Thursday, 26 February 2009


Yippee my mobile for Elsie Marley's swap is finished on time! It will be on it's way to America tomorrow, won't reveal who the recipient is yet. Hopefully it will still be a surprise unless you are a clever clogs and have worked it out!

The work is aptly titled Tweet as it has got a little birdie on it and 'cos I've now signed up on Twitter. Why I still don't know but it is strangely addictive.  Please do follow me and as always comments and replies greatly appreciated!

For more pictures of mobiles in the swap please click here

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Dutch Imports

Here are some things I brought back from Holland. Some jolly fairy cake cases. Couldn't choose between the turquoise (my favourite colour) or these red ones but I thought these reminded me more of home and would fit my red, white and blue kitchen better. I should have bought both colours but I am hoping to go back again in the summer. 
Then there's my late great aunt Pie's jelly mould. Yep that really is an old Dutch name, fitting for the object but it is actually pronounced Pee. I know this doesn't make it any better (LOL as I am writing this). 
Apart from that I brought back Dutch peanut butter (even the Irish agree it's the best!), many varieties of crisps (even though I am far from a crisps fan but these Dutch ones are delicious) and Dutch apple pie. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Wanted: Pompom ideas

To kill a few dull hours on our trip in Holland I made a basket full of pompoms. Some have disappeared into and onto monkeys' belongings but there are still a fair few lying around. I found them strangely addictive as it was a good way of using up all the left over yarn, some of which had been lying around for a good 30 years. I have no idea though what to do with them. Any ideas gratefully appreciated!

I had a pretty productive day on the home front (more about that in the next few days hopefully). This is what the monkeys' room looked like yesterday :

This afternoon it looked like this:

They were very happy with their new storage cabinet and have promised me to tidy everything away each night. The House Fairy will be thrilled.... Please do sprinkle some fairy dust on my bedside table too ...

Monday, 23 February 2009

Hardware, Hard work

Remember this school furniture from the 50's I bought the other day? Well I am still looking for chairs to go with the desk but I got busy with the shoe locker today. I visited my local hardware store this morning (always a little challenging for me), borrowed a sander (how fabulous an invention is that!) and put one coat of paint on it. 
The paint (Jasmine white of course!) was rather old and a little sticky but it will do for the moment. At some point in the future I will add another layer and make it look slick. 
I could of course wait for that fit painter-decorator to help me but I think he is too busy promoting his latest single.
Anyway the monkeys were pretty impressed and can't wait to put their toys in it. 

Friday, 20 February 2009

Busy Betsy's happy to be back home

It had been a very long time since I'd been to my home town and it was nice to make a visit again. We took the ferry to Holland and it was a super adventure. The monkeys loved the bands, bingo, karaoke, films and food and I thought it was super relaxed, much easier than lugging all your belongings onto a plane, waiting forever to get your things back, car rental and so on. You get the picture, right? 

Anyway, we had a good time, brought back lots of goodies (more about that once I've unpacked) and got a lot of inspiration for things to make. Sadly we did not go and sit down in the dunes, hopefully in the summer... Best of all though, we are back home in sunny Manchester! I've put my feet up, poured myself a nice glass of Merlot and am going to watch a movie. Have a nice weekend!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Mini Masters Art Gallery

For the next week I will disappear from blog land as I will not have internet access, a strange thought. Anyway it will be a good time to sort out my stacks of fabrics and craft materials. The monkeys will have a week of school so we will have plenty of fun. 

Yesterday I had the Mini Masters coming for a lovely craft session in which we created art galleries from shoe boxes. They all thought it was a lovely project and the little and big ones got busy with wall papers, frames, sculptures and furniture, creating their own little master pieces along the way. As always I thought they made some fabulous works. 

That's it from me for a bit. Happy Valentine's day to you all!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Mobile Swap 2009

I am so excited because today I started on the mobile for Elsie Marley's swap. I was excited from the moment I signed up although I did have to think hard for a few days after I received the details of my swap partner. Her favourite colours are purple, yellow, black and white. 
Now some of you may know or remember that purple is really not my favourite colour (see my blog entry 11 Sept 2008) nor is yellow and I never craft with black. Purple has certainly grown on me (again) in the last 6 months and yellow, even though I never wear anything yellow or use it in projects, always cheers me up (which is a good thing bearing in mind I need to do a Rainbow Square in yellow). I do find it hard to make a craft project in black even though I do wear black clothes. 
But as I went through my textiles and my ribbons and beads boxes I got very excited when I found these bits and pieces : 

 I have found the perfect wire construction that I am covering now and have come up with a number of objects to hang on the mobile (I won't show the drawing, it would give the whole thing away). I couldn't resist taking pictures of the first attempt though :

I probably will be crafting until the wee hours as I am really into my little project!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Luck again for Busy Betsy

I am sure I have mentioned this before but a lot of thing have come my way these past few months and I do feel like a lucky girl indeed. I will come back to my lucky strike today again in a bit but first wanted to tell you all about Babies in the City
This fabulous new guide lists activities, restaurants, parks, day trips, etc. for families with children under five in and around Manchester. 
The guide is published by Jo Maxwell, who like me came up North about 5 years ago, and the listings have been tried and tested by mums. Now the best bit for me is that one of the mums who attends my Mini Masters arts and crafts club has done a lovely write up about me and the classes in this guide (thank you Andrea!). Please do go out and buy a copy of this guide!

