Monday, 19 December 2011

there was a sale, right?

The Range is moving. Our branch of the Range. At present they are over on the east side of the city but on Boxing Day they open their new store on the West side and it is a lot huger than the present store.
To save having to cart all the stock over to the new store they have a sale. 25% off everything. They have a lot of craft stuff and art supplies and............. well they were bound to have something I desperately needed weren't they?
YES, the answer to that question is yes. Mr M took me over there and I spent a happy hour rummaging through the shelves. I am not going to tell you how much I spent but my birthday money did not survive long and a lot more besides. Card blanks and brads and papers and glitter papers and some glittery matt cards and some fabulous metallic pens and white paper flowers because you can colour them with... fabulous metallic pens. I kind of wanted to get some double sided tape and some glue but others had got there before me - sigh.
I am happy with my new stash and will pet it for a while before putting it away and using it.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Best ever Christmas Present

Now here's a funny thing. Last night I sat at my table and did a layout. That's not the thing, no. The thing is that I found, amongst my father's papers that I am just being able to sort through even though he died in 2003, the receipt for the ten driving lessons he bought for me, for Christmas, in 1968. I was so pleased to find this little piece of paper and I knew if I didn't put it onto a page it would be lost very soon.
I haven't taken a picture of the page because the journalling became far too personal for internet exposure.
That Christmas present was the best ever. I passed my driving test the following February and I could put my children into the car and take them to visit my parents without having to wait for anyone else.
Being able to drive gave me back my freedom.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter......

My favourite carol has to be In the Bleak Midwinter. I have fond memories of standing under a street lamp with the church choir, in the village where we used to live, and singing at the tops of our voices for the residents who came to their doors and windows to listen. We would also go to the sheltered housing complex - with prior permission, of course - and the carers would wrap up their residents in warm coats and blankets and we would sing several carols for them. Any money raised would go to a shelter for the homeless or a refuge for women.
Just singing the first line or two brings back the happiness those cold December evenings brought to me and my children.
In the bleak midwinter,
Frosty wind made moan.
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone.
Snow was falling snow on snow,
snow on snow.
In the bleak midwinter,
Lo o ong ago.

For the last few years I haven't been able to go into town to listen to the Salvation Army band so I have missed them playing this carol. If  my daughter is going into town this weekend I will try to go with her, It would be a big step forward if I could manage promises though.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas Remembered

I don't have any pictures from this time so I will try to paint one with words.

December 1981. We were living here, in this same house, having moved in on 7th November. So, we had no money, again. It was time to put up the Christmas decorations and the tree. I like the tree to go up on Christmas Eve but Mr M likes it there where we can see it as early in December as is possible. We didn't have an artificial tree and no money to buy one. The house had carpets that came with it but.......... If I say that it had been let in rooms to students before we bought it you can have some idea of the quality and colour of the carpets can't you? There were lots of things that needed doing to the house and the tiny patch of what we laughingly referred to as "the Front Garden", one of which was to remove the Leylandii trees that were growing next to the front path. The path is only 12 feet long and there were five of these darned trees growing along it, each one was around 15 feet tall and as we all know the Leylandii is a hybrid thing that grows around a metre a year and can reach more than 10 metres (that's more than 30 feet) if not severely cut back and controlled.

While I was in work, I was a Tupperware manager then and was out every day doing parties, Mr M decided that one of those leylandii would be perfect as our Christmas tree so without thinking of the height of the ceiling and the height of the tree he cut down the one nearest to the front door and dragged it into the front room He had the help of my sons while doing this
"Oh dear,"  he thought, "It's a little too tall, I'll cut some off the bottom." they lifted it up, laid it horizontally across the back of the sofa and cut three feet off the bottom with the saw used to cut it down. they didn't cut the sofa, they were very careful. they tried to stand it up but it was still too tall.

OH, OH you have to keep in mind that Mr M had put the fairy on the top as this was easier before you put up the tree.

He laid it across the sofa again and cut off another substantial length. He tried to stand it up again and once more the fairy had her head battered against the ceiling. Still too tall. Once more the fairy swooped across the room and waggled about as he sawed another couple of feet off the bottom of the tree.

He tried the tree upright and as long as she kept her knees bent the fairy just brushed the ceiling with her wand. At this point I arrived home from work and as I came in through the front door Mr M was there helping me to take off my coat so he could show me what a brilliant idea he had and how they had done this as a lovely surprise for me.

It was a lovely surprise, as I waded through the sawdust to the tree I could see that he had saved us lots of money and the delight on their faces outweighed any crossness about the marks all over the sofa and the sackful of sawdust on the floor. We all shovelled it into a plastic sack and put it in the cellar to use for the rabbits we had then - see more money saved. I used the vacuum cleaner to clean up what was left. Well, I tried. We had that carpet for 12 years before we could afford to replace it and every time I used the vacuum cleaner I sucked more sawdust out of the carpet.

So there you are, a Christmas remembered

Friday, 9 December 2011

10 on the Tenth - December

I am a bookcrosser, you can see more about bookcrossing here if you want to. The idea of releasing books into the wild and catching books appeals to me and I thought it would reduce the number of books stacked in my house... it hasn't. This is because there is a list that all obsessive dedicated readers and bookcrossers should have hanging somewhere in their house, preferably where your partner/husband/wife can see it. I did not make these rules they came to me through the bookcrossing UK group on Yahoo. So for my 10 on the tenth I give you
Rules that apply to Bringing Books Home:-
The Books Don't Count as Extra if....
1.  I am doing him/her a favour by taking the book. So It Doesn't Count.

