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?

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year Cards

I made a couple of cards for my neighbours who were kind enough to unexpectedly send me Christmas cards.
 I made no cards at all for Christmas this year,  or at least, to be honest I started to, but realising that postage costs were out of sight for us I gave up. Those I DID make will be up on the website eventually. Anyway, not wishing to be on bad terms with my neighbours I've made New Years Cards for them. I realised how out of practice I was in making cards when I started out, skills were rusty as was my inspiration!  I made two identical cards, and it took me nearly all day!

Anyway, although  I'm not completely happy with them, at least I made the effort. 10/10 for trying, as my teacher used to say. I thought I'd share my attempt with you, as some news is better than no news.

It blowing a gale here today and its pouring with rain. It's just after 1.30 in the afternoon, and we have had to put the lights on. Shocking waste of electricity but I couldn't see to type, and my daughter is trying to read. 
 There's a house round the corner to us that has lost all of its side fence, concrete posts and gravel boards included. All I've had blown over so far are the cut down milk bottles, waiting for me to plant them up with strawberries. They are in a heap in the far corner by the shed, so I'll just gather them up when the weather improves.Thankfully this garden seems to be fairly well protected.
The cat has just been howling to come in, I TOLD her she wouldn't like it out there, but she'd rather go out than utilise the litter tray. Something I'm actually quite grateful for to be honest. The dog has settled on a duvet on the settee to get warm and sleep, and my daughter has tucked him up in a blanket.......sad, but he seems very content with the whole situation. Silly animal!
This is definitely a day for staying in doors and doing crafty things, which for me today will be my cross stitch. 

I hope it's nicer weather where you are.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Farewell 2013......thank goodness

I am looking forward to the end of 2013 with huge anticipation. Although several good things  DID happen last year, overall I felt that I had  reached the culmination of the worst 4 years of my life. There was a really bad time when I just couldn't see anyway forward. I am just waiting now to draw a deep black line under the last year and start over.
However, I have been in our new house now for approximately 6 months, and I can feel my "black dog" receding a little everyday. Not everything in my life is rosy by any means, and due to several problems within my children's lives, I are more strapped for cash than I have ever been, to the point of having to go begging to the Essential Living Fund for food and heating money about a month before Xmas. But even then, I could only be grateful for this lovely little house................and the peace and tranquility I enjoy here.  We had a home made tree this year, courtesy of my ex husband. I asked him if he had any wire coat hangers he didn't want, (which he didn't,) but when he went into town a couple of days later he bought a pack from Wilkinsons, and wouldn't let me pay for them, so ......I made a tree out of coat hangers!

I have been looking ahead to 2014 and making plans. 
First Job : I am going to try to sell my large settee corner unit as it is way too big for this house. Good sense says I actually need a 2 seater settee, with a higher seat to aid my arthritic back and knees, and also something with legs so I don't have to move something heavy and cumbersome, to clean up the dog and cat hair that collects under the one we have now!
 If I can get a good enough price for the corner unit, I should be able to find a second hand replacement, AND hopefully, with enough left over to buy some wood for some raised vegetable beds in the garden,

 That's the second job this year:   I have to be able to grow some vegetables. Surplus to be frozen for winter, with luck. The cost of everything is going up, and I'd also like to plant some fruit bushes and espalier trees along the fence as well. When money gets tight, the first thing I cut back on is expensive fruit. So I'll grow my own.

Number 3 on my list of things to attempt this year is decorating this house and getting it straight, room by room. This has been put on hold up until now, as my son's belongings crowd every every available space, and furniture fills the shed. Hopefully he can find work, and also get rehoused himself, so my daughter and I can have our home back. I actually have the paint as I was given a decorating allowance when I moved in, but I am only just feeling well enough to tackle the job. Slowly, slowly will get it done and I'll take pictures as I go. I managed to get my craft shelving built just before Xmas, so with luck I can get back into that again this year.

Last but not least, I need to lose weight and get my Diabetes seriously under control.  I have been neglecting my health abysmally, so taking my medication and checking my blood sugar levels properly has to be on the agenda.

I really had let my whole world cave in around me whilst living in the hell that was my previous flat. Until I started thinking things through the other day, I really hadn't been conscious of how low I had got.  Scary when I look back! I had a phone call from a friend  a couple of days before Christmas, and she said I should go round to hers for a meal after New Year. I shocked both of us by agreeing immediately LOL.......that hasn't happened for at least a couple of years.

