Monday, November 24, 2008

Stories in Hand

A lot of people signed up for and completed the Stories in Hand free class being run by Jessica Sprague on her blog. I discovered Jessica way back in 2004 when she had a simple blog and gave away a couple of free kits. I followed her for a while but when she joined Creative Keepsakes Mag I kinda lost touch with what she was doing. More recently I rediscovered her and so I was really pleased at the opportunity to join her free class.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, and as most of the forum was full of american girls at first I got caught up in the 'awesomeness' of it all. The first few days Jessie gave us free downloads in order to make our album (or cover a bought one, of course I took the 'make-your-own' option) and it was brilliant fun. She gave us page after page after page of 'sparks', questions and prompts to get us thinking about the 'stories' in our lives, the anecdotes, the information, the forgotten tales, of our families and our own existance. Pretty soon my post bound home made album needed a set of extension posts, and another set, and we hadnt even started to write yet!

There was also a jotter for your hand bag and checklist sheets to write the bones of your story on once the sparks had made you think.

It was at this point I stopped. Oh I still loved the idea, but it just wasnt working for me. I need to be way more organised, I need to take the time to write the whole story, not make notes or jot. I needed all my stories in one place, and I simply couldnt work out how the checklist worked at all. Plus there was no way it was going to fit in my album. That was already chock-a-block.

Tonight I have taken a second look. I still love the idea and want to do it, but it needs to work for me.

So I am going to dispense with the jotter, loose the checklists and just use the 'spark's as a kind of reference book, much as you would any other inspirational scrapbook or mag. I am going to make a whole new album to house my stories all in one place. And I am going to pester my family and mainly my girls so that I get the stories right!!


I joined a Hanging Decoration swap on the Pad and since my swapee has posted to say she has recieved my contribution I can post a photo of what I made her.

Its another from the Tone Finnauger Crafting Christmas Gifts book and she was great fun to make.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I hate snow, and birdhouses.

so I wasnt best pleased to look out the window and see this today

I wasnt impressed on seeing the new 'structure' the neighbours have built overnight - it wasnt there on Friday, and I am pretty sure they should have got planning permission.

The local theatre/hall holds a craft fair every year at this time, a chance for local crafters to sell their products. Mum and I have been going along for about 6 years now. The first time we went there was a terrific atmospher, low lighting, christmas music and some wonderful makes. Sadley each year the whole thing has gone downhill as more and more 'traders' have taken stalls and of those stalls given over to crafters either they are not of quality or there is no variety and you end up facing a whole row of knitted elves. And every year the weather has been appauling, with rain and driving winds.

This year not only was no exception, it was worse than ever. Mum nearly lost the car door to the wind when we parked, and the show was a total disappointmen., We didnt even stop for a coffee this time and I dont think we will be bothering next year. A shame because I know there are some very talented crafters about and this would be a great showcase for them.

I came home and since I tidied all the house yesterday I was able to spend some time crafting. These are what I have been busy with. The template is on Capture the magic site and the lesson is by Nichole Heady. I have used BG Blitzen Wonderland, and as I had no nestibility, used my scalloped scissors to cut the roof from Papermill card. I then coated the roofs with snow glitter, and punched out holly leaves around the hole I cut with a coluzzle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Filling gaps

Filling gaps in my blog.

There has been only one day of supply work since before half term and I was getting really low about it. Bless my darling Laura, she came round to find me nearly in tears with worry about virtually everything so sat me down and we did some straight talking. She has promised to take me into school with her after Christmas to do some observation in a secondary school. Maybe this will give me the confidence to apply for some Science teaching jobs with older children.

Her chat also gave me the push to finally go ahead and sign up for the Childoodcarer course. I dont have a problem with knowing I could do this, just I was worried about loosing my teaching career but as she said, what was I getting out of being a teacher anyway, that I couldnt get from looking after kids at home? Good point, so lets go for it.

I have also applied for a couple of jobs so its back to playing the waiting game.

Other gaps to fill ...

Martin and I took ourselves off to Dover Castle for a second time, as last week there was better weather and our English Heritage Membership cards are burning a hole. Dad told me that he had heard part of the castle was being renivated but when I looked on the website there was no mention. When we arrived there was still no mention on notice boards, only as we checked in at the gate did the lady mention (after insisting on scanning both our cards) that the second and third floor were shut.

What she failed to mention was that everything else was also shut, only the shop and the siege room were open. Consequently it only took as an hour to wander around, avoiding the french children on an outing and get fed up. We then went into Dover itself to see if we could find something to eat. It took us two trips round the town to find a place to park, 10 mins to walk down the rather seedy tatty highstreet, 3 mins in Macdonalds, and that says something about the variety of eating houses because we NEVER do Maccy Dee, and then another 5 in the car park muching our Deli. Not much of a day out, but still a day out.

Wayne and Laura have started employing me as a dog walker twice a week, Bailey is a beautiful dog and so good on his lead, and combined with dad deciding that he will also walk his little Whiskey dog, and me tagging along I have done plenty of walks this last two weeks.

