Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

The ice had almost gone by this evening and now it is snowing again. And really heavily. So back to square one. This is definitely the time of year I do not begrudge paying for the mooring and the umbilical cord to the electricity stanchion.

The Liverpool football team walked down the Worcester Bar today and I missed it! Out shopping in Solihull. As I write they are playing Villa in the snow and it is still 0-0.

This is a pre-snow and ice picture of the Ferris wheel in Centenary Square that went up in November. I reflections in the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall are a photographer's paradise.

I was asked to make a card with lots of bling for a Brazillian lady. This is what a came up with. An A5 easel card.

I started with a sheet of hammered white A4 card and folded it in half and then folded the top half in half again. I cut a piece of yellow pearlescent card just smaller than A5 and stuck it to another piece of A5 hammered card. A length of gold ribbon and another white and gold one were wound around the bottom edge and it was then stuck to the outside edge of the top half of the folded piece so that the front of the card stands up, but sits on top of the bottom of the back of the card like a normal fold.

A lovely yellow and gold feather butterfly was stuck down in the right hand corner and three creamy yellow roses with green foliage stuck down behind them on the left hand side. Finally 5 gold gems were added on the top right and bottom left corners.

The inside of the card is in two sections. The back piece is hidden when the card is set up and only the panel in front of the little butterfly shows. I printed out the sentiment and name in a pretty font called Blossom which has hibiscus flowers on some of the letters. (I wish I could find a way to colour them before printing.) This I matted onto pearlescent yellow card and then onto the white hammered card and again onto the yellow pearlescent card and fixed it to the inside back of the card. Then I added two butterflies which look as though they have just landed onto the card and some more yellow gems.

The front panel was matted in the same way, adding another butterfly and yellow gems. The little yellow butterfly in the middle holds the card up when it is set up. It stops the card slipping closed. It came from some old jewellery.

Finally, the box. I added a panel of the yellow pearlescent card, some silver peel-offs, three yellow gems and another fluttery butterfly.

The guy who was buying it was overjoyed and insisted on giving me £20 for it. Wish I could sell all my cards for that sum.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

I know, I know! But I've just got out of the habit of blogging. AND. What with thebig freeze and nothing much happening, there hasn't been much to blog about anyway.

On the bus going to Harborne the other day I noticed these posters. On looking more closely I saw Mr David is in one of the pictures

See a close-up here

We have been more-or-less frozen in over a week now. One or two boats have been moving and breaking up the ice on the main line,and we managed to break out for a pumpout before Sherborne wharf closed for Christmas and the New Year. But we have been firmly stuck in the basin most of the time. So we have tended to hibernate on the boat and making short forays for coal and sustenance.

David and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary on the 20th December (longest night of the year!!!) and had another wonderful dinner in Edmunds with Caroline and Curtis.

Christmas Day was spent on the boat, with another visit from Caroline and Curtis (twice in 4 days - must be a record!) They came for "starters" as they always have to have their Christmas dinner with Curtis' parents. So it was 18 huge oysters between them and duck pate for me. Then on Boxing Day I braved the sales in the afternoon, though not for long. Today I was hoping to go the Solihull, but it's too cold - so another day on the boat.

Pete (from Aquamora) needed a card for his daughter's 50th birthday. This is what I came up with. I Cuttlebugged a piece of pearlescent pink card and stuck it onto silver card and then onto a black A5 card. The dress, bag and boxes were a set of toppers which I arranged on the card and her name I made from black peel-offs onto white card and matted onto silver card. I added two grey roses and bows to the name and three pink pearls in the bottom right hand corner.

Inside I made a white panel which I scalloped the edges with scissors, matted it onto pink pearlescent and then silver card. I then made a pink banner and added the black peel-offs and fixed it down with two pink brads before sticking it all down onto the inside of the card.

Pete went off to her birthday party. Unfortunately, he is getting a bit forgetful. He was 1 week late!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Gas Street Basin, Birmingham

And another day when I have hardly got off the boat.

We were iced in this morning, though the sun was shining.

Just before lunch Ariel went through the lock and broke up the ice so we took the opportunity to take Mr David for a pumpout and we took the opportunity to pick up the latest Canals and Rivers to see David's articles (2 this month plus the picture on the front page!)

Just before we had our party on Anson on Thursday night we had a firework display. Don't know what it was for, but seem to be coming from Brindleyplace.

