Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa's gifts

I shall wear midnight byTerry Pratchett- Martin
Crochet Hooks -Kelly and Ollie
Embossing kit - Kelly and Ollie
The Family Calendar - Laura and Wayne
2 kindle covers - Lara and wayne
Body shop stuff - laura and wayne
Sew Pretty homestyle Tone Ginnager - mum and dad
Slippers - Mum and dad
Stocking of craft goodies - Martin
Liquid Pearls - Martin

Monday, December 20, 2010

In the blink of an eye

Friday Martin and I braved the snow - yes, although it had all thawed near us, Dover, Deal and Folkestone had had it fairly badly) - to go to my work's dinner and dance. It was held at the Pavilion at Folkestone. The roads were a bit hairy but we got there in plenty of time. We had rushed around as we had been told they were dishing up at 7:15. We didnt actually get served our first course until 8:20.

I had been looking forward to it, the people I work with are all so friendly and fun, but to be honest I was a tad disappointed. The food was rather bland and servings were not that plentyful, plus it still took until just before 10 to get all three courses. I had thought it would be just our party but our group was one of many and we were split over 5 tables. Although the music from the disco was a good mix of dance stuff, the floor was so tiny compared to the amount of tables that it was way to squishy to get onto and dance.

By 10.30 both Martin and I called it a day and came home.

With only two more presents to buy for Christmas, I headed into Canterbury to hit the shops. Heavy snowfall had been predicted but when I left home the skies were clear and temperatures didnt seem that low. I had just completed my final purchase when it started to snow lightly. I paused to stroke the real live reindeer outside BHS and take a few photos of them and santa, then I hotfooted it back to the car. Now I admit that I had left the car a fair walk from the town centre, it took me about 2o mins to get back to the car from the time the snow first started to fall, but by the time I put the key in the door there was at least 3" of snow on the roof. I have never seen snow come down so thick and fast. It wasnt a blizzard, it was still falling softly but the flakes were so large and there were just so many of them.

It took me about ten mins to actually get out of the car park ... everyone and his wife, plus kids, grandparents and jonnie foreigner must have been doing their last minute shopping for Christmas and they all decided to leave the city at the same time!!! Within half an hour of getting in my car and starting the engine, Canterbury was totally gridlocked. I got stuck in one jam trying to get up the hill behind the university, turned round and got stuck in another jam trying to get up the same hill on the road infront of the university. I was getting a bit panicky now as the roads were so deep with snow, the thought of trying to get up any hill out of the town was scaring me to death. Luckily just at that point Laura phoned, followed rapidly by Martin and they both persuaded me to go in the opposite direction to Morrison's where Martin was working, and to wait for him to take me home. It took me an hour to travel the short mile but that was nothing to the horror stories told over the kiosk counter the rest of the afternoon. I sat there for 8 hours as people told us of what was happening outside. Every route in and out of Canterbury had either an overturned bus or a jack-knifed lorry stuck on it, blocking escape.

At 11 pm we left my car in the car wash for safety and decided to attempt the A2. Nothing had been gritted and no snowplough had done any snowshifting, the roads were pretty scary but we managed it home in 40 mins. Apart from one really stupid articulate lorry passing us at 50mph on a snow covered road, there were no incidents and we were really happy to see our front door. I suspect our poor hungry cat was too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas is coming, a new car, a night out

It just kept on coming down, that 'orrid but festive white stuff, and soon we were all snowed in - Kelly had over 12" and then some. I stayed off work Thursday and Friday as I had little hope of getting to Dover, and most of the schools and nurseries were shut anyway.

That was after we had been out on Wednesday and ordered a new Hyundai i10 for moir.

As I blogged earlier, I had not been happy with either the deal or the new style KA that Ford were offering, but the time had come to make the decision on whether to change cars or pay out to keep the KA on the road - it was a bit of a no brainer really as the KA needed an MOT, tax (at the hight rate) a full service, two new tyres, and the brake system sorting out as it was leaking brake fluid. Buying a new car knocked all of that on the head, and now puts me on the £30 a year tax level. We even save £2 a month on the finance deal!!

I picked it up this week, its all very wizzy and I love the 5 doors - these are standard, they dont do a 3 door model - and the aircon also comes standard (great in all this freezing weather).

