Thursday 27 October 2011

New book causes drama in the high street

Last year I offered to make the gift tags for the Secret Santa draw at work.  And last year I said 'Never again'.  So how come I currently have a messy dining room table and 22 labels in various stages of completion drying on my sideboard?  Someone has been taking advantage of my senior moments memory  good nature.  You see in my office there are six of us and that would be easy peasy.  But then Finance join in (another 4) and then the Head and her PA, and the lady in charge of reports and predicted grades, our Admissions Officer and a few of the Cover Supervisors, the lady in reprographics and not forgetting someone who transfered to become a Head of Year secretary in another office but still likes to be included with us, oh, and the exams officer that I work with ...  Six would have been lovely, 22 is a whole other ball game!  Memo to self.  Don't make them so fancy this year and remember to say NO if they ask again this time next year!

I've been reading a few pages of my new Pass the Book book and I even have a few ideas of a sample page.  Even printed off a photo that will be the inspiration for the page.  And {get this} I went shopping and bought a special pencil that when you brush water over it, turns to paint!  Yes.  Me.  Buying painting supplies.  Never been known before!  It was such a surprise that a man in the aisle next to me fainted.  That was probably a coincidence - and caused uproar in the shop -"what do I do?  I've never called 999 before"  asks the shop assistant.  "dial 999" says the gentleman's daughter.  "Hello.  Ambulance please.  No, I'm sorry I don't know the post code of the shop.  Does anyone know the postcode of the shop?"  Our town is a one way street and WHSmith is the biggest shop in the middle of the street.  The ambulance centre is half a mile outside of town.  I really don't think they needed a postcode to find it.  By the time I had paid for my painty bits the man had revived and was last heard saying "what did you call an ambulance for?  I'm perfectly ok".  I slunk off before he could say 'Was that really Deb buying something from the artist's department?' 

Wednesday 26 October 2011

A full bookshelf again

I am happy to report that the gap in my bookcase is no longer there.  When I got home on Monday there was a card from the postman on the door mat to say he had tried to deliver something that was too big for my letterbox and needed me to go to the post office to sign for it.  'Woohoo!' I thought, 'clearly they have realised that sending on that Good Mail Day book was a mistake and they have returned it to sender'.  But it was actually another Pass The Book book that I had been drawn to receive from Alexa over at Trimming the Sails.
Now this is not my normal type of craftiness.  Although I enjoy shuffling bits of paper and glittery, flowery things around on a page, I'm not one to normally pick up a paintbrush and create.  So this will be something very new to me and I suspect that it may take me a few reads to get the courage up to do some proper art work.  But I am always up for a challenge and even if it's a disaster I promise I will share.  I've only had a quick look so far but it's half term here so I have plenty of time to sit down with a coffee and look at it properly. 
I have to say that Sian has been very clever in her choices for Pass the Book subjects, they have been very varied and inspirational - it's been a lovely project to take part in and I've been lucky in the books I have 'adopted' over this past year. 

Sunday 23 October 2011

No excuses

Guess what?  Sandie has sent me her address.  I have finally run out of excuses not to pass on this book.  She could at least have the decency to show some remorse at stealing it away from me.  But no, she seems far too happy to be getting it.  So I've had once last look through it, and put it in it's envelope and tomorrow I will be dragging my feet along to the post office to send it off.  There may be a slight tug of war over the counter as the post mistress tries to prise it from my hands and put it in the postman's sack for collection.  There may be some pouting and stomping and 'it's not fair' business going on.  
The post office also has a sweet counter.  I may need to stock up on chocolate as consolation to get me through the sadness of seeing the gap in my bookcase where the book used to be.  If I put weight on this week,  I hold Sandie personally responsible.
Just sayin'.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Decision time

Well the day has finally come.  Time to decide who will get the book.  Time for me to 'man up' and agree to hand it over.  So, the following people offered to take it off my hands {thanks a bunch}
  1. furrypig
  2. Mel
  3. Heather
  4. Sandie
  5. Amy
  6. boysmum2
  7. Cheri
  8. Kimberley
  9. Scrappy Sandi
  10. Jennifer
Alexa very kindly offered to have it again if no one else was interested despite having had it once already.  I don't think so, but a very good try nonetheless!  Hmmm - is it too late for me to enter into my own giveaway under an assumed name ......

