Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Overdue thanks

What with being on holiday and then sharing all the holiday pics, I've been putting off this post for a while - and I feel horribly guilty about it! I really need to say thank you to a few people (and I hope to goodness that I haven't forgotten anyone...)

Firstly, I won this lovely prize from Sarah:

See those scrummy Bo Bunny papers on the right hand side? Well, you certainly will soon, because I've earmarked them for my Me: The Abridged Version album :-) The co-ordinating giant alpha stickers may or may not be pressed into service too, but the papers are totally going in!! And can you spy the overlays? My first EVER overlays?! The flowers are lovely, the owls are so cute and that green swirl is just completely gorgeous :-) Plus, some fabby samples of Stampin' Up! products which will soon be making their way onto cards - and (get this!) Sarah sent ME a thank you card for entering!! When it's clearly my role to be very, very grateful here. Sarah, thank you :-)

And also, I won something lovely from Abi:

I can't wait to play with the oil pastels (in the mean time I've had lots of fun just sorting them into little jars according to their colour!) and oh, the colours of those dinky inkpads.... Love pinks and greens right now!! And I rather think they may match some of the Bo Bunny papers, result! And Abi tucked some pretty sequins, ribbons and blossoms into the package too - aren't they FAB? Abi - thank you, thank you! I was so pleased that The Boy picked you as one of my winners, it's such a good symmetry that I can now give you something back :-)

And then, going even further back.... *blush!* furrypig kindly passed on to me a blog award while I was on holiday. Since then, as I've failed to actually get it onto my blog, several other people have also passed it on to me! Thank you, then, to furrypig, and also to Sandi, to Deb and (again) to Abi :-) Please don't think that the delay in mentioning this award in any way reflects a lack of gratitude, as I am so touched, humbled and happy that you picked me!

So, now for a few random things about me:
  1. I'm not keen on feet (especially my own). I do wear sandals but much prefer my toes to be covered, thank you. I love shoes - but not the peep-toe kind! (I got some cool new shoes last week, by the way. Must share a pic some time soon.)
  2. I'll be sleeping on the sofa tonight. (So will The Doctor - we haven't fallen out, it's just that his parents are visiting and we've given them our room!)
  3. I'm hoping to get a new camera soon!! (Woo hoo!!) We need to replace and upgrade the point and shoot; I'm looking into digital SLR options!! (Woo hoo!!) Not sure when it'll be (we need to save up after the holiday) but definitely by Christmas, I think. I hope!!
And a photo I love? With the additional, self-imposed condition that I haven't already shared it with you? Surprisingly difficult! But I found one in the end:

Learn Something New

It all begins tomorrow :-) I'm excited! I was thinking of how to keep this simple as I expect to be pretty busy through September, and Me: The Abridged Version starts on the 16th, too.

So, I'll be blogging each day about lessons learnt, with any appropriate photos. (That kind of goes without saying, right?!)

And I was keen to do a digi version this year, having learnt so much about digi lately and loving what Amy did last year.

But I really like paper scrapping. And I had such a cute little notebook cover that I'd thought about using. So I decided to do a teeny tiny minibook as well.

Because, you know, I'll be really short of time, so effectively doing this class three times over is such a good idea.


Anyway, here's the minibook cover:

The dinky notebook came from Tesco. Isn't it cute?! It's only 3 inches by 4 1/4, aww.... The tiny pen attached with a loop of elastic is original, too :-) I just added some rub on letters on scraps of card, a couple of flowers joined with a brad, and a photo corner. And because it was already looking a bit battered I attacked it with an emery board to enhance the distressed look!

The inside of each cover was already lined with gorgeous polka dot paper:

For the pages, I've cut some pieces of cardstock a bit smaller than the covers, rounded their corners, and inked their edges. I'll create a pocket or possibly a strip of card to form a box to keep the cards in (I'm deferring that decision!) I was originally planning one card for each day but it quickly became evident that they'd be too thick for that, so I'll have to use the front and back of each - but that's OK :-)

I'll print the photos as thumbnails, add a line of journaling and the date and a scrap of pretty paper, and each day will be done! Except that I want to save up a page worth of thumbnails before printing, so I'll make up the pages in a couple of batches once I've got enough photos - so it's a good thing I'll have all the details here on my blog, right?!

