About Blackbutterfly Cards



I started making cards for pleasure in 2007, and quickly found my home was becoming swamped by cards everywhere. I decided to put some of them up for sale on a webpage in an effort to recoup some of the costs of my hobby. I called the webpage Blackbutterfly Handcrafted Cards, and it can be found at http://www.blackbutterfly2007.co.uk/

I try to take my cards to a couple of table sales or craft fairs a year, but make my cards mainly for friends and family. I would love the website sales to take off, as I nowhere near cover the costs involved in this all absorbing hobby, but for me the main thing is the pleasure I have in making my cards.
Recently I have decided to expand my blog to cover my other interests too. It's a sort of substitute for going to work and chatting to people, as due to ill health I was unable to work, and since the beginning of 2014 I am officially a pensioner.
Although I'll still show my cards, I'll also be covering my other interests and how I attempt to make ends meet day by day.

In fact anything that crosses my mind will be on here, so be prepared for waffle and a wasted five minutes as you read.
Make coffee and settle in, why don't you?




Saturday, January 30, 2016

Oh the shame of it..............

I've been so bad about blogging over the last couple of years. Ill health in the form of depression and other more physical problems have had a lot to do with it, but the depression and "Can't be bothered syndrome" has been the worst.  I feel a bit better than I have been, but I've lost all enthusiasm in making cards. I haven't lost the enthusiasm to buy card making items, I must have the biggest stash of unused dies in England I think, but actually  MAKING something out of them.....tch......'can't be bothered!'
I seem to spend all my time at the local hospital, either for myself or accompanying my father back and forth. He's 89 on the 12th of February, and isn't a well man now. I never seem to get the time to enjoy my hobbies, and I was so looking forward to being retired and having time to myself at long last. Ah well, at least I still potter around my garden. Which brings me to another point........I have the tiniest garden, which I am slowly bringing round and putting in  raised beds etc, so that it becomes possible for me to garden despite my aches and pains and lessening mobility. Until I get my card making mojo back, and therefore the ability to blog about it, I'm thinking of creating a new blog on my garden.
Ideally of course, I'd like ½ acre, to be almost self sufficient on, but as that's never going to happen, I'd like to see just how much food I can produce on a plot 15 ft wide by about 28ft long, which works out to approx 43 square yards, or 39 Square metres, or 0.01 of an acre!!
It might be interesting.......all I have to do is think of a name for it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Just a quick look

Just going to give you a quick look at a card I made last week.
  I'm slowly trying to get back into the crafting mode. It's so long since I made cards I'm finding that I gaze at my stash and don't know where to start. I desperately want to make some cards - I miss it - but inspiration is definitely lacking. I think it will be ok once I get into the right frame of mind, I seem to have forgotten how to do things......!

Anyway, this card is winging it's way to Holland as we speak for my friends birthday. I believe he is 70 at the end of the month, but I didn't dare put the age on the card 'cos I'm not 100% sure.




Anyway........this took me about 4½ hrs to make and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

 Yesterday I made 4 very simple cards, but I haven't photographed those yet. I found a very old set of Hero Craft Stamps, with flowers on that I'd almost forgotten I had. I'll probably put them up for sale on Etsy as a pack of four.  I like them actually, but they are very simple.

Bye for now

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Using up the left overs

Well, today I finally used the last of the left overs from New Year. I made a quiche, which I was told I had to write down the recipe for. That could be a bit of a problem as it was a 'make it up as I go along recipe' with whatever I could find in the fridge.
 I knocked together some pastry using just 4 ozs flour, then blind baked it for 20 mins. Meanwhile I grated some left over Red Leicester Cheese, fried some onions until soft, found some cooked frozen peas in the fridge, along with half a pot of double cream which had gone out of date on the 26th December, but it smelt absolutely fine., and grabbed all the scrappy bits of Turkey and stuffing left from New years Day. I mixed the cream with 2 eggs and beat them together with some salt and pepper. Once the pastry case came out of the oven, it was just a matter of assembling it all. I sprinkled the cheese over the base, followed by the finely chopped cooked onion, then the peas. On top of this I scattered the turkey and bits of stuffing. Finally I poured over the double cream and egg mix. Lastly I added some sad looking chives I found in the salad drawer left from Christmas. I snipped them with scissors and scattered them in.  I couldn't even tell you how long I cooked it for...Jo just sat and raved about how nice it was, and then phoned her father to tell him about it.  Amazing!... It got a better reaction than the Christmas dinner that cost a fortune in comparison. Here it is with a 'last bitsa' salad.



All the decorations have come down now, although I haven't cleaned and dusted yet. I  DID hoover up all the bits of Lametta from the tree, and all the decorations are carefully wrapped and back in the loft. However, my hips and back were so painful by the time we'd done all that, the dusting and cleaning can wait until tomorrow.  Here's the last view of the tree for this year



 



















We have also begun to decorate Jo's bedroom, It's got to be done before the 14th as that is when her new flooring is being laid. I'll take some pictures when it is done.


