Thursday 31 January 2013

First Tale Told

Having shown my two little polaroids in the last post, I decided to use my day off wisely and get to grips with a layout inspired by the Telling Tales class over at Kirsty's blog. 

I was able to spread my mess crafty bits around as the dog is in the Mucky Pups grooming van.  She absolutely loves them grooming her.  When we try to do it ourselves it's a totally different matter!  I don't know what their secret is, what happens in the van - stays in the van!  

Anyhow, I wanted to document how my husband has really got back into his photography recently.  There's a long story of how I made him suggested that he join a camera club that an ex work colleague runs.  I went for coffee with her one morning and ended up promising that my husband would attend their next meeting.  She really wanted me to join but I delegated!  But after having said 'I'll go to ONE meeting, but only because you promised her' he now looks forward to their fortnightly get togethers.  So I knew which photo I would be using as I wanted one showing him using his new DSLR.  But then, wouldn't you know it, the colours didn't look right with the polaroid tabs I had made.  So I made another one in appropriate, more manly colours.  
I really liked the way this came together, one journaling card, one polaroid and a photo and the page was halfway there.  I even dared to stamp the bird and the foot prints straight onto the card right at the end of the layout, which is normally a recipe for disaster (and smudgy ink marks on a piece of cardstock)

PS re Facebook.  Yesterday I had a phone call from a friend.  'Are you OK?' she asked.  'only your profile has disappeared off FB.'  Which was weird as up to then I know it was still there because my daughter was checking it for me just to see if I had been closed down.  So I guessed that it really was the end of an era and time to reinvent myself.  Due to their identity rules you have to be who you say you are so I reverted back to Debbie instead of Deb.  Opened up a whole new email account just to link to FB and set everything up.  Went through the process of sending a gazillion friend requests.  Then guess what, this morning I woke up to an email saying ' sorry, we closed your account by mistake, you can get back into it now.'  Technology eh?!  So if anyone befriended me as Debbie and isn't a friend of Deb, please let me know, it's good to keep in touch!

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Telling Tales and posting polaroids

Telling Tales started this week and it's already looking good!  I've used Kirsty's ideas to make some little Polaroid cards to add to pages,
and I may have 'accidentally' misread something and inadvertently, somehow or the other, had to buy a new punch in the shape of a postage stamp.  Oh dear.  Well, I've opened the packaging now, I'll have to keep it ;-)

I'm still 'off the grid' according to Facebook.  I think that new identity will have to be finalised very soon.  According to their appeals dept my account is 'in good standing' therefore they cannot help me.  According to their help and support depts, they will be emailing me soon and thank me for my patience.  Patience?!  That ran out last week!

Monday 28 January 2013

Hello Monday

Hello Sunshine!  There's grass in the garden again and the pavements are no longer lethal to walk on.  The snow has gone completely.
Hello New Identity.  Still unsure how to reinvent myself.  I've just been Debs14 on Instagram for so long, it's like losing an old friend.  Leggyblonde would breach trades description I fear!  FutureMrsDepp sounds good though.
Hello to still not having Facebook.  I was bemoaning the fact and had googled it, turns out I'm not alone.  One very truthful comment said 'there are millions of people using it, and therefore thousands who will be having issues at any one time.  Your email may take a while to reach the top of the pile.'
Hello to normal working hours.  I've been swapping hours and doing extra over the last few weeks but this week I'm back to normal.  Which is handy because ...
Hello new course being run by Miss Smith!  If you haven't signed up - what are you waiting for?  Head over to her blog  - you won't regret it.
Hello to not having time to do any ironing for the next few weeks.  This item related to the one above it.  Well, a girl's got to get her priorities right hasn't she?

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Technology hates me

Well, not all technology but social networking has definitely got it in for me today.  On Monday Instagram threw a hissy fit and wanted verification.  It also wanted a photo from my passport or driver's licence and I'm sorry, but that kind of photo is between me and officialdom only.  So anyway, Debs14 on Instagram is now never to be accessed again it would seem.  I know I'm still there because I can see my old photos when my profile comes up on the log in page.  {waves pathetically to Debs 14 on the instagram feed}

Last night, I went to bed, turned off my phone as normal.  Switched it back on again about 7.30 am today and Facebook wanted verification.  It normally just springs into action so that was a bit strange anyway but I decided to log onto a 'proper' computer via the www official page just in case it was a scam and guess what?  Facebook hates me too! I changed my password, had an email back that it was changed, tried to log on and ... nothing.  

