Thursday, 27 August 2009

Rain Did Not Stop Play!!........

Well! We had a day out yesterday - we had planned it for over a week & were feeling very positive as the weather had been fine for a few days! It was glorious on Tuesday as I prepared the goodies for our picnic & called Amy's mum to arrange a pick up time! I laid out shorts & T-shirts for the boys, never giving sweats or jackets a thought!

Imagine my chagrin then when I pulled back the curtains first thing to see RAIN!! But with true British style (or should that be stubbornness?!!) we decided we would have our day out....& more of that later!!

Firstly - a day late, but better late than never - my WOYWW photo! I am still currently taking part in Dixie Pieces summer contest & it is all consuming!! Here you can see week 4's challenge as a work-in-progress - The finished article later!!

So, back to our day out! After revising the planned attire for the day to include jeans, hoodies & showerproof jackets! We set off, collecting Alex's friend Amy along the way! Our destination was 'Gullivers Land' in Milton Keynes.

By the time we arrived it had stopped raining & while still as dull as ditch water, we looked on the positive side, as it was likely to be less busy than if it had been a scorcher!

For those who have never visited a 'Gullivers Land' - they are basically a theme park aimed at families with kids aged up to 13 years, so all the rides are fun but not too fierce!

We spent the first hour all together & then Alex, Amy & Nathan went off to do their own thing! We caught up with them enjoying an the 'Pirates Swinging Galleon'!

The rain still held off & we even had a bit of sunshine break through! We were right in that the weather must have put off a lot of people as there were hardly any queues for any of the rides which suited us just fine!

We all went on the 'Python' roller coaster, which, although small by Adult park standards still succeeded in producing much screaming & really did take my breath away!!

The kids all spent some time in a ball pit meant for much smaller children, but it just shows that underneath all that attitude & 'coolness' they are still just kids!!

We took loads of photo's - these are just a few!! I love these old picture boards & got Lee & Nathan to pose for me!!

We had to eat our picnic indoors, but enjoyed it nonetheless!! The afternoon turned wet & we decided at 4pm to make our way home.....but not before the kids succumbed to the draw of the Log Flume!

It was such fun to watch their faces as their 'log' came over the top of the waterfall! Needless to say they were all soaked - but happy! We stopped by the sweet shop on the way out & they spent a soggy but contented car ride home munching on candy & rehashing the days adventures!

Finally - back to that LO for week 4 of the
Dixie Pieces SENSE-ational summer contest! This weeks challenge was 'Taste of Summer' with the colour scheme Yellow, Lime & Coral Red. It had to include painting too!

I may have mentioned before how I like Pimms#1Cup in the summer - so it was an obvious choice for me! I used two Pimms stirrers & two cocktail umbrella's as well as more traditional scrappy items & techniques! I had great fun with the word 'Taste' I used Pink Paislee adhesive alpha's as a mask & painted over them with a sponge, then peeled them off. I also used paint to stamp the words 'This is' & of course to paint that Grungeboard swirl!

Monday, 24 August 2009

It's a Wonderful Life......

In case you've still not checked it out, you must pop over to A Few Of My Favourite Things - I am so enjoying their challenges! Challenge Number 3 is 'My Favourite Movie' - a total no brainer for me!

As a child I saw 'It's a Wonderful Life' on TV & it enthralled me - it made a HUGE impact - although it was years before I got to see it again. I remembered the story & the moral of the tale with such clarity & when I did get to watch it again, it was just as wonderful as I remembered!

With the dawn of videos it was treasured among our collection & I just about wore the tape out! So when DVD's appeared it just had to be updated!

Although considered a Christmas movie, I can watch it anytime & not fail to be moved to tears & uplifted - a true feel good film!

So back to the challenge, here is what I put together
I tried to keep everything in a sepia tone but the photograph of the whole thing doesn't show the warmth as well as the close up does! After several attempts to get a better shot I had to concede!!
The journalling reads "I first saw this film when I was nine years old. Back then we only had three TV channels & you got to watch what the programmers gave you, so it was many years before I got to see it again. But it's strong message to 'Count Your Blessings' is with me always & I will never tire of watching this wonderful feel good movie, over & over again!"

