Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Want To Know What I Did This Summer?!

I was AWOL from Blog Land between July 17th & August 20th & I did say that I would explain why!! So here goes….

When we moved into our current house in 2004, in spite of having four bedrooms, my boys decided to share a bedroom. This meant we had a designated guest bedroom & the smallest bedroom was my craft (& ironing) space!! Then, in 2007, they decided they’d had enough of each other & we re-jigged the room allocation, giving the boys the two smaller rooms & dividing the second largest into a guest room & craft space for me!

Move forward to 2012 & both boys are now teenagers & no longer require simply ‘bed’ rooms, so much as space for all the tech that takes up so much of their time & quite frankly, too much space in the rest of the house!

8 BargainsSo, I had been mulling over in my mind how best to, once again, re-allocate the upstairs room space to best advantage!

Shortly before the start of the school Summer holidays I happened to be in Homebase & spotted some price reductions on paint! Half price 2.5ltr cans reduced from £25.99….& one shade reduced again to £6.49!!! Bargain!….& just the catalyst I needed to get the ‘mulling over’ phase moving forward into action!!

9 Nats Room As WasThat same day I went home & before it was time to do the afternoon school run, I had taken this room, Nathan’s & the  smallest, from this….


10 Scraproom WIP 
                                       …to this!

I still cannot believe it took just four hours to completely empty a room, wash down all the paintwork, remove all the football decals & apply a coat of emulsion to almost all four walls!! The next day I applied a second coat & shampooed the carpet & on day three I started moving all of my craft space stuff in!

11 My Scraproom
By the weekend, the boys had broken up from school & Lee kindly fitted a new roller blind & I had a brand new scrap room! I love that I can once again close the door & have my own little sanctuary! No more having to put a hold on creativity because the ‘guest’ portion of the room is in use! That sounds terribly selfish, but it’s also nice not to have the ironing board in my scrap space either!! Just me, my PC & my stash!!

12 Alex's Room As WasSo, still feeling smug about how quickly that all came together, I set about room #2…

This was Alex’s bedroom & the poor boy was quite squashed in! The room itself is actually a decent size, but he has quite an extensive collection of military/science fiction/gaming memorabilia & what you don’t see in this photo is the shelving all along one wall which really ate into the floor space. Added to that was the huge TV his Nanny had passed onto him, so there really was no room to swing a proverbial cat!
 13 Nats Room WIP 
The process of emptying this room wasn’t quite so straight forward! The TV had to be manhandled by Lee & was taken to the refuse recycling centre, the shelving units are floor to ceiling & finding a temporary home for them was as challenging as boxing up all of the precious items that live on them!! The wardrobe had to take up residence on the landing for the duration, which was fun!  But, that said, within 48 hours the room looked like this & I was soon slapping on the bargain emulsion!

14 Nats RoomThe carpet here was shampooed too & a new blind fitted. Then it was time to retrieve all of Nathans furniture & put together his new room.

This was a bit like doing a Tetris puzzle, moving Nathans furniture around Alex’s, dismantling & reassembling the bed, desk & putting up new shelves! Once his posters were up & his PC/X-Box connected he declared himself more than happy with his new space!

This second room had taken twice as long as the first & here I took a break as Alex & my birthdays were approaching & Mum-In-Law was due for a visit to help celebrate. So poor Nathan had to relinquish his new bedroom for Nanny to sleep in & both boys had to endure sharing a room again…one in total chaos as it still needed to be decorated & reassembled! But at least they had a bed each & one connected X-Box!!

Once the visit was over it was time to turn to room number three! This one was going to be a challenge & had to be done in two halves! Previously the shared guest/scrap room, it looked like this…

16 Scrap Guest Room as wasMost of this stuff was now in its new location in my scrap room, but I still had the bed & Alex’s other furniture to work around!

I moved everything up to one end & poor Alex had to sleep in amongst it all while I worked on prepping & painting! Then it was repeated at the other end, moving it all once more!

17 Alex's RoomFinally it was done & Alex now has his new bed/sitting room! He now has ample storage/display space, a desk, easy chair & a newer flat screen TV.

The bed linen was another bargain, found in Ikea’s bargain corner…each double set with four oxford pillowcases was just £6.99 & has a lovely soft glazed cotton finish! I’m altering a couple of pillowcases into cushion covers for the easy chair!

I feel that the colour scheme is a little more grown up, although he still has his camouflage bunting & posters!

What really amazes me is that both boys rooms are staying remarkably tidy…I had expected more space to equal more mess, but not so! I still pick up abandoned socks & retrieve empty plates & glasses on a regular basis,  but generally, things are being kept quite neat!  Now if I can just get that working through the rest of the house I’ll be one happy Mum!

So, there you have it! The main reason why I neglected my blog & have had very little scrapping time through the Summer!  I also have an enormous backlog of photo’s to edit & collage for ‘365+1 in 2012’ & hope to have them done & dusted by this coming weekend!

20 Guilty PleasureBefore I go I have to comment on the return of something that I have missed so much….the new season of Downton Abbey!