2.  I am only buying this book by way of a donation to charity. So It Doesn't Count.

3.  He/she would have been offended if I didn't accept the book. S.I.D.C.

4.  I needed it to complete the set. S.I.D.C.

5.  I have been wanting to read this book for ages. S.I.D.C.

6.  It's a classic that everyone ought to read. S.I.D.C.

7.  It would have been wasteful not to use the Waterstone's/Smiths/Booktoken vouchers S.I.D.C.

8.  It was a present from a non bookcrossing friend. S.I.D.C.

9.  The Not So Secret Santa organiser wanted me to join the group. S.I.D.C.

10. I am a bookaholic, so I can't help it.

This list has come to you through the 10 on the tenth, a fun thing devised by Shimelle go take a look at the other players.


From the time I read Shimelle's prompt today I have been singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof. As that's the only word I know it has been fortunate that I have been on my own all day.
Hearing me sing out TRADITION! and then follow it with that growly uh, uh, uh, uh, da, dee, da da. and then again with the TRADITION! would surely have driven anyone mad. It drove me mad and I was doing it. Apparently that's called an earworm, when a song gets you in the memory and won't let go.
However, that's not the tradition I want to tell you about. We have quite a few things that can be called traditions although I was in denial about this last month and told someone that we don't have any! Gosh they could probably see my nose growing couldn't they?
Until we came to live with Mr M our Christmas tree was put up on Christmas Eve. That was how I grew up and my children were learning that this was how it happened. The tree would be brought in and set in its bucket in the hall. They could then spend the day decorating it, arguing, fighting, sitting on the naughty chair, saying sorry and taking their turn in Granny's kitchen or out in the barn with Grandad. I would be in my kitchen cooking the mincepies and sausage rolls and preparing all the stuff for the dinner the next day.
By the end of the day all three children would have worked themselves into a state of high excitement so they would be taken out to do the evening check of the animals and fences and then into the bath and pyjamas and a cup of cocoa the reading of the story of the Nativity and off to bed.
These days the tree goes up around two weeks before Christmas, just to keep Mr M quiet. I like the anticipation and having everything else up except the tree but he doesn't. He likes to be able to see it in the bay window when he comes home from work. He never makes a fuss about anything so the fact that he said anything at all about having the tree up shows how much it means. So, tomorrow we will get son-in-law to lift the boxes off the top of the cupboard on the landing and when we have recovered from the dust we shall put up the flashing lights and the tree and decorate the porch with flashing icicles and then Santa will have no excuse about finding us.

OH, OH I have just realised that every decoration on our tree is part of a tradition because some of them belonged to my grandmother, some to my parents and the rest have been collected over 47 years since I first had my own home. I still have a string of tinsel that belonged to Granny and the fairy at the top is on her third dress and wings but my Mum's relatives in America sent her  for the tree the year I was born - 65 years ago. So she has to be a tradition.
Now I have a lot of singing and growling to do while I pack the presents.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

feeling Christmassy?

Nope, feeling decidedly flat today. I had kind of imagined that the anticipation was building nicely and I would be able to do so much more this year than last. Then Mr M rang and said we should go to Farm Foods to get the frozen food and I said that would be good. He would pause briefly when he came home from work at 2pm and we would go then. Sounds fine doesn't it?
Peckingham Palace
I thought I had better go down in the garden and check on my chickens before we went, as it would be dark by the time I came back and it was then that I realised just how windy it really was. As I went down the steps I was caught by a powerful gust of wind and slammed against the wall. I didn't fall but it knocked the breath out of me for a moment or two. My girls were cowering in their covered run even though they have the whole of the garden to be in. They hate the wind. The flap of plastic you can see in the picture is secured behind the door now so their palace is quite snug.
I collected the eggs and went back into the house and when Mr M came in I realised that there was no way I could get into a car in weather like this. He didn't mind at all and promptly lay down on the settee and went to sleep. I feel decidedly flat because of it so I am going to bed soon and tomorrow we will have a new start.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Making a List and checking it twice...

Actually I am not making a list. I am clean out of lists. I have my Costco list, and my Farmfoods' list, and my Morrison's list (which starts with "as many of their 1.99 Panetonne as they have on the shelf) but this year I am not going down the "to do" list aisle, not at any price. I can feel the OCD (really that should be CDO because it should be in alphabetical order to be right) juices just waiting to flow the minute I start another list so.
This year I am not making any more lists than I normally make in a week.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas Memories

One of my favourite Christmas memories is of the year the Bluefunnels came to stay. They had been having a little trouble with their mothers. Both of them wanted the Bluefunnels to go to them for Christmas dinner and going to one would most definitely cause the other to feel slighted and snubbed and just about any other guilt making emotion.
My mother (goodness me how I miss her so) said "come to us, that way they can both hate me for a while. They'll soon forget" So they came to us. That meant nine of us around the table for dinner and my children had their beloved 'Uncle' to play with. So it was really good a couple of years ago when Mrs Bluefunnel rang us early on Christmas morning and, during the course of our chat, asked how many we were feeding that year. "Just us" I said, "The kids are all having their own Christmas this year so we can have our dinner in front of the TV" "No you can't," she said "You can get your coats on and get yourselves up here, as long as you don't mind just sleazing in front of the telly after dinner" So we went to them and had a marvellous dinner and a great afternoon and we cooked our dinner on Boxing day.

I spent a while trying to think of a Christmas that wasn't perfect and went back year by year and suddenly realised that Christmas 2006 was the one that I totally do not remember. I will need to go and look at the album  for that year. OK so my daughter and her family were here for Christmas and then they went home to pack up all their stuff so they could move down here and live with us. Even knowing that I just don't remember much of the actual day and that's because my Mum died in the April of that year and I remember the ache I felt through every special day and every anniversary. I look at the pages I did for the holiday and I feel again the sense of detachment I felt while everyone was laughing and watching Miss M open presents I felt as though I was watching through a gauze curtain. I suppose my children will all feel that to a degree this year because my ex husband died in February. Sometimes life can be a b*st*rd can't it?