Now all these social networking sites are fine and fun when they are working ok but let me assure you that the moment something goes wrong it is impossible to find anyone to help.  You go round in circles.  Check out their 'help' pages (clearly a misrepresentation there in my case) that tells you to click on a link.  Click on the link, do what it says and get a message telling you that they will email you in due course but in the meantime, can they refer you to their help pages.  An email appears.  Sorry for the inconvenience, all issues can be resolved by going to the help pages.  Please don't reply to this email as it is an automated response.

So after a few hours of muttering under my breath and bemoaning the lack of being able to speak to a real person, I've made a decision.  If all is not resolved within 48 hours I am going to reinvent myself.  That's right, a whole new identity. Debs14 will slink into the shadows, wearing dark glasses, with the collar of her raincoat turned up.  She may even be muttering to herself in a strange Russian type accent.   Well, whole new log in details anyway.  I've already made myself a hotmail account so that I can link anything new to that rather than get a message saying 'that email address is already being used'  Oh yes, used by the crafter previously known as Debs14!   Oh yes, Facebook and Instagram, two can play at that game! But who shall I be if not Debs14? This is my opportunity to reinvent myself.  Suggestions anyone?!  More to the point, has this happened to anyone else?  Is making new accounts the only option?

ps If you are my friend on Facebook or follower on Instagram, I'm not ignoring you.  I'm not 'not liking' your photos because I don't like them and I'm not 'not commenting' on your witty and interesting statuses because I don't think they are witty or interesting.  I'm in hiding because  ... according to them - I don't exist.

Monday 21 January 2013

Hello (snowy) Monday

Hello unexpected day off 

Can you imagine the disappointment upon logging into the Virtual Learning Environment last night and finding that message?  No traipsing through the cold, snow and ice to spend the day in a cold 100 year old building with dodgy heating.  Oh dear :-)

Hello icicles

 Yes, it's been that cold.  My 1st thought 'how pretty', my 2nd thought 'obviously the guttering around the conservatory is leaking.  Another job to add to my husband's To Do list'.  My husband's first thought?  'Don't let her notice that leaky gutter.'

Hello pretty garden

We've had lots of snow.  I reckon about 5".  The dog gets VERY excited out there, and jumps around like a spring lamb.  Not so excited about getting the ice out of her fur afterwards though.

Hello to a new spectator sport - Dog Walking on Ice.  I'm not sure that me and Coco will be voted through to the semi finals, one of us is far more enthusiastic than the other, one of us is having trouble keeping up with the routine, and the choreography leads much to be desired.

Hello to having to start up a new Instagram account.  I don't know what has happened but I had an odd message to say my account had been secured and I needed to go onto the website to validate the account.  But when I went onto it - they were asking for uploading a photo from an official ID, like passport or driving licence.  Now I'm pretty sure you don't need to do that just to share photos online so if it's still playing up by this evening I will be deleting that account and starting a new one.  

Hello to trying out some new Winter Warmer recipes.  On today's lunchtime menu, a new recipe to make chicken soup out of the left overs from the roast we had yesterday.  For dinner, a recipe out of my new Nigellissima book.  Quick Calabrian lasagne.  It includes hard boiled eggs, ham and mozarella cheese instead of cheese sauce.  Very different to my normal recipe.

Hello to more baking.  I made a Victoria Sandwich cake on Saturday morning.  There is less than a quarter left.  So after this blog post, I will be heating up the oven to make some rock cakes.  Suspect this 'hello' will be leading to 'hello bathroom scales' which will be swiftly followed by 'hello healthy eating diet' and 'hello more exercise'.  But not until the cold weather has passed eh?