After the 2011 Christmas Special I have been counting the days to this new series & so far it does not disappoint! Maggie Smith & Shirley MacLaine have had me laughing out loud & the wedding had me in tears…I love it! Do you? I really must plan a visit to Highclere Castle before too long! It’s really not so very far away from us & I hear that the Christmas Fair held there in December is well worth the trip!

Thank you so much for stopping by & I do hope you’re managing to stay dry now the weather has turned so wet here in the UK!  Only thirteen weeks till Christmas!!  Come back soon! Open-mouthed smile

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Summing Up The Summer Scavenger Hunt!

Friday sees the deadline for Rinda’s ‘2012 Photo Scavenger Hunt’ & it’s been fun! Lee & the boys have become used to me producing ‘The List’ on all our days out over the summer & today I’ve completed the hunt! Yay!

A couple of items were a challenge & a couple have been ‘loosely’ interpreted, but I did it!! I had planned to post updates on 21st July & 21st August, but as you know I embarked upon projects that took priority over the summer & blogging went by the wayside! So here is a collage of my ‘finds’…

2012 Scavenger Hunt
1. A pier….at Brighton…taken from the car on our way to friends in Hove!
2. A clothesline…Mine!
3. A border…mine again!!
4. A Roadside stand selling something…a local ‘layby grill’ which does the most amazing bacon sandwiches!
5. A train…The Javelin, on our way to the Olympic Park!
6. A historical landmark…The Houses of Parliament, taken from ‘over the river’ on a day visit to the capital.
7. A person playing a musical instrument…street performer in Bedford town centre, a fabulously talented drummer!
8. A person dressed as an angel, or a statue of an angel…this one was a challenge! In the end I settled on an angel decoration in a local interiors shop!
9. A fountain…easy! This is the wonderful example in Welwyn Garden City’s Parkway!
10. A horse…a wander down to the end of the village & I found these!
11. A shadow…I loved this one of a bench on Bedford’s riverside Embankment!
12. A maze, labyrinth or trail…this timber maze is a favourite of ours! Found in Bedford's Priory Park!
13. A library…The lower floor of Bedford's Town Centre Library!
14. A person playing with a ball…I felt like a private eye, sneaking photo’s (out of the car window!) of these guys kicking a football around in Bedford's Russell Park!!
15. Someone dancing…well, several someones dancing during the Paralympic Closing Ceremony, which we were lucky enough to attend!
16. A bride…another challenge!! But I found this lovely cake decoration made of fondant icing to fit the bill!
17. A church, chapel, cathedral, mosque or temple…I went with Bedford’s Queens Park Mosque!
18. A movie poster…In our local cinema advertising ‘Brave’, which was brilliant!
19. An outdoor stairway…not a very glamorous example, the fire escape at our local branch of Pizza Express!
20. A swing hanging from a tree (or a hammock)…these amazing swings hang from high up in the trees at Groombridge Place in Kent. On a family day out with friends, even we adults made good use of them!
21. Finally…A picture of you standing with something that symbolise your nation…well, for 2012 I think this counts! This is me on our way into the Olympic Athletics Stadium!

Sub. A heart shaped stoneI did have a photo all ready of a hand painted, heart shaped stone…just in case!

Thanks Rinda for such an enjoyable project & I’m just glad that I made the deadline! I have so enjoyed seeing other participants awesome finds on their blogs & ready the ‘back stories’ too!

Thanks to you too, blog friends, for stopping by…I’ll be back soon with an update of the past two weeks & a bit of creativity to share! I do hope you’re settling back into routine after the summer break & are enjoying the gorgeous Autumn sunshine! Come back soon! Open-mouthed smile

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm…

…& EEEEEK!!!!

Today has had one of each!

I went into work yesterday.  I usually only work on Sundays but had offered to work overtime to cover a colleagues holiday. No problem there, but it did mean that the weeks laundry needed to be put back to today.  So, to get ahead of the game I sorted the dirty laundry into colour piles last evening in readiness for an early start this morning.

So at 7.30am I came down into the kitchen (we don’t have a utility room, sadly), still not fully awake, & proceeded to load the washing machine with a dark load. For a moment I thought I’d dropped a sock…then I realised it was a very large spider….EEEEEK!!

5 Spider!I have been scared of spiders since birth! Although since becoming a Mum I can now deal with the little blighters instead of just screaming the house down! We keep a glass for just such emergencies & I usually employ a long handled spatula & a postcard to complete the eviction. I shudder at the thought of accidentally touching one of those creepy legs…or worse!! That said I’d never harm a spider, but I just don’t want them sharing my home…with my knowledge anyway!!

With that drama out of the way I set about a general tidy up of abandoned shoes, socks etc & this is where the Hmmmm! moment came in!!

On the 27th July we took Nathan shopping for shoes, not school shoes, but shoes to wear for ‘playing’ which for Nathan equals skateboarding, scooter-ing & looking cool! He had announced that he wanted the latest style lace up Vans in red, but at £45.00 I had told him to dream on!! We usually hit ‘T.K.Maxx’ where we can pick up designer trainers/shoes for him at less than half that price.