So now I can concentrate on the job of getting ready for Christmas. Most of my pressies are on their way from Amazon (how ever did we manage before?), we did the bulk of the foodie shopping last wednesday, and I have spent the weekend putting up the decorations. We still have to buy a real tree - sorry, it just isnt Christmas without a real tree, and then apart from wrapping and cooking, all thats left is to write and send the Christmas cards. That job is the only bit of Christmas, and is not helped this year since I cant find the file on the pc holding my card list. Oh well.

Last night was a special treat as Jan and Trev managed to get time off from caring for Jo and to come out with us for the evening. They had arranged to collect us as half seven, but no mention of eating out, so Martin had just loaded the microwave, grill and halogen oven with the makings of egg, bacon, toms and chips, when I got a text from Jan asking if we wanted to eat out. Luckily the cooking hadnt actually started and it was easy to put it all back in the fridge.

Now I have this little dream of sitting in a lovely victorian county pub - the type with nooks and beams and tiny mullianed windows, by a huge inglenook log fire, by the light flickering from hundreds of candles glinting off sparkly baubles because the pub has been decorated to the hilt! Of course it never happpens, and this year was no exception. I even got to choose the pub, a lovely country type pub on the outskirts of Canterbury. We called in there last year whilst doing our Christmas shopping, and had a lush meal complete with mulled wine!

Sadly this year, like most other places, there seemed only the token decorations, a small tree by the door, a plastic santa stood beside it, and that was it. The log fire was there, and so were the mullion windows but that was it. Mind the meal made up for it, the waiter was very funny and the company made up for it. But the dream is still waiting to be fullfilled.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

White out

Another of the cards completed at the workshop with Jennie. A wooden Tim Holtz angel was coverind in a 3D medium (cant recall what it is called but will look it up) and then stamped on. When it dried a metallic wax was used to colour it. The angel sits in an envelope which has been stamped, distressed and embellished

Seems the year is closing as it started, surprisingly early the country is yet again covered in a blanket of cold white snow - yes my pet hate. I have just been back-reading my blog to see when we suffered from the last downfall, and it was January, although up north I think a few people had their fair share just after christmas. It seems this year we have had more snow than sun.

Councils do seem to have done a much better job of keeping the country running though, and many of the roads were gritted or salted and I saw snow ploughs out in force. Driving all the way to Dover was still horrendous though, more due to overcareful drivers crawling along perfectly drivable, ploughed and gritted roads at a top max speed of 15 mph. This in fact far from keeping us all safer made driving much more hazardous, as those piling up behind had to suddenly brake and then continue to apply brakes to stop from sliding into these fools. I learnt to drive in the snow so know that slow speeds can be even more dangerous than driving with care, attention and the knowledge of what to do to avoid skids and slides.

Still a 50 min journey along major roads still took nearly 2 hours and meant I finally arrived at work 10 mins after my parent workshop should have started. As luck(?) would have it, many of those booked on the course were ill and unable to attend, but it was still great fun, and I got paid good money to chat with some great people, craft away merrily while sharing stories (the whole point of the workshop) munch mince pies and drink hot chocolate.

I was glad we went up to see Kelly and Ollie on Saturday before the snow settled. Apparently they have had over 9 inches since we left after having a lovely lunch and watching the footie with them. Kelly is celebrating getting a new job with way more prospects while Ollie was just happy to NOT be decorating the bathroom especially since the plumber is having so many probles over it (see Kelly's blog) but what has been done so far looked good, and I love her new bathroom tiles.

Laura and Wayne also managed to call in to ours before the snow arrived, Laura is looking very tired which is to be expected as the autumn term revs up for christmas - who'd be a teacher eh? Its a good job both Laura and I get so excited about the season, and we chatted happily about our plans, and our christmas lists.

I am still slowly making christmas cards, I am trying to come up with some ideas for cards that are light weight but still show off some degree of handmade care to send to my relies in far flung countries. I have discovered something I like on The clipart fairy's blog but am still playing with it. In the meantime here are a few more other cards I have made.

playing with my new music stamp for the background, a cuttlebug embossing folder, some more masking to make the holy and a really old Hero arts stamp for the sentiment. All coloured by sponging with Distress Inks.

Another old stamp, not sure of the make but think it might also be HA, this time used metalic paints to colour in, masked off to stamp the swirls behind.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A christmas card or two

These are from the class I went to a few weeks back. The first used a masking technique and then acrylic paint on stamps to make the background lovely and textured

This was embossing on metal tape and then using alcohol inks and stazon to get the paint effect

More of the embossing on metal technique

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

*sniff* *sputter* * cough* *groan*

Yep, its winter cold time again! One of the dangers of working with small children is that I always seem to get a really bad cold around this time of year. This one seems to be worse than most, having laid me low since last Thursday and resulting in 2 days off work.