Counting down to Christmas

I never did it, count down the days to Christmas. I used to get excited that Christmas was on its way but never conciously counted down. Isn't that strange? I never had an Advent calendar when I was small either, in fact I have never had an Advent calendar EVER! My children did once ore twice when they were very small but it was always used as an extra form of punishment - as in "you've been naughty so no advent calendar for you tomorrow" and then the chocolate would go to their father. I soon learnt not to give him extra weapons.
When we set up home with Mr M they had an Advent calendar each! and to their surprise it was never used for anything other than counting down to Christmas.
Sleeps until Christmas
I suppose it is because my ex died at the beginning of this year and watching my daughter coping with her grief has unleashed a lot of memories so I am allowing the shutters on that part of our lives to come down a little. Now that Miss M is 6 she counts the sleeps until Christmas and I made a wall hanging a couple of years ago that does just that. So now she has an Advent calendar, a snowman clock in the garden and the sleeps until Christmas wall hanging.
The pocket at the bottom holds the numbers and I embroidered the numbers and text with my brother embroidery machine.

It hangs on the sitting room door so that Miss M can pop in on her way home from school, or she can see it when I collect her, and she can change the numbers every day.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Journal My Christmas

My perfect Christmas is.................this one. The one we are going to have. It doesn't matter what happens on the day or in the days leading up to it, I just know it will be perfect. Does that mean I don't care? I don't think so. I think it means that I don't have any expectations although I no longer dread the arrival of Christmas day as I used to when my children were small.
Those days ended with my divorce and were swept away when we - my three children and me - set up home with Mr M.
Look, I'm wearing my hat. Now can I eat my dinner?
Somehow he made everything right, from the sneaking outside to shake the reindeer bells below the bedroom window and then rushing inside to open the sitting room window and shout "I don't care what your name is, you can't park those reindeer on my roof!".
He took away the tension that we had all associated with Christmas, he made us believe in magic again and he gave us the space to laugh.
That's something we have become used to, laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. Scrap books being opened and stories remembered, but mostly of the years since Mr M came into our lives.
So that's why every Christmas is the perfect Christmas. We have Mr M and he loves us - perfect.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Christmas Cards and when to post

I have posted all my Christmas cards. So has my cousin. We have this arrangement. It was thrashed out in the car on the way to Croft Castle in October. Mrs Bluefunnel thinks we should post so that the cards arrive on December 1st because she loves Christmas and, as far as she is concerned, it begins on December 1st. I think we should post on December 1st because that's when christmas starts and....... well you get the idea.
bah humbug
This year I made all the cards. I started in January. I am not a card maker, I am just not into all that work for something that will probably be shredded and used as compost in the following year. It was the photograph. I took a picture of my daughter's cat sitting under the Christmas tree with a very Bah Humbug expression on his face and a piece of lametta dangling down his nose. I thought it would make a good card and then I had an offer from snapfish for loads of 6x4 prints at 4pence each. I just couldn't refuse. It was a simple task to round off the corners and then stick the pictures to the card blanks - amazon 7.99 per 100 - and I had everything ready. I also made a few cards for charity. I have supported TENOVUS a cancer charity for many years now so I used the fronts of old cards and made new ones cutting out the pictures and matting and layering onto the card blanks. a peel off greeting and the job was done. I counted up how many I made and my total was 230. I was stunned. I also made gift tags from recycled cards and there were 50 packs of ten tags each with a coloured string and some embellishment - like a snowflake or tiny christmas tree. the cards I sold for £1 each and the tags for £1 per pack. I took 130 cards to the charity shop for them to sell and gave them the money from the stuff I had already sold.
My own cards were written by the middle of October, I just like to be organised ok? I am not OCD just organised. Actually my son in law says that my daughter and I could never be OCD we would have to be CDO because we need it to be in alphabetical order. I am reluctant to admit that he could be right. Anyway, I digress.
I have a special notebook that goes into the box where I keep the christmas cards. Yes I have a different box for birthday cards. The notebook has the list of names and addresses together with details of what else goes into the card. Some people get a family newsletter - the Gibbon Gazette  if they aren't on this here intarwebby and some get money because they are grandchildren that I won't see at Christmas and some get a different letter, a personal one because they are dear friends who live too far away to visit.
When we get cards I hang them on a bit of yellow string across the front of the mantlepiece. I used to be able to pin them to the cork tiles that covered the chimneybreast but since we had the "new" fire five years ago the tiles have nearly gone. One day we might decorate the room again...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Today has definitely been a stay-in-and-watch-the-weather-through-the-window type of day. Little Miss M popped in with her daddy, to drop off her play clothes before she went to school. As soon as she had gone I unwrapped the wreath, put the new batteries in the lights and secured it to the door knocker.
It was quite chilly with the door open while I did it so I was glad it didn't take long. I popped down the garden to check on the chickens and found that one of them (I only have two) had again laid a soft shelled egg so we will be trekking off to Monmouth to get some oyster shell on Saturday. Will that be before or after I have been to the post office to send all my overseas cards? I also have to take a pile of books to the Official Bookcrossing Zone in Coffee #1
As the person who is supposed to be in charge of it I should go regularly but that is dictated by Mr M's shifts.
I don't want to talk about that I was talking about the weather, although it is not a subject I pay much attention to unless I am going out. I have been trying to remember what December weather was like when I was a child and the only thing I really remember is that as the end of term came ever closer I prayed for snow. I would watch the sky when I should have been doing boring maths and hope that it would turn the distinctive colour that meant snow. It never did.
I loved the snow when I was a child. Probably because our bungalow was next to a field that sloped perfectly. My father made steel gates and railings and things. One of the things was linepoles for washing lines and another thing was sledges. Boy! could they go fast! I still have my sledge in the basement. I was about six or seven when I first had it and it was used every year until I was around 20 when I was married and living in a street in town with a husband who regarded fun as something to be prevented. The sledge stayed with my parents and when we moved to live with them I was delighted to be able to use it again when the snow fell. I didn't slide down hills on it I used it to carry bales of hay out to the cattle and goats.
I think my dislike of snow is a recent thing and stems from a fear of falling. I just don't like the idea of that one little bit. Apart from the indignity my age and size mean that it wouldn't be a gentle landing and the last time I fell over, a couple of years ago when we visited a castle ruin and the sheep had eaten the grass so short it was slippery, The shock of suddenly feeling my feet go out from under me took ages to wear off. Not something I would go out of my way to repeat.
My ideal Christmas weather is crisp and clear and dry. This was how it always seemed to be when we lived at the mill. The children would get up really early and open their presents. I would go and milk the cow or the goats or both and then feed the steers and the chickens. Then we would have breakfast and get dinner on the go while the children played and their father sat in his chair and read a paper. Dinner always began with a row half an hour before the food was to go on the table. This would be smoothed over and then after dinner my Dad would look out the window and tell everyone to "Get your coats on, Mr Powell's cattle are in the garden". We would all grab coats and boots and troop out into the clear crisp day to herd the cattle back to their own field and then fix Mr Powell's fence - again. I don't remember it raining or anything else. Isn't that marvellous.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Journal MY Christmas

