Kezzie has been showing off some of the lovely cheery cards that she has made recently. I’m showing off some less cheery ones; as I said last time, my friend Claire, a district nurse, gives cards to the families of her patients when they die. She likes to have a stash of cards, so I made 4 more today. Quite simple, all using paper from my collection. Mostly these papers were gifts from my SiL, who often sends me a stock of crafty goodies for my birthday or Christmas. Some of them came from Noz purchases too.

IMG_2358The paper “ribbons” were bought years ago, but I often forget I have them, so don’t use them. They would be good for quilling, I think, although maybe they’re not fine enough.

IMG_2359This uses a bit of washi tape, and a sticky border that I bought in Noz in the Spring. The butterfly paper was from a pad that I bought in The Works last year.

IMG_2360This one is a bit “blokier” – the sticky corners were from Noz, and the centre piece was in a setr also from Noz, and used for Monique’s card too (I showed you that one on this post) I wrote the sentiment “Our thoughts are with you.

IMG_2361Kezzie wrote about her flower stamp, that reminded me of these cut out flowers (again from Noz!) that I’ve had for about a year…four different sizes, in contrasting colours, they fit together beautifully to make the flower you can see. Finished with a couple of purple gemstones.

I tend not to use too much black in condolence cards, preferring blue, grey or purple: still sombre colours, but not black. Not sure why…

Maybe I’ll make some cheerier cards soon – although I’ll be running out of free time at the end of this week. My 240 hours of teaching (8 hours a day, 3 times a week) starts next Monday. I’m really, really hoping that InfoLangues don’t give me any phone lessons on Thursdays, because that is my only preparation time. Otherwise I’ll have to prepare at the weekend and that certainly isn’t in my plans!!! But, having said that, it’s good to work!

I’m cooking some bread in the slow cooker.It’s starting to smell delicious. My stomach is rumbling!!

A bit of falling over and some creativity

This past week hasn’t been great – I awoke on Sunday with terrible vertigo, which persisted all day. I spent the time either asleep or sitting with my eyes closed. On Monday Mr FD supported me to the doctor’s, as I couldn’t have managed to walk there unaided without falling over. I suspect I just looked very drunk!

The doctor saw me immediately – even though I didn’t have an appointment – and after checking me out, did a very odd manouvre where he flung me from side to side. Apparently I have something called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) , described by NHS Direct thus:

This is one of the most common causes of vertigo. It can occur during specific head movements, while standing up or bending over, crossing the road, or turning in bed.BPPV involves short, intense, recurrent attacks of vertigo (usually lasting a few seconds to a few minutes). It is often accompanied by nausea, although vomiting is rare. You may also experience your eyes briefly moving uncontrollably (nystagmus). Lightheadedness and a loss of balance can last for several minutes or hours after the attack.

BPPV is thought to be caused by small fragments of debris (calcium carbonate crystals), which break off from the lining of the channels in your inner ear. The fragments don’t usually cause a problem, unless they get into one of the ear’s fluid-filled canals.When your head is still, the fragments sit at the bottom of the canal. However, certain head movements cause them to be swept along the fluid-filled canal, which sends confusing messages to your brain.

The doctor’s flinging me sideways (and incidentally whacking my head against the wall!) was an attempt to move these fragments to somewhere where they wouldn’t cause problems for me. It didn’t really help, but I found some other, slightly less violent, exercises on t’internet to carry out. I also slept two nights sitting up in an armchair, to help encourage these floaty bits to settle.

These slowly helped me to improve, to the stage where yesterday I was able to teach. Mr FD drove me to Roanne (that wasn’t great – everything was whizzing past my eyes too quickly!) where I had a lesson. But I think it was too much too soon (especially as I slept lying down too) as today I am slightly woozy again.

Anyway, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been making some cards, so I thought I’d show them off to you:

IMG_2330This one – and the next – were both made with pictures that were free in a cardmaking magazine. I followed the instructions as well as I could, substituting what I had in my stash for what the instructions suggested. I think they worked well.

IMG_2335The magazine also had more “girlie” pictures included. Again I followed basic instructions to produce these three, but had to use less “fancy” embellishments than those suggested, as I don’t have them in my stash….

IMG_2334 IMG_2333 IMG_2332I gave the last one to a friend’s daughter for her 10th birthday – she apparently loved it, and wanted to know if I’d drawn the picture. I wish!

I also made a couple of little cards with some off cuts:


IMG_2337I’ve had to make a couple of cards quite quickly too – one for a birthday, and one for condolences. My friend Claire is a district nurse, and when one of their patients dies, the nurses in her practice always give a card. It means I end up having to make quite a few. This one was a bit special as Monique was a well-liked patient, and a member of the cycle-club. I had recently bought a couple of scrapbooking kits from Noz, with paper, die-cuts, and various embellishments at a fairly bargain price – I’d say about 30% of shop prices – and one of the papers had a bike (well, a trike really!) on which seemed vaguely appropriate:

IMG_2356 IMG_2357

I did the writing, but everything else was taken from the kits.

On a more cheerful note, on Sunday we have a “Welcome Back” picnic at church – this is a barbecue at Rob the Rector’s home – with a Silent Auction. I am very happy to offer lots of lots in this: because both Mr FD & my work is not regular it is tricky to be able to pledge a lot of money on a regular basis, as sometimes we don’t have that much. However, on an occasion like this, I can offer lots of things which – I hope – will raise a fair bit of money for church.

So I have offered:

  1. A piece of original calligraphy – someone’s favourite Bible verse/ poem (short!)/ quotation written out and framed.
  2. An original piece of Zentangle inspired art – a design of the purchaser’s choice.
  3. A set of 10 handmade cards – either designed for particular occasions that is requested (girl’s birthday/graduation/thanksgiving etc) or just a general selection.
  4. A white-chocolate-and-ginger cheesecake
  5. Two “Boxes of Surprises” – a box full of at least 10 little gifts & presents. Some handmade, some thrifted, some new.
  6. A present a month for a year – a little gift for the purchaser sent by post
  7. Another piece of zentangle inspired art – this one is already done.

