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.