Friday, 25 February 2011

Rainy Friday in Cardiff!

I warn you before I start, this post is picture heavy! :-D So, as you might know, I'm starting as a student nurse at Cardiff University on Monday and decided that I would do a trial run this morning to make sure the train and bus would arrive on time. Of course this was all a big excuse to spend some time roaming around Cardiff for fun, so that is of course what I did! The picture above shows Cardiff Central train station, and the picture below is the view as you walk out of the station...
For those not familiar with Welsh, the words often seem to appear in reverse order so the Welsh words above actually read 'Square Central Cardiff' rather than 'Cardiff Central Square' (Caerdydd is Cardiff in Welsh)
St David's Day (the national day of the patron saint of Wales) is fast approaching on March 1st, which explains the Welsh flags up and down the street! You can also see Cardiff Castle in the background. It really was quite quiet today! The schoolchildren have a week off this week and it was raining hard, so maybe they were all staying indoors!
The picture below shows one of the many little shopping arcades in Cardiff, there are LOTS of these and they often have interesting little independent shops for you to poke around in :) (yes that is Homer Simpson half-dressed as some sort of animal over on the right)
This next picture shows the Millenium Stadium (home of lots of international rugby games and slightly over my head! lol)
In the next picture, you can see a side-street view of the stadium; I love how it is so far across the street it's almost touching the building opposite! It looks like a spaceship that just landed there one day.
This next picture is part of a new shopping complex that was built quite recently called St. David's (or Dewi Sant if you can read the writing!)
One of the things I find interesting about Cardiff is how you find new and old right next door to each other; this is a perfect example! The older, rather ornate buildings in the background right next to the new shopping complex and an enormous modern sculpture.
The picture below is the entrance to the Queen's Arcade (another shopping mall!) and is usually overflowing with shoppers (where is everybody!) - again, notice the Welsh flag making an appearance :)
This is a closer view of Cardiff Castle; as with the picture of the sculpture I mentioned previously, the very old castle is right on a busy street with lots of shops! Also in this picture, you can see large daffodils attached to the lamp posts; for those who don't know the daffodil is the Welsh national flower, so I'm guessing this is also in preparation for St David's Day next week.
Well, I walked round and round in the rain today getting my bearings (I have no sense of direction and don't know Cardiff well!) and by lunchtime I was ready for a sit-down! I managed to find this enormous pub called The Gatekeeper which was practically empty :) I found myself a table tucked out of the way right by the window and sat down with a glass of wine - bliss!
The Gatekeeper is one of a chain of pubs that we also have in the town I live in, but had never noticed Welsh specials on the menu before! Guess this is what happens when you get more tourists (after all, Cardiff IS the Welsh capital! lol)
I decided not to go for any of those! Mainly because it was a choice of meat (which I don't eat) or cheese on toast (which is basically what Welsh rarebit is!) and I fancied something different :) got sucked in by talk of Reggae Reggae sauce and mushrooms...
...and this is what a 'Gourmet Vegetable Burger' looks like :)
Actually it wasn't bad! Left the bread and most of the chips though, the stack in the bun itself was really quite filling! Got given a free copy of The Times while wandering around Cardiff so had a read about David Bowie while I was munching :)
I did some more wandering after lunch, and then shortly before my train was due I found this place:-
Jacob's Antiques! Three floors of it!!
I'm sorry the pics are fuzzy but you get the idea (was trying to take them slyly but the place was full of different traders so it was difficult!)

While I was here I came across this rather wonderful discovery - these are photographs which are printed/mounted on card, and they were designed to be placed in a viewer to give something of a 3D effect
There were 12 of them altogether and the lady originally said they were £1 each, but kindly gave me all 12 for £10 :) I'm hoping to be able to be brave, and to use them in some vintage-style pieces, but I often have all the best intentions and then find I just keep them in a safe place! lol

The lady I was speaking to also had a beautiful old photo album there that was about 120 years old with all the original photos still in it; it was in wonderful condition but I'm afraid too rich for my blood! I am going to be a student, have to keep reminding myself ;)

So anyway, I missed my train! And the next one wasn't for another 40 mins so I carried on exploring! In one of the little arcades I found this shop window that I loved :)
This close-up shows the French-themed vintage style stuff in the display, very pretty! Love that postcard purse :)
Wandering along a bit further I found a shop called 'A Vintage Affair' which was absolutely packed with lots of treasures! Again apologies for the pics :/
I will be visiting here again! Everything from jewellery to crockery to fabrics to postcards, loved it!
I decided to go back to the train station a little earlier this time!
I love how train stations always look so old-fashioned, don't you?
And that was my day! I will be posting Art Journal Friday at The Scrappy Tree today so keep an eye out for that if you have some time to play with your supplies this weekend, I look forward to seeing you there :)

Happy Friday!

Gayle xx

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

ATC card

So for this month's Inspiration Challenge at The Scrappy Tree (see here for the blog post, isn't the image GORGEOUS!) I decided to make an ATC; I hadn't made one for ages and it was fun! Messed around with the background (Adirondack paint dabber and Smooch spritz ink), stamped a doodle heart (by Anita's) and cut it out, added ribbon, more doodling, gold pen, gold Stickles, buttons and thread!

