Thursday, 18 June 2015

Holiday Roundup

Hey There Peeps!

You may or may not have noticed that I've been MIA around the blogosphere these last couple of weeks. With good reason. I've been recharging the ol' batteries over in France, taking a jolly little holiday with Nick.

Brittany may typically have the weather we normally associate with the UK (i.e. prone to torrential rain and bracing winds) but in the coastal area of La Turballe, we were lucky once again to have had great weather. I say "once again" as for the first time, Nick & I have returned to exactly the same spot as the previous year, staying in the very same gite.

Despite my attire, it was incredibly hot. I'm wearing my thick lumberjack shirt because I forgot to pack many long-sleeved shirts this time around. I'm fair skinned, burn easily, even with sun cream and prefer to keep myself covered up when out in direct sun. I love the warmth but I'm pragmatic about reducing my risk of skin cancer. I mostly lounge around in the heat, in shade. However, when taking a stroll along the tide line, I cover up.

And this is why I LOVE walking along the tides. That wonderful feeling around your toes, when the waves lap around your ankles as they crash onto the shore.

However, even though there were brave souls venturing out into the sea to swim or snorkel, I waded in no further than my ankles. Mainly because there were hundreds of jellyfish floating around. They were mostly the smaller, purplish variety. But then there are these big buggers which you could have the misfortune to bump into. Their sting may be mild but I'd still prefer not to come in contact with a stray glutinous tentacle.

Now this is what I prefer to discover and photograph when taking in a coastal stroll. The joy of rock pooling is in that moment you come across a living creature other than a crab or shrimp. Especially when it's one which displays a gorgeous bright orange red colour.

We turned up to this particular beach when the tide was out. In the distance, you can see people with buckets raking the sand and collecting shellfish. We'd been to this spot several times before and this was the first time the sea was out enough to reveal a path to the island. Excited at seeing somewhere new, we strolled out. Halfway down, Nick remembered with alarm that he'd left his mobile phone in the car, in full view. Whilst he rushed back for it, I carried on down to island to sit and wait.

When I finally saw Nick approaching me again, I could see him waving his arms in a gesture to get moving. Furthermore, as he came closer, I could here him shouting to me that the tide was quickly moving in. I'd only been sat there a few minutes.

Yup, the stretch of water between the beach & the island was quickly coming in. We were the last two to make our way back. You can just about make out that the guys ahead of us are already up to their knees. If we had been 5 minutes later, we would have been stranded until the tide went out the following day. Unless we swam. Oops!

Away from coastal adventures, we took a trip to a Bonsai & cacti centre. Inside the greenhouses are displays of incredible bonsai trees (at incredible prices) and succulents, including rare specimens. Outside, they have a labyrinthine trail of plants and trees to snake around. Between us, we took hundreds of photos. I'll share just two. This is Nick squatting beside a young bonsai oak tree. Yes it's a thing.

And then there's this. It may only be Nick & I who have never come across them before. You may have seen them and think they're common, wondering as to why I found them fascinating. They're wild strawberries. Which is not unusual, I grant you. After all, we have them growing in our own garden. It's that this variety has the fruit growing upwards and out, looking like the central bud of a flower. Not, as I'm used to seeing them, dangling down from a stalk.

I couldn't do a round up without mentioning food, especially as I indulged in two of my favourites. If you know me of old, you already are aware that I'm a huge fan of the delicious french treats, Macarons. Well this beauty was served up as an eclair version when we dined out one evening.

My other favourite is to have a Fruit de Mer, which is a large dish of freshly prepared shellfish topped off with either a crab or lobster. It's a hands on meal, where you get down and dirty. You have to break, pull apart, smash and scoop your way through the many varieties of (some of them live) shellfish. It is not for the squeamish. But if you love the taste of the sea, it's amazing.

