Sunday 30 January 2011

Better late than never

Back at the very beginning of this month, I should have been at a crop at Eclectic Keepsakes.  But I was full of nasty germs and in no fit state to inflict my bugs on others.  The two Karens very kindly packaged up some bits from the class for me and Denise dropped them in on her way home.  Yesterday, I decided that I would have a go at the card that they made and came up with this
It should really be a Thank You card but I decided that I would change it slightly so that it became a birthday card.  I love the colours of the papers that they chose for this and I especially love that filigree butterfly punch! 
Off to a quiz night tonight as part of a team of old school friends, so I really ought to be swotting up on things that happened this week, tv awards, film awards, sporting results etc.  But we had a late night out last night as we had dinner round our friends' house and to be honest, I think I may need a nap instead! 

Saturday 29 January 2011

Black and White time again!

I'm looking forward to the weather being better and actually feeling like going out to different places so I can get to grips with taking some different black and white photos.  But with the temperature refusing to go past single figures, I have to resort to taking things close to home. 
This little fellow comes from Portugal and is a version of the Barcelos Cockerel.  He is said to represent faith, justice and good luck.  You quite often seen these figures painted with a black backround and quite garish patterns all done in primary colours but I think this one is a pretty version.
My sister has a holiday home in Portugal and flew out there on Thursday for a 10 day winter break.  It's not brilliant temperatures out there at the moment, think it is 11 degrees today, but I kind of wish I was out there too just to get away from January at home.
Hurry up February - and please bring a little sunshine with you!

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Wednesday chores

So when the husband comes home from another stressful day in the office and says to me 'What have you been doing on your day off?'  Should I concentrate on
  • Giving the daughter a lift into work
  • Doing a mid week shop at Tesco
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Unloading the dishwasher after it finished
  • Tidying the airing cupboard
  • Dusting and tidying the lounge
  • Making a loaf of multi-grain and seed bread

  • Watching an episode of One Tree Hill while drinking a lovely cup of Nespresso coffee
  • Dancing around to Katy Perry whilst dusting and tidying the lounge
  • Eating the warm crust of the freshly made loaf with a bowl of soup for my lunch
  • Catching up with my scrapbook friends' blogs
  • Doing a few more bits to the Germany album

Tuesday 25 January 2011

German album - 1st draft

I've made a start on the german album, and have decided that I am going to get the basics down on the pages and then add the final embellishments and journalling once it is all in one piece otherwise I have visions of me going to town on the first half of it and then running out of steam (and pretty things) for the 2nd half.
Hotel sign with Cathedral spires in background
The Night Market and a group shot in a local pub (needs journalling!)
More 'extras'  - such pretty houses in the older part of town
So guess what my plan is for my day off tomorrow ......!

Monday 24 January 2011

Colours and textures

I have just finished another chapter in the Pass the Book book, and this one related to colours and textures in your life. So I thought I would look round the house to see how I could reflect these subjects in some photos. First of all I thought that I'm not a great 'texture' person. But then I looked around and realised that there is more texture in my home than the first glance would show. From the pin tucked ribbon edging on my duvet cover, to the mosaic of coloured glass around the mirror in the hallway.
You will notice that I also seem to be going through a 'duck egg blue' phase in my life. It's obviously time to mention redecorating to the husband to get some new colour schemes going on ;-)
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Sunday 23 January 2011


Part of the 'Pass the book' project organised by Sian is for the receiver of the book to post something that they have been inspired to do while reading it.
Now I'm not much of a poet - although I do like to read poetry.  My daughter once asked me to help her analyse a poem she was having trouble with as part of her GCSE English Literature, and it touched me so much that I couldn't discuss it with her without crying.  "That's the last time I ask for your help" were the words she muttered as she flounced back upstairs with it.
But in the spirit of Pass the book, I shall take a deep breath and share this with you.  The words are inspired by this photo that I used in a page layout at the beginning of 2010 and is a photo of me, my daughter, my sister, my niece and my nephew's wife.
Five family females
Individuals yet the same
Mothers, daughters, sisters all
We share so much
Branches of our family tree
Rooted in history and shared experiences

{Unbeknown to us there was a sixth family female in this photo!  Little baby Sophie was hidden away in my niece and we wouldn't know that there was a little girl in there until she was born 5 months later!}

I have to say that I am really enjoying the book that has been passed to me.  Inner Excavation by Liz Lamoreux.  Explore your self through photography, poetry and mixed media.  It is full of new ideas and inspiration and it is really making me think outside of how I normally work. 

