Wednesday 31 October 2012

My month in numbers - October

Overheard in Sainsburys car park from a man pushing a toddler in a buggy on phone to his wife: 'It's Halloween tonight and I can't believe they've sold out of pumpkins.  They had 100s yesterday, whatever's happened?'  {it's half term - most people have kept their children quiet for the last 3 days by buying their pumpkin in advance and carving it in readiness for tonight!}

Having just seen Julie's blog post come up in my reader, I realise it's time to reflect on the month!

2 - amount of crops I attended.  that's double my normal amount!
9 - number of days the car pound held onto my daughter's car before they owned up to the police that they had it
A gazillion - number of tears cried by my daughter when she believed her beloved mini to be stolen
31 - dog walks
3 - number of new items of clothing I bought
2 - number of new items of clothing my husband knows about ;-)
3 - new books downloaded onto my kindle
4 - number of times I've met up with friends for tea/coffee/wine this half term (and it's still only Wednesday morning!)
1 - doughnut, 1 slice of chocolate cake and 3 rock cakes eaten during my half term healthy eating week (and it's still only Wednesday morning)
1 - number of times we woke up to snow

But enough of my month, hurry over to Julie's and see what everyone else has been up to!

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Weather woes

Everyone knows that us Brits like nothing less than a good old moan about the weather.  Most conversations with people we meet start with a comment about the weather.  Whatever the weather is at that moment in time, we wish it were something else.
But today as I watch the news from America I realise that our weather isn't that bad after all.  Mother Nature is throwing some pretty powerful things against the East Coast and there is nothing anyone can do expect take every precaution possible and hope for the best. 
A number of blogs that I follow are written by people in the affected areas and I am monitoring statuses on facebook, twitter and new blog posts with such hope that any damage is minimal, that no one is injured and that everyone is able to return to their normal lives as soon as possible. 
Suddenly the prospect of only 6 degrees Celsius and rain for our trip to Edinburgh seems pretty insignificant.

Monday 29 October 2012

Hello Monday

Hello Monday - It's 8am and I'm still in my PJs.  That can only mean one thing.  School holidays! 
Hello Monday - And hello to the new job in London that our daughter starts today.  A slight feeling of apprehension is in the air.
Hello Monday - and welcome back to daughter's car.  Turns out that it hadn't been stolen but towed away.  The the company that took it denied having it when the police started their search and waited a further 10 days before putting it on their systems.
Hello Monday - not many more sleeps before we go to visit our son
Hello Monday - and hello to catching up with friends on my much needed week off work
Hello Monday - there's some pretty scary weather forecasting going on today, I hope that any blog friends in the affected areas of America keep safe.
Hello Monday - not to mention Hello November at the end of the week.  That can only mean one thing - Christmas isn't far away!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

This moment

The early morning rain and blustery wind which I heard as I woke has gone and in its place is stillness and bright sunshine.  Every day, the trees along the street lose a few more of their leaves and this morning our back garden has a light covering of purple leaves from the flowering cherry tree which grows beside our garden wall.  I’ve had a busy morning; the second load of washing is in the machine and the contents of the first (which included Coco’s favourite toy ‘lamb chop’) are drying on the clothes airer in the utility room.
The oven is still warm from my earlier cooking, and a batch of newly made rock cakes are cooling on a rack on the breakfast bar.  All downstairs floors are washed or vacuumed and I have opened all the windows slightly to let the fresh air in.  If the weather forecasters are correct, this may be the last dry sunny day for a while and I want to make the most of it.  The mobile dog groomer arrived a short while ago and the van is on the drive with the bright and cheerful ‘mucky pups’ logo on the side.  Coco couldn’t wait to get in there and in about another hour, she will return to the house, soft and fluffy and smelling of doggy talcum powder.  If I go into the garage I can hear the muffled conversation between groomer and dog from the van just outside the garage door.  The groomer is chatting to her, telling her what a good dog she is and how beautiful she looks.  There is a soft hum from the hairdryer and I can imagine that Coco is enjoying having such fuss made over her.
In the peace of an empty house, I think I have earned my right to eat my lunch in solitude, without the pleading big brown eyes of a hungry pup by my side.  An empty tin of Heinz cream of tomato soup is on the side and its contents are warm and comforting in a pale blue bowl before me.  I dip my spoon into the delicious creamy soup; I have tried other makes in the past, but none compare to Heinz.  To accompany it, I have a slice of soda bread and I enjoy every last crumb.
Soon the sun will start to dip and temperatures drop and I prepare to go round the house closing windows and closing blinds.  The central heating switches on and the radiators start their gentle clicking as the warm water starts to flow through the system.  In the silent house, this tiny noise is very noticeable.  It is rare now for me to have the house to myself and much as I love the companionship of others, I do value this quiet time to myself.