I've made quite enough decisions about 2014, and I'm hoping I continue to improve so I can sort out everything. I'm not going to set myself 'time targets' as I'm sure I'll still be having good spells and bad spells. I'm just going to do the best I can without putting myself under stress. I will update this blog, as and when I can, and with a little encouragement, the posts will get more and more frequent. I'd  LIKE to get my life back ha ha ha!

Wishing you all a really great 2014, and I'll speak to you again soon.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A quick catch up...........

Finally I was offered a move by my housing association. Just in time as far as I was concerned, as I really had reached the end of my tether. However, as I'm feeling much better now, the less said about that the better really. I just NEVER want to feel that hopeless again.

We moved house in the middle of July, and we had been in here just a week, when my son lost his home when his ex - partner moved up north, with less than a weeks notice to him. Unfortunately although they had been together about 15 years, his name had never been added to the tenancy, so he was homeless.

 So,... although I now have a lovely little 2 bed house, I have three adults here, and an extra household full of 'stuff' to store. Every room is packed with boxes, but what can you do? 

Eventually I expect one (or both) of my children to move out, and then I can decorate properly, and finish unpacking At present it's almost impossible to reach the walls to paint them, in ANY of the rooms. I'm embarrassed to answer the door really, we are in such a pickle, but my little house is so nice I can deal with waiting, its just such a pleasure living here.

I had a 10 day holiday with my Dutch friends in August which really completed my return to a peaceful existence.  We didn't do a lot, but I could just feel myself unwinding, and they just let me laze around if I wanted. It was just what I needed really.

I had an order of 30 Xmas cards from them, with very specific instructions as to the wording and font required on the inside and out. Originally I sent them 3 or 4 designs to choose from. They had already requested 'plain, simple and classy'., and they choose one of those with the modifications listed above.

Also while I was away I had my silver ring mended at a jewellers. It is made of one of the original 'Dutch buttons' and I have collected a set of jewellery made of these old pieces. There is only one place in Holland making them now I believe, and they are intricate pieces of work. So much, so that I wouldn't let a local jeweller loose on one!  Anyway, the girl who repaired it for me, also  cleaned my necklace and bracelet and charged me only €5, which was nothing!

 Once I got home I made her a thank you card.  I used a Lili of the Valley stamp and watercoloured it, as I felt more comfortable doing such a fiddly design with paint rather than promarkers. The backing paper was from a Papermania Urban Fairies range, and I cut out the circles with spellbinders nestabilities. Once completed, I added some diamantes to make it glitter.  I trimmed the edge of the card with a Martha Stewart border punch.

Despite  bodies sofa surfing and boxes stacked  everywhere, I have managed to set myself up a peaceful craft area in my bedroom, and I've made some Xmas Cards. 

 As I was setting up I found all the rubber stamps I'd purchased that I've never done anything with.  (Mostly because my depression had left me so uninterested in doing anything).  Anyway, I've promised myself that I'll make at least one card with each of them before I buy any more, and my list of 'wants' is growing quickly, so I'd better get on with making some. Also I have to revitalise my website... so I have plenty to get on with this coming year.

I feel so much better in myself that I don't find the amount I have to do at all daunting, but instead rather exciting.

 There is also the garden to sort out as I need to get some raised beds made, if I can afford the wood. I have plans to grow as much of my own produce as I can this coming year, I miss having a stock of my own home grown food in the freezer. Also it's far too expensive to buy fruit now. I have asked for small fruit trees as birthday and Christmas presents from my family as  I plan on growing them as espaliers up against the fences.  Watch this space as I will post pictures as I go along.  I wish I could plant straight into the ground, but my back pain and arthritic knees prevents me from kneeling and bending. Raised beds are going to be the only way for me to grow things. I have just had the fence replaced and a new shed built, so I'm on the way.  Anyway...........visitors just arrived so I must dash.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Still Holding My Breath...........

I'm still waiting to see if my move will go through. I've started to pack my books and dvd's into boxes, but I'm a bit scared that I may be tempting fate by doing so. I just wish I knew what was going to happen. Do the relevant Housing Associations have no idea what they are putting me through...............??  *sighs*......and would they care if they did?

A repost from Mo's Digital Pencil

I am just pasting a post from Mo's digital pencil as the subject she has written about is seriously important. So much so, that anything I can do to help spread this message from her,  I will do.  I only wish I had the talent of a digital artist. It's not as tho' the images they produce are expensive, so why steal?  Anyway, she says it far better than I could. . . . .

