Thursday 29 September 2011

Blogging badly

I've been a bit of an absent blogger recently, and haven't even had much time for reading many other blogs.  I had a day where Blogger refused to let me leave comments on other people's blogs and that annoyed me - so to teach it a lesson I didn't even try the next day.  I think this is where the expression 'cutting off one's nose to spite one's face' comes from.  I don't think Blogger minded, or even noticed, that I was missing in action.
I haven't even been looking at the LSNED prompts that are languishing in my inbox - if anyone sees my scrapping mojo please turn it round and send it back home pronto! 
I think a part of it is that it is absolutely manic at work at the moment, the first half term after the long holidays always is, it takes time to get over a six week absence!  I've taken on a few new roles which involve a lot of work on Publisher and whilst it is fun to design and work on newsletters and Open Evening prospectuses, it's a lot of concentration.    By the time I get home I just don't feel in a creative frame of mind after spending the previous 7 hours slaving over a hot computer. 
But I need to give myself a cold shower and wake myself up ready for the new crop on Saturday.  I have 10 photos printed out ready for the two layouts and I've made up my kit for swapping with a fellow scrapper once we get there.  I've got my bag of supplies ready and my google map printed off so I don't get lost! 
And just to end the week on a high note, there is a charity fund raising event at school tomorrow and the Sixth Form are selling Krispy Kreme donuts to raise funds.  So it looks like it will be compulsory donut eating for me tomorrow {well it is for charity after all} - hopefully the sugar rush will boost my energy levels and get the scrapping juices flowing again!

Monday 26 September 2011

How time flies

… when you have fallen behind with LSNED!  I didn’t get anything done this week so I found myself in a panic today as I know that falling behind is a slippery slope.  So I have actually got 3 pages done in between various chores:

lsned19lsned 20lsned 21

19 I spend a lot of time trying to find embellishments to go on my pages, and often end up putting things on layouts just because I think I have to.  Sometimes though, a plain layout with a limited colour scheme works just as well

20 Teal or Duck Egg Blue.  How I love that colour.  Come in my house, you will find it in my lounge and dining room.  Open my wardrobe, you will be amazed how untidy it is  see how many clothes I have in that colour.  Look in my scrapbook supplies boxes, you will be amazed how untidy it is notice a predominance of papers in those tones.  It’s time to move on.  Time to embrace another colour.

21 I’m not a very confident scrapper.  I’m ok at copying instructions or scraplifting ideas, but when left to my own devices I’m not often happy with what I end up with.  Denise is always telling me about new crops, weekends away, scrapping retreats etc and inviting me along.  I’m always a bit hesitant and worried about being out of my depth with these very talented ladies, but I’ve been so pleased that I’ve let her talk me into going to some of them.  I’ve agreed to go to the Cambridge Croppers with her on Saturday – wish me luck!  

Sunday 25 September 2011

The one about Audrey

Are you good with names?  When introduced to several new people do you immediately remember which name is right for which person?  or do you mishear the name and then spend far too long calling people by the wrong name?  I am absolutely rubbish at remembering the names of new people and my LSNED layout for the 18th refers to this unfortunate personality trait.
This all relates to an unfortunate incident during a holiday in Barbados where we made friends with another British couple.  We would often sit and have a drink with them after dinner or chat with them around the pool.  David and Audrey were a really nice couple and we got on really well with them.  Audrey was a very keen swimmer, but like me, David preferred to just paddle in the warm Caribbean shallows.  One day, towards the end of our 10 days there, my husband was off snorkeling with our son, and Audrey was swimming further out from the hotel's pontoon.  David and I were strolling along the beach chatting.  The conversation went something along the lines of 'the nice thing about Glynis and I both working in a school is the long holidays ...'  and I immediately wondered who Glynis was.  As the conversation went on, he spoke more of the mysterious Glynis, until I realised that the lady who I had been calling Audrey for over a week was in fact called Glynis!  Oh the shame.  It wasn't the sunshine that turned my cheeks pink that morning - it was the embarrassment of getting her name totally wrong.
The family thought this was really funny, and it has become a standing joke that any new person I meet is probably called Audrey.  When I started going to my Rosemary Conley classes a few years ago it took them a long time to believe that the lady who took the class REALLY was called Audrey.   So if you ever meet me, and I call you Audrey, please, please don't take it personally - and correct me before it is too late!

Saturday 24 September 2011

Finished Scavenging!