I am Journalling My Christmas again. I think this is the 4th time for me and it is becoming a tradition. I like the idea of combining my memories of Christmas past with the preparations for Christmas present. I like making lists, I hate shopping but I have reached the age where I can give money to my children and the older grandchildren and they don't feel cheated. They like that they get jars of Damson and apple chutney and home made boxes with home made cookies as well as a crisp banknote that they can add to the iPad fund or whatever piece of electronic wizardry they must have this year. For the little ones I am still happy to shop, and in the real grandmotherly tradition I buy them clothes and books. This year I have a great granddaughter that I can now see and have visit me. She is 2years old and just right for her own copies of the Very Hungry Caterpillar and We're going on a Bear Hunt.
A copy of "Bear Hunt" will be going to the youngest grandson too. Our complete family gathering was last weekend so now I can coast towards Christmas knowing that we will be cooking for only five for Christmas day and then several more people on the following days.

I have posted my Christmas cards. Now this is a tradition. I recently had a long discussion with Mrs Bluefunnel about when cards should be posted. She feels that they should arrive on December 1st while I was brought up to send them after December 1st. We spent twenty minutes on the journey to Croft Castle discussing when we would post and finally agreed that this year it would be ON the first. Mr M was all for going to the sorting office last night and waiting until the stroke of midnight before putting the cards into the post box. It was tipping down with rain so we went to bed instead and he posted them on his way to work, because we live just around the corner from the sorting office.

I love that the wreath is ready to go on the door, just as soon as I can wire it to the door-knocker and put the batteries into the LED lights. Oh and as an aside here. When I brought Miss M home from school yesterday she pointed out that the front door needs repainting. "Do you thinks so?" I asked "it was only just painted.... um, in 1991"

She could be right. So there's another job for my children to do as part of their 30 hours gift to us for our anniversary.

I love the stepping Santa that Mr M insisted on buying last year. The only place he fits is on the mantelpiece and he kind of looks lost against the collection of spoons in this picture, but when he is climbing up and down the ladder he gets everyone's attention and if we allow the volume to be raised slightly we can drive everyone mad with the Bon Tempi type organ music playing Christmas tunes.

So, Journalling my Christmas is something I am getting used to doing. I love the prompts from Shimelle, so exciting to see the examples from previous years, and the new ways that she finds to give us ideas and get the excitement mounting are just fantastic.

Journalling my Christmas has brought back the magic; has brought out my inner child; has allowed me to enjoy once again when I thought I had lost the spark
I'm ready so let Christmas commence

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The wedding Guestbook

Best man, Best Woman, Groom and Groom
Mr M doing his Jacob Marley impression 
Today I begin the pages for the wedding guestbook for our "choice" son. He asked us to be his "Parents of Choice" because he doesn't have any family that talks to him.
We were honoured to be chosen and now I get to put together an album for their guestbook plus all those things that don't go into the formal photograph album.
I don't even know if they are having a formal photo album. The lights in the room were dreadful for photographs, making everyone and everything glow redly - even the cake made of cheeses.

Cutting the cakes (Mmmm cheese)
Everyone was asked to write something for the guestbook onto a page no larger than A4 and they were collected up during the day. Now I get to do the matting and layering and embellishing - and the theme colours were black and gold and ivory so the basic page will be black and I can then use gold to matt and some cream/ivory for journalling cards. I think I will probably leave most of those blank so that they can write their own memories on them. I have most of the place-marker cards too, as well as the order of readings AND the notice put up on the outside door telling people they were are the right place. This has the surnames of the happy couple but underneath instead of "wedding" it says "weeding".
So we achieved to new things on Saturday we went to a weeding and it was a civil partnership ceremony too.
When the pages are complete I will photograph them and show you, just not before they have seen it.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Ten on the tenth - November

For a lot of years we have collected signs. I don’t mean physically carted them home I mean that when we have seen a sign that amused or confused we have taken a picture and earlier this year I began making a series of 8x8 pages and putting them into an album. This is a list of some of them. A mixture of pages and just photographs. I intended using some of the latest ones as part of the Pretty Paper Party with Shimelle but there are still only 24 hours in a day and they are all used up at the moment.

1. We went out with the Bluefunnels for Mr M’s birthday last year and we saw this sign 

2. We were driving in Cornwall when we saw this lorry with a portable building on it. We liked the sign so much we followed him for three miles to get a good shot of the sign – bear in mind that we were travelling around 50 miles an hour when I took this picture.

