Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Keeping up

I am still up to date with my pages. I don't blog about them every day but I am managing to get them done. I seem to be enjoying the process more this year, although the lack of a printer is a bit frustrating. I have come around to the thought that I will simply write a piece for every prompt and then when I can afford the ink for the printer I will print the chosen photographs small enough to slip into the pockets I have thoughtfully provided on most of the pages.
I have taken some pictures of the existing pages but I left the camera in the other room and when I leave this room I am going to bed so I will upload some pictures tomorrow, perhaps.

I also did two 12 x 12 pages today for the 2010 album. My eldest grandson has just completed his GOLD Duke of Edinburgh's Award. He will be going to Buckingham Palace in the spring to receive it. I am just so proud I could burst!
The programme of events for the presentation evening that took place here in Newport had a picture of him and two friends taken while they were on an expedition - canoeing down the river Wye - as the front cover. I used this and the page with his name on it as the main ingredients for a page for the album.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Two Christmas stories

I thought about what I wanted to write, then I wrote it, then I decided that it is just too personal to share with anyone outside my immediate family as it stirred up feelings I had thought long gone. I am not even sure if I will put the stories into my journal or whether they will go into the folder to be read after I am gone - yes I do have one.

I think this picture of Blue Cat (the name is a long story) with his "bah humbug" face on is just so good and sums up how I feel today so I won't write anymore

Monday, 6 December 2010

Counting Down to Christmas

I didn't think I counted down to Christmas, I thought I was relaxed and didn't really bother, until I thought about it. I was quite busy trying to finish a couple of hats and wrist warmers that my daughter has sold for me. She wore hers to work and some of the girls loved them so I have been extra busy knitting and crocheting. You get a lot of time to think when knitting although I do watch TV too.

Anyway, I thought about counting down and realised that I do. Of course I do, I have to because I need to know where I am on my list of things to be completed by certain dates. What a daft thing to think that I didn't do it. I made a wall hanging for Little Miss so that she could change the numbers every day and know how many "sleeps until Santa". My children always had an advent calendar each - the source of much shouting and hitting from their father because he thought they should only have one between the three of them and would always find some reason to deny them the chocolate each day.
Perhaps that's why I avoid thinking about counting down, hmmm.
Mr M counts down secretly but he always knows exactly how many days until santa brings gifts for the children. He would make sure that each of my children had at least one advent calendar so he more than made up for the bad years.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Perfection? ok I'll try

My perfect Christmas happens every year even when it is not happy. It has been perfect for the last 30 years because I have Mr M with me. My children have grown up in that time - they were teenagers when Mr M came into our life - and they have their own families. I love having them around but don't ever make them feel that they have to come to us for Christmas. They have in-laws who like them to go there for Christmas and as long as my kids are happy then I am content. I don't need them close to know they love me.

The most perfect Christmas was in 1992. We were having a lot of work done on the house - roof, wiring, water pipes, drains, windows. All good stuff and as we were continuing to live in the house while the work went on it got a bit stressful for Mr M as he hates me even moving the furniture.

Every day the builders would tell me which rooms they would be doing the next day and we would then move all the boxes and furniture into a room that was done. After the windows were replaced we had no curtain poles so no curtains. We live in a terraced house with a small garden at the front that separates us from the pavement. people walk past our house all day and most of the night too as it is the drunkards path home from the clubs in the city centre. Getting into bed each night was quite a feat, I can tell you.

The work began at the end of September and by December 20th we had a new roof, all the plastering had been done after the new wiring was put in. The windows were all new and double glazed and the brand new copper water pipes were in and the floorboards relaid. The last few jobs were completed and at 9am on Christmas Eve the painter arrived and painted the front door. "Keep this slightly open," he said with a grin "to give the paint a chance to dry so it won't stick to the frame and pull off the door."

It was pretty darned cold with the front door open all day on christmas Eve. There was a bitter wind and even with three blankets hung across the gap it was still cold. We held out until three pm and then Mr M said "I don't care if all the bl**dy paint falls off, we are closing the door!" So we did. We had a sofa to sit on a coffee table the TV and the stove in the kitchen to cook dinner. The boys were in Germany in the army so they were with their own families. My daughter was in Manchester with her new boyfriend so it was just Mr M and me. we cooked the dinner together, and then sat on the sofa with our plates on our knees to eat then we sat back and watched TV for a while then we played cribbage and all the time we talked. We are always talking, we have never yet run out of things to say to each other. sometimes we sit in silence, reading or listening to music or watching TV but mostly we talk.

That's why it was so perfect. I knew my family was all safe because they all rang me during the day to say that Santa had been and he gave them good presents. So I suppose each year I hope that I will be able to repeat that perfection even though we no longer have wet plaster on the walls and there are curtains at the windows.

Maybe this year eh?

Christmas Cards made or bought?

I never thought that making Christmas Cards was my 'thing'. Card making was hard, it never came out the way I saw it in my mind so I just didn't do it - until 2009 when my cousin Michelle began to come to my house to scrapbook with me. She came every tuesday stayed for two hours and we would laugh and talk and put the world to rights but all the time we were either doing a scrapbook page from a pagemap or deciding which family pictures we wanted to share for our albums. She said she made cards and sold them for charity. She brought a pile of used cards and we cut the fronts off them and I helped her make new cards. I did pyramage when there were several of the same card. I did decoupage too. Both things I had never done before because they were not my 'thing'.