So I apologise if I have missed any birthdays, forgot to send any gifts or RAKs out or just not done any of the many things I should have done. Including keeping my blog up to date.

A quick list of things that blog land has missed:-

We have half decorated the bathroom. New taps, industrial cleaner on anything with limescale on it, regrouted and resealed, all new fittings, lots of painting, and new flooring. It is starting to look really great with only a final push when I am fit again to get it looking fab.

I did my first parent workshop for Surestart. It went really well and I had a reasonably good turn out. Its great to get the first one under my belt and I am now looking forward to my Christmas Story Sack one.

We went to see Harry Potter final book part 1 and apart from feeling like death warmed up, I really enjoyed it. Martin was working late so couldnt come, I will be forced into going a second time.

Sady the lady that worked in the garage with Martin passed away at the beginning of last week. It was really sad, she had suffered from a brain tumour but was responding to treatment so it came as a shock to hear of her death. Martin has to go to the funeral to represent Morrisons - he would have gone anyway though as she was a really lovely lady, and we feel for her family. RIP

As soon as I can find the lead to my camera I will upload my latest batch of christmas cards, not that I have made any since the workshop but it would be nice to share.

Off for more lemsip xx

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Birthday week

Its been a great week all round really. I was asked to work an extra day which now means I have money coming in for four days a week guaranteed until next March which is good news on the cash flow front, and has allowed me to have a tiny bit of a splash out. Maybe not so great for the housework or my energy levels but we shall see. 

Its a good job there is a bit of spending money going as I have been to Kate's at Pickleberry Papercrafts twice in the past 8 days. Last week it was a free demo day which allowed me the chance to sit down with Jane and have a good old chin wag while she showed me tons of techniques to use with my zipemat (ok it was really to promote the Big Shot and sizzix stuff but since my zipe is still going strong, why throw out the baby with the bath water?) I ended up buying a couple of stamps with strong intentions to buy more on my next visit.

It is not like me to buy so much stash in one month and having already spent up at Ally Pally and then at The Range, I really should have stopped, but then we were back again this Saturday for a Christmas Cards with a Twist workshop run by the lovely Jenny. We got to play with lots of ranger products, learnt heaps and heaps, laughed lots and where present at the very moment Rosemary discovered she was to have a new addition to her family circle in the form of a small baby!! Congratulations my friend.

Jenny's teaching style is very unique and fast and furious but lots of fun. I only managed to get one card completely finished but bought home all the stuff to finish 5 others so it was a brilliant day and well worth the time and money. Of course it would have been rude not to at least browse in the shop and although I didnt spend that much still came out armed with more christmas stamps and a couple of new embossing folders.

Still my excuse is that it was my birthday on Friday. I had a fabulous day. The ladies I work for are all so lovely and friendly. When they found out it was my special day, they managed to pull a birthday card out of the bag at really short notice, and there were even danish pastries bought for a working breakfast. I made cake to share in the main office, and little rice crispie cakes for the three nurseries I was visiting on Friday. I had hoped to get back to the office to share the cake with the girls but I got held up, decided it was too late to return and so got a phone call half way home asking if it was ok to go ahead and eat the cake. How thoughtful?

Mostly the family gave me money so I can go on a few more spending sprees - my wish list is getting quite long. But Martin treated me to a new Kindle and I have been all weekend downloading free books onto it. 

I have also cut out and nearly finished a skirt with material for two more to do, we are starting decorating the bathroom tomorrow, and I also have plans for a patchwork quilt for the spare room. With Christmas just over the horizon I am not going to be short of something to keep me occupied on my one day off a week now.

Photos of cards made at workshop to follow, photos of fireworks after my birthday tea with the kids on Kelly's blog.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Christmas cards that is.

I discovered while on my marathon non-clothes buying trip that half the Docklands outlet centre has been ripped out (including the food hall and I was desperate for a drink) to be replaced by The Range, so I had a little cheer up in the craft section since I couldnt buy anything else. I loved this stamp when it was on the shelf, its a Papermania one, but I was dissappointed that it wasnt as clear when stamped as it was in the picture. Still a nice santa though and I love the paper from the Noel paper stack by Dovecraft so I decided to use it to make a card for the colour challenge on The Ribbon Girl's blog which is to use the colours red and green.

