Tuesday, 30 August 2011

It's a woman's prerogative

... to change her mind and the more I think about that LSNED class the more I can't decide what to do!  Today I went into town and there was a sale in WHSmith and I picked up a 7x5 album, I mean, I've never done that size before and a 6 x4 photo would fit on and it's not too big, and not too small ..... watch this space.
Also in town I saw a bottle of beer that was worthy of a scavenger photo
Yes, that is indeed a beehive drawn on the label - does that count do you think?  There are so many places around here that sell local honey I can't believe that I can't find a photo of the real thing, although my husband did mention that I may not be so keen to get up close to a fully working beehive given my flap-ability around buzzing insects!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Learning something new {again}

One of the first classes I took with Shimelle was Learn Something New Every Day, and that was back in 2008.  Every year since, I have seen the email notifying me that the class is due to start in September but have decided not to do it again.  I really enjoyed it first time round and this year for some reason, I feel the time is right to re-visit the class.  So I am counting down the days to September starting so that I can get going again.
Once again I find myself with the dilemma of which size album to use, what papers etc etc and I know that the minute I make a decision and start, I will look at the forum and see what other people are doing and wish I'd done something different.  But for the time being (and I still have a few days to change my mind) I'm going to go for 8 x 8.  In theory it will work well if I am using a 6 x 4 photo and won't be too big to fill if I go for just journalling and embellishments.  Last time I did 6 x 6 but sometimes felt it was just a bit too small if I was including a photo.  However, I still have a few days to change my mind so watch this space ... I'm also going to try and be organised and have my base papers all cut to size so I can just add things on a daily basis easily.
Are any of you signed up for the class?  If so, what size album are you using? 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Suggestions please

What’s a girl to do with a bag full of diamonds?  Well, not exactly diamonds but Swarovski crystals.  Let me explain – we bought our daughter a lovely Swarovski crystal necklace for her birthday last week.  I ordered it online and they said they would be including a ‘thank you gift’.   So when it arrived in the post, I found that the little extra gift was a small organza bag filled with coloured crystals.


Now you can well imagine that the sight of all this sparkly gorgeousness was a little overwhelming for a scrapper like me and I immediately imagined adding a little Swarovski ‘bling’ to each and every one of my scrapbook pages, past, present and future. 

But if you look carefully, you will see that the crystals have a pointed bottom to them and so won’t sit flat on a page at all.


So my friends – do you have any suggestions as to what I can do with these gorgeous sparkles?  I can’t wait to use them in some way but need inspiration!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Day trip

We had planned to have a day out yesterday.  For one reason or another, it was the only day of the week we both had free and so come rain or shine, we were going out for the day!  And trust me, the weather report did show 'rain and shine' in disproportionate quantities.  So despite a cloudy sky and the promise of rain, we headed in an easterly direction for the Essex coast.  Over the years we have visited many of the local coastal places so we decided to try somewhere different.  We started out at Leigh on Sea, where the sky was grey and the roads deserted (most sane people had listened to the weather forecast and had not headed for the coast)  but the inner scavenger in me was very happy to find some Graffiti Art
After exploring all that Leigh had to offer, we headed back to the car and drove on to Maldon.  By now the sun was shining, the sky was blue, my Country's Flag was flying outside a little pub that also had a Hand Lettered Sign
We walked along the front and had a nice pub lunch.  After a glass of speciality beer, the husband reluctantly agreed to  was happy to pose for a Scavenger Team Photo
I have referred to my lack of height in various blogposts, and those that know me know that I am 'vertically challenged'  but it wasn't until we came across the local Fair that I realised that I am officially short enough to still go on children's rides.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Garden sculptures

Here in the UK we don't have mailboxes to decorate so Rinda has allowed us to photograph garden sculpture instead.  First of all I thought I would show our little stone birdbath
Then I considered {briefly} my garden duck