I thought I would have a go at making some just to send to the family - just to see if I could. I made 40 cards for family and suddenly realised that less is definitely more and in future my cards would be simple. I try to use whatever I have in the bits box which makes me feel good as I am saving a tree or two but the very best thing is that this year Little Miss is growing up and is now old enough to really help. Her cutting out skills are excellent. I stamped s whole load of baubles onto plain white paper and used some puffer paints that I found in Costco to decorate them. When they were dry I used the heat gun to puff the paint and then let Little Miss cut around them, making sure to keep the little ring at the top. She cut out 48 of them!
This project took us several evenings after school and made the time she had to wait for Mummy to come home from work just fly by. In total we made 100 card for me, 20 each for her mummy and two uncles and we also made 100 for TENOVUS, a local cancer charity.
Part of a goody bag I got from Create and Craft TV at NEC (even though I didn't actually go) were 24 decoupage sheets of Christmas toppers so we used those too.
So this year all my cards were hand made and it really felt good to put them into the envelopes and post them. I will make more for next year.
What happens if I don't make enough? well I will buy some from TENOVUS that's what, I won't be beating myself up over not doing a few cards because I will still have my apprentice and we will be doing even better stuff after school in our own special craft club.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Will the school close early?

I have taken Little Miss to school but it is snowing again and we don't know if it will stay open all day. This doesn't bode well for a trip to North Wales but we have two weeks for it to improve. On the other hand I am about to cancel a meeting booked for tomorrow night. I really don't want to go out in the dark and cold if I don't have to and the family history society is not high on the priority list for life support. Most of the members are my age or even older so I don't need them to fall and hurt themselves while trying to attend a meeting that really isn't necessary.
I put the wreath onto the front door last night and then stood out in the freezing wind to take a picture. Mr M set up the newest Christmas gadget, a Santa that climbs up and down his ladder with a string of very large lights - well they are if you judge their size by how tall the Santa is. It has the sleigh at the bottom of the ladder, I didn't get it into this picture, and it plays Christmas tunes. For the reader old enough to remember them it sounds like the tunes were played on a Bon Tempi keyboard and it has a wonderfully nostalgic sound, awful but fascinating. The little motors that move Santa whine slightly so we have fa la la la la la la la, whine, clunk. The clunk being Santa's boot on the ladder.
We sat, entranced, the TV forgotten as he climbed up and down the ladder. This morning Little Miss arrived all wrapped up for school and as she stood at the window to wave bye bye to mummy I flicked the switch. "Ooh, grandma, it's snow...... ooooooh, what's that? it's Santa, why is he climbing the ladder? whose lights are they? Has Grandpa seen that? He'll like that won't he Grandma? he loves things like that. Ooooh he's going back up! Did Mummy see it?"
And that's what Christmas is all about, wonder and magic and memories. My father, G*d rest his soul, told me something when my daughter was born 45 years ago. He said this;
"You have to make memories, they don't just happen. You have to keep on remembering them so that they are never forgotten."
The climbing Santa will be here for a while and Little Miss will look back to when she was five and it was snowing at the beginning of December and she'll remember the excitement she felt and want to recapture that moment - perhaps she will copy her Grandma and Journal her Christmas too.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

JYC Manifesto

We've started!

I think this is the most excited I have ever been about this class, perhaps because this year it feels right, I don't know. I don't really care why either, I am just glad to be excited.

I have put the wreath onto the front door, hung the "Sleeps until Santa" hanging where Little Miss can reach to change the numbers and put the Creole Christmas Cake into the oven. I have never done this recipe so I have no idea how it will work out.
Oh, oh I have also posted the Christmas cards - all hand made of course - all those that go by Royal mail anyway. The ones that go via Scout Post will be popped into the posting box in the newsagents on Saturday.
What else? oh yes, the door plate with the wrong name that we bought in August was sent back to the Beatrix Potter Shop on Monday and today the replacement arrived, now how's that for excellent service? I am thrilled. Tomorrow I will begin the wrapping of presents as we are supposed to be going to North Wales on 18th December to the Christening so we are taking all the presents from everyone.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

catching up with pages

I fell by the wayside pretty quickly with Shimelle's class. Things seemed to suddenly get pretty lively around here what with granddaughter's moving in and DS2 moving house.
I have promised myself that I will complete Journal your Christmas this year and already have my covers made and the basic pages done. I have chosen to do it 6x6 this year because I managed to do LSNED because it was 6x6 and I had all the elements ready to go.

