Archive | June 2015

Hearts and Flowers

A more accurate title would be hearts and a pansy, but I didn’t think it sounded as good.null

Felt Pansy

Cut one strip of felt 2 cm x 25 cm – for the front three petals. Fold into thirds at right-angles then stitch around the edge. Pull the thread tightly, to gather the petals, and knot.


Cut a second strip 2.5 cm x 20 cm – for the back two petals. Fold in half at right-angles then stitch around the edge. Pull the thread tightly, to gather the petals, and knot.


Cut a triangle of felt 2.5 cm high and 2.5 cm across the base – for the centre. Stitch around the edge, pull the thread to gather it loosely, and knot.


Stitch the back petals to the rear of the front petals, then stitch the centre to the front. Wrap a pencil in green ribbon and fasten to the back of the pansy.


The vase was inspired by Camilla Fabbri’s Balloon Vase. I cut off the mouth of a balloon and stretch it over a small glass storage jar with the lid removed. I also poured some rice into the container to stand the pencil in and to weigh it down.




I made 3 different hearts, in various sizes, to attach to my balloons, a solid heart, a  heart-shaped frame and a lacy heart-shaped frame.  The lacy heart-shaped frame is the same as I used on my anniversary card. I cut them all on my scan’n’cut.

WordPress won’t let me add .fcm or .svg files, but these are the images I used for my hearts.

To convert to fcm, for scan’n’cut, click on the picture to open it in a new window, copy the URL and paste it here to convert to SVG. This will save to your computer, then add the SVG file to your scan’n’cut canvas.

To cut by hand, with craft knife or scissors,  click on the picture to open it in a new window, then save to your computer.

If  you prefer you can contact me for the fcm or SVG file. Please state which file(s) and format you would like. Thank you.


Heart Cakes

I made two cakes for our anniversary.

A tall sponge cake and a heart patterned swiss roll.

Tall Sponge Cake

There are four layers of sponge in this cake separated with buttercream and jam, and iced with more buttercream.


12oz (340g) self-raising flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
12oz (340g) soft margarineEJ310-246x248
12oz (340g) sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
pink food colouring

For the buttercream

12oz (340g) icing sugar
6 oz (170g) butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
pink food colouring


Heart shaped sprinkles


Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180C.
Grease 4 x 8inch/20cm cake tins, line the base with greaseproof paper and grease the paper too ( I only have 1 tin, so had to bake each layer separately).
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
Add the margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence and beat with an electric hand whisk until batter is smooth.
Split the batter equally into four bowls and added different amounts of the pink food colouring to three of the mixes.
Pour each mix into a cake tin and  bake for 30-35 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Turn out onto a cooling rack after a minute and leave to go cold

For the buttercream

Cream the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Sift in the icing sugar and slowly work it into the butter.
Add the lemon juice and beat with an electric hand whisk until light and creamy.

To assemble

Level the tops of each layer of sponge.
Place the darkest pink layer on a plate or cake board and spread a layer of the buttercream over the top.
Place the next darkest layer on top and spread with jam.
Place the last pink layer on top, and spread with buttercream before placing the plain sponge on the top.
Cover the top of the cake with a layer of buttercream using a palette knife to smooth.
Cover the top third of the cake with the buttercream.
Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the buttercream and cover the middle third of the cake.
Add more food colouring to the buttercream and cover the bottom third.
Run your palette knife all the way around the edge to smooth the surface.
Add more food colouring to the remaining buttercream (and some extra icing sugar if needed) and spoon into an icing bag.
Pipe around the edge of the top of the cake and around the bottom.
Carefully add the heart shaped sprinkles in a pattern around the sides, and on top of the cake.