Friday, 21 August 2009

Very Scrappy!!......

Well, I've had another very industrious couple of days! I've been working on the week 3 challenge & games for the Dixie Pieces contest. I love the whole process - the challenge gives me food for thought & having a deadline forces me to get my act together & get moving (I may have mentioned before that my scrapping style is unhurried!!) So I have been thoroughly enjoying myself, albeit not getting to bed till 4.30am on Thursday morning because I was so 'into' what I was creating (Lee was away overnight anyway so no way would I have settled to sleep)!!

So here is what I came up with for week 3's challenge 'Textures of Summer'
I love the feeling of walking barefoot on grass in summer, so that was my obvious choice! Nathan & I posed for Alex to take this photo of our feet, which was great fun as we toppled over a couple of times!

The colour scheme was light blue, grey & cherry, and I just had to include a little green in a LO about grass!! The required technique was doodling & I think I must still be in the zone from weeks 1 & 2 because I also included machine stitching & hand cutting!

The spiral journalling reads "Nothing feels more like summer than being able to walk barefoot and feel the damp coolness of the lush green grass beneath our feet"

I took part in a doodling class on-line earlier this year so it was nice to put into practice all the tips I had picked up there!

There have been some fun games to take part in in this contest - 'Let's write a story' is LOL funny - everyone taking part just adds another few words & it gets sillier & sillier! It reminds me of playing 'consequences' at school!!

There is a game of word Bingo going on, so far I've not had a single one of my words come up!!

The last mini challenge was to use up your scraps from this weeks LO to make up to three greetings cards. Now I used to make every card I sent, but got fed up with giving away the results of all my hard work, only for it to end up in someone else's recycling bin!! So I haven't made a card in a while, but I enjoyed putting together these three for up coming birthday celebrations!

Finally, I had a lovely evening & an unexpected treat when my friend Donna called round to ask me to the cinema.

We both sat munching popcorn & slurping Diet Coke & laughing out loud to a fabulously funny film - 'The Proposal' starring Sandra Bullock, who I think is sooo talented & sooo pretty, & Ryan Reynolds, who is just gorgeous!!

On the way home I picked up a fish & chip supper for me & mine, after which Lee & I settled down to watch a double 'end of season' episode of The Mentalist. A good evening all round!!

Tonight, I am out for a 'mini' girls night out - just 3 of us - so we're going for an Indian - we can't normally do this as half of our little group don't like spicy food! So, although we'll miss the rest of our merry band, we will really enjoy our curry!!!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Just too pretty!.........

So it's Wednesday again & time for WOYWW!! There is no work in progress on my desk at the moment - that will all change this evening when I set about week 3's challenge LO for Dixie Pieces!

That doesn't mean that my desk is bare though! Oh no! Postie has not long been & I had TWO parcels!! One I knew about & one surprise! The first was a pizza box containing all sorts of scrappy yumminess from Shimelle!

I signed up for
Shimelle's on line 'Learn something New Every Day' class, which starts on September 1st, and had ordered the accompanying kit. I am actually still taking part in Shimelle's 'Go to Press' on line class at Two Peas but the beauty of on line classes is you get to work at your own pace, so no stress!!

The second parcel I had today was a belated
birthday gift from one of my UKS friends, Sue, & contained a beautiful handmade card along with some clear stamps, funky rubber buttons, a spool of ribbon & a chipboard mini book from the 'ArtTart'!! How fab was that?!!

So that's what's on my desk this Wednesday - I wish every Wednesday could be this exciting!!

And now for something completely different.......

My younger son, Nathan, is a bit of a free spirit! At age ten & a half, he's into skateboarding, rock music & trendy clothes. He has also been growing his hair for the past year or so & we have had some pretty loud screaming sessions as I've pinned him down to allow me to brush it properly! I have no problem with him having long hair, but the deal is that he keeps it clean & tidy & ties it back for certain classes at school. He must have quite a sensitive scalp & tends not to brush it properly, just sort of skims the brush over the top, so last night I introduced him to the benefits of conditioner!!