Good choice Sian!  This one will be hard to pass on .....

Saturday 22 January 2011

Taking flight in black and white

I've had a bit of a grotty week at work.  When you are under the weather, all you want is to be left alone and just get on with things quietly and in your own time.  Well that doesn't happen too often in a busy school office!  So after finishing work on Friday, the sun was shining and although it was cold, it was a really nice afternoon so I went for a walk.  The sun really lifted my spirits.  The weekend was just around the corner.  There was no one else around, total solitude.  I was walking along the footpath by the side of the lake and my phone rang.  It was my son, saying his last exam had gone well, the questions he had hoped for had come up and he was relieved to have it all done and dusted.  It was a lovely feeling to be standing in the sunshine with just the ducks for company, chatting to him and hearing his voice relaxed and happy.
This is the photo I took shortly afterwards and looking at it reminds me of how nice it was to be in a quiet, sunny place, hearing good news and chatting to my boy.  It isn't a particularly special photo, but for personal reasons, when I look at it, it brings back that lovely warm feeling inside.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Signs of improvement

I don't like January much.  It's cold and damp.  It holds bad memories of losing my dad.  The fun and lightness of Christmas and New Year already seem a long time ago.  My husband leaves for work in the mornings and it's dark, and when he comes home in the evening it's dark.  On a bad day that is the same for me {and I finish at 4pm!}.  So when I pulled the blinds this morning to wave goodbye to him, it was such an unexpected pleasure to see the beautiful colours in the sky as the sun rose behind the clouds. 
Today I plan to do some more work to the little album I am making using the photos from our trip to Cologne. I got the album from A Trip Down Memory Lane.  I bought one last year in blue for my Portuguese album and loved it so much I bought another for this project in black. 

I've done a couple of pages already and even altered some page protectors so that they make extra inserts to display more pictures.  The next pages I want to do will be featuring a bar we found near the markets.  It was the most fascinating place.  The lighting was subdued and the walls were full of Victorian style games and machines.  Like 'What the Butler saw', Bagatelle and Fortune telling machines.  Not to mention one of those scary Laughing Sailors that sits all quietly for ages then suddenly springs into action and bursts into hysterical laughter.  We spent quite a while in there gradually defrosting from the cold of walking around the markets and thawed out whilst sampling a glass of their finest gluwein.  They had an old fashioned juke box in there, which was linked up to these
They kind of gave me the creeps to be honest.  When you chose your song, they would rise up from a sitting position and 'play' the music.  Their fingers moved and their cheeks blew in and out and the spooky one on the left with the crossed eyes moved his eyebrows up and down.  It was kind of traditional old German 'oompah' music but playing modern songs.  Totally bizarre but one of those memories that stick in your mind.  I know that whenever I look in that album in the future and see this photo, I will be transported back to that little booth in the corner of a traditional German Bierhaus.

Monday 17 January 2011

A change of plan

I only work half a day on a Monday, so my plan for today was - work until 12.30, come home, have lunch, put more washing in machine, iron clothes I washed yesterday, unload and reload dishwasher, tidy up bedroom. 
Sorry housework you are going to have to wait as things got rescheduled as follows.
Work until 12.30 (so far so good), come home, (still going to plan) see that a parcel has arrived for me, open parcel
Oh Goodie Goodie - it's from Sian!  I was the lucky winner of this month's 'Pass The Book'.  She even has pretty parcel string!  Quick, quick, get it open ....
Oh, this looks good.  Hmmm, where am I on today's plan ... lunch!  Quickly get plate out of cupboard, throw two pieces of bread on plate, rip open packet of ham, throw 2 slices of ham on one slice of bread, quick squeeze of mayonnaise - low fat version of course {just in case Rosemary Conley is reading this! }other slice on top, cut into 4, kettle on, coffee in mug, sit down and ....

I think we all know there will be no ironing done today ..................

Sunday 16 January 2011


On a Monday evening I attend a Rosemary Conley Slimming Club.  I was never hugely overweight, but needed to lose about 10 lbs a couple of years ago and even though I soon hit my target weight I keep going to the classes to keep me on the straight and narrow.  Plus I enjoy the exercise class afterwards, dancing around to cheesy 70s disco music is right up my street!  We are sent a motivational email every month and when January's arrived, it finished with this cartoon
Now I don't know about you, but I read this as meaning that it is ok to eat donuts!  Somehow I don't think it's what she meant though.
Anyway, how is a girl to stay on the straight and narrow when Carrie and her mum Deb are posting recipes for the best chocolate cook cookie ever?  I mean, I see this as necessary market research - I really NEEDED to find out if their recipe is a good one.  It took a bit of research on the internet to find conversion charts of cups to grams and Farenheit to Celcius but I gave it a whirl and have to say that ...

