Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

"I'm a drake, and you've made a mistake!"

So what has happened to the weather? Sleet, cold wind. Must be Spring.

Don't care about the weather though - off to Cyprus tomorrow. Two weeks by the pool; miles of empty, sandy beaches; fields of wild anemones and cyclamen, orange blossom, cigarette pies, hummus, fresh fish and chips, proper kebabs; Crusader castles and SUNSHINE. Can't wait.

Being a cheapskate, for Caroline's birthday present this year, I made her a greetings card organiser and filled it with 12 cards. I ran out of inspiration when decorating the card organiser, so no photos. This is one of the cards.

Starting with a white card base, I used my newest Cuttlebug folder and embossed some pink card. I then matted a long strip, which I scalloped with scissors, onto some blue pearlescent card. Then I used my Nestabilities circles to make a pink centre and a white and blue scalloped matt. The flower bouquet came from the £1 shop (2 for £1) - I said I was a cheapskate. The finishing touch was the three pink gems on the bottom right hand side.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

While we were out a couple of weeks ago the end of the front rope began unravelling. Now, I can tie a knot and do a bit of lashing, but finishing off the end of the rope like this is beyond me. Normally I melt all the ends together with a lighted candle. Anyway, Mike did this for me. Apparently it is called a "Dog's Dick". Can't think why.

David bought himself a new toy. Well, more a replacement for the old one. It is an electric saw for him to cut up the wooden pallets that get left out around here. So he spent a couple of days sawing up wood. He even cut up a tree for Cathy, but then he had called to her the day before and she had tripped. Now she is wearing a sling and cast as she has broken her wrist. Therefore, he was feeling a bit guilty, hence the good turn.

Some time last year I entered a few of my cards into competitions. Naturally I didn't win anything, but I did enjoy making this one.

I worked out how to cut out the step card all by myself. Cleaver eh? The left hand side is covered in stamped and embossed fir trees. The back "mountain" has two hills stuck to it with stamped and cut out trees. The middle "mountain" has a cut out (and squashed) photograph of Mr David and the front one is
covered in handmade paper, torn to look like grass with daisy flowers and a stamped and embossed bullrushes.

This is a side view which gives a better idea of the "mountains" and "valleys" of the card.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Got a bollocking today for not posting enough. Sorry! It is not as if nothing has been happening either. Just being lazy.

On Monday the signs went up for the auction for the two buildings photographed. The cafe, the lettings office and the small flat above. The two businesses will not be affected as they both have leases to run. So! Anyone looking for an investment?

A few days of sunshine and Spring is really in the air. There are bulbs flowering in the boxes by the lock and the geese seem to be leaving them alone at the moment.

Cathy, who lives on Mandor had been spending a few days on
the mooring (with permission from Graham) when on Tuesday David told her that there was a mooring up for auction fairly soon. She rushed to her computer and put in a bid there and then.

The closing date was 1pm on Wednesday, so she came onto Mr David to watch the results. And boy, was it a result! She was the only bidder. We printed off the application and she went straight around to the office to pay the fees. So! welcome Cathy and Smudge. Hope you enjoy your stay here.

Friday night was very noisy. Lots of shouting and screaming. Saturday morning showed us the detritus left behind. Broken glass on the lock island, empty bottles and cans, my "A" frame had been thrown into the water, the flower boxes all moved so that they can get a better landing/takeoff when jumping the lock and three of our new seats had been removed and were now on the balcony of the defunct James Brindley pub. I'm sure if I walked onto their property and started moving things around they wouldn't been too pleased.

I had a lovely comment from a reader about the dried flower card I made for Mothers' Day. Thank you so very much. It's a lovely warm feeling when someone appreciates your work.

This is the card I made for Cathy, to welcome her to the moorings (don't tell Rob, as I never made one for him when he came last year).

I Cuttlebugged some red card and matted it onto silver card before fixing it to a green card base. I added a couple of scallops of lacy ribbon at the top and a computer generated and matted sentiment in the middle. The photograph is of Roach delivering coal last year and again, is matted with red and silver card.

I never seem to use buttons. I have got masses left over from my sewing days. So I have used three red buttons and tied some green string through the holes before sticking them down onto the card.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

I too this photo yesterday as we approached the Salford Junction under the M6 motorway. It never looks other than grey, but on a grey day it is almost daunting.

