Sunday, 30 December 2007

Gas Street, Birmingham

Another wet Sunday when I never stepped off the boat. David got the papers and breakfast and I read the papers in bed with tea and croissant.
We had the ransom demand from Columbia last week - we'd been expecting it. Caroline left work for South America last September so she would be getting short of cash eventually.
The picture is of one of Santa's little helpers from the illuminated boat parade earlier this month.

This card I made as a leaving card for an Asian girl who was moving to a new job. The likeness was quite striking. The stickers are sort of cushioned so they stood out from the card. The backing paper was made on the computer and said "Girls just want to have fun".

Friday, 28 December 2007

Gas Street, Birmingham

Well, we got back from Poland safely last night. The difference in the temperature was 15 degrees C (warmer here).

So, today we caught up with the gossip... not much, the police only got called in once!!! And then it was off to the sales - but not for too long, fortunately for David, he came back to the boat early and didn't have the boat keys.

A thankyou card for someone who looked after a friend (twice) during a stroke, then a heart attack.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Krakow, Poland

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas - we spent ours indoors out of the cold wind.

The town square in Kraków with the Christmas Market.

These pretty wreaths were just some of many different styles and constructions to be found here. I wish we had the room to take one back and keep it on the boat.

And some garlic to keep the vampires at bay!

I thought, maybe a ball dress for the New Year celebrations, the bodice was made from handmade paper with a raised silver pattern and was drawn from a template. I cut the top bit off. The skirt is made from a circle of net with a border of sparkles. I also made a box for it to fit into.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Krakow, Poland

Our fourth night in Krakow and we have just had another sumptious dinner - all within a stone's throw from our appartment. We could probably eat out in a different restaurant for a whole month and still not move out of the district.

The weather was icy and the mist of last night had frozen on the trees making everywhere look really Christmassy and the light this morning made everywhere look magical.

We had a quick zizz around the Christmas Market again - this stall was selling cakes.

Although we spent 3 years in Warsaw at the end of the 70's and beginning of the 80's we never saw anything like this. Although the trip to the large fruit market did bring back lots of sights, sounds and memories.

This stall was selling handmade bags and boxes using corrugated cardboard. They were so pretty I had to photograph them to maybe case at some time in the future.

And finally a card that I made for Pete's daughter just before we left Birmingham. Decoupaged and matted. I didn't intend the silver plaque on the bottom right hand corner but the rub-on decided not to and messed up the card. This was my second attempt - so I gave up and covered up the mess.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Krakow, Poland

This is a beaver dam in the Belowiasa Forest (we saw two). They have created a huge lake behind it which has frozen over. And they live in a big construction (not pictured) made from branches. They live on vegitation in the summer and wood which they chop up and store in their "lodge"

Our guide said that this log had been felled by the beaver during the night.

Right at the centre of the forest there is a strict nature reserve and the forest is primeaval - the trees just fall when they are dead and are left to rot. Therefore there are masses of animals, birds and insects living in this forest. There is a new museum with tablaux of all the animals and insects which is very interesting - but not if you don't like stuffed animals. Our guide said that no animal was killed to be stuffed - they were all road-kill or had died naturally!!

We travelled twice by horse and cart - it was very cold. The driver was 78 years old, and the horse had a mind of its own. We stopped off at a disused railway station which had been used by the Tsars when this part of Poland was Russian. There were pictures of Tzar Nicholas II on all the walls.

We have now travelled down to Krakow - we managed to catch the slow train and it took us 6 hours instead of 3!


A leaving card for the receptionist at our doctor's surgery. I started with a lilac card. The wording I did on the computer and the boots I received in a "forum swap" last Christmas. I finished it off with some pretty organdie ribbon with sparkly bits and some very thin satin ribbon.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


We have just spent 5 days in the Beilowiasa Forrest searching for bison, wild boar, deer and other wildlife. It was cold, and we had to start at 6am to find the bison - which we did twice. Though this picture was taken from the local reserve where they keep some in captivity.

It is truley awsom to see them in the wild - they are so big, but yet gentle.

We also saw a couple of beaver dams, which again are pretty staggering. Pics tomorrow.

A card for a new baby boy. I made the backing paper on the computer and the "Jack" sign. The hedgehogs were a peel-off. All finished off with a white spotted blue ribbon.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Gas Street

Let's forget the winter - somewhere on the Coventry Canal last August Bank Holiday. The sun was shining because we had decided to go back to the mooring.

David has just bought me an itouch ipod. Very pretty but we are tearing our hair out. I've managed to get most of my music to download from the computer, but how you get the wi-fi internet to work is a mystery.
We are off the Bialystock in Poland tomorrow - one night in Warsaw then by train to the forests - lots of trips booked out with a tracker and horse and cart to find the bison, wild boar and other wildlife. Should be fun. We are taking the laptop - so might even get some pics uploaded before we get back after Christmas.

