Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Antiqued Work Tote - re-vamped

During the Fall, I did quite a few wood projects, and somehow I forgot to post this project I did.
So here it is now :)

At the Odana Antiques Store, I found this cute tote. It had quite the crack all the way through, but it still held solid.


But, to me it sang out... Please.... Oh pretty please buy me, you know you want to!! Lol
And as you can see, I did.

Heres what I did to re-vamp it:

Firstly I gave it a good gentle wash, with warm soapy water. Then I used small tack nails to secure some of the areas that needed it. Then,  I gave a light coat of Arcadia blue paint, leaving it to dry, then using black acrylic paint, I mixed it quite thin and gave a quick wash over and wiping the excess off with a rag. Pictured above.

I have a Welsh Dragon Cookie Cutter, which I don't use for that, but more for crafts.

Taking some red acrylic paint, I place the dragon cookie cutter on top of the tray and dabbed the paint on.

Take away the cutter and I was left with this Dragon Stencil :)
The Welsh Dragon is part of our National Welsh Flag.

Next step. Using white glue and latex paint we are going to do the 'CRACKLE EFFECT'

I first brushed on the glue, and leave to dry until it's tacky to the touch.

Once the glue is tacky, load your brush with your paint, and in one sweeping brush stroke, apply the paint.
Don't be tempted to go back over the brush stroke you just made. Just load your brush again and paint where you left off. Continue till you have finished. Leave to dry.

The paint will look patchy, don't worry. You're going for that antiqued look.

What the paint will look after 5 minutes

Closeup of the paint 20 minutes into the drying.

How it looks when it's completely dry. I love how it looks. 
Iv'e transformed on old dull looking tote to a new 

Antiqued Tote.

You can see the Stenciled Welsh Dragon peeking through the white. I also used 2 packs of  Waxman Oatmeal square floor pads under the tote, to stop scratching and the gap in the tote widening any more.

And if you have little girls like I do, then you're Tote will end up holding their books :)


Dafen, Llanelli - My Home Village & Town

Llanelli is known for its coal mining, tinplate & to date Dyfed Steel, Rugby, go 'Scarlet’s', and there are many Chapels, some of which are no-longer in use but stand there with their beauty, gathering weeds and wasting away. There is also the oldest brewery in Wales, called Felinfoel Brewery and a reservoir called Swiss Valley (another favorite place of mine) to name a few.

Swiss Valley Reservoir

Llanelli is where I was born and I grew up in the small village of Dafen. I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood and the friends I made. Llanelli beach is roughly twenty minutes drive from where I lived, give or take depending on traffic. Before I was born, my parents and my two elder sisters lived at, 49 Gors Fach, Dafen. I can't remember when we moved up the street to # 13 Y Waun, Dafen our new home, it was either just before or just after I came long (Sadly, it has been completely torn down, leaving a field of grass) I was born in  Glasfryn Maternity House, which is across the street from Parc Haward.

Llanelli Beach

Glasfryn Maternity House
Where I was born.

My home in, Y-Waun was built opposite a small river. I remember one day being asked to try out the Tarzan swing, that the neighbor kids made. What fun it was, although for a 6 year old, the river seemed massive and the Tarzan swing, extremely high up. On the other side of the river was lush green farmland and dotted here, and there were abandoned milking, and feeding sheds for cows. About 10 minutes of walking through those farm fields, you came to an Old Peoples Home, called T'y Gelli (which of course was off limits) but it had the biggest, Weeping Willow Tree, I had ever seen. It beckoned my sisters and I to run across the garden lawn, and sneak under it branches to play. I lived at # 13 Y Waun, until I was 8 years old. It was a happy time and many memories were made there (even having a street party celebrating, Queen Elizabeths Silver Jubliee)
Then we moved to Bryngwyn Bach (Where, my father still lives today)

St. Michaels and All Angels Church, Dafen
Our village's church.

Dafen Park 

Dafen Park Cricket Ground

Dafen Park. 

Dafen park, is where I spent many hours playing on the swings, slide and watching cricket matches or peek over the tall privet hedges to look at the immaculate bowling green. The park also had a community hall where I went to disco's! My 1st time was on my 13th birthday. 

