Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Late Christmas....

For various reasons we had our Christmas day on Sunday and it was a day worth waiting for.  Such fun.  My son cooked a wonderful rib of beef and I used this recipe  from the Ree, Pioneer Woman for the all important Mashed Potatoes.I don't usually do cooking on this blog but I found a recipe some time ago and I wanted to test it out before I shared it here.  It saves that nuisance moment of stopping production and finding  the potato masher, a bowl etc. when you are trying to bring the big meal to fruition and best of all it makes delicious, fluffy mashed potatoes. The seasoning she uses is obviously an american brand but I found this which explained what it consists of, made some up in an empty spice jar, worked a treat. Incidentally I made the mashed carrot and turnip the day before as well and that worked too.
This is Ree's picture
 So here we are the last day of the year, my mind is making resolutions but I will be suprised but happy if all (or any) actually bring results.If you look at my Pinterest Tutorials page you will see some of my dreams.

Thank to all who have visited and commented this year.. My very Best Wishes for the New Year to all..

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas came early......

Yesterday it was the monthly meeting of The Girls and we were to have our pre-Christmas meeting. Unfortunately, one friend had the current cold but bless she did send us a little gift. It is now on the tree.
The little tin contain threads. 
The other gifts I received were this tool which I never seen before.. We will be playing with this next time we meet.
 and this wonderful ornament of my initial in mosaic it stands about 9 inches high.. Clever girl.
My present to them was this

which I hope will give them some fun.

Our hostess for the day had gone to great pains to create the right atmosphere right on the doorstep.

As you can imagine, we fell through the door in fits of laughter.  
Lots of chatter, some lovely food and not to over tax ourselves we
made one of these. Tutorial here
Great day with a very special little group who have given me so much pleasure.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


So here my last page for the Craft Barn Alphabet challenge. I spent a long time trying to find a word .....then the light bulb, of course...INSPIRATION......that is what this challenge has done all year.  You start with the letter prompt and than a browse through the dictionary and then suddenly an idea.Then the fun of working out how you are going to interpret it. But where did it come from, who knows?.  Nature?  Memory?  Media?.....it is a wonderful mystery.
 I painted a background, using Fresco paints, which I hope represents air.  I made a digital collage from my photographs and then cut out the question mark.  I had been going to add other words but liked the suggestion of mystery. So
with tag

Finally, I have been mounting the pages in an A4 Landscape spiral bound book. A couple of months into the challenge I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like. Every time I die cut letters for the word I saved the leftovers.  I started about a month ago, adding layer on layer, so this is the result. Quietly pleased.
I have really enjoyed this challenge.  I found the two week interval was just enough to give you a slight deadline pressure but gave you  time to think and was not so long as to make you forget, which has happened to me in the past with monthly challenges. The other thing I liked was the uncertainty of which letter would be next or what restriction would be put on it.  So well done and thank you to the team at The Craft Barn

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Last two letters of the  Craft Barn Alphabet Challenge i and x. " i" had so many entries in my old dictionary so I went with x first(only one page).  A word I didn't know (there were quite a few) "xylograph" which means a wood engraving,  I have two Indian wood block so I used them on he background and then I copied the wood engraving from the wikipedia entry. Found some paper that looked a bit woodlike for the word.  That has been one of the things I have loved about this challenge is finding a use for things that I have had for years.

and with tag

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

December..part 2

The John Lewis windows. A hair hare..

A towel turkey..

A dyson donkey
a polar bear
amd penguins
and of course and owl
all very ingenious.

Another bit of a disappointment at Liberty
and finally to Fortnums where there was this domestic goddess
some carol singers
and finally Father Christmas
I really hope I have the chance to go up again after dark as the street lights looked as though they would be quite a sight.


..now it is time to think about Christmas.  With dire warnings of freezing weather for later in the week I decided to pop up to London and have a look at the Christmas windows.  I had heard that Harrods had gone to town this year.  The windows represent the carriages of a very luxurious train.

Not camp at all.  One end of the store had a woodland scene. With Golden Owls...well it is Harrods.
 and these  for my friend who would have wanted to take them home

I found Selfridges, though in a worthy cause a little disappointing so we will move on down to John Lewis which I found highly entertaining. Blogger having a bit of a fit so I will add later.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Craft Barn Alphabet challenge time again. Not much time and a letter with a huge number of words but can't fall so close to the finishing line .... my first thought was Serendipity, because it is such a lovely word to say and that's mainly how I work But my old dictionary had a different definition to the normal usage of " happy accident" that we have now.  It said "the liking for old books and ornaments.  Mmmm! I thought about it for a few days but nothing was happening so I delved into the dictionary again and it opened at the snow page, very seasonal.    Out of all the snow words I chose this because the definition made me laugh. "Snowstorm: a storm with falling snow."  Right. So here we have Snowstorm.
 and with tag
 The little houses are Memory Box die cuts and the snowflakes are a mixture of die cuts and punched. The paint is  Fresco Ice Blue and Baltic Blue with some acrylic white added.
I have also finished the cover for the book where I am keeping all the letters but I am keeping that secret for now.  Thought occurred, I wonder what I would have chosen for S if it were July instead of November?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tissue prints

I have to thank Paper Printables  for ending my long search for an easy way  to print on tissue paper with my inkjet printer. I have tried so many other ways fighting with adhesive tape etc.and always in terror of jaming my printer.This one is relatively quick and easy and so far 100% successful. Yeah!