Happy New Year everyone!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Trying very hard...

I'm trying very hard to keep in touch more often.  I thought about making it one of my New Year resolutions, but I don't want to put myself under that much pressure. I find I don't DO pressure very well. Some days are still better than others I find. 
Christmas was lovely, the best one for several years. We didn't have a lot in the way of pressies, but then we don't have a lot in the way of money! Anyway, we did have lots of company popping in and out and it was lovely to see people. Since Jo and I had managed to decorate the living room, the house felt warm and cosy and relaxing after months of boxes everywhere, Of course now we have to do the rest of the house.

 Jo was given some cash by my ex, so she is going to spend it on a new bed and mattress, and the next job is to sort out boxes in her room and then decorate it so she has a comfortable place to spend her time. She has decided to ask the sister of a friend of hers to paint a sunset mural on one wall, and she has several pictures and some other accessories she received for birthday and Christmas to change her room into the 'Gothic Sanctuary' she has always wanted.  I'll ask her if I can post pictures as we go along.

I got the three season DVD set of Mrs Browns Boys and I watched some of it last night. The best bits are the errors that are made. I sometimes think they are funnier than the scripts. It wouldn't normally be my type of humour, but somehow it just makes me laugh!

Today will see the end of the Turkey, (thank goodness). Again, it was the nicest, moistest, tastiest one for many years, and yet it was only a last minute frozen purchase from A**a. I didn't even push butter under the skin this year, I just put a lemon and a satsuma in halves inside the cavity, and layered over the whole breast and legs with smoked streaky bacon. It took forever to cook too .....I decided to cook it the day before and it was a good job I did, we would have had dinner at teatime otherwise. I expected it to be dried out, but it was gorgeous.  We also had Roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts, swede and carrots and home made stuffing. Followed, of course, by the Christmas pudding. Jo had choc mint ice cream as she has never liked Christmas pudding. We got 3 little bottles of wine from A**a. Each little bottle holds about a glass and a half of wine. They were selling 3 for £4, which was cheaper than a full bottle of wine ( £5.98) and as I like White Grenache, my father likes Merlot, and Jo likes Chardonney, that worked out better and cheaper for us, plus there was no waste, as none of us drinks really the rest of the year.

I decided I wasn't going to make New Year resolutions, There's some things I'd like to try to do, but I refuse to tie myself down, as in my state of health that would be a recipe for failure for me. So I've just decided that by next Christmas I'm going to attempt to get my weight down, clear off everything I owe on my credit cards, and also try to minimise my possessions. If I don't get there, It's not a failure because I didn't promise.
 I have far too much "stuff" and I'm tired of tidying around it.  It ranges from books, to ornaments to clothes to cooking equipment. I don't need it, I haven't got room for it, and in lots of cases it is pure sentiment that makes me hang on to it. The problem is, that Jo is a worse hoarder than I am, so lots of it will have to go out when she isn't watching.
Anyway, that's all for now. If I don't get back here before New Year, have a good time and I'll see you in 2015.



Sunday, December 21, 2014

4 Days to go.

With only 4 days to Christmas, I wish I felt more organised. Mind you, when I think about it, I have sent off my cards and I have got my Christmas cake made,(although not yet marzipanned or iced), but that will come. 
Sausage rolls are in the freezer, as are the mince pies, and the Turkey (with a capital 'T') will be coming out to defrost, along with the ham.  My father is coming to us on Christmas day, and my son on Boxing day. My son has finally got a flat and has been lucky enough to find some employment starting after Christmas, so with luck, 2015 will be a good year for all of us.

Since my son has moved out, my daughter has been able to have her room back as she has been bunking in with me for the last 17 months. A situation neither of us was very happy about, but we have our own space again now. We are both feeling a hundred times better now, and although it's only been a month, we feel much more relaxed.

We've also rushed and got the living room decorated now the boxes and extra furniture have gone from the space. It felt a bit like living in a storage facility to be honest, and of course only having been here a fortnight ourselves before my son arrived, we hadn't done any decorating ourselves. In fact we still had unpacked boxes of books etc. Now we can get to them, we can slowly get this house right.  Who knows, I might even get the stairwell decorated, and carpet on the stairs by next Christmas! 
Before
After
After



 I've set myself a couple of challenges for next year. 


First off, I want to try to get rid of a lot of 'stuff'........You know, the sort of things you look at and think 'it might come in handy' or ' Auntie X bought me that in 19 oh dot so I have to keep it'  I've decided, I really  DON'T........especially as Auntie X probably passed on years ago!  So I'm minimising, less
tat means less dust, and I hate dusting.

