I think they look great, I really like this sort of thing, like when people create pictures out of food and other materials you wouldn't usually think to use.

To see more of his work click on this link.  There you can see more of these great toilet tube sculptures, paper figures and illuminated sculptures.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Long time, no post......

I haven't blogged for just over a week but that doesn't mean to say I haven't been up to much.  I had a great week off work (my day job that is) last week.  I sorted through all my cards, made more cards and embellishments (although not as many as I'd planned!), had a custom order for two birthday cards to do, celebrated my first wedding anniversary and went out to dinner, went to the cinema a couple of times, met up with friends and finished off the week with a trip to the hospital!

Some handbag embellishments I made - I did 10 of each design

I started getting a pain in my left leg late Thursday evening and by Sunday it had gotten worse.  As I had a DVT a few years ago, and the pain was similar, I thought I better get it checked out.  I didn't consider it an emergency so instead of going to A&E, I went to the NHS walk-in clinic - a mistake - I waited nearly an hour just to be told there was nothing they could do for me there, I'd have to go to A&E.  But if I'd have turned up on Friday they would've been able to help!  That's the trouble with being ill at the weekend.  So off I limped to A&E, for an even longer wait.

Over an hour had passed and then I got called through.  Great I thought, that wasn't too long to wait, then realised I was just being assesed by the nurse at this stage.  She measured my legs (this is to check for swelling which is one of the symptoms of a DVT) but my leg wasn't swollen - it didn't swell the last time as I'm a bit of a freak, and have two popliteal viens in my left leg, which meant my symptoms weren't as severe.  Then she took some blood, which has left a big bruise, and then it was back to the waiting area for more waiting, till I could see a doctor.

More time passed, sitting listening to people moaning about having to wait so long - it's A&E, notorious for waiting long periods of time to be seen.  You'd think that given the amount of time you have to wait they could provide you with more comfortable seating, my bum was incredibly numb, and you couldn't get up and wander around for fear of losing your seat.

Finally I got called in to see the doctor, went over the same things as with the nurse, he checked to see if my blood test results were back - they weren't - so guess where I was sent off too....that's right, back to the waiting area!

Yet more time passed, then a nurse called my name.....but this was just to inform me that they hadn't forgotten about me and that my blood was being tested as we speak, and it should take 15-20 minutes.  So I went back to waiting.  By this stage I not only had a pain in my leg, but a numb bum, was very thirsty and getting hungry too.  Not to mention being very fed up of waiting.

At last I was called through for the results (I'd been at the hospital for a total of 4½ hours!), blood test was positive which wasn't good news.  They said it was likely to be a DVT but I'd need a scan on my leg to find out for sure.  So I was given an injection of Heparin (to thin my blood) and sent on my way.  I was being referred to the DVT nurse so had to wait for a call the next day for my appointment.

After having the ultrasound scan on my leg the next day (which was a bit of a palarva, someone had to come in and squeeze my leg to get the blood pumping through the veins!), they couldn't find any signs of a clot, which was good news.

So I was referred back to my GP, for her to say I'd either pulled the tendons or it was just one of those unexplained pains!  So I've got to hope it clears up all by itself.  So far there's not been much change and I'm still limping about, but at least it's not a DVT afterall.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Shop Swap & Blog

What's it all about?  Well the Shop Swap & Blog has been organised by Pattie from Structured Chaos, here's what she says

Hello everyone!

It's that time of year where every shop owner wonders how they are going to get the word out about their shop because they know that if someone at least saw their work that they would love it!

Well, I had an idea that we could do a shop swap and blog! Basically this is where you send your partner something from your shop, along with some information about it by mail, and they in turn blog about the experience!

Come check it out, and join in the fun!!
For more details click on the link above.  If you would like to see who has already signed up click here.  If you have an online shop and would like more exposure, this is a great opportunity to get noticed, you never know who will be reading about your wonderful products! 

If you would like to help promote the Shop Swap Blog, Pattie has created a button so we can display it on our blogs (I've already added mine on the left hand side of my blog!), you can get the code here.

If you want to join in, make sure you sign up by 30th September, and look forward to receiving some goodies in the post!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Beware of Custard Creams!!

I've just read this article 'Named: the UK's deadliest biscuit' on the internet.  A research company has done some very "valuable research" into which biscuit is most likely to cause someone an injury during a tea or coffee break. 

Here are some of the injuries they came across:
  • people poking themselves in the eye with a biscuit
  • falling off a chair while reaching for the biscuit tin
  • sustaining burns after dunking a biscuit in scalding tea
  • being hit by fragments flying through the air
  • choking on crumbs
  • damaging a tooth or filling on a hard biscuit
  • and one person managed to get stuck in wet concrete after wading in to pick up a stray biscuit!
How dumb do you have to be to poke yourself in the eye with a biscuit?  As for falling off a chair while reaching for the biscuit tin, that's just laziness.  Sustaining burns when dunking biscuits, did these people reach into the mug of boiling hot tea with their hands, to retrieve a piece of biscuit that'd fallen off mid-dunk?  And look out for those fragments flying through the air, just imagine the terrible injuries you could get from biscuit crumbs.  Choking on crumbs and damaging a tooth or filling are the only reasonable injuries on the list.  I can only hope that this one person that managed to get stuck in wet concrete, was trying to remove the stray biscuit because it had ruined the freshly laid concrete, and not to eat it.

