Saturday, 31 December 2011

Just to wrap it up!

It’s now less than two hours till we welcome in 2012 & I just wanted to wish all my friends in Blogland a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

While December has been a bit of a challenge for us here in the Robinson household, I’m hoping that 2012 will bring reports of improvement all round!

I am looking forward to some exciting year long projects & to getting back into a more regular blogging routine!!

May the new year bring you all what you could wish for & may all your goals be within your reach!!

Love & {{hugs}}

Sandi xx

Saturday, 24 December 2011

‘twas the night before Christmas…


…& all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!

But if you’d been here last week it would have been quite a different story!  We had the scariest experience we’ve had in many a long time!!

Alex has lived with type 1 Diabetes since age 4, & apart from the initial few weeks of adjusting to injections & food choices, we have always maintained good control, meaning he suffers minimal ‘hypo’s’ or diabetes related issues.

Last week he had a head cold & took two days off school. His blood sugar numbers spiked, as they always do with a cold, & then he felt better & returned to school.  When he came home that third day, he said he felt a bit sick, but had no temperature & as he & Nathan were their usual  sparring selves, I just thought it was the tail end of the cold. At 2am the next morning he woke me to say he’d been sick & then he proceeded to be sick every two hours. He couldn’t even keep water down & despite this his blood sugars were sky high!

It was at this point I sought professional advice & a locum doctor called in to see him. Even this guy felt that all he needed was some fast acting insulin & offered to arrange a prescription. As he was just a locum at our surgery, &  not familiar with Alex’s medical history, he decided to double check with the Diabetes team at the hospital first & they told him that Alex had to go in to them straight away!….Panic!!

Alex was actually suffering with Ketoacidosis, a condition I am aware of, but not something we have had any experience with. I remember being told if Alex had a high temperature or if his breath smelled ‘chemically’ to check his ketone levels. But as neither of these applied, I had not even considered it might be an option!!

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So, within the hour, Alex was in hospital & (his worst nightmare!) had a Cannula inserted & was wired up to multiple drips! he was so dehydrated his veins had collapsed & even trying to get a blood sample was a battle.

I am happy to report that after three days & two sleepless nights (for me anyway!) we were allowed to bring Alex home, as long as we promised to monitor his levels every 4 hours around the clock. His ketones are now back down to 0.1 & his blood sugars are settling, but we still have more insulin adjustments to make. In the main he is his old self & I don’t even care if he’s argumentative & stroppy…seeing him so very poorly was such a scare & quite frankly , his full recovery is all I need for Christmas!

Nats cakes On a lighter note…some very nice things to report! Nathan cam home from school with two of the cutest Christmas cakes he’d made in his Food Tech lesson…& kept secret for the last three weeks!!!

Of course, I got it wrong again when I commented on the lovely yellow flowers, only to be informed “they’re not flowers, they’re stars!”…oops!

SSQ#10 Stash

I took part in the Soul Scrappers SSQ#10 & received the package of goodies pictured right!

The challenge is to use all of the items in a project…this one was obviously to have a Christmas theme.

It looked like such a lot of bits & bobs, but when I actually sat down to work with it all, I actually found that it all fitted quite nicely onto a 12x12 LO…


Oh! Christmas Tree
I also took part in another Soul Scrappers challenge ‘texture of Summer’ & chose the ripening wheat crop in a local farmers field, The ears of wheat always feel so silky & I love the way the whole field shimmers when the wind blows…

Field of Gold  
I’m proud to say my LO was the winner of this section!

17 Baseball Birthday Card
I also had another lovely surprise this week when I received an email from American Crafts to tell me I had won their Thickers contest on facebook!

I had entered this card I made for a friends son, back in the summer, after spotting the contest details on the pack I’d used to make the card!


AC Prize
My prize arrived yesterday & is a fabulous AC ‘Cut Up’ paper trimmer with three interchangeable blades! I am thrilled!!

There are always lots of opportunities to win fabulous AC prizes, as well as loads of inspirational ideas to be found over at the American Crafts Studio Blog, so I’d highly recommend a visit!

Well, I guess that’s all from me for now!

I’m all prepared for the big day tomorrow…are you? After losing three days last week, some serious prioritisation took place & to be honest, we’re not missing anything!!




I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas & I do hope all your Christmas wishes come true!

Not forgetting to mention 2012…may it prove to be the best year yet & full of good health & happiness!

Thanks for stopping by & come back soon! :)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Feeling Festive!

O-M-Good Golly Gosh!! Another two weeks passed & not a Christmas card written or a gift wrapped!!

Secret Shopping! But that’s OK…I’m staying calm & prioritising!!

Christmas has definitely arrived!

