Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Farewell, Silver Dragon.....

Hi Everyone,

Just as I was closing down last night I came across a message from a mutual friend with the very sad news that our Daisy Trail Friend, Marian (Silver Dragon) had died on Sunday evening.

I never actally got around to meeting Marian. She lived up in the north east, not far from Durham, the photo of which often appreared in her pages, as you can see from one of the ones she made using my Word Art Frame tutorial. The other pages she made were of her beloved feline companion, Phoebe, and Scotland, which she also loved.

Our friendship isn't really of that long-standing, but very quickly became a firm one. We started "chatting" when I asked her about a swirl technique she had used on one of her pages - only back in February of this year. 

She noted that I had put my tagline up as this being my half-century year. "I see you are at your half century. I will reach my seven score year and ten in October, can't wait to put that as my punch line."

I replied, "I hope you mean you reach your 3 score year and ten, in October, otherwise you are doing very well for 149."

To which the response was, "Whoops, put that down to senility May look 149 at times feel about 20 and sometimes act like 5 year old."

Alas, she was never able to get around to putting that tagline up.

Despite the 20 years age difference we shared a lot of interests; predominantly a love for our cats; our love of the north country; and we both liked fantasy books, especially the works of Anne McCaffrey (Dragons of Pern series) and Mercedes Lackey; and of course the crafting. Marian loved any pages that had dragons or unicorns on them.

We "chatted" very regularly, almost every week, keeping each other updated with the goings-on in our lives; the antics of our kitties and sharing tips and hints about the use of Craft Artist. Marian loved to have a go at the challenges on Daisy Trail. When my birthday did arrive I was totally surprised and very appreciative of the page she made for me.

As she said to me, she hoped it reminded me of Pern and the fire lizards.

Marian was very supportive and always commented on my pages (and lots of others too) and encouraged me to produce my Word Art frame tutorials. She was also extremely caring when our Selene died. She was a truly lovely lady.

She last wrote to me  on the 13th July as we sorted out a font download problem between us and she seemed fine then - she was in the process of making a hands-on steampunk card for a friend. Marian's last scrap page was posted on the 19th July. It was only after I next wrote to her on the 25th apologizing for not getting back sooner when I noticed she had changed her tagline to read that she was ill and unable to comment.

After a couple of weeks without hearing from her I became concerned, along with another friend. We were able to contact someone who knew Marian and learned that she had been taken into hospital and was having tests done. 

The last I heard was that Marian was doing a little better and hoped to be home soon to await further test results. I sent her a Get Well card that should have got there last weekend. I do so hope it managed to get to her in hospital so she knew I was thinking about her!

And then, last night, such sad news......

With much regret and great sorrow I pass my condolences and sympathy on to Marian's family and any others who knew her and hope that Phoebe doesn't pine.

Blessings, Marian, Silver Dragon, as you soar free, making the Great Journey. Thank you for your friendship. It meant a lot to me. You are very missed.

And whenever I see, or read, a Dragons of Pern novel, I will remember you with affection. 

Credits - BG - www.hubble.org; coloured dragon http://getfreeimages.tripod.com/; candle is a Flickr image (spcbrass - CC by 2.0); silver dragon - DT Myths and Legends kit; Phoebe and Durham Cathedral from Marian's profile.



Sunday, 28 August 2011

"Just Pink" - the September Faerie-Nuf Challenge

Hi Everyone,

Minky of Minky Things has set us another little challenge with a delightful pink mini-kit. You can go and read about the challenge here and download the mini-kit from here.

The idea is to make up a layout, card, quick-page or whatever with this kit, and before the 17th September, send a copy (and a link if it's on your blog) to Minky and in return you will receive a lovely looking kit called "Just Pink".

The kit that I received from the last challenge was fantastic - all I need is a bit of spare time to play around with it and come up with some pages. Soon, perhaps, she promises herself. 

This is what I have come up with this time.