3.This is not, as might be assumed, a perfect picture of chain-link fencing. This is a perfect example of the Oh-look-at-that-get-a-picture-quick-but-I-can’t-slow-down I’M IN TRAFFIC!
I do try to please in every way so here we have a proper sign painted by a professional sign writer and it says “KEEP CLEAR 24hr ACSES REQUIRED. The thing that gets me is that “required” is spelled correctly. We went passed there recently and the yard is empty, the business has gone and they have taken their sign with them.

4. We were at the traffic lights when Mr M saw this car in front. It is one of those little .... you can see that can't you

5. This was outside a cafe in Porthcawl. We had fish and chips. but we could have had this with or without punctuation

6. Another cafe, this time in Amble in the north-east. We were waiting for the lifeboat shop to open - that's another story.

7. Polperro, Cornwall. We have no idea why only Italians are allowed and we couldn't ask because this was February and Polperro was shut.

8. Another Cornish sign and taken only an hour or so after the last one. Our February in Cornwall was rich with good signage

9. A recent trip to Tenby gave us this. It seems the credit crunch and the bad financial climate has reached even the pound shops now.

10. 10. I saved the best for last. This was at a garden centre near us – we thought perhaps it was written in Wenglish, that mixture of Welsh and English that serves as the local colloquial dialect.

So, that's my list of ten things on the tenth. If you want to see more then just go to Shimelle's blog and take a look at the delights she has waiting for you

Saturday, 5 November 2011

I knew her before...

Today I received the first edition of a new magazine for scrapbooking. I have done the first read through, you know the one where you look at the index then skim through the pages looking for ideas and perhaps read a line or two. Well. It's good. At least it certainly satisfies my needs in a magazine. Pictures are great aren't they and let's face it scrapping without pictures is possible but not something we want to have to do too often. There are loads of pictures in Scrap365, loads of them but there are lots of words too. Loads of interesting words that show me more about the person who designed the pages. This magazine talks to me and I like it.
The other reason I like it is that Sian Fromhighinthesky is a contributor and her article on old and new pages is just lovely.
Now I must go and decide exactly which story I am going to share tomorrow for Storytelling Sunday. OH I just remembered, I got a little carried away making those rolled paper roses and now I have so many I can give some away. If you would like five paper roses made from recycled road map paper then just leave a comment here and I will contact you and arrange to send them.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Paper Roses, Paper Roses

I watched Kirstie Allsopp last night on Channel 4. She is doing a show about crafting. All sorts of crafting and last night she did paper crafting - and it was good. She did an embroidered card using free machine embroidery and a decoupage seagull that was cute but pointless. Then she did paper roses. She made them into rings for her fingers by sticking them to ring findings but as soon as she started I could see them on pages and cards.

The point was that she made them from the pages of damaged books and as she said they look great and you can do things to them. I thought "glossy Accents" and GLITTER so I went to the channel 4 website and found the instructions and had a go.

Oh my word, I have changed browsers and now use Google Chrome and what a difference it makes to uploading pictures on here! I am impressed

Friday, 21 October 2011

Paperbag album - the pictures

Here are a coupl of pictures of the album I made with the lovely paper bags that Sian at High-in-the-sky sent me. Because I was so keen to make something with them I couldn't take two minutes to re-read the instructions Sian gave in her blog so I did it a different way ~sigh~. I really should pause for breath sometimes. As yet I don't know what will go in here, I suspect it will be used for a special occasion album like Christmas day or a birthday or thre....... now there's an idea. I need to think on that a while

Friday, 14 October 2011

Paperbag books

Last week Lovely Sian at High in the Sky showed us how to make paperbag books, I was fascinated and as she offered to send some of her special bags to those who wanted to do this I gave her my address. The bags arrived on Wednesday and today was the first time I have had a minute to think. I didn't have time to print the instructions from Sian's tutorial, I didn't even have time to look at it for a second time so my pages are not made the same way as hers ~sigh~. I am still pleased with them even though I have no idea how I am going to use the album - yet.
I promise I will put up some pictures after tomorrow. I have a meeting tomorrow. The AGM of the local family history society. I have to be there. It is expected of the Chairman and I have been preparing my report and also putting together the December edition of the Society Journal, hence the no time to think.
On Sunday I will put the finishing touches to the Journal as it has to include all the reports from the AGM and then it goes out to the proof readers. Then I will have time to think again

Monday, 10 October 2011

10 on the 10th October

Ten things that have scored a point. Let me explain. Sometimes you can make a remark and someone will say something that really makes you laugh out loud. Not one of those namby pamby little LOL laughs that aren't really a laugh out loud but an involuntary spasm of the chuckle reflex that sometimes causes  coffee down the nose or crumbs across the table. If someone in our family makes this happen they can score a point. We are pretty stingy, especially Mr M but I have scored a few over the years. These days the Divine Miss Em scores the most but that's to be expected as she is six and just discovering life. Here are ten things I remember (well, some I remember and some from my journals)

1. First rule of car driving grandpa, you're not allowed to go to sleep! (said by Miss Em when she was only just six)

2."Oh look, The river mouth, what's it called?" "The river Exe" "Ah, that'll be why the town is called Exmouth then" ( we chuckled for two miles)

3. The lady in the chip shop in St Austell in 2006 who was standing at the back of the shop staring at the ceiling. When she was asked what she was doing she replied "I'm not watching the kettle so it will boil quicker". We awarded her a point cos she made us laugh

4. "I'm too young me" said Miss Em, in 2008, sitting in the back of the car as we waited our turn to collect some ex-battery hens. "Too young for what sweetheart?" I asked "To look after geese, Grandma". She was given a point, her first one.

5. Many years ago when my three children were just about getting to double figures for age, we went to Abergavenny market. We lived not far away and it was a regular thing for me to go shopping there on a tuesday when the outside market was open. As we were squeezing through the crowd a woman going the other way said in a very loud and exasperated tone "No! you can't have a gas mask!" My eldest son thought this was such a good phrase that he has held onto it for more than 30 years and said it to me when we were walking around a supermarket recently.

