Friday, 31 December 2010

Looking Back….& Moving Forward!

It’s New Years Eve & I’m in a reflective mood! It’s time to take stock of the year we’ll soon be leaving behind!…

I turned 50!! Not as scary as I’d thought…if anything, quite liberating!

IMG_2807-1[1] Chicago!…has to be up there as a BIG highlight of the year! A whole week spent in an awesome city with the great company of two like-minded friends!

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London...being privileged to have the use of a very salubrious flat in Belgravia for a week, something we hope to repeat in 2011!

canon&meresizeLI became the proud owner of a Canon DSLR camera AND a laptop! Talk about spoiled!!

Out for Publication Badge 1I’ve had a few of my LO’s published at  Practical Scrappers & one for Christmas in ‘Scrapbook News & Review’!!

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I was invited to take up my first DT post at ‘From Screen 2 Scrap’…Thanks Shazza!!


I’ve enjoyed discovering new crops with old friends…& making new ones there!

And of course I’ve had the pleasure of visiting all of your blogs & enjoyed sharing all your stories, creativity & observations!

And moving forward…I’ve been inspired by everyone who took part in Ali Edwards ‘One Little Word’ this year & have chosen my word for 2011…

Balance!

I plan to apply this word to all areas of my life…

Between housework & time spent on-line/scrapping (guess which is the problem!)

Between food eaten & exercise taken! (so I won’t have to balance on one leg on the scales!)

Between money earned & money spent!

& the list will almost certainly grow as the year goes on!!

So…Thanks for stopping by & I hope you all enjoy your New Year Festivities, whatever you have planned!  I look forward to ‘seeing’ you all next year!

Blessings! Sandi  :)

Thursday, 30 December 2010

All done & dusted…

This has to have been the lowest key Christmas I have ever had! The weather meant that we weren’t able to get Mum-in-Law down to spend the festive season with us, so it was just the four of us. There are quite a few things that I do just for her & myself (trifle & Christmas pudding to name but two!) & as I wasn’t feeling 100% I just didn’t bother! We still had our Turkey dinner & pulled crackers but we have so many chocolates left…not to mention two whole packs of Turkish Delight (Mum-in-Law’s favourite!)…testament to her absence & my feeling yucky…& without her being here we weren’t able to go to a friends annual ‘At Home’ as it was just too far away to go & leave the boys on their own!

ThankYouSanta I still have a huge pile of gifts yet to be distributed…they should have gone back to Hereford when Lee collected Mum-in-Law…so it looks as if we may be having a re-run towards the back end of January!!

However, we were all lucky enough to have plenty of parcels to open on Christmas morning…for the boys mainly ‘Halo’ toys, Nerf guns & X-Box games! Although for the first time Nathan had asked for clothes too, so he had two pairs of skinny jeans & a couple of cool ‘sk8er’ T-shirts!!

I had found a fabulous ‘Star Trek’ book for Lee & along with the obligatory socks, undies & edible treats, he also had some ‘Halo’ toys collectables (I guess men will always be little boys deep down!) & some Hugo Boss smellies!

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just to show that I must be getting old I was thrilled to get a pair of Skechers slippers…they are bliss!!

 


Santa must have really been paying attention this year because my stocking was full of scrapping goodness…now what a surprise was that?!!!

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A girl can never have too many Glue dots, Thickers or Tim Holtz supplies!  He had even located a Martha Stewart deep border punch I have been coveting for some time!  I also have three new Marilyn Monroe books to add to my collection…titles I hadn’t even seen before!! Did I say I was spoiled?!!

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But the gift that I was blown away by….& Karen will appreciate why as I’ve coveted hers ever since she brought one back from the US…& had had no luck in finding AYWHERE,  was a camera grip strap!

See, it’s not so difficult to make me happy!!!


I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas time & were spoiled rotten too!  I’m looking forward to reading your accounts on my blog visits!

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We still have some snow on the ground, although it is definitely melting away. Thank goodness for temperatures above freezing these last two days!

I’ve been keeping the bird feeder topped up…a job that next doors cat obviously feels I need supervision for, as he accompanies me every time! I think he feels he may get an opportunity to grab any over eager diners!!

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One very canny regular diner has learned to grab whole crusts of bread & sit atop next doors garage roof so he doesn’t have to share with the hoards & can keep a close eye on said cat!! I’m getting quite fond of Mr Crow & his rattling call!

