And another card!

Yesterday and today’s posts are two scheduled posts – I had my chemo yesterday, so won’t be up to much blogging in the next week. I may get round to a couple more scheduled posts too… We’ll see.

Anyway, this is another card that I made (click on the image to biggify):

I made this for Charlotte, who is someone I have met, and become a-bit-more-than-acquaintances-with , at the chemo sessions. Her cancer is Stage 4, and she is having chemo every three weeks “until I die”  – as she said to me cheerfully when we first met! She is indubitably cheery, obviously well-liked by all the nurses at the hospital, and she immediately put me at ease during my first session, when I was confused and a tad upset about what was happening.

We have talked a little about our faith, but more about our travels, our families, our jobs – she is a tutor, in maths, French and English – and usually, midway between sessions we text each other once or twice. This is the last time I’ll see her however, as she has been given permission to postpone her next chemo for a week, so that she can go to the South of France with her family. She is clearly excited, as she was telling everybody about it last time!

Charlotte is not your “typical” chic French lady. She wears the most colourful clothes, with patterns and shades all clashing and vying for attention, but somehow this suits her beautiful, bright personality. So I thought this style of card would be right for her. I used the same technique as I used for Zavia & Isaac’s wedding card:

tearing up, and PVA glueing down, scraps of colourful paper. With Zav and Isa’s card I used all greens, which seemed appropriate for a Spring wedding. For Charlotte, I went all out with the colours of the rainbow, trying to grade them from orange, and pink, through to green, then blue and purple. All of these came from the Gudrun Sjoden catalogue (as they did for Zav & Isa’s card) which has the most gorgeous colours and patterns!

The verse is “my” verse – the one that has kept me going through this time (I was going to say “ordeal”, but, if I’m honest, it has not been that serious. It’s been a pain, it’s been unpleasant, but “ordeal”, or “trial” really is too strong a word for it!) – but in French:

En effet, c’est moi, l’Eternel, ton Dieu, qui empoigne ta main droite et qui te dis : “N’aie pas peur ! Je viens moi-même à ton secours.”

I hope Charlotte finds this verse as inspirational as I have done. And that she likes the card too!!!

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A couple of cards…

It was my mum’s 89th birthday last Saturday – go, mum! She is still active and occupied, going to church, stewarding at church, going to book club meetings, driving, gardening, going out with her “Keep Fat Club” friends, walking…Recently she drove to the Lake District (a journey of about 130 km) with her friend, to stay at the Timeshare appartment that she has there. I hope I’ll be as active as she is at her age (but with my arthritic knees I somehow doubt it!!)

My birthday present to her was a champagne afternoon tea, for her and her friend, at the Hotel/Appartment complex where the Timeshare is.

 

It was while they were there that my sister took Mum horse riding, and rock climbing, so I thought I should celebrate this activity on her card:

(as always, click on the images to biggify them, if required)

Sadly, it didn’t arrive in time for her birthday – I’d forgotten that the week before there were two bank holidays in France, which would have slowed down the postal system. Never mind; when I called her, she saidthat cards had started arriving on the Wednesday before, and she was celebrating with the Keep Fat Club on the following Tuesday, so it was good to spread out the birthday celebrations!

Maybe I should explain the “Keep Fat Club” – this started some 30 years ago, with a group of teachers who worked at the same school, including mum. They decided that they should try to Keep fit, so started to meet up one evening a week to do some exercise together and to eat some healthy snacks. Husbands mocked, and called it “Keep Fat”. Gradually, the exercising became less important, and the snacks became more elaborate and less healthy, and finally it turned into more of a supper club! Now, they are all retired, several are widowed, and it is a support group/ group of friends who go out regularly, or go to each other’s houses….and it is known communally as “Keep Fat Club”!

The other card was for a less happy occasion. We heard that our friend had recently lost his mother, so I made this condolence card:

Both of these cards used papers from my stash – all bought at Noz, I suspect, at various times. The second card uses images from a pack of sentiments & pictures for condolence cards, called “Cardbook” (also bought at Noz), which gives instructions and resources to create 6 cards. I tend not to follow the instructions, but use them to inspire my own designs. The little metal leaf was from a bagfull of charms that Monique across the road gave me last year. The embellishments are also all bought from Noz at various times.

Two wedding cards

I think I mentioned a while back that we’d been invited to two weddings on the same day – my niece and her long-time partner, and the son of very good friends. We’d already accepted the wedding to Isaac & Zav’s wedding before my cancer was diagnosed, and then Ruth announced that she & David were getting married, on the same day! Having accepted the first invitation, we had to decline Ruth’s invitation, even though she is family – we couldn’t have managed to get from Abergavenny to Newcastle on the same day!!