Monday 15 October 2012

Hello Monday

Hello Monday - For our daughter it's going to be a day of phone calls with insurance agents.  Her car was stolen on Saturday night from outside of a friend's house where she was staying overnight.  How much bad luck can one year bring?
Hello Monday - A week ahead of sharing cars between the husband, daughter and myself while rental cars are sorted
Hello Monday - The first week in the office without my colleague who left on Friday.  I'm missing her already
Hello Monday - It's flippin' cold out there, has someone turned the sun's thermostat down?
Hello Monday - Don't tell the dog, but the Mucky Pups lady is booked to come and groom her on Wednesday.  She just loves the Mucky Pups lady, if she knew it was booked, she'd be sooooo excited! (The dog that is, not Laura the dog groomer.   I mean, she likes Coco but I don't think the idea of bathing and brushing her is that exciting!)
Hello Monday - Please let this week at work be less stressful than the one just gone.  Although, bearing in mind that they haven't replaced the lady mentioned in #3, things aren't looking good in that respect!

Saturday 13 October 2012

Enfield Scrapmates

I woke up at 5.30 this morning with an awful headache.  Felt a bit sorry for myself, took a couple of tablets and packed my bags for Ann Freeman's crop at Enfield Scrapmates.  Because we all know that the perfect antidote for feeling under the weather is a day of relaxation and creativity! Happy to report that by the time I was 24 miles from home and safely arrived at the hall, the headache had gone and I was ready for some scrapbooking.
To start with I made a page from a layout that Denise had designed for a EK crop that I had missed in the summer.
There are so many elements to this page that I love, the fancy border punch which turns a plain strip of paper into a thing of beauty; the paper flower in the bottom left corner which is a series of three petalled flower shaped stamps that you layer up but most of all - those lovely canvas resist butterflies from Prima.  They start life as plain white, kind of calico textured butterflies but when you spritz them with Glimmer Mist, or stamp them with ink, they transform with the colour absorbing into the background and the pattern resisting the dye and  leaving a lovely contrast.  I was stuck for a title for this one, and after a few unsuitable suggestions from Denise (all with a play on the word Peak), we came up with the highly original 'Peak District 2012'.

Next up was the class that Ann had designed:
A perfect example of how you can use up small pieces of paper and turn them into a fun layout. I made the mistake of not letting the ink dry on the edges of the papers before sticking them on the white cardstock and there are various smudges that could not be hidden by embellishments.  Ann had very kindly provided lunch for us: pasta with tomato and Mediterranean vegetable sauce. Being a sometimes messy eater, I did well to remember to turn the half finished page over before tucking into my bowl of food.  I had enough trouble with ink splatters, without having to worry about splashes of tomato sauce!  The title for this one:  'Let sleeping dogs lie' was much easier to come up with.
I always struggle to come up with titles for my pages and yet other people seem to find really witty, catchy things that suit their pages perfectly. I guess it's just that some pictures immediately lend themselves to catchy captions.  

Wednesday 10 October 2012

10 on the 10th and sending hugs to Deb (Paperturtle)

This post was scheduled before I heard that Deb's (Paperturtle) mum, Marti, had died and I am sure that we are all thinking of their family at this sad time.  But I know that Deb and Carrie are hoping to make a visit to the UK next year and trying to organise a visit to our little part of the country in order to join in one of the EK Colchester crops so this still feels a tiny bit appropriate.

It's been a while since I did this, but inspiration struck at the Eclectic Keepsake's crop on Saturday.
So without further ado, ladies, I bring you ... 10 things that make a brilliant crop day.  

1 - A welcome face as you walk through the door.  May I introduce Mrs Karen Moss
 2 - Bags packed with all the essentials.  Where did that penguin come from?
3 - Lots of like minded crafty ladies.  As you can see, Jane is working on something that needs a lot of concentration
 4 - Plenty of cups of tea or coffee ...
5 -... To accompany a selection of tasty cupcakes

 6 - Lemon meringue cupcakes and the chance to make as much crafty mess as you like without anyone passing comment 
7 The chance to play with other people's collection of goodies

8 and play with machines you don't have at home
9 Turning the mess in number 6 into something resembling a layout

 and last but definitely not least

10 An afternoon class with the rather talented Mrs Ann Freeman

Hope to see you at a crop very soon Deb & Carrie x

Monday 8 October 2012

Hello Monday

Hello Monday - I'm hoping to make the finishing touches to the layouts I made on Saturday

