A bunch of Christmases all at once.

Happy December the 1st!

Yes  …  it scared me too and I didn’t see why I should be feeling that feeling all alone, so decided to drag you in there too.  And now that I’ve sent your brain into a spin, let’s get on with enjoying the day shall we?

So, to start with  … smile, even if you don’t feel like it.  S.M.I.L.E. …  and remember that even if the day is grey and you don’t feel like anything like happy …. just the act of smiling can trick your brain into sending out the feel good hormones which can turn your day around.  So stand up … go and stand in front of a mirror and smile your biggest cheesy smile at yourself for 30 seconds. 

Look into your eyes while you’re stood there grinning like a Cheshire cat – and although your cheeks might ache a littlekeep the smile going until either:  you crack and begin to laugh at yourself.  OR …  30 seconds is up.  Then go off and do something to get your day kicking and alive.  (And if you feel miserable at all any time today – do the smile thing again.  30 seconds remember!).  Even if it only works for half an hour, that’s half an hour of feeling better that you would have missed if you hadn’t tried the smiling trick.

I’ve been trying to post these Christmas Cards since last week!  I haven’t been tardy or lazy, I’m fighting an infection which is causing me the most dreadful pain on the right hand side of my back and partly in my tummy;  and it’s also affecting the skin on my back, making it feel as if the skin is burnt – like it’s been ironed with a hot iron, and it feels like it’s been sandpapered and should be red raw.  Just awful.  I’m now on my third (different) lot of antibiotics,  and if these latest ones don’t start making a difference within 24 hours,  I have to call my GP, and I think they may admit me to hospital so that they can plug me into the ‘powerful drug army’,  filling me up intravenously with infection fighting soldiers who will (hopefully) beat the infection to a pulp.  (I have my fingers crossed that these new antibiotics which they’ve given me, begin to work, so that I don’t have to go in, as I don’t like hospitals). 

Right, enough talking about rubbish stuff  …  let’s get these cards shared with you …

I wanted to make a few quick and easy cards for various people.  I have to send some through the post so wanted cards which will fit into an envelope and not have them damaged or bits knocked off them, so they had to be of few ‘adornments’, and flat enough to go into a regular envelope.  AND … just to add a bit of a challenge to the task, I wanted to make them from bits and pieces I’ve had left-over from projects I’ve made for Christmas cards of long ago.  So I went through my Christmas Box and by the time I’d finished I had a pile on my desk all the things which were left overs from previous Christmases.  Cor!  Did I have a lot of left overs! 

I found some card stock and bits of adornments from about 7 years ago (I think – but this is just a guess).  All of the following cards are made from those left overs.

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Frost and Ice Christmas Tree.

This first card …. is made on a background of a rich, dark blue card on which is printed a music score, with the addition of some script writing.  I embossed around the outer edges of the card background to make it look more icy and wintery cold, using the silver embossing powders by Tonic. (This icy cold doesn’t show up in the photo, but in reality it actually does look really wintery and like looking through a window which you’d scratched off the ice so that you could look through it).

I added a length of [plastic] balls on a ‘string’ around the tree (and glued it in place on the back) then added some red gems to represent baubles on the tree.

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I then mounted the decorated die cut Christmas Tree onto a square of printed velum using foam tape.  The addition of the greeting  ‘Merry Christmas’ finished the card off.

This next card was shamefully easy, but in real life looks far lovelier than in the photograph.

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The card background is actually white with a sort of shimmery silvery white patterning all over it.  If you hold it one way, then you see everything as white.  But if you hold it another way, you can clearly see the patterns on the cardstock.  It’s really beautiful, and so tactile too!

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I added tiny red gems to the die cut wreath and a die-cut bow – mounted on foam dots, to give it depth, then fixed the decorated wreath to the cardstock using foam tape, and Voila!  Card 2 done and dusted.