The family all thought I was mad when I brought this little fellow home from the garden centre but I think he's really sweet.  Yes, I do have to admit he does look as if his head is on back to front but when he's hidden by foliage you'd never notice and I think it just makes him all the more charming.
But my photo of choice for this category is of the stone angel I have on the wall

Monday, 22 August 2011

4x6 Photo Love - July

7 photos on one page?  Bit of a challenge - but Shimelle came up with a brilliant idea for making a concertina element to the layout so you could have photos front and back of the piece you pull out.  A perfect project for using the photos we took at our son's graduation in July!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The one with the 'aaaahhhh' factor

When our kids were young, I tried my hardest to be the best mum that I could.  Overall I don't think I did a bad job, but there was one area where I failed dismally.  I wouldn't let them have a dog.  We had a variety of goldfish, two hamsters, two guinea pigs and two rabbits (not all at the same time) but it wasn't quite the same.  It's not that I don't like dogs, in fact we always had a dog at home when I was growing up.  My stock phrase was always 'Once you leave home and have a place of your own, you can have as many dogs as you wish.'  
Well.  Darling Daughter has left home.  She is in the process of buying her first house with her boyfriend.  She has a birthday this week.  Guess what the boyfriend is buying her for her present:

Saturday, 20 August 2011

If you go down to the woods today ...

... you may see a determined scrapbooker on her mission to tick as many scavenger hunt photos as she can.  It was a beautiful morning here in my corner of the UK and so I dragged my husband ,suggested to my husband that it might be nice to take a trip out to Hatfield Forest. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful and historic place right on our doorstep - well, 10 minutes down the road!  My husband couldn't believe we were seeking another photo , enthusiastically encouraged me to find a worthy photo for the category 'A forest'. 
When you think of how many people visit Hatfield Forest daily, these must be the best fed ducks in Britain!
Whilst strolling in the sunshine, the husband said 'Look, you can tick two boxes in one go if you take a photo of that '

A 'wooden bridge' in 'a forest'.  Are there extra points for combining categories I wonder?
and then he got all educational on me and started pointing out the different types of tree (once a boy scout, always a boy scout) and insisted I take a photo of an oak tree as historically that is typical of a British forest.
So there we go, 'A Forest' - officially found!
PS Good job we went this morning, as it is now 2pm and it's pouring down with rain.  Gotta love British weather eh?!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Drum roll please ....

The snapping of this photo caused much shaking of head and sighing from my husband, along with comments like 'I can't believe how much that is making you smile' and 'did anybody see you taking that photo?'.
We had gone to our local Tesco supermarket and I remembered that there was a fancy dress shop on the corner of the little shopping development there.  With a 'You go and get the trolley while I pop in here', I sneaked in the door, around the helium balloons, past all the hen party fairy wings and feather boas and down to the depths of the childrens' parties area.  Mission accomplished ......

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Getting closer ...

My husband had an appointment in Hertford this morning and I tagged along for the ride.  While he was busy I had a little wander around the town in the hope that I may get another picture for the scavenger hunt. 
As we left the car park we walked past a small toy shop and I immediately noticed this in the window

Then as I was trying to explain to the husband why I was so excited by it, he commented that there was a real castle in the town

See the trouble with England is that we are inundated with castles, but they are all so old that there isn't much left of them to give you a clue that they really are castles!  This one was built around 1066 apparently, hardly surprising that a lot of the walls are missing.
There were a lot of cafes opening up for early morning coffees and teas and I saw this really pretty hand drawn sign

And I almost hyperventilated when I saw this
But then remembered that it has to be a person dressed as a pirate!  Oh well, maybe tomorrow .....

Monday, 15 August 2011

Number 4

4. A protest, town hall meeting or other political activity

Desperate times call for desperate measures! I ought to explain ...

My son has just graduated from university with a degree in Politics. He is totally fascinated with the subject and wants to study in more depth, concentrating on African Politics. He's been accepted to study for a Masters degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies which is part of the University of London.

 So, here is an example of what kind of books he has in the book case in his bedroom

  and this is the desk on which he will be doing his studies. 