I have manged to do several pages for several albums in the past week or two. A couple of family tree pages where I am using old photographs and also a couple of more up to date ones to add to the 2010 album. I opened the box that belonged to my grandmother. The one she kept all the family pictures in and there are hundreds of them. The good thing is that way back in the 1980s I sat down with my mother one weekend and went through the box with her and she put names to all the faces and - this is the best bit - I wrote the names on the back of the photographs with a pencil!
Ten years later Mum had her stroke and lost her sight. I am not sure why we chose that weekend or why we stuck at it even though it was getting a bit boring towards the end of the second day - we had to do the ordianry stuff as well, like cooking dinners and answering the phone because the men were doing important stuff in the shed.
I am so glad we did do it because now both Mum and Dad are gone so I have no one to answer my questions. Having looked through the box again I am even more glad as I now remember that all my grandmother's brothers looked alike when they were young so Mum had to look at each picture and remember what she had been told by her mum "That's Jack, oh that's Arthur, That's Claude, he had a glass eye, That's Bill, that's Harry, he died in the great war"
I have a separate album for each branch of the family, I have no idea how these albums will be divided up after I am gone. Perhaps I should give them to a record office or something so that they stay together. Perhaps I will have to leave them to just one of my children - perhaps I'll think about it another day.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Scrap Rat stamps

Ooh, just seen the giveaway on scrap rats blog

I think they look fabulous so I am off to see if I have enough money to spend in their shop

ETA I have had a look and they have marvellous stuff! vintage book pages, fantastic stamps, lots of interesting stuff. They had several things I desperately needed so I spent some money - and they have a free to UK mainland postage so that's even better!

lovely place

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Out for the count

I was woken at 3am on Saturday by a really raw sore throat. So raw and painful it gave me a headache!

I had two paracetamol in the draw of the bedside table so I took those with the last of my water and hoped for sleep. I must have slept a while and then woke again with an even worse throat so I staggered down stairs for more water and ibuprofen. no strength to climb the stairs so I curled up in my chair with the bettermaker blanket. Mr M was so good. The first thing he did when he got up was make me a drink and bring me more painkillers. He did that for two days! as the sore throat faded and the runny nose and sneezing took over. After that had held the stage for 24 hours the coughing really began.

All this conspired to make me totally forget about True Stories. I haven't read a prompt yet, but I will. I feel a lot better as long as I don't actually do anything. I had to see to my girls today, Mr M will feed and water and check the nest boxes. He will even put more shredded paper in if it looks a bit dirty or thin but he just cannot do the cleaning out bit. I had to get in there and give it what my granny called a good bottoming. Now the girls have clean bedding in the nest boxes and clean paper under the perches. As it is quite cold at night now I will be putting some straw in around the nest boxes because they both seem to prefer to sleep in the nests rather than to perch - probably because they are ex-battery hens.

Anyway, the reason I haven't done any True Stories yet is because I have been attacked by a virus but now I am getting better.

Watch this space

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The demo was fine, the car park was hard

The demo was good. Even if I do say so myself. There were 30 people there and only two had seen me talk about scrapbooking before. They knew what I would be doing so they sat at the back.

Several others had that go-on-entertain-me expression on their faces. Well, you would wouldn't you if you have gone to the AGM of the family history society you expect a speaker who talks about parish registers or census indexes or stuff like that. You don't expect the person who you have just re-elected to the chairman's job to spread out a pile of paper and card and strange looking gadgets and start talking about your precious old photographs of your ancestors.

It took me two minutes (I kept one eye on the clock) and I had the first genuine laugh. After that they were leaning forward to see more clearly what I was doing. I had prepared two pages, one with two pictures of my Dad for the album I am making about him and a more modern one of me with some special friends.

I did the page for Dad first, I explained the reason I was doing the album and why it is still incomplete even though Dad died in 2003. Then I showed them the pictures and explained my reason for choosing them. I talked about storage of old photographs and gave them a few things to think about regarding old photographs. I hope I also gave them the tools to take ownership of their photographs.

I told them what I was going to do, then told them what I was doing, and then held up the result and showed them what I had done - that's teaching that is.

I then suggested that they might have questions and the first one was "can you do another page?" so I brought out the bag with the other page saying, "here's one I prepared earlier" and did the other one. Then we had to stop because the time was running out and we had to be out of the hall. I think that I might be asked to speak at some of the society branches - so I am really pleased that it went well.
This kind of gives me confidence to organise a crop in the hall across the road. I wouldn't want to "teach" but I know I can stand up in front of a room of people and demonstrate how to achieve a simple page. I am sure that once the first crop has happened we would be able to organise more.
The reason I say in the title that the car park was hard is because as we were leaving the hall I caught my shoe on a tiny kerb around a little fowler bed and spread my not inconsiderable bulk across the tarmac. I was carrying a plastic box with all my alphas in separate containers under my arm, quite a large box. and that hit the ground first forcing my arm and shoulder to go into shapes they were never designed to attain. The result was pain. head-swimming, eyeball twisting gutwrenching pain. It didn't last long and there was no serious damage to my physical health. My ego however took a terrible beating. Can you imagine the embarrasment of falling over in front of so many people?
I'm just glad the camera was in the other box and Mr M didn't think to get it out and use it.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

True Stories

I resisted for ....ooh at least 24 hours, and then I just could not think of any real reason why I wouldn't desperately want to be a part of the new class "True Stories" over at

