Saturday, 18 January 2014

Dad’s Album–A Wee Sporran

I’ve been working on the album I’m making about my dad’s life. Sorting through the box of papers I found quite a bit about his mother’s side of the family, so I have decided to extend the “Ancestors” page to cover my Scottish ancestry as well. Being primarily about my grandmother, this page has a slightly more feminine appearance than the rest of the album, with a distinctly Scottish flavour.

I have now printed out the scans of the various artefacts from the other day, ready to be cut out and used on the project.

12 Tartan and Scanned Objects

I also printed out a couple of sheets of tartan. I chose the ancient hunting tartan of Clan Fraser rather than the dress tartan, as it is much softer and more subtle in colouring – the hunting tartans, to my mind, are more attractive. My grandmother was from this clan, whose area covered the north eastern Highlands, including the Aberdeen area. She had a very distinctive accent found nowhere else but her own small area on the River Spey.

13 Tartan Images

This is the underside of the large envelope flap, now painted black. If you look carefully you can see the small circle of card which I glued over the brad back.

14 Inside of Flap Painted

The brad and thread fastening on the front. For the envelope flap I have chosen a Tim Holtz sheet from his paper stack “Lost and Found,” showing vintage medicine labels.

15 Envelope Brad and Thread Closure

I used the orange ultra-sticky double-sided tape to stick the envelope front down.

16 Inside of Envelope with DS Tape

I  bought several rolls of this from a craft show, and discovered that left stacked up, they all stuck together, and I had an awful job separating them, but managed eventually by inserting the blade of a knife between the rolls and gently levering them apart. This stuff is seriously sticky! I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this problem, but I decided that to prevent it happening again, I needed to keep the rolls separate, and I did this with pieces of waxed paper – I save this whenever I can as it has loads of uses, from postage stamp sheets, the backing of self-adhesive labels, etc. etc.

Orange DS Tape with Waxed Paper

Before sticking the envelope front down, I took two more sheets from Tim Holtz’s “Lost and Found” to create a couple of fold-out sheets for photos, journaling and embellishing. I cut them the exact size of the page minus the binding, adding half an inch for the hinge. I scored along this line and stuck the two pages together with my ATG, and then inserted them underneath the envelope front, sticking them down onto the envelope back, also using the ultra-sticky double-sided tape.

Once this was done, I was able to stick down the envelope front, trapping the half-inch hinge of the pages between the envelope front and back.

17 Secondary Pages in Place

Here are the pages opened, revealing the plain backs of the Lost and Found sheets, both of which have sewing themes on them. My grandmother was a keen needlewoman, and when we cleared her house after her death, I inherited a huge quantity of sewing threads and equipment, and even after many years, I am still using much of it.

18 Secondary Pages Open

This is what the pages look like closed. You can see the black binding piece on the right. On the back of this whole piece is the first “Ancestors” page which concentrates on my grandfather’s side of the family.

19 Secondary Pages Closed

I trimmed the tartan pieces to the sizes I wanted, and pleated one by scoring alternately at 1 inch and 1/2 inch, using my Scor-Pal score board.

20 Pleating the Tartan

I made a series of parallel cuts from the edge of the other piece to a distance of half an inch, each 1/16 inch apart, and then ruffled these with my finger to separate them, and create the illusion of the fringe on the apron of a kilt.

Laid over the pleated piece, here is a mock-up of the kilt, with the template I drew of a sporran.

22 Kilt Mock-Up with Sporran Template

I took a small piece of scrap card and embossed it, using the Tim Holtz Texture Fade embossing folder “Cracked.” I cut the shape of the top of the sporran from this, so that the lines radiated outwards. I painted the card with black acrylic paint, and when dry, I dry-brushed it with silver acrylic paint, as per Lindsay the Frugal Crafter’s recent tutorial on faux metal – a brilliant tutorial – so simple yet so effective, with a hundred uses.

23 Sporran Top

I then took a piece of heavy scrap cardstock and created a piece of faux leather from it, from the instructions which were part of Andy Skinner’s online course “Timeworn Techniques,” which I downloaded before we moved house. The results are quite astonishing – not only does it look like real old leather, but it feels like it too! I used the same Tim Holtz embossing folder for this as I used for the sporran top, to give a nice crumpled distressed look.

24 Faux Leather for Sporran

Here is a mock-up of the wee sporran. I created three tassels from silver thread that I wrapped around a narrow piece of scrap card to get the length. The tops of the tassels were made from triangles of craft metal rolled around a cocktail stick, and the thread on the top of each tassel was threaded through the top of this and passed through a hole in the faux leather, secured with a knot on the back, and secured by glueing another piece of cardstock on the back of the sporran piece and trimming it close to the edge. The undersides of the metal tubes were stuck down onto the surface of the faux leather with Scotch quick-dry adhesive to keep the tassels in place on the surface.