On saturday my baby Kelly was feeling rather sorry for herself with a cough and sniffles so I ran over to sittingbourne while Ollie was at work for a cuppa, managing to stay for over an hour, and stopping her revising. We had a good old fashioned play with Billy as he was proudly showing off the new jumper Kelly had just finished knitting him. He now wants another jumper! And denims!

Another gap

Back to organising the wedding, but the venue we all thought was sorted has hit Laura with a huge price for the bar drinks. Part of the deal is that we use the guy's own barman who we were told was very reasonable. HUH! I dont know what planet £4 a pint and £3.50 a glass of wine is reasonable on, and £20 per person for a drinks package?!!!? Anyway its back to the drawing board and last night we went to look at a converted barn that is being let out as a holiday home. It has been renivated to a really high spec...not my cup of tea as I dont think old barns look right done up to a contemporary style but should be more traditional. Laura had hoped that we could hold the whole wedding inside the barn, the lounge certainly was big enough at 60x40 ft, but the owner eventually talked herself out of this and insists that Laura uses a marquee at least for the eating part. As this defeats the object of hiring a barn in the first place, we were all rather dissapointed and are back to haunting the net in the hopes of finding somewhere else.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas cards

My Christmas card making has taken a bit of a backseat as I have been taking part in the free 'Stories in Hand' course being run by Jessica Sprague. More to come about that in a seperate post.

I do want to upload some of the cards I have already made though, even though I am finding it very difficult to get any decent photos of them and have resorted to scanning.

No idea what the paper is as it was a freebie in one of last years scrap mags. One of the new Hero Arts stamps for this year I made the scalloped circle by cutting out a plain circle with my coluzzle and then using my corner rounder to punch the scallops

One of the Magnolia images I had left from the image swap my Padder mates held last year. Matted onto red cardstock from the papermill and again onto white cardstock that has been embossed with the Winter words cuttlebug folder.

This one is (I think) an old Hero Arts stamp I bought in the sale box last year, coloured with watercolour pencils and faux stitching added. The background paper is last years Foofala christmas paper, and the whole lot has had a good inking with Ranger distressing ink, then topped off with a ribbon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bonfire night celebrations

Ollie is self-admittedly a bit of a pyromaniac so when, four years ago we let him be in charge of letting off the box of fire-works in the garden I think we unleashed a monster! Since then he has revelled in buying home fireworks and putting on a mini display.

This year was no dissappointment as he practised the skills he has honed since we first let him launch a rocket from a wine bottle. All the family came over at five, and we started with my infamouse home made veggie soup.

Soup recipe
Veggies - you can select what you like but I usually use the following:- 1 leek
Half a small swede

1 large onion
4/5 mushrooms
1 carrot

Roughly chop vegs, cover with water, add 3 oxo cubes ( like beef but I am sure veg stock will work too) .

Bring to boil, simmer until veg are soft.

Use slotted spoon to remove veg to a liquidiser. Depending on how much of the veg you liquidise depends on if you like broth or smooth soup).

Put liquidised veg back into stock, bring to the boil again.

I dont season but let my guests add salt and pepper to their own tastes.

After the soup we all went outside where Ollie had placed all his fireworks from the two boxes him and Kelly had bought with them, in the order that Ollie felt would give the best display. He had even professionally numbered them. I was very impressed. And it was worth the time he had taken. Unlike the parties I had as a kid where dad and Uncle Ray would spend ages between each firework with their torches in the metal box (always one for safety my Dad) peering at labels and trying to decide what to light next, Ollie's careful planning meant a smooth transition between each display and a clever buildup to the finally with each cascade of light becoming increasingly more spectacular.

We loved the rockets, no idea how much the kids spent on these, but they really were quality and went really far up into the sky. We were a bit norty and got a bit competitive with the neighbours, a rocket war I am confident we won hands down!

I was a tad dissappointed in the sparklers, both in quanitity (I love sparklers and two each was no where near enough in my book) and the quality as mine bend very quickly on lighting making it hard to do any sky writing.

Over all though a really impressive display and we all had brilliant fun, so thank you very much kids. Of course you have now set a presidence and we will be expecting even bigger next year!!!

Afterwards it was all back indoors for jacket spuds, hot dogs with heaps of fried onions and ketchup, followed by apple crumble and custard, and finally a Sainsbury birthday (bought by Ollie and Kelly) candles, happy birthday and singed hair as I tried to blow out the candle flames.

No photos, we were all having far too good a time to worry about cameras. So a big thankyou to my family for my birthday tea!!!!

Yet again I have not been called up to do supply work so I am going to spend some of today scanning in my christmas cards and hope to get them uploaded. Here is a couple I scanned yesterday, as I have given up attempting to get a decent photo in the rotten light we have at the moment. Guess what? Its chucking it down with rain again today.

I really like these two, This one I simply run the background cardstock through my zipemate using swiss dots, and rubbed over with a blue cats eye ink pad.

