A site for my handmade cards, accompanied by my photos and written meanderings which are occasionally witty, often tongue-in-cheek, and rarely profound. Beginning in June 2013, you'll also see lots of NBUS, which is an acronym I coined for Never-Before-Used-Schtuff. Feel free to join in, use the acronym, and use up your NBUS too! Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

July 30, 2016

England Grand Tour, Leg VII ~ Liverpool

Greetings!

I'll bet you thought I really did fall into a food coma! Sorry, between computer problems and having too much fun, I haven't been able to get caught up.

On Tuesday morning, my friend Shirley Bee drove down to Knutsford and off we set towards Liverpool. It was another beautiful day and a fun adventure as we went down the wrong roads because the road signs were completely grown over by vegetation. Shirley was a vision of calm as she shrugged and said, "Oh, well then, let's see where this goes," and by dead-reckoning she always made her way to where she needed to be. I just sat back and watched her, amazed!

We stopped at a village called Port Sunlight which is the model city built by William Lever to house and accommodate all the workers who worked in his soap manufacturing plant. It is beautiful! What a far-thinking and philanthropic man he was. Today the town remains much as it has always been thanks to a trust that Lord Leverhulme and Lady Lever set up. If you live anywhere near, but have never visited Port Sunlight, it is worth a visit!

In Port Sunlight we met up with bloggie friend Em Louise Fairley, who is an amateur historian for this area of the UK, so it was quite interesting to hear her knowledge of Port Sunlight. She kindly gave us a DVD of over 50 Port Sunlight photos and  a book on the village. Thank you, Em, for your thoughtfulness!

Leaving the car, we took the train into Liverpool where we met up with Ros Crawford and Monika Skinner, two more bloggie friends. Here we are enjoying a delicious lunch while getting to know each other better:
Around the table, left to right: me, Shirley, Monika, Ros, and Em

After lunch we were picked up by Ros's delightful husband Ian who had endured two flat tyres trying to meet us! Ian is an expert on Liverpool history. He educated and entertained us on a whirlwind tour through the streets of Liverpool. I learned that Liverpool is SO much more than just the home of the beloved Beetles of my youth!

We started at the Liverpool Cathedral:
The inside sandstone architecture is spectacular. I sat in the chair reserved for the Queen when she visits! (Isn't the shadow on the adjoining chair so interesting?

And here are a few of the many other sights we saw around the city and around the beautiful harbour:
Yes, that's right, the bottom right is the amount of luggage I purchased for my return trip to California! Just kidding, it's a sculpture on the street in Liverpool. 

Thank you Shirley and thank you Ian and Ros for a delightful, fun, and very interesting day!

I will leave you with this fun photo twinset of the train station in Port Sunlight.
Are we coming or going?

To be continued ...

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

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July 28, 2016

England Grand Tour, Leg VI ~ Conwy, Wales!

Greetings to all who are joining my journey around England! It's wonderful to have you along!

After arriving by train without incident, I was welcomed by my dear friend Anne Redfern and her marvelous husband David. After checking me in, we enjoyed a fish and chips dinner at the hotel. We discussed various options for sight-seeing and they surprised with the option of going to Wales and seeing a castle! They didn't have to ask me twice!

Other than a few sprinkles on the way over and a few threatening clouds, it was another dry and glorious weather day. Upon arriving in Conwy, Wales, the incredible castle looms large:
Around the town you can see remnants of the castle walls, such as the photo on the right.

We walked down the quaint village street and turned towards the harbour:
Top left is an example of the signs around town which are in both Welsh and English. Top right is the cliffside overlooking the sea and the pier (which we drove to after lunch). Bottom left is the harbour with the castle in the background and bottom right are my sweet friends David and Annie.

Speaking of lunch, at Anne's (coinkidinkily) we found a quintessential tea room and I had a quintessential Sunday roast dinner, followed by what I've come to know are very generous and quintessentially delicious English desserts! Everything was divine!
Amazing chandelier, isn't it?! Oh? You couldn't tear your eyes off the food? Go ahead, run and get a nibble of something, I'll wait for you.