Oh, the indignity of having your mother in the bathroom while you're in the tub, not to mention enduring 'shampoo, rinse, repeat, condition & rinse again' I explained that he should shampoo in the same direction of the hair & not rub - this was met with "yeah Yeah whatever!" Amazing then that when he was out of the tub & dressed again, the comb went smoothly through his hair without a single catch! I could see the dawn of enlightenment in his eyes!

This morning, before I was even out of bed, he came & asked me to feel how silky his hair was & proceeded to sit at my dressing table brushing his strawberry blonde locks!!! I may have created a monster!!

I couldn't resist getting a shot of him last night, with his hair, all combed & sleek with conditioner, halfway down his back, he looked just too pretty to be a boy!!
And now for a bit more scrappiness!! One of my regular on-line haunts is the afore mentioned UK Scrappers where I'm a member of the 'Chocolate Buttons' team. UKS teams post a weekly LO challenge & next week is the turn of the 'Chocolate Buttons'! Points are awarded for certain criteria & we chose the following 'ingredients' to be included - Chocolate, buttons, happiness & stamping. The chocolate could either be the yummy stuff itself or the colour. Here is my example LO
How convenient that we visited Cadbury World last week!!

Well, I'm off now to carry on painting the downstairs cloakroom - the smallest room in the house seems to be taking as long as any other!!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

16 days & counting.......

Today, for some reason the boys were discussing at length how long it is before they go back to school! The calendar was taken down from the fridge door & the days diligently counted & it was confirmed that including today, they have 16 more days of 'freedom' left before 3 September, when they have to don their uniforms & offer themselves up to the world of academia once more!!

I know that Alex especially has good reason to be counting the days, as he will be starting at a new school & will have a totally new routine to adapt to, which for him & all his issues will be a huge challenge. But I know he will make us proud - it will just take time!

Since my last post I have managed some very gratifying Scrapping time! Saturday was the monthly CraftyStash crop at Tempsford. I love going along as the crop kit is always a chance to try new techniques & be inspired! I had a lovely surprise this time as my good friend Karen, who had emailed me that she wouldn't be there, not only turned up, but turned up bearing a birthday gift for me!!

It was a wonderful kitsch 'Marilyn Monroe' coffee mug (I may have mentioned before that I have been a MM fan since childhood!) which is musical! When the mug is lifted you hear in true Marilyn 'breathy' style "Happy Birthday to you............" I love it & it will drive my hubby & boys insane, and it was more than a match for the equally kitsch 'Elvis' coasters I gave Karen for her birthday last year!!

Anyway, back to the crop, the kit LO's this month were designed by Stephanie Garbett & both were filled with sooo much detail! I concentrated on just one & didn't even complete that until after I got home! It involved quite a bit of handstitching, paper pleating, stamping & punching but I am pleased with how my take on it turned out!

A brand new technique for me was making the half flower out of 5 circles of paper - I will definitely be using this one again, maybe a complete flower next time!
I have all the bits & pieces prepped & ready for the second crop kit LO but it is on the back burner as I have a LO to complete by Thursday for UKScrappers & another for week three of Dixie Pieces SENSE-ational summer contest, which is due by Friday!

Talking about Dixie Pieces - here is the LO I put together for week two of the contest
The theme was 'Sight(s) of Summer', the colour scheme was green, blue & white & the LO had to include hand or 'fussy' cutting. One very welcome sight for me in summer is seeing my boys playing outdoors, especially Alex who's natural habitat seems to have become within three feet of the X-Box!! The journalling reads "No X-Box, no computer, no TV! Just water, imagination & a boy having fun in the sunshine"

So today I am planning some scrapping time! Yesterday was spent cleaning & food shopping so I feel justified!! I actually enjoy the freedom of school holidays as much as the boys - no clock watching or battling with traffic on the school run, so here's to 16 more days of freedom!!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

'Tempus Fugit' & All that....

Well - talk about 'Time Flies'!!! It seems I've only just turned around & we've been & come back & celebrated two birthdays & a wedding to boot!!

Since I last posted, we have been to what was supposed to be a surprise 40th birthday party, but turned out to be a surprise wedding party instead!! Talk about turning the tables, a most excellent double bluff, only the bride & groom knew until minutes before the civil ceremony & all of us party guests were in the dark until the evening!! This was Friday evening & a good time was had by all!