Jenny Mcguire has started (4 weeks ago) a free course of stamping techniques for christmas cards on the 2 Peas site, with a small comp each week for anyone uploading their own card using the techniques. This is a really really bad photo as it is over exposed and the blue is much darker and softer than this shows. The background is a SU! stamp but enhanced with a few more snow drops which have been embossed with white. No idea what the snowman stamp is, but he too has been coloured using embossing powders.

A free digi image from Jennifer, two SU! stamps for the background and lots of distress inking for this one.

This weeks technique is all about paint so dug out my acylics to make the backgound tiles, then some art institute glue and glitter to pop the snowflakes. The background paper, sentiment and bird are all from some free papers in a really really old copy of Creative Cardmaking mag.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Half term wearing me out!

This week is half term, and it started well when, on Friday we all took Dad out to celebrate his 80th birthday. Kelly, Ollie, Wayne, Laura, Martin and I took him and mum for a meal at the Rose in Bloom, a pub none of us had been in for years. We had scoured the 'net for menu's of local eating houses, and decided this one looked a likely menu for someone with no nashers (LOL) and were lucky enough to strike gold. It was a delish meal although service was a little slow, hampered only by the fact that after a hard week at work all of us were falling asleep at the table.

It wasn't Dad's birthday until Sunday but Laura and Wayne were flying off to Turkey for the week so it was the only day we could all get together. I was left to take his presents over the next day, Kelly, Ollie and Martin and I had bought him a garden bench and cushion between us. I think he is quite pleased with it, but it is packed in a box and he is going to have to put it together himself.

Half term is meant to be a time to rest and recharge your batteries. Unfortunately it also co-insides with the time for buying a winter wardrobe. Years of buying cheap clothes has left me with literally nothing that fits, isn't full of holes, or covered in glue/paint from teaching small ones, so the miserable job of going out to replace everything started on Sunday. I had already half heartedly been to all my usual haunts and had not found much (one top and two pairs of trousers was not getting me through the week) so Kelly recommended I try Sainsbury.  Our nearest branch selling clothes is over 25 miles away but undaunted off I set. 3 hours later, having spent much time looking in Sainsbury, BHS, and a few smaller outlets, I returned with one skirt and top.  Not good.

Yesterday I travelled to Medway, another 60 mile round trip.  I left home at half nine and got back in the door at half six. In that time I had walked several times up and down the high street, the pentagon shopping center and the docks outlet centre. I came home with not much more than three tops and 2 skirts.

I returned home in a rant. What was it with clothes designers? We had gone through the late 60's and then the 80's wearing stirrup pants, and leggings. On both occasions, after the fad had died a death, designers and fashionisters all said they are the worst and most unflattering garments ever and what could possess women to wear them? Well I can answer that one. If there simply isn't anything else to buy what choice is there?  I KNOW leggings and a baggie  unshapely top is not a good look o n a very short, overweight middle aged woman. Heck its not even a good look on a tall skinny youngster, but no-where, and believe me I have looked, I even ventured into M&S, a place I hate, but no-where was selling anything but!!!

Give Primark their due, I had found a few items I actually liked and thought might suit me, trouble was either all the fat people must have got there before me or Primark were only expecting extremly starved skinny people to shop in their store. I have never seen so many size 8's and 10's in a store. Every style had at least 10 size 8's available. If you were really lucky there were some size 14's (sorry tough if you are a 12 as there were none of those in the whole of a very large shop) and if you were luckier still there might be 1 of a style in a 16, 18 or 20 (never all three sizes). 

So today, still with not enough clothes to make up more than three full outfits, I tried again in Canterbury, but this time I was going to concentrate on buying patterns and fabric to make some stuff for myself. Trouble was my poor legs, having been on a constant clothes shopping marathon for three days were having none of it. Not that the fabric shop had much in the way of fabric, it being full of halloween costume making stuff or christmas fabric, so after 2 hours and managing to buy 2 pairs of jeans that were not jeggins I had to give up and come home. 

So please fashion designers could you just take a second to think next time you believe leggings to be a fantastic fashion idea. And clothes manufactures could you please leave a small part of your factory workers making normal clothes for normal people and shop keepers, could you please hide some of the large size clothes out the back for us fatties not so fast on their feet to  buy? 'Cos I am pretty sure I am not going to be the only vertically challenged, overweight, over 50 year old walking round naked this winter!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Birthday card for a man

I am just loving the LOTV stamps atm. This is the card I have made for my dad who is 80 years young tomorrow .. hope he is not peeking LOL.