Heart Patterned Swiss Roll



print at A4

size to A4 to print

4 large eggs
4oz (110g) sugar
4oz (110g) self-raising flour
red food colouring

2 tablespoons sugar



Print off or draw a heart pattern onto paper, place onto a swiss roll tin, cover with greaseproof paper and grease the paper.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220C.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a  large bowl. with an electric hand whisk until light and frothy.
Sift the flour and fold it in.
Place a third of the mixture into a separate bowl, add some red food colouring and spoon into an icing bag.
Pipe the mixture onto the greaseproof paper, in the heart shapes, then place in the freezer for 15-20 mins.
If there is any mixture left you can stir it back into the rest (it may tint it a little).
Remove the patterned and greaseproof paper along with the frozen hearts and grease the swiss roll tin.
Return the greaseproof paper and hearts to the swiss roll tin.
Pour the rest of the mixture over the hearts and level it out with a spatula.
Bake for about 10 mins, or until the sponge is golden brown  and has begun to shrink from the edges of the tin.
While the  cake is baking lay a piece of greaseproof paper (larger  than the swiss roll tin) on the kitchen surface and  sprinkle evenly with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Turn the cake out onto the sugar-dusted paper, peel the paper off the sponge and trim the edges so you have a tidy rectangle.
Spread the jam evenly onto the sponge, leaving the edges clear as the jam will spread when rolling.
Using the paper to keep the roll tight, roll the cake up and leave it with the seam side down to cool.

25 Years

“Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.”
– Mark Twain

Yesterday was my silver wedding anniversary… 25 years of marriage to a wonderful man.

The past 25 years have been a journey, we’ve had a few bumps along the way and we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve argued and made up more times than I can remember. We’ve had peaceful times, and days, sometimes weeks, filled with drama. We’ve made it through the hard times and appreciated the good times.

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
– Aristotle

I found my soul mate and my best friend when we met in October 1989. We were married in June 1990, at Lancaster Registry Office in a  quiet ceremony. There were only seven people in the room.  As well as the Registrar and his assistant, myself and Brian, there were our two witnesses,  and my youngest daughter, Zoe, who was just one-year-old. We don’t have any photos from the day, just our memories. We didn’t have much money… we didn’t have much of anything really, but we had each other, the sun was shining and we had a good day!

“Together is my favorite place to be.”

We’ve celebrated our anniversary each year, the same way as we got married – quietly and together. A card, a gift, and maybe a drink or two in the evening at home, watching tv or a film.

Our celebration yesterday wasn’t much different, but we did have a small get together with Zoe and her children. Just a few sandwiches and nibbles, some biscuits, buns and a cake.

 “Family is what happens when two people fall in love.”

For me, the celebrations started last month when I started looking for a new wedding ring. My original ring hasn’t fit for a number of years and had to be split so I could continue to wear it. I have a silver ring, as I don’t like gold, and a silver anniversary seemed an appropriate time to replace it.


I booked in for a tattoo,  which I wanted to keep secret until the day.  I’d had an idea involving a bee (B for Brian) and one of his favourite flowers which would be either a dahlia or a pansy, wasn’t sure which.

I wanted to decorate the room with balloons, and silver and red hearts, and I needed to make an anniversary card.

“One love, one heart, one destiny.”
-Bob Marley

We found some nice rings and chose one. Having decided on a pansy for the tattoo, I drew my idea and sent it to the tattooist. I designed and made the card, incorporating the same flower, and, because I felt like it, I made a felt pansy as well. The silver and red hearts were easy and quick to do with the scan’n’cut.

On Wednesday, I had my tattoo….


On Thursday, I baked a cake and on Friday I iced it. Early yesterday morning I inflated the balloons with helium, tied them to ribbons and attached some of the hearts to the ribbons. The rest of the hearts went on the window. I wrapped his gift and signed the card, ready for when Brian woke up.


We had a quiet morning. Brian was surprised by the decorations. He put the new ring on my finger. He loved the card and the tattoo.

The afternoon was livelier with Zoe and my grandchildren. We talked, we ate, we had a drink of cham…. ermm… sparkling wine, we had a great time.c

It was just the two of us again in the evening curled up on the couch and watching a film. I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day!

I can’t imagine a future without Brian… here’s hoping for another 25 years!

