Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Not as originally planned! (A giveaway)

This post, that is :) You see, I was going to show you a couple of layouts I made yesterday, inspired my Shimelle's new prompt for her free 4x6 Photo Love class. I'm still keen to share them, but I'll defer that now till Thursday (after tomorrow's Project Declutter update) because I have so much else I want to share today! (If you're feeling impatient though you can see the layouts here and here...)

I had the most lovely morning enjoying coffee and chat with Ruth :) I'm so happy that her mother lives nearby so we get the chance to meet up whenever Ruth's visiting!

She brought me these flowers - aren't they gorgeous?! And we just had the loveliest long natter and catch up :)

Then I got home to find an exciting package waiting for me - so beautifully and happily decorated!

Inside was this amazing decorated clipboard and matching card from Beverly, as my Pay It Forward gift :)

Thank you so, so much, Beverly - I adore it! How sneaky of you to show it on your blog without letting on it was for me.... It is indeed a loved gift!

And as if that wasn't enough, soon afterwards there was a knock on the door and the lovely Mr Parcelforce Man delivered this package!

When I spotted the sender's details I nearly kissed him.... But I restrained myself and just kissed the box instead! Because look:

*squeal*.... Yes, it's my birthday present from The Doctor!! (I know my birthday isn't till August, but we weren't sure how long shipping would take so we had to order it early to make sure, OK?!)

I've loved the Jo Totes camera bags ever since I first saw them on Cathy Zielske's blog, and I can't believe I now own one! (Well, nearly! In a couple of months!)

I love that there are so many possible configurations of the inside, that there are several useful pockets, that the lining is such a pretty spotty dotty fabric, that it has long handles and a detachable shoulder strap too, that the outer is a deep, rich raspberry red (rather than the pinker shade suggested by my photos), that it's a really rather stunning handbag while also being a very functional camera bag.... Yep, I think I like it! ;)

I'm a very lucky girl indeed :)

And I do know it. I really am aware of it. I don't forget to thank God for my many blessings. Yes, I'm very lucky. I am aware though that there are so many in the world who are not nearly so well off. Shimelle has posted a reminder of that today. In an act of amazing generosity, she is donating to Plan-UK the proceeds from all sales of her online classes over the next 24 hours. That's an awesome thing to do - I already knew Shimelle rocked, but oh boy, isn't that the loveliest thing ever? The trouble is, I already have all her classes! So how can I help?

*lightbulb moment!*

I've bought the class 'When I Grow Up'. And one of you, my friends, can have this class as a gift from me. Would you like it? You just need to leave a comment telling me what you wanted to be when you grew up, and I'll put your name into the draw. Entries will close at 5pm GMT on Wednesday 1st June, and I'll announce the winner as soon as possible after that. Meanwhile, don't forget to go check out Shimelle's other classes to pick up a whole stack of inspiration and support an excellent cause at the same time!

PS Me? I always wanted to be a teacher. And a writer. And I guess now I'm both those things! Like I said, I'm a lucky girl indeed :)

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21st May: I love our Saturday night ritual of watching Doctor Who together as a family :)

Detail: Plan

Monday, 30 May 2011

Got Milkshake?

The kids loved this place :)

(Sorry about the blurred out details - too many identifiable names and places! I also added The Children's names and ages on the pink borders after taking the photo.)

Good ol' bumpy road punch gave me lots of bubbly borders...

Shimelle's sketch challenge gave me the rest! She suggested adding word strips, and a quick look at those I already had in the right colours in my collection gave me my journaling prompts :)

Except for these few buttons in the corner - more bubbles, you see ;)

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20th May: We had a special event after school, which sadly had to be scaled down because of the rain :( We still had a good time, though, watching a display of biking tricks then doing a treasure hunt and having a meal of hot dogs or burgers with chips :) We had The Boy's The Friend with us, but both boys seem to have developed camera angst!

Detail: Cleaner

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Details of April/May

OK, I'm well and truly confusing myself with this now! I had firmly in my mind that I was sharing an update on my one little word during the last weekend of each month. Because that meant I wouldn't have completed my art journal calendar for that particular month, I'd be posting those a month behind; I would also share an art journal page from the actual month itself though. (See, even when I try to articulate it I get confused!) But I'm not sure if Rinda's aiming for this weekend or next with her update? I'll share mine now anyway, because next weekend will be Sian's Storytelling Sunday so it'd be good to spread these posts over two different weekends :)

So, here are my calendar pages from April:

Another of Amy's gorgeous photos - how perfectly does it match my pre-prepared background for April?!

And here's an art journal page from May. It was a month pretty much dominated by the visas we need for our trip to LA, so I created an American flag with paint and lots of punched stars, and added journaling to the white stripes:

You may have noticed that I *still* haven't documented that I've got to grips with my camera - that would be because, um, I still haven't actually got to grips with my camera..... But thanks to some tips from The Fabulous One, I have at least now started to experiment a bit with the settings :)

I've made slow progress with the E100 readings over the last month, but I'm still well on target to be halfway through by the end of June and to finish by the end of the year if not sooner.