On Saturday we set off for Hereford in glorious sunshine & arrived late afternoon. Lee spent the evening setting up his Mums new PC in readiness for the man coming to install Broadband on Monday morning.
We sat on her balcony in the evening sunshine & as the sun went down the sky was lit up with a fabulous fireworks display! The three choirs festival is taking place in Hereford this year & we think these fireworks were part of the celebrations!

On Sunday I took the boys to visit my Dad, since we lost Mum in '94 I've kept in contact with him, but don't see him very often. We all just seemed to move on in different directions, distance & family politics have both played their part! He's not seen my boys since they were very small, so it was nice for them to put a face to 'Gramps'!! He has since remarried but I've not met his wife - families can be strange things can't they?!! Anyway after we'd spent an hour
or so there we visited my Mums grave, she is buried at the church that Lee & I were married in, so it's a happy place - my only regret is she never knew my boys!

Monday, I spent with Rosemary - we had quality girlie time!! We went into town & stopped for coffee & a gossip, then we drove to Malvern for some retail therapy. We took her VW Beetle convertible & had the top down - I love this!! On our way back though we only just managed to get the top (electric thankfully!!) back up in time to miss a torrential downpour!!

We would have looked like a pair of drowned rats & definitely uncool!!
Tuesday was the BIG day!! My birthday AND Alex's birthday! He became a teenager & I.........well, I did not!!!!!
We had booked to visit Cadbury World & we set off on another sunny day to Bournville, Birmingham. I have never been, although I love Cadbury chocolate & remember that as a child at primary school, I would compete for academic prizes of Cadbury chocolate biscuits in commemorative tins! They must have sponsored some kind of educational programme. Anyway, back to the present!!

On arrival, we were immediately given free chocolate buttons & Curly Wurlys (How great is that!!) & as we progressed around the exhibits & factory tour more samples came our way! Lee & Alex stashed theirs away, but Nathan & I (like Mother like Son!!) munched away on ours as we walked around ooohing & aaahing at the displays & mountains of boxes of chocolate products stacked in the packing plant!!

My favourite bits were the historic exhibits - about the Cadbury family & how it all started. A close second was the final 'experience' where we got to choose whatever sweet we wanted & had it given to us in a small cup of liquid 'Dairy Milk' chocolate - pure heaven!!

The boys loved the outdoor playground and the 'Purple Planet' zone, which had loads of interactive stuff. They could design wrappers, check out facts about where in the world ingredients were sourced, plant (digitally) & nurture a cocoa tree to harvest, have a photo of themselves as chocolate statues, play 'maze' games, jump on moving cream egg images to try & splatter them, and their absolute favourite - using their shadows to catch, bounce & collect falling 'chocolate buttons' on a white screen!

Once all these activities had been done, we got to visit the factory shop - Oh yes!! It was magic! We resisted all the tat (although I did buy a fridge magnet!) & concentrated instead on stocking up on chocolate supplies!! We came away with a box of no less than SIXTY - yes 60!!! Curly Wurly's & various other Cadbury products, all at great discounts!!

Needless to say my weight loss plan has taken a back seat for the moment!!

The boys were disgusted that they weren't allowed to rip open the boxes on the way back to Hereford in the car!! But we really had, all of us, had enough chocolate for one day!!

Well maybe not quite enough!! As at teatime we lit the candles on Alex's chocolate birthday cake!! Ah well it just has to be done!!
This was when we both got to open up our cards & presents & all I can say is that we were both thoroughly spoiled!
In the evening we went out for a pub meal with family & as there was supposed to be a meteor shower visible in the night sky at 10.30pm, we sat out in the pub garden with our coffee's but we didn't see anything! Too cloudy maybe?!!

Anyway, home again, and we have unpacked our goodies & dirty laundry & each of us has spent the afternoon in our favourite spots - for me in my scrap space, catching up with emails, blogs etc!!
And of course it's Wednesday... so here is my WOYWW photo - my desk is so untidy where things have just been dumped since we came in!! You can see the punch & edging scissors the boys gave me as birthday gifts & some cards that were on the doormat as we came in, still waiting to be opened - lovely, it just makes the birthday last that little bit longer!!