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Card 3 was made using the same cardstock as card 1 – the deep dark blue, with the musical score printed on it.  Two die cut snowflakes adorn this card.  One large, and one small,  along with a length of silvery balls, onto which I threaded a silver bead, and glued it in place on the length of silver balls using Tonic Glue.  Whilst that was drying I fixed the largest of the snowflakes in place …

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…  and added three little red gems to the middle of it, to give the card a nod of a third colour.

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Then added the second, smaller snowflake, which was die cut from holographic card, and twinkled like crazy.  I added a little clear gem to the middle of this snowflake, to give it an added dimension.

Finished the card off with the ‘Merry Christmas‘ greeting and this was then Card number 3 ticked off the list.

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The fourth card …  I love this background!  All those fabulous little Christmas Trees, with the great big star on the top, complete with the baubles.  Love it!

Using a rule, I drew lines with a thicker nibbed embossing pen all around the card, and using Tonic Silver embossing powder, I embossed those lines.

Then taking a square of velum, I embossed the edges of the card with a frosty looking Dtsilver Embossing Powder and then did the same thing on the edges of a die cut and embossed Christmas Tree.

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Using foam tape, I mounted the tree onto the velum, and fixed the velum and tree to the cardstock.  I wanted a silver star for the top of the tree, but sadly couldn’t find one big enough,  in the end I chose this lovely blue pearly star, which looks slightly different in colour in the photos, but it’s nearer in colour to the blues in the card background.

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And that was card 4 ticked off the list!  Now onto card 5 …

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For this final card, I chose to make another snowflake card, but this time on a different background, and with a more complicated snowflake as the main attraction.

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I’ve tried to capture the various layers of this snowflake but have failed miserably.  Because it’s cut from holographic paper and card, it twinkles madly, and I’ve tried taking photographs with the flash, without the flash, with the spotlights, without them, with and without a desk lamp and all sorts of combinations, I couldn’t find the right one to show you all the layers, so I’m afraid you’ll  just have to imagine them showing up – for they are there in that photo above!

And that, was a big tick against quick and simple card number 5.

Normal service of cards which need a box or a security guard, will be resumed as soon as possible – dependant upon how this darned infection behaves on these new drugs.  Hopefully I’ll be up and running at a more reasonable speed on Friday, when we have the regular ‘Things I’ve Learned This Week‘ post, where I share with you the stuff life has taught me during the last seven days.  (I already have a list made,  and I think you might enjoy this list …  and get a few laughs out of it at the same time).

In the meantime …  do me a great big favour and spread a little joy about your home and your neighbourhood.  Do something lovely which will make someone else smile.

How about using a piece of chalk and leaving little messages on the pavement (sidewalk) for other people to see, read, and smile about.  What would you say?  How about “Hello!” for starters?  Or: “You have a beautiful smile“,  or maybe  “Hello Beautiful!“.  Just say something you know would tickle you if you saw it chalked on the pavement.

Or .. maybe make someone’s birthday extra special …  don’t buy them flowers or chocolates, buy them something they may never have received before … balloons!  A bunch of  Helium balloons, chosen just for them, by you, and either deliver them yourself or have them delivered if you can’t get to them.  They’re a reminder of childhood, and seem to make everyone smile.  So give it a try.  (Even if it’s not their birthday … if you want to make them smile, then send them a bunch of helium balloons.  It will make their day!)

And . . .  for you;   I wish you a thoroughly tip-top Thursday!  May the day bring you smiles and at the end of your day, may you look back over the hours and realise that you’ve had a really O.K. kind of day, in a thoroughly good way.  May you have found something wonderful to smile about today.

Be careful out there … oh ….  and ….  be good to each other.

love and squidges ~

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Of Summer Memories

Hello!  Happy Wednesday.  Wednesdays are such friendly days.  Even the name:  “Wednesday”  – sounds sort of made up.  Giggly.  Silly.  Like it’s not a real name at all, but one that someone inserted into the middle of the week, just to see how gullible we really are, and how many of us would notice.

