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?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas is Coming

I've been busy the last few days sorting out the bits for Christmas, or at least making a list. I've made my Mincemeat, plus 2 or 3 extra small jars for my 'Mini Hampers' I plan to give as presents.
 Today I've prepared my spiced vinegar ready to bottle my pickled onions, some of which will also go into hampers.

 So tonight I'll be peeling the onions and leaving them in a bowl with salt overnight, then tomorrow I can bottle them

I've got some beetroot cooking too, which I will slice & bottle in Jars also for the hampers. I make a raspberry jelly with white vinegar and use that to preserve it. It's an interesting combination and makes a sweeter preserve.

 I'm going to be making some small Christmas cakes to include too, but not for a couple of weeks yet! 

I'm  halfway through making a lap blanket for my Aunt, only the second crochet blanket I've attempted. Then my daughter came home yesterday and told me that she had been to her Nan's, (my ex MIL) and she had answered the door in gloves and  two woollies and thick socks, so "she needs a blanket for Christmas too, Mum". I'd better get going on these! My MIL is 85 and told my daughter she just couldn't get warm. As her house has never had central heating fitted and she has just one electric fire, I'm hardly surprised. We keep trying to get her to move into a nice, warm flat, but for years she wouldn't consider it. Finally we got her to speak to someone about it on the phone. A nice young man who said we could get you a nice little flat on the fourth floor with a lift access. "Fourth floor? " she said, "No THANK you!" and she put the phone down. "I'm staying on the ground with my little garden" she said.

 Here's a few of the squares I've made so far. I'm going to be crocheting until Christmas I think!

I've had my organic veggie box delivered today, I was supposed to get a Romanesco cauliflower which I'd never eaten, and was curious to try, so it was kinda unfortunate that I was sent an orange cauliflower instead, it's another different variety I'm interested to sample, so it's not a major issue.........just a little disappointing.

I also received my meat delivery from Donald Russell today.  I got eight packs of  beef steak mince, four of the steak & kidney. one each of the lamb, pork and beef joints, a Haggis, and a wild duck. Both of the latter are treats I haven't had for years. The Haggis I will save for New Year's eve, and the Duck may well be my New year's day Dinner. It would make a change, and my daughter has never eaten duck, so a new experience for her! This should make enough meat in the freezer now to carry us through until after Christmas. I like to stock up my cupboards  before Christmas, and then afterwards I like to see how far I can go before I have to do a major shopping trip. Last year I got through to the end of March before I had to buy anything other than fresh veg and milk.

Finally, I've only made one more card this week, and I'm not happy as it doesn't feel finished. I may add some flowers to it, I'll see. I think the problem is, I haven't had time to sit down and concentrate on the design of the card, which means I end up dissatisfied with what I produce. The website has been shockingly neglected. I need to really set to and sort it out for the New Year, I've had no sales at all this year and I think this is reflected in the state of the site. It needs a complete refurbish!
My son has just turned up for a visit so I'll finish now, I'll post again soon with pictures of the preserves I've done.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Autumn is officially here

The weather is chilling now and I've resorted to my little electric fire on a few nights lately. With autumn comes the first of the Xmas cards. After a long, long break from making any at all, I settled down determined to use my new stamps from Lili of the Valley.
I really struggled to make them. It was as though I'd forgotten everything I ever knew about card crafting. Even using the Promarkers wasn't easy, and my colouring left a lot to be desired. I suppose it serves me right, as the saying goes 'use it or lose it', and I've nearly lost it!  By the time Christmas is over tho' I should have made enough to get back into the swing of things (I hope). So here's the two I made, you might have seen them a couple of days ago on Facebook, but I've been rushed off my feet here with cooking, washing, and getting up to date with different personal bits. It doesn't look as though it's going to get any quieter as the week goes on. But hopefully I can get another couple of posts up before the weekend. I'm thinking of telling everyone I'm going away for a fortnight just to get some peace and quiet!

I haven't decided who will recieve these two yet, or whether I'll put them on the website for sale, and if no one wants them by the middle of December then I'll use them myself.

