Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WOYWW 225

So what is on my worktop this Tuesday evening as I prepare for WOYWW.
What you see are the only two cards I managed to complete this week. You also see two of the reasons why I have been unable to get much done. On the right, the blue Dahle cutter packed up on me after I had cut the glitter card for the tree card and OH has had it apart 4 times over the past week and couldn't make it work. Eventually he got it working yesterday evening but I have been too busy today with locks, baking cakes for a friend and sorting out all my craft stuff.
On the left, the red Fingerguard cutter is a brilliant piece of kit. It takes cutter discs and can cut all kinds of wavy edges. It relies on a replaceable self heal cutting mat strip to make it cut properly. Guess where my three replacement strips are? At home in the cupboard, so I had so couldn't use  the Fingerguard either. Making cards without a reliable cutter is very slow!
We have tried to find a craft shop selling them and have come to conclusion that Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Birmingham are completely devoid of craft shops. Searching on the internet gives me lots of names of  craft shops and when we try to contact them, to see if they stock Woodware, rather than making a long trek to find them and being disappointed, we discover that they no longer exist. Please can I ask other WOYWW'ers to support their local shops when ever possible rather than resorting to buying on the internet all the time, otherwise they will all disappear and there will no shops for those without internet access or a permanent address for delivery..
There are other demands on my time on the canal too, ten minutes picking yielded two bowls of these
which needed de-stoning and freezing and we also have a carrier bagful of apples to deal with and lots of blackberries as well. And they are all free so I can't possibly leave them unpicked.
I have also knitted another 10 Innocent hats for the big knit, so am not idling!! my time away.

Well that is all for today
Happy WOYWW everyone.
Chris


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

WOYWW 224

First of all can I thank all those lovely peeps who left comments on my WOYWW last week and I am sorry I wasn't able to visit you all.  If any of you looked at our boating progress on Saturday you will notice that I commented then that I had had no internet for several days and by the time Saturday had arrived it was a bit late for visiting then.
Well on my worktop today, yesterday, is the tally of cards I have made so far, since we left home, 16 of them which is not bad considering that we have also travelled 145 miles and opened and closed 100 locks.
(For those who don't know what is involved with operating a lock,  go to YouTube and look for How to get through a narrow lock. Sorry I can't give a URL, can't work out how to do it on my tablet,  but there are plenty to choose from.)
Then add in some rain,  some wind, an absence of lubrication on the lock gear making it stiff, and you might get some idea about why I have only managed 16 cards.
I have also made some hats for Innocent's Big knit. If you are interested look at the website. They give money to Age Uk for every hat sold.
I have actually knitted a couple more but not got them in the picture yet.

We are now plodding up the Stratford canal and I will post some more piccies later in the week but it has been so wet I couldn't take any of the canal today.

For anyone who wants to know more about the trip and the boat, I have some previous postings with pictures of our trip.



Anyway Happy WOYWW
Chris









Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Avon and Stratford Canal



Sunday we went to church in Evesham and then on through two locks and the rain to a  lovely place called Offenham.
Lunch was ready and the and the sun was shining so we decided to call in a day and have a restful afternoon reading and making cards and enjoying our roast pork.

Monday we continued up the locks to Stratford upon Avon. The river was more picturesque as we went further north and there were some lovely parts for me to take pictures of.

Monday night we moored just below the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, ready to go into the town
 see if we can find Will Shakespeare, although Adrian tells me that Will died a few years ago, so maybe we won’t find him but we will see what else Stratford had to offer.
Tuesday we went to Stratford and found that it had very little to offer apart from the usual shops, BHS, M&S, Lakeland and other High Street chains. Not however the craft shop that I found on the website, so no money spent there, but a bit spent in the Works.

 After a quick cup of coffee we set off on our way up the Stratford canal. At long last we were back on narrow locks, after the wide ones on the Avon and very wide ones on the Severn, but it was also raining so we got very wet. Eventually gave up after doing 18 locks we moored at a place called Wilmcote to dry out and have supper and let the cat out.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Severn and Avon