Its kind of appropriate as his name is Edward but he has always been 'Ted' so this is 'Ted in his shed' which is where he spends much of his days anyway.

I cut the 'nestie' shapes on my cricut using downloads from Penny Duncan's blog, then used promarkers to colour in the LOTV stamp - I think I am getting the hang of using them a bit now. 

The vines are cut on the cricut and then combined with some fern leaves cut from a woodware punch. I sprayed the whole lot with silver glimmer mist but didnt think that was enough bling, so covered them with gold glamour dust while they were still wet. It says on the dust's instructions that its ideal for doing this, but not much of the glitter stayed on when the leaves were dried. 

American Arts ribbon, number stickers from a very very old Kay and Co alphabet sheet, sentiment Kirsten font, tag cut on cricut.

Happy birthday dad! xx

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A few more cards

I have been so busy making cards that I havent had the time to take photos and upload them. Please excuse the quality of the pics, the light in my new craft room is appauling and will have to be sorted out as soon as I have fixed my Billy Bookcase.

Yes the poor thing isnt really made for books. At least that is the conclusion I have come to, since within only a week of putting all my children's picture books and teaching books on it, the sides bowed and the shelves co
llapsed. Martin has fixed it with some screws and I have lightened its load so it no longer looks quite so elegant but at least it is able to do its job.

Determined to get this brayer lark sussed I have continued to try. I am getting better but far from perfect. These were all done with stamscape stamps. I started buying these stamps the very first time I visited Ally Pally back in the days, but could never get the hang of brayering onto glossy paper. I never even thought of using ordinary cardstock until I saw the demos this year Duh!

And finally a half decent one using the Babara Gray stamp and following her demo at Ally Pally (still cant get the snow flakes to work with the embossing pen like she did though). Home made ala Sir Tim roses covered in glamour dust.

This year the rage is Lili of the Valley stamps and who am I to buck a trend. Bev Rochester has been my inspiration and lots of the ideas on these have been scraplifted from her (thanks Bev, you are my card making hero).

And finally for this blog entry, this is a digi stamp image from Just Inklined. I dug out my cuttlebug embossing folders and made a heap more of those Tim Holtz stamps.
Oh and a mention for Penny Duncan who has a wonderful collection of shaplies svg files (much like nesties) with some brilliant tuts which have helped me get to grips with matting my images.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Inspired by ...

A few of the cards I have made inspired mainly by the Lili of the Valley card stall at Ally Pally.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ally Pally

Today I am suffering from a poorly back so I have spent most of the day (aside from the hour spent at Laura's because the bt engineer was there) in my craft room. My new craft room, as most of the stuff has now been moved into the larger back room giving me much more space to create a mess in..

I have mainly been experiementing with new goodies bought at this autumn's Big Stamp and Scrapbook show at Ally Pally on Sunday. Now that Kelly has finished her degree she can now once again join me in our shared scrapping/crafting enthusiasum so we went together, where we spent far too much money but had a terrific day.

Lots of people have complained about the crowds and rude people getting in the way, but we saw none of that. After driving to Gillingham because of engineering works, I met Kelly at Victoria from where we tubed, trained and bussed over to the Palace, arriving just after doors opening time. Even stopping for a cake (thankyou Kez, yummy!) and cup of tea we were still ahead of the crowds, and started our methodic work around the exhibition hall from the back on the left, working from left to right and back again down the room. We had lists of things we wanted clutched in our hands but failing to find most of what was on them, and stopping to watch demo's of techniques on our way, we soon had a whole trench of additional things on our wish lists.

Being out the loop for at least 4 years, Kelly was amazed at all the new products available now, and needed to watch all the demonstrations to see what she had been missing over the time of her studys. We broke for our picnic lunch and then returned to start at the front and make our way back to the middle of the hall. Still we did not meet many crowded parts of the hall, only in the last hour did we find we were often bottlenecked into stalls.

Finally tired yet happy we came away with lots of new goodies. We both loved the glimmer mists and were overjoyed to find a man selling empty spray bottles 6 for £5. We bought 2 shades of the mists each and before going home Kelly decanted some from each bottle into our spray bottles so that we could share colours. Kelly being Kelly managed to spill it all over her fingers though.

