Thursday, November 30, 2023


 Card for Outlawz No Stamp Challenge

Created using a printed background paper, source unknown. Wording and pumpkins created and drawn with Cricut Joy.

Colours of Fall

Wording created and drawn with Cricut Joy, mounted on background from Crafts u print

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Laughter is the best medicine

 Laughter is the best medicine, it is thought this quote originally came from the Bible, Proverbs 17 – 22. Many others have said similar things. Anyway I digress. The Outlawz challenge for Oct 29th is the rhyme/song Kookaburra.

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gumdrops he can see
Stop, Kookaburra, Stop, Kookaburra
Leave some there for me.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see
Stop, Kookaburra, Stop, Kookaburra,
That’s no monkey, that’s me.

The rhyme originates in Australia and was written in 1932. In the Uk we don’t have Kookaburras as they are only found in Australia and New Guinea. The closest we have in the UK is a Kingfisher. I toyed with making a card using a Kingfisher, but then found a great Kookaburra cut file at Craft with Sarah and knew I had to use it. It is cut using Cricut and has 26 layers! Having constructed the Kookaburra I decided it did not need much else, so just used a blue backing and added words “Hope your day is full of laughter” written on the Cricut. It was quite time consuming, but I love the finished card.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Sparkly wedding

 The current Outlawz challenge is based on a poem by Edgar Allen Poe called Eulalie a Song, it was first published in 1845. It is slightly different wording to the poem Eulalie.

I DWELT alone

In a world of moan,

And my soul was a stagnant tide,

Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride —

Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.

Ah, less — less bright

The stars of the night

Than the eyes of the radiant girl!

And never a flake

That the vapour can make

With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,

Can vie with the modest Eulalie’s most unregarded curl —

Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie’s most humble and careless curl.

Now Doubt — now Pain

Come never again,

For her soul gives me sigh for sigh,

And all day long

Shines, bright and strong,

Astarté within the sky,

While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye —

While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

As with many poems it feels like it is written in a foreign language as it is not really the style we speak or write now. A quick google search leads to many analyses of the poem.

For my card inspiration I chose to go with “With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,” and “smiling bride” I printed a purple and pearl coloured moon and cut with a circular die, then used a sparkly purply card to cut out a bride and groom on my Cricut. Keeping with the purple theme as Violet is also mentioned in the last line, I used a purple circle and purple card with backing paper with purple flowers. Added the greeting Bride & Groom Congratulations

Card is available to purchase from me

Monday, October 09, 2023

Keeping up appearances

 I was talking a to a friend today who is having Chemotherapy as part of a treatment for her MS. Knowing that she was going to lose her hair, a few weeks ago she had her hair cut short and donated her hair to the charity that makes wigs for children with cancer, a lovely thing to do. After getting used to her new short style, which really suits her, she is now at the stage that her hair is falling out and the next step is to shave the rest off. It got me thinking that the main thing people worry about when having Chemo is the hair loss and they feel self conscious and worried about how they look. Most people having Chemo shop for wigs and or hats before treatment. This of course does give them a bit of control over what is otherwise a very difficult treatment and something that is often done alongside having to get used to the shock of diagnosis too. As I said this friends donated her hair to be made into wigs for children, but maybe there could be a way of having people’s own hair made into a wig and make them feel more themselves.

Amy Dowden from Strictly come dancing is currently undergoing treatment for cancer and has shared videos of her shaving her hair off. On Saturday night she appeared on live TV without her wig, she looked amazing and I am sure she probably felt awful.

So why is our hair so important and why do we feel so ashamed of losing it? If you are having chemo it is often the only indication of the damage that Chemo does to the whole body, but it also shows what you are going through and people should be proud of what they are doing. Ironically the professional dancers on Strictly this week did a number where they were all wearing wigs as they danced to a Barbie theme. They all looked so different I couldn’t tell who most of them were. Changing hairstyle and colour is often something we do to make ourselves feel better or happier about ourselves and the amount of money spent on hair products is crazy.

Hair also often says something about our character or allows us to fit into a specific culture, eg skin heads, punks, goths etc, it becomes part of our style. Growing up in the 1970’s saw some wild hair styles and colours.

People do make assumptions about people related to hair styles and colours, eg skinheads are thugs, blonde’s are stupid, goths are weird. As a child I always had short hair and my hair was black, most people assumed I was a boy. I did grow my hair a couple of times, but much prefer it short. As my hair started to go grey I spent time and money on covering it up. I always found having my hair coloured so draining, but felt I had to do it regardless of this. Thankfully I have now accepted the grey, I might not like it as much, but it means I have more energy and money for more important things. Appearances are important and we all want to look our best, but we should not be ashamed of something that is natural and or out of our control.

It’s not just a female thing either, male hair products has become big business too. Many men are ashamed of going bald and or grey, especially if they are still relatively young. In the area where I live we have so many barbers shops and there always seems to be another one opening.

Why do we get so ashamed of how we look? As a wheelchair user and hearing aid wearer I am really bad for it. When I first had hearing aids I grew my hair over my ears to cover them, when actually it’s much more practical to have it cut around my ears. What is there to be ashamed of, I can’t hear without them and a lot of people don’t even notice that I am wearing them. People used to be very ashamed of needing glasses, now they are almost a fashion accessory. I only wear glasses for reading and it’s such a pain having to take them on and off all the time and I can never remember where I put them, but glasses now seem much more acceptable than other corrective aids. I hate people knowing I wear hearing aids and even with them my hearing is not great and I spend much of my time either avoiding contact with people or coming across a stupid rather than explaining that I cannot hear. I wonder if people with guide dogs feel ashamed, I do hope not.