As for the digi version of the project, I had a couple of ideas about it but then Shimelle told us that there would be digi templates included in the class (oh boy, do we ever get value for money?!) so I'm waiting to see what they're like. I have a shortlist of digi papers and embellishments I plan to use though :-)

One more sleep!! (If only I got this excited before the first day of school....)

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On August 19th I discovered that I had a tan line where my watch sits! While I hadn't done any sunbathing, we had been out and about a lot - I'm not exactly brown, but I'm less pale than I was!

It was a bit of a shock to the system to have to cook again.... That evening I did some oven baked fish with herby butter, served with new potatoes and veg:

Monday, 30 August 2010

random.org would've been quicker!

But not as much fun, right? ;-)

So, obviously, I wanted to use The New Hamster to pick the winners of my giveaway. Unfortunately The New Hamster is not proving amenable to training. *sigh* I considered various ways of using him to generate random numbers (How many times he runs away to hide in one day? How many fingers he bites in a week?) but in the end went for just writing the names of all the entrants on slips of paper, putting said slips into my oversized cappuccino cup, and getting The Doctor, The Boy and The Girl to pick a name each:

And here are the names they picked!

Congratulations to Abi, Lesley and Nadine :-) (Nadine, this is you, right?)

So, let's take a look at their highlights of the year, and figure out who wins what...

The Girl picked first and it was she who chose Nadine's slip. Here's what Nadine said:

Now that's a highlight indeed! And if I have got the right person (I think I've got the right person.... I hope I've got the right person now that I'm saying all this!!) then right now Nadine's busy with preparations for her kid's first birthday party. One, two, three, awww..... :-)

Nadine, you've won a spot in Shimelle's class, Learn Something New Every Day (unless of course you've already signed up for it, in which case I have another idea so you don't miss out! We'll discuss details!)

Then it was The Boy's turn, and he got the slip with Abi's name. I recently won something on Abi's blog so it's rather nice to return the favour :-) Here's Abi's highlight:

Isn't that so cool? And she'll be a fabby head girl, too :-) Abi, you've won one of Jess's gorgeous necklaces:

And then The Doctor picked out Lesley, who's new to blogging - and has the most fun blog name!! Lesley's highlight was this:

Congratulations on your first anniversary next week, Lesley! :-) You've won a goody bag of a few crafting bits and pieces, including a little something that I shall make for you myself. Still no photo to share I'm afraid, but I hope you'll like it all!

Abi, I already have your email address so I'll be in touch. Nadine, if you are who I think you are lol then I have yours too, but I'd better ask you to contact me in case I've got totally the wrong person!! And Lesley, please could you drop me an email too so I can get your details? Just click here :-)

Thanks everyone for playing along, it's been so interesting to read all your comments and hear about the many different ways you've had something to celebrate over the last year xx

Happy blogiversary to me, happy blogiversary to me!!

COMMENTS NOW CLOSED! Winners will be announced shortly...

Yep, today is my blogiversary :-) I can't believe I've only been blogging for a year! I first started this blog as a place to share my work for Shimelle's Learn Something New Every Day class (the start of which I'm currently eagerly awaiting; it was the first online class I did, and it got me completely addicted - I've now got nearly all of her classes and have worked through most of them!)

Blogging has come to mean a lot to me. It's lovely to have a place to gather my thoughts, to share my projects and photos, to collect together ideas for layouts, to record my memories and journaling, to develop my writing style, and to 'meet' so many interesting, inspiring and creative people. I've made some great blog friends and I value each of you :-)

I haven't run a giveaway in a while! I sort of meant to do one to celebrate 500 posts, or maybe 100 followers, or perhaps 10 000 blog hits - but somehow each of those landmarks passed by.... But my blogiversary is definitely something I want to celebrate, and to help you celebrate with me, I have some prizes on offer :-)

Firstly, it seems fitting to offer a place in Shimelle's class, as that's what got my blog going in the first place!

Prize: One place in Shimelle's Learn Something New Every Day class, which begins 1st September 2010

(If the winner has already signed up to this class we'll talk about alternatives - for example, you could give your spot to a friend, or choose another Shimelle class to the same value or less.)

And then, as I mentioned above, I've made some lovely new friends through blogging. The first was the lovely and talented Jess, who, in a happy coincidence, has just opened an Etsy store! I was straight over there to order myself one of these little beauties, and I'd like to offer another as a prize to a lucky winner.