However, cancer got in the way, and I have chemo scheduled for two days before the weddings, so we won’t be going to either! I am disappointed, but there you go. Life can sometimes bugger up our  plans.

So, I’ve made two cards, and each couple will receive a cheque, and a Lend With Care voucher too. Isaac and Zav are also getting a zentangle –

I wrote about it in this post

On Friday,  I made the cards (click on the photos to see them in a bit more detail):

Because the card that I had was fairly thin, I used a double layer, so the sparkly washi tape around the outside covered the two edges of the card. The flower, the “corners”, the trim & the ribbon were all from Noz, at various times. The paper came from my stash. Here’s a slightly-closer-up:

The card for Zav and Isaac is very different, but I think I like it better.

This one uses torn up paper which I PVA-ed to card. These gorgeous patterns come from the little pamphlets sent with the top I ordered from Gudrun Sjoden, and I felt they were just beautiful Spring-like colours, just right for an April wedding. There are some small bits of gold pâper scattered in the mix, plus some appropriate words: “love”, “joy”, “laughter”,”companionship”. Again, as this was made using triple layered card (to support the weight of the front) I put washi tape around the edges. The little gold dots around the heart were made using a gold pen – I felt that something was needed to make the heart stand out a little, and this fits the bill!

This is a very easy, frugal way to make a card, especially if you’re using papers that you already have, beit wrapping paper, decorative paper from magazines or pamphlets, or anything else that has taken your fancy.

Which card do you prefer? The more classic one, for Ruth & David, or Zav & Isaac’s slightly off-the-wall one?

 

Creativity – again!!

As I’m not working at the moment – and probably won’t be for the next few months – I’ve been finding ways to fill up my time…Mostly reading blogs, reading, reading my French novel (slowly), and doing art work.

I’m not like Angry Cat though – I’m relaxed and laid back. As I said, I’ve been finding the concentration necessary for creating Celtic knotwork very good. Here is the latest piece:

 (This is bizarre: I can see the picture on my dashboard, but when I view it as a blog post it’s not there. I’ll try again later. Very odd…)

ETA: A few days later I have added the picture wiuth no problems at all. Hmmm. The ways of computers are strange!!

Circle me, Lord. Keep protection near and danger afar.

Circle me, Lord Keep hope within. Keep doubt without.

Circle me, Lord. Keep light near And darkness afar.

Circle me, Lord. Keep peace within. Keep evil out.

The prayer is by David Adams. I was quite pleased with the design – this is the Meigal Spiral Interlace – although I will admit that my “ribbon” went a bit wobbly, and isn’t the same width throughout. Still, it’s not a bad first attempt! I gave this to Rob and Caireen, my Rector & his wife, for a Burns Night gift; Caireen is Scottish, and Rob is Canadian of Scottish descent, so it seemed appropriate.

The other piece of art work is for a friend’s birthday. He’s a jazz musician, and plays the saxophone:

I never realised how complicated saxophones were!! Because I’d “zentangled” inside the sax, I decided to colour it, using pastels, to make it stand out a little:

I’m reasonably pleased with it. (Though not with my photography! As usual it’s all a bit blurred. I really will have to try to improve!) I’m just wondering whether the bass clef needs to be blackened in to make it stand out more.

It’s a similar design to a zentangle I did for Kezzie way back, and for someone at church too. It’s quite a pleasing design for a musician, with the instruments being changed depending on those  played by the recipient.

The other thing I’ve started doing is “Walk a Mile in 15 Minutes” videos on YouTube – I’m not convinced that I am actually walking the equivalent of a mile, but it’s reasonably engaging, and it gets me moving.

Yesterday I got a bit carried away by the over enthusiastic instructor lady, and thrust my arms skyward, in time to the music, forgetting I still have scars that aren’t healed…My breast was a bit painful last night – particularly where I have a haemotoma formed – so today I didn’t really “pump” my arms as instructed. However I did everything else and in 15 minutes I got a bit breathless, so I assume it’s doing me good.

Celtic Knotwork

A couple of days back, I promised you a “reveal” of what I’ve been spending possibly too much time doing. I’ve been enjoying the creative side of this, but also the mental processes required – measuring, calculating etc.

And so…

the first I tried was this:

That one took me about two hours to do.