I had a tickly throat the other day, and decided I was going to build up my immune system early this year. I put on my hunter gatherer hat, or rather my foraging hat if I'm honest. I spent a good half hour or so collecting Rose hips around the housing estate gardens and came home to make my first ever batch of Rose hip syrup............and very nice it is too!. The throat didn't develop into anything, but I'm taking no chances. a spoonful of this every day should help keep the sniffles at bay this winter.

Must dash now, I've got some washing to put out to dry before I go to bed, and I must get an early night. I have my organic vegetable box being delivered tomorrow, and there's a chance it will arrive extremely early.
I'll try to remember to take pictures.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Rain stops play...

...not Cricket, just beach games for the dog. This is the first day after a long miserable summer when dogs are allowed back on the beach,............ and my dog loves the beach! He is embarrassingly loud in his appreciation when he realises where we are going. He yelps like a' big girl' dog, whines, whimpers and actually howls if we have to wait for traffic before crossing the road, then ups and walks on his back legs pulling like crazy once we hit the car park behind the sea wall. Get to the top of the steps to the beach and he sits like an angel waiting for his lead to come off, before running across the sand. 
From the end of March to the end of September I cannot go anywhere near the roads leading to the beach because he can't understand council rules, and can't read the signs along the sea wall. It's quite heartbreaking to see him wondering why the beach is suddenly out of bounds, as soon as the weather improves enough to swim.
 Anyway............this is the first day back and I got up at 6.30a.m., hoping I could take him over to the beach before everyone else arrived, opened my curtains ...............and it was absolutely hissing down! Poor Bumble! I'd show you this sad sight of him gazing out of the window, but the battery on my camera has died! Of course it's just luck he's doing that right now,  as he has no idea of the date or the treat he's missed, but it would have made a good picture!
Here's one we made earlier,........... in true Blue Peter fashion. The black strip of fluffiness draped over the windowsill is our cat 'Spooky'............another abandoned scrap we claimed as our own, but that's another story.

A few weeks ago I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere with him really, but along with feeling brighter, I have had a long held worry removed. For over a 18 months now I've been having chest pains, especially in the cold weather or when I walk fast or get upset /stressed. I finally got myself checked out, had an Angiogram, and been diagnosed with Angina. Now I'm on medication I'm feeling much better, not least because the fear of a heart attack has been removed. I should have got myself sorted out much sooner, but my depression just kept saying 'Why bother? Life is pretty miserable anyway.' 
Now I know what I have to do to make myself completely well, reduce the stress in my life, and get a move to a place where I have outside access to plant and relax. It will come, I just have to be ready, so I'm saving like crazy now so I can go when the opportunity presents itself!

I get paid once a fortnight and after paying all my bills I have £50 a week left for groceries, pet food & cleaning stuffs. So far this week I have spent £25.85 and so have £24.15 to last until Thursday. I should be able to save some of that, as I have very little to buy apart from milk until then. Out of next weeks money I have to pay out £18.97 for an organic vegetable box, (plus a couple of extras like yoghurt), to be delivered. That will leave me £31.03 out of which I have to put aside £10 towards the next pack of dog biscuits. I buy these once a month as the larger packs are slightly cheaper. Today or tomorrow I have a gammon joint to cook, depends how I feel really as I've a bit of a painful stomach today. But anyway, once cooked, we can have a meal of it and the rest is sliced and frozen to eat over time as either meals or sandwiches. We have a lot of sausages in the freezer, some chicken portions, and some lamb chops. I think I only have pork mince left but I can top that up with some beef and lamb next time I get a supermarket shop. I wish we had a decent supermarket within walking distance, but we only have a Tesco Express near us, and apart from charging extra for everything, their range is abysmal, and what they do sell is often out of stock anyway. In fact it's got so bad I've taken to popping to our local convenience store, again it costs a bit more but despite being half the size it does stock such things as white vinegar, mixed spice and dishwasher rinse aid which can't be found at Tesco. In fact, I had to explain what dishwasher rinse aid WAS to the Manager!

Well, I've spent a long time waffling on today, I'm going to curl up with a hot water bottle now and hope my tummy ache eases. Whether anything exciting happens or not I'll try to be back tomorrow and catch you up on my boring days!

Bye now