Oops, I nearly forgot, how about this one of me with an iconic British post box and tardis?
~~~

On the way back to Knutsford, we stopped at St. Margaret's Church which can be seen from the motorway. I love visiting old churches and graveyards, so this was another delight.
This church was built in 1856 and it only took four years! My photos don't do it justice. Annie, who has visited many more ancient churches than I have declared it to be one of the finest she's ever seen. The marble and the stained glass windows on all sides are simply gorgeous.

As we neared Knutsford, I had to take this shot out of the car window of King Knute protecting the local residents from foreigners. Fortunately, he was looking the other way so I wasn't beheaded!
I'm a bit behind so you may see another post later today or tomorrow as I try and catch up with myself! Unless I drop into a food coma!

To be continued ...

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

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Mwah!
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July 26, 2016

England Grand Tour, Leg V ~ Birmingham Hop-Off

Greetings, stamplers!

I'm back with another chapter of The Darnell Roadshow as Kathy called it! But, first, how are you? I hope you had a lovely fresh start to the new week yesterday and that it continues apace!

Wait. What? No, not apace. Apace means whooshing and the last thing we all want is to hope that weeks go apace-ing by; it already does that without any encouragement!

Birmingham

It seems like the further along I get, the heavier my suitcase and backpack are becoming. Fortunately, I have very kind friends. Kathy K. and her dear husband Steve came up to the train platform with me on Sunday morning and Steve carried my heavy suitcase on board. At Birmingham, I had to trip asked a young man if he would carry it off the train.

When I departed, my friends Ang and Kusum carried it back on and in Macclesfield, David carried it off. Phew. Next time I am bringing one outfit and washing it every night! And one pair of shoes, considering I'm mostly wearing the same pair everyday anyway!

At the Handmade Burger Co restaurant, we commandeered several small tables and had a grand time once everyone was able to find the place! Here's my "Brum" gang of friends:
Left to right around the large table:
Maggie (Marg/Margaret) Craner of Silvercrafter, Shaz of Silverwolf Cards
Ang (Mrs. Duck) of The Duck's Doodahs, Donna of Room in a Cupboard,
Anne of Copper Beech Crafts, Kusum, Ang's friend, 
Christine of Cardius Bloggus (Bishopsmate), and me

It was so amazing to meet this group of crafty friends! After four hours (not enough!), we had to say goodbye and I journeyed on to Knutsford, or Kah-nutsford as I like to say. Yesterday was another incredible day, but I'll have to save that for the next post as my friend is here to whisk me off to new and beciting places I've never seen!

I'll leave you with this iconic snack I had on route by English train:
It's my absolute favourite biscuit! (Did you see how I said that in my best British?!)

To be continued ...

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

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Mwah!
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July 23, 2016

England Tour, Legs III/IV ~ Taunton/Bristol

Greetings, my friends!

Here we are then, continuing where we left off in Taunton ...

So, barely having digested my dinner, I slept, ate breakfast (!), and then headed to lunch! What a life! Pat and Tony fetched me and after picking up Kath Buckell we headed for the Fox & Goose in Taunton. There we met up with Anne Forrest and Tony Bourke. Tony is the husband of my dear friend Karen of Serendipity Dragonfly. Sadly, Karen passed away earlier this year before we had a chance to meet, but I was so happy to meet her Tony and I know she would be ever so pleased that we met!

Here we all are:
From the left: Tony Moore, Pat Moore, me,
Kath Buckell, Anne Forrest, and Tony Bourke

And here is a close-up of me with Anne (left) and Kath:
~~~

The fun-loving Kathy K. of the Purple Princess Diaries arrived to take the carriage driver baton from Tony. We whooshed on our way ... well, not prezackly. Traffic in and around Taunton/Bristol was pretty much of a jam for reasons no one could understand, but Kathy soldiered on and she was an excellent tour director all the rest of the afternoon, pointing out highlights as we made our way.

After freshening up, I enjoyed a requested pub experience with excellent beer and grub with Kathy and her husband Steve:
  
On Saturday morning, Steve and Kathy collected me and brought me my clean laundry (great hosts or what?) and away we went on a day of marvelous sight-seeing, broken in the middle by a superb chicken salad lunch prepared by Steve. You know, because I was starving! 

