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?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

It's been a couple of days since I posted and I've been so busy. Not necessarily doing anything I want to do, but rather being kept on the move by other people.
I've had visitors popping in, demands made on my time that I felt I couldn't refuse.... Doctor's appts, phone calls, requests for reports on the local
Community Garden. (Which reminds me we have a meeting booked for this coming Wednesday and I've heard nothing back from any of the others on the committee.)
I also have two tables booked at a couple of craft fairs. These are happening two Saturday's in a row towards the end of June , and I really need to make more stock for my table. Also the CraftFest at
Creative Connections will be on the 9th June and running for a week.

This weekend we have the Southend Airshow so the last couple of days have been extremely noisy, ...........not so much from the aircraft, but the crowds of people going past my door. Parents shouting, children crying, people who've had too much to drink. I assume they are enjoying themselves, but to hear them, you wonder why they bother going out at all!

As I'm typing this the Red Arrows are flying overhead, & I always enjoy watching them, but of course adding to the noise is the number of car alarms they set off with the low passes!

My father popped round yesterday with some lettuce thinnings and a couple of Redcurrant bushes he had propagated for me, but I shall wait for a quieter day to plant them out. This is the second time in 3 days he's popped in unexpectedly. I think I shall have to tell him I'm going out for a few days just so I can get on with some card making.

My neighbour is still waiting for a christening card to be made. I have until Friday to do that as she is on holiday until then. I have an order for 30 Christmas cards to be sent off to Holland for some friends of mine as well.
If I could sell a few more online and at craft sales, perhaps I could save up to go and see them again, it's been about 6 years now since I've been able to afford to go. I'd like to be able to go again, none of us are getting any younger, and they are such good fun.

I've been making a summer dress today and just taken a break before I attach the collar and front facings. I desperately needed something lightweight and cool, and have cut up my old duvet cover to make it. Mind you, the time it's taking me, the nice weather will be over before it's finished! It's actually in the nature of an experiment, the fabric is a little flimsy, but if it works out I may be able to pick up some slightly heavier sets from the charity shops, and the bits I don't use for a dress I may be able to make some childrens cot quilts to sell on my craft stalls. I'll have to see how that works out. I've never done quilting before, but it sounds like fun, and I got a book of patterns to try.

One of the neighbours children has been popping in and out all weekend, which is another distraction. I don't like to say she can't come in. She doesn't get on with her stepbrother, and sometimes coming in gives her a break from him. Complicated situation, and I feel quite sorry for her. She's been making a cross stitich card for her teacher as this is her last year at primary school, and she wanted to do something special for her. I've been showing her how to do it, and she has been getting on quite well. She's also been learing to play chess with my daughter, so mornings are used up with these pastimes, and afternoons are spent cooking cakes also with my daughter.

After 3 years of arguing and fighting the Housing Association, they finally agreed to send in a damp specialist to prove to me that the plaster falling off the wall is due to my bad ventilation of the rooms causing condensation. I've been vindicated!! It took the specialist surveyor less that 5 minutes to confirm my suspicions. The damp proof course has gone and I have rising damp!

Now the results have to go to the Manager of the Housing Association, and (hopefully) something can be done. I had an email last Wednesday to say they had received the report and it would be discussed in a meeting on Friday morning. I would be informed of the outcome in due course............watch this space, as they say!

I must try and get on with a bit more of this dress, and I will of course post a picture when it is done...............if I don't ruin it. Its a few years since I've done any needlework I made a dress for my daughter when she was 5, and she is 22 this year, so I'm a bit rusty. Just keep your fingers crossed.

See you soon

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quiet time, soup, and embroidery.

Well...........It's all quiet now, but honestly last night was the third in a row that was less than peaceful. Friday night/Saturday morning the children in the flat above me were still running up and down the property shouting and thundering on the floor. I wonder if their parents even TRY to get them to bed, all I know is I wanted to sleep and couldn't. Then at 3AM the other neighbours drunk son decided to climb over the back fence into the communal garden, to save walking around the street...............and fell! Apart from the noise he made getting over it in the first place, which my dog took great exception to, I then had to listen to some heart rending groans and moans. Then there was a lot of swearing and shouting, then kicking and breaking of wood. Then this voice..........'Dad..........Daaaaaaaad!..........I fell on my effing head, I'm going home now' This was followed by a lot more swearing and shouting that gradually faded into the distance. Well, I just lay there thinking, " If there's any justice......!!"