 

As I’m mentioning the cat I have to share this photo…

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…I thought I was seeing double when I walked into our bedroom on Boxing Day!! Next Doors cat seems to have taken a shine to the cat cushion that sits on our bed!  I wonder why?!!

 

I’ll leave you with a picture I received in an email which made me smile…

Oooops!!

…it was entitled ‘Ooops!’ I wonder which airline this was & if they have that on there all year round?!!

Thanks for stopping by & I hope you’ll be back soon! Wishing you all a very Happy Scrappy New Year!!  : )

Friday, 24 December 2010

Only One More Sleep Till Santa…!!

I cannot believe that for the whole of December, this is only my third post!! When I last posted I was tucked up on the sofa doing my best to beat the dreaded lurgy, having missed a day off work on the Sunday. Well, the lurgy put up quite a fight & I actually did get back into bed until the Wednesday, when my voice returned but I was still coughing & had no appetite!

I pottered around the house, cleaning bathrooms, washing floors, doing laundry & generally getting ready for our Christmas houseguest! But my gift list still had items unchecked, so on Saturday morning, Lee & I set off at 8am into town & in four hours we had ticked off every item on the list & as I had a sudden craving for KFC, grabbed a bargain bucket & headed for home!! Buoyed up with our successful morning I called my boss in-store to say that I felt well enough to be back in work the next day, for what would be the busiest trading Sunday before Christmas. Then the white stuff started to fall…..& it didn’t stop for hours!!

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On Sunday morning I got up as usual & readied myself for the trek into work. I hate driving in icy conditions but generally if I can get out of the village the main roads will usually have been ploughed & gritted. Lee was concerned & offered to drive…I will admit I breathed a sigh of relief & off we set allowing a full extra hour for what we guessed would be slow progress! Getting out of the village was interesting to say the least but when we made it to the A600 it was obvious that no plough or gritting lorry had been along since the snow had settled!! We managed to get as far as ‘Hammer Hill’, which is a steep incline about three miles from our village….after two failed attempts & much wheel spinning we made  change of plan & we turned around to head for the A421 bypass to take the ‘long way round’….we slithered & slipped along the A600 in the opposite direction until we came to the hill down from the village to the A421 slip road…not an option!! There were already two abandoned cars at angles on the hill & again, undisturbed deep snow!! So back home we went & I didn’t get to achieve my December sales target this year!!

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The temperature hasn’t got above freezing since & even as I write, we still have inches of snow in the back garden, the village roads are just compacted powdery snow & the boys are having a great time building snowmen & having snowball fights! I even looked out of the window on

MadBoys!!Tuesday to see two older boys from the village having a snowball fight while stripped to the waist!!! It begs the question…WHY?!!! Oh the folly of youth!!

& me…well I’m still coughing & dosing myself up with Covonia, Lemsips & Lockets!!

We had to make a decision on Tuesday about our Christmas plans. Lee’s Mum is always with us for Christmas & Lee was due to drive to Hereford on Tuesday & bring her back on Wednesday. With so much disruption on the roads & much research on-line & phone calls back & forth to various relatives in Herefordshire it was decided that it just wasn’t viable to travel, especially as all the severe weather warnings followed the exact route that Lee would take either way!!  So it’ll just be the four of us for Christmas this year & we’re hoping that the road conditions will have improved sufficiently for M-I-L to at least see the New Year in with us…& of course we will be having a second turkey dinner & gift exchange!!

22 Dec 2010 006 On Wednesday we headed off to Tesco…the car park was still under inches of snow, no slush…still too cold!! Cars were left where their drivers had guessed the spaces must be & it was impossible to wheel a trolley further than the cleared path along the front of the store!!

We filled our trolley with all the goodies needed & some not…namely a festive ‘double dozen’ Krispy Kreme donuts!!! Lee placed them lovingly in the trolley to my protests that we didn't need that many saying ‘they’re such a great price & we can freeze them’. Well….maybe we could have if the freezer wasn’t already stuffed to the gills with all the extra stuff already bought for the festive season!! So the dilemma was, what to do so as not to waste them?!!! Solution? Eat them of course!!! Can you believe that we ate all 24 in two & a half days?!! I am definitely going to be excommunicated from Weight Watchers at this rate!! BUT…they were delicious & in my defence I stuck to the glazed ring variety & left the boys to polish off the more exotic ones!!  

Alexbakes We have also been busy baking gingerbread men & stars for the tree…the boys took so much trouble decorating them…it’s lovely to see them enjoying things that I did at their age, as a change from all the techie stuff I normally have to prise them away from!!