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Simply a moment

As I open my drawer to pick up my identity card, I can hear the excited chatter of dozens of teenage girls queueing up outside in the corridor.  I hang the card around my neck, pick up the keys to the other office, check my in-tray and turn on my computer.  As I wait for it to whirr into action, I can hear the Head of Year 11 outside the office calling for 'hush'.  She is now reciting names in alphabetical order and the girls are walking silently, one by one, along the corridor to the 'Old Hall'.  All becomes quiet after the last girl is called.  Younger girls arriving for school will be diverted to their lessons by other routes this month, this corridor is now officially 'out of bounds' except for members of staff and exam candidates.
I check my emails and then get up to leave the main office to go to the exams office where I spend 7 hours of my working week.  I open the door and walk down the now silent corridor. Aware of every noise that I make as I walk as quietly as I can.  The noise of squeaky shoes is always amplified during the exams period.  I squeeze past the 8ft screen which bears the school logo and declares 'Silence.  Exams in progress'.  Past the signs reminding students that they must not take mobile phones or any other electronic equipment into the hall with them .  It is so quiet in this area of the school, you can hear every tick of the clock, every creak of a floorboard.  As I pass the doors to the hall I can hear the invigilator saying 'The time is now 9 o'clock, the exam will last one and a half hours.  You may now turn over your papers.'  
And somewhere deep down inside, in the pit of my stomach, I can imagine how those students are feeling.  And I wouldn't swap places with them for the world!

Monday 14 January 2013

Ready to tell tales

Is anyone else planning to join in the Telling Tales class over at Kirsty's blog?  I absolutely loved the last class she ran and it is such good value for money.  Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself!
So anyway, she has done a little tutorial on journaling cards so with snow in the air and an afternoon with not much else planned, I've covered the dining room paper with craft supplies and come up with these.

I’m not sure how many I was supposed to make but once I started I got a bit carried away!  I loved getting a selection of papers together and layering, stitching and sticking and before I knew it I had eight and thought it was time to stop. 

We woke this morning to a light dusting of snow and when I left work at the end of my half day at 12.30 the gritting lorries were already out gritting the roads.  I went to the dentist at 2.15 and when I came out it had started snowing quite hard and has continued since then.  It looks so pretty out there and there is more forecast for tonight.  Snow day at school tomorrow?  We only have about 6 students with exams tomorrow so only two members of staff needed for invigilation, and that would be the two people who lived closest and could walk in.  Fortunately, I don’t fit that category!Fingers crossed for more snow then, and I might get to make a few more Smile.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Forget the forecast

For the whole of last week, the weather forecast for this area was snow.  Disruption to travel and freezing conditions.  But as all us Brits know, the weather forecasts are often wrong and I was doubly grateful on this occasion because not only was it the Enfield Scrapmates crop yesterday but Scrappi Sandi was going to be there.  I've been reading Sandi's blog  for years now but despite living within an hour of each other, we've never met - until yesterday!  I was so looking forward to meeting her properly and hoping so much that the weather wouldn't put paid to my plans.  I needn't have worried, forecast wrong again!
And here's the proof, a group shot of Denise, me and Sandi.  It was a great day and time flew by so fast.  I even managed to get both of the classes finished 

I love Ann's style of layouts, she manages to pack so much into a small amount of patterned paper and yet it is so effective.  It was great to meet up with so many blog friends like Denise, Karen, and the other Sandie.  
In amongst the crafty business there was much other discussion to be had.  Like an impending visiting from another couple of blog-friends from the other side of the Atlantic ...