6. When Mr M says things to me he usually turns his head away so that deaf old me can't hear what he is saying. As he bent towards the fridge in our holiday flat in Cornwall in 2008 he said something. I said "I beg your pardon?" so he said it again louder but still with his head in the fridge. I asked again for a repeat so he said loudly "Have I told you that I'm crackers?" "Probably," I said "but you probably had your head in the fridge then too, so I didn't hear..." He had the grace to award me one point.

The right road can be seen bottom right

7. August 2009 heading for Northumberland up the M1. We were in the queue for the A1 junction and Mr M was shouting at the man in front for letting in a car that had overtaken all of us. "That car was in Birmingham when I joined this queue!" he shouted. I laughed for five miles.

8. On the same journey I scored a point after reading the Google instructions for most of the way I decided that I couldn't be without my map for a moment longer - my new map, the old one having disintegrated. I opened the book to the correct page, looked at the google instructions, looked at the map and said "I know exactly where we are --- we're on the right road!" Mr M was relieved to know this.

9, A kind of chinese whispers thing went on, again in Northumberland in 2009. I thought Mr M said something about squashed baby birds and got quite upset incase I saw them, so when he said it again I begged him not to show me the "poor dead birdies"
"LADYBIRDS" he enunciated very clearly, "dead Ladybirds, everywhere!" (I think he probably had his head in the fridge again)

10 At my youngest grandson's christening party the house was full of people who hadn't seen each other for a while so the hum of conversation was constant. there came a moment in the afternoon when everyone paused for breath at the same time. Everyone except one person. Into that silence was dropped the following "....and she said she had a terrible accident with her tongue". I spent the next few minutes scurrying around trying to find my handbag because that's where my notebook is and I had to write that down before I forgot. The strange thing is that out of the people in that room at that time only my son and I heard the remark clearly. Yes, he collects things like that too

This is part of the 10 on the tenth thing that starts with Shimelle. take a look

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Challenge number two

This is my version of the second challenge from the Red Ribbons House Crop.
We went to Tenby yesterday as a birthday treat for me and as a bit of a nostalgia thing. We visited the Tudor Merchant's House, a National Trust property, just to see if there were any changes since last time. The nice man in the red robes greeted us by saying "We don't open on Saturdays". Now as this was Saturday morning we found this so funny we didn't hear the rest of the sentence. It seems that normally they don't open on a Saturday but because this was the last day of the Tenby Arts Festival the house was open. I got my NT passport stamped so that was good and I got a page for the challenge as well - For The Win!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Red Ribbons House Crop

This weekend ia the Red Ribbons House, on UK Scrappers, Weekend Crop. This is the first one the house has done just for house memebers and the very first challenge is a doozy! A blind scraplift!
I have never done one before so when I was confronted with instructions and no sketch it totally threw me. I read and re-read the 'structions and put together my page, leaving off the bookpaper and lace as I don't like lace on pages and I don't have bookpaper and couldn't think what to substitute.
Anyhooooo, here's my take on the blind scraplift.
The title was cut on my lovely CraftRobo. I used cream coloured card and then painted it with smooch inks. I took the picture one morning after Mr M had gone to work early and I went out to check my chickens and saw the colour of the sunrise.
There will be more pages as I catch up with today's challenges or as Shimelle told us Cha llahnge!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

LSNED Friday 16th September

Falling asleep after dinner is not good when you are supposed to be online cropping!
This one is for the 2011 album. From the crop
Kinda lost the plot a bit. The daily pages are ok but remembering to come here and blog is not easy. Falling asleep after dinner does not help. Mr M and I sat down on the comfy chairs, always a mistake when there are things that need to be done. We both dozed off so that when I woke up at 9pm and popped onto my puter to see what was happening I was horrified to realise that the other members of my UKscrappers team were all busy chatting and doing the page that CoventryAnn had set for us.
This one is for the Anwyn Album
Of course, I set to immediately and did my page and even though I was continually moving between where I scrap and this room where I puter, I really enjoyed my crafting. I love the result of my work and I love how different it is to the others. Fantastic.
I did another page a day or two ago for the Anwyn Album. I have been creating albums for the youngest of the grandchildren and I thought I should begin one for the first great grandchild.
I suppose I should do a small album about me for them so that if I pop my clogs before they are grown up they will have a reminder. I am obviously more like my father than I believed, he would go through phases of being "Not-long-for-this-world" but he usually gave away his possessions. Hmmmmmm, yes I think I'll make small albums for them.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

LSNED Tuesday 13th September

Watching a two-year-old learn will always lift your heart.

Yesterday we visited my granddaughter and played with my great granddaughter - I know, great grandmothers are supposed to be old and as you know Miss M has already explained that I am only nearly old, but I am a great grandma and I love it. All I have to do is stay alive long enough for her to remember me.
She is such a cutie-pie and now that she and her mum are living with the in laws I will get to see them more often.
Don't you just love the concentration on her face as she works out how to get her foot into her boot? She got it half way on and stopped. She realised that the ties should be on the outside of her leg so she took it off and put it on the right foot! Now that impressed me but the look of triumph on her face when she stood up in her boots was worth a king's ransom!