It was all kicked off with a visit to the ‘Oh so secret’ shopping location (Karen says if I tell you where it is she’ll shoot me….& I don’t think she means with her camera, so best not eh?!!) with the lovely Hilary!

They were holding a Christmas Evening & the setting was just perfect with a brass ensemble playing carols & the scent of mulled wine in the air! After a good mooch about & a couple of selective purchases, followed by mince pies, coffee & a couple of succulent sausages (they were just tasters on sticks, not great big ones!!) each… Christmas had begun!!

01 Dec 2011 007 Not long after this I hopped aboard a National Express coach & headed off to meet these two special people for a browse around the ‘Frankfurt Christmas Market’ in the streets of Birmingham city centre.

It was a dull damp day, which only added to the atmosphere! there were so many goodies to look at, but I didn’t actually buy anything at all!!

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I was amazed that even at lunchtime on a Thursday there was quite a crowd at the ‘Bier Cellar’….all that was missing was an Ooompah band!!

We shared a lovely lunch in the Chinese quarter & then hit the rag market for some haberdashery bargains!!

With barely a pause for breath, 48 hours later & I was on a train heading north to York! This time with my long-time friend Amanda to soak up the atmosphere of the annual St Nicholas Christmas Fayre!

01 Dec 2011 031 Of course our first port of call was Betty’s… 
…we joined the queue that snaked around the building & 45 minutes later were seated in the oh-so elegant Art Deco Tea room, enjoying a brunch of Rosti with cured bacon, poached egg & mushrooms! Yum!

01 Dec 2011 039The world & his wife seemed to have descended on York this day. The Christmas Fayre is only there for four days & make this particular weekend the busiest of the year! Walking up into York from the railway station there was not an inch of pavement spare as trains & coaches deposited ever more eager visitors into the city!!

Once we’d emptied the teapot & our plates were clean, we set out to explore the street stalls for gift ideas!

I would love to have been able to share lots of photo’s of Yuletide York with you, but to be honest there was such a throng it was impossible to actually see what each stall held until you were right on top of it & it was like swimming upstream to try & break off to actually step into one of the stalls!! However we both managed a few purchases of some unusual crafty gifts!

After the market we headed off into the maze of narrow streets that make up the historic centre of York…along ‘The Shambles’, where, while still very crowded we were able to get into some of the most beautiful shops…

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01 Dec 2011 050…Amanda fell in love with this dress & was considering it for her Christmas Party…until she saw the price tag!!

  There was a wedding taking place in the Minster & we waited a while hoping to get a glimpse of the happy couple…

…but it was too cold & damp to wait for too long & besides, Betty’s & afternoon tea was beckoning!!!

We timed it just perfectly & the queue was not so long! We were soon ensconced in the upstairs suite, awaiting the arrival of our Tea!!

01 Dec 2011 055 It did not disappoint!!  Elegant sandwiches of chicken, beef, egg & cress & salmon & cucumber. Freshly baked fruit scones with strawberry jam & clotted cream, A selection of tiny delicate cakes…all washed down with lashings of (no not ginger beer!!) special Christmas blend tea!!

Amanda experienced her first ‘Pikelet’…when she asked the waitress what they were she pronounced it ‘Pikilit’ which raised a smile!!

One of my favourite features at Betty’s is the mirror, situated in the corridor outside the loo’s in the basement. It bears what is basically graffiti  written by servicemen stationed in York, during the second world war & makes very poignant reading. I tried to get a good shot of both the mirror with its etchings & the plaque…but with my little point-&-shoot  this was the best I could do!!

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The plaque reads…

The Betty’s Mirror 1939-1945

This mirror bears almost 600 signatures, most of them airmen – British, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, who were stationed in this area during World War 2.

We were proud to offer them hospitality during those dark days when, for the Canadian bomber crews in particular, Betty’s Bar was York’s unofficial ‘Ops’ room, where amidst the rumours & speculation about impending bomber sorties, friendships were made & absent friends mourned.

Each year many veterans return to Betty’s & we invite them to make themselves known & to sign the visitors book.

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If ever you do ever find yourself in the vicinity of Betty’s, be sure to pop downstairs & check out the mirror for yourself! 

As we left to make our way to the station for the homeward journey, the Christmas tree in the square was fully lit & a choir was singing carols…it has to be said, six hours was not enough time to make the most of what York has to offer…

…& that means we’ll just have to go back another day!!!

1 white christmas movie poster

That’s almost all from me for today…I’ll leave you with a bit of festive scrappiness & a challenge! It’s a great movie poster for inspiration over at ‘From Screen 2 Scrap’ this month…’White Christmas’!