Well, I have ticked off as many items on Rinda's list as I can and have the following pics to submit :

Number 18 was a tough one to find, but my husband and I spent a while in Southwold yesterday and today and when we arrived at the hotel, the handyman was outside painting the trellis work on the patio area, I couldn't believe my luck!  I didn't manage to get all 21 unfortunately, the unicycle eluded me completely, even though friends offered to help me cheat!  I have a friend whose nephew owns a unicycle and she offered to email me a photo of him with it, but I wasn't comfortable in adding that one, I feel that it was MY scavenger hunt and I was the only one who could find the items.  The other one I am missing is the roadside memorial.  Fortunately there are not many of these around where I am and the only one I know of is in memory of a boy that my son knew and I really didn't feel comfortable in deliberately driving up to that place just to photograph something that is still so painful for his parents.
So there it is - Scavenger Hunt completed!  It's been such fun and I'm really pleased that Rinda organised it for us all!

Sunday 18 September 2011

playing catch up

I knew that I had to spend today catching up on my Shimelle pages as once I fall too far behind there is always the possibility that I will fall by the wayside, never to finish the project.
So without further ado:

 The title says it all!
 I need to remember that I don't have to agree to do extra work - especially when I already have an overflowing in-tray at work
Just booked a couple of days away to Southwold.  Coincidentally, last time I did LSNED was in 2008 and we went to Southwold for the first time on exactly the same weekend - spooky!  However, back in 2008 my dear husband tore his calf muscle playing badminton 3 days before we went and ended up on crutches - hopefully history will not repeat itself.  Maybe I ought to hide his racquet this week .....

Saturday 17 September 2011

Easily distracted

On waking this morning the plan was:

  1. Go into town to do big weekly shop
  2. Come home, have coffee and watch Saturday Kitchen
  3. Make homemade soup for lunch
  4. Blitz daughter's bedroom (even though she moved out months ago, she left enough 'stuff' behind to make it look as if she's still here)
  5. Help clear out one half of the garage so we can park two cars in there again
  6. Upload latest 4x6 photo love on Shimelle
So I started with 1 and also went to the post office to collect this:
I was the lucky winner of Pass the Book (a fantastically good idea organised by Sian)  and this beautifully wrapped package came from Spain with Good Mail Day inside (plus the oh so pretty card I've shown on top of the packing) - thank you Alison!
Onto 2.  Whilst watching Saturday Kitchen the postman came and delivered this month's kit from Sarah' Cards
Oh how pretty, there was much oohing and ahhing and planning going on.  Whilst busy doing 3 I was trying to visualise what beautiful things I could make with it.
From here on in, things have not gone to plan.  After lunch I sat in the sunshine in the conservatory reading the book, had a little doze, woke up to find husband singlehandedly sorting out garage.  Quickly busied myself in the kitchen and made a batch of chocolate chip muffins whilst shouting out 'fancy a cup of tea before we get started out there?' in order to make it seem that I had been busy and not asleep, dreaming of fantastically wrapped and decorated letters and parcels.

So before things go further to pot, I've come upstairs on the pretext of starting 4 and avoiding 5 at all costs and finally getting round to doing 6.  I loved this way of displaying 8 photos in one and a half layouts and although R's graduation was some years ago, as I'd used J's graduation last month I thought it would be nice to include hers in this project.  My only problem as this Photo Love project is progressing is finding enough photos of the same subject to use each month!  Next month it's NINE so I had better get snapping ... I kind of think it could be puppy related next time!

Friday 16 September 2011

Food for thought

Strange how my missing LSNED page and the one for the 14th were both cooking related.
On Sunday the 11th we had my daughter round for lunch - along with puppy and boyfriend.  Not to mention our son and his girlfriend too.  Daughter's boyfriend is head chef at a Michelin starred restaurant - can you imagine how worrying it is to have him over for dinner?!  I decided to play it safe and do a traditional Roast Pork dinner, but rather daringly attempted a new recipe I had never tried before for dessert.  Fortunately all turned out well, and we had a lovely family lunch together.
Which kind of leads onto my page for the 14th
The kitchen always looks like a disaster area after I've been cooking in there, I really am the messiest cook ever.  I think it may be too late the change the habits of a lifetime though!
Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday 15 September 2011

The good, the bad and the 'I've got to re do this one'

On the whole I've been fairly content with the pages I've done for LSNED, some I've liked more than others but yesterday evening I did two pages, one I liked
and one I didn't (and which will be re-done)
In my imagination, Tim Holtz tape with calendar blocks on it, combined with stickers with days of the week on them were going to look good on a simple cream background.  The prompt was about how different days of the week feel, ie weekends v week-days.  I guess I should have been wary of the fact that it was day 13 and seen that unlucky number as an omen.  I know that this page will never sit happily in the project and I will have to revisit it!  I tried pleating some of the tape to see if a bit of texture improved it.  It didn't.
The bad page is the one I haven't done.  Can't get 'badder' than that can you?   Day 11.  I'm struggling with an idea for this prompt but may have the tiniest glimmer of a thought for what to do. 
On a totally different matter, those of you in the UK may have noticed the name of the town in which I live being headline news at the moment.  The lady who has been kidnapped in Kenya and whose husband has been murdered actually live just the other side of town from me.  Although I don't know them personally, they have a son who is the same age as my daughter and every time I turn on the news I try and imagine how awful it must be for him to be going through this nightmare.  May she have a swift release and be returned to her family in good health.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Playing catch up