I love to write and I love to see how other people set about writing so I am bound to learn something.
Today I am chairing the AGM of Gwent Family History Society. It looks as though I will be elected to serve for a third year, and I have to say that I really quite like it. The other thing I am doing today is talking and demonstrating "Heritage Scrapbooking".
I dislike this use of the word heritage but understand that the English language is always changing because it is a living language and all that guff. I don't have to like it though, do I?
I thought the purpose of language was that words had meanings so that when they were spoken other people could understand what you were saying because of the words you use. So why have we suddenly started to use a word that means one thing in a place where the exact opposite meaning is intended. The simplest example is using the word 'bad' to mean 'good'.
This is when I know I am getting old... ~sigh~
Anyway, I am demonstrating how to make a scrapbook page using photgraphs of ancestors. I will be putting forth my thoughts about copying old photographs, conserving old photographs and using the original photographs in scrap albums about family history. Stressing all the time that these are personal views to be listened to, thought about and ignored if they so choose.
I will photograph the pages and perhaps get Mr M to take pictures of me doing the demo and try and get the pics on here as soon as I can.
Perhaps this will encourage me to organise a crop in the hall across the road - I have been thinking about it for a while now.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Last Day of LSNED

Today is my daughter's birthday. My first-born. I woke up this morning remembering what that day was like so many years ago. I remember being terrified. Looking back I can see that I was just so young, too young really but I had no choice at that time.

Lots of conflicting emotions now though, and then I had one of those thoughts. You know the ones. They pop into your head and you try hard not to think them because they are going to change the way you think forever more.

So there I was, hopping on one foot while I got dressed and suddenly thinking "Really Profound Thoughts". This is how it went

If I could go back in my life and know what I know now, would I change anything?

Well, would I change anything? NO.

My reason is simple. If I change one tiny weeny little thing in my early life it would mean that I would be different, my life would take a different course and I wouldn't be where I am right now. I like where I am right now. I adore my husband, I love my children to bits, I think my grandchildren are the best things that ever came into this world and my darling great granddaughter is just the sweetest little girl ever to be seen. Would I be prepared to lose any or all of this just to get rid of one of the heartaches I had when I was young? no, and no and no, never!

That would be the same as asking a mother to choose which of her children to cast out of the plane to stop it crashing. I would have to jump out to save my children because I cannot choose between them.

So my lesson for today is that I am truly blessed and absolutely content with my lot in life. Aren't I just the luckiest person? I think so

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Today I Learnt.....

That shouting and swearing at the printer will not make it use the yellow ink cartridge you have just replaced if it doesn't want to. I also learnt that it doesn't make me feel any better if I do shout and swear so I shan't waste the energy with that again.

I seem to have found some extra energy from somewhere because this morning I have cleaned out the chicken house and given them nice new shredded paper in their nest boxes (not that they are laying at the moment) I have put a load of towels in the washing machine, ironed Mr M's shirts for work next week, ironed a pile of T-shirts for me, peeled and diced the vegetables for lunch (Mr M is off work because we planned to go away) made the tuna and yogurt topping for the baked spuds, put the diced veg in the actifry to roast, sorted the pictures I want to scrap for my birthday weekend and sent the order to, made a cuppa, answered the phone several times and then ate lunch. Now I am waiting to go and collect Miss E from school and then I can sleaze in front of the TV for a brief while until it is time to go to Guides with my daughter and show a group of 12-14 year olds how to make a bag from a pair of old jeans.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Birthday weekend

We went away for my birthday weekend. We went to Colchester to visit my eldest son and his lovely wife and my two beautiful grandchildren. It was a chance for me to meet the youngest who was born in August and to renew acquaintance with the oldest who is 18 months old.

Sometimes everything works to make a time like this very hard to get through and other times everything just falls into place. This weekend everything seemed to fall into place and we had the most marvellous time. Both children soon were adoring grandpa. and the oldest was crawling all over him and getting him to play with Duplo and read books.
We also managed a trip to Mersea Island while mummy and daddy took the boys to do some serious grocery shopping - important stuff like juice and bananas and crackers, oh and a play mat with roads for cars!
We had a chance to look at the fabulous beach huts on the island and to seek out a lucky pebble from the beach. We found some oyster shells and a flint or two but no lucky pebbles. I took loads of pictures of the beach huts but none really captured the feeling you get when you first see the line of huts meandering off into the distance. The weather was quite stunningly bright and sunny so we took advantage of it and sat outside the beach cafe - called The Two Sugars - and shamelessly eavesdropped on the group of motorcyclists at the other table. It was so odd to see these large leather clad gentlemen sitting there with mugs of tea and coffee talking about bike insurance. Not the sort of thing you expect to hear from what look at first glance to be "Bikers" One of them was sitting directly facing me so I didn't have the courage to take their picture, just incase he took umbrage.
I learnt that
The M25 is reallytoo unspeakably awful.
The A12 is terrifying
I need to actually read the interesting book on photography for the hints and tips to work.
Essex is really beautiful and I am glad my grandparents met and married there.
It can take at least ten minutes for a child to warm to Mr M.
It takes hours for a child to warm to me - I don't "do" small children. Teenagers on the other hand...
I love Mr M very much
I have a daughter-in-law who is shyer than me and that's why it has taken so long to get to know her.
A travelodge is very useful and a Little Chef breakfast sets you up for the day.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

learning stuff is easy peasy

"That was easy peasy, Grandma," she said, closing her school reading book and stuffing it into her school bag. "Now you must write in my link book that I readed it right."

So with a quiet "read not readed" I wrote in the link book that we had read the book together and just before I signed it she couldn't resist the temptation to tell all.

"I read that book in Reception class so I knew all the words." I praised the correct use of 'read' and added to the note in the link book, saying "This book was easy peasy because GD remembered it from Reception Class.