I was going to roll a couple of dice but then it was pointed out that certain numbers may have an unfair advantage/disadvantage and I'd hate there to have to be a steward's enquiry.  I do hate maths and all numeric issues involved in it so I will go back to the drawing board.  Popped round to investigate the chance of using puppy for drawing the number.  Turns out that if you lay 10 doggie treats on the floor, numbers 1-5 have gone before you get to lay the last one down.  10 doggy toys on the floor?  Puppy takes flying leap across floor, skids to a halt across the ceramic tiles and tries to get at least four in her mouth at the same time. 
It is clear that I am going to have to resort to technology ... and so - oh random one, which number will you choose ....

So, Sandie is the lucky lady!  Congratulations Sandie {she says through gritted teeth} I think - no - I know, you will love it.  Let me know your address and I will send it off as soon as I can.  It's half term next week so I have no excuse for not getting to the post office!

Thursday 20 October 2011

The roll of the dice

This is the final call for people to express their wish to be included in the draw for Good Mail Day.  If no one new adds their name to the list I have a perfect number of names for me to be able to make the draw with the roll of two dice
I still can't believe there are so many people out there willing to take this away from me but hey ho ...

Wednesday 19 October 2011


My daughter has had the builders back into her house today and as she didn't trust them not to leave a door open and let the puppy escape, Coco came to stay with me at my house.  There's been very little housework done today as she likes to go to sleep nestled up beside you on the sofa, so once she's fallen asleep - you are stuck there next to her until she wakes up ...
And you know what they say about letting sleeping dogs lie ........

Tuesday 18 October 2011


Well it would seem that my cunning plan to keep the Good Mail Day book has been a failure as several people seem only too happy to take it off my hands - and there's still time to add your name to the list!
I was into Happy Mail from a very young age.  Back in 1968 I was a huge fan of The Monkees.  Davy Jones in particular.  Loved their music and loved their tv programme.  Even joined their fan club!  In one edition of the Fan Newsletter was an article where you could be matched up with another fan and become Pen Pals.  I immediately knew I wanted to join up.  I asked for a pen pal in California as that was the only exotic place in the USA I could think of (well, I was only 10 at the time!)  I had a letter back saying they had no members in California who wished to be pen pals but they had matched me with a girl in Chicago - guess they went through the country alphabetically and Chicago was next on the list from California.  So I started writing to Cindy and we have continued to write to each other for the last 43 years.  Well, more often than not it's an email now or message via Facebook but back in my teenage years, letters was the only way to go.  I spent much pocket money on pretty notepads, Holly Hobby being a favourite and also Charlie Brown.  I even used to seal them with pretty sealing wax, stickers, cartoons out of newspapers, you name it, I would stick it on the outside of my envelopes.  And she would do the same back, only hers were better because hers had come from AMERICA!
We've met a few times now, she came over when in about 1978 and we met up when I went on holiday to Florida with my family in 1998, and then she came to visit when she was stopping off for 48 hours in the UK after going on a cruise around the Mediterranean.  Which can only mean one thing ... it's time for me to go and visit her again!

Monday 17 October 2011

Reminder one

This is just a teensy weensy reminder that I will be drawing the name for the Pass the Book (as mentioned yesterday) on Saturday.  But let's get this straight - you don't have to enter, I really don't mind holding onto it.  Honest.
I'm trying to think of a way that I can involve my daughter's puppy in the drawing process but to be honest, she's a bit of a Madame Mad Paws and I can't see her standing still long enough to walk towards a numbered piece of paper and if I put slips of paper with names on it into a bowl, she would have eaten them all before you could say 'Good Mail Day'.