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart and I’ll stay there forever.”
– Winnie The Pooh


Between June 1st and 10th, I took part in the first ever #IndieRoar Challenge, during which I had some fun and more importantly met a lot of ‘new to me’ indie authors.


  • Self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store.
  • Indie authors are earning nearly 40% of the e-book dollars going to authors.
  • Self-published authors are “dominating traditionally published authors” in sci-fi/fantasy, mystery/thriller, and romance genres but — and here is the surprise — they are also taking “significant market share in all genres.”

Surprising Self-Publishing Statistics,Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2014


Day 1 – Tell us what Indie book you’re currently reading right now.

That was easy… I was reading Wings of Darkness (The Immortal Sorrows, #1) by Sherri A. Wingler.

Death comes for everyone eventually, but Izzy Maitland plans to live forever. At nearly eighteen years old, it’s not an unreasonable goal, but Fate has other plans. Izzy has a car accident. A bad one. Suddenly, strange things start happening and her ordinary life is turned upside down. She wakes up tasting blood, more often than not, and her injuries heal at an alarming rate. Her friends and family weaken, and every day, Izzy grows stronger. Strangest of all, she seems to have acquired a stalker, and he might be the Angel of Death.

The book had my undivided attention from page one! It was an enjoyable and easy read.


Day 2 – Tweet a pic of the actor/actress you would like to portray your fave Indie book character!

As my favourite character varies, depending on what I’m reading at the time, I went with the female lead from  Wings of Darkness.

I’d gone over to Gwen’s house to hang out. I glanced down at my electric purple nail polish. I’d painted my nails that night to match the highlights I’d had Gwen put in my hair the week before. It had looked really cool at the time, with the purple just dusting the tips of my long, curly, almost black hair.”

It took a fair amount of googling but eventually I found a picture of  Selena Gomez which fit the bill.


Day 3 – Tweet a memorable line for an Indie book you’ve read.

The line I chose was from SEED: Keepers of Genesis I by d b nielsen, but was too long to tweet, so It was back to google for an image to match the quote.

This line stuck with me because I almost always wish I could hide from passers-by, and I would love to have a barrier between myself and the rest of the world. I can’t do it with my hair, though, as I hate having my hair in my face and I tend to keep it short.


Day 4 – Put yourself in a picture with your favourite Indie author – alive, or dead!

Not an easy one for me, as I don’t really have a favourite Indie author… there are too many great ones to choose from!
I chose an author I’d read, who had also been taking part in the challenge…
Rose English, author of One Breath~ a heart-touching and haunting, short love story.
A bit of photo tweaking later and I had us together!


Day 5 – Predict the title of your favourite Indie author’s next book!


I stayed with the water theme of the previous titles in the series, and predicted that the  3rd book in Claudette Melanson‘s ‘The Maura DeLuca Trilogy’ following on from ‘Rising Tide’ and ‘Undertow’ could be ‘Tsunami’.25658897

Day 6 – Go out into the world and proclaim your love of Indie books and authors! Publicly tweet your passion in action!

So, I took my kindle and went off to proclaim my love! Well, actually I didn’t (but don’t tell anyone)… I didn’t have time so I found a pic taken previously on a day out with family, and my kindle.

What Was Left – a short story by Travis West, was a quick and enjoyable read.


Day 7 – Create and tweet a Wordle you created for/about your favorite Indie book/series/author!

By this time, I was reading Laura’s Locket: A Dantonville Chronicle (The Dantonville Legacy) by Tima Maria Lacoba.
I added a list of words, that stuck in my mind from the book to Wordle – edited the font, layout and colour, until I found a style that suited.

Laura’s Locket is a brilliantly descriptive short love story and a great read.
It takes place some years before Bloodgifted, Book 1 in The Dantonville Legacy series.


Day 8 – Show us your coolest,most chic, selfie!

This was not my favourite challenge!
I’m not fond of having my photo taken at the best of times and very, very rarely take a selfie, let alone post it on-line!
I did, however, find this pic of me with my daughter and my grand-daughter at Blackpool Pleasure Beach from a couple of years ago and added a ‘caption’ to the photo.