Fifteen types of biscuit were tested on their physical properties, along with aspects of their consumption such as 'dunkability' and 'crumb dispersal'.  They then compiled a list of 'riskiest biscuits' with a 'danger rating' from their tests.  To see the list click hereCustard Creams have been discovered to be the riskiest with a danger rating of 5.64!  The least dangerous is the Jaffa Cake with a rating of 1.16.  But is the Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake?  The name suggests cake but that's not where you'd find it in the supermarket, no, Jaffa Cakes hang out with the dangerous biscuits.

So the next time you reach for a biscuit on your tea break, think twice, are you going to risk the deadly Custard Cream or play it safe with a harmless Jaffa Cake?  Thanks to this valuable research you can now save yourself from a terrible biscuit related injury - money well spent obviously!   

Thursday, 10 September 2009

How on earth did you find me?

When checking out my web analytics for my Etsy shop I love to check what keywords have been used that have brought people to view my shop.  Whilst there are the obvious ones: big jessie, big jessie cards, big jessie on etsy, beer birthday cards etc there are some unusal ones that crop up.

Here's the top 20 of unusal keyword searches that have brought views to my shop

  1. alligator clips lining
  2. chef wall decor
  3. child fingerless gloves
  4. emery sand
  5. evalicious (what the heck?!)
  6. felt purses for little girls
  7. hershey kiss rubber stamp
  8. lampwork beach
  9. magnet slogans
  10. medieval charm bracelet, etsy
  11. mens tweed long coat
  12. method of flower making by using glaze paper
  13. ring bearor pillows, silk flowers
  14. rubber ducky your the one
  15. tajmahal scrapbooking paper
  16. uk wildcat stained glass
  17. upcycled shoes
  18. vintage baseball canvas
  19. wolf hair bow
  20. yippiekawaiiyeahs shop
It's quite amazing how my card shop featured in the list of results when these keywords were entered, the mind boggles!

What strange keywords have been used to find your shop or blog?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

500 Days of Summer

I went to the cinema last night to see 500 Days of Summer and it was great, I really enjoyed it.  It makes a change to have a romantic comedy told from the guy's angle and in this particular film it's the guy who falls for the girl and the girl who doesn't believe in love (it happens!).  This isn't your typical rom com, it's more 'real' which is what makes it funny.  So if you like your films funny with a touch of quirkiness and a splash of romance then I recommend you go see it - it's worth a watch.   

Friday, 4 September 2009

Cupcake beads

I'm now the proud owner of one of these fabulous little glass cupcake beads which have been handmade by Laura Sparling.  The pink one I got for my sister, and I got the green one for myself (I had to treat myself of course!).
Look how tiny they are!
Laura makes fantastic lampwork beads and her little cupcakes have been a big hit.  She's currently having a giveaway, so if you would like the chance to win one of her cupcake beads, head on over to her blog and leave a comment stating what your favourite real cake is.  You have until Monday and it's open to anyone anywhere.  As Aleksandr the Meerkat would say, simples!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Mountfitchet Castle

On Sunday, me and some friends went out for the day and we went to Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. It's a reconstructed wooden motte and bailey castle situated on it's original site, that allows you to experience what it would have been like to live in 1066. Living in those times wouldn't have been fun, it must have been very cold, smelly, dirty and miserable. They only bathed once a month and god help you if you were injured in any way, no anaesthetic, nothing would be sterile and they had some rather nasty looking tools to perform surgery with. It got me thinking about OCD, would anyone have suffered with that in those times or is it a 'new' illness that's come about from our way of living today? How on earth would someone cope with a cleaning obsession living in 1066?

In the village area you can wander in and out of all the buildings, the prison, kitchen, church, brewhouse, and other areas including the gallows and stocks.

My friend Mairghread in the stocks - we did let her out!

And they have animals roaming around just like they would have back then, they have sheep, goats, hens, deer, peacocks and ducks.

And you get to try on some helmets too.

I don't think they needed to worry about the helmet fitting over glasses back then!

And dare you sit in the fertility chair?

According to the sign,

'A chair similar to this, has been used since pagan times to help with the fertility of both men and women. This ancient ritual was handed down from generation to generation over the centuries. Persons wishing to try the magic of this mystic Fertility chair must follow the strict instructions laid down by the Sorcerers:-

  1. First you must be seated on the chair
  2. Cross your right foot over your left ankle whilst keeping your knees tight together
  3. Hold your right earlobe with your left hand
  4. Place your right hand on your left knee
  5. Close your eyes then repeat the word 'magog' five times for the spell to work

Can you feel a tingle?'

I wonder if it'll work....time will tell........

Not only do you get to do all this, you get to visit the House on the Hill Toy Museum too, guaranteed to bring the kid out in you. See if you can spot some toys you used to own, and have a go on the old penny arcade machines.

After all this fun it was time for us to have our picnic, we'd all brought some food with us and it ended up looking like a banquet! And of course the moment the food was out, so were the wasps. Needless to say that the picnic wasn't enjoyed in a peaceful calm manor - there were a few yelps, screams and a bit of running away!


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