I have many favorite places in my home town of Llanelli, and the one I want to share with you today, is a place that still stands today. It is a place my mother would take my sisters and me to visit, and play. When I'm lucky enough to fly home to Wales to visit my family, I make sure to stop by and absorb it's surrounding beauty, its history and its Mansion. Not to mention, jogging my memories of the wonderful times, I experienced there as a child and an adult, as well as my own children growing to love visiting Parc Howard.

Parc Howard

Parc Howard & its Bandstand

This place is ParcHowardParcHoward is an 18th Century Italianate architecture country house converted into a museum and Art Gallery, and if you ever find yourself passing through Llanelli, it is a must to visit. I love reading about who lived there, how they lived and the general day to day living. The outside architectural design is awe inspiring, clad in Bath Stone and all around the building, it's topped with a balustrade parapet with urns. Its grounds are kept immaculate and from spring till fall, an array of different flowers is in full bloom, covering the ground like a beautiful oil painting. On the grounds in front and left of the Mansion, sits a pond which house ducks and fish, off to the right is a remodeled Bandstand and further down from that are the sunken gardens. 

The Sunken Gardens at Parc Howard
I could only find this picture - I don't know who the people are in the picture. I hope they don't mind me using it :)

The Sunken Gardens were my mother's favorite place, to sit, relax and admire all the beautiful flowers, and shrubbery. She'd watch us play hide and go seek amongst the bushes, dart behind the old oak trees and watch us pick my favorite flower, the Bluebell. It also has two playgrounds, a bowling green, a paddling pool, many tree lined walking paths that all lead back to the Museum and also on site is a ring of Gorsedd Stones, with a central flat stone altar, (It looks something like Stonehenge)

Gorsedd Stones at Parc Howard

The inside of ParcHoward; is just as beautiful. As you open the heavy solid wood door and step through into large main foyer, the first thing you see is the grand staircase. It is something of beauty and elegance, and begs you to glide your fingertips along its banister and if your lucky, and no-one is around, you will want to slide down it! (Which I've done too many times to count and got caught once by the attendant there! Oops... Who just smiled... Lol)

Stepping into this wonderful country home/museum/gallery, it's as if, we are stepping back in time, in which we can imagine ourselves playing out a scene from the TV show, Downton Abbey:) albeit we are in jeans and a T-shirt, not the luxurious dress and corsets of the day!

Parc Howard is a rare beauty, that holds many wonderful stories and it's even deemed to be haunted! I will always love Parc Howard and the memories I made there all of which, I hold dear to my heart. 

Pictures of Parc Howard.


Friday, December 27, 2013

How to Use Profanity And Other Raw Talk in Your Writing

I subscribe to Writers Digest. The FREE monthly emails I receive from Writers Digest, are full of information, tips and self help on 'how to be a better writer', how to grab the attention of Literary Agents Etc.

The email I received this week, I found to be very informative. As a religious Christian person, I struggle as to whether to use profanity or not in my writing. As of now I don't use any, I try to find another suitable word to describe what I want to say. This article I found enlightening, whether I choose to use profanity at some point  or not ( most likely - not) this article will help you in deciding which way or how to use such words in writing.

Read the full article Here: How to Use Profanity And Other Raw Talk in Your Writing

As for me, I should shake off the gloomy snowy cold blues, and get my fingers to the keys of my laptop, and write. I know, I have slacked ( for shame Helen!) With moving and just settling into a new place, with new people to try and get to know, I just found it a little disconcerting. But after reading the 1st through 2nd books of 'The Mortal Instruments',( 1st book is much better than the movie- in my opinion)  and watching my beloved British Period Tv Shows, 'The Paradise' & Mr Selfrigde', For all of you ladies who love Downtown, (Season 4 starts on Jan 5th) these shows are a must watch!! Oh My, what a delightful time, to lose yourself for an hour or two in two wonderful period dramas.