I've stopped noting down everything I eat again, as the process of doing that for a couple of weeks did help me to get back on track with healthier choices most of the time - I'll know what to do next time those habits slip... And I'm trying out new recipes regularly still, including one this very evening!

I've also made quite an effort lately to document details on my layouts, and to scrap at least some of my photos more promptly - helped in no small measure by Shimelle's challenges and Amy's.

All in all, I'm pretty darn pleased with those details of May :)

This post was brought to you as part of Rinda's One Little Word updates

PS My Project Declutter update will come on Thursday so I can include the last few days of May :)

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19th May: I figured it was worth documenting that I had a proper dinner!

Detail: Glazed

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Your Love Of 2nd Hand Books, Documented

Did you know that May is Get Caught Reading Month? If you're in the US perhaps this is something you're more aware of, but I'd never heard of it till I read Sian's post on the Gotta Craft blog. What a fine idea! Why don't we do that too? Who should I contact to suggest it?

Sian mentioned it as good scrap fodder for using the latest Gotta Craft kit. Funnily enough, I did a bit of scrapping yesterday and I just happened to use a Gotta Craft kit (though it was from a previous month - lovely beautiful scrummy For The Record by Echo Park) and I just happened to scrap about books, too! See? :)

So true - The Doctor just loves browsing stalls or shops stocking second hand books. It'll keep him happy for hours! He usually buys at least one new treasure, but the browsing is almost as much fun as actually finding a title he wants.

But then, that's true for me, too.... As soon as I spotted this stall on the bank of the Tiber in Rome, I got my camera ready for the shot I knew was coming. And as soon as I got the shot, I was browsing that stall on my own account!

I had a lot of fun distressing everything on this layout to make it look old and 'second hand', and trying to handwrite in a font that was reminiscent of type! The papers and stickers from For The Record couldn't have been more perfect :)

In this family we're happy to be caught reading any time of the year.... And chances are it'll be a second hand book!

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Imagine photo here!

18th May: Our visa interview! The photo shows the appointment letter, with all kinds of identifying information...

I don't think it was a day I'll forget in a hurry, but just in case, here are a few details. We arrived at about 10.25am and joined the first queue. After about 15 minutes we got to the front and were able to show our appointment letters and other documents in order to join the second queue. We waited a little while then got through security (though The Doctor had accidentally left a pair of earphones in his bag, and because they had a volume control they were on the prohibited list so he had to either dash to a nearby pharmacy with a left luggage facility or run over to the nearby park and throw them away. He opted for the latter while I waited just the other side of security). Then we joined a queue inside the building to pick up a numbered ticket.

We took a seat inside and waited for our number to be called. At about 11.45am it was, and we took all our documents to one of the booths to have them checked and to have our fingerprints electronically scanned. We discovered that our photographs weren't suitable (the background wasn't plain enough white) so we had to have new ones taken in their photobooth for £5 each. Then we were sent back to our seats to wait for our number to be called again. By now we were hungry but there weren't any sandwiches left in the snack bar so I had an apple and The Doctor had a bag of crisps. We read while we waited, but it wasn't easy to concentrate because we really didn't want to miss our number!

It was called at about 2.55pm, so we went along to another booth to answer a few questions, have our fingerprints checked and then be given the good news that our applications had been approved. Finally we joined the queue to pay for our passports to be returned to us (there was only one option for this), finally leaving a little after 3pm. Quite a long day, really, considering that the interview bits only lasted about 5 minutes each.... But it'll be worth it when we get to LA!

Detail: Tourist

Friday, 27 May 2011

Five fives on Friday

In 5 minutes' time, this snack will be gone.
Banana, mango and coconut from Graze - part of my lunch - and definitely eaten within 5 minutes of taking the photo! All gone by the time I was ready to write this post!

In 5 hours' time, this money will be gone.
 I'll be breaking into this £10 note at the Year 4 afternoon tea I'm attending later. The change will be paying for a takeaway tonight (end of half-term treat for us all). I find that cash never does stay in my purse for long....

In 5 days' time, these clippers will be gone.
Part of Project Declutter - since The Boy will no longer allow me to cut his hair and The Doctor has never let me near his, it was time to be rid of these. I listed them on Freecycle and had 4 responses within half an hour!

In 5 months' time, these shoes will be gone.
Frankly, I'll be lucky if we manage anywhere near 5 months, The Tomboy's feet are growing so quickly at the moment. The Boy's too. And even the shoes that don't get outgrown tend to get pretty much trashed....

In 5 years' time, this uniform will be gone.
In less than 5 years, in fact. The Boy only has another couple of months at primary school, and The Tomboy has 2 years left after this one. Much as we're looking forward to the new challenges and excitements ahead, this is the one that makes my heart ache just a little.

This post was brought to you by Amy's latest challenge - thanks (again!), Amy :)

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17th May: Set off for London ready for our visa application interview the following day. Love how my overnight bag and camera bag are almost the same size as each other!!