Monday, 12 September 2011

LSNED Monday 12 September

Today I relearnt that S*d's law is still working. The new washing machine arrived, yay great! the old washing machine had to be disconnected from the water supply and the drain pipe. The new machine has only a cold water intake. The old machine had hot and cold. Turn off cold valve and disconnect, perfect. Turn off hot valve and disconnect, scrabble to reconnect as the valve hasn't shut so water is squirting out.  I shut off the mains supply. they disconnect the various pipes and the delivery men take away the old machine.
Turning off the mains immediately causes a psychological reflex in me so I need to pee - desperately. Rush to loo chanting under my breath "Don't flush, don't flush, don't flush" because if I flush when the water is turned off the downstairs loo will stick so that when the water comes back on it simply runs straight through the cistern - one of the joys of old property with old stuff.
Son-in-law goes down the road to Wicks to get new valve. They remove old valve replace it with new one and turn the water on, perfect.
They turn their attention to the drain pipe thingy. We had to have an extension because of where the machine has to be. this was created by joining two pieces of pipe to disconnect Mr M simply undid the join leaving half the pipe attached to the outlet under the sink. When he came to join this to the new pipe from the washing machine he discovers that it is a different size! for goodness sake why do the manufacturers do this. We had to go to B&Q and get another pipe to join onto the new one and tomorrow Son-in-law will spend time with his head in a cupboard trying to attach it to the outlet. I just hope that the plumber didn't glue the bl**dy thing when he attached it.
I should have remembered that this sort of thing always happens when we have anything new. Plug and play? don't make me laugh. Every single time we have a new thing it entails at least two visits to B&Q or Wicks or somewhere like that. I am just glad we were doing it when the places were still open and not at ten o clock at night like we usually do.
I might be able to use it tomorrow.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

10 on the 10th September

I forgot to do this yesterday because I had to go out and buy a washing machine and this led to SO MANY complications... anyway, here's my ten on the tenth
Biographies and autobiographies that I want to read

1. Wait for me: Memoirs of the youngest Mitford. by Deborah Devonshire
2  A Journey by Tony Blair
3  Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock
4  Can't Stand Up For Sitting Down by Jo Brand
5  The elephant to Hollywood by Michael Caine
6  Before I forget by Fiona Phillips
7 It's Not What You Think by Chris Evans
8  Letting Go by Robert Lindsay
9  Waiting for Princess MArgaret: Memories of Andrew Devonshire by the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire
10  And Furthermore by Dame Judi Dench

LSNED Sunday 11th September

When your senses of taste and smell have been gone for over a year it is VERY exciting when you are out for a drive and realise that you can smell manure! Good country air!

Last year at half term Miss M came home from school with a cold. being a generous child she shared it with several of us. It wasn't until she went back to school after the summer break that I really noticed that I could not smell things. I took notice and realised that I had lost my sense of smell and also that my sense of taste was practically nonexistent. I visited the doctore who prescribed steroid spray for my nose. I used it once and decided that squirting noxious chemicals into my brain through my nose was not something I will ever do again. The Doctor said that I might regain full smelling potential, or I might not. So obviously not something that has received much research funding.
I asked why this had happened. He didn't know. It could be the result of the virus or simply that my body had shut down that function - this is medicalese for "It's your age and we don't care why"
He did say that some function might return but it could result in somethings tasting odd. That's not an easy thing to accept when you like to cook. I can't try new recipes unless Mr M is in the house at the critical tasting moment. I always sniff eggs when I crack them - an old habit from when we kept chickens and they used to lay in hedgerows. Sometimes we didn't find the eggs for a while so you crack them, sniff the cracked egg and if you can smell it you throw it away. Fresh eggs hardly smell at all when first cracked. Same with milk. Sniff it and if you can smell it then it is old and as it has been pasturised old smelly milk is not safe to drink. So there I was, cracking eggs and sniffing them only to realise that I couldn't smell them anyway so I had to wait for Mr M to be there before I could bake!
I can taste grapes, pineapple, and coffee but not oranges... how strange. So the senses are coming back slowly. Perhaps I will even be able to taste chocolate before long.

LSNED Saturday 10 September

my puter - as it was three versions ago
Buying a new washing machine is no fun! First we trawled the intarwebby, then we went to Comet. They didn't have a machine I liked - not even the all singing, all dancing, extremely expensive models were what I wanted. I want a top loading machine that isn't one that has a horizontal drum inside masquerading as a top loader! I can't get one. I also wanted one that didn't have electronic controls. I know, I know I am asking for the moon. I want a machine that will do a cool wash a standard wash and a hot wash; that will spin the clothes to get rid of most of the moisture and doesn't cost the earth. I don't want something that has a gazillion combinations of temperature and length of wash because that means circuit boards and that means trouble because they hate me.
I kill computers. I don't mean to but I do. Mr M has had three computers since his original PC back around 1994. I have had six, not counting the three laptops, so I suppose I should say nine really. They die. I use them and they die. They don't get a virus or any other outside influence they just keep over and stop working. Mr M says it is constant use that causes it (and my static-filled fingers). Anything that has a circuit board in it is subject to my lethal powers so the last thing I want is a washing machine that will breakdown because I switched it on.
On the other hand I could get the one with all the whistles and bells and make Mr M do the washing... now there's a thought!

Friday, 9 September 2011

LSNED Friday 9th September

I like this picture of the houses across the road
I learnt today that when new people are moving into the houses across the road, I am just as curious as ever about who they are and why they are moving here. Having said that I should also say that we have lived here for 30 years and I am on first name terms with the immediate neighbours on either side of us, The family that live next door but one on our right and Brenda from the cottages.
There are 47 houses on our road so you can see that Mr M and I tend to keep ourselves to ourselves. I used to have a wonderful neighbour in the house to our left. He and his partner were ...... I was going to say wonderful neighbours but they weren't really. They built a roof over their back garden and called it a carport. The fact that it blocked the sunlight into my garden and doubled the drying time for my washing just made them laugh. So while we mostly got on well and I wouldn't complain too much for fear of losing him as a friend no, he wasn't a good neighbour. I wonder if he would have complained about my chickens?

LSNED Thursday 8th September

Clicking on send is the best way to get an email where it needs to go.

Enough said I feel!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

LSNED Wednesday 7th September

growing your hair is SLOW
Spontaneous laughter is the best kind!