So if you want to add your name to the list of people who wish to steal this book away from me ... leave a comment here!

Sunday 16 October 2011

Pass the Book

I can't believe it is a month since I received the book 'Good Mail Day' as part of Sian's Pass the Book.  I think I've been trying to pretend that it isn't a month and that it isn't time to offer it onto the next person.  In fact if no one asks to be included in the draw, I may get to keep it .... I mean, who really wants to pretty up their post?
Really?  What's wrong with just plain white, or boring buff?  Functional, does the job well and doesn't distract the postman.  Come on, imagine the reaction of the postal workers if we all did this
Quite frankly I think it would just confuse them. Just because we are scrapbookers doesn't mean that we love cutting and sticking and glossing and glittering does it?  I bet half of you wouldn't even have a fancy stamp or embellishment that would pretty up a parcel.  So it won't surprise me at all, not one little bit, if no one wanted to have their name included in the draw for it.  And if Sian asks me nicely I suppose I will just HAVE to hold onto it myself for ever and ever.

But in the spirit of Pass the Book, I guess I will have to say 'Does any one else out there fancy getting their hands on this rather lovely, inspiring, fun, interesting, artistic    book?'  If you do - although I will quite understand if you don't (I mean who needs to have a template to make original envelopes out of any pretty paper?) please leave me a comment and I'll enter you for the draw.  I'll keep asking (reluctantly) until Friday, and will draw the name of the next winner on Saturday. 
I do need to stress though, you really don't have to enter.  It will be a shame if the book stays here with me but hey ho ...

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Too good to use

Every month I receive a subscription kit from Sarah's Cards.  It's a great way for me to keep up to date with new products and themes going on in the scrapbooking world as we have no craft shop within a 10 mile radius.  So no opportunity to browse.  Sometimes the papers and embellisments are more to my liking than others but I've always used what I have been sent and pleased with the end result. 
However, one came recently and as soon as I opened it, I knew I loved it.  Pretty papers, lovely colours, exactly what I would have chosen if left to my own devices.  But then the dilemma.  Did I have any photos worthy of it?  And so I've been holding onto it.  Looking at it, and sometimes stroking it as one of the papers has little birds that are slightly raised and glossed.  I knew that if I didn't use it soon, it would become one of those things that I loved too much to cut up. 
So browsing around Facebook, I saw a photo of my niece and her daughter and knew that this was the one.
And now I have finally cut up a couple of the papers, I know I'm going to use every last scrap! 

Monday 10 October 2011

10 things I learnt today

  1. It takes longer than you think to fold up 92 letters, put 92 stamps on 92 stamped addressed post cards, and put one of each in 92 envelopes
  2. I really ought to have started working on my Performance Management report earlier as my meeting is tomorrow and I have done nothing towards it
  3. Going out to lunch on a Monday with good friends is such a good way to start the week
  4. Quatro Formaggio Pizza Express pizza is absolutely delicious, why haven't I tried it before?
  5. Eating a heavily loaded cheese pizza is possibly not the best idea on the day I have my Rosemary Conley 'weigh in' in the evening - pah!  It's too late now, I've eaten it!
  6. When I am feeling guilty about having eaten said pizza, it is easy to convince me that signing up for a new Zumba class on Wednesday evening is a very good idea
  7. The minute I agree to do a new Zumba class on a Wednesday evening, I regret it but having said yes, my friend Lynda will not let me go back on the deal.
  8. Two slightly aching but much improved hips are not sufficient reason for staying home and watching 'Doc Martin' rather than going to an exercise class
  9. It really is time to put the summer clothes away for another year
  10. The more I turn up the thermostat on the central heating, the more my husband will go out to the hallway and turn it down five minutes later

Sunday 9 October 2011

The US of A layout

For his 21st birthday present, my son's girlfriend arranged for them to go to New York for a few days in September.  As his birthday was in March, this gave them plenty of time to save up for the trip and decide what they wanted to do while they were there.  One thing on their list was to go to a baseball game and they booked tickets to go and see the Yankees.  The leftover Echo Park stickers I had from last week's crop seemed to be calling out to be used on an American themed page ...
Thank you for your concern about my leg; I obviously over-compensated and put more weight than normal on the other one yesterday as guess what ... I woke up this morning and my right hip hurts.  Or maybe I am just one big pain in the ......!