Last night he decided to try to get into the communal entrance at the front. His father isn't stupid, he hasn't given him a key, so when his father didn't answer at about 11.30, he decided to try kicking the door in. Luckily it held, but I do wonder how much more abuse it can take. I think a report will be going into the Housing Association housing manager on Monday morning. My neighbour across the hall has put in several complaints about the noise this man and his family create, and yesterday the noisy neighbour caught me in the hall & asked me if the rumour he was moving was correct. I told him not to my knowledge, to which he replied, "Pity, he's always complaining to me about the noise" and walked out of the flats.
I just stood there with my mouth hanging open, another of my neighbours who heard started to laugh......"unbelievable, isn't it?" I could only nod......

Despite not wanting to cook lately, I did have a bacon joint that needed to be cooked, and I decided to try some pea & ham soup using the water I boiled the joint in. I soaked some dried green split peas overnight, then when the joint was cooked I used the ham water to cook the split peas with some chopped onion and a potato. The only thing I added for flavouring was some pepper after I had liquidised everything. The peas cooked for about 45-50 mins, and then reheated for 10 mins after sieving and flavouring. I have to admit it was simple but tasty and even my fussy daughter loved it. We ate it with some home made bread, but she wasn't as keen on that because I had made brown bread instead of white. Actually, It was a Tesco brown bread mix with an extra 250g of white flour added. It made two small loaves instead of one, without using extra yeast. This tip was courtesy of Shirley Goode (and her blog is here).

Just to show you how lazy I've been, I finally finished a tablecloth I've been embroidering for absolutely ages. It was supposed to be done for Christmas..........Christmas 2009!

Anyway I pulled it out and was determined to get it done. I'm reasonably pleased with the result, I'm not the best embroiderer in the world, and I do get a bit fed up with the way the new embroidery designs only ever seem to use 3 stitches - Satin stitch, French knots, and Stem stitch. When I think back to school and how many different stitches I was taught.........you would think there would be more variety in the kits. Especially as I find Satin stitch one of the hardest to do. Anyway, here it is

That should look nice on the Christmas Table shouldn't it? I'm also finishing a Cross Stitch picture I've had hanging around for a while, when that's finished in a couple of days I'll post some pictures of that too. I picked up an old framed print from a charity shop which I can use to frame the cross stitch, once I've thrown the old print out. I'll have to look for a second one, as I have another to make after that.

It's another damp and dreary day here, and I've got pretty cold whilst sitting here and blogging. I have no idea what we will be eating for dinner today, but I suspect it'll be something warming.

My daughter and I have to go through the food cupboards today and work out what we need to buy. I'll put everything into moneysupermarket.com and compare prices across the board. Armed with my list of comparitive prices I shall then go to Lidl, Farm Foods and the pound shops in town to see if any of the food stuffs they sell, that are on my list, are cheaper before doing my main shop. Not sure if I save enough to cover the shoe leather, but it makes me feel I'm getting the best bargains anyway! My food budget seems to be going down month by month as other prices rise, as well as my budget not actually covering as much food as it did a few months back. I wish the weather would improve so I could feel confident about growing some of my own veg this year. It's nearly the end of May, and my tomatoes are only about 2" high, and I haven't even attempted to plant cucumbers or beans yet. The cold frosts we are still getting would kill them. I have got some parsnips growing, and some carrots & brussel sprouts.........but the cold is holding everything else back. I finally had to plant out my marrow and courgette plants a few days ago, I lost the first lot to the cold, and this is my second sowing. They had to go out, they were so leggy and beginning to form flowers.........but I'm afraid these might succumb to the cold too. I'm just holding my breath and hoping!

That's enough of my waffle for today, I need a cup of tea and to take my morning meds........before I forget them. Hope my new form of rambling doesn't annoy too many people, but it's MY blog after all!! ROFL

Maybe a change of direction...............

I seem to have hit the doldrums in my enthusiasm for everything lately. I don't make many cards, I can't raise any energy for cooking, my income has remained the same although my expenses have rocketed. Maybe I'm suffering from a bit of depression, but my 'get up and go' has 'got up and gone'. All I know is I'm finding it very hard to do anything. I haven't posted on here for a long long time despite my best efforts.
 I seem to have lots of people making demands and taking up my time with projects I don't really want to do, or feel too tired to enjoy.
So I find myself looking at this blog and thinking, if I'm not posting about making cards, perhaps I should be posting about all the other things going on in my day to day life ..........at least until my muse returns...........or maybe permanently?Hopefully the nice people who follow my blog will stay with me until I start reproducing some more cards, or they may enjoy seeing what else I can make in my evening hours.
Whatever happens, this blog has to have some fresh life generated into it somehow. I've been reading lots of other blogs which I hoped would inspire me........and if I had more energy........ they would!!
For the immediate future tho' I'm going to be blogging about my day to day existence..........self indulgent I admit, but I hope you don't mind!.............and at least it's  SOMETHING....