Friday 11 January 2013

Colourful language

'I'm only working two days next week, are there any little jobs you want done around the house?' asks the husband.
I let a moment or two lapse before answering 'redecorate the hallway'.  He's taken slightly aback, think he may have been expecting something like 'tidy the garage' or 'wash the conservatory windows'.  And before you can say 'Farrow and Ball' I've brought out a paint chart.  This now starts a little game I call 'trying to avoid getting a paintbrush out'.  Seems our idea of what needs to be done differs somewhat.  One of us is going for the 'a quick coat of white gloss on the door frames will freshen it up' and the other is going for the 'total revamp' option.  
Attention turns to the paint chart - now who thinks of the names of these colours?  We already have James White on three of the walls of our kitchen (always confuses me as that was the name of our son's best friend at primary school).  I like the name 'clunch', not for the colour, but the sound of the word.  Clunch.  Churlish Green.  How can a green be churlish?  If you could see Charlotte's Locks, you'd recommend Charlotte went to the hairdressers for a few highlights.  Do you like fish?  How do you fancy Dead Salmon?  I think I'd prefer 'Smoked Trout'.  We are actually going to head into animal territory, we've disregarded Pigeon, Fawn and Dove Tail and gone for Elephant's Breath.  Until we look at the chart in daylight of course when round two of the discussion will start.  I guarantee that conversation will begin with the husband saying 'actually, I don't think it needs redecorating at all.  Maybe I'll just give the ceiling a coat of paint, I think it'll make all the difference.'  Swiftly followed by me saying 'and once we've completely done the hallway, we can think about a new colour scheme for the downstairs cloakroom.'  That should keep him quiet for a while!

Monday 7 January 2013

Back on track

It was the EK crop on Saturday and it turns out that was the place I had left my scrapping mojo. I shouldn't have been surprised really, it was the last place I saw it after all.  

I'd lost all track of the days because of the new year bank holiday and thinking that Thursday was Friday, got my bag organised a day early.  (Didn't stop me being late arriving on the actual day though) So being super organised, I arrived with a bag of coordinating papers and photos and departed with three - yes, you read that right, three - layouts!
Starting with a layout to celebrate the annual family photo on Christmas Day, then moving onto
a layout celebrating our trip to Edinburgh to visit our son and his girlfriend after their move 'up north'  (Could moving from England to Scotland be considered emigrating abroad?)  Then after lunch I did a scenic page

to show a couple of the sights we saw on our trip.  I think this one needs a little more but I'm not sure what.  There's a part of me that thinks a few splodges of misting or droplets of paint might finish it off but there's another part of me that thinks that something like that, done by someone like me, might 'finish it off' in totally the wrong way ;-)

I had a brilliant day, catching up with old friends, discovering that the lady sitting opposite me runs the company that sends out the monthly scrapbook kit subscription that I signed up for last year, and selflessly sampling the cupcakes that Karen made.  You see she made two batches and for quality control purposes I had to make sure that both were equally good.  The first one was vanilla, with a vanilla icing and the other was a marmalade infused sponge with an orange icing.  It was a tough call but I think that after careful consideration and much deliberation the winner was .... no, it's no good, I really need to try both again ...

Sunday 6 January 2013

Picking my January Precious

Oh the tales this telephone could tell.  The stories and secret that have been spoken into it.  The laughter and the tears it has shared.  Memories by the million.  

For this is the telephone that my family used all of my growing up life.  Mum and Dad refused to update it even after it had gone out of fashion and the telephone company said they wanted to take it away and give them a plastic one with a plastic lead.  Now they are collectors items and I am so grateful that Mum and Dad kept it.  I spent a lot of my teenage years sitting in the hallway on the velvet chair which is now at the top of my stairs and next to the table that this telephone now stands on.  Curled up in the cushions, twiddling the cord between my fingers as I confided news and shared gossip with my friends.  

When I was little, our telephone number had just four numbers to it, then the 3 at the front became 29 and then in latter years a 4 was added to it and it became the normal six digit number.  The numbers are still visible, written on the little circle of card in the middle of the dial.  Just beneath the printed information to remind you to call 999 for Fire, Police or Ambulance and 100 for the operator.  Hand written by my dad, the ink is faded now, but this is still a tiny, tangible part of him, and still very precious.

At Christmas, the young children in our family were enthralled by the phone.  The weight of it in their little hands, the effort it took to put their tiny fingers into the silver holes of the dial and turn it.  The noise it made as it whirled back into position.  They had never come across a phone like this before.  