Two cards that I made for Alan (Capt Nemo). The two photographs were taken by Garry Corbett and I found them on Flikr. He very kindly sent me the photos so that I could make the cards.

This one was from Alan to Pete, one of the moorers here

I cut the picture with a Nestabilities die plus a mat in silver and added some holly to the top right hand corner. The sentiment is a peel-off and the words stand up away from the card. The "Pops" is peel-offs and the little robin was stamped and coloured in.

This one was from us to Alan. I stamped the background and sentiment and cut out the photograph and mat with Nestabilities. To finish off, I added a little felt Santa hat to brighten it up a bit.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Whoops! Almost two months since I last blogged. Where does the time go? The longer it went on, the harder it was to start up again. Just got out of the routine I suppose.

Not much has happened since we have been back in the basin, so I really have not had anything to witter on about.

But yesterday it snowed! Only for about 5 minutes, but it was enough to cover everything. And of course, it was the night of our moorers' Christmas gathering on "Anson". Graham very kindly let us use the boat for the evening and a nice little party was held.

I will try and catch up on the last few days of our Autumn cruise at some time.

This is the family Christmas card for 2009. A picture of "Woodie", stamped out with an oval Nestibility and matted onto a larger gold oval; a strip of green card stamped with holly leaves and berries (the berries were coloured in with a glittery, red pen and a gold "slider" cut out with a Nestability. The sentiment was printed on the computer and, once again, cut out with a Nestability oval. Nice and simple.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Church Minshull, Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal

These hawthorn berries look almost good enough to eat.
An uneventful day. We started early as the weather was forecast to turn.
We were through Middlewich by 10 and then it began to drizzle so we tied up after the first lock for a couple of hours and then came on here in glorious sunshine and strong winds.
There was a historic boat gathering going on in Middlewich. I think "hysteric" boat owners are even more sullen and unfriendly than fishermen. Not one acknowledged David as he went past - on tickover! I know we are not worthy only having a modern (although now ten year old) boat but a smile or waive would be nice and friendly.

A pretty romantic card. It began with a turquoise card blank. I found some yellow, orange and turquoise patterned paper which I used to cover the middle of the card adding a strip of gold peel-off along the join at the top and a strip of gold patterned peel-off along the bottom and a scalloped border made from gold card.
The two hearts are a sort of gel peel-off bubble thingies, as is the "I Love You" sentiment.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Higginstone Farm Flash, Trent and Mersey Canal

I have been trying to get a photograph of the "pumpout" boat at Anderton Marina for a few years now. And I still have not got it. The boat is called Two Loos Lautrec. How do they think of these names?
We managed to dodge the odd showers today and after stopping at the shop in Moore for some essentials we got to Preston Brook tunnel to find 3 hire boats waiting for the time slot. By the time we entered the tunnel there was another boat behind us.
Dutton Stop Lock was slow going and it wasn't until the first boat was almost through that people from other boats began to help out. Then, when it was our turn, there was a boat coming in the opposite direction. While we got that boat through, two more turned up behind him. It was now "on the hour" so they only had 10 minutes to get to the lock for their time slot. But, as the crew of both boats declined to come up to the lock to help out I went on a go slow and did everything extra slowly. Hope they missed the tunnel.
Then it was "on! on!" until the helmsman mutinied and we stopped for the night.

Here is a recycled Christmas card. I cut out the front of an old card and matted it onto gold mirror card, cream card and more gold mirror card before fixing it to a card blank with sticky fixers.
I matted another piece of cream card onto mirror card and added a gold peel-off sentiment.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Oughtrighton, Bridgewater Canal

Eating up the miles on the way back to Birmingham. David is doing marathon times on the back.
Normally we do about 4 hours a day, but we have been putting in 7-8 hour days since leaving Liverpool.

The Barton Swing Bridge was closed (but open for us!), so no excitement there. That was the only obstacle for us today.
We managed to get here just before it started raining - so all in all, a good day's cruising.
Summer is over, but there are still a few wasps around. All right, I know it's a bee on the card, but what with seeing the hives at Litherland, I looked this card out.
I think the card is shown sideways as it is supposed to be a flower box made from brown hessian on a background of orange hessian with the bee and flowers. I matted the whole thing onto some blue vellum and then onto a white card blank.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Ince Moss, Leigh Branch Leeds and Liverpool Canal

I don't know who paid for these signs - must have been Sustrans 'cos they only give the distances in times with a bicycle by the side. Very useful for the rest of us. And: just how fast do you have to pedal to get there in that time?