And this one was even faster, practically the only work apart from printing out and cutting paper was to distress the background paper (Shabby Princess Holiday sample kit) with some Ranger distress ink.,

Friday, November 07, 2008

This time last year.

I have been feeling really down the last, week, supply work has been non-existant, there seems to be more month than money at the moment and the weather has been pretty poor. This morning, I started to read back through my blog in an attempt to try and find the Christmas A-Z prompts I did for the pad girls last year (and do not seem to have backed up anywhere). I came across my blog entry for about this time last year, where I was feeling exactly the same as now! At the time I wondered if I was suffering from SAD It seems too much of a coincidence and it would seem I really do suffer from it, and I guess it must take me longer than most to get over the changing of the clocks.

Anyway I am determined to not let it get me down too much and I have lots of stuff to update on here, so I apologise for a somewhat lengthy post.

Last week, while it was half-term, I finally got to catch up with my mate Jan, the mum of Joey who came off her horse early this year. Well there was plenty of positive news. Jo is making good progress and is now able to come home at weekends! She is still hampered physically by her lack of muscle strength and the extra time it takes her brain to tell her muscles to move, and although in a wheelchair there are lots of things she is able to do. The hospital are hoping to get her moving on crutches rather than on the frame she can use at the moment as the frame is not doing her posture any good.

As well as that her hubby Trevor who had to have a valve replaced in his heart has now improved enough to return to work, and since he is a driver/delivery man this is great news. Other good news, Wayne and Laura have put the wedding back on the agenda, still for next July but at a slightly reduced scale. So looks like my diet is back on the books too.

I also have a whole heap of Christmas cards made and want to share, but I need to go away and read the camera manual as the white balance is wrong somehow and most photos are coming out too dark.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Because I was a golf widow yesterday and it was my birthday I refused to do anything other than play in my scrap room so I got lots finished. For those of you collecting my tiles here is my finished advent calendar and the last of the tiles.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Remember that sad tale of my dad gettting bitten by Danny the rescue dog? Well it has a happy ending, on Saturday the rescue home phoned to say they had another little dog they thought would be suitable. We went over on Sunday and although Mum wasnt keen on having a dog just before christmas, we all fell in love with the new bundle of fur immediately.

Here he is in the dog cage, as he spent the first three nights scratching and crying at the kitchen door for my parents. He was found abandoned so its likely he is feeling a bit insecure.

Mind he is a plucky little guy - he wasnt daunted by the size of his stick!

Happy birthday to me!!

And some more advent pics. Please comment and/or come back and give me the link to your finished calendars as I would love to see the pics in action!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A toot, an apology and more calendar

Thank you to whoever pointed out to MA on UKS that I was giving out these advent calendar pics, I am now proudly displayed and linked on the UKS home page!!Along with Soojay, Emerfera, and Scrapdolly its like a Pad Feast of recognition and I am so proud to be mentioned alongside these fab girls.

There are more pics coming in a sec, but I have to apologise to my Son-in-law again) for omitting to mention that a week ago Sunday the family were invited over to dinner. Unlike Brucie I am doddery. doddery I am and alongside dyslexia I dont really stand much chance of remembering my name let alone the day's events. One reason I have a blog, and I am glad at least one member of my family is reading it and reminding me if I forget things or get them wrong.

It was dad's birthday (see I forgot to mention that too!) so we were all invited over for a delish lamb and roast veggie lunch.
Ollie had picked out a 'diy' decorated cake for afterwards, and although the icing was naff, the cake was nice (thankyou sainsburys).

Dad was given his presents (and I am going to write here what he got as he always asks what we got him 'last year' and I can never remember) a dvd player from Kelly and Ollie, a winter shirt from Laura and Wayne and I had bought him flannelette PJ's, mum having sported out for theartre tickets to see a Flannagan and Allan tribute.
We also got to see Kez's and Oll's new HD tv in action. I cant say I was that impressed, but the guy's were - which may have been down to the footie content rather than picture quality though.

We did have a small smirk though as it was the weekend that the clocks went back and Wayne and Laura forgot! They had rushed around doing their shopping thinking they were late for their lunch only to arrive an hour ahead of time!!

OK promised pics

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Two more

Day 3 and 4

Latest craze - Baking tray advent calender

Scrapdolly (and a few others including Andrea and her mum) have made some fantastic Baking Tray advent calendars, based on a 'glue and stick' class held by Gail /Efemera who has kindly shared the dimentions with a few of her pad friends, and I thought I would join in too. I really love the PC Hugz Christmas tiles Dolly used but being me and a tad mean I decided to try making my own, and sharing. Here are the first few (its slow going) and I will continue to upload as I finish them.

I have made all from scratch - after spending ages finding tuts to get the chalky effect, and all the images come from kits by Kitz found on this blog.

JPEG form so just right click and save image as.

For those of you following the link from the UKS front page you need to go to my main pages to get the rest of the images. Click here