The added criteria for extra points are:

1. use white cardstock
2. A two tone title
3. Christmas hat(s)


So with that in mind, my submission used a photo (& not a very good quality one at that!) of Alex talking to his Nanny on Christmas Day last year. Because of the snow & icy weather conditions she wasn’t able to join us for Christmas, for the first time in years!!  Alex was wearing a ‘Santa Hat’ but as well as being a bit blurry, the photo also cropped his hat, so I reconstructed it with felt!! That’s all three criteria checked for me!!!

2 Happy Xmas Nanny!

If you can find a little time, why not play along with us with this one? There are some great prizes up for grabs!!

So, Thanks for stopping by…I hope everyone is staying calm for the festive season!…& I do hope you’ll drop by again very soon! :)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Missing In Action?!!….

It has been 19 days since my last post! Photo’s have been building up in my ‘To Blog’ file & scribbled notes now cover three pages of my ‘To Blog’ notepad!!! I have no excuses to offer other than ‘Life’ has just taken over & I’m only now able to pause for breath!!!

Car Damage! The main event to report has to have been a collision in my car! :(  I hasten to add that I was stationary at the time & the person who drove into me was an elderly lady…a mobility driver…who insisted on regaling me with the details of her previous accident, earlier this year…does she make a habit of it?!!  My poor ‘Ruby’ was left with a damaged headlight, shunted off centre bumper/skirt, a dented side panel & various bits of chrome trim short!!

She’s been with the repairers this past week & we’re having to pay the excess to get her back tomorrow! :(  To my mind there is no question at all that liability rests with the other party & that the excess will ultimately be refunded, but there are no guarantees either…just what we needed so close to Christmas!!  

flowers from Sue I seem to have spent so much time on phone calls recently, to insurers, solicitors, repairers etc & will just be glad when it’s all over!! 

The silver lining to all this though, is the support I have had from family & friends…facebook messages….emails….offers of loans to cover the excess…one even arrived with flowers!! 

It all overwhelmed me at one point!  Whatever did I do to deserve all this?!!  I am truly blessed!  Thank you to you all…you know who you are :)

I’ve also had three visits to the cinema…


Tower Hiest Movie Poster

The Rum Diary  
…’Tower Heist’ with Ben Stiller & Eddie Murphy is so funny & very clever!! I was a bit disappointed with ‘The Rum Diary’ (not with Johnny Depp…he could never disappoint!!!) as I’d expected a stronger storyline & it just sort of rambled!! Then of course part one of the final ‘Twilight’ episode ‘Breaking Dawn’…I’m surprised I’ve enjoyed all of the Twilight films as much as I have & this one was very engrossing!  It left me wishing that we didn’t have to wait till next year for part two!!! 

17 Trivia Journal

On the creative front, I took part in an online class over at ‘Get It Scrapped’ & put together a ‘Trivia Journal’ for 2012, using a paper weave technique & scrap PP’s!


In this same class, with the challenge of repurposing old bits of puzzle & toys I came up with this LO…

19 'Hoping For New Toys'!

I also liked the idea of using leftover alpha’s to create a tone-on-tone textured effect in one of the earlier lessons so I incorporated that technique into this LO as well!

As part of this class we looked at our stash storage systems & one thing that always bugs me is ribbon!!  How to store it so that I can see what I have, so it doesn’t get all creased & tangled & that I can grab & go if needs be??!!

Ribbon storeI’m happy to report my ‘Find Of The Week’!!! Taking a short cut through Primark, I spotted this in the accessory department… only £2.00 & available in Pink or Lime Green, this velvet covered jewellery hanger, with it’s loops & hooks makes the perfect ribbon store!! Nothing Slips & it’s hung in plain sight at the end of my shelf unit so I can see what I have & grab it with no hassles!!!

On the subject of creativity, I attended my first ‘Merly Impressions’ crop on Saturday. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day spent with ‘old’ scrappy friends Dawn & Sharon…while making new ones…

New Scrappy Friends








Dawn Shopping

The shop was fabulous! Lots of Kaiser Kraft & Tim Holtz goodies!!

Here’s Dawn rummaging through the clear stamps…because of course she doesn’t have enough already!! :)

Merly Crop 



Although this crop is very local to me in Bedfordshire, there were ladies there from as far afield as Leicester & Watford!!  As it’s a new Saturday crop & there were to be 28 of us, Chrissy had set us a challenge  to make a name badge.  There were some fabulous entries…

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28 Badge!! I had great fun taking apart an old greeting card to repurpose the fibre optic light thingy so that my badge flashed!! 

You can’t really see it here, but trust me…those little blue dots on the dark background are indeed flashing fibre optic tips!!! :)

Merly Crop sneak peek The sneak peek for the two class LO’s in the fabulous kit was this…

Mainly featuring the new ‘Madame Boutique’ range from Kaiser Kraft & with the theme ‘Me’ I decided to go with sepia & use the photo that Karen took of me last month!