Today was the first day back at school for Miss M. She had to be called back and reminded to kiss Mummy goodbye and she had her hair in a bobble because she wants to grow it and that's one of the conditions. She has to have it tied back off her face or it gets cut.
at3.30pm we were in the school yard waiting for her to come out and we both had to smile because the bobble was still there, just. The clips and slides were hanging on but most of her hair was loose and flopping around her face.
A conversation followed about what she had done during the day and how pleased Mummy was that the bobble was still in her hair even though it was only just in her hair.
"You can plait it tomorrow, mummy" she said even though her hair isn't quite long enough to plait yet. "Oh good,"said Mummy, "one plait, I think I can manage that" OH no Mummy, two plaits, it's got to be two". "Oh good" said Mummy, turning to me "two plaits!"
Don't worry Mummy, you'll soon have lots of practise and get very good"
My laughter followed them along the pavement towards their home. I went into my house feeling so much better than I have for days.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

LSNED Tuesday 6th September

No sleep at night makes the following day miserable. I made a rice pudding and curled up under the bettermaker blanket and snoozed. Going to bed now.

Monday, 5 September 2011

LSNED Monday 5th September

Being angry is a pointless waste of time and energy, but it still makes me cross. No way I can enlarge on that without going too far into too personal stuff. Suffice to say that I don't like the way I feel right this minute and there is b*gg*r all I can do about it until late tonight.

Sometimes I hate shift work.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Freebies ar Good!

Shimelle pointed us to a blog today where the blogger has made some downloadable (the words we are creating on this here intarwebby are amazing aren't they?) files with lovely things to use in our LSNED album this year - and they are FREE! now isn't that kind? Take a look at this blog
I am just going to read the prompt for today and then see if I can begin to make my album. Yes I am that far behind and I didn't realise until last night when I decided that I might as well start.
This kind of tells me that I am still rather half-hearted abot joining in this year, and I don't know why. My down time has always been February and I don't remember ever being this low in September. I should be eagerly awaiting my birthday but I'm not. I should be bouncing with energy in my favourite time of the year and I'm not. Going to make a cuppa and have a good wallow in misery for a while and THEN I'll make my album and do my first page.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Learn Something New Every Day

It has begun. Every year I say I won't bother this time but I don't opt out of the prompts and I don't delete them when they arrive so it seems I secretly enjoy this particular class very much. Last year I completed the album although I didn't share it with anyone. It became more and more a serious look at how I was feeling and coping with things and I decided that it can stay in the drawer in my bedroom so that when I am gone and my children are sorting through the junk they will find it and it will make them feel guilty help them understand their mum a bit more.
Today the sun is shining, the chickens have been fed and the eggs collected (two chickens, two eggs but it sounds good) Mr M has gone to work on afternoon shift and Miss M is at the neighbours bossing playing with the three children. G*d's in his heaven and all is right with my world.

Let's see what the Karma Pixies will do to fix that!

There would have been a blinkie but I can't find it yet.

Monday, 29 August 2011

My rememberer is wearing out

It's not that I don't do lots of pages, I do. I just have to remember that I should photograph them before putting them in an album. I have just discovered the delights of 12 x 12 three ring binders. How could I have missed these? I have always used post bound albums for my 12 x 12 pages until now and I saw what was a bargain as Costco where they had scrapbooking kits with two albums in them plus a load of ribbons and embellishments and brads and stuff all for thirty quid. I assumed that the albums were post bound and thought that this was a good price for two albums with faux leather covers.

Imagine my surprise when I got them home and opened them up to find two three ring binders! and some really quite nice papers underneath them too.

I thought I would get some more of these wonderful albums so I started looking on this here intarwebby and discovered just how much of a bargain these sets were. A 12 x 12 three ring binder will cost between 20 and 30 pounds! and I got all that stuff for 30 pounds. I am using the green one for this year's album and I have already had to add to the ten page protectors that come with it. We seem to have done an awful lot this year, either that or I am remembering to photograph everything we do. Hmmm perhaps my rememberer isn't quite as bad as I imagined after all.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Do a grid

I managed another LO for Shimelle's challenge last weekend. I managed to do a grid. We -that's Mr M, AJ, S-i-L and the Divine Miss M - went to Hay-on-Wye via Bronllys Castle which is at Talgarth.  It was shut. Then we had chocolate cake in Hay, well, some of us did. The diabetic ones just drooled. We headed for Leominster and the OK Diner for our dinner. If ever you are passing that way then do try it. We love it even if we can no longer eat Eli's famous Cheesecake. On the way down from there Mr M asked those in the back if they had ever been to Kilpeck Church. They said no. so we took them to see the most wonderful medieval church EVER! While they took pictures of the grotesques around the roof Mr M was trying to persuade Miss M to go and push a big bale down the field. He was severely reprimanded and there was even a threat to ban him from the OK Diner for the next six months ( we are going up that way soon) He was a good boy from then on. We saw a woodpecker and a robin.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

my crop so far...

I have had great fun doing some pages for the online crop run by Shimelle so I thought I would put some of them here
The first one is two of my youngest grandsons crawling in the garden. The older one , in blue is teaching the youngest to crawl. At least that's what he says he is doing. The dog knows different. My son took the pictures and it just tickled me that there were three upturned bottoms, if you include the dog - and we always include the dog. this was done for the start here challenge.

 The next challenge was to scrap a page using embellishments made from paper. As I am kind of into the concertina flowers at the moment I just couldn't resist making a couple or three out of the off cut from the bright patterned paper behind the picture. I also punched out the border strip using my martha Stewart punch, I can't remember the name but it does both sides at the same time of the  border strip and I love it. I am just beginning an album of all my cousins on the paternal side of my family. This could take a while because we are still discovering new ones and the numbers are up around the nineties now. This does include first cousins once removed too. this is for the chop the page challenge
this one is again for the cousins album and we were challenged to use Red, white and aqua. Not a combination I had thought of but very effective, although the aqua looks decidedly blue in this picture and for some reason the red strip has made all the faces look red in the picture - interesting.
That's all for now