And finally. This photo is one I took especially for my friend Neet. These fabulous socks, decorated in macarons were a fun Xmas gift from her last year. I saved them especially for this trip where I gave them their first outing!!!! Thanks Neet :D

Now that I'm back in the UK, I should be feeling fully recharged and invigorated. In truth, it feels like another lifetime ago. A distant memory. I'm back into the full swing of normal home life, as if I never went away. And I know it's the stereotype but the one thing I definitely missed and headed straight for when I returned home was a proper cup of tea. In fact I'm sipping on an orange & cinnamon flavoured one now, as I type. Bliss!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Birthday Wishes Card

I needed a card for an upcoming birthday and with time on my hands, I fancied being "inky". Not messy, just inky. I die cut a circle out of white card and sponged it with distress ink. With my reliable archival black ink, I added a few geometrical shapes before placing it back within the piece I originally cut it from. I mounted the whole lot onto blue card and finished it off with a stamped sentiment. Now I need to find other ways to be idle this bank holiday :D

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Another Week. Another CTS

First of all, thank you ever so much for all the lovely comments regards my guest appearance on the Case This Sketch blog. What a wonderful bunch you are :)

And as another week rolls around, a new sketch has been put up here.

And yes I've interpreted it almost literally rather than use artistic license. I saw the star shape and it instantly made me think of my Bam Bubble die. Which, with it's graphic-comic style, had to be paired with my Kaboom stamps.

Right, off to go buy a large bag of dates, for making healthy (ish) treats, before dragging the sister-in-law around Arley Hall to look at the gardens. Must remember to re-charge my camera battery too. Hope you are enjoying your weekend too.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Something Different - A Digital Poster

I've not made anything physical or tangible for a few days. Which means, I'm missing that creative output. I'm still drawing and creating vectors but nothing which is purely for fun. The main reason though for not making is that the hours I usually put aside for "play", find me instead,  curled up in a chair, devouring books. Trashy thrillers and the like. Nothing that would be found in English Literature lessons, for sure.

Which means I haven't grabbed my stamps, or inks or card. What I've done instead, is the above. It wasn't intentional. If I'm totally honest, with myself more than with you, it was whilst I was being busy procrastinating. I don't mean to but sometimes, I can easily let myself be distracted.

It began when I was sorting through my fonts, on my computer. I decided to try a couple of them out. I chose a quote I liked then started messing. It didn't take long before I was creating all manner of backgrounds, varying the layout and, simply mucking about, having fun. Time flew by until my square eyes finally gave in.

I shall eventually print it out and stick to the pin board which hangs to the left of where I sit in front of my Mac. Not as a reminder. Not necessary. This is generally a philosophy I live by anyway but the divine Katherine does put it so darn eloquently.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Guest Designer on CAS(E) this Sketch

I'm extremely honoured to be this week's guest designer on CAS(E) this Sketch. There is so much talent on this challenge site that I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feeling a slight intrepidation.

The sketch which inspired my card is...

Yes I made a rod for my own back by using colours which are fantastic in real life but are impossible to capture photographically. But I do love them and well, I made this card using scraps lying around after another project.

I know that creativity is supposed to be relaxing and meditational. And it is. Except when you are asked to be a guest designer. I swear my salt and pepper hair has turned even greyer. Thank goodness it's not falling out (yet)

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Tag on a Card

This week's CAS(E) this Sketch design combines both card and tag...

So I took a recent purchase of a Papertrey Ink die & stamp set to make the tag, adding the image from Grunge Me set and the sentiment from another set.

I stayed with the white on white design which I used in my previous card. I put pink behind the green tag as a complementary colour and added the red strip at the bottom to add something extra, visually.

Again, I kept it as clean as possible to keep with the graphic style I'm enjoying at the moment.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

You're Cool Card

I recently bought a set of second hand Papertrey Ink stamps from Caryn in her Glitter Me Silly Sale. There's still some stamps available to buy if you wish to check it out.

One of the sets I bought was the Grunge Me Stamps. And when I saw this card over at Maskerade, I was definitely inspired to use the design as my muse. I loved the idea of using a white die cut circle on top of a square white card as the canvas.

I added a few stamped circles using another set from Inkadinkadoo which is probably no longer available. However they do complement the Grunge Me circles. I often prefer to go to geometric images in my stamps, preferring the graphic nature of them. And they're so versatile. You can use them in any style to suit.

That aside, all I can say is, at last, it's good to be stamping again.