This pretty card was made for Laura, who was 9 years old. I found a keyring charm which I fixed with a ribbon and pink marabou feathers. Lots of shiny paper and gems and ribbon. Lots of fun to make.

And this is the box that I made for the card to go in - more feathers and bling!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Gas Street

Such a lovely day after all the rain yesterday - but boy, was it cold. So, for once, a very quiet day.

Caroline telephoned from Colombia - off to Bogota tomorrow. Still enjoying herself, and still in funds!!!

This is the window of the old Canal Shop which was run by Second City Boats - they have just had to close down - another canal business gone.

This lovely card was made from part of a kit from Lakeland Ltd. The "card" is made from acetate and a tiny card which was pre-printed on the front is stuck to the back sheet on the inside. I punched a hole in the top left hand corner and threaded a ribbon through and stuck some flower confetti on the ends. I then stuck a small plastic bear onto the front of the card.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Gas Street

Back in the swing now (well until Thursday, when we are off to Poland).

After a very rainy day the weather cleared up for the annual Illuminated Boat Parade this evening. Despite the weather and the cold there were about 18 boats entered and some were quite stunning.

The Gas Street Moorers on their private grandstand canalside viewing platform!

This is the Anglo Welsh boat. They turned the boat into a log cabin. Maybe a good wheeze for someone trying to steal a boat and camouflage it?

Aquarius - so I suppose it must be the BW entry. The swan moved its head and neck from side to side and the wings went up and down. It was quite spectacular until it hit the side of the bridge and broke. BW did not seem to have anything to do with the show this year - no dragon head at the mouth of the tunnel or dolphins swimming over the lights or the lighthouse.

This entry was actually two boats - lots of flames and smoke.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves!

The Mayor and Noddy Holder, who had just received an award (a sort of hall of fame in Broad Street - he is No 3, Ozzie Osbourne was the first and Jasper Carrot the 2nd - still haven't found out where they actually are in the street yet though.

Then there were the fireworks.

Now that I have sent all our Christmas cards I can post a pic - I actually printed the wording onto each card using the computer. The photograph was printed onto a semi-gloss paper and holographic peel-offs (also handmade) border the edges. I promise this will be the last Christmas card post for ages, though I have made some lovely ones - after making around 900 this year I am all Christmased out.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Gas Street

Well, sorry for not blogging for a while. As you can see from the picture above, we have been to Budapest for a short holiday. It was a return trip, we lived there from 1982-1985 when David worked at the British Embassy there. Caroline's school was on the ground floor of the square building to the far left of the picture. We had a great time, the place had not changed very much except that everyone now admitted to speaking English, all the cars were western European and there were the usual Euro shops (Zara, Mango, M&S and Tesco).

We visited most of our old haunts - Gerboud's which is a famous old coffee house, the cakes had real cream in them this time!: Gundels - a lovely old restaurant next to the zoo. We also went to the zoo and checked out the amusement park which had not changed a bit, it was lovely to see the old carousel there and still working.

We took a couple of trips out, to Szententre and Estergom and of course a night time visit to the Var, the castle area to see the lights across the river and then the No 2 tram along the Pest riverbank to see the lights of the Var and Gellert hills.

There were also some really interesting craft stalls with lovely stuff. So I have got some stuff for next year's Christmas cards already!

Meanwhile we missed lots of fun on the moorings with the police being called and lots of shouting and tantrums.

Tomorrow is the Light Parade, when boats decorated with lights will sail along the canal; hope the weather is better than today.

This is the card I designed for my hairdresser to send to all his clients (all 700 of them!). I managed to transfer the design onto my Craft Robo to cut out the bodies, heads, antlers, feet and hairdryer and comb. The noses were cut from a hole punch and then of course there were the wobbly eyes. All the faces were different and some had some great expressions. It was great fun, but very time consuming. I don't think I'll be doing that again next time.

This a box of about 100 Rudolfs waiting to be mounted onto the cards with sticky fixers.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Gas Street

This picture was taken of our boat in July 1999. It is moored just across the basin from where we now moor. At that time we were just passing through and visiting our daughter, Caroline, who was studying (?) at Birmingham University. We had no thoughts of ever ending up here as home.
We've had a fairly quiet week after all the fun of Sunday and the Poetry Evening.

It is now raining hard and very grey and I don't expect to poke my nose out of the boat all day. It is far too cosy inside.

A Christmas card with stripy paper down the left hand side and a Merry Christmas peel-off over the join. The tree topper is made from a glass tree that I bought from Courtyard Crafts in Liverpool some time ago. It is tuck onto gold card with the corners clipped and thread wrapped around it and then matted onto red card. The holly spring came from a cracker.