Friday, 7 August 2009

It's the weekend!......

I have a 'proper' weekend this week as I'm not working on Sunday! We are all going back to Hereford for a few days, which is something we don't do often enough - Alex's cat dander allergy/Asthma has meant we weren't able to stay with anyone without ending up at A&E with Alex on a nebulizer!! Now that Nanny has moved into a new cat free home, we are able to visit without the cost of a B&B!! I will be taking the laptop with me but am not sure what wi-fi access will be available, so my not be posting till we get back next Wednesday!

This week saw me baking, another thing I don't do often enough & with very good reason....I eat too much of what I bake!! Alex asked me to make a cake as it's his (& mine too!!) birthday next Tuesday & as we won't be at home he will have a shop bought cake. So I made him a vanilla cake with cherries, all at his request - needless to say it has all been eaten (I did have only my fair share!!) - Well, it wouldn't have kept till we got back...would it?!!!
I finally managed to complete the cover of my album for Shimelles 'Stop Press' class, it was Monday's prompt, so I'm already behind, but no stress, I'll get there in my own time & I have been enjoying taking part in two other challenge blogs as well!!
The sun is shining outside & the forecast good for the weekend, so I'm hoping that will hold over in the west so that our birthday celebrations don't get washed out! We have booked a visit to 'Cadbury World' on the morning of our birthday - I've never been & I think the boys are expecting it to be like 'Willy Wonkers'!!! There is sure to be lots of chocolate sampling, so that will do me!! Then we are out for a family meal in the evening, so it should be fun!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Burning the candle at both ends.......

Well, the sun decided to put in an appearance on Sunday - typical, as it's the only day I go out to work!! Not to worry though, as I left the store my mobile beeped with a text from Lee "Fancy a beer?" Now I'm not a big one for alcohol, I do enjoy a cold beer when on holiday in hotter climes, but as a rule where other people say " I could murder a drink" I tend to opt for " Give me CHOCOLATE!!!" - but I digress! What Lee meant was, did I fancy popping to the pub so that HE could have a beer or two! Anyway, I drove home & we did indeed 'pop' to the pub where the boys ran themselves ragged in the play area & we sat enjoying the now cooling, but still sunny evening. Instead of my usual order of diet Coke, I had a Pimms - how very decadent! I love this tipple as it gives no hint of being alcoholic & only slowly robs you of the use of your legs!!

I was introduced to Pimms after leaving home for the bright lights of the big city!! To a country girl it seemed very sophisticated - I was very easily impressed back then - come to think of it, it doesn't take too much now!! Anyhow, I remember one time when Lee & I were back home in Hereford for a weekend visit, we went to a country pub & I asked for a Pimms. The barman hunted through his bottles & found a dusty bottle pushed to the back - he poured a measure over ice & topped it up with lemonade, the placed it in front of me. Now, me being a newly sophisticated city type, was horrified at the absence of any fruit or mint, or my particular favourite, cucumber! So I asked, ever so politely " Do you think I may have a slice of cucumber, please" whereupon the barman turned to his colleague & said in the best Herefordshire burr " 'ere Tom - 'er wants vegetables in it!!!" I did get a slice, nay, a chunk of cucumber, & a few strange looks too - well I was just ahead of my time!!

Well, it's Wednesday again & time for WOYWW - & here is how my work desk looks at the moment! On it is a work-in-progress for
Shimelles 'Stop Press' class which started on Monday & on the easel a completed LO (shown in more detail below) for the Dixie Pieces SENSE-ational summer contest. As my title suggests I really have been burning the candle at both ends to fit in all this scrapping time!
But I'm glad to report that the housework is almost under control & no children are going hungry, so I'm relatively guilt free!! I even managed a trip to the hairdressers yesterday & had my ever increasing grey expertly disguised by Becky & shape restored by Elena - both of these girls deserve medals for the magic they weave!!

Anyway onto the aforementioned LO for
Dixie Pieces The theme of the whole contest is Senses in relation to summer. So the first was SMELL! The main colour palette was set as orange, green & yellow & it had to include real stitching, either hand or machine.