I am now revived with a new vim and vigor to write. So with that in mind and this article from Writers Digest, It's time to stop procrastinating and start putting thoughts into words, and start typing.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Today has been a non stop festive Christmas Day. From waking at 7am to put the turkey in to cook, having to coax Seren out of bed to go see the presents Santa has brought her.. Lol, to enjoying seeing the girls faces when the opened their gifts, to scramble to make our Christmas meal. And Skyping my children and family back in Wales, and now, where I can finally sit down and appreciate the day, while nursing a pulled back :( But that's another story. 

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and what a splendid day it is. It has been snowing here in Madison, WI all day and is adding on to the snow that still lies on the ground. What a difference in weather from here and what the weather would have been like in the time of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. 

As a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, we do celebrate the birth of our Savoir, Jesus Christ and in the spirit of giving service and love, we invited our missionaries over to partake of our Christmas Meal with us. 

Here are some cute Christmas messages to watch - HERE

We shared a lovely typical 'British Christmas Dinner' which is served at lunch time, not in the evening. Which consisted of Turkey, mashed potato, carrots, peas, broccoli, roasted potatoes, carrots & parsnips also homemade bread Thyme, Rosemary & Sage Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Gravy!! Phew oh yeah for dessert yet another typical British dessert - Trifle (minus any alcohol) ...mmmm scrumptious. We also pull Christmas Crackers
Seren bless her, slept through her Christmas Meal, yet Carys tucked into hers...and ended up eating 3 bowls of my Stuffing !!

I pray that you all have had a wonderful Christmas, whether you're Religious or not. May you share in the joy and laughter that comes with this wonderful day

Merry Christmas to you all.

Yeah presents. Carys, has such good manners, every time she pulled off a piece of wrapping paper and handed it to Jason, she said, 'Thank You', how adorable.

Thank you daddy for my Cinderella dress & doll

Thank you Santa for my Merida doll and her horse, Angus - oh and Jodi for my Merida dress ( which she had for her birthday)

Say Cheese- Seren proudly showing off her Merida Doll & Angus horse that Merida rides. While Carys hugs her little bear from the same movie 'Brave'

Jason with the Elder Missionaries getting ready to tuck into their Christmas dinner

Carys tucking into her yummy meal.

This is my darling little Granddaughter Hannah who lives in Wales, she is opening her gift we sent her, Merida from the movie Brave. A redheaded doll of our cute Redhead Granddaughter


Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Bully Close Too Home

I read this article today.

The Bully Too Close To Home by Rachel Macy Stafford from her blog http://www.handsfreemama.com

It made me stop and think, to reevaluate my role as a mother. I have raised 5 children and now raising 2 darling little girls all over again, and after reading the article, I tipped my head down in sadness, as I realized at times of when my older children were growing up, at times, I had acted out of frustration in that same very way.

I felt ashamed, disappointed in myself, I felt sad. I knew though that I did say sorry to my children, and if they remember any other times, where I may have acted that same way, I hope if they read this post, they would accept my heartfelt apologies. I love all of my children, I hope and pray that with Seren & Carys, I can learn from my past mistakes and be kind, loving, patient, and cherish every moment I have with them.

If I ever stumble and fall, may my darling little tinkers, be the ones who melt my heart with their sweet little faces and unconditional love, give me a time out :) and a hug afterward.

I admire Rachel, as she wrote down exactly how she acted, and how her experience, has and will help us become better mothers.

Read the article, see how it makes you feel. Does it make you want to run over to your kids and give them a hug? I say, be proud of yourself, as we all make silly mistakes, but we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again. Or if you're lucky enough to be just the most patient mother ever - then I say, "Well Done To You."

Twinkle, Twinkle, Big Paper Star

Twinkle, Twinkle, Big Paper Star

For this years Christmas Decorations, I chose to go simpler.

These are super easy Origami 3D Paper Stars

I've always loved making boxes and whatnot out of paper, so as usual I 'Googled'  3D Paper Stars. 
I found a few different sites that popped up but the one I found the quickest and easiest was on HGTV

The only thing I did differently was, to use a hot glue gun instead of a glue stick.

Here are all the Paper Stars I made and as long as you have a square, you can make a star in any size.
 Have a go yourself, you'll see how easy they are to make.


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