Monday, 29 September 2014

Farewell to a loyal companion

I'm afraid that I have not posted for a few weeks, or managed to keep up with your lovely news. It has been a sad September for us as we  lost our lovely oldest dog, the beautiful Kate, earlier in the month. She was 14 and had recently become rapidly unwell. An operation was planned for the second week in September, but things overtook and the vet had to do an emergency operation.  Although he did everything he could to save her, unfortunately the outcome was not good and we had to let her go on the operating table.
I know many of you will understand as you have beloved pets-the heartbreak it brings when you have to say goodbye. Yet we would do it all again for the joy and companionship Kate brought to us.
Kate was our little 'Millennium' puppy-born in August 2000. Rescued at only five weeks from a squalid flat, the mother gone, I knew all the rules said I should not have taken her but after she climbed on my daughter's then 6 year old lap and looked into her eyes-of course we took her. She had not been treated well and was highly nervous and fearful of threat, thus we worked so hard over a long time to gain her trust. She became the most loyal and loving companion and fiercely protective.  What fun she brought over many shared adventures; she read every emotion and always knew when to offer comfort. 
When my husband first saw her all those years ago he remarked, 'What a pretty face!' and the final words said by a stranger were 'Isn't she just beautiful?'  A fitting tribute to a wonderful friend, beautiful inside and out, who will remain on our hearts forever. 
We are gradually getting used to her not being here. She loved the two younger dogs and they are lifting us up with their unique, funny characters and loving ways.

I have also returned to my little part-time job as a lecturer -I have some lovely new trainee teachers full of zest for education which is a joy.  Also of course we have the wedding to look forward to which is now in less than four weeks time! 

I have been crafting items for the day and will write about this soon-a list of 10 'to-dos' is still to be tackled-scary thought! The 'designing' is all done but it all needs making/finishing, which includes cutting, sticking, stamping, putting together, arranging, crocheting...eek! I'd better stop here and get going!!

I will be catching up with your lovely blogs and news over the next week and soon be writing about my crafty makes again.
Hope you are having a lovely week,
Alison xx

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The wedding planner...

When my older daughter announced her engagement in February with an October wedding date I thought 'that's eons away'! There was long dark nights, foul weather,  Easter eggs and Springtime all to get through first before the arrival of summer-and long holidays! After the initial excitement I convinced myself there was no need to really think seriously about the fact I was 'designing' the event until nearer the time. How could I overlook that saying about time flying!
To say I am actually planning the wedding is actually a gross misinterpretation of the facts (I do have a tendency to over exaggerate on occasions)!  Actually what I have done is more 'style' it. The happy couple asked me to come up with a theme for them which fitted with their interests and the venue. This is a wonderful art-deco hotel built in 1929, on a cliff top overlooking the sweep of the bay. It is gorgeous, already with a feel of 1920s glamour.

The thinking part didn't take too long...I knew they would like the celebration to reflect their shared love of the city of light and Laura's love of le  français.  With the allure of La belle France and loving all things shabby chic we settled on a vintage Parisian theme with a touch of Gatsby glitz!

I had seen photos of a wedding in Paris which really was the epitome of French glamour and couldn't resist- bride in gorgeous ivory lace with bridesmaids and grooms men in chic navy.  A splash of red roses completed the look-fantastique cherie!   We put together a Pinterest board: Parisian wedding -what a great place Pinterest is to store ideas!
Since then most of the main organisation has been done, invitations are out, responses are being logged, the summer is over and I've finally made a start  on all those crafty bits I'd seen in my mind's eye!

Tag time! 

I thought making tags and labels for the favours and bridal party gifts would be easy...I'd made some simple ones for other weddings using Cath Kidston/Laura Ashley: 
Mais  non! These would not fit with all things vintage Paris!

I love rubber stamping and often make simple tags just with one ink like this:

...mais non- Trop rustic methinks!

Trop simple! Time to inject a little more excitement and I have been getting very enthused by altered art and mixed media lately. I wanted to experiment with distress ink to get a bit more depth and interest. So before any more stress set in I decided to distress! Here's what I did. 

Bridal party gift tags.

I sallied forth with  Tim Holtz distress inks in 'Antique linen' and 'Tattered rose', sweeping over cream card with the brayer. 

Looked a bit of a mess at first I thought but carried on regardless!
The Dogfather (my hubby) had bought me this gorgeous background stamp for my birthday in May. It's quite big though-I didn't need the whole design.
I experimented with Archival ink in Sepia and French ultramarine-the blue looked best or maybe I was swayed by the name! I decided to use only the section of the stamp with the tower.
I wanted to highlight the word 'Paris' in red, so covered it up while I rollered the blue ink on.

I removed the card and dabbed red onto the word.

Voilà! I stamped them on to the base. 

I chose a tag shape which would show most of the tower-this one is Sizzix. 

Ooh là là   -there we are! 

Just need to 'age' them a little more with 'Vintage photo' and sepia inks...
All done! Now for a few extra bits of shabby chicness...some vintage lace and tiny roses.

Finished with vintage navy taffeta ribbon and stamped with vintage typewriter font on reverse.

Job done-and the bride loves them!

Time is gathering apace towards the wedding and more crafty projects to follow!

Hope you have a lovely relaxing weekend

Alison xx