Secondly, I've grossly overspent this last year. I don't have a huge amount on my credit card, but it's virtually maxed out. So I have to stop spending, and to aid that, I'm going to stop watching Create & Craft on the TV for a while. I also have to pay off a cooker and a dining table on my catalogue. I got them a couple of weeks ago, ( I gave my son my old ones as he had nothing in the way of white goods).   Long story short...........I've got debt I need to clear swiftly. I was going to save for a polytunnel this summer, but that has to go on hold for another year, and my holiday is cancelled. I have to get my priorities straight.

Jo and I have decided we are going to see how long we can live out of the cupboards after Xmas. We'll have plenty of leftovers, and then we will work our way through the cupboards and freezers. the only shopping will be for fresh veg and milk, eggs etc I've limited my money even for these things. As pure chance would have it, my next pension day is Jan 1st, so from that date we're being very careful. I'm pretty sure we can get through to the end of February, and I'd like to see if we can extend through to the end of March. After that any extra time is a bonus, and any housekeeping saved during this time will be paid off the debts.

So, feeling much more hopeful about life all the time. Looking forward to Christmas for the first time in several years, and to cap it all I sold my first card on Etsy. I'm hoping that's a good omen too!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

It Was Lovely.............Really!

I went through my fridge the other day, just before T****'s delivered, and sorted out my veg tray. Its something I haven't done for a while, but usually results in my shouting "It's soup day!" 
 Everything that looks a bit sorry for itself, and worn out, gets boiled up for soup. Throwing away perfectly good veggies that are just a bit 'bendy' is not an option. Everything I could find went in, some potatoes that had hidden away, and gone soft and a bit green on the edges, half a swede that I saved for a casserole we never had, a leftover parsnip, quite a few carrots that looked too sad to even be dog treats ( he likes his carrots crunchy, fussy animal), some celery sticks (judiciously trimmed of some brown marks), lots of little onions, too small for cutting up and too big for pickling so had just sat waiting patiently, plus a couple that had started sprouting. No leeks left this time - but I did add approx 100g of tinned chopped tomatoes left over from another recipe. A little salt and pepper, and a couple of chicken stock cubes into the pan of cold water, and then brought to the boil and simmered for about 90 minutes. Checking the seasoning, I added another chicken stock cube, a good pinch (shake) of Cumin and a good shake of Worchestershire sauce. Then I left it to go cold. Once cold it all went through the blender until smooth, as my lot won't eat soup "with lumps".
 Three portions were eaten with some bread, and another 5 portions were frozen in takeaway plastic dishes for another time. It was delicious, although we all admitted the cumin was very warming but nice for the cold days.  I take that to mean it was just this side of too much spice, but it certainly filled us up. Unfortunately my camera was out of battery, so there are no pictures of this culinary marvel. Perhaps next time I defrost some, I'll remember to take a picture.



Friday, October 24, 2014

A Determined Effort to Return to My Blog

I know, I know, I bet you thought this blog had been permanently abandoned didn't you?  I'm sorry, but depression takes no prisoners when it comes to making everything just TOO much effort. I'm still a bit up and down, but I'll try to be a bit more consistent with my blogging from here on in. I can only apologise.......and I do,...sincerely!

Just lately I've tried to settle down to do a few more cards, I miss making them, and  I have managed a few. I was ashamed to find I still have rubber stamps that have never seen an ink pad, and I fully expected my promarkers to have dried up on me, but apparently they've quietly and uncomplainingly waited for me to show an interest again.  My website is still 'down for maintenance', and I'm not planning to attempt to update that until I am confident that I can manage to maintain my blog regularly again. I'm wary of crashing out. 
Just a couple of cards made recently


I HAVE opened an Etsy shop here, and as I make cards I will upload them one at a time.  With Christmas just around the corner now I've managed to start my front garden by digging out the silly patch of grass and planting wallflowers under planted with tulips. I'm hoping it will look very pretty next year.
Wallflowers for Spring

I have great plans for the back garden, I have a couple of raised beds set out, and I'm hoping I can put a polytunnel across the bottom of the garden and some fruit cordons down the left hand fence. I raised quite a few crops this summer and would like to continue, and then I've been offered a half plot on an allotment site, in the last 2 weeks, which I've accepted. Hopefully I can get that pretty much cleared by December.  So I have plenty of things to engage my interest and I'm feeling as though my energy levels are ok to take things on now.  
My inherited Fig Tree

View down my Lottie, but only to the wood fence!

Not so long ago, the thought of all this work alone would have defeated me, but I feel so ready to start now. I just feel I have to remember not to go too mad, and just pace myself.

Wish me luck, and I'll try and keep my camera battery charged up so there's plenty of photos to show.
Bye for now...