Letter to The Craft Club (and to all others "sharing" images on Pinterest and elsewhere)

Hey there, this is Mo Manning from Mo's Digital Pencil.  -- I see by your blog posts as well as your posts in your Facebook Group that you are a nice person who tries hard to do right.  I see that you're active in a lot of charities, and that you love your family and friends.  So I'm assuming that you don't understand that you are stealing from me.  But I'm writing today to tell you firmly that what you are doing is ABSOLUTELY stealing, and this must stop because you, my dear, are personally helping to put companies like mine out of business.

It is against the law for you to upload images you don't own the copyright to to the internet for others to share. (In fact when you agree to the terms of use for Pinterest, or Facebook or Flickr, Photobucket, NING, or any other online host, you are promising not to upload any material you do not own the copyright to.)

As I said, I'm sure you hadn't considered that this type of "sharing" might be a criminal act, but the law does see it that way.  Even more importantly in my opinion, is that it's so morally wrong -- and I would think, by your talk of "care packages" and "troops" and "mother's day" you would agree with me. 

Think about it.  Every image that you pass around on Pinterest or in a group like this, or via email is then passed around again by the people who get it free from you.  Pretty soon -- and I am telling you this from my own depressing experiences this year -- nobody needs to buy the stamp anymore because it's available for FREE thanks to you.  Some of what "USED TO BE" my most popular images (including the one you have in your album here) no longer sell  in my shop.  My income has dropped more than 30% this year.  Can you imagine if someone suddenly cut off 1/3 of your income?  Would you be able to pay your rent?  Feed  your children?

Now look at the huge collection of Magnolia "digis" you say are from your personal collection.  I've seen those all over Pinterest, so I'm pretty sure you mean you collected them from Pinterest and did not scan in the stamped images yourself.   Now the thing is that Magnolia does not create digital images at all, so someone (or many someones) have scanned in all their stamped images and are sharing them as digis.  EVERY SINGLE digital Magnolia image you see or share is STOLEN.  A customer may not make their own "digi" from a rubber stamp.  If you want the digital version, buy it from the store.  If the company doesn't make digital stamps, you are just out of luck -- just as you'd be out of luck if a book you wanted only came in hardback and wasn't available for your e-reader.  (Or maybe you could write to the company and suggest they sell some of their images in digital form.)

Digital stamps -- even ones given as "freebies" are not allowed to be shared except by the artists themselves.  It is NOT OKAY to share a freebie on Pinterest or anywhere else.  Stealing an image from an artist is "as bad" as shoplifting, and even more harmful as then our work is copied and shared by countless others thanks to that first illegal share.

Let me repeat -- there should not be a SINGLE ONE of my, or any other stamp companies' unwatermarked (neither colored nor black and white) stamp images either posted, sent or shared online by crafters.  Anywhere. PERIOD.

Is that so hard to understand?

So, my dear, I hope you take my words to heart - and I mean that.  Because until all crafters (no matter how nice they are in real life) realize that art is NOT FREE --and until they stop sharing and stop using images they haven't paid for -- crafters like you are personally responsible for destroying the businesses of already struggling artists.  It's not fair to the artists, and it's not fair to our "real" fans who do pay for the art they love and want to use.


Good for you MO!

Monday, June 10, 2013

I hardly dare to think about it............

..........but we think we may have found a new swapper to exchange houses with. We've both filled the paperwork in, and sent it off to the relevant housing associations. Today my housing officer came around to do an inspection of the flat and passed it as in fit condition to exchange. Now I just have to wait and see if I'll be accepted by the other authority.

As luck would have it we found a place in Shoeburyness, close to a couple of Jo's friends, my father, and Jo's Dad. The other end of the same road as it happens, so that all works out rather well. There is a small garden, but enough to grow a few things in, and let me sit out with the dog on a fine day. What more could I need?
I'm hoping to grow some espalier fruit trees along the brick wall at the end. The garden faces south so those walls should get nice and warm........Although the garden is only about 14 foot deep, I think it will be plenty for me as I get older. Unless I win the Lottery ( not likely) this hopefully will be my final home........always supposing I get it in the first place!!  Once again please................fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Tiny bit of Inspiration.

Schhhhhhhhh!      I made a card.  Don't say it too loud, everyone might want one.  I wish I knew if I was moving or not, so I know whether to pack the rest of my craft stuff away or get the packed bits out!  This was a nightmare to make as I couldn't find anything I wanted.
I have an order for Christmas cards again, and my customers are waiting for proof cards to decide which design they want..............it's so frustrating.

Anyway, enough moaning.............