After I had taken her to school I thought about this a little and came to the conclusion that when her teacher had given her the book GD had made a concious decision to keep quiet about having read it before, just to be able to sail through it and look good. I remember doing exactly the same thing but I was a lot older than her. This sent me on a train of thought about when reasoning power starts to develop and just how good should you be at "thinking things through" (as we say these days) when you are only five and a half?

So my lesson for today will be that I must never under-estimate the ability of a bright five year old to think through a situation and to come to a conclusion.

Friday, 17 September 2010

More learning - some scrapping

I thought I might be able to keep up with blogging most days, but I haven't. I have now finished the pages for our holiday in the lakes and I can see that my "style" if I have one is really minimalist. I suspect this is because I really can't be bothered to fiddle about with all those frills and furbelows. I like the pictures and journalling to tell the story.

I have always made a scrap book for our holidays, ever since my children were small - in fact I started before my children were born - and I have always tended to just let the journalling tell the story. There are several rules for holidays. I am sure I have said this somewhere before but never mind.

1. No Newspapers

2. No Radio or TV

3. Everyone has a nickname so that they are not their old stay at home self they are a new holiday person. This really has the effect of lowering the inhibitions and allowing ourselves to relax and enjoy.

4. Keep a holiday Journal.

The last one is essential. We record all the silly things that are said, all the daft things we do, all the things we don't do and especially the food we eat.

When we come home I scan the pages of the journal and when the holiday scrapbook pages are completed I put the journal pages into a pocket so that we can look at the pages and read the journal. The scrap book pages usually contain a pertinent phrase from the journal and if it is required then some hidden journalling to explain things.
So I have learnt that I have a simple style of scrapping. I have learnt that time runs away from me. I have learnt that I really enjoy doing the Learn Something New Every Day Class. I have also learnt that after thirty years together Mr M can still make me laugh and still understands me better than anyone in the world.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Sunday Sweet Sunday

The caption on this reads
"He's made a hole!"
"ooh, he is Sooo grounded!"
After the excursion yesterday I spent today doing ordinary things like scrubbing the feed container for the chickens and scraping chicken poop out of their house so I could spray it with red spider mite killer. Killoo killay, oh frabgeus day!
Then I scraped the flag stones in the yard and scrubbed them. The girls were not happy about this because they hate disturbance, any disturbance. Any alteration to the pattern of their day is regarded with suspicion.
As a special treat I opened the gate that leads out into the alley at the back of our house. This little space belongs to us and it is totally enclosed so is quite safe for the chickens to roam freely. I just worry that one of the neighbours might decide to go out of their back gate to their car in the side street and they might just leave the alley gate open.
I supervise the girls when I open our garden gate, just in case. They go out and spend an hour scratching around in the weeds and it keeps the undergrowth down too. However, even though I took them out into the alley and made sure everywhere was secure when I came back in and started the scrubbing and scraping they had to come back in with me. They stood in the gateway, close together for comfort while I took all that lovely, comfortable, poo covered, shredded paper out and replaced it with nasty clean non smelling stuff. They clucked and crooned quietly to one another the whole time but when I went towards them with the intention of closing the gate they shot outside and started madly scratching around. Trying to convince me that this was their intention all along.

Today it is clear that departure from routine is unsettling for most creatures.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

I Love my husband

Today was setting itself up to be a sad one right up to the moment the Mr M came downstairs. He gave me a hug as he does everyday, he gave me a kiss as he does everyday. He put the kettle on, as he does everyday, he told me he loves me as he does several times a day. Then he held me. Not as a hug but as a let-me-take-away-your-pain-and-sadness hold. It wasn't for long and then he lissed the top of my head and asked itf I had remembered to take my pills.
Goodness me I love that man! I still get that excited buzz right through me when I see him, even after ten minutes in different rooms it is still there. He can still surprise me and watching his face as he concentrates is pure joy to me. I love it, love it, love it!

I have re-learnt that even after 30 years love can still grow

Friday, 10 September 2010

Anticipation - sometimes good sometimes bad

Learn Something New Every Day certainly makes you think. I didn't write anything for 8th September or 9th and this morning I found myself mentally groaning because I didn't want to go back and think about what I had learnt. Not because it was too much trouble but because I was sure that delving into what I was thinking on either of those days was A Bad Thing.
The reason, I realised is because of tomorrow, September 11th. It brings my dad into the forefront of my memory and I just don't deal with that too well.
On that date - 9-11 - he stood infront of the TV in the kitchen and cried as he watched events unfold. It is the only time I have ever seen any emotion other than anger on my dad's face and it really affected me.
I am anticipating the emotional mix that I will feel on the day and increasing it by worrying - now how stupid is that? To be worrying about how I will feel three days before I need to instead of just letting it happen.
So my lesson for today is to get out my worry list and start using it again. That way I will be back in control.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Miss Em is very taken with the challenge jar

I took up the challenge from Shimelle to print and cut up the sheet of little page challenges and learnt that even five year old girls can get totally taken over by something new and different.
I put them into a jar, thinking that I could use them for pages when I was a bit short of inspiration. I don't need to use them for LSNED because I have the page design sorted in my head and all the bits are ready in the project box.