As before, I will publish scenic highlights when I get home, but here are just a couple:
Me in front of the Bristol Suspension Bridge
Kathy and I, Bristol Harbour
~~~

For dinner, Kathy and I headed out to meet two other bloggie friends of mine. Please meet the delightful:
Liz Cavill of Crafty Sunflower and Ruth Doman of KangaRuth

Liz and Ruth both live in Bristol, too. We had quite a feast and not a few laughs about this little guy:
Among the dishes that were ordered was a selection by me of "whitebait." I thought it was just a white fish-and-chips-type-fish. It turns out to be wee white, erm, bait fish battered and served up in their entirety. Eyeballs and everything. No, honest, we did not glue a googly-eye on a fish finger! Well, c'mon, who could eat such a cute face? None of us!

Thank you Liz and Ruth for coming to meet me; it was a pleasure! And thank you to Kathy and Steve for all your hospitality!

I will leave you with this incredible photo I took of a home front in Bristol. The colors of the flowers here are so much more vibrant than any flowers I've seen in California!

Tomorrow I head out alone on my first train adventure. Wish me luck! I miss the Mister, but I will really miss the Mister tomorrow cuz I need his sherpa skills!

To be continued ...

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

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July 22, 2016

England Grand Tour, Legs II/III ~ Salisbury/Stonehenge/Taunton

Greetings!

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying the week!

Things are going smashingly here in the UK! Hammy and I have had an exciting adventure in the town of Salisbury and meeting up with WOYWW friends!
Salisbury
Salisbury Cathedral: the tallest spire in all of England.
Jan of Lunch Lady Jan's Fabric Frenzy, Fiona of Staring at the Sea, me,
The Julia of Stamping Ground, and Morti of Mad Ramblings

I so enjoyed my time with these young ladies! Many of you may not know that Julia was instrumental in launching my blog four and a half years ago because What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday was the first blog hop/challenge I participated in and thus began my many British friendships!

I told Julia that I would put a big MWAH over her sweet lips, but while playing around, I thought a mustache worked better. And then I thought it's only fair if we all have mustaches! 
Foxy Ladies!
~~~

From Salisbury, Pat Moore of Colourful Card Creations and her lovely hubby Tony arrived to squire me away. We drove on for-reals English backroads over to Taunton via Stonehenge. My defibrillator only went off twice.

So what's happening is I am typing this from an awesome hotel called The Castle, which was once a real castle! Unfortunately, the wifi thinks it is 1543, so I am not able to post as many photos this time as I would like. Here are the highlights/people photos:
Pat and me at Stonehenge
Graham Paul, Tony Moore, me, Linda Harris,
Ian Harris, Pat Moore, and Hazel Kinvig-Paul

It was such a fun treat to meet these dear bloggie friends and their very-long-suffering husbands!!! They were gracious even when their eyes glazed over when the conversation strayed to card stock and blingadings. They perked up when we started exchanging American/British swear slang expressions!

I will leave you with this beautiful evening photo taken in Taunton on the walk from the restaurant to the hotel:
I will still be in Taunton this morning and will meet with more bloggie friends for lunch, but I think I'd better publish this one before I add any more photos. 

To be continued ...

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

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July 19, 2016

England Grand Tour, Leg I ~ Southampton

Greetings!

I made it! Today we are broadcasting live from the beautiful banks of Southampton UK!

After a bit of a delay, I arrived safely and was soon kindly transported from London to Southampton by Chrissie. I've had a lovely three days spent at times with Chrissie, Di, and Mrs. A. I even brought lovely sunny weather with me!

Today I had lunch with several of my bloggie friends from this part of England:
 Grand Harbour Hotel
Bottom Row: Sue Steed, me, Jane WillisChrissie Stokes
I think you can tell it was a delightful, rambunctious, and very fun gathering of friends! And now I have to dash off again. I'll save more area photos and stories about losing my knickers for another day. Wait? What? Also, I seem to have a very tiny pin head, don't I? Well, that explains a lot!!

Tomorrow I'm off for Salisbury ...

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

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Mwah!
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July 14, 2016

Leavin' On a Jet Plane ...

Hi there!

I hope you are doing great!

You know how you have that one friend that starts talking about the baby nine and a half months before it's due and the one that starts talking about her upcoming vacation nine and a half months before she leaves and the one that starts talking about her wedding ... well, you get my drift. It turns out that I'm one of those friends! I apologize to those of you who are groaning and thinking, "Geez, I thought she had gone and come back by now! Just go, already!"