25 Sporran

I pierced a line of holes around the edge of the sporran using my Tim Holtz ruler which has holes at 1/16 in intervals along its length, with the aid of a piercing tool, and then ran a line of backstitch through these holes with waxed carpet thread, securing the ends on the back as I did for the tassels.

The “metal” top of the sporran is just laid in place on the above photo. I have glued it onto several thicknesses of cardstock to make it nice and thick, and it will be attached to a tag which will go inside the sporran, and be removed with the “clasp” that I shall form on top of the faux metal piece. The tag will have a photo and/or journaling on it. The sporran will be glued to the kilt apron and chains will pass from the top on each side, to the edges of the kilt pieces.

Watch this space for the continuation of this Scottish themed page and the completion of the kilt and wee sporran.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar, which will take you to our hostess Julia’s blog, where all will be explained.


What’s on my workdesk this Wednesday? Rather a mess! Just when I think I am getting my new ARTHaven tidied up, I make it all messy again. This week I have again been working on the album about my dad’s life. This had to be put on the back burner for a few months while we moved house, and now that we are settled, it was the first project I wanted to take up again, especially in view of my dad’s recent death. This album will be in memory of him and will contain a lot of things he did and enjoyed during his long life.

The large banana box contained a lot of material I rescued when we sold my parents’ house in the spring. It’s all been emptied out so that I could sort and scan it. There are piles of stuff everywhere, and around my desk in the office, too. The main work area looks remarkably tidy with just the page I am currently working on.

I have just got a new computer and my time is very much taken up with that at the moment – learning Mac after a computing lifetime of Windoze… I’ve got a lot invested in the latter, and am delighted to be able to continue using my favourite programs with the addition of an app called Parallels for Mac, which integrates the two systems as much as possible. I am also trying to sort and tidy my office and there’s a huge backlog of work in there, which would progress a lot faster if I could actually discipline myself to do some filing for starters! I hate mess and clutter but seem to attract it like the plague.

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Working on Dad’s Album Again

After a long break while we moved house, I have at last started working again on the album about my dad’s life. All I had done before was the first page, on his ancestry. I have a lot of material about his father’s side of the family, but since sorting through all his stuff, I have found further material relating to his mother, my Scottish grandmother, so I have decided to do a second ancestry page, this time with a slightly more feminine flavour, to reflect this remarkable lady.

The first step was to cut a piece of card to create a large pocket on the page. I used a piece from one of the Tim Holtz paper stacks, using the back of a piece whose front I didn’t like. I cut a template from a piece of scrap paper, and you can see that the curve at the bottom, marked with a cross, was rejected, in favour of the one at the top.

01 Template for Curved Opening

After cutting the curve, I distressed the edges of the piece with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

02 Inking the Curved Opening

I then cut a piece from another Tim Holtz sheet (sorry, can’t tell you exactly which stacks these come from because the sheets are all mixed up in the box, but I know I’ve got Lost and Found, and Crowded Attic, and I think most of them are from the former). This piece was for the flap to cover the opening in the pocket.

03 Inking the Flap Piece

In this picture, I have applied Scotch Quick Dry adhesive to the back of the strip – too much glue, I’m afraid, and it all oozed out making rather a mess!!

04 Glueing the Flap Piece

After wiping up the excess, I ran my brayer over it to make sure it was firmly stuck down.

05 Attaching the Flap Piece

I cut the flap in a curve, and ran my Black Soot Distress Ink pad along the cut edge.

06 The Flap Cut to a Curve

To make the closure, I am using two brads and a length of thread. However, these brads are hollow metal ones and I thought the thread might catch, or wear on the metal edges, so I filled the brads from behind with Polyfilla One Fill (or joint compound for my US readers).

07 Filling the Backs of the Brads

Selecting the thread for the closure. I chose a natural coloured linen thread which I waxed by running it through a lump of beeswax. This strengthens the thread and smooths the surface.

08 Waxed Thread for the Closure

I made a hole for each brad, and before placing the brad in the flap, I threaded the linen thread through and tied a knot, and then fastened it, and the back of the brad, with Scotch Quick Dry adhesive.

I punched two small circles from scrap card and glued these down over the backs of the brads.

09 Punching Circles to Cover Brad Backs

I gathered up a few vintage spools and an old tobacco tin I found amongst Dad’s things and photographed them. Once printed, these will be cut out, embossed and applied as embellishments.

10 Vintage Objects for Printing and Cutting

This thimble will receive similar treatment.

11 Thimble for Printing and Cutting

Finally for today, I painted the inside of the flap with black acrylic paint which covers up the circle of card over the back of the brad and the knot in the thread.

12 Inside of Flap Painted

I have also been working on scanning various papers and documents, and also some 3-D items – these will be printed out and used to embellish the album.