When I was cutting up the pieces I had the help of Miss Em and she was really intrigued by what we were doing. She loved the idea of putting a label on the lid of the jar but the best bit for her was choosing one of the challenges.

Now bear in mind that her reading is limited because she is five and because reading seems to be something they learn by osmosis these days not through structured learning, but even so that is not what she enjoys. She doesn't really care what the challenge says, it is the choosing that she loves.
She has encouraged everyone to "Choose one, see it says on the lid, choose a challenge". Then they have to read it aloud, "Now Grandma must do that to a page", and then put it back. The important thing is that she gets to choose one first. She gives it to Grandpa to read because then he has to find his spectaclesand she can help him do that and then she puts it back. She makes the vict... other person choose and read and then she gets to choose again!
I have decided that I will make a small selection of slips - typed and printed by the computer - and put them into a container (I will use a plastic one as she is only five). These will have things like "Pick up all the toys in the living room and then take a treat from the treat box". "Brush Rosie Custard (the kitten) and then take a treat from the treat box"
There are loads of things that I can use and for as long as the novelty lasts it might just encourage a few good habits but if it doesn't then no one is hurt
I like today's lesson

Monday, 6 September 2010

Sunday thoughts teach me a lot

During the course of Sunday I spent a lot of time thinking. I was making Christmas cards ready to write and prepare for posting next month so I was sitting half listening to Radio 7 and quarter concentrating on sticking and glittering. That left a space for just thinking.

I realised that I was editing my LSNED daily sentences so that they were not too revealing about my present state of mind. I was, in fact, searching for something suitable to "learn" that could be written about while the actual lesson of the day was probably mostly something I didn't want anyone else to read.

The train of thought travelled on and I then realised that if I wanted to keep this year's journal just for my eyes then all I had to do was complete it and then put it in the Special Place. Once this thought had arrived in my brain I felt the enthusiasm for the project roll over me in a great wave.

Now I realise why I didn't finish it last year, I wanted so much to write about the emotional stuff I was learning but couldn't let go enough to allow it to be public. So my lesson is that my LSNED journal is MINE. I claim ownership of it and all the lessons in it. If I want to share that lesson with a few people I can do this but if it is just too personal to share with anyone I can keep it to myself.

I can honestly say that this is a HUGE revelation for me, and is possibly a huge step forward in my progress towards being me again.

So there we have it, some days you'll get the lesson learnt in all its glory and on other days you'll get the "Normal Service will be Resumed as soon as Possible" sign - or a picture of one of my pages, whichever is closest to hand.

here's one to be going on with

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sunday and I feel better

I had an appointment on Friday with the practice nurse for my diabetes review. That seems to have gone well. I haven't put any weight on, I haven't lost any either but not adding to the load is a GOOD thing. My blood pressure is also fine so I must just keep on taking the tablets. We have begun to formulate an eating plan. Both of us are desperate to lose weight but Mr M is never full and if he eats I will try to keep up.
I have no idea why I do this, just that I do. Now that I am aware of what I am doing I try very hard to stop. I also try very hard to reduce the portion size without him noticing. I am gradually increasing the amount of vegetables I put on his plate while at the same time reducing the amount of food that goes on mine.
I think it is working.
Friday night I felt lousy, Saturday we went to my cousin's for dinner. As they are dieting too we really enjoyed eating with them. All fat free and the pudding was fresh fruit so Mr M could have some with fat free yoghurt. Excellent!
Sunday I spent all day making our Christmas cards. I used last year's cards that were sent to us and recycled as much as possible. Then I used up all the christmassy bits left over from free gifts and a kit that someone gave me that they had received for joining a bookclub. I made 50 cards - I like things to be simple - and that means I have now made over 150 so I have 36 to give to Tenovus to sell.
Lots of lessons learnt. Lots of crafting done. Pictures will follow

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Losing your sense of smell is dangerous

On September 1st I made a cup of tea for Mr M and a cup of coffee for me. Whenever I open a bottle of milk - we still get ours delivered by a proper milk Lady. it comes in bottles to my door and I recycle the containers by washing them out and leaving them on the doorstep to be collected by her every other day. Where was I? oh yes, whenever I open a bottle of milk I automatically sniff it, just to make sure it is fresh. Somedays we don't use much milk because we are both out all day. So, yesterday I made the cuppa, sniffed the milk, no smell so not gone off yet and poured it into the tea and coffee. I gave Mr M his cup. he lifted it to his mouth and then made one of those good-grief-that's-a-nasty-pong noises. "Don't drink your coffee" he said as he carried his cup to the sink and poured the contents away. "didn't you smell the milk first?"
And that's when I remembered that I have lost my sense of smell. Ever since Little Miss brought a cold home from school for half term and shared it with all of us I haven't been able to smell - well, anything much. I can sometimes get smokey smells and I did get a faint hint of lemon when eating fish and chips in Morrisons but gone-off milk doesn't register and neither does that good country air smell that comes around muck spreading time. Mr M opened all the windows on the car and his eyes were watering from the smell but I couldn't even get a hint of it.
So now I am a bit concerned because milk that is "off" is dangerous and milk doesn't go sour anymore because it is pasteurised and all the sour-making bacteria is killed off. What makes it go off is the bacteria that lurks in fridges and I no longer have my sensitive nose to protect us.
I also cannot smell eggs. Because we have always had chickens and sometimes we are not sure about the freshness of eggs I have developed the habit of cracking the shell of the egg and sniffing it. If you can smell it then it is not fresh. If there is no smell it is fresh.
I crack three eggs yesterday and sniff them before dropping them into the bowl with the cottage cheese and beating them smooth for the sauce for our pasta bake. It wasn't until it was in the oven cooking that I remembered about the loss of sense of smell. I did the panic dance in the kitchen for a brief moment and then reason kicked in and told me that a three-day-old egg was not stale and never could be regarded as stale so we weren't all going to die from food poisoning.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Day one LSNED