Oh dear, one minute I was up to date with Shimelle's LSNED pages and the next I was 4 days behind!  We had a particularly busy few days in between and I am determined to catch up and do another page this evening.  For day 10 I produced this
It makes it look as if she has a really long tongue but actually she arrived with a nice pink fleece blanket and that is what she is chewing on! 
She really is adorable and now she (and my daughter) has moved to her proper home, it seems very strange without her.
I'm trying to keep to the themes of the days that Shimelle is showing in her prompts but some are easier to find things to fit with than others.  How is everyone else doing?  Are you sticking to the prompts or just doing your own thing?

Sunday 11 September 2011

A busy day for little people

And by little people I mean those of us under 5' 2" tall or of the penguin variety.  Last time Penguin accompanied me to the Eclectic Keepsakes crop, there was drama, tears and tantrums.  Despite that, he insisted that he wanted to come with me this month on the understanding that a) there would be cupcakes and b) a 'wanted' poster was displayed so that people kept an eye out for the troublemaker.  Karen brilliantly arranged for both demands to be met
Karen really was a star and managed to track down the evil Eileen:
Who tried hard to look sweet and innocent, but we all know better.  However, under the watchful eye of Karen, Eileen and Penguin shook hands and made up:

Which meant that Penguin could relax, eat cake
and help me with my layouts

The layouts were absolutely lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed making them, loving the colour combinations of both
By the end of the afternoon, both me and Penguin went home tired but happy little scrappers.

Friday 9 September 2011

A new addition

Oh dear, it didn't take much to make me fall behind with LSNED.  A little bundle of fur arrived to stay for a few days today
My daughter has waited a long time for her puppy, but I think she was well worth the wait.  I think it's fair to say you will be seeing this little lady in one or two layouts from now on!
But I have also done day 7

A lesson that I did already know, but needed reminding of!
Must go, there is a puppy to be played with ......

Tuesday 6 September 2011

LSNED 5 and 6

It's my 31st wedding anniversary today!  Where did all those years go?  Today has been cold, wet and miserable here, but back in 1980 it was a gloriously hot summer day.
Anyhow, for the 5th prompt for LSNED I searched through some old photos and found a little photo of me with my mum taken in about 1961.  I am proudly showing off my box of smarties.  It would appear that my love of chocolate goes back to a very young age!
Today's prompt referred to first day of term at school, which is very appropriate for me as I work as a school secretary!  When we broke up for the summer holidays back in July I scribbled a load of notes in my diary of things that needed to be done as soon as we returned for the Autumn term.  Now I'm sure that they made sense at the time, but some of them seem very obscure today and I can't remember what on earth I meant by them.  I've learnt that I need to take more time and trouble when making 'reminders' that won't be read again for several weeks!
The colours are a bit odd in this photo as by the time I had finished the layout, it was dark and the camera has cast an orangey glow over the picture. 

Monday 5 September 2011

LSNED weekend pages

Well I am still managing to keep up to date with my LSNED pages, but that's for two reasons.
  1. I've kept the pages really simple
  2. I work in a school and it's been the summer holidays so I've been home to do pages as soon as I get the prompts.  However, it's first day back for the Autumn term today so that may not last!
Day three's prompt was all about feet.  Quite appropriate really as I had not realised how far we would be walking when we went for our riverside stroll on Friday and had gone out wearing 'Fitflops' and not trainers.  Woke up Saturday and every muscle in my thighs were aching.  Maybe the advertising hype is right and they do give you a workout just by walking ...
For the day four prompt I decided to concentrate on the thoughts of friendship.  There is a group of us that became friends in the late 70s and over the last year we have all celebrated 30 years of marriage.  We were invited to the most recent anniversary celebration yesterday so seemed appropriate to use as a thought for the day's prompt.  We don't see each other as much as we used to as we all live in different places now but even so, when we get back together it's as if we pick up from where we left off.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Storytelling Sunday - A Tropical Tale

