21st December: I braved Asda for the final food shop before the big day! It actually wasn't too bad; lots of people had gone first thing in the morning and as I was slightly later, although it was very busy when I arrived, by the time I'd worked round the store lots of people had left so I didn't have to queue for long. And I didn't have to take The Children, because The Boy is old enough and responsible enough to be left alone for a while now (and The Doctor was working at home anyway), and The Mother kindly offered to have The Tomboy for the morning. And I got everything on my list bar one item, which I managed to find a suitable replacement for. Result! :)
It seems the ideal opportunity to reflect on some of the details of this year. Hooray for blogging and Project 365, as I've documented this year pretty thoroughly! :)
It's been a year of travel: I've been to Leeds, somewhere else, Rome, Newport Pagnell, Stevenage, Constant (France), Liverpool, Reading, Los Angeles, Coalport - and The Doctor managed Paris, too!
It's been a year of meeting with many friends :) I've managed to meet up with so many of you, my blog friends: Sian, Clair, Ruth, Leandra, Lin, Tim(!), Lou, Joanne, Jo, Monica, Linda, Deb, Carrie, Cheryl, Lizzie, Jo, Jemma, Ruth, K, Lesley, Julie and Alexa - more than ever, the 'blog' part of 'blog friend' feels redundant! And I've managed to Skype with several of you even if I didn't manage to meet you in person this year :)
It's been a year of classes, mainly (but not exclusively) online: I've been inspired by Shimelle, by Kirsty Wiseman, by Ali Edwards, by Tim Holtz..... and I've taken part in various online projects, too, such as a Pay It Forward and Pass The Book - not to mention the many giveaways I've entered and those I've held myself!
It's been a year of art journaling: I tried to journal my One Little Word ('details') each month, but didn't manage to sustain that throughout the year. (I did manage to note lots of details, though, photographically, here on the blog, and in scrapbook layouts.) Taking up the 52 Lists in 52 Weeks project has also been an art journal opportunity for me. And I've had fun with Ginger's Mail Art Exchange!
It's been a year of reading through my Bible: I've been working through the E100 readings, and have just one more to go, which I shall complete today :)
It's been a year of babies: We've welcomed two very-much-wanted babies of good friends of ours, and while neither situation was straightforward both families are doing very well now :)
It's been a year of growing up and moving on for The Boy: He left his primary school and started at secondary. It was the secondary school he most wanted, and he's settled in happily :) He also moved on from Scouts and started attending a new group together with many of his friends from primary (it's lovely that he can still see them regularly).
It's been a good year for The Doctor: He's been on sabbatical from teaching so he could get stuck into the research for his new book. He managed to pack in a fair bit of work-related travel, too. Plus I've been trying out lots of new recipes, which he's thoroughly enjoyed testing for me!!
It's been a good year all round, really :) Thank you, 2011, we've enjoyed you! I hope it was good to you, too xx
20th December: A local pub had invited my church to send along some carol singers; about 15 of us turned up and sang some favourites in harmony (Silent Night, Come All Ye Faithful, Hark The Herald etc) and a soloist performed O Holy Night. It was difficult to get a representative photo because of course I was performing, but we were placed in front of this lovely but very hot fire so my main memory of the evening is of fanning myself with my music and shuffling for a position slightly further from the flames!!
...torn tags, crumply foil, a different kind of embossing...
...painty cling film, floaty beads...
Oh yes, many different ways to create texture :) I had so much fun experimenting with the techniques, and will definitely be using at least some of them again!
Meanwhile, rather than journal in the suggested way, I just thought about some of the things that make me happy and added little sketches to the inked cardstock tags.
The pages were paired up to create pockets, the tags tucked inside, and the journal was complete (in a satisyingly bulgy kind of way!)
Kirsty promptly ran another class, which I would have loved to have taken part in, but alas - it was too soon :( And while the class itself is still available, the kit is not, and receiving the kit was part of the fun - however easy it might be to put my own equivalent together! I'm still thinking about this as a possibility for next year, though. The classes are technique-rich, encourage experimentation and are a lot of fun!