If I could learn how to put the blinkie for the class onto this blog I would consider that a huge thing. I have tried up down and sideways to copy the thing from Shimelle's forum to here and the darned site keeps saying "invalid code" I think what it is really saying is "You have forgotten what you did last year you silly woman, now pay attention and get it right."
The problem is that I can't remember where I looked to find the correct way to do it. I think that probably someone on the forum took pity and gave me step-by-step instructions that start with "Press the button to turn on the computer". I will go and scrapbook with my cousin for the afternoon and come back to it.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Circle Journals - I love 'em

On Saturday morning I posted my CJ, the start of another adventure! This time I have chosen "My Favourite Ancestor" as my theme. I did mean to photograph the pages before I posted it but as usual I was in a ruddy blush to get it packed so I could go to the post office before going out for the day with Mr M (more of that on the other blog).
I chose my great grandmother, the actress, for my pages simply because she fascinates me. I have written at boring length about her in my blog here so I won't do it again here.
I just love doing Circle Journals (CJs) so far all the people who have taken part have been so talented and the pages they have given me are all so beautiful, and different. I realise that if I am not careful my pages would take on a "sameness" but the CJs have eight to ten different contributors so there are that same number of styles in my book. I like to leave them in the guest room as something for our guests to browse through before going to sleep. I leave books and short stories too but sometimes if you are staying somewhere and have forgotten your book it is good to have something you can pick up and read completely before you depart. Otherwise you always wish you could take the book with you and then you have to scour the internets to find a copy for yourself.
Several people have said how much they enjoy the little albums and they wish they had some for their own guest room. I give them a quick infomercial about UKscrappers and scrapbooking in general.
Anyhooo, I am in just one CJ at the moment. My plan is to get to about half way and then join another so that I can try to be always in one somewhere. I love the anticipation.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Pages, lots of Pages

I have been looking after a five year old who tells me that she "loves scrapbooking and crafting Grandma". I give her a piece of paper - she prefers the white pages from the albums - and some scraps and a photograph or two. She sits at the table happily cutting the scraps into even smaller pieces then she spreads glue on the page and sticks the pieces onto it. She places the photograph where there is a space (and when she suddenly remembers it is there) and all the time she works she talks.
I quietly do my own thing while occasionally saying "uh huh, really, goodness me" and other words of few syllables. I have never been to a crop but I suspect that this is very similar.
My only complaint is that I am the one that swabs down the table after she has gone home. I meant to photograph her page today but she was gone before I remembered and she gives them all to Mummy for her scrap album. You will just have to make do with some of mine

We went out for the day with my Cousin and his wife - the other Colin and Ann - and we went to the South Wales Borderers' Museum in Brecon. I wanted to see the VCs won by men of the 24 regiment of Foot at Rorke's Drift. Mr M didn't come in as he fails to see the fascination with all these old wars. He stayed outside and when it rained he stood in the sentry box heehee.
Before we did the museum we started the day properly with Breakfast, not at Tiffany's but at Morrisons! We love breakfast at Morrisons. The eggs are always perfect. We don't like the Tesco breakfast because everything is always dried out and over cooked. I had the meat free breakfast, while Mr M and the other Colin and Ann had the all day breakfast with extra toast.

The "girls" are me and my five fellow students who were Rural Domestic Economy Students at the Monmouthshire Institute of Agriculture, way back in the dark ages (the 1960s) We meet very rarely but one of our number emigrated to New Zealand several years ago and was back home for a holiday. It was great to be the youngest in a gathering instead of the oldest. We talked and talked for hours. My daughter, who took me to the meet up, was agreeably surprised that we were not a bunch of old farmers talking about fields and the weather. Every one of the girls except me married someone in farming - four of them married fellow students - and as there were several other students from other courses in our year at the "reunion" it was good to see that some people never change. The people I was friendly with at college are still just the same, older, plumper, with more wrinkles but still the twinkle in the eyes and the ability to laugh out loud.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Photographing a day out

I made sure I had fully charged batteries in the camera and extras in the going-out-for-the-day-bag, you know the one that has the insect repellent and the umbrella AND the sunhat in the big section and a small Kendall Mint cake bar a packet of pain killers, the sewing kit, a pencil and tiny notebook and the spare set of front door keys in the smaller section. Yes that's the one. We were going out with the other Colin and Ann. A special trip to visit The Hall at Abbey Cwm Hir. We began the day by going to Morrison's in Brecon for Breakfast, yum. Then we stopped at the South Wales Borderer's Museum just so I could look at the Victoria Crosses won by the 24th of foot at Rorke's Drift. Fabulous.