There was so much fussy cutting & using ‘glossy accents’ to create the beautiful rose embellishments, that I only completed the first one!!! (some of you won’t be surprised by that…I am, after all,  a self confessed ‘slow’ scrapper!!)

Simply Me   
The next ‘Merly Impressions’ Saturday crop is on 21st January 2012 & I highly recommend it!  Maybe I’ll see you there?!!!

So that’s me for today….I’ve a busy week ahead so I’ll be back soon to report on my adventures…they involve both coach & vintage rail travel as well as lots of Christmas retail opportunities!!!

I do hope everyone is keeping well & staying ahead of the festive preparations!! Only 34 more days!!  I’ll try to get round to visiting everyone very soon…I have neglected you all very badly these last three weeks…SORRY!!!

Thanks so much for stopping by & come back soon! :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Little Homesickness!!

I left my childhood home in Hereford back in 1983…to move to Bletchley & set up home with Lee. We married soon after & have since lived in St Albans, London Colney, Brunei & Welwyn Garden City before ending up here in ‘Darkest’ Bedfordshire, but when I refer to Hereford, I still call it home!!

This weekend we made a rare trip ‘home’ to see Mum-In-Law on her 80th birthday. She has recently had knee surgery so there was to be no party, but we really wanted to see her ‘on the day’.  We set off after breakfast for the three hour journey & the closer we got to Hereford the more familiar the scenery became…

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I know it just looks like more English countryside, but every turn in the road holds a memory of growing up & venturing further afield once I’d learned to drive!! We passed the village church where I used to go bell ringing as a young teen…my boys were amazed…see, there’s a lot they don’t know about me!!  Before long we were coming into Hereford itself & along the road I grew up on…

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We passed my old school…& the pub where Lee took his last drink as a single man…& of course the house I grew up in.

I think part of me has always assumed that at some point in time we’d move back that way, but we never have & I have to say, I’ve not yet completely given up hope that one day we might!! I guess you can take the girl out of sleepy old Hereford (quite willingly at the time I might add!!) but Hereford will always be in the girl!!

Anyway…more on the reason for our visit home…

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…this lovely lady’s 80th birthday!!  I have been so lucky with my Mum-in-Law, when I listen to tales of friends relationships with theirs, I count my blessings!! Pat is amazing, she takes great care of herself & is in complete denial of her age…& very convincing she is too!!

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The boys were pleased to see Nanny, but soon settled themselves on the sofa with their laptops & left us to chat!!

Even Lee took some time out for a quick check of his emails…

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What is it with the male of the species & tech?!!! They can’t get through a day without it!!! But Pat didn’t mind in the least..I had taken my vintage copy of ‘Woman’ home for her to see & she was soon engrossed & enjoying all the memories!!

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We sat a little while on her balcony…she overlooks some allotments & it’s so peaceful & there’s always someone doing something, so perfect for her now she lives on her own.

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We did have one cause to laugh when Nathan reclined his seat & we caught sight of the soles of his feet…

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…now I know money is tight at the moment, but we’re not so strapped for cash that we can’t afford socks!!!

Pat said not to worry, it must run in the family & she lifted her feet to reveal…

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…but then hers are surgical stockings & are meant to have holes in the bottom!!

I’m pleased to report she is recovering well from her knee surgery & is walking short distances, albeit with a crutch, & having regular physio sessions. So we’re hoping she’ll be joining us here for Christmas as usual , this year.

We got back to our house that evening, tired from travelling both ways in one day, but glad to have shared Pat’s birthday & knowing we’d be getting an extra hour in bed that night too!!!!

4 The Help movie poster 
On Sunday I saw an amazing film…’The Help’

It saddens me that in such recent history, such prejudice was the norm, but this film presents the story frankly & with such good humour that the message comes across without  being too distressing, although I did shed a few tears & laughed out loud too!!

I’d recommend it!!

I’ll leave you with a little creativity…

1 home for the holidays
This month over at ‘From Screen To Scrap’ the movie poster inspiration comes from ‘Home For The Holidays’ & the added criteria is to 1. Use the word ‘Home’ in the title  2. A photo of a family gathering & 3. use white pen journaling. 

I’ve also been taking part in an online class this week over at ‘Get It Scrapped’ & wanted to try the mosaic technique on a LO, So with all that in mind this is what I came up with…


2 Auld Lang Syne 
The photo is of us all singing in the New Year/Decade 2010…I had fun using up all those bits & bobs to decorate the mosaic squares!!

So that’s it from me for today…I hope you all survived Halloween!! I’m glad to report that Karen is through her first phase of surgery & is posting on facebook, so check her comments out there if you’re a friend!!

Thanks for dropping by & do pop back soon! :)