Alexbakes2 
Alex has asked if we can make some more before M-I-L arrives & something tells me we’re going to need to!! They are just scrummy…I think Santa may find he has gingerbread stars left out with his milk instead of a mince pie this year!!

I’ve nothing scrappy to share with you this time…I’ve been working on my JYC album, but I’ve not photographed anything as yet! Maybe as M-I-L isn’t with us I may get some serious scrapping done on Boxing Day & BH Monday! I know I won’t get a word of sense from my men folk as they play with all their new gadgets!!

So may I take the opportunity to wish you all a happy, healthy & warm Christmas & thank you all for dropping by & taking time to leave such wonderful comments all through the year! I love reading them & also reading your blogs too! I may not get to post again before December 31st…so if that is the case may I also wish you all a very Happy New Year too…may 2011 bring you everything that you would wish for yourself!!

I’m off to finish wrapping the last few gifts & to get my thinking cap on for some really tough treasure hunt clues for the boys for tomorrow’s after lunch search!!!  Come back soon : )

Monday, 13 December 2010

Wow! What hit me?…

After seeing everyone at work dropping like flies with a nasty cold virus & reading on a couple of blogs that people had been poorly, I was feeling a bit smug that I was surviving the run up to the festive season so well…then on Saturday morning…Wham!! It hit me…achiness in my head, limbs & joints, a hacking cough, sore throat & a shivering temperature!! Talk about hitting the jackpot!! I have spent the last 48 hours in bed, sleeping mostly, dosed up with pain relief & cough medicine!

So, this morning I’m doing my best to stay out of bed, it’s been stripped & all the linen is in the wash! That took some doing I can tell you! I am as limp as a lettuce leaf…what a wimp!!! Instead I’m tucked up on the sofa with my laptop & a cup of lemon tea with mauka honey…I will beat it!!!

Last week was one filled with shopping & on Thursday I headed off to Milton Keynes. May I say, I never thought I could ever be as excited about a road as I was about the new Western By-Pass that has just opened between Bedford & the M1.  The journey to The Centre MK, which used to be anything up to an hour of stop-start traffic, road works & innumerable sets of traffic lights, took me twenty minutes door-to-door!! I grinned all the way!!

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I was also caught hyperventilating in T.K.Maxx…they had shelves full of American Craft goodies in the ‘Reduced’ aisle…FOUR packs of Thickers for £5.99 & 8X8 albums kits at £7.00!!!

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A quick call to Santa to check I wasn’t blowing his budget & I grabbed an armful & headed for the checkout!!!

    

The weather this week has run the whole gamut…we’ve had everything from gorgeous sunshine to ice & snow! I took these photo’s one morning after I got back from the school run…the temperature didn’t get above –2 degrees all day!!

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I’ve managed to fit in a bit of creativity this week & managed to save some cash into the bargain!

The current challenge over at ‘These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things’ is My Fave Celebrity..a no-brainer as I’ve been fascinated by Marilyn Monroe since childhood!

I wanted to have a go at the 12x6 format I’ve been seeing in the forum for JYC & I quite like having that amount of space to work with! I printed off the lyrics to ‘Candle in the wind’ as the background & didn’t feel it needed any more journaling than that!!

 

 

I’ve also been creative in another way…I recently finished painting & papering our bedroom & felt we needed to change the lampshades in the room. That meant one for the ceiling light & three smaller for the lamps. I found the perfect design in JLP’s lighting dept, but with the largest at £59.95 & the smaller at £39.95 each they were a little out of my price range!!!!

So…I found some comparable plain shades in Dunelm Mill...still a pleated silky fabric in the right colour & some crystal bead trim & hey presto…four new lampshades all for less than the price of one small shade in JLP!!! Result!!

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Amazing what you can achieve with a roll of double sided tape!!

I’ve also been knitting a snood as a Christmas gift for a friend & I can’t believe how long it’s been since I knitted anything of note! It’s just so therapeutic…I’ll share a picture of it once it’s completed!!

 

Well, I think I need to take some more meds & get a bit of shut-eye, so I’ll leave it there! I’ll just share one photo which made me smile…our regular visitor aka next doors cat…can you see just how spoiled he is!!!

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Thanks for dropping by, I hope everyone is well &  do come back soon!  :)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Taking a snow day…

At 7am this morning we had heavy snow falling outside our kitchen window, & as I ventured outside I nearly fell flat on my face on the ice underfoot! The radio said there was more snow to come & that our local temperature ‘high’ was going to be –1…so I made a decision to give the boys a snow day!!!