Saturday 8 October 2011

Stay at home cropper

At the moment I really ought to be at the Eclectic Keepsakes crop but for a couple of reasons, I haven't been able to get there.  One of which is one which will make me sound like an old crock - following an hour of sitting on a stage in an uncomfortable, hard school chair, unable to get comfortable due to 200 parents watching my every move, I seem to have trapped or pinched a nerve in my left leg.  This is what happens when you offer moral support to a work colleague! 
One of the jobs I do at school is to arrange work experience for 160 girls in year 10.  My colleague has recently taken over main responsibility for this following the retirement of the previous reluctant enthusiastic workmate who got lumbered with it offered to do it.  Now, us ladies in the office do not seek attention.  We are happy to quietly and secretly run the school without venturing into the world of parents and particularly information evenings for parents.  So, the night of the Work Experience Info Eve approached, and Mrs A was up burning the midnight oil preparing powerpoint presentations, demonstration videos and speeches.  Standing up on stage in front of a hall full of parents and students was never part of a secretary's job description and I could sense anxiety creeping in.  Now, we work as a team, and I am there to support her, just like Laurel had Hardy and Ant has Dec, she has me as her trusty assistant.  I tried calling myself her glamourous assistant but that just made me sound like Debbie McGee and she objected to being likened to Paul Daniels!  So we're up on stage, with laptops and presentations prepared, whiteboards in place, microphones on and spotlights positioned.  After about 15 mins on my hard chair, I started to get uncomfortable.  Shifted weight from one side to the other.  Sat with ankles crossed.  Sat with knees together and ankles together.  Crossed one leg over the other.  Remembered that was bad for the circulation and sat neatly again.  The longest hour of my life.  It's very disconcerting to just sit on a stage and look out on a sea of faces.  I found myself longing for the 'any other questions' part where we could get off the stage and mingle.  The next day I woke with a really weird sensation in my left leg and I can only thing it was caused by bad posture for 60 very long minutes the night before.  It got worse as the day went on and I woke with it again this morning.  Sadly, EK crop is about 45 mins drive from me and the thought of being in a car that long followed by a day of sitting down again did not seem sensible.  So I've been home, and as I had prepared this month's 4x6 Photo Love to take with me and complete, I've been working on that in the lounge.  Kneeling at the coffee table, not sure that was such a good idea either!

I'm pleased I've got something to show for my morning, but I've really missed Karen's cupcakes ...

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Drought conditions

Nothing to do with the weather, although it has been particularly unseasonably gorgeous just recently around here.  No, the drought I have is a photographic one.  When I decided to do the 4x6 Photo Love project I didn't really give much thought to exactly how many photos I would be needing by the end of the year.  This month I'm needing nine and I'm running out of inspiration!  Plus at last weekend's crop I needed 10 photos and I'm going to the Eclectic Keepsakes crop on Saturday and I will be needing at least two for that .... I clearly need to get out more - if only to take a few more photos!  It's hard to find a variety of pictures all in the same place or theme.
On a totally different subject, I found myself in the staff room at lunchtime and there had been a delivery of books from a book club that delivers to school.  I found myself irresistably drawn to one simply entitled 'Chocolate'.  In it I found a delicious sounding Chocolate Swirl Brownie with Fudge Topping.  Chocolate Brownie and Fudge - a marriage made in heaven!  So I have scribbled down the recipe with the thought of having my own Great British Bake Off tomorrow afternoon.  The swirl in the brownie is a bit of a cheesecakey mixture in amongst the chocolatey gooey sponge.  Did I mention the chocolate fudge topping?   If it is a success, I will share the recipe but will need to do a reasonable amount of consumer testing before I share.   Followed by an unreasonable amount of exercise to burn off all those naughty calories! 