And while we’re on that subject .. did you know that the word ‘Gullible’ isn’t in the dictionary?  No .. no it’s not.  Go on… I’ll wait here while you check.  …  …  … … … … .. .. . . . . . . . ..  .  [three minutes passes and I hear footsteps coming back down the hall]  . . . . . .  So,  did you check?   Well those of you who believed me …  and either checked in the dictionary which you keep handy there in the house, or those of you who remembered that you’re on a computer and can ask Mr.Google these things, ….  aw, you GULLIBLE lot!

You do know that the rest of us are all having a giggle now, don’t you?   ahh.. but we love you.

Annnyhoo ...  it’s down to business, and todays business is crafting.

I made a quick card which I titled Summer Memories, and I did this because I’m fed up with Christmas coming all too fast.  At today’s date, (23rd Nov.2016)  we have 4 weeks and 3 days until Christmas day arrives.  FOUR WEEKS AND 3 DAYS.  ARRRRGH!!!

It feels like it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was wearing shorts to craft in.  Now I’m wearing my ultra warm jogging pants and a warm top and even, sometimes, a scarf around my neck!  What the DIVIL is going on here people?

So to do something which was totally opposite of Christmas…  I made a little card of Summer Memories.

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I began this card by giving the glass in the door some dimension by using Anita’s 3D Clear Gloss over each pane.  But then, when it was finally dry, it still didn’t feel like memories.  So I thought I’d give it a watery sort of effect – like looking into a pond or something like that, so that it wasn’t all quite so sharp and in focus.

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Once dried, I loved the effect.  It gave you a focus on all the summer bedding plants, but all the other things like the step, door, porch, bricks .. were all in the background, in a sort of soft focus.

I matt and layered the picture then fixed it to the card front, added the title ‘Summer Memories’ onto the bottom of the picture,  and then added four metal corners to draw the eye in towards the photo.  And that’s all there was to it.

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This card made me think about what my favourite memory of this summer was…  and I came to the decision that it was some poppies which grew in our front garden.  Big, bright and beautiful.  Warm almost sparkling red, and smiling.  When I pulled my car onto the drive I could see them growing against the wall, and I would sit for a moment, smiling at them.  They almost seem to talk to each other in whispers, and I imagined that they had soft, gentle little voices, and one, I imagined, had a lisp. Yes … those Poppies will be my chosen memory to share of Summer just gone.

What about you?  What memory of Summer just gone would you like to share?  Do tell.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.  Don’t get stressed or annoyed.  Just let the day flow over you and keep a pocketful of joy in your heart, which you can dip into all day long.

I hope today brings you a few smiles along the way.  Be nice to each other.

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Happy Monday, Happy Mail!

Happy, happy Monday!  A brand new day with no mistakes.  A new beginning of a new week.  A new opportunity filled with new opportunities!

Last week, on two separate days, I was the luckiest girl,  for I received some very happy mail.  The first was from a fellow WordPress Blogger, Beverly, (of  MoreInkPlease blog).  Beverly won the very first Giveaway on the Cobweborium Blog here, when the Random Number Generator picked her number to win the ‘ Just for you . . . if you’d like it.‘  <—(clickable link) which was a handmade Card, with a country theme and featured some chickens in their hen house, (and even had a feather donated by one of my own chickens!).

Beverly and I have got to know each other through blogging comments, on each others blogs, over the last couple of years, and a few weeks ago I got a message from her telling me that something had happened and that she’d write again when she could.  True to her word she wrote,  . . .  telling me that her husband had passed on.  I will admit that I read that message I don’t know how many times, trying to make sense of it.  Just a few weeks previously to this, on June 30th this year, Beverly had posted a picture of her and her husband on their wedding day,  and told everyone that they were, that day, celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

I truthfully thought that I’d read that wrong, or that I was getting mixed up and that she was talking about someone else – because, had someone asked me to guess how old Beverly was, I’d have said she was maybe somewhere between about 38/39  and 44/45.  So to hear she’d been married for 50 years was a real surprise.