The weather forecast was heavy rain, so we set of in trepidation. It turned out to be rather a nice day, and quite warm and sunny at times.

David had a rest and a sleep by the side of Apperly Lock and then we came on here.

There were, surprisingly, several boats on the move which was a bit of a shock after the last few days.

I found this topper in Clinton Cards as a tag for a present. I mounted it onto some dark blue card and threaded the blue ribbon through and tied it in a knot.
Finally, I added a blue gem in the bottom right hand corner.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Gt Score Swing Bridge, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

One of the new BW beehives which have been set up near Litherland. What next?
We were up and off in time to get to Bridge 6 for 9pm so that BW could let us through the first of the two swing bridges that they operate for us.
After Bridge 9 we were on our own with 5 of the b*** in the next 3 miles. The first one is a footbridge and you need a handcuff key and the Watermate key to get at the pull-up lock before pushing the bridge open.
Then comes Maghull Hall Bridge. This one has handcuff locks on both barriers which have to be undone and the barriers pushed closed by hand. Then the bridge is operated by the Watermate key and is electric.
The third bridge, Shaws, is another footbridge and you need the handcuff key again to push the bridge open and closed.
Methodist Swing Bridge has push barriers again, but you have to put the Watermate key in the box first to release the locks. Then the bridge is electrically opened and closed.
The final bridge is Bell's and this time the barriers are electric, but the bridge is a push one.
Confusing or what?
Before finally mooring up we had another fully electric swing bridge and two more that are fixed open. We moored on the landing stage of the last one.

A long, DL, card with a bought topper of a drawing of a smart couple. It is all black,white and silver, with sparkles that don't show on the photo. I added some colour with the red and black spotted ribbon.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Litherland, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

"It's not the leaving of Liverpool...." Our 9 days in Liverpool came to an end this morning. We have had a really great time, visiting the Cathedral (dark and lumbering), the Walker Gallery (great pictures but noisy kids), the Tate (wasted half an hour of my life) , the Bluecoat (confusing) and, finally, Port Sunlight and the Lady Lever Museum (got Burne-Joneses - so fantabulous!).

My nephew's wedding was yesterday at a mock Elizabethan hotel in the Wirral. David had to hire a DJ and all the accoutrement's and we were transported from outside the Premier Hotel at Albert Docks (that's what gave me the idea of taking the boat in the first place).

Although the wedding was a straightforward registry office type do, the bride is Jewish and as the evening began there was a lot of singing and dancing and the bride's father and the groom were thrown up in a blanket and the couple lifted up on chairs and carried around. It was really lovely, especially as Matt is usually a really quiet and retiring sort of guy.

There was only one boat due out today, and as we managed to get the hire suit returned by 10 we asked if we could accompany it and leave a day early.

So, at 1130 we set off back through all the docks to Stanley Locks and back onto the L&L. The weather turned sunny just after leaving so it was very pleasant and, as usual, the BW guys were very obliging and helpful - even though one boat had Everton supporters and we had a Manchester United one. They did threaten to leave us to it several times though.

I have finished the Christmas cards for Amber Moon. I used a similar picture to last year but this time I mounted them onto a "label" Nestabilities die cut mat.

I used DL cards (long thin ones) and wrapped the ribbon around a piece of card before sticking it down onto the base, then added pictures with sticky fixers. I suck a peel-off greeting above the ribbon on the right hand side and two sets of three gold dots on the sides of the green matt.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Salthouse Dock, Liverpool

I am gradually filling in the blanks in the blogs now we are back on G3 - but even so I keep losing the signal here too.

We had a wander around Albert Dock this morning. David went to see the BW Harbourmaster and then we had another wander around town. It has been beautiful, warm, sunny day and we haven't needed a fire.

The DUCKs launch regularly by us and send a mini tsuname out making all the boats bounce and bang against the moorings. We do get a warning though, because they blow a horn as they are about to launch down the slipway.

This evening we took a walk to the riverbank. The sun was setting and there was a lovely pink glow over Birkenhead (can there be such a thing?) Almost romantic!