Friday, November 15, 2013


is the latest letter in the Craft Barn Alphabet challenge.   I chose Quartette,  my dictionary tells me it is anything in fours so at first I was thinking of dividing the page and filling it with the seasons, suits of cards, that sort of thing but then there was the musical connection.  I looked in my Dover Desk Gallery of clip art, I was now thinking silhouettes.(this blog is called altering thoug
hts!), at first I was looking for musicians and then I found this and given the season I thought it perfect.
I cut a mask with the intention of stencilling the image, I liked this one but as you can see I had trouble with working out which way round the stencil should go and  when I tried it the "right" way round I couldn't re-create the textures.
 After ten rejects  I decided to use the mask itself which by then was nicely coated in paint.
Here it is with word tag.
Only three letters left now.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just a little ...

bit proud of my daughter. Don't usuall do family here but I wanted somewhere to keep this.  She plays the part played by Deborah Kerr in the film.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


is the letter as the Craft Barn Challenge nears the end. I was surprised to find relatively few words beginning with N. I chose Needlewoman.   Like the letter L below I have chosen this for more personal reasons. There are quite a few seamstresses and a milliner  in my family tree and I have enjoyed many hours stitching with friends or on my own. I looked for images of needlewomen and chose the one by Velazques as I  thought it gave a sense of the way woman have plied a needle stretching back through time.  I painted two pieces of paper and used one for the background and one to cut out the stamped images. None of my die cut alphabets seemed to fit so I sewed the name.

Just to prove my point I am having fun with crazy patchwork at the moment.  I turned the piece here into a cushion. I wanted to do some more and decised to make a throw for the settee, I wanted it to look aged so I made up the block and then sprayed it with brown Seta colour.  This should keep me busy for a little while.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


The letter L this time on the Craft Barn Alphabet Challenge but with a twist.  A window had to be included.  I had a look at Lattice but kept coming back to Landscape.  The landscape I wanted to use was a photograph of Wastwater in the Lake District which I took in May.. I also wanted to suggest the whitewashed  houses you see in the Lakeland, so this is a sort of inside out view of the Lake.
the windows were packing inside a child's game. I did think of putting lattice in them but it obscured the photograph.  The wall is painted with PaperArtsy Grunge paste and Fresco Nougat and here it is with tag.

Sunday, October 06, 2013


gave me trouble, I didn't have the connection with just one word, as in previous weeks, instead my mind hopped from one to another so in the end my mind was a JUMBLE..........see what I did there?

I made the background using my new Seth Apter stencil,  I made a jumping jack which looks remarkably like Jagger. My happiest addition to my collection of useless knowledge is that this little gadget for cutting pastry was called a jagger.

Here is page with tag.
Not many letters to go now in the Craft Barn Alphabet challenge, where did this year go?  Time to start working on the cover.

I am loving the costumes on "Strictly" this year, for once they seem to be being kind to the "older" women.

Looking forward to Ally Pally on Saturday, hoping that the change from our usual Thursday will result in less traffic but I think this was the wrong time to re-visit crazy quilting.....there will be too many temptations.
 Looking forward to catching up with Lynda Monk and to seeing Sophie of What Delilah Did  who is one of my new found relations.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


what arrived today,only a week after I ordered them from Stencil Girl 
Stencils by the very talented  Seth Apter.  I am hoping that they will soon be on sale in the UK so that I can buy the third one in the set  but I couldn't wait to buy these.  I think I  feel a gelli session coming on? Rust colours of course Seth! I love the text and all the different textures.

Another reason for celebration is the return of Australian Masterchef to my TV screen.  Far superior to the English version, no "significant looks" between the judges for a start, much more inventive challenges and on the whole a great hour of  relaxation. another favourite "The Newsroom" has also returned so with these and the start of the NFL season and the imminent beginning of Strictly my place on the settee is booked, with sewing accompaniment of course.

Also looking forward to the Stamping Show at Ally Pally this weekend.  


is for grunge (probably my favourite G word) buy not in my old dictionary, I was panicking a bit and then I found Gears, well I have gear die cuts and gear stamps so....a gelli print background to get me started, what else ?(and yes Carol I just might be addicted).  I took my stamps and built up a background with a bit of  grunge paste and Archival inks. I cut my gears, painted them and then treated each one with three colours of Treasure Gold.  Then the fun started as I cut tiny pieces of sticky foam to make them stand up from the page, doesn't time fly when you're having fun? I had chosen "Gearing" as I liked the definition " and whoops...... I have just realised that I printed out the wrong definition(gears instead of gearing), excuse me whilst I go back to the drawing board for a moment.
As I was saying I liked the definition "a train of toothed wheels for transmitting motion" so I tried to make them fit into each other.  Not sure it would create any motion but I like the illusion.
and here it is with corrected tag