When I learned of her husbands passing,  I felt the need to write to her.  Send a card.  Send an EmailSomething.  But Beverly and I were only on-line friends.  We’d never given each other our snail mail address’ – in fact, we’d never even exchanged email addresses!  Yet I loved her like she was as real to me as one of my neighbours.  She really is such an absolute darling.

I know, at the moment, she’s not able to post crafty things.  She’s still in that ‘waiting area’ ….  waiting for ….  what?  You see, that’s exactly it.  WHAT?  What next?  What now?  Where?  Why? Who?  How?  Why?  WHY?

That ‘why?’ is something that she probably won’t get an answer to.  And as for all the other questions (and there are more than I’ve written), they will, perhaps, be acknowledged eventually.  However, until the ‘numbness’ is over-come, moving forward is something which is difficult to do.

So anyway …  I was overjoyed when I realised that the Random Number Generator had picked  Beverly as the winner of the card.  Even though this was a more light-hearted ‘something’ it didn’t matter.  It was something that I knew would deliver a smile when it arrived.  But …  I didn’t want Beverly feel that she had to send something in return … so…  I was a little bit sneaky.  I didn’t put my full address on the back of the package I sent to her.  I simply put the name of our cottage, and the number, and the post code.  (a bit like the US zip code).

I guessed that this would be enough for the Customs department, but that Beverly would look at it, see that it wasn’t a ‘proper’ address, and so not feel she had to send anything.  PERFECT!

Then, last week,  a package arrived from her.  [tsk tsk Beverly!]  Beverly had trusted both the US postal system, and then the UK postal system  (I can hear people of the UK laughing up and down the land right now!),  and the address on the package that she’d sent to  me had been carefully read, de-coded and then the UK postal system had written the full address onto the package and my postman had brought it to the door with a grin.  Bless him.  I love my postman.

When I opened the parcel I couldn’t believe what was inside!  My eyes grew to the size of saucers.  I’d never received this type of Happy Mail before.  Beautiful die cuts, for me to use  – images, note cards, flowers, incredible sea related die cuts,  pretty butterflies, die cut words,  OH!  all manner of things which I can use in craftingand tucked inside was a fabulous handmade card, made by Beverly herself.  It was an amazing easel card, which could be displayed as it was, or … with the addition of a battery operated t-light,  which she’d even packed into the parcel for me,  the card would suddenly burst into life and glow!  I’ve taken photographs …..

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The beautiful card from Beverly, with all the Happy Mail items which she’d packed into the box which she’d sent to me.

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Without the flash.

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Close up, with the big over-head light on.

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photograph taken without any lights, just the glow from the battery operated t-light.

This started my week off in such a wonderful way.  I felt like the luckiest girl alive.

Then … the following day I received another happy mail!

The second Happy Mail was from another wonderful lady who is a truly fabulous Jewellery artist:  Hannah – of  The Artisan Duck  <—click

Hannah is a multi talented, amazing Artist –  continually making jewellery,  changing, and developing new ideas,  and I can see how her style is really coming out,  for her makes are incredible.

However,  as if being a Jewellery Designer and Maker wasn’t enough;  her talents don’t stop there  … she also makes beautiful handmade cards, and is a most talented artist of the pen/pencil & ink (drawing) variety.

If I ever actually set about writing the children’s book which I’ve had buzzing around my head and heart for a couple of years or so now, I’ve already told Hannah that I would love her to do the illustrations for the book, as I adore her artwork.

Hannah recently did a craft fair but because of a  ‘mix up’  . . .

(for that  ‘mix up’  read: someone put an ill equipped nincompoop in charge of the craft fair two weeks before the due date and he completely ruined the craft fair in various different ways – for ALL the crafters and artists who were there,  –   apart from,  strangely enough,   those artists who were his personal friends  . . . . enough said,  as I zip my mouth

. . .  although she sold some of her beautifully hand crafted items, she only sold a fraction of what she could have sold, so she’s told me that she’s going to fill up her Etsy Shop with items for sale.  (So if you’re interested in taking a peep, go to her blog, and find the link to her Etsy Shop – she’s currently filling it with goodies, so you might have to wait for the link to appear).