This one was made with two toppers made from confetti type trees, wrapped with silver string and stars and gems added, matted onto red corrugated, silver and blue paper. A paper border on the right hand side with a silver strip of peel-off on the join. A blue and silver bow at the top and three peel-off parcels in a line on the bottom right hand side.

Only 100 of my 700 reindeer to make. Will be posting them up fairly soon.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Gas Street

Who says you can't have an allotment on a boat?

Funny old week. A visit from our local policeman to discuss the anti-social behaviour in the area - we took him out for a cruise around the "bay" - he'd not been on a narrowboat before.

A pumpout on Tuesday.

On Wednesday my hairdresser said he had recommended me to a friend with a beauty shop and she was interested in 500 Christmas Cards. Fortunately? she has not got back to me yet.

Thursday I went to the Hobbycraft Exhibition at the NEC and managed not to spend all my profits for this year.

And finally today - I have made over 100 reindeer for cards and David is cooking our dinner.

Two more Christmas Cards:

1. A strip of paper, cut out stuck down the left hand side of the card, a fabric poinsettia (from Lakeland) stuck to the top right hand corner and a holographic peel-off in the right bottom corner.

2. More paper stuck just over half of the left side of the card with a gold peel-off strip to cover the join. A gold holographic snowflake corner peel-off in the top right corner and a felt-type reindeer in the bottom right corner.

It's a shame that the couple I made these 30 cards from have now split up - I don't know who inherited the cards though!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Gas Street

Down in the land of Mawdor. Under the BT tower, Farmers Locks, Birmingham and Fazeley canal - with a lot of extra light courtesy Paintshop Pro. A horrid, dark, smelly place.
Sorry, not been blogging much lately - no real excuse but I have had a cold!
Life on the mooring goes on
David finished painting and re-sanding the gunnel on the other side of the boat so that we are very smart and are just awaiting the signwriter to re-do the coachwork.
Oh! and our cruise to Rio for the Carnival has been cancelled so we won't be joining our daughter there in February.

Two more Christmas cards:
Stripy card and a Merry Christmas banner taken from old cards, holly peel-offs and a sprig of holly and organdy bow probably removed from a cracker at some time!
The other one is made from a strip of paper stuck down the left hand side, and two gold-card baubles with ribbons attached.
I have begun the 500 card order for my hairdresser, but he had good/bad news when I got may hair done last Tuesday - he wants 200 more!!!

Monday, 29 October 2007

Gas Street

We had our flu jabs on Monday and for once it didn't hurt - I found out why next day when I got the cold!!

Caroline telephoned from Bolivia and we had a long talk. The joys of the Internet.

I love looking at boat names and wondering how their names came about. This one must tell a story.

Thought I'd give you a rest from Christmas cards as I've just finished another 40 cards - all different and different from the previous 30 which were for this customer's mother!!

This card was for a 4th anniversary and I had great fun going to town on it. Though it was not all my art work I did copy the idea and colour scheme.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Gas Street

We are back from Lisbon - what a great little city. Friendly, English-speaking people, great little trams, lots of lovely food and the sun shone all the time. We had an apartment in the old part in Alfama - it was like a cave and we could see the river Tagus from the front door. It was only a short walk from the No 28 tram which is the "tourist" tram and went into the centre of the city.

A pretty picture of the BCN from the bridge looking towards the Gas Street tunnel taken in the summer.

This card was made with backing paper (green holly leaves) stuck to the top half of the card blank and a green and gold ribbon stuck along the join. The "topper" was made from a plastic tree matted onto gold, white corugated, green and gold card - a green tree shaped brad was fixed to the bottom right hand corner.

And this one was made with stripy paper stuck along the right side of the paper and a wavy line cut with shaped scissors. A peel-off border was stuck down the left side of the paper. A cardboard star with a wire tail was fixed onto the left side of the card. (The star was taken from an old card that I pulled apart!)

Monday, 15 October 2007

Gas Street

My last post before we go off to Lisbon. Getting excited. We have never been to Portugal before and we have just found out that our friends Janet and Kevin will also be there for the same time.

What are all these signs about? They have sprung up all along the towpaths in the centre of Birmingham

What do they mean? Who are the designed for? Surely anyone who is commuting along the towpath or jogging or whatever already knows about it so you don't need a sign to tell them.

And why keep advertising to people to use the towpaths anyway - they don't support BW in any way financially. Haven't seen the Cycle Race Track sign yet though!!!

Two more Christmas Cards. These two were both made from recycled cards from last year.
One mounted onto silver and red card with a silver ribbon and bow and a holly border (also taken from a re-used card)
The robin one was just mounted on red card with two silver peel-off corners.