A site of 'political activity'? 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Scavenger hunt additions

I'm very aware that I am falling behind in the scavenger hunt quest and need to get my thinking cap on - not to mention remember to take my camera out with me all the time!  There have been a couple of occasions recently where I saw something that would have been perfect, only to find my camera was at home. 
So let me share a few more that I have managed to tick off ...
 Rain!  Never a problem finding the opportunity to photograph rain in this country!  I love the colour and texture of hosta leaves even when they are covered in raindrops.

A castle!  Yes, totally thinking outside the box with this one I am ashamed to say.  The town in which I live does have a castle of it's own.  But as you can see from this link , it's very, very old and all that is left is a slight hill with a few bricks on the top, I don't think anyone would be impressed with a photo of that.

Finally, my little Portuguese rooster.  I've shared his story before and if you go to Portugal you will see him, or variations of him, in every town.
So, what items should I aim for next?  A pirate on a unicycle ......

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

10 on the 10th

When you have a young family you wonder what it will be like to go on holidays just as a couple again once the children are grown up.  It's very different, not least because of the fact that you wonder what will be going on in your absence!  While you are chilling on the beach with a good book and covered in factor 15, what is happening at home? It's bad enough worrying about the grown up children, but when you add a slightly wayward penguin to the mix - well, anything could be happening.
So - here's my take on 10 things a penguin might get up to when left 'home alone'

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Storytelling Sunday - Masters of Disguise

Given the circumstances that we find ourselves in on this first Sunday of August, I thought that this month I would share a story of my parents-in-law. 
They both lived and grew up in the East End of London at a time when families all lived close and were very involved in one another's lives.  Monther in Law is as close to her cousins as she is her brothers and sisters as holiday times and Christmasses were all spent together.  She sometimes bemoans the fact that everyone has scattered now and that our generation don't have the family get togethers that they used to have. 
When she married my father in law they started to spend a lot of time with 2 particular cousins and their 'other halves' (J&B and R&J). The six of them spent many holidays together, and if not whole weeks of holidays, then hosting long weekends together.  There was one year when my in laws were celebrating a special anniversary.  May have been their 40th wedding anniversary, I can't remember.  But they had planned a week on the Channel Island Jersey, just the two of them even though it was going to seem strange going away on their own.
Unbeknown to them, R&J thought it might be fun to spring a surprise on them.  As R's son worked at Gatwick, they arranged flights to fly out and 'accidently' meet up with them.  But, decided to add a little bit of fun to the surprise.  They decided to go in disguise.  R changed the way he wore his hair and put on a false moustache and J coloured her hair, put on a pair of big sunglasses and bought a dress which was not to her style of dressing. 
On the first night at the hotel, they saw my in-laws in the bar before dinner and stood beside them but with their backs to them to test their reactions.  Not a hint that they recognised them.  They went into the dining room and chose a table near enough to be in sight but not too close for them to recognise their voices when then spoke.  After dinner they went into the bar again.  My in laws sat down and then father in law went to the bar to order drinks.  R&J decided the time was right to spring their surprise.  R stood next to him at the bar and in an assumed voice asked him to pass a bowl of peanuts.  A quizical look but no recognition.  R&J sat themselves at the next table to them and then after a short while when they were relaxed and sipping their drinks R removed his fake moustache, and J took off her glasses and spoke in her normal voice.  The penny dropped!  Can you begin to imagine how surprised they were?  What a lovely surprise and so typical of R&J to have some fun with them.  Apparently my in laws had noticed this couple in the dining room but obviously not expecting to see anyone they knew and with them both talking in a very posh disguised accent they merely commented to each other how much that couple over there reminded them of R&J.  Little did they know!