Hannah made some blog posts showing everyone what she was making, and it was in one blog post where I saw some really lovely earrings.  I wrote her a comment, and asked her if she made Brooches in the same design.  (I’m a bit of a scarf and shawl wearer, and use brooches to keep them pinned to me so that they don’t fly off in the wind.).  Hannah said that she hadn’t thought of making a matching brooch, but she’d make one for me if I’d like her to.

WOULD I LIKE HER TO MAKE ME A BROOCH???    I darn well nearly passed out with excitement!   I wrote to her and said a polite yes please, (all the time panting like a dog whose owner has bought her a new tennis ball!)  and asked her to let me know how much, and how she would like me to pay her for it (paypal, bank transfer etc).

Last week …. the brooch arrived!!  I could barely contain myself. It’s SO pretty.  SO beautiful.  And … I felt like such a peacock when I wore it for the first time a few days ago.

I’ve tried to take photographs – but you all know that photography really isn’t my forte, so these photo’s don’t show the true beauty of this magnificent brooch . . .

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The brooch was carefully crafted in Polymer and then treated to an Abalone Leaf Metal finish, which then, as the piece is heated, cracks and shows the background colour of the Polymer.

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A  close-up, to show the cracks.

It looks, in these photo’s that the brooch would be rough to the touch.  It’s not.  It’s very smooth and very tactile.  You don’t ‘feel’ the cracks.  But you do see the amazing colours – which again, I’ve tried to capture but failed.  Imagine a rain puddle on a black asphalt road,  then gentle float some motor oil onto the puddle, and see the colours which suddenly appear, like magic!  That’s what this brooch looks like.

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The brooch shown from a little further away…. so that you can get an idea of what you’d see if I was wearing it on my scarf and you were stood in front of me.

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Hannah also made the card you see in the photographs.  See … I told you she’s multi-talented!

The brooch, in real life, is far more beautiful than these photo’s show it to be.  The colours change as the light hits it in a different way or from a slightly different angle.  So as you turn or walk, the various colours show up and catch people’s eye.  It looks really rather expensive.

BIG THANK YOU  to Beverly for her box of happy mail – which is already now sitting in my craft room and I have plans to use something out of the box later this afternoon.

BIG THANK YOU to Hannah for the making of my beautiful brooch.  I’m thrilled to pieces with it Hannah, and it works so well with my scarves – be they light, floaty scarves or woollen ones.  This brooch is perfection.  Thank you.

And now I’ve talked the hind legs off a donkey … I shall turn to something which will give you a smile …

How to Shock a Time Traveller:

  • If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared,  what do you think would be the most difficult thing to explain about life today?
  • One answer: . . . .  “I possess a device in my pocket that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look 
at pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers.”

Have a truly blessed rest of your day all.

Sending squidges from my corner to yours ~

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Hand painting Christmas …

Bless me bloggers for I have sinned ...  I didn’t show you the Christmas Cards I created and sent to my neighbours last Christmas.  [hangs head in shame]. But I’m here and able to post them now.  (Wouldn’t post them earlier in the year because it felt almost obscene to post about Christmas too soon.)

Made with a little help from a kit bought for me as a gift, from:  Folk It,  which contained all the colours of paints which I needed, (and I only already owned the one colour (white)), so I was happy to have the kit just to get everything there in one place.  If you haven’t painted before, or even if you have and need a little encouragement for whatever reason, I would thoroughly recommend their kits to you.  They don’t just come with the paints and a couple of brushes, (and a dotting tool), but they come with everything you need to make at least one project, or in the case of the cards – you would normally get around 4 or 5 really good quality cards & envelopes, a little booklet which helps you, plus it comes with a CD Rom that you simply put into your computer (in that little draw which you use to hold your coffee cup  – just joking.  I don’t do that.  At least .. not for a few months now. lol), and you watch as the delightful lady on-screen as she not only tells you what to do, but demonstrates IN REAL TIME as she teaches you – so you can watch, pause, paint, and then move on (but I’d recommend watching the CD Rom all the way through first … don’t run before you can walk, eh?)