Then I went for this design:

I like this, but the circles are too thin. Despite following the instructions on the YouTube video, the design shown on the video was more compact, and the “ribbon” is definitely much thicker on the demonstration piece. I might try this again but with different dimensions. I filled each circle with a different zentangle pattern. Here’s a close-up:

(but of course, with my dodgy photographic skills, it doesn’t show much detail. Try clicking on it; I think it would make it clearer. But then and again, maybe not!)

Finally, yesterday, I worked on this Triskalé pattern:

They’ve all got mistakes in them, but unless you know where to look, I don’t think they are too obvious. All of them are on A4 paper.

Now I’ve created them, I don’t know what to do with them – for me, the pleasure is in the creating, not the keeping. If anyone who is reading this would like one of them I’d be happy to send them to you. Just say in the comments which one you’d like, and if there’s 2 (or more) who would like the same one I’ll either do a draw, or draw another one. I’ll give you a week or two to comment.

Bonne Année! Bonne Santé!

Yes, being in France, I can still wish you Bonne Année in the middle of January. It’s a good excuse as well when the Christmas cards are late!

I was going to share with you what’s been occupying me these past couple of days, but my camera battery has decided it needs recharging NOW so won’t take any photos. But as a “tease” this picture gives some clue as to what has been taking rather too much of my time

This isn’t mine – I’m notquite that talented yet – but I’ve been enjoying myself drawing some Celtic knotwork, using some YouTube tutorials to help. I’ll show you mine tomorrow.

But for now, I thought I’d share with you something one of my students sent me:

7 resolutions for 2018

1. Live more in the present moment

2. Smile a lot, and often

3. Say “stop” to your mind when it is racing (? Not sure of my translation here)

4. Be as positive as possible

5. Celebrate the victories, however small.

6. Abandon stress and anxiety (easier said than done, in some cases!)

7. Make your life nbetter than you have ever dreamed

Yes, okay, they are a bit trite – and, in many situations, easier said than done – but I appreciated the thought.

A lot of bloggers choose a word for the year. I discovered that (I’d forgotten this!!)in January 2017  I’d chosen a phrase for the year “a different way”… I’m not sure it made that much difference, unfortunately!

This year though, I have two words:

and

With what I’m going through at the moment, both of these words are apposite. Reminding me that I need to have strength, but equally I need to have trust in God.

I have been wondering about ordering myself a Mudlove bracelet with one or both these words on:

Mudlove  is an American company which makes these lovely pottery bracelets and supports the provisionof water in the Central african Republic. As the site says:

Every product you purchase provides 1 week of safe, clean water to someone in need. All of this is made possible through Water for Good and their continual work to transform one of the world’s most neglected countries, the Central African Republic.

Right now, about 663 million people lack access to clean water. That’s more than twice the entire population of the United States! Water is the first step out of extreme poverty. It is estimated that women and children spend 140 million hours each day collecting water. 

Can you imagine going for one week without access to clean water? A week of safe, sanitary water changes things in a big way for entire communities. Women have time for jobs and family care. Children can attend school, avoid preventable diseases, and live longer, happier lives.

What do you think? D’you think I should go for it?

A bit of creativity

Hello Dear Ones. I hope everyone is in good health.

I’m still improving, and will be going for tea with friends in a little while. Which is good. It will be a slow walk to their house, but it will do me good to get out.

I thought I would share with you something I made before Christmas – a friend asked me to calligraph something for her 4 grandchildren. I was quite pleased with the results:

I really do need to improve my photography skills! Still, I hope you can see them well enough. I was quite pleased with them.

***

Another bit of creativity was some soup that I made today – I was up to chopping the veg with my right hand, but the pan-lifting had to be done with my left (scar on the right breast) It was very nice

  • 1kg leeks, finely chopped in a food processor
  • 1kg sweet potato, peeled and finely chopped in a food processor
  • 50g butter
  • 1tbsp Light and mild olive oil
  • 2tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp each of ground clove, coriander, cumin, mild chilli and cardamom
  • Generous sprinkling of ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 11/2 pints Vegetable stock
  • 300ml single cream
  • 50g fresh coriander leaf, finely chopped, leaving a few whole leaves for garnish

 

  • Gently sweat the shredded leek in the butter and olive oil for 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the spices and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the sweet potato, seasoning and stock. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Whiz in batches in a food processor with the single cream and coriander until smooth. Top with the coriander leaf

I chopped the vegetables rather than using a food processor – less washing up and I couldn’t have lifted the food processor anyway! I used less butter and oil, and less cream. I actually used 3 tbsp of 15% creme fraiche, which was plenty. I also missed out the fresh coriander.

I’m pleased with how I’m feeling now I’m doing stuff rather than just moping.