Made with Craft Artist, the lower one was actually my first attempt, using the floral sheaf embellishment provided in the kit four times to make the central frame, and extracting the bow for the corner embellishments. I used the same floral sheaf to make a brush, which I used around the edges.

When I added the word art sentiment, hearts came to mind, so I copied the existing page and then removed the frame, added a heart quickshape, edged with the same brush. I popped a slightly larger bow to the bottom of the heart. 

Using "Convert to Curves" in the Tools bar I found I could split the spangly scatter and spotted the component parts around randomly.

Personally I prefer the heart one - it is slightly more delicate. The colours in this little kit are beautiful and there are seven more elements that I didn't get to use.

If you like fairies and fantasy, Minky has some lovely kits. There is still plenty of time to have a go at her little challenge. I'd love to see what others come up with.



Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bosworth - Loyaulte me Lie

Hi Everyone,

Today is the 22nd August, the 526th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet King of England, Richard III, lost his life through treachery of the basest kind.

I'll not go too deeply into the ins and outs of the medieval politics of the times - suffice it to say that I am a loyal Ricardian since the age of 11, and a member of the Richard III Society since about age 14. 

If you want to read more about my interest in this most controversial of English kings you can read a blog post of mine from 2009 -The Last Plantagenet - In Memory of Richard III - Battle of Bosworth 22nd August 1485.

I did have a bit of fun this evening creating a page to commemorate the battle using photos I have taken on previous visits to the re-enactments held on the weekend nearest the date.

Created in Serif Craft Artist, the brush edge is made from images of my Yorkist White Rose lapel pin, and my pewter White Boar livery badge. The portrait of Richard and the image of his Royal Arms are from Wikipedia. The background, what little can be seen of it, is the Yorkist colours of murrey and blue. 



Sunday, 7 August 2011

The 2nd Birthday Faerie-Nuff Challenge

Hi Everyone,

Minky of Minky Things has set another little challenge to produce a card, tag, QP or layout before the 17th August with a little mini-kit provided on her blog.

For those that do she has a lovely sounding gift-bag of 110 elements and 37 papers.

So here is my little play around with this sweet little mini-kit. I added extra fungi, having extracted them from the original BG paper, to allow me to build up some additional depth, and brought in a frog from another of Minky's kits - Magical Mix. I changed the colour of the sparkles the faerie holds in her hands to match the colour of her wings and used the same effect upon the text.

I had my first slight problem having moved over to Win 7 in that the brush effects in my newly re-installed Craft Artist didn't want to play ball, but a Ctrl start-up soon put things right - phew!

There is still time for you to pay Minky a visit and see what you can come up with. Why not have a go!



Saturday, 6 August 2011

XP to Win 7, and Hoorah, Harley has finally found a home!

Hi Everyone,

I think I'm finally back up and running having moved everything (well, actually  I'm sure I've missed some things.... ) over from Win XP to Win 7 during this last week. 

Still, all the important programmes and files/folders are in situ, and hopefully all working the way they should. I'll doubtless find some things here and there that I will need to re-download, but I'm happy to do that on an ad hoc basis.

It took 5 days to do it - I didn't realise I had so much on there. Still it has been an opportunity to streamline things, and get rid of stuff that I never, or only rarely use. Which means more space free for crafting stuff!

It's a bit odd navigating around a new OS, and I've also moved on from Office 2003 to Office 2007, so more unfamiliar things to get used to.  

It is a little frustrating at times as I go to do things the old way, and then have to stop and think and experiment, but I am sure it will soon become second nature. In the meantime, I have a very effective way of dealing with the sense of frustration and irritation that may arise.

Photo by Oreosmeow - http://scrapsbyoreosmeow.blogspot.com/

As a result of not wandering over the Internet as is my daily wont, it was only on Friday that I learned that Harley the cat has finally found a home. Oreosmeow had posted a page on ScrapBook Flair with the details and I was delighted at this result.

I do so hope that this will be a permanent, happy home for Harley, and he gets at least the same amount of love and attention that our Lord and Lady of the house receive. Which means lots!