It's another of the images from Lilli of the Valley, plus a couple of extra cupcakes stamped and cut out from a Little Claire set, ( actually, to hide a couple of flaws, I'd gone too far to want to start over.....!)  The colouring was done with promarkers. The icing was glittered with dazzling diamonds, and the cherries were glossed with Anita's glossy accents.. The patterned paper was taken from a Forever Friends A5 pad, and the plain card was from a mixed pack of card from Crafters Companion.

Hope you enjoyed looking, and please keep praying we get a house move soon!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Moneysupermarket.com Challenge

This is a quick post to put the word out about the Challenge on moneysupermarket.com   

The idea is that you offer 30 moneysaving tips on your blog and they will enter you into a draw for £1000. This was easier than I thought to be honest. Once I started to think of ways I save money, it just seemed to flow. I didn't know I was that clever! ha ha! If you follow the link above it will be explained much better than I can do it, but in the meantime here's my list.

1     If  bed sheets start to get thin, cut down the centre and sew edges together ( sides to middle) Re-hem the edges
2    Single flannel sheets from jumble sales, can be cut and hemmed to make lovely bedding for cots or prams.  3   Do repairs in clothes etc as soon as you see them. Remember the old proverb " a stitch in time, saves nine" 
 4  Save envelopes, and use the clean sides as telephone message pads or shopping lists. 
 5   Cut large drinks bottles in half, the 'funnel end' can be buried in the soil next to newly planted tomato plants( or other plants if wanted) and during hot weather directs water straight to the roots instead of evaporating off the surface of the soil. 
The bottom halves will fit over small pots as a cloche for small plants 
Cut the bottoms off small plastic bottles and put over the tops of canes. This will protect your eyes should you not see the canes as you bend over near them. 
8       If you cut three sided flaps in the bottles and bend outwards slightly, the wind will catch them , they will spin, and the resulting rattle will scare off pidgeons etc from your seedlings. 
9      Coffee grounds placed around pants will help deter slugs. You used to be able to get used grounds from Starbucks for free, but not sure if they still do this
10 Used teabags can go into the bottom of trenches with shredded paper to provide a moist base for runner beans.
      11.   Use the middles from toilet rolls as plant pots for long rooted seedlings like parsnips, sweetcorn, or runner beans. When its time to plant them out you don't need to transplant just set the whole thing into the soil and they will rot away.
12.   When planting pea seeds into guttering to germinate them, line the guttering with newspaper first, it holds moisture and makes the transplanting even easier, just put the lot in the ground. If you have no guttering I've put three or four 'gutters' of newspaper filled with soil into a seed tray, and planted in that, transferring the lot to the soil when ready. 13.   If you need herbs from the supermarket, buy the fresh herbs in pots. they cost a little more, but I plant them out when I get home and I have herbs all summer long, for the cost of one pot. In the case of my mint and rosemary, this is its third year! 
14.   Go through you fridge at the end of each week, and make soup out of all vegetables starting to wilt and look a bit sad. It makes another meal, and is good for you. 
        15.   Any cheese going hard can be grated and used as a topping for macaroni cheese or pizza. If you don't need it straight away, or there's not enough, grate it and freeze it until you do.
      16.   If you are going out for a day, take a small plastic bottle filled with water to save buying drinks. If you fill it the night before, wrap in a thick wad of newspaper held on with rubber bands, and put in the fridge until you go, it will be insulated and stay cool for many hours.
      17.   Always buy a whole chicken, and joint it yourself. It works out much cheaper, plus you have the bones to make stock, and the bits of meat off the carcass when cooked  can make another meal.
        18.   Freeze the resulting stock until needed or use it as a base for soups.
      19.   Make your washing up liquid go further by mixing it 50/50 with white vinegar. The vinegar cuts through grease and costs much less.
  20.   Make your own clothes washing liquid. ( many recipes on internet) Its much much less expensive. 21.   White vinegar as a fabric softener works really well, and cost so little. It also healps keep your washing machine healthy!
     22.   A spray bottle filled with white vinegar and water removes soap scum from shower tiles and glass. In fact it's great on all glass surfaces around the home.
23.   Sew 2 or 3 pieces of old  towelling together to make soft absorbent bath mats24.   Cut small hand towels in half as they get older , and hem to make face flannels. 
  25  Cut and hem 'holey' tea towels to make dishcloths.
.         26 Cut and hem cotton tea shirts for dusters.
       27  Save buttons off old shirts/cardigans/coats/anything!  Thread onto cotton and knot to keep together in sets. Save in a button tin. Next time you need a button for anything you probably won't need to buy one, you will almost certainly have a set that match.
    28.   Side shoots taken off tomato plants will transplant and make new plants to save money or give away. I've even broken off a top of a plant accidentally and replanted that and it's grown!
     29   Save old denim jeans to make patches for kids jeans or make a false turn up on kids jeans to lengthen for a bit more wear.
     30.   A ladies dress from a jumble sale, in a decent fabric, holds enough material to make a jumpsuit for a toddler, and the zip is usually long enough to use for a zip opening right down the front.
31.   The plastic tops of tubes of Pringles will sit nicely on an opened can of pet food to prevent flies or smell. 