If that wasn't lucky then this certainly is :

The picture may not be entirely clear but this is a double children's school desk and shoe locker, apparently from the '50's, from a school in Manchester. On my way to the Save the Children store this morning I saw these items being unloaded and immediately liked them. However I did not know how to get them to my house. A quick witted mum then kindly asked the couple who donated the items if they could drop them off around the corner (which they did) and then gave me money for the items as I didn't have any money on me, how kind is that! Thank you Maxine! See, that is why I never want to leave Manchester. I have never met people that are kinder and more helpful than here!

Back home I had a massive clear out (yep that is still ongoing), created more space in the bedroom (what for?) and crafted some brooches. 

Let's see if tomorrow is a lucky day again...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

We need to eat more tomato ketchup!

There are apparently many health benefits to eating tomato ketchup, especially for men but that is not the reason we need to eat more in our household. I'd like to think I am a bit of a health freak at times but the reason is actually a 'crafty' one. 

For the first time in a very long time I ventured out to the Embroiderers' Guild Manchester for the day. We had wonderful playtime this morning. Judith ran a workshop on Artists Trading Cards (ATCs). ATCs aren't really my thing but I had a lot of fun transforming tomato ketchup tubes into lovely little panels. I played a lot with alcoholic paints, embossing powders and a heat gun and stitched a few bits of felt and beads on some of them. I'd love to do more of the heat gun work at home. 
One of them went quite wrong initially. What I thought was fuchsia embossing powder turned out to be just some glitter and although it stuck a little to the metal as soon as it was cold it could be rubbed off quite easily. I then applied some acrylic paint as I thought that would mix well with the glitter but then I had the mad idea to sprinkle embossing powder on top thinking it would melt with the heat gun. I didn't think about the acrylic paint. The effect was not what I had wanted but nonetheless quite interesting.

We also learned about playing around with paper and Bondaweb ;

In the afternoon there was a talk by Joan Archer. A wonderful inspirational former City and Guilds tutor. She had brought along quite a number of historic textiles from around the world. We had the opportunity to touch and photograph them all. 

Some of my favourites were:

A Hungarian blouse in my favourite red, white and blue 

A leather jerkin from Eastern Europe. This wouldn't look out of place with a white T-shirt, jeans and some cool boots. It would certainly keep you warm!

A Chinese baby sling: 

At the end of the day I was given a little pack to make up a yellow square for a rainbow display. Not my favourite colour, I will have to have a long think about that one!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Bindi's, mehndi's, buttons and beads

I probably should have added glasses to the above list as choosing new glasses and sunglasses was a big part of my day too. 

Anyway for most part I was working on my bead and button jewellery. I made a fair amount of bead ball necklaces and candy bracelets. 

And I have just come back from a fab Innerglo Bollywood night at the fabulous Circle Club in town. I am far too tired to write an can't think straight so I will leave you all with a slightly blurred picture of my nice Mehndi hand. Love the fact that it will stay for about a week!
Sabiha's studio did some fantastic treatments, I can't wait to book myself in for a full day! I'll be a new person!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The future is Orange

Sometimes, when things aren't all going to plan, I need a morale boost. Hence a glance at the start of my Dutch "triptych". 

I framed this one last week :

This was the first one I did in July:

Surely the third one has got to read : "The future is Orange"!

Sleep well!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow....

What a beautiful and magical sight it was this morning when we opened the bedroom curtains! Snow! I couldn't stop watching it and I don't think I have seen it coming down like this since I was little (and really that is a few years ago). 

I thought it was so peaceful that I decided to put my laptop on the table and finally finish my dad's memoirs whilst gazing out of the window. 

My daddy is the little boy in the middle, so cute. Unfortunately you can't see the snow coming down in this next photo but this is the window I was looking out of all day... I really do hope that the snow will stay for a few days.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Kung Hei Fat Snow

It was such a wonderful sunny morning and the monkeys were really excited about the Chinese New Year celebrations in town. We've been a couple of times and last year was a lovely sunny day too, we were strolling about eating our noodles. So after lunch we went into town, just in time to see the dragon appearing at the far end of the road and we stood in the middle right at the front. Girl monkey was particularly excited; I had to lift boy monkey on my shoulders and he was at the right height to come eye to eye with the dragon's face, shame I couldn't see the expression on my little boy's face! It was such a lovely afternoon but bizarrely at the end of the procession it started to snow. A truly beautiful and magical sight, all the Chinese lanterns and balloons everywhere with all this snow coming down. I sincerely regretted not taking my camera with me.

What else did we do these last few days? Sadly I can't boast about any progress with upholstery or websites. Yesterday we went to the PTA's race night. I am not in favour of betting or gambling of any kind usually but am thrilled to say that boy monkey's horse won one of the races. This started of girl monkey's requests for money to place numerous bets (no luck unfortunately for her so I promised to split the money that her brother won which upset her even more because she thought I was going to tear the money in half making it useless!)

And then there were the lovely toddlers in art class. This week we talked about Picasso. We had some wonderful examples of funny faces and cubist art and they all got really in to it. Some used newspaper clippings to create fabulous compositions. I do hope they will continue doing this when they go to school. These little ones are so creative.  

I've got a week full of meetings but hope to post some crafty stuff!