We spent a good bit of time, and money on the stall selling masks, especially when the lady demonstrated that they could be used for dry embossing as well. (Of course now Kelly's next must have is a cuttlebug, while it is yet another reason for me not to give up on my zip-e-mate)

My first attempts at using the glimmers wasnt that wonderful as it managed to bleed under the mask, but it does give a brilliant effect all the same.

Our fav stall was the Clarity stamps where the wonderful Barbara Gray was giving demonstrations. Having watched her every time she is there, I finally gave in and bought a brayer, some ink and a stamp. I still need to get the hang of using the brayer, and am pretty sure some of this talented lady's videos are going on my christmas list.

I loved all the cards on the Lili of the Valley stamps and took heaps of photos of their example cards so that I can scraplift them. I have been having fun sorting out my Promarkers into cd cases and putting them into a metal chest my mate bought me a few years back.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time for a move

I have decided that the reason I have little mojo is not really because I keep getting distracted by Bejeweled Blitz on FaceBook, oh no, not at all, it is because the scrapping room is way too small. I took over the smaller of the three bedrooms when Kelly moved out to Uni but before Laura left home. It seemed ideal when Loz was still using the bigger room. But 2 years down the road after Laura moved out, I am wondering why I am still cramped in a tiny box room with 2 expidit units, a bookcase, a chest of three drawers and a dining room table (not to mention a computer chair, a large printer, a scanner, a large stanley box and a sewing machine). Actually put like that it seems amazing that I fit in there too.

So I decided it was time to move into the bigger spare bedroom and relegate the guests (who we never have anyway) to the box room. And whilst at it, it also seemed a good idea, what with the new job and all, to move all my books back down from the attic where they have been collecting dust since I gave up full time teaching.

Of course all this necessitated a trip to Ikea, and Martin was all too pleased (not) to take me to Lakeside after his game of golf yesterday on his day off. We did really well, not only did the larger Billy bookcase fit in my little KA but so did two extra bits of wood and four tressle legs destined to become greenhouse staging, some of those nifty little screw top jars, some stoppered bottle to fill with home made lemonade and a few more kilner jars for a bit of christmas preserve making.

Today Martin was all too pleased (not) to get all the boxes of books down out the attic for me. I have filled the Billy Bookcase already, managed to throw three boxes of tatty books away, and still have another three boxes left. But its ok, as I have plans for where they will fit ..........

Then next weekend I am off to Ally Pally to the stamp show to buy some stash to fill up my bigger room!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Paper and glue?

Here's a strange thing. I have scrapped!

Yes, thats right, a whole Layout.

I know hard to believe isnt it?

And not only that I am blogging about it too. Whatever next?

Its for the latest Scrapping the Music challenge and the sketch is from Creative Scrappers 120

The photos were taken during the summer on one of the rare sunny - nay, hot days we had back in July. We went for a picnik with mum, dad and Laura, at Mote Park. Now as a child we spent many a 'happy' picnik in a car park, as we would intend going to visit some wonderful house/mannor/castle/monument, but once we arrived, often the entry price was more than my dad would entertain so we would have our picnik in the car park, then come home again.

This has left me a tad fussy about where we lay our picnik clothe, and despite dad's protestations, and moaning about having to carry all the gear, I instisted we walk a bit further away than 10 yards from the car, choosing a picturisk place overlooking the lake. Ok so it was up a bit of a gentle slope, which was difficult for dad with his angina, but Laura soon took care of that by giving him a helping push.

The photos were ideal for this weeks usic challenge, which is Pink's 'Get this Party started'. A bit of artistic licence in the wording, but they work so very well.
All the papers and embellishments are from DCWV Nana's Kitchen stack (mmmm lots of lovely glitter), and some thickers thrown in.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Catch up before returning

I would like to do a catch up on my blog............ except there is very little to catch up on.

The weather this August has been grey, miserable and even cold (we had to resort to jumpers and hot water bottles at one point). We have been out a couple of times, but mainly drove round and came home again because it was so miserable. Martin has been back at work, Wayne was off so I didnt get to see much of Laura while they were out doing stuff (although they did take me for a nice pub lunch at the Red Lion) and Kelly/Ollie had their weekends booked fully (camping, Spurs matches) and couldnt come down.