So, January 2013, I have 'picked my precious' - now please pop over to Sian's blog to share other people's precious possessions.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Rubbish at being ruthless

'What's that pile of old papers in the corner?  Can I throw them away' says the husband.  The old papers being the left over bits and bobs from the last crop I went to in ... hmm... well, a little while ago.  See the problem is that I have an issue with throwing away pretty things.  Left over pretty things.  Because I know the minute I throw them away, I will find the perfect use for them and it will be too late.
But today, with a spring in my step and a determined look in my eye I have taken those old papers, and the other piles of 'old papers' and spread them over the dining room table, put collections of them in bags ready to take to the crop on Saturday and umm ... moved what's left around a bit.  Put them into piles of similar colourways.  Thrown away lots.  Hmm well maybe not lots exactly but anything smaller than a 50p coin.  Any bits of ribbon less than 4" long.  Any slither of paper less than 1" wide.  Well that made a dent in the pile.  But then I thought about the papers I was left with.  Bits too pretty to be thrown away, but then again, if I've already made a few layouts with that pattern or those colours, do I really need to keep scraps to make more?  Yes of course I do. No, I probably don't.   Patterned paper which looks a bit dated now.  I could come back into fashion.  Just remember how much you regretted throwing away those old platform boots.  Getting rid of it is a good excuse for buying new, up to the minute paper.   Pages of alphabets with only ks and qs and vs left.  Am I likely to make a page which uses them up in a title.  It could happen. No I probably won't.  Half pieces of lace doilies that have got a bit scrunched around at the edges at the bottom of a bag.  I could always iron them or stick them down carefully. Possibly not.  Is it time for a coffee yet?  No, stick with it, the throwing away pile is getting bigger.  Sheets of stickers where I've used the nice ones and only ones I don't like are left.  But your taste might change, you may grown to like them. No, you've used nearly all of them, you've had your money's worth.  Feeling a bit hungry, is it too early for lunch?  Yes it is a bit.  
I know what, I'll write a quick blog post and then get back to it ...

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Out with the old

I ended 2012 feeling like a Hobbit.  Not in a weird 'I feel like a Hobbit, does anyone know if there are any Hobbit selling shops open today?' kind of way.  Nor because I have exceptionally large feet and hairy toes.  No - that is just a rumour.  I'm size 4 and proud of it.  It seemed that whatever I did in the last hours of the year, I came across exceptionally tall people.  My daughter had an old school friend pop round for a coffee and as he stood up to give me a Happy New Year hug, I went up on my tiptoes and still only came up to below his shoulders.  We met up with friends in town for a glass of wine in the afternoon and as the last couple arrived, I stood up to share Happy New Year hugs with the husband (isn't Dec 31st a very huggy kind of day?) and again practically had to stand on the seat to reach above is shoulders.  Have I shrunk or do I need to find some new friends?
Seems that in comparison to some we had a boring kind of Christmas.  But in this case boring is good.  Boring is happy and relaxed, chilling in the same house all day, relatively healthy save for a few sneezes here and there.  The 3 groups of friends we had met with had experienced much more eventful days.  Couple one's husband was brewing pneumonia and their grandson was sick all over the lounge carpet.  Couple two moved abroad 4 years ago and had to fit in many family visits to see everyone.  They spent most the day in the car, starting with an elderly parent in Hemel Hempstead, picking up daughter in Colchester, onto son number 1 in Cambridge, then son number 2 in Birmingham and then onto elderly parent in Leicester.  Don't envy the designated driver all those miles.  Couple three ended up calling the paramedics after an elderly parent fainted and took a while to revive.  I'm sure you'll agree that boring was very good in comparison!
I'm trying hard to resist the temptation to make a New Year's resolution.  I never keep them and then I end up in December thinking 'what went wrong?'.  I have a few intentions though. 
  • I intend to learn a bit more about photography.  Husband has promised me a lesson in Black and White this morning and we're about to head out over the park in a moment for some practice.  Wish him luck! 
  • I intend to eat more healthily.  I need to get this chocolate consumption under control.  After I've finished off the salted caramel chocolates of course ;-) 
  • I intend to find a new exercise class.  The one I used to go to folded in the summer and the only other one I've found is Zumba and I'm still getting over the trial class I did for that back in May. 
  • My biggest intention though is to get my scrapping mojo back.  It's been forever since I last made a page and there really is no excuse.  You'll be able to see how I get on with the first and last intentions via my blog.  You'll just have to take my word for the other two ...