Prize: One glass necklace by the lovely Jess

And finally, I shall put together a little package of goodies - crafting materials and a handmade gift or two. No photo to show because I haven't started to gather this one yet! But I hope previous winners will vouch for the fact that I usually manage to put together a really nice little goodie bag ;-)

Prize: Assorted crafting goodies, including at least one handcrafted item made especially for the winner

I haven't quite decided yet whether to have a 'winner takes all' arrangement where one lucky entrant will receive all three prizes, or whether to share the happiness and choose three winners. It may depend on the number of entries!

Here's how to enter: Just leave a comment on this post, telling me one of your highlights of the last year. One entry per person, and you must please share a highlight of the year to be eligible for the draw! The deadline will be 5pm UK TIME on Monday 30th August: I will pick the winner(s) and announce them as soon as possible after that time. Good luck!

Tenth (and final!) instalment

Come on, own up, which of you breathed a sigh of relief and said 'At last!'?!

My Project 365 photos have given you glimpses of the food I ate while I was away, but I am *me* - of course I photographed almost everything I ate!! Here are a few more glimpses:

Cheri asked how long we were away, and how many places we visited. Well, we had an 11 night break, staying in Peschiera, and we visited: Peschiera itself, Garda, Salo, Bardolino, Verona, Venice, a few places in the Dolomites (including Ortisei and Moena), Sirmione, Movieland(!) and Mantova :-)

And I just want to finish with this stunning reflection in one of the hotel pools:

Thanks for bearing with me as I've shared my holiday photos :-) Hope you've enjoyed the trip! Where shall we go next?!

230 of 365

Flight home - I always follow the safety demonstration and read the safety card carefully - if only to distract my mind from the nervous part when we take off!

And airplane food? I actually quite like it...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Ninth instalment

And here we have Mantua - or Mantova! I was nervous about filling my other memory card now (the screen on my digital camera isn't working properly so I couldn't check) so I rationed my photos, but there were some beautiful sights that I just had to capture.

We saw those swallowtail crenellations again! Mantova was ruled by the Gonzaga family, who were supporters of the Emperor rather than the Pope in a dispute over lands of northern Italy; the swallowtails were in some way indicative of this allegiance (I'm not sure I fully understand it to be honest! As far as I'm concerned, there were lots of beautiful battlements to be seen in the part of Italy we visitied, which made for some lovely photos...)

We spent about an hour hurtling through the amazing Palazzo Ducale, absorbing as much as we could of the lovely rooms and especially the Mantegna frescoes - sadly you're not allowed to take photos in many areas of the Palazzo and as it wasn't entirely clear in which rooms you did have permission, I decided it would be better to just look and enjoy and buy a book at the end!

We wandered round Mantova for a bit, popping into this fascinating Rotonda:

You can see that it's set below street level? That's because the street level has risen since the church was built in medieval times. At one point in its history the roof was taken off the rotonda, houses were built all round it, and the inside of the church was actually outside - it was used as a courtyard! Then it was restored, the surrounding houses were demolished, the roof rebuilt and it can now be seen as it was originally intended.

One more Mantova pic :-) The city is surrounded on three sides by a river which widens into three lakes. This makes for quite high humidity and a really beautiful setting:

 In the afternoon we went to the Sigurta Park, a stretch of 125 acres which lies about halfway between Mantova and Peschiera. We took the guided tour on the road train then wandered back to a few locations of special interest, admiring the gorgeous views as we went.

And here's something interesting! In the middle of the park are some tennis courts; the grass there is grown from seeds taken from Wimbledon, and tennis players from all over the world come here to use the courts for practice as part of their Wimbledon preparations :-)

One more set of photos to go!

229 of 365

August 17th was the last day of our holiday... :-( We had a lovely day at Mantua and Sigurta Park, and that evening we saw one of the most beautiful sunsets of the whole trip! Just look at the reflection on the water, oh my :-)

We got ourselves some pizza for lunch, but I noticed this yummy looking olive bread for sale and had to try a piece of that too. It was absolutely gorgeous!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Eighth instalment

Here's a quick round up of our theme park day :-)

First we went to the Movieland part of the park.

We bumped into a few film characters...

We took a high rise train ride to get a view over the park and the nearby lake.

The Doctor wasn't exactly keen to go on any of the rides, so I accompanied The Children on the Octopus ride and then the log flume:

Then after lunch we transferred to the water park part of Movieland, where The Children had a lovely time and The Doctor and I remained resolutely dry and fully clothed...

After the photo overload lately, this was a bit of a lighter post! Two more batches to go...