We had intended to go up the Tame Valley Canal and home via the Walsall Canal and the BCN, but with the trouble with the engine we thought getting back home was a better idea. The the engine behaved itself perfectly all day.

Life back on the moorings goes on. Well, sadly, it doesn't really. Sam Waller one of the oldies of Gas Street died last night. He was not the most friendly of moorers and a grunt or a nod was all I ever got from him if we passed, and that was only if I spoke to him first. His boat Swallow has been moored here unloved for all the time we have been here. At one time it was in danger of sinking and lurched at a 45o angle. But he was involved with the trip boats and will be sadly missed.

Feeling very despondent with the cardmaking at the moment. I did not sell a single Valentine Card this year and no one ordered a Mothers' Day card. Until yesterday afternoon, when an old customer needed one for his mother (who incidentally makes cards too - no pressure there then).

This is what I came up with. A square white card blank with a square of torn, green handmade paper (with leaves dried into it). Then a torn piece of thick white handmade paper with a poesy of dried flowers arranged on it. Then I partially covered a lilac label tag with more green paper, tied it with a green organdie bow and added the mother's name in peel-offs onto silver card which I trimmed and added, finally adding more dried flowers before sticking it to the card with sticky-fixers.

On the inside I added another piece of torn green, handmade paper, then I printed the sentiment onto white card and trimmed it with scalloped scissors and stuck it to the centre of the card. Dried flowers were added for the final touch.

The font is called Love and I think it is very pretty. It has little hearts on all the capital letters. I think I may use this more often.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Now, I've seen a lot of things floating in canals. Fortunately not a human corpse - but a traffic light?

Well, we're back on the moorings again after our abortive cruise. Setting off at 0645 we were tying up by 12 noon. Everything went very smoothly. The top pound between locks 1-2 on the Aston Flight was empty. But it is ever thus. And all the locks were against us. But we met two boats coming down Farmer's Locks right at the bottom so that made it easier. David treated me to a lovely lunch in Edmunds and then it was back into bed for an afternoon's sleep to recuperate.

Three cards made from the same photograph of President.

The first one has a strip of red scalloped card stuck underneath a strip of silver card and on top of that a strip of black Cuttlebugged card is layered before sticking them across the bottom half of a white C6 card.

The photograph was matted onto silver card, red scalloped card, white card and black card and three red "dots" were fixed on the top right hand corner.

This card was made in the same way using black scalloped and red card.

And finally, a blue base card with a Cuttlebugged blue panel fixed vertically down the card with a silver border made from strips of card. The photograph was matted onto silver and red card and fixed towards the top of the panel. A bought flower topper was fixed on the bottom left hand side to finish it off.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Wiggins Hill Bridge, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

We awoke this morning to sunshine - AND NO ICE!!! So we set off at 7am and it was up the Curdworth Locks and by 1030 we were moored up between the pub and the winding hole. About the nearest you can get to the Milnworth Locks before hitting Birmingham head on.

The engine seems to be behaving itself, no piercing whistle to let us know it was overheating, thank goodness.

And after several days of sunshine, there are definite signs of spring in the air. Grass shoots, catkins and lambs tails, and even a daisy or two.

Finally, after switching on the computer and seeing the stoppages emails. It seems the stoppage at Hopwas is now finished (early) and we could have gone that way today. Hey Ho!

The card began with a hammered, blue card base.

The topper came from Lakeland Ltd (when they did card stuff). It consists of a small postcard, a photograph of a glass of beer, a sheet of vellum, a small tag with a button stuck to it and all kept together by a small peg. It is all stuck down with sticky-fixers.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Coleshill (by Debbies Day Boats), Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

A beautiful sunny morning and 1/2" ice in the canal.

The curse continues...

As we had decided to turn around and head back towards Birmingham and a trip up the Tame Valley Canal (new territory for us), David winded the boat last night. He had to back up just past the pipe bridge in the picture to the winding hole. This he managed to do without a hitch. We turned the boat and then the engine began overheating, the boat wouldn't steer and we had a real job to get it back onto the mooring.

After a -4C night there was thick ice on the canal and we finally set off at 11am. Once again, the engine kept overheating. We limped along as far as Amington (1 mile = 1/2 hour!) and finally telephoned River Canal Rescue.