They are exceptionally fine cookies!

Saturday 15 January 2011

Black & White Photo 3

Or rather - the story of my day told through black and white photos!

We took our son back to Sheffield today for his final semester at University of Sheffield.  I hate the drive back after dropping him off, the husband and I are both subdued and it just seems too quiet in the car.
We've been going up to Sheffield now for about 7 years!  Our daughter went to Sheffield Hallam university and as soon as she graduated, our son decided that Sheffield was the place for him too although he rang the changes by choosing the other university there.  So that 150 mile journey is becoming quite familiar now.
Before our daughter went to university I had never ventured much 'up north' apart from a long weekend in the Lake District back in the early 80s.  I guess most people have seen or heard of the film 'The Full Monty', well that was set in Sheffield.  It's a town of great contrasts, from the very old to the very new.  Certain areas are dominated by the two Universities and a lot of the housing there is student accommodation. I can't imagine what the town is like when the universities finish for the summer and it is left to just the local people.
Sheffield has a long and varied history - if you are interested, you can read about it here, it has been very prosperous when it was the centre of the British steel industry but that has long gone. The photos I have included in the collage are left to right,
Top row first - modern sculpture in the Crookes area town,  modern university building, the house that is where my son is living
2nd row Peterborough Services - an odd choice to include but we always stop here on the way as not only do I always need a 'comfort break' when we have been on the road an hour (and yet I can make the 3 hour journey back home non stop - curious!) but they have an M&S Express there and we buy our sandwiches for lunch, next two pictures are an example of a couple of church buildings in the older area of the city,
3rd row A signpost that shows we are nearly at our destination, the jumble of possessions on the bookcase in my son's room ranging from beer and wine on the top shelf, a huge variety of reading matter, a collection of DVDs and his trusty guitar, then finally a set of traffic lights.  You certainly see enough of those once you enter 'Steel City'!

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Thursday 13 January 2011

There's good news, then there's bad news

  • I'm going to be the January adopter of the 'Pass the Book' of the month from Sian 
  • I got sent home from work because I was ill  :-(
  • I chose a new 'happy' colour scheme for my blog ♥
  • The antibiotics the doctor gave me yesterday are making me feel grotty  :-(
  • It's nearly the weekend ♥
  • My son goes back to Uni on Saturday  :-(
  • I made a lovely batch of cranberry cookies yesterday ♥
  • I've eaten most of them despite my good intentions for not snacking
  • I've been in my pjs since 6pm ♥
  • I've been awake since 4am :-(
  • The new album from A Trip Down Memory Lane arrived in the post.  If I'm still too ill for work tomorrow, I may just about be able to find the energy to start filling it up with my Cologne Christmas Market photos ♥
Pleased to say that although there are good and bad bits about today, I've ended on a good note!

'Twas the night before Christmas ...

... and the family were gathering for the annual Christmas group photo.  The children were keen, overjoyed, excited reluctant to go through the ritual but I had my stern face on and they knew I would give them no peace until it was done and the sooner we all sat down together and got it over and done with, the sooner they could go out with their friends. 
So when Denise returned from the crop that I had missed last weekend with a little goodie bag of bits and pieces, I immediately noticed this lovely Websters paper and just knew it would be perfect for the 2010 Christmas family photo page.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Waiting for inspiration

A friend of mine has recently become interested in scrapbooking and for Christmas I bought her a little mini-kit of Christmas embellishments so she could do some special Christmas pages.  When I got to the checkout page of the purchase, my index finger quivered over the 'quantity' box.  I knew that I wanted one for her but felt there may be a chance that I would want  need one too.  There were some very pretty things in there.  Some really special little bits and pieces that I would never find locally.  And then in my imagination I fast-forwarded to the future, popping round to her house for a coffee and her showing me the album she had made out of all the things.  Marvelling at the beauty of the pages and me wishing I had taken the chance to get a kit for myself too.  I don't know what happened after that, I must have been overtaken by a naughty fairy or something but next thing I knew I was on the payment page and I had 'accidently' {ahem} ordered two.  Let this be a warning to you, sometimes gremlins get in the machine and MAKE you order stuff you don't intend to ;-)
So today is my day off from work and I am planning to actually make something out of the stuff I inadvertantly ordered :