But after making it and posting at the TST Ning group I got to thinking, and playing some more, and ended up making this card by creating a background with a Tim Holtz script stamp and some fired brick Distress ink around the edges.

I cut the 'love' sentiment out of a magazine advert, I love how it looks against the script background!

I think I might also enter this into The Artistic Stamper February challenge - I think it has all the elements but my gosh, there are some amazing projects there!!

This card is for a friend who I know is having a very difficult time (more than I can go into here) and I just wanted to let her know we were sending lots of love and hugs; I posted it rather than taking it to her, because don't you just love getting nice post through the letterbox?? Slipped a little gift inside and hopefully it will give her a smile :)

Happy Wednesday everyone :)

Gayle xx

p.s. I now have access to a sewing machine, and some fabric scraps arrived today.... watch this space....

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A week of contemplation lies ahead...

I think I am actually going to manage more than one post this week. I know, seriously?? It has been a while! But I am in the no man's land this week of 'the week off between one job and the next', and so I am indulging myself!

I am enrolled online as a student nurse and will be starting on February 28th. It feels good to say it openly! I have kept it to myself for what seems like the longest time. Thanks to my Mum I am good to go :)

At work, on the whole, I got the reactions I was expecting. I'm glad that I left it as late as possible to let people know that I was leaving; there were two categories of response and both of them got to be difficult after a while! Some people responded badly to me going and were quite unpleasant; this was difficult because I couldn't change that I was leaving or what I was going to be (the fact that I was leaving to be a NURSE of all things went down really badly with some people!) and so I just had to put up with it! Being called names across the office was what I expected, but it got really wearing very quickly.

The other type of response was luckily for me what most people decided to go with; they told me that they were upset that I was going and that they would miss me, but that they wished me all the best and hoped that I would keep in touch. Now, you really couldn't ask for a better response than that. But oh my gosh, I cried so many times!! I am glad that I was able to make so many great friends; it has been very sad to say goodbye to them all (not that it's 'goodbye' so much as 'well I won't be seeing you 5 days a week anymore'), more so than I think I realised it would be! I don't think many of the people I work with had ever seen me cry; now I think most if not all of them have! If only for that reason (I do not like crying in public!), I am glad that it didn't go on too much longer :) I didn't have many tears left!

So this weekend has been a weekend for me; I've had to keep reminding myself that I don't have to go to work on Monday, and that I've said goodbye (to some people at least) for the last time. So weird, I have been seeing many of these people for about 5 years, some for as long as 10. So what do you do with yourself? I've done a bit of spring cleaning (the cat left until the bed was made with fresh linen and then she returned)...
... and all that's really left is scrappy corner. But I kind of like it like this, especially with the Mickey Mouse glass of wine in pride of place :) might just play for a while before completing my big tidy-up....
Been working on a few different art journal pages which I'm not sharing yet as they're not finished(I know, I should concentrate on one at a time LOL) and now have access to a sewing machine which I really want to play with, so am glad there were a few pics on my camera to fill this post :) happy weekend everybody!

Gayle xx

Friday, 18 February 2011

Belated Happy Valentine's!

Ok, I know this is DAYS late, but happy Valentine's!! You would think it is a little late to celebrate but I have been off the planet this week; I had a stats assignment due in today, and today was also the last day of my job so I have been rushing all week to try and get as much done as possible! I wish there were more hours in the day, seriously! But I am done now, and ready for the longest sleep of my life tonight :)

So for Valentine's Day, Df already had an idea for the gift he wanted (an xBox game!) and I wanted equivalent value in scrappy supplies(!); however, he was insistent that he wanted to make me a card from scratch. I wasn't sure that it was actually going to happen, but he asked me for some card blanks and said that he would help himself to some scrappy supplies.

So the finished result was....

...this!! I absolutely loved it, it was so adorable that he made a card! If you look close you'll see inking, stamping, punching and ribbons... fact he said that if he had been able to find my 'rivets' (eyelets!) he would have added some of those too :)

He even decorated the envelope!!
So much effort, I was so happy when I saw this :) will treasure it forever :)

Gayle xx

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Wednesday waffle...

I have been doing a lot of art journaling this week; is it wrong that I am more motivated to do that than my stats coursework?? Probably not most of you might think :) if someone, ANYONE would prefer to crunch numbers than to mess around with paint and pens, please give me your secrets, at least for a little while :) I will return them in pristine condition, no stains or cracked spines :) I will just be EVER grateful for the short-term loan!

I need some help! Has anyone read the Anne Rice vampire books?? Without reading them again because really, I SHOULD be studying some statistics :/ I have made a page which is just perfect for the picture in my head of one of the scenes, but I can't for the life of me manage to google anything successfully which might tell me where it was LOL volunteers please??

I am depriving myself of sleep this week but somehow still functioning, the New Moon is making my last week or so of my current job some of the most interesting days of my time there(!) and all I want to do is art journal. I will never make a researcher! Wish me luck ;) I need to get a new battery for my camera so at least I can share some pictures until I finish one of the three journal pages I have on the go!

Happy hump day peoples, the weekend is on its way :)

Gayle xx