Day 9 – You scream. I scream. We all scream for…your 5 all-time favourite Indie books!

I missed the challenge for day 9 because I spent a wonderful day with my daughter, her partner and my grandchildren (after school).
The sun, unusually for the Uk, was shining bright and hot, and we were outside and unprepared. By the time I got home I looked, and felt, a lot like a boiled lobster and was too hot to do anything more than lay back on the couch and watch TV.
3 days and a gallon of moisturiser later, my shoulders are still quite sore!


Day 10 – Pen your own perfect first sentence to your “Great American Novel” and tweet it!

I think it was probably the fact that I woke with my arms, back and shoulders still burning from the previous day, and that the sun was beaming down for a second day that prompted me to begin my ‘Great American Novel’ with the line….

She woke with the sun streaming in through her bedroom window, and wondered whether the past few days had been a dream.

That first line is as far as it will ever get. I don’t have a book in me… I struggle just writing my blog!

25658897And that was the end of the 

Continue reading

Two Cards

I’ve made a couple of cards over the weekend.

An anniversary card for my husband and a father’s day card for my Dad.

Anniversary Card


For the background, I started by drawing a diagonal grid with an embossing pen on a piece of lilac card and stamping hearts where the lines crossed, then heat embossed all with fine silver embossing powder.

I designed the heart and cut two on my scan’n’cut. I snipped through one at the top so that I could link them. The cut is hidden behind the other heart.

I added two lengths of ribbon with double-sided tape, folded the ends behind the lilac card and stuck the whole thing on a piece of folded silver card.

I drew the pansy petals on parchment/vellum, coloured them with blendable pencils and cut them out.

After assembling the pansy, I added some yellow flocking powder to the centre and attached it to the ribbon with a glue dot.

The pattern for the heart is available here.


Fathers Day Card

heat embossed and scan n cutThe rushes and grasses were drawn on hammered cream card with an embossing pen and heat embossed with fine gold embossing powder, then coloured with brown and green alcohol markers.

I designed the ‘happy’, cut it on my scan’n’cut and stuck it onto the cream card. I added dragonfly and letter peel offs, coloured with brown peel-off pens, and stuck the finished panel on a folded piece of brown card.

A brief history.

When I started this blog I had loads of ideas and lots of things I wanted to say and do.
However, I have sat here time after time for the past few days and my mind has gone blank!


So I figure I’ll tell you a bit about myself, and my family….

My Dad joined the military straight from school and, following in his father footsteps, became a soldier in the Royal Engineers.

My Mum lived with her parents in ‘The Lamb and Flag’, in Ripon.

They met when my Dad was based at the camp in Ripon, and  were married in Ripon Cathedral in March ’62.


Shortly after he was transferred to Aldershot, where my sister was born in March ’63 and I followed along in Feb ’64.

That makes me an ‘Army Brat’, and  51 years young.

I have lived in many houses, in many towns, but all in the UK. I don’t remember living in Aldershot, Winterslow or Middle Wallop. The first place I vaguely remember living is Tidworth, and it was there that I went to ‘Kindergarten’, and started infants school. I was still in infant school when we moved to Radcliffe.


We moved to Brighouse when my parents left army quarters and bought their own house. I went to Junior School and then to Grammer School in Brighouse, then did my last year of senior school in Brentford. I left school in ’80, with o’ levels in maths, english, english lit., french and art. I moved back to Brighouse and started working for the Yorkshire Water Authority.

I married in ’81 and lived in Illingworth for the following 8 years, albeit in 3 different houses. My eldest daughter was born in October ’81, and I was separated from her dad just before her first birthday!! My eldest son was born in May ’83, and my divorce was finalised in ’84.


I had two more children, a son in ’87 and a daughter in ’89. I moved to Morecambe in ’89, shortly before their dad and I also went our separate ways.

I met Brian, a born and bred Lancastrian, in Morecambe in ’89, we were married in ’90 and moved to Bolton le Sands in ’91.


24 years later we are still living in the same flat and Brian and I will be celebrating our silver wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks time.