Now we have been disappointed with RCT lately, every time we have had a problem they have said it was "domestic" so it didn't count and they couldn't help us. We have gone from Gold Membership right down to a retainer, and had decided that this year we wouldn't even bother at all. WELL. It took them 4 hours to reach us, but the engineer and his apprentice were excellent and explained everything to David. Suddenly we had lost all the water in the engine (don't know where it all went, as there was plenty in the header tank when we stopped!). So thank you once again RCR they only charged us £35 and we will be renewing our membership after all.

When they had finished we set off again at 5pm and finished up opposite the boatyard at Coleshill just as it was getting dark.

Forgot to mention. Just as we were nearing Amington I saw another "Woodie" American Wood Duck. So what with the one I saw last year up in Yorkshire, there are at least three on the canals - so not so rare after all!

A pretty little white card with pink rosebud ribbon wrapped around the front and more pink organdie ribbon tied in a bow on top.

The little ballerina is decoupaged and stuck on over the ribbon with sticky-fixers.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Near Alvecote, Coventry Canal

The curse of Farmer's Locks has struck again. David has managed to break his indestructible glasses, he has caught a cold and there has been a cock-up on the BW Stoppages Front.

I have managed to miss a rather important stoppage at Atherstone - several stoppages in fact.

There was a layer of ice on the canal when we woke up this morning. We hung around until 9am when it was melting a bit and set off. After stopping in Fazeley for a newspaper and a few groceries we turned right and traversed the two Glascote locks. Nice to see that the top lock is still taking forever to fill. Both the top paddles would not go down properly either.

There was a nice piece of piling just before Alvecote, opposite a golf course. The sun was shining, we could get the satellite dish to work and David was having a relapse, so we stopped for the day.

Then I went for a walk up past Alvecote Priory. On the way back I passed a boat with a man sat on the back. Another boat was passing on its way back to the marina there. The man on the boat asked the other boaters if the stoppage was still ongoing. They didn't know, they hadn't been that far.

What stoppage?

Silly me! Missed that one. So it's back towards Birmingham yet again. One of these days we'll get away.

A pretty bridge on the Shroppie matted onto silver, lime green and more silver card.

There is a strip of blue card (from a tissue box!) behind and three blue gems on the bottom left hand side of the blue base card.

The card is finished with a peel-off sentiment.

And this one started off with a green base card. I matted two red Cuttlebugged panels onto yellow card and stuck them onto the base card, one towards the top right hand side and the other towards the bottom left hand side.

The photograph was matted onto silver and matching yellow card before being fixed in the centre of the card.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Below Curdworth Locks, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

David suggested a lie-in and late start after yesterday's locking.

So at 7am we were off!

Curdworth locks - 11 locks stretching over 2 miles. The top lock is a new lock which had to be built when the M6 Toll road was built.

The first four are always beautifully kept. Fresh new paint, the numbers of the locks picked out in red paint and the limit of the paddle gear also painted red.

There are planks on the top locks so that you don't have to clamber up onto the lock beam and the bottom locks have also got a walkway to assist getting to the other side of the lock.

The stupid strapping posts have also been given a coat of paint!

Then at Lock 5 it is back to normal. Crappy locks.

We stopped below the bottom lock as David was not feeling very well. He immediately retired to bed with a hot water bottle.

Dad, with three little helpers. I matted the card onto silver, yellow and orange card. The orange card was scalloped using scissors. Orange ribbon was wrapped vertically around a white card base and then a white grossgrain ribbon with an orange stripe was wrapped around that and tied with a knot.

Finally I added three square silver gems on the bottom left hand corner.

And with this one was made using a blue card base. I Cuttledbugged some silver card and added it to the card and then added some red Cuttlebugged card on top. Lastly, I added the silver and blue matted photograph.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Wiggins Hill Bridge, Birmingham and Fazeley

We set off at 0700 and found the first 6 locks on the Farmer's Locks flight not only for us, but all the top gates were open too. (That wouldn't have anything to do with the dark boat that went past just as I was going to bed last night would it?). Anyway, we took this as a good omen for the rest of the year.

How come I never noticed this lock-keeper's hut at the bottom of the locks?

There was a lot of ice about, but the sun was lovely and warm and it is so nice to be out in the countryside (though only just).