None of us are very good at accepting things that make us stand out as being different. I use a wheelchair outside of the house and I hate the way people treat me because of it, I am not a lesser person and without it I wouldn’t be able to leave the house. I hate that I am reliant on someone to push me and feel sorry for my daughter and husband and often avoid going to things if it will make it awkward for them. I think perhaps some of the shame comes from feeling that I am not justified in using it, I am not paralysed, I just can’t walk far. I do feel like a fraud when I get out of my chair to do something or use a blue badge parking bay, even though I have a blue badge.

As someone who has an illness that imposes a lot of limitations on me, I still feel so ashamed that I don’t work and I don’t do much cooking or cleaning. I hate asking for help and am ashamed that people have to do the daily chores for me. It makes me feel a lesser person and an unworthy person. I can’t accept that it is not my fault, I always feel it is my fault and I should try harder and do more so then this piles upon my physical limitations and adds to the exhaustion and means I can do even less. I always think that people think I am lazy and spoilt because I don’t work. I also feel that if I had another sort of illness it would be more justified, but with ME, you feel so ill, but nothing much shows up medically so you feel such a fraud. I often wonder how I can feel so unwell and have so little energy when apparently there is nothing wrong with me.

I am currently feeling so useless as I am supposed to be making stuff for a hedgehog recue charity to sell, but I never manage much and other people are so productive, it puts me to shame. The lady who runs the rescue is badly sight impaired and has multiple health issues, she is also foster Mum to disabled children and she work relentlessly. I do want to be able to help so much more and am ashamed of how little I get done.

We all put so much pressure on ourselves to keep up appearances and to appear normal. What is normal anyway?

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Looking like Halloween

 For the current Outlawz Challenge the poem chosen is The Hag by Robert Herrick;

The Hag is astride,
    This night for to ride;
The Devill and shee together:
    Through thick, and through thin,
    Now out, and then in,
Though ne'r so foule be the weather.

    A Thorn or a Burr
    She takes for a Spurre:
With a lash of a Bramble she rides now,
    Through Brakes and through Bryars,
    O're Ditches, and Mires,
She followes the Spirit that guides now.

    No Beast, for his food,
    Dares now range the wood;
But husht in his laire he lies lurking:
    While mischiefs, by these,
    On Land and on Seas,
At noone of Night are working,

    The storme will arise,
    And trouble the skies;
This night, and more for the wonder,
    The ghost from the Tomb
    Affrighted shall come,
Cal'd out by the clap of the Thunder.
I did struggle with this one as it is not a poem I have ever heard of and it was written in 1648 so it's difficult to work out what is it saying. Anyway a Hag is an "ugly old woman" or a witch, so I went with the witch theme. Using an image of a witch astride a broomstick, which I believe echoes the first lines "The Hag is astride, This night for to ride;", the witch of course has a black cat as we have a black cat! The image also has a moon against the night sky for the lines "At noone of Night are working," and "This night, and more for the wonder," and finally lightning for "The storme will arise, And trouble the skies;" "Cal'd out by the clap of the Thunder."

The image was cut using my Cricut Joy and is mounted on a dark sky effect background then layer with dark grey on dark grey card.  The witch is cut in sparkly black card and the moon and lightning in glow in the dark card.

The second image is trying to show the glow in the dark effect

I was pleased to see some of the other members of the design team also used witches.

Halloween is only a month away so feels like an appropriate design.

Sunday, September 17, 2023


It is ironic that the last few months I have been plagued by memories and feelings of getting old and life passing me by.

For my September Outlawz challenge I had chosen the song Memory from Cats and had chosen an image from the sponsor SBLeigh. At first I wasn't sure how to put them together, except for the cats link.

I used Microsoft paint to colour the image, much better than my colouring efforts, but would like it to look a more realistic paint effect, so will keep playing with it.  The lamp is cut with my Cricut Joy, using Cricut design space, the moon is an image from Digitalshesaid and cut with circle die, backing paper from Baker Ross, mounted on dark blue cardstock.

"Midnight, not a sound from the pavementHas the moon lost her memory?She is smiling aloneIn the lamplight, the withered leaves collect at my feetAnd the wind begins to moan
Memory, all alone in the moonlightI can dream of the old daysLife was beautiful thenI remember the time I knew what happiness wasLet the memory live again
Every street lamp seems to beatA fatalistic warningSomeone mutters and the street lamp sputtersAnd soon it will be morning
Daylight, I must wait for the sunriseI must think of a new lifeAnd I mustn't give inWhen the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory tooAnd a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smoky daysThe stale, cold smell of morningA street lamp dies, another night is overAnother day is dawning
Touch me, it's so easy to leave meAll alone with the memoryOf my days in the sunIf you touch me, you'll understand what happiness isLook, a new day has begun"

I think that the illustration represents the song, particularly the first verse and the cats signify it is from the musical cats. The song "was written for the 1981 musical Cats, where it is sung primarily by the character Grizabella as a melancholic remembrance of her glamorous past and as a plea for acceptance" (Wikipedia).  The song was based on a poem by T.S Eliot called Rhapsody on a Windy Night

As I said at the beginning I have been feeling a lot like this myself, although I don't think I had a glamourous past!  We have to accept the old days are gone, take each day as it comes and find the beauty in each day.  There is however nothing wrong with having memories, they make us who we are.

You can listen to the song on You Tube