Here’s the ZIA:


And the Boxes of Surprises were fun to create. I covered shoeboxes in paper & designed a pretty lid. Then I looked through my “present stash” – mostly things bought in Noz – as well as through my jewellery drawers/ bookshelves etc to find things I could put in the boxes.  Here’s one:

IMG_2355 IMG_2354

So divided between the two boxes we have…chocolate, honey sweets, lollipops, packs of handmade cards, a scarf, a pair of earrings and matching bracelet, a necklace, soap, handcream, notebooks, books, a little wallet, a Paris/London themed shopping bag, a Paris themed teatowel, a scented candle, a mug, a pottery pot. (I think that’s all) There are 11 or 12 little gifts in each box, plus the pretty box itself.

I hope that these lots, plus those offered by others, will be popular. I think it’s a good way of raising money for the church. Last year I really wanted the landscaping-your-garden lot, but the  people with more spare money than I soon bid more than I could afford!!!

I was a stranger and you invited me in

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

I just signed the petition, “United Nations, Leaders of all Nations: International humanitarian help and asylum to those fleeing the Syrian War.”

I think this is important. Will you sign it too?

Here’s the link:

or there’s this one:

God knows this is a terrible situation and I cannot imagine what world leaders can do. But there must be something. I cannot imagine what I can do – I don’t think I could offer my home to a refugee, but at least I can sign petitions, I can write to the Prime Minister, I can donate money… Here is a Facebook page which gives other ideas (or search on FB for “Refugees Welcome UK)

In my daily devotions book, Celtic Daily Prayer, there is this meditation by Rowan Williams:

The Cry to God as “Father”

in the New Testament

is not a calm acknowledgement

of a universal truth about

God’s abstract fatherhood.

It is the Child’s cry

out of a nightmare.

It is the cry of outrage,

fear, shrinking away,

when faced with the horror

of “the world”

-yet not simply or exclusively

protest, but trust as well,

Abba, Father

all things are possible to Thee….

I feel like a child who doesn’t understand why her toy is broken, but is handing to her Dad and saying “Mend it, please”. She doesn’t know how he can mend it, she doesn’t know what it needs to be mended, but she trusts that he can mend it.

In my prayers I don’t pretend to know how this horrific, terrible, desperate situation can be mended…but I hand it to my Father, and say “Mend it, Daddy,please.”

But I need to be aware that my Daddy may well ask me to help him to mend it.



A Day out in le Mont Dore

On Saturday, it was due to be very hot, and Mr FD didn’t really want to go cycling in predicted temperatures of 34° so we decided to head on into the mountains. It was also the day when the Fete Patronale was likely to be very noisy (just outside the house) and we didn’t really want to stay around. We chose le Chaine des Puys – the volcanic chain of mountains which make up part of the Massif Central. We were in charge of Marvin and Roxanne, the dogs belonging to friends of ours, and it would have been lovely to take them with us. Unfortunately Roxy has been diagnosed with a heart problem, and all walks are banned, and we felt it was unfair to take Marvin out for the afternoon and leave Roxy on her own. So we gave Roxy her medicine and headed towards Clermont, taking a picnic with us.

We stopped at these rather magnificent rocks to take photos and to have lunchIMG_2339


Here’s Mr FD contemplating lunch:


We had bread, cheese, sausage, chicken rillettes and crisps, followed by melon- and-peaches and palmier biscuits. Lots of elderflower cordial and water to drink.

After lunch we made our way to le Mont Dore where we had a choice of three activities: a walk up, up, up to Le Grand Cascade (estimated at about 2 hours), a trip up in the cable car to le Puy de Sancy, or a trip up the funicular. I’m afraid when I saw the fin-de-siecle funicular that won hands down. I think Mr FD was a bit disapppointed, but he hid it manfully.

and it still looks like this today – down to the little curtains!

IMG_2344The view down from the way up (if that makes sense!)

When we got to the top we had a little wander in the woods and admired the view. We also watched the people who were trying their skill at acrobranching at Mont Dore Aventure


I have done this once, about 5 years ago, and while I enjoyed it (in a masochistic sort of way!), I don’t think it’s something I want to do again. I think my arthritic feet and poor grip would make it a tad too risky now!

We waited for the next funicular and went back down.


We thought about going up the cable car too, but it was too far to walk to the station, so instead we strolled back into town and had a very welcome drink in a bar. We bought some local cheese – Saint Nectaire, Bleu d’Auvergne, Salers, and some chevre for me – and then set off for home.


On the way we paused for more photos


Mr FD kept my ugly boots out of the photo, but could do nothing about the unflattering shorts, and sweaty, slicked-back hair!! Mind you, my hands-stuck-in-pockets stance doesn’t really help the whole ensemble! I should learn a more flattering pose for photos, I think.

When we got home we were staying at Alison and Gerome’s house overnight, because of the fair. So we ate the Italian vegetable bake I’d left in the slow cooker all day, and then had cheese and ice cream for pudding. When it was time for the fireworks Mr FD headed up to our house to try to comfort the cats (Pomme didn’t flinch, Bib was a bit unsure, and George & Millie went to hide in the cellar) while I stayed behind to look after Marvin and Roxy. Marvin was scared and required cuddling, but Roxy snored her way through it all!


Incriminating photo! Don’t tell Alison that Marvin was on the sofa!!

It was a lovely day – special as most often Mr FD spends his days off on the bike rather than with me.

And, by the way, Happy Birthday Mr FD!