One important thing did happen though, and that is that Kelly passed her final exams for her degree and is now a fully fledged accountant. Well done that girl :D

This weekend combined bank holiday, the Old Etonian's cricket match and our 30th wedding anniversary. After last year's drunken escapades Martin was eager to repeat the exercise but I was dog/house sitting for mum and dad who were away in Norfolk for a few days, so had to get home for the dog. Forced inside the club house by the biting wind and not able to drink I was sober enough to actually see just how rude and ill mannered the visiting team really was. I hadnt noticed before as this was the first time I had stayed inside and not sat outside watching the game. They completely took over the club house, forcing Laura and I (physically) out of our seats, later moving the table we had put our drinks on (without asking us, and nearly spilling our drinksin to the bargin) and just being totally ignorant and unsociable to the people of the club they were visting. I was quite glad in the end to be able to leave, dropping the kids and Martin off at the curry house while I went home for a measly toasted cheese sandwich with the hound.

Our wedding anniversay passed without much fuss, Ollie and Kelly came for lunch as Ollie had to go visit his sick grandmother in hospital, Kelly and I tried out the hot tub but I had put too much chlorine in, so we soon had to get out. Kelly and Laura later came over for cake and a cuppa, and that was that.

I havent done much in the way of paper crafting, nothing to share anyway. I have been continuing my learning journey into dress making. I have been sewing clothes since I was at school, making much of the kids clothes when they were small, and many items for myself through the '80's when I was able to get cheap fabric from the local market. Yet it is only in the last month that I have discovered most commercial patterns are made for a size B bust (and I am far from a size B!!). No wonder the pattern I made up last year didnt fit me. But I have also now discovered something called Full Bust Adjustment, a means of altering the pattern so it fits. I dont have a body form so getting it right is still a bit trial and error but I have nearly finished a top which I think is going to be a lot nearer to my shape than the model on the pattern packet. Watch this space.

I am also starting SOFA, a health and fitness regieme being run by the lovely girls on the Pad but also a FB group so anyone can join in. I am hoping to loose weight, get fit and generally pamper myself. Again watch this space . . . . . .

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Ribbon Girl

The lovely lovely Andrea has started up an online co. selling beautiful ribbons and trimmings. Today if you hop over to the shop's blog, as well as some lovely eyecandy and inspiration, there is the chance to win a huge stash of ribbons and lace. Flick your eyes over to the side to click on The Ribbon Girl. It will take you right where you need to go.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Poor lonely blog

This blog has been very neglected of late. With it being summer hols (not that I am so sure the weather is aware of the fact) we have been rather busy.There has been lots to note on here, but there hasnt been time to write it all up.

So what have we been doing?
Having some fun, working hard, spending time with the girls, and getting wet.

Whitstable Oyster Festival started off the summer break, and although Martin was on a late shift, I still wanted to go hear some of the live music at the Brewery Bar.

Laura and Wayne said they would be going too and I could come with them. The event started at 7 o'clock but at 8 o'clock I finally got a text telling me to meet the kids at the Cricket club. By the time transport from there into Whitstable was arranged, it was getting on for 10, and we still hadnt arrived at The Brewery but at the Pearsons Arms. I came to the conclusion this lot were never going to get to the Bands and texted Martin to come down for a drink after work, and then we would go home.

But by 11 we found we had paid our entry free and were all dancing away to the last few songs of the last Band, who were very good and it was a shame it had taken so long to get there as I would have enjoyed the whole act I am sure. I didnt realise there was also going to be a disco and what a brilliant one it was, playing loads of '70's club classics. The place was packed, the atmosphere terrific and we ended up having a really good evening. We finished off the night by jumping in the hot tub enjoying a soak by fairy lights when we got in at two in the morning.

Martin was then on holiday for two weeks, he had wanted to go away again but I pointed out that if he didnt spend some time doing some sort of maintenance on the house, we wouldnt have a home to come back to, so provided with a long list of jobs to do by me, he set to and chopped down all the trees and bushes at the back of the garden, erected my greenhouse, laid turfs and paving slabs and relocated the fruit bed.

He also power hosed off the patio, refilled the gaps with sand, phoned up some workmen to come give quotes for some building work needing doing and managed to sqeeze in a few rounds of golf into the bargin.
This left us free to do a few fun things too.

We went to Mote Park with my mum and dad and Laura for a picnic (lovely),

went to Penshurst place and gardens for a day out (dissapointing as the gardens were in dire need of some tlc and a gardener or two and the part of the house we were allowed into was small and boring)

and spent an afternoon being tourists on Tankerton slopes with our deckchairs and books until it got too cold,

had lunch at The Red Lion in Stodmarch (shared by a few chickens and a couple of roosters as well as a cat eating a bird he had caught not 5 foot from our own lunch).