6 New VansHowever, this time there was nothing to fit the bill in any of the sales in Milton Keynes or on the racks of T.K.Maxx. Nathan was beginning to sulk & Lee was losing patience! I suggested that we leave it for that day & plan another shopping trip.  I left them to ‘have a look in Gamestation’ & popped into Debenhams. When I came out however I was
met by a beaming Nathan carrying a shiny new ‘Schuh’ carrier bag containing….you’ve guessed it…the coveted red Vans. Lee had given in to the ‘sulk’…he will never learn!!

Because, here we are not even a full six weeks later & this is what they look like…

7 Not new Vans 
…worth £45.00? I think not!!! Hmmmm!!

Thanks for stopping by…see you again soon! Open-mouthed smile

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Bard Blooper…

It’s Storytelling Sunday time again over at ‘From High In the Sky’ & Sian suggested a theme of Too Cool For School, to coincide with the start of the Autumn school term.

On the eve of hubby taking up his first teaching post, where he will be teaching a Year 5 class of nine year olds, I’d like to share a short & sweet tale of his early school years as told to me by Mum-In-Law on her recent visit.

happy_birthday_shakespeareThe date is April 23rd 1964 & a six year old Lee is being collected after a busy day at primary school.  On the walk home he chatted about his day & told Mum that in assembly they had announced that today was William Shakespeare’s birthday. 

Mum asked him if he knew who that was, to which Lee replied “Well he’s not in my class & I didn’t get an invitation to his party!”

Bless him!

Good Luck with the little darlings tomorrow sweetheart!

Thanks for dropping by & come back soon! Open-mouthed smile

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Getting Back To Routine…

Yay!…for September…for a new school term…for things returning to ‘normal’ & new beginnings! As much as I love the summer holidays & the minimal need to clock-watch, there is something very energising about reinstating a routine.

In our household we are having a staggered start to this process, with Lee taking up his new teaching post from the 3rd, Nathan returning to school on the 6th & Alex starting at college on the 10th. 

But for me, the 1st of September is a great place to start getting things back on an even keel! Most things are in place…new school clothes/stationery/lunch bags have been bought…cupboard/freezer stocked with packed lunch items…shoes polished or replaced…both boys (& Lee) haircuts done…we are generally ‘good to go’!!

I’m also up to date with my scrappy commitments & looking forward to (hopefully) completing Shimelle’s ‘Learn Something New Every Day’ project (which I started in 2010!) during the coming month!

1 Last House On The Left Movie PosterSo, back to those scrappy commitments! First, Septembers challenge over at ‘From Screen To Scrap’ is to take inspiration from the movie poster for ‘The Last House On The Left’ & to include the following criteria…

1. Use a black background/CS.
2. Feature a house somewhere on
    your LO.
3. One word in the title to be in red.

I must admit that I struggled with this one from the word go! Nothing jumped out at me from the poster that had me running for my scrap supplies! But at last, while searching through old photo’s I found one with a story attached & this LO came about…

2 First & Last House LO 
Not the most technique-rich Lo, but it tells the story of our visit to Lands End in pitch dark, to watch the weekly summer fireworks. There is a house that sits near the cliffs that is signposted ‘The First & Last House’. We explained to Alex why & he became quite panicked that we were close to the edge of the world itself! He asked? “Why would anyone want to live in a house at the edge of the world?”…good question!! We did actually return to Lands End in daylight, to prove that there was sea beyond ‘the edge’ & not just the blackness of the night before!

If something jumps out of that poster to inspire you, why not play along with us over at ‘From Screen To Scrap’ this month, you have a whole month to create your LO & as always there’ll be some great scrappy prizes up for grabs!

3 Jacky's LO to lift for September 1stSecondly, the final LO for Dawns Chinese Whispers (sigh). I have so enjoyed taking part in this & can’t wait to see how each of the eight participants sketches evolved…I didn’t recognise my own sketch at all in the final LO I received from Jackie yesterday!!

Here is the LO I received from Jackie last month…

…& here is my ‘lift’ from it…

4 LO from Jacky's August LO

Another confession here…I have had in my stash a set of Glimmer Mists since our trip to Chicago in 2010 & I have never opened them! It is not a technique I have had much success with & dislike how the paper/CS wrinkles when damp!

But I knew I wanted to create a masked effect on this LO, so I bit the bullet, made an Olympic ring mask & broke open the Glimmer Mist! I have to say I’m pleased with the result, even though I did need to iron the CS once it was dry! I chose pink because it was the colour scheme for the Olympic venues & the red, white & blue seemed appropriate & came mostly from the ‘Portobello Rd’ collection.

The sun is shining here in Darkest Bedfordshire & I’m planning to have an afternoon out & about with my camera!  I have several ideas for locations to complete Rinda’s scavenger hunt & I have a major backlog of editing for Suzie’s ‘365+1 in 2012’! But it’s all about regaining control & getting back into routine! Which is where I came in….

Thanks so much for dropping by & I do hope you’re enjoying your weekend! Come back soon! Open-mouthed smile