Well at last, having acquired the necessary connecting cables for tablet and Mifi I can attempt to blog our progress.
So Wednesday morning saw us leaving this picturesque spot on the
Staff and Worcs canal and head out onto the rather more daunting River Severn. Last year we did just 8 miles and 2 locks and found it alarming because this river is so wide, often over 200 feet wide.
As we left the lock at Stourport in great trepidation we put on our life jackets and I steeled myself for seven hours of nail biting as we headed out onto the mighty river; only it didn’t look quite as daunting as I remembered. Whether it was having life jackets that made the difference or familiarity, but we were not nearly as alarmed as we had been the year before.
The biggest problem we noticed was an almost complete absence of landmarks to tell us where we were. The banks were fairly high and often we could not see over them to identify where we were, so the locks came up on us unexpectedly.
By lunchtime we reached Worcester so stopped for lunch and to let Max off, but it was not a particularly nice spot and there was a charge of £4 for 24 hours, so we moved on about ¾ mile, past all the swans,  we counted over 60, and found mooring spot for free.                    
We wandered up through the city to find a GP surgery for OH to get his INR done in the morning, made an appointment and then went into the shopping centre for coffee and cake before allowing OH to insist he knew the way back. One very long walk the wrong direction, in the rain before I stamped my foot and walked off in the right direction and he followed me back to where we were moored. No wonder men like their Satnav’s when they have so little sense of direction.
Thursday morning we left Worcester about 11 after OH had returned from the docs. and plodded on down through a mixture of sunshine and showers along more magnificent river to Tewkesbury, where we spent a lovely afternoon  and evening and had a very nice Indian meal.
Friday we left Tewkesbury heading north on the Avon and very soon discovered that the Avon was far less appealing than the Severn, although less big and daunting. Whilst the Severn is majestic, with high wooded sides and Welsh hills in the distance, the Avon runs through flat fields with few mooring places and very little to commend it, although we did see these beautiful weeping willows.
On Friday we stopped for lunch, in the sunshine, at a little mooring spot, south of Pershore in the middle of nowhere. Within twenty minutes it was chucking down with rain, so we decided to stop for the night.
So I thought, nothing else to do, I would peruse the desks on WOYWW and generally catch up with Facebook, emails and get this uploaded. However when I decided I would blog a record of our trip, in addition to forgetting the various charger, I failed to allow for one further thing. I need internet access and the rivers Severn and  Avon are not flush with 4G aerials.
There we were in the middle of nowhere, no internet, no phone, no radio or TV and it was bucketing down with rain and I was beginning to worry that the river was going to flood and we wouldn’t be able to move for a week, and no one would know.
Of course, in the morning the rain had stopped, the river hadn’t risen appreciable at all and we pottered onto Evesham for Saturday night, which is where we are now for Saturday evening.
Well thats all for now, maybe I will be able to be a bit more regular with the updates now.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WOYWW 223

Well I came away with all intentions of blogging most days about our boating, but failed to bring a charger for my tablet or the camera batteries, so until I could find a suitable place to buy the necessary electrical gubbins, I couldn't take any pictures or use the tablet for writing this.
For anyone who has dropped in here wondering what WOYWW is all about, pop over to  Julia's where you can snoop on over a hundred different worktops.
Well if you remember last week I was trying to decide what I was going to bring in the way of craft materials for five weeks on our narrowboat, this is the final load.
There is a Big Shot in there, some dies, some stamps and inks, a rotary cutter, a scoring board, cards papers, ribbons and tools.
And the table it is on is my work top for five weeks, not very large and can get very cluttered, as can be seen in next picture.
So that actually was my worktop on Saturday.












For those from distant shores who commented about the narrowboat last week, here is an inside picture of ours to show you how compact it is and how easily it can get untidy. I have a continual battle trying to keep things under control.
Only 6'5" wide and although our boat is 50' long, the living space is only about 35' long.
Well as my worktop has the dinner things on it at present, there is no point in taking a picture of that, so for those who who have no idea about English canals I will leave you with a picture of where we were yesterday morning.
I hope I can post some more pictures of our progress during the week, and next Wednesday I will show you the dozens!!! of Christmas cards I have created.

Happy WOYWW
Chris

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

WOYWW 222

Welcome to my rather erratic blog on my craft work and if you have wandered in via a search and are wondering what on earth WOYWW is all about, wander over to Julia's Stamping Ground where you will see lots of crafters exposing their intimate work places in order to allow others to snoop at their worktops on a Wednesday. Well, actually most of us are probably putting up pictures of our worktops on Tuesday and commenting on them, in order to get them posted by Wednesday.
So on my desktop today you can see some of my experiments into playing with alcohol inks. Actually the one on the front right looks much better in the picture than it does in 'real life'. It is a bit wishy washy, but the light on it here gives it much more depth and contrast. Not sure what I do about that, I 've just been and looked at it again to convince myself it is the same piece.


In the next few days OH and I are going away for about five weeks on our narrowboat, (burglars don't even think about it. Just because OH and I are out of the house, it doesn't mean the house is unoccupied all that time. People seem to do a lot of coming and going in our home when we are away, I have had to make up all the beds before we go. And lots are popping in as well to keep an eye on the post, including a veritable rottweiler of a  Mr Twitchy Curtains across the road.) so I am trying to work out how much craft stuff I need to take to make a big inroad into the Christmas card task. This involves deciding what I really need, what I would like to take and how to avoid having World War three with OH about how much I am taking and how I can possible need all that stuff. In this picture you can see the beginnings of the pile. But there are still big decisions about what else to include.

At craft club this year the theme is Christmas trees, so I have to make at least 14 technically challenging cards for them. Then I need 120 assorted ones with at least some religious content so I need stamps and die cutter and colours of some sort and the list could go on and on.
And, of course, they will all have to created between opening locks and steering the boat if OH has had enough, walking miles to the shops and having to put everything away from the rather limited space each time we want a meal.
You can see here the beginnings of a couple of tree cards, not sure how they will continue, but that seems to be how all my cards happen.









And just in case people don't know what a narrowboat is like, this is a picture of ours. She's called Bendithion, which is Blessings in Welsh.

We aim to take her down through Birmingham, onto the River Severn, up the Avon back through Birmingham and up the Trent and Mersey Canal to Middlewich. Then along the Wardle canal, the shortest on the UK system, all of 51 yards long, and back on the Shropshire Union to its moorings. So if anyone lives anywhere near those canals and sees us, come and say 'Hi'.
Sorry Julia, not a short post, but it might be the last for several weeks, so Happy WOYWW everyone.
Chris