(layout 2 is supposed to have two hand stitched rows of running stitches down the length of each strip.  10 rows of hand stitching? I think we all know that isn't going to happen!)
Hello Monday - I'll be dusting off my sewing machine to do the above mentioned stitching ;-)
Hello Monday - My colleague in the exams office leaves this week, I need to make sure I know where she keeps everything before she escapes.
Hello Monday - Looking forward to above mentioned colleague's leaving drinks at Baroosh in town on Friday
Hello Monday - Need to look through wardrobe to find something appropriate to wear to above mentioned leaving 'do'.  It's a bit of a popular place with the trendy people in town.
Hello Monday - Clearly nothing in my wardrobe will be appropriate for mixing with above mentioned trendy people.  Need to look through daughter's wardrobe for something that may fit. 
Hello Monday - Need to ensure that above mentioned borrowed outfit does not make me look like 'mutton dressed as lamb'.
Hello Monday - I do not think that there is an item in her wardrobe that will meet both above mentioned criteria.  There may have to be a shopping trip incorporated into my week :-)

Sunday 7 October 2012

Storytelling Sunday - Dressing Up

Not so much dressing up, but more getting dressed up to the nines.
It was December in the early 90s, my husband was working for a company in London that treated its employees and their partners to an all expenses paid Christmas dinner and dance in posh London hotels.  This particular year we were invited to the Hilton Hotel, in Park Lane.  Very swish.  At this time, I had a 2 year old and a 5 year old.  Posh frocks were not a part of my wardrobe, I was still in 'comfy clothes' mode! 
This coincided with my husband's cousin opening a dress rental business.  High quality, designer clothes and accessories.  She took pity on me and offered me a free rental.  It was hard to choose, so many beautiful dresses, totally out of my price range if I'd been buying but I had a free choice.  Now before I describe this dress you have to remember that it was the 90s.  Fashions have changed.  What was fabulous then would be a tiny bit 'over the top' now.  I finally decided on a fabulous dress.  Emerald green velvet, very fitted at the top, with a drop waist.  The velvet underskirt was a pencil skirt shape and over the top was 3 gathered ruffled skirts in a shimmering green taffeta.  I felt amazing!  I had some lovely black patent high heeled court shoes with a bow attached to the back of the heel (very 'Lady Di').
My mum had agreed to have the children to stay overnight and we set off for the evening.  Husband in dinner suit and bow tie, me in my posh frock. 
We had a new car to travel to London in too.  My husband's company changed the company cars of their staff every two years and we had a brand new car on the drive.  However, as time went on, this car turned out to be possibly the most unreliable car we ever had.  And its first time of breaking down was that night.  At a petrol station.  On a dual carriageway just before the junction with the motorway.  We stopped for petrol and the car refused to start again.  We rang the breakdown company and they told us they had a van nearby but couldn't locate where we were.  (Days before mobile phones became part of every woman's handbag essentials!)  I looked across the road and could see the breakdown van at the services on the opposite side of the road.  So in desperation I decided to run across 4 lanes of busy traffic in my finery to get his attention.  By the time I returned to the car, my hair was ruined, my shoes were dirty and the relaxed, child free evening mood had well and truly evaporated.
Happy to report that the car was easily fixed, we got to the hotel on time and had a fabulous time.  However, after that, whenever we went to the Christmas 'do' I always had a sensible pair of shoes in the back of the car in case I needed to flag down a rescue vehicle again.  I still don't know why I chose to go, why on earth didn't I send my husband?!!!

Monday 1 October 2012

Hello Monday

Hello Monday - You started very early today - 2am to be precise.  Wonder what it was that woke that Coco up and made her bark, non-stop for 10 minutes.
Hello Monday - And hello October!  You're making your presence felt today, wind and rain - yuk!
Hello Monday - A bit of an emotional day for our daughter as she handed in her notice at work.  A new job in London beckons.  Hopefully the start of better times for her.
Hello Monday  - I wonder what make Coco think that the dead bird she found on her lunchtime walk would make a good pet if she brought it home with her?  (Imagine slight tug of war between me and dog in rain in a lane by our house)
Hello Monday - Cottage pie for tea tonight.  Love the comfort food that colder weather makes you crave.
Hello Monday  - And hello to the week that sees Strictly Come Dancing start properly!
Hello Monday - It's going to be a busy week at work.  Please give me the patience and good humour which may be necessary!
Hello Monday - something nice to look forward to at the end of the week.  A crop at Eclectic Keepsakes with a class being taught by the wonderful Ann Freeman .  Hopefully the talented Karen Moss will be jotting ideas down from the 'Great British Bake Off' and delicious cupcakes will be provided as normal.
Hello Monday - In view of the above, I had probably better get my bags sorted and packed!