19th December: It was the first 'proper' day of The Children's school holidays (we don't count the weekend as they'd be off school then anyway!) In the morning we went to the nearest town so they could do a bit of Christmas shopping of their own, we had lunch out, and then in the afternoon we watched The Voyage of the Dawn Treader together. (I found it a bit disappointing to be honest - as I've said before, I like a film of a book to BE the book, with a few adjustments made to tell the story well on screen. I don't like it when big changes are made or new plot strands are added in. I immediately began re-reading the Narnia series to remind myself of how it should have gone...)
18th December: A big day for us as a family in the life of the church! We lit the candles of the Advent wreath and did the associated readings during the morning service, and in the evening it was our big carol service at which The Boy read and I sang in the choir :)
* I think I got a bit carried away with the blurring out of faces, but I wanted to be able to share this photo and some of the people were near enough to the camera to be identifiable - admittedly, perhaps not by the back of their heads, but still, better safe than sorry....!
17th December: We finally put our tree up :) As usual, it looks like someone tripped over while carrying the box of decorations and they just landed any old how - but that is how I like it! (It happens that way because the decs include many items hand-made by The Children, or collected from somewhere in particular at a particular Christmas; that means each decoration comes with its own memory and that's special :) Plus, of course, The Children help to decorate the tree so it's bound to look - um - interesting?!)
Imagine photo here!
* The pic shows a poster advertising the panto and it includes the location and other identifying information :) But it was Aladdin, and The Tomboy went with Brownies, and she had a fabulous time until shortly after it finished when she was sick in the venue's toilets... (She was much better by the following day, thank you! xx)
I really enjoyed the Kirsty Wiseman online class I did in June, so I signed up with enthusiasm when she announced a second class :) (It followed the first quite quickly, but as I won back my payment for that first class - yay!! - I could totally justify doing the second so soon, result!)
This one was called 'Feel' (though as you can see, I turned mine into 'Feel Happy'). The online video went live at the end of July so I decided to take the necessary supplies and work on it during my time in America - I knew I'd need something creative to do out there, so this and my travel journal did the trick :) In the end, we packed in so many trips and so much exploration that it took me the whole month to complete my project!!
NB: At the time of writing, both these classes are available at a discount here. I'm not sure when this offer ends though. I *think* it still includes the kit but I'm not sure of that, either!
Back to my project:
I love all the texture we brought into it - painty bumps, Braille, flaps to lift...
...wiggly string, textured and painted gesso...
...and yes, of course there's more! But I'm spreading this project over a few different posts so you'll have to wait for the rest of the pages ;)
16th December: Last year we had snow on the last day of term; we did again this year! But this time it fell during the day, it wasn't so heavy, and it fizzled out into sleet and rain (and hail) before disappearing altogether...
14th December: The day of the Christmas parties! It was our bring and share lunch at school, and our exchange of Secret Santa gifts. That evening it was our bring and share House Group Christmas social, and our 'lucky dip' £1 Secret Santa gifts. Lots of fun :)
13th December: A day of baking! I made 6 dozen mince pies - 2 dozen with sponge topping and 4 dozen with pastry stars on top. I also made a large jam tart (The Children don't like mince pies). AND I made some mincemeat loaves - 3 mini ones as teacher gifts and a large one ready for Christmas (I don't like Christmas cake). (Not that we're fussy or anything...)
*Thankfully not, though I had a worrying couple of hours! After playing around with various settings it started working again - thank goodness!
I've been thinking about it for a while - I finally went ahead and did it :) It's a Christmas present to myself - I'm now on www.ispeakmelsh.co.uk!
It shouldn't make any difference to how you read my blog, as everything just gets redirected, but it's possible that blogrolls won't update properly or that certain links are broken. If you notice anything that doesn't seem quite right, do please let me know!
...is what I speak. It describes what I actually say (nonsense, mostly) and how I say it (ie my accent, which is a mixture of all sorts - a bit of North of England, a bit of Irish, a bit of South West England, a lot of just me!) The word comes from my name, Mel, and the fact that I'm one-quarter Welsh. But there's not actually any Welsh in my accent. Go figure...