I am, in fact, leaving on Saturday! Finally!

But, first, when Hammy and I saw that there are a couple of challenges in Blogland perfect for celebrating Take-Off Day, we had to play along and share!
I made this QACAS card using a Clouds stencil from STAMPlorations to sponge the sun and cloud with distress inks. The NBUS jet stamp is from We R Memory Keepers and the sediment has lost its packaging info.

Challenges ~ Look the word time is in all of them!
TWOFERS We'd love you to display our bannerGrab Our Badge!
~~~

New Friends Corner

I have had new friends waiting in the wings until I had a total of five to introduce today. But when I clicked on them, I discovered there are three of them I can't find from just the name used and they didn't leave a comment that might help me find them. I hate when I can't find you.

These other two ladies have waited long enough and I'd like you to meet them before I leave, so please join me in giving a warm welcome to:

Miranda of Bolletje (Scoop) Lucky. Miranda has been blogging since the beginning of 2012 and her blog is named after her beloved dog Lucky, her companion for 15 1/2 years. Miranda is from the Netherlands and is the mother of two beautiful daughters. You will be inspired by Miranda's wide-ranging talents from her crochet and handiwork to her scrapbooking and her gorgeous cards! She also kindly offers a tab with tutorials and tips!

Zelda of Out of Africa Creations. Zelda is a Rhodesian-born South African now living in America, hence the name of her blog. She is brand-new to Blogland, having just started blogging in April of this year! Please take a minute to welcome Zelda to our wonderful and supportive community of crafters! I guarantee that you will be bowled over and inspired by the extraordinary cards Zelda makes!

Thank you for joining, ladies, and welcome to the Playhouse!

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!* The next time you hear from me, I'll be in jolly ol' England! Hopefully my travelogue won't be all kinds of boring for you, as is often the case when seeing other people's vacation photos!

Please don't feel like you need to comment along my journey. You've all been extraordinarily kind with your comments the last several months, considering I've been extraordinarily remiss in returning the flavor!

Mwah!

*Life is too short!

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July 6, 2016

Interconnectivating

Greetings!

How are you? How's the family? Did you have a great 4th?

Well, I had a fantastic 4th, 3rd, and 2nd and I want to thank everyone for the beautiful cards and emails and FB messages I received for my birthday and continue to receive every day! I have one of those pesky turn-the-calendar-and-surprise! birthdays. We all feel badly when we miss them and our cards are late, but the celebrant doesn't mind because cards keep coming in for days and days afterwards! That's a win-win!

Today I thought you might enjoy this weird little Serena Dipity interconnectivity thing that happened to bring about the featured card.

So what happened was the new challenge was posted on Less Is More. It's Colour Week and the brief is to make a card using the colors of your kitchen. My kitchen colors are black and white with a pop of blue. Hammy immediately went to work on a mood board.

I adjourned to the recliner with a highball and set about opening all the cards and packages I had saved to open on my birthday. In a very generous package I received from my friend Petra, there were these two beautiful handmade kitchen tea towels:
In black and white!

I immediately emailed Petra to thank her. I asked her if she had seen a post of mine from March 2013 which had included a picture of my black and white kitchen.
Petra replied that no, she had no idea my kitchen was black and white! Schpooky!

Of course, how could I not use the towels in some way as inspiration for my card?! I gave Hammy the rest of the day off and made this:

All I needed was an ancient piece of DSP, an ancient Hero Arts ric-rac stamp, a NBUS Tim Holtz giggle stamp, and some bling to complete the circle that had started in England, passed through South Africa, and ended up in California!

Challenges
I certainly got a giggle out of how this card was meant to be and I hope you did, too!

~~~

While the youngsters are off enjoying a bit of summer vacation on the other side of the country, we've had the pleasure of Duke-sitting for several days. 
He loves to curl up into the tiniest ball. Here he is getting cozy on his "just right" pillow bed. It's not a rubber tire, honest!

~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

To open the pop-up comment box that let's you jump to the end w/o scrolling:
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Mwah!
If you ask me a question in your comment, please remember to leave me
your email address so I can respond. Thank you!