I still haven't made a card............most of my craft stuff has been packed away in the hope I might be moving soon. I just don't know whether to unpack again or not. I have bought the new LOTV stamp release tho', and the temptation to play with them is so strong I may have to unpack again anyway. In the meantime it's a wonderfully sunny day and I could do with digging out some dandelions while the sun is warm on the garden.
There you are..............another tip........young dandelion leaves taste GREAT!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Still here..........still too cold to craft.

We are still at the same address. The house exchange we hoped for seemed to be going through without a hitch, and we sent all the paperwork in to the Landlords, and began to pack. Then, after a couple of weeks, it turned out that the people we were due to swap with had such horrendous arrears of rent, the whole thing had to be abandoned. We were devastated, as my health continues to deteriorate the longer I am here. So we are still waiting and hoping that something turns up soon.
It's so cold I can't craft at the moment, and I desperately want to make some cards, I keep hoping we will get a move to a house with a decent heating system.  As soon as I can use the stamps and dies I've bought you'll be the first to see them, I promise.!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dull & Dreary...

...The weather that is!......we had a smattering of snow last night and today it's just wet, grey, cold & miserable. It's been too dark indoors to make a card, even with the light on. So much for my intention to make one a day. Tch!......so I have more decisions to make, do I just miss a day, or make two cards tomorrow?

Anyway, I do have a Valentines card and a general greetings card to show off from the last couple of days.  Here is the Valentines card...

It's quite a simple design, and I used one of my cutting dies for the heart, and added some gems to it.  The sentiment was computer printed direct onto the card, and could be changed to whatever was wanted. The paper was from a pad by Henbury Lane I believe. This card could be made in any colour including white on white, and would be equally suitable for Anniversaries and Weddings.

Yesterday I made a General greetings card using a stamp I've had for a while, but not used yet......I have quite a few of these, and I'm going to try to get around to using them all in the next few weeks.

 This sweet little girl is from Lili of the Valley. The colours aren't showing very well, I'm afraid. She is actually coloured in lilac, NOT grey!
 I used a Sakura stardust pen on the centre of the flowers, and it just gives a slight purple sparkle. The sentiment was stamped and heat embossed also in purple.

It's been so cold here today, I went out to the kitchen to make some soup and my fingers got so red raw and achy preparing the veggies, I was almost in tears with the pain. I've been keeping a check on the cost of heating this flat, and it's been costing between £6 & £7 a DAY and the flat is still cold. 

My daughter has been staying in bed with a hot water bottle and playing on her computer, apart from that we just have a halogen heater in the lounge. We dare not put the storage heaters on at all. 
The dog and the cat are both snuggled up on the settee as tightly curled as they can, and I'm thinking of crocheting a dog coat for him to go out in.
Anyway here's a quick picture of the soup, it's simmering now, and when the vegetables are all cooked I'll blitz it smooth! There should be enough for a couple of days anyway.

My daughter doesn't really like soup if she knows what's in it...( I know, pernickitty!) ... and unfortunately she came out into the kitchen while I was preparing it, so has decided she doesn't want any......we'll see!  
I made it to use up some veggies that we have that are past their best. I have an organic vegetable box delivered, and some of the veg wasn't being used and it's far too expensive to waste anything, so I've made this soup. I used some chicken stock cubes, a couple of carrots, 2 leeks, 2 onions, 1 small Turnip, a couple of cloves of garlic, 1 grated Celeriac, 1 Butternut squash and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Salt & pepper to taste of course and because it's so cold, and I was thinking 'warmth', I added 1 level tsp of sweet chilli sauce.......should be interesting eh?

I'll let you know tomorrow how it turns out.

Could everyone please keep their fingers crossed for us, we have had a reply from someone who may want to complete our three way house exchange on Homeswappers

I would love to get our housing sorted by March if possible, so I can get my vegetable garden planted in time for this year.

Updates on that if  they happen too.  
Bye for now