Back to this lovely boat horse in Hungerford. I printed the larger picture onto paper in "draft" so that it is sort of washed out and then matted it onto white paper and then red. The second picture was printed normally onto photo paper and then matted in the same way. I wrapped some white spotted, red ribbon around the larger panel and then stuck them onto a white card blank.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Salthouse Dock, Liverpool

Wow! Such an exciting day! Both boats were ready to enter in the top lock at 1000 and with two BW guys doing the locks (with a little help from me) we were off. The top lock has extra long tubes over the paddle gear and a long windlass is required, so I couldn't do that one.

We were soon down the locks and heading for the bascule bridge. Unfortunately we were two low to need it opening. Fortunately because it doesn't work any more anyway. We were heading for the old clock tower in the centre before turning left to go through all the docks to get to the new canal bit.

To the left of the tower is the River Mersey, though the locks down to it from here are no longer in use.

Then it was under this futuristic bridge and into the first of the two new locks. The difference in water levels is only tiny. Apparently when the docks were taken over by BW they agreed a certain depth, but the other docks kept the old one (or something like that).

Then it was past the Liverpool waterfront and a second short tunnel with a kink and the last lock.

Coming out of the last lock we were told it was turn left, left and right. They forgot it was 3rd left to start off with and also forgot to tell the Harbour Master that we were coming. We were trying to get into a dry dock and then the barrier to Albert Dock was closed and we had to hang around outside, not knowing quite what to do.

We were eventually allowed through Albert Dock and into Salthouse Dock. The sun came out and everything was perfect. David could get the satellite to work so he had television and I could see the John Lewis store from the windows of the boat!

Jolly Nation make some lovely decoupage figures. This is the hiking lady. I stuck a piece of green wavy paper on the right hand part of the card and added the decoupage on top, putting a compass in the top left hand corner and a flask in the bottom right hand corner.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Eldonian Village, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

We were waiting with Tottleworth before Bridge 10 by 0745 and left there at 0830 with BW opening the swing bridge. We then went on to Bridge 9, where they did the same again.

Stopping off at the Litherland sanitary station, we had a pumpout and were in Eldonian Village by 1115.

The trip hand been uneventful - no antisocial behaviour. In fact most people seemed really pleased to see the boats going past.

The shark was in a car park, looking a bit sorry for itself.

Here is a photo of a lovely Rottweiler which I turned into a card simply by matting it onto white paper and cutting the edges with deckle edged scissors and then matting it again onto red card.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Melling Stone Bridge, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Rounding a corner we came across this structure
in a field. To the left of it there are lots of poles and then further on there was a stone henge and lots of wooden carving and structures. Bizarre or what?

We didn't have far to go today as we are due to meet the BW guys tomorrow at Bridge 10. We just went through the 5 wing bridges in Melling and stopped just after bridge 11.

Later on we were passed by "Tottleworth" which must be the other boat that is going down to Liverpool tomorrow.

I have made quite a few cards using this photograph. They were lock wheeling for charity at the 3 locks (can't remember their names, but there is a pub at the middle one) on the Grand Union.

This one I matted onto silver, white and red card. Then I matted some blue card onto silver and tied a polka dot red ribbon around it before fixing it to the white base card. The picture was then fixed over the top left hand corner. Finally, I added two sets of red gems to the two sides.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Haskayne, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

I actually took this photograph yesterday. The pheasant was walking along the parapet of the bridge just like the Famous Grouse grouse in the advert. Quite comical.
Not travelling far today, so it was a late start (for us) at 8.15. The sun was shining and it was really warm. We didn't even need a fire today.
This part of the canal is really pretty. The towpath side is lined with stones and the towpath has been mowed right up to the edge - so no sprained ankles when jumping onto the bank from the boat and finding the hole or getting stung up to the knees with nettles.
Most of the bridges are also made of stone and have a pointy arch unlike most of the bridges on the system.
There have been very few boats on the move. Today we only had one plastic, one Springer and the Pride of Sefton go past. We are supposed to be going down into Liverpool with another boat, we we have had no sign of it yet.

Yet another one in the personalised Christmas card set. This one has a sparkly lilac candle with silver holly leaves.
I have tied some ribbon through the holly wreath charm and stuck it onto the card with a couple of glue dots.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Great Score Bridge, Leeds and Liverpool Canal (7-10)

It finally stopped raining so we left our mooring at 0615 (in the dark) this morning and headed out to the country again.

There is something not very nice about the locks along this stretch. They seem very big, a few are quite deep and they are all definitely unloved.