After the 27 locks I was so knackered that I slept for two hours and I ache all over. Hey Ho! Only 11 locks tomorrow...

These two cards were some of the some time ago for a stall at a boat festival. Instead of a "New Home" card they are for people with a "New Boat" Well, makes a change.

I used photographs and scanned copies of boat licences,electricity cards and maps as a collage. The pins, tied with string are meant to represent a mooring stake and ropes.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Flying rats waiting for Roy to come out of the cafe with their breakfast. Soon the sky will darken with seagulls swooping to steal the bread from the pigeons. And then come the Canada Geese but don't get me onto the geese....

Saw this in Private Eye today. Hope I'm not breaching copyright but couldn't resist showing it.

Tomorrow the post should be coming from somewhere else. I've washed the white ropes that are on the top of the boat, so they are gleaming white again and we are heading for pastures new. Well, newish. The last 4 times we have been down the Farmer's Locks we have had to come back the next day for some reason or another. So wish us luck.

This photograph is one of my favourites. I think I found the paddle gear on the Shroppie, but I can't remember. It almost has a look of a painting about it. For this card I used a large square white base. The photograph was matted onto silver, acid green and white scalloped card. The swirly doodly bits were rub-ons. Finally, a green twill ribbon was wrapped around an "o" ring and fixed with two butterfly/dragonfly brads and stuck down with double sided tape. It doesn't really show up on the picture, but the right hand side of the front of the card has also been scalloped.

This yellow card using the photograph of the cans on top of Amber Moon. I have used it lots of time because the colours are so vivid. Oranges and greens instead of the usual blue and red. I matted the photograph onto silver, yellow and orange card and added a green tab to the right hand side. I then added two daisy type silk flowers, one in yellow and the other orange. The two petals were actually snipped off by accident. But there are no accidents when making cards, so I just stuck them down.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Just looked in my Drafts thingie and discovered that I hadn't actually published my last post. Sorry!

Not much has been happening around here. We had two lovely days with Spring in the air, but it seems to be back to normal today, overcast and cold.

The weather will probably get worse now, as we are hoping to start out on Friday after David's visit to the Hospital.

The brickwork around the basin is in a terrible state after all the ice and snow. Some major trip hazards out there - hope BW are well insured.

Now, back to the Saga... Being in the Army, we didn't really have any furniture of our own, so downsizing for the boat was fairly easy (well not if you don't go around buying 6' altar pieces it isn't). But it did mean that after 25 odd years of marriage we had never had to chose a colour scheme or style of crockery.

As a massive fan of William Morris and the Liberty store I finally decided on the curtains. Well it was a start! I went for the light blueWilliam Morris Strawberry Thief. The rest of the boat would follow through. I had always made my own clothes so curtains should be a breeze. I enrolled for a curtain making course at Liberty - one day sewing in the Directors' Board Room - all wood panelling taken from a ship and portraits. Where else would you want to learn to sew curtains? I received a 10% voucher for a discount on materials, but had to buy it that day, so I bit the bullet and bought enough Strawberry Thief to make the top side of a fur-lined blanket. I would get the rest of the curtain material in the sale.

Then disaster! Turned up on 26th December for the sale to discover that my lovely blue Strawberry Thief had been discontinued! Only a few metres left. S***!!! I bought what they had. Rushed off the Osbourne and Little and bought what little they had left and then to the two John Lewises in London and managed to get some more which they had in their depot. But it was still not enough.

So thinking cap on. Bought some blue chintz to match and with careful cutting I managed to make a central panel for each curtain of the Strawberry Thief and with blue chintz strips all around, mitering the corners and pink piping between the curtains were the right size. A pig to make, but the final result was quite pretty.

Finally, some cards. The first one with a picture of children on the roof of a boat. Personally, I found children wearing life jackets very photogenic - sad or what? I matted the photo onto silver and blue card. The yellow card was Cuttlebugged using the Birdsong folder before matting it onto more blue card and then they were both fixed to a light blue card base. Then the three blue circles were stuck along to top right hand side.

This second one, the photograph was matted onto silver, dark pink and more silver card.

The base card was white and I wrapped some dark pink ribbon around a piece of card the same width as the card and then wrapped gold thread around it several times before fixing it to the base card.

The photograph was attached with sticky pads and the silk flower was stuck in the right hand corner.