Monday 10 January 2011

New classes

Still going with that little word 'learn', I have signed up for a new class over at Big Picture Classes.
It's called 'Embrace Imperfection' - it's free and you can read more about it by clicking here
And just to demonstrate how ideal it is for me, I signed up for it today, got all excited, couldn't work out why I couldn't access any of the information about the class and then saw that it didn't start on January 10th, it starts on February 10th.  How imperfect can one little scrapper be????  It sounds like it will be good and hopefully by then I will be back fighting fit and raring to go.
Wish that I could shake off these germs, it's not a good way to start the year but at least it all started after the festivities and not before!  Always looking for the positive spin on things!
Must be time for another lemsip .......

Saturday 8 January 2011

Black (& white) and blue

Well today has not been quite the day I had planned.  I am supposed to be in the middle of the 10 hour crop extravaganza that was rescheduled after the snow in December but instead I am sitting at home feeling sorry for myself, sneezing and coughing and popping cold and flu capsules on a four hourly basis.  Stupid germs.
So instead, I will post the second of  my black and white pictures and with a nod to my intention to 'Learn' more new things, I am posting this:
My sister gave me these little tea light holders, all in slightly different shades of blue.  They look so pretty when lit (although not so easy to photograph!)
I love the idea of having a photo in black and white but picking out one coloured element to keep in the picture.  So I downloaded an app onto my iphone (how on earth did I manage without that phone?) where you take a photo, it automatically changes it to black and white and then you zoom in and pick out the bits that you want to restore to the original colour.  Clever - huh?  I thought I would experiment on something that was a reasonable size to work on but intend to try this on a smaller element within a black and white print. 
So that's me done, must be time for another nap.  Hope you kept a safe distance away while reading this, I'd hate to spread these germs around blogland.
Happy Saturday! 

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Necessity is the mother of invention

As part of our Christmas gifts, the kids had got us a combined present from them both.  The main part of the present was a canvas print of a picture they had taken at our anniversary party.
Looks good on the wall of the study.  It is such a nice relaxed pose and none of us are blinking or pulling a funny face!  With this, they had also had a selection of other black and white photos printed off for us to put in an album.  But I had a bit of an idea that they would look good in the album that I had used for the pages I had scrapbooked of our trip to Bath and the party.  I remembered seeing some divided page protectors and set about trying to find them on the internet.  Seems they are easy to buy in the US, but all out of stock in the UK.  I wanted the ones that had a variety of landscape/portrait pouches. 
Then I remembered something from Shimelle's class that was all about making things out of stuff you already have and I set to work on some plain 12 x 12 page protectors and the sewing machine.  Ta Da!!! 

For some reason Blogger wants to keep turning this picture on it's side and I can't put it up the right way but you get the idea!

Monday 3 January 2011

Something different

I'm going to try and make 2011 the year that I take the opportunity to learn whatever new things are offered to me.  So that's my word for the year - 'Learn'.  {Kind of appropriate for someone who works in a school eh?}
I have been doing a bit of blog hopping today and came across the idea for taking one photo a week in black and white.  I've not done too much in B&W previously so this is a fine opportunity for me to put good intentions to the test.  I also took the opportunity of downloading an app for my phone that allows me to do a bit more editing.  So - Week One and photo one:
Aren't you pleased you aren't a duck?  Their little feet must be frozen on the ice.  This photo was taken at a lake that is about half a mile from our house.  The snow has now gone from everywhere but bits of the lake are still frozen.  Silly ducks are still congregating on this iced bit because it's close to the path and that's where all the kids like to come down with their bags of bread to feed the ducks.  If they weren't quite so greedy, they could walk across a bit and find where the ice had melted!
Back to school for me tomorrow.  When we broke up and had 2 weeks holiday, it seemed a nice long time.  Suddenly it seems like only yesterday that I was last there.  Got to feel a bit sorry for our year 11 girls though, first day back and they are straight in for GCSE Mock exams!   

Saturday 1 January 2011

Off to a good start

Reunited with friends who moved to Belgium
Good food, fine wine, in the company of good friends

Seeing in another new year with the husband!

So far - so good!  Hope you had a good New Year's Eve too!