Sunday 2 October 2011

Storytelling Sunday - Great Grandma's Headline News

1958 was an eventful year for my mum.  With good news and bad, new arrivals and sad departures.  When going through a box of old photos recently I came across the Parish Magazine for August 1958.  Price 4d.  I found it so interesting to read and see adverts for some shops that I remember from my childhood and even some that are still in business today.  There's a page of handy hints entitled 'Weekday Pages for Women with Homes'.  How to get the creases out of hair ribbons by holding them over the steam of a kettle, and how it is best to buy towels with patterns in squares not lines, much easier and cleaner when washed and boiled apparently! 
Under the Parish Register we see a 'welcome' to a certain little 4 month old, ginger haired baby who was baptised on July 13th (that would be me) and a 'farewell' to my great grandmother in the sympathy section registering her death at the age of 95 on July 23rd.  My mum was born at a time when families were quite a bit larger than the average family nowadays.  So sometimes one or two children would be sent off to live with grandparents and this was the case with my mum and her younger sister.  They were brought up by their grandmother in the countryside and didn't really see too much of their real mother.  When Granny was too old to look after herself, she came to live with my parents where she lived her final days.  It must have been so tough for my mum to have an eight year old daughter, new baby and 95 year old grandmother all needing her care and attention.  Granny was quite the celebrity in the village and I will share the paragraph in the Parish Magazine with you:
'We cannot let the passing of Mrs Butcher go unrecorded in the Parish Magazine, for she was the oldest woman in Harlow, and the much loved mother of a large family well known in the town (for they never got far away), with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 
Only recently she had been on a visit to Chelmsford, but her last public appearance was on Remembrance Sunday in Coronation year, when she planted a tree on Mulberry Green.  To her numerous relatives we offer our sympathies, especially to those of them who tended her so faithfully for the last years of her long life.'
'Her last public appearance ...' makes her sound like royalty doesn't it? 
This story is shared as part of Sian's Storytelling Sunday, why not pop over there and see what other tales there are to be told this weekend? 

Saturday 1 October 2011

Normal service is resumed

Turns out my mojo hadn't left home completely, it was waiting for me in Cambridge!  Went to a fab new crop today and had a lovely, crafty time with new friends and old.
We were using papers from Echo Park Happy Days and what  fab layouts Ifa had designed for us.  This was the first one, and what you can't see is that there is embossing on the paper too.  This was new for me, I'd heard tales of embossing powder and heat guns but had never dabbled before.  I was so impressed!  I suspect this may be going on my Christmas list.
The second one was just as good

and gave me the excuse to use some photos of my daughter's puppy.  The little stripey part next to the yellow tag is an envelope with tickets inside.  Again, I've never made an envelope before - I know, who'd have thought I'd led such a sheltered life? The last part of the day was good fun.  Everyone was asked to make up a page kit which Ifa collected in and then handed out randomly.  So you then got to make a page using papers from someone else's stash.  I was tremendously lucky and received a bag of goodies that had been compiled by Mel over at  ATrip Down Memory Lane.  She could not have chosen better papers for me and I loved everything in the bag,  but then of course the dilemma, how best to use such lovely papers and embellishments ....

How beautiful is that metalwork flower?  And a bit of bling to work with too - I was one very happy scrapper! 
I've got an evening to myself tonight, daughter no longer living at home, son out with girlfriend, husband in the New Forest on a walking weekend with a group of friends.  So it will be just me, a glass or two of wine and Strictly Come Dancing ... what more could a girl want?