I have enjoyed beginning work on this project again. I have so much material that it is going to end up as a very thick book indeed, and will probably take me years to complete at this rate!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

My New Buggy


Me on Buggy

Shortly after the move to our new house, my hubby went up to the Midlands to collect my buggy. My uncle, who died two years ago, acquired this buggy to enable him to get out and about when he got Parkinson’s Disease, but eventually he became house-bound, and then bedridden, and the buggy remained in the garage. My aunt was more than happy for me to have it as she had no use for it, as long as we arranged for its removal.

After sitting idle for so long, the batteries were as dead as a doornail. Our local battery centre tried to revive them for us, but without success, so we had to buy new ones. They were expensive, but considering we got the buggy for nothing, we feel it was a very good price to pay!

Once my hubby’s Man Cave was completed, we had somewhere to keep it, and he could go and collect it for me. There is a power point for its charger by the electric door to the Man Cave, and it’s easy for me to drive it out, and go to the shops and out and about.

My hubby found an excellent bag on Ebay, that straps around the back of the seat, to put shopping and things in. Each side of the main bag is a tall narrow bag for my crutches, and it has reflective strips on it. There is a rather pathetic little basket on the front that could probably be improved upon, but it will do for now. I have also got a drink holder from Ebay which my hubby put on for me, and a license holder for when I get the road tax disc I shall need when I am super-confident and want to go on the road, at which time I will be permitted to flip the magic switch and up the maximum speed from 4 mph (fastest allowed for pavement use) to a blistering 8 mph!

I haven’t used it very much lately, mostly because the weather has been so atrocious, and also we have been very busy, and then very exhausted, after my dad’s death and organising the funeral. To start with, I was terrified of it and was sure I was either going to crash it, or fall off, or drive into someone’s car or worse… but the more times I use it, the more confident I am becoming. I am beginning to enjoy it, rather than having kittens every time I go out!

I didn’t post about it earlier because I wanted my hubby to take a photo of me on it, and today was the first opportunity we had! This afternoon he suggested that we went for a “walk” – he would do the walking and I’d drive the buggy. I suggested we went down to our nearest shopping centre of any size – we have a little street of local shops, but for the bank etc., I would need to go further afield. My hubby originally thought it would be too far for me, and I said I wanted to try it the first time with him beside me, in case I needed rescuing!!

It took us about 40 minutes to get there, and I reckon I could do it in much less time once I’m more confident and can go faster, and when I know the route so well that I don’t have to keep stopping to check! We went down one way, and returned another way, which was much less satisfactory because the pavements weren’t nearly as suitable – some were too narrow, necessitating my having to drive on the road. You have to try it out for yourself to see what is best, and although my hubby said the second route was shorter, when you are in the car, you are not aware of any buggy-related hazards, so I shall stick to the safer, longer route.

The only trouble with today’s outing was that it was so cold!! By the time we got back, my hands were freezing. The trouble is, since we moved, one of the things that I can’t immediately find is the bag of scarves, hats and gloves!

I am very impressed indeed that my beautiful buggy managed the whole trip, there and back, with no problem at all, and it didn’t even make a dent in the full battery charge that I set out with. It was also extremely comfortable and I didn’t feel any discomfort, sitting in it for so long.

I love the compactness of my gorgeous little personal car and the independence it gives me!

When the spring weather comes, I plan to go down one morning and do some shopping, have lunch and then return, making a day of it. There is a lovely little pedestrianised area with lots of characterful shops and a pleasant old-fashioned atmosphere. There are lots of little cafes with tables for eating outside. I even found a whole food shop where I can buy seeds for my bread making!

My hubby, who has a bus pass, is often out and about on the local bus these days – he has joined the local library and is always popping into town. He has discovered that a bus runs from near our local shops, to this shopping centre and beyond – stopping on its circuit at various places I would be interested in visiting. Now I am 60 I am also eligible for a bus pass, and as the local buses are wheelchair accessible, I could manage, but I couldn’t take the buggy. I need to see if I can make it on my own to and from the bus stop with the wheelchair – I think it may be too far. If I can manage it, the world will be my oyster, and I’ll be more independent than I’ve ever been since becoming disabled! My hubby says he will come with me to see how I get on, and push me home if I run out of steam!

Everything about our new home is working out so well. It’s a lovely neighbourhood – OK, a lot more built-up than we’ve been used to, but everything is so close at hand, with easy access to the shops etc. Having lived in the house for over three months now (I cannot believe it’s been that long! Time absolutely flies…) I am enjoying the renovations and adaptations to the full, and loving the fact that I can now do so much more for myself, without having to bother my hubby all the time. He has more pressures on his time these days, with all the extra driving he has to do now, and a lot of running around after Mum, and I want to try and guard what time he does have for himself, so that he can go off metal detecting, or boating with his buddies, without having me to worry about! The house is so easy to live in, and we love its somewhat quirky character, and the fact that so many original features are still present. Andy and his pals certainly did a most sympathetic restoration for us. I still can’t get over just how much we did last year, and how radically our circumstances have changed during that time. I just wish Dad were alive to see it all.

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