Aw anyway .. you want to look at the piccies … so without further ado ….

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Angels, stars and snowflakes.  With the addition of an ‘angel feather’

All of the cards you see here, have that central panel with the painting on it – which is a piece of mount board, already cut to size for you.  But, you only get a certain amount in the kits which will help you to make the projects in the kit itself, however, you can purchase more of these cut to size mount boards from them directly (pack of 25 for £5.00).  I recommend their ready cut mount boards because I know how difficult mount board can be to cut.  (oh boy do I know!).  So if you can buy it ready cut then it removes the struggle.

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Another Angel card, this time with an embossed background.

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Mistletoe …  PUCKER UP PETAL and brace yourself, I’m coming for a smacker!   … Good grief!! Cor  …  you can run faster than I thought you could just by looking at you!

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Ok … you might have got away that time … but . .  here I come again  ….  [flicks the light switch and everything goes black]  ..  you’re not getting away that quick this time kiddo!

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A snowflake … on a chalky blue background.  The painted snowflake was sprinkled with very fine glitter before the paint dried, so that snowflake twinkles merrily when the light catches it.

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Another snowflake … only slightly different from the last.  I think I must have had a glass of wine too many when I took this photograph because it’s drunk and leaning!  LOL

Now I did a snowflake on black... but I should have taken more care as I slightly wandered off the straight and narrow, but I kept it anyway and was so glad that I did because at the last moment I realised I’d forgotten a card for the Postman!  So I quickly mounted the black backed snowflake onto a card and ran it past Mr. Cobs who said … “It’s fine!  Stop worrying!”  … so I tucked an ‘internationtionally accepted gift card‘  (i.e. [in this case] money) into the card and sealed it just in time before the postman arrived…..

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Can you see where I wandered off the path of good and true?  Look down in the bottom left corner as you’re looking at the card right now.  It doesn’t end in the corner.  [sigh] … But, in crafting,  just as in life …  It’s the mistakes we make which teach us the things we need to learn.  …  Because this was for the Postman, I stamped a postal franking image on the envelope. lol.

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To mix it up a bit, I turned the mount boards so that I was painting on the diamond rather than the square and this time it was a wreath.  Once the painting was dry I added a little satin bow in a deep vintage colour red.  (The berries are paint … not stickles).

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And we end where we began … on a wreath, this time a thicker, fuller wreath, mounted on a square of mirror card in deep blue, which I punch around the edges of with a little hand punch.

Better late than never  …  those were the Christmas cards I posted to my neighbours last Christmas.  What am I going to make for them this Christmas?  Well,  right now I haven’t got the foggiest notion, but as soon as I’ve decide and have made some, I’ll share them with you!.

Happy Monday all.  The start of an all new, shiny, fresh out of the box, week.  Enjoy it.  Make a memory happen today.  One that your mind reminds you to remember.  Remember *that* moment.  A moment in time is just a moment in time … unless you remember it.  And then, it becomes a very special moment.  A magical moment.  A memory.

So … when you go to bed at the end of today ... just as you lay down to go to sleep … inside your head, remember something which happened during the day which either made you smile, laugh, or even something which was just an enjoyable moment in time.  A few seconds even.  Then remember what it was that made that moment a memory for you.  What special thing was it?   Fix that memory to the wall of your brain.  Put it up there on a memory post it note and pin it there with a pin, to make sure that it doesn’t fall down.  Now look around at all the other post it notes inside your head.  All your memories or moments.  Coooo … there are a lot.  Have a look at them as you drift off into sleep.

Sending big squidges from my corner to yours where you’re sitting right now.

Have a blessed day, my friend

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