Although the snow actually stopped falling at about 11am, the sky still looks full of the stuff & it is bitterly cold, so we’re all indoors (boys still in their PJ’s!), each finding things to do to keep us busy! Sadly, I won’t get to the ‘Crafting Time’ crop at Shepreth this evening, but needs must & I openly admit to being a bit of a wimp when it comes to driving in icy conditions! Not to mention that after paying such a large bill to get my car back on the road last week, the last thing I want is to end up in a ditch...or worse!!!

So, where should I start? I think firstly I should share my first submission as a member of the design team over at ‘From Screen To Scrap’

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nightmare_before_christmas_ver2


I am delighted to be part of the team on this challenge blog, the whole concept of taking inspiration from Movie Posters is ideal for me, with my love of the cinema! I’m looking forward to getting to know all of the team over there & would like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Shazza for making me so welcome!

…do pop over & check out this months challenge & the entries that are already coming in…I found it  really fun poster to take inspiration from & if you decide to submit something yourself, please tell the lovely Shazza that I sent you!!!

 
On the theme of cinema visits, I know I’m a bit behind on sharing what I’ve seen recently, so I’ll keep it brief…

you-again-movie-poster

burke-and-hare-poster

  < Very Funny! 

  > Not up to Simon Pegg’s usual standard but did raise a chuckle or two!

the-american-movie-poster


As for this one…well what can I say? I lost the will to live before we were half an hour in & not even starring the gorgeous George Clooney could save it!! What was he thinking?! It is just dull, dull, dull!! 


So that brings you up to date! There are many good movies out over the Christmas season & I’m hoping to see a good few of them! Watch this space!!

 

1521 Yesterday saw the start of Shimelle’s ‘Journal Your Christmas’ class. I started this class in 2008 & completed the first seven days before falling by the wayside! I picked it up again in 2009 & got as far as day seventeen, so I’m hoping that I will actually complete my JYC album for 2010!! I will be using the time between now & the 18th to get everything else under control so I can take time to complete days eighteen onwards without feeling guilty or stressed!!  Just to reiterate on my album so far…the cover & days 1 & 2…

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I’ll still be checking out the daily prompts as there’s been a change to the format this year with some added extra’s from Shimelle. I would highly recommend to anyone to take part in this fabulous class…it’s such amazing value & so many lovely people to meet in the forum!


Finally, some creativity for Novembers Dixie Pieces challenges…time ran away from me & I only completed some of them, & these were…

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The theme for the month was ‘Thanksgiving’ so a card with a ‘Thankful’ quote was one challenge. Another was for place cards, but as we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK, I took advantage of making some for our Christmas table instead!


As for LO’s, I managed to complete one for ‘Someone I’m thankful for’…

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Next time I hope to be able to share my completed bound book that I mentioned in a previous post, from the workshop at Crafting Time….it’s looking good & I’m still amazed at what a professional ‘look’ it has…I actually got to finish off the cover with some melted wax at the last Crafting Time crop, which was a totally new technique for me. I admit it made me a little nervous, but I love the finished effect….thanks again Marie!!

To finish, may I wish all my UK visitors safety & warmth in this wintry weather. Thanks to everyone for stopping by & I hope to be dropping by your blogs very soon!! :)

Saturday, 27 November 2010

No better time to count my blessings!…

It’s been twelve days since I last blogged & what a roller coaster it has been!!

On the negative side, we were without internet connection for five whole days!! (Eeek!)'…my car died unexpectedly & needed a new alternator (£500…double Eeek!)…& on what was forecast to be the coldest night of the year, the fan on our gas central heating broke, leaving us with no heating or hot water…luckily It was fixed within 24hours (£350…triple Eeek!!!) So it looks like beans on toast for Christmas dinner this year!!

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On the positive…I lost 5lbs in my first two weeks on the new Weight Watchers Pro-Points programme…I got to see the new Harry Potter movie at it’s first showing in Bedford at 9.30am on Friday 19th…& being housebound & with no internet access proved to be the catalyst for my getting loads of DIY jobs done…I have wallpapered & painted two rooms this week!!!

 


 

I do have quite a backlog of creativity to share, but I’ll save most of that till next time.