Then we went to Abbey Cwm Hir which is a few miles north of Llandrindod Wells. What a place! Privately owned, you must book yourself in for either the morning or afternoon tour of ALL 52 rooms in the house. It is quirky and odd and not to my taste but it is certainly very interesting and some of the rooms will take your breath away.

I took loads of pictures of things that I thought were interesting. I tried to only use natural light and for the most part I was successful but there were one or two places where the rooms were simply too dark and I had to use the flash. I now have loads of choices to make - a double page layout or a separate special album? choose just one or two pictures to sum up the day or tell the whole story with all the pics (more than 60)? I just don't know yet. There are a couple of good pics of the other Colin and Ann that deserve a separate page.

There is one pic of Mr M that I think is just lovely and I want to scrap that one in the 2010 12x12 album. So many pictures so little time.

We were feeling a little peckish by the time we left, a long time since breakfast, so we headed for Leominster. Old friends will know that this can mean only one place for us to go and eat - The OK Diner. I had the beer battered Cod with fries. Mr M had the 10oz All The Way Burger Colin hadanother of the burgers and Ann had the Ribs and Wings. We also had a 12 inch stack of onion rings. Nom,nomnomnomnomnom.
I didn't have time to photograph the meals because as soon as the food arrivedc we all piled in and started chomping. A fabulous day! All I need to do now is rest quietly until my ribs stop aching from laughing so much

Friday, 16 July 2010

Pages and more pages

OK so I don't blog for months and then I do it twice in one day. Get used to it, I say. have been quite productive with pages recently considering how I feel so after completing the page using the picture I PSE'd

I thought I would take the photographs and get up to date. We went to Newark Park. We were going somewhere else and saw the signs for it. I checked in the National Trust book and it was open. As this is so unusual for us to find a place open when we are near it we stopped for a look. It is a little gem. The house is lived in, really lived in. Proper tenants who restored the property and stopped it falling down. When the visitors are gone they live in the rooms that we walked through. It feels loved and homey and a sheer delight to visit.
The peacocks were a bonus. One stupid woman was feeding them and when the peacock tried to climb onto her lap to get the sandwich she was eating she leapt up and shrieked.

The Barbecue page shows what the fashionable five year old puts on to help daddy cook dinner. No one told her to do it she just didn't like the smoke. What you can't see is that she is also wearing an apron and wellies and the oven mitts are on the table.

These pictures were taken by our five year old. They are of my aunt and my cousins who live in Arizona. Cousin Bob is taking pictures with his phone while Em takes pictures of him
School did a project on the rainforest and what lives there. They all had to dress up as a rainforest creature so Em insisted on being a butterfly. Her daddy made the mask and off she went. The mask got ripped by her best friend so the teacher found a ladybird costume.
I did this page on a Tuesday when my cousin Michelle comes to scrap with me. We have a book of pagemaps and each week we choose the one we will do next week and then we have a week to get the papers chosen and the pictures printed. Loads of them oare way outside my comfort zone. I have come to see that I am a minimalist scrapbooker. I like the journalling best so I am content to stick the picture on the page and then write about it. Using the pagemaps has made me embellish and tear paper and even - as on this page - ink the torn edges! Michelle is the absolute opposite to me and loves filling her pages with embellishments and colourful stuff. We are good for each other because I will try things that she does and she has begun to journal with her handwriting rather than using the computer as she agrees it is more personal.
So together we enjoy a couple of hours laughing and scrapping and those pages soon mount up.

Playing in Photoshop

I am a bit late getting to grips with the Love your Pictures, Love your Pages class from Shimelle because real life is still getting in the way of what I want to do.

I managed, today, to read all the propts from the first week and the one that really took my interest was putting titles onto pictures. I vaguely remember doing this some time ago but I couldn't remember how. I had to print the pages from the prompt because flicking back and forth between windows was driving me insane - and I just couldn't remember what the prompt had said even though I was looking at it just seconds before. I don't seem to be able to retain information from the screen I need it in my hand or propped up in front of me as I work.

Anyhooo, I chose a picture with a lot of 'white space' only it had a power cable across the middle of the picture so I had to work out how to erase the cable. I managed to do that quite effectively so I then followed the instructions given by Shimelle and soon I had a title and some writing on my picture.

I have to say that I am just the slightest bit smug about this. OK so I know it's not rocket science but still, I do feel as though I have really achieved something and that has made my day. I think I will treat myself to a raisin and oat cookie, I deserve one because not only have I achieved something but my lovely next door neighbours are moving today and I will really miss them.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Why do I scrapbook?

Shimelle tells us in this video

why she scrapbooks. Then she asked us why we do it too. This has to be the easiest question ever!

My Dad - this is how he lives in my memory -

told me, when my daughter was born "You have to make memories for children."

I knew exactly what he meant because it was at that moment that I realised what he had been doing all my life. I decided that I would make those memories for her and I would capture them by putting mementoes and keepsakes into a scrap book along with any photographs and I would "write a bit" about the event or memory.

My daughter is in her 40s now and has begun scrapbooking because I told her "you have to make memories for children" and she wants her daughter to have the same shelf of memories as she and her brothers have.
I cannot imagine life without my scrapbooking and I am seriously considering putting them into the local Record Office for safe keeping