This post is brought to you as part of Sian's Storytelling Sundays!  Last weekend our news was full of Hurricane Irene as it lashed the East Coast of America and so I thought that this month I would share my very minor experience of a Tropical Storm!
In 2004 we went on a family holiday to Barbados.  It was a truly amazing trip and a real holiday of a lifetime.  We stayed at the Discovery Bay Hotel in Holetown; a lovely location and superb hotel.  We visited in August and the weather was typical for that time of year, the majority of the time was gloriously hot sunshine and then every afternoon, about half an hour of warm, tropical rain. 
I need to point out at this part of the story that I am not a confident swimmer.  I only learnt to swim when I was 26 and am a founder member of the 'heads up brigade'.  I only do breast stroke, I don't like to go out of my depth and I keep my head out of the water at all times.  The rest of the family had been out on jet skis and whizzing up and down the coast on power boats but I had stayed on terra firma, bravely volunteering to look after beach towels, cameras etc while they went out to sea.  They kept going on about how lovely the coast line was when you saw it from out at sea and how you could see Cliff Richard's villa and the place where Tony Blair was staying and I knew I would have no peace until I had been out on a boat.  So I left it to the penultimate day and agreed to go 'tomorrow'.  When we woke that morning, the sky was a little more grey than normal, and there were clouds where previously the sky had been clear and blue.  As the time for the boat ride grew nearer, the sky grew darker, the sea got choppier and I was confident that the owner of the boat would say that it was unsuitable to go out.  As we paddled out to the jetty he welcomed us aboard and I did mention that the sky looked very grey and wasn't that a nasty breeze that was picking up?  But as is the manner of the population of Barbados, he gave a broad smile, a shrug of the shoulders and a confident 'Don't you worry Ma'am, everything will be fine'.
And it was.  All the way to the south of Holetown, and all the way back to Holetown, and then he said we would be going north of the resort - towards the darkening sky.  I wasn't ever so happy, but everyone else was chilled and relaxed and - then suddenly the wind picked up and the first big blobs of rain started to fall on the boat.  'No worries, we'll just sail out to sea a bit further to escape it, it will soon blow over' and so with the coast line of Holetown behind us, we set sail towards the horizon - which was not where I wanted to be at all.  He then decided that we could not outrun the storm, and the best thing to do was to cut the engines and let it pass over us.  He reached beneath his seat and put on his life jacket.  I reached beneath my seat - and discovered that there was only one life jacket on the boat and he was wearing it!  I think that my face must have betrayed how I was feeling - bobbing around in the ocean, a long way from shore and in the middle of a storm - as he offered the life jacket to me.  And while this offered some reassurance, I then wondered whether or not it was a good idea for the only person on the boat who knew how to drive the thing wasn't wearing a flotation device. 
I don't know how long we were out there before the rains stopped and the wind died down, probably not as long as I imagined it had, but boy was I relieved when he saw a window of opportunity to dodge through the cloudbursts, started the engine and set sail for the shore.  There is a photo of me taken just before we got off the boat - my daughter had stuck it into an album and there is no digital copy on the computer so excuse the poor scanned quality - I may look like I am smiling but if you look carefully, my knuckles are white from where I am gripping on to the boat for dear life!

Saturday 3 September 2011

LSED Day two

Yesterday was a glorious day and so my husband and I went for a walk along the river Stort.  We started at Twyford Lock and walked about two miles along it to Spellbrook.  There are a series of locks along this stretch of the river and I was surprised how many houseboats there were moored along the riverside. 
Since Rinda over at Gallo Organico started her scavenger hunt this summer, my husband has become used to me pointing out random things and then running off to photograph them, and I must admit that participating in this challenge has made me more aware of things.  One thing on the list is 'Your country's flag' and if you had asked me earlier this year how often you see our flag flying, I would have said 'rarely'.  However, it seems that wherever I go nowadays, I see flags flying!  And yesterday was no exception:
So that was my lesson learnt yesterday, the journalling reads 'It wasn't until I started the scavenger hunt that I realised how many flags there were flying!'

Friday 2 September 2011

LSED Day One

There's no going back now - I'm committed to 7x5 pages, but think I'm going to be happy with my choice.

My son flew out to New York yesterday, his girlfriend had booked the tickets for his 21st birthday present and they've been so excited about it {birthday in March, plenty of time to think about all they want to do and see} although the Hurricane Irene last weekend did make them wonder if their flights would be disrupted and they anxiously watched every news bulletin until the airports reopened on Tuesday!  It's his second trip to New York, having been there on a school trip when he was in the 6th form, but even though his girlfriend is half American, she's never visited any of the United States. 
I checked on the Heathrow website to see if they took off on time and 'casually' checked the JFK website when I knew they were due to land and so I knew the plane had got there safely, but I still didn't really relax until I received a text from him a little later.  My lesson learnt that day?  That I still worry about him far too much even though he is officially a grown up!