The smell that always says 'Summer' to me is the scent of Night Scented Stocks in the garden.

My LO included hand stitching, I had intended to use the machine but I found some Dream Street PP that just begged to be hand stitched over!!

The journalling reads
"My childhood summers were spent playing in a garden that my Mother had planted with beautiful fragrant flowers. Lavender, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Sweet Peas, Roses, Irises & Stocks to name but a few. I was allowed to pick small bunches for my bedside table & make my own 'scent' by mashing rose petals in water! Now, as a 'grown-up' I have planted many of these flowers in my own garden & whenever I catch a waft of scent, especially from the Night Scented Stocks, I know it's summer, and I'm 10 years old again!"

I had a great time pulling together all the bits
from my stash in the right colours!
The pricking out & hand stitching took forever but was very therapeutic! My favourite bit is the chipboard butterfly, which I painted & then edged his wings with 'Stickles' - those little comical bee embellies have been in my stash for simply ever & I though what better place for them than on a LO about summer flowers!!

Anyway I'm off now, to sort through the freshly washed laundry & another ironing session (not as mammoth as the last!) to justify some scrappy time later today! I have two days worth of Shimelle's class to catch up on & we're away for a few days from Saturday so I want to stay ahead of the game!!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

God bless 'em!.......

Sometimes my boys just make my heart melt! Each in their own way see the world slightly differently & in between those times when I rant & rave about untidiness & attitude there are times when I could just eat them up for being so sweet!!

Yesterday morning I took myself off to Ikea & Hobbycraft. Lee stayed home with the boys waiting for the Sky man to come & install the HD box (yes, the new TV has spurred him on to get Sky+ which I am reliably informed is the same as Tivo!!)

On my return I found that Lee had left to go & play squash & the boys were experimenting with pausing 'live' TV & comparing HD & non-HD channels.

I would have expected them not to even look up from this new toy, but instead I was
welcomed home as if I had been away a week! Nathan brought me my post, including my fave CK magazine & suggested I sit down with a coffee & read it, while they showed me all the wonderful tricks the new 'magic box' could do! Needless to say, I needed no more encouragement & did as I was told!!

As I sat there perusing all the scrumminess, while keeping one eye & ear available for all the marvelous things the boys were demonstrating, Nathan came to sit next to me for a cuddle. He looked down at my feet & said "Your feet look really pretty today Mum!" Now, whether he thinks that on any other day my feet look more like a Hobbits, I didn't ask - I just enjoyed the compliment!! Why is it, at age 10, my baby notices things like a new lipstick colour, hairstyle or a new item of clothing, when his Daddy is, and always has been, completely oblivious to such things!! He is destined to go far!! He must get it from my side of the family!!!

Later in the afternoon, Alex came into the kitchen & I thought I heard the words that any Mum of boys will recognise "Mum, I'm hungry'.
I replied that it wasn't long till teatime & he'd have to wait. He then informed me that what he'd actually said was "Mum, I'm HUGRY - which means hungry for a hug!" Now how can you resist that?!!

So, a new word has been added to the Robinson vocabulary - we could have our very own dictionary soon!!

Now, bearing in mind all this loveliness on their part, the tale I am about to tell will seem very cruel!! But, we just couldn't resist it & it was sooo worth it just to see the looks on their little faces!

Last evening I did the grocery shopping & Tesco had an offer on Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles, so I bought packs of Blackcurrant for Lee & packs of mixed flavoured for the boys. When I got home, Lee spotted these & suggested we switch the outer wrappers before giving the boys any. To explain, it has always been an unwritten rule in our household, that when the boys have fruit pastilles, they save the blackcurrant ones for Daddy! Imagine then, their consternation, when opening their packets of 'mixed flavour' pastilles, they find them all to be black!!!

To be fair, they handed them all over to Lee, albeit protesting at the unfairness & speculating how such an amazing thing could happen!!! Once we stopped laughing, I put them out of their misery & owned up to the switch, quickly handing over their rightful goodies & guess what - they still handed over the blackcurrant ones from these packs too - how cute is that?!!