Detail: Training

Thursday, 26 May 2011


You know how sometimes someone 'improves' something and you kind of wish they'd left it alone? The 'new and improved' version so often isn't actually as good as the original? I'm thinking that Blogger had better buck that trend when the improvements are finally properly in place, as the process of improvement seems to be having a lot of unwelcome side effects! I finally found time this week to read and comment on blogs - but every time I've tried (and I've tried several times) I've been unable to leave a comment because Blogger keeps signing me out! :( I know I'm not alone in this, and I know that Blogger's onto it, but oh, how frustrating!! *sigh* So, I've decided to make sure I've at least read everyone's most recent post or two, and when the problem does get sorted I'll get back to commenting on your new posts from that point on. And mutter 'Blogger it!' under my breath now and then in order to let off steam ;)

Meanwhile, just a quick post to let you know why I still haven't commented on your blog.... And also to share what this was the prep for! Last week in my papercrafts class we looked at a couple of techniques, including turning bottle caps into embellishments. We made one where we had a background picture and a border of micro beads with Glossy Accents (or alternative, cheaper, clear-drying glue!) to fill and seal; the other we filled with buttons and beads and the Glossy Accents.  Here's an 'after' photo:

I plan to turn at least one of mine into a necklace by adding a hanging loop to the back and threading onto a cord or simple chain - I might even do that with both of them! They're great for embellishments on papercraft projects, too :)

Speak soon, my friends - Blogger permitting! xx

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16th May: I started teaching an ICT unit about simulations - we looked at this site to model the rabbit population in different conditions!

Detail: Trouble

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

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15th May: I really enjoyed that day's church service - especially this particular song :)

Detail: Prep

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

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14th May: Can you believe that in all the time I've known The Fabulous One, we'd never once managed to get a proper photo of the two of us together?! Well, we remedied that at last after we got back from a craft show :)

Detail: Spent

Monday, 23 May 2011

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13th May: The first meeting of our Connect group! And it was lovely :) We decided to start with a craft - some mirrors from Ikea, decorated with patterned paper and die-cuts. (The example above will be for The Tomboy after I've inked the gears and cogs and added her name! The paper was just so 'her'...!)

Detail: Treat

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Project Declutter: Week 3 (and another update)

Still going strong with my decluttering project! :) Let's see how week 3 went:

Sunday 15th May

Sorted my sock drawer. However lovely the patterns on them are, if the elastic's gone and/or the socks are full of holes, they're not worth keeping. Old and uncomfortable underwear can go in the bin, too.

Also went through the Craft Stamper magazines I bought yesterday. This wasn't quite as successful as previous magazine culls, but I turned 7 mags into a pile of pages the thickness of just 2...

Monday 16th May

Got rid of the Bible reading notes. It's a nice idea that I might refer to them again one day, but I've been collecting them for several years and never have referred back to them, so into recycling they go!

Tuesday 17th May

I wasn't sure I'd manage anything today, what with the trip to London, but when I couldn't get to sleep last night I looked through a few old Simply Cards & Papercrafts magazines - and since I finished after midnight, I reckon I can count that stack of pages for today! Yay!

Wednesday 18th May

Back from London at 10pm - but I still managed to get rid of something! Poor old pyjama trousers, I've loved you and you've been so comfortable, but now you're falling apart so it's time to say goodbye...

Thursday 19th May

Does it count as decluttering if I'm replacing something? Well - seeing as I make the rules for this project, and referring back to my original definition of clutter as 'something that bothers me', I reckon it can count! The old loo brushes were definitely bothering me. The new ones don't. I may not pull the 'replacement' trick too often, but today I'm tired and frankly this will do...

Friday 20th May

Started to tackle The Cupboard Under The Stairs! There were coats in there that I'd forgotten about - outgrown or just unwanted, they can go to the charity shop with a few bags, caps and bits and bobs. I think we might find Narnia at the back of this cupboard - but I've got a long way to go yet!

Did a bit of the old favourite, too - tearing pages out of craft magazines (mainly Cardmaking & Papercraft).

Saturday 21st May

More magazines (Papercraft Inspirations, Creative Cardmaking and Complete Cardmaking).

I also chucked out some of The Boy's outgrown boxer shorts and some socks beyond repair while folding and sorting the clean washing.

Another successful week! I feel well chuffed at the amount of clutter I've cleared already, and still full of enthusiasm for continuing on :)

Right, and the update. OK, here's the thing. I haven't forgotten the whole Blogging Without Obligation thing, but (just like the clutter) being so far behind with your blogs is bothering me. Somehow I never seem able to get back on top of my blog reading! And I miss you :( So, this week, my Project 365 photos will post as usual, but (unless anything crops up) I don't plan to write any other posts. Just for this week. Instead, I'll spend that time trying to read and catch up a bit. I don't think I *can* read every missed post now, so I just shan't try - but I shall try to get round to your blogs, comment where I can, and feel like I've caught up some, in the hope that I can then get back into a more regular routine of reading and commenting on your new posts. It may not work, but I figure it's worth a try! xx