We had a brief stop at Burscough for water (and a quick shop and after a total of 12 miles, 6 locks and 10 swing (3 open) bridges later we moored up on the landing bollards of Great Score Swing Bridge.

"On the landing bollards?" you say. Well, yes. The bridge is permanently open, so we didn't thing we were causing any bother to anyone else.

This card made with handmade paper and lilac flowers was done a few years ago. I don't know whether you can tell the earlier cards from the ones I make now.

I matted a piece of square silver card onto some white card and then onto the handmade paper and tore the edges of the handmade paper. I fixed it to a white card blank and added the flowers with sticky fixers and then the bow with another sticky fixer.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Wigan, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Yet another example of BW not giving a S*** about the boater.

To get to the other side of the lock you have to walk up the path (where the 3 people are), turn right to the end of the bridge, then back over the bridge and down a ramp. If there are two boats, the person working the off-side lock (going down) has to walk back to the ramp and up over the bridge. There he/she either crosses the busy road and walks down past the bridge to get on the boat from a grassy bank. Or, walk over the bridge, down the ramp and then under the bridge to get back onto the boat. Thanks a bunch!

Set off in brilliant sunshine and got to the lakes before it began to rain. So we moored up and waited for a break in the clouds.

Unfortunately the break in the clouds lasted only long enough for us to set off!

By the time we got to the junction with the Leeds and Liverpool it was really raining, so against better judgement, we moored up for the night.

A "Jolly Nation" decoupage card. I just stuck him onto a black, white card.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Plank Lane, Leigh Branch, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Don't think I have managed to come around the corner at Worsley and not taken a photograph of the Packet House. Can you see all the satellite dishes on the right?

We had a few good days in Castlefields. Spent lots of money and had lots of visitors - all David's family.

When David set off early this morning it was freezing and he went on strike as we got to Bridgewater Boats. So we stopped for lunch and after he warmed up we set off again in glorious sunshine and shirtsleeves. We popped into Aldi for some wine and other stuff and then came on through Plank Lane before stopping for the night.

This is the second Christmas card in a set ready for personalisation. They are all for sale in my MisiMe shop which can be accessed from the bottom of this page (or the top!)

Monday, 28 September 2009

Moore, Bridgewater Canal

More nights out in the bondu, and even now the GPRS is a bit slow. So this is all you're getting for now.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Dutton Stop Lock, Trent & Mersey Canal

Yet again, an early start (for David: no locks, I can stay in bed for a while!). So we were moored up just before Dutton Stop Lock by 1045.

Started with a white card blank and covered the front with some sparkly dotty paper. The edges are outlined with black peel-offs.

To finish off, I added the skiing toppers which are slighly raised with sticky fixers.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Bramble Cutting, Trent and Mersey Canal

At Wardle Lock I posted this card for Maureen (the lock keeper). We had taken the photograph on the way through earlier on. She came out to help with the lock just as I was emptying it.
We stopped in Middlewich to do some shopping and then travelled on here. It is one of our "regular" moorings, as it is just outside town, relatively safe, has mooring rings and most importantly we can get the satellite to work here. It does not work in the actually offside cutting moorings.

Anyway, I wrapped some blue spotty ribbon around the front of a light blue card and tied it with a knot. I cut the photo and scallop mat with Nestabilities and stuck them down over the ribbon.
The leaves of the flower were made with a punch (a new toy) and I made up the flower with two prima flowers and a gem brad.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Church Minshull, Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal

It really feels like we have been out in the back of beyond Internet-wise. We have had no Vodafone signal since I last blogged. It got so bad we took the computer and gubbins into a Vodafone shop in Shrewsbury, just to check that it was still working. It was.

Anyway, I will catch up eventually - please bear with me. I've had 83 emails so sort out!

We spent last night above Hurleston Locks, ready for the morning - but we were alone. The sun was just coming up as we entered the 2nd lock and the boat looked like it was on fire.

Phoned the Wigan BW office regarding our trip into Liverpool next month. Banged my head against the wall several times. The form definitely says (and I quote) "The maximum duration in Saldhouse Docks is 14 days inclusive". But when I tried to extend our stay up to 14 days, I was told that it was only 10 days and that included the 2 nights in Eldonian Village. Work that one out.

A cheat's card. Though sometimes it is nice to just pop a few pieces of card pre-printed and cut out and just stick them together with sticky fixers. It is a "twisted" decoupage, though it doesn't really show up in the picture.