Nov27 2010 012What I would like to share is the ‘special’ challenge currently running over at ‘These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things’ which involves making Thank You cards to send to two very worthwhile causes. I made these two cards & am sending one to each. Full details can be found HERE, & there’s still a little time left if you want to take part, both stories are very moving & really made me stop & count my blessings in spite of all our recent challenges!

That’s it from me for now, I hope all of my UK visitors are keeping warm & not snowed in…I can’t believe it’s going to get worse before it gets better!!! For my US visitors, I hope you’re all enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend!! I’ll be catching up with my blog visits soon & all things being equal, it certainly won’t be twelve days before my next post….

To everyone…Thanks for stopping by & do come back soon! :)

Monday, 15 November 2010

It wasn’t meant to be all about food!…but…

This week I went along to my Weight Watchers meeting to learn all about the new ‘Pro-Points’ programme!  Nov152010 020Quite a lot has changed, but it’s still the same old principal…Eat the ‘right’ food in appropriate quantities, move more & lose weight! It’s the first one I have an issue with!! BUT…having to focus more on the new programme has meant that this far (six days in!) I have had a text book week & have definitely not gone hungry at all!

It all comes down to the planning, which stops me reaching for convenience foods!  This week we have enjoyed a curry, pasta arrabiatta, homemade soup & even a roast…with pudding!

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The pudding started out as a basic apple crumble, but then I discovered I had some Blueberries in the freezer & threw them in as well!  It was a lovely juicy combination!!

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Nathan had a DT class this week… the recipe they sent home was for ‘Aubergine Muffins’?!!! Well, we don’t do Aubergines!!! So I sent him in with carrots instead!…& very nice they turned out too…all cheesy & soft…& 9 ‘Pro-Points’ each!!! So I only had the one!

 

Nov152010 029 I’m sorry Mel…I had my first mince pie this week too! (7 ‘Pro-Points’!!) Well, Tesco had this amazing offer of ‘Buy One Get TWO Free’ on Mr Kipling mince pies, which meant they turned out at 50p per box of six, so I stocked up!! I couldn’t bake them myself for that price!!


Nov152010 024 On the ‘Move More’ side….I saw this flyer & decided I’d give it a try!  Years ago I used to do an Aerobics class at least twice a week & thought that this must be similar! Accompanied by my good friend Kali, I set off on Thursday evening in loose comfy clothing (no Lycra for me these days!!) to see what it was all about!

Well…the hall was full! Ages ranged from low teens to eighties, there were male & female, skinny & extremely large bodies & the class was taken by Tony…a very cute black guy with a body to die for & Boy! could he move!

It was such FUN!!! I was beetroot red before the warm up was finished…I guzzled my way through a whole litre of water in the hour that we danced!…& I mean danced!!!  We Salsa’d, we belly danced, we reggae’d, we jived, we calypso’d  & even did ‘Zorba the Greek’…double time!!  I will admit to fluffing the steps repeatedly & collapsing with giggles once or twice!  But…I did not stop! In spite of being completely breathless & drenched in perspiration at the end…it was a whole hour of thorough enjoyment & I would recommend it to everyone!!

On Saturday I went along to a workshop at ‘Crafting Time’ in Shepreth. Hilary was there & it was lovely to meet Denise in the flesh too!

Nov152010 001Marie took the class & we all created a lovely ‘7 Gypsies’ book using all sorts of different techniques.Nov152010 003 

 



I’m not a ‘messy’ person by nature so some things went against the grain, but I got stuck in & am very pleased with my end result!!
 

Nov152010 002We learned how to ‘book bind’ using the stitching technique, which was a bit fiddly, but it gives such a neat & professional result. Time didn’t allow me to do the ‘waxing’ of the book cover bit, but I’ll be finishing mine off at Thursday evening crop (Thanks again Marie!) so I’ll share it with you in my next post!


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Finally, something to make you smile! While I was unpacking Nathans unused DT ingredients, I left the empty bag on the table. I heard a rustling & I turned around to find the cat had made himself very comfortable in said bag & he stayed there, watching me bustling around the kitchen until I had to turf him out to be able to lay the table for dinner!!  I do enjoy his visits!!

So that’s it for now! I have completed my first LO for my first ‘From Screen To Scrap’ DT  submission, but I can’t share any more on that with you until it’s ‘up’ over there…suffice to say it was great fun to do & please do check out the challenge for yourself in December!! The submissions for Novembers ‘Casablanca’' Challenge are looking good too!

Thanks for taking the time to drop by! Wishing you all a great week! :)