We also met Kelly and Ollie in London for a show. We had noticed when we went up to see The Calendar Girls that it was possible to buy many tickets half price or less if you bought from the little ticket booths in Leicester square so we thought we would give it a try. We asked the kids if we could stay at their place since we wouldnt have to worry about leaving the theatre in time for the last Ramsgate train. When they heard what we were doing they said they would like to come along too.

Of couse with four of us, all with different tastes, finding a show we would all be happy to see could have been a problem, but we gave Ollie first pick and he chose Chicargo which we all agreed we wouldnt mind seeing. It was a bit of a wait until the show started but that meant we had time for TGI Friday as well as a little shoe shopping for Ollie and Kez.
The show was very different from anything I had seen before but we all enjoyed it.

In the morning, Martin drove home as he was playing golf but I went back into town with Kelly were she had 'won' a photo shoot complete with makeover at The Starlite Studios just off Carnaby Street. Laura was her first choice of companion but she had got her dates mixed so I was given the opportunity of filling in. We were treated like royalty, given a full make-up and hair makeover and then spent over an hour having our photos taken. The results were fab although a tad expensive.
We had been adamant that we were not going to pay for any pics but ended up getting four, which when totalled between the two of us, and taking into account the cost of a hair do and make up ended up quite a reasonable price, and we had a lovely mummy and Kelly morning into the bargin. Thanks for taking me Kelly :)

This week I got to spend some more time at Kelly's place, this time supervising a couple of builders hanging new doors in their house while they were at work. I was treated to a scrummy meal at The Harrow for my troubles and when I travelled back the next morning a complete soaking (down to the skin) waiting for the bus connection in the pouring rain.

I have also been quite busy in my craft room, not papercrafting though but making a couple of dresses. I would desperately love a maxi dress but am practising on shorter ones to start off with. The blue one I made without a pattern, taking advise from the web just to make a tube shape and then sheer it at the top with lines of elastic sewing.

The second is from a burda pattern The Cate dress which I am very chuffed with as I had to alter it upwards 3 sizes to get the fit but which actually works!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Cherries and Utilities

I am having a renewed enjoyment in digi scrapping at the moment. I wanted to see just how many different layouts I could make with the Summer Beach kit from Owl Tree Studios. I admit, only a few of the embellishments from the kit fitted, so I turned to Kate Hatfield's lovely doodly stuff to complete it.

Laura and Wayne came over for a BBQ three weeks ago and bought the young Australian couple who have been staying with them for the past year along too. Our cherry tree had finally decided to produce a decent crop of cherries (probably knew it was for the chop as it was heavily ill and blocking light for the new conservatory).

There were quite a few Martin hadn't been able to reach but quick as a flash Gemma asked if she could climb the tree to collect them. Getting up was a doodle, a small boost from Wayne, but getting her down prooved a bit more of a problem.

I think the lads were tempted, but no, she didnt end up in the hot tub!

This last fortnight has been Martin's annual two weeks off, which is news for another day, but one of his many tasks while off was to sort out the utility bill. Our service provider sends a 6 monthly review which this time was also our yearly review. The gas was fine, but the electricity had jumped from 9kwh per day to 21 kwh. What!!!!!

We phoned them up. After a long conversation they said they couldnt do anything until we had talked to the consumption advisory service.

Another long conversation and it turns out that despite it being way over the average for high consumption it is about right for what we are running.

Ooooo kay. Next stop then is moneysupermarket to see if we can get it cheaper, because our provider wants to put the bill up another £70 a month, putting our utilities way over and above what we pay in morgage. Surely not right.

But what is that we spy... our own provider is going to provide our utilities at a saving of £411 a year on what we are already paying them? All we have to do is change tarrif? Surely not?

So back on the phone to our utility co. Yes thats right, and if you had changed last year you would have saved £250. Well why didnt you say so???????

Then they couldnt work out how much our monthly payments should be on the new tarrif, so ok leave it as it is and give us a call in a couple of months to see if it needs re-adjusting.

All this took us 2.5 hours of our holiday time. Just to be where we were anyway. So that was 2.5 hours of our lives we will never get back.

Next review we are going to make sure we ask if there is a cheaper tarrif available just incase they come up with some new ones.