Thursday, 4 August 2011


How forgetful am I?  When it was our son's graduation, I obviously had the 7th 4 x 6 Photo Love page in mind because I had SEVEN portrait photos in the batch that I took - happy days!  
I've also been thinking some more about Rinda's scavenger hunt and remembered I had taken a photo recently of the churchyard where my parents are laid to rest.
Now it isn't an inspiring photo but these three gravestones are totally different to any others in the churchyard.  See how clean and upright they are?  Yet they are dated 1917.  And something else that is unusual is that they are for foreign soldiers.  From the 4th Australian Pioneers.  I did try to research this a little but couldn't find anything that would throw any light on it.  Bearing in mind that in 1917, this village was a tiny out of the way place in the middle of the countryside, more than 30 miles from London and although it was towards the end of World War I, surely not a place that any fighting was going on.  A bit of a mystery.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Looking at life sideways on

So Shimelle's 4 x 6 Photo love for this month has 7 photos to get on one page.  Hmm challenging.  But she's got a good way round getting so much photo onto so little cardstock, involving fold out pages.  So what's the problem then?  Well it's the fact that they are seven portrait style photos and I'm not a great portrait style photo taker.  My camera feels far more comfortable in the landscape position and I have to make a conscious effort to turn it sideways.  I can probably find seven portrait pictures that I like, it's just that they don't all follow a similar theme!  I don't think random subjects will really work this month. 
My husband and I are planning a nice day out in Cambridge tomorrow, and I am hoping to find seven good things to photograph portrait style.
Am I alone in tending to favour landscape over portrait or am I just a lazy photographer?!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Happier times

Whilst we are dealing with some pretty sad things here at the moment (father in law died last night), I don't want this to become the 'Bad News Blog' that no one wants to read so I am going to share a post I had originally scheduled to go live on Saturday.  Obviously I thought I was going to be out of the country, so whilst I am missing my holiday this year I think I will share it just the same (even though it's a few days early!) as it relates to a wonderfully happy holiday we did get to go on not so many years ago:

It is the day of the Eclectic Keepsakes crop today and I won't be there.  Someone else will be eating my cupcake.  Someone else will be sitting with Jane and Denise and catching up with all the gossip.  Someone else will be winding Jane up about the fact that she is the guest designer for the next month's crop. 
But although I am not there in body, I am with them in spirit and Karen kindly let me have an early kit to play with and so I can share my efforts as normal.  Here's what I made of the kit she designed:

I thought the papers were really fun and were crying out for a beachy theme.  So I had a look back through the photos we took when we went to Barbados in 2004.  What a fantastic holiday that was!  So the left hand page shows me and the kids paddling in the Caribbean and the right hand one shows my husband and son about to embark on a jetski adventure.  They swapped positions mid-ocean which wasn't the best idea they ever had and then had a close encounter with a sea turtle.  Happy memories!

Hope you approve of what I did Karen and see you next month!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Holiday reading

Well I managed to finish my first book yesterday evening!  I've downloaded quite a few on my Kindle and this one was a real holiday read.  When I go away I like to read a book set in foreign lands and having fallen in love with Italy I was looking forward to 'Last train from Liguria' which was set in Southern Italy.  I really enjoyed it and it was a good relaxing read.  In my imagination I was walking through olive groves down to the sea, drinking cappucino and walking along the seafront ...
So what's next?  I think I will start on 'The Secret (Seasons of Grace Book 1).  I have always had a bit of a fascination with the Amish community and this is the setting for this book.  I don't know why it fascinates me but it does and I have high hopes for this book.  I watched a documentary last year where four Amish teenagers were sent over to the UK to see how British teenagers live and it was so interesting.  Their reactions were so different to what you may expect.  I also like the fact that this is Book 1 - therefore if I enjoy it, the story doesn't end on the last page!
Update on home news.  Phone call this morning to tell us to go to the hospital to say our goodbyes.  That was 6 hours ago and Father in law is still fighting.  Thankfully the children were able to see him while he was still awake and coherent as within an hour he was just in a very deep sleep which is how he is now.  I have come home with them and left my husband with his mum while I prepare our spare room for her